Sunday Post ~ Happy New Year

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It is a weekly news post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase the books and other goodies you’ve received, and share news about upcoming events on your blog. Be creative and personalize it! To get in on the Sunday fun day, see the rules here: Suday Post Meme.

This week was very relaxing. We’ve had a drastic dip in the weather earlier this week, and now it is turning freezing cold again. This time I have my plants covered – hopefully well. I spent the week primarily sleeping. I’ve been staying up a little later than normal and sleeping late in the morning. Even after getting up, taking my morning meds, doing my sugar check, I’d fall back asleep on the couch most days for about an hour or more. I spent the rest of my time reading, prepping my new bullet journal, and watching a lot of Forensic Files. We went on our 2.5 mile walk every other night.

Christmas was a great day. When I got up, I prepped all the food that would be cooked indoors so that once we were ready to start, we had everything already out and ready. Once The Man woke up, we opened presents. We opened the dogs’ presents first. Once all theirs were opened and we were opening ours, both dogs suddenly were exhausted. Baby flopped over on the couch and went to sleep, and Cera passed out on top of all their new toys on the floor. They could have cared less about what we were opening and what was inside. We tried to coerce them into being interested, and they were not budging. It was almost like it was perfectly orchestrated and trained for comedic effect in a movie.

The Man cooked the ham outside and I cooked everything else in the kitchen. It turned out beautifully and I ate too much. We’ve been eating leftovers all week. Christmas night we went to the movies to see Jumangi and it was sold out. So we saw Downsizing instead. There is NO ending to the movie. It was just an abrupt stop. Like, did they run out of money? Did someone accidentally send the unfinished copy out? Joke’s on us, I guess?

I spent Saturday with my cousin for two of her childrens’ birthdays. They are unlucky to have their birthday within the days after Christmas, and her oldest’s and youngest’s birthdays are three days apart. It was nice spending time with my cousin, who I don’t get to see very often at all. Her older brother died in 2013, leaving behind his high school girlfriend who was a fellow classmate of ours, and his daughter. I get to see them even less and I was glad they were at the party and we could spend some time together.

I have been trying to finish out my Goodreads goal before the year is out – tonight! I still have 2.5 books to go! EEEK! This might be the first year I don’t make it. I did keep reading a couple Christmas books even after Christmas, and I have laid the holiday reads to rest. I finished The Duke and Miss Christmas and Christmas at Seashell Cottage. I am currently working my way through To the Duke, With Love.

  • Monday
    • TBD
  • Tuesday
    • Top Ten Tuesday ~ New Authors in 2017
    • Teaser Tuesday & Intro ~ Chocolate Kisses and Love Filled Wishes
  • Wednesday
    • WWW Wednesday
    • My Favorite ~ TBD
  • Thursday
    • Famous Last Words #39
    • Beyond the Books ~ Blogging Goals for 2018
  •  Friday
    • Book Blogger Hop ~ 1.5.18


Book Blogger Hop ~ 12.29.17


The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week poses a book-related question. The hop starts on Friday and ends on Thursday. The purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers.

What character or characters would you not mind sharing a New Year’s kiss with? (submitted by Kitty @ Vicarious Bookworm)

Oooooo. Risqué.

I think the better question is, who would you not want to share a NYE kiss with? 😉

At the top of my list is always Jamie Fraser (Outlander, Diana Gabaldon). And now perhaps a new man, Gavin St. James, Earl of Thorne from The Scot Beds His Wife. Those are the two that come to mind instantaneously.

Famous Last Words #38

Famous Last Words

Famous Last Words is a new monthly feature here in Land of 1000 Wonders. I wanted to find a new way to share some fabulous quotations from reads old and new. The inspiration for this feature came from the character Pudge in John Green’s Looking for Alaska.


In the last year, George’s life has drastically changed. The formerly homeless veteran now has a job he likes, a family in the residents of Darling, VT, and for the first time in years, a home. But while his presence is good, he’s still haunted by the past, a past that appears shortly before Christmas when the older sister of his brother-in-arms hunts him down and finds him in Darling, working at the Ladybug Garden Center.

