Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Review- Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund


Martin Luther is one of my favorite historical figures, so you can imagine how excited I was to get an email to help promote Jody Hedlund's latest book Luther and Katharina. Honestly, there are not many inspirational/historical fiction that takes place in the 1500's and I love stories set during this time period. This book had the characters, pacing and detailed setting that I love about Jody Hedlund's books combined with a huge dose of history. I was one happy reader!

 Luther and Katharina is the story of Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora. While the focus is on their relationship, it also is rich in history about the reformation. This turbulent time in history is brought to life in a way that showcases the importance of Luther's work and the sacrifices he made. I loved how the book showed both his strengths and his weaknesses. It made him seem so human, not some faint echo in a history book.

 It took awhile before I liked Katharina. She came off almost annoyingly headstrong. I may or may not be able to relate to her personality... By the end of the book I found myself wanting to know more about this strong woman who forsake the life she knew and married a man who was willing to give his life for his beliefs.

  I found this book to be very inspirational. It had me reflecting on the past, comparing it to the present and left me wanting to have the spiritual strength portrayed in the book. I will definitely be recommending this one.

You can learn more about the book here.
Jody Hedlund also has an excellent blog that is full of book news and writing advice.
If you want to purchase a copy you can do so here, or at your favorite book retailer.

I received a copy of this book to review thanks to  Waterbrook Press and the author. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday, Monday

  It's hard to find anyone with anything positive to say about Mondays. As a home schooling mom, I find Mondays can be a true struggle. I don't want to get up and going, the kids don't want to get up and going and the garbage man seems to think it's hilarious to stop by extra early, leaving me chasing him with an overflowing can, or just pretending that I didn't here it rumbling by. Oh, and of course I can't put the can out on Sunday because the bears will scatter it all over the road. There are good things about Mondays, right?
Mondays are a fresh start, a beginning. I love most beginnings. The start of a school year has me happily collecting new notebooks and pencils. The beginning of autumn has me adding pumpkin and apples to everything. The beginning of a year has me setting goals and reflecting on what I want to change to be the best me I can be. Why can't some of this newness rub off into Mondays?

 Today is shaping up to be a classic Monday at my house. I will spare you the details. But what is good about this Monday? What can I hold onto and use to help set the mood for an awesome week?

  1. It's raining and I love the tranquillity of rainy days. I can definitely enhance it with some coffee and a good book.  I can't think of a better way to start the week. 
  2. My daughter has dance today so I can tuck into some remote corner of the building and use the hour to work on the hat I'm crocheting for my oldest son. Rain and crochet? I can do that!
  3. I actually have a start on the enchiladas I'm making for dinner. Yay!
So, good things can happen on Mondays. It might take a bit more creativity to find them, but they are there.

What has been good about your Monday?

Friday, July 31, 2015

YA Buccaneer's Summer Reading Challenge Update

I'm not sure how two entire months of the YA Buccaneer's Summer Reading Challenge have gone by already. I'm grateful that there is still a month left to go as I still have several books to read!

Here is my progress (purple = complete):

Banned Book- Um... any recommendations?

Set During Summer- Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Historical Novel- I'm working on A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Book with Diverse MC- The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Adapted Into a Movie- not sure yet but I do have Paper Towns sitting on a shelf

Published your Grad Year- A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Book by your Favorite Author- Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

Freebie- The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Graphic Novel- Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Road Trip Book-  One Plus One by Jojo Moyes (I had this under a different category but it fits here just fine)

Translated From Another Language- Emerald Green by Kersten Gier

Rory Gilmore Book- ?

Book you Own but Haven't Read- ?  I have so many choices...

Set on a Different Continent- Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Non-fiction/writing/craft- I'm working on Deconstructing Penguins by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone

So, nine down, six left to go. Totally doable. Right?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Review- Salsas and Moles by Deborah Schneider

I am still on my cookbook reviewing binge! It has been amazing in stretching my cooking repertoire and has reminded me of how much I love trying new recipes and reading through cookbooks. My latest review book is full of salsas and a multitude of other Hispanic sauces. Yum!

