Saturday, August 30, 2014

August Recap 2014

Okay. I am finally doing it...a monthly recap!!

August was a FUN month! I was waiting forever for my weekend up North and it finally came. Me and Hubby went up to Lutsen with two other couples. It was a blast! And the Sea Villa we stayed in was much nicer than I was expecting. So that was a bonus. We ate pizza, s'mores, fudge, grilled, bonfired, talked, and laughed. BEST. And hopefully repeatable. 

I also started a home business. *cross fingers it all goes well!* I am super pumped about it and want it to do well. 

And then cheerleading. Ah. Back in the swing of things. This will be my sixth year coaching I think. It all sort of becomes a neverending blur. I have high hopes for the season with a new batch of freshmen. 

Fantasy Football 2014 baby! Hubby and I weren't as prepared for the draft this year around, which we held at our apparently super small house. This was evidenced by our drafting two, yes TWO defenses. Sigh. Better luck next year, eh? Next year I think I will do my own team though. Love ya Hubby! ;D

I am closing out the month with seven new books on my Read shelf. Most of the reviews are still pending. I am so behind on posting reviews!
5 Stars:
Let's All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs
4 Stars:
Thirteen by James Phelan
Growing Up Social by Arlene Pellicane and Gary D. Chapman 
Velveteen Rabbit (audiobook)-no review pending
Heart Shaped Rock by Laura Roppe (linked to review)
3 Stars:
Bouquet of Love by Janice Thompson (linked to review)
2 Stars:
Parenting the Whole-Hearted Child Jeannie Cunnion (also a DNF)

I have managed 14 posts for August. Respectable :)
Speak-3 Stars....though I am thinking 2 is more like it...
Fire Wish-4 Stars
Bouquet of Love-3.5 stars
...and now do you see why I am behind on reviews??
Quick Reviews:
Team Us-3.5 Stars....more like a 3 now..
Blitzes, Tours, Reveals:
Pieces of Me Blitz--giveaway still open!
Dream Boy Blitz--giveaway still open!
Kid Focused:
And more...

Season Two of Gilmore Girls! I flew through season one, but somehow don't have as much time for season two. Still a great show, not a favorite yet, but darned good!

Also: SEASON EIGHT OF DOCTOR WHO!! No spoilers I promise! As much as I hate to admit it, Peter Capaldi isn't horrible. Everything I hated about the episode was on the production side. Like WOW. Horrible production. If I can tell the camera work is being used to make me think a scene is more hectic and crazy then  it really is...then no bueno. 

And yes, I have gotten sucked into the giant Simpson's marathon a few times :) 

Time for me to get back to Yoga! I'm starting with some easy hip openers 

I made these and these and they were huge hits! 

Debating if I should do this

And who doesn't need one of these? Adorable! 

Looking ahead to September I don't have much planned. A nephew's birthday, a book party, some football (!!), some fall Caribou mochas, and hopefully some better organization! Goodbye dear August, you were humid as usual, yet I am still sad to see you go. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Unrequited Book Blitz & Giveaway!

by Emma Grey 
Release Date: 05/26/14

Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Kat Hartland loathes Unrequited, the world's biggest boy band. Is she the only girl in Sydney who can't be bothered with perfect-looking Angus Marsden?

Give her 5 Seconds of Summer. Now.

Or maybe the seriously-hot med student who rescued her on a train—and who could be Douglas Booth's twin! Perfect formal partner, much?

But when Kat comes face to face with Angus Marsden himself, things start to get complicated. Very. Throw in a deranged female popstar, final exams, a part in the musical and a mum who just doesn't get it—and where is her best friend?

When did life get so crazy? Kat's just an ordinary schoolgirl.

Isn't she?

Buy Links:
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo Books

Read the first three chapters at:

Book Trailer:

Book excerpt :
Is he going to kiss her? How would she know? She’s never done this before. Not with anyone. Pop star or otherwise …
He is. He’s going to kiss me. She thought they couldn’t get any closer on this piano stool but she was wrong. His face is near hers now, his green eyes intent. He touches her cheek with his fingers and traces a line to her chin, which he lifts, gently, almost like he’s done this a million times before.
His breath is on her lips and she can actually hear her own heart thudding. She’s sure he can, too, particularly when his other hand finds the curve of her waist and pulls her closer.
There’s nothing rushed about this manoeuvre. Yep. He’s definitely done this before. Maybe two million times. Maybe three million. After all, he’s got at least twenty million followers on social media …

‘Kat,’ he whispers. ‘Turn your brain off.’

About the Author
Emma Grey has two teenage girls, a three-year-old boy, a couple of businesses and another teen novel in the pipeline. Her first book, 'Wits' End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum' was published in 2005.

Author Links:
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3 - $10 Amazon Gift Cards (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pieces of Me Book Blitz & Giveaway!

Pieces of Me
by Kira Adams 
Release Date: 08/11/14

Summary from Goodreads:
For sixteen year old Peyton Lane, life has never been easy. She’s not popular, overweight, and oh yeah, her sister is embarrassed of her. But over the course of a tumultuous year, everything changes for Peyton. 

Suddenly all eyes are on her and it’s not because she’s fat. From a pair of handsome twins to a couple of dangerously sexy rockers, Peyton will have to find out who she can trust with her heart. From the ups and downs to the twists and turns—this is Peyton’s story of finding one’s voice and growing into your own.

This is a coming of age romance that involves realistic situations and raw emotions. This is Pieces of Me.

Buy Links:
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Createspace

Book Excerpt:
“Can I just ask you one thing?” He stopped highlighting his script and turned to face me. “Are you buying all the bullshit he fed you?”
My cheeks were red in a matter of seconds. What if Jace knows something I don’t? What if everyone does? Did I get played by Jax? wouldn't put it past him; after all he had put me through. I can’t believe I hadn't thought of it before. Jace looked at me with sympathy in his eyes, which just made it that much worse. Tears were forming at the corner of my eyes, but I was determined to blink them back. He probably thought I had something stuck in my eye, when in reality, I was trying not to have a full on break down in front of him.
“Peyton,” he said softly, rubbing my arm with his hand. “You didn’t do anything wrong,” he whispered. “I just don’t want you to get hurt, especially by him. I haven’t been around him much my whole life, even though we are brothers…but from what I’ve seen in this past year, I just don’t believe he has your best interests at heart. Just promise me you won’t buy everything he says right away. Promise me you will think before moving forward with him, please.”
“I didn’t ask for any of this,” I said softly, looking down. It was true. All I had ever wanted after everything Jax had done to me was invisibility. I just wanted to be left alone. I never asked in a million years for him to torture me and then play with my emotions

About the Author
Krista Pakseresht has always been a dreamer. From the first time she opened her eyes. Creating worlds through words is one thing she is truly talented at. She specializes in Young adult/New adult romance, horror, action, fantasy, and non-fiction under the pen name Kira Adams.

She is the author of the Infinite Love series, the Foundation series, the Darkness Falls series, and the Looking Glass series.

Author Links:
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Ten Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Writing: Kira Adams

1.      Beta readers are invaluable. One of the first things I did when I decided I wanted to write more seriously was join the site, Goodreads. There are hundreds of people on there who are interested in beta reading, and they all do it out of the kindness of their heart—asking for no monetary compensation. Each and every one of my books went through multiple rounds of beta readers who helped me address problems with the plot, flow, characterization, and even sometimes, spelling and grammar. I honestly believe if it were not for Goodreads and the beta readers help, I wouldn’t be the author I am today.
2.      Where is the rush? I hastily made the decision to publish my first book after being fed up with my life in general—I would not recommend this. I missed minor formatting errors and settled for the story as it was even though I had inner doubts about it. Although thousands of readers were happy with the version that was published, I have already edited it once and will probably revise and update the published copies once more if I decide to delve back into the story. I also missed the opportunity to promote at all. Even though I have found book bloggers (and thank God for them), it is still very hard work. I would recommend taking your time to publish your novel.
This is the format I would follow if you are interested in self-publishing: Write the story, edit the story, have the story beta read, put the story away for a little bit of time to breathe while you begin something new, edit the story again, have it beta read one more time, edit it for the final time, format it for e-books and paperbacks, promote, promote, promote, publish.
3.      Join online writing communities such as Wattpad, Figment, Authonomy, Scribophile, etc. Joining a site like Wattpad has been life-changing for me. It is a website that merges readers and aspiring writers with published authors and even agents sometimes. You are able to post your stories chapter by chapter and others have the opportunity to read, comment, and vote on your works as well as follow your profile and add your books to their libraries. There are also forums you can join that give advice on the ins and outs of the industry. A majority of the website is the younger generation, tweens and teens, however Wattpad is filled with aspiring writers and published authors of all backgrounds.
I joined the site in September 2013, and since then I have 645 followers, over 7000 votes, and upwards of 35,000 reads on some of my stories. Even though I have not and will not ever receive any monetary compensation from having my stories on Wattpad, I will be a lifer. I cannot tell you how much of a community it is and how supportive my followers have been for me as well as advice I’ve been given on improving my novels; I cannot say enough great things about Wattpad. I think I should be their mascot!
4.      Your friends and family will come around. Don’t be offended if your friends and family don’t read your stories right away or even bother to buy them when they are released. Things to keep in mind, everyone has their own life and are busy living it—they will support you when they see the hard work. Also, factor in what genre you are writing in because not everyone will be interested in Young Adult or New Adult Romances.
5.      If you have the opportunity to have a critiquing partner who will swap a few chapters at a time, TAKE IT. While beta readers can be helpful to no end, a critiquing partner can and will become passionate about your work; they will push you to write new chapters and even though they won’t go easy on you just because you’ve built a rapport, they will support you to no end.
6.      Go with the flow. As much as I love outlines and have used them plenty of times in the past, I have always been a firm believer in writing what you feel is right in the moment. My stories with the biggest recognition have not been planned out, I believe that’s what kept the intensity building from start to finish. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with outlines, I am just saying if your gut is telling you to write something, don’t feel confined to your outline.
7.      The ups and downs of Print-on-Demand. When I published my first two novels, I chose the website Createspace to help with the paperback copies I would be needing.  I love how self-sufficient their website makes you feel and how quickly they can approve everything for publishing (within 24-48 hours). Pros: Createspace is very easy to use and navigate. Cons: The royalties are about 30% your book price, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t much.
8.      You do not have to pay a fortune for a cover that could compete in the traditional publishing world, trust me. One of the best decisions I ever made was asking a peer on Wattpad to make my covers professionally for me; little did I know, she actually wanted to be a cover designer! I approached her and we worked out a 6-book deal for a VERY affordable price. She not only works with me to make sure I am satisfied in full, but she has a ridiculously fast turnaround. Sometimes it’s as quick as 24-hours. Her name is Emmy Logan and she is the creator of Cover Me Designs, do yourself a favor and check out some of her creations—you won’t regret it.
9.      Find Book Bloggers who review self-published titles. Reach out but be respectful, some of them may agree to review your book even though it doesn’t interest them. Be content and satisfied with each one that that takes the time. They are essentially who is going to help create buzz and build an audience for upcoming titles.
10.  If you do not want to deal with the hassle of formatting the eBook—DON’T. I’m not going to release her name in fear she may get too booked up for me to use her on future projects; but, I found a decent eBook formatter who gets it ready for both platforms, Epub and Mobi within a week or two for $20. Twenty dollars is nothing compared to the headaches and hours you’ll spend trying to get everything right. 

$10 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Heart Shaped Rock {Review}

Heart Shaped Rock
Heart Shaped Rock by Laura Roppe 
Visit the Author's website HERE
Publisher: Self-Published
Publishing Date: May 13, 2014
Heart Shaped Rock
Goodreads Summary:
Sometimes a shattered heart needs to sing to love again . . . Sixteen year old singer-songwriter Shaynee Sullivan hasn't so much as touched her guitar since her mom died six months ago. But when she meets a gorgeous and surprising rocker named Dean, her shattered heart begins to mend . . . and then burst at the seams. Heart-wrenching, heart-warming, and sometimes even heart-racing, Heart Shaped Rock will leave you laughing through tears and rooting for love in all its forms.

2014 Readers Favorite Award Finalist in three categories: Young Adult, Young Adult-Coming of Age and Young Adult-Romance!

Check out the full music soundtrack for Heart Shaped Rock at the "Music to HSR" tab!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Quick Review: Team Us

Team Us: Marriage Together
Team Us: Marriage Together by Ashleigh Slater
Visit the Author's website HERE
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Publishing Date: June 1, 2014
Team Us: Marriage Together
Goodreads Summary:
What are you agreeing to when you say "I do"?

When a couple promises "I do," they agree to more than just a shared last name, a joint bank account, and no more dateless nights. This husband and wife duo forms a new team. "Life together" becomes their mantra. Nothing can come between them. At least, that's the plan.

But then real life sets in. With it come disappointments and frustrations. If the couple isn't intentional in their day-to-day interactions, that once enthusiastic "we" can slowly revert to "you" and "me." Before long, the couple's left wondering what happened to their team spirit.

Team Us: Marriage Together offers couples practical ways to cultivate and strengthen unity in their marriages. Author Ashleigh Slater shares from her own marriage as she presents couples with realistic ideas on how to foster cooperation, deepen commitment, and exercise grace on a daily basis.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Favorite Usborne far

If you've seen last Friday's post, you know how important I think reading is in the life of a child. To help bring the spotlight further to these amazing books, I am sharing Baby Girl's favorite Usborne far :) In no particular order....

Usborne Publishing makes great touchy-feely books and currently has over 30 ''That's Not My...'' books in their catalog. Baby Girl grew up with ''That's Not My Bear'' and loved it. The newest addition to our collection is:
Picture of That's Not My Goat
That's Not My Goat...
Whimsy, adorable, and search for the mouse on every page!

This next book was an insta-hit with Baby Girl, as soon as I pulled it out of the box!
Picture of Baby's Very First Big Play Book
Baby's Very First BIG Playbook
It has bright, contrasting colors, sound buttons that won't drive the parents crazy, flaps, feely spots, and finger tracing! I love the finger tracing for helping BG define her fine motor skills.

I pretty much had to buy this book after I returned BG's favorite book to the library (Alphabeep)...
Picture of Busy Trucks on the Go
Busy Trucks on the Go
This title is actually from Kane Miller (the 'more' of Usborne Books and More). The pictures are gorgeous for parents, and the text rhymes which is great for little kids learning to talk. Each page features a father and son checking out a new truck, which BG just loves!

BG has a lot of 'First Word' books, and she has always been a huge fan of them. This next one is no exception:
Picture of My First Word Book
My First Word Book
This book has hundreds of words (around 270 actually!) and besides the adorable illustrations, I love that it contains some 'lesser known' words. 'Bat' is new to BG and on the 'Things that Go' page they feature a wheelchair! Fantastic!

How could I NOT include this next one?? I thought it would be beyond BG's skills so far, but she surprises me yet again!
Picture of There's a Mouse About the House
There's a Mouse About the House! 
This is also an activity book. The child takes the little paper mouse pictured and slides him through a small slot on each page to help progress the story. I didn't think BG had the fine motor skills to get the mouse through the slots, but she surprised me by being determined to figure it out, and she has several times! Another great feature? The back cover contains another mouse to trace and make in case you lose yours or it gets destroyed by a teething first hand experience here of course.....

Last but not least...
Picture of Get Dressed, Max and Millie

Get Dressed, Max and Millie
I knew this book would be a bit 'older' for BG, but the Max and Millie books are so cute! This one is basic enough for a child to follow and understand. It teaches kids how to get dressed while paying attention to the weather. It also includes the perfect amount of silliness :)

One of the great features of Usborne and Kane Miller books? That I as the parent, also enjoy them. They are never boring for me AND they hold a toddler's attention!

I highly recommend you check these books out for the littles in your life! The holidays are ever approaching :)