Amy’s looking for closure for her family after her brother’s death in the Middle East, but the serious man she finds working in Vermont doesn’t resemble the soldier she remembers from years before. This man is hardened and yet somehow fragile, too, and in her desire to find out what really happened to her brother, she learns more about George than she ever expected.

With a little Christmas magic and the whole town supporting them, can these two bruised hearts make a future together?

Deck the Halls

My Favorite…Thing About 2017

My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it.. The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.

Thing About 2017

My favorite thing about 2017 was strengthening relationships with certain individuals in my life.

It was the second year with my new partner after my first one left to go to elementary. She has grown to be one of my closest friends and continues to tell everyone that she’s just ignoring the fact that one day I will leave and that The Man will buy a house in the city we work in and then I’ll never leave her. She is a great support and friend and I am so blessed to have met her and get to work with her.

This summer both The Man and I suffered deadly blows with our fathers. While his father was here in Texas visiting – the purpose for which was to scope out and begin the process of purchasing a home here – we learned he has cancer and it is inoperable. The visit had a somber tone and the house hunt was off. A painful blow came the day the biopsy results came back. Just two days later, my father suffered The Widowmaker and somehow lived. These blows have made us even closer and strengthened our bond. While The Man is a loner type and almost like an only child (he has a younger delinquent-like stepbrother), he is often the stoic silent type and he did not grow up with the sense of family and closeness that I did, being one of 21 grandkids and my family all local, seeing them and being with them all the time. However, this has drawn us closer together and I think given him a change in perspective about family.

My relationship with my mom has continued to become better and stronger over the years since we reconnected. Our lives were not rainbows and sunshine in any form for over a decade, and now we are like two peas in a pod almost two decades later. She is another facet of my rock in equal measures with The Man and my two work wives.

I also learned how to tell people no and let things go or not get to me. Last school year I kept getting things heaped on my plate and didn’t feel like I had a choice. After all, there are a million things that can be considered “other duties” within my teaching contract and I held accountable for above and beyond. I have grown stronger myself in choosing to tell people no and to ignore things I can’t control, despite how I feel about them or how much those events interrupt the lives of those I care about. Sometimes you have to let go and not look back. Hopefully, at some point, those you care about are once again there walking beside you after taking their detour.

What was your favorite thing about this year? 

Tuesday Teaser & Intro: A Season of You


Synopsis ~ A Season of You

It’s Christmastime in the quaint island town of Cloud Bay, where love is always in season…Will Fraser has believed in love at first sight since the day he first laid eyes on Mina Harper five years ago. There was only one problem: She was happily married. Then, when Mina’s husband was killed by a drunk driver, Will figured she’d want nothing to do with a guy who owns a whiskey distillery. So he’s kept his feelings locked away, knowing that not even a Christmas miracle would be enough to melt Mina’s heart. . . Mina believes her days of true love are behind her. Since losing her husband she’s kept to herself, content to do her own painting and stay out of the limelight that comes with her famous family. But when, after a freak accident, Will comes to her rescue, Mina can’t quite get him out of her mind. As curiosity turns into a fling during Cloud Bay’s first Christmas Festival, she finds it harder to convince herself that her feelings for Will are just mistletoe-inspired. Could Mina be ready to lay the past to rest and finally admit that what she really wants for Christmas–and forever–is Will?


Chapter 1 

“Not to misquote Monty Python or anything, but that is an ex-tire.” Mina Harper stared at the back of her Jeep and fought the urge to kick the offending wheel. No point making it any flatter. It was already doing an annoyingly good imitation of a squished and melted doughnut as it was.


“Yep, I’m definitely okay with a cookie payment plan.”

Was he the first man she’d kissed since her husband? The stupid-ass, too-much-testosterone, Neanderthal part of his brain wanted that to be true.


Would you keep reading? 

tuesdayTeaser Tuesday is hosted by The PurpleBooker. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you’re reading. No spoilers, please! List the author and book title too. Link up HERE.

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon. Link up HERE.


Sunday Post ~ The Christmas Edition

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It is a weekly news post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase the books and other goodies you’ve received, and share news about upcoming events on your blog. Be creative and personalize it! To get in on the Sunday fun day, see the rules here: Suday Post Meme.

