Wednesday, May 29, 2019

{ Realm by Alexandrea Weiss - TLC Book Tour }


• Paperback: 383 pages
• Publisher: Vesuvian Books (May 14, 2019)

When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.
Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.

Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.

However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.

History tells his story. This is hers.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Alexandrea Weis

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, CRRN, ONC, PhD, is a multi award-winning author of twenty-five novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured animals. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. Weis writes paranormal, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance.
Connect with Weis on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


My Thoughts:
 I absolutely LOVE fantasy books and Alexandrea Weiss is one of my favorites, so when I was given the opportunity to review her latest "Realm", I jumped at the chance.  I may have even gloated a bit to the hubby because he too loves this book genre.

As a history buff there are many great names that I have found fascinating, and Alexander The great is definitely one of those.

In Realm, we meet Roxana, the daughter of a great chieftain who is attacked by Alexander The Great and his strong army.   Upon the defeat, Alexander decides to host a victory celebration and once Roxana and her sisters enter into his sights, during a dance for the host, he knows he has to have her.

Roxana is not exactly thrilled at first, after all, this is the man that has attacked and conquered her homeland, and now she is being forced to marry Alexander.

What follows is one of the sweetest love stories.  Roxana is a mere teenager when her life is catapulted into a world completely unknown to her.  She is now the wife of one of the greatest men in history and has to learn to not only care and love for her new husband, adapt to her role as a wife, but also deal with constant threats and danger to her life.

We often are only privy to the side of the great conquerors and their story, their lives and so on, but very rarely do we actually get to see the women who are their side and how that affects these men.  It's beautiful to see the women who bring a sort of vulnerability to the big bad macho conqueror or years gone by.

Alexandrea Weiss did an outstanding job in this story, she clearly and vividly brings to light a part of history that we don't often get to learn about.  What an absolute thrill this story was to read.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

{ Moon Rush by Leonard David - TLC Book Tour }


• Hardcover: 224 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (May 7, 2019)

Veteran space journalist digs into the science and technology–past, present, and future–central to our explorations of Earth’s only satellite, the space destination most hotly pursued today.

In these rich pages, veteran science journalist Leonard David explores the moon in all its facets, from ancient myth to future “Moon Village” plans. Illustrating his text with maps, graphics, and photographs, David offers inside information about how the United States, allies and competitors, as well as key private corporations like Moon Express and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, plan to reach, inhabit, and even harvest the moon in the decades to come.

Spurred on by the Google Lunar XPRIZE–$20 million for the first to get to the moon and send images home–the 21st-century space race back to the moon has become more urgent, and more timely, than ever. Accounts of these new strategies are set against past efforts, including stories never before told about the Apollo missions and Cold War plans for military surveillance and missile launches from the moon. Timely and fascinating, this book sheds new light on our constant lunar companion, offering reasons to gaze up and see it in a different way than ever before.

Purchase Links

National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


My Thoughts:

The object of pure fascination for centuries.

My family and I have loved astrophotography and admiring the night sky, for as long as I can remember, to the point where both my husband and I have our own telescopes.

Summer nights are spent outside, in our backyard or in the front of the house (we live in the country), just admiring and looking, photographing and teaching the kids about our solar system.  But the moon has always been one of our favorites, and over the years I have taken hundreds of moon shots.

When I was given the opportunity to review Moon Rush, I jumped at it and could not wait for the book to arrive.

Once it did, I immediately dove into it's pages, reveling in the pictures, the stories, the information.  It's like a crash course on that beautiful big object in the sky.


Veteran Space Journalist Leonard David, sets before us a journey through the moon's past, present and future.  We dive into myths, what came before us, and what is inevitably before us.

We constantly hear news of future moon visits and what plans our humans here on earth have.  The book is filled to the brim with photos, illustrations, and first hand accounts of never before heard told stories from the Apollo missions.

If you love space and are fascinated with the moon in particular, this is a must have in your personal library.

Some of the things you will read in the book could be taken straight out of a sci fi movie, but being the nerdy space person that I am, they make me giddy.  Maybe it's the endless hours spent watching anything from V to Gallactica, Star Trek (every version and movie), Star Wars and any kind of space documentary I could get my hands on.  But, honestly, if I would ever have the chance of going to space, whether it be the moon or elsewhere, my behind would be first on that shuttle, no questions asked.


The moon is and forever will be one of the biggest mysteries and treasures of our solar system, but journalist Leonard David does a brilliant job of bringing it all into play and gathering a myriad of information that leaves you dumbfounded at the potential for the moon's future, and at the same time in awe of what we as mankind have already achieved.


 Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Blackstone Publishing for gifting me a review copy of this book, in exchange for a honest review. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 05/27/2019 }

EDIT:  Sorry about the linky confusion, it is now up and working.  Thank you for the heads up ladies :)

Good morning everyone, and a very happy Monday.

First and foremost, hope you're all having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and no matter what you are doing, my hope is that you're keeping in mind the real reason why this holiday is celebrated.

So, first things first....I've been MIA again from the blog and regular post.  The reason?
Still haven't got the new lens, it was a crazy week let me tell you.  I bought the lens, it was shipped out within 2 days and made it's way to the USA, went through customs and all that stuff, and then I tracked it all the way to Friday.

It was out for delivery, I was beyond excited, and then suddenly  - DEAD MAIL/DISPOSED BY POST OFFICE.

What in the world???

After numerous calls to the post office, they told me they didn't have it, it wasn't scanned into their system, no idea what package or where (even though it SAYS USPS accepted it 3 times through different cities).

I got in contact with the seller and he was extremely helpful, went above and beyond and is actually sending me another lens at no extra cost.  So hopefully, soon we get back on track.

BUT, with that said, it's been two weeks of no actual posts on the blog, and I can't handle that, so I'm going to use what I already have and work with it and get back to daily blogging for you guys.

Anyway, now you know what has been happening.  Let's get on with our post for today.

The weather:::
We have had a rough tornado season already.  For the first time in 4 years of being here, the sirens started blaring last week and we had to go into the storm shelter.  We actually had rotating clouds above our house and a tornado did indeed touch down nearby, but thankfully went back up again.  It's been pretty hot though and intermittent rain here and there.  We have yet more storms this week, so please continue to keep us and everyone in tornado alley, in your prayers.

Monday - Partly cloudy, wind, 88º
Tuesday - Scattered thunderstorms, 87º
Wednesday - Thunderstorms, 74º
Thursday - Sunny, 82º
Friday - Mostly Sunny, 84º
Saturday - AM thunderstorms, 85º
Sunday - PM thunderstorms, 87º

On my reading pile:::
Realm by Alexandrea Weis.   

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend:::
Well, I have just binge watched the first season of Lucifer.  I have held off on watching it for a very long time, years actually.  Everyone kept saying it is brilliant and just so good and need to watch and so on, but I'm kind of weird with shows like that.  My husband though, started watching it this past week and was hooked on it, so yesterday since I had a down day of doing absolutely nothing, I decided to give it a go.  I'm hooked, it is such a good show.

On my TV this week:::
General Hospital
Homemaking vlogs
The Spanish Princess
When Calls the Heart
60 Minutes Australia
True Crime Daily
Lucifer Season 2

On the menu for this week:::

Pulled Pork with Homemade Mac and Cheese

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Mac & Cheese,

Olive Garden Fettucine Alfredo, Garlic Bread

Cowboy's Meal

Asian Beef Wraps

Deep Dish Pizza and Hot wings

On my to do list:::
Empty and reload dishwasher
Vacuum and dust
Change bed linens

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
I fixed a skirt that was way too big on me, so pulled that in and it now fits so much better.  Also am re purposing some dresses.

Looking forward to:::
Fingers crossed that I actually get my lens in this week.  I'm dying over here folks, I need my camera fully functioning lol
Hubby is in training the next two weeks and then he is actually away for a week TDY, but thankfully he is not going far from home, which is wonderful, he will be but an hour away.

Looking around the house:::
It is quite dark, we have cloudy skies and gloomy weather again.  I haven't even opened my bedroom blinds or curtains yet because hubby was still asleep.
The kids are sleeping, of course.  The smell of fresh coffee is wafting in from the kitchen and I may need to go and refill my cup.

From the camera:::
View of my desk yesterday afternoon.     

What I'm wearing today:::
Still in my nightgown, haven't thrown on the workout gear yet.  I missed two days last week which really annoyed me, but it's ok, one bad week and we are going right back at it.  I've lost 2 pounds so far and I'm super proud of myself, although it's been HARD. 

One of my simple pleasures:::
Having a down day, doing nothing but watching a show and not even having to worry about cooking because everyone tells you not to, and end up snacking all day long.  lol                

Bible verse, Devotional, prayers::: 
Today's prayer is specifically for Memorial Day:

Heavenly Father, as our nation pauses today to remember those in the military who have given their lives for freedoms we enjoy, we pray you would have us all look to you for strength, comfort and guidance. Be with all who serve in our Armed Forces. Bless them and their families. Grant your loving protection. Let peace prevail among all the nations, O God. Especially let your mercy rest upon our land, even as we acknowledge with thanksgiving your past goodness on this country. If it is your will, preserve the lives of the men and women in uniform as they defend our citizenry. Most of all, we pray that you would turn the hearts of all – military and civilian – to your holy Word where we find the true peace for our sinful souls that surpasses all understanding. Keep us repentant of sin. Move us to know, take hold and treasure your saving grace. In the name of Jesus, our Savior and Your beloved Son, who alone gives this peace and hope for eternity, we pray. Amen.

Monday, May 20, 2019

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 05/20/2019 }

Good morning everyone, how was your weekend?

Welcome to another Happy Homemaker Monday.

When I came up with the idea for HHM many years ago, I had no idea that it would go on for this long, or that anyone would even want to join in with me.  It started as a way for me to put down my plans for the upcoming week and have it all in one place, but over the years it has turned into so much more than that.  I am truly thankful for each and every single one of you, who come by every Monday and participate.

We've been able to create a community of like minded women who care for, and support each other.  Thank you for that ladies, really :)

I appreciate you all and I appreciate the comments you leave down below as well.  If you participate, all I ask is that you don't change the categories or the little Happy Homemaker Monday image, because then it really isn't a part of my blog anymore.  I also ask that if you are joining in, please leave a comment below, even it it's just a quick hello I'm here and joining today.  I would love to see a lot more interaction between the ladies, and as the host of this feature, I too love knowing who is joining in and how they are doing.

Anyway, now that we have that out of the way, let's get right into our plans for this week, shall we??

The weather:::
We are expecting quite strong storms today, but the rest of the week is supposed to be clear, albeit cloudy.  The temperatures are staying in the high 80's though which is quite nice.

Monday - Strong storms and wind, 82º
Tuesday - Partly cloudy and windy, 80º
Wednesday - Partly cloudy and windy, 87º
Thursday - Cloudy and windy, 87º
Friday - Cloudy, 85º
Saturday - Cloudy, 87º
Sunday - Partly cloudy, 87º

On my reading pile:::
Moon Rush and Whatever it Takes.  I'll be putting up a post with my summer reading list, this week. 

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend:::
Just a lot of 60 Minutes Australia, I enjoy podcasts and documentaries in general, so I usually pop on something like this on Youtube, to listen to while I do my housework.  

On my TV this week:::
General Hospital
Juana Ines
Homemaking vlogs
The Spanish Princess
When Calls the Heart

On the menu for this week:::

Pickle Brined Chicken, Potato Salad ( New Recipe)

Ninho Recheado (Meat filled pasta nests), Garlic Bread

Curt's birthday so I'm making Steak, Baked Potatoes and a side salad

Image result for cast iron steak

Portuguese Bean Stew and Rice (this one has been shuffled back and forth the past 2 weeks, but I'm finally making it)

Deep Dish Pizza and Hot wings

On my to do list:::
Empty and reload dishwasher
Iron a load of clothes
Sewing - am making and re purpose some dresses for summer
Have an ENT appointment on Friday morning
Take Jasmine to work two days this week

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
I pulled out my sewing machine so that I can re purpose some old dresses and skirts as well as make a new dress for summer.

Looking forward to:::
Hopefully my lens coming in so that I can get back to taking tons of pictures and blogging the way I'm used to. 
Also looking forward to seeing the ENT and hopefully get some answers on this ear of mine.  It has gotten a LOT better, I definitely feel it's well on it's way to being 100%, but it's not quite there yet and I'm frankly over it at this point.  It has now been 3 months since it first went bonkers. 

Looking around the house:::
I've opened all the blinds and curtains in the house, but you wouldn't really know it since it's so dark and gray outside.  There is however a nice breeze coming in and it's always amazing seeing the curtains blowing in the wind.
The house is tidy from the weekend so I don't have much to do. 

From the camera:::
The culprit of not being able to blog this past week.  I love my 50mm 1.4 so much and it breaks my heart to see it damaged.   

What I'm wearing today:::
Workout gear at the moment, I'll be starting my Monday workout soon.  By the way, I've updated the sidebar with this week's routines.  As I explained before I'm changing it up every day so that I don't get bored, and also because it's the best way for your body to lose weight.  When you do the same exact workout each day, your body gets used to is and does nothing but hit a plateau.  I need to get my body going so each day and each week is something different.  Over the weekend my sciatica has flared up, so I'm keeping it simple this week with shorter workouts but just as equally good to lose weight. 

One of my simple pleasures:::
Believe it or not, working out.  Getting to it is a whole other story, but once I'm doing it or after it's done, I love it.              

Bible verse, Devotional, prayers::: 
The prayer below is for all of us who are trying to change our lives in a healthy way, who are wanting to workout but sometimes lack the motivation.  I found this prayer and thought it so poignant because truly, I can't get through these workout routines or creating this new habit, without the Lord's help. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

{ Sunday - 05/19/2019 }


Hi everyone, welcome back to my blog :)

I know, it's been a whole week since I've posted, aside from my Happy Homemaker Monday.  I really have missed blogging, but as I explained previously, it hasn't been easy without a properly working camera.  Or rather, properly working lenses.  The camera body itself is old as well, and that's due to wear and tear over the past 8 years, but it works just fine.

With that said, you can't exactly have a functioning camera body if you don't have properly functioning lenses, and that is the issue I'm faced with.

It's honestly just not given me any motivation to blog or put anything up, because as you know, especially if you've followed me from the beginning, I absolutely LOVE taking photos and sharing them with you all.  It's an imperative part in my blog and without it I feel slightly discombobulated.

Monday, May 13, 2019

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 05/13/2019 }

Good morning everyone, happy Monday :)

I feel like this weekend just flew right by, but it was a good weekend, I did some gardening, got the patio ready for the summer and started pulling weeds out front.  That is a never ending job, and after about an hour, I gave up.  I'll get back to it this week though.

We are done with school, so aside from driving Jasmine to and from work, I have a pretty easy week coming up.

Also, I wanted to quickly mention my sidebar.  If you noticed, last week I had a whole week's worth of workouts posted and I marked them done as I got through them.  When I redid my template yesterday, I added this week's all new workout routines.

I plan on doing that every week, for myself.  It helps me stay motivated and holds me accountable too.  But, if they motivate one of you to also start a home workout routine, then all the better, right? :)

Anyway, let's see what is going on in our households, shall we? 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

{ Happy Mother's Day }


Twenty years ago, I joined the mother's club.

The Lord had seen fit to give me the responsibility of birthing and raising two human beings, two little lives that I would guide through life, love and nurture.

