Frozen Spring

We got ice yesterday. Enough to coat everything for most of the day. Sadly, that means many of my spring flowers are going to be done.  The hyacinths were already almost there, but the daffodils were still going strong and one was yet to open. We froze bad enough, I have no clue if that one will pull through or not. Same goes for my single tulip.

I’m more worried about my choke cherry tree, though. It had just started putting on buds. It is going to be so sad if it doesn’t bloom this year. Or worse, that the freeze was hard enough to kill it. I don’t think it was, but it seems like the bushes and trees in my yard already struggle to thrive in our horrible clay.

I did get some really amazing photos, but it still makes me sad to have all that color go away more quickly than it should have.

Freezing Edge

After nearly a week of beautiful, open window weather, today is a nasty, cold day. Not just cold, but we are currently below freezing. My remaining hyacinths won’t survive the cold snap. It is doubtful the rest of the daffodil’s will either. The one I have left to bloom, the edges will get a bit frost bit at the very least.

I noticed that my single miracle tulip is up and has a bud on it. I have no clue what this freeze will do to it. It will depend on how long it is going to last. Sadly, we are looking at storms and freezing rain and sleet today, so it may get interesting.

I haven’t done a thing lately that could be considered creative. The closest I’ve come is deciding what I’m fixing for dinner and that isn’t even all that creative. I don’t think my brain is willing to focus on much outside of reading at the moment. Even then, I’m doing a reread of one of my favorite series instead of anything new. I think it is tied, at least in part, to information overload, so I’m trying not to take on anything new for a little bit.

Rainy Day Hyacinth

I ran out to try and get a good photo of the flowers drenched in rain, but it was still coming down just a little too much for me to be able to do more than a REALLY quick shot. That and I’m not crazy enough to sit out there trying to get the perfect shot when it is also lightning. So you get a not so perfect but still kinda pretty hyacinth today.

Also, that rain was COLD!! It’s going to take me a while to warm up now.

Book Review: Suddenly Psychic, Glimmer Lake- Book #1

Author: Elizabeth Hunter
Book Name: Suddenly Psychic
Release Date: February 18, 2020
Series: Glimmer Lake
Order: #1
Genre: Paranormal/Women’s Fiction/Family Drama/Romance
Overall SPA: 5 Stars
5 Stars

 

 

Blurb: Every woman goes through changes in their forties.
Just not… these changes.

Robin Brannon was a normal wife, mom, and antique shop owner until a brush with death turned her day-to-day life upside down. Now she and her two best friends are seeing things that belong in a fantasy novel. Ghosts. Visions. Omens of doom. Nothing that belongs in the peaceful mountain town they call home.

Added to that, Robin’s marriage is on the rocks, her grandmother’s health is failing, her mother is driving away the customers at her shop, her teenage daughter refuses to get her drivers’ license, and her left knee aches every darn morning.

Robin doesn’t have the time, energy, or knees to unearth the secrets buried at the bottom of Glimmer Lake, but fate doesn’t seem to care. Some secrets are just dying to be exposed.

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 5/5 Stars
Uniqueness Factor: 4.5/5 Stars

Believability: 4.5/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 5/5 Stars

This is a beautiful mash up of some of my favorite genres all in one book. Top that with the main characters being mature, adult women (something that is rare in the paranormal genre) dealing with real life type issues associated with being that age along side the twist of the paranormal, toss it all with very real characters with sass, attitude and relatable flaws and this was nearly a perfect fit for me.

While the premise behind the three women and best friends, Robin, Monica, and Val, suddenly getting psychic abilities in their mid 40’s may be a bit far fetched, the author does an amazing job of selling it with the way she manages to blend it with real life.

The story is told from each of the three women’s perspectives, but falls more heavily on Robin’s perspective as she is the main character. That imbalance was unusual for me, but I really enjoyed how it helped the story flow and to get an idea of how each woman was dealing with the sudden changes. I adored the amazing, loving relationship between these three friends. It is the type of friendship most everyone would love to have in their life.

The romantic aspect of the story comes in a couple of different places, mainly in Robin’s relationship with her husband. How she is feeling in that relationship was so relatable to what many women, especially those that are also mothers, feel at some point. This just added to how much I liked her character.

This book made me laugh while connecting with the characters. Then topped it off with the kind of cry that is sad and happy at the same time. Since this is the first in a series, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next book and probably digging into this authors back list as this was the first book I’ve read from them.

*This review was also published in Envie! Magazine’s April 2020 edition.

 

Recommended Reads From March

I haven’t written many reviews recently, but have still been reading a ton. I’ve also gotten away from posting any kind of TBR. I thought I might try posting a sort of a reverse TBR, instead. Basically a list of books I read over the month that I’d recommend instead of what I intend to read.

All books will be 4 to 5 star ratings and books that I enjoyed enough to say, “Hey, you should maybe pick this one up!” All books will also be books I read in that month, but not necessarily books released in that month. Not sure if it is something I’ll stick with, but thought I’d try it out, just for something different.

Based on this list, I’d say I had a decent month when it comes to books I enjoyed. The massive number of books that start with an “S” was purely luck and completely unintentional.

Badger to the Bone
Badger to the Bone
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Book Name: Badger To The Bone
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Series: Honey Badger Chronicles
Order: #3
Genre: Urban/Fantasy/Romance/Humor
Overall SPA: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed: Yes – HERE

The Queen's Bargain
The Queen’s Bargain
Author: Anne Bishop
Book Name: The Queen’s Bargain
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Series: The Black Jewels
Order: 10
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Romance
Overall SPA: 4 Stars
Reviewed: Yes – HERE

Suddenly Psychic
Suddenly Psychic
Author: Elizabeth Hunter
Book Name: Suddenly Psychic
Release Date: February 18, 2020
Series: Glimmer Lake
Order: 1
Genre: Paranormal/Women’s Fiction/Family Drama/Romance
Overall SPA: 5
Reviewed: Yes – Will post on 4/2/2020 (Also for Envie! Book Review)

Shifting Dreams
Shifting Dreams
Author: Elizabeth Hunter
Book Name: Shifting Dreams
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Series: Cambio Springs
Order: 1
Genre: Urban/Fantasy/Romance
Overall SPA: 4
Reviewed: No

Bounty
Bounty
Author: K.N. Banet (Kristen Banet)
Book Name: Bounty
Release Date: March 14, 2020
Series: Kaliya Sahni
Order: 1
Genre: Urban/Fantasy
Overall SPA: 4 Stars
Reviewed: Yes – HERE

Smoke Bitten
Smoke Bitten
Author: Patricia Briggs
Book Name: Smoke Bitten
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Series: Mercy Thompson
Order: 12
Genre: Urban/Fantasy
Overall SPA: 4 Stars
Reviewed: No
Spiked
Spiked

Summoned
Summoned
Author: C.P. Rider
Book Name: Spiked & Summoned
Release Date: August 14, 2019 & November 30, 2019
Series: The Sundance
Order: 1 & 2
Genre: Urban/Fantasy
Overall SPA: 4 Stars
Reviewed: No
Heart of Malice
Heart of Malice

Heart of Fire
Heart of Fire
Author: Lisa Edmonds
Book Name: Heart of Malice & Heart of Fire
Release Date: June 5, 2017 & May 29, 2018
Series: Alice Worth
Order: 1 & 2
Genre: Urban/Fantasy
Overall SPA: 4 Stars
Reviewed: No

Shatter the Earth
Shatter the Earth
Author: Karen Chance
Book Name: Shatter the Earth
Release Date: February 5, 2020
Series: Cassandra Palmer
Order: 10
Genre: Urban/Fantasy
Overall SPA: 4
Reviewed: No

Anniversary Celebration – An Unexpected Turn – Last Day!

I started the Kindle ebook give away for An Unexpected Turn on the anniversary of the day I clicked publish. It ends on the day I celebrate another anniversary. 19 years and Hubby and I are still going strong.

It has been an interesting week to try and honor and celebrate both of these milestones, but I’m grateful for the chance to get to do so, even if it is low key. Today, I can say that I published a book and a year later it is still drawing interest and hitting new milestones I never even considered when I hit that publish button. Today, we are all healthy and I get to celebrate another year with an amazing human that helps to make life so much more fun and bright. I’m incredibly grateful for both of those things.

So, if you were considering it and haven’t yet, now is your last chance! As always, please feel free to share it with anyone you may think is interested.

To those of you that have already picked this up! Thank you.

 

 

Newest Daffodil

This is one of the latest daffodil’s to bloom. It is more of a cream on cream and does not have that typical cup center. I love how frilly the petals are on this!

I have one more that is in heavy bud stage that has yet to bloom, but I’m thinking it is still several days away before it finally opens. All my others look like they only have a few more days before their blooms start to die back. Some are already losing some of their shape and the edges are beginning to curl.

I may have a small gap in time where I don’t have anything new blooming so I may have to get creative with my photos in about a week or so. Then again, so much can change in that week, so maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised and proven wrong. Wouldn’t that be nice?

A Little Squee Moment

I saw this last night and just about had my mind blown. Until I offered up my book, An Unexpected Turn, for free on Kindle, I hadn’t had any sales or reads through any marketplace outside of the US. I’ve now had enough to end up in a top 100 ranked list on Amazon in the UK. This is in the top 100 free books in my Family Life genre.

It may be a tiny little genre and I may not stay there for long (my ranking has already dropped a bit), but… I’ve made a list. That isn’t a milestone I ever really expected to hit, so I’m a little speechless over the whole thing.

Oh and… I’m only about 50 spots away from hitting 100 in the US in that same genre, so… yeah. I’m a happy girl today.

Feel free to see if you can help improve any of those rankings by grabbing yourself a copy! Or… you know… post a review. Or tell someone else.

Major thanks to everyone who has grabbed a copy already and helped to make this possible! Talk about an anniversary celebration!

Free Book Reminder – Through 3/31!

Just a little reminder that my book,  An Unexpected Turn, is free through the 31st in celebration of it’s one year anniversary! Even if this isn’t your type of book, please pass it along to someone you know that might be interested. As always, any reviews you feel like leaving are very, very much appreciated!

Open Windows & Peachy Daffodil

It is an absolutely beautiful day today and I get to open my windows for the first time this year. I also managed to get an okay shot of my peach daffodil, though it is really windy, so it isn’t great. It’s good enough for you to see how different it is from the traditional cup center you often see with daffodils.

Peach and White Daffodil
Peach and White Daffodil

This might technically be a double because of the multi layered petals. It sort of reminds me of my dwarf daylilies.

If the day continues to be this gorgeous, I might have to try and take a walk. When I was outside getting these photos, it seemed like everyone that lives here and then some were out doing just that, so I’ll have to see.

I’m hoping for an equally pretty sunset. I’d figured out a perfect place to try and get some amazing shots a while ago, but haven’t had the opportunity to get out and test it out, either because of weather or timing. I might just be able to pull it off if the sky decides to cooperate with me.

Yellow And White Daffodil

This is one of the daffodil’s that looks a little unusual. It doesn’t have that cup like center shape, but looks more like layered petals instead. I really wish I remembered what I picked out when I bought these or had a photo to reference because I really don’t remember these being so different. My other one is kind of similar, but with slightly different colors.

One Year Book Anniversary: An Unexpected Turn – Free Offering

One year ago, I clicked the publish button on my book, An Unexpected Turn. To celebrate, I’m offering up the Kindle version for free from 3/27 through 3/31.

Considering I never even planned to write a book in the first place, seeing that I’m celebrating the one year anniversary of it’s release, is kind of mind blowing. If you enjoy emotional stories about found families, feel free to grab this while it lasts. If that’s not your thing, then please pass it along to someone that might enjoy it as a way to help me celebrate this shocking milestone.

 

Blurb:

“When I take a good look at my reflection, I’m surprised that the face looking back at me in the mirror doesn’t look different than the one I’ve seen staring back at me for the last 27 years. I see the same brown hair and brown eyes, the same heart-shaped face, the same upturned nose. I feel like I should look different. That my face should show the upheaval and the weight of the last day, that it should somehow show how much has happened, how the course of my life has changed, but everything is still the same.”

Life is rarely ever predictable. It is rarely even kind. But… sometimes… just sometimes, those unexpected turns that throw you into the chaos and upheaval of loss lead you to the exact place you need to be.

This is a story about love, but it isn’t a romance. It is about holding on when it would be easier to let go, about fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves. It is about finding and creating family through the unpredictable, beautiful mess that is life.

Daffodils And A Bear Hunt

I finally have some daffodils blooming. At the moment, I have three different ones, but I think I have a couple more that are trying to pop as well. This one looks to be the most traditional looking one so far. The other two are very different. I’ll try to get some photos later today of those if the sun would ever decide to come out.

There are all kinds of stories going around about various different neighborhoods, groups, or individuals doing things to help entertain their neighbors right now. One of the things that I’d seen was directed more towards little kids. They were calling it a bear hunt. Residents would put some sort of bear (stuffed or other) in a window where it could be seen from the outside. When the kids would go for a walk, they could hunt for the bears in the windows.

My neighborhood decided to do one as we have a lot of grade school age kids that live around here. I’m a huge bear fan and Hubby has gotten me a few really fun ones over the years, so I decided to share the one that would be most easily seen. My giant one. He kind of takes up the whole window (not that is is a huge window).

Bear Hunt - Bear In The Window
Bear Hunt – Bear In The Window

It was just a really simple thing to do and the little kids can have a fun activity that doesn’t require any interaction with other people. I thought it was cute and fun. Now I have a bear hanging out in my window waving at anyone that walks by.

I will say, it is a bit disturbing to see it up there at night. I guess older teenagers and adults can play along and find a way to give it a creepy feel as it looks a little deranged staring out at you in the dark.

 

Just Almost

This one has been sitting at almost open for days. I’m getting impatient. Same goes for my daffodils, though I think at least one might be open today. Sadly it is foggy and misty and on the nasty side, so I’m not sure I’ll get any pictures today.

At some point this week, I WILL get downstairs and finish up my PMC charm I’ve been working on. It seems that lately, before I even have time to think about getting to work on it, 10 other things pop up that I need to do instead. Hopefully the majority of those side things that I didn’t really plan are out of the way. Hopefully.

Magenta Hyacinth

Some of my earliest hyacinths are starting to look a little sad while I have one that is just starting. I realized today that I have so many colors of these now. A white one, two different purples, a pale pink, this kind of striped magenta and a solid magenta (that one never seems to photograph well). I have no idea what color the one that is still in deep bud phase is, but I think it might be another white.

My daffodils are just starting to open, but haven’t gotten all the way yet. I’ll probably have another day or two to share the hyacinths before I can get a good full shot of any of the daffodils. I really don’t remember what colors I got last fall, so that will be a fun surprise!

I’m going to be an absolute slug today because EVERYTHING hurts after having crawled around on my hands and knees working on that floor yesterday. I love it when my body reminds me that I’m really an out of shape old lady and not some young thing. BG had to make a point of telling me that she feels just fine today. The little shit!

Makeshift Dance Floor Project

Absolutely amazed at how impressive this turned out. Seriously didn’t quite expect it to look this good. And.. it was relatively cheap to do!

I used the most inexpensive wood laminate flooring I could find for the surface. Normally, if you were actually installing this as a permanent floor, you would use an underlay material. Since this wasn’t intended to be permanent, my only concern was making sure the flooring didn’t slide or attempt to separate, so I found some, also inexpensive, rug gripper mats to put underneath the flooring. I ended up using 2 different pieces to get to the size I needed, but it works.

Gripper Mats for Floor Base
Gripper Mats for Floor Base

Also because this wasn’t intended to be permanent, I didn’t need to worry about any cutting. Just put the pieces together and done.

Start of Dance Floor Project - First Rows
Start of Dance Floor Project – First Rows

The first couple of rows were an absolute bitch to get together. BG helped as she had already finished up all her school work for the day and we did some trial and error on the best way to get this going before we got into a rhythm. Once we figured out the basic trick, the rest of the project flew together in no time.

Dance Floor Project - Half Way Done
Dance Floor Project – Half Way Done

I went down around 12:30ish to get the floor cleaned up and mopped then had to wait for a little bit for it to dry before I could get started. I finished up around 2:45. That is how easy this was.

Wood Laminate Dance Floor Area
Wood Laminate Dance Floor Area

The really cool thing about this? As long as the edges don’t sustain too much damage, I will be able to take this apart when she no longer needs it and put it together in my craft area so I have an even nicer space to work in than I do now. I even have another box of flooring that didn’t get opened that I can use to cover more area.

As with any construction type of project, it cannot be done without at least a little injury. FYI… don’t be leaning on a seam when you knock it together. It really doesn’t feel all that great. (Skip the following image if you are even a little bit squeamish as blood blister pinches aren’t very pretty) Of course it is on my forearm in the area that I normally lean on and keeps hitting on every single damn thing this afternoon. Oh, well. Project done and it is a HUGE success! I’m a happy momma today.

Construction Injury - Blood Blister Pinch Area
Construction Injury – Blood Blister Pinch Area

So Many Changes

Today is our first day of a completely new normal.

Over the weekend, our mayor put our city on a shelter-in-place order, so all non-essential business are shut down. We were already pretty much treating it like that, so it won’t be a massive change for us, though I’ve heard/seen a lot of people complaining or stressing over this order. For us, we are just going to keep doing what we have been and doing our best to not be a part of the problem.

The kids are starting to learn their new routines for their online classes. It is going to be interesting for my kids as they are both so self motivated, they will probably have the week’s worth of assignments done by the first day of the week, depending on how the teacher posts assignments. It is going to be an interesting process for them. I joked with BG that with the online stuff she could get the rest of her high school finished before MC graduates and they could graduate together (not that that is an option, just a statement about how quickly she gets her stuff done).

We also got more information from BG’s dance studio. They have opted to do what they could to shift their classes to online. I’ve got to say, with what I’ve seen so far, I’m absolutely blown away with what they’ve managed to put together. I’ve always liked her studio and how they do things, but this goes so far above and beyond. They could have just as easily said we are just shutting down, but to keep these kids going and to ensure that all the staff at the studio still gets paid, they are doing everything they can to make sure that the “show must go on” while keeping everyone safe at the same time. I’m a little in awe at their dedication and determination.

As part of that, I’ll be working on getting BG a safe space to dance. It is something that I promised her a while ago since trying to dance on our concrete floor in the basement is too slick. She has come close to falling a couple of times in the past. Now, I get to build a makeshift dance floor. I have all the stuff, I just need to get it done, so that is on my project list for today. I’m hoping like crazy that it works like I think it will.

I should have some daffodils to photograph soon. The buds are on and getting bigger, but they aren’t quite open yet. My hyacinths managed to hold on through two freezes over the weekend. We absolutely need some color and beauty right now.