VACATION!

I know I haven’t been around much lately. I’ve been on a bit of a social media break, as my mental health hasn’t been great. I’m taking a bit of a vacation, to read, relax–and GO ON OUR FIRST CRUISE!  Yippee! I’ll be back in a few weeks with some new material.

In the meantime, Happy Reading!

(I will never ever be this tan.)

Blog Hiatus Update

I have been going back and forth on whether to restart the blog today. The fact that I’m still debating about it means that I probably am not ready to come back.

I’m still reading, but near not what I was before. My mental health at this time cannot handle the pressure of the pace I had set for myself, nor the social pressure of being a perfect blogger. I have not been doing well, and it is either step back or crash completely. I just want to read for fun for awhile (and make it through the election, whatever that might bring).

I need to take some time for myself and get my brain back together. Anyone who knows me knows that it is almost as hard for me to step away from the blog, anxiety-wise, as it is to keep it going.

 

However, I have some committed ARCs, so I won’t go totally away. I may try to post at least once a week, and get those out–or if I read something just FANTASTIC that I think is relevant, I’ll get it out. Maybe some recipes, as I seem to be cooking more as a creative outlet. Keep up with my social media, I’m posting there and I’ll shoot out some updates.

 

Thanks to all of you who are hanging with me. I’ll be back, I just need to refresh. I hope you all understand.

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Vacation

 

Hey ya’ll, the hubby and I are heading home to visit family, so I’ll be on hiatus for awhile. I should start posting again around March 21.

Until then…it’s going to be a week or so of this:

RIP HARPER LEE

Rest in Peace, Harper Lee. Thank you for inspiring so many people to stand for what is right, not what is usual.

 

 

 

Italian Stuffed Red Peppers

This week was hit or miss. We definitely hit kind of a lull where we were not as motivated to cook. Mostly, it was just a super busy week, so cooking every night just didn’t work out. We still mostly stuck to our diet plan though!

The biggest hit were these Italian Stuffed Red Peppers. Not only were they super delicious, they were SO easy to make. A little bit of prep, pop them in the oven, and done. I followed the recipe pretty closely when I made them, but there are a few things I will do differently next time. Those changes have been updated in my version below. For the most part, it’s just adding the cheese a little later in the baking so it doesn’t burn.

One last thought–these peppers are super low cal, only about 179 per pepper if you use the chicken sausage. 170 if you use ground turkey!

Pardon my terrible burnt cheese picture.
Pardon my terrible burnt cheese picture.

Italian Stuffed Red Peppers
Adapted from Dashing Dish

1 lb Chicken Sausage (I used The Fresh Market Chicken and Kale, you could also sub ground turkey)
3 Red bell peppers
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt & pepper
1 cup spinach
8 Tbsp Parmesan
8 Tbsp Mozzarella

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil and spray with Pam.

Destem peppers and then cut in half. Place on baking sheet.

Remove chicken sausage from casing, and cook in skillet over medium high heat. Stir to break up while cooking. When almost cooked through add sauce and seasonings. Wilt in spinach. Add 2 Tbsp Parmesan and stir to combine.

Fill peppers with sausage mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, until peppers are starting to soften.

Add Parmesan and Mozzarella to tops of peppers. Bake for additional 5-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes (because these babies are HOTTTTTT, and consume with glee!

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Release Date: February 11 , 2013
Genre: Fiction: Romance
ISBN e-book:   978-1-61213-306-5
Available from: AmazonKoboB&NiTunes and TWCS PH
~~SUMMARY~~

 

After a case ended badly for Rebecca Carson, she’s losing her mind sitting around her apartment waiting on her superiors to allow her to return to work. Since she was a teenager, the only thing she’d ever wanted was to join the FBI. Now that dream was in danger.

 

Gage Daniels has made a pretty good life for himself. A nice house. A career he loves. As a professional football player, he’s used to getting almost everything he’d ever want with just the snap of his fingers. This includes women. A well-timed smile is usually all it takes to attract the opposite sex, especially in Nashville.
When a stalker threatens Gage, the team owner calls an old friend, Rebecca’s ex-partner Travis Hansen, to help protect his star quarterback and find the person responsible. Hansen offers Rebecca the job, and she jumps at the chance. It’s work, and it will get her out of her apartment. How bad can it be?
Posing as Gage’s girlfriend, however, isn’t as easy as it seems. The man is relentless. Rebecca must work to protect Gage while staving off his advances. She’s there to do a job, nothing more. The last thing she wants is to be another notch on a hotshot athlete’s belt.
As the stalker continues to up the ante, Rebecca finds it harder and harder to keep her distance from Nashville’s star quarterback. He isn’t what she expected in one of the city’s most notorious playboys. Now all she has to do is keep him safe until they can find his stalker, and hope she doesn’t lose her heart in the process.


~~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~~

 

Sherri spent most of her childhood detesting English class. It was one of her least favorite subjects because she never seemed to fit into the standard mold. She wasn’t good at spelling, or following grammar rules, and outlines made her head spin. For that reason, Sherri never imagined becoming an author.

 

At the age of thirty, all of that changed. After getting frustrated with the direction a television show was taking two of its characters, Sherri decided to try her hand at writing an alternate ending, and give the characters their happily ever after. By the time the story finished, it was one of the top ten read stories on the site, and her readers were encouraging her to write more.
Six years later, Sherri is the author of six full-length novels, and one short story. Writing has

become a creative outlet for Sherri that allows her to explore a wide range of emotions, while having fun taking her characters through all the twists and turns she can create. She is most well known for her Finding Anna Series about a young woman rescued from being a sex slave by a wealthy Dominant. The third book in that series, Truth, released July 25, 2013.

 


 ~~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~~



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Release Date: September 27 , 2012
Genre: Fiction: Romance
ISBN e-book:   978-1-61213-194-8

Available from: AmazonKoboB&N, iTunes and TWCS PH

~~SUMMARY~~

 

Popsy Power is pretty, popular, and insanely rich. Her husband adores her, and her two daughters are busy producing babies and romping up the corporate ladder—like good little Wellesley Wives. However, what Popsy doesn’t know is that her husband and worldly wealth will soon be gone, and as for her daughters… Well, Lily’s romping is not restricted to the boardroom, and Rosie finds her pilot-husband flying more than his jet.

 

Sandra is Popsy’s best friend. She has the perfect body, bank balance, and palatial penthouse. As a second wife herself, she should know how husbands wander, but even she is shocked when she discovers where Jack has found his fun . . . When Lily’s nasty, little secrets suddenly go public and Rosie finds her husband flying a little too high, it’s time to escape.
Popsy and Sandra flee to beautiful, peaceful Ireland. Rosie heads to Mexico, and Lily seeks refuge in the arms of her man. The adventure continues for Popsy and Sandra. Within days, they’re almost arrested and killed before finding themselves in a boathouse in Banagher—with jobs! Meanwhile Rosie is diving off the back of a catamaran into the azure-blue of the Caribbean, but she’s not sure

what’s worse—the sharks in the sea or the ones on the beach. Back in Boston, Lily discovers that getting what she wanted was not what she wanted, but unlike her scuba diving sister, surely she’s in too deep…

From Banagher to Boston and down to the Caribbean Sea, these four ladies are on a rollercoaster ride through life. Rich, poor, happy, sad, in or out of love—only one thing is certain. Things are is never dull when you’re with the Wellesley Wives.

 


~~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~~

 

Suzy Duffy is an international and #1 best-selling author. She writes laugh-out-loud, life-affirming stories about women from five to ninety-five. (Sometimes she writes about men too, but only for comedic purposes, and pets—if they’re funny.) Her debut US novel, Wellesley Wives became an instant best seller, won numerous awards

and critical acclaim, and is due to be published in Norwegian, September 2013. She was a guest speaker at the Sydney Writer’s Festival

 

Newton Neighbors, her second US novel, will be published September 2013.
Other than this, Suzy was a national radio DJ and television presenter in Ireland before she started writing. She has also been an interpreter in the United Nations, Geneva, a water ski instructor in Crete, and a corn cutter in the south of France—from which she was fired!
She gives 10% of her royalties to WWW.FOBH.ORG because she believes in serendipity. (A serendipitist?) She plans to write a book a year for the next forty years, and then she’ll have a rethink.

 ~~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~~

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Breeder-Hi-Res-Cover



Release Date: December 11 , 2014
Genre: Fiction: Dystopian
ISBN e-book:   978-1-61213-292-1
Available from: Amazon, Kobo, B&N, and TWCS PH


 ~~SUMMARY~~


Everything about Seventeen’s life is perfect, from her genetics, to her home in Sanctuary, to her status as a Breeder in the Unified

World Order. But all that changes when she meets a rogue Enforcer named Pax, who infiltrates Sanctuary and targets her for extraction from the Controlled Repopulation Program. Pax seems to know a little too much about her, and he plants dangerous doubts in her mind that accuse Sanctuary of hiding a dark secret, and that cause Seventeen to question everything she’s ever known.



When Seventeen’s life is threatened, she has little choice but to run away from Sanctuary with Pax. But for Breeders, contact with men is forbidden by law, and even the simple act of taking Pax’s hand is treason.

Mired in confusion, Seventeen travels with Pax to the outside world and takes the name Pria, the identity of her childhood. But she is far from certain she’s made the right decision when they discover an entire community of people who should no longer exist.
Seventeen, now Pria, is thrust into a position as a key player in a dangerous bid to bring down the Unified World Order. Meanwhile, Pax’s attachment to her and her growing attraction to him contribute to the ever-growing mysteries in her life.

Pria’s journey from a sheltered, naïve Breeder to a rebel agent requires not only external transformation but self-discovery. As her world crumbles, Pria must decide who she is and what she really believes.

But the truth comes at a cost, and uncovering it will require a greater treason than she could ever have imagined.


~~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~~

kb_hoyle
K.B. Hoyle is a bestselling author, a public speaker, a creative writing instructor, and a classical history teacher who uses her knowledge of the ancient and medieval worlds to pen speculative and fantasy tales for people of all ages. She has been married since the age of twenty to the love of her life, with whom she has four wonderful children. Find out more about her at www.kbhoyle.com.







 ~~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~~



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Boy Meets Depression

Today marks the beginning of #READFORMENTALHEALTHWEEK, an event that happens every year to raise awareness for mental health and illness. Saturday the 10th is World Mental Health Day. As you would expect, I’ll be reading and sharing books that have to do with mental health on the blog this week. These topics might be heavy, possibly triggering for some, but as someone who suffers from depression and severe anxiety, this is an awareness week that hits very close to home.

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For those of you who follow me on social media, you probably saw me post quotes from Kevin Breel’s Boy Meets Depression back on September 10th. I actually read this book for World Suicide Prevention Day, another awareness “celebration” that near and dear to my heart, but decided to save the review for this week.

Breel got his notoriety at 19 by giving a TED Talk about his journey through depression, and now, at 21, he has published a book about that same journey. When his best friend died shortly after turning 13, Kevin was forced to face the awkward teen years alone. The world quickly became a dark place where he isolated himself from everyone. People tried reaching out and he turned everyone away. Self-hatred set in, and depression, until finally he decided to kill himself. Only when he started writing his note did he realize he still had too much story left to tell to end it there.

Guys, this book is really hard to read. I’m going to tell you that right now. For someone who has been to that darkness and back, this book is a journey and a battle of its own. Kevin Breel doesn’t mess around here–I have 3 pages front and back in my journal because everything he said I related to. I’m surprised I didn’t just copy the whole damn book down. I was in tears for a lot of it, “yep, yep, yep, ooooooh yes so much yesssss.”

There was one thing he said that really stuck out to me:  “Like a fish out of water, I jumped all over the place, trying to make it back to where it was safe while simultaneously exhausting myself.”

I have never been able to put that manic/depressive feeling into words before. And there it was, on the page, someone GOT it. My obsessive list making, the racing thoughts, the need to DO something without being able to summon myself to actually DO any of it.

But then, you know what else he said? The flipside of it all, is that sometimes, we just have to get out of our own way.

“The thing about fighting yourself is that when you decide to stop, something really incredible happens:  YOU WIN.”

There’s so much more from this book that I could tell you. I could quote him all day long. Essentially, this is the depression book I would write if I could write a depression book. (And trust me, I’ve been trying.) I’m not convinced this 21 year old kid didn’t just jump into my head and steal all my thoughts.

Ok, not really. In all reality, depression is a personal experience, but it is not an individual one. SO MANY of us suffer from it. Our stories may be slightly different, but the pain is the same, and the more we share with each other, the more we understand The Monster.

Thank you Kevin Breel, for sharing your story.

 

You can also check out Kevin’s TEDTalk here:

 

Blogging for Books provided a copy of this book for an unbiased review.

 

FIVE BOOK DRAGON POINTS FOR KEVIN.

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BUY HERE:

Movie Adaptation: Dark Places

I haven’t done a movie adaptation in awhile, but I got to see a free pre-screening of Dark PlacesTuesday night, so I felt I owed a review.

First things first, before I even get into the meat of it, I want to give a warning to those who need it, because there wasn’t one on-screen:  IF STROBE LIGHTS BOTHER YOU, DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE. Or at least proceed with caution. There is a huge scene about a quarter of the way through, when she goes to The Kill Club with EXTREME strobing, so just be aware of it. Also, a lot of the flashbacks aren’t strobe, but they are a really funky black, white, sepiaish coloring. Almost negative filmy type effect, but whatever it was, it really hurt my eyes. I don’t have seizures but we were pretty close to the screen and I definitely left with a headache.

Ok, on with the review:

From what I understand, Dark Places was actually a French production, made before Gone Girl. But, even with the superb casting, they weren’t completely sure how it would go over in the US, so they held off on the release. Then, when Gone Girl became a smash hit, of COURSE they had to bring it out. I’ve seen nary a trailer for it though, which is sad because while I don’t think it would make near as big of a smash, I think a lot of people would go see this if they knew about it.

It’s a much different film than Gone Girl is, however. Instead of being so high impact drama, it’s more slow and steady. You get the present day plot mixed with the flash backs. Sort of a look this way while I show you something else, make you think one thing and actually the reality is something else entirely. Gillian Flynn is fantastic at this. Her sociopaths never look like sociopaths until the very end.

As I said before, the casting here, at least for the main characters, is superb. Charlize Theron was excellent…but, is she ever bad in anything? How can she be so goddamn gorgeous in greasy short hair and the same dirty shirt all movie long? Oh. Right. She’s Charlize freaking Theron. I did alter my vision of what adult Libby’s life looked like in my previous book review. I think the movie nailed what Flynn was going for–and not at all what I had imagined. It fits much more with who she would have been.

Christina Hendricks as Patty Day? I mean…yes. My friend, as we were walking out, made a comment similar to what I said about Theron. “I didn’t know they could make Christina Hendricks look so good dirty!”

But, in the end, it’s not about the beauty, it’s about the acting, and these two both got their characters down perfectly. We’ve seen them in extremely sophisticated roles, but here they are both in very raw, emotional ones, and the performances were really powerful.

At first, I wasn’t sure Nicholas Hoult was the right choice for Lyle. He’s very young next to Theron, and I balked a bit because in the book, she’s only 30. But, they expanded the time gap a bit in the movie, so it made more sense. Also, for once in, well, EVER, the writers did not make this movie about romance at all. There were plenty of openings for them to do that, and yet they refrained, and I was grateful they didn’t change that part of the story, especially in one where there was so much PTSD, pain, and recovery happening.

This movie is going to be released tomorrow, August 7. I’m unsure how broad of a release it will get, but if it’s showing near you, go see it, especially if you like brain twisters and thrillers. This one isn’t so much on the racing plot thriller type, but more of a plot twist type. Definitely worth a showing.

 

Disclaimer:  My friend got free tickets to see this screening at Angelika Theater Dallas from her work and was kind enough to share one with me.

Under Construction

If you’ve stumbled upon this, you’ll notice there’s not much to it yet! That’s because I’m currently moving everything over. Please be patient, I promise, it’ll be ready soon!