Can’t Wait Wednesday: Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott

Happy 2020! I have a new science fiction series today. A good way to start my new book year!

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books set to publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

Unconquerable Sun

by Kate Elliott

Series: The Sun Chronicles #1

Published by Tor Books

Publication Date: July 7

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Retelling

Synopsis: Princess Sun has finally come of age.

Growing up in the shadow of her mother, Eirene, has been no easy task. The legendary queen-marshal did what everyone thought impossible: expel the invaders and build Chaonia into a magnificent republic, one to be respected—and feared.

But the cutthroat ambassador corps and conniving noble houses have never ceased to scheme—and they have plans that need Sun to be removed as heir, or better yet, dead.

To survive, the princess must rely on her wits and companions: her biggest rival, her secret lover, and a dangerous prisoner of war.

Take the brilliance and cunning courage of Princess Leia—add in a dazzling futuristic setting where pop culture and propaganda are one and the same—and hold on tight:

This is the space opera you’ve been waiting for.


I’ve read several books by Kate Elliott and this sounds like a good new science fiction space opera series which I’m always excited to find. And I like finding a new science fiction series on New Year’s Day 2020!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate Christmas and Happy Holidays to those who celebrate other holidays at this time of the year.

I’ve always loved Christmas and my kids and husband do, too! We’re having Christmas in Indiana with one of our daughters. She has such cute ornaments on her tree. Our Illinois daughter and Seattle son arrived on Christmas Eve. During Christmas Eve day we went to see A Christmas Carol done by the Indiana Repertory Theater. We’re also playing various card games and putting together jigsaw puzzles in between the eating!

I was looking at old Christmas pictures and found this Christmas card my husband’s family sent when he was a child:

I think it’s such a cute card and was obviously before everyone sent photos!

I found this photo of my brother and me from when I was about five years old. I know my brother got a chemistry set that year, but I don’t know exactly what gifts I received except for the Velvet Eyes book I see in the photo. Apparently Velvet Eyes was a story about “Santa’s little helper.” But I don’t remember it at all!

Do you celebrate Christmas or some other holiday like Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Or do you just enjoy having some days off?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our Thanksgiving gathering from several years ago

I’m at Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. The large extended family has gotten together for over 50 years. This is the last year we will get together at the above house. My father-in-law died in the spring and the house is for sale. We’re doing one last Thanksgiving here. After this year one of my nieces plans to host the Thanksgiving gathering. It will be held in Indianapolis instead of Iowa which may mean a smaller gathering in the future. All things have to change at some point.

I’m grateful for . . .

  • Our large extended family that has made Thanksgiving such a wonderful tradition.
  • My husband and children. That we all love each other and can have fun together.
  • My health. After my surgery earlier in the month I realize once again what a wonderful thing it is to feel healthy.
  • My friends with whom I share stories and laughter.
  • Authors writing books. I love to read and am so grateful that so many authors are writing books I love to read.
  • My ebook reader that allows me to read at night, to set it on my lap when my hands hurt, to change the size of the font when my eyes need a bigger font, to carry hundreds of books in my purse.
  • My cats who give me so much pleasure every day.
  • My children’s dogs and cats I get to enjoy when I visit or they visit.
  • My house and yard. That we have a house and yard. And I love the serenity of my house and yard.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate Thanksgiving in November. And to everyone else I hope you’re having a wonderful day!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

We stayed home on New Year’s Eve and our daughter came over for dinner. We watched a movie–Death at a Funeral (the 2007 British version and loved it)–and played a card game. We had lots of fun and my husband and I went to bed before midnight. I guess that’s kind of pathetic, but we don’t go out on New Year’s Eve and we usually don’t stay up until midnight. New Year’s Eve isn’t a big holiday for us.

We had a very low-key day on New Year’s Day–watched a little football and ate leftovers. I started a reorganization of my craft room for the new year.

I hope everyone has a very happy year. I know many people are glad 2016 is over and it did have difficult moments, but there were also lots of good times, too. I’m trying to remember those good moments!

I’ve spent the last week since Christmas pondering what I want to accomplish in 2017. I’m not making resolutions, but I am setting goals. I’m not sure there’s a lot of difference, but goals seem more positive to me.

Over the next week or so I plan to state my goals for my blog. I’m still creating them and they are a work in progress anyway.

Anyway, I’m hoping the year is starting out well for all of you.


Today is a good day for my husband and me since it is our 35th wedding anniversary. We tend are low-key about our anniversaries, but we are going out to dinner to celebrate. Looking forward to that since we haven’t been out too much since my husband was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago. (He’s doing well, by the way so we have lots to celebrate.)

What did you do for New Year’s Eve? On New Year’s Day? What are your plans for 2017?





Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate

‘Twas Christmas broach’d the mightiest ale;
‘Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man’s heart through half the year.
–Walter Scott

“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings

When I discovered libraries, it was like having Christmas every day.
— Jean Fritz


My three kids are with us and I feel very lucky to have them here to celebrate our first Christmas in our new house.

I made cards this year and had lots of fun making them though I got a late start. I didn’t get my  cards sent out until this week, but I did get them sent out with a short note so that made me happy!


I haven’t posted much in December. It has been a very busy month plus I’ve had various computer problems most of the month. My son is here for Christmas and has solved the last of the computer problems…at least for now.

I plan to get back on schedule after Christmas. For now I hope you all have a wonderful day!

How are you spending your day?




Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon Goals

HoHoHo Readathon Goals

I enjoy participating in the Ho-Ho-H0 Readathon every year. It’s hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer and is so much fun.

Besides reading or listening to books there are challenges to participate in as well as a twitter party (on Nov 15). And we can twitter our progress at #HoHoHoRAT.

