Monday, December 10, 2012

Brighten the Season with 4 Christmas Dinner Ideas

Putting a Christmas dinner on the table isn't just about the food, but also about spending time with
the people you love. Meals shared with family and friends are some of the most memorable times of
the year as you share meaningful conversation as you relax and enjoy delicious foods. Even if you don't
consider yourself to be much of a cook, these Christmas dinner ideas will help you put a wonderful meal
on the table.

Christmas is unique because unlike Thanksgiving, there aren't specific menu items that the majority
of people prepare. You have the freedom to choose Christmas recipes that you will enjoy, and to
experiment with the rich flavors of the season. These four simple recipes come together for a cohesive
meal that you can serve during the holiday season.

Fruity Cream Cheese Spread


Start your meal off with this rich and flavorful spread that's perfect on crackers, slices of bread, or chips.
You and your guests will love the combination of rich cheese, bright apricots, and crunchy almonds, all
in a warm and delicious spread. Serving an appetizer also buys you some time to finish the rest of your
dinner preparations if needed.

What You Need
• 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1/2 cup sliced dried apricots
• 1/3 cup sliced almonds
Make It
• HEAT oven to 350ºF.
• MIX cream cheese and Cheddar in medium bowl until blended. Add sour cream and apricots;
mix well.
• SPREAD into 9-inch pie plate; sprinkle with nuts.
• BAKE 25 to 30 min. or until nuts are lightly toasted and spread is heated through. Serve with
crackers.

Roasted Vegetables

Roasting vegetables brings out their sweetness, all while requiring very little effort on your part. This
combination of vegetables eliminates the need for other Christmas side dishes because it brings in
several flavors and textures. You can also add potatoes to this dish to make it more hearty and filling.

What You Need
• 1/2 lb. whole button or crimini mushrooms
• 1/2 lb. baby carrots
• 1 onion, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
• 1 large yellow, green or red pepper, cut into 8 strips
• 1/3 cup zesty Italian dressing
•1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Make It

HEAT oven to 450°F.
LINE 15x10x1-inch pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.
TOSS vegetables with dressing and 1/4 cup cheese; spread into prepared pan.
BAKE 28 to 30 min. or until vegetables are tender, stirring after 15 min. Top with remaining
cheese.


Juicy Roast Beef

Juicy beef and a creamy sauce are the perfect combination for the star of your Christmas dinner menu.
You'll love this recipe because it's so easy to make and, unlike larger bone-in meats, will cook in about
an hour. The meat will be juicier and more flavorful if you let it rest for about 10 minutes between
pulling it out of the oven and slicing it.

What You Need
• 1/2 cup whipping cream
• 1/3 cup steak sauce
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 3 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
• 1 beef eye round roast (2 lb.)
Make It
• HEAT oven to 325°F.
• BEAT whipping cream with mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Mix steak sauce, onions
and horseradish in medium bowl. Add whipped cream; stir gently until well blended. Cover.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
• PLACE meat in roasting pan.
• BAKE 45 min. to 1 hour 15 min. or until done (160°F). Cut meat into thin slices. Serve with
horseradish sauce.

Festive Fruit Trifle

Christmas dinner ideas for desserts abound, and this one has the advantage of being simple and festive.
When you pull this dessert out, everyone will love seeing the bright colors of the season. If you're feeling
extra fancy, you can even make individual trifles in footed desert bowls.

What You Need
• 2 cups boiling water
• 1 pkg. (0.6 oz.) cranberry flavor gelatin
• 1 cup cold water
• 2 pkg. (1 oz. each) vanilla flavor instant pudding
• 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 2 cups cold milk
• 1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed
•1 pkg. (13.6 oz.) prepared fat-free pound cake, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained

Make It

ADD boiling water to gelatin mix in medium bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in
cold water. Pour into 13x9-inch pan. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
BEAT pudding mixes, cinnamon and milk in large bowl with whisk 2 min. Let stand 5 min. or until
thickened. Stir in whipped topping.
REMOVE 1 cup gelatin cubes; set aside. Layer half each of the remaining gelatin cubes, cake
cubes, oranges and pudding in 3-qt. serving bowl. Repeat layers; top with reserved gelatin
cubes. Refrigerate 1 hour.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Canadian Friendly Giveaways...In Time for the Holidays

$1400 in prizes, Canada only, ends Nov. 26th. http://www.mapleleafmommy.com/2012/11/the-great-mystery-boxes-giveaway-secret.html

VH Prize Pack, CAN, 12/7 http://www.theknitwitbyshair.com/2012/11/sharing-vhexcitement-giveaway.html 

Parker Pen 11/27 CDN- http://momvstheboys.com/2012/11/stuff-his-stocking-with-parker-giveaway/ 

Baby Organic Joy gift set valued at $72 CDN 11/27 http://momvstheboys.com/2012/11/baby-organic-joy-giveaway/ 

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/holiday-gift-suggestion-milestoneprints.html Custom Artwork from Milestone Prints CAN/US 11/25 

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/10/tramfootwear-for-kids-warm-waterproof.html Pair of Kids Tram Boots CAN 11/30

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/10/honeywell-true-hepa-air-purifier-revew.html Honeywell HEPA Air Purifier CAN 11/30

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/granville-island-coffee-revew-and.html Granville Island Coffee CAN/US 11/30

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/new-deli-fresh-deli-meats-by.html $20 in Maple Leaf Foods Coupons CAN 11/30

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/10/holiday-gift-suggestion-parker-pens.html Parker Pen Giveaway CAN 11/30

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/holiday-gift-suggestion-mapleleagirls.html Maplelea Friends Doll CAN 11/30

ttp://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/the-great-mouse-detective-special.html The Great Mouse Detective Disney Movie ~4 winners CAN 11/30

Enter to WIN an UPPAbaby Cruz Stroller in Black or Red Canada only ends Nov 30 http://littlemisskate.ca/2012/11/need-a-stroller-wn-the-uppababy-cruz/  

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/max-ruby-in-nutcracker-suite-on.html Family 4 Pack to see Max & Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite #Toronto CAN 12/1

http://www.theknitwitbyshair.com/2012/11/holiday-gift-guide-lilla-rose-with.html, Flexi Clip, CAN/US/Mex, 11/28 

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/my-experience-with-pgxdailylife.html Webber Naturals Coupons CAN 12/5

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/school-lunch-ideas-with-momables-gveaway.html

Momables 3 month Subscription (planning, shopping and making lunches) ALL 12/7
 
 
 
 
http://www.theknitwitbyshair.com/2012/11/chicken-soup-book-giveaway.html, Chicken Soup Dog & Cat Books, CAN/US, 12/6
 
 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Canadian Friendly Giveaways.....Just in Time for the Holidays!

Are you looking for some contests to enter??  Why not check out the ones below..

$1400 in prizes, Canada only, ends Nov. 26th. http://www.mapleleafmommy.com/2012/11/the-great-mystery-boxes-giveaway-secret.html

http://www.theknitwitbyshair.com/2012/11/friends-complete-series-blu-ray-box-set.html, Friends Prize Pack, CAN/US, 11/21

Burts Bees Cdn 11/21 http://momvstheboys.com/2012/11/stuff-her-stocking-with-burts-bees-this-holiday-giveaway/

VH Prize Pack, CAN, 12/7 http://www.theknitwitbyshair.com/2012/11/sharing-vhexcitement-giveaway.html

Parker Pen 11/27 CDN- http://momvstheboys.com/2012/11/stuff-his-stocking-with-parker-giveaway/

$25 in Schneiders Coupons CDN 11/23 http://momvstheboys.com/2012/11/build-a-better-sandwich-with-maple-leaf-deli-fresh-giveaway/
Baby Organic Joy gift set valued at $72 CDN 11/27 http://momvstheboys.com/2012/11/baby-organic-joy-giveaway/

http://www.theknitwitbyshair.com/2012/11/winter-cleaning-giveaway.html, Rubbermaid Prize Pack, CAN, 11/22

11/21 CDN & US Copy Kids http://www.mapleleafmommy.com/2012/11/copy-kids-eat-fruits-and-vegetables-dvd.html

http://www.theknitwitbyshair.com/2012/11/win-double-stroller-giveaway.html, Double Stroller, CAN, 11/20


http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/canadianstroller-gveaway-its-double.html" Double Stroller Giveaway CAN 11/20

http://www.canadianmomscook.com/2012/11/moms-turkey-divine-recipe-and-giveaway.html Turkey Farmers Prize Pack CAN 11/21

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/make-your-moments-golden-with.html Box of Ferrero Rocher Chocolates CAN 11/23

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/holiday-gift-suggestion-milestoneprints.html Custom Artwork from Milestone Prints CAN/US 11/25

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/10/tramfootwear-for-kids-warm-waterproof.html Pair of Kids Tram Boots CAN 11/30

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/10/honeywell-true-hepa-air-purifier-revew.html Honeywell HEPA Air Purifier CAN 11/30

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/granville-island-coffee-revew-and.html Granville Island Coffee CAN/US 11/30

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/new-deli-fresh-deli-meats-by.html $20 in Maple Leaf Foods Coupons CAN 11/30

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/10/holiday-gift-suggestion-parker-pens.html Parker Pen Giveaway CAN 11/30

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/holiday-gift-suggestion-mapleleagirls.html Maplelea Friends Doll CAN 11/30

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/the-great-mouse-detective-special.html The Great Mouse Detective Disney Movie ~4 winners CAN 11/30

Enter to WIN 4 LEGO DUPLO play sets Canada only, ends Nov 20
http://littlemisskate.ca/2012/11/so-many-ways-to-give-back-during-the-holidays-legoduploplay/


http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/holiday-gift-suggestion-teething.html Teethease Teething Jewellery CAN 11/30

Enter to WIN an UPPAbaby Cruz Stroller in Black or Red Canada only ends Nov 30 http://littlemisskate.ca/2012/11/need-a-stroller-wn-the-uppababy-cruz/

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/max-ruby-in-nutcracker-suite-on.html Family 4 Pack to see Max & Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite #Toronto CAN 12/1

http://www.theknitwitbyshair.com/2012/11/holiday-gift-guide-lilla-rose-with.html, Flexi Clip, CAN/US/Mex, 11/28

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/my-experience-with-pgxdailylife.html Webber Naturals Coupons CAN 12/5

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/school-lunch-ideas-with-momables-gveaway.html
Momables 3 month Subscription (planning, shopping and making lunches) ALL 12/7

http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/11/family-fun-and-vhexcitement-with.html VH Sauces Prize Pack Giveaway CAN 12/7

http://www.theknitwitbyshair.com/2012/11/christmas-gift-guide-parker-pen-giveaway.html, Parker Pen, CAN, 11/22 

 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Your Chance to Take Home a Copy of The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton


Looking for your next great read???  Look no further! 

 Enter below for your chance to get a copy of The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton Blog Tour


Angela Shelton’s Guest Post for the Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton blog tour




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Why the Children's Fantasy Genre?

 Don't you see those who write children's fantasy books having the dream job? I do!

For me, writing a children's fantasy series was not so much a decision as it was an answer to a dream - a dream job!

Ever since I was little, I have loved fantasy stories. I got lost in A Wrinkle in Time and the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I loved the idea of other dimensions. I loved science fiction. I loved magic. I loved other worlds.

As I grew up and became a professional writer, I was mostly hired to write true stories or adapt novels into screenplays.  After writing my own life into the movie Tumbleweeds, I adapted Kay Gibbon's novel Charms for the Easy Life for Showtime and went on to adapt quite a few other books. Most of them were in the female chick flick genre even though I secretly dreamed of being over at Disney or Dreamworks writing some fantasy movie with loads of magical elements.

Don't get me wrong, I love chick flicks, especially ones with fantastic female leads. I also have plenty of other books and movies to write in honor of the female. But do you have to write in the same genre for the rest of your life?

Stuck in One Genre?

If you have a following, an audience, or a name connected with a certain type of genre, you will be told that to veer from that is career suicide. If you're a bit of a rebel like me, there's no better time to try something you've always dreamed of doing than when someone tells you that you can't.

Ask yourself what you want to write.

When I asked myself what I wanted to write if I could write anything, it was the little girl who loved fantasy novels who spoke up first. In fact she yelled in my ear - write a magical fantasy series with magical hats!

Perhaps it is because I have a very large hat collection.

It was a huge feat for me to write Tilda Pinkerton. I wrote it in a completely different voice than I'd ever written in before.  It is very lyrical - you could almost sing the book. Some of my close friends were a bit confused because they were expecting another book along the line of Tumbleweeds.

I think the most important thing in writing is to write what you want to read. If your bookshelf has an eclectic variety of books, there's no reason why you can't write an eclectic collection yourself!

I wanted a hero like Tilda Pinkerton for my kids - so I wrote one. I would love to BE a hero like Tilda Pinkerton - so I created her and got to live through her as she appeared on the page.

I plan on more adventures in different genres as I continue to write more books that take place in this world and other undiscovered ones.

I am very proud of Tilda Pinkerton.

Angela Shelton – author, actor, orator

http://magicalhatshop.com/

http://angelashelton.com/

https://www.facebook.com/tildapinkerton

Dark Vengeance Book Review #50BookPledge


About the Book:


Kerry Proffit is having an amazing summer working at a resort on the California coast and hanging out with her summer share housemates. Then an injured stranger lands on their doorstep. Daniel Blessing is a hot guy with a mysterious past, and he’s on the run from a powerful witch named Season. Kerry’s friends don’t think witches and spells are real, yet Kerry can’t help but believe Daniel…and fall for him. But falling for Daniel pulls her into a feud his family has been waging for generations. It’s feud of passion, magic, and revenge, which means all of their lives are in serious danger. Because now Season wants Kerry and her friends dead too.

About the Author:

Jeff Mariotte was born in Park Forest, Illinois. He moved away from there at the age of six, when his father, a civilian working for the Department of Defense, was transferred to Paris, France. Since then he's lived in Arlington and Reston, Virginia, Worms and Schriesheim, Germany, San Jose, San Diego, and Arizona.
He graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Radio/TV/Film. He has worked delivering the Washington Post, in a comic book store, fast food, selling encyclopedias door-to-door, and as maintenance supervisor for a large regional shopping center. He was the manager of Hunteris Books, La Jolla when his first fiction was published. He has been VP of Marketing and Senior Editor for comic book publisher WildStorm Productions, Editor-in-Chief for IDW Publishing, and a freelance writer. He and his wife Maryelizabeth Hart and partner Terry Gilman are the owners of Mysterious Galaxy, an independent bookstore specializing in mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

He currently lives on the Flying M Ranch in Arizona with his family, cat and three dogs, in a house filled with books and comics and toys and music and laughter.


He is passionate about-among other things-reading, the deserts and mountains and forests of the American West, modern and historical, politics, Nikki Cox, photography, independent bookstores, and whatever else strikes his fancy at any given moment.

To find out about all of Jeff's projects be sure to check out his website : http://www.jeffmariotte.com

My Review of the Book:

I know I have mentioned before how important a cover is!  There doesn't have to be a lot going on to grab ones attention, but the fact remains it has to have something special.  This cover did it for me.  It is so simple yet the colouring on it brought me in and although I has never heard of the author before it was because of the cover of this book that I added it to my next read.

Kerry Proffit is a strong and fascinating main character.  I have to say so far among all the characters in the book she was by far my favorite.  She has a hard and challenging life and it shows to not get any easier the older that she gets.  Although she does not let the negativity in her life get her down, if anything it only makes her stronger.  This is an important message for everyone, but especially for Young Adults as any of us who have been through high school we know how many ups and downs there were during those few years!

I am looking forward to reading Volume 2 in the Dark Vengeance and seeing what other trouble Kerry and her friends can find themselves in! 


When was the last time you visited your local library?  I borrowed my copy from the library and views expressed are 100% my own!





Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton Book Review


About the Book:

Somewhere out in the Sombrero Galaxy, Tilda Pinkerton-mystical maker of mysterious, magnificent, magical hats-is being hunted by the Keeper of Darkness.

Yet Tilda simply does not recall, at all, after taking a tremendous fall.

No one on Ooleeoo, where Tilda crash-landed, knows she is from another planet. Only Star Jumper Randy can tell her-but he's light years away, frantically searching for his missing love, desperate that without her, the entire galaxy soon may be lost.

Even in the middle of cosmic danger, Tilda loves to create hats, for which she has a rare and uncanny knack. All who receive them sparkle, in fact-and spark their innermost talent. With a Tilda hat, people can suddenly do whatever they dream of, causing brilliant ideas to grow madly.
With Gladys the toad, who thinks she's a cat, and Frank the fish, who lives in her hat, Tilda must discover who she is and what her enemy wants from her so badly.

But the Mayor of Moodle has other plans, including a ban on all wearing of hats, everywhere on Ooleeoo. His dark and forbidding actions seem to coincide with something unworldly, threatening all with a nameless dread and slowly blacking out the sky. With Ooleeoo itself turning upside down, how can anyone survive?
In this first in a series of Tilda Pinkerton adventures, Tilda must fight the battle of her life and risk all-even the galaxy and stars-by revealing her most electrifying secret.

Written for children but adults enjoy it too!

About the Author:


Angela Shelton is an author, actor, blogger and public speaker. She has been writing since she was eight years old. Her first novel was adapted into the movie Tumbleweeds. Angela won a regional Emmy award for her portrayal of Safe Side Superchick in The Safe Side video series created by Baby Einstein's Julie Clark and America's Most Wanted's John Walsh. After living in Los Angeles for over a decade, Angela left the big city for a one-light country town to marry her first love and fulfill her dream of writing books in a barn house.
Find out how Angela has incorporated the character of Tilda Pinkerton into an entire line of book projects, each geared towards a different age group at www.MagicHatShop.com

Angela Shelton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/angelashelton
Tilda Pinkerton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tildapinkerton

My Review of the Book:

How important is a book cover? I personally would have to say it is very important!!  Many of us read books from reviews we have read or word of mouth from family and/or friends.  Then there are books that have such beautiful covers that you may not have heard of them, but the cover pulls you into it!  The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton is a book that has it all.  I have to say the cover of this book is one of the best that I have seen in a long time.  I fell in love with it as soon as I opened my mail and could not wait to read this book!

Once I dived into the book  I have to say it did not disappoint!  The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton is so well written and entertaining from start to finish.  It was one of those books that I hated to put down and definitely want to share. The story line is so well thought out and put together that I was pleased  see that this book is just one of many that will come from Tilda Pinkerton.  I love the fact that Angela Shelton wrote a book that is a suitable for both children and adults.  Young and old will both love this book and rest assured if you are looking for a gift for a birthday or for Christmas coming up this book would be perfect!!  Personally I can not wait until my girls are old enough to read it!

Be sure to check back tomorrow and you may just get the chance to WIN yourself a copy!!!




I received a book for review purposes and views are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway!

 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Women Redeemed 2.0


Kregel Live Webcast event
In coordination with the launch of their fall releases, Kregel will be hosting a live webcast event on October 10th at 8 PM EDT featuring authors Kim Ketola (Cradle My Heart), Teske Drake (Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow), and Dawn Scott Jones (When a Woman You Love Was Abused). The webcast will allow women to come together to share their struggles and fears in order to move toward healing and hope. Women will able to support one another and discuss shared experiences in a non-threatening, open and loving environment.

Cat Hoort of Kregel says, "We are seeking to provide safe means for Christian women to be vulnerable with each other, to seek help and guidance from authors and counselors, and to find encouragement from those who have shared similar experiences. Our hope is that the Women Redeemed webcast will become a forum for hurting women as well as for those who can help. Kim, Teske, and Dawn are all survivors and their stories will surely inspire and equip other women to move toward healing and hope."

The authors will also be giving away books and other fun prizes at the Webcast.  So be sure to click on the button at the top and register for this great webcast and get ready to get educated!!






Book Review: Say Hello to a Better Body



About the Book:

Weight Loss and Fitness for Women Over 50

Inspiring Chicken Soup for the Soul stories and accessible leading-edge medical information from Dr. Suzanne Koven of Harvard Medical School. Women over 50 fight menopause, creaky joints, busy lives, and other factors that interfere with their quests for weight control and fitness. These advice-filled stories from women over 50 who have figured out how to get fit are combined with Dr. Koven's practical advice and medical information. You won't have any more excuses!

My Review of the Book:

Well, this book is geared towards Women Over 50.  I am in my 30's, but honestly I want to let you all know not to let that hold you back from getting this book.  I have to say if you are 30 plus you will find beneficial and material you can relate to within this book. Currently I am trying to loose weight, I have had some success, but a lot of internal struggles along the way.  I loved how many of the stories are situations I have found myself in.  I recently started doing Zumba, I remember walking into my first class seeing all these tones and fit Twenty year old and feeling so out of place.  Although it was myself doing it not the ladies in the group.  If anything they were kind and welcoming.  I read a similar story, but instead of Zumba in the book it was Jazzercise.   Really are we at all that different?  This book shows you as women you are not at all alone in wanting a better body.

Outside of the great stories there is even great pointers in the book.  There are suggestions on what to eat instead of what you might normally.  Great healthy alternatives!!  It is also has informative reading about why we should exercise and pointers, serving sizes and great motivational stories throughout!

I recommend checking out this book and now that the Holidays are around the corner it would be great to get for your moms or those women who you would love to inspire around you!

Buy the book HERE and while your there why not look at their other great reads!


Views are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway.  I did receive a book for review purposes!!




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Review: Against My Will #50BookPledge



About the Book:

AGAINST MY WILL is the life changing novel about Danielle, a victim of marital abuse, who finds the strength to leave her husband and pursue a career in law.

Danielle Landau knows she should feel lucky, but she can't feel anything but dread. Not only did she pass the New York Bar, but she married the man her father says is just right for her and lives in a fashionable new loft in Queens. But the man who seems like the perfect catch is a perfect nightmare at home. Jacob tries to control her career, her daily routine, and even what she eats. He ignores her desires and belittles her every chance he gets. Soon, Danielle doesn't recognize her husband or herself, and she struggles to find a way out.

Danielle tries to talk to her father but he dismisses her marital problems. But she can confide in her Nana Rose, a Holocaust survivor who lost her entire family at the hands of the Nazis. Rose helped raise Danielle and her brother when their mother died when Danielle was only three. Having faced death, Rose is Danielle's source of security. But while Danielle holds on to the fragile belief that her father's prince charming will change, she is raped by her husband on the night of their one year wedding anniversary.
Now, Danielle has to escape. And with the help of her beloved Nana, Danielle moves across the country and starts to rebuild her life. But will she be able to escape her past? And when one of her clients finds herself in the same terrible situation, will Danielle have the strength to help her?

As we follow Danielle on her journey of terror and recovery, we see her story intersect with the diary entries of her Nana as a young girl held captive in a concentration camp. The entries begin with Rose waking up in a hospital after the liberation of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. Graphically she recounts the train ride to the camp and the emotional separation of her from her family upon arrival. And the full weight of the family's secrets becomes clear. This is a story of survival, self-discovery, justice, and ultimately, it's about love.

About the Author: 

"Against My Will" is Benjamin Berkley's fifth book and debut novel. He is also the author of four self-help books: "My Wishes, Your Plan for Organizing Your Family's Needs" (Sourcebooks, June, 2006) "The Complete Executor's Guide" (Sourcebooks, June 2007) "Winning Your Social Security Disability Case" (Sourcebooks, February, 2008) and "Before You Say I Do Again, A Buyer's Beware Guide to Remarriage." (Frederick Fell Publishers, September, 2009).

And though writing is his passion, for over 34 years he has conducted a busy law practice in which he has seen many interesting clients come through his door. One in particular, an older woman with white hair, the kindest smile, and an amazing story became the inspiration for one of his characters for "Against My Will." Berkley lives in southern California with his wife Phyllis and their cat Riley. He has two grown children and is always bragging about his most beautiful grandson and granddaughter.

My Review of the Book: 

Wow...  This book is undoubtedly about strength.  I've learned over and over in my life not to judge a book and I do believe this to be so true.  Although this is a fictional book there are real people that helped inspire this book and without a doubt many who live this hell daily.  AGAINST MY WILL was a great reminder that it is possible to find the strength and get out of a unhealthy situation.  I loved this book and was routing for Danielle through it.  I personally have never been in a similar situation, but found the writing to be so great that you could immerse yourself into the book and get lost within the characters.   

We live in a society that is all about images and we focus so much on the packaging that we fail to see sometimes what is under the packaging could be very broken and in pain.  This message I found to be so evident in the book.  I was also saddened by the fact that Danielle had gone to her father for help and received no help in return.  Being a mother it broke my heart having a child fears and needs, ignored by their parent.  Sure Danielle was grown, but I do not think age changes anything when a child needs their parent.  I feel out of the world that should be the two people that should always be in your corner.  I was happy though that she did have someone in her family to turn to that listened.  Nana helped give Danielle the courage by sharing her own painful story.

I definitely recommend everyone to read this story and remember that no one has the right to belittle, abuse or neglect another human.  We never know what happens behind the closed doors, but AGAINST MY WILL shows that if someone tells you something or you fear something is going on stand up and do something.  We all have the strength in us to make the change, no matter if it is a parent, spouse or a complete stranger in pain.

If your looking for the book check out the authors site: http://www.benberkley.com


I received a book for review purposes, but views expressed are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Getting to know Dystopia and Cyberpunk


Dystopia & Cyberpunk
by Camille Picott

A Guest Post for Jayda & Two Kids and a Migraine
September 19, 2012

Today I’ve been asked to discuss the genres of dystopia and cyberpunk, and what readers can expect of books in these genres.

Dystopia novels convey “the idea of a society, generally of a speculative future, characterized by negative, anti-utopian elements, varying from environmental to political and social issues.” (From Wikipedia—read the entire article here.) Examples of dystopia novels are The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In these types of books, readers can expect to encounter societies that are supposedly ideal and perfect, especially in the eyes of the ruling class; in truth, these societies are flawed and oppressive and often totalitarian in nature.

Cyberpunk books “feature advanced science, such as information technology and cybernetics, coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.” (Also from Wikipedia—read the full article here.) Examples of cyberpunk are Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and the Matrix movies. In these types of stories, readers often encounter dystopian societies coupled with high technology, most especially virtual reality. Cyberpunk novels often have what I call a “hard science” edge, with lots of technical explanations.

There is a lot of crossover between the two genres, though dystopias will in general lack the hard science of cyberpunk. Sometimes dystopias feature a lack of science and technology, with people living by more primitive means. Cyberpunk often features anti-utiopias, but always has some form of high technology.

My YA novel, Sulan, Episode 1: The League is a blend of dystopia and cyberpunk, which I fondly
call “dystopunk.” It features a dystopian society and high technology, but without the hard science a reader might expect to find in a cyberpunk novel. I purposely tried to omit hard science from my novel, mostly because I don’t like to read hard science in my fiction. I like books that can convey the science in simple terms and move on.

Dystopia and cyberpunk works offer a landscape for writers to explore worlds and societies dramatically altered through an extreme circumstance such as natural disaster, man-made disaster, social collapse, and political upheaval. Through these genres, writers extrapolate on what might happen if those extreme circumstances ever came to be.

In The Hungers Games, Collins explores a post-disaster world controlled through political oppression. In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury tackles a future where the masses are controlled through ignorance. Stephenson creates a world largely controlled by corporations in Snow Crash. Matrix watchers get to experience what might happen if our world was dominated by artificial intelligence.

In Sulan, I explore some of my personal fears: fear of what might happen if our country faced a drastic climate change, and fear of what might happen if our country went bankrupt. I name these two events the Shift and the Default. They are the foundation on which sixteen-year-old’s Sulan’s worldview is built.

Thanks, Jayda, for letting me stop by your blog to talk about these two genres!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: Sulan by Camille Picott With Chance To Get Your Own Copy!!



About the Book:

Sixteen-year-old Sulan Hom can’t remember life before the Default—the day the United States government declared bankruptcy. As a math prodigy, she leads a protected life, kept safe from the hunger and crime plaguing the streets of America. She attends the corporate-sponsored Virtual High School, an academy in Vex (Virtual Experience) for gifted children.

Beyond the security of Sulan’s high-tech world, the Anti-American League wages a guerrilla war against the United States. Their leader, Imugi, is dedicated to undermining the nation’s reconstruction attempts. He attacks anything considered a national resource, including corporations, food storage facilities—and schools. When Sulan witnesses the public execution of a teenage student and the bombing of a college dorm, she panics.

Her mother, a retired mercenary, refuses to teach her how to defend herself. Sulan takes matters into her own hands. With the help of her hacker best friend, Hank, Sulan acquires Touch—an illegal Vex technology that allows her to share the physical experience of her avatar. With Touch, Sulan defies her mother and trains herself to fight.

When Imugi unleashes a new attack on the United States, Sulan finds herself caught in his net. Will her Vex training be enough to help her survive and escape?




About the Author:

Camille Picott has been writing books since the age of twelve. She specializes in science fiction and fantasy stories with Asian-inspired settings and Asian main characters. She is the author of two middle grade fantasy books, Raggedy Chan and Nine-Tail Fox.

In her spare time, Camille loves to read books and write reviews. Her reviews are written from a writer’s perspective, highlighting various aspects of craft found in the books she reads.
To visit Camille, and to read her book reviews, go to www.camillepicott.com.




My Review of the Book:

I loved this book!!  One of the main things I loved is that I could live through this fascinating story about a society that is so different from my current one, although realistic enough it could happen.  I honestly have no fighting skills, gosh I am honestly pretty out of shape.  So if my Country was attacked and I would not be able to protect myself, let alone others.  Although, I do have to say after reading this book that is nothing at all that I would say I am proud of!!

I am also happy to see a positive image of a YA's.  We have all been teens and sadly they do get a bad image by many adults.  This was true when my parents were teens, when I was and it still is for any current YA.  Although as this book shows there are definitely many strong and mature teens out there, in fact many are braver then us adults.  I was happy to have the main character a female and a strong female.  Sulan is a great role model for young and old alike.  She is a strong and courageous female without a doubt!

If your looking for a new book to read, I definitely recommend this one!  If your lucky you may also win one and well!  Enter below for your chance to win your own copy of Sulan by Camille Picott!!









a Rafflecopter giveaway
I was supplied a book for review purposes.  All views are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Review: Tea Party Culture War



About the Book: 

America stands at a crossroads: culturally, economically, and politically. Enter The Tea Party Movement, whose focus is primarily fiscal conservatism, government accountability, and reduced taxation.

Currently, America suffers from a clash of worldviews, but the issue is much deeper than politics; it is ultimately a spiritual battle between good and evil. For the sake of generations to come, we need to win this war. We need to take action to defend our beliefs. We need to take the right road.

Link to watch the book trailer: http://vimeo.com/32174674 

About the Author: 



 A long-time resident of California, author and economist, Steve Johnston, B.S., J.D., earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Western State University of Law and a Theological degree from Calvary Chapel School of Ministry.

Mr. Johnston has over 20 years experience in prison ministry and Bible teaching, and has served as a chaplain in Orange County and Los Angeles jails as well as Pelican Bay, a California maximum security prison. Mr. Johnston describes his book, The Tea Party Culture War (WinePress, 2011) as a systematic manifesto of the Tea Party Movement.

Mr. Johnston and his wife of 38 years divide their time between homes in Palm Desert, California and Brookings, Oregon. They have one adult daughter and one granddaughter.

My Review of the Book:

Looking for more reviews of the book?  Why not check out these great reviews: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13522880

First off I do have to say that I am Canadian and really do not know a lot about American politics.  Although, I do have to say that I learned when I was in University that even though I have limited knowledge on American Politics, thanks to news and media, I know just as much about American if not more then I do about my own countries politics.

Prior to reading this book I had heard about The Tea Party, and no not just the music group, but I really did not know much about what The Tea Party stood for and their role in American Politics.  I really found this book interesting and I learned a lot with it.  Even though it is not my typical reading genre the book kept me entertained and it was very thought provoking throughout. 

If you are looking for a book to read to learn about the principles that created and defined America then look no further.  Steve Johnston does a great job with linking the America we all know and the America from the start.  It was a very education and informative read!


Looking at buying a copy for yourself of a family member?  Look no further: http://ow.ly/cwJ1f



I was provided a book for review purposes, although the book did not influence me in any way.  All views are 100% my own!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Successful Breastfeed​ing Essentials Giveaway US Only!!

Successful Breastfeeding Essentials





Welcome to the Successful Breastfeeding Essentials Giveaway!  Breastfeeding can be both challenging and rewarding, so it's important to have great support to get off to the best start.  One lucky reader will win all of the items that were reviewed in the Essentials series, a $140 value!  For full reviews of each item, click on the links below!  Here's what's up for grabs:




Sport Wirefree Nursing Bra

A $40 e-gift certificate to Leading Lady




Breastfeeding My Feeding Friend

A My Feeding Friend nursing pillow




Calma breastfeeding bottle

A Calma breastfeeding support bottle from Medela




Udder Covers Breastfeeding

An Udder Covers gift set including nursing cover, cloth breast pads, and a Milk Bands nursing bracelet





To enter to win, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  Open to US residents.  Ends at 12:01AM on September 11. Thanks for stopping by!


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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: Cradle My Heart



About the Book:

Abortion continues to be a hot topic in politics, women’s rights, and medical practice. But for the eight to ten million American Christian women who have had one, abortion is a spiritual issue as well, raising questions of life and death, heaven and hell, grief and loss.

Writing from her own experience, Kim Ketola sheds light on one of the darkest and most neglected personal issues of our time: the widespread need for healing and spiritual recovery after abortion. “After abortion brought the worst trouble into my life I had ever known,” writes Ketola, “I just couldn’t see my way free to believe in God’s love.”

With a compassionate heart, Ketola offers ten true stories of healing promise from the Bible to help women answer the most common spiritual torments they face: Is abortion a sin? Does God hate me? Where can I turn in my shame and distress? How could I ever tell anyone the truth? And more.

Inspired by Romans 6:4--“just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life"--this is a definitive resource to help women see themselves and God anew and--finally--to find spiritual healing.

Wondering how to get yourself a copy??  You can buy a copy of the book here: http://ow.ly/cTF02

About the Author:


Kim Ketola is a sought-after writer and motivational speaker with the Ruth Graham and Friends conference. After thirty years in the broadcasting industry, she founded a nonprofit organization through which she presents professionally accredited conferences to equip counselors and help individuals recover from the emotional and spiritual wounds of abortion. Kim lives in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Visit her website: www.cradlemyheart.org

My Review of the Book:
 Looking for more views? Check out the tour!
http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13531421/kimketola

Hope...this is something that we all need and at many different times in our lives it may feel as you have lost all of your own.  Kim, takes the reader on a journey that is a very touchy subject no matter if you are relgious or not.  When it comes to abortion everyone has an opinion and if you are a spiritual women who has had one sometimes you need someone to listen and give you hope and not preach at you.  Cradle My Heart, does just that it is a place that a spiritual woman can turn to when for whatever reason you are brought into a situation where abortion is involved.

I personally have never been in this situation, but I do have friends that have an I am glad to know that in the future there is a book like this one I am able to get.  I may not know what to do or say, but at least this book can make me feel as though I am helping my friend in their time of need.  No matter the situation we all need some place to turn to and I am soo thankful that Kim has written this book for the "8-10 million Christian" woman and for all of those who may not be but this Hope.






Be sure to check out the live webcast!!



In coordination with the launch of their fall releases, Kregel will be hosting a live webcast event on September 20 at 8 PM EDT featuring authors Kim Ketola (Cradle My Heart), Teske Drake (Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow), and Dawn Scott Jones (When a Woman You Love Was Abused). The webcast will allow women to come together to share their struggles and fears in order to move toward healing and hope. Women will able to support one another and discuss shared experiences in a non-threatening, open and loving environment.

Cat Hoort of Kregel says, ""We are seeking to provide safe means for Christian women to be vulnerable with each other, to seek help and guidance from authors and counselors, and to find encouragement from those who have shared similar experiences. Our hope is that the Women Redeemed webcast will become a forum for hurting women as well as for those who can help. Kim, Teske, and Dawn are all survivors and their stories will surely inspire and equip other women to move toward healing and hope."

To register for the event, just click here. {https://www.facebook.com/KregelBooks/app_241719209283045}

I received a book for review purposes.  The views expressed are 100% my own and not influenced in any way!



Book Reviw: Aftermath



About the Book:

Growing in Grace Through Grief

Loss is a four-letter word that grips our hearts and gridlocks our lives. Grief can hold us captive until we surrender it to God. How do we find the necessary grace to journey through the mourning process?

Juxtaposed to the outpouring of her mother’s words about grief, the author shares her parallel journey from the emotional abyss of grief after becoming an adult orphan. With candor, the author shares her own emotions experienced along the spectrum of loss after her parents’ deaths: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—adding interactive options for readers.

Five sections cover these common emotions and provide:

• comfort Scripture lists

• counsel sections from grief experts

• chronicling sections with detailed helps

• tangible handles on dealing with grief during holidays, capturing loved ones’ legacy, and more.


Buy a copy of the book here:  http://ow.ly/cOiNu

About the Author:



Margaret McSweeney is a well-published author often writing online articles for Make It Better (the former North Shore Magazine) and freelance articles for the Daily Herald, the largest suburban Chicago newspaper. In addition, she has authored and compiled several books including A Mother’s Heart Knows; Go Back and Be Happy; Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace and most recently, Mother of Pearl.

Margaret has a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina in international business. As is the founder of Pearl Girls, Margaret collaborates with other writers on projects to help fund a safe house for WINGS, an organization that helps women and their children who are victims of domestic violence, and to build wells for schoolchildren in Uganda through Hands of Hope. For the past 10 years she has served on the board of directors and leadership advisory board for WINGS. Margaret lives with her husband and 2 daughters in the Chicago suburbs. Learn more about Margaret and the work of Pearl Girls at www.margaretmcsweeney.com.

My Review of the Book:

Like it or not one thing we know for sure that all of us have in common is that we are going to suffer loss at some point in our life of someone near and dear to us.  For some of us it may come far to soon, but reality is no matter when it happens or how it still hurts just as bad.  It does not get any easier and it is something we all wish we did not have to go through.

We all grieve differently and what works for some, may in fact not work for others.  Aftermath I found was a book that can help one either in preparation for the loss of a dear one or after the loss has already happened.  Margaret takes us on her personal grief journey and helps the reader find a way through the fog of the loss.  While reading the book you feel as a close family member or friend has written it and truly cares about helping the reader   "get through it"  No matter if you are buying this book for someone that you just did not know how to help or you needed some help for yourself this book is perfect!

I received a book for review purposes.  My views are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway!