Saturday, October 22, 2016

Win 1 Dozen Harry Potter Cookies (U.S.) - Ends Nov 12

Cookies inspired by Harry Potter - listing for 1 dozen

Distinctly Delicious Desserts by Jennifer is a great Etsy shop where you can buy all sorts of different cookies. You can choose from Holidays, Sports, Animals, and more! And since it's Harry Potter month, you can even buy 1 dozen Harry Potter cookies for $32 on Jennifer's Etsy shop. This is what one U.S. winner will get if they enter the below giveaway. Before that though, let's take a look at some of Jennifer's other fun creations.

You can get Superhero Character Cookies, inspired by Marvel:

Super Hero Character Cookies (inspired by Marvel)

Another set of cookies I thought my readers would enjoy are these Alice in Wonderland Inspired Cookies - you can get 1 dozen for $36.

Full size Alice in Wonderland inspired cookies - listing is for 1 dozen cookies

I just love the details! I wish I could decorate a cookie half as well as Jennifer does!

Giveaway Time:

-winner gets 1 dozen HP cookies
-open to U.S. only
-must be 13 years of age or older to enter; unless you have parental permission
-we are not responsible for lost/broken items in the mail
-giveaway ends November 12

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 21, 2016

Guest Post: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Goblet of Fire Guest Post
By: Maria Zuppardi

Twitter: @MariaZuppardi

The fourth Harry Potter book is kind of super amazing, if you haven’t read it already! I find that this is the point where this series takes a dark turn. We start this book off with the murder of the Riddle family that Harry is dreaming about - not exactly a nice scene at the beginning! This is however offset through the (temporary) excitement of the Quidditch World Cup, which was such a good match! I get so into it whenever I read it….I mean who doesn’t?

I liked the chaotic feel to this book; Harry was always on edge when he didn’t know what to do about an upcoming Triwizard Tournament challenge, or because of the mystery behind Rita Skeeter and her Harry + Hermione rumours, the threat of the Dark Mark and the implications behind it - this was such a crazy book to read because again, it was a different feel from the first three books, but I like it! At this point, Harry and the gang are older, J.K. Rowling’s audience is getting a bit older so it makes sense that she would write this differently.

My favourite part of the book was the ending, when Sirius ends up at the castle almost losing his mind about what Harry went through. Sirius is my favourite character, so any part he’s in I just LOVE! Harry never had a father figure growing up, so it was nice to see Sirius taking on this role way better than Vernon Dursley. Sirius has done better parenting for Harry in over a year than Vernon ever did.

Honourable Mentions

  1. Dobby. Bless him for being a paid member of the Hogwarts faculty! Even though he’s not the most liked elf in the kitchen, he’s really doing something right and following something he believes in. He wants to redefine the boundaries and create a better life for himself and other elves.
  2. Dobby (again) - just because he gave Harry the gillyweed which helped him for the second challenge.
  3. Hermione for always being badass, and figuring out a few key facts along the way.  
  4. Barty Crouch Jr. Let’s face it, it takes some serious dedication to act like a world-renowned Auror. And convince everyone around him that he IS one. Although obviously not done for the right reasons, it’s still a pretty cool undercover mission.
  5. Voldemort. He isn’t the most feared wizard of all time for nothing! From literally going to a gross-looking thing and growing into a full-fledged man was a frighteningly awesome scene both in the book and the movie.
Overall, I think this book was great preparation for the deaths in the other books. There’s really not much to critique here, because I love this book! It’s my second favourite one in the series because of all the action and the amount of new characters introduced. I loved meeting the different wizarding schools. Most of all though, I love J.K. Rowling’s writing ability and how she conveys a story that the whole world can fall in love with.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lucian Divine by Renee Carlino Cover Reveal

Alicia here, with the cover reveal for Renee Carlino's next book! I can't wait to read this, especially because it's paranormal, and I looooove me some paranormal.

Anyways, enjoy!

We have the beautiful cover for the upcoming release from Renee Carlino, LUCIAN DIVINE releasing on JANUARY 9, 2017. Get ready for this breathtaking and unforgettable story!


“My guardian angel is a drunk.”

Evelyn Casey's life is at a standstill. She's in her mid-twenties, struggling with the dating scene in San Francisco. Nothing seems to be working out, and she’s starting to think that she’ll live out her days in her crummy apartment with her overbearing roommate, Brooklyn. It's absurd, but sometimes Evey longs for a guardian angel to show up and save the day.

And then he does. Seriously. His name is Lucian and he's a guardian angel, been on the job for two thousand years. His sudden presence in her life is both good—he's brilliant, witty, and warm—and bad—he's brilliant, witty, warm, and hot as ----. But as perfect as Lucian seems, he’s got problems of his own. He’s taken up drinking and he’s brazenly inserted himself into Evey’s life, going against the greatest cosmic law ever created.

For Evey, the rules are simple: You are not allowed to hook up with your guardian angel. But sometimes fulfilling your destiny requires a leap of faith, a confrontation with God.

Yes, God as in God.

Pre-order now Available

iTunes | B&N | KOBO | AMAZON PRINT | 

Kindle to come

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Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women's novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher's Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

Learn more at


Gryffindor Harry Potter Scarf (U.S. only) - Ends Nov 12

Harry Potter Inspired Infinity Scarves

Today I am excited to share the Etsy shop I Sew for Sanity. The various items that you can find in this shop are infinity scarves, applique shirts, corn hole bags, and garden flags. While she only offers one Harry Potter themed item, it's something that I think a lot of you would love. Yes, you can buy a Harry Potter Infinity Scarf for $15 (regular length) or $17 (long length). Even better? You can choose between the four Hogwarts houses! I think I'd want to own one of each!

Despite these being the only HP items, I still wanted to highlight some other fun items from the shop-
Cancer Awareness Infinity Scarf with embroidered ribbon of your choice!

With it being October and breast cancer awareness month, I'd suggest checking out this Cancer Awareness Infinity Scarf

Another really cute item is this Customized Tooth Fairy Pillow.

Customized Tooth Fairy Pillow

Now it's time for the Giveaway!

prize: 1 Gryffindor Scarf
Open to: U.S. Only
Must Be: 13 years of age or older, or have parental permission to enter
Warning: I am not responsible for lost/damaged items in the mail
Ends: Saturday, November 12 (so you have lots of time to enter!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Prisoner of Azkaban Guest Post


Prisoner of Azkaban Guest Post by Veronica
Follow her on Twitter
Check out her blog, Grounded Wanderlust

           Harry Potter is one of those series that has defined a (my) generation. Everyone who has read the series, and loved it, probably has a favorite too. Out of all of the books, my favorite has to be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (on a side note, the Prisoner of Azkaban is also my LEAST favorite out of all of the movies).
            There are many, many reasons why this book is my favorite out of the entire series. Honestly, I could probably write an entire essay, but I’m going to try to stick to some of my top reasons. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that it has been a couple of years since I have read any of the Harry Potter books, but I still remember why I love each and every one! Also, a warning, this post will contain spoilers for those of you who have not read the HP books (I know you’re out there because my sister is one of you and my boss was one of you up until last April).
            One of the biggest reasons that Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite Harry Potter book is that Lord Voldemort does not directly cause all of the craziness. What I mean by that is, Voldy doesn’t pop up or order anyone to do anything in this book (he is indirectly responsible though a la Pettigrew’s betrayal). I don’t know why, but the fact that the evil actions of one person 12 years earlier had a snowball effect and caused all of the chaos in the third book really resonated with me.
            Another reason I loved Prisoner of Azkaban is the introduction of several important ANIMALS!!! From the very beginning, animals have played an important role in Harry Potter. Hedwig, Fluffy, Norbert, Mrs. Norris, and Scabbers are all animals that have had an impact on the story. Crookshanks (Hermione’s Cat), Pigwidgeon (Ginny’s owl), and Buckbeak (the Hippogriff) were all introduced in Prisoner of Azkaban that recur throughout the series and play significant parts in the story overall. Crookshanks especially was fun to read about.
            The main reason is that this is the first book where Sirius Black and Remus Lupin appear. These two are some of my favorites characters in the series too (they’re tied for top favorites with the Weasley twins). However, it isn’t just that they were introduced that makes me love them. I love the sense of history and depth they add to Harry’s character. Their addition to the series give us a startling glimpse at just how much Harry really lost the night his parents were murdered. I also like the more mischievous air they give to the series.

            There are about a trillion more reasons why Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite book in the Harry Potter series, but I think I will leave you with the three that really solidified the choice for me. I urge anyone who liked the movies but hasn’t read the books to just go ahead and read or listen to them. You honestly have no idea how much you’re missing by only watching the videos.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Personalized Book Review: Disney's Dream Big Princess

this is the book that I ordered
I love Put Me in the Story because of two reasons: 1. I love books and I think it's important to have them in kid's lives at an early age and 2. I think personalized gifts are really fun, and they can make a good gift great! I was given the opportunity to review a new Put Me in the Story book called Disney's Dream Big Princess. My sister-in-law wanted the book for my two nieces, so I added both of their names (It's used on the cover and throughout the book) and I used a photo of the two of them for inside the book. This is placed in the beginning of the book and at the end on a page that you can take out and hang out. I'd love to see people take this page and frame it for their girl's room.

Before I get into my review, I thought I'd share the pertinent information about this book in case you wish to order your own!

(personalized book)
Hardcover $39.99
Paperback $24.99

Get ready to DREAM BIG with your little princess! Families can now explore the stories of the 11 Disney Princesses as they share their adventures and dreams with Disney’s Dream Big Princess book by Put Me In The Story, the #1 personalized books site in the U.S. Greeted with a personalized letter and Princess Passport, little readers can check off the back of their passport when they meet each princess throughout the book. Whether readers are filling in their own dream restaurant's menu alongside Tiana’s or discovering treasures like Ariel, your child will learn that being a princess is more than just princes and’s about being brave, honorable, kind, and hardworking. Your little reader is encouraged to write, draw, and imagine all the things they can be, led by the adventurous, independent, and ever faithful Disney Princesses!

Review: I was given the chance to review the hardback personalized Disney's Dream Big Princess. While I love the hardback, especially for younger readers, you do have the option to get a paperback copy that is a lot cheaper. I think the paperback would be just fine for an older reader who can treat their book with more care. Granted, these aren't board books. The pages must be treated well or they could end up being ripped or folded too much.

As for the actual book itself, this isn't a story like most Put Me in the Story books. Instead, it's very much a personalized book that gets kids thinking. Throughout the book, various princesses are spotlighted. There is a brief summary of their story and how they used friends, gifts, and other attributes to help themselves in life. Then, the section leaves with a question for the child (they use their name(s) every time, which I love!) or a place for them to fill out information. My nieces are still a bit young to fill this out themselves (especially the youngest who was born this year) but my eldest niece is five and she could still be asked the various questions, with her parents filling in the other information if they wish. If not, they can wait until they are older to fill out the book and instead, just read about the princesses and ask questions. Since this is a bit interactive, I do suggest your recipient be old enough to truly enjoy it!

One of the Disney Princesses featured is Merida and I wanted to share one of her pages, so you can see how there is a section for the children to fill out! I loved the mix of Princesses that this book featured, as it helps keeps things diverse. You get Cinderella and Ariel, but you also have Mulan, Pocahontas, and Tiana, so it's definitely a book for children of all backgrounds and races! I love that! 

Who is your favorite Disney princess? Would you buy this for a little one in your life? 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Review by Lauren

source: copy from BEA16; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryMoving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.
     The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestsellerIlluminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault. 
     Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and theHypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion. 
     When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.
     But relax. They've totally got this. They hope.


This was one of the top books that I wanted to get at BEA and it's actually one of the few that I waited in line for awhile to get. I'm not usually a big science fiction fan but I was so curious about Illuminae last year that I had to check it out. I'm so glad I did because it quickly became one of my most favorite books. Gemina was just as exciting. I didn't realize that this book followed new characters but it was great. It showed what life was like in on Heimdall Station, which is essentially a place to live in the middle of outer space. This book follows Nik and Hanna, who are very different people. Nik is part of a crime family who is doing some secret, illegal things on the ship. As for Hanna, she's what Nik calls "Highness" since she's the daughter of the captain.

I don't want to go into too many details on the actual events in the book, in case you haven't read Illuminae yet, but you definitely should! This book has a lot of pages but since it's written in such a unique format, it reads really quick. You get instant messages, emails, transcripts from videos, and more. I loved the way Illuminae was written and it's just as exciting in Gemina. It really adds to the overall story and you can feel the suspense while reading!

There is a lot going on in Gemina. There is the aftermath of the first book, getting to know Nik and Hanna, the invasion of their ship, and some other crazy scientific stuff that has your hands sweating and your heart racing. Definitely a must read!