It has been a while since I last wrote… that is  putting it mildly. It is amazing how fast time has flown when you are not just busy, but crazy busy and life just sometimes gets in the way of things.

Since my last post we all had a great summer, fall, and early winter with lots of adventures with the kids. Strawberry picking and jam making. Swimming up north with my family at the lake for the first time. The local pumpkin patch and corn maze. Sledding and playing in the first of many winter snow falls. A fabulous Christmas and New Year’s with the family was amazing and lots of fun. Just to name a few of the things we have done.

With all of that came a lot of changes. My husband finally recovered from what ever illness he had for most of last year and is now back to normal. Yay! My little girl had a bad case of croup that landed us in the ER for a short overnight visit, but quickly recovered, again YAY! I finally left my old crazy job and quickly jumped into a new one with a better schedule, a new specialty and a new patient population to learn about. It has been the biggest change so far, but has by far been the best decision for our family. Everyone is doing better and we are all much happier with this change.

I am glad to see 2013 go and am excited to have 2014 finally here. This year will be just as busy if not busier then the last as I have a lot of things already planed for this year and it is only the 4th day into the new year. But that is a common thread in my life, always over planning with hopes of getting it all done, but would be happy with half of my list completed. This year I have to              re-certify my license for my job which means taking a very big and very important test. Requiring a lot of time studying and prepping for it.  I am hoping to do this in February and get it out-of-the-way. That way I would be in the clear to get a dog for our family that I have wanted for a while now. I have done a lot of research with the help of my husband and we have chosen to get a Newfoundland. It is a large dog with lots of hair, easy-going personality, is supposed to be great with very small kids and a great family dog. I am very excited and think my kids will really enjoy this addition to our family. So if anyone knows of a nice and good breeder let us know. It is an uncommon or rare breed, but also not super popular so it has been a little hard to find breeders in our area. Also this is our first dog ever, so we are starting from scratch on this one. So any help, advice etc is much appreciated.

Also this year in addition to getting back into my romance writing I have decided to take up another writing project. I want to write  family cookbook. I am therefore enlisting the help of my Mom, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers. The idea came about this holiday season and me thinking about past memories and favorite recipes. We don’t have a family cookbook and I thought what a great thing to have and to compile before these great recipes are lost or forgotten. So I will be working on that in addition to my romance writing, sewing projects, and did I forget to mention plan a baby shower for a friend too? Not to mention trying for a third child ourselves this year? See what I mean, it is going to be a very busy year and it hasn’t even really begun yet.

No matter how it turns out, it will be a great adventure regardless. One I am excited to share with my family. I am looking forward to it all and eager to get started. So here we go, and wish me luck.

I was very excited that a few weeks ago I was able to snag a copy of Amanda Quick’s most recent historical romance titled The Mystery Woman. This is book two of the Lantern street series, book one was The Crystal Gardens. I continue to really enjoy Quick’s work and she continues to deliver great stories time and time again.

In her most recent work The Mystery Woman we meet Beatrice. A young woman  alone in the world, forced to rely on her own skills to survive and support herself. One night she finds her friend and employer murdered. She disappears for a year and resurfaces as a paid companion/private investigator. During one of her cases she meets our hero Joshua who also has experience as an investigator. This time around his case involves his sister being blackmailed and he has set out to discover who that person is. By working together they are able to solve the case of the blackmailer but before they do the case takes an unexpected turn making Joshua realize the case is much more than just simple blackmail.

Quick did a great job with creating a complex plot, with interesting characters with fabulous chemistry between them. I really enjoyed the two main characters being social equals and having an occupational interest that they shared. Versus the traditional duke/baron role for the hero, or the widow or slightly lower social status for the heroine. This was refreshing and creative. There is also the touch of paranormal in this book as well with characters having various psychic abilities of various degrees. This tends to not really by my thing, but nonetheless it does not distract me from the over all story. I really enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend it.

I would like to apologize for those who follow my blog and my lack of new postings for the last few weeks. With finishing up at my old job, and already working at my new job a few days a week, plus trying to enjoy family time and being outside in the great weather we have had. I have simply run out of time for my blog. It is very sad and I have missed working on my postings.

