Friday, July 25, 2014

The Nightingale Sisters by Donna Douglas (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-
To the student nurses at The Nightingale hospital, the ward sisters are heartless and frightening, with impossibly high standards. But the sisters have troubles of their own...
The new night sister is not all that she seems. Who is she and what dark secret is she hiding? As the mystery deepens, Sister Wren is determined to find out the truth.


The student nurse is struggling with her own secret, and with her heartbreak over Nick, the man who got away. A new arrival on the ward brings the chance to put a smile back on her face. But can she really get over Nick so easily?


Dora’s fellow student is also torn between the two men in her life. But then an unexpected friendship with an elderly patient makes her question where her heart – and her future – really lies.

As the nation mourns the death of King George V, it seems as if nothing is ever going to be the same again, especially for the women at the Nightingale.

My thoughts-

I loved getting to know the student nurses of the Nightingale hospital in The Nightingale Girls and I could not wait to read the second book in the series. There were relationships hanging in the balance in book one and many of the girls were only at the beginning of their training. What I love about this series is that is about several different type of women working toward the same goal. Millie is from the upper class, Helen from the middle and Dora from the lower class. In the first book Millie was my favorite character, but Helen grew on me in the end. I loved all 3 of them in this book, but Dora's story is particularly interesting to me. There was also a solid moment in this book where I really came to love Nick, Dora's next door neighbor and love interest, even though he does some things that make me shake my head too. There is a lot going on in the book with these women and several story lines, but it isn't hard to follow,  and there are some many interesting things going on, it kept me turning the pages. I also enjoy that there are several romances going on in the novel, I am a sucker for a good relationship and there are a ton of romances blossoming (or not in some cases) in The Nightingale Sisters. For me, it is great reading historical fiction because I am really interested in the past. I love that I get a feel for what a girl who might have been going through nursing school at this time period in London might have gone through, but that these characters are all easy to relate to and quite easy to come to care for them. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or themes of romance or suspense. I absolutely can not wait to read The Nightingale Nurses. I already have it downloaded and ready to go on my Kindle!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’sFatherhoodDad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.

My thoughts-

I thought the title of this book was funny and I have seen a few of Jim Gaffigan's stand up acts, so I thought it might be a fun read. I didn't realize that the Gaffigan's have five children! I have been lamenting the fact that my husband and I become outnumbered in a very short period of time...while when my first baby was 13 months old, we tried and successfully became pregnant with our second baby...and our third baby. We had only planned on evening out the score and having two total, so having three kids, that are exceptionally close in age, it has been a pretty big adventure the last 5 years! I really enjoyed this book because I could relate to a lot of the scenarios Jim Gaffigan had mentioned going through with his children. I like that he can joke about parenting, the same way my husband and I do sometimes about our gaggle of kids. This book had me laughing out loud more than a few times. I could not even begin to imagine having more than 3 children and we live in a decent sized house in the suburbs with a nice backyard. Jim's stories about living in a two bedroom apartment in New York City, especially the stories that involve him getting 5 kids ages 8 and under down 5 flights of stairs to go anywhere, were super funny. I like this lighthearted book and I think most parents, especially parents of several kids could relate to it. In addition to all of the cute stories and self deprecating humor, I also really enjoyed reading how completely enamored Jim Gaffigan is of his wife. It is evident from the very clever theatrical like opening of the book where he lists her as having multiple "roles" in the book/family and all the way through when he consistently mentions her. It is refreshing to see a husband write so sweetly about his wife. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good laugh, but especially to parents...who need one.

Dad is Fat is available on

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Younique Makeup- This stuff is amazing!

So much comes in the Presenter's Kit! $99 + ship's free
in July!
A while back I did a review and giveaway for Younique's 3D fiber lashes. A friend of mine became a presenter and I had heard of and seen awesome pictures of this amazing product and I new I needed to try it. I absolutely fell in love the very first time I applied the fiber lash mascara. Even my favorite high end natural brand of mascara can't compare, and Younique is actually a few dollars cheaper! When I ordered the mascara, I also ordered a couple of the eye pigments and a lip gloss so I could try several of the products. I have been impressed with all of them. So this month when my friend mentioned that they exclusive deal for July is free shipping on the $99 presenters kit, I was pretty much on board to get it and begin a Younique journey of mine own. The kit contains over $400 worth of makeup for you to play around with and use at in home parties should you chose to have any (they are not required, most Younique parties are exclusively online!)

A lot of people are intimidated by direct sales or think that they can not create a lucrative business out of it, but Younique is well...unique. Here are some great reasons to consider joining:

  • $99 Starter kit ships free July. It's over $400 worth of makeup, but you only pay 1/4 of that cost. 
  • Automatic Commissions- unlike other direct sales companies that pay you once a month, Younique automatically loads your commission after each sale happens! 
  • $25 bonus to spend on your birthday
  • FREE Website (you have to pay a fee monthly for most other direct sales I know of)
  • Great products that sell themselves! 
  • The opportunity to earn a $250 shopping spree with "Fast Start" when you join
  • Discount on products you will love using anyway! Not only can you earn commission from your own purchases, if you host your own parties, you can take the hostess credits for yourself
  • The ability to have parties from the comfort of your home. Most parties are online on Facebook, unless you CHOOSE to have in home parties!
  • Because the parties are online, your guests can be from out of town, expanding your customer base exponentially.
  • You get to help people discover makeup that is not only better for their skin and the environment, but looks so much better than traditional brands!
There are so many fantastic reasons to become a Younique presenter. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I will be glad to help.  If you would like to throw a party to test the waters, I am happy to help you set one up!

I am so excited to be a Younique Presenter and I would love to have you on my team!

Here are a few of my personal Younique looks! I am having fun playing with the colors.

Here are my bare eyelashes/eyelids
In this picture I have 2 coats of fiber lashes

Once again, 2 coats of fiber lashes! :)


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Green Virgin Liquid Soap Nuts Review

I have been using soap nuts for a few years now, but for someone who is not familiar with them, they might be a little intimidating. I was thrilled to hear that there is a liquid version of soap nuts and I was even more excited to give it a try!

If you are unfamiliar with soap nuts, they are the shell of the fruit of sapindus trees. This is the only laundry product you can get that grows on trees! That makes this pretty much the safest thing to use in your washing machine to clean your clothes. You can not get more natural than right off of the tree. The liquid version made by Green Virgin  is comprised of the main ingredient sapindus mukurossi soap liquid and caprylyl glycol and phenethyl alcohol as the preservatives. All ingredients rate as a 0 (the best rating) on the Skin Deep Database, so this is a safe product to use for your clothes. It comes with a pump and it says for HE washers that you only need to use two pumps.  That is 120 loads in a tiny 8 oz bottle! I have a top loading washer, which requires three pumps of liquid, but that would still last a while! When I first pumped it in, I noticed that it is a brown liquid, which is a little different than the norm, but I have used this laundry soap several times now and the coloring has not effected the outcome of any laundry I have done. There is a distinct smell to the laundry soap, but I have not noticed that it leaves any scent on the clothes. I like to use dryer balls with essential oils infused for scenting my laundry. 
I have been impressed with Green Virgin's Liquid Soap Nuts so far. It does a great job getting my clothes super clean and since it is so concentrated, it takes up less space in the laundry room and also lasts longer than some of the big containers you would get at the store that contain all kinds of bad chemicals. Liquid Soap Nuts are great for naturally cleaning your clothes, contributing less to waste (because of the small bottles/long lasting product:) and better for you and your family to be around because the liquid does not contain any chemicals.

Green Virgin has a sample bottle of the liquid soap (that will take care of 6 loads of laundry) for .50 cents if you want to give it a try before you commit. I highly recommend giving it a try!

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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Escape Monthly July/India box review

There is probably nothing I love more than traveling when I can. I think it is so much fun to explore new places and explore new cultures. I do not get to travel as often as I would like or go to all of the places on my travel bucket list, so when I heard about Escape Monthly I was ecstatic! Escape Monthly is a subscription box. Each month they pick a new destination, gather cool items from the destination, jam pack a box with said items and ship them to your doorstep. The coolest thing about it is that each month, one lucky subscriber wins a trip to wherever the destination is! Past escapes have included: Napa Valley, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Colorado and Ireland. July's escape was to India and so far it was my favorite!

There were tons of great items in the India box. In addition to the travel book about the Taj Mahal and surrounding areas, my absolute favorite thing included was a bottle of Amber perfume oil. It smells fantastic. I have been wearing it daily.  There was a small bottle of gee included which I promptly used to enhance the rice I was cooking in the rice cooker that night. You know if the family eats all of their brown rice (at least in my white rice loving house) that whatever was used to cook it must have been some good stuff! Madras curry and Korma curry were also in the box. I used the Korma for some chicken the same night as I used the ghee. It was okay as far as taste goes (Indian food is supposed to have a bit of spice kick to it, and this korma fell short in that department), but I was glad to see that Saffron Road (the company that makes it) is GMO free. That is enough to prompt me to buy it again and add my own spices and to try other Saffron Road products. Another really cool thing included in this box was the Masala Pop Chai Masala Popcorn. It is a unique twist on popcorn with authentic Indian flavors. The cardamom gave it a wonderful taste. The kids and I absolutely loved it. As with every Escape Monthly box, there were a couple of bath and body products included. There was a sample of Banyan Botanical's Neem & Aloe soap and Healthy Hair Oil from the same company. I am really excited to use the hair oil because I know it will make hair look shinier and healthier. Last but not least, for a bonus item Escape Monthly through in some cute Bindi decals for the forehead. These are a tradition in India said to represent one's wisdom. They also look really cute! Although it had nothing to do with India and wasn't listed in the brochure as one of the items, they also through in a Juice Beauty hand cream! It was a nice extra bonus!

There wasn't a thing in this box that I didn't like. That makes me even more excited for next month's escape. THE ONE I have been waiting for- PARIS!! If you are not already receiving these boxes, this is the month to sign up! Boxes will ship mid-month and I will be counting down the days and crossing my fingers to be the lucky one to win the trip to Paris! If you are a new member, you can get 20% off of your subscription by entering the code PARISESCAPE at checkout!

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

A lively step up from early chapter books, this seafaring romp is packed with hilarious art, lovable misfits, meddlesome monkeys, and tons of kid appeal.

When Oliver's explorer parents go missing, he sets sail on a rescue mission with some new, unexpected friends: a grumpy albatross, a nearsighted mermaid . . . even a living island! But the high seas are even more exciting, unusual, and full of mischief than Oliver could have imagined. Can he and his crew spar with sarcastic seaweed, outrun an army of sea monkeys, win a fabulous maritime fashion contest, and defeat a wicked sea captain in time to save Mom and Dad?

My thoughts-

My kids are still young and are not quite into chapter books yet (my daughter i almost there though!), but I can't wait until the day that they are! It is so fun to come to the realization that you can have such fun adventures through someone else's words using your imagination! I love to read children's books of all sorts so that when they do get to the age to read more difficult books, we will have a library full of them at home to chose from. I recently had the opportunity to read Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre. It is a very imaginative fantasy book that I think little kids would love. Oliver is a likable character and from the very beginning pages, he is on an epic adventure. I love that this book is short enough to not be overwhelming for a young chapter book reader, but there is enough going on in the plot to keep an older child interested as well. The illustrations are lively and adorable and there are fun characters that Oliver meets along the way and I loved the wonderful wit throughout the story! I would recommend this book to parents with young kids ready for chapter books to read together with them and for independent young reader's alike. 

Oliver and the Seawigs will be available for purchase on July 22, 2014. You can pre-order it on

About the author-

Philip Reeve is the acclaimed author of the Mortal Engines/Predator Cities series, the Fever Crumb series, and Here Lies Arthur (2008 Carnegie Medal Winner). He was born and raised in the seaside town of Brighton, and has been writing down adventures since he was five years old. (

About the illustrator-

Sarah McIntyre has written and illustrated several picture books and comics for children. Her delightfully over-the-top drawings and mischievious monkey illustrations brought Philip and Sarah together for this series. (


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Revolutionary (Anomaly #3) by Krista McGee Blog Tour & Book Review + Enter to Win All 3 Books in the Series!

Disclosure- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book- 

All her life Thalli thought she was an anomaly. Now she must use her gifts to fulfill the role she was called to play: Revolutionary. Back in the underground State against her will, Thalli is no longer the anomaly she was before. She has proven herself to be a powerful leader aboveground and returns with information that Dr. Loudin needs to complete his plan of uniting the world under one leader: himself. But he, too, has information. A secret he has kept from Thalli her entire life. A secret that, once revealed, changes everything about the person Thalli thought she was. Hoping to help Thalli rise up against the Scientists, both Berk and Alex join her underground, but their presence only brings more trouble for her. Now Dr. Loudin knows just the leverage to use on his captive, and she is forced to choose between the two of them. Is her first love her true love? Or does Alex ultimately claim her heart? Unsure of everything around her, including her own identity, Thalli doesn't know where to turn. She knows she needs the Designer, but he seems further away than ever. What she does know, though, is that if she doesn't do something to stop Loudin, the fragile world above ground will be lost once and for all.

Revolutionary is the 3rd book in the Anomaly trilogy. Check out my review for the first two books by clicking on the titles- Anomaly #1, Luminary #2. You will want to read the first two books before you set out to read Revolutionary.

My thoughts-

Revolutionary picks up right where Luminary left off. We found out what has become of Thalli and her friends and some intense action scenes take place throughout this book. Thalli is still trying to figure out how she feels about both Alex and Berk in the midst of trying to figure out what she can do to fix the dystopian world that she lives in. There is a great plot twist involving Dr. Loudin and Thalli and Thalli also gets to know James better. Throughout the book I wonder which side James is on, Mcgee definitely keeps us guessing where his heart lies. As it's two predecessors, this novel is centered around faith in God. I enjoyed this aspect of the novel and thought it was a different take on a dystopian trilogy. It was done well. I was just as into this novel as I was the first two books in the trilogy. Revolutionary was definitely edge of your seat reading. I was left wondering many times who might get out alive and if Thalli and company would be able to stop the evil Dr. Loudin. As far as this book ending the trilogy, I was left somehow feeling a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, this was a great book and everything was concluded and wrapped up nicely, but I felt like something was missing. I guess I expected the book to go out with a bigger bang since it was the end to a series, but I would absolutely still recommend the Anomaly trilogy to anyone who is interested in dystopian fiction, christian fiction or ya fiction.

About the author-

Krista writes for teens, teaches teens, and more often than not, acts like a teen. She and her family have lived and ministered in Texas, Costa Rica, and Spain. Her current hometown is Tampa, FL.

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is now available on, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books & The Book Depository

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