Saturday, May 27, 2017

My summer reading list challenge! Join me! #COYER

I'm doing a reading challenge this summer to try and catch up on my reading, especially my e-books.

#COYER (clean off your e-reader) begins June 17th. There are two ways to do the challenge:

1. Read all the books you want. Read and review.
2. Summer reading list and the read-a-thon that goes with it. I'm choosing this option.

Find out more HERE.

I think it sounds fun and a great way to push me to get books on my TBR pile read!

  1. A Beautiful Blue Death
  2. A Study in Silks
  3. Prisoner of Ice and Snow
  4. Dream Me
  5. Ash and Quill
  6. Bring Her Home
  7. Perish From Earth
  8. Hello, Sunshine
  9. My Own Mr. Darcy
  10. Relax, I'm a Ninja
  11. An Ocean Away
  12. A Season in London
  13. Star-touched Queen
  14. The Clockwork Dynasty
  15. Lies Jane Austen Told Me
  16. As You Wish
  17. My Lady Jane
  18. Havencross
  19. Flame in the Mist
  20. Watch Me Disappear
  21. Secret of the India Orchid
  22. Fitness Junkie
  23. Royal Bastards
  24. The Original Jinny Moon
  25. Wreckage
  26. Girl Out of Water
  27. It Started With Goodbye
  28. Don't Kiss the Messenger
  29. Thick As Thieves
  30. Defy the Stars
  31. The Go Between
  32. Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone
  33. The Library of Light and Shadow
  34. Mask of Shadows
  35. Where the Light Falls
  36. Romancing Daphne
  37. P.S. I Like You
  38. Presence
  39. Rosemarked
  40. I hate Everyone But You
  41. The Fifth Doll
  42. Everything We Keep
  43. The Killing Curse
  44. The Midnight Dance
  45. The Space Between Words
  46. Beautiful Poison
  47. The Original Ginny Moon
  48. If my Moon Was Your Sun
  49. The Fire Queen
  50. When the Mockingbird Sings
I'm so excited to do this challenge!

 I wonder how many I'll read??????

Read-a-thon Challenge:
  • Read-a-thon Dates are
    • June 25th – July 2nd ~ read only ebooks
    • July 23rd to July 30th ~ read only physical books
    • August 20th to August 27th ~ read only audio and ebooks

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I rocked my childhood or how my childhood affects my writing

At least, in my mind I rocked it.
I mean, look at these toys!
I loved playing house and school and I loved my Fisher Price toys.

These were favorite toys when I was little. They got a lot of use, not only from me but my siblings too. I remember making words on the schoolhouse with the magnetic letters when I was first starting to spell.
We also had the house. Sometimes, we created the house outside with rocks and flowers, and used the furniture and Little people.

My mom used to have these fuzzy bunnies as decor. 
I loved to pet them when I needed to calm down.

Stickers! I loved the googly eyes and the Scratch n' Sniff stickers. The smells bring back memories of junior high days. Which may or may not have been tumultuous and ugly. But all was well when friends shared stickers.

I passed so many notes in the my years from elementary to high school. We even folded them this way. We retold our day with stick figures or made up very important quizzes like this:

Do you like:

Are you mad at me:
Maybe ☑

Do any of you remember these cassettes? My friends and I made tons of mixed tapes together. I still have some. Hubby and I still have a whole drawer of cassettes! Huh. I don't think we have anything to play them.

I'm a little bit country! 
An I'm a little bit rock n' roll!

Here's the last and the most iconic childhood memory for me: Donny and Marie Osmond! I watched them on TV. I listened to them on the radio, bought purple socks and I. had. the. action figures. Donny got to kiss a lot of my Barbies, just sayin'.


I find that a lot of my experiences and friends and family come out a bit in my writing. They surface unexpectedly and I'm usually surprised why and how. Seeing that multicolored cassette in this post kinda makes me want to write and 80's themed book.

For years after I graduated from junior high, I dreamed about that school. The things that happened there shaped me in more ways than I think. I could draw a map of that school. I wish I could have walked it and taken pictures before it was torn down. Maybe I'll do a story set in junior high. I'll have to find my photo albums and year books.

So what I'm saying is that our experiences shape the stories we write or what we want to write. It's okay to write what we know. It's okay to write reality based on our experiences. We need to hear other's memories and stories. No one can say we know or we don't understand because we do, according to our experiences.

Don't be afraid to write what you know. Or maybe, be very afraid. And write from there...
There's just not enough time to write them all.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

100 (or something like that) Book Challenge!

I'm taking my lead from Nathan Bransford and doing the 100 book challenge. He said it was harder for him than he thought. I'm kinda excited to look at all the books I've enjoyed reading.

I'll meet Nathan's challenge and see how hard it is.

UPDATE: like two hours later... I ended up 180! WHAT?? I added every book in a series. So I went back and put the books in a series on the same line. Even doing that I still had 137. 
My middle grade, picture books and all genres are mixed up in this list.

This challenge was hard in that it took FOREVER to go through my goodreads books and find the ones I loved/enjoyed reading.

So here is my list, in random order that I don't expect anyone to read because it is freaking long. LOL

What about you? Can you come up with 100 fav books?

  1. The Far Pavilions, Shadow of the Moon
  2. Jane Eyre
  3. Pride and Prejudice
  4. Persuasion
  5. An Assembly Such as This, Duty and Desire, These Three Remain
  6. A Tale of Two Cities
  7. A Christmas Carol
  8. Silas Marner 
  9. The Screwtape Letters
  10. Seven Gables
  11. The Raven
  12. Pudd'nhead Wilson
  13. Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
  14. Birdman of Alcatraz
  15. The Count of Monte Cristo 
  16. Magnificent Obsession
  17. The Poisonwood Bible
  18. Wives and Daughter
  19. North and South
  20.  Hagseed: The Tempest Retelling
  21. To Kill a Mockingbird
  22. Island of the Blue Dolphins
  23. The Secret Garden
  24. The Penderwick's
  25. The Giver
  26. Eragon
  27. The Secret Journal of Brett Colton
  28. Anne of Green Gables
  29. Edenbrook
  30. These is My Words 
  31. Enchanted April
  32. Prisoner of Zenda
  33. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
  34. The Rent Collector
  35. Fried Green Tomatoes
  36. Al Capone Irons My Shirts 
  37. The Indian in the Cupboard 
  38. No Talking
  39. Stargirl
  40. Fablehaven, Rise of the Evening Star, Grip of the Shadow Plague, Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, Keys to the Demon Prison
  41. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
  42. You Are Mine
  43. The Importance of Being Earnest
  44. A Lantern in Her Hand
  45. Gone with the Wind
  46. Romeo and Juliet 
  47. Much Ado About Nothing
  48. The Canterbury Tales
  49. SkippyJon Jones
  50. Good Night Moon 
  51. Oh! The Places You'll Go!
  52. Love Twelve Miles Long
  53. 14 Cows for America
  54. The Tale of Despereaux
  55. The Magician's Elephant
  56. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
  57. Double Trouble in Walla Walla
  58. The Princess Bride
  59. Jellicoe Road
  60. The Hundredth Queen
  61. Pivot Point
  62. On Little Wings
  63. Wednesday Wars
  64. The Pearl
  65. Eleanor and The Iron King
  66. Willowkeep
  67. Unraveled
  68. Blind Eye
  69. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency 
  70. The Help 
  71. Unspoken
  72. The Forgotten Garden
  73. The Secret Keeper
  74. Lord of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, Hobbit
  75. Inside Out & Back Again
  76. A Light in the Attic
  77. Falling Up
  78. The Giving Tree 
  79. Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book
  80. The Polar Express 
  81. Death of a Salesman
  82. Ink and Bone
  83. It's a Mall World After All
  84. My Fair Godmother
  85. Austenland
  86. The Goose Girl
  87. Princess Academy 
  88. The Actor and the Housewife
  89. Rapunzel's Revenge 
  90. Princess of the Midnight Ball, Princess of Glass
  91. Dragon Slippers
  92. The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen, The Iron Knight
  93. Sorcerers Stone, Prisoner of Azkaban, Chamber Secret, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blooded Prince, Deathly Hollows
  94. Entwined
  95. Traitor
  96. The Girl of Fire and Thorns
  97. Forgotten 
  98. Fallen
  99. Gilded Cage
  100. The Reader
  101. An Ember in the Ashes
  102. Three Dark Crowns
  103. The Wraith and the Dawn
  104. Things Half in Shadow
  105. The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia
  106. The False Prince, The Runaway King, The Shadow Throne
  107. Mark of the Thief, Rise of the Wolf
  108. The Kiss of a Stranger 
  109. Seeking Persephone
  110. Courting Miss Lancaster
  111. As You Are
  112. Glimmer of Hope
  113. The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance
  114. Elantris
  115. Legion
  116. Steelheart, Firefight, Calamity
  117. Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians, Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones
  118. Dodger
  119. The Final Empire, The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment,The Wicked Day
  120. City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass
  121. Maze Runner
  122. Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant
  123. The Hunger Games, Mockingjay, Catching Fire
  124. Band of Sisters
  125. Wolf Hollow
  126. Yellow Star 
  127. The Healing Spell
  128. Loser 
  129. Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn
  130. The Host
  131. Christmas Oranges
  132. The Miracle of the Wooden Shoes
  133. Increase in Learning: Spiritual Patterns
  134. The Second Rescue: The story...Willie and Martin Handcart
  135. The Remarkable Soul of a Woman
  136. Women of the Book of Mormon
  137. Plain and Simple: A Journey to the Amish

