Thursday, June 28, 2012

Trip Around Thursday - Not much.

I took a little blog-jog, only to discover there wasn't much going on outside of the usual, even though 4th of July is next week!! Crazy!

And then I realized that some of the blogs I follow are in Canada, so they probably don't get into the hype much. ;) lol.

However, Colorimetry clued me in to a great big patriotic Freedom To Read Blog Hop Giveaway going on... so of course, I'm going to be entering a lot of giveaways and I hope all of you will participate as well!

Plus, apparently there's this thing called Canada Day, which comes before the 4th of July, so there's a big Canada Day Blog Hop going on as well, which Bookish and Paperback Princess let me in on.

Finally, when you finish up all of that, I hope you'll come right back here and make sure to enter my Shades of Summer Giveaway - there's only a little over a day left to enter! :)

Good luck!

Booksy - Fireworks

As shown by my cowering dog, it's fireworks season! All around us for at least the last two weeks have been the patter of fireworks being shot off - and there's practically a fireworks stand on every corner!

Personally, I don't like fireworks unless they are set off in large, professional shows, but I'm not one to dissuade others away from having their own mini shows - as long as they stay away from my house, which is surrounding by many highly-flammable trees! ;)

To put you in the patriotic spirit, here's some fun Booksy fireworks items:
First, you can set out this beautiful patriotic picnic blanket to read your book upon while soaking in the rays up until the fireworks display.

To keep cool while looking cool, I love this fireworks Hoodie Halter. Or if you've been out in the pool and want something to slip over your swimsuit, this rockin' hand painted kimono would be great!

Keep your hair out of your eyes while you read with these adorkable fireworks hair clips (I know they're probably meant for kids, but I think they're cute enough for adults too!).

Finally, don't forget to bring along a cool drink in these pretty stemless wine glasses!

How will you be celebrating your 4th of July? Don't forget you could be sporting some amazing Ed Hardy Sunglasses if you win my Giveaway!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sorta Recommended Read - The Aslaric Vampire by David Weaver

The Aslaric Vampire (Eternal Death, #1)The Aslaric Vampire by David Weaver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The writing is a bit choppy at parts, and the characters don't feel like they are properly introduced. There are a few grammatical errors and it got a little too predictable at parts. It seems to have drawn quite a bit from the "Twilight" series, which makes it a little unoriginal. I love vampire stories, but this was only ok and I'm not sure if I would read the second book.

View all my reviews

Recommended Read - The Messiah Clone by Timothy W. Ayers

The Messiah CloneThe Messiah Clone by Timothy W. Ayers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Intriguing introduction that immediately drew me into the storyline! There were a few grammatical errors considering the quality of the story - otherwise, this would have easily earned 5 stars! There was plenty of action, interesting characters, and an intricate plot that really helped this eBook stand out from the crowd. While there are religious topics touched on, I don't feel that it ever got "preachy" or "judgmental" but fell more along the lines of The DaVinci Code with its exploration of the mystic. Great read, just needs a little editing!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3)The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a solid ending to an interesting trilogy. The beginning of this book crawled as much as the first book in the series, but the middle and end were more reminiscent of the second book which made it an improvement to the first book in the series. It showed a refreshing sense of justice while also leaving some things unresolved, which is true to life. I really enjoyed the middle and end where things got interesting, and though I don't think this entire series quite lived up to the hype surrounding it, this was a solid read.

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The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played With Fire (Millennium, #2)The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the series, and thankfully it was quite an improvement over the first book! This one really moves and has a lot more going on than the first book. There was only the smallest bit of predictability but most of it was filled with surprising plot twists. There were still a whole lot of adult sexual themes but overall this was a HUGE improvement over the first book in the series.

View all my reviews

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There was a whole lot of hype surrounding this series, so I went into this book with high expectations. Perhaps because of that, I was a little disappointed with the overall story. The story started off slow and I really didn't get into it until at least a quarter of the way through. I also had the ending pretty much figured out from about the halfway point, so it wasn't much of a surprise. There were a lot of very graphically violent sexual events so I don't recommend this for younger readers. This story was just ok.

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I realize that yesterday was not Wednesday...

Yep, I posted something yesterday with "Wednesday" in the title that was, in fact, on a Tuesday. However, 1) I didn't think I'd get to post on Wednesday so I thought I'd try to get something up for Wednesday on Tuesday, and 2) In my heat-addled mind, for some reason I translated that as making Tuesday suddenly become Wednesday.

So anyway, yesterday was Tuesday, in case there was any confusion. Today is Wednesday, and surprisingly enough, here I am posting when I thought that I wouldn't be able to. :) I had a little more time today than I thought I would, mostly because I'm avoiding doing my homework. ;)

As a celebration of my craziness, I'm going to finally post my reviews of the Stieg Larsson series that starts with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What's Up Wednesday - Booksy Heat Wave

As I'm writing this, it is currently 85 degrees INSIDE here at work, because our air conditioning is broken. It's around 95-98 degrees outside...

Anyway, so I thought I'd "cool off" by sharing some great Booksy items that would be nice on a day like this!

Ice Cream - Ben & Jerry's Notebook, Book Bag, Recipes, Book Cover, and hair clips.

Electric Fans - Card and Vintage Orange.

Paper Fans - Vintage, Book Flowers, and Peacock.

Ice Pack - Gel.

and last but not least, a cold glass of water - Water Splash

Here's hoping that all of you are staying cool - I think I'm going to head out soon!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Recommended Read - A New Song by Sarah Isaias

A New SongA New Song by Sarah Isaias
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is beautifully written to cross the boundaries of Islam and Judaism and Christianity and show a unity in all things. I love the list of beliefs on p. 97. The style is similar to The DaVinci code and makes it very difficult to put down, even for just a moment! There were a few minor editing errors but overall it is pretty solid. I loved the character development and the depth of the plot. I highly recommend this book!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What's Up Wednesday - A Lively Debate

Even though 90% of what I tend to follow in the blogosphere are book review blogs, today I decided to focus on things that weren't book reviews.

First of all, I loved that All-On Writing wrote an amazing little post about the "flavors" or "styles" of writing that can often be found in literature. I'm hoping that mine is considered "Designer Label!" Plus, I know that I've run into a whole lot of Walmart Cheap lately...

I thought that the recipe on My R and R Space sounded interesting - I won't lie when I say that my pallette tends to be limited to primarily "Midwest comfort food," but within the last few years (as I went gluten free) I've found myself more and more willing to try new things. NOTE: you need to scroll down a bit to find the recipe in the post.

Always Writing talked about identifying oneself as a writer. Personally, I usually get a response of, "Oh can you help me write my book?"

In the bookish world, there has been quite the debate over the last few years regarding eBooks vs. physical copies, aka "real" books. Readers Corner took the time to talk about her personal pros and cons regarding each medium. I have to say that my feelings run exactly as hers - I love the "real" thing, but the Nook has been a wonderful way to take piles of books with me when I travel!

Amanda Hocking revealed a new cover for her newest release, Lullaby. 

If your kids are already jumping off the walls this summer break, Saving Your Green shared a Jumpstreet deal on her blog.

Finally, I always love seeing the latest good that is being done via 366 Random Acts of Kindness. Today's post was about paying for a stranger's gas. With gas prices so high, that must have been a tremendous gift for someone! :)

Oh, and don't forget to come enter my Shades of Summer Giveaway, and consider joining me on my Bookish Babes cruise!

Sorta Recommended Read - Spies to the Unland by Patricia Yotter

Spies to the UnlandSpies to the Unland by Patricia Yotter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are a whole lot of names to keep track of throughout, many of which are similar enough to get confused. There are also a couple of minor editing errors. The story has a difficult flow and felt a bit disjointed, but underneath the errors and the flow the story itself was interesting and the characters definitely grew on me. The plot was interesting, and I think with some polishing this could be a really excellent book!

View all my reviews

Monday, June 11, 2012

Booksy - Cruisin' With The Bookish Babes

As you may have seen in my exciting announcement yesterday, I got together an amazing group of female authors and we are setting sail on a cruise in May of 2013! All book lovers and book bloggers are welcome to attend. Details can be found here.

Anyway, so today's Booksy theme is all about Bookish Babes (Authors) and Cruising the Bahamas!

'Bookish Babes in the Bahamas' by ThePotteryYarn

In celebration of the Bookish Babes in the Bahamas Cruise that will take place May 2013! For details, go to:

Cruise Time Vacation Countdo...

Ceramic Coffee Mug portrait ...

Boarding Pass Invitations

Margaret Atwood Doll Canadia...

Sylvia Plath (Authors Series...

Deposit - Passport Invitatio...

Sterling Silver Miniature Bo...

Tropical Palm Trees Cruise S...

Chocolate Cruise Ship

Female Authors - FIVE 8x10 ...

BAHAMAS 1S- Handmade Leather...

Emily Dickinson Literary T-S...

Little Author tote bag - Gel...

Cruise Fund Jar Coin Bank

SIGNED 1st Ed. Childrens Boo...

Don't forget to stop by and enter my Shades of Summer Giveaway while you are here, too! :)

Freebie Flop - I Thought My Uncle Was a Vampire, But He was Just a Creep by Richard Cassone

I Thought My Uncle Was A Vampire, But He Was Just A CreepI Thought My Uncle Was A Vampire, But He Was Just A Creep by Richard Cassone
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Editing and grammar errors aside (because there were several), the main thing that caused me to give this book such a low rating is that I simply couldn't get into it. It was really weird and confusing, and I kept losing interest because it was too frustrating to wade through.
I love a good vampire story - but sadly, this wasn't one. I'm not sure who to recommend this book to, but if you have some time and don't mind being confused maybe you could give it a shot.

View all my reviews

Sunday, June 10, 2012

SuperMegaFoxyHott Vacation for Book Nerds!!

I'm very proud and excited to officially announce a unique and amazing vacation opportunity to all book lovers - BOOKISH BABES IN THE BAHAMAS 2013!!

That's right - a cruise by book lovers, for book lovers. :) I used my connections as a travel agent to get us a fantastic cruise deal : a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas aboard the Carnaval Ecstasy leaving Port Canaveral, FL on May 11th, 2013!!

Not only that, but the cruise will have some very special guests: Coral Russell, Terri Guiliano Long, Monica Leonelle, and Heather Huffman - four amazing female authors! There will also hopefully be some great female book bloggers present (other than myself, because that's a little snobby of me to think of myself as "great" lol).

To find out more, just head on over to:

I can't wait to see you all in the Bahamas next year!! And don't forget about my Shades of Summer Giveaway - you'd look amazing sporting those Ed Hardy frames on the cruise ship! ;)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Domino's Gluten Free Pizza Review

Like I mentioned in my last post, I recently decided to give Domino's Gluten Free Pizza a try. It had gotten some bad flak due to its disclaimer, but a Celiac blog that I trust had it sent to the lab and tested and the results weren't terrible (for more on that, click here).

Anyway, I wasn't actually put off by the disclaimer, because I didn't think it was anything worse than I've seen most other places when it comes to gluten free food. Let's face it - when you are highly gluten sensitive, eating out just about anywhere can be quite the risk! Hubs and I generally have a two-strike policy when it comes to eating out gluten free - the first strike is a warning, but could have been a mistake. However, if we go somewhere again and once again I get a bad gluten flare up, we don't generally go back anymore because that shows overall negligence and not just one mistake.

There are a couple of exceptions, and sometimes we decide if it's been a while to give it one more go. But for the most part, that's what we stick to.

My first concern was price - were they going to be charging me all sorts of extra just because it's gluten free? The answer: yes and no. Yes, the price is higher than their non-gluten free pizzas, but it didn't feel like they were over the top with their pricing. It was comparable with just about everywhere else that I've tried gluten free pizza, and actually a little cheaper than my favorite local pizza shop.

Next was toppings - can I still get a pizza with everything on it, or do they limit me to only a few topping choices? I was happy to see that they allowed me my choice of toppings, and I could get specialty varieties or make my own.

Third was taste. As anyone who has to eat gluten free knows, there is a HUGE amount of variability when it comes to taste - some things are awesome, while others make you feel like you biffed it face first in a sandbox! I was very pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture - in fact, I think it moved up to a first place tie with my favorite local pizza shop!! It was very delicious, and we tried two of the sauces - their standard robust tomato sauce, and their marinara sauce.

Finally came the nail-biting - was I going to get sick? I'm very relieved to say that I didn't have any flare up issues at all! I'm pretty sensitive, too, so that's saying something.

