March Wrap-Up

Life-Happening Summary: March came in like a lamb and left like a … Hungry Lamb ? . . .  What a weird weather year we’ve been having. It’s been wonderful! I do like snow for Christmas and December, but that’s about it. Amazingly, my kiddos didn’t have any snow days. The second week of March, I experienced my first SOLO road trip!I had lots of fun singing LOUD, talking to myself, and stopping for coffee whenever I wanted.:)  I went to Ohio to visit my sister (it was her birthday!) and to go to THE PIANO GUYS concert! Let me just say: The Piano Guys are AMAZING! If you don’t know who they are, check them out! So much fun and talent wrapped into one show.

Writing Summary: I had an idea last year that I’ve been mulling over. I knew the WHO (Cortland McGraw) and the WHERE (Steampunk Novel), but I didn’t know the WHAT, WHEN, and WHY’s of the story. I had a few ideas but they weren’t taking me anywhere. Then I watched THE LIBRARIANS (LOVE that show!!) and the ideas started to pour over me! I’ve been plotting, researching, and of course, building a Pinterest board all month–still going strong! I love when a new idea hits. The excitement gives me momentum and has me thinking about it all day (and most of the night…didn’t get a lot of sleep this month). For fun, I tried something a little different with the first draft: I wrote it as a screenplay. It’s too long to actually be one, but it was a fun way to just write the dialogue and motions for each scene. Now, I’m going back through and adding meat (and paragraphs) to it!

Reading Summary:

Winter By: Marissa Meyer

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Winter was the last book of the Lunar Chronicles series. It was a great ending, wrapped everything up, gave the main characters their Happily-Ever-Afters. I love when a series ends and my questions are answered. This entire series is one of my absolute favorites!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children By: Ransom Riggs 

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This was such an odd book . . . but in a good, fascinating way! I recently saw the trailer for the movie coming out and it looked really interesting, so of course I had to go get the book so I could be prepared to watch it. I don’t tend to pick up books like this, but I’m glad I did. It was a neat escape from my norm. Excited to see how close the movie keeps to the book!

The Volk Advent By: Kristen Wiks

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Every March-June, I get a box of books in the mail that I get to read, judge and then KEEP! Several years ago I signed up to be a judge for contest/book awards (not saying what contest just yet…shhh . . . ). The Volk Advent was among the  books in the box this year. The cover had me grabbing for it first. It was a quick read, but I really didn’t connect with the characters, and it was hard for me to suspend disbelief for the plot line.

The Young Elites By: Marie Lu

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Really enjoyed this story–fresh and new, with a good twist ending. Very well written!

Lady Midnight By: Cassandra Clare

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This was a BIG book! It was fun being back in the Shadowhunter world…there were things I loved more than the original series, and things that almost felt like a repeat of the original.

The 5th Wave By: Rick Yancey

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I listened to this book as I drove to and from Ohio! It made the time fly by. I really enjoyed the story (although at times it reminded me of Divergent and The Hunger Games)…but it did have some twists and fresh views on things that I really enjoyed. Can’t wait to see this movie either!

The Glass Sword By: Victoria Aveyard

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While I absolutely LOVED The Red Queen–the first book in this serie–this second book didn’t impress me as much. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good story, but by the end I wasn’t dying to get my hands on the next book in the series. This story felt forced and a lot like an X-Men movie . . . I’ll probably check out the third book when it comes out, but I’m not as jumping-up-and-down-can’t-wait excited for it.

Watched Summary:

THE LIBRARIANS: As I said above, I watched Season 1 of THE LIBRARIANS–loved every second!

ELEMENTARY: While some friends cautioned me, telling me to stay away from it, other’s said they enjoyed it. I must say, I am REALLY enjoying it! I love how they made Watson a woman . . . and the twist that Irene Adler is MORIARTY–woohoo! I’m almost done with Season 2.

I watched ANT MAN and GOOSEBUMPS with my boys–both were great!

CHiPs: This month we were all introduced to CHiPs! We’ve been watching Season 1 as a family–so much fun, and it’s family friendly/appropriate. Love to hear my boys laughing…and my youngest hums the theme song non-stop now (it replaced Star Wars theme song…but that movie comes out tomorrow, so I’m sure he’ll be back to the dark side humming…)

PSYCH: Just discovered this on Netflix . . . I know, I’m behind the times.:) It’s a fun show (annoying at times, but that’s what fast forward is for . . .).

POLDARK: Watched the first 3 episodes… *swoon*…hoping to watch the rest SOON!

February: 100 in 2016

Where did February go? We even got an extra day and it still felt like it super-sonic flew by! I gotta say, February is my favorite month. I’m a little biased because it’s my BIRTHDAY month! Overall, this month was WONDERFUL!

  • I “finished” editing and resubmitted my novel (waiting…”patiently” to hear).
  • I got to be a part of a book launch–so fun!
  • And on my actual birthday, I got to BE THERE to witness the birth of my GOD-SON! Such an amazing birthday gift from my bestest friend! (Still deciding which T-shirt & baby outfit to get…😉

     

  • Oh, and I got purple and green highlights in my hair, which is my annual birthday hair fun.

“I Read These” List

Here, as promised, is the list of books I read in February–brings my total up to 13 for 2016!

Unmasking Juliet By: Teri Wilson: Genre: Adult, RomanceFeb1

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This was the first book I’ve read by Teri Wilson. Must say, I really enjoyed her writing style and her quirky dialogue–and the ROMANCE!  Her writing style is tight and easy to read. It was a quick read and super fun.

Unleashing Mr. Darcy By: Teri Wilson: Genre: Adult, Romance

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After watching the Hallmark version of this novel, I of course had to go look it up! The novel was so similar to the movie, even most of the fun dialogue. I really enjoyed getting to read Darcy’s side to the story–which they didn’t show at all in the movie. Again, an enjoyable, fast read by Teri Wilson.

Poison Princess By: Kresley Cole: Genre: YA

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febThis is the first book in The Arcane Chronicles series. I enjoyed the writing and the premise. It grabbed my attention right away . . . but I kinda of lost interest in the middle, but it did pick up again at the end. I’ll probably read the second book at sometime.

 

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets By: JK Rowling

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Always so much fun to revisit Harry Potter’s world! These stories are just as good the 100th time through as they were the first! I actually listened to this on CD with my boys (we’re reading/listening to all the books before we watch the movies–so fun to hear them say THE BOOK WAS BETTER!) These audio books are read by Jim Dale–he is AMAZINGLY talented!

Passenger By Alexandra Bracken: Genre: YA

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This story was so unique and the characters all very well written! Time travel, lies, secrets, a race to save lives . . . and a cliffhanger ending! I can’t wait to
continue this series!

Starflight By Melissa Landers: Genre: YA, Sci-Fi

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I absolutely LOVED this story! It was like watching an episode of the TV show Firefly. Such a fun romp through space and the future–I couldn’t put it down!

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Asleep By Krystal Wade: Genre: YA, paranormal thriller

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This book messed with my brain! I started it last night and couldn’t put it down! By the time I was dasleepone reading, I couldn’t fall asleep–and didn’t want to (when I did, I admit, I actually had a nightmare that I was locked away!). ASLEEP was so well-written, that I felt I was the one in the asylum. I felt trapped, scared, betrayed . . . and whenever Rose thought about runnin
g, I was right there with her. I just wanted to get out! I went in thinking I knew everything, that Rose wasn’t really crazy just misunderstood, that her parents and the nice doctor just wanted to help her, that her nightmares were just that–dreams. But as I read, I began to doubt her sanity (and mine). I began to doubt who could be trusted, and doubt that everyone Rose met in the asylum was real.

**I was privileged to be a part of the release day party for ASLEEP. This also happened to be the first book published through BLAZE publishing! So excited for them all!

MOVIES/TV SHOWS

**Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: I LOVED it!! I wasn’t sure if I could handle the zombies invading my Jane Austen, but it just added a new layer to it. And the first proposal/rejection scene: EPIC! I could always sense the tension and the desire to react more (but propriety wouldn’t allow it) in the scene in the novel, but to see Darcy and Elizabeth actually do hand-to-hand combat…definitely something I can’t wait to see again!

**Agent Carter Season 2: This show is so much fun! I love Peggy Carter–her relationship with Jarvis and the others is so well done.

**DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Another fun super hero show. Really enjoying it so far.

**Fuller House: I just started watching this on Leap Day. So many memories wrapped up in one show.

**Gilmore Girls: I FINALLY got around to watching this show! The characters–and the LOVE for coffee–has me hooked.

 

 

ASLEEP by Krystal Wade

Asleep Facebook Cover

To celebrate the release of the spine-chilling YA psychological thriller ASLEEP by Krystal Wade, we have a full blog tour and exciting giveaways ahead! ASLEEP is the debut novel from Blaze Publishing, and answers the question of what happens when Sleeping Beauty meets Freddy Krueger. If you want to see more of ASLEEP, you can still find the Ten Weeks of Teasers and other great content on the Blaze Publishing blog. Order your copy now!

Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Kobo   Signed Copy of Asleep   Goodreads

aslThat was the first time he’d spoken her name, and she would have celebrated the fact she’d made a connection with someone—anyone—had her world not been spinning.

Betty just gave me something before I came outside.”

Something’s changing, something big.” He nodded once, agreeing with himself most likely. “You’re like me.”

The sounds of the door opening and closing, the women squabbling near the oak tree over who drew the better picture in the dirt, and people’s feet crunching on the gravel path leading to the door all felt trapped inside her head, loud and somehow touching her, upsetting her system more. God, even the smell of antiseptic made it out here and into Rose’s nostrils… 

I think I’m going to throw up.”

You are.” Phillip gently placed his hand on her back and rubbed small circles. “And they’ll get you.”

I don’t understand. What’s changing? Why do you keep saying I’m like you? Who’ll get me?”

He was paranoid. Crazy. Unpredictable. Yet part of him seemed to know things, to understand, to want to help. How much of what he said was real? How much was just crap made up in his head?

Different. Everything’s different. Except it’s not. And you . . .” He fell to the ground with Rose as she began vomiting. Phillip held her hair back and talked softly, the lunatic whispering, “It’s okay,” a couple times and touching her raw wrist before continuing, “I wish you never had to fall asleep again.”


“To cure fear, you must use fear.”asleep

Rose Briar claims no responsibility for the act that led to her imprisonment in an asylum. She wants to escape, until terrifying nightmares make her question her sanity and reach out to her doctor. He’s understanding and caring in ways her parents never have been, but as her walls tumble down and Rose admits fault, a fellow patient warns her to stop the medications. Phillip believes the doctor is evil and they’ll never make it out of the facility alive. Trusting him might be just the thing to save her. Or it might prove the asylum is exactly where she needs to be.


Follow the Blog Tour!

Tuesday 2/16 Wednesday 2/17 Thursday 2/18
Vicki Leigh: First Chapter Reading Jordan Elizabeth: First Chapter Reading Eve Langell: First Chapter Reading
Case Maynard: Promo Post What A Nerd Girl Says: Interview A Thousand Books: Teaser One
Friday 2/19 Saturday 2/20 Sunday 2/21
OriginiquEquanimity: Promo Post Janelle Howard: Teaser Two Archaeolibrarian: Teaser Three
Ryan Hill: Interview Nerd Girl Official: Promo Post
Tesairie’s Book Reads: Promo Post

Giveaway!

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We’re giving away some awesome prizes to celebrate the release of ASLEEP, including this stylish cuff! Enter with the Rafflecopter below and tell your friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


“To cure fear, you must use fear.”

asleep Rose Briar claims no responsibility for the act that led to her imprisonment in an asylum. She wants to escape, until terrifying nightmares make her question her sanity and reach out to her doctor. He’s understanding and caring in ways her parents never have been, but as her walls tumble down and Rose admits fault, a fellow patient warns her to stop the medications. Phillip believes the doctor is evil and they’ll never make it out of the facility alive. Trusting him might be just the thing to save her. Or it might prove the asylum is exactly where she needs to be.

 

kryABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Krystal Wade can be found in the sluglines outside Washington D.C. every morning, Monday through Friday. With coffee in hand, iPod plugged in, and strangers-who sometimes snore, smell, or have incredibly bad gas-sitting next to her, she zones out and thinks of fantastical worlds for you and me to read. How else can she cope with a fifty mile commute?

Good thing she has her husband and three kids to go home to. They keep her sane.

Website   Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   Google+

Want to stay up to date on everything from Blaze Publishing? Sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss a thing! The first 100 subscribers get free Blaze bookmarks (UK, US, and Canada only) AND get added to our Loyal 100 group, which gives you access to exclusive news, teasers, prizes, and ARCs!

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2016 Reading Goal

My reading goal for 2016 is 100 books. (Not including any of mine…seeing as I’ve already read BOUND about 3 times this month…):)

My other goal is to check in here with what I’ve read, give a little blurb review, and rate it–using coffee cups!

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I might also include movies, TV shows I just discovered, and maybe one or two books from my TBR (To Be Read).

So here goes.

JANUARY 2016 READ LIST

A Season to Love by Nicole Deese 

Genre: Contemporary Romance–Adult

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This was the second book I’ve read by Nicole Deese. I loved every second of it!

(Check out my full review: https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/a-season-to-love-nicole-deese/

The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

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Genre:YA

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The Book of Ivy had a very cool premise–Girl forced to marry guy, who also happens to be the son of her families enemy–and she plans on killing him! It grabbed my attention right away, but then I kinda lost interest until the very end where it picked up again. There is a sequel that I’m planning on picking up sometime in the future.

Heat Rises by Richard Castle

book4Genre: Adult, detective

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I have been devouring the TV show Castle! I love it! And then I discovered that the Niki Heat books was a real series! Heat Rises is the third book in the series. So far, they’ve all read like an episode of the show. Wonderful!

Jilted by Carla Laureano (a Novella)

Genre: Adult, contemporary romance

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book5Jilted was a fun, super quick read. Carla Laureano is an excellent story teller. This novella was offered for FREE on her website to those who have subscribed to her newsletter. Link: http://www.carlalaureano.com/books/jilted/

Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer

Genre: YA

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book3I was a fan of the original Twilight series, so any trip back to that world was a must. I have to say that Stephenie Meyer’s writing tightened up–I could really see that she’s improving and honing her writing craft. I was intrigued and liked the idea of the major roles being switched, but she over did the switches, in my opinion. Everyone that was female is now male and vice versa. The only one I REALLY liked in a reverse role was Jacob. The character was so much better as a female. Having it all flip-flopped just didn’t work as well as I’d hoped and I was confused more times than not because I couldn’t remember who was supposed to be who . . . And, it was kinda annoying because it was the EXACT same story just with the names and genders switched. I was hoping for a little more originality. There were things that worked for a female human that just didn’t have the same effect on a human male–the car stopping, the blood fainting, the tripping . . .

TV SHOWS/MOVIES

This month I was introduced to iZombie.

The Shannara Chronicles–I was SUPER excited when I heard about this show!! The Shannara series is one of the first adult series that I remember my dad reading to me! I love the books, and this TV adaptation has been really great so far! Can’t wait to watch more!

Unleashing Mr. Darcy–A new Hallmark movie based on Pride and Prejudice. I love P&P, so of course I had to watch. This retelling had some very interesting twists along with all the things I love about the original. While not really a dog person myself, I enjoyed the story.

I FINALLY watched Paper Towns (novel by John Green).

The Finest Hours–saw it in the theater. (CHRIS PINE!) Based on a true story, this movie was very well done! Great acting and action. Although, I saw it in 3D…I was fine while watching, but as soon as the movie was over and I stood up, I had a moment of seasickness and trying to regain my land legs!

For February–MY BIRTHDAY MONTH–I’m most looking forward to reading ASLEEP by Krystal Wade! It releases on February 7th! I’ve already pre-ordered my copy–get yours on Amazon or at http://www.blazepub.com/

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A Season To Love: Nicole Deese

 

“Every day can be as different as every sunset.”

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First Thoughts

I had the privilege of getting my hands on a copy of A Season to Love, which releases on February 2. Nicole Deese did it again–blew me away and tweaked my thinking. She has such a way with words, which makes it easy to pick up her novels and not be able to put them down. Forget sleep, who needs it?

This journey challenged and inspired me to take a step back and look at my life, to see what really matters, what is really controlling me, and what is holding me back from really living. Being afraid of climbing to the top of a mountain (especially when you’re scared of heights) can make you miss out on the most amazing view. But it’s not all about standing at the top, it’s the journey up there–the one that makes you want to climb back up again because it was so worth it.

Main Characters

Willa Hart: widow, mother of a cancer survivor, teacher (although, she hasn’t been able to go back to it yet–at the moment, she’s working at a gym).

Patrick McCade: Scottish hottie, doctor, world-traveling adventurer, photographer (unknown artists of the sunsets that have gotten Willa through some difficult times)

SPARK Levels: Wowza! Did I mention that I love the way Nicole writes? So wonderful and tastefully HOT!

Also, want to say that the cast of characters surrounding them just added so much to their relationship. Complex secondary characters are a definite bonus!

Setting

I was so thrilled to be going back to the picturesque town of Lenox, Oregon and continuing the journey with its residents. **You can read my review of book 1: A Cliche Christmas here: https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/interview-with-nicole-deese/

My Review

Willa Hart knows a thing or two about loss, but being brave? Not so much. As a widow who has also survived her daughters chemotherapy battle (thankfully, they’re on the other side, but that’s almost scarier, because it could happen again at any moment!), Willa survives day-to-day by controlling everything. And then she meets Patrick McCade (Scottish hottie, doctor) who is all about living un-tethered and wild.

Due to a promise Willa made her daughter, and a journal that has gone everywhere with Patrick, the two of them begin working together to help Willa start living. Through a fun, inspiring, and beyond beautifully-written journey, Willa and Patrick both learn what true bravery looks like.

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For Willa, it’s letting go of her tight hold on control.

For Patrick, it’s hanging on–giving up his “freedom” and his thrill-seeking to stay in one place.

 

Check out Nicole Deese: mhttp://www.nicoledeese.com/

Pre-order your copy of A Season To Love: http://www.amazon.com/Season-Love-Lenox/dp/1503950506/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453133702&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Season+to+Love+Nicole+Deese

Clean Off Desk Day

So, apparently yesterday (January 11th) was national CLEAN OFF YOUR DESK DAY. I’m a day behind, but my desk is now clean. YEAH! Not sure it’ll make it all day, seeing as I’m writing/editing…but, for picture sake, it’s CLEANED OFF!

What essentials do you have to have on your desk, besides your laptop/computer?

Tools of the trade: Pens, Pencils, Highlights, Sticky Notes, Paperclips, Folders, Notebooks

Nourishment: Water bottle, COFFEE, snacks (healthy of course…Veggie Chips count, right?)

Decorations: Candles, Motivational Signs/Quotes, Pictures, Books, Stress Ball…

I heard somewhere that the smell of coffee gets the creative juices flowing. Well, I got a coffee-scented candle for Christmas–so bring on the creativity!

*Disclaimer: might make you mad, throw things, cry…I keep smelling coffee thinking that there’s a fresh pot of the brown elixir-of-life…and when I check, it’s usually empty….WAHHHH….

My office is in my kitchen at the moment. But someday I hope to have an office to call my own PERSONAL,”NO BOYS ALLOWED” sanctuary. One that doesn’t smell like food being cooked, garbage (the can is right by my desk…), and that doesn’t have a minefield of LEGOS for me to impale my feet on.

But until then, I do love my small space. And my desk chair is super comfy!

How about you? What would you include in your DREAM OFFICE? Pictures welcome!

 

 

ASLEEP cover Reveal!

ASLEEP
by: Krystal Wade

Today is the cover reveal for Asleep by Krystal Wade, a YA horror that will have you on the edge of your seat with every page turn. This is the debut novel from Blaze Publishing, set to be released February 16, 2016. Pre-orders are available now from Amazon. Mark your calendars, and be sure to add the book to your Goodreads list! Come join us at the Cover Reveal Party on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/904898159588320/). Or do it all!

BOOK BLURB:

“To cure fear, you must use fear.”

Rose Briar claims no responsibility for the act that led to her imprisonment in an asylum. She wants to escape, until terrifying nightmares make her question her sanity and reach out to her doctor. He’s understanding and caring in ways her parents never have been, but as her walls tumble down and Rose admits fault, a fellow patient warns her to stop the medications. Phillip believes the doctor is evil and they’ll never make it out of the facility alive. Trusting him might be just the thing to save her. Or it might prove the asylum is exactly where she needs to be.
Pre-Order ASLEEP today

And now…..THE COVER REVEAL!

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Isn’t that an awesome cover!! Tell me your thoughts in the comments below! So excited to read this novel!