This book is the perfect choice for anyone who loves Mexican cuisine. There is a salsa or sauce to go with pretty much anything and it even has hints on what sort of food pairs well with which salsa. The vivid illustrations complement the bold flavors they are representing. Several of them had my mouth watering.

There are so many recipes that I can't wait to try but so far I have made the Simplest Enchilada Sauce. Yeah, I never want to use canned sauce again. The process was true to its title. It doesn't use any canned or processed ingredients yet it goes together with just enough work to leave you feeling accomplished, not worn out. I saved the leftover sauce in a mason jar in my fridge and had enough for a second 8x8 pan of enchiladas. It would be easy to adjust the level of heat by subbing in different peppers, I would think. There are charts about the different sorts of peppers, their flavors and heat levels for people like me who love salsa but don't know anything beyond the fact that jalapeƱos are spicy.

This book left me feeling very inspired. I make tacos on a regular basis and now I have all sorts of possible combinations to experiment with. If you have read any of my other cookbook reviews you'll know how much I enjoy a cookbook that is full of information. This one definitely qualifies!

I received a copy of this book to review from Blogging For Books. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

YA Buccaneer's Summer Reading Challenge Update

I haven't blogged about it until now, but I've been participating in the YA Buccaneer's Summer Reading Challenge. I've updated on twitter but I love talking about books so much I thought a post was in order.
It's not to late to join in the fun (there are some amazing giveaways going on including a fabulous two year anniversary giveaway).
Here are the basics. To check out the complete post, go here.

Funny you should ask. It wouldn’t be summer without a YAB Summer Reading Challenge, and we’d love it if everyone would start reading with us today. Yes, today! Download a copy of our challenge card and choose a square. There are plenty of options and we want you to try for all of them. We’ve got non-fiction, books you’ve been meaning to read forever, and even a Rory Gilmore reading square. That girl had great taste!
Leave us a comment below to tell us which book you’re going to start with right away. Each Friday, we’ll do a check-in post to see how everyone is getting along. Tell us about a great new book you read, or revisit an old favorite and let us know if it was as wonderful as you remembered. We’re all about discussing books this summer, and we want the conversation to include YOU!

Here is the challenge!

So far I have read:
Book by Your Fave Author: Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund
You can read my review here.

Freebie! Book of Your Choice: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
This book was not my favorite. I really wanted to love it... 

Set During the Summer: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
I loved the setting and characters in this book but being a mom with a very opinionated daughter, I found myself worrying about the teen years... This girl did a lot of things that made my mom heart cringe. The writing was gorgeous though and I'm glad I finally read it. 

Set On A Different Continent: One plus One by JoJo Moyes.
I listened to this on Audible and the narration was fantastic. One of the best I've ever listened to. 
I don't read many adult books and this one does have some language and adult content but the story is hilarious. I am so in love with the characters in this story! I chose the book for this category because it is set in Great Britain and Scotland but it is also a road trip story so if you need something for that square it would be a fun choice (think quirky family, rich helpful guy, big slobbery dog and every imaginable obstacle). 

I'm currently reading The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh for my Book with a Diverse MC. I haven't had much time to read but this one keeps calling my name. The main character is spunky, the setting is exotic and it's a retelling of 1,001 nights. Yup. I want to go read now. 

What are you reading this summer?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Book Review: Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund


This poor book had to stare at me for over a week before I had a chance to read it, but once I started I read it in a day. It helped that we were on a road trip! Hearts Made Whole is the latest book in Jody Hedlund's Beacon's of Hope Series. I enjoyed the first one but this book is by far my favorite of the two.
   The book is about Caroline Taylor, a young woman who has the world on her shoulders. Both of her parents have passed away leaving her to raise her younger siblings and take over her father's job as a lighthouse keeper. She loves keeping the light and is competent at it, but the man in charge of her area is dead set against having a women as the head keeper.
 When a civil war vet is hired to replace her, she wants to hate him for being there to take the job she needs, but there's something about him, something beyond the fact that he turns to drugs and alcohol to dull his pain. She sees past his injured hand, past everything, to the man he is beneath and she can't help but have compassion on him.
 Ryan Chambers just wants peace and quite after the war. He wants to forget his past and just exist. Caroline and her family's presence in his life begins to change all of that. He doesn't want to take the job some else needs, but he needs it too.
  The book was such a fun read and had some great inspirational nuggets woven in. I love it when I finish a book and feel not only entertained but encouraged. The romance was perfect, Caroline's anxious yet compassionate personality is easy to related to and the light house setting makes it all even better. Hearts Made Whole is easily one of my top three favorite books by Jody Hedlund (A Noble Groom is my very favorite, in case you want to know!).

