Sunday, December 21, 2014

Idina Menzel Sends Warm Holiday Wishes (Album Review)

Idina Menzel's Holiday Wishes is sure to become a new holiday classic. anyone who loves holiday music and who was charmed by her vocals in Disney’s global box-office smash Frozen will love this album.

Disclosure: I received a download of Holiday Wishes by Idina Menzel to review through the One2one network and Warner Bros. Records.

Cover of Holiday Wishes by Idina Menzel

About the Holiday Wishes and Idina Menzel:

"Holiday Wishes, a Christmas album recorded by Tony Award-winning singer/actor Idina Menzel, is out now on Warner Bros. Records.

The album was produced by Grammy Award-winner Walter Afanasieff (Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey) and features such classic favorites as “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” as well as Joni Mitchell’s Christmas-themed “River,” one of Menzel’s favorites.

Another highlight is a duet with international superstar Michael Bublé on “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” An exclusive Target edition of Holiday Wishes features two bonus tracks, including “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”.

Idina’s career has traversed stage, film, television, and music. She was most recently heard as Elsa in Disney’s global box-office smash Frozen, in which she sings the film’s Oscar-winning song “Let It Go.” After her performance of the multi-platinum song at the 86th annual Academy Awards, she made history as the first person with both a Billboard Top 10 hit and a Tony Award for acting."
(Quote From Album Publicity Materials)

Holiday Wishes Track Listing

  1. Do You Hear What I Hear
  2. The Christmas Song
  3. Baby It’s Cold Outside (Duet with Michael Buble)
  4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  5. All I Want For Christmas
  6. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
  7. December Prayer
  8. When You Wish Upon A Star
  9. Silent Night
  10. River
  11. Holly Jolly Christmas
  12. White Christmas

Bonus Tracks on Target Exclusive
  1. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
  2. Mothers Spiritual

My Experience Listening to Idina Menzel Album Holiday Wishes:

Idina Menzel is an amazing vocalist and this album contains great, classic songs. With that combination you just cannot go wrong. As far as my personal preference, I loved some of the songs while some have never appealed to me. I especially enjoyed the sassy and flirty duet with Michael Buble of "Baby It's Cold Outside". I always find this song kitschy and fun and Menzel and Buble do not disappoint! I also loved Menzel's beautiful interpretation of "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Where to Purchase: 

 Holiday Wishes by Idina Menzel  is available from many music retailers. I included my affiliate link to the Amazon listing for convenience. Or visit: Official Idina Menzel website

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Are You Dating The Wrong Men? (Then Don't Miss This Book Review & Author Interview)

Anyone who has ever been single has quite likely dated the wrong men (or women). Am I right? If not, count yourself fortunate. If so...  The book Dating The Wrong Men by Kelly Rossi offers candid insight to help single women navigate the world of "wrong men" and to recognize the right men.

Dating the Wrong Men: The Misadventurer's Guide Through Relationship Choices #DatingtheWrongMen

This post contains sponsored content. I received a review copy of the book Dating the Wrong Men by Kelly Rossi and I have included my Amazon affiliate link in the purchasing information.

I would describe Dating the Wrong Men as a inspirational memoir. It is a little bit self-help, a little bit humorous memoir, and includes practical advice. It reads like a good friend candidly sharing advice from lessons hard earned. It is at times funny, at times tragic and at times inspiring.

While men also date the "wrong women", this book outlines some wrong types and choices single women often struggle with. I have been fortunate not to date too many "wrong men", just a few otherwise wonderful but wrong timing type. Oh, wait... That is a type that Rossi describes! I could think of a friend or two who has dated just about every one of these if I haven't myself.

I was fortunate that Kelly Rossi was willing to answer some interview questions. Rather than share more of my opinion, I will let the author explain her own work. Be sure to read the section A Conversation With Kelly Rossi after the book summary information.

Cover #DatingtheWrongMen

Summary Information For Dating The Wrong Men:

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Social Magnitude LLC (August 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0990651401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0990651406
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches 

 Publisher's Description:

Kelly Rossi’s Dating the Wrong Men: The Misadventurer’s Guide through Bad Relationship Choices, a fresh, entertaining, and comically written memoir filled with invaluable life and dating lessons. A true guide to love and romance for women working to find their prince in a pond of frogs, Rossi narrates her journey through each chapter highlighting a different ‘wrong man’ personality type that women are faced with in the current dating pool.

