A friend, cup of coffee, and the inspiration I needed to start writing again.

 

I picked up my book today and I started writing.

Wow, I can’t believe I can say that. It has been a really long time since I have felt the itch, desire, or creativity to write. And all because a friend, a cup of coffee, and an inspiring Tuesday Talk. And what a mess I have made. I am hoping this will be for the best but time will tell.

I can’t remember exactly when I stopped writing but I do remember why. I was stuck in a chapter I couldn’t get to flow right and something was bugging me about the book. I decided to take a week off, to see if I could hash this out in my brain. Well, a week turned into a couple, which turned into a couple more, and before I knew it, I was on sabbatical.

 

typewriter

After months and out of nowhere, something clicked. I started thinking about the book again and how I needed to change this one idea. Not only would the book flow better, but the plot would make more sense. If only that one idea wasn’t such a big change.

Today I have worked through the first chapter, again, and made the changes to the character. I still need to get through the rest of the chapters I wrote but I don’t think I will need to change much.

All in all, it felt great to write. And I wonder if this book will ever make it past the editing, creating, and editing some more. Looks like time will tell 🙂

Shut up and Kiss Me (Lost Boys, #2)

shut-up-and-kiss-me
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Published: December 6, 2016
Pages: 176

Stars: 2 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
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Synopsis:
Cade: I tried. I really tried. I should be out of this small town by now, finishing my law degree and partnering up with my buddies, but I couldn’t resist one last street race. Now I’m sidelined in the hospital, and while my injuries will heal, I’m not so sure my voice will return. What kind of attorney can’t talk? Yeah, exactly. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to come back from this… until Tasha Montgomery reawakens every competitive bone in my body.

Tasha: I nearly watched Cade Wilson die on that lonely stretch of road. He’s damn lucky just to be alive, even if he doesn’t realize it. I know he’s destined for bigger and better things, but I don’t mind helping him get there as he relearns everything he took for granted. Cade’s a good student, a real perfectionist; I can tell how much his stutter bothers him. But when he lets his kisses do the talking, everything else disappears. And one day, maybe he’ll be able to tell me that he wants me—as much as I want him.

Review:
Although this book was an easy read with a lighthearted plot, it wasn’t as I expected. In the past I have really enjoyed Jessica Lemmon’s work, but this book just fell short. The plot was told from duel perspective- Cade and Tasha- and I didn’t really hear a distinct voice between them. Instead, the characters sounded too similar and at times I forgot who was talking. As the story progressed, I’m not sure if I just got used to the similarities in the voices of the characters or if it actually got better.

Cade is cocky and gorgeous. He goes from having it all to not carrying about anything. After the accident, he lost everything including friends, his income, and the life he made while attending college. But underneath all of this, he is recovering from heartache and loss.

Tasha is the innocently cute girl next door type whose heart is full of kindness. But to say she has ‘Daddy’ issues is an understatement. And the way her father controls her doesn’t exactly add up with an independent, almost college graduate.

Cade and Tasha’s relationship isn’t realistic and everything seemed to perfect. By the end of the book everything was wrapped up into a nice little bow and the conflict in the book seemed anti climatic. I think the thing that really bugged me about this book was how much the author told the reader instead of showing. This caused the plot to lack depth and ultimately I couldn’t become invested in the characters or the plot.

Overall, this book wasn’t really for me. I was looking for something with a little more depth and a stronger plot. I think if you are looking for a quick light read, then give this book a chance. Otherwise, you might be disappointed if you are looking for something more.

Once Broken Faith (October Daye, #10)

once-broken-faithAuthor: Seanan McGuire
Published: September 6, 2016
Pages: 420

Stars: 1 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Politics have never been October “Toby” Daye’s strong suit. When she traveled to the Kingdom of Silences to prevent them from going to war with her home, the Kingdom of the Mists, she wasn’t expecting to return with a cure for elf-shot and a whole new set of political headaches. Now the events she unwittingly set in motion could change the balance of modern Faerie forever, and she has been ordered to appear before a historic convocation of monarchs, hosted by Queen Windermere in the Mists and overseen by the High King and Queen themselves.

Naturally, things have barely gotten underway when the first dead body shows up. As the only changeling in attendance, Toby is already the target of suspicion and hostility. Now she needs to find a killer before they can strike again—and with the doors locked to keep the guilty from escaping, no one is safe. As danger draws ever closer to her allies and the people she loves best, Toby will have to race against time to prevent the total political destabilization of the West Coast and to get the convocation back on track…and if she fails, the cure for elf-shot may be buried forever, along with the victims she was too slow to save.

Because there are worse fates than sleeping for a hundred years.

Review:
Disappointed is the first thing that comes to mind. I really enjoyed this series but I think this book will be the one that stops me from reading more. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the characters or the world Seanan created. Her creativity truly shines and what she describes/creates is usually consistent and detailed. But this book just fell short in a lot of areas.

The plot was captivating but it wasn’t new. Like the previous books in this series, the plot followed the same predictable sequence. Although it was an interesting plot, it wasn’t anything to get excited about. From what I read, there was no character development, no progress in the overall “problem” in this series, and nothing really gained. I’ll be honest, I ended up putting the book down before I finished it.

The repetition in this book drove me absolutely crazy!! After reading the same thing over and over, I felt like the author was adding filler nonsense. One character would be introduced with a paragraph or two of information. Then a chapter or two later, I would be reading that same information again. This happened so often that It became difficult to focus on the plot.

This book is the first time I noticed the inconsistencies in Toby’s character. Her inner monologue would say one thing but her behavior or words would say something else. This book was just a huge disappointment.

Tuesday Talk- If we were having Coffee

Tuesday Talks

On Tuesday I will try to engage you in a question/topic/idea. You are welcome to write in with a suggestion you want to share or maybe talk about next Tuesday. My response is not right for everyone but I am hoping together we can generate some great conversation. And as always, I would love to hear from you on this topic or any topic out there!  

If we were having coffee…

Coffee

If we were having coffee, I would say how disappointed I am that I couldn’t run my first marathon. But that disappointment is also what is failing my drive to be better, to get my body in right shape it needs to be. I would tell you how running has transformed my life and how I look at myself.

If we were having coffee I would confess how I am not sure how to juggle my life anymore. Going back to work has been the perfect move for me, but it has cost me time with my children, time away from what I love, and just time in general. I would tell you about how much I miss my kids but how I love helping other families and kids with special needs.

If we were having coffee I wonder what we would talk about…

Would our conversation be light, talking about the weather or upcoming events? Would we talk books, life, or something more?

If we were having coffee, what would you say?

Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)

magic-bindsAuthor: Ilona Andrews
Published: September 20, 2016
Pages: 328

Stars: 5 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…

Review:
I feel like I should let you know this review is a little bias. I absolutely love this series and this book does not disappoint. It has been a while since I’ve read book eight in this series and I always worry about being lost when too much time has pasted. If that is the same case for you, don’t worry because Ilona does a wonderful job providing you with any information you need.

If you have not started reading this series yet, then it’s a must! This series is perfect for those who love paranormal books with a light romantic twist. For those of you who have read this series, does anyone else find themselves going back and forth between hating Roland and desperately wishing he would change for Kate? I know, it doesn’t make any sense because he probably won’t. Roland is the type that kills without thought and is aggravating as all get out. Not to mention the kind of threat he turns into in this book. Maybe I’m a sap for happy endings and I want one for Kate. I’m just not sure it’s going to happen.

The plot flows effortlessly and getting lost into this book was too easy. Before I knew it, I had read this book in less than two days and didn’t take a single note. I was captivated by the plot, invested in the characters, and wondered what would happen next. By the end of the book, I felt like I should have a hangover from the binge reading I did. Instead I walked away wanting to read the book again to see if I missed anything and wondering if it is too early to pre-order book ten… In case you’re wondering, it’s to early.

This book makes huge gains. Without giving any spoilers away, one characters in particular has a significant transformation that I didn’t see coming. One of the developments with Kate was predictable but I think that was because Ilona made it that way on purpose.

Honestly, I am still digesting the book. But what I can tell you is this is one of those books/series you don’t ever want to end. Again, give the series a chance. You won’t regret it! If you want to know more about the series, I wrote a Throwback Thursday-Kate Daniels Series. Happy Reading!!

Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade, #3)

Bright Blaze of MagicAuthor: Jennifer Estep
Published: April 26, 2016
Pages: 368

Stars: 2.5 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families–and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…

Review:
It has been a while since I’ve read the previous book in this series that it took me a little bit to understand what was happening. But once I remembered the details, it was easy to take off with this book. I hate saying this but I just wish it was better. I am so disappointed this book because I really enjoyed the first two in this series.

The writing isn’t the best but the plot is somewhat captivating and I can’t resist a female heroine who is all kinds of awesome. Except this female heroine just might be too awesome. Lila is a strong woman, surrounded by love and support but clouded by doubt, revenge, and at times loneliness. She is an amazing thief and a strong swordsman. But the death of her mother haunts her as does the threat her mothers killer poses. Although she isn’t perfect, she’s pretty close to it.

Devon is the bruiser for the Sinclair family which pretty much means he’s one day going to take over the family. With that said, what I found odd was most of the time Lila is the one leading the group, coming up with the plan, and shouting orders. When Devon does give out orders or comes up with a plan, it’s always him sacrificing himself or throwing himself in danger. Halfway through the book I wanted to roll my eyes at his stupidity. He has one of the most unique powers, compulsion. And what does he keep trying to do but hand himself over to the man who rips powers out of others. Because that sounds smart, let’s give the bad guy even more power so he can control people with his words instead of using blackmail.

I found this book to be a bit repetitive. I noticed the author continued to say the same things multiple times throughout the book. Examples include picking locks, how she can see with her enhanced sight, how she is an amazing thief…

I highly doubt I’m giving anything away by saying how Lila volunteers to fight Victor in a one on one match. We all saw this coming and if you didn’t, I’m just not sure how you missed it.  But don’t worry, I’m not going to give away the ending. I felt like this part of the book was slightly ridiculous or maybe I just thought it should go a different way. I’m not really sure which it is.. but everyone gives their support to Lila without questioning why a teenager is fighting the man with unknown amounts of magic. Ok, I can go with this, sure. Lila did save everyone and she is pretty much the perfect badass. But what strikes me as odd is how everyone believes she will win. And I mean there is no doubt, worry, concern.. They all just automatically accept her facing Victor. It was as though that thought was the most logical conclusion and everyone is at ease with it. In fact, Lila is the only one who is slightly concerned about facing Victor.

Seleste’s prophesy kind of spoiled the book for me. I wasn’t difficult to connect the dots and predict what was going to happen. I don’t remember the other books being this predictable but this one seemed to be.

Overall, I wanted so much from this book and I didn’t get it. I’m not sure if there will be a forth to this series because the author, in a way, left it open. Looking on Goodreads, my review is not the norm. Most people seemed to have really enjoyed this book. My suggestion, if you have come this far in the series, give the book a shot. Who knows, you might love it.

Throwback Thursday- Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

throwback

With 259 pages, Kitty and the Midnight Hour was an entertaining read. It was first published in November of 2005 but has received over 24,000 ratings with an average rating of 3.66.

Kitty and the Midnight

Synopsis:

Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station – and a werewolf in the closet. Her new late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged is a raging success, but it’s Kitty who can use some help. With one sexy werewolf-hunter and a few homicidal undead on her tail, Kitty may have bitten off more than she can chew?

What I thought:

For the first book in the series, this was a good one. If you are looking for your normal paranormal romance book, this is not it. The author provides the reader with a fresh twist on werewolves. Kitty was attached by a wolf and struggles to keep ahold of her human side along with her wolf. In the beginning of the book, her character is weak and she is at the bottom of the pack. But throughout the book, she discovers who she is or who she wants to be and her character starts to change. This book is full action, romance, and the book is never dull.

What I really enjoyed about this book is that throughout it, the author asks the question- is a behavior right, morally, because it is instinctual? 

Quotes:

“I’m a werewolf trapped in a human body.”
“Well, yeah, that’s kind of the definition.”
“No, really. I’m trapped.”
“Oh? When was the last time you shape-shifted?”
“That’s just it – I’ve never shape-shifted.”
“So you’re not really a werewolf.”
“Not yet. But I was meant to be one, I just know it. How do I get a werewolf to attack me?”
Stand in the middle of a forest under a full moon with a raw steak tied to your face, holding a sign that says, ‘Eat me; I’m stupid’?”

 

Once Burned (Night Prince, #1)

Once BurnedAuthor: Jeaniene Frost
Published: June 26, 2012
Pages: 346
Listening Length: 8 hours and 30 minutes

Stars: 4 out of 5

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Synopsis:
She’s a mortal with dark powers…

After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…

He’s the Prince of Night…

Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

Review:
As much running as I’m doing, I thought I might try to listen to something besides music. I’ve only tried books on tape once and hated it. The voice annoyed me more than anything else and I struggled to get into the book. But let me reassure you, that is not the case with this book!! I will admit by the end of the book I was a little annoyed with the voice that was given for Vlad, but overall I thought the person reading the story did a really nice job. In fact, more often than not I didn’t want to stop listening.

Something else to note is that I wasn’t able to take notes while listening to the book. Which in case you are wondering, that is not the norm for me. So bare with me because this review might be different from my others.

Leila is a strong character who is more comfortable blending in than getting attention. She has a unique ability, or maybe curse, that whenever she touches someone she can not only see their past and future but she also gives off an electric charge. As you can imagine, this makes having a love life impossible.

There were two things I didn’t really care for with Lelia’s character. The first was how fast she fell in love with Vlad. For me it was far too close to the love at first sight thing. If it wasn’t for the taunting banter her and Vlad had in the beginning, Lelia’s feelings for Vlad would have been far too much for me to handle. The other thing that somewhat irritated me had more to do with the person reading the book. I really didn’t care for how the reader pitched her voice in a way that made Leila often sound weak, timid, and scared. Because the impression I got from the story was Leila’s character is anything but. Yes, there are times in the book she is scared but those aren’t the strong emotions that leave a lasting impression on me. Like I said above, she is strong, but also determined, brave, and stands up for those weaker.

Vlad’s is arrogant, caring, and everything an alpha male should be. His confidence and strength is everything I remember from the Night Huntress Series but also so much more. I will admit there were times I had to stifle a laugh while out running with how over the top he was. Vlad was so sure he and Leila were a done deal that he not only set Lelia up with another guy but he practically dared her to sleep with someone else. And he did all of this just because she tried denying her feelings/attraction towards him. But then there are times in the book that made me kind of stop and remember exactly who Vlad is. He isn’t always charm and oozing sex appeal. In fact, Vlad almost seems at odds with himself in this book because one minute he is a perfect gentleman and the next he is a ruthless torturing killer.

 

My favorite thing in this book (oh how I wish it lasted longer) was the mental and verbal battles between Vlad and Lela. The sexual tension and banter between the two had me smiling to the point that I probably looked like an idiot. And the sex scenes were detailed but not overly graphic where you might feel embarrassed reading them. Jeanine Frost is amazing at creating a world that is both realistic and easily visualized. I love how she describes just enough for you to understand but not enough that you drown in the details. The way she writes makes everything flow effortlessly. If you haven’t picked up a book from her, you should because she is one gifted author.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Ultimately, I still prefer to read a book as apposed to listen because I felt like I could read this book faster. Also, listening to an audio book isn’t always the most convenient thing. But I am surprised with how much I enjoyed listening to this book and would be open to more books on tapes.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending of this book but there is no question about reading the second book in this series. I am glad I didn’t jump right into this series after finishing the Night Huntress Series. I think if I had, I would have been terribly disappointed. Because even though Leila is a strong character and her and Vlad have some amazing sexual tension, it doesn’t compare to Cat and Bones. My recommendation is if you just finished with Cat and Bones, wait a while before jumping into this series. If you haven’t, then by all means pick this book up because I am sure you will enjoy it!

First Half Marathon- Woman Rock MN

I woke up this morning not sure if I would actually be able to run. My knee was already a little sore and I couldn’t stop myself from questioning if this was a mistake. But I pushed those thoughts to the back of my head and pushed on.

HalfM7

The weather was perfect despite the threat of rain. The temperature was low to mid sixties and there wasn’t much wind. The race didn’t start off like I would have hoped. They had a silent start and when we headed to the start line, we discovered the race had started a minute early. I don’t know about you but this kind of threw things off for me. I tried not to play catch up but being at the back of the race wasn’t encouraging.

For the first six miles, I was able to find my rhythm and somewhat enjoy my run.

HalfM2

And then the knee started going, then came the rain, and hills. That’s when I split off from my running friend and switched between walking and running. I think at this point in the race, my goal was to finish without blowing my knee.

HalfM

I’m not really excited about my time but I am calling this a win. I finished the race, without killing my knee, and I wasn’t the last one running.

As I am typing this out, my knee still kind of hurts but it isn’t sharp or anything. I am worried I won’t be able to run my full marathon in early October or be able to run my 20 mile capital run in September.

HalfM1

What did I learn:

  1. I need to bring more fuel. I realized very quickly that what I brought was not enough. Luckily the race was handing out gels and I was able to take advantage. But the sugar in those things killed my stomach.
  2. Come rain or shine, the race is on. I didn’t bring anything to throw on right after the race because honestly I didn’t even think about it. Which was mistake number two because I not only cooled down surprisingly quickly, but I was wet from the rain. Not a good combination.
  3. It’s okay to walk. Seriously, it is okay! It’s not the end of the world if you have to walk.
  4. Get to the start line early! We were waiting for our other friend to join us who often runs late. Mainly this cost me mentally but it also put me behind in regards to my time.

Overall, I am glad I ran the race. The experience I am walking away with will help prepare me for my other races.

Have you ran a half marathon? I would love to hear how it went or your thoughts on mine!!

Throwback Thursday- The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

throwback

This week I would like to talk about a series, The Selection. This series is in the Young Adult category and although I don’t always enjoy these books, I did enjoy this series.

The-Selection

Somewhat of a synopsis:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for the main character, America, this is not her dream. As she struggles to discover herself, she is tossed into a world full of manipulation, lies, cruelty, violence, and of course love. But not just the simple kind of love. You see America doesn’t willingly or want to fall for Prince Maxon. Not when Aspen is a constant reminder. Before you know it, a love triangle forms and the reader is left in a constant ping-pong arena: Prince Maxon or Aspen..

This series is about injustice, overcoming great obstacles, finding and allowing yourself to love, and the idea of dreaming of something more.

By the end of the series, the author adds unexpected twists but a somewhat predictable ending. And although I felt the ending was an easy way out with questions still unanswered, if  you allow yourself to get swept away in the fairy tale then you will enjoy this series.

Quotes:

“True love is usually the most inconvenient kind.” – The Selection

“You get confused by crying women, I get confused by walks with princes.”- The Selection

“He stood and went to read my pin as I approached. “America, is it?” he said, a smile playing on his lips.
“Yes, it is. And I know I’ve heard your name before, but could you remind me?” – The Selection

“Your Majesty- Tugging my ear. Whenever.”- The Selection

“I sighed. “Actually, Mom, we argue pretty regularly.”
“What?” She gaped at me. “Well, stop it!”
“Oh, and I kneed him in the groin once.” – the Elite

“America Singer, you get back here.” He ran in front of me, wrapping an arm around my waist as we stood, chest to chest. “Tell me,” he whispered. I pinched my lips together. “Fine, then I shall have to rely on other means of communication.” Without any warning, he kissed me.”- The Elite

“I want everything with you, America. I want the holidays and the birthdays, the busy season and lazy weekends. I want peanut butter fingertips on my desk. I want inside jokes and fights and everything. I want a life with you.” – The One

“Maxon: “To be clear, no one agrees with you.”
America: “To be clear, I don’t care.” – The One


 

Ok, I want to hear from you. Have you read this series? What did you think?