Sunday, January 30, 2011

Um...Yes, Please!

The above photo is an item you can buy on Etsy right now from Sweeties Bake Shop. And I'm really craving this. It's a mason jar filled with mini heart cookies with fun Valentine's Day sayings like "Be Mine" and even just "Hello" or "Enjoy." It's cute and simple and would be loved by many.

As soon as I saw this jar, I was dying to get my hands on it. I'd love to have this around the house for February...or really, any time. I know my whole family would love the cookies but the presentation is just really fun and cute. My mom would certainly love it!

If you're looking for a little something for that special someone...or even just a friend...definitely think about picking up one of these jars. I love Etsy. They have some of the most fun and unique gifts. Try it out!!

You can buy this product right here. It's called the Talking Sweethearts in a Mason Jar and guess what?! It's only $10!! I think that's a steal!

~Lauren


Note: This is in no way a sponsored post. I did not review this product. I just saw it and wanted to share my love.

Friday, January 28, 2011

An Idea Oprah Winfrey Could Love

Author E. Van Lowe wrote about this project called The Purple Couch on his blog, and I apologize for just now getting it posted here...because it's an amazing idea and I really hope it will be seen on a TV near you soon.

To read more about the project, visit E's blog for the full details.

The basic idea is this...a purple couch will show up somewhere and they ask that people sit down, and talk about a defining moment in their life. And we all know that some of the most unlikely people have the most amazing stories. And I'd love to hear more of them.

There is even an update on E's blog about how this is moving forward a little more...and they are getting ready to pitch it for the OWN network (you know, Oprah...) which would be a perfect spot. It actually reminds me of Oprah's show, when she has your everyday people on talking about their extraordinary lives.

So check out the blog, leave your thoughts. Feel free to comment here as well. I'm sure E would love to know your thoughts as well since he really believes in this project.

~Lauren

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Rising Shadow by Jacquelyn Wheeler

Rising Shadow by Jacquelyn Wheeler

Review by: Lauren

Copy From: Eleni of La Femme Readers

Amazon Associate: Buy the book from this link, we get a small percentage

Summary: Ashlyn Woods just transferred to one of the most beautiful campuses on the west coast, where she can't wait to start her life over as a normal college student. But her plans take an unexpected turn when she discovers that she is a Soterian: a person who develops amazing powers when the balance of good and evil shifts too far in evil's favor.



Soon she and the other Soterians are studying martial arts and learning to use their powers to prevent California from being plunged into chaos. But they quickly discover that they're up against a much more dangerous enemy than they anticipated.


And when Ashlyn meets Kai, a devastatingly gorgeous guitar player, she realizes she must sacrifice more than she ever imagined.

Review: If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that not all of my reviews are set up the same...sometimes I add pictures, a product that fits the book, or even a song that I feel fits the book and would go on its "soundtrack." For this one, I'm doing something really different...I'm setting up the actual review in a new way.

Pros- One of the things that I really enjoyed about this book is that Ashlyn is in college. I know this is a topic going around the blog world these days...and I happen to agree with the idea that more YA should take place in college. I'm in college now, so I get characters that I relate to more...but older readers are already reading "down" in YA and teens in high school like to read about people older than them, so what's the deal? More college YA, I say! (Yes, I know that rhymed...)

I also enjoyed the political aspect of the story. I'm not really into politics and I won't pretend to be, but it's included in the book in a way that shouldn't turn anyone off. After all, we all know that some politicians are corrupt and you can't always trust someone just because they have money or are in office. Plus, the idea of an evil being working through the government isn't all that hard to believe for a fantasy novel.

The powers that everyone had weren't new by any means, but the idea of the Soterians in general was very unique and I liked that they had to work as a team despite who may have had the "better" powers. They all needed each other to get the job done.

