Tag Archive | Jacinda Buchmann

Review of OLD SINS, LONG SHADOWS by B.D. Hawkey and Pinterest Rainbow Swirl Cake & Butterfly Themed Birthday Party

old sins long shadows

I usually review paranormal stories of some sort, whether they are YA, NA, or Adult, and on occasion I review a contemporary romance novel, and so I was excited to read OLD SINS, LONG SHADOWS because it strays from the usual books that I read. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the story, but as soon as I read the first page I got a slight thrill as I was taken back to my college days when I took 18th Century Literature and read all of the usual classics of that era, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, etc… I enjoyed this story even more because it had more edge and unexpected turns than the traditional classics. Enjoy the blurb and review and afterward be sure to check out my Pinterest experiment making a rainbow swirl cake 🙂

Blurb:

Nominated for the 2014 RONÉ “Best Indie or Small Published book of 2013 Award”. A Cornish Victorian romance set against the backdrop of the magnificent Bosvenna Estate, with eccentric rural characters and the sweeping hills of the dramatic Bodmin Moor. Janey Carhart’s story is a tale of obsession, jealousy and love.

At the age of nine, Janey’s younger sisters die from scarlet fever and her grief stricken mother blames Janey for their deaths. Financial difficulties and a desire to win back her mother’s love, forces Janey to enter service where she quickly rises through the ranks.

Upon her arrival to the elegant Cornish Country Estate, she successfully secures a position of a lady’s maid for the wealthy and powerful Brockenshaw family. An exchange of letters between Lady Brockenshaw and her son ignites Janey’s interest, but Janey’s feelings for this mysterious and charming gentleman soon change her life forever.

Old sins cast long shadows and not only does Janey’s mother’s wrath affect Janey’s life, there are others whose sins risk destroying her, the people she cares about and her capacity to love again. Daniel Kellow, her neighbour, offers his help. Can she trust this man who has, it is rumoured, killed a man? Who is the real Daniel Kellow and can she trust him? Can he trust her?

Review:

This has been my of my favorite books of the year so far! Don’t let the cover fool you. Even though it is beautiful, I don’t think it portrays the emotional depth and romantic roller coaster that is experienced by the main character, Janey. Told from multiple points of view, OLD SINS, LONG SHADOWS is mostly told from the viewpoint of Janey who is hired as a lady’s maid. She struggles to find her way amongst the rest of the staff and soon fights her attraction to two very different men – one who is above her class and the other who is abrupt, mysterious, and aloof.

As the story progresses through rich English language and imagery of the Cornish countryside, made more realistic by an author who is from the country, Janey is confronted with one emotional struggle after another. It was a tale of love, turmoil, and emotional struggle, and without giving the story away, I adored the ending even though I didn’t want the story to end, and highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a rich, romantic historical saga. This was a story whose characters stayed with me long after I finished the book.

***** 5 Enthusiastic Stars!!!

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Sins-Long-Shadows-B-D-Hawkey-ebook/dp/B00ED36IMY/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403044279&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=old+sins%2C+long+shadows+b.d.+hawkeye

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/old-sins-long-shadows-b-d-hawkey/1116359616?ean=9781482593426

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22053314-old-sins-long-shadows?from_search=true

 

Pinterest Project

photo(46)

My daughter knew exactly what she wanted for her 6th birthday – a rainbow swirl cake and a butterfly themed birthday party. I prefer homemade cake over store bought, and I am certainly not the most artistic cake decorator out there, but I came up with a cake design that was cute for a 6-year-old’s party and easy enough that anyone with a basic sense of how to bake a cake can do 🙂

The batter itself was easy because I used a simple box cake mix. I’m usually all about making everything from scratch – which is what I did for the frosting – but for this recipe, a box cake mix was just fine. To make a four-layer cake, as seen in the picture, I used two boxes. The rainbow swirl part is easy. As you can see in the pictures below, I measured out equal parts of cake batter into separate bowls then added food coloring to each.

photo 1(3)

After that it was a simple matter of dropping various colors into the cake pans.

photo 2(4)

I made sure to allow the cakes to cool completely before removing them from the pans, so the cake wouldn’t crack. The next step was to make the delicious, light and creamy frosting. I am usually picky about frosting, that’s one of the reasons I don’t like store bought cake, the frosting is usually too heavy and thick. If you like a light frosting, this one is perfect. (Note this recipe is for 2 round cake layers. If you want 4 layers as I made you’ll have to double the recipe.)

Cool Whip Frosting

  • 1  8oz. Cool Whip (thawed)
  • 1 3.5 oz package of instant vanilla pudding (other flavors would be good too)
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (that’s what the recipe calls for but I used orange extract instead. SO good!)

Combine the pudding with milk and flavoring. Mix until smooth. Gently fold in Cool Whip.

Once the frosting is made it’s a simple matter of laying down each layer of cake and spreading the Cool Whip mixture on top of each layer. Once all of the layers are stacked, spread the remainder of the frosting to completely cover it.

photo 4

There was no way I was going to get the frosting perfectly smooth, so instead I used a fork and swirled it through the entire cake to give it texture. After that, it was a simple matter of pressing in the small candies around the cake. I was afraid the candies would be hard, but they were chocolately and soft on the inside (found in the cake department at Walmart). The butterflies on top were lollipops ordered from Oriental trading company. Super easy to stick into the cake. The only mistake I made (and I should have known better), don’t put the candies in until you’re almost ready to serve it. I made the cake the night before and decorated it, and by the next morning, a lot of the coloring from the candies had dripped into the white frosting. It was still cute, but if you want a cake that looks as perfect as possible, I would wait to decorate it.

Going along with the butterfly theme, I also found a few fruit, veggie, and candy ideas on Pinterest and tried to recreate them. The kids all thought it was fun 🙂

photo 1(4)

photo 2(5)

photo 3(1)

 My daughter also insisted on a pinata. While I was considering projects for her friends, I came across these cute canvas butterfly bags, also from Oriental Trading Company. I bought fabric markers, and the bags served not only as a project for the girls, but also as candy holders once the pinata was cracked open 🙂

photo 4(1)

For more Pinterest ideas check out my Pinterest page. I also have pinned images from my Indigo Trilogy 🙂

Pinterest: 

Advertisements

Review of EVAN ELEMENTAL by Crystal Groszek and Pinterest Father’s Day project

evan elemental

I signed up to participate in the blog tour for Crystal Groszek’s book, EVAN EVOLVED, Book 2 in this trilogy, because the blurb sounded fascinating and I always enjoy a good YA paranormal story. I decided I’d better read the first book, EVAN ELEMENTAL, so I’d be caught up and know what’s going on 🙂 This has been a fun trilogy to read and I’m happy to present the review of Book One: EVAN ELEMENTAL. After the book review, be sure to check out my Pinterest project for the week. Since Father’s Day is just around the corner, I decided to get the kids’ help with this one. In case you’re still looking for a project to do with the kids, it was a fun one 🙂 My pictures and review are posted at the bottom 🙂

Blurb:

Orphaned at seventeen, Evan O’Fion has a choice: let her loss define her or rise above it and become more than she ever believed she was capable of. The problem? Giving in to the darkness that calls her is just too easy. Add in to the mix the ability to control the elements and travel across space and time, and Evan is pretty sure she’s going to lose it completely. Giving in would be a relief, but Evan is beginning to realize that there are people counting on her and that the mystery of her past is the key to it all.

As Evan struggles to put her party-girl ways behind her, she must learn to control her new abilities and face the fact that everything she thought she knew about herself was a lie. On top of it all, she has to face a new town, new home, new school, and a sexy dangerous guy…or two.

Dealing has never been Evan’s strong suit. How she’s going to handle it all and come out alive, she has no idea, but she’s stronger than ever and she’s not going down without a fight.

Review:

I enjoyed the story a lot. It was a quick read and kept me wanting to find out what would happen next. As with any story there are always aspects that I enjoy and things I would change. The story is told from a first person point of view from the main character, Evan. At age seventeen, Evan is orphaned at the beginning of the story and sent to live with a relative she’s never met. Her world is surrounded in mystery from the moment she enters her new life, and she is kept relatively in the dark throughout most of the story. Crystal has a knack for keeping the story progressing smoothly, and I flew through the book because I kept wanting to find out what would happen next. Soon after Evan arrives to her new town, she begins to discover that she is developing supernatural abilities and can manipulate the elements of nature.

As much as I enjoyed the story, I had mixed emotions about the main character Evan and had a hard time relating to her. When I read YA books, I always consider the teenagers I work with and whether I would recommend the same book for them. Keeping in mind that YA books are typically considered to fall in the 13-17 age group, I would definitely say that this story is for the older age range of mature YA readers due to language and Evan’s poor choices of turning to drugs. The story would have been just as entertaining if Evan didn’t use drugs because there wasn’t an explicit “good” reason following the plot development for her to turn to drugs, not that there ever is a good reason anyway. In this case, Evan just seems like a spoiled brat. I can see that teenagers who struggle with drugs and alcohol would be able to relate to the character, but the main plot of the story has nothing to do with overcoming a drug addiction, it was just a character flaw. I would have enjoyed it more if Evan could be seen as a better role model to younger readers. With that said, because I had to get in out there since this is a YA book, it was an enjoyable story.

There is definite character development throughout the story, and I enjoyed reading about Evan as she discovered her new supernatural abilities. I haven’t read a story exactly like this one before with a character who can manipulate the elements of nature. It was very interesting. The only thing I would have liked to have seen more would have been more time spent on Evan exploring her new abilities. There were a few instances in the story that focused on her new talents, but they were all fairly brief. I anticipate that in the stories to come, Evan will continue to discover what she is capable of. I think this first story is just the beginning of more to come 🙂

I also enjoyed the love story entwined within. As Evan is struggling to deal with the loss of her parents, discovering her new abilities, and the obvious secrets those around her are keeping, she is also faced with a surprising love interest, who IS a very likable character. 🙂

There were a few instances in the story when I questioned the first person perspective and choice of verb usage and a few punctuation errors here and there, but nothing that was distracting unless you were looking for it. Overall, this was a great story. *Warning* it does end with a huge cliffhanger, so it’s a good thing the second book, EVAN EVOLVED, is already out. I anxiously started reading it the day after I finished this book 🙂 Look for my review of EVAN EVOLVED on Sunday 🙂

***3 Stars

FREE on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Evan-Elemental-Crystal-Groszek-ebook/dp/B00CNF0BEU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402437829&sr=8-1&keywords=evan+elemental

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17887135-evan-elemental?from_search=true

Pinterest Project

photo(45)

Father’s Day Project “Dad Rocks”

I had a hard time deciding which Father’s Day project to do this year. After perusing Pinterest, I came up with a ton of fun ideas. I pinned all of the great projects I found under “Kids Crafts” if you’re looking for other Father’s Day ideas. The link to my Pinterest page is at the bottom of this post 🙂 I decided on this salt dough project because my kids LOVE rocks and they were all able to participate in the project.

To start with I sent the kids into the backyard in search of rocks. This was the easy part because I live in Arizona, and half of my backyard is made up of rocks 🙂 The project definitely could have been on a smaller scale using smaller rocks – the rocks we used ranged between 1/2 inch – 1.5 inches. The dimensions for the final project are 12″ x 6″.

After we gathered the rocks, the kids had fun sorting out their favorites and figuring out which rocks would work best for each letter. Once we had sorted through the rocks and spelled out “Dad Rocks”, the kids helped me mix up the salt dough mixture. It was difficult to knead the dough, but we still took “turns” and the girls thought they were helping to knead it and that’s what mattered 🙂 The next step was to roll it out. We rolled it on floured wax paper so it would be easy to transfer to a cookie sheet. The rectangle is, of course, not perfect, but it’s a kids’ project and the kids helped, so that’s what matters 🙂

photo 1(1) photo 2(2)

It’s optional of course, but I decided it would look cute and be more personalized if they made an imprint of their hands first. The rocks cover up half of their handprints, but I like that it gives a personalized touch 🙂 Once they pressed their hands in, I carefully pressed in each rock. I thought each rock was secure, but once it had baked, 2 of the rocks fell out. This is an easy fix with superglue, but I would suggest double checking that the rocks are completely pressed into the dough.

Another thing to be aware of is that if you make a project of this size it’s going to take a REALLY long time to bake, so don’t plan on using the oven for a while.  Also, if you plan to hang it up, which I hadn’t planned on at first, make sure you punch the holes before you bake it. After we put it all together, I started to bake it and then started wondering what we were going to do with it once we give it to “Daddy” for Father’s Day. It’s a little too big to just place on a desk. About an hour and a half into the baking process, I realized that it would look cute hung up, so I pulled it out of the oven, and thankfully the dough was still soft enough that I could punch holes 🙂 A small smaller project, of course, would make a cute paper weight.

When all was said and done, it took approximately 12-14 hours to bake. It’s a big process, but the kids loved it, and I’m happy that it turned out cute. The kids are very excited to give it to their daddy for Father’s Day 🙂 I found several salt dough recipes online and they all seemed to vary slightly. I’m sure they all work, some call for more salt, some call for higher baking temperatures. I just picked a recipe that had a good blog and description, but there are lots more out there. If you don’t have your own salt dough recipe, this is the one I used. Here’s the full link to the blog if you want to read more on the recipe:

http://www.craftychild.com/salt-dough-recipe.html

Salt Dough for crafts

– 3 Cups flour

– 1/2 cup table salt

– 1 1/4 cut water

Directions:

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. To make colored dough, add a couple teaspoons of food coloring to the water before you add it to the flour mix. Slowly stir in the water then knead the dough on a floured surface. If the dough is too crumbly, slowly add a little water at a time until it is smooth and elastic – 5 to 10 minutes.

Bake at 170 degrees on a baking paper lined tray. It will take a while so just keep an eye on it. The bigger the project, the longer it’s going to take. The project is finished when it’s hard and you can’t make an indentation in it. Also be sure to check the bottom. At first I thought our project was finished, but the bottom was still soft. I peeled the paper off and put it on a lower rack to finish baking.

For more Father’s Day ideas check out my Pinterest Page 🙂

Indigo Instinct Excerpt #1

Indigo Instinct for Kindle

With only 3 weeks until the release of Indigo Instinct, it’s time to share an excerpt 🙂 Enjoy!!!

“What the hell was that all about?” Eddie hissed from close behind.

With her back to him, Grace continued to fill a pitcher with water at the drink station. Then she turned to him with an innocent grin. “What was what all about?”

“Did that guy give you his phone number?”

“What difference does it make? You’re here with your girlfriend. It would seem to me that you should be paying more attention to her and less attention to who I talk to. It’s really none of your business.”

For a moment, she imagined tossing the ice water over his head but didn’t think that would go over well once word got back to Aunt Mae, as it surely would, so instead, she set the pitcher on a nearby table and took a step away to resist the temptation.

“It is my business. You were the one who just informed me yesterday that trackers are after us again. Do you really think it’s safe to be flirting with strangers?”

“You’re questioning my judgment? You brought your girlfriend along. What are you going to say when the bad guys show up at your motel door? Are you going to make time for introductions? ‘Hey, Jenna, let me introduce the IIA.'” She rolled her eyes and shook her head. “For a smart guy, you’re pretty dumb. I can’t believe you brought her.”

You told me to!”

“I was desperate to get you here. I didn’t think you’d actually bring her. You couldn’t have just sent her home?”

“Grace, I’m sorry. I should have told you about her earlier. I just… I didn’t know how.”

She shook her head again. “Whatever, Eddie. You made your choice. I need to get back to work. There’s a table waiting to order.”

She swiveled around to go, but he placed a hand on her arm to stop her. “Grace, wait.”

She focused to keep her face expressionless. She would cry later. Not now. “What?”

“Don’t trust that guy. Don’t trust anyone right now.”

“Oh don’t worry. I don’t. I don’t trust anyone.” She nodded her head toward Jenna. “Especially her.”

 

Want to read more? Indigo Instinct coming May 20th!!!

Have you seen the trailer yet? If not you can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYp3BdFjYqI

Are you behind on reading the trilogy? Book One, Indigo Incite, is only 99cents on Amazon 🙂

 

 

Indigo Instinct cover reveal!!!

Here it is. I am so excited to share my beautiful cover for Indigo Instinct, Book 2 of the Indigo Trilogy, coming May 20th! Read on to enter a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card, check out the exciting trailer, and take advantage of the final day to download Book One: Indigo Incite for FREE!

Indigo Instinct for Kindle

Indigo Instinct, Book Two of the Indigo Trilogy, picks up where Indigo Incite left off to continue the adventure.

Blurb:

They thought they were safe

Identical twins, Tyler and Toby, escaped the clutches of a covert government agency determined to exploit their extra-sensory powers. Before they regained their freedom, they acquired proof of the agency’s existence, proof that was guaranteed to secure immunity not only for themselves but for their friends as well.

They took more than they bargained for

When the brothers learn that they have unfinished business with the agency, they find themselves reunited with Indigo Children, Liliana, Grace, Eddie, and Rebecka and once again on the run.

They must rely on their instincts

While Grace and Eddie discover that love isn’t always easy, Sarah’s life is thrown into turmoil, and her guilty conscience leads to fear and distrust of her own heart.

Intuition doesn’t lie

There are new players in the game and it isn’t easy to know who to trust

Sometimes the right path isn’t always the easiest

Is there a way to give the agency what they want and still retain their freedom? Find out in Indigo Instinct, Book Two of The Indigo Trilogy.

Trailer:

Download Indigo Incite: Book One for FREE. Today only!!!

http://tinyurl.com/kq4rdx8

Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card!!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/61050a13/

Add to your Goodreads shelf:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19149125-indigo-instinct?from_search=true

My sincere gratitude goes out to Book Addicts One Stop PR Shop for hosting my cover reveal 🙂

MY BANNER    http://www.bookaddictsonestopprshop.com/

Giveaway and Indigo Incite Book Trailer

In case you missed it, I wanted to share the trailer for Indigo Incite. Make sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, too, for a chance to win a $10 Amazon giftcard and four fantastic eBooks!

Ready to read Indigo Incite? Today is the final day that it will be on sale for 99CENTS! Get it now before
Book 2, Indigo Instinct, is released 🙂

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Indigo-Incite-The-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00CT9XL42/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390768475&sr=8-1&keywords=indigo+incite

Enter the GIVEAWAY here:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MDhiZGQxYzVlMzIyODA3NmRmN2NlYjBiNzFlMmM0OjE3/
 

Good luck!! 🙂

Interview with author Cyndi Tefft

Between (Between, #1)  I am thrilled to present my final interview of the year with author Cyndi Tefft. I haven’t yet read her book, BETWEEN, a YA paranormal romance, but I have just added it to my TBR list and absolutely can’t wait to start reading the series. As I’ve gotten to know Cyndi I have discovered that she and I have a lot in common so I know that I will love her writing. The plot sounds fascinating so I’m excited that it’s a series so I’ll be able to continue the story line once I finish the first book. Please enjoy her interview and then check out the blurb for the first book in her series, BETWEEN.

Cyndi Tefft

1. Cyndi, I just looked up the first book in your series, BETWEEN, and I’ve just added it to my TBR list! You had me at Scottish accent 🙂 Add in paranormal romance and I’m hooked. I can’t wait to read it! What makes BETWEEN stand out from other paranormal romances?

BETWEEN is about a modern girl who dies in an accident and the 18th century Scottish Highlander who comes to take her to heaven. The majority of the book takes place in the realm in between Earth and heaven, rather than the heroine being tied to this world, which is unique (at least I haven’t seen it in another book!). Aiden MacRae is a grim reaper of sorts, but ‘grim’ is not among the words I would use to describe him. Sexy, sweet, charming…yes! But not grim. 🙂

2. When I write, I am often surprised my things my characters do and say. What has surprised you the most about your characters?

I remember while writing the second book in this series, Hell Transporter, I had in mind that the next scene would be a love scene, but instead, my characters decided to have a rip-roaring fight! I didn’t know anything about it until I started writing and out it came. LOL

3. I would like to interview the main character, Lindsey, for a moment:
 Lindsey, falling for Aiden is anything but practical. What do you see in him that you find irresistible?

You’re telling me! Who would have thought? But still, you’ll understand once you meet him. I never stood a chance. Not only is he hotness incarnate, but his kindness towards others, and the way he cares for me… I’ve never met anyone like him. *blissful sigh*

4. I was thrilled to learn that you’re from Seattle because that’s where I grew up. When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun in Seattle?

Seattle is a great city (apart from the miserable traffic!). I’ve lived here for about six years. There are a ton of touristy activities to do here (Space Needle, Seattle Center with the Pacific Science Center and the Chihuly Glass Museum, the Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum). I’m a little bit of a homebody, though, so I tend to go out with friends for food and fun, just like you’d do anywhere else.

5. I also see that you’re just as crazy about Scotland as I am, and I am extremely jealous that you’ve been there. What did you enjoy the most about your visit?

I’ve been twice, actually, and I would go again in a heartbeat if I could! The highlight of the first trip was visiting Eilean Donan Castle (the home of the hero in my books). Standing in the great hall that I’d written about, seeing it through Aiden’s eyes, was a surreal experience! On the second trip, we visited Orkney (islands to the north of the mainland), where there are ancient stone villages sunk into the earth. Totally cool!

6. If BETWEEN was turned into a movie, who do you imagine would play Lindsey and Aiden?

I actually have a Pinterest board where I collect pictures just for this fantasy! http://www.pinterest.com/cynditefft/between-series/  Chris Hemsworth is the closest I can come to Aiden. There are a few women who have the look of Lindsey, but the closest is a model Rachel LaHood. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see the book come to life on the big screen. Amazing. As my daughter would say: DO WANT.

7. What are your favorite must-have comforts when you are writing?

I listen to classical music while writing, which helps me block out the rest of the world and slip into the zone. Mostly, I just need space where no one is going to interrupt me!

8. What sort of writing projects do you have planned for the future?

I am currently writing the fourth book in the Between series, as well as dabbling here and there on some other projects, both YA and adult. Anything I write will be a love story, though!

BETWEEN by Cyndi Tefft

Blurb:

It just figures that the love of Lindsey Water’s life isn’t alive at all, but the grim reaper, complete with a dimpled smile and Scottish accent.

After transporting souls to heaven for the last 300 years, Aiden MacRae has all but given up on finding the one whose love will redeem him and allow him entry through the pearly gates.

Torn between her growing attraction to Aiden and heaven’s siren song, Lindsey must learn the hard way whether love really can transcend all boundaries.

Want to read Between and the rest of the series?

Add Between to your Goodreads list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11152377-between

Purchase on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Between-Cyndi-Tefft/dp/1460937104/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385438433&sr=8-1&keywords=between+cyndi+tefft