If you would like a copy, you can purchase this book on Amazon or your favorite book seller.
Oh, and just fyi, even though this is part of a series, this book could be read on its own and still make sense!

I received a copy of this book to review from the author and Bethany House Publishing. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Grimm Tidings Cover Reveal

 I love participating in cover reveals but I'm extra excited about this one because the author is Katie Doyle, one of my longtime writing buddies! I love her writing (especially her characters) and I can't wait for her first two novellas to come out. 

Ashley "Ash" Prince hates using magic, but that doesn't stop her mother from forcing lessons on her. She resists except when it helps her stepbrother, Charlie.
Charlie is sick and none of the doctors knows why. When Ash has a witch dream, she is determined to find the elusive and rare Ghost Orchid—a flower that could be the key to saving him. Her mother begs her not to go because not only did Ash's dream reveal a way to heal her brother, it also hinted at her death. But when her brother gets worse, she refuses to sit around and let him die. In a race against time, Ash and a strange boy she met in a coffee shop go in search of the Ghost Orchid.
Only someone doesn't want her to find it. Family secrets are revealed and Ash has to decide whom to trust—the mother that raised her, or the boy she just met.
Love and family collide in this Cinderella retelling. 

Both books will be available on all platforms. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


The idea was to post this yesterday but the last few days were extra busy, so today it is! Thanks again for restarting this Katy Upperman!

I'm loving watching the tiny tomatoes on our plants grow, my six year old discovering that she can read the Ramona books on her own, cuddling with my almost four year old in the early mornings, watching my oldest son teach his sister how to ride a bike.

I read Magonia by Maria Dahvanna Headley. What an unusual book! I think my mouth dropped open a few times. I loved how unique and unexpected it was. Today I finished reading The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West and it was sweet and light like I was hoping. I'm now reading The Cage by Megan Shepard. 

I finished watching Forever and I'm in mourning that it was canceled. I loved everything about that show but the characters were the thing I'll miss the most. I watched the pilot episode of Wayward Pines and it was creepy and compelling. 

Listening to...
I've been listening to a variety of folk music or music with a bit of that sound mixed in. 

Thinking about...
I've been thinking about summer and what I want to work on with my kids during our summer school session. We homeschool on an all year schedule so while we will have some extra time off, we will still be doing lessons. I want our summer lessons to be hands on and fun, not overly bookish. 

I'm excited for June and JuNoWriMo.

I want to take my kids to see a waterfall. We see the ocean all the time, and its beautiful but my younger two don't remember waterfalls. Maybe we will find one when we go on vacation.

Making Me Happy...
Taking my kids for bike rides, watering the flowers I planted under the front windows, reading in the evenings, learning about the characters in the book I'm planning, learning how to do different sorts of braids on my daughter's hair.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


I have been suffering from major What's Up Wednesday withdrawals so I'm going to join some of the other bloggers and post a Currently post every other Tuesday. Thanks for starting this back up Katy Upperman!

I'm loving my front patio and all the flowers and herbs growing there, wandering the beach and finding sea stars, having coffee with friends and reading with my children.

I've been a bit scattered with my reading but I'm reading Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier for myself and Little Pear by Eleanor Frances Lattimore to my children. I was surprised with a copy of Magonia by Maria Dahvanna Headley from Epic Reads today which caused an impromptu dance party.
 I also have A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West waiting for me. Happiness!!!

I'm watching Gilmore Girls while I wait for a new episode of Forever. 

Listening to...
I've been listing to Disney Princess Songs and not by choice! My daughter is obsessed. When I pick it's Mumford and Sons or Bastille. Oh and I listen to The Phantom of the Opera over and over. Each time I listen I get more ideas for my next WIP.

Thinking about...
I've been thinking about the story I'm planning to write for JuNoWriMo next month and how to allude to the classic it's inspired by but still keep it original. 

I can't wait for my daughter's dance recital this weekend. She is so excited!

I've been wishing for my parents to come visit. There are so many places I'd love to show them, especially my dad since he hasn't been down here yet. 

Making Me Happy...
Walking in the dark, listening to the frogs.
Stacks of books waiting for me to read them.
Learning the names of the local birds and plants with my children.
Strawberries. Fresh basil. Coffee.

Book Review- Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break

  One of my favorite ways to relax is by having coffee with a friend. Another of my favorite things is to sample food from far away places. This cookbook is perfect! So perfect that I already ordered a copy for a gift.

   Fika is the Swedish tradition of having coffee with something sweet to eat. It is about making coffee a break, not just adding it in as you run through life. I love everything about this concept. The book is full of information on Fika and it's place in Swedish culture. It is informative, yet cheerful and relaxing to read. The illustrations are charming and fit the simplistic style of the book.

  When I first saw the title, I figured it would have recipes for baked goods and coffee drinks. I was half right. It is full of baked goods ranging from traditional Swedish cookies and breads to more modern takes on the tradition. It even has a section for holiday treats and one that contains recipes that are substantial enough for lunch. There is not a single recipe for a stovetop latte, which is fine by me. It leaves more room for breads and cookies spiced with cardamon and toped with hazelnuts or pearl sugar. Yum!

   So far I have drooled over several recipes in this book and I've made two, pannkakor (Swedish Pancakes) and chokladbollar (chocolate balls). Both were delicious! I even invited a friend over for chokladbollar and coffee. It wasn't as relaxing as portrayed in the book because we had five children racing in circles around us, but it was fun!

  Several recipes in this book require ingredients that might not be in every American kitchen but they aren't so exotic that you can't find them. I was pleasantly surprised at how basic most of the ingredients are. I can see myself serving friends baked goods from this book for years to come.

  You can check it out on Amazon here or Goodreads here.

I received a copy of this book to review from Blogging for Books.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

#JuNoWriMo Blog Hop and Giveaway!

 It's almost June (or close to almost June!) and I'm gearing up for a month of writing, and socializing with the wonderful writing community. I'm also hoarding coffee and planning some freezer meals because I know from experience that this is necessary. As part of the JuNoWriMo blog hop I've decided to share five random but related things.

  1. I prefer writing late at night, often while I'm baking muffins or bread for the next morning's breakfast.
  2. June is an awesome month for writing 50k because my kid's take a break from lessons, we don't do school most of the month so I don't have to put a lot of time into lesson plans and there aren't any holidays or birthdays to worry about. 
  3. Taking a long walk is one of my favorite ways to reenergize.
  4. This year I'm going to be writing a YA gothic/fantasy that came to me while I was listening to The Phantom of the Opera. 
  5. If I need a breather from my main WIP, I have a fast paced MG sci-fi that I'm writing for my son, so I can always switch to it for a bit. 
If you want to join the blog hop and help spread the word, it's super easy!

1. Write a post.
You can copy and paste the post on the JuNoWriMo blog, create your own, or do a combo of the two. If you choose to write your own, have fun with it! Share a little bit about what you will be working on this June, talk about your favorite part of JuNoWriMo, share your favorite recipe for a late night snack on those nights when you need to stay up and write all the words, the sky is the limit. The only must is please include a link to the JuNoWriMo website.
2.  Join the linky list.
Once your post is live, join the linky list here. That way everyone else participating can visit and help promote your post.
3. Hop!
Visit a few of the other participant’s blogs. It’s a great way to meet some of the other writers before the event.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with JuNoWriMo, it’s a month long writing adventure in the style of NaNoWriMo, complete with word sprints and plenty of other writers to cheer you on. The goal is to write 50,000 in one month (1,667 words a day). You can write whatever you want. Fiction, non-fiction, the final 50k to something you started five years ago. Anything. We’d love to have you write with us!
You can learn more and sign up here.
Our Facebook group is here.
One more thing! There is a giveaway, and these prizes are perfect to get you ready to write.
First prize – writer care package including a pen, post-it notes, and this official JuNoWriMo notebook.

Second prize – JuNoWriMo swag pack including a JuNoWriMo button, JuNoWriMo sticker, and a hand-painted JuNoWriMo bookmark.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 24, 2015

Another Cookbook Review! My New Roots by Sarah Britton

  There is something relaxing about reviewing cookbooks. I love reading fiction but my writer's brain is always at work, analyzing, wondering if I can write something as beautiful as what I'm reading, or mentally correcting things that aren't well written. When I read a cookbook the my brain slows down. I enjoy the pictures and get inspired by the recipes. It makes me excited to get in the kitchen and create something for dinner. Because of that, I sent away for another cookbook to review, and it is so beautiful!

 My New Roots by Sarah Britton is everything a cookbook should be. The pictures are stunning, the recipes unique, and it lays open well which is pretty important in my opinion! It is full of plant-based recipes and is divided by seasons. It's perfect for leafing through for inspiration but it also has an index in the back so you don't have to remember what "season" the recipe you want is from.

  The book is brimming with information on different ingredients and I was thrilled to see charts on how to cook more types of grains and legumes than I knew existed. It has step by step instructions for  making nut butters, sprouting grains, making your own Ghee and more. That and the pictures was enough to make me fall in love. Everything about it makes me want to go to a farmer's market and cook my way through the seasons.

   Now that I've said what I love about this book I need to mention one other thing. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet. I found all sorts of dishes that I want to make but most of them require produce I may not always have on hand or grains that aren't at my normal market. I'm slowly collecting ingredients and I see myself using the charts and basic instructions regularly but most of the recipes will be for special occasions or when I am in the mood for something fresh and new.

  I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to cook with the seasons and explore new flavors (or anyone like me who gets excited by illustrated instructions on how to prepare chickpeas).

I received a copy of this book to review from Blogging for Books.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New Short Story in the Flawed Series: Constricted by @BeccaJCampbell #amreading #NA

I love this New Adult series by Becca J. Campbell. I'm currently reading Constricted and can't wait to share a review so stay tuned!

  A Short Story Companion to the Flawed Series

This week is the release week for Constricted, a brand new short story related to Becca J. Campbell’s Flawed series. This story coincides with the events in Empath (Flawed #1), and takes place in Logan's point of view. You'll need to read Empath first to thoroughly enjoy this story. If you haven't already, download a free copy of Empath (links below). Read on to find out more about Constricted.

Constricted (A Flawed Short Story)


Logan’s secret has been exposed. When Jade—a beautiful student at the college where he teaches—discovered the truth, he spilled the whole repulsive story. Jade’s empathetic kindness flooded him with emotions he didn’t know he had and isn’t sure he wants to deal with. It would be the easiest thing in the world to leave and let Jade be a whisper in his past. He can exit now and regain his anonymity, or he can risk everything to stay and face her again. It’s not an easy choice, and when he’s about to decide, a woman from his past shows up, making his decision even more difficult. What really happened when Logan disappeared during Empath? Find out in this short story companion piece to Flawed #1.

Get your copy now:

Get Empath for Free

Empath eBook cover WEB

Supernatural empathy isn’t a gift, it’s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jade’s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her. Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces college—and the world—with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings. When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her, unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal. Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.

Empath is now FREE on most sales channels.

More About Becca J. Campbell

IMG_9824 BW small

Becca J. Campbell writes New Adult (twenty-somethings) fiction that varies from Urban Fantasy to Thriller to Science Fiction. Her stories typically blend a taste of the fantastical with real-world settings and add a dash of romance for good measure. She's always looking for a great speculative fiction read, and she holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity. Becca is also the co-creator of, where you can join a vibrant community and write a novel during June. To join Becca’s writing journey and be notified when her next book is released, sign up for her author newsletter.

Connect Online:

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Faerie's Secret by Rachel Morgan - Cover Reveal!

I started reading Rachel Morgan's Creepy Hollow Books last summer. It was one of those series that I read the first book and instantly downloaded the other two. I just couldn't wait! I CAN NOT wait for these next books to come out!!! Which is why I'm participating in the cover reveal. I'm evil and I want to get everyone else as hooked on these books as I am. Bwahaha. 

