Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Thinning Years by Jon Derek Croteau Giveaway! (US/Can only)

My Thinning Years
Jon Derek Croteau

As a child, Jon tried desperately to be his father’s version of the all-American boy, denying his gayness in a futile attempt to earn the love and respect of an abusive man. With this he built a deep, internalized homophobia that made him want to disappear rather than live with the truth about himself. That denial played out in the forms of anorexia, bulimia, and obsessive running, which consumed him as an adolescent and young adult.

It wasn’t until a grueling yet transformative Outward Bound experience that Jon began to face his sexual identity. This exploration continued as he entered college and started the serious work of sorting through years of repressed anger to separate from his father’s control and condemnation.

My Thinning Years is an inspiring story of courage, creativity, and the will to live—and of recreating the definition of family to include friends, relatives, and teachers who support you in realizing your true self.

About the Author


Jon Derek Croteau is on a mission to make a difference, a mission he has pursued since his childhood. He uses every moment to learn more about the world in order to contribute to those who are in need, disenfranchised, or impacted by discrimination. He is a champion of equal rights and effective leadership. This has led him to advocate, teach, write, advise and support people, places, and ideas that enhance the lives of others. As a husband, brother, uncle, and friend, he shares his love, life and mission with his family and friends from whom he draws support and inspiration.

The author of three academic books on staff development and leadership as well as numerous articles for journals and periodicals, he is a highly sought-out speaker on the topics of eating disorder recovery, body image, and coming out. Jon legally married his partner, Justin Croteau, in 2007 and currently resides in Vermont.



Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of My Thinning Years—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
Body image issues affect everyone regardless of gender, weight, and appearance. We're constantly under pressure to fit a perfect mold, but we're only human—we all have imperfections and the best thing to do is just love them no matter what! What's an imperfection about yourself that you've grown to love? I personally have always been insecure about my forehead—don't laugh! It's humongous and while I can joke about it now, it used to be the butt of lots of teasing (I've heard it all, from Tyra Banks, to "five-head," etc.) and really made me self-conscious. I used to try to cover it with hair bands and bangs but it's the most unique part of my face so I try to embrace it :)
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Jon and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher and tour publicist—a huge thank you to Hazelden and TLC Book Tours!
Giveaway ends October 14th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canadian residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Frankly, My Dear, I Do Give a Damn by Sarah Rayner, Author of Getting Even + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

Getting Even
Sarah Rayner

Revenge has never been such fun

How would you feel if your best friend at work betrayed you? Was secretly having an affair with an influential colleague? Won a coveted promotion, then teamed you up with a mere junior, leaving you feeling completely demoted? What would you do? For Ivy there's no choice. The only person she has ever trusted, Orianna, has blown it big time. So there's only one way forward: revenge.

Ivy's campaign is brilliant, if horribly destructive, and she's determined to get even with the woman who has dared to cross her. But is Ivy really the innocent party? Or is she hiding secrets of her own?

From Sarah Rayner, the international bestselling author of One Moment, One Morning, comes Getting Even, an unputdownable story of jealousy, sex, friendship and backstabbing set in the heart of London's Soho adland.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop 2014! (Open internationally)

The Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and BookHounds, works like this: each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then we link up together allowing our followers to hop easily from one giveaway to another. For followers, it means lots of chances to win free books. For blogs hosting giveaways, it means lots of new visitors and followers. It's a win-win! The Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop is scheduled from September 21st at 12.01 AM until September 27th at 11:59 PM (EST).


The Prizes


One lucky follower will win their choice of ANY book from last year's ALA Top Ten Challenged Books list
. Here are the contenders:

Out of 307 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

Just to give a little background information, these "bans" or challenges are defined as "a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness."

I personally have read exactly 5 out of the 10 books on the list, and can tell you that none of them deserve to be taken off shelves. In fact, a few of them (like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Looking for Alaska) happen to be some of the most powerful YA books I've ever read... and while they may contain mildly "inappropriate" content—toss that word around to your liking—they're hardly illegal, and in print, can become an integral part of a child's development and literary maturity.

The only exception is Fifty Shades of Grey; honestly that book sort of is illegal. Not because of the explicit sexual content, but because of how poorly it was written lol. I definitely have a lot to say about it, but won't waste your time here. It was crafted for an ADULT audience anyway, and should not be found on SCHOOL library shelves in the first place...

Back to the giveaway details: As always, winner gets to choose between eBook or print. 

What would you choose if you won?

And yes, we'll have ANOTHER winner for this amazing set of eBooks:

That's two winners total! Woohoo!!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Interview with Kass Morgan, Author of The 100 and Day 21 + Giveaway! (open US only)

I'd like to welcome Kass Morgan to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of her long-anticipated second book in the The Hundred series, Day 21. We're giving away both of the books in the series at the end, so make sure you stick around for that!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, Kass! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Kass Morgan is the author of the epic sci-fi series, The 100, which inspired The CW TV series by the same name.

Kass Morgan has an unhealthy obsession with books that first manifested in third grade when she brought a copy of Mallory and the Dream Horse to her own birthday party. When she was ten, she moved from Brooklyn to Santa Monica, where kids thought she was strange for wearing so much black. Then she went back to the east coast for college, where kids thought she was strange for wearing so much pink.

Kass studied English and History at Brown University, reading gothic novels in the library where Edgar Allan Poe conducted secret love affairs, auditioning unsuccessfully for a number of plays, and learning important truths about walking on ice in high heels.

After college, Kass crossed the pond to pursue a Master’s degree in 19th century literature at Oxford, which was like attending Hogwarts, but with more costume parties. She returned to the states with a deep appreciation for clotted cream, a suitcase full of cocktail dresses, and a thesis on George Eliot that she has since misplaced.

Kass settled in New York to work in publishing. When she’s not editing novels for young bookworms to sneak into their own birthday parties, you can find her jostling for table space at Brooklyn coffee shops, asking strangers if she can pet their dogs, and e-mailing her middle school crush to thank him for introducing her to science fiction, which turns out to be very fun to write. The sequel to The 100, titled Day 21, was released this month.


Readers, here's a bit about the books, which are both available now!


Page Count: 323
Release Date: September 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown (Hachette Book Group)

No one has set foot on Earth in centuries—until now.

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents—considered expendable by society—are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life... or it could be a suicide mission.

Clarke was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. Wells, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves—but will she ever forgive him? Reckless Bellamy fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And Glass managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.
Buy the book from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Books-A-Million | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Publisher


Series: The 100 (#2)
Page Count: 320
Release Date: September 16th, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown (Hachette Book Group)

It's been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They're the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries. Or so they thought.

Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group safe after a tragic attack. Clarke strikes out in search of other colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.

In this pulse-pounding sequel, secrets are revealed, beliefs are challenged, and relationships are tested. The hundred will struggle to survive the only way they can... together.
Are the characters from your books based off anyone you know in real life? How much else of your actual life gets written into your stories?

None of my characters are modeled on real people, exactly, but the emotions they evoke are absolutely based on real experiences. For instance, in order to understand how Glass would risk so much for Luke, I thought a lot about being in love for the first time, and I think dredging up those memories channeled some of my high school boyfriend into Luke. I didn't even realize I'd done it until after the book came out! I'd completely forgotten that aforementioned high school boyfriend (who I'm still friends with) had given me a locket until he asked if he was the inspiration for Luke. It was a little embarrassing, but sort of cute at the same time.


It's fascinating how you can subconsciously put yourself into your writing! Which character from the series was most difficult to write?

I think Clarke might've been the most difficult, as it was hard to make sure she didn't come across as too perfect. I think that, sometimes, writers feel like they have less leeway with female characters as there's more pressure to make them "likable." However, by the end of The 100, it's very clear that Clarke is FAR from perfect. Even I was a little shocked by what her deep, dark secret turned out to be, but it was absolutely the best fit for the story. 




What do you consider your biggest strengths and weaknesses as an author?

I've always been much more interested in writing at the micro level—word choice, sentence structure, rhythm, metaphor etc.—and less comfortable plotting. That's why working with my editors at Alloy has been so great! They're brilliant plotters, and have taught me a TON about storytelling. 




Name the top five novels that have made the biggest impact on your life or on your writing.

I'm not sure how much these books have influenced my writing, but I've read all of them more times than I can count:

  1. Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
  2. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  3. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke 
  4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  5. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Marvelous list! 
How do you react to a negative or harsh review to your books?

I admit, they sting! But then I remind myself that it's a privilege to have people read your books, even when they don't like them very much. And then I think about all the mean reviews I might've written if I'd had Goodreads in high school.

LOL! Some authors call out reviewers for being harsh, but they don't understand that being a reader is just as hard too! ;)

Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop!

The Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Stuck in a Good Book, works like this: each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then we link up together allowing our followers to hop easily from one giveaway to another. For followers, it means lots of chances to win free books. For blogs hosting giveaways, it means lots of new visitors and followers. It's a win-win! The Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop is scheduled from September 20th at 12.01 AM until September 25th at 11:59 PM (EST).


The Prizes


One lucky follower will win their choice of ANY book from their wishlist. Any book you want!


As always, winner gets to choose between eBook or print. 

What would you choose if you won?

And yes, we'll have ANOTHER winner for this amazing set of eBooks:

That's two winners total! Woohoo!!!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Why I Wrote Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

Becoming Josephine
Heather Webb

Rose Tascher sails from her Martinique plantation to Paris to trade her Creole black magic culture for love and adventure. She arrives exultant to follow her dreams of attending Court with Alexandre, her elegant aristocrat and soldier husband. But Alexandre dashes her hopes and abandons her amid the tumult of the French Revolution.

Through her savoir faire, Rose secures her footing in high society, reveling in handsome men and glitzy balls—until the heads of her friends begin to roll.

After narrowly escaping death in the blood-drenched cells of Les Carmes prison, she reinvents herself as Josephine, a socialite of status and power. Yet her youth is fading, and Josephine must choose between a precarious independence and the love of an awkward suitor. Little does she know, he would become the most powerful man of his century- Napoleon Bonaparte.

Becoming Josephine is a novel of one woman’s journey to find eternal love and stability, and ultimately to find herself.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Product Review: Vita Optimum Omega-3 Fish Oil + Giveaway! (US only)

Bummed about not having won my last fish oil giveaway? Don't despair—I have another great brand to shout about, and they have been generous enough to provide a sample for giveaway as well. Stay tuned!


Discover the Many Health Benefits of Omega 3 Fish Oil With Our Pharmaceutical Grade Supplement!

Very few substances can come close to matching the health benefits produced by the Omega-3 Fatty Acids found in fish oil.

With over 10,000 clinical trials, Omega-3 fish oil is one of the most researched substances in modern medicine.

Many of the Omega-3 products available today do not contain enough EPA and DHA. Ours contains 800 mg of EPA and 400 mg DHA of high quality deep Alaskan Pollock oil per serving.

Many others are filled with plant oils that must be converted by the body to create DHA. Certain other Omega-3 products may contain fish pollutants such as mercury. Please check the ingredients list before you buy. You need an Omega-3 supplement you can trust.

Our Omega-3 fish oil is both 5-star IFOS-certified as well as MSC-certified, so you can be sure of its HIGH QUALITY. It's made in the USA in an FDA-registered and GMP/NSF-certified lab.

Review


I take a fish or krill oil supplement every day, and it's regular practice for me probably because I grew up with it. I've always eaten plenty of fish so it's not that I necessarily needed it, especially as a child, but with high cholesterol on both sides of the family, it's something I've grown to incorporate with my daily intake of multivitamins. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil promote heart health and stimulate brain functions, and in Vita Optimum's softgel form, you can get all the fatty acids you need without eating high-cholesterol fish and other seafood. Anyone who doesn't get enough omegas in their regular diet (which is everyone who doesn't eat fish on a daily basis) should take fish oil. (As a side note, for vegetarians, fish oil has always been a controversial issue since it's technically a fish by-product, rather than fish meat itself. Plant-based omegas exist in the form of coconut oil, so if you are vegan or don't consume animal products for any reason, you always have an alternative).

One bottle of Vita Optimum fish oil, currently priced $35.97 on Amazon, contains 180 clear red softgels. Since the serving suggestion is two capsules daily, one bottle will last you three months. As with all fish oils I've tried, this stuff does have a distinctive fishy odor, but it's not intolerable). This is a great, affordable way to get your omegas in; everyone should be taking this!

Giveaway!

One lucky Books à la Mode reader will win one 180-count bottle of Vita Optimum Omega-3 Fish Oil—yay! To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What's your current favorite snack? Lately, I've been obsessed with chickpeas—I know that's so random, but I find myself craving them 24/7! I toss them with spices (chili powder, pepper, cumin) and roast them for a delicious, filling snack!
Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the company—a huge thank you to the fabulous folks at True Sol Nutrition!
Giveaway ends September 30th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check out my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide.
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize after they have been notified, otherwise risk forfeiting their winnings.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

FTC Disclosure: I received one complimentary bottle of this Omega-3 Fish Oil from Vita Optimum via Tomoson.com in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. I was not paid in any way to write a review—positive or otherwise—and all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone. I only recommend products or services I have used personally and believe will be good for my beautiful readers!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Betrayed by Heather Graham Giveaway! (US/Can only)

The Betrayed (Krewe of Hunters #14)
Heather Graham

One night, New York FBI agent Aiden Mahoney receives a visitor in a dream—an old friend named Richard Highsmith. The very next day he’s sent to Sleepy Hollow because Richard’s gone missing there.

Maureen—Mo—Deauville now lives in the historic town and works with her dog, Rollo, to search for missing people. She’s actually the one to find Richard... or more precisely his head, stuck on a statue of the legendary Headless Horseman.

Mo and Aiden, a new member of the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI’s unit of paranormal investigators, explore both past and present events to figure out who betrayed Richard, who killed him and now wants to kill them, too. As they work together, they discover that they share an unusual trait—the ability to communicate with the dead. They also share an attraction that’s as intense as it is unexpected... if they live long enough to enjoy it!

About the Author


New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels and has been published in more than 20 languages. An avid scuba diver, ballroom dancer and the mother of five, she enjoys her south Florida home, but loves to travel as well, from locations such as Cairo, Egypt, to her own backyard, the Florida Keys. Reading is still the pastime she still loves best, and she is a member of many writing groups. She’s a winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers’ Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and also the founder of The Slush Pile Players, an author band and theatrical group.

Heather annually hosts the Writers for New Orleans conference to benefit both the city, which is near and dear to her heart, and various other causes, and she hosts a ball each year at the RT Booklovers Convention to benefit pediatric AIDS foundations.



Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Betrayed—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What's your favorite paranormal mystery or legend? Why does it appeal to you so much?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Heather and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher and tour publicist—a huge thank you to Harlequin MIRA and TLC Book Tours!
Giveaway ends September 29th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canadian residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Product Review: Brieftons InstantVeg Spiralizer + Giveaway! (US/Can only)


Looking for an easy way to eat more vegetables for better health? The Brieftons InstantVeg Spiral Slicer is your answer!

Designed to transform almost any firm vegetable and fruit into delicious spaghetti-like strands or incredibly thin, long vegetable ribbons, the Brieftons InstantVeg Spiral Slicer is the indispensable kitchen gadget for every vegetable fan.

Perfect as a kitchen tool to prepare vegetables for healthy culinary pleasures, the Brieftons InstantVeg Spiral Slicer conjures up delicious vegetable spirals in almost no time at all. It turns zucchinis, carrots, radishes, beetroots, cucumbers, kohlrabis, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, apples and many more fruits/vegetables into eye-catchers on every plate, and add plenty of colors and textures to otherwise boring dishes.

No matter whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, raw foodist, or just looking for an easy way to add more vegetables into your diet, the Brieftons InstantVeg Spiral Slicer has what you need to make your goal a reality.

Review


I jumped on the vegetable noodle bandwagon months ago when I bought my first julienne peeler, but never really got the opportunity to test veggie pasta recipes until I tried Brieftons InstantVeg because it's the first spiralizer I've tried that's given me good enough results!

If you haven't heard of this health food craze, spiralizers are a way to substitute long pasta-like strands of vegetables in place of actual noodles. You can still have your beloved spaghetti & meatballs, fettucini alfredo, pasta salads, and casseroles without overloading on carbs—isn't that fantastic?

You can virtually use any vegetable in a spiralizer but my favorites are squash (especially zucchini) since it's virtually tasteless, and cucumbers for crunchy, refreshing salad-like concoctions. It's really a fabulous way to cut down on starchy pastas (which are totally my weakness) while getting more nutritious, filling vegetables into your diet.

What I love about Brieftons InstaVeg spiralizer is how it's one you actually turn with a handle. The grip at the top holds your vegetable in place, while the turning knob allows you to spin without risking getting your fingers sliced. I've tried various "pencil sharpener" spiralizers and julienne peelers, but have never liked them fully because they just never made long enough strands of pasta. Brieftons makes FLAWLESS veggie noodles, with minimum effort! I seriously love this device and probably use it upwards of four times a week—that's how much I love my veggie noodles!

Your options are diverse with InstantVeg because of the five different settings, ranging from wide ribbons, to thick fettucine-like noodles, to very thin wisps that resemble angel hair. You change the setting with the simple twist of a knob, so this works as a multi-purpose tool that gives you any type of noodle you could possibly want.

This is pleasantly effortless to clean, as well. Since spiralizing isn't really a messy endeavor, and all the vegetable contents are contained in the clear chamber, all you have to do is rinse the top chamber out with soap and water, and clean the blades carefully. I had no problems with shreds of vegetables getting stuck in the blades—which is usually a common issue when it comes to spiralizers—but if you ever do, Brieftons InstantVeg comes with a handy cleaning brush you can use. I personally have never needed it, but it's thoughtful of them to include it in the package.

The best part of this spiralizer (other than the perfect noodles it creates) is the chamber at the bottom that catches all your noodles. This part of the device can screw off and serve as a storage container—perfect for storing any leftovers or for packing meals! Best of all, it has a rubber grip at the base which makes turning the knob so much easier since you have something holding in place.

My only small quip is that it's rather bulky since it doesn't collapse, although the smaller bottom chamber can be taken off and stored inside the larger top chamber. If you have plenty of kitchen storage space, this won't be an issue, but I live in a tiny student apartment and don't have much space to store this huge thing! Again, this isn't a deal-breaker, but something you should still consider when buying kitchen tools. Overall, Brieftons InstantVeg is such a well-designed and fully functional spiralizer every health food enthusiast should invest in.

Giveaway!

One lucky Books à la Mode reader will win one Brieftons InstantVeg Spiralizer—yay! To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What vegetable would you spiralize with the InstantVeg? What recipe would you try out with your spiralized veggie noodles?
Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the company—a huge thank you to the fabulous folks at Brieftons!
Giveaway ends September 17th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open internationally.
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize after they have been notified, otherwise risk forfeiting their winnings.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

FTC Disclosure: I received one complimentary InstantVeg Spiralizer from Brieftons via Tomoson.com in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. I was not paid in any way to write a review—positive or otherwise—and all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone. I only recommend products or services I have used personally and believe will be good for my beautiful readers!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wrapped Around Your Finger by Alison Tyler Giveaway! (US only)

Wrapped Around Your Finger
Alison Tyler

Entirely suited to one another, Jack and Samantha continue to explore their sultry, kink-drenched love affair in the latest addition to the bestselling A Story of Submission series, Wrapped Around Your Finger.

Jack, a dominant’s Dom, pushes Samantha’s boundaries, making Sam do things she’d never thought she wanted to—never believed she would. He takes her in public, on stage, punishes her with both sensory deprivation and erotic overload. And then he proves to her that all of those actions suit her to perfection. Costumes, erotic toys, role-playing, and a 24/7 BDSM-lifestyle fulfill Samantha’s dirtiest dreams.

Yet can she manage to stretch her love for Jack to incorporate his carnal need for his male assistant, Alex, as well? Take the ride with this deviant trio and enjoy their complicated, intricate, happily ever after.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Wrapped Around Your Finger—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What's your favorite kinky trope from erotic fiction? Ménage à trois, toys, 24/7 BDSM, slave/master play, roleplaying, costumes, latex, M/M, F/F, tell me what you like to read!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Alison and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to lovely folks at Cleis Press!
Giveaway ends September 23rd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Partner Track by Helen Wan: Paperback Release Celebration Giveaway! (US/Can only)

Last September, when Helen Wan released her debut novel, The Partner Track from St. Martin's Press, I got the lovely opportunity to interview her and tell you guys a bit about the book! It's been almost exactly a year since The Partner Track was published, and its success lead to the release of a paperback edition, which hits shelves tomorrow. There's a gorgeous new cover, and in celebration, we're giving a shiny new copy away!

In case you missed the book specs last time, here they are again, and be sure to enter the giveaway!

The Partner Track
Helen Wan

Ingrid Yung’s life is full of firsts. A first-generation Chinese American, the first lawyer in her family, she’s about to collect the holy grail of "firsts" and become the first minority woman to make partner at the venerable old law firm Parsons Valentine & Hunt.

Ingrid has perfected the art of "passing" and seamlessly blends into the old-boy corporate culture. She gamely banters in the corporate cafeteria, plays in the firm softball league, and earnestly racks up her billable hours. But when an offensive incident at the summer outing threatens the firm’s reputation, Ingrid’s outsider status is suddenly thrown into sharp relief. Scrambling to do damage control, Parsons Valentine announces a new Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, commanding Ingrid to spearhead the effort. Only she’s about to close an enormous transaction that was to be her final step in securing partnership.

For the first time, Ingrid must question her place in the firm. Pitted against her colleagues, including her golden-boy boyfriend, Ingrid begins to wonder whether the prestige of partnership is worth breaching her ethics. But can she risk throwing away the American dream that is finally within her reach?

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one paperback copy of The Partner Track—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
Have you ever loved a book so much that you reread it right after finishing it the first time?

What is the title of the book you've read the most number of times, and how many times have you read it?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Helen and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at St. Martin's Press!
Giveaway ends September 22nd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canadian residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

In Doubt by Drusilla Campbell Giveaway! (US/Can only)

In Doubt
Drusilla Campbell

Everyone wants the boy to pay for his crime.
Only one woman wants to save him.

Defense Attorney Sophie Giraudo is about to open a new legal practice in her hometown of San Sebastian, California, when the beloved governor is shot and seriously wounded during a celebration in the town park. The only thing more shocking than the crime itself is the identity of the would-be assassin: a seemingly gentle teenager named Donny. Driven by her desire to understand what could make a person with no history of violence suddenly commit such a terrible act, Sophie reluctantly agrees to take him on as a client, knowing that, at least, it will bring her some income. But soon she realizes that she also has personal motivations for taking the case: a desire to prove to her overbearing mother that she is not the reckless and self-destructive teenager she used to be; to prove to her ex-husband, who happens to be the prosecuting attorney, that she can win her case; and to prove to herself that the traumatic events of her adolescence no longer define her.

As she digs deeper into Donny's past, Sophie begins to suspect that he might not be the cold-blooded killer everyone thinks he is. Does Donny's narcissistic mother really have her son's best interest in mind? Is Donny's mentor who runs Boys Into Men, a program for disadvantaged youths, the altruistic man he claims to be? Is Donny a deranged murderer, or a victim of his circumstances acting out of desperation? As Sophie races to uncover the truth, she is forced to come to terms with her past and to fight for what she knows is right... even if it means risking her reputation and possibly her life.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of In Doubt—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to Claire McKinney PR!
Giveaway ends September 20th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canadian residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Product Review: August Beauty Box 5 feat. Pur~lisse, La Fresh, and more!

Beauty subscription boxes have been around for quite a while now, but if you still haven't tried them yourself, I don't blame you. It's cool to have a box of curated beauty products sent to your doorstep on a monthly basis, but it's also a daunting financial commitment to have to pay for them every month. What if you don't like any one of the products one month? What if you try to cancel and the company tricks you into purchasing more boxes? What if one of the boxes are full of spiders instead of makeup????

Yes, these are the kinds of thoughts that give me panic attacks.

Luckily, there are a few select boxes that I've subscribed to myself and have lucked out with completely; Beauty Box 5 is one of them. Every box, and almost every item I receive, I end up loving! I've definitely purchased full-sized versions of products from their storefront after sampling them, which is a great option to have.
Beauty Box 5 is a subscription-based, beauty sampling service that delivers five deluxe samples and full-sized products right to your door every month. In their own words:
It's a cosmetic jungle out there and  we want to lend a helping hand by introducing you to new brands and great products, while sharing tips on the best ways to use them.

Every month we'll send you a mix of makeup, beauty accessories, hair, skincare, fragrance, body, and nail products that we can't get enough of. Our secret? We share products that really work, so you'll receive luxury, drugstore, niche, eco-conscious, and even vegan brands.

Whether you're a cosmetic newbie or a beauty guru, identify yourself as adventurous and playful or classy and mature, like to splurge on high-end items or be a savvy spender, we have everything you're looking for.
It costs $12 per month, but if you want to commit to an annual subscription, is only $8.25 per box, making it one of the most affordable beauty boxes out there. It currently only ships to US and Canada.

August's BB5 had a collection of hair, skin, and makeup products that I was super pleased with:

As you can see, Beauty Box 5 comes in a cute little turquoise box and contains multi-use samples—they're actually useable, unlike those tiny, useless packets you get from department stores. For products like lip gloss and nail polish, you actually get the full-size, which is awesome because they can just become a part of your cosmetics collection.

BB5 also provides an informational card with all the product specs and retail prices, which is convenient to have as reference in case you are interested in purchasing the full-size products from the Beauty Box 5 store.

Reviews


Here's a rundown of the products I received in my box this month:

Pur~lisse Pur~Protect Essential Daily Moisturizer protects and hydrates your skin with its non-greasy formula and excellent SPF coverage. It's an everyday moisturizer that is gentle enough for all skin types, and is contains anti-aging properties as well. I love this product because it doubles as a sunscreen and it applies so smoothly and makes my face really soft. At $55 for the 1.7 oz. tube, it doesn't come cheap, but it's the kind of skin care product I wouldn't mind spending my money on.

I also received a packet of La Fresh Travel-Lite Facial Cleansing Wipes, a portable, easy, and nourishing cleanser that is formulated with Vitamin E and is safe for all skin types. Oil-free and packaged in a cute travel-friendly envelope, these facial wipes also contain aloe vera, cucumber, chamomile, marshmallow, and tea plant botanical extracts. I absolutely love these wipes and will be purchasing them on my own!!! They are non-irritating and work just as well as my regular face wash. I found them extremely refreshing and the wipe actually exfoliates and picks up any leftover makeup residue as well, so it's a win-win.

Sometimes, whether you're far from home or simply staying late out at night, washing your face just isn't an option—but it's so necessary to maintain balanced, blemish-free skin. These cleansing wipes save the day because they require no water or rinsing; just swipe them across your face and they pick up makeup, as well as condition your skin. I adore the miniature packaging because you can literally tuck them anywhere—in your purse, schoolbag, work desk, car, etc.—so this really is an on-the-go beauty essential. Best of all, each 8-count package is only $2.49, so whether you buy one, three, or sixteen (like yours truly), you can go crazy without breaking the bank.

Novex Brazilian Keratin Deep Hair Care Treatment harnesses the power of keratin and nourishes your hair back to health. This dense treatment deep-conditions with proteins and vitamins to restore shine and smoothness. I was surprised to find this in my beauty box because it came in a standard sample package rather than a little bottle or tube like the other samples, and it has unexpected Portuguese words all over it (authentically Brazilian, I suppose? LOL!). It was one of the best products from this box and gave instant, noticeable results.

Normally you hear about keratin treatments at salons, but this is a convenient at-home alternative. It's basically an intensive deep conditioner that renews and reinforces your strands, and it's perfect for all hair types. For me, it noticeably added shine and smoothness to my hair from root to tip—a new favorite of mine! A huge 1-kg tub of this miracle cream is only $18.99; it seems pricey, but imagine how many uses you could get out of that! I recommend it wholeheartedly.

I received one bottle of sea green nail polish from Style Essentials Touch of Teal Collection and while I was excited to try it—look at that color! Does it not match Books à la Mode perfectly??—I was a bit disappointed.
This nail polish is originally a part of a collection that features complementary shades, so maybe I would have gotten more out of it if I'd tried the glitter topcoats. The color and finish were gorgeous, but formula was a bit thin and streaky. At only $7.99 for the entire four-piece set, they're a total steal, but don't expect too high of quality. You get what you pay for!

Let me start off by saying I was less than thrilled to receive a lip gloss in my box because a) I'm not a huge lip gloss fan and b) even if I did wear lip gloss, pink and shimmer would not be my color and finish combination of choice.

HOWEVER.

I was so, so impressed by Nanacoco's Popular Lip Gloss because of its hydrating, non-sticky formula and vibrant, long-wearing color. Yes, its a bright, cheery pink—not my usual shade—and yes, it contains little specks of shimmer—something I haven't touched since 7th grade—but hear me out; if I regularly wore lip gloss, this would be my go-to.

The packaging is sleek and the slim wand allows for easy, precise application. There is a slight "artificial" scent to it, but it isn't at all unpleasant. Most lip glosses dry my lips out or turn really sticky and gross after a few minutes, but this stay put and felt like a lip gloss and balm combined—perfect for me!

The best part, by far, is the pricing; it looks and feels like a luxury lip gloss but a 0.22 oz. tube is only $3.99. High-quality lipgloss for drugstore prices? I'm sold. I would have loved to try this in the shade First Kiss even though I received Popular. Check out the other Nanacoco colors in Beauty Box 5's August box product inventory and tell me your favorite!

What do you think?


As you can see, this month's BB5 was a huge hit; I loved virtually every sample I received, and discovered some new favorites as well (like the La Fresh wipes and Novex keratin cream!) that I will be purchasing in full-size.

Tell me:
  • What product(s) from this post would you most like to try?
  • What's your favorite beauty product you discovered in August?
  • Have you ever tried Beauty Box 5 before? What are some of your favorite products you've received?
  • Are there any other subscription boxes you've tried? How did you like them?