Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Wrap Up! Best of Books, Movies and More...

It’s that time of year again. The time we sit back and reflect on what we experienced and determine our top five’s. This year is a bit hard because time flew by in a BLUR! Thank goodness for Goodreads book tracking and IMBD for movie tracking. Otherwise I would be taking a stab in the dark at what came out when. This year I am also adding a top 5 moments in my year. Just for something fun.

Let’s start with Books, since you know, that is my favorite subject.

Picking a top five is super hard because there were just SO many! So here it goes .... Like always, no particular order.

Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh have a couple series of books that all intertwine to form an awesome story in Oregon. There are 10 books in this cluster so I am going to group them all as one. It’s all about one family who has many sub plots. All of the men in the family are apart of law enforcement except, one brother, who is the town’s mayor. The women are all good strong women but not in the sense of in your face strong. More like women who have struggles but push through for their family. They represent real women and real issues. This mix of series really does so much to keep you captivated. I hope there are more stories next year for me to read.

Jeff Wheeler wrote a series that is phenomenal. The King Fountain Series. It is set in a different land full of magic, adventure and love. There is heart breaking situations that will make you shed a tear or two. Then story lines that will make you yell at the main characters for their decisions. It starts with one man and his journey. Follows through his coming of age story and then transitions to he and his best friends children. There is, I believe, another book coming out in 2018, I HOPE, because the story isn’t finished!! I started the year off with book #1 of this series and man, I wish I was ending this year with the next installment. If you love magic, love and adventure this series is def up your alley. 

Richelle Mead’s Glittering Court series. I am not usually a fan of young adult stories because it is hard for me to attach to the main characters, however, Richelle Mead really makes it work. I read the story because she was coming to Houston for a book signing and I wanted to know about the book she was going to talk about. So I had no choice but give it a whirl. I am really glad I did. There is the usual coming of age story for the main character but it is so much more than that. You’re looking at girls lives when they have no choice and their lives are planned out for them. Girls who have no family, are trained to be high class society and sold off to the highest bidder. It pulls at your heart strings but man it is a great series. I need to read the 3rd book, maybe I can squeeze that in at the start of 2018. Def good series!

Jeff Wheeler has another series, Muirwood. Just as good as King Fountain! There were 3 books I read in this series and it also has that fantasy/science fiction feel as King Fountain. Once again magic is at the center of how these characters make action happen and it is just enthralling. I highly recommend Jeff Wheeler’s stories to anyone who wants something different yet relatable.

Robert Dugoni’s series “Tracy Crosswhite” was another winner in my book. I believe I read all five so far in this series this year. Tracy is a bad ass detective who has crimes to solve and bad guys to lock up. The series was full of action and kept you turning pages until you found the ending that you knew would make you happy. Robert Dugoni’s writing style is very easy to get sucked into the story. If you are a mystery action pack reader then this series will make your inner bookworm squirm for more.

Time for Movies! Top 5 Movies for 2017, in no particular order.

Bright staring Will Smith was a movie put together by Netflix. I know that I have seen a lot of people giving this movie bad marks because of one reason or another. But I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of action which kept me watching. Plus the acting was great. As you know I am a major Will Smith fan and when I think of the last movie of his I saw (Suicide Squad) which left me disappointed (Not because of Smith) this was a breath of fresh air. I hope there will be more movies in this fantasy world. Ork’s, Fairies and Humans ... OH MY! Lots of love and hate relationships going on, which as you are well aware, make for great drama.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - I just love this movie series, Marvel is doing phenomenal! I cannot wait for more, and as always, Groot stole the show. This film has everything in it. Great acting, great writing, great cinematography. Truly of all the action comic world movies this series is in my top two. (My #1 being Christian Bale’s Batman series). Hopefully Guardian’s 3 will be just as awesome and keep this world moving forward. The music once again made me smile at the sound track and here is hoping that the awesome tunes keep up in the future.

Logan - This movie made me cry real tears of sadness. I am a major Hugh Jackman fan and just, this movie killed me. I am so beyond words sad that this world of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is done. I wish there would be move movies and I know there can’t be. But it breaks my heart. Seriously this movie shows you just how amazing Wolverine is and the depths of Hugh Jackman’s acting is great. And let’s not even touch on Professor X. I can’t write this short paragraph with out tearing up. Amazing movie, just fantastic.

LEGO Batman - this is hands down the BEST Batman movie created. My kids and I laughed our butt’s off through the entire film. “IronMan Sucks” Is their favorite line from the film! It just makes you feel good. The way it was all laid out and the plot make you smile through the whole thing. The Joker and Batman’s love/hate relationship is just spot on. Fantastic job doesn’t describe properly how this movie was put together. It is beyond one of the best super hero movies ever.

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle - This was a fantastic sequel to the ever so popular one with Robin Williams from the 90’s. The Rock, Kevin Heart and Jack Black were just killer hilarious. Jack Black stole the show. A man, playing a woman, trapped in a man’s body. HILARIOUS so funny. Absolutely perfect. This film did it’s predecessor justice. I encourage anyone who needs a good laugh to check it out. A sure fire hit. 

Top Five Moments ... Maybe this time in order ...

My daughter making honorable mention in her Science Fair competition with her solar oven & ending the semester with honor roll. By far, awesome. She did so much work to conquer this feat that I have bragged and bragged as much as I can.

And in a tie, my son coming home with First Place in his science fair for presentation of his bottle rocket he made from scratch at home. The smile he had when he showed us the medal will warm my heart forever.

Holding my newest little nephew hours after he was born. There is just something about new babies that make every one smile, isn’t there. But the newest little member of the family is sure brining lots of joy.

The Pasadena Library (Texas not California) housing all of my printed books sending more readers my way. Nothing makes you feel like a success as much as a library displaying your books and encouraging others to read them. 

12-30 - My husband and I celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary. So many people our age give up on love or marry and don’t try. It is quite a personal accomplishment knowing that Tony and I have gone through the ups and downs together and have come out on top. Together not apart. I love him more than anything else in the world and knowing I can always wake up to him gives me comfort beyond words. 

Top five let down’s ....

Here’s a no brainer - Justice League. Man DC just ugh ... their movies are no good as a whole for the big screen. I WISH they would just give it up. Aqua Man was hot ... which leads me to # 2 disappointment

Sexiest Man Of The Year ... Really?? No offense but ... really????

The Chief’s losses - Every year I hope they are SuperBowl bound but man ... we went like 5-0 and Bam just start losing. Thankfully we are still in the playoffs but we should have been in the #1 or 2 spot ...  I just hope we win a game this year in the playoff’s. Saying prayers ... 

The Walking Dead - killing off Carl was just ... man, what a let down. I love Negan but not at the cost of Carl. UGH. Damn you writers. 

Apple Updates - these last round of updates really set my phone back. First their was the typo issue with the letter “i” then the charging issue. Now my iPhone won’t charge with half my cords because they are after market. UGH, ANNOYING! Come on Apple, get your shit together.

There we have it .... 2017 in the bag. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. 2018 ... I’m ready for you!  May all of your New Year’s Eve parties be safe and full of laughs.

Friday, December 15, 2017

That time of year ... Reflection On Grandparents

One thing that the ending of a year is good for is looking back at the past 365 days and reflecting on your life. In one way or another I think we all do this. Some people more in depth than others, but it is something we’re trained to do. Or else we wouldn’t have a New Years resolution.

This year as I think back there is a lot to sift through but I think what my takeaway will be for 2017 is quality family time. I don’t really think I got enough of that for my extended family. I don’t mean my husband or kids but I mean my siblings/parents/grandparents.

Saturday I spent most of the day with my grandpa. We were cleaning out one of his bedrooms, eating lunch and talking. It was really nice just being alone with him. I remember some of my favorite times growing up were when my parents would ship us off to our grandparents for a week at a time. The one on one attention was fantastic and now as an adult I realize, I still crave that.

My mom’s mother passed away during Hurricane Harvey this year, but before that, she had started to slowly stop understanding who I was. It had been a while since I had a ‘real’ conversation with her. My dad’s mom has a form of Parkenson’s and doesn’t really speak much. It’s breaking my heart. As a teenager I would call my grandmothers almost every day or every other day. My grandparents were/are some of my best friends. Then I think about my grandpa’s, one is still alive and the other died in 2012. I truly miss them. Well half are alive but I miss the quality of time I used to get with them.

Having kids now my life is in a constant state of business. There is no ‘me’ time to stop and just be with my grandpa anymore. So this Saturday’s lunch just me and him was a real treat. We had Lebanese food, our obvious favorite, and just talked. It really made me think about the time. The time I didn’t force myself to have with Grandma Marietta this year before she passed away. The time that I need to spend with Grandpa Joe and Grandma Elaine while I still have them here.

I know I already am stretched too thin as it is. Between real life work, Girl Scouts, writing, mom duty, etc. but my goal for next year is to carve out more quality family time.

I think something we forget about as adults is that we need to take care of ourselves too. Not just in the health sense but emotional sense too. Spouses and kids are great but there is just something about a grandparent. They were there from the start. They weren’t the ones scolding you all your life, they were the ones spoiling. It was during this lunch that it just really sank home, I need more grandparent time. I am so lucky to be 34 and still have half of mine alive.

So not exactly sure the purpose of this blog post other than to just get my thoughts and feelings out about what my first goal will be for 2018. You know, Ashley Randomness is just that, random.