Cover Photography by Regina Wamba @ Mae I Design
A Faerie's Secret, by Rachel Morgan
YA Fantasy
Coming June 16, 2015

It's been ten years since Lord Draven fell. Ten years since the enchanted winter came to an end and fae across the realm began piecing their lives back together. Ten years since a now-forgotten foe was thrown into a faraway prison and began planning his next move ...

Join beloved characters and new heroes as the bestselling Creepy Hollow series continues!


The Faerie Guardian (**FREE E-BOOK**)

Other Creepy Hollow Books

x x x

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pure Food Book Review

I love to cook and I adore cookbooks but I've never reviewed one before. When I saw the awesome selection to choose from on Blogging for Books I knew that I had to try it. I am so pleased with this book!

Pure Food - Eat Clean with Seasonal, Plant-Based Recipes by Veronica Bosgraaf is perfect for someone like me who loves to curl up and actually read a cookbook. It has a section on building a "pure" pantry that is full of information and each recipe has tips and info along the side of the page. The book is soft and floppy (which is an important trait for a cookbook, in my mind) and the recipes are in an easy to read, step-by-step format. It doesn't have pictures on every page but the photos it does have are stunning.

  Unlike other cookbooks I've used, this one is not divided by recipe types. It is divided by the seasons. Each month has a handful of recipes that correspond with what's in season and a sample menu. It took me a little while to get used to it but it works well for the vision of this particular book.

  I've only had the book for a week so I haven't made all the recipes but I did try a few. I am not vegan, I just like whole foods, so I did substitute a few ingredients for things I had on hand. I made Warm Blueberry Buckwheat with Hazelnuts ( I didn't have hazelnuts... I need to get some and make this again) and it was comforting and delicious. My kids ate it relatively well and I can't believe that I'd never thought of buckwheat for breakfast before.

   I also made Irish Hash. Oh. Wow. I didn't know veggies could be so good. It is chock full of potatoes, cabbage and other produce. I plan on making this often. It was so quick and easy.
  The final recipe that I've tried so far is Grandma's Blueberry Buckle. This was easily my children's favorite dish out of the three. It was pretty, tasty and huge.

  I definitely recommend this book to anyone that enjoys cooking simple but delicious recipes using healthful ingredients.

I received this book in exchange for my honest review from Blogging for Books.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday!!!

WHAT I'M READING  Are you sure that you want to know?  It might take awhile... I'm currently working through Great Expectations.  I'm going for a chapter a day but its more sporadic then that. I'm also reading Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Greir and Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly and... Yeah, I sorta started Inherit Midnight too. I try to keep a book of poetry and book on writing craft going at all times. Right now I'm reading The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson and A Dash of Style. 
   My kids and I finished reading The Secret Garden this week and are now finishing The Princess and the Goblin. I had set it aside for awhile because it was challenging for me to read it in an entertaining way and I thought I should wait until they were older but they begged me to finish it :) I guess it isn't over their heads after all. 

WHAT I'M WRITING (+ WRITING GOAL)  I'm still making a spreadsheet to track several key elements in my fairytale WIP. It's already pages and pages long... It's helping me understand what needs to be done and learn the stories weak points but I just want it done already!
My goal is to work on it every day until it's done, even if I only have five minutes. 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME  Exercising in the afternoon. It might not sound related to writing but it gives me the energy to stay awake when I have time to write. 

WHAT ELSE IS NEW  I'm attempting a small container garden and a few flowers this year. I'm used to gardening where the ground stays frozen until April so gardening in Florida is a totally different adventure. I can't get over all the bugs and toads I find every time I turn my spade in the earth. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Review: An Uncertain Choice

I love Jody Hedlund's adult novels so when I heard that she was looking for a team to promote her new YA release I applied and got accepted. Yay!
So, on to my review of An Uncertain Choice!

(isn't it pretty!?!)

First thoughts: I wish this book had been written I was a young teen! I loved anything and everything medieval, especially when a spunky princess was involved.

What it's about: Rosemarie cares deeply for her kingdom and throws everything she has into their well being. Even though her parents made a vow that she would have to join the convent when when she turns eighteen she cheerfully makes plans for how she can best serve her people from the inside of it's walls. One month before her birthday everything turns upside-down. A trusted friend arrives bearing the news that he has found a loop hole. If she is married before the sun goes down on her eighteenth birthday she does not have to fulfill the vow. To help Rosemarie have a chance at love, the friend has brought with him his three most trusted knights. With three men trying to win her hand Rosemarie must decide which path God intends for her to take, all while something sinister seems to be lurking beneath it all.

What I liked about it: I loved that Rosemarie was sweet and pure yet had a headstrong streak at the same time. The knights portrayed various personalities and showed something of what is important in a real relationship.

What I didn't like: While I enjoyed the book, I wish the characters had been a bit more detailed.

Who I would recommend it to: Anyone who loves clean, inspirational fiction would enjoy this story but I think that young teen girls would be particularly drawn to it.

What parent's might want to know: This is a very clean and moral book. It is sweet yet exciting. The only thing that I can think of is that there are a few descriptions of medieval torture. They aren't overly detailed and are integral to the story.

I received a copy of this book from the author and her publishing team. 

Jody's blog is full of information for writer's. If you haven't already checked it out, I highly recommend it. She is also having a Noble Knight's Blog tour. You can check it out here.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Distance Between Lost and Found blog hop!

  I'm jumping in a bit late. Where did February go??? 
This blog hop is in celebration of the release of The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes. Congrats Kathryn!!!

  For this blog hop I'm suppose to:
Write a love letter to someone important to your life -- as a writer or reader  -- and post it on your blog by February 26th, 2015. Your love letter could be to an author whose books inspired you, a beta reader who said just the right thing at just the right moment, your spouse for making innumerable cups of coffee for you while you write, write, write, or ... it's up to you!

My letter is to my grandmother. She left this world years ago now but her influence on my life lives on. 

     Dear Grandma,
   I haven't seen you in ten years. It's hard to believe that its been that long. I wish that you could have met my children. You'd love them. My youngest son wants to fly just like you always did. He looks at the birds soaring above him and his bottom lip starts to quiver because he wants to join them but he's stuck on the ground. I hope he grows up to be like you, not becoming discouraged by what isn't, but living and learning, enjoying what is. I hope that he keeps his dreams alive like you always did. 
  I'm not sure that I would be brave enough to have the lofty dreams  that I do if it hadn't been for you. I remember you leaning in and whispering "Always learn everything you can about everything you can." You always smiled when you said it and I always answered that I would. Those words echo in my head even now and I am doing it. I'm still learning, as much as I possibly can. Your example showed me the way. I remember you reading a Spanish primer just for the fun of it and the way you were always making something new, trying a new pattern or craft. You loved me for who I was and believed in my creativity. You encouraged me to dream big and work hard. You showed me how to not let the mundane areas of life bog me down. You should me the connection between learning and dreaming. I know I am better for it. Sometimes when my dreams feel to far away or to silly for a busy mom of three little ones to waste her time on I remember your words. They keep me learning and dreaming. I love and miss you. 
Buddies Forever

Love, Sarah 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Writer Recharge (update 2)

 Here is my update!
  • WRITE/REVISE –Complete a scene by scene spreadsheet for the WIP I'm revising and revise/rewrite the first five chapters. Add 5k to my middle grade WIP. Revise the short story I'm working on.
I did a small amount of work on my spreadsheet. I keep overthinking things which results in little progress.

This week's goal is to add 14 scenes to my spreadsheet and write 2,500 on my middle grade WIP.
  • READ/REREAD - I have a few books I have to read for various reasons and I feel weighed down by them. I want to read/finish three of them this month. 
 I finished one book and read half of another :) 

My goal this week is to finish the one I read half of and post my review for it.  
  • STRETCH - I want to create some art for my walls. I love being creative but making something large that everyone will see intimidates me. 
 So far I have been collecting ideas (can you say Pinterest?!?). I really want to modpodge pages of an old book (if I can get myself to dismember a book...) to a canvas and then add a silhouette of a tree or something over the top. I'm using a literary theme to decorate our hall/bookhording area so I think it would be a great fit. I also have this idea involving skeleton keys but that might take me awhile to collect the supplies.

