Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekend Warrior, pre-planning

I keep forgetting to consult my planner when making plans and that is terrible. You'd think after screwing myself over several times, I would give more time in that practice. But as it turns out, you'd be wrong.

Because I have once again over extended myself this weekend. Oy vey.

So tomorrow Jackson starts his first class in archery! He used to be really excited about this, but after I said I signed him up, his enthusiasm wasn't totally there. I am hoping that once he gets started and realizes he gets to shoot things he'll get more excited. After that, he gets to go to a birthday party for his classmate, and it's camping themed at a children's museum, so that'll be fun for him. And THEN we get to hustle home, get cleaned up, and then get him to his very first Blue & Gold Banquet for Boy Scouts. He's a Tiger Scout, and a super cute one no less, so we aren't sure what happens at these banquets, but he's hoping he gets some badges for his uniform. The nice thing is that now that we've been doing Boy Scouts for a few months, he's getting more eager to go each week. On Sunday Olivia gets to go to a roller skating birthday party for her friend.

In between all of this, I am going to finish getting Penelope's room ready. I'm so close! I have another cool picture to hang up on her wall that I got at my shower, and some organizing.

I also have to really buckle down and make some final lists on what I would like to have done and ready for when Penelope comes. I am starting to feel really overwhelmed with things I need to get done and it's dumb. It's totally pointless because none of it really matters yet I feel this overwhelming urge to get it all done.

Today we had a fun visit from my sister in law and my baby niece Adriana, who is so big and has the biggest cheeks. So adorable. She was a little fussy today and I think her crying scared Jackson a little bit. Olivia wasn't phased at all. But it also was kind of scary because though I've done this twice now, I'm kind of scared. I don't know that I feel ready for Penelope to come at all. I hate feeling like I'm not ready. I hate feeling like I'm walking into something blind.

Anyways.

My other tasks this weekend include reading two books for review AND working on my hypnobirthing. It's not going well. I don't feel relaxed at all while I'm doing it and I'm starting to feel like it's a useless cause. I wish I could have afforded an actual class versus doing it on my own, but that wasn't in the budget. So it's frustrating and a little nerve wracking. More on that soon.

What are YOUR plans for this weekend?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Baby Shower!

You guys, I can't even tell you how great my baby shower. It was THAT great. To be honest, I went in thinking not many people were going to end up coming and I'd walk out with a couple of cute outfits. What I did not anticipate was my friends blowing me away and leaving there with a mini van full to the top (literally) of things resulting in several loads of goodies going up to Penelope's room.

I'm so used to not expecting much so I don't end up disappointed, and it was overwhelming to say the least.

Isn't this banner super cute? It looks just like the invite did. My friend Amy, the lead hostess, ordered it from VistaPrint. SUPER cute. I'm going to use part of it in a shadowbox for Penelope's room.
I got a ton of super cute clothes for Penelope. Oh, and Olivia was my gift note taker. She said she wanted a job to do and this was right up her alley. Granted, she phonetically spelled the gifts so writing thank you's was interesting. HA!


I had forgotten how tiny baby stuff was. I've purchased baby things for Penelope as well as my niece Adriana, but still. It's very overwhelming to realize a very tiny human is going to be here soon. 

Oh! And my friend Connie is a Scentsy consultant and she got Penelope a Lulu Lamb, who is incredibly SOFT and easily the sweetest thing ever. She has a little newborn satchel that goes in her so it'll (hopefully) induce Penelope into a peaceful sleep. AND Connie got me my own hard cover copy of Just Go The F*** To Sleep. That right there tells you that you have good friends. 


And my diaper cake! Which was displayed all pretty in Penelope's room for two whole days before Jackson could not help himself and unwrapped it. Then tried to tell me he totally was not the one who did it, it was definitely a cat. Unfortunately for him, he had tissue paper stuck to his sock and that's all the evidence I needed. SO, the cake itself is not standing, but the diapers are put away and the flowers are in a vase on her dresser.

Overall it was amazing. I got a TON of stuff. Afterwards I had gotten a few more things in the mail, a few friends are bringing me things they don't need/use anymore and are just giving it to me, and it's just really overwhelming. I keep using that word because I can't think of anything else that really sums up how I feel right now. I am so lucky to have such awesome friends and family that go out of their way and put a dent in their household budgets to get me a gift and to spoil Penelope.

And it wouldn't have happened had it not been for Amy, Tammy and Andrea. They all just worked so hard behind the scenes, kept me mostly in the dark, and did such a fantastic job. I'm a very lucky mama, that's for sure.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Week 30. Still kicking. Literally.

I know. I know I have been an absolutely slacker with blogging, but I swear, I have a good reason. Mostly exhaustion and nesting, and quite frankly, I feel like at week 30 I can use both of those and have it still be a legitimate excuse. Mostly because I all of a sudden feel this urge to get everything done. Literally, everything. Matt is getting really annoyed with it all but I firmly think if he just did the things I asked the first time (months ago), it wouldn't feel so rushed and stressful now.

But nooooooo, I'm just pregnant and hormonal, what do I know??

But week 30. Here we are.
Things about this week:


  • It really does feel like my vagina is angry because it hurts. It hurts to sit, it hurts to stand, it hurts to lay down, it feels alright if I walk for a bit but then it hurts. No relief. It constantly feels like a bowling ball is trying to come out. Surprisingly, Penelope isn't low, she's clearly hanging out under my boobs and near my ribs. So that's kind of scary, because what if she's just a big baby? Maybe she can be in two places at once?! 
  • I'm only up 17 pounds this pregnancy, though I feel like that number should be around 50. Admittedly, with Olivia and Jackson I had only gained 15 pounds total with each of them, so Penelope is already breaking records. Again, that's scary. 
  • Did I mention I passed my glucose test?
  • Because that's important when I note that my love for Sweet Tart jelly beans is fierce and I love them so. 
  • I have nesting urges. It's not an all of the time feeling like with Olivia. I never had it with Jackson and maybe because I basically wasn't in any position to change anything and had gender neutral everything already so I felt ready. But with Penelope, I feel like I'm starting from scratch. But for most of the day, I feel fine. It's in the evening where I get this urge to start scrubbing something clean, folding her things, or I think whatever project we're working on needs to be done right NOW. 
  • I had my baby shower last weekend! It was amazing, I was totally spoiled and my friends did such a great job. I'll share more on that, and pictures, maybe tomorrow. 
  • So clearly I've been busy putting everything away and organizing. Then re-organizing. 
Overall? I feel really great. Sure I'm exhausted and my vagina hurts, but I really do feel great. I know it seems like I complain a lot, but I actually like being pregnant. I realize that the things I'm dealing with are minor and my body really is meant for birthing babies. It really doesn't need me to help it along, my girl parts collectively know what they are doing and just do it without me. 

With that being said, I'm debating when to start my maternity leave. Do I give myself to be home, alone, for a few weeks to get things done and feel OK once she comes? Or do I say screw it and just work until I go into labor? My doctor has been pretty non-committal though she is a fan of pregnant women relaxing as much as possible. So I don't know. I really do need to decide this week and just stick with it and get things in gear and I'm torn. 

