Review: The Secret of Joy

THE SECRET OF JOY by Melissa Senate
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Rating: 5/5 

the secret of joy

Summary: (From goodreads)

When twenty-something New Yorker Rebecca Strand learns (her father's deathbed confession) that she has a twenty-six-year-old half-sister she never knew existed, she can't wait to meet her. With her lawyer boyfriend's protests ringing in her ears ("She's just going to want her share of his million-dollar estate!"), Rebecca drives to a small coastal town in Maine with the 26 letters her father wrote to Joy every year on her birthday. All alone in the world, Rebecca knocks on Joy Jayhawk's door, having no idea what to expect.

Turns out Joy, the separated mother of a little boy (Rebecca has a nephew!), isn't very interested in the "father" who turned his back on her existence from day one–or her "sister." But Rebecca is so determined to establish family bonds with Joy that she doesn't go home . . . and finds herself being welcomed into small life by some very loveable, quirky characters, including a sexy carpenter named Theo . . .

Thoughts: This is such a sweet heart-warming story about life and love, and takes the drama of ex-wives and love-sick ladies to a whole new level, giving it life and plausibility at the same time. How did Melissa do it? No idea. But she won me over.

This book asks a lot of questions about marriage, relationships, and love. Does the author answer all the questions? Not really—but she answers the ones that she needs to, and as for others, she lets her readers decide the answers for themselves. THE SECRET OF JOY makes the reader think about what forgiveness really is, what it means to love someone, and the responsibility of loving them.

Characters: Joy was my favorite character. She was a rough-tough-don’t-mess-with-me-you-cant-make-me-cry kinda girl. She held her facade well (most of the time) but when she showed her true colors, she was a gem. Michael, Rebecca’s boyfriend, was a bit of a confusing character. At first I really liked him but as the story went on, I got fed up with him and kept thinking “Rebecca, dump him, please.” I almost cried when Rebecca’s dad died. These characters in this story will beckon you.

Writing: Melissa held me captive with her unique writing style. It was relaxed and smooth, and flowed well, something that could be read aloud without too much problem.

Content: There was only an occasional swear word, and some mention of sex, but no details.

Recommendation: Ages 14+ to anyone craving a light-hearted sit-by-the-fire-with-tea kind of book.

**Thank you to Sarah from Hachette for supplying my review copy!**


Today is the last day you can comment for points in the winter contest! If you haven’t signed up, do it before December 1st!

A prayer

This was a prayer prayed by Billy Graham. I found this on my friend’s blog. This is amazing and hits it exactly on the point of what is going on in our country.

'Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done.. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics.... We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!'”



Does it really matter?

Does it really matter what I major in for school? No. It doesn’t.

What’s my long-term goal, you may ask. What do you want to do with your life, who do you want to be? here’s my answer: I want to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, and I want to be me—just… a better, nicer, more loving version of me.

So… where does school fall into that? idk.

So far here is my list of things I’m “interested” in (as in, I do some of this now and I like it, but I’m not sure if I really want to spend four years focusing on it and then get a job in it or not.):
--Writing (fiction)
--Criminal Justice
--Home Ec.
--Interior design/sewing
--Exercise science/education
--Information Technology and Security
--Web Design

I do all of these things (except, of course, Criminal Justice and IT/S) and I like all of them—but I’m not good at them. As in, I’m not really good at one thing. Like my sisters, for instance. Hannah is an AMAZING writer, and will probably be published by the time she graduates High School. She can also paint like DaVinci. Carly can sing and write. And Carly… man, that girl can really sing.  My brother is an amazing musician, both with music and lyrics. He can sing pretty well too.

But what can I do? I can throw together a website in half an hour. I can knit a pair of leg warmers. I can take a lump of hard dirt, put it on a wheel, add water (and stir) and make a beautiful pot. I can sew curtains for the bathroom and fix my mom’s pants and sew buttons onto dad’s shirt. I can ride a bike at 26.9 miles an hour. (no, not downhill.) I can fit THIS MUCH STUFF into this much space. I can give my dad a back massage, and I can give my sister exercises that will have her weak ankles better in three weeks. I can clean a kitchen better than my mom (when I try). I can write stories that make people laugh, gasp, and cry within minutes of each other. I can fix ANYTHING with hot-glue.

And only job that describes is—you guessed it—a mom. Which is exactly what I want! I want to get married and have kids. But I don’t want to do that right out of college.

So I’m trying to figure out something that I can do, at least for a while, and live comfortably enough, before I get married. (mind you, I haven’t found a husband yet. And if I can’t find one that throws a major kink in the plan.) I want to live and be single and have a job and some girlfriends for a while before I give my life up for 25 or 30 years to raise children.

But what do I do.


I’m trying not to freak out over it.

Advice? Prayer? thx.


Review: My Unfair Lady

My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy
Genre: Historical fiction, Historical Romance
Rating: 4/5

my unfair lady

Summary (from the back of the book):
HE CREATED THE PERFECT WOMAN… the impoverished Duke of Monchester despises the rich Americans who flock to London, seeking to buy their way into the ranks of the British peerage. So when railroad heiress Summer Wine Lee offers him a king’s ransom if he’ll teach her to become a proper lady, he’s prepared to rebuff her. But when he meets the petite beauty with the knife in her boot, it’s not her fortune he finds impossible to resist…
…FOR THE ARMS OF ANOTHER MAN. Frontier-bred Summer Wine Lee has no interest in winning over London society—it’s the New York bluebloods and her future mother-in-law she’s determined to impress. She knows the cost of smoothing her rough-and-tumble frontier edges will be high. But she never imagined it might cost her her heart…

Review: This book is so cute! The dialogue is lively, the characters are likeable (or in the case of the “bad ones”, hate-able), and the images and descriptions are clear and visible. I loved it by the end of the first chapter.

Summer was my kind of girl. She grinned when things were funny instead of trying to remain indifferent, she wasn’t afraid to show how she felt—but she could also throw a knife, shoot an arrow better than the woman champion of their day, and mount and ride a horse bareback (which I think is so cool!). She has a love for animals—and odd ones at that. She owns a three-legged dog, a dog with four legs but the size of a small horse, a monkey, a pocket-sized puppy, a fox, and a cat with no back legs (it sits in a cart and rolls around the room). She was raised by an Indian (one of those childhood dreams that I never quite left behind…) and he was the one who had taught her all that great stuff. Watching her try to settle into society was hilarious.

MY UNFAIR LADY has a lot of tension in it—both inner turmoil from poor Summer, and also sexual tension between the characters. However, it wasn’t overpowering because was so funny. I found that I laughed just as often as tension was built, so there was a constant, even balance. The end was very exciting, and I found it impossible to put down. Overall, reading this book was a hilarious and wonderful experience, and an unforgettable escape from reality. 

Plot: My Fair Lady (the movie) shows a girl who is transformed to a lady, then the man falls in love with her. I love the change that has taken place in MY UNFAIR LADY—The man doesn’t want to change her, because he loves her the way she is. I like this plot better than the first!

Writing: The writing was decent, acceptable, and more readable than a lot of newly published romances. Though it wasn’t Dante, it wasn’t hard to read either.

Content: Refreshingly, there was no language in this book. Summer has her own set of expletives, but they weren’t offensive (“Tarnation!”). As far as sex, let’s just say  there were several scenes (pages) in this book that I skipped completely, and just started reading again where the dialogue picked up. I didn’t miss anything important.

Recommendation: Ages 18+ to lovers of Historical fiction, Romance in general, or anyone who loves a girl who can shoot a gun, wield a knife, or use a bow and arrow better than a man!

**Thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks for supplying my review copy!**

This book is released on December 1stClick here to buy a copy!


**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Bohemian Rhapsody, Muppets style

Here’s a funny link for you that I found on facebook today :D


Review and Tour: The Magic Warble

THE MAGIC WARBLE  by Victoria Simcox
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating: 5/5
Book 1 in a 3- or 4-part series

magic warble 

Kristina doesn’t fit in. She is teased at school, she hates her babysitter, and her only friend is her pet rat. But when her favorite school teacher gives her a gift for Christmas, she is transported to a magical world. Kristina is the “Chosen One.” She has to save this magical place and restore it to it’s former ruler, who is imprisoned by the evil queen. Can Kristina bare the trials and complete her mission? 

The Magic Warble is an enchanting story that will hold you from the first page. I loved the characters in the story and, even though I personally am older than them, I can still relate to them. I loved the talking animals and the mischievous fairies. 

Recommendation: Lovers of The Chronicles of Narnia, the Inheritance Cycle and other adventure fantasy. Children ages 8-15 will enjoy this beautiful story.

**Thank you to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book for supplying my review copy!**

tour magic warble

An Interview with Victoria and Pump Up Your Book:
Victoria Simcox

Thank you for this interview, Victoria.  Do you remember writing stories as a child or did the writing bug come later?  Do you remember your first published piece?

I remember writing some stories as a child, mainly about gnomes and dwarfs. I’ve always loved fairy tales and grew up reading a lot of them. My mother who is an immigrant from Austria used to tell me very imaginative Austrian fairy tales. I loved that she did so, and it really helped me to develop a great imagination. The Magic Warble is my first published work.

