Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Life Update: Big Changes, Or Why This Blog Has Been So Silent Lately

Hello everyone!

I know the blog has been pretty quiet for a long time now, except for a few posts in the past few weeks. Other than that the lack of posts has been glaringly obvious. And I do want to apologize for that. There's a good reason, I promise.

I'm not giving up blogging. Not at all. But, it will be put on hold for the next four months. Posts will be sparse.

I completely forgot about my 2nd blogaversary back in December due to working a lot and the craziness of the holidays. I will try my best to make the 3rd one spectacular.

2 months after that, life changed in a big way. 

Dearran Towns's photo.
Photo credit goes to Dearran.
I got engaged to my wonderful fiance and partner in this crazy thing called life, Dearran. We have been together for almost 9 years, so this is the next step for us. He proposed on February 20th, and our wedding date is coming up on August 20th, so it's only a few short months away.

There is a lot of planning and preparation and stress that comes with planning a wedding, so unfortunately, something had to give. With working full time, planning the wedding and just trying to keep afloat on other daily life stuff, I barely have time to read, let alone blog. I miss reading, and miss blogging too, but I will be back eventually.

I normally stick to just book reviews on the blog, but I have decided that I will be doing a review of my wedding invitations. (After they've all been mailed out of course, can't ruin the surprise!) A friend of mine from high school made them for me and they are absolutely amazing. It'll be something different and a little more of a glimpse into who I am behind my blog.

I do hope that any of you who read this will stick around through this quiet spell as I just live life for a while. I look forward to jumping back into blogging with two feet in September.

If anyone has any advice, tips, etc on wedding planning, I'd be happy to hear them. And if you have any questions about my wedding details, feel free to ask!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Book Tour Review: Her Loving Husband's Curse

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Hello fellow readers I must start with apologies as I was supposed to have this review posted some time ago and had a scheduling mix up on my end. Read on to discover my thoughts about this book.
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Title: Her Loving Husband's Curse
Author: Meredith Allard
Series: Loving Husband #2
Publisher: Copperfield Press
Published: April 20, 2012
Format: Kindle
Pages: 284
Source: Received from Author in 
exchange for an honest review


How far will you go to protect the one you love?

Finally, after many long and lonely years, James Wentworth’s life is falling into place. Together with his wife, Sarah, the only woman he has ever loved, he has found the meaning behind her nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials, and now they are rebuilding the life they began together so long ago.

But the past is never far behind for the Wentworths. While Sarah is haunted by new visions, now about the baby she carried over three hundred years before, James is confronted with painful memories from his time with the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears. Through it all, the persistent reporter Kenneth Hempel reappears, still determined to prove that the undead walk the earth. If Hempel succeeds in his quest, James and Sarah will suffer. Will the curse of the vampire prevent James and Sarah from living their happily ever after?

Her Loving Husband’s Curse is Book Two of the Loving Husband Trilogy. Book One, Her Dear & Loving Husband, is now available from Copperfield Press

Melissa's Musings:

My Rating: 4 Stars

I was pulled in from the very first page. I was immediately enthralled with James and Sarah's story. Their love story is very romantic, but not too overly done. It's simple realistic, and true.

I have the first book on my kindle, I had purchased it a while ago when it was free on Amazon. I had hoped to read it before I read this book for the tour, but I ran out of time. Her Loving Husband's Curse works well as a stand alone novel, but I did feel a slight lack of connection as I knew there was more to the story and that there were details that I was missing. The lack of cohesion in the story from my not being able to read the first book in the series in time was very slight, and not enough to detract from my enjoyment of the book.

I always enjoy when an author incorporates smells, colors, and other small touches into a story. Here it was smells. The author pointed out that Sarah's "smell" for James was strawberries and cream, and that their daughter Grace smelled like cinnamon. As much as I enjoyed this detail, I did feel that it was mentioned a few too many times and was over done.

There is a great deal of history that is intertwined with this story, which makes it both an enjoyable and somewhat educational (in a sense) read. I paid close attention to the author's descriptions and references to the Trail of Tears. It's not something I remember learning much about in school so those parts were particularly interesting.

I also enjoyed all the different paranormal elements and characters that are woven into this series. There are vampires, witches, werewolves, and ghosts. Sometimes such an eclectic mix of paranormal characters can make a story crowded. That's not the case here. I think this may be due to the fact that the author does such a good job of seamlessly weaving the paranormal aspects into the story overall that you really focus more on the characters as they are, not what paranormal species they are.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable series. I look forward to reading this series in its' entirety and to reading more from this author.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Tour Review: Comfort of Fences

Hello fellow readers! Welcome to my stop on the tour for Comfort of Fences by Stacy Overman Morrison.

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Title: Comfort of Fences
Author: Stacy Overman Morrison
Publisher: Telemachus Press
Published: October 17, 2013
Pages: 244
Format:  E-book
Source: Received from author in exchange
for an honest review
My Rating: 3 Stars

Ruth is dying and her 52 year old daughter Denise has never paid a bill, lived on her own, or had a romantic relationship. Ruth knows she has been overprotective, but hoped that she would outlive her special-needs daughter. Metastasized cancer crushes that hope and forces Ruth to find a way to provide for Denise once she is dead. First Ruth turns to Social Security for Disability benefits. After tests, pokes and prods, doctors, nosy psychologists, and ill-furnished waiting rooms, the government declares Denise not eligible for benefits. Mad at the world and daring the government to arrest her so they will have to take care of her since they wouldn't her daughter, Ruth takes up smoking pot in the backyard. A few joints in, Ruth begins to realize her anger is self-directed. She doubts every decision she has ever made in raising her daughter that doctors, in the 1950s, labeled "retarded." Partially to coax her mother from the backyard and partially because Ruth will not speak of the past, Denise asks her mother to write down their history of which Denise has no memory. Trying to atone and explain how she could be so obtuse, Ruth agrees. Telling her story becomes an obsession for Ruth who sees the history as her only chance to leave a place for herself in the world since cancer is steadily eating away her physicality. While Ruth writes, Denise begins to pursue her own independence, despite the minor setbacks of a chopped off fingertip and chemo poisoning. She begins to make choices for herself and finally tells her mother pieces of her own truth: Denise stayed with her mother because she chose to, because she loved her mother more than any life she could make for herself. In claiming her own truth, Denise also chooses silence about the biggest secrets of all. Comfort of Fences explores the messy business of mothering. It is a story about the love between a devoted mother and her special daughter that exposes the irony that the people we love the most can also be the ones we underestimate the greatest.

Melissa's Musings:

Comfort of Fences is slow to start, but once it's up and running, you become involved and interested in the lives of the characters. 

Ruth is the glue of the story and her evolution throughout the book is the most interesting. I felt for her at first, because she seemed so stifled by her upbringing, and at the same time so naive. My opinion of her changed throughout the story as I personally don't agree with some of her choices, especially those involving Denise. 

This book is all about choices. It begins with Ruth's choice to pursue a romantic relationship with a man who turns out to have his own demons, that are ultimately too much for him. It follows Ruth through her life as she chooses to keep and raise a baby eventually on her own, after her parents try to interfere in a way that she doesn't like. 

The book deals with subjects that may be sensitive for some readers. It deals with alcoholism, mental disability, and cancer, to name a few. It is also what I would call heavy with religious elements. If any of those themes make you uncomfortable, I wouldn't recommend this book.

The format of the book is one that worked well for the story. When Ruth learns that she is dying of cancer, she decides to write down her story for her daughter, rather than try to explain it all to her. I think this was a nice touch, as it gives Denise a physical keepsake of her and her mother's lives together. Plus it ties the story together well.

As Ruth writes out the story, it the novel weaves in and out of the past and the present. As Ruth's battle with cancer becomes more serious, you get the sense of urgency in the telling of the story for Denise.

Of all the character's Georgia is my favorite. She's full of spontaneity and energy. But she also has a sadness to her that is so human. As happy and independent and carefree as she seems, she's just as weighed down by life as anyone else.

I felt that Denise's character was the most flat. She felt stifled, suffocated even. Both literally and figuratively. And maybe that was the point, as part of Ruth's evolution at the end of the novel is that she only hopes that Denise can see why she made the choices she made, and why she felt she had to stifle Denise. It was to protect her from all of the negativity in the world. I do understand where the development came from in terms of the story itself, but in terms of reality or real world application, I felt that the expectations for Denise were stereotypical, and that felt slightly demeaning in a way.

This book isn't without its flaws, but the overall story of friendship, and the demonstration that all the choices we make have an impact on the outcome of our lives are poignant themes that will stick with you after you finish this book.