Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
It has been a while since I have read a piece of Edwardian fiction, but these past couple of weeks I have been deeply engrossed in A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White. A Name Unknown is the first book in the Shadows Over England series and is set primarily in Cornwall in 1914.

The author did a good job developing characters through the progression of the story, continuing to reveal things about some of the characters right up to the end of the story. Rosemary and Peter are an unconventional pair, she is poor, opinionated, streetwise and independent, and full of doubt when it comes to faith, he is rich, inclined to not speak his thoughts, has friends that look to him for advise and is strong in his faith. As the story unfolds, the reader starts to recognize the growing relationship between them and may even know they are falling in love before they do. Through her vivid descriptions of the settings, both internal and external, the author is able to transport the reader to another time and place. Her story was so engaging and that I found myself not wanting to put the book down, resulting in me yet again staying up later than I should simply so I can read a little more. The book had the perfect balance of an unlikely friendship, romance, mystery, deception, intrigue and faith.

I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

About the book:

She's out to steal his name. Will he steal her heart instead?
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets-now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary's challenge of a lifetime comes when she's assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family's history, their very name?
Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown-so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.
Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth-about Peter's past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.
Learn more and purchase a copy.


About the author:

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels . . . to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. She passes said boring life with her husband and kids in the beautiful mountains of eastern West Virginia.
Find out more about Roseanna M. at http://www.roseannamwhite.com.


You can read more reviews and learn more about the book on the Blog Tour Landing Page.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Save Money Everyday on Stuff You Buy with Groupon Coupons

I have always been a deal shopper. I suppose I learned it watching my mom when I was a kid, I can remember my mom clipping coupons and submitting rebates for the items that we bought. I can remember Sunday mornings reading through the ads after church and deciding if there were deals worth heading to the store. One of my favorite days to go shopping each year was Black Friday. Not only was it a day out with my mom, grandma, aunts and cousins, but we got some great deals. I can remember one store giving us a $10/$10 coupon to use on top of all of their deals.

Deal shopping has changed a lot since I was a kid. You can get coupons online, apps provide instant rebates on the products you buy and you can find coupons online to your favorite stores.
Groupon Coupons is one source of great offers for your favorite stores. In fact, they currently have 84,186 free coupons at 12,116 stores. Not just any stores, but stores that I already shop at like Ann Taylor, Clarks, Amazon, Target, FootLocker, LL Bean and many others.


When it comes to shoes for work, going out or a casual day around town, I really enjoy wearing Clarks. Nothing compares with the fit and comfort of the shoes that I find at Clarks. My favorite heels that I can wear for hours are Clarks. I almost never wear heels, so that is saying a lot. Today, there are 31 offers for Clarks on Groupons Coupons. The offers are a mix of sales and coupon codes - 25% off, free shipping, and more.

Have you checked out Groupons Coupons? What is your favorite deal?

This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.





The Taste Experience of Adagio Teas

Complimentary product was provided by Adagio Tea for me to try and share my experience.
There are some things that you gain a taste for over time. When I was a kid, tea was not on my list of favorite beverages. At some point, one of my friends offered me hot lemon tea and because I didn't want to be rude, I gave it a try with a good amount of added lemon juice and sugar. I decided it wasn't so bad and not what I had remembered from other tea experiences. From that point forward, I found myself trying different teas over time, in hopes of finding more that I enjoyed. As I have grown older, the varieties of tea that I enjoy have evolved and grown. I can't recall the last time I had hot lemon tea, but there are several other varieties that I have on a regular basis. In fact, I have a few varieties that are staples in my pantry, typically herbal teas or rooibos teas. When I have a cup, I usually enjoy it with a bit of honey or sugar and if enjoying one in the evening at bedtime, with a splash of milk. I have a tea kettle for warming water on the stove, I have multiple tea balls for loose tea and a pot that has a perforated column in the middle that allows me to make a full pot with either loose leaf tea or bagged tea. (For the record, I'm still not a big fan of iced tea...but have tried some recently that aren't so bad.)

