Monday, July 31, 2023

July Book Reviews #bookreview #books #readingcommunity @MarciaMeara @SelmaWrites @KarlJMorgan @Harmony_Kent

Hello, beautiful readers! I've read some great books this month! Here are my reviews:

by Marcia Meara

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Romantic Suspense

Pages: 431

Book Blurb:

In Book 2 of the Riverbend Series, Marcia Meara, author of Wake-Robin RidgeA Boy Named Rabbit, and Harbinger, takes a look at the devastating effects of a family torn apart by a horrific tragedy, pitting brother against brother, and focusing on battling PTSD with the redemptive power of unwavering love and support.

Before, I never thought about taking a life. Not once.
Now, the thought fills my mind day and night, and
I wonder how I’ll hide that terrible need,
As an old car swings to the shoulder,
And stops.

~ Traveling Man ~

Hunter Painter’s darkest fears have shaped his offbeat personality since he was a child, crippling him in ways invisible to those unable to see past his quiet exterior. In a sleepy Florida town known for its eccentric inhabitants, he’s always been a mystery to most.

Only one person sees beyond Hunter’s quirky facade. Willow Greene, the new age herbalist who owns the local candle and potpourri shop, has secretly loved him since they were in high school. When, sixteen years later, she discovers Hunter has loved her just as long, Willow hopes her dreams are finally coming true.

Willow soon learns that Hunter fears happiness at her side isn’t in the cards for him. With her natural optimism and courage, she almost convinces him he’s wrong—that they can really have that life together they both long for—but even Willow can’t stop what Hunter knows is coming.

One by one, his worst nightmares become reality, culminating in an unthinkable tragedy, which devastates everyone it touches. Willow’s battle begins in earnest as Hunter is plunged into a bleak, guilt-ridden despair, threatening to destroy not only their love, but Hunter, himself.

Finding Hunter is the story of a lost man’s desperate struggle to make his way home again, and one woman’s unshakeable faith in him and the power of their love.

My Review:

I absolutely love Hunter! He's such a pure soul, but he has no idea how special he truly is because he lives in a world of fear and pain. Luckily, he is loved unconditionally in a way most of us may never experience. This was a fantastic addition to this series. 

The author does an incredible job of diving into anxiety and depression through Hunter's words and actions. Just as powerful is Willow's journey in struggling to go on without Hunter while being determined to keep hope alive. I loved how the author used poetry to tell one storyline until the two stories merged together.

I also enjoyed seeing characters from the first book of the series. The author seamlessly created new threads of storylines for other characters that will be visited in the next book. The ending is a bit of a punch to the gut, but it makes me want to dive right into book three!

This was a wonderful story of loss, love, and resilience. If you enjoy stories that dare to dive into the struggles of life while also shining a light on the human spirit, then I highly recommend this book!

by Selma Martin

Genre: Poetry

Pages: 101

Book Blurb:

In this dazzling debut poetry collection of over 60 carefully selected poems, author Selma Martin points the way to the beauty in the everyday, the shadow of the rainbow, and the silver lining at the edge of every cloud.

Favouring lyrical forms, and revelling in rhymes and musical language, the individual poems in this collection harmonise together in symphonic splendour to form an enlightening and delightful whole.

"Be ready for Selma's poetry to play with your thoughts, and to discover your heart hiding in the shadows!" — Lynn Wielenga,

"In The Shadow of Rainbows is a delightful and profoundly thoughtful collection of poems. Selma Martin’s inner light radiates from every sparkling page." — Cheryl Batavia, author, Life in Inspiring Places

"Beautiful, simply beautiful." DAP @ My2ndHeartBeat

My Review:

I have enjoyed reading this author's poetry on her blog for a while now, so I was very excited when I heard she was creating a book of her poems. I absolutely loved this collection. The author/poet has an essence about her that draws you in. Some poems create beautiful stories that weave throughout the stanzas. Many of her poems focus on nature and immerse you in the stunning world around us. Her imagery grasps you and makes you one with the poetry. Her use of alliteration, rhyme, and rhythm bring melodic music to her words. Here is a stanza from one of my favorites:
Tears of rage and anger
stain her eyelids maroon
as she rots slow like moldering topsoil 
 - Her Mind, poem
Other poems that I really loved are August Trio, Let Go, You Know Her, Nature's Tender Doings, Poetry, and Poseidon's Lure. The diversity of her poetry is vast, and there is something for everyone. If you enjoy surrounding yourself with powerful imagery, glimpses of life and nature, and slices of everyday life, then do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this collection of poetry. It's wonderful! :-)

by Karl Morgan

Genre: Short Story

Pages: 32

Book Blurb:

From the Preface: This story is steeped in my faith which has been the subject of half of my novels. It deals with death and reconciliation with Our Father in Heaven. The plot for this tale came to me in a dream. Most of my books have been based on thoughts and concepts from my muse. I believe I know who my muse is, but that is not a topic we need to delve into at this point.

If you choose to believe differently, this story is likely not one you would accept, and that is okay. We all make our own choices that define our present and our future.

Please remember this is a work of fiction. I do not claim the experiences in this tale occurred or match our futures. Still, it is a tale of God’s love and our redemption. I hope many will agree that is a worthwhile topic to fill these pages.
I have been moved by several books and television programs that explore this train of thought by talking with people who have had near-death experiences. What I have learned from those individuals led me to create this story. I hope you enjoy it and find a kernel of truth within this tale that can give you joy.

My Review:

This was a beautiful short story about what a person's experiences might be when he dies. The author blends his Christian faith into a fictional story about a man's journey into the afterlife. I loved how he created a journey through heaven that led him to reconnect with people and pets from his past. His interaction with the angels, Jesus, and "Manny" were humorous at times and very touching. I thought it quite clever and endearing when he had to face a "jury" of his peers. And I loved the choices the main character was given and his ultimate decision. This is a wonderful story of the afterlife that anyone can enjoy no matter what his/her beliefs are.

by Lara Adrian

Genre: Paranormal Vampire Romance

Pages: 282

Book Blurb:

"Enter Lara Adrian's vampire world and be enchanted." --J. R. Ward
"One of the best vampire series on the market!" --RT Book Reviews

Breed warrior Micah is one of the Order’s best, his reputation for cold justice and lethal skill rivaled only by that of his formidable father, Tegan. So, when a mission Micah’s leading in an off-limits area called the Deadlands goes terribly wrong, leaving him the sole survivor of an apparent Atlantean attack, he won’t rest until he has answers...and vengeance for his fallen team.

Phaedra thought it was only a dream, a hideous nightmare. Yet somehow, she had been transported from her life in Rome to a stretch of barren forest when it suddenly lit up with unearthly fire, obliterating everything in its path—including the fiercely handsome Breed warrior she’d encountered in the dream. Or so she believed, until their paths cross again and Phaedra finds herself, and her Atlantean people, at the center of Micah’s wrath.

With tensions between the Breed and the Atlanteans already edging toward war, and another powerful nemesis growing bolder by the day, uncovering the stunning truth about what happened in the Deadlands will force Micah and Phaedra to work together in an alliance forged by fate and an undeniable desire neither of them can resist.

Blood and destiny collide in Fall of Night, the newest action-packed, pulse-pounding novel in Lara Adrian's New York Times and #1 international bestselling Midnight Breed vampire romance series.

* * * * *

Jump in and discover why millions of paranormal romance fans are addicted to Lara Adrian's "strikingly original" (Booklist) series!

My Review:

Somewhere around 2010, I became heavily invested in vampire and paranormal stories. This series was one of several that I fell in love with. It's been a while since I've read one of these stories, but I fell right back into the author's world quickly. Each book is a standalone romance between a Breed and his Breedmate, but they should be read in order because the underlying plot/mission carries from one story to the next.

I loved Micah and his struggle to allow himself to let his guard down and feel something. Phaedra was a fantastic female character of strength and courage, as are all of the author's female characters. The author does a great job of switching POVs with each chapter so we can follow what each character is going through. 

Both the sex scenes and fighting scenes were riveting (lol!), and the story flowed really well. (This is an adult novel, so I do not recommend it for children.) The ending felt a little rushed. I would have loved a bit more with the scene in the woods (don't want to give anything away). Still, it was a happy ending, and I love those.

I was sad to find out there is only one more story in the series. I know there is a spinoff, and I've read and enjoyed a couple of those. Still, I fall in love with characters and want to keep visiting their world. On the other hand, I can't wait to find out how it all comes to an end. There are so many things to wrap up!

by Harmony Kent

Genre: New Age Meditation, Buddhism

Pages: 225

Book Blurb:

‘Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It relies solely on what you think.’

Have you ever felt angry? Upset? Hurt? Overwhelmed? Not up to it?

This book, with its pithy teachings based in Zen, will help you find the jewel in the inevitable mud of life rather than wallowing in that mud.

Not only does each day offer us a new start, a chance to press reset, but so does each and every breath. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be, and your history doesn’t have to keep you trapped. And nor do you have to waste endless energy on worrying about all that the future may bring.

Written in an engaging manner, Jewel in the Mud invites you to search within and make your world the way you want it to be. It doesn’t give you strict instructions or homework, but instead, invites you to dive deeper, search further, and question your assumptions.

The book has handy thoughts for the week, and can be read in one go, weekly, or dipped into at random. In short, it has been designed to fit in with you and your needs.

Learn how to take control of your life with these Zen Musings.

My Review:

I have read other books by this author and have enjoyed them all. This one was very different. The author pulls from her experience in a Zen Buddhist Temple for thirteen years. For fifty two weeks, she shared a different Zen musing on her blog. She chose to compile them and create a book with the year's collection, and I loved it.

Each chapter covers one Zen musing/lesson. I love how she breaks it down into easy to absorb ideas. I read the book from cover to cover and have no doubt I will be reading it again. Actually, I'm pretty sure I will end up buying the physical book so I can flip through it and find the lesson I was to reread at certain moments in my life (and may even gift it to my son when he graduates from high school).

Each lesson is valuable and presents such a pure way of approaching life. I love how she starts each chapter with a statement that encompasses the lesson, explains the lesson, and then ends with the Zen saying, which truly ties it all together. As someone who has been focused on self-care for the past few years, this book truly hit home for me. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to live a life of harmony and self-love.

Have you read any of these books? Have you read any other books this month that are must reads? I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #EkphrasticPoetry #WivenhoePark #painting #art #tanka @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! For this week's #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro has given us a painting to inspire us. It's called Wivenhoe Park, Essex, 1816 and was painted by John Constable

It's a beautiful painting that immediately made me feel relaxed. The first thing I noticed was how my eyes were drawn to several parts of the painting - the cows, the swans, and the people fishing. Each seemed oblivious of the others, and that inspired my poem.

I've decided to write a tanka poem. For those who are new to syllabic poetry, a tanka poem contains 5 lines with a syllabic pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. 

peaceful existence
each focused on his own space
Earth provides for all
symbiotic essences
cherish Mother Nature's gifts

What do you see when you look at this painting? I'd love to hear from you.

Do you want to join our poetry fun? Click here

Thursday, July 20, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #imayo #specificform #cardinals #seagulls @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! For this week's #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro has challenged us to use a form new to me - the Imayo. Here is Colleen's explanation of this form:

The imayo is comprised of four 12-syllable lines. Each line is divided into a 7-syllable and a 5-syllable section, with a hard pause (or caesura) in between. The pause will generally be represented by a comma, semi-colon, or similar punctuation.

  • 4 lines (8 lines permissible)
  • 12 syllables per line divided as 7-5
  • make a pause space between the 7 and 5 syllables
  • use comma, caesura or kireji (cutting word) as the pause
  • no rhymes
  • no meter
  • no end of line pauses – the whole should flow together as though one long sentence
  • The Imayo is a literal poem so do not use symbolism, allegory etc.

