May’s book rec’s [april 2013 edition]


I’ve been collecting good reads it would seem – and then I mean to share and I forget/get busy/post about something else…. then I add another book… now we’ve got a list of seven! YAY! Ok, so let me share!

JC Daniels NightBlade is the second in her Colbana Files series (really, you have to read this series in order start with Blade Song) and is very dark urban fantasy. It’s heartbreaking and amazing and really fantastic and I can NOT wait for her to release book 3! (though, it seems I WILL be waiting!) This book is listed first because it is the first book I think of when someone asks what I’ve read that was great recently.

Nora Roberts The Witness is now out in paperback! I loved this book – romance + suspense and just reminds me of the classic Nora Roberts books that made her such a legend.

This next one – I grabbed because the cover was just so cute and I thought why not? Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid – a self-published ebook. The price is right (about $3 or FREE if you have amazon prime + want to borrow it!)  and it was super funny. Very silly, lot of joking around and over the top funniness in the great way that reminds me of the good ‘ol days when romantic comedies were a thing.

Speaking of comedy – Sophie Kinsella has a BRAND NEW BOOK!! Wedding Night releases this Tuesday (I had an advance copy) and it is fabulous. Two sisters. A trip to Greece. Hijinks ensue, and this is one of her funniest and best. Can You Keep a Secret or Twenties Girl remain my favorite two from her – but Wedding Night is really good and SO much better than her last few.

Tina Fey Bossypants. For kindle it is now just 3.99 – and I couldn’t pass that up! Stephanie Howell (among others) have recommended this book and I’m loving it so far – and at that price I couldn’t pass it up.

Written In Red by Anne Bishop is a new novel + series for her. It revolves around a woman who can get visions of the future and has always lived in a lab-like environment, never seen the outside world… then a vision shows her how she can escape and she finds herself living and working with the Others (shifters, fairies, all kinds of other non-humans…). It was really a fantastic start to a new UF series and I couldn’t put it down. I don’t normally jump into hardcover books (I wait for paperback) – this one was worth it.

The next Spindle Cove novel by Tessa Dare (Any Duchess will Do) is really great (I got my hands on an advance copy – love Spindle Cove!) It can be pre-ordered now – and I loved it – but the real reason this book is in this list is not to tease you by saying it’ll be ready soon but rather to share that the spindle cove novels that are already out are on SALE in eBook format! A Week to Be Wicked, A Night to Surrender, and A Lady by Midnight are all just $.99 each! (I assume that is a very limited time offer… not sure how long it’ll last!)


That wraps up my recommended reads for now! Do you have some? I’d love to hear them. Before I go though… let me share two books my girlies are STRONGLY recommending lately.

EmeraldaliciousHC_c photo

Emeraldalicious is a fantastic story of imagination and (as always) the art as well as the stories in this series delights my girls. They tell me it is one of the best/most favorite of all the Pinkalicious books.

Fancy Nancy Puppy Party is the story of Nancy’s dog Frenchie’s birthday party – and this is an instant favorite.

Basically any books from Fancy Nancy and/or the Pinkalicious series = instant girl happiness in my world. They are really detailed in illustration, they’re fun, and they have girls using their imaginations and having fun being fancy. Which delights my young ladies to no end, and of course being able to (mostly) read them on their own is a huge bonus – they love that!

Have a great weekend – and happy reading!!

Dearest friends, you need Art Journal Freedom

I’ve been waiting for months (like, 9 months!) to have this book in my hands, and at long last my pre-ordered copy of Dina Wakley’s Art Journal Freedom is here!!

This book is an ABSOLUTE MUST for any crafter reading this post who likes to play with mists, paints, inks, pens, and more. This is not a book about art journaling, despite the title! Wait, what?

Ok so it *is* a book about art journaling but Dina isn’t focusing on the “journal” part of the art journaling. She breaks down her supplies of choice and she explains both composition and color while also offering up challenges, idea starters, and giving detailed step-by-step for assorted techniques so you could try making a few pages like hers.
Now I don’t pick up many books on crafting or art or anything. They tend to sit and gather dust and so I’ve learned to give them a look over and not open them much beyond that first week or so. This book? It’s going to be different. My #1 FAVORITE part about this book is that Dina designed it in such a way that you could treat it like a workshop. You could work through each chapter, try the prompts and challenges, and fill an art journal working your way through the book learning and growing along the way. FABULOUS!
The other favorite thing about this book for me, is that you do NOT need to be even remotely interested in starting an art journal to need it. That sounds weird, right? But hear me out – Dina is a master of color and composition. TRULY. She has such a unique style and way with colors, and that is what she teaches here. As I read this book I was of course in awe of the amazing artwork (TONS of samples – holy smokes… TONS!) and intrigued by the techniques as well – some were most definitely new to me. But REALLY what got me was that her lessons and advice would work on my layouts, cards, tags, canvases, and really ANY kind of project where I’d be using stamps, inks, sprays, and other such supplies.

I can use the lessons and advice throughout my crafting, and that is so very inspiring to me. I love that this book works on every level from wanting to make beautiful art  journal entries to being inspired by color and design to taking it beyond the art journal and into other formats.

Bottom line? This book is amazing and I can’t recommend it enough!! It truly is a very big workshop/class in book form and I’m very inspired by it and will be working my way through each challenge and idea. You could get it just for the eye candy and loads of Dina’s pages shown inside – but it really is so much more than just a pretty book.

I purchased my copy here at amazon – it’s available at a great price and eligible for free shipping (minimum order or prime required, of course).

May’s recs: Books & Entertainment Nov.2012

Steel’s Edge just came out today, and yet it is already on the list? I say yes, if only because I adore Ilona Andrews books and so I’m sure of it’s status as a winner. I will be starting this as soon as UPS drops my copy off!

Iced takes place in the ‘fever’ world Karen Marie Moning has been writing about – but with a new focus and heroine. Dani is just 14 during this book, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a book that is ok as a young adult read – it really is not. It’s very dark, set in a post-apocalyptic Dublin, and it ties into that previous series beautifully though I think you could start here as well. If you are looking for urban fantasy with plenty of blood, guts, mystery, and other assorted darkness then I recommend this for sure as well as the 5-book Fever series that came before it.

Jennifer Estep, one of my favorite authors EVER, continues to be a busy lady! She’s got Crimson Frost (her YA series) coming soon, and Nightingale is a new superhero themed romance that she released in e-book format that is a part of her Big Time series but can be read alone easily.

Looking ahead, the end of this month The Lady Most Willing by James, Quinn, and Brockway releases and I was able to read an advance copy. It was adorable, reminded me of the movie 7 brides for 7 brothers in a way and it was such fun. It would make a really nice historical romance read for winter.

Speaking of winter, I quite enjoyed Together for Christmas by Lisa Plumley. Set in a small town where Christmas rules, the story of the woman who loves Christmas + man who can’t stand it was silly and a bit cheesy – and totally a fun read. I do have a thing for (admittedly cheesy) Christmas stories.

note: all my books rec posts are listed here.

Now quickly, I’ll tell you what TV has been entertaining me…

Dr. Who is available instant on Netflix, and I’ve worked my way through the first three seasons. Color me hooked – it’s amazing stuff once you get through a few cheesy looking first episodes especially.

Castle is about a bestselling mystery author who follows a NYPD detective around solving homicides as research and inspiration for his novels. I’m in season 2, and it’s really growing on me.

Soon though, I’m sure I”ll be checking out ABC family an other stations for holiday favorites and new silly movies too!

That’s it from me – if you have recommendations feel free to share them!

Christmas books for the kiddies + a give-away

We have a lot of favorites of course, and we add new books each year. This year Harper Collins sent me some books to check out, and we are giving a hearty thumbs up and Flaum girl stamp of approval to these four. It’s early for this stuff, I know! But with Thanksgiving next week and wanting to share our recommendations in plenty of gifting time (should you want to find one of these books for yourself or a kid in your life!) I’m going to go ahead and share now. First off, I’m a big fan of hardback kids books especially for holiday reading. On a very superficial level, they’re lovely to display on a table or line up on a shelf. On a more practical level- they hold up really well over the years! It has become a habit of ours to read a Christmas or holiday story daily from the day after Thanksgiving through New Years usually – and often we end up reading more than one. Here’s more information about the four new books being added to our shelf this year –

Charlie and the Christmas Kitty is my personal favorite. Written by the Pioneer Woman herself, it’s the story of Charlie, and well, a Christmas kitty! I love the soft illustration style and my girls are nuts about all things dog – so it was a big hit and will stay on our Christmas book table all season long and be read often. I hope that we have many ranch adventures from Ree Drummond to come – my girls adore reading Charlie’s stories.

Mary Engelbreit’s Nutcracker is one I actually picked up at Target just the other day because Elizabeth loves Nutcrackers, I thought this was a fun illustrated version of the story, and I wanted another version of the tale (with a bright fun feel) as well.

Berenstain Bears’ Old-Fashioned Christmas is another fun one. It has been a while since the girls watched the show, but they do love to read the adventures of these bears now that they are able to read books themselves. This is one that they had a lot of fun with – and I suspect will read together all season long.

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas is the final of this quartet – and the girls were really excited to see him! They love Pete the cat, and I like that Pete appeals to both boys and girls (he’s always a bit hit at reading day in Kindergarten).

All four have the Flaum girl stamp of approval, and of course now my girls are more anxious than ever to dig out our Christmas boxes from the garage where the rest of our Christmas books reside! I’m putting all that off a while longer, though this week you can find me shopping + wrapping + preparing to ship off all Christmas gifts that require a trip to the post office. My personal goal each year is to never, ever, for any reason have to stand in line at the post office after Thanksgiving!!

With that, I leave you with one final thing – an early Christmas gift for one of you! Harper Collins sent me an extra copy of My Brave Year of Firsts by Jamie Lee Curtis, and if you would like to be entered to win it, simply leave a comment on this post for your chance to win. (Note: if you’re reading via email you will need to visit and leave a comment on this posting)

I really enjoyed this book, as did my girls as we read about this girl’s year of triumph and failure, good and bad, and all around brave way of facing the world and experiencing all kinds of firsts. I adore the illustration style (illustration is something I wish more adult books had! I love pretty pictures!), and the overall lesson of the book too. The girls loved that the book was funny and they really related to a lot of things about it – which is always cool.

I will draw a winner for this book next Tuesday the 20th and notify the winner via email (as well as post it at the bottom of this post).

summer’s end reads…

I’ve had the privilege of reading a number of wonderful books this summer so I thought (since I now have camera issues… we’ll talk about that another day) I would talk books. Oh I love books.

Widow’s Web is the newest installment in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series and it does not disappoint. If you’re looking for amazing world building, a very kick ass heroine, and a lot of dark grittiness to your Urban Fantasy I highly recommend you go back and start with book #1. By far one of my favorite book series – I did a full review of this book here. Oh and speaking of the UF genre – I also read (and really liked) Gunmetal Magic which is the new Ilona Andrews (and yes, once again best read in order starting with this book).

I am now starting on Kelly Gay’s “Charlie Madigan” series which has some really great potential. Another pretty dark read – I’m interested to see how the characters develop and what all Charlie can do with her powerful new abilities and such. It came highly recommended and I am told they just keep getting better.

Now for something completely different – let’s talk historical romance. Tessa Dare has a new book out today (HOORAY!!!) that can be stand-alone, but really I love it best read in the order of the series because we get scenes with these characters in each book. Oh, but it is just one of my favorite reads of 2012. It is fabulous – you can see my full review here. I love the characters of Spindle Cove – I can’t wait to get back there! Not as amazing, but still one of the best Eloisa James books that I’ve read, is the Ugly Duchess. If you’re into that trope, you may want to check that one out.

Back to UF (because somehow I keep ending up in the urban fantasy genre this summer) I read, loved, and can’t wait for the next in the series-  Blade Song by J.C. Daniels. Kit has a sword that can be called to her, is fearless, works in investigations, and is getting in deep with supernatural politics… the book was really a great read and unique too. I can’t wait for another!

That’s all for today’s recommended reads – I’d love to hear what you are reading (and loving) these days!

On a crafty note – the new Studio Calico kit is out, and it is FANTASTIC!! I spy Amy Tangerine, and so much more goodness… you can check it out here. I may be ordering one right now… I’ll be sure to share results soon as I get it.