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What I Read When I’m Not Feeling Well

wednesday blogging challenge

This is a hard question to answer, as I don’t usually read the same book twice unless I really have a craving for it. Therefore, I’ll slightly tweak the question to Authors I Read When I’m Not Feeling Well.

Sarah Eden

I absolutely adore all of her books. Or at least the ones I have read, which is most of them. Sarah is witty, her characters are lovable, and the great thing is that I always know the books are going to have a happy ending. Romance is my favorite genre, and Sarah Eden’s sweet romances are welcome for anyone feeling sick or down in the dumps.

Michele Paige Holmes

One day, I was scrolling through Amazon and I noticed Saving Grace listed as a reading recommendation. I had never heard of this author, but the book covers were beautiful and the descriptions of each book were enough to draw me in. I LOVED Saving GraceLoving Helen was much harder for me to enjoy because I thought Helen deserved better than she got. Marrying Christopher was a fun read as well. You know it’s a good book when your thoughts keep drifting back to it. These are three books that I will read more than once.

Brandon Sanderson

Alright, so this one is a bit of a stretch. When I’m not feeling well, I don’t usually want to have to use my brain too much, and his books push my brain to the capacity at times. But I enjoy his books so much! I can’t not add him to the list.

Books I Have Read in School and Didn’t Like

One thing many books I read in high school had in common was that they were all depressing. (Okay, so maybe not all of them are, but I’d say a good chunk of them are downers). Why do highschoolers need to be subjected to such a low and depressed state? Why not broaden our horizons and expose us to books that are uplifting or interesting? I would have loved to read Jane Austen or something more modern like Brandon Sanderson. Instead, I had to read tales of woe in Romeo and Juliet and murder in Of Mice and Men.

Although there are many I could touch up on, here are just a few of the books I didn’t care for in high school.

Of Mice and Men

Depressing.

That’s a good word for it. Why would anyone want to read about killing small creatures and (spoiler alert) young women?

The Scarlet Letter

Again, depressing. More death, more self-punishment, more loss.

Huckleberry Finn

I know this is probably a strange one to add to the list of books I didn’t like, but it’s here. Reading it actually frustrated me at times, and I found no joy in it.

The Old Man and the Sea

Talk about droning on and on!!! I feel like I’m stuck in a whirlpool of never ending description, and no matter how many pages I get through, it won’t stop. How many ways can you describe a fish?

Ethan Frome

Yikes. You might as well encourage young high school students to commit suicide with this one. Kids that age don’t need to be exposed to something like this. Sure, there is great imagery, there is amazing symbolism, but I’d prefer that if it’s read at all, it should be read on your lonesome or maybe in college. Not in high school.

Of course, there are also books I really enjoyed! Stay tuned for another blog post with the books I actually liked reading in high school.

Bloodborn Series Comes to a Conclusion

sunset couple

I am so excited to finally say that I’m finished writing the Bloodborn series. Luca and Kirsa’s journey comes to a conclusion in book five, wrapping up at 91,000 words. I first started the Bloodborn series with the characters Adam and Willow, Bloodborn getting contracted with the Wild Rose Press. Only earlier this week did I send the second in the series to my editor, and now I’m crossing my fingers that it will get contracted as well!

Bloodborn started when I decided to use a writing prompt, which spurred an idea, which spurred a book, which inspired a series. At the beginning, I never thought this would gain the traction that it had, but I’m so excited it did! I do have an idea for a novella in mind for this series, but I hope to include it for free for readers in my upcoming newsletter.

What’s next?

I’ll likely be working on my regency romance series. I’m finished with the first book, I Am Marianne, and I’m two chapters into my second, Just Jane.

Now all I have to do is name this fifth book…

1st Kiss Friday: WIP Bloodbond Chapter Excerpt

daisy

“Zachariah and Laurel continued splashing and laughing, at least until she jumped up on him, wrapping her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck. Her lips smashed into his, and he grunted in surprise as a spark ignited inside him starting at his core and smoldering through him until searing fire shot to his fingertips. Passionate. Ravenous. Embers that fanned to life inside a dry forest.” 

Food Friday: Homemade Rosemary Bread

rosemary bread

We have a gigantic rosemary bush in our garden, and I’ve found that making rosemary bread is the perfect solution for using the herb on a semi-regular basis. What I love about this bread is that it’s soft, the texture practically melting in my mouth. It goes great with both regular butter and fake butter (we have two fellas who are allergic to dairy in our household, and another who is lactose intolerant), and it’s a great pair for practically any dish! The rosemary isn’t too powerful, but contains just the right amount of spice to satisfy one’s carb craving.

Rosemary Bread

  1. Dissolve the sugar in warm water in a medium bowl, and mix in the yeast. When yeast is bubbly, mix in salt, butter (or in my case, fake butter, which still works great!), 1 tablespoon rosemary, and Italian seasoning. Mix in 2 cups flour. Gradually add remaining flour to form a workable dough, and knead 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Coat the inside of a large bowl with olive oil. Place dough in bowl, cover, and allow to rise 1 hour in a warm location.
  3. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly grease paper. Shape dough into 2 round loaves, and place on the baking sheet (I put the dough in bread pans). Sprinkle with remaining rosemary. Cover, and allow to rise 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  5. Brush loaves with egg. Bake 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Food Friday: Cream Cheese Brownies

cream cheese brownies

This delicious dessert may have a lot of layers full of brownie, marshmallowy, fudgey goodness, but it’s actually easy to make and it’s always a crowd favorite at potlucks and family parties! Now, I know nobody likes to scroll through an entire blog post just to get to the recipe, so here it is! Enjoy!!

Cream Cheese Brownies

Brownie Base

½ cup butter
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 cup white flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350°. Grease 9×13 pan. In a microwavable bowl, melt ½ cup butter and 1 oz. chocolate. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, and 2 eggs. Spread in prepared pan.

Cream Cheese Layer

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese
¼ cup softened butter
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat all ingredients except chocolate chips until well combined. Spread over the chocolate base. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake for 30 minutes.

Frosting

2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese
¼ cup butter
¼ cup milk
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sprinkle marshmallows on top of hot brownies. Return to oven for 3-4 minutes or until marshmallows are very puffy. Meanwhile, combine cream cheese, butter, milk, and chocolate in microwavable bowl; cook for 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. Pour over hot marshmallows—swirl with knife. Refrigerate until firm.

Happy 4th of July!

fireworks

Happy 4th of July!

When I think of the 4th of July, I think of barbecues, hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon, family, and fireworks. My most memorable 4th of July was watching fireworks with my husband and brother in the grassy field of a high school. We were with several of my brother’s friends as well, and what I hadn’t been expecting was one of my exes to be one of them. Twas awkward to say the least. But we trudged through the awkwardness and had a fun time regardless.

This year, I’m particularly excited about celebrating with my 18-month-old. He was too young to enjoy fireworks last year, but this year, he’s expressed interest in pop-its. His excited laughter brings a smile to my face.

I hope everyone has a great holiday, and remember to stay safe!

New WIP

Remember when I said I was going to start working on my Regency romance #2? Well, I lied (though not on purpose). I got wrapped up in my paranormal story, #5 in the Bloodborn series. 70,000 words in and nearing the end! (Sort of). It just keeps going, but at least the end is in sight! My new WIP focuses on Luca Dragomir and a special LITTLE (and I mean little because she’s a dwarf) lady he meets on his journey to break himself away from his family and discover who he is outside of being a vampire. But when he meets Kirsa Frey, he realizes there’s so much more at stake than himself. The dwarven race is dying, and he plans to stop the death before it takes the female he loves as well. Below are the models who inspired the characters, because who doesn’t love visual inspiration?!

lucakirsa

Book Review: A Scandalous Request by Micki Miller

A Scandalous Request

This book is written by one of my fellow authors at the Wild Rose Press. The blurb drew me in immediately, as the idea was unique and intriguing, and it piqued my interest enough to not be able to turn away a chance to read it. The beginning is a fantastic whirlwind, the chapters jumping straight into the story right from the start. It’s far too easy to fall in love with the characters, and the relationships between each of them is fun to watch unfold. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

five stars

10 Unique Facts About Me

1. My fastest time in completing a Sudoku puzzle is 52 seconds.

2. I love to roller blade. Lots of things you see figure skaters do on ice skates, I can do on roller blades.

3. I wrote my first book when I was 12 years old. I’m sure I could still dig it up somewhere in my parents’ basement.

4. I self-published a book when I was 15 years old. But I DON’T recommend reading it. I was 15, alright? 😉

5. My favorite flavor is pina colada.

6. When I was younger, I used to be so obsessed with birds that I would spend hours outside just to take a picture of a tiny dot in the trees.

7. I can belch on command. As in sucking air into my stomach and belching it out. I don’t do it anymore because it’s unladylike XD

8. Bright lights make me sneeze. I believe it’s called the ACHOO syndrome, so going outside usually results in three sneezes. And I have NEVER sneezed in the dark.

9. Cats are naturally drawn to me. They find me. It’s something I seem to have inherited from my mom. (And no, I’m not a crazy cat lady. Not yet at least.)

10. I used to work in a bakery. I’d wake up at 3:30 a.m. and be at the bakery at 4:00 a.m. I made bread, donuts, pastries, cakes, and more. It takes AGES to get French bread to the shelves (from dough-making to proofing to the oven), so you’d better appreciate hot, fresh bread when you have it!