Part of the challenge is also writing the poem about a bird. I chose to write about a cardinal. We aren't supposed to use symbolism, but a cardinal is said to be symbolize a visit from a loved one who has passed away. So, I chose to write from the point of view of a bird contemplating his existence.

Then, just in case it doesn't fit with the rules, I wrote a second one about seagulls because they always crack me up at the beach. :-)

(courtesy of @RetyiRetyi on Pixabay)

a loved one reincarnated, silly humans say

people stop and gawk at me, every time I fly

could there be truth in their words? I stop and ponder.

something draws me to a spot, or is it someone?

(courtesy of @lovechicco on Pixabay)

seagulls are clever beings - always observant

seeming desperate for food - begging is a norm

they wait for opportune times - dash quickly and grab

then pray they've not been noticed - let the fights begin

Would you like to try your hand at the Imayo? Click here and join us.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Shameless #Promo for my #Artistic Nephew! #spokenword #spokenwordpoet #upandcoming #rapper #music #poetry #poetrycommunity #newrelease #contest #makeitviral

Hello, beautiful readers! Today, I would like to ask you to help my nephew make it to the New York City stage to perform. My nephew, who goes by the artist name Modia, is extremely talented. He has been writing and performing spoken word poetry since he was 12 years old, including competing against high school students and winning! He also plays three instruments (piano, guitar, and saxophone), creates his own music, and writes and sings his own songs. 

Here is the first spoken word piece he ever performed:

Here is another one from a couple of years ago: 

And here is his first released song (music, lyrics, and singing all produced by him):

So, if you have it in your heart to help an up-and-coming artist reach a bigger stage, please vote for him here. There will be two options to vote. One requires you to input your credit card, but that option is not necessary. Right under it is an option to vote for free through Facebook. Actually, both options are free, but the second one does not require a credit card.

You can vote every day, so please visit me every day and click the link and VOTE! He is currently in 5th place, so he has a real shot at this! And please share/retweet/reblog this with your online community and help me spread the word. Thank you! πŸ’—

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #PhotoPrompt #sunsandsea @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful people! For this week's #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro has provided us with a photo from Terri Webster Schrandt. Terri shared that the photo is "a filtered version of a lifeguard station and red patrol vehicle at Ocean Beach, Sand Diego, CA."

The temperature has been really high lately in my area. I go to the beach almost every Sunday with my friends. If the ocean cooperates, I'll swim to the buoy and back once or twice. I also tend to walk the beach for about fourteen lifeguard stations from where we "camp" to the jetty and then back. Usually, one of my friends joins me.

This past Sunday, we went for our usual walk, and it was stifling hot. Even with hats and water, the heat was getting to us. So, we made a pitstop at the fire rescue station building and sat under the cold shower station for a bit before finishing our walk. When I saw this picture, I decided to combine the two into a poem.

Colleen encouraged us to focus on imagery and to try to use the phrase "sun, sand, & sea" in our poem. I've decided to write a Double Ennead, which is a form Colleen created for the Carrot Ranch Literary Community's 99-Word Story Challenges. It consists of three stanzas, each with a 6-5-11-6-5 pattern, which equals 99 syllables.

My Sanctuary

the sun's sweltering rays

threaten to scorch me

sweat secretes out of every pore possible

and tries to cool me down

face flushes bright red

the sand absorbs the sun

each grain feels hotter

without shoes, my skin would blister and peel off

crabs burrow beneath it

searching for reprieve

the crashing waves beckon

a promised respite

thirsty skin soaks in the healing, cool waters

sun, sand, & sea...and me


Have you ever stayed all day at the beach on a hot summer's day? Or do you prefer something a bit cooler? I'd love to hear from you.

Does the photo inspire you to write a poem? Join us here.

Smashwords is having a book sale! @Smashwords #booksale #freebooks @SWSale2023 #Smashwords @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! If you've never heard of Smashwords before, let me introduce you to an alternative platform to buying books! Smashwords allows you to download books in any format. It is completely legit; authors choose to put their books on the site to help readers will all sorts of devices find a one-stop shop. 

During the month of July, Smashwords is having their Annual Summer/Winter Sale (depending on which hemisphere you live). Here, you can find thousands of books on sale, some of which are being given away for FREE. I have several of my books on sale here.

If you haven't read any of the books I have on sale, I encourage you to pick up a copy before the sale ends. If you have never read a book by me, then this is the perfect time to grab a book because it costs you nothing! You may just find that you love my stories (at least, that's what I'm hoping). πŸ˜‰

Either way, I appreciate you stopping by and would love it if you would take a moment to spread the news by sharing this with others. Thank you, and happy reading! 😊

Did you find any great books on the site? I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Welcome to Day 3 of Breakfield and Burkey's "INTRODUCING ENIGMA TRACER" Blog Tour! @EnigmaSeries @4WillsPub @4WP11 @RRBC_Org @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! Today, I have the pleasure of introducing Breakfield and Burkey's newest book in their Enigma series, Enigma Tracer! If you haven't read one of their technothrillers yet, you are going to want to learn about this series.

(7ebook copies of ENIGMA TRACER
(7audible codes for ENIGMA TRACER book (US or UK) 

To make it a bit more enticing, they are giving away copies of their book. Please leave the authors a comment below for your chance to win one of these awesome prizes!

So, let's learn more about Enigma Tracer!

Gracie and JJ inherit leadership roles of the influential informational brokerage firms, the R-Group and the CATS—Cyber Assassins Technical Services team. Their first big contract has them hunting for evidence to stop a wealthy opportunist plastics dealer, Phillip Pliant. The trouble is that he is a seasoned pro who has outwitted his adversaries. Gracie and JJ are embarking on their new roles but are confident of their capabilities.

Bailey, Gracie’s college roommate and close friend, asks for help in their sleuthing efforts to bring to justice Pliant Industries. Cover stories are built, coincidences are engineered, and female charm is leveraged to get Gracie and Bailey into Pliant’s inner circle. The problem quickly becomes how to get the needed evidence and escape this killer.

Our cyber heroes learn Pliant has eliminated prior evangelists bent on exposing his operations. Gracie works with Bailey to force Pliant to play on their terms. Their boyfriends, Jeff and Keith, provide specialized skills to support gathering needed evidence. None of them understand they are hunting a criminal who hunts better than they do.


The clock is ticking ... can Gracie uncover the truth?

Phillip Pliant is the wealthy opportunist plastics dealer and CEO of Pliant Industries. He’s also a master thief - creating a pervasive threat to the manufacturing infrastructure in the Caribbean islands markets. With the cartel as his stealth client, the naΓ―ve city leaders have been seduced, enabling the production of more than 3-dimentional building materials.

And set the stage for massive chaos and destruction.

Pliant has locked up contracts, assets, and control of any future expansion. His contacts and clients salivate over their probable financial reward—the expected profits are monstrous.

Is the R-Group, now led by Gracie and the family heirs, strong enough to win against this predator? Can JJ’s CATS (Cyber Assassin Technology Services) act on the root-cause analysis in time?

  • Will the R-Group and CATS sabotage Pliant’s plan before it’s too late?
  • Can Jeff and Keith use their covert skills to put the bad guys away for good?
  • Will Gracie be able to squash Pliant and the cartels?

Can the chain of islands survive the underhanded tactics and threats?

Gracie never considered that their lives would hang between winning and losing. Will the devious plot be uncovered in time? The clock is ticking. Five ... four ... three ...


BREAKFIELD - Charles works as a data/telecom solution architect and supports digital security, blockchain solutions, and unified communications. He enjoys writing, studying World War II his­tory, travel, and cultural exchanges. Charles’ love of wine tastings, cooking, and Harley riding often provides writing topics.

Much of his personality comes from his father who served in the military for 30 years and three wars. Charles grew up on multiple bases and different countries. The multi-cultural exposure helps him with the various character perspectives they bring to the series. His personal ambition is to continue to teach Burkey humor.

BURKEY– Rox is a Customer Experience Specialist who works with businesses worldwide. As a gifted speaker and accomplished listener, she bridges the chasm between business problems and technical solutions to optimize business productivity. She has written technology and white papers, but launches into high gear when plotting our next technothriller or short story.

She led the other kids with her highly charged imagination generating new adventures with make-believe characters as a child. She is proud of being a Girl Scout until high school and contributed to the community as a member of a Head Start program. Rox enjoys her family, learning, listening to people, traveling, outdoor activities, sewing, cooking, and thinking about diversifying the series.

BREAKFIELD AND BURKEY began their writing partnership with non-fictional papers and books, then formed a business LLC as fictional storytellers. They recognize that stories are an evolving method to share excitement, thrills, and insights into today’s technology risks. has samples of the Enigma Series novels, short stories, audiobooks, and book trailers, with the newest series Enigma Heirs releasing in March 2023. They’ve earned multiple awards for their fictional creations. Contact them via email at

They are passionate about leveraging real technology into fictional writing. The variety of character attributes from the many people who crossed their professional paths adds that depth. Admittedly, Breakfield often asks people he meets if they thought about being an evil cyberthug or femme fatale in their series.

Both authors have traveled to many places around the world. These travels are pulled into stories adding realism to specific locals. They enjoy well-rounded thrillers that include humor, romance, intrigue, suspense, and mystery.

They love to talk about their stories at private and public book readings or events. They are proud members of the Rave Reviews Book Club for more than three years. Find their books and information about this supportive club -




Amazon Buy Link:

Barnes and Noble:

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the authors' tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you'd like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE. Thanks for supporting this author and her work!

Don't forget to leave a comment below to have a chance to win one of these books to call your own! :-)

Monday, July 10, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #treepoetry #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #CelticTreeAstrology #ashtree @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I have been trying to make space to write this poem all week. Since today is the last day to post it before a new challenge comes out tomorrow, I've forced myself to sit and write/type. It isn't the greatest poem, but I'm happy I wrote it.

Last Tuesday, Colleen Chesebro shared with us some Celtic Tree Astrology in her #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge. She asked us to find our spirit tree and write a poem about it. You can find the Celtic Tree Astrology here.

I discovered that my spirit tree is the Ash Tree. I have mixed thoughts on this one, mainly because I was secretly hoping to be my favorite tree, the willow. πŸ˜‚ There are parts of the ash's description that I connect with and other parts that I don't, but maybe I haven't "grown" into that aspect just yet. πŸ˜‰

Here is the description from OneTreePlanted:



Ash signs are free thinkers. They are imaginative, intuitive, and naturally artistic. This sign has a tendency to be moody and withdrawn at times, but that’s only because your inner landscape is in constant motion. You are in touch with your muse and are easily inspired by nature. Likewise, you inspire all that you associate with and people seek you out for your enchanting personality. You have a strong interest in art, writing (especially poetry), science, and theology (spiritual matters). You are in a constant state of self-renewal and rarely place value on what others think of you. Ash signs partner well with Willow and Reed signs.

Apparently, I pair well with willow! I'll take it! 😍 I did a little research about the ash trees and realized how beautiful they truly are in how they help our environment. I also dove a bit into some mythology surrounding the ash tree. You can read about them here and here.

I decided to write a poem using the Drop-Drip format I created a while back for one of Colleen's other challenges. It has twelve lines with the following syllabic pattern: 1-2-2-3-3-3-4-4-4-3-2-1. 

(courtesy of @hans-2 on Pixabay)

Magnificent Venus of the Woods

quiet but strong
welcomes others

Did you see what your spirit tree is? I'd love to hear from you below.

It's not too late to write your own poem! Check it out here.

Monday, July 3, 2023

I'm back! #Hawaii #Hawaiivacation #Oahu #Maui #Hilo #HawaiiBigIsland #Kona #Kauai #NaPaliCoast #luau #waterfalls #SCUBA #diving #snorkeling #hiking #PearlHarbor #blacksandbeach #turtles #nature #rainbows

Hello, beautiful readers! I apologize for being a bit MIA for the past few weeks. The ending of the school year is always a blur, and then I was off to Hawaii for two weeks. I am slowly getting caught up with everything. I've tried to keep you entertained by sharing other authors' wonderful posts via Twitter. I still have another week or so of "catch up" before I can get back into my routine. Until then, I thought I'd share with you a bit of my Hawaii vacation. :-)

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I've been on a mission to have my son see all fifty incredible states of America before he graduates. We have visited most of the states through summer road trips with my parents, but you can't drive to Hawaii, so we flew there and took a cruise tour instead. We spent three days before the cruise and another day after the cruise in Honolulu/Waikiki, Oahu. Here are some of my highlights.

Our first full day in Oahu was spent scuba diving. My son was recently certified, and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the underwater world with him with Dive Oahu (amazing dive master!). The next two days were spent touring the island, including Pearl Harbor, a macadamia nut shop, and Kualoa Ranch (where many movies scenes were filmed, like Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Godzilla, and Moana [well, it was inspired by parts of this ranch]).

Waikiki Beach

My view on the dive boat

That's my son on a ship wreck 100' deep.

Do you see the huge turtle? (at about 1 o'clock)

USS Arizona Memorial

Guns on the Submarine

By the Halona Blowhole Lookout

Godzilla footprint

Our next stop was Maui, where we took the Road to Hana Deluxe tour. Our tour guide was amazing. He took us to a park with lava rocks where the waves smashed against the shore. We visited a black sand beach with a lava tube and got to swim in a waterfall. Then, he took us to a beach where tons of turtles sunbathe.

So many turtles! 😍

The next day was spent snorkeling off of Maui's coast. 

My son is part fish! πŸ˜‚

Then, we went to Hilo where we toured a Japanese garden, a zoo, another macadamia nut farm (so yummy!), Rainbow Falls, and Akaka Falls!
I love how the reflection forms a full circle.

I just love this tree! It's called a Monkey Pod Tree!

So delicious!

Put me surrounded by nature, and I'm happy!

Rainbow Falls Lookout

Akaka Falls

Then, we were off to Kailua-Kona, where we took a military grade speed boat out to a reef to snorkel! We had SO much fun!

I followed this eel around for a bit! :-)

Then, we were off to Kauai. We started with a tour of the island, which took us to a beach/park where the community created a dam so the kids could swim safely. It was also the spot of an Elvis film. We visited Opaekaa Falls and another blowhole. We went to the Waimea Canyon Lookout, which they call the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. And we ended with a fabulous luau!

This is where Elvis filmed one of his movies.

Opaekaa Falls

We were blessed with several rainbows on this trip.

Amazing performance!

Our last tour of the cruise was spent on a jungle hike to two incredible waterfalls, one of which we were able to swim right up to it and spend some time just absorbing its energy! 

The rock behind me has been in many movies, such as Raider of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, and Hook!

On our way back to Oahu, we passed by the Na Pali Coast and were rewarded with the most stunning double rainbow!

Do you see the second rainbow above the bright one? Look to the right.

Both rainbows! 😍

When we arrived in Honolulu, we took another tour around the island that ended at the Dole Plantation, where I indulged in some pineapple ice cream. Our last day there, we had a late flight, so we walked over 13,000 steps exploring the island on foot and went to the movies to see the new Transformers movie (which we loved!).

This is the house from 50 First Dates.

It was an absolutely incredible trip, and now my son has seen our entire country and all its beauty! Now, it's time to start exploring the rest of the world! I'm gonna need another job. πŸ˜‚

I appreciate you all being patient with me as I slowly catch up with my to do list. I promise to post again soon. I did get to read a few books. You can see my reviews here. Unfortunately, I did not get any writing done. I have a short story and a novel I'm working on, and I'm hoping to get back to writing by mid-July. I also hope to start writing poetry again next week. Fingers crossed!

Have you ever been to Hawaii? What was your favorite part? If not, what do you think you would enjoy most? I'd love to hear from you. :-)