Weekend Wrap-Up #21

What I Read

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I read some excellent books this week that I am really excited to review for you guys. Legacy of Lies by Jillian David was a contemporary rancher-romance with a bit of a paranormal thriller undertone. The Never Dawn and Cloud Cuckoo by R.E. Palmer are books 1 & 2 in a Dystopian YA Science Fiction series, and I am seriously flabbergasted that this author has gone relatively unknown in the last few years. I’m only party way through the second book, and it’s already one of my favorite YA Dystopian series. I absolutely loved all of these books!

Upcoming Reviews & Things

  • Monday, January 23 – Review: Silver City Seductions
  • Wednesday, January 25 – Review: The Never Dawn
  • Friday, January 27 – Free Fiction Friday #73
  • Sunday, January 29 – Weekend Wrap-Up #22
  • Monday, January 30 – Review: Tormented By Ghosts
  • Friday, February 3 – Free Fiction Friday #74
  • Sunday, February 5 – Weekend Wrap-Up #23
  • Monday, February 6 – Review: Bite of a Vampire
  • Friday, February 10 – Free Fiction Friday #75
  • Sunday, February 12 – Weekend Wrap-Up #24
  • Monday, February 13 – Review: Intriguing Proposition
  • Friday, February 17 – Free Fiction Friday #76
  • Sunday, February 19 – Weekend Wrap-Up #25
  • Monday, February 20 – Review: Legacy of Lies
  • Friday, February 24 – Free Fiction Friday #77

What Was Posted

What I Did

Another short week, I spent most of my week reading, looking at houses, and hanging out with my family. We’re hoping to move in the next few months, and we’re finally looking into house listing—I am so excited and ready to be somewhere new after years of being in this house. It’s simply too small, too old, and frankly, falling apart around us. I can’t wait to have my own office, and a working washer/dryer/dishwasher again.

Next Week

I’m hoping to finish up Cloud Cuckoo by R.E. Palmer next week. I’ve been reading the series with my 13-year-old daughter, and we’re flying through the series. Other than that, I’d like to say things are getting back to a sort of normal. My back is almost all healed up, and I’m finding it easier to move around. I’d like to get some more work done on my outline for Book 3 of my Gilded Court series, but I don’t honestly know if I’ll get any work done on it next week—I just have so many other things to do (like clean my house… nothing got done while I was on bed rest).

Weekend Wrap-Up #10

What I Read

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Wow, it’s been awhile guys. As I’m sure you aware, a couple of weeks ago (4? 5? I don’t even know anymore), my computer’s main hard drive decided to die a slow, painful death. The irritating aspect of this, of course, is that my computer is not that old. Months. luckily, the thing was under warranty, so I sent my drive in to the company I bought it from, and got a free replacement drive. This wasn’t without it’s troubles, the largest aspect of which, was the sheer amount of time it took to get the replacement sent to me.

For those who know me, you’ll know that I’m an admitted computer addict. I basically live on the internet… so not being able to not only use my computer, but also reach my files, was a painful and very specific sort of torture. Unfortunately, this also meant that I was unable to read and review books, or even do much more than check twitter and drop off the occasional message here on my blog. Luckily, it’s all fixed now, but the only thing I can say in my defense of the super long absence and lack of posts is: Blue Screens of Death are a plague the kind of which I would never wish upon my enemy.

So, because of my forced hiatus, when my computer was back up and running this week, I jumped at the chance to try and catch up on some reviews. I started with Sparked by Lily Cahill, which was only recently e-mailed to me. It was fantastic, if a little unique, and you can look forward to a full review at the beginning of October (or if you’re impatient, check out my Goodreads where it’s already up!)

I then went on to try and finish up Independence by Shelly Crane. I adored the previous three books in the series, but to be honest… I was unimpressed by the fourth. I don’t know what happened or where the author went wrong, but I was honestly bored. I very nearly didn’t finish the book.

The third book I finished up this week was Phoenix Earth, a compilation of episodic science fiction stories by various authors. The book was sent to me more than a year ago, and honestly, I just couldn’t get through it. The science was questionable, the backstory slogged, and by the third time the first author had compared the  events in the book to the Jewish Holocaust, I was over it. I wanted to like it, but I’m just too detail oriented to enjoy something that makes me question the author at every turn. I ended up DNFing it.

The fourth book I picked up was Trapped on Draconica by Dan Wright. Again, I desperately wanted to like it. The author sent it to me a few months ago, but try as I might, I couldn’t get through it. It wasn’t a bad book, but it just didn’t suit my tastes. The writing and the melodrama was a little too scripted and saturday-morning-cartoons feeling than what I’d expected out of a YA Fantasy book. I couldn’t take it seriously, and ended up DNFing it as well.

