Sunday, January 16, 2022

Major Life Update

 Guess who's back, back again. Katie's back, tell some friends. Okay, two years ago I wrote a post about being back, and I've not posted much since, so let's try this again shall we. Let's start with a life update. Towards the end of 2021, I slid into depression. I started feeling overwhelmed by everything in my life, so I started cutting things out. I stopped checking my email (I've got like 3 months worth of emails I need to sort through now, most of them junk), stopped getting on Facebook, basically stopped doing everything that wasn't work or family related (I even stopped entering Goodreads giveaways), and I really cut back on the family related stuff too. There was even one day at work where I could not for the life of me put a smile on my face (I spent most of my day crying in fact), which is not helpful when you work in food service and guests expect you to smile. When I started to come back from the depression, I joined a gym and signed up for personal training, which may be helping the depression because exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy (and happy people don't kill their husbands, they just don't). I've lost some weight, and I was starting to see some improvement in my physical strength. Then I took vacation for the holidays so we could visit my in-laws in Illinois/Wisconsin/Iowa, and I caught Covid.

After spending 10 days doing literally nothing because I couldn't be on my feet for more than five minutes without being extremely winded and needing to use my inhaler, I've lost some of my gains. And I can't even just jump right back into workouts like I was doing before to get back there. Fortunately for me, my personal trainer had Covid just before I started working with him, so once I told him that I just had it, he's been very understanding of my current limitations. But I'm currently frustrated with the situation. 

The last thing I did to free myself up is quit every single book that was on my Goodreads currently reading shelf (all 20+ of them). They are all back on my to-read shelf, because I might still want to read them, but honestly that number was overwhelming too. I'd like to say that I'm going to never have more than four books on my currently reading shelf from here on out, but I know that's an unrealistic promise for me to make. 

Now I just want to be more active here on the blog, but I still need to figure out what that's going to look like for me. I'd like to participate in weekly memes again, but I don't have a lot of time to visit other blogs, so I'm not sure if that's for me anymore. I will return to reviewing the books I read, with the exception of the books I proofread (those will just be spotlight posts). And I may try to post some more frequent life updates, and reviews of other products as well. 

But if you've stuck with this post this far, please leave me a comment that I can write on a sticky note for my office wall. It needs an update. - Katie 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Spotlight: The Champion's Ruin by Kristen Banet - November 24 Release


Author: Kristen Banet
Published: November 24, 2020

Pride comes before the fall

Riding the high of the victories their rebellion had been able to claim early in their campaign against the tyranny and oppression of the Empire, the Andinna stand tall. They find reasons to celebrate with every won skirmish, every freed slave, and every reunion with their friends from Olost. Mave stands at the top beside her king, her friend, and her brother, Alchan Andini, as they claim each of those victories. Supporting them, the full force and power of the Ivory Shadows, helping lead the Andinna to freedom. Her husbands, their extended families, their community, a band of warriors brought together in the most terrible of times. A band of warriors who will stop at nothing to see freedom before their lifetimes are over.

But Shadra has joined the fray now. A thousand years before, a cunning noble woman knew how to cut to the heart of the Andinna and bring them to their knees. Her generals and admirals are floundering. Her son and heir is dead. There are traitors and spies in her midst. But she is Empress Shadra of the Elvasi Empire and she has defeated the warrior Andinna people before. She is resolved to do it again.

Pride comes before the fall.
And when one can fly, that fall can be a very long way down.

The Champion’s Ruin is a 155,000+ words, full-length novel. 
Age of the Andinna is a reverse harem epic fantasy series. The female lead will collect her lovers as the series progresses.
There is triggering content in this series including but not limited to: abuse, violence, mature language, and sexual content. It’s recommended for mature audiences.

Kristen Banet loves to read books that make people cry. She likes to write books that make people cry (and she wants to hear about it). She’s a firm believer that nothing and no one in this world is perfect, and she enjoys exploring those imperfections—trying to make the characters seem real on the page and not just in her head.
She might just be crazy, though. Her characters think so, but this can’t be confirmed.

You can find more of her works under K.N. Banet!

Check out her social media to catch what's going on in the worlds inside her head. She drops teasers, new covers, and opens ARC reader slots through her Facebook group, The Banet Pride.
Facebook Page:
Facebook Group:

Friday, January 15, 2021

Viori Shampoo and Conditioner Bar review


It has been a couple months since I last reviewed shampoo and conditioner bars, because I've been using the same brand that whole time. Now, that wasn't my intention, but when I got the Terrace Garden shampoo and conditioner bars from Viori, I immediately noticed they smell like lilac, which is one of my most favorite scents, and I can almost NEVER find it in anything. So for the past couple months (20-22 washes, because I'm not 100% sure I marked them all down) I've been using this. And that leaves me with plenty to say about them. 

First off, can we talk about that packaging! The conditioner bars have wax seals on them, making them look all fancy and stuff, and the shampoo bars come in those adorable gift boxes that I'm absolutely going to reuse at some point for something.

Secondly, the Terrace Garden shampoo bar does not leave my hair feeling more dry than washing with traditional shampoo does. However, it is designed for dry to normal hair. This means that unlike the bar I was using from The Earthling Co, my hair still needs to be washed every two to three days. If you are looking for a shampoo bar designed for oily to normal hair, you're going to want to go with the Citrus Yao bar (according to the website). I wish I could review that one as well, but I sent it off to Bekah the Awesome from Playtpire Reviews to try out, and I've got several other brands of shampoo bars to try out first before I even think about reordering from Viori (although next time they have a sale I may just have to stock up on the Terrace Garden Bars because I seriously love them). 

Another thing I've noticed since I started using the Viori bars is that my hair is showing it's natural curl more. I don't have a lot of natural curl, and it seriously only lasts up until I brush my hair, but there have been days when I've gone to bed with my hair still damp and woken up with the most adorable ringlets. I don't want to say that this will absolutely lead to more curl for you ladies with curly hair, but it might based on my experience. 

The final point I'd like to make about these shampoo bars is that the scent seems to linger in my hair longer than the ones I tried from The Earthling Co. Now some of that may be psychosomatic because I really like this scent so I want to smell it longer (whereas I wasn't fond of the Cool Breeze scent I was using from The Earthling Co.). I don't think it's entirely psychosomatic though, as my bathroom has smelled like lilacs since I put these bars in my shower, and the previous bars I tried did not noticeably scent the whole room. 

Like The Earthling Co., Viori had super fast shipping, I think it only took three days from the date of purchase for them to arrive. And I would definitely order from them again, if only because of the lilac scented bars. 

Do you know of another retailer who sells lilac scented shampoo bars? Leave me a link to their page in the comments (even if it's an Etsy seller or something like that) because I'd love to try them out. - Katie 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Book Blogger Hop - 11/27/2020


We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is: 

Do you own an e-reader? If so, what is your favorite thing about it? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews

I own several e-readers. I have like a nine-year old Kindle touch that I haven't even thought about using in a couple years. It was my first e-reader so it has sentimental value, and who knows, maybe it'll come in handy at some point in the future (if I could just figure out where I put it). 

Then I have a Kindle Paperwhite that is probably about five or six years old now. I haven't used it recently either. I liked it better than the touch because of the backlit screen though. In fact, it was my most preferred e-reader for a while. 

I also have a Kindle Fire 7" HDX. They don't make these anymore, which is disappointing because this was the best kindle for proofreading on. The keyboard was much more responsive than my Paperwhite or Touch. It's also about 6 years old now though (I think), and it's starting to glitch like crazy, sometimes deciding it just doesn't even wanna charge at all, which is not ideal.

I bought myself a Kindle Fire 7" about four years ago to try and replace the HDX for proofreading, but found a major problem with that. It opens .docx files as documents, rather than opening them like books, which eliminated the note taking process that I utilized for proofreading. I'm not sure if I ever even read an entire book off of that Kindle. 

After we discovered the problem with the Kindle Fire 7", we managed to find me a 10" Fire HDX that we snatched right up. That was a good four years ago now, and I mostly don't use it anymore because it's bigger than I'd like it to be for proofreading purposes. 

Then I have the Kindle app on an iPad pro, 2 iPad minis, and at least 3 iPhones that I could still easily use right now if I wanted to (and actually do most of my reading/proofreading on my phone now because it's easily accessible on my break at my day job). 

So what's my favorite part of e-readers? Their mobility and the fact that I have thousands of books at my fingertips with them. They also make my freelance proofreading easy to do on the go when necessary. 

Do you think I have too many e-readers? - Katie 

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#31DaysOfChristmas - Let it Snow

Watched on: Netflix
Duration: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Originally aired: 8 November 2019
Directed by: Luke Snellin
Starring: Isabela Merced, Shameik Moore, and Odeya Rush
Please see IMDb for full cast and crew information


In a small town on Christmas Eve, a snowstorm brings together a group of young people.


This is not a typical holiday romance, although there was romance involved. It's more of a teenage party movie, and the main problem is making the party happen in the midst of a snowstorm. It's not a severe snowstorm, but bad enough that flights are grounded. The unexpected return of some parental units throws a real kink in the plans, but the party must go on. 

And it is with this movie that I think I may have finally outgrown my teenage rebellion years. It only took me about twenty years. I had a really hard time getting interested in the story here, and really couldn't have cared less about any of the main characters. The only character I was really interested in was the tin-foil tow truck lady, and she's just a minor side character. 

I can see an audience for this movie, it's just not me. - Katie 

My Rating

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Thursday, November 26, 2020

#31DaysOfChristmas - Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas


Watched on: DVD
Duration: 48 minutes
Originally aired: 4 December 1977
Directed by: Jim Henson
Starring: Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, and Marilyn Sokol
Please see IMDb for full cast and crew information.


A poor otter family risks everything for the chance to win the cash prize of a talent contest for Christmas.


I received a copy of this DVD as a gift from my penpal, and I wanted to like it so bad. Unfortunately, it's older than I am, and I just watched it for the very first time in my life as an adult, and I really think that it's the type of movie that relies on the nostalgia factor, or a child's point of view.

The movie started out with Emmet and his mother singing while rowing down the river. In a movie with a title like this, music is kind of a given, but the singing just reminded me of the scene in A Goofy Movie where Max and Goofy are watching the "band" at the possum park, and well, I've always related to Max in that movie. And that was a bad start for me for the movie, making it harder for the film to win me over at all.

The story itself was very Gift of the Magi. (And I've debated adding a spoiler alert there, but again, the movie is older than me, so...) In this case, the sacrifices weren't nearly as heartwarming though. In fact, they almost seemed cruel, and they were definitely short-sighted. This is a major reason I think nostalgia is needed to enjoy this movie. As a semi-responsible adult, I don't like seeing people make really stupid, potentially life-ruining choices. Even though things worked out in the end, it left a bad taste in my mouth, like bleu cheese. 

All in all, this movie did not provide the type of cheese I'm looking for in my holiday movies, but I might give it another watch sometime when I'm drunk, and see if I don't change my opinion of it. - Katie 

My Rating

Buy the DVD

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Down the TBR Hole #9 11/21/2020

Down The TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story that revolves around cleansing your TBR of all those books you’re never going to read and sort through it all to know what’s actually on there.
It works like this:
  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more if you're feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: Keep it or let it go?
So I made a comment the other day about wanting to be more active on the blog again, and so Joood, my arch-nemesis, bossed me into joining this meme. I'm just going to warn you that this is going to be an exercise in futility for me, because I add dozens of books to my to-read shelf on Goodreads every day as I enter literally all of the giveaways. But that is also going to add another element to my posts, because I refuse to completely break up with a giveaway win, at least for now. I may change my mind on that in the future. But also, since my shelf is so crazy out of control and only getting worse, I'm going to have to go through way more than ten books per post. So for now, my posts will be light on graphics, and I'm only going to explain the books I'm keeping. 
Let's go, shall we?
At the end of my last list (and after entering some giveaways because they were ending!!!) I had my list at 139,490. But I've entered a few more giveaways now so this is where I'm starting. 
Current To Read Count: 139,521

The Other C-Word by M.K. Schiller - This book is out of print so off my list it goes.

Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson - Bye

Poison by Dejana Vuleti - This book is no longer in print, so it's not longer on my list

The Yoga-Body Cleanse by Robin Westen - Auf wiedersehen

Altered Selves by Christopher Hawke - See ya

Ashes and Ice by Diana Bellerose - Adios

Rachmaninoff's Ghost by M.F. Korn - Later

Aquila: From the Darkness by T.L. Searle - Sayonara

Make Your Book Work Harder by Nancy Hendrickson - Don't need this one

Santa Fish by Cathleen Conley - Ciao (10)

Angel of Death by Eamonn Hickson - Goodbye

Alcohol Ink Dreamscaping Quick Reference Guide by June Rollins - Hasta la vista

Vitro by Jessica Khoury - This can go

Love Surprises by Nicole Smith - Bye

Only Twelve Days by Eileen Thornton - Auf wiedersehen

Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter - See ya

Tin Angel by Raine English - Adios

Adamar by Scot C. Morgan - This book seems to have been unpublished, so it goes.

Bound by Memphis by Jennifer Hayes - Buh-bye

Career Forward by Brett Romero - Don't need this (20)

Muse by M.R. Pritchard - Later

Hers to Choose by Lizzie Ashworth - Sayonara

His to Lose by Lizzie Ashworth - This can go

War of Desire by Denele Campbell - This book has been unpublished, so off my list it goes

Aquarian Revolution by Denele Campbell - Ciao

I Met a Goat on the Road by Denele Campbell - Goodbye

Recipes of Trailside Cafe and Tea Room by Denele Campbell - Hasta la vista

Notes of a Piano Tuner by Denele Campbell - Don't need this

The New Lean for Life by Cynthia Stamper Graff - Bye

On the Trail of Genghis Khan by Tim Cope - Auf wiedersehen (30)

Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington - See ya

Just Because by Mary T. Bradford - Adios

Stripping Away the Insanity of Life and Parenthood by Tanya Masse - Buh-bye

My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead - This can go

Dead on Arrival by Paul Oluikpe - Later

Transylvania's Most Wanted by M.L. Dunn - This book is out of print, so away it goes

Unbowed by Lestine - Sayonara

Herman by Howard Randolph - Don't need this

A Mother's Story by Louise Greentree - Ciao

Crystal: A Fairy's Dream by Debbie Lannen - Goodbye (40)

The Number of Missing by Adam Berlin - Tchuss

What Next? by Jeffrey M. Daniels - I won a copy of this book, so it stays. 

A Flower in the Heart of the Painting by Amy Krohn - Hasta la vista

Murder with Ganache by Lucy Burdette - This can go

Acquiring Hearts by S. Donahue - Bye

The Golden Egg by Shavon Jones - Auf wiedersehen

Echo Across Time by Skye Genaro - See ya

Underwater Panther by Jonathan Cook - This book is out of print, so away it goes

Stitch Mountain: 30 Warm Knits for Conquering the Cold by Laura Zander - Don't need this

Breathless by Caro Ayre - Adios (50)

A Vision of Angels by Timothy Jay Smith - Buh-bye

Cooper's Promise by Timothy Jay Smith - Don't need this

The Phoenix Embryo by Jeanne Marcella - Later

Someday Always Comes by Wanda S. Paryla - Sayonara

Lunchbox Jokes: 100 Fun Tear-Out Notes for Kids by Deana Gunn - This can go

Lunchbox Jokes: Food by Deana Gunn - Ciao

Mud Creek Medicine by Kiran Bhatraju - Goodbye

Murder in the Ball Park by Robert Goldsborough - Hasta la vista

Cooking with Trader Joe's Cookbook: Dinner's Done by Deana Gunn - Don't need this

I Haven't Lived at All by Evelyn Knightley - Bye (60)

Makai Queen by Tara Fairfield - Auf wiedersehen

The Book of the Earth by Jeff Gross - See ya

Fair Game by B.C. Tweedt - Adios

Ganked by Liam O'Donnell - Buh-bye

The Christmas Key by R.J. Murphy - This can go

Forgotten in Darkness by Zoe Forward - Later

The Peregrine Prophecy by Darren T. Patrick - Sayonara

The String Quartet by Dan Hupalo - This book has been unpublished, so it's leaving my list

The Salacia Project by Bill Duncan - Don't need this

Sun Bleached Winter by D. Robert Grixti - Ciao (70)

The End by Michael G. Hopf - Goodbye

TMI by Patty Blount - Hasta la vista

A Highlander for Christmas by Jamie Carie - This can go

A Debt Paid in Passion by Dani Collins - Auf wiedersehen

Alex Finch: Monster Hunter by Cate Dean - Bye

Fight for You by Misty Moncur - See ya

Jerusalem's Brothers by Ronald Hera - Adios

Lies Interrupted by AJ Warner - This book is no longer available, so it's no longer on my list

Alluring Seduction by Skye Turner - Don't need this anymore

The Well's End by Seth Fishman - It seems like this book has been unpublished, so it's leaving my list (80)

The Summer of Long Knives by Jim Snowden - I think this book has been unpublished, so away it goes

Officer Tequila Shots by James Dearling - This book is out of print, so it's gone

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry - Buh-bye

Illusion by Tracy Skylar Johnson - Later

A Life in a Moment by Stefanos Livos - Sayonara

Steal Away by Raeanne Sinclaire - This book has been unpublished, off it goes

Dads vs Zombies by Benjamin Wallace - This can go

Grind His Bones by Richard Newell Smith - Auf wiedersehen

Merdeka Rising by Rory Marron - Bye

Mahogany Slade by Stephen Robinson - See ya (90)

Dicmatized 2: Bitter Sweet Revenge by Gemini Phoenix - Adios

Unafraid: A Novel of the Possible by Jeff Golden - Don't need this anymore

Fire and Ice by Diana Bellerose - Goodbye

True Feel by Ted Guevara - Later

The Unseen by J.L. Bryan - Sayonara

After the Fall by L.G. Castillo - This can go

The Island of Lote by Emily Kinney - Auf wiedersehen

The Four Seasons of Patrick by Susan Hughes - Bye

From the Pen of a God by Elvin Ramos - This book is out of print, so away it goes

A Garden of Organs by Elvin Ramos - This book has been unpublished so off the list it goes.

Books removed: 99

Books kept: 1

I feel like I did an amazing job knocking a bunch more books off my list, not that these posts are making much of a difference in the size of my list. But in about four years, I should have it down to a pretendably manageable size. Yay. 

Did I make any bad decisions on my list? - Katie 

Join the 2020 12 Books of Christmas Challenge!