Thursday, November 26, 2015

Book Review: Larry Saves the Prairie by Matt Bergles

I received a free pdf copy to review.

Larry Saves the Prairie
by Matt Bergles
Children's Book
Date Published: September 1, 2015

Book Description:

Through the voices of Annabelle and Angus, discover what almost happened to wildlife on the Kansas prairie. When Larry receives a letter that says he must destroy the prairie dogs on his land, he and some of his neighbors join together to make certain that all wildlife remain unharmed. Not only were black-tailed prairie dogs at risk of destruction but the already-endangered black-footed ferrets were at risk of becoming extinct. 

In Larry Saves the Prairie, with the help of Annabelle and Angus, you'll discover what it means to be a true hero, and most especially, what it took to save prairie wildlife in Kansas.

Purchase Links

Barnes and Noble:

My opinion:
My daughter really enjoyed this story, she says the hero is a very nice person. I agree with that but I didn't like the book as much as she did. I loved the topic of the book and that at the end of the book there are ways to help. My daughter loved the prairie dogs, Annabelle and Angus, and the couple of coloring pages at the end of the book that she made me print out for her. Overall this book was decent and I think most kids would like it. I give this book 3 stars.

About the author:
Matt Bergles is a Colorado native who grew up in Pueblo, Colorado. He earned a bachelor's degree in social science from CSU-Pueblo, his master's degree in U.S. history, and a Ph.D. in public affairs at CU Denver, as well as a certificate in alternative dispute resolution.

Matt currently teaches at a K-8 private school in Denver, where he has witnessed firsthand young, inner-city kids' curiosity and love of animals and nature, observing that every time they are asked what community service project or charitable cause they'd like to be involved with, most K-3 students pick something related to domestic animals or wildlife. This natural love and curiosity led Matt to write Larry Saves the Prairie for young children.

Matt is an independent researcher and advocate for wildlife conservation, especially conservation of prairie habitat. Matt lives in Denver with his wife, Kate, two children, Luke and Mary, and dog Samuel. He is a volunteer coach, a private pilot, and has helped teach his teenage son to fly.
Contact Information

Book Review and Giveaway: Really Good F Words: Your Interactive Guide to Self-Care by Lorrie Forde

I received this book for free to review.

Really Good F Words: Your Interactive Guide to Self-Care 
by Lorrie Forde
Genre: Self-help

Book Description:

Where are you on your priority list? A key question in measuring self-care. Uncover your own customized strategies for moving further up that list as you bring this thought provoking and interactive book to life around your own kitchen table. Connect with friends and get your sense of self back with doable self-care strategies.

Author Lorrie Forde invites you to break all the old rules about not writing in books—this one is yours to write in, reflect back on, and share as you choose. Make it work for you! This is not another thing to add to your ‘to-do’ list. Let the pages do the work and before you know it, you’ll be laughing with friends, reconnecting with your passion, and the envy of your peers as you figure out what ‘feeds you’ and where your ‘weak spots’ are. How long will it take till you’re using “F” words all the time and your cookie jar is overflowing? Analogies like this cookie jar and using really good “F” words help us to laugh at reality and a little laughter really can make all the difference.

Buy the book:    Amazon  ~   Barnes & Noble

My opinion:
I decided to read Really Good F Words because the title caught my attention, because it's a self-care book, and also because you can write on the pages. I thought writing on the pages would be fun but even though there are plenty of lines to write in I couldn't do it. I have a small notebook that I like to use to make notes in sometimes when I'm reading a book and I prefer to write in my notebook than on a book.

What I enjoyed most was reading the personal stories and all the quotes. I had to think about my answers to every single question but it's great when books really get you thinking. I didn't care for the group activities so I haven't done any. The good F words were repeated over and over so I think I know them now. Overall this book was okay and sometimes funny. The cookie analogy was a little confusing though because I just kept picturing chocolate chip cookies and it wasn't helping much....or was I supposed to just picture cookies. This book made me want cookies! But cookies are part of my self-care so I guess that's a good thing... I give this book 3 stars.

Author's Bio:

Lorrie Forde is a daughter, a mother, a sister, a grandma, and a friend. She learned the hard way that balance is her secret ingredient in the analogy of a full and healthy ‘cookie jar’.

