Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Courage Test

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, October 24, 2016

All About Middle Grade Review: The Courage Test

The Courage Test by James Preller, September 13, 2016. 224 pages. Published by Feiwel & Friends. Source: ARC from publisher*.
Will has no choice. His father drags him along on a wilderness adventure in the footsteps of legendary explorers Lewis and Clark--whether he likes it or not. All the while, Will senses that something about this trip isn't quite right.

Along the journey, Will meets fascinating strangers and experiences new thrills, including mountain cliffs, whitewater rapids, and a heart-hammering bear encounter.

It is a journey into the soul of America's past, and the meaning of family in the future. In the end, Will must face his own, life-changing test of courage.

A father-and-son journey along the Lewis and Clark Trail--from Fort Mandan to the shining sea--offers readers a genre-bending blend of American history, thrilling action, and personal discovery.
First Sentence
My mother pushed me out the door, and I don't know why.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Storming the Castle: Conclusion and Celebration

First off, I would like to thank Kendra (of Reading Over Time), Melissa (of Live, Love, Read), Emily (of Emily Reads Everything), Sondra (of Sorcery in the Bookshelves), and Stephanie (of Reading is Better with Cupcakes) for allowing me to share pieces of the mystery story on all of their wonderful blogs! Thank you so much for joining and making my blogoversary a most interesting event!!

Today is a momentous occasion for The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia as today marks the eighth year since I launched my blog! OH MY GOSH!

To be quite honest, I cannot believe that it has been eight years since I first started my blog. As I usually manage to miss celebrating it, I wanted to do something different hence Storming the Castle: A Mystery Story!

You can see the entire story!! Once you read it all, come back here and tell me who you think they're searching for!! I'm dying to know if anyone can solve the mystery!!

Also, you can get to know each of these awesome ladies better through Storming the Castle's 5for5 lineup of posts!

I could not have done this without the help of the above lovely ladies and their kindness!! Also their patience for the story pieces coming in so close to deadline! THANK YOU!!

All story pieces were fueled by mint tea, mint hot chocolate, and a dose of lack of sleep! It was fun and helped me to shatter my hesitancy of sharing my creative writing projects! I hope y'all enjoyed reading each part as much as I enjoyed writing them!

Frankly, after using all the words for the mystery story, I can think of nothing else to write right now. Except for the following.....

Thank you for reading the Haunting of Orchid Forsythia and "HI" to all the long-time and new followers! I hope y'all will enjoy the blog and, hopefully, you'll find some excellent books to try out! Both new and old books!

I'm shy, but I don't bite, so feel free to say hi or ask a question. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Storming the Castle: 5for5 with Stephanie of Reading is Better with Cupcakes

A mystery is unfolding over the course of the next six days. Do you have the nerve to to accept the challenge of solving the mystery. Who is the girl behind the blog? Follow all the stops to learn more and to see where the story will go!!

Hi there! i am excited to welcome Stephanie of Reading is Better with Cupcakes to the blog for 5for5!! Also, Part V, also known as the end, of Storming the Castle: A Mystery Story is now up and ready to be read. 


  • Stephanie, how long have you been blogging? What inspired you to start your blog and what keeps you motivated to continue blogging? 

I have been blogging a little bit over a year now. I started blogging because when I became a SAHM to my now 20 month old daughter, I realized that I was reading a lot and that I should do something with it! So I made a book blog where I could post my reviews and share them with more people. My motivation to keep blogging is that I love books. I love spreading them around and encouraging people to read. There is just something about it that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
  • I know that you are quite crafty, can you tell us about the crafts that you do? Any that you would like to learn? What is one craft project that you’re most proud of finishing?
Oh geez. You should see my garage! It is filled with crafting materials for so many different types of crafts. It kind of drives my husband crazy! My current favorites are coloring and papercrafting, but I have the materials to do a whole lot more than that. I am slowly teaching myself how to crochet and I really want to learn and become really good at lettering!
  • On a more serious note. If you could have a do-over and read a favorite book for the first time, which book (or series) would you like to start over with? What is it about that book that makes you wish you could read it for the first time all over again?
Let me be cliche and say Harry Potter. Actually though, I just reread it for the first time last year....and it had probably been over 10 years since I had originally read it! So it was ALMOST like reading it for the first time again. At least that is what I am telling myself. Now I just need to reread the rest of the series.
  • If you could have tea with any author living or dead, who would it be?  What would be the first question you would ask him? What is the first question you would ask them?

         I think for this one I have to say that I would really like to meet Maria V. Snyder.  I have enjoyed the books that I have read of hers immensely (and I have read most of them).  I don't know if there is anything specific I would ask her.  I would just like to get to know her as a person in general.
  • You are stranded on a desert island and can only take one thing with you, what will it be?
I am going to go with inspiration from a book that I just borrowed from a local little free library and say that I would want to take a Hatchet with me.  So versatile.

You know what, I did the same thing with Winter of Fire a few years ago.It had been years since I last read it that it was like the first time. Ooh, papercrafting, that is one crafting skill I would like to learn. I tried teaching myself how to crochet and was never able to make it past the most basic stitches. You'll have to let me know how it all goes!!


  • What is your favorite cupcake?  What book do you think it would pair up the best with?
My favorite cupcake would have to be chocolate with chocolate frosting! Did I mention I love chocolate! Strangely enough, I think it would pair well with Harry Potter. Why, because even though the series gets quite dark, rereading it is always like a special reward; kind of like chocolate, chocolate cupcakes!!

  • When you aren't reading, what do you like to do with your free time?
When not reading, I enjoy sewing and embroidery; as well as soccer and running. I'm still learning new techniques for sewing (finally mastered zippers) and how to tidily do my stitches for embroidery. 

  • What is your favorite blogging memory so far?
Can I have two...they tie in together!! Well, my favorite blogger memory would have to be Storming the Castle and working with everyone. That and the realization that I have stuck with blogging as long as I have. I never once thought that eight years later I would still be blogging and enjoying it, if possible, more than before!

  • What do you do with your book swag?
I give a lot of the bookmarks to my local library. The rest of it, what I don't plan on keeping is sent out as bonus surprises for the rare giveaway that I host. 

  • What is your favorite mythical creature?  Is there a reason for it being your favorite?
Griffins! It goes back to a duology by Diana Wynne Jones that I absolutely love! Seriously though, if you have not read The Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin, I cannot recommend them enough. They are a wonderful blending of fantasy and what would happen if our world collided with that of a fantasy type world. 

The Derkholm duology was my first introduction to Diana Wynne Jones' books, so, they hold a special place in my bookish heart! 

Stephanie, thank you so much for stopping! Be sure to check out Stephanie's blog Reading is Better with Cupcakes!!

Don't forget, you can find Part V of Storming the Castle: A Mystery Story over on her blog!

Need to catch up on the what you missed, or maybe you just want a reread,  you can find all five parts by following the links! You should also check out everyone's awesome blogs while you're there!!
Part I 
Part II
Part III 
Part IV 
Part V

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Storming the Castle: 5for5 with Emily of Emily Reads Everything

A mystery is unfolding over the course of the next six days. Do you have the nerve to to accept the challenge of solving the mystery. Who is the girl behind the blog? Follow all the stops to learn more and to see where the story will go!!

As we embark upon the third day of Storming the Castle: A Mystery Story, I am excited to welcome Emily of Emily Reads Everything to my blog.


  •         Emily, how long have you been blogging? What inspired you to start your blog and what keeps you motivated to continue blogging?

I’ve been blogging for 18 months. I started because I love books and I wanted to recommend books to people. However, the people I’ve met on twitter and in the blogging world really keep me going.
  •      When not reading or blogging, I enjoy_____? One thing I’ve always wanted to learn/do is____?

When not reading? What’s that? Seriously though, I volunteer for a nonprofit for 10-15 hours a month. I’ve also always wanted to learn Spanish.
  •      On a more serious note. If you could have a do-over and read a favorite book for the first time, which book (or series) would you like to start over with? What is it about that book that makes you wish you could read it for the first time all over again?

I think that every book series I’ve loved, I read either at the right time or at the right pace. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. If I were to start again and be able to read a favorite series again for the first time, I’d be afraid that I wouldn’t love it the way I do right now.
  •       The robot uprising has begun, which fictional character is capable of saving humanity from being enslaved?

Robots are more sci fi than fantasy, so I would need a sci fi hero. I choose Captain Jean Luc Picard. I think he would have a lot of resources. Maybe even an in since he was half robot when assimilated by the Borg.   Also, I’m a nerd.
  •        You are stranded on a desert island and can only take one thing with you, what will it be?

A boat, so I can sail away.

Spanish is one of many languages that I hope to learn (when I get a little extra time). That is a very good point, though sometimes, I just wish for the chance to fall in the love with a book or series again. Who am I kidding, that happens each time I revisit my favorites. Thanks so much for joining in, Emily!

Now, now it is my turn to answer Emily's questions!! I cannot wait!


  • I always want the best for people and I think its important to have a plan. What is your goal for your blog? 
My goal, well, I'm still trying to figure out my overall goal plan for my blog. Ideally, when my schedule opens up next year, I hope to expand my middle grade features and to increase the traffic that comes to my blog. Right now, I just don't have the time to dedicate as much time and energy to growing my blog and doing all I want to do.

In short, I want to maintain featuring both new and old titles that catch my attention. As there are so many books and authors out there that don't get nearly enough attention. Really, the overall plan is one that is, and has been, slowly evolving as I figure out what I want to see in my blog.
  • Do you like to cook? What is your favorite recipe to make?
I'm not really a fan of cooking! I blame the fact that every time I think about cooking all I see are all the dishes that I would inevitably be stuck cleaning. *side eyes sisters and their terrible ability to dirty every single dish whilst cooking*

While I don't really like to cook, I don't mind baking the occasional quick bread. My two favorites to bake are banana bread and this new pumpkin bread recipe the I recently found. 
  • Do you have any pets? Are you a cat or a dog person?
I have three Australian Shepherds! Sometimes they can be a little "spicy" when they're bored, but they are the sweetest dogs. Also crazy smart!

Both! I love both dogs and cats; although I'm allergic to cats and thus cannot have one. Which is sad because cats are interesting little creatures. 
  • What was your last 5 star read?
Oh, that's difficult as I have not had a five star fiction read, that was not a reread, in probably a year. 

It took some digging, but my last five star fiction read was See How They Run by Ally Carter. I just love her books and could not put this one down!! Yet, if we go with non-fiction, my last was Echo of God:  A Commentary For Beginners On St. Louis Marie Grignion De Montfort's True Devotion To Mary by Fr. Lance W. Harlow. This book was incredible!!
  • What is book did you have a completely different opinion about than most everyone else and why?
Probably Romeo and Juliet. I know that most people love that book and consider it romantic. I really rather loathe it. And hat is putting it mildly.

I just really do not a) like the play nor what it is about and b) do not like how so many interpret it as romantic when it is in fact a tragedy.

Be sure to check out Emily's blog, Emily Reads Everything  for Part III of Storming the Castle: A Mystery Story.

You can catch up with Part I & Part II if you missed them, as well, as the first two 5for5 posts with Kendra and  Melissa.

Are you a middle grade author, want your book to be spotlighted this year during the challenge on my blog? Than this post is just for you. All about Middle Grade Challenge

Sign up for the 2014 All about Middle Grade Reading Challenge.


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