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A Blogging Farewell

If 2015 taught me anything, it’s that I don’t blog when I’m stressed. It’s like my brain just has no extra energy to spend on reflection, or making connections, or general frivolity. Instead it goes into autopilot, only focusing on the next immediate thing that needs to get done, until it crashes and I end up sprawled on the couch, binge-watching Veronica Mars for the 17th time (I may exaggerate, but you get the idea.)

I went through some tough periods last year, and I even stopped reading for a while. Luckily I managed to get back into the reading groove, but the enjoyment I used to get from blogging about books and being part of the book-blogging community just went away. To be honest, it’s still gone, and I’m not sure that it is coming back. I just don’t feel the need for it anymore, and let’s face it–I was only ever doing it for myself, anyway.

I still enjoy writing, and I will always love reading, but I think the blogging part of that is pretty much over. Thanks to those of you who stopped by over the years and kept me company here, for sharing bits of yourselves and your own love for the world of books. I wish you all the best in your own future projects, whatever they may be, and I wish you happy reading.

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Still here

We ended our school year almost a month ago, but it has taken me this long just to decompress enough to think about blogging again. We also had family in town from France, and then my oldest daughter was off to sleepaway camp for the first time last week. The busyness, it never stops.

I’m feeling pretty good, though, and trying to be okay with where I am right now. In yoga, our teacher is constantly saying things like: “Where you are right now is exactly where you need to be.” I’m trying hard to really feel the truth in that statement. I’m a work in progress, but I need to be okay with where I’m at along the way.

I’m reading a lot, which has been lovely (more on that soon). We’re preparing to move house once again in July, as the owner of our current rental wants to put it on the market. The newer house is a bit smaller, which is a good thing for us, and hopefully will be a bit lower maintenance, too. In between packing and organizing, I’ve applied for a few jobs. Fingers crossed that the right thing comes along at the right time.

Most of all, I feel ready to start writing again–hence this post. This is just a first step, but hopefully it will be enough to get me going again.

Spotlight: Battle Hymns by Cara Langston

02_Battle HymnsPublication Date: June 3, 2014
eBook; ISBN: 9781311184443

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A second war. A second chance.

In December 1941, Charlotte Donahue is engaged to Nick Adler, a handsome, pre-law student at Georgetown University. Despite her studies at a liberal arts college, she expects nothing more than to marry her fiancé and settle into a conventional life as a young American homemaker. But her future is unexpectedly disrupted after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. While Nick trains for the battlefront with the U.S. Army, Charlotte does her part by volunteering as a nurses’ aide with the American Red Cross.

Assigned to a convalescent ward at Walter Reed’s Army Medical Center, Charlotte discovers her passion lies, not in the home, but in tending to the wounds of injured soldiers, all of whom remind her of Nick. Here she is drawn to a mysterious soldier, Lieutenant William Kendrick, whose jet was shot down in the skies over Germany. As Will’s physical and psychological wounds begin to heal, he and Charlotte develop a friendship that will bind them together in ways they never imagined.

Battle Hymns is a poignant story of love, survival, and redemption set against the backdrop of the Second World War.

Buy the Book

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About the Author03_Cara Langston

Cara is a novelist of historical fiction. She has two novels in the works. Battle Hymns is a historical romance set in Washington, D.C. from 1941 to 1943. It will be published on June 3, 2014. The Glassmaker’s Wife is a historical romance set in 1925 Chicago and is still very much in progress.

Cara has been an avid reader – especially of historical fiction, classics, and mystery novels – since she was young. She read all of the American Girl books when she was in 5th grade, even though her parents could not afford to buy her a doll. In middle school, she was obsessed with the only two Ann Rinaldi books in the school library. They taught her about the 1770 Boston Massacre and the Salem Witch Trials before her history classes ever did. And that was when Cara’s love of historical fiction was born. She didn’t begin writing, though, until her senior year at the University of Georgia, where she studied Finance and had already committed to a career in the corporate world. One day she will be able to quit working for The Man and focus on her writing. Until then, it pays the bills.

When she’s not writing or working, Cara enjoys drinking red wine, watching bad television, doing genealogical research, obsessing over the Duchess of Cambridge’s every outfit, and finding the best guacamole in Texas. Cara currently lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and their dog.

For more information please visit Cara Langston’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, June 2
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, June 3
Review at Booktalk & More

Wednesday, June 4
Review at Closed the Cover

Thursday, June 5
Interview at Closed the Cover

Friday, June 6
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, June 9
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Tuesday, June 10
Review at Lit Nerd

Wednesday, June 11
Interview at Lit Nerd

Friday, June 13
Review at History Undressed

Monday, June 16
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, June 17
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, June 18
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Interview at Layered Pages

Friday, June 20
Spotlight at Too Fond

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Cover Reveal – Empower: Fight Like a Girl

COVER_MediumAs you may know, I’m headed out of town for a few days and I’ve decided to leave this post up while I’m gone as a way to help publicize this collection of short stories, out today, for which all proceeds will go towards the Lupus Foundation of America. I have a history of lupus in my family and my grandmother suffered from the disease for as long as I knew her. I haven’t had a chance to read these stories yet myself, but it looks like a great book and it’s definitely a worthwhile cause.

Praise for Empower: Fight Like A Girl

“Even non-girls will feel empowered by these stories about ordinary, flawed characters finding their own strengths. Highly entertaining and original.”

Lee Goldberg, New York Times bestselling author of The Chase and King City, whose mother lost her hearing to lupus.

Women of TV have united against lupus! Presenting Empower: Fight Like A Girl, a special collection of short stories by top women writers from some of your favorite shows, including: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Family Guy, Person of Interest, Grimm, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Law & Order: SVU, Star Trek: Voyager, Eureka, Twisted, The 100, Malcolm in the Middle, Millennium, Being Human, The Shield, Castle, Chuck, Gilmore Girls, and Game of Thrones. In this anthology, you’ll discover supernatural thrillers, crime mysteries, horror, comedies, and more.

Authors contributing stories to this volume include:

All proceeds will be donated to the non-profit Lupus Foundation of America to help solve the cruel mystery of lupus.

Five Fun Facts about Dodie Smith

Image from WIkipedia

Image from WIkipedia

I’m in the middle of reading I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (my Classics Club spin book!), and I’m really loving it. Although it was written in 1949, it has a very modern feel and the main character of Cassandra is just great. She reminds me in a lot of ways of a slightly older Flavia DeLuce from Alan Bradley’s series of mystery novels. She’s smart, adventurous, and saddled with a very eccentric family.

Because this is my first Dodie Smith novel, I was curious to learn more about her. After reading up a bit online, I discovered some pretty interesting things that I thought I would share:

1. Smith grew up surrounded by family members with theatrical ambitions, and she wrote her first play at the age of 10.

2. Smith eventually married her longtime friend and business partner, Alec Macbeth Beesley, whose father was one of the survivors of the sinking of the Titanic.

3. Her first novel, I Capture the Castle, was written after she had moved to the U.S. and was feeling nostalgic about her English childhood.

4. Her most famous work, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, was inspired by a friend’s comment that her Dalmatians would “make a lovely fur coat!”

5. Pongo was named after Smith’s own pet Dalmatian.

Have any of you read other works by Dodie Smith? Have any recommendations for which one I should read next?

Too Fond in 2014

11622235864_f30629f052New year, new post!

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, mainly because the method of small changes tends to work best for me when I’m trying to adopt a new habit or modify an old one. But I do have some goals that I’m planning to work towards in the new year in regards to my reading and blogging habits.

1. Choose what I want to read, when I want to read it. I’ve talked about this a bit before, but I’ve slowed waaay down on accepting books for review. I very rarely visit NetGalley and Edelweiss anymore and only agree to do book tours when it’s something that I really want to read.

2. Set manageable reading goals. I’ve only signed up for one challenge in 2014, and I’ll continue working towards my longer-term Classics Club goal. I almost managed to meet my overall goal of reading 75 books in 2013 (I read 73), but I’m going to bring that number down to 70 for this year.

3. Post once a week. Yep, that’s it. I may end up posting more often, but that will only be if I want to. And I may not always post about books–I might decide to pull some of my other interests into the blog this year.

4. Remember that I’m doing this for fun. I started this blog for fun, to make reading and writing a priority in my easily overbooked free time, and that’s how I mean to go on.

I’m hoping that 2014 is going to be a time of cutting back and focusing on what’s really important and meaningful to me. I’m planning to allow more time for the unexpected, both in life and in my reading choices, and I’m going to try to not commit myself to things that don’t bring me real satisfaction or growth.

Happy New Year to all of you out there in blogland–may 2014 be your best one yet.

WWW Wednesday: February 6th

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 What are you currently reading?

I just started Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian and I’m listening to Heft by Liz Moore on audio. It’s too soon to tell for the first one, but Heft is amazing so far–really liking the writing and the narration.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Last night I finished The Age of Miracles by Karen Walker Thompson. I’d been wanting to read this one for a while, and although I liked it in the end, it was touch-and-go there for a while. It takes a long time to get to the story, as there is a lot of telling and not a lot of showing. The characters are not very well developed, either, so it’s hard to feel much empathy for their situation. But the writing is good overall, and I liked the last hundred pages or so much more than the beginning. (And thus endeth my mini-review!)

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I haven’t decided what I’ll read next. I have several books to read and review that are coming out the first week in March, but I also have two books set in Africa that are looking at me from my shelf–What is the What by Dave Eggers (my February book for the Around the World in 12 Books challenge) and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which I need to read for my real-life book club. We’ll see what seems most tempting when the time comes…

What are you reading this week?