Thursday, January 17, 2019

1/17/18

We are already halfway through January. Can you believe it? How are those reading goals coming along? Have any of you settled on a word for the year?

I have never picked a word for the year before, but for 2019, I've chosen 'courage.'

Courage, dear heart.
--C. S. Lewis

I'll be sharing something to inspire courage every Monday on my social media this year (#mondaycourage).



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As far as reading goals are concerned, I'm a couple chapters into Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne. I'm reading this for an online book club. This is my fourth book for the year if you count Amish Vampires in Space, which I totally am since I finished it in 2019.

The last book I read was The Wicked King by Holly Black, the second book in the Folk of the Air series.

   

I gobbled this book up!

The series is set mostly in Faerieland (with the occasional trip to our world) and leans heavily on the traditional/mythological fairy stories. This is not your cheery fairy godmother sent to pretty you up for the ball.

In Faerie the people cannot lie. That doesn't mean they aren't deceptive. They make deals with cleverly worded phrases. One must be careful, especially a mortal like Jude.

I'm giving it four and a half stars with a PG-13 rating. While the series is deliciously good, there is a level of violence, the random swear word, and the like. Not to mention the not-so-healthy relationship Jude has with her guy Cardan.

The third and last book in The Folk of the Air series, The Queen of Nothing, comes out in 2020.


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Song I'm Currently Listening To:

Elements by TobyMac

I got spirit, I got faith
I might bend but I won't break . . .

And Imma gonna go down swinging, if I go down

Considering winter has finally arrived here, I think this song is appropriate.


We're supposed to get snow again this weekend and another drop in temperatures. Hopefully the cold won't hang on too long. We've been sort of spoiled with a mild season up until now.


Stay warm wherever you are this week, friends!

Love, J <3



*****Available on Amazon!*****


Friday, January 11, 2019

This week, I thought I'd share about what I'm reading, and the insanity of taking bookish photos.



"You shouldn't magic your sisters."
--The Cruel Prince, Holly Black


I finished reading The Cruel Prince last week and moved right on to The Wicked King because, er-mah-gersh, it was good!




Last night I made muffins to go along with this series (Folk of the Air).


They have shredded apple, raisins, and maple syrup.



Not exactly "raisin cakes smothered in apple syrup" (The Cruel Prince), but I think they work.


So what goes into a photo that looks like this . . .




A whole lot of this:


1. I need light! My camera phone often takes dark pictures. I have to either wait for good sunlight or find the best lit room in the house.

2. I use cloth as a backdrop. This is my desk chair. This is where I took my photo. On the chair. I'm not kidding! I have draped my cloth over chairs, tables, even my laundry basket to get a suitable background.

3. Props. Shout out to the 'rents for the candle holder. It worked well for this photo. And, yes, I did spill salt all over my chair for the sake of a single picture.

4. Patience. Since my camera is not great, I often have to take picture, after picture, after picture. Sigh.

5. I edit my photos. I crop out chair legs, add brightness (50/50 chance it'll work), and use filters.


So, there you have it! It only takes, well, forever.

Unless I have good light and just do one of these:



I would love to do an apple photo for The Wicked King. Light did not permit this morning. I would need my dining room table. It was too dark in there, so that was a no-go.

"--faerie fruit--which muddies the minds of mortals"
--The Wicked King

I would add salt again as it's the antidote for ingesting faerie fruit. I'm excited about the details since it's a bit out of my norm. But, we'll see. You never can tell.

Have a great weekend!
J<3

Friday, January 4, 2019

Happy New Year!

Hello, friends!
How are those New Year's resolutions coming? I didn't make any resolutions, per say, but I did make a vision board, a first for me.


I love the pink and gold "girl boss." So, of course, it went front and center.

Aside from focusing on my writing goals, I'm getting back to regular workouts and healthy eating. I got a little derailed over the holidays (as most of us do).

I've been more consistent with my devotional time. This is something I've tried to draw into my writing a bit. And, would you believe it, I had a great idea before I even sat down at the desk today?
Yes!
Feels so great to get inspiration when I've deleted and rewritten the last half of a chapter twice.



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I finished Amish Vampires in Space!


I tried explaining this book to a fellow reader the other day. Probably shouldn't have. It's hard to wrap your mind around without reading it.

Basically:
*sun about to explode = emergency beacon = Amish rescued by space ships
*package delivery space ship w/ a guy that likes to open packages he shouldn't, plus sealed science lab = oops

Call me crazy.
I LOVED IT!


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Currently reading The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.


I'm not sure about this one yet. It was popular last year. It definitely draws you in pretty quick. That prologue was intense!

It's very much a fantasy. If I stopped every time I came across a "hob," or some other creature I'm unfamiliar with, to google it, I would be stopping constantly. There are a lot of characters and places too.

I'm pressing on because there's so much, fighting the urge to look things up. That's hard for me since I like to know. But with this book, I wouldn't enjoy it (it would take too much time).

So I'm reading along, hoping not to get lost. Confusion aside, I'm mostly enjoying it. It has a bit of a dark undertone, though, so we'll see.



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In other news . . .


I bought this cute anchor wall hanging at the dollar store for $2.50! How great is that?

I also found a book I read as a child in our library's book sale. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. I remembered reading it, but not what it was about. Turns out, it's about a girl on a ship, mutiny, and an accusation of murder.

Apparently, I've like ocean adventures for far longer than I was aware!

I had to add Unraveling by Sara Ella to this picture. Ky as a pirate? Um, yes, please. It reminds me of Emma and Killian on OUAT. Plus, that cover is GORGEOUS!

💜

Have a great week, guys!

And Happy New Year!

Love, J <3



*******Available on Amazon!*******

Friday, December 28, 2018

Christmas & Vampires & New Year's, Oh My!

Behold, my sole Christmas decoration! I call him my Legolas on the Shelf, because he's an elf, albeit a Tolkien elf, but still.

I don't feel sad about this. The holidays can be crazy. Sometimes less really is more. While everyone else is thinking about taking down trees and lights, I'll simply throw Legolas away and be done with it. Easy peasy.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and hat

My Christmas was pretty laid back. We did Christmas with my in-laws in October, a gift exchange (white elephant) with my dad on a weekend, with the kiddos when they dropped by, and dinner with my family on Christmas day.

The craziest part was when I made my first sugar cream pie hours before we had to be at my parents' house. I chopped veggies while it baked. And true to my norm when baking, I spilled cornstarch all over the rug and tracked it into the other room. It's a rare occasion when I use flour and don't make a mess.

I get flour everywhere and promptly yell, "Honey, I made a mess!" From the other room the hubs responds, "I know. You always do."



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Thing I'm currently reading:

Amish Vampires in Space by Kerry Nietz


I'm halfway through this 610 page book. This is not what you would think it would be. You would expect it to be cheesy or funny, right? Not so! The story pulls you in quite unexpectedly.

The Amish are believable and the science fiction good quality.
I'm impressed with how the vampire part is written. I feel like the author put a lot of thought into how a person-turned-vampire might make a transition from one to the other.

I've got a theory that the vampires aren't vampires in the traditional sense. If I'm correct--I don't want to give spoilers--I think there may be a scientific explanation.

Surprisingly good!


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New Year's:

It's that time of year, the time where we make resolutions and decide to try a new thing or put more effort into something.

I'm hoping to find a lot of dinner ideas in these free magazines from the library and The I Hate to Cook Book. I'm often on the lookout for new recipes. It's not really a resolution, more of an ongoing task.

I also checked out Google Blogger for Dummies. It took me so long to figure out how to set up my blog. Knowing there are nicer looking blogs than mine makes me want to up my game. But I don't want to do it and possibly make it look worse, thus the book.


I've decided to make a vision board. Again, not exactly a resolution, but a goal. I'm going to plaster it with pictures of where I want to be in five years.

I was recently asked that question, where I saw myself in five years. I was told to dream big. I expressed my goals only to feel a little shot down. I truly believe the person meant well. They wanted me to understand it will take a while to get there. Somehow, that makes me more determined.

So, I'm going to print off pictures pretty soon of what I want my future office to look like and of where I see myself in my writing career, and I'm going to tack that thing on my bulletin board. I'm going to add words, too. I know at the very least it'll have the words "boss babe."

Will I reach all my goals and dreams in five years? I sure hope so.
Even if I don't, I know that I won't reach them without thinking about them and working toward them. I want those goals in my face.

I need the reminder, just like I need to pause in my writing every now and again and admire the decor in my office. They say things like "Stay Brave," "Wake, Pray, Slay," and "Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast" (Lewis Carroll).

Even if it's just a post it note on your mirror that says, "You got this," I encourage you to have a reminder that keeps you on track with your goals.

Dream big, fellow dreamers!



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Go with the flow:

My hubs is on shutdown from work for nearly two weeks. Can I tell you, not having the house to myself to do weekly workouts or dedicated writing time is hard.

The silver lining is it gives me a chance to step back from my writing. Which I honestly hate. I want to be writing. I fear losing where I'm at in the story and losing momentum.

Not long ago I was taking a lot of time getting to a particular part in my story, practically dragging my feet. I was frustrated. But that extra time I took helped me make it better.

Likewise, I'm at a place where I need to pause (beginning a phase 2 of sorts). This moment just so happens to coincide with me not having alone time to write. I keep telling myself this is necessary. I need to rest and recharge. I find that difficult too. But . . . but, but, but . . . I've had some good ideas, things I didn't think of and plot issues I need to resolve. So I write it down on a posty, slap it on my desk, and walk away.

Life experience (and being married to a youngest child) has taught me you have to occasionally roll with things. It's not the easiest thing when you like control and predictability, but it's doable. For instance, the fact that I'm working on my Friday blog at eight pm. Not what I would have wanted. Still, I've checked off the list for today. Does it really matter what order I did things in? No. It only matters that I did what was needed.

In conclusion, pursue those goals, dreamers. Roll with it. You got this! Soak it in prayer and see what Jesus does with it. He may give you a blessing you didn't expect.

Blessings, Jessica <3





Thursday, December 20, 2018

My 2018 Reads

Welcome to my list of books read in 2018!

I just finished The Orphan's Wish today.

I think it's a little ambitious to try and add one more book to this list. The book I'm reading next is around six hundred pages. Let's just assume I'll be adding that to my 2019 list.



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This is a list of everything I've read in 2018. Books I read twice this year are followed by the word "twice." Books I read for a second or third time--but my first reading was not this year--are followed by "reread."
Many of these books are a part of series, if not most. I've used colors to separate some of the series, but not all (mostly for multiple series listed under one author name).

I have added a bit of commentary, but not a lot. If y'all have read my previous blogs you will have heard my thoughts all ready.

Enjoy!



Adrienne Young
Sky in the Deep (twice)
This, my friends, is my favorite read Of. The. Year! I cannot say enough about it, except, read it! Read it right now!

Andrew Shaffer
Hope Never Dies

Bethany Baker
A Light in Bailey's Harbor

C.J. Redwine
Deception
Deliverance
The Shadow Queen
The Wish Granter
The Traitor Prince
I love C.J.!

Hannah West
Kingdom of Ash and Briars
A lovely little first write. I look forward to whatever Hannah's doing next.

Jessica McCarty
A Desperate Love (Definitely more than once! Lol.)

Jody Hedlund
A Loyal Heart
For Love and Honor (reread)
Everything Jody writes is gold, especially this series.

Kiera Cass
The Siren

Kristen Ciccarelli
The Last Namsara
I devoured this book. That's saying a lot since it was a huge book.

Lindsay A. Franklin
The Story Peddler

Mary Weber
The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (twice)
Reclaiming Shilo Snow (twice)
Storm Siren (reread)
Siren's Fury (reread)
Siren's Song (reread)
Mary is my favorite! I will read anything this woman writes. Like you guys didn't know.

Melanie Dickerson
The Beautiful Pretender
The Noble Servant
The Orphan's Wish
The queen of not-too-Hallmarky, cozy and sweet historical romance. All hail Queen Melanie!

Nadine Brandes
Fawkes

Rupi Kaur
milk and honey
Okay, I read this to get in another book for a Winter Reading challenge. It's a short book of poetry. Don't bother. Just don't. Not worth your time if you like your reading clean.

Sara Ella
Unblemished
Unraveling
Unbreakable
Sweet, heartwarming, uplifting! I will be reading the Unblemished trilogy again.

Sara Holland
Everless

Sarah E. Morin
Waking Beauty



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And now, enjoy a bunch of bookish photos I've taken throughout the latter part of this year!

         

                     



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A big thank you to all of you that faithfully read my blog!

May you and yours have a very, Merry Christmas.
Blessings,
J

Friday, December 14, 2018

My TBR list for 2019

Do you like book series?


I'm reading The Orphan's Wish by Melanie Dickerson. It's the eighth book in her Hagenheim series.

For the most part, I like series. It seems there are a lot of them out there right now. My TBR list for 2019 is full of them!

Even if this is a little cart-before-the-horse (I have yet to share all that I've read for 2018), here are my TBR's for next year, in no particular order.

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Realm of Ruins (The Nissera Chronicles; Book 2)

The Caged Queen (Iskari; Book 2)

Give the Dark My Love (Book 1)

Circle of Shadows (Book 1)

Mark of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga; Book 1)

Hunted

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air; Book 1)

The Selection (Book 1)

Before She Ignites (The Fallen Isles; Book 1)

Girls of Paper and Fire (Book 1)

The Story Raider (The Weaver Trilogy; Book 2)

Coral

To Best the Boys

The Girl the Sea Gave Back (companion novel to Sky in the Deep)

The Blood Spell (Ravenspire; Book 4)

Romanov

The Warrior Maiden (Hagenheim; Book 9)

Evermore (Everless; Book 2)

A Worthy Rebel (An Uncertain Choice; Book 5)

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Whew! I feel tired just thinking about it! ;-) But, as we all know, these lists get longer not shorter. Here's to New Year's goals! Lol.

Have a blessed Friday, J.

Friday, December 7, 2018

12/7/18

I finally finished Hope Never Dies.


I did enjoy this book. But, as with Waking Beauty, I took it at a leisurely pace.

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Currently, I'm reading A Loyal Heart by Jody Hedlund.

I started it a few days ago and I'm already nearly done. Guys, it's so good. This is the fourth book in the Uncertain Choices series. It has danger, romance, and strong values. Great for the romance lover in your life or your teen girl! I can't wait to read the fifth book, A Worthy Heart.


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Quote of the week:

Rome wasn't built in a day.

I didn't realize when I picked this that it's from Medieval times (and I'm currently reading a book set in the Middle Ages). It's nice when things work out!

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Verse I'm pondering:

But we are not of those who shrink back . . .
Hebrews 10:39 (NASB)

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Sometimes, we get discouraged. Things don't happen the way we want or as quickly as we want. Don't give up. Rome wasn't built in a day. Don't lose heart. We are not of those who shrink back.

I'm preaching to the choir. Can I get an Amen?


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Instagram Challenge:

The Instagram challenge has ended!


I mailed off this lovely prize pack to the winner early this week. The post office worker asked, "What do you have in there?" I suppose that means I had a sufficient amount of goodies crammed in my bubble envelope. Lol!

Thanks to everyone who participated!


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New favorite thing this week:

The coconut-blueberry scented shower gel I got on sale at the dollar store. Yum!
Sometimes you have to pamper yourself.


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Don't forget!

Christmas in only 18 days away. Yikes! Who hasn't finished their shopping? Who's barely started?
*Raises hand.*

Let me help you out. Do you have a reader in your life? Does she like Christian and/or historical fiction?

My book, A Desperate Love, can be found on Amazon, both in paperback and ebook form!


It would make a great stocking stuffer.

Need more ideas?
Pairs nicely with chocolate, coffee, and a new fuzzy throw.

Do it! You'll thank me later. 😉




Well, that's all for now! We'll see if I can squeeze in another book to add to my 2018 book list after A Loyal Heart.
I'm sure there's time.

Love, J

1/17/18

We are already halfway through January. Can you believe it? How are those reading goals coming along? Have any of you settled on a word for...