Saturday, September 28, 2013

Book Review - Dark Road Home by Elizabeth Ludwig

   Ana Kavanagh has spent most of her life hiding from painful memories and from God.  She doesn't understand how He could care about her if he would let such horrible things happen, like the tragedy that left her scarred and alone. While helping at a shelter for women and children she meets Eoghan Hamilton, a handsome man who happens to be her best friend's missing brother. Eoghan feels that he has been betrayed by his sister and resists  being reunited but secrets are about to be unearthed.  Secrets that threaten the lives of both him and Ana.
  Dark Road Home is the second book in Elizabeth Ludwig's Edge Of Freedom series (click here for my review on the first one).  It mixes history with romance, suspense and faith.  I enjoyed Ana's spiritual journey and the events that brought her back to her faith.  The romance between her and Eoghan was sweet but I had a hard time getting past Eoghan's personality enough to fully enjoy it.  He was a bit better by the end though. The suspense was enough to keep me reading but I must say that the first book in the series is my favorite. 

I received a free copy of this book to review from Bethany House Publishing.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things!

It's time for Viclit's Celebrate the Small Things!

  I'm celebrating an almost cool breeze!  Yay!  I'm also celebrating my new blog schedule.  Its a bit ambitious for me but I've noticed that blogging seems to help me get in the mood for writing. Something about it makes my random thoughts fall into some sort of order and it gives me  sense of community which I've come to depend on.  Writing can be hard but having a network of  other writer's surrounding you is an amazing feeling!

My new schedule is:

Tuesday is going to be my "Series" day, whether I'm doing a series of flash fiction, children's stories or a non fiction topic.

Wednesday is the day I share what I've been reading, writing, my writing goals and anything else I've been up to.  I like to do it by participating in What's Up Wednesday

Friday is the day I focus on the good things that surround me.  I got into the habit thanks to Viclit and her Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. 

Saturday is when I will post book reviews if I have any, and looking at my book stack I should have something to share tomorrow :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

 Its time for What's Up Wednesday!
What I'm Reading  I didn't really read this week.  I'm not sure how that happened.  I read a few random pages here and there but I was always interrupted before I got very far.  I did read the first lines of about a dozen different books thanks to this article on YaBuccaneers!  I tried to read more of "Two Years Before the Mast" and I came to the realization that I like this book as a reference book (I have a lot of sailing in my WIP) but I do not enjoy it when I'm in the mood for something with a plot.  I'm going to set it aside for now but I'm sure I will be going back to the first chapters for reference.  They are full of nautical info.  My new chapter a day classic is going to be The Great Gatsby.  I wanted something short so I can feel accomplished before I move on to the next classic on my list, Anna Katerina.
What I'm Writing  Does mental writing count?  This week was insanely busy.  I wanted to write so much I couldn't think of anything else but the only day I had time was the day my ancient laptop decide it was to tired to think.  I have spent countless hours mulling over both of my books though and I have four novel ideas to choose from for NaNo.  I also have little poems and lists of words and names scattered through out the house...
What Inspires Me Right Now  Tea with honey sounds inspiring at the moment. 
What Else I've Been up To  Everything.  Or at least if feels like it.  I went to a Writer's conference over the weekend.  It was wonderful to meet other writers and hear about their experiences. I wanted to write a  piece about it to post today but I have a head cold and didn't get that far...  hopefully soon.  The rest of the week included attending a birthday party, taking my daughter to dance lessons, taking my son to homeschool p.e. class, LegoCon (a homeschool lego competition) making/leading a craft for story hour, running or walking in the evenings and trying to keep my two year old out of trouble.  That last one is probably the hardest thing I do.  I just had to pause writing this post because he somehow got his head wedged between the wall and his brother's bed and was stuck upside down.  Of course, being nap time, he was suppose to be in his own bed....  hmm.
What have you been up to?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Donut Dwellers

  I haven't posted any short stories for awhile.  I never really meant to stop.  It just sort of happened as the summer progressed.  Fall is full of new routines and old ones that need dusting off so I thought that this would be the perfect time to get back into the habit.  I'm going to start out by sharing the links to my previous Donut Dweller stories so that next week I can post an all new one :)  I have a few left in the series before I move on to my next idea (or ten) so stay tuned!
Donut Dwellers episode 1
Donut Dwellers episode 2
Donut Dwellers episode 3
Donut Dwellers episode 4
Donut Dwellers episode 5