Overall, I will definitely order their gluten free pizza again - and even though I normally would support a local small business over a chain, the fact that 1) Domino's is more affordable and 2) it's a whole lot closer to my house than the local shop, means that I will now probably use Domino's as my primary pizza shop when I get the craving for a good slice of pizza!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Freebie Flop - The Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert

The Coffins of Little HopeThe Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book meandered like the incoherent musings of someone with advanced Alzheimer's and just didn't really seem to have much of a point. I initially was attracted to it because the author was from Nebraska and he set the novel in Nebraska - my home state - but it really didn't live up to expectations. While the descriptions of rural Nebraska were pretty much on par, the narration felt too forced, perhaps because it was a male middle aged author trying to write from an elderly woman's point of view. Overall, this was not my style.

View all my reviews

Sorta Recommended Read - The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-BanksThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would say this particular book caused me equal amounts of like and dislike.
What I liked: The female protagonist is smart, not overly obsessed with looks or boys, and generally a fun kind of nerdy.
What I didn't like: The distractingly weird and overly off-putting style of writing. It reminded me of listening to someone who just likes to hear herself talk, and made it difficult for me to really get in to the story itself.
I love girl power, and it is refreshing when a book isn't just about falling in love or becoming beautiful. But I think that if the author could have dropped the snooty writing style this book would have been a lot more enjoyable!
For me, this book was just ok.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What's Up Wednesday - Summer Giveaways Edition

On my trip around the blogosphere this evening while happily munching away on my Domino's Gluten Free Pizza (a review on that to follow, once I see how my insides liked it), I noticed three things -
1) The passing of Ray Bradbury,
2) Armchair BEA commentary, and
2) Lots of great summer giveaways!

On the topic of Ray Bradbury, there were some lovely tributes from The True Book Addict, AJ Arndt, and AF Stewart.

For those of us who missed BEA (Book Expo America) this year, Armchair BEA to the rescue! YA Book Reviews, Blokisiners, and Harley Bear all talked about the topic of the day.

Finally, I'm not one to pass up a great giveaway. Other than the FABULOUS giveaway here on my blog, there were some fantastic giveaways at The Bookish Dame, Paperback Princess, The Fairytale Nerd, World of my Imagination, Feed my Need, and Red Headed Bookworm!


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Shades of Summer Giveaway

It's officially summer - at least here in the US - so my giveaway this month will help you celebrate in style! The winner will receive an authentic pair of Ed Hardy frames with it's matching sunglasses case - a value of over $150!! The frames are classic black, with black lenses, and have bulldogs on the sides. There is a tiny imperfection at the top of the right lens frame where the black has rubbed off, but otherwise these are in pristine condition and never worn! The case is handstiched leather with roses on the top and right, and a skull on the left. There is also an Ed Hardy cleaning cloth and small Ed Hardy booklet. How do you win these sweet frames? Just enter below - the contest runs from June 3rd to June 30th! If you'll notice, anything related to my travel agency Operation Relax is worth more entries... just sayin'... ;) Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Booksy - The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

Shades have been on my mind lately - lamp shades, sunglasses shades, 50 Shades of Grey.... ;) I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, although it honestly doesn't sound like my cup of tea. But I might still do it for posterity's sake, just like how I kept reading the entire Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series even though the first book wasn't really my style.

Anyway, this Booksy is a celebration of the various forms of shades - and a little teaser about the giveaway I will be posting shortly!

For shades as lamp shades, you really can't pass up the following great items:  Plywood Lamp Shade, Sock Monkey Shade, Coffee Filter Art Shade, New York Subway Map, and Vintage Music Sheets.

Need some privacy while reading? Check out these fabulous window shades: Relaxed Roman Style, Mock Roman Shade, and Cherry Blossom Handpainted Paper Shades.

What about shades of color? Here's some pretty shades: Cranberry Shades Books, Changing color shades dress, Shades of the Caribbean Eye Shadow, and Shades of Winter print.

Finally (HINT HINT) some glasses as shades: Cute spectacles ring, Harry Potter charms, Spectacles and Staches Coasters, Spectacles Silk Ties, Baby Sunglasses, Glow in the Dark Glasses and Read the Fine Print Nesting Bowls.