What do you consider as the most frustrating side of becoming a published author and what has been the most rewarding?

The most frustrating part about being published is being told how good my story is and knowing not enough people know about it. The most rewarding fact is when I’m told by children how much they have loved my story and can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out, which by the way, I am two thirds finished.

Are you married or single and how do you combine the writing life with home life?  Do you have support?

I’m married and I’m a stay at home, home schooling mom. I write when ever I have a free moment. It probably adds up to about 2-3 hrs a day.  My husband is very supportive and even though my 3 kids are as well, they fight me for computer time. At least that’s how it used to be. Now we have more computers in our house to satisfy all.

What do you like to do for fun when you’re not writing?  Where do you like to vacation?  Can you tell us briefly about this?

I love to go to the movies especially children’s fantasy movies. I love the big bucket of popcorn soaked in butter and salt and a big ice cold diet coke. I don’t go that often, but when a good movie comes out I go with the kids. I also like to watch my two older kid’s band “A Well Known Stranger” (a youth Celtic band) play at their gigs. I have family in Austria and Europe and have been there 6 times and love going there to vacation.

If you could be anywhere in the world for one hour right now, where would that place be and why?

For 1 hour—hum? In Ireland in a smoke free Irish pub, listening to a great Celtic band.

Who is your biggest fan?

My daughter Kristina, who I named my main character in The Magic Warble after.

Where’s your favorite place to write at home?

In my bedroom at my computer.

What’s your favorite library and why?

Marysville WA library, because it’s big, the staff is very helpful and it’s close to home.

What’s your favorite bookstore and why?

Border’s. They have been a great support with giving me continuous book signings.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, a Chihuahua named Pipsy, a parakeet named Pauly and two cats, Frodo and Fritz

What are you reading right now?

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Tell us a secret no one else knows.

I watch The Office every night and can watch the episodes over and over. I find it to be the funniest comedy ever.

What’s the first thing you notice when you meet someone?

If they smile or not.

Have you ever won anything?

Yes a few drawing and coloring contests as a kid.

What’s on your to do list today?

Finish my second book and write my third one.

I understand that you are touring with Pump Up Your Book Promotion in Nov-Dec-09 via a virtual book tour.  Can you tell us all why you chose a virtual book tour to promote your book online?

The owner Dorothy had very good reviews and when I corresponded with her I really liked her and can tell that she genuinely wants to help me promote my book.

Thank you for this interview, Victoria. Good luck on your virtual book tour!



**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Only 5 days left!!!

Only five days left to enter my contest for 2 handknit scarves :D deadline is November 30th, there are lots of extra entries. a few of them are:

+5 Post my button on your blog,
+5 for referring someone
+5 post the link in a blog post,
+3 for old followers,
+1 for posting on any network—and you can do it every day
+5 for joining Library Ghosts before the end of the month (Book club)
and lots more :D

So spread the link around! make sure you enter here


Teaser Tuesday

Here’s my teaser for the day:

“I hope you’re not afraid of heights!” Werrien yelled.
”What do you mean?” Kristina yelled back.
”Take my hand!”
Kristina grabbed his hand—and suddenly there was no ground beneath them. They had jumped off a high cliff and were about to land in the Indra River.
magic warble
~from THE MAGIC WARBLE, page 40
Stay tuned for THE MAGIC WARBLE tour on Friday!


How ‘bout a few free audiobooks?

I love audio books. I can knit while I listen to them :D

You can download any of these awesome titles from from now until thanksgiving for free:

Bran Hambric and the farfield curse
Three Cups of Tea
Fahrenheit 451
A Christmas Carol

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

and tons more!

Click here to download your free audiobook!

And thank you to Natalierenae from Mindful Musings for the link ;)

Song review: Bloodlines



Bloodlines by Travis Oberg
Rating: lyrics: 9/10, Music 7.5/10


Travis tells a very good “story” song in poetic lyrics, singing to a sad, slow melody with a comfortable rhythmic beat. The music changes from slow and sad to louder and more energetic before a decrescendo.

This song was enchanting, and was the kind that I wanted to listen to again after it was over.


this house has some old demons here
from back when my daddy was young

and he fought them hand over fist
to see if he could win
and he fought them hand over fist
been fighting ever since

so there in the door I heard a voice,
a shiver went down my spine
the room was empty, it shook like a storm,
the heavens were speaking
the room was empty and shook like a storm,
the sound was deafening

this is not your blood to spill
this is not your sin to feel
this is not your crown to wear
cast not your stones

I hear a voice like I’ve never before,
right down to my soul
it came to me that I wasn’t alone,
so I kicked out a window and you stood on the back porch


travis oberg

About Travis:
 “oh Hello...

