Author Archives: Carrie

COMING TO THEATERS: The Man Who Invented Christmas

The Man Who Invented Christmas tells of the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY), the film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.

Directed by Bharat Nalluri
Written by Susan Coyne
Starring Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer and Jonathan Pryce
Bleecker Street will release THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS in theaters on November 22, 2017.

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Custom Birthday Invitations Made Easy with Basic Invite

My older son’s birthday is right around the corner, which means it’s time for me to start looking at party invitations! I love to make them myself, but it’s not always easy coming up with the right graphics, font, and design for the theme I’ve chosen.

This year, I will be checking out the party invitation maker Basic Invite!

With Basic Invite, it couldn’t be easier to make the perfect party invitation for birthdays or any event.  No matter what event you need an invitation for, there are hundreds of choices!

Here are a few of my favorites.

 

I think my big boy, a guitar player, would love this one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hands down, the best thing about making birthday party invitations with Basic Invite is the fact that almost all of the work is done for you, but you still have complete control over the final product.  Let’s say you find a style you like, but you don’t like the colors of the graphic.  You can change it! With just a couple of clicks you can choose from over 180 color variations for any part of the design.  I also love that the wording of the invitation is already done to match with the theme you’ve chosen–no more having to come up with witty, rhyming quotes to make your invite cute 🙂

If you’re still not 100 percent sure you’re happy with the invitation you’ve created, Basic Invite will send you a printed sample of the finished product before you place an order.  They want you completely satisfied before you get ready to send those invites out!

Basic Invite is the best place to choose and design everything from birth announcements, to save the date cards for your upcoming wedding, to totally unique quinceanera invitations.  Don’t forget that the Holidays are coming up on us fast–and yep, they’ve got designs for that too! Get a head start on your personalized cards with Basic Invite.

NOW IN THEATERS: 9/11, starring Charlie Sheen #Remember911

9/11 opens in theaters on September 8 and features an all star cast including Luis Guzman(The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3), Gina Gershon (Showgirls), Wood Harris (Justified), Jacqueline Bisset (Dancing on the Edge (BBC), Welcome to New York), Olga Fonda (The Vampire Diaries) and Bruce Davison (X-Men).

In the World Trade Center, a billionaire sits in his attorney’s office awaiting a divorce hearing against his wife. In a west side apartment, a bike messenger kisses his 5-year old daughter and sings her “Happy Birthday” before leaving for work. A maintenance man gets dispatched to help a tenant with his lock. In an upper east side apartment, a young model musters the courage to break up with her sugar daddy. As random as random can be, these individuals step into a crowded World Trade Center elevator.

Wrapped up in their own world, they all ride silently hearing only the sound of the elevator giving notice of each floor. When the elevator stops on the 34th floor, it empties leaving only these five behind. Moments later … their world changes as the collision of a jet into the North Tower incapacitates the elevator.

With no understanding of what has happened and is happening around them, these fives are forced to band together and fight against all odds to escape from the impending horrific collapse. During these critical minutes, a story of courage, faith, and the will to live unfolds.

 

WHAT’S YOUR 9/11 STORY?

Every person old enough to remember the events of September 11, 2001 no doubt has a story surrounding where they were when they first learned what was happening.  I was a junior in high school, just going to my English class.  The teacher came in and frantically told us there was some kind of attack going on in New York City.  Our entire class went to the library where we could watch the TV and see exactly what was going on.  There was no concentrating in class for the rest of the day–the teachers all had TVs on as well.  I didn’t even get to finish my day at school, as my mother was so scared she came to school and checked my sister and I out early.

I am happy to give my readers a chance to win a movie prize pack, including a poster signed by Charlie Sheen!  If you are comfortable, please share your 9/11 story.  If not, share a thought or other comment about that day.  Here’s what you can win.

Tuesday’s Children is the leading response and recovery organization supporting youth and families impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss relating to 9/11. Visit the official 911 movie website for more information.

Also, check out this cool feature where you can read and share the 9/11 fact cards, provided by Tuesday’s Children and watch behind-the-scenes interviews with Charlie Sheen, Gina Gershon, and Luis Guzman.

 

 

 

What Americans Believe About Australia

I suppose one could say that Australia, like many other countries, has been linked to certain stereotypes within books, movies, and other media.  That’s no surprise–people like to have their thoughts about a place and usually stick with them.  Today, I’d like to explore some of these preconceived notions about Australia.  Some may have the truth behind them, but others are probably far from true!  If any of my readers are from Australia or have ever been there, please feel free to comment with your thoughts.

AUSTRALIA HAS DEADLY ANIMALS EVERYWHERE YOU TURN!

When you mention Australia to most Americans, one of the first things they will often comment on is how there are so many types of animals there that can kill you, and in fact, they are waiting at every turn–even in your home!  To be fair, for such a small land mass, Australia does have a rather concentrated amount of venomous and otherwise dangerous creatures.  Between snakes, spiders, sharks, and crocodiles, there’s plenty to be frightened of Down Under.  But using good observation skills and being vigilant in nature will go a long way.  Don’t be surprised to find huge spiders in your house though :O

 

AUSTRALIA IS HOME TO ANTIQUATED AND SHELTERED ABORIGINAL PEOPLES

Aborigines are the indigenous people of Australia, who were occupying the continent tens of thousands of years before the Europeans arrived.  While there are certain thoughts Americans would have about the Aborigines, mostly from films, most of them are not true.  Though there are surely those groups who are still hasty to adapt to the modern world, for the most part Aboriginal people of Australia are technologically involved. Playing the didgeridoo still sounds really cool after all this time though.

AUSTRALIA IS A DESOLATE, DESERT LAND

I can easily see how this would be the first thought for many American citizens–nearly every movie about Australia takes place in the stark looking Outback.  This is also definitely a partial truth, because the continent is home to TEN separate desert areas.  They are full of diverse species of plants and animals.  But, there are also other sides to the country, such as lush beaches, and city and cultural centers such as Sydney.  These cities and metropolitan areas are often the hubs of Australia’s economy.  Everyone can picture the famous Sydney Opera House, right?

 

AUSTRALIA HAS WILD KANGAROOS GALORE!

I can admit, I really just want this one to be true, and judging by the fact that there are actual “Kangaroo Crossing” signs in Australia, I have faith that it is–and I will just leave it at that.

Back to School Made Simple with Kids Email

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With school coming into session again, it’s the best time to help your child get organized to get off to a great start.  As my child is getting older and starting to tackle tougher subjects in school, we’ve found that sometimes he needs more help than he can get at school–we often have to sign up for websites and apps that help him learn.  Since I don’t want a ton of extra emails clogging up my inbox, it’s a perfect opportunity to let him gain a little independence with his very own email address from Kids Email.

Kids Email is an extraordinary email service for kids and tweens to get them started with the ins and outs of sending and receiving email.  Your child can register for their own personal email address, which you as a parent can have complete control over.  You can manage settings such as content filtering, sender blocking, and removing images from the emails your child receives.  You can even intercept emails to your own inbox to go over them first and then release them to be sent to your child’s inbox.

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My favorite thing about Kids Email is that they are now available on the go! Your child can access their email from any device, including Android, iOS, and Kindle.  I know this is something right up the alley for my almost 9 year old, who spends a lot of time with his iPod touch.

I also like that the interface is completely customizable depending on your child’s personal taste.  Make the inbox look the way they want it to look and then change it when you get tired of it!

There are so many reasons my son and I love using Kids Email, but I know most parents will want to check out the features for themselves.  The first month of Kids Email is completely free for you to try, and prices start as low as $2.99 a month after that.  Help your child’s school year be the best it can be with a little help from Kids Email!

Comforting Those Who Need Us Most

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.
For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
Thessalonians 4:13-14

Life is a miracle filled with God’s blessings, love, and cherished memories. Life also comes with struggles, temptations, and loss. At some point in our lives, we will grieve the loss of a loved one. Our grief is one of the hardest things to overcome – and it manifests differently for everyone. We as God’s creatures love deeply and thus we feel loss strongly.

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For many, it takes time, faith, prayer, and support to heal from the loss of a loved one. But for some, the journey may be too difficult and their burden too heavy. We’ve all heard that there are 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But what if someone struggles to heal? What happens if they get stuck in one of the stages of grief – anger- for example can lead to a great deal of self-destruction. How far might a person go “to make the pain go away.”

There’s an upcoming film “Annabelle: Creation” that deals with this very premise. I’m not usually a fan of horror movies but there’s something in the storyline of this upcoming film that’s worth talking about. The movie begins with two parents – the Mullins – who suffer through the unimaginable and sudden death of their daughter. Their grief is unbearable, and it is when they are at their weakest and most vulnerable that temptation and evil comes with whispers of consolation, and a way of “seeing” their little girl again. I don’t want to give away any more plot spoilers, but needless to say the Mullins give into temptation, and a supernatural battle against evil takes place in their home. If you’re a fan of horror movies, you may really enjoy this film which releases in theaters this Friday, August 11.


Though the Mullins are fictional characters, the idea that we’ll do anything to hold on to a loved one who has passed and/or that evil wants to take advantage of us during a time when we are vulnerable can be very real.

Grief, especially when it comes unexpectedly, can crush the spirit of even the strongest among us. As Christians, it is my hope that whenever we come across someone who is grieving, we reach out to comfort and support them with their immediate needs (ex. cooking dinner for the family, babysitting the children, etc.).

It is also my hope that we minister and share God love with them and remind them that they are not alone. As Christians it is our duty to take care, comfort, and pray for one another. Healing may take weeks, months, or years, but it is a comfort when they know they can turn to God and to their neighbors to help them through.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.”
2 Corinthians 1:3

“After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
Thessalonians 4:17-18

BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Breaking by Danielle Rollins

breaking

Breaking

by Danielle Rollins

YA Thriller

Scheduled Release: June 6, 2017

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Book Description

Companion novel to Burning.

Prep school gets a twist of supernatural suspense in this commercial YA thriller.

Charlotte has always been content in the shadow of her two best friends at the prestigious Underhill Preparatory Institute. Ariel is daring and mysterious. Devon is beautiful and brilliant. Although Charlotte never lived up to the standards of the school—or her demanding mother—her two best friends became the family she never had. When Ariel and Devon suddenly commit suicide within a month of each other, Charlotte refuses to accept it as a coincidence. But as the clues point to a dangerous secret about Underhill Prep, Charlotte is suddenly in over her head. There’s a reason the students of Underhill are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth…

Suspenseful and scintillating, with hints of the supernatural, this fast-paced thriller will keep readers hooked.

Danielle

About the Author

Author of the best-selling MERCILESS series, SURVIVE THE NIGHT, BURNING, and BREAKING. I’m currently working on the last installment of the Merciless books, & starting a new series to be announced later this year.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

PURCHASE THE BOOK:

Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks | Goodreadssshgiveaway

3 winners will receive a finished copy of BREAKING, US Only.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Breaking is touring with Rockstar Book Tours for 2 weeks! Click the banner at the top of my post for full details, including links.

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Vanishing Point by E.V. Legters

Vanishing Point

by E.V. Legters

Adult Fiction

Book Description

Angela Dunnewald’s sense of self, of direction, is fraying. She finds herself lost and alone despite a calendar full of society events, charity meetings, shopping dates, and dinners her aloof husband expects her to attend. Her best friend is a vivacious flirt, but Angela only strays when she discovers a young drifter haunting the grounds of her house. Desire to be intimate unlocks the need for achievement; Angela becomes unrecognizable to her peers and to herself. Legter’s new novel offers betrayal, passion, secrets, and truth, all from inside a world that threatens to suffocate to the vanishing point.

MY THOUGHTS: 2 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Vanishing Point by E.V. Legters
Angela Dunnewald is merely existing, fading really, into a life that she is a background player in. Fortysomething, married to a high strung attorney who barely acknowledges her, best friends with a woman who makes her be a part of social groups she doesn’t fit in, Angela knows something needs to change but she doesn’t know how to change it. Until one day Daniel walks into her back yard.

Daniel brings Angela to life and fills spaces she never realized were empty. Suddenly her world is turned upside down, and she’s striding a line she cannot balance on forever. This is the story of a woman who’s coming to the edge of something, but she can’t predict what it is.

This book was a very quick read for me. In my opinion it was just OK–I don’t think the characters are ones that will stick with me for a long time.

Angela is experiencing discontent with her life–as any person is allowed to do, no matter what their circumstances–but instead of reaching out to her husband, or her best friend, she turns in to herself for nearly 20 years before she connects with another person. And he’s a stranger at that. The way Daniel and Angela meet was a bit creepy and forced, to be honest.

I just felt like the book was always moving towards a conclusion that never really came. There’s an end, sure, and Angela gets the shake up she needed, but the journey there was not that notable, to me. This is a quiet story, save for a few moments towards the end. There are no huge outbursts or drama filled revelations; each character seems to take things in a most stoic way. There are also storylines that in the end don’t seem to contribute much to the overall plot of the novel.

I can’t say I truly disliked Vanishing Point, but there’s not one thing I can say I liked either.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Vanishing Point is E.V. Legters’ second novel. Her first, Connected Underneath, published under her given name, Linda, instead of her chosen name, E.V., was released last year and is an INDIE Press Book of the Year finalist. Born in the far western reaches of New York State, and a long-time resident of Connecticut, E.V. is exploring new venues in which to finish her third. She is currently in Portugal.

Find out more at her website.

Purchase Links

Amazon

 

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY: The Fall by James Preller

The Fall

by James Preller

YA Fiction

Book Description

An innovative new perspective on the tragedy of teen suicide.

The summer before school starts, Sam’s friend and classmate Morgan Mallen kills herself. Morgan had been bullied. Maybe she kissed the wrong boy. Or said the wrong thing. What about that selfie that made the rounds? Morgan was this, and Morgan was that. But who really knows what happened?

As Sam explores the events leading up to the tragedy, he must face a difficult and life-changing question: Why did he keep his friendship with Morgan a secret? And could he have done something-anything-to prevent her final actions?

From James Preller, the author of Bystander, another unflinching book about bullying and its fallout.

NOT LIKE ME

Two weeks before Morgan Mallen threw herself off the water tower, I might have typed a message on her social media page that said, “Just die! Die! Die! No one cares about you anyway!”

(I’m just saying, it could have been me.)

And I say “could have” because the message was anonymous. Untraceable. Nobody knows who said that horrible thing. That was the beauty of the deal. Nobody knew exactly who said what, except for Athena, I guess. The rest of us sent messages from the shadow places and let them run loose like wolves in the forest.

No one was responsible.

I sure don’t know who typed what. Whose fingers punched the keys? Who said such cruel, unspeakable things? I wonder, Could it have been me?

No, that wasn’t like me at all.

CAST OUT

I barely knew her. Not many people did. But I knew this: She was out there.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I ask you: Am I not allowed to say even that? It doesn’t make me a bad person for stating the obvious. It was a fact-Morgan Mallen was different, but not in a good way. Like in a waaaaay way.

For example: The sky is gray, the grass is green, and Morgan Mallen became the saddest girl I’d ever seen. It even rhymes. Green, seen, mean, teen, sardine.

(Etcetera, etcetera.)

Some girls in school claimed she was this and alleged she was that. There was also a selfie that famously made the rounds. She maybe kissed the wrong boy. Who knows what really happened.

Once a message was spray-painted on the girls’ bathroom door, and another day it appeared on the side of the snack shack by the football field: “Morgan Mallen is a slut.”

Check that tense. Was, not is.

Was a tramp. A selfie-sharer. An outcast.

None of this makes me a bad person.

Right?

Copyright © 2015 by James Preller

About the Author

James Preller (born 1961) is the children’s book author of the Jigsaw Jones Mysteries, which are published by Scholastic Corporation. He grew up in Wantagh, New York and went to college in Oneonta, New York. After graduating from college in 1983, James Preller was employed as a waiter for one year before being hired as a copywriter by Scholastic Corporation, where he was introduced (through their books) to many noatable children’s authors. This inspired James Preller to try writing his own books. James Preller published his first book, entitled MAXX TRAX: Avalanche Rescue, in 1986. Since that time, James Preller has written a variety of books, and has written under a number of pen names, including Mitzy Kafka, James Patrick, and Izzy Bonkers. James Preller lives in Delmar, New York with his wife Lisa and their three children.

PURCHASE THE BOOK

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

– 3 Winners will receive a Copy of The Fall by James Preller

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

RELEASE DAY BLITZ & GIVEAWAY: Perfect by Cecelia Ahern



I am so excited that PERFECT by Cecelia Ahern is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Cecelia Ahern, be sure to
check out all the details below.
 
This blitz also includes a giveaway for 2 sets of finished copies of FLAWED & PERFECT
courtesy of Fierce Reads and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
 
 

 

Title: PERFECT (Flawed #2)
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Pub. Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, eBook
Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured–all her freedoms gone.
Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick–the only person she can trust.
But Celestine has a secret–one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing.
Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With  tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or to risk her life to save all Flawed people.
And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed?
Title: FLAWED
Author: Cecilia Ahern
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Pages: 368
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, & audiobook
Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.

In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and flaws are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

 
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Chapter Eight
            They stay there for three hours.
            My muscles burn, my feet ache, but I’m afraid to move.
            When the fire has reduced to a smolder, Granddad and Dahy are ordered to place the bundles of food onto the coals. The farmworkers watch from their orderly line, their F brand armbands all visible on their right arms, just above their elbow.
            This was supposed to be a celebration, a coming together to show that the Guild couldn’t beat them down. Now the Whistleblowers themselves are here. Hiding behind the tree, huddled on the ground, hugging my legs, shivering from the damp forest, I can’t
say that I feel empowered. This feels like a defeat.
            Granddad and Dahy cover the food with the soil so it will cook under the ground in the heat. Granddad looks at the ground, his work finished, as though he’s buried me alive. Again I want to call out to him that I’m okay, I made it out, but I can’t.
            A phone rings and the female Whistleblower takes it. She steps aside, walks away from the others, so she can talk in private. She moves closer to me in the woods. I tense up again.
            “Judge Crevan, hello. It’s Kate. No, Judge, Celestine isn’t here. We’ve checked everywhere.”
            Silence as she listens and I hear Crevan’s voice from where I stand. Kate walks farther and stops by my tree.
            I press my back to the tree, squeeze my eyes shut, and hold my breath.
            “With all due respect, Judge, this is the Guild’s sixth visit to the property and I believe Mary May was meticulous in her search. We’ve checked everywhere you can imagine. I don’t believe she’s here. I think the grandfather is telling the truth.”
            I can hear the frustration in her voice. They’re all under pressure to find me, pressure placed on them by Judge Crevan. Kate takes a few more steps, right into my
eyeline.
            She slowly scans the forest, her eyes searching the distance.
            Then she looks right at me.
About Cecilia:

At twenty-one, Cecelia wrote her first novel PS, I Love You, which was sold to forty-seven countries. The film of the same title, directed by Richard LaGravenese and produced by Wendy Finerman productions, starred Hilary Swank, Lisa Kudrow, Kathy Bates, Gerry Butler, Harry Connick Jr, Gina Gershon and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. PS, I Love You was one of the biggest-selling debut novels of 2004, reaching number 1 in Ireland and in the UK Sunday Times bestseller
list. It was also a bestseller throughout Europe and the USA, staying on the best-seller list in Germany for 52 weeks.

That same year, in November 2004, her second book Where Rainbows End (as Rosie Dunne hardback in the US, Love, Rosie paperback in US) also reached no.1 in Ireland and the UK, remaining at the top of the Irish bestsellers list for 12 weeks and again was a bestseller internationally.  Where Rainbows End was adapted for film titled Love, Rosie and will be released in Oct 2014, starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin.

Her third book If You Could See Me Now was published in November 2005 and also
became an international bestseller. It has been optioned by producer Simon Brooks, producer of Love, Rosie.

Cecelia’s fourth novel A Place Called Here (published under the title There’s No Place Like Here in the US) also became an international number one bestseller.

Thanks For The Memories, her fifth novel, was also a huge bestseller and is now being adapted for a TV Drama Series by Gate Productions.

The Gift was published in October 2008 and became an International bestseller. It is optioned by Oscar winning producer Andreas Bareiss, and it is going into production later this year.

Her seventh novel The Book Of Tomorrow was released in October 2009 and eOne
Television are developing it for a TV series in the US.

In March of 2011 her two short stories, Girl in the Mirror were published.

In November by Cecelia’s eighth novel The Time Of My Life was published and
also became a bestseller.

Her ninth novel One Hundred Names was published in October 2012 and became a
number one bestseller.

Her tenth novel How To Fall In Love was published last November and also became
another bestseller.

To date Cecelia has sold over 22 million copies of her books worldwide.
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Giveaway Details:
2 Winners will receive finished copies of FLAWED & PERFECT, US Only.
Ends on April 18th at Midnight EST!