The Sparrow Sisters: A Novel by Ellen Herrick

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Unfortunately, I don't get nearly as much time to read as I'd like to. My TBR list is so long I probably won't live to finish it. For that reason, I am almost always late to the party. I find myself reading things published a year before. (Keeping those back lists moving!) And when I read something, no matter how old it is, I will still review it here. 

I have just finished reading The Sparrow Sisters: A Novel by Ellen Herrick (published 1 Sept 2015). It was brilliant. I love this type of book. When I first read Alice Hoffman, I was instantly in love with the almost fairy tale qualities of magical realism (so much so that I have also begun to write MR). That love became more an obsession when I found Sarah Addison Allen. If you have enjoyed either of these author's works, you won't be disappointed by Ellen Herrick.

As it is an 'older' book, you probably have already read at least one review of it, if not, I will let the Amazon description introduce you to this enchanting tale. Click the picture to go to Amazon and buy it.

Cover of The Sparrow Sisters 

"With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of Eastwick, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen.

The Sparrow Sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

The Sparrow Sisters is a beautiful, haunting, and thoroughly mesmerizing novel that will capture your imagination."

Falling for You by MK Meredith

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Buy it here!

What I Am Looking Forward To Reading…
Just as I get into one book another comes along to stand in line…

Falling for You by MK Meredith

Buy it here!

Good news for lovers of small town romance (like myself)! The lovely and talented MK Meredith has released a new tale. Falling for You, part of the St Helena’s Vineyard series, is a heart-warming romance novella full of charming characters which will make you laugh and fall in love.

‘Cartoonist and hopeless romantic Sage Mathews has moved home to St. Helena to find her happy ever after. And why not? It’s happened to everyone else in the town where love grows on the vine. She’s even landed the perfect job, head cartoonist for the St. Helena Sentinel—her late grandfather’s newspaper. The only thing more important than finding love is keeping her grandfather’s legacy alive. A hard task when the paper’s sexy and irritating new consultant is determined to digitize her dreams.

Parker Edwards has never measured up in his grandfather’s eyes. So when the opportunity arises to consult for a small town newspaper where the old man sits as a board member, he’s determined to prove his grandfather wrong. Step one, digitize the paper to keep the sinking ship afloat. Step two, get his tiny town tour guide, who happens to be the cute and curvy cartoonist, on board. With the glitz covered cynicism of L.A. in his blood, he can’t wait to do the job and get back to the city. That is, until his sweet new friend with her sexy assets and chocolate brown eyes colors her way into his heart one comic at a time and makes him feel things he doesn’t think he can live up too.

Can small town and big city find their Happy Ever After in St. Helena Vineyards or is love just 
another romantic notion that is dying on the vine?’

Buy it here!
Head over to Amazon to get your copy today!

Win $20 to spend on Amazon

MK Meredith is running a giveaway to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! Want a chance to win? Click HERE to enter.

More about MK Meredith

Check out what else MK is up to:

A Tale of Two Blogs

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

1935 Portable Underwood Typewriter
Randolph, my 1935 Portable Underwood Typewriter

I have enjoyed posting anything and everything on my web site (CKM), for many years now, but as I start to look more seriously at my writing career, I am thinking it may be time to move in a different direction. 

If you are one of my (pitifully few) readers, the first thing you have probably noticed is that in the last couple of weeks I have given the site a major overhaul. I love this new look, so I was really excited to roll it out. That said, there may still be a few bugs, so please be patient.

As an aspiring author, trying to do things right on my path to publishing, it has occurred to me that this site should be more geared to writing. The thing is, I have long wanted to write a lifestyle blog, as well. About the time I stopped writing for About.Com, I discovered that I missed it and a regular blog would be a good way to fill the void.

My forty-first birthday was this year. It was also the birth of This New Chapter (TNC). On this new blog, I will write about things that make me happy. Simple pleasures. And, I hope, some of these things will make my readers happy, too. 

This New Chapter will be a mainstream blog. I will be spending more time working on SEO ranking and growing my audience on this blog. I do hope that eventually I will be able to find ways to supplement my income with TNC, so that I will be able to slowly shift from my ‘real job’ to writing full time.

On This New Chapter I will post weekly about things that I love—books, wine, crafts, recipes, make up, fashion… And just in case my readers here, on CKM, don’t follow TNC each month, I will publish my favorite TNC post on CKM. I will also post once a month on CKM, but I will keep posts writing related.

Now, back to writing… Here’s to new beginnings and to This New Chapter of my writing career.

PSL Nails!!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Pumpkin Spice Latte Jamberry Nails
PSL nails= Perfection!
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a Pumpkin Spice Latte girl. Seriously. Last year the PSL's descended on Starbucks ON MY BIRTHDAY. Is there even a better birthday present? Anyone who knows me will also tell you that I love girly things and manicures, especially manicures.

The problem is that my nails are seriously weak. They peel constantly and bleed-- and no chance will they grow past my finger. Of course there is another problem... I watch all of these amazing 'How-To's' on creating beautiful nails with lovely patterns, but the truth is that I have pretty much no artistic talent. I mean some days I get lucky and can draw a decent cupcake. Some days I should be featured on Regretsy.

Enter Jamberry.

My best friend, who is seriously nail obsessed, has started selling Jamberry Nail Wraps. Now, I was skeptical at first-- I can barely paint my own nails and I have been 'practicing' since I was 12! But she showed me how to do my nails and let me try, and you know what? I didn't even need to practice. It was ridiculously easy!

And so I bought some. Okay, I bought loads, but there are so many pretty ones! I have planned out the next three months based on the two weeks of wear I get out of each manicure. Each sheet is supposed to give you at least two full manicures and a pedicure, but since I switched to shellac ages ago (to protect the weak nails), I have loads of gorgeous colours that match the wraps and then extend my wear of them.

This is Jamberry's Latte Love with Bluesky Shellac in Autumn Sands and Copper Flint:
All hail the PSL manicure!
Aren't they gorgeous? With the nail wraps from Jamberry and the matching shellacs I was able to create a Pumpkin Spice Latte manicure! Too cool.
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Loaf with Jamberry Latte Love
Eating Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Loaf with my Jamberry Pumpkin Spice Latte Manicure, because, you know, PSL :-)

If you follow me on Instagram, you will get to see every Jamberry manicure I do from here on out-- mostly because I am so thrilled to be able to have such cute nails even though I can't draw a straight line! If you want to have a look at the hundreds of awesome colours, patterns, glitters, and more that Jamberry offers, stop by the links below. Check out the glow-in-the-dark ones-- I'm kicking myself that I only got skeletons & spider webs for Halloween.

To find awesome Jamberry nail wraps in the US, click HERE.
To find fabulous Jamberry nail wraps in the UK, click HERE.

I Love Autumn!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. I love the crisp air and colorful leaves. Pumpkins and high school football games (although we don't have them here). Scarves and sweaters. And cool nights curled up with a book, a blanket, and mug of hot apple cider-- the American, non-alcoholic kind.

apple cider in the crockpot

I have yet to find non-alcoholic apple cider here-- unless, of course, you order the powered kind off of Amazon-- so last weekend I decided to make my own. It is delicious! It lasts about a week in the refrigerator, but can also be frozen to last a month. 

American Apple Cider

10 Apples (I like a mix of types, but will use whatever I have)
1/2-2/3 cups Brown Sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
5-6 Cinnamon Sticks
1-2 Tablespoons of Whole Cloves
8-10 Cups of Water

Cut up the apples into quarters and put them in the crockpot. Don't worry about the seed and core, those will be strained out later. Add the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and water.

Turn the crockpot on low and let cook for four hours, stirring occasionally. After four hours, mash the apples using a potato masher to get them as broken down as you can. Cook for a further four hours (or longer if you like a concentrated flavor). 

When you are happy with the flavor, strain the liquid into an air tight container and store in the refrigerator.

Heat up a mug whenever you feel like snuggling up under a quilt with a good book.

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