My name is Travis Oberg and I'm a full-time musician and artist. I also love Jesus Christ with all my heart. I've been crafting music for about ten years and in the past year have begun focusing full-time on a music career. I think my music has a real intimate, folkie-americana style and presents an honest viewpoint on the importance of remembering where you've been, looking ahead to where you are going and the decisions that we make on this journey. My songs deal with life and loss, relationships, redemption, and offer hope in this sometimes uncertain and difficult day we live in. I grew up in the vineyard countryside of central California, and have traveled and played in many places including Hawaii, The Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood and Quito, Ecuador. More recently, while living in Santa Cruz I have been singing and song-writing with my band Saltwater Merchants, leading worship for large and small groups and working on honing my song craft. I drive a neon and I don't like asparagus.”


Click here for Tour Dates

I hope you check out and listen to Travis’s music!


This week on my reading list…

This week I will be reading/reviewing:
lovely bonesmagic warbleacross the endless river  
The Lovely Bones
Across the Endless River
The Magic Warble (tour on Friday)

and reviewing:
the secret of joydark stranger
The Secret of Joy
Dark Stranger

This week is going to be busy since I’ve got thanksgiving, and I’ve also got School (homeschool :D) projects—So we’ll see if I can fit “Crime and Punishment into that list too…”

What are you reading this week?

**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Review: Primary Victim

Primary Victim by Christopher Cihlar
Genre: Crime Fiction, Crime thriller
Rating: 4.5/5

primary victim

Summary (from back of book): A serial killer whose victims don’t die. An innocent man who believes he is guilty. A police officer who may solve the crime but in doing so gives the killer exactly what he wants. A legal defense that challenges the very core ideals of justice.

Primary Victim is a thriller that tests both the psychological breaking point of an individual and the strength of the legal system governing society.

I’ll admit up front that I have a weakness for crime fiction—but this book was amazing. Words escape my mind as I try to explain how blown away I am by this book. I gasped and grinned and nearly cried and laughed at the surprises thrown at me through this stunning debut novel.

The psychological aspect of PRIMARY VICTIM was mainly found in the “Victim,” Brice. I won’t say what happens to him, but it amazed me as his mind began to twist and change through the course of the story.

The plot: PRIMARY VICTIM was full of twists and turns that I never expected, and it had me sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time. I couldn’t put it down! The viewpoint alternates between the criminal, the police officer, and the (living) victim, and switches back and forth at the most inconvenient places, forcing you to read on.

Characters: All the characters in PRIMARY VICTIM were strongly developed with real personalities. I hate books where people are just to perfect to be real (what I call “happyland syndrome”)—this book had the good guys and the bad guys, the the ones you hoped it all worked out for them, and the ones that you wished would be the next to die because they were such jerks (cough Nick cough).

By the end of the book I wasn’t sure what Michael (the criminal) was going to pull out of his hat, and was, from the very first page to the very last, impressed with Michael’s genius and creativity. At times I actually found myself almost cheering for him, but had to remind myself that he was the bad guy. It was almost hard to see him as the bad guy at times, because of his “work—” Michael considered himself a God in a world that needed one and didn’t have one, victimizing the people that he thought needed to be victimized.

Brice and Sarah were such a perfect yet sad couple, and for the sake of keeping the review spoiler-free, I won’t say anything… but I thought I was going to cry at one point.

Writing: The writing was the weakest point of this book. The prose itself seemed written in an unfamiliar style, minimizing comas in the sentences, and it made for a harder read. I caught myself occasionally re-reading sentences and paragraphs to understand what had happened. Aside from the prose, the vocabulary was broad enough and the pacing was good.

As of now, PRIMARY VICTIM is unedited, but there is only an occasional grammatical error, formatting error, or typo scattered through the book. However, all in all, it didn’t take away from the story.

Content: There was brief mention of sex between husband and wife (example: “they made love,” no other details, and the fact that they’re married made it that much better), and an occasional foul word from an angry officer, but other than that this book was refreshingly clean. I applaud Christopher for writing a crime thriller with low content—especially compared to some of the other crime thrillers out there. Maybe he can start a revolution. It’s true, people—you can have a good book without excessive sex and language!

Recommendation: Ages 14+ to lovers of Crime fiction, thrillers, and psychological thrillers.

About the Author (from Christopher’s home page)

Christopher Cihlar is the author of the 2006 Random House pop culture title, The Grilled Cheese Madonna.

He holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University's Department of policy analysis and management, an M.S. from the same department and a B.A. from Georgetown University.

He is a recognized expert in governmental policy and widely published in academic and trade journals. His professional focus is centered on the fields of homeland and national security, local government, and the impact tourism has on communities.

Primary Victim is Christopher's first novel.

He lives in Rockville, Maryland with his wife and two children.

Purchase PRIMARY VICTIM here

**Thank you to Christopher for providing my review copy!**


**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Song Review: Somebody’s Baby

Somebody’s Baby by Jon Foreman
Ratings: Lyrics 10/10, Music 8.5/10

winter foreman

I’ll admit up front that I’m a huge fan of Jon Foreman, lead singer and songwriter for Switchfoot and Fiction Family. I got this song from the new mix from AM Music Blog, and was excited to see Jon’s song on the list. It was the first one I listened to, and it did not disappoint.

Somebody’s Baby tells a sad story of a girl who just didn’t have a very nice life. She suffers from drugs and alcohol, and tells the story of her death—and how she’s still somebody’s baby girl. His lyrics wrap around your mind and tell you the terrifying truth.

Jon’s voice is magnificent at expressing emotion, and his emotional song accompanied perfectly with the guitar and cello used in the music.

I love Jon’s work and always look forward to his music, and never tire of it.

Listen to “Somebody’s Baby” here.


She yells,
"If you were homeless, sure as hell you'd be drunk
Or high or trying to get there or begging for junk
When the people don't want you they just throw you money for beer"

Her name was November she went by Autumn or Fall
It was seven long years since the autumn when all
Of her nightmares grew fingers
And all of her dreams grew tears

She's somebody's baby
Somebody's baby girl
She's somebody's baby
Somebody's baby girl
And she's somebody's baby still

She screams,
"Well if you've never gone it alone
Well then go ahead, you better throw the first stone"
You got one lonely stoner waiting to bring to her knees

She dreams about Heaven, remembering hell
As the nightmare she visits and knows all too well
Every now and again
When she's sober she brushes her teeth

She's somebody's baby
Somebody's baby girl
She's somebody's baby
Somebody's baby girl
And she's somebody's baby still

Today was her birthday, strangely enough
When the cops found her body at the foot of the bluff
The anonymous caller this morning tipped off the police

They got her ID from the dental remains
The same fillings intact, the same nicotine stains
The birth and the death were both over
With no one to grieve

She's somebody's baby
Somebody's baby girl
She's somebody's baby
Somebody's baby girl
And she's somebody's baby still

I hope you check out Jon Foreman’s work!


**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

My weekend at Trinity Center

So I visited the Trinity Center in Pine Knoll Shores this weekend for my church retreat (which was why I didn’t post anything this weekend—there was no internet access.) and it was fantastic. Except for the whether. It was November at the beach—it was cloudy and cold. I wore a flannel shirt and two jackets most of the time ;)

We sang songs (my dad didn’t have to lead music, so it was a nice break for him. He got to sit with the family and harmonize instead of lead :D) and listened to sermons and socialized and played (or in my case, watched) touch football.

I hope you all had as good a weekend as I did :D Pictures coming soon :D


Review: What the dog saw

What the Dog Saw (Audio) by Malcolm Gladwell
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 3/5

what the dog saw

Summary (from

What is the difference between choking and panicking? Why are there dozens of varieties of mustard-but only one variety of ketchup? What do football players teach us about how to hire teachers? What does hair dye tell us about the history of the 20th century?

In the past decade, Malcolm Gladwell has written three books that have radically changed how we understand our world and ourselves: The Tipping Point; Blink; and Outliers. Now, in What the Dog Saw, he brings together, for the first time, the best of his writing from The New Yorker over the same period.

Here is the bittersweet tale of the inventor of the birth control pill, and the dazzling inventions of the pasta sauce pioneer Howard Moscowitz. Gladwell sits with Ron Popeil, the king of the American kitchen, as he sells rotisserie ovens, and divines the secrets of Cesar Millan, the "dog whisperer" who can calm savage animals with the touch of his hand. He explores intelligence tests and ethnic profiling and "hindsight bias" and why it was that everyone in Silicon Valley once tripped over themselves to hire the same college graduate.

"Good writing," Gladwell says in his preface, "does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head."What the Dog Saw is yet another example of the buoyant spirit and unflagging curiosity that have made Malcolm Gladwell our most brilliant investigator of the hidden extraordinary.

What the dog saw tells some interesting stories and gives details about things that you never thought about, and probably never wanted to know. It was entertaining but a little silly when you get right down to it. I mean, do I really want to know the in depth process for making the perfect tomato sauce? No, not really.

It was a bit hard to listen to this for more than 45 minutes at a time, and I would recommend listening to one “story” at a time so that you don’t get overwhelmed.

The writing was clear but not flowery or over descriptive, and it was read by the author who did a great job, but read without much enthusiasm or inflection, making it difficult to listen to for too long.

Recommendation: Ages 12+. I would think that the people who would enjoy this most would be Journalists, History lovers, or anyone on a long car ride.


Giveaway: Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun

Thanks to Anna at Hachette, I can give away 3 copies of LEADERSHIP SECRETS OF ATTILA THE HUN (Audio Book)!

attila the hun


  • USA and Canada Only

  • No P.O. Boxes

  • Only open to followers (new or old)

  • Leave your name for the first entry. You get an extra point for commenting on the review, and every link you post is another point. Keep all your points in one comment please! Leave me a link to where you’ve posted this.

  • You don’t have to leave your e-mail, but make sure you check back to see if you won! I hate picking new winners ;)

I will pick winners morning of December 3rd.

Good luck to all of you!


Review: Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun

Leadership secrets of Attila the Hun by Wess Roberts, PhD
Read by James Lurie
Genre: Non-Fiction: Self Help, Instruction
Rating: 3.5/5

attila the hun

Review: Wess Roberts gives a brief summary of the life of Attila the Hun, and then shows how you can use simple character traits to be a leader in modern society. The advice is down to earth and easy to apply to many aspects of your life.

The only thing I felt was lacking was a Christian perspective, but the book was not a Christian book so I wasn’t expecting it. However, being a Christian myself, I look at self-help books very critically and from a different viewpoint than most people.

The writing was nice—it wasn’t J.K.Rowling, but it wasn’t Meg Cabot either. It was easy to read (listen too). The pacing was pretty good too, I enjoyed the life of Attila more than I thought I would :)

I listened to the audio edition of the book, and the reader did an excellent job.

Recommendation: Ages 14+ People looking to be good leaders at work, students looking to do well in school, people wanting to start an organization etc.

About the Author: Wess Roberts, PhD, is a former soldier, executive, and adjunct professor. His books have won worldwide acclaim and have been published in twenty-four languages. He lives in Utah.

About the Reader: James Lurie’s many TV appearances include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Law and Order, Picket Fences, and As The World Turns. He narrates the Life After People for The History Channel, and won the Los Angeles Dramalogue Award for his stage work.

(About the Reader and Author taken from the back of the audio book)


Before I forget—updates

Here are a few quick updates for you.

One: I’m going out of town this Friday-Sunday and I’m not sure if my vacation spot will have internet access. We’ll see… So anyway any comment you leave or e-mail you send I may not get until Monday.

Two: Here is the (almost halfway completed) second scarf for the giveaway! It’s an awful picture (sorry about the photo quality, I’m still using my camera phone and uploading via facebook, because I don’t own a camera. Christmas wish list? yes.)


Three: I am near completion for this weeks books (see the sidebar for the list) and the reviews, hopefully, will come either this weekend (again, if I have internet access) or on Monday/Tuesday.

Four: giveaway winners—I intend to mail your books tomorrow (Friday) so hopefully you’ll get them soon!

Five: NaNoWriMo is killing me. I haven’t written in so long! but—I’m not going to quit the book. I will finish this book and (please don’t kill me Michael and Lindsay, you guys are still my favorite characters) It’s going to be better than the Agent Smith Smith series. I’m excited :D

So there you go.


Link a contest Thursday


The only contest I have going on right now is my Winter Contest (win a scarf!) but it would be a great time to link your contests!

1. Celtic Lady 2. You're next!  
This site is using Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.
To add your link to the list, enter your name and URL in the form below and press Enter.
Your name:   
Your URL:   
Please leave a comment after linking... Thank you!
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Please post:
"Your Name:” date it ends, title of the giveaway
"Your url:” the url to the contest post, not your blog homepage!


Cherokee Passage

I grabbed this from  Books and Needlepoint, one of my favorite blogs. I really liked it, not only because I hold a place in my heart for the Cherokee Indians.

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of Passage?

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him an leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him . Maybe even some human might do him


The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.

It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him.

He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone.

Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, Sitting on the stump beside us.

When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

If you liked this story, pass it on.

If not, you took off your blindfold before dawn.

Moral of the story:

Just because you can't see God,

Doesn't mean He is not there.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."

Happy Thursday :D

Tour: Dark Stranger

Dark Stranger by Susan Sizemore
Genre: Paranormal Romance

dark stranger

Summary from goodreads:

A twist of fate made Zoe Pappas heir to the Byzant throne. Bound by duty and devotion to keep the Empire safe, Zoe is captured while on a secret diplomatic mission and sent to an underground prisoner-of-war camp. In this strange, shadowy place, residents are governed by fellow inmate General Matthias "Doc" Raven, whose powerful magnetism rouses an urgent desire in Zoe. But the intensity of her attraction is matched by her surprise at discovering that Doc has a secret of his own: he is a vampire.

Zoe's presence puts everyone in the camp in danger. Doc knows it, and knows too that Zoe's royal status makes it impossible for her to bond with a vampire. The only way to save her is to help her escape, and lose her forever. But some fires are impossible to quench, even when following your heart is the ultimate taboo....

I sort of wish I’d started with book one… this is book eight. It’s hard to jump into a series in the middle. Hopefully this book will be an exception ;)

Review to come soon.

Click Here to view a preview of Chapters 1 and 2


Awards :D

So I’m a bit behind on this, I’ve gotten two more awards in the past month or so.

Honest Scrap award: I got this award from A Few More Pages


Here are the rules:

  • This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant. 
  • When accepting this award, you must write a post about it, including the name of the person who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.
  • Choose a minimum of seven blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Show the blog names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with the Honest Scrap award.
  • List at least ten honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!


Here are ten honest things about me:

  • I’m Homeschooled. yay! (that explains my poor spelling, yes?) I’m a senior in high school and a sophomore in college (community college).
  • I hate movies with a passion. Occasionally I’ll find one that I like (the dark knight, diehard, taken… are we sensing crime thrillers here?) but for the most part I can’t stand them. Call me a psycho, but certain movies hit a funny spot on my brain and send me into panic mode. Oh yeah, I told you I was weird!
  • I own reading glasses but do not wear them because I always loose them and they’re scratched anyway. They also have a chunk missing from the side of the plastic because I dropped them in the oven.
  • However much I hate to admit it, Twilight got me reading. I hardly ever read a book but once I realized there were things out there that I loved, I was hooked :D
  • I lived in California for 12.5 years, and moved to NC because Mom and Dad wanted to buy a retail art store.
  • My sister and I share a room and are best friends for life. I love her ;)
  • I have dyslexia. So words look funny to me sometimes and I cannot read them. The word “Because” will look like “Baucse” (or any variation) or sometimes I’ll just not be able to read it. It’s weird—like my brain just stops.
  • My family grinds our own wheat and bakes bread from scratch. It’s so good that it melts in your mouth, you can feel the nutrients soaking into your blood… fantastic.
  • I journal everything. I keep a journal and fill it with notes for school, my to-do lists, phone numbers, rough drafts of book reviews, quilting and knitting patterns, scenes from my upcoming novels, latest crush etc. It’s all in there. If I lost it… I don’t know, I’d probably go into a panic mode.
  • I became interested in Criminology when I started doing research for my book, and then the research became more interesting than the book itself… Hence the ballet-dancing-web-designing-seamstress-knitter-crime-writer that I’ve become.

I’m passing this award off to:

  1. Faye at Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm
  2. Sarah at Sarah’s Random Musings
  3. Nelly at All About {n}
  4. Allysa at The Shady Glade
  5. Sharon at Sharon Loves books and cats
  6. “Book Weirdo” at YA book Geek
  7. Virginie at Virginie Says



Great Look award—I got this from  Blog O’ The Irish

Here are the rules:
1. Post the award on your blog, with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
2. Pass the award to 5 other blogs that you particularly like. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I'm passing this on to:

  1. Nelly at All About {n}: I love her new Christmas themed colors, and her blog is so cute!
  2. Nadia at The Bookworm
  3. Anna at Diary of an Eccentric: adorable logo! The yarn appeals to me…it says “knit me!”
  4. Park Avenue Princess: who doesn’t love a princess themed blog? So cute. All that pink…
  5. Jennifer at Rundpinne cute layout, love the knitter on the couch, her blog is awesome.


Wordless Wednesday


This reminds me of TWLOHA. ( This is Jon Foreman of Switchfoot in concert.

Photo by Kari Kaczan


Teaser Tuesday

Today’s teasers are…

Michael was nothing if not patient. The wind could not touch him where he sat and the cold was bearable. Time passed slowly but it was on his side and gave him the opportunity to clear his mind, check off the possible loose ends to make final preparations. This was most certainly the night. Nothing before its time and he would not rush, but surely it would come tonight.” ~Primary Victim by Christopher Cihlar, page 56
primary victim

The drive was endless with pockets of traffic and construction and accidents and rubberneckers. Eight hours later, she passed the sign her half sister had learned against: WELCOME TO MAINE: THE WAY LIFE SHOULD BE.” ~The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate, page 54
the secret of joy


**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

a blog post that has nothing to do with books but that you’re more than welcome to read anyway.

So last Tuesday, I went into the garage to get my bike… and I looked down and it had a flat tire. That made me pretty sad. I had to ride my daddy’s bike to work.

On last Wednesday, it was raining. For those of you who have never heard me talk about my (mom’s) car, it has a really bad belt and whenever it’s wet the power steering goes out. So of course, the power steering went out and we were unable to do much with the thing. We got home alive, so that was good. But it was raining and the car was out of commission so I couldn’t go to youth group and that made me sad because I hadn’t been able to go for the past month for various reasons. sigh.

On Thursday nothing important happened that I can remember, so I’ll skip that day. Oh wait, I remember. I got like, eight audio books in the mail. But beside that nothing interesting happened.

Friday was my mom’s 35th birthday (I’m kidding. But she loves it when we tell her she’s so young). I gave her two cookbooks. (Chocolate a love story, and How to roast a lamb. She already knew she was getting them, but she acted excited and loved them anyway.)

Saturday was my birthday, and I went to rehearsal in the morning (does 11:00-1:pm count as morning? It sure felt like morning.) and then went home and made my birthday cake. I used chocolate cake mix from a box, but added a packet of chocolate pudding into it and mixed it with the mixer for a long time, which I recommend everyone try because it makes it fantastically fluffy and dense at the same time. I made the frosting out of whipped cream cheese and powdered sugar and black cocoa. fantastic. best birthday cake I’ve ever made.

Sunday we went to church, but my pastor was out of town (he said that his friend was stupid enough to ask him to be the pastor to marry him and his fiancé. haha. Pastor Will has such a low view of himself.) so we had no greenhouse class (Sunday school) and a guest preacher. We all went out to lunch to celebrate the birthdays.

Today was my daddy’s birthday. (are we noticing a reoccurring theme in my week? My mom’s b-day is Nov 13, mine is the 14, dad’s is the 16. It is so cool!) and anyone who wished him a happy birthday at work got 50% off canvas and a cupcake. There were so many left over cupcakes that I ate three this evening and nobody noticed. And I wasn’t the only one who had more than one…

Also, I walked my bike down to the bike store and it was closed. I sat there cooling off and the guy just happened to be there so he fixed it for me :D I was very happy.  So I rode the bike home. I changed and went for a nice bike ride (since what I was wearing was too warm for a decent ride) and grabbed my helmet. So Appollo, that’s why you saw me twice wearing different clothes going the same direction :D


So tomorrow I go on a college trip to Campbell University, which is why I posted THE SECRET OF JOY blog tour a day early, because I’ll be out of town in Bouis Creek (spelling?). As I mentioned earlier, I’m interested in Criminology and Criminal Justice (On that note, Crime Thriller books are my favorites!). Of course, I don’t know if that’s something that will pass, or something I’m truly interested in. We’ll see. College is the best time to find out, right?

Here is a funny video to make you laugh:

until next time,

**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Tour—The Secret of Joy

The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate
Genre: Fiction

the secret of joy

Summary from Goodreads: When twenty-something New Yorker Rebecca Strand learns (her father's deathbed confession) that she has a twenty-six-year-old half-sister she never knew existed, she can't wait to meet her. With her lawyer boyfriend's protests ringing in her ears ("She's just going to want her share of his million-dollar estate!"), Rebecca drives to a small coastal town in Maine with the 26 letters her father wrote to Joy every year on her birthday. All alone in the world, Rebecca knocks on Joy Jayhawk's door, having no idea what to expect.

Turns out Joy, the separated mother of a little boy (Rebecca has a nephew!), isn't very interested in the "father" who turned his back on her existence from day one–or her "sister." But Rebecca is so determined to establish family bonds with Joy that she doesn't go home . . . and finds herself being welcomed into small life by some very loveable, quirky characters, including a sexy carpenter named Theo . . .

Click here to win one of two copies of THE SECRET OF JOY from Goodreads!

I’ve started this book and it’s really very good. I’m excited to finish it. Review will come soon, hopefully within the week.

About the Author:
melissa senate
“I'm the author of eight novels, including my debut, SEE JANE DATE (also available in cute TV movie form on DVD) and my newest, THE SECRET OF JOY, coming in November from Simon & Schuster's Downtown Press imprint. And after that comes my YA novel, The MOSTS, in June 2010 from Delacorte. I'm also the proud mother of an adorable seven-year-old boy who is the proud owner of two pet rats named Jeffrey and Timmy (the rats are cuter and more fun than I thought they'd be.)”


**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.
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