Do you ever just feel creatively stifled? I know I do, and I’m pretty sure most writers… and artists go through this from time to time. Over the years, I’ve learned that writing prompts can often help to get my creative juices flowing. With that in mind, and my desire to boost other’s creativity, I’ve decided to launch a new weekly post #WritingWednesday! 

write1#WritingWednesday – In this weekly post, starting January 30th, I will be sharing a weekly writing prompt. Of course, if you want to share in the comments what you write, I would love to read what the writing prompt inspires in you. If you prefer to keep your writing private, I hope you will use the prompts to help boost your creativity and push you toward more active writing.


Are you working on a manuscript, but need a little help getting organized? Check out SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ~ An Indie Author Guide to Outlining and Planning Your Next Novel



Author Bullet Journal 8x10 Front Cover


Want help meeting your writing goals? Check out JUST WRITE: The Ultimate Author’s Bullet Journal

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Author Interview – Karina Bartow


Check out this great author interview with Karina Bartow, author of Forgetting My Way Back to You. She was featured on Marie Lavender’s blog http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com. If you haven’t checked out her blog before, make sure you do it. 


I Love Romance Blog

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB.We’re doing something a little different.This is our third official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with the talented author of contemporary romance, Forgetting My Way Back to You. Please join me in welcoming Karina Bartow to ILRB! 🙂

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Karina. Please have a seat.

Author Karina Bartow:  Hi, Marie! I really enjoy your blog and your love of romance.

Marie:  Aww, thanks! It’s such a pleasure to see you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have…

View original post 2,260 more words

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My 2 Cents… Bohemian Rhapsody


Title: Bohemian Rhapsody
Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Anthony McCarten and Peter Morgan
Stars: Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury), Lucy Boynton (Mary Austin), Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon), Aidan Gillen (John Reid), Allen Leech (Paul Prenter), Tom Hollander (Jim Beach) and Mike Myers (Ray Foster)

Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.66)


Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his band mates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day. Written by Twentieth Century Fox

My 2 Cents:
My husband and I both really enjoyed this film. I’ve been a Queen fan for years and believe this is a beautiful tribute to the band and to Freddie Mercury. Rami Malek was perfectly cast. He showed no hesitation to dive right into such a dramatic and charismatic role.

I enjoyed learning more about Freddie Mercury, the band, and the origin of many of the songs. Although, I wish the movie had included his struggle with AIDS and his death, not because I think he needed to die in the movie to give closure, but because I had hoped to see the relationship between him, his band mates, and Mary throughout his last few months. With the strong acting and wonderful script, I believe they could have brought the movie full circle with his life. This was the only reason I didn’t give it a full 5-star rating… the story was lacking a conclusion… I wanted more!

Even if you aren’t a Queen fan, this movie is worth your time. I wish I had seen this one on the big screen. If it’s still available, I highly recommend going to the theatre… see it on IMAX… get the full concert effect and enjoy every minute of this masterpiece.

You can watch the official trailers here:

Watch the original Queen Bohemian Rhapsody music video here:


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Shadow of Okeaous by W.M. Martin


TITLE: Shadow of Okeaous ~ Be the Light
AUTHOR: W. M. Martin

Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4)



When a teenage runaway named Maggie Bennett is drawn to the small but odd town of Thieves, she is unaware of what adventure awaits her. Maggie must journey to a world beyond the one she knows to undertake the trials and train to became a Guardian, all while an ancient and malefic presence is secretly haunting her every step, and it desires, more than anything, that which it once held. Journey along with Maggie as she learns about the world of the Veil, her place within it, and the Fallen hordes who want to watch it burn.

Buy it HERE on Amazon! 

First let me say, I purchased this book directly from the author at an author event. I always enjoy meeting authors and talking about not only their stories but their process. W.M. Martin wrote this book with his daughters. Through telling bedtime stories that they participated in, they brought this book to life. I was inspired by his story and how excited his wife and children were when I spoke to them.

WRITING: Shadow of Okeaous ~ Be the Light is a self-published fantasy novel. Like most self-published novels, my own included, there are a few typos, editing issues, and formatting errors. However, none of these issues let me to put the book down. I will say, fantasy isn’t my favorite genre. Therefore, it did take me a bit longer to get through the book than I had hoped.

STORY: The story is perfect for children, young and old. However, some of the vocabulary could be challenging for younger readers. I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this ‘Harry Potter’ like story and am looking forward to reading the next one.

CHARACTERS: Maggie Bennett comes from a long line of strong women and although she doesn’t know it in the beginning, she discovers just how powerful she really is throughout the novel.

For me, there were a bit too many characters. I did get lost from time to time wonder who everyone was, but the main characters; Maggie, Elliot, Nancy, Lucy, Alice, and a few of the others, were very well-developed and easily recognizable throughout the story.

APPEARANCE: The cover, which was designed by Gabriela at BROSEDESIGNZ did a beautiful job bringing Maggie Bennett to life.

“A single light can pierce the deepest darkness. Be the light.”

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.


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I’m on YouTube!!!


OK… Some of you might already know, others might not…

I joined the YouTube craze a while back, but I haven’t really been advertising my page or my videos and I haven’t really put myself out there, not much anyway. That’s all about to change! Today, with some trepidation, I am sharing my YouTube pages with all of you lovely readers. 

Please be gentle!

With the new year upon us, WELCOME TO 2019, I’ve decided to focus on consistent content on both of my active YouTube channels.


If you’d like to check out my book review videos, you can find them at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpT3nSZ13WwQ0KFDroYj_kg

By clicking on ‘Share a public Comment’ when you view one of my videos, you can share your thoughts on the book I’m discussing as well as give me some suggestions on books you think I’d enjoy. I love hearing what you think, so please don’t be shy. 

Be sure to click subscribe at the top of my YouTube page so you never miss a video!

skincare and selfcare

If you’d like to check out my Mindfulness videos, you can find them at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6tK3aoZdquZCGT0LffRuCA

By clicking on ‘Share a public Comment’ when you view one of my videos, you can ask questions and share your thoughts. I love hearing what you think, so please don’t be shy. If you have questions about mindfulness or skin care please let me know, I’m here to help. If you’d like to check out my mindfulness book you can do so by following THIS LINK. If you’d like to check out the #1 Skin Care Brand in America, follow THIS LINK

Be sure to click subscribe at the top of my YouTube page so you never miss a video!

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My 2 Cents… Bird Box

Bird Box

Title: Bird Box
Director: Susanne Bier
Writers: Eric Heisserer (screenplay) and Josh Malerman (novel)
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar

Writing: ★★★
Story: ★★★
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★ (3.66)

Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety.

In the wake of an unknown global terror, a mother must find the strength to flee with her children down a treacherous river in search of safety. Due to unseen deadly forces, the perilous journey must be made blindly. Directed by Emmy winner Susanne Bier, Bird Box is a thriller starring Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, and Trevante Rhodes. Written by Netflix

My 2 Cents:
I wanted to love this film, I really did. Sandra Bullock is one of my favorite actresses and although I didn’t love this film, I did LOVE her performance. Let me explain. I felt that the writing left to many things open-ended… without a clear picture of what happened to cause the mass suicides or a clear understanding of how, or even if, everything was resolved, everything in the middle was just filler.

If you’ve seen ‘The Happening’ or ‘A Quiet Place’ then you need not bother with this one. However, if you don’t care about plot and you just want to be startled and see Sandra Bullock at her best, despite a sub-par script, then sit down with some popcorn and watch.

Before you think I just completely hated this film, let me give props to the cast. You already know I enjoyed Bullocks portrayal of Malorie. Trevante Rhodes was excellent as Tom, John Malkovich was creepy good at Douglas, Sarah Paulson blew the small role of Jessica out of the park, and the children Vivien Lyra Blair (Girl) and Julian Edwards (Boy) were wonderful.

You can watch the official trailers here:


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The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken


TITLE: The Darkest Legacy
AUTHOR: Alexandra Bracken

Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4)


The long-awaited new novel in the New York Times best-selling Darkest Minds series, now a major motion picture.

Five years after the destruction of the so-called rehabilitation camps that imprisoned her and countless other Psi kids, seventeen-year-old Suzume “Zu” Kimura has assumed the role of spokesperson for the interim government, fighting for the rights of Psi kids against a growing tide of misinformation and prejudice. But when she is accused of committing a horrifying act, she is forced to go on the run once more in order to stay alive.

Determined to clear her name, Zu finds herself in an uncomfortable alliance with Roman and Priyanka, two mysterious Psi who could either help her prove her innocence or betray her before she gets the chance. But as they travel in search of safety and answers, and Zu grows closer to the people she knows she shouldn’t trust, they uncover even darker things roiling beneath the veneer of the country’s recovery. With her future-and the future of all Psi-on the line, Zu must use her powerful voice to fight back against forces that seek to drive the Psi into the shadows and save the friends who were once her protectors.

From #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexandra Bracken comes a harrowing story of resilience, resistance, and reckoning that will thrill loyal fans and new readers alike.

Buy it HERE on Amazon! 

I was bound to read The Darkest Legacy at some point. I LOVED the first four books in the series and was just waiting to get through a stack of other “to read” books on my desk before I cracked the spine on this one… also, I didn’t read much in November since I was busy with NaNoWriMo. With that said, let’s get into the book…

WRITING: There is no doubt that Bracken is a talented writer. She has an amazingly creative mind and she is successful at painting a picture with her words. With that said, I think that this books felt a bit rushed… not as much detail… in some spots and too much mundane detail in other spots.

STORY: I had a hard time accepting that the final book in the series was from a completely different perspective. The story didn’t seem to have a really driving force. Zu is a speaker for the government, there is a staged bombing set up by who knows who, Zu goes on the run with two completely new to the reader characters and along the way discovers that Ruby and Liam are missing. Zu’s focus becomes finding Ruby and Liam… even though they haven’t been in the book at all. MORE HERE

It was around page 300 that I started caring about what was going to happen in the book, but not until the last six or seven chapters that the book really started to have the same feel as the previous books in the series. It was those last few chapters that pulled at my mind, tugged at my heart-strings, and made me remember exactly why I loved the series and why I’ll probably pick up anything Alexandra Bracken writes just to see what she comes up with next. No, it wasn’t my favorite of her books, but read it for the ending… I wasn’t disappointed and I don’t think you will be either.

CHARACTERS: I’m not going to lie, I missed the interaction between the main characters within the previous books on this series. It was hard to get into reading from Zu’s perspective at first and I didn’t really feel anything toward Zu, Priyanka, or Roman at first. It wasn’t until about 300 pages in that I actually started caring for the characters, what was going to happen to them, or how their story would end. That isn’t to say that Bracken didn’t do a good job with character development, she did. I just think there could have been more relationship development to make the reader really invested in the characters more.

APPEARANCE: Like the other books in The Darkest Mind series, I think this one is beautifully done. I wish she had kept with a similar style, but seeing as she changed voices from Ruby’s perspective to that of Suzume “Zu”, I suppose a change in look was needed as well. It isn’t my favorite of the covers, but it gets the job done. Even if I hadn’t already intended to read it, I would have picked it up at the books store and at a minimum checked out the back blurb.

“I was still on my feet. There was still breath in my lungs. I wasn’t fine, but I was strong. And I was going to use every ounce of my power to get us the hell out of here.”

“I’m going to remind you that heroes frequently die, but the morally mediocre people almost always live to see another day. Don’t do anything that’s going to piss me off.” ~ Priyanka

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.


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2019 printable planner

Do you like FREE STUFF? Yeah, me too. That’s why I’m giving away a FREE 2019 printable planner to help you stay organized this year. Included in this great giveaway are printable weekly, daily, and monthly planning pages and of course a yearly calendar. But that’s not all!!! Since I’m certified in Mind and Body Fitness and Stress Management and believe in the power of journaling… I’ve also included a journal page that you can print for daily or weekly use. There is still more… seeing as everything in life requires a password these days, you’ll also get a password page for remembering all your different passwords. This FREE printable planner has everything you’ll need to keep you and your family organized including daily and weekly to-do lists, contact sheets for emails and phone numbers, and a meal planning and shopping list section for each week. You’ll be able to crush your goals, never miss a meeting or appointment, and plan your time so you’re more productive and present in every moment this year.


The great thing about this printable planner is that you can print as many of each individual page as you’d like. The entire file is just 20 pages long. I recommend finding yourself a cute – inspirational – 3-ring binder, then print out the full document and 3-hole punch it, make sure you print a weekly planning page for all 52 weeks this year, and enough daily planning pages too. Remember, you can always print additional pages as needed.


#1: To receive your free planner, just enter your name and email address on the form below then click submit. This will add you to my email list – don’t worry I don’t spam. You’ll be notified when I’ve published a new blog post, am releasing a new book, or some other exciting news worthy event has happened in the writing world I live in!

#2: You’ll receive your 2019 printable planner in 24-48 hours via email. Download and save the document so you can print it as needed. Get ready to organize your 2019! 


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My 2 Cents… Ocean’s Eight

Oceans Eight

Title: Ocean’s Eight
Director: Gary Ross
Writers: Gary Ross and Olivia Milch (Screenplay)
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter

Writing: ★★★
Story: ★★★
Acting: ★★★
Overall: ★★★ (3)

Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.

Danny Ocean’s estranged sister Debbie attempts to pull off the heist of the century at New York City’s star-studded annual Met Gala. Her first stop is to assemble the perfect all-female crew: Lou, Rose, Daphne Kluger, Nine Ball, Tammy, Amita, and Constance. Written by Coors71

My 2 Cents:
Let me just say up front that Sandra Bullock is one of my favorite actresses. As an actress myself, I’ve always wanted her career. I obviously don’t have it. With that said, I was sad to give this movie only a 3-star rating, but it just didn’t live up to my expectations. If I’m honest with myself, it probably shouldn’t have even been a 3-star rating, but I refuse to give it any less because it did keep me minimally entertained on the airplane… and it kept my mind off the fact that I was nauseous and hate to fly.

Admittedly, the cast lineup was fantastic. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, and even Anne Hathaway.

However, what this movie proved was that even with an AMAZING CAST, you wont always end up with an amazing film. The directing was subpar – trying to live off the success of the previous Ocean movies… The script was predictable. It wasn’t humorous, the characters weren’t likeable, and worst of all there was no suspense. It was supposed to be a heist movie, where was the thrill, danger, suspense?

All in all, I’d say, if you’re really bored and there is nothing else on – go ahead and watch Ocean’s Eight. However, I wouldn’t rent it. Save your $3.99 and watch it when it becomes free on Netflix.

You can watch the official trailers here:


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#FridayReads 2019

Welcome to 2019!!!

adult blur books close up

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In 2018 I had planned to read one book a month… 12 books total, but I ended up reading 30 books by the end of the year. 30 BOOKS… That was way more than I had expected to read or had even hoped to read considering my crazy busy life.

This year, I am aiming for a minimum of 24 books (2 per month) and hope to crush my goal once again. If you’d like to keep up with what I’m reading, make sure you stop by my blog on Friday’s to read my most recent book review. I’ll also be posting YouTube video reviews on my page HERE.

My 2019 Reading List:

  • Shadow of Okeaous by W.M. Martin
  • The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken
  • The Outsider by Stephen King
  • The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
  • Elevation by Stephen King
  • What if its Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Sivera
  • The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

Since I only own 2 of the above titles, I can’t say in what order I’ll get to these books… just that they intrigue me. If you have reading suggestions, please comment below and let me know what you think I should read this year. I’m open to just about anything. 🙂 

What’s on your 2019 reading list?

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