Monday, March 30, 2015

Bloggiesta Spring 2015 #Bloggiesta


Bloggiesta is here again! I will have to see how this goes. I have a bunch of stuff I need to get done, but it's going to depend on work (last week of the month and all). Here's what I'm hoping to accomplish:

  • create button and post sign-up for my Sit Down and Read writing challenge (April 1-15)
  • create button and post sign-up for the Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon (April 20 - 29)
  • update Seasons of Reading blog to Spring (header and background) created new header and blog design/layout  Check it out here
  • add images back to past posts they were removed from (due to my purging images on Google on my phone - yes, they're connected)
  • change blog background on this blog (maybe)  New design/layout...what do you think?
  • finish going through reading challenges in the Novel Challenge folder (email)
  • complete my TBR jar
  • clear out my email (if I told you how many I have backed up, you would be truly appalled. lol)
Wish me luck!


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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cat Thursday - What they get up to

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

There is really no end to the antics our kitties get up to. Here's further evidence...

Technically, this isn't Arya getting up to anything. But she was lying on this stuffed kitty and it fell off so I laid it on top of her. lol

And I caught her doing this today...

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Book Blast - C.W. Gortner's Mademoiselle Chanel {Giveaway}

02_Mademoiselle Chanel CoverPlease join author C.W. Gortner as his latest release, Mademoiselle Chanel, is featured around the blogosphere from March 17-April 3, and enter to win one of three fabulously chic, Chanel-style black and white beaded bracelets!

Publication Date: March 17, 2015
William Morrow/HarperCollins
Formats: Hardover, eBook, Audio Book
Genre: Historical Fiction

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DRAMA, PASSION, TRAGEDY, AND BEAUTY: C.W.’s new novel stunningly imagines the life of Coco Chanel—the iconic fashion designer whose staggering creativity built an empire and made her one of the 20th century’s most influential, and controversial, figures.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her sisters are sent to a convent orphanage after their mother’s death. Here, the nuns nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel her into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. Her little black dress, her signature perfume No. 5; her dramatic friendships, affairs, and rivalries with luminaries of her era increase her wealth and fame. But as the years pass, success cannot save her from heartbreak. And when Paris falls to the Nazis during World War II, Coco finds herself at a dangerous crossroads, forced to make choices that will forever change her. 

An enthralling portrayal of an extraordinary woman who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel is Coco’s intimate story.

Release Graphic

Praise for Mademoiselle Chanel
“In this deliciously satisfying novel, C.W. Gortner tells the epic, rags-to-riches story of how this brilliant, mercurial, self-created woman became a legend.” (Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train)
“In a novel as brilliant and complicated as Coco Chanel herself, C. W. Gortner’s prose is so electric and luminous it could be a film, and not just any film, but one of the grandest biopics of our time. Divine!” (Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway's Girl)

“A richly imagined, deftly researched novel, in which the ever fascinating Coco Chanel comes to life in all her woe and splendor, her story unfolding as elegantly as a Chanel gown.” (Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls)

“From her heart-wrenching early years through her decades of struggle and glory, Gabrielle Chanel was fascinating—as is C.W. Gortner’s Mademoiselle Chanel. Coco lives again in this rich tale of brilliance, determination, and fierce self-creation.” (Ania Szado, author of Studio Saint-Ex)

“Gortner brings to life a woman who was as alluring and captivating as her signature scent. ” (Historical Novels Review)

“Gortner brings history to life in a fascinating study of one woman’s unstoppable ambition.” (Booklist) 

“Well-written and historically accurate . . . An homage to a couture icon whose influence is still powerful today.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Buy Mademoiselle Chanel
Barnes & Noble

About the Author
C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding. 

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin's Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015. 

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information visit C.W. Gortner's website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twittter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube. Sign up for C.W. Gortner's Newsletter for updates.

Mademoiselle Chanel Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, March 17
Mina's Bookshelf
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, March 18
Forever Ashley
History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, March 19
The Lit Bitch
100 Pages a Day

Friday, March 20
A Literary Vacation
Beth's Book Nook Blog
What Is That Book About

Saturday, March 21
Genre Queen

Sunday, March 22
A Bookish Girl

Monday, March 23
Let them Read Books

Tuesday, March 24
The True Book Addict

Wednesday, March 25
Historical Fiction Connection
The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, March 26
Broken Teepee

Friday, March 27
The Maiden's Court

Saturday, March 28
Caroline Wilson Writes
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Sunday, March 29
Passages to the Past

Monday, March 30
Flashlight Commentary
To Read, Or Not to Read
I'd So Rather Be Reading

Tuesday, March 31
Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, April 1
Booktalk & More

Thursday, April 2
CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, April 3
Book Nerd Luxury Reading


Coco-braceletsThree Chanel-style black and white beaded bracelets will up for grabs during this blast, follow along for chances to win! – Giveaway starts on March 17th at 12:01am and ends on April 3rd at 11:59pm EST. – Must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US residents only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. - Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to claim prize, or new winner is chosen.

 Mademoiselle Chanel Book Blast Giveaway

 photo 882fbda1-16ef-4f87-932b-c2f711afa759.png


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Friday, March 20, 2015

HFVBT: Michael Schmicker's The Witch of Napoli - Review

My thoughts
When it comes to the supernatural and voices from the beyond, it seems there have always been two camps. Those who believe and those who do not. I tend to come down on the side of belief, but even those of us who do consider ourselves believers have seeds of doubt in the backs of our minds. I guess it's human to doubt. However, I do still believe. My theory is that all our ancient stories and spiritual beliefs had to stem from somewhere and it was people like Allessandra who brought these stories forward in some way. Whether it was by being observed, or by people bearing witness, the phenomenon has carried on through the ages.

In The Witch of Napoli, the medium Allessandra is based on a real life medium. Her character is amazing! She is someone who came from nothing and gains fame from the attention of a psychiatrist determined to 'study' her power and prove a scientific reasoning for it. The way is fraught with peril, as one man investigates on behalf of England's Society for the Investigation of Mediums to prove she's a fake. Then Rome is involved with trying to debunk her powers. Add an abusive husband into the mix, hellbent on revenge and murder, and you have one exciting story.

That being said, the story is also very poignant. The friendship between Allessandra and Tommaso is touching. He sticks by her through it all and, in fact, tells the story. He is a reliable narrator and a likable one too. As I was reading, I could picture his eagerness in his younger years and it made me smile.

The Witch of Napoli is a remarkable historical novel. The author draws on his experience with paranormal phenomenon bringing forward a believable story. With the addition of solid historical research, this book is one you should not pass by.

About the book
Publication Date: January 15, 2015
Palladino Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fantasy

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Italy 1899: Fiery-tempered, erotic medium Alessandra Poverelli levitates a table at a Spiritualist séance in Naples. A reporter photographs the miracle, and wealthy, skeptical, Jewish psychiatrist Camillo Lombardi arrives in Naples to investigate. When she materializes the ghost of his dead mother, he risks his reputation and fortune to finance a tour of the Continent, challenging the scientific and academic elite of Europe to test Alessandra’s mysterious powers. She will help him rewrite Science. His fee will help her escape her sadistic husband Pigotti and start a new life in Rome. Newspapers across Europe trumpet her Cinderella story and baffling successes, and the public demands to know – does the “Queen of Spirits” really have supernatural powers?

Nigel Huxley is convinced she’s simply another vulgar, Italian trickster. The icy, aristocratic detective for England’s Society for the Investigation of Mediums launches a plot to trap and expose her. The Vatican is quietly digging up her childhood secrets, desperate to discredit her supernatural powers; her abusive husband Pigotti is coming to kill her; and the tarot cards predict catastrophe.

Praised by Kirkus Reviews as an “enchanting and graceful narrative” that absorbs readers from the very first page, The Witch of Napoli masterfully resurrects the bitter 19th century battle between Science and religion over the possibility of an afterlife.

Praise for The Witch of Napoli
“Impressive…an enchanting, graceful narrative that absorbs readers from the first page.” -Kirkus Reviews

About the Author
Michael Schmicker is an investigative journalist and nationally-known writer on the paranormal. He’s been a featured guest on national broadcast radio talk shows, including twice on Coast to Coast AM (560 stations in North America, with 3 million weekly listeners). He also shares his investigations through popular paranormal webcasts including Skeptiko, hosted by Alex Tsakiris; Speaking of Strange with Joshua Warren; the X-Zone, with Rob McConnell (Canada); and he even spent an hour chatting with spoon-bending celebrity Uri Geller on his program Parascience and Beyond (England). He is the co-author of The Gift, ESP: The Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People (St. Martin’s Press). The Witch of Napoli is his debut novel. Michael began his writing career as a crime reporter for a suburban Dow-Jones newspaper in Connecticut, and worked as a freelance reporter in Southeast Asia for three years. He has also worked as a stringer for Forbes magazine, and Op-Ed contributor to The Wall Street Journal Asia. His interest in investigating the paranormal began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand where he first encountered a non-Western culture which readily accepts the reality of ghosts and spirits, reincarnation, psychics, mediums, divination,and other persistently reported phenomena unexplainable by current Science. He lives and writes in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a mountaintop overlooking Waikiki and Diamond Head.

Connect with Michael Schmicker on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Stop by over at Historical Fiction Connection to enter to win a copy of this excellent book and read the insightful guest post by author, Michael Schmicker. 

Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #TheWitchofNapoliBlogTour #Historical #Fantasy #Paranormal
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @Schmicker


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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cat Thursday - Grumpy Cat vs. ... and a Six Pack

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I'm late, late, late! Enjoy...and have a fab weekend!

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cat Thursday: Authors and Cats (41)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author and their cat(s).

In honor of Jack Kerouac's birthday which is actually today!

Born on March 12, 1922, in Lowell, Massachusetts, Jack Kerouac's writing career began in the 1940s, but didn't meet with commercial success until 1957, when On the Road was published. The book became an American classic that defined the Beat Generation. Kerouac died on October 21, 1969, from an abdominal hemorrhage, at age 47. (from Goodreads)

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cat Thursday: Cats in Art (9)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Time for the cat art gallery again! An eclectic mix of lovelies this week. Enjoy!

Albert Anker - Swiss artist, 1831-1910

Charles Joseph Grips (1825-1920)

KUNISADA Study of a Standing Bijin 1830s

Pierre Bonnard, (1867-1947). Woman with a Cat 1912

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Friday, February 27, 2015

PUYB: Deborah Serani's Depression and Your Child - Guest Post and Review

“Adult vs. Child Depression”
Deborah Serani, Psy.D.

Did you know that depression presents differently than in children than it does in adults? Though the disorder of depression can occur in in kids, teens - and even babies, the symptoms don’t always look like adult depression. Take a look at the differences below so you can learn how to detect this serious, but treatable disorder. For more, read my award-winning book “Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers.”

Signs of Depression in Adults

Signs of Depression in Children
Depressed mood

Irritable, fussy or cranky
Anhedonia (Decreased interest/enjoyment in once-favorite activities)

Negative thinking, helplessness

Boredom, lack of interest in play, giving up favorite activities

Blames self for failures, misperceives peer interactions, socially isolates, resists new experiences

Significant weight loss or weight gain

Failure to thrive, fussy eating, overeating and weight gain especially in adolescence

Insomnia or Hypersomnia (Excessive sleeping)

Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, difficulty emerging from sleep, hard to awaken, frequent napping.

Psychomotor agitation, restlessness or slowness

Difficulty sitting still, pacing, very slow movements, clingy, little or no spontaneity, overly aggressive or sensitive

Fatigue or loss of energy

Persistently tired, appears lazy, sluggish, reports aches and pains, frequent absences from school

Low self-esteem, feelings of guilt

Whiny, cries easily, self-critical, feels stupid, unloved or misunderstood

Inability to concentrate, indecisive

Sulks, appears foggy, distractible, poor school performance, forgetful, unmotivated

Recurrent suicidal thoughts or behavior

Worries about death, talks about running away, writing or drawings about death, giving away favorite toys or belongings

My thoughts on Depression and Your Child
When Pump Up Your Book offered this book tour, I immediately signed up. As the mother of adolescent sons, I feel that reading and learning as much as I can about what could affect my child is very important, especially in the case of my older son who was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety disorder when he was five years old. He has had a very hard time of things, and has even been bullied, on and off over the years. Sadly, the bullying still continues and I know that these situations can lead to depression so I want to be as proactive as possible...with both my sons.

This is a truly great book. The author is very knowledgeable on the subject and clearly outlines the steps to define, diagnose and treat depression in a child. The use of real life case scenarios gives the reader a more broad understanding of how depression applies in different ways to different individuals. A very important chapter on self-harm and suicide is included and I found this to be most informative and helpful, especially since "suicide is the third leading cause of death for children ages ten to twenty-four." I mean, we hear the horror stories in the news and it's scary. Knowing what to watch for is very important and this chapter is a terrific resource for that. The book also supports those who are parenting a depressed child. Emphasis on self-care and "me time" for the parent is discussed and I liked that. Being the mother of a child with disorders, I can sometimes forget about my needs and it's good to be reminded. The chapter that covers the "Twenty Depression Myths Every Parent Should Know" dispels any doubts one might have about depression...that it's very real and it is a medical problem, etc. Finally, I found the appendices in the back really interesting and informative. Appendix B with a list of High Profile People with Mood Disorders. This is a great list to share with your child to show him/her that they're not the only ones who have suffered from depression. Appendix C is a list of Resources and I was especially grateful for the Antibullying resources.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has children. Even if your child is an infant, as I learned in the book, depression can be present from infancy so this is an important read for new parents too. My view is that it's better to be safe than sorry and staying informed on all aspects of what could affect my children is very important to me. This book will be a much appreciated, and referenced, addition to my parenting resources bookshelf.

About the book
Seeing your child suffer in any way is a harrowing experience for any parent. Mental illness in children can be particularly draining due to the mystery surrounding it, and the issue of diagnosis at such a tender age. Depression and Your Child is an award-winning book that gives parents and caregivers a uniquely textured understanding of pediatric depression, its causes, its symptoms, and its treatments. Author Deborah Serani weaves her own personal experiences of being a depressed child along with her clinical experiences as a psychologist treating depressed children.

2013 Gold Medal Book of the Year Award – IndieFab (Psychology Category)

2014 Silver Medal Book of the Year Award – Independent Publishing (Parenting Category)

For More Information:
  • Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers is available at Amazon
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads
  • Watch book trailer at YouTube.

About the author
Dr. Deborah Serani the author of the award-winning books “Living with Depression” and “Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers.” She is also a go-to media expert on a variety of psychological issues. Her interviews can be found in ABC News, Newsday, Women’s Health & Fitness, The Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, The Associated Press, and radio station programs at CBS and NPR, just to name a few. She writes for Psychology Today, helms the "Ask the Therapist" column for Esperanza Magazine and has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. A psychologist in practice twenty five years, Dr. Serani is also a professor at Adelphi University.

For More Information:

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.


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