Tuesday, August 12, 2014

World Elephant Day!!!!

Today is World Elephant Day - my favorite *holiday* of the entire year.  Elephants are by far my favorite non-domestic animal (although I love all animals).  To celebrate today.. here are my favorite elephant pics!

The gorgeous Willy form the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, OH. My little sister took this one!

It was dinner time at the Cleveland Zoo when we too this one. Female #1.

Such a gorgeous elephant. The second female at the Cleveland Zoo.

Female #1 again. She's more of a taupe instead of grey. Love it!

Scotty! This was taken at his first birthday party in Cleveland. He was so tiny!

Elephant sculpture at the Cleveland zoo. They had several, but this was my fav.

Last but not least, the pink elephant cake I made for my 20th birthday.  This was take right after I finished, so the cake *fleas* weren't removed yet. haha! Not too bad for only 1 batch of frosting, 2 - 8in cake rounds and some black food gel!

Now, go hug an elephant!!
Happy World Elephant Day!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Updates!

So after realizing my harddrive on my *new* laptop is just done...(sigh) I'm back to using my old, but ever faithful laptop.  Let the mischief rebegin! haha

I've been testing out some organic products for a while now (three weeks ish..?) and have found my favorites.

Raw Cacao Powder
Coconut Sugar
Coconut Flour

The coconut flour isn't very easy to use, but I like the challenge.  It can absorb a ton more moisture than regular all purpose flour (or wheat flour).  BUT it made phenomenal dog treats!  My dachshund prefers homemade treats to store bought, especially the new recipe we made.  I haven't perfected it yet, I try to remember and share when I do.. but here is the general idea.

Apple Dog Treats:
Coconut Flour
Eggs (yolks and whole)
Sugar free apple sauce (I made my own)
Apple - cubed and peeled

Basically, I just took a whole cup of the flour, added about two cups of apple sauce, one yolk and two whole eggs then just threw in a bunch of apple chunks.  There was no exact science when I made it, but they came out well!  I chilled the dough for about an hour, then rolled it, cut it out into "bone" shapes and baked at 325*F until very light in color.  These were crunchy, healthy treats that Yosuke loved!  We still have plenty left as he only gets 2-3 treats per day.

I'm really excited to try out coconut flour for baking with "human" treats, but haven't had a chance yet.  Has anyone tried it before?  Happy Update Day!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Experimenting Update: Chocolate Fun!

Decided today I would pamper myself with a chocolate facial, scrub and hair mask. mmm... chocolately goodness.

Chocolate Facial - tightens and cleanses pores (and smells so good!)

Milk (2 to 4 Tbsp)
Raw Cacao Powder (2 to 4 Tbsp)

Mix the milk into the cacao powder until it forms a paste.  I used 4 Tbsp of each.  Brush onto your clean, dry skin.  Relax for 15 minutes or until mostly dry.  Rinse with warm water, pat dry face and apply moisturizer.  Your skin will feel tighter and your pores will be completely cleaned!

Chocolate Scrub - exfoliates and tightens

Raw Sugar (I used coconut sugar)
Raw Cacao Powder
Honey or Oil

Mix all ingredients together. Smooth over skin in circular motions.  Rinse with warm water.  Pat dry and apply lotion.

Chocolate Hair Mask - This is for dark hair only!  It will darken you're hair a teensy bit.

Raw Cacao Powder - 4-6 Tbsp
Natural, Sugar Free Vanilla Yogurt - 4-6 Tbsp
Honey - 1-2 Tbsp

Mix all ingredients together.  Section hair into four sections (six if you have thick hair).  Smooth into hair from root to tip as evenly as possible.  I used a wide tooth comb for help.  Let sit for 15 to 30 minutes.  The longer you let it sit, the darker your hair will be.  

My hair is just at my collar bones, so I used 4 Tbsp of cacao and yogurt plus 1 Tbsp honey.  You may need to make more for longer hair.  I let mine sit for 20 minutes.  I have medium brown hair with a blonde tone (not dyed).  It darkened it slightly, but wasn't very noticeable.  I love how it made my hair feel and smell though!

Happy Chocolate Day!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Experimenting Update: Chia Seeds

So I've been trying to incorporate the chia seeds every day (sometimes twice a day) into my diet.  My fav way of using them so far is in my water at work.  I work in retail, talk to people ALL day so I drink a ton of water.  I've been adding about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of seeds to 16 oz of water.  The seeds soak up the water super fast, and get bloaty like tapioca pearls.  If you use too many (which I've totally done...) then it's a tad weird to drink... all gooey and gelatinous... blech!

Anywayysss... I really like these!  They make me feel full-er without eating so I can go longer between meals if needed (do not recommend, but helpful if you're mega busy).  They help my stomach feel better if it's a little off that day AND add extra fiber to my diet...which is always good.

Try them! :)

I have added them to food too - salad, pizza, cheese and egg sandwich, ice cream... - barely even noticed they were there because they are SO tiny!  Happy Chia Day!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Experiment: Homemade Hot Chocolate!

Another experiment! muahahahahahahahaha!

Grab your fav mug... lets make some super yummy homemade hot chocolate.  Sure to melt away every ounce of stress, sad faces or unhappiness.

What you'll need:
2 Tbsp. Viva Labs Raw Cacao Powder
1-2 Tbsp. Viva Labs Raw Coconut Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Cup or 1 mug full of milk
Small sauce pan
Stove
Whisk
  1. Measure out the milk using your fav mug.  I like giant cups of hot cocoa, so I opted for a HUGE mug.
  2. Pour the milk into the sauce pan, add the sugar and vanilla.
  3. Turn on the burner to a medium heat, let the milk heat until frothy.
  4. Whisk in cocoa powder.  Let remain on heat for another 2 minutes.
  5. Pout into mug and drink!
Please note: I used the ingredients I had at my house to make this.  If you do not have raw sugar or raw cacao powder, you can sub in unsweetened cocoa powder and regular white sugar.  Viva Labs did not ask me to write about this, I chose to.  I was sent the products for review consideration, however I am going to state my honest opinion.

Sit back, relax, enjoy!! Happy Experimenting!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Experiment Day 2 - Cacao Powder and Coconut Sugar

I had the few ingredients hanging around to make a chocolate facial mask and chocolate sugar scrub, so I decided to relax and enjoy the chocolate!

Choco-Banana Facial
  • 1 tsp. Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1/2 Organic Banana
  • 2 drops almond oil or extract
Mash up the banana until smooth (I used a fork). Add the cacao powder and almond, mix until smooth.  Some chunks will remain from banana.  Smooth onto face and let sit for 10 - 15 minutes.  Relax!  Enjoy the chocolaty goodness... mmm...  This mask will make your face feel soft and relaxed while leaving a pleasant scent. ahhh... I love it!

Chocolate and Coconut Sugar Scrub
  • 1 tsp. raw cacao powder
  • 2 - 3 tsp. raw coconut sugar (the more sugar you use, the more course the mixture will be)
  • 1 Tbsp honey or oil (I used olive oil)
Mix all ingredients together.  In small circles, put the scrub on your skin and continue to rub for 15-20 seconds.  Rinse with warm water then add lotion.

I really loved the sugar scrub!  My skin felt amazing - tight, soft and glowy AND smelled ah-ma-zing!  The sugar smells just like brown sugar (caramel-y) and the chocolate just enhanced the scent.  The scrub should be stored in an air-tight container to keep it fresh.

So far the experiments are going really well.  Still debating on how to use the maca powder.  I tried a teensy bit for flavor and ICK! It is definitely an acquired taste.  That will have to be masked.  By lots of fruit...

This is so much fun!! Happy Experimenting!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Viva Labs New Organic Products!

I was recently contacted by Viva Labs - a company that sells organic, healthy food items on Amazon.  A while back I worked with them testing out their extra-virigin organic coconut oil (and LOVED it).  They asked if I was up for helping again, and of course I said yes!

They sent me five different products to test:
Maca Powder (this isn't available for purchase yet)

Over the next month, I'll be testing out all five of these products for both myself, my dog and in my beauty routine.  I'm really intrigued to see what happens!

Out of all the products on the list, cacao powder (coco powder) is probably the most well known.  It is the raw form of coco beans, but powdered.  It is bitter, but super chocolately.  This is the key ingredient in my all-time fav sauce for Spanish/Mexican cuisine.. mole!!  Now that I have some, I'm totally going to make my own mole. woo!

I've decided to test out the chia seeds first.  Read more about them here.

Day 1 was successful.  I added 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to a cup of cold tap water (mainly just to see what happened).  The seeds soaked up the water and gradually sank down into the water.  They don't have much of a taste at all, just like tapioca pearls but WAY smaller.  I actually enjoyed drinking my water with the seeds.  I did keep a spoon handy to stir the water though.  Thinking a waterbottle next time so I can shake it up.

Hmm.. what to do next? Any suggestions?

If you've tried these products, let me know you're favorite way to use them!  Happy Testing!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

BIY: Homemade Chai Latte (No Foam)

I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but I'm a huge fan of tea.  My favorites are Chai and the Greys (Lady Grey, Earl Grey, Rose Grey).  My absolute fav is mixing multiple teas together - White Chai + Maharaja or Roobios Chai is THE best blend.

Anyway, now that you know how much of a tea fanatic freak obsessed I am... here is my favorite recipe for homemade Chai lattes - using a Keurig!

Chai Latte (No Foam; Homemade)
Image Source
Supplies:
Keurig (coffee pot or tea kettle works too)
Microwave
Travel mug with tight fitting lid OR Mug and tin foil
Black Chai (I'm in love with the Private Selection Black Chai at Kroger, plus it's only $2 for 16!)
1-3 Tbsp. Sugar (I prefer raw cane sugar or regular white sugar)
2-4 oz. Milk (I use 2% for the creamy taste)
1/2 tsp. Cake Spice or Pumpkin Spice or Cinnamon
Whipped Cream

Directions:
1. Brew a small cup of hot water (6 oz).
2. Add one bag of the Chai, add in desired amount of sugar (I add 1 Tbsp) and 1/2 tsp of spice.
3. Steep tea for 5 minutes in mug with lid on tight or tin foil over the cup to help keep extra hot.
4. While steeping tea, put 2-4 oz. of milk in a microwave safe cup.
5. With two minutes left in steep time - Microwave milk on medium heat until small bubbles form on top/around edges. I usually go 45 seconds for 4 oz. 30 seconds for 2 oz.
6. Once 5 minutes is passed, add hot milk to tea. Stir well!
7. Allow to cool slightly, top with whipped cream and cinnamon, then enjoy!

I've never liked foam on my latte, but if you do you can create foam on the stove by whipping the milk while it heats with a whisk.  It won't quite be the same, but close! :)

Happy Chai Day!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

{Review Day, Giveaway & Blog Tour} The Road to Nyn

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: The Road to Nyn
Author: Brian G. Michaud
My Rating: 5 Stars

Book Blurb:
In a land where magic is outlawed, a young boy is living a double life. Although Kay is training to be a knight, he has been secretly studying the forbidden ways of magic with Alamin, a powerful but eccentric wizard.

After passing of the Trial of the Rings and being raised to squirehood, Kay has decided to tell Alamin that he is going to leave his magical studies behind. And why not? Kay hasn’t ever cast a spell without something going seriously wrong–like the random appearance of frogs or hungry wolves–besides, Kay could be banished from the kingdom just for associating with Alamin.

Kay’s plans are quickly obliterated when a horde of goblins attacks his village and captures his family and friends. Now, with his home lying in ruins, everything has changed. Along with Alamin and Felix, a self-serving kleptomaniac sprite, Kay embarks on an adventure that takes him across the Kingdom of Gaspar and into the dark and treacherous caves of the Goblin Realm. What Kay doesn’t realize is that his journey is leading him on a collision course with the Lord of Nyn – a being so powerful that none dare face him...not even Alamin himself!

About the Author:
Brian G. Michaud lives in a small town in Massachusetts with his wife, Kim. When he is not reading or writing books, he can be found teaching music at a local elementary school or rocking out on guitar with the band, Too Loud.

My Review:
Young Kay has quite the decision to make - will he choose to stay a squire and live a life that his whole village is counting on, follow his heart and become a man of magic just like Alamin, OR will he be able to have both?
This is enchanting tale is a must read!  I absolutely loved every second of it.  As a child, my favorite books were those of King Arthur, Merlin, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Three Musketeers.  I still love these stories of adventure, magic and heroics.  This one is no different than all the greats.  The Road to Nyn captured my attention from the first page, and kept it until the very end.  The characters were flawless - each one filling their role perfectly, and developing at a great speed.  The story itself was simply astounding!!  It was funny, serious, witty, chocked full of adventures and magic, plus so much more.

The Road to Nyn instantly transports you to another era and world - one I would have loved to live in.  I thoroughly enjoyed feeling this story unfold - not just reading it, but truly feeling like I was there.  This is the first book since The Angel Chronicles by Amy Lignor that has made me this excited.  I need more!!

Please, pick up this amazing novel on Amazon.  Read it once, then read it again and again and maybe even a fourth time... You will NOT regret it!

Giveaway Time!!!!!

Enter below to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! If you win, use the gift card to get this book for everyone you know!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are you still doing here?  GO GET THIS BOOK!  Happy Review Day!

Monday, June 2, 2014

DIY: Blackened Key Pendant

Yes. More DIY! You can thank Pinterest. heh.

So, this time I went through all of my jewelry.  I found every single earring, broken gem, tarnished pendants, etc. that I had and found what I wanted to refurbish - my very first key pendant.  I LOVE keys, especially as a necklace.  I have oodles of them, but want more!  This super simple project gave me a brand-new key to show off. yay!

I forgot to take before pictures, but this is roughly what it looked like.  It was quite tarnished from over-wearing a very inexpensive pendant.
Photo on Etsy
I took some fine sandpaper I had from my old pastillage work (sugar) and roughed up the key a bit more.  I tried to take off any remaining silver paint and make the surface ready for paint.  I then took some black acrylic paint (from my sugar work) and added two coats of the paint, letting it dry between coats and making sure I got in between all the swirlies.

I let it sit overnight just to ensure the paint was completely dry.  In the morning, I painted the key with my gel-finish top coat nail polish (from Forever 21, it was only $2!). And voila!  My "blackened" key is all done!

Looks so much better in person. This pic is miserable!
 I love the final product.  I was going to add some gems, and still might later, but I loved the final look as is.  Colored keys are so unique and look lovely!  This makes my second colored key - the other being a Kingdom Hearts key with a red top.  I definitely think more colored keys are in my future. Maybe I'll turn some modern keys into something more ornate... hmm...

Happy DIY week!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

DIY: Jean Shorts and Dog Toys!

For the first time in a (very) long time I have two days off in a row. Without asking for them. Without plans. Without procrastinating on something.  And I didn't know what to do with myself.  All I kept thinking was..."What do "normal" people DO with this much time!?!"

And that's when I got crafty!

After surfing DIYs on Pinterest for way longer than I'd like to admit, I got out my sewing stuff and made some shorts!  I turned two pair of old jeans into shorts for the summer.

So, I took the two pair of old jeans (don't know how these two pair of jeans survived my clothing purge,but glad they did!) and refashioned them based on these instructions.  I found Sarah's tips very very helpful, especially cutting at a slight angle so the back isn't too short.  She gave very specific instructions on how she measure's her ideal short length too!!

The light wash pair ended up being a smidge tight in the thigh (fitted jeans), so after searching Pinterest for a few cute ideas to make them comfier, I settled on this one.

Photo
I cut a V in the side of the shorts, added the insert and voila! I then rolled up the edge a little, because I didn't like the "perfect cut" line on the bottom.  yay! Perfect and cute!

I then decided to clean out my sewing kit.  The kit has a very large bottom to keep fabric scraps in.  I had an old (sadly shrunken) cream wool cardigan in there.  Yosuke stole it, started playing with it and would not give it back.  He looked as if his long lost friend had returned!

Since he wouldn't give it back without whining, I decided to make him a rope toy.  I cut the back of the sweater into five 1 inch strips.  I then braided all five pieces together (thank you baking classes for teaching me a 5 piece braid!) and secured the ends with a few stitches and a knot.


He loves it! He has been playing with it for about an hour now.  yay!  He is a serious chewer though, so this is going to be a "treat" toy. :)

Because I had all of the materials on hand, these projects were completely free.  Even better!  The braided rope will definitely be something I make more often.  I like to go to thrift stores to find cheap jeans to cut up each year.  Since it's summer time, jeans are usually mega cheap at Plato's Closet!

I love being crafty, and with my new job I have the time to!  yay!!  Happy DIY day!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!!


Happy Mother's Day to everyone wonderful, talented, amazing, loving, caring, nuturing, kind Mother out there!  Take some time today to say thank-you to the woman/women who raised you.  They deserve it!  THANK YOU MOM AND GRANDMA! I love you both! Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

It's Here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's here!!!!!!!!!!!! The launch has officially begun!  *happy dance* *kermit flail*



YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Come hang out with us on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter!  Join in the party for fun conversation, prizes, writing help and so much more!  I'm so excited to be part of this amazing project.  I truly believe it will change the way writers plan their books and bring readers some incredible new books!  Happy Launch Day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

{Blog Tour, Giveaway and Review} Stealing the Moon & Stars


Title: Stealing the Moon & Stars
Author: Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens
My Rating: 3 stars


Book Blurb:
Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino, Scottsdale private eyes, are hired to find out who’s stealing from the Moon & Stars Children’s Foundation. Foundation employees are suspected, but just as the pieces start falling into place, Jordan discovers a hidden agenda that puts her in the crosshairs of a crime lord. Who can she trust? 

Everyone has a dangerous secret, and the bodies are piling up. Even her partner, Eddie Marino, has a dark and mysterious past. Does she dare act on their attraction? Will it destroy their partnership?

The two have landed in a hornets’ nest. Nothing to do now but stir it up.

Book One in a new series featuring Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino.



About the Authors:
Arizona native Sally J. Smith lives in Scottsdale with her husband. The rarest of breeds, an adult who was born in Arizona, she has been a writer since she could spell. These days she stays busy at her chosen professions of writing (novels, short stories, and articles) and freelance editing. When a free moment appears on the horizon, she’s out the door to a attend a play, a movie, a concert, or just take a long walk in the desert—if the temperature’s under a hundred. Other works include The Ghost Wore Polyester.

Jean Steffens also lives in Scottsdale with her family. She’s a mother, reader, movie fan, and the Steffens’ family chauffeur. She’s also active in church activities. Like Jordan Welsh, PI, Jean grew up in Chicago near Lake Forest. Jean’s mother, however, was nurturing—baking cookies, carpooling kids to school, kissing boo-boos—unlike Jordan’s mother, who’s allergic to the kitchen and thinks a carpool is a hot tub in a limo. Jean’s published work includes “The Night Before Christmas” in the Desert Sleuths Sisters in Crime Anthology, How Not to Survive the Holidays.

My Review:
What a great book!  I don't get the pleasure of reading many PI novels that are actually interesting!  Jean and Sally created the ultimate PI/romance book. I was guessing until the very end about the culprit.  I loved watching as the characters evolved - Jordan and Eddie's romance/friendship/work relationship; Jordan's relationship with her family (specifically her mother); and the dynamics between Jordan and several other side characters.

The only down fall to this book is that it was a teeny bit predictable for some things.  However, this didn't take away from the overall mystery, which made me very happy!  This is a great, light-hearted read.  I highly recommend it for those readers who like PI, mystery and light romance!

Enter the giveaway below to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Follow the authors on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.  Happy Reading!

Get Excited!


Monday, May 5, 2014

Mondays......

Someone didn't want to get up today!

Happy Monday!

The Countdown Begins!

Only 5 days left until the greatest launch party ever!! Catch up on all the evens and how to participate by visiting the website - theauthorshipprogram.com Happy Monday!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Cook with Me: Milkless Pancakes

I love pancakes.  They are my absolute favorite breakfast food!  Sadly though, they usually trigger a severe migraine.  I've figured out that milk/dairy products are my biggest migraine trigger.  I can only have a small amount of dairy in a week - and no, I'm not lactose.  I've had that checked.  SO... I've been searching for a recipe for pancakes that tastes good, is light and fluffy but doesn't have milk!  Sounds easy, but it's not.
I finally (after a year of tasting testing batches) found a GREAT milkless pancake recipe!!  I did tweek it a little and cut it in half.

Here is what I came up with.

HilyBee's Milkless Pancakes:

1 cup all purpose, unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup water (do not add all at once!)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Indonesian Cinnamon powder (found at Penzey's Spice Shop; optional)
Margarine
Yield: 5-10 pancakes depending on size
  1. Measure all dry ingredients into one bowl.
  2. Add egg, oil, vanilla and HALF of the water - stir with fork until all ingredients are combined.
  3. Add second half of water and stir with fork.  Leave some small lumps.
  4. Let batter rest; prepare pan - I use a small non-stick skillet.
  5. Cook on medium heat.  Pancakes will not get dark like regular pancakes, they will stay very blonde/light in color.
  6. Before flipping pancake over, sprinkle with cinnamon. (optional, but tastes amazing!)
  7. Flip pancake (once small bubbles form on surface) and finish cooking.
  8. Set on plate to cool slightly; add margarine while still warm
  9. Enjoy!!
I love this recipe!  The pancakes were so light and fluffy, super yummy and didn't give me a migraine. Happy Pancake Day!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Puppy!


Then: He was so tiny! Yosuke at 9 weeks old.


Now: Still tiny! 1 year 4 months old.
Took this before we had him groomed. heh. He was so fuzzy!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

{Book Tour} Hold Me Tight


Title: Hold Me Tight

Author: Faith Sullivan
Release date: April 30, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Ebook available at: Kindle | Nook | Smashwords

HOLD ME TIGHT Synopsis:
He loves me. He loves me not.

Ivy's heart shatters upon hearing Eric's crushing ultimatum. Despite how much she cares for him, she won't give in to his demands. She has no choice but to leave, even if it's the hardest thing she's ever had to do.

She loves me. She loves me not.

When Ivy walks out, Eric can't help feeling betrayed. Unwilling to put her at risk, he values her safety above all else. By refusing to compromise, he's blindsided when she moves in with a man who's already stolen so much from him.

I love you. You love me not.

Lauren sees Eric and Ivy's split as an opportunity to end their relationship once and for all. When Ivy places herself at the mercy of Eric's rival, Lauren plots to destroy the fragile tie binding them together, even if she endangers Ivy's life in the process.

Excerpt:

But there’s something I have to do before this goes any further.

Slowly, I draw my head away from her embrace, finding the courage to finally meet her eyes. Her hair hasn’t been combed and her face is all tear-stained, but she has never looked more beautiful.

She stands, bracing herself against me. Her breath hitches when I gently start unbuttoning her shirt, but her eyes never leave my face. I stop partway up, raising the bottom half of her cami up and over her baby bump. Dropping down, I run my hands across her stomach, feeling her shiver against my fingertips. Looking up at her, I place my lips on her bellybutton, kissing the child that’s growing within her, the miracle we created.

“I will never ask you to choose again,” I say solemnly, my voice nothing but a whisper.

Ivy starts to cry in earnest, placing her hands atop mine.

“You are my heart now. Whatever happens to you happens to me.” I kiss each one of her knuckles as she sighs deeply, like she’s been longing with all her soul to hear me say these words. “I know I’m not as brave as you are, but I promise to try harder.”

“Eric, stop. You’re the bravest man I know,” she proclaims with a tender fierceness, tears shining in her eyes.

“I’m just so afraid of losing you,” I mutter, breaking down.

“Oh, Eric,” she whimpers, sobbing right along with me. “I know, baby... I know.”

I lean back against the wall, guiding her onto my lap. We don’t say anything more. We just sit there and hold each other, savoring the moment.


What readers are saying about HOLD ME TIGHT:
"I'm so excited! Eric's balls grew back! He's going to fight for her. I envisioned the whole scene in my mind. True romance at its finest." 
- Rhonda Hofmiller

"You are such a tease! What a way to leave me hanging there, after that scene at the kitchen table. DAMN. Hose me down with cold water please!" 
-Natalie Smith

"Hallelujah and praise the Lord, Eric is FINALLY going after what's his! *sigh* What a lovely welcome home present indeed!"
- Ashley Bodette

Books in this New Adult Contemporary Romance trilogy:
 

About the Author:
Faith Sullivan is an author of New Adult contemporary romances including the HEARTBEAT trilogy, the TAKE ME NOW series and the 9/11 novel, UNEXPECTED. She writes love stories with a little dash of crazy.
Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck on the giveaway guys, and happy tour day!

Monday, April 28, 2014

{Review Day} Silent Kills

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Title: Silent Kills
Author: C.E. Lawrence
My Rating: 3 stars

Book Blurb:

Everyone Has What He Wants

The killer picks her up in a Manhattan night club. Another trendy victim of the latest downtown scene. Young. Fresh. Healthy. Perfect. The police find her body in a Bronx park. Pale as a ghost. Peaceful in death. Her life has been drained away. Slowly. Methodically. Brilliantly. . .

No One Survives What He Takes

NYPD profiler Lee Campbell has seen the gruesome handiwork of the most deranged criminal minds. But this is something new. Something unbelievably twisted. A blood-obsessed lunatic who chooses his victims with deadly, loving care--and forces Campbell to confront the demons in his own life. No matter who wins this game, there will be blood...

My Review:
Oh. My. Gosh.  This book was creepy!  I picked up this book about two years ago and it's been hiding in my Kindle ever since.  Sad right?  After cleaning up my TBR list, I decided to read this one.  It caught my attention because of the theme - Steampunk, thriller, mystery and murder.  What else would I want right? Heh.

This novel was chocked full of stories - character backstories, murders for the main plot, side stories, extra character stories, plot development... it was intense to keep up with.  I found at times it was too much even.  I really liked the story as a whole, even found myself dreaming about it at night.  It's been a week since I finished the book and yet I'm still thinking about it.  I've even read more books since then!  I can't seem to figure out if I liked it so much it stuck in my brain, or if I'm still confused about the ending.

The entire book was very dramatic, huge lead up to the end.  Then it did just that, ended.  Died like so many characters I enjoyed reading about.  Every time I "got to know" a character, sure enough.. they died.  I was able to guess deaths after a while and made plot connections pretty quickly.  Because this book was easy to piece together, I do wish it was a little shorter.  There were many chapters I felt could have been shortened - too much back or side stories, not enough main story.  I wanted more about little Davey and his terrible life, less about Lee and his weird life.  More about some of the other big player characters too.

Overall, this is a great read.  Even better that it has Steampunk thrown in!  Give it a shot, I liked it!  Pick up a copy on Amazon.

Happy Review Day!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Grab a button!

Have a website, blog, Facebook group or other writing group?  Add the new The Authorship Program button to your sidebar!

Let me know if you do, so I can brag about your site even more. heh. Happy Adding!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

{Book Review} The List of Five: A Beginning

Author: J Scott Sharp
Rating: 5 stars!!!!!

My FAV psychological thriller series by far!  Jason just released the prequel in the series and it was just as amazing as the first book.  If you haven't heard of the series, check out reviews (including mine) for volume 1 here.  I was given the honor of working with Jason on the series before vol. 1 was released.  He asked me for help again with the prequel and it is another success!  Both are free on Amazon too!  You can't pass up a free ebook that is this amazing.  PLEASE read them and let him know what you think in a review too.

Book Blurb:

When Delvin Lyon wakes up with a list of five names in his head, threatening to tear his brain apart, he believes that he may be still morning the death of his brother. 

It isn't until he meets a strange couple in town and he is invited to their strange carnival, that he begins to believe that the list exists for a much more sinister reason. 

Now, Delvin may have to fight for everything he cares about because The List of Five cold very well be the end of his life and the lives of his family 

Please Note: The List of Five: The Beginning is a prequel to The List of Five and is meant for a mature audience.


My Review:
I was given the honor of beta-reading both the prequel and vol. 1 for the List of Five.  I can't believe how it's grown already!  This prequel was perfect for the series.  Sharp seamlessly linked together vol. 1 with the prequel - which I've found is hard to do.  I'm so excited about this series!  Every time Sharp says the next installment is almost done, I get antsy to read it.  Psychological thrillers are his forte and it shows with his creative and rich story.  This prequel is the perfect introduction to vol. 1.  It gives you just enough detail to make you crave more, but not so much that the story has been given away.  I highly recommend reading this prequel before AND after reading vol. 1.  There are so many details in vol. 1 the prequel enhances.  Check it out!  You won't regret it.

Jason - another hit!! Keep them coming!! Happy Review Day everyone!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

{Update} The Authorship Program

So far the pre-launch is going well!  We're still looking for sponsors - authors, bloggers, writers, large writing communities.. - to have our banner on their website.  If you're interested, please contact me!

In other news, please sign up for the newsletter.  The newsletter is sent out a few times a week.  It gives you all the updates for the program, launch, giveaways and free mini lessons before the launch!  Click here to get signed up - it's free!  Even if you delete the messages you aren't interested in, it would mean the world to us if you subscribe.  We need guinea pigs! hehe.

Keep up with us on Facebook too!

Thanks guys!  How many words have you written lately?  Happy Update Day!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

{Book Review} Paying the Hitchhiker

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!!!

Author: Regina Puckett
Rating: 3 stars

Book Blurb:
Jennifer and Jason pick up a pretty young lady heading in the same direction they are going. Surely at some point their mothers told them never to talk to strangers or let one get in the car with them. What happens next will be told around campfires for years to come as a cautionary tale.

Review:
 ** Some small spoilers contained.**

This was... interesting.  I didn't get quite what I was expecting, but I'm not sure if that is good or bad.  The main charactes are NOT Jennifer and Jason.  It's the hitchhiker.  This book contained sexual content that I was not expecting - bad for readers who don't like that type of content; not terrible for me, since I don't mind.  HOLY SMOKES did this book throw me for a loop.  I was expecting a huge plot twist, but this one didn't make sense until the end.

The book was super short - also wasn't expecting that.  Regina did a great job with the writing, I was definitely stuck and still (two days later) have this book on my brain.  My rating is undecided because of all the surprises.  Why make the blurb about two side characters?  The Mom being okay with the ending was odd too, but I get it.

Alright. The more I think about this book the more I understand it.  I liked it.  The twists were weird, but good.  It's well written.  I wish it was longer!  I got caught up in it and actually felt a little sad when I was done.  My other thoughts still stand - why make the blurb sound like J&J are the mains but they aren't?  I dunno. It's a good quick read.

Ugh! Guys! Please read this novel and tell me if I'm crazy!  It's only $.99.  Please!  Happy Review Day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Authorship Program!

GUYS!  I've taken on a new project!  I'm now the virtual assistant to an amazing author, Stephanie Lennox.  She is starting a new program called... The Authorship Program!

Learn all about the program and Stephanie here.  Basically this program is to help authors become successful, feel accomplished, find/create a good support system, and focus on YOU while writing your book.  This inspirational, 15 step program will help you get what you want from your book.  The best part?  You choose how fast or slow to go!

The program/book  will officially launch on May 10, 2014.  Until then, Stephanie has decided to  giveaway free mini lessons on becoming a whole writer.  To get these free mini-lessons, sign up for her newsletter here (super simple, just add your email!).

Follow us!
Pinterest (Just ask... we'll add you!)

If you are an author or blogger with a website/blog focused on books, self-help or inspirational content and would like to get involved, please contact me!  We are currently seeking *sponsors* - places to put up our banner on launch day or before the launch and pin a post to your site (written by Stephanie).  It's free!

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Not-So-Wordless Wednesday!

You know that voice we all have when we see something so cute and adorable it hurts?

Look at the itty bitty teensy weensy bunny! Sooooo cute!

Photo found here.
With Easter less than a week away... PLEASE remember.  Bunnies do not make good gifts in a basket!  Choose chocolate or stuffed toys instead!

Hoppy Not-So-Wordless Wednesday!

Friday, April 11, 2014

{Blog Tour & Giveaway} Review Day: Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves


Title: Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Author: Dianne Ascroft

Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves Book Summary:
Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves is a collection of half a dozen short stories with Irish connections. Tales of outsiders who discover they belong, a humorous slice of life yarn, heartwarming love stories and a tale of taming fear. The shadows are on the wall, in the heart and clouding a woman’s memories while tangible foes tramp through the physical landscape. The stories were previously printed individually in a variety of publications, including Ireland’s Own magazine, Dead Ink Books’ website, and the anthologies, Fermanagh Miscellany and Tuesdays At Charlie’s.
My Review:
A lovely collection of short stories!  Each story had characters you loved and some you didn't.  There are some stories in the collection I enjoyed more than others, and would love to see them developed more, but the collection as a whole was great.  Dianne wrote each story with just enough detail to paint a picture, but still kept them short and sweet.  I really loved the different time periods, some modern while others were clearly older (no electricity!).  This is definitely a good quick read when you don't have much time to read a full novel or want a "breather" between novels.
My only complaint?  I wish they had tied together better.  I kept expecting characters from previous stories to pop-up in the next one, or have one giant "all-in-one" story at the end.

About the Author, Dianne Ascroft:
Dianne Ascroft is an urban Canadian who has settled in rural Northern Ireland with her husband and an assortment of strong willed animals. She writes contemporary and historical fiction with an Irish connection. She has released the short story collection, Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves and a novel, Hitler and Mars Bars. Her articles and stories have been printed in Irish and Canadian magazines and newspapers as well as in anthologies by Writers Abroad, Fermanagh Writers and Fermanagh Authors’ Association.
Purchase a copy for only $1.16!!
AmazonUS, AmazonUK

Follow Dianne:
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Blog Tour Website
Official Wesbite
 Thank you to Tribute Books for hosting the tour!
Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card OR Paypal Cash below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy this lovely collection!  Happy Review Day!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

HUGE Kindle Giveaway!!

I'm bbbaaaccccckkk! Hiatus over. It was lame.

As many of you (might) remember... my Kindle died recently leaving me with only my laptop to read on.  I was looking for more book blogs when I found this MASSIVE collab giveaway for a Kindle!  AND all of the participants are either authors, bloggers, readers, or all of the above!! I'm so excited to make new friends, read/hear about new books and possibly win the giveaway.

Here is the info for the giveaway if anyone else wants to enter. May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor. ;)

Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes. Winner's choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon  GiftCard or $229 Paypal Cash!

For more inforation or to enter, visit any of the blog sponsors below... OR click here.

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value) Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International) Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

Giveaway Sponsors: I Am A Reader Feed Your Reader Inspired Kathy Author Rachael Anderson Author Carolyn Cooper Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton Laurie Here - Contemporary Fiction and MORE Fabio Bueno, YA Author A Book Lover's Retreat Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews Becoming Books Fae Books Author Christie Anderson Author David Pandolfe Jetpack Dragons Clutter Your Kindle Crossangels Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke Alexandrea Weis Author Addicted Readers Author Alecia Stone Tressa's Wishful Endings Author Rae Z. Ryans Bella Street's Weird Romance Bonnie Blythe's Pure Romance Author Inger Iversen Author M.A. George Theresa DaLayne Buried Under Romance Author Myrna Mackenzie Owl Always Be Reading Jacqueline Diamond Author Joan Leacott Free Bookster Emma Michaels Jennifer Laurens - author My Nook, Books & More LOVE. WITHOUT YOU The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something year Old Girl Bound 4 Escape Reviews from a Bookworm The YA Buzz Claudia Burgoa Lynda Raymond Books for Young Children A. Wrighton, Author Author Niki Danforth Lori's Reading Corner Hearts On Sleeves Book Blog The Forever Girl Series Author Crystal Donahue A Leisure Moment : A Casual Conversation about our love for Literature Author Elizabeth Parkinson Bellows Me, My Shelf and I Author FA Michaels The Reporter and The Girl Author Ashley Stambaugh Extaordinaryreads Laurie Treacy, Author Faithful Acres Books   Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Giveaway here: http://www.iamareader.com/category/kindle-giveaway-sign-ups   

Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7", $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash. Ends 4/30/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash.  

Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

{Blog Tour} The Infinity Program


Title: The Infinity Program 
Author: Richard H. Hardy
Genre: Science Fiction
Paperback available at: Amazon

Book Description:
Jon Graeme and Harry Sale are unlikely friends. Harry is a world-class programmer, but his abrasive personality alienates co-workers. In contrast, Jon is a handsome and easy- going technical writer, the low man on the IT totem pole.

Sharing a love of nature, the men set out together, planning to go their separate ways-- Jon on a hike and Harry, fly fishing. Three days later, Jon arrives at the rendezvous point, but his friend is nowhere in sight. When Jon finds Harry unconscious on the floor of a cave, Harry claims to have been lying there the entire time. But he is neither cold nor hungry. What Jon doesn't know is that Harry fell into an underground cavern, where he came into contact with an alien quantum computer.

Back at work, Harry jettisons his regular tasks and concentrates exclusively on inventing new operating language to access the alien system. In the process he crashes his office's Super Computer and is fired. Jon convinces the company to give Harry a second chance, arguing that the system he has invented will make them millions.

Jon has no idea what havoc Harry is about to unleash.

Excerpt:


About the Author:
Richard H. Hardy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, during a week of relentless bombing raids just before the close of World War II. The day he was born an incendiary bomb fell on the church across the street from where he lived, so he is fond of saying that he entered the world with a big adrenaline rush.

His family later moved to England and then on to America.

After college Richard bounced through a series of temporary jobs as he traveled around the country, wanting nothing more than to write fiction. A job driving a library van allowed him free time to write several short stories and work on a novel.

He and his wife moved to New Hampshire, where he took an entry level job at a software company. He was soon promoted to the technical writing department and ended up producing over 500,000 words of online documentation. After a few years he was promoted to the programming department and ended up as the Senior EDI Programmer, creating EDI maps and writing UNIX scripts and troubleshooting on AIX systems throughout the U.S. and Canada.

After he retired, he started writing fiction again. The Infinity Program is his first published novel.


Where to find Richard H. Hardy: