Sunday, November 30, 2014

Book Review: River Spirits by Marilyn Meredith! In this exciting new installment of the Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series, an actor is murdered during filming at the Bear Creek Indian Reservation. Tempe is sent in to uncover the culprit. Meanwhile, her son, Blair, arrives home with some big news.

This series keeps getting better and better. Familiar faces from Bear Creek (Hutch, Miqui Sherwood, Nick Two John, and Claudia) are joined by a film crew shooting a movie at the reservation. When an actor is found murdered at the Painted Rock shelter, Tempe discovers numerous people could have wanted this man dead. In a style that readers have come to expect from Meredith, Tempe's personal and professional lives collide as she works to uncover a murderer. The Native American elements of the series continue to play a vital role in the plot--including the legend of the Hairy Man.

A perfect stand-alone novel, River Spirits will draw you in from the very first page and have you longing for more Tempe once you're done.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Mundania Press LLC (September 30, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606594117
ISBN-13: 978-1606594117
Also available in Kindle format

Contest: The winner will be the person who comments on the most blog posts during the tour.
He or she can either have a character in my next book named after them, or choose an earlier book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series—either a paper book or e-book.

I received an electronic ARC from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Friday 56 - Week 204

Welcome to Week 204!

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.

Find this book on GoodReads

She nestled beside him, feeling the muscles in his arms tighten with anticipation.

Black Friday Shopping Tips

Here are links to Black Friday shopping tips. Me, I'll stick around home and bake for the church's bake sale on Saturday. If you brave the crowds, good luck!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Seasonal Family Favorites on PBS KIDS!

‘Tis the season for family favorites on PBS KIDS! On November 26, PBS KIDS will kick off the holidays with the return of CURIOUS GEORGE: A Very Monkey Christmas. In this fun-filled one-hour special, families can join their favorite monkey and the Man with the Yellow Hat as they count down the days until Christmas.

The holiday fun continues throughout December with new episodes from other PBS KIDS series. Viewers will help Otto and Olive solve a reindeer case in an all-new episode of ODD SQUAD, celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah with Peg and Cat in a one-hour PEG + CAT + HOLIDAYS special, spread cheer with new engine friends Gator and Reg on THOMAS & FRIENDS and go on a winter adventure featuring The Nutcracker Ballet with DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD.

Mailbox Monday - November 24

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

It's been a few weeks since I've participated in Mailbox Monday. Real estate is keeping me very busy. My first listing hit the market last week and I have been showing houses to buyers all weekend long. When I'm not showing houses on Sunday, I'm facilitating open houses. I'm loving it, but I'm still struggling to find some balance. I've made a bit of time for reading, but not as much as I would like.

The following book was ordered from They had a great sale going on and I couldn't resist.

Settling the vast open prairies, weathering the winter storms, and finding joy to celebrate during Christmas epitomizes the pioneer experience. In this unique collection of nine Christmas romances, readers will relive a prairie Christmas with all its challenges and delights as penned by multi-published authors, including Tracie Peterson and Deborah Raney.

Take Me Home by Tracey Bateman
One Wintry Night by Pamela Griffin
Image of Love by JoAnn A. Grote
The Christmas Necklace by Maryn Langer
A Christmas Gift of Love by Darlene Mindrup
God Jul by Tracie Peterson
Circle of Blessings by Deborah Raney
Christmas Cake by Janet Spaeth
Colder Than Ice by Jill Stengl

The warmth of Christmas will radiate in new love from the high plains of Minnesota and Dakota Territory, across the rolling hills of Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois, and down into the flats of Kansas. Filled with inspiration and faith, each story will become a treasure to be enjoyed again next year.

What books arrived in your mailbox? I'm working most of the day and then have a meeting in the evening, so it might be tomorrow before I return your comment. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Session Director's Guide to Commercial Acting in L.A. Book Blitz - Win A $25 Amazon Gift Card

Shaan Sharma’s A SESSION DIRECTOR’S GUIDE TO COMMERCIAL ACTING IN L.A. is the commercial acting industry’s most comprehensive book ever written - - giving readers a step-by-step guide to breaking into and prospering in the commercial acting business in the world’s entertainment center, Los Angeles. Fusing his experience, wisdom, vignettes and wit – Sharma is about to change the lives of those who thought big-picture acting was nothing but a fantasy, as well as those commercial veterans who could be even more successful.

Readers of this book will learn how to become successful working actors in TV commercials in Los Angeles in this fun step-by-step guide by top Casting Session Director and Commercial Actor Shaan Sharma. “This isn’t hype – it’s tangible advice I have gained from running auditions for over 400 commercial spots,” says Sharma. “Readers will hit the ground running as they discover how the business works and what to expect, how to find good acting classes, refine their look, get headshots, get representation, get in with the top commercial casting directors, navigate the audition and call-back process, life on set and even how to stay busy between acting jobs. There’s also a bonus chapter for parents interested in getting their children into acting. The commercial acting world is so different than that of theater, TV and film that new students and veterans alike need to make the most of the time and money they invest in their careers.”

Shaan went on to say, “The kind of information in this book can only come from someone who has experience both in front of and behind the camera, who works with the top casting directors, directors, ad agencies and companies in the world. There are no other books out there like it. So, if you want to get into commercial acting in L.A. – this is your guidebook.”

Having directed audition sessions for over four hundred national commercial spots for dozens of L.A.’s top casting directors, Shaan Sharma is a well-known veteran of his industry. Now expanding his reach through a powerful new book, Shaan is looking to help thousands of actors better navigate their way through the commercial acting business by putting into practice the tips and information he has spent fifteen years discovering. Regardless of experience level, A SESSION DIRECTOR’S GUIDE TO COMMERCIAL ACTING IN L.A. contains insider knowledge that will help actors better understand the process and in turn be more successful. Shaan’s book features compelling illustrations by Paul Loudon.

203 pages
E-book, $19.99; ISBN: 9780990408024
Softback, $29.99; ISBN: 9780990408000
Publication date: September 22, 2014
Published by CreateSpace; Available at: Apple iBooks:; Amazon Kindle:; Barnes and Noble Nook:; Kobo:

Book Excerpt:
In the end, training to be the best actor you can be, creating your own work, getting in front of casting directors whenever possible through workshops and showcases, submitting yourself for work on and offline, getting great representation and working with them to expand your opportunities for mutual success, being knowledgeable about the business and casting process, giving as much as you can of yourself to other actors, and being awesome to, and interested in, the people that make it all happen day-in and day-out is the best way to maximize your chances of success, not only as a commercial actor but as a professional actor, period.

I hope that this information has been a helpful starting point in knowing what to do. Almost all of us move here from somewhere else with no good information as to how things actually work, and it can be so hap-hazard where you end up training and how you end up finding out the right information. It’s my hope that this insider look into the world of commercial acting and casting helps you sidestep the mistakes I and others naturally made when we started out. A better-informed and trained acting community will only make my life easier in the casting studio. In fact, this material is actually all a selfish effort for my own benefit. But hey, if good is achieved with it also, well then that’s extra karma for me.

As an L.A. actor himself, Shaan Sharma has a string of impressive acting credits on network TV shows such as “Scandal,” “Ground Floor,” “Growing Up Fisher,” “Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street” and “The Thundermans.” Shaan’s commercial acting credits include spots for FedEx, Best Buy and Capital One - - but it’s his experience as a Session Director for hundreds of commercial castings that have given him unique insight into what it takes to be a working actor. He is also an acting teacher with regular scene study on-camera acting classes for film and TV as well as commercial acting workshops. For more information, visit Mr. Sharma’s official website: and his book page at: He is also a columnist for Back Stage, an actor’s news source at:

Shaan is giving away one $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
• This giveaway begins November 3 and ends November 29.
• Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, December 1.
• Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 18, 2014



BOSTON, November 12 – Procrastination may be just the prescription for those seeking the hottest holiday deals, according to new findings today from ShopAdvisor, which today revealed December 18 as last year’s best day to snag low prices in-store and online.  The virtuousness of patience was further borne out by data showing last year’s post-Black Friday discounts reaching double digits, even for some of the most coveted brands, outpacing Black Friday’s reductions of just a percentage point or two for the 6,000 items ShopAdvisor tracked in-store and online.

Surprisingly, 42 percent of the products tracked by ShopAdvisor were actually priced higher on Black Friday than in the four weeks leading up to it.  And as for luxury goods deals, the wait was endless, as ShopAdvisor found highest-end merchandize having gone undiscounted from November through January.

ShopAdvisor analyzed the 2013 lowest available prices for 6,000 products across all major categories that its app and website users were actively shopping for.  The pricing data came from 16,000 real-time data feeds from individual retailers and affiliates, including the nation’s big box, department store and online retail leaders.  

Among other noteworthy ShopAdvisor findings:

·         The average discount was 17.5 percent on December 18 versus less than 5 percent on Black Friday
·         Discounts were 30 percent deeper weekdays than on weekends from after Black Friday through the holiday shopping period

·         While discounts continued from December 26 through New Year’s Day, the deals were not as strong as those offered on December 18

Longer Waits, Better Deals: The New Norm?

ShopAdvisor’s unmasking of December 18 as last year’s best holiday deal day in-store and online stands in marked contrast to 2012, when December 1 reigned supreme, per similar company data.  “The question becomes, are retailers planning to backload deals again this year?  Now is too early to tell, but the perception of a stronger economy may embolden them to behave that way,” said Scott Cooper, CEO, ShopAdvisor.  “What is now clear, if it wasn’t already, is that Black Friday is more about sport than savings – consumers competing for real deals on just a handful of limited quantity doorbusters, not widespread season’s-best pricing.”

Cooper said aggregated data from ShopAdvisor users actively seeking discounts on desired products this holiday season show electronics again topping lists. The top five most watched categories as of this week: (1) TVs, tablets and computers; (2) health and beauty; (3) appliances; (4) cameras; (5) video games.

About ShopAdvisor

ShopAdvisor lets consumers shop smarter in-store and online by providing up-to-date pricing and retailer availability for over 200 million products.  Shoppers can save items they’re interested in to a Watch List and be alerted when the time to buy is right, saving time and money, and link to the lowest price merchant to buy instantly. ShopAdvisor also works with magazines including Cosmopolitan, House Beautiful, Cooking Light and Real Simple to allow shoppers to shop directly for the products and gift ideas featured in the magazine. 

Consumers can download the ShopAdvisor mobile app for their iOS or Androiddevice, or go to The app and web site are free. ShopAdvisor has been recognized as one of the best 100 Android apps by PC Magazine and an “App Store Rewind Best Utility App” for the iPhone.
# # #

For additional data and insights, contact Caitlin Melnick,, 617-585-5775, or Jenny Krupski,, 617-585-5762.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Product Review: Hamilton Beach® 24791 Modern Chrome 4-Slice Toaster

I purchased this Hamilton Beach® 24791 Modern Chrome 4-Slice Toaster back in September from Amazon. We had a toaster oven that took up a ton of space and worked slowly. This unit's sleek design takes up much less space and it looks great.

You can toast and defrost with this unit, and it also has a bagel setting. This toaster works quickly and I was thrilled to have some counter space back. My only issue with this unit is the uneven toasting of the bread. If I get one side golden brown, the other is still mostly white. My only option is to reduce the toasting time and turn the bread over and re-toast it if I want it done right. Who has time for that?

Overall I'm happy with this toaster. I just wish it toasted more evenly.

This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Product Review: O2Cool Mist n' Sip®

Right before soccer season started, we bought this O2Cool Mist n' Sip® water bottle from Olympia Sports for the Lil' Princess. It's a clever design: a soft plastic insulated bottle with a holding ring and a top that has a spout as well as a trigger for misting. Several of the kids at school had them, so the Lil' Princess wanted one too.

It worked great for a couple of weeks, but once it fell off her desk the plastic plug inside the spout broke and the mister stopped working. We replaced it. She had that one for a few weeks. One of the prongs holding the plastic plug in place broke off and now the plug won't stay in. Not only is it a choking hazard, without that plug the water leaks all over the place. So, we're now searching for a new water bottle.

While this is a clever design that is popular with the kids, I won't ever buy another one. With as expensive as they are, they should hold up longer than a few weeks. In addition, I'm afraid of what might happen if the plug broke off while a child is drinking.

This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Get Ready for the Holidays with Bargain EBooks from Chronicle Books

Chronicle Eye Candy offers the best ebooks every month from $3.99 or less. These special prices are often available in the U.K., Canada, Australia, and Europe too—sweet!

Here are some of the bargain titles for November.

This definitive baking guide is the much-anticipated cookbook from the Model Bakery, a mother-daughter–run baking destination with a huge local following that's been wowing the Wine Country for years. And this book of sensational artisan baked goods makes clear why there are lines out the door! Featuring 75 recipes and 60 photos, it's as luscious to look at as their most-requested breads, classic desserts, and fresh pastries—all arrayed here—are to eat. Pain au Levain, Sticky Buns, Peach Streusel Pie, Ginger Molasses Cookies, and many more glorious recipes make this a mouthwatering read and a reference gem for lovers of bread and pastry, cakes and cookies, and, of course, the Model Bakery!

Available here!

This tantalizing book celebrates the art of cooking slowly with time-honored methods that yield tender, delicious meals with little hands-on cooking time. More than 80 recipes cover everything from slow-simmered soups and stews to hearty braised meats and a lemon cheesecake that cures to a creamy custard in a warm oven overnight. A chapter devoted to the sous vide technique will tempt the technophiles, while the slow-grilling section is a revelation for those who man the grill every weekend. Brought to life with 36 enticing photographs by award-winning photographer Alan Benson, this valuable package sells the dream of cooking and living well and is a must-have for dedicated home cooks.

Available here!

Renowned for her cooking school in France and her many best-selling cookbooks, Anne Willan combines years of hands-on experience with extensive research to create a brand new classic. More than 250 recipes range from the time-honored La Truffade, with its crispy potatoes and melted cheese, to the Languedoc specialty Cassoulet de Toulouse, a bean casserole of duck confit, sausage, and lamb. And the desserts! Crêpes au Caramel et Beurre Sal (crêpes with a luscious caramel filling) and Galette Landaise (a rustic apple tart) are magnifique. Sprinkled with intriguing historical tidbits and filled with more than 270 enchanting photos of food markets, villages, harbors, fields, and country kitchens, this cookbook is an irresistible celebration of French culinary culture.

Available here!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Climbing for Roots Book Blitz: Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Title: Climbing for Roots
Author: Alan Noble
Genre: Religion/Spiritual Growth/Christian Life
Publisher: Axiom

Climbing for Roots will explain fully the sin that so completely corrupted creation, and the plan of God for our salvation. We learn that Jesus is not only our Savior, but is also the Lord of our lives. What does that mean? That obedience will never earn us God’s love but it will always produce blessing. We learn that our salvation is secure, but we must strive for obedience because we are created to do good works.
When we trust Jesus for salvation, we become members of a new family—the family of God, also known as the church. Imagine! God is now our Father. As members of this incredible family, certain changes take place within us. We get learn about worship and praise, and have a relationship with Him. Climbing for Roots will teach us about ourselves as new creations, about this church, and about Jesus, the Son of God! We learn about the two ordinances or rites Jesus has given His church that will help us to remember who we are as Christians—baptism, and communion. As a member of God’s church, we learn that we are to serve each other in unity. We must consider others more important than ourselves. We learn that we need to persevere together, so that when Jesus returns, He will find us doing what He has left us here to do—serving Him by serving others.
Purchase at:
Barnes and Noble:

Alan R. Noble is a born-again Christian, schooled in the Word since childhood. He was fortunate to sit under capable preaching and teaching throughout his life. His passion for the spiritual welfare of young people grew out of his years of work experience, and his understanding of the Scriptures. He realizes that young Christians need instruction in the meat as well as the milk of the Word (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Mr. Noble was educated at William Paterson University, a liberal arts institute in Northern New Jersey, and received a B.A. in education, with a certificate to teach elementary school. Later, he received an M.A. in Communication Arts, and a certificate in supervision. He worked as an educator for 31 years.

After his retirement from public education Mr. Noble enjoyed teaching in Christian Schools in New Jersey and Texas.

These days find Alan and his wife Kathie enjoying their travels between Kansas City and northern New Jersey as they visit their daughters’ families that include six beautiful grandchildren.

Pump Up Your Book and Alan are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
• This giveaway begins November 3 and ends on November 28, 2014.
• Winner will be contacted via email on December 1, 2014.
• Winner has 72 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Climbing for Roots Book Blitz Schedule
November 3
November 4
November 5
November 6
November 7
November 10
November 11
November 12
November 13
November 14
November 17
November 18
November 19
November 20
November 21
November 24
November 25
November 26
November 28

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mailbox Monday - November 3

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Hope you all had a great week. It was another busy one around here. The Lil' Princess is turning 11 this coming Wednesday, so preparations are underway for a birthday party/sleepover this weekend.

On to the book situation. I rarely buy any these days. Having probably 200 sitting on the floor of my office and another 400 or so on my Kindles means I really must want a book desperately to buy it. The Seven Levels of Communication was recommended by my manager. He attended a conference where this book was available and he thought it was fabulous. Since I need to read more business books, I thought it would be good to start with this one.

How many of your clients would attend your funeral? One of the top real estate professionals in the country has written a book that details how he became "America's Most Referred Real Estate Professional". In (7L) The Seven Levels of Communication, Michael J. Maher tells the inspiring story of real estate agent Rick Masters who is suffering through a down market when he meets a mortgage professional who has built a successful business without advertising or personal promotion. Step by step he learns to change the way he interacts with his clients and begins to focus on people instead of numbers. Yet with each new success comes a new challenge and Rick soon realizes that if he is to fully utilize the lessons of the (7L), he must be willing to change himself as well as his business. He soon learns, however, that the rewards for doing so are far greater than he had ever imagined. (7L) shows Rick how to build a more profitable business and a more fulfilling life in the process.

What did the mail carrier drop in your mailbox this week?