Friday, November 28, 2014

Merry Christmas Giveaway Hop**Closed**

Hosted by Planet Weidknecht & LeahSay's Views
Welcome to Mary's Cup of Tea and the Merry Christmas Giveaway Hop!
Thanks so much for stopping by to enter my giveaway package. I have listed the awesome goodies below and each line item is a link back to the sponsor review. I did this so you can see the product and also if you would like to take advantage of the Bonus Entries by leaving comments on the reviews. The Bonus Entries will be on the Rafflecopter form. This is not mandatory.
Don't forget to follow the Linky List below that will take you to some other blogger's sites to enter to win even more prizes! Good Luck Everyone! Open in the Continental United States only.
1.)  Newman's Own Organics Chocolate & Cookies Package valued at $50.00
2.)  Udderly Smooth Gift Basket valued at $45.00
3.)  Nonni's Biscotti Bites, pack of 3, valued at $14.76
4.)  Smart Media Laptop Desk valued at $40.00
5.)  Libre Tea Mugs, set of 3 valued at $80.25
Total Value of Package is $230.00
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Udderly Smooth Basket of Producs Sponsor Spotlight Review

Let's talk about the Udderly Smooth Udder Cream because I do have some very dry spots on my elbows and on my knees and legs. I am more partial to heavier creams because they soak into my skin and make it fell more silky smooth. You are going to love Udderly Smooth Udder Cream! Original Udderly Smooth Udder Cream is a greaseless, stainless water-based moisturizer with a light fresh fragrance. It was originally developed for use on dairy cows, Udderly Smooth Udder Cream is used by many people for their dry and chapped skin. I loved the way my skin just drank it up like it was thirsty for water!
The gift box contained:

1.  Udder Cream
2.  Vitamin E Cream
3.  Foot Cream
4.  Body Cream 
5.  Hand and Body Lotion
6.  Udderly Smooth Hat
7.   Pump to Use on Creams if needed
8.   Cow Bowl

The Foot Cream really helps my feet as they are probably the driest part of my body and I don't know why because I hardly wear socks and shoes anymore so they get plenty of ventilation! But, you will love it as much as I do! The cream evaporates into your skin so you don't feel greasy or oily. It comes in an 8 oz tub.

The next time that you buy Udderly Smooth Cream think about how that cream has many more uses than what we know about and the good that it is doing for some people. Retail stores will usually stock Udderly Smooth in the pharmacy, first aid, travel/trial or skin care department. And did you know this:  Udderly Smooth® is available in 2 oz tubes, 4 oz. tubes, 8 oz jars, 10 oz with pump, 12 oz jars, 16 fl. oz bottles and 32 fl oz bottles. 

Also, I wanted you to know this as it might helpa loved one down the road or even now if you know someone who is either diabetic or has cancer:

Many individuals are finding relief using Udderly Smooth® Udder Cream on their hands and feet to keep their skin moisturized and to prevent peeling and cracking of the skin. Udderly Smooth® is included in patient starter kits for several chemotherapy drugs. Udderly Smooth® is recommended by clinics, nurses, pharmacists and oncology professionals for use on Hand Foot Syndrome. Consult with your health care professional before using Udderly Smooth® on your skin.
Okay, on this one I am "udderly" stumped! There is no picture or information on their website for this one so maybe it is totally new. But it is totally awesome! When I first opened the jar it looked exactly the way your butter looks when you see it. Very firm and did not move one iquota! But as soon as it touched my skin, it melted and went on smoothly and it really smells good. I love the fragrance that they use in all of their products. Very nice and very light with a crisp clean smell.  I may have just found my new best friend for hands and my elbows!

Do you know how cracked and dry your hands can get, especially in the winter? I practically delved my hands into that yummy white creamy stuff! That is why I love the new Vitamin E Smooth Body Cream, but I am using it as a hand cream, too! I also used some of it on my scars on both knees from my knee replacements. I did use plain Vitamin E oil when I first had the operations and they worked wonders in reducing the scars. And I don't think it hurts one bit to try to get them to shrink even more now.

Lastly, they snuck a new one in on me and I have been going round and round in circles because I did not catch the name, I just saw the bottle and figured it was the other one. This new version of the Hand & Body Lotion is alot lighter and not so heavy.  Seems like they had quite a few people suggesting they change the formula so they did and now we have a lighter, less greasy and just plain ole good for you! Everything else is self explanatory and I must say I have enjoyed working with them over and over. Very nice people!
Also you will get this awesome looking hat! I can't wait for spring so I can wear it out while gardening or going for walks. It's too cold here now to talk walks. I bet there aren't many people who have this hat, not around here anyway!  Hey, I need to wear this to Chick Filet one day, what do you think? Totally going to do it!

And then lastly, you will get this hilarious cereal bowl! I have never laughed so much in a very long time so this was way overdue! It's the cutest thing I have ever seen and it can be used for other things besides a cereal bowl, such as an ice cream bowl, snack bowl on your coffee table or even use it for soups or other foods that need to be put in a bowl instead of a plate. Very unique and very funny bowl that you will get lots of enjoyment from!
Found this on the first page and it's a little about their history so I thought I would share it!
Made in the USA for over thirty years, Udderly Smooth® products contain rich moisturizing ingredients. Not your average moisturizing lotion- Udderly Smooth® can be used on Dry Skin, Cracked Skin, forDiabetes Foot Care, as a Facial Moisturizer, as a General Moisturizing Lotion and many other uses.  
Pioneered by a Pharmacist, reasonably priced and made in America’s heartland. Use Udderly Smooth® daily for smooth, soft skin head to toe
Connect with Udderly Smooth by several methods:

Mailing Address:
1176 Salem Parkway
Salem, Ohio 44460
Phone: 330.332.9800
Fax: 330.332.1061
Email us at

Udderly Smooth has been kind enough to offer the same basket that I just reviewed to the winner of the Merry Christmas Giveaway Hop that starts on November 28th and ends on December 8th. Open in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!

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.

Newman's Own Organics Chocolates

You will love all of the chocolates from Newman's Own Organics, especially the chocolate cups! I really enjoyed the Caramel and Mint the best while Mike stuck with his traditional peanut butter cups. All three flavors are rich in chocolate and flavor so it really doesn't matter which flavor you prefer, you still get the awesome chocolate flavor blended with the creamy fillings.
A little background on how they are made:
Inspired by our love of chocolate, we searched for a source of organic cocoa beans to make a rich, flavorful chocolate - and we found it! Our new Signature Series line of Chocolate Bars is formulated with some of the finest Certified Organic chocolate we've ever tasted, made from cocoa beans grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms. 
I got to review the  Milk Chocolate 34%, Dark Chocolate 54% and Super Dark Chocolate 70%. Now, of course, the Milk Chocolate was where Mike zoomed in on and left the Dark Chocolates to me. I like Dark Chocolate and can eat it in small quantities because it is very silky and rich, so I don't recommend eating a lot of it at one time. A little goes a long way and you will want to make these last as long as possible.
The chocolate bars will be available in two sizes: 3.25-ounce and 2.25-ounce.
Carefully selected organic cocoa beans and other fine ingredients were used to produce a line of chocolate with richer flavors and a creamy, smooth texture.
Here's a list of all the Chocolate Bars:
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Super Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa - NEW!
  • Mocha Milk Chocolate - NEW!
  • Milk Chocolate
  • Espresso Dark Chocolate
  • Orange Dark Chocolate
Did you use to eat those Alphabet Cookies when you were younger? I did but back then they were Animal Cookies. So, if you loved Animal Cookies, you will love these just as much but better because they are baked with all the right ingredients. The Chocolate Alphabet Cookies were my favorite of the three flavors that they make with Cinnamon coming in a close second.
About Newman's Own Organics:
Newman's Own Organics was established as a division of Newman's Own in 1993, and became a separate company in late 2001. The sale of Newman's Own Organics products generates money for the Newman's Own Foundation to give away.  
Since 1982 Paul Newman and the Newman's Own Foundation have donated more than $350 million dollars to educational and charitable organizations worldwide.
Connect with Newman's Own Organics:

Mailing Address:
PO Box 370
Aptos, California 95001
Phone:  (831) 685-2866

The really nice folks at Newman's Own Organics will be giving the winner of my Merry Christmas Giveaway Hop a goodie package valued at $50.00 filled with their chocolates and some of their awesome chocolate cookies! The Giveaway Event starts on November 28th and ends on December 8th. Open in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!

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. 

LapGear Smart Media Laptop Desk Review

If you have a laptop like I do, then you know how hard it is to work on it if you are sitting on the couch or anywhere else for that matter if you aren't at a desk or table. I was so very grateful to get the opportunity to review The Smart Media Desk from LapGear. I love how rich looking the wood part is because it makes it look expensive and nice! It looks like you can get it in Black also if you don't like the maple grain.

Product Description:

  • Perfect for tablets, smart phones, eReaders and laptops
  • Media slot holds tablets and eReaders firmly in place
  • Grip pad keeps phone from slipping off desk and in the perfect place for quick access while working or gaming
  • Ergonomic wrist pads support wrists while typing
  • MDF wood finish w/ wrist rests and phone pad
  • 100% Polyester
  • 100% Polystyrene Foam Beads
  • 19" x 3.0" x 14.75"( For hands free use with ALL eReaders, Tablets and Laptop computers.)

  • They also have a 90 Day Limited Warranty that will guarantee:

    Against defects in manufacturing and workmanship. This warranty does not, however, apply to items subjected to excessive wear, abuse, or physical damage whether accidental or otherwise.

    Now, the only thing that I had to do because I am usually sitting up in my recliner when I am on my laptop and the computer tends to fall down so I got some of those grip holders like you use to open cans and jars and placed one on each side of the Smart Media Laptop Desk and it works perfectly. I would think you could use anything but I thought of these because they are the same on both sides so it works against the wood and against the computer to keep it also in place!

    This is the backside of the desk which will go up against your lap. It's pretty thick and my old one was also so I never had any problems associated with this heavy thing being on me. Plus having Fibromyalgia and RA doesn't help so I need all the cushion I can get! You will be very pleased with how this feels. 

    As you can see, it's pretty portable and can go just about anywhere that you go. You will also notice that the man in the picture has his cell phone right next to him. Underneath that is a velco like material that holds onto your phone.

    LapGear has quite a few models to choose from if this one isn't to your liking. They have products that can hold almost all of your electronics right within easy grasp. Since I don't have to worry about things like that, my Smart Media Laptop Desk is exactly what I needed! They even have Pillow Tablets for those of you who need one of those.

    About LapGear:
    The Lap Desk product category was created in 1974, in Wichita Falls, Texas. For over thirty years, our family business, The Original LapDesk Company, has continually brought useful, mobile workspace solutions to market through innovation and dedication. In January of 2006, our new brand LapGear® was born. LapDesks™ had naturally developed into a perfect solution for a very large and growing problem. We created a solution that prevents laptops from getting too hot on the lap. Today, LapGear is the #1 brand in lapdesks, the hottest trending accessory for eReaders, laptops and tablets.
    Connect with LapGear:

    Mailing Address:
    3701 New York Ave. Suite 100
    Arlington, Texas 76014
    Phone:  1-(800)LAP DESK (527-3375)

    The awesome folks at LapGear will be giving the winner of my Merry Christmas Giveaway Hop that starts on November 28th and ends on December 8th, a running chance of getting the same Smart Media Laptop Desk that I just reviewed.  Open in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!

    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.

    Nonni's Biscotti Bites Review

    I recently got to try some of Nonni's Biscotti Bites, which are just smaller versions of the Original size, but in a bite size! They sent me three flavors to test out and I actually came away shocked that my favorite one was the Very Berry Almond because I usually don't like fruit in my biscotti! I also got to try out Double Chocolate & Salted Caramel along with Almond Dark Chocolate. I even found some at my local store and bought more of the Very Berry Almond and I bet you will like them as much as I do!
    These are the Very Berry Almond Biscotti Bites that I loved the best. As you can see, they are coated with something which I thought was icing but it's even better than that and it's good for you too! The fruity is filled with real berries and almonds its then dipped in Greek Style Yogurt and topped with wholesome rolled oats. This biscotti would make a great in between meal snack or even a good breakfast choice if you are short on time. But, best of all, is the fact that they are soft and not so crunchy that they can hear you in another room! Just the way I like them!!!
    If you love chocolate and almonds together, then the Almond Dark Chocolate Biscotti will be right there at the top of your list! It was filled with plenty of almonds and then brushed on the backside of the biscotti with plenty of dark chocolate coating the one side. At just 120 calories for 3 pieces, I bet you can settle down your chocolate cravings down and still feel like you aren't starving!
    Now, if you really want to overload on chocolate, then here is the one I thought you would like fiercely because it is a Double Chocolate dipped in Milk Chocolate and then sprinkled with Sea Salt. They are very good but I tried to watch how many of these that I ate because I swell when I eat too much salt, especially in my stomach, making me look like I am pregnant.
    Another thing you will love about them is that you can eat 3 of them for only 110 calories. I really do love it when I can find items that are naturally low in calories but not because they were made with an artificial sweetener or a fat free product, but instead something that is naturally good without compromising your health.
    Nonni's Biscotti has really got some great products to try such as the Original Biscotti in a wide range of flavors to the THINaddicitives and I have tried several flavors of the Original Biscotti and have yet to find one that I didn't like! I am really addicted to the Toffee Almond and the Turtle Pecan.

