Reading Break

I didn’t post a review on Monday, and there won’t be one tomorrow. Next Monday will probably be review-free, too.

I’m about to finish up my first college degree. My last day of class is March 14th, so I’m choosing to focus on finishing strong this week. After next Monday, I’ll get back to my usual posting schedule. I just need to devote my time to class for the next several days.

I’ll be back next week!


So you may have noticed a complete lack of reviews for nearly all of 2015. My college classes got harder, I spent more time sick, and as a result, my reading was placed on hold.

I only read 25 books this year, and never really had the time to review all of them. For someone who depends on books to live as much as she depends on oxygen to breath, this year was hard. I had so many books I wanted to read, but could never find a time to read them.

2016 will be different, though. I’m done with school (at least temporarily) in March. I’ll have more time to read, review, and work on my own writings. I’m already planning my review schedule, and writing some pre-scheduled reviews.

2016 is going to be a good year and I’m looking forward to it.

2014 Year in Review

2014 has come to an end.

I definitely didn’t read as many books as I wanted to. My goal was 100, and I read 62. Still a good number. My goal next year will be 100 again. Hopefully I’ll be able to reach it.

I struggled with my reading time this year, but I struggled more with my personal writing time. It can be difficult to focus on getting anything done when all you want to do is sleep. My goal for 2015 is to set aside time every week to just sit down and write. I want to be able to finish my book by this time next year. Or at least a really rough version of it. Editing can always take place later.

I also made the jump into personal blogging. That blog, Butterflies and 65 Roses, began today. It’s going to be the place where I share my journey to find all the good and beautiful things life has to offer.

I’ve already started my 2015 book reading, and I’m excited to get back to sharing my thoughts and feelings about book with everyone.

Happy New Year!


As you might have noticed, I’m a bit behind on reviews. Again. And trust me, I don’t feel good about it.

But this isn’t a review, or a commentary on books. It’s not an apology for being behind, either.

OneRepublic is a Colorado band. I’ve loved them for this reason for years. So when they released their most recent video, I cried. Because they feature a boy from Colorado who has cystic fibrosis.

I have cystic fibrosis and have been fighting against it for 24 years. I was diagnosed 10 weeks after I was born. I wasn’t gaining weight and my pediatrician referred my parents to the Colorado cystic fibrosis children’s clinic. That’s when they found out that despite the newborn screening test saying I did not have CF, I did have the disease.

Starting from that moment, my life has been a series of treatments, medications, and hospital stays. I was relatively healthy for 14 years. I played sports, did my treatments, and took the best care of myself that I could.

I was visiting family in Cincinnati when I was 13, almost 14. I was having an amazing time. I woke up at 2am one morning with a cough. Nothing new. But when the cough didn’t go away, and I continued to cough something up, I went to the bathroom to spit. And when I did, all I could see was the bright red blood staring back at me.

I spent a week in the hospital. I left the day before my 14th birthday. But my problems had only started because my sophomore year of high school I contracted pneumonia. It damaged my lungs enough that every three months, I would start coughing up a lot of blood. I can’t taste blood without having a panic attack now.

I had a portion of my lung removed when I was 18. I spent 28 days in the hospital and had to drop out of my first semester of college. My problems went away for a while and I started to get back to living as normal a life as I could.

Last year, I contracted Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA. I have spent the last 14 months fighting one of the worst infections I’ve ever had. I finally gave in and got a medical port. I’ve spent nearly as many days on IV antibiotics as off them.

Cystic Fibrosis is a horrible disease. It’s given me more problems than I can count. I search for a silver lining in every moment, though. I’ve gotten good at finding the good through the bad. That’s why OneRepublic’s video means so much to me.

Many people don’t know much about this disease. It doesn’t get the recognition as other illnesses. OneRepublic is shining a light into a dark place with this video.

Please take a few moments and watch this video. It would mean so much to me to get the word about.

I Lived – OneRepublic

Review: Arcana by Jessica Leake

Title: Arcana
Author: Jessica Leake
Rating: ★★★★

ArcanaArcana started off a little shaky for me. It wasn’t that it was bad, but it didn’t hook me right away. I continued reading, though, mostly because I’m a history nut and this book has some history in it. After the rocky start, things really started to pick up, and I found myself unable to put the book down until I had finished.

Katherine Sinclair is different from most people in more than a few ways. As a girl, she’s completely uninterested in going to London for her debut. She doesn’t really think she needs a husband, and she finds the social rules smothering. She also has the power of the sun inside her. She can call upon this power for magic, and even though she keeps it hidden most of the time, sometimes she can’t help but let her magic flow. On top of this, she is forced to London where the handsome Earl of Thornewood is her companion. She must figure out who is part of the Order whose only goal is to harness the power of Arcana through destructive means, while trying to maneuver London society.

Katherine didn’t connect with me right away. Her character felt a little out of reach. Once she made it to London, where she struggles with keeping her true character hidden behind the picture society paints, I started to like her more. She has a quick wit, and sometimes her mouth runs without thinking. She thinks of her family first, and cares deeply for anyone who she considers close to her. She also knows that she can’t depend on anyone else for her safety. She may not always be ready to fight, but she’ll try to find a way to keep herself from harm.

The two male characters in this novel were interesting. I would have liked maybe a little more mystery about who was good and who was bad, but I’ll take what I can get. It was pretty clear from the moment both characters were introduced how they would be divided. While there’s really nothing wrong with this, sometimes I like to guess.

The plot itself was interesting. I would have liked a little more weaving of the arcana into the story. I think the novel could have easily read as a good book without the magical element. I wanted the magic there, though. Near the end, it became more of the storyline, but I would have liked more throughout the entire novel.

Arcana started off slow, but soon I was completely drawn into the world Leake created. She has a beautiful writing style and she really made me interested in the characters’ lives. It’s a good book, although you’ll have to like historical fiction and debutante politics.

If you’d like to read Arcana, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher, Talos, for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Reviews Update

As I mentioned in this post, I’ve been facing some health issues that had really cut into my reading a posting time. Unfortunately, I’m still trying to get over them and I have fallen behind in my reviewing. I haven’t had the energy to finish a book in a couple weeks (and that is really not like me). I’ve just been too tired to read for very long.

As a result, I’ve exhausted my review reserve and haven’t had anything new to post recently. I’m still working on reading, but until I can get everything back under control, reviews might be a little sporadic. I really hate doing this, but it’s something that’s out of my control.

I’m hoping to get back to reviewing and doing other posts soon. I miss reading and miss reading a book a day. Hopefully you’ll stick with me until I’m back. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your book recommendations. I’ll need some books to read once I’m back in the groove.

Posting Update

Some of you may have noticed the blog has gone back to posting just reviews. I promise, that is not my intention. I liked writing Can’t Wait For Mondays and Book Talks. However, I’ve been fighting back against some health issues and I haven’t been able to create posts like I would like. I haven’t even been able to read many books. Most of the posts were set up over a month ago.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back to reading and posting as much as I was a couple months ago. I enjoyed hearing your opinions and I hope you enjoy reading the reviews.

Until then, I’ll be working on getting back to a healthy point, reading when I can, and writing reviews when time allows.


Review: The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston

Title: The Winter Witch
Author: Paula Brackston
Rating: ★★★★

The Winter Witch is a bit different than The Witch’s Daughter. The storyline doesn’t span as many decades, nor does it travel the world. It’s not set in modern times, but instead a couple centuries ago. It is just as wonderful, if not more so, than The Witch’s Daughter.

The village Morgana grew up in knows she’s a little different. She doesn’t speak, not because she can’t, but because she just doesn’t. She has powers that she hasn’t been taught to control and that show themselves when the time is wrong. Her mother arranges for her to be married to Cai, a marriage that will take Morgana from home and hopefully away from the whispers. While she falls in love with the land immediately, it takes some time before she can admit her feelings for Cai. There’s a force in town working against her that will stop at nothing to get what it wants.

Morgana is a fantastic character. She may not speak, but she finds ways to communicate as best she can. She doesn’t know how to handle the magic inside of her and she’s smart enough to know that’s a problem. She might have been impulsive as a child, but she has a little more control over herself now. Strong emotions are what bring out her magic. Even though the story takes place in the 19th century, Morgana does not fall into that submissive female role. She fights for herself and those she loves, doing what is necessary and right to save the people around her.

Cai is not the strong, dominate male you’d expect from a period novel. He has a great respect for Morgana and views her more as his equal than his property. He wants to do right by her, something that he doesn’t have to do according to the standards of the time. He’s sweet and loving, and even though he misses his first wife, he is able to understand that she is gone, but Morgana is right in front of him. He’s also willing to act however he needs to in order to provide a wonderful life for Morgana.

Mrs. Jones is one of my favorite characters of the novel. Her personality is perfect and exactly what Morgana and Cai need in order to find a happy life together. Mrs. Jones fills in as Morgana’s mother figure and gives her the love she needs to make the transition into married life as smooth as possible.

The story itself was simple, yet beautifully done. It all centers around the love that Cai and Morgana have for each other, and how they will each stop at nothing to protect their life together. Morgana must fight the magical forces trying to separate them and Cai must fight the physical threats. They work fantastically as a team, both in the relationship and defending it.

The Winter Witch is a wonderful, beautiful novel that will both tug at your heartstrings and have you sitting on the edge of your seat. It leaves a content feeling as the last page closes, one that lets you take a breath and relax. It’s a lovely novel and Brackston is working her way onto my must-read author shelf. This is definitely a good book to read if you enjoy historical fiction with some magic and romance thrown in, this is the book for you.

If The Winter Witch sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble