Thursday, 31 December 2009

Broken Strings

James Morrison and Nelly Furtado


Broken Strings

MySpace Video


This is one of my favourite songs for the 2009. I thought that its message is appropriate for the beginning of the New Year :)

Glitter Photos



I wish you health, joy and everything that you wish for yourself in 2010. May it be the best year so far!!!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Christmas Tour

I'm a little late posting this, but I only found out about it today. If you'd love to visit a number of author's homes, check out the following address-

http://deborahraney.blogspot.com/2009/12/holiday-home-tour.html

-you can go from one author's site to the next, and see the lovely videos, photographs, and hear the Christmas messages to you, too.
I had a great time touring, it brought back the feeling of Christmas :)
(up there is a picture of my Christmas tree).
Update: I wish to congratulate Stacy from Stacy's Place on Earth on her 1.000 blog post!!! Hop over to her place, she's having a great giveaway.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Glitter Photos

Hope you are having a wonderful Christmas!!!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Winners!!!!

It's the last Advent Sunday and that means we have the winners!!! Thank you ladies for participating in my Winter contest! I hope you had fun :) I know I did. I loved reading all your stories...
And thank you Michelle and Kimber for participanting and donating your books!!!
Here are the winners chosen by Random.org:
Glitter Photos

11/29 Cecile - you won Michelle's book Cleopatra's Daughter
12/5 Justpeachy - you won Kimber's Selling Forever
12/6 April - you won Kimber's Selling Forever
12/12 Cherry - you won one of the 2 books offered by me

Please contact me (franalokas (at) yahoo (dot) com) with your snail mail addresses Cecile and Cherry, and with your e-mail April and Justpeachy. I'll send your contact information to Michelle and Kimber.
Cherry please choose your reward from my previous post.
You all have 48 hours and if you don't send your information I will have to chose another winner.

I hope you are having a peaceful weekend. Thanks for participating!!!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Last Week of Winter Contest

Hi to you all!
It's the third Advent Sunday and the last week of Winter contest. Today I wanted to talk about my winter holidays. I did write a little bit about St Nicholas Day in my previous posts and today is St Lucia's Day. Today we plant wheat in a flower pot as a simbol of fertility and a good new year. We put it on the table during a Christmas lunch.

Two weeks before Christmas /right about now/ we start cleaning the house. It has to be spotless, like the divine control will stop by and check if it is enough clean. Like if we don't do it we won't be allowed to celebrate Christmas :)

The day before Christmas is lent and for lunch we have codfish. It's a tradition that my father and I prepaire it. Also, as mentioned before, we decorate the tree on a Christmas Eve before going to a Midnight Mass. We decorate a real tree, which is another source of stress because it's never tall enough or thick enough. After the Mass we open the gifts and eat all delicious stuff we prepaired during the week before Christmas. Another tradition is to sleep late on Christmas :) eat lunch and have a family come over and we exchange gifts.
We take down all the decorations on January the 20th. That day is a day of our town saint protectors.

To start with my own celebrations, I'm giving this week's commenter a choice of books (state in your comment which one you prefer) with Christmas story within. I haven't read any of those two but they were recommended to me. I hope you'll like them:

Choice number 1

Choice number 2

All you have to do is comment to be elligible and to be from one of the countries to which The Book Depository delivers :) The contest is open until Saturday 12/19/2009 and the winners from all three weeks will be randomly chosen and announced on 12/20/2009 - the forth Advent Sunday.

Friday, 11 December 2009

It Happened One Night by Lisa Dale - review

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate it!!! I remeber the story about the oil burning for 8 days from my childhood very well :)
First let me brag a little. Here is the newest picture of my nephew. Isn't he just too cute!!!

I tought he would be appropriate introduction for today's review. I've already promotied this fabulous book It Happened One Night by Lisa Dale, so I tought I could write a small review for it. It's a realy great book about relationships and different kinds of love.
About the story from author's webpage:


(Grand Central, November 09) Lana Biel longs to leave her family’s Vermont wildflower farm so she can travel and see the world. And her sister Karin wants nothing more than to put down roots and conceive the child she and her husband just can’t seem to have. When a lighthearted fling with a mountain biker leaves Lana expecting, she finds herself tumbling headlong into motherhood while her sister Karin can only look on.
For help, Lana turns to Eli Ward, a professional meteorite hunter and her best friend for the last ten years. But Eli’s keeping secrets that could turn their friendship on its head. As the Vermont seasons change and the flowers in the wildflower meadows begin to fade, Lana must make some meaningful decisions about her family, her friendships, her love life, and her dreams.

I wasn't sure what I thought about Lana at the beginning, I couldn't understand her way of thinking and her behaviour. But after few pages, things started to make sense to me and I could connect with her and understand her. I loved Eli from the beginning, I could empathize with him. He was so in love and didn't know what to do with his relationship with Lana. Lana's sister Karin was everything you expect from the person that cannot have a child. Although her husband suffered as well I don't think he could understand her hurt. She tried to be supportive to her sister but just couldn't overcome her wish for her own baby. I didn't like Lana and Karin's father and I just couldn't fathom his change of attitude towards his daughters. Relationship between Lana and Karin is a real sister love but since Karin was the older and had to take care of Lana during their childhood she did have an attitude of a mother. I think she was too nosy for my taste and didn’t understand Lana’s way of life.
As I said, it really is a story about family, friendship and love. I recommend it to anyone who wants an emotional read with obligatory (but resonable) happy ending.

To find out about the author and her other books please visit lisadalebooks.com.
Don't forget that you can still enter this week's Winter contest - there are two chances to win Kimber Chin's book!
And stop by on Sunday, when the last week of Winter contest starts

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Over The Top Award - Thanks Cecile!

Thanks to great Cecile (from fabulous blog All I Want And More Books) for giving me this great award!!!
Here are the rules:
1.) Thank and post URL to the blog that gave the award.
2.) Pass the award along to 6 brilliantly over the top blogs (blogs you love!) Alert them so they know to receive the award.
3.) Copy and paste this quiz... Change the answers, ONE word only. (2 are acceptable!)

My answers:
1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Your hair? Short
3. Your mother? Redhead
4. Your father? Love
5. Your favorite food? Lasagne
6. Your dream last night? Nightmare
7. Your favorite drink? Tea
8. Your dream/goal? Retire
9. What room are you in? Office
10. Your hobby? Reading
11. Your fear? Health
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happy
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren't? Liar
15. Muffins? Chocolate
16. Wish list item? New cell
17. Where did you grow up? Croatia
18. Last thing you did? Write a memo
19. What are you wearing? Formal outfit
20. Your TV? Off
21. Your pets? Sleeping
22. Friends? Great
23. Your life? Happy
24. Your mood? Fine
25. Missing someone? Yes
26. Vehicle? None
27. Something you're not wearing? Boots
28. Your favorite store? Bookstore
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Last week
32. Your best friend? Girl
33. One place that I go to over and over? Work place
34. One person who emails me regularly? Cecile
35. Favorite place to eat? Home

Well six blogs... I really enjoy reading all of your blogs, so I give this award to all of the visitors of my blog. Thanks for coming and commenting!!!

And don't forget, you can still enter this week's Winter giveaway!!!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Part two of Second Week of Winter Contest - guest Kimber Chin with presents

Today is a second Advent Sunday and a part two of Winter contest with fabulous Kimber Chin. She's with us today and sharing her Christmas traditions. She is also giving away another copy of her great e-book Selling Forever (read my review here), and she will hang around my blog today, so please stop by and ask her what ever you want to know about her books.

Welcome back Kimber! I'm so happy that you are here today. Thank you for being a part of this Winter contest. Here goes Kimber's story:

Spending Christmas With A Christmas Crazy

Christmas is my mom's holiday.

It is the only holiday when her 5 living children visit all at the same time (if they can, my sister is now in Australia, half the world away, and can't make it to my mom's place every year). My mom is determined to provide a Christmas experience no one can duplicate.

And she certainly does that.

My mom puts up her artificial tree at the end of November and doesn't take it down until the end of January. She makes an annual excuse about honoring Ukrainian Christmas but since we're not Ukrainian (we are Canadian with Irish/English roots), that is all it is, an excuse.

Every inch of my mom's two bedroom apartment is decked out for Christmas. She has Christmas clocks playing carols on the hour. She has Christmas salt and pepper shakers. She has a toilet seat cover that calls out 'Ho! Ho! Ho!' when you sit down (very unnerving for guests).

The 5 of us (her children) do contribute to her holiday obsession. A decade ago, I spotted a Christmas wreath 90% off at a department store during July sales. There was a reason no one had bought it. This crime against good taste was a psychedelic lava lamp in the form of a wreath. The hubby shuddered at the sight, telling me it was the most hideous thing on the planet. I knew it was perfect for my mom. She cried when I gave it to her. Of all her Christmas things, that is one of her favorites.

The apartment isn't the only thing decked out. Having a Christmas crazy for a mom means we all have Christmas outfits. Being a black business suit type of gal, my favorite is the brightly colored reindeer sweater. This sweater has bells and bows sewed onto it everywhere. It also comes with matching socks. It is so crazy that I avoid looking at myself in the mirror when I wear it. I do wear it though because it makes my mom happy (and my sisters laugh).

That is really what Christmas is all about. It is about making people happy. My mom makes people happy by going overboard with Christmas decorations and traditions. Her children make her happy by good naturedly going along with her ideas.

It is wonderful spending Christmas with a Christmas crazy when that crazy is also crazy about you.

Kimber Chin's novella, Selling Forever, was written especially for and dedicated to her favorite Christmas crazy, her mom. It isn't a Christmas story but it is light and happy just like her mom is. Kimber Chin is sharing a Christmas romance on
http://businessromance.com/ .


Contest rules are similar to yesterday's:

1. Tell us what is your favourite holiday movie and what are you plans for this year's celebration
2. For an extra entry become a follower of my blog
3. For one more extra entry post Winter contest widget on your blog and blog about the contest
4. Please, if you do things for extra entries state that in the comments
5. Ask Kimber a question - 2 extra entries
6. Contest ends 12/12/2009
7. Winners will be randomly chosen on the last Advent Sunday 12/20/2009
8. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me. If he/she doesn't show up I'll draw another name and the same procedure applies to that winner


Hope you are having a great Sunday!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Second Week of Winter Contest - guest Kimber Chin with presents

Tomorrow is the second Advent Sunday which means the second week of Winter contest. Since today my guest is generous author Ms Kimber Chin, we are having two day Winter contest. And you could win a book on both of the days.

But let's first say huge WELCOME to Kimber! I'm so happy you are here this weekend. And thank you for sharing your Christmas customs with us.

Today, Kimber will talk about her hubby's Christmas holiday. This is a very interesting story, because he's from Guyana!!!

Here goes Kimber's story:

Ice Apples And A Guyanese Christmas

The hubby and I spend Christmas apart. We have our own private celebration before I fly to my mom's. Then I celebrate with my mom and siblings. The hubby celebrates with his parents and siblings.

Our Christmas celebrations are very different because I was born in cold Canada and my wonderful hubby was born in warm Guyana. Guyana is the third smallest country on mainland South America. Although it hugs Brazil and Venezuela, Guyana has its own distinct culture and customs.

Much of the Christmas celebrations are the same. They decorate Christmas trees, although they are tropical pines, not the northern kind. They give presents including toys for the children. One greatly anticipated present at Christmas is what the Guyanese call 'Ice Apples.' To you and me, these are normal, everyday apples but for the Guyanese, because these northern fruits have to be imported from England, they are a special and costly treat. My mom-in-law says each person got a single ice apple and these were presented, wrapped in tissue paper.

There are also special foods, often made only at Christmas because they take a long, long time to prepare (think fruit cake long). My hubby's favorite is Garlic Pork. Garlic Pork is a Portuguese gourmet dish and consists mainly of, you guessed it, garlic and pork. I can smell garlic on the hubby's breath a week after he eats it. My favorite is pepperpot. This yummy stewlike mix originates from Guyana’s indigenous peoples, the Amerindians. Black cake is a gift from the English, a Christmas pudding with more caramel, wine, and substituting English fruits with those found in Guyana. To wash it all down, we drink ginger beer or sorrel. Sorrel has a citrus, spicy taste (a unique combination).

The best thing about a Guyanese Christmas, however, is spending time with family and friends. Some things are universal.

Every story Kimber Chin writes is dedicated to her wonderful hubby. Without him, she wouldn't have had first hand experience with romantic love. Kimber Chin is sharing a Christmas romance on http://businessromance.com/ .

Thank you Kimber.

Tomorrow is St. Nicholas' Day. Kimber told me that she doesn't celebrate this day. Do you? Well, in Croatia this is a big holiday (although it's a working day). We put our boots in front of the window or balcony door and during the night St. Nicholas comes and leaves you a present if you were good during the year. If you were bad you get a silver twig from his helper Crampus and the gold one if you were extra bad. I got my share of twigs during my childhood :) St Nicholas was a real person and Christian saint known for his charity work. European emigrants brought the story about him in the USA and that's how Santa Clause came to be. In my mother's childhood little Jesus brought presents on Christmas, only later did Santa Clause became popular and began bringing presents on Christmas. So put your clean and shine boots in the window, maybe you'll find something in the morning :) I will be putting mine...



So back to our guest - today Kimber is giving away one copy of her extraordinary e-book Selling Forever!!! You can read my review in yesterdays post. And she will hang around my blog today so fire any question you got, she will answer it. And don't forget to come back tomorrow when we will have another very interesting story (this I promise:)) and another giveaway with Kimber!
The rules:
1. Tell us what is your favourite winter holidays song and do you celebrate St Nicholas' Day
2. For an extra entry become a follower of my blog
3. For one more extra entry post Winter contest widget on your blog and blog about the contest
4. Please, if you do things for extra entries state that in the comments
5. Ask Kimber a question - 2 extra entries
6. Contest ends 12/12/2009
7. Winners will be randomly chosen on the last Advent Sunday 12/20/2009
8. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me. If he/she doesn't show up I'll draw another name and the same procedure applies to that winner

Friday, 4 December 2009

Selling Forever by Kimber Chin

I got this lovely e-book directly from generous author Ms Kimber Chin. She gave me all her other books for free, too. She is this way, very generous and friendly person. Selling Forever was written for author's Mom., and as Ms Chin says: "She is a happy, sweet person so I wrote a happy, sweet story for her".

Selling Forever is a short story about two very different yet very similar persons. It's a story about the love at first sight but at the same time about loving someone before you even met him/her. From this you can see that although a short story, Selling Forever isn't a simple one. It has great depth and meaning. It tells about all the obstacle person in love has to overcome to be with the loved one. Two main characters are well developed and you can understand their point of view. This has to be a short review since it's about short story, but I really recommend reading it.

About the story form Ms Chin's website:
Can Cara close the deal on love? The Best Sales Plans… Real estate agent Cara Jones needs a celebrity handyman for her charity auction. Reclusive billionaire Richard Thompson is the perfect choice. All she has to do is find his trigger and trip it, without becoming emotionally attached. …Sometimes Go Awry Richard wishes to be valued for himself, not simply for his money. He certainly isn’t going to fall in love with a pushy, pie baking saleswoman, no matter how sweet she tastes.


To find out about more about Ms Chin's other books, please visit her website: http://businessromance.com/

As I said before, Ms Chin being very generous person, offered to be around my blog for two days, and she's giving prizes too!!

So, stop by tomorrow for the first part of Ms Chin's story about her Christmas customs. She'll hang around the blog for two days (Saturday and Sunday) and you can ask her questions that she will be glad to answer.

Hope to see you tomorrow! And don't forget that you can still enter the contest with Ms Moran and win a signed copy of Cleopatra's Daughter!!!