But the time away has been well spent. Just last week the kids and I were upstate visiting my family, melting away in high 90 degree humid weather with no air conditioning. But it was worth it. My kids went to the beach for the first time and enjoyed themselves immensely. I got to spend a lot of time with my Mom, and the rest of the family. True to form there was family drama during the visit. One of my grandmother’s was hospitalized for about a week. She is now home doing well. She had some issues with her heart, but is now on some new medications which will hopefully help her. A very elderly aunt also passed away during my visit up north. It was not a surprise. She was very old and not in good health. But she went peacefully and now is in a better place. So needless to say never a dull moment when I go back home to visit.

In addition to being behind on my weblog, I have also been behind on my reading and working on my current story. I really hope with my new job and less crazy work schedule I can get back to working on things more regularly versus just spurts here and there. My latest book that I just finished reading titled A Shade of Vampire: A shade of blood by Ella Forest was a welcome retreat from all the craziness going on in my life.

This is book two of the series A Shade of Vampire. Book one finished with Sofia leaving the island where Derek the Vampire prince lives. Sofia leaves the island and returns to her earlier life with her best friend Ben. Only returning to life as they once knew it is harder than they thought and both have difficulty adjusting for different reasons. The majority of book is about Sofia and Ben’s relationship and trying to be normal.

Sofia and Ben grew up together and have been close friends most of their lives. Sophia has always thought she was in love with Ben. Where Ben did not seem to be interested in having anything more than just friendship with Sophia. Now after her experience at the Shade with Derek, Sophia now realizes she could never be with Ben. The opposite is now true for Ben. For he had always secretly cared about Sophia, and thought maybe settling down with her someday. Now with his experiences at the Shade over, he realizes just how much he cares about her and wants to be with her. Only now he fears he is too late and has possibly lost her for good.

The island where the Vampires live in this story plays a smaller role in the over all story, but its importance is no less. In this book we see Derek unravel and fall apart with Sophia gone. For he was a better person with her around. Eventually Sophia does come back to the Shade and to Derek. By doing so we learn more about the Shade’s and Derek’s history.

Not all is reviled and Forest does a great job of setting things up for the third book. For example we learned in book one that Sophia’s parents are not involved in her life. In fact her father abandoned her to the care of Ben’s family and is completely absent from her life. Her mom was deemed crazy and institutionalized, and if I remember correctly possibly killed herself at some point, or so everyone thinks. However, through a series of events and great plot turns Forest reveals that her parents are actually closer to her then she realizes. Thus setting up for what could be a great book three in the series. With many more questions needing to be answered.

I have really enjoyed this series so far. I think it is a great series for people of all ages to  enjoy if young adult romance is your choice of reading. In book two there is one sex scene, but is not graphic. I thought it was very age appropriate in the level of detail that was present. But the reader should be aware of that incase you don’t allow your teenagers to read books with scenes involving sex of any kind.

Again I have really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. Happy reading!

July is off and running, and what a blast it has been so far. With a great Fourth of July celebration with the hubby, kids, and my hubby’s parents on Thursday. We were finally able to get our grill out and use it for the first time this season. The food turned out amazing, the company was great, and the kids as always were very entertaining and kept us laughing. We also had  an amazing morning at a great local park. It has been action packed and loads of fun. The kids really enjoyed themselves and were exhausted by the end of the weekend.

Work continues to be very busy for me and the hubby. I am still finishing up things at home old job and already transitioning to my new job. It has been great so far, and I am very ready for this change. Only 3 more weeks and then I will be completely at my new job with my new schedule and I am really looking forward to it. Already things are changing for the better with this new change in jobs, hopefully it is a good sign of more goodness on its way.

In addition to all of our fun, and work this week I was able to sneak in another great book by Candace Camp titled The Hidden Heart. This book was about a young woman who has fallen on hard times due to a scandal involving her father. Thus forcing her to become a governess to support yourself. By doing so she becomes in charge of a young teenage girl whose parents have already died, and her grandfather is now also dead. These chain of events leads our heroine Jessica to Cleybourne Castle to find our hero the Duke who is now the legal guardian of the teenage girl. But she gets a very cold reception. As she soon discovers the Duke didn’t know they were coming, and they had interrupted his plans to end his life. Upon her arrival she quickly discovers that the Duke’s wife and child died in a tragic accident four years earlier and he has struggled ever since. Our heroine is willing to do all that she can for the girl who has been entrusted into her care and she  is determined to remind the Duke that he has a lot to live for. Camp does a great job of depicting a very strong heroine, and a very broken hero who does eventually come out of his grief and start living again. The chemistry between these two characters are amazing. I really enjoyed the verbal sparing these two had going on between them.

In comparison to the previous Camp book I wrote about An Unexpected Pleasure, I liked the Hidden Heart a bit more. An Unexpected Pleasure was a great book and I would still recommend it to everyone. The Hidden Heart I felt had more twist and turns in the plot that really kept you guessing, and when you thought you knew what was going on, or who might be behind something Camp did a great job of throwing the reader off. Also there were a lot more characters in the Hidden Heart to keep things really interesting and kept the readers guessing about who was really after what. The level of suspense was greater in the Hidden Heart, as well as the broken hero really tugged at the heart-strings a lot. His anguish over the death of his wife and his beloved daughter is very clear and heart wrenching at times. I really enjoyed this book and again would recommend it to anyone.

 

 

 

The month of June is coming to a close and I for one am glad to see it end. It has not been a bad month per se, but very busy. Everyone in the household has been sick in one fashion or another, with hubby having a middle ear infection, my son having some weird, random GI bug, and my baby girl having a slight ear infection. They all have really kept me running this month! Besides dealing with sickness, there is just the normal work and day care schedules to keep up with, but also trying to get out and enjoy the fabulous weather we have had.

We were lucky to have some time this weekend to go to a U-pick Strawberry farm where the kids, hubby and I were able to go pick strawberries. They kids had a blast! Especially my son, who is 3 and half. He had a great time picking strawberries, and running to empty his little basket into the big one only to run and get some more. He also loved the loud air cannon the farm had blasting loudly to scare away the deer and birds from eating the produce. He thought that was great and really wanted to go check it out. My baby girl loves being outside and really enjoyed the farm as well, and she did a great job of picking some berries. You could tell she really was getting into her work by all the red stains she had on her shirt by the time we left. We were also lucky to find out that this farm also had U-pick cherries as well. The kids had a blast doing that also. We will for sure going back for some more fun this season.

Thankfully even with all that going on I was able to  read a book this week. How I am able to do so, I don’t know. As it seems like I am never sitting down for anything let alone to read something enjoyable. But I am glad I can somehow make it work. This week I was able to read a new author to me, Candace Camp. She is New York Sellers best author and has been a published author for many years. I have recognized her name but never read any of her books until now. An Unexpected Pleasure, was just that, a very nice unexpected pleasure to read.

Megan, our heroine, and her family are convinced that Theo Moreland the Marquis of Raine has murdered her brother. She goes undercover as a tutor for his younger brothers to try to discover the truth. Using investigation skills she learned in her previous job as newspaper reporter, she is finally able to find out what happened. By doing so, she brings closure to her family but also an unexpected surprise of love into her life.

Camp does a great job with her feisty heroine and her sexy strong hero, and adds a touch of magic to the mix, creating a fabulous story. This is only one of her books featuring the Moreland family, which she has featured in other works such as Winterset I am  looking forward to reading more of her work. If you like historical romance  as much as I do you will enjoy this author.

Happy reading!

Both my husband and I love to read. Granted, we usually read very different things. I am all about fiction, romantic fiction especially. Whereas he is usually more of the non-fiction type. Regardless, we both love to read and we both think reading is very important. We have tried to pass that love of reading to both of our kids and so far it is working. Both of them love to read and love to go to our local library. It helps that our library has toys for them to play with when we go there so that certainly does help. But at that the end of the trip we do usually walk out with a good size stack of books for the kids, and maybe a few for me and the hubby.

On our most recent trip, I stumbled across a new author I have not read before. This author has been around for a while but this is my first time reading her work. Her name is Julie Garwood and she is a New York times best-selling author who is well published. The book I stumbled across is The Ideal Man, a contemporary romance about a FBI federal agent and a trauma surgeon doctor. The surgeon has witnessed a shooting outside of the hospital she is working at. Between that and a stalker from her past causing trouble for her, the FBI agent wants to stay close to her to keep her safe and alive so she may testify at an upcoming trial. The chemistry between them erupts – igniting a passion they were both unaware of but also unable to ignore.

I really enjoyed this story and would recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary romance. I thought Garwood did a great job of making her characters believable. I could tell she did a  lot of research to make sure her character’s professions were correct and believable as well. I am really looking forward to reading another one of her books.

I got hooked on Romance stories when I was a 17-year-old high school student living in northern Michigan. I was in my local public library killing some time when I stumbled across the romance section for the first time. My first romance I had ever read was I Thee Wed by Amanda Quick. I instantly fell in love with the strong heroine, and the fabulous hero of the story. I loved everything about the book, the fast pace of the story: the suspense, the relationship that developed, and of course the happy ending.

Since then, I enjoyed romances of all kinds: historical and contemporary mostly. Amanda Quick continues to be one of my favorite authors. I was happy to know that same author writes under the name Jane Ann Krentz. Under this pen name she writes contemporary romances. Over the years I have read many Amanda Quick and Jane Ann Krentz novels and have enjoyed every one of them.

Since  high school, I have moved away to college, gotten married, completed graduate school, had 2 children, and continue to work full-time. But through all that I was still always on the look out for any of her books that I might not have read, as she has been a published author for many years.

I recently stumbled across an oldie but a goodie of Krentz’s titled Between the Lines, published in the mid 1980ies. It is a great story, with a fantastic hero, and passionate heroine, and with a  small subplot that adds to the main story plot. Overall this story was a very simple and a great read. There is not as much of the twist and turns of the plot and other subplots that are present in some of her other books, but don’t let that deter you. This was still and excellent book and I would recommend it if you are looking for a great quick read. I have read other older books by Krentz and some of her newer ones. They never disappoint. Krentz does an amazing job of giving you characters that you can really relate to, and heroes you wished you knew.

Krentz has something for everyone. In her older books, she does a great job of giving you modern-day romances. In some of her newer books she gives you modern-day romances with a twist of paranormal. As Amanda Quick she does the same but with historical romances, also sometimes with a twist of paranormal. Either way you can never go wrong with this author and I would highly recommend any of her books. Let me know if you need any suggestions in choosing one.

Also I would be interested in hearing from any of you that follow my blog on how you became interested in romances and what your first book was like and the details of how you may have stumbled across them.

Lover At Last is the latest novel in JR Ward‘s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Let’s just say you will continue to be amazed at how this continuing series evolves. Ward does a great job picking up right where the earlier book ends and continues on with the story. This novel specifically deals with Qhuinn and Blay’s complex and turbulent relationship. It also continues to have intriguing side-plots that add to the overall story. All the main characters from the earlier books continue to make appearances, making it a much deeper and richer story.

JR Ward does another great job with this story, if you enjoyed her other books then you will enjoy this one as well. Reader should be aware that  a lot of same-sex topics are in this story. If that is not your thing then you may want to pass those sections.

Over the years, I’ve heard the saying: “The only constant in life is change. You can always count on change”. This saying is so true. Life is constantly changing, not always for the bad. Sometimes it changes for the good. Whether that change is a change in plans, goals, or whatever, change is always going to happen whether you like it or not.

Recently there has been a lot of little changes in my life which have led to a very big change. I have decided to leave my job of 5 years, which I have had since graduating from graduate school. I am  taking a large leap and huge pay cut to go to a different job with better hours.

By making this change, I hope to change my personal life for the better. It will allow me more time for my family (my kids,  my husband), my writing projects, house projects, and sewing projects that are always put on the back burner. I also hope to have more time for interacting with other authors and to continue to grow and learn from them so I can become a better writer as well. Hopefully, I’ll just have more time in general!

We shall see. But here’s to change, and hopefully change for the better! I say bring it on. I am ready for it.

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I met Brenda Maxfield via an on-line discussion board. She asked me to do a book review on her story The Lance Temptation. I happily agreed. This was a very different story then what I would normally read as it is a young adult romance with an audience geared towards high schoolers. Therefore usually not my type of read, but I am open to reading new things all the time. How will this be any different? I am happy to say I am glad I gave this story a chance.

It is an interesting story set in a local high school, dealing with very real teenage issues, that I thought Maxfield did a great job of depicting. For example, her story is about a 16-year-old girl who ditches her normal friends to hang out with a girl who is seen as promiscuous, thus alienating her former friends. Also she dumps her sweet steady boyfriend for someone she thinks is an upgrade, but in the end is not. These are all events many of us have experienced ourselves, or have seen someone go through while being in high school. Maxfield also brings in the other very real topics of teen pregnancy, and changing schools due to a parent losing their job.

Overall I thought this story was very well written. I could relate to some of the characters, as well as some of the situations that the characters were going through. I thought the emotions expressed by the characters were very real, and age appropriate. I would  recommend this story to any high school age person and up.