    Hey, did you know that Cooking Light named them the 2014 Best Store Bought Snack in September! They are starting to get a lot of recognition in quite a lot of different magazines, so I hope this really kicks off so that I can eat some more!
    About Nonni's Biscotti: 
    Nonni’s Foods LLC is the leading domestic baker and marketer of premium branded biscotti. We market our biscotti under the Nonni’s brand name. 
    The company bakes high quality products that are sold within the premium cookie category. Consumer interest and demand for great tasting, healthier treats and snacks provides consistent growth and a significant opportunity. Nonni’s Foods is a leader in product innovation and offerings. 
    Year after year, more consumers are drawn to our brand because of their decadent taste, baked goodness and favorable nutritional content vs. most alternatives. A long heritage combined with an established trusted brand name has resulted in exceptionally strong consumer loyalty. 
    Nonni’s Foods LLC is an independently owned company operating in the United States, Mexico and Canada. 
    You can access their Store Locator to find a store near you who sells their products. They also have a place where you can go and get a coupon to help with your purchase!

    Connect with Nonni's Biscotti:

    Mailing Address:
    3920 E. Pine St.
    Tulsa, Oklahoma 74115
    Phone:  1-877-295-9604

    The awesome folks at Nonni's Biscotti will be giving the winner of my Merry Christmas Giveaway Hop the same 3 packages of Biscotti Bites that I just reviewed. The Event starts on November 28th and ends on December 8th. Open in the Continental U. S. only. Good luck Everyone! 

    Monday, November 24, 2014

    The Demon Who Peddled Longing Book Review

    I have a really good book to share with you today called The Demon Who Peddled Longing written by Khanh Ha that I think you will find very moving. If you think the name looks familiar, it's because I reviewed one of his other books called Flesh.
    Set in post-war Vietnam, The Demon Who Peddled Longing tells the terrible journey of a nineteen-year-old boy in search of the two brothers who are drifters and who raped and killed his cousin. It brings together the damned, the unfit, the brave, who succumb by their own doing to the call of fate.  
    Yet their desire to survive and to face life again never dies, so that when someone like the boy who is psychologically damaged by his family tragedy, who no sooner gets his life together after being rescued by a fisherwoman than falls in love with an untouchable girl and finds his life in peril, takes his leave in the end, there is nothing left but a longing in the heart that goes with him.
    My Review:
    This was a very moving story about a young man in Vietnam that is seeking justice for his cousin's rape and murder by 2 brothers who have a habit of raping girls. He doesn't have much to go on but somehow finds the trail by hearing about another girl who was raped. Plus, he knows the 2 men stole his cousin's necklace, so he figures whoever is wearing it must be the killer.
    He meets a lot of characters on his trip down the river, working as a fisherman's helper while pursuing the killers. I felt really bad for him because it seemed like the men treated him awful but their wives or women that he worked for where really nice to him.
    While I loved the book as much as I did Flesh, I didn't like the ending. I was left unsettled and feeling like it really wasn't fair what everyone did to him in the end. But, I guess life is like that sometimes, just because we are nice and polite with some shred of humanity, doesn't mean everyone else is.
    What happens to the young man at the end of his search will definitely leave you with an opinion. It's well worth reading, even if I had wished the author had given the young man a happier ending. After all, he risked a lot trying to help several people in this story and it would have been nice if he had gotten some of that compassion back!
    Happy Reading!
    About the Author:
    Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh (2012, Black Heron Press). He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and the recipient of Greensboro Review's 2014 Robert Watson Literary Prize in Fiction.
    His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Waccamaw Journal, storySouth, Greensboro Review, The Long Story, Permafrost Magazine, Saint Ann's Review, Moon City Review, Red Savina Review, DUCTS, ARDOR, Lunch Ticket,Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Tayo Literary Magazine, Sugar Mule, Yellow Medicine Review,Printer's Devil Review, Mount Hope, Thrice Fiction, Lalitamba Journal, and other fine magazines.
    Connect with him on his Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |
    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.  

    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Apocalypta Book Review

    I have a very interesting take on the future and finding out we have always had aliens living with us in this new Science Fiction novel called Apocalypta written by Rob Matchett.
    This is a novel about a post-apocalyptic world at the cusp of the 25th century. With the discovery of a synaptic memory chip holding the memories of individuals in the past, there is an attempt to avert a return to the terrible conflagrations of the past. This chip - 'the eyes of god' - holds salvation through the truth. The main character, implanted with the chip, bids the reader to follow history back to our present time in order to understand the future.  
    Moreover, humanity has a chance to become members of a galactic confederation, which through various species have been instrumental in our emergence from earliest times. Many unusual characters color this story, which is ultimately about the struggle for humanity to rise to a higher place in its long quest for survival. 
    My Review:
    If you are like me and love Dystopian or Science Fiction, this book will appeal to you. The only downside is that the story explains why too much in the beginning and got quite technical about the past and the present. If you are a reader who likes all that background detail, then it won't matter to you. I do like some details but not as much as the first couple of chapters gave me.
    After I got past all that history & science lesson, the book got way more interesting as it was telling a story of how the present day people came to be and how their ancestors were more than they thought they were. I loved all the drama and back stabbing that certain people in the book were up to and that there was a hero in the most unlikely place.
    There is a World War 3 in this book followed by later on Asteroids falling on Earth and finishing what the World War 3 started, killing off a lot of people around the world. But, some people knew what was coming and built a bunker that houses all kinds of artifacts and secrets that hopefully will help the survivors if anyone lives long enough to find it and use the things stored there.
    It's an interesting concept of what happened after this war and the asteroids ruined Earth but then was re-born again by a totally different shift in power that had the United States broken up into territories and each territory had their own laws and leaders. I hope that you too, will get past the long narrative in the beginning because the rest of the book is worth reading if you are as big a Science Fiction/Dystopia reader.
    Happy Reading!
    Author Spotlight:
    Apocalypta is a novel about the future, perhaps even a novel from the future. I emphasize from because the setting of the novel is on the cusp of the 25th century and the story takes us back in time to our present 21st century.  
    So it would seem in a sense that the story in the future is built on the past retrospective to our present time. I felt that it was important to capture to the best of my ability a realistic scenario of times to come. Obviously, one can never know the future until it happens, but using a template of the past 400 years and its historical shocks and paradigm shifts a fair guesstimate can be made. What is especially interesting is the sudden trajectory of technical progress within the last 30 years with the advent of global use of the internet through chip circuitry and fibre optics which apparently had their origin from alien technology according to highly placed sources that the author had researched.  
    A very credible source was Col. Philip Corso who was ordered to seed the reverse-engineered alien technology into the military-industrial complex 60 years ago. Corso sat on the National Security Council. Others have affirmed the veracity of his position and rank and revelations in his book The Day After Roswell. One might think this is ridiculous or delusional because there was barely any notice taken of his story which came out in the 1990s. The media basically ignored it, because they couldn’t get any endorsement from any legitimate government agency. Not surprising.  
    Perhaps, the powers that be felt it couldn’t hurt the classified nature of deeply compartmentalized alien programs if a little information was released innocuously by a retired officer of the army. Or perhaps, little by little some plan had been enacted to slowly acclimatize the ignorant public about what is really going on. Anyone who knew the emphatic truth would naturally wonder why the mainstream media didn’t proclaim globally AMERICAN GOVERNMENT HAS MADE CONTACT WITH ALIENS!  
    Well, that has yet to happen. Is there collusion in government to suppress that kind of mainstream exposure? Or is media frightened of the shocking nature of that kind of information – the most profound in the history of civilization.  
    My book isn’t so much about this; just that the premise of this great secret kept from the public has a karmic resolution down the ages to come. Just as we discover and unlock secrets of the past, and history is constantly being rewritten to reflect new understandings, and so in our story we unlock the secrets of our present from the future.  
    Whistleblowers have given us a glimpse of the deep political nature of forbidden knowledge and its uses in the power structures of global supremacy and security. Moreover, the phenomenal implications of a universe replete with thousands upon thousands of ancient civilizations, some hundreds of millions of years beyond us, and others only fifty thousand or so years beyond us, at least must give us pause as to our precarious emergence as a technological upstart.  
    Apocalypta is really about humanity and how we must adapt eventually to the universal family. And yes, we are apparently in a relative way, seen as such for the most part by our space neighbors in spite of various bad apples on both sides. It should be known we are feared as somewhat barbaric and do not want our participation in a larger sense until we have managed our global destructive ways into something harmonious politically, culturally and ecologically. Indeed we have a long way to go – thousands of years. Apocalypta attempts to enlighten our darker fears and dystopian defaults.  
    Certain characters such as Cephren, Flower Child, Jimmy Pidgeon and Heyoka are new prototypes that alight the path to harmony for the ages to come. These types exist in all times, as well as their darker opposites. This is my story for humanity’s leap into the future and integration into the galactic community, which has already begun.
    About the Author:

    Rob (Robin) Matchett was born in Paris, France, in 1956 of Canadian parents, and moved to Canada at four years old. Apparently on the way, he spent hours in a porthole watching the sea, pondering existence. Now his life continues through a porthole – a regret being he didn’t remain in France a few more years. Though, embracing Canada he went native, steeped in the elements from where land-locked on the crest of a giant windblown hill, he commands from the bridge of a ship, foundered on springs, fields and forests.
    Still unreleased from the yoke of his servitude, he dabbles in the stars, unlocking secrets from history and the future. Many transfigurations have occurred, of which he has faithfully transcribed into various literary forms, including novels, poems and film scripts, and continues to do so. Among other eclectic interests, he is known to be well-read; enjoy wholesome kitchen garden culinary pursuits; calvados; has musical inclinations, and often known to be wired into the Grateful Dead.
    He is of a retiring nature, addicted to movies and documentaries, considered a professional obligation rather than lesser appraisals.

    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 you.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    The Tree of Water Book Review

    I have a really great book to share with you that can be read by your young teens as well as for yourself. It's a YA Fantasy that I think both of you would enjoy because there is no sexual content or filthy language. It's called The Tree of Water written by Elizabeth Haydon.

    The epic voyages continue in The Tree of Water, the fourth adventure in bestselling author Elizabeth Haydon’s acclaimed fantasy series for young readers, The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme.  
    As Royal Reporter of the land of Serendair, it is the duty of young Charles Magnus "Ven" Polypheme to travel the world and seek out magic hiding in plain sight. But Ven needs to escape the clutches of the nefarious Thief Queen, ruler of the Gated City, whose minions are hunting for him. His friend, the merrow Amariel, has the perfect solution to his dilemma: Ven and Char will join her to explore the world beneath the sea. 
    As they journey through the sea, Ven finds himself surrounded by wonders greater than he could have ever imagined. But the beauty of the ocean is more than matched by the dangers lurking within its depths, and Ven and his friends soon realize that in order to save thousands of innocent lives, they may have to sacrifice their own. For everything in the ocean needs to eat…
    My Review:

    I wasn't too sure if I was going to like this book when it first came and I realized it was about 2 boys and a mermaid. I thought it might be a little too young for me but the more I read, the more fascinated I became with this book and the story it unfolded. I did not know this was the 4th book in a series but even with that thought, it is still a great book that can stand all by itself and you will still get the gist of what travels the boys have been on.

    I think the way the author is writing the boys adventures, each adventure in itself is a separate book. Yes, she does reference some past thought or travel that they did in this book, but it wasn't something that you would feel that it ruined this book or took anything away from it. I think each book can stand alone if they are all like this one that I just read.

    The characters are different in a lot of ways but are still connected by their friendship and loyalty to each other. They help each other and watch each other's back and with that thought, I think this would be a really good book for young teens because it teaches the right way to treat your friends and also how they should treat you back. It's really full of hidden morals and what is right and wrong and how in subtle ways to go about your life in a good, positive way instead of being mean spirited and friendless.

    The things that they see on their adventure and the different species that they encounter teach them something new and exciting. The author really does have a vivid imagination because I don't know if I could describe the creatures in the sea with such vivid colors and shapes along with their personalities!

    Treat yourself and your young teens this Christmas and get the whole series. I don't think you will be disappointed and if your teens love to read, they will love these books also!

    Happy Reading!

    Praise for The Tree of Water:

    “Vivid world building and Ven’s old-fashioned adventuring spirit may fuel young readers’ imaginations, and readers unfamiliar with the previous three volumes can start here.” —Booklist on The Tree of Water

    “Haydon not only maintains the dazzling action, convincing characterizations, and vigorous world-building of the first book, but also carefully paves the way for further installments in The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme series. Another surefire winner.” —Booklist on The Thief Queen’s Daughter

    “A delightful epic fantasy that will attract a readership both older and younger than the target audience.” —Booklist (starred review) on The Floating Island“Haydon spins a story both warm and thrilling.” —Publishers Weekly on The Floating Island“Haydon’s fantastical universe, originally created for her adult novels, is filled with fun details, interesting characters, fast-paced adventure, snappy dialogue, and plenty of humor and heart.” —School Library Journal on The Floating Island

    About the Author:

    Elizabeth Haydon (* 1965 in Michigan) is a fantasy author, whose 1999 debut, Rhapsody: Child of Blood, garnered comparisons with Goodkind, Jordan, and even Tolkien. She has written two fantasy series set within the same universe, The fantasy/romance/whodunit fusion called The Symphony of Ages and the young adult series The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme.

    An herbalist, harpist, and madrigal singer, Elizabeth Haydon also enjoys anthropology and folklore. She lives on the East Coast of the United States.

    The author has given me permission to offer one reader a print copy of The Tree of Water. Open in the Continental U.S. and Canada only. Good Luck Everyone!

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    Gratitude Giveaway Hop**Closed**

    Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
    Welcome to Mary's Cup of Tea and the Gratitude Giveaways!
    I have a really great book that I wanted to share with the person who wins my giveaway because it's such a unique book that takes a real life event and does a what if? this had happened instead kind of scenario.
    I think everyone knows who Marilyn Monroe is and this book is about her but it's a what if? case as to how she got to Hollywood in the first place and who was responsible and later on decides to cash in that favor chip. Read the book to find out what happens to Marilyn Monroe in this set of circumstances that the author imagined.
     You can check out my review HERE for more information.
    One winner will receive this print copy of The Blonde from me. Open in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Waking Up Joy Book Review

    I have a wonderful new book to share with you today called Waking Up Joy written by Tina Ann Forkner. It's about everything that an older woman goes through when she hasn't married or had any children while her brothers and sisters think they know what's best for her when she has an accident.

    Behind every lost dream lies a second chance…  
    When adored town spinster Joy Talley ends up in a coma after a peculiar accident, she is surprised and incensed to hear what is being said in her hospital room, including plans for her funeral. When she finally wakes, her well-meaning, but bossy, brothers and sisters dismiss her claims, thinking her accident has knocked her off her rocker, but Joy has never felt better, and is determined to set the past right.  
    Now Joy must face her darkest secret and risk reopening wounds caused by an old flame who rejected her more than twenty years ago. But taking risks brings change, as well as a new, younger man into Joy’s life, making her feel like a teenager again.  
    Suddenly Joy’s once humdrum life is anything but boring and routine and the future beckons, exhilarating and bright.
    My Review:

    I really loved reading this story because it's relatable to what a lot of women these days who chose to wait until they are much older to marry. Her family thinks she can't take care of herself and when she is found after the accident with the rope wrapped around her neck, they think she tried to commit suicide and that was the furthest thing from her mind.

    It's got a dark secret that she and her high school boyfriend, Jimmy never told anyone about and that is the mission she was on when she had the accident that eventually brings a lot of chaos but true love also comes knocking on the door.

    Will Joy realize that this is her chance to finally be happy with the man of her dreams? Through some really gut wrenching and some humorous times also, this time around Joy will get what she holds most dear to her heart.

    Happy Reading!

    Praise for Waking Up Joy:

    "One title that should appeal to those crossover women's fiction readers is Waking Up Joy (Tule, Oct.), by Tina Ann Forkner. When the adored town spinster ends up in a coma and is shocked by the conversations she overhears about herself while down for the count, she is determined to fix things. Joy must face the past--and her failed romances--in order to embrace a brighter future." - Library Journal

    "Tina Ann Forkner takes us on a hilarious yet emotionally demanding adventure in Waking Up Joy. The free-spirited Joy has an unforgettable voice that puts us solidly on her side, no matter how unconventional her choices. Waking Up Joy is a rollicking ride." ~ Susan Schoenberger, Author of The Virtues of Oxygen             

    "A wonderfully-paced weave of compelling characters dealing with buried secrets and second chances within the framework of a flawed but fascinating family. Tina Forkner is an insightful, engaging storyteller. If you're a fan of Jodi Picoult, you won't be disappointed." ~ Susan Meissner, Author of A Fall of Marigolds

    "Tina Ann Forkner has created a remarkable cast of characters in the Talleys. The wit, wisdom, humor, and real-life escapades of Joy will keep the reader guessing and turning pages to the satisfying conclusion. Thoroughly captivating!" ~ Chris Fabry, award-winning author of June Bug
    About the Author:
    Tina Ann Forkner is the author of WAKING UP JOY (Tule Publishing Group). She is also the author of RUBY AMONG US and ROSE HOUSE (Random House). When she isn't writing, Tina is a substitute teacher and lives with her family in Wyoming.
    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.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    WWIV Kids at War Book Review

    Almost six years since an unknown event plunged the world into darkness, humanity continues to crumble. Times have worsened as the remaining fuel and valuable resources – fresh food and water – are long gone. Chances of recovery have all but disappeared; chances of survival seem grim.  
    In a plan so backward, so unlikely to have any success, the militia of the Milwaukee area take a young nun, five teens, and a set of five “special packages” into the barren farmland of south-central Wisconsin. There, with little more than themselves for support, they are to live, to grow, and perhaps even prosper. Or maybe the militia has just removed a problem they chose not to deal with.  
    With the help of new – yet strange – friends, their journey begins. But trouble finds them, even against their greatest hopes and fervent prayers. Worse, the militia has purchased help from a drunken recluse who may prove to be their greatest trouble of all.
    The second book of our greatest war, our battle for survival, begins: WWIV – Kids at War.
    My Review:
    I wish I had known that this was the 2nd book in the series, so that I could have understood how they came to be in such an isolated area all by themselves. One nun and five teens?
    But, after getting into the story a little bit later on, I got the whole gist of the story and it can be a read alone book, but if you are curious like me, I like reading the before books just as much as the ones that come after but the way this one ended, it doesn't really need to be explored, unless the author just wants to write another one. So, in this tale, you will get some resolution if it does indeed not have another one coming in the future.
    It's a good teaching book to show us how to treat people and how to adapt and survive. If you are like me, in other Dystopian books, humans turn on each other and end up killing each other over crazy things, so this was refreshing that they did work it all out in the end and took away great lessons in how to treat your fellow human friends in times of distress.
    Happy Reading!
    About the Author:
    I write dystopian. It's dark, yet fun to play with.

    WWIV - In The Beginning is my debut novel.

    Trying to get this junk in my head, down on pages. Those pages become chapters. The chapters become a manuscript. The manuscript becomes a novel. Sounds easy enough.

    I am an author and my pen name is e a lake. The e and the a mean nothing. So please just call me lake.

    Not everything in dystopian writing has to be dark and dreary. I try to create post -apocalyptic situations that will challenge the reader to really believe that the events in my novels could happen.

    The best part of my genre? Who needs antagonists when the landscape surrounding my protagonist is so bad. You just have to love this stuff.

    My favorites are the usual list of suspects. Orwell, Bradbury, Stephen King, Vince Flynn, and James Patterson.

    I'm not all that scary. Father to three, grandfather to two (three in April 2014). Just a regular guy.
    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. 

    My Sister's Grave Book Review

    I have a super awesome murder/mystery book that you will really want to read and you will enjoy it as much as I did! I started reading it late one night thinking I would finish the next night but I had to stay up all night to finish it because it was so suspenseful, I just had to know before I went to sleep! It is My Sister's Grave written by Robert Dugoni.
    Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House—a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder—is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers. 
    When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past—and open the door to deadly danger! 
    My Review:
    I really did enjoy reading this very fascinating story and had concluded a few things almost right off because I am pretty good at reading mystery/thriller type books and this one was fascinating to read. I have learned quite a bit since I have been reading mysteries for over 20 something odd years and you can pick up things if you read carefully.
    But, the rest was a surprise that I didn't see until it was almost upon me and I kept on thinking that the whole town sure is acting weird. If you had some new evidence that didn't match the defense records, I wouldn't have been surprised if the judge had locked up a good bit of them.
    But, things have a way of working out and coming back full circle. Tracy is a great detective and more power to her because I sure as heck would have crumbled under all the grief she got for being a woman and wanting to be a cop so she could try and solve her own sister's murder more than 20 years ago.
    And along the way Tracy picks up a love interest and finally it lightens up a bit here and there. It's really a great book to read and you will love it as much as I did!
    Happy Reading!
    About the Author:
    A writer turned lawyer turned writer. Robert Dugoni was born in Idaho and raised in Northern California the middle child of a family of ten siblings. Dugoni jokes that he didn't get much of a chance to talk, so he wrote. By the seventh grade he knew he wanted to be a writer. 

     Dugoni wrote his way to Stanford University, receiving writing awards along the way, and majored in communications/journalism and creative writing while working as a reporter for the Stanford Daily.
    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.

    Monday, November 10, 2014

    Infographic: Financial Fraud in the Digital Age

    Check out this new infographic I found about Financial Fraud on New England College Online website and read about how they are doing it and how you can protect you and your family from getting caught up in this nightmare. I have not had a problem as bad as what they are talking about here, but I know how it feels to be attacked and it doesn't feel good at all!

    It was several years ago when someone somehow got me to open an email and when I did, they stole my email account! When they did that, I lost all my contacts and they had their emails and were sending everyone emails asking for money and all kinds of crap. It took me forever to get all of that back. I had folders set up in there that kept track of all my saved emails from the current sponsors with specifics on reviews and giveaways and without that, I had no idea how to finish or contact the person about the product reviews.

    They also somehow got my Bill Me Later info and that is still a mystery because I don't pay anything online. But, somehow, they got my social security number and my date of birth and were able to access the Bill Me Later and charge about $5,000 worth of products on Ebay but because I caught it the same night that they did it and reported it ASAP, it was handled.

    Unfortunately, I will never ever have another Bill Me Later account because they refuse to open another one now that someone has my information. I also have a Fraud Alert on my credit at all the major credit agencies. It will definitely be a hassle when I do go to try and buy a new car or whatever, but for the peace of mind it provides, it's well worth it.

    While it's not on the scale of what the New England College Online is showing, it still left a major impact on me and I am super careful now. If it looks suspicious, I don't open it, I just spam it or delete it right away. Please read the info that they have assembled and make sure you know at all times what is going on with your finances. Big or small, doesn't matter. It's your money and your future, so don't let criminals steal from you what you worked hard to earn!