Posted in Book Love Reviews, Book Reviews

Book Love Review: Unblemished by Sara Ella

Fantasy. Romance. Self-discovery set in a fairy tale type realm. If this sounds intriguing you will want to check out Unblemished, by Sara Ella. The story begins in New York with teen Eliyana dealing with her mother’s funeral and the sudden coldness of her longterm friend and love Joshua. Throw in an encounter with the hooded stalker Ky and she finds her kidnapped and tossed into a world full of people with powers.  The birthmark covering her face has always been a source of shame but in this new world, it marks her as someone important.

What I Loved:

  • The beginning. I was hooked right away by Eliyana, her situation, and her issues with her birthmark and Joshua.
  • The last part of the middle and the end. As all the parts of the story and the relationships come together I found myself rooting for Eliyana as she makes hard choices while experiencing love, betrayal, and secrets.
  • This book has a full fantasy world. I felt transported along with Eliyana on her adventure as she searches for her mom and discovers her own role.
  • The romance. I love a well-written love triangle and this book delivers it.
  • Lots of twists! This book kept me guessing to the very end.

What I did not love:

  • For a complicated fantasy world with a complex storyline, this is well done but there were a few spots in the book where I struggled to make sense of it all.
  • This book has a lot of great characters but I felt that there were too many to keep track of. That is just a personal preference on my part/

Who should read this book:

  • If you enjoy books with a fairytale world you will find delight in the details of this book.
  • If you love books with strong female characters who start out with self-worth issues you will love Eliyana’s transformation as she learns to see her self differently.
  • Fans of love triangles will enjoy the romance element of this story. I must say that I rooted for Ky from the moment El met him.
  • If you love books with complex twists and turns.
  • If you enjoy books that start contemporary setting and transition into a fantasy realm you will love this one.

I am so glad I finally read this book! I found Sara Ella on Facebook and was impressed with her videos, posts, and online presence. I knew I wanted to read her books. I am excited that while reading this book I was approved for my request for an advanced reader copy of the third book in this series. Gotta finish the second book which I already have on my kindle.

Have you read any of her books? What did you love most? I would love to know.

Posted in Goals & Goal Setting, Productitivity, Writing

Step by Step: How To Achieve (Smash) Your Goals In 2018

Dreaming big? So big that your dreams or goals are overwhelming you? Not sure where to start? I am going to teach you how to smash your goals… into manageable pieces so that you can start making progress today.

Watch the video here! As always, content varies from blog post to video so you get the same basic idea with a different spin in each format!


First, let me fill you in on a little secret. I haven’t always been good at achieving my goals. I have had a lot of failures, flops, and frustrations. What changed?  I stopped looking at goals as set in stone and as something to tackle once a year. I started breaking them down on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis.


Dreaming big? Awesome. Now lets make it happen! 


I discovered that when I make small amounts of consistent practice I achieve my goals without getting sidetracked, losing interest, or doing things that don’t actually lead to progress on the goal.

I am going to walk you through the process of breaking down your goal step by step. We will pretend your goal is to write a book but you can apply this method to any goal.



achieve, (1)
Does your goal have what it takes to be attainable? 


Step One:  Write down the goal.

Your goal needs to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Have a deadline for completion

Ex. I will write a 50,000-word book in 4 months and finish it on _________________.


achieve, (2)
You need to fully understand why your goal matters to you to achieve it. 


Did you know that just by writing your goal down you have already set yourself up for success? Most people don’t take the time to do this step.

Step Two:  Figure out your WHY.

Don’t skip this step. Figuring out why this is important to you will not only keep you focused but it will give you something to look back on when you start to lose interest or the goal seems difficult.  Be honest about your why and don’t feel guilty about it or think that you need to justify it to anyone. This is personal and important

EX:  I want to be a published author. This book has a message that someone needs.  I want to tell a story that people can get lost in. I want to make X amount of money. I need to get this story out of my head.

