Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hunger Games Gift Idea

I had previously posted this on another blog, thinking that I would keep all "DIY" type things and craft ideas separate. I found, I just didn't have the time to keep it up. So, I deleted that blog and am reposting this gift idea here!

You will need the following

.88 Cent Hunger Games cups from Walmart
Reduced "coal" from the Christmas section
Chocolate Pirouettes

Optional Treat ideas:
Red Hots
Fire balls
Trail Mix

Fill each cup with coordinating treats.

Pirouettes look like logs so use them in the District 7 Cup. Coal works well for any of the district 12 characters however you could branch out and use Jerky,Red Hots or Fireballs in the Katniss cups. Red Hots and Fireballs would all work in any of the Mockingjay cups. For district 4 use Goldfish as that is the fishing district.

Happy gifting and May the Odds be Ever in your Favor!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My Week in Review 4/12-4/19

Someone remind me…never decide to paint my house 48 hours before I have a holiday party or dinner planned…yeah, I did that this week.

Aside from the house work…this week has been sorta humdrum. I’ve been much too busy for a lot of blogging. I finished a lot of books but I’ve just not had the time to get them all reviewed.

In fact, I only got two reviews up this week; An Amish Garden and Gift of the Phoenix. I finished Rachel by Jill Eileen Smith and also, The Last Bride by Beverly Lewis. Then, I started in on Merlin’s Nightmare by Robert Treskillard. While I have yet to finish the ARC (advance reader’s copy) of Merlin’s Nightmare, I’m really enjoying it so far.

Arthur, now eighteen, is missing, and Merlin must find him before a shadowy pursuer catches him first.
With the High King and his kingdom caught in a trap of sinister deceit, Merlin has to find a way out before all is lost. Having everything to fight for, and almost nothing to fight with, Merlin and Arthur must rally Britain’s warriors against three overwhelming enemies: Saxen hordes in the south, Picti raiders in the north, and a chilling new enemy that has arisen in the west. At the same time, Morgana brings Merlin’s deepest fear to life and sets a horde of werewolves loose to destroy Britain. But when the secret purpose of this nightmare is finally revealed, will Merlin and Arthur find a way to survive—without unleashing an even greater evil?

There isn’t much else to report. As I said—while it was a busy week, it was all the, “same ole, same ole.” So, I’ll just jump right into what I accomplished this week.

First up—walls were painted and I distressed all the picture frames in the house to make them pop against the dark color I chose. Excuse the cell pic but it’s the only chance I’ve had to even capture the new color. See the green shelf? I got it distressed and painted a turquoise color now as well. I'll try to get a better image before next week's review

I got some super cute pictures of Arie this week as I practiced with my camera.

Then I got a picture of Kahlan to document how badly her legs turn in. She should get her orthotics in the upcoming week so I wanted to get a shot to document where she is starting from. Therapy is going okay but it isn't helping as much as I had hoped. I think we made the right choice in choosing to get the orthotics in addition to her therapy. I just worry that she is going to hate it.

Also, another favorite from this week is this picture of Piper. We had a jedi themed shot and I captured this gorgeous image of her. I just love it!

Today, egg dying…we’ve never done it! Can you believe that I have an almost thirteen year old daughter and we’ve never dyed eggs? I never really did it growing up so it was never something I just thought of starting with the kids. Today when I waited in line to pick up Kahlan’s albuterol, I decided I was going to pick up egg dye. They turned out so loverly. Yes, I said loverly…deal with it. *winks*

Oh and last but not least, a huge congrats to Amara Zee. She is the winner of the $25 Hazelaid Giftcard! If you haven’t had a chance to read my review about Hazelaid amber and how it has helped Kahlan’s asthma, feel free to drop by and do so!

Sorry this blog is so scatterbrained (and I’ll admit…unproofed) but I nearly let the day go by without a chance to catch everyone up! I hope you all have a great Easter weekend.

Signing out until next week,

P.S. Don't forget to check out the freebie timeline pics that I shared with everyone. Feel free to grab your own and be sure to check back next Friday for a new set of free graphics!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Freebie Friday: Timeline Covers

Feel free to snag them! Simply click on the image and right click and then save the image to your computer. You can add monograms to the center with a free editing program like ipiccy or picmonkey. These are suitable for use as facebook timeline covers but you're welcome to use them anywhere!
Sample of the text you can do on these covers

Gift of the Phoenix Review&Giveaway

Gift of the PhoenixGift of the Phoenix by Donna Cook

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book. Why? Well, I am in a Guild Wars guild and our emblem is the Phoenix—so, it’s natural that I’d love to read a book about a phoenix and sort of delve into some cool fantasy tale about them.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into this book. First, it was terribly long. It really should have been three separate books rather than one. It was broken up like three books already, anyway. Instead, every time I neared the end of a section, I would literally groan and realize that I wasn’t yet finished. The length was particularly frustrating because in addition to a few other issues—the kindle version wouldn’t save progress on this particular book. I had to try to find where I had left off.

Then there was the issue with poor sentence structure and odd descriptions. I’m paraphrasing it but something like, “Salerno taught Nicolai how to find Salerno on his own.” There was a lot of repetition and overall—it really could have just used an editor’s touch. I’m not saying that to bash the author—I think that the book had promise. It just needed some guidance to cut out the unnecessary and to fix the issues that bogged down the story.

Three young men find that their future, and their past, is intricately woven and their destiny is intertwined in a quest to save a phoenix as it is rebirthed. I will admit, I started skimming a large part of this book because I just couldn’t keep interest so; I’m not so sure why it would be so awful for the phoenix to die—other than that folks with magic would lose that.
That is pretty much the entire premise of the story but it had other elements that I really felt didn’t belong. Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE dolphins, they just didn’t seem to fit into a fantasy tale, despite the explanation given for them.

I wish I could elaborate more but I’ll just say that this book has promise, you may even like it. I personally just couldn’t get into it and felt it needed a bit of polishing up.
View all my reviews

gift of phoenix tour

Gift of the Phoenix

When three strangers are brought together by the discovery of a common enemy, they must fight to keep the magic of the Phoenix out of dangerous hands before their world is destroyed forever. The Three must learn to unite in spite of what separates them, and unlock the magic of three stones that seem to harm as much as they help. But uniting will not be easy for Nicolai, the simple peasant with a powerful secret; Marcellus, the warrior prince who’s no longer heir to the throne; and Corren, a gifted wizard whose ambitions threaten to ruin them all. Full of magic, mystery, and a touch of romance, Gift of the Phoenix is an epic fantasy that takes the reader deep into the heart of a wondrous world and the three men destined to defend it.

Praise for Gift of the Phoenix

“An incredibly impressive book that grips you from the very start. There is plenty of action in the story, some wonderful characters and magical, atmospheric settings. Donna has created a fascinating realm in this story which, even if you don’t consider yourself a fantasy fan, you’ll definitely enjoy.” – Excerpt of Stephanie Dagg’s review at Books Are Cool.

“As an avid reader of fantasy, I often encounter boring or overused plotlines—this was neither! With a fresh new take on fantasy adventure, Cook constructs an enchanting world of magic, kingdoms, rebirth, and death.” – Excerpt a review by Artemis at Fantasy Book Lovers Unite

“Gift of the Phoenix reminds me of a mix of Paolin’s Eragon and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, but stands on its own as a unique fantasy-adventure. Cook creates a magic system that is intricate and unique, which can be hard to do in a genre littered with magic. The story is very complex, and yet very easy to follow… layers upon layers of intertwined plots that all culminate to a fantastic ending. I would recommend this book to anyone of any age.” – Excerpt of a review by Will Wortner at Zero2Fiction


Gift of the Phoenix has won several awards, including Semifinalist in the Kindle Book Review Book of the Year Awards, and Notable Read in the Shelf Unbound/Half Price Books Indie Book of the Year competition

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Donna Cook is an Arizona native transplanted to Boise, Idaho, where she is delighting in the change of scenery. When she’s not writing she spends her time chasing the kids, exploring delicious eateries downtown, and dancing with her talented husband. Her fantasy adventure, Gift of the Phoenix has won several awards, including Semifinalist in the Kindle Book Review Book of the Year Awards, and Notable Read in the Shelf Unbound/Half Price Books Indie Book of the Year competition. It was also nominated for the Whitney Award, which recognizes LDS writers. She’s currently working on the sequel to Gift of the Phoenix.
Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 4/31/14

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received this book free from the publisher through a fantastic blog called I am a Reader. I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts and opinions I have expressed are my own. To view other reviews and learn more about the blog tour for Gift of the Phoenix please visit the I am a Reader by clicking here
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