Easy Freebies

Money

If your like me, you like getting things for free.  Whether it is winning free books from authors (one of my favorites) or just doing simple things each day in order to obtain free stuff, this can add up to put a dent in the cost of your book addiction (or any other addiction you may have)  Here is a list of my 10 most used easy freebies.

1) Swagbucks : with only needing 450 points to snag a $5.00 Amazon gift card this is a great and easy way to reduce the cost of your next online shopping spree.  1 gift card a month is only   15 points each day.  Points can be earned by searching, watching videos, polls, tasks, and even printing and using coupons.  Swagbucks also offers referral points when people join.
Search & Win

2) Like watching TV?  Then check out Viggle.  Viggle is a smartphone app (available on android and in the apple app store) which offers points for each minute of TV you watch, plus bonus points for answering trivia questions, watching videos, or doing other tasks.  With the Olympics on, it is a great time to join.  I’ve been using Viggle for about 3 weeks and already racked up over 19,000 points.  With rewards starting at 9,000 points, it will not take you long and all it takes is a simple tap and allowing the app to recognize the sounds coming from your TV (like shazam).

3) Shopkicks - Shopkicks is sort of like foursquare except your checking into specific retail stores for points and scanning products in stores for more points.  Shokicks also offers walk in bonuses for many stores such as Macy’s, Target, and Best Buy.  Rewards range from Facebook credits to Itune giftcards and more.  Facebook credits start for as little as 25 points (which can easily be earned in 1 day sitting from home) and Best Buy gift cards at 500 points.

4) Savings Star and Cell Fire – Hate cutting coupons, hate trying to remember if you have a coupon for an item or not?  Let Savings Star and Cell Fire step in for you.  While the coupons are limited, they automatically connect to your grocery or pharmacy cards (limited to participating retailers)  With cell fire you will see the amount come off your bill, with Savings Star it will deposit the money into your account which you can then use for Amazon gift cards or transfer to your paypal account.  Savings Star frequently has $0.50 coupons for one box of cheerios which I use often.

5) Mypoints – Whatever way you choose to use Mypoints it is easy to earn points that you can turn into gift cards.  I frequently save up those points for gift cards to use on vacation.  Some will choose to shop through Mypoints (to earn points) or if your just like me and click emails and the occasional instant win games they run, it is another easy way to pick up freebies.  You can also print grocery coupons to redeem and earn points.

6) Bondrewards – Like Mypoints this is a site where you can shop from or do click through emails to earn money.  Once you’ve reached your redemption amount you can either take it as a $25.00 payout or a $50.00 savings bond.  Since I usually only do click throughs it takes me about 12-18 months to earn a savings bond, but it is no time and best of all FREE.

7) Upromise, and Ebates are both sites where you earn money back for online purchases.  Upromise has a bit more including a grocery coupons, loans, etc that you can earn money back on as well.  Ebates issues you a check, Upromise you can receive your funds via a check, to use to pay down your student loans, or to be moved into a connected 529 account for future educational expenses. Ebates, currently has cash back shopping on specific purchases with Amazon, which is pretty rare to find.

8) Store Rewards – have a favorite place to shop to eat?  Check to see if they have a rewards program.  Best Buy, CVS, Kmart/Sears,  TGIFridays, Perkins and more all have reward programs which give you the equivalent of in-store credit on your purchases.  Many times all you have to do is present your card at checkout.  I use an android app, KEYRING, to store all my reward program numbers so they are always on hand.

9) Drink coke products?  Then you should be a member of Mycokerewards. Enter codes from coke products to earn points, turn points into fun stuff.  I just redeemed points for a $20 visa gift card.  Rewards range from gift certificates, amusement park admission (Six Flags and Universal Studios), magazines, coke branded products and more.  There are also give-a-ways you can enter, usually for 3 points per entry. Points can be entered online, through facebook, or by text message.

10) Disney Movie Rewards - one of my favorite programs.  Use codes from Disney Movies you have purchased or by redeeming ticket stubs from select movies to earn points.  Also monthly emails will add additional points and i runs frequent promotional points as well.  Rewards range from Disney gift cards to other Disney memorabilia.  Also by registering your movie codes select movies will also be saved for online viewing in your account.   If you go to join, look for a promotional offer for bonus points online

I am not always diligent in making sure I racked up my points.  With some diligence and commitment it would be easy to score several hundred dollars in gift cards a year using these programs.

 

My Ruthless Prince Review – Gaelen Foley

My Ruthless Prince (Inferno Club, #4)My Ruthless Prince by Gaelen Foley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Inferno Club: To London Society, they’re notorious for their scandalous pursuits. In private, these warriors would risk their lives for king and country. 

His brother warriors fear the Earl of Westwood has turned traitor, but Emily Harper knows this is impossible for the man she has loved since childhood . . . as impossible as a marriage between them could ever be—she, the gamekeeper’s daughter and he, a bold and adventurous nobleman.

Driven by hatred and revenge, Westwood is playing a deadly game of deception, bent on destroying the enemy’s dark conspiracy from the inside, and he’s furious when Emily plunges herself into danger for his sake. Forced into close quarters, their long-suppressed desire explodes into all-consuming passion.

Emily knows her love can save him . . . but Westwood is a man who doesn’t want to be saved.

I finally got to this book (thank you RNG). It is an excellent addition to the inferno club series. Picking up where the previous book left off, Drake has returned to the bad guys. The order is unsure of his loyalties and how dangerous he is to them. Emily, though, is certain that she can bring Drake home, not just to protect him, but to heal him from what he has endured.

Emily is not your typical innocent miss. She is brave, strong, well aware of most of the danger she is in, and steadfast in her love for Drake. Emily is determined not to let him become a truly evil man. She believes that by staying by his side she will always be able to bring him back from the brink. She is no milk and water miss. She is able to track Drake from England to Germany, with little money and knowing none of the languages. She really is perfect to heal a broken Drake. She is able to withstand the darkness within him and steadfast enough to lead him out.

Our tortured hero is playing a dangerous game with no plan for survival. Drake sees himself as done with this world. His body and mind have been broken and he has nothing left to live for except revenge. In some ways he feels that he does not deserve the purity of Emily’s love because of all the bad things he has done in the name of good. And he is very good at his game. He keeps everyone wondering which side he is truly on through most of the book. Even as the reader, knowing where he lies, there are times he is tempted by the power of the dark side, to try to lead them along a better path by ultimately destroying all the ideals within himself.

I really liked this book because of how well Ms. Foley portrayed the inner turmoil that the characters had to deal with (and not just Emily and Drake). Each had to face unspeakable and egregious acts and decisions, which mirror those many small acts and decisions that a person must face each day. Do we turn a blind eye or do we say something. Do we stand by or get involved. Do we love a person destroying themselves or do we walk away But in the end, the real question is are we strong enough to love and trust a person, to do something we know may lose us everything, in order to uphold the ideals and great good that they stood for. It is the hard decisions that have to be made and how Drake and Emily find a way to survive within those decisions that really make this story.

As for the romance, it is a not a book where the hero/heroine finally fall in love. Drake and Emily have been in love for a long time. They just finally needed the right push to make them act upon it. The threat of death is far greater then the threat of her father losing his job. They both rely on the other’s feelings to get through the desperate situation they are in. Each, in their own way, manipulates the other to try to achieve their goal. It is not the evil manipulation that our lovely bad guys like to play, but rather that subtle manipulation we use everyday to steer our loved ones in a better direction and to keep them safe. In the end, they build the trust needed between the two of them to allow the book to go out with a bang.

I am very much looking forward to the next book (Beau’s) and am very glad to hear that there will be an additional infernal club trilogy to follow after that

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Tarnished by Karina Cooper – Steampunk

Tarnished (The St. Croix Chronicles, #1)Tarnished by Karina Cooper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My name is Cherry St. Croix. Society would claim that I am a well-heeled miss with an unfortunate familial reputation. They’ve no idea of the truth of it. In my secret world, I hunt down vagrants, thieves . . . and now, a murderer. For a monster stalks London’s streets, leaving a trail of mystery and murder below the fog.

Eager for coin to fuel my infatuations, I must decide where my attentions will turn: to my daylight world, where my scientific mind sets me apart from respectable Society, or to the compelling domain of London below. Each has a man who has claimed my time as his–for good or for ill. Though as the corpses pile, and the treacherous waters of Society gossip churn, I am learning that each also has its dangers. One choice will see me cast from polite company . . . the other might just see me dead

Ever read a book and it just took you awhile to figure out what direction it was going? That’s a good description for the start of this book. Set in Victorian England, this steampunk novel introduces us to Cherry St. Croix, and an entirely different London. With horrible smog, the rich and important have been lifted high into he London sky, while the rift raft and other undesirables remain stuck in the dark misery of the below.

Cherry is a woman with a foot in both worlds. By day she is an unwanted member of the peerage, a madman’s unconventional daughter deemed to be trying to rise above her the below to collect bounties, usually set by those with power.

Cherry is not your typical romantic heroine and this is not a typical romance book. This is ultimately a murder mystery involving a young heroine coming into her sexuality. The romantic elements a both an after thought but also vital to the story. Cherry is a one minded woman, she wants to reach the age of 21 and gain control of her life and fortune. Her background is an interesting one and explains why she is the way she is, untrusting, secretive, both naive but knowing. She is confident in her abilities to the point of over estimating herself. Hence why she spends a good deal of the book having things fall down around her.

Part of this book is watching Cherry finish maturing. She is naive in thinking that she wants to stay alone forever and constantly pushes people away. Even the servants who have cared for her for years she never sees as hers. They are always the spies for her guardian. Likewise, she doesn’t understand and doesn’t want the feelings that go along with her interactions with Hawke (underworld ruler) and The Earl of Compton. Like her persona, she is torn between one world she feels she belongs in and one world where she is the outcast. In either place she must keep secrets and it is these secrets that are slowly tearing her apart.

Cherry is a deeply flawed character. She uses and abuses opium, not necessarily for the high, but rather as an easier way of not having to deal with any emotion, either current or in regards to her past. It is a crutch that allows her to hold herself away from people and the only way she can keep the extreme abuses she has witnessed and endured under her control. The author does an excellent job at expressing both Cherry’s desperation for the relief opium gives her without idolizing the use or making it seem acceptable.

As stated,in the first half of the book I really had difficulty
Figuring out where the author was going. There are lots of different and competing elements in the book and the only made sense once you got much further along. There is a lot of background information that needs to be exposed and this does slow the pace of the book down while
you push your way through it. But once into the meat of the story I was easily and quickly hooked.

The plot is slightly macabre with gothic overtones. Those paying attention will quickly pick up on the Jack the Ripper connection, which was very well done. By the end, the story goes through more twists and turns then a figure eight, many are completely out of the blue. And while a few questions were answered by the end of the book, many more were left. Who will Cherry end up with? Who is the other collector? Who tried to steal the new ship? Most readers will find themselves interested enough to look for the next book in the series.

B

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Happy Anniversary

to myself and my hubby.  13 years.  It seems both a very long time and a very short time.  We’ve been through quite a bit in those 13 years and somehow have managed not to kill each other *wink*

 

Here’s to 60 more yearsImage

 

This lovely picture is of my cousin Danielle.  She was 1 of 2 flower girls in our wedding.  Both girls are now out of high school and I feel really old.

Review: Death Comes to Pemberly

Death Comes to Pemberly
Death Comes to Pemberly by P.D. James
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

As a fan of Pride and Prejudice adaptations and spin off, I have read many of these types of novels. I was unimpressed with this novel, so much that I am not even going to do an in-depth review.  The book simply isn’t worth it.  . I felt the author did a disservice to Austin’s characters. They lacked personality and the entire book was one person after another worrying over something. The characters were bland, uninspired, and unremarkable.

The book also felt very fragmented to me and never allowed me to get into a smooth reading groove. I found the plot to be more like reading a newspaper report of an event rather than a novel. The author made an attempt to play off both pride (Wickham’s, Denny’s and the Colonel’s) and prejudice (everyone’s bias in regards to Wickham) but it just fails.

There are far better adaptations and spin offs than this one. Unless you feel the need to read all of them, take a pass on this one.

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