Monday, May 1, 2017

Seven of my favorite April 2017 reads!

I read a lot of great books this month. So many more I wish I had time to read! Can't the publishing industry just take a month off so we can get 1/4 of our TBR pile read??
Look at all the beautiful covers in this list!!!

This list, in no particular order, highlights a few of my favorites:

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

 Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.

Brilliantly crafted, Wolf Hollow is a haunting tale of America at a crossroads and a time when one girl’s resilience, strength, and compassion help to illuminate the darkest corners of our history.

Opening line:
"The year I turned twelve, I learned how to lie."
I wasn't sure I was going to like this book, but I did. I loved it.  I recommend it to any reader, but especially to middle grade and older. This is a story all readers will enjoy and find something they can connect with.

The Vicar's Daughter by Josi S. Kilpac
Cassie, the youngest of six daughters in the Wilton family, is bold, bright, and ready to enter society. There's only one problem: her older sister Lenora, whose extreme shyness prevents her from attending many social events. Lenora is now entering her third season, and since their father has decreed that only one Wilton girl can be out at a time, Cassie has no choice except to wait her turn.

Evan Glenside, a soft-spoken, East London clerk, has just been named his great-uncle's heir and, though he is eager to learn all that will be required of him, he struggles to feel accepted in a new town and in his new position.

A chance meeting between Evan and Lenora promises to change everything, but when Lenora proves too shy to pursue the relationship, Cassie begins to write Mr. Glenside letters in the name of her sister. Her good intentions lead to disaster when Cassie realizes she is falling in love with Evan. But then Evan begins to court Lenora, thinking she is the author of the letters.

As secrets are revealed, the hearts of Cassie, Evan, and Lenora are tested. Will the final letter sent by the vicar's daughter be able to reunite the sisters as well as unite Evan with his true love?

  Opening line:
"Cassie fidgeted with the skirt of her day dress and said a silent prayer: Please help me remain calm."

Cassie is the youngest daughter (out of six) of the vicar and he and his wife have decided that only one daughter will be out in society at a time. This is frustrating for Cassie because her sister, Lenora, is shy and anxious. To "help" Lenora, Cassie starts writing letters to Evan, a man Lenora met at a ball, in Lenora's name. Cassie could not have seen the problematic outcome of her innocent actions. This "help" proves to have a ripple effect that is negative to those involved and those not. This is really where the story sucked me in and held me tight.
Cassie fell in love with Evan. Evan fell in love with the woman in the letters but was determined to get to know Lenora better. Lenora was happy Evan paid attention to her. Then Evan proposed to Lenora and everything went downhill.
I wanted to keep reading to find out how in the world the characters got out of this mess! It really seemed hopeless. Josi Kilpack is an excellent writer who keeps her readers guessing and reading.
I really, really loved the character arcs. Cassie's was especially fascinating to read. She grew and matured so much in the story it was delightful to read.

Thanks to netgalley for the early read. I loved it! 5 STARS

Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

 As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor’s wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge—and quarantine colony—for the ill. The Scourge’s victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there.

However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn’t know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She’s been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on. But will she and Weevil survive the Scourge—and the governor’s wardens—long enough to make their escape and expose the cruel plan?

 Opening line:
"Few things were worth the risk to my life, but the juicy vine fruit was one of them."

I listened to this one. Another great book from Jennifer Nielsen! I know any book I can pick up any of her books and enjoy them.  Keep writing, Jennifer! 5 STARS!

Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sarah B. Larson

On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, can finally access the full range of her magical powers. The light looks brighter, the air is sharper, and the energy she can draw when fighting feels almost limitless.

But while her mother, the queen, remains busy at the war front, in the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon, the corrupt king is plotting. King Bain wants control of both kingdoms, and his plan will fling Evelayn onto the throne much sooner than she expected.

In order to defeat Bain and his sons, Evelayn will quickly have to come into her ability to shapeshift, and rely on the alluring Lord Tanvir. But not everyone is what they seem, and the balance between the Light and Dark comes at a steep price.

Opening line:
"The jeweled forest blurred into a tapestry of color as Evelayn sprinted away from the castle."

I won this book in a contest and I was so excited! I've been wanting to read this pretty book since Sarah announced it would be published. 

An intriguing retelling, or the start, of Swan Lake. Princess, danger, magic, bad guys, one cute guy, this book has it all plus a slow burn romance. Is the next one out yet??

Dawn of Wonder (The Wakening #1) by Jonathan Renshaw

 When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems.

The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation’s royal academy – a whole world of secrets in itself.

But this is only the beginning of his discoveries. Something is stirring in the land, something more ominous than the rising threat of hostile nations. Fearful travellers whisper of an ancient power breathing over Thirna, changing it, waking it. In the very heart of these stirrings, Aedan encounters that which defies belief, leaving him speechless with terror – and wonder.

Opening Line:
"Even the wind now held it's breath."

This book is freakishly long, like Brandon Sanderson long! But so good and rich in character and world building! I made excuses to listen to it. I listened to it as I cleaned the house and worked in the yard.


 A Fine Gentleman by Sarah M. Eden

London barrister Jason Jonquil has spent his entire life working to establish his identity as a gentleman, a man of refinement like his father and brothers. But when fiery Spanish beauty Mariposa Thornton walks into his office, he finds himself losing his grasp on his dignified character. The woman is infuriating, pushing him to the limit of his legendary patience. However, her case seems simple enough—a small matter of inheritance. Or so he believes.

Once a well-born lady, Mariposa fought to survive the brutalities of Napoleon’s war on Spain. She braved horrific perils and undertook dangerous missions on behalf of those fighting against the invading French army. But her greatest battle still lies ahead: after being separated from her family, Mariposa sets in motion a plan to reunite with her loved ones in England. To avoid drawing the attention of the French, Mariposa dons a carefully crafted persona to conceal her true purpose. As Jason and Mariposa are drawn together by the case, they come to know the people beneath the masks they both wear.

When the truth of Mariposa’s quest is revealed, the couple is pulled into a mystery that will test the limits of their courage—and expose the true desire of their hearts.

 Opening line:
"The commotion outside his office ought to have served as something of a warning, but Jason Jonquil, barrister and proud perfectionist, had done nothing more than glance up from his ruler-straight stack of papers when the first noises had drifted through his closed door."

Hurrah! Another story about the Jonquil boys!!

Condemn Me Not: Accused of Witchcraft  by Heather B. Moore

 “This woman was one of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked creatures of this world; and she did now throughout her whole trial discover herself to be such a one. Yet when she was asked what she had to say for herself, her chief plea was that she had led a most virtuous and holy life.” —Reverend Cotton Mather, 1692

USA Today Bestselling author Heather B. Moore brings the life of her 10th great-grandmother to center stage. Susannah North Martin, accused of witchcraft in 1692, joins five women in the Salem Jail, all sentenced to death for their crimes. Amidst tragedy, Susannah finds hope and compassion as she remembers a well-loved life, and readers discover that love reaches far beyond the grave as Susannah faces the magistrates in Salem.

Opening line:
"This woman was on of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked creatures of this world; and she did now throughout her whole trail discover herself to such a one."

If you want a personal, beautiful and haunting look into the Salem Witch Trials, this is your book!

This is the story of the author's 10th great-grandmother, Susannah North Martin, who was hanged during the trials. Even though it was really hard and frustrating to reading the chapters about the time of the trials and Susannah's depraving time in jail, there were chapters of love and hope as Susannah and George meet and court and marry. Heather knows how to write romance so the "love" chapters were sweet.
What I liked too was the quotes and dialogue from the actual accusers. Heather put a lot of time and research into this book and it reads smoothly with the history interweaving with the storytelling.
The story is disturbing in that humans could treat other humans so badly. Just straight up lie and someone would die. With that said, if it made me uncomfortable (in the sense of lack of human kindness), it was well-written.

I'd recommend this book to anyone older reader (older teens and up).
There are scenes where the victims are stripped to nothing and scrutinized and abused; death; kissing; intimate touching; martial relationships (not graphic).

Thanks for the early read! I loved it! 5 STARS


A few of my favorite things I'm doing

I'm reading: Fiction: The Light After the War by Anita Abriel  It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban ...