Blogging and Thinking of Summer

It’s hard to believe another month has come and gone.  Here we are, in the middle of our summer! Imagine…


In the spring, when winter is finally beginning to give way to warmer weather, I find myself longing for the hot summer days of July.  The kids are out of school, there’s not really a schedule, everything is free and easy.

As July rounds into August, the wheel turns and reality steps in.  The days get shorter and cooler, and school is just around the corner.  Summer is coming to a fast close.

Here in Nova Scotia, there is a distinct shift in the weather come the end of August beginning of September.  Crisp, cool mornings, early sunsets, and the leaves begin changing.

I do love fall, but I can’t help but feel a bit sad to see lovely summer leave for another year.

I’ve been a bit slower at posting these days.  I’ve been spending more time with family, quietly reading and working on my novel.  I love creating blog posts and visiting other blogs, but I’ve found that I’ve had to step back and look at how much of my time this takes out of my day.

A single post, award or tag takes me over 3 hours.  Is this normal?  I feel like other bloggers can read a book in  a few hours and write up a review lickity split!  It’s hard to keep up with the Jones’s, ya know!

I have depression and anxiety.  If I have a few stress-free days, I can get along quite fine.  I seem relatively normal.  Outside of that, even a minor stressor can make my anxiety can go haywire and I’m “off” for days.  It’s difficult to concentrate and focus, my memory is embarrassingly awful.

So, I’ve been taking it easy on the blog.  I’ve been trying to be as stress free as possible.  I started a yoga program, and I’ve gotten myself back on schedule with waking early and getting out for a walk.

I hope to make progress on my novel.  It’s incredibly slow going, by the way.  I keep rewriting the same pages!

I also hope to start making progress on the wonderful awards and tags I’ve received!  Phew!  Lots of blogging love, and I will get to them, I promise!

Do you have days when it’s hard to do it all?  When you just can’t blog as much as you’d like?

Thanks for stopping by!  

Jo-Ann

Review: Feel Me Fall by James Morris

My thanks to James Morris for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Was it hard to put down?  Oh, yes. I was drawn into the story hook, line and sinker and didn’t want to stop reading.  It was absolutely brilliant.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads.

Secrets and survival in the Amazon

Emily Duran is the sole survivor of a plane crash that left her and her teenage friends stranded and alone in the jungles of the Amazon. Lost and losing hope, they struggle against the elements, and each other. With their familiar pecking order no longer in place, a new order emerges, filled with power struggles, betrayals, secrets and lies. Emily must explain why she’s the last left alive.

But can she carry the burden of the past?

Discover the gripping new adventure novel that explores who we are when no one is watching, and how far we’ll go in order to survive.

My review:

Emily Duran is a student from California on a high school field trip to South America. The plane crashes in Amazon rainforest, leaving only a handful of survivors.  Besides Emily, there is her best friend Viv, Mean Molly, Derek the boy scout survivalist extraordinaire, Ryan the smart ass amputee and Nico, Viv’s boyfriend.

The story is told in the first person from the perspective of Emily. The author did an excellent job of fleshing out the other characters to round everything out.

The story toggles between several scenes: when the plane crashes in the Amazon, before they left on the school trip, and after her rescue when she is in the hospital.

The book is very well written and suspenseful.  The challenges they experience and the true personalities that emerge in this new environment kept me reading and wanting more. Secrets were slowly revealed, drama unfolded and people died.

A quote from the book:

Events don’t change you; they reveal you.

What I loved even more than waiting for Emily to be rescued was the ending…Lets just say that things aren’t always as they seem.

 

 

THE ‘HOW I CHOOSE MY BOOKS’ TAG

Thanks to Stephanie at Steph’s Novel Fiction for tagging me in The ‘How I Choose My Books’ Tag! You really need to go check out her site if you haven’t.  Stephanie and I are great internet buddies, we’ve had some awesome chats. She is such a wonderfully warm and sweet person plus knows how to do a great book review.

 

BookstagFind a book on your shelves or ereader with a blue cover. What made you want to pick up this book? 

I picked up The Lady of Avalon because it was by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  I LOVED her book The Mists of Avalon, and read it several times.  That is the book that made me fall hopelessly in love with the King Arthur legend.  This particular book is a prequel to the original Mists of Avalon.

Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did. Why did you read it in the first place? 

A family friend recommended this book to me.  He gave me a copy because he  had several, he loved it that much.  I really didn’t care for the setting, WWII Germany, especially since it was from the perspective of a child.  I thought it would be too disturbing, but it was an AMAZING read!

Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick up a book at random. How did you discover this book? 

Relative Happiness is by one of our amazingly talented local authors, Lesley Crewe.  It’s her debut novel about life in a small town and was actually made into a movie!  This is a good one worth picking up.

Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

I was wandering around the library one day, looking for a good murder mystery.  My friend and neighbour, a librarian herself, suggested Henning Mankell’s series.  He has a unique style of writing with very ‘normal’ protagonist.  I love that.  Characters who aren’t afraid to be imperfect and make mistakes.

Pick a book that you discovered through YouTube / book blogs. Did it live up to the hype? 

When I saw Jay’s review at This is My Truth Now, I knew I had to read this one and I was not disappointed!  I’m looking forward to reading the sequel now.

 

Find a book on your shelves or ereader with a one-word title. What drew you to this book?

I was on a kick reading Harlan Coben’s books and this was one of them.  I like Coben’s easy style and plot twisters.

 

What book did you discover through a film / TV adaptation?

A coworker recommended I watch Game of Thrones when I was raving about the Mists of Avalon one day.  It had a medievalish setting, fantasy, magic, so why not?  I loved the show and began reading the books.  Now just waiting for the newest release….

Think of your all-time favourite book/s. When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?

These are the books that got me into reading, I mean really into reading.  And writing!  They sparked something in me that made me want to tell  my own story!

Harry Potter
The Mists of Avalon
The Outlander Series

I’m Tagging the Following:

Raising My Book

The Book Mermaid

Tea and Tales

Turtledesk

Please don’t feel pressured to do this tag, but if you do, please let me know so I can read your answers!

Thank you so much Silas at Diary of a Weird Teenage Boy and for nominating me. He has a wonderful blog filled with his art and beautiful photos as well as his creative writing to prompts.  I highly recommend you check him out!

the-mystery-blogger-award

Here are the rules to the award:

  • Put the logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and link their blog.
  • Tell your reader 3 things about yourself.
  • You have to nominate 10-20 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question.
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

The Mystery Blogger award has been created by Okoto Enigma of Okoto Enigma’s Blog.

THE MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD

This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blogs not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.

-Okoto Enigma.

Three things about me-

  • I’ve written three novels.  They are all in the first draft stage, though so it might be a while before you get to read them!
  • I am working at recovering from depression and anxiety.
  • I love swimming, either in the ocean or in my pool.

Questions from Silas

  • What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?

The weirdest thing in someone else’s home…now that’s a tough one!  It would probably be a pet.  I have one friend who once had a bearded dragon for a pet.  My aunt had a  pet rabbit that ran free in the house.  It ate the little rubber buttons on the TV remote control!

  • What is the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?

The best purchase would be our house.  Our worst purchase?  Our house!  It’s great having a 110 year old home.  I love it, it has tons of character but the renovations we’ve done over the years have certainly cost us a load of money!

  • What is the dumbest way you’ve been injured?

Hmmm…I think the time I dropped a chisel on my bare toe and needed 6 stitches to fix it up. That was dumb!

  • What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

The Trump saga in the US always has something interesting going on.

  • What is the one thing you have tried million times, still can’t do.

Computer programming.  My sons make it look so easy!

  • Bonus fun question -What’s a body part that you wouldn’t mind losing?

My appendix.

My top 5 posts-

This Mists of Avalon Book Beginnings and Friday 56

Sunday Post June 25

Sunday Post and Happy Fathers Day

Summer Vacay and Glad to be Back!

The Husband’s Secret

 

 

Nominations – 

Drizzle and Hurricane Books

Two Gals and a Book

My Window

Sherina Speaks

Read and Repeat

Untold Phrases

Blackwood’s Magazine

Being Lydia

EssenCentral

Whimsy Pages

 

My Questions –

  • Have you taken summer vacation?
  • What is your favourite movie you’ve seen this year?
  • Do you have a goal you’d like to achieve by the end of this year?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • If you could choose ONLY 5 subjects to read on other blogs, what would they be? (Books, music, film, health, etc.)

 

 

Hope you guys enjoyed the post, thanks so much Suguna once again for this lovely nomination! 🙂

Have a nice day.

 

 

Daily Walk

 

Daily Walk http://inspirationpie.com
Daily Walk

 

Double Rainbow

It was late yesterday when Burger and I finally made it out for our daily walk, but it was totally worth it when we got to see this double rainbow!

Burger did some late evening swimming.

 

Late evening swim

 

There was some rain sprinkles, but it was warm and beautiful!  

 

 

 

 

We got out for a morning walk this morning.  The blueberries will be ready in a few weeks.

They still have a ways to go before they fill out and ripen.

Found this cute duckling swimming quietly beside us.

I loved the reflections in the little pond.

 

 

 

 

 

Later on in the day, my mom and I went strawberry picking!  The U-pick has been open for several weeks, today is the last day of picking.

The haul 🙂
Strawberries in the field

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I hope you enjoyed the photos of our daily walk!  Do you like to take photos on your walks?   Post your your links in the comments so I can visit you!