I am incredibly blessed with the two children that I have.  I often look at old photos like these and I miss the times when they were little and needed me more, or rather, needed me differently, because even though they are now 20 and 16, they still need me in different ways and I'm only too happy to be here for whatever that may be.

Friday, May 10, 2019

{ Last day of school - Summer is officially here }


It's been a whirlwind of activity around here.  I'm tired, I'm really tired, but so happy to be done for the next few months and to welcome summer with open arms.

As I type this, we have just handed in our last assignment.

The feeling of relieve was immediate, and I think it's that way for every school aged child, parent and teacher at this time of the year.  Everyone has had enough, everyone needs a break and so on.

Now that school is out of the way, I can focus and have more time for other things.

Like blogging.

I miss taking tons of photos during my day, and unfortunately at the moment, there is nothing I can really do about it.  I've been taking whatever photos my camera manages to snap, and when it's time to edit I am often left deleting more shots than saving any.  It's frustrating, to say the least, because as a blogger, photography goes hand in hand with what I do and have been doing for over a decade.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

{ By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank - TLC Book Tour }

• Paperback: 432 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 23, 2019)

The Lowcountry of South Carolina is where By Invitation Only begins at a barbecue engagement party thrown by Diane English Stiftel, her brother Floyd, and her parents to celebrate her son’s engagement. On this gorgeous, magical night, the bride’s father, Alejandro Cambria, a wealthy power broker whose unbelievably successful career in private equity made him one of Chicago’s celebrated elite, discovers the limits and possibilities of cell phone range. While the mother of the bride, Susan Kennedy Cambria, who dabbles in the world of public relations and believes herself deserving of every square inch of her multimillion-dollar penthouse and imaginary carrara marble pedestal, learns about moonshine and dangerous liaisons.

Monday, May 06, 2019

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 05/06/2019 }

Good morning everyone, welcome to another Happy Homemaker Monday.

How was your weekend?  I sure hope you had a good, restful one.  Mine was quite nice.  Saturday afternoon we headed to the mall to get Jasmine's birthday gifts.  It's getting harder to figure out what to give the kids as they get older, and so the best way has been to let them pick their own and that is what she did.

After that we had a nice quiet dinner at Denny's and then headed back home to relax.

Sunday was spent around the house, Curt and I completely moved our bedroom around.  It looks huge now although I'm trying to get used to the way it is set up.

Anyway, enough blabbing, let's go on with our post today.

Wishing you all a blessed week ahead :)

Sunday, May 05, 2019

{ Best International Period Dramas on Netflix }

Maybe you're trying to improve a second language, or learn a new one altogether, or maybe you're just like me and love period pieces so much that it doesn't matter what language they come in.

Last week I mentioned Morocco:  Love in Times of War.  It is a Spanish speaking period drama available on Netflix.  It is so good, but I mean SO good that I literally binge watched in one or two days and I'm hoping really really hard, that a second season is made available.

After I was done with that one I went on the hunt for other period drama series, and what I found was that most of the English ones I've already seen, and the others that I hadn't were all basically international series, Spain, Mexico, Turkey, Poland, Germany, Russia and so forth.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Week of power outtages, tornadoes and a camera ready to break

It's been a week, I tell you that.

We've had quite strong storms, tornadoes in the area, hubby's work was cut back a couple times to get everyone home safe before it got worse, and they even had to seek shelter at one point.

It's been THAT kind of a week.

With all the bad weather, I've lost power in the house multiple times, and have found myself not really able to post anything online.

Along with all this, my beautiful trusty Canon camera is finally on it's last let out the door.  It's been my trusty friend for 9 years.  Most people don't use their cameras that long, I have seen many who have upgraded constantly and don't even use the cameras as often as I do mine.

We've just never had it in our budget to upgrade my camera, though it's something I've dreamed of for many years, so I've had to be very careful with it, and I have taken great care of my trusty friend.  But it's old, it's feeling all the use I've gotten out of it, and some of the lenses don't even work anymore.

I haven't been able to get good photos and it's led to frustration.