Showing posts from September, 2013

Book Review: A Bride for Keeps {ARC}

A Bride for Keepsby Melissa Jagears
A debut mail-order bride novel

Amazon Page
GoodReads Page
LibraryThing Page
Author Website

Amazon Summary:
Everett Cline will never humiliate himself by seeking a mail-order bride. Not again. He's already been jilted by three mail-order brides and figures a wife just isn't in his future. However, a well-meaning neighbor hasn't given up on seeing him settled, so she goes behind his back to bring yet another woman to town for him. Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. A mail-order marriage in faraway Kansas is a last resort, but she'll do anything to leave her life in Massachusetts and the heartbreak she's experienced there. Although Everett doesn't see how a beautiful, cultured woman like Julia could be happy sharing his simple life, he could really use a helpmate on his homestead. Determined to prove she's more than just a pretty face, Jul…

Writer's Block and Other Life Events I Didn't Plan For

Apologies, my dear readers.  I know last week should have been another episode of My Imaginary Boyfriend.  I also know I failed to even acknowledge the complete lack of post that day.
I have a job at Chick-Fil-A now.  Did I forget to mention that?  Sorry, lovely readers.  Also, my cat died of cancer on Monday.  Then the church called us about a stray kitten dropped off and did we want a new one now?  Not to mention I am a senior in high school who is directing two plays, won a ticket to a local writer's conference, AND has officially applied to a college with three more to go.
Wait.  What?!

Clouded Dreams

The more I learn about literal nighttime dreams, the more I realize that my choice of dream for One Word 2013 was way more involved than I expected.

According to our memories, some people never dream during sleep at all.  Others only dream occasionally.  Still others, like me, dream several dreams most nights.

According to science, everyone dreams numerous dreams every single night.  Some people just remember them better than others, and even that is often linked to what sleep cycle a person wakes or is woken during.

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you have an idea of what's going on, but your periphery is dark and everything you can see is foggy or dim - no matter how hard you rub your eyes or how many times you blink, you still feel like you're surrounded by a cloud of smoke.  Only once you've woken up do you realize it was a dream and it all makes sense.  Even then, you don't always really know what was going on in the dream.

In Memory

Butterscotch 2008 - 2013
If it should be that I grow frail and weak And pain should keep me from my sleep, Then will you do what must be done, For this -- the last battle -- can't be won.
You will be sad, I understand, But don't let grief then stay your hand. For on this day, more than the rest, Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years, You wouldn't want me to suffer so. When the time comes, Please, let me go.
Take me where, to my needs they'll tend, Only, stay with me till the end And hold me firm and speak to me Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree It is a kindness you do to me. Although my tail its last has waved, From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don't grieve that it must be you Who has to decide this thing to do; We've been so close -- we two -- these years, Don't let your heart hold any tears.
Author Unknown Source:

Blog Tour: Goddess Tithe {Excerpts}

About the author:

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, including Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, and Dragonwitch. Heartless and Veiled Rose have each been honored with a Christy Award, and Starflower was voted winner of the 2013 Clive Staples Award.

About this scene:

Here is an excerpt from the middle of the story. In this scene, Munny has been ordered to Captain Sunan’s cabin to clear away his breakfast . . . an unexpected task, for a lowly cabin boy would not ordinarily dare enter his captain’s private quarters! Munny hopes to slip in and out quietly without attracting the captain’s notice. But his hopes …

Blog Tour: Goddess Tithe {Cover Reveal + Giveaway!}

Goddess Tithe by Anne Elizabeth Stengl
A Novella of Goldstone Wood

The Vengeful Goddess Demands Her Tithe

When a stowaway is discovered aboard the merchant ship Kulap Kanya, Munny, a cabin boy on his first voyage, knows what must be done. All stowaways are sacrificed to Risafeth, the evil goddess of the sea. Such is her right, and the Kulap Kanya's only hope to return safely home.

Yet, to the horror of his crew, Captain Sunan vows to protect the stowaway, a foreigner in clown's garb. A curse falls upon the ship and all who sail with her, for Risafeth will stop at nothing to claim her tithe.

Will Munny find the courage to trust his captain and to protect the strange clown who has become his friend?

From the author:

I had the fun of designing this cover—finding reference photos, inventing the composition, applying the text, etc.—but the actual artistic work was done by talented cover artist Phatpuppy (, whose work I have admired for many years. It was such a th…

The Pixie Posts: My Pros and Cons

 {Corresponding lists written before I got the cut; notes in italics are edits from after I actually lived with the haircut for a couple of days.}

Diamond Candles: Review and Giveaway!

Have you heard of the latest trend in candles?  I first discovered it through one of those "suggested pages" ads on Facebook.  Basically, the idea is that when the candles are made, a piece of jewelry is hidden inside the wax.  Then, when the customer burns the candle, eventually they discover their surprise gift!

Diamond Candles is one company that does this with rings.  Their candles are all-natural and handmade of soy.  Every candle is the same size and price, and each contains a ring that could be worth anything from $10 to $5,000!  For more about the story behind Diamond Candles, check out

Scent options vary widely, from fruity or floral to food or tropical.  For my personal candle, I chose a tropical scent - Island Getaway (currently sold out).  The colors, general description, and individual scents used as ingredients were all appealing to me.

Book Review: Dark Halo

Dark Halo by Shannon Dittemore
One halo brought sight to Brielle.  Another offers sweet relief from what she sees.

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GoodReads Page
LibraryThing Page
Author Website

My Review of Angel Eyes
My Review of Broken Wings

Amazon Summary:
Brielle can’t help but see the Celestial. Even without the halo, the invisible realm is everywhere she looks. It’s impossibly beautiful—and terrifying, especially now. Because a battle rages above Stratus, Oregon. The Terrestrial Veil is ripping, and demons walk the streets past unseeing mortals. Dark, sticky fear drips from every face, and nightmares haunt Brielle’s sleep. Worst of all, Jake is gone. The only boy she’s ever loved has been taken by the demon, Damien. When she receives instructions from the Throne Room leading her to Jake, she unknowingly walks into a diabolical and heartbreaking trap.  Now she’s stranded in a sulfurous desert with the Prince of Darkness himself, and he’s offering her another halo—a mirrored ring that will destroy her Cele…

My Imaginary Boyfriend, Episode Seven: Meet

Previous episode:

 "Do we have to do this now?  I thought we were going to eat first."

I giggle and grab Rykel's hand, dragging him across the parking lot.  "Come on, it will only take a few minutes.  She probably has class soon or something anyway.  I just want to introduce you."

The wind whips my hair around my face, wrapping it around my glasses and catching it on my lip gloss.  I repeatedly tug the strands away with my free hand and straighten my brown and blue plaid button-up shirt over the top of my jeans.  I love fall; all my cutest clothes work best with the crisp weather and defined colors around me.  I glance back at the boy behind me.

Rykel, of course, will always be Rykel.  I'm beginning to wonder if he even owns more than five t-shirts, all of them ripped in some way.  He definitely can't own more than three or four pairs of practically destroyed jeans. …

Product Review: Photo Canvas

I've heard of those companies that let you order just about anything with your photo on it - mugs, coasters, bookmarks, CDs, blankets, you name it.  My family has ordered professional photo prints and those little photo books before.  Photos on canvas are one of those things I'd seen before but never tried myself.

Photos to Canvas
Easy Canvas Prints offered me a free canvas if I would do a review and giveaway.  My lovely readers, you know by now that freebies are one thing I just can't resist.  Plus - my senior photos were just taken!  So I have plenty of awesome, high-quality photos to choose from!

Service Review: Grammarly {Plus an early look at the next Heart Torn in Two chapter!}

I use Grammarly to check plagiarism because a future author failing high school English class doesn't look good to publishers - or book buyers!


When I first received an email from a Grammarly representative offering to sponsor a review, I decided to try their free test service on the website first.  I copied and pasted the first scene from the rough draft of Beila and the Griffin.  It took only a few seconds for them to give me my score of 54 out of 100 - which matches my vague idea of where my first drafts generally stand.  Apparently, I had 10 spelling issues, 1 commonly confused word, 2 incorrect uses of prepositions, 1 comparison problem, 1 confused modifier, 8 wrong uses of punctuation within a sentence, and 8 problems with my writing style.  The areas I passed?  Original vs. plagiarized text, ignored words, closing punctuation, formal punctuation, and vocabulary use (score! I'm proud of that one :] )

For a story I haven't looked at since Camp NaNo, I'…

Blog Tour: The Sword Study {Book Review}

Sword Study: II Timothy by Tammy McMahan; illustrated by Doug McGuire
A Family-Centered Bible Study for Each Age Level

GoodReads Pages:
Level One (ages four-seven)
Level Two (ages seven-ten)
Level Three (tweens and teens)
Level Four (high school through adult)
Level Five (level four + instructor's book)

National Bible Bee Store

(Only Level One is available on Amazon at present; none are currently listed on LibraryThing.)

Website Summary:
Sword Studies are in-depth and creative Bible studies designed for family discipleship.  They are customized to fit all of the age levels in your family, while learning the same book of the Bible.  The daily studies are supplemented by inspiring stories, A.C.T.S. prayer time, Greek/Hebrew word studies, and much more!  You can use this as a church study, homeschool curriculum, at family Bible times, or use for your personal study.  The Sword Studies are an excellent tool to grow in knowledge and understanding of God's Word! My Thoughts:

As homeschooler…

Book Review: Dead Man's Hand and Skull Creek Stakeout {ARC}

My Imaginary Boyfriendis on hiatus this week - but don't worry, the adventures of Rykel and me will be back next week!

Dead Man's Hand and Skull Creek Stakeout by Eddie Jones
{Books One and Two of the Caden Chronicles}

Amazon Page: Dead Man's Hand
Amazon Page: Skull Creek Stakeout
GoodReads Page: Dead Man's Hand
GoodReads Page: Skull Creek Stakeout
LibraryThing Page: Dead Man's Hand
LibraryThing Page: Skull Creek Stakeout
Author Website

Amazon Summary - Dead Man's Hand:
Nick Caden's vacation at Deadwood Canyon Ghost Town takes a deadly turn toward trouble when the fourteen-year-old finds himself trapped in a livery stable with the infamous outlaw Jesse James. The shooter whirls, aims and... vanishes. Great theatrics, Nick thinks, except now he's alone in the hayloft with the bullet-riddled body of Billy the Kid. And by the time the sheriff arrives, the body disappears. Soon Nick is caught in a deadly chase---from an abandoned gold mine, through forbidden buffalo h…

Pixie Posts: The Reveal

Before (I took an insane number of selfies before the cut. I kid you not: I have more selfies than senior photos, I think. Let's just say I went a little shutter-happy?)

Yeah, the lighting's better in some than others... but I'm working with an absolutely awful cell phone camera.  That's about as good as they get.  Anyway...

So what do you think?

Book Review: The Follower

The Followerby C.F. Barrows

Amazon Page
GoodReads Page
Author Facebook Page

Amazon Summary:
Three hundred years ago, the Rhenor nation split into two, the Reshan and the Khanor. One dwells in the Outerlands, the other in the mountains - and although the nations have made peace, their people have not. One fateful day, two small patrols meet in an outer cave in Khanor territory. The youths, spurred by mutual distrust, brawl, and the ensuing cave-in cuts off their main routes back to both the Reshan and the Khanor civilizations. Their only choice is to join forces and follow the one remaining tunnel - one that runs through an area known simply as the Forbidden Regions - to find their way back to their homes. Along the way, the beliefs of every traveler are put to the test, and the secrets of a few may threaten the safety of all. For as they go, Lusefar, lord of the Saethen, sends his agents against them, licking his lips as a ravenous dragon. My Thoughts: