Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday: 11/6/2022 Updates and Sweet November

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists…

Happy weekend, I hope this post finds you doing well. Happy November! That was fast. This is another favorite month since we’re still hanging onto the nice Fall weather.

It’s been an interesting week. I wound up dressing up as a zombie nurse for Halloween and my daughter dressed up as the mad scientist that turned me into a zombie. We had a fun time getting our costumes ready and handing out candy on Monday. And the weather has been amazing this past week. We had such a gorgeous day yesterday with a nice breeze and temps up in the 70’s. We drove out to our favorite park and sat by the lake yesterday. I’ll share pics at the end of this post.

onto my bookish updates…
recently on the blog:

Author Guest Post: Sticks and Stones by Chelsea DeVries.

coming soon:

Was reviewing more books not one of the reasons I bought myself my beautiful laptop? lol I SWEAR I have reviews coming up soon. My blog cannot just be about me talking about myself on the weekends with a few book spotlights sprinkled in between during the week. I love sharing the book spotlights with you all and I hope you enjoy them, but I definitely need to get back into reviewing.
I do have guest posts coming up for these:

in my mailbox

Knot Bad Amigurumi by Vincent Green-Hite. Look how cute!! Vincent is pretty well known in the world of crochet so I’m looking forward to making something from this book to share with my review.

Author Michael Cordell sent me a copy of his latest Conviction. I’m excited to read this one because I read his other book called Our Trespasses and really enjoyed it.

I received a copy of To Catch the Setting Sun by Richard I. Levine for a December review. How cool is this cover?

That wraps up my book updates for now. I’ll close with a few pics from the past couple of weeks on our walks and day trips. What are you up to? How’s your reading and reviewing going? Enjoy your week ahead!

With my son. I caught our shadows.

I like the way the view is mirrored here in the water.

Otis loves going for his walks and wants to explore everything.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. The photos here are my own and not be to be removed from this post.

Author Guest Post: Sticks and Stones by Chelsea DeVries

Hello all, please join me in welcoming author Chelsea DeVries as she stops by today for an inspiring guest post about her writer’s desk. She is on virtual tour for her book of poetry called Sticks and Stones. Click here to view the rest of the tour stops.

About the book:
In Sticks and Stones, DeVries paints a poetic picture of rising above toxicity, love found and love lost, and delves into what it means to find strength in the human spirit. Through poetry, the reader finds a voice of strength and the rebuilding of one’s heart a home with all the sticks and stones thrown upon it. Newly expanded with more full color photos, 41 new poems, and a rewrite of Drowning in An Ocean of No Tomorrows, DeVries shows a full poetic picture of turning pain into poetry in order so you can rise above whatever is pulling you under.

Advance Praise:

“This collection of poetry and innovative thinking by Chelsea DeVries is a remarkable work of words. Sticks and Stones: Full Story Edition is a definite read, and please, read the dedication at the beginning of the book, and then you know the set stage for this book. It is personal. The words almost float across the pages, bringing different situations and emotions to light, in a very toxic world. After reading this, I realized what the title actually alludes to, and how it just fit this unputdownable collection. Such a wonderful read. My favorite was Perks of Being a Wallflower which starts with ‘I’m just a girl, Really strong, like petals on a flower, I wilt.’ I liked this so much, I read many of the poems twice. I look forward to reading more by this poet. Sticks and Stones is a definite recommendation.” –Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews.

“This book highlights that you are not alone in the emotions, thoughts, and situations that challenge you. It’s a reminder too that you can make it through those things and come out on the other side. I love the idea of building something beautiful and strong out of the sticks and stones that others throw at you.” – Amazon reviewer Sara Hovel

About the Author:

Chelsea DeVries wanted to be a writer at the age of 7. Her first publishing credit came at the age of 14 with a poem in a student anthology. She then wrote nonstop while doing IB classes in high school. She published two YA novels while still in high school which after over 10 years she rewrote as a NA romance that she looks to put out as her next publication. She is a seeker of justice and uses her words to free this world’s outcasted, peculiar, and underdogs from the chains that bind them. When not writing she runs and does PR for authors and musicians with her bookish brand The Smart Cookie Philes. Though she’s Florida born and raised, she has New Jersey in her veins. She currently lives in Port Richey, FL with her squad of two dogs.

You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @chelsealynnpoetry, and her squad at @dasquad26. In October 2020, DeVries was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome which is a form of Autism.

Add to GoodReads:

sticks and stones

Available at Amazon.

Author Guest Post:

In August 2016, I finally got my own writer’s desk. It had a purple desk chair and was one of those cheap desks you get from Walmart. We struggled to put it together so I paid my woodcarving neighbor to do it for me and he did. The desk was so nice and new. Even better, it would have enough space to hold all my business essentials because outside of being a writer, I run The Smart Cookie Philes, which I started because I wanted to be a publicist for authors and musicians. One of the first clients of the Smart Cookie Philes was pop singer Rachel Platten. With the desk all ready to go, I began reworking the novels I published as a teenager. When they were first published, they were YA romance but now that I was older by ten years and wiser, I wanted them to read as NA romantic suspense. I finished the new 40,000 word novel on December 10,2017, at that desk and I never felt more proud of myself.

From here, I went through a strong writer’s post-project depression and I didn’t write for 8 months because I was facing a lot of imposter syndrome that was about the idea that was I only ever going to write one novel my whole career? After a cruise that went to Turks and Caicos, I ended up finding my creative spark again with a new novel project that I watched grow and grow until I worked for the toxic workplace mentioned in Sticks and Stones and following being let go there, and having so much to say … again my writer’s desk was my safe space. I wrote, edited, and published Sticks and Stones, and wrote, edited, and republished Sticks and Stones. And some of it wasn’t pretty at all. I sat at that desk some days and bawled my eyes out. Unfortunately for me, my writer’s desk has to be left behind in my upcoming move in order to recover from mold toxicity, and I feel extra sad about that.

That desk was there for me better than even the most trusted therapist. It was there when I needed to vent, express, tell my story, speak through my characters, decompress. If it weren’t for that desk, I would definitely not have made it or been more depressed. She helped me kill my darlings and was even more darling to me on the hard days when the words don’t come. Writer desk, thank you for everything.

Special thanks to Poetic Book Tours. Click here to view the rest of the tour stops.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 10/30/22: October Wrap-up and Happy Halloween

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists…

Hello and happy weekend. I hope this post finds you well. October is pretty much gone. That was fast wasn’t it? I had a pretty busy workweek, and I didn’t get much reading or crocheting done but hopefully this coming week I’ll have more free time. And the weather has been really nice, some days are still sweater weather, but I have had to break out my winter jacket some mornings when driving to the office.

Also of note, we had girl’s night last weekend at my house and we made a charcuterie board and watched Rosemary’s Baby which was alot of fun.

onto my bookish updates….

recently on the blog:

Guest post and giveaway by Nick Chiarkas.

coming up:

Author Chelsea DeVries is stopping in for a guest post on November 2.

October reading stats:
I only read 3 books in October, but all were good, two are pending review. I’m holding myself accountable to read more in November.

in my mailbox:

The Other Emily by Dean Koontz came via Amazon Prime.

I haven’t crocheted this past week, but I’ll share a few photos of a Pennywise I crocheted back in April. I love the way he turned out and want to make another larger one at some point. This was a fun project and I kept referring to pics and videos of Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise to get the look just right. I added craft wire in his arms and legs to make him posable and he’s set up on a doll stand.

That covers my updates for now. Happy Halloween! What are you up to?

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. The photos here are my own and not be to be removed from this post.

Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Nunzio’s Way by Nick Chiarkas

Hello all, please join me in welcoming author Nick Chiarkas as he stops by today for a wonderful guest post about the positive influence one of his teachers had on him when he was 9 years old. Read on for a bit about his latest book, Nunzio’s Way which is the sequel to his book titled Weepers. Also, find out how you can enter to win a copy of the book and an Amazon gift card at the end of this post.

“In this city, you can have anything you want if you kill the right four people.” ~ Nunzio Sabino In Weepers (Book 1), Angelo and his gang, with a bit of help from his beloved “uncle” Nunzio Sabino, defeated the notorious Satan’s Knights. Now, in this standalone sequel to Weepers, it’s 1960 and Nunzio is still the most powerful organized crime boss in New York City, protecting what’s his with political schemes and ‘business’ deals.
Against this backdrop of Mafia turf wars, local gang battles, and political power-plays in the mayoral election, the bodies begin stacking up. An unlikely assassin arrives fresh from Naples after killing a top member of the Camorra to avenge the murder of her family. She blends seamlessly into the neighborhood and with the focus on the threat from the Satan’s Knights, no one suspects that Angelo’s father and Nunzio are next on her hit list. Nunzio has lived his entire life by the mantra; Be a fox when there are traps and a lion when there are wolves. Will Nunzio be a lion in time?

Praise for Nick Chiarkas:
“Writers are always told, ‘Write what you know.’ Nick Chiarkas knows New York, organized crime, and how to write an engaging story. Nunzio’s Way is gritty and thoroughly gripping.” John DeDakis, award-winning Novelist and former editor for CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer”

Book Details:
Genre: Crime Thriller / Historical
Published by: HenschelHAUS Publishing
Publication Date: October 2022
Number of Pages: 261
ISBN: 978159595-908-6
Series: Weepers, #2
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Author Guest Post:A Lakefly Question by Nick Chiarkas

I was recently asked if I attribute my achievements to defiance. It was at a recent writers’ conference in Wisconsin, I was presenting a session on self-editing, and my bio was posted in the conference brochure.

My bio: “Nick Chiarkas grew up in the Al Smith housing projects in the Two Bridges neighborhood on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. When he was in the fourth grade, his mother was told by the principal of PS-1 that “Nick was unlikely ever to complete high school, so you must steer him toward a simple and secure vocation.”

Instead, Nick became a writer, with a few stops along the way: a U.S. Army Paratrooper (101st Airborne Division); a New York City Police Officer; the Deputy Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations; the Deputy Chief Counsel and Research Director for the President’s Commission on Organized Crime; and the Director of the Wisconsin State Public Defender Agency. On the way, he picked up a Doctorate from Columbia University; a Law Degree from Temple University; and was a Pickett Fellow at Harvard.
How many mothers are told that their children are hopeless? How many kids with potential surrender to despair? That’s why Nick wrote Weepers and Nunzio’s Way — for them.”

Obviously, the question was about my wanting to prove the principal wrong. Usually, I respond to this question by saying it could have been a wee bit of a desire for a reckoning and let it go with that. But these were writers like me; they ought to know the power of their words. The truth. So, here’s the truth I shared that day.

I was nine years old, sitting outside the principal’s office, it was the end of the day, and his secretary was gone. Just me, and I could hear every derogatory word he was telling my mother about me. My mother was a poor Italian second-generation immigrant who thought God ordained principals. A teacher who had left for the day to pick up a bag of groceries had returned to the school to retrieve papers she inadvertently left on her desk. She stopped in front of me. Clearly, she could hear the principal. She took my hand, and we went to the teacher’s lounge. She made a pot of tea for us. At this point, I was feeling like a big shot. She took a poundcake with white frosting out of her shopping bag and asked if I liked cake. I said, “Yeah, especially the icing.” She unwrapped and cut the cake horizontally, leaving about an inch of cake and a half-inch of icing. We enjoyed tea and cake, and we talked. We talked about her growing up, and then she asked about me. What I think about. What I care about. She gave me a book of poems, Yesterday and Today, by Louis Untermeyer (I still have it). She told me to read it. I said, “I can’t read poems like these.” She said, “I believe you can. Read them and read everything and anything you can find.” And then she said, “And, Nicky, always eat the icing off the cake.”

When I was eleven, I had a job delivering groceries and would have money in my pockets when returning to the store. Gangs knew that and would chase me. I was good at running across the rooftops, jumping from roof to roof, they would give up, and I would go to the New York Public Library, gaining access from the roof, and hide in the fiction section, and I would read and read until it was safe to leave.
When I received my doctorate, I tracked down that teacher and mailed it (actually a copy of it) to her with a note that said, “See what you did.” That teacher made me feel valued, her advice empowered me, and reading gave me wings. I hope teachers, writers, and all those who take a moment to share a thought know how powerful their words are. That kids remember you. That we readers remember your words. That you can make a child fly.

About the author:

Author Links:
BookBub – @AuthorNickChiarkas
Twitter – @chiarkas
Facebook – @NicholasChiarkasAuthor

Giveaway details:
There will be FIVE (5) winners for this tour.
1 – Grand prize: $10 Gift Card & gift ebook (epub) of Weepers and Nunzio’s Way
4 – Runner Up prizes of Nunzio’s Way ebook (epub)

CLICK HERE to enter to win!

Special thanks to Partners in Crime Tours

Tour Stops:
10/24 Review @ I Read What You Write

10/24 Showcase @ BOOK REVIEWS by LINDA MOORE
10/26 Guest post @ The Bookworm
10/27 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
10/28 Guest post @ The Mystery of Writing
10/30 Review @ Guatemala Paula Loves to Read
11/08 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
11/09 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
11/1 Interview @ I Read What You Write
11/13 Review @ Paws. Read. Repeat
11/16 Guest post @ The Reading Frenzy
11/18 Review @ The Page Ladies

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 10/23/22: Reading, Crochet etc.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists…

Happy weekend all. I hope this post finds you well. I can’t believe October is almost over and Halloween is right around the corner. I still haven’t decided if I’m dressing up this year but I’m headed to the Halloween store this weekend to take see if any costume catches my eye. This past week flew right by. I read one book for Fraterfest and I finished up my Fall shawl. My jaw seems to be healing well, thank you all for the kind comments on that last week. I’m going on Monday to get the stiches removed.

onto my bookish updates…

recently on the blog:

My thoughts on Shifting and Shenanigans by Elizabeth Pantley are up. This was a fun read.

coming soon:

I read If It Bleeds by Stephen King for FraterFest so my thoughts will be up this week. I’ll be watching Mr. Harrigan’s Phone on Netflix this weekend to go along with one of the short stories in this book.

I’ve got an author guest post coming up this Wednesday for Nunzio’s Way by Nick Chiarka.

in my mailbox:

The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas by Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace, and Scarlett Dunn via Amazon Prime.


So we watched the new Elvis movie. Tsk tsk tsk. Sigh. Austin Butler who plays Elvis did a phenomenal job and he was the only good thing about this film. I like Elvis and even though he’s before my time I enjoy his music, it’s definitely timeless. So I don’t know what the heck was going on with this movie. They ruined it with having Tom Hanks with that strange face makeup pretty much narrating the whole thing. The movie was really mostly about how awful Elvis’ manager was, so they should have titled it differently, so you know you’re going to watch an almost 3-hour long film about Elvis’ manager.

Then they glossed over the fact that Priscilla was just 14 years old when she met Elvis. They also kind of glossed over his pill addiction. And at one point there was modern day music in the background. Um, it’s an Elvis Presley movie people, use Elvis music not Doja Cat. Thanks. And why was there an Eminem song playing during the ending credits? I’ll stop ranting now and include a cute Elvis song here with my post. 🙂 Have you watched this one? What did you think?


I finished up a Fall shawl. I used a granny stitch on this one and changed colors each row. I love it.

That’s all for now. I’ll close with a few pics of Otis modeling his new pumpkin sweater I ordered from Amazon. He’s such a ham always. Enjoy your week! What are you up to?

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. The photos here are my own and not be to be removed from this post.