Friday, September 20, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

Yay!  It's time for Viclit's Celebrate the Small Things
 I woke up in a great mood, if you haven't guessed that yet :)  Here are a few things that I am celebrating today:
  • I'm having Pioneer Woman's Sweet Cinnamon Scones for breakfast.  They are so fun to make and are absolutely delicious.  They are the perfect thing to make the house smell like fall.
  • I have a sweet two year old sitting in my lap (eating my scone... so I guess I  have a built in diet plan...)
  • I learned that my daughter likes practicing her letters if she is writing a princess story or long, complicated princess names. We weren't making very good progress until I made this discovery so I am  pleased.
  • I ran over a mile without having to slow down!  It may not be very far but its progress!
  • I have come up with a new blog schedule that will give me a set day to post my flash fiction/creative endeavors.  I will be announcing it soon.
  • Oh, and one more.  It's FRIDAY!!!  (In our house that means its pizza/movie night!)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

It is time for What's Up Wednesday!
What I've Been Reading  I just finished reading The Sea of Tranquility.  It was one of the choices for this month's YA Buccaneers reading challenge.  Check out my review here.
What I've Been Writing  I took one more week off to spend with family.  They went home on Monday so I'm going back to revising Slumber tonight.  I can't wait!  I've missed it to the point of feeling mildly crazy.
What Inspires Me Right Now This week I am inspired by the ladies in my homeschool group.  We just started up a Bible study and I loved being able to chat with other ladies, drink coffee and dig into God's word.  Not only are the other women homeschooling moms but they are all military wives so we have tons in common.
What Else I've Been Up To  I signed up for my first writing conference.  It is a small one but because of that it is inexpensive and close enough to where I live to make it possible for me to go.  I am so nervous!  My work isn't ready to pitch yet but I'm trying to come up with a solid description of my WIP.  I am horrible at describing my stories.  Either I say almost nothing or I ramble....  yikes.
  I also scheduled a long overdue hair appointment.  Good bye thick, unruly lion's mane!  I'm getting it cut into a shoulder length bob.  Hopefully it will be easier to manage.   Besides that I have been desperately trying to catch up on all of the things I put off while my family was visiting.  I have a house to clean, blogging to catch up on, critique partners to get back to, homeschool events to help plan, stacks of books to read and review...  yup, I won't be bored, that's for sure.

Book Review- The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of TranquilityThe Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nastya has a dream and life that she loves. It defines her. When it is torn from her she is lost. Details of that day plague her to the point that she stops talking and hides behind a new identity, one that is completely void of her old self. She successfully bars everyone out of her life until she meets Josh. He is the one person who repels people even more than she does.
The writing and depth of emotion in this book are stunning. Instead of the story all unfolding at once it is told in layers with alternating points of view. The relationship between the main characters is complex and beautiful, although sometimes it made me want to cry.
I tend to go for clean reads. I'm not one that likes a lot of sex or language in my read, especially when it is written for young adults. This book had a fair amount of both. It wasn't out of place considering the dark places that Nastya and Josh are in but I wouldn't recommend it for younger teens.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday!
What I'm Reading  I am still reading The Dream Thieves and a few other thick books that I've been plugging away one.  I also started Pandemonium. 
What I'm Writing  Nothing.  Again.  I decided to focus on family this week.  I'm hoping to start back up next week, if I can wait that long... I really miss it.
What Inspires Me Right Now  Today I am inspired by my husband who was up for work at 3:30 a.m., worked until 6 p.m. and still managed to visit with the kids and go for a run.  I really don't know how he does it.
What Else I'm Up To  I still have family visiting so I have been devoting most of my time to showing them around and just goofing off with them  ( for example, I have black and white polka dotted finger nails thanks to my seventeen year old sister!)  I haven't been able to write or keep up on my blogging as much as I would like to but I keep reminding myself that spending time with loved ones is far more important and all to soon they will be 3,000ish miles away.  I love the coast but I wish it wasn't such a long drive to go home and visit everyone.
   I've also been planning a Ladybug Girl Birthday party for my soon to be five year old daughter. I was thinking of making her ladybug cupcakes but she informed me that she would really like a French cake with French frosting.  Oh and it must be chocolate.  I'm not sure how she ended up so obsessed by everything French but she wants to learn to speak French and loves anything with the Eiffel tower on it. So, we are having a French influenced Ladybug girl party :)

What have you been up to?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Review- Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund

  The year is 1763 and Susanna Smith is surrounded by rules and expectations. She does her best to abide by them but her love of learning and passion for others makes it difficult for her to fit within her society's narrow parameters.  When she crosses paths with a young woman whose life is in danger Susanna knows that she must help her and she knows that she can not do it alone. She turns to Ben Ross, a poor lawyer whose passion for the less fortunate matches her own.  Ben may be the perfect man to help her but she soon finds herself feeling more deeply for him then a woman of her high social standing should. She finds herself in a swirl of danger and turmoil. Everything she thought she believed in is put to the test as she realizes that just because things are a certain way doesn't mean that they shouldn't be changed.
   Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund is an inspirational/ historical novel that grabbed my attention from the beginning.   The characters are compelling and even though the time period is so different from our own, their struggles are relatable.  I think most of us have been in a situation where we weren't sure if we should defy what is expected of us for what is right.  Once again Jody Hedlund has written a thought provoking book that seamlessly combines romance, history and suspense.  I can't wait to see what she writes next!

If you act fast you can enter my giveaway for a copy of the book!
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

It's time for VicLit's Celebrate the Small Things!
Today I am celebrating:
  • going shopping with my little sister (who towers over me by ten inches, but she's still my baby sis!)
  • spending time with my cousin (who just happens to love making cookies, Yum!)
  • running (3 pounds gone Yay!)
  • the first week of school 
  • the giveaway I am hosting ( I hope that you will join in the fun!)
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Inspiration and a Giveaway

Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund      Every once in awhile I finish reading a book that is so amazing that I run straight to my computer and check out the author's website.  Typically I find information about the author such as what books he/she has written and a few facts about their life.  When I went to Jody Hedlund's page I found what I was hoping for.  I found a wealth of information on writing. I'm not sure how many times I've gone to her blog or her list of resources for writers.  It's been a lot....  I go there whenever I am in need of encouragement. 
      One of the things that encourages me the most about Jody is that , like myself,  she home schools her children. I love homeschooling but the combination of it and writing sometimes makes my heart sink and my head spin. Seeing someone that successfully balances both is so inspiring.  Another thing that inspires me is her faith.  It is evident in everything she does. 
     Her latest book, Rebellious Heart, is coming out later this month and I am part of her "street team". I am also apart of a giveaway (you could win a copy of Rebellious Heart!).  I hope that you will enter at the bottom of this post!  I am reading it right now and so far I am loving it.  I should have a review up soon!

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

IWSG and What's Up Wednesday!

It's time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group and Erin and Jaimie's What's Up Wednesday!

I'm going to start with my IWSG post.
    I'm not sure what happened to August.  It is frightening how quickly it flew past.  I was content where I was last month but this month is different.  This month I have more responsibilities then I do time.  I've also realized just how much work I have to do to get "Slumber" from a raw first draft to the story I want it to be.  Now I just have to figure out how to get it there.  My world building feels weak and my main character is missing that "spark", the one I feel in my favorite books but I can't seem to create in my own.  All I can do is keep learning, writing and read, read, read and hope that it all falls into place.  Its a bit intimidating.  Some days I wonder if I don't have the talent to pull off what it is I am trying to do.  

Now for  What's Up Wednesday!

What I've Been Reading  Hmm, what have I been reading?  A lot..  I read Delirium by Lauren Oliver in one day.  Yup.  I loved it.  (Her character had a decent amount of the "spark" I referred to earlier.)  I'm now reading The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (I love you, NetGalley!), Dark Road Home by Elizabeth Ludwig, and  Structuring Your Novel by K.M.Weiland.  Tomorrow I will be starting Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund.
What I've Been Writing  Nothing :(  I've had a terrible writing week. 
What Inspires Me Right Now  I have been finding a lot of inspiration at Jody Hedlund's blog.  I will be sharing why she inspires me tomorrow so please stop by.  There will be a giveaway for a copy of Rebellious Heart!
What Else I've Been Up To  We had our first day of school yesterday so my days are now filled with lesson planning and trying to infect my little ones with a love for learning.  My sister and cousin are still visiting so we've been marathoning Once Upon a Time and going for lots of long walks and runs.  Today we are hoping to go down to the beach early enough to find sand dollars and other sorts of sea shells. 
I've also been helping other's promote books whenever I can.  I love it!
That's pretty much everything...  (except for drinking lots of coffee.  I've been doing that too!)