Cons- There really weren't that many cons for me. However, I do have to mention that Ashlyn and love interest Kai did fall in love really fast. This seems to happen a lot in YA these days, and to be honest, it gets old sometimes...it just doesn't feel realistic or even necessarily "healthy." In the book they do explain why Ashlyn and Kai are drawn to each other and why it's good for them to be together...which helped the case a bit and didn't make it too frustrating for me to read. So overall, it's not really a con...but it's something I wanteed to note for anyone curious in reading this and might find that troublesome. Don't let it stop you from reading the book if this sounds like your thing...as it is a good story...but you are forewarned by the suddeness of their relationship.

And now...a picture before you go! The below photo is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it's kind of how I imagine Ashlyn and the other female Soterians. "Kicking butt and taking names" if you will!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mish Mosh Box - Take a Trip to the Past


Mish Mosh Box

The concept behind the mishmoshbox is pure genius and the women who are behind the start of this new company work feverishly to make sure that every detail of the products in their various cyber stores are in keeping with the vintage and nostalgic theme. Each cyber store is filled with “treasures” from the 1930’s up to the 1990’s, and there are gifts for everyone, kids of all ages, Moms and Dads and even your hard to please super teen!

The mishmoshbox is a collection of toys that will take you back to a time when life was simpler. The boxes are both age and gender appropriate and will keep your child busy indoors, outdoors, in the car or just about anywhere. Our toys will bring back fond memories for Mom and Dad. Wooly Willy, Slinky, Nuts in a Can, Tiddly Winks to name a few… mishmoshboxes can be used as a get well gift, birthday treat, holiday present, or just an “I love you” token of affection. These games are still fascinating, interesting and thought provoking, and we promise you – no digital or electronic toys here.

Additionally, the beauty of the mishmoshbox is that it can be updated by simply adding a few items at a time or by purchasing one of the MishMoshBox refill kits. These gifts will grow with your child, therefore lasting for years to come.

And while you are visiting mishmoshbox.com, don’t miss out on their cyber shops. Treasures from Mama, Darling Dress Ups, Cherry Bomb Jewelry, The Barbie Shop and Teen Scene all feature vintage and nostalgia inspired gifts that you cannot find elsewhere and that we are sure will make your family and friends feel special and “vinspired”.

All mishmoshboxes are available as custom gifts as well.

For each purchase made through this blog you will receive a $25 gift certificate courtesy of the mishmosh gals…………

All the Links You Could Ever Need-
 
 Website
 
Facebook
 
Twitter

A Note on Their Other Cyber Shops-Visit their Main Website and Click Stores to Find a Full List!

Treasures from Mama, carrying authentic charms and notions from the 40's and 50's; Cherry Bomb Jewelry, carrying handmade - one of a kind vintage jewelry, that actually have been re-designed from inherited family heirlooms; The Barbie Shop - featuring nostalgia themed Barbie dolls; Darling Dress Ups - featuring little girl dress up kits designed by Betsy Cox, who has been a costume designer for the silver screen for the past 40 years; and Teen Scene featuring the latest trends for Teens today.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Writer's Critique CONTEST


I know I'm not the only one out there that writes as well as reads. So I know that one of the hardest parts is probably the editing that you have to do...which is why they always say you should get a critique partner. Don't have one? Or just need a little more help? It doesn't matter why you need one, now you get one!

Well, not a full-time one or one that will read everything, but want a critique of up to 8 pages on WHATEVER you're working on? Then you need to enter this contest from author, Courtney Rene.

If she wasn't a client of mine, I would totally be entering. I think giveaways like these are really helpful and it's sweet of the author to offer up something like this. They are essentially giving you their time and expertise. What's better?

So enter now!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Royal Pains + Fairly Legal Reviews



Royal Pains Premiere Review by Lauren

One of my favorite shows on the USA Network is Royal Pains, so I was really happy that instead of waiting until the summer (again) for more of this show, it has already come back. This past Thursday, Royal Pains premiered again with Hank working to save his dad's life after he has a heart attack. If you watch the show...you'll know that Hank and Evan's father, Eddie R. Lawson, is involved in some shady business and was made to spy on Boris (the keeper of the house). Now Eddie is recovering and Hank wants to keep him healthy, but Evan wants answers...and Boris is giving him a job to get his dad away. What's up with all this? Well, you just have to watch the show!!

Maybe I'm a bit biased...as I said, I do love this show. It's a lot of fun and it's interesting and humorous, and the family dynamics between the Lawson boys are heating up so that's fascinating to watch. This premiere episode wasn't anything too big...just the start of some more questions. It certainly makes you want to keep watching, which I definitely will!

Question is...are you?



Fairly Legal Premiere Review by Lauren

Right after Royal Pains this past Thursday, the series premiere of Fairly Legal aired. As this is a new show, I can only tell you what I think based on the first episode. This is the story of Kate. Her father has just passed away, her step-mother is trying to run the family business, Kate is no longer a lawyer but she does mediate for the court...which means she tries to figure out a solution when two parties are fighting, her ex-husband is a pain in her side yet genuinely cares about her it seems, her brother is a stay at home daddy, and finally, there is her best friend who will do almost anything for her.

I think Kate's job is really interesting and you even see her putting it to the test in "real life" when it's not ordered by a judge...actually, it's during a robbery. Yeah, pretty interesting. This show has just started but I'm already invested in the characters and I want Kate to succeed and I enjoy watching her run around trying to get the job done, while also making sure that justice really does prevail.

Though not a regular star on the show (I don't believe), Kate's brother is played by Ethan Embry. If you don't know him, he's an actor that can be seen in movies such as Can't Hardly Wait. He doesn't play a huge part on the show, but it was still really fun to see him...and he's definitely a rational sounding post for Kate it seems.

Overall, Fairly Legal is a fun show. I'm hooked after the first episode and can't wait to see where the series goes.

I think you'll like Kate too. Give her a shot.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Have a Terrible Secret to Share...

I know this may deeply, deeply upset some of you out there...maybe even scar some of you for life, I can't be sure. But I must be honest. I have not yet...


read...The Hunger Games. Dun...dun...DUN! I know, I know. It's awful. I'm really behind when it comes to series. I happen to own The Hunger Games and Catching Fire but I just need to find the time to read them. I'm always so caught up reading books I have to read instead of ones that I just want to read...as I review for here, Romantic Times magazine, and I'm also an English Lit Major.

A friend of mine loves the series though and another one just started the first book over Winter Break, so I know it's about time I got it in gear and started reading these.

I will....one day. *ducks* *peaks out* Okay, all clear. I swear it will happen sometime soon. This year hopefully! haha



However, my other blog Let's Get Beyond Tolerance is hosting a blog tour and we have a fun prize pack of books up for grabs donated by lovely, lovely bloggers (so yes, enter because you love them). What does that have to do with this post? Well, one of the newly added items is a hardback copy of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. So if you don't own this one yet, want a copy for someone else, or whatever other reason...you need to enter this giveaway. Yes, you do.

And that isn't the only prize either. Curious? Check it out!

~Lauren



I do not own any of these pictures

Monday, January 17, 2011

Other Words for Love Guest Post + Giveaway

Music, Writing, & Other Words for Love

Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Music helps to inspire my writing. I don’t listen to music while I’m writing, because it distracts me like crazy. I need a lot of quiet when I’m writing! But I listen to music before I write, and sometimes I’ll stop in the middle of a scene and listen to a song that captures the essence of the emotions I’m striving to put on the page.

I was especially inspired by music while writing Other Words for Love. Much of the story deals with the intense emotions that my main character—Ari Mitchell—feels as a result of her relationship with her first serious boyfriend, Blake Ellis. When things are going well with Blake, Ari experiences a euphoric high. When he lets her down, she struggles through a bleak period. Music helped me to capture the excitement and sweetness of the romance between Ari and Blake, as well as the deep sadness that Ari deals with after that romance ends.

Another thing that music helped to do was transport me to the 1980s—which is when Other Words for Love takes place. The novel contains some scenes in which Ari and her friends dance the night away at a club in Manhattan, and listening to songs from that era made it easy to visualize those scenes. But not all of the music that inspired me is from the 1980s. The playlist is long, it’s eclectic, and it has songs from various decades and different artists. Here are just a few of the songs on that list:

1. Breathe Your Name by Sixpence None the Richer;

2. Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer;

3. Taking it All Too Hard by Genesis;

4. Modern Love by David Bowie;

5. Borderline by Madonna;

6. Here’s Where the Story Ends by The Sundays; and

7. Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order

 
Giveaway Time
 
Prize: Signed copy of Other Words for Love
 
Open To: U.S.
 
To Enter: What is your favorite love song?
 
Ends: January 31st
 
Extra-
 
+1 follow this blog (leave one new comment)
 
+1 follow Lorraine on twitter (leave one new comment)
 
 
 
Amazon Associates: Buy the book, we get a small percentage

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Watch Your Shows on This!


do not own

Now that the New Year has begun, that means...new shows! And one way to really watch your shows in style is to grab a new tv stand. I love the one in my living room as it has room for some of my books and DVD's as well, plus it's cute and fits the decor. But if I could pick a new one, I think I'd love the above photo. It's a tv stand that has a FIREPLACE! I mean, really? How could you not want something like that?

And as for all the new shows you are watching...I hope to have some new posts in the coming weeks that deal with some of the things I'm watching. I was never really a big TV watcher, but I find myself watching more shows these days then I used to. I suppose that says some good AND bad things about the TV industry. haha

As for you...what do you think about the TV stands? Any you wish you could have to watch your favorite shows? (and what are those)?

~Lauren

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January Challenge - Catherine Ryan Hyde

Amazon Associate: Buy the book, we get a small percentage

I picked a random Catherine Ryan Hyde book for this post, but really...you can read anything. And to do that, you should join the 2011 Catherine Ryan Hyde Challenge.

You "win" by reading one book by CRH this year. It's a pretty good deal, huh? And at the same time...we're going to try and have some fun giveaways through the year so you want to enter those right?

Whether you've read anything by this author or not...I suggest you sign up. And if you already signed up, feel free to put "I'm in" again at the following post.

Go here and list your January reviews or "sign up". Oh, and on this blog and the one the link takes you to...you will find the challenge button in the corner. Please post!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

School Costs a Lot (and This Might Help)


As you may know, I (and that means Lauren) am a college student. Yeah, good times. Honestly, I do like college a lot more than high school...but that doesn't mean it's easy. And one thing that I'm always having to do is PRINT.THINGS.OUT. The big stuff are usually papers...those can range from 8 to 12 pages. I also have to print notes and handouts off my computer sometimes because the school is trying to limit what the professors print...because it's expensive.

So what's my point? I need more ink, and it drives me nuts...because I swear, it's like I always need more ink. Now, if you click the photo above or this link HERE you can get 10 % off some ink...and as it says, you get free shipping on orders over $55. Not too shabby. Bet you never thought of getting ink online? I never really did either, but I think it's a smart idea...nice way to stock up for awhile as well, especially when you find deals like this.

For all you high school and college students...and parents of these students...check out the site and see if what you need is available. Get some deals on ink!



Sponsored Post: In full disclosure, I get money for every person that buys through my links. I do appreciate any and all support of our site so if you're interested, please go through here! Thank you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Oh, So Lonely...


The following posts are looking pretty sad and lonely...pretty much like the girl in the above photo if these posts were a person. However, they were written by a person...and I'd certainly like to hear your thoughts. It's 2011 and I really want to make that the year of Let's Get Beyond Tolerance. It has a wonderful message and the more you comment and give your thoughts, the more we can do and the bigger it can be.

Oh, and if you spread the word about this blog...we'd really really really love you. Yeah, that much.

Here are the posts you should definitely be reading!

Don't Ask Don't Tell is overturned.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World film review- the movie that gave us the awesome line "I want to have his adopted babies!"

~Lauren

I do not own any pictures used in this post.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Royal Pains Prize Pack Giveaway


USA has your Thursday nights covered with all new episodes of Royal Pains at 9/8c and the network’s newest series Fairly Legal at 10/9c. What will happen to HankMed? Will Divya go through with her marriage to Raj? What does Boris have in store for Hank's father Eddie? Find out when all-new episodes of Royal Pains return at a new time! Royal Pains stars Mark Feuerstein, Paulo Costanzo, Reshma Shetty, Henry Winkler, Campbell Scott and more!

Visit the official Royal Pains website at http://www.usanetwork.com/series/royalpains/ for exclusive content and become a fan on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/royalpains.

ENTER TO WIN a Royal Pains Gift Bag!

Gift bag includes:

Royal Pains Hat


Royal Pains Bobble Head


Season 1 DVD


Kiehl’s Self-Tanning Lotion


Hamptons Dictionary

Open to residents of the U.S. & Canada, aged 13 and older

Prize courtesy of USA Network. Prize pack value: $130

To Enter: If you could be any character on this show, who would you pick? (if you haven't watched the show yet, look at basic character profiles and choose from that)

Ends: Saturday, January 29th

EXTRA- (leave a new comment for each separate entry so 3 comments for 3 entries, etc.)

+1 like Royal Pains on facebook

+2 follow this blog

+3 sign up for the Love Ballads event

White Collar Prize Pack Giveaway


Tuesday, January 18th, USA Network is bringing you the premiere of all new episode of White Collar at 10/9c! Find out what happens to Neal, Peter, Mozzie and the rest of the crew after a huge cliff-hanging finale last summer. WHITE COLLAR stars Matt Bomer, TimDeKay, Tiffany Thieseen, Willie Garson, Marsha Thomason and Shariff Atkins.

Visit the official White Collar website at http://www.usanetwork.com/series/whitecollar, for games, photos, videos and weekly prizes. Become a fan on Facebook for the latest news, exclusive features and more at http://www.facebook.com/whitecollar.


ENTER TO WIN a WHITE COLLAR Gift Bag!

Gift bag includes:

White Collar Notebook


Black Chasmere Scarf


Season 1 DVD


Money Clip

Open to residents of the U.S. & Canada, who are 13 or older.


Prize courtesy of USA Network. Prize pack value: $135

To Enter: If you could play anyone on the show, who would you pick? (if you don't watch the show yet, look at the basic character profiles and choose someone based on that!)

Ends: Saturday, January 29th


EXTRA- leave a new comment for each separate entry so 3 comments for 3 entries, etc.)

+1 like White Collar on facebook

+2 follow this blog via GFC

+3 sign up for the Love Ballads Event

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: Get Real and Stop Dieting...I Must Say I Agree

Get Real and Stop Dieting! Forget the Fads, Learn the Facts and Feel Fabulous by Brett Blumenthal

Review by: Lauren

Copy From: Amazon Encore

Amazon Associate: Buy the book from the link and we get a small percentage

Official Summary: If you are ready to make a life change for the sake of better health, look no further than this simple, no-frills guide to healthy eating. In the pages of Get Real and Stop Dieting!, fitness instructor and wellness expert Brett Blumenthal cuts through the chaos of fad diets and scientific mumbo jumbo to demystify healthy eating once and for all. After decades of experience in the health and wellness industries, Blumenthal has zeroed in on five simple “Get Real” principles, nutritional tools founded in cold, hard facts. The principles are accompanied by the “Get Real” toolkit to make implementing them easy and effective. Plus, Blumenthal provides forty pages of healthy, satisfying recipes—from whole-grain pancakes to rich chocolate clusters—to help readers launch their nutritional makeover. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated. Now, thanks to this easy-to-implement diet and nutrition program, you too can be inspired, empowered, and motivated to live a healthier, happier life.

Review: It's the New Year and we all know what that means...the start of making healthy resolutions. I don't normally make serious resolutions, but it just so happens that I am currently trying to be healthier and get more in shape. This book came at the right time for that and it was interesting to go through and see what Blumenthal had to say on the topic.

I certainly agree with the assessment that diets aren't good...you really need to make a lifestyle change. It's also something I see as gradual, so looking through this book can overwhelm you a bit if you forget that. You have to take things one step at a time and do what what you can.

They have a whole section on getting more fiber into your diet which was interesting for me since I already have to have more fiber than normal. It has to be a conscious effort, so I was curious to see just exactly what should be going into your diet.

My absolute favorite part of this book and something that anyone can get out of it are the recipes in the back. I definitely want to try some of these soon. It's always nice to have recipes on hand that you know are going to be good for you, because I'll be honest...it's hard trying to figure it all out and do the right thing. So these will be a good start! There are even some pictures for some of them (sorry, they are in black and white) but having something to look at makes me more interested! Right now I really want to try her Chic Cucumber Sandwich and the desserts all look good for the most part...from Date Truffles to Angel Food Layer Cake from Heaven (which made me smile when I saw the title because I call Angel Food cake, in general, a slice of heaven).

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases people are excited for.

I see both Lauren and I are doing a WOW today. Here's mine:

Title: Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Hyperion Books CH
Release Date:
March 1, 2011

Summary:

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Why I want it:

I NEED THIS BOOK LIKE I NEED TO BREATHE! Ok, that sounds extreme, but its true. Most of you don't know this, but I read Hex Hall in December of 2009 and I have been (im)patiently waiting for the sequel ever since. I absolutely loved Hex Hall and am always recommending it to everyone. Reading about Sophie, Archer (haaaawt boy) and all of their friends was a lot of fun. Plus Hex Hall was original and there wasn't a thing that I didn't like (alright, except for a character or two). I am just dying to read it.

Plus, how awesome and gorgeous is that cover?

What are you waiting for?

-Alicia

W.O.W- The Intimates by Ralph Sassone

The Intimates by Ralph Sassone

Waiting on Wednesday pick by Lauren

Release: February 2, 2011

Amazon Associate- Buy the book from this link and we get a small percentage

Summary from Publisher- The Intimates is a brilliant and deeply moving first novel about the varieties of romance. Spanning years and continents, beginnings and endings, it is about two gifted and striving people who discover themselves in the reflection they see in each other, and how their affinity anchors them at critical points in their lives.



Maize and Robbie are drawn to each other from the first time they meet in high school. When it becomes obvious that their relationship won’t be sexual, they establish a different kind of intimacy: becoming each other’s “human diaries.” Their passionate Friendship plays out against a backdrop of charged connections: with lovers and would be lovers, family members, teachers, and bosses. For the better part of a decade they’re inseparable fellow travelers, but ultimately they must confront the underside of the extreme and complicated closeness that has sustained them since they were teenagers.


Full of indelible characters, engrossing situations, and observations as sharply witty as they are lovely and profound, The Intimates renders the wonders and disappointments of becoming an adult, the thrills and mesmerizing illusions of sex, and the secrets we keep from others and ourselves as we struggle to locate our true character. The Intimates marks the emergence of a remarkable new voice.

Why I Want This: Doesn't it just sound fascinating? I read a play this past semester in one of my classes. It was called The Heidi Chronicles and the main character, Heidi, meets a man named Peter when she is a young woman and one of the first things he tells her is, "If we can't be married, I hope we are lifelong friends." I'm going by memory of course, so that's probably not exactly right but you get it...and this book kind of reminded me of that. There isn't much of a wait for this one either, which is always nice!


Also...I wanted people to know if you haven't read Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert, that will always be on my suggestion list (and it's out NOW). But if you have, I want to promote it more so please check out my event and sign up. And yes, you can sign up even if you have not read it yet!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Humans are Cool...Duh! (Event Sign-Up)

Humans are Cool...Duh!

By: Lauren

Amazon Associate:  Buy the book from the link and we get a small percentage

I can't be the only one out there who is a bit tired of seeing mostly paranormal/fantasy/etc. books coming out. Yes, I like them just as much as the next person...but some of my most favorite books will always be contemporary. I like your everyday, average human beings going through their regular life. Sure, those lives are usually a bit messed up and very interesting...but they don't have super powers or enemies that are actually evil like you know, Voldemort...

One of my all-time favorite books (and this is actually a hard thing for a book to be) is Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert. It's such a raw, emotional book that shows life as it is: the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's one book I try and recommend as much as I can. It's a book that I think everyone reading this blog should read at some point. Buy it, get it from the library. It doesn't matter. Though I will say buying the book would be amazing as the author deserves more recognition and praise. Show you want these type of books. No, I'm not saying no more paranormal and the like...but who doesn't like more realistic stories too? They can be just as much of an escape as other novels...plus, they have a greater ability to resonate with you.

Right now, on Amazon, you can buy a copy of the book for really cheap so get out those gift cards and holiday cash you recieved last month and buy a book that is worth it, and celebrate an author that deserves it.

If you don't have the money or want to try and win the book before you buy, head over to Misha's blog. She has a wonderful interview with Stephanie as well.

I know some of you have already read the book, and if you loved it as well, go and buy a copy. I bought my own as well and it doesn't take much money.

So enough about my love for Ballads...what about you? What are your thoughts on the novel (whether you read it or not)? What other books make you go "humans are cool, duh" ?

Next month is February and as that is the season of love, I thought it would be fun to really do a Boost for Ballads as it's a book I love. I hope, like Misha, you will join me in celebrating. Re-post (or post for the first time) reviews of Ballads of Suburbia, interview Stephanie or have her do a guest post, host giveaways if you wish (but I'd aim for buying the book if you want to give it away...support, give it more sales!), or even give away other items that make you think of Ballads as that's my plan for the month.

Please...leave a link to your blog in the Mr. Linky below if you plan on doing something to Boost Ballads during the month of February. ALSO: If you have read the book and loved it as well, please email me about another "project" I'm working on. I need people to help me out ASAP...don't worry, it's really not that hard.

ALA Midwinter 2011

Hey everyone, Alicia here.

As you can see, thanks to the picture on the left, I'm attending ALA Midwinter in San Diego. I will be there on Saturday and Sunday, most likely all day. If you've seen my vlogs then you should know what I look like, but if not I can post a picture, just let me know.

Anyone else out there planning on going those days? If you are leave a comment, email, or tweet me and hopefully we can meet up. I was also wondering if anyone knew of any signings going on. I only know about one so far, so any information would be appreciated.

Also, a quick question to anyone that has attended past meetings. When there are finished copies and authors signing finished copies, you have to pay for the book, right? If I understand correctly, you do, but the books are cheap. Any tips would be appreciated, but I'm assuming its almost the same as BEA (which I went to), just smaller.

And that's it. Remember, if you are: going, know of people that are going, know of any authors signing/attending, please let me know. (Geez, that was a lot of "knows".)

Here's the link to the website in case you are interested in attending or anything.

And since most of you probably don't know these, here are my:
Email- moviefanatic1911@yahoo.com
Twitter- @leasha_91

I'll have a post about what happened on either Monday or Tuesday.

-Alicia

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Gift We Gave and You Should Too (Plus, It's Almost Free)

One of the gifts that my mom gave out this year was a canvas. That means...they take a picture you upload and turn it into a hardback, wrap around canvas in your size choice. My mom used a photo of her and her two sisters when they were slightly younger, and had a canvas made for her mom for Christmas. It turned out amazing and one of my mom's sisters even wants one of her husband and her now! And now you can get one too!

My mom has one herself too. It's a picture of me, my sister, and brother when we were all really little. It's super cute. My mom's is an 8x10 so she got a stand for it and it sits on there, for everyone to see.

As you can see from the photo above, you can now get one yourself for almost NOTHING! Canvas People (where we got our canvases)  is offering $55 off any canvas. If you go for the 8x10, that means all you pay is shipping and that's usually only $15. A wonderful gift and memory for only 15 bucks? Umm...yes, please! If you go bigger, you just pay shipping and the amount that left over from $55 on your canvas choice.

This is a limited time offer, so get moving...but this would be great for pretty much any holiday or event. PLUS, next month is Valentine's Day and what woman would not want a canvas of their loved one(s)?!

-Lauren

NOTICE: This is a sponsored post...in the sense that I get money back for anyone that goes through with this offer, as far as I can tell. haha I'm new to the program. I do love this website and think this is an amazing deal. That is my personal opinion.

IMM 10

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren who was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

I meant to do a vlog, but I didn't feel like it, so pictures instead. This is from the past week.



Review:

Vampire Crush by A. M. Robinson
Wither (Chemical Garden, #1) by Lauren DeStefano (got a few weeks ago)
Memento Nora by Angie Smibert (got a few weeks ago)
Afterlife (Evernight, #4) by Claudia Gray
Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely, #5) by Melissa Marr
Tempestuous (Wondrous Strange, #3) by Lesley Livingston
Invisible Things by Jenny Davidson
The Goblin Gate by Hilari Bell
The Lying Game (The Lying Game, #1) by Sara Shepard
Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer
Pink by Lili Wilkinson
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Vesper (Deviants, #1) by Jeff Sampson


Bought:

StarCrossed (Thief Errant, #1) by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
Night Star (The Immortals, #5) by Alyson Noel
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
Kisses from Hell by Kristin Cast, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Richelle Mead, Francesca Lia Block
Other by Karen Kincy
Immortal by Gillian Shields
Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward, boxed set: (my Christmas gift)
Dark Lover (book #1) [loved]
Lover Eternal (book #2) [loved]
Lover Awakened (book #3) [loved]
Lover Revealed (books #4) [least favorite; don’t like the main characters]
Lover Unbound (book #5) [currently reading]
Lover Enshrined (book #6)

And that's what I got. What did you get in your mailbox?

-Alicia

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Memorable Christmas Party

Do Not Own

My most memorable holiday moment…well, I can’t really say what that is to be honest. However, I can tell you about the Christmas I just had and what made that a fun memory. I had a Christmas party with some of my friends and surprisingly, most of them actually showed up. That is always something to worry about. You hope to have a good time, but everybody has to be able and willing to show up, and as I said, most of them did. So that was the first thing, and I definitely want to keep having Christmas parties with friends.

What also made it fun were the gifts. Sure, I got a few things myself…a Gus bobble head from the show Psych, some candy, and even a Bazinga! shirt from The Big Bang Theory…see a small pattern? But what makes it more exciting for me is giving gifts to people. I had something for everybody there. That included one of my friend’s boyfriend and another friend’s fiancĂ©. I enter tons and tons of giveaways all year long, so a lot of gifts come from that…but then I spend some money on others. I won’t give up what I bought or what I didn’t, but winning gifts isn’t always easy either. I work hard for a lot of them and it means so much to me to be able to share them with others sometimes.

-Lauren

“This post was written for an entry into the baby clothes holiday writing contest. One lucky blogger will win a $50 Amazon gift card! For a chance to win see the baby clothes blog for more information.”