Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: Viewer Discretion Advised, plus a giveaway

***The giveaway is now closed***
Thank you to all those who entered!  
Please stay tuned for more book reviews from various genres and other giveaways
The winner of this giveaway was chosen by
Congratulations to Jeryl Marcus!  
Thank you to all that entered and please keep an eye out for more book reviews and giveaways!

When I was 8-years-old my parents took my brother and I to the local CBS affiliate for a tour of their newsroom.   At the time it had to have been one of the coolest things that ever happened to me.  Honestly, it seems like just yesterday I was walking through the studio checking out the anchor desk and learning about the green screen that the meteorologist used for their weather forecast.  It was incredible getting the chance to see how each broadcast was put together.  Several years later the movie "Broadcast News" was released and there was no doubt was to whether or not I was going to see it.  My family's tour of the newsroom had me hooked on broadcast journalism so a movies about it was just the icing on the cake at the time.

Recently, my interest with broadcast journalism led me to read, Viewer Discretion Advised by Cindy Roesel.  The story focuses on Charlene "Charley" Thomas, a confident new director who moves Miami for a new gig after getting fired from her job in Los Angles.  From day one, Charley faces many challenges keeping each and every moment filled with new surprises.

 I really liked this book.  If it weren't for my other book review responsibilities I wouldn't have put it down as much as I had to.  Cindy's characters are well developed and likeable.  I appreciate that Charley exuded confidence in all areas of her life while still expressing a caring and compassionate side, too.  I also like the variety of personalities all the characters in this book displayed.  All of them worked well together and you could without a doubt believe that this group worked together.

The story line itself was also another reason I sing the praises of this book.  You can tell this story is based off of Cindy's real life newsroom experiences. There is an authenticity to it you just can't fake. As a side note... For those that blush easily, consider yourself warned that this book has some hot romance moments... this book is called "Viewer Discretion Advised" for a reason!

This fast paced story has it all and is surely a fantastic debut from the talented Cindy Roesel.

You can find Cindy at her website and Twitter

Thanks to Cindy, I have a copy of "Viewer Discretion Advised" for one lucky reader located in the US.

How to win Viewer Discretion Advised:
Please tell me, who is your favorite celebrity news reporter or anchor of all time?  Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win. Entries without contact information will NOT be counted.

US only.  Giveaway ends January 4th at midnight CST.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I Am . . . The Cutest Thing, Ever!

Hi!  I'm Froggie's roommate, Elsie.

I noticed that Froggie hadn't posted her Thursday Blog Project post yet, so I thought I'd hijack it this week.  See, according to Froggie, I'm the cutest thing ever; however, she hasn't posted much about me since I moved-in.

As you can see, my life is really tough!  I spend my days and nights roaming the pad making sure the items that call this place home are well taken care of.  This even includes the cable box remote. Honestly, my ALL TIME FAVORITE item to take care of is the yarn.  I thought Froggie would be happy about this, but she isn't.  She's afraid I'm going to eat it and ruin my insides.  What I love most about taking care of the yarn is petting it with my paw.  It's SO soft.

Aside from protecting stuff, my other hobbies include chasing after twine mice, running up and down my jungle gym (Froggie call this "the cat tree") and sleeping.  Oh, I also enjoy fine dining, but since I don't get out much I have to settle for whatever Froggie has picked up at the grocery for me.  Most of the time its mediocre stuff, but periodically I luck out and feast on high-end eats.  I will say, I do like the dessert I'm served.  And get this.... I sometimes get dessert first thing in the morning, if I pout enough!!!  I'm not a big outdoors person, so when I do have to go outdoors I'm thankful I get to travel in my rad ride.  Isn't it sweet???  When I'm in the car with Froggie I like to sing the w-h-o-l-e time.  I even sing when there isn't a song on the radio. 

When she's home, I make sure that Froggie gives me back rubs. In addition to not having to pay any bills, it's one of the perks of living here.

Amongst the many silly things Froggie does to me, she once got me a collar with a bell on it. She did this when we were staying at a friend's place.  She said she did it so she'd know where I was since her friend's place is a lot bigger than hers.  At first I was a bit displeased with this development, but I got over it.  Then, she eventually took it off because she felt bad to put a collar on me at the same time she was subjecting me to a dog. (Honestly, Sunshine isn't THAT bad.  I just made it seem like it was horrible to be around her so I would be spoiled more.  Shhhh!  Don't tell Froggie!)

Overall, it's not so horrible of a life.  I sometimes worry that Froggie will bring home another roommate.  Part of me would like the company, but honestly I don't know that I'm uber thrilled about the idea.  I've tried voicing my opinion on this subject matter several times, but I just don't feel like I'm being heard.  It's like I'm speaking another language or something!  I guess we'll cross that bridge if/when we come to it.

Now that I've shared with you who "I am...." (Susanna's topic for this week), please take a moment to read what Froggie's fellow bloggers have to say on the topic:

to say about theirs:

•   Mom of Many (Susanna)

 •  Momarock (Sara)

•  Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Puttin' A "Tramp Stamp" On It

The Thursday Blog Project topic for the week ending December 14th was inspired by one of my favorite TV shows -- How I Met Your Mother.  Melissa asked us to write about: I'm going off another idea I got from "How I Met Your Mother." There was an episode where they were talking about being a "stamp tramp." This meant putting a seal of approval on anything and everything, even if it wasn't good.
What person (not a close friend or family member), place AND thing would you put your stamp of approval on and stand behind that stamp 100% of the way?


Once upon a time in a land far, far way I had a hard and fast rule that a vacuum couldn't cost me more than $75.  (With inflation, in today's standards I'd say $150.)  I felt there was no reason at all you should pay more than $75.  That is until I saw what a Dyson vacuum could do.

Yes, you may need to take out a loan to get one of these, but they are SOOO worth it.  My particular favorite is the pet Dyson.  The super powerful one that is built to suck-up the dander and hair that pets leave deep in the carpet.   I also like that it's bag-less. 

If you're not willing to take out a loan on a vacuum, you can refurbished ones online or if you are lucky like I was you could possibly get an older model on sale if they introduce a new model.  (Sure, it might still cost you an arm, but not the leg too.)

 This "thing" gets the Froggie Stamp of Approval!

Dulles Airport:

Maybe it was dumb luck, however it happened to me twice so maybe is wasn't.

When I took a recent trip to the Washington D.C./Maryland area I flew in and out of Dulles Airport.  Normally, I loath the airport experience; however, my experience at this airport was notable for only good reasons.  The worst thing I can think of about my experience was that I couldn't find a McDonalds to purchase my large dollar ice tea at.  All of the eating options appeared to be restaurants ranging from Five Guys to actual sit down restaurant chains -- unless I missed something which is quite possible since it was fairly early in the morning when I went on my hunt for food.

 This "place" gets the Froggie Stamp of Approval!

There are Too Many to Single One Person Out

I have a hard time picking just one person to talk about here.  Instead what I will say is that I will not recommend someone (for whatever reason) unless I fully believe that person is fit to do the job at hand.  I take giving a "stamp of approval" of any kind seriously, but the ones I take the most serious the one that I give to people. 

Now that I've talked about my "tramp stamps," please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say about theirs:

•   Mom of Many (Susanna)

 •  Momarock (Sara)

•  Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Memoir Junkie

For the Thursday Blog Project this week, Sara asked us to write on the following topic:  Talk about a book or movie ( if you have more than one, that's OK too) which you feel has changed your life, either for the better (or for the worse).

This year, I became a book blogger.  It all started innocently when I wrote a review of the book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson for a book called Chick Lit Central.  It was never my intent to do more than one review for the blog, but after a series of e-mails between myself and the blog's founder I signed on to be the resident "memoir junkie".  I would get first shot at reviewing any memoirs the blogs received pitch letters about.

Not too long after, I agreed to review a book called, Making Piece by Beth Howard.  Aside from being about something I could related to, I was also drawn to the memoir because it involved one of my favorite desserts - pie.

Not too long after I began reading the book I realized there were pie recipes in the back of the book.  I had wanted to learn how to make pie from scratch since I was in college so I took finding these recipes as a sign that it was time for me to attempt pie making.  I rationalized this idea by saying it would be irresponsible of me as a reviewer not attempt at least one of the recipes.  I had to report back to readers about how easy it was (or wasn't) to make these recipes.  (All I will say about my pie making experience is that it was successful and was the start of a pie making obsession of sorts.)

It's been approximately 9 months since I got my first memoir to review.  Since then I've reviewed 9 different memoirs, amongst 15 reviews I've written this year.  Once when I told someone I review memoirs they responded me in shock.  They asked how I did it.  They couldn't understand how I read about people's problems.

"Isn't it depressing?  Reading and reviewing memoirs is truly a niche that not many people venture into." this person said with a tone of disbelief.

Sure.  It can be sad and depressing, in the beginning.  However, what I believe this person who asked me the question failed to acknowledge is that these people have overcome whatever obstacle was holding them back and they want to serve as inspiration for others.  In other cases I have found the memoirs I've read to be a testament to the power/importance of laughing at life, and oneself.

Reading about the various journeys of others has had an impact on my life.  (So, has joining Chick Lit Central ... but that's a whole different blog post all together.)   I have learned a variety of lessons from the stories of others and been shown that even the most "put together" and successful people have struggled through bad times.

Now that I've  shared with you why memoirs have changed my life, please take a moment  to see what my fellow bloggers have to say:

•   Mom of Many (Susanna)

 •  Momarock (Sara)

•  Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Froggie v.37 (Better late than never!)

In my ideal world, this post would have been up last Friday (or even last weekend).  However, something crazy happened... I spent a majority of the weekend celebrating my birthday.

I only call this crazy because it's been awhile since my birthday was celebrated on my actual birthday, let alone with multiple events within a 24 hour period.  I'm not complaining, but merely acknowledging a fact.

It didn't take me long to go from a playful weekend to focusing on the next year ahead.  Maybe 24 hours, tops.  I also had a lot of things to get done before the week started so that probably helped me settle back into reality a bit.

It also hasn't take me long to start focusing on the things I'm going to accomplish this coming year.  I'd like to note I said, "going to accomplish" instead of "would like to accomplish".  Though I acknowledge I only have so much control over how things happen in my life, I still like to say "going to" because I feel it gives me more direction and sets more structure around everything -- and though I can go with the flow, I believe structure can be a good thing, too!  Yes!  After a brief hiatus the planner in me is shining through more and I think there are a lot of people who like seeing it again.

I'm planning on traveling more in the coming year and completing a lot of races.  I'm also planning on continuing to lose weight as I have been over the past couple of months as well.  Also, I am to start reviewing book as a "Review Crew" member over at BookTrib very soon.  It was an unexpected thing, but I'm excited about the opportunity to showcase my writing talents to a new audience. 

There are other things I have in mind for this coming year that I'm not quite ready to talk about publicly as at the moment there is a lot of plotting and planning going on in my mind, but when the time is right I will write about it.

Overall, I can only hope this next year of life is as wonderful as the past year has been and that I can meet the challenge I set for myself each and every year - to be a better version of me than I was the year before.