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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop: $10 Amazon/Book Depository

Welcome!  I'm happy to co-host this marvelous giveaway hop with I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.  In this stop, I'm giving away a $10 Amazon gift card or book of choice of up to $10 from Book Depository (winner's choice) to one entrant. 


Those who can use an Amazon gift card or live in a country that Book Depository ships too may enter.  Entrants must also be at least 13yrs old and fill in the Rafflecopter below.  A follower of this blog is not necessary but of course welcomed. :)

Thank you for entering and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, head on over to the list of participants in the hop for more wonderful giveaways!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Brief Review: Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber, AF, 2013, Playaway digital audio, 5.5hrs, Rating=1
Source: borrowed from library

’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from Debbie Macomber.
Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.
Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega-bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.
Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.
Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.

The quick romance between Carrie and Finn was unbelievable. I just didn't fall for it so it was a struggle to get through the book. I considered not finishing it but I chugged along hoping something would turn it around. No such luck. The storyline was full of romantic clich├ęs. The setting didn't even feel Chritmassy at all. There was just an overall cheesy feel to the read. Simply too trite for my taste.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Six Word Saturday: Baby Shower

(Click on image to join the fun!)


I'm throwing my BFF a baby shower next week and would love some tried and tested fun baby shower ideas.  She's having a girl. 

Thanks in advance!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Death's Academy by Michael Bast

Death's Academy by Michael Bast, YR, 2014, 249p, Rating=5
Source: paperback copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

You see that chipmunk over there? I’ve got to make sure it’s dead in less than three minutes. Don’t make that face—it’s my job.
Midnight Smith has a problem. He’s a hoodie. Well, almost. He has to go through Death’s Academy so he can learn how to snuff out shorties (humans, like you and your friends) and outsmart those pesky halos. Then he’ll get his shroud and calling and become a full-fledged Grim Reaper. But to get into Death’s Academy, there’s a real killer exam . . . and Midnight stinks at exams.
What he doesn’t know is that the exam is the least of his worries. When the hoodies and halos go on their yearly retreat, the time is ripe for an old enemy—the diabolical Unicorns—to strike. That leaves Midnight and his friends the only ones to stop the attack . . . and this is something he just can’t fail at.
Death's Academy turns convention on its head. Root for the “bad guy” in this delicious twist on good versus evil.

This read was very entertaining. The imagination factor fits the bill for middle schoolers ..adventurous, funny, and downright wacky! This world that the author created included halos (guardian angels), hoodies (grim reaper family), shorties (humans and other earthly living creatures), and unicorns (enemies). Sounds like a world that boys at play would come up with. I don’t mean the exact story, but something equally over the top. So make room for your kids’ book shelves because once they get a taste of this book, they’re going to want more. Look out Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz because Death's Academy is a modern contender!

Some parents might find Night as a bad example for young readers. He was a rule breaker and found to be disrespectful. However, that was fitting for his character. He was young, impulsive, and had something to prove. He was his father’s son, who was the butt of every joke in town. Therefore, Night was mocked by association. That was a heavy and humiliating load to carry for a young kid. Plus, he was at the budding age of the rebellion phase. That said, that juncture was necessary to see Night’s coming of age by books end. We saw how friendship, teamwork, and compassion played in Night’s maturation. That to me was the heart of the book.

Although I didn’t know how it all would unfold, it was easy to suspect the general direction. In this case, when I was right, it felt satisfying rather than disappointing. Plus, I found delight in the supporting characters along the way, especially Mal. She was my favorite character. She so rocked! She was a true friend through thick and thin plus ingeniously savvy to boot!

Overall, this was a whimsical book that challenged moral uprightness. A great food for thought for the young minds.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Book Loot Giddy: 2/19

Received in the mail for review:

Borrowed from library:

Purchased (Kindle books):

Kindle book freebie (at time of purchase):

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

CD Review + $25 Giveaway: Touching Sky by Stephanie Boyd

With a fresh and energizing sound, Stephanie Boyd’s debut album Touching Sky will put a smile on your face and a skip in your step. Unique lyrics, heartfelt vocals and top quality production will inspire and uplift you. With brand new original songs and a novel take on some favorite hymns, this CD will stay with you every day of the week.

Touching Sky by Stephanie Boyd, Music CD -LDS, 11 songs, Rating=5
Source:  provided by artist in exchange for an honest review

Usually, when I'm not familiar with an artist, I'd have to listen to the songs a lot to get a feel for my thoughts.  Not this one.  I quickly enjoyed this album.  She made a smart choice to start the album with, "Today".  The musical instrument arrangement truly gave me a skip in my step.  I liken my peppy frolic to Charlie Chaplin.  Simply and immediately brightened my mood.

It's hard to pick a favorite song because all the songs were uplifting in a lively way.  The lyrics encouraged me to be happy and get this, I felt happy!  That's saying considerably since sometimes Christian songs can be so heartwarming that they sound depressing.  This album was a good mix of heartfelt emotion and motivation.  The artist was even creative.  For example, in her song, "Enlisted", she blended the well know hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers", to the song.  It was incredibly invigorating.  Overall, the album selections were vibrant.  So if you want to be in a happy mood, listen to this album!


Music Video:

StephanieAbout Stephanie

Growing up in New York, Stephanie was drawn to the power of music from a young age. While she was originally trained in classical singing, Stephanie always gravitated towards more upbeat and modern music. With her debut album, Touching Sky, Stephanie combines her love of traditional messages with fresh music. Since moving to Utah, Stephanie has worked closely with well-known artists including Jenny Phillips, Tyler Castleton, and Michael McLean. She was also featured soloist with Sally DeFord. She has a master’s degree in environmental science she and her husband have enjoyed building and selling businesses together. Stephanie is married with four children (and one on the way!) and likes to read, garden, run and bake fun birthday cakes.

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/9/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review: Rocky Road by Josi S. Kilpack

Rocky Road (Culinary Mystery #10) by Josi S. Kilpack, AF -LDS mystery, 2013, review ebook edition, 273p, Rating=3.5
Source: provided by tour host in exchange for an honest review.

Dr. Trenton Hendricks was last seen Friday, April 8, when he set out alone on a backpacking trip. Hendricks's Jeep Grand Cherokee was located Tuesday at the Chuckwalla Trailhead, but after six days and thousands of man-hours, the official search has been called off. He is presumed to be deceased.
It was supposed to be a girls' weekend in scenic St. George, Utah, that would included shopping, trying out the local cuisine, and participating in a breast cancer fund-raiser. The fact that one of the organizers of the fund-raising event, a local doctor, had disappeared two months before was not supposed to be Sadie's problem.
When Sadie learns that her friend Caro and Caro's cousin, Tess, have started a grassroots investigation into Dr. Hendrick's disappearance, Sadie graciously refuses to be a part of it. With her wedding to plan and her most recent case still fresh in her mind, Sadie is determined to leave this case to the police—until she meets the ex-wife of the missing man.
How could she not ask a few questions ... that lead to more questions ... that lead to a small town and even more questions? When the local police ask her to be their eyes and ears, Sadie can't help but jump in with both feet. Before she knows it, she is on the rocky road of another investigation, following a convoluted trail of good intentions, hidden motivations, and philanthropy turned big business.

Wow, book #10!  I missed the first nine so this will have to be a stand alone review.  No sweat.  I didn't feel that I missed much.  The general overview of what this series was about was conveyed ..there's a mystery to be solved and the main gal, Sadie, will find herself trying to solve it.  Although this time, she wanted to lay low and just enjoy planning her upcoming wedding.  But she ended up finding herself in a spot where she felt the inspiration that she should get involved.  The inconsistencies began to add up to foul play too much to not get sucked in.  Under the pretense of assisting the local authorities, Sadie began to explore the doctor's disappearance.  The journey to what she ends up unraveling was quite a ride!

A clean mystery novel with the added bonus of a recipe after each chapter.  Moderately gripping with the undertone of spiritual language.  I don't think the author intended to be preachy but I saw where one might see it so.  In the desire to explain religious terms, considering the setting of the story, it can be taken as giving moral advice.  However, the crust of the storyline made sure that the point of the book was in solving the mystery.  Hence, overall I found this book to be an entertaining read with characters that delighted or got my dander up (Tess!).

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