I’ve just started ready Chimera by N.J. Tanger, and so far? It’s fantastic. The world building is so detailed and vivid that I can’t help but reading further into the story. I’m only about 23% of the way in, but I can already tell that I’m going to like it (if I don’t get lost in all the science fiction technobabble).

Here’s the review dates coming up:

  • Monday, August 24 – Independence
  • Wednesday, August 26 – Phoenix Earth
  • Monday, August 31 – Trapped on Draconica
  • Wednesday, September 2 – Chimera
  • Thursday, October 1 – Sparked

What Was Posted

What I Did

To be honest, I did a whole lot of nothing while my computer was dead. I spent time with my family, took naps, cleaned my house… watched far too much Netflix. I took needless pictures of my 11 year old so I could post them on my blog in the future. Ha ha. She sleeps like a ballerina.

I did manage to get some outlining done on one of my more recent novel’s, The Night Parade—which I guess is a win.

The thing is, there wasn’t a lot I –could- do. I mange to wrangle a laptop to work from, but it didn’t have any of my files or games on it. The internet was spotty at best—in fact, we’re planning on replacing the modem this week because of how much trouble we’ve had.

That isn’t to say I haven’t been busy though. There’s been dentist visits, we bought a new SUV to replace our Civic Hybrid before it was out of warranty (those batteries are EXPENSIVE), and I even organized my bookshelves. (Look! I have space for more books!)

I even managed to get my school shopping done, which was well overdue. We’re doing homeschooling again this year (My daughter is now in 6th grade!). We started organizing our next trip to Disneyland (this upcoming October! Woot!). But really, I’m glad to be on the internet and back to my blog. I missed the routine of reading and writing reviews, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Next Week

This upcoming week is a special one. I am planning to get a lot more reading and reviews done—I am desperately trying to whittle down my TBR list and catch up on my reading quota, which is now several weeks behind… but more importantly, Tuesday, August 25th, is my BIRTHDAY. I’ll be 32, and so will my identical twin sister. Happy Birthday Jamie! (You can find her here.) I’m hoping for some new books *crosses fingers*. I’ll let you know if I get any! Here’s to next week—I hope it’s a good one!

Weekend Wrap-Up #9

What I Read

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Oh man, I can’t believe I missed two weekend wrap-ups… okay maybe I can. Here’s the thing: I read no books for two weeks, and I didn’t have any updates. There came a point where I was so ahead of schedule with my reading, that I had to stop and just mess around for two weeks. I’m still ahead of my reading by two weeks, even after slacking off. Yah, it was that bad.

The first of the three books I read in the last week or two was The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan. I picked this up in a GoodReads Giveaway, and decided to finally get around to reading it. The book was a Fantasy/Dystopian/Literary work, and it was an interesting book, but very slow paced. I liked it, but I can’t honestly say that I’d ever read it again. The book was a little too literary for my liking, and a little too unclear on the plot.

The second book I picked up was yet another GoodReads Giveaway book, this time a contemporary romance. The Hotter You Burn by Gena Showalter was amazing. It was rather long for it’s genre, but honestly, I’m glad. It was nice to sink into a bit of a longer romance for once, and it was really well written.

The third book I picked up, yet again another GoodReads Giveaway book, was Discovering April by Sheena Hutchinson. The book was a New Adult Contemporary Romance… and eh… it was okay. The writing and characters were a bit of a mess, but I didn’t hate it.

(obviously, I was trying to work my way through my Goodreads Giveaway shelf this week.) All of these will have reviews up in the very near future:

  • July 6 – The Gracekeepers
  • July 8 – The Hotter You Burn
  • July 13 – Discovering April

What Was Posted

What I Did

2015-06-24_00001So what did I do this week? Mostly, ran around in ARK: Survival Evolved a lot—and I do mean A LOT. This was sort of a strange week. My husband was out of town for work, school’s out for my daughter, and I was on a book ban for a few weeks so that my reviewing schedule could catch back up with me.

ARK is definitely my new favorite early-access survival MMO. It’s really fun, full of dinosaurs, and it gives me a chance to play games with my twin sister, Jamie, who lives in a different state than I do.

Other than playing games, I spent the last few weeks suffering from allergies, cleaning my house, and last, and more importantly, I updated my blog.

I finally set up my Copy Editing / Proofreading information so that hopefully I can get some brave indie authors to give me a shot as their editor. I’ve spent the last few years studying up on grammar and copy editing/proofreading, and I finally feel comfortable enough to open myself up to some freelance work. I’m new to the business, and I know it’s probably going to be awhile before I work up a base of clients, but I’m excited to get started. Editing has been a field I’ve always had an affinity for, and the extra income would certainly help my household.

Next Week

Let’s be truthful here… next week will be basically the same as this week. I have some reading I’d like to do, but otherwise, things are the same. My husband is once again out of town for work (and will be for the next two weeks), so I’m pretty much on my own and without a car. There will probably be a lot of ARK playing, cleaning, reading, and just waiting for the week to end. Man, summers always seem to drag on forever!

Weekend Wrap-Up #8

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to yet another Weekend Wrap-Up! Let’s get started!

What I Read

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This week was rather slow when it came to reading—but that was mostly on purpose. I’m so far ahead on my review schedule that it’d be ridiculous at this point to continue the trend. I’ve got posts scheduled all the way into July! So, this week I took some time to do things other than read, though I did get some done.

I finished up The Heir by Kiera Cass, and I’ll admit, I was disappointed with it. It wasn’t a terrible book, but it felt like I’d just started the whole first three books over… and I was kind of over it at this point. The series probably should have ended as a trilogy.

My next book this week was Beast by Holley Trent—a paranormal erotica novel I picked up from the Naughty List ARC Club (of which I’m required to review at least one book a month in order to keep getting their titles). It was surprisingly good for a novella (of which everyone knows I am not a fan).

Last but not least, I finally got ahold of Wild Blue Yonder by Megan Tayte. I’ve been salivating over this book ever since Megan sent me the first two books in the series for review—and it didn’t disappoint!

The upcoming reviews are scheduled for:

  • June 24 – The Heir
  • June 29 – Beast
  • July 1 – Wild Blue Yonder

What Was Posted

What I Did

2015-06-07_00002Honestly, I didn’t get much done this week outside of reading, and even that was sub-par. I spent a good part of my week obsessing over ARK: Survival Evolved—a new multiplayer survival game that hit Steam this past week. It’s packed full of dinosaurs—so you know it’s awesome. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I just logged out of the game after a 9 hour stint. Tons of fun!

I deserved the vacation though. I spent a good part of my day yesterday cursing my computer, which decided to have a memory error that lead to the blue screen of death repeatedly for HOURS. My computer crashed probably 30 or 40 times in a row as I struggled to even load a web browser. It was exhausting and frustrating, and eventually I gave up, took my flash drive with my writing on it, and curled up with a spare laptop to write. I’m happy to report that I wrote up about 3.5k of story outline for a new novel that I’m looking forward to writing—so it wasn’t all a loss.

Other than that, I spent the majority of my week tending to my family members. Both my husband and daughter received multiple sun-burns, and midway through the week my daughter came home with a head cold. It’s been a long couple of days. (Now you see why I needed 9 hours of killing virtual dinosaurs).

Next Week

I need to make cookies. I meant to do it this week, and never quite got around to it. I’ve also got a few books lined up to read, but honestly, I may just play more Ark. My schedule is just so far ahead that it seems a little self-defeating to get it even farther ahead (where at some point, I’ll have to start rearranging posts to make room for new ones). I also desperately need to catch up on sleep. I don’t think I’ve slept more than four hours a night for the past two weeks. Summer is kicking my butt. It’s so hot at night that it’s impossible to get comfortable. It’s been upwards of 100 F here all week. BLEH. Anyways, I will check in again next Sunday! I hope you all have a great week!

Weekend Wrap-Up #7

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to yet another Weekend Wrap-Up! Let’s get started!

What I Read

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It was a busy reading week! I picked up Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which I’ve been wanting to read ever since I saw the trailer for the movie. It was a bit of a long book, and a bit slow paced, but I really enjoyed it. The book was certainly not my usual genre pick (Non-Fiction Autobiography), but I’m glad I read it. I think it helped that I was smart enough to watch the movie first, so by the time the book rolled around I knew what was going on and it was a little easier to visualize the people portrayed.

I then went to pick up Alienated and Invaded by Melissa Landers. I’d heard quite a bit about this series in the last month or so, and alien-themed books aren’t a genre I’ve delved into on a regular basis, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Amazingly, I loved both books!

I’m currently in the middle of finishing up The Heir by Kiera Cass. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I loved the selection series, but the focal point of The Heir isn’t the same, and I’m feeling kind of over the whole selection process. I don’t know that I needed to see it happen a second time. The main character, Eadlyn, is a bit too self absorbed for me to like. We’ll see how it turns out.

All of these books have upcoming reviews, which you can see below:

  • June 15 – Wild
  • June 17 – Alienated
  • June 22 – Invaded
  • June 24 – The Heir

What Was Posted

What I Did

This is me and Bandit Bob. He lost at Strip Poker.To be honest, I didn’t do a whole lot of anything this week. I ran errands, did chores, tried very hard not to slaughter my neighbors who held a 7 hour Birthday Party well into the night that was complete with screaming kids, heavy bass, and a motorcycle parked on my lawn. At least they didn’t set up a poker game in my driveway again.

I did get a lot of reading done, and I had the opportunity to go see Tomorrow Land at the theaters (which is something I don’t do often)—and it was a cute movie. Other than that, I spent some time curled up under 7 blankets with the chills after a strange 24-hour bug that had me running a fever, and the rest of the time, I lounged around and played Skyrim. Yup. Gamer at heart.

Next Week

I need to finish The Heir. That is my number one priority. I’m also hoping to get a hold of my next Arc from The Naughty List and I was sent a copy of Wild Blue Yonder by Megan Tayte (third book in the series!) that I’ve been dying to read for weeks—so that is definitely on my short list of things to do! Other than that, my goal is to bake cookies, maybe some homemade bread, and try not to let the sweltering desert summer eat me alive. I hope you all have a fantastic week ahead of you!

Weekend Wrap-Up #6

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to yet another Weekend Wrap-Up! Let’s get started!

What I Read

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I got a few more books under my belt this week, and ready for some upcoming reviews in June. I have to say, I’m proud of myself for keeping on track.

War Kids by H.J. Lawson was a bit of a disappointment. Both this book and the second series was sent to me by the author as part of a special readers program I’d signed up for, but after reading 13% into the book I realized there was no way in hell I was going to finish it. I originally thought this and the other books in the series were novellas—and I was wrong. The book turned out to be over 300 pages along, and I couldn’t stand it. I ended up DNFing it and unsubscribing from the reader program. There was just no way I was going to go on to read the second and third book in the series—especially not with a 1-2 week deadline. Nope, nope, nope.

Rebel Belle & Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins were spur of the moment additions to my TBR this week after picking up a recommendation from a few BookTube readers on Monday. The books sounded so interesting that I immediately picked up some copies and decided to give them a try—and boy am I glad! Rebel Belle was a fantastically hilarious read. Miss Mayhem was good, but not-as-good as the first book in the series, but I’m still glad I picked it up. You can look forward to some reviews for both of these books in the near future:

  • May 27 – War Kids
  • June 1 – Rebel Belle
  • June 10 – Miss Mayhem

What Was Posted

What I Did

cupcakesThis week was a slow one. I made cupcakes (Devilsfood + Cream Cheese Frosting.. YUM!)…. and that’s about it—other than reading. Okay, that’s not entirely true; I did discover BookLikes and sign up there as Author Unpublished (cause who doesn’t need more spots to advertise their blog?). I’m slowly working on getting my entire backlog of reviews scheduled and posted there—but it’s a bit of an exercise in patience because the site doesn’t work with my Windows Live Writer (which I use to publish here on WordPress). It’s all got to be done by hand, and requires quite a bit more work.

On a positive note, I’m over my tonsillitis (FINALLY) So I’m feeling much better, and spending less time napping. LOL

Next Week

I honestly don’t have a lot of plans schedule for next week. I’ll probably read, a lot… maybe get back to working on Khet for awhile, or revamping my novel ideas list (yes, I keep a list of novel ideas). I spent a good part of my morning today adding in ideas I’d jotted down on several sticky notes that had been floating around my desk the last week or two (it was getting ridiculous). My idea/plot list is up to about 70 now, but not all of them are completely plotted, so that’s something that needs to be hashed out at some point, and why not do it on a week I don’t have anything else scheduled? Otherwise… eh.  We’ll see what life throws my way come Monday.

Weekend Wrap-Up #5

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to yet another Weekend Wrap-Up! Let’s get started!

What I Read

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I read! I read! I feel like I should shout that this week. The last few weeks have been a bit slow, but I finally got some reading done, and I’m pretty happy about it—even if it was a bit overwhelming.

Bride by Mistake by Nicole Helm & Forget Me Not by Erika Marks were both sent to me by Tule Publishing via NetGalley this past week, and both are Contemporary Romances by authors I’ve never had the pleasure of reading before. Thankfully, they were both excellent books!

Ignited by Desni Dantone was a book I picked up on a whim for .99 on Amazon with my Mother’s Day gift card (Thank you to my family for that one!)—and boy am I glad I did! For a random-whim, it was a fantastic YA Paranormal Romance.

I’ve also started (but haven’t finished) War Kids by H.J. Lawson which was sent to me by the author herself as part of a special readers program she started this past week.

You can look forward to reviews being posted for all of these books in the very near future:

  • May 18 – Bride By Mistake
  • May 20 – Forget Me Not
  • May 27 – War Kids
  • June 3 – Ignited

What Was Posted

What I Did

This week has been a little hectic to be honest. Mother’s Day hit last weekend (obviously) and I bought a ton of books (Woot! YAY for Amazon Gift Cards!) which kind of made my week because I am the worst of all book hoarders. I also managed to read quite a few books this week, cleaned my house, and watched way too much Naruto. Yes, I realize I’m 31 and too old to watch cartoons. I have an 11 year old, and I shall use her as my excuse to watch cartoons until she’s an adult… and then I’ll use my grandkids!

One of my top tasks this week was adding my entire e-book library to my GoodReads book lists. That may not sound like such a huge task—until you realize my e-book library is very close to containing about 25k books. I’m not kidding. It took me 2 days to add them all. Talk about a pain in the neck! I may have the largest TBR list known to man.

Last, but not least, I spent a good amount of time this week re-organizing my blog schedule. I can hardly put into words how stressful that was. At the beginning of the week, I’d already scheduled reviews all the way into June—I was ahead of schedule, and I thought that I was fine as far as scheduling go. That didn’t last long.

In very short succession I was then sent two NetGalley books from Tule Publishing (because I’m auto approved by that publisher and they e-mail me new books every week), both of which needed to be read and reviewed by this upcoming week (which had already been scheduled with other posts at that point). The next day I was sent two more books by H.J. Lawson as part of her new readers program (where again, I am automatically e-mailed all the new books she publishes). Those too had an expected review date that meant they both needed to be read within the next 1-2 weeks. I was also notified that I’d be sent the third book in the series in another week or so (which also has an expected review date of 1-2 weeks).

I suddenly found myself with four new books that needed to be read/reviewed in a very short period of time, along with my other previously scheduled reviews—one of which needed to be posted this month (let’s not forget this month is half over already!). Period. I looked at my schedule and realized that I had a review scheduled for every single day for the next two weeks—and that seemed like madness. So, I moved things around. It took me an hour to figure out all the logistics, and I had to fudge two reviews and make them purposefully a day or two late…but I think I have everything under control again. My new schedule looks something like this:

  • May 18 – Bride By Mistake (Release Date & Review)
  • May 19 – Forget Me Not (Release Date)
  • May 20 – Forget Me Not (Review)
  • May 22 – Free Fiction Friday #47
  • May 24 – Weekend Wrap-Up #6
  • May 25 – Art of Cunning (Review)
  • May 27 – War Kids (Review)
  • May 29 – Free Fiction Friday #48
  • May 31 – Weekend Wrap-Up #7
  • June 1 – Survive The Day (Review)
  • June 3 – Ignited (Review)
  • June 5 – Free Fiction Friday #49
  • June 7 – Weekend Wrap-Up #8
  • June 8 – I Dreamt of Trees (Review)

Craziness I tell you. I can only pray that I won’t have to move anything else around before the month is over!

Next Week

Meet Isabella. She says hi.I don’t even know. Right now thinking about next week makes my head hurt. You can check out the schedule above to see what’s coming up. I should have reviews up for Bride By Mistake and Forget Me Not – both of which were 4 star books, and I’d recommend them if you like Contemporary Romance.

To be honest, I’m still trying to take it a little easy. I’ve still got Tonsillitis (oh joy of joys), which is sort of kicking my butt. I do plan to do some baking (cupcakes!) done at some point, but mostly, I think next week is going to be all about reading. I need to finish up reading War Kids and Survive the Day by H.J. Lawson so that I can get those reviews ready for their pre-scheduled releases (and so my TBR is a little shorter when I get the third book in the series)—and then I need to look into what I’m going to read/schedule for the three remaining review days not filled on my calendar. I’m sort of way far ahead (ah, it’s such a nice feeling after being so far behind a month ago!), so I’m not really in a hurry. I’m sure that in another week I’ll probably have a whole new set of books with release dates looming that need to be worked into the schedule. I can’t imagine it’ll be more tangled than this past week was though.

Weekend Wrap-Up #4–Mothers Day Edition!

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to yet another Weekend Wrap-Up! Let’s get started!

What I Read

Okay, I’ll admit it. I failed as a reader. I read one thing. One. This entire week.

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I finally managed to get through Art of Cunning by Steffanie Holmes. There will be an upcoming review May 20, so I won’t go into great detail, but I can tell you that I gave it 3 stars—which was a bit of a disappointment. The book started out really strong, and it was definitely an entertaining (if short) read, but there were a lot of contradictions and plot holes that dragged the rating down. Le sigh, I had such high hopes.

The reason I didn’t get any reading done this week is because about an hour after I posted the last Weekend Wrap-Up my throat mysteriously started hurting out of nowhere. Not a big deal right? By night it was irritating the crap out of me and so I dragged out a flashlight and checked out my tonsils. Ever seen white, infected tonsils before? Gross. To make a long story short, I got tonsillitis out of nowhere and basically slept through the first half of the week. I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. Luckily, I never did develop a fever, and I felt much better mid-week. I still have spotty tonsils as I type this, but I definitely think it’s on the mend.

As you can imagine, I took it pretty easy this week., and so I shall blame my lack of reading on naps. Yup, naps.

What Was Posted

What I Did

yummybreadObviously, I didn’t get a lot done this week. Being sick, even my chores fell behind. I think the only thing I accomplished at all was related to cooking. It used to be that my family ate 90% of our meals out of pre-packaged containers. I could think up a million excuses: lack of time to cook, the price of raw foods… laziness.

Last summer however, for whatever reason, I made it my mission to try and cook more for my family. For an entire summer we hardly bought any pre-packaged foods. I tried out a lot of new recipes—failed at some of them—but eventually found some my family loved. Before I knew it, cooking and baking everything from scratch became something we did on a regular basis. I’ve continued that tradition for a year now.

Baking and cooking is something I enjoy, and try to do often now, so it’s not too much of a surprise to admit that the only thing I really did this week was cook. I made homemade Italian spicy spaghetti (which takes 2 1/2 hours to make by the way), ham steak, mashed potatoes, baked teriyaki chicken.. and of course, my major accomplishment this week: sweet Amish white bread. I’ve never baked bread before—and to be honest, I was expecting to fail. (side note: kneading bread by hand because you don’t own a bread machine is quite the work out!) My recipe said to bake it for 30 minutes, but I pulled it out at 18 minutes as you see in the picture above. Amazingly, the bread came out perfect… not only that—but it was delicious! My daughter and I basically ate it like it was cake. I probably only have 2 slices left in my kitchen. If anyone wants the recipe, let me know. It’s soooooo good.

Other than that… I watched a lot of anime and messed around on Virtual Piano learning to play via computer keyboard because that’s a skill I decided I needed. That last comment was slightly tongue-in-cheek. I was a horrible reader this week. Gomen.

Next Week

I need to read. Period. I’ve got Reviews lined up till the 20th, but after that it’s all open schedule. Luckily, I got some new books today *thumbs up*. Thank god for Mothers Day and Amazon Gift cards.

Let’s talk about Mother’s Day…

Mothers Day is a bittersweet holiday for me. I never really know if I should be excited and thankful for the momentary appreciation of all that it is I do for my family, or if I just want to sleep through the whole event. My mother passed away from Breast Cancer when I was just barely into high school. My mother was an awesome woman and a great parent… but I missed out on having her during the majority of my teen years. She worked all through out my childhood, and to be honest, I don’t have a lot of memories of her outside of her passion for romance novels (which I inherited), and her distaste for swimming (which I also inherited). I remember that her favorite cartoon was The Smurfs, that she loved to bake, and I remember that she loved horror movies… but that is about it. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my mother growing up because she was always busy. Mothers Day reminds me how much I miss her each year. She didn’t get to see me graduate highs school, get married, or have a daughter of my own… and there are days that I really wish I could just call her up and ask her things—anything.

That isn’t the only reason Mother’s day bothers me though. I was very young, 18 the first time I became a parent—though it was only for a little while. Just a few short weeks into my first, unplanned pregnancy, I miscarried. It was devastating, and most of my family still don’t know that it ever happened. It felt like I’d just gotten used to the idea that my world was about to change when it changed again.

A year later, I was pregnant again—with my daughter. Yup. I was a very young parent. I was 19 with my second pregnancy, and 20 when she was born. As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a mom. I was the kid in the neighborhood that begged to babysit people’s children. In school when we had to carry around those annoying electronic babies for a week to teach us about parenthood, I was the girl who babysat everyone else’s kids and got perfect scores across the board. I swear, I had an electronic baby on my hip six weeks in a row. I love kids, and I always wanted to have a bunch of them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. To be honest, it’s a miracle my daughter was ever born.

I almost died during my daughter’s birth, and remained very ill afterwards. Finally, after 2 years of constant pain, nausea and bleeding (how was I to know this wasn’t normal? I was 20!) I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cysts. During the surgery to remove them, I was also diagnosed with 4th stage Endometriosis. For those of you who don’t know what Endo is: it’s when the lining of the Uterus makes it way outside into the abdominal cavity. It continues to grow and spread like scar tissue as it binds your organs together… and because it doesn’t know that it’s not where it’s supposed to be, every month it sloughs off and rots in between your internal organs. It’s a life-long, painful disease. My doctor told me I had the worst case he’d ever seen. Most women don’t get Endo until they’re over 30. Mine had been growing since I was a teen. A few days later, I had a complete hysterectomy. It didn’t cure the disease—it can flare up at any time if even a single cell remains… it will continue to regrow. They can keep cutting it out, but there’s no real cure for Endometriosis. I will have it forever. Unfortunately, this means that at 22, I lost the ability to have any more children.

DSCN0334croppedI’m grateful everyday for my daughter. She’s beautiful, kind, smart, and creative. I’m exceedingly lucky to have had her at all…but it doesn’t stop me from feeling sad that I never had the opportunity to have more. For someone who wanted so badly to be a mom, it’s still hard after all these years. So, I just try to be the best mom that I can—and I must be doing something right, because my daughter is amazing.

Anyways, for those of you out there who are mothers, Happy Mothers Day. I know each and everyone of you knows how amazing you are and how hard it is to do what you do. We don’t get nearly as much appreciation as we probably deserve… but for today, enjoy being in the spotlight. You deserve it.

Weekend Wrap-Up #3

Hello ladies and gentlemen! Let’s take a look at our week in review.

What I Read

Absolutely nothing. Okay, that isn’t entirely true. I attempted to read a few things:

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Here’s the problem—Phoenix Earth is well written as far as the narrative goes, but the science is so incredibly questionable that I’m finding it very hard to take the book seriously. It has a space ship powered by a diamond drive. I’ve been trying to get into this book and give it a fair shot for probably more than a year, and I’m having a hard time getting past the first chapter. It feels almost as if it’s trying too hard to be Star Trek—and don’t even get me started on the fact that the author has compared what’s happening in the book to the Holocaust… twice. I just… can’t.

So, I set it aside and picked up Trapped on Draconica… because it was yet another book I hadn’t thoroughly read yet. The story is great… but it’s written like a middle-grade novel… and it isn’t one. The main character swears, smokes, and steals. That’s fine… except for the way the narrative is written. It’s simplistic and the dialogue is so unnatural that it’s like reading the script of a Saturday morning cartoon. The characters are melodramatic and characterized in such a way that again… it’s hard to take it seriously. It felt like reading a novel that’s trying to be an anime… and I find that hard to digest.

For my third attempt, I picked up Art of Cunning from The Naughty List ARC Club I’m a part of… and surprisingly, so far, it’s really good. I’ll admit, I was a bit stunned because the club mainly deals with explicit Erotica (often of the questionable sort—I’ve seen several books pop up on their lists lately that have to deal with step-brother sexcapades)—and this book is just a genuine shifter romance… and a well written one at that.  I’m hoping to have it finished early next week so I can give it a review.

In the end, I didn’t finish any books. I swear I have a good reason though—we’ll get to that in a minute.

What Was Posted

What I Did

And here’s the kicker: I had some major issues this week that kept me from getting much of anything done. As some of you may remember from my previous posts, I recently bought a new computer. The computer was great… really… except for the various issues it came with right out of the box. For one, the card reader was disconnected internally. The CD drive was installed incorrectly and permanently pushed back in the case by several inches—which couldn’t be fixed without removing and replacing the entire motherboard. Also, from day one the computer seemed to have some video card issues that meant that any time I played a video, or sometimes just randomly, my computer would lock up, windows would crash, and I’d get a blue screen of death.

It should then not surprise you that the problems continued to get worse. It got to a point this last week where I couldn’t open my browser without my computer restarting. One particular afternoon my computer randomly rebooted itself 15 times in a period of about 10 minutes. I couldn’t do –anything- on my computer without it rebooting. Fed up, I disconnected my secondary hard drive (where all my files are stored) and reformatted the PC.

The good news is, my computer works fine now. No crashing, no weird random reboots, no error messages. The bad news is, I discovered that my CD drive doesn’t work. At all. If I turn it on I get scary crunching noises. Also, reformatting my computer meant that I’d have to re-install everything. It’s been three days and I still don’t have Microsoft Word installed let alone my e-book library up and running. I basically have a browser and e-mail.

I also managed to get a plumber out (as decided last weekend) to fix my kitchen sink. He had to replace the faucet, but it’s all good. My kitchen is no longer flooding (hip, hip, hooray!) As you can see, my week’s been pretty busy. Understandably, I didn’t have a lot of time for reading (which makes me want to sob) but I’m still ahead on my posting schedule, so it’s not too traumatic.

Next Week

I need to read.I have three slots left to fill on my calendar for this month, and I’m obligated to finish a review for at least one book for The Naughty List ARC Club—so it has to be done soon. Other than that, I have no plans. Things always seem to pop up randomly throughout the week that draw my attention (especially lately.. sheesh!) So I’m going to keep my schedule wide open and hope things don’t get too crazy.  Maybe I’ll find some time to finish updating my computer and re-install all my software. That would be nice.

Weekend Wrap-Up #2

Hello ladies and gentlemen! Let’s take a look at our week in review.

What I Read

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This was a slow week, obviously. One of the side effects of getting so far ahead in my reviews, is I often find myself taking a deep breath of relief and then slacking off…because I know I’ll be fine either way. It’s a bad habit—I admit it. The thing is, I don’t feel that bad about it. I’ll show you why:

calenderBehold the mighty whiteboard of blogging. This is how I manage to keep track of and organize all my reviews and mandatory posts here at Author Unpublished.  On it you will find a miss-mash of the tail end of April (outlined in black) and the upcoming May (which has been filled in anywhere that was previously erased.

I know it looks like a mess.

Days with upcoming book reviews have their title and their star rating (circled) filled in. FFF # stands for the upcoming Free Fiction Fridays, and WW # stands for the upcoming Weekend Wrap-Ups. Occasionally sprinkled in between, you’ll see Amazon Release Dates, and Book Club meetings. I swear it all makes sense if you’re me.

My point in showing you this is that you can clearly see how little space is available on said whiteboard. So even though I didn’t get a lot of reading done this week, I’m not going to stress about it too much. There’s only so far ahead I can get before I run out of space for future-posts. I can never get more than a month ahead of myself.

Because I know you can’t read my itty bitty squiggly hand writing, you’ll find the upcoming post dates of the books I read this week below.

  • April 27 – Cinderella’s Cowboy by Roxanne Snopek (4 Stars)
  • May 11 – His Blushing Bride by Dani Collins (4 Stars)

If you were paying attention to the weekend wrap-up last week, you’ll notice that I had to bump my review for A Highland Knight’s Desire by Amy Jarecki back to May 13 because Cindrella’s Cowboy by Roxanne Snopek is being released this upcoming Tuesday. I’ve also just bumped I Dreamt of Trees by Gilles DeCruyenaere back to May 18 so that His Blushing Bride by Dani Collins could be ready for its release date on May 11. (Notice that in the whiteboard picture they hadn’t been adjusted yet—that’s how new this change is.) Oh the scheduling woes of a book blogger—I am ever flexible here at Author Unpublished.

What Was Posted

What I Did

This week, thankfully, was a quiet one. My daughter finished up her 5th Grade homeschooling for the year and passed with straight A’s—which was a huge relief.

She actually started out the year in public school, but after some incidents where a teacher as well as students were regularly harassing her, we finally made the decision to pull her out.

Our school district was awful. In the period of time she went to our local elementary school (Kindergarten through the beginning of 5th Grade) She’d come home with three broken fingers, a concussion, multiple bruises, and a laceration to her head that she ended up having to get stitches for. At one point, we discovered that she’d actually passed out during class and her teacher left her to lie on the floor unattended. Never called the school nurse, didn’t even call us—let alone send a note home. We only found out when she came home with a huge bruise to her forehead and a concussion because she’d hit her head on the floor when she fell.

During her time there she had her lunch and personal belongings stolen, and she’d been bullied by multiple children, and at least two teachers. Though I complained to the office and the school board nothing was ever done and no kid was ever punished… but the last straw was the day the school called me to tell me my daughter was suspended (Keep in mind she’s a straight A student, on the honor roll, and in the Gifted and Talented program—and had never gotten in any serious trouble) because she’d accidentally elbowed a younger student while trying to rise from her table. Both she and the student said it was an accident, and no adult was present to witness the event….but they suspended her (after keeping her sequestered in an office for a few hours where they “talked to her about her behavior” She was in tears when I arrived). That day was the day I marched down and handed in a notice that we’d be homeschooling. As you can imagine, I was fed up. By the time we removed her from public school, my daughter had started to loose her hair because of stress. She actually had a bald spot.

Happily, it turned out well. My daughter finished 5th grade a few months ahead of her classmates, got excellent grades, and I got to spend more time one on one with my daughter. She ate better food, slept more, and wasn’t stressed out anymore. The last week we had her in public school she was coming home every day and bawling her eyes out. That didn’t happen the whole rest of the year.

Anyways—time to get back on track. We finished up schooling this week. I cleaned my kitchen (which desperately needed it), and I discovered a pesky leak under my kitchen sink.. which I have to get fixed this upcoming week. With all the plumbing issues my old house has had in the last few months, you can imagine my trepidation.

Next Week

I’d like to say that I’m planning to read more books this upcoming week (I’d sure like to), but I’m ahead right now, and if I keep reading I’m going to run out of space on my whiteboard. I’ve only got space for another 3 right now. That’s it.

I will most definitely be calling the plumber—because I’m tired of having to mop up water, and hopefully the lack of scheduling space will lead to a cleaner house. (Pfft.. who am I kidding). I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the week throws at me.

See you at the next Weekend Wrap-Up!