Book Reviews, Link-Ups

Return of the Continuums – Book Review

I recently finished two books by Jennifer Brody: The Thirteenth Continuum and Return of the Continuums. These are the first two books in a trilogy by this author.

I was given a copy of Return of the Continuums (RC) in exchange for my honest review here. I knew that it was the second in a series of 3 books, so I had to purchase The Thirteenth Continuum (TC) in order to get the full story.

I enjoyed the TC very much. It was suspenseful and had a plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. I was anxious to start RC, the second book, once I finished the first one.

The author’s characters were full of depth and were well developed in RC. Although there were times I had trouble keeping up with the many characters and their roles, RC is an excellent follow up to TC. It is also engaging without stooping to the level of using sexual scenarios or bad language to ‘sell’ itself.

In the same vein as The Hunger Games series or The Giver, The Continuum Trilogy is a science fiction based story based in a dystopian society. If you enjoyed The Hunger Games, you will certainly enjoy The Continuum Trilogy of books.

While this is not a light, fluffy read, it will certainly keep you engaged and turning the pages.

I am looking forward to the next book in the trilogy and will definitely read it when it’s released.

His Word, Kids/Parenting

Traveling in Life

Recently, I traveled to French Lick, Indiana with some of my loved ones. When mapping out our journey, I found there were 3 routes to choose from. One was a direct route which was shorter in distance, but longer in time. One was a little bit out of the way with longer distance but shorter time. Then there was one in between – medium time and medium distance.

I chose the shorter, more direct route in distance, but longer in time.

This route took us across the winding countryside – through twists and turns, up hills and down hills, and into valleys. We were able to see the gorgeous fall foliage and scenery.

We saw quite a few horse ranches and just as many single-wide trailers. We saw an expansive open pasture with cows grazing lazily.

More than once, Elijah thought we were lost. Despite having failed me before, I had confidence in my GPS and navigation system.

Our destination was a resort-style water park. It wasn’t even visible from the road. It was perched high upon a hill and surrounded by trees and a long, steep, windy driveway. Once it was within our sight, the kiddos got super excited!

When we got to the water park, we discovered there were 2 tube slides and 2 body slides.

Now, I have no problem doing the tube slides – but the body slides are not my favorite. The kiddos did the body slides and tried to take me into the body slide. Eventually, their pleadings got the better of me and I momentarily abandoned my senses. I agreed to go down what I thought was the lesser of two evils, the yellow slide.

I have no idea what the blue slide is like, but I know the kids really enjoyed it. From experience, I will say the yellow slide was enough for me!

Its zips and zags and twists and turns and the rapid descent with the water in my face was enough for me to be assured that I would NOT be trying the blue slide.

As I was rapidly descending, I began to wish I could go backwards – back up to the top – to change my mind. That got me pondering some paths I’ve gone down in life. Many times, I would begin to travel one way or another and I would wish I hadn’t taken this path. But I couldn’t go back, because I couldn’t follow the path back to the beginning perfectly. I wouldn’t have made it to the same place I started.

The only thing I could do in the slide, as in life many times, is to hold on tightly, close my eyes during the really scary parts, and pray for God’s hand of protection over me.

Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

Save Money with Groupon Coupons!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine.

Dear readers, the Christmas season is rapidly approaching, which gets me thinking about gifts, which can bring panic attacks upon my fragile heart.

Do not fret!

Do not fear!

Groupon Coupons are here!

Ok yeah, it was a little cheesy…but seriously…you can find some pretty amazing deals on the Groupon Coupon website.

One thing I do every year, without fail, is make a homemade calendar for my mom. I get 12″ x 12″ scrapbooking paper, measure out the month, and label the days of the week and the dates of the month.

Here's a snapshot of the work in progress!
Here’s a snapshot of the work in progress!

This goes on the bottom page. On the top page, carefully selected pictures make the ‘pretty’ part of the calendar. I started this a few years back, and it was meant to be a ‘one-and-done’ thing, but she was so excited about how the first one turned out, that in about November, she says, “Oh gosh, I can’t wait to see what next year’s calendar is going to look like.” And with that, a tradition was born. As much as I complain about doing this project, it allows my creative side to blossom.

So, Groupon has incredible coupons for Shutterfly. You can bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to be using these coupons when I’m ready to print pictures to put in my momma’s calendar. Free shipping and 100+ free prints?!?! Oh yes! That’s music to my ears!

Other really important gift recipients around the holidays include my kiddos’ teachers and their office staff. I mean, these people typically spend more time with our kiddos than we do during the school year. We really need to reward them for putting up with our rugrats and all of their ‘stuff’ (that will likely cause them to be in therapy in later years, but that’s for another post altogether).

That’s why I’m going to be going to Groupon to use coupons for the Scholastic Teacher Store. I really want to keep these teachers and school administration happy. I want them to like me (and my kids), even if I have to buy their affection 🙂

I mean, after all, look at what they’re working with here:

emma-osmosis    elijah-osmosis

In defense of my kiddos, they really ARE super smart. They’re just super funny sometimes!

