Monday, April 11, 2016

Etsy Art Coupon + Freebies!!!

Hey guys! I'm currently working on a few books but while those come up,
here's an Etsy coupon code for my art just for my blog followers.
I have a few here but scroll to the bottom of the post for some more! :)

Also, if you do end up purchasing a piece, mention that you're coming from here and get a smaller freebie along with your purchase! :)
Sample Freebies:


Thanks for the support!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Book Review: Troubled Mission by John Wagner

Troubled Mission
by John Wagner  Published July 2015 by Kelly House
Summary from Goodreads:
What happens when, after a life-changing study-tour of Peru, a successful US attorney abandons his law practice to volunteer with a religious organization and travel to Peru to fight for human rights in the midst of a culture of violence and terror? Not what he expected. In his sometimes romantic, sometimes terrifying, always inspiring memoir, John Wagner searches for love, spirituality, and the chance to fight against injustice and oppression in a country not his own, while working for a religious organization he could not trust. Wagner lives under a death threat from the fanatical Sendero Luminoso terrorist organization that he must keep secret from his religious community. He develops an on-and-off love affair with Bella, a beautiful but mysterious Peruvian teacher. He faces dramatic betrayals. He accidentally travels into the heart of the drug capital of the world. Day by day, he sees the increasing violence in Peru and overnight, he sees Peru’s president become a dictator, shredding the rule of law. After a terrorist attack in a small town, he confronts Peruvian Army officers head-on to gain access to the scene. Then he must help prepare for burial the bloody, ravaged, body of a campesina woman killed in that attack. In this story, Wagner skillfully interweaves his inner struggles, including coming to grips with a new language, a new culture, a lower station in life, and a new perspective on his native Catholicism. Finally, he stumbles into what would become a landmark human rights case, stopping the Peruvian government from persecuting human rights lawyers. Ultimately, Troubled Mission is the story of human redemption. Many people seek personal change only to find unexpected obstacles. Troubled Mission shows how we can find redemption—or redemption finds us—in so many unexpected ways.

This novel is a memoir written by John Wagner, a successful lawyer who left his career and life behind in the United States to go to Peru. It talks about his life-changing experiences and struggles there that have brought him to where he is today. The novel definitely had a very interesting story to tell. It is definitely not a dry biography or memoir. The way the book is structured also adds to its drawing nature, making it an interesting but not overly clean cut or too easy read. His choice to go to Peru and its aftermath is really a story I recommend to readers who are looking for more in story past a good plot or ending. You really get to see the life-altering experience through his eyes and experience it with him.
The novel is written in a candid manner that doesn't purposefully glorify or hide any of his experiences. The reader really gets to see Peru and the human rights issues surrounding the country in the same manner as Wagner. Being a possible Public Health major at UC Berkeley and only recently talking about International Public Health in one of my classes while reading the book also really helped me connect with the human rights issues presented in the novel. The novel also has a personal side to the issues presented during his time in Peru. His rural placement instead of working in the city of Lima also gave him a chance to put forth attempts to connect with the people and culture of the country. These attempts really shaped the story, sometimes even more than the human rights issues that came up. The story follows his personal growth as he attempts to justify his choices to take the trip and give it and him a real value instead of just being ignored and being in the way of the people. I recommend this novel for anyone looking for a real story about the hardships one faces while trying to find a meaningful place in their work or any other experiences in life. 
Overall, I'm trying to give the reader a feel for what to expect should they choose to read the novel without delving too far into the actual story and issues Wagner is trying to present. Hopefully, my review of the novel has made you want to read the story for yourself and experience the richness of his experiences with me. 

Buy Links:

About the Author
John Wagner was a successful lawyer with a prominent U.S. law firm in the 1990s. A frequent adventure and spiritual traveler, his life changed dramatically during a study tour on the history and culture of Peru, including studying Sendero Luminoso, the violent terrorist group. He gave up everything, and risked his career and his life, to join a mission organization to work for human rights in Peru—in the face of a death threat if he did so. In Peru, he deepened his spirituality, worked on a landmark human rights case and fell in love with Bella, a local teacher. After his work in Peru, he returned to the U.S., resumed his legal career, and married Bella. He holds degrees from Western State Colorado University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin Law School. An early Baby Boomer, he has been a civil rights and antiwar activist, a disc jockey (loving rock n roll, jazz, and opera), a world traveler, and a motorcyclist. He is now retired from practicing law and lives with Bella in Sacramento, California, near their children and grandchildren. Find out more at

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Trailer Reveal: The Letting by Cathrine Goldstein

The Letting
by Cathrine Goldstein  Release Date: 12/15/14 335 pages
Summary from Goodreads: What if the Devil doesn’t know he’s the Devil?

This is the question Veronica “Ronnie” Billings poses to Phoenix, her sworn enemy, the leader of the Peaceful Revolution, and the one she loves.

