Green.

After we got all that rain, everything is such a bright green. 
The grass, the new buds on the trees...


Spring has brought many little critters to take up home in our yard. 
In the back we have three birds' nests (One in the gutter), 
in our front trees we have three too 
and in our Christmas wreath there's a Robin's nest. 
(Just about as we were about to take it down we realized a Mama bird beat us to it, so the Christmas wreath on the light will be up all Summer, haha!)

She has two little birdies in the nest and boy do they like to chirp!
Our living room is right by the door with the wreath on the light so we hear them all day. 
Definitely can't complain, it's such a sweet reminder of how beautiful nature can be. 


\



It's eighty-five degrees out today! 
It's like we skipped Spring and just went full force into Summer.
Luckily, I decided to mow the lawn this weekend when it was a bit cooler out. 
I hate mowing the lawn,
with a firer-ry burning passion hate. 

Anyways, 
nothing much has been going on here other than lots of green, birdies, mowing the lawn and Max getting his hair cut! 
Last week was a bit rough, but I'm planning on working extra hard to make this week better. 
Which will include posts on the blog! Yay! 

I hope it's sunny where you are!







Author Guest Post: Top 5 Tools for Writing (Nancy J. Cavanaugh)

Top 5 Tools for Writing 
Nancy shares what writing tools she can’t be without.

1. Pencils – Yep, in this modern age of technology in which some authors write entire manuscripts on their phones, my number one writing tool is a pencil. I absolutely LOVE writing in pencil! Now, not just any pencil will do. I need REAL wood – not that simulated plastic-like wood that those yellow #2 school pencils are made of and definitely not those mechanical pencils with the thin, scratchy lead – those actually send shivers up my spine. I need REAL wood – and fun, funky colors are even better.

2. A Good Eraser – I love pencils because I love to be able to erase. “Erase” is the key here – I don’t want black streaks and smudges. I want an eraser that erases so well you’d never know I used it. Oh, and it has to be on the end of my pencil. I want to be able to flip my pencil over and use it. I don’t want to have to search for it every time I make a mistake.

3. A Super Sharp Pencil Sharpener – Electric is best, but some of the plastic handheld ones will do. The important thing here is something that will give me a super sharp point.

4. A Spiral Notebook – When I begin a new story, I jot down notes in a spiral notebook. I choose a notebook that fits who my main character will be.

5. A Computer – As old fashioned as I sound, I need my computer and couldn’t write without it. It makes all my work so much faster and easier.

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Thanks for the awesome post, Nancy!

Nancy J. Cavanaugh on:
Twitter - Facebook - Goodreads - Website



Don't forget to check out Nancy's debut middle grade book, This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, out April 2013!












Review: This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh (DNF)

Received for review.
Published: April 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Genre: Middle Grade
Pages: 320


   A debut middle grade novel about a girl named Ratchet and her quest to make a friend, save a park, and find her own definition of normal. Ratchet tells her story through the assignments in her home school journal.

If only getting a new life were as easy as getting a new notebook. But it's not.

It's the first day of school for all the kids in the neighborhood. But not for me. I'm homeschooled. That means nothing new. No new book bag, no new clothes, and no friends – old or new. The best I've got is this notebook. I'm supposed to use it for my writing assignments, but my dad never checks. Here's what I'm really going to use it for:

Ratchet's Top Secret Plan Project Goal: turn my old, recycled, freakish, friendless, motherless life into something shiny and new.

This year, I'm going make something change.


I was really excited to read this book because it definitely sounded like something I would enjoy: a home schooled girl who writes her assignments/thoughts in a notebook, it sounded like a perfect fit. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. I try not to post reviews of books that I wasn't able to finish (DNF) but I'm on the blog tour for this book, so I'll just write about the part that I did read.

I really struggled with the format of this book. I know the summary says that Ratchet will be telling her story through her school assignments, but I didn't think all of the book (or at least the part I read) would be written like that. To me, it felt like I was reading/grading papers. Ratchet would be given a writing prompt then she'd simply answer that writing prompt. Yes, I got to see into her life and struggles, but I just couldn't visualize an actual character. I had trouble connecting with Ratchet and the story itself.

I think this is a book that you'll either love it or hate it because of the format. It definitely is unique in the sense of the reader uncovering Ratchet's situation through her writing prompts, but I just found it a bit hard to follow. I hope you give This Journal Belongs to Ratchet a fair shot, who knows, it could be your next middle grade favorite.









This Week

I think we've all had a difficult week with all the events that recently occurred. My heart goes out to Boston, Texas and those in the Midwest who were affected by the flooding. I hope next week will be more low key and safe for everyone.

While trying to keep up with all the news in Boston, I came across some really inspiring broadcasts and even a YouTube video. I'll embed them below...

Stephen Colbert talking about Boston.


John Green discussing equality and reminds us to always look for the helpers.


My mom finally got home early yesterday morning after being stuck at work for more than twenty four hours due to the flooding and is still on-call since she works with water treatment (and there's a ton of water everywhere.) With all the rain we had a bit of trouble with electricity and internet connection, but I believe that problem has been resolved. Thankfully, there's no water in our basement, but part of our downtown area is completely flooded, but compared to the surrounding areas, our town's issues aren't nearly as bad. 


I hope you and your loved ones are safe and have time to spend together this weekend. You're all in my thoughts. 









*Regular posting will continue on Monday. 

Guest Post: A Glamorous Day in the Life of Author Bethany Wiggins

I'd like to say that a day in the life of an author is glamorous--sleeping in late, book signings, fancy clothes, fan art, lavish hotel suites and book tours--but for me, that isn't the case. For me life is, well, mundane.

Early mornings? Check.

Getting everyone but me dressed before we rush out the door? Check. (Please don't let me get a flat tire on the way to school since I'm wearing slippers and a fuzzy pink housecoat!)

School carpool? Check.

Oh, crap, did I forget to wash my face last night? Is that mascara smeared under my eyes or am I just that tired? Check.

House cleaning in a fluffy pink housecoat? Check.

Cooking? Check.

School car pool again? Check. (At least I am not wearing the housecoat this time.)

Laundry? Check check check check! (And where's that housecoat? It's cold in here!)

Dinner? Check. (Oh no, husband's almost home--run upstairs, ditch the housecoat and put something cute on. And lipstick! Did I forget to brush my hair today? *brushing furiously*

I have four kids, three cats, one dog and a husband who drives a semi. For me, the average day starts at 7 a.m. I feed the cats, the dog, the kids, and if I am lucky, myself. I cook a lot. I clean a lot (but not as much as I should), sometimes I wear my pajamas all day and tell visitors I'm wearing yoga clothes. I tackle mountains of laundry!

When evening comes, the kids do their chores and then get to bed by eight p.m. And that is when I take off my "mom" hat and put on my "writer" hat. I sit at my computer and try to put words down on the computer screen. If the words are flowing, I stay up way too late. If they're not, I stay up way WAY too late trying to meet my writing goals. And then, when everyone else has been asleep for hours, my head finds my pillow, I put my ice cube feet on my sleeping husband, and get some much needed sleep.

-----------------------------------------------

Thanks for the awesome 'Day in the Life' post, Bethany!

Bethany Wiggins on:
Twitter - Facebook - Goodreads


Don't forget to check out Stephanie's book, Stung, out April 2013.


You can check out my review of Stung here






A Sunny Sunday Morning

It was a beautiful day here
so I decided to go outside and snap a few pictures. 
My dad and Max soon joined me. (Mom stayed inside sewing!)
I was able to capture a few moments of them playing fetch. 
A.K.A. my dad crawling after the ball while Max watches.







I'm slowly converting Call Me Crazy into more than 'just a book blog'. 
I'll be doing more personal posts, videos, artsy stuff and more. 
No worries though, all of the bookish-craziness will still continue!
I'll do a more 'official' post about this change in the coming week. 

Also on a quick note:
My email accounts were hacked so if you've gotten an email from me in the past twenty four hours
please just delete it. I'm so sorry for the inconvenience, but I think I've solved the problem (hopefully!)



Yes, angsty teen Max, we are done.



Hope you all had a relaxing Sunday!





Stacking the Shelves (62)


Hosted by Tynga's Reviews.





-Just Little Things (A Celebration of Life's Simple Pleasures) by Nancy Vu
-Unraveling (Unraveling 1) by Elizabeth Norris
-Unbreakable (Unraveling 2) by Elizabeth Norris

A big thank you to Penguin Group and Balzer+Bray! 




-Soul Screamers Volume One: by Rachel Vincent
-Soul Screamers Volume Two: by Rachel Vincent




-Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
-Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber
-Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
-Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School 1) by Gail Carriger









If You Like, You Should Try... (Paranormal Series Edition)

Inspired by Epic Reads' Like, Try, Why.



These three series all have a strong leading female character with a unique story line. Each of the authors' writing styles are completely one of a kind, yet I think complement each other in the ways of a wonderful teen voice and a gripping plot. 

Whether it's fairies, a girl that can see the dead or a girl that screams bloody murder when someone is about to die you can easily put yourself in their shoes. These three series are in the top of my favorites list, I definitely recommend you trying them out!




Find out more about these books on Goodreads:
The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa 
The Mediator by Meg Cabot  (My review)
Soul Screamers by Rachel Vincent  (My review)










Earth Day Celebration (Reviews and Giveaways) with Stephanie Lisa Tara


Be sure to check out the other stops of the Earth Day Celebration!




I'll Follow the Moon
Written by Stephanie Lisa Tara
Illustrated by Lee Edward Fodi

"On a quiet, moonlit beach, a baby green sea turtle stirs from a dream of home. Slowly, slowly, with a tap, crick, crack, the baby turtle embarks upon a mysterious nighttime journey. Gentle, tender verse and enchanting illustrations carry this tranquil tale from sand to sea."

I absolutely adored I'll Follow the Moon! Not only did it have beautiful illustrations, but it also had a lyrical writing style that would capture any child's (and parent's) attention. I love how the book repeated lines at the end of every page, I think the kiddos would love to repeat that with Mom or Dad while reading the book. I definitely can picture asking my parents to have read this to me over and over again when I was little. I'll Follow the Moon is a beautifully written story that will become a bedtime must-read in your home.








Written by Stephanie Lisa Tara
Illustrated by Alex Walton

"Even when you are little, you can imagine big. At closing time a key locks the library, and unlocks the dreams of a little mouse who waits in the shadows. Skipping, sliding, down the pages of books? he steps inside magical stories, inviting readers to come along for the ride. Witty verse and fantastical illustrations celebrate the joys of reading in this tale with innovative charm."


I liked how we were able to follow the mouse around the library and see all the fun different adventures he took through books. I think it's a great message for children, that books can take them absolutely anywhere! Little Library Mouse gave words to the magical feeling of being in a library, surrounded by books. I think any mini-book lover would adore the illustrations and Tara's rhythmic writing.







Gwynne Fair and Shining
Written by Stephanie Lisa Tara
Illustrated by Lee Edward Fodi

"Gwynne, Fair and Shining is a twenty-four page children's book, written in verse, about a young girl who learns she is special and can be anything she wants to be."


I think the little ones will really enjoy Gwynne Fair and Shining. The illustrations are very detailed and follow the story really well. Gwynne is released from her tower by the magic of music and with the help of woodland creatures and a very special flute she is able to bring good to all the land.





About the Author




   I've always believed that magic hides in special places. As a child, people would often stare at my bright red hair, which was very, very bright indeed. Unfortunately, I developed a bad habit of making up rhymes about all of them, and they soon became funny characters. I didn't have much time to think about being different; fanciful lyricisms danced in my head, and no one was safe!
   Since then, I've come to believe that storytelling has the power to inspire a deep love of language and learning. Words tripping off the tongue in somersaults that stick to your thoughts like taffy-- those are the things that stay forever in the mind.
   I've lived in many special places: on a farm, in a city skyscraper, on a tropical beach, and in the beautiful country of France. Now I live in northern California, between the redwood forests and the sea. Even though I'm an adult, I'm still as silly as ever.
   Many nice words have been used to describe my books, such as fun, engaging, delightful, and whimsical. Some folks say that I deliver timeless messages of love for kids and parents to share again and again; this makes me very happy. I hope that you'll enjoy my stories, too. Captivating children with language is something that I believe in, and I strive to live my life with this always.
--Stephanie Lisa Tara
www.StephanieLisaTara.com 





"Due to overwhelming response, Stephanie Tara has decided to double your sweepstakes prize IF you are willing to WRITE A REVIEW (one word to 100 - your choice!) on any of her book's amazon pages. moms-helping-moms! Add your voice to other mom's voices! And all together - we add our voices to Mother Earth's voice—this Earth Day, April 22, 2013!"


a Rafflecopter giveaway



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Don't forget to check out the other stops on the Earth Day Celebration tour! 
Click here to see the full list of all the participating bloggers.








Review: Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Received for review.
Published: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Walker Children's
Pages: 304
Amazon - Goodreads




There is no cure for being stung.

Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered—her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand—a black oval with five marks on either side—that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She’s right.

Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.

Now Fiona has awakened branded, alone—and on the wrong side of the wall.


The first thing that grabbed my attention about Stung was the killer summary! I loved the main character had no idea what happened in the time that she was asleep and she awoke with a weird tattoo on her hand and a wall separating her and society. Unfortunately, I was a bit let down with this book. I felt it took a long time to really 'start'. I was a good fifty pages in before the plot really took off for me. 

In the beginning of Stung I thought there was just too much left open, I know that Fiona had no idea what was going on, but I wish it wouldn't have taken so long for things to finally clear up. It was like I spent the majority of the book trying to figure out if I missed something because I was just so confused.

While Fiona is trying to figure out what happened, she runs into quite the stud! I didn't feel like I really got to know him even though he was in most of the book. I also felt a definite case of insta-love, which was kind of a bummer.

Awesome Quote:
"I am in a world of winter being burned beneath a summer sun."

Characters: 3/5
Creativity: 3/5
Voice: 3/5
Plot: 2/5
Impact: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Stung is an interesting novel that's part dystopian-part science fiction and follows the adventure of Fiona trying to discover her new world. Although I did have some struggles with the plot, something about the book kept me reading. I really wanted to know what would happen next to Fiona and learn more about the mysterious epidemic. 









Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Borrowed copy from library.
Published: August 1, 2009
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: Soul Screamers #1
Pages: 279
Amazon - Goodreads


Something is wrong with Kaylee Cavanaugh.

She doesn't see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next.






   I can't believe it took me this many years to pick up My Soul to Take! From the first page I was immediately hooked and just couldn't stop reading. Kaylee's story is so original and nail-bitingly addicting that I couldn't help but love fall in love with this book. 

   Kaylee, the main character, has always had the problem of bursting out into a blood curdling scream whenever someone around her is about to die. She's never really known why this happens, she just knows that her premonitions are never wrong. Her aunt and uncle (who she lives with) won't tell her anything so Kaylee turns to the certified-hunk, Nash. He, for some reason, knows all about Kaylee's problems, how interesting...

   Rachel Vincent captured a great teen voice for all of the characters and had amazing descriptions that put me right into all the action! I loved the unique 'problem' that Kaylee has and other aspects of paranormal folklore that Vincent brought to the book. I don't want to give too much away, one of the best parts for me was going in knowing almost nothing about the book and then being able to slowly uncover what exactly was wrong. 

   There were definitely some parts of the book that I predicted way before they were revealed. However, I don't think that made me enjoy the story any less. I felt the pacing of the plot and how all the information was revealed was done really well. I easily understood all the new paranormal/folklore terminology too, which was awesome! 

A little problem I had was how parts were repeated at least two to three times. Like you know how a character will go through a scene, then they'll go and tell another character what happened and you (the reader) get a recap, in some parts it felt like I was getting too much of a recap from past events, especially the third time around. I was like can't it just say 'I told her what happened' instead of saying everything again? This was just a little peeve of mine, but it definitely didn't prevent me from loving this book. 



 Awesome Quote:
"...don't judge your future based on others' mistakes."

Characters: 5/5
Creativity: 5/5
Voice: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Impact: 5/5
Overall: 5/5


My Soul to Take is the perfect start to Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series. It introduces you to the main character, Kaylee and her world perfectly while also giving you an introduction to the supporting characters as well. My Soul to Take is the perfect mix of mystery, paranormal and a pinch of romance, you definitely need to read this one a.s.a.p. It's definitely one of my new favorites! I've already ordered the next few books in the series and am stalking my mailbox waiting for them to arrive!