Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Monthly News

Welcome to the December edition of monthly news!
I turned 38 this month. Not sure how I feel about it yet.
Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and I wish you the best for 2015!
I am hosting the 100+ Book Challenge again in 2015, won't you join?
Also my meme, The Friday 56, celebrated 4 years! Check that out!

MOVIES:
  1. Jingle All The Way 2 (recommend)
  2. The Maze Runner (recommend)

Yearly Total:  100 Books, 19 Products & 27 Movies

Book of the Month:

Book of the Year:


BLOGGER/MONEY-MAKING RESOURCES: 
1. SwagBucks (earn gift cards)
2. GiftHulk (earn gift cards & paypal cash)
3. Moo Business Cards
4. Unique Rewards (earn paypal cash)
5. Honest Insite (earn cash)
6. Glitter Network (ad affiliates)
7. LinkVehicle (sponsored posts & ad affiliates)
8. SnapSaves (save on groceries)
9. SuperPoints (earn gift cards)
10. Speakr (sponsored social media for bloggers)


ALPHABE THURSDAYS Favorite Poetry:
A Girl's Garden - Robert Frost
Boat Beneath A Sunny Sky - Lewis Carroll
Carpe Diem - William Shakespeare
Dream within a Dream - Edgar Allen Poe
Echo - Christina Rossetti
Flower Garden - Wayne Jarus

God Gave A Loaf To Every Bird - Emily Dickinson
How Do I Love Thee - Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
Just After Rain - Ross Clark


CHALLENGES FAILED:
  1. Monthly Keyword Challenge
  2. Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
  3. What's In A Name Challenge
  4. Mount TBR Challenge
  5. Ebook Reading Challenge
  6. Color Coded Reading Challenge
  7. Reading Challenge Bingo

CHALLENGES COMPLETED:
**No compensation was received for posting. Opinions are owned by this site.

#100: The Luck of Roaring Camp - Bret Harte

The story takes place in a small struggling mining town located in the foothills of the California mountains at the time of the gold rush. The camp is suffering from a long string of bad luck. With only one woman in their midst, it seems as though the miners have no future. However, the tide turns when a small boy is born. "Thomas Luck" is the first newborn the camp has seen in ages; things are looking up. The miners become cheerful, foliage begins to grow, there's talk of building a hotel to attract outsiders. Unfortunately, the hope is wiped out by the sudden death of Luck in a flood. Water brought gold to the gulches, giving miners their first glimmer of hope. And water takes away what seems their last glimmer—Luck.

  • Print Length: 26 pages
  • ASIN: B004TS7C6E

AMAZON US   |   AMAZON CA   |   AMAZON UK




AUTHOR BIO:
Bret Harte (1836-1902) was born in New York but moved to California at a young age, following the death of his father and his mother's remarriage. He is best known for his short stories of the West, but he spent many years as a typesetter, school teacher, editor, and journalist, working for such well known publications as the "Overland Monthly" in San Francisco and "The Atlantic Monthly". As a child he was an avid reader, and took a strong liking to Charles Dickens. Many of Harte's stories and characters later served as models for thousands of Western novels and films. This collection contains the most popular stories of Bret Harte, such as "The Luck of Roaring Camp," "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," "M'liss," and "An Ingénue of the Sierras." The title story of this book was almost not published because it contained a prostitute character and some profanity, however Harte was adamant in its publication, and as a result, he played a significant part in further realism in American literature.


REVIEW:
What an ending!!
Sometimes I felt there was a lot going on at once, and had to read it all very slowly to get the gist of it. Not sure why the men thought of getting a woman for, 'The Luck', but other than that part the story drew me in deep. I wish the baby had grown into one of them though, but then the story would have been less poetic.
I'm not sure everyone will appreciate, or even grasp this story. It might be a bit too cleverly written for everyone's taste.

3/5


**No compensation was received for posting. Compensation will be earned if purchases are made from the links within. This copy was read free online. Opinions are owned by this site.

#99: A Good Man Is Hard To Find - Flannery O'Connor

A family embarks on a fateful road trip, setting out for a vacation in Florida. The matriarch of the family, Grandmother, wants the family to head to Tennessee instead, and eventually manipulates her son into a diversion from their course that will soon lead them into danger.
“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” is one of author Flannery O’Connor’s best known works. It is also, due to the story’s shocking and violent conclusion, one of her most studied and debated works.


  • Kindle: 137 KB
  • Print Length: 23 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPerennial Classics (January 1, 2015)
  • ASIN: B00QFPVKEO






REVIEW:
WOW!
So dark. I liked it a lot.
I was irked by it too though. You know how every horror movie has that chick that goes towards the guy with the knife? This story was like that in a sense. I just wanted to scream, 'Don't!!'.
Still it was a very short but very wicked thriller.


4/5


**No compensation was received for posting. Compensation will be earned if purchases are made from the links within. This copy was read free online. Opinions are owned by this site.

Read Your Freebies Challenge 2015

Now hosted by The Book Vixen. Even though the name of the challenge has changed, the goal remains the same: read those freebies!

 Reading Challenge Details:
  • Runs January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015 (ebooks read prior to 1/1/2015 do not count towards the challenge). You can join anytime before 9/30/2015. Sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
  • The goal is to read at least twelve (12) free ebooks. While twelve is the minimum, there is no maximum limit. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. You can move up a level as often as you’d like but no moving down. Remember, the idea is to challenge yourself.
  • This reading challenge is for LEGALLY obtained FREE ebooks. We do not condone ebook piracy. These can be ebooks offered through bigger sites, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or smaller sites, such as Smashwords and All Romance Ebooks. Ebooks offered through author or publisher websites are acceptable as well, provided they are available free to everyone at the time of download.
  • Only ebooks and audiobooks that were available free, in a legal manner, to the public will count towards this challenge. eARCs, library books, ebooks free through Amazon Prime/Kindle Unlimited, and/or books won or gifted are not eligible for this challenge.
  • Any ebook format will work for this challenge (azw, EPUB, iBooks, mobi, PDF, etc.). You DO NOT need to have an ereader to participate in this challenge. You can read ebooks using Amazon’s Free Kindle Reading Apps, which you can download for your iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC, Blackberry and more. Free audiobooks also count towards this challenge provided they are free to the public. They can't be free as a condition of signing up for a service and they can't be provided by the publisher for review.
  • Ebooks can be any genre (fiction, nonfiction, romance, fantasy, mystery, thriller, horror, etc.).
  • Crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed, however, re-reads are not eligible for this challenge. The goal is to read the freebies you’ve legally acquired so that they are off your TBR pile.
  • To join this challenge, grab the 2015 Read Your Freebies! Reading Challenge button below and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc., so as long as you have a dedicated shelf for the 2015 Read Your Freebies! Reading Challenge and your profile is not private. The point of linking up is to have a place where people can see what you’re reading.


Levels:
  • Coupon Clipper: read 12 ebooks
  • Penny Pincher: read 24 ebooks
  • Buying in Bulk: read 36 ebooks
  • Super Saver: read 50 ebooks
  • Extreme Couponer: read 100+ ebooks

Last year I read 19 so will choose Penny Pincher: read 24 books

  1. Sinner's Creed - Scott Stapp
  2. Casual Friday - Shane Kuhn
  3. Grave Danger - Heather Graham
  4. Sweet Water - Christina Baker Kline
  5. Hard Knocks - Lori Foster
  6. All Is Bright - Sarah Pekkanen
  7. The Princess and The Pea - Diane Setterfield
  8. Just Ella - Margaret Peterson Haddix
  9. Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy - Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan
  10. Good Men - Jennifer Weiner
  11. Ever After High: Apple White's Story - Shannon Hale
  12. The Summer I Turned Pretty - Jenny Han
  13. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids - Sarah Ockler
  14. The Rule of Thirds - Chantel Guertin
  15. Second Chance Summer - Morgan Matson
  16. Go Ask Alice - Anonymous
  17. Winger - Andrew Smith
  18. Wind River - Tom Morrisey
  19. Violent Ends - Shaun David Hutchinson
  20. The Artwork of Guy Erma and the Son of Empire
  21. Facing The Music - Andrea Laurence
  22. Hush Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick
  23. If You Dare - Kresley Cole

**No compensation was received for posting. This post is part of an annual reading challenge.

100+ Book Challenge 2014 Wrap-Up & #Giveaway

I failed my own challenge last year, well, as I sit and write this post. Though I could post a couple more short stories that I have read and kept the review wrote down. I just haven't had time. So, as of right now, I have read 98 books. Just fell short. I'm not proud.

How did you do? Did you meet your reading goal, even if less than 100?

So in this wrap-up, instead of adding a Linky, put your final link in the comments below and add your name in the Rafflecopter form for a secret prize. You must do this to win anyway. If you would rather not have a prize and just want to add your final post for us/me to check out, then leave the url in the comments below and don't bother with the Rafflecopter. Either way, leave your link!

Thank you for joining me in the challenge, and I hope you join in for 2015 if you haven't already! Happy reading and good luck!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS OPEN TO 2014 CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS ONLY!



a Rafflecopter giveaway





**No compensation was received for posting. This post is part of an annual reading challenge originated on this site. This site is responsible for prize shipment and giveaway. Opinions are owned by this site.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#98: Lamb to the Slaughter - Roald Dahl

Lamb to the Slaughter is a short, sharp, chilling story from Roald Dahl, the master of the shocking tale.
In Lamb to the Slaughter, Roald Dahl, one of the world's favourite authors, tells a twisted story about the darker side of human nature. Here, a wife serves up a dish that utterly baffles the police . . .
Lamb to the Slaughter is taken from the short story collection Someone Like You, which includes seventeen other devious and shocking stories, featuring the two men who make an unusual and chilling wager over the provenance of a bottle of wine; a curious machine that reveals the horrifying truth about plants; the man waiting to be bitten by the venomous snake asleep on his stomach; and others.


  • Paperback: 86 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (September 1, 1995)
  • ISBN: 9780146000553

AMAZON US   |   AMAZON CA   |   AMAZON UK






AUTHOR BIO:
Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. He spent his childhood in England and, at age eighteen, went to work for the Shell Oil Company in Africa. When World War II broke out, he joined the Royal Air Force and became a fighter pilot. At the age of twenty-six he moved to Washington, D.C., and it was there he began to write. His first short story, which recounted his adventures in the war, was bought by The Saturday Evening Post, and so began a long and illustrious career.

After establishing himself as a writer for adults, Roald Dahl began writing children’s stories in 1960 while living in England with his family. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.

Roald Dahl is now considered one of the most beloved storytellers of our time. Although he passed away in 1990, his popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant PeachMatildaThe BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans.

Learn more about Roald Dahl on the official Roald Dahl Web site: www.roalddahl.com


REVIEW:
Clever Story!
You start off thinking the wife is sweet as punch. In hindsight, which we know is 20-20, after what her husband does, I can empathize why she wasn't what I originally thought.
I wasn't expecting what happened and how she cleaned it all up.
Sick and twisted but in all the right ways!
For the record, the story was much better than the short film I saw.


5/5


**No compensation was received for posting. Compensation will be earned if purchases are made from the links within. This copy was free online.Opinions are owned by this site.

Foodies Read 2015

Guidelines:
The challenge runs from January 1 through December 31, 2015.
You don’t need a pre-selected list of books.
It’s okay to cross over with other challenges.
Any book format is allowed (print, audio, ebook)


Levels:
Short-Order Cook: 1 to 3 books
Pastry Chef: 4 to 8 books
Sous-Chef: 9 to 13 books
Chef de Cuisine: 14 to 18
Cordon-Bleu Chef: More than 19

I'm choosing Cordon-Bleu Chef: More than 19

2015 Non-Fiction Reading Challenge

The Challenge:  Read any non-fiction book(s), adult or young adult.That's it. You can choose anything. Memoirs? Yes. History? Yes. Travel? Yes. You get the idea? Absolutely anything that is classified as non-fiction counts for this challenge. 

Dilettante--Read 1-5 non-fiction books

Explorer--Read 6-10 

Seeker--Read 11-15

Master--Read 16-20

This challenge will last from January 1 to December 31, 2015. You can sign up anytime throughout the year. 


I did this one last year and completed it. I chose Master then and will choose it again this year!


  1. Gluten-Free Cookbook
  2. Sinner's Creed - Scott Stapp
  3. The James Beard Cookbook
  4. Smash Cut - Brad Gooch
  5. Idiot's Guides: Baking
  6. When The Balls Drop - Brad Garrett
  7. Cupcakes and Mini Cakes
  8. Going Against The Grain -  Nuccia Ardagna
  9. Ringo With A Little Help - Michael Starr
  10. Chicken Soup for the Soul Here Comes the Bride
  11. Imagination Will Take You Everywhere - Samantha Snyder
  12. Illustrated Quick Cook
  13. Prayers That Changed History - Tricia Goyer
  14. The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray - Robert Schnakenberg
  15. Go Ask Alice - Anonymous
  16. Reef Libre - Robert Wintner
Challenge complete on November 5, 2015.


**No compensation was received for posting. This post is part of an annual reading challenge.

Monday, December 29, 2014

#97: Far and Near On Days Like These - Neil Peart

Whether navigating the backroads of Louisiana or Thuringia, exploring the snowy Quebec woods, or performing onstage at Rush concerts, Neil Peart has stories to tell. His first volume in this series, Far and Away, combined words and images to form an intimate, insightful narrative that won many readers.
Now Far and Near brings together reflections from another three years of an artist’s life as he celebrates seasons, landscapes, and characters, travels roads and trails, receives honors, climbs mountains, composes and performs music. With passionate insight, wry humor, and an adventurous spirit, once again Peart offers a collection of open letters that take readers on the road, behind the scenes, and into the inner workings of an ever-inquisitive mind.
These popular stories, originally posted on Peart’s website, are now collected and contextualized with a new introduction and conclusion in this beautifully designed collector’s volume.

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press (October 14, 2014)
  • ISBN: 9781770412576




AUTHOR BIO:
Neil Peart is the drummer and lyricist of the legendary rock band Rush and the author of Ghost RiderThe Masked RiderTraveling MusicRoadshowFar and Away, and, with Kevin J. Anderson, Clockwork Angels.



REVIEW:
Epic!
I was a fan of Neil Peart already. Love Rush, love him most. Now I admire and respect him even more after reading one of his books. His experiences, hobbies, just the way he lives his life is exciting and full of adventure. I was in awe of all the riding he has done all over the world. Plus some of the side hobbies like climbing mountains, or driving a Viper down Route 66, had me absorbing it all in. What a life!
Not only is he a great drummer, a legend, an idol, but he is someone to be inspired by, and in awe of. I tell ya, I can't wait to read some more of his books, he is so fascinating!
I loved the many times I saw my hometown mentioned in the book on his travels too. Usually in reference to a tour Rush was on, but still a mention.
Lots of people, fans or not, will enjoy reading this book. Yeah he is a rock drummer, but this book shows clearly he is so much more than that too.


5/5


**No compensation was received for posting. Compensation will be earned if purchases are made from the links within. An ARC was received for review. Opinions are owned by this site.

2015 Women Challenge


The third edition of the “Women Challenge”!



Rules:

* anyone can join;
* you don't need a blog to participate: if you are a non-blogger please leave a comment with a link (if you review elsewhere) to your review or with the list of the books you read and the level you choose;
* audio, e-books, bound books and re-reads are ok;
* create a sign up post on your blog and post the link in the Linky below (scroll down please, it's at the end of the Italian translation);
* challenge goes from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015;
* here you can link for your reviews.

Levels:

Level 1: BABY GIRL - read 5 books written by a woman author
Level 2: GIRLS POWER - read 6 to 15 books written by a woman author
Level 3: SUPER GIRL - read 16 to 20 books written by a woman author
Level 4: WONDER WOMAN - read 20+ books written by a woman author

I participated last year and read enough a 5th or 6th level could be added... lol. So obviously I am choosing Level 4: Wonder Woman.


  1. Emily Carroll
  2. Josi S. Kilpack
  3. Heather Graham
  4. Sarah J. Maas
  5. Marissa Meyer
  6. Christina Baker Kline
  7. Chevy Stevens
  8. Julie Kagawa
  9. Emily St. John Mandel (reviewed on Women's Day, March 8)
  10. Eva Stachniak
  11. Lori Foster
  12. Sarah Pekkanen
  13. Jan Ellison
  14. Josi S. Kilpack (for a second time this year)
  15. Diane Setterfield
  16. Margaret Peterson Haddix
  17. Margaret Atwood
  18. Nuccia Ardagna
  19. Sally Ann Melia
  20. Robin Winter 
  21. Chantel Guertin (CHALLENGE COMPLETE MAY 23)
  22. Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan
  23. Olivia deBelle Byrd
  24. Caprice Crane
  25. Sarah J. Maas (for a second time this year)
  26. Jennifer Weiner
  27. Samantha Snyder
  28. Tricia Goyer & Sherry Gore
  29. Shannon Hale
  30. Tricia Goyer (for a second time)
  31. Catherine McKenzie
  32. Harper Lee
  33. Jenny Han
  34. Kelley Armstrong
  35. Anne Giardini
  36. Sarah Ockler
  37. Chantel Guertin (for a second time)
  38. Morgan Matson
  39. Julie Kagawa (twice this year)
  40. Linda Weaver Clarke
  41. P.A. O'Reilly
  42. Elise Primavera
  43. Julie Bruck
  44. Josi S. Kilpack ( Third time this year)
  45. Donna Alward
  46. Tricia Goyer (Third time this year!)
  47. Deborah Harkness
  48. Gracie Malone
  49. Karen Kingsbury
  50. Anna Patrick
  51. Melanie Dickerson
  52. Andrea Laurence
  53. Becca Fitzpatrick
  54. Cathy Bryant
  55. Marissa Meyer (a second time)
  56. Chantel Guertin ( third time)
  57. Beth Kephart
  58. Kresley Cole

**No compensation was received for posting. This post is part of an annual reading challenge.

Stella & Dot

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