Why a bad protagonist is actually quite good

 #writing #amwriting

I am a big fan of protagonists with dubious character traits. There is something about a blurry line that adds flavour and depth. In fact, if the protagonist was to stop and consider themselves, they might think they were on the wrong side of that invisible virtuous line.

So in short, I like my protagonists…to be bad.

Why is a less than perfect protagonist good?

If you are the kind of person who goes to the gym 5 days a week, then going 5 days a week is no big thing. BUT, if you struggle to go once a week, then 5 days in a row is pretty impressive! And so with our protagonist. The more reluctant they are, and the more doing something good or heroic chafes, the more interesting it is when they are finally forced to comply.

As a reader, the more confused you are about the protagonists virtue, the more the tension grows. Will they do the right thing? Are they capable of doing the right thing even? Or are they just too damn lazy?

And what about our antagonist? Are they wholly bad? Or do they have redeeming qualities? Do you empathise with them at any point in the book? Perhaps their behaviour has been abhorrent, and then you discover a terrible secret about their past that casts new questions onto everything they have so far done.

There is a certain fascination with a good guy who is not completely good.

And likewise with a bad guy who is not completely bad.

Real Neat!

Sonia at  Sonia G Medieros  shared the Real Neat Blog Award with me!  Thank you so much Sonia!  I appreciate you thinking of me!

If you haven’t checked out Sonia’s blog already, you should really check out her inspirational blog.  She is a wonderful writer and a musician, too!

I’ve been pretty slow at getting around to awards and tags, but I am slowly getting them done!  Yay!  Being on vacation last week didn’t help, and I do tend to be a bit of a procrastinator.

Okay, the rules for sharing the Real Neat Blog Award:

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • Thank the folks who nominated you and provide links to their blogs.
  • Answer the seven questions asked by your nominator(s).
  • Nominate any number of other bloggers to share the award and give them some linky love.
  • Notify the nominated folk.
  • Ask your nominees seven questions of your own.

Here are Sonia’s questions for me:

What is your favourite movie/tv/story genre and why?

My favourite genre…hmmm. I love a good thriller/suspense/mystery but I also love a good fantasy as well.  I’m thinking Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, even Outlander falls into that category.

If you had to be stuck on a deserted island, which tv/

movie/story character would you choose to be stuck with?

It would have to be with someone who is fairly intelligent, innovative, someone who knows how to provide shelter and food.  I might be showing my age but I’m thinking MacGyver.

He’s easy on the eyes, too so that helps!

In a zombie apocalypse, where would you head first?

I’d head for the harbour and take refuge on a boat, preferably a yacht!  That way, I could be far enough away from zombies, or I could sail around and find a safe island.

What have you always wanted to learn how to do but haven’t (yet)?

Well, I’ve always wanted to learn French, and I took lessons for a few years.  I got pretty decent at it, but I’d hardly call myself fluent!  I guess that’s a goal I’m aiming for.

Computer programming has always intrigued me, too.

What mythical creature would you want most for a pet?

A pegasus, of course!  Who doesn’t love horses?  And these horses can fly!  They can get you where you want to go.

What silly little thing always makes you smile?

My beautiful, goofy dog, Burger!

I’m not really sure what he’s doing in this picture, I think I got him mid-lick, but he’s just so darn cute!

 

 

 

 

If you could be anyone else for a week, who would it be?

My dog.  See above.


And, now for the nominations:

Susan Loves Books

Waking Up on the Wrong Side of 50

Bookneeders

Reactionary Tales

Steph’s Novel Fiction

Momentum of Jo

Read Rant and Rock and Roll

Diary of a Bookfiend

And here’s my questions for you:

  1. What is your favourite genre?
  2. What is the last book you read that you gave 5 Stars and what did you love about it?
  3. Who is your favourite author?
  4. What keeps you from attaining your goals?
  5. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  6. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
  7. How do you start off your morning?

 

 

 

 


No pressure to accept and share the award, by the way. But, if you do, please leave a link in the comments so I can check out your post.

Summer Vacay and Glad to Be Back!

I’m back!  

At the beach!

I was on a camping vacation with the fam for the past week and it was awesome!  We went non-stop and had an amazing time.

How did it feel to sleep in my own bed last night?  Better than awesome!  There are no words!  It feels so good to be home!

We went to beautiful Prince Edward Island.  Natural beauty, beaches, theme parks.  Everything one could want in a vacation! 

My oldest son had to work so he couldn’t make it, but my 13 year old brought his best buddy along.

Lots of farmland on Prince Edward Island!

So, one of the things this campsite advertised was free wifi.  Good, I thought.  I can discretely keep up reading my favourite blogs and I can even post everyday!  Pictures, if nothing else!

Technically, there may have been wifi but did it work?  shakes head no

No wifi.  No reading my favourite blog posts.  No posting.  sigh

When you have lemons you make lemonade, isn’t that what they say?

I enjoyed the beaches.  I enjoyed the water park (I’m sure most of PEI heard me screaming going down the water slide), I relaxed by the campfire and I read books.  I also ate a ton of ice cream.  PEI is home to COW’S, the very best ice cream ever!

Aaand, I had another birthday.  Yep. I try to run away from my birthday every year but it always finds me!

The campground advertised a paint night which just happened to fall on the same day as my birthday, July 17th.  I thought, how serendipitous!  I love to paint!  And I really loved the painting that was going to be done that night.  

I was going to register for it before we left, but I hesitated.  I was worried about committing to something only to discover we were having fun somewhere else and have the boys be disappointed about leaving.

PEI Preserve Company Gardens

When we got to the campgrounds, and decided to actually commit to going to the paint night, I had to go online to book.  No internet.  Ugh! 

 

The office said we could use one of the two computers they had set up for public use.  I looked where they had pointed to see a huge “OUT OF ORDER” sign on one.  Not a good omen, I thought. I sat down at the one that was supposed to be working.  No internet.  No luck!

Drinking tea at the PEI Preserve Company

The morning of my birthday, my husband and the boys took me out to the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company for a birthday breakfast.  A definite treat!

We had an delicious breakfast of blueberry pancakes, the boys had lemon raspberry tea served in fancy teapots.  I stuck with my usual coffee, which was delicious, by the way!  The grounds were exquisite, the gardens phenomenal.

Not only that, they had free wifi.  Paint night…booked!

Paint night with hubby!

I plan on catching up on my blog reading and posting this week!  Aaand on another note, I’ve started the Atkins diet so my clothes will fit me again after all that ice cream.  Wish me luck!

Have you taken a vacation this summer?  What’s your favourite thing to do?

 

Daily Walk July 14, 2017 and Mystery Plants!

Daily Walk http://inspirationpie.com
Daily Walk

 

Burger and I went on a different route today!  We usually reserve this area for when its raining.  And, even though it wasn’t raining today, I felt like I needed a more intense walk than I get at the dog park.  So, off we go!

The trails here are beautiful, and follow a pretty stream for pretty much the entire 3km trail.

 

Trees form a huge umbrella over the trail for the whole route which is why its so great when there is rain.  It’s more protected than the open field at the dog park.

The only disadvantage here is that Burger has to be on leash the entire time.

 

 

He’d much rather run and tear and just be a goofy puppy!

 

 

 

 

 

Not sure what kind of fungus this is!  Looks like a monster with really bad oral hygiene.  I’ve never seen anything like this before, have you?

I’ve tried doing a little bit of research to identify these little berries, but I came up empty handed.  They look like raspberries, but the plants are so tiny and low to the ground, the leaves don’t look like raspberry leaves either.

These are wild blueberries that are due to ripen around the end of July or early August.  If you’d like to see them when they were flowers, you can see that post here.

This beauty was on the screen of my gazebo when I got home! I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure it’s a One-Eyed Sphinx.

I love seeing photos and glimpses into the lives of other blogs, and these are a few that I’ve come across and I thought I’d share for others to enjoy as well

My Window Miriam shares photos and a poem during her morning retreat.

Invisible No More Not a walk, but gorgeous photos of step by step apple pie.

Growing Self Roda’s photos: Nature’s collage.

Friday Post: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

Another Friday is here!  Bring on the Weekend!

Book Beginnings on Fridays

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted at Rose City Reader where you share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough


I’m a little more than half way through this YA.  It’s not too bad, I’m intrigued by what is going on with the murders.  I’m not sure how realistic it is with high school teachers who can do DNA testing and kids who are into forensics but the story is holding me and I keep reading to see what happens next.

 

Here’s the Book Beginnings for You:

I soothe my forehead against the icy car window and breathe out a path of fog.  If I squint one eye, the neon splashed across the rain-slicked street forms a wide, cruel mouth.

It’s after 2:00am and we’re just pulling up to the police station.  They took me to the hospital first, even though I swore that not a single drop of blood all over me was mine.

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted at Freda’s voice.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Here’s a blurb from page 56:

The area at the bottom of the cafeteria stairs gets a lot of foot traffic during lunch.  The fact that Spam and I are engaged in a mild tug-of-war over the sleeve of my jacket in this spot attracts even more attention.  She’s trying to pull me away from the spotlight, while I want to walk straight over to the quad and confront Journey Michaels right where he sits.

Finally, I pull away from her and when I turn, there’s Journey Michaels standing right in front of me.  Towering over me, actually, with fists clenched and a murderous look on his face.

What do you think so far?  

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father’s identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother’s best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.

Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother’s killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she’s secretly doing on her own.

Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she’s close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it’s too late. (less)