Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Review: Splitting Washington

I have found a new favorite author. I have long been a fan of John Grisham and his legal thrillers, so I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy Splitting Washington when I started reading it. I was not disappointed. This thriller is fast paced, and very current. It shows an insiders view of working on political campaigns, specifically presidential campaigns, and how strategies are used to manipulate votes, and campaign workers are dispensable. There are twists and turns in this book that you will NOT see coming, though with all the political upheaval we are currently experiencing, you can see just how realistic many of these thoughts and ideas are. I was so into this book that I stayed up until 4 am reading it, and then had to be up again at 6. Once I finished it, I immediately purchased his other works and downloaded them to my kindle.

Daniel Koehler is the author of three novels, a novella, a volume of short stories, and seven screenplays. His works have appeared in The Birmingham Arts Journal, The Storyteller, New Works Review, Defenestration Magazine, publications of the University of Notre Dame, and alumni pieces in the Harvard Bulletin. His screenplays have been finalists in international competitions.

You can learn more about this author and/or purchase his work via the following links: Splitting Washington, Publisher Site, Lit Website, Business Web.

***Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my review, no monetary compensation was exchanged. No positive review was requested or required, all opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner.

J Burger Cooking Sauce

I have some friends and family members that are very excited that I found this seasoning sauce. I surprised them with it a few weeks ago when I mixed it into some ground beef before we made hamburgers. They enjoyed my burgers previously, but instantly knew something was different and better with their first bite. After they'd eaten them all, I brought out the jar so they could see what my new no-longer secret ingredient was. Since it was such a hit with burgers, I have since added it to Cheeseburger Pie, Meatloaf, and Chili. I have also added it to some Chicken Breasts and Pork Chops before I froze them, using it as a marinade. They are both on the menu this week, so I can't wait to cook them, I am sure they'll be a hit as well.

You can find more information on this product at the August Kitchen Website or Facebook page.

***Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of this product to facilitate my review. No monetary compensation was exchanged. No positive review was requested or required, all opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner.

Puppies vs Babies

This post brought to you by Puppies vs. Babies. All opinions are 100% mine.


Puppies vs. Babies: There is an adorable Puppies vs. Babies online contest going on from now until Nov 23, and you can all go look at the photos and vote for your favorite! I'd love to hear some discussion as to whom you think is the cutest and why, as well as which one you voted for. Typically I'd think parents without pets would say babies, and parents of only dogs would vote puppies, but the vote could go either way if you have both! 

Right now, the contest is in Phase 1. You can go view the slideshows and rate the photos on a scale of 1 to 10. Phase 2 will start around Nov 5, and the top photos will be in brackets of the 16 highest ranked photos in each category. There will be elimination rounds until one photo remains for puppies, and one for babies, and they'll head off for the championship. The winning puppy or baby will win $5,000, so it's a pretty high stakes competition. I ranked each photo in both categories, and I can't wait to see how it turns out. There are some ADORABLE puppies and babies entered!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Season 2 of V

This week, when talking about the television show "V", we'll discuss:

Hobbes constantly calls Ryan out as a traitor even though his treachery has far worse consequences. Not only has Hobbes killed humans, he slept with Erica and then indirectly caused the death of Erica's ex-husband Joe. Have you ever been in a situation where someone regardless of their own actions kept pointing out what you were doing wrong? How did you bring this to light or work around it to move forward?

I know that in my former workplace, I had a situation where our manager was making countless mistakes due to carelessness, and not only would she try to get the spotlight off of herself by shining it on and then blowing up the mistakes of others to make them seem like more of a big deal than what they were. I just made sure to double check my work, document as much as possible, and in time, her actions backfired on her. Her inability to manage her team and not reduce their mistakes made her look bad, and then further investigation revealed her own mistakes.

How about y'all. Have you ever encountered this in your personal or work life?

If you'd like to purchase your own copy of V Season Two, it is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote V Season Two on DVD."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Tour: True Grime

Book Details:
Genre:Young Adult Urban Fantasy/Mystery
Publisher: Blueberry Hill
Publication Date: August 2011

I should start by emphasizing that I normally don't enjoy Urban Fantasy books, and try to steer clear of them. When I signed up for this tour, I thought it was for a mystery/crime book, and it was, it just had the urban fantasy theme as well. BUT, it wasn't bad. The story faces head on the issue of human interaction, and how bullies and cliques can have a negative impact on people, and makes the Faerie wonder if humanity is worth saving. I did enjoy the story, and I LOVE reading mysteries and crime solving novels on cold, rainy days. As part of the story, human Pepper has to go back to school and deal not only with the teenagers, but also difficult teachers. I loved her sass! I don't want to go into too much detail about the story that she is solving, because I hate when stories are ruined for me with too much detail. I have included the synopsis below for you, and links where you can purchase a copy of the book for yourself:) I do recommend it for everyone, obviously those who enjoy the fantasy genre will like it, but it wasn't soooo far out there than non-fantasy readers won't like it as well. If you enjoy mystery/crime stories, then you'll want to add this to your reading list as well.

Grime cop and teen fairy Pepper Powder lives for one thing: protecting the human species from magical zealots who seek to eradicate them with Violent Illness of Unusual Resistance and Strength (humans call them “viruses,” but their mistake is understandable. The very young often get their words wrong.). When a terrorist leader releases a necrophage bomb, it not only decimates Grime headquarters, it turns Pepper into the magical world’s first fairy amputee—but she’s not going to let a little thing like a missing leg stop her. To catch her criminal, and prevent him from unleashing a VIURS in one of the human world’s biggest shopping centers, West Edmonton Mall, she goes undercover as a human. But once Pepper's theories of humanity collide with the reality of bullies, cliques, and environmental destruction, will she still believe humanity's worth saving?

Author Bio:
When I was little, there was only one thing I wanted to be: a superhero. But there came a day when my dreams were broken, and that was the day I realized that being a klutz was not, in fact, a super power, and my super weakness for anything bright and shiny meant a magpie with self-control could easily defeat me in a battle of wills. I turned to writing as a way to sharpen my mental super-hero skills. I don’t get to orbit the earth in a space station (and thank God, because I get sick on merry go round), but I do get to say things like: “Stand aside! This is a job for Writing Girl!!”

Connect With Natasha:
The Next Stop:
November 1-The Top Shelf (Guest Post)

Purchase Links

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Tour: God Makes Lemonade

Book Tour: God Makes Lemonade: True Stories that Sweeten & Inspire

I have been telling you in bits and pieces about all the unusual events we've had occur this year. It's unbelievable the amount of things that can go wrong in such a short amount of time. I have been looking and pondering each and every situation to see what lesson I am supposed to be taking away from what has been happening, lest I need to be taught that lesson again! There is also good that can come from bad situations, and this book arrived in the mail at the ideal time for me to read it. It helped me gain some perspective, and "discover unexpected sweetness in the midst of sour circumstances:". I've always used the quote that "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade", and we have had GALLONS of lemonade here this year, LOL:)

Some of these real-life stories are laugh-out-loud funny, others are sobering, and more than a few will have you reaching for a tissue. But these true stories all have one thing in common: hope. There's no question that life gives us "lemons," like issues with health, employment, and relationships-truly sour circumstances we wouldn't wish on anyone. But when those lemons become lemonade, it's as refreshing as an ice-cold drink on a hot summer day.

About the Author:
Don Jacobson's twenty-five years in publishing included serving as the president and owner of Multnomah Publishers, where he oversaw the production of more than 1000 titles, including the five-million-plus-selling series Stories for the Heart. He's had the pleasure of working with such best-selling authors as Randy Alcorn, Joni Eareckson Tada, Henry Blackaby, Robin Jones Gunn, Karen Kingsbury, Andy Stanley, and Bruce Wilkinson. Don's wife, Brenda, has been mentoring mothers for more than a decade.

Jacobson and his wife are passionate about helping single mothers and their children, so the royalties from God Makes Lemonade will benefit these unsung heroes through the LemonAid Foundation.

***Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of God Makes Lemonade: True Stories that Sweeten & Inspire to facilitate my review. No monetary compensation was exchanged. A positive review was not requested or required. All opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Country Bob's Sauce Review and #Giveaway

In the interest of full disclosure I should probably tell you that I have used and loved this product for years, so when I saw that I could host a review and giveaway for them, I immediately emailed them. We use this stuff on so many different things, from steaks and burgers, to chicken and casseroles. It is delicious! I love it as a condiment on my hamburgers, and it is my go to steak sauce (I might even take it with me to steak houses, shhh, LOL), the kids really enjoy it on baked or grilled chicken. The hands down favorite recipe to use it on though, is Cheeseburger Pie (recipe below).

Please click read more to be taken to the rest of the post and the rafflecopter:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sweaters for Fall Fashion

I love fall, and I LOVE wearing sweaters. In Oklahoma, we tend to get extreme temperatures. In April, we had a blizzard, in May the temps hit 100 and haven't dropped. In September and October, the temps go from 100's to near freezing pretty quickly. There is even snow forecast west of here this week! I was so excited when the temperature dropped so I could pull out my winter clothes and bundle up in my toasty sweaters at the bus stop, out running errands, and at the soccer fields. Bring on the hot chocolate and blankets!

I have always been a fan of womens sweaters, and they are a staple in my fall and winter wardrobe. I love them when worn as a cardigan, over turtlenecks, or just as outerwear to keep warm. I just enjoy layering and the options that it provides. You can pair them with jeans, knit pants, khaki's, Capri's, dress slacks, skirts, over dresses; so many options! I enjoy how versatile they are. It doesn't matter if you are attending a casual or dressy event, staying home or going to a wedding, there are so many different types of sweaters that they fit every occasion. Lest you think I am over the top, I should probably mention that I've had this teensy sweater fascination since I was a child. I have always loved wearing them, and probably always will. Anyone who knows me well, knows that my closet is full of sweaters:)

I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and was compensated. However, the views and opinions are my own.

Cat vs Birds

Yesterday Aaron and I were doing some Science lessons from his text book, when his trusty companion, Bella decided she wanted him to be done for the day. Apparently she didn't like us discussing State Birds and such, so she plopped down right on top of his book and went to sleep. Each time we moved her, she jumped right back up into his lap, LOL:)

Handmade Shoes

Often when people hear that someone wears handmade shoes, they often think that the recipient is a rich, or well off person, and that most everyone else wheres off the rack, machine crafted shoes. I want to help dispel that myth, and explain why for some people, handmade shoes are a necessity, not a luxury. Yes, they are a luxury for some, but not for all.

Nick has very wide feet. When his shoes become worn, we traipse around to countless shoe stores trying to find something to meet his need that fits his feet. This is a process that in the past has usually required weeks or longer. Once, we found sneakers at a store that were name brand that fit, and we bought both pairs in his size (that's all they had) just so we wouldn't have to try on hundreds of pairs at dozens of stores when the original pair wore out. We figured we were buying time, and eliminating the next sneaker scavenger hunt, and it was so nice when the time came to swap to the second pair and we didn't have to go hunting! This is usually the case with other casual footwear, in that we can eventually find something he can make work, but it takes days of shopping and trying on to find a pair that works. The internet isn't an option because he has to be able to try them on, and don't have the patience to keep buying/returning dozens of pairs of shoes.

Dress shoes are an entirely different situation. When he has to go to the office for important meetings, or travel to his company headquarters, he has to dress more formally, and is often on his feet for long periods of time. When wearing a suit, he obviously has to have dress shoes, but after the last excursion to find some, and shopping at what we are pretty sure was every dress shoe store in town, we finally decided to try a shoemaker that makes shoes by hand. He measured Nick's feet, selected the style, color, and sole of his preference, and then hand made the shoes to fit his feet. Nick was ecstatic. He finally had a nice pair of shoes that actually fit, and ended up lasting considerably longer than his manufactured shoes. It was worth the extra money to get something that was comfortable and fit properly. Sometimes handmade shoes are available at select boutiques off the rack that aren't custom made to fit a specific foot, and those are higher quality, longer lasting shoes as well, if you are able to wear off the rack shoes. With proper care, handmade shoes can last significantly longer than other shoes, thus the extra upfront expense pays for itself over time.

A different situation for handmade shoes, is also for special needs kids. With our own special needs child (who is fortunate to wear any shoe), we see several specialists and therapists, and thus meet other special needs families. Often these families require special hand made shoes as well, to be fitted to their child's specific measurements and needs, and are a necessity and not a luxury.

I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and was compensated. However, the views and opinions are my own.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kara Vita

I was thrilled to be selected recently to test and review the Balancing Regimen package from Kara Vita. My package consisted of Balancing Cleanser, Complexion Mist, Antioxidant Treatment, Face Essential, and PBH Exfoliating Facial Masque. As I have mentioned in several posts over the past few months, my skin has gone haywire, and I have been testing an assortment of products trying to find something that works well!

In the past, drugstore products had been sufficient, but since my skin has changed so much over the course of the past year, they just don't work any more. The Kara Vita regimen worked very well for me. Having tried several products recently, my skin has cleared up with their use, but when I ran out and just used my former products for a couple of weeks before trying a new product, it got bad again. Lesson for me: Don't stop using quality products, your skin needs it. Within just a few days time the Kara Vita cleared my skin back up, and it has remained healthy. I still have a good bit of product left from the samples I received, so I plan to keep using it. As someone with sensitive skin, I was relieved that I suffered no allergic reaction, only improvement. My skin is both oily in some areas, while dry in others, and with our drought and the dry air conditions here, it has become very itchy at times. The Balancing Regimen lived up to its name, and restored the balance to my skin. No more itchiness, and no need to wash my face a few times per day due to oiliness.

Since I have reached the age of 36, and my skin is beginning to show signs of aging, I feel it is more important than ever to take care of it. I do not plan on having any plastic surgery to look younger, I just want to take care of my skin and keep it healthy. Skin cancer runs in my family, and my affected family members have to see a dermatologist regularly to make sure they are taking the necessary precautions to care for their skin. I too see a dermatologist for skin issues, and spoke to him regarding the issues I've been dealing with. He concurred that most drugstore products won't resolve the issues that I personally have been dealing with, and agreed that while some specialized products are a bit more expensive to purchase, that I should consider them an investment in my skin, and that they will likely save me money in the long run since my skin should be healthier and well cared for. This may not be the case for you, but if you are having issues or see a dermatologist, I think it's definitely a conversation worth having.

This is my favorite part of the Kara Vita company. They DO NOT test on animals, and they DO stand behind their products with a firm guarantee. If you too are suffering from skin complications, I encourage you to give them a try. If it doesn't work for you, they DO offer another product or your money back. This is especially nice for those of us with allergy issues. I will not purchase any product that I haven't tried that does not come with a money back guarantee should I have an issue and not be able to use it.

Our Guarantee
We keep our promises.
Kara Vita delivers results to our users. Our professional-quality skincare products are designed to not only enhance the skin's surface, but to strengthen and renew from within. No matter what your age or skin type, Kara Vita delivers solutions that help you achieve your personal skincare goals.
Purity: The combinations of ingredients within a product formula dictate that product's function and performance. To produce the results users expect from our products, Kara Vita formulas are developed with only the purest, highest-grade ingredients. Every added element serves a specific purpose and enhances overall effectiveness. And, when we find the perfect bioactive or active that fits our requirements, we add a sufficient quantity for a noticeable, beneficial impact.
Penetration: Furthermore, we time-release at least 80 percent of those ingredients into the skin's deepest layers, using a penetrating nanotechnology, one of the most complex technologies in the skincare industry---clinical, prestige or mass-market.
Potency: Kara Vita regimens, treatments and body products are designed for ease of use to encourage consistency. By using our products consistently, you will begin to build compliance, establishing healthy new skincare habits. Such compliance will lead to greater, more noticeable results.
Kara Vita guarantees that most users will see results in two weeks. And we stand behind that guarantee. No hassles.
Kara Vita is a cruelty free company that does not test its products on animals.

If you purchase and consistently use any Kara Vita product and find that you do not see an improvement to your skin within the first 30 days, we'll replace the product with one that better meets your needs or refund your payment.

"I wrote this review while participating in a Blog Friendly PR campaign on behalf of Kara Vita. Samples were provided, all opinions are my own."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Season 2 of V now available on DVD

At my house, V was a favorite among several family members. They were very sad to see the series come to an end, and had hoped it would be renewed. Since it was not, the best I can do to make them happy is to get them the Complete Series on Blu-Ray, so they can re-watch their favorite episodes.

If you missed it, this was a series about the "V"isitors (get it, that's why it's called V. Perhaps it took me an episode to figure that out, LOL) are facing off against certain segments of the human opposition, the 5th Column and the Aries Project. The leader of the "V"isitors is called Anna. Some of the humans believe that Anna is fantastic and truly means what she says, and that she will be true to her word. As the audience though, we know that she isn't nice, and is deceiving them. The "V"isitors create Lisa, who is the Evil Twin of Anna, and after she seduces Tyler and gets pregnant with his baby, she kills him. After the humans try to kill Anna, Lisa the Visitor Princess is imprisoned, and then Anna kills her mother Diana, and Lisa realizes she too was deceived.

If that's confusing to you, I recommend watching the DVDs. I got so confused watching some of it, and had to keep getting Nick to explain it. He is hoping that when the Blu Ray's get here, I'll understand it better myself, LOL:) If the story were to continue, I'd hope that they would expand on the conflict between Lisa and Anna. Hopefully Lisa would turn on Anna, and lead the humans to "V"ictory. Ideally they could learn to co-exist without Anna manipulating everyone, but in the long term, I think someone else from the "V"isitor side would probably just pick up where she left off. I do think the show had a future, and so many possibilities as to where they could take it.

If I have intruiged you, confused you, or reminded you how much YOU loved this show, you can purchase a DVD or Blu-ray copy for your own personal home collection today!

“I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote V Season Two on DVD."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In Honor of the Tata's


Welcome to my giveaway for the In Honor of the Tata's Event. I am giving away a World Deluxe Membership to, valued at $299! This is important to me because I have lost friends and extended family members to Breast Cancer, and know many other survivors. When facing a cancer situation, it brings family to the forefront of your thoughts, so I think it's important to research our ancestry to be able to pass that knowledge along to our children.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How to use StumbleUpon

Thanks to Kelly's Lucky You who is in a blog group with me, I came across a post today at Viper Chill that has a FANTASTIC tutorial on StumbleUpon and how to use it. It's important to note that proper use of the site is VERY important, and since I've had several emails inquiring about how to use the site, I thought this would be helpful for many of you as well. The most helpful thing you can do to get started, in my opinion, is to download the toolbar extension for your browser. It makes stumbling very easy. It provides the thumbs up (or down) right on your browser so each time you come across a post you like on any blog, you can give it a thumbs up and help that blogger gain more traffic. If you discover a post, a review and proper categorization are also very helpful.

One lesson I have just learned is that you can only follow 500 people. In the beginning, I tried to follow back everyone who followed me, or whose posts I really enjoyed.  Now that I have to unfollow some in order to follow new friends, I had to make some tough choices and set criteria as to who I would follow. It's nothing personal against those I can't follow, I am just trying to make the best match so that I carry stumbling power for those whose posts I discover or thumbs up. I have removed inactive followers (over 1 year with no activity), those with less than 100 "likes", those who stumble giveaways and other time sensitive posts that aren't good stumble material, and those whose niche areas aren't similar to mine. I want to share and receive posts that are mutually beneficial.

Persecution in Focus

My cousin, Brad Kelly, made this video as an entry in a National Competition as part of the International Christian Concern's contest. He needs page-views to help him win, so if you have a second to view this video, I'd really appreciate it!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hellman's Chicken Challenge

One of my favorite foods to cook and eat is Chicken. I am such a picky eater thought, that I tend to make the same tried and true recipes that I know I like, over and over again. The other family members get tired of eating the same things all the time though, so I am constantly on the lookout for new Chicken recipes that I think we'll all like, and that are fast and easy to make, as well as easy on the budget.

Hellman's is helping mom's like me, who are on a mission to find new family friendly recipes, with the launch of the Chicken Challenge. Each week, you can visit and see what dishes are facing off. They'll have two "challenger" dishes facing off against one of the more popular existing recipes from the Hellman's website. You can try them out each week, and cast your vote for your favorite. I voted for Parmesan Crusted Chicken this week, it was YUMMY when I made it! I've also tried and liked Honey Mustard Chicken Fingers, Chipotle Lime Crusted Chicken, Cesar Crusted Chicken, Crunchy Tortilla Chicken, and Oven Fried Herb Chicken.

They are also sponsoring a sweepstakes for a chance to win one of four $250 grocery gift cards, AND if there are more than 10,000 entries, they'll double the prizes to $500! I have had some luck winning small prizes in sweeps lately, so I'm hoping that my luck changes here and I win one of the big prizes. If you win a prize, I'd love it if you left a comment here. I always find it inspiring to keep entering when people I interact with are winning!

"Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Hellmann's® prize package in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place. All opinions are my own."

Bob Mills Furniture Experience

Things have been CRAZY this year, and the insanity got amped up in January when our pipes froze and flooded our house. We thought it most of the issues were resolved by May. Yes, we still had laundry they had taken in January that they were still trying to clean, and we were still waiting on checks to replace items that had been destroyed, but the major construction work on the house (i.e walls and carpeting replaced, etc) had been completed and we were back in the house. We also had to get our dining room furniture and living room furniture replaced because they were destroyed by the water damage. So, we shopped around for a good while, and finally settled on replacement furniture within the price range set by the insurance company, and bought it all from Bob Mills Furniture in April.

We thought we were getting a great deal, because it was one of the televised commercial deals where you get a reclining sofa, reclining loveseat, and reclining chair with a FREE big screen TV included. We measured carefully to make sure it would all fit into our living room, and it did. They held our order for a few days until the carpet was finished being installed, and delivered it the following day. Let's start by saying we've had no issues with the dining furniture other than the seats came wrapped in plastic, and to get it all off you have to unscrew the seats, remove the plastic, then reattach the seats. This is something the delivery drivers SHOULD have done in my opinion, but they didn't, so it is what it is.

The living room furniture was great. At first. It was nice to have seating to fit the entire family and guests, and to be able to put your feet up and relax. The first issue we noticed though was with the padding. When the seats are reclined, your bottom hits the wood at the fold. It's fixable if you put a pillow behind your back, but it should have come with padding in the right areas, and you couldn't recline them all the way in the store display, so it wasn't noticeable ahead of time. Then, the loveseat started to look lopsided. As in it was higher in the middle than the two outer sides. It continued to get worse, and then one day one of the sides wouldn't close at all. It was stuck in the reclined position.

We had purchased the warranty on the items, but it was less than 2 months after purchase, so we called the store. They sent us to the warranty people. They sent us back to the store. This went on for THREE days until I finally got a store manager on the phone and lost my cool. I had had enough of the run around. He finally agreed that it should be covered by the store due to the short amount of time we had had the furniture. He said it would be 4-6 weeks for someone to come look at it. I was NOT having that. I continued to escalate my issue, and got someone out in 2 days to look at it. He agreed it was broken and said they'd call when the parts came in. This was June.

I called every week to see how much longer it would be until my parts arrived. They kept making excuses, and I couldn't understand why they couldn't just replace the loveseat, but for whatever reason, they refused. Finally, in SEPTEMBER the parts arrived. They came on a Monday and picked up the loveseat, and returned it on a Thursday. It does close now, and they claim they installed extra padding over the wood pieces, but it still doesn't seem great. I'd call them back, but I really don't think it would make any difference.

With all of the crazy things that have happened this year, I have noticed a common theme among customer service people, and it's not a good one. I don't understand why it's so hard for people to just do the right thing and avoid issues being escalated. If you're nice to people, and do the right thing, they WILL become loyal customers, and it's easier to keep a loyal customer than it is to find 5 new ones.

***More on 2011 Craziness to come.***

Book Tour: Sunrise on the Battery

Are you inhibited? I am inhibited. It's so hard to let those go and just be free. This book though, will inspire you , as it did me, to let go of at least some of them. Think about this phrase, "Radical Faith Brings about Radical Change." How awesome does that sound?!

This book raises questions that are likely to make you uncomfortable, but in a good way. We all know people that need to hear about what God can do for them. The delicate balance in my opinion, is in learning to rely on God to show you the right things to say, and the right quantity of things to say to people. Some people get turned off and completely shut down if they feel that you are constantly witnessing to them, or worse yet, judging them. I think the important starting place is in striving to let your lifestyle be a big part of your witness, and make sure people are comfortable coming to you to talk about things.

Then, the question raised, is if you dropped your inhibitions and were truly living your life to help others, how would you spend your time and money? What impact would that have? I think the answer is that we'd all have changes that we could make, and need to make.

***Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my review. No other compensation was exchanged. No positive review was requested or required, and all opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any way.***

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is your family prepared?

Over the past month or so, some close friends and extended family members have lost loved ones. Death is always painful for those left behind, even when you know that your loved one is in Heaven and so much better off. We still miss those who are no longer with us. Sadly, it often seems that the immediate family has tons of help and offers of assistance when the loss first occurs, but as time goes on, those offers fade and are forgotten about. This is right about the time that the heaviest part of the financial burden also begins.

Hopefully everyone has SOME form of life insurance to help them out. Even still, it often isn't enough. When you are determining HOW MUCH is enough, you need to take everything into account, not just the lost income. Ideally you'd plan for enough to cover your mortgage, auto loans, other outstanding loans, and any medical bills that might occur if your demise comes after an illness. Most people don't realize that these bills have to be paid out of that insurance amount, and sometimes there is little to nothing leftover.

As part of a campaign to raise awareness, and to remind people that it is very important to take an in-depth look at and evaluate their life insurance portfolio (no matter how uncomfortable it makes you), I have teamed up with Mom Select and the LIFE Foundation to invite you to visit the LIFE Foundation Facebook Page and take a look at the Insure Your Love Picture Mosaic. To view it, just "like" the page, then click "mosaic" on the left hand sidebar. Next, there is a button to click to get started, and that takes you to a page where you can add your own photo and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. For every photo that is added, $1 will be donated to the LIFE Lessons Scholarship Fund, which provides tuition assistance to students who have lost a parent. By being a part of the mosaic, you'll also be helping to send a powerful message to the millions of Americans who don't have life insurance, but need it.

I received a gift card as part of a promotional program with the LIFE Foundation and MomSelect to thank me for my time in participating in this very important campaign to raise awareness on the necessity of life insurance.


I've been telling y'all over the past month or so about the skin problems I've been having, and some of you know about the excessive stress situations I've been dealing with. Combining those two issues resulted in major skin problems. Worse than I ever had as a teenager. I had used up all the samples I had from other campaigns, but had NO money to buy more of anything - I'll go over that more in the coming weeks when I share some of the stressful situations with you. However, at the peak of the problem, I got a package in the mail from Proactiv. I have been longing to try this, I think about it each and every-time I see the commercials on TV. It's a tad more expensive than drugstore cleaners, but those weren't working for me, so I was curious to find out if it's money well spent. After all, spending lower amounts of money on products that didn't work was really wasting money. So, this is my experience with Proactiv.

Proactiv is a 3 step system. It claims it can heal existing breakouts and clear up your complexion, all while preventing future breakouts. I knew from looking in the mirror that it had it's job was cut out for it from the beginning. The system consists of Renew, Revitalize, and Repair. I was thoroughly impressed with this product, and it DID clear up my skin. The $20 package has lasted over a month for me, I think I have enough for a couple more weeks. So when you look at how great it works, and how long it lasts, it really is an affordable product. For me, it's a small price to pay to have clean, unblemished skin.

I was also pleased to find that Proactiv offers a program called Proactiv 365 that comes as part of your purchase. They have trained Skincare Advisors on hand 24/7 to answer any questions you have with customized advice (NOT canned responses), a private online community where you can interact with other users and get tips and advice from them as well. For more information, visit the Proactiv site to learn more about the specific products you are interested in and how they work!

“I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Proactiv and received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review: Cubic Zirconia Jewelry

I was so excited to receive my necklace for review from NanoStyle of a Cubic Zirconia necklace. The one I actually chose was the Cross Phillipians Pendant with a crystal stone. It is so gorgeous, and of excellent quality. The engraving is 24 Karat Gold on Semi Precious Stones, and Nano Style is the FIRST and ONLY company to use this technology. My neighbor was standing outside when I received the parcel, and I showed it to her and we oohed and ahhed over it together:) Most people I know are on a limited budget these days, and while "real" gems are fabulous, they just aren't in our budgets. Affordable cubic zirconia jewelry that is of high quality, but at a reasonable price, is a nice alternative. They also include a nice jewelry box, and a key chain with a magnifying glass to read the inscription for FREE with every order!

The item featured in the photo above is the I love you pendant, and I think it would make a fantastic gift for a mother, mother in law, grandmother, sister, daughter, niece, girlfriend, or other special lady in your life. It says I Love You in 120 different languages, and is a very unique gift idea.

For more information, please visit the Website, Facebook, and Twitter pages. I'd also encourage you to subscribe to the newsletter so you are kept up to date on any new collection releases (RINGS are coming soon) or sales!

***Disclosure: I received a complimentary item to facilitate my review. No monetary compensation was exchanged. No positive review was requested or required, and all opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner***


I am pleased to bring to you a new coupon and money saving site that I came across, Just like most of you, I am preparing my shopping list for the upcoming holiday season, and I have mentioned previously that due to my Fibromyalgia and some other issues, that I'll need to do all of my shopping online this year. It is sites like that I rely on to make sure that I am getting the BEST deal possible.

I love that it is a one stop shop for checking to make sure that I have the best coupon or discount code, promotion codes, and any deals that I may have overlooked. They work with national companies such as Kohl's, Dell, Macy's, Amazon, Gap, GameStop, Costume Express, and many others. At the top of the page, they have buttons to take you to theme related discounts such as Back to School Coupons, Free Shipping Coupons, Halloween Coupons, etc. You'll also want to sign up for their FREE newsletter to make sure that you don't miss any fantastic deals (it is sent weekly, so NO daily spam)!

One of the deals I found, was for a Nerf Product sold via Joshua asked for this item for his upcoming birthday, and we saw it when we were out recently, priced at $29.99. Trimback's link showed were I could get it for $15.95, almost a 50% savings! I was very, very happy to find it at such a great price:)

For more information, feel free to visit their website, facebook, or twitter pages.

***Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. No positive review was requested or required, all opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner.***

THQ and uDraw

Most of you know by now that Aaron has Asperger's. One of the things that he loves to do is to draw. He has poor muscle tone, among many other issues, and writing is very difficult for him. It's hard for him to form the letters, but drawing is different. He isn't forcing is muscles to do specific structure, he is free to form the pictures to his ability, all while building and strengthening muscles for writing. It's delicate balance that we continually strive to improve. He wants to be an illustrator of books or comics when he grows up, or something along those lines, so we try to encourage his artistic creativity as much as possible.

When I heard that THQ and uDraw were having a contest where kids could use their artistic inspiration to draw about what their individual cities, towns, or communities meant to them, I knew this was ideal for Aaron. The contest is still open through Oct 31, and the grand prize winner will get a package worth over $15,000! It's for a uDraw and $10,0000 cash they can choose to apply towards a college scholarship. Also, THQ will donate an additional $10,000 to the winner's school to help support its art program. I KNOW that Ms. George at my kids local school would be THRILLED to get this!

We technically live within the city limits of our large metro city, but have a smaller suburb listed as our address and zip, while our school district is associated with a third smaller suburb. When we think of community, we think of the town associated with our school district because that's who we associate with the most. It is a smaller community and we see the same people most everywhere we go from the grocery store, to the soccer fields, to community events. Having three boys stair stepped, everyone knows who they are, and if one isn't with the group, people always want to know where the missing one is at. It's also really nice because most people are aware of and sensitive to Aaron's special issues. They understand that sometimes he gets overwhelmed and needs some space to decompress, and they don't take it personally. It also helps him because he isn't around a bunch of strangers he isn't familiar with, so he feels more comfortable, and has less "episodes".

I wanted to share his creation with you, but he is a private person and asked that I not do that. He's almost 10, so privacy is becoming a big thing to him, and I want to respect that. However, he did say I could describe it to you. I was expecting him to draw buildings and landmarks that we have in our area, and he did include a few as background, but primarily he focused on the PEOPLE that we interact with most often. He isn't really a "people" person, so that really surprised me. He drew his pediatrician and office staff (who mean the WORLD to us), his former preschool teacher (the one we loved BEFORE the kindergarten incident with another teacher), our neighbor who bakes him special treats, the librarian and his story-time friends, and our special friends that used to babysit him when he was little. It really warms my heart to know that when HE thinks of community and what it means to him, it's the people that come to mind first, before the landmarks and buildings.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of THQ and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Save Money with Straight Talk

This post brought to you by Straight Talk. All opinions are 100% mine.


In the past week, I know of at least 5 people that have been laid off or lost their jobs. I know of many, many others that are in dire financial straights. Personally, we have had a multitude of necessary home fixtures/appliances break AND both of our cars break in the past month. So many things that it's sort of a running joke now about what is going to break next.

All of this leads me to say that I am fervently scouring the internet for ways that my family, and those of my friends and readers who are desperately looking to cut costs can save. One of those ways is via Straight Talk. Some may say that a cell phone is a luxury, but it is sometimes a better choice to eliminate landline service, and just use cell service, depending on your needs. If you are searching for a job, or have children at school outside the home, or even kids IN the home, some type of phone service IS necessary in the event of emergencies.

Straight Talk uses The power of Android phones (compatible with ALL the games and apps you need), with plans starting at just $45 per month for unlimited use (includes calls, texts, pictures, AND web!), with NO contracts, NO surprise bills, NO credit check, NO activation fees, and NO termination fees. They also offer reliable nationwide service, and only use nationally recognized brands such as Motorola, LG, Samsung, Nokia, and Kyocera. Reconditioned phones start at just $10 for even more savings!

I truly hope this helps some of you make some room in your monthly budget, while still allowing you to keep the phone service you are accustomed to, just at a more affordable price!

For more information on how you can  Feel Richer with Android, just visit any of the links in this post, or view the following video:
The getting richer effect has expanded... by LittleBard95

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Tour: Diary of a Teenage Girl

I am a long time fan of Melody Carlson's work. She writes excellent young adult fiction, and I have passed on, gifted, and/or recommended her work to many young adults and their parents that I know. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was not able to respond in time to receive a copy of this new release for review, but it is definitely on my Amazon wishlist. If you are looking for a good, clean read for a young adult reader in your life, I can highly recommend ANY of her books to you. I don't have her entire collection (over 200 books!), but I wish I did, and am slowly working on it. I love to have complete works of my favorite authors:) So, with that said, here is some information for you on this new release, that I am confident is fabulous!

About Becoming Me

In the fictional Diary of a Teenage Girl, sixteen-year-old Caitlin O'Conner reveals the inner workings of a girl caught between childhood and womanhood ... an empty life without Christ and ameaningful one with Him. Through Caitlin's candid journal entries we see her grapple with such universal teen issues as peer pressure, loyalty, conflict with parents, the longing for a boyfriend, and her own spirituality.

Follow Caitlin O'Conner as she makes her way from New Year's to the first day of summer - surviving a challenging home life, changing friends, school pressures, an identity crisis, and the uncertainties of "true love."

Caitlin experiences heartache, and encounters a new reality in her life: God. See how rejection by one group can - incredibly - sometimes lead you to discover who you really are...

About Melody Carlson
Melody Carlson published her first book in 1995 and she has been writing prolifically ever since. To date, Melody has published over 200 books, making her one of the top 20 most prolific authors of all time. With total sales of over 1.4 million her award-winning books include: Homeward, Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon; Limelight; theDiary of a Teenage Girl series; the True Colors series; and the Charter House Girls series.

In her professional life, Melody has worn many hats: from pre-school teacher to political activist to senior editor. Currently, she writes full-time, and freelances from her home. She has two grown sons and lives in Sisters, Oregon with her husband, Chris, and Bailey, her chocolate lab. They enjoy skiing, hiking, and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Creamy Chicken Pasta Carbonara

This post brought to you by T.G.I. FRiDAY'S. All opinions are 100% mine.

Entrées For One

Nick is back! Karen makes weekly grocery store shopping trips, and since things have been so hectic around here, and she hasn't been feeling well, I had her pick me up another of the T.G.I. FRiDAY’S “EntrĂ©es for One”. Of course I was only thinking of the convenience for her, since I knew she wasn't feeling up to cooking full meals:) (Can you hear her laughing, thinking I am not if, LOL!) This time I asked her to get me the Creamy Chicken Pasta Carbonara to try.  

This was so easy to make, you just pop it in the microwave in the bag it comes in, and in a few minutes, BAM, it's done. It was tasty too, which is sometimes questionable a) with frozen foods and b) cooking pasta in the microwave. I really enjoy these, it's a nice change of pace from same old casseroles that everyone else in this house likes to eat. Karen likes that they are affordable. I am already planning which one I want to try next......

Don't forget about the Fun Freezer contest that is still running. Decorate your refrigerator with some flair to spice up the kitchen, and then visit the website to vote on the best decorated entry to win. The voting runs from now thru Oct 20.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, October 7, 2011

Green Works Review and #Coupon

I've been participating in several "Green" events lately, and will continue to do so. I like to do my part to use "green" products whenever possible, while staying within my budget. One of my favorite products to use in my home is Green Works® Naturally Derived Cleaning Wipes. I use these in my kitchen and in the bathrooms. I like knowing that I am a safe product on my kitchen counter that isn't leaving behind any harsh chemicals. That's why I also started using them in the bathrooms, especially my kids bathroom. They are at an age now where they are trying to be more independent, yet they still don't blink at laying their toothbrush (brush down) on their bathroom counter. It grosses me out just to think about it. But, I do clean it each night after bath time with these wipes, so it is clean.

I like using the General Cleaner on my stove-top; the Bathroom Cleaner works well in the master bath, but I do use another Clorox product in the kids bathroom, primarily because it has a handle and I don't have to touch the ickiness that comes with three little boys sharing a bathroom; and the detergent worked well in my HE machine, and no one had any allergy or sensitivity issues. Since I developed asthma a couple of years ago, it's crucial that any cleaning products I use don't cause me to have an attack. Certain chemicals I am unable to be around, so I was relieved when I found Green Works, and it didn't cause me any issues. I have used this brand since then, and will continue to do so. Coupons are frequently in the Sunday paper for them, and the Special Offers section of their website sometimes has them too.

Product Information:

  • Green Works® Naturally Derived Cleaning Wipes pack some serious cleaning power and are made with naturally derived ingredients, such as citric acid and wood fibers. That means they won’t give off harsh chemical fumes or leave behind harsh chemical residue. And they can be thrown in compost bin after using, since they’re 100 percent biodegradable. These wipes are safe for use on most non-wood surfaces, including acrylic, fiberglass and vinyl.
  • From the cooktop to the countertop, Green Works® Naturally Derived All-Purpose Cleaner powers through grease, grime and dirt without leaving behind harsh chemical fumes or residues. Green Works All Purpose Cleaner is safe to use on multiple surfaces throughout the kitchen and bathroom, including counters, appliances, stainless steel, sealed granite, chrome, cooktop hoods, sinks and toilets.
  • Green Works® Laundry Detergent is tough on dirt and stains — and dermatologist-tested for sensitive skin. The powerful combination of naturally derived cleaning ingredients will leave laundry fresh and clean — without phosphates, optical brighteners or harsh chemical residue. The detergent is formulated for both standard and high-efficiency (HE) washers.
  • Green Works® Naturally Derived Bathroom Cleaner is made with plant- and mineral-based cleaning ingredients that power through soap scum, rust and hard water stains — without harsh chemical fumes and residue. It works powerfully on bathroom counters, sinks, bathtubs, tile and shower doors, removing tough soap scum.

Feel free to visit Green Works Website or Facebook page for more information. I found a coupon for $1 off these products on the Special Offers page of the website too:)

***Disclosure: I received one of each product listed above to facilitate my review. No monetary compensation was exchanged. No positive opinion was requested or required and all opinions expressed are 100% mine and were not influenced in any manner.***

LIMITED TIME OFFER: $100 Travelocity Gift Card for only $50!!!


This is a LIMITED TIME OFFER ENDING OCT 12, 2011. With this deal, you can purchase a $100 Travelocity Gift Card for just $50!!! If you use Travelocity or are planning a trip anytime soon, this is a fantastic offer to help you save some money!

***Disclosure: Affiliate Link***

Shop Sanity


I have to be honest here, I got REALLY excited when I heard about this service. If you use Yahoo!Mail or Gmail (both are FREE) this service is also FREE.

Once you sign up, (in just TWO clicks) you can keep a record of ALL of your online purchases in one location, so that receipts, returns, and shipment confirmations are easier to keep up with (especially good with the holidays approaching!) AND the best part is, they will alert you if the price drops on something you bought within 30 days (so you can get the difference)!

***Disclosure: Affiliate Link***

Activia Selects

As parents, we are all so busy, that often it seems we meet ourselves coming and going. This makes it difficult for us to make nutritious choices for ourselves on a consistent basis. Sometimes your starving and you just need a quick bit to tide you over until meal time. Stopping to go through the drive thru often is not the healthiest option, so if you're like me, you keep a cooler in the car for such occasions. I know I've mentioned this before, but this really is what I do. I like cold water, so I make sure to always have some in my cooler and something healthy to snack on.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Trying to stay Cold and Flu Free

Everyone in our family has gotten the flu every single year. However, we've also taken the flu shots, and preventative steps to make sure that it isn't as bad as it could be. I am going to share with you the steps we take to stay as healthy as possible, and minimize the severity of any cold or flu we happen to catch.

  • Wash your hands frequently, using soap and warm water, and for an adequate amount of time. With the kids, we have them sing a song out-loud and when they are finished, they know they are done.
  • Keep anti-bacterial lotion in your purse, and a small bottle in the kids backpacks. If they sneeze or touch a door handle, etc, they can quickly dab some on and kill any germs.
  • Keep tissues in your purse, and in the kids backpacks. I put them in ziplock bags to keep them sanitary. You'll always have something handy if you sneeze or need to blow your nose.
  • Get the FLU shot. While it isn't always for the strain that becomes predominate, it can help to lessen the severity of other strains.
  • Keep your kids home from school if they have a fever or may be contagious. I ALWAYS do this because it's what I hope other parents do. I don't want to spread illness and I don't want others spreading it to my kids.
  • In the supermarket, use they anti-bacterial wipes they have at the door to wipe off the handle of the cart. If your store doesn't have these, take some with you in a ziplock bag. You never know who has touched it before, or what liquid could have gotten on there (from chicken juice to wet diapers, ewwww). 
  • When going out to dinner, wash your hands before you eat any peanuts, rolls, appetizers, etc. Remember: You probably touched the door handle, a menu, or seat that someone else touched before you. 
  • Drink plenty of water. Clear fluids are an illnesses worst nightmare. Keeping yourself and your kids hydrated will help you fight off illness.
  • Get plenty of sleep. I can tell by how hard or easy my kids are to rouse in the morning if they've had enough sleep. If they are hard to get up, they go to bed at least 30 minutes earlier that evening. 
  • Avoid over-scheduling your family for evening activities so getting to bed on time isn't an issue.
  • Eat right. Make sure everyone is getting at least the minimum amounts of fruits and veggies each day so that their bodies are able to naturally fight off any illnesses.
If you have any other tips you think I or anyone else might find helpful, PLEASE leave them in the comments. We are always looking for new ways to keep our family healthy and illness free! The irony that I am typing this while sick isn't lost on me, but I know that I've had a very stressful September. I did take all the necessary steps I could (stress and lack of sleep aside), and sometimes you just get sick anyway. BUT, if you are habitually taking the proper steps, your illness may be shorter lived and less severe than otherwise, and hopefully I can bounce back pretty fast :)

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Lysol blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kiss of Night Book Tour and #GIVEAWAY

Welcome to my stop on the Kiss of Night Book Tour!

If you've been following my book reviews for a while, you know that I almost never elect to read vampire books or participate in vampire related book tours. I just don't like or enjoy them. However, with that being said, this particular book is from a Christian Book Company with a question that intrigued me, so I agreed to participate in this one. The question posed is, "What would happen if a vampire truly accepted God?". I did truly enjoy this book, and although it hasn't won me over to the supernatural genre, I did enjoy this particular book, and the thought provoking questions and themes it presented. I don't ever like to give too much away about a book because I personally don't like spoilers. I want to know just enough to capture my interest, and then read it for myself. I have included the product description below:

Product Description:
While visiting Prague for her beloved grandmother's funeral, Susan meets a dark, mysterious man to whom she feels an instant and mesmerizing attraction. The man -- Raphael -- is a vampire, cursed for his sins to roam the earth for eternity. He needs Susan's help in a secret war against evil in a supernatural world that Susan never believed existed until now. Together, they are called on to exercise both courage and faith. KISS OF NIGHT ultimately asks the question: What would happen if a vampire truly accepted God?



I am sick and not feeling well. I've had a lot going on behind the scenes lately from 2 broken down cars, to every plumbing fixture in this house breaking in one day (from the hot water heater to the sinks), and so much more that I can't elaborate on at the moment. I apologize if you are looking for a review and it isn't posted, or giveaway winners. I am still verifying entries and writing as much as I can, but I am exhausted and sick. So, I have made an executive decision to take a sick day. I'll do my best to catch up tomorrow if I am feeling better, and there will be a couple of things to hopefully auto post in the mean time.

Book Review: Flat Out Love

Book Review: Flat-Out Love

What an outstanding book! This story chronicles Julie Seagel as she goes off to college, and suddenly finds herself with no where to live. She thinks she caught a break when a friend of her parents allows her to move in with their family. Then, she starts to see the dysfunctionality of the family. Don't get me wrong, ALL families function on some sort of dysfunctional level, but the Watkins family has more than their fair share. During her stay there, she uncovers a secret that could destroy the family. Honestly, isn't that the case is so many families?! Elder family members often find it easier to bury secrets, and sometimes it's for the benefit of younger family members, but for things to stay healthy, things need to be brought to light in an honest and sincere manner at some point. Secrets can cause more harm than good, though age appropriate discretion should always be used.

I loved how current the author made the book, including emails, instant messages, and facebook in the story. Aside from my grandparents and dad, ALL of my family is on facebook, and we keep in touch that way. I love to read touching stories from authors such as Elin Hildebrand, Nicholas Sparks, Sophie Kinsella, etc. and for me, Jessica Parks has joined the ranks. I daresay you might need tissues at certain points in this story because it will conjure up emotions from laughing and crying, tp sadness and happiness. I am so thankful I was introduced to this author, and I sincerely hope you'll take a moment to check her out.

The Kindle Edition of Flat-Out Love is available currently for just $3.99 and paperback for $13.49 at Amazon. She has some other books available via Kindle as low as $0.99! If you are like me, you are purchasing the other books so you can catch up. Personally, I like to have physical copies of books of favorite authors, so the other hard copies are on my wish list, to be read and added to my personal library. Also, if you want a sneak peek, the Amazon page currently has the option to Read the First Chapter FREE, but I can almost guarantee you'll want to read the entire book after that teaser!

Y'all know I don't like to give out too many details of a story, so it's not spoiled for anyone, so here's a brief product description from Amazon:

Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.

It's not what you know--or when you see--that matters. It's about a journey.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

Author & Book Information:

Jessica Park is the author of FLAT-OUT LOVE, the young adult novel RELATIVELY FAMOUS, five Gourmet Girl mysteries (written as Jessica Conant-Park) and the e-shorts FACEBOOKING RICK SPRINGFIELD and WHAT THE KID SAYS (Parts 1 & 2). She grew up in the Boston area and then went to Macalester College in frigid St. Paul, Minnesota. During her freshman year, there was a blizzard on Halloween, and she decided that she was not cut out for such torture. So she moved back to the east coast where, she'd forgotten, it still snows. Oops. She now lives in New Hampshire with her husband, son, bananas dog named Fritzy, and two selfish cats. When not writing, she is probably on Facebook , pining over 80s rock stars, or engaging in "Glee" activities. Or some combination of the three. Probably with a coffee in hand. 
Jessica loves to hear from readers and does her best to get back to everyone who writes her! You can e-mail her HERETell her about your ex-boyfriend who was a font nerd. Or send pictures of awesome Flat People on adventures. (You get bonus points for this. Possibly some sort of award, too.) Stories of online romance. Apartment rental disasters. Skydiving experiences... Whatever you want.

And like any normal person, she has an online addiction, so you can find her on FACEBOOKGOODREADS, TWITTER, and blogging at What the Kid Says about her kooky conversations with her son. Her young adult book, RELATIVELY FAMOUS, has its own website (greedy book!), so stop by for more info

Please take a moment to stop by the other blogs on this tour and read their thoughts and opinions as well!
10/4/2011 - Colloquium -
10/5/2011 - Reader Girls -        
10/6/2011 - Kritter's Ramblings -
10/7/2011 - Reviews by Molly -                     
10/8/2011 - Laurie Here Reading and Writing Reviews -
10/9/2011 - WV Stitcher -                 
10/10/2011 - A Bookish Affair -               
10/11/2011 - the bookish mama -                      
10/12/2011 - Books in the Burbs -                    
10/13/2011 - The Many Thoughts of a Reader -             
10/14/2011 - Proud Book Nerd -          
10/15/2011 - Hippes Beauty and Books OH MY -
10/16/2011 - StephTheBookworm -                  
10/17/2011 - A Cozy Reader's Corner -            
10/18/2011 - Authors Book Corner -             
10/19/2011 - Amusing Reviews -  

***Disclosure: This was not a compensated review, and I am posting this information as part of a tour with Crazy Book Tours. No positive opinion was requested or required, and all opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner.***