Friday, June 29, 2018

Book Review: The Anti-Cinderella

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How many girls can say their first kiss was with a prince in the British royal family?

I was fourteen and he was sixteen, and yes, it was magical. But that kiss didn't exactly change my life. To tell you the truth, I didn't even think about it-or Nicky Windsor-for the next ten years . . . until fate, in the guise of my grandparents, brought us back together again.

Now everything has spun out of control. I'm ducking reporters and photographers when I try to leave home. My friends act as if I'm someone they don't know anymore. The whole world seems to be watching me, wanting to see some kind of modern Cinderella story.

But trust me, I'm no man's princess. I'm more comfortable in tennis shoes than in a tiara, more likely to rock a bucket than a ball gown, and more liable to fall on my face than to pull off a graceful wave.

The only thing that keeps me from running away and hiding is Nicky. He's all I've ever wanted in a man: hot, hunky and head-over-heels in love with me. I think I feel the same way. I think I want to be with him forever.

But the idea of life with the royal family terrifies me. Even if I have found my one and only, can I handle what comes after our happy ending?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I've been a fan of Tawdra's for years though it's been ages since I've read one of her books. When this one became available, I just couldn't resist picking it up. After all, I'd make a terrible Cinderella myself.

The Good:

I love that Kyra is just a normal girl. She's bright, she's sweet, and she's real. In fact, all of the characters in this book were well written and well developed. By the end of the book, you felt as if you knew them well enough to know what they'd do. That's not a bad thing! It's like knowing your sister won't  wear lime green because she thinks it makes her look like a beach ball. The story moves along at a nice pace and if you aren't careful, it will keep you up far past your bedtime.

The Bad:

I'm trying to think of something, but it's tough. I guess I'll throw out the one thing that actually caused me to stop reading and think, "Really?" It's a little thing but Nicky didn't know what jammies were. Now, I have a lot of British friends and they'd know what I meant if I said I was going to put my jammies on. Plus, Nicky has spent time in the states so this shouldn't be a foreign term for him. 

The Summary:

If you got up at insane hours to watch the latest royal wedding, love real love stories, or are looking for a new sweet series, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy The Anti-Cinderella. I know that it kept me up way too late and I'm going to need a nap very soon.





I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wordsmith Wednesday: Successful Self-Publishing

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Book Review - Successful Self-Publishing - Katrina Roets
Do you want to successfully self-publish?

There are thousands of new books being published every day, but many self-published books quickly sink to the bottom of the pile.

Many authors are frustrated because there are so many options for self-publishing, and they don't know which one to choose or what will be best for their book.

Others spend thousands of dollars to publish and end up broken-hearted with the result.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

I've spent the last seven years self-publishing bestselling fiction and non-fiction books and in 2011, I left my day job to become a full-time author entrepreneur. I've made lots of mistakes along the way, but through the process of self-publishing 17 books, I've learned the most effective way to publish and market your books. In this book, I'll share everything with you.

The book includes:
- What you need to know before you self-publish
- Why self-publishing an ebook is a good idea
- How to format an ebook
- Exclusivity and going direct
- How to self-publish an ebook
- Why self-publish a print book
- Print-on-demand will change your life
- What you need to know before you print
- How to self-publish a print book
- What to do if you want help with the publishing process
- After self-publishing
- How much does it cost to self-publish?
- How do you get paid when you self-publish?
- Book marketing principles
- How to market fiction
- How to market non-fiction

Plus, links to more useful resources.

If you're ready to successfully self-publish, then download a sample or buy now.

You can also get your free Author 2.0 Blueprint and mini-course at TheCreativePenn.com/blueprint 

~~~~~
Hi all and welcome back to Wordsmith Wednesday! This week, I have a book review for you.

The Good:

This book is full of information, but is written in a clear manner so at no point did I feel overwhelmed by all of it. While Joanna mentions other books and courses that she offers, she does it in such a way that you don't feel beaten about the head with "go buy my stuff!"  She knows what her readers are looking for and uses her own site to help them to dive deeper into a multitude of topics. She does mention her other book titles, but it's done as a suggestion not a hard sales pitch. She also suggests other authors and groups that you might want to check out which I found very interesting.

The Bad:

I've got nothing, guys. While I knew most of what was in this book, I still found some gems that I hadn't seen mentioned in other places. Also, while I knew it because I've done a lot of reading lately, if this was someone's first dip into the how to self-publish pool, the knowledge held in this book is invaluable.

The Summary:

If you're just starting out on your self-publishing journey, this is a great place to start. This book also happens to be permafree on Amazon which makes it an even better choice! All of the knowledge, none of the risk. That makes this 100% reward and it doesn't get any better than that!






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Monday, June 25, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Cornbread Stuffing

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Do you still have any of that cornbread leftover from last week? Not a bit? Well, I guess we'll just have to whip up some more to turn into this delicious stuffing!

Corn Bread Stuffing:
Ingredients:
8 x 8 pan of baked cornbread
4 slices of toasted bread
2 cups celery, chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Directions:

Bake the cornbread according to package directions. If you have a few days to let it go stale, do that. If not, cut it into slices and bake at 300 degrees until toasty (about 30 minutes). You can put your regular bread in at the same time.

While the cornbread is toasting, chop up the onion and celery. Put the pieces into your crockpot. Add the seasoning. Melt butter in the microwave, and mix together with 3 beaten eggs. Stir well into the veggies and seasonings in the crockpot.

Cut the cornbread and toasted bread into cubes, about 1/2 inch square. Toss the cubes of bread and cornbread well with the ingredients in the crockpot. Pour in 2 cups of broth. Stir gingerly to combine. The cornbread will break up, but try to keep a few pieces whole for texture.

Cook on high for 2 hours. If you’d like your dressing to be more moist than this, add a bit more broth before serving.

---
I'm considering making this for Thanksgiving this coming year but for now, I think it'd be delicious along side some grilled pork chops!





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Friday, June 22, 2018

Book Review: Eternal Entity

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Who or what is Taylor Lane?

Most people go through life unaware of the war between light and dark raging just beyond their field of vision. They live blissful, ordinary lives, but that is a luxury Taylor will never have. With a single birthday wish, she is thrown into a war between Eve's angels and Lilith's demons.

Bestowed with the magical ability to control light and adorned with the sight of supernatural races, Taylor is forced to fight for her own survival. Then Lucian, her shadowy protector, enters her life and heart. But there’s something dark inside of him: he’s a vampire, the original Dark One.

With her mother murdered and a hideous beast out for her blood, Taylor has no choice but to put her faith in Lucian and go to war as she tries to unravel the mystery of who she truly is.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I fell in love with this cover as soon as I saw it. How could I not? It's absolutely gorgeous and reminds me of The Tether Saga book covers. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover,but it's this cover that had me approaching the author. Luckily, she said sure and here we are!

The Good:

Holy cow! This story will pick you up and not just carry you, but will sprint with you until the end. That doesn't mean that the story is even slightly rushed, but that once you start this book, you won't want to put it down until you've read every last word. In fact, I was up until 4 am because I kept saying, "Just one more chapter." until I ran out of chapters and then first thing this morning, I messaged Annalee thanking her for my lack of sleep. 

The Bad:

There were few problems with grammar and the like. Obviously it wasn't enough to make me stop reading because I'm still yawning. My brain is trained though to see these and so they jumped at me. I wouldn't let this stop me from reading this book again and again. Also, the ending felt a bit cliffhangerish which is something I don't like in books. However, I knew book 2 had already been released so I'm forgiving it...

The Summary:

An incredible book that I'm hoping turns into an incredible series. I hope that the ending isn't what it appears to be but I'm not saying anything more than that because you really need to check it out for yourself. 


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Crockpot Monday : Cornbread

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Cornbread can either be really good or really dry. I haven't tried this recipe in a while but I have hopes that it will be as delicious as I remember. If it's dry, I guess I'll just have to use it as the base for something delicious like a frito pie!

Ingredients:
1 Cup Quaker® Yellow or White Corn Meal
1 Cup all-purpose flour
2 to 4 Tablespoons Sugar
4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Milk
1 Egg, beaten
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

Coat the inside of your crock with cooking spray. Mix batter together according to recipe instructions.
Dump batter in and close up.

Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

As always, let me know if you try this recipe and what yumminess was served up with it!






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Friday, June 15, 2018

Book Review: Just One of the Royals

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Just One of the Royals - Katrina Roets - Book Review
Star hockey player Daniel Sacachelli wants only two things: 1) for the Falcons
to win next season, and 2) for his secret — the fact he’s actually the prince of Eldonia — to never make its way to Chicago. But if Daniel keeps avoiding his crown, their family will lose their kingdom forever.

Madison Myong can’t believe that her will-they-or-won’t-they best friend Daniel is
really a prince! He’s always seemed more rebel than royal. But now, he needs to clean up his image, fast. Posing as his long-time girlfriend, Madison accompanies him back to Eldonia, intending to give Daniel a makeover fit for a king.

Only, the more royal Daniel becomes, the more Madison misses her best friend. And if she does her job right, she’ll lose him forever...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Have you ever really wanted to love a book but you just can't? Sadly, this was that book for me.  The story was cute, but a little too Princess Diaries for me. The characters seemed to feel flat and I just couldn't connect to them. There just wasn't anything about them that made them unique or made them stand out. Daniel and Madison didn't really seem to connect for me as a couple. I can see them as being close friends, but a couple? Not so much. There's also scenes towards the end of the book among two couples that just felt wedged in. The entire book was pg and then suddenly, there was a whole lot more implied.

I'm going to give this one a 3 out of 5. I didn't hate it, but it isn't one that I'll go flipping frantically through my Kindle to track down to read again later.





I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Potatoes Au Gratin

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Can you believe that it's June already? My oldest just graduated from high school and his younger brother is off next week to jazz camp. He'll be starting his senior year in the fall. I thought I was ready for this but I'm not. I'm crazy emotional. Still, what goes best with crazy emotional? Comfort food and for the next five weeks, we'll be focusing on some comfort food side dishes!

This week? Potatoes Au Gratin!

Ingredients:
1.5 sticks of butter (12 tablespoons)
6 Tablespoons flour
3.5 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons dried mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 baking potatoes
2 parsnips
1 white onion, peeled and chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
green onion (for garnish, optional)


Directions:

Wash and peel your potatoes and parsnips. Slice them long ways, then slice in 1/4 inch slices. Dice the white onion. Add the onion, potatoes, and parsnips to your crockpot.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Slowly add your flour, stirring constantly for 3-5 minutes. Then slowly add your cream, and spices, stirring continuously to blend. Pour mixture over potatoes and parsnips, and place the lid on top.

Cook on Low for 8-9 hours or high for 4-5.

Before serving, stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until it disappears.

Garnish with green onion if desired.

Let me know if you try this recipe and what you served it alongside!





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Friday, June 8, 2018

Book Review: Where the Fire Falls

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Book Review - Katrina Roets - Where the Fire Falls
Stunning Yosemite National Park sets the stage for this late 1920s historical romance with mystery, adventure, heart, and a sense of the place John Muir described as "pervaded with divine light."

Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford fashioned her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region's wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty.

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he's faced with the choice of becoming a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

As Clark helps open Olivia's eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park's story as its vistas-- a revelation that may bring her charade to an end.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When this book landed on my front porch, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not. In fact, I set it aside and read half a dozen other books before I spotted this one again and thought I had probably get around to reading it. I'm so glad that I did.

The Good - 

I fell in love with not only the well developed and well written characters, but with the location as well. It made me want to jump in my car and drive across the country so that I could perhaps experience just a bit of what Clark saw every single day. It takes a talented writer to bring a location to life and that's just what Karen Barnett did.

The Bad - 

There was just one little section on the end that made me pause and say, "Umm...how did that happen? It wasn't covered." I can't tell you what it was though or it would give too much away. Honestly though, it was one sentence among hundreds or thousands so it certainly didn't keep me from finishing the book.

The Summary - 

I loved this book from the first page to the last. I still want to go back and look up the hotels and locations mentioned in the book to see if they still exist. I would love to stand where these characters did and explore the area. Who knows...it might be the perfect get away for this writer! 





I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Cola Pork Roast

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Here it is...our last week of pork for a while! Summer = picnics, reunions, cookouts, and tons of opportunities to pull out your favorite recipes! I hope some of ours come in handy for you!

Cola Pork Roast:

Ingredients:
4 pound pork roast 
1 (7-ounce) can fire roasted diced green chilies
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper 
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup cola

Directions:

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Place the meat into the bottom of your cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the chilies, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, chili pepper, sugar, and salt. Stir to create a paste, and then smear this mixture on all sides of your meat. Pour in cola.

Cover, and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Use your favorite cola! I'm not going to start a soda/pop war by saying which I'd use...hehe




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Friday, June 1, 2018

Book Review: Lucius Fogg - Deadly Creatures

8:00 AM 0 Comments
Deadly Creatures - Katrina Roets - Book Review
Jimmy Doyle is an honorable man who took a bullet for his country and returned home to become a private detective. His boss, Lucius Fogg, is the preeminent occultist who dabbles in solving the more macabre crimes of 1950s New York City. As Fogg’s legman, Doyle is thrust deep into the world of the supernatural, pitting him against everything from disembodied spirits to demonic possessions with a few vampires and werewolves thrown in. He often has to face these dangers alone, for even though the enigmatic Fogg is extremely powerful he can’t take one step outside of his home or he will die instantly.

The first in a new series of novels from comic book writer Dan Wickline.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do you ever see a book description and think wow, I'd like to check that out and then go to buy it and Amazon says, "Hey, you already bought this ages ago?" No? Just me? Well, shoot. That's exactly what happened with this book.

The Good:

I love a good whodunit and when you in the occult, it just made it all the more fun to read! As a first book in a series, it did a wonderful job of introducing the characters but leaving just enough that you want to read the rest of the series to learn more about them. I need to know more about Lucius and Ariel. So, not only are the characters absolutely smashing, but so is the story itself. It pulled me in and kept me reading right to the end. 

The Bad:

Well shoot. There wasn't a whole lot that was bad about this book. I caught some grammatical things here and there but really, that was about it. 

The Summary:

A fantastic read that kept me guessing right up until the end. If you're a lover of noir, the occult, supernatural creatures or all of the above, check out Dan Wickline's book. I've already wish listed the other books in the series. 



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