If you are visiting…

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Visiting my blog for the first time? Great! I’m happy you are here! But, I’m not here much anymore. Visit me at my new site, www.ccriley.com!


Book Review: Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase

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The world that we know and are familiar with no longer exists. The street lights come on well before night fall and continue shining until the day breaks again. Adults stay afraid and the children of the world become the only hope for survival. You see, something has happened in the world, and the dead don’t stay dead for long, at least the bodies stay dead. The spirits, however, can’t seem to stay away.

DownloadedFile-1 The Problem began and now children everywhere are the front line, the ones fighting ghosts, specters, and scary things in general. Even though the kids are doing all the intensive, frightening, labor intensive type things that involve the dispelling of the more sinister apparitions, the adults still try to control them. That’s where Lockwood and Co comes in, the only adult free psychic investigations unit in London.

Lucy Carlyle shows up on the Lockwood and Co. doorstep for her seventh interview in seven days. Her last job, thanks to the adult who chose not to listen and to Lucy’s own mistake of not listening to her own instincts, did not end well, so she’s in London trying to start fresh. Anthony Lockwood, young and determined to prove himself in this adult driven worlds, hires Lucy on the spot because of her special talents.


Lucy, who can truly hear, Lockwood, who can truly see, and George, a disgusting slob with the inclinations of a scientist, are the three individuals who might just be able to make a name for themselves. Through a series of mis-adventures, Lockwood, George, and Lucy end up on a daring mission in one of the most severely haunted homes in all of England.  Where others have failed, how will three kids be successful against such foes?

This book was a bit of a slow starter for me, mainly because of a few time jumps that I wasn’t quite ready for. In the end, I’m glad I stuck it out. George was smart and sloppy, Lucy clever, and Lockwood was a character, let’s just leave it at that. The story was so original that I loved the storyline almost as much as I loved the characters. There was a lot of time spent on background knowledge, which worked out nicely because there will definitely be a sequel. Too many loose ends were left and I have a feeling that Lucy has a few talents up her sleeve that even she doesn’t understand.

So, go check this book out. I loved it!

The House at the End of Hope Street: A Review

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I love books that have a little bit of that magical flair. More than a little bit and I feel as if I’ve hit the reading jack pot. The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag is full of magic, from a house that seems to pop up just as you need it, ghosts and portraits that give, sometimes unwanted, advice, and a 99 day chance for a young woman to get her life back on track, this novel keeps the reader enchanted. 

When Alba, an extraordinary genius with unbelievable sight, experiences the worst event of her life (she’s not exaggerating either), she wanders the streets with no idea what should happen next. That’s when the house pops up out of nowhere, big and Victorian with vines of wisteria and the smells of calm hovering in the air, and reaches to her like a mother reaches for a hurting child. As you read on, you learn that the house has been rescuing women, especially soon to be famous women like Agatha Christie and Virginia Woolf, for 200 years. 

Alba’s story quickly becomes entwined with the three other women in the house, one hiding from her past, one scared of her future, and the wonderful woman, Peggy, who keeps the house and helps the young women who cross the threshold. One of my favorite parts of this book was the way that the characters stories became so connected. Originally, I was concerned that this was going to be a story of stories, instead of a fluid whole, but Van Praag didn’t disappoint. 

Even though the pages are full of heartbreaking life events, you learn, along with the women experiencing them, that one “must be allowed to feel her grief, must dive headlong into despair, before she can emerge again, her spirit richer and deeper than before” (46). While trying to find herself in all of the madness of her life, Alba is also on the search, rather reluctantly sometimes, for her father, who makes the story even more rich. 

Although I loved the book, the characters, the story, the mysteries that unravel one tiny strand at a time, I didn’t love the number of perspectives that the story was told from. Almost every character gets his or her say, which made me feel like my favorites didn’t get enough time with the spotlight. I also had a hard time, whether because of the different circumstances or perspective, relating with Greer, one of the women living in the house. 

I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I think it was exactly the book that I needed to read! Follow the link and get your own copy! You won’t be disappointed. 



A New Year

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A new year is once again here. When I was young, it seemed like time would not move fast enough. I spent my summers wishing for school and my school years wishing for summer. IN the past couple of years, even when school has been horrible or the heat has been unbearable, I’ve tried to focus on living in the now. As a planner, that is no easy task.

2013 was amazing. IMy friends and family are good and healthy, my marriage is thriving, my home is beautiful, my puppies are happy, and I’ve been writing almost everyday. I wrote another novel in 2013, read a lot of books, and enjoyed my life.

For the last two years, my resolutions have been writing centered, and this year will be no different. Well, maybe a little different. This year, for the next 364 days, I want to succeed at writing everyday. I’m going to go through the novel One Year to a Writing Life by Tiberghien. I want to push myself in more directions than just fiction. I want to try my hand at some fiction that is short, write some creative nonfiction, and journal without feeling like I’m not writing “what I should be writing.”

So, my writing and reading resolutions for the new year.

1. Read 52 books.

  • 52 books means reading one book a week. In summer I can do more, but during school I feel this is an admirable goal.

2. Review the books here!

  • This serves a dual purpose. I want to blog more, therefor if I am reviewing the 52 books that I read, that will be at minimum one post a week. That’s a win.

3. Write everyday- for fun!

  • I write a lot, but I sometimes forget that I love to write. I make this crazy difficult deadlines for myself and forget to enjoy the process. Whether fun means a journal entry, a blog post, or words on my WIP, I want my writing to be fun.

So, there you have it. If you are interested in following what I’m reading, add me as a friend on GoodReads! Happy New Year people!

Day 21-26: Catch UP

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I know, I know. I’m behind. Luckily for you all, I’m very good at catching up. This will be a whirlwind of information that will leave you feeling like you’ve only seen snapshots of my life instead of reading my autobiography. It is what it is.

Day 21: Write about your most embarrassing moments.

In the same way that it is difficult to make me angry, it is also difficult to embarrass me. I think I am most embarrassed when I think that I am right, only to be proven wrong. When I was young, I was always right. Now that I’m a little bit older, I rarely ever take a side on anything because I realize that right and wrong aren’t always exclusive.

Day 22: What is your style?

If you had asked me this question in high school, I would have had to answer punk/goth. It’s kind of funny that I thought I was so “hardcore” when now I’m just normal. I really love the hipster look, so I would probably associate myself with that.

Day 23: Write about one of your guilty pleasures.

Chips and Salsa. Hands down. I could almost eat chips and salsa for breakfast. You all know that I am fairly healthy. I eat clean most of the time (excluding holidays, I am from the South remember). I love salty chips paired with super hot salsa. It is what it is. Another guilty pleasure is the movie Legally Blonde, but we’ve already talked about that.

Day 24: Write about your day.

Christmas Eve was a whirlwind of packing to go to Orlando. For Christmas this year my mother and father-in-law  purchased the entire family a trip to Universal Studios in Florida. That’s right, I got to go to Harry Potter Land.
PicCollageI almost cried when I walked into HP Land. It was like coming home. I know you think I’m being dramatic, but I cannot explain to you how much Harry Potter meant to me growing up and how much it means to me now as an adult. We had butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks and rode a couple of dragons. I decided that Slytherin should be my house, even though I don’t like my house’s bad name. I got a Slytherin mug and Nathan got a Ravenclaw mug, we both got scarves for our house, and we got a Hogwart’s crest blanket. It was amazing and I loved every minute of it.

Day 25: If you could meet one fictional character, whom would it be?

This is the post that will be most difficult for me, mainly because I have no idea how to choose just one. If I said Dumbledore, I would want to say McGonagall; if I said Harry, I would need to include Ron, Hermione, and Ginny. So I’m going to exclude Harry Potter from my list of characters. Doing that makes it a smaller list, but still huge. Would I meet Tom Sawyer and ask him about growing up? Or Kendra and Seth in the Fablehaven Series? There are all the characters in The Great Tree of Avalon series that I fell in love with growing up, as well as Ben and Sorrel and Firedrake in Dragon Rider by Funke. Most recently, there is Alba in The House at the End of Hope Street, so much like me and so different all at once. I just can’t decide. I have read too many books and had too many characters help me find my way to choose just one.

Day 26:Explain why you chose your username.

When I become a published author, I will still teach. I am Mrs. Bazyk at school and as an author I will be C.C. Riley.

This is where I will stop for today. Tomorrow I will catch up the rest of the way. Again, I’m sorry for all the posts all at once, but a family emergency caused me to need to leave town unexpectedly. I will happily tell you all that all is well. Happy Christmas, and any other holiday that you may find yourself celebrating.

Day 20: What are your hobbies and why do you like them?

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For people who work only 40 hours per week (and who still gets to do that anyway?), that person will work 30% of his life. Another 30% is spent sleeping. What we do with that other 40% is completely up to us. 

For December Challenge day 20, you get to hear all about mine and Madi’s hobbies, and if you are my student reading this, prepare to see how boring I actually am. 

So my number one hobby is writing. I would like this hobby to eventually become a source of income for myself. Eve if it doesn’t, it wouldn’t matter. One day my children will inherit all of my journals and they can read all about me and whom I was and whom I wanted to be. 

I also count exercise as a hobby, mainly because I really enjoy it. I’m happy that I have met my weight loss goals and how I exercise (running and yoga are my favorites) because it makes me happy. It really isn’t something that I struggle with anymore. 

Remodeling and redecorating the house ranks in the top five because that is something that Nathan and I can do together. We get to spend time together and make our home more beautiful. Right now we’re in the middle of planning a kitchen remodel. 

Reading is another “hobby” but like writing I could never give it up. Ever. I love the feeling of being transported to another place and time, of meeting new people and being inspired. Experience equals wisdom, but reading helps you get ahead of the game. 

So, a few hobbies from me should equal a few hobbies from you! What are your hobbies? 

Day 18: Who is your idol?

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Here we go on Day 18 of December. The challenges are getting a little harder to write because, and I bet Madi can attest to this, I’m getting tired of writing to a prompt. There is a free day coming up soon thankfully! How is your writing going? Are you following along? Let us know in the comments! We would love to check it out. 


Here I go looking up words in the dictionary again. An idol is “a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered.” With this topic, I could write about so many different people in my life. My family, both those that are stuck with me and those that have willingly adopted me, are inspiring on so many different levels. Because there are so many, and because that post would be several miles long and full of very sappy, but very sincere, thank yous, I have decided to write about my writing idol. 

I bet you can even guess who that is.

Are you read? Do you have your idea?

If you guessed J.K. Rowling, you guessed correctly. There are so many reasons why I admire this woman, and many of them go well beyond her writing career. But, let’s start with her writing career. She hasn’t stopped. She could have made her millions and given up the writing game, because guess what? It’s HARD! She wrote HP and kept writing, but she writes bravely. She’s not scared to try new projects; The Casual Vacancy 
was fiction, and The Cuckoo’s Callingwhich was amazing, was a brilliantly written mystery. 

She is strong and independent and she wasn’t afraid to keep chasing her dreams. Rejection letters never stopped her, and I am so thankful, as are millions of others. 

She’s also selfless and generous. She helped start Lumos , a charity for disadvantaged children in Europe. When the truth that she has written The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, she gave her winnings to charity. 

As you can see, I want to be just like J.K. when I grow up because she is not only a successful writer, but she is also a caring human being and a fighter for those who cannot fight for themselves. 

Who is your idol?