Friday, November 28, 2014

My Mary Kay Weekend Specials

I hope that each of you, my readers, has had a fabulous Thanksgiving. I spent the day with my cat at my Mom's. Mom has the Hallmark channel, so I enjoyed several Christmas movies plus a couple of DVDs. It was a pretty quiet day. Just me and Mom. But it was still nice. I actually finished a ruby red scarf and got over halfway finished with a midnight blue scarf. I hope to finish the blue one today.

Anyway, since this is the biggest shopping weekend of the year, I am running all sorts of specials for my business this weekend. 

My first is the PINK FRIDAY Sale!

Here's the breakdown of it: 
  • From 6am - 9 am - take 25% off your entire order
  • From 9 am - 12 pm - take 20% off your entire order
  • From 12 pm - 3 pm - take 15% off your entire order
  • After 3 pm - take 10% off your entire order
You don't even have to live in the Houston area to shop with me. You can shop directly on my website! I offer free shipping on all orders over $75. 

Saturday is Small Business Saturday. Did you know that by supporting a small business, that 100% of the profits go back to support the local (in my case Houston) economy? I'm so serious. So my special for Saturday is simple:
  • Every $25 spent will gain one entry into a pampering basket. Meaning if you spend $100, then you get 4 entries!
  • Tax free all day long
  • I'd love for you to be my guest at out Studio Bee from 8:45 am - 10:30 am, breakfast included, for Holiday Dash Out the Door Glamour and Mary Kay Jeopardy! Reservations are required by Friday at noon.
Sunday we celebrate my birthday. So in honor of my birthday, I am offering 37% off any ONE item as my Happy Birthday gift to you, my customer. 

Then Monday is Cyber Monday. How many of you will be sitting at work on Monday, shopping online? It's the biggest ONLINE shopping day of the year. All day long on Monday, I am offering FREE Shipping and 20% off all online orders only. These orders must be received via my website, Facebook (either my personal page or my business page), Twitter, or Email. I just need it to come some sort of way online.

And that's it really. In the past, my Thanksgiving weekend's sales average around $600 once all is said and done. I'd LOVE to be able to have a really strong sales weekend that will set the stage for a strong Holiday Season of sales. 

So whether you need a teacher gift (satin hands or a coffee & cream), a gift to say I Love You (NEW Thinking of Love eau de parfume), for the teen ( Mary Kay @play line or the Clear Proof Skin Care line), or you want stocking stuffers (lip glosses or lip sticks), I do have the perfect gift for you. And if you're local (within a couple of hours drive), I'll even gift wrap it for you!

You can find me here:
Email: d janis (at) mary kay (dot) com (I added spaces and spelled out the at/dot to prevent spammers)
My Phone number is listed on my website. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Winter TBR List or as I'm calling it, Top Ten Books/Movies to get in the Christmas Mood

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly theme hosted by The Broke & The Bookish

This week's topic is the Top Ten Books on my Winter To Be Read List. And since I never really pay close attention to what is on my to be read list, I decided to do something else.

With the holidays going in full swing beginning with Thanksgiving on Thursday, I decided to focus on the top ten books/movies to get in the Christmas Mood. With an Honorary Thanksgiving movie.

Thanksgiving Movie -
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving - There is something so special about the simplicity of the Charlie Brown characters.

Here are my selections for the Christmas Books

1. The Polar Express by Chris Van Alsburg - I love this book. It is probably my all-time favorite Christmas story, possibly even all-time favorite children's book.

2. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore- another fun favorite. It's always fun to read this one on Christmas Eve.

3. The Texas Night Before Christmas - uniquely Texan in all things. I believe if I remember correctly that I was able to attend a workshop that the illustrator spoke at while I was in college. So that makes this book even more fun.

4. The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado - The pictures are beautiful. The story is timeless. It tells the story of Jesus's birth through the eyes of one little lamb.

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss - The timeless classic tells of how the mean Mr. Grinch learns about Christmas from the Whos down in Whooville.

My Christmas Movies to get you in the Christmas Mood

6. White Christmas - I own it. I watch it every year (usually in July because it's so hot). If this doesn't get in a Christmasy mood, I don't know what will.

7. The Santa Clause Trilogy - I love how Disney figured out a way to explain Santa. Love all three of them.

8. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Poor Charlie Brown. He's pretty depressed until Linus reminds him what Christmas is all about.

9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original animated one) - The beauty of watching Mr. Grinch change gets me every time.

10. The Nativity Story - this came out a few years ago. I think it is one of the best ones that tells the Christmas Story. I think I also kidnapped my mom's copy.

There are so many others that I could have listed. Ones like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, or pretty much anything that airs on the Hallmark Channel or ABC Family during December. Even most of the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies are Christmasy. But I tried to keep my list fairly simple.

So what about you? What are some of your favorite Christmas books/movies?

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Story Keeper - A Review

Published - August 2014, Tyndale House Publishers
Author - Lisa Wingate
Title - The Story Keeper
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Jen Gibbs is looking forward to the new opportunities she has as an editor with the Vida Publishing House in NYC. This is a small publishing house that produces quality. On her first day on the job, she is introduced to Slush Mountain, a pile of old unpublished manuscripts, with instructions of not touching it. When a mysterious manuscript from Slush Mountain appears on her desk, Jen's first thought is to figure out how to put it back without anyone knowing. Yet then curiosity gets the best of her and she finds herself drawn into the story of Sarra, a young girl living in Appalachia around the late 1800's. Jen's search for both more of the manuscript and the author lead her to the one place she never thought she'd return to - her home deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Yet could the answers she seeks be found in the home she vowed she'd never return to?

Wow! Literally, that's about all I can say about this book. I wasn't sure what to expect when I request this one to review, as I'd never read any of Lisa Wingate's books before. I was told that this one started off slow and was hard to get into. I guess for some people that may be the case. But for me, I was drawn into it immediately. I really didn't want to put it down (even on Tuesday night while my favorite TV show of NCIS was airing a NEW episode). I was utterly and completely captivated by both Jen and her search for answers and manuscript she found - the story of Sarra and Rand.

This was well written, practically spell-binding and very deep. I loved how Jen found her answers and even managed to reconcile with her family. What really fascinated me though was Sarra. The parts of the book that told her story had me turning page after page because I was just soaking it up. I also liked how somethings were implied at the end but not specifically stated. That meant that I could let the characters live on in my imagination and follow the implications.

This book reminds of so much as to what I loved about classic Karen Kingsbury or Francine Rivers's books. And that is characters that seem to take on a life of their own off the page and just capture me fully. I will definitely be reading more by Lisa Wingate. My only question, is which one to start with next?

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers, Contemporary fiction

Rating - 5 stars

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cress - A Review

Published - February 2014, Feiwel & Friends
Series - Lunar Chronicles Book 3
Author - Marissa Meyer
Title - Cress
Format - ebook, audio, hardcover, paper
Find on Amazon

Cinder and Thorne have eluded the authorities once again. This time when they escaped from Queen Levanna's forces, they brought along Scarlet and Wolf. Wolf vows to help Cinder master her Lunar abilities. Cinder's plan at this point to contact Cress, the mysterious hacker who first sent her the message warning that Kai was in danger. Cress has spent the past several years aboard an isolated satellite that circles the Earth. She is the Queen's best hacker. Yet she wants to escape. When a rescue attempt falls apart, Cinder's group becomes separated. Cress finds herself falling to Earth in the satellite with Thorne. Scarlet has been captured. And Cinder's faced with one of the queen's guards, a critically wounded Wolf, and no other option but to go to Africa in search of the doctor who first told her of her identity. With only weeks remaining to stop Kai's wedding to Levanna, Cinder and her friends must figure out how to accomplish such a feat when they are scattered. Will they succeed or will Levanna's rule on Earth begin?

With each volume of the Lunar Chronicles, I'm more and more fascinated with the characters and the intrinsic plot. This one literally had about four different plotlines. Some of them merged. Others are still left open. This one ended on a cliffhanger that has me wishing it were next year already so I could read Winter!

I think that while Cress is an interesting character, she isn't my favorite heroine. I'm thinking that Scarlet still holds that spot. But still, Cress's points of view were very fun to read, partially because of Thorne being in the majority of them.

The various twists and turns of the plot have me very engrossed in the outcomes of these characters. I felt so bad for Wolf when Scarlet was captured. I literally cannot wait to see how the series ends in Winter.

This book is loosely based one the story of Rapunzel.

I rented this book from the library and read it for pure pleasure. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of fairy tales, dystopian ficiton, Hunger Games, Divergent

Rating - 5 stars

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Princess Spy - A Review

Published - November, 2014, Zondervan Books
Author - Melanie Dickerson
Title - The Princess Spy
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

As the eldest daughter of the Duke of Hagenheim, Margaretha is expected to make an advantageous match. Yet she longs to find love like both older brothers and her parents. When a young man is wounded and brought to the castle's healer, Margaretha is the only one who understands him. As she gets to know him, and he her, she's drawn to him. Yet Colin has determined that the entire family is in danger, but no one will believe him. Can he convince Margaretha of the danger her family is in while still keeping his heart in tact?

I've read all of the books in Melanie Dickerson's fairy tale series. This one is the newest and is loosely based on the Frog Prince. While the books do not have to be read in order, it is helpful. This book connects Merchant's Daughter to the rest of the books.

It's been so long since I've read the Frog Prince that I've forgotten much of it. I do remember some of the elements, the princess dropping something in the well and the frog getting it out, her being in his debt, and I think that's it. This book did have some of those elements - the dropping of a necklace in the well and Colin retrieving it.

Still, like most of the author's other fairy tale books, this one was sweet. I enjoyed the banter between Margaretha and Colin. And I loved Colin. Of course, I loved the ending (happy endings all around). Oh and the cover is by far my favorite of all of them.

I would have liked to have seen more of some of the characters from previous books. I'd also have liked a little more of Colin's family history. But still, it was very enjoyable.

I received a Kindle copy of this book for free from Zondervan's Booklook Blogging Program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of fairy tales, happy endings, young adult, Krista McGee, Ella Enchanted, Melanie Dickerson

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Sequels I Can't Hope to Get

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly theme hosted by The Broke & The Bookish.

This week's topic is one I'm really liking. Though the books on my list aren't exactly sequels as they are just more the next book in the series. So here goes.

1. Home for Our Hearts by Robin Jones Gunn - Book 2 in the Christy & Todd the Married Years. It comes out December 10, 2014. I seriously can't wait for this one.

So this is the cover for Fairest because I couldn't find one for Winter.
2. Winter by Marisa Meyer - Book 4 in the Lunar Chronicles. Cress ended on such a cliffhanger that I don't want to wait til next year to read it. But at least Fairest is due out in January.

3. A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade - Book 3 in the Porter Family novels. Jake is such a wounded character and I can't wait to read his story.

4. Always on My Mind by Susan May Warren - Book 4 in the Christiansen Family novels. I adore this family!

Can't find the cover for Lightning as I don't think it's been released yet.
5. Lightning by Bonnie Calhoun - Thunder ended with such a cliffhanger that I can't wait for this next book.

6. Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey - The conclusion to the Alaska Courage Series and the last of the McKenna family, this book focuses on Reef. So excited.

7. Now & Forever by Mary Connealy - This is book 2 in the Wild at Heart Series. It's Shannon's story. Can't wait.

8. Worth the Time by Laura Jackson - Book 2 in my good friend's YA series. If anyone can change my mind about Lindsey, Laura can.

9. As Love Blooms by Lorna Seilstad - Book 3 in the Gregory Sisters Series. I've enjoyed the first two and am looking forward to this one.

10. In Firefly Valley by Amanda Cabot - Book 2 in the Texas Crossroads series. I'm hoping for another fluffy romance.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Surprised By Love - A Review

Published - October, 2014, Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Series - Heart of San Francisco Book 3
Author - Julie Lessman
Title - Surprised By Love
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Megan McClare left her San Francisco home for her senior year abroad as an ugly duckling. She returned as a beautiful swan. So beautiful that she has captured the attention of her childhood friend Bram Hughes as well as the young man who ridiculed her in school. She's excited to be able to pursue her dreams, but is a little confused at the distance between Bram and herself. Bram has always been there for Meg and loved her. Yet with a guilty conscience from his past putting his father in a bind. Bram vows to repay that debt anyway possible. Even if it means letting go of the woman he loves.

Every time I pick up one of Julie Lessman's books, I know I'm in for a delightful read. While it's true that this book is delightful, and I did enjoy it, it's not my favorite of hers. Still it's good.

I adore the McClare family. I love their teasing, their banter, and they way they unite in support of each other. I love too the depth of their faith, especially that of Caitlyn.

This book is different than the other two in the series in that while it was about Meg, it also focused much more on the relationship between Logan and Caitlyn. I was thrilled to be able to get answers to questions I had about their relationship since the first book. Yet, I wish that Meg and Bram could have played a little larger role.

There were times when I wanted to shake all four of the main characters - Logan, Caitlyn, Meg, and Bram. Because, I felt that they just needed to talk to each other! But eventually everything works out.

Still this is a book I'd recommend to those who really enjoy family dramas. Besides it completes the collection I have of Julie's books.

I received this book for free from Revell Books for the purpose of reviewing.

Recommended to fans of Julie Lessman, historical romance, Jody Hedlund, family drama

Rating - 4 stars - I liked it. I'll reread it, so it's a keeper, but it's not my favorite by this author

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I Want to Reread or Ones I Reread on a Regular Basis

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly theme hosted over at the Broke & the Bookish.

This week's topic is so perfect for me. I reread books on a regular basis. So instead of me picking 10 I want to reread, I'm listing 2 that I've only read once and the other 8 are ones I reread regularly.

Ones I've only read once that I want to reread.

1. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier - I've loved this one from the first time I read it.

2. Juliet by Anne Fortier - When I first stumbled across this one while browsing at Barnes and Noble one day, I was captivated by it. I ended up renting it and buying it later. I really do want to reread this one soon.

Ones I reread on a regular basis (at least once a year, as they are some of my favorites). I'd classify these as "comfort" books

3. Donovan's Daughter by Lori Wick - my all time favorite book of hers. It's one of those books I will reread at least once a year. I typically won't reread the rest of the series, just this one, which is book 4.

4. The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling - Each time I reread, I pick up something new. But still at least once a year, I read at least one of the books.

5. Wings of the Nightingale Series by Sarah Sundin - These WWII books are awesome! I've loved each of them, with book 3 being my favorite.

6. The Glenbrooke Series by Robin Jones Gunn - she is my favorite author PERIOD. Her books are always a nice breath of fresh air.

7. The Christy Miller Series, The Sierra Jensen Series, The Katie Weldon Series, Christy and Todd the College Years by Robin Jones Gunn. See my comments about Glenbrooke. Christy, Todd, Sierra, Katie, and the rest are characters that I consider True Friends.

8. Beauty by Robin McKinley - a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It's magical. It has elements of the Disney version, but I still love it.

9. The China Garden by Liz Berry - I discovered this in college. It makes my reread on a regular basis list.

10. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine - an all time favorite. It gets reread almost yearly.

Honorable Mention

11. Scandalous Sister Series, Groom Series, Banks Brothers Series, and Officer Series by Rose Gordon - I discovered her about two years ago, and she quickly moved into the list of favorite authors for me. Yes these are secular romances. I love her plot lines and the humor involved in her books before the couple gets to happily ever after. In the first three series, they are all inner-connected so characters from one series/book show up in the others. Disclaimer: These aren't recommended to anyone who only reads Christian fiction.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

At Bluebonnet Lake - A Review

Published - October 2014, Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Series - Texas Crossroads Book 1
Author - Amanda Cabot
Title - At Bluebonnet Lake
Format - ebook, paper

Kate Sherwood is on the fast track to a partnership with the advertising agency she works for in New York. When her grandmother asks her to take a month off and take her to the resort Rainbow's End in Dupree, Texas, Kate can't say no to the woman who raised her. Kate's not sure how she will manage to relax when she is in the middle of no where. Yet arriving at the resort, Kate discovers that the resort is in need of a lot of help. It's there that she meets Greg Vange, a man she assumes is the resort's handyman. Yet there is more to Greg than meets the eye - billions more in fact. Greg's at a crossroad himself. He is trying to figure out where to go next, and he feels called to Rainbow's End. Why he doesn't know. He also senses the sparks that fly between him and Kate every time they are together. But with Kate's career on the rise on New York and Greg wanting to slow down, will these two figure out what is in store for them?

The cover of this one is the one that caught my eye. It appears to be a very fun, fluffy, light-hearted read. If I'm not mistaken, this is the author's first contemporary romance. So when this one came up on the list of titles for reviewing, I immediately requested it. I wasn't disappointed in it at all.

Despite having some pretty mixed reviews, I found this book to be delightful. I loved the people of the town of Dupree and I loved how Kate started to use her advertising brain to figure out ways to market Rainbow's End. I loved how she and Greg got together and seemed to support each other. I also loved the romance between Kate's grandmother, Sally, and Roy, an elderly gentleman in town.

Sure both of the main characters have issues, but as they deal with them, they grow. I didn't have to think as I read this book. For me it was pure fluff. I look forward to the next in the series.

I read this book in about a day and a half. I started this on Sunday and finished it after work on Monday. In fact, it's already on loan to a friend of mine too.

I received this book for free from Revell Books for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Janice Thompson, Becky Wade, Debbie Macomber, Katie Ganshert, Irene Hannon's contemporary romances

Rating - 4.5 stars, rounding to 4