Monday, August 24, 2009

Free Los Angeles: Fast Access to Fun in the City of Angels

There may be no free lunch in America anymore, but there’s plenty of free fun to be had in the greater Los Angeles area. That is, if you know where to look, and that would be between the covers of Free L.A.: The Ultimate Free Fun Guide™ to the City of Angels.

Editor Troy Corley just published this updated trail map through the events, attractions, and entertaining miscellany of America’s second largest urban area.

Into cinema al fresco? Free L.A. has you covered, whether you’re closest to Universal CityWalk Mann’s Chinese Theater, or UCLA.

Favor nature spots? The guide lists 10, from the Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena to the Vasquez Rocks County Park in Agua Dulce, where the legendary bandit Tiburcio Vasquez hid from authorities in the 1870s.

See world-class museums at no charge. Take the family to pitch in on California Coastal Cleanup Day. Try your hand at the Intergenerational Pumpkin Carving Contest in Plummer Park. With so many categories of fee attractions and activities, there’s never a dull moment for those with guide in hand:

  • Annual events organized by month
  • Unique attractions grouped by specific areas of town
  • Art spaces
  • Gardens
  • Historic places
  • Museums
  • Nature sites
  • Art walks
  • Concerts
  • Films
  • Green activities and workshops
  • Theater
  • Tours
  • Odds and ends
You’ll find a short, but savvy description of each event or site, an explanation of whether it’s always free or when it is, the hours, parking information, and whether there’s a historic aspect to it.

But perhaps most useful of all are two things: Metro information and Thomas Guides coordinates. For $14.95, this book is a steal.

Snap one up now and, no matter which way the economy goes, you’ll have all the data you need to keep your family entertained, free and easy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

And the "Sacred Hearts" audio book goes to...

Amy2Boys of Milk Breath and Margaritas fame. Personally, I love historical fiction, so I'm positive well-read Amy will have fun with it.

Look for the name of the next audio book I'm giving away in the Summer Reading Giveaway to be posted later today.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Audio Book Giveaway -- Second Book: Sacred Hearts

Just when you thought I'd fallen off the edge of the earth, never to return, I'm rearing my head like Putin to post the second audio book in MarcomMom's Summer Reading Audio Book Giveaway. It's a thoughtful and well-reviewed novel called Sacred Hearts, by Sarah Dunant, author of The Birth of Venus, and to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below this post. Just say hello, or tell us what you're reading right now.

The publisher's book description reads:

The year is 1570, and in the convent of Santa Caterina, in the Italian city of Ferrara, noblewomen find space to pursue their lives under God's protection. But any community, however smoothly run, suffers tremors when it takes in someone by force. And the arrival of Santa Caterina's new novice sets in motion a chain of events that will shake the convent to its core.

Ripped by her family from an illicit love affair, sixteen-year-old Serafina is willful, emotional, sharp, and defiant-young enough to have a life to look forward to and old enough to know when that life is being cut short. Her first night inside the walls is spent in an incandescent rage so violent that the dispensary mistress, Suora Zuana, is dispatched to the girl's cell to sedate her. Thus begins a complex relationship of trust and betrayal between the young rebel and the clever, scholarly nun, for whom the girl becomes the daughter she will never have.

As Serafina rails against her incarceration, others are drawn into the drama: the ancient, mysterious Suora Magdalena-with her history of visions and ecstasies-locked in her cell; the ferociously devout novice mistress Suora Umiliana, who comes to see in the postulant a way to extend her influence; and, watching it all, the abbess, Madonna Chiara, a woman as fluent in politics as she is in prayer. As disorder and rebellion mount, it is the abbess's job to keep the convent stable while, outside its walls, the dictates of the Counter-Reformation begin to purge the Catholic Church and impose on the nunneries a regime of terrible oppression.
Sarah Dunant, the bestselling author of The Birth of Venus and In the Company of the Courtesan, brings this intricate Renaissance world compellingly to life. Amid Sacred Hearts is a rich, engrossing, multifaceted love story, encompassing the passions of the flesh, the exultation of the spirit, and the deep, enduring power of friendship.
I'll randomly pick a winner on Saturday, August 22nd. So don't you feel a comment inside you just burning to be posted below? Inquiring minds want to know... what you're reading now or want to read next.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Back from the land of the walking dead

So I just got over the nastiest flu I've had in years. It came just as I had traveled back east for my high-school reunion -- perfect timing, right? The combination of travel and illness made it difficult to update the blog, but I'm back to tell you that Lora B. won the Barbara Delinsky audio book! I still have a few days of travel, but the audio-book giveaway will resume next Wednesday, with three more still to give away--just for posting a comment.

How have you spent the dog days of summer so far? Traveling? Hanging by the pool? Getting ready to send a child back to school? Do tell.