Friday, May 31, 2013

Seeds of Evidence Book Review


 
 
I have a really good FBI story to tell you about called Seeds of Evidence about a little boy's body being washed up at the beach in Virginia and it was written by Linda J. White.
 
Here is an excerpt from the back of the book:
Stressed-out FBI Special Agent Kit McGovern returns to her grandmother’s Chincoteague Island home in search of peace. But when a little boy’s body washes up on the beach, Kit cannot resist throwing herself into the mystery of his murder. Her only clues: the tomato seeds in the Latino boy’s gut, and the acorns in his pockets. 
The medical examiner points out that the volume of tomato seeds in the boy’s gut could indicate he was from a farm worker’s family. But the acorns? Kit discovers they’re from a Virginia live oak, not native to the area where the boy was found. Can she use those to identify his origins anyway? And why hasn’t anyone reported him missing? 
Kit meets David O’Connor, a D.C. homicide detective in Chincoteague recovering from a shooting incident. She makes it clear she’s not interested in a relationship, but their passion for justice is mutual and they soon forge a partnership to find the boy’s murderer.  
As plant DNA evidence leads them straight into the dark world of human trafficking, Kit and David wrestle with the depths of human evil, with questions of faith, and with possibilities for hope. “Seeds of Evidence” takes readers on a white-knuckle ride they won’t soon forget. 
My Thoughts:

If you like the Murder/Mystery style of writing that Murder She Wrote used in the TV series, then you will love this book. Yes, there are some killings but no gory details and it is light hearted and then right in the middle of the investigation is the FBI Agent, Kit who was married to a man that left her after he finally finished going to school to get a degree and then he wanted out of the marriage.
 
Kit is in denial mode and keeps wondering what she did wrong and when she finds out he is getting married again, she really loses it. But, she has to pull herself together because they just found a 6 or 7 year old Mexican boy's body that washes ashore while she is walking on the beach.
 
David is a cop on medical/leave of absence from his job as a Homicide Detective from Washington, D.C. where he shot and killed a teen age boy whom he thought had a gun but he didn't and it's eating him alive, the guilt that he feels.

So, put the two of them together and it's like pulling teeth with Kit. Poor David really had to work overtime on her and in the process of all the kidnappings and a few deaths and then stumbling onto something even worse, David has a faith crisis and returns to D.C. to talk to someone who knows more than he does about God and Jesus and how the whole heaven thing works.

It's a good solid story about 2 people who are falling in love with one fighting it all the way and she is also struggling with her faith also.

Like I said earlier, if you liked watching the TV show called Agatha Christie then you will love reading this book. It is even actually safe enough that a teen could read it but only after the parent has and thinks it's age appropriate for her child.

Happy Reading!

ABOUT LINDA J. WHITE
 
By day, Linda J. White writes editorials for The Free Lance-Star, a newspaper in Fredericksburg, VA. By night, she plays the “what-if?” game, entangling engaging characters in “white-knuckle” plots.
 
Her first FBI thriller, “Bloody Point,” was published in 2005. “Seeds of Evidence” (Abingdon Press) will be released in April 2013. Linda’s husband, Larry, was a video producer/director at the FBI Academy for over 27 years.
 
Married since 1970, they have three grown children and now live with two dogs and two cats on two beautiful, wooded acres in Virginia.
  
Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. 

January Justice Book Review




You are going to love this book! It has everything you want in a mystery and a beautiful love story that ends way too soon and you will feel the same despair that Malcom Cutter does because it sounded like he had it all!

Here is an excerpt from the back of the book:
ONE OF THE STRANGEST THINGS ABOUT THE CITY was the sudden way it disappeared around the edges. One minute you were down on Sunset Boulevard surrounded by glass and concrete, and the next thing you knew you were up on Mulholland Drive, alone in the rough country.  
From a high window or a rooftop almost anywhere in Los Angeles you could see the mountains, and there was always something ravenous up there looking down. I was up among the hungry creatures, standing at the edge of a cliff, with Hollywood and Santa Monica far below me in the distance. One step forward and I would be in midair. I was looking down and wondering if Haley had considered how suddenly you could go from city to wilderness. 
Then I wondered if it was a distinction without a difference, if the city might be the wilderness and the wilderness the city, and maybe Los Angeles’s edges seemed to disappear so suddenly because there really was no separation between sidewalks and mountain paths, buildings and boulders.  
Up in the mountains or down in the city, either way the carnivores were in control. I imagined Haley, out of her mind, running full speed off the cliff. I wondered what it had been like, that final second or two before she hit. Had she realized what was happening? Did she recognize the city lights below for what they were, or did she really think she was flying toward the stars? And did she think of me?  
Stepping closer to the edge, I slid the toes of my shoes into the air. I looked down two hundred feet, toward the spot where she had broken on the rocks. I stood one inch from eternity and tried to imagine life without her. I could not summon up a single reason why I shouldn’t take that final step, except for one. I thought about the kind of animal who would drive someone to do what my wife had done.  
Predators like that were everywhere. I should know. I had trained for half my life to be one of them. I was hungry, looking down on the city.  
If I was going to live, the hunger would have to be enough, for now. But I would sink my teeth into him, sooner or later. I would do that for Haley, and for myself, and then maybe it would be my turn to see if I could fly.  
I stepped back from the edge.
This is one wild ride of a book! I have never read one of Mr. Dickson's books before but I will definitely be waiting to read the 2nd book!

This was a very good storyline and executed with precision and mysteries along the way Malcom Cutter is brilliant but also flawed. I don't think I would turn down that kind of money and all the houses and all the other properties and cars to boot,  if it had been left to me. Of course, by the end of the book, he had worked it out in his head that he would keep it so that he could continue to support Haley's charities.

I am also very happy that the 2 trusty and loyal sidekicks will be staying on also and he will be adding one more to the mix in the next book, if the ending is any indication.

You will want to stay up and read this book from start to finish once you get it. I know I did!

Info on Author:

A master of profound suspense.

Athol Dickson's mystery, suspense, and literary novels have won three Christy Awards and an Audie Award. Suspense fans who enjoyed Athol's They Shall See God will love his latest novel, January Justice, the first installment in a new mystery series called The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs. The second and third novels in the series, Free Fall in February, and A March Murder, are coming in 2013.

Critics have favorably compared Athol's work to such diverse authors as Octavia Butler (Publisher's Weekly), Hermann Hesse (The New York Journal of Books) and Flannery O'Connor (The New York Times). Athol lives with his wife in southern California. Please visit his website and like his Facebook fan page.

Praise for Athol Dickson's novels:

"Atmospheric, well-paced and powerfully imagined . . . a highly entertaining nail-biter." (Publishers Weekly)
". . . richly imagined . . . lyrically written . . . artfully constructed." (Bookwire)
". . . well-written . . . intelligent . . . suspenseful . . . engrossing." (Library Journal)
". . . elegant prose . . . very well written." (The New York Review of Books )

Thank you to Athol Dickson and Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for generously offering this book to me for review. If you'd like to join in on an upcoming tour just stop by their sites and sign up today!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Spellcaster's Grimoire Book Review


 
 
Oh, you are going to love this crazy, maniac and sometimes very funny book called The Spellcaster's Grimoire written by Mark All. I wasn't too sure myself if I was going to like it but the more I read the better it got and wow, what an ending!

Here is an excerpt from the back of the book:
Bestselling witchcraft author Trish Sinclair has a shameful secret: she’s a lousy spellcaster, and the spells in her books belong to others. So when a dying warlock entrusts her with an ancient and powerful grimoire, she runs for her life from his murderer, psychotic witch Kate Cavanaugh.  
Kate pursues Trish relentlessly to obtain the grimoire, which holds spells to command the fearsome power of a magic crystal hidden in town—and Kate is determined to have that power. When the town coven refuses to help Trish protect the grimoire, she is forced to turn to cynical warlock Aidan McCarthy, who has a secret agenda of his own, and Rain Devereaux, a novice witch whose spellcasting abilities are even worse than Trish’s.  
As Kate unleashes the elemental might of tornadoes and ice storms on the trio, they desperately struggle to defeat her. But Kate is too powerful, and she manages to steal the grimoire and unearth the crystal. Trish knows Kate will use the stone’s power to exact her deadly revenge on Aidan and the town coven unless Trish can manifest her latent magical abilities to save them.
I live in Georgia and knew some of the places that they took and made a little different than what it really is in real life, so it was fascinating to read and know a little bit better than the average reader because it's written about places not far from where I live.

Do you believe in witches and warlocks? If you go there then that means we would have to be taking into consideration that there very well could be vampires! Oh, just kidding!

This is one action packed book from the time you start until the time it ends. Everyone is in constant motion and of course there is a bad and mean witch and then a good witch who doesn't know she is a witch. They live in a town that is supposedly full of them and they still go to church! I found that tidbit a little weird and wondered, did someone ask a witch if she went to church?

Boy, I would like to be the fly on the wall in that room if that discussion ever comes up. But seriously, it's a great book for fun and to kick back and enjoy reading on a day when you feel like doing nothing else. You won't be disappointed as it will keep you quite occupied.

Happy Reading!

GRIM Book Review


Here is the excerpt from back of the book:
Who is the man behind the mask? When everything is taken from him, Detective Adam White must choose what's most important. Does he stick to the heroic ideals which made him a famed paragon of justice and take down a murderous madman?  
Or does he give in to his vigilante impulses, avenge his wife's murder, and become the type of killer he's hunted for so many years?
Wow, let me tell you, this book was packed with a lot of action that started on the first page all the way to the last paragraph! I never knew what was going to happen next. I tried to figure it out and then it would be something totally different than what I thought it would be.

I can tell you that the excerpt that I just wrote that is really the one on the back of the book, is totally misleading. There is so much in between those lines and what really happens that it will shock you silly!

This is a story about 3 completely different men but they all have one thing in common and that is that someone murdered a person that each man loved. In the case of the "real" masked man, it was 2 people, one a woman who he fell in love with while fighting in Iraq and she was killed by her own people for seeing an American soldier and the other person that the masked man loved was his father.

The other two men, one who is a homicide cop, lost their wives to men who are pure evil and don't care about anyone or anything except for what's in it for them. The man behind all the evil things is trying to buy up all the land in this one town where all three of these men live and if you don't cooperate, then he sends his enforcers out to make sure you change your mind.

This story has a lot of twists and plots I did not see coming about who is real and who isn't and which man thinks he is talking to real people when actually he is talking to their ghosts or he is hallucinating.  Then comes the final shocker as to how each man comes into a power that once a deal is made, it can't be broken or your worst fears will come true.

Or maybe not. This "shocker" might be good or evil, the book leaves it to you to decide. I am still trying to figure it out myself so don't ask me because I am still scratching my head on this one.

Happy Reading!
About The Author:
 
Joseph was married to Dr. Amy (Waggoner) Spencer, an accomplished veterinary doctor, on March 14, 2012. He received word his debut novel was accepted by his publisher, Damnation Books, the next day.
 
Joseph is hard at work on the rest of the series. Book 2 – Wrage – will be released June 1, 2013.  Murphy, a 15-year-old orange tabby, is perhaps the most vocal member of the family. The Spencer family enjoys reading Charlaine Harris, George R.R. Martin, Mary Janice Davidson, and most paranormal stories.
 
The Spencers also enjoy quoting movie lines from “The Princess Bride”, “Rain Man”, “Bridesmaids”, and “Office Space”. 

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hazardous Materials Book Review & Giveaway **Closed**


 
I have a new type of book to introduce you to and one that I normally don't read or write about so I took a risk just to unsettle things a bit and to keep from getting complacent with reading. I am very glad that I did that because this was a very good drama kind of book!
 
If you like some of the TV series about cops, firefighters, FBI or any drama, then you will love this book. It has it all and it's called Hazardous Materials written by Kurt Kamm.  And no it is not about nuclear weapons or chemical spills. It is actually about drug addicts and meth labs and what goes on when the fire department and HazMat officers are called in on a case.
 
Here is an synopsis of the book:
Bucky Dawson is a HazMat Specialist with Los Angeles County Fire Department HazMat Task Force 129. His station is in Lancaster,  CA—an area populated with meth labs and outlaw motorcycle gangs, as well as Edwards AFB, NASA, and top-secret aerospace facilities. 
One night, Task Force 103 is called out to support a Sheriff’s raid on a meth lab in the Mojave Desert. In the darkness, Bucky sees his sister at the door of a double-wide trailer before it explodes. 
Bucky’s life is in chaos. He is divorced, lonely and struggling with a painkiller addiction. His Battalion Chief tells him to stop using the pills. Will Bucky’s promising career come to an end?  Will motorcycle thugs prevent him from discovering the secret from his sister’s past?   
Why does the Sheriff’s use of a military drone to search for a meth lab lead Bucky into a deadly confrontation with a brilliant aerospace scientist?
 
I was very surprised about this book and it kept me interested enough that I spent half the night reading it and finished it because I did not want to wait until later to see what happens to Bucky. I don't sleep well because of my pain and health issues so around 3:00 am I woke up and could not go back to sleep because I was hurting so I grabbed this book and started reading. I did not finish until later on this morning, then laid down and slept a little more but still just a few hours and now I am up and decided to go ahead and post this really great book.
 
The other reason I got interested in this book is that it is also about Bucky taking prescription pain pills which he had a legitimate reason in the beginning to take percocets but then kept taking them and gradually worked his way up to taking even more and went so far as to order them from an online pharmacy (or a fake) and paid over $700 for them! I about had a heart attack when he did that twice!
 
He kept reading about the definition of a drug addict or substance abuse of percocets and even though he really fit the profile, he would answer no to all the questions. He made himself believe that he could stop at any time.
 
Unfortunately, his boss got an email from his doctor saying that he had asked for more and his boss told him he would be having a drug test in a week.  Where he tripped up at was the boss asked him if he was in pain and he said no he was fine and then he dropped the bomb about the email. It's against HIPPA laws to do that so I was a little puzzled about that.
 
It all worked out because during this time, Bucky had been beaten up several times by this biker gang that he kept bumping heads with trying to find out about his drug addict sister who liked being around bikers. He had even been dumped in the desert for 2 days wondering around so when the test came back positive, his boss decided to keep it under wraps but told Bucky to get a handle on it or he would lose his job.
 
This is a very good book with all the drama surrounding Bucky about several issues going on in his life.  It's one of those books you don't want to put down until you get to the end and find out what happens to him.  It was a pleasant surprise and I am glad I decided to read something quite different than what I normally read. Give it a try, I think you will be surprised also!

Happy Reading!

Check out Kurt's website or you can check out his Facebook page for more information.
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

StriMedix-K Spider Veins Treatment Review & **Closed**


 
If you have Spider Veins, Bruises or even Rosacea, you will want to read about this awesome product called StriMedix-K Spider Vein Treatment! I was very fortunate to get 3 of their awesome bottles to try.
 
Here are some of the benefits to using StriMedix-K:
 
**Vitamin K and Phytotonine compounds
**Helps coagulate seeping and broken capillaries
**Fades and clears discoloration
**Improves vein wall structure and valve health

I have some spider veins that stick out not on my legs actually but a few places on my belly that have always bothered me and so I used the StriMedix-K there and then a few times (after getting blood drawn) I would have some bruising and I used this on that, too! It really is amazing what they have some up with in recent years, isn't it?

I don't have Rosacea and really don't know anyone who does, so I won't be able to comment on that particular part but I can tell you about the veins and the bruising. I will give you some info on the Rosacea that is on their website and give you a broad sense of how it works.


StriMedix®-K Spider Veins Treatment is the leading solution for vein wall repair, clearing and fading nuisance spider veins, and healing and helping cure bruises, varicose veins, and adult rosacea.

Spider and thread veins and varicose veins are all venous disorders generally resulting from weak capillary or vein wall structure, damage, external pressure that causes protrusion, or malfunction or arterial or "feeder" valves.
 
Spider Veins (also known as Telangiectasias and sunburst varicosities) can pop-up at the worst times such as after pregnancy, strenuous exercise or standing over long periods.

It works so well because of the following. I am going to quote here as I see no reason to try and put in my own words when these tell the story much better and you will understand it more:

Professional-strength Phytotonine and Vitamin K formula in an Emu Oil and glycerin, non-greasy or oily base.  Penetrates deeper to coagulate seeping blood flow, restore vein health to avoid clogging and increased pressure, and help valve function.

  • 3% Vitamin K
  • 5% Phytotonine
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • 2% Emu Oil
  • Aloe Butter & Jojoba Oil
Common Causes and Remedies:

**Sclerotherapy & saline injections
**Laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
**Matrix GLA or MPG
**Venous K-1 or K-2 deficiency
**Valve or wall dysfunction
**Non-invasive healing of bruising, scar reduction, rosacea
 

Here is a good example of how it works on Spider Veins. I took this from their site since I don't have Spider Veins. The picture on the left is before using the cream and then on the right is after using.



Pretty darn good, huh? So, if you have these anywhere on your body, I think this cream will really work well. I have been using it on my belly and have seen some similar improvement. Sorry, but I am not taking pictures of my belly and putting here. It's a little too personal and I hope that you understand. That is why I grabbed this photo from their site, because it matches my belly and it's improvement.

Directions:

First, slightly hydrate and moisten skin with warm water. Apply twice daily to affected area, bruises, dark blood vessels, varicose and spider veins.
 
CAUTION: Concentrated application. Vitamin K is naturally yellow. Wash hands thoroughly after application. Avoid contact with the eyes and mouth. If contact is made with eyes or mouth, flush with cool water for 5 minutes, pat dry with a sterile, clean cloth. Topical application ONLY. Do not ingest.
 
Key Features:
  • 3% Vitamin K maximum-strength formula
  • 5% Phytotonine for increased cell elasticity
  • Coagulates and clears seeping blood in legs, neck, nose and face
  • Excellent for treating rosacea and deep tissue bruises
  • Vitamin E improve tissue and skin collagen and elastin development
And one last thing, I also found out it's good for those veins that we mother's get while or after pregnancy so I am going to start using the cream there next. See what they say about using the spider vein cream in that area. I haven't tried it yet but will or I would have given you my opinion.
 


 
Effective Treatment for:
  • Prominent and visible breast veins
  • Spider veins on, in, or around the bust
  • Blue, purple or red starburst or matting from pregnancy
  • Post-feeding or surgical care
  • Following implant, enlargement or augmentation
This is what I found under About Us:

Spider-Veins.us is a source dedicated to spider veins treatment, cures, and removal of varicose veins and rosacea.

A leading online source for products, information, recommendations and advice for preventing and helping cure spiderAbout Spider-Veins.us veins on the face, legs, and nose.  A complete collection of creams for treating, repairing and healing broken capillaries, seeping blood, and poor venous wall health.

Spider-Veins.us is your leading authority for resources, treatments and advice for removing spider, varicose and thread veins from the face, legs and nose.  Creams, lotions plus authoritative sites for the latest news, products and procedures from dermatologists and associations.
 
Connect with StriMedix several ways:

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 901

Grayson GA, 30017
Phone:  1-888-909-1658
Email:   info@spider-veins.us

Since I had (3) bottles I decided to give two away to two winners. Open in the U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone! If you have spider veins or any of these other problems, then this is the cream to use!

School of Wash Sugar Scrub Review


I have a really awesome sugar scrub to tell you about today called School of Wash and the scent I was sent to review is the Rose Vanilla. I am telling you, it is one intoxicating smell! I love Roses and have several bushes in my yard and my husband always gets me Roses for all celebrated moments or sometimes just for the heck of it or if I am sick and he wants to cheer me up!
 
Then when you add Vanilla to the mixture, it tones down the rose smell somewhat and what you have is something all together a very sexy and highly awesome, clean smell!  If you love the smell of roses then this is really going to rock your world! And possibly your husband's!
 
I have always been a sugar scrub nut and at one time even loved salt scrubs but with the RA and the way that my hands swell along with my skin being so sensitive, I have had to give up salt scrubs because they burn when I use them now, especially if I have a cut, and the RA doctor wants to minimize any risk of infections while on these immune suppressant medications. So, I am really grateful that there is still sugar scrubs and that they seem to be even more popular than ever.
 
Well, I just had a little bit of knowledge that I did not know about until just now. School of Wash evidently makes their Sugar Scrubs several ways! I try not to read up on a product so that when I do the actual testing myself, I am not looking for or being persuaded by something I read. I only go to the site and the product when I am ready to do the review, so that is why I never knew this.
 
You can actually get their Sugar Scrubs in either Regular, Thick or Thin depending on what kind of skin you have. Since I did not know that when I requested mine, I guess they must have sent the Regular. I looked all over the container but did not see anything that told me what I had, but there is none. If I do have the regular, it is perfect for me because there is just the right amount of oils in there to mix with the sugar.
 
I have really dry skin and my legs especially flake a lot. They used to not do that when I was younger but I think since my thyroid is not stable and I take so many medications for all the different health issues that my skin has gotten drier over the last few years. I think having RA hasn't helped either.
 
But, with SOW's awesome Rose Vanilla Sugar Scrub, my skin is feeling much more smoother and silky than it has in a long time. I can't explain the really wonderful smell that it has left on my skin! It's a very unique smell and all I can say is Kudo's to School of Wash for making one of the best sugar scrubs I have tried in awhile! I love this scent and will remember to get more when this one runs out.
 
Here is SOW's description of their Sugar Scrubs:
Renew dry, rough skin with School of Wash Handmade Sugar Scrub. Whether you need relief from a long, hard winter, or struggle with dry skin all year long, our sugar body scrub will sooth and moisturize your skin.  
Cane sugar exfoliates dead skin cells while sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, and vitamin E oil condition and restore your skin’s natural balance. Our handmade sugar body scrub is intensely moisturizing, so you can skip the lotion and enjoy silky smooth skin.
Their Sugar Scrubs are Paraben-free and no added colors. It really does just look like sugar & oil. You can get their scrubs in two sizes: 4 fluid ounces (120 mL) and 8 fluid ounces (240 mL). Also, as a safety precaution, please be careful if you have the kind of shower that is a tub that you have to step up and over because the oils from sugar scrubs do make the showers or tubs slippery. I have a walk in shower with a bench seat and that is usually where I apply the sugar scrub so I am sitting when I do it then rinse off.

Directions: Apply a small amount to the desired area and lightly rub in a circular motion. Rinse. You should not exfoliate more than twice per week with this product. Not for use on the face. There are special exfoliation scrubs for your face, so please don't use body scrubs as they are a little more coarse than those that are made for the face.

Ingredients: Cane Sugar, Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Fragrance Oil, Germall Plus (non-paraben based preservative).

As for the scents, my gosh, you will just have to go over there and check them out for yourself. There were so many, I lost count after awhile. But, there was one that caught my eye because Bath & Body Works used to carry a lotion and body wash in this scent and they don't anymore, but it was one of my all time favorites and that was Brown Sugar & Fig. I am surprised I did not see that when I chose my scent, but, I still don't regret my Rose & Vanilla because I really wanted to try something new and thankfully it is a scent I am crazy about!

School of Wash has so many other products for you to choose from and they carry products for kids, you, men and even your pet! A while back I had won Charlie, my Yorkie a spray to refresh him in between baths and it works beautifully! I chose the Lavender Vanilla for him and it works like a charm!


Here is a little information on Charlie's product:

Now your furry little friends can smell just as good as you! Lulu’s Pet Spritz keeps your pet smelling fresh, long after bathing! Use immediately following your pet’s bath or between baths. It leaves your pet’s coat soft, manageable and smelling great for days!

This product is safe for both dogs and cats. And it's just perfect for Charlie. It is not an overwhelming scent, just a clean and fresh smell that hides that doggy odor they get sometimes. And as with the human scents, the list is enormous or I would tell you about them. You have got to go and see for yourself. It's unbelievable at the choices!

Pet Spritz Ingredients: Water, Nonionic Surfactant, Polydiaalkylsiloxanes, Sodium Exylene Sulfonate, Ditric Acid, Fragrance Oil and/or Essential Oil.

Lastly, I found one product that I would love to try and when I get low on some of my perfumes, I would love to try this one out. It's called Handmade Solid Perfume:

 
They have this in over 245 Scents! Is that not crazy? They even have the Rose & Vanilla as one of the scents along with the Brown Sugar & Fig! OMG, I could go crazy on this one. They have several that really has my curiosity peaked such as Underwater Fantasy, Blue Candy, Magic Potion, Tea Rose, Pixie Dust and Moon Shimmer. I have never heard of any of those scents and there were plenty more but those are the few I saw that I thought would be awesome to try!
 
They also come in scents that have Essential Oils in them whereas the ones I just mentioned above don't. They have 26 scents that have the EO's in them and you will see them listed. I won't go into what is the difference but there is and it has to do with the properties that are in EO's that make them different than the regular solid perfumes. Maybe next time if I get to review one of the ones with EO's in them, we will discuss it at that time.
 
Here is what I found in the About Us that I thought was important to know: 
Our products really are “KID TESTED AND KID APPROVED”! 
Our FRESH Promise:  We believe fresh ingredients are not only important on your dinner table, but also in your bathroom.  We only use the highest quality ingredients and make all our products at the time of ordering.   
Our Products are – Paraben-free, Talc-free, SLS-free, Sulfate-free, Sodium Chloride-free, FRESHLY made when ordered and contain No Dyes. 
We deliver quality, FRESH products to your door.  Because YOU deserve the Best! 
“The products from School of Wash were wonderful. But, knowing they are handmade AFTER you order them is amazing. They are not sitting on a shelf for who knows how long before being purchased. They are FRESH and made just for you. Your scent, your product, your creation!  
They are also Paraben-free, Talc-free, SLS-free, Sulfate-free, Sodium Chloride-free, and contain no dyes so they are safe even for the most delicate skin. I would definitely recommend their products to anyone and can’t wait to add more to my own collection!”
Connect with School of Wash several ways:

Facebook | Twitter |

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.

Space Warriors DVD Giveaway**Closed**


About Space Warriors:
Six highly skilled teenagers are handpicked to be part of a summer space camp competition at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. As the competition heats up, the kids have no idea that their ultimate challenge will be to solve a life or death crisis aboard the International Space Station as the world anxiously watches.

Starring: Thomas Horn, Danny Glover, Josh Lucas, Dermot Mulroney, Mira Sorvino and Booboo Stewart.
 
Space Warriors is the second film in the Walden Family Theater original lineup featuring great family entertainment, airing Friday nights exclusively on Hallmark Channel. Walden Family Theater is creating films for the whole family to enjoy together, so make sure to mark your calendars and gather around the television to watch all the great upcoming films!

Past films include: "The Chronicles of Narnia" series, "Holes", "Nim's Island", "Charlotte's Web", and "Return to Nim's Island."

 
Win a Family Trip to SPACE CAMP! - Tune in to Space Warriors on Hallmark Channel May 31 at 8/7c for the secret keyword to win a family trip to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s Space Camp!

How Spacey Are You? QUIZ – Are you a Space Warrior? Do you use the stars to navigate your journeys instead of the map function on your smartphone? Take this quiz to find out whether you're destined to orbit the cosmos or whether you're happiest living here on this planet.

Prepare for Blast-off! Space Warriors Viewing Guide – Mark your calendars for May 31st and check off the boxes as you watch Space Warriors for the most spectacular, spaciest experience!

Disclosure: I am working with the Walden Family Theater and that Walden Family Theater supplied these materials to me.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ecos Laundry Detergent & Dish Detergent Review


I have two products to tell you about that Earth Friendly Products sent me to review and they are:
1.) Ecos Liquid Laundry Detergent
2.) Dishmate Almond Scented Dish Detergent
 
Let's talk about the Laundry Detergent first which is what I used first anyway. I loved that it lasted a really long time.  I didn't keep up with exactly how many wash loads because Mike washed some loads that I did not know about so my tracking system went out the window. I can say that we did wash a lot because Mike has a uniform he has to wear then he comes home and showers and puts another set of clothes on.
 
So, he is changing twice a day and that spells disaster for me.  It also means he is using towels twice a day also.  There is only 3 scents to choose from and they are Lemongrass, Magnolia's & Lilys and Lavender.  I did not know about the Lavender or I would have chosen it or asked for it but I didn't and so they sent Magnolia's & Lilys, which actually wasn't that bad after all.
 
 
Ultra-concentrated features of Laundry Detergent:
  • use 2.0 oz per FULL load for TOP loading machines; for smaller loads adjust downward
  • use 1.0 oz per FULL load for FRONT loading HE machines; for smaller loads adjust downward
  • Competitively priced compared to natural and mainstream detergents based on #oz/load and loads/container.
  • Contains coconut-based fabric softener
  • Free of enzymes, phosphates, chlorine, and petroleum ingredients
  • Low sudsing: Great for top loading and front loading machines and hand-washing
  • Septic tank and gray-water system safe: biocompatible with a wide variety of wastewater and gray water treatment systems; doesn’t eliminate bacteria that make septic systems work efficiently
  • Easy to recycle #2 HDPE plastic containers

Uses:
  • Ideal for hand-washing (esp. cold-water washing)
  • Ideal and gentle enough for baby clothes and delicate fabrics
  • Use in all temperatures
  • Suitable for all types of fabrics
  • Great for top loading and front loading machines
  • Fragrance-free is great for persons allergic/sensitive to natural oils/fragrances
Benefits:
  • Doesn’t irritate skin.
  • Doesn’t eliminate bacteria that make septic systems work efficiently
  • It really works
  • Safe for you and the environment
  • Non-toxic/non-polluting
Now, isn't that impressive? I was so happy to learn that I could have my cake and eat it too! Basically, I get clothes that are clean and smell good and I also don't have to worry about the clothes anymore having all those chemicals on them. Our clothes come out smelling fresh and clean with an outdoorsy fresh scent. Kudos to Earth Friendly Products for making some awesome products we can enjoy.
 
 
Now, we have the Dishmate Almond Scented dish detergent. I have to admit right now that I have a dishwasher that does the majority of our dishes but I do hand wash our pots and pans and some various other mixing bowls and such when I am baking. They take up too much room in the dishwasher so I will wash those and leave the dishes and such in there.
 
A powerful hand dish washing product that is naturally hard on grease and not your skin.  They do recommend that you squirt only a small amount into your sponge for cleaning dishes so you can experience the power of this concentrated formula.  Dishmate also acts as a great cleaner for hand washable clothes too. Wow, can you believe that?
 
So, I can get both things in the Dishmate?  Mmm, I may have to think about this because it sure would help me in our finance department.  I didn't realize it could do that until just now, so I am sorry I don't have any info on how that part works.  This part about the use of dish detergent as exactly that, is another amazing story. It really doesn't take much so I would recommend starting out real small and add as needed until you get the correct picture. 
 
There are 6 choices for the Dishmate and they are:
 
Almond, Grapefruit, Apricot, Lavender, Pear and Free & Clear (for sensitive folks with allergies).
 
 Features:
  • ultra-concentrated liquid dish washing product
  • pH 6.4-7.5; gentle on hands
  • Non-polluting/100% biodegradable/non-toxic/natural.
  • Made of replenishable/sustainable ingredients
  • Plant-based surfactants we use do not harm the item being cleaned, your body or the environment
  • Free of harsh fumes or vapors
  • Pleasantly scented with expensive, pure, natural almond and cherry oils
  • excellent grease-cutting capabilities
  • Low-foaming/sudsing
  • softens hands while doing dishes
  • no streaking or spotting
  • Septic tank and gray-water system safe: biocompatible with a wide variety of wastewater and gray water treatment systems; doesn’t eliminate bacteria that make septic systems work efficiently
  • competitively priced compared to natural and mainstream dish detergents.
  • Easy to recycle #1 PETE container
  • Palm oil FREE
Uses:
  • Use to hand-wash dishes.
  • Can be used as a liquid hand soap and bath/shower soap
Benefits:
  • Doesn’t eliminate bacteria that make septic systems work efficiently
  • It really works
  • Safe for you and the environment
  • Non-toxic/non-polluting
 
I love that it doesn't seem to dry out my hands like other detergents do so I will keep this in mind when it's time to get another one. I would recommend any of these scents in this product because I have really bad dry skin and will cause me to itch for hours at a time. You can also go HERE to see the safety precautions on this product if you would like.
 
Earth Friendly Products have so many more products that you can choose from to make your home almost totally Eco-Friendly. I can't talk about all of them but I will mention a few so you can see how great this is and that it is going to catch on quickly!
 
They actually carry paper products for the bathroom and kitchen along with lots of Household Cleaning products such as floor cleaners, furniture polish, silver polish, ice melt, hand dishwashing, and lots of many more products.
 
They even have pet products such as odor control, laundry detergent to clean your pet's toys, pet shampoo, dander remover, pet wipes and litter control to name a few of them.
 
I found this in the About Us section:
Earth Friendly Products is a “champion” in the eyes of the Environmental Protection Agency and its Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative, or SDSI. We are committed to the use of safe surfactants (wetting agents in detergent “that break down quickly to non-polluting compounds and help protect aquatic life in both fresh and salt water,” as the EPA says).  
In accordance with SDSI, our products are readily biodegradable, non-toxic, free of phosphates, and have a neutral pH. Because they are plant-based and petroleum-free, our surfactants do not bio-accumulate or mimic human hormones.
We are very proud to have won awards and recognition, including:
  • Being chosen as one of the “Best in the Green” products by Avalon Communications (2007).
  • Best line of cruelty-free household products from PETA (2007).
  • Readers’ Choice Award from Natural Home Magazine for best cleaning products (2002).
  • Quality Institute International (American Culinary Institute) 2002/2003 Gold Performance Award/Medal for best citrus-based cleaners.
  • Socially Responsible Business Award (2003) 
  • Earth Friendly Products has international distribution of a retail line of over 60 household products, an industrial/bulk Pro-Line of over 25 products, and a Natural Pet Care Line of 16 items. Our products may be purchased at a variety of retail outlets and on our web site.
  • FIRST To eliminate 1,4 Dioxane, a carcingoen, from all products.
  • FIRST To stop use of salts in all cleaners, an action necessary to protect water supplies.
  • FIRST To eliminate Formaldehyde, a pernicious toxin.
  • FIRST / ONLY To introduce a patented nuetral pH automatic dishwashing product, WAVE® Gel.
  • TOP SELLING Green Laundry product worldwide, ECOS® laundry detergent.
  • ONLY Green manufacturer with plants strategically located in 5 regions.
  • FIRST To generate more than 50% of our plant electrical needs by using solar panels.
  • FIRST In sustainability.
  • ONLY Green primary manufacturing company. We're a one-link supply chain. We don't contract our manufacturing to others. We control the entire process. We respond to new research and customer preferences immediately.
Connect with Earth Friendly Products several ways:

By Mail Earth Friendly Products
111 S Rohlwing Rd
Addison, IL 60101
Phone:  1-800-335-ECOS (3267) x 10
Fax:      1-847-446-4437
Email:   contact@ecos.com

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.

When The Morning Glory Blooms Book Review


I took this book to read because it was a little different than just an ordinary book about romance. I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I have. It's called When the Morning Glory Blooms written by Cynthia Ruchti.
Here is an excerpt from the back of the book:
Becky rocks a baby that rocked her world. Sixty years earlier, with her fiancĂ© Drew in the middle of the Korean Conflict, Ivy throws herself into her work at a nursing home to keep her sanity and provide for the child Drew doesn't know is coming.  
Ivy cares for Anna, an elderly patient who taxes Ivy's listening ear until the day she suspects Anna's tall tales are not the ramblings of dementia. They're fragments of Anna's disjointed memories of a remarkable life. Finding a faint thread of hope she can't resist tugging, Ivy records Anna's memoir, scribbling furiously after hours to keep up with the woman's emotion-packed, grace-hemmed stories.  
Is Ivy's answer buried in Anna's past? Becky, Ivy, Anna--three women fight a tangled vine of deception in search of the truth.
Okay, you are going to have to keep up with this book because it switches around a lot about 3 different families and I still am not sure if I understand the ending. I get the first 2 stories, but the last one has escaped me. Well, I take that back, it kind of sounds like maybe the last family is living across the street from the house where Ivy lives, still.

It's a very heartwarming story starting with Anna and all that she lives through and then Ivy appears in her life when she needs someone the most. She is pregnant and the baby's father is in Korea and turns up missing.

Then years later in 2012, Becky and her family move across the street from Ivy who is now living alone herself and has Morning Glories all over the side of her house. She offers the new family a packet filled with seeds for them to plant when they are ready.

I can't give to much information on this story because it will tell you what it's all about and how it ends. And the story is the part that is the best! So, I hope you indulge yourself one day and get the book and read it. You won't be sorry.

It might also offer you some solace as their is a strong faith based woman in this story who receives some special orders from a special man who makes her world better.

Happy Reading!

A Ranger's Tale Book Review


Have you noticed lately that I have been doing a lot of Fantasy type books? I don't know, it's new mood I am in and can't explain why other than I have found it helps me cope with my health issues and the pain I am experiencing on a daily basis right now. 
So, I love these books because they are an escape to a whole new dimension that have nothing to do with my life. I have always liked Science Fiction/Thriller movies such as Star Trek and other space type movies. These books are now one of my favorites, because it has nothing to do with my life. I can dream with them and forget about our world, Earth. Plus you get a some romance also.
A Ranger's Tale is an awesome book about Faeries, Elves and Magicians. It is written by Mysti Parker and she has a lot more of them to read in the same line as A Ranger's Tale. It's about different couples so you won't get bored by the same characters all the time, which I don't, as long as it's a new story, I could read about the same couple for quite awhile myself.
 
Here is an excerpt from the back of the book:
In the world of Tallenmere, an elven noblewoman longed to leave her gilded cage. A half-breed former pirate wanted nothing more than to escape his guilty past. Easier said than done...  
High elf Caliphany Aranea leads an enviable life as King Leopold's niece and daughter of Sirius, Leogard's most famous wizard. Yet, being forced to follow in her father's footsteps and being betrothed to a man she doesn't even like makes her want a taste of life outside the city walls.  
As a young boy, half-elf Galadin Trudeaux witnessed his parents' death at the hands of pirates. After being raised by those same murderers and forced to do their bidding, he escaped and now lives an honest life as a sea merchant and ranger.  
When two brutes at Leogard Harbor attempt to kidnap Caliphany while she dreams of faraway lands, Galadin comes to her rescue. Impressed by his skills, she asks him to train her as a ranger. Though he is hesitant at first to train a woman of her class, Caliphany's hefty sack of gold finally persuades him. Unfortunately, her father is not amused, and the two must escape before Caliphany faces a forced marriage and Galadin faces a noose. 
From that moment on she and Galadin embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Only if they can survive the trials ahead, will they find a love that stands the test of time.

I wasn't too sure about the book in the first couple of pages but then after they went on to the couple when they were adults, that is when it really got interesting. I loved Cali's and Galadin's romance and the marriage.
 
I however, was not happy with his ship wrecking and then presumed dead for about a year. I don't know about most women, but I would not have done what Cali did next. She did something that I thought was pretty callous and I would have waited a lot longer and then the problems that she incurred because of her weakness, lead everyone down a dark road and a lot of people got hurt because she can't seem to control her need of attention.
 
Shoot, I was single until my late thirties and managed to live on my own. I raised a child without a father and I don't make rash decisions that hurt a lot of people. I further was upset about the fact that she compounded the situation by choosing the wrong man for the wrong reasons.
 
If I had been Galadin, I would not take her back. Because of things she did not disclose earlier in the book, I felt a little irritated with her character and acting like some wounded hero bearing a huge loss.
 
But, it's a book and they can make the people in the books do unreal things that real people I hope would not do. It really is a very good book and you will enjoy it immensely. Even though I am upset that she appears after all, what she was, a noble with privilege and who had never suffered and did not know how to handle herself.  She reminded me of a spoiled child who wants it all.
 
However, I still recommend the book because maybe you will love the story, all the good and all the bad. It's a great story, even if I am peeved at what she did. I guess that in itself is a good thing because the book did engage me and I had to stay up all night to finish it because I had to know if things would get back on track.
 
Happy Reading!

The author has agreed to give one winner their choice of either an ebook, or a ecopy of the book in PDF, mobi or ePub formats. Good Luck Everyone! This is open worldwide because of it being an ebook. Thanks to Mysti for letting someone have one of these!

Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.

BeginAgain Toys Review & Giveaway **Closed**


I have a really great company to tell you about that has some really awesome handmade toys/games for kids to play or get creative and the best part is that they are safe and they will hopefully teach our children to be creative and once again want to play the old fashioned way! The name of the company is BeginAgain Toys.
 
I was sent this really creative Artist's Kit and a real old fashioned Yo-Yo! I haven't seen one of those made out of wood in a very long time! Take a look and see what you think:
 
 
Do you think you could work an old fashioned wood one? I am not sure I could because they also used old fashioned string for the part that really makes the Yo-Yo go up and down:
 
 
They come in brightly stained colors, eco-friendly version of a timeless toy that has been popular with kids around the world since ancient times. Simple, elegant & fun! Did you know that it is the 2nd oldest toy? I sure didn't. I know I played with them way back a long time ago but for the life of me, I can't remember what color or what kind. Too bad because I had hoped I would remember such things but I don't.
 
This is a better look at the Artist's Kit and what all it contains inside. It has Velcro that holds all the sides together and there isn't much about this kit that could harm your child but since all children are different, please go over any of the kits that you get and make sure they are all within your safety guidelines.
 
 
As you can see below, it comes with pencils, crayons, a notebook to color in which is in the picture above and there are all these wooden shapes that help them draw and create all kinds of things that children's minds are capable of making.
 

I think the one with all the circles would make an awesome looking snowman. Not sure what to do with all the stars or the other thing that almost looks like a sleigh or an elf's shoe, maybe?
 
The Artist's Kit is a very versatile collection of tools to make your child feel like he or she can make whatever they may dream about.
This natural cotton carry case with built in crayon holster, pencil holders and pockets is fully equipped with a 6"x9" recycled paper notepad, 10 soy crayons, 5 drawing stencils including a 6" ruler (metric and inches), 2 wood pencils, and plenty of storage! Perfect  for restaurants when waiting for your food, airports, and road trips. This 8"x10"carry case fits in a baby bag and has built in handles for the little ones to carry proudly.
 
I took this picture off of their site so you would see the complete package and how they utilized the space inside the kit.
 
They have so many other's to choose from like the Dog Family Puzzle that is collected into a box and all the pieces are made of wood.  They also have the Cat Family Puzzle, Elephant Family Puzzle, Moose Family Puzzle, Wolf Family Puzzle and the Bear Family Puzzle. Below is what the Dog one looks like:
 
 
This 6 piece puzzle is hand-crafted & finished with child-safe paints and made from plantation grown rubberwood, an environmentally friendly hardwood.
 
They also have something called the Inventor which is toys where they have to use their imagination or you can use them to help with their letters or numbers, whichever one that they need help with the most and I think the Dinosaur Kit would be perfect!
 
 
They have a lot more toys you can choose from and I wish I could show all of them to you but that isn't possible. Go over to their site and see if there are some things you can squeeze into your child's life so that he really has to concentrate for just a little while.

Oh, I did find a picture of a good part of the store and it looks amazing!
 
Here is what BeginAgain Toys has to say:
Welcome to the BeginAgain workshop! This is the place where we tell you all about us. To start, we are an imaginative toy company located in Fort Collins, Colorado.  
BeginAgain was founded on the principles, ideas, and inventions of Benjamin Barlowe, an early 20th century inventor from Fort Collins. Ben's fantastic tales and astute observations of his grandchildren, Zadie and Fuller, are the inspiration behind our products. His archive overflows with tinkered toys, playful mechanisms, and incredible stories filled with nostalgia, history, and lessons on how things used to be. 
Created by toymakers David Bowen and Chris Clemmer–two of the co-founders of Sprig Toys–BeginAgain is focused on thoughtful product design and imaginative storytelling for today's kids. It is our goal to inspire children with stories of invention, adventure, and good old-fashioned fun.  
BeginAgain toys teach through play and nurture the development of the whole child.
Connect with BeginAgain Toys several ways: 
Mailing Address:
201 Linden Street, Suite 204
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Phone: (970) 372-0522
Email: info@beginagaintoys.com
The awesome folks at BeginAgain Toys are going to give one winner the same Artist Kit and Yo-Yo that I just reviewed. I think your kids are going to love these awesome products. Open in the U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Greater Treasures Novella Review


 
I have a very interesting different book or Novella that I have to tell you about. You know, half the time when you agree to review something, you take in on faith, never knowing what is going to fall into your hands. 
 
Greater Treasures is written by Karina Fabian and her stories are sort of like Soap Opera's or let's say your Grey's Anatomy show.  The Novella is like segments of a greater whole. It's a quick read in about an hour or two depending on how you read.  She has chopped up what one would consider a full book and made the chapters into small bursts of segments that make it easy to read and understand, as long as you keep reading each one so that you know what's going on.
 
In Greater Treasures, this particular story centers on two people, or should I say one person and a dragon by the name of Vern. His partner in a PI Investigation partnership that is called DragonEye, PI is Sister Grace who is a nun in the "high mage" of the Faerie Catholic Church, which means she can do magic or cast spells.
 
From what I gather since I didn't get to read any previous segments, there has been some sort of portal that has opened up and the Magical World of magic, dragons & faeries to be able to cross over into our world. It was not a very welcome thing but they finally co-exist in a town called Los Lagos, Colorado.
 
Now, Vern isn't your typical dragon, he is not as big as a real one is supposed to be because he did something in the other world that caused him to lose his height, lessened his fire power and his magic.  So, to earn those back, he has to help keep the peace so to speak on both worlds, ours and his. They have to live in Los Lagos, Colorado where there is more of a need of it and he is paired with Sister Grace.
 
Seems like a lot of people want to kill Faeries and there are even Faerie killers who try to do that all the time. I couldn't tell for sure from this segment, but I am thinking that Vern is the only dragon to cross over and that was not by choice. I think he was made to come.
 
So, Vern and Sister Grace try to keep the peace between both worlds and keep the bad elements from getting their hands on magical things and sometimes, they risk their lives to do so.
 
They sound like great little books if you only have a few hours here and there to read and keep up with the series. 
 
Here is an excerpt from the back of the book:
Being a private detective in the border town of the Faerie and Mundane worlds isn’t easy, even for a dragon like Vern. Still, finding the wayward brother of a teary damsel in distress shouldn’t have gotten so dangerous.  
When his partner, Sister Grace, gets poisoned by a dart meant for him, Vern offers to find an artifact in exchange for a cure. However, this is no ordinary trinket—with a little magic power, it could control all of mankind. Can Vern find the artifact, and will he sacrifice the fate of two worlds for the life of his best friend?
You can find out more about these books at Fabianspace and you can purchase them at Amazon. And lastly, you can check out her blog HERE. I think between all three of these avenues, you will get a better understanding of what she is doing.

I think this would be great stories for your teen or yourself if you love to read but don't have time, or prefer short books versus longer ones. I can do either so I get the concept and I hope that you do too!

 Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.