Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year 2011 Is Here.............

I just want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!  Party safe and make big plans for your new year.  As for my idea of a party, that would be watching a marathon of the rebooted Doctor Who on tv.  From Eccleston to Tennant to Smith, I'll be partying with The Doctor.

Goodbye 2010....................Hello 2011!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Follow Friday to Help Ring in 2011!

This special day is designated for all of us to come together and say howdy.  We discover new friends, new and exciting books, and chat about other things to make the day more fun.

Today's topic is blogging resolutions for the New Year.......
1.  Gain more followers.  That's everyone's goal and I really hope to accomplish it since I'd love to bring giveaways to you all.  And numbers speak louder than words where that's concerned.
2.  Read faster!  I'd love to post more book reviews, so perhaps I can do without sleep to achieve that goal..LOL.
3.  Bring more cool products to your attention.  There's many gadgets and foods out there that make the day easier and more enjoyable.  I will seek them out just for you.
4.  Bring more humor to my posts.  I was nervous at first, but getting into a groove should bring forth my inner jokester.

I thank everyone for visiting and hope you like what you see and become a follower.  I will continue to talk about the books I'm reading, yummy foods I'm eating, and the movies/tv shows I'm loving right now.  I encourage all of you to comment on the posts, since I love to chat, and let me know what some of your favorite things are too.  Until next time........

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Product Review: Reverse-A-Purse

Are you short of funds, but still want to be stylish?  Do you like to match your purses to your outfits, but don't have the room for hundreds of purses?  Well then, Reverse-a-Purse is the product to meet all your needs!  You design it exactly as you want it in just a few easy steps via their website

I was lucky enough to win this from a fellow blogger and immediately knew I had to share it with you.  The purse is available in many different styles...there are clutch versions, contemporary, urban (which is what I received), club, and tote.  There's a style for every occasion from partying to running errands.  After you choose a style, you then choose the base color of the purse.  The two options are brown or black and go beautifully with all the color combinations that the covers come in.  The final step is choosing the color/pattern of the cover.  They offer many color and pattern variations to please everyone's mood and style.

Once you receive your self-designed purse it's incredibly easy to coordinate it to every outfit just by adding or removing the cover.  Without any cover you have a simple, yet stylized bag.  By adding the cover and attaching it to buttons hidden under the lip of the purse, you now have a completely different look to your purse.  And as a final option, all you do is remove the cover and turn it inside/out and reattach it to the buttons for yet another completely different look.  The pictures above show the color options I was sent, but there are many more options.  There are animal prints, neon colors, stripes, flowers, and many other choices to reflect your personality.

I absolutely love this purse!  It's comfortable to wear and has plenty of room on the inside to carry things, as well as a zippered pouch and pockets for safe storage.  Changing the cover is quick and easy and allows you to go from business to club in literally thirty seconds.  The color options and purse styles are contemporary and stylish and creating the perfect purse is a fun and fast process.

So all you fashionistas should definitely look into this.  It makes a great addition to your wardrobe at a very economical price.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review for Life After Joe by Harper Fox

With much media talk surrounding the rights of those living an alternative lifestyle comes this beautifully written, highly emotional story about love and the loss of it.  Yes, this story is about a gay couple, but the grief of loss is the same for anyone.

This story is told from the perspective of Matt who is in a downward spiral after his longtime love Joe leaves him to try living a straight man's life.  This is devastating to Matt since they've been in each other's lives since they were young.  Even more devastating is that Joe has been cheating on Matt with a woman for years while their longtime mutual friend Lou knew about the affair but never told Matt.  Feeling betrayed by everyone, and by life, he starts to ignore his medical studies and goes out every night looking for love in all the wrong places.  But one particularly self-destructive night for Matt introduces him to Aaron, who's just in time to save Matt from getting a beating.  From that night of violence comes a slow road to recovery for Matt, and for Aaron too who's also dealing with grief.  The road is not without bumps though as Matt still has trust issues and an ex who still tries to control him.  But will a misunderstanding break them up or bind them together forever?

This book takes you on a very emotional roller coaster from deep feelings of loss to the joy of hearing I love you.  Matt and Aaron are such well-written characters that every emotion they feel you feel as well.  Every action and its reaction is believable and heartfelt.  I found myself teary-eyed more than once seeing how badly grief affected both of them.  For Matt especially, life has always been a bit hard since his youth when he realized he was different than others.  He took a lot of beatings for being gay and even his family was emotionally abusive in their views of his lifestyle.  Joe too was emotionally abusive, though Matt didn't see that until comparing his and Aaron's relationship to how he and Joe were together.  Joe was never comfortable being public with his lifestyle and slowly made Matt feel that way too.  Matt never had good self-esteem until Aaron encouraged it in him.  Matt sees Aaron as his Savior and that's very true.  Matt was very close to suicide because of all the negative feelings he carried around.  It wasn't until Aaron said he was too good for the grungy bars, and that he was worth waiting for, did Matt start believing it and start taking control of his life.  Aaron's pain wasn't as obvious to the reader, but the tension was there and bubbling under the surface.  It could be seen by the haunted look in his eyes and the greying hair and when he says to Matt that he understands what he's feeling, it's totally believable.  When Aaron's pent-up grief finally explodes though, you ache for him because the scene is so powerful and is one I'll never forget.  Seeing him unable to catch his breath, to shake with tears, is gut-wrenching and speaks volumes as to how strong the love was for his dead lover since this is its outcome.

This book was an amazing read that kept me quickly turning the pages to see what happened to these characters that I became totally invested in.  For those who don't normally read books featuring an alternative lifestyle, I can only hope you'll change your mind and take a chance on this truly rewarding book.

My rating for this book is an A.

*Book was received from NetGalley with a cover photo courtesy of

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Day After........

I don't know about all of you, but I feel like I have a hangover.  I haven't been drinking--trust me, I'd be way more talkative and perky with some liquid courage.  I just feel exhausted today and lack motivation.  I definitely think it's those dreaded after holiday blahs.  Seeing other people rushing to buy presents and planning big festivities for Christmas got me feeling excited for the big day.   But now that it's done, there's that what now feeling.  I'm not a big New Year's partier--I tend to always fall asleep before the ball drops--but some are excited for that.  Me, not so much.  I guess I'll have to use smaller, more personal, milestones to get excited about.  Yeah, that's episodes of Supernatural will be back on at the end of January.  I'll focus on that....the little things....and I think it might be working.

So please, let me know in the comments what you're looking forward to in the coming weeks.  Is there an unsung holiday I should now about.......Starbucks' Cinnamon dolce Latte day perhaps?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas

To all my friends, family, and those taking the time out to visit (you can still catch many more hours of A Christmas Story-so you're not missing out).....I wish you a very Merry Christmas!  Happy Eating (don't forget those leftovers) and Happy Movie Watching too!
I look forward to seeing more of you and bringing you more interesting books and gadgets in the coming weeks.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the Night Before Christmas........

In honor of today's date....

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

*A poem by Clement Clarke Moore

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review for Home for the Holidays (Harlequin Superromance #1599) by Sarah Mayberry

Just in time for the holidays comes this heartwarming, yet sexy, read about two damaged hearts finding the will to move on through a relationship neither of them expected to find. 

Joe's wife died two years ago and until recently he's just been going through the motions of living.  Hoping that a change of scenery will help him and his two children move on, Joe moves to be closer to his mother.  Along with a new school for the kids and a new job for Joe, comes an attraction to his new neighbor Hannah.  Hannah too is trying to move on with her life after a family betrayal leads to her being left at the altar.  Because of this, she's closed herself off to emotions and devotes herself to work and her biker buddies.  But after an awkward late night meeting, and two children who need help healing too, Joe and Hannah's lives will never be the same.  For two people determined not to get involved with anyone else, fate has other ideas.  But just as fate can be kind, it can also be cruel.  And when Hannah receives unexpected news, will Joe have the strength to stand by her and risk heartache again?

This book is the perfect holiday read.  It's got cute kids, sweetness and sorrow, and lots of teary-eyed moments.  Joe's grief was realistically expressed and his struggle to start a new relationship made your heart ache for him.  His children also struggled through a lot of changes and their issues added another layer of believability to the story.  Having children in these stories can sometimes be annoying and distracting, but Ben and Ruby were a remarkably mature and wonderfully well-written addition to the story to see how loss affects every member of a family.  Joe and Hannah's encounters are full of witty dialogue and humorous one-upmanship that sizzles with sexual tension.  The slow build up of their relationship though made their coming together even sweeter and more satisfying.  As a couple you feel even more invested in the outcome of their relationship.  Hannah is an equally wonderful character.  She's a tough cookie who doesn't allow pity from others.  Even though she initially fights her attraction to Joe, she smartens up soon enough in a very tender scene that sticks with you long after the story is finished.  Her strength is a necessity in the latter parts of the story as she embarks on a fight for her life, and with yet another memorably heartwarming scene, finds out who will be by her side. 

This is a beautifully written, highly emotional read, with wonderful characters that stick with you long after the final page is turned.  It leaves you with hope and a better understanding of the power of love.  I highly recommend this book not only as a holiday read, but whenever you need a heartwarming pick-me-up.

My grade for this is an A.

*Book photo courtesy of

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review for Night Betrayed (#4 of the Envy Chronicles) by Joss Ware

Everyday is still a struggle to stay alive in the fourth book of Joss Ware's post-Apocalyptic series.  Ever since the Change, the day where Zombies took over and society ended, those left alive are trying to put their lives back together.  For Theo Waxnicki his life will definitely never be what it once was.  On the day of the Change his body mutated to stop him from aging and to heal very quickly.  He's always seen his perpetual youth as a good thing until he meets Selena.  Known as the Death Lady, she feels uncomfortable being in a relationship with Theo because she thinks he's so much younger than she is.  As the mother of a young man, and with the serious job of guiding those who are dying towards a comfortable death, Selena feels the weight of the world on her and thinks Theo is only out for fun.  Also keeping them apart is their differing views about the Zombies, or Gangas as they're referred to in this book.  Theo wants to see all of them dead because he sees them as nothing but killers, whereas Selena sees the last remnants of their souls when she looks at them and puts her life in jeopardy every night to use a magic crystal to release them to their death.  Will these differing views be an insurmountable obstacle to their relationship or will a disturbing discovery about how new Zombies are created unite them to save a future they've just started to create?

To fully appreciate this book you need to have read this series from the beginning.  Theo's past is important to who he is now and it's touched on very lightly in this book.  Changes occur to him during this story that are mentioned once and then left hanging.  Because of how superficial he's discussed you never feel truly invested in what happens to him.  The same holds true for Selena.  Her reasons for needing to save the Zombies are never fully understood, even to herself.  This is very frustrating to the reader since the issue seems to be used only as a plot device to cause friction between Theo and her.

Other characters from previous books also show up during this story without much reason behind their appearance.  Most notably are the villains who show up to do something villainous for no other apparent reason.  It all leads to further frustration for the reader waiting for something to happen and questions to be answered.  With this book there was no storyline advancement, nor do you get a definitive resolution to Selena and Theo's relationship.

Fans of this series will want to read this to see the continuing adventures of characters they've seen before, but they shouldn't expect any earth shattering developments.  This installment felt more like filler than substance.  Those thinking of picking this up on a whim should definitely look elsewhere.  What is an intriguing idea for a series has led to a confusing and unsatisfying read that has me hoping the next book in the series will be more rewarding.

My grade for this is a D+

*Book cover photo courtesy of

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review for Burning Darkness (Offspring #4) by Jaime Rush

Fonda Raine has hated Eric Aruda ever since she learned of his and his friend's existence while working for a secret government agency.  Her job was to track down Eric and his friends, who all have varying types of psychic abilities, and eliminate them.  Her hatred grew the minute Eric killed the man she loved, and now that the agency she worked for has been destroyed, she's going after him on her own.  But the minute she has him in her grasp is the moment an assassin shows up to kill them both.  From then on they must work together to stay alive and uncover and stop an even bigger danger.  A danger that affects not only those with psychic abilities, but all of society.

Eric Aruda's been dreaming about a wild and sexy pixie when she's suddenly in front of him with a knife.  She's not the only one who wants him dead and from that moment on he has a somewhat unwilling partner helping him stop the man chasing them and stopping an even more heinous plan.  Along the way though they learn more about one another and break through each other's emotional barriers to start falling in love.  But just when their love starts, their lives will be on the line to stop an evil bent on mass murder.

This is the fourth book in the Offspring series and features many characters from the previous books.  Eric plays a huge role in this book, with the other Offspring playing a very peripheral role.  The only time he interacts with his friends is via the phone which feels jarring to the flow of the action.  Eric doesn't need much help though as he's the perfect hero, strong and sexy and willing to die for the woman he loves.  Fonda makes a good partner to Eric, she's strong and feisty and looks before she leaps.  She carries a lot of emotional baggage, but it's very believable emotions she's feeling.  Seeing the two of them bond is the best part of the story.

The weakest part of the story is the storyline itself.  There's a lot of action, but the action doesn't usually lead to anything.  There's scene after scene of Eric and Fonda running, but it feels like they're running in circles.  The evil plan that the bad guys implement comes about quickly and ends just as quickly with action scenes that are exciting, but don't last very long.  But while I was ultimately disappointed with the overall storyline, a lot of information regarding the creation of the Offspring comes out in this book.  The truth creates whole new problems for the Offspring and introduces new and exciting characters in a series that I fully expect will get more exciting from here.

My grade for this is a C/C+

*Book cover photo courtesy of

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review for A Man for All Seasons (Harlequin Blaze #583) by Heather MacAllister

Tyler Burton has had to watch over Marlie Waters ever since they were children. She followed him everywhere and he was her protector. They lost touch through the years, but Tyler now needs Marlie. Tyler needs a place to stay until his condo is finished and Marlie's home is perfect. After her fiancee left her without an explanation, Marlie has plenty of room and Tyler is happy to move in. What he's not happy about is the lack of privacy he experiences whenever his girlfriend comes to visit. Since her engagement ended Marlie has become a bit of a hermit, with no desire to go out or spruce herself up. But after Marlie awkwardly interrupts during a steamy interlude he's having with his girlfriend, Tyler has had enough. It's time she gets past her sadness and finds a new man to get her out of the house so Tyler can finally have time alone with his girlfriend. To help Marlie, and impress his girlfriend with his monetary donation during a charity auction of single men, Tyler buys 12 men who he hopes will bring Marlie a Merry Christmas.

What Tyler doesn't expect is the brand new Marlie that's unleashed. With form fitting clothes and a sexy new hairdo, Marlie dives in wholeheartedly to what each man plans for her. But the more outgoing Marlie becomes the stronger Tyler's protective instincts kick back in. And the more of this new Marlie he sees the more he likes. She too is seeing Tyler in a whole new light and can't help but compare each date to him. He's no longer just her roommate, he's the sexy man who's always cared about her and the only man she truly wants to impress. So will the two of them ever quit arguing long enough to admit their attraction or will past hurts continue to affect their future together?

This is a fun, fast-paced read that I was sad to see come to an end. Both characters are extremely likable with actions that are totally believable. They're both humorous and sexy and you can't help but root for them to admit their feelings for each other. The friends to lovers theme is a favorite of mine and MacAllister writes about it beautifully. Not only are the main characters wonderful but many of the secondary characters are worthy of their own story, particularly Tyler's girlfriend Axelle. She has her own sad story of loss and deserves happiness too. I greatly anticipate any continuation of this story and can't recommend it highly enough to those wanting a holiday read to warm their heart.

For the inaugural use of my rating system I give this an A-!

*Book cover photo courtesy of

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Food Item Perfect For Your Holiday Party....

As I said in my first post, I am going to be introducing you to some of my favorite things (cue the Julie Andrews tune) and here is a super yummy item I have to tell you about.

I was lucky enough to win a contest (remember I said I'm a contest junkie) from a fellow blogger that was sponsored by the Wholly Guacamole family of foods  I was amazed with how much they sent me (and yes, the picture above is what I won) and even more amazed by how wonderful everything tasted.  The salsa was the perfect consistency to stay on the chip and had a nice, light spiciness for being a medium flavor.  The guacamole was creamy and had the perfect mix of avocado and spice and came in medium and mild and could feed a large gathering of people.  The queso dips, which come in a classic cheddar and a blanco variety which is a white cheddar, were also scrumptious with a consistency that wasn't overly soupy and stayed on your chip with no dribble issues--hate when that happens.  What I especially like is the 100-calorie packets of the guacamole and salsa that they offer.  Perfect for us single folk and those counting their calories.

These products are restaurant quality for use at home, made with fresh ingredients, that I am looking forward to buying more of.  So the next time you plan a party, put these products on your menu.  I promise you'll be dreaming about eating these foods in your sleep, they're that yummy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

For Lovers of Classic Literature....

Today is a big day.  For those of us who swooned over Matthew MacFadyen and Colin Firth, the woman who created that masterpiece character Mr. Darcy, have a reason to celebrate.   

Today, December 16th is Jane Austen’s 235th birthday!

In honor of that, Sourcebooks, the world’s leading publisher of Jane Austen fiction, is offering a unique deal to readers who want to celebrate Jane by reading special editions of all six of Austen’s beloved novels in a 21st century format.

Special e-book editions of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Mansfield Park will be available for free for one day only. These celebratory editions include the full novels, plus the legendary color illustrations of the Brock brothers, originally created to accompany the books in 1898.  Be sure to look before you purchase though since some booksellers still haven't adjusted the price on these books as of this morning.

In addition to the Jane Austen classics, readers can also enjoy these bestselling Austen-inspired novels. The following bestselling e-books will be free on December 16th in honor of her birthday:

Eliza’s Daughter by Joan Aiken
The Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown
The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins
The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview
Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan
Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

*Available wherever eBooks are sold. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just Starting Out.....

After many months of deliberation and second-guessing, I've finally taken the plunge and started my own blog.  My purpose is to tell people about great books I'm reading, entertaining tv shows I'm watching, and new products that either taste super yummy or are really intriguing to look at.  I'll be starting out slow as I get the feel for this wacky world of blogging, but promise to post at least three times a week to start out.  I eventually hope to get a big enough following that I can start offering contests of all sorts since I ADORE giveaways.

I hope you'll join me on this journey.  I promise to be entertaining and funny and one day explain why I'm called The Scarf Princess.