Sunday, March 31, 2013

A to Z Challenge April 2013 Tomorrow!

The Challenge officially starts tomorrow!  
Are you ready????
Thanks to all the wonderful bloggers who are hosting this year! 
The Madlab Post (Nicole Ayers)
Tossing It Out (Arlee Bird)
Amlokiblogs (Damyanti Biswas)
Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh)
Life is Good (Tina Downey)
Cruising Altitude 2.0 (DL Hammons)
Retro-Zombie (Jeremy Hawkins)
The Warrior Muse (Shannon Lawrence)
The QQQE (Matthew MacNish)
Leave it to Livia (Livia Peterson)
No Thought 2 Small (Konstanz Silverbow)
Breakthrough Blogs (Stephen Tremp)
Spunk on a Stick (L. Diane Wolfe)

Below is the linky list to ALL the blogs participating this year. Gosh it's long one huh?  Well this year I'm #776. My goal this year, besides finishing the challenge, is to try to visit everybody on the list. I met a lot of cool bloggers through this last year and I can't wait to see what they do this year.  I also can't wait to find some new blogs too! 

Are you participating this year?  What # are you?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Manga/Graphic Novel/Video Game Novel Challenge 2013

Mother/Gamer/Writer March Link Up

So this year since I said that I would try to get to Level 3 of the Challenge That means I need to have at least 25 books read before the end of the year. That's at least 2 books a month. (and one extra one in at least one of those 12 months)   As a change from last year I'm gonna be putting the reviews up here as I get them done and then linking them in the monthly round-up at Mother/Gamer/Writer.  I also plan to try to remember my update my Challenge page at the end of the month. Want to see what the other people in the challenge are reading this month? Click here!

Summery from Amazon:

In the land of Myst, a tyrant rules the city of Bree with an iron fist, leaving its citizens living in fear and terror. But all hope is not lost as a young orphan girl from another world discovers her destiny and becomes the legend she was meant to be. The creators of Grimm Fairy Tales, Wonderland, and Neverland bring you the next great hero in the Grimm Universe!

My Review:

I am in love!  I was quite taken with Grimm Fairy Tales Alice in Wonderland and now, after reading their version of Robyn Hood I can honestly say it is full blown love. Love, infatuation, possibly, dare I say it, full blown psychotic obsession even!  (One of my new goals in life is to get as many of Grimm’s titles as possible in print.)

I love their twist on Robyn Hood. Because of the bouncing between dimensions they were able to keep it modern and classic at the same time. But trust me when I say this is NOT your daddy’s Robin.   First things first Robin is now Robyn and she is not all sparkles and light.  The basic elements of the original story are still there.  Robyn steals from the rich to benefit the poor, she stands up to injustice and evil royalty. She just does it much ‘differently’.  I really liked her as a character though. She wasn’t just a tart with a bow and arrow.  She is broken, but she isn’t weak.  Also love her outfits! I know I know so non-feminist of me, but they are amazing looking.   If I could pull it off I’d wear stuff like that too.
That brings me to the artwork. AH-MAY-ZING!  I love the detail.  Not just in the characters and scenery but in the color as well. They all pull together and the frames really come alive on the page, screen, whatever.  I think that’s why I like her outfits so much, yes they tend to veer to the skimpy, but there are also little details that catch the eye.  You can tell there was a lot of time put into the artwork it wasn’t just slapped on the page.
Definitely looking to pick up these books in print form for my own private collection, but will gladly continue reading them in e-format.
On a side note, this novel is VERY graphic; blood, violence, etc.  There are also some very adult situations. You don’t see certain things but they are heavy themes in the book.  So please don’t just think ‘oooo shiny cover and hand it to a kid, just cause it has pictures.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring into Spring Giveaway!

Welcome to the "Spring Into Spring" giveaway event sponsored by Famous Free Samples, sister site of Tip Hero, featuring some fabulous blogs and a wonderful opportunity to be the winner of a great prize!
To celebrate the coming of spring (finally), we're offering one lucky reader the chance to win a $150 Target gift card to use however they'd like! Whether you'd like to stock up on some spring apparel, decorate your home to match the season, or prepare your outdoor space for warmer temperatures, we're sure this great prize could come in handy!
This giveaway begins on March 21st and will run until April 4th at 11:59pm US Eastern time. Open to residents of the United States and Canada, 18+.
Use the PromoSimple form below to enter this giveaway. Be sure to take advantage of the array of entries you can gain, and also, come back daily for even more chances to win. Good luck!

$150 Target Gift Card

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cover Reveal & Giveaway!

I'd like to welcome Heidi Garrett to my blog today to reveal the cover to the newest book in her series. Here she reveals the reason behind why she writes AND not only does she have an awesome contest as part of her cover reveal tour ($25 Amex GC) but also a chance to get a super-cool bracelet!  Read on to find out more! ~

Why Do I Write Fantasy? 
You Never Know Who Might Show Up at Your Front Door
By Heidi Garrett

As long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with the truths that my physical senses cannot explain: the mystical things occurring on this planet. Writing fantastical stories is my testament to these other layers of reality.

There are many ways of looking at our world. Imagine sitting at home, perhaps in your living room. There’s a knock on the door. When you open it, a funny little woman is standing there. She is about half your height, and a plaid crimson kerchief—knotted under her hooked chin—covers her head. Her dress is sack-like over her square body. She’s wearing an apron that could use a good ironing and she’s carrying a battered brown suitcase that’s almost as big as she is.

“As long as you’re staring, a glass of water would be nice,” she says.

Despite her gruff manner, you sense something mysterious about this stranger, and to be honest, you’re dying to know more about her. When she crosses the threshold of your home, a strong wind slams the door behind her. You both jump. There hasn’t been a breeze all day. In fact, it’s sweltering and heat waves have been rising from the melting pavement for weeks.

When you offer it, she almost grabs the glass from your hand, and you can’t stop your staring—even though you know it’s rude—as she drinks in noisy gulps.

“What? You’ve never seen a spring faerie before?” she asks.

Before you can answer, she wipes her mouth with the back of her hand. “Guess not, there aren’t many of us left. And I haven’t been to the Mortal World, since…”
She stops. Her deeply etched face softens. Something like sorrow pools in her dark brown eyes. She waves her hand. “That’s not what I’m here to talk about.”

Your heart tugs. You want to pull her from that sad place. “What’s in your suitcase?”

She points to the table. “I’ll show you.”

The suitcase is filled with eyeglasses. There are so many. Some have square black frames, others have round wire frames; there are a few speckled frames with octagonal lenses. You spy a pair of purple ones.

She shoves a pair of thick black glasses into your hand. “Put these on. Tell me what you see.”

With the eyeglasses settled on the bridge of your nose, you can’t see anything but yourself. You blink. You can see your hands and feet, your legs and toes. But the spring faerie—if that’s really what she is—is just a blur. You pull them off. She trades them for a pair of wire rims. With these glasses you can see her and your home.

“What’s your name?” you ask.


“Like flowers blooming.”

She nods and looks away with that whiff of sadness.

Again, there is something about her that pulls at your heart. You think of the miracle of spring after a long hard winter, and that she shouldn’t be sad—if she really is a spring faerie.

“ don’t have any wings,” you say.

She smoothes the wrinkles in her apron. “Not all faeries do.”


She almost jerks the wire-rim spectacles from your nose. You reach for that purple pair. She doesn’t stop you. Now, you can see down the street; your eyes travel the highway. Your view elevates, as if you are a bird. Soon you see the entire city you live in. With each pair of glasses, you see the bigger world.

When Flora tucks the temple arms of a pair of red frames behind your ears, perspective zooms around you. It’s like the lens pulls you into outer space, and you can see the entire world and all the billions of people who live on Earth.

Your heart flutters in your chest; it’s a lot to take in.

“Now—” Flora hands you a pair of fuchsia glasses with tiny rhinestones embedded in the frames. “Try on these.”

When you put them on, you’re able to see beyond the physical entirety of the world into the things that you’ve always known exist, but since you can’t see, touch, smell, or hear them, sometimes you’ve doubted. But you’ll never doubt again, because now—with these special glasses—you can actually see the bonds of love that death can never sever, the strings of fate that wrap the brown paper package of all our lives with twine, the tide of time that alters us, even as we never change...

But most importantly, you’ve seen that you belong here, on this planet. And you know—without a shadow of a doubt—that everything fits. Including you.

“I don’t ever want to take these glasses off,” you say.

Flora is already cramming the rest of them back into her bag. “Then don’t.”

The Queen of the Realm of Faerie is a fairy tale fantasy series that bridges the Mortal and Enchanted worlds. The main character, Melia, is an eighteen-year-old half-faerie, half-mortal. She lives in Illialei, a country in the Enchanted World, with her two sisters and their mother. Melia’s father has been exiled to the Mortal World, and her best friend is a pixie.

When the story opens in the first book, Melia is troubled by her dark moon visions, gossip she overhears about her parents at the local market, and the trauma of living among full-blooded faeries with wings—she doesn’t have any.

As the series unfolds, the historic and mystical forces that shape Melia’s life are revealed. Each step of her journey—to find the place where she belongs—alters her perceptions about herself, deepens her relationships with others, and enlarges her world view.

In The Dragon Carnivale, book 3 of The Queen of the Realm of Faerie, energies in the Enchanted World are shifting and new alliances are forming; the Battle of Dark and Light has begun. Melia is desperate to make things right with Ryder, the young priest from Idonne, but first she must warn the half-bloods in the Mortal World that Umbra is coming for them, and face the powerful Dragonwitch and her spectacular Dragon Carnivale.

The first two books in the series: Nandana’s Mark and The Flower of Isbelline are currently available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords. Nandana’s Mark is free.

The Dragon Carnivale is scheduled for a June 18, 2013, release.

Sign-up for Heidi Garrett’s new release email List and receive a lavender and gold Half-Faerie bracelet while supplies last…because you’re half faerie, too, right?

Click here to sign up!

Heidi Garrett is the author of The Queen of the Realm of Faerie series. Her personal message to all her readers is:

Once upon a time, you lived in an enchanted world, too…

There is magic in all our lives; sometimes we need to look through different eyes to see it.

The Queen of the Realm of Faerie includes many strong female characters within an intricate fantasy land. It is also a fairy tale fantasy.
The first book, Nandana’s Mark, is one of those free ebooks; the second book, The Flower of Isbelline, is now available; and the third book, The Dragon Carnivale, will be released in June 2013.
The series was inspired by the 15th century French fairy tale, Melusine.
Heidi's hope is that when you read her books, you will rediscover the enchantment in your own life.
She currently resides in eastern Washington with her husband and their two cats. So far, she loves the snow. Being from the South, she finds it magical.
Learn more about Heidi and enjoy her stream-of-consciousness reading journal, Eating Magic, at:

If you want to say hello, give her a shout out on Twitter at @heidigwrites or on Facebook at

Book Links

And now for the giveaway!:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop ~ March 20th - 25th

First let me thank I am a Reader, Not a Writer for hosting this hop. Second the contest is open to US residents only. (sorry S & H) Now on to the prize! One lucky U.S. resident will win my arc copy of A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King.

Amazon Summery:

The superheroes of Arcadia City fight a wonderful war and play a wonderful game, forever saving yet another day. However, after sacrificing both their powers and Ultimate, the greatest hero of them all, to defeat the latest apocalypse, these comic book characters are transformed from the marvelous into the mundane.
After too many battles won and too many friends lost, The Soldier of Freedom was fine letting all that glory go. But when a new threat blasts through his city, Soldier, as ever, accepts his duty and reenlists in this next war. Without his once amazing abilities, he's forced to seek the help of the one man who walked away, the sole hero who refused to make the sacrifice--PenUltimate, the sidekick of Ultimate, who through his own rejection of the game has become the most powerful man in the world, the only one left who might still, once again, save the day.

Just enter using the Rafflecopter below and then hop on to the next blog!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Time Killer Virtual Tour ~ Interview with Todd Thiede & Giveaway!

Please welcome Todd Thiede to this stop on his blog tour. 
Tell us a little about yourself, where you are from, do you feel where you live influences how or what you write? 

      I am from Elgin Illinois, born and raised there. I am a finance manager and I feel that influences what I write more than anything else.  I see way too many people only care about themselves and not the others around them.  My wife, Courtney, smiles when we go out for breakfast on Sundays because I usually pick out an older couple and buy them breakfast secretly. I tell the waiter/waitress to not say who did it.  I don't want the recognition I just want someone to feel good about the day. I feel if we all look at other peoples’ feelings first it will come back to us 2 fold.

·         What sort of expectations did you have when being published was on the horizon? 
      I think I have a great story and I wanted people to read it and enjoy a great murder mystery. That is truly all I wanted and still want to this day. I want people to read my story and say. Wow, that was actually interesting and I want them to actually try and solve all the aspects of the story.

·         What is your biggest pet peeve ? 
      Without a doubt, People wasting other people's time. I sell things for commission and when a person comes into my place of employment and spends time with me and doesn’t buy anything that truly costs me money. I just spent time with them, answered all of their questions, showed them what they said they wanted and still didn't buy anything means I don't get paid.  Imagine working for 8 hours and not making one dollar. Who does that? Salesmen do all the time. 

·         A recent blog post said that Time Killer could possibly end up being a movie.  Any preference as to who you would want to star in it? And who would they play?

      I have no preference to who plays who.  I would probably prefer someone relatively unknown that way that person can get his or her start on a first time author's book. I think if I had to pick an already famous person to play Max Larkin it would have to be Jason Ritter. He is not too famous (his dad John was but he isn't that famous). I have liked everything he has done so far and when I close my eyes I see him as Max.

·         You say that your stories are "fueled by" your "daily life".  Was Time Killer inspired by a specific event?

      It is just inspired by the complete lack of respect people have for other people's time. We all have our time budgeted out to the minute pretty much. Then a person comes along that doesn't care about your life or your time and just plain old wastes your time with no regards to how that will impact your life. It just seems like we live in a society where everyone is out for themselves with no regard for anyone around them. That is not how it should be. The theory of "Time Killer" is that one man has had enough with people wasting his time.

·         Is there a genre you prefer to write? What about to read?
      I prefer to write Murder Mystery books. I have always had an investigative mind. My wife actually hates watching shows like CSI with me because I usually solve it way before the end. If I can continue with the Max Larkin series that would be awesome because I have a great feel for the characters that I have already developed. I will give you a small spoiler for the next Max Larkin book. It is going to be called "Lies to die for" and one of the officers in "Time Killer" will be killed in "Lies to Die for". When it comes to reading I like to read murder mysteries sometimes but not all the time. I liked the Hunger Games books a lot. It is cool how the author created a whole new world based on her theories. Suzanne Collins did a great job with making up stuff like "Tracker Jackers" and putting them in her story. It was like a fantasy within a game. I guess that is a reason I liked the Harry Potter series as well. The created world within a world storyline fascinates me.

·         Care to give us a peek at what your latest writing project is?
      I am writing a follow up for my lead detectives. I am hoping to make the Max Larkin stories a series. The next book is going to be about another serial killer that is wrapped up in a web of lies and is killing people for lying too much.
·         Just because I can, will you be wearing green on St. Patty's day?  

       Yes for sure. I don't want to get pinched.

 To find out more about Todd check him out at the following links:


In the small city of Rockton, Illinois, someone is tired of waiting. He’s tired of standing in line at the grocery store and tired of waiting at the drive-through line. Now he’s doing something about it.
The first murder rocks the city. The entire Bjornson family—except the father, Stephen—has been brutally murdered, and the killer has left a message behind, written in the victim’s blood: Don’t Waste People’s Time. It’s a grizzly start for two young detectives who’ve just become partners. But Max Larkin and Jesse Fairlane put their personal distaste for each other aside and start concentrating on how to find the killer from striking again.
As they investigate the scene of the crime and interview Stephen at the hospital, the clues slowly begin to add up. Could this be a deranged killer who struck ten years ago and has now returned to the area? Before they can answer that question, another murder is reported, and Max and Jesse suddenly realize they have a serial killer on the loose.
But as they get closer to the truth, a past memory begins to haunt Max, one that might lead to a break in the case—or the end of his career.

Todd is awesome enough to be giving away a signed copy of his book to not 1 but 3 lucky winners!
Just enter using the Rafflecopter form below!  And be sure to click here to visit the rest of the stops on the tour!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

MorningStar Burgers & Meatless Monday!

So since I'm lucky enough to be a BzzAgent for BzzAgent I got the chance to try out MorningStar Farms Veggie Burgers. I had already been looking into Meatless Mondays, one day without meat, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to start. (I even convinced the rest of the family to try it out too!)

I was kinda hesitant at first. My biggest concern was that they would taste funny.  

Our 1st Meatless Monday!

I was REALLY pleasantly surprised!  The burgers not only tasted great, but they were super easy to cook. Short cook time and NO grease! There was no horrible mess in the pan to clean up afterwards either.

We enjoyed them so much I decided to try some more meatless recipes.  I even made tacos one night using the MorningStar Crumblers.   Needless to say they turned out amazing! 

Since beginning my Meatless Monday Challenge I've tried a few different recipes and I've even tried some other veggie patties.  I have to say that the MorningStar patties are definitely the best of them though.  While none of them taste completely like meat, the other brands I tried had a more oniony taste and one even had a gritty consistency.  I didn't have these issues with the MorningStar brands. 

I plan to keep up with my Meatless Mondays Challenge to myself. I might not have burgers every Monday but I have started keeping extra boxes of the patties in my freezer. Not only are they great on Mondays, but they are great for nights when I need something quick and healthy to cook. 

Are you trying Meatless Mondays?  Got any good vegetarian recipes you'd like to share?  Love to hear them!

*I  received this product to try as part of a BzzAgent review campaign.  I was not paid for my opinion and my opinion is strictly my own* 

Monday, March 4, 2013

No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop ~ March 5th-11th

First I'd like to thank I Am a Reader, Not a Writer for hosting this awesome hop! 
Second unfortunately because of the cost of S & H I am limiting this to U.S. Residents only. (Sorry!)
Now on with the giveaway!
I'm giving away a print copy of :

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

I got this book for Christmas last year and I LOVED it!  So much so that I would like to share it with one lucky reader. Just enter using the Rafflecopter form below. All I ask is that you leave your name and an email address that I can reach you at. That's all.  No extra follows or anything. As the title says No Strings Attached! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and below the Rafflecopter is the linky to hop on to the next awesome blog on the list!

a Rafflecopter giveaway