“This isn’t another book by an overly confident man psychoanalyzing everything you’re doing wrong, giving you that supposed ‘turn-key’ answer he’s created,” says Rossi. “This is a love story for any woman who has caught herself overanalyzing, making excuses, giving second chances, interpreting text messages, waiting for someone special, or even swearing off love forever.”

Dating The Wrong Men Book Trailer:


A Conversation With Kelly Rossi:

Kelly Rossi author #DatingtheWrongMen

What inspired you to write Your Dating the Wrong Men?
Well, my life inspired me to write it. J Years ago, I was talked into writing a blog about my ‘Wrong Men’ stories because of the fact that my experiences ranged through every kind of dating experience you could possibly have and people really responded well to that.  Through 20+ years of having relationships with the wrong men I read all kinds of junk ‘relationship’ books that were from how to play games, to what I was doing wrong that my partner was cheating, to telling me how to live, breathe, think, act it was exhausting!  I felt like there needed to be a book out there about the reality of dating today.  Wow, what a concept huh?  My stories are very similar to most of my girlfriends who are all intelligent strong women and more women needed to know that other people are going through the same crap they are.  It was time for something to come out that reversed the ‘boys will be boys’ attitude and started correctly placing responsibility. 

Your book is both inspirational and humorous, what role does humor play in your life?
Humor is my life! I’ve been a fan of comedy my entire life, so it’s just natural for me to crack jokes.   If you can go through hell and back with a smile on your face, you can combat anything.  Obviously you read the book so you know that I’ve had a few stressful situations (‘few’ being said with massive sarcasm), but with each one I always found a way to make myself and others laugh and that’s half of getting through something.  It lightens the mood at work, makes meeting new people easy and gives me great material to flirt with my husband.

I understand you have found the right man, could you tell us a little about that?
Well that could be the next book!  He was actually the man I am talking about in one of the last chapters about ‘Finding Mr. Right’ and we got married Oct. 29th this year after three years of dating on the day we met.  In the book, I talk about defining the exact things that you, as an individual, need in a relationship then looking for that in a future partner.  Honestly, by the time I had met my husband pretty much figured my fate in life was to date the wrong men eternally & was like “well I’m still going to have fun doing it!”  But then he came along and showed me a life I had never seen before full of love and acceptance.  Still to this day I’m like “where did you come from?”  I’m not sure if we’ll ever get to the point of cloning humans, but if we do I’m going to insist that my husband is at the top of the list.  We met at a Halloween party and it really was love at first sight.  There were no games and we just threw all our cards on the table pretty much within 24 hours of meeting as to what our needs were in a relationship, and we went for it.  We haven’t stopped yet.

Aside from reading your book, what advice do you have for the single ladies or the single gentlemen?
Single ladies & gentlemen both should throw away these ‘rules’ of dating whether from a book, a friend, a relative, an Instagram post or fortune cookie and be yourself.  It’s the best advice Robin Williams ever gave (as the Genie in Aladdin).  There is too much outside influence and judgment coming in that we don’t realize that the best thing to do is to go with what your heart says is right in a situation.  Relationships are only happy when both people are being true to themselves and accepting the other person so don’t waste your time on a situation that isn’t exactly that and have fun doing all the things you love to do as an individual in the mean time!

If people enjoy Dating the Wrong Men, do you have any other books they can read?
I don’t currently.  I may write another book and it might be a collaboration with my husband if I do.  People can always find me on social media.  Just consider my Twitter posts as 140 character books and we’ll all be happy.

Photo provided by Author #DatingtheWrongMen


Where to Find Kelly Rossi and Dating The Wrong Men Online:


Where To Purchase Dating The Wrong Men

For more information visit:  Dating The Wrong Men Website Also, Dating the Wrong Men: The Misadventurer’s Guide Through Bad Relationship Choices is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Powell’s Books.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Game Time: Knot So Fast is Great Exercise for Your Brain

We all know it is important to exercise the body, but did you realize it is also important to exercise the mind? Exercising the brain helps improve or maintain creativity, memory, rhythm, special awareness and many other things. Fortunately, there are many entertaining ways to exercise the brain including puzzles, dancing, challenging literature, learning a language, and playing games. Knot So Fast is a brain training knot tying dexterity game from ThinkFun.

I received a complimentary Knot So Fast game from ThinkFun to review. I am a total "noob" when it comes to knot tying. So I find that not only is Knot So Fast a challenge, I also learn a new skill every time I play.


About Knot So Fast:

Knot So Fast challenges you to look at a picture than figure out how to tie the illustrated knot.  The creators claim it will exercise your dexterity, visual perception and critical thinking skills. That and it is fun! Once you figure out how to tie the knot, ThinkFun suggests that you use a timer and time yourself. Try to beat your best time--for most knots it should take 30 seconds or less once you "know the ropes." (Sorry, I could not resist the pun!)

Knot So Fast was created by Australian Dugald Keith who studied Physics at university but went on to invent board games and puzzles.  The game was developed with the assistance of a knot consultant (who knew!) Des Pawson. Pawson is an author of numerous books on knotwork and was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to the world of knots.

Summary: Knot Tying Dexterity Game

Description: Knot tying is a valuable life skill and a great spacial reasoning workout, flexing mental muscles and fine motor skills.
Ages: 8 to adult
Single Player (Though there is a multi-player version I have not tried)

Included In The Box:
• 40 Challenges with Instructions & Fun Facts
• Rope
• Metal Tying Ring

My Experience Play Knot So Fast:

I have a steep learning curve and it is a work in progress. I certainly can use a workout for my visual perception and my manual dexterity. I do spend a few minutes most days playing casual brain training games or working on puzzles such as Sodoku. I found a hands-on tactile game like Knot So Fast to be a nice change. It is an interesting challenge to translate a two dimensional illustration into a three dimensional knot. 

I recommend it for people who are interested in brain training games or puzzles that are a little more tactile than a video game. If you are interested in learning knot tying than you won't want to miss Knot So Fast!

Where to Purchase Knot So Fast: 

(Affiliate Links to Follow)

Knot so Fast is available from the ThinkFun website and on Amazon as well as many retailers of toys and games.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Interview With Meet The Earl At Midnight Author Gina Conkle (& Giveaway!)

Do you like your romance novels historic with a bit of steamy chemistry? If so,  you won't want to miss Meet The Earl At Midnight by Gina Conkle. This character-driven romance novel, set in 17th Century London, has hints of Beauty and The Beast and a strong-spirited female protagonist.

I received a review copy of Meet the Earl at Midnight by Gina Conkle from the author. The author, Gina Conkle, has graciously agreed to give one lucky Enjoys & Shares a autographed copy of Meet the Earl at Midnight and a $25 e-gift card (Amazon or Barnes and Nobel). To enter the giveaway, see the giveaway widget after the author interview.

Summary for Meet The Earl At Midnight:

Enigma Earl...The Phantom of London...

Reclusive Lord Edward's heard them all, but a deadline looms. He needs an heir quickly. The hasty offering of Lydia Montgomery, an on-the-shelf woman, works, but she has plans of her own, secret plans that don't involve a man. Their agreement forged at midnight changes in the light of day. Edward discovers Lydia's a woman with a past, which only adds to their distracting chemistry. Even worse, the impertinent woman insinuates herself in his scientific work, a domain where no woman should mix. Lydia's diagrams and illustrations speak volumes...of his work to the outside world and hers to London's art world --- a placed reserved for men. Soon new found fame makes a tangled mess. Will their greatest discovery be each other before time runs out?

Series: Midnight Meetings (Book 1)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (May 6, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1402294271
ISBN-13: 978-1402294273
Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.2 x 7 inches

About the Author Gina Conkle:

Gina’s a lover of history, books and romance, which makes the perfect recipe for historical romance writer.  Her passion for castles and old places (the older and moldier the better!) means interesting family vacations.  Good thing her husband and two sons share similar passions.  When not visiting fascinating places, she can be found in southern California delving into the latest adventures of organic gardening and serving as chief taxi driver.
Gina Conkle's Web and Social Media Links:

A Conversation With Gina Conkle...

 The following is an interview with Gina Conkle. As a reader I always find that learning about the author's perspective deepens my enjoyment of any book...

Q: Where did you find your inspiration for “Meet The Earl at Midnight”?

A: I’d been writing Viking romance and wanted a break from the Norse hammers in my head. At the same time, I’d been reading a non-fiction book on the Age of Wonder era (mid to late 18th century) and that got my wheels turning.

This mysterious character kept showing up in my head. He was covered with a leather cloak, boots, and a tricorn hat. My only view of him was a slit of brown eyes above his flipped up collar. I had to know his story, so I sat down on a rainy day and started writing. The first half of the story poured out. I wrote by the seat of my pants to the half-way point, and then I started plotting.

The book has a “Beauty & the Beast” flavor but was not written with the trope in mind. That marketing idea came after the publisher bought the series.

Q: I liked Lydia’s strength and independent spirit. From your research how typical were female artists?

A: Art was largely a man’s pursuit. With few exceptions, art guilds on the continent excluded female artists despite those women enjoying critical and commercial success. Professional women artists couldn’t host workshops (though they could attend) nor were they allowed to hold the title of “Master.” The tides changed during the 17th century with women trickling into the guilds.

England was slower to change. The Royal Academy of Arts was established in 1768 with two women counted among the founders. However, they weren’t allowed to sit for the founder’s group portrait. Instead, their portraits hung in the background and that was counted as inclusion! This gives an idea of what female artists faced.

Q: What is your research process when you write historical fiction? Which eras interest you most?

A: I tend to read a lot of non-fiction and follow some nerdy history blogs. I put colorful sticky notes on book pages and keep notebooks of ideas. If I have questions, I’ll go back to those sources.

As a writer, I’m interested in the end of the Viking Age (early 1000s) and the mid-Georgian era (1760s – 1790s). My general interest spans from ancient times through the Dark Ages to the Templar arrests in 1307 Paris. Then, I lose interest until the 18th century.

Q: Could you tell us a little about your other books?

A: For my Vikings, I have the Norse Trilogy with the first book, Norse Jewel available now. Norse Jewel tells the story of a Viking chieftain, Hakan, who wants to put down his sword and live a peaceful farmer’s life. He buys Helena, a thrall (slave), to help keep his farm. Betrayal has left Hakan cold, but warm-hearted Helena thaws his icy heart. Their story is the unexpected love between master and thrall amidst intrigue forcing Hakan to take up his sword again.

I’m working on the second book, Norse Fire, about Brand, a house karl (a lower warrior) and saucy-tongued Sestra, a thrall. The kingdom has fallen and Sestra unwittingly holds secret knowledge of a hidden hoard that could save many lives. Brand and Sestra have traded barbs, but now must work together to find the treasure before the enemy. Trouble chases them, but on the trail both find something better than gold.

The third book is Norse Wolf, the tale of Black Wolf, an outlaw Viking, and Gisla, the healer who saves his life.

This Norse series is based on an actual historical event in AD 1022 Sweden.

For Georgian romance, my life has been the Midnight Meetings series. Book two, The Lady Meets Her Match, is the tale of two commoners. Cyrus Ryland, a self-made man, meets an alluring woman at a masked ball. She vanishes at midnight, leaving behind a single shoe. Certain his mystery lady was up to no good, Cyrus vows to find her. Claire Mayhew (housekeeper in Meet the Earl at Midnight) has her reasons for sneaking into the ball. She wants nothing to do with men of power, especially Cyrus Ryland, but scorching attraction and an unexpected foe conspire against well-laid plans.

Enter To Win Meet The Earl At Midnight and a $25 Gift Card:

This giveaway runs 12/8 to 12/23 and is open to residents anywhere that accepts Amazon or Barnes and Nobel Gift e-cards.

$25 Amazon or B&N Gift Card and Signed Copy "Meet the Earl at Midnight" 

Where To Purchase Meet The Earl At Midnight or Other Historical Romance Novels by Gina Conkle:

Affiliate links below:


Tis The Season For Giveaways Hop:

We are proud to participate in the Tis The Season For Giveaways Hop by The Hopping Bloggers and Up All Night Blogging.  Feel free to visit the other blogs and enter to win these other great prizes! Good luck and happy hopping!   #TisTheSeasonHop

Welcome to the 'Tis the Season Giveaways Hop, brought to you by The Hopping Bloggers & Up All Night Blogging! We are a group of bloggers that specialize in giveaway hops - so stay with us and you will have many chances to win some amazing prizes! Each blogger participating in this hop has a giveaway with a prize value of at least $15 - and some are much more than that! Be sure to visit them all - there is no limit to how many prizes you can win! Good Luck and Have Fun!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Do You Like To Watch? #wheretowatch

How many of these films or television shows have you watched?

Disclosure: I am sharing this service as part of a promotion through Sverve and Where To Watch and am compensated for video views. I am sharing the video and service as I enjoy it and believe many of my readers will as well. I love win-win situations, you support this blog and you access great entertainment content!

This anthemic video from the film and television industry reminds us how Movies and TV shows bring us together. What we watch doesn't just entertain us, it inspires and moves us. It's the show that gave you the chills. The scene that left you crying from laughing so hard. The movie you watch when you are having a bad day. The things that drive you to be fearless. Make you get up and dance. The movie that makes you ask, "what would Ferris do?" Where the underdogs always come back on top. The storylines that redefine your own life experience. They change us, help us believe, and overcome any challenge life throws our way. This is the anthem that runs through the core of Visit the site for simple search and easy access to the movies and TV shows you love. 

Visit to access creative programming you want to watch. Find programs that you can watch legally and in an ad-free environment. Using the Where to Watch search tool, you can connect to your favorite films and television shows as they become available across a variety of different channels.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Excerpt From Walled by Anne Tibbets

We are participating in a book Blitz organized by XPresso Book Tours in honor of Walled by Anne Tibbets. Walled is the second Dystopia, New Adult novel  in The Line series by the same author.

Book Summary: Walled by Anne Tibbets

Book two in The Line series
Published by: Carina Press (HQN)
Publication date: December 1st 2014
Genres: Dystopia, New Adult



Freedom means making brutal choices.

Rebel lovers Naya and Ric have survived one year in hiding, raising Naya’s twins from infants to toddlers in the shadow of the brutal Auberge dictatorship. They’re alive, and they’re together, but the city is crumbling around them and the haunting memory of Naya’s dark days on The Line have never fully left them. Living in isolation won’t be an option forever.

When a mysterious revolutionary seeks their help to infiltrate Auberge’s electronic heart and shut it down, it’s an opportunity—it’s risky, yes, but if it works they’ll get out of the city and taste freedom for the first time. Naya needs this. They need this.

Beyond the broken walls of Auberge, Naya and Ric find the paradise they’ve always longed for. But with anarchy reigning and Naya’s children lost amidst the chaos, they’ll need to forfeit their post-apocalyptic Eden…or commit an unspeakable act.

Book two of two.

Enter to Win Carrier (book 1 in The Line):

The author has graciously offered one eBook copy of Carrier (the first book in The Line series) for one lucky reader. Giveaway open 12/1 -12/5.

Carrier (The Line book 1) by Anne Tibbets (ebook)

Excerpt From Walled by Anne Tibbets:

Warning: The following excerpt from the New Adult novel Walled contains mature language and situations. Enjoy...

Excerpt #1:

“No!” Sonya shouted, clenching her jaw as her eyes bugged wide. “Not enough! It’s our fault we got those girls killed. Her fault!” She pointed at me again, and I felt my insides burst into flames and scatter like ash. “So don’t stand there and tell me how feeling compassion is the way to go. Compassion only gets people killed faster. It’s using your fucking brain, and thinking, planning, strategizing, that’s going to end this war. It’s following your goddamned mission and not getting distracted! And guess what? People are still going to die. So go ahead, stay behind because it feels right. Choose the fate of hundreds of thousands of people based on your fucking feelings.”

Excerpt #2:

He peeled open my shirt, pulled up my bra and kissed and licked my body, my nipples, my ribs, navel—everywhere his hands roamed, so did his mouth.
To my surprise, I moaned with pleasure. His touch was having a strange effect on me. I could hardly think straight. He was soft, gentle, hot and wet. He was painting me with his hands and it enveloped me whole.
            I’m not ready for this! But oh, my God! It feels so good.

Excerpt #3:

“You don’t have to do this,” Ric whispered.
I swallowed the terror in my throat and licked my lips with my dry tongue.
The elevator stopped, and I heard the sound of a tiny bell as the doors slid open.
“We can find another way,” he said.
I stepped through the open doors and drew my pistol.

About the Author Anne Tibbets:

Anne Tibbets is an SCBWI award-winning and Best Selling author. After writing for Children’s television, Anne found her way to young/new adult fiction by following what she loves: books, strong female characters, twisted family dynamics, magic, sword fights, quick moving plots, and ferocious and cuddly animals.

Along with CARRIER, Anne is also the author of the young adult fantasy novella, THE BEAST CALL and the young adult contemporary, SHUT UP.

Anne divides her time between writing, her family, and three furry creatures that she secretly believes are plotting her assassination.

Author Links:

Where to Purchase Walled by Anne Tibbets:


Or -Barnes and Nobel

Also on Enjoys & Shares:



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mary J Blige's Album The London Sessions is Released December 2, 2014

Note: This was originally published on my fitness and lifestyle blog Feeling Fit, Bit by Bit.

Mary J Blige has done it again! Her new album The London Sessions is due for release December 2, 2014 from Capitol Records. The London Sessions showcases Blige's powerful voice as well as her determination, talent and resilience. The sound is distinctly "Mary", yet the influences of her collaborators Sam Smith, Disclosure, Emeli Sandé and others give it a hint of the London sound.

Disclosure: I participated in the Mary J Blige The London Sessions album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review, but all opinions are my own as a listener and a fan.

The London Sessions by Mary J. Blige Cover #TheLondonSessions #O2O

About the London Sessions:

Mary J Blige likely needs no introduction. Her resume' boasts eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards (plus a staggering 31 nominations), a 2012 Golden Globe nomination, and four American Music Awards, Mary J Blige is a global superstar. As established as she is, she still evolves as an artist. The London Sessions reflects the next phase in her evolution.
In an effort to shake things up and step out of her musical comfort zone, Mary J Blige spent a month in London writing and collaborating with some of the most exciting and popular artists in the UK – including Sam Smith, Disclosure, Emeli Sandé. The result is her highly anticipated album The London Sessions – which will be released on December 2, 2014.
An inspirational and powerful performer, Mary J Blige knows the ups and downs of life. If you’ve ever seen her perform, you know the passion she brings to her everything she does.  The London Sessions is full of meaningful moments and uplifting messages.  Get ready for some “Therapy” in the form of a new Mary J Blige album! (Quote from London Sessions press materials)
“It’s all about the London Music scene and I’m so excited to have been part of it, to record my album,” says Mary J  Blige. “The songs are fun, therapeutic and soulful. This is a beautiful change for me and I’m proud of what we have done here.”    

I always find it interesting to learn a little about the artist's process and inspiration. The following trailer sets the scene for The London Sessions.


Track Listing for The London Sessions by Mary J. Blige:

1. Therapy
2. Doubt
3. Not Loving You
4. When You're Gone
5. Right Now
6. My Loving
7.Long Hard Look
8. Whole Damn Year
9. Nobody But You
10. Pick Me Up
11. Follow
12. Worth My Time

Ms. Blige isn't afraid to get personal and to sing life's struggles. Several songs on The London Sessions feel highly intimate and personal. Mary J. Blige has long been a superstar of popular music with a soul flavor. I love that she has such a range including fun, party songs and songs that explore the darker struggles many of us face. I love that she sings with a voice of strength and resilience. The following "Lyric Video" of the track "Whole Damn Year" is a good example of some of the raw and highly intimate music from the London Sessions:

The London Sessions also contains highly energetic uplifting songs such as My Love. I dare you to listen without dancing (at least with your mind and soul if not your body). Another track that literally  moves me to dance is the strong, yet sassy Right Now. Enjoy the video for a taste of The London Sessions...

Many listeners, especially women, may feel that Ms Blige is singing directly to them with her deepest truth. I, for one, love the mix of the personal lyrics and the music. I have had The London Sessions on loop for a couple days. With each listen, I feel like I have been on an emotional journey. Sometimes I find myself getting up from my desk to dance and snap my fingers. Some times I feel moved to tears (well, on first listen I did).  I certainly think it is worth a listen for any fan of Mary J Blige, of the London sound, or uplifting music in general.

Mary J Blige publicity photograph #TheLondonSessions #O2O


Pre-order or Purchase Information (Release Date December 2): 

The London Sessions is due for release December 2, 2014. I have also included some affiliate links in the pre-order and purchasing information. If you click on the Amazon or Itunes links and make a purchase then I receive a small commission.

On Amazon (in CD, MP3 and Vinyl formats):

And on Mary J. Blige's Official Website  and your favorite music retailers starting December 2, 2014.

Also on Enjoys & Shares or Feeling Fit, Bit by Bit:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Excerpt: Make Your Own Rules Diet

I recently reviewed the wellness book Make Your Own Rules Diet by Tara Stiles. You can read that review on my fitness and lifestyle blog Feeling Fit, Bit by Bit: Make Your Own Rules Diet reviewI enjoyed the positive spirit, practical tips and recipes. The publisher HayHouse agreed to allow me to share an excerpt...

The following is an excerpt from Make Your Own Rules Diet by Tara Stiles. It is published by Hay House (November 2014) and is available at bookstores and online at

Screen Capture of e-reader version of the Make Your Own Rules Diet book cover

Losing Yourself

When it comes to getting healthy, not only do we have to worry about the punishment-and-reward cycle desensitizing us; we also have to deal with problems in our food supply, societal pressures, and events that lead us away from ourselves. Natural foods are often modified from their original forms and presented to us with the intent to exploit our feelings of failure and disappointment. Fake sugars, salts, processed chemicals, colors, and smells trick our minds into believing that our problems will be solved if we down a bag of Doritos, clean out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, or hit the drive-through on the way home from a stressful day.
Teams of highly paid consultants decide how best to deceive us into consuming the most junk food in the largest quantities to keep us addicted. It’s comforting and scary to know that much of the food nonsense isn’t our fault; it’s what is put in the food and marketed to us. Knowing what kinds of junk items are available and knowing what they do to us when we consume them regularly is valuable information and fuel for us to eat more naturally so we can feel better. 

We all know by now to some degree or another, depending on how much Googling you do and how many local farmers and food industry insiders are in your inner circle, that the food industry has evolved to make us fat, get us sick, and give us life-ending diseases. “Obesity is such that this generation of children could be the first basically in the history of the United States to live less healthful and shorter lives than their parents,” said Dr. David S. Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Boston Children’s Hospital in a New York Times article. Shorter lives are not the only risk. Quality of life is affected, as well. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, and cancer are likely to affect people at younger and younger ages.

Aside from the messed up stuff happening with our actual food supply, we deal with insane amounts of pressure from advertisements and the media. Photoshopped images we see in magazines are a superdistorted version of reality that try to fool us into believing we need to change everything about ourselves in an attempt to fit into an unreal image. We lose sight of the fact that we actually are beautiful and perfectly unique. We lose sight of the fact that we are born to be individually awesome, not to fit into an artificially generated mold that actually looks like no human alive. Our digital age can warp our body image easily if we let it. We have to actively work to stay true and centered to who we are and constantly build our self-esteem. 

Events in our lives occur that pull us off balance and away from our intuition. Traumatic experiences and social pressures of all sorts swing us way off course. We all go through tough times in our lives. It’s how we survive and thrive that makes the difference. Not-so-fun things are going to happen. We have to build the strength to remember that when we come back to center, we come back to the path of feeling happy and grounded, and back to the path of sustainable health and happiness. You are worth so much in this life. Don’t ever forget it.

And let’s not forget one of the biggest intuition killers . . .

Time for a Breakup

Diets are the worst thing you can do if you’re looking to get back to a healthy life. They are fundamentally designed to be cheated on, broken up with, and crawled back to with desperation. They tell us that we aren’t good enough, don’t know enough, and aren’t equipped with the skills we need to be healthy and happy and to feel great in our ideal bodies. Diets tell us we are broken. Diets lure us in with deceptive promises of external results while attempting to control our every move. Diets teach us to hold our breath, to grin and bear it. Diets tell us, “If it was easy to be healthy and have a great body, everyone would.” Diets tell us we have to go through them to get to ourselves. Diets teach us to hate ourselves, and they show us many ways to practice aggression and tension toward ourselves. 

Diets are no good for us. They don’t work, and they waste our time while leading us further away from our ideal selves. If a diet were a person that we were involved with, hopefully our close friends would stage an intervention and tell us to break up and end the cycles of abuse for good.
We all know that diets don’t work. Diet fads are so popular because we try, we fail, we get desperate, and we jump on the next one. We don’t stop to consider that the failure might not be our own. And there is always a next one. Our dependence on diets could be the reason 70 percent of the population is set to be obese by 2022. Whoa . . . now that’s heavy! 

Looking outward for fear-based motivation and diet rules might at best help you temporarily drop a few pounds. But in no way will looking outward for satisfaction or direction ever get you lasting health, sustainable happiness, and the body shape and mental clarity you’ve been looking for. You might have been searching a long time for the answers, and maybe you forgot to dive into the source, where the answers are waiting for you to discover them: right within you! 

Whether too heavy or too thin, the external result is hardly the root of the problem. An unhealthy relationship with food takes on many forms: eating disorders, emotional eating and restricting, overly healthy control behaviors, exercise addiction, and diet obsession—the list is endless. Every person is unique and every relationship is unique. Our only hope for lifelong health begins in understanding that it’s not about the food and it’s not about the diet. It’s about you and how you feel. It’s about getting connected.

Purchasing Information For Make Your Own Rules Diet:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Shimmy for Me is a Modern Romance With A (Hip) Twist

She had me at shimmy. As a "belly dancer", I am always interested in any book or media entertainment that involves middle eastern dance. Needless to say, I was excited to learn that Goddess Fish Promotions was organizing a Book Blast for Deanna Cameron's new novella Shimmy For Me. I jumped at the chance to participate. Previously, I had read Cameron's historical novel The Belly Dancer and was eager to catch a glimpse of Shimmy For Me.

Slysam Enjoys and Shares is participating in a book blast. So this post contains a summary, a chance to enter a giveaway for a $25 giftcard, and an excerpt from the novella.

Cover for Shimmy For Me by Deanna Cameron

Book Summary:

Juggling two jobs to keep her belly dance studio afloat keeps Abby Anderson’s mind off her shattered love life—until a reawakened pain sends her into the arms of an anonymous stranger she plucks from the audience of her tribal belly dance show. No names, no strings, no romance. She tells herself it’s a harmless hookup.

Until he turns up at her day job . . .

Derek Collier, the sexy heir to the Collier media dynasty, just landed everything he’s always wanted: the publisher’s seat at the Orange County Herald. Except his first order of business is to sell the newspaper. Reeling from his family’s betrayal, his only comfort is the memory of that mysterious belly dancer and the perfect night they spent together.

He won’t rest until he finds her again.

She’ll lose everything if he does.

About the Author, Deanna Cameron:

The author Deanna Cameron
DeAnna Cameron writes novels featuring feisty heroines transformed by true love and belly dance—the oldest and most exciting dance form in the world. Her novels have been translated into Japanese, Polish, and Serbian, and her work has been praised for its “deft prose, energetic characters and . . . colorful images” by RT Book Reviews and called “most entertaining” by the Historical Novel Review. Before turning to fiction, DeAnna worked as a journalist, writing and editing for several Southern California newspapers and magazines. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as its Orange County chapter. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she can usually be found at her jeweler’s bench, creating new wire-wrap, bead, and multimedia designs. She lives in Orange County, Calif., with her family.

Excerpt From Shimmy For Me

Promotional Meme From The Authors Website:

By the time Abby took her place on the small stage, the lights were low, and a slow, snaky melody had filled the restaurant’s main room. She was only a silhouette to the roomful of diners, holding her pose like a living statue. She usually closed her eyes during this prelude and focused on the energy of the music and the audience.

Not tonight.

In the darkness, her gaze roamed. She wanted a good view before the stage lights came up to brighten her, and blind her.

Nearly every seat was filled. A good draw for a Thursday night. Mostly couples, some groups. But it was the single men she searched for. The ones who sat on the fringe to watch.

Would it be the college jock tipping back beer in a bottle? The shy guy in the Oxford shirt fidgeting with his soda straw? Maybe the older . . .

A Suit at the bar caught her eye. One hand wrapped around a highball glass, the other tugging at his tie. Calm. Confident. And sexy as hell. The way his gaze locked on her made her tingle in all the right places.

He was the one.

Derek Collier sipped his Macallan 18 and watched the restaurant’s belly dancer come alive to the hypnotic rhythm pulsing through the dining room. When he’d seen the words “belly dancing” glowing in blue neon beneath the Sultan’s Tent sign, he’d expected the kind of flashy beads and sequins dancer he’d seen a hundred times before.

He didn’t expect this.

The poster at the front called her Zenina, a tribal fusion belly dancer. Whatever that was. From his vantage point at the bar, she looked like nothing he’d ever seen—part bohemian waif, part harem fantasy, part . . . Damn, the way she swayed and writhed up there was making it impossible to think.

Promotional Meme From The Authors Website:

Enter To Win A $25 Gift Card: 

Author Deanna Cameron  will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B&N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where to Purchase Shimmy For Me and The Belly Dancer:

I received a review copy of this novella from the author and Goddess Fish Promotions to facilitate my review.  I received no other compensation yet. I say "yet" because I do include affiliate links in the Purchasing information. If you click on those links and make a purchase you support this blog as I receive a small commission on the sales. Sounds like a winning proposition to me -- support the author, support the blogger, and score something fun to read (or whatever you buy from Amazon).