Monday, October 23, 2017

Moving is Hard

And I don't just mean in the general sense - although, moving is a bitch. Let's be real.

But more than the physical aspect, the emotional toll can be so much harder. I'm no stranger to moving from beloved homes. Right before my senior year in high school, my mom sold our childhood home. (We stayed in the same district, she's not a monster.) I remember being angry, sad, and there's a good chance I used a few choice words when she told me.

To put it short, I was devastated. This had been my home since I was five years old. I grew up in these rooms. My siblings grew up in these rooms. I pouted. I cried. I raged. But in the end, what choice did I have?

So we moved. And while I lost my beloved bedroom with two closets - I still miss those closets to this day - I admit my mom made the right decision. We only moved a few streets down and on occasion, my mom, sister, and I would drive by the old house just to check it out. I wish I could tell you how livid my mother was when she saw what these people had done to her rose bushes and the landscaping, but I don't think words do it justice.

And to this day, over 10 years later, I could still walk through the rooms with my eyes closed and tell you exactly where each crevice is and exactly which step creaked. I will admit that I am constantly checking to see when the current owners put it up for sale. Speaking of . . . 

Nope. Still off the market.

Just over a year ago my mom decided to sell that house too. I'd been out the house for years, my sister a year or two, and my brother a few months. She made a very adult decision that the house was too big for just her and the beau and that a family with young children should enjoy it as much as we had. Plus, they were currently 30 minutes from work - in good weather with no traffic. It was no longer practical. I was fine. Bummed, but fine.

Now it's my turn. It's my turn to be the adult and sell a beloved home. And I'm not sure I'm ready for this.

This is the house that after months of house searching, Joe and I knew was home immediately upon pulling up. The house Joe and I bought after living together in our apartment The house we decided would be our home. The house we wanted to create our memories in together.

Over the years, it has been the perfect home. It has taught us the joys and tribulations of home ownership. It has taught us how to choose the right paint color. How to a bit handier. How when a raccoon has decided to make your attic its new home, it sounds like a person walking around your house. Really not cool at three in the morning.

We got Bentley while we lived in this home. I can still see him climbing up the stairs from the garage. A Christmas present weeks in the making and one of the best surprises of my life.

We were married while we lived here. There are pictures of Joe and his groomsmen getting ready, and taking shots, in our living room.

I came down the stairs one morning in March to give Joe an early birthday present - a positive pregnancy test. He was in the middle of vacuuming and was so annoyed that I was interrupting him for, what he assumed, was something nonsensical. But I stood on that bottom step, ready to hand him his surprise, and knew our lives would never be the same.

This is the home we brought Teacup Human to after leaving the hospital. I can tell you exactly where she was the first time she laughed, the first time she rolled over, the first time she crawled, and the first time she walked across the room holding my hands.

I know that I will always have these memories regardless of where we are living, but something about not being in the physical space is hard and emotionally draining. It's silly. I know this, but I won't apologize for my emotions. I can tell you right now that when I see our current home empty and devoid of our possessions, I'm going to cry.

And it's going to be about as pretty as when I cry during the Amazon "Lion" commercial. If this commercial doesn't hit you in the feels on some level, you are a monster. A monster who hates dogs. A monster who hates babies. A monster who hates life!

I've had my moments where I get sad about leaving and seeing all our things in boxes, but I don't think it's hit me that come Sunday, this will no longer be our home.

It's not a bad thing, not really. I am excited to move. We love our upcoming new home and are beyond excited to make new memories and grow our family. Change is hard. But it's also necessary and can be rewarding. I'm ready for our family to take the next step in our lives. The important thing is that we are together. And wherever that is, that's home.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

If We Were Having Coffee…

This is a very cute idea that Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner borrowed from Ashley at Your Super Awesome Life. Essentially, it's what we would talk to you about if we were having coffee together. I think Jamie put it perfectly when she said that sometimes it seems like "we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs." I think she has a point. Sometimes it's easy to just read a post, maybe comment, and then move onto the next post. So let's have a chat, shall we?

If we were having coffee . . . I'd tell you how my favorite thing in this world is being a mother. I don't solely define myself by these this identity, but it is a huge and favorite part of my life. Watching Teacup Human grow and explore the world is the best part of my day. She brings so much joy and light to my life that it's hard to put in words.

If we were having coffee . . . I'd tell you how much I miss blogging but life has been so crazy lately. I really wanted to keep up after having Teacup Human, but raising babies is a lot of work! By the time TC is in bed, I'm ready to just crash on the couch. And the weekends are spent with my husband, our baby, and our dog. And when the baby is napping I'm getting the house cleaned, organized, or caught up on reading. Speaking of which.

If we were having coffee . . . I'd tell you that my reading-reading has suffered lately. If it weren't for audiobooks, I would have almost nothing read. And when I do read books? It takes me weeks to get through what used to take me days. Such is the ups and downs of life, but reading was my favorite past time and it bums me out that I can't read as much as I used to. Mindless TV has just taken over my free time.

If we were having coffee . . . I'd ask if you're watching The Good Place - and if you aren't I'd tell you that you should be! This is my current favorite show on TV and it never ceases to crack me up on a weekly basis.

If we were having coffee . . . I'd tell you that I am so excited to move next week! Joe and I are moving on up! We love our home but have come to realize that we have quickly outgrown it. I'm going to miss our current home like crazy - I did cry when it was officially sold - but I'm excited to make new memories and watch our children grow in our new house.

If we were having coffee . . . I'd tell you how much I am loving my job. I hate that it takes me away from Teacup Human, but absolutely love what I do.

If we were having coffee . . . I'd ask what's been new with you. How are things going? Good, bad, beautiful, ugly, happy, or depressing. Lay it on me, kids. Once you've finished having coffee with me, head on over and have coffee with Jamie or Ashley.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Blog Tour: Berserker by Emmy Laybourne (Review + Giveaway)

(Check out the full schedule of the Blog Tour HERE)

Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date:October 10, 2017
Pages:288 (Hardcover)
Published By:  Feiwel & Friends
Website:Emmy Laybourne

Berserker on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher via Jean Book Nerd tours in exchange for my honest review

Where to get:


Are Hanne's powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse?

Her brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It's not Stieg's fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn't commit.

No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous "gift"--she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. The siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice.

Aided by a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await.

Will they be able to reach their uncle, the one man Hanne believes may be able to teach her how to control her drive to kill? With Berserker, Emmy Laybourne, the author of Monument 14, presents her vision of an American west studded with Viking glory.

All the gifts besides mine make something... A Berserker kills. A Berserker takes life and crushes it out.
The Nytte was an ancient blood-gift, a pagan, Viking gift, from Odin to his three kings, to be carried in their lineage. A child with the Nytte on both sides of his or her family might manifest one of six eerie powers at puberty - or might receive no Nytte at all.

 "Look at her," Sissel said. "She's an animal."
     Hanne is a Nytteson, which means she possess a special and unique gift (the Nytte) that was bestowed upon her ancestors by the Norse Gods in times of glorious Vikings. Her siblings - Knut, Sissel, and Stieg - also have their own special gifts (all except for young Sissel, who is yet to have her gift manifest itself), though they're very different from Hanne's, for Hanne is a Berserker and her gift means she will fight to death for those she loves. And what's worse, is that Hanne has no control over her ability. She turns into an unflinching, blood-thirsty killer the moment someone she loves is threatened. And she doesn't stop until the threat is obliterated.

     When one night Hanne's father is attacked by three man, she goes Berserker on the assailants, murdering them all. Her father dies from a gun shot, and the siblings have to flee their homeland to save their own lives. They escape to America, where they are determined to seek out their uncle. Only getting to him isn't going to be an easy task, and even with the help of a young cowboy, they'll face deathly dangers all throughout their journey. 

     To put it simply, Berserker is  a clash of Viking glory with Wild, Wild West; and it's a breath-taking, exhilarating, heart-pounding combination of these two worlds. I have read Emmy Laybourne's Monument 14 series and enjoyed it a lot, but I must say Berserker tops it in many ways. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book - the adventure, the tension, the neck-breaking action, but also the human element at the center of it all. Hanne's struggles to accept and understand her gift/curse definitely made this story so much more interesting to follow. It was also fascinating to read about Hanne's relationships with her siblings. I love that, though they're so different from each other, when things got rough, they looked out for one another. 

      As for the Norse mythology aspects, I must say I really enjoyed this part of the story. It gave this fantasy novel a very interesting, unique flavor. At the same time, we didn't get too deep into the historical backdrop, so the story flow wasn't bogged down with too many detailed descriptions.

     The main characters - Hanne, Owen and Rolf (the guy hunting Hanne and her simblings) - were developed very well, especially Hanne. And while she didn't strike me as a particularly likeable character, she was certainly a realistically drawn one, with layers upon layers of character building. Shy, distanced, struggling to come to terms with her ability, weighed down by guilt and border-line self-hate, she often came across as difficult and off-putting (or, well, whiny), but all that was completely understandable, considering what she had to deal with in her life. I did see some character growth, though, and I feel that Hanne definitely shows a lot of promise. I can't wait to find out what will happen to her and Owen (and their brand new relationship) in the next installments. 

     Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a YA fantasy adventure that packs a strong punch and doesn't shy away from violence and exploring deeper subject (like self-acceptance and grief). Especially for those of you who also enjoy a nicely developed historical backdrop. 
Berserker is a high-octane, action-packed story from the beginning to the end. I am looking forward to reading the second book! 

About the Author:

Emmy Laybourne is a novelist, screenwriter and former character actress. She is the author of the upcoming release BERSERKER ("You will love Emmy Laybourne's vision of an American west studded with Viking glory." -, as well as the MONUMENT 14 trilogy ("Frighteningly real… riveting" - NYT Book Review, Editor’s Choice) and the novel SWEET (“A gripping action-adventure survival story” – VOYA, rated Perfect Ten).

Before her life as a novelist, Emmy performed original comedy on Comedy Central, MTV and VH1; and acted in the movies "Superstar," "The In-Laws" and "Nancy Drew," among others. Emmy lives outside New York City with her husband, two kids and a flock of 9 nifty chickens.
Photo credit: Kit Laybourne.


--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

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