Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday Reads: KILL, DREAM, and HEAL

It's a truth universally acknowledged that ALL THE READING leads to a reading slump.

Okay, maybe reading slump is too harsh a way to put it, although I did have a DNF this past week which I won't mention because it doesn't really matter. I just couldn't get into the book. The books I did read were:

KILL THE BOY BAND by Goldy Moldavsky, which was probably the strangest book I've ever read. I'm a self-professed boy band lover, so I figured I'd love this book. I liked it a lot. It was fun to read about crazy fangirls (like CRAY-ZAY), but they took the cray to a whole new level. It was just... super weird. But I liked it. I've just never read anything like that before.

DREAM A LITTLE DREAM- Kerstin Gier. I love the Ruby Red Trilogy by Gier so I was super-psyched to read something else by Gier. This book was good, just not amazing. The best part is Gier's MC's always make me laugh, which I loved.

THE HEALING PLACE- Sharon Downing Jarvis. My mom lent me this book, and I didn't really want to read it. It's an older book, and also a "Mormon" book. I'm Mormon, but I rarely read Mormon fiction. I was surprised to really like this book though. I had a few issues with the writing itself, but I enjoyed the story.

So that was my reading week. All four star books, but I'm really hoping to find a swoony, amazing summer read or two.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cover Reveal for GRANTED!

One of my amazing CP's has a book coming out soon called GRANTED, forthcoming from Future House Publishing! Her cover was revealed last week, but I wanted to feature it today because this is an awesome book I had the pleasure of reading a few years ago.

Are you ready for the cover? Here it is...

I love this cover, and I love the new title, too! Want to know what it's about? Here's the blurb:

The existence of genies may be the best kept secret in the history of the world.
After being trapped in the Sahara Desert her whole life, sixteen-year-old genie Brielle finally gets her first assignment in Tri-Cities, Washington. She eagerly heads out into the human world to grant her first wish so she can gain her magic. Unfortunately, her assigned human, Addie, gave up believing in wishes years ago and would much rather everyone just leave her alone.
Complicating everything is Rock, Brielle’s childhood friend turned enemy. Brielle doesn’t need him ruining her first trip out into the human world. Too bad she can’t keep her mind–or her eyes–off him and his annoyingly cute dimples.
To make matters worse, genies in the Tri-Cities area are suspiciously dying. One broken lamp could be an accident, but after three, Brielle suspects someone has uncovered the genies’ secret and is slowly killing them off one by one.
With the Genie Council ignoring the threat, Brielle desperately needs to gain her magic so she can stop the murderer before she–or Rock–is the next genie to die.
And a bit about Michelle, who's fab by the way:
Michelle Merrill lives in the high-desert of Idaho with her husband and five kids. Besides her love for writing she enjoys reading books, eating candy, listening to music, and snuggling down for a good movie. She names her computers after favorite fictional characters and fictional characters after favorite names.
Find Michelle at her website. Or on Twitter and Facebook. You can find GRANTED on Goodreads. Check it out! 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Loves: Dance Recitals!

My three daughters had their dance recitals on the weekend- one for each of them, which made it a weekend of dance! I don't mind at all, I LOVE DANCE.

My oldest, who is 12, was in Dance Theatre this year. She's done ballet, jazz, and hip hop in the past, but is gradually leaning away from dance (boohoo). They did a song from FINDING NEVERLAND called "We Are All Made of Stars."

My middle daughter, age 9, was in two dances this year- one ballet, one jazz. For ballet she danced to an instrumental version of "Firework" and for jazz, "Everything is Awesome." Even though it was her fourth year of dance, it was her first time having two numbers to perform and she was nervous. But she did awesome!

It was my seven-year-old's second year of ballet and she danced to a song from The Good Dinosaur. It always amazes me that the little ones know their steps, and she was no exception. She saw me as she was doing her final pose and waved as she danced off stage.

This might be my last year as a dance mom. Next year my oldest wants to do singing, the middle wants to do figure skating, and the youngest gymnastics. It makes me sad that I won't be able to attend recitals and see their sparkly costumes and do the hair and makeup, but I've always left their choice of after-school activity up to them, so there it is. I'll miss it, but it's been a fun eight years!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday Reads: INTO and AFTER and THESE x2

Another four books this past couple of weeks.

