Monday, April 30, 2018

Book Review - One of a Kind by Chris Gorman

Photo Credit - Amazon
The child in the story details the ways he is unique from his peers. He listens to punk rock music, dresses differently and expresses himself in his way. He realizes he is lonely and wishes he had someone to share his uniqueness with.

I thought the kids I volunteer with would enjoy the way the book was illustrated but didn't like it. I found the message of a confident kid proud to be different and unique. However, I did find it a bit odd that he wanted people who shared a common interest when he was mentioning the ways that made him unique. But I think the underlying message is being unique good but everyone needs a community where you can have share common interests together.

Engagement Activities -
1. What are the traits that make you unique?
2. What are different the unique traits your friends have?
3.  What are the common traits do you and your friends share?
4.  What unique trait are you most proud of?

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Fizz & Bubble Spa Bath Frizzy Truffles

I received these spa bath frizzy truffles from a friend as a gift. I love taking baths so I was so excited to receive bath products, but even more excited when it's from a new brand. The Shea butter enriched bath frizzies promise to foam and fizz. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much with how small they are and to be fair, the box recommended mixing a few truffles. Each truffle had a different scent and smelled amazing, but once they were dropped in, they were done. I would suggest this gift for a teen or someone who likes novelty items as I didn’t find them as enjoyable as a Lush bath bomb.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Book Review - Presumptions and Partiality by Rebekah Jones

Photo Credit - Amazon
The Baileys have a simple and happy life as cotton farmers during the early years of the Great Depression. When Richard Buchanan, a wealthy single man with an interest in growing cotton moves nearby, Mrs. Bailey believes this is the perfect opportunity for her eldest daughter, Alice to marry.  After Richard leaves town, Alice turns to God to help her overcome her unhappiness.  Eloise learns of a secret when she goes to visit a friend and she struggles to believe the authenticity. Will Alice and Richard be able to reunite?

The novel was an interesting read and I love the parts with Mr. Bailey. However, I felt the story was a bit slow and didn't really pick up until the end. I have not read the Jane Austen " Pride and Prejudice" on which this novel is based on but I found this book to be an enjoyable read.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest opinion**

About the Book

Title: Presumption and Partiality
Author: Rebekah Jones
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction
Release Date: November 27, 2017
Among the cotton fields and farmland of Gilbert, Arizona in the early years of the Great Depression, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey live a simple, but happy life with their five daughters on a cotton farm. When the wealthy Richard Buchanan moves to town, bringing his family, a friend, and a desire to learn about cotton, Matilda Bailey is convinced that he is the perfect candidate to marry her eldest daughter, Alice.

Richard is cheerful, friendly, and likable. His friend Sidney Dennison doesn’t make such a good impression. Eloise Bailey decides he’s arrogant and self-conceited, but when Raymond Wolfe comes to town, accusing Sidney of dishonorable and treacherous conduct, Eloise is angered at the injustice of the situation.

When the Buchanan household leaves town, Alice must turn to the Lord and face, perhaps, her most difficult test in trust, while Eloise takes a trip to visit her friend and may well discover a web of deceit that she doesn’t really want to believe exists.

About the Author

Rebekah Jones
Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories. Her goal is to write Bible-Centered, Christian Literature; books rich with interesting characters, intricate story lines, and always with the Word of God at the center. Besides writing, she is an avid reader, songwriter, pianist, singer, artist, and history student. She also loves children. She lives with her family in the Southwestern desert.


To celebrate her tour, Rebekah is giving away a grand prize of the complete set of the Vintage Jane Austen Collection!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Book Review - Sass, Smarts, and Stilettos by Gabriella Contestabile + Giveaway

Photo Credit -  Amazon

The novel is a mixture of advice, fashion history along with stories of the author's life. The author mentioned stories about her family and life experiences while sharing nuggets of advice about not letting age become a prison. She mentions facts about the Italian lifestyle and how it shaped her into who she became. I did enjoy the tidbits of the advice of buying things of quality, traveling more, and to live simply. However, when the author went into detail about historic fashion events it got a bit confusing for me along with the way the chapters were structured. Overall, the book is perfect for anyone who wants to infuse a bit of "Italy" in their lifestyle or is homesick.
**Disclosure - I receieved a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Book Details:

Book Title:  Sass, Smarts, and Stilettos: How Italian Women Make the Ordinary Extraordinary by Gabriella Contestabile
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction,  201  pages
Genre: Travel / Arts / Fashion / Self-help
Publisher:  Sumisura Publications
Release date:  November 2017

Tour dates: April 23 to May 11, 2018
Content Rating: G (No violence. No swear words. No sex scenes.)

Book Description:

Ah, that inimitable Italian style. It’s embedded in an Italian woman’s DNA. Fashion doesn’t define her. She defines herself. She knows an extraordinary life is not about status, money, or achievement. The only mastery it requires is one her heritage has given her, the irrepressible passion to make art of life itself.

Ask an Italian woman where she gets her sense of style and she will tell you it’s not about labels. It’s tethered to humble roots; humanity, community, conscious consumerism, and a profound appreciation for art in all its forms.

Sass, Smarts and Stilettos takes the reader on a journey from the humble hill towns of Abruzzo to the revered fashion capitals of Milan and Rome, into the artisan workshops of Florence, and the humanistic business practices of Luisa Spagnoli, Brunello Cuccinelli, and Alberta Ferretti, from the emergence of Italy’s fashion industry after WWII, to slow food and sustainable fashion initiatives taking root around the world.

Life lessons echo in the words of the author’s mother and grandmother, in the voices of Italian film divas, designers, tastemakers, writers, and artisans across generations, from the first Sala Bianca in Florence to the game changing design ethic of Franca Sozzani, Miuccia Prada, and Donatella Versace.

