Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December Monthly News

Welcome to the December edition of Monthly News!
My birthday came and went.... I love birthdays.... did you enter the giveaway?
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, to those who celebrate, as my family does. And from my family to yours we wish you all the best for the new year!
Freda's Voice is hosting a reading challenge, 100+ Books in a Year! Sign up is here so check it out. I challenge you to the challenge!!
I also ended one of my memes, Quote It Saturday. Sadly I do not have the time to devote to it anymore.
Don't fret though, I will not end The Friday 56!



BOOKS:
1. Night Chill - Jeff Gunhus (recommend)
2. Pies Sweet and Savory (recommend)
3. Hidden - Catherine McKenzie (HIGHLY recommend)
4. Dog Encyclopedia (recommend)
5. Forbidden Sister - V.C. Andrews (recommend)
6. Ink - Amanda Sun
7. Lucky Man - Michael J. Fox (recommend)
8. AARP 2013 Almanac
9. Art That Changed The World (recommend)
10. A Shadow of Light - Bella Forrest (recommend)
11. Haven - Kristi Cook (recommend)
12. The Slow Cooker Cookbook (recommend)
13. Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe - Jenny Colgan (recommend)
14. The List Lover's Guide to Jane Austen - Joan Strasbaugh
15. Butter My Butt and Call Me A Biscuit and Other Country Sayings
16. The Panopticon - Jenni Fagan
17. S Is For Stupid - Leland Gregory
18. Gardening Day-to-Day Seeds of Wisdom 2013
19. Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold Cookbook (recommend)


PRODUCTS:
1. Wantable.com Box (recommend)
2. Ornaments With Love (recommend)
3. Hipstreet MP3 Player (recommend)
4. Sony Headphones (recommend)




Yearly Total: 120 books, 31 Products, 27 Movies, and 5 CD's


Book of the Month:



Book of the Year:


GENRE COUNT:
Non-Fiction 27         Fiction 86               Novella 6             Young Adult 38      Fantasy 12
Children 6                Short-Stories 5     Inspirational 2     Romance 20          Erotica 1
Picture Book 6         Paranormal 19     Mystery 9              Dystopian 7            Devotional 3
Religious 3              Historical 2            Sci-Fi 3                 Humor 4                  Cozy 2
Educational 2          Art 3                        Self-Help 2           Contemporary 1    Cookbook 7
Parenting 1              Middle Grade 4    Suspense 2         Thriller 1                  Christian Fiction 2
Audiobook 1            Memoir 2               Amish 2                 Language 1            Christmas 3
Mythology 2              Horror 1                 Encyclopedia 1    Daily 3






ALPHABE THURSDAYS (Get To Know Freda):
A Is For Animals                                        A Is For Asleep
B Is For Books                                           B Is For Best Friend Bella
C Is For Cake                                            C Is For Cookies
D Is For Dad(s)                                         D Is For Dream (Come True)
E Is For Elvis                                             E Is For Ewok
F Is For Freda                                            F Is For Festive Family
G Is For Gangs
H Is For Hobbies
I Is For Inked
J Is For Jalapeno
K Is For Kids
L Is For Live Music
M Is For Mom
N Is For Noob
O Is For Older
P Is For Poetry
Q Is For Quiet
R Is For Religion
S Is For Soup Nazi
T Is For Two Things
U Is For Unique
V Is For Vince


CHALLENGES COMPLETED:
1. 2013 Non-Fiction Challenge
2. 2013 Women Challenge
3. YA/MG Fantasy Challenge
4. 2013 eBook Challenge
5. 2013 Foodies Challenge
6. BCC's 100 Books In A Year Challenge


CHALLENGES FORFEITED BY BLOG HOST:
1. 2013 Monthly Key Word Challenge

FAILED CHALLENGES:
1. 2013 Outdo Yourself Challenge (I failed by 52 books!)
2. 2013 Colorful Reading Challenge (I did 2 of 9 colors. Ouch!)
3. 2013 Color Coded Challenge (I got 1 color of 9. 1!!!)
4. 2013 Mount TBR Challenge ( 2/36... I got airlifted off Mt. Vancouver)
5. 2013 A Thru Z Challenge ( Missed Q, V & X)
6. 2013 A To Z Book Challenge
7. 2013 A - Z Reading Challenge
8. What's In A Name Challenge 6 (Missed 1)
9. 150+ Reading Challenge ( Missed 32)
10. 2013 ARC Reading Challenge ( I took this one too literal and missed 13)

#120: Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold Cookbook

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery invites you to taste the local cuisine of her beloved fictional town and share in a year's worth of deliciously seasonal recipes.

Fool's Gold is known as the Land of Happy Endings, but it's also the land of hearty appetites. Throughout the series, the residents of Fool's Gold have found joy, comfort and good times through food. Now two local Fool's Gold chefs will also find love through food! Join them as they flirt, fight and fall in love, one season at a time.

You'll also find favorite recipes from popular characters in the series, such as:

  • Heidi's Arugula, Corn and Cherry Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese. 


  • Liz's Spaghetti for the Girls. 


  • Denise's Summer Berry Pie.  

With chapters for summer, spring, fall and winter, you can find the perfect recipe for everything from holiday get-togethers to cozy date nights, always using the freshest ingredients. And the heartwarming love story that is woven throughout is Susan Mallery at her finest.

The more than 150 recipes and dozens of gorgeous photographs in this book will inspire you to find perfection in the simple and the seasonal. And with all of Fool's Gold with you in the kitchen, your every celebration will have a happy ending!


  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (August 27, 2013)
  • ISBN: 9780373892815




AUTHOR BIO:
New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women. Publishers Weekly calls Susan’s prose “luscious and provocative,” and Booklist says “Novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling.” Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. Visit her at www.SusanMallery.com.


REVIEW:
I made Pan-Fried Chicken and Rosemary Roast Potatoes.
The cookbook is split into seasons, and this recipe was the first in the Winter section that I had all the ingredients on hand.
Have to say, best fried chicken I have ever  had! Even the hubby and son agreed! The potatoes, however, were not such a hit. Seems I am the only one who likes rosemary. The men, not-so-much. The next time I make it, I will make my own roasted potatoes as they like them better. The chicken recipe is going to get used and worn out in my house though.
Can't wait to try some more too! 
I also love how the characters and stories from the Fool's Gold series are incorporated into the book. Fans of the series will really find it heartwarming.
So whether you are a fan of the series, the author or just recipes, this is a great find! I hope you will get a copy and compare recipes with me!


5/5

Monday, December 30, 2013

#119: Gardening Day-to-Day Seeds of Wisdom 2013

Harvest daily seeds of gardening inspiration as gardeners from around the world share their wisdom in the Gardening 2013 Mini Day-to-Day Calendar. Heart-warming gardening quotes offer a mental respite even on days that don't permit a stroll in the garden. The calendar's backer has magnets and an easel, so you can place it on your desk or counter-top or attach it to a metal surface.


  • Kindle: 4827 KB
  • Print Length: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC; Min Pag edition (July 16, 2012)
  • ASIN: B008J27HP2







REVIEW:
I have always love gardening, though since living in my newest home I do not have one. No, I converted my living room into a greenhouse of sorts. It's not like I use it anyway. We're always at the other end of the house. I got two massive front windows that give off too much light for the hubby to enjoy the tv in there anyway, so what's a gal to do?! Grow everything I possibly can!
This daily book has quotes from famous and not-so-famous people, all to do with gardens and gardening. It truly made me crave an outdoor garden again, but I will just continuously outgrow my living room! 
For gardening lovers, this daily gem is for you!


4/5

#118: S Is For Stupid - Leland Gregory

It's the best word to describe the outrageous stories, odd newspaper headlines, and bizarre factoids included on the daily pages of the S is for Stupid 2013 Day-to-Day Calendar. Leland Gregory includes excerpts from his newest book S Is for Stupid to do a bang-up job of generating the best laughs by exposing the worst of human nature. From foolish felons and legal lunacy to marital mayhem and family feuds, these tales of ignorance promise to entertain and amaze.


  • Kindle: 4877 KB
  • Print Length: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC; Pag edition (July 16, 2012)
  • ASIN: B008OMYIV8






AUTHOR BIO:
The jokes, wacky anecdotes, and inane quotes in Leland Gregory’s Stupid-themed anthologies showcase the best of human nature at its worst. Through his Twitter handle of @ChronicStupid, Leland shares headlines, quips, and unbelievable feats of folly culled from print, online, and broadcast media around the globe. He has authored more than a dozen humor titles, including What's the Number for 911? and the New York Times best-sellers Stupid American History and America's Dumbest Criminals.  A tireless promoter, he has made hundreds of radio and television appearances, including multiple appearances on NBC's Today show.


REVIEW:
Such fun!
Every morning I would see and see what was in store when reading this book. Every day was a new little vignette about someone and the not-so-smart choices they make.
We have all laughed at someone's expense, possible even our own, and this book is exactly that. Small vignettes of people's decisions that are not of their best decisions, and we get a laugh at them. It's not hurtful or mean, most of these vignettes were in the news or otherwise.
For me, I am always amazed at how brain-dead people can be sometimes. You know it happens but to read about the mishaps and bad decisions really put it in perspective.
It is a harmful way to get a laugh and learn not to do that same thing yourself. You don't want to be the next ding-dong on the news anyway.....


4/5

Sunday, December 29, 2013

#117: The Panopticon - Jenni Fagan

Fifteen-year old Anais Hendricks is smart, funny and fierce, but she is also a child who has been let down, or worse, by just about every adult she has ever met. Sitting in the back of a police car, she finds herself headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders where the social workers are as suspicious as its residents. But Anais can't remember the events that have led her there, or why she has blood on her school uniform...



  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hogarth (April 22, 2014)
  • ISBN: 9780385347952


AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER





AUTHOR BIO:A Scottish novelist and poet, her debut novel, The Panopticon, is published in the UK, US and Europe. She has just completed the first draft of her second novel The Sunlight Pilgrims. Her poetry collections are Urchin Belle and The Dead Queen of Bohemia. Her work has been nominated and shortlisted for various prizes including The Pushcart & The James Tait Black Prize. In 2013, Jenni was included on the once a decade Best of Young British Novelists under 40 by Granta magazine. She is currently Writer In Residence at Edinburgh University and lives in a coastal village with her toddler.



REVIEW:
When I read the synopsis for this story and the review on the blog I won it on, I thought it sounded promising. In parts, a lot of parts, it lived up to that feeling. There were times it didn't though.
For me the dialect was too much. 
Yup, say what you will, but I would rather read it in plain English, no dialect. Makes it faster and easier to read. The foreign dialect slows me down and even at times I had to Google a term or two.
If you forgot about the dialect thing and just focused on the story, I have mixed feelings.
I love the idea of a youth in trouble and placed in this Panopticon facility, however, the story bounced around and went places I just didn't get at times. It always came back to something good and understandable, exciting even, and that is what kept me reading.
In the end, I really liked the book, foreign dialect, bounciness and all.
Lots of you will like it too.


3/5

Romwe Winter Clearance Sale Is Coming!

2014 First Big Sale! Over 1000 winter styles!
Up to 70% off! Opportunity knocks once! No restock once sold out!
Large amount of Spring new styles are coming soon!
Time: 12/31/2013~1/6/2014

#116: Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit And Other Country Sayings

Everyone is an expert these days. And even when they've got nothin' to say, they say it. So when the tweets grow tiresome, head back to the commonsense wisdom of the good ol' days. Each full-color page of the countrified Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit! 2013 Day-to-Day Calendar imparts a time-tested nugget of truth guaranteed to make even the most jaded among us crack a smile. Here are some examples:

* When things aren't going your way, you might say . . . If it was rainin' soup, they'd hand me a fork.

* To a friend who was complaining about his day, you might say . . . You woke up breathin', so it ain't a complete loss.

* She's nuttier than a squirrel's cheeks in October.


  • Kindle: 4868 KB
  • Print Length: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC; Pag edition (July 16, 2012)
  • ASIN: B008HF9PRO




PURCHASE YOUR 2014 Calendar at AMAZON!


AUTHOR BIOS:
Allan Zullo is the author or coauthor of nearly 100 nonfiction books, including the books in the best-selling Amazing But True series. He lives in Fairview, North Carolina.
Gene Cheek, a born and bred Tar Heel, lives in Swannanoa, North Carolina.


REVIEW:
This was one helluva fun book to read each morning. I learned tons of fun and new sayings, and had a barrel of laughs along the way.
I had no idea how many different sayings there were in the South. Now I have a vast knowledge of witticisms to use throughout my life. 
Anyone would get a kick out of this book. It's even clean enough for younger minds to read too.
Won't you grab a copy for 2014?



5/5

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters

The magical, mythical adventures of teenager Percy Jackson - son of the Greek god Poseidon - continue in this heroic, action-packed thrill ride! Out to prove he's not just a "one-quest wonder," Percy and his demigod friends embark on an epic, cross-country journey into the treacherous Sea of Monsters, where they battle terrifying creatures, an army of zombies, and the ultimate evil. With time running out, Percy must find and bring home the fabled Golden Fleece, which has the power to save his world...and save us all!


AVAILABLE NOW!

Rated PG
106 minutes


AMAZON US   |   AMAZON CA






THERE'S STILL TIME TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!


REVIEW:
Fun!

This film is so well made. The detail and graphics are AH-mazing! The story is filled with action and adventure. I loved how cool some of the characters were, even more so than in Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. I would love to see a guy with 8 arms make my coffee in the morning. What a laugh that would be!
The hubby liked it more than I did though. He watched the whole thing where I couldn't. Here's what he had to say about it;
 'The movie was exciting but more geared to teens.'
So there ya have it. It's a good movie for people 12-19. My son is gonna be bummed we watched it without him. At least he can watch it anytime, which I'm sure he will repeatedly.


3/5

#115: The List Lover's Guide to Jane Austen - Joan Strasbaugh

Her life, her work, her legacy—step into the world of the incredible Jane Austen.
It's Jane like you've never seen! Through fun and breezy lists, discover everything there is to know about Jane Austen, the sassy literary genius we know and love. Learn her likes and dislikes, her haves and have-nots, where she traveled, how she lived, and who she knew.
With a wealth of little-known and fascinating information, find out:
•Her friends and her beaux
•Every place she lived or visited
•Books in her library
•Her quirks
•The last lines of everything she wrote
•and much more!

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (June 4, 2013)
  • ISBN: 9781402282034


AMAZON US   |    AMAZON CA



AUTHOR BIO:
Joan Strasbaugh is publisher and editor of Jones Books. She conceived of and coordinated the "Jane Austen in the 21st Century Humanities Festival" at the University of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and Janeite since 1995.


REVIEW:
Jane Austen fans, is this ever a treat for you!
This little gem of a book has literally everything listed inside that you could possibly imagine and more. Everything from her family history, her writing, her hobbies, you name it, it's in the book.
I absolutely loved the pages of poetry. I felt like I had a sincere glimpse into what her life and world was like back then. Her poetry shows how she felt then.
Tons of fun raveled into this book. I love how heartwarming it is, and am sure there are tons of you that will appreciate and love it too!
I dare say, you have to be a fan of Jane Austen's though, or this book may not have that affect on you.


2.5/5

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Friday 56

Welcome to Week 158!
Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
 *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.



THERE"S STILL TIME TO ENTER THE FRIDAY 56 ANNIVERSARY BASH

Still reading the same book due to the holidays!

AMAZON

Page 156:
The school bell clangs and guppies start swarming out the door like a virus. Faces. Eyes. Elbows. I put on my star-shaped sunglasses and stand up.






F Is For Festive Family

I don't have a lot of real close friends, got tons of acquaintances or people who may call me friend, but my selection is few.
It seems the older I get, the less friends I focus on.
I keep in contact with everyone on Facebook, family included, but only visit my two besties.
So let's put our attention on my other friends. The ones that God blessed me with. Family.
My son, Kris, and myself
Celebrating Christmas festivities was hard this year. I had my son, but my hubby was working for the first time in 13 years we have been together. That meant it was just my son and I for most of the day. In the afternoon we spent it with my side of the family, and in the evening with my in-laws. This photo was taken at home in the morning, in front of our tree. Mom wanted a Christmas photo and the kiddo happily obliged.
Then we left around 3pm to go to my sisters house for turkey dinner.

*NOTE: I am slightly dense at times and forgot to take photos at my sisters of anything other than her crazy cat. She is such a spoiled princess, she only eats treats from your hand. She climbs up people, and even sits on my nephews head. Plus she has already taken down half the Christmas tree for my sister. What a character!!*
Princess Sophie
So when the hubster got off work, we then went to his parents home for our Christmas lasagna. Of course gifts were exchanged, and this I managed to get on film.
The hubbs, his dad and mom.
The hubster loves his Polo shirts!

The kiddo and his new favorite sweater.
He actually put it on when we got home.
There is no photo of me and my goodies, sadly, but I did have a wonderful holiday and was very thankful for all I was able to do and have done. It felt like Thanksgiving all over again, but I suppose that is a good thing! It should be Christmas (or Thanksgiving) every day! It's festive times like this that remind me of this rule. Maybe it should be my resolution for 2014?! Always try to enjoy each day, even the crappy ones. Be thankful for who you have in your life, and love one another as much as you can while you can.

What about you? Did you celebrate and do you think you will make any resolutions for the new year?

PS - Happy belated Christmas.


Alphabe Thursdays








Romwe Xmas Knitwear Sale Ends Dec 31

Xmas knitwear sale! Up to 80% off!
Starting from $12.99! Until the end of the month!
Comment under the product and try to get as more likes as you can!
The comment which gets the most “likes” will be prized with a free one as gift!
Already started! Don’t miss, girls!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays!


2014 Romance Reading Challenge

For full details and sign up, visit the bookworm.

Sadly, the hosting blog is no longer around. Wish they had told us they were bunking out first, but whatev's.


I love romance so count me in!


1. Once Upon A Winter's Heart - Melody Carlson
2. A Blaze of Sun - Bella Forrest
3. The Kissing Bridge - Tricia Goyer
4. A Gate of Night - Bella Forrest
5. A Bridge Unbroken - Cathy Bryant

CHALLENGE COMPLETE ON MAY 22, 2014.

6. Avenge Me - Maisey Yates
7. Scandalize Me - Caitlin Crews
8. Expose Me - Kate Hewitt
9. The Warlord Wants Forever - Kresley Cole
10. High Witch - Mona Hanna

2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge

For details and sign up visit Phantasmic Reads and Fiktshun.


If you saw my TBR pile, aka my review pile, you'd know why this challenge is meant for me.

For a level I will choose:  21-30: Master
Middle of the road works until I see how I do once. Next year I'll up it if I have to, if it's running.


1. Once Upon A Winter's Heart - Melody Carlson
2. Mayhem - Sarah Pinborough
3. Flowers In The Attic - V.C. Andrews
4. The Unwelcomed Child - V.C. Andrews
5. The One Year Book of Amish Peace - Tricia Goyer
6. A Blaze of Sun - Bella Forrest
7. Please Be With Me - Galadrielle Allman
8. A Story of Easter and All Of Us - Roma Downey & Mark Burnett
9. Falling - E. Van Lowe
10. The Kissing Bridge - Tricia Goyer
11. The Collector of Dying Breaths - M.J. Rose
12. A Gate of Night - Bella Forrest
13. The Queen's Handmaid - Tracy L. Higley
14. Fortune Cookie - Josi S. Kilpack
15. India Black and the Gentleman Thief - Carol K. Carr
16. Spun - Catherine McKenzie
17. Mediterranean Cookbook
18. Darklight - Leonard H. Roller
19. A Bridge Unbroken - Cathy Bryant
20. The Shadow Prince - Stacey O'Neale
21. Mom's Night Out - Tricia Goyer

CHALLENGE COMPLETE JUNE 3!

22. Mom's Night Out - Kerri Pomarolli
23. That Night - Chevy Stevens
24. India Black in the City of Light - Carol K. Carr
25. Remember The Time: Protecting Michael Jackson
26. Avenge Me - Maisey Yates 
27. Scandalize Me - Caitlin Crews
28. Expose Me - Kate Hewitt
29. Petals On The Wind - V.C. Andrews
30. Plain Faith - Ora-Jay & Irene Eash w/ Tricia Goyer
31. The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman
32. An Amish Garden: Anthology
33. Beyond the Pale: Anthology
34. The Fragrance of Crushed Violets - Cathy Bryant
35. Night Terror - Jeff Gunhus
36. Whatever Doesn't Kill You - Elizabeth Wennick
37. 365 Style - Nicky Hilton
38. While The Gods Were Sleeping - Elizabeth Enslin
39. The Last Temptation - Neil Gaiman
40. While Treetops Glisten - Tricia Goyer, Cara Putnam & Sarah Sundin
41. Idiot's Guide to Slow Cooker Cooking
42. 12 Days Of Christmas Six Sisters Stuff
43. Gideon Lee - Lisa Orchard
44. The Meat Cookbook
45. The Tucci Table - Stanley Tucci & Felicity Blunt
46. Fairy Tale Christmas - Michael McLean & Scott McLean
47. Hunting In Bruges - E.J. Stevens
48. The Toothache Man - Sal Conte
49. Singing to a Bulldog - Anson Williams
50. The Warhol Gang - Peter Darbyshire
51. Passing Through Perfect - Bette Lee Crosby
52. Balanced - Tricia Goyer
53. Joni Mitchell In Her Own Words - Malka Marom
54. An Amish Second Christmas - Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Ruth Reid & Tricia Goyer
55. Far and Near On Days Like These - Neil Peart

Stella & Dot

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