Several of my friends had been sharing about Adagio Teas through Facebook, so when I was invited to try some of their products, I was excited to discover what they offered. I explored their different products and decided on a mix of full size bags and sample packs, to maximize my taste experience. Most of their teas are loose leaf, but they do offer some pyramid bag items too. I decided to stick with all loose leaf varieties for my experience.
I ordered two Rooibos varieties - Rooibos Vanilla and Rooibos Caramel. If you aren't familiar, from the Adagio site I share the following description: Hailing from South Africa, red bush tea is caffeine-free and produces a sweet, flavorful cup.

I also ordered two Herbal Tea varieties - Peppermint and Raspberry Patch.

Lastly, I tried out the Hot Cinnamon Spice tea. It is a flavored tea, which is not caffeine free, but is one of my favorite flavors.

I also decided to check out the toasTEA Portable Tea Infuser. I have enjoyed using this infuser to try out all of the new teas.
It is easy to use and I love that it relies on inversion to brew the tea and that when you flip it back upright the leaves are above the water line and no longer brewing.
In addition, the insulated tumbler keeps the tea hot for a long time. I typically poured the tea from the tumbler and put it into an open mug, because to me drinking tea is a full sense experience and the open mug allows for full immersion into the aroma and the visual aspects of the experience, in addition to the taste.
Each tea provides the amount of loose tea to use per cup and the temperature and time for steeping.

The Raspberry Patch is my favorite of the teas that I tried. It offers a full flavor of summer raspberries with an appealing sweet, berry aroma. I added a small drizzle of honey to provide a sweet flavor match to the sweet aroma. This is the one that I go to for a mid-afternoon tea break.

The two Rooibos varieties have a nice, soft aroma and an appealing flavor with notes of vanilla or caramel. I find them to be a perfect evening treat with a drizzle of honey and a splash of milk, and occasionally a couple of thin ginger crisp cookies for dipping.

The Peppermint is refreshing and I have found it a great way to start the day, paired with a couple of slices of toast. I haven't tried the Hot Cinnamon yet, mostly because it feels like a fall flavor and hasn't been the one that drew my interest when I sat down to enjoy a mug of tea.

I love that the toasTEA infuser makes 17 oz of tea, perfect to have a first cup and a top off to warm the tea back up in my mug. It also is a great travel option and allows me to steep my tea on the drive to work and enjoy it on arrival. The Rooibos Caramel seems to have a few more fines in it than the other teas and resulted in a bit of the tea coming up into the drink spout while inverted. Otherwise, it has worked fine with all of the teas that I have brewed and even on immersion, does not leak.

My only concern is that the tea comes in a stand up pouch with a zip closure, which makes storage a bit of a challenge. I think that I need to find a basket that I can set in my cupboard to corral them and keep them from falling over and 'disappearing' under other items in the cupboard. Or, if I stick with a few varieties only, I might pick up some small glass storage containers that I can put the tea in and place in cupboard.

Have you tried Adagio tea? What is your favorite?


No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. Complimentary product was provided for my review.


Another Great Deal at CVS

As I shared last week, I haven't been to CVS in a long time. I found myself with some ECBs from a couple of surveys I had completed, so I decided to stop by and use them before they expired. Again, I was planning on the fly, as I hadn't looked at the ad and I had no other coupons with me.

And, I still managed to spend only $.89 out of pocket (including tax) for all of this in two transactions:

Fruity Pebbles
Oral B 2-pk
Colgate Toothpaste
Softsoap
2 bags of Dove Chocolate

Have you gotten any good deals lately?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

All This for $1.02 at CVS

It has been forever since I was shopping at CVS and in order to actually check out today, I had to shop at CVS twice. I got some deals that felt reminiscent of the deals I used to get when I shopped - 4 bottles bodywashes, 2 tubes toothpaste, 4 greeting cards, 2 caramels and 1 bottle of dishsoap, for just over $1 OOP.
I wish that the trip overall was as easy as the deals were to put together. So, a week or two ago, I had received an ECB offer by e-mail. I did not PRINT the coupon before I went today, because it was an unplanned trip. I honestly thought nothing of it. I have the CVS app and have had both my card and the offers in the app scanned on my phone before, so why would a coupon that was e-mailed be any different.

