Sunday, February 19, 2017

When We Last Spoke Book Review (FlyBy Blog Promotions)

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

I read When We Last Spoke by Marci Hanna, in exchange for honest review from FlyBy Blog Promotions.I received a paperback and a dvd intro (not released yet). I havent heard the dvd yet because my pc hates my external dvd player.

About the book

Humor, heartbreak, and triumph are served with whipped cream and lots of local nuts in this heartwarming tale of family, friendship, and forgiveness in Fireside, Texas.

Meet Juliet Cranbourne, local radio personality and owner of a whimsical kitchen gadget store,and her sister Evangeline, a fruit tree geneticist who works for Oregon State University.

When a rift due to their orphaned past affects their sisterhood, Juliet convinces Evangeline to come home for Christmas and choose headstones to honor grandparents Walt (a tenderhearted, good looking rancher) and Ruby (a blue-ribbon fiddler, fabulous cook, and expert in the art of making family feel loved). 

As they cruise through Fireside in Ruby's Thunderbird, Juliet hopes that healing memories will somehow smooth rough roads ahead.

Does the tremendous love that marked Walt and Ruby's lives still have the power to renew their sisterhood and help them find their place in the world?

About the Author:

Marci Henna was born in Austin, Texas and lived as a child in Kenya, East Africa with the Wakