Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Win a $10 gift card!! :)

Since I'm not doing a giveaway here this month (time has kinda passed me by this month, but I promise to put an awesome one together for next month), I thought I'd let you know about a really really easy giveaway I'm doing on Facebook this month!

The Facebook giveaway is for my travel business, Operation Relax. All you have to do is head over to my Facebook page for Operation Relax here, "like" it, and sit back to see if you win! At the end of the month all "likers" will be entered to win a free $10 gift card. You can earn additional entries by referring "likers" - they just need to post on my wall saying they "like" me because of you and mention your Facebook name, and that earns you an extra entry.

It's a simple, easy way to get a chance to win a $10 gift card! :)

Teaser Tuesday - Favorite Current Female Author(s)?

Without giving too much away, I will casually mention that I may be in the works of putting together a fantastic lineup of female authors for a fun family vacation next spring! :) My lips are sealed as to any other details at this point, but I do highly recommend that if you get a chance you also become a fan of my Operation Relax blog, since anything that might be announced would be announced there first... hint hint.... ;)

Anyway, so that got me thinking about my favorite female authors. Some are no longer with us, but I'm happy to say that many still are! I couldn't possibly list them all here, but a few that I love include Cecilia Ahern, Amanda Hocking, Anne Fortier, Tracey Alley, Meira Pentermann, Coral Russell, and of course Stephanie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and Jodi Picoult!! I know that's not all of them, but the list would be too long (and probably boring) for all of you. :)

What are YOUR favorite current women writers? Anyone you would love to be able to meet in person?

Booksy - Spring Picnic

Spring is in the air (and in my eyes and nose, since I have terrible spring allergies)! ;) Time to put together a comfy picnic and read a book out in the sun. Here are some picnic-friendly gifts for book lovers that will have them headed down the path to grandmother's house with a picnic basket:

- Prepare your picnic with this great tote bag and picnic blanket set. Or if it's a little too matchy-matchy for you, I love this comfy looking roll-up plaid picnic blanket.

- Next you can pack up a variety of yummy picnic foods in this pretty insulated picnic tote. If you want to plan a BBQ along with your picnic, check out this cool vintage Barbecue Book.

- Don't forget the wine with this picnic wine and glass holder!

- If you are bringing a little one with you, you can't pass up this adorkable Very Hungry Caterpillar peasant dress.

- Relax away the day with your eReader, which you can store in this delicious ice cream cone case.

- OR, you can do some impromptu bird watching after putting up this Picnic "Nerdhouse", and draw pictures of them in this unique grass journal.

- Make sure you snap some great pictures, then store them in this picnic-inspired photo album.

- Or if you like me, and you want to skip all of this and settle instead for reading near a window in the cool, air-conditioned and slightly less allergenic air of your home, you can always take breaks to gaze at this amazing picnic oil painting.

Whatever works for you! :) 

Recommended Read - Improving Slay Times in the Common Dragon by Catherine Shaffer

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shameless Stuff #10: Share your favorite car/shower song.

As my husband can attest to, I'm not a great singer. I'm not really even a marginally ok singer. I'm more of a "if you can't sing it right, sing it loud" type of gal. ;) Sure, it causes one of my cats to hide under the bed, and another one of my cats to climb all over me in concern that I'm in pain, but let's be honest here - even those of us with the worst voices just sometimes want to sing!

I don't think I could narrow it down to one favorite song, but definitely I have two favorite albums that I like to listen and sing to while on road trips - The Eagles Greatest Hits, and the soundtrack from Wicked. For those of you who watch New Girl, remember that scene where Winston was in the car driving to Mexico to see his girlfriend and really jamming to Wicked? That's totally me.

When it's just short trips across town, like going to and from work, I like to listen to classic rock and/or 80's music in general. Right now, I've got a three month subscription to Sirius (it came with the car I'm leasing) and I've also been known to occasionally flip over to the 90's music channel and sing along with some jams as well, but that's pretty much a crapshoot - some of the music in the 90's was reasonably good, but there were some really terrible music phases at that point, too (though with the introduction of parachute pants, does that really surprise you?).

So what about you? Are you an awesome singer with a penchant for modern pop, or a so-so singer with a yen for Broadway musicals?

What's Up Wednesday - Playing Blog Catch-up

I realize I haven't taken a waltz around the blogosphere lately - or even a crawl - but I hadn't realized how far behind I was until I sat down to write this post today! Holy crow I missed a lot of stuff! Obviously, I can't recap all of it here - that would take pages and pages of writing that I frankly don't have time for - but I settled for sharing great posts that have hit the blogosphere in the last six hours.

As always, there were some truly fantastic book reviews posted by: HarleyBear, BookishThings, DenimJacket, Gripped, HookedInsatiable, ABookishLibraria, Bookworm, BigAls, ReadIt, and BooksYA.

On top of a book review, Colorimetry is doing an awesome giveaway - I highly recommend stopping by and entering (unless, of course, you want me to be the winner lol). Speaking of giveaways, SuperSpud is doing a giveaway of his book.

Wordless Wednesday is just a little weekly meme where you post a meaningful photo rather than write a post. I'm hoping to get around to doing that on my Operation Relax blog. Anyway, check out this cute photo by LibraryGirl .

Speaking of Operation Relax, PhoBlogWriPher shared some really excellent pictures and a story about her current experience in Utah.

I wasn't the only one giving out an update - ReadersCorner talked about her indecision when picking out a book to read, and how far behind she is on her TBR list, while PeaceFromPieces shared a very appropriate post about living as if you are always in the best days of your life.

My fellow book bloggers are always waiting on books, but here's some that shared their wishlists: YABookNerd, Bookish, Yearning, Joie, Cover, Falling, Bookspin, Booktacular, Blksoniner, and Hope.

Staffers shared a little snippet from a guest post he wrote on a different blog, while ActsofKindness talked about donating food to a local animal shelter.

On the topic of writing, WriterBeware posted about how editing clauses work and what you should be aware of as an author trying to get published. Meanwhile, World shared an interesting writing prompt that still has me thinking.

MyWorld shared a cover release, which is always exciting (I like the one with the gold better than the one with the blue). Similar to a cover release, Jeanz had a great author interview as did RedHeaded and WritingWorld. FeedMyNeed actually got interviewed on a different blog!

So what does all of this mean? First of all, it means that I follow wayyyy too many blogs - this isn't even everything that happened in the last 6 hours, and it's already full to the brim of awesome! Second of all, it means that I need to try not to fall behind. Seriously.

Sorta Recommended Read - Island of Shadows by Erin Hunter

Island of Shadows (Seekers: Return to the Wild, #1)Island of Shadows by Erin Hunter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was sad to discover that even though this book is marked as the first of a series, it was apparently not (or was a spin-off series to a different series). Despite the fact that I couldn't keep up with all of the backstory, it was still enjoyable and touched on some very human things such as over-consumption, environmental concerns, and racism through the use of lovable bear characters. While it would have been nice to read the original series first, this was still a decent read and I managed to enjoy most of it.

View all my reviews

Recommended Read - Slight Problem - I'm Not Lissa! By Sally Panayiotou

slight problem - I'm not Lissaslight problem - I'm not Lissa by Sally Panayiotou
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fun and kooky little adventure story! the fonts were a little messed up on my Nook, but it wasn't unreadable. The story has a Wizard of Oz feel, mixed with a sort of Peter Pan feel, especially when you compare the Free Thinkers in the book to The Lost Boys. Some of the phrasing gets a little awkward here and there and it could be edited a little better, but overall this is a fun read and I look forward to the second book in the series!!

View all my reviews

Recommended Read - Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers

Hide Me Among the GravesHide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you like scary stories, this one's for you! Reminiscent of older writing styles that grace the pages of books by Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker, the tale in these pages is guaranteed to give chills. This is a nightmare-inducing thrill to read, and the only thing that might be considered a drawback is that the language can be difficult to read if you are not used to reading books written in an older style.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Booksy - Mother's Day

If you haven't figured it out by now (with all the myriads of commercials flooding television), Mother's day is this weekend! Hopefully you already have something lined up for the person who gave birth to you - but if not, Etsy to the rescue! :)

Here's some super great items that beat your standard flowers and breakfast in bed for the book-loving momma in your life:
- If you really want to do flowers/plants, try something different. This Vintage Book Planter is amazing, as is this Vintage French Book Cone with dried lavender and hydrangeas in it.

- Or for even less maintenance, check out these flowers made out of book pages - Origami Blossoms, Flower Brooch, Repurposed Book Paper Flower Planter, Hydrangea Pen Bouquet, or mini Mother's day bouquet box.

- Once you have flowers, you need somewhere fun to put them, and I recommend this beautiful Chic Trio of Vases in a Book Base.

- To go with your flowers, a card is needed. I love this unique Library Checkout themed Mother's Day card.

- Maybe you were thinking about jewelry for your mom. For a book lover, nothing is better than a book-themed necklace! Check out this beautiful Book Locket or this sweet Mini Book Necklace that contains a poem.

- Finally, if you are thinking of giving mom a day off and letting her relax with a good book all day, help her stay comfortable with this unique PropABook Pillow!

With all these options, there are no excuses that could get you out of buying the perfect book-themed gift! :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Still waiting on word...

I'm so glad to have so many great followers who care about my blog! :) I was touched to see the many messages asking if I won the IBBA awards through Goodreads. I just wanted to update all of you and let you know that I'm still waiting to find out! They have not announced the semi-finalists yet. Fingers crossed, prayers mumbled, good karma sharing, etc. that I made it! lol.

Also, sorry about my brief absence - I spent the last week in Brunswick, OH at a travel agent seminar where I filled my brain to overflowing with sooooo much information! :) I wrote a little more about it - and about a $10 gift card giveaway - on my other blog, which you can access here.

I will let you all know the results of the IBBA when I find out! :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

First Reads Flop - A Shot Rang Out by Rob Adey & Rich Murkin

 A Shot Rang Out - The Tangled Life and Mysterious Death of Thomas Cauldron: Author, Spy, TraitorA Shot Rang Out - The Tangled Life and Mysterious Death of Thomas Cauldron: Author, Spy, Traitor by Rob Adey
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

A good spy story always intrigues me. Sadly, this one did not live up to my expectations. It was written in a rather boring style, and was very choppy. I liken it to a school report rather than a fluid book. Granted, it's a biography which sometimes do read dryly, but I just couldn't get into this book.

If you like dry biographies that are strictly history without any sort of fluidity to help it read better, you might like this. Otherwise, I'd suggest checking out something else.

View all my reviews

Recommended Read - Next to Love by Ellen Feldman

Next to Love: A NovelNext to Love: A Novel by Ellen Feldman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a stark and personal glimpse of war not just from the soldiers who served but also their families as they suffered the repercussions for years to come. Mixed in with the war is the examination of racism, sexism, and other types of bigotry that can often tear even larger rifts into communities. Each of the characters is believable and each has their own unique harmony within the refrain of the war.
Perhaps the only downfall was the constant switching between the points of view that sometimes left it feeling stilted rather than one flowing story.
Regardless, it is an excellent read and relevant to today's readers who struggle with some of the same trials of war and some new experiences that make their stories their own.

View all my reviews