I’ve been a bad blogger.

I haven’t posted since school ended.  At first it was just a week…  Then two….  Before I knew it school was starting.  I’ve thought of you often.  I’ve missed writing.  But somehow I just couldn’t sit down in front of the computer to type out a post.

So, here is my excuse reason: Motherhood is hard work.  Motherhood while working from home is even harder!  And sadly, it doesn’t get easier as the kids grow older.  I now have a fifteen-year-old who is wanting to start drivers ed (YIKES) and spends his free time closed up in his room, writing.  (Takes after his mom.)  I have a thirteen-year-old who is a dedicated musician and spends every free moment writing her music and playing her guitar.  Lastly, I have an eleven-year-old who, in spite of my best efforts, is dedicated to his video games.  Oh, and I can’t forget my husband who also works from home pretty much twelve hours a day!

We enjoyed a fabulous and very busy summer:  Youth group trips, Vacation Bible School, house projects, carting the kids here and there, (It will be nice when my oldest has his driver’s license for this reason), summer concerts, bbqs, my husband’s work travel, a new kitten.



We are now about a month and a half into the school year, and we have studied hard, spent countless days in the library, taken on new projects…

With a house full of busy people, who all spend their days at home working or studying, the housework is also a full-time job that seems to be open at the moment since we are all engaged in our own full-time endeavors.  And who wants to give up precious reading time to clean?

But I have been reading, and I plan to share what I’ve read with you as I get back into this blogging thing.  Since I’ve posted last I’ve read Scarlet and Cress by Marissa Meyer, The Fault in our Starts by John Green, Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult, and a book I can’t tell you about just yet because it hasn’t been published (an editing project I’m working on.) There were a couple starts and stalls as well, and there maybe one I’m forgetting.  Currently I’m reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

I’m looking forward to more reading and blogging and reconnecting.

Armchair BEA: Blogging Horizons & Novellas

ArmchairBEA LogoExampleToday is day 3 of Armchair BEA and we are talking about “Expanding Blogging Horizons” and “Novellas & Short Stories”

Since blogging is fairly new to me (4 months!) this has been an expanding of my “writing” horizons.  I started this blog on a whim as a way to write more.  However, since I started blogging, I’ve learned that it involves so much more than writing.   I would love to continue to expand my writing.  I’ve done a few freelance editing projects that I will be sharing with you soon and would love to continue to do freelance editing and writing.

I’ve actually not read many novellas and I’m not really sure why I don’t.  The few I have read have been really good reads.  I have noticed a trend in YA series to have short novellas in between the novels in the series.  I’ve never read any of these shorts and wonder if they really do add to the series.  So, what novellas should I be reading?


WWW Wednesday 5/28/14

www_wednesdays43WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of ShouldBeReading.  To play along, just answer three questions:

What did you you recently finish reading?

What are you currently reading?

What do you think you will read next?

You’ll notice that this week’s WWW looks a lot like last week’s WWW.  I’ve been reading just not quickly I guess.  I have been writing though.  I have had a number of little writing projects, I’ve been wanting to get to for work as well as blogging and working on my current novel!  So that’s something….

This week I finished reading:  

NOTHING! Yep, Nothing.

I am currently reading: 


I am about halfway through this one and am enjoying it as much as Cinder.  I have to say that I often make connections WAY before her characters do (I did in Cinder as well)  but I am finding it a really fun series!

And listening to:

the dream thieves

I’m only about a third of the way through on this one and I really need to get a jump on it since Overdrive is due to delete it in three days!  Today’s a laundry day so it maybe perfect laundry folding entertainment.  (I HATE folding laundry!)

Next up…    ?  

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

smoke and boneTitle:  Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Author:  Laini Taylor

Genre:  YA Fantasy


From Goodreads: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?


What I thought:

Let me start out by saying how much I truly enjoyed this book.  The writing is fabulous and the story is captivating.  I couldn’t put it down and read it in a day!  Now, I happened to be recovering from bronchitis at the time and couldn’t move or even speak without coughing so I didn’t have much that I could do besides reading!

Karou lives in two worlds.  She is a 17 year old art student in Prague who entertains her friends and classmates with the magical world she captures in her art journals.  A world that is filled with fantastical creatures and magical stories of the WIshmonger and the wishes he trades in.  Except this world isn’t imagined at all but the world orphaned Karou grew up in with these fantastical creatures as her guardians and family.  Karou travels through magic doorways between the human world and the chimaera world until one day these doorways are all destroyed, cutting her off from her family.

I love Karou.  She is just fun!  She lives this magical life (blue hair that grows out of her head that way, wish beads that she wears around her neck, her drawings of another world) and has mastered the art of telling the truth without telling the truth!  It is fun to watch.  She is the perfect heroine for this story.  Independent.  Sarcastic.  I love her.

Akiva is wonderful as well.  He is a beautiful warrior angel who finds Karou in the streets outside one of the doorways into the chimaera world.

The one and only thing I struggled with in this book is the quick change in directions the author took in the developing relationship between Karou and Akiva.  One moment they are enemies and fighting in the streets of Prague with the intent of killing each other; the next they are in love.  I would have liked to see a bit more time taken to develop trust and a relationship.  I think one might need more time to trust a man that just stabbed you!  That said, it really didn’t detract from my love of the story.  I can’t wait to read more!

Armchair BEA – More than just words

ArmchairBEA LogoExampleI love listening to books read aloud. My children and I would read books aloud long past the age when they could read to themselves. There is something about listening to a book read aloud (and read well) that changes the experience of the story. The first audiobook I listened to was the Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale.  We are not the “dvd player in the minivan” kind of family, so a long roadtrip had me scrambling for a way to entertain the kids when a girlfriend of mine lent me her audiobooks of Harry Potter.  The kids loved it; I loved it; even my husband enjoyed it.  Since then I have always had an audiobook to listen to.  I listen to them while I’m in the car, during my morning walks, while I’m cooking or doing housework….

Understandably so, audiobooks are a bit more expensive than print books.  They are certainly not in my book budget.  I have found two wonderful sources for audiobooks.  The first is my library.  I get most of my audiobooks from my library’s digital downloads.  I download them directly to my phone and I get three weeks with them before they are returned…on their own….no fines!  Love it.  Also, another source we just found are a couple of android apps:  audiobooks and librivox.  Both apps have tons of free audiobooks including many, many classics.   Happy listening!


Top Ten Series I Started but Haven’t Finished Yet.

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  This week is a freebie.  Looking at my bookshelves and TBR list I realize that I have a number of series on my shelves that I have started but haven’t finished for one reason or another.  Some I lost interest in and probably won’t finish.  Others I have every intention of finishing but there are just so many good books to read and I haven’t gotten to yet.  Then there are the few that I am actively reading now.


Series I probably won’t finish



The House of Night Series by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast – I read a huge part of this series but it is huge!  The books just kept coming.  I really enjoyed the series in the beginning but have lost interest.  I may pick it up again at some point but right now I think it will remain unfinished.


Fallen by Lauren Kate.  This is another series I lost interest in.  I read Fallen a couple years ago but haven’t continued with the series.


Matched by Ally Condie.  I really enjoyed Matched but struggled to get into Crossed.  I only got about half way through.

Series I’ve started and want to finish.  

beautiful creatures

The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia – I’ve read the first two of this series and I really enjoy them.


The Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver – I’ve read the first two in this series as well and really enjoyed them.

city of bone

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.  This is another one that I started forever ago.  I read City of Bones so long ago.  I loved it and have no idea why I haven’t continued with it.  I need to finish this one and then move onto The Infernal Devices Series


The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth – I loved this book.  I started on the second book Insurgent a while back but my daughter stole it from me.  She has recently finished and given it back so I am going to have to add this back into my TBR list.

Series I am currently reading

the raven boys

The Raven Cycle  by Maggie Stiefvater – I’m actually listening to this one on audio.


The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – I finished Cinder and have started on Scarlet .  I actually passed Cinder on to my daughter and she is enjoying it as well.

smoke and bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series byLaini Taylor.


Armchair BEA Introductions

ArmchairBEA LogoExamplePlease tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from? 

My name is Vicki, and I am a work-at-home/homeschool mom to three children (11, 13, and 15) in the southwest suburbs of Chicago..  I actually have a few “work from home” roles that keep me busy.  I am the family ministries director at my church. Basically, I am in charge of running both our children’s ministry and our youth ministry as well as serving and supporting parents and families.  I teach Spanish at my children’s academic homeschool program.  I have a small private practice as a parent coach.  I do one on one phone coaching as well as parenting workshops and classes at preschools and schools in my area.  Lastly, I do some freelance editing.  With all of this on my plate, I stay pretty busy.

I started blogging in February of this year mostly on a whim.  My oldest child took a blogging class at our homeschool cooperative and he encouraged me to start a blog again.  I had started a blog a few years ago when I set up the website for my parent coaching practice, Full Life Parenting, however, I never kept it up.  For me having the larger book blogging community has made it more enjoyable for me to keep blogging.

Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — so we can connect more online. 

My blog is a fun outlet for me to keep reading, writing and sharing my thoughts.  I can be found on twitter at hotteaandabook and on Facebook at Hot Tea and a Good Book.

What genre do you read the most? 

I read a lot of YA books.  I started reading YA so that I would know what my teens were reading.  I love sharing books with my kids.  My 13 year old daughter exchange books frequently.  I love that this is something we can enjoy together and I often find that our discussions of the books we have read can often lead into discussion that we may not have had otherwise.

What does your favorite/ideal reading space look like?

My favorite place changes with the season.  In the winter months I love the curl up in my favorite chair by the fireplace with a hot cup of tea and my little Maltese in my lap.  In the summer months I enjoy reading on my back deck.

What is your favorite blogging resource? 

I love bloglovin.  I like being able to read all my favorite blogs in one place.

Feature and Follow Friday – 5/23/14

FF_2013ButtonFeature and Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  The idea of this blog hop is for bloggers to have an opportunity to make new friends and gain new followers.  I follow you and you follow me.  Fun!


Have you ever convinced someone to read a book, a series, or a whole genre?  What book(s) and who was it?  Did they like it?

redeeming loveProbably my most often recommended book is Redeeming Love by Francince Rivers.  This book is wonderful!  I have been recommending it for years!  Redeeming Love is a Christian novel that is a retelling of Hosea and Gomer from the Bible.  It is set in the Old West and it is a beautiful story!  I have recommended this book so many times I can’t even keep track of who but absolutely everyone has loved it as much as I did.


garden spllsMy next most often recommended book is Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen.  I absolutely love this novel.  It was my introduction to Magical Realism and is often the introduction to the genre to the people I recommend it too.  Again everyone has enjoyed it!


Want to play along?  Here are the rules:

  1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
  2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  5. If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
  6. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  7. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers

Be sure to let me know you are a new follower, so I can follow you too!  Also I would love to connect with you on twitter and facebook!



Top Ten Books about Friendship

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This weeks topic is Top Ten Books about Friendship.

Now you may notice that it is not Tuesday!  There is a reason for my lateness.  Monday was our last day of school.  I arrived in my classroom, attempted to start up my laptop to grade finals and record grades, and it wouldn’t start!  Nothing!  A blackscreen.  The fan would run, the disc would turn, but no computer.  Thankfully, one of my students’ father is a computer genius, and he was at the school.  So he dove into helping me solve my problem which required him to return my laptop back to its default settings.  AHHHHH!  Thankfully, I save everything to the cloud so I didn’t loose any of my work but ALL of Tuesday was spent installing all the lost updates and programs like Microsoft Office, etc.  I am so thankful that I had a willing and knowledgeable person to save my laptop, even with my lost day.  Talk about friendship!

So here are my Top Ten Books about Friendship in no particular order.

little womentraveling pants








Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

the helpthe book thief









The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

the raven boysMarked









The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The House of Night Series by P.C. Cast & Kristen Cast

miss peregrinebefore I fall









Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Harry PotterLightening thief









The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan