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Thanks for checking me out! This is a work in progress so far, but before too long I will be up and running smoothly. Check back for book and movie reviews, challenges, and much more! Feedback welcome :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Great Canadian Giveaway Starts TODAY!!!


11 Blogs, 6 Extra Authors, 25 Prizes, 3 Winners!!!

What better way to spend the Canada Day weekend then with a giveaway? To celebrate the birth of this great country, myself and all the hosts are offering up this great giveaway!! How do you get in on this? Simple. Just add your name to the InLinz at the bottom of the page and hop on through to the other blogs for additional entries. Be sure to comment at each blog with the amount of entries you got there so we can keep track of them. Simple as that!!

This contest is open Internationally so that everyone will be able to celebrate Canada's Birthday with us!!! Awesome, right?

Our Hosts:

Close Encounters With the Night Kind - Interview with Jen Wylie
 and Me...of course...Love, Laugh & Read

The Prizes:

Salem Moon (EBook)
End of Mae (EBook)
Sweet Light (EBook)
Immortal Embrace (EBook)
Hill 170 (EBook)
Counter Camouflage: Serbian Urban Story (EBook)
Daphne and the Silver Ash (EBook)
Phobic Dawn (ARC Copy)
The Gifted Ones (Paperback)
7G (Autographed Copy)
On Dark Shores: The Lady (Free Smashwords code)
A Ranger's Tale (EBook)


2 of Each:

Loitering Shadows (PDF)
Stormy Defense (PDF)
Beyond the Lady (PDF)
The Gardener's Ice Maiden (PDF)

PLUS

3 Mystery prizes...don't miss out on your chance to be one to be one of the 3 lucky winners!!

To find out more info on any of the books listed above...just click 'em!!


Special Mention to some great authors who have graciously donated copies of their books for this giveaway but aren't joining in the hop itself:




So...how to you get in on the greatness? It's simple:

Add your name to the InLinkz tools at the bottom of the post (you only need to do this the once, the same Linkz should be on every blog)

Follow the instructions on how to earn extra entries from each blog you're on

Comment on the post at each blog with the total entries you earned there. Please remember to leave your email in the comment so we know how to contact you if you win (if you are not comfortable leaving your email, send me a message with your entries so that I know icedancerlilith@gmail.com)

Follow the links to get to each blog on the hop and repeat until you're done!! Easy peasy!!Some blogs may have links to other bloggers posted, while others will just send you back here by clicking on Mr. Speedo (thanks to Mysti for naming our Canada day Mascot) so be on the lookout!

How do I get extra entries on this blog? Great question!!

+1 GFC Follow
+1 Twitter Follow
+1 Leave a comment on this post

Each day starting tomorrow, I will have a review, interview, or guest post posted with one of our authors who have donated books for this giveaway. Check back each day to find out how you can earn even more entries by commenting on these posts or following our authors. You gotta check back each day to find out though :)

Now get going and happy hopping!!!









Guilty Pleasures #4


Guilty Pleasures is a weekly meme hosted by CJ Duggan and I LOVE her for it. I now look forward to Wednesdays each week. You need to go check her out NOW!!

And now, for my post this week...better late n the day then never :)

We see them all the time, and we hate them. THOSE women. You know the ones...they come on commercials with their long, tanned legs and their killer abs that we dream about. Prancing around the screen promoting the latest exercise fad in their itty bitty sports bras without breaking a sweat or getting their hair out of place. I despise these women. Every time I see one of those Ab Roller or BowFlex commercials, I feel like throwing my popcorn at them and telling them to get a life and leave me to my shows in peace. Then the thinking starts....I could totally look like them. I can exercise. All I gotta do is put the junk food down and get off the couch....tomorrow, yeah...I can look like them tomorrow, Grey's is on. I will exercise after Meredith has another life changing moment. Right.



The only thing about these infomercial spots, is that they hit home. All of a sudden, I am a fitness fiend. So I go out and buy the active wear and the latest Jillian Michaels DVD (seriously, the Biggest Loser is awesome..love her) and get myself ready to get my high school abs back. Yay me!!

Ok, let's stop here. Bet you're all thinking that this week's Guilty Pleasure is working out. Ha, ha....made you think I'm a fit, healthy, happy person. I am actually completely addicted to buying as much exercise programs, books, supplements, and memberships as humanly possible. I do all the research, I have a gym membership, I buy all the latest in fitness health products that I can get my hands on. I absolutely LOVE learning all I can about health, fitness, and the perfect workout designed specifically to give me Buns of Steel and washboard abs. Hubby actually cringes when I come home with bagd from SportChek or Herbal Magic. It all sounds great, doesn't it? Here's the thing though...I never USE any of this stuff.

My Guilty Pleasure is...making it look like I actually work out.

Yeah, I know. This sounds really bad, and it is. I have filled my house with Yoga mats, pedometers, resistance bands, weights, DVD's, books....and the list goes on...and on...and on some more. I can't help it. I can not walk past the local GNC without checking out the newest nutritional supplements. Neither can I resist going online and spending hours coming up with the perfect routine that will keep my waistline trim and my muscles tight. Fitness books and magazines? Oh, I have them all. Never read them...but having them counts, right? I am totally addicted to all of it, and I love every second of it. Don't even get me started on altheltic wear. I can actually feel hubby's veins throbbing when he sees me walk in the door with a SportChek bag. I can't stop!! I think I need FEAA (Fake Exercise Addicts Anonymous) and I need it bad, but it just feels sooo good.



So why do I spend all this time and money to make it look like I actually have somewhat of a fit lifestyle? I think a large part of it is that I love the IDEA of exercising and being fit and that with each thing I buy...I am truly getting myself closer to my 18 year old ass. You know the old saying..."If you buy it, it will shrink"?  Words I live by.


Now don't get me wrong, I am not an unhealthy person. I am incredibly happy with my weight and my body and feel no need to change it...then again, gravity works in mysterious ways and those infomercial bitches do not help the fact that my boobs have dropped several inches since I had my kids. It's a fact of life. Can't help it. Buying the products just makes me feel like I am contributing to my health in some way.



So there you have it. The one thing hubby and I can never agree on. Still trying to convince him to let me buy an Elliptical (keep telling him that if it's in front of the tv, I WILL use it...I mean, look at her...she looks decently happy with hers)...he still won't budge on that one. At least not until I actually use at least one of the hundreds of dollars worth of "useless crap" I already have collecting dust around the house. One day it will be mine...and if i don't use it more than once...at least people will think I do.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Follow Friday #3

Happy Friday All!!





Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee.com and it is a great way to connect with some great bloggers!

This week's question:

 In light of the Summer Solstice. Also known as Midsummer...let's talk about fairies. What is your favorite fairy tale or story that revolves around the fae?

Well, I always loved reading fairy tales as a kid, one of my favorites growing up was Peter Pan. I loved little Tinkerbell. As an adult, however, I am hopelessly in love with Karen Marie Moning's Fever series. Hot, hot, hot and oh so good to read!!

Make sure to check out Parajunkee's Feature Blog Mickey @ I'm a Book Shark while you are hopping around this week!! Have a great weekend bloggers!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: Fetish by Sherri L. King

Before I get into this review too much, I want to explain that I LOVE vampire romance. One of the things I love about these, however, is that the heroine is usually a badass chick with bridges to burn. She is hot, confident, and doesn’t take any crap from anyone. This being said…I give you….

Fetish by Sherri L. King



From Amazon.com

Within the walls of a high-class hedonists' club, mousy Aerin Peters will find her sexual identity amidst the confusion of her mid-life crisis...But all is not as it would seem within the walls of club Fetish. As Aerin grows closer to her fiendishly provocative escort, Violanti D'Arco, the dangers of her weekend retreats at the club become more apparent to her. She is haunted by her strange new friend and by Fetish itself. Unexplained memory lapses, an ever-growing addiction to Violanti's touch and tales of frightening sexual deviances will drive Aerin to investigate the enigmatic mystery of Fetish and its unseen owner...Aerin's love, her heart, her very life may depend upon these answers. Because at Fetish, nothing is taboo.

My Thoughts:

I have to admit, I have some serious issues with this book. It did bother me a little bit that Aerin is not the typical heroine. She is overweight, underconfident, a bit of a loner, and a 47 year old virgin. Not that I am saying that there's anything wrong with being any of the above...but I like my heroines a certain way. So this was a little strange for me. That being said, I think it's good to branch out and the thought that a curvier woman could be the lead in a book where you totally expect her to get her socks rocked in all the right was was a little refreshing...at first.

What I liked about the heroine being a sexual underdog are the same things that drove me insane throughout the book. Yes, you have no confidence. Yes, you can't believe that a sexy man-beast like Violanti would want to get with you. Oh, well...time to put your big girl panties on and get you some. Seriously, when this hot, hot man turns to her and is telling her how beautiful she is and how he can't wait to have her...she is telling him she would like to just sit and talk and that he doesn't have to feel sorry for her. Ummmm....no honey...NO!!! I don't care how badly you feel about yourself, when Hottie McHott Stuff comes up to you, is harder than steel, and tells you he can't wait to taste you....girl you go with it!!! I actually yelled out loud at her while reading some of this. I couldn't believe it.

Violanti, however, was all that I had expected. Complete and total Alpha. What more could you ask for? Sigh.

Sex? Oh there was sex. Lots of steamy, squealing, mind-niumbing sex. It was awesome. Really. Love it!!

One thing I absolutely hated, though, was that after Aerin started knocking boots with Violanti, she started changing. Granted, this might be an ugly duckling turned swan effect but it still annoyed me. She gained confidence, sure that's to be expected and it's good. She started dressing better, another good thing. Lost weight effortlessly...ummm yeah, I don't think you can lose THAT much in just a few weeks. She also made her very first close friend. Awww moment. So here's what I got outta all of this...get a good lay and all your personal problems are gone, people will like you, and you will be awesome. There was just something about all of this that I didn't really care for. I really can't quite put my finger on it...but whatever it was, it aggravates me.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the book. There were a few parts that drove me crazy, some that made me smile, and others that just plain irritated the hell outta me. Some things you just can't get your head around I guess.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Guilty Pleasures #3


Guilty Pleasures is one of my most favorite weekly memes ever, hosted by CJ Duggan. I look forward to this every single week, so let's get at it!!!



This week I will let you all in on something that drives my hubby nuts and irritates my kids to no end. I love to bake. Don't ask me why, but I really enjoy it. Cookies, pies, muffins, cakes...the whole nine. The issue with that...over half the mix never sees the oven. I am the worst for eating batter and dough!! Some people don't get it, but it is soooo good. What is better than some perfectly made chocolate chip cookies? The uncooked dough that is needed to make it, that's what!! My poor children. I am constantly telling them we can make cookies (which I don't even like, by the way). We get all the ingredients together and then it's time to drop them on the pan and put 'em in the oven. I always prepare enough for at least 2 dozen...but in the 10 minutes it takes for the cookies to cook, the dough starts looking pretty tempting...and I have to explain to my kids why their 24 cookies magically turned into 12. Ooops. I made them bigger this time kids, I swear.

If it was only cookie dough, I wouldn't say that it's strange, but this is me...and let's face it, I can't really half ass anything, so bring on the cake batter and muffin mix! When you were a kid, and your mother was baking a cake, do you remember asking her if you could lick the beaters? I always asked, but since apparently eating raw batter isn't good for you (blah, blah,blah...yada, yada, yada)...I wasn't allowed (sad face). What a buzz-kill. So now as an adult...to hell with the beaters...give me a spoon and let me have at it!!

Muffin mix is a little weird, I can't deny that...and have you ever eated pie dough? There really isn't anything really good about it, but I just can't help it. It's a sickness...I shouldn't be allowed to bake. The worst part of all of this is...I HATE baked goods. Even as a kid, I wouldn't eat cake. I don't care for cookies, and muffins are just icky. Something has to be seriously wrong with me, but that's me! I can't just be "normal".

Does the madness stop there? Yeah, right...have you completely forgotten whose blog you're reading? One of my biggest downfalls (and I actually haven't been caught doing this just yet...) is peanut butter. Not on bread or rolls...that would be too normal...I'm talking right out of the jar (I'm the only person in my house that eats the stuff, so in my mind that makes it ok). Give me a jar of smooth...not crunchy, that stuff is gross...and a spoon and I am all set! This also works with icing. I mean, hey, if I'm going to go nuts on the cake batter I might as well take some icing out of the jar to go with it, right? I remember being a teenager (yes, this started that early) and having a bad break up or fight with my parents...most girls would head for the freezer to grab a pint of Rocky Road...not me. A little tub of vanilla cream cheese icing was more than enough to drown my sorrows in. It just kinda stuck. Of course I can't sit with the WHOLE tub of it...way too much sugar, but several heaping spoonfuls is just the perfect amount!!

So there you have it. My deep, dark, kinda sad but incredibly yummy secret. Just one of my many quirks I guess. Thinking on it now, I'm shocked I don't weigh a ton...oh well...hmmmm think I might go make the kiddies some cookies :D

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Great Canadian Giveaway

Get in on the Giveaway!!

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To celebrate Canada Day, I will be hosting a blog hop from June 30 to July 4. I'll be giving away 2 books per day of the giveaway myself, along with author interviews and guest posts. Wanna know how you can join in on the fun?

Sign up here

I will email you one of the buttons (personally, I like the guy in the Canada undies...nice)

Get something to giveaway

Promote, promote, promote!! The more bloggers we get, the bigger the event!!

Link to the Hop!! (I am getting one ready now)

All bloggers will need to provide at least 1 item to giveaway. Bloggers and authors do NOT need to be Canadian to join, but contests will need to be open to Canadian residents. Book Depository is a great way to send without the cost of shipping. If you need anything or have any questions...just ask me!!

That's it!! Ler's get as many as we can and make this a great event!!! Terrific way to get new followers and make this a Canada Day to remember!!

And as a thank you to the fabulous bloggers that will be involved...I will be doing a special draw on the last day just for you!! What more incentive do you need??


Looking forward to having you all involved!!!!



Top Ten Tuesday #4



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly mem hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, they are celebrating their 1 Year Blogoversary!!!

 Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Book Blogger/A Bookish Person

First off....congrats on 1 year!! What a great way to celebrate :)

Now for my list:

* I love reading. Blogging gives me the excuse to read all I want and not feel guilty about it!

* Give and take. I love getting the chance to get in on some great giveaways, and sharing the wealth by having my own.

* I get to have opinions. No one close to me gives a crap about what I think about books and such, but if I blog about it...people listen...sometimes :)

* The coolest people you could ever meet. Let's face it, bloggers are awesome and I have gotten to know some kick-ass chicks through my blog. What would I do without these guys?

* The perks. You gotta admit, getting the chance to review books, interview authors, and sometimes even get some cool free swag is an awesome extra in the blogging world.

* Learning. Reading and blogging is a life-long learning process. There is always something new to figure out, and how good to you feel when you got it...and didn't ask for help? Awesome!

* Connecting. Not only with other bloggers, but authors, publishers, other reviewers. Even though there are great friends to be made, there are also some terrific connections out there that can help you along the way.

* Fun and games. I LOVE getting in on some of my fav weekly memes. They are just so much fun to get involved in.

* Making a difference. Not everyone has the same taste, but if you find a blogger you really trust and enjoy...reading their reviews may just give you something new to try. People's thoughts matter.

* Lastly, I think that I love blogging and reading just because it gives me something that makes my day worthwile. When the day is out, work is done, and the kids are in bed...something has to be said about having a hobby. Something that keeps you from sitting on the souch watching re-runs of Sex in the City with a bag of chips every night. This is mostly why I started, and I don't regret a minute of it!

So there you have it, what I think are my Top Ten. There are many more reasons on the list, but I'm going to leave it at that.

And now to continue celebrating...drinks are on me ladies!! Congrats!!!









Friday, June 17, 2011

Follow Friday #2


Yup, it's that time of the week again. Follow Friday with Parajunkee!! She's got a great contest going on this week so be sure to hop on through and check her out!!

This week's Follow Friday:

Genre Wars! What's your favorite genre and which book in that genre made it your favorite?

I am going to have to say Paranormal Romance. I was always into romance novels, and loved the paranormal side of things...but then I read the Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost (also, my Author of the Month!!) and I was hooked. Something about Bones and his sarcastic, witty humor and Cat with her awesome comebacks and kick-ass-ness just drew me in. Now I just can't get enough!!

Can't wait to hop around and see which genre beats all!! Happy weekend bloggers!!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Theatrical Thursday!!

I missed Theatrical Thursday last week due to not watching any interesting movies. Meh, it happens, so here I am with a brand new post!! Yay Me!!

Gnomeo & Juliet


Starring: James McAvoy (as Gnomeo) and Emily Blunt (as Juliet
Release date: February 11, 2011
Running Time: 84 mins
Rated: G

My Rating: 5 Stars *****

Ok, so this is a children’s movie, but let me tell you…it is awesome!! I have sat down with my kids and watched it tons of times (and at least once by myself) since we got it. The movie is a modern day Romeo and Juliet with a twist…are you ready for this? The whole great Shakespearean tragedy is played out completely…by…GARDEN GNOMES!!! I thought this would be the most irritating movie ever, but it was soo, soo awesome.

So the story begins with the perfect opening…”Two households, both alike in dignity. In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…” Come on, this is right out of the original play (Love it!!). The story continues to follow the backyard gardens of neighbors Montague and Capulet. These humans are constantly trying to better each other’s gardens with fountains, more gnomes, and whatever else they can come up with….yeah, perfect feud…I can think of something better to fight with my neighbor over, but hey…it works here.

This feud continues on to the garden gnomes that live in the gardens. One side is Red, the other…Blue. They are always at each other and striving to ruin each others works of art. Out of all of this, comes Juliet, a Red, and (wait for it…this was hysterical) Gnomeo (can you freaking believe it???), obviously a Blue.

Naturally, these two enemies meet by chance and discover that they are enemies, but does that stop them from having a great love affair (PG of course, but you can totally feel the tension on the screen…I am way too into this aren’t I?) in secret?? Not a bloody chance!

 I loved how they made this movie reflect Shakespeare’s work so much. Not only Romeo and Juliet, but his other plays too. There are references to Hamlet (house numbers 2B and Not 2B), MacBeth (Juliet says “Out, Out” and the male neighbor, talking to his dog says “Damn Spot”), and tons of other great plays. William Shakespeare is even involved. What better way to introduce the classics to children? Pure genius!!

There was one part that didn’t thrill me, and that was this one little Sweedish (I think he was Sweedish) gnome who was decked out in a thong bathing suit so that you could see his little gnome bum. I could have lived the rest of my life without ever witnessing that, but…you take win some, you lose some I guess.

The icing on the cake, though? The entire soundtrack is classic Elton John, with…even an Elton John look-alike gnome to sing at one point!!! This could not get any better!!!

So, yeah…I freaking loved this movie! I might be a huge Shakespeare fanatic, but that just made me appreciate all the subtle references. A Freakin’ Plus Plus Plus!!!


To find out more about this movie, check ot out at IMDB!!




Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Small Bogs, Big Giveaways Winners Announced!!

We have our winners!!! This was a great giveaway and I want to thank all of those who particpated to make this event what it was. It was AWESOME!!!

Congratulations! You'll receive an email soon!
1st Winner: xxsquigglesxx
2nd: Michelle W
3rd: jeanette8042
And the following people will win a giftcard:
Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews, Carol Luciano, Library Lady, Krystal Larson and Jessica @ Book Passion for Life

The remaining prizes will go to The Magic Attic!

Click here to watch the video of the draw!!

Congrats to all those who won! The prizes are great and we will be in touch soon :)

Guilty Pleasure #2


Guilty Pleasures is a weekly meme that CJ Duggan came up with. It's tons of fun and I love checking out the posts each week.

This week guilty pleasure is something I am constantly ragging at my kids and hubby over. From the time the kids get home from school, the first thing they ask..."Can I play the PS3?". Ugh. It's like a sickness for these guys. Always new games coming out, hours upon hours of playtime, and tons of money spent. I don't remember playing games so often when I was a kid. So naturally, when everyone goes to bed, and I have some alone time...I love to unwind with a good game.



Now, I'm not obsessed with getting the latest and greatest (although the other half and the kids insist on getting the latest releases) games, or frantic about getting a new high score...but I gotta tell ya, there is something about ending a stressful day with a great round of Call of Duty. This is better than therapy (and cheaper too)!! I mean, you get to go to all these places with your team, you get guns, and are told to shoot, shoot, shoot. It took me a long time to get into it, but it is definitely a great stress-reliever. If I'm feeling really energetic? Yeah, I totally have Zumba for PS3...works every time too :)



When I am not so stressed out, I like to just relax sometimes with a great RPG (I am a bit of a Final Fantasy geek...played them all) or something along those lines. I don't know what it is about them, but I thoroughly enjoy playing sometimes. Not daily, mind you...but the occasional game on the weekends or the infrequent night through the week when I had a rough day at work and reading just isn't cutting it...yeah, a little shoot-em-up or completing my latest quest will be sure to put me in a better mood.


It's also a great way to spend time with the hubby. A glass of wine and a round of COD together after the kidlets are sound asleep....sometimes much better than just watching a movie.

So there you have it...I'm a closet gaming geek. Who woulda thunk it?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Great Canadian Giveaway

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That's right! I will be hosting a giveaway to celebrate Canada Day along with some other great hosts! Yay us!! This will be held from June 30 to July 4! If you are interested in signing up to join along, please fill out the sign up form and I will be in touch. Authors welcome to join in for interviews, guest posts and giveaways!



Sign Up HERE!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Review: The Gifted Ones

Summary: Lisa was conservatively raised in a Catholic family in no-where middle America, where excitement is scarce and dreams are for sleeping. Little did she know, at age thirteen, she would suddenly find herself on a totally different path.

Through an unlikely chance meeting of a fellow classmate, she's surprisingly mesmerized, almost consumed, to befriend a girl who is obviously from the other side of the tracks...the cool side. Lisa does whatever she has to just to be accepted into this small club of coolness. Little did she realize, she was signing up for a lot more than social status. The two best friends find themselves innocently taking their relationship to a foreign level neither had experienced or saw coming.


My Thoughts: I have issues with reviewing memoirs. So much so that I almost turned this book away at first. I think there is a lot of pressure to try and enjoy a memoir because it is actually the story of someone's life. If you don't like the book...was their life not good enough? Were thier hardships not entertaining enough to keep you interested? Was their story not heartfelt enough to make you tear up? These are the thoughts that go through my mind when I read a book about someone else's life. I can't stand the pressure of feeling so obligated to like a book, that I am not even thinking about the story as I read. It's a total turn-off. Luckily, Lisa had me so immersed in her story that I didn't even have a chance to think about that pressure. I was completely into the story and aware of nothing else (my poor children were forced into video games all day to keep them quiet while I read. Such good little monkeys they are). Lisa is a fantastic storyteller and I love the way she writes. Not only from the heart, but like a REAL person. She writes the way most of us think...except it makes sense. Love it!!

During a time when being gay meant being shunned by the world, a young Lisa met her soul mate and hung on to her principles throughout the hardships of hiding her relationship from the world; her parents, her friends, and later...her co-workers. Her life was forged before she even finished high school when she didn't see what others saw..."How could loving someone be wrong?".

From her parents not understanding her (and practically imprisoning her), to a little more understanding, to eventually moving out of home and beginning her life with her true love Lisa's view on her life never wavered. She had it all planned out, and it was to be great. Like most teenage dreams, however, life became a living nightmare. We see her through her rise to freedom and her party scene, to her undeniable confusion with her own identity and sexuality and her eventual fall from high to the depressing low. This is life. No pretty pictures. No hiding what's real. This is what I loved about this book. She tells it how it is. Nothing is as important as that.

One things that got me about Lisa's story was how she names herself and her partner, Selina, Special, Gifted, Prophets...living in The Place. I loved it. She took her relationship with another female, when they were young and living in a world where this was soo not the norm, and she put such a terrific spin on it. Like this was their time to shine, their special secret, their right above all others. This showed me so much into Lisa's personality and views on homosexuality. If only everyone thought that way then (and now, come to think of it), what a Place it would be.

You have to give it to Lisa Vaughn. She threw her entire adolescent experience, from the naive pre-teen to the fall-from-grace as a young adult, into this tell-all book. It is the perfect coming-of-age story for any confused youth because it takes us into the mind of a teenage girl in the midst of an identity crisis. It shows us what we can overcome if we stick with our beliefs. It tells us that life may not be what it seems from the outside looking in. What story is there that is more powerful than that? None that I can think of.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely without a doubt. I would read it again and when my daughter comes to an age where the language is appropriate (although let's face it...kids grow up too quick and know all about sex and drugs WAY too early for my taste as it is) this would definitely be considered a staple for her reading list. What teenager doesn't have the same thoughts and feelings Lisa had in this book? None that I know of. That's what makes it so special.

If you are looking for a read that is quick, easy and speaks volumes...The Gifted Ones if defintely a must-read. I have not read a more powerful and inspiring book yet this year, or last...maybe even ever. This is for sure a new favorite on my list...where will it place on yours?

I want to thank Lisa Vaughn for the opportunity to read and review The Gifted Ones. It was a pleasure to read (in one day...wow).


For more information on Lisa Vaughn or to get your own copy of The Gifted Ones (do it, do it now) click here!!
My Rating: 5 Stars *****

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Phobic Dawn Coupon Codes

What did you think of the review for Phobic Dawn by Katy Walters? I enjoyed the book, and you might too so for a limited time I am giving you all the opportunity to buy this great new release at 30% off! Woo Hoo!!



Simply use the codes below to get your copy at 30% off. These codes are availble now, but only useable on release week (July 4 - July 10).

Here are the codes: Smashwords: BG43C Dam Good Publishing: KTJZ8M8H

I will have these codes posted on my sidebar until they expire, so don't miss your chance at getting this great book at lower than low prices!

Big thanks to Dam Good Publishing and Katy Walters for providing these codes and allowing me to read and review her book. It was a great time and a wonderful read.

Didn't get to check out my review? No problem...just click here to get into my head! Also, don't forget to have a peek at my interview with Katy herself to find out what she was thinking when she wrote Phobic Dawn...here.

For another point of view on Katy, make sure to have a look at her website and browse around. You will find excerpts from Phobic Dawn, plus some new works, great links, and lots of information on Katy herself.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Follow Friday #2


Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee. Love it!!

This week's question:

The magic book fairy pops out of your cereal box and says "you and your favorite character (from a book of course!) can switch places!" Who are you going to switch with?
Ok, well obviously my first thoughts were Mac and Cat. I mean, hello! They have got to be the most kick-ass chicks with the yummiest men ever! But you know what? I figured soooo many people would pick to trade places with them (who wouldn't?) so I decided to go a different route. So I decided on Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With The Wind. Sure, she is a bit of a spoiled brat, and the times aren't really the best...but she has got to be the orginally kick-ass chick. I mean, she has the awesome house and the cool man (even though he might not have been her first choice, I was a little in love with Rhett Butler) and she takes care of so much. From the war, to Atlanta burning, to her beloved Tara, to the loss of her own child...Scarlett can deal with it all while keeping her Southern cool and always looking like a lady in those awesome (but probably VERY uncomfortable dresses). Yeah, Scarlett rocks. I would totally be her for a day.
So who is your pick?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Super Secret Giveaway

Yeah, I did it, I had a Super Secret Giveaway and didn't tell anyone except my Tweeps. I'm totally random like that.

What brought it on? Well, the other day I noticed that my little blog here had passed 50 followers and I said to my self "Self (that's what I call myself when I talk in my head. It's more personal that way), I wonder if I can get to the big 100 before the day is out?" So, being the excellent coversationalist I am, I said "You know what? I think I can. And to make it an occasion, I will do a few tweets about it and give away a prize if I make it.". Out of this conversation in my head, the Super Secret Get Me to 100 Giveaway was born! (I like the name...it works for me, and it's fun to say :D)

I didn't quite make 100 before the night was through, but I got to 99 and said to myself "Self...screw it, it's close enough!". So I randomized some numbers, and got a winner!

Congrats to Lisa (The Gifted Ones) on winning her $10 Amazon.com Gift Card and being my Super Secret Giveaway Winner!!! Yay!!!


If you don't wanna miss a chance that I'm going to be totally random again, doesn't hurt to follow on Twitter. Lots of fun stuff going on there! Just click on the fun little Twitter banner on the right sidebar!! I re-follow often!!! Hope to see ya there :D
Phobic Dawn


My Rating: 4 Stars ****

At first I was wary about reading this book. The storyline was great, but I am not a huge sci-fi fan, so I almost didn’t pick it up. So glad that I did!

Ben is not your typical hero. Is he tortured? Sure. Does he have a deep, dark secret? Absolutely! Does he seek out a woman that needs to save him so that he can live and love like man needs? Naturally. What makes him different from any other hero you read about? HE ASKED FOR HELP!!! I loved this about Ben! He wasn’t sitting around moping about his phobias (well, ok…he was for a while, but that is understandable given his HUGE secret….yeah, I’m not going to tell you that part. You need to find that one out for yourself.) he took the initiative and the chance that he could get caught, and he sought help. You gotta give the man credit for that one. Most men would rather be shot than ask someone (let alone a woman) for help. I don’t understand why…I just think that men are men and, well, they have serious issues in the asking for help department.

Snakes. Yes, snakes. They play a big part in the story and I found this absolutely fascinating. There are bodies of young women being found all over the world. Oe thing these bodies have in common? Besides the way they were killed, they all were covered in snakes. Ick, Ick, Ick!! Oh, and what just happens to be Ben’s big phobia? That’s right – snakes! Hell of an investigation for this man to be on, isn’t it?

This all brings us to Lucy. American. Rebel. Beautiful. Dangerous. What a combo. Ben found Lucy when looking for psychologists to treat him, but he needed someone who wouldn’t repost him to M18…these people basically own him and would terminate him if there was the slightest problem with him. Fun guys to work for, huh? Lucy seems like the perfect woman to help Ben with his phobic needs. The problem? She doesn’t treat men. She doesn’t trust them and refuses Ben at first…and second. Eventually, Ben tells her the big, bad truth about his past and about why it is so important that she doesn’t report him…no matter how bad his situation might be. (Still not giving the jaw-dropping secret away. Hee hee) Lucy feels bad for him, drawn to him…and decides to treat him and help him in his investigation as well. Tortured hero in need of help + beautiful woman with a Black Belt in Aikido who distrusts men? This so equals a match made in heaven!

Enough about the characters though (even if I thought they were great. I love a good book with awesome characters). What did I think of the whole book? I loved it. There was action, there was crime, there was a love-hate relationship to die for. I loved the plot and the jaw-dropping secrets that come out (what good bok doesn’t have something that makes you go…”wow, never would have guessed that?”). Granted, this book might not be for everyone. There is a lot to it. Cyborgs, ritual killings, deep-rooted phobias. Not everyone will enjoy it. Although, I didn’t think I would like it as much as I did…my opinion…give it a chance even if it seems a bit out of your comfort zone. I didn’t regret it at all.

To check out Katy Walters and for more information about her book Phobic Dawn and other works, check out her website here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Guilty Pleasure #1


Guilty Pleasures is hosted by C.J. Duggan and I LOVE it!!! If you haven't checked it out...do so NOW! Wednesdays will never be the same again.

My Guilty Pleasure this week:

“All right stop, collaborate and listen.” Anyone who grew up in the 80’s knows what’s coming next. My Guilty Pleasure is Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby". I don’t know what it is, but everytime I hear this song I have to blare the stereo and sing at the top of my lungs. I blame it on high school. See, in my little high school we used to have these Spirit Weeks. During this week at the beginning and end of every year, a bunch of guys would get together, put on a pair of parachute pants and some over-exaggerated bling, and get up on stage before the entire school and perform our “school theme song”…that’s right…”Ice Ice Baby” was rocking my school. Which is actually kind of funny because this was in the late 90’s and Vanilla Ice was long-since un-cool. Doesn’t matter though, it was tradition and I loved every moment of it and still do. “Will it ever stop? Yo, I don’t know” but I can still see me rocking it to this song long into my wheelchair days in a nursing home while I tell my grand-children about the white rapper that threw this oh-so-catchy tune out for the whole world to love.

So there it is. I feel so much better getting that off my chest. Whew, what a relief. And now for your listening pleasure (and so you all can hate me later for getting this stuck in your head) I give you “Ice Ice Baby”!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Top Ten Tuessday #3




It's Tuesday again! Yay!!! That means it's time for my favortie weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Book Settings

One of the things I think I do not do enough of is traveling. Why? Simple...my poor bank account just will not allow it. Seriously, I think we all should just be able to go wherever we want, whenever we want but I guess life doesn't work that way. Oh well, at least I can go to tons of worlds before I die by reading about them in books. It's practically free and I don't have to worry about packing that way. Here's my list:

The Highlands - Mostly from KMM's Highlander series. Honestly, if I'm going to go visit the Highlands...I want THESE Highlanders there to greet me...Yumm!

Narnia - Who doesn't want to go there? The Chronicles of Narnia are great stories with amazing characters. Aside from the fact that all the giant talking animals might freak me out at first, I will wanna go.

Rivendell - I wasn't a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings books, but who would not want to go to a beautiful place like Rivendell with all the elves?

Barrons Books and Baubles - Yes. Barrons amazing bookstore from KMM's Fever. I could LIVE in that place. Barrons would be an added bonus ;)

Ireland - Have you read P.S. I Love You? That book made me want to go to Ireland so bad. Love me a gorgeous Irish setting and to-die-for Irish men.

Hogwarts - Come on...seriously...you know you wanna go there. Even if you don't care for Harry Potter much, Hogwarts is definitely a must-see.

Georgia/Atlanta - Gone With the Wind. Yes, this was a tough time to live in, but I would still love to be there. Even if it's just to wear the cool (but probably annoying) dresses. I love books set in this period and would love to go back...just for a day.

OZ - What little girl did not fantasize about being picked up in a tornado and waking up in the Wonderful Land of OZ? I know I was dying to meet the Scarecrow, put it to the Wicked Witch, and wear those awesome ruby red slippers. The Wonderful Wizard of OZ was definitely my childhood classic.

Wonderland - Oh, to be Alice and fall down that rabbit hole. I have always been facinated with her story and Wonderland is definitely the place to visit.

Verona - From Shakespeare's classic Romeo & Juliet. Since the first time I read this play, I have always dreamed of seeing the setting for one of the greatest tragedies made. Someday, someday.

So there's my list.  Sure, a lot of these places I will never see no matter how many times I win the lottery. Let's face it...most of them are made up or need a time machine to get to, but that is the joy of reading. I would love to be able to live in those times or just see the inside of a Wizard school for one day. Nothing wrong with dreaming.

What's on your list?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Small Blogs, Big Giveaways!!!



37 Books + 11 Gift cards = 48 PRIZES
Read the full list of prizes and all the information here!

**Be sure to check out the mini-game at the bottom of this post for an additional entry!!

WOW, amazing giveaway, right?! And this is very simple, all you have to do to win some of these great prizes is to sign up using the inlinkz and…That’s it! If you want extra entries, please go to our hosts and see what you can do to win them! I bet you’ll find some amazing new blogs and follow them to show support! Please READ THE RULES!

HOSTS:
Organized by: Reading Romances(+5 is the number of extra entries you may get here) Leave a comment, Become a follower, tweet/blog or link about the giveaway. Will be hosting a giveaway on June 17th.


A Little Sun Shy:(+3)- Also giving away for the EU readers, a hardback copy of the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead Reckoning!











Love, Laugh and Read (+3)

My Book & Me (+5 entries)








Romancing the Darkside (+3) Also hosting: Save My Soul Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway – June 9th


So Many Books, Here’s Mine (+3) Also hosting: Sizzling Summer Setting Writing Contest.

The Magic Attic (+5) Will also be hosting blog tours during june 6-13!

Rules:

1.Sign up using the inlinkz tool(you only need to do that once for the big giveaway, the SAME inlinkz will appear on all blogs).

1.2 Go on each blog and find how you can earn more entries. Then use send your entra entries by filling out the form.

1.3 Read the blog rules to know how to sign up for the prizes other blogs might be providing.

2.This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway

3.You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country.

4.The contest will end on JUNE 13th at 11:59 pm GMT and winners will be posted after they have been selected.

5.Winners will be selected using Random.org

5.1 The winners will be notified by email and announced on all hosting blogs.

5.2 The winners will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS.

6. Each blogger will be responsable for mailing the prize they provided. No replacements will be made. Your email address will not be saved or used for any other purposes then to contact the winner in the contest for their mailing address.

6.1 Love, Laugh and Read is not responsible for other prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit.

7. All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice.

Winners:
The more participants we get, the more prizes we’ll give!
The first winner will choose 13 items (including the maximum number of 2 gift cards)

The 2nd will choose 12 items after the 1st winner has chosen(including the maximum number of 2 gift cards)

The 3rd will get 10 items after the 2nd winner has chosen (including the maximum number of 2 gift cards)

The last 2 books will be given to one of our lucky hosts – who’ll be selected using random.org! In case any gift cards remain, they’ll also be awarded to our hosts.

If we reach 50 sign ups I’ll select one random lucky winner to receive one of the gift cards listed!

If we reach 100 sign ups I’ll select another radom lucky winner to receive one of the gift cards listed!

If we reach more than 200 sign ups, by the end of the event I’ll select THREE random lucky winners to receive one of the gift cards listed each!

How you can get Bonus Entries HERE:

1. +1 entry for leaving a comment

2. +2 entries for becoming a follower (networked blog, twitter or RSS)

3. +3 entries for tweeting about the giveaway/blogging about it/ linking via your sidebar (don’t forget to share the link!).



Mini Game!!

I want to know your favorite quote from your favorite book. Could be anything, anything at all! Just leave a comment telling me the quote and the book, and why you like it sooo much!! That easy to get an extra entry!!









How do you get extra entries from Love, Laugh & Read you ask? Simple:

+1 Follow via Twitter (right sidebar)
+1 Follow via Google Friend Connect (left sidebar)
+1 Answer my mini-game question (see above)

That simple! And don't forget to tally up your entries and check them off using the form below:

Send your extra entries by filling out this form!

Think you might want to get in on the action for the next giveaway? Sign up to host the 2nd edition by filling out this form!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Interview with Katy Walters

Recently I had the opportunity to ask new author Katy Walters some questions about her up-coming sci-fi crime novel, Phobic Dawn, set to release on July 4, 2011.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?


I live on the Coast with my husband and golden retriever.  My family
are grown and flown which leaves me time to write full time. I have a
B.A. Hons in Psychology and another B.A. in Engl. Lit and Creative
Writing I also have an M.A. in Mysticism and the Religious Experience.
Some years ago I was awarded an Hon. Dr. Sc. In Pain control and
Complementary Medicine.

I started off as a singer but the continual touring took me all over
Europe and it meant so much time away from home and my husband. So I
went back to University and studied psychology which became my passion.
I called on my psychology and research on Artificial Intelligence for
Phobic Dawn.

What inspires you to write?


I am drawn to themes that involve psychology, artificial intelligence
and the advent of the cyborg. I ask myself what feelings are involved in
the evolutionary development of the android and the cyborg.  The
supernatural and paranormal are also fascinating. In the past I have
tried to write an historical story, but mysticism, ghosts or robots,
always find a way to creep into the novel very early on. So now I just
sit back and enjoy writing on these themes.

Ben is not a typical hero, which I love about him. Did you have
someone in mind when you wrote his character? If so, who?

In a way yes but only some facets of that personality. I do take parts
of my characters from people I know, whom I admire or find interesting.
I then develop the character to include the themes in the book.

How much research went into writing this book?

A lot.  When I was writing this I spent hours, days on each chapter in
research. This included archaeology, research on interplanetary travel,
asteroids  and so on. Then I read up on neurology, genetics, robotics
and cyborgs.  I think most writers who are involved in near future Sci
Fi do an awful lot of research.  Also involved was Herpetology, the
study of snakes and how ancient civilizations used their venom as
hallucinogenic drugs

 What do you need when you write? (ie. quiet room, music, favourite snack)

I need a really quiet room. I have a study at the side of the house so
I am well away from any activity.  I love to have hot coffee in the
mornings followed by tea in the afternoons.  I do like sweets now and
again.  If I hit a sticky patch I will often play Tchaikovsky, Carl
Jenkins or the Black Eyed Peas.

 Any advice for inspiring writers?

Yes, write from the heart. If you can feel the words, e.g. the
character’s feelings, happiness, sadness, fear or anger then you’re on
the right track.  Also study some of the contemporary techniques of
novel writing.

 Are you working on anything new at the moment?

Yes, I am writing a paranormal novel (a Trilogy) of The Famine in
Ireland in 1846 and the present day, together with The Merrow – mermen
and mysticism. The idea came over two years ago now when I visited a
museum on the Famine in Ireland. Since then I have been researching on
and off.  That too though has required quite bit of research into Celtic
Mythology. I started writing it four months before Dam Good Publishing
approached me with an offer to publish Phobic Dawn.  So when I have
finished it, I shall start the sequel to Phobic Dawn.  – Phobic Abyss.

I want to take the time to thank Katy for answering some questions for me, and also allowing me to check out her new book, Phobic Dawn (review coming tomorrow...be sure to check it out!).

For more information about Katy, you can stop by her site here or you can also check her out at Dam Good Publishing here. Also, if you are just hanging around on Twitter this week, you can join the Dam Good Party in celebrating the upcoming release of Kay's book. There will be chats, games, prizes, and Katy may even pop on by to say hello. Just use the hashtag #Damgoodparty to join in. Hope to see you there!!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Follow Friday #1!!!

 
Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkie.com and this is my first one! Go me!!
 
This week's question:
 
What are you doing to prepare for an upcoming zombie apocalypse and/or the return of Mel Gibson to the silver screen? (Both of which could be terrifying.)
 
Holy Crap! Two things that terrify me more than anything in the world! Well, let me tell you...if there was a zombie apocalype, I would probably be the one curled up in the fetal position in a corner of the basement with a shotgun (that I have NO idea how to use...really, I'm Canadian...I don't shoot things) praying that they don't find me. In the event that they did...my reaction would more than likely be to jump up and down screaming at their disgusting zombie-ness until they either left me alone or ate me.  Eww Eww Eww!
In the event of a new Mel Gibson? Yeah right, the zombies might be gross and all but they aren't stupid. They got him first.
 
To join in on the fun, here are the rules!
 
(Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host: Parajunkie
 
(Required) Follow the Featured Blogger: Amy from Backseat Reader
 
Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
 
Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
 
Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "HI"
 
If someone comments and says they are following you, follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers.
 
That's about it. Easy! Now to check out some great Follow Fridays! Hope to see ya all there!