Kidnapped by Phoenix’s rebels, Ronnie learns how wrong she has been. She had no idea that her patriotism was wasted on a corrupt government. Ronnie was proud to be a Leader; taking hundreds of harvested girls to the Letting facility. After all, she was saving them from future Couplings and bringing them to the safety of the New World. Or so she thought…

Confused, Ronnie realizes the only way to discover the truth is to trust her heart. Together, Phoenix and Ronnie devise a plan to stop their corrupt government and preempt the dangerous rebel coup which is approaching. But when their plan goes awry, will Ronnie be strong enough to save Phoenix, her country, and herself?

Buy Links:

About the Author
Given my love for cities and all that is gritty, my new obsession with trees really has me stumped. (Sorry.) Maybe it's because trees are the inspiration behind my new YA/NA novel, theLETTING. Whatever the reason for my new infatuation, some things remain constant -- like my love for: coffee (although sadly, it's now decaf); yoga; Luna bars (I am petitioning for them to bring back Chocolate Raspberry!); running in my neighborhood; Hemingway; Bukowski... and, above all, my husband and my girls.

I am the author of the bestselling novel, Sleeping With Mortals: The Story of a New York Mistress, and I'm also a playwright. I have my B.A. in English and my M.A. in Theatre. 

Author Links:
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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book Blitz: Beautiful Curse by Jen McConnel, Excerpt and Giveaway

Beautiful Curse by Jen McConnel 
Release Date: December 2014
Swoon Romance 
Summary from Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Mya Jones is cursed.  She is, hands down, the most beautiful creature on earth. But beauty can wound, and Mya finds herself reviled and shunned by her peers. If there is even a chance that she could start over, Mya longs to take it, no matter the risks.  So when the strange Mr. Merk offers her a new life away from home, Mya is hesitant but hopeful. Only she didn't count on the mysterious Ross, or her feelings for him.  BEAUTIFUL CURSE is a contemporary retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid.  
        Buy Links: Amazon

The weekend ended way too quickly, and on Monday morning, everything went back to my new, horrible version of normal. By the time I showed up to the art room after my classes, I was in a foul mood.
Ms. Amboulia took one look at me and declared, “Chopping wood is just what you need.”
She led me around the back of the shed to a pile of discarded lumber. “We need this chopped smaller for the wood kiln. Make the pieces about this big,” she held up her hands in front of her torso, “but don’t worry if you chop them smaller.”
The art teacher hesitated for a minute. “Can I trust you not to do harm to yourself with that axe?”
I looked up at her, startled. True, I’d been depressed lately, but I didn’t think I’d been that low. “Of course! It’s just been a really crappy day.”
“Fine. Take your frustrations out on the wood, not yourself.” Ms. Amboulia disappeared back into the shed, and I pulled out my iPod and set it on shuffle. With music filling my ears, I fell into an easy rhythm with the axe, and was surprised when I ran out of pieces of wood to chop. The pile had seemed so massive to begin with, but now I was surrounded by small logs ready for burning in the kiln. I hadn’t even noticed the work, not really.
I set the axe down and went inside, taking my ear buds out as I walked. Ms. Amboulia looked up in surprise as the door creaked, and I smiled.
 “That’s done. What else do you want me to do today?”
Ms. Amboulia looked at the clock and then looked back at me. “That’s a lot for one day. Why don’t you head home and take a nice bubble bath?”
I stared at her. Ms. Amboulia didn’t seem like the bubble bath type. She chuckled.
“You were attacking that wood with a vengeance, girl. Soaking your muscles is just what the doctor ordered.”
When I got home, I took her suggestion and filled the tub. After a moment’s hesitation, I grabbed the jar of mint and lemon scented bath salts that Mom used to love. She had left them, but
I still felt guilty using them. I dumped the salts into the water, inhaling deeply. The sharp scent brought tears to my eyes.
I used to sit on the edge of the tub in my bathrobe and paint my toenails while Mom soaked in the water. It had been one of our weekly rituals: spa time, Mom had called it. Some weeks, we would braid each other’s hair, and other weeks we experimented with Mom’s vast makeup collection. I never really cared much about the makeup, but Mom enjoyed it, and I liked spending time with her.
As I eased myself into the hot water, I felt a pang of loneliness. I missed Mom so much: maybe things wouldn’t be so bad if she was here to talk to. But she’s gone because of me. I lowered my head into the water and blew bubbles through my nose, trying to ignore the gnawing guilt I felt whenever I thought about her.
I stayed in the tub until my skin was wrinkled and the water was lukewarm, and I would have stayed longer if I hadn’t started to shiver. When I was getting dressed, I checked the clock and felt a twinge of anger. It was almost eight, and there was still no sign of Dad.
The weekend had been perfect, but once Monday came around, I should have known better than to expect that things had changed for good. I checked the garage to be sure, but his car wasn’t there.
“Come on, Rex. Duty calls.” The dog panted up at me happily as I clipped on his leash and we headed out into the crisp, cool night.

I shivered, pulling my light fleece closer around me. Fall was certainly here; I’d be wearing boots and a winter coat soon. I hadn’t really minded the walk to Mac’s every night this fall, but once I was faced with another harsh Ohio winter, the short walk would really become a chore. Maybe, I thought, Dad would stop going to the bar once the weather got cold.

About the Author:  

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).
She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and proud member of SCBWINCWN, and SCWW.
A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she also holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga.
Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Vast and Brutal Sea by Zoraida Cordova

The Vast and Brutal Sea by Zoraida Cordova
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • Publication date: July 1st 2014
  • Pages: 328
  • Series: The Vicious Deep #3
This epic clash of sand and sea will pit brother against brother-and there can only be one winner

In two days, the race for the Sea Court throne will be over-but all the rules have changed. The sea witch, Nieve, has kidnapped Layla and is raising an army of mutant sea creatures to overthrow the crown. Kurt, the one person Tristan could depend on in the battle for the Sea King's throne, has betrayed him. Now Kurt wants the throne for himself. Tristan has the Scepter of the Earth, but it's not enough. He'll have to travel to the mysterious, lost Isle of Tears and unleash the magic that first created the king's powerful scepter. It's a brutal race to the finish, and there can only be one winner.

The final installment to the Vicious Deep series was fast paced yet well balanced. The novel's action served well to enrich the great series without overdoing it. There were scenes where it wasn't all about the thrill of killer mermaids but also scenes where it was all about that.
The Vicious Deep was an incredible race to the finish for sure but as it neared the end, I had the slight feeling that it was a little bit too rushed. I wanted to know more about things that I never got to know about and for a curious person like me, that was a little annoying. I felt like there was more to know about what happened with his family. Other than that little part, I loved how the book brought the whole series together, surprising me with a little twist from the ending I'd expect reading the series.
The book is a must read so if you haven't read the series yet, get it together! You'll want to start now. Zoraida wrote a great finale to the series and I'm sure you're going to want to know who gets the throne. I can't wait to see what she has for us next though I'm sad to leave Tristan and the rest of the characters behind. I especially recommend this book and the whole series to anyone who loves a good book with anything to do with water. Happy reading! Get to it!

4/5 Stars

Meet the Author:
 Zoraida C√≥rdova was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She made her way up north and now works in the glittering New York City nightlife. She likes shiny things like Christmas, merdudes, and the skyline at night. She loves making new friends.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Lies Beneath By Anne Greenwood Brown 

  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/12/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
The lore of mermaids and mermen is real! As Gretchen McNeil, author of Possess, says, "Riveting! A cold-blooded tale of secrets, revenge, and forbidden love that will leave you terrified to go in the water."
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans and absorb their positive energy. Usually, they select their victims at random, but this time around, the underwater clan chooses its target for a reason: revenge. They want to kill Jason Hancock, the man they blame for their mother's death.
It's going to take a concerted effort to lure the aquaphobic Hancock onto the water. Calder's job is to gain Hancock's trust by getting close to his family. Relying on his irresistible good looks and charm, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter Lily. Easy enough, but Calder screws everything up by falling in love—just as Lily starts to suspect there's more to the monster-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined, and just as the mermaids threaten to take matters into their own hands, forcing Calder to choose between them and the girl he loves.
One thing's for sure: whatever Calder decides, the outcome won't be pretty.

That was one awesomely thought out book. Never thought of Lake Superior to be this eerie. Definitely brought on the chills. Anne Greenwood Brown is definitely lucky to have actually lived a life near the waters of Lake Superior and then write an incredible book placed there. I...think...I've been to Lake Superior once. I think! As a kid. Even without that fuzzy memory, this book brought out a mysterious idea of the ancient lake and filled my head with wondering thoughts about mermaids in it. Okay, enough amazed ranting about how much I felt like I was there.
In all honesty, this was a very well written mermaid-themed young adult novel. (Not that I wasn't being honest in the first paragraph) Calder's story, Lily, and even his assassin sisters were brought to life in the pages. I thought I knew what would happen but the book put a great twist on Calder's mission. There were a few instances where I thought there was gonna be a long drag of a chapter but I was suprised to find both times that that wouldn't be the case. I really enjoyed the book and the rest of the series. I'd recommend this book and if you like it, the following books. Go out and give it a try. I liked it and I'm sure you will too. Beautifully written. Especially loved the feeling of being on Lake Superior's shores just by reading the text.
The characters weren't any ordinary mermaid young adult wishy washy figures. Calder was by far my favorite character. Lily, I just couldn't trust now and then. To me, she did a few stupid things in the book but who am I to judge a fictional character's choices? Calder's character had depth and turmoil. Between figuring out what his sisters wanted him to do versus what he thought he should do, Calder made an amazing character in the novel. Even if the novel wasn't written well, I would have followed through just to see what happened with Calder.

4.5/5 Stars

Meet the Author: 

ANNE GREENWOOD BROWN grew up sailing the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior, leaning over the rail and wondering, with a lake that big, that ancient, what amazing thing might flash by. Now she knows. Lies Beneath is her first novel.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Update on Giveaway

I've decided to add a little bit of swag to the YA Watercolor Book Cover Giveaway and give you guys a heads up that it'll end soon and only has 3 entries. So hope more people give it a try! :)
The swag I'll be adding is a few promotional bookmarks and posters from various YA books.