Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Experiment In Terror Reading Challenge!

Hello & welcome to the Experiment in Terror Reading Challenge!!

If you haven't had the pleasure of reading this fantastic series, now is the time to hop on the crazy train with the rest of us.  Darkhouse (Book 1) is FREE on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  You have no excuse NOT to read it.  
For each book/novella, a blog will write a post, so be sure to stop by and comment.  
There will be a grand prize giveaway that will be up for the duration of the reading challenge.  Some blogs will also have their own giveaway, so be sure to enter the giveaways at each stop.  The Grand Prize will include signed Experiment in Terror books (books and number of winners to be determined).
To the New Readers:
The next six weeks are going to be the best six weeks of your life.  Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration but not by much.  You, my friends, are in for a crazy ride.  You've heard me drone on and on on this blog and on Facebook about how great this series is.  Now, you can experience the terror, the drama, and the Dex Foray for yourselves.  Consider yourselves lucky because you're going to be reading alongside other people who have gone through what you're about to go through.  You'll have therapists to help get you through the tough times (and trust me there are some rough patches).
And for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT SKIP THE NOVELLAS.  The EIT veterans will find you.
To the EIT Veterans:
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, will be to, of course, reread the books along with the newbies, but also engage with the new readers in the discussion groups. Below I have outlined the various places on the interwebs where these dicussions will be taking place.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Week 1May 6th - May 12th
Week 2 - May 13th - May 19th
Red Fox (Book 2)
May 17th - 19th
The Benson (Book 2.5) 
Week 3 - May 20th - 26th
Dead Sky Morning (Book 3)
Reading Books Like a Boss

Week 4 - May 27th - June 2nd
Lying Season (Book 4)
Ginger-Read Reviews

Week 5 - June 3rd- 9th
On Demon Wings (Book 5)
Reading is My Breathing

June 6th - June 9th
Old Blood (Book 5.5)
Reading Books Like a Boss
My Book Muse

June 6th-June 9th
The Dex Files (Book 5.7)
Caitlin from The Road Is You

Week 6 - June 9th -15th
 Into the Hollow (Book 6)
Little Read Riding Hood

June 12th-15th
And With Madness Comes the Light (Book 6.5)
The Book Bella

Come Alive (Book 7) will be released in June 2013!!

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Inspiration: Busy Bee/Goals

You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star

Today's Monday Inspiration is going to short and sweet, mostly because I am trying to bust this post out before I have to go to work. But generally this week I am focusing on the fact that I am busy. The next two weeks in school is dead week and finals and in those short two weeks I have to accomplish two 15 page papers, a poster with my GIS project, and 2 finals. Plus work about 20 hours each week. 

So If I am quite on the blog, thats why. I am slaving away to the Grad School Gods. But I am proud to say I finished my first 5k this Saturday with these awesome girls above!! It was a fundraiser for a local nonprofit I did a internship with last winter (Support Local!!!) and I had a BLAST. I was covered in soup, glitter, and flour by the time  I was done but it was such a fun time. 

I was proud that I set the goal to do this 5K and I did!!! I have other goals for this summer and I can't wait to finish those too. Some are a bit easy like participating in a few more 5K and some are a bit bigger....like a goal that I have had in my mind for years and I am finally committing to it. Stay tuned for that one later on in the summer (I am hoping you all keep me committed to this!) 

I DO have the some exciting things though in the next few weeks. A reading challenge I am participating in and will have more info about later this week, a few ARCs I am pumped to read, a post about volunteering/local ideas based on some really cool things I learned this semester in school. 

So stay tuned. And today I am sharing my writing playlist with you guys. Since that will be taking most of the time the next few weeks, take a listen!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Review: A Matter of Fate

A Matter of Fate by Heather Lyons

From Goodreads:

Chloe Lilywhite struggles with all the normal problems of a typical seventeen-year-old high school student. Only, Chloe isn't a normal teenage girl. She's a Magical, part of a secret race of beings who influence the universe. More importantly, she's a Creator, which means Fate mapped out her destiny long ago, from her college choice, to where she will live, to even her job. While her friends and relatives relish their future roles, Chloe resents the lack of say in her life, especially when she learns she's to be guarded against a vengeful group of beings bent on wiping out her kind. Their number one target? Chloe, of course. That's nothing compared to the boy trouble she's gotten herself into. Because a guy she's literally dreamed of and loved her entire life, one she never knew truly existed, shows up in her math class, and with him comes a twin brother she finds herself inexplicably drawn to. Chloe's once unyielding path now has a lot more choices than she ever thought possible.

I read A Matter of Fate a few weeks ago. And this book has stayed with me. Since I read so much, if a book can grab my attention and keep it then its good. If it not only grabs my attention, but stays with me weeks later then I think it's excellent. And this was the case with AMOF.

This book is paranormal YA that focuses on Chloe and her journey through what fate has mapped out for her. While she isn't thrilled about the fact that everything for her is predestined, she does see some perks. Mostly the perk of Jonah.  But then fate is thrown off course and there is the added bonus of Kellan. (Seriously, what is with the dreamy Kellan characters?!?!) You watch Chloe not only deal with teenage issues but also magical supernatural issues.

"Love isn't always clean and pretty- sometimes it's messy, cruel, and confusing. And sometimes, it doesn't turn out the way you want it to. But then, the beauty of love is that it's very strong, and when it's real, it's worth it." 

I fell in love with all of these characters. Karl was my favorite non lead. And not only do we get a great amount of relationship goodness, we get action and adventure. There were no slow times in this book which is pretty impressive for the first book of a series. I loved to see how the danger strengthened relationships as well as the tight bonds that were made. These characters felt emotion with such fierceness and made me feel so full of emotion for Chloe and the gang. Any book that can evoke such emotion is a win in my book.

"I begin to think about the links people have, the ones I have, and of how they ties us together even when the entire concept of the bonds are inexplicable" 

I am eagerly waiting the second book A Matter of Heart.

Add both to Goodreads!

A Matter of Fate

A Matter of Heart - June 25, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Inspiration: Earth Day!

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore

Alpine Loop, Utah

I am studying environmental administration and my husband is a geologist. Earth Day is kind of our thing. D and I went to see the documentary Chasing Ice last night at ISU's theater. In my education I have been informed about the receding ice caps but this movie was even more eye opening. If you watch this and don't believe in global warming/climate change....well....I don't even know. I honestly don't understand how people can think that there isn't a problem. Because there is, a huge problem that if we do not try to deal with it will be left in the hands of our children and their children and the problem will only get bigger. 
Now I am not here to say that you must become what some might call a "hippie" (Which PS in the historical sense, it is a bit of an offensive term.) But what I am saying is that in our nation, we tend to separate ourselves into two distinct categories  Call them what you want, Democrat/Republican. Conservative/Liberal. Us/them. Whatever. The labels don't matter. What matters is that once we separate them, we tend to see things as black and white. That the "other" side is wrong your side is "right" 

This leads us to be a fractioned country. When in all reality we need to STFU and work with one another. Each side is an umbrella holding many many different people with different ideas. I bet if you looked under the umbrella you would find some amazing people on both sides. 
I believe (as in my opinion so can it if you think it's offensive) that one side of the spectrum can't fix these problems. It HAS to be a joint effort. Each "side" has different things to bring to the table and working together amazing solutions could be found. 

But, sadly this country is STILL debating theoretical/philosophical  notions that probably don't have a right answer. Hey guess what, other countries have already figured this stuff out and have moved forward. We need to move past this if we ever want to have a sustainable future for our children. 

And the funny thing, is that I get it. People need jobs, food, shelter. I have lived in the rural areas my whole life, went to school right along with farmers and ranchers and blue collar workers. I am not saying hey only eat organic food and compost your trash. I am saying, put your differences aside and try to find a solution that works for everyone. 

Naive, probably.

But I do know what will put you in a good mood. Josh Ritter. (I am on a kick today!)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monday (though it's really Tuesday and you will probably read this on Wednesday) Inspiration: Honesty

"It is not what you ARE that is holding you back, it is what
 you think you are NOT" -Robin Sharma

If you were to ask what my best and worst quality is, it would be the probably be the same. Im a very honest person, to a point where it has gotten me in trouble. :) I also have no filter. I try to be wholly honest with myself. If I do something wrong I try to be the first to admit it and correct the situation  I hate doing things wrong if I have the capability to be it correctly.  I try to call myself on my bullshit and I try to have open communication with those who are in my life. I am a horrible liar as well, which means it is hard to keep secrets and and I could never lie to those who are close to me.

But at the same time I think that if I am honest with myself, I should be honest with others. Some might call that be a bit bitchy. Sigh. It's a dilema. So I am constantly working on shutting my mouth and only giving my honest opinion when I know people want to hear it (though that doesn't mean I am always successful).

When I was thinking about writing this over the weekend I thought I would say the things that I honestly thought about myself. They included things like: Honestly, I could work out more and watch what I eat. Honestly I could work more and bring in more money. Honestly, I should be a better wife and do more housework and cooking. Honestly.....

But then I watched the video above today. And my thoughts were....well....eff.

Because I realized that there is a difference between HONEST with yourself and having insecurities.

We ALL have insecurities and we always want what others have, whether it be their awesome jobs, or the fact they can wear a smaller size than you or the kids you desperately want (NOT me on that one. No kids for this girl). But you get what I am saying.

Or you think that by the age of almost 25 you should have had it all figured it out by now. You should be in a country saving people. Making the world a better place. You should have fabulous jobs where you trail blaze your way through life.

And it's hard to realize that honestly, you have so much GOING for you but you still cant see it.....

So Instead I am trying to be honest with myself by saying:

Honestly, you are loved by many who support you
Honestly, you aren't alone and you dont have to hold the world on your shoulders.
Honestly, you do the best you can do and that's enough. It's more than enough.
Honestly, you are perfect the way you are, even unfiltered :)

Honestly your passion fuels your goals and you will get there....some roads are just longer than others.

So this. This is me calling me on my bullshit. My insecurities. My dishonest truths.

I encourage you call out your honest moments, watch the video and see how those honest statements change. They changed for me.

And of course a song. Currently playing is this song....

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Giveaway!!! Caged and Haunted by Amber Lynn Natusch

So I thought I would share some book love with you today!! I have read 75 books so far this year and that means I am halfway to my goal of 150. So I thought I would celebrate and giveaway two of my favorites books I have read this year!! Plus I am a huge fan of Amber Lynn Natusch so go read her books!!!!! Here is the synopsis of the two books below.
From Goodreads:I stood in the middle of the room, unmoving – I barely breathed. My life had just become surreal, impossible, and one enormous lie. I needed to go, to run somewhere, anywhere to beat back the reality that was rapidly closing in around me. The image of him was burned into my retina, flashing over and over again like a warning. He was trapped somewhere between human and decidedly not, and I realized that was my new reality.

I was too.

After the death of her parents, Ruby awakens from a lifetime of shadows and finds herself alone, thrust into a world of lies, deceit, betrayal and the supernatural.

As her quest for truth continues to come up short, she realizes that maybe some questions really are best left unanswered.

When her true identity is finally unveiled, she is forced to choose between two of the mysterious men who continually seem to crop up in her life.

She chooses poorly.

Now abandoned, Ruby must learn to call on the darkness within to survive, or spend a hellish eternity imprisoned because of it

From Goodreads: "I cowered away from him, unable to formulate a coherent sentence. Questions ran through my mind though none made it past my lips. I wondered how this could be happening, what he wanted, and what major injustice I'd brought against the universe to bring a fate such as this upon me.

Perhaps being born was reason enough."

After his near death experience only months earlier, Cooper's behavior is rapidly deteriorating.
So what does Ruby do? She adds a new roommate into the mix. When her friend Ronnie is abruptly called away for a family emergency, Ruby takes in Peyta, Ronnie's highly intelligent and overly observant teenage daughter. With an increasingly unstable Cooper in the house, Ruby fears for Peyta's safety.
But when Peyta's behaviors become as perplexing as Cooper's, Ruby finds herself juggling a series of lies to ensure their safety as well as her own...
Until the lies, and the bodies, start dropping.

To Enter, simply click the link! And this is a QUICK giveaway ending at midnight Monday Night!!!!. I am giving away a KINDLE edition of these two books, so it is open to only US Residents. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CONGRATS to Lisa Sanders for winning this giveaway!! Books have been sent, ENJOY! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Inspiration: Change

"He was shaken by the revelation that the headlong race between his misfortunes and his dreams was at that moment reaching the finish line. The rest was darkness. 'Damnit,' He sighed. 'How will I ever get out of the labyrinth' " -Looking for Alaska: John Green 
When I write this Monday Inspirations they are not only for my lovely readers (all 5 of you???) but also for myself. Today I want to focus on accepting change. It seems that with D and I, things are constantly changing, our plans seem to be morphing every time I look at them. I don't know if it is just D and I or this is just how it is when you are in your mid 20s. One week we have these marvelous plans and then the next they don't apply to our situation. Some of it we have control over, but other things we dont. Timelines change, different opportunities arise and it can be really draining.

It's hard because we want to please everyone, but know that it is not possible. It's hard to make plans because we have no idea where we will be in the next few years. And any time we think, ok this is what is going to happen. It changes. I have officially given up make plans for anything more than 6 months in advance. 

And the funny thing. I embrace change. I want change. Like a drastic change. A change in scenery. But, alas, I am here and will be for at least another year as I finish my MPA. So I guess my words of wisdom end up in this: Take everyday as a gift. Find the best you can in it. Because things change. For good and for bad and cheesy as it sounds, there is this moment and this moment only that matters. The rest will figure it out. If you stress about it, you will drive yourself crazy (Yes, I am looking at myself here) 

And because this is what I am listening to right now....a little old school this Monday for you :) 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Our Trip to Jackson, WY

D and I went to Jackson Hole, WY over spring break so I could do research in the park. If you missed the post about why we went you can check it out here. We got there on Sunday and I was like. Why are these roads closed?? It was Hill Climbs, and I didn't even think about that. Someone on my FB even was like oh hey look at me I am at the Hill Climbs. I was oh thats nice. Yep didn't even put it together. So the town was pretty busy that Sunday but by Monday everyone cleared out.

Monday we got up pretty early and headed to the park. It was -1 out and there was still about 4 of 5 feet of snow. A lot of the park was also still closed so I wasn't able to head to Jenny Lake where some of these structures were that I was researching. But I was able to meet with the curator of the park and got to look at some primary sources of a few photobooks that were great! I love primary sources. I was totally in my element as I transported myself into another world. We drove around the parts of the park that were open, got some great pictures. The next day I headed to the Jackson Hole Historical society and got to use their archives library. Again, got some great pictures and everyone was so helpful both at the archives library and the park.

When I wasn't doing research I enjoyed our mini vacation. I say by the fire, read about 6 books that week. We went to a little day area and did some light hiking (yes, in the snow) and just enjoyed the quiet. I knew once school got back in things would get hectic with me starting my new internship, the last month of school, and oh I am in a team 5k at the end of the month. Yep, pretty hectic.

Here are some pictures from our trip :)

A snow covered Jackson Lake

Me in front of the Tetons

D at Jackson Lake 

View from the Jackson Lake Dam 

Love this boy :)

Palisades. This is actually only a few miles from my home town :) 

Doing Research
Hard at work :) 

View from our room. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Quest for Narnia

For our first anniversary, D and I went to Utah and we went to Timpanogo's Cave. It was a hike to the caves and it was a great time. This trip spurred on our quest for "Narnia" and it really started with this photo
I said to D, "Hey this looks like a gate you would find in Narnia, I feel like I am entering into a different world." And this went on for the rest of the trip, we kept trying to find "Narnia"
And then trip after trip it stuck. For D and I it means trying to find that place in this crazy world that is full of calm, peace, and serenity. Where the beauty and magic of a place feels all encompassing. 
We have found some pretty awesome Narnia-esque areas including the following: 

(Red Fish Lake, Summer 2012. And my ever changing hair)
Bridge to Narnia??? This was the second photo which propelled our quest. Utah, Alpine Look
Hells Roaring Lake, October 2012. Central Idaho. You can still see the smoke from the fires.
D. Hells Roaring Lake. October 2012 
This picture sums up the beauty and calm of this area. Hell Roarings Lake.
Cascades Nature Habitat,  Utah by Alpine Loop. August 2012
Pocatello, Feb 2013. Home. 

Jackson Lake. March 2013.

This is Narnia after the evil witch visits. A snow covered Narnia. Cache Day Area, Jackson. March 2013

Cache Day Area, Jackson March 2013

Snow Covered Grand Tetons. March 2013. 
D and I love our adventures and love trying to find those perfect places, plus we are excited to see new and wonderful things. It might seem silly but it is fun to document. I hope to continue to share our quest for Narnia in future adventures!!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Inspiration: Family

Today's Monday Inspiration is part rant, so you have been warned. Last week everyone was changing their FB profiles for marriage equality. Which I love PS. I am all for equality and as a historian I know that down the road we will look back at this time with interest, as another hurdle for equality that has been going on for many many years. Almost too many years. 

But today what I want to talk about is the idea of Family. The first thing I should point out is the falsity behind the two of my least favorite words: Nostalgia and Traditional Family. First lets tackle nostalgia. People use this word to to look back in time when things were "better" or "how things should be". News Flash. What you are doing is glossing over a time and making it look better than what it really is. For example: Oh the 1950s was such a good times with good morals, values, ect. While on the outside in a very superficial view, this could be true. But behind all that there were still people doing drugs, teenage pregnancy, and gay people. Take the blinders off people. Look around you. There is a big world full of diversity.

The second word: The idea of a "traditional family". D and I have amazing parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles that are all loving and supportive of us. They know who they are and we are so thankful for their support. But at the same time we also have an amazing group of friends here in Pocatello and in Boise and we consider them our family as well. I mean I don't know what I would be without them. They listen to me rant, point out silly facts, and they love me no matter what. When D and I got married, I couldn't have done it without my friends there. They calmed me when I was freaking, they helped out in so many ways, they went up and beyond friend status. To this day I dont even know if they understand how much I love them and how thankful I am for them. They are my family. 

Is it a traditional family? No, probably not. But they are mine and I would be pretty upset if someone told me  I couldn't consider them my family. I understand with the idea of gay marriage it is more from a legal standpoint, wanting the same rights. 

But who am I to tell someone who they can call family?? Life is tough and we should be able to take support from who we want. Does it matter who is there to love you, support you, be your second half or partner? No, it doesn't. Even traditional families aren't perfect. EVERYONE has to deal with hard times, difficult situations. And everyone has joyous moments, happy times. Share it with who you want. If it makes you happy, gives you strength it is not my place to take it away from you. 

So on this Monday, love you who want. Share your life with those who care. 

I find this song fitting. Happy Monday All.