Book Blast: Decorum


Decorum: A Novel by Kaaren Christopherson

Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Kensington Publishing Corp.
Foramts: eBook, Paperback, Audio
Pages: 425
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
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Kaaren Christopherson’s brilliantly observed novel captures the glamour and grit of one of the world’s most dazzling cities during one of its most tumultuous eras–as seen through the eyes of a singularly captivating heroine…

In 1890s New York, beautiful, wealthy Francesca Lund is an intriguing prospect for worthy suitors and fortune hunters alike. Recently orphaned, she copes by working with the poor in the city’s settlement movement. But a young woman of means can’t shun society for long, and Francesca’s long-standing acquaintance with dashing Edmund Tracey eventually leads to engagement. Yet her sheltered upbringing doesn’t blind her to the indiscretions of the well-to-do…

Among the fashionable circle that gathers around her there are mistresses, scandals, and gentlemen of ruthless ambition. And there is Connor O’Casey–an entirely new kind of New Yorker. A self-made millionaire of Irish stock, Connor wants more than riches. He wants to create a legacy in the form of a luxury Madison Avenue hotel–and he wants Francesca by his side as he does it. In a quest that will take her from impeccable Manhattan salons to the wild Canadian Rockies, Francesca must choose not only between two vastly different men, but between convention and her own emerging self-reliance.

Rules Of Decorum

A gentleman should not be presented to a lady without her permission being previously asked and granted. This formality is not necessary between men alone; but, still, you should not present any one, even at his own request, to another, unless you are quite well assured that the acquaintance will be agreeable to the latter.

If you wish to avoid the company of any one that has been properly introduced, satisfy your own mind that your reasons are correct; and then let no inducement cause you to shrink from treating him with respect, at the same time shunning his company. No gentleman will thus be able either to blame or mistake you.

The mode in which the avowal of love should be made, must of course, depend upon circumstances. It would be impossible to indicate the style in which the matter should be told… Let it, however, be taken as a rule that an interview is best; but let it be remembered that all rules have exceptions…


“A story of discovery, entitlement and love.” – Northern Virginia Magazine

“Remarkable in its similarities to the work of Edith Wharton. The reader feels drawn into a world of glamour, glitz, and supreme hypocrisy. Everything is permissible as long as one does not get caught. It is a drama of manners and the stakes are high—one misstep could mean social oblivion…[Decorum] will appeal to a wide range of readers, particularly those who enjoy period novels such as Age of Innocence and The Portrait of a Lady.” – The Historical Novel Society

“Beautiful heiress Francesca Lund must figure out how to assert her ideas within the confines of 1890’s New York high society.” – Library Journal

“Reminiscent of Washington Square but with a more modern heroine, Decorum illuminates the dark world beneath New York society. Christopherson incorporates a clever mystery and populates the novel with a large cast of characters.” – RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

About the Author

03_Kaaren ChristophersonKaaren Christopherson is the author of Decorum—a novel about Gilded Age New York—that began taking form in 1999 during a course on writing historical fiction. From that moment, Connor O’Casey (who had been rattling around in her brain for months) finally appeared one night and said, “All right, woman. Here I am. What are you going to do about my story?” So she began to put his words on paper, and he hasn’t kept quiet since. Soon Francesca, Blanche, Tracey, Vinnie, and the rest of the characters began arguing, gossiping, loving, and forming themselves into Kaaren’s first novel.

Kaaren has had a professional career writing and editing for over 30 years and is a senior editor for an international development nonprofit organization in Washington, DC.

She has written fiction since her school days, story poems, children’s books, historical fiction, and time travel, and continues to be active in writer’s groups and writing workshops. In addition to her career as a writer, Kaaren was the owner of a decorative painting business. She loves to travel and prowl through historical sites, galleries, and museums. She is active in several churches in DC and in her local Northern Virginia community, where she shares her home with feline brothers, Archie and Sammy.

A Michigan native, Kaaren received her BA in history and art and her MA in educational administration from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

For more information visit Kaaren Christopherson’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


To win a Paperback or AudioBook of Decorum please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.


– Giveaway starts at 12:01am EST on November 15th and ends at 11:59pm EST on December 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Decorum Book Blast

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Book Blast: The Lion and the Rose

03_Book One_William Rising

The Lion and the Rose (Book One: William Rising)

Publication Date: June 18, 2014
eBook; 338 Pages | ASIN: B00L4K5GKE

Genre: Historical Fiction

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The Lion and the Rose, Part One: William Rising is the first book in an epic historical saga from debut author Hilary Rhodes. Extensively researched and compellingly told, it introduces us to the passionate drama and violent upheaval of eleventh-century Europe. The world as we know it, and the English language, would have been vastly different were it not for the driving ambition of one man: William the Conqueror. But conquerors are made, not born, and William was made in fire and blood. How does a boy become a man, surviving a tumultuous and terrifying childhood? And how does that man become a legend?

William Rising plunges us into this world of danger and betrayal, of choosing sides and dying for absolutes. It follows the creation of a conqueror, as he grows up abandoned, learns to fight at an early age for anything he hopes to keep, and is sculpted into a remorseless, far-sighted, ruthlessly efficient soldier and statesman. From his origins as an orphaned, penniless bastard boy, to his personal and political trials by fire, to the climactic battle with his rebellious barons where he finally comes of age, the young duke increasingly establishes himself as a force to be reckoned with. But as the shadowy intrigues of English politics, and the all-consuming question of an heir for a childless king, begin to draw him into their web, it may just be that William of Normandy has a destiny far greater than even he has ever dreamed.


03_Book Two_The Gathering StormThe Lion and the Rose (Book Two: The Gathering Storm)

Publication Date: September 29, 2014
eBook; 294 Pages | ASIN: B00O2E30GG

Genre: Historical Fiction

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The Lion and the Rose: William Rising introduced us to the young William, Duke of Normandy, and his treacherous and terrible childhood, beset by battles, betrayals, and heartbreak, as he fought his own barons to survive and claim his birthright. The Gathering Storm plunges us even deeper into the violent upheaval and passionate drama of his unfolding story. Now twenty-two, William has won his most pivotal battle and taken control of his inheritance, but impossible struggles loom as he fights to put Normandy back together — and very few of his enemies are actually defeated. Furthermore, across the Channel, the question of an heir for a childless king begins to loom large, and the ruthless and scheming Godwin, Earl of Wessex, will stop at nothing to claim it for his family.

Written with the same meticulous historical research and flair by debut author Hilary Rhodes, The Gathering Storm raises the stakes to the utmost level, and a crown and a kingdom hang in the balance. In these pages, lords rise and fall, England and Normandy are drawn into a perilous collision course, bishops, barons, dukes, queens, and earls play a dangerous game of power and glory, and those who are not strong enough are trampled underfoot. The crows circle and the banners are raised, and the last Saxon king and the greatest Norman duke are destined to face each other in a battle that will change the course of history.


04_The Outlander KingThe Outlander King (The Aetheling’s Bride, Book One)

Publication Date: June 1, 2015
eBook; 476 Pages | ASIN: B00XM9QJ1K

Genre: Historical Fiction

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The story of The Lion and the Rose and the Norman Conquest continues in this spellbinding new historical fiction series from author Hilary Rhodes, pulling back the curtain on the lives of two remarkable women connected across centuries: Aislinn, a seventeen-year-old English girl caught up in the advancing army of the “outlander king,” the man who will become known to history as William the Conqueror. Thrust into the center of the new Norman court and a dizzying web of political intrigue and plotting princes, she must choose her alliances carefully in a game of thrones where the stakes are unimaginably high. Embroiled in rebellions and betrayals, Aislinn learns the price of loyalty, struggles to find her home, and save those she loves – and, perhaps, her own soul as well.

Almost nine hundred years later in 1987, Selma Murray, an American graduate student at Oxford University, is researching the mysterious “Aethelinga” manuscript, as Aislinn’s chronicle has come to be known. Trying to work out the riddles of someone else’s past is a way for Selma to dodge her own troubling ghosts – yet the two are becoming inextricably intertwined. She must face her own demons, answer Aislinn’s questions, and find forgiveness – for herself and others – in this epically scaled but intimately examined, extensively researched look at the creation of history, the universality of humanity, and the many faces it has worn no matter the century: loss, grief, guilt, redemption, and love.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR02_Author Hilary Rhodes

Hilary Rhodes is a scholar, author, blogger, and all-around geek who fell in love with medieval England while spending a year abroad at Oxford University. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in history, and is currently preparing for doctoral studies at the University of Leeds, fulfilling a years-long dream to return to the UK. In what little spare time she has, she enjoys reading, blogging about her favorite TV shows, movies, and books, music, and traveling.

For more information please visit Hilary Rhodes’ blog.


Monday, July 27
Kinx’s Book Nook

Tuesday, July 28
Book Nerd
What Is That Book About

Wednesday, July 29
The Never-Ending Book
To Read, Or Not to Read

Thursday, July 30
Books and Benches
Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, July 31
The Lit Bitch
Queen of All She Reads

Sunday, August 2
Genre Queen

Monday, August 3
The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, August 4
Room With Books
Passages to the Past

Wednesday, August 5
100 Pages a Day
The True Book Addict

Thursday, August 6
A Book Geek
Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, August 7
CelticLady’s Reviews
Let Them Read Books

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Review: Murder By Disputation

Death By Disputation (A Francis Bacon Murder Mystery Book 2)
Written by Anna Castle
Published on December 21, 2014 by Anna Castle
Historical Fiction; 312 pages


Thomas Clarady is recruited to spy on a group of radical Puritans at Cambridge University. Francis Bacon is his spymaster; his tutor in both tradecraft and religious politics. Their commission gets off to a deadly start when Tom finds his chief informant hanging from the roof beams. Now he must catch a murderer as well as a seditioner. His first suspect is volatile poet Christopher Marlow, who keeps turning up in the wrong places.

Dogged by unreliable assistants, chased by three lusty women, and harangued daily by the exacting Bacon, Tom risks his very soul to catch the villains and win his reward.

Death By Disputation is the next foray is a very fun series by Anna Castle. I enjoyed her first immensely; however, I found this book a little disappointing. I still enjoyed it but not as much as the first. The story begins as a murder mystery, then quickly transitions to a political mystery and finally a potential romance. All three stories seemed to be major plotlines. I would have liked to focus on one major plotlines and then the others would be minor plotlines. I felt that the murder mystery was just an afterthought instead of a true mystery that needed to be primary focus.

But don’t get me wrong! I still enjoyed the book. I love Ms. Castle’s portrayal of all the characters. Tom is such a fun and lively character. I liked the conflict that we was feeling throughout the story. I found the religious politics very interesting; especially as Tom got deeper and deeper into the Puritan community. His conflict between is mission and having empathy for his targets made for some really good reading. Furthermore, I loved Ms. Castle’s naming of her characters. The names of the Wingfield family were just perfect!

A great minor character that is quickly turning into a major character is Trumpett. She is just amazing; fun, brash, and quick-witted. She provided some needed levity to the story. I really look forward to how her and Tom’s relationship develops.

Even with a few plot issues, this book was a fun read with lots of political and religious intrigue. The characters are fun and lively. I look forward to Ms. Castle’s next Bacon adventure.


It’s Monday! What are you reading?!


Welcome to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?! This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well…you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! Hosted by Book Journey.

Last Week:

This Week:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Order of the PhoenixHarry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected…


Death by Disputation by Anna Castle

24083300Thomas Clarady is recruited to spy on a group of radical Puritans at Cambridge University. Francis Bacon is his spymaster; his tutor in both tradecraft and religious politics. Their commission gets off to a deadly start when Tom finds his chief informant hanging from the roof beams. Now he must catch a murderer as well as a seditioner. His first suspect is volatile poet Christopher Marlowe, who keeps turning up in the wrong places.

Dogged by unreliable assistants, chased by three lusty women, and harangued daily by the exacting Bacon, Tom risks his very soul to catch the villains and win his reward.

Audiobook of the Week:

51rZT5DkgdL__SL300_Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (Narrated by Michael C. Hall)

Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote’s masterstroke about a young writer’s charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the “American geisha” Holly Golightly. Holly – a World War II-era society girl in her late teens – survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

What are you reading this week?



Deborah Harkness: A Conversation

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I’m so honored to have the marvelous Deborah Harkness visiting my blog! The All Souls Trilogy has been absolute favorite of mine. THE BOOK OF LIFE has been released in paperback and I hope this gives you the opportunity to dive into her magical world. If you would like to read my reviews of each of her books, I have the links at the end of her conservation. If there is one trilogy you have to read this summer, the All Souls Trilogy has to be it. You will LOVE it!!

A Conversation with Deborah Harkness

Q: In your day job, you are a professor of history and science at the University of Southern California and have focused on alchemy in your research. What aspects of this intersection between science and magic do you hope readers will pick up while reading THE BOOK OF LIFE?

A: There is. Welcome back to the present! What I hope readers come to appreciate is that science – past or present – is nothing more than a method for asking and answering questions about the world and our place in it. Once, some of those questions were answered alchemically. Today, they might be answered biochemically and genetically. In the future? Who knows. But Matthew is right in suggesting that there are really remarkably  few scientific questions and we have been posing them for a very long time. Two of them are: who am I? why am I here?

Q: Much of the conflict in the book seems to mirror issues of race and sexuality in our society, and there seems to be a definite  moral conclusion to THE BOOK OF LIFE. Could you discuss this? Do you find that a strength of fantasy  novels is their ability to not only to allow readers to escape, but to also challenge them to face important moral issues?


 A: Human beings like to sort and categorize. We have done this since the beginnings of recorded history, and probably well back beyond that point. One of the most common ways to do that is to group things that are “alike” and things that are “different.” Often, we fear what is not like us. Many of the world’s  ills have stemmed from someone (or a group of someones) deciding what is different is also dangerous. Witches, women, people of color, people of different faiths, people of different sexual orientations – all have been targets of this process of singling others out and labeling them different and therefore undesirable. Like my interest in exploring what a family is, the issue of difference and respect for difference (rather than fear) informed every page of the All Souls Trilogy. And yes, I do think that dealing with fantastic creatures like daemons, vampires and witches rather than confronting issues of race and sexuality directly can enable readers to think through these issues in a useful way and perhaps come to different conclusions about member of their own families and communities. As I often say when people ask me why supernatural creatures are so popular these days: witches and vampires are monsters to think with.

Q: From the moment Matthew and a pregnant Diana arrive back at Sept Tours and reinstate themselves back into the sprawling family of witches and vampires, it becomes clear that the meaning of family will be an important idea for THE BOOK OF LIFE. How does this unify the whole series? Do you draw on your own life?

A: Since time immemorial the family has been an important way for people to organize themselves in the world. In the past, the “traditional” family was a sprawling and blended unit that embraced immediate relatives, in-laws and their immediate families, servants, orphaned children, the children your partner might bring into a family from a previous relationship, and other dependents. Marriage was an equally flexible and elastic concept in many places and times. Given how old my vampires are, and the fact that witches are the keepers of tradition, I wanted to explore from the very first page of the series the truly traditional basis of family: unqualified love and mutual responsibility. That is certainly the meaning of family that my parents aught me.

Q: While there are entire genres devoted to stories of witches, vampires, and ghosts, the idea of a weaver – a witch who eaves original spells – feels very unique to THE BOOK OF LIFE. What resources helped you gain inspiration for Diana’s uniqueness?

A: Believe it or not, my inspiration for weaving came from a branch of mathematics called topology. I became intrigued by mathematical theories of mutability to go along with my alchemical theories of mutability and change. Topology is a mathematical study of shapes and spaces that theorizes how far something can be stretched or twisted without breaking. You could says it’s a mathematical theory of connectivity and continuity (two familiar themes to any reader of the All Souls Trilogy). I wondered if I could come up with a theory of magic that could be comfortably contained within mathematics, one in which magic could be seen to shape and twist reality without breaking it. I used fabric as a metaphor for this worldview with threads and colors shaping human perceptions. Weavers became the witches who were talented at seeing and manipulating  the underlying fabric. In topology, mathematicians study knots – unbreakable knots with their ends fused together that can twisted and shaped. Soon the mathematics and mechanics of Diana’s magic came into focus.

Q: A Discovery of Witches debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list and Shadow of Night debuted at #1. What has been your reaction to the outpouring of love for the All Souls Trilogy? Was it surprising how taken fans were with Diana and Matthew’s story?


A: It has been amazing – and a bit overwhelming. I was surprised by how quickly readers embraced two central characters who have a considerable number of quirks and challenge our typical notion of what a heroine or hero should be. I continue to be amazed whenever a new reader pops up, whether one in the US or somewhere like Finland or Japan – to tell me how much they enjoyed being caught up in the world of the Bishops and de Clemonts. Sometimes when I meet readers they ask how their friends are doing – meaning Diana, or Matthew, or Miriam. That’s an extraordinary for a writer.

Q: Diana and Matthew, once again, move around to quite a number of locations in THE BOOK OF LIFE, including New Haven, New Orleans, and a few of our favorite old haunts like Oxford, Madison, and Sept-Tours. What inspired you to place your characters in these locations? Have you visited them yourself? 

A: As a writer, I really need to experience the places I write about in my books. I want to know what it smells like, how the air feels when it changes direction, the way the sunlight strikes the windowsill in the morning, the sound of birds and insects. Not every writer may require this, but I do. So I spent time not only in New Haven but undertaking research at the Beinecke Library so that I could understand the rhythms of Diana’s day there. I visited New Orleans several times to imagine my vampires into them. All of the locations I pick are steeped in history and stories about past inhabitants—perfect fuel for any writer’s creative fire.

Q: Did you know back when you wrote A Discovery of Witches how the story would conclude in THE BOOK OF LIFE? Did the direction change once you began the writing process?


A: I knew how the trilogy would end, but I didn’t know exactly how we would get there. The story was well thought out through the beginning of what became The Book of Life, but the chunk between that beginning and the ending (which is as I envisioned it) did change. In part that was because what I had sketched out was too ambitious and complicated—the perils of being not only a first-time trilogy writer but also a first time author. It was very important to me that I resolve and tie up all the threads already in the story so readers had a satisfying conclusion. Early in the writing of The Book of Life it became clear that this wasn’t going to give me much time to introduce new characters or plot twists. I now understand why so many trilogies have four, five, six—or more—books in them. Finishing the trilogy as a trilogy required a lot of determination and a very thick pair of blinders as I left behind characters and story lines that would take me too far from the central story of Diana, Matthew, and the Book of Life.

Q: A Discovery of Witches begins with Diana Bishop stumbling across a lost, enchanted manuscript called Ashmole 782 in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and the secrets contained in the manuscript are at long last revealed in THE BOOK OF LIFE. You had a similar experience while you were completing your dissertation.  What was the story behind your discovery?  And how did it inspire the creation of these novels?

A: I did discover a manuscript—not an enchanted one, alas—in the Bodleian Library. It was a manuscript owned by Queen Elizabeth’s astrologer, the mathematician and alchemist John Dee. In the 1570s and 1580s he became interested in using a crystal ball to talk to angels. The angels gave him all kinds of instructions on how to manage his life at home, his work—they even told him to pack up his family and belongings and go to far-away Poland and Prague. In the conversations, Dee asked the angels about a mysterious book in his library called “the Book of Soyga” or “Aldaraia.” No one had ever been able to find it, even though many of Dee’s other books survive in libraries throughout the world. In the summer of 1994 I was spending time in Oxford between finishing my doctorate and starting my first job. It was a wonderfully creative time, since I had no deadlines to worry about and my dissertation on Dee’s angel conversations was complete. As with most discoveries, this discovery of a “lost” manuscript was entirely accidental. I was looking for something else in the Bodleian’s catalogue and in the upper corner of the page was a reference to a book called “Aldaraia.” I knew it couldn’t be Dee’s book, but I called it up anyway. And it turned out it WAS the book (or at least a copy of it). With the help of the Bodleian’s Keeper of Rare Books, I located another copy in the British Library.

Q: Are there other lost books like this in the world?

A Absolutely! Entire books have been written about famous lost volumes—including works by Plato, Aristotle, and Shakespeare to name just a few. Libraries are full of such treasures, some of them unrecognized and others simply misfiled or mislabeled. And we find lost books outside of libraries, too. In January 2006, a completely unknown manuscript belonging to one of the 17th century’s most prominent scientists, Robert Hooke, was discovered when someone was having the contents of their house valued for auction. The manuscript included minutes of early Royal Society meetings that we presumed were lost forever.

Q: Shadow of Night and A Discovery of Witches have often been compared to young adult fantasy like Twilight, with the caveat that this series is for adults interested in history, science, and academics. Unlike Bella and Edward, Matthew and Diana are card-carrying members of academia who meet in the library of one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Are these characters based on something you found missing in the fantasy genre?

A There are a lot of adults reading young adult books, and for good reason. Authors who specialize in the young adult market are writing original, compelling stories that can make even the most cynical grownups believe in magic. In writing A Discovery of Witches, I wanted to give adult readers a world no less magical, no less surprising and delightful, but one that included grown-up concerns and activities. These are not your children’s vampires and witches.

My Reviews of the All Souls Trilogy:

A Discovery of Witches

Shadow of Night

Book of Life

For additional information or to schedule an interview with

Deborah Harkness, contact:

Lindsay Prevette / 212.366.2224 /

Shannon Twomey / 212.366.2227 /

Emma Mohney / 212.366.2274 /

[Read more…]


Kinx’s Book Nook is currently on hiatus. I’ve started a new job and once I settle in I hope to return to my book reviews.



Review: Erin Condren Life Planner

photo 3 (1)Today, I’m not going to talk about books. Instead, I’m going to review the Erin Condren Life Planner that I received this week. First of all, it is amazing! Second, I can include my entire life in this planner and be organized. Lately, it seems that people use electronic calendars to organize their life. However, I need something more visual and tangible. As you may know, I love books and paper. This Life Planner is exactly what I needed.

There are many options to choose from. I picked the Classic Planner in the multi-colored taffy stripes design. Each planner is personalized and I had my name printed on it. You can have anything that you want on your cover. I love that it is personalized to fit your style and life.

Here is what the Life Planner includes:

  • Interchangeable, laminated , heavy duty cover
  • Inspirational quotes throughout
  • Laminated tabs
  • Two-page monthly spreads
  • Goals and to-do lists for every week and month
  • Weekly spreads divided into morning, day and night
  • Meal/exercise/lists etc section for highlighted daily notes and activities
  • Clear, snap-in page holder/ruler
  • Over 25 lined and designer blank note pages
  • Double-sided folder
  • 240 colorful stickers to highlight birthdays, special events and reminders
  • Bound-in zip lock pocket with 12 gift labels

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I love that the covers are interchangeable. I plan to get a new cover for each season; that way my calendar look doesn’t get old. I really appreciate the weekly spread with the morning, day and nights sections. It makes it so easy to schedule your appointments and journal your activities. The stickers really make your calendar pop. I color code my stickers to show which part of my life to schedule.

As most working moms are, I’m a multitasker. I’m juggling several balls in the air at once. However, I need to keep track of every ball. Here is what I have to keep track of:

  • Family/Home (Red)
  • Work (Blue)
  • Barefoot Books (Orange)
  • Kinx’s Book Nook (Purple)
  • Birthdays (Pink)
  • Bills (green)

All of my previous calendars looked extremely messy and events would get lost. Now nothing gets lost. I can keep track of my kids’ activities and when to pose my book reviews without missing a single step.

I did order some extras as well. I got the pens, coil clips, sticky notes and the keep it together bands. I really the coil clips. For instance, I put a clip on my daughters’ dental reminder card and clipped it right into my Life Planner. It makes things look so clean and junky. Plus it’s right there where I won’t forget. You can use the coil clips for invitations, appointment card, etc. It’s a great addition to the 4

As you can tell, I love my new Erin Condren Life Planner. If decided that you would like one as well, use this LINK and you will received $10 off your new Life Planner.


World Book Night!


I absolutely LOVE World Book Night! For me, giving out books to random people is just amazing. I love all the different looks I get when I hand him/her a new book. I will get a puzzled look, “are you weird?!” look, the “WTH” look, but my favorite is the beaming smile look. It gives you the warm fuzzies when someone says, “Ohhh! I love books! Thank you so much!” I will carry that with me for a long time. Seeing that surprised joy on a recipient’s face is such a blessing.

This is my second year as a World Book Night giver and my book is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I loved this book and I couldn’t wait to share it. I will say it is a very unusual book. There are some very strange pictures inside. When I started handing them out, I did get some odd looks; but, I noticed so many IMMEDIATELY opened it and started to read. I know it’s not a book that they would ever have chosen for themselves. By giving this book, I’m able to open new worlds to readers and non-readers alike.9460487

It’s truly amazing what a gift can do; especially a book. There are so many out there who can’t afford to buy a book. It’s just not in their budget. World Book Night is just a small way to bring smiles to so many people. The gift of a book is a wonderful thing and I will keep doing it as long as I can. And urge everyone to be a giver. It’s so much fun and fulfilling!


My Thoughts: Downton Abbey

downton abbey

** Spoiler Alert**

The following post is all about my thoughts about the third episode of the fourth season. If you have not seen it yet, read at your own risk.

Downton Abbey produced another powerful episode. It began with a house party hosted by Lord Grantham where Downton was to shine once again. However, Matthew’s ghost, class differences, unyielding superiority, and an incredible act of violence prohibited Downton from returning to its glory days.

So many characters have lost their way and don’t know where they belong. Lord Grantham still stubbornly, and embarrassingly, holds on to his old lordly ways. First, he refuses to acknowledge Edith’s beau, Gregson, and then, agrees with Mr. Carson that a very famous opera singer, Nellie Melba, was to eat in her room. All of which was quickly fixed when Ms. Melba sat next to Robert at dinner. He had no idea what to say to her; until she complimented his claret. He seemed totally shocked that she would be conversant in such topics. He certainly has a long way to go before he enters the twentieth century. Gregson, also, had a difficult time with Robert. However, due to Gregson, adeptness at poker was he able to achieve some attention from Robert. It seems Robert lost a good sum to an invited quest that happened to be card shark. In comes Gregson who schooled him on what a card shark is and retrieved all the outstanding IOUs from Robert and other gentlemen at the party. Gregson reluctantly earned Robert’s gratitude and respect. However, we have learned a little more about Gregson. How did he get to be some a card shark? Interesting.

Matthew’s ghost raises his head throughout the Downton party. Lady Mary continues to struggle over the loss of Matthew. She meets a childhood acquaintance in Lord Gillingham who sparks a little bit of her interest. She feels conflicted but she doesn’t discourage the friendship. There is one scene where, I thought, Mary was incredibly self-aware. She told Anna she didn’t know if she was mourning Matthew or the person she was when she was with Matthew. I hope it’s the later and the Mary of old returns. Downton needs her coolness and disdain.

Most of my sympathy went to Isobel. She is deeply grieving for her son. She feels incredibly guilty living any kind of life when her son is gone. However, Violet comes to her aid and convinces her to come her Ms. Melba sing. But, in the end, a mother never gets over the loss of a child. Isobel will be mourning for a long time to come and Violet will be there to keep her going. I’m really enjoying their friendship. They are growing very close; but they are able to have some really snarky conversations.

Tom is truly lost. The Downton party sharply brought to his attention how out of place he feels. He had difficulty dealing with the English nobility that attended the party. He looked like a little lost puppy which Edna wanted to quickly pick up and soothe. She seems to be always creeping around Tom. It will be interesting to see how long she remains Lady Cora’s maid. Hopefully, no too long.

And now for the most painful aspect of this episode….Anna. I tried to stay from all of the UK press regarding Downton Abbey. However, I read several hints about this episode and I’m sad to say I figured out what would happen. The pain and shame of Anna was excruciating to watch. What was even more incredible was how she found a new dress and fixed her hair and presented herself to Mr. Bates and the nasty villain that nothing had happened. However, Anna did confide in one person…Mrs. Hughes. Mrs. Hughes desperately tried to get Anna to tell what happened. Anna refused. She didn’t want Mr. Bates to get in trouble. I think more than that it was the shame she felt. Rape is such a horrific crime; not just physically but mentally as well. When Mr. Bates tried to touch her, she quickly backed away. I’m hoping we didn’t lose the loving and incredibly hopeful Anna. Let’s hope Mrs. Hughes helps her regain her dignity and to help her to heal.

That’s it for episode 3. What did you think?

First Book of the Year 2014


Join Shelia from Book Journey and fellow book bloggers as we feature our first book read in 2014.

My first book in 2014 is…

Matt Archer: Bloodlines

by Kendra Highley


What will your first book of 2014 be?