Thursday, December 30, 2010

My 2011 Blog Goals


Yes, I call them goals.

There is something about the word resolution that drives me nuts. Maybe it's just too much for me to handle? not sure, but I do know that the word goals makes me feel comfy cozy and confident!


1. Read on my own time.
I see people with the goal to "read more". Well you know what? I'd love to say that. However how will I know if I have time to read more? Why beat myself up for not having time. Instead I WILL say that I want to read whenever the need strikes me and I have free time. No feeling bad for being "lazy". Reading I shall do!

2. Post, or not.
It seems that I always chastise myself when I don't post, even though it rarely ever happens. I'll be out having a fabulous time and suddenly realize *gasp* I didn't post! Then I feel guilty. Why? I don't get paid. This is just something I love. You know how many days I've missed in the last 8 months? 10. Yes 10. From now on I shall post, or not.

3. Comment MORE.
Yes, I love to leave comments! However my feed reader fills up and I get lazy skimming over the posts. From now on I am going to stick to only reading a few blogs every day and try to leave more posts. Which brings me to:
       3a. Clean out my feed reader.
       Self explanatory really. It's been packed forever. Time for cleaning!

4. Promote my blog design.
It makes me happy to design blogs that people fall in love with! I want to do much more of that this year.

5. Put myself out there more often.
For help, to make new friends, to give advice. Whatever people may need or want I am making it a mission for myself to be out there and available! If there is a better feeling than helping someone else out, I really don't know what it is.


So there you have it!

Yes, I put a lot of thought into these. I tend to stick to general things because the sense of accomplishment is so much motivation for me. Everything else will fall into place when these things are worked on :).

What are your goals?


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Trying to think of something to post.

Do you ever have one of those days where you're just sitting there, staring at the screen, wondering what on Earth could possibly be interesting enough to post on your blog that day?

Yeah I'm having one of those days.

As the year winds down, and I finally find my time management niche, sometimes I just feel....a bit lost. I've known for a long time that I thrive on stress. It's true! The more things I have to do and keep myself busy, the more I feel productive. How about all of you out there?

I have promised myself one thing. I'm using this time to go and comment on other blogs. I'm awful about that and I know it. Hopefully some of you out there will agree and go on a comment love fest too! Isn't it nice to see that someone read your post?

Off with me! Rambling ended, real post tomorrow.

Love ya,

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: The Cellar



Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep—he may be an actual monster.

But her sister, Heather, doesn’t share Meredith’s repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understands her. In fact, she may be falling in love with him. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to Heather, it feels like fate. To Meredith, it feels like a bad omen. But if she tries to tear the couple apart, she could end up in the last place she’d ever want to be: the cellar. Can Meredith convince her sister that she’s dating the living dead before it’s too late for both of them?

-- From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
This cover threw me off a little bit, only because the cellar steps in the picture look like something out of a castle. Still, it does match the mood of the story!

First Thoughts:
Poor Heather and Meredith. Clearly this is going to be a tough story for them.

***

My Review:
To write a really fantastic horror driven book I really believe that you have to love the genre. So of course when I heard that A.J. Whitten was a horror movie buff I was excited to read this book! Who better to regale me with truly terrifying thoughts and gory scenes than someone who loves the genre as much as I do? I'll admit that I was a little skeptical about the addition of the Romeo and Juliet theme. How on earth could they tie that in to a book like this? That just made me all the more eager to dive right in.

From the very beginning The Cellar draws you right in. Setting up the family relationship, pitting the sisters against one another, and then bringing in the mysterious Adrien. Let me tell you, from the moment Adrien showed up in the book I knew he was bad news. A.J. Whitten manages to build this aura around him that, without even knowing quite why, you are wary of him. I love that in a good horror book! Adrien's character drew me further in and I knew that I was in for a ride.

Now, here's where I have to interject a little bit about what prevented this book from in my absolute favorites. I was so smitten with everything that was going on, until the history behind Adrien came into focus. I'll try to explain this without giving anything away, but it might be a bit vague. I liked that Adrien had an emotional side to him that made him more human. However, I think that the middle section of the story was kind of slow because of it. I understand that A.J. Whitten was trying to build that human aspect so that Heather's romance made sense, I really do. However I was hoping for more of the horror driven scenes I was craving. I wasn't aware, I think, of how much romance was truly present in this book.

That being said, I'm still going to stick to my guns and say that this book really impressed me! Anyone that can tie together romance and horror has a spot in my heart. Throw in some references to Romeo and Juliet, and I'm sure that this book is going to be a big hit when it finally hits shelves. For those of you who are expecting a more gory and disturbing book (think The Monstromologist), you'll probably enjoy this book like I did but want to go elsewhere for your horror fix.



Book Details
Title: The Cellar
Author: A.J. Whitten
Publisher: Graphia
Pages: Paperback; 276
Source: NetGalley
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Final Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Movie Review: Tron: Legacy


Every once in a while I find a movie that I want to chat about with others, but unfortunately there's no one around. SO you, my dear reader friends, get to hear my commentary? Aren't you the lucky ones?

***



Oh my gosh.

Let me start off by saying that the original TRON was one of my dad's favorite movies when we were younger. I remember sitting in front of the television when I was about 7, staring in awe at the light cycle battles on the screen! Honestly, for the 80's there was some amazing visuals in that movie.  So of course when I say that TRON: Legacy was out, I was determined to go and see it. I had heard that they made a CG Jeff Bridges to tie the movies together, and I was SO intrigued.

Those of you who have seen and fallen in love with the original movie will find a lot to love in this film! The directors and writers stayed very true to the storyline, and ramped up the visuals without loosing any of the original charm. New light cycle battles? Amazing! I was pleasantly surprised at how well the storyline tied in. I think the writers definitely did the original TRON justice. Can I please also say, Jeff Bridges has aged rather well. Gruff and handsome. *ahem* Add in a fantastic original soundtrack by Daft Punk and you have one stunning musical and visual movie! I was enamored.

Now if you haven't seen the original TRON (shame on you), you might be a little confused. I suggest that before you see this movie you either watch the first one, or at least give a quick read through of the plot on Wikipedia. Overall I was really impressed and would recommend this movie. You die hard fans out there, go go go! You'll love it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Blog Tour - Book Review: Bright Young Things



The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star…

--See more at Goodreads


Cover Inspection:
Once you read the book, this cover just speaks to you. I love it!

First Thoughts:
What an interesting way to open a book. Cordelia intrigues me.

***

My Review:
I've been sitting here for about 30 minutes with this window open, trying to figure out how exactly to go about reviewing this book. Bright Young Things is one of those stories that took me a while to be invested in, but once I was it was with fervor! I'm just stumbling a bit on how to describe precisely what about it didn't sit right with me. This will likely be a rambling review, so if you are afraid, don't read on. If you are brave, well away we go!

First of all, I loved the character development that Anna Godbersen put into place in Bright Young Things. Each and every character that is brought into the story is fleshed out beautifully, and as a reader you really get to see deeply into their lives. My favorite character was definitely Astrid. Her carefree attitude and her ability to talk her ability to use her silver tongue to talk her way out of situations was fabulous! Honestly, it was her character that I believed in the most, and understood the most.

The other part of this book that I really loved was the setting. The "Roaring 20's" has fascinated me since I was younger. I love how this was such a time of change, such a time of progress for women. Sure, a lot of it was still seen as scandalous by the older generation, but these women were brave and bold. They did, said, and wore what they wanted despite the consequences. It's amazing! Anna Godbersen manages to bring this time period to life with beautiful clarity, and show it to the reader in different ways through they eyes of her various characters. It was a delight!

However my love for this book was hampered by some of the decisions made by the characters in the storyline. Perhaps if I had grown up during this time period I would understand, but it seemed to me that there was so much selfishness within Cordelia. Her character especially drove me crazy. Some of the scenes just felt forced and slowed the plot down for me. That being said, the overall progress of the story was very slow for me until I neared the end of the book. Yes, I understand a lot of it was used to build characters. Still, it was tough for me to get immersed fully in the story. It wasn't until the end that I was caught up, and reading fervently to find out what happened. The ending was fantastic, and I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes next.

As you can see from my rambling review, I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed it overall, but it wasn't one of my favorites of the year. I do believe though that if you have an affinity for historical fiction and a love of Contemporary fiction combined, you'll fall in love with this book. It's already been affirmed for me by some other readers I've talked to. My point is that this book may not have been my cup of tea, but that doesn't mean you won't love it! Definitely give it a read.



Book Details
Title: Bright Young Things
Author: Anna Godbersen
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: Hardcover; 389
Source: Received from publisher.
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Final Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Author Holiday Extravaganza: Heidi Ayarbe's Holiday Memory & Giveaway

Click the banner for more events!

Those of you who celebrate Christmas are probably so excited about the big day nearing! I know I am. Although honestly I've learned more this year about the importance of holidays and family than ever before. I have these amazing authors, who share their lives with us, to thank.

Today I'm pleased to welcome Heidi Ayarbe, author of Freeze Frame, to my blog! She is here to share her holiday tradition, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

*****

The Spirit of Christmas


Christmas cookies, tree hunting, light looking, pictures with Santa, turkey dinner and all the trimmings are just a few holiday traditions my family passed down. To date, no Christmas morning is complete without opening a Santa stocking with an orange in the toe. (We all know now that it was just filler, Mom.)

I realized, though, in my world, Christmas had become a holiday of privilege – wish lists and shopping, new ornaments and blinking lights. And a few years ago, because of a beautiful Colombian holiday, I got a little Christmas perspective. (Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan – all holidays, religions, races, and beliefs apply!)

I moved to Colombia almost fourteen years ago. It’s a phenomenal, colorful country with some of the most gracious people I’ve ever known. Unfortunately, though, it’s been at war for nearly sixty years now. According to the CODHES (Consultorio para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento – Human Rights and Displacement Office) over the past 15 years, hundreds of thousands of Colombians have been forced to leave their homes and migrate to bigger cities, principally Bogota, Medellin, Pereira, and Cali because of the violence in the countryside. The majority of displaced people leave a simple agrarian life for an urban one – one in which finding work is virtually impossible.

Groups of displaced communities gather and create invasion neighborhoods on the outskirts of big cities. They build homes with cardboard, bamboo, and plastic bags. They tap into electric and water lines, and these communities grow, invading, so to speak, public places. Over time, some communities develop and integrate into the city. Oftentimes, though, they’re hubs of violence and poverty.

A Catholic country, Colombians celebrate the Day of the Virgin (the Day of Lights) on December 7th and 8th. Entire cities in Colombia dim their lights and illuminate the streets with colorful lanterns on the Day of the Virgin.

Beginning on the Day of Lights, RCN, one of Colombia’s principal radio and television networks along with Aguardiente Antioqueño (the typical alcohol of the region) host a neighborhood Christmas decoration contest. RCN’s judges and DJs visit every neighborhood that signs up throughout the month of December. The winning neighborhoods get a roasted, stuffed pig, live orchestra, and many other prizes.

A few years ago, on December 7th, my husband, friends and I joined RCN’s caravan to visit some neighborhoods. We arrived to parts of the city (where I’ve lived off-and-on for fourteen years), I never knew existed. Small homes crowded together on narrow, dirt streets. Wire hung between houses, decorated with all kinds of Christmas ornaments – blinking lights, paper lanterns, angels, Santa Clauses and anything else that looked like Christmas.

People gathered to greet the local DJ, banging on pots and pans, singing Christmas carols, sharing natilla and buñuelos (Christmas pudding and donuts). The farther we traveled through the labyrinth of streets on the outskirts of Pereira, the more humble the neighborhoods became. Coffee sacks and homemade ornaments replaced the plastic store-bought ones; homemade candles replaced blinking lights; songs of peace replaced Christmas carols.

Our last visit was to an invasion neighborhood. Old paint cans supported tree branches wrapped in cotton, decorated with bottle caps; plastic coke bottles, empty cereal boxes, and tin cans hung from string, draped above the community. But instead of seeing poverty and despair, I was humbled by the infectious spirit and joy of this displaced community who sang, danced, and shared their food with us – food they didn’t have to spare.

I got home that night and couldn’t sleep for a long time. I thought about how people who seemingly have nothing left had the most important thing we’re given in this world – hope. And I thought about my own Christmas Wish List.

And I already have it: a home, health, family, friends, work, community, and peace. 



Now, every Christmas, we light candles for the Alumbrado with my daughter. We light candles for peace and hope she sees a time when both of her countries (both Colombia and the United States) will have it.
Perspective is a beautiful thing.

Happy, Happy Holidays. Peace to you and yours.

*****

Thank you so much Heidi, truly.

I tell you my friends, to look at the way that others see the holiday season can teach you a lot. I think it is so very important to share that with others around you.

Sweet Heidi has brought a surprise for you as well!

Yes my friends, you have an opportunity to win a signed copy of Freeze Frame, straight from Heidi herself. Isn't she the best? I think so!

To enter:
Simply leave a comment below for Heidi, that includes your email address. Easy, simple, fun. Enjoy!

Giveaway ends January 5th at 11:00pm PST.





Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blog Tour - Book Review: Night School


Vampires, Slayers and…FAIRIES? Sunny and Rayne McDonald are about to get SCHOOLED.

After their parents’ shocking revelation about their fae heritage and an attack on their lives, the McDonald twins find themselves on the run—forced to hide out at Riverdale Academy , a boarding school for vampire slayers, deep in the Swiss Alps. With no cells, no internet, and no way to contact their vampire boyfriends—the twins are on their own.

--See more at Goodreads


Cover Inspection:
This one is SO pretty! It might be because I'm partial to blue, but hey. I like it!

First Thoughts:
Ah Rayne, how I missed you. My favorite twin.

***

My Review:

Yes, this review is out of order. I'm sorry my friends! I'll post my Bad Blood (Blood Coven Vampires #4) later on tonight or early tomorrow!

Once again my friends, I was hooked from the very first page. As with all the installments in this series, you can pick up the book and instantly be up to speed with what Rayne and Sunny are currently up to! Mari has a great habit of reviewing earlier events, so that no matter how long it has been since you read the last installment, you'll remember right away where you left off with these awesome and crazy twins. If you'll recall my last review, I missed the action that usually ensues in these books. This one definitely sated my action need, and then some. I'm in love!

In Night School there is yet another new supernatural being added in. Yes, yes I know. You're thinking, vampires, werewolves, what else IS there? Oh but my friends, there's more. If you've read the synopsis above you now know that Sunny and Rayne face their most difficult challenge yet. FAIRIES. The way that Mari Mancusi built her fairies and their world was fantastic! I won't give too much away, it's too much fun to find out for yourself. I'll leave you instead to ponder over why these stereotypical glittery and flitting beings are so dangerous. What I will say is that I loved their names! Cracked me up to no end. Oh and the ending? Once again I'm waiting with bated breath for the next book.

I think by now you've realized that I'm partial to the parts of this series that are narrated by Rayne. Let me tell you why. She's feisty, she takes on any challenge, and she loves her family with such a deep emotion that she is willing to put herself in harms way to protect them. Sunny is like the yin to Rayne's yang, and without both of them I don't think the books would be half as enjoyable. Still, I'm partial to Rayne's snark and wit. It's true. Thus why this book made me laugh out loud, and subsequently have people stare at me on the bus. Don't read this book in public.

Look, if you haven't been reading my other reviews and don't yet know how I feel about this series, let me break it down plain and simple. I LOVE THESE BOOKS. The humor is smart, the characters are amazingly well written, and there is just enough tips of the hat to pop culture to keep you giggling. (References to Twilight anyone?) The point is that I should have by now convinced to you to read these books. They're well worth your time trust me!



Book Details
Title: Night School (Blood Coven Vampires #5)
Author: Mari Mancusi
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Pages: Paperback; 244
Source: Received from publisher.
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Final Rating:5 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Home again, home again....


Okay, okay no that's not my home. Isn't it COOL though?


All randomness aside, I'm happy to report that I am finally home! Surrounded by my family, our comfy house, and all the ornaments that I remember unwrapping and decorating with when I was little. It's such a good feeling :).

I'll still be here on my blog, still posting in downtime but I can't believe how much has been lifted off of me just by entering this house! It's that warm and fuzzy feeling that only comes along with the holidays, coupled with the pure love of a family. All good.

Let me also say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have stuck with me through this crazy time. I've finally figured out how to juggle things and it's been nice to have a system. To those of you who kept commenting, kept reading, kept visiting, I adore you. If you were nearby I'd hug you! Or well...if you're anti-hugs...I'll go ahead and throw you a high five!

LOVE. It's all around me, I'm spreading it. LOVE.

Author Holiday Extravaganza: Jen DeLucy's Holiday Memory



Click to the banner for more events!

As the holiday season gets closer and closer to being over, it is important for us all to remember what it is about this time of the year that makes us so warm and fuzzy inside. Today I'm so honored to have Jen DeLucy stop by and share with us her holiday memory!


I'm a fangirl for her in the best sense, and love reading her guest posts. This one made me tear up. Enjoy!

I guess I should start by explaining that I was raised by my grandparents, and my dearest memories of Christmas exist in very early childhood, when my grandfather was alive. Grandpa Gene died when I was only ten years old, but he was am incredible beacon of light in a lot of darkness, in spite of his short time with me.

My grandfather was a joyful man who drew happiness from many things: his kids, his Red Socks and Fighting Irish and a good cup of tea. He loved crossword puzzles, paint-by-numbers and trips to the country. But, if there was anything Grandpa loved the most, it was Christmas, and when the holidays rolled around, the house buzzed with it.

We always had two trees when I was very young. One was a fifties-era fluffy, pastel colored tree that we'd cover with cookies, and the other was a terrible imitation fur tree. You've seen the kind--completely fake looking with branches that could take out your eye if you stand too close.

My grandfather adored that tree.

It was from another era, that was for sure, extending back to the time when my aunts and uncles were kids. So did the ornaments and large, painted glass lights, come to think of it. You know, I can remember aching for a real tree like everyone else, or at least an artificial tree that looked halfway new, but the old, dusty branches of our fake one didn't seem to bother Grandpa.

There he'd be, with a heavy string of lights glowing and spread out, clanking on the wooden floor as he untangled them happily, and he'd listen to the greats, the oldies, the songs that would become the quintessential sounds of Christmas for the rest of my life. Nat King Cole and the Christmas Song, Bing Crosby and White Christmas, The Chipmunks, The Carpenters... they all played on crackling records while I savored the scenery, unwittingly memorizing the specific scent of plastic branches and warm bulbs.

Grandpa must have taken the words of Nat King Cole's song very seriously, because, in the absence of a fireplace, he'd ask my grandmother to roast chestnuts in the oven for him. I remember trying them and thinking that I didn't like them. I'll bet I would now...

I'm not sure that Grandpa knew what he was instilling in me with all that shameless warmth and love and, more importantly, joy, but I imagine he learned all about it in the hereafter. Because of him, I was able to get through the more painful, trying years after his death. His dedication to happiness and traditions, the importance of clinging to your joy and celebrating life no matter the season, was, thankfully, not lost on me.

So, as you enjoy your specific holiday this season, know that your enthusiasm means more to the people around you than you could imagine. Your joy is teaching others to feel the same, and it will stick with them, I promise you that, long after you're gone. True happiness is a gift and a right, and it's much easier to grasp if displayed early. So bake some cookies tonight--and save a few for me!

Blessings and immense joy!
Love,
Jennifer

Thank you SO much Jen for sharing!

Did you all need to go get a tissue? I did.

And now....A GIVEAWAY!

Jen has been so sweet as to donate both a copy of Seers of Light and of her new installment Whispers of Light in ebook format to one winner! Yes my friends, the winner will get BOTH ebooks! Lucky you!

To enter, leave a comment below with your email address! 
Open INTERNATIONALLY since they are ebooks :). Merry Christmas ya'll!

Giveaway ends January 4th at 11:00 pm PST.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blog Tour - Author Interview: Kimberly Griffiths Little



Ready for some more The Healing Spell love? I know I am! Kimberly Griffiths Little was sweet enough to take time out of her day to answer some of my review questions. I'll give her the floor!

*****

1) I always like to start my interviews off with a challenge! How would you describe The Healing Spell in a tweet? (140 characters)

A girl with a guilty secret, annoying sisters, sprinkles of magic, and a little baby gator. Oh, and there’s a cute boy who chops wood. :)


2) On Goodreads I saw you mention that this story was close to your heart because it took you so long to finish. What would you say was the number one thing that kept you coming back to it?

I believed in Livie (she’s a lot like me at that age!) and she feels like she’s emotionally and spiritually lost her way in life and her family relationships. I had to see her triumph over that pain and insecurity and I think it’s an important story about guilt and faith and family. Livie is like myself, my little sister, or the daughter I never had (I’ve got three sons) so I couldn’t give up on her! Just like I hope the important people in my own life don’t give up on me!


3) What led you to set Livie's story in the Louisiana Bayou?

The bayous and swamps are GORGEOUS! I am absolutely captivated by the setting and the culture and just *had* to try to bring it alive in my story. I love to use those small details and find just the right word or phrase that makes it real to my readers. It’s a challenge, but so satisfying when people in Louisiana and the South tell me that it felt like they were right there with Livie in her pirogue on the water. I love it.


4) I love that there is a mother/daughter reading guide for this book. Do you hope that mothers and daughters will share this book?

Absolutely! I think it’s such a great book for girls and their moms as well as the whole sister theme within the story. And don’t forget Aunt Colleen with whom Livie clashes and tries to hide from. There are so many female relationships to explore and I hope that moms and daughters and sisters and grandmothers will enjoy getting together with the other women/girls in their lives to discuss it. The guide that my sister helped me create has great discussion questions, a mom/daughter game and a recipe for beignets for refreshments!


5) Where do you go for inspiration when you are writing?

I love to take walks along the Rio Grande which I live close to. I still live on a dirt road with big cottonwood trees all around and sandhill cranes that migrate overhead in the autumn. Getting away from my desk and having time to think really helps to solve story problems or get my characters *talking* to me. Sometimes my pillow works really well, too!


6) I can see that you tend to write for the younger crowd. What do you enjoy about writing for this age group?

8-12 or 8-14 has always been called The Golden Age of Reading. I devoured a book a day when I was that age. Books were my best friends and made such an impact on me and I think they still do for any child. Stories are powerful and meaningful, help us learn about life so we don’t feel alone in our problems, and make us laugh and cry. What a better way to spend a few hours? I love the fact that kids are reading more than ever the last few years and sharing books and talking about books – and that reading has become “cool” again.


7) What advice would you give to hopeful writers out there?

Write because you love to write, because you love “story”. Worry about publishing after you learn the craft and hone your writing skills. Most of all, take joy in the process because publishing can make you neurotic!


8) What is one thing you hope that your readers take away from The Healing Spell?

That love and faith and family are the most important gifts we have in this life.

*****

And now, A GIVEAWAY!

To win a copy of The Healing Spell by Kimberly Griffiths Little, simply have a U.S. mailing address and leave me a comment below! Don't forget to include your email!

Giveaway ends January 3rd at 11:00 pm PST.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blog Tour - Book Review: The Healing Spell


Twelve-year-old Livie is living with a secret and it's crushing her. She knows she is responsible for her mother's coma, but she can't tell anyone. It's up to her to find a way to wake her momma up.

Stuck in the middle of three sisters, hiding a forbidden pet alligator, and afraid to disappoint her daddy, whom she loves more than anyone else, Livie struggles to find her place within her own family as she learns about the powers of faith and redemption. Livie's powerful, emotional, and sometimes humorous story will stay with readers long after the last line is read.

Set in the lush bayou of Louisiana, Kimberley Griffiths Little brings Livie's story to life with power and grace.

--From Goodreads




Cover Inspection:
I love how much the cover screams Louisiana Bayou. It's so peaceful looking too.

First Thoughts:
Livie is just so sweet. I want to hug her!

***

My Review:
To say that The Healing Spell touched me is an understatement, but I can't quite find the words to accurately describe how much I truly adored this book. Filled with lessons, angst-driven at times and completely uplifting at others, it is one of those books that truly made a mark on my life as a reader. From the moment I started the book I fell in love with Livie and her sisters. In fact, this book had the power to transport me back to the days when I too felt like Livie did. Lost, lonely at times, and yet still always loved.

My love for Livie started when, as I mentioned above, she reminded me of that tough time between being a child and becoming a teen. At 11 years old, Livie isn't sure where she fits in the world around her. She doesn't quite get the "girlie" things that her sisters do, but she isn't quite comfortable being described as a tomboy either. Watching her navigate this difficult time in her life was so deeply touching. As I watched her make decisions, some good and others bad, I fell more in love with her character. Livie is one of those flawed, realistic characters that I adore. You see the cracks, but you love her all the more for them.

As for the story itself, it is pure magic. I think I cried more during this book than any other that I've read, as I contemplated how I came to be the person that I am now. We've all been through what Livie is going through, even if it wasn't the exact same. The sheer honesty between these pages is what really drew me in. Unfortunately, there isn't too much I can say without giving the plot away, so instead I'll gush over the setting! It is so apparent that Kimberly Griffiths Little researched the bayou that she set Livie and her family in. The lush setting jumps off the page at the reader, and I am sure I learned more about Louisiana bayous than I ever knew before. Besides being the perfect backdrop for Livie's story of hope and growth, it is also a fascinating entity in its own right.

You can probably tell from my gushing, albeit rambling, review that I really fell in love with this book. I'll be sad to part with my copy when I give it away tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to purchasing one of my own! The Healing Spell will definitely be one of those books that I'll read again. I'm looking forward to it.




Book Details
Title: The Healing Spell
Author: Kimberly Griffiths Little
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: Hardcover; 386
Source: Received through promotional tour for review.
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Final Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Author Holiday Extravaganza: Adele Griffin's Holiday Memory



Today I am excited, nay GIDDY, to have Adele Griffin stop by my blog! She is truly one of my favorite people because of her sweet disposition, fabulous writing, and of course wicked awesome sense of humor.


Straight from her childhood, Adele is here to share her favorite holiday memory. It's a sweet one too! (Pun totally intended.)

*****

Of Mix and Mixes

My standout childhood Christmas memory was the year my cousin Lisa and I took over the E-Z Bake Oven. It wasn’t our gift. We, at age thirteen and fourteen, were way too old and awesome for ovens. That was the Christmas we traded mix tapes for our boulder-heavy Sony Walkmans, wriggled our multi-colored toes in Esprit socks, and slathered on peppermint-glitter lip balm. Meanwhile, my eleven-year-old brother Robert and twelve-year-old cousin William—minions, really, to whom Lisa and I hardly spoke—lurched around in a quasi-Atari coma. It was frankly exhausting to be as pubescent-ly cool as we were that Christmas.


The oven was actually a Santa gift to my then five-year-old brother, Geoff—a frog leap younger than the rest of us, and generally left alone throughout the entire visit at our grandparents’ house. He had asked for this oven, I suspect, not because he had a fondness for sweets, but for projects, and on receiving it, had set up quietly in a corner of the kitchen. The rest of us had been informed that any fun made of his gift, his cooking, etc., would be at our own peril. So we ignored him, which was kind of operating procedure, anyway.

Then Geoff proudly presented us with his first batch of cookies, heated to imperfection under the oven’s electric light bulb. We each had one. Disgusting. Delicious. What a fun gift; the best one, easy. Parents were all getting loud on wine in the living room, so it was impossible for them to hear the muffled sounds of Geoff’s protests as his siblings and cousins took over his oven. Yellow cake, spice cake, chocolate fudge cake, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, vanilla icing, strawberry icing … soon we’d all dropped our Walkmans and rivalries and devoted the afternoon to using every single just-add-water package. We were gluttons; villainous and exuberant. We began pushing the pans through too quickly so that cakes came out half-cooked, just to snarf it down and get to the next one.

I remember that day as fun, plus a bad stomachache. Geoff remembers it as one of his best Christmases, ever; the afternoon when his siblings and cousins had not only paid attention to him, but when we’d all collectively regressed become five year olds, our play harking back to holidays when we had not cared a jot about cool. Someone told me recently than a love of cakes and cupcakes has more to do with childhood memory than our actual palette. When I think of that EZ Bake Christmas, I believe it. Mix cake half-cooked by a low-watt bulb never tasted so divine.



*****

Thank you so much Adele for this heartfelt post! Happy Holidays!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Blog Tour - Shadow Hills: Zach Character Interview




Today I'm happy to be hosting the amazing Zach from Shadow Hills. For those of you who haven't read Anastasia Hopcus' stunning novel, I can't recommend it enough!

Zach is here for an interview today and was even sweet enough to bring along a signed poster for a giveaway! I'll let him have the floor now.

*****

1) Tell us something about yourself, something we don't already know?

You can actually get up on top of my dad’s store, and from the Book Stop roof you can walk onto two other roofs. I go up there when I don’t want to deal with anyone. When the store gets really busy, like on a weekend in December, I start to feel claustrophobic.


2) What was having a sister like growing up?

Corinne isn’t exactly known for being a ray of sunshine, but it was way worse when I was little. She was only a year and a half older than me, but she hit her growth spurt early and I was a munchkin until 7th grade. Which means anytime I got picked on in school she would humiliate me by coming to my rescue. It could have been worse, though. All evidence to the contrary, she’s not that evil.


3) What's your favorite thing to do with Phe?

Ummm… I’m gonna say watch a really bad movie. Not only do I get to hear her unauthorized---and hilarious---commentary track, but it doesn’t matter if we miss a scene. Or two. Or seven.


4) Who are some of your favorite bands that Phe has introduced to you?

The Death Set, Team Robespierre, Matt and Kim. She listens to a lot of bands I haven’t heard of so I’m still learning about new ones.


5) How do you personally feel about Phe's friends, Adriana, Graham and Toy?

Toy’s awesome, and Adriana’s hilarious if you don’t take what she says too seriously. She’s a lot, though---I don’t think I could hang out with her as much as Phe does. Graham seems cool, but I don’t know him that well. He’s more friends with Brody.


6) Your Dad owns a bookstore, so you must have grown up reading a lot. What are some of your favorite books?

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm when I was really young, Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, High Fidelity by Nick Hornby.


7) What is your favorite time of the year in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts?

I love winter. The blanket of white is so calm, and it makes the entire landscape of our town look different.


*****

Thanks for stopping by Zach!

Up for grabs is a signed Shadow Hills poster! Yes my friends,  you get a poster signed by the lovely Anastasia Hopcus herself. You are so lucky!

To Enter:
You must live in the U.S. and leave a comment below! Please include your email address so I can contact you if you win!

Giveaway ends December 31st at 11:00 pm PST.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Review: Girls That Growl



Rayne McDonald thought getting into the Blood Coven was the hard part. But now there's a new breed of trouble in town...and the former slayer and her vampire boyfriend may be the only ones who can stop it.

Now that she's an official vampire and full-fledged member of The Blood Coven, Rayne assumes her vampire slaying days are over. Sure, she doesn't have any vampire powers, thanks to a mutated blood virus, but she and Jareth can go out in the sun, which is a pretty good trade-off.

But just when Rayne's starting to enjoy her afterlife, she's contacted by Slayer Inc once again. It seems that a member of her high school's football team has disappeared—and the powers-that-be think the cheerleaders had something to do with it. Now Rayne has to infiltrate the squad before the cheerleaders have a chance to sink their teeth into someone else...

--From Goodreads


Cover Inspection:
Although this cover is truly gorgeous, I miss the old one! The old cover was so much more Rayne.

First Thoughts:
Rayne, oh Rayne. How I adore thee.

***

My Review:
As with the other books in the Blood Coven Vampire series, this one starts out with a recap of the previous book. Yes my friends, that means that even if you happened to pick this book up out of sequence, you'd still know what is going on. Isn't that fabulous? I thought so! Of course you'd then want to go and pick up the other two books before this. I'm sure you'd be craving more Magnus, more Rayne and much much more Jareth. Sexy vampires anyone?

This installment of Rayne and Sunny's misadventures focused on a new addition to their vampire world, the Lycan. I really enjoyed Mari Mancusi's close attention to the details that surround this lore, and was laughing out loud at the characters she crafted to fit this bill. Also enclosed in this gem of a book is a whole new Rayne. Oh no, I don't mean that she has lost her deliciously acerbic wit. Heaven forbid! Instead this book shows us a Rayne who is evolving, who is learning more about who she is and how she treats those around her. It was amazing to see her keep her same personality, while still being able to evolve. I now love Rayne even more!

What made this book a little difficult for me to read, and kept it from being my favorite in the series, was the extremely quick wrap-up of the overall storyline. I enjoyed the fact that the focus was on Rayne and her growth, but I missed the adventure part of it all. What made Stake That!, the book before this one, my favorite in the series was the rip-roaring storyline that it followed. I love following the twins on their crazy adventures, wrought with peril. Girls That Growl just felt like it ended too soon and I wondered where my butt-kicking, sassy Rayne had gone.

Overall I still completely enjoyed the book, and of course the ending once again totally roped me back in! Luckily I had the next book in the series right next to my bed and ready to go. Mari Mancusi definitely has a flair for the cliff hanger ending. I'm still in love. I'm still bitten and smitten!

For those of you who are already involved in this series, you'll find a lot to love in this book! For those of you who aren't....excuse me. Where have you been? Under a rock! Go out and get Boys That Bite right this minute! I'll wait.



Other books in the series:
Stake That!
Boys That Bite


Book Details
Title: Girls That Growl
Author: Mari Mancusi
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Pages: Paperback; 256
Source: Library

Final Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Author Holiday Extravaganza: Steve Brezenoff's Holiday Tradition



Click the banner for more posts in this event!

Today I'm happy to present a NEW tradition for the holidays, straight from Steve Brezenoff himself! If you don't already know Steve, he is the author of the fabulous novel, Absolute Value of -1.


He even brought along a giveaway just for you fantastic readers! Aren't you the lucky ones? Read, enjoy, ruminate!

*****

            I’ve heard people say it’s tough to be Jewish between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They’re definitely right. Sure, a menorah shows up now and then, and the good people on the local evening news broadcast are always careful to wish a happy Hanukkah to their “Jewish friends.” And hey, in a lot of Jewish families, the kids get eight gifts, right? Not too shabby.

            All that is nice, but with Christmas covering the land as far as the eye can see, like a veritable plague of flashing, glittery, fake-snow-covered, electricity-sucking locusts, it can—on reflection—feel a little token.

            Obviously, there was a big part of my little-kid soul that craved Christmas. I mean, it looked like a freaking fun, you know?

            Still, growing up in a heavily Jewish area, like I did, takes the edge off the Christmas season a little more. It even makes it bearable, when you know that most families nearby don’t have a Christmas tree in the window, or stockings over the fireplace, or trips to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap. At least they understand.

            But wait, Steve, you’re not doubt thinking. What about all those secular Jews I’ve heard about? They don’t celebrate Hanukkah, do they?

            Good point, reader. Some secular Jews do, but many don’t. In fact, my family didn’t celebrate much of anything, outside of Thanksgiving and Halloween. During winter, with such a glorious landscape of holidays to choose from, my family chose none. None! Well, as you can imagine, my brother and I wouldn’t hear of it. We insisted! We demanded presents, special meals, and a reason to stay up all night.

            And so the Brezenoff New Year’s Eve tradition was born.

            First, there was the special meal to consider. My father, who never had much time to contribute with cooking, would make four beautiful filet mignons. I’m not sure I’ve ever had filet mignon besides the ones served on New Year’s Eve, as a matter of fact. And I didn’t even like steak! I hated it, in fact. Chances are (my memory is a tad vague), I requested my filet cooked right through till the whole thing was gray—it was the juices that really grossed me out. Still, we wanted a special meal, and we got it!

            For dessert, chocolate mousse! This was one of my mom’s specialties. She got the recipe from her New York Times Cookbook. Here’s the recipe: http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/recipe-of-the-day-chocolate-mousse/. I recommend it highly. (Yes, it has raw eggs in it. You can use pasteurized eggs if that weirds you out or whatever.)

            Next, presents! I’m sure this wasn’t specifically part of the tradition, but in my memory the gifts were always Atari cartridges. I wish I still had them, every single one—especially Adventure, the one with the dragon that looked like a duck.

            And staying up all night? Well, of course we stayed up till midnight and watched Dick Clark—who I think is younger now than he was then, somehow—and managed to convince Mom and Dad to let us take the tiniest sip of champagne. I think we usually didn’t quite make it till midnight, but our parents would wake us up, let us watch the dropping ball, maybe twirl a noisemaker, and then back to bed we’d go.

            As my brother and I got older, New Year’s Eve became less important around our house, especially as my we started making our own plans for the night with our friends. Over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate the holiday season to some degree. I’ve even celebrated Christmas a bunch of times now. Heck, just the other day, I hung a string of glittery, flashing, fake-snow-covered lights outside my house—solar ones.

*****

Want to enter to win a copy of Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff?

I know you do!!!

Open to U.S. residents only, giveaway ends December 31, 2010.

TO ENTER: Leave Steve a comment below! Include your email address to contact you if you win!
            

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blog Tour: Character Interview - Sunny from The Blood Coven Series





Good morning ya'll!

Today I'm happy to have Sunny, a character from Mari Mancusi's Blood Coven Series, on my blog! She and her sister Rayne are two of the most hilarious and snarky characters that you will ever meet and I love them dearly! So of course when I had the chance to have Sunny stop by  my blog, I snapped it up!


Take it away Sunny!

*****


1) Welcome to my blog Sunny! If you had to describe yourself in a tweet (140 characters) what would you say?

Ugh. Twitter is sooo much more Rayne's thing. But here goes!

Field hockey and drama loving vegetarian dating a 1,000 year old vampire. Just want to live a normal life--but it never seems to work out.

How's that? But seriously, I so prefer Facebook. If you want to Friend me, you can do so here:


2) How would you describe Magnus, your vampire boyfriend?

Okay first of all, he is hot beyond belief. I mean think, like, Orlando Bloom from Pirates of the Caribbean. Tall, dark, and handsome and usually dressed head-to-toe in Armani. Yum. If you do friend me on Facebook, you can totally check him out. I've got a ton of pics.

Anyway, he's super sweet and caring, a total marshmallow on the inside, no matter how gruff he tries to act on the outside sometimes. And I'm positive he'd do anything within his power to help me if I were in trouble. I mean, look at how he totally went out of his way to help me find the Holy Grail so I wouldn't be stuck being a vampire forever. He so didn't have to do that, but I'm glad he did! 

Of course he's also super busy; running one of the largest vampire covens on the Eastern seaboard is not a walk in the park, let me tell you. And so date night often ends up getting cancelled because of one crisis or another. Sigh. I try to be understanding, but sometimes it sucks to get left behind.

Of course now he's promised that from this point on he'll put me first over all the other distractions in his life and stop being such a workaholic. So fingers crossed on that. Cause I totally love him and I really want our relationship to work out, you know?



3) You and your sister Rayne are like night and day. How has your relationship changed since the two of you found out how different you really are?


We have been different since the day we were born, I swear. Mom says Rayne would always cry when she turned ON the light. She's such a Goth. But nowadays I can relate to her a little better, I think. I mean, we both have had to deal with the dad situation, which sucks. And we've both got hot vampire boyfriends, which rules. No matter what, I know, at the end of the day, no matter how annoying she can be, she's my best friend and will be there for me. (If she's not out playing Poker anyway.) I know I can count on her.


4) Is there anything you would change about the time since you met Magnus?

I keep going back and forth on this. You know, about the whole vampire thing. If I'd stayed a vampire, in a lot of ways things would have been much easier. I'd never have to worry about growing old and looking like I was dating my grandson, for example. I mean, ew! And what happens when I die? Does Magnus then go find some other hot young thing? So not cool.

But at the same time, I like living a normal life. Well, as normal as possible, seeing as what I recently found out about my family tree. I mean, fairies? We so didn't see that one coming!


5) What is one item that you simply cannot live without?

My super soft Gap 1969 jeans. I wear them everywhere. Unlike Rayne, who seems to enjoy wardrobe items that constitute torture (I mean have you ever tried on a corset?!) I like to be casual and comfy wherever I go. And those jeans fit me like a second skin. Pair them with my favorite tee (no, not the one that says "Bite Me"--I burned that the night I got home from Club Fang!) and a pair of flips and I'm ready to go. 


6) Do you have a message for the readers out there?

Normal is sometimes overrated. I mean, I'm the first to wish for a so-called "normal life" with the 2.3 kids and the picket fence and stuff. But if I stuck with that, I never would have met Magnus. And he's made my life three thousand times better. I can't imagine living life without him now. So though things are usually very abnormal in my world, I wouldn't trade it for anything. And I think keeping an open mind and trying out new things and new situations is something everyone should do.



7) Before I let you go, and thanks for stopping by, can you share with us one event that is coming up that you're looking forward to?


Getting back to Vegas and starting school! I know that sounds completely crazy, but if you just had the experience I did in Fairyland and Night School, you'd be thinking the exact same thing! Let's just say reading, writing and 'rithmatic is sounding really good right about now! 

*****

Thanks for stopping by Sunny! If you'd like to learn more about Sunny, Rayne and their awesome exploits, check out the Blood Coven Vampires website.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Author Holiday Extravaganza: Lisa's Sweet Potato Surprise!



For a full list of events, click the banner!

Today it's all about the recipes, straight from the fabulous Lisa Sanchez!

If you haven't read her very steamy (ahem) book, Eve of Samhain, well shame on you. I'll forgive you this time though and let Lisa take it away! Warning, this recipe is drool worthy. You may want a napkin.

***


I'm a Christmas girl. I love twinkling lights, ornaments and decorations. I enjoy getting up at three in the morning on Back Friday and bumping elbows with crazy shoppers looking for good deals. But, my favorite thing, aside from spending time with my family and friends, is the rich holiday food.  Oh, how I love the food.

One of my favorite Christmas dishes as a child was my mother's candied yams. She'd mash the yams up, sprinkle them with spices and top them with marshmallows that would melt into ooey gooey goodness in the oven. She'd make those babies every year and they quickly became a holiday staple for our family.

Then I grew up and married a man who hates sweet potatoes. With a passion. No joke, the man wouldn't get within three feet of my favorite root vegetable without a scowl. How could this be? Why couldn't he love my favorite dish?

Determined to win him over, I set out on a mission to find a sweet potato recipe that would knock his socks off. Something sweet and savory that would entice even the most finicky of pallets. After crashing and burning several times, I finally came across the magic recipe online, on a crafting website of all places. Woot!

My husband, self-proclaimed sweet potato hater that he was, now asks me when I'm going to prepare this special dish. In fact, he's even, on occasion, asked me to make a double batch because people go through it so fast. Yes, yes ...I have found it, people. I have discovered the magic sweet potato recipe that everyone will enjoy. And guess what? I'm totally going to share it with all of you, because yeah... that's how I roll with the Christmas spirit.

So, without further ado, I give you:  Lisa's Sweet Potato Surprise

You will need:

4 large sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds) peeled and cooked. I peel them, cut them up and boil em.

1 cup butter ( did I mention earlier that this recipe is unhealthy? No? Brace yourselves, peeps.)

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 tbsp vanilla

For the topping, you will need:

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

2/3 cup butter at room temp

2/3 cup all purpose flour

2 cups chopped pecans (this is optional. We have a nut allergy in the family, so we don't add the nuts and it's still fab)

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 9x13 dish. In a large bowl, mash the cooked sweet potatoes. Add butter, sugar, eggs, evaporated milk and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until smooth and well blended. Pour mixture into buttered baking dish.

To prepare topping:

In a bowl, mix brown sugar, butter and flour until crumbly.  Spread topping evenly over sweet potato mixture.

Bake in preheated oven until set and lightly browned on top (35-40 minutes.)

Enjoy!

Blog Tour - Book Review: Fixing Delilah


Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart. She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.

Cover Inspection:
I so love this cover! It fits the title, and the concept of the book, perfectly.

First Thoughts:
Poor Delilah, so misunderstood. I foresee some rough times in her future.

***

My Review:
Delilah Hannaford comes from her own version of a broken family. Her mother is always at work, her father has been dead her whole life, and her non-boyfriend Finn is there to help her forget. Basically Delilah is learning how to grow up all alone. In what her mom sees as a cry for help, Delilah begins to slip at school and at life in general. Of course she blames it on her lack of a mom, and her mom blames it on her lack of responsibility. Cue a life changing summer.

What I loved most about this book was the family relationships that are explored in it. Delilah and her mother are miles apart, and all Delilah wants is to go back to the days when they understood one another. Isn't that how all mothers and daughters feel at some point? It's hard to keep up with the change. Watching the two of them each grow in their own right, and dive into the past that has haunted them, was amazing. I think I cried mostly because I'm so proud that my mom and I got past this point in our lives too. Readers will likely find a lot to connect with as they read.

The romantic aspect in this book was also so well written. Watching Delilah explore a relationship for "convenience" that allowed her to escape from her life made me go back to that time in my life. Then when she meets Patrick and the sparks fly, I was so smitten! Through one another they learn how to let go of the past, and how to embrace the future. Despite the problems they go through, the two of them fit together so perfectly that it's like pairing a brownie with a glass of milk. So wonderful together. 

Reading this book is like a refreshing drink of cool lemonade on a hot day. It's the type of book that allows you to just sit back, watch some family mending going on, and day dream about those past summers. Sure, it has moments of angst. Yes, Delilah is a wreck. However the characters in this book are so lovable, so sweet, and so real, that you'll find yourself becoming a part of their family without even trying. This book made me smile and cry, both in equal parts, and I love it so much more for that.

I know I've rambled, and I apologize, but I cannot recommend this book enough! I loved it so much that you can be sure that I will be buying a copy and spreading the love. Thank you Sarah Ockler for such a sweet, refreshing, and all around honest read. I need more of these in my life.


Book Details
Title: Fixing Delilah
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 320
Source: Received through The Teen {Book} Scene
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Final Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Monday, December 13, 2010

In which I sleep my life away...



When I'm sick, I sleep. A lot.

Hours and hours of my life the last two weeks have been spent with my eyes closed, and dreams filling my head. Part of me feels that I should feel guilty about this. The other part kicks it really hard, ties that part up, and stuffs him in a box, because hey....it's my life right?

Why is it that we always feel guilty when we're doing something good for us or that we enjoy. Why is there that part of us that keeps thinking "I could be doing something better right now." that nags us?

I've decided that I'm no longer listening to that nay-saying part of myself. If I want to lay in bed 20 extra minutes and I have time, I will. If I want to spend the day reading instead of cleaning, I will. Life is too short to feel stressed out about things that really aren't that pressing in the first place :). I'm allowing myself more time just to be me.

What are you doing for yourself?

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Hello my favorite people! Are you ready for some fun?

***

Kari at A Good Addiction and I are constantly chatting with one another. So of course when I mentioned that I wanted to do a holiday celebration, and she was also doing a holiday celebration, we melded them into a huge Holiday Extravaganza!!!

These next two weeks will be filled with authors sharing their favorite traditions, holiday recipes, and stories that come from the heart. Truth be told, I've read  few of these posts already...and well...let's just say that they remind me why I love this holiday season so very much.

Schedule time!

Two weeks of pure and utter love begin on Kari's blog tonight, with a special post from Cheryl Rainfield and a giveaway! Then each day we will take turns hosting a post back and forth.

OPENING POST: Giveaway of Scars with Cheryl Rainfield
(Kari) Monday, December 13th: Abra Ebner
(Jessica) Tuesday, December 14th: Lisa Sanchez
(Kari) Wednesday, December 15th: Amy Holder + Preorder/Bookmark Giveaway
(Jessica) Thursday, December 16th: Steve Brezenoff + Signed Copy/Bookmark Giveaway
(Kari) Friday, December 17th: Mindi Scott
(Jessica) Saturday, December 18th: Adele Griffin
(Kari) Sunday, December 19th: Lisa Schroeder + Bookmark Giveaway

(Jessica) Monday, December 20th: Jen DeLucy + Book Giveaway
(Kari) Tuesday, December 21st: Hannah Moskowitz
(Jessica) Wednesday, December 22nd: Heidi Ayarbe + Book Giveaway
(Kari) Thursday, December 23rd: Myra McEntire
(Jessica) Friday, December 24th: Brenda Pandos
(Kari) Saturday, December 25th: Ty Roth + Book Giveaway

I hope you'll stick around and visit the posts these next two weeks! Enjoy, and happy holidays!

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