Posted in Personal, quarantine

Quaratine Update

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I hope quarantine is going well for you. I’ve been working from home, so my days haven’t changed too much. I have finished my story and now I’m editing it. That’s the hard part. I don’t want to get rid of some of the words because I love them, but I must because well you know. 😊

We must kill our little darlings, right? 😉

 

Enough about that, though. Today, I’d like to tell you about what I’ve been watching during quarantine. The first is an amazing series hubby and I have been binge-watching. It’s titled “Killing Eve” and it’s about an assassin and the task force who’s trying to catch her. For a dark story there’s lots of humor and you can’t help but like the assassin even though she’s a psychopath. Let’s face it, she’s not all bad.

 

Then there’s Eve, the woman trying to track her down. Eve is the investigator on the case who’s trying to track down the person behind all the seemingly random deaths. During the chase, we see Eve’s dark side emerging and the attraction between Villanelle (the assassin) and Eve is undeniable. You can’t stop watching. Will Eve catch Villanelle? Will Eve’s dark side take over before she catches Villanelle? Will she cross over to Villanelle’s side? These are all questions that need answers, so you have to keep watching.

The next series is near and dear to my heart because it was written by the same writers who wrote “Breaking Bad.” I loved that show. I loved watching the transformation of Walter White. This next series, I’ve spoken of before and it’s called “Better Call Saul.” There’s a new season upon us and it’s a great show.

 

It’s the story of Saul Goodman the lawyer from “Breaking Bad.” He’s trying to be a good guy, but in the end, he ends up being kind of a shyster lawyer. He’s always on the fringe of the law. It’s a great story because it gives you the backstory to some of the main characters in “Breaking Bad” like Gus and Mike. It’s fun to see Jimmy or “Saul” get into scrapes and what he does to get out of them. If you need some entertainment during quarantine and you like great writing and fleshed out characters, then “Better Call Saul” is for you.

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I hope you’re doing well during quarantine. If you can recommend a series to binge watch, please do. I’m always looking for a new series to keep me occupied during quarantine. It keeps me from doing housework! 😉

 

 

 

Posted in promotion, quarantine, Teen

Each book in The Super Spies Series is on sale for $.99! Check it out!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today to let you know that each book in the Super Spies series is on sale for $.99! So, if your tween is bored with the quarantine, buy them a book!  Here are the covers and blurbs!

 

 

In a small town in Michigan, fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman and what’s worse? One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own investigation. The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the investigation. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer. Or die trying…

Click here to buy from Amazon

 

The Super Spies and the High School Bomber by [Lisa Orchard]

 

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?

Click to buy from Amazon

 

The Super Spies and the Pied Piper by [Lisa Orchard]

Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are at it once again when they learn their missing parents’ cell phone has been traced to Alden, Michigan. When the FBI declines to continue the investigation, Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She calls upon the Super Spies and they delve into the situation. Suddenly, the teens find themselves immersed in small town intrigue and mystery involving a menacing stranger, who Sarah dubs “The Stalker.” But when Sarah learns he’s connected to her parents’ disappearance, she’s determined to find out what that connection is. The Super Spies embark on a journey that leads them into a web of corporate corruption at its highest level that leaves innocent victims in its wake. Can they find the proof they need to stop the greedy corporation before it’s too late?

Click to buy from Amazon

 

What readers are saying about the Super Spies!

Reader #1:

My 12 year old daughter says:

I loved this book so much because it was so exciting. All the cool moments in the house were really creepy. It made it feel like the girls were going to come to the end of their road. It was super suspenseful. Please keep writing more books like this!

I say:
My reluctant-reader daughter inhaled this book–twice! She came rushing into the room at least three times an hour with breathless updates on the adventure. Definitely an engaging read for kids who like a little mystery.

Reader #2:

The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer is a great mystery not only for the middle-grade, but for all ages. After a dare of walking up on her porch and knocking, the girls discover the old lady lying on the floor. They go inside to investigate. While inside, the police arrive. The girls are found and blamed for the murder.

Sarah, Jackie, and the rest of the gang decide to come together and help solve the murder of the creepy cat lady. Without giving anything else away, I will stop and say this is a wonderful read. The story has twists and turns. You will want to turn to the next page to see what the girls get into next!

Reader #3:

Lisa Orchard’s debut novel, The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer is a great read for Adults and Young Adults alike. I found the writing style to flow very well through out the book. The author is very descriptive in her character development allowing the reader to easily imagine a character’s traits. Her depiction of a murder mystery set in a small town keeps the reader interested in putting the puzzle pieces together along with the young detectives. Even though the young adult characters are dealing with heavier life lessons such as murder, they are learning and growing in their own morals and ethics which is refreshing. I really enjoyed the metaphors and explanations of life in a small Great Lakes town. I highly recommend this book for the young adult age group and above.

 

For more reviews, click the links above. You’ll find reading is a great way to pass time during this quarantine. I don’t know about everyone else, but we’ve just been told our quarantine has been extended to May 15. So pick up a book and stay safe reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Guest Author, Guest interview, promotion, Uncategorized

Please welcome Chelsea Ichaso and her debut novel!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I thought I’d give you a break and share some exciting news! A colleague of mine is getting published! Her debut novel is up for pre-order and I thought this would be a great time to share it with all of you! So, without further ado, here’s my interview with up and coming author Chelsea Ichaso. Take it away Chelsea!

 

IMG_3403 (1)

  • What inspired you to write this story?

I used to teach high school English, and one of the books in our curriculum was A Separate Peace by John Knowles. It’s about two prep school boys whose friendship is torn apart by jealousy. It’s such a painful story, but also one that I feel like everyone can relate to on some level. One day, I thought about what it might look like if a close friendship were destroyed by a crime, rather than jealousy. Eventually, this idea developed into Little Creeping Things.

 

  • Why did you choose this genre?

 

YA mystery-thriller was the genre that really lent itself to the type of story I wanted to tell. It started off as more of a suspense idea that took on twists and turns and a cast of suspects. At that point, I knew I had a full-fledged mystery on my hands. Luckily, mystery-thriller is one of my favorite genres to read and watch. Now, it’s also my favorite genre to write.

 

  • Tell us about your writing process.

Once I have a new concept, I take a clean notebook and scribble down all my thoughts in streams of consciousness fashion. I end up with anywhere between ten and thirty handwritten pages. Then I try to hone in on the valuable sections of those notes by making a more condensed version. It’s a complete mess, but it works for me. If there’s an evident piece of the puzzle that isn’t fitting, I find a clean page and list any and every solution until something sticks.

When I have a mostly fleshed-out plot, I get on the computer and type a chapter-by-chapter outline. I don’t use formal beat sheets, but my outline will hit on all of the important elements of story structure. I find it easier to add and rearrange parts as I go when the outline is a Word doc rather than handwritten. Once I’m happy with the outline, I save it as a new document and draft right on top of it, deleting sections as they go from bullet points to complete chapters. When the outline has completely disappeared, the novel is done.

 

  • Do you have a favorite place to write?

I love coffee shops for a change of scenery. My desk at home is nice, but sometimes being out of the house allows my brain to recharge because the normal distractions of home aren’t there. And good coffee certainly doesn’t hurt the writing process.

 

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

I have to be in the right state of mind to come up with an idea. If not, I just get frustrated and waste a lot of time trying to force it. When I feel ready, my process for attacking writer’s block is similar to how I begin a book. I sit and scribble in a notebook for hours until I land on something that excites me. There are also plenty of times that I’ve come up with ideas while traveling. Sitting in a car or on a plane is the perfect time to brainstorm. My husband is not a writer, but he and I will take turns pitching story ideas, the more bizarre the better. Sometimes, the tiniest grain of an idea will come out of those sessions and evolve into workable concept.

 

  • What are your hobbies?

I love to read (probably not a huge surprise). I also play soccer. My husband and I are on a co-ed team together, and all three of our kids play. Watching the little ones on the weekends is one of my favorite pastimes.

 

  • What are you working on next?

I’m in the editing stages of my second YA thriller. I can’t say much about it yet, but there will be plenty of secrets and lies. I’m also working on a few projects in different genres and age categories because I like to juggle manuscripts. When one draft goes off to my critique partners, I do a round of revisions or begin to draft something else.

 

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m definitely a plotter. I find it very difficult to write thrillers without any plotting. My outlines aren’t extremely detailed, but I know the basic shape of my books ahead of time. I know the major twists. That said, I love it when a new character development or level to the story arises as I’m drafting, and I always allow myself room to improvise. Some of my favorite scenes and twists originated in the spur of the moment.

 

  • What is your favorite book?

It’s impossible to choose, so I’ll list a few. Bird Box by Josh Mallerman is my favorite horror novel. I’m hard to scare, but this one had me genuinely creeped out. I love The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and Shadow and Bone (the entire Grisha trilogy, really) by Leigh Bardugo. A fantastic mystery I read recently was In the Woods by Tana French.

 

10) What is your favorite food?

In and Out Burger. I’ve heard this is a west coast thing, so if you don’t live out here and you get a chance to visit, you absolutely must try it.

Thanks, Chelsea! Now a here’s the cover and blurb of her debut novel and I must say, I’m going to be reading this one very soon!

 

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Blurb/Praise:

PRAISE FOR LITTLE CREEPING THINGS
“Everyone’s a suspect, and no one is safe, in this twisty debut from a compelling new voice in YA, Chelsea Ichaso. Don’t miss it!”–Kit Frick, author of See All the StarsAll Eyes on Us, and I Killed Zoe Spanos

Little Creeping Things is a stunning debut in every sense of the word. From the chilling opening pages to the jaw-dropping final reveal, the pacing is relentless, the twists dizzying. Cass is the best kind of unreliable narrator, delightfully acerbic and hopelessly sincere even when she isn’t telling the truth. Chelsea Ichaso has without a doubt written the breakout thriller of the year.”–Dana Mele, author of People Like Us

Little Creeping Things, with its cast of creepy and untrustworthy characters, will satisfy the appetites of all manner of mystery fans.”–Booklist

“The reveal…is both well earned and eerie.”–Kirkus Reviews

“Ichaso’s debut is a riveting whodunnit… a psychological thriller worthy of mystery aficionados.”–School Library Journal 

When she was a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. She’s pretty sure she didn’t mean to do it, and she’d give anything to forget that awful day. But her town’s bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down. In Melody’s eyes, Cassidy is a murderer and always will be.

Then Melody goes missing, and Cassidy thinks she may have information about what happened. She knows she should go to the cops, but she recently joked about how much she’d like to get rid of Melody. She even planned the perfect way to do it. And then she gets a chilling text from an unknown number: I’m so glad we’re in this together.

Now it’s up to Cassidy to figure out what’s really going on before the truth behind Melody’s disappearance sets the whole town ablaze.

To order Chelsea’s book, click on one of the links below.

 

Chelseaichaso.com

 

Amazon Link

 

Thanks Cheslea for being a guest today! I’m looking forward to reading your book!

 

 

Posted in humor, mental-health, quarantine

You Might Be Addicted to NETFLIX IF…

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I thought I’d write a post about addiction. Now, this isn’t any kind of normal addiction like a drug or alcohol addiction. This addiction is what we call a NETFLIX addiction. It’s hard to tell if a loved one has this addiction so, I thought I’d post some symptoms and that way, you’d be able to help those loved ones who can’t help themselves.  So, without further ado, here we go.

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you’ve developed carpel tunnel syndrome from operating the remote and you’ve gained ten pounds.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

 

You might be addicted to Netflix if you can reenact whole scenes from “The Office” with the TV off.

 

You may be addicted to NETFLIX if you’ve watched “The Tiger King” in its entirety.

Tiger King, Murder, Mayhem and Madness publicity image.jpg

 

You may be addicted to NETFLIX if you believe Dwight Schrute is a real person.

Photo credit: @dino on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you think a mullet is a current fashion statement.

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if moving to the Ozarks and laundering money for the drug cartel is a viable career choice.

 

Photo on VisualHunt

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you have the sudden urge to buy tigers and open your very own petting zoo.

Photo credit: Chica Inglesa on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you want to dress up for Halloween as Joe Exotic.

 

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you want to introduce your neighbor who mows his lawn at seven in the morning wearing his black knee socks to Carol Baskin.

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you’re considering cooking meth in an RV in your underwear as a way to make some extra cash.

Photo credit: dave_7 on VisualHunt.com / CC BY

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you end another person’s sentence with “that’s what she said.”

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you believe Michael Scarn Threat Level Midnight is a real movie.

You may be addicted to NETFLIX if you’re considering changing your last name to Heisenberg.

 

Photo credit: alazaat on Visual Hunt / CC BY

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my addiction to NETFLIX post. Do you have any symptoms to add? Leave them in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Guest Author, promotion

Please Welcome Iris Blobel and her New Release!

 

Welcome to ALINTA BAY
I’m happy to share with you the second book in Iris Blobel’s series,
which is set at the Great Ocean Road in Australia.
If you love small town romance, be sure to get your copy today!

About Book Two

TELL IT TO MY HEART

Confronted with the choice to care for his friend’s family on the other side of the world or to return to Alinta Bay to be with his own newfound family, how will Noah choose?

Following the death of his grandmother, Noah Fielding returns to Alinta Bay and the first thing — or person — he finds is the next-door neighbour in his nan’s bathroom — naked no less. Still jetlagged, he doesn’t hit it off with Molly at first. Yet, over the next few weeks, as his past uncovers itself bit by bit, she becomes is anchor, his friend, and his lover.

Molly Reid had the world at her feet, happily married with a young son … until a tragic car accident took everything away from her. With her heart broken, she moves to Alinta Bay to escape the memories of the past. Her peaceful existence, however, is interrupted after a heavy storm floods her house and she temporarily moves into her recently deceased neighbour’s house next door.

When Noah’s friend and partner goes missing during a routine flight, Noah returns to Alaska to help, but will he come back for Molly?

Add TELL IT TO MY HEART to your Goodreads TBR !

Get your copy of TELL IT TO MY HEART today!
Amazon

Book One in the Series

DEFYING RULES

Sometimes one has to break rules in order to find happiness…

Widower Logan Hendrix is puzzled by the recent series of small crimes against his son’s new teacher. It’s a mystery to him, and he offers her his help. There’s an instant attraction, and Logan wants to take their parent/teacher relationship to a more personal level.

It doesn’t take Addison Ryker long to fall in love with Alinta Bay, the small town she’s moved to for her new teaching position at the local primary school. Her newfound haven is threatened, however, when her house is broken into and she is relying on the unbelievably stubborn but very sexy Logan for help. Although captivated by him, Addison worries her career could be compromised, because there are rules about dating a parent.

Add DEFYING RULES to your Goodreads TBR !

Get your copy of DEFYING RULES today!
Amazon

Where to find Iris:
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bQ68rL
Website http://www.irisblobel.com/
Blog http://www.irisblobel.com/blog
Twitter https://twitter.com/_iris_b
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IrisBlobel
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254.Iris_Blobel
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Iris-Blobel/e/B00FNFP3LI/

 

Posted in Holiday Posts, Uncategorized

Happy Easter!!

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I just thought I’d stop by and wish everyone a Happy Easter. It’s definitely going to be a different kind of holiday than it has been in the past, but still one worth celebrating.

Enjoy your time with your immediate family and celebrate as you see fit. Please practice social distancing and stay safe, so we can all see our extended families sooner rather than later.

Take care and God Bless, I will be back soon. Enjoy your Holiday. 😊

Posted in quarantine, reviews

Quarantine Week Three and a Book Review!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after week three of our quarantine and there have been some developments. My boys’ school has closed for the rest of the year and my hubby’s office has extended their lockdown to the end of April. I’m still working from home, but I’ve taken a few days off to regroup and work on my story. Sometimes you just need a break, right?

I took the whole weekend and worked on my story. I’m finally putting the scenes together and I’m getting excited. We’ll see how it all works out. 😊

 

While I’ve been doing a lot of writing, I’ve also been reading. The two seem to go hand in hand. I thought I’d share with you the book I just finished because it was so good. I loved the characters in it and the storyline. I’m a big fan of WWII stories and this one did not disappoint. So, without further ado, here it is!

 

The Alice Network: A Novel by [Kate Quinn]

 

 

NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY BESTSELLER

#1 GLOBE AND MAIL HISTORICAL FICTION BESTSELLER

One of NPR’s Best Books of the Year!

One of Bookbub’s Biggest Historical Fiction Books of the Year!

Reese Witherspoon Book Club Summer Reading Pick!

The Girly Book Club Book of the Year!

A Summer Book Pick from Good Housekeeping, Parade, Library Journal, Goodreads, Liz and Lisa, and BookBub

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.

“Both funny and heartbreaking, this epic journey of two courageous women is an unforgettable tale of little-known wartime glory and sacrifice. Quinn knocks it out of the park with this spectacular book!”—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America’s First Daughter

 

My Thoughts:

I have to say my favorite character was Eve. She was so mysterious and I wanted to keep reading just to find out her story. I’m a big fan of stories where the underdog wins in the end and this is that kind of story. I also love stories where people stand up against the Nazi Regime and this is that kind of story, too.  It has everything, spies, betrayal, and redemption. A great read during a Quarantine!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any good books to read during the quarantine? Leave the title in the comments! I’m always looking for a good read!

 

 

Posted in Family, quarantine, raising kids, Reading, social media

Quarantine: Week Two

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. My family and I have gotten through another week of quarantine and we haven’t lost our minds…yet. I’ve been putting my story together and I’m getting more and more excited. I’ve written this story differently than my other stories and I really like how it has turned out. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

So far, my family and I have stayed healthy, so the quarantine is working for us. It has also brought us closer together with late night Uno games and binge-watching Netflix. I love hanging with my kids.

 

Photo credit: hannah.rosen on Visual hunt / CC BY

But this quarantine can be hard on people who don’t have a family. People who live alone can become depressed and lonely. So, check on your friends who live alone, send them a text to make sure they’re okay. This is a time to stay connected even if we can’t get together.

There’s a variety of ways you can stay connected in this trying time. Social Media is a great way to stay in touch and make sure everyone is okay. There’s also program’s like Skype and Zoom where you can video chat with your friends. At the very least, you can pick up the phone and give them a call.

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

Another way to fight depression is to stay busy. I’ve been working on my book, so it doesn’t register that I’ve barely left the house in two weeks. Hubby has a couple of major projects going on around the house that’s keeping him busy and the boys have their video games where they communicate with their friends. I’m letting them have more screen time because playing video games is another way to fight depression.

They’ve been reading every day and their school has a website set up where they can do some assignments. I think it’s great, but I’m not forcing them to do it. I believe they’ll be just fine when they get back to school. The school must adjust to the students needs and I believe they will.

 

Photo on Visual hunt

So, that’s how were dealing with the quarantine, working on our own projects and having more family time and staying in touch with my single friends. How about you? How are you combating depression in this crazy time when you can’t leave the house? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Family, quarantine

Quarantine: Week One

 

Photo credit: musicalwds on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Last week was the first week of quarantine for us due to the Corona Virus. These are interesting times. Never in the history of the world, have we ever had a situation like this, except for that one time when the Bubonic Plague hit, but we weren’t alive then, so that doesn’t count.

Photo credit: Ephemeral Scraps on Visual hunt / CC

When I think about it, it does scare me. This virus that spreads like wildfire leaving death and destruction in its path. This is very real. I know there were many people who felt like it was ‘fake news’ in the beginning and who can blame them? The way our media spins things and out right lies to the public, but this is a very real situation.

The only answer is social distancing and of course, washing your hands. Fortunately, we’ve been practicing it.  I feel fortunate that I work for a company that allows its employees to work from home. In the beginning it was a recommendation, but last Friday they closed the doors and all employees are required to work from home. Our schools have closed, and I haven’t been out of the house in a week. So far, we haven’t driven each other crazy, but who knows how long this quarantine will last.

 

There have been some positive changes due to this situation, though. Because people are staying home, the earth has started to self-correct. Pollution has been reduced and there are dolphins in the canals in Venice. That hasn’t happened in years, maybe being a part of the indoor generation isn’t a bad thing.

Photo on VisualHunt

I’ve also been able to spend more quality time with my family. The other night we all sat down and played Uno until eleven o’clock on a school night. I had the best time. Gone is the rigid schedule of dinner, homework, and bed. I’ve spent most of this weekend in my pajamas and helped my hubby with a home project we’ve been working on.  Last night we had movie night and binge watched “The Office” for a couple of episodes. My boys love that show and it was nice to laugh and enjoy each other’s company. I have a great relationship with my family, and it’s getting stronger because of the quarantine. This is a good thing.

Photo credit: hannah.rosen on Visual hunt / CC BY

My kids are learning to negotiate. This is another good thing. For example, the school created a website with lessons on it for each grade and subject. I expressed by excitement over this because I don’t want them on their computers all day. I also expressed that I wanted them to read for at least a half an hour each day and get outside and get some fresh air. My oldest immediately piped up and said, “We’ll get outside every day and read for a half an hour, if we don’t have to do the stuff on the school website.”

Photo credit: sozl on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

I laughed at this, but inside I was bursting with pride. It’s a good compromise. The schools will have to adjust to their students like they always have, and I’m confident my boys will get where they need to go educationally. So, if I get them outside for an hour each day and reading for a half an hour, it’s a win-win in my book. Plus, I’m helping build my son’s self esteem and reinforcing his problem solving abilities. Another win.

Let’s turn this horrible situation into a positive. This is an opportunity  to slow down and strengthen the bonds with the people we love. Do it before it’s too late. We don’t know who the virus is going to take from us. Make sure you leave memories of love.

Photo on VisualHunt

 

Stay healthy and safe my friends, and please know, I appreciate every one of you. I’ve made some great friends through the blogging community and I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs and connecting with all of you. Let’s keep up the good work and show the world that Corona Virus isn’t going to bring us down!

Thanks for reading my blog today. Do you have any news or statistics on the virus? Or maybe you have some recommendations on how to spend our time during the quarantine? If so, leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Reading, World War II

Stuck at Home because of Social Distancing? Check out what I’ve been Reading!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of hard work, writing, and the Corona Virus.  It has been a week of first times, let me tell you.

My kids are off school for the next three weeks, a month if you consider the fact that spring break is the first full week of April. I’m also working from home indefinitely. Strange times, for sure.

While I’m practicing my social distancing, I’m working on my story. I’m excited to say, I’ve reached the end. An end that I’m happy with, for the moment. You know how we writers are. LOL! 😉

Since I’m spending the majority of my time at home. I plan on doing more reading and I thought all of you might be interested in my list of favorite books in case you have some extra time on your hands.  I’ve read these books in the last year and I really enjoyed them. So, without any further ado, here they are:

 

 

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

Winner of the 2015 Audie Award for Fiction

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

 

The Nightingale

 

Audie Award, Fiction, 2016

In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.

France, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

 

 

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

 

Number-one New York Times best-seller and the perfect holiday gift.

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

“Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!” (Reese Witherspoon)

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine. 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

The only way to survive is to open your heart. 

 

 

The Ragged Edge of Night

For fans of All the Light We Cannot SeeBeneath a Scarlet Sky, and The Nightingale comes an emotionally gripping, beautifully written historical novel about extraordinary hope, redemption, and one man’s search for light during the darkest times of World War II.

 

 

Everything I Never Told You: A Novel

 

A haunting debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation.

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet….

So begins the story in this exquisite debut novel about a Chinese American family living in a small town in 1970s Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue – in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’ case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family, Hannah, who observes far more than anyone realizes – and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.

A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping pause-resister and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

 

Little Fires Everywhere

 

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

The runaway New York Times best seller!

Named a Best Book of the Year by:

People, The Washington Post, Bustle, Esquire, Southern Living, The Daily Beast, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Audible, Goodreads, Library Reads, Book of the Month, Paste, Kirkus Reviews, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and many more!

“I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting.” (Jodi Picoult)

“To say I love this book is an understatement. It’s a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears.” (Reese Witherspoon)

“I am loving Little Fires Everywhere. Maybe my favorite novel I’ve read this year.” (John Green)

From the best-selling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads to the colors of the houses to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants – all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

Perfect for book clubs! Visit celesteng.com for discussion guides and more.

 

Before We Were Yours: A Novel

 

THE BLOCKBUSTER HIT – A New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly Best Seller

For listeners of Orphan Train and The Nightingale comes a “thought-provoking [and] complex tale about two families, two generations apart…based on a notorious true-life scandal.”

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge – until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents – but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals – in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country – Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

Publishers Weekly‘s #3 Longest-Running Best Seller of 2017

Winner of the Southern Book Prize

If All Arkansas Read the Same Book Selection

“A [story] of a family lost and found…a poignant, engrossing tale about sibling love and the toll of secrets.”(People)

“Sure to be one of the most compelling books you pick up this year…. Wingate is a master-storyteller, and you’ll find yourself pulled along as she reveals the wake of terror and heartache that is Georgia Tann’s legacy.” (Parade)

 

The Orphan's Tale: A Novel

 

New York Times best seller!

“Readers who enjoyed Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants will embrace this novel. ” (Library Journal)

“Secrets, lies, treachery, and passion…. I read this novel in a headlong rush.” (Christina Baker Kline, number one New York Times best-selling author of Orphan Train)

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival 

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another – or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

 

Gone Girl: A Novel

 

Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times best seller Gillian Flynn, takes that statement to its darkest place in this unpausable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl‘s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge.

Under mounting pressure from the police and the media – as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents – the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter – but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

 

11-22-63: A Novel

 

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back?

In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King – who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer – takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

It begins with Jake Epping, a 35-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away: a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life – like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963 – turning on a dime.

Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession – to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world – of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading, eventually of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful – and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

 

So, there you have it, ten incredible books to keep you busy during this period of social distancing. I’m always on the look out for a great story, so if you have any recommendations, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!