Archives for April 2016

March 2016 Subscription Boxes

Hi, Everyone!

Here are our subscriptions from the month of March:

 

Muse Monthly

March 2016 Muse Monthly

Lit-Cube

Lit-Cube March 2016 (2)

I love my time turner!! And the Frostbeard candle!

Lit-Cube March 2016 (1)

Fresh Fiction

fresh fiction box

Uppercase

March 2016 Uppercase

March 2016 Uppercase 2

I love the quotation mark earrings!!

 

Owl Crate

OwlCrate March 2016

Jamberry StyleBox

Stylebox March 2016March 2016 Trendy

BirchBox

 March 2016 Birchbox

Ipsy

 March 2016 Ipsy

KiwiCrate

Kiwi Crate March 2016

Kiwi Crate

Koala Crate March 2016

Koala Crate

kiwi crate

Here are the finished race cars from the February Kiwi Crate. My boys had a blast with these cars!

 

What do you think of month’s boxes?

Do you subscribe to any boxes? If so, which ones? I did include my referral links, so if you’re interested, please feel free to use them! I know I would appreciate it.

chrissysig

 

efchappy

 

Boost It Tuesday! – April 19, 2016

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the Every Free Chance Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

If you would like to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. Be sure to notice the rules.

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

 


 

 if these books could talk
 

efchappy

Melissa’s Review: Champion by Claudette Cruz

Champion

Champion
written by Claudette Cruz
published by Claudette Cruz, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
There’s a lot you can do with 55 pages, but Cruz didn’t do enough. I was expecting a short, sweet story, and I got that; it’s actually a great story arc. But. I don’t expect less characterization from a novella just because it’s short, and I feel that’s where Cruz’s story is severely lacking. One or two details about someone does not a rounded character make, and as I’ve said before: you could be telling me the worst story I’ve ever heard, but if you write your characters well, I’m IN.

I felt like I was reading an outline of the real novel (please? maybe? could there possibly be a more in-depth draft out there?), and again, while I enjoyed the story, I didn’t have any emotional attachment to the characters.

everyfree2.5

Would I recommend it: If you want an evening read you won’t have to worry about crying over, go for it. But if you’re the sort of reader who wants to, nay, NEEDS to get emotionally invested, I’d give it a pass.

melissasig

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Young Prince Eneir has always felt the lure of the mysterious forests surrounding his home of Dancia. If his parents hadn’t died before their time, he would have understood why: fairies have waited for a hundred years for the coming of a new champion for the Light in its eternal battle against the Darkness. That champion should have been him. The beautiful siren Serpeth knows nothing of prophecies: all she wants is to escape the pirates who have captured her and go home. But when her path crosses that of the runaway prince, she is outraged that a human would be trusted with such an important task. As she becomes familiar with the fairies’ desperate struggle to save the world, she decides to join them in their quest to train Eneir to become Champion. Join Serpeth the siren and Prince Eneir as they fight forces of Dark to restore balance to the world.

 

efchappy

In the Kitchen: Blue Apron Subscription: Baked Spinach & Mozzarella Rigatoni

efckitchen

Hi, Everyone!

In an effort to spend less time meal planning and more time reading, I decided to give Blue Apron a try. It’s a fun way to add some new recipes to my repertoire.

Tonight: Baked Spinach & Mozzarella Rigatoni

Blue Apron (2)Blue Apron (1)

I really like baked pasta dishes. This was a new version, and it was great! This will be a must once my boys get older. 😉 One thing that I love about these Blue Apron recipes is that they are totally doable at home. The ingredients are easy to find in any grocery store.

Blue Apron (9)

Here’s the prep work. The recipe was easy to follow, and the ingredients were fresh.

 

Blue Apron (10)

Out of the oven, and it looks and smells delicious!

Blue Apron (11)

We had enough lettuce and radishes to make five salads, though the kids salads were a bit smaller than ours. However, this recipe reminded my husband and me how much we love radishes! The dressing was tasty as well.

Blue Apron (12)

Here’s the final product! It was delicious!

 

 

If I make it again: I don’t think I will change anything in the recipe. I really liked this dish.

Did my kids eat it: Yes, they did like it.

chrissykitchensig

 

Story Time Saturday: Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

 

efcstorytime

MadelineMadeline
written by Ludwig Bemelmans
published by London: Hippo, 1939

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
This is another one of my son’s favorite books. I’m not sure if it’s the rhyming or the brave little girl with the scar–all he’ll tell me is that he likes it because it’s good. Well, I agree. It was good when I was a little one and it’s still good now.

everyfree5

Would I recommend it: Yes, obviously.

melissasig

About the book – from Goodreads: Madeline is one of the best-loved characters in children’s literature. Set in picturesque Paris, this tale of a brave little girl’s trip to the hospital was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1940 and has as much appeal today as it did then. The combination of a spirited heroine, timelessly appealing art, cheerful humor, and rhythmic text makes Madeline a perennial favorite with children of all ages.

 

efchappy

In the Kitchen: Blue Apron: Star Anise & Soy-Glazed Cod

efckitchen

Hi, Everyone!

In an effort to spend less time meal planning and more time reading, I decided to give Blue Apron a try. It costs less than taking the whole family to a restaurant, and it seemed like a fun way to add some new recipes to my repertoire.

Tonight: Star Anise & Soy-Glazed Cod with Gai Lan & Cashew Brown Rice

20160312_170935

So one of my meals this week didn’t look very exciting (I mean, steak and potatoes. Schwatevs.), and I had this Mushroom Barley Stew in the fridge just BEGGING to be revamped for Leftover Night. Friends, I have the beef. I took that beef, seared it, and tossed it in my stew and It. Was. Tasty.

Sorry, steak. You looked boring.

So anyway. Y’all know my biggest complaint about Blue Apron is that there’s never enough veg, and I just *happened* to have a big bunch of kale I wasn’t using for anything, and . . . well, I’m sure you can guess what I did:

20160312_180419

Kale & Gai Lan mixed together. I don’t know what Gai Lan is, but it’s fun to say. It’s also tasty!

For the record, I roasted the potatoes for yet another meal using the Souvlaki recipe, and, as usual, I took a few short cuts with the cod recipe:

20160312_181311

Chop and mince? Naaaah. We food process!

Seriously. Who has time to read all these things?

20160312_171016 - Copy

Words, words, words.

I ultimately managed to prepare a yummy, if slightly sweeter than I’d like, meal:

20160312_184409

Cashew rice? Come on, Blue Apron. Now you’re just tossing random things in the rice to make it sound fancy. It’s rice. Move on.

20160312_184631

Family Style FTW!

If I make it again: Meh. I won’t be making this one again.

Did my kids eat it: Yah, but they weren’t impressed. The leftovers are still in the fridge three days later, so I suppose that means Husband and I weren’t impressed either.

melissakitchensig

Gina’s Review: Breaking Lauren by Jordan Deen

Breaking Lauren (Lauren, #1)

Breaking Lauren 
written by Jordan Deen
published by Black Rose Writing, 2012

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: I like this book because it reminds me so much of all the guilty pleasure teen movies I enjoy. You know, like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. This book slides right in there: bad boy falls in love with good girl who doesn’t know where she fits in. They fall for each other and drama ensues. It’s angsty and satisfying.

everyfree4

 

Would I recommend it: I would if you like angsty teen love stories.

ginasig

About the book – from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Danny Cummings’ life is far from a fairytale, but that’s okay since he doesn’t believe in happy endings. After spending a year in juvenile hall for maliciously beating his sister’s boyfriend, Danny embraces his badass image. Spending most nights drinking, fighting and collecting gambling debts for his Uncle, Danny’s life is out of control. His addiction to the bad boy lifestyle won’t let him do anything about it, even with his family begging him to go straight. But, when fifteen-year-old Lauren McIntosh stumbles into one of his nightly escapades, the self-proclaimed anti-romantic can’t concentrate on anything except Lauren and the fact that she’s on the same path his sister was on. Danny knows true love happening for the villain is as common as gamblers paying their debt on time, but he’s never backed away from a challenge before and he hates the idea that history will repeat itself.

