Where the Staircase Ends {Book Review & Giveaway}

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ABOUT WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS

Publication date: April 14, 2015

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoken wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky.

Instead of going up, the journey plunges her into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth about life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable — unless the staircase breaks her first.

ABOUT STACY STOKES:

Stacy Stokes attended the University of Texas at Austin and The Wharton School of Business.  She grew up in Dallas, TX, and currently lives in San Francisco with her husband.  WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS is her first novel.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter

My Review

When I started this book, I thought it was going to be sort of the teenaged version of It’s A Wonderful Life (which is great, because I love that movie). After dying, teenager Taylor is forced to climb an enormous stone staircase – all she can do is go up as she gets glimpses of her new reality and is faced with the ghosts of her past as they appear on the staircase.  Memories, both good and bad, take her through the decisions she made in her life.

This is not your typical “teenager girl” problems book which I can find insipid and irritating if not done correctly.  This is a really good book and the writing is really well done.  The characters are relatable and realistically flawed, but at the same time not stock or stereotypical, which I occasionally find in books of this genre.

I was left with questions of “Who would be on my staircase?” and what moments would show up as the best and worst in my life.   I do recommend this book – it’s worth the investment and it’s definitely a page-turner.

 Buy Where the Staircase Ends

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If you’d like to read Where the Staircase Ends, five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy Stokes (INT), so make sure to come back every day to enter!

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Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub + Giveaway

* The Dial brand provided me with a sample of Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub in exchange for a product review.  However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

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Are your hands super rough after winter?  I know mine are!  They get chapped so quickly, especially because I habitually lose my gloves!  Dial has the perfect solution! I was so excited to try their new Sugar Cane Husk Scrub!  This is the newest product in the Dial Boutique Collection Hand Soap line, and it is truly a luxurious experience!

The scent is awesome – it is a like a very expensive sugar scrub at a very enticing price.  The soap does suds right up –

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The best part is the microscrubbers!  Along with the moisturizing formulas and skin conditioners, tiny microscrubbers help remove dirt and leave your hands exfoliated.  They come out SO soft and smooth!  I definitely recommend that you try them out if your hands have been beaten up by Old Man Winter!

3 lucky Mama Games readers are going to get a chance to win a coupon for a free bottle of Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub Hand Soap!  Come back every day to enter!  US Only 18+.

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Dial Miracle Oil Hand Soap Infused With Marula Oil

* The Dial brand provided me with a sample of Dial Miracle Oil Hand Soap in exchange for a product review.  However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

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We live in a house with 2 kids, 2 dogs, one very chubby ferret, 12 fish, and there are 3 horses in the barn! Between the animals and the kids, someone is always DIRTY! So when the kids are covered in mud and muck we now go straight for the deep cleansing  hand soap Dial Miracle Oil!

This time of year the heater dries out our skin inside the house and the mud covers little hands while we are having fun outside. Once we finally corral pets and kids back into their cages (pets) and the house (kids), the last thing I want to worry about is whether or not the soap we use is going to leave behind any residue on the hands, arms, and elbows of our little ones! Thankfully, Dial Miracle Oil Handsoap came to our rescue with a conditioning soap that provides refreshing moisture and deep cleansing family soap that everyone loves.

Because Dial Miracle Oil Hand Soap is infused with micro-scrubbers and Marula Oil with Micro Oil Technology, I don’t have to worry about the kids (or my spouse) spreading germs or oily, soapy residue around the house. Dial Miracle Oil soaps are super clean rinsing so once you have washed off the dirt and debris, all you are left with is soft and clean skin!

Whether you have a houseful or just value a hard-working conditioning soap that pampers you by giving you refreshing moisture for your skin while providing the deep cleansing power of a family soap, Dial Miracle Oil will make you smile!

 

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3 lucky Mama Games readers are going to get a chance to win a coupon for a free bottle of Dial Sugar Miracle Oil Hand Soap!  Come back every day to enter!  US Only 18+.

 

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The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl {Book Review + Giveaway}

* I received a e-copy of The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.
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About The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl

Publication date: March 17, 2015                              Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.                                                  Author: Leigh Statham

Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: Money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except, she suspects her heart may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family’s steam forge. When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. Only the trip proves to be more harrowing than she anticipated. Love, adventure and restitution await her, if she can survive the voyage.

My Review

If I were to classify this book, I would classify it as a YA Steampunk novel.  It’s a really quick read, and I really enjoyed it.  Marguerite is a pretty awesome character – strong and independent, a good friend, and she’s smart!  These are refreshing to see in a female character.  I wasn’t the biggest fan of Claude, but there are plenty of other male figures in the book who are worse.  I really enjoyed how resourceful Marguerite is, and how she never really depended on or needed a man to get herself in (and out!) of some really interesting situation.

The book is completely appropriate – even though there are some romantic parts, I would not hesitate to give to my 13 year old.  I think she will definitely enjoy the steampunk aspect to the novel!

ABOUT LEIGH STATHAM

Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho, but found her heart in New York City. She worked as a waitress, maid, artist, math teacher, nurse, web designer, art director, thirty-foot inflatable pig and mule wrangler before she settled down in the semi-quiet role of wife, mother and writer. She resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, five chickens and two suspected serial killer cats. If the air is cool and the sun is just coming up over the horizon, you can find her running the streets of her small town, plotting her next novel with the sort of intensity that will one day get her hit by a car.

Connect with the Author: Website |Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

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The Frenchman {Book Review & Giveaway}

*  I received a free ebook copy of The Frenchman in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About The Frenchman

Fleur Smithers rarely veers off the straight and (excruciatingly) narrow. So moving to the seaport town of Toulon to live with her newfound biological mother—an inspector with the French National Police—for one year is a pretty major detour.

Son of France’s crime royalty family and international rugby star, Louis Messette, is devoted to his sport, famille and nothing else. But the saucy American he meets one night changes everything. She sparks a desire in him like no other. Possession takes root. She will do as he commands.

Bit by bit Fleur slips into the Frenchman’s realm of wanton pleasure agreeing to his one condition: that she keep their affair secret. She serves up her heart without reservation in the hub of the glittering Côte d’Azur, and the along the soulful Seine in Paris, unaware of the danger she is in. For her new lover’s “family business” will pit her against her mother, the police woman sworn to bring down the Messettes. And by then, far more than Fleur’s heart will be on the line.

My Review

Ladies, this is a steamy one.  If you’re into bad boys with good hearts with hot accents, killer muscles, and tattoos, this book’s hunky main character will tie you up in knots for sure!  The setting in France is fantastic and the romance is well written between Fleur and Louis.  There were great subplots with Fleur’s mom and I really enjoyed the non-romantic part of the story as well.  The mystery portion involves the Messettes, a well-known French crime family, and Fleur’s mom’s attempts to bring them down.  Fleur is a bit naive at times, but it’s forgivable, and there are some seriously sexy pieces.  Seriously.  Don’t let your kids find this one, guys.  The ending is incredibly well wrapped up in a nice little happily ever after package, which I love!  All in all, this is a great, quick, and super steamy read.

About the Author

Lesley Young is an award-winning Canadian journalist by day, and obsessive novelist by night. Her debut novel, Sky’s End (Soulmate Publishing, 2013) hit #9 on Amazon’s sci-fi romance paid best-seller list in its first three months of release.

Not too long after that, she started dreaming up quirky heroines who lose their hearts to extremely powerful, flawed heroes, only to find out what love really is while on a dangerous adventure abroad. She called it the Crime Royalty Romance series, and landed herself a pretty big agent at Spencerhill Associates. Never one to take the obvious path, Lesley ultimately decided to self-publish. She’s never sure who or what will pop up in her imagination next. The Irishman? The Spaniard? The Hawaiian? Anything’s possible, and she loves suggestions (or recommendations of really hot, er, talented, actors to work as a muses).

Stay in touch with her and feel free to forward on decent options at Facebook.com/LesleyYoungBooks and @LesleyYoungBks (note: Charlie Hunnam’s already taken the lead role of The American—#3 Crime Royalty Romance…coming soon!).

Connect with Lesley Young:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Win a $25 Amazon Card or a Copy of The Frenchman

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Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash Makes Your Shower a Spa + Giveaway

* The Dial brand provided me with a sample of Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash in exchange for a product review.  However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash

One of the best ways that I can relax after a long, hard, stressful day at work is to step into a steaming hot shower.  So I’m a huge fan of any product that’s going to enhance that experience, so I was very excited to try out the new Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash, which is infused with Marula Oil.  Marula oil originates from South Africa, where it has been used as a cleanser and a moisturizing lotion.  And if you’ve been paying attention, oils are a HUGE trend in hair care and cosmetics right now, so Dial is right on trend.  This should give you a clue as to how awesome Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash is.

Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash

As you can see, the Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash comes out rich and thick.  It is formulated with Micro Oil Technology, which leads to a thick lather that rinses clean.  It definitely leaves my skin feeling clean, extremely soft, and smooth.  It also smells great- a little citrus and sandalwoody to me, but definitely not too perfumed or overwhelming in any way.  It left my skin feeling soft and smelling great.  The light scent and the way that it makes my skin smooth mmakes Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash is a great way to end a stressful day.

Three lucky Mama Games readers are going to get a chance to try Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash for themselves!   Enter below to win a coupon for a free bottle!

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It’s National Safe Place Week!

 

National Safe Place Week

 

Did you know it’s National Safe Place Week?  Since before the Village People first sang of the wonders of the YMCA way back in the 1970’s, that organization was changing lives around the country. One of their more recent additions is the Safe Place program, and it is changing far more lives (and for the better) than disco ever dreamed! While the Safe Place initiative was born from the YMCA in Louisville, Kentucky, it has erupted from sea to shining sea and boasts thousands of locations in virtually every state in the country.

The designated Safe Place sites are marked by a bright yellow and black diamond shaped sign or sticker that features the silhouette of a house (or an adult hugging a child in the older signs) and marks a location where youth in crisis can go in and find caring and trained adults who will provide them with a safe place while specially-trained and highly qualified staff are summoned to assist the youth. Whether the young person is running away, already homeless, is or has been abused, or even is just overly stressed and worried about their life or their life at home, the Safe Place is the location for youth to begin their journey to stability and a happier, healthier life.

Although the Safe Place will summon trained youth workers to the site, the youth in crisis still calls the shots. Neither the workers at the designated Safe Place, nor the responding workers from the agency sponsoring the program will force any help that the youth does not wish to accept – and the youth is always free to change their mind and leave at any time. If the student and the counselor agree that the youth would benefit from additional services, the youth is given a ride to the area Safe House where there is a warm bed, nutritious meals, and lots more help. The goal is always to get the youth from a point of crisis, to an assurance of safety.

Agencies work with the youth once they have been checked in to the Safe House and the youth participates in planning his or her own goals, with the end goal being the safe re-unification of the family unit whenever possible. We encourage youth and their caregivers to engage with professionals at the location in support of a reunification plan, but although the youth is permitted to stay at the Safe House for up to a month or more, they are never obliged to remain at the location if they wish to go.

March 15-21 marks National Safe Place Week across the country, so be on the lookout for the yellow and black signs – then go in and thank the workers and managers for caring enough to support the most vulnerable members of our community. If you are a youth who needs help, you can text the word “SAFE” with your current address (address/city/state) to 69866 to receive the location nearest to you!

How to Catch a Prince {Book Review & Giveaway}

* I received a free copy of How to Catch a Prince in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to leave a positive review and all opinions are my own.

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 About How to Catch a Prince

How to Catch a Prince (Zondervan, February 2015)

She caught her prince once. Can she catch him again?

American heiress Corina Del Rey’s life was devastated by war. Every thing she loved was lost. But after five years of grief, she’s shed her grave clothes and started over in the sunshine along the Florida coast.

But some things are not so easily forgotten. When a secret from her past confronts her face to face, she realizes she must follow her heart. Even if it cost her everything.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom is a former Royal Air Command lieutenant turned star rugby player, trying to make sense of his life after the devastation of war.
When his brother, King Nathaniel, discovers Stephen’s pre war secret, he must deal with an aspect of his life he longed to forget. But how can he do so without exposing the truth and breaching national security?

Yet, true love has a destiny all it’s own. As the cathedral bells peal through Cathedral City, Corina and Stephen must chose to answer the call of love on their hearts.
Or let it be lost forever?

 My Review

I won’t call this book your typical princess romance novel.  It definitely had its light moments – I enjoyed the banter between Stephen and Corina, although it took me much longer to get into Stephen’s character than it did for Corina.   Corina’s struggle as she tries to figure out what it means to “Love well”, and Stephen’s struggles in dealing with the aftermath of war make these characters interesting, and Hauch does a nice job of creating characters that I grew to care about.  There is also what I would call “supernatural” aspect to this novel, which I actually really enjoyed (especially the crew at “The Manor”, where Corina stays that no one else seems to know about).  This was the third book in the series, and I enjoyed this book enough to pick up the other two as well!

I find in many Christian romances these days that the actual “Christian” parts are somewhat understated – more of a casual recognition that God exists and plays a guiding force in the characters’ lives.  This is not really the case with How to Catch a Prince.  In many parts of the book, the characters’ faith and struggles with faith are front and center.  I think Stephen struggles the most and eventually receives the message that his worth is determined through God.

Check out other reviews here.

Enter to Win

Enter to win a “royal” prize pack! 

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A royal-themed Brighton charm bracelet
  • 2 tickets to see the new Cinderella movie
  • The Royal Wedding series (Once Upon a Prince, Princess Ever After, and How to Catch a Prince)

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 23rd. Winner will be announced March 24th on Rachel’s blog.

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Blogger Opportunity – Barbara Freethy Book Tour

Is there anything better than falling in love with a new book? How about falling in love with a whole new series?

Well, here’s an awesome opportunity for you! Now you can get to know the New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romance series by #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbra Freethy as part of a fun publicity event. Each Callaway novel is filled with romance, suspense, and adventure. You can read all 8 books in the Callaway series for free (or, if you choose, you can give the series a try by reading just the first book, or you can host a guest post or interview instead—there’s lots of options). How cool is that?!

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The event will run from April 6 to April 11 and will celebrate the strong women in our lives with guest posts and interviews from the author, Callaway excerpts, and–of course–your reviews! We’ll have lots of prizes to give away too, including Amazon gift cards, autographed books, and Callaway swag!

 

 

Don’t have time to read and review? That’s okay, you can still participate and compete for these awesome prizes by hosting a guest post, excerpt, or interview–but I hear you’re going to want to read all about the Callaways. Once you get started, it’s so hard to stop.

To sign up for this tour, visit www.novelpublicity.com/callaways. To learn more about the author and her bestselling series, keep reading J

 

About On A Night Like This, Book #1 of the Callaway Series

From #1 NY Times Bestselling Author, Barbara Freethy, comes a romantic new contemporary series about the Callaways, a big, blended Irish family born to serve and protect.

The second oldest of the Callaway clan, Aiden Callaway veered from the family tradition of urban firefighting and became a smokejumper, never questioning his choice until the job took the life of his friend, Kyle, and left Aiden with injuries and fractured memories. Everyone blames Aiden for what happened, but he doesn’t remember, nor is he sure he wants to remember. The truth may clear Aiden of blame but destroy Kyle’s reputation and hurt the people he left behind.

Aiden seeks help from an unlikely ally …

Sara had always been untouchable, sweet, innocent, his sister’s best friend, and the girl next door. But one reckless night in their youth took their relationship to a new level. Sara has never forgiven or forgotten the way Aiden brought it crashing down, but she’s no longer that girl with the crazy crush. She’s a woman in search of her own truth.

The sparks between Aiden and Sara have been smoldering for a very long time. Sara is afraid to take another chance on a man who broke her heart, and Aiden knows better than anyone how dangerous an intense fire can be.

As teenagers they weren’t ready for each other. Are they ready now?

ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS is the first book in an eight book connected contemporary romance series featuring the intriguing Callaway family. Love, mystery, adventure — the Callaways have it all!

About the Author

Barbara Freethy is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of 40 novels. Traditionally published for many years, in 2011 Barbara began self-publishing her backlist and has sold over 5 million ebooks and as of today she is the bestselling KDP Author of ALL TIME! Nineteen of her titles have appeared on the NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Her book SUMMER SECRETS hit #1 on the New York Times and remained on the list for seven weeks.

Barbara writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and women’s fiction. She is known for writing emotional and compelling stories about love and family, sometimes with a little suspense, sometimes with a little magic.

 

The Perfect Egg is All It’s Cracked Up to Be {Book Review}

* Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Perfect Egg from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Perfect Egg

 

About The Perfect Egg

A cookbook all about eggs, with 70 diverse recipes for meals, snacks, and desserts, from the team behind the beloved food blog Spoon Fork Bacon.

Eggs are one of the world’s super-star foods: inexpensive, protein-rich, versatile, and easily renewable. Every culture has its own take on eggs—for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—and The Perfect Egg features a dazzling, delicious variety of globally influenced dishes. From Blackberry Stuffed Croissant French Toast to Hot and Sour Soup, and from Poached Yolk-Stuffed Ravioli to Creamy Lemon Curd Tart, the more than seventy recipes in The Perfect Egg offer a fresh, unique, and modern take on the most humble of foods.

My Review

Confession.  I love eggs.  I love friend eggs. I love scrambled eggs.  I love hard boiled and softboiled eggs.  I love poached eggs…well, you get the picture.  So I was super excited to review The Perfect Egg.

There are so many recipes that I can’t wait to try – I love the take on what I call “nest eggs” in my house (chicken eggs in toast), called “Mini-Toad-in-a Hole Sandwiches” which uses quail eggs.

The first part of this book is all about eggs- you’ll learn about different kinds of eggs, and more importantly, tips to prepare eggs.  So if you don’t know how to make a French omelet, this is the book for you!  The first section is also all about “basic recipes” which include things like mayo, hollandaise, creme anglaise, bernaise, basic egg pasta, etc.  This is a great little “primer” section and I can’t wait to master these recipes.

The rest of the book is arranged into sections of:  Morning, Snacks, Afternoon, Night, and Sweets, and the recipes are amazing.  From typical things you would expect, like creme brulee, to the unexpected spaetzle with Swedish meatballs, this is a book that will have something for every chef.

Buy The Perfect Egg

Buy The Perfect Egg  on Amazon for $15.12 (Hardcover)