Until the next time a random thought pops into my head ... I’ll talk to you all later.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

New Release: HoneySuckle Love by Ashley Nemer

Happy New Release to Merewyn and Jessie, my two new lead characters of HoneySuckle Love!

I want to give a quick apology, I made this blog last week but I forgot to press ‘publish’ so just pretend I put this post out on the actual release day. 😝 It will be our secret hehe.

So HoneySuckle Love was inspired by one of my besties, Mez. She’s from the UK and our friendship developed in an online book club. Mez inspired the character Merewyn, and not just because she was her namesake. Ironically, when I first created the story and started writing the bad guy, Albert, had a different name. I didn’t know at the time but I picked the same name as one of Mez’s brothers so she had me change it. Funny though! As my daughter would say, just more reasons the story was meant to be.

HoneySuckle Love is my first dip into the true contemporary romance genre. I’ve had obvious love stories in other books but they weren’t romances. This was a cookie cutter story because I wanted to target different readers, challenge myself, and just try something new.

I am really pleased with how this novel panned out and I have ideas in place for book 2 and 3. My daughter and I have started brain storming what the arc will be for book 2.

I know I have mentioned this before but all through school English was my hardest and most challenging subject, so seeing my writing develop over the last 7 years is a big deal for me. I will always love Blood Purple and Wolf Pack, my two first stories, but this novel really cut the mold for me. I can clearly see the development of my quality and character development.

It is always something amazing as an author when you can look back and see how far you have come and how great it feels knowing your work brings people joy.

I did something a little different this new release, I offered ARC to non-friends. I wanted real true and honest feedback. Everyone who contacted me had nothing but positives to say and that’s new for me. Usually there are critics about wanting different story lines or more character depth. But something really worked this time. Which makes me thrilled. I am really looking forward to more feedback from readers.

Hopefully you all take the time to give HoneySuckle love a chance.

Happy Release Day Merewyn and Jessie ... May your story inspire high school sweet hearts everywhere.

HoneySuckle Love (Kemah Sunrise Book 1)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Random Post About Nothing ... Back in the saddle of blogging

Hey there Bloggers and Readers, long time no talk!

I know this year I have not been near as active as I used to be but I promise I have good reason. Their names are Aaron and Sierra. They take up 99% of my spare time, as any parent would understand.

I truly am shocked that 2017 is practically gone. It has flown by and I honestly can’t tell you what we did. Each week and weekend seem to blend together. Do you feel the same way? I mean obviously I look back  and see all the Girl Scout events, couple book events, family get together and the Special Olympics competitions. But seriously, what is there to show for the year?

2017 ... you certainly are a mystery.

I know every year at the end I do a yearly recap and I have been thinking about what I want to talk about, book, movie, event, but nothing is really standing out.

Well I take that back ... I am on the road to read 100 books by the time the ball strikes midnight on the 31st ... I am only a dozen books away from meeting that goal! Is it sad that that is what I am going to remember most outside of health issues, is reading 100 books!?!?

I guess not since you are all readers too and reading is what we do.

I am still mentally debating between my favorite books of the year. Thank goodness for Goodreads so I can easily look back on what I’ve read.

Ahh I know one thing that will also stand out ... The horrible movies of DC! Well, Wonder Woman wasn’t horrible, but Justice League I was so not impressed with. Now THOR! Give me some THOR! But Marvel always does do it better.

Sorry for the real random nature of this blog post. I promise next time I will have a point.

Hopefully everyone enjoys the last few weeks of the year. And if you are working on the Goodreads reading challenge ... good luck!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Happy 5 Years Blood Purple!

This week marked something pretty major in my life. It marked the day my first published novel turned 5 years old.

So much has changed since I first picked up my laptop and started to randomly toss words on the page. I never imagined that this fantasy world I was creating would actually be accepted by readers. As a teen I would write poems and that was pretty much what I stuck to. Well that and oratory speeches for debate. I never pictured what it would be like to create worlds, kill people, discover new lands, all from the comfort of my chair.

The entire experience has been mind blowing on so many levels.

Especially when I look back at where I was in 2011 when I wrote Blood Purple.

English was never my strong subject in school. I loved reading and I did great on content questions and essays but the grammar nuts and bolts were a struggle. This journey through writing really helped that little girl who couldn’t figure out the difference between an adjective and a noun in elementary is rejoicing because now, while yes the nuts and bolts still are a struggle, I have learned to overcome it!

Conquering ones fear is am amazing deal, one that more of us should be doing. One that I should have done a long time ago.

I remember how Blood Purple came to life. I had been laid off of work and I was depressed. I wanted to read a story about Arabic vampires. Vampires were all the trend, you had Twilight, Sookie Stackhouse, Dark Hunters, Black Dagger Brotherhood, of course I wanted MORE vampires.

But I couldn’t find any from the Arabic region. My aunt and I had been researching our families journey from Lebanon to America and the idea hit me. If I can’t find the book I want to read I will just write one!

I think I would like to add right here my Aunt has been one of my biggest supporters and is a true source of encouragement. So Thank you Aunt Pam!

Anyway - I took the history my family encountered and twisted it into this new world. A world where God didn’t create humans, the Algula created humans, in their image, and used us in their civil war against one another.

Nikole and Zane, oh how these two characters will forever hold a deep place in my heart. And Leigh and Haydar too.

Probably the best part of all was when my very first true fan, by true fan I mean complete random stranger who sought me out to talk and I didn’t already have a connection with, unveiled a truth in my novel.

She told me that Nikole (the heroine) and Leigh (the villain) were two sides of the same coin and she believed that coin was me.

Dear Ole Laken really made my year that night.

Everyone judges success on something different. I don’t judge it by the number of books I sell but by the experiences created.

Ish - this guy is an awesome fan (and photographer). I met him at one of my first ComicPalooza events in Houston and he has been a loyal follower ever since. I believe he has read the whole (or most of) my Maverick series. And he sure seems to like it because he has been known to send a tweet or two out about it.

The Pasadena, TX library - this place is awesome! They keep my books out on display, invite me to their local events and most of all, have my whole mystery series on their book shelf! Every time I go down there for an event fans come up to me and talk to me about my books. It’s a small town outside of Houston but that town is the best town. No where else do I go and always have someone who recognizes my name.

These are my grading scales about success and why I feel like Blood Purple really helped to make me successful.

Of course the novel itself has its own journey on how it came to be exactly what it is today but that is not a story for this blog. I will say as a first novel it wasn’t the best quality of writing because there was SO much to learn about this process. But the story was true and the characters are purely delightful. When I look at my current works in progress and compare the quality to what I was back in 2011 I see true growth. Growth I can appreciate and feel a sense of accomplishment for.

It takes a strong person to be able to point out a weakness and I know where mine are. But weakness or not, Blood Purple was an amazing adventure, one that I hope never ends.

And the best part of all in my writing ... once in a while, a bad guy gets to win. Rock on you evil villain ... you have your moments too!

You can check out my Blood Series on Amazon free with Kindle Unlimited ...


Monday, September 25, 2017

Parent Handbook?!? Why I Needed One Today

For those of you Mom’s (and Dad’s) out there like me who haven’t been doing this very long don’t you wish there was a handbook? Especially when you have adopted! It’s like so many little things that you just dont realize you are clueless about pop up and give you a quick kick in the rump. Things that are perfectly simple for you but when it is applied to your kid it is like the world went crazy.

Take today for example ... everything started out normal. I woke up at 4am took the dogs outside and fed the cat. Made my hubby his breakfast and lunch and then went upstairs and did a little work on my author stuff and got ready for my real job. 5:30 rolls around and I wake my kiddos up for school. My daughter looks awful super pale and just not well at all. She had some sinus issues yesterday and at 7pm Sunday night I had given her some pseudoephedrine. So naturally I gave her the Day Quil dose for her age and sent her back to bed. I made a doctors apt for her because you know that’s what a responsible parent does when your kid is sick right and off we go at 9:00 to the pediatrician.

My word it just went downhill from there.

Had the ultimate scare of my life when my daughter had her blood pressure reading. 53/26! I thought it was wrong I made them do it again. After her exam the doc didn’t think all was kosher either so she retested the blood pressure, 71/40, still no bueno, so she sent us off to the ER.

LONG story short ... the ER sucked, waiting was FOREVER and a day but the end result is ... for kids on ADHD medication you shoudln’t give them pseudoephedrine products.


This reminds me exactly about the time when Sierra had her first fever with us. I had been giving her Tylenol to help break it but it just wouldn’t go away. So off to the ER in the middle of the night we go. Where the doctor then decides to make me feel like an absolute ass because I didn’t know you were supposed to alternate Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Again SHOULDN’T SOMEONE HAVE TOLD ME!!

I don’t know ... I don’t get it ... there are handbooks out there for all sorts of crap and somewhere there should have been one for new moms whose child isn’t an infant.

Just really annoys me deep down that when something happens and I dont know the solution and I seek help from the would be professionals AKA Doctors, that some of them really make me feel like a bad mom for just not knowing.

At the end of the day all is fine Sierra is good and now I know, OTC meds do not always mean their okay even when you follow the directions on the box.

Maybe there should be a PSA about this. I would totally watch that.

Anyone else ever have these kinds of experiences or are they always just happening to me?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Stephen King's Movie Adaptation: IT

Hey there ... Today's review is going to be in the form of an approx 120 second review podcast.

Love to hear your comments on what you thought of the movie too.

Talk soon everyone!

4.5 Stars from me!