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Devour Cover-1Devour Cover-2

My Rating-Middle Shelf
The first cover for this book was the girl and guy laying on the ground. To be honest, I really didn’t like it. If it weren’t for being a Shelly Crane book, I might not have read it. But the second cover is soooooo much better. It grabs your attention and doesn’t look homemade. What’s your opinion?

Summary:
“Clara has it all. A wrestling star boyfriend, popular friends, all the right school activities…pretty much a perfect life…up until her parents died. Now she lives with the Pastor and his family and though they take good care of her, she feels alone. Then her boyfriend, Tate, starts to show signs of trouble when a new guy, Eli, comes to town. Clara is fascinated with him but hides it until something happens. Eli confesses to her that she gives him something he’s never had before…something he needs. Everything is about to change for this normal, pretty, popular girl in a supernatural way.”

My Review:
This book started out differently than most YA Fantasy books. Clara had everything.  Most of the time, the main character is alone and looking to fit in. This time Clara has it all it seems, on the outside. But deep down, she is alone surrounded by people who are as shallow as a tide pool.

When Eli comes into the picture, she has an automatic connection. But she feels guilty for having any type of connection due to having a boyfriend, Tate. Tate seems to be a devoted boyfriend if not a little on the overbearing side. I actually like him, at first. Once the story progressed, I started to get angrier and angrier. How could he do that? (Don’t want to give too much away)

I really like Clara in this book. She found herself and who she wanted to be, well at least who she didn’t want to be anymore. She became tired of the shallow life she was living and the shallow friends on top of that.

So the Fantasy part, Shelly introduces us to a new world of paranormal.

Eli is called a devour-paranormal who feeds off emotions. He doesn’t feel any good emotion himself only feeds off dark emotions. Until Clara, she awakens the emotions within him. Then all he wants is to feel her feelings for him which in turn increases his feelings for her which satisfies him.

As for Eli and Clara’s relationship. It grew too fast for me. At the end of this book, I was satisfied, but not so much along the way. One minute she was all into Tate, the next (when she meets Eli) she is questioning her relationship with Tate. Granted, she tried really hard not to have feelings for Eli, but… Eventually the truth comes out about Tate and his issues and Eli is there to catch her when she falls.

For the most part, this book is about Clara finding herself AND finding out the main secret of Eli and who (what) he is.  I enjoyed this book but it was not as good as Shelly Crane’s Significance Series. I guess that’s what I get for reading those books first. All in all, I would probably read this one again.  (In fact, this was my second time reading it)

 

Blog image-Orlando
Magical? Yes, very! Planning-Overwhelmed? EXTREMELY!!!
I’m going to start out by saying, this was my family’s 3rd trip to Orlando since my son has been born. The first, he was way too young to appreciate it. The second, we were all sick throughout the entire week stay. So I was bound and determined to make this one really count. Since my son is 9, I knew that I would have to research deeper to find “bigger” kid activities. Even though when ANYONE goes to Orlando (especially Disney World), you become a kid instantly. Part of the MAGIC.
First things first. Before you even start planning the actual trip, there are a few things to get the family into the Magical! My son and I created a “Countdown to Orlando” wall hanger. Basically, a square piece of construction paper with characters of all the places we intended to visit in Orlando: Disney World, Universal Studios and Lego Land (in Winter Haven, FL). Then, we cut out strips of construction paper to make rings-one for each day remaining. We hooked the rings on the bottom making a chain. Each day, my son pulled one off and it built the anticipation. Especially when he would count the rings left after he pulled off the day’s ring.

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Another thing we did to get in the “Disney Mood” was watch some of our favorite Disney movies. (When we were actually at Disney World, we would ride a ride or watch a play and I’d really want to watch that movie.)
We didn’t do this one, but I really would have loved to. Create your own autograph book. It not only serves a purpose of letting your little kiddos get all the autographs of their favorite characters, but it also gets them (and you) pumped up for the trip. Get a small notebook (about a 3X5 notebook) and decorate the front. You can use stickers, embellishments, ribbons, etc… Make it your own. The dollar store has a lot of this for very cheap. Make sure you get a notebook with a lot of blank pages. You can also go a step further and designate pages for each character by putting the name or a sticker on it, then leave some in the back blank.
Order custom shirts for your whole family. I bought red t-shirts and put a Mickey Mouse silhouette on my husbands and sons. Mine had Minnie Mouse silhouette. On the back, I put our last name and a jersey number for each of us. My husband had 01-Me-02, my son-03. They were very cute. (See picture)Blog Picture-Orlando 2
This one didn’t actually get us into the mood per se, but was very necessary. I took an empty box (a tote, bag, laundry basket, etc… would do) and started filling it with the essentials for the trip. Little by little I would buy items that we could possibly need. Here is a brief list, you can add or take away at your discretion:
1. Ponchos-you can buy them at the park but I decided to purchase mine beforehand. Much cheaper and didn’t have to rush around to find a store in the park to buy one when it started to rain or we decided to ride a wet ride.
2. Kleenex
3. Anti-bacterial wipes-especially useful when we would finish a sticky treat
4. Anti-bacterial sanitizer hand gel with holder. The holder is very important so you can strap it on somewhere inside you backpack for easy access.
5. Glow sticks- During the parade and firework shows, there are a bunch of glow-in-the-dark items you can purchase but they are very expensive. You can get silly glow-in-the dark glasses and wands and the dollar store for a fraction of the cost.
6. Travel activities for the kids-whether you drive or fly, get a few things that will keep the kiddos preoccupied. At the Dollar store, they have travel size games-Yatzee, cards, etc… Coloring books, small cars for boys, and of course handheld video games.
7. Snacks-granola bars, fruit snacks, cheese crackers, etc…
8. Change-I know this sounds kind of weird but my son loves getting pressed pennies at the different locations we visit (btw-cheapest souvenir EVER!). Make sure you get a coin purse or baggie to put the coins in.
9. Small First-Aid kit-for all the scrapes and blisters that just comes with excitement, kids and walking miles a day in theme parks.
10. Small sewing kit-actually very handy, especially the safety pins.
11. If you have small children, take some stuffed animals or characters. Staying in the resorts on the Disney property, the housekeepers are said to arrange the stuffed characters in the room.
12. Also if you have smaller kids, instead of buying toys at the parks and pay double or triple the price, purchase a few small toys to give out during your stay. Maybe use it as a bonus at the end of the day as an incentive for good behavior. (Come on, we all do it-If you are good, you can have fill in the blank).
13. Sunscreen and lip balm. A definite must!
14. Any medicines that are prescribed and some that are not. A few examples-Pain reliever for the aches and pains, Pepto & ginger root pills for upset stomach and motion sickness. Anti-bacterial ointment for blisters and scrapes.
15. Camera case
16. Extra batteries for any electronics you take
17. Chargers for phones, tablets and video games
18. And of course, a backpack with multiple pockets but not so large that it breaks the back of the person who is carrying it.
Now the above is only a brief list that does not include the regular clothing, shoes and accessories.
Some more sites for packing lists and special activities to get in the mood:
http://wdwprepschool.com/the-ultimate-disney-world-packing-list/
http://www.123homeschool4me.com/2013/05/movies-to-watch-before-trip-to-disney.html
This article was more of preparation to do before you go to Orlando, besides the actual sitting down with a budget and planning the travel, accommodations and tickets. Look for Part 2 of our Orlando Trip for tips on budgeting and planning the itinerary.

When Life gets in the Way…

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So I started this blog to jumpstart my writing.  I love to write, it helps me deal with just everyday stress and problems.  It takes me out of reality to a different place, a place of my own choosing.  I get to forget about the things of this world and live in a world where I make the decisions about everything in it.  Sounds good, huh?  Well then…Life gets in the Way.

My last post was in June of 2012 so life has really gotten in the way.  A lot of life!  In September of 2013, I decided to focus more of my time and attention on my writing.  I quit my day job to pursue my passion.  But guess what happened……?  Life got in the way.  I became busier than I ever was when I was working.  Busy with my family.  Busy with church.  Busy with friends.  Just busy in general.  I felt obligated to always say YES to everyone.  I wanted to be there for every person that was in my life.  So…my writing got put on the backburner, AGAIN!

But now, now it is time to get serious about it.  I never want my writing to become a job or a chore.  Then all the fun of it will be completely drained.  My OCD with scheduling and planning comes in fairly well with adjusting my days to include writing time.  This blog helps with that as well.  It gives me a random outlet for writing.

My novels are my babies, so what do you have to do with babies?  Nurture, care for them and especially take time for them.  So, I’m hoping to update this blog at least every other week.  That way, I make myself write.  I carve out time to do what I absolutely love!

So when life gets in the way….I will make a path and bring my writing journal with me!

So, my family is taking a road trip soon and I have been wracking my brain on what to do and what to bring.  I don’t want it to be a trip where the driver just drives and the passengers have their heads stuck in iPod’s, iPad’s, DVD players, etc…  A road trip is supposed to be about bonding right?  So I have been logging in serious man hours planning an itenerary and mapping out the drive.  Fun things to do and sights to see on a road trip can make it or break it.  So, I searched the internet for interesting sights along our way.  I’m hoping I found a few and hopefully will find more once we are under-way.  So here is a question?  What are some things that are “MUST” haves on a road trip?  Here are a few of mine:

  1. iPhone-not just for phone calls, I use it for mapping out the trip
  2. Camera
  3. Binoculars-for the crazy shape that I absolutely believe is Big Foot.
  4. Snacks
  5. Drinks
  6. Blanket & pillow-for when I get tired of looking for Big Foot.
  7. Portable DVD Player-so I can keep my kiddo busy when he gets the urge to ask “Are we there yet” (Only in case of emergency)

Comment below and give me suggestions on what to do and what to bring.  I just might have to add it to my own list.

 GREAT MOVIE

In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

I hesitate to give much detail about Snow White and the Huntsman because it was such a great movie, I don’t want to spoil anything.  So I’ll give just the bare minimum, maybe just enough to make you want to watch it.

First of all, I want to defend this movie since some of the critics out there have given it so-so ratings.  I don’t see these ratings being supported by the actual quality of the movie.  Come on critics, did you even see this one?

Kristen Stewart plays Snow White.  I was all ready to see the same ‘ole-same ‘ole acting from Ms. Stewart.  Well…she surprised me!  I think she gave the character a sweet, sincere quality while  still portraying the strength of Snow White.  A few instances in the film, I forgot who was playing the character.  All I saw was SNOW WHITE!

Charlize Theron plays the Evil Queen to a “T”.  Of course, all the other movies I’ve ever seen her in, she was the heroine.  So I wasn’t very sure how she would portray evil.  She did it superbly.  She is meant to be the “Fairest one of All” and she definitely was that.  She made the Evil Queen so trust worthy at the beginning but when she turned, oh did she ever turn!  Great job Charlize.

Ok, so the final character I want to talk about is…Chris Hemsworth.  He plays the Huntsman.  I absolutely love Thor, I mean Chris Hemsworth.  I have a total Celeb crush on him. ~sigh~  Ok, what was I talking about again?  Oh yeah, the Huntsman.  This character is not like the one we are used to in the traditional Snow White movies, he has a back story that speaks volumes of his morals and character.  (Nope, not giving it away)

There are a few scary parts that you would not associate with this story, so the kiddos might not want to watch it.  The 7 dwarves are still in it but they are rough and tumble.  A few other characters rounds out this fantastic movie.  The story itself entwine the characters destiny’s with one anothers so elaborately that in the end, it leaves you gasping and begging for more.

 

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (Spoiler Alert)

The Iron Queen (Harlequin Teen)TOP SHELF RATING

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the Fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

Ok, I want to start out by saying-I’ve read a few other reviews of this book.  Some good, some not so good. The cons others state is that this book seems forced as if Julie was just writing it to make more money, not actually contributing to the series.  Well, I totally disagree with this take on the book.  The Iron Queen is an adventure that takes Meghan through intense challenges that she never believed could possibly happen to her.

At the end of The Iron Daughter, Ash declares his love for Meghan and causes them both to be banished from the Nevernever due to Summer and Winter cannot be in love with one another, making them traitor against their courts.  They are both positive minded about the banishment, planning their future, traveling to Louisiana to Meghan’s family.  That’s when they are attacked by the iron Fey.  They both thought the fight with the iron Fey was over but not as long as the False (Iron) king is still alive.

Mab and Oberon declare a temporary alliance between the Unseelie and Seelie courts, allowing Meghan and Ash back to fight the Iron fey.  Majority of the story, Meghan and her unusual friends spend their time in the Iron realm.  Meghan forms an alliance with Glitch, the leader of the Iron Fey who stayed true to the “real” Iron realm, fighting against the false King and his followers.

I enjoyed almost every bit of this story.  Puck was his usual quirky, mischievous self.  Grimalkin, the witty & (sometimes) annoying talking cat takes his part pretty serious.  The growth of both Meghan and Ash in this book is astounding.  At first, Meghan is weak and sickly due to the opposing powers within her-Iron & Summer.  But as the story progresses, she learns how to deal with it and becomes more powerful than even she could have dreamed.  Ash-what can I say, if only there were more Ash’s in the world.  Or should I say, if there were only real Ash’s in the world.  In this book, Ash becomes Meghans’ true knight-in-shining-armor.  I love the loyalty he bestows on her.  Everything about him in this book makes me fall more and more in love with him.

My only complaint-The ending was heart wrenching.  Of course, I’m sure that was the goal for Julie but really, why did it have to end on that note?  I’m not going to give away the ending, all I can say is grab a few tissues when you read it.

Definitely a must read.  Look for my next review on the final book in this series, The Iron Knight.

The IRON DAUGHTER by Julie Kagawa (Spoiler Alerts)

The Iron Daughter (Harlequin Teen)TOP SHELF RATING!!

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is a prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey–iron bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

When Meghan and Ash return to the Unseelie Court, her magic doesn’t work and to make matters worse, Ash is giving her the cold-shoulder (pun intended).  Meghan has to walk on thin ice at the Unseelie court to make sure no one (especially Mab, the Unseelie Queen) punishes her or turns her into a frozen sculpture.

Meghan tries to tell Queen Mab about the Iron Fey, she doesn’t believe her.  When the Scepter of th Seasons is stolen, the Winter Fey blame the Summer Fey.  Meghan knows better.  When Ash helps save her from the Winter Fey, making him a traitor to the Queen, they flee with the help of her other friends, to the in between realm.  To stop the impending war between the Seelie and Unseelie, Meghan sets out to retrieve the Scepter from the Iron Fey.  Along the way, she realizes that when she killed the Iron King (in the first book-The Iron King), she acquired his Iron Fey power.

Without giving too much away, I’ll leave it at that.  First of all, one of the things that impressed me most about this book is the growth of Meghan.  The first book, she was overwhelmed by the sudden changes in her life.  However, in this book she takes it all in stride.  Stepping up to the situation.

I love the banter between Puck and Ash.  You never know when they will break out into a fight or help the other to fight against the foe’s standing in their way of acquiring the Scepter.

The love triangle in this book is intriguing.  Puck finally admits his feelings for Meghan and when she gives in to him and allows him to kiss her, I was torn.  I like Puck, believe me I do.  He is witty, mysterious, loyal, smart, etc…  Too much to list, but I really like Ash.  Ash does come back into the picture and gives into his feelings for Meghan after years of closing himself off to the emotion of love.  His first and only love was lost to him many years before.  And Ash blames Puck for the loss.  He tried hard to not allow himself to feel anything for Meghan.  Too late, Meghan has already imbedded herself into his ice, cold heart.

Overall, this book does not fail to deliver a great story.  The Iron Queen has all the elements that are needed to keep a reader involved and intrigued.  Julie Kagawa does it again.  A definite must read!!!

 

THE IRON KING by Julie Kagawa (spoiler alerts)

The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)TOP SHELF RATING

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny–one she could never have imagined…
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth– that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

The first book of the Iron King series takes you from the real world to the faery world in a dramatic, whirlwind turn of events.  Meghan always feels out-of-place living with her mother, step-father and half-brother.  When she starts seeing odd creatures on her 16th birthday, the secret she never knew she had, starts to unravel.  It all comes to light when her 4-year-old half-brother is kidnapped by a fey from the Nevernever (faery land).

Her best-friend turns out to be the faery prankster, Puck.  He uncovers her secret in order to help her rescue her brother.

Meghan soon learns that her true father is the Seelie king, Oberon.  Her life becomes one big mess of political schemes and evading those who wants her dead.  With the help of Puck the prankster & Ash the Unseelie Prince, she sets out to find her brother.  Ash only agrees to help her if she willingly goes to the Unseelie court when they finish.

Iron comes to play within the story as the technology of the real world leaks into the faery world, consuming the world with its power.  The Fey are extremely sensitive to the iron effects on their body’s.  The longer they are around iron, the more it consumes them till they are dead.  After Puck receives a near-fatal wound, he falls into a healing slumber.  Meghan and Ash continue on the mission towards the iron kingdom to find her brother.

Along the way, Meghan develops feelings for Ash and vice/versa.  Or so she thinks.

In the end, they rescue her brother and she concedes to follow Ash to the Unseelie court.

I absolutely loved this book.  It kept my attention to the end and made me crave the 2nd book even more.  I loved the interaction between Meghan and Puck.  It was playful and comfortable.  When Meghan starts to develop feelings for Ash, their relationship is full of tension and barely hidden attraction.  Meghan is a strong, willed teenage girl who appears older than she really is.  The decisions she has to make are well beyond her 16 years.  But she handles them with more grace than the age-old Fey royalty, including her father Oberon.

I absolutely recommend this book as well as the other books in this series.

As we come into the beginning of Mother’s Day weekend, I’d like to tell all of you who do not know…

MOM’S ARE SUPER HUMAN!!!

Yes, the truth is out all yee nay sayers…  A true mother is super human.  I’m not talking about a person who just gives birth, I’m talking about the true mother’s who are there through the good, the bad, and the ugly!  The mother’s who stay awake to make sure their kids are safe and sound in bed before they themselves fall asleep.  The one’s who kiss the boo-boos even if it is just a scratch.  The one who sacrifices happily just so their kids can experience life to the fullest.  Those are the mother’s I’m talking about.  So, to make my point even further, here is a list.  Remember, this is not a complete list.  There is so much more to say but, well, there is only so many hours in the day to list them all.

  • Mom’s don’t have to have a full night sleep to be able to get up in the morning, get the kids ready, the husband off and still  be able to function throughout the day with a smile
  • Mom’s can juggle more than 1 thing in the car-the phone ringing, the baby needing to be fed, the toddler screaming in the back seat-all while driving down the road
  • Mom’s day does not end with kissing the kids to sleep-there is still laundry to be folded, dishes to be done, clothes to be picked out for school, homework to be signed, cookies to be baked for school party, etc…
  • Mom’s can cook 3 meals for 3 people within one night (laughing because I’ve had to do this ~giggle~)
  • Even when a mom is sick, she still is able to get up and get the daily things completed, even after taking medicine that knocks them out

These are just a few I’ve come up with, add your own in the comments of this blog.

However, we don’t think about the small things mother’s do because they are eclipsed by the big things.  However, if mother’s don’t do the small things, they are truly missed.

  • Makes popcorn on movie nights
  • Creates a fort or castle out of blankets
  • Attends every school function, recital, award ceremony, etc…
  • Cheers the loudest at ball games for their children
  • Makes funny voices when reading a book
  • Listens when their child is heart-broken
  • Gives advice when their child needs it
  • Kisses/hugs their children whenever their child feels sad, happy, upset, etc…
  • Becomes the princess at tea time with their daughter or princess to their sons knight
  • Thinks about their children when they are away from one another

Again, just a small list compared to how big it really is.  The love of a True Mother has healing capabilities that no one fully understands.  If you have one of these mother’s, you are truly blessed!  Tell her how much you love and appreciate her this Mother’s Day, because sometimes we forget how much she loves us.  If you’re one of these mothers, THANK YOU!!!  The world needs more of you.

So Happy Mother’s Day to all of you

TRUE SUPER MOTHER’S!!

Last stop on out West trip-March 2012.

Let me start by saying, I had expectations of Vegas as being a party town before I even made arrangements.

We arrived on a Saturday around the beginning of Spring Break. First mistake!  Spring Breakers everywhere!!!  I felt so out-of-place. This is definitely not a place for people who do not drink or gamble. As far as the eye could see we’re skimpy outfits, drunks, and outrageous behavior.  I kept trying to push that out of my mind and just enjoy the things I could.

So here’s the positives–We stayed at the Bellagio.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  This is the hotel with the huge fountains in front that dance to music nightly.  The rooms are beautiful and spacious.  The lobby very classy and a plus was that I didn’t have to walk through the casino to ge to the front desk.  Of course we had to walk through it to get to the elevators to our room.  One thing I was ready for that didn’t happen was the sound of the slot machines.  Everyone said that is all you hear when you are in Vegas.  Surprisingly, it was a lot quieter than I expected.  The other casinos ranged from dowdy to beautiful.  We explored the majority of them and enjoyed this just as much as the other things we did.  The Luxor was gorgeous-Egyptian style.  We went to 2 exhibits at this casino-Titanic and Body (an exhibit of the inner workings of the body).  We saw The Phantom which I thoroughly enjoyed although my husband didn’t.  I kind of expected that too.  He is not much on plays/operas.  Hoover Dam was fascinating.  We took the tour there with All Las Vegas tours, Hummer 2 style with Scott.  He was an awesome tour guide.  As if we were out-of-town friends he was showing around.  I would highly recommend this company and Scott in particular.

Cons–As I said before I felt so out-of-place that I was ready to leave the day I got there, even though I expressed the positives above.  The positives did not out weigh everything else.  Too much craziness for this girl.  I love traveling and experiencing new things but I could have done without experiencing Vegas.  The food at almost every place we went was bad.  Not gross per se, but I definitely did not get full.

There was only one place that I ate almost every bite.  The Cheesecake Factory.  I ate the Asian lettuce tacos and topped it off with a Snickers cheesecake.  Delicious is not the word, much more than that.

So my suggestion-skip Vegas if you do not gamble, drink, party, enjoy seeing half-dressed people, etc…  I will not be back, that is for sure.

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