Knowing that Christmas will be here in just a few short weeks really gets me motivated to get some shopping done. I know that I’ll be able to find some really great deals with Groupon Coupons. Saving money is one of my #absolutefavorites!

How do YOU use Groupon to save? 

#GrouponCoupons #ad #spon

Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

My Life As A…Rock Band Manager?!

This morning, as I was planning the day for my three minions, I realized something…

My life is like that of a rock band manager…hear me out people…

1) I am constantly on the road ‘touring’ with the band.

If we are not at the ball field, on our way to the ball field, or traveling to one birthday party or another, then I’m dropping off or picking up kids (mine or another band manager’s) from one activity or another.

tour-bus

2) My calendar is full of the band’s events. And none of my own.

Seriously, if you are going to ask me to be somewhere, be prepared to have me whip (NO, not whip, nae nae) my phone out to check my ‘availability’ based on which kid I am shuttling from one event to another.

3) My texting/email/phone correspondence is almost ALWAYS about whether one band member is available for a jam sesh or photo op with another band’s member.

Just this morning, I had every intention to sit at my awesome Mac (that I bought for myself, for the purposes of blogging/writing) and WRITE…for myself, for my blog, for some of my actual legit deadlines.

Is that what I ended up doing? Good heavens no. Instead, I emailed a local art studio about camp for my daughter. I read an email about my son’s scout fishing day — which then prompted me to think, ‘Oh, I need to text so and so’s mom to find out if this is what we are doing this Saturday.’ I remembered that I needed to email one of the facilitators for the sports summer camp my son is involved in. And I made a mental note to ask my other daughter about what she wants for her birthday — that is in 9 days.

4) The CFO and I have daily pow wows about what the best investment is for the band, as a whole, and their individual needs.

When you have three different members with three different interests, there is going to be some conflict about what is truly essential to their survival and success — independently and collectively.

Just the other day, my son and one daughter and I were all in a second hand store just for fun. I literally had to tell my daughter that, ‘No, you cannot buy crutches just to have them.’ Because doesn’t every house just have a set of crutches laying around waiting to be used?!?!?

5) When I was growing up, I thought about how incredibly awesome and glamorous it would be to be the manager of a rock band…being backstage, touring to many different locations, holding the throngs of fans back from the immensely popular band members and knowing that, after the show, I can just hang with these extraordinary musicians.

concert-crowd_e

Does this truly need any further explanation? Just for giggles, let’s expand on this…

Being ‘backstage’ loosely translates to: experiencing the meltdowns of pretentious ‘stars.’

Touring to many different locations: well, we’ve talked about this. If you’ve seen one overpriced ‘play area,’ you’ve seen them all.

Obstructing adoring fans from the objects of their affections: this really just adds to the inflated sense of self-importance of the band members.

Hanging with the ‘extraordinary’ musicians: You know as well as I do, this is just dealing with over-tired and whiny band members who have been up waaaaaaay past their bedtime too many nights in a row.

My Minions
My Minions

I do suppose there is an upside to all of this. As the rock band manager, I get to be with the band from inception all the way to the height of their success. Even in the good times and the bad times, we really just want to have an influence on those around us, right? What better way than to manage the musicians entrusted to our care?

Book Reviews, Link-Ups

The Raven – Book Review

Back in March, I told you about a book called Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa. At that time, I told you I loved this book, and the author was coming out with a new one called The Raven. I was hoping I would be selected to read and review this book when it came out this month. Fortunately for me, I was!

the-raven

Mike Nappa nails the faith-based, suspense, edge-of-your-seat, thriller, yet again.

In the beginning, the good guys are indistinguishable from the bad guys. That is what makes the book so captivating. Right about the time you think you have it figured out, Mike drops some plot twist in your lap.

Told in differing points of view, the reader is taken on a journey through political, mob, and blue collar perspectives.

Through the main character, The Raven, we learn of the city councilman’s ‘extra-curricular’ activities. Through Sister/Mama Bliss, we learn of the heartbreak that comes with living in a crime infested area of Atlanta. Through Trudi, we learn of her unwavering dedication to truth and justice.

Why are Mama Bliss and Max secretly meeting?

Who did the gift of an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii for Samuel and Trudi come from?

What is The Raven running from in his past?

How did The Raven come to work for Mama Bliss?

These are some of the many questions that will arise when engaged in reading The Raven.

Once again, Mike Nappa writes a stellar novel that has hairpin twists and turns, some romance, an element of faith and Christianity, and is clean. Clearly, Mike doesn’t need to fill his books with gore or sex to sell them. His writing ability and his intriguing characters sell his books for him.

If you haven’t picked up on it, I would highly recommend this book! Mike Nappa has a fan in this reader.