1. INTO THE DIM by Janet B. Taylor. This is pitched as a YA OUTLANDER. I have my issues with Outlander, but those aside, this didn't really feel like Outlander to me. I love time travel stories like crazy, and this book had some great moments. It didn't quite make amazing though. Not really sure why, I just felt it could have been better.

2. THESE VICIOUS MASKS by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas. I loved this book! It was a ton-o-fun historical. The MC was witty/snarky, and there was a love triangle which totally worked. I loved that it's got an element of fantasy as well. Just really lost myself in this book.

3. THESE SHALLOW GRAVES by Jennifer Donnelly. While I LOVED Donnelly's book REVOLUTION, it took me a bit to get into THESE SHALLOW GRAVES. Maybe I was suffering from book burnout, but around 70 pages, I was hooked. I figured out the main twist long before the end (and I never figure out twists, trust me), but that didn't stop me from being into the characters, the time period, and the gradual unraveling of the mystery. Most especially I loved the love story. I really wondered how the author was going to wrap that up in the end, and while she did, I would've liked a bit more. A solid four star read for me.

4. AFTER YOU by Jojo Moyes. There's something about Moyes' writing that really makes you care about her characters. It didn't really matter to me what they were doing, I just wanted to be reading about them. I know some were disappointed by this follow-up for ME BEFORE YOU, but I wasn't. I felt it stayed true to Louisa's character and her journey. The ending was a little dissatisfying, but definitely not more so than ME BEFORE YOU. I'll definitely read more books by Jojo Moyes.

What did you read this week?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wednesday Writes: How Melanie Got Her Groove Back

I think I got that curse... that thing that happens to newly published authors when they find they can't write another word.

From what I've heard, it's usually a Book 2 kind of syndrome. They're worried the second book won't live up to their first, especially if it's a sequel.

This isn't my problem. I'm actually on Book 7 now, so I've long passed Book 2. Plus, this isn't a sequel. It could maybe be called a third book in a retelling trilogy, but the three books can all be read standalone, and I finished the second one last year.

Another reason I've heard for authors struggling under this curse is the time-sap of marketing oneself after your book has come out.

Yeah, this is sort of me. I find I'm trying to be regular with my own blog schedule, plus I blog at three other sites. Plus I'm trying to stay active on social media. Plus I'm trying to get out there, doing book readings and speaking engagements... though those have been pretty minimal so can't really be used as an excuse.

To be honest, it's all an excuse. I mean, yes, it's true, what I said above. Marketing takes time. But it's still no excuse not to be writing. I have no clue why it's taken me this long to start another book. Lack of motivation? Fear? Exhaustion? No idea. Maybe all three. In any case, it feels good to finally get some words down on paper. But I still have some steps to climb before I get back into my writing groove. I'm not there yet. I wrote a bit on Monday- don't even know how much since I had to do it in an email- then I did nothing yesterday due to the demands of my day. Today is a new day, and hopefully one in which I will get some words down.

No. Not hopefully. Definitely. I will do it. Day by day, bit by bit, is the only way to get my groove back. To get to that place where I'm excited to write again. I desperately want to be in that place again.

Have you ever hit a writing funk? What do you do to get out of it?

Friday, June 3, 2016


I feel like I've been there, done that, and fangirled all over the place with CALL THE MIDWIFE. But, I mean, I just can't help myself. I just finished season five and it was glorious. The whole show is incredible. The characters, the storylines, the setting and time period. *dies*

This season's overarching story line dealt with babies born with deformities due to a drug no one knew was bad stuff (can't remember what it's called, Google it). I brought it up to my mom (who had her first babies in the early sixties) and she knew exactly what I was talking about. She's finally trying out the show, I just wish I could watch it with her to learn whether she experienced some of the same things the characters do. One of the best things about this show is seeing how childbirth/pregnancy and just things to do with being a woman have evolved through the years.

Of course, I loved the romance story line between Tom and Barbara (poor Trixie). I love the Turner family. I was sad about the death in the last episode. Who am I kidding? I'm sad in every episode. I bawl EVERY SINGLE TIME. The only thing I missed was Chummy. She's such a great character.

If you haven't tried this show, give it a shot. It's excellent TV.