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!


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.


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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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 . . .


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/



Progress Report

Today is the 15th of November. I have officially reached the HALFWAY POINT for NaNo, and I’m STILL ALIVE! 🙂 Thankfully the ideas are still coming strong–almost too strong on some days. My goals have been to write at least 1,667 words a day, and to NOT edit. Some days I have written a lot more than 1,667. Some days I wrote a lot less. But I have NOT edited, even though my fingers are twitching. Having “writer with an editor brain” syndrome is hard to combat, but so far I’m resisting the urge.

My progress report:

Day 1: I wrote 3,228 words

Day 2: Today was National Book Lovers Day, so of course I HAD to read…read more than 50,000 words…sure wish that counted for my writing total! I also spent the morning “bouncing” with a writer friend.  (3,693 words written)

Day 3:  Only wrote 891 words today, but I finished my “first week” of NaNo with 7,812 words. My handy-dandy calendar said I should be at least to 5001 words…felt overall accomplishment!

Day 4: Monday . . . 2,629 Words

Day 5: 2,868 Words

Day 6: Got distracted by Howl’s Moving Castle, watching the movie, and picking up the book again . . . Only wrote 440 words, but did get some “research done”. Also, Wednesday is my “bouncing day.”  Skyped with my bouncing buddy and then went to the diner until 11 PM to hang out with another awesome writing buddy (we mostly drank coffee, but she did help me with ideas!)

Day 7: 2,348 words (also, had an interesting chat with a man in uniform…FODDER!)

Day 8: My boys didn’t have school today….And I decided to use Anna Kendrick as my model for my heroine, ENDICOTT. So, of course I had to “search” on pinterest…which led me to deciding to learn the Cup Song…which sent me to YOUTUBE….which made me want to learn the words that Anna Kendrick sings with it on the movie Pitch Perfect…Yeah, I get distracted easily. But I accomplished the cup song, movements AND words! I only got 658 words written . . .

Day 9: Today I went to one of my favorite places (Lamoka Lake Baptist Camp). I helped run the wood splitter, and chuck and stack wood. Great exercise! Came home and wrote 1,791 words. 

Day 10:  Sunday, day of rest… but did manage to write 2,561 words.

My first full week DONE! Wrote a total of 13,292 words for the week, giving me a grand total of 21,114 (my calendar said to be at 16,670)

Day 11: Veteran’s Day (a HUGE THANK YOU to all those who served and are serving. So blessed!)…decided to give up coffee…don’t ask…only wrote 218 words…

Day 12: NO SCHOOL: SNOW DAY!!! WHAT??? Back on coffee…sent out the signal… wrote 3,664 words (think I’ll keep drinking it). Painted my nails with silver glitter nail polish and wrote 50,000 WORDS in blue nail polish. 🙂 Now every time I look down, I see 50,000 words!

Day 13: 948 words…hit 25K…halfway there for word count! Woot! Woot!

Day 14: 879 words

Day 15: STILL WRITING (hmmmm, do these wonderful words on my blog count??) I’m trying to get as many words written this morning as possible because my brain will not be working tomorrow. Tonight at 6PM until 6AM tomorrow, I will be with over 1,000 teenagers and adults…teen all-nighter…a night of watching a hockey game, playing volleyball & soccer, pizza, bowling, and inflatables!!)….lots of FODDER just waiting for my pen to hear it! 

My Discoveries:

**I can’t write in order, going from “Once Upon a Time” to “The End” is not really my style. It just frustrates me to no end. My mind jumps all over the place. I get an idea for a scene, and I have to write it down before my brain will let me move on. But having Scrivener has been a life saver, catering to my mind-hopping tendencies. I’m able to have folders that help me stay organized and out of order!

**I’m also discovering that this “quantity over quality” writing is hard for my editor brain. I know I’m writing a lot of silliness among the jewels. (at one point I have my heroine and hero discussing her black and white stripped stockings…although, I think I’ll keep the scene because it made me ROFL!) I want to fix the silliness, bad grammar, and the randomness of it all, but I’m determined to stay focused on 50K! It’s comforting to know that at the end of the month, I will have my freedom to edit to my heart’s content…probably deleting more then half…YEAH! 😉


This is where I’m at. Type ya again at the end of November!

For those of you brave writer’s in this boat with me, good luck!

Just Keep Writing!

Just Keep Writing!

RUE! (resist the urge to edit)


Oh, The Places I Write: #3


Out of all the places I write, the diner has to be my favorite! I have a booth with comfy, cushioned bench seats. I have to step up to get to my booth–elevated above all the other tables and booths! It’s tucked up and away from the rest of the diner, hiding me, and letting me escape to my own world. When my writing time is up, I have to remind myself where I am. I get lost in the wonderfulness . . . 

Pros: unlimited COFFEE . . . no internet to distract me . . . great music–just loud enough that I can listen if I want, but can ignore it when I’m on a writing-roll . . . great waitress (that know me & have my coffee on my table before I even get set up…and they don’t have to ask if I want a refill, they just keep it filled!) . . . the customers–people that give me fodder whether they meant to or not! . . . I’m hidden, and can be in my own little world . . . BACON . . . 


Cons: _____________________

*Can’t think of any . . . well, other than the fact that I have to drive 10 minutes to get there. But what is that when there are like 500 pros?? 🙂

Just Write!

“Take out another notebook, pick up another pen, and just write, just write, just write. In the middle of the world, make one positive step. In the center of chaos, make one definitive act. Just write. Say yes, stay alive, be awake. Just write. Just write. Just write.” –Natalie Goldberg

I’m preaching to myself: JUST WRITE!!!

Today has “writing day” written  all over it. It’s Saturday. It’s raining. I’ve had coffee. My belly is full. My family is occupied. I’ve taken my nap. I just made more coffee.

But, today finds me just staring at my computer screen….

It’s so easy for me to talk about writing because I am passionate about it. But when it comes to being passionate about writing, you can’t just talk or set the stage, you actually need to sit down and write.

So, get out a piece of paper, open your laptop and JUST WRITE!


Day #13: Photo Booths

*This is the newest rage at weddings. They are so much fun–very goofy! 

Day #14: A good cup of coffee & a REALLY good book

Day #15: Sunday Naps

Day #16: Smart Cars 

*I first saw these in Germany. They bring back all the fun memories of my week spent there…and they’re just so cute!

Day #17: Movie Classics: Musicals & Black and White Movies

*Here are a few of my fav’s: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Singing in the Rain, Clamity Jane, My Fair Lady, White Christmas, Sound of music

Black and white: Pride and Prejudice, Holiday Inn

Day #18: Swivel chairs at restaurants

*Yes, I still swivel like I’m five…and LOVE every second of it!

Day #19: Libraries

Day #20: Blowing Bubbles (both soap and gum)

HAPPY Day 4 & 5

Day #4: New Notebooks and Pens (& Highlighters)

It’s school time! And that means all the stores are FILLED with essential writing supplies. My boys’ school supplies EVERYTHING, so I don’t have to buy them school supplies. But I feel a left out, so I buy them anyway. Notebooks, pens, highlighters . . . oh my!

Oh, the thrill of holding, opening, and smelling new notebooks. The possibilities are endless as to what will get written in them. And new pens & highlighters . . . Gel pens are my friends, the way they glide over an empty page, filling it up, producing something on nothing . . .

Anyone else experience these feelings? Or is it just me?

Day #5: Diner Coffee

I’ve never had a bad cup of diner coffee. I’ve gotten cups from other places (chain stores), and it’s the bottom of the pot–has that weird almost burnt taste. BLAAGH. But diner coffee . . . not sure what it is. Maybe I don’t want to know. It could be that the coffee pot/machine is so old and seasoned, that the coating comes off in the brewing. . . The coffee is probably a cheap brand, but oh how good.

Not only do I love diner coffee, I love the diner themselves. Diner’s are great.  The atmosphere is friendly, and the waitresses have become friends. And, it’s where most of my writing gets done. So thank you diner’s for making coffee that fuels my writing! You are greatly appreciated!

5K Novel: Mile Two

Mile Two…Or as I like to call it “The Pity-Party Mile.”

Lungs are heated. Breathing is more of a gasping. Legs are shaking, but your goal was to run until the halfway marker. You’re almost there. You’re almost done! At least that’s what the boys, ringing cowbells, told you. “You’re almost done!” they yell as they run by in the opposite direction, not a drip of sweat on their faces.


You haven’t reached the halfway point yet! How can you be almost done with the 5K?

Someone calls your name. It’s your running partner. Your heart gives a twitch. She’s headed the other way, already having made it to the halfway point. She’s happily on her way to the mile 2 marker.

“Yeah you!” she calls as she passes.

You force a smile, thankful that you didn’t just give in and walk. “I haven’t stopped running yet!”

Your perseverance pays off. You can see the halfway point. And look, lovely ladies holding out glasses of ice cold water. Okay, you deserve to walk for a bit. You walk as you drink, but as soon as the water is gone, you start running again. You’ve been revived!

As you round the next bend, a hill appears. (And a guy on a bicycle tells you you’re doing great—and you seriously want to push him over, steal his bike…). Your lower back hurts at the thought of running up hill, but you can’t stop now. You’ve been “training” for this. Your course at home took you up lots of hills. You resist the urge to walk, I mean, the downhill is coming up! You conquer the hill, and fly down the other side, gaining another burst of energy.

Wait? What is that? YUM! Coffee! Chicken! And look, vendors selling sparkly and fluffy things…

You stop running. Thoughts hit you. You feel like crying. You feel so alone. You feel angry that you were talked into this . . .

“I hate running!”

“Why did I agree to do this?”

“I can’t do this! This is way too hard.”

“No one would blame me if I stopped running, curled into a ball, took a nap…”

Then a smiling woman catches your eye. “You’re doing amazing! The two mile marker is less than a minute away. Don’t give up! You got this!”

As tears build, you start running again. You feel like you’re hardly moving, but you press on… You smile when the Mile 2 marker appears. Nothing has ever looked better. You feel victorious. You resisted temptation. You didn’t give up.


The ideas are slowing. Your “bouncer” is on vacation or working on her novel. Some non-writer friends are on their way to lunch and to Wal-Mart. Their lives seem so easy compared to yours. They don’t know how you suffer. What’s it like to be “normal?”

You see that halfway point, and a fresh wave of ideas hits you.

But then…What’s that? Coffee! Nap time! Pinterest—you just HAVE to find a picture of your character. SHERLOCK!!

Roadblocks appear. And then the pity-party commences. No one would blame you if you gave up. It’d be easier than beating your head against your desk. You’ve been neglecting housework and family to write. Guilt . . .

“Why did I ever want to be a writer?”

“This is too hard!”

“No one cares.”

“I can’t write!”

Just when you’re about to throw your computer out a window, you get a note from someone you’ve never met. They tell you that you have a way with words. And that they love your writing. That they are on the edge of their seat and can’t wait to read more! Then another friend sends you an email DEMANDING you send them more of your WIP (work in progress)—they’re about to die and can’t think of ANYTHING ELSE but what happens next!

Your mentor sends you a reminder:

You wipe your eyes, turn on your computer, and type. Turning that pity-party into a thankful fest.

It hits you as you type: Your novel is more than halfway done! You ran over all those roadblocks with your army truck. You resisted curling up with all those distractions. You closed the door on the pity-party.

You resisted! You’re victorious! You got this!

**The last mile is fast approaching, and then the finish line…stay tuned!

Starting Line: https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/5k-novel-the-starting-line/

Mile One: https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/5k-novel-mile-one/