Monday, November 28, 2011

A New Place to Read for Free: Big World Network

One of my favorite authors, Tristi Pinkston introduced me to a fabulous new way to read and listen to books. It's a site called Big World Network and every week several authors will post part of their story in a serial form. The best part? It's all FREE!

It's described as television in book form because each week you get to read another episode in your favorite series of books.
I listened to and read the first installment of Tristi's book, called Taking out the Trash. It is delightful and I'm looking forward to more! Every Tuesday, another part of the series will be up for reading.

As many of you know, I have a problem. I always want to read way more books than I have time. My to-read stack would reach the ceiling in my house--no exaggeration! But I can burn through novellas pretty quick, so I'm adding a few more books to my list. Since these books are online, there is plenty of room for them in my to-read pile, right?

Heather Justesen is another of my favorite authors and you can read her book posted on Big World Network, here.
I have my eye on this series by Trina Boice as well, How to Stay Up in a Down Economy.

Skip on over to Big World Network and see if there is a series that suits your fancy. Please share your recommendations with me as well!

What books are you asking for this Christmas?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review: Bound by C. K. Bryant

I have a great recommendation for anyone who enjoys reading a young adult paranormal romance.
C. K. Bryant can write! And she's written a stellar first novel, Bound. Check out the cool cover.

Here's a blurb about the book:

When a photo shoot ends in tragedy, Kira discovers her best friend, Lydia, has been keeping a secret. Knowing the truth, and accepting it, will change Kira’s life forever and thrust her into a world of ancient curses, magical objects, and savage enemies. What happens next will challenge everything Kira knows about her world, herself and the shape-shifting warrior she’s falling in love with. No longer the timid mouse her mother accused her of being, but a woman who finds the mental and physical strength to endure and survive.

BOUND is a heroic tale of true friendship, infinite sacrifice and untamed love.

I like the creative use of magic in this book. The characters in Bound pulled me into the story, and by the second chapter I felt emotionally invested in Kira's life and pushed the page button on my Kindle faster and faster to find out what would happen next.

I've been using books as a reward system lately for myself. When I finished a certain point of editing or word count in writing, I let myself take a little break to read! I'm almost finished with Bound and it has been such a great reprieve from editing my book.

C.K. Bryant's writing style is gripping, fresh, and realistic. Her attention to detail held me captive in Kira's world as I explored each new adventure alongside Lydia and Octavion--who is a total hottie, I might add.
Bound is book one in The Crystor series and I am looking forward to more!

Bound is available as an ebook for only $3.99 on Amazon

and also on Smashwords
You can visit C.K. Bryant's website here to get a hard copy of the book, and she can autograph it for you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful Thoughts

The week of Thanksgiving brings so many happy memories to my mind. As a child, each Thanksgiving we met with extended family at my grandma's house for a big dinner. We stayed all day long, eating, visiting, eating, playing games, eating some more. I enjoyed hanging out with my cousins, reading a book, and eating yams and pumpkin pie.

Usually after the dinner was over, the female members of the clan broke out the stamping supplies and we made all kinds of darling cards and creations with scrapbook paper, ribbons, and ink. It was fun to talk and laugh as we made Christmas cards, thank you cards, and many more.

This year, my husband and I will make the candied yams--probably with some pecans! And we'll visit with his family. My kids will play with their cousins and we'll enjoy the warmth and love of family.
I'm grateful for my family--my husband's family and my own. I'm excited for this holiday season and looking forward to the happy memories we'll make.

What are some of your favorite memories of Thanksgiving?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winner of Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson

I had fun reading everyone's comments and recommendations for good books in the Not My Type giveaway post, here.
Thanks to everyone who entered!

The winner of one autographed copy of Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson is...


Happy Reading Everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Parmesan Crusted Chicken in Cream Sauce

I tried a new recipe for dinner last night and it was a hit. My hubby is great to help me think of ideas and he sent me the recipe, but as usual I tweaked it a bit.


Parmesan Crusted Chicken in Cream Sauce

2 c. brown rice
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth, divided--I use water and chicken bouillon, much more economical
6 Ritz crackers, finely crushed or Panko bread crumbs. I used a combination of both.
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/3 c. cream cheese

Cook rice. I use a rice cooker--love it!--using 1 1/4 c. of the broth and 1/2 c. water. Meanwhile, mix cracker crumbs and Parmesan cheese on a plate. Rinse chicken with cold water, shake off excess water. Dip chicken in cracker mixture, turning to coat.

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken; cook 8 to 10 minutes on each side or until chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Place chicken on serving plate. Set aside; keep warm. Add remaining 1/2 c. broth and cream cheese to same skillet.

Cook on medium heat until mixture just comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Simmer 3 minutes or until sauce thickens. Spoon sauce over chicken. Serve over rice. 

While the chicken is cooking, steam broccoli, cauliflower, and baby carrots. Toss in melted butter and salt to taste. The veggies make a great addition to this meal.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Review: Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson & A Giveaway

I love reviewing books on my blog, and today I have an especially fun one to recommend and I get to give away a signed copy to one of you lucky readers!
Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson is a romantic comedy full of wit, snarky attitude, and great romantic tension. I think my cheeks are sore from smiling my way through this book. Melanie has a gift--her characters jumped off the page and kept talking in my head when I had to put the book down to change a dirty diaper. I actually used her book as motivation to get my writing done. I had to meet a certain word count each day before I could read, so thanks Melanie!
 Here's a blurb about the book:
Twenty-three-year-old Pepper Spicer is not living the dream. She ended her engagement at the last minute because her fiance,a musician and soon-to-be reality TV star, wanted her to sacrifice her own career ambitions for his. Now she's stuck at home sharing a room with her little sister, trying to pay off massive debt for a wedding that didn t happen, and spending Friday nights Facebook-stalking everyone who has a better life. Her therapist father urges her to choose her career dreams and count her blessings by writing weekly thank-you notes, but gratitude is a tall order when she botches an important job interview and has to settle for writing an undercover dating web-zine column the last thing in the world she wants to do. Still, as Pepper (byline: Indie Girl) chronicles her bizarre and hilarious blind dates, she gives her father's challenge a try and slowly finds herself leaving self-pity behind. Life takes a major upswing as Pepper's column hits the big time and she tastes the exhilarating thrill of success. But there's one tiny problem: the intensely hot man she's falling for is having issues with her job (again). Will Pepper trade her personal ambition for another chance at love?

Pepper Spicer will knock your socks off with her hilarious wit and terrible dating luck. I enjoyed reading about her path to journalism and seeing her succeed. The family drama interwoven was realistic and added another great angle to flesh out this story. And may I say, Jacobson knows how to write a great kissing scene!
Not My Type is Melanie's second romantic comedy from Covenant, an LDS publisher.  I'm going to have to pick up her first novel, The List and get it read. If you're a fan of clean, romantic comedy, I suggest you keep reading to find out how to win your own copy.

If you want to learn more about this author, visit

 Now the giveaway details...
Want to win your very own signed copy of this book?
All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what you've loved reading lately. Do it by Friday, November 18, 2011 at midnight MST and you'll be entered in for this delicious read.  Please make sure you leave your email or that it's easy to find cuz I won't hunt you down. I'll select a winner randomly and announce the good news Saturday.
That's it. Leave a comment about what you're reading and let's start the fun!
Thanks to Melanie for this giveaway and for sharing her rockin' writer skills!

Winner of the Ribbon Box- Original Scrapbox Holiday Blog Hop

Thank you to everyone who entered the fabulous Holiday Blog Hop from The Original Scrapbox.
Today I get to announce the lucky person who will soon get to fill this Ribbon Box to the brim!

Thanks to for helping me select the winner.
And the winner is....

Kristie from Kristie Kreates
Congrats, Kristie! You are now entered into the grand prize drawing for a WorkTop. The winner will be announced November 18, 2011 on the ScrapboxUSA Blog

Please contact me within 24 hours with your mailing address and phone number. If I don't hear from you, I will have to draw a new winner.
Thanks again everyone and check back for another giveaway this week!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Winner of the I Am A Reader, Not A Writer Blog Hop

Thanks to everyone who entered my portion of the November Giveaway Hop sponsored by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Tristi Pinkston
This is not The Original Scrapbox Giveaway winner--that contest is still open and you can enter by clicking here.

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

I used to help me select the winner of this fun purse full of books!
 And the winner is....

Amanda Hoffman!

Congrats to Amanda!

Thanks again for playing and be on the lookout for some pretty great giveaways coming up!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Holiday Blog Hop from The Original Scrapbox

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!
Welcome to The Original Scrapbox Holiday Blog Hop

The Original Scrapbox company has an incredible line of products for organization, scrapbooking storage, sewing--any kind of craft you can dream up would love a home in one of their phenomenal pieces of furniture. Check out The Workbox, that's one of my favorites. And there is Free shipping anywhere in the continental USA!

On November 18, 2011 we'll give away one of these beautiful WorkTops!

The Original  is giving away one limited edition WorkTop (value $150.00 U.S. Dollars).
You can enter to win your very own WorkTop from Thursday November 10th - Monday Nov 14th, 2011.
Here’s a blog post about this limited edition item

There will be 10 preliminary giveaways with a chance to win an entry into the Grand Prize Drawing for one WorkTop.

Enter here to win the preliminary giveaway of one Ribbon Box (value $19.95) and One entry into the Grand Prize Drawing for a WorkTop in your choice of color.

If you are selected as a preliminary winner of the Ribbon Box, you will then be entered into the grand prize drawing held on The Original Scrapbox Blog on November 18, 2011. On that date, a random drawing will select a winner from all of the finalists to receive one WorkTop (value $150.00 U.S. Dollars) in their choice of black or white.

*The contest is open to addresses in the contiguous United States only.

Giveaway open from Thursday November 10- Monday November 14th at 11:59pm.
Giveaway Rules:
*You can only enter under one name
* It is possible to win more than one preliminary prize, which means it’s possible to be entered into the grand prize drawing more than once.
*All winner’s addresses must be U.S. (48 contiguous state) addresses
*You must complete the required entry to be eligible to win

Here's how to enter: Fill out the handy dandy entry form here on my blog and make sure you include your email address, so I can contact you if you're the winner. I'll put all entries into a spreadsheet and use to select the winner. Visit all 10 blogs for extra entries into this fabulous giveaway! Leave me a comment saying you entered, if you'd like so I can come visit your blog sometime. :)

*Required entry: You must watch the following 3 videos on YouTube, (they’re short and sweet!) to find and unscramble the secret message. Then enter the secret message in the form below.*Do NOT leave the secret message in the comments, please!
Here's the links to the 3 videos, or scroll down to watch them here
The EZ View Desk:

Extra Entries:

Here's the handy dandy entry form!

Hop on over to each of the participating bloggers for your chance to win a fantastic prize and ONE entry into the grand prize giveaway of the WorkTop from The Original Scrapbox:

Crafty Sprouts
Dukes & Duchesses
Two Classy Chics
Just Jingle
Craftiness is not Optional
Paper or Fabric
Family Volley
I'm a Yarner
RachelleWrites  -- That's Me!

*Disclosure: I received free product from The Original Scrapbox to host this giveaway. All rules must be followed and correct United States address given for prize to be awarded.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review: The Sounds of Christmas by Pam Griffin

I love this time of year when we're approaching Thanksgiving. This is the time of year when my family hauls out all of our Christmas CDs and begins celebrating our favorite Christmas carols. Have you ever wondered about the history of your favorite carols, such as Silent Night, Joy to the World, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, and O Little Town of Bethlehem?
In the Sounds of Christmas booklet by Pam Griffin, you can read about these and other carols with stories and historical notes.

Pam Griffin delves into the history of how Christmas Carols came to be. I want to share a small excerpt:
Some of the first carolers were known as Waits, or night watchmen, who patrolled the streets guarding against fires. They sang to pass the night hours. During the Christmas season, they added folk carols to their repertoire to entertain the citizens. Christmas caroling had been created.

The Sounds of Christmas is available from Cedar Fort for just $2.99. This would make an excellent neighbor gift or something special to mail with your Christmas cards.

What is your favorite Christmas carol?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Giveaway Hop

This contest is now closed. Thank you!
Thanks for stopping by my blog today to enter in my portion of the fabulous November Giveaway Hop sponsored by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Tristi Pinkston

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

What am I giving away? 
Well, the giveaway is supposed to be something a reader, a writer, or a blogger would enjoy so I mixed up a great assortment of goodies to please all three.
 And I put them all inside this beautiful handmade suede purse, created by yours truly. :)
What's in the purse?
 Something for the kids-- The 7 Habits for Happy Kids by Sean Covey
7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens Workbook
For Mommy-- Piggyback Rides & Slippery Slides (How to have fun raising first-rate children) by Lynnae Allred
For the reader-- Missing by Ronda Hinrichson
A Dog Named Slugger by Leigh Brill
For the writer--Writing Secrets from LDStorymakers
For the Beautiful Blogger--Burberry Parfum spray (Fruity-Amber)
and the red suede purse!

It's easy to enter to win Nov 8-11th and I'll ship to anywhere in the continental United States.
Mandatory Entry:
Follow RachelleWrites

2 more chances to win

Join Rachelle's Newsletter Mailing List- fill out the form on the right

Like My Author page on Facebook 

Leave one comment telling me how you entered with an email so I can contact you if you win.
Good luck! And now feel free to hop to any or all of the blogs on the following linky list. Every single one is giving something away! And they are all really easy to enter. Yahoo!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Snapshot from 1:30 on a Thursday Afternoon

I found this scribbled on a note paper in my desk from this past June.

I'm tending my nephew, who is also 2 years old so my sister can study for her college test, so that adds one more bum to the diaper duty circus.
I've already heated up my lunch twice at this point, so I'm thinking, "What's the point? Maybe I'll just pull out the Oreo's and some peanut butter!"

I was thinking that if I hadn't found that scrap of writing, the memory of that moment would have vanished. It's not the most important memory, but it makes me think about how much of our life is highlighted in our memories. We tend to filter through things and only remember the stand-out moments on the far sides of the spectrum of good or bad. I want to hold onto the little moments too. I want to remember that day in June when I felt frazzled, but I made it through. The boys were happy, they said and did silly things but those moments are so fleeting.
Just like how I had completely forgotten that when my first son was one-year-old, he used to grab anything he could find and throw it through the banister down the stairs. He would throw the girls' toys, shoes, my decorations, anything.

What made me remember his antics?
Watching my second little boy who is now one-year-old do the exact same thing.

I'm pretty sure I wrote something down about that, but I haven't reviewed the baby book so it is still in the faded part of my memory. But now that I've written about it again and brought the two separate memories to mind, I have a better chance of remembering...for a time.
This is part of my little exercise called "Mining your Memories" that I blogged about here.

What have you remembered lately that made you smile? 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Thought from Susan Dayley

Susan Dayley is my guest today and she has a wonderful thought to share:

“When you have come to the edge
Of all light that you know
And are about to drop off into the darkness
Of the unknown,
Faith is knowing
One of two things will happen:
There will be something solid to stand on or
You will be taught to fly.”

--Patrick Overton

Susan says, "I have known the fear of moving forward during dark times, and I have known what it is to be lifted up and cast forward to fly. I have come to know that my Divine Father is always there to lift and to save."

Thank you, Susan. I love the idea behind that sentiment, it does help to have faith that we are not alone.

Susan Dayley blogs at about the unexpected wonders of life: laughing at the absurdities and rejoicing in the blessings. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Review Revisit: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

I love reading to my kids each night. Now that we have four munchkins, my hubby reads to the boys and I read to the girls each night for about twenty minutes. My girls, age 8 and 6, always beg for more, and lately they say, "Just one more page, please!"

We've been reading chapter books and I went downstairs to my bookshelf to find another book to read. I saw one of my favorite books and was delighted because in 2008, when I first read this book, I didn't think my kids were old enough to grasp everything yet. Well, they are the perfect age now.

Through every chapter of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, they gasped, they sighed, they expressed anger and heartbreak at Edward's journey and begged for just one more page each night.

I love this extraordinary book about a china rabbit who learns what it is to love and be loved as he travels through life. This book is for boys, and girls, and adults, and everyone. Read this book.
The text is vivid and the story is unique. There is also a selection of detailed color illustrations throughout the book that make it even more inviting to younger readers.
Here is a link to my original review. I hope it entices you to read this book, so you can love it too!

What have you read lately that you would read again?


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