Monday, August 30, 2021

Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.


In the summer, I especially enjoy reading light-hearted books. Books that are easy to read and that I can complete in a weekend, if I want. The new book from Angela Ruth Strong, Husband Auditions was a book that perfectly fits this bill. This rom-com book certainly had some predictable elements but as with rom-com movies, it did not detract from the story or the want to see how things wound up. I love the premise of 'testing' out a list of 'ways to get a husband' from the 1950s...test the timelessness of the ideas (and realize how much we have changed as a society in that time). Capturing and sharing the adventure on YouTube is such a modern day fit; a great way to share the successes and challenges of the list with others. I totally could see myself hooked on a series like Meri Me and watching to see what the next adventure from the list was.



This was the first book that I read by Strong and I look forward to reading more from her. Her style is easy to read and she does a great job helping the readers get to know the characters. I found myself laughing and crying with the characters; cheering for the characters to take a chance and of course, for them to win (which meant sometimes I was actually cheering for them to fail in one thing so they could win overall). I enjoyed the story so much and would love to see this book reimagined on the big-screen.

About the Book

How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?

In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she's handed a strange present at the latest wedding--a 1950s magazine article of "ways to get a husband"--she decides there's nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can't get any more single, can she?

Her brother's roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love--Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.

When Meri Me debuts, it's an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she's looking for . . .

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for.

About the Author

Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there's nothing else she'd rather write about.

She is the author of the Resort to Love series and the CafFUNated mysteries. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. Finding Love in Big Sky was recently filmed on location in Montana and will air soon. Her latest release is Husband Auditions.

Strong also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho and teaches as an expert online at Write That Book.

Learn more at www.angelaruthstrong.com, and follow her on Facebook (Angela Ruth Strong Fan Page), Twitter (@AngelaRStrong), and Instagram (@ang_strong).


As part of the launch, you can enter to win a free copy of the book:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, another opportunity to win, Angela Ruth Strong is giving away a free round trip ticket on Allegiant Air. Click here to enter.

The Giveaways are not hosted by A Busy Mom of Two but are part of the book tour, please see giveaway for official rules and guidelines. 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, August 22, 2021

Limited Edition Bella Luna Blue Tea from Adagio - Available Today (8/22) Only!

I received a complimentary sample of Bella Luna Blue so that I could try it and share my expierence.
The blue moon is finally here and with it comes our most elusive tea, combining fresh lemongrass, ripe blueberries and the exotic hues of butterfly pea. Do not miss the indigo experience of rare Bella Luna Blue!

Limited Edition Bella Luna Blue Tea. A customer favorite and magical tea that brews blue, and when you add lemon juice, it turns purple! It is an exclusive that is only sold on days of a blue moon. Today is your chance to order it because on August 22nd there is a Blue Moon.

I had a chance to try the tea and I really enjoyed the experience. I used a clear mug so that I could enjoy the beautiful blue hues brought to us by the Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
and see the cool transformation when I added the lemon juice to the tea.
Seriously, don't waste this tea on a dark mug, make sure you can enjoy not only the taste but the visual experience of this tea by using a clear or white interior mug.

Be sure to stock up on this caffeine free tea with the flavors of lemongrass and blueberries, since it is only available once in a blue moon (hehe). I really enjoyed the tea but will tell you I doubled up on the tea to make it a little stronger flavor and adding the lemon juice helped the lemongrass and blueberry flavors have more pop than they do without.

Over the past couple of years, I have really been enjoying a variety of new teas that I found at Adagio Teas, you should check out their many loose leaf tea options. You can also get some great teaware to help you enjoy your tea. I still use my toasTEA travel mug that I got a couple of years ago to enjoy hot tea on the go (or even just on my deck). I find it a little 'fun' that you flip it upside down to allow it to brew and then when you flip it back the leaves sit above your hot tea in the mug.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. I received a complimentary sample of Bella Luna Blue so that I could try it and share my expierence.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Wine Glass Toppers - Appetizer Plates and Coasters

Complimentary wine glass toppers/appetizer plates/coasters were provided by Blissful Drinks By the Best of Life so that I could try them and share my expierence.


Summer is here! One of my favorite things in summer is meeting up with friends and hanging out. Often times, this means meeting at one of the local wineries and enjoying their decks and scenic overlooks. There is something so therapeutic about the simple activity of catching up and laughing together over the happenings in our lives. This inspired me to have my husband put together a design to use for the custom printing option for the Wine Glass Toppers | Appetizer Plates | Coasters that are available over at Blissful Drinks.

From the site:

Our custom made wooden wine glass topper appetizer plates nestle onto the rim of a standard wine glass to hold your appetizers and keep your hands free while mingling. It’s a mini plate for the top of your wine glass that becomes a coaster when you are done! Perfect for mingling and sharing your love of wine with others!

Our engraved wine glass toppers are a fun drink marker, too! Mix and match designs and use them when entertaining so everyone knows which wine belongs to them. Simply use these fun wine glass topper appetizer plates to cover your wine, enjoy small appetizers, and then use it as a coaster for your drink when you are done snacking.

An added perk?

They keep the bees and bugs out of your wine when sipping outside and are a well loved hostess gift! Wine glass toppers fit a wine glass rim of 2.75 inches or smaller and are 4 inches in diameter on top.

Our wine toppers are designed and handmade just for you by our family.


The bamboo that they are made from makes the glass toppers easy to care for. I simply handwashed them and dried them off. Each of the coasters is handmade and on a unique grain pattern, leading to slightly different imprint on each coaster, making each one slightly unique and individual (just like me and my friends - alike but unique). They stack nicely in the cabinet, making them easy to store and to keep at the ready for your next gathering. The 4" size for the top of the plate is perfect for holding a couple of small snacks while you visit with your friends and family. The slight lip on the bottom of the coaster helps keep it from sliding off your glass (which a small plastic plate will do - trust me, I have spilt a snack or two when the plate fell off my glass).

I knew when I found them that they would be perfect for the gatherings with my friends at the winery. I first took them when I met up with my friends at a winery overlooking a field and creek. We were seated, so it was less about having a free hand to snack while holding my wine, and more about topping the wine glass to protect it from bugs while we were busy chatting. My friends loved them and appreciated that I had brought them to share.

The next event I took them to was a small gathering of amazing women that I had worked with. This group of women were all former employees - whether by retirement or role elimination - but all amazing and inspiring women. I am honored to be included in the group and love the visiting and storytelling that we share about quarterly (unfortunately, covid disrupted this a bit but we are now back on schedule). I brought a coaster to share with one very special woman and since we were inside, we used them as coasters to help identify our glasses when we we sat them down and to hold our snacks while we were standing in small groups and visiting. Again, they served their purpose well at this event.



I really love this product and with 22 available designs and the ability to order a custom design, you can find one to match yours and your friends' personalities. And, since you can buy them individually you can create a unique set and use them to help identify glasses at your next gathering. Be sure to head over to their site to order your own Wine Glass Toppers and check out their other offereings, including customized trays and charcuterie boards, wine bottle coasters and more.

I liked the design on mine so much I made a shirt to match (it's on TeePublic - e-mail me for the link)

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. Complimentary wine glass toppers/appetizer plates/coasters were provided by Blissful Drinks By the Best of Life for my friends and I to try, so that I could share my experience.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Follow By E-mail - Change in Service

The current service, Feedburner, is ending their follow by e-mail service. I have signed up at follow.it to provide this service for the future. To continue to receive email updates when I post please sure to sign up for my feed - below or on the sidebar.

Thanks!

Get new posts by email:


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Swanwick Blue Light Blockers

Complimentary blue light blocker glasses were provided by Swanwick so that I could try them and share my expierence.


I'm not sure about your experience but ever since schools closed for 'two weeks' last spring, there has been a definite transition to online work for school. Even when we returned to the classroom in the fall, assignments and tests were online, books were largely avaiable to the students online to use for studying. When our schools transitioned for a few weeks to an all online approach last winter, my daughter asked me about getting some blue light blockers.

I had never used blue light blockers but I knew several women that I had worked with that did a lot of detail work on their computers that swore by them. So, I started to do my research to learn more about blue light blockers.

My first inquiry was to better understand blue light. I discovered that blue light is everywhere, it isn't produced by artificial sources only. It’s found in the sun’s ray, so we see blue light naturally every time we look up at a blue sky. In fact, from what I read, you get most of your exposure to blue light from the sun when outside. However, as people are spending more times in front of screens, people are now getting more exposure than ever when they’re inside.

My second inquiry was to understand the role and benefit of blue light blocking glasses. I learned that blue light from the screen makes it difficult to focus and your eyes strain to concentrate on the screen. The glasses increase contrast, which makes focusing easier and your eyse strain less. The blue light from your screen also makes you feel more alert, and the short wavelengths delay the release of melatonin (sleep-inducing hormone that your body naturally releases). So, if you have to be on a screen near bedtime, the blue light blocking glasses can help not delay the release of melatonin and may help you sleep better. I also learned that light, especially blue light can trigger migraines and exacerbate headache pain. So, if this is an issue for you, the use of blue light blocking glasses could help reduce headaches and headache pain.

After my research, it felt like something that would be good to get for my daughter (and myself). We checked out the Swanwick page and I was surprised to discover that they offer not only Day Swannies but also Night Swannies. In addition, they also offer their glasses with prescription lenses and in child sizes. It seems they have a product to fit many needs.

This FAQ from their page provides some great info on the Day Swannies and the Night Swannies and the construction of their glasses:
What is a good brand of blue light blocking glasses?
Swanwick Night Swannies Blue Light Blocking Glasses are FDA registered and have been extensively researched, designed, and manufactured specifically to block the full spectrum blue light by combining a specific colored tint with special AR coatings which work together to effectively filter blue light.

We design and manufacture our Day Swannies to the same exacting standards as our Night Swannies, but with lenses that allow the beneficial daytime blue light spectrum through to keep us alert and operating at your peak.

All Swannies are made with high-quality acetate, TR-90, or alloy frames featuring spring hinges and top of the line CR-39 lenses with UV rated anti-glare coating on both front and back. We are confident that you won't find better quality blue light blocking glasses on the market!

They have a whole section of their website dedicated to science and the testing that they have done to validate their glasses.

We each decided to go with the daytime Swannies, which feature clear lenses (the nighttime ones look like they block more of the blue light, important closer to bedtime, but the daytime still have a pretty high rating). We each selected Swanwick Daytime Swannies with frames that fit our style - she went with a clear frame

and I went with a tortoise frame.


They ship in a nice sturdy box and within a satiny pouch. I keep the box in my drawer, so that I can slide them in over the weekend but use the pouch daily to store them and with the nice material it is made with, it doubles as a lens wiper when I get a smudge or fingerprint on them. The glasses fit comfortably on the face and over the ears. I notice the edges of my frames but having worn glasses (and contacts) for the last 30 years, it doesn't bother me but could be an adjustment for those that aren't used to wearing glasses.

There definitely is a different 'tint' to the light seen on the screen when wearing the glasses than when you are not. I wear them most days while I work but rarely when I am on a device after work. I don't know why except that my time on a screen is more consistent during the day and more intermitten in the evenings and weekends. I do feel like my eyes are less tired when I wear the glasses compared to when I don't. I don't notice a difference with dry eye that I sometimes get when working on a screen for extended periods of time. When I asked my daughter about her experience, in typical teenage fashion, I got a lot of short answers but she indicated that she does like them and wears hers more in the evening when she is working on homework (school year) or binge watching her favorite episodes on the iPad. In part, that is becuase she sometimes needs glasses in the classroom to see the board and carrying two pairs of glassses to school is not something she wanted to worry about.

If you spend a lot of time working on a screen, then checking out Swanwick Blue Light Blockers could help you. You can find their products here at www.swanwicksleep.com/ and hopefully find an option that works best for you.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. Complimentary blue light blocker glasses were provided by Swanwick for my family and I to try, so that I could share my experience.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Dusk's Darkest Shores by Carolyn Miller

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Life is a little busy for us lately but that didn't stop me from finding time to read. I had a quiet Saturday afternoon (following a busy, productive morning) which was the perfect time to snuggle in on the sofa and finish reading Dusk's Darkest Shores by Carolyn Miller. It is the first book I have read by her and is book 1 in the new Regency Wallflowers series she is writing.



I very much enjoyed reading the book I have long been a fan of Regency literature and like the 'wallflower' spin on this one. The main character Mary is 'nine and twenty' and many assume that she will forever be alone and she is not bothered by the concept. Her father is a doctor and she spends time helping him and calling on patients, which she enjoys doing. She has that right demeanor and touch to make others comfortable and help them through childbirth and recovery from ailments. The other main character is Adam, a soldier who recently returned from the battlefield a hero of the war, faced with a new battle. He suffered an ailment at war that he must now learn to live with. Always a leader and a hero, he has to find his way in an unknown world. Growing up, Adam spent time with Mary's brother and she spent time tagging along with them on some of their adventures, so although they didn't really know one other, they did know of one another and had a small connection. Based on this connection and her ability to help, Mary's father and Adam's mother task her with helping Adam on his journey to recovery. Through many ups and downs they come to be true friends and help each other discover new things.

This story was very enjoyable and it was nice to watch the two main characters grow individually and in their relationship. The author did a great job painting the setting and developing the characters. I felt a connection to them and found myself engaged in their lives, struggles and outcomes. Watching them discover how a person's reactions to adversity reveals their true character and that what really connects us is deeper than looks. I look forward to reading more books by Carolyn Miller in the future.

About the Book

How can a meek wallflower help a returning war hero whose dreams are plunged into darkness?

Mary Bloomfield has no illusions. Her chances for matrimony have long since passed her by. Still, her circumstances are pleasant enough, especially now that she has found purpose in assisting her father with his medical practice in England's beautiful Lake District. Even without love, it's a peaceful life.

That is until Adam Edgerton returns to the sleepy district. This decorated war hero did not arrive home to acclaim and rest, but to a new battle against the repercussions of an insidious disease. Mary's caring nature cannot stand to see someone suffer--but how can she help this man see any brightness in his future when he's plunged into melancholic darkness, his dreams laid waste by his condition?

Adam wants no charity, but he's also no coward. If this gentle woman can work hard, how can he do less? Together they struggle to find a way forward for him. Frustration and antipathy slowly develop into friendship and esteem. Then a summer storm atop a mountain peak leads to scandal--and both Mary and Adam must search the depths of their closed hearts for answers if they hope to find any future path with happiness at its end.

Best-selling author Carolyn Miller is back with a fresh series that will not only thrill readers eager for more of her work, but bring in new fans looking for beautiful writing, fascinating research, deftly woven love stories, and real faith lived out in the Regency period.

Click here to read an excerpt.

About the Author

Carolyn Miller is an inspirational romance author who lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia with her husband and four children.

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. She enjoys music, films, gardens, art, travel and food.

A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn's novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.

Learn more about Carolyn at www.carolynmillerauthor.com or find her on Facebook (Carolyn Miller Author), Instagram (@CarolynMillerAuthor), and Twitter (@CarolynMAuthor).


Giveaway!

Enter to win a fun prize pack inspired by the book and its English setting that includes:

- a copy of Dusk’s Darkest Shores
- a canvas bag to carry your latest reads
- a fun pair of Jane Austen socks
- Novel Teas’ English Breakfast tea
- “Drink tea, read books, and be happy” tea spoon
- “Let your faith be bigger than your fear” mug
- Black currant preserves from England
- Wax Lyrical candle from England

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Giveaway is not hosted by A Busy Mom of Two but is part of the book tour, please see giveaway for official rules and guidelines. 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, April 11, 2021

The Indebted Earl by Erica Vetsch

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.


It has been a bit of a crazy couple of weeks at our house. All of the craziness made me happy to have a good book to escape into (when time allowed). I just finished reading the new book by Erica Vetsch, The Indebted Earl. I have always been a big fan of Regency fiction and this book did not disappoint. There was something so great about watching the transformation of the Captain from stiff Navy officer to a man that discovered his softer side. I read the book without having first glanced at the back cover, which lead me to be surprised and a bit caught off guard as things happened. The story was well written and the characters came to life on the pages of the book. There was a nice balance of romance, intrigue, and mystery woven into the story.

After reading, I discovered that this was the third book in the Serendipity and Secrets Series. It certainly reads well as a stand-alone book but now that I know that there are others out there (and it appears they include some of the other characters in this story), I have more books to add to my list to be read.
About the Book

Can Captain Wyvern keep his new marriage of convenience all business--or will it turn into something more?

Captain Charles Wyvern owes a great debt to the man who saved his life--especially since Major Richardson lost his own life in the process. The best way to honor that hero's dying wish is for Wyvern to escort the man's grieving fiance and mother safely to a new cottage home by the sea. But along the way, he learns of another obligation that has fallen on his shoulders: his uncle has died and the captain is now the Earl of Rothwell.

When he and the ladies arrive at his new manor house in Devon, they discover an estate in need of a leader and a gaggle of girls, all wards of the former earl. War the new earl knows; young ladies and properties he does not. Still wishing to provide for the bereaved Lady Sophia Haverly, Charles proposes a marriage of convenience.

Sophie is surprised to find she isn't opposed to the idea. It will help her care for her betrothed's elderly mother, and she's already fallen in love with the wayward girls on the Rothwell estate. This alliance is a chance to repay the captain who has done so much for her care, as well as divert her attention from her grief. When Wyvern returns to his sea commission, she'll stay behind to oversee his property and wards.

It sounds so simple. Until the stalwart captain is arrested on suspicion of smuggling, and Sophie realizes how much he's come to mean to her. Now she'll have to learn to fight, not only for his freedom but also for his love.

Click here to read an excerpt.

About The Author

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.

Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.

A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England.

Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor), Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).


Giveaway!

The Giveaway is not hosted by A Busy Mom of Two but is part of the book tour, please see giveaway for official rules and guidelines. 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.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer

A complimentary advanced readers copy and gift package was provided to me from the publisher, through an offer made to all fan page members.


Wow! As I finished up the newest book from DJ Palmer, "Wow!" was my immediate response. The Perfect Daughter was a terrific psychological thriller that left me guessing until the very end - and I didn't do as good of a job in considering the possible outcomes as I normally do. The character development and story-telling were awesome and I found myself unwilling to put it down because I needed to know what happened. The use of multiple narrators helped really explore the many facets of the story and allow the reader additional perspective that each character brings to the story.

I'm in awe of good writers, and DJ Palmer is definitely one of my favorites. When I read a novel that rattles me like this one did, I simply have to take pause after I finish. I reflect on the book and wonder how they came up with the concept and the details needed to build up and then unravel the mystery as they reveal the story to the reader. It is truly an art and a gift, and I am so thankful for those that share their talents with the world.

I was still in the early pages of the book, learning about how Penny came to live with the Francones when I read the following: "She filled the bookshelf with some of our favorite reads and some of hers, including one she loved as a girl, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes." You may be wondering, why did that line catch your attention? Well, that was one of my favorite books from childhood as well. In fact, it was one of two of my favorites that I had a copy for my children (ther other one being Too Much Noise by Ann McGovern).

I'd love to share more about the actual story with you but I would hate to spoil anything about the book. I want to you to read the story and discover the truth for yourself. Order your copy here. And, be sure to check out his other books, many of which I have shared here on the blog (like Saving Meghan and The New Husband.

About the Book:

Grace never dreamt she’d visit her teenaged daughter Penny in the locked ward of a decaying state psychiatric hospital, charged with the murder of a stranger. There was not much question of her daughter’s guilt. Police had her fingerprints on the murder weapon and the victim’s blood on her body and clothes. But they didn’t have a motive. Grace blames herself, because that’s what mothers do—they look at their choices and wonder, what if? But hindsight offers little more than the chance for regret. None of this was conceivable the day Penny came into her life. Then, it seemed like a miracle. Penny was found abandoned, with a mysterious past, and it felt like fate brought Penny to her, and her husband Arthur. But as she grew, Penny's actions grew more disturbing, and different "personalities" emerged. Arthur and Grace took Penny to different psychiatrists, many of whom believed she was putting on a show to help manage her trauma. But Grace didn’t buy it. The personas were too real, too consistent. It had to be a severe multiple personality disorder. One determined psychiatrist, Dr. Mitch McHugh, helped discover someone new inside Penny—a young girl named Abigail. Is this the nameless girl who was abandoned in the park years ago? Mitch thinks Abigail is the key to Penny’s past and to the murder. But as Grace and Mitch dig deeper, they uncover dark and shocking secrets that put all their lives in grave danger.


I have been a fan of Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer (aka DJ Palmer) since I first started reading their books. I started with the first book I picked up by Michael over 25 years ago now on vacation, having found a copy in the hotel gift shop. I was introduced by Michael to his son Daniel's works. They are both amazing writers, able to capture the reader and really leave you wondering. I was so excited to have received this special care package in the mail made available to fan page members simply for signing up and being willing to share (courtesy of DJ Palmer and St. Martin's Press). The tea was a wonderful treat and the cozy socks perfect for curling up for several hours when I simply couldn't put the book down. Thank you for the opportunity.
No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary advanced readers copy was provided.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

New! - Simple 7UP

Complimentary cans of Simple 7UP were provided to me so that I could share my experience.
Growing up, I don't remember drinking much soda. It was limited to special occassions, and whenever we had pizza or to help settle our stomach when we weren't feeling well. There were a few pops that we would have a choice of and one of them was 7UP. I still remember their classic "Uncola" ads and the realization that I had that it was the same actor who played Punjab on the film version of Annie (the original and best version in my opinion). He was also in another 7UP ad where he touted that it had no caffeiene (likely a reason that 7UP was a choice we had for soda).

When the brand reached out to let me know that they were introducing Simple 7UP a 'a new 7UP with the refreshing lemon-lime flavor you love and it's made with simple, real ingredients", I was intrigued. Right now, Simple 7UP is available only in a limited market in the greater Dayton, Ohio area.

SIMPLE 7UP

Introducing Simple 7UP - a new 7UP with the refreshing lemon-lime flavor you love and it’s made with simple, real ingredients.

Simple 7UP is made with only six ingredients that you can understand, like carbonated water, real sugar, and lemon & lime extracts.

Now you can enjoy your favorite crisp, clean and refreshing lemon-lime soda with a transparent ingredient list.

Available on shelves at Kroger, Walmart, Meijer, Dollar General, Speedway, and other select retailers in the Dayton-area as part of a testing program for a limited time beginning in mid-March.
The first thing I noticed was the ingredient list on the cans...6 simple ingredients, that were all familiar to me...carbonated water, real sugar, lemon and lime extract, as well as citric acid and stevia leaf extract. The taste is straight-forward with that familiar lemon-lime flavor. I am pretty sure that when I was a kid, sugar was the common sweetener used in soda (I did a quick look up and at least in my younger years this was true but it had changed by the time I got to high school) and in my opinion, it gives the drink a better flavor than the sweeteners used today.

My daughter was eager to try it and was the first to open a can. She enjoyed it and said it tasted good to her. My son, who enjoys flavor intense beverages, quickly turned his into a Shirley Temple by adding some grenadine to give it more pizzazz to better fit his flavor need. He felt that the lemon-lime was not enough flavor for him. I enjoyed the Simple 7UP and liked knowing that it was made from familiar ingredients and didn't read like a list of chemicals. The only thing I noted is that there was a bit of a stevia aftertaste (not unpleasant, just distinct to me - I know most people look at me cross-eyed when I say that, as most don't seem to notice it but for me it has a distinct aftertaste). With my second can, I decided to follow my son's lead and turned it into a cherry-flavored experience by adding grenadine (and a marashino cherry). I enjoyed this format as well, with the added pop of cherry.

Simple 7UP is not yet on the shelves in my area but it is where my family lives, so I can pick some up when we visit. I found the Simple 7UP and the transparent ingredient list both to be refreshing. If you are in the greater Dayton area, be sure to check out Simple 7UP next time you shop, whether in person, curbside or delivery. When you do, let me know what you think.
No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. Complimentary cans of Simple 7UP were provided for my family and I to try, so that I could share my experience.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Silk'n Infinity Hair Removal Device

A complimentary Silk'n Infinity was provided to me through Tryazon so that I could share my experience with friends and through my blog.


When you are a teenager, it is a right of passage to start shaving. I can remember being so excited when I finally was old enough to shave. Little did I know what a pain shaving on a regular basis really could be. When I was a still a teenager, I found a use Epilady (at least that is what I remember it being called), it was a devive with coils that vibrated and essentially yanked your hair out. I used that for a few minute before deciding that was not the way that I wanted to remove hair, shaving was a better option. Then I tried depilatory creams, which were stinky and never seemed to really work for me. Again, I was back to shaving.

So, when I had a chance to apply to be a host for a Tryazon party for a product that I hadn't ever heard of - Silk'n Infinity. "Silk'n Infinity's eHPL™ technology uses pulses of light to permanently remove undesired hair growth without stubble, ingrown hairs, redness or other irritation. It is the most revolutionary method of hair removal at home and is already regarded as the gold standard. Infinitely smooth skin, without any pain or irritation, is finally at your fingertips!" It is an at home Hair Removal tool with Permananet results. From the package - It uses Galvanic Energy to open the skin's pores and enable the Optical Energy to penetrate deeper into the hair folicle. The Optical Energy is selectively absorbed in the hair shaft and ensures hair removal is acheived in the quickest possible way. With the pores open, post treatment application of lotion is better absorbed for silky smooth skin.


I received the Silk'n Infinity a few weeks ago and had a chance to sit in on a webinar to learn more about the operation of the unit and the technology. I started using the Silk'n at that time. The unit fits nicely in the palm of your hand and is very to easy to use. If you are spot treating, you can do it a click at a time or you can use it in a continuous mode by holding down the button. It has built in safety in that it has to be pressed against your skin to activate the galvanic and optical energy. I decided to do one leg for the initial trial so that I could compare legs to see results.



They instruct you to start at level 1 and work your way up to find the right level for your skin tone/hair color combination. Initial treatments are spaced 2 weeks apart. I have finally reached the level at which the unit works best for my combination. Unfortunately, this process took a few cycles, which if you were looking for a quick fix, would not be ideal. Now that I am at that right level, following the first treatment, I am seeing slower hair growth, as expected. Of course, I will need another 3 - 5 weeks to really start to see 'hairless patches' but I am glad to finally be at the right level for me.


Initially, you might react and think the cost of the unit is high at about $400 but if you consider what the cost of laser hair treatments would cost at a local salon, you will realize that the unit is really a good value. Even better, with the number of available pulses in the unit, there are enough that I can share it with my daughter and allow her to benefit from the hair removal as well. So, the price becomes a one time cost for a couple of people to acheive permanent hair loss in the comfort of your own home.

With everything going on in the world, I broke my party up into a couple of different 'parties'. Two of the events were in person and one was part of a virtual Girl's Night In. I enjoyed the opportunity to share about the product with my friends and of course, will keep them and you up to date on the continued progress with the unit.
No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary Silk'n Infinity was provided to me through Tryazon so that I could share my experience with friends and through my blog.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

One Year

It is so hard to believe, it was a year ago today that my kids attended their last in person school day of the 2019-2020 school year. The state was starting to enter shut down mode. First was the schools, just two weeks for now. Then came restaurants, bars, gyms, and more. Each day we tuned into the press conference our governor held to update us on the cases, the precautions, the closures. Needless to say, it was stressful.

That next day, I decided that if I was going to make it through this and be ahead of the game when (I figured it was beyond if) the gyms closed, I decided that I was going to commit to walking at least 30 minutes each day. It was my decompression time, a chance to get away from the constant barage of news about the virus and what else was closing. My chance to get out and clear my mind and just be alone with my thoughts. A chance to watch the cycles of the seasons with the changing appearance of grass, bushes, trees and flowers.

I don't know that I had a plan for how long I would stick to the committment but here we are 365 days later and guess what -I got out and took at least a 30 minute walk each day for the last 365 days. I walked over 775 miles. My best month was May with just under 100 miles. My longest walk was 5 miles, my shortest walk was probably about 1 mile. Most of my days were between 1.9 and 2.8 miles. All but one day I got outside and walked - that one day was Christmas and we had 10" of snow and with the holiday, I didn't want to venture out so I looped my house, upstairs, downstairs, circle the basement, circle the main floor, walk to each of the rooms on the 2nd floor and repeat. I walked as early as before sunrise and as late as sunset to fit them all in...with most taking place in the middle of the day. I walked in the heat, the cold, the sunshine, the rain, the snow. There were days I looked forward to taking a walk and days where I couldn't get done fast enough.

I feel like I am in better shape as a result of my daily walk. We live in a hilly area so there was always a mix of up and down on any route that I chose, so I always was pushing myself. I have always been active but the activities have varied and although routine, were never every day. Unfortunately my eating (and drinking) were off for much of the pandemic and there were a lot less 'everyday' steps as a result of going no where, so I didn't lose weight but didn't gain any either, which is a win in my book. Maybe I can get back to normal with other activity and better eating and see the benefit of walking.

It has been a tough year. I wish that the original estimates of "two weeks" to stop the spread had been legitimate. In our area, things are mostly open but there are still restrictions and still a mask mandate (even though so many other states have or are opening up). I'm ready for real normal not new normal. I'm ready for people to start to understand what worked and what didn't, to understand how two states that reacted completely different arrived at the same spot with similar case rates and death rates. I'm curious to see how long it takes to reach herd immunity and what this virus looks like as it becomes endemic like the flu and common cold.

I do know that I will keep walking. Will it be every day? I don't know, it has sort of become a part of what I do. I think that if I don't fit in a walk I will miss it.

How have you been coping during this past year? What was your escape?

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Intermediate Thermodynamics by Susannah Nix


Recently, I had read Remedial Rocket Science, the first book in the Chemistry Lessons series by author, Susannah Nix. The series is described on her website as "…standalone romantic comedies feature smart, geeky STEM heroines who discover that romantic chemistry isn’t as predictable as the laws of science…". I had thoroughly enjoyed reading that book, so as I waited on a couple of ARCS to arrive, I was fortunate to be able to get Intermediate Thermodynamics, the second book in the series, by Susannah Nix through the library and just finished reading it.



In Intermediate Thermodynamics, our heroine is Esther, an Aerospace engineer. The other primary characters that we are introduced to are her best-friend Jinny, her co-worker Yemi and her neighbor, Jonathan. I was pretty excited part-way into the story to discover that Jonathan was the same Jonathan we first met in Remedial Rocket Science when he had a blind date with Melody. Esther also works for the same company as Melody and Jeremy, just at a different location. I was so glad to get a glimpse, even if it was minimal, into the story of the characters we met in Remedial Rocket Science.

Esther has never really paid much attention to Jonathon, finding him an annoyance most of the time when she encounters him. Esther wants to help her best friend Jinny keep from falling back into a bad relationship, so when Jonathan asks for a favor, she flips the tables and agrees to help him out as long as he will help her out. Through this deal, she winds up spending time with Jonathan and discovering that me might not be as annoying as she once thought. The challenge is now that she set them up, she can't possibly fall for Jonathan, it would be a violation of the best friend code. Her actions nearly jeopardizes her friendship with Jinny and her new found connection with Jonathan. Its her brother that finally helps her recognize what she is doing and how to try to salvage things before it is too late.

Intermediate Thermodynamics was enjoyable and the short chapters helped keep the story moving. The characters were well developed, very relatable and likeable. I liked that Esther was established in her community, unlike Melody who was struggling to find a fit; Esther had a best friend, a connection with her co-worker, and a knitting group that supported her. Esther is at the same time very comfortable in her own skin at work (perhaps too so, when her boss calls her 'aggressive') and with her friends but not so much when it comes to guys. In fact, at one point, she tells Jonathan that she thinks she was meant to be alone since she would rather spend time alone or with friends over any man she has ever dated. To this he responds, 'maybe the problem isn't you, it's the kind of men you date.' He offers up more perspective, concluding 'you should be looking for someone you actually enjoy spending time with. Ideally, you're looking for a best friend. That's the goal, isn't it? To marry your best friend'. I loved Jonathan's perspective and I could totally relate to the self-doubting reaction that Esther had, asking Jinny the next time she sees her if she has bad taste in men.

If you are looking for a contemporary, romantic comedy story, I would highly recommend checking out this book. Although a series, each book can be read on it's own. There are five other books in this series and in addition, the Nix has several other books that I plan to check out. Up next, I will be requesting a copy of the third book in the series: Advanced Physcial Chemistry. In that one, the heroine is a Chemical Engineer...my degree!...so, I really can't wait to read it.



What are you reading?

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Roots of Wood and Stone by Amanda Wen

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

With the cold days of winter holding us firmly in its grip, it has been so nice to head to bed a little early each night and snuggle up under my covers to read. The book that I most recently read was the new Roots of Wood and Stone by Amanda Wen. The format of this book was differnt than most I have read in the past, the author calls it "inspirational split-time women’s fiction". The story was told within two separate time lines: a current and contemporary story, told alongside a historical story. Sloane is a historical museum curator. When Garrett comes by to drop off what Sloane perceiveds to be an ordinary satchel and other trinkets, she expects it is a bunch of things that she has no use for but soon discovers tucked into the satchel is a 19th century diary written by a young girl. It is this first found diary, and others that start to surface, that provide the storyline and narration about Annabelle, who lived in Sedgwick County, Kansas starting in the 1870s as a young girl and growing into a woman. It is the ongoing discovery of diaries and pictures that Garrett and his sister find at his grandma's house that begins to intertwine the stories of Sloane and Garrett. With each new discovery, he is excited to share the new find with her and finds himself pulled into the story, intrigued and wanting to help uncover more about Annabelle and how her story is connected to his grandma and her house.

One thing that I find interesting is that my newsfeed over the past week has had many posts and new stories about found pictures, diaries, documents, uncovered as people are remodeling their homes or found tucked away in an attic or basement. I've always been intrigued by the past and so I find those stories to be interesting on their own and certainly hope that those items find a family connection. However, coupling those stories with the book that I was reading, I found it strangely coincidental the timing of seeing those stories, given the pictures, the diaries and the history that they are discovering in the book as Garrett and his sister are cleaning out his grandma's house.

I enjoyed how the present day characters come to learn more about themselves through the discovery of the history of their community and family and the connections that they discovered and developed through this exploration. The interweaving of the two timelines is smoothly executed and really kept the story moving and the reader wanting to learn more. The story was filled with beautifully descriptive language delivering real-feeling details about the characters and the house that ties the stories together. I really enjoyed getting to know Sloane, Garrett, Annabelle and Jack, and appreciated the development of each of the love stories. Genearlly, the character development was good but there were many threads left unexplored that had me wanting to learn more about the characters, both past and present.

After I finished reading, I immediately went to look for what else the author had written and was surprised to discover that this story was Wen's debut novel. The cover references Sedgwick County Chronicles, so I am hopeful that there will be more stories to come in the series. And, as is always my hope when I discover friends in a book, I hope that when there are more books in the series that some of the same characters will be present, even as an adjacent character to the main story, just to remain connected and perhaps learn a little bit more about them too.

About the Book
This historic home holds the keys to their destiny . . . and their hearts

Abandoned at birth, her family roots a mystery, historical museum curator Sloane Kelley has dedicated her life to making sure others know theirs. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn't expect much from the common artifact . . .until she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary. Now she's on the hunt to find out more.

Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother's historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. With her advancing Alzheimer's, he can't afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles: Sloane, who's fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.

A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of Sedgwick County, Kansas. The diaries she left behind paint a portrait of life, loss, and love--and a God who faithfully carries her through it all. Paging through the diaries together takes Sloane and Garrett on a journey they never could have planned, which will change them in ways they never imagined.

This warm, beautifully written split-time novel will resonate with readers looking for stories that reveal the beauty of God's plan for our lives, and how our actions ripple for generations.

About the Author
Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. She has placed first in multiple writing contests, including the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity, the 2017 Phoenix Rattler, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions contests. She was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist.

Wen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She also frequently interviews authors for her blog and is a contributor to the God Is Love blog. Her debut novel, Roots of Wood and Stone, releases from Kregel Publications on February 2, 2021.

In addition to her writing, Wen is an accomplished professional cellist and pianist who frequently performs with orchestras, chamber groups, and her church’s worship team. She serves as a choral accompanist as well. A lifelong denizen of the flatlands, Wen lives in Kansas with her patient, loving, and hilarious husband, their three adorable Wenlets, and a snuggly Siamese cat.

To find Amanda Wen’s blog and short stories, visit www.amandawen.com. Readers can also follower her on Facebook (@AuthorAmandaWen), Twitter (@AuthorAmandaWen), and Instagram (@authoramandawen).


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, January 24, 2021

Remedial Rocket Science by Susannah Nix

Having gone to college for engineering and starting my career as an engineer, I found myself frequently in classes and on teams where the members were primarily male. In college, I joined SWE and was in an all engineering sorority. After school, it was important to me to have connections that could relate. Initially, most of these connections were co-workers in other STEM based careers. Then, a few years ago, I found and joined a mom's group on Facebook specifically for engineers. It is a great community and I enjoy the opportunity to ask questions of like-minded women, share 'nerdy' humor and help others by sharing my perspective on some of their questions. A few weeks ago, someone in that group posted about a book that they were going to check out called Remedial Rocket Science. I pulled up the description for it and thought, I want to check that out too. Our local library only had the e-book, so I had to request it through the library network. It took a while to arrive but as soon as I finished the last book, I started reading this one.
Remedial Rocket Science was the first book in the Chemistry Lessons series by author, Susannah Nix. The series is described on her website as "…standalone romantic comedies feature smart, geeky STEM heroines who discover that romantic chemistry isn’t as predictable as the laws of science…"

The book was awesome to read. Having come from a STEM background myself, I loved having a heroine who seemed to have similar priorities, interests and challenges to those that I had faced as a woman in STEM. We meet Melody at the end of her freshman year at MIT, when she meets a young man named Jeremy, who is visiting a friend in Boston for the weekend. They spend the evening connecting and exchange numbers before parting ways with the promise to reach out if he returns to Boston or she finds herself in LA. Fast forward three years and Melody is headed to California for a job interview and decides to reach out to Jeremy. They meet up for coffee while she is in town for her interview for an IT position as a local company and again when she moves out there. She learns that he has a girlfriend, amongst other things that keep her from being able to reconnect with him like she had back in Boston. This leaves Melody feeling a little bit alone in a new town, being in IT she works with a number of men, many of whom don't pay much attention or know who she is.

Melody meets Jeremy's girlfriend Lacey one night at dinner and Lacey later invites her to yoga. They become friends, spending time together at yoga and coffee after, run into each other at the company picnic and other events. Over time, their friendship did grow and there was one point where Melody reluctantly let Lacey set her up on a date with a guy ("what was it with people that were happily in a coupled wanting the rest of the world to be coupled too?"). When Melody first met him, she described him as cute..."one of her favorite flavors of cute". She found that they had some similar interests but generally didn't connect and after the date she reflected, "He wasn't so bad, really. She could see why Lacey had thought they'd hit if off." This whole experience rings so true.

I think one of my favorite quotes though is "Her feelings for [him] were like Schrodinger's Crush. As long as she didn't open the box, their relationship existed in a state of quantum superposition: both possible and impossible at the same time. She was too much of a wimp to find out whether the cat was alive or dead." What a great reapplication of a quantum theory!

Remedial Rocket Science was a very enjoyable book. It was a quick, easy read with the right length chapters to keep the story moving. The characters were well developed and so relatable.

If you are looking for a contemporary, romantic comedy story, I would highly recommend checking out this book. There are five more books in this series and she also has a number of other books. I think that I have found myself a new author. In fact, I already have requested the second book through the library network: Intermediate Thermodynamics.

What are you reading?

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Trailing a Killer by Carol J. Post

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

It's no secret, I love to read. I always have. And, once I start a book, I just want to keep reading. I have been known to take the book I am reading with me for a 10 minute car ride so I can sneak in a little extra reading and I have stayed up much later than intended to read 'just one more chapter'. This is especially true with a book that pulls you in and makes you unwilling to put it down. This was the case with Trailing a Killer by Carol J. Post. This book offered both a great non-stop suspenseful plot and touching love story.

From the beginning, the reader is dropped into the middle of the action as we join Erin and her rescue dog, Alcee on their way to a collapsed building during a storm for a rescue mission. She soon discovers that one of the people in the collapsed building is a man that she had a summer romance with in her youth - Cody, putting a more personal touch and interest to the overall situation and case. As the story unfolds, we start to learn more about their past together and with time, the things that had shaped them since they last saw one another. It is through this sharing that Erin also shares with Cody about her faith and he begins to explore his own. Through this progressive exposure of information, the characters are well developed and I found them to be very relateable.

As many young men would, Cody doesn't want to believe he is at risk after learning what caused the house to collapse and continues on with activities he perceives as 'lower' risk when Erin suggests he keep a low profile. It isn't until he finds himself nearly run off a bridge and dodging bullets in a parking lot that he realizes that he truly is at risk. It is only then that he agrees to essentially go into hiding but still winds up finding himself coming close to danger and in dangerous situations that could have gotten him killed because he is so trusting. Fortunately, he recognized the situation soon enough and was able to avert danger. Each time I thought I new who was after Cody, I decided I was wrong and I found myself trying to guess their identity to the end; it certainly was a surprise to me!

The story was quick moving, action and anxiety packed and the characters were very likeable, making the story very engaging. If you enjoy suspense stories, you should definitely check out this book and the others by Carol J. Post.

About the Book:

A killer with an explosive agenda…

And a K-9 and determined detective on the case.

In a hurricane’s aftermath, Detective Erin Jeffries is stunned when she and her search-and-rescue K-9, Alcee, uncover a collapsed building’s only survivor—her long-ago ex, Cody Elbourne. And it’s quickly clear that the disaster was no accident. Now only Cody can identify the man who set the explosives that killed his grandfather…and Erin must stop the killer dead set on silencing him.

About the Author:
From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special events decorating company, Carol's resume reads like someone who doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love for writing. She started as a child writing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles which actually made it into some religious and children's publications. Several years ago (more than she's willing to admit), she penned her first novel. In 2010, she decided to get serious about writing fiction for publication and joined Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter.

Carol lives in sunshiny Central Florida with her husband of thirty-two years, who is her own real-life hero, and writes her stories under the shade of the huge oaks in her yard. Besides writing, she works alongside her music minister husband singing and playing the piano and holds the position of church treasurer. She enjoys sailing, hiking, camping, almost anything outdoors. Her two grown daughters and grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all that nurturing into taking care of three fat and sassy cats and one highly spoiled dog.

You can learn more
about the author on her blog.



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.