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Friday, October 31, 2014

A Year in the Secret Garden Blog Tour, Personal Review and Giveaway :)

A Year in the Secret Garden - Blog Tour Button  

About the Book

A Year in the Secret Garden - cover 

Title: A Year in the Life of the Secret Garden | Author: Valarie Budayr | Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters | Publication Date: November, 2014 | Publisher: Audrey Press | Pages: 144 | Recommended Ages: 5 to 99 Book Description: Award-winning authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters have co-created A Year in the Secret Garden to introduce the beloved children’s classic, The Secret Garden to a new generation of families. This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book.Over 140 pages, with 200 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. A Year In the Secret Garden is our opportunity to introduce new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook and craft room.

Amazon * Audrey Press * Goodreads


*** My Personal Review ***

 First off, if you are not familiar with the book The Secret Garden, then read that before you read this book.  The Secret Garden always appealed to me because of it's roots in Victorian times which is my favorite!  A Year in the Secret Garden is based on the original book, with all kinds of recipes, fun crafts/activites and information :)  It starts with a great intro to the Secret Garden book and goes along with the book month by month sharing all kinds of great things!  I can't even tell you all the wonderful fun this book holds for the readers - but character cutouts, recipes, instructions on how to make and do things just like in the book!  The authors love of the Secret Garden book comes through SO clearly and I am a student of literature so I loved it for the explanations and history of what was happening.  Stories for each month to go along with the book, I think my favorite was the December part just because I love Christmas and everything that goes with it, and the story of the 2 Kings was so cool!  The book also deals with the themes that run through the Secret Garden book, like Death in Victorian England, which was another of my favorite parts (I studied English Literature) :)

 There is just so much to do with this book, and I think kids and adults alike would just love it - I am 38 and I want to cut out the characters and make everything!  By the time you are finished reading A Year In The Secret Garden you will know everything you could want to about the book.  I especially loved the character studies, and the illustrations are absolutely AMAZING!  They are gorgeous and colorful, really bringing the meaning of a garden to life through pictures.  I love the way the illustrator represents the characters from the story :)  I want to make the lemon cookies SO badly!  I think I will try them for the holidays.  

I had September for my highlight, and for this month the author focuses on India which is where Mary was living before coming to Misselthwaite Manor and the secret garden.  There is a recipe for Indian Chicken Curry, how to make a Magic Carpet and more!  Mary Lennox the heroine of the book and Misselthwaite Manor are the spotlights for September.  This is where the book begins :)  I really enjoyed reading this and can't wait to make some of the recipes and crafts!  Definitely a 5 star book. 

About the Author: Valarie Budayr

Valarie BudayrValarie Budayr loves reading and bringing books alive. Her popular website,, inspires children and adults alike to experience their books through play, discovery, and adventure. She is founder of Audrey Press, an independent publishing house, as well as an Amazon and iTunes best-selling author. She has written The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Valarie is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and encouraging families and schools to pull books off the shelves and stories off the pages.  

Book Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Pinterest | Google+ | Goodreads


About the Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters

Marilyn Scott-WatersMarilyn Scott-Waters loves making things out of paper. Her popular website,, receives 2,000 to 7,000 visitors each day, who have downloaded more than six million of her easy-to-make paper toys. Her goal is to help parents and children spend time together making things. She is the creator of a paper toy craft book series The Toymakers Christmas: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling), and The Toymakers Workshop: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling). She is also the co-creator with J. H. Everett of the middle grade nonfiction series, Haunted Histories, (Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). Ms. Scott-Waters illustrated The Search For Vile Things (Scholastic), and created paper engineering for Pop & Sniff Fruit (Piggy Toes Press).

Website | Facebook | Google+


A Year in the Secret Garden Blog Tour Schedule (2014)

November 1
Coffee Books & Art (Guest Post)
WS Momma Readers Nook (Book Review)
November 2
Hope to Read (Excerpt)
November 3
Eloquent Articulation (Book Review)
November 4
BeachBoundBooks (Excerpt)
November 5
Monique's Musings (Book Review)
November 6
SOS-Supply (Book Review)
November 7
Randomly Reading (Book Review)
November 8
Adalinc to Life (Book Review)
November 9
100 Pages a Day (Book Review)
November 10
Edventures With Kids (Book Review)
November 11
November 12
Girl of 1000 Wonders (Book Review)
November 13
Seraphina Reads (Guest Post)
November 14
Juggling Act Mama (Book Review)
November 15
Pragmatic Mom (Author/Illustrator Interview)
November 16
Stacking Books (Book Review)
November 17
Oh My Bookness (Book Review)
November 18
November 19
The Blended Blog (Book Review)
November 20
All Done Monkey (Book Review)
November 21
Geo Librarian (Book Review)
Grandbooking (Author/Illustrator Interview)
November 22
November 23
Christy's Cozy Corners (Book Review)
November 24
Bookaholic Chick (Excerpt)
November 25
Ninja Librarian (Guest Post)
November 26
Jane Ritz (Book Review)
Rockin' Book Reviews (Book Review)
November 27
November 28
Deal Sharing Aunt (Book Review)
November 29
Mommynificent (Book Review)
November 30
This Kid Reviews Books (Book Review)
Java John Z's (Author/Illustrator Interview)

* $100 Blog Tour Giveaway *

Amazon 100 gift card 

Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: December 7, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.  

MDBR Book Promotion Services  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mother's Love Can Conquer Any Fear! by Subhash Kommuru Book Blast, Personal Review and Giveaway!!!!

  Mothers Love Can Conquer Any Fear - cover - Kommuru books

About the Book

Title: Mother's Love Can Conquer Any Fear! | Author: Subhash Kommuru | Illustrator: Sujata Kommuru | Publication Date: October, 2014 | Publisher: Kommuru Books | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 3 to 8 Book Description: Shastriji is a wise old chicken who always has an answer for How.... until comes the vile crow Kaalia who is up to no good. All of Shastriji's ideas to deal with Kaalia one after other backfires. What if the right question was not "How" but “Why”? Could there be an end to the tyranny of Kaalia?

Amazon | Goodreads

Sneak Peek
Mothers Love Can Conquer Any Fear - inside page 1 - Kommuru Books Mothers Love Can Conquer Any Fear - inside page 2 - Kommuru Books  

About the Author & Illustrator: Subhash & Sujata Kommuru

Subhash and Sujata KommuruSubhash and Sujata Kommuru hail from India. They migrated to the United States along with their memories of childhood and youth. Now that they are parents, just like every immigrant they crave to introduce their child to the culture and values of their upbringing. Yet it is challenging to teach something while you are in the midst of adjusting to a different culture yourself. Subhash and Sujata both work in different disciplines and have different styles and backgrounds, but it is the upbringing of their son that brings them on the same page. That exact place where they meet is captured and reflected in their stories, where Subhash can express in words, and Sujata can illustrate them beautifully. Where he puts it in black and white, she adds color to it. You get the idea! These stories are their attempt to share a glimpse of their childhood days with their son. He is their inspiration to write short stories that have meaning to them and provide teaching in some shape or form.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Goodreads 


***My Personal Review***

I truly loved this story :) It is so inspiring and beautifully written. Even though chickens and birds are universal, the names and settings are of Indian origin and that really makes the story cross borders. It is a great story for children of all ages, and though it is geared towards children I actually found that at 38 I can still learn things from books :) This is really a GREAT story for teachers to use for anti-bullying purposes as well as any parent to teach their child about bullies. But most of all it teaches us that a mothers love really CAN conquer any fear ... and that a mother will go to any length to protect her child :) Really loved it, if I could give it 10 stars I would! The illustrations were amazingly done, they were made to look like crayon drawings by children, and they were vibrant and really told the story through the illustrations.


 * $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card  

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash (winner's choice) Contest closes: November 30, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open to: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by Kommuru Books and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

MDBR Book Promotion Services

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Yoga Design Lab - Premium Yoga Mat w/ Strap Review

Yoga Design Lab - Premium Yoga Mat w/ Strap Review

Link to my review on Amazon:



***My Personal Review***

This is an all-around great yoga mat - it is very large compared to other mats which is great for larger people like me.  It is made from premium memory foam, nice and soft for doing your exercises and unlike some mats you can find this one will NOT leave a nasty odor after using it.  The foam won't allow the sweat to soak in, so you can stop using those nasty smelly bacteria-ridden mats that they have at the gym and it rolls up very nicely to fit into a yoga bag :)  This can be used for all exercises - not just yoga.  Yoga Design Lab also offers a money-back guarantee so you have no reason to not try this mat.

A great thing that I didn't know about this company is that they support Urban Youth programs to help kids in need.  $1 from each purchase goes to charity, and that is something that most companies can't say!  I am huge on charity so for me that is a great thing as well :)  I honestly don't think you can go wrong with this mat, check out the images and see how large the mat really is, extra long - it measures 72 x 24 x 5 mm and I received the jet black color mat.  This mat is extremely easy to wash as well - as long as you don't put it in the dryer.  All you need to do is wipe it down with soap that has no oil in it and hang it up to dry.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Body Merry Hyaluronic Acid Serum + 2.5% Retinol Serum Review

Body Merry Hyaluronic Acid Serum + 2.5% Retinol Serum Review

Link to my review on Amazon:





***My Personal Reviews***

This serum contains essentially everything you need for healthy skin - sooo many great ingredients!  All vegan, it contains the hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C and Green Tea which are all superb for your skin, but it also has aloe and jojoba and witch hazel in it, so it moisturizes and firms at the same time WITHOUT drying out the skin.  It works wonders for anti-aging and is a nice thick serum that goes on smooth and leaves your skin feeling great but without a residue.  The hyaluronic acid serum comes in a 1 oz beautiful blue bottle with a blue label and it will last quite a while because it doesn't take much to work.  This came as a package of both the products because it is recommended to use both of them to really fight early signs of aging.

The Retinol serum comes in a 1 oz brown bottle with a brown label, and is also organic and natural and contains a lot of the same ingredients, which really doubles the fight against aging.  This serum also works great for acne, which is my main concern - I may be 38 but I have the skin of a pimply 16 year old :(  This has definitely cut down on my acne and helped get my skin looking much better.

And of course Body Merry products come with a 90 day money back guarantee and the price is right, especially if you want great looking skin!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

After the Fog Book Tour, Review and Giveaway :)

A Nurse’s Obligation
A Town’s Demise
A Mother’s Regret
A Son’s Calling
A Daughter’s Mistake
A Time to Forgive

For every woman who thinks she left her past behind…Historic, environmental drama wrapped in a love story...

It's 1948 in the steel town of Donora, Pennsylvania, site of the infamous “killing smog.” Public health nurse, Rose Pavlesic, has risen above her orphaned upbringing and created a life that reflects everything she missed as a child. She’s even managed to keep her painful secrets hidden from her doting husband, loving children, and large extended family.

When a stagnant weather pattern traps poisonous mill gasses in the valley, neighbors grow sicker and Rose’s nursing obligations thrust her into conflict she never could have fathomed. Consequences from her past collide with her present life, making her once clear decisions as gray as the suffocating smog. As pressure mounts, Rose finds she’s not the only one harboring lies. When the deadly fog finally clears, the loss of trust and faith leaves the Pavlesic family—and the whole town—splintered and shocked. With her new perspective, can Rose finally forgive herself and let her family’s healing begin?

***2013 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist*** 
***Independent Publisher Awards: 2012 Silver, Best Regional Fiction–Mid-Atlantic*** 
***National Indie Excellence Awards: 2012 WINNER-- Literary Fiction***

Buy the book from.......    Barnes and Noble

“Shoop masterfully details familial struggles, secrets, and consequences that keep the reader riveted til the end.” - Melissa Foster

 “A great and satisfying read. Rose’s triumph over adversity touched me deeply. Ms. Shoop truly knows how to tug the heartstrings. S. K. McClafferty, author of The Ghost and Devlin Muir.” - S. K. McClafferty, author of The Ghost and Devlin Muir

 “This is a well-written story set authentically in a historic place and time, around an intricate plot which includes most of the elements that provide for a good “soap opera,” or a book that would be accepted by Oprah Winfrey.” -Historical Novel Society

About the Author

After the Fog is the second novel by bestselling Kindle author Kathleen Shoop.  Her debut novel, The Last Letter, garnered multiple awards in 2011.  A Language Arts Coach with a Ph.D. in Reading Education, Kathleen lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Kathleen has also written award winning Love and Other Subjects and her stories have also appeared in several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Follow the Author

Follow the tour

***My Personal Review of After the Fog***

I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and this book was a lot like that, it took an environmental disaster and placed fictional people in the midst and after-effects of it.  I was not aware of the history of Donora before reading this book, and I loved the way the author set the characters and fictional storyline within the historical setting.  Rose and her family are very complex characters, well written and sympathetic to the readers.  And the fact that Rose is a nurse dealing with the situation thrusts the reader that much more into the fray.  And watching her struggle through the ordeal and the patients really helps the reader understand what is happening more than I think another career would.  I think the other characters in the book are not quite as complex as Rose, as we see her more and I for one sympathized with her plight as an orphan and yet overcoming that obstacle to become a nurse and help people.  I really loved this book, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction novels!


I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.


THREE Lucky Winners will each receive a $15 Amazon Giftcard,
courtesy of After the Fog author, Kathleen Shoop
Ending on Sunday 9th November at 11.59pm EST
Open Worldwide

Enter  Below & Good Luck !!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Toner Review

InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Toner Review

Link to my review on Amazon:




***My Personal Review***

A great toner than totally outdoes all of the store-bought toners and leaves your skin feeling so clean and fresh without harsh chemicals.  InstaNatural is well-known for creating all-natural skincare products, I have tried a lot of them and they are all amazing.  This toner contains sulfur and witch hazel, both of which are great for your skin.  It comes in a nice spray bottle so it is very easy to apply and goes on silky and smooth.  This toner does NOT dry out your skin, and it moisturizes as it works :) 

This worked great for me because I have really oily skin and it is specifically made to eliminate that oil.  But the great part is that when I used to try the store toners and they would clean my face and get rid of the oil but they would also dry my skin out to the point of flaking.  I have used many InstaNatural products and loved all of them, and their money back guarantee really makes it easy to try :)  They ship fast and come packaged in beautiful containers with different colors for each product, very appealing to the eye.  Give them a try, you won't be sorry :)

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Santa Command by Tracy Tam Blog Tour, Interview and Giveaway :)



Publication date: October 22, 2014

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

Author: Krystalyn Drown

Tracy doesn’t believe that Santa can deliver all of those presents in one night with out a little help from science. A flying sleigh can only be powered by jet engines, and Santa’s magical abilities can only be the result of altered DNA. In order to test her theories, she sneaks onto Santa’s sleigh and ends up at Santa Command, the place where a team of humans monitors Santa’s big night. When Tracy attempts to hack into their computers, she accidentally introduces a virus to their system. As a result, three states get knocked out of sync with the rest of the world. Before the night is over, Tracy has to fix time and help Santa finish his deliveries. And she has to do it all with Santa’s magic, which she doesn’t believe exists.

Purchase Links:



Krystalyn spent thirteen years working at Walt Disney World in a variety of roles: entertainer, talent coordinator, and character captain. Her degree in theatre as well as many, many hours spent in a dance studio, helped with her job there. Her various other day jobs have included working in zoology at Sea World, as an elementary teacher, and currently as a support technician for a website. In the evenings, she does mad writing challenges with her sister, who is also an author. Krystalyn lives near Orlando, Florida with her husband, son, a were cat, and a Yorkie with a Napoleon complex.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads


***Author Interview***

What inspired you to write your first book?  The very first book that I ever completed was a middle grade science fiction book. It was about a girl who lived in a tree house on a tiny moon. I hope to revisit that moon one day and turn it into something someone might actually want to read. Right now, it's nothing more than a series of cliches strung together.

How did you come up with the title? I feel like TRACY TAM: SANTA COMMAND has a very musical feel to it. Once I had Tracy's name, the title popped into my head, and it stuck.

How much of the book is realistic?  I think the actions and emotions the characters go through are very real. As for the Santa sections, well it depends on how much you believe.

What book are you reading now?  I'm currently reading MY ONE HUNDRED ADVENTURE by Polly Horvath. When I find an author I like, I read everything they've written, and I loved EVERYTHING ON A WAFFLE.

What are your current projects?  I'm currently working on the sequel to TRACY TAM: SANTA COMMAND as well as a young adult contemporary novel set in a circus.
Do you see writing as a career? 
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Can you share a little of your current work with us?  Here's a bit from my circus novel, LEARNING TO FLY.

A whistle blew in the distance. My eyes popped open just in time to spot the engine puff into sight. I craned my neck to see better, but it was in vain. The train would arrive on its own time just as it always did.
Puff. Puff. Chug. Chug. All faces turned toward it as it approached. All eyes wept, except for mine. I kept the tears in a ball at the back of my throat. Closer and Closer, the train chugged until finally I could see the red and yellow logo, signifying the Stellar Stars Circus was back in town.

Who designed the covers?  The publisher has someone design it, but for this book, I had a lot of say. I saw everything from the sketch to the final copy.

Do you ever experience writer's block?  In the middle of every single book I write. Usually, starting over solves it.

Do you write an outline before every book you write?  I've tried and failed.

What is your favourite theme/genre to write about?
  Paranormal, science fiction or fantasy. When I was little Nickelodeon showed a lot of those. Labyrinth, Under the Mountain, and The Tomorrow People were my favorites.

Thank you to Tracy for stopping by and answering some questions for us!  Good luck with your book :)


Giveaway Information:  Winner will be drawn November 21, 2014
· Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Tracy Tam: Santa Command by Krystalyn Drown (INT)