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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{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

 

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?!

Barbara Freethy Brand Kit (1)

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)

Vimbly Keeps Moms Connected!

* I was provided compensation for this post about Vimbly, but all opinions are my own.

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Do  you LOVE trying new things?  Looking to plan fun date nights, or events for you kids?  If you are, you have to check out Vimbly.  Vimbly is an awesome website that shows open time slots for activities, classes, & date ideas by listing different businesses on a single page and letting you book your activity directly.  These activities include dance, cooking, glassblowing, pizza making, wine tasting, intro to cigars, learning to DJ, improv, scotch pairing, samurai sword fighting, persuasion class, and thousands more.

If you are a NYC mom, this is AWESOME, because there is a whole section just for activities for NYC kids.  I went looking for an art class for this weekend (this post is written on Thursday afternoon).  I found FIVE options, including a seriously cool “Kids Circus” class, a dance class, a violin lesson, and a boxing class!  How great is it that you can schedule something at the last minute for your kiddos!  The prices are very reasonable too – the boxing class was 50% off and only $15!  There are even free events listed!  Vimbly is a great site to “have a life” and still stay on budget!

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And don’t worry – there are plenty of activities for adults too!  I searched for “wine” events in NYC this weekend and found everything from wine tastings, wine tours, to a Beginner’s Tango lesson with wine!  Does it get any better than that?  Vimbly is extremely easy (and fun!) to use and explore, so head over to see if your city is listed!

Even if you don’t live in one of these 18 major cities where Vimbly hangs out, this is perfect for the traveler! I occasionally travel to Chicago and NYC, so I definitely plan on using Vimbly to plan fun evening activities while I am in town!

 

And don’t sweat – if your city isn’t listed and you don’t travel, Vimbly expects to establish a national presence in 2015.

Smart Cookies Cooks Up a Boredom Buster

* I received a complimentary copy of The Smart Cookies in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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I hate hearing “I’m bored” around my house – my younger daughter frequently wants to play a board game, but it’s not always a convenient time.  Smart Cookies is just the solution – not only is it a one-person game, but it’s brain boosting!  The game is designed for players age 6 and up, and is based on principles of logic.

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The games is easy to set up and play.  The spiral notebook has a variety of logic clue “recipes” that require players to place nine different “cookies” onto the “cookie sheet” in a way that obeys all of the clues.  The picture above is the very easiest puzzle, and I don’t think most six year old kiddos would have a hard time figuring out this puzzle.

But here’s the fun part – as players progress through the spiral binder, the clues get harder, and this helps kids develop and strengthen their reasoning and logic skills, as well as verbal expression.  David Capon, President of FoxMind, explained, “Smart Cookies challenges players to use intuitively their reasoning skills  to solve the puzzles while having fun. The skills that young minds develop as they play Smart Cookies are helpful in learning most subjects. The puzzles use visual clues in an appealing cookie design that guide players to advance at their own pace.”

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My daughters really love this game too – the puzzles prevent a nice challenge and keep them well engaged – this game is going to be a FANTASTIC boredom buster.  The cookies are solid and don’t appear easy to break.  You’ll want to watch how you put up the “cookie sheet” and the puzzle book as these are a little easier to damage by little hands.

Smart Cookies ($24.95) was recently named one of the 10 Best Educational Games by Dr. Toy.

Chem-Dry Makes Spring Cleaning Your Carpets a (Healthy) Breeze

* I received a free sample of Chem-Dry Cleaning Products in exchange for my honest review, but all opinions are my own.

 

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Do you have mess makers in your home?  We sure do – between my two kids, two dogs, and a ferret, our carpets, frankly, don’t stand a chance.  I try to use organic products when possible, but sometimes a mess gets  made (usually by one of the dogs) that needs some awesome cleaning power.  However, everyone in my house is an allergy sufferer, and my youngest daughter has pretty severe asthma – she is on two inhalers and asthma medication every day.  So it’s really important to me to have a healthy home that isn’t going to irritate my daughter’s (and the rest of the household) allergies.

I had a chance to try out three different Chem-Dry cleaning products:  Carpet Stain Extinguisher Spot Remover, Grease & Oil Stain Extinguisher & Carpet Deodorizer (Lemon Scent).

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Unfortunately, I had an opportunity to do some extensive testing of the Chem-Dry Carpet Stain Extinguisher Spot Remover.  My oldest dog got an upset belly while we were at work at left several “presents” on the living room run (although this really isn’t like her).  This was a DISGUSTING stain.  The Spot Remover was so easy to use, and it worked AMAZINGLY well.  I just sprayed it on and let it sit for about 30 seconds, and then blotted the stain up with a clean cloth.  Stain GONE – no kidding – one application and the stain was out.  Not only does it have professional strength carbonated cleaning solution, it is green-certified and contains no harsh solvents, detergent, and bleaches, so it’s safe for both my girls and my pets.  Also, it doesn’t leave behind any dirt-attracting residue like other spot cleaners.  I’m a HUGE new fan.  I followed up with the Chem-Dry Carpet Deodorizer that left the whole room with a light citrus scent.  So if you’re looking to add a great carpet cleaner to your spring cleaning arsenal, I highly recommend Chem-Dry!

As you start Spring Cleaning this year, you have a chance to make it a whole lot sweeter!  Make sure to stop by and enter Chem-Dry’s spring cleaning contest with a grand prize of $500 in cleaning products.

What is your LEAST favorite part of spring cleaning?