Growing old with the man she loves-in the small town where she was born-is the only dream Lauren McIntosh has ever had; that is until her family is practically run out of town amidst rumors of arson and adultery. So, when she meets Danny at her new school and hears the rumors about his activities from her new friends, she wants nothing to do with him or the gossip that seems to follow Danny everywhere. After a dangerous and ill-fated attempt at sneaking out, she develops unwelcomed feelings for Danny that he seems to reciprocate. But, Danny’s unrelenting pursuit makes Lauren nervous, especially since he’s the only one that wants to know the secrets surrounding her family’s move. Lauren can’t tell if Danny’s intentions are true or if he has other plans for their newfound and unlikely friendship. The only way to figure out is to let him in and that could destroy everything, including the popularity and social acceptance she desperately seeks.

 

efchappy

Chrissy’s Review: Sparing the Heart by Tracy Krimmer

Sparing the HeartSparing the Heart (Pastime Pursuits #3)
written by Tracy Krimmer
published by Tracy Krimmer, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I did enjoy Sparing the Heart. It was the first book I have read by Ms. Krimmer, and I will be reading more from her in the near future!

Sparing the Heart was sweet, cute, and quick. I liked the story. I especially liked that bowling was the hobby–or pastime–of choice. That’s not something I’ve read before in chick lit. I liked the characters and the way their stories developed. I really felt for Kate and all that she had been through. I have not read the first two books in the Pastime Pursuits series, but I didn’t miss anything. This is definitely a standalone; however, I do want to read the other books!

everyfree4

Would I recommend it: Sure! It was a good read.

chrissysig

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Realtor and amateur bowler Kate Hayes is the ultimate fixer-upper at this stage in her life. Grieving the death of her father, she moves to a brand new town for a fresh frame. She quickly realizes, however, that location isn’t everything she’s always preached to her clients when she finds herself falling into the same bad habits. To break the cycle, she joins a local bowling league and meets handsome – but taken – meteorologist Kellan Valentine. Will their friendship lead to sunny skies or it is another forecast for disaster?

 

 

efchappy

Chrissy’s Review: Live For This by Kathryn R. Biel

Live For ThisLive For This
written by Kathryn R. Biel
published by Kathryn R. Biel, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
This book took me by surprise. The premise is somewhat different from other books I have read. I thought it was going to be predictable, but it wasn’t. I read it every free chance I had, and I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Samirah and Michael are characters you can truly feel for. You will care about them. You will want them to find their happily ever afters. You will want them to have something work out for them. You will laugh, gasp, sigh, be upset, be happy . . . you name it. You may even shed a few tears. And just when I thought I had it figured out, the story had me guessing. Live For This was an engrossing read.

everyfree4

Would I recommend it: Yes, it is a good women’s fiction book.

chrissysig

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Samirah Lundgren is living the party girl life. While she’s trying to forget about her past and put off having a meaningful future, her lifestyle catches up with her, leaving her in a wake of personal destruction. Alone and homeless, she encounters Michael Salinger, a man carrying his own baggage in the form of a spinal cord injury, not to mention his former fiancé is marrying his former best friend.

Can a man with a broken body and a woman with a broken soul help each other find the redemption they need to become whole again?

 

 

efchappy

Boost It Tuesday! – April 12, 2016

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the If These Books Could Talk Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

If you would like to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. We LOVE having guest hosts!! Be sure to notice the rules.

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!


 if these books could talk
 

efchappy