Thursday, June 28, 2012

Aim High

If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth.

This is what I'm trying to do every day--stretch myself a little bit farther, reach a little bit higher to try to improve in my work and my personal life.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review SURRENDER by Elana Johnson

If you've noticed my reviews lately, you might have noticed that I'm an eclectic reader. I love to mix things up reading everything from YA dystopian, romance, historical fiction, and of course some great mysteries. Today I get to tell you about a new YA dystopian that I just finished reading--SURRENDER by Elana Johnson is book #2 in her Possession series (Why do I have such a hard time remembering that possession is spelled with two double -s's??)

Anyway, this book rocks and Elana rocks too, just sayin'. I really enjoyed this read. Elana has some super cool tech inventions in her book which rides the line of science fiction IMO. In Surrender we meet Raine and Gunner and get to learn their part in the resistance against the total mind-numbing control of the government.

Here's the back blurb:
Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…
     Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.
     All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.
     Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque….

*I have to say that I liked Surrender better than Possession--that may be in part because I understood the world Elana had created, but I think it's mostly because the main characters were easier to identify with. Also, Elana's writing is tight, edgy, and full of style. Her characters have voice that you can't ignore and that isn't just because Gunn has Voice skilz. :)

So If you're looking for a great YA that'll pull you into a new world of Thinkers, brainwashing, and tech galore, you need to check out POSSESSION first and then read SURRENDER!

What's coming up soon on my review list?
Banana Split by Josi Kilpack
Broken by Christine Bryant
Evertaster by Adam Sidwell

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reach for the Stars!

Today's Thursday Thought is by another of my author friends, Kelly Nelson. I love her message--it applies to all of us in every walk of life.
"As a young teenager, I listened to a woman who was confined to a wheelchair give a motivational talk. In spite of her physical challenges she had achieved great things. I don’t remember all of what she said, but one thing has stuck with me for all of these years. She encouraged us to “Reach for the Stars,” saying, “If you reach for the stars you might make it to the moon, but if you only reach for the moon, you might barely make it out of the atmosphere, and if you only try for the sky you may not get past your roof top.”

I don’t remember who this woman was or what she had done, but her words have come back to me time and time again, motivating me to always try to be the best I can. Remembering what she said has given me the courage to try new things and to face possible failure. If we let the fear of failure stop us from trying, we will never succeed. Often it is what we learn from our failures, that gives us the experience and knowledge to finally succeed. I am reminded of Thomas Edison, who despite hundreds of failed attempts while inventing the electric light bulb, persevered until he achieved his goal. I don’t doubt he evaluated each failed attempt and made calculated adjustments until he found the recipe for success. Remember to always reach for the stars!"

Kelly Nelson lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She enjoys riding her horses, running, and of course pursuing her passion for writing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review- Daughters of Jared by H.B. Moore

I love reading a good book that keeps me thinking about the characters long after the book is shut. Daughters of Jared by H.B. Moore (AKA Heather) is masterfully written. She pulled me into the pages of this ancient story and brought the scriptures to life.  
Daughters of Jared is based on a story from The Book of Mormon, so it is historical fiction for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I would like to voice my opinion that any fan of historical fiction regardless of their faith will enjoy this book. Heather is an incredible writer with a gift of weaving compelling plot lines together with strong-voiced characters. Naiva, one of the daughters of Jared tells this story through her own first-person viewpoint and it's excellent!

Here is the back cover blurb:
Naiva, daughter of the dethroned King Jared II, lives in the shadow of her privileged elder sister, Asherah. But when Asherah develops a secret plot to return their father to the throne, Naiva's resentment turns to fear. Thwarting the scheme becomes more complicated when Naiva discovers that Akish, the first man who has shown interest in her, is an integral part of the plan. Asherah traps Akish in a ploy to make him marry her, breaking Naiva's heart and leaving her feeling more alone than ever. Somehow Naiva must find the strength to stand against the encroaching evil in the kingdom and a sister who will stop at nothing to become queen. When Akish's wickedness escalates and threatens to destroy the bonds of sisterhood, Naiva must decide between protecting her sister and honoring her new belief in the true God,a forbidden belief that could cost her life.

 Heather has written several award-winning books. If you'd like to see sneak-peeks, she has sample chapters (including the first chapter of Daughters of Jared) on her website here.
Here's the book trailer for Daughters of Jared

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday, Monday

I don't dread Mondays because I like starting a new week fresh and deluding myself into thinking (yet again) that I will get everything done that I need to this week. It's finally summer though and I think this week will be fun. The first day of summer is June 20th!
Here's a few things I have planned this week:

The kids are starting swimming lessons
The garden needs weeded again
We're going to the water park
Mow the lawn
Give the girls another piano lesson
Hoping to write 10,000 words this week on my new novel (should be around 80K total words at first draft)
Clean the basement

Try to keep the boys from throwing rocks and sand in each other's hair

Finish read Surrender by Elana Johnson and start reading Banana Split by Josi Kilpack
Family Reunion Camping trip

How about you? What do you have planned for this official first week of summer?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Bomb Today for Caribbean Crossroads

Celebrate the release of CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS by Connie Sokol with a special price today!

Did you want it in Paperback?--we had a slight glitch yesterday, but it's available now--if you purchase the paperback Friday or Saturday, you can still email Rachelle and we will honor the free gifts. I have a special offer for you—it’s only good for today—Thursday, June 14, 2012. Purchase CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS  from for only $1.99. Then email with your order confirmation/receipt. Once Rachelle receives your order details, she will email you an amazing selection of over 10 free gifts from Connie Sokol and several others!

 Here’s what’s in store when you purchase CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS  today:
(All items will be emailed to you from Rachelle after she receives your order confirmation.) You can purchase the Kindle Edition HERE for $1.99 today! Need it in Paperback?----if you purchase the paperback Friday or Saturday (June 15-16th), you can still email Rachelle and we will honor the free gifts.
To celebrate the launch of her new romance novel, Connie Sokol- author, speaker, and life coach is offering two incredible free gifts when you purchase CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS TODAY. 

  • ·         You’ll receive a free Ebook of Life is Too Short for One Hair Color-- A humorous collection of anecdotes and helpful tips to survive being a woman, wife, and mother. Laugh a little, lighten up a lot, and take something from each story to practically and positively help you change your life and perspective–one tip at a time.

  • ·         Mp3 file of Get Organized -- Need extra hours in the day? You can find them today! Learn how to realistically streamline repetitive tasks such as bill paying, laundry, meal planning and cooking to create FREE hours for what you need most. Discover a fabulous organization formula to use in ANY area of your life for more effective time management. Get organized and stay organized to enjoy a more fulfilling life!

  • ·         Shear Luck free ebook by Heather Justesen—a romance novella-- When salon manager Chelsea Robison walks into the restaurant next door, she's surprised to run into her teenage crush Vaughn Krenshaw. Though he is still mourning his wife's death, he can't help but take a chance and ask her out. As things start getting serious, family pressure about dating again, and rumors from his past surface, making the chance for happily ever after look farther than ever.

  • · offers the ultimate money management spreadsheet! Create and monitor your budget. A free alternative to Quicken.

  • ·         TheSeedtouch--An Epic Fantasy Romance by Rebecca Lyn Shelley
 When Keil's father succumbs to dementia, she disguises herself as a man to save her family. But her quest is threatened when she accidentally bonds with a man who has traded all his wealth and land for the addictive drug, tam. Furious, she rejects her new bondmate and takes control of the landholding that she believes will keep her family safe.  But the tam is spreading and will soon destroy not only her land but also all life if she cannot find a way to stop it. Like it or not, she's forced to team up with her bondmate to save their world. 

  • ·         Angela Morrison is the author of Sing me to Sleep, 2010 Goodreads Choice Nominee and USA Best Books 2011 winner for Young Adult Fiction, and the critically acclaimed Taken by Storm saga. Her free gift: All-new Taken by Storm ebook. 

Mormon girl, Leesie, has life figured out until devastated Michael lands on her doorstep. Originally published by Penguin, this intimate novel is a rare journey into a Mormon teen's inner life. Ebook includes a never before published scene and free chapter from Unbroken Connection (Book #2). Follow Angela's new "liv2writ" blog at

  • ·         Enjoy the incredible YA Paranormal Bestseller--Bound   by Christine Bryant.
     When a photo shoot ends in tragedy, Kira discovers her best friend, Lydia, has been keeping a secret. Knowing the truth, and accepting it, will change Kira’s life forever and thrust her into a world of ancient curses, magical objects, and savage enemies. What happens next will challenge everything Kira knows about her world, herself and the shape-shifting warrior she’s falling in love with.

  • Three free ebooks from award-winning author Karen HooverThe Sapphire Flute ( Book 1 of The Wolfchild Saga) Seven Keys and seven guardians born to save a dying world.  AND
  The Armor of Light (Book 2 of the Wolfchild Saga), TheMisadventures of a Teenage Wizard, Book 1: Two Souls are Better Than One
Chased by dragons. Saved by a Pegasus. Sharing his mouth with a wizardly spirit.

  • ·         Amy Chandler’s free gift offering--Where are your photos? Sign up today for a FREE account and get those photos out of a box, off your computer and into 100% customizable beautiful books your whole family will cherish!

Why a book bomb? A book bomb is when a large group of people purchase a certain book on a specific day on Amazon. This pushes the book's popularity up the Amazon ranks, which in turn gives the book more visibility to Amazon shoppers. That’s the goal today for CARIBBEANCROSSROADS. Grab your copy and help us celebrate! Just remember to email Rachelle with your order receipt! 

So feel free to pass this on to your friends and shout it out on FB, Twitter, etc. We’d like as many people as possible to benefit from these bonus gifts. Connie is giving an extra gift to you just for spreading the word about the book bomb. Visit and click on the green button to share for a FREE audio download of "CoachCast: Joy In Womanhood"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review of Caribbean Crossroads by Connie Sokol

Are you thirsting for a great summer romance? Then I have something exciting to share with you today!

I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Connie Sokol's new romance novel, CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS and I simply could not read fast enough. My husband was making fun of me because he saw me brushing my teeth while reading my Kindle--yep, it's that good.

Let me share a little about Connie and this awesome book.

Connie Sokol is a mother of seven—a national and local presenter, and a regular speaker at Education Week. She is a monthly TV contributor on KSL’s “Studio 5” and regular blogger for LDSLiving online. She is a former TV and radio host for Bonneville Communications, and columnist for Deseret News and Utah Valley Magazine. Mrs. Sokol is also the author of Motherhood Matters, Faithful, Fit & Fabulous, and Life is Too Short for One Hair Color, as well as talk CDs and podcasts. Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats. Visit her website at

And here's the blurb for the book:
New college grad Megan McCormick just got dumped. Hard.

Swearing off men and relationships, Megan is coaxed into performing on a cruise ship where she meets the star performer, Bryant Johnson. Handsome and charismatic, he looks like trouble, but she can't deny the intense attraction between them.

Urged to find a wife and run the family lumber business, Bryant is torn between his family's expectations for his life and his own. However, when he meets spunky, but love-skittish Megan McCormick, settling down doesn't look so bad.

Just when Megan begins to trust again, and Bryant makes some big decisions regarding his future, her former fiance returns with a malicious surprise, taking Megan and Bryant to their own CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS.

Let me tell you why I liked this book! First off, I like my romance novels to have something going on--more than just girl meets guy and rides off into the sunset. Sure it's great if the guy is good-looking and the girl is sweet, but it really gets interesting when the characters come to life and have REAL problems. Connie did this so well. Megan, the main character, connected to me in so many ways. I could feel her trying to be courageous and solve her problems and at the same time I was so invested in her relationship with Bryant that at times I wanted to shake her and TURN the pages faster!
Bryant is the real-deal. I love how he is portrayed as this total hunk, but with brains and heart.
The setting is super fun--on a cruise ship and there are so many reasons to like this book.

So I want to recommend that you grab this book and keep an eye on Connie's Facebook page for the fun goodies and tips she gives out!

Tell me what is on your reading list this summer--cuz you know my TBR pile is leaning so I need a few more to even it out!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Some Random Thoughts and a Winner

Keeping a 20 month old still during church is like trying to stuff an elephant into a quart jar.

 If I could I would read all day long, but I can't so I'm thinking about learning how to speed read.

I made some 'from scratch' cream cheese brownies with a recipe from this book to take to my Sunday School class of teenagers.

I should have taken all of them because they are dang good and my hubby doesn't like brownies much.

 I miss Hawaii--will be posting Day 3 of my travelogue soon!

I weeded so much last week that my wrist is sore and there are still about a jillion weeds left in my yard/garden.

Yesterday my 4 kids attended Chef Rachelle's school and I taught them how to make Hamburger Stroganoff--my 9 year old made pretty much the whole meal and was so excited.

I get to announce the winner of the My Favorite Reads Giveaway Hop! I gave away 5 different books and some chocolate, click here to see original post.

And the winner is...

John D.

Congrats John! I've contacted him and will be sending out his prize pack soon.
Thanks to everyone who entered. It was fun sharing my favorite reads with you.

It's Monday, hope your week is great and let me know if it's a little random. :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Angel Thoughts from a Guest Author

I'd like to thank Trina Boice for visiting my blog today. She was kind enough to share an inspirational thought that is definitely a keeper. 

"We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly embracing one another."   - Luciano de Crescenzo

Trina shared: "I started collecting quotes when I was just a little girl.  I was fascinated and inspired by them.  I began by gathering them on 3 x 5 note cards in a little box my father gave me.  My collection expanded into a shoe box, then a big box, then a filing cabinet, then 12 filing cabinets, and now onto my hard drive.  I'm always impressed with concise writers who can express a profound thought so simply, and yet with words that evoke emotion and motivation to do better and be better."

Trina Boice has birthed 13 books and 4 sons!  A corporate trainer, Trina was the California Young Mother of the Year in 2004, an award which completely amuses her kids.
Check out her newest book!
Dad's Night: Fantastic Family Nights in Five Minutes

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Book Review- Women of Strength by Tristi Pinkston

Tristi Pinkston has written yet another fabulous book. Somebody needs to get a patent on this woman's fingers because she is a writing diva!

I needed her book when it was first delivered to me and I needed it again yesterday. Can I just say that being a woman is hard stuff sometimes? I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders as I do my best to be my best and be all I can be to my four children and my husband. And sometimes I get downright depressed and overwhelmed because it seems like no matter how hard I try, I still mess up.
If you've ever felt this way, then cheer me up and tell me I'm normal, and then check out Tristi's new book because she wrote it for you.

I hope you'll read the back cover blurb because it is powerful.

The need for courageous, faithful women has never been greater than it is today. As we draw nearer to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we are faced with temptations on every side. But we can prevail as we gain true strength from living the gospel.

In Women of Strength, Tristi Pinkston shares inspiring stories, as well as insightful quotes from Church leaders, to demonstrate the power and influence of righteous women. This book invites women everywhere to deepen their relationship with the Savior, rely on the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and learn what it really means to be strong.

Learn more about Tristi here at her website or here at her blog.
You can purchase Tristi's book on Amazon or your local bookstore.

Here's to the strength within you!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hawaiian Travelogue Day 2

For Day 1 of my Hawaiian Travelogue, click here
Day 2, May 7, 2012
After sleeping in, with no little boys to wake us up at 6am, we headed out to see some popular waterfalls on the island. We drove up a little canyon to Wailua Falls. 

They were beautiful, but the unique thing was how incredibly green it was everywhere we went and how flowers grew intertwined with the trees and bushes.

There were these gorgeous bushes with bright purplish-pink flowers and I had to ask someone what they were. Bougainvillea! I’ve read so many books that take place in Hawaii or tropical places that describe Bougainvillea and I finally got to see them.

On our way up to the north shore of Kauai, we stopped at Opaeka’a Falls. Across the road, was an overlook for Wailua River. 


After that we went to the Kilauea lighthouse and it was … meh. Save your $5 entry fee and just walk up and look at all the cool birds dotted all over the mountainside because you can't go inside the lighthouse or anything, but they have some great historical records and stuff there if that's your bag.

I will say that by the lighthouse you have a great vantage point of Secret Beach which is where we went next.

It’s called Secret Beach because you have to hike down the mountain about 10 minutes to get to the beach, but it’s not really a secret. Even so, there weren’t more than 20 people there when Steve and I hiked in.
I wanted to see the Secret Lava Pools and I’m so glad we hiked over the huge lava beds to find them because I’m totally setting a scene in my next book there—think DANGER, INTRIGUE, AND NO ONE AROUND TO SAVE YOU!

The tide was coming in and we didn’t want to get caught in between the rocks we’d just scrambled around, so we didn’t swim in the pools, we headed back to the beach to play in the ocean. Here's a pic of my hot hubby playing in the surf. It was so fun to watch those waves and the power of the ocean!

After that we tried to get the sand off—Kauai sand is sticky! You can see the Kilauea Lighthouse in the background here.

Then we headed back down to the south shore toward our condo. We stopped to see The Sleeping Giant, which is a mountain that looks like a giant—you guessed it—sleeping.
The sun set early in Hawaii--at 7pm, so we caught another beautiful sunset near the Sleeping Giant. 

Isn't this place full of inspiration? I've already started writing my novel that is set on Kauai and it just makes me want to go back! What do you think?


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