Friday, December 31, 2021

Book Review & Giveaway: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Volume III by Mariëlle S. Smith


Are you tired of not meeting your writing goals? Do you desire to have a sustainable writing practice? Are you ready to get out of your own way? Then pick up a copy of 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Volume III by Mariëlle S. Smith. 

In the third volume of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, the author brings you an updated book that reflects tweaks she made to her coaching practice. While this book is no substitute for a coach, it does a fine job of helping you to set up the systems that will move your writing career forward.

Each week starts off with an inspirational quote from successful people in a variety of fields, but many of them writers whose names you would recognize. The 52 weeks program starts off speaking about clarity. Then you set goals, plan to see if they are realistic goals and what you can do to achieve them, and have a weekly day-by-day fillable worksheet broken up into Morning, Afternoon, and Night. Each week ends with a writing prompt. By Week 2, you are tracking your progress and repeating the planning stage for the new week. Once you reach each three-month milestone, you celebrate and go back to seeking clarity again. 

What I feel is the great power behind the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner is the discipline and consistency it creates. In addition, the author's insightful questions allow you consider if you are setting goals that really work for you and that help you learn more about yourself and your writing along the way. 

This is a fabulous resource for writers who truly want to take their careers to the next level. It's about putting the systems in place that increase your productivity, celebrating your achievements, and inspiring you to bigger and better things. So glad I requested this book. 



Each writing prompt is optional. If, for whatever reason, it does not speak to you, let it be. Who knows? It might make more sense to do the prompt later in the process. 

Most writers are introverts and dread the visibility that comes with success. This might not be you, but to some of us this fear is what stops us from finishing our work. Because what if people read it and want to talk to us about it? What if we're forced to leave the privacy of our desks and go out into the world, into the spotlight, with nowhere to hide? 

If this resonates with you, know you're not alone. Grab your journal or open a new document on your computer and set your timer to ten minutes. Now list all the good that could come with success. 

If this is a fear you recognise all too well, keep this list close once you've finished it.

All purchase links can be found on 

Mariëlle S. Smith will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. 


I received a free digital copy from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best Books I Read in 2021

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week's topic is typical to round out the year. When I used to read more books than I have time for now, I actually gave out virtual awards. I might get back to that one day, but right now, I am just glad to have surpassed my Goodreads goal of 40 books. I know some people don't count children's books or books under a certain page count, but I always have, so I don't feel like I am cheating. I will finish at least one more book before year's end. 

Top Ten Best Books I Read in 2021

Probably no surprise that mysteries, suspense, police procedurals, and true crime make up a good portion of this list. Here are a few honorable mentions:

What are some of the great books you read this year? Do we share any of the same books?

Monday, December 27, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday - Dec 27

Welcome to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Welcome to the last Monday of 2021. I hope everyone who celebrated Christmas had a nice holiday. We had family over on Christmas Eve and a few friends over on Christmas Day, so I did a lot of cooking--which I love. It would have felt like a normal Christmas if my son and daughter-in-law were here. They are both sick. We hope to see them on New Year's Day. Here are some photos from this weekend.

The girls finally decorated the main tree.

We had a white Christmas thanks to the surprise two inches that fell Christmas Eve.

The Lil' Diva made an amazing pecan pie.

Dwight loved his new toy.

Christmas tuckered out Theo and Travis. 

The other two cats hid while everyone was here. 

I didn't have time for a ton of reading, but I did polish these two off.

Review at my children's book blog.

Review posted here.

My review of 52 Weeks of Writing is scheduled for December 31. 

I am also still reading this one.

Next up are these books, but I might need to sneak in my first book of the year for The 9th Annual First Book Event hosted by Sheila at Book Journey first. Any guesses as to what it will be? It is written by one of my favorite authors. 

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

My physical mailbox only had books for people as gifts, but I grabbed this Kindle freebie over the weekend.

I also found this one in my stocking. There is a longer edition of this book that I would love to see come back into print. 

I hope you'll join me in praying for all those affected by the horrible tornadoes across the country. If you purchase a copy of my book, A Christmas Kindness, from 4RV Publishing through December 31, 2021, my proceeds will be donated to the Midwest and Southern Tornado Outbreak Relief Fund. Please visit to purchase. 

See you again in the new year. Wishing you a safe and happy holiday. 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Book Review: Midcentury Christmas by Sarah Archer


Midcentury Christmas by Sarah Archer is a great book if you're a history lover, enjoy Christmas, or are just feeling nostalgic. 

The stocking stuffer edition of Midcentury Christmas was such a joy to find in my stocking this year. The glossy pages are filled with tons of historical details and photos that bring you back to the post World War II era holidays. Christmas cards from various countries, famous writers and artists of the time, magazine covers, Christmas television episodes, toys, décor, and more fill these pages.

I read this tiny, but jam-packed, book as I unwound after family and friends left. It was a great way to sit back and relax after two days of entertaining. This, like other special Christmas titles I have found in my stocking or under the tree, will join my treasured collection. 

They have a 240-page edition that is not currently available. I would love to get my hands on it. I would also love to pick up Archer's The Midcentury Kitchen. 

If you yearn to explore Christmas past, pick up a copy of Midcentury Christmas by Sarah Archer. 

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Countryman Press; Stocking Stuffer edition (November 6, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 192 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1682683362
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1682683361
  • Purchase from:

I received a copy as a gift. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Interview with Kerry Chaput, Author of Daughter of the King


Kerry Chaput is the author of Daughter of the King, which released on December 16th with Black Rose Writing. She has also published two indie books and co-hosts a weekly Instagram series called "Query Chats". She's passionate about history, coffee, and women-centered tales. Connect with her on Twitter @ChaputKerry, Instagram @kerrywrites, or her website 

Where did you grow up?

Solvang, California. It’s a Danish town just north of Santa Barbara with bakeries and windmills and golden hills dotted with twisty oak trees.

When did you begin writing?

I wrote my first story at twelve which promptly got thrown in the trash. My first real attempt at writing a novel came at twenty-five. I finished it, but never told anyone. I finally picked up that same story at forty and have written practically every day since.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I write in the early morning hours, at 4:30 or 5am. I love the quiet and the darkness. I sit in the same chair with a hot cup of coffee and a cozy blanket. I can feel my creativity soar at that time, probably because I have no distractions. My only focus is to write. 

What is this book about?

Daughter of the King is based on the true story of the women who settled French Canada. Our main character, Isabelle, is a French Protestant living in 1661 Catholic France. She is tortured and harassed, desperate for a chance at freedom. The King offers her money, power, and protection in the colony of Canada, but she must turn on her faith and adopt the religion that killed her family. It is book one of the Defying the Crown series.

What inspired you to write it?

I was researching my husband’s French-Canadian ancestry and discovered the story of the Daughters of the King. I felt immediately connected to them, and through months and months of research I finally decided to write a series about them. They are such an important part of North American history and rarely discussed. I wanted to bring their stories to a modern audience.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

It is available on Amazon and Black Rose Writing’s website. 

What is up next for you?

I’m currently querying agents for my Depression-era story, and writing a historical fantasy set in 1925. After that, I would like to begin book two of the Defying the Crown series. I’m excited to pick up where Isabelle left off. She has many adventures ahead!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Here we are at the Tuesday before Christmas, and this week's topic is perfect: books we book-loving bloggers hope Santa brings. So here is my list of...

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

What did you think of my list? Have you read any of these? What did you think? What books are on your list? Hope you have a great Christmas if you celebrate it.