Tuesday, July 31, 2012

One Year Anniversary - I Loved You First - Reena Jacobs

Welcome readers , Here on The Phantom Paragrapher we love to celebrate author's works and especially promote the works of Indie Authors which as reader's will know I have featured quite a few on my site.
Today readers marks a special day for one of those authors who a year ago I reviewed her book " I Loved You First" and now readers we are here to celebrate it's first anniversary.

Review: I Loved You First - Reena Jacobs - July 2011
Wanting to check out a really good LGBTQ novel ? One that is aimed at Teenagers and in both African and Caucasian Viewpoints ? I Loved You First tells the story of two college students Seth Richards and Alex Carmichael. One is gay and the other straight , One male and the other female , One Black and one White. Alex and Seth have been friends forever and now reaching college-aged Alex is in love with her best friend Seth , though of course she knows that she can never be with him that way and that he will always look at her as a sister or close friend. The novel takes place during their college partying days as we follow Seth who is still in the closet and Alex his ever faithful sidekick. Seth is the kind of guy who has used the girls as beards and Alex every time he picks up a girl -hopes that he will use her , allow her to pretend. During rush week and a party at the fraternity, Seth is roofied and ends up revealing to the world that he is Gay and what follows is the aftermath of the effects as we see Seth on the edge of killing himself and Alex whose finally met a guy who actually wants to date her - torn between the new guy and Seth. Can the two of them work out where they stand with each other and can Alex be there for Seth or will she be too late to say Goodbye ? Be prepared for twists and turns as Seth's revelation leads many more characters and ones that surprised me to come out of the closet per se.

Readers :
Be In The Draw to win lots of prizes including books, book vouchers etc.
Open Internationally and All you Have to do is Share a quick story about The Person You Admire.
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Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Post : 3 Frugal Ways to Store and Make Your Photographs Timeless

Today on The Phantom Paragrapher, we have a Guest Post written from Kate Sorenson of Coupon Cravings.

3 Frugal Ways to Store and Make Your Photographs Timeless

Great memories are priceless, and your photographs document those memories for you. Photos are precious to most people for just this reason. They can remind you of a time forgotten, and allow you to share the past with those who weren’t there, like your children. 
Of course, you want to keep your photographs safe, and have ways to display them that will bring enjoyment to those fortunate enough to view them. But with all the digital photographs you take, printing them can become pricey and storing those files can be difficult. You need a cost-effective way to take care of your photos. Here are three ideas for storing and sharing your timeless treasures.

1.              Create a photo book online for yourself or your loved ones. Many people already know about creating printed photo books with digital photos. Sites like Apple iPhoto have been doing this for a long time. It makes a great gift or keepsake for your family. However, these photo books typically cost somewhere between $20 and $30. Luckily, it’s easy to find deals for print companies like Snapfish, on sites like CouponCravings.com, which can help you save up to 25% on photo books. TechCrunch.com also reveals an alternative site that makes them for significantly less. A UK-based company called HotPrints is making high quality photo books for around $3, plus shipping, which is under a dollar. That’s an incredible value!

2.              Store photos on CDs or DVDs. According to PCWorld.com, CDs can hold a lot of data, up to 700 MB, and DVDs can hold even more, 4.7 GB of files. Rather than spend a lot of money on an external hard drive, you can make a much smaller investment in a set of blank DVDs that will hold all of your memories for you. Just label them with dates or event names to ensure you’ll know where to find specific photos, and store them on a bookshelf or in a file drawer. This is an excellent way to take care of your photos without spending a lot of money.

3.              Store photos on several online services. Many people store their photos on Facebook, which is completely free. But to be safe you’ll want to back them up by storing your photos in more than one location. ReadWriteWeb.com explains that there are tools, like Pixelpipe, that make it easy to upload photos to multiple sites. Pixelpipe can send your photos to over 60 social networks, blogs, and photo/video sites. It can be very reassuring knowing you have a backup plan if anything should happen to one of these sites.

While you can’t put a price on your memories, there can still be a lot of costs involved in storing and displaying your photos. When you contemplate how to best take care of the images that mean so much to you, consider these money-saving ideas. 

Review: Don't Let Me Go- Catherine Ryan Hyde

Are you looking for an amazing book to read ?
One that will tug at your heartstrings ?
From the author who brought you Pay it forward and When I found you , I bring to you one of her newer releases.
Review: Don't Let Me Go - Catherine Ryan Hyde - September 2011
Grace Johnson , was just a ten year old girl wanting help but didn't know how to ask. As each day passed , Grace would sit outside as her mother Eileen was loaded on drugs. She sat out on the steps of her apartment building every day until one day , one of the neighbours - who suffered from Agoraphobia decided to talk to this little girl. He discovered who she was and what the matter was and soon enough , this little girl pulled the whole apartment building and it's tenants together as they shared one thing in common - Grace. When things start to get really tough, Grace comes up with an idea - that in order for her mother to get clean and mean it this time, she has to lose the one thing she cares about - Grace. So Grace hatches a plan to stay with Billy - her new-found friend who with each step is overcoming his Agoraphobia. 
Don't Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde was one of the most amazing and touching stories , it tugged on your heartstrings and showed readers that no matter how small you maybe , we all have the power to bring people together and change the world - even so, if it's your own little world as Grace - a ten year old girl in the space of a few months played an impact on the tenants around her and changed their lives for the best. A story that will have you falling in love with Grace and the amazing calmness she portrays through what we can imagine is one of the most difficult times of her life and as readers, we too can't help but fall in love with Grace.
Catherine Ryan Hyde's book "Don't Let Me Go" is a high must-read and fans of Jodi Picoult. Jane Green and any other author that tackles the dramas of family life , drugs etc will fall in love with instantly.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Releases; Yesterday - CK Kelly Martin

On the lookout for a new dystopian novel ?
Do you love novels set in two different time periods ?
Synopsis: Yesterday - CK Kelly Martin - September 2012
THEN: The year 2035 The formation of the UNA, the high threat of eco-terrorism, the mammoth rates of unemployment and subsequent escape into a world of virtual reality are things any student can read about in their 21st century textbooks and part of the normal background noise to Freya Kallas’s life. Until that world starts to crumble.

NOW: It’s 1985. Freya Kallas has just moved across the world and into a new life. On the outside, she fits in at her new high school, but Freya feels nothing but removed. Her mother blames it on the grief over her father’s death, but how does that explain the headaches and why do her memories feel so foggy? 

When Freya lays eyes on Garren Lowe, she can’t get him out of her head. She’s sure that she knows him, despite his insistence that they’ve never met. As Freya follows her instincts and pushes towards hidden truths, the two of them unveil a strange and dangerous world where their days may be numbered. 

Unsure who to trust, Freya and Garren go on the run from powerful forces determined to tear them apart and keep them from discovering the truth about their shared pasts (and futures), her visions, and the time and place they really came from.

The Lighter Side of Life and Death by Martin, C. K. Kelly.
The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Series #1) by Dashner, James
One Lonely Degree by Martin, C. K. Kelly

Review: Different Dream Parenting - Jolene Philo

Are you a parent ?
Looking for a parenting guide that could help you ?
Do you have a child with a disability ?
Review: Different Dream Parenting - Jolene Philo- November 2011
Are you a new parent ? Finding it difficult to raise your child ? Does your child have a disability ? Well, look no further with Jolene Philo's new book "Different Dream Parenting" which discusses all the up's and down's and the how-to's when raising a child with a disability. Looking back, I'm sure if a book like this was released when my sister and brother were born it would have saved a whole lot of troubles for my parents as having siblings with disabilities were bad enough, raising them is a whole new level and I am proud of parents as they managed and though when you have someone with a disability - being physical or even mentally , it is a continual process in the parenting - it never really stops. 
Jolene Philo's guide takes you from the first steps of diagnosis to the countless hospital visits as more often than not when you have a child diagnosed with a disability , it means countless hospital stays as when my brother was little up to about 11 or 12 , he used to spend every single winter in hospital and the occasional summer as he would catch pneumonia through swimming which would turn so bad he would end up being hospitalized. It moves through to juggling the two worlds , the world of having children with disabilities and those without. Growing up, I know what this was like and trust me it was so difficult as you find yourself missing out on a lot of things and receiving less but unintentionally attention from your parents as the sibling or in my case siblings with disabilities are demanding all the attention and of course, the focus always turns to them. Nowadays though, as the disabilities in children become more recognisable there are organisations that help with the siblings and one of them is Parent 2 Parent NZ - where we run sibling workshops and camps and they have the opportunity to give the sibling without the disability the focus, the other awesome thing is that they are run by Siblings as I myself am a leader for the SibSupport Network. 
It also discusses about the Long -term care and sometimes this can result in putting them into a supported living assistance when they get older like SILC or IHC. It then moves on to talk about the loss of the child which can happen more often than not with a child with a disability as their life spans always prove shorter. Though of course miracles can occur as the doctor's told my parents that my brother wouldn't live past his second birthday and he will be turning 20 this year in December and last but not least , being a survivor as I think that anyone who goes through having a child with a disability whether you are the parent or a family member deserves a medal as though you love them to bits, they can make your life hellish sometimes.
Different Dream Parenting is the perfect guide to any parents out there who have discovered that their child has a disability and just wanting that little bit extra support and guidance to help them push through to the other side :)

P. S - This is a picture of my adorable nephew Connor Lionheart. 

Review: The Summer My Life Began - Shannon Greenland

Looking for a new teen book to read ?
Ever been stuck in a rut and not sure what to do with your life ?
Review: The Summer my Life Began - Shannon Greenland - May 2012
Have you ever had your whole life planned out for you ? Right from birth to adulthood , somebody dictating who you were going to be , what grades you had to get etc. Elizabeth Margaret has , she has a bank account earmarked for Harvard where she will study Law and then work for her father's firm and this summer she has an Internship lined up in a law firm. However for Em as her sister calls her , she doesn't dream of being a lawyer , yet all she wants to do is go to Culinary school and became a sous chef.  So when on the day of Em's graduation she receives a letter and an invite from her mysterious Aunt Tilly inviting her to stay with her for the summer , she accepts despite her parent's and grandmother's protests. It really will be the summer where Em's life begins as she meets an Aunt and a cousin , she never knew she had and she will discover a truth that has been buried for so long . One that if it ever got out , it could do more than ruin a family. Em has never felt more at peace than with her Aunt Tilly , but will her happiness be destroyed when she discovers a picture of her as a newborn and Aunt Tilly.
Find out what can happen and how one summer filled with new experiences and moments can change one's life forever.

Review: To the Nines - Janet Evanovich

Are you a Stephanie Plum fan ?
Have you read or seen the movie "One for the Money" ?
A 2012 goal of mine was to read and make my way through the Janet Evanovich series and here I am halfway through the year and halfway through the series as I finish and bring you the review for Book #9 .

Review: To the Nines - Book #9 Stephanie Plum Series - Janet Evanovich - June 2004
It seems that with the Bond Enforcement agency, new types of bonds are appearing from Custody Bonds in Book #8 and now in #9 Visa Bonds. Vinnie's client Samuel Singh has been missing for five days and this case doesn't look good as due to the first of it's kind - Vinnie's agency has been getting alot of press and now if they can't produce the client - it could turn things for the worst. Desperate to find him, Vinnie pairs up Ranger and Stephanie in the hopes that one of them will bring him back. It seems that something fishy is going on at the place where Samuel Singh worked and the only way to get information is for Stephanie to go undercover. What happens though when Stephanie starts to attract trouble and is shot with a tranquillizer ? Ranger, ever the protector hires round the clock bodyguards for Stephanie but of course when you are paired with Stephanie and her sidekick Lula , anything can happen especially in To the Nines as Lula spends the whole book on some crazy- assed diets , as we read two of the bodyguards end up in hospital.  As the team digs further with all hands on deck , as we watch Connie and Vinnie take part in this bounty - Stephanie finds her life in danger once again and torn between two guys - Joe Morelli and Ranger - her Batman. 
Can the team find Samuel Singh alive or will they have to be burying his body ? 
On a positive note , Stephanie becomes an Aunty once again as her sister Val has hers and Albert Kloughn's baby.  
Of course, what would a Stephanie Plum novel be without a little fun from Grandma Mazur as we watch her decide to change her hair into funky colours by buying an array of colourful wigs.
Another fun installment in the Stephanie Plum Series and stay tuned for Book #10 .

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