My goal for this week is find an old book (preferably one in horrible shape) and pick out what sort of silhouette I want to use. I have an old canvas that will do already.
  • SELF - I want to do one of my Ellen Barret workouts three times a week. I love her workouts and how graceful they are but I got out of the habit of fitting them in.
Uh. Yeah, I'm changing this one. I haven't figured out how to fit in a 45 minute video and still have time to write. I could do it during the day but then I'd have 30 something pounds of added resistance because my three year old loves to "help" me work out. 

 This week I didn't do very well fitting in workouts but  I did go on  several walk/bike chasing expeditions (one involved hunting down robot armies) and I loaded up my three year old and one of his buddies into my bike trailer and took them and my older kids to the park. That was fun :)
    New goal: Do something active with my kids three times a week for at least 30 minutes.

    • CONNECT - I have a plan for this but am keeping it secret so the person doesn't find out before intended :)
     I did the first step of my plan. 

    This week I want to complete my plan and join in a twitter party/write in.
    • FUN - I want to take my kids to explore a state park that we've never been to before. There are so many near us and we've only visited a few. 
    We haven't done this yet. I wanted to take them to this peninsula that is suppose to have amazing beaches this weekend but the weather and schedules didn't allow it to happen. Maybe next weekend.  

    Monday, February 9, 2015

    Writer Recharge Update

     I just joined last night so I don't have much to report except that I'm happy to be apart of this and I desperately need to recharge. What is it about this time of year that sucks the life out of goals and dreams?
    My original post is here.

    Sunday, February 8, 2015

    Writer Recharge 2015

     My word for this year is active, as in taking a active role in what matters to me, so as part of this goal I decided to join Writer Recharge (hosted by Katy UppermanAlison MillerLiz ParkerElodie Nowodazkij, and Sara Biren)It seemed like the perfect way to keep the momentum going through this often tricky time of year.

    • WRITE/REVISE –Complete a scene by scene spreadsheet for the WIP I'm revising and revise/rewrite the first five chapters. Add 5k to my middle grade WIP. Revise the short story I'm working on.
    • READ/REREAD - I have a few books I have to read for various reasons and I feel weighed down by them. I want to read/finish three of them this month. 
    • STRETCH - I want to create some art for my walls. I love being creative but making something large that everyone will see intimidates me. 
    • SELF - I want to do one of my Ellen Barret workouts three times a week. I love her workouts and how graceful they are but I got out of the habit of fitting them in.
    • CONNECT - I have a plan for this but am keeping it secret so the person doesn't find out before intended :)
    • FUN - I want to take my kids to explore a state park that we've never been to before. There are so many near us and we've only visited a few. 

    I'm joining in a bit late but I can't wait to get started :)

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015

    What's Up Wednesday

    It's time for What's Up Wednesday!!!


      This week I am reading The Secret Garden aloud to my children. I've always loved that book and I still have the copy that I read as a girl. The illustrations sweep me back to my childhood.
      For myself, I am reading Red Rising and an ARC of An Uncertain Choice. My audible book right now is Bittersweet, which I have mixed emotions about. I love the writing and the cupcakes but it isn't my favorite sort of story. 


    I am making a spread sheet of my fairytale story to help me see where I need to tighten things and how I can  increase the tension and enrich the characters. 
    My goal is to work on it for 30 min. every day and to join Writer ReCharge. 


    The spread sheet is really working for me. I usually make notes on about a hundred pieces of paper with arrows pointing to side notes and random thoughts. It helps but when I go to look over them it's overwhelming and some of them have inevitably turned into paper airplanes or some other life of their own (thanks kids!). This is nice and neat and all on my computer. I do plan to print it out but at least I'll have the computer back up.


    When I was little, my dad would pull out a toaster that had belonged to his grandmother and he'd make us toast. I always loved that toast and the entire atmosphere that came with it. I haven't seen my dad in almost three years because we live so far apart but this week I got a box in the mail. Inside was an antique toaster that my dad had polished and fixed for me along with some raspberry jam that my mother made from homegrown raspberries. Bliss! Now my children can have the same wonderful toast memories!