Friday Favorites – 05112018

The list of stuff I’ve been digging on lately. 🙂

1) X-Men

I’ve mentioned before my affinity for digital comics. Well, I’ve been reading a lot of X-Men books lately, at Steve’s suggestion. They’re one of his favorite titles.

I’d read a few X-Men books in the past, but lately I’ve been on more of a kick. Which is good, I guess, since we’ve got plenty of issues for me to choose from (the suggested reading order he wrote up for me me is quite lengthy. Ha.)

 

God Loves, Man Kills was the basis for the film X-Men 2, and Days of Future Past was the inspiration for the movie of the same title. I liked both movies, but I thought both books were even better!

Cyclops

My favorite X-Man, Cyclops

 

2)  This guest post on Becoming Minimalist, about gratitude:

This pretty much speaks for itself, so I’ll just leave the link here:

I liked this quote:

“Think of something in your life that you tend to take for granted. It can be as simple as running water or groceries in your fridge, or that you get to listen to music you enjoy or read books that inspire you. Now consider, for a moment, what your life would be like if you didn’t have it?

Especially at times when I find myself caught up in thinking about how something is not quite right—flight is delayed, garage door is broken—I remind myself to pause and think: Imagine life without this. It doesn’t mean I don’t ever want anything or wish for something to be better, but this simple exercise fills me with deep gratitude for the many amazing things that do fill my life, and it offers a helpful way to prioritize where I spend my emotional energy.”

 

3) Amazon giveaways

Last month, I hosted a couple of giveaways on Amazon. It was so much fun I knew I wanted to do it again, so for my birthday, I gave away a bunch of books. There were winners for everything but one copy of The Princess Diaries, so I’m re-listing it again :). Check it out here:

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Princess Diaries (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/2a9c6dd164ae8cd6 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 18, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules. (Claimed! :))

I’m also giving away a copy of The Lunar Chronicles coloring book, because I think it’s cool and I sort of wish I had one. Ha.

Lunar Chron coloring book

(I’ll post the giveaway link when Amazon sends it to me). (Edit: This giveaway was over so soon, I didn’t have time to post the link! Congrats to the winner :))

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that anything I write is particularly similar to any of the stuff I’ve given away. These are just books I really like, by authors I think are talented. They can be counted as influences of mine, I suppose, and definitely as recommendations! 🙂

These giveaways have been a lot of fun for me, and I think I’ll probably continue to host a few throughout the rest of the year.

4) My birthday

I turned 41 last month!

It was great. 🙂

Steve and I usually like to celebrate one another’s birthdays all month long, so…we did a lot of stuff. We attended several screenings of some of my fave horror and sci-fi movies  (The Brood, Videodrome, Nightbreed) at The Alamo Drafthouse, and he also took me to see Jonathan Davis perform when he came through here on his solo tour! So fun. I’m excited for JD’s new album! Only a couple more weeks to go.

Jonathan Davis

JD and his band. Photo by Steve

On my actual birthday, we went out for breakfast doughnuts and then to see The Avengers: Infinity War, which of course was awesome.

 

Then we went out for my fave meal, pizza and beer for dinner (Because I am classy like that. Ha). I had a great time. Steve sent me these gorgeous multi-colored roses.

 

 

5) Chips and Cheese Chili Casserole

Okay, this is probably one of the easiest recipes ever, but it is so, SO GOOD. I always joke that I could probably eat a whole pan in one sitting. I like it so much, this is what I chose to make myself for my birthday meal (a few days before my actual birthday…like I said, we tend to stretch out the celebrations to an inordinate degree around here :)).

chili chips and cheese casserole ingredients

I think this casserole would be great for a pot-luck, particularly if you made it a day ahead because it tastes even better after it’s been sitting in the fridge all night.

chili chips casserole completed

Probably not the healthiest thing you could ever eat, but also not the worst for you. The recipe says it’s gluten-free and with all those beans, it’s got to be high in fiber, right? So there’s that!

chili chips casserole leftovers_1

This is pretty much all that is ever left over.

FWIW, the recipe says there are all sorts of different ways you can make this casserole, and I’m sure that is true, but…the first time I made it, I used (1) 15 oz. can of black beans, (1) 8 oz. can of tomato sauce and (1) 14.5 oz. can of Amy’s brand Medium Chili, and this combo was so tasty, I have never bothered to change it. I think ONE time I tried it with a different kind of vegetarian chili and I just didn’t like it as much, so…these are the ingredients I normally stick with. I also like to use Kraft Triple Cheddar “Creamy Melt with a touch of Philadelphia cream cheese” in this, because it adds more tartness and pairs well with the sour cream (I think). Try it and see!

5) Craft beer

I’m not sure how Steve and I initially got into drinking craft beer, but it’s become sort of a hobby for us. We’ve been lucky enough to visit a ton of breweries around the state, as well as a few in other places.

Recently we went to Family Business Brewing Company in Dripping Springs, which is co-owned by Jensen and Danneel Ackles. The name is a nod to “Supernatural” – “Saving people, hunting things…the family business.” 😀

 

Their IPA, Cosmic Cowboy, was so good! I’m not into this craft beer stuff enough to know all the ins and outs about every different style, but I do know what I like and I am definitely an IPA fan. The hoppier and more bitter, the better IMO.

The day after the Family Business tour, we did a 5K at the Rentsch Brewery in Georgetown, and their beers were really good, too. (This is the Double Dry-Hopped IPA, which was pretty amazing). The race was fun — nice weather for it!

rentsch beer

Pic by Steve

 

6) Concerts with my husband

There was a time in my twenties when I remember being really burned out on going to concerts. I’m not sure why, but they just didn’t hold much appeal for me anymore. Then Steve and I started going to more and more live shows again, and now I love them.

John 5

Last month we went to see John 5…and I took this blurry photo of him.

We’ve been lucky enough to see tons of bands perform over the years. This past week we saw Mastodon. They’re hugely talented and put on a fantastic show. This was especially cool because we’d made plans to see them twice before and both of those shows had ended up being canceled. They said they hadn’t played here in two years! So, yeah…it was great to finally catch them again.

Mastodon

Much better pic of Mastodon by Steve

Okay, I think that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!

XOXO,

Elizabeth

 

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Birthday giveaways (part 2) :)

I’ll add each giveaway link to this post as it goes live over the next few days. Xo – Elizabeth

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See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Princess Diaries (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/e9e4ce88f0cb151b NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Apr 30, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Abandon Trilogy: Abandon, Underworld and Awaken (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/8234e49a9b4a4729 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 3, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.  (This has now been claimed. Congratulations to the winner! :))

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: This Lullaby (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/7d68fc163f1c6a43 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 4, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules. (Claimed :))

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Gentleman’s Scandalous Bride: A Sweet & Clean Historical Romance (The Chase Brides Book 7) (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/6c5882672f492fd6 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 5, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules. (Claimed :))

No one won the Princess Diaries giveaway, so I’ve relisted it :).

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Princess Diaries (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/4826d907485bed23 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 8, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules. (Ended :))

(Kindle photo by Pexels)

Birthday giveaways :)

In honor of my birthday, which is this month, I’ve decided to give away some stuff :). Namely, popular books by some of my favorite YA authors (but there may be other things as well).

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If you’re in the US, head over to https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/e9e4ce88f0cb151b for a chance to win: The Princess Diaries (Kindle Edition). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Apr 30, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

(This giveaway has ended, thanks! :))

I’ll be listing other giveaways throughout the week, so check back if you’re interested. And as always, thanks so much for all of your support. It means the world!

Sincerely,

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Friday Favorites – 03232018

When I made my last ‘Friday Favorites’ post, I hope I didn’t give the impression it would be a weekly feature here on the blog. Because it clearly hasn’t been. Because I am the world’s laziest blogger :/.

I’ve tried to figure out why this is (the blog-related laziness, I mean), but I still don’t know what my problem is. I guess most of the time I just prefer to spend my writing time on whatever piece of fiction I’m working on at the moment. What can I say? It’s more fun to spend time in fantasy-land than to re-cap reality :).

Nevertheless, here’s a short list for this week (as before, in no particular order):

1) Skillet Lasagna

I found this recipe on Pinterest years ago, and have since made it, oh, about a hundred times, give or take.

Skillet Lasagna.jpg

I like lasagna, but it can be kind of time-consuming to make, what with all the layering and then waiting for it to bake all the way through and what-have-you. With this recipe, you basically just cook the lasagna in a big skillet on the stove, which is much faster. Including prep, it only takes about half an hour. Very easy — and very delicious!

Because I don’t have an oven-proof skillet, I cook my lasagna on the stove-top and then transfer it to an oven-proof dish before completing the last step, which is to stick it under the broiler to melt and brown the cheese. If you have an oven-proof skillet, this recipe will be even easier for you, because you will be able to just pop the whole thing under the broiler and then serve it straight out of the skillet!

Regardless of the extra step I have to take, though, this is still an incredibly easy dish for me to put together, and it turns out great every time. It tastes so good and looks so pretty, it’s perfect for when you have guests over, or for a special occasion. Just serve it with a salad and some bread and maybe wine, if you’re into that. In fact, this is what Steve and I ate on Valentine’s Day this year!

Roses 02_2018

Roses someone sweet sent me for Valentine’s Day ;).

Btw, since I’m vegetarian, I obviously don’t use the ground beef called for in the recipe :). I usually use soy crumbles (like Boca or Morningstar Farms), but I have also omitted them altogether before, and just made cheese lasagna. You could probably add some spinach and other finely chopped vegetables to this, to make it a veggie version, but I’ve never tried that.

2) Lightly dried basil

This one sort of ties into the last one, since that recipe calls for fresh basil.

pexels-photo-95214.jpeg

I don’t use fresh basil all that much, so when I need it, I usually just buy one of those little pre-portioned cellophane packages from the produce section at the grocery store. Yes, they’re expensive, but if I only need fresh basil every once in a while, and we eat all of it when I buy it, I don’t think it’s too big a deal to purchase it this way.

However, I recently saw this at my grocery store, and gave it a try: Gourmet Garden “lightly dried” basil.

The 0.42 oz package contains “a large bunch of roughly chopped organic basil, lightly dried (just enough) to last for 4 weeks once open.” One TBSP of lightly dried basil equals one TBSP of fresh. When added to foods, it “refreshes during cooking,” and tastes more like fresh basil than dried.

This is cool for a couple of reasons, namely that it costs a lot less than those pre-portioned packages, and it lasts a lot longer. Once you open the container, you’ve got a month to figure out how to use up the rest of it. I like to add it to pasta sauces and sprinkle it on pizza, in addition to finding other recipes that call for fresh basil (here’s another one I like — Chicken Parmesan Bake).

Someday maybe I’ll get around to cultivating a fresh herb garden, but until that happens, this is a useful alternative for me :).

3) Meal Planning

Okay, so I don’t actually enjoy planning meals all that much. But I do enjoy the results, which are: a quicker trip to the grocery store, a lower bill when I check out, and of course a week’s worth of meals, which keeps me from having to scratch my head over what we’re going to have for dinner every day.

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I know there are a lot of posts about how to meal plan out there, but FWIW, here’s how I do it:

  • First I look in my kitchen cabinets and fridge, to see what I’ve already got on hand. I’m looking for things we need to use up soon, and/or that might help spur some recipe ideas.
  • I also look through the weekly HEB ad that comes in the mail. I don’t shop at multiple grocery stores. It’s possible I would save some money if I did, but honestly, HEB has pretty low prices all the time, and they always offer in-store coupons for free and discounted items. Plus, the store is VERY close to where I live, so I save a lot of time by just running over there and coming right back once a week, rather than going all over town to try and find deals. Saving money is definitely important to me, but so is saving time! (And BTW, no, I don’t work for HEB. I’m just a big fan :)).
  • Lastly, I look at recipes I’ve saved on Pinterest, or my meal planning database, to see what meals I might be able to make combining what I’ve got on hand and what’s on sale at HEB. What’s a meal planning database, you might ask? Well, it’s a handy-dandy spreadsheet Steve made for me, that lists all the dishes I like to make on a regular basis. They’re organized by protein (fake chicken, fake beef, tofu, beans, etc.) and by style (Italian, Mexican, etc.), and there’s a pivot table that allows me to filter the information accordingly. Yeah, I know, it’s the nerdiest thing ever, but it’s really helpful, particularly when I go to make the grocery list, my mind goes blank, and I can’t seem to think of anything to cook that week.

I try to keep our meals varied throughout the week, so that we don’t end up eating all pasta dishes or whatever. Usually, I make one Italian-inspired dish, one Mexican-inspired, and so on, and I usually try for at least one vegan meal, as well. Fridays are almost always pizza nights. We used to order out but then I learned how to make my own. Steve and I both like mine just fine, so this is what we eat now. It took me a few tries to get the hang of working with the dough, but I’ve now made so many pizzas, I could probably do it in my sleep ;).

4) Star Wars comics

Okay, switching gears a little bit…I recently caught up on a bunch of digital issues of Marvel’s currently ongoing Star Wars comic that Steve and I had amassed, and I have to say, this title is so good!

Star_Wars_Marvel_2015_John_Cassaday_Special_Edition

I’ve read up through issue #44, I think, and pretty much every story has been great, or at least entertaining. I think the writers have done an awesome job capturing the personalities of the original characters, and so much of the art work is great, too!

We’re no longer subscribed to the title (because we’d fallen so far behind on reading them, we decided to just quit for a while and give ourselves a chance to catch up) so it’ll be a while before I read any more of them. But assuming they remain this fun to read, I’m sure I’ll continue buying and reading the collections as they come out!

5) X-Files Season 11

Is it just me, or has this current season been really great? Like, way better than the last one?

the-x-files-creator-chris-carter-interview-720x720

Like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really watch much TV anymore, but The X-Files is my all-time favorite show, so of course I’ve been watching the newest episodes! I think they’ve been pretty wonderful so far, and it’s kind of sad to me that the latest one to air might be the last one ever.

I love Mulder and Scully’s dynamic this time around. They are behaving a lot closer to the way I imagine they would at this point, after so many years of working together and being best friends (and sometimes more). Scully’s a lot more relaxed and confident, no longer badgering Mulder over every little thing, but instead just trusting his instincts and accepting his quirks. For his part, Mulder seems a lot more…tired. Lol. But after everything he’s been through, it totally makes sense. He seems more relaxed and comfortable in his own skin, too, not as obsessed and intense as he used to be. In short, they both seem grown up and wise, but still pretty bad-ass when it comes to stopping bad guys.

Also, since I have shipped Mulder and Scully f-o-r-e-v-e-r (are they my OTP? Quite possibly), I’m super pleased with where that aspect of their relationship has sometimes gone this time around.

tumblr_p2i3ovVFoR1r5shc9o1_500

Episode 3, I’m referring to you.*

So sad to see this end! But then again, for ages I didn’t think there would ever be any more episodes at all, so I’ve already gotten way more than I bargained for. Thanks, Chris Carter and company, for making more for us die-hard X-philes!

Okay y’all, that’s all I’ve got to ramble about this time. Hope you have a magnificent weekend!

Love,

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*GIF found on youreadarkwizard.tumblr.com

Friday Favorites — 02092018

Hi friends, I hope you’ve had an awesome week!

I’ve decided to try out a “Friday Favorites” feature here on my blog this year. It’ll be a short list of things I’ve enjoyed throughout the week or in the recent past.

I figure this will not only allow me to share a little more about my day-to-day life, it will also work as a sort of gratitude exercise for me, helping me to stay focused on positive things.

I think my personality naturally leans toward the gloomier side (I’ve mentioned before, how depressed I was when I was younger), and while I’ve become a lot more cheerful over the years, it’s much easier for me to stay upbeat when I focus on the good.

And maybe some of the things I post about will be useful for you, too! 🙂

So, here we go, in no particular order:

1) A clean pantry, freezer, and fridge

Last week I decided to clean out my freezer, fridge and pantry. None of these areas ever gets too bad, honestly, because I try to keep on top of such things, but still…I knew both could use a bit of straightening and cleaning, and there were a few older items lurking in each that needed to come out.

fridge

I felt so much better after doing this! Especially since it reminded me of some of the dry and frozen goods I have squirreled away…which in turn helped spur some ideas for upcoming dinners – always useful when it comes time to write up the meal plan for the week!

2) Awaken with JP

I learned about this YouTube channel by listening to The Minimalists’ podcast. They had JP Sears on as a guest at one of their live events. I’d never heard of him before. Because I live under a rock. But now I’ve watched/listened to a bunch of his videos and think they’re all pretty funny.

Btw, I personally think gift cards are awesome, both to give and to receive. But the video still made me lol :).

3) Thank you notes

Steve and I spent some time over the weekend writing thank you notes for everyone who donated to our recent fundraising efforts on behalf of the Houston Food Bank (unless I didn’t have your physical address, in which case I messaged you! :)) Writing thank you notes is something I often put off, but after I do it I’m always glad I did. It reminds me to be grateful to have people in my life who care about me and support what I’m doing. So I guess you could say I’m grateful to have something to be grateful for!

4) Digital comics

I never really read too many comics growing up, just stuff like Richie Rich and Archie when I was little. A few years after we got married, though, Steve got me into reading more grown up things…like superhero titles ;).

I’m so glad, too, because I love comics, now!

Deadpool WG vol 9

As a writer, I feel I can learn a lot from how tightly these stories are paced, and how efficiently they are told, with as few words as possible. Plus, they are just plain fun to read. And now with the advent of digital comics, it’s easier than ever to collect a whole bunch of titles without needing an extra closet (or two) in which to store all those long-boxes!

long box_1

 

I like to read my comics on the Comixology or Kindle apps, using my Amazon Kindle Fire. These past few months a lot of Marvel titles have gone on sale on Amazon, and I’ve been tearing through them. Particularly the Deadpool catalog. So funny!

5) Target runs w/Steve

I only go to Target every once in a while, when there’s something specific I need from there, so it always feels like kind of a special occasion to me. I like to wait until Steve’s off work so we can go together. It’s just more fun that way. Probably because after we’re done shopping we usually sit and have a snack and some conversation in the little concessions area up front.

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(Stock photo from Pexels)

 

This last time we went, I was pleased that a couple of the things I needed were on clearance, and that I remembered to use a $5 gift card. My bill ended up being only $27. This isn’t so unusual these days, but there was definitely a time when I would have spent waaay more than that, and probably on things I didn’t need at all. It still surprises me sometimes, how much my attitude toward shopping has changed, but I like love it, and so does my bank account. #ThanksMinimalism!

6) Jessica Smith TV

Jessica Smith is another YouTube discovery. I’m not even sure how I first heard of her; probably YouTube recommended one of her clips. All I know is, I quickly became hooked on her workouts. They’re so simple, yet not necessarily easy. There are no complicated moves and usually no jumping involved, yet somehow she always makes me “sparkle” (her nice word for sweat) like crazy. But I also always have fun! These are a great way to break up the week’s workouts, on those days when I don’t run.

You can watch a ton of Jessica’s content for free on YouTube, but she also has a digital store with a mind-boggling array of professionally-produced discs and digital downloads available for purchase.

walk on

This one includes my favorite routine, the “Boogie Down Mile.” Yes, it’s as fun as it sounds!

Oh, and I didn’t even mention the cute pup, Peanut, who cameos in most of Jessica’s videos. This may just be what other work out videos have always been missing: an adorable French bulldog. ‘Cause how can you go wrong with one of those? Answer: you can’t.

7) Dune

Steve and I and a friend of ours are doing a group-read of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic, Dune.

It’s one of my all-time favorite books, and I’ve read it twice before, but it’s been a long time. I’m loving it all over again! Not to mention it’s bringing back lots of memories.

In some ways, I really hate thinking about my younger years (because, again, I was often in a dark place back then), but Dune is a pretty good memory for me. I was probably thirteen the first time I read it and back then, the story completely captured my imagination in a way nothing else ever had before. I remember being blown away by the realization that someone could a write a book like this, with such a detailed background, its own language and history, etc…it definitely inspired me to want to make up my own fantasy/sci-fi world, too!

Maybe someday I still will ;).

Also, how awesome is this retro cover?! I love it.

Dune

8) Pretzel buns

I know pretzel bread was sort of everywhere a few years ago now, and now…not so much. But just because they’re not trendy anymore doesn’t mean they aren’t still delicious! Steve and I had some this week, with homemade veggie burgers.

pretzel sandwich

A left-over. Went deliciously the following day with some Tofurky slices.

These buns were store-bought, but maybe sometime I’ll try to make my own.

There was that one time Steve and I made pretzels and they turned out alright, so this is not completely outside the realm of possibility!

Okay, y’all, I think that’s it for now. What have you been loving lately? I hope you’ve had a wonderful week, and that you enjoy your weekend! Love,

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Celebratory giveaways!

It’s official, The Real You has been out in the world for an entire year now!

I know; How did that happen?!

2017 Flew by SO QUICKLY.

But it was an incredible year.

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A screen cap from February, 2017

Watching this little book truck along and find an audience over the past twelve months has been amazing. Thank you so much for buying and/or reading. Really. 🙂 🙂 🙂

To celebrate The Real You’s birthday, the follow-up e-novella, A Very Merry Carreen Halloween will be FREE all day tomorrow, Friday, January 12th.

There are also giveaways for paperback copies of Fear and Laundry and The Real You going on right now, over at Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Real You by Elizabeth Myles

The Real You

by Elizabeth Myles

Giveaway ends January 15, 2018.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

 

Enter Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fear and Laundry by Elizabeth Myles

Fear and Laundry

by Elizabeth Myles

Giveaway ends January 15, 2018.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

These will likely be my last giveaways listed for a while, so if you’re interested in trying to win one of these stories in physical format, now is the time to pop on over and enter!

Good luck — and thanks again, you guys. You rock!

Sincerely,

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A tour of my favorite Christmas decorations.

I hope everyone’s having a lovely holiday season! 🙂

Things here are great. I’ve spent most of the day baking cookies, which is always fun.

I thought I would take some time out to share a few of my favorite Christmas decorations with you all. I always enjoy seeing everyone else’s!

As with everything else, I try to keep things simple when it comes to how heavily we decorate around here. These days, we pretty much stick with just the tree and a few outdoor lights. The apartment we moved to this year doesn’t have a balcony, though, and our windows aren’t really visible, so…Steve strung the lights inside, instead. I love the effect, and kind of wish we could leave them up all year :).

Xmas lights 2017

Please pay no attention to the breakfast tacos and assorted clutter covering my coffee table. Thank you! 🙂

We’ve been using clothes pins to hang our Christmas cards from the lights as they arrive.

Christmas cards image 2017

Here’s our tree. It’s fake and I bought it at Target for twenty dollars seventeen years ago. I’d say I’ve gotten my money’s worth!

Xmas tree 2017

For minimalists, we sure do have a lot of presents under the tree :O.

And now for a few of my favorite ornaments.

A couple of cute Santas:

Winnie the Pooh is very popular around here.

I also have a lot of baking themed ornaments. A lot of these are from the Hallmark “Season’s Treatings” collection, but I don’t have the whole set.

measuring cup 2017

The world’s teeniest measuring cup, spatula, whisk, and measuring spoons.

gingerbread man 2017

I love gingerbread people and houses! I found this little fabric one at Target a few years ago. Isn’t he cute?

This year I also hung these pot-holders on the fridge. I’m not sure what year they’re from, but they’re pretty old. They were my grandmother’s.

potholders 2017

And last but not least, my star tree-topper, which came from the Dollar Store the same year as the tree, 2000. Not bad for a two dollar purchase!

star 2017

What are some of your favorite holiday decorations? Have you had them forever and a day, like I have? 😉

Happy holidays, y’all!

xoxo,

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Horror movie top ten, October, 2017

Can it really be time for another one of these posts already? Where has the year gone? Sheesh.

Anyway, here it is:  my annual list of the top ten horror movies Steve and I watched during our October challenge. (Previous lists can be found here: 2014, 2015, 2016). All descriptions are from either Amazon or the IMDB. I do not own any of these images; posters are from all around the ‘net.

10) The Shallows, Howl (tie)

Yes, for the first time since I started compiling these lists, I wound up with a tie!

I’ll start with The Shallows.

Shallows

A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy (Blake Lively) is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills.

I debated including this film on the list because I’m not sure if it’s really a horror movie or a thriller.

(Side note: This was true of a lot of the movies we watched this year, actually. I’m starting to think Steve and I have watched every horror movie out there. We’re now having to expand the criteria for this challenge to include anything remotely scary or creepy in any way. I think sharks are frightening, so it counted.)

I feel as though it’s a fine line sometimes, between a sort-of-tame horror film and a really intense/bloody thriller, if you know what I mean?

Anyway, the IMDB lists this one as both, so…Aside from the climax, which I won’t spoil, I thought it was entertaining and I enjoyed watching it.

Howl

On a stormy night, passengers on the last train out of London begin to panic after coming to a sudden halt. They soon realize there’s something dangerous lurking in the forest, and it’s stalking the besieged train and picking them off one-by-one.

Howl was quite an entertaining movie, too, albeit completely different. Definitely a horror movie! This one is about people trapped on a train while…something prowls around outside, trying to get in and eat them. You can probably guess what that ‘something’ is just from the title and from looking at the poster, but…I won’t mention it here in case it’s considered a spoiler :). Just allow me to say I’m a fan of these particular creatures, so I may be a little biased here, but I thought this one was a lot of fun.

9) Clown

Clown

A loving father dons a clown suit for his son’s birthday party, only to realize that it’s cursed.

I know what you’re probably thinking. An evil clown suit? C’mon. I thought that, too, at first but I was pleasantly surprised. This was a very solid horror film, and I was impressed with the way it perfectly straddled the line between being scary and funny. I wouldn’t have minded if it was a straight-up horror comedy, TBH, but it wasn’t. The inherent humor in the clown-centered premise isn’t ignored, the film doesn’t take itself too seriously, and there were certainly laughs, but from the moment the dad, Kent, (played by Andy Powers), realizes he is stuck inside the suit and no matter what he does it will not come off, you start to get genuinely creeped out and anxious on his behalf. And of course from that point on, things only get worse for poor Kent…

8) 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane

After a car crash, a woman wakes up in a survivalist’s bunker. He claims to have saved her from an apocalyptic attack but, growing suspicious of his motives, she’ll have to escape to discover the truth in this heart-pounding new thriller from J.J. Abrams.

Another one I’d probably classify as a thriller, or maybe sci-fi, but once again, the IMDB lists horror as one of the genres so we’ll go with that :). Everyone in this did such a great job with their performances. A nail-biter through and through.

7) Cult of Chucky

Confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, Nica (Fiona Dourif) is wrongly convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new group therapy tool — a “Good Guy” doll — a string of grisly deaths plague the asylum and Nica starts to wonder if maybe she isn’t crazy after all. Andy (Alex Vincent), Chucky’s now-grown-up nemesis from the original Child’s Play, races to Nica’s aid. But to save her he’ll have to get past Tiffany (Oscar-nominee Jennifer Tilly), Chucky’s long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.

I’ve enjoyed all of the Child’s Play franchise and this installment was no exception. It was very weird, but in a good, kinda mind-bending way that worked for me. There were just so many elements here that I enjoyed: seeing Nica, Andy, and Tiffany/Jennifer again, as well as the multiple Chucky dolls. Yeah, there were unanswered questions but overall, a fun movie.

6) The Devil’s Candy

Devil's Candy

Diehard metal-head and struggling artist Jesse (Ethan Embry) moves with his wife (Shiri Appleby) and daughter (Kiara Glasco) to a rural Texas town, unaware that the house they got for an unbelievable deal comes with a grisly history. Their dream home turns into a nightmare as disturbing demonic occurrences culminate with the appearance of Ray (Pruitt Taylor Vince), the home’s former resident who’s destined to do the devil’s bidding.

Well, I love metal and I love horror so I guess it’s not all that surprising that I’d like a horror movie about metal fans–and which features metal music on the soundtrack.

This was a good, creepy haunted (sorta) house movie that easily held my interest, but what I really liked about it were the performances by all the actors (even though I totally did not recognize Ethan Embry until the credits rolled. I’m still not entirely convinced that was him. When did he morph into a completely different dude?) The relationship between Jesse and his daughter, in particular, felt realistic and sweet.

5) Possession

Possession

A woman starts exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. Suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more sinister.

I’m sort of cheating with this one, I guess, because I’d seen it multiple times before, but…it’s one of my favorites and IMO doesn’t get enough attention, so I’m putting it on the list :). Also, this viewing was special because it was on the big screen, at the Alamo Drafthouse. To say I was surprised they decided to screen this is putting it mildly. I was even more surprised I’m not the only person who showed up!

I first stumbled upon this movie completely randomly. Steve and I were in a Tower records, I think (so yeah, you know it was a long time ago) and we came across this DVD…actually a two-pack with Mario Bava’s Shock. So we bought it on a whim.

Shock

I loved both movies, particularly Possession, but Steve didn’t care much for either one. So Possession became one of those movies (like Mulholland Drive, Brazil, or The Man Who Fell to Earth) that I’d watch whenever he was out of town, so as not to subject him to the weirdness. Ha, ha.

I’m not even sure what it is about this film that I like so much, other than that it’s just so hard to look away from. And it certainly isn’t predictable. A lot of it doesn’t make sense. It does remind me a little of Hellraiser, though, in some respects. If you watch it, you’ll probably see what I mean. Not that I recommend watching it. Please don’t blame me if you do!

4) Blair Witch (2016)

Blair Witch

After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his vanished sister Heather, James and a group of friends head to the forest believed to be inhabited by the Blair Witch.

Was this movie necessary? Nope. Was it surprisingly creepy and fun to watch? Yep.

I’m not generally a fan of hand-held/found footage movies and am hard-pressed to watch them…unless Eduardo Sanchez was somehow involved in their production. All of his movies are cool.

3) Victor Crowley

Victor Crowley

The latest installment in the very fun Hatchet franchise. Good, old-fashioned, old-school horror with loads of gore and humor mixed in. Felissa Rose cracked me up so much in this! And it was especially cool to see this movie in the theater, with director Adam Green in attendance.

2) The Blackcoat’s Daughter

Blackcoat's Daughter

Two girls must battle a mysterious evil force when they get left behind at their boarding school over winter break.

This was slow-paced and understated without being pretentious. Not too heavy on the gore (although there are a couple of sequences) but very heavy on the creepiness. And how impressive is Kiernan Shipka? She did a great job in this film. I knew while I was watching The Blackcoat’s Daughter that it would most likely make this list because I was enjoying it so much, and I knew for sure it’d make the list when I kept thinking about it the next day, too. If you like stuff like Rosemary’s Baby or The Lords of Salem–movies that really crank up that building sense of dread–you might dig this.

1) The Void

Void

Shortly after delivering a patient to an understaffed hospital, a police officer experiences strange and violent occurrences seemingly linked to a group of mysterious hooded figures.

It’s kind of funny to me that this wound up being my number one movie this year, for a couple of reasons. To begin with, it was the very first one we watched, on the last day of September. We decided to include it as a bonus movie on “day zero” because Steve had already seen it before, but I had only seen half. Because I’d fallen asleep the first time we watched it! Not because it was boring or anything; it was just really late at night. And I’d taken a Zirtec. And had a couple of beers.

We’d gone to see it as part of a double feature (with In The Mouth of Madness) at the Alamo Drafthouse and it was freezing cold in the theater, so between movies, Steve, being the sweet husband that he is, went out to the car to get me the travel blanket we carry around in there. Well, I snuggled down under that thing and…boom, out like a light by the second half of the movie. I felt really bad! But yeah, I made it up by watching it again and this time staying awake for the whole thing. Turns out I’d missed all the craziest/best parts. This was an insanely weird film that was right up my alley. If you like Cronenberg, Lovecraft, The Thing, and you know, stuff like that, you should give this a try; it’s really cool.


Honorable mentions this year go to:

Friday the 13th pt. 2

and

Hellraiser

I didn’t put them on the list because I’d seen them both multiple times before. Hellraiser is my fave, and I felt like I’d already used up that chip by including Possession ;).

Okay, so that’s it; another year down. The full list of movies we watched can be found on my husband’s blog. All links in this post are his. Hope y’all enjoyed your October!

XOXO,

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10212017 (General updates–plus a new book announcement!)

Since it’s been so long since I last updated, this is going to be a kind of long, rambl-y post…with lots of pictures :). I’ll do my best to keep it organized in some fashion, though.

Where to start?

The summer went by so fast!

Back in July Steve and I saw Matthew Sweet live. This was a dream come true for me and I sort of blubbered all through the show.

I know, how embarrassing :X.

I hadn’t expected to get that emotional but sheesh…so many of his songs just mean so much to me! Hearing them played live made me think about the past, and what a lonely and depressed teenager I was back then. It’s not an understatement to say music was one of the things that got me through those rough years, and some of Matthew Sweet’s albums in particular, helped me so much. So, yeah. That show was an a-m-a-z-i-n-g experience for me. I just wish the audience had been livelier. They just sat there–while I wanted to go nuts, lol :).

Matthew Sweet marquee

I also got to see Guns N Roses live again in September, in San Antonio. They put on a really great show, of course, and it was doubly wonderful because Steve and I were able to catch up with some old friends before the concert, too! Later in the month we saw The Descendents, one of Steve’s favorite bands, which was also a lot of fun.

In August, we continued with our 6pack 5K Beer Challenge and completed the course at the Southern Star Brewing Company in Conroe. This race benefited Toys for Tots. It was super fun, as all of these races have been. The breakfast tacos afterward were dee-licious, too!

Toward the end of August, Hurricane Harvey hit and everything went haywire. Or at least, that is what it sort of felt like down here in Houston! I’m thankful (very, very thankful) our home did not flood. We were without power for a couple of days, but that was it.

scrabble board

We played Scrabble by candlelight :).

It was heartbreaking to see so much damage all around us, though.

We have made some donations to relief charities and Steve and I will be raising money for the Houston Food Bank when we run the Aramco Houston Half Marathon for the tenth time this year. This is an organization that we have donated to and volunteered with many times in the past, and I think they are great. Here are some stats about their recovery efforts, from an email they sent me. (And if you’d like to read more about them and their ongoing work, please click here to go to their website!)

Houston is my home, it has a big piece of my heart, and I hope we can do at least a little something to help out around here.

karbach happy hour for hunger

A Rodeo Clown IPA from Karbach Brewing Co.’s “Happy Hour for Hunger” back in September — another fun event, and for a good cause!

At the same time, I know we are far from the only area to be devastated in one way or another, lately :(. There have been hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and that terrible shooting in Las Vegas, just to name a few.

I know bad things happen all the time but it really feels as though 2017 has been an especially tough year for a lot of people.

I’m not one to blog very much, either here or on social media, in general and honestly, lately it has been even harder for me to get motivated to do so. In the face of so much tragedy, what do you even say? Particularly when you are someone who spends a lot of her time writing (ostensibly) funny stuff. You can begin to question what you do, whether it is important at all, or a worthwhile contribution to the world. I think about this a lot anyway, but lately it has really been on my mind.

BUT…a couple weeks ago, Steve and I saw horror-comedy director Adam Green speak before a screening of Victor Crowley and he talked about this very topic. He said (and I’m totally paraphrasing here) that, in a way, it’s more important than ever to share a laugh together after something bad happens, because it reminds us that life isn’t all one thing.

There’s good and there’s bad, and getting our minds off the bad, even if it’s only for a short while, can be really helpful sometimes.

I think that makes sense. I know it’s true for me. A few years ago I had some health problems and was having to go to the doctor a lot, while they tried to determine what was wrong with me (it ended up being nothing too bad, thankfully). I was reading Meg Cabot’s Abandon series at the time and I remember being so grateful for the distraction. Her funny, happy books almost always put me in a good mood! I would love it if anything I wrote or did was ever able to lift someone’s spirits in a similar manner, even temporarily. That’s part of why I do what I do, to entertain and encourage, and it’s extremely humbling and fulfilling for me when someone does seem to get something worthwhile out of my work :).

So, um, I guess I’ll keep doing it. Particularly since I can’t seem to stop, anyway.

All of which leads me to…book news!

The Goodreads giveaway for The Real You ended on September 10th. There were almost 1500 entries all told, which is awesome! All of the books have long been packaged up and sent out, I just hadn’t gotten around to writing about it yet (big surprise). Thanks to everyone who entered! I had such a blast with this, I may just have to do another one again sometime soon ;).

And last but not least…I’ve written another thing.

a_very_merry_carreen_halloween_cover_v3

Adorable cover by Steve, once again :).

This is a short novella, about 33,000 words (130 pages) in length, and I hope to have it out soon. Very soon.

As in very, very soon.

You know, seeing as how it is set at Halloween and all..! 🙂

This story (which I’m so far referring to as a “Bonus Holiday Special”) takes place about 2+ years after the end of The Real You. It features Rourke, Dallas, and a bunch of other characters from The Real You, as well as Fear and Laundry and Fear and Laundry 2. I have no idea if anyone will be interested in reading this (and, really, that is true of everything I’ve ever written in my life), but I wrote it anyway because:

  • A) I like Rourke and Dallas, they wouldn’t leave my mind, and I wanted to write a little more about them.
  • B) I enjoy writing about holidays, and since Halloween is my favorite, I wanted to write a story set then.
  • C) And yeah, I wanted to put the characters in funny costumes and send them off to a haunted house :D. Why not, I ask you?

I hope at least some of y’all will check it out and get a kick out of it. I’ll post the release date as soon as I know what it is. (Edit: As of October 28th, 2017, A Very Merry Carreen Halloween is now available in the Amazon Kindle store :)).

‘Til then…thank you for reading this and take care, y’all!

With love and gratitude,

XOXO,

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Books #16 – 21

This post is part of my ongoing battle project to tame my TBR pile. As usual, all descriptions are from Amazon.

I’m way behind on making these updates, so although I have actually read about 55 books so far this year, this list only goes through #21 :(. Maybe someday I will catch up. Maybe.

For the record, July was not a very good month for me in terms of keeping my numbers under control. I bought seven new books and only read two old ones. Also, in June I used Overdrive for the first time and while I think this is an awesome service…well, let’s just say I can see how it is likely to throw a wrench into my plans to read my own books! Unless I can stay away from it for a while. To that end, I’ve vowed to only read books from my own collection throughout the month of August. Preferably stuff I’ve had since before the beginning of the year. That should help make up for July. Sort of. Wish me luck :)!

Now, on with the updates…

#16: Sweet Valley High #18: Head Over Heels, by Kate William

Bruce Patman and Regina Morrow in love? No one at Sweet Valley High can believe it. Regina is beautiful and shy, one of the nicest girls at school. Bruce is a real snob, and the only person he’s ever cared about is himself.

Jessica Wakefield figures the romance can’t last. She knows Bruce too well. She’s even willing to bet Lila Fowler that Bruce and Regina break up within two weeks. The stakes are high, and Jessica can’t afford to lose. If she has her way, Regina and Bruce won’t be happy for long.


This one was pretty cute. I really like Bruce with Regina. There’s just something about a hardened guy softening for a sweet girl :). Jessica tries to cause trouble, as usual, and Elizabeth tries to help everyone out. There were some really sweet moments between Elizabeth and Bruce in this, actually, including one where Elizabeth is so impressed by the changes in his behavior and attitude that she impulsively gives him a kiss on the cheek. It was really cute!

#17: Dancing Through Life: Steps of Courage and Conviction, by Candace Cameron

Candace Cameron Bure has grown up before our eyes and we’ve watched as she’s balanced life in Hollywood with her faith for many years. But that all reached new heights when she was given the opportunity to join the cast of Dancing With the Stars. Being on the show was one of her dreams come true; and with that dream came the opportunity to display her Christian faith in front of millions of people, through an intense season of stretching beyond her limits, and to run the race God gave her with joy and perseverance.

Join Candace as she reflects on the self-discovery that came through leaping out of her comfort zone. Go behind the scenes and experience the highs and lows, the roadblocks, and the personal victories. Hear straight from her heart on tough lessons learned about grace, rejection, perfectionism, disappointment, accountability, dealing with criticism, and more. Through God’s strength, and with the help of endless support from her family and friends, see how Candace stayed true to herself and publicly lived out her faith in Christ all the way to the finale.

How do you stand with conviction in your world? Where does your courage come from when faced with challenges? How do you live out your faith on a daily basis despite opposition? Your stage probably isn’t in Hollywood and the challenges you are facing may not be on live television, but they are no less real. Come along with Candace as she shares how she found the courage to stand with conviction on one of the largest platforms of her life.


I downloaded this for 99 cents back in 2015. Actually, I’ve gotten all three of Candace Cameron Bure’s books for 99 cents each, at some time or another. Not a bad deal! I’d only read one other one before this: Balancing It All. I liked that one because it was more autobiographical, describing her experience growing up as a child actress. This one was good, too, but it is about Dancing with the Stars and I don’t watch that show, nor have I ever even seen an episode of it! I think if you’re a big fan of DWTS (and don’t mind reading a lot about God) you’d probably enjoy the book a lot, as she really gives a detailed look from behind the scenes at how the show is run. Sounds pretty brutal!

The bulk of the book is about Candace’s experiences on the program, and how she tried to reconcile her religious beliefs with being part of a mainstream show sometimes known for “sexy” dances and tiny, potentially immodest costumes. Unsurprisingly, she received a lot of flak for participating in a secular show. Some of it seemed to me as though it might be rationalization (with her telling herself certain things were okay because she really wanted to continue being part of the show) but I suppose only she knows for certain. Regardless, it was an interesting read and gave me some things to think about.

#18: No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, by Glenn Greenwald

In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the 29-year-old NSA contractor and whistle-blower Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency’s widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security and information privacy. As the arguments rage on and the government considers various proposals for reform, it is clear that we have yet to see the full impact of Snowden’s disclosures.

Now for the first time, Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity ten-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA’s unprecedented abuse of power with never-before-seen documents entrusted to him by Snowden himself.

Going beyond NSA specifics, Greenwald also takes on the establishment media, excoriating their habitual avoidance of adversarial reporting on the government and their failure to serve the interests of the people. Finally, he asks what it means both for individuals and for a nation’s political health when a government pries so invasively into the private lives of its citizens—and considers what safeguards and forms of oversight are necessary to protect democracy in the digital age. Coming at a landmark moment in American history, No Place to Hide is a fearless, incisive, and essential contribution to our understanding of the U.S. surveillance state.


I really wanted to read this after watching Citizenfour and Snowden, and I was psyched when it went on sale for $2.99. Glad I got it; it was super interesting and I read it really fast. Although that may have had something to do with the fact that the day I started it, I got stuck at the dealership, having about twenty different things done to my car. I was there for hours and had plenty of time to read! Anyway, I liked it a lot. It will make you paranoid, though, if you aren’t already. Although is it really paranoia if we really are being watched-? :O 😉

#19: Amethyst, by Lauren Royal

London, 1666: Amethyst Goldsmith makes dazzling jewelry, but her future isn’t nearly as bright as the pieces she creates. Though custom dictates she wed her father’s apprentice, her heart rebels against the match. In mere days Amy will be condemned to a stifling, loveless marriage, and she sees no way out–until the devastating fire of 1666 sweeps through London, and tragedy lands her in the arms of a dashing nobleman who knows a diamond in the rough when he sees it…

Colin Chase, the Earl of Greystone, has his future all figured out. He’s restoring his crumbling castle and estate to its former glory, and the key to its completion is his rich bride-to-be. But the Great Fire lays waste to his plans, saddling him with trouble–in the form of a lowly shopkeeper’s daughter with whom he’s most inconveniently falling in love…


I’ve wanted to start this series for a while and I’m happy I finally did. This was quite cute. Felt a little too long toward the end, and the H had a strange personality quirk of liking to play odd pranks/practical jokes on people (they weren’t very funny) but aside from that I have no complaints!

Quote:

“…what he felt for her had nothing to do with wealth or position, and everything to do with the way just looking at her made the blood course through his veins. His need for her was illogical, emotional…Dangerous. It didn’t bear thinking about.”

#20: A Million Little Ways, by Emily P. Freeman

The majority of us would not necessarily define ourselves as artists. We’re parents, students, businesspeople, friends. We’re working hard, trying to make ends meet, and often longing for a little more–more time, more love, more security, more of a sense that there is more out there. The truth? We need not look around so much. God is within us and he wants to shine through us in a million little ways.

A Million Little Ways uncovers the creative, personal imprint of God on every individual. It invites the discouraged parent, the bored Christian, the exhausted executive to look at their lives differently by approaching their critics, their jobs, and the kids around their table the same way an artist approaches the canvas–with wonder, bravery, and hope. In her gentle, compelling style, Emily Freeman encourages readers to turn down the volume on their inner critic and move into the world with the courage to be who they most deeply are. She invites regular people to see the artistic potential in words, gestures, attitudes, and relationships. Readers will discover the art in a quiet word, a hot dinner, a made bed, a grace-filled glance, and a million other ways of showing God to the world through the simple human acts of listening, waiting, creating, and showing up.


Oh my gosh, this was so good! Freeman’s sort of flowery/poetic writing style took me a while to get into (and there were points where I didn’t really even know what she was saying, tbh) but overall, the message was great and I loved it.

It was hard to pick just one quote (I high-lighted SO much in this book) but here’s one:

“Instead of setting off on a journey to find your art, consider staying right where you are to uncover your art. Like the tree with roots crawling deep into the ground, God has already done the work of putting his art within you. I believe he’s asking us to do the work of uncovering what is already true and trusting him to release it for his glory and the benefit of others.”

#21: Once Upon A Bride, by various authors

Six captivating novellas from six New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors!

Fall in love with six grooms-to-be as you escape to medieval Scotland, 17th century England, 19th century America, Georgian London and the high seas. These steamy, seductive stories will warm your heart!

THE HANDFASTING by Glynnis Campbell
The Highlands, Scotland, 1199: When Sir Noel de Ware claims his betrothed—the most beautiful heiress in the Highlands—he’s sure he’s getting the best gift ever…until he discovers he’s wedded and bedded the wrong sister. Spirited Ysenda of Rivenloch never intended to be a counterfeit bride, and when she falls in love with her handsome husband, she becomes trapped in her own deception.

FOREVERMORE by Lauren Royal
England, 1667: Sensible Clarice Bradford is content in her widowhood. She has a pretty one-room cottage and a lovely little daughter, and the last thing she wants is another husband. Until one fairytale evening when she’s invited to a wedding at a castle…

FALL FROM GRACE by Jill Barnett
Scottish Highlands, 17th Century: The Clan McNish is left starving by their bitter rivals, the McNabs. Granddaughter to the chieftain, Grace McNish, decides it’s her duty to capture and ransom a vile McNab. But she and her clan of misfits capture the wrong man, Colin Campbell, Earl of Argyll and Lord of the Isles, who holds her clan’s fate in his powerful hands.

HEART OF FRAGILE STARS by Cynthia Wright
Georgian London and the High Seas: Dashing French pirate Jean-Philippe Beauvisage revels in his life of freedom…until the night at a ball in Georgian London, when a Russian beauty steals his heart. The instant attraction he feels for recently-orphaned Antonia is soul-deep, but she is bound for America with an arrogant captain.

THE FOUR-LEAF CLOVER by Cheryl Bolen
Missouri, 1870: The wealthiest man in Peace, Missouri, Norman Sterling can’t believe his good fortune when the beauty he worshiped from afar years ago moves to his town. At their Fourth of July picnic, he blurts out a proposal to Millie Gresham—and to his profound surprise, she accepts. But can she ever win his love?

A WINTER HEART by Annette Blair
Ohio, 1873: Hannah Peachy has nurtured a winter heart since she lost her family. Caleb Skylar struggles with the horror of his wife’s drowning. When Caleb aimlessly pulls up stakes and leaves his home behind, the spirit of Hannah’s earthbound twin leads him straight to Hannah. But how can two guilty souls accept love as a reward for their transgressions? A Sensual Amish Historical Romance.


This was such a great bargain at 99 cents!

I bought it because I wanted to read “Forevermore,” by Lauren Royal. That alone would have been more than worth the price, but I got 5 other stories out of it, so I’m happy. Especially since I liked all of them, and I LOVED the first story, “The Handfasting” by Glynnis Campbell. It was so cute and perfect. I looked her up and she’s got some free books available, which is nice except…it means I’ll probably end up with more books soon. Yeah, just what I need :/!

Cute quote: 

“’Ye know I’m your protector now.’ Indeed, he was surprised by just how fiercely protective he felt. “If anyone touches ye, he’ll have to answer to me.’

Her eyes went all soft and dewy when he said that. But he was serious.”

(from The Handfasting, by Glynnis Campbell)

‘Til next time, y’all!

XOXO,

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