Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Had To Be You by Juliet Chatham Blog Tour & Book Review + Win the Book and a Amazon.com Gift Card!

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

After college, Rory Finn left behind the familiarity of her quiet, picturesque hometown to pursue a professional career in the city. With her sights firmly on the future, Rory pressed on in hopes of forgetting the past until a jarring bit of unwelcome news forces her to confront it. 
Her first love, the one she'd tried so hard to forget, is about to marry someone else. That pang Rory feels isn't envy, it's not even regret. It's love. But Rory can't be that girl. She won't. But if she doesn't, she'll never know what could have been. She'll never have another chance to tell him how she feels. 
As she embarks on an impulsive, desperate bid to win him back, her mission turns into an unexpected and emotional journey of rediscovery. Had To be You explores a history of love from its tentative beginnings to what may just turn out to be its final bittersweet end, as Rory ignores her head and follows her heart. 

About the book-

I think anyone who hasn't married the first person they fell in love with, which is probably the majority of people, have given a thought or two to their first love. I think it is why stories like this are so swoon worthy and easy to read. It is fun to root for unrequited love. The further on in this story I got, the more I wanted to scream at Rory that she didn't deserve Matt. There were so many chances he gave her and she broke his heart over and over and here she is showing up at his wedding because she can't let him go. Why couldn't she figure that out before he is about to get married? The further on I read, I did begin to feel a little sympathetic toward Rory, as we find out some of the reasons she is the way she is, but still! Her constantly sabotaging the relationship she has with Matt drives me batty. This book is in kind of the same vein as one of my favorite books of all time Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern. The story in both of these books begins in childhood and grows into adulthood. It is really cool to watch a relationship, even if it is fictional, grow over so many years and through so many different stages of life. I will warn some of my more conservative readers that there is some explicit language and dialogue, but I would recommend Had To Be You to anyone who enjoys a romance or loves reminiscing about first loves.

Had To Be You is available on Amazon.com.

About the Juliet Chatham-

Juliet Chatham is a life long New Englander who divides her time between the North Shore and Cape Cod. Her favorite things are beaches, boats, books, bars, the Boston Red Sox and boys, but not necessarily in that order.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Jamberry Nail Lacquer Review

Disclosure of material connection- I received a free product in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

I am a nail polish addict. I love having my nails painted and having lots of different colors and textures to chose from in my collection. Many of you have probably heard of Jamberry Nails, a direct sales company taking the nail world by storm for their adorable nail wraps that come in so many different colors and patterns, what you may not know is that they also have nail lacquer for sale and that their polishes are 5-free! Woo hoo! There are not that many 5-free nail polish companies so it is always nice to discover a new one. A friend of mine that is a Jamberry Consultant offered to give me a polish of my choice because she knows of my addiction issues and of course I was more than happy to take her up on the offer. With fall coming up, I wanted a nice, dark color, so I opted for Iris, a beautiful medium purple cream polish. I was impressed that it only took two coats of the polish for full coverage. I had also recently bought the Jamberry matte top coat because I absolutely think there are nowhere near enough matte colors available and I think matte polish offers such a sophisticated look. It also gives you at least two options with any cream polish you have, you can wear it shiny without the top coat or you can wear it flat with the matte. I thought Iris would look great with a matte finish, so after I applied my two coats, I added a coat of matte top coat on each nail. I was excited to see that this top coat helped my nails dry uber quickly. I mean like 5-10 minutes quickly. I am really bad about doing things to mess up my nails after I get them painted, so I really like that the top coat saved me loads of time and helped me not mess up my nails right after I painted them.

I opted to paint all of my nails with the Iris lacquer, but the cool thing about Jamberry is that you can use the polishes in conjunction with the nail wraps to create a customized look. If I were to mix and match Iris with Jams, I would pick either Emperial or Confetti Cake as accent nail wraps-

You could create a few different looks with just these three Jamberry products and there are so many more nail wraps and several more nail lacquers to chose from!

Since I am all about keeping the chemicals out of my house and Jamberry is 5-free, I absolutely recommend giving them a try. There are so many cute patterns and polishes to chose from, there is definitely something for everybody!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

HERO (Movie Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the movie via Edify Media in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the movie-

Joe Finn was a local legend in the world of baseball, but a miserable failure as a husband, father, and friend. Now, seven years after leaving home, he returns just in time to say goodbye to his dying wife and hello to a son and a community who consider him as good as dead. 

Intent on making his life right, he turns to the only thing he knows -- baseball. But Little League is all but unrecognizable in Miller's Gap, and parental involvement is at an all-time low. Even as his actions begin to warm the hearts of some, others in the community threaten to get rid of Joe's team for good. Can Joe win back his son and revitalize a dying game, or is he seven years too late to redeem the mess of his own making?

My thoughts-

What I loved about this movie is that it shows how families in different circumstances can go through the same things within their family units. There is a prison warden, a prisoner and a father who has traveled so much for his job he barely knows his kid and all 3 of them have boys that have gone through the same thing- dealing with not having their dad in their lives as much as they would have liked or as much as they needed. Joe Finn, the dad that was absentee due to his job, has come home to deal with his dying wife and his grown son, only to discover that Little League is not what it once was. Joe wants to bring the joy of the game to these little boys and in the process he also wants to help their dads not make the same mistakes he did. I enjoyed watching a movie about a great past time, baseball, and seeing the fathers realize that they need to try harder to be a part of their son's lives. I love seeing Joe put his passion for baseball into helping the dads and sons connect while reconnecting with his own son. I haven't been to a Little League game in a long time, but it bums me out to think that so many dads are missing out on their sons games and that the rules have changed so much that it kind of takes the fun out of playing the game...or at least it doesn't seem as fun as it once was, so hopefully this movie will be a starting point for changing that. This is a great movie for the whole family and would probably especially be enjoyed by fathers and sons!

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For more information about the movie see- www.herofamilymovie.com/

HERO will be available for purchase at Walmart and other retailers September 16!

Watch the movie trailer below-

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Treasury Of Bible Stories Review & Giveaway

About the book-

If you are looking for a way to encourage your children to get into God's word, this is the book for your family. Treasury of Bible Stories is beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written in a way that kids will love to hear.

My thoughts-

I think it is important for little ones to have a Bible that is not only engaging, but easy to understand. The Treasury of Bible Stories by Kelly Pulley has beautiful, vibrant pictures and includes all of the big stories and parables from both the old and new testament. The stories are written in rhyming form which will help kids better remember the stories and makes them more fun to read. I have a little man named Noah so that is the first story we read out the Treasury of Bible Stories because he loves hearing stories about Noah and his ark. All 3 of my kids (ages 5-7) listened intently and loved the vivid illustrations. My oldest enjoyed the rhyming and all 3 of the kids fought over who got to look through the book that night after we were finished reading it. We have read several more of the stories and the kids are always eager to hear them. This is also a book that is great for young kids like mine who have learned to read. There are not that many big words and the rhyming lines also help them in their efforts to read on their own. This Treasury of Bible Stories would make a great addition to any children's home library and would also make a fantastic gift. I know we will be reading it often and for years to come.

Treasury of Bible Stories is available now on Amazon.com.

My little bookworm Noah reading about Joseph
and his coat of many colors. :)

One lucky reader will win a copy of the Treasury of Bible Stories. Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.

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Watch the book trailer-

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajama's by Marie-Helene Bertino (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 
About the book-

Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, rebellious nine-year-old who also happens to be an aspiring jazz singer. Still mourning the recent death of her mother, and caring for her grief-stricken father, she doesn’t realize that on the eve of Christmas Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia's legendary jazz club The Cat's Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat's Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.

As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life’s endless possibilities over the course of one magical night. A vivacious, charming and moving debut, 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas will capture your heart and have you laughing out loud.

My thoughts-

I have been hearing about 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajama's for a while now. It's been talked about on pretty much all of the bookish Facebook groups I belong to and has been mentioned on countless must-read lists. It sounded different and interesting so I was excited to read it. I loved the concept of  going through a single day in the lives of three different people who all end up in the same spot in the end, but at times I felt like some of the details were uninteresting. Most interesting to me was the story of Serena and Ben. I always enjoyed reading about what was going on with those two and appreciated the flashback to help understand why they ended up where they were and why it was a big deal. I also found the whimsy parts of the book that dealt with Madeleine quite a bit. Hers was a sad, but intriguing story. For some reason I just could not come to care about Lorca, but without him this book would be pointless, so I understand why he was necessary. I found the book to have a more melancholy tone than a dark comedy tone, but there were definitely a few times that I found myself laughing outloud. 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajama's was a pretty quick read and overall I thought it was a great novel from Bertino.  I would recommend the book to anyone that enjoys contemporary fiction.

About the author-

Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of Safe as Houses, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Prize. An Emerging Writer Fellow at New York's Center for Fiction, she has spent six years as an editor and writing instructor at One Story. A Philadelphia native, she currently lives in Brooklyn.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

When Calls the Heart "Second Chances" Review

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the movie from Edify Media in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About When Calls the Heart-

When Calls the Heart is a television show on the Hallmark Channel based on the writings of Janette Oke that debuted on the Hallmark Channel to more than 3 million viewers, making it the #2 show for the night on all of cable for the primary telecast at 9 p.m and #3 overall in households. The show is about Elizabeth Thatcher, a young high society woman who is now working as a teacher on the western frontier. "The Dance" is a feature length film that can be purchased on 
Amazon.com or the entire series can be watched on the Hallmark Channel or Amazon Instant Video. To see my reviews for previous feature length films in this series see in this order- 

When Calls the Heart: a film by Michael Landon, Jr.
When Calls the Heart  "Lost and Found"
 When Calls the Heart "A Telling Silence"

When Calls the Heart "The Dance"

My thoughts-

The last episode of When Calls the Heart kind of got things stirred up between Elizabeth and Jack with someone else acting interested in Elizabeth, so I was very interested to see if things would fall back into place for them in "Second Chances." Jack is definitely trying to get back in Elizabeth's good graces so we get to go back to swooning over him instead of shaking our heads at his innate maleness. It was fun to see her make him work for it though! There was a lot of new stuff going on in this episode. That is what I love about this show. We have the big storylines to keep it all together, but there is almost something new and interesting in each new episode. Elizabeth has a young student she is trying to help read despite his trouble doing so and that is really heartwarming to watch. To see this kid begin to figure out something he has struggled with for so long is amazing. And then one of the dads that has been gone returns with a disability and tries to adjust to that, his family is also trying to adjust to his changed personality. The further I get into the When Calls the Heart series the more eager I am to get to the next episode. The show just continually gets more interesting. I love that it holds my attention and I also love that it is appropriate for the whole family to watch. If you love wholesome romantic shows, you will love When Calls the Heart. 

When Calls the Heart "Second Chances" is available for purchase at Christianbook.com and Amazon.com.

Watch the trailer for When Calls the Heart "Second Chances" below. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Competition by Marcia Clark (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-
A Columbine-style shooting at a high school in the San Fernando Valley has left a community shaken to its core. Two students are identified as the killers. Both are dead, believed to have committed a mutual suicide.
In the aftermath of the shooting, LA Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight teams up with her best girlfriend, LAPD detective Bailey Keller. As Rachel and Bailey interview students at the high school, they realize that the facts don’t add up. Could it be that the students suspected of being the shooters are actually victims? And if so, does that mean that the real killers are still on the loose?
A dramatic leap forward in Marcia Clark’s highly acclaimed Rachel Knight series, The Competition is an unforgettable story that will stay with readers long after the last page has been turned.
My thoughts-

I have read the other 3 books in the Rachel Knight series and they were all good, but The Competition is by far Clark's best effort yet. The other books felt a little long because of tons of unnecessary dialogue that I found myself skimming over, that was not the case at all in this most recent book in the series. Every word on every page, every conversation had between characters was necessary to the story and helped this novel become the page turner that it is. The sad subject matter is all too familiar to anyone living today. We have unfortunately seen news of many school shootings by now. I thought The Competition gave us some good insight into what it might be like to be on a case like this. It is daunting for the public to hear about these shootings, imagine being someone assigned to work on these types of cases! I liked that the cases mentioned were historically accurate. Some people reading this book might learn some things about very notorious cases that they didn't know before. I think Clark is at her best here and I hope she continues to write this way. I could not put this book down. I had to know what happened. Seriously, I stayed up hours after I should have went to bed to finish this one! I recommend The Competition to anyone who enjoys thrillers or action packed books.

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