Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Five (10)

So, I was all about the "Friday Five" during the summertime and I posted my Friday favorites religiously, but now that fall is upon us, I will be posting my "Friday Five" a little bit more sporadically.   Let me know what you think!

1.  National Novel Writing Month - It's that time of year again! I always try my hand at this arduous task and have only "won" one year out of the many years I have tried.  I was thrilled to have reached the 50,000 word goal last year and I believe it was due to my planning before the actual start of NaNoWriMo. I am hoping this year I can do the same. *fingers crossed*  Anyone else participating? If so, find me on there! My username is Chris327. 

2. Happy Halloween - Halloween is so much more fun now that my son is getting into it and of course, he wants candy. He is going to be Tigger this year and loves his costume. I hope everyone has a great Halloween and eats a lot of chocolate…that's what I'll be doing!

3. Winter Village Plates and Mugs - Guys, I am obsessed with these plates and mugs. My mom had mugs like this when I was little and I loved them. They were my favorite mugs to sip hot chocolate from, so I when I saw their look-alikes at Pottery Barn, I knew I had to have them. Plus, proceeds from the plates and mugs go to charity!

4. Highclere Castle Tea Cup - My tea cup and saucer arrived from Highclere Castle. It was pretty cool to see a package on my doorstep with a return address of Highclere.  I love this tea cup and have it proudly displayed.  Is it tea time yet?

5.  Rosemary Chicken Wings - I love Buffalo Wings, but let's be honest, they aren't exactly the healthiest.  So, I am always on the hunt for alternatives and these are my new favorites. This recipe is so good and I have already made it a few times.  It goes great with a side of football. 

I hope everyone has a great Friday and Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Forbidden Pre-order Giveaway

Guys, I have an exciting giveaway to share with you today. It's a pre-order giveaway for Forbidden by Kimberly Griffiths Little.  They just added the addition of a Kindle Fire to the giveaway…how awesome! I don't know about you, but I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter. 

  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.
(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB -- choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt) 2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson 3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White 4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt 5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf 6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured) 7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings 8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances) 9. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured) 10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards 11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)

1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

Follow Kimberley:
About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at
Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

Also, a big thank you to HarperCollins and Kimberley Griffiths Little for allowing me to host this awesome giveaway.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Wrong Side of Right

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.  "Waiting on Wednesday" spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating.

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
Pub. Date: March 17, 2015

Goodreads says, "Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option? Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be."
Publishers are describing this book as My Life Next Door meets Princess Diaries. Yes, please! Also, it says for fans of Sarah Dessen, which means it's an auto add to my TBR list. I love the sound of this one and want to read more books that involve political settings. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Want To Be For Halloween

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is focusing on Halloween. Being a book lover, I am always on the look out for great literary Halloween costumes. Here are the character I want to be for Halloween. Let me know what you think!

1.  Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Because she's awesome, obviously.  And because I have a strong desire to learn how to use a bow and arrow.

2.  Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby by F. S. Fitzgerald-  Who doesn't love the Roaring Twenties? Yes, to all things flapper.

3.  Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - My dress would be epic.

4.  Claire Beauchamp Fraser from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - My hair could definitely fit the requirement.

5.  Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling- Ok. I may have done this one year complete with a Hogwarts tie, cape and magic wand.

6.  Belle from the Beauty and the Beast fairytale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont - She's my favorite Disney princess by far.

7.  Mary Poppins from Mary Poppins series by P. L. Travers - Who doesn't love her? Now if only I could convince my husband to be a chimney sweeper and my son to be one of the Banks' children.

8.  Nancy Drew from the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene - My favorite detective and cultural icon.

9.  Khaleesi from Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin - I have wanted to be her for Halloween for a few years now and make my son one of the dragons.

10.  Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote - I would try to channel Audrey Hepburn and I'd probably have a lot of fun carrying around a cigarette holder.

So, what do you think of my list? Who do you want to be for Halloween? Let me know your thoughts! This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

Pages: 368 
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: October 14, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout."
Olivia Mead wants more for her life than to just marry, host parties, and look pretty, except she is living in the early 1900s in Oregon, where the general population is looking down upon female independence.  Olivia is caught attending a suffragist rally, which sends her conservative father into a tail spin.  Instead of talking with her about it, he decides to hire a famous hypnotist, Henri Reverie, to hypnotize her into being a docile woman content with her place in society.  During the hypnotism, he asks Henri to make it difficult for Olivia to talk about controversial issues and Henri also adds to the hypnotism that she'll be able to see people's true natures, which in turn, isn't something Olivia has bargained for.  Now she is able to see people for who they really are, which at times can be an extremely scary sight.  On top of this new complication, she is starting to have feelings for the charming hypnotist, Henri, despite her father's wishes that she aim higher.  The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters is a spell-binding historical read that blends supernatural elements perfectly. Not only did I find the historical details intriguing, the plot kept me turning the pages late into the night.

Olivia first encounters Henri at a theatrical performance where he hypnotizes her in front of the whole audience in The Cure for Dreaming.  Their relationship doesn't stop there.  As I mentioned, Olivia's father hires Henri to hypnotize her into being a "proper" woman and less interested in things like the suffrage moment.  Their relationship starts out as a friendship, but then slowly becomes more, especially when she finds out a little bit more about the real Henri. 

So, I am dying to talk about Olivia's father in The Cure for Dreaming. Wow!  I don't think I have actually hated a character in quite sometime and Winters did such a great job making him a dark and corrupt character. My skin crawls just thinking about him and his motives were just as dark. I couldn't wait for Olivia to get away from him.  He takes things too far and don't even get me started on his dental office….it's the stuff of nightmares!

Winters also does a fabulous job bringing the early 1900s to life in The Cure for Dreaming. I can't say I have read that many books set during this time period, so I found it all very fascinating. Plus, Winters incorporates many period photos as well as quotes from the time period, which only adds to the creepy atmosphere of the story and brings to life the time period even further. 

Even though The Cure for Dreaming is important in the fact that it deals with the women's suffrage movement, it also has some creepy supernatural aspects to it, which make it the perfect read for this time of year. If you like your historical fiction to be absorbing with a touch of paranormal, then I highly recommend The Cure for Dreaming. I know I will be checking out Winters' other novels as soon as possible.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (59)

The Kennedy Wives by Amber Hunt and David Batcher - Thanks to Lyons Press and Netgalley
The Bargaining by Carly Anne West - Thanks to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss


Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston - Thanks to Penguin
Stolen (Heart of Dread #2) by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston - Thanks to Penguin

So what do you guys think? Have you read any of these books? Let me know! This meme is hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Visit to Jane Austen's House

Jane Austen's House Musuem - Chawton, England
When I recently traveled to England with my husband's work and found out that the hotel we were staying at was in Hampshire, the countryside, I immediately started to plan our day trip to the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton.  I'm so glad visited and wanted to re-cap a few highlights with you guys.

Chawton village
Jane lived in this beautiful country home for the last eight years of her life. The quaint town of Chawton is absolutely adorable. I could have spent a whole afternoon just wandering the town. 

While living at Chawton, Jane edited Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey as well as Pride and Prejudice while living there. She wrote Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion while living there.  

The museum houses many Austen artifacts, such as her writing table, her much talked about turquoise ring, various pieces of Austen furniture, her books, and you can even view pieces written in Jane's own handwriting.  Also, on display was The Watsons, a manuscript, which was never finished. It was incredible to see Jane's writing and her editing with my own eyes.

Various displays at the Jane Austen House Museum - Chawton, England
I also really enjoyed seeing the original bakehouse, the Austen donkey carriage, as well as what Jane's bedroom would have looked like. She apparently she shared it with her beloved sister Cassandra; I had no idea they were so close.  Also on display were various costumes from Austen films, such as Mansfield Park.

Jane Austen's Writing Table - Chawton, England
What really struck me the most after visiting was the size of Jane's writing table. I, for one, would have definitely needed more space, but obviously this worked for Jane. I was very impressed. Could you guys function on a table that small?

I had a great time touring Jane Austen's House Museum. The Chawton "cottage" was beautiful and I loved seeing artifacts as well as personal items that were once Jane's.  The gift shop was a Jane Austen fan's heaven and straight up out of Austenland. I had to refrain from buying all the "I love Mr. Darcy" souvenirs which were affixed with Colin Firth's picture. Not sure I've seen that in the US! 

Me visiting the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton, England
If you are a Janeite and ever find yourself in the English countryside, I recommend visiting this interesting house.  Let me know what you guys think of my trip to Jane Austen's House Museum and let me know what's your favorite Austen novel? (Mine is Pride and Prejudice, naturally, with Persuasion being my second favorite!)

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