Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review Wednesday: Ain't We Got Fun!?

I am so so so so SO excited to be helping out with the release of AIN'T WE GOT FUN by Emily squared! Emily Chapman and Emily Ann Putzke!

Here's what it's about (provided by Emily Ann):
Displaying AWGF_Final_EBOOK (1).jpg
It was never much of an issue for Bess: living contentedly on her family's farm, despite the Depression which loomed around them. But when her older sister Georgiana takes off to New York City to make a fortune and help Papa out, feelings of adventure and wanderlust strike Bess at home. Through their lively letter correspondence, the sisters recount to one another their adventures, surprises, and heartaches, leaving little room for depression. For in a world of such wonder, ain't we got fun?

These ladies are incredible writers. I was instantly swept up in the down to earth, old fashioned charm that is AWGF. 
The book is a series of letters between Bess and Gi, as you might be able to deduce from the blurb. Usually, I'm not a huge fan of those kinds of books. I prefer action and drama and dialogue. However, all of this was manifested in the quaint letters exchanged by the two sisters, erasing my bias against "letter books".

The characters of Bess and Gi are so unique to each other. They're clearly sisters, but also clearly very distinct people. I loved being a part of their joys and struggles. I came to feel as though I was one of them, privy to their thoughts and feelings. The character development was extraordinary. Even though Bess and Gi definitely were kept "in character" throughout the length of the book, they were clearly grown by the end. 

Additionally, I loved how dialogue was apart of the letters. The dialogue was so smooth and natural, like everything else in the letters. I also liked the tone with which the sisters spoke of their every day happenings.The struggles of the girls are typical growing up struggles that the Emilys managed to capture beautifully; things girls have struggled with for years and will continue to struggle with for years to come.

This book was so refreshing. I've never read anything quite like it, and it was a nice detour from the dystopian/love triangle/sex-and-language smattered books that seem to litter the YA bookshelves of today. AWGF is unique and engaging and very different from everything out there. So go support Emily squared and buy a copy!

Also, head on over to either of the Emily's websites and check out the awesome GIVEAWAY (who doesn't love a giveaway!?) that they're hosting!!

You can purchase Ain't We Got Fun through:
Amazon (Paperback)
Amazon (Kindle)
Createspace (Paperback)
Smashwords (ebook)

Displaying Emily Chapman author.jpg
EMILY CHAPMAN, also known as Bess Rowland, is a young hobbit living in the dear old South, and she is entirely bonkers. She's a dreamer, an optimistic pessimist, and an introverted people person. Blue skies, dancing, Disney, and whipped cream make her happy, and she swears she's once been to Narnia. She's been a reader all her life, became a writer because of that, and published her first novel, Cry of Hope, in March of 2014. But without her Savior, all of this would mean nothing. It is in Him that she puts her hope.You can learn more about Emily Chapman and her books at and

EMILY ANN PUTZKE and Gi Rowland have two big things in common: their love for God and coffee. Besides writing historical fiction, Emily enjoys being an aunty, photography, Irish dancing, spending time with family, attempting to play the guitar, reenacting, and reading. She loves polka dots, war movies, and all things vintage. Her first novella, It Took a War, was published in December of 2014. You can learn more about Emily Ann Putzke and her books at and
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(I'm privileged to be interviewing Emily Ann next month, so stay tuned!)

(...and in case you're BONE GAP review is coming, I promise. Writers get distracted easily and sign up for too many bloggy things.) 

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Muse Party Blogfest!

A GINORMOUS amount of CONGRATULATIONS goes to the absolutely AMAZING Sarah Foster for FOUR years of blogging! I discovered Sarah during this past A-Z Challenge and was immediately taken in by her blunt, real writing voice and on point advice. She blogs over at The Faux Fountain Pen.

I am so excited to be participating in a blogfest to celebrate her anniversary!

1. Who is your muse (or character)? Tell us a little bit about him/her and why you brought them.
This is Cassandra--say "hi", Cass--and I brought her because we're basically best friends. Not even joking, we're like the same person. Sometimes when things happen, I'll literally be like "Oh I can't wait to tell Cass--oh wait." Anway, Cassandra is eighteen years old and just graduated from high school. She can't wait to leave for college in a few months and is so sick of her family and town. She's kinda quiet at first, but once she trusts you, she won't shut up. When she's hurt though, she will shut up and GOOD LUCK trying to get her to forgive you. (Sorry, Cassie, it's true.)

2. What are you guys wearing? Dressing up or keeping it casual?
Dressing up, duh! We're wearing knee-length sundresses, with jewelry. And wedges.

3. It's a potluck! Did you bring something yummy?
OF COURSE. Cassandra can't cook to save her life but I made no-bake Oreo bars. (Oh my gosh, Cass, it IS true! Remember that one time London asked you to make pizza with the the floor still red? Pretty sure you also almost exploded the oven.)

4. Open bar! What are you both drinking (booze or otherwise)?
Being the good-girl-under-21's that we are, not alcohol. Cassandra is drinking a safe Sprite, while I'm drinking some super sugary concoction. 

5. Wallflowers or social butterflies?
I'm a TOTAL social butterfly. Cassandra just likes to stare at people. (Calm down, I'm JOKING. Maybe.)

6. What song(s) will you and your muse sing for karaoke?
If I can manage to convince Cassandra to do it with me, definitely God Made Girls by Raelynn. We're both suckers for country. 

7. What's your favorite party game?
Cass is boring and doesn't like anything.(Cassandra, shut up, I made you. Do you want me to kill off Ben? Then respect me.) I'm partial to anything that involves the sharing of deepest darkest secrets. And Apples to Apples. Oh, and Guesstures. 

8. Which one of you is more likely to end up dancing on a table top?
Me. Definitely me.

9. Has your muse been a good date and would you ever hang out with them again?
She's never good, but neither am I. Guess that's exactly why I would hang out with her again. (Love ya, Cassie ;))

Congratulations again to Sarah! Looking forward to many more years of blogging to come. Also, I guest posted at Jess's blog Simple Scribbles (book review) as well as Nicole's blog Carpe Veritatem (opinion post). So you have three blogs to stop by and leave some comment love for!

Lastly, have a blessed Memorial Day. Thank you, God, for all the amazing men and women who gave their lives for this great country. God bless America!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ten Favorite Screen Characters

First of all, I would like to express tremendous gratitude for all my amazing regular visitors/commentors. Thank you for sharing with me your advice and opinions on my really means so much to me.

Second of all, I was recently tagged by Ashley (thanks girl!) for the Ten Favorite Screen Characters Tag. This was so hard for me. Also, I realized that all my favorite characters are either a) goofy and ridiculous or b) heartbreakingly tragic. Oh well, basically me.



Actually, more than ten because I could not make up my mind. I've narrowed the list down substantially, though, so lucky you.

1. Loki
Tom Hiddleston- Loki< happy loki day
It really bothers me that so many people like him so much. Like he's mine, back off...

2. Eugene Fitzherbert/Flynn Ryder
Look at his face. He is so excited to give her this little gift. He BOUGHT it just for her and you can see that he's almost nervous to give it to her. THIS is why Eugene is my favorite
...but, seriously, I am fine with Eugene too. Except he's married, so that's not exactly about to work out. He's so selfless, I just love how respectfully he comes to treat Rapunzel. Definitely husband goals, how he is willing to lay down his life for her.

3. Frozone
FAVORITE quote of Incredibles.
MAKES. ME. LAUGH. SO HARD. I have probably seen The Incredibles over thirty times (it's a Schlueter family classic) and every single time I AM ON THE FLOOR. Not even exaggerating one bit. Plus, I can basically quote all his lines.

4.Dr. Doofenshmirtz
Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz --
Oh my goodness. Favorite animated villain EVER. Doof is so tragic yet hilarious and I just can't help but want to hug him and be best friends. I feel like he would be an awesome dad.

"... so far away yet I, know her heart belongs to only me ..." One of my favorite Disney couples EVER!
WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE RAY WHY?!!? He gets my favorite Disney side-kick award. When we went to see Princess and the Frog (amazing movie), I cried harder than the little girl in front of me when he died.

I am obsessed with Merlin! Call me weird but this show has more plot, character and life lessons than very many things out there. After series 5, I shall cry. Won't doubt if the finale does make me cry...
We watched the BBC Merlin series last summer and I'm still suffering from Post Merlin Depression. I love how real Merlin is, how good he is, yet how he has legitimate struggles.

7. Eponine
affairs are built on a fantasy, lies, and secrets.... They are never yours to lose...
She is so incredibly heartbreakingly selfless.

8. Barney Fife
There you have it Barney Fife (Don Knotts)...The Andy Griffith Show
Andy Griffith Show is a family favorite on my mom's side of the family, and whenever my cousins and I get together, we do AGS marathons. Everything about Barney kills me--the way he walks, talks, his expressions...priceless.

9. Captain America
I'd like to Mrs. America
Again, another totally selfless character. His genuine pursuit of what is right is so inspiring...and attractive.

12. Mr. Thornton
When it said, "But Mother," I was saying it in my head in a girl voice. The rest of the words were his when I was reading it in my head. Lol
THE FEELS ARE REAL. From another BBC favorite, North & South, Thornton is a tragic, heartbreaking character. I love the depth of his character as well as the intense development and nothing-is-as-it seems attitude. Plus, his complete devotion to someone he knows (thinks) will never love him back...

13. Megamind
Megamind from "Megamind" - he's got presentation. :)
is it weird that I was strangely attracted to a blue, animated, big-headed (literally) character? Yep, thought so. Oh well. #noshame

And here are the lovely bloggers I'm tagging (no pressure at all, if you don't do tags):

I went the "teen blogger" route when tagging...there's a lot of great stuff by young writers out there. Pop by their blogs and say hello. They're fabulous and I'm sure would appreciate the support!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Two Years

Today is kind of a special day for me. So special that it bumped my review of BONE GAP to next Wednesday and the tag I was planning on doing next Monday.

Today officially marks two years of me living in Ohio. 

Talking about how fast time flies seems like such a cliche...but it's so, so true. Wasn't it just yesterday when I was researching houses with my mom? Actually, wasn't it just last week that I was in preschool?

So much has happened over the past two years. I've experienced so much, grown so much. Learned so much. Hurt a lot. Loved even more.

I've found myself, and found out that I really like who I am.  

I've done crazy things in the past two years. I've stood up for myself, for other people. I've learned how to be courageous, how to not back down. I've learned that there is not a happy ending to every relationship. Some people are in my life for a season, and that's okay. Sometimes I make poor judgements, and that's okay. Usually people aren't who they seem. I've learned to give second chances, to both others and myself.

I've learned that sometimes, I'll have the words and be forced to be silent. There is a time for freaking out and a time for calming down, even when it goes against everything in me. I have learned the importance of being in control of my emotions. I've learned not to spew my feelings out all at once, to give relationships time to progress. I have learned that it is okay to trust. Sometimes, though, it is okay not to.

I have learned that not everyone will like me. And that's okay. I've learned that I'm made to be at peace with people. I've experienced the power of forgiveness. I've learned that I need to value the people in my life now, instead of wishing for the ones that used to be or are to be.

I've learned that sometimes, I just have to let go. Even when it hurts and feels like it's going to kill me, I have to walk away. I've learned that I don't owe everyone (and oftentimes, anyone) an explanation for my actions. I've learned that my mom is basically the smartest human being in the universe. I've discovered that there is no one who I trust more, or who I would rather be like.

I've learned that some people are just going to frustrate me. I can't fix them. I don't have control over them. All I can do is decide is what I am going to let them do to me and how I'm going to react.

I've experienced God being in control. I've experienced me being out of control.

I have learned that change is normal and the only infinite person is God, and so I am learning to cling to Him.

One of my favorite worship songs is Oceans by Hillsong. If you're into Christian music at all, you've probably heard it. The whole song is so powerful, but this is my favorite line:

"You called me out upon the waters/the great unknown/where feet may fail."

When I moved, I was launched into the great unknown.

The thing about following God is that it's SCARY. If anyone tells you anything different, they haven't read the bible. Look at what following God cost Jesus.

God has called me--messy, imperfect, small me--into the great unknown. Where feet may fail. But that's where He is. Following God is scary because it forces us to realize that we're not in control. The thing is, though, is that we're not in control whether we realize it or not.

Surrendering to God and knowing His will takes great faith. However, for what He calls us to, He'll always provide the grace sufficient for. It's hard to follow Him, but if I've learned anything this year, it is this.

Following God is always worth it.

It's worth the pain, the fear. The uncertainty.

Though there's all that, there's also the awareness that you are madly loved by the God of the universe who died for you. Wow. Mind blowing. It is literally impossible for us to understand the gravity of His infinite love.

Learn to listen to God, go where He's calling you. Even when it looks scary...He'll be holding you, every step of the way. 

I know He's held me. And I have every confidence He'll continue to do so.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Write Now Monday: Characters, Plotting, and Randomness--OH MY!

I had an absolutely fabulous weekend. My brother John Paul was confirmed, which was awesome. A bunch of relatives came in, including my best friend and cousin, Alex. So that was incredible. Then Mother's Day of course...I'm waiting until Friday to post a tribute to my mom, because her birthday is actually Friday. Stay tuned!

Today, I'm ranting talking about my WIPs. Advance apologies if nothing I say makes sense. It's been that kind of day.

I've been learning so much about writing while being in the process of two different WIPs. If I was a mom, I might compare it to having two kids, but I'm not sure if that's the case, as I'm definitely not a mother. However, it's what I imagine having two children to be like. Each has its own struggles as well as joys. There are things that come easy and things that come hard. I love them both and pour myself out into both of them, but in different ways.

With WIP no. 1, I really love the plot. It's going to be a trilogy and the story is just awesome. At least, I think it is. I love telling it. With WIP no. 2, I really love the characters. I love forming them, getting to know them. I just want to jump in and hang out with them.

WIP no. 2 has shown me how much the characters in WIP no. 1 are lacking dimension. And the plot in WIP no. 2 is definitely not as smooth as the plot in WIP no. 1.


It's frustrating, because I love the plot in WIP no. 1. But the meh. And vice-versa with WIP no. 2. Kinda annoying.

I spent a lot more time outlining with WIP no. 1 and more time with character development with WIP no. 2. I like the main idea of what is going to happen in WIP no. 2, but it needs to be fleshed out more.

I have moments with both stories where I'm like THIS STORY IS TERRIBLE AND NOT GOING TO WORK AND I'M JUST GOING TO STOP WRITING AND HIDE UNDER MY BED but then my characters keep screaming my name and practically leave a trail of oreos to a pen and paper and I start all over again. Or when I'm just so flustered and like I HAVE NO CONNECTION WITH THESE CHARACTERS AND THEY HATE ME AND EVERYONE HATES ME SO I'M JUST GOING TO GO BECOME A HERMIT IN THE WOODS AND NEVER TALK TO ANYONE EVER AGAIN but then my fingers start to itch to describe what is going to happen next and I dive right back into it.

We writers, who are truly writers, are stuck. We can never stop.

I love it and I hate it, but I really, really love it.

On top of all this though, my allergies are seriously killing me. I think I've used about three tissue boxes up today and it's not even 1pm. I have work training this evening...and a bunch of paper work I still have to get in. Ugh. I very much dislike having to adult, it's very unpleasant. However, to end on a positive note, thankfully I have a job. And a very supportive mother who is willing to drive all over the city to get my papers signed. Love that woman.

Be sure to tune in Wednesday for my review on BONE GAP! Have a great week.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Feature Friday! One Life: Guest Post by Nicole

SO excited to be featuring Nicole this Friday, who is actually my newest critique partner! Nicole is an eighteen year old writer from over at Carpe Veritatem. If you like what you read here (which of course you will, because Nikki is utterly fabulous), be sure to hop on over to her blog and give her a follow!

Why do we try to rush everything in life? 

When I was five, I couldn’t wait to be ten. When I was FINALLY ten, all I could think about was turning thirteen. On my thirteenth birthday, I proceeded to tell my mom, “Only three years until I turn sixteen and can drive!!”

Now I’m eighteen, and am freaking out. Adulthood and college are looming in front of me, and I just want time to stop for a bit so that I can figure all of this out. 

Yet, I still find myself rushing things.

“Only 111 days until I move in to college!” “Only two weeks until I’m completely done with school!” “Only five more hours until my shift is over and then I can go home and eat pizza and ice cream and binge watch The Blacklist and CSI.”

Okay, just stop. (wait a minute. Fill my cup put some liquor in it. *shameless Uptown Funk reference*)

Let’s just take a step back for a minute, shall we? 

We've all been given one life to live.


That’s it. 

One life to use it whatever way we please, for good OR bad. We can tell someone we love them, or we can walk away and never talk again. We can glorify God in everything we say and do, or we can hide our faith, waiting impatiently until we can go home and get out of an awkward situation. The fact of the matter is that we’ve been given this life, this one life, for a reason, quite probably a reason more splendid than we could ever imagine; it’s incredible to think about.

So, slow down and enjoy everything about your life. When your little sister asks you to braid her hair, or when your mom takes you out for coffee.

These moments are precious, so don’t wish them away.

Every day you have 24 hours.

1,440 minutes.

86,400 seconds.

How will you spend them? 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Review Wednesday: The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

BLOG SPOTLIGHT: As a new feature, I'll be periodically linking to some of my new and old favorite blogs! Today, I give you Jennifer Hawes, who writes at The Writing Game. I discovered Jennifer during the A-Z Challenge, which she wrote on the fascinating Hannibal, Missouri. If you're not already reading her incredibleness, head on over to her blog and check her out!

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

(DISCLAIMER: I haven't actually finished The One yet...but read on =) This is my opinion of the series so far.)

It's so funny...I originally started this blog for book reviewing purposes. I don't even remember the last time I posted a review. Go me.

I'm the kind of person who almost always finishes a book. Unless there is an f-bomb in every other sentence (shout out to Stephen King's Under The Dome--why, Stephen, why?! You're such a good writer, there are so many other words you can use!) or the writing is absolutely abominable, I will trudge my way through. It's curiosity mostly that grants me perseverance...I JUST have to see what is going to happen. I guess if you can make me interested in your characters, you can make me do anything. 

Usually, if I'm going to drop a book, I'll do it within the first half. After that, I won't be able to stop. 

I originally picked up The Selection because the cover was GORGEOUS. Yes, I admit it, I totally judge books by their covers. 

Unfortunately, the beauty of the cover far surpasses the beauty of the writing.

The Selection is basically the Hunger Games with frilly dresses instead of camouflage and cat fights instead of bow and arrows. Literally. But here is a more "professional" sounding summary of the first book via Goodreads:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Oh, pardon me while I swoon.

So since I've already been bratty about this book (I'm sorry, really trying to be good lately), I should throw out some positives before I get even sassier. Because, folks, it's gonna happen.

I really liked the characters, originally. Well, I should say, I found that they were very well-rounded and each was unique and realistic. The bad guys weren't totally evil and the good guys weren't totally good. The author started with an awesome cast of characters and I was excited about the potential of the book.

I was quickly disappointed, as the characters were the only well-done thing in it. And even that didn't last. *dramatic sob*

One, the plot wasn't totally original. For me, it felt a lot like The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (awesome MG book) with the whole get a bunch of local girls and turn them into princesses who vie for the prince's heart. Hale did it much better.

Two, there were plot holes. Lots of plot holes. It's pretty easy for me to believe in basically any story, but there were parts that even I was like COME ON.

Three, the plot felt like it just didn't move. I feel like it takes two steps forward and then five backward. You think something is resolved and that it isn't. I get that  can be realistic at times, but absolutely everything in the book was you-have-it-now-you-don't. And it's exhausting, honestly.

Four, I just started reading the third book in this series and the characters feel exactly the same as they were in book one. There are moments of development during which I scream YES YES THANK YOU PLEASE DO NOT REVERT BACK INTO WHO YOU WERE...but to no avail. Things happen to the characters, but for the most part, they remain the same. It's really sad, because they are so well developed and they deserve to grow...but nope, they're stuck, just like the plot.

Five, I just don't like the main character, America. I kind of did, originally, but now I don't understand her at all. She irks my soul.

That being said, one of the nastier characters has evolved nicely. She's probably my favorite part of the whole series. I'm kinda pulling for her to just ruin everyone's lives.

Like I said, I'm on the third book (pretty sure there's only one more left after this one). I'm not sure if I'm going to finish it. A Hunger Games/Divergent-like riot is going on...please. Can we be original for once?! There are more things to write about besides dystopian uprisings against the government.

That being said, I do want to know what happens. I have spent a lot of time with these characters...though I've spent most of the time being annoyed with them...but still. I feel kind of trapped. However, each time I pick up the book, my annoyance increases and it ebbs away at any intrigue that I might have once had.

So chances of me finishing are slim.

Should you read this series? I would say no, you shouldn't. Even if you're not turned off by the fact that it isn't original, the writing is not very good. I don't really understand the hype besides the fact that they are "glamorous" and easy to read and not very deep (none of which particularly appeal to me). Literary cocaine, as my dad says. Addictive and not really doing anything good for you.

And just one last note-- The Selection is a New York Times Best Seller. I have come to discover that just because you're a New York Best Selling Author does not make you a good writer. Which means that to be a good writer, you don't have to write a New York Times Best Seller. Does that make sense?

Have you read The Selection Books? If so, what was your opinion?

(I have no idea why part of this is highlighted, past the summary...sorry! Nothing I do is unhighlighting it, so we're stuck...oh well. Ew technology.)

(image found via,d.cGU&psig=AFQjCNG4jXSyEkaS6uFRc3-nLXmFHoKUXA&ust=1430924134652173)

Monday, May 4, 2015


I woke up on May first feeling as though I was forgetting something.

Something was missing, there was something I had to do...oh wait, no there wasn't. It wasn't April anymore, and I didn't have to do a mad-dash and type out a bunch of words and prayed that somehow would make sense. Sometimes they did, sometimes I probably just thought they did. Happens.

This was my first year doing the A-Z Challenge.

I honestly don't know why I signed up for it. Perhaps mostly to get into posting more regularly and leave behind the sporadic posting schedule. Additionally, networking was definitely appealing to me. I LOVE meeting other people on the same writing journey as myself coupled with wonderful blogs.

The people I have been privileged to interact with as a result of the A-Z Challenge completely blow me away. I'm so impressed by their talent and dedication. Shout outs to just a few of my new favorite blogs:

There are so many more, and I hope to share them with you in the coming days.

Going into it, I knew it was going to be hard-to-impossible for me to post on some days. And turns out, it was. Some days got longer posts than others and some even got guest posts (thanks again to Faith, Anna, Becca, Jess, and Jen!) and there was even one that just got a link to a post. But I managed to come out even in the end.

I'm glad that I picked "writing" as my theme. It helped me organize my thoughts pertaining to writing. It provided some awesome self-reflection time for me, and I was able to evaluate my personal writing beliefs. I discovered that I did have a mental list of "rules" (some firm though some flimsy) though I didn't really know it. Furthermore, I discovered things that I subconsciously believe, which was kind of weird.

Thank you, thank you, thank you so much, darling readers. Your comments never fail to inspire me and make me smile. I write for myself and it never ceases to amaze me that people like it! You encourage me to keep going, to never give up on my thank you.

Around here, you can expect me to be posting two to three times a week. Well, at least, I'm going to see how that schedule works out through the month of May and then reevaluate. I'm planning on doing writing related posts on Mondays, book (and perhaps movie and music) reviews on Wednesdays and posts about my life on Fridays.

Love you guys. Thanks for empowering me, encouraging me, and never failing to make my day better. I can't wait to put each and every one of your names into the acknowledgements page on my book some day.

How was the A-Z for you? If you didn't do it, do you think you might next year?