Painting the Moon: A Chilton Crosse Novel by Traci Borum

>>  Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Painting the Moon: A Chilton Crosse Novel by Traci Borum
ISBN: 978-1940215327
Published: June 2014
Published by: Red Adept Publishing
Paperback, 310 pages

I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel set in Chilton Crosse, a charming village in the Cotswold area of Britain. I was immediately captured by the author’s description of the English countryside with its quaint villages and shops. The book cover is beautiful and oh-so English!

Noelle’s aunt is a famous artist whom she hasn’t seen in over a decade. When “aunt” Joy dies, Noelle inherits her cottage and art gallery in Chilton Crosse. Upon opening a locked room in the cottage, Noelle discovers something breathtaking. Add to that a family secret in a hidden journal and there is just enough mystery in this women’s’ fiction/cozy romance to keep the reader intrigued.

The novel is very well written and the characters are well-developed, real. I could “hear” English accents as I turned the pages and “see” the scenery.  Each chapter begins with artistic instructions for a budding artist’s success that could just as well be gentle, kindly advice for life.

This book is about art, love, family dynamics and second chances.  This is quality fiction that causes no flinches over expletives or sexual scenes because there are none. I highly recommend it!

Note: This book is rated C = clean read. 

About the Author:

Traci Borum is a writing teacher and native Texan. She's also an avid reader of women's fiction, most especially Elin Hilderbrand and Rosamunde Pilcher. Since the age of 12, she's written poetry, short stories, magazine articles, and novels.


Reviewed by Sandra











Disclosure: Thanks to Michelle Rever from Red Adept Publishing for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 28 Edition

>>  Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

No review books in my mailbox this week!

I have a summer list of books I'm reading and so far I've been able to stick to it. I'm enjoying my reading time because of this.




This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. This is where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.  The kidlit version is hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts.

Read and reviewed:
Like No Other by Una LaMarche (this YA novel is diverse and realistic, so good!)

Product Review:
Wellness Feature: Day by Day Beauty's Vitamin C Serum (I love this product - natural and organic!)

Currently Reading:

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

I'm reading this one with my son. It's about a girl with Asperger's Syndrome and an obsession with homonyms. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, we're enjoying this one.



Up Next:

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

This is one of my favorite trilogies, so I can't wait to read this last book of the series.


Hope you all have a great reading week!



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Like No Other by Una LaMarche

>>  Friday, July 25, 2014

Like No Other by Una LaMarche
RazorBill (Penguin)
ISBN: 978-1595146748
Published July 2014
Trade paperback, 368 pages
Ages 12+

I loved reading this book. I found it refreshing, different and realistic.

Devorah is brought up in the strict Hasidic way of life. This means all her friends and relatives are Jewish, she goes to a Jewish school, wears long skirts and black tights even in the heat of summer, and she rarely leaves her tight community in Brooklyn. She is expected to marry a Hasidic boy her parents will choose for her.


Jaxon, on the other hand, is a smart black boy who isn't comfortable around girls, even though he has four younger sisters whom he loves. He has a good relationship with his parents too and a best friend who messes things up when he tries to help out. Both Devorah and Jaxon live on opposite sides of the very same street and have never met, would never had met, if it were not for that hurricane storm that left them stranded together, in the dark, in a hospital elevator.

Their chance meeting leads to a relationship that is strictly forbidden, and makes Devorah question her way of life. The more they risk being together, the more things go wrong, and the couple find themselves making hard decisions. There is much at stake and both will learn changing life lessons.

There are so many themes explored in this novel, from religious tolerance and intolerance to racial prejudice, family loyalty, women's rights and first love. The author really immerses the reader into the life of Devorah and her Hasidic way of life. Although there may be much we may not understand about the restrictions Devorah lives with, the author deftly makes us respect Devorah's religion even as we know the changes Devorah brings about are good.

Jaxon is so easy to love. He is a fun guy who is a big brother to his sisters and a source of pride for his parents because he is book-smart and can make it far in life. When he meets Devorah and starts to lie to his parents, feeling guilty about it, while experiencing the thrill of secretly meeting the girl he fell in love with and who loves him too, he gets drawn in deeper into a difficult situation.

The plot and story line brings the reader into a climax that has to do with choosing life changes more than love choices. I appreciated this so much! The journey there was not easy for these two love-struck teens but I felt in the end they made the right choice and learned from each other's journey of discovery. I applaud the author for writing a novel about people from diverse backgrounds who are proud of their heritage despite the prejudices against them. This was a thought-provoking story that shows teens you need to stand up for what you believe, even while respecting where you come from.

Note: This book is rated C = clean read. There is one scene with heavy kissing and there may have been some profanity but I honestly don't remember. I think there were a few name-calling words in a few scenes at school.

Reviewed by Laura









Disclosure: Thanks to Vikki from Penguin Canada for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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Wellness Feature: Day by Day Beauty's Vitamin C Serum

>>  Thursday, July 24, 2014


The Wellness Feature is a bi-monthly feature hosted every second Thursday. Feel free to tell us about any book or product that promotes well-being or that you would like to see reviewed here. This week we are reviewing a skin care product from Day by Day Beauty called Vitamin C Serum.


The first thing I noticed about this product is that it comes in a glass bottle and has a simple look which I like. No fancy packaging to distract from the product. It arrived two days after the order was placed by Pamela, the co-founder of Day by Day Beauty who offered this full-sized product in exchange for an honest review.

The pump comes with it and is easy to screw on the bottle once you remove the bottle cap. The pump squirts far so you need to make sure you point it close to your fingertips. The serum is clear, non-fragrant and easy to apply. It felt fresh on my face, was smooth, but non-greasy and dried very quickly. I loved the feel of it. I'm a gal who doesn't like to put heavy creams or foundation on my face so I immediately loved the lightweight feel of this product. I have a hectic schedule and my morning routine is usually hurried but this product was super easy to incorporate, especially since it dried quickly.

The company (family-owned) has excellent customer service and Pamela, the co-founder personally sends her customers a short series of emails to coach them on how to best use the product. I appreciated having these instructions. I have applied the serum consistently in the mornings, once a day, and I have noticed that, although I've been going to bed later than usual and eating more greasy foods at all those summer BBQ parties, my skin has looked great.

My weakness is potato chips which I try to avoid eating because I always break out with acne when I do, but I noticed that since I've been using the serum, my skin hasn't had this problem! And when I did begin to have a few pimples show up (I told you my skin is sensitive to greasy foods) the serum would help them heal quite quickly. I have been using this product for about a month now, and I will continue to use it.

What attracted me to this product is that it is from all natural and organic ingredients and comes at such a reasonable price (currently $23.95 on their website) which I think is a steal. I've bought natural beauty products before and I know they are expensive. I still have 2/3 of the product left so it will last another two months if I continue using it once a day.

The website says of the Vitamin C Serum that it can make you feel great about:
  • smoother skin texture 
  • line/wrinkle reduction 
  • tighter, more elastic skin 
  • brighter, more even skin
  • calmed inflammation
Being in my forties, I need all the help I can get with my skin. I also tend to get sun spots so I want to see how continued use of this product will affect that. So far, I like what the Vitamin C Serum from Day to Day Beauty has done for my skin and I will continue to use it and I will purchase the next bottle. Currently this company carries two products and I hope they will produce more skin care products in the near future!

Learn more about this product at Day by Day Beauty along with their skin care beauty tips.







Disclosure: Thanks to Pamela from Day by Day Beauty for sending me this product for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 21 Edition

>>  Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

A review book for my son and I:

Kids Who Are Changing the World by Anne Jankeliowitch

Forty-five young people from around the world (including twelve from the U. S. and four from Canada) are doing something every day to make the world a better place. They discovered issues thatconcerned them and did something about it. With skills ranging from singing, drawing and painting to fundraising, public demonstrationsand events, they have fought climate change and pollution, and worked to protect animals and their natural habitats. This inspiring book also includes reference materials and suggestions on how readers can get involved.



This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. This is where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.  The kidlit version is hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts.

Read and reviewed:
Stunner: A Ronnie Lake Mystery by Nikki Danforth (reviewed by Sandra)
Some Bunny Loves You by Jesse Thom (this will become a classic! includes musical CD)

Bookish Posts:
Book Spotlight Tour: Everyday Celebrations with Maria Loggia with Giveaway! Love Italian cooking? Enter to win this cookbook.

Currently Reading:
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (very good)


Up next:
The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristin Cambron (can't wait to read this one!)



Hope you all have a great reading week!

Laura

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"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."
— Mark Twain

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