Sweet Tea at Sunrise
The Sweet Magnolias #6
April 27, 2010
May 26 - 31, 2023
Emotionally wounded single mom Sarah Price has come home to Serenity, South Carolina, for a fresh start. With support from her two best friends—the newest generation of the Sweet Magnolias—she can face any crisis. But sometimes a woman needs more than even treasured friends can provide. Sexy Travis McDonald may be exactly what Sarah's battered self-confidence requires. The newcomer is intent on getting Sarah to work at his fledgling radio station…and maybe into his bed, as well. Sarah has learned not to trust sweet words. She'll measure the man by his actions. Is Travis the one to heal her heart? Or will he break it again?
Hands down, this is the best book in the Sweet Magnolia’s series. I was going to quit listening to these books after #4, but #5 was Annie’s story, and I loved her character arc in book #2, so I stuck it out for her book. And it was kind of disappointing and not fully fleshed out. But they introduced Sarah in that book, and I liked her. She seemed like she had a good story to tell. And I was right!
Sweet Tea at Sunrise was actually sort of a work place romance. When newcomer Travis McDonald shows up in town, he takes a liking to Sarah, who is the waitress at the restaurant he’s been frequenting. He admires her ability to chat so effortlessly with all of her customers, and when he decides to buy the old defunct newsstand and start up a new radio station in Serenity, he knows Sarah would be the perfect voice to put on air.
Sarah, however, has reservations about Travis. As a former pro baseball player, he has a reputation for having his way with women. Having just come out of an emotionally abusive relationship, Sarah is in no place to let herself get hurt. Reluctantly, she accepts his offer to put her on the radio, and she finds herself shocked to realize she’s quite good at the job.
Sparks are flying between the pair, but will Sarah let him in? Will Travis prove to her that he is worthy? This is such a cute book. Solid character growth and plot progression, and, of course, it’s set up to continue with another character from Serenity in book #6… which yes, I will read, but not yet because I have a bunch of library holds all coming in at the same time!
A Bridgerton Novel
Julia Quinn & Shonda Rhimes
May 9, 2023
May 12 - 25, 2023
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn and television pioneer Shonda Rhimes comes a powerful and romantic novel of Bridgerton's Queen Charlotte and King George III's great love story and how it sparked a societal shift, inspired by the original series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, created by Shondaland for Netflix.“We are one crown. His weight is mine, and mine is his…” In 1761, on a sunny day in September, a King and Queen met for the very first time. They were married within hours. Born a German Princess, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was beautiful, headstrong, and fiercely intelligent… not precisely the attributes the British Court had been seeking in a spouse for the young King George III. But her fire and independence were exactly what she needed, because George had secrets… secrets with the potential to shake the very foundations of the monarchy. Thrust into her new role as a royal, Charlotte must learn to navigate the intricate politics of the court… all the while guarding her heart, because she is falling in love with the King, even as he pushes her away. Above all she must learn to rule, and to understand that she has been given the power to remake society. She must fight—for herself, for her husband, and for all her new subjects who look to her for guidance and grace. For she will never be just Charlotte again. She must instead fulfill her destiny… as Queen.
Review 1: For those who have seen the Netflix show.
Congratulations. You’ve read the book. No, really. It’s nearly identical. The book is missing the “present day” storyline with Violet and all, but the backstory of Queen Charlotte is the same.
Review 2: For those who haven’t seen the Netflix show.
Whether you’ve seen/read the other Bridgerton stories or not, this was a sweet romance about a new queen in a foreign land, with a husband hiding secrets from her. Once she discovers his secrets, she must decide what to do. Meanwhile, her mother-in-law is pressuring her to do her duty and get pregnant.
From the adorable meet-cute where Charlotte tries to enlist George, unknowing who he was, to help her escape over the wall and run away from her wedding to the very end, this is a sweet story about true love and acceptance.
The best part about this book/show was being able to understand Queen Charlotte a little better. In the Bridgerton show I never knew what to make of her. She just seemed so… mean. Now? I get it.
Where The Heck Have I Been?
I was on a real roll with sharing reviews… until I wasn’t. June 9. It’s been over 6 weeks since I shared my last review. Yikes! And I promise, this is not for lack of reading/listening. I have a stack of reviews that need to get written and shared!
So, what’s been keeping me away? A handful of things. The day job has been kind of stressful so when my work day ends I don’t want to stare at a computer screen ever again, so then when I do bring myself to look at a screen, I need to focus on my publishing job. Plus the freelance formatting/book cover design projects I took on recently.
Add to that, I decided to paint my entire living room/hallway. By myself (because my husband didn’t find the gray we’ve had on the wall the past 14 years as depressing as I do—the cream looks lovely and really brightens the place up!) So I have 3/4 of the project done. I was going to finish this weekend, but opted to have a relaxing weekend instead that didn’t involve moving ALL of the furniture in the living room, including taking down a 4′ mirror from the wall (don’t worry, he’ll help me with that).
And my family started playing Pokemon Go again, which has resulted in a LOT of outside walking, which is great because summer in Minnesota is fleeting and before we know it we’ll be waist deep in snow and arctic temps. (Psst! I’d love to be Pokemon Go friends if you play! My invite code is GH3TVWWRT.)
Oh yeah, I also had the time of my life attending Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour when it came to town! Seriously, well worth the ticket price. (And no, I did not pay thousands of dollars. I bought my tickets during the presales. 😉)
Unfortunately, none of my excuses are that I was busy writing. Whoops! Hopefully once the weather turns awful again I’ll be able to find the time and motivation to get to work on my long procrastinated sequel to Something I’m Good At… That’s right, Mark’s book is working its way through my brain! He’s not quite so happy-go-lucky like his good pal Kane, so this book is a little tougher, but we’ll get there someday. If it’s the last thing I do… I think I’m starting to see why so many authors are retired with grown children!
Okay! Back to work! This stack of reviews won’t write themselves!
The Inheritance Games
The Inheritance Games #1
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
September 1, 2020
March 30 - April 4, 2023
Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why—or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man's touch—and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a conwoman, and he's determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather's last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.
If you’ve seen the movie Knives Out, The Inheritance Games is a little like that. This book released about a year after the movie, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she was inspired by the film. It’s absolutely not a carbon copy knock off though. In fact, I liked the book better than the movie.
Teenager Avery inherits like, a bajillion dollars, from a random old man she’s never met named Tobias Hawthorne. Not only did he give her his money, house, and most of his worldly possessions, he all but disinherited his own children and grandchildren!
The stipulation of her inheritance? She must live in the estate she’s inherited for one full year. The catch? None of Hawthorne’s family, who live there, are to be evicted…unless given good cause.
Let the games begin.
Going from living in her car to being thrown into a world of excess and luxury, Avery must navigate her new surroundings (they say Hawthorne added a new room or wing to the house every year!) and watch her back, all while trying to figure out why she was left this fortune, and could it have anything to do with her dead mother?
Living in the house with her are Hawthorne’s four grandsons, each one displaying varying degrees of hostility toward her. Listening to the audiobook, I’m not going to lie, they were fairly interchangeable to me. I’m hoping that changes with books 2 and 3. This did make me wish I’d been reading the ebook or print book, but alas… I’m a slow reader and am committed to reading my NetGalley e-ARCs, I can’t spend that “eyeball reading” time on other books!
Overall, despite my getting the grandsons confused, I really enjoyed this book. I did wonder how this would end, knowing there are 2 more books to come. I hate books that end abruptly with no satisfying conclusion. This one ended beautifully. There was enough information revealed to satisfy me (for now) while also making new revelations/opening new questions to make me come back for book 2. I absolutely recommend this book to fans of YA books.
I’m THRILLED to announce that SOMETHING I’M GOOD AT (a clean, teen romance) will be available June 18, 2019! You will be able to get both ebook and print copies.
This book is the first in my Sol del Mar High series. Each book will stand on its own, but they do happen in chronological order, so to avoid any spoilers I am recommending they be read in order.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Summer was the girl who had it all: good grades, a spot on the high school volleyball team, and a best friend since elementary school. Then she was diagnosed with lupus…and her best friend betrayed her. Now she’s cutting ties, because nobody should have to deal with someone as broken as her.
Kane is the guy who never gives up. When he puts his mind to something, he gets it done—no matter how many broken bones it takes. So when a chance encounter at the urgent care throws him in the path of Summer, the girl he’s secretly had a crush on for years, he’s determined to win her heart.
Despite her vow to keep people away, Summer finds herself falling for Kane’s charm. Will the boy who never gives up be able to win—and keep—the heart of the girl who is afraid to let people in?
Google Play and Apple Books are still processing, but will be available shortly.
My Health and Better Eating Journey
I intended to write another post on this sooner, but c’est la vie. I got busy!
Things are going pretty well for me. I’ve been pretty successful cutting out added sugar. I have a couple grams per day, but coming from a candy/cookie/ice cream addict, this is a giant leap forward!
NOTE: I’ve decided to go for a low carb, high fat, moderate protein food plan. (I don’t like to call this a diet, because diets end. I plan to eat healthy for life. With cheats allowed more often once I reach my target!) I would love to go full Keto (cutting down to the bare minimum of carbs, if you don’t know what Keto is) but I don’t feel the desire to go that extreme. At least not yet!
A typical day for me for food looks like this:
2 eggs fried in either coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. I’ve been making it as an janky omelette, because I can’t make an omelette to save my life. So it’s somewhere between an omelette and a breakfast skillet!
To my egg mush I usually add all or most of the following: deli turkey, shredded Italian style cheese, spinach, onion (green, red, or sweet), tomato, and avocado. If I don’t have avocado, I sometimes add this guacamole stuff we get from Costco in individual packets. It’s not spicy, but it is very salty, so I prefer the fresh avocado and salt it myself with pink Himalaya sea salt.
Now that berries are in season and affordable, I’ve been pairing this with a small handful of strawberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries. Right now I also have cantaloupe. (Not a berry, I know, but fruit!)
I was struggling to eat my minimum daily calories, so I’ve also added a cup of milk with a scoop of strawberry protein powder. In the past I’ve saved this for post-workouts, but on days when I know I won’t be working out I’ll drink it with breakfast to boost my calories and protein for the day.
This is where the sugar comes into play. I make my own trail mix with salted peanuts, walnuts, pistachios (my favorite!), pecans, almond slivers, hazelnuts, and a couple of dark chocolate covered almonds. They’re my reward for eating all the nuts! In all it’s about half a cup, and it fills me enough and it’s a TON of calories! (Like, 550 calories!)
Sometimes I bring a salad, or carrots and hummus. (Which reminds me! I forgot to buy hummus today at the store! Dang it!)
I do way better with dinner when I plan ahead. Unfortunately, I’m REALLY bad at planning ahead! Some foods I’ve made in the past month:
Bunless burger (I add all the toppings: lettuce, onion, tomato, avocado when I have it, and yes ketchup – more added sugar, but it’s minimal) and eat it with a fork.
Salmon burgers (they sell these at Costco. They’re a little pricey, but they’re a good source of omega-3’s. I add mayo to mine, which is surprisingly NOT awful for me! I get the kind with olive oil.)
Grilled chicken breast. My George Foreman grill has been getting quite the workout between the burgers and chicken!
For side dishes I’ll have either salad, steamer bags of veggies, or I’ll heat up non-steamer veggies (usually broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or some mix of those.)
We bought some marinaded salmon from Costco recently and tried that last night. It was pretty good, but I had a hard time eating my full 5.3 oz fillet!
Evening is when I run into trouble. I go to bed late-ish. Usually between 11 and 12. And I get hungry between dinner and bed, and I HATE going to bed early. I’ve read all about intermittent fasting, but it’s just not for me. If my tummy is grumbly, I’ll stay awake thinking about how hungry I am.
I’ve caved and had cereal (I’ve been pretty good about avoiding the sugary stuff, and the times I have caved, I’ve discovered I didn’t even like it anymore!) and granola bars (bad choice! Even the “healthy” ones are PACKED with too much added sugar!)
So, I need to find better snacks for myself. I bought the ingredients to try a Keto “copy-cat” Frosty (from Wendy’s.) I’m hoping to try that in the next couple days.
This is where I’m thriving! Food has always been a challenge for me, but if I decide to work out, I’m good at sticking to it. At least for a while. But this time I’m more determined than I’ve ever been before in my life, and being about a month into this endeavor, I feel confident!
Week 1: Worked out 3x (weight lifting x2, yoga x1) for a total of 1 hour 20 min
Week 2: worked out 3x (cardio with weights x3) for a total of 1.5 hours
Week 3: Worked out 4x (weights x 2, cardio with weights x1, and PiYo x1) for a total of 2 hours, 15 minutes
Week 4: Worked out 5x (weights x3, cardio with weights x1, Piyo x1, and a 4 minute tabata that barely counts) for a total of 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Week 5: Still going, but currently I’m at 3 workouts (weights x1, cardio x2) for a total of 1 hour, 44 minutes. I over worked my legs a bit by not taking a rest day between the full body weight routine and the cardio, so I’m giving myself 2 rest days now.)
Finding time to exercise has been pretty easy. Weekends I just pick a time and go with it. Week days I’ve been either exercising right after work, or after dinner.
Not included above are my walks. Each day the weather is nice and we don’t have anywhere to be right away, I go on a walk around the neighborhood with my kids. We usually go about a mile, give or take.
Step Count: The recommendation is 10,000 steps per day. That’s been pretty impossible for me, so I set my own goal at 6,000 steps and even that was a challenge. I’ve since upgraded from a FitBit One, which was clipped to my shirt, to a FitBit Charge 3, which I wear on my wrist.
THE DIFFERENCE YOU GUYS! The Charge 3 tracks more steps, but when compared for half a day, the count wasn’t too different between the One and the Charge 3. I do have to take off the Charge 3 if I’m sitting and folding laundry because it thinks I’m walking.
I love that the Charge 3 tracks my sleep cycles (how accurate it is I don’t know, but it sure is fun!) AND it has the option to REMIND ME to get up and MOVE every hour if I haven’t taken 250 steps that hour! I’m a very competitive person at times, so I really like trying to get the 250 steps every single hour.
So between the Charge 3 motivating me to get up and move more often, and all my exercise I’m doing anyway, my step count has gone WAY up!
Ah, weight. That’s what it’s all about, right? Losing weight.
Now, I’m not super overweight. Technically, for my height I believe I’m within the “healthy” range, but I do have enough flab around my middle to make me very self-conscious. I was always the kid who was super skinny. I was teased in middle school and called “toothpick” because I was so scrawny.
So yeah, weight has always been a big thing for me, and I’ve always identified myself as “skinny,” but looking in the mirror, that’s just not true anymore.
My goal is to lose 15 lbs. But that may not even happen because I’m gaining muscle. (I HAVE BICEPS YOU GUYS!) My ACTUAL goal is to lose the belly flab from incubating two humans AND not even trying to battle a severe sweet addiction that was pretty out of control up until recently.
So I’ve been tracking my weight daily. (Well, almost daily. I forgot a couple of days. Whoops!) I’ve been logging my food to make sure my calories and macros are not out of control. But looking at the weight drop, and then bounce back, is pretty disheartening.
And then I had a wake up call. I read an amazingly helpful article on Medium (I believe it was Medium anyway!) and the author said to ignore the day to day weight fluctuation. It’s going to happen to everyone. (And I already knew that, but it still felt like all my hard work was for naught!) Instead he said, take every reading from the scale for a week, add them up, and divide by the number of days. THAT is your weight for the week. As long as that number is moving down each week, you’re making progress.
So I did it.
Week 1 to 2: -1.44 lb Week 2 to 3: -0.23 lb Week 3 to 4: -1.68 lb Week 4 to 5: (this week is still going, but I’m betting I’ll drop a little bit!)
Seeing the numbers like this makes me believe what I’m doing is working. And I keep reminding myself that I’m building muscles.
What I’m Reading
I’m between e-books/audiobooks at the moment, but I listened to the audiobooks for the following recently:
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kawn – LOVED this one! I didn’t want to stop reading. Every character was WONDERFUL and I really enjoyed the narrator! I can’t wait to see the movie one of these days!
Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard – The narrator on this one semi-ruined the book for me. I really hated the accents she made for the characters. This is the third in the series. (Well, 4th in the series released, but from what I understand you don’t need to read Sightwitch as part of the series order. So I didn’t.) Story wise, I enjoyed this one. I loved getting to see more of Aeduan and getting into his head. If you’re a fan of YA fantasy with light romance, this is a series worth checking out. I love the characters, though the plot/magic is a little confusing, it’s not so bad that you can’t read past it.
I have a number of print books started. I have a bit of book ADD going on. My focus right now is A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin (third in the Song of Ice and Fire series) and The Baby Game by Randall Hicks.
So….. scroll up and pre-order SOMETHING I’M GOOD AT if you haven’t yet, and let me know if you have any favorite healthy recipes for me to try!
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since my last post. Where have I been? Right here, as always. But I’ve shifted my priorities, and not all in a good way.
I’m still leaving mini-reviews over on Goodreads. (Link in the sidebar!) I aim for every book, but I’m less strict with myself than before, so I’m sure I’ve missed a couple.
I’m still writing, which for me is a better use of my time than blogging. (Sorry readers!)
And I’ve been addicted to the app Game of Sultans on my phone. I almost quit, but then I was given leadership of my union, and felt obligated to my teammates to stay play. And I don’t do things halfway. If I play a game, I FULLY COMMIT. Even if it negatively impacts my life. I am trying to cut back though.
So, why the title of this post? Especially in May, which is far from the new year? Well, it’s been nearly a year since I last posted, and I’ve made changes in that time, as mentioned above, but I’m also working on making BIG changes going forward.
Hi. I’m Caroline, and I’m a sugar addict.
If you don’t have a sweet tooth it’s probably easy to brush off or roll your eyes at anyone who says they’re addicted to sugar. Just stop eating it, right? But no, it’s not that simple. Especially for a picky eater like me. But, I recently made the decision that NOW is the time to make big changes in my life.
If you keep reading you can see just how bad I am about making good food choices. In short: candy and ice cream and minimal veggies.
All this sugar is slowly killing me. And my body shows it, both in how tired and sluggish I usually am (even after a full night of uninterrupted sleep) AND in the stubborn bit of belly fat I can’t lose (and I can’t blame that on my baby, who is now 7 and a half years old!)
So… it’s time for a change. And I’ll admit it, my primary motive for starting this attempt at change is a vain one. In just about 2 years my family is planning a cruise to the Caribbean and dammit, I want to look healthy and good in a bathing suit, and this change needs to start with saying sayonara to sugar. Because I’m an addict and I need to change things.
I made this difficult decision on Friday – 3 days ago.
Actually, let me back up a bit. I made the decision to get healthier almost as soon as it was decided we were going to make this cruise happen. The better eating plan (I refuse to call it a diet, because diets are something you do for a little while, and I plan to change how I eat FOREVER) was started Friday.
So, I started with fitness. I’ve been trying to go for roughly mile long walks with my girls after school/work, but the weather has been pretty crummy lately, and if it’s too cold I get really bad cold headaches and have to waste at least twenty minutes of my life after the walk waiting for the headache to go away.
So I dug out my workout DVD’s. Les Mills’ Body Pump and The 21 Day Fix are my primary go-to’s, but I know I can also find some good ones on YouTube, and I have PiYo (another BeachBody workout I don’t care for as much.)
Why am I sharing this with the world via my blog? Because I know I’m not the only one with a sugar addiction. I’m not the only one who leads a sedentary life. (On a good day I MIGHT log 3,000 steps on my FitBit.)
I hope that by blogging my journey with sugar reduction, I might inspire someone else. And blogging might keep me more accountable.
NOTE: I am not a health or fitness expert. Everything I know, I learned from the internet, but I do try to locate reputable sources. I welcome anyone to leave comments with sources if I ever give flawed information so that I can learn and so can my readers!
I feel like I should tell you my usual (bad) habits, to get a feel for what my diet and activity level was like before I started working toward this goal.
Activity: I don’t have a very physically demanding job. My work space is pretty small, so even when I have to do a lot of walking, it’s not a lot of walking! I mostly sit at my desk and process orders, except for when I’m grabbing the items for shipping from the shelf, 15 steps away. After work, when the weather is nice, I try to go on at least a mile long walk, but that’s a newer habit I’m working on building, not my norm, and definitely won’t be happening come winter! (Come summer I’m hoping for a morning and afternoon walk.)
I’m not really overweight, technically I think I’m in the recommended range for a 5’5″ woman, but my belly blubber and lack of energy tell me I need to make changes.
I also “pass” my yearly physical, except my August 2018 numbers put me at high risk for my HDL (good cholesterol.) I came in at 33 mg/dl when the ideal goal is to be above 60. How do I fix this? Cutting the crap and more exercise. (Important to note, I was working at a hotel for over a year and I ate a LOT of free cookies…. Gone are my days of free cookies, but now I need to kick the chocolate to the curb!)
Breakfast: Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or some other breakfast cereal LOADED with oh-so-delicious and awful for me added sugars, topped with 1% milk. And I never ate ONE serving, who eats only 3/4 cup of cereal? NOT ME!
Lunch: On a work day, usually way too much candy (I’m talking at least 6 of the Hershey Nuggets mentioned above, usually more – a serving size is 3 and that’s 150 calories and 16g added sugar!) or chocolate chip granola bars (usually, at least 2-3.) Sometimes I’d stop at Panera and pick up an Asiago bagel and a couple pads of butter (I’d buy two at a time, one for that day and one for the next.) If I had a good reward on my account, I might get a panini, chicken noodle soup (in the cold months), or a strawberry salad when it was in season. But the panini and salad weren’t often, because I don’t have the money to spend on expensive takeout. I can afford my two bagels at $2.99 a week no problem!
Dinner: I don’t mind cooking, but I hate coming up with ideas for dinner. In the past my go-to meal was pizza. My mother-in-law taught me to make dough and sauce and we would eat that at least once a week. It’s been a while since I made pizza though. Most nights are “fend for yourself” and I might have another bowl of cereal, or a can of creamy chicken noodle soup with a ton of saltine crackers, maybe we’d make homemade panini’s or burgers. Sometimes grilled chicken (my favorite is on a toasted bun with pineapple, lettuce, and a sweet chili mayo mixture I make.) In the last month or so I’ve been making stir-fry, in an attempt to get more veggies into my diet. I really hate veggies, so this is a REAL struggle for me.
Snack: As mentioned before, I would snack on ice cream or another bowl of sugary cereal, and maybe some more chocolate while I’m working at my computer.
Now – ONTO THE PRESENT!
DAY 1: Friday
On Friday I decided I needed to get serious about my health.
I had big plans of making a healthy grilled chicken dish for dinner. Until I got home and discovered we were out of chicken. I don’t know what I ate for dinner, as I hadn’t started logging my food yet, but I’m sure it was something like a bowl of cereal. I did refrain from eating a bunch of chocolate at lunch, so that was something.
When hubby arrived home from work, we ditched the kids at home and went to Costco together in search of some healthy foods, including the giant bag of Perdue Chicken Breasts. I seriously love these because they’re the PERFECT chicken breast for grilling on the George Foreman grill, cutting into chunks for stir fry, anything really!
I also picked up a bag of pistachios. I haven’t had them in forever, but I want to incorporate more nuts into my diet and these were always my (way too expensive) favorite.
DAY 2: Saturday, May 4, 2019
This was when things got real. I spent the day doing laundry and tracking my food.
Weigh In: Weighed myself first thing in the morning and was down 1 lb from the last time I weighed in Friday morning.
EXERCISE: I did a 30 minute Body Pump workout and was really feeling it. (I’d done the same Body Pump workout on Wednesday, and Yoga on Thursday.) Because I’m just getting back into lifting weights, I’m sticking with the lighter 5lb weights on my barbell and the shorter 30 minute workouts. Gradually, when I feel ready, I’ll up to my 10lb weights on the lifts I know I can do, and move to the longer workouts.
FOOD: Was I perfect? No. But I’m not going for perfect. I’m not going to cold turkey remove all sugar from my life. I’m going to work on making healthy choices, but if there’s a moment where I feel the need for a single piece of chocolate, I’m going to look at my nutrition for the day and decide if I’ll allow myself to cheat.
DAY 3: Sunday May 5, 2019
A lazy Sunday for me! I folded more laundry (seriously, I feel like laundry is my life sometimes!!!)
Weigh In: Forget to weigh in today. But that’s okay, because weight fluctuates a little bit from day to day.
EXERCISE: I planned to do yoga today, since I was still a little sore from the Body Pump session yesterday. Instead I put in 21 Day Fix Lower Body Fix and holy cow were my legs feeling it by the end! I was dripping sweat and absolutely feeling the burn!!!
FOOD: Time got away from us and we didn’t have time to make dinner, since it was a school night for the kids, so we ended up eating canned soup or Ramen. I opted for a can of Campbell’s Creamy Chicken Noodle with a handful of Saltine crackers, knowing full well this was an AWFUL choice. I did try to limit my crackers, so that’s a small victory. And at least it wasn’t sugary cereal? I ended up going over my calories, but my FitBit One doesn’t do a great job of tracking anything that isn’t walking, so I honestly think I may have burned those 80 calories I went over by. (Anyone have the FitBit Charge 3? Does that do a better job tracking exercises that don’t involve a lot of walking, but heart rate increases?)
DAY 4: Monday May 6, 2019
Today I’m feeling optimistic!
Weigh In: First thing in the A.M. and down 0.6 lb!
Exercise: I should’ve done another workout DVD, but I didn’t. I DID go on a walk with my kids though, so I upped my step count, got some fresh pollen-filled air (and itchy eyes), and earned some extra calories. I have a feeling I won’t get to work out again until Wednesday, aside from a walk.
Eating: Today was so much easier! I was going to double my avocado/egg/toast breakfast like I did yesterday, but I burnt one slice of toast when I went to the basement to weigh myself. Whoops! One was enough though. I did almost cave and eat some chocolate twice during the day, and in the evening when I saw where my sugars and total calories were at, I opted to allow myself one Hershey’s Nugget as a treat. AND IT DIDN’T EVEN TASTE THAT GOOD! The nuts for lunch were a killer on my overall fats for the day, but better fats from nuts than sugars? I think? The Panini’s I made for dinner were DELICIOUS and the Ciabata rolls I bought were healthier than I thought! The Husband said we could eat that every night and he’d never get sick of it. Next time I’ll probably add some more deli turkey to the Panini for the calories and protein since I did struggle to reach my caloric goal today. I’m not extremely under so I’m calling it a day and going to bed. AND LOOK AT THOSE SUGARS!!!
SUMMARY: The first days were hard, but by day 4 things are getting easier. I do need to find more food options. Eventually I’m going to get REALLY sick of avocado/egg/toast for breakfast! And I’m still not getting NEARLY enough veggies. A handful of carrot sticks with hummus won’t cut it. (Have I mentioned how much I HATE carrots? But they’re such an easy and healthy snack.)
TRACKING TOOLS: I do my tracking with MyFitnessPro – I have a hard time tracking my workout videos with it, so I usually leave those out and just track my food. I like that MFP gives me the breakdown of my macros (fat, protein, carbs) and even lets me customize them if I so desire.
Because I have a FitBit, I connected MFP to my FitBit app and I can see it all there (but have to go into MFP for the Macros.)
Both the FitBit and MyFitnessPal aps are available on Andorid, OS, and on the computer.
MY WRITING LIFE: Even though I’m going to be focusing on my health and fitness journey here, at the end of the day I’m still a writer.
I’m VERY excited to announce that my YA contemporary romance, SOMETHING I’M GOOD AT, will be released in June. No official date yet, and cover reveal to come! I’m waiting for my writing partner to send me her final thoughts (tomorrow she says!) so I can make any final tweaks, then it goes to my editor, and then I’m sending it to NetGalley. (So if you’re a member of NetGalley and in good standing, be sure to watch for my book!)
My editor is VERY QUICK, so I anticipate probably being done with this book by the weekend. It’s been a year long labor of love, and I’m very proud of what I’ve created.
My NEXT project is a teen paranormal series. I’ve got a very loose outline and the first chapter written, so I’m HOPING by fall to have something ready for my editor, but let’s be honest, deadlines aren’t my forte. I say fall, and it may be fall 2020. Either way, it’s in the works. Along with the sequel to SOMETHING I’M GOOD AT.
Danny Garland is so out of Holly’s league. And her family is only back in North Pole, Minnesota, long enough to sell Grandma’s house and say “Merry Christmas.” So telling her basketball-star, too-hot-to-be-real long-time crush that she’d like to kiss him under the mistletoe just isn’t going to happen.
And now he’s asked out her cousin, Elda. Elda is a mess at flirting, so when she begs Holly to intervene, she does. Holly helps her flirt with him over text. And then again. And again. Now she’s stuck texting him as her cousin, and Elda is the one going on the date. Holly thought she could settle for just conversation with Danny, but talking with him is some kind of magic. He’s got the perfect comebacks, she makes him laugh, they text until everyone is asleep.
She just can’t ever tell him it’s her he’s really texting.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book has hot texts, gingerbread wars, and a slow-burn romance that could melt a Minnesota winter.
This was a cute holiday book I found on NetGalley that caught my eye because A) it takes place in my home state of Minnesota, and B) it revolves around the plot of a one girl texting a boy to make him like another girl, and C) I’ve basically fallen in love with YA contemporary romances lately.
So yeah, this was a cute book, but it wasn’t unforgettable. I think Holly is pretty relatable, because what girl hasn’t compared herself to a friend/sister/cousin she thought was prettier than her? She clearly suffers from a big case of low self-esteem and has built up some very big walls to prevent herself from getting hurt. Unfortunately, those walls have also done her the disservice of keeping others away.
I also really liked Danny because he was the guy who had it all – he was the hot star of the basketball team with the hot, “perfect”, cheerleader girlfriend. Until he injured himself and his girlfriend dumped him. Then who was he? He really was just a sweetie and it was obvious why Holly liked him. I really loved that the author showed that someone who had it all, like Danny, could also suffer from low self-esteem and self doubt. Feelings of unworthiness run rampant in the teen years.
The way Holly and Danny bonded over the gingerbread competition was pretty adorable, but I was mostly frustrated that Holly would even want to encourage her cousin to date the guy she’s been crushing on her entire life. That just never really made sense to me from the get go. I mean, maybe in the beginning, but when it became pretty clear Elda wasn’t really all that interested in Danny Holly still pushed her cousin into continuing the charade.
In the end, it was a cute story, but like I said above, it just wasn’t entirely memorable. I would read the other books in this series, just to see what happens with the other minor characters, but I wouldn’t buy the books.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
(Elda) was the girl next door of every boy’s dreams. Holly was the girl next door who actually lived next door. Of course he was checking out Elda. Anyone with eyes would have done the same.
A girl with Holly’s savvy and Elda’s body would be more powerful than Wonder Woman. “We’d rule the freaking world. A guy like Danny Garland wouldn’t know what hit him.”
“Let them see how sad you are,” Craig said. “Girls love a wounded guy. They’ll want to help you. Seduction 101.”
Danny blinked at Craig. “What do you know about seduction?”
“I’ve seen a lot of movies.”
Maybe she suffered from a mild case of resting bitch face.
He got into a bit of a groove, not on his showstopper to do list, but on a list of ways he could stop being so pathetic in front of Holly. He’d just written “Stop whining to her about how she doesn’t like you,” when the bell above the Santabucks door jingled.
Man, North Pole loved karaoke almost as much as it loved Mariah Carey.
It was the day of his North Pole architecture tour date, and Danny felt a bit like someone was forcing him to eat his vegetables, which was silly. Elda wasn’t broccoli.
A whole morning alone with Holly. This day was going to end in tears—his.
I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to be honest with someone about how I feel. I’ve been pushing people away for so long that I don’t know how to let anyone in.
“Why are you whispering?” she whispered back.
“My mom’s just over by the counter.”
“And she can still hear every word out of your mouth,” came his mom’s voice.
My (Writing) Life
Christmas is nearly here and if I want to get all of my 12 Books of Christmas posted before Christmas Eve, I need to get my rear in gear! I have two left to finish, I should be able to finish both today as I have 10 pages left of one and the other is a very short novella.
I’m hosting Christmas for my immediate family on Saturday so I also need to get the house in gear. That’s going to mean probably little to no writing from me for the time being. Which is okay, because I’m stuck on SUMMER OF PEACE. I have the ending written, but I’m just not sure right now how to bridge the gap between where I currently am and the ending. I’m so close, but I’m drawing a blank. I think I’ll need to go back and pepper in a few lines of dialogue to make the transition smoother.
Other than that, I’ve been trying to work ahead on my publishing work. I want to get ahead and stay ahead! I’ve been formatting books like crazy the last couple days (okay, I formatted four books. That’s not that crazy…) and I’ve been working on covers. Completed two covers and am *THIS CLOSE* to finishing a third. My goal is to complete all of the Jan/Feb releases in December, then move on and complete all of the Feb/March and March/April ones in January. That’ll put me ahead just enough.
Anyway, enough from me. I’ll see you all tomorrow with my EIGHTH book of Christmas. 🙂
In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.
Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society. Under the tutelage of the beautiful but cold Valérie Beaulieu, she hopes to find a suitable husband. However, the haphazard manifestations of Nina’s telekinetic powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.
Yet dazzling telekinetic performer and outsider Hector Auvray sees Nina’s powers as a gift, and he teaches her how to hone and control them. As they spend more and more time together, Nina falls in love and believes she’s found the great romance that she’s always dreamed of, but Hector’s courtship of Nina is deceptive.
The Beautiful Ones is a sweeping fantasy of manners set in a world inspired by the Belle Époque.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Oh goodness this book….
Okay, right off the bat I wasn’t crazy about his one. The blurb promised me telekinesis and I expected this big paranormal world with hidden superpowers or something. Instead, I got a Victorian romance.
Once I got over the disappointment that the telekinesis was really just used as a plot devise, (both the hero and heroine have this power), I really got involved with the story and the characters.
Let me warn you, right off the bat, that the main characters are not instantly likable.
Hector begins courting Nina just to be close to Valerie. He and Valerie, a decade before, had shared a whirlwind romance complete with a secret engagement. An engagement that she ended when she married another man—Nina’s cousin. Though he did things for the wrong reasons, it was easy to like and forgive Hector.
Nina is a so naïve at times it’s hard to root for her, but she grows so much as a character in this book.
And Valerie… well, to put it nicely, she is a selfish brat for 99.9% of this book. She has her reasons, but those reasons never justified all the wicked things she did in this reader’s opinion. She was an excellent villain.
This book is told in third person POV from all 3 of the aforementioned characters. Getting into each of their heads was really crucial to the execution of this story. Without each of their internal thoughts there’s no way a reader could feel anything except hatred, or at least annoyance, with them.
The story is also told in two parts and lasts the course of an entire year. When I reached the end of part 1 I was heartbroken. I was flipping pages like mad trying to get through part 2 to see the happy ending I wanted.
And in the end, the telekinesis played an important role in the story. It wasn’t just there to add something new and different. It actually was important to the plot.
So, should you read it? If you enjoy historical romances of epic proportions and are looking for something new and different…. and if you’re the kind of person who loves to see characters redeem themselves and get what’s coming to them, read this book. (There’s also a good old fashioned duel. No joke. It’s great!)
(From an advanced digital review copy. Actual print copy may differ.)
“It’s probably best if we exit this room now. A bachelor such as myself, a young lady such as yourself— we wouldn’t want to cause a scandal.”
“Do you make it a habit to go to balls, then, and creep into the library to brush up on your history?” “Do you talk to all men in this manner?” he replied, growing more curious than irritated.
While her mother was expecting only a suitable match, Nina was hoping for the romance of a lifetime followed by the grandest wedding imaginable.
The universe was unveiling new wonders every day, motorcars and the photographic camera, to name but a handful of the inventions dazzling the world. She preferred to classify herself as one of these new wonders.
Valérie had shattered him. The intensity of emotion he felt in those days had vanished, and in its place there lodged a tepid, distant approach to everyone.
She was Gaetan’s cousin, but also one of those people, the country folk who seek to ingratiate themselves with the Beautiful Ones and must be repelled.
Perhaps he expected her to fail in this demonstration. But she had not been called the Witch of Oldhouse for no reason.
You’ve come to hurt me, Hector. You’ve come to toy with us. Feel free to toy with her. But you’ll find I am not a piece you can slide across your board.”
He tried to imagine what he might be like if he’d never laid eyes upon her, if they’d never spoken. Whether he might be happy or equally miserable. Perhaps he was predisposed to follies, the victim of a nervous ailment.
Hector had spent so many years being the man who loved Valérie that he could not conceive of becoming anything else. She was a goddess at whose feet he worshipped, and to cease in his adoration of her would imply he had spent a decade following a false idol.
“You don’t know how it was when I was small, how they’d taunt me for it. I didn’t mean to make the flour fly through the kitchen, I didn’t mean to make the stones rain or the porcelain shatter. It happened and they’d frown or they’d laugh or they’d say, ‘There goes the Witch of Oldhouse.’”
Valérie had never been gentle or simple. But her passion, tucked under her perfect exterior, had echoed the passion within him. They were both creatures of tempestuous seas and stormy nights.
“Why do they call it the Philosophers Club?” “After a few drinks, all men become philosophers.”
The food there was excellent and the service appalling, which was a requirement at any chic restaurant.
She looked at him carefully, and saw a man. Not the romantic notion of a man she’d glimpsed before, her vision colored with memories of books and plays. A man, flawed and sad, who’d hurt her once , but whom she nonetheless esteemed.
“Do you think he is serious?” Hector asked. “About what, breaking your jaw?”
She was the princess in storybooks, the embodiment of every girlish fantasy she’d ever had. She felt, however, as if she were drowning and kept thrashing her legs in a futile attempt to remain afloat.
“What happens when you stop loving me?” he asked tersely. That was the crux of the matter, the invisible dividing line on the floor.
“When you knocked on my door, I was half-dead. I had spent days dragging my sorry carcass around my room, convinced I would not see you again and wishing I could tear the world apart for this injustice.”
Nina giggled as he tried to undo the buttons of her dress. “Here?” she asked. “But the bed—” “Books detailing the mating habits of beetles don’t explain everything, it seems.”
“You look as happy as a clam.” “I would think clams cannot be happy, since they are mollusks who spend their days filtering water,” Hector replied.
My (writing) Life
Last week I got hit by a nasty bug, like, to the point where I went to The Urgency Room to get it checked out because I thought there was a chance I had strep. Turns out it’s just a nasty virus. I should have known better, I never have symptoms when I get strep – I just spread it. Just call me Typhoid Mary! Anyway, aside from a cough and stuffy nose I’m past the worst of it. The peak of horribleness was Thursday when I spiked a fever of 101.8 – at work! That was fun. NOT. At least I got paid to be sick though?
The good thing about being so sick and miserable those few days? I didn’t feel well enough to do any work for my publishing job, so I pretty much didn’t. That left me plenty of time to write. Yes, writing is work, but I can’t screw it up, like I could, say, formatting a book. Okay, I mean, I can screw it up, but I end up reading through my work 50 bazillion times (minor exaggeration) for errors anyway, so it didn’t matter. I ended up making great progress on Summer of Peace. I’m so excited for this series!
I’ve also had some EUREKA moments while planning out my YA contemporary romance series that’s coming next. By planning, I do I mean thinking of random details/plot points while doing other things. Usually listening to music. Current country music has been awesome for my writing.
So yeah, that’s about all that’s going on.
Has anyone else been hit by one of the nasty bugs going around?
Set in a lush, high-fantasy world inspired by ancient Mediterranean cultures, Waters of Salt and Sin is perfect for Game of Thrones and Sabaa Tahir fans.
When seventeen-year-old salt witch Kinneret learns of a lost island of silver, she sets out to find it, raise her status, and finally have a chance to wed Calev, the high-caste friend she secretly loves.
But when a madman enslaves her sister, Kinneret must make a deal with the local ruler: Find the island to secure the ruler’s place in history. In return, the woman’s fighting sailors will rescue Kinneret’s sister.
Using Salt Magic to navigate cursed waters, Kinneret and Calev struggle to hide their taboo, caste-breaking feelings, knowing if the ruler witnesses the attraction, she will cancel the agreement. But when Calev makes a terrible mistake, Kinneret must choose between the life of her only remaining family member and saving the boy she loves from a traitor’s death.
I stumbled upon this book sort of by accident. I saw it listed for free in one of the book bargain newsletters I subscribe to. I download a lot of freebies that way and I was feeling a little guilty because they sit there unread. So, after a wave of guilt, I pulled up my massive list of books and chose this one at random.
And boy was I glad I did!
This book has it all. Action and adventure; a kick-ass heroine; a sweet love interest; and so much more! Taking place in a fantasy world where slavery is still an accepted practice, Kinneret is in the lowest caste there is. She and her sister, Avi, man a boat with a grumpy man named Oron. When her sister is kidnapped by slavers while they are on a quest for treasure that would buy their way up to a higher caste – a caste high enough to marry Calev, the boy she loves – her mission becomes more difficult than ever.
Over the years since indie publishing has become a thing I’ve had a lot of negative experiences with poorly written and unedited books being put out for public consumption. Fortunately, that was not the case with Waters of Salt and Sin. I could not tell you the difference between this and a book published by one of the big NY publishers. The authors writing is compelling and interesting. Something was always happening in the story and I had a hard time putting it down. If there had been a cliffhanger ending I would have bought book 2 right away. Fortunately for me there wasn’t, but I do have the next book in this series on my TBR for when my obligated reading list shrinks a bit.
So, should you read it? Fans of YA fantasy will gobble up this adventure. Great characters, an interesting plot and world, and pretty much non-stop action.
The glimmering saltwater winked at me and I gave it a lazy smile.
“Soon,” I whispered before heading back down.
I was a great liar, but I didn’t rejoice in it. Lying was the skill of the desperate, something I intended to stop being as soon as possible.
I shook, my teeth grinding, and the bells of my sash jingling. My dreams were broken, cracked at mid-mast and beyond repair.
Silver. Loads of it. More than I could picture in a thousand of my low-caste, spit-on, calloused dreams. It would be raw. It could be cursed. But it would be ours.
I was in love with my best friend.
And he couldn’t know until I had the silver to buy my way to high-caste. Only then could he consider me.
“What’s this about?” Calev asked. “I’m all for avoiding harvest prep—it’s exactly as appealing as a hug from Aunt Y’hudit—but usually I know what kind of adventure you’re dragging me into.”
I ignored his all-too-common, close-minded view on the line between religion, magic, and science. To me, they were just different words for the same thing.
“You don’t know what it’s like to have people push in front of you. To be refused service at the market because of bells.”
To watch the boy you love be promised to a girl only because of her caste.
“I was raised in a roadside brothel by a mother who fancied traveling theatre players,” Oron said to Calev, his words whipping toward us as the wind rose even higher, and we sped forward. “I speak the tongue of the wicked and witty.”
“The amir might not like this. You must be quiet, and still.”
I nodded. “I’ll be as inactive as your mind.”
“What?” I echoed.
A ruthless amir grabbing for my silver.
My innocent sister twisting and screaming in the hands of a madman.
Salt Wraiths and legendary sea monsters.
I looked down at my hands, which suddenly didn’t seem as strong as they’d always been.
He was my luck, my heart, the blood in my veins, and somehow, some way, I would have him.
His first loyalty was to his people. Not to me. Not to the love sprouting between us.
My (Writing) Life
It’s the same thing I always say, it’s been too long between posts. I’ve been staying busy with a thousand things with my publishing job. I’m hoping things will slow down a little with the year coming to a close. Though we don’t aim to publish in December, there’s still plenty work going on in the background getting ready for January. But I’m still hoping the workload will slow at least a bit!
I’m officially DONE with edits on PEACE IN FLAMES! I’m going through a final proofing right now. I sent the book to my Kindle and I’ve got the device reading to me so that I can catch the little errors that my eyes may miss. I’m so excited to have her ready to go well before her release in February!
I had a glorious evening last night working on SUMMER OF PEACE. So much progress made. Unfortunately my heroine, JoJo, is mad at me today, so I’m a bit stuck. I know that sounds weird, but I swear, this character has taken on a life of her own. I always thought authors were crazy when they talked about “characters talking” to them. But alas, I’m one of the crazies now. JoJo is very loud, except today. Today I threw something at her that she’s having trouble processing.
After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.
When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?
After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.
When I finished the first book in this series, Truthwitch, I knew I had to get my hands on Windwitch ASAP. And I did. Except then I didn’t read it. For almost 6 months. And I’m kind of glad I did wait, because it means there is less time to wait for the third book in this series!
What I love about this series is that it reeled me in slowly. I wasn’t instantly in love with the story from page 1, it was a subtle building of affection, but before I knew it, I had to know what happened next. Like, I can’t even pinpoint the moment.
I also love how real all of the characters are. Vivia, who we are led to hate in Truthwitch soon became a real three-dimensional character in Windwitch and I most looked forward to her story. Same with Aeuduan. He was the ultimate villain in book 1, but I need more of him after reading book 2.
The world and magic system are very interesting, and though I was left a little confused about the different witch types at the end of Truthwitch, I really didn’t feel that this time around. As the story progressed, we’re given a clearer picture of the different witcheries in a natural non-info-dumpy sort of way. Which is perfect.
This book is so full of action, even when nothing super exciting was happening, I was completely engaged with the characters and each of their journeys. I normally prefer books that follow just one or two characters, but like with Game of Thrones, I really enjoy all of the different characters and their stories, and love watching them entwine.
This is absolutely a series I recommend to readers of fantasy who enjoy epic tales of adventure. I can’t wait to read book 3, Bloodwitch!
(Update to review: Apparently Bloodwitch won’t be the next book released! There is a prequel called Sightwitch releasing January 2018.)
Vivia Nihar was a Tidewitch, and a blighted powerful one at that. She could drown them all with a though, so let Serrit Linday and the rest of the High Counsil try to cross her again.
“Oh, I know!” Safi clapped her hands, delighted by her own genius. “I shall call you the Un-empressed.”
“Please,” Vaness said coldly, “stop this immediately.”
Safi absolutely did not.
A new cold—one from within—struck Merik in the chest. He was that broken. That unrecognizable. And though he tried to tell himself she was nearsighted, she couldn’t possibly recognize his face unless he was inches from her . . . He knew the truth. He was a horror to behold. He was the Fury.
Her lips curved a bit highter.
The Hell-Bard noticed. “Don’t look so smug, Heretic. You’re the one tied to a tree.”
“You really should be dead, sir, but you’ve the blessing of Lady Baile on your side.” “That,” Merik croaked, his throat more wasted and sore than it had been in days, “or the Hagfishes think I taste bad.”
He looked, as he always did, unimpressed. Or Un-empressed, she thought, doubting he would appreciate the joke any more than Vaness had.
But for once in her life—for one single day—she felt as if she’d made the right choice. As if she could forge on, knowing she truly had no regrets.
My (Writing) Life
Peace in Flames, my novella due for release in February, is with my editor as of last night. I heard back this morning that she’s already halfway done. Heck, by this time of the day she might be completely done! I already know she wants me to expand upon my villain’s character, to make him more three dimensional. As much as I dread the thought of more re-writes on this story, I can’t disagree. I want it to be strong. So, next week I’ll probably dive back into that one.
In the meantime I’m up to my eyeballs in formatting and book covers for my work with Melange Books. On top of that, I have about 4/5 of an 80k novel to finish reading and send back to the author before the end of September. Eep! It’s a very light proofing/line edit suggestions so I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish sooner rather than later.
In other news, we hired a new girl at my hotel job. She’s full time! That means less shifts for me. Woohooo! After my shift tonight I’m off until next Thursday. I’m going to make great use of this time off to get this proofing job done, work on those edits on Peace in Flames, and hopefully make some progress with Summer of Peace. Not to mention allllll the formatting and covers I have to complete for Melange! I can do it though. I have faith in me. I think? Heck, maybe I’ll even find the time to post a couple more book reviews! I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this book was read in May. And the last few were all July or earlier. I’m woefully behind.
Anyone else drowning in work and/or reviews to post?
Revenge of the Nerd: Or . . . The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger
Thomas Dunne Books
July 11, 2017
Risky Business. Revenge of the Nerds. Better Off Dead. Moonlighting. Supernatural. American Dad. New Girl. What do all of these movies and television shows have in common?
A legendary comedic second banana to a litany of major stars, Curtis is forever cemented in the public imagination as Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. A classically trained actor, Curtis began his incredible 40-year career on stage but progressed rapidly to film and television. He was typecast early and it proved to be the best thing that could have happened.
But there’s more to Curtis’ story than that.
Born and bred a nerd, he spent his early years between Detroit, a city so nerdy that the word was coined there in 1951, and, improbably, Geneva, Switzerland. His adolescence and early adulthood was spent primarily between the covers of a book and indulging his nerdy obsessions. It was only when he found his true calling, as an actor and unintentional nerd icon, that he found true happiness. With whip-smart, self-effacing humor, Armstrong takes us on a most unlikely journey―one nerd’s hilarious, often touching rise to the middle. He started his life as an outcast and matured into…well, an older, slightly paunchier, hopefully wiser outcast.
In Hollywood, as in life, that counts as winning the game.
I was browsing the selection on NetGalley and thought it might be fun to see what was available in the non-fiction section, specifically memoirs. When I came across Curtis Armstrong’s memoir, titled Revenge of the Nerd, I knew I had to request it.
Now, I’ve never seen Revenge of the Nerds, or if I did I was very young and it was on cable TV and I wasn’t paying much attention. It’s a movie a little before my time. However, I recognized Mr. Armstrong as Metatron from the fabulous CW TV show Supernatural.
I haven’t read many memoirs (Um…. I think this is my 2nd ever!) but this makes me want to read more! It was so much fun reading about his offbeat early life in Switzerland and subsequent return to Detroit. It was awesome to read all the candid behind the scenes stories from the making of all of the movies and TV shows he was on. It was a little heartbreaking to hear about how he left the cast of Supernatural and how the crazed fans at the conventions didn’t like him much just because he played a villain. (I loved you as Metatron, Curtis! I’d stand in line for your autograph!)!
There were a lot of stories about actors I’ve heard of (Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, etc.) as well as many I haven’t. If this book has done nothing else for me, it has encouraged me to seek out old movies I’ve never seen before, like Risky Business and Revenge of the Nerds, just so that I can have a fuller sense of the stories I read.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Fans of Curtis Armstrong and those who have never seen his work alike will get a kick out of his fabulous stories and (often self-deprecating) humor. A+ Curtis. Thanks for the ride!
What’s a nerd? For forty years I’ve been a professional actor, practicing my craft onstage, screen and television, building a career that many young actors have told me they envy, and that is the question ― along with “Was that really you belching” and “Did Bruce and Cybil really hate each other?” ― I am most frequently asked these days. (The answers are no and yes, respectively.)
If that sounds like a joke, it wasn’t meant to be. Unless you thought it was funny, in which case it was.
Actors spend a lot of time not acting, which is why so many of us take up hobbies, like drinking.
The headmaster was eventually let go due to some kind of arcane contractual dispute and not ― as you might think ― for the German-death-gas incident.
I had, by a rough estimation, dozens of girlfriends between the end of middle school and high school graduation. The catch was, none of these young women actually knew she was my girlfriend.
When Metatron, the Scribe of God, a hermit armed with a shotgun and surrounded by hundreds of thousands of books, made his first appearance, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Given everything I had seen on the page, I could see this fallen angel ― eccentric, violent, articulate, unpredictable and hilarious ― as being an unexpected gift to any lucky actor, even if he only lasted three episodes, which it turned out was the intention of the show’s writers at the time.
Jared and Jensen brought to playing brothers Sam and Dean Winchester extended to their real life as well. I would say they are as close as brothers but I understand from people who have brothers, like my sister, that you really want to kill your brothers most of the time.
One of the true signs of maturity is realizing that not gracefully surrendering the things of youth actually makes us better grownups. If more people embraced their inner nerd, the better off everyone would be.
My eventual proposal of marriage ― very eventual, to hear Elaine tell it; to me it seemed a little rushed ― was kind of like Revenge of the Nerd itself: mixed reviews at the time, but now generally regarded as a classic.
My (Writing) Life
SCHOOL IS BACK IN SESSION!
This is my first school year with both of my kids out of the house ALL DAY LONG for school. I’ll admit it, I teared up a little on day one because both of my babies are growing up, they no longer spend the majority of their time with me. I quickly got over it though and relished the peace and quiet. Even Henry (my devil-spawn cat) seems happier and less inclined to attack and bite!
So, what am I doing with my time? Sitting on the couch all day eating bon-bons of course! Just kidding, I’ve been diving head first into work! I’m catching up where I’d fallen behind with my work with the pub house I work for. Now that I’m not so deep in the hole I’ve also started work on my own projects again.
Tonight I finished my last pass through on PEACE IN FLAMES before I send it off to my editor. Yay! That means I need to get my butt moving on the overhaul of SUMMER OF PEACE. The sooner I pound that novella out, the sooner I can get started on my next project. For which I’ve already made a cover.
I’m also hoping, with the kids in school, to carve out time more often to post my reviews. I swear, my backlog of reviews is growing faster than I can post them! I hate having such a long delay between posts, so I’m really going to work on this guys. I hope!
Anyone else back to school or sent kids back to school? Are you as amped for the new school year as I am?