Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cursed by Takena Prevost Guest Post and Giveaway

Tour Schedule
by Takena Prevost
Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Date Published: December 13, 2013

Book Description:
Half-succubus Jazz Watkins spends her days navigating the halls of Moreland High and her nights knee deep in Chicago drug dens hunting Suecai – an evil kind of incubi and succubae who devour the souls of humans. But when a leader of the Suecai curses her, Jazz has to track him down. Either she kills him before the curse burns through her, or she’ll become a full-fledged, out of control, soul sucking monster.

She’s got a handful of weeks, absolutely no leads, and her sexy best guy-friend and team member, Khan, covering her back. But will the growing attraction she feels for Khan get in the way of her mission to save her own life?

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Guest Post:
Starting Off As a Writer: 5 Things You Need To Know

As a writer who’s just getting her foot into the door within this industry, there are a lot of tips I found online and through years of research that I wish I’d known when I first got started. Below are the top 5 of my, “I Wish I’d Have Known That” tips:

  1. Find your writing style/process and stick to that: When I first started writing I did what everyone else did, tap away on my laptop and willed the genius to come to the surface. Pretty soon into that I realized that my first drafts were complete crap and I wasn’t comfy with that process. It was after some real inner searching that I realized how I’d always liked to write was long-hand at first, and then to type it out. Once I discovered that, all went so smoothly for me.
  2. A good critique group is priceless: There is no one you will find that will support you like a good critique group. They tell you when your plot is off and when your characters are not realistic, or when your dialogue doesn’t sound true to the characters you’ve built. Good critique groups are pivotal to making progress as a writer.
  3. You’ll have to go through many rounds of edits: Like everyone, I believed that my work was the stuff of genius and needed no changes. It was my critique group that pointed out its flaws and taught me how to make my work even better. They also taught me the importance and inevitability of second round – even third and fourth round – edits.
  4. Write everyday: Even when you don’t want it, it’s important to put some words down on paper. Being a writer is like having a second job. You have to work at it, practice every day until you’ve honed your craft.
  5. Get used to the word “No!”: It’s inevitable that you’ll be rejected at some point as a writer. When it comes down to it, it’s a very subjective business, and even though your work may be brilliant (and I’m sure it is!) what you may like may not be what the agent or editor is looking for. Try not to take it too personally and keep submitting. Personally, I constantly just tell myself that the person rejecting me can’t get my genius =).

Trakena Prevost

Trakena Prevost was born and raised in the great state of Texas, where everything IS bigger and the people are very friendly. She spends most of her time oscillating between being completely obsessed with reading and Korean dramas (to her wonderful boyfriends chagrin) and writing down the fantastic tales rumbling around in her head. When not reading and writing, Trakena spends her time working in HR for a major medical system in Houston, and hanging out with her family and friends.

Trakena has always loved the many worlds she's found in books, where everything was possible. As a child, you would often catch her enjoying a good story in the comfort of the AC, instead of wilting in the Houston heat (she showed great intelligence...even then). It didn't occur to Trakena that the fanciful stories she made up for fun could one day be out in the world, but now that they are she can't imagine it any other way!



Twitter: @trakenaprevost


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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Allons Danser! (Let's Dance!) CD Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Product Description:
Allons chanter! (Let’s sing!) Allons danser (Let’s dance!) Apprenons le français (Let’s learn French!) Get in the language-learning groove with this fun-filled collection of original tunes and beloved traditional favorites performed by internationally-acclaimed French artists Marie-Louise Desage and Didier Prossaird. From “Bonjour Les Amis” to “Au Revoir”, kids and adults will want to dance and sing along to these irresistible rhythms and catchy lyrics that introduce French words and phrases such as numbers (“Un, Deux et Trois”), parts of the body (“La Tête, Les Épaules/Head, Shoulders”) and children’s favorite topics (“Quand Je Serai Grand/When I’m Big” and “Y’a Pas de Fête Sans Gâteau/It’s Not a Party Without Cake.”) A rollicking rendition of “Le Vieux MacDonald (Old MacDonald)” puts a French twist on a beloved classic. Take the music and fun along with this French learning CD which makes learning French as easy as un, deux, trois!

My Opinion:
Allons Danser! (Let's Dance!) is a CD for children who want to learn French. The CD has the lyrics with translation to make it easier to follow along. Even with that French is hard though! You would have to listen to this Cd a lot to learn all the words in the songs but that probably wouldn't be a problem because it's pretty fun trying to repeat the words. I listened to Allons Danser! (Let's Dance!) with my 6 year old daughter and after we repeated something I would translate what we had just said. Our favorite songs are Old MacDonald and Head, Shouders because we already know these songs and that makes it easier to understand the songs.

The website has Spanish and French CDs and DVDs for children


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, June 6, 2014

KidCoder/TeenCoder self-study computer science courses for kids and teens: Beginning Web Design Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Product Description:
The award-winning KidCoder and TeenCoder computer science courses will teach your 4th-12th grade student how to create their own websites, video games, and apps. The self-study curriculum will introduce students to modern, industry-standard technologies like HTML, Java, C#, and Visual Basic. Ideal for homeschool students seeking elective computer credit or any individual student who can't get material like this through their normal school system.

There are 4 independent course tracks that cover different subjects and age ranges as described here:
  • KidCoder: Beginning Web Design (4th-12th grades)
  • KidCoder: Windows Programming (6th-8th grades)
  • TeenCoder: Winodws Programming (9th-12th grades)
  • TeenCoder: Java Programming (9th-12th grades)

KidCoder: Beginning Web Design is the first semester course in the KidCoder Web Design series. 4th–12th grade students will learn to create their own web pages using HTML. Hands-on fun for all students, both young and old!

Some of the topics in this book include web site layout, HTML symbols, text styling, using hyperlinks, navigation bars, simple CSS effects, spacing and positioning, graphics and image editing, tables and more.

Students don't need prior programming or HTML experience. We build all web design skills from the ground up.

My Opinion:
I know these courses are meant for kids and teens and I'm 25 but I really love to learn and thought Beginning Web Design would be a good thing for me to learn. There are 13 chapters in total and every chapter has very fun activities for you to do to make sure you understand everything you have learned so far. Everything is explained and is very simple to understand. I am just starting on Chapter 8 and I am having so much fun doing the activities. Since I have a blog I feel it's kind of important to know a little about web design and also since I sometimes get HTLM to post on my blog I should understand what all the symbols mean. A lot of times I'm that's what that stands for or that's what that does. This course is so easy and I recommend it to anyone that needs or wants to learn about web design.

You can learn more about it and purchase here
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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Valentia Skin Care Even Glow Serum 20% Vitamin C Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Product Description:

1.18OZ - 98% Natural - 75% Organic - MADE IN USA

  • EVENS SKIN TONE: Vanquish dark spots and skin discoloration, replacing uneven and ill-textured skin with smooth, wrinkle-free skin that leaves you looking flawless and ageless.
  • INCREASES GLOW & RADIANCE: Revitalize your skin with essential fatty acids that leave skin smooth and visibly brighter. Smooth skin capable of reflecting light will give your skin a youthful glow and a brilliant shine for that well-rested and refreshed look.
  • ABSORBS RAPIDLY: Moisturizes skin due to the capacity of the hyaluronic acid to absorb water, thereby increasing fluid between cells, giving your skin a smoother and younger appearance. This intense water absorption means no more dry, peeling or cracked skin, even in extreme weather.
  • BOOSTS COLLAGEN PRODUCTION: The presence of Organic Rosehip Seed oil to support Vitamin C increases collagen production so your skin retains the elasticity responsible for a youthful appearance and prevents skin sagging associated with aging. Enjoy smooth and supple skin that takes years off your appearance.
  • REDUCES WRINKLES & FINE LINES: Reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles with the help of our foundation 20 % Vitamin C. Special ingredients such us Hyaluronic Acid and Organic Sea Buckthorn oil work to plump up the skin, which reduces fine lines and wrinkles in the skin so it is smoother, clearer and younger.


    Vitamin C: With a 20% concentration does more than boost the body’s immune system; it also provides many benefits to keep the skin tight, smooth and looking ageless. Vitamin C has been scientifically proven to reduces the effects of sun exposure on the skin, including sunburn, sun spots, redness and wrinkles.

    In addition to helping reduce the signs of aging, Vitamin C is essential for everyday maintenance to strengthen and smooth out the skin, as well as neutralizing free radicals before they can damage the skin.

    ***Additional Key Ingredients below were all selected for their ability to enhance and support Vitamin C's effect on the skin.

    Organic Rosehip Seed Oil & Organic Sea Buckthorn Oil - These oils promote skin hydration and lock in moisture to protect your skin from signs of aging and improve its beauty and youthfulness. Rosehip Oil specifically has been used in medical communities around the world for those with serious skin ailments and only recently has North America learned to embrace natural solutions from our ancestors. These two organic oils are full of antioxidants and therefore act as the perfect supporting cast for our best friend - Vitamin C

    Resistem (Plant Stem Cells) - This provides the perfect mix of protection from stress-related aging and promotes skin detoxification. Resistem will help your skin regenerate faster while protecting it from environmental stressors.

    Hyaluronic Acid (Botanical) - Holding up to 1000 times its weight in water and drawing moisture out of the environment and onto the surface of your skin ,there is not a more effective moisturizing agent on the market today. Penetrates deeply, and actives collagen production for a fresher, younger, firmer, and brighter complexion

    Green Tea Extact- The catechins in green tea are a potent antioxidant which also contribute to the overall anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant benefits of this ancient health and beauty secret.

    My Opinion:
    I have been trying a few different Vitamin C serums and I just have to say that this one is my favorite so far. When I put it on my skin I can feel it absorbing into my skin and then it leaves my face feeling healthy and smooth. It feels a little thick but it goes on very easily and smoothly. It even smells delicious kind of like oranges but also a little lemony. It is a little expensive for me at $35 but at the same time it is so good I think it's worth it.

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    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

    Danny Weinkauf's new album "No School Today" Review and Giveaway ends 6/9

    Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

    GRAMMY Winner Danny Weinkauf (of They Might Be Giants fame)
    Releases First Solo Family Music Album:

    No School Today
    See new video:

    Guest stars include Laurie Berkner and Hank Green
    Lynbrook, NY , March 14, 2014 – Danny Weinkauf, longtime bassist with They Might Be Giants, whose song “I Am a Paleontologist” became the anthem for young scientists everywhere, will release his first solo family music album, No School Today, on April 29th (Idlewild).

    With 16 original smart-pop tunes, No School Today covers topics from marsupials to voting rights, spelling bees to the four food groups and even a song about Ben Folds.  The rousing rocker “Oh No Oh Yeah” is just perfect for when the day spins out of control, and “Cast My Vote” is a kid-centered ode to exercising our democratic rights. “Champion of the Spelling Bee” debuted in 2011 in an ESPN TV feature about the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The song “Archaeology” is an inspiring follow-up to Danny’s hit tune “I Am a Paleontologist” (featured on They Might Be Giants’ GRAMMY nominated album Here Comes Science). The new song was inspired by fan requests. “Several times after a Giants show, people would come up and tell me how much they liked my “Archaeology” song. They were confusing the title of ‘Paleontologist,’ but I decided to honor them by writing another song,” he says.

    Guest performers include Danny’s son Kai, daughter Lena, wife Michelle, and family music superstar Laurie Berkner. The album also features a bonus track, “The Kidney That Lived in Four People,” based on a true story, and written and recorded with additional guest Hank Green of the VlogBrothers. Danny produced the album and plays all the instruments himself. Jeff Thall (Bryan Ferry, John Cale) mixed the recording, and Tom Durack (Chic, B52s) mastered it.

    Fans are eagerly expecting their albums. Crowd-funded, No School Today met its initial Kickstarter goal in only five days and ended the campaign 160% funded. A music video for the song “Marsupial” will debut in early April, and more videos will be coming around the release date.

    A multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, and Grammy-winner, Danny Weinkauf has also written for television and film, including music for "Malcolm in the Middle,” "*** and the City,” “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” “***** Eye for the Straight Guy,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” ESPN, and CBS Sports. In addition to his work with They Might Be Giants, Danny has recorded with Fountains of Wayne, Candy Butchers, David Mead, and Lincoln. His song, “I Am a Paleontologist,” from They Might Be Giants' Grammy-nominated Here Comes Science, was featured in a national advertising campaign for Payless, and it’s the soundtrack for museum exhibits around the world.  Nick Jr. and Sprout TV superstar Laurie Berkner sings along  on the sweet and catchy “Our Love Fits,” which was co-written with Ellen Degeneres Show director Suzanne Luna.

    Danny reports that the process of writing and recording the songs for No School Today was exhilarating. He’s already got a new batch of songs ready for his next solo release. “It's really great fun to try and see the world from a kid's perspective. Musically, I feel like the sky’s pretty much the limit, like working in a room without a roof,” he jokes.

    No School Today will be available via Idlewild Recordings with distribution by Megaforce Records and Sony/RED. This is the first Idlewild album by an artist other than They Might Be Giants.
     More information, tour updates and streaming songs are available at:

    Follow Danny on Twitter @poplives1 and Facebook.

    My Opinion:
    I totally love all the songs in No School Today. My 6 year old daughter loves it probably even more. When I get my daughter up to get ready for school we will listen and sing along, it really helps us start the day in a good mood. My favorite song is Our Love Fits and my daughter's is Ice Cream (Healthy Eating). Not only are the songs fun they are also educational. This is great music for the whole family.

    Available at, iTunes,,and

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    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    Tuesday, June 3, 2014

    Instanatural: 100% Pure Organic Moroccan Argan Oil, Vitamin C Serum, and Moroccan Rose Water Review

    Disclosure: I got this product as part of an ado    ertorial.

    100% Pure Organic Argan Oil
    • Only One Premium Ingredient: 100% Pure Certified Organic Virgin Argan Oil
    • Fast Absorbing & Long Lasting Moisturizer, Leaving your Face, Skin & Hair, Smooth & Silky.
    My Opinion:
    I tried argan oil for the first time a couple years ago and fell in love with it. The bottle of Instanatural Argan Oil is a little different from what I have used before because it has a dropper. It drips pretty much on its own so you have to be careful not to make a mess. I love to use it on my daughters hair because she has really dry hair and then I rub any extra on my nails to make them shiny, soft, and strong.

    Buy on Amazon

    Vitamin C Serum
    • Helps reduce signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Anti-oxidant protection with Vitamin C 20% and Vitamin E.
    • 98% Natural 72% Organic  
    • No Parabens & No Alcohol
    • Made in the USA
    • Professional hydration repairs dryness for soft, smooth, even skin.
    My Opinion:
    I don't have any wrinkles yet but since I'm almost 26 I feel like I need to start taking care of my skin. I like that this Vitamin C Serum leaves the skin feeling nice and soft.

    Buy on Amazon

    Moroccan Rose Water
      • 100% pure and natural rose water. Suitable for all skin types- Normal, Oily, Dry and sensitive.
      • Complete skin care - cleansing, toning, moisturizing and replenishing.
      •  Perfect Facial Toner! Calms skin irritations. Helps with sunburn. It can also help make the hair soft and shiny.
      My Opinion:
      The first time I tried it my face felt a little strange and I don't have sensitive skin so even though it says for all skin types I would not  recommend this for someone with sensitive skin. After that first time though I haven't had any problems. Now I just love to pour a little on my hands and splash it all over my face because it feel so fresh and clean after. My favorite thing about this Moroccan Rose Water is that it really smells like roses.

      Buy on Amazon

      Overall I really like these products from InstaNatural. I would give them 4.5 stars out of 5.

      I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

      Relics of Mysticus Books 1-3 by H.B. Bolton Book Reviews and Giveaway


        The Dragon's EggThe Dragon’s Egg (Relics of Mysticus- Book Three) by H.B. Bolton

        Sure, the glass castle floating over Evan’s head makes him uneasy, but that’s the least of his worries. With each step inside the Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams, he must battle against his worst nightmares. One after the other, wispy smoke-filled bull sharks come at him — he must remember they’re only illusions pulled from his imagination by those dreaded shadowlike hands. If only the vengeful dragon circling above was also an illusion and didn’t have his mind set on destroying the one person who can control him: Emrys.

        Inside the castle’s glass tower, Emrys sleeps in an eternal slumber, and Evan’s uncertain whether he can save the great wizard. Especially now that Emrys’ former student, the Lady of the Lake, has joined forces with the cunning immortal Alamaz. Together they have already stolen the Dragon’s Egg, but their greed doesn’t end there. The Siren’s Pearl calls to them, and that means only one thing … Atlantis is in trouble.

        Join Evan, Claire, and Dunkle — along with a few other unlikely heroes — as they travel across the realm of Medieval Legends, float through the Ancient Isle of Avalon, plunge inside the Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams, and be there when Atlantis rises once again.

        The Serpents Ring
        The Serpent's Ring (Relics of Mysticus- Book One)

        Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum … that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.

        Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous fish and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.

        tricksters-totem-cover-low-res-200x300The Trickster's Totem (Relics of Mysticus - Book Two)
        Life has returned to normal for fourteen-year-old Evan and his older sister, Claire. That is until Dunkle, a clever but stinky little imp, pays an unexpected visit to their school. He has come to take the siblings back to Sagaas, the mythical realm of the gods. Once again, a Relic from the ancient Mysticus Orb has fallen into the wrong hands. Only Evan and Claire, with their unique mystical abilities, can help find it.

        Through the power of the Trickster’s Totem, a coyote trickster has escaped. His laughter echoes throughout the realm, as he spreads mischief and mayhem. He burns an entire crop of popcorn, carves his grinning image into sacred artifacts, and things really get interesting when he shape-shifts into Evan’s friends.

        Claire and Evan must capture the Trickster, retrieve the Totem, and be careful not to become sidetracked by robotic Steampunk animals, “sweet” pixie-like Pains, and a problematic mermaid … all while dodging Mothman-like aces. Most surprising, Evan discovers the true reason dragons exist in the Native American Spirit World.

        My Opinion:

        The Serpent's Ring (Relics of Mysticus- Book One)

        The Serpent's Ring starts off a little slow but since it's only book one in the Relics of Mysticus it is mostly and introduction of the characters and how the ended up with powers and in Sagaas. Evan and Claire and even Dunkle the imp are very likeable characters. They get plenty of help to get the Serpent's Ring back and save Earth from flooding. I give this book 4 stars.

        The Trickster's Totem (Relics of Mysticus - Book Two)
        In The Trickster's Totem Evan and Claire are back home until Dunkle comes looking for them at school because another relic has been stolen. Evan and Claire go back to Sagaas but this time they have to go to the Native American Spirit World. Here we learn about animal totems and Evan and Claire find out what their animal totems are. I'm jealous of Evan's animal totem because that's what I would want mine to be. In the back of the book there is a list of animal totems and their meanings. I think that's pretty cool. There are also new characters, I like them all but my favorite is Chayton. This book was so good I give it 5 stars.

        The Dragon’s Egg (Relics of Mysticus- Book Three)

        The Dragon's Egg starts off with action and the adventure continues right away. Even and Claire haven't even had time to go back home! There are even more characters and they are all pretty good but I'm sad Chayton was not around for most of this book. Evan and Claire learn more about themselves and their past but Dunkle doesn't want to tell them very much. I love that there is a reference guide at the end of each book since there are so much new words to remember and that makes it easier to understand what is going on. The Dragon's Egg has been my favorite Relics of Mysticus book so far and can't wait to read the next one. I give this book 5 stars!

         About the Author:
        A magical part of H.B. Bolton’s childhood was being swept into worlds of enchanting
        characters, fantastical creatures and extraordinary powers—simply by picking up a book. As a mother and a teacher, she was compelled to create imaginary worlds of her own in order to share them, not just with her children, but with all children. H.B. Bolton lives in Florida with her supportive husband and two highly spirited children. Shh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young-adult fantasy story, she also writes spellbinding, heart pounding women’s fiction. These particular books are written under the name Barbara Brooke, but that’s another story, altogether.

        Connect with H.B. Bolton here:

        $25 gift card (Int), paperback set of all 3 books (US), ebook set of all books (INT)

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        Monday, June 2, 2014

        Whaley's Big Adventure Book Review and Giveaway ends 6/3

        Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

        Whaley's Big Adventure: Presented by Carole P. Roman

        Book Description:
        Join Whaley on his big adventure in the ocean as he meets Whales of all different sizes. Written by 5 year old Alexander Luke and presented by his grandmother, award-winning children's author Carole P. Roman, this oceanic adventure of whale sized proportions will teach youngsters about the different whales that live in the oceans.

        My Opinion:  
        I learned a lot about whales just by reading Whaley's Big Adventure. Alexander Luke must be really smart and love whales to know so much about them. The picture are so beautiful and if a five year old really drew them that is so much better than I would be able to do. If your children like to learn about animals this is a good book for them.

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        Whaley's Big Adventure Book
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        I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

        Picture Collage Maker Review

        Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

        Product Description:
        Picture Collage Maker is a powerful yet easy-to-use collage maker that enables you to create stunning art works on both Windows and Mac OS X.

        Key Features:
        • 140+ gorgeous templates for all kinds of occasions
        • Tons of decorations: backgrounds, clipart, frames, masks, etc.
        • Lots of customizing features: rotate, resize, crop, text, calendar, etc.
        • Wide choices of export & share options

        My Opinion:
        I have only used the Picture Collage Maker twice but both times I have been happy with the results. First I made one for Easter and then I made one for Father's Day that I plan to print out, frame it and give it to my boyfriend on Father's Day. What I love about using the Picture Collage Maker is that there are templates for different occasions and all I have to do is add the pictures, crop them if I need to, then move things around to get it how I like. It looks pretty complicated at first but once you start playing around with it it's actually very simple. You can start with a blank page and just add (or remove) whatever you want but since I'm not very creative I like to keep it simple and stick to the templates. 

        To learn more and buy check out the website:
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        I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.