During a twenty-five year career in post-secondary education and through her work as a professional Executive and Life Coach, Lorrie has gathered the research and the tools she needed to bring this book to life. “I believe everyone deserves to have a coach and this book was a way for me to make that possible. I invite my readers to have fun with the process and to trust that their answers will come—they always do.” Lorrie loves to fill her days with adventure and laughter. She enjoys her work and says, “I work hard but I work to live—I don’t live to work.”

Connect with the author:   Website  ~ Twitter  ~  Facebook

Prizes: ​
Win 1 print copy of Really Good F Words
and a coaching session worth $125 from Mountaintop Coaching (USA & Canada)

Tour Schedule:

Nov 23 - - book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 23 - Readers' Muse - review / guest post
Nov 24 - Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - book spotlight / guest post
Nov 25 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
Nov 26 - alwaysjoart - review / giveaway
Nov 27 - Room With Books - review / guest post / giveaway
Nov 30 - Divas With a Purpose - review / author interview
Dec 1 -   I'd Rather Be At The Beach - review / giveaway
Dec 1 -   misty103 @ HubPages - review
Dec 3 -   Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
Dec 3 -   Create With Joy - review / giveaway
Dec 4 -   Svetlana's Reads and Views - review

Friday, November 20, 2015

Guest Post and Giveaway: Craving Beauty by Jennifer Silverwood

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Craving Beauty
(A Wylder Tale, #1)
by Jennifer Silverwood
YA Dark Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 239 pages
October 31st 2015

Vynasha has spent the last four years tending her mother's roses and looking after her nephew. The fire that killed their family has left her scarred and put Wyll on the brink of death. Soon the first frost will come down from the mountains and she knows this winter will be his last.

Until a strange beggar appears on the road, telling her of the majikal Source that can heal her Wyll. With nothing left to lose, Vynasha braves the forbidden Wylder Mountains to seek out a cure and her fate.

A lost kingdom is uncovered by an equally lost girl, but the castle is not abandoned as she believes. Shadows cloaking unseen eyes watch. Tapestries whisper from the hidden corners, wondering if the one to break their curse has come. And a hungry beast waits, ready to devour her soul.

Wylder Tales

You may recognize Wylder Tales in the subtitle of “Craving Beauty, Vol. 1”. You may be wondering just what it means. When I started fleshing out Vynasha’s story I had a broader scope in mind. I didn’t just want a standalone retelling but to make Craving Beauty into a series.  

As you may already know, this retelling is a darker take on Beauty & the Beast. I love darker fairy tales. Before Disney went and put faces on all the classics, they were peppered with gruesome curses, evil villains and a fair amount of blood (i.e. Cinderella). So I knew starting out that I wanted to emulate the original stories by peppering my series with plenty of terror, snarling monsters and wicked curses. In volume one, Vynasha and her nephew, Wyll, travel into the forbidden northern Wylder Mountains. No one dares to venture there after too many people go missing. There are rumors about the forests bordering the mountain range and their valley of Whistleande. Some say dark spirits dwell there, and anyone who lives nearby the forest is cursed. After a sickness and a nasty fire afflict Vynasha’s family, the village is quick to judge.

In truth, the Wylder Mountains are filled with a dark enchantment that makes humans naturally mistrusting. Anyone who goes into them will not only face the dangers of getting lost on the ancient trail, but being affected by the “majik” that hovers in the air. There are beasts and men as strong as bests who live among the peaks and a forgotten city that is crumbling to ruin beneath a dark curse. The Wylder Mountains is also where the first three books in this series will take place.

Craving Beauty is the first book in a three part series. The next, Wolfsbane’s Daughter is a companion novella and in-between for volumes one and two. It follows the journey of a few side characters you’ll meet in volume one. We will get an up close and personal glimpse of Wolfsbane’s mute daughter, Resha as she looks after Wyll. Wolfsbane and Resha both have major parts to play before the story plays out in volume two. I had a lot of fun diving into a different perspective, since the other two books are told from Vynasha’s point of view. Also, because Resha was born and raised in the forbidding Wylder Mountains, she gives us a closer look at the new world Vynasha and Wyll have traveled to.

Wolfsbane’s Daughter will release this next year in February, so keep an eye on my social media for news. And the next volume of “Craving Beauty” is set for release sometime this next year. It will all depend on the muse and how quickly I can finish the story. Since I’m having a baby this December, I’m giving myself a little bit of wiggle room. As for long term goals, rest assured this won’t be the first series in the Wylder Tales world. I’ve already begun brainstorming ideas for the next series, focusing on a heroine and story that will take place hundreds of years before Vynasha’s story. But more about that later, for now I hope you have enjoyed your glimpse into the world of Wylder Tales and look forward to continuing the journey with you. 

Other Books by the Author

Silver Hollow Qeya (Heaven's Edge #1) Ohre (Heaven's Edge, #2) Stay

Book Trailer

About the Author

Jennifer Silverwood
Jennifer Silverwood was raised deep in the heart of Texas and has been spinning yarns a mile high since childhood. In her spare time she reads and writes and tries to sustain her wanderlust, whether it’s the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, the highlands of Ecuador or a road trip to the next town. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, in print or reality, she dreams of one day proving to the masses that everything really is better in Texas. She is the author of the Heaven’s Edge series, Stay and Silver Hollow.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Guest Post, Book Review, and Giveaway: Stop and Smell Your Children by Leah Spina

I received a free book to review.

Stop and Smell Your Childrenby Leah Spina
Book Description:
Ready to laugh about motherhood and be encouraged? Tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed out in the baby and toddler season? Need some fresh vision and perspective so you can enjoy—not just endure—your young children?

Stop and Smell Your Children: Laugh and Enjoy the Little Years offers moms-to-be and moms of young children short, real-life parenting stories that encourage and inspire. Leah Spina, mother of three children ages five and under, and former journalist, unleashes humor and perspective for tired moms who are parenting the “little” years. From the excitement of the positive pregnancy test to morning sickness and the banes of pregnancy, to childbirth, babies, toddlers and new parent struggles, the stories will make you laugh and see beauty in the chaos. Each story also includes thought-provoking takeaways to help busy moms gain a fresh outlook.

Strangers remind us that our children will be small only for a short time and to enjoy each moment. But then we return to the wild reality of parenting young children! All-night crying sessions. Never-ending laundry. Every-three-hour feeding schedules. Diaper explosions and projectile spit-up. Teething. Potty training. Yes, we enjoy our children, but we’d also like to enjoy a shower that lasts more than two minutes, or a meal that isn’t lukewarm (if we’re lucky). The truth is, pregnancy and parenting young children can be hard at times. But it can also be one of the best chapters of our lives, if we can learn to laugh and change our mindset.

Young children are one of life’s greatest gifts. Each page of this easy read will help you truly enjoy the “little” years!

Buy the book:    Amazon     Barnes & Noble

Youtube Video:

Guest Post:

My 10 Favorite Baby and Toddler Messes

Babies and toddlers can mess up a house faster than a hiccup. Each day it looks like a primary-colored plastic hurricane blasted my house. But instead of resenting the chaos, try viewing the messes as reminders of how wonderful it is to be with little people each day! Here are some of my favorite messes:
1. The little food and dirt smudges on the shoulder of my shirt at the end of the day. Aw, those little chubby hands grasping their mama as she holds the baby. I love that I was either too busy or didn’t care when I chose to pick up that little angel. These are the happiest days of my life!
2. Books splattered all over the couch and floor. There is nothing I love more than picture books and board books sprinkled everywhere. It means I stopped my day to sit down with my two little darlings and we shared stories, laughter and fun. I think of my toddler “reading” the books to himself after we finish in his high voice and jumbled grammar. I think of my baby holding a book like the statue of liberty over her head babbling so I will read to her.
3. Broken sand toys AND regular toys all over the backyard. I don’t see a mess. I see the beautiful aftermath of long days full of imagination and slow child’s play. Here’s where baby Esther showed me seven different toys she found – since she can’t talk, she shows. There’s where Batman had it out with the Transformers in the sandbox for an hour.
4. Toys all in the bathtub. Sometimes it is hard for me to relax after a day of parenting a baby and a toddler because I am so wound up. So sometimes I opt for a bath post children-bedtime. Before I draw the water, I always clean out at least 10 small monster trucks, a couple of ducks and a few miscellaneous toys. As I pull them out, I smile thinking of the happy hours we spend together in this bathroom – me sitting on the grey chair watching my babies splash and play in the bubbles. Samson rolling his beloved tracks around and around the rim of the bathtub and baby Esther sucking a white washcloth. Yes, they take their baths in my bathtub instead of theirs but I would have it no other way!
5. Toys at the bottom of the shower. When my husband or I decide to take a daytime shower, one of the children begs to join us – Samson incessantly pleads and wordless baby Esther keeps pulling at her clothes and diaper to show us. When I take a shower by myself, I always smile as I scoop the toys to the side with my foot. I think of the little gleaming wet bodies and the fun hooded-towel aftermath. I think of how the kids love to apply too much lotion because it is too much fun to use a pump dispenser. And how my toddler and I laugh our heads off when the baby smashes lotion in her hair. Every. Single. Time.
6. My messy closet. I have a big closet and my children love to both play in it or just be RIGHT by me when I dress. At the end of the day, I stop to review with a happy sigh the six unmatched shoes baby Esther tried to wear, the three dresses on the floor because Samson likes to hide behind the hanging clothes cave, the socks from a sock war scattered everywhere, etc. What a boring closet I will have some day – I love these messes!
7. Back porch mess. Our back porch is small and messy. We have some chairs and a table but they are always covered by fun memories. There’s the new special kinetic sand on the table with a few sand toys, tiny swim suits and towels drying on the chairs, a bug “jail” that Esther likes to hang around her neck, a dirty diaper because I let the kids play in the hose, popsicle wrappers from hot summer afternoon and a pile of shoes because we like to take our shoes off to *wee-LAX*, as Samson says.
8. Car mess. We eat snacks in the car, we drink in the car, we play in the car. When I take my car to the car wash, I feel I should shove armfuls of $5 bills in the tip box. I shudder to think what they find. Who knows what kind of food has baked under the seats? All I know is they return a beautifully clean car with 17 missing toys stacked neatly on the seat between the two car seats. But what a lovely mess! When I look back I see Esther’s favorite little lovie blanket and I think of her sucking her thumb with it, smiling at me. I cannot see her smile because it’s hidden by the blanket but I see her eyes looking into mine and I know she’s smiling. I see the plastic boy toys everywhere and think of Samson’s creative play with an occasional sacrifice toy to the whining baby. Who wants a clean car?
9. Toys all over the house. Keeping a house clean with children is like shoveling snow when it’s snowing. Last night I stepped on three different toys on my bedroom floor in the dark on the way to bed. I smiled at each painful step. I love that my little children want to be with me all the time. They are my constant shadows throughout the day and leave a toy trail from our adventures. Downstairs I see two tiny pairs of shoes next to David’s flip flops – they represent the Three Happiest Things in my life! Don’t get mad at the mess – use it to remind you of how grateful you are for the gift of family!
10. Kitchen mess. My kitchen is almost always messy. There are primary-colored sippy cups strewn all over the counters, floor and table. Spills on the floor from little eaters. But when I stumble downstairs in the morning and see three toys on the kitchen floor, I make myself stop and savor that sight. My children and I spend many hours together in the kitchen. They are my little cook assistants (hurrah for the mess, mama! You included them even though it made a mess and took twice as long!), my little tasters (that’s why you have toys to pass the time between tastings!) and my fellow dining patrons (look at the three messy place mats and dominated high chair – how boring if it were clean and set for one!) And possibly my favorite: the smudges all over the windows from little dirty hands looking outside and trying to push open the door. I almost don’t want to clean them.

Try to view the messes around you as beautiful flowers of love, happiness and family. Our young children will grow up before we know it and our house will someday be clean and lonely. Let’s revel in the chaos, smile at the craziness and kiss our tiny mess-makers a little more.

My opinion:
I loved reading Stop and Smell Your Children. Every single story Leah Spina has about her children is a beautiful story. I have 3 small children and even though I try to enjoy all the time I spend with them sometimes I need a little reminder and hearing stories from other mother's helps. I felt like Leah Spina was here having a cup of coffee just telling me these stories about her children. I loved it.

I think parents would appreciate a book like Stop and Smell Your Children because it helps remind us that we should enjoy all the little moments in our children's lives. I give this book 5 stars!

Author's Bio:

Leah Spina is a former journalist of a national newsweekly magazine and also worked as a childbirth coordinator at a large adoption agency. She has her B.S in Business Administration from Thomas Edison State College. She has two adorable children – Samson and Esther – and resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband, David. When she’s not changing diapers, she enjoys singing Broadway, sun tanning on Italian beaches and riding horses.

Connect with Leah:    Website    Twitter    Facebook

Prizes: ​

Win 1 of 10 copies of Stop and Smell Your Children (open to USA & Canada)

Tour Schedule:

Nov 9 -  Library of Clean Reads - book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 9 -   Sahar's Reviews - review
Nov 10 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Nov 11 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review
Nov 11 - Collecting Moments - guest post
Nov 12 - Collecting Moments - review
Nov 13 - Experiencing Parenthood - review
Nov 16 - Everyday Gyaan - review / giveaway
Nov 17 - alwaysjoart - review / guest post / giveaway
Nov 19 - Manic Mommy of Two - review / giveaway
Nov 19 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review / author interview / giveaway
Nov 20 - One Frugal Girl - review / author interview / giveaway

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Review: Majestic Bombay Stainless Steel Luxury Tweezers + Nail Scissor

I received this tweezers set for free to review through the Tomoson website.

My opinion:
These Majestic Bombay tweezers set is the most unique set of tweezers I own. My last set has three tweezers but with two different tips and this one has three tweezers with three different tips plus scissors! I love my last set but I love this one too especially because of how different it is. Plus I can never have too much tweezers. So far I have a set of regular silver, black, red and now blue! 

My favorite things about Majestic Bombay Tweezers Set:

  • the shiny blue color
  • the little crown design
  • three unique tips
  • comes with scissors
  • comes with case

Buy on Amazon

Convergence by Trudie L. Hayes

Convergence by Trudie L. Hayes
Genre:  Thriller / Fantasy
Category:  Middle Grade fiction

Book Description :

It was the first day of school and anxieties were running high. For certain​ ​there was the excitement of moving up a grade, but there was also the dread of anything and everything that could go wrong. Not only were the possibilities endless, they were totally out of your control. Whether or not you were accepted rested squarely on the shoulders of the popular kids. Suppose you were too short or too tall; too smart or not smart enough; too rich or too poor; or just plain different?

These thoughts were fresh on the minds of Otis, Chandler and Marissa. Three pre-teens whose paths had never crossed, although they lived in the same town in Connecticut. Their backgrounds were so diverse they may as well have lived worlds apart. That was all about to change when on their way to school a series of bizarre events lump them together. Literally!

Join them on this unreal journey to alternate realities never before re­vealed. Go back in time to a parallel past, the All Agos. Coexist in a present experience that mirrors your own, the Ne’er Now. Finally and with greater understanding, manifest in a future of your creation, the Will Be Once.

Then you will have come closer to achieving it should.

Buy the book:   Amazon

Guest Post:

The Last Great Book I've Read by Trudie L. Hayes

This is an easy topic and one I do not have to think about. Shakti Gawain's Creative Visualization for me is one of the greatest book ever written. There are many books with same title, but this one in particular is a little gem far exceeding its word or page count.

I am fascinated with the creativity of the mind and Ms. Gawain has so eloquently and effortlessly provided insight into an oftentimes overlooked part of the human being - our thought process. One might ask, how can I say that with a straight face, when all the buzz is about the mind with self-this and self-that. This may be true, but most of the 'buzz' is to correct something we find wrong with ourselves. Where we seek to acquire something we haven't enough of; or to rid us of something we have or do in excess.

Here we simply look to attain a state of being that is our 'best', providing the 'most', with the 'least' effort. And in doing so, seek the 'good' for all. A wonderful Life Guide for all; no matter your sex, age, ethnicity, religious affiliation or lack thereof. A book for everyone - for all time!

Author's Bio:

Trudie L. Hayes’ personal story and family life influenced her mission to spread the core values of self-acceptance, self-esteem, and self-love to children and persons of all ages. An affiliation with physically and mentally disabled adults and children spanning many years is a major contributing factor. The caregiver role has been paramount throughout much of her life, even while furthering her education or working full-time in a corporate setting.

These experiences have given her a deep understanding of the trials and struggles associated with a compromised existence. As well as the inspiration and joy derived from living life to one's personal best.

It is through these myriad life experiences that Hayes began writing and registering several related trademarks. With a grander vision of promoting confidence and self-worth.

Born and raised in Connecticut, Hayes still calls the Nutmeg State home. The oldest of two children, she remains close to her siblings. When Hayes is not writing or managing her business, she dedicates her time to other creative outlets and artistic pursuits. Hayes has a deep appreciation and passion for music in its many forms; she enjoys writing song lyrics, performing, and has an affinity for Jazz.

Connect with the author:    Website  ~  Twitter



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