I feel like last week was a heavy post. I am very much the introvert and I very much bury my head and isolate myself. It helps. I pointed out to The Man that I have always been that way since I was 10 years old and going to be put on a jury stand to testify against a family member (who ended up being falsely accused and part of a “witch hunt” for lack of better word). It destroyed my family, I lost my best friend, and I was left to my own devices – my books. While my work partner externally explodes, I internally combust and I share my thoughts and feelings with a rare few, so most don’t even realize there is a change in me, and if they do they just think I have a lot on my plate. Which I do….and then some.

I am so thankful to Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight and all of the contributors for #ShatteringStigmas who share their stories and struggles with mental health, as well as Meggy @ Chocolate’n’Waffles. Their posts and encouragement and just talking about their lives has been so helpful for me. I finally worked up the courage to see my doctor about medication. I ended up seeing his nurse, which I think turned out better for me anyways. I feel I was able to open up more easily to her. I am nervous and perhaps a little ashamed but happy and optimistic that it was a successful visit and even though it’s a hard thing to admit and handle, it was a positive thing for me to do. I scored high for anxiety and also depression, which surprised me, but then it also kind of makes sense. By the time the spring semester starts with kids, I will be well into half a month and I hope to see a marked difference that helps me. When I go back to see my doctor in January, I would like to further discuss social anxiety.

With that, it was a really good week – besides the spikes and drops in my sugar numbers. I’m starting to wonder if I am like my cousin and my body produces insulin at the wrong time. I’ve started tracking what I can in the Health app for Samsung. I like it, but it is tedious!

On Monday, I took 19 of my top young authors to one of our feeder elementary schools. They worked in small groups and were the top 7 folktale/fairytale manuscripts accepted for publication from our PBL and they went to read to 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade classes. They felt so empowered and important! It was great to see. I also got to see one of my ELA peeps. I had her son last year and he struggled with adjusting to middle school and the whole friend dynamics changing and making good choices. We had some buddy chats throughout the year. By far he is an awesome kid, and his mom told me on more than one occasion that little C told her “I don’t want any part of that. Ms. Anderson doesn’t play.” She said he is doing AMAZING in 7th grade and she knows it was because I was his soft place to land in 6th grade. I felt so wonderful hearing her say this and thanking me for being her lifesaver for middle school life.

The Man took the detective test on Tuesday, too. He completely threw it, and I’m really not sure why. I think the entire City vs. the police union thing might be part of it. He didn’t study the two books that were the material for the test, but it also included 60% that is policy. He needed to score 70 or higher to be placed on the promotion list. He scored 65. Granted, that’s 65 without even trying at all. He definitely has a better idea of what the test is and how to study for next time. You know, in two years when it’s offered again. Doh!

I was actually very surprised that we didn’t have as many students absent on Tuesday as I had anticipated. Perhaps sending that little reminder last week that we were taking our unit test gave parents pause for thought? Wednesday was our early release day and I am glad to be on the first leg of Christmas break!

The Man and I will celebrate our FIRST Christmas TOGETHER!! We have been together for 3.5 years, and last Christmas was the first time he revealed the depth of how he felt. I mean, it took him almost 10 months to just say he liked me! He is originally from the Boston area, so he takes off the entire month and goes back home to be with his dad. Last Christmas he sent roses with a card that said “Love, The Man” (OK, it really said his name). I pretended the entire holidays I didn’t get the card. 🙂 When the new year rang in and the time officially changed on the Tower of the Americas, I told him I loved him. He has been very poo-poo about my small to-do about Christmas and the tree and decorating. He left it to me, but I know he’s trying to make it a good Christmas. He’s been hiding quite a few packages in the closet! I am just excited to celebrate. I looked for a 2017 ornament to mark the occasion, but I couldn’t find any in the stores I liked. I started a preliminary search online, not really hoping to find much, but I found the PERFECT ornament for us. I’m over the moon about it!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and many blessings!

I did a horrible. I gave in and just went to peruse my auto-approvals on NetGalley…and ended up taking 8 new books. I did the horrible awful! :/ I forgot to mention in the last couple weeks’ posts…I read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever with my Impact class. They LOVED the book and my dramatic reading. I also forgot to add it to my Goodreads…so that puts me one book closer to my goal! I also finished The Christmas Cowboy Hero. It was really good! I’m sad to have to put away the Christmas reads, but excited for my (old) list of books for the new year!

I’ve been brushing up on a few posts and trying to get all my ducks in a row for the end of the year and the new year.

  • Monday
    • TBD
  • Tuesday
    • Top Ten Tuesday ~ TBD
    • Teaser Tuesday & Intro ~ A Season of You
  • Wednesday
    • WWW Wednesday
    • My Favorite ~ Thing About 2017
  • Thursday
    • Famous Last Words #38
  •  Friday
    • Book Blogger Hop ~ 12.29.17


Book Blogger Hop ~ 12.22.17


The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week poses a book-related question. The hop starts on Friday and ends on Thursday. The purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers.

Have you ever asked co-workers to give you a book or B&N gift card if they got your name for a Secret Santa gift exchange? If so, did you get what you asked for? (submitted by Maria @ A Night’s Dream of Books)

We have done some VERY lowkey Secret Santa exchanges, and honestly, the last two years have been slim with participation. The rules also changed. It used to be every week in December leading up to our break you would give your person something. There was a total cap amount to spend and you filled out a questionnaire about yourself to help people out in buying for you, and on the last day before leaving we would have a big reveal in the library. I think one year I put on my sheet “I’m a blogger and Amazon gift cards are amazing for book buying.” I mean, let’s make it simple and easy and everyone gets what they like, right?

The last two years it has changed to “Sock Exchange” and the first year I got a McDonald’s gift card (for my french fry addition – complete with ketchup packets!) and some other small things and candy inside of a stocking. Last year I got some puzzle books and candy left on my desk. My person didn’t even try and I was disappointed. Does that make me ungrateful? Maybe I was spoiled because I had the same person the first two years and she was awesome in her giving and actually tried to be a Santa based on what you indicated.

Last year in yearbook, my students did a Secret Santa and the student who drew me did buy me an Amazon gift card for $10. A whole bunch of them polled me about random things, so I didn’t know who drew me, but they were all helping her out. She settled on the gift card and all the kids thought it was hilarious. I spent it that very day! 🙂

Famous Last Words #37

Famous Last Words

Famous Last Words is a new monthly feature here in Land of 1000 Wonders. I wanted to find a new way to share some fabulous quotations from reads old and new. The inspiration for this feature came from the character Pudge in John Green’s Looking for Alaska.

From the moment he strode through the iron gate and into the offices of Two Love Lane on a crisp December day, it was obvious that Deacon Banks was something different. He wasn’t a Charleston native, not with that adorable Yankee accent. And unlike the usual client at the elegant matchmaking agency, he had no interest in finding a woman to marry–just a few no-strings dates while he was in town.

Macy Frost takes her professional services very seriously–how could she not, when she’s rumored to be a direct descendant of Cupid? Tech entrepreneur Deacon says he’s just trying to make his social-climbing aunt happy by being seen out and about with a few prominent beauties, but Macy insists she can make her client fall in love…for real. And Deacon can’t help but think she might be right. As charming as the palmetto trees and magnificent harbor may be, it’s the beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air Macy who’s become Deacon’s favorite part of the scenery. But can the hopelessly romantic Southern belle stop trying to fix him up and just let Cupid do his work on her own heart?

Christmas at Two Love Lane

Review: Hope at Christmas


Title: Hope at Christmas
Author: Nancy Naigle
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: October 2017
Length: 342 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Contemporary, Romance

A recently divorced woman and her daughter look for a fresh start by moving to a small town that embraces them in ways that only fate and the magic of Christmas can explain.

Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, Ray Anne, head for tiny Hopewell, NC to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays.

Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought-after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born.

But when catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell.

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

my review

My Thoughts 

This is a sweet, clean holiday romance read. Reeling from her husband’s infidelity and request for a divorce, Sydney Ragsdale packs up what is left of her Atlanta life and takes her daughter to Hopewell, North Carolina. The old farmhouse where she spent her summers with her grandparents was never a vacation option on her husband’s list, and the inherited property has been ignored for years. Making the move means giving up a lot of luxuries and also facing the full force of her daughter’s anger.

RayAnne Ragsdale is the classic daddy’s girl and she is not happy with her parents splitting up. Moving to smalltown Hopewell means leaving her dad and his money and extravagant gifts behind. She wheedles every chance she can to just get her mother to go back home, not knowing the full ramifications of her parent’s separation.

Sydney does everything she can to protect her daughter while maintaining the meager funds she has until her new job starts in the new year. Meanwhile, she will spend the holidays alone in Hopewell once RayAnne goes with her dad on a ski trip, a newfound interest of his after years of never wanting to travel anywhere.

Upon her return, Sydney steps into The Book Bea, the local and longtime bookstore run by Bea. Sydney remembers Bea from her own childhood spent in The Book Bea where Sydney met and befriended Diane. On her first visit back, Bea reveals she could use some assistance in the store. Having nothing but time on her hands until her new job after the holidays, Sydney volunteers to help out. Being in the bookstore with Bea brings out so many of the good qualities in Sydney that I admired about her.

Bea is the little old lady in town that is adored by all. I found such strength and wisdom in Bea’s character, who found joy in finding just the right book for all of the readers who happened upon The Book Bea. While Bea is busy finding books, she is also astute in the language of love. While Sydney is looking for a soft place to land, Bea knows Kein MacAlea, known as Mac, is where Sydney needs to end up.

Mac is a divorced teacher and coach with his own teen boy, Seth, who has a hate relationship with Christmas. Residual side effects of his mother’s abandonment. What few in town know is Mac plays the local Santa every year and he has quite a knack for it.

Just as Sydney fell in love with Hopewell and its smalltown feel and community, so did I as a reader. Her childhood friend Diane is still in town, married with two kids, and their daughters bond as Sydney and Diane reconnect. RayAnne and Seth also find themselves to be two peas in a pod and their friendship was adorable to watch blossom. RayAnne’s anger and emotional yo-yo-ing from her dad lead her into some situations and Seth is the best of friends and doesn’t turn his back on her. It was a great testament to another strong friendship.

As Sydney and RayAnne settle into Hopewell and the holidays look, Mac and Seth continue to make them welcome in town. As Sydney and Mac spend more and more time together, she fights the doubts and staggers on the realization she is not ready for a new relationship. Seeing the great things in front of Sydney and her denying them was frustrating, especially lying to her daughter about not seeing Mac and Seth.

Sydney was a mix of a character. At times, I did not like her at all because she seemed she didn’t have a backbone when it came to her husband or her daughter’s whiny rants. It definitely gave credence to her last name because they both ragged on her more than she should have put up with considering how strong she really is.

There was some manufactured drama toward the end that allowed things to be tied up nice and neat and smooth. It kind of felt like a betrayal a reader after falling in love with the town and characters. I think the ending still could have happened without one particular event. The following chain of events and reactions didn’t seem genuine to the magnitude of what happened. It seemed like a disservice on behalf of all the characters involved, and that was disappointing.

Overall a great Christmas read I definitely recommend!



With a career spent on the cutting edge of technology in the banking industry, she never let go of her dream to write. Now she works full-time writing stories that are a calming blend of community, family, and the simple things in life. She writes the kind of stories she hopes will provide an escape from the hectic day-to-day in the make-believe worlds she creates.

Aside from writing she enjoys hunting for treasures in junk and antique shops, and getting crafty no matter what the medium from painting and digitizing embroidery designs, to weaving pine needle baskets.

A Virginia native, and spending most of her life in the Tidewater area, she now calls North Carolina home.

Find the author: GoodreadsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter 

My Favorite…Christmas Tradition

My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it.. The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.

Christmas Tradition

When I was growing up, we had a Christmas tradition to go out the day after Thanksgiving into our pasture and find our Christmas tree. We would traipse all around with the saw until we found the right one, cut it down, and bring it back to the house. Usually, we would have a train of cows following us around because they thought they would get something, like a cube.

Now that I’m older and don’t live at home anymore, it’s just a tradition from my childhood. Now as an adult, I don’t really have any Christmas traditions.


What is your favorite Christmas tradition?