I grabbed an ad, strategized on the fly and came up with a couple of transactions that would allow me to maximize my ECBs. I headed up to check out with my arms loaded (a cart or basket probably would have helped). I clicked on the coupon link in my e-mail and as it loaded, I set down my phone and went to get my ECB card from my purse. As the cashier attempted to scan the bar code on my phone, I told her that wasn't my card it was an ECB. She said, we can't scan those, store policy - you should be able to send it to your card. I checked the coupon and there was only a Print or Close option. I talked to the manager who reiterated that they could not use the ECB unless it was printed. This frustrated me. You allow me to scan deals in a Mobile App. You send me e-mails with links to deals that I can send to card. So, why oh why, did I get an e-mail that I could not scan in store nor could I send it to card? Frustrated, I set my stuff aside and said I will come back once I print the ECBs.

I returned a few hours later...all my stuff, restocked...so I shopped again.

The next surprise came at check out again. My first transaction went smoothly. Turns out that there was a 'better' price on the one item and my order came up just shy of my ECB when I had expected it to be slightly over. The register automatically adjusted the ECB down and completed the transaction.

The second transaction, not as smooth. I had $6 total ECBs from the first transaction that I was planning to spend in the second. I had $5.98 worth of stuff in the transaction. Historically, they could adjust it down and I would just pay tax. Now, the register wouldn't process the ECB unless my pretax total was at least as much as the ECB. So, I added a caramel and moved on.

Next transaction, I purchased the Dawn which had a 25c off coupon from the coupon machine. I had my order at 2.31 before coupons and handed her the 25c coupon and the $2 ECB. It processed the ECB fine, but only took off 13c for the coupon. I asked why and was told, the register does what it does, I don't know why and can't change it. So, instead of having 6c plus tax due, I had 18c plus tax due. What? I really want to understand why you can't process a coupon at face value when the purchase can fully support the coupon. The coupon even is called out on the receipt as $0.25 off Dawn Ultra!
Again, I was frustrated...it makes no sense...there is no reason that I can see why it couldn't apply the full value of the coupon to the order...but at the same time, I walked out with about $24 in product (at CVS prices) for $1.02 out of pocket. So, it's hard to be too frustrated.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

This past week, I read another new book. This book was His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray, the second book in her The Amish of Hart County series. The characters from the first book are referenced, but not otherwise a part of the story, so you could easily jump in to the series with His Guilt.
As with the first book in the series, this book was captivating, suspenseful and had me hooked from the beginning. I found myself staying up later than I intended, so that I could read one more chapter and find out just a little bit more that might help me 'solve' the mystery (even before the characters did). I liked that the characters were real and had a diversity that is easy to consider in any community. It was very interesting that though most of them were raised in the same community their lives growing up were so different. These differences caused the characters to be stereo-typed by others but as the story unfolded, you learn that many of those perceptions were no longer the reality of who they are. In addition to the characters, the challenges faced in the book also transcend the Amish community and can be identified by members of any community. The characters dealt with gossip and fear, which drove many of them to inappropriate, unsubstantiated conclusions about those around them, but also the positives of self-discovery, forgiveness, friendships and love. Overall, the book had a nice balance of friends and family, love and suspense, discovering about others and growth of self.

His Guilt was a great book and I look forward to reading more from Shelly Shepard Gray especially the suspenseful novels she is writing as part of her The Amish of Hart County series.

About the book:

A suspenseful tale of an Amish man who will risk all to protect the woman he loves.

Mark Fisher has returned home to Hart County, determined to put the past behind him. Two years ago, after being wrongly accused of assault, he left the Amish community, though never forgot his home. When the one person who had helped him through his rough times asks for help, Mark returns. But it is pretty Waneta Cain who makes him want to stay...
Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn't believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. However, his worldliness and tough exterior do make her uneasy. As she begins to see the real man behind all the gossip and prejudice, she wonders if he is the man for her.

Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta's is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. But what hurts most is Neeta's sudden wariness around him. When another woman is hurt, a woman who is close to both Neeta and himself, Mark fears he knows the real culprit. And time is running out. Will Mark be able to find him before Neeta becomes his next victim?

Learn more and purchase a copy.


About the author:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail. You can learn more on her website.


Learn more about the book and see additional reviews on the Blog Tour Landing Page.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.