Learn how to live fully within your own philosophy of living. Say good-bye to mindless consumerism, emotional clutter, and others’ expectations. Create a personal style that fits like a custom blazer by Ferrè and enchants like the colors of a Sicilian sunset. Then go on to craft an extraordinary and empowering life made-to-measure for you alone.

Gabriella Contestabile
Meet the Author:

Gabriella Contestabile is the author of the novel, The Artisan’s Star, and owner of Su Misura (Made to Measure) Journeys; a boutique travel concept for the female traveler who relishes off-the-beaten-track adventures that celebrate the Italian way of life.

The book/travel initiative has its roots in her pre-writer life as a foreign language teacher, later as Executive Director and Vice President of International Training in a number of global companies (including Estee Lauder, Shiseido, and Prada Beauty) where she would create immersive and unconventional learning experiences in unique settings around the world.

One of her favorite pastimes, wherever she is in the world, is to scout out the best, and most ‘Italian’ espresso in the hood. It requires multiple tastings, but that’s the idea. Gabriella was born in Italy, and raised in Ottawa and New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, her mother, and a furry Shih Tzu named Oreo.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ LinkedIn
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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Book Review - First Crush, Last Love by Elizabeth McKenna

Photo Credit - Amazon
Lee Archer is everything that Jessie Baxter wants in a man. He had the ability to make her heart race along with being intelligent and gorgeous. As the popular athlete, Lee only wanted to be friends with Jessie regardless of how much Jessie prayed and hoped otherwise. However, ten years later after a failed marriage and uncertain journalism career, Jessie returns home for her high school reunion. Even after ten years, Jessie is still heavily attracted to Lee.  Will Jessie and Lee be able to finally be together?

The heartwarming novel was fun and interesting to read.  The characters were all flawed but trying to do the best they could with their circumstances. I personally don't remember my first crush from high school which was also roughly ten years ago, but I am hoping I didn't act the same way as Jessie did. It made me hope she would finally get what she deserves. The novel had an interesting premise of two people who liked each other coming together in the end despite the obstacles that stood in their way. I didn't like that Lee seemed to disregard Jessie's feelings knowing she had feelings for him in the beginning. He hinted that he likes Jessie but still continue to hurt and ignore her. It was a fun read and I will definitely read more by the author.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

First Crush, Last Love
by Elizabeth McKenna
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 314 pages
August 1st 2017

Back in high school, Lee Archer made Jessie Baxter’s cheeks flush and her heart race. But the popular athlete never wanted to be more than just friends. Ten years later, after a failed marriage and with her journalism career on shaky ground, Jessie’s come home for her high school reunion—and Lee still has the power to make her knees weak and her pulse pound.

Lee’s teenage years were filled with more trauma and drama than anyone guessed. Though his damaged past has helped make him a successful police detective, it’s hurt every relationship he’s tried. But seeing the grown-up, stunning Jessie might just change his commitment-phobic mind.

Jessie’s psycho ex-husband had her convinced no one would ever love her, but Lee is ready to step out of the friend zone and into her heart. Can she learn to trust again before she loses her chance to turn her first crush into her last love?

Elizabeth McKenna’s novel will have you remembering the angst of high school, the grief of a failed relationship, and the joy of finding true love at last.

About the Author

Though Elizabeth McKenna’s love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read a romance novel until her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). With the urging of her children, she decided to write her own Happily Ever Afters.

Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.

Tour Schedule

April 23rd: 
April 24th:
April 25th:
April 26th:
April 27th:
April 28th: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card and ebook of Venice in the Moonlight
- Open internationally
- Ends April 25th


Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Review - Ice by Lauren Carr + Giveawway

Photo Credit - Amazon
Years ago, Sandy Lipton was a young unwedded pregnant woman who disappears one night Everyone believes it is Chris Matheson, a young man she fancies and they were fighting the same night before her disappearance. Fast forward a few decades later, Chris is now a retired FBI agent who is still haunted by his past. He relies on fellow retired law enforcement officers to help assist solving the cold case but when more dead bodies turn up, will Chris finally be free of suspicion?

 When reading this novel, I noticed there was a key detailing the list of characters in the order of appearance. At first, I didn't think it was needed but I am glad the author included it because, with many overlapping murders and the number of characters, it got confusing very quickly. I did enjoy the story but I didn't like some of the characters and felt that the conversations were a bit unrealistic. For example, Chris's mother, Doris calls women "tramps" when she doesn't approve of them or their behaviors but yet when it was noted that Doris conceived Chris out of wedlock no one commented on her "tramp status" or how she started dating again after 8 months after her husband has passed. Overall, it was a decent book and I would be open to reading other works by the author.

**Disclosure - I receieved a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Book Details:

Book Title:  ICE by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult fiction, 380 pages
Genre:  Mystery, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Cozy
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  February 26, 2018
Tour dates:  April 2 to 30, 2018 
Content Rating:  PG (It's a murder mystery and there is mild violence. Very mild swearing no F-bombs. No on-stage sex scenes.)

Book Description:

The clues for a close-to-the-heart missing person’s case heat up when Chris Matheson starts chipping away at the ice on the cold case.

When Sandy Lipton and her unborn child disappear, the court of public opinion finds young Chris Matheson guilty. Decades later, the retired FBI agent returns home to discover that the cloud of suspicion cast over him and his family has never lifted. With the help of a team of fellow retired law enforcement officers, each a specialist in their own field of investigation, Chris Matheson starts chipping away at the ice on this cold case to uncover what had happened to Sandy and her baby and the clues are getting hot!

Buy the Book:
Add to Goodreads
Picture About the Author:
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.
​Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram
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