As usual. 

But I've got 10 weeks left, 70 days, until my due date. Feels like a long time but I know in reality it's a blink of an eye. It'll go by very quickly. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Time to Leap

I am whipping through books lately and I don't want to jinx myself, but so far, they've all been pretty good!

A Time to Reap (The Legend of Carter Gabel #1)
A Time to Reap (The Legend of Carter Gabel, #1)
Pemberton Academy is not just a school, it’s a gathering place for the children of the future that are afflicted with Temporal Displacement and Telepathy; in short, time travelers and mind readers who have been diagnosed with this “disease.” The Academy is not all as it seems after an explosion nearly takes one of its classmates, but not before Carter Gabel rescues her by using an unknown symptom related to his described illness. An unsanctioned group called the Program begins taking notice as the two classmates exhibit stronger abilities when they are together. Carter's sense of reality begins to unwind as he learns more about his estranged father's involvement with it all. 

Carter will have to overcome the past of his father leaving, the present of an unknown adversary hunting him down and a future that seems to change with each decision he makes. He will have to learn who to trust out of the people in his life if he wants to conquer the looming notion that the government may be hunting him down because of his developing abilities.


I honestly didn't know what to expect with this book, but it's definitely a YA novel, set in the future, that keeps you hanging until the very last page. The really great thing is that even if you don't read any more of this series, you'd be OK. Sure, the book ends on a kind of cliff hanger, but it's not the kind where you're left screaming at the book, frantically looking for pages that aren't there and then cursing the author for making you wait god knows how long until the next book comes out. 

The book is about Carter, who knows he is a Leaper (in that he can leap to different times), but he's still trying to control his ability. Mainly so he doesn't keep leaping and ending up in his new time stark naked. What Carter doesn't realize is that he is far more powerful than his mother has led him to believe and all in a very short time he's expected to learn about his new abilities AND how to control them. Which isn't easy. Mostly because nobody fully knows what Carter is capable of. 

Carter's mom has special abilities and it seems like she's hiding big things from him and he's not sure what to think of that. His dad is MIA and seemingly took off once he found out Carter was a Leaper. Carter then gets approached by a sketchy Lord Ray (nice name, right??) and that throws everything into motion. Carter befriends Mo, a girl at his school who is just as strange as he is, and they quickly realize that together they harness far more power than they do apart. Cue teenage love story. 

But everything basically goes to hell once it's learned that Carter is super powerful and everyone is essentially out to recruit him for The Program. Which is how the Government "learns" and controls people with the varying types of power that Carter and Mo possess. Mo is useful, but it's Carter they really want. 

Overall? I really liked the book. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get into it, but by page 20 I was all in and couldn't put it down. On my Nook it clocked in at 186 pages and I flew through those rather quickly. I believe in paperback it is about 250 pages, but you won't have any trouble getting through it. It's a really fascinating YA novel with time travel elements and it is just starting to touch on the moral implications of tracking and controlling people who are maybe a bit stronger than the regular ol' human race. The bonus to this book is that currently on Amazon, you can get the Kindle version for $.99, so it's definitely an interesting read without a huge investment. I'd recommend this to basically anyone who likes a good YA novel, but it would be OK for late middle school/high school ages as well. 

Under pressure.

So it's week 29! I feel like this last week has gone the fastest of all of the weeks so to me, that feels like it's all going to snowball to a triumphant finish now.


  • I have gained 20 pounds this pregnancy total. Which, to be honest, is a lot. At least for me. With Olivia and Jackson I gained 15 pounds each with them. I guess the blessing here is that it is literally all in my stomach. I can still wear my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans, I'm not puffy or swollen anywhere (like I was with Olivia), and my face hasn't spread. Which happened more with Olivia than with Jackson. I think my issues with Olivia is I was pregnant mostly during warm months and I just retained water. 
  • I can still tie my shoes and shave my legs! I'm going to keep documenting this because so many women say they can't and I feel like they are totally milking it. Sure, depending on the shoe I have to get creative but I'm still rocking cute shoes. 
  • Oooh... except I bought these really cute shoes from Maurices that are slip on. I have almost nothing to wear with them but they were on clearance and I love them so. 
  • The most notable thing is all of the pressure. At my 28 week appointment last week she checked my cervix and all is well, locked up tight. BUT, she said she could tell there is a little more room which makes her think most of what I'm feeling is just stuff moving to accommodate being able to birth a baby down a tiny little hole. It essentially feels like I have been kicked in the vagina all day every day. It's really kind of awful. I never had that with Olivia, but Jackson I did only because he was head down, ready to go from week 24 or so all the way to the end. Penelope is not head down ready to go, she's a fan of sitting on my bladder, bouncing on it, and trying to push up into my boobs as often as she can. 
  • I passed my glucose test! I have literally no idea how I did that, but I don't care because yay for not being diabetic! Bring on the cake!
  • I start going to the doctor every two weeks now, so my next appointment is actually next week for week 30. I feel like it's going to start happening so fast now. Which is very exciting. 
  • My baby shower is this weekend and I am so excited. I basically am itching to buy baby things and it is so hard to not just free for all while in a store. I did register for it (that was super fun) and according to the website, I have 79 days until my due date. EEP! 
Overall though, I'm feeling good even though I'm exhausted. I'm not getting a second wind at all, I'm just trying to plug through the things I need to do before Penelope comes. The kids are super helpful and are really excited about her coming soon. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why you absolutely should not see Fifty Shades of Grey with your husband.

Valentine's Day this year was a bit of a dud. I won't go into it, but let's just say, I really prepped him to do something extra lovable and it didn't happen.

And I feel a little sad about it, but I'm not going to dwell on it.

Instead, I'm going to focus on the fact I had really good cheese curds at our lunch date and that we got to go to a grown up movie. Matt agreed to go see Fifty Shades of Grey with me, mostly because I was going to go with or without  him and he didn't have anything better going on. Now, he obviously didn't read the books. I did. I know people say it's terribly written, it's abusive, it's dumb, it's the worst of the worst and to all of that I say- you are lame and stop killing my enjoyment.

Because I liked it. Best writing ever? No. But to be honest, there aren't many books I consider to be well written anymore so I can't fault E. L. James for that. Is it abusive? I guess that depends on how you view abuse. Knowing what Christian Grey's issues in life are, I understand why he does what he does. To me, it's logical. Maybe not ideal or smart, but it's logical. I don't view Anastasia as a wilting flower like Bella in the Twilight Saga because she demonstrates she has brains and free will. If anything, I feel like she's really calling the shots over Christian, it just might not be so obvious. And again, I think people are highly judgmental about the BDSM lifestyle as a whole and just throw this into the "totally unacceptable, that's not love" category. I'm more of a believer that as long as it's two consenting adults, it might not be my cup of tea, but flog away you love birds.

Anyways.

So we went to see the movie. Unfortunately, the only theater that still had available seats during the matinee was the Omnimax theater. Even better, we got the last two seats in the SECOND ROW.

Now, I don't know if you have been to an Omnimax theater, but it's a huge screen, it's curved and made to make you feel like you are really right there as whatever on the screen is happening. Which, normally super fun. Not super fun during a movie based on an erotica novel. Let's put it this way, I can tell you with 100% certainty that Dakota Johnson does not shave her thighs. She also has man feet and maybe needs to wear some face cream because her complexion is uneven. By a lot.

So we're watching the movie. And through the entire thing, Matt has gas. Like, he is farting uncontrollably. And despite how loud the damn sound was, you could clearly hear it. I feel so terrible for the people directly in front of him, I'm sure their jackets had to be washed. Secondly, he's asking me questions the entire time. "Wait- why does he need cable ties?", "How is he attracted to her? Why doesn't she brush her hair?", "Her friend sucks if she doesn't tell her she looks like a mess.", "Oh PLEASE, that isn't realistic.", "Wait- do you want to be flogged? We should talk about this at home.".

It was mortifying. Mostly because I'm pretty sure the people around us heard. And then I get up at the end and am clearly pregnant, with a bladder so full I can barely see straight. Because of course there was no time to pee before the show and by the time I realized we were on the brink of a bladder explosion, it was where the kinkery was starting to happen and I didn't want to get up like I was too prudish to watch.

Because if I'm anything, I'm not a prude.

Overall, the movie was alright. The story was good, it followed the book closely and I loved the cliff hanger ending. The filming of it was terrible. It's really on par with the first Twilight movie where it looked like a high school kid did it with his mom's camcorder from 1990 and edited it with free movie maker software on a Windows 95 PC. I mean, it was bad. Some of the dialogue was too much. In the book when Christian says "laters, baby", it's endearing and kind of cute. When it happens in the movie, it's awful and cheesy and doesn't seem to fit at all. Their email and text exchanges in the book were amusing, and in the movie again, it was cheesy. Which is hard because I'm not sure how they could have done it any differently without it being weird, but it came off as weird.

Then of course we get to the car and it's dead silent. Matt isn't sure what to think, but you could tell he totally wanted to ask me something. Eventually he just casually said, "So, that was interesting. I mean, I don't know if I could beat you but you know, I mean, yeah." HA! Yeah, Matt. Yeah.

The lesson learned here is that for the next movie, I'll just go on my own. Or with a friend.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday Musings

I'm going to try really hard to get myself back on track for blogging. I feel like if I could just get myself back onto a schedule, I'll be ready to go. So here are some things I'm thinking about:

Everything Baby! I am really getting excited about Penelope's arrival. Is it weird I'm even excited about being in labor? And delivering? I feel like this time around I'm so much more prepared and knowledgeable what I'm in for so I'm excited. A little scared about pain, but I feel like that's reasonable, But I'm so excited to meet Penelope. I want to know what she looks like and just snuggle her up.

Crafting. I'm seriously considering making things for my Etsy shop again. I kind of left it hanging, I got into a crafting rut, but I'm getting the itch again.

Work from home. I'm trying to figure out what I can do from home to generate income. I'm not looking for a ton of income, I just feel like I'd feel better if I was able to bring something in once Penelope is born. Ideally, I'd like to go back to work in the fall. I don't know if I can and find a reasonable day care. I thought about maybe watching other kids while I watched her, but I think maybe that would be too stressful for me? I don't know yet.

Learning. I really want to learn how to use Photoshop and learn HTML. There are so many cute blog things out there I'd like to try, but because I have zero skills in either of these things, I feel frustrated any time I try to tinker with it on my own. So I'm keeping my eye open for a continuing education class for one or both of them.

Shower! I have my baby shower this week and I am SO excited. Like ridiculously excited. I get to see a bunch of friends, family, and open cute baby things. And then I get to organize it all! The kids are very excited to come and are debating their outfits already. Which is adorable. But I am so excited. Who doesn't love a fun party?!

I'm feeling pretty good about life in general. I am worried I'll have to deal with post-partum depression when Penelope is born, but I'm hoping just doing my best and resting as much as I can will be helpful.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Phone Dump!

I feel like I don't do this near enough. Maybe I should make this a regular thing?

So let's see what life in the Strand house has been like in the last couple of weeks!

Matt contemplating life while holding Twinky. This is basically the scene when I come to bed each night. It's ridiculous.
You might not know this but Matt really hates to read. He hates it. The kids know to not ask him to read to them because he hates it so much. He's actually really dyslexic so it's a pretty good reason to not love reading. But at school, the library got a copy of the The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak. Jackson's teacher read it to them and Jackson laughed SO hard. Pretty much every kid that had that book read to them was in hysterics. It really is all in how you read it. But Jackson knew right away he wanted to have Dad read it.

(Side note: I was kind of worried because there are nonsense words in the book and Matt usually avoids things like that.)

Thankfully, Matt was game. So that is a picture, the only one I have of Matt reading to a kiddo, and he's smiling. Jackson was in tears while Matt read the book and that made Matt laugh. It's easily one of the best parenting memories I have. I'm so glad I could snap a quick picture of it. 
A very cool tradition my kids have is breakfast with Grandpa. My dad is an over the road truck driver so he's gone out of town a lot. Right now he is home most weekends and takes Olivia to her guitar lessons, and then if he's home on Saturday, he takes the kids out to breakfast. They absolutely love it and if you tell them they get to go with Grandpa, they go to bed early and are ready to go by 6 a.m. They always go to random, hole in the wall places, and it's always a fun adventure. A couple of weekends ago, they came home declaring they would be on Facebook. Fortunately, a friend tagged me in the photo and I now have a cool picture of them with my dad documenting their fun little tradition.
Matt and I have this ongoing joke about going to the bathroom. Literally EVERY DAY the kids let us know when they go "the good kind of bathroom" and it's just annoying. They aren't trying to be annoying, they think that we need to somehow document this. So the other day this is a text I got from Matt as I was getting ready for work. Romance. Definitely not dead.
Twinky continues to sleep literally on my face. On this particular day, he smelled like pee. He got a bath when I hopped into the shower. This dog only loves me when Matt isn't here. Matt is the true love of his life.
On Tuesday Jackson came home from school saying he didn't feel great. Later in the evening, this was the scene. Never a good sign when this on the go boy willingly lays down.
Cue Wednesday morning and he declares he can't go to school, in tears. He's got a fever, he has a headache, and his throat is sore. He was SO upset that he was missing the root beer float party for Valentine's Day at school and that he wouldn't get to hand his Valentine's out. Fortunately, Olivia is literally the best sister ever and she made sure to pick his Valentine's and bring them home. So all day, this was the scene at our house. He was asleep on the couch, I was laying next to him and Twinky resting on my legs. But Jackson is the sweetest little boy to watch when he sleeps. You can't help but want to snuggle him until he's better.

Today he seemed OK. I had to take the kids to my OB appointment and he was fine. By lunchtime, he went downhill quickly and he became really teary over nothing. By the time we got home, he went and took a two hour nap. He feels warm again but fell asleep with no issues this evening so we'll see if he gets up in the middle of the night.

So this is our life. It's never too dull and the kids are always cute.

The Forgetting Place

This is totally the kind of book my dad would absolutely love. Definitely a thriller, definitely a fast paced read that is difficult to put down.

The Forgetting Place - John Burley
The Forgetting Place
A female psychiatrist at a state mental hospital finds herself at the center of a shadowy conspiracy in this dark and twisting tale of psychological suspense from the author of The Absence of Mercy

Menaker State Hospital is a curse, a refuge, a prison, a necessity, a nightmare, a salvation.

When Dr. Lise Shields arrived at the correctional psychiatric facility five years ago, she was warned that many of its patients-committed by Maryland’s judicial system for perpetrating heinous crimes-would never leave.

But what happens when a place like Menaker is corrupted, when it becomes a tool to silence the innocent, conceal an injustice, contain a secret? Why is it that the newest patient does not seem to belong there, that the hospital administrator has fallen silent, and that Lise is being watched by two men with seemingly lethal intent? The answers are closer than she realizes and could cost her everything she holds dear.

In this chilling follow-up to The Absence of Mercy, author John Burley—a master at medical and psychological detail—showcases the many ways in which the dangers of the outside world pale in comparison to the horrors of the human mind.


Though it was a slow start, the really short chapters help you along. You think, "just one more chapter" and you realized five chapters later, you're getting into this book. It's a psychological thriller and nothing makes sense. To be clear, I haven't read the book that comes previous but I didn't feel like I was out of the loop. I'm not even sure if the author's first book is really the start of a series or not, but this one certainly didn't read like it. 

The story features Dr. Lise Shields who finds herself working in a correctional psychiatric hospital though everyone agrees she could be doing so much more. The entire feel of the hospital feels really off, like everyone else knows what's really going on in this place except for her. She's assigned to the newest patient, Jason, and he comes with no paperwork. She has no medical, psychological, or criminal history on him- she's starting from scratch. Soon after talking with him, she realizes there is a lot more to the story of him being there then she's being led to believe. 

The key to this book are the key plot points, which I can't go into because it will spoil it, but the ending? Didn't see it coming. Well, not completely. I'm not what you would consider a strong reader of suspense thrillers, but I do enjoy them and I do enjoy trying to figure out what exactly was going on. There are some pretty heavy clues early on in the book and if you can remember those points, it all comes together at the end. Jason's arrival at the correctional facility isn't cut or dry, it's part of a much larger conspiracy which pulls Lise in as she digs for answers. 

If you are a fan of thrillers, definitely pick this one  up. It's roughly 350 pages but I'm not kidding when I say it's a fast read. A really great weekend read. Pick this one up on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can also get more information about the author, stay up to date on appearances, or learn more about this book and his first one, The Absence of Mercy by checking his website, Facebook, and Twitter.   

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

28 - 12

Well today is officially week 28 of pregnancy. I have twelve weeks to go, which means I'm seven months along and in my third (and last) trimester. Which on one hand is CRAZY that I'm already this far and on the other it's like, are you kidding me? This is it? Good gravy, I'm never going to give birth.

Which is crazy because Penelope will be here before we know it.

So here's some stuff that's happened since last week's update:
I've certainly gotten larger, that's for sure. The really nice thing is that so far (knock on wood) literally all of my weight gain is stomach. I can still comfortably wear my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans from Maurices, and though I can get my pre-pregnancy regular jeans on and buttoned, they aren't comfortable for long because there is just no give. So that makes me feel pretty good because that absolutely was not the case with my first two pregnancies.

My stomach is rock hard all of the time. I think that's the same thing I mentioned last week, but it literally is never not hard. Which is really annoying because being able to sit comfortably would be a treat.

Let's see.... what else? Oh! Yes, almost every day for periodic periods, I feel like I have been kicked in the vagina. I'm not kidding. I also don't remember that from my other pregnancies. Which is making me wonder if I have early on set dementia or something because I just can't believe Penelope is THAT different than the other two.

Then again, maybe this is a sign of what's to come and you can all remind me of this conversation when I describe the horrors of raising a third child.

Oh, heartburn? Ohhhhh man. Heartburn is horrible and I seriously might even say it is worse than when I had it with Olivia. I clearly remember that from her pregnancy. With her I had it 24/7 from day one until a few days after she was born. Didn't matter what I ate or drank, no over the counter medicine did anything for me. This time it's not 24/7 but it comes out of nowhere and once it's here, forget it. It hurts. Again, no over the counter medicine is helping so I'm basically just dealing with it.
But in super fun news! I've gotten some baby presents in the mail from a friend and that was super exciting! I had registered at Target for my upcoming baby shower (next weekend!!!) and she found these cut things on there. The play gym and receiving blankets came yesterday in separate boxes and the kids were super excited.
Then today, this little guy came too from Kim so it was a bonus thing because she said two packages were coming, and I assumed that they already came. But this little guy is super cute and plays songs and announces colors. The kids again thought it was fun. Olivia found a spot for it in Penelope's room.

Oh, speaking of room! I'm almost done with it. Seriously this time. I found a couple of wall things that Matt is going to put up this weekend. A friend is making me wall art too, and I'm excited to see it. So pretty soon I'll take pictures of everything. It's maybe the most Pinterest worthy room in the house!

So this is what 28 weeks feels like. Easily the best part is feeling her move around. I forgot how much I loved that. Well not really forgot, you never forget that, but I feel like I'm really going to miss feeling that a lot more this time around once she's born. But for right now, it's a nice way to go to sleep and a nice way to wake up- with her rolling around and occasionally kicking the crap out of my bladder.

Pucked

I have a ton of fun posts coming for you, but let's continue with book reviews! I haven't read a YA novel in awhile so when I got the opportunity to review this one, I jumped on it.

Pucked - Rachel Walter

Does life get in the way of love or does love get in the way of life? Riley Silk, captain of the Warrior’s Ice Hockey team at Dalesburg High, doesn’t think life can be lived if love is present.  If there’s two things in life he knows to be true, it’s that love causes pain and hockey is his ticket to a better life.  He’s worked hard to maintain his Frozen Silk reputation in order to stay focused on his duties and goals. Audrey Jacobs, the Warrior’s number one fan, believes life can’t be lived without love. She can find love and beauty in the muddiest of situations.  Her best friend, Riley, is under a lot of stress at home, so she does her best to brighten his mood whenever she can. Then lines cross and blur, they struggle to keep control of the simplicity their friendship once held.  With Audrey’s outlook on life usually surrounded by light, the growing darkness of her doubts and insecurities threaten to deflect her toward the wrong path. Can she find her true self before her world burns around her?  When truths become lies, can Riley find the strength to fight his way through his own personal darkness that clings to his mind and soul?  Can he win this face-off that life has dropped in his zone, or will fate take him out of the game completely? Who keeps the puck?
**Warning- Several abuse topics are discussed in this story, which includes parental alienation, physical abuse, alcohol abuse, and mild drug abuse.**
Definitely a YA novel with it's writing style and story line, Pucked is the story of Audrey and Riley. Audrey basically has the all-American family with her happily married parents and gaggle of brothers. Riley is her best friend and he comes from a highly dysfunctional home. His parents are divorced, he doesn't know where his dad is, his mother is a hot mess and is dating an abusive alcoholic, and Riley finds himself as primary caregiver to his six year old sister. Riley is basically in love with Audrey, except he is 100% focused on hockey and developing that into a career as he sees that as his only way out of his home and hometown. Audrey also is in love with Riley but she's sure he only sees her as a friend and she doesn't want to ruin their friendship. 

The theme through this book really focuses on addiction and how that effects children in different ways, as well as parental alienation. Riley soon discovers the story he has heard from his mom about his father may not be totally true and that his father actually has wanted to be a part of his life. His mother does everything in her power to turn Riley and his sister against their father, but it's at the expense of the kids. She doesn't recognize how her actions are hurting them ultimately and it really has nothing to do with her. Riley also learns that love isn't an awful thing, that it's OK to rely on someone and it doesn't mean that they will inevitably hurt you, but also that shutting people out is hurtful and not beneficial to that other person. 

It's a really great book that I think any teenager who is going through a parent's divorce (in any stage) could relate to. Even as a YA novel and me being a total adult (most days), I was pretty much hooked right away. I love a good teenage angst story and this was very much that, but also had a fast paced story line. On my Nook it came in at 308 pages and I was actually able to get it done in a day because though lengthy, it felt like a quick read. SO many things happens to poor Riley that it's a miracle the kid keeps it together, but Audrey does a bang up job doing her best helping him through it. It's really nice to see a story that unfortunately, so many teenagers are going to be able to relate to, written well and covers heavy topics without being horribly depressing. 

Currently, you can purchase the book on Amazon and Smashwords

Monday, February 9, 2015

Much to do, all to do.

I feel like since this week will mark the first week of my third trimester, that my time to get projects and things I've wanted to get done are really starting to loom over me. I mean, I have 12 weeks left. That sounds like a lot of time, but I know that it is going to fly by. I have to buckle down and just tackle the projects one by one. I showed Matt the list yesterday and he says I'm insane.

1. Clean the pack and play. I bought this used pack and play off of a Facebook group a few months ago for next to nothing. Admittedly, I haven't taken it out of the bag. It could be the grossest thing in the entire world and I'm kind of scared. Best case scenario, all it needs is a good cleaning. Which I found a good tutorial on Pinterest on how to clean one, and every one featured pictures of gag worthy bath water. I'm trying to pawn this off on Matt and so far, he doesn't seem to want to do it.

2. Scrapbook the photos I have printed. At least finish our vacation albums from our last trip to Florida and then South Dakota. I feel like if I can get those done, I'll have the world in my hands.

3. I have been given some clothes that will fit Olivia and Jackson in another year or two. I got these months ago and I have just been stacking them in a closet near my bedroom. Well that closet is now completely full. I need to sort which items go to which kids, and buy enough hangers to hang them up in the appropriate closet. It'll be nice to reclaim the closet by my bedroom again.

4. I need to get Matt to move the china hutch out of the dining room and into the garage so we can sell it. Mostly because with the carpet in the dining room gone, the floor is slanted. Not a big deal, but the china hutch is VERY wobbly. So to solve that issue, and keep the storage we need, we purchased kitchen cabinets and a nice counter top that Matt is going to install in the dining room. I'm secretly thrilled because during the holidays I realized how badly I actually need a counter top in the dining room to place trays of food. SO, we'll get that back. But I want this all done before Penelope comes because I have a fear the current china hutch will fall on a kiddo.

5. Finish the basement living room area. Seriously. I was on such a roll and then I took a break and basically gave up. But I think it'll be nice to have that totally completed so the kids can play video games together down there and not worry about being too loud for Penelope during nap time.

6. Clear out all of the toys and outgrown clothes from both kids' rooms. Seriously. It's out of hand. I know once Penelope is here, I won't have the time it takes to do this and poor Olivia's closet is cram full. I'm saving a lot of her stuff for Penelope obviously, but that means I need to make room the basement. I can see now how people fill their basements. It's terrible.

7. Prep for a yard sale. Yes, I know it's absolutely CRAZY to try to do a yard sale a few weeks after giving birth. I get it. I can either do that, or sell things one by one out of the garage and basement. I don't know what is going to be less of a nightmare, but I know it has to go because we need to be able to use the garage, bare minimum.

8. Make some freezer meals. Granted, I have wanted to do this for quite some time, but haven't been ambitious enough to really look into it or do it. But I feel like the chances of me wanting to cook are going to be non existent, and when I'm in the hospital, Matt still needs to feed himself and the kids. So if you have a freezer meal that doesn't taste like leftovers, is easy to prep and make, or tips for freezer meals- share them with me.

Nesting is absolutely in full effect. I am trying to get things done now so I don't feel like I have to do it while trying to sleep with a newborn.

The Unidentified Redhead

I need more Alice Clayton in my life. I mean, what more can I really say?

The Unidentified Redhead - Alice Clayton
The Unidentified Redhead (Redhead, #1)
The first in USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton’s Redhead series is a playful and erotic romance between an aspiring actress and Hollywood’s hottest new leading man.

When Grace Sheridan returns to Los Angeles to become a working actress, it’s a second shot at a life-long dream. With some help from her best-friend agent, will that dream become a reality—or at thirty-three, has Grace missed her chance at the big time? And when an unexpected sizzling romance with Jack Hamilton, the entertainment industry's newest “it” boy, threatens to shine an uncomfortable spotlight on her life, how will that affect her career…and his?

Funny, borderline neurotic Grace is perfect in her imperfections, and the sexual chemistry between her and charming yet blissfully unaware Jack is off the charts. With laugh-out-loud dialogue and a super-steamy romance that will get your heart racing, sneaking around in L.A. and dodging the paparazzi has never been so fun.
 


I'm going to be honest. I'm really incredibly torn to read any more of this series because I want Grace and Jack to be a forever thing. I don't want her stupid move to New York to ruin it, and I don't want him becoming this huge movie star to ruin it. It's just too perfect and great. I saw the previews for the next two books and I just.. I don't know. I want them to stay perfect and in my head, make up the dream ending for them. So I'm on the fence. 

Which means I'll totally read them because we know how I am with a series, no matter how terrible it is, I'm going to finish it because I am an addict and I have a true problem. 

But I absolutely loved this book. The only thing I didn't love was the emphasis on the age difference between Grace and Jack, which is 9 years. Which, OK- could be a huge deal but honestly? Who even cares. They both went into this thinking it would be a tryst. It turned out to be an amazing tryst, blowing the expectation for both of them, so yes, that makes it an issue worth discussing. But if he doesn't seem bothered by it, why should she care? 

I also don't know what the fuss about Michael was. Michael is the guy Grace really liked in college. She played a little too hard to get and he didn't bite, and she was basically devastated. But instead of having an actual conversation with him, she doesn't until she sees him so many years later... when Jack is in the picture. This is obviously setting up for book 2 where Grace is in New York, working with Michael and I'm sure something "develops" between them and yeah. We know how that will play out. 

This is a fun read, a good romance novel that'll have you laughing, definitely smirking, and you'll find yourself adding Alice Clayton books to your Goodreads To-Read list. You can find this book on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Girl Before A Mirror

You guys. GUYS. This book is everything. I hate that I always forget how much I love Liza Palmer until I read a book and instantly want to read everything all over again of hers and then I want to be her best friend.

Girl Before A Mirror - Liza Palmer
Girl Before a Mirror
The author of Conversations with a Fat Girl—optioned for HBO—returns with the hilarious and heartfelt story of a woman who must learn how to be the heroine of her own life-a journey that will teach her priceless lessons about love, friendship, family, work, and her own heart

An account executive in a Mad Men world, Anna Wyatt is at a crossroads. Recently divorced, she’s done a lot of emotional housecleaning, including a self-imposed dating sabbatical. But now that she’s turned forty, she’s struggling to figure out what her life needs. Brainstorming to win over an important new client, she discovers a self-help book—Be the Heroine, Find Your Hero—that offers her unexpected insights and leads her to a most unlikely place: a romance writers’ conference. If she can sign the Romance Cover Model of the Year Pageant winner for her campaign—and meet the author who has inspired her to take control of her life—she’ll win the account. 

For Anna, taking control means taking chances, including getting to know Sasha, her pretty young colleague on the project, and indulging in a steamy elevator ride with Lincoln Mallory, a dashing financial consultant she meets in the hotel. When the conference ends, Anna and Lincoln must decide if their intense connection is strong enough to survive outside the romantic fantasy they’ve created. Yet Lincoln is only one of Anna’s dilemmas. Now that her campaign is off the ground, others in the office want to steal her success, and her alcoholic brother, Ferdie, is spiraling out of control. 

To have the life she wants-to be happy without guilt, to be accepted for herself, to love and to be loved, to just be—she has to put herself first, accept her imperfections, embrace her passions, and finally be the heroine of her own story.


I'm going to tell you right now, some of my girl friends are going to get this book at some point this year. That's all there is to it. I have one friend in particular, who is going to get it before the month is out because this reminded me of her the entire way through. The conversations, the awkwardness, the sarcasm, just everything reminds me of her and I and our conversations through the day. 

The book revolves around Anna, who is recently divorced and has gone on a dating strike after the "Thunder Road Incident" (which is HILARIOUS and one of the best starts to a book I have read in such a long time) but she's turning 40 and feeling a little left out of life. Being single again isn't what she thought it was going to be, nor is dating, and she finds herself at a loss. So she throws herself into work and tries hard to land a marketing campaign that would put her at the top of her career game. That's if, and only if, the boss's daughter doesn't sabotage her and/or take all of the credit. But in order to that, she has a newbie employee (who was "recruited" at a strip club) dumped into her lap and she made grand promises that she could land a romance novel cover hunk to be in the campaign. 

Problem, she thinks romance novels are lame, but her new assistant is a romance novel junkie. They embark on a trip to Phoenix to attend RomanceCon and she is basically assaulted with all things romance and she is definitely not in her element. But she stands out (clearly) and in the middle of all of this she meets Lincoln. Lincoln is a good looking piece of man meat AND he has a British accent (cue all of the great cheese that is involved in any good romance novel) . I am going to tell you right now that Anna and Lincoln? Might be my favorite chick lit couple ever. EVER. I absolutely could not stop laughing at their exchanges, the absolute awkwardness of it all, and it was so fun. 

So much fun that the book was over before I knew it and I read it a second time just because I enjoyed it that much. 

I highly, so very highly, recommend anything Liza Palmer writes if you are in need of a fun book that is going to make you laugh yet you can absolutely relate to. Especially this one. And can we talk about the gorgeous cover of this book? I am not even ashamed I usually buy books based on the cover and this is so pretty and I want those shoes, and it's just everything. *sigh* 

You can purchase the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Then let's all stalk Liza on her website, Facebook, and Twitter. (Please do it so I don't look like a total crazy. Liza Palmer 4 ever.)

It's trendy to hate something.

Has anyone else noticed a trend, particularly in social media, where it's kind of trendy to hate something? If you aren't outraged by something then maybe you aren't smart enough to understand what's happening around you, that's the overall sentiment I'm getting from all of this. I've gotten to the point where I have to skip over most of what is being posted on Twitter and Facebook because it highlights to me how far down as a society we've gone. Gone are the days where we absorb science or strive to be decent human beings. The fact that someone raised large amounts of money for a school are newsworthy when the school should just have that money anyways, is astounding to me. Here are some of the latest things that make me want to bury my hole in the sand:

Vaccines: It is 2015 and I cannot believe we are arguing the merits of vaccines. I can't. I really cannot accept that so many Wikipedia loving people have banded together in solidarity to say vaccines are bad because I got a rash (or god forbid, a FEVER) and that makes them bad and oh god, the chemicals they use to make them! HORROR. Calm down, folks. Trust me when I say the crap they made the Big Mac you ate at lunch with is probably a thousand times worse for you than the tiny amount of whatever chemical they have in the vaccine. And if you're that against science and medical doctors, just stop going to the doctors. Pray away your illnesses and let me know how that works for you. And don't try chemo or radiation if you get whatever kind of cancer because god only knows what any of that does to a person long term. It's just astounding.

Public Education Funding: You know what's sad? The large amount of people who think adding any more funding towards public education is a waste. A waste! Seriously. I can't even believe that. Yes, let's pour extra money into the military so we can stay involved in things that have nothing to do with us, but let's not educate our children. Sounds legit. I'm a huge supporter of troops, I cry when I see them leave, cry when I see them come back, and am so thankful we have people who are willing to do horrific things in order to protect our freedom. I know I can't be that person, so I am so gald there are those who are willing to do that on my behalf. BUT. We have got to stop sending our troops overseas. Let those people fight it out. Seriously. They got themselves in it, let them get themselves out. Instead, let's worry about what we have happening here. We have so many students who are not at sufficient grade level in reading, math, science, etc. It's not for a lack of trying on teacher's parts- they are overworked to the bone, the requirements put upon them and the limitations they are given are insane. It's unreasonable. As someone who volunteers at my children's school, I think it is ridiculous how much fundraising needs to be done so we can get current material for students. That should be a given. We can't take kids on educational field trips and learn hands on because the cost is too high. Some of the best science lessons I ever got, and still remember perfectly, were ones I learned at a science museum, trying things hands on. Kids aren't getting that and we really need to be outraged, whether we're a parent or not. Because we all have a dog in that race- these are the people running the country someday, it'd be nice if they could do math.

Commercials: If you're offended by a commercial? You need to re-evaluate your life. I'm serious.

Birth Control and Women's Rights: Again, it's 2015 and I cannot believe we are still arguing over women's rights. I really can't. If a woman wants to be on birth control, let her be on birth control. It's a medication and it should be covered. Nobody wants a bunch of babies people can't take care of, let's prevent that. Easy peasy. And you know what? If a woman wants an abortion, let her have an abortion. If you don't believe in it, then don't have one. It's a pretty simple concept. How about we just worry about ourselves? Maybe stop pushing a personal religious agenda onto others? Because let's be honest, nobody knows if God is actually real or which religion reigns supreme until we die, so let's not go down that road. Worry about you.

Gay Marriage and Rights: Seriously, I hope someday this is such a non issue like segregation and I can see the faces of my grandchildren when they ask me why this was even an issue. I really do. Because again, worry about you. So what if you Joe and Jim want to get married, and adopt? WHO CARES. Seriously. In a time where we have thousands of children in foster care, babies born to crack heads, I mean, do we really want to go down the road of saying two men (or two women) can't give a great home to some kids? Maybe lead a really happy, healthy life in a loving marriage? It's not like heterosexuals have gotten it right. But if someone is able and willing to provide a safe, loving home to kids who maybe wouldn't have one otherwise? Thank god for them. Seriously. Bravo, let's encourage that.

Welfare and drug testing: Oh stop. Not every person on a form of welfare is on drugs. They just aren't. To assume that makes you a really hateful person and that's not being a good Christian. I'm not religious but I've always been told that being kind to others, and helping them up, even when they least deserve it, is what a good Christian does. And you know what? I'm alright knowing my taxes are going towards helping other people have homes, eat, take care of themselves and their children, get adequate healthcare, etc because you know what makes me sad? Homeless people. People who had a chance and now have nothing and nobody that can help them. THAT makes me sad. What makes me angry is seeing my tax money go to stupid stuff while rich people get better tax breaks than I do. I don't have much to give, but I'm OK with knowing my tax money is helping someone, somewhere.

So there's that. Admittedly, maybe the pregnancy hormones are making me a little feisty. But it's just awful. I don't know for sure, but it seems like since Obama took office people have turned anti-government and I'd hate to think it's because he's black. I really would. Because I'd like to think as a society, we're better than that. That we are teaching our children better than that. That really, at the core of all of us, we want to help others along and aren't so selfish.

But I'm not sure that's true at all anymore.

The Price of Blood

If you are looking for a book that is part of a trilogy, but you want it to also be a stand alone, that is historical fiction? Absolutely you need to add this to your growing to-read list.

The Price of Blood - Patricia Bracewell
The Price of Blood (The Emma of Normandy Trilogy, #2)
Menaced by Vikings and enemies at court, Queen Emma defends her children and her crown in a riveting medieval adventure

Readers first met Emma of Normandy in Patricia Bracewell’s gripping debut novel, Shadow on the Crown. Unwillingly thrust into marriage to England’s King Æthelred, Emma has given the king a son and heir, but theirs has never been a happy marriage. In The Price of Blood, Bracewell returns to 1006 when a beleaguered Æthelred, still haunted by his brother’s ghost, governs with an iron fist and a royal policy that embraces murder.

As tensions escalate and enmities solidify, Emma forges alliances to protect her young son from ambitious men—even from the man she loves. In the north there is treachery brewing, and when Viking armies ravage England, loyalties are shattered and no one is safe from the sword.
Rich with intrigue, compelling personalities, and fascinating detail about a little-known period in history, The Price of Blood will captivate fans of both historical fiction and fantasy novels such as George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.
 


When it says it rivals the work of R.R. Martin and his Game of Thrones series, they are not joking. I actually read the first book, Shadow of the Crown, awhile ago and I really wish I had more time so I could have re-read that and then get into this because I forgot how absorbing Patricia Bracewell is with her writing. But don't let that scare you, these are absolute stand alone reads that have the ability to be amazing if you are reading them back to back. I really can't wait for book three in this trilogy because wow- talk about an intricate story line that literally keeps you hanging until the very last page. 

The book takes place in the eleventh century England and everything is essentially in shambles. We bounce between four view points throughout the book and it's clear nobody trusts anyone and second guesses the motives of even family because as we know- power is king. Everyone wants all encompassing power so you're forced to second guess even your most trusted advisers at every turn. But King Aethelred is a bit of a jerk and he's known to be power hungry himself but he's also cruel and inhumane. His wife, Queen Emma, doesn't love him for a second, but she has produced a rightful heir with the birth of their son. She sees the King's tactics for what they are and her love of the people, and the safety of her son, leaves her no choice but to form alliances with people who are equally as dangerous. She's playing a really risk game of chess basically. 

What is really interesting is that this is all based on a true story, so it's evident so much time and effort has gone into the research for this book and it's predecessor. While normally I get annoyed and turned off by rich descriptions and over use of adjectives, it's absolutely pertinent in this book because you are left with a brilliant description of what is going on and what is around the characters that you actually feel like you're reading the subtitles of a hit show as the scenes are played out on the screen. 

I highly recommend this book if you are at all a fan for historical fiction or if you are interested in this time period. Absolutely fascinating and stunningly written. 

A very cool thing happening Viking and the author have created an online book club kit that will bring 11th century England to life at your book club.  And, for you history nerds out there, the author is tweeting out really random, but very interesting, #AngloSaxonFact that she learned while researching for this book. Head over to Twitter and follow her to see these. You could be the hit of the office with your random knowledge. The book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

27, what what?!

Can I get an AMEN that it is my last week in the second trimester? Anyone?

Actually I feel like I'm dangerously close to feeling like this entire pregnancy is going down the hill at an alarming rate considering how I have felt over the last three days. Here's a quick recap:


  • Contractions! Yes, it's really early. No, I don't think these are just Braxton-Hicks. Yes, I'm annoyed. No, resting doesn't make them go away. Actually, resting seems to make them worse, if that even makes sense? The more active I am, the better I feel in general even if I'm left exhausted and everything hurts. 
  • Back pain! Oh yes. I don't actually remember having back pain with Olivia, but I had it with Jackson for the entire last semester. Mostly because that boy lodged his head as far into the birth canal as he could without my cervix being open. He was ready to go by the end of month six. Which meant that by month eight, it felt like he was going to just fall out. I really was worried that if my water broke, I was screwed. It didn't and I ended up being induced because he refused to kick, but that's a whole other issue. 
  • My feet are killing me. Does not matter the shoes I wear, how much I sit, or much I get up and move, if I elevate or not, they always hurt. 
  • My boobs are spilling out of my bra. It's come to my attention that it is indeed time to get myself a larger bra that is going to accommodate this. My boobs are an accident waiting to happen. 
  • It is so hard to get in an out of the mini van. I so miss Gideon the Escape. I am literally winded trying to get in and out of the damn van. 
  • Sleep. Oh sleep, I miss you. It's not that I can't sleep. In fact, I am absolutely exhausted, literally all day every day. I just can't get comfortable. If I lay on my left side, my left arm and shoulder hurt the next day. I can't sleep on my back because then I can't breathe. If I roll to my right (if I can get there) it's OK for a few minutes but then it's like I can feel my heart start racing and my breath slowing down. So then I roll back to the left and within seconds, feel totally fine. It's all very annoying. 
  • Loss of appetite. Currently, my brain and my stomach are not on the same wavelength at all. My brain says, "Eat all of the things!" but my stomach is saying, "Bitch, you eat one cracker and I'm going to make you feel full for hours. Then switch to famine with no notice." It's so frustrating. Even when I eat small meals I feel so full I could throw up. I struggled to eat a granola bar this morning. 
But some really fun things have been happening too! 
  • My baby shower is on the 21st this month and I'm ridiculously excited. I have decided I'm going to buy a bra so I don't look like a hot mess, I might even get crazy and get my eyebrows waxed so I don't look homely. I'm super excited though. 
  • Nesting has kicked in! I mentioned this earlier, I am in love with folding and re-folding baby outfits, organizing, and just sitting in Penelope's room wondering what it's going to be like once she's here. 
  • She moves SO MUCH. Seriously, so much. Sometimes it's a bit jarring or she's clearly jumping around and practicing her tumbling skills, but most of the time it's this graceful glide and I love it. I forgot how much I love it. 
  • Olivia and Jackson can feel her regularly now and I think it scares Jackson, but Olivia thinks it's the coolest thing ever. 
Week 27 is probably going to be much the same as week 26 was. I do my glucose test next Thursday (disgusting) and my first cervical check. Admittedly, I'm a little concerned about that with regard to the contractions, but I'm hoping things will be locked up tight down there. Keep your fingers crossed! 

In Flames

I am totally slacking on my reading challenges but I think very soon I'll have more time to crank out books. So stay tuned. Here's one though that I didn't slack on!

In Flames - Richard Hilary Weber
In Flames: A Thriller
In Richard Hilary Weber’s passionate new thriller, a smoldering mystery ignites on a tropical island as lust, murder, and politics collide.

San Iñigo is a jewel of the Caribbean, a playground paradise for the foreign elite, a hell for unfortunate locals. For recent Princeton grad Dan Shedrick, San Iñigo promises the fulfillment of too many desires.

Dan hires on at a powerful American firm as a junior architect, but still finds time for tennis, booze, a reckless affair with the sexy wife of a resort owner—even a bit of reconnaissance for the U.S. cultural attaché. But soon he discovers that nothing on San Iñigo is without consequence. When a much-loved local radio personality is found on a beach with his head blown off, Dan’s lover becomes a suspect. And not long after his foray into espionage, he’s dragged away on a brutal journey into the heart of darkness.

Buffeted by aggression, depraved ritual, and personal betrayal, Dan discovers fierce truths about San Iñigo . . . and himself. In the island’s forbidding mountain jungle, his life goes up in flames—a deadly inferno that will forever change him, if he survives at all.
 

**
Maybe I'm just not hip to current thrillers, but I don't know that I would really call this a thriller. I kind of knew the jig right from the word go, and though a lot of stuff happens? It's not even fast paced, though it was only 175 pages long on my Nook. I found it really hard to get into, and so much time was spent giving you descriptions of things and that felt like unnecessary filler. You know what it feels like? It felt kind of like an episode of Law & Order, but in a tropical locale. Like, all of the crimes and action has happened and now someone has to go to trial and as readers, we're trying to piece together each story to figure out what actually happened.

So what we have is Dan, who is a victim of the crashing stock market and terrible economy, forced to take literally any job he can get. That brings him to an exotic island with a benign company for a one year contract. He goes there, only to find out that crime is rampant and truly it's not an ideal place for an American citizen. He finds himself spending his non-working hours drinking and seemingly enamored with Elaine, the young wife of a friend who runs this club. Friend dies, and Dan thinks Elaine actually has feelings for him.

Newsflash: she doesn't.

But he finds himself taking a side job which leads to dangerous territory and a lot of violence. Oh, and an abduction and rescue. I think what disappointed me was that literally none of it seemed plausible. The plan he comes up with to get away from captors is not likely, the whole thing was just hard to get into. I think if you are a fan of thrillers, you might like this. Especially considering it's inexpensive and it's not very long at all, you could whip through this in a day easily. But I am also the person who thinks books like Girl With a Dragon Tattoo were lame, so I might be the worst person ever to judge. I will say though that if you are in the market for a new read but don't want to invest a lot of time, this is the route to go. I'm becoming a big fan of books under 200 pages because time is valuable, but I still like to read.

The book can be purchased on Amazon HERE. For more information about this book, his previous book, and upcoming books, check out Richard's webpage HERE. The author, Richard Hilary Weber, is hosting a giveaway for a $25 e-gift card to an online retailer of your choice AND a copy of In Flames. Definitely worth a chance!

Jayded COVER REVEAL



New Adult
Date Published: April 10, 2015

 Maxine Daniels was made an offer that she couldn’t refuse. She couldn’t think of a better time—after breaking things off with her fiancé—to change cities and merge her company with Saunders Literary Agency. At thirty-three, she isn’t getting any younger, so it’s time to start fresh and leave her past behind.

What she doesn’t anticipate is the diversion that lies ahead. Kyle Saunders is a catastrophic tsunami that enters her life and consumes her world in just a matter of minutes. Everything about him is telling her no, but her heart and the heat between her legs is screaming yes. He was never a factor in her divine plan—nor was she in his.
Kyle is the cliché bachelor; he is a twenty-four-year-old charismatic chick magnet who refuses to settle down. He’s dead set on living the carefree single life—that is—until Max comes strolling in. Then all his ridiculous rules fall to the wayside. Who knew that just one hello could alter their lives forever?
EXCERPT

My mouth hangs open. It’s like time freezes, and all I can think is holy fuck! I’m speechless. Never in my life have I been speechless or caught off-guard to this magnitude. The woman in front of me is fucking hot! On fire! I slowly take her in, starting with her high red pumps, long legs, and tight red skirt reaching her knees, hugging one amazing ass and some unGodly shaped hips. Man, those hips though. I can already see my hands being at home on those hips. My eyes drift up to her tiny waist and voluptuous breasts. Yum. Her face is flawless: lips plush and eyes a beautiful iridescent blue, which completely contrasts against her darker complexion and the brown of her hair. Simple perfection.
I must be standing here like a doof, making an ass of myself, because she smiles with a tiny bit of amusement. She reaches her hand out to me. “Hello. You must be Kyle?”
I continue to stare, completely mesmerized. It takes me a moment to snap out of it. “Uh, yes, I’m Kyle. You must be Maxine.” I grab her hand, immediately feeling the softness of her skin. “It’s nice to meet you,” I say with a smile.
“It’s just Max,” she informs me.
Cover Reveal - February 4th


Shevaun DeLucia, author of the Eternal Mixture series, lives in upstate New York with her husband, four children, and two dogs. As a stay-at-home mom while her children were young, she fell in love with reading. She indulged in the small moments that took her away from the reality of her loud, rambunctious household, bringing her into a world of fantasy. When reading wasn’t enough to satisfy her, she turned to writing, determined to create the perfect ending of her own.

Twitter: @shevaundelucia1