Nicholas Sparks’ The Choice, coming to theaters February 5, 2016 (giveaway ends 2/14/15)


The Choice

I am a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks. I own every movie based upon one of his books. I never read any of his books (I rarely have time to read) but I have made it a point to never miss one of his films. I have his entire collection of films.

In addition to his movie collection I also have an autographed copy of one of his books. The autographed book I have is The Choice, which was made into a movie. The Choice opens in theaters this Friday, February 5, 2016.

When feisty medical student Gabby Holland moves in next door to perennial ladies’ man Travis Shaw, they embark on a surprising romantic journey neither imagined possible. Travis has always believed a serious relationship would cramp his easygoing lifestyle, while Gabby is preparing to settle down with her long-term boyfriend—until an irresistible attraction between the unlikely couple upends both of their well-planned lives. Spanning a decade and tracing the evolution of a love affair that is ultimately tested by life’s most defining events, this story features a memorable ensemble of friends and family in Sparks’s beloved North Carolina setting, culminating with the question that every couple must ask themselves: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?

The Choice is from Lionsgate Studios as well as Safran Company / POW! production.

The film stars Alexandra Daddario, Teresa Palmer, Benjamin Walker, Gabby Holland, Travis Parker, Maggie Grace and Tom Welling.

Here is the film’s trailer for your enjoyment.


I cannot wait to see this film. I plan on packing a lot of tissues. Every Nicholas Sparks film always brings a tear to my eyes – most especially The Notebook and A Walk to Remember. I start crying like a baby when I see the opening credits on those films. Ha Ha.

I like these nice images and quotes from the film. It makes me want to see the movie even more.

The Choice 1

The Choice 2

The Choice 3

The Choice would make the perfect Valentine’s Day movie.

If you would like to learn more about the film you can visit it’s official website, www.TheChoice.Movie (notice it’s .Movie, not .com).

You can also check out the film on social media – Facebook and Twitter.

What do you think about The Choice? Will you go and see it in theaters?

To get you excited about the film I have a great giveaway for a lucky reader. The prize package includes:

  • $25 Visa eGift Card (sent to the the winner’s email)
  • The Choice Tie-In Movie Book
  • Sea-Shell Wind-chimes
  • The Choice Bookmark.

The Choice Prize Package

This giveaway is open to US only. The prizing is provided by Lionsgate.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on Febuary 14, 12016. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win this prize package?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for Lionsgate. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

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Book Review: Frankencrayon by Michael Hall



Available today where books are sold is the latest book by acclaimed author Michael Hall (Red: A Crayon’s Story, My Heart is Like a Zoo, Perfect Square). His newest picture book is called Frankencrayon. It’s certainly an interesting book title.

I am not familiar with the author, but from what I can tell he’s written other crayon-inspired books.

The crayons are ready to tell the thrilling tale of Frankencrayon. The costumes are made, the roles are cast, the pages are all set—but then disaster strikes. Someone has scribbled on the page! Hideous! Horrifying! The story can’t go on! Try as they might, the crayons can’t erase the scribble, and this picture book must be canceled. Until the crayons playing the title role of Frankencrayon think of a solution, that is. Michael Hall breaks borders and invites readers behind the scenes with his irresistible, clever style and bold artwork. A book about seeing beauty in unexpected places and the magic of storytelling.

First and foremost – I love to color. I color a lot. I have my own coloring books and crayons at home (both fun children’s coloring books and grown up coloring books). I also work with children and often color right along next to them while at work.

I also love to read (when I have the time which seem like never these days). I take good care of my books and hate it when I see a mark or tear on the dust cover. I like them to look pristine. If I saw a scribble on any of my beloved books I think I would upset too – just like the crayons in the book.

This is a fun, colorful and very creative book. I love the idea of the crayons being not only alive, but also having personalities.

This would make a delightful book to read to your child/grandchild at bedtime as well as an wonderful addition to a family’s home library.

I’m not the only one who enjoyed this book. Its also getting rave reviews from others.

In a starred review, School Library Journal said, “Hall’s genius application of crayon drawings and cut-paper collage creates a product that any child could see himself making…A monstrously entertaining read.” Horn Book also proclaims, “This book’s complex plot-within-a-plot structure provides punchy entertainment to keep readers engaged throughout and offers inspiration for thinking about theater, bookmaking, and storytelling.”

Frankencrayon is published by Harper Collins publishing. Look for it where ever books are sold.

About Michael Hall:

Michael Hall grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where autumn was memorable for football, floats, caramel apples, and spectacular colors. He is the creator of several acclaimed picture books for children, including Frankencrayon, Red: A Crayon’s Story, My Heart Is Like a Zoo, Perfect Square, and It’s an Orange Aardvark! Michael Hall now lives with his family in Minneapolis, Minnesota—another city that shimmers in the fall.

Photo Source: Harper Collins Publishing

Photo Source: Harper Collins Publishing


*I received a free copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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FUN books and more from Ulysses Press


tea with lemon

It’s winter time. In many parts of the country it’s not always possible to go outside and enjoy some fresh air. You can ski, skate and build snowmen, but sometimes the weather is not conducive to that (too cold, too windy, raining…). For that reason you need to have plenty of fun things to do to entertain yourself when you are stuck inside.

Children can almost always find something do to inside to amuse themselves like play with toys, games or hang out with a friend. Adults can watch television, tidy up the house, knock off  some thing on the “To Do” list or craft.

Sometimes cuddling up with a good book, warm blanket and hot cup of tea/coffee is all I need.

Ulysses Press has some fun books worth checking out. I was sent these books (and non-book) to review.


Below are brief description, photos and my thoughts on each of the books pictured above.

Cover Art

“Cover Art” ($15.95)

Showcase your love of literature. Features beautiful, hand-illustrated posters to tear out, frame and hang. Pre-sized prints fit 8″x10″ frames and mattes with 5″x7″ openings. Includes “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” “Moby Dick,” “Pride & Prejudice,” “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” and more.

Book Cover Art

I love the prints in this book. They are simple yet very pretty and decorative. I haven’t hung any of these up yet, but I do have a few favorites. I was thinking they would look good clustered together – maybe in a hallway or powder room. Living in a “show box” (tiny condo) doesn’t give us much wall space. I might add a few of these above the bookcase in the bedroom.

I am a fan of the classics too, and this book has artwork for some of the best books in literature.


“Apuglogies” ($7.95)

Don’t say sorry. Apuglogize. Features 20 adorable apology cards (and photos of pugs!) to tear out, give and make amends.

Cute! Cute! Cute!!!

I love Pugs. I think they are super adorable.

Pug Book

Inside this book are tear out pages featuring various, adorable Pugs. Each one has a apology message on it. You can tear out the page and give it to someone you want to apologize too such as your spouse (for a silly argument), your child (for yelling at them), a co-worker (for “dropping the ball” on a project) or to a neighbor (for mowing your lawn early in the AM and waking them up). These are hypothetical situations – they are not listed like that in the book.

Even if you never use the cards, the images alone make the book worth adding to your library. It makes me smile whenever I look at the cute images in the book.

Don't Quit Your Day Dream

“Don’t Quit Your Day Dream” ($12.95)

Release your creativity as you color these unfinished cards. Then, tear out your new whimsical work of art to share with friends or hang on your walls.

Adult coloring books are so “in” and “trendy” these days. I happen to own several of them. I enjoy coloring in them whenever I have a moment.

Card Book

Inside this book you’ll find a page where you can color in the design. On the back of the page is a blank area where you can write a personal message. You can tear out the page and give it to someone special.

Think of the pages as “cards” you can color and give to someone (without needing an envelope).

“Emoticat Stickers” ($14.95)

Say it with kitties. Features 200 peel-and-stick feline photos that can communicate all of your emotions to friends and loved ones.

As a cat lover (we have five cats) I can really appreciate these adorable cat stickers.


There are words scattered around each page such as “Sorry,””I’m thinking,” “Huh?,” and my persona favorite, “I gotcha hot sriracha.” LOL!

The words are not on the stickers. They are near the stickers that might represent those words. Basically its a book full of super adorable cats and kittens.

Kids love stickers. Adults can have fun with them too.

You can find information about all of these book on the Ulysses Press website (UlyssesPress.com). Look for the books at a bookstore near you.

Ulysses Press Logo


*I received free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Idiot’s Guides: Drawing Pets


Drawing Pets

I have always love to doodle. Ever since I was a little girl I was always coloring and doodling things. Sadly, my doodling never grew into an actual talent. I would do anything to be a talented artist.

My friend Lexi is an amazing artist and draws the most delightful cartoon people and animals. I LOVE her artwork. I always have. I wish I had as much talent when it came to art as she does in her pinky. LOL!

If you follow me on Instagram you have probably seen some of my doodles.




I drew the above pictures at my previous job. Some days we literally had nothing to do so I would sit and doodle to pass the time away.

If you love to doodle like me, or have always had the desire to draw, there is a great book that is now available that can hep you draw a variety of animals. The book is called Idiot’s Guides: Drawing Pets.

Kids and young adults love to draw, and a consistently favorite subject is animals and pets, such as cats, dogs, and even the dream pet: horses. Getting the basic shapes right is the first step, and it can be a challenge. Idiot’s Guides: Drawing Pets shows readers step-by-step how to create accurate likenesses of their favorite animals. This easy-to-follow book features 50 of the most popular pets—a wide variety of dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens. In addition,
favorites include fish, birds, reptiles, and horses.

David Williams knew he wanted to be an artist at the young age of 11 when he first exhibited his drawings and paintings at an outdoor art fair. Four years later he held his first gallery show. A graduate of the BFA Fine Arts program at Parsons School of Design, NYC, Williams instructs drawing at Ivy Tech Community College. In addition, he leads watercolor and oil painting classes at his studio. He is the author of Idiot’s Guides: Drawing and Idiot’s Guides: Zen Doodling.

I have a copy of the book. There are so many wonderful animals to choose from. The hard part is picking which one you want to try first.

Here are a few examples from the book.







The directions are easy enough. I found that some of the animals I tried to draw were a bit easier than others. None of them turned out exactly like the book version, but at least they were recognizable and turned out similar to the one in the book.

As with anything else, “practice makes perfect.” The more you try to draw using this book as your guide, the better your drawings will become.

I lent this book to the kids I work with and some of them have made animals that look exactly like the one in the book. I am very impressed. In all fairness I suffer from a bad case of Carpal Tunnel, so I don’t have the best grip or control of the pencil.

This is a fun book that both young and old can use and appreciate. There are plenty of animals to choose from – even ones you wouldn’t expect.

Look for Idiot’s Guide: Drawing Pets where ever books are sold. It’s published by Penguin Random House.



*I received a free copy of this book in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and no influenced in any way.

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Transform Humble Wood Pallets into Beautiful Furniture and Decor



Not too long ago my husband and I brought some items to the “hazardous waste” drop off at a local facility. We were dropping off unused medications. They also take things like television sets, computers and miscellaneous things you can’t toss (and shouldn’t toss) in your garbage.

While we were waiting I happened to notice several large stacks of wood pallets (or “skids” as my husband calls them). They were just sitting there, rotting away. I thought to myself that I wish I had a few to line our basement storage floor to protect our stuff in the even of flooding.

Wood pallets can be seen every where. I see them a lot by dumpsters behind retail stores.

The simplistic wood pallet is a key element in global shipping, yet it’s eventually smashed into pieces and tossed into a dumpster. That perfectly good, all-natural wood deserves a better fate!

There is a book that is now available that shows you how to take the humble wooden pallet and transform it into something wonderful like furniture, wall art and shelving. The book includes step by step instructions for over 25 projects for both your home and garden.

With beginner projects like simple trays and shelves to more advanced projects like benches and kitchen islands, each project includes step-by-step color photos and easy-to-follow instructions.

Wooden Pallet

This book will show you how to build, paint and finish unique gifts, decor and furniture, including a cute jewelry organizer, a chic wine bar, a family chalkboard, inspiring word art wall decor, and much, much more.

“Crafting with Wood Pallets” is packed with helpful tips for working with salvaged wood, like how to choose the best pallets, use the necessary tools, and master the art of disassembly. The author, Becky Lamb, also shares her unique painting technique that adds a one-of-a-kind, colorful twist to every project.

I have a copy of this book. I LOVE IT! I wish we had more room in our condo to do some of these projects. There are several projects I am super excited about trying to make, most especially furniture. Furniture is so expensive. Even a simple coffee table can set you back a few hundred dollars. Using free wooden pallets you can make your own coffee table (or any type of table you want).

Even for someone who is not necessarily “handy” or “crafty,” the instructions in the book are very easy to understand.

Most of the projects show off the “rustic” appeal of the wood pallets. You could easily stain the wood or paint it to suit your personal preferences.

Crafting with Wood Pallets is published by Ulysses Press. Look for the book where books are sold.

Wood Pallets


*I received a free copy to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Life is Good: How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy The Ride



Life is Good book

With the new year fast approaching, many people take a look back on the past year and think about what aspects of their life went great, and where life needs a bit of improving.

I think that most people look upon a new year with hope and optimism. It’s a new year – a fresh start. A time to put the past behind us and look forward to our future.

Sometimes we need a little inspiration, especially if you are feeling a bit “defeated.” Personally, I have been feeling very “down” lately. I often feel like my life resembles the film Groundhog’s Day, where Bill Murray’s character relives the same day over and over and over again. I get up early, blog, clean, go to work, come home and make dinner, watch TV, struggle to fall asleep and do the same thing again the next day. It seems like I am just going through the motions. I hardly ever do anything fun anymore. I don’t have time to read, I don’t have time to do a hobby, all my friends live far away… sigh…

Time for Change

To add to the mix our teenage daughter would rather spend every waking moment with her boyfriend than with us. This was the first Christmas we hardly saw her. They came to Christmas Eve dinner with us, and her boyfriend came home with us and stayed for a few hours. The next day (Christmas morning) she was with us when we opened presents, then we headed upstate to have dinner with the grandparents and she spent the day with her boyfriend’s family. The day after he picked her up early and that night she slept over a friend’s house. It’s been rough trying to adjust to all of these changes.

I’ll admit that I have read “self help” books in the past. I try and keep it a lighthearted read. I’m not one to read “deep,” serious books. And I stay away from books that cite medical findings and things along those lines.

Having time off from work (yeah!), I have been able to FINALLY get some reading done. One of the books I read (I read it in two days) is called “Life is Good: How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy The Ride.”

According to the publisher:

Life is Good: The Book- How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy The Ride will be your ultimate guide to embracing and growing the good in your life. This entertaining and profound book shares wisdom from Life is Good founders and brothers Bert and John Jacobs, celebrating the power of optimism and chronicles their journey from their scrappy upbringing to the unlikely success of their $100 million socially conscious clothing and lifestyle brand. 


Overcome obstacles

Embrace opportunities

Empowering stories (may need a few tissues for this one!) 

Understand rejection 

Be a source for good

Most importantly, live the best life  

Life is Good Book back

I was able to read this book in two days (I read it off and on during the course of two days).

I like that this book can not only help you to live a happier life, but it can also be worked into building a successful business (if you have one). For me, I plan on applying some of the things I learned from this book towards my blog. While it does show you how to overcome obstacles to make a business a success – this is not a “business book.”

The book tells the story of the Jacob brothers humble beginning, and the things they learned from their mom about life. They talk about how they took their business from next to nothing to a million dollar brand – however talk about their business success does not take prescient in this book. This book is more about doing what you love in life, and love what you do.

The book is broken up into ten “super powers.”

  • Openness
  • Courage
  • Simplicity
  • Humor
  • Gratitude
  • Fun
  • Compassion
  • Creativity
  • Authenticity
  • Love

The brothers provide you with practical, easy to understand ways you can incorporate these things into your life.

What I liked most about this book is that it was written for the “average Joe.” They don’t use big words, cite medical findings, refer to psychologists work… but rather they “talk” to you (the reader) as if you were sitting with them having coffee and cake. They don’t shove things down your throat. They speak to you (in the book) in a very “down to Earth” manner, which I found to be very refreshing.


Nothing they share with you in the book is “new.” It’s mostly common sense stuff that we often forget about in our daily lives. This book served as a gentle reminder to the things we often overlook and forget about.

The book is also filled with interesting illustrations, suggested playlists and more. It’s a book and then some.

With the start of a brand new year fast approaching, a book like Life is Good: How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy The Ride would be an ideal book to enjoy so that you can start the fresh new year full of hope and optimism.

The book would also make a great gift for friends and loved ones.

Look for Life is Good: How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy The Ride where ever books are sold. You can also find the book on the Life is Good website where a percentage of the sales goes to charity to help kids in need.

To learn more visit LifeisGood.com. While you are there check out their “Stories of Gratitude” section. The Life is Good brand can also be found on social media. All of the links are found on the bottom right of their website.

Life is Good Logo


*I received a free copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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