Did you watch the video? No? Click here


Step By Step
Watch my video for EVEN more goal smashing goodness! 



Step 3:  Braindump what you know

Write everything down that you need to do get this book written or goal achieved.  Start simple but keep going until you have emptied your brain of knowledge. What do you need to learn? Add those topics to your list.

achieve, (4)
Lists are a great place to start when you are not sure where to start with goal planning 

Step Four:  Make a List

Compile all of the information from your braindump into a logical step by step list of the things that you need to achieve your goal.

achieve, (5)
Dream Big …. but break that dream down into smaller steps

Step Five: Break It Down 

This is the step where the smashing happens. You want to break your goal into pieces using the list you created in Step Five.  Each thing you need to do becomes its own mini goal.  This is will keep you from getting overwhelmed by the length of your list.

Let’s go back to our example goal to see how this might look.

  • GOAL: Write 50,000 words by _________
  • I need to write __________ words every month
  • I need to write _________ Words each week
  • I have ___________ amount of hours each week to write. I need to write _________ amount of words _______________ days a week to finish.
  • You can also break into scenes or chapters if that work better for you.  Now let get even smaller.
  • Say you have 3 hours 3 days a week to write. You know you need to write ______ words each day.
  • You need to write ______ Words per hour.

Before we move to the next step you need to evaluate your plan. Is this reasonable? Can you write this many words per hour? If not, You may need to change the date of your goal or find more time to write by elimination other things from your day. If your goal isn’t reasonable you will fall behind and lose focus.


achieve, (6)
Truth: if you are not going to actually schedule the work you will not be consistant. 


Step 6: Schedule It

Doing all the work of 1-5 is important but if you don’t schedule the work you are less likely to get it done. I admit I am the type of person who enjoys winging things. Something it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The only way to make consistent progress toward a goal is to set a time and do it.


achieve, (7)
You can. You will. You are. 


Step 7:  Do It.

Do the work. Do it when scheduled. I recommend finding an accountability partner or group to share your goals with because it is hard to hold yourself accountable.


achieve, (8)
What needs to change? What needs to stay the same?


Step 8:  Evaluate & Adjust

Even with a detailed plan, the reality of life is that it doesn’t always go as planned. There will be interruptions, setbacks, and changes that have the potential to keep you from achieving a goal. The key is to regularly evaluate your goals, deadlines, and action steps. Look at both the successes and the failures, what worked, and what did not. Change your actions steps, your timeline, and your goals as needed.


achieve, (9)
Celebrate the smalls steps and enjoy the process. 


Step 9:  Enjoy & Celebrate

It is always easier for me to see my failures than my successes. That can be detrimental to achieving goals. It is so important to take time to enjoy the process, make note of your successes, big and small and really focus on seeing progress and growth.  Struggle leads to progress and celebrating that progress is deserved.

Posted in Book Love Reviews, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Book Love Review: Tess Of The Road


Tess Of The Road left me uncertain about how I would review it and uncertain if I liked it. I had to spend a little time digesting my feelings before diving into the review.

I will start with a few disclaimers:

  1. I did not read the prior books so the world and characters were new to me.
  2. The book was not what I was expecting.
  3. I received an advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
  4. The end of this review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.



What I loved about this book:
* Fantasy rich. This book really took me to fantasy place, planted me among dragons and took me under the earth with serpents I didn’t fully understand.
* Excellent sibling elements. I loved the evolving relationship between Tess, her twin, and Serafina. It was emotional, real and heartbreaking to follow at times.
* Emotion packed. There are some very hard painful things that Tess has to come to deal with. If you stick with her to the end your heart will be full of emotion and understanding.
* I enjoyed watching Tess grow and find her way.

*I found her relationship with the creatures interesting.

What I didn’t love about this book:
I won’t say I hated these things but they bothered me enough to mention them. At times, I considered not finishing this book for these reasons and it was why I was torn about how high or low to rate this book.
* Tess is unloveable and annoying at times. I cared enough about her that I stuck it out and I am glad I did.but there were moments of doubt.
* I didn’t fully connect with all of her physical journey and some elements of the fantasy confused me.
* There were a lot of characters introduced in her journey. They ranged from mildly entertaining to boring.
* I REALLY REALLY disliked Tess’s mother, and father and her brothers.


Spoiler Alert & Why I Rated this book 4 stars even though I was tempted to stop reading:


Spoiler Alert: Stop here if you don’t want any spoilers! 

Next up, I am going to talk about a part of the book that is a spoiler. I will try not to give it all away but this is your chance to stop reading if you don’t like spoilers. I normally do not include them in reviews but for this one, I must. Why? This is something that redeemed the book and is the reason I gave it four stars. It is the main reason I am glad I stuck with the book through the parts that did not work for me.

Tess has experienced an intimate trauma and she hasn’t accepted the trauma for what it was. The book hints at it and shares it in small bites that eventually lead up the revelation of the root of her pain to the reader and to herself. I  confess I cried along with her as she dealt with her past and began moving past it.

This book had an emotional impact on me because of this. Tess dealing with her past connected the story from beginning to end. I felt like all the layers of this story came together perfectly when I finally grasped the root of what happened to Tess.

Who Should Read This Book:

Overall, this book is not for everyone but it is the perfect book for those who have deep wounds or enjoy characters who struggle with deep wounds. Readers who love fantasy worlds, dragons, and characters on a journey. If you enjoyed the prior books by Rachel Hartman you might enjoy this one as well. This is a great read for those who relate to not so perfect families and are willing to stick with Tess on this rather long journey.




Posted in Goals & Goal Setting, Motivation, Productitivity, Quarterly Goals, Writing

Tips & Tricks For Staying Focused On Your Goals In 2018

Are you ready to rock your goals in 2018? If so, it is a great idea to be prepared for those days when you get distracted, burnt out, or start to lose interest in your goals. I am going to share some tips and tricks that will help you stay focused on your goals in 2018.

Tips & TRICKS (2)

Write Down Your Why

There is power in writing down your goals, but don’t stop there. Write down all the reasons that your goals matter to you. This is no time to shy away from honestly because knowing why you want your goal is just as important as setting it.

Later in your year, or next week if you are like me, you might find yourself unsure of your goals or frustrated with your progress. That is when referring back to those written reasons for your goal will be the push you need to get you motivated and back on track.

Tips & TRICKS (3)

Post Your Goal… Everywhere

One of the reasons many people fail to achieve a goal is because they lose sight of it. We live in a world of distractions that fosters forgetfulness. Out of sight can truly mean out of mind and out of mind means you are working toward it.

That is exactly why you should post your goal in as many places as possible. Here is a short list of possibilities:

  • On the fridge
  • On your bathroom mirror
  • Dashboard in your car
  • In your planner
  • On your wall calendar
  • Screensaver or wallpaper on your phone and computer
  • On your desk
  • On the wall in a pretty frame
  • In your Art Journal
  • In your daily journal
  • On a bookmark

Tips & TRICKS (4)

Schedule Regular Goal Checkups

Just as health checkups are important for our health goal checkups are a necessary part of being a goal achiever. I like to check in on my goals daily, monthly, and quarterly.  Whatever time frame you choose here are a few tips and tricks to help you out.

  • Schedule Goal Checkups as if they are real Dr’s appointments. That means a date and time!
  • Set a reminder or alarm for your scheduled time and write it in your planner.
  • Have your goal list ready. I keep a copy on my phone, in my bullet journal, and on Trello.
  • Track and Evaluate each goal. Are you on track? Are you behind? What do you need to adjust
  • Celebrate your progress.

Tips & TRICKS (5)

Partner Up!

Don’t keep those goals a secret. It is way to easy to lose focus if you don’t share them with someone. Find a likeminded accountability partner to share your goals, progress and yes, your failures with.

The important thing is to find the right person and be clear about what you expect. Accountability can really drive you to do more than you would if you were only accountable to yourself.

Where to Find A Partner:

  • Social media
  • Facebook Groups
  • Local writers group (if you are a writer – if not skip that one.)
  • A friend or family member
  • Church

Set Limits

If you want to meet your goals you are going to have to make some hard choices. Sometimes that means setting limits on your time, your money, and other projects. The world loves to tell us that we can do it all, have it all, and then get more. Truthfully, that leaves us tired, broken and defeated.

Not only should you make your goals realistic you should set limits for other things in your life when they start to compete with the time you have set aside for your goals.

Tips & TRICKS (5)


Reward & Celebrate

Even achieving your goal can feel unsatisfying if you don’t take time to celebrate it before pushing on to the next goal. Your life becomes a neverending checklist and you are so caught up in it that you have forgotten how important it is that you achieved the goal.  It is a great idea to have a reward list handy. Include both big, medium, and small rewards so that you can celebrate every success, no matter the size. Here are few ideas to get you started.

  • A trip to the bookstore
  • A relaxing bath
  • New Music
  • An evening out
  • A trip to a local attraction
  • Indulge in chocolate or wine
  • Fresh Flowers
  • Read a book
  • Buy something pretty
  • Drink fancy coffee
  • Go swimming
  • A spa day with friends
  • Get a message
  • Go to the movies
  • Dinner out
  • A new pen or art supply
  • Pretty stationary
  • A whole day to do whatever you want.

There you have it! Some fantastic tips and tricks for staying goal focused. What are your favorite ways to stay focused? What do you struggle with the most?


Posted in Goals & Goal Setting, Life, Motivation, Productitivity, Theme Words

How A Theme Word Can Help You Crush Your Goals In 2018! *Bonus* List of Theme Words

Have you heard about choosing a theme word for your year? Wondering what the heck a theme word is if you need one and why? This is the post for you. So, let’s get right to it and dig into this mysterious idea of a theme word.

What is a theme word?

It is a word that you choose with the intention of focusing on what that word means to you in the upcoming year. I have also heard them referred to as focus, guiding or soul words.


two (3)
Bonus: List of possible theme words to get you started. Keep reading for the full list. 


Do I need one & why?

Obviously, Theme words are optional. Not everyone is into them and that is okay.  However, there are benefits to choosing a theme word. Having a theme for anything helps you to narrow in and focus on what needs to be done.

A theme word can be beneficial to your goal setting process.  It can also help you to make choices throughout the year. For example, if your theme word is balance, you probably chose it because things are out of balance for you and you want to make balance a part of your life.  As you set your goal for the year you can hone in on what balance looks like to you and make your goals and choices revolve around creating balance in all areas of your life. If you receive a job offer, opportunity or idea later in the year you can evaluate it based on your theme word and make the best choice for you and your goal of balance.

One thing to keep in mind about these words is that they can change before the year is up and you can choose a theme word at any time. Check out my personal story of how my theme word changed for 2018 in my  Video About Theme Words


THEME Wordfor2018
Don’t forget to watch the video! It has more reasons you need a theme word plus my personal story of how my theme word changed fo in 2018. 


It is okay to readjust as the year goes along and pick a new word if the old one is no longer relevant to you.

Because when it comes right down to it, a theme word is all about you, what you want for your life and what is important to you. Just taking time to figure that out and selecting a focus word can give you so much clarity.

If a theme word sounds like something you are interested in you can dive into the list of possible words below and see if any of them fit you in 2018. If you have already chosen your theme word, tell me about it!


two (2)
Do you need focus? Clarity? A theme word can help with that! 


How do I choose a theme word?

Don’t make it too complicated.  Start by thinking about what is important to you right now. What do you want more of or less of in the coming year? Sit down and spend some time praying or reflecting on the things that matter to you, your goals, and what you want from your life.

Grab a sheet of paper and jot down all of the things that are important to you this year. List what you want to happen this year. Write out how you want to feel.  What does your ideal day look like?.

After you have dumped all of your thoughts on paper it is time to look for a common theme in the words you wrote.  Putting it down on paper is a great way to see the possible connections between the things that you want.

two (1)


List Of Possible Theme Words For 2018

Here is a list of theme words to get you started!

  • Abundance, Align, Art, Able
  • Balance, Better, Beauty, Believe
  • Clarity, Courage, Consistent, Confidence, Celebrate, Connect, Change
  • Determination, Daring, Discipline, Dreams
  • Evolve, Enlightened, Enough, Expression, Expand, Embrace
  • Free, Focus, Flourish, Faith, Fearless,
  • Grace, Grow, Guiltfree,
  • Holy, Happy, Healthy
  • Influence, Ignite, Intentional,
  • Joy, Jovial
  • Kindness, Knowledge
  • Love, Learning, Logic, Loyal, Listen, Logic, Leadership
  • Money, Magic, Move, Merry, Make it Happen
  • Openness, Opportunity, Optimism,
  • Peace, Patience, Progress, Purpose,
  • Rejoice, Reclaim, Reveal, Revolution,
  • Spirit-led, Soul, Seek, Solitude, Strength, Solutions,
  • Trust, Truth, Try
  • Unique
  • Voice, valor, virtue
  • Winning, Worry Free, Wisdom
  • Zeal

I would love to know what your theme word is! Comment here or follow me on social media and let me know your theme word for 2018.


Fun tip! Keep your theme word front and center. Check out my society6 store for fun products like the embrace the mess mug. Just search for author april on the society6 website. 


Posted in Goals & Goal Setting, Life, Motivation, Productitivity, Quarterly Goals, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing

How to Make New Years Resolutions that you can stick to in 2018

Let’s be honest. We are in the 2nd week of 2018. How many of us have already failed or forgotten about our New Years Resolutions? How many of us are still trying to figure those out?
I know that I have fallen into both roles many times in the past. This year, I am still in the process of planning my resolutions because I want resolutions I can stick to. I want resolutions that are more than something I think about in January.  I am going to walk you through a process of making resolutions you can stick to.
Add heading (49)
Words are important.
So, let’s start by defining what a resolution is and what it is not.  A resolution is defined as a firm decision to do or not do something. Doesn’t that make the whole New Years Resolution thing sound easy? All you need to do is make a firm decision to do or not to do something.  The bad news is that a resolution without a plan will probably fail.  Only 8% of people achieve their resolutions and 80% fail by February.
Add heading (45)
I witnessed this happen year after year when I worked at a fitness center.  In January the gym was flooded with new members. By March the gym was back to normal, with only a few of the new faces sticking around. Don’t give up yet you can be the new face that sticks around. You can be in that 8%.  Put my Four P’s of Resolutions to work for you.
P= Plan
Resolution to Goal  
The first step to making a realistically achievable resolution is to take your resolution from that firm decision to a goal.  A decision no matter how firm, means nothing if you don’t do something about it.  A goal has a deadline. A goal is a decision with an end date. The top New Year’s resolution that people make is to lose weight. So, let’s practice with that example.
Resolution: I am going to lose weight.
Goal: I am going to lose weight by December 31 of this year.
Add heading (46)

P= Plan

Goal to Great Goal:

A great goal is big, achievable, specific and written down.  Simply by writing your goal down, you have a greater chance of achieving it. Making it specific will make it achievable. Once you know
Goal: I am going to lose weight by December 31 of this year.
Great Goal: I am going to lose 50 lbs, and keep it off by December 31st of this year.
Add heading (47)
Great Goal to Realistic Plan of Action
If you have gotten this far with your resolution you are ahead of the pack. If you want to increase your chances of achieving your goals you need to take things one step further and create an Action Plan.  One way to do this is to brainstorm all of the ways you can achieve the goal. Once you have all your options on paper you can begin selecting the best options for you and build a plan.
Action Plan for losing 50 lbs by Dec 31
(This is just an example of what I might include if this was my goal, not a suggestion that this is how you can lose weight)
* Track food intake daily
*Break down how many lbs you need to lose each month to achieve your goal
* Get a personal trainer or create a workout and nutrition plan
* Work out X number of days per week
*Replace 1 meal with a healthier option each week
*Find a support group, a workout buddy or accountability partner and set up daily, weekly, & Monthly check in’s.
* Pray Daily for Strength
* Make a list of nonfood rewards
* Add deadlines to all possible action steps and put them on your calendar.
Add heading (48)

P= Partner Up

Action Plan to Partner Up

Once you have an action plan there is another important step that many are apt to skip. Find an accountability partner to share your goals with. This works because it is harder to give up when you know someone knows what you are doing and will be checking in with you. You can also join communities and groups of like-minded people online or in person.

Knowing you are not alone in your quest will equip you to succeed and a community can provide a wealth of encouragement and knowledge.  Which brings me to my own personal method of making my resolutions.

Add heading (49).png


P = Pray

Can you skip this step? When I make my own resolutions and goals I may fail or succeed.  When I am relying only on my wisdom, wants, and strengths it is always harder and more overwhelming to reach my goals. That is where prayer can be a game changer.

Going to God and asking for his wisdom and guidance before making a firm decision to do something or not to do something always gives me peace, clarity, and a focus that I can’t get on my own.

I encourage you to take this step. If you have already set goals for the year it isn’t too late. It is never too late to go to God and ask for his guidance. It might just stop you from wasting valuable time on something you were never supposed to tackle. It might just give you the clarity that you are on the right track. It might reveal another goal altogether. When I invite God along, follow his leading, and rely on him I am set free from relying on myself.

My Story

This happened to me this year. I decided to choose a focus word, theme word, or soul word to base 2018 around. I love words and It sounded like a neat way to keep focus. I dug through a list of suggested words and picked one that I liked.

Then in a later prayer, God gave me a different word. With the word came a promise, clarity and focus that I did not have the word I picked on my own. I will be sharing my F Soul Word for 2018 and why you might need one too in an upcoming post.

Add heading (50)

P= Put Your Goals In Front of You

The last P is to put those goals somewhere you will see them every single day. You want as many visual reminders of your goals and dreams as you can make. It is easy to loose focus if your goals are shoved in a notebook in the back of your desk. Here are a few ways you can keep your goals front and center. Tell me how you do this! I would love to know.

  • Create a vision board
  • Create a graphic with words and use it as your screen saver on your phone and computers
  • Pick an object that relates to your goal and keeps it around you. If your goal is to lose weight you might pick out a goal outfit and keep photos of it on your desk, phone, or even in your car.
  • Write your goal on every page of your wall calendar
  • Post it’s on your bathroom mirror, tv, or radio in your car.
  • Write it down every single day.



Posted in Creativity, Goals & Goal Setting, Life, Motivation, Quarterly Goals, Uncategorized, Writing

New Blog & Vlog Series for January: New Years Resolutions & Goals.

Like it or not, 2018 has arrived and is in full swing. Are you already feeling left behind or overwhelmed? You are going to love my topic for my January Blog and Vlog. We are going to be focusing on Goals, Goalsetting, Planning, and making those New Years Resolutions happen for you.

Untitled design (19)

This series is designed to get you moving in the right direction. We will start with resolutions, build them into goals with actual dates on your calendar, break them into bite-sized chunks, and explore different ways to keep them front and center in your life. I will be sharing my secret for making my goal setting less stressful.

As a bonus, I will be sharing my Theme Word for 2018 with you and explaining why theme words can keep your goals and resolutions on track.

File Jun 02, 9 50 20 PM

Follow me on social media and YouTube as I share encouragement and tips to keep you on track this month. It is a great way to connect with me. Let me know your dreams, stumbling blocks and prayer requests so that I really join you on your journey as you follow mine.