Monthly Archives: February 2012

BzzAgent: Comforts for Baby

I was recently able to review a variety of products from the Comforts for Baby brand, thanks to BzzAgent.  These products are exclusive to the Kroger family of stores.  No matter what stage your little one is in, Comforts for Baby has a product that’s right for you–they have a wide range of diapers, wipes, accessories and even food!

The first product I reviewed were the Spill-Proof cups.

Since I have a three year old who runs, never walks, anywhere, it was so great to be able to use a sippy cup with a lid!  These cups held just the right amount of liquid, not too much or too little.  I also loved the vibrant colors.  The only issue I had with these cups was that you had to screw the lid on just so or the cup would leak like crazy.  But other than that, I am glad to have discovered these sippy cups!

I also tried the Comforts Training Pants.

These are a GREAT value–the mega size with 58 in the package was priced at only $14.99!  Sometimes training pants that are not one of the national brands can fit a bit smaller.  But these fit great!  I actually got a size up than what my son wears in his clothing, and they turned out to be a little big.  We use these for nighttime since my son is completely trained during the day.  These training pants are super absorbent and don’t leak, even overnight.  The sides are super stretchy, and my son had no problems pulling them up or down to go potty.  The only issue I had with these was that the pants are a bit crinkly and loud when you put on a new pair, but that’s a minor thing since my son only wears them to sleep anyway.  I will definitely replace my other brand of training pants with Comforts!

The last product I tried was Comforts Baby Wipes.

Since we are potty trained, these wipes are used mainly to clean up hands and face when my son gets messy.  And they work perfectly for that!  They are strong and durable–I never had a wipe tear or poke my finger through one.  They are very soft, but tough.  And they are a great size.  I also like that they are fragrance free, so my son can eat right after I wipe his hands and I don’t have to worry about him licking weird fragrances off his fingers.

Overall, I think Comforts for Baby is a fantastic line!  They offer many essential products at an awesome value.  I will definitely be using many more of their products!

*Disclaimer:  I was sent these products to test because I am a member of BzzAgent.  I received no compensation besides the  products I tested, and my words and opinions are my own.

REVIEW: Spellbound (Spellbound Series, Book 1) by Cara Lynn Shultz

Spellbound (Spellbound, #1)Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sixteen year old Emma Connor has just been relocated to New York City after having had a rough life so far. Her mom got sick and died, and then she lost her twin brother. The last straw was when she got into a near-fatal accident in a car her drunken stepfather was driving. Emma finally gets a chance at a better life when she moves in with her Aunt Christine, who sends her to start her junior year at a ritzy, tiny private school.

It doesn’t take Emma long to make friends–or enemies. When she catches the eye of the hottest, most unattainable guy at school, Brendan Salinger, this definitely does not help in her quest to go unnoticed. But just as things seem to be heating up with Brendan, they suddenly go cold again. What is the problem?

As she soon discovers, the problem is something way bigger than both of them. Sure, Emma and Brendan have an instant, fiery connection…but could they really be a pair of reincarnated, cursed lovers? And if they are, how do a couple of teenagers get around that?

I quite enjoyed this book even from the very beginning. Emma is a great narrator, and I loved her voice. She speaks and thinks in much the same way I (and I would imagine many other young women) would. Even though she has been through a lot of tragedy in a very short period of time, she is not mopey or depressed. She is a very easy girl to relate to.

Brendan wasn’t that bad, but I’m a little tired of the two cliches that he had about him: The hot, rebellious, messy bad boy who can have anyone he wants but doesn’t choose any of them, until the new girl come to town; and the fact that after he knew things were getting heavy between them, he disappeared “for her own good.” Yeah, I’ve definitely seen these tropes before.

The villains in this book were great ones, and believable for the world that the characters are in. After all, they are in high school; high school kids realistically only have other high school kids to worry about.

The plot kept me reading quickly, even though there were a few things I saw coming. However, my favorite part of this book was the story-within-a-story aspect. The author is talented and imaginative when it comes to spinning fairy tales.

I loved this book enough to be excited to read the next installment!

View all my reviews

COVER REVEAL: Luminosity by Stephanie Thomas

Check out the beautiful cover for the upcoming novel Luminosity by Stephanie Thomas:

My name is Beatrice. When I was born, I was blessed with the Sight. I was immediately removed from my parents and enrolled in the Institution. At the age of twelve, I had my first true vision, earning my raven’s wings. And when I turned seventeen, one of my visions came true. Things haven’t been the same since.

The Institution depends on me to keep the City safe from our enemy, the Dreamcatchers, but I’m finding it harder to do while keeping a secret from everyone, including my best friend Gabe. It is a secret that could put us all in danger. A secret that could kill me and everyone close to me.

But the enemy has been coming to me in my dreams, and I think I’m falling in love with him. He says they’re coming. He says they’re angry. And I think I’ve already helped them win.

 

Doesn’t that sound awesome?!  This book won’t be out until September 11, 2012, but you can preorder it on Amazon.  Or click on the cover to add it to your GoodReads TBR list :)

YA Paranormal Activity Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Young Adult Paranormal Activity Hop, hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and vvwb32 reads.  There are over 100 blogs holding giveaways for this hop, so after you enter mine, click the button above to be taken to the linky list!

I am giving away an e-book copy (in whatever format you need) of your choice of any of the first four books in the Evernight series, by Claudia Gray.  Click on the cover of each book to check out the book description on GoodReads!

This giveaway ends on February 28 and is open internationally :)

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

Book Tour Review: Stained by Ella James

I’m so thrilled to be taking part in my first ever book tour! This tour features the book Stained by Ella James, and is run by Hollow Tours.

Ella James’ Books…

*Have been listed on the list of Top 10 Books of 2011
*Have featured heroes rated among the Top 10 Best Book Boyfriends of 2011 by What’sBeyondForks.blogspot.com
*Have been listed as Top Choice Books at the notable YA rating site Flamingnet.com

Julia is a 17 year old girl whose house has just burned down, taking along with it the only two people she has ever known as parents. As she stands outside watching the house smolder, she swears she sees a dark, winged figure above the house, watching it burn…and watching her.

So she runs. But Julia can’t hide for long. The demon she thought she saw was indeed real, and it has found her once again. Then she is saved at the last minute by the mysterious, unfriendly Cayne. He tells her that he is hunting that very same demon, Samyaza, and that she can help him–by being the bait.

Cayne and Julia set out on a cross country chase to find the demon that destroyed her life–and as they will come to find out, his too.

I had a hard time getting into this book at first. I am not really one for Nephilim books, and especially books where the main characters instantly fall in love. But I knew there was more to this story, and I’m glad I kept reading, because I was very wrong–there was no case of insta-love at all.

Yes, Julia does feel an instant attraction to Cayne, but he in no way even hints that he returns her feelings. They become close over a short period of time because of the deadly situations they are in. They are actually friends first, and I really liked that.

This was quite an action-packed and violent book, which I was not expecting, but I liked. Cayne and Julia are both very damaged characters, but likable.

This book did leave me with a lot of questions, but luckily most of them were answered throughout the course of the story. When I got to the end, I couldn’t believe that was it–there are still things I’m DYING to know. Who are the “Stained”? Why is Samyaza hunting Julia? I will just have to wait until the next book in the series to find out!

I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars!

Waiting on Wednesday: Spellcaster (Spellbound Series, Book 2) by Cara Lynn Shultz

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My choice for this week is:

 

Here’s the GoodReads Blurb:

Finding your eternal soulmate – easy.

Stopping a true-love-hungry evil – not so much…

After breaking a centuries-old romantic curse, Emma Connor is (almost) glad to get back to normal problems. Although…it’s not easy dealing with the jealous cliques and gossip that rule her exclusive Upper East Side prep, even for a sixteen-year-old newbie witch. Having the most-wanted boy in school as her eternal soul mate sure helps ease the pain-especially since wealthy, rocker-hot Brendan Salinger is very good at staying irresistibly close….

But something dark and hungry is using Emma and Brendan’s deepest fears to reveal damaging secrets and destroy their trust in each other. And Emma’s crash course in über-spells may not be enough to keep them safe…or to stop an inhuman force bent on making their unsuspected power its own.

 

I really liked the first book in this series, Spellbound!  It had mystery, action, a super hot guy, and romance…what more do you need? This book has a release date of March 27, 2012.

SheSpeaks: Ghirardelli Milk & Truffle Squares

Ghirardelli has always made my favorite chocolates.  I particularly love their Milk & Caramel and Dark Chocolate & Mint Squares.  So when I was given the chance by SheSpeaks to try out the newest flavor in their Squares line…well, who could say no to that?

The new flavor is called Milk & Truffle.  It features an outer shell of the smooth, creamy Ghirardelli milk chocolate that we all love, with a rich, darker chocolate truffle filling.

I liked these quite a bit!  I am not usually one for darker chocolates, but the milk chocolate outer layer helped balance out the darker chocolate flavor.  And yes, these squares were very rich and sweet–I was only able to eat one at a time.  That is a blessing in disguise, I suppose :)

These Milk & Truffle squares are perfect when you want just a little something to satisfy your sweet tooth, or need a great pick me up at the end of a long day.  On a rainy day, curl up in a comfy chair with a big fuzzy blanket, a good book, and some Ghirardelli–your day will become much better!

 

 

*Disclaimer:  I was sent this product to try because I am a member of SheSpeaks.  I was in no way paid for this post other than the product I reviewed.  My review and opinions are my own.

REVIEW: Flatscreen by Adam Wilson

Thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for allowing me to review this ARC.

 

FlatscreenFlatscreen by Adam Wilson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Eli Schwartz doesn’t have much going for him. He’s a couple years out of high school but doesn’t attend college. In fact, he doesn’t do much of anything. He lives in his mom’s basement, caught in a numbing cycle of drugs, internet surfing, and loneliness. The only things he has going for him are his love of cooking and his hyperactive imagination, which he combines with his immense knowledge of movies and TV to create scenes in his head featuring the people in his world.

So needless to say, he isn’t too happy when his mother tells him that she is selling the house where he grew up. The house is quickly bought by a crippled, washed up actor named Kahn. Eli and Kahn form an inexplicable friendship that is awkward but fulfilling.

Eli struggles with the idea of being forced to change, and the story is told as he navigates through his sad existence, trying to cope and looking for something to anchor himself to.

It took me a little while to get into this story. For the whole first half, I was wondering what the point was. But I guess that was supposed the be it–the story had nowhere to go because Eli was going nowhere. When I finally got to the turning point, the story picked up speed and got interesting.

The characters are all done very well. Eli was not the best narrator I’ve ever had in a book. His thoughts moved fast and as a result the book is an annoying jumble of run on sentences that compose entire paragraphs. But I get it. His head was a mess.

Eli does not have a normal relationship with anyone in his life, and I’m still not sure if that was because of Eli himself, or that everyone he knows is so deeply flawed. The character I liked best was his mother, even though their relationship made me slightly uncomfortable at times…but I think most of that was a result of how she was viewed through Eli’s mind.

I’d give this story 3 1/2 stars. I liked that Eli was somehow self-aware and incredibly naive at the same time. It made for an interesting character study, at least. This book wasn’t as LOL funny as all the blurbs would have you believe, but to the right audience it is worth a read anyway.

View all my reviews

REVIEW: Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

I was able to read this book courtesy of NetGalley.

 

ErebosErebos by Ursula Poznanski

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nick Dunmore is a high school basketball star with lots of friends. One day he notices something strange going on at school. Whispered conversations in the hallway. Covert packages being discreetly passed between students. He and his best friend Jamie start a mission to find out what it is..and unfortunately for him, he does–and it’s called Erebos.

Nick starts playing Erebos, a seriously realistic role playing game where you must advance through levels, battle others, and complete missions to try to work your way into the inner circle of elite warriors. Nick becomes completely engrossed in the game, even when it starts affecting his school work and relationship with his parents. But when the game starts knowing way too much about what he does away from the computer, Nick becomes suspicious. And then he is asked to complete an unimaginable task. Will he let his addiction to the game rule him, or will his moral compass lead him the right way? Because the way you play Erebos could have deadly consequences.

Without giving too much away, I’ll say that I was completely engrossed in this book for the whole first half. While some may have found all the game playing chapters tedious, those were my favorite parts. I loved how when the game was on, Nick BECAME Sarius, his character. Instead of saying, “Nick made Sarius walk to the trees,” the test said, “Sarius walked to the trees.” Maybe it’s because I’m a gamer chick, but I totally understood the concept of getting in caught up in the game, that you think you ARE your character.

Along those same lines, I also understand, although not personally, the idea of being so addicted to your game that the responsibilities of the real world seem to pale in comparison to those of your game. This has unfortunately made the news more than once, when tales of gaming parents too lazy to feed their children come to light in the media. It’s not too much of a stretch to see gamers act out tasks in real life that they have been asked to do by the game.

As for the characters, none were really developed except for Nick. And he was not in the least bit likable. I don’t understand why he was supposed to be so popular–he was a jerk to everyone in the story except his crush. He is a bit of a creepy stalker too, but I won’t tell you why here.

Where this book fell apart for me was at the climax. After the game playing scenes were done, the story didn’t hold my attention nearly as much. I also felt things were wrapped up rather quickly and without much of an explanation. This is why the 3 star rating…I was left with too many questions.

View all my reviews

Random Acts of Kindness Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Random Acts of Kindness giveaway hop!  Thank you to I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Read for Your Future for hosting!

This hop is in honor of Random Acts of Kindness Day, which is February 17.

I am giving away a hardback copy of True Blue by Jane Smiley!

Here’s the Goodreads description:

True Blue is a beauty, a dappled gray, and when Abby gets to take him to her family’s ranch, she can hardly believe her luck. The horse needs a home: his owner—a woman brand new to the riding stable–was tragically killed in a car crash and no one has claimed him. Daddy is wary, as always. But Abby is smitten. True Blue is a sweetheart, and whenever Abby calls out, “Blue, Blue, how are you?” he  whinnies back.

But sometimes True Blue seems…spooked. He paces, and always seems to be looking for something. Or someone. Abby starts to wonder about True Blue’s owner. What was she like? What did she look like? One moonlit night, Abby could swear she hears a whisper in her ear: “He’s still my horse.” Filled with riding scenes and horse details, this newest middle-grade novel from a Pulitzer Prize-winner offers a mysterious and suspenseful almost-ghost story.

If you or someone you love likes horse stories, this is the book for you!

 ENTER TO WIN HERE!!

This hop  ends on February 21, 2012.  There are over 170 other blogs participating, so click the Random Acts of Kindness button at the top of the post to keep hopping!

PS–I also have my six month blogoversary giveaway going on until tomorrow!  Check out the button at the top left sidebar.

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