Books I’m Most Thankful For This Year

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow! How’d that happen?

I LOVE seeing all the ‘what I’m thankful for’ blog posts. But ya’ll know how I like to put my own spin on things, so I picked out the books I was most thankful for this year for my Thanksgiving post because books make me happy–duh! 🙂 I picked out several novels across different genres  . . .  and because I also LOVE quotes, I picked out a few to go along with each pick.

The Book Thief: Historical Fiction

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

“It kills me sometimes, how people die.”

“Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.”

The Power of a Positive Mom: Nonfiction

“Focus on the hope in each person and every situation. God has not left you.”

“God allows certain unplanned adventures in our lives for reasons we may never know. He also provides the help we need to make it through.”

“Your kids are reading a book every day. Now wait a minute, you may be thinking, My kids aren’t even reading age yet. Or, My kids don’t like to read that much. Let me assure you, your kids are reading a book every day. The title is Life’s Living Lessons and you are the author. Our children are watching our actions and hearing our words every day. They are learning how to act and how to live as they read us. You are possibly the most influential book they will ever read.”

Clockwork Princess: Paranormal/Fantasy

“Sometimes one must choose whether to be kind or honorable,” he said. “Sometimes one cannot be both.”

“Life is a book, and there are a thousand pages I have not read. I would read them together with you, as many as I can, before I die -”
She put her hand against his chest, just over his heart, and felt its beat against her palm, a unique time signature that was all its own. “I only wish you would not speak of dying,” she said. “But even for that, yes, I know how you are with your words, and, Will- I love all of them. Every word you say. The silly ones, the mad ones, the beautiful ones, and the ones that are only for me. I love them, and I love you.”

“Gabriel’s green eyes sought Will. “It was demon pox, wasn’t it? You know all about it, don’t you? Aren’t you some sort of expert?”
“Well, you needn’t act as if I invented it,” said Will.”

Through the Ever Night: Dystopian

“Love was like the waves in the sea, gentle and good sometimes, rough and terrible at others, but that it was endless and stronger than the sky and earth and everything in between.”

“We lose and lose, but we’re still here.  Shaking in place, afraid of doing something.  I’m tired of settling for this because I don’t know if something better exists.  It has to.  What point is there otherwise?  I can do something about it now.  And I will.”

“Love is a rebellious bird that nobody can tame.”

Firefly Lane: Women’s Fiction

“That was the thing about best friends. Like sisters and mothers, they could piss you off and make you cry and break your heart, but in the end, when the chips were down, they were there, making you laugh even in your darkest hours. ”

“Thoughts – even fears – were airy things, formless until you made them solid with your voice and once given that weight, they could crush you.”

“Of course you can fall in love. You just have to let yourself. They don’t call it falling for nothing.”

Turtle in Paradise: Children’s Literature

“Everyone thinks children are sweet as Necco Wafers, but I’ve lived long enough to know the truth: kids are rotten. The only difference between grown-ups and kids is that grown-ups go to jail for murder. Kids get away with it.”

“Almost dying is awfully easy. It’s the living that’s hard.”

18 Things: Contemporary Coming of Age

*It may seem strange to pick my own book, but 1) I AM STRANGE! 2) It’s the one I’m most thankful for (outside of the Bible) because it reminds me of how far God has brought me to arrive at this place.

“Some days my grief only hurt a little, like being electrocuted by a tiny spark when plugging in something. Other days, my sorrow used a jackhammer to excavate my heart.”

“I can’t believe I spent most of high school stereotyping you as a simple-minded, snobby, backstabbing cheerleader.” Tammy took one last drag, then stomped out her cigarette on the ground. “Girl, neither can I. I mean I only stole your prom date, threatened to light you on fire, and slapped you in the face.”

“Dr. Judy crossed her arms over her chest. ‘There are no do-overs in life once you’re dead. All your friends have that YOLO saying backward. It should be YODO because really, you live ever day, but . . . You Only Die Once.’ I looked at Nate. A grim expression twisted his mouth and I wondered if he was thinking what I thought. Where’s the candid camera, because this had to be a joke.”

*What books are  you thankful for having read this year? Oh, you don’t all have to point to 18 Things at once 😉 HAPPY THANKSGIVING . . . or as it’s come to be known this year, The New Black Friday. Personally, I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Dollar Tree is just up the street and keeps their prices at $1 allll year-long–right, kids?! Gobble, gobble!

Catching Fire, Truckin’ It, & Butterbeer Goodness!!!

To celebrate the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lionsgate announced that some of the supporting cast members would embark on a National ‘Victory  Tour.’  The tour included a stop in Miami, which featured special Q&As with fans and autograph signings. Since Miami is only a two-hour drive from where we live and because hubby works for our local Fox news station, he was able to attend the event with one person. He didn’t bring me . . . he brought our 13-year-old daughter. Don’t worry, I’m not bitter or anything. I figure with the direction America is headed, we’re not far off from The Hunger Games becoming a reality, and I plan to offer up my daughter as a tribute. Yeah, paybacks are a . . .

Kidding! Here are some pics from the event . . . .

Catching Fire

Alan Ritchson (middle) is also playing Raphael in the new TMNT!

Now if you’re worried about the state of affairs in America like I am, I have great news! My dad has a plan to save us all. He’s a truck driver, and I write that with extreme pride. It’s a demanding profession, and he’s the hardest working man I know. Since he spends his time traveling all across the fifty states, he has a perspective most of us don’t. He also has a lot of time to think, a luxury many of us don’t have. We have so many things pulling us in different directions, always GO-GO-GO, and we’re hard-pressed to stay informed on the important matters concerning our beloved country and what we should be doing to help. Anyway, as the proud daughter of a truck driver, I kinda think an average Joe like my dad just might be the person we need to save America 🙂 And I was so blessed that he passed through our neck of the woods on Sunday! Here are some pics of Ashley and I running out to greet him!

Truck

And last but not least, some of you may have seen this around the web last week, but just incase you missed it . . . you don’t have to travel allll the way to my state anymore to try the popular wizarding beverage at the Harry Potter area in Islands of Adventure. Because according to Foodbeast, Starbucks has collected the potion recipe for any Muggle to try a Butterbeer at one of their locations.

Here’s what you’ll need to order to achieve frothy butterscotch goodness, in either cold or warm variations:

Cold Version:

• A Crème Frappuccino base, made with whole milk (not skim or 2%, which will mess up the consistency) • 3 pumps of caramel syrup • 3 pumps of toffee nut syrup • Top with caramel drizzle

Butterbeer

CHEERS!

Warm Version:

• Whole milk steamer Caramel syrup (2 pumps for a tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti) • Toffee nut syrup (2 pumps for a tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti) • Cinnamon Dolce syrup (2 pumps for a tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti) • Top with whipped cream and salted caramel bits • Optional: 1 shot of espresso (2 for a grande or venti)

WARNING: NOT SAFE FOR HOUSE-ELVES!

Starbucks’ Butterbeers will only be available during the next few months, as the coffee chain cuts off the flow of toffee nut syrup after the holiday season. Guess they aren’t the wizards that I thought they were! Still, I plan on hopping on my Nimbus 2000 this weekend and pairing this magical concoction with a chocolate cauldron (cupcake). As a fan and writer of geek-friendly romance, I think this has “perfect date night” written all over it *winks at hubs across the couch*

*Thanks for stopping by! Tell me, are you going to see Catching Fire at the theatre this weekend? Think a truck driver can save America? Do the think the baristas have any idea of the Bombtastic Bomb Starbucks has unleashed with this new recipe?

Help Me With My Blurb, PLEEEAAAASSSSE!!

Many of you doing NaNoWriMo know that writing 50,000 words isn’t easy . . . but guess what’s harder? Summing up your novel in ten sentences or less! Now if you’re smarter than me (and I’m not too proud to admit that most of you are), you’ve already written the blurb before you began writing. Well, not only have I not done that for the book I’m writing in November (my third book in the 18 Things Trilogy), but I haven’t even perfected the blurb for the second book, even though 18 Truths comes out at the end of January! Eeep!

So with 2 1/2 months before my book birthday, my publisher asked me for the blurb to put it up on Goodreads so people can add it to their TBR shelf (well, hopefully they will). Which led me to go hide in a corner and ask, “Oh, was I supposed to have that finalized already?” Oops!

Which really translated to . . . I haven’t even written the blurb AT ALL YET! So I sat down October 30th, before Halloween and this whole national write a novel in a month stuff began, and I wrote my blurb. But I haven’t had time to perfect the darn thing. I know it’s toooo long, but I can’t figure out what to cut, so I’m asking ya’ll to wield your literary swords and help me cut this down a bit. I’d truly appreciate any feedback. Here it goes:

Olga Gay Worontzoff ended her senior year as an eighteen-year-old girl totally in love with Nate, her new boyfriend, and about to attend the university of her dreams. Then her therapist delivered the mind-blowing news that changed everything.

Now she’s spending her summer in the weird subculture of the Underworld, where there’s charmingly witty and powerful angels, along with some characteristically problematic demons. But the strength of Olga and Nate’s own personal demons are the greatest of all. Nate’s still grappling with the destruction he left behind and Olga’s haunted by the memory of Conner, the best friend and secret crush she was unable to save during a freak accident. Olga’s one hundred percent convinced Conner is somewhere in the Underworld. Driven by a mixture of guilt and curiosity, she sets out to unlock the secrets her therapist has kept hidden so she can have her second chance at rescuing her first love.

But Nate wants nothing to do with Olga’s hidden agenda. He has other things on his mind, mainly Grace. She’s their first assignment as joint spirit guides and Olga’s feeling a little hurt and—ahem—jealous. His mysterious nature has Olga questioning everything she ever believed about him and now she must decide whether to stick to their plan, or follow her heart. Unfortunately, she makes a series of mistakes that threatens everyone she has come in contact with and unknowingly plants herself in a center of events much larger than she ever imagined.

Lying is unbearable, betrayal is inevitable, and choosing between which path to take is impossible.

Only one thing is for certain: the truths that are uncovered during her journey will leave no one untouched.

*What do you think?

IWSG- NaNoWriMo

In my first novel, 18 Things, the main character writes a life list of eighteen things to do the year she’s turning 18 at the suggestion of her therapist who is trying to help her overcome the grief of losing her best friend.

Writing a novel was at the top of my own bucket list, something I wrote after my cousin’s son was diagnosed with leukemia. I never meant for my novel to turn into a trilogy, never meant to start another career as an author. I simply didn’t want my life to end with a bunch of things unchecked on my to-do list.

I’ve enjoyed this journey I’ve been on since the summer of 2009, but it’s been a series of trade offs. Finding balance between writing and everything else going on in my life has been a challenge. And I’m sure you’re all nodding your head along to my words . . . if you’ve even had time to read this far!

My sequel, 18 Truths, is all finished and will release on January 28, 2014. So I decided to use November (National Novel Writing Month) to try and write my last installment in the trilogy, 18 Thoughts. This is the first time I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo, and I think I’m doing well so far with a total of 20, 727 words. But the writing is bittersweet. I honestly don’t know if I’ll pursue publishment again once the trilogy is complete.

There are simply too many other things on my to-do list that I want to cross off, and I’m finding there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish them all. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop writing. That would be like someone telling me to stop breathing. And I’m not saying I’ll never publish another novel . . . maybe I will in ten years or so after my youngest spawn has left the nest. Maybe by then I’ll have so many adventures to write about, I won’t ever be able to stop. We’ll see.

What about you? How do you balance the demands of your muse with the demands of every day life? Participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

We all have a book in us waiting to be written . . . it’s never too late to add it to your to-do list! And if you do, please visit the Insecure Writers Support Group to help you on your journey. We post the first Wednesday of every month!

Buccaneer Blogfest and IWSG