Goals for Readathon

  • Read three Christmas/winter themed books
  • I hope I can take part in at least one challenge.
  • I want to tweet my progress during the week and participate in the twitter party.
  • I shared a favorite Christmas cookie recipe last year and hope to do the same this year.


I had this goal post written before my husband got sick. Because I’m going to focus on him especially the next couple of weeks my main participation is going to be reading. If I get anything else done that will be great, but I just have to see how it goes.

Books I’ll choose from

The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delany

Death of a Toy Soldier by Barbara Early

Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis & Barbara Ross

Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Anthology edited by Jennifer Brozek

The Magic of Christmas by Sarah Morgan

Envious Casca: Inspector Hemingway series by Georgette Heyer

I also have a number of holiday romance short story anthologies so I may pick a story here and there from them.

If you haven’t signed up for this readathon check it out on Kimba’s website. It’s fun!









The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

the-christmas-joy-ride-by-melody-carlsonThe Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson
Series: None
Genre: Christmas Fiction (Inspirational)
Setting: On the road between Chicago and Arizona
Published by Revell
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Sep 1, 2015)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
176 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that’s exactly what she’s getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix–in the dead of winter, no less–the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride–and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.

No one captures the heartwarming fun of the Christmas season quite like Melody Carlson. Fasten your seat belt, because it’s going to be an exciting ride!

Initial impressions

  • Lots of Christmas cheer! A feel-good book.


  • I chose the book totally based on the cover. I thought it looked like a fun Christmas book and it was. I love the cover!
  • I didn’t realize it was an inspirational (Christian fiction), but though God and Jesus are talked about I didn’t think it was too much. After all, the book is about Christmas!
  • This is a road trip book which is always fun. And Joy has planned her trip stops to spread her Christmas joy to people who need help.
  • The author is good at creating unique situations and characters. I like that Joy who is 85 years old has a blog! And that Miranda who is Joy’s neighbor helps her with the blog. Joy has a motor home she plans to drive from Chicago to Arizona! Not many 85 year olds would plan a trip like that. Miranda steps in and insists on going with her to help.
  • I like that Joy doesn’t spend time feeling sorry for herself–her husband died, she had to sell the home she shared with her husband, she’s going to Arizona where her sons live to live in an assisted living facility. Instead she thinks about others and spreads Christmas joy wherever she goes.
  • Miranda is in worse trouble than Joy since she’s losing her home after her husband left her. She has little money and no job. But she’s willing to put her problems behind her to help Joy with her trip. (And it helps Miranda think about something besides her problems.)
  • There’s a bit of romance in the book.


  • All the people Joy picks to visit based on a contest on her blog are truly in need of help. There are no scams. I don’t think that’s realistic. However, the book is set at Christmas so it’s nice for that to happen.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This was a quick read and a nice book for Christmas. A good reminder to think about others and not so much about ourselves.
  • I’m reviewing the book during the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-Thon for people looking for a Christmas book to read.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

–about Melody Carlson
  • “My husband Chris and I live in a cabin-style home next to the National Forest in the beautiful Cascade Mountain area of the Pacific Northwest. Our two grown sons and granddaughter live nearby and we try to see them as often as we can. We also have two “re-homed” pets to make life more interesting–our yellow Labrador retriever Audrey and a Maine coon cat named Harry.”

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book set during Christmas)
  • Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-Thon–hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Jennifer @ The Book Shelfery–a Christmas book review for people to enjoy during the Read-a-Thon.

Happy 2015!


Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful 2014 and will have a great 2015!

A quote for childhood and forever:

“From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.”

― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A favorite poem about books–

Books Fall Open
by David McCord

Books fall open, you fall in,
delighted where you’ve never been;
hear voices not once heard before,
reach world on world through door on door;
find unexpected keys to things locked up beyond imaginings.

What might you be, perhaps become,
because one book is somewhere?
Some wise delver into wisdom, wit,
and wherewithal has written it.
True books will venture, dare you out,
whisper secrets, maybe shout
across the gloom to you in need,
who hanker for a book to read.

And a quote for the New Year:

“So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.”

― Neil Gaiman

Here’s to lots of wonderful books and lots of time to read them.

Family Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving . . .

to all the Americans celebrating today and to everyone else who reads my blog.

I’m very thankful to my followers and friends who read and comment on my blog. Whatever you’re doing I hope you have a wonderful day. I know Canada celebrates Thanksgiving in October, but I don’t know if other countries have similar holidays or not. I have a niece and nephew living in Germany who are celebrating Friendsgiving!

Our family has celebrated Thanksgiving for many years in Iowa with my husband’s family. This is the extended family and it’s a big one! Depending on the year we may have 40 people to as many as 75 people. My husband’s family began this Thanksgiving tradition nearly 50 years ago. So the young people in the family grew up with this tradition and as they have married and had children of their own they want this tradition to continue.

Some of our traditions:

Thanksgiving costumes--pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce & Leftovers
Thanksgiving costumes–pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce & Leftovers

  • A dinner Wednesday evening at a restaurant
  • Fun activities before Thanksgiving dinner–we’ve had an ugly Christmas sweater contest and race, a costume contest, a scavenger hunt, team Olympics and many other activities over the years
  • Thanksgiving dinner
  • A walk in the local cemetery after dinner
  • Soup and sandwiches at the hotel most of us stay at Thanksgiving evening

Most of these traditions include food of some sort!

This year we have so many special activities going on we don’t have time for any other activities!

  • A surprise birthday party
  • A christening Thanksgiving morning plus party afterward
  • An engagement party Thanksgiving evening
  • A bridal shower Friday morning

What special holidays and traditions do your family celebrate?