Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


Monday, December 29, 2014

Mailbox Monday - Dec 29

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

It's been a while since I participated in Mailbox Monday, but I certainly couldn't let the year end without adding my two cents one last time. I pray everyone had a lovely holiday. We don't have much planned to ring in the New Year, but our Christmas was lovely and busy.

Here are the books that arrived over the last couple of weeks:


Playing and dancing, you’re a star! Listen to Danza: Beautiful is what you are! Danza and her friends are silly and sweet. Playing before the mirror, they are reminded of just how special they are. Parents and children alike can relate to this valuable book about self-esteem and self-acceptance. Written in rhythmic and memorable rhyme, this is a fun book to either read aloud or give to early readers. Winner of Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval and Academics’ Choice Smart Book Award.


Ella’s toys are beyond compare, but playtime’s more fun when she learns to share! Flaunting her toys but keeping them to herself is not much fun after the other kids lose interest. Left alone, Ella decides to make it up to her friends. Children will learn an important lesson in this endearing book about generosity, friendship, and the benefits of giving. Written in rhythmic and memorable rhyme, this is a fun book to either read aloud or perfect for early readers. Ella’s Toys was designed to encourage early literacy, enhance social and emotional development, and promote character growth. Winner of Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval and Academics’ Choice Smart Book Award.


Six-year-old Byron Woodward is a werewolf who can’t howl. Determined not to embarrass himself after being chosen to lead a full-moon ceremony, he embarks on a mission to learn how to howl. He learns a lot about howling during his journey, but more importantly, he learns a valuable lesson about believing in himself.


Writer, artist and speaker, Tamara Branch serves up 40 bite-sized chapters on how to build unshakable self-confidence, honor your life, and shine bright in the world, in ITGIRL4LIFE: How to bring out your special something and so much more. Packed with sage advice, life-changing insights and affirmations to help you soar, ITGIRL4LIFE offers ideas, tools and principles that you can reference and build upon, supporting you in becoming your best. Get ready to fall in love with your own wisdom, beauty and strength.


A gorgeous husband, two beautiful children, a job she loves—Claire’s got it all. And then some. But lately, her mother hovers more than a helicopter, her husband Greg seems like a stranger, and her kids are like characters in a movie. Three-year-old Esther’s growing up in the blink of an eye, and twenty-year-old Caitlin, with her jet-black hair and clothes to match, looks like she’s about to join a punk band—and seems to be hiding something. Most concerning, however, is the fact that Claire is losing her memory, including that of the day she met Greg.

When Claire meets a handsome stranger on a rainy day, she starts to wonder if Greg still belongs in her life. She knows she should love him, but she can’t always remember why. When Greg gives her a blank book, Claire fills its pages with private memories and keepsakes, jotting down beginnings and endings and everything in between. The book becomes the story of Claire—her passions, her sorrows, her joys, her adventures in a life that refuses to surrender to a fate worse than dying: disappearing.

These are some Kindle freebies I picked up this week:


When Eve finds out two weeks before Christmas that the love of her life has been cheating, she's left with two tickets to paradise. Defying common sense and hoping for a Christmas miracle, she gives the companion ticket to a man she just met. Nick is handsome, single, and loves Christmas too! It seems like a perfect fit.

Nick meets the lovely, sad Eve at a coffee shop, and he’s instantly smitten. Eve is beautiful, if not a little crazy. She offers him a vacation, all expenses paid. He takes her up on the offer because hey, who passes up a free vacation?

Sleigh bells ring in paradise, and they find each time they come together, it’s magic. Sparks fly between them and soon, they’re well on their way toward falling in love. Maybe it’s the sun, surf, and sand, or the loosened inhibitions…

But will the secret Nick keeps tear them apart forever?

Eve has to decide if she can forgive Nick and take a chance on happily ever after.

The fate of Christmas is in her hands, and time’s running out.


Jeremiah Jacobs moved to the Ozarks for a fresh start. He knows no one and has no plans to get romantically involved with anyone. Ever. He’s already had his heart ripped out once and once is enough. Besides he has contractual obligations that prevent him from talking about work - and what woman would want to be involved with a man who has to keep his job a secret? When he attends his first local writers’ group meeting, he finds the leader so intriguing, his instant attraction to her threatens to complicate his currently uncomplicated life.

Dorrie Miller has never been good enough. Not for her father or any of the guys she’s dated in the past. She’s pushed beyond her father’s disapproval to have a good career while pursuing her dream of becoming a published novelist. The Christian Authors Network – Dedicated to Inspirational Distinction, or CANDID, is hosting their annual conference in Indianapolis and who’s rumored to be in attendance? The super reclusive, super-star author, Mya Elizabeth Linscott.

The hunky new member of her local CANDID group, Jeremiah, wants to carpool to Indy. Dorrie can handle not making a fool of herself for eight hours each way. Right? But she never imagined doing a favor for someone during the conference would leave her accidentally married to the gorgeous guy she barely knows. How will she get out of this mess, married to a near stranger? Does she want to? Will her insecurities and Jeremiah’s secrets tear them apart? Or can she trust that, all along, God’s been helping her with Finding Mr. Write?


A timeless love story of broken promises and second chances...

Even as high school sweethearts, Mona Beth Adams believed her Texas cowboy-rancher was the only man for her. But life intervened, stealing away the only man she'd ever love. Then a second chance reunites the couple until a dusty stack of unopened love letters and potentially terminal illness forces them to sift through the painful past. Only as they retrace history will they learn the truth about the broken promise that threatens to come between them. But can their relationship endure the deception and sabotage they unearth, or will the experience compel them to trust more fully in the promises that never fail?

2013 Grace Award Nominee (Reader-Nominated)

The last two were presents I received from my family from my Amazon Wish List.


The Great War has ended, but Downton Abbey is far from peaceful...

"Americans can't get enough of 'Downton Abbey,'" said The Boston Globe. As Season 3 of the award-winning TV series opens, it is 1920 and Downton Abbey is waking up to a world changed forever by World War I. New characters arrive and new intrigues thrive as the old social order is challenged by new expectations.

In this new era, different family members abound (including Cora's American mother, played by Shirley MacLaine) and changed dynamics need to be resolved: Which branch of the family tree will Lord Grantham’s first grandchild belong to? What will become of the servants, both old and new?

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey, carefully pieced together at the heart and hearth of the ancestral home of the Crawleys, takes us deeper into the story of every important member of the Downton estate.This lavish, entirely new book from Jessica Fellowes focuses on each character individually, examining their motivations, their actions, and the inspirations behind them. An evocative combination of story, history, and behind-the-scenes drama, it will bring fans even closer to the secret, beating heart of the house.


With all the warmth of a cozy quilt, three authors stitch together Amish tales of hearts joined, friendships patched, and the bright joys of Christmas tradition . . .

A Willow Ridge Christmas Pageant
Charlotte Hubbard
Seth Brenneman didn't expect his holiday would include rescuing pregnant young Mary Kauffman and her two children. . .or having unexpected feelings for the still-grieving widow. But when they must play the leads in an impromptu live Nativity pageant to help his Amish community, will their roles reveal their hearts--and work a miracle for a lifetime?

A Christmas On Ice Mountain
Kelly Long
Matthew Beider and Laurel Lapp's secret wish to marry is a gift their feuding fathers definitely won't accept. And trying to settle their dats' long-standing quarrel is making their holiday anything but merry. Can rediscovering the joys and friendships of Christmas past finally turn their families' futures bright?

A Perfect Amish Christmas
Jennifer Beckstrand
Anna and Felty Helmuth's grandson, Gideon, plans to spend Christmas on a beach in sunny Mexico. But Anna is quite sure he'd rather be with them, snowshoeing, ice fishing--falling in love. And she knows the perfect girl. Not only is Dottie Schrock an excellent quilter and baker, she's having a party. There's just one complication--Gideon is not invited. Dottie has her reasons, but Anna trusts that the spirit of Christmas--and true love--will change her mind, and her future . . .


What did you receive in your mailbox?



Saturday, December 27, 2014

National Readathon Day Coming January 24



Did you know that 40% of American adults are either at or below basic reading proficiency, and 14% are fully illiterate? Each year, millions of Americans — especially our youth — are losing touch with the power and importance of reading books. As Malcolm X said, “People don’t realize how a whole life can be changed by one book.”

Help change lives this winter by celebrating National Readathon Day with Penguin Random House, GoodReads, Mashable, and the National Book Foundation. Together with your support, we hope to help fund their efforts to educate, tutor, create and sustain a lifelong love of reading.

You can get involved by joining readers across America in a marathon reading session on Saturday, January 24. From Noon – 4 PM in our respective time zones, we will sit and read a book in our own home, library, school or bookstore.

Get started now by creating your own Firstgiving Fundraising page, and inviting friends and family to donate, or visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

If you represent a bookstore, library or school, we invite your venue to host a “reading party” during the Readathon, so your local community can gather and read together. You can also create a fundraising team (named for your bookstore or library), enabling your community to fund raise together as a group to contribute to the National Book Foundation’s efforts to promote reading in America. Visit our Readathon Resources page for supporting materials and information on how to get started.

And be sure to share your experiences and photos using the hash tag, #timetoread!*


* Most text copied from the Penquin Random House site in order to help promote this event. I'll be supporting this event at our local library. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Pre-Order Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester & Support the Wounded Warrior Project

Steven Manchester's next book will be out on January 6, 2015. Voted one of the Must Read Books of 2015 by Cyrus Webb PresentsGooseberry Island is sure to be the next hit from one of our #1 bestselling authors. The book looks at the budding relationship between Lindsay and David, who have to deal with David's deployment overseas and his recovery from the trauma he witnessed in the service of his country.

PTSD is one of the biggest problems facing soldiers as they return from war. As an experienced veteran himself, Steven Manchester understands that. That's why, during the promotion of this book, Steven and The Story Plant are going to be working toward helping returning veterans. And we need your help to do that.

From now until January 31, 2015, we will donate $1 to the Wounded Warrior Project for every copy of Gooseberry Island that is pre-ordered and sold. All you have to do is email us a copy of your receipt and we will make the donation. In addition to that, we will also donate a copy of the e-book to returning soldiers, one donation for each copy sold.

Here's the really important part - we need your help to spread the word about this campaign! Tell your neighbors, tell your family members, tell the person working the checkout line in the grocery story. Just tell as many people as you can and ask them to help spread the word too. We want this campaign to go viral! Let's do something good this holiday season and celebrate those who protect and serve our country!

You can read more about Gooseberry Island at our website. It is available for sale at AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKobo, and IndieBound.

Curious about Wounded Warrior or want to make your own donation? Visit their website here.


"Mr. Manchester handles [PTSD] with great compassion.  He brings to life the hardships that are suffered by our returning servicemen.  His characters have depth and the story is compelling.  It is not only a novel, it helps to inform the reader of the difficulties experienced and the silent life and death struggle that goes on every day around us." -From Book Bug Blog

"I’ve said it before – Steven Manchester has a very definite style of his own. His books all display beautiful descriptive writing, poignancy, and include an inspirational message, and this one will simply warm your heart." -From And The Story Unfolds

"This author did a wonderful job with this novel showing how war can change a person and how so many of these military people die of suicide and bringing to life the many hardships along with disorders(PTSD) that are suffered by many of our returning military men and women." -From Arlena, Goodreads member


“Steven Manchester has a gift for expressing through his writing the complicated and transcendent beauty of the human experience with poignant clarity,” says Yolanda King, eldest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King. “Steven Manchester writes about life as it really is and really could be,” adds Crystal Book Reviews. Steven Manchester’s work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Manchester writes deeply moving, intensely relatable novels that readers tend to remember and discuss for a long time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Little Shepherd Featured Today!



My first book, Little Shepherd, is featured today at the blog of author Janet Elizabeth Lynn. Hope you'll check it out at http://janetelizabethlynnauthor.blogspot.com/2014/12/special-featured-author.html

Little Shepherd and my second book, A Christmas Kindness, make great gifts for your little reader. You can find out more about them at http://ccmalandrinos.com/books/


Friday, December 5, 2014

PBS KIDS Survey: Less $$ More Family This Holiday



FAMILY TIME IS NUMBER-ONE AS MILLENNIAL PARENTS GET READY FOR THE HOLIDAY, ACCORDING TO SURVEY FROM PBS KIDS

Millennial parents want a simpler season, with less shopping and more family fun 

ARLINGTON, VA, December 4, 2014 – Fatigued by a myriad of "hot gift" lists, millennial parents say that fewer gifts and more family fun top their holiday wish lists, according to the Millennial Parent Holiday Survey from PBS KIDS, the results of which were released today. The survey of millennial parents (ages 18 – 33) found that 82% crave more family time and 80% want to spend more time playing with their kids this holiday season. Conversely, many of these younger parents want to dial back gift prep and shopping, with 37% saying they would like to spend less time shopping. Even more parents (45%) would like to spend less time assembling gifts.

Learning and Eco Factors Rank High
When millennial parents do go shopping, more than half (54%) say that “hot toy” or “hot gift” lists aren’t as important in the purchasing decision as other factors. Almost all millennial parents (97%) want to buy their children gifts that will stand the test of time and toys that provide learning opportunities (another 97%). That’s especially true for parents of toddlers and preschoolers (68% of parents of kids 2 – 6 compared to 58% of parents of kids 7 – 8), according to the Millennial Parent Holiday Survey. The eco factor is top of millennial parents’ minds, too, when selecting gifts for their children: 70% say it’s important to purchase eco-friendly toys, and 61% are more likely to purchase an eco-friendly toy this year than in holidays past. 

Playful Family Holidays 
Technology is a big part of entertaining children and staying organized during the holidays, but millennial parents, especially moms, are also looking to balance technology with a broader array of playful solutions. This includes a return to the basics of creative, open-ended play, to connect with their children in fun and meaningful ways1. Based on the survey, almost all of millennial parents (95%) think it is important to give their kids toys that the family can enjoy together.  Millennial parents place high importance on playing with their children and actively participate in learning experiences, especially during the holidays.

Greener Dads
Interest in eco-friendly toys is even higher among dads, with 31% reporting that it is very important to purchase toys made from eco-friendly materials. This compares to 17% of moms who find it important. Dads are also more likely to purchase eco-friendly toys this year than in years past (74%), compared to 59% of moms. 

Millennial Parents Get Cooking!
Along with spending more time with family, topping the list of activities millennial parents want to do more of this season are cooking/baking (69%).

"We learned from this survey that during the holidays parents value quality family time and educational resources for their kids,” said Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager, Children’s Programming, PBS. “At PBS KIDS we share these core values, and are dedicated to providing families with educational content and resources that they can enjoy together, not just during the holidays, but all year-long.”

Tips to Simplify the Holidays 
The spirit of the holidays can sometimes get lost in the hectic holiday season. But there are easy ways for parents to help their family simplify and embrace the season, including these tips from PBS Parents:

 Downscale holiday plans and expectations.  Keep the focus on family, on meaningful traditions and simple activities that replenish rather than exhaust. 

Ask your children what they most love about your family's holiday.  You may be surprised by their answers. 

Whether you're decorating, baking cookies, or making gifts for grandma, remember that the process is more important for your child than the outcome.  Keep it simple, and you and your child will enjoy it more. 

Create small special moments in every day. Go for a sledding adventure or a winter nature walk outside. Turn off every light in the house at dinner time, light candles, and invite everyone to be perfectly still and perfectly silent for a minute. 

Celebrate the holidays as a season of giving and doing for others.  Grab the kids and head next door to shovel an elderly neighbor's walkway; make Christmas cards together for the mail carrier; deliver soup to a friend with the flu and focus on gifts that give back. Watch as your children begin to discover the secret pleasure of small kindnesses, offered with love. PBS KIDS provides a unique solution for parents looking for presents with a purpose, offering a new line of sustainable toys in partnership with Whole Foods.

PBS KIDS Millennial Parent Holiday Survey Methodology
The 2014 PBS KIDS Parent Survey was conducted by Smarty Pants, November 14 - 17, 2014. A sampling of 500 US parents ages 18 – 33 with children ages 2-8, participated in the online survey.

About PBS KIDS PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer- and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

CONTACTS: 
Atiya Frederick, PBS, 703.739.5147 / anfrederick@pbs.org

Caitlin Melnick, 360 Public Relations, 617.585.5775 / cmelnick@360pr.com

The Friday 56 - Week 205

Welcome to Week 205!

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.



I had picked this one up as a freebie back in November.


Angelina could see why they all flocked to Vince. As if his dark, wavy hair and coffee colored eyes weren't enough, his generous spirit, sense of humor, and gourmet chef abilities made him an even more terrific catch. 


Monday, December 1, 2014

Cultivate Fun and Love in Your Children by Eve Picquette, Author of Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships


How many times have you read or seen something that made you want to change your life and relationships – but you didn’t know how? Introduced by two angels, Hope and Impatience, Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships: 10 Shift Keys - What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries answers the “how” question. Eve Picquette shows readers how to:

  • Open their hearts to love
  • Shift their lives, using 10 keys—how-to-do-it ideas created with the help of angels of inspiration—to change in real and satisfying ways.

In this lighthearted, uplifting, and beautifully illustrated gift book, each chapter opens with images of the author’s angels and quotes she believes were angel-inspired sometime in history. Readers may also download companion MP3 Mini Meditations available on Amazon.com. They are “Dared to Shift” their thoughts and behaviors and these shifts will improve lives and relationships: • Shift 1: Always Connect to Love • Shift 2: Just Stop It, Really • Shift 3: It’s All About You • Shift 4: It’s Not About You • Shift 5: Give Up on the Past • Shift 6: Expect the Best Future • Shift 7: Appreciate Everything Now • Shift 8: Re-Choose Your Relationships • Shift 9: Handle Conflict with Grace • Shift 10: Love So it Can be Felt.

If you are ready to try these simple shifts, the results will amaze you. Every encouraging and comforting word in this beautifully illustrated self-help book will lead you to the path of peace, happiness, and fulfillment. A treasure to own, it would also serve as a thoughtful, caring, and loving gift.

For More Information


  • Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships: 10 Shift Keys – What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the book trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
CULTIVATE FUN AND LOVE IN YOUR CHILDREN

If you are like me – you want your children to see their childhood as happy and to know how much they are loved.  However with career and personal concerns and the pressure to raise perfect children – that can be hard to accomplish. 

I read an article the other day, “The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio” in the March 15, 2013 Harvard Business Review.  I greatly simplify – the researchers found what made the greatest difference between the most and least successful business teams was the ratio of positive comments to negative comments that the teams members made to each other.   The most successful teams made six positive comments for every one negative comment. 

Though this research was in a business setting – how much more important to have loving positive interactions between family members!  I look back on my daughter’s childhood and wish I had known more then.  I had a busy hospital career and a marriage that was not setting a very good example for happiness or peace.  I know I failed in many ways – but I did do a few things right!

• I realized that we needed to have fun together – so everyday I had Disney cartoons or other happy comedy for us to watch together as I exercised and started dinner. She has happy memories of that, and one of our favorite things now – even though she is grown – is to find some short and hilarious comedy to watch and enjoy together.

• I tried to praise and support her as much as possible. I was lucky enough to read a essay/book I can no longer find – There is Magic in a Word of Praise - which made a deep impression on me. Because of that - I did try to praise her more often than correct her.

If you have children at home – think about how often you have fun with your children and increase the fun, if possible.  Note your tone of voice and how often you look for the good and give praise, hugs and affection to your children.  Think how you could increase your positive and supportive comments.   I can’t go back and do better, but you can make a difference in your children’s lives today!

Eve Picquette, author of the Self-help/Inspirational book, Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships – 10 Shift Keys – What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries, available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Open-Heart-Happy-Relationships-Shift/dp/061569697


You are invited to visit my author page - https://www.amazon.com/author/eve-advisorisin, Facebook at AdvisorIsIn and my page at AdvisorIsIn.com where I offer advice and techniques to help you open your heart for the happiest relationships and life, as well as Free Angel Readings and other gifts – click on Angel Messages!

Cyber Monday Deal: 12-month gift subscription to Cricket Magazine




A 12-month gift subscription to Cricket Magazine, filled with stories and activities that will make kids smile and foster a lifelong love of reading, is just $20, with the special #GiftofReading Cyber Monday Promotion code that saves shoppers 40% (subscriptions are regularly $33.95). That includes both a print subscription delivered to kids’ mailboxes monthly and a digital subscription too.

Cyber Monday Dec. 1: Code = NF12-002
Claim code at http://www.cricketmag.com/

And there are 13 other monthly magazine gift subscriptions to choose from – one for every age and interest – and dozens of high-quality, educational toys and games in the Cricket Media Holiday Gift Guide. Mom, Dad, Grandma and the rest of the family can “hop” to it with Cricket Media, doing their holiday shopping for less, in just a few clicks from the comfort of their couches!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Book Review: River Spirits by Marilyn Meredith

Tempe...is...back! In this exciting new installment of the Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series, an actor is murdered during filming at the Bear Creek Indian Reservation. Tempe is sent in to uncover the culprit. Meanwhile, her son, Blair, arrives home with some big news.

This series keeps getting better and better. Familiar faces from Bear Creek (Hutch, Miqui Sherwood, Nick Two John, and Claudia) are joined by a film crew shooting a movie at the reservation. When an actor is found murdered at the Painted Rock shelter, Tempe discovers numerous people could have wanted this man dead. In a style that readers have come to expect from Meredith, Tempe's personal and professional lives collide as she works to uncover a murderer. The Native American elements of the series continue to play a vital role in the plot--including the legend of the Hairy Man.


A perfect stand-alone novel, River Spirits will draw you in from the very first page and have you longing for more Tempe once you're done.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Mundania Press LLC (September 30, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606594117
ISBN-13: 978-1606594117
Also available in Kindle format

Contest: The winner will be the person who comments on the most blog posts during the tour.
He or she can either have a character in my next book named after them, or choose an earlier book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series—either a paper book or e-book.

I received an electronic ARC from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Friday 56 - Week 204

Welcome to Week 204!

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.


Find this book on GoodReads



She nestled beside him, feeling the muscles in his arms tighten with anticipation.

Black Friday Shopping Tips



Here are links to Black Friday shopping tips. Me, I'll stick around home and bake for the church's bake sale on Saturday. If you brave the crowds, good luck!

http://hip2save.com/2014/11/03/my-top-black-friday-shopping-tips/

http://sweeptight.com/2014/11/tips-for-black-friday-shopping.html

http://www.allyou.com/budget-home/money-shopping/snag-rock-bottom-buys-black-friday

https://blackfriday.com/pages/black-friday-shopping-tips


Monday, November 24, 2014

Seasonal Family Favorites on PBS KIDS!



‘Tis the season for family favorites on PBS KIDS! On November 26, PBS KIDS will kick off the holidays with the return of CURIOUS GEORGE: A Very Monkey Christmas. In this fun-filled one-hour special, families can join their favorite monkey and the Man with the Yellow Hat as they count down the days until Christmas.


The holiday fun continues throughout December with new episodes from other PBS KIDS series. Viewers will help Otto and Olive solve a reindeer case in an all-new episode of ODD SQUAD, celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah with Peg and Cat in a one-hour PEG + CAT + HOLIDAYS special, spread cheer with new engine friends Gator and Reg on THOMAS & FRIENDS and go on a winter adventure featuring The Nutcracker Ballet with DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD.


Mailbox Monday - November 24

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

It's been a few weeks since I've participated in Mailbox Monday. Real estate is keeping me very busy. My first listing hit the market last week and I have been showing houses to buyers all weekend long. When I'm not showing houses on Sunday, I'm facilitating open houses. I'm loving it, but I'm still struggling to find some balance. I've made a bit of time for reading, but not as much as I would like.

The following book was ordered from Christianbook.com. They had a great sale going on and I couldn't resist.



Settling the vast open prairies, weathering the winter storms, and finding joy to celebrate during Christmas epitomizes the pioneer experience. In this unique collection of nine Christmas romances, readers will relive a prairie Christmas with all its challenges and delights as penned by multi-published authors, including Tracie Peterson and Deborah Raney.

Take Me Home by Tracey Bateman
One Wintry Night by Pamela Griffin
Image of Love by JoAnn A. Grote
The Christmas Necklace by Maryn Langer
A Christmas Gift of Love by Darlene Mindrup
God Jul by Tracie Peterson
Circle of Blessings by Deborah Raney
Christmas Cake by Janet Spaeth
Colder Than Ice by Jill Stengl

The warmth of Christmas will radiate in new love from the high plains of Minnesota and Dakota Territory, across the rolling hills of Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois, and down into the flats of Kansas. Filled with inspiration and faith, each story will become a treasure to be enjoyed again next year.

What books arrived in your mailbox? I'm working most of the day and then have a meeting in the evening, so it might be tomorrow before I return your comment. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Session Director's Guide to Commercial Acting in L.A. Book Blitz - Win A $25 Amazon Gift Card

Shaan Sharma’s A SESSION DIRECTOR’S GUIDE TO COMMERCIAL ACTING IN L.A. is the commercial acting industry’s most comprehensive book ever written - - giving readers a step-by-step guide to breaking into and prospering in the commercial acting business in the world’s entertainment center, Los Angeles. Fusing his experience, wisdom, vignettes and wit – Sharma is about to change the lives of those who thought big-picture acting was nothing but a fantasy, as well as those commercial veterans who could be even more successful.

Readers of this book will learn how to become successful working actors in TV commercials in Los Angeles in this fun step-by-step guide by top Casting Session Director and Commercial Actor Shaan Sharma. “This isn’t hype – it’s tangible advice I have gained from running auditions for over 400 commercial spots,” says Sharma. “Readers will hit the ground running as they discover how the business works and what to expect, how to find good acting classes, refine their look, get headshots, get representation, get in with the top commercial casting directors, navigate the audition and call-back process, life on set and even how to stay busy between acting jobs. There’s also a bonus chapter for parents interested in getting their children into acting. The commercial acting world is so different than that of theater, TV and film that new students and veterans alike need to make the most of the time and money they invest in their careers.”

Shaan went on to say, “The kind of information in this book can only come from someone who has experience both in front of and behind the camera, who works with the top casting directors, directors, ad agencies and companies in the world. There are no other books out there like it. So, if you want to get into commercial acting in L.A. – this is your guidebook.”

Having directed audition sessions for over four hundred national commercial spots for dozens of L.A.’s top casting directors, Shaan Sharma is a well-known veteran of his industry. Now expanding his reach through a powerful new book, Shaan is looking to help thousands of actors better navigate their way through the commercial acting business by putting into practice the tips and information he has spent fifteen years discovering. Regardless of experience level, A SESSION DIRECTOR’S GUIDE TO COMMERCIAL ACTING IN L.A. contains insider knowledge that will help actors better understand the process and in turn be more successful. Shaan’s book features compelling illustrations by Paul Loudon.

203 pages
E-book, $19.99; ISBN: 9780990408024
Softback, $29.99; ISBN: 9780990408000
Publication date: September 22, 2014
Published by CreateSpace; Available at: Apple iBooks: http://bit.ly/VGv766; Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1vFnTtK; Barnes and Noble Nook: http://bit.ly/1xjHmTv; Kobo: http://bit.ly/1magu4h

Book Excerpt:
In the end, training to be the best actor you can be, creating your own work, getting in front of casting directors whenever possible through workshops and showcases, submitting yourself for work on and offline, getting great representation and working with them to expand your opportunities for mutual success, being knowledgeable about the business and casting process, giving as much as you can of yourself to other actors, and being awesome to, and interested in, the people that make it all happen day-in and day-out is the best way to maximize your chances of success, not only as a commercial actor but as a professional actor, period.

I hope that this information has been a helpful starting point in knowing what to do. Almost all of us move here from somewhere else with no good information as to how things actually work, and it can be so hap-hazard where you end up training and how you end up finding out the right information. It’s my hope that this insider look into the world of commercial acting and casting helps you sidestep the mistakes I and others naturally made when we started out. A better-informed and trained acting community will only make my life easier in the casting studio. In fact, this material is actually all a selfish effort for my own benefit. But hey, if good is achieved with it also, well then that’s extra karma for me.


As an L.A. actor himself, Shaan Sharma has a string of impressive acting credits on network TV shows such as “Scandal,” “Ground Floor,” “Growing Up Fisher,” “Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street” and “The Thundermans.” Shaan’s commercial acting credits include spots for FedEx, Best Buy and Capital One - - but it’s his experience as a Session Director for hundreds of commercial castings that have given him unique insight into what it takes to be a working actor. He is also an acting teacher with regular scene study on-camera acting classes for film and TV as well as commercial acting workshops. For more information, visit Mr. Sharma’s official website: http://shaansharma.com and his book page at: http://shaansharma.com/Shaan_Sharma_Acting_Studio/shaans-book.php. He is also a columnist for Back Stage, an actor’s news source at: http://www.backstage.com/experts/shaan-sharma/.


Shaan is giving away one $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
• This giveaway begins November 3 and ends November 29.
• Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, December 1.
• Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!
ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NEW SHOPADVISOR DATA: DECEMBER 18 REIGNS SUPREME FOR SAVINGS IN-STORE AND ONLINE



NEW SHOPADVISOR DATA: BLACK FRIDAY DEALS A FAR CRY FROM SEASON’S BEST; DECEMBER 18 REIGNS SUPREME FOR SAVINGS IN-STORE AND ONLINE


BOSTON, November 12 – Procrastination may be just the prescription for those seeking the hottest holiday deals, according to new findings today from ShopAdvisor, which today revealed December 18 as last year’s best day to snag low prices in-store and online.  The virtuousness of patience was further borne out by data showing last year’s post-Black Friday discounts reaching double digits, even for some of the most coveted brands, outpacing Black Friday’s reductions of just a percentage point or two for the 6,000 items ShopAdvisor tracked in-store and online.

Surprisingly, 42 percent of the products tracked by ShopAdvisor were actually priced higher on Black Friday than in the four weeks leading up to it.  And as for luxury goods deals, the wait was endless, as ShopAdvisor found highest-end merchandize having gone undiscounted from November through January.

ShopAdvisor analyzed the 2013 lowest available prices for 6,000 products across all major categories that its app and website users were actively shopping for.  The pricing data came from 16,000 real-time data feeds from individual retailers and affiliates, including the nation’s big box, department store and online retail leaders.  

Among other noteworthy ShopAdvisor findings:

·         The average discount was 17.5 percent on December 18 versus less than 5 percent on Black Friday
·         Discounts were 30 percent deeper weekdays than on weekends from after Black Friday through the holiday shopping period

·         While discounts continued from December 26 through New Year’s Day, the deals were not as strong as those offered on December 18

Longer Waits, Better Deals: The New Norm?

ShopAdvisor’s unmasking of December 18 as last year’s best holiday deal day in-store and online stands in marked contrast to 2012, when December 1 reigned supreme, per similar company data.  “The question becomes, are retailers planning to backload deals again this year?  Now is too early to tell, but the perception of a stronger economy may embolden them to behave that way,” said Scott Cooper, CEO, ShopAdvisor.  “What is now clear, if it wasn’t already, is that Black Friday is more about sport than savings – consumers competing for real deals on just a handful of limited quantity doorbusters, not widespread season’s-best pricing.”

Cooper said aggregated data from ShopAdvisor users actively seeking discounts on desired products this holiday season show electronics again topping lists. The top five most watched categories as of this week: (1) TVs, tablets and computers; (2) health and beauty; (3) appliances; (4) cameras; (5) video games.

About ShopAdvisor

ShopAdvisor lets consumers shop smarter in-store and online by providing up-to-date pricing and retailer availability for over 200 million products.  Shoppers can save items they’re interested in to a Watch List and be alerted when the time to buy is right, saving time and money, and link to the lowest price merchant to buy instantly. ShopAdvisor also works with magazines including Cosmopolitan, House Beautiful, Cooking Light and Real Simple to allow shoppers to shop directly for the products and gift ideas featured in the magazine. 

Consumers can download the ShopAdvisor mobile app for their iOS or Android device, or go to ShopAdvisor.com. The app and web site are free. ShopAdvisor has been recognized as one of the best 100 Android apps by PC Magazine and an “App Store Rewind Best Utility App” for the iPhone.
# # #

For additional data and insights, contact Caitlin Melnick, cmelnick@360PR.com, 617-585-5775, or Jenny Krupski, jkrupski@360PR.com, 617-585-5762.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Product Review: Hamilton Beach® 24791 Modern Chrome 4-Slice Toaster



I purchased this Hamilton Beach® 24791 Modern Chrome 4-Slice Toaster back in September from Amazon. We had a toaster oven that took up a ton of space and worked slowly. This unit's sleek design takes up much less space and it looks great.

You can toast and defrost with this unit, and it also has a bagel setting. This toaster works quickly and I was thrilled to have some counter space back. My only issue with this unit is the uneven toasting of the bread. If I get one side golden brown, the other is still mostly white. My only option is to reduce the toasting time and turn the bread over and re-toast it if I want it done right. Who has time for that?

Overall I'm happy with this toaster. I just wish it toasted more evenly.

This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Product Review: O2Cool Mist n' Sip®


Right before soccer season started, we bought this O2Cool Mist n' Sip® water bottle from Olympia Sports for the Lil' Princess. It's a clever design: a soft plastic insulated bottle with a holding ring and a top that has a spout as well as a trigger for misting. Several of the kids at school had them, so the Lil' Princess wanted one too.

It worked great for a couple of weeks, but once it fell off her desk the plastic plug inside the spout broke and the mister stopped working. We replaced it. She had that one for a few weeks. One of the prongs holding the plastic plug in place broke off and now the plug won't stay in. Not only is it a choking hazard, without that plug the water leaks all over the place. So, we're now searching for a new water bottle.

While this is a clever design that is popular with the kids, I won't ever buy another one. With as expensive as they are, they should hold up longer than a few weeks. In addition, I'm afraid of what might happen if the plug broke off while a child is drinking.


This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Wordless Wednesday


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Get Ready for the Holidays with Bargain EBooks from Chronicle Books

Chronicle Eye Candy offers the best ebooks every month from $3.99 or less. These special prices are often available in the U.K., Canada, Australia, and Europe too—sweet!

Here are some of the bargain titles for November.


This definitive baking guide is the much-anticipated cookbook from the Model Bakery, a mother-daughter–run baking destination with a huge local following that's been wowing the Wine Country for years. And this book of sensational artisan baked goods makes clear why there are lines out the door! Featuring 75 recipes and 60 photos, it's as luscious to look at as their most-requested breads, classic desserts, and fresh pastries—all arrayed here—are to eat. Pain au Levain, Sticky Buns, Peach Streusel Pie, Ginger Molasses Cookies, and many more glorious recipes make this a mouthwatering read and a reference gem for lovers of bread and pastry, cakes and cookies, and, of course, the Model Bakery!

Available here!


This tantalizing book celebrates the art of cooking slowly with time-honored methods that yield tender, delicious meals with little hands-on cooking time. More than 80 recipes cover everything from slow-simmered soups and stews to hearty braised meats and a lemon cheesecake that cures to a creamy custard in a warm oven overnight. A chapter devoted to the sous vide technique will tempt the technophiles, while the slow-grilling section is a revelation for those who man the grill every weekend. Brought to life with 36 enticing photographs by award-winning photographer Alan Benson, this valuable package sells the dream of cooking and living well and is a must-have for dedicated home cooks.

Available here!


Renowned for her cooking school in France and her many best-selling cookbooks, Anne Willan combines years of hands-on experience with extensive research to create a brand new classic. More than 250 recipes range from the time-honored La Truffade, with its crispy potatoes and melted cheese, to the Languedoc specialty Cassoulet de Toulouse, a bean casserole of duck confit, sausage, and lamb. And the desserts! Crêpes au Caramel et Beurre Sal (crêpes with a luscious caramel filling) and Galette Landaise (a rustic apple tart) are magnifique. Sprinkled with intriguing historical tidbits and filled with more than 270 enchanting photos of food markets, villages, harbors, fields, and country kitchens, this cookbook is an irresistible celebration of French culinary culture.

Available here!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Climbing for Roots Book Blitz: Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card



Title: Climbing for Roots
Author: Alan Noble
Genre: Religion/Spiritual Growth/Christian Life
Publisher: Axiom

Climbing for Roots will explain fully the sin that so completely corrupted creation, and the plan of God for our salvation. We learn that Jesus is not only our Savior, but is also the Lord of our lives. What does that mean? That obedience will never earn us God’s love but it will always produce blessing. We learn that our salvation is secure, but we must strive for obedience because we are created to do good works.
 
When we trust Jesus for salvation, we become members of a new family—the family of God, also known as the church. Imagine! God is now our Father. As members of this incredible family, certain changes take place within us. We get learn about worship and praise, and have a relationship with Him. Climbing for Roots will teach us about ourselves as new creations, about this church, and about Jesus, the Son of God! We learn about the two ordinances or rites Jesus has given His church that will help us to remember who we are as Christians—baptism, and communion. As a member of God’s church, we learn that we are to serve each other in unity. We must consider others more important than ourselves. We learn that we need to persevere together, so that when Jesus returns, He will find us doing what He has left us here to do—serving Him by serving others.
 
Purchase at:
 
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Climbing-Roots-Christian-Foundations-Believers/dp/1581694970
 
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/climbing-for-roots-alan-noble/1118630853




Alan R. Noble is a born-again Christian, schooled in the Word since childhood. He was fortunate to sit under capable preaching and teaching throughout his life. His passion for the spiritual welfare of young people grew out of his years of work experience, and his understanding of the Scriptures. He realizes that young Christians need instruction in the meat as well as the milk of the Word (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Mr. Noble was educated at William Paterson University, a liberal arts institute in Northern New Jersey, and received a B.A. in education, with a certificate to teach elementary school. Later, he received an M.A. in Communication Arts, and a certificate in supervision. He worked as an educator for 31 years.

After his retirement from public education Mr. Noble enjoyed teaching in Christian Schools in New Jersey and Texas.

These days find Alan and his wife Kathie enjoying their travels between Kansas City and northern New Jersey as they visit their daughters’ families that include six beautiful grandchildren.

Pump Up Your Book and Alan are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
• This giveaway begins November 3 and ends on November 28, 2014.
• Winner will be contacted via email on December 1, 2014.
• Winner has 72 hours to reply.
• VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Climbing for Roots Book Blitz Schedule
November 3
November 4
November 5
November 6
November 7
November 10
November 11
November 12
November 13
November 14
November 17
November 18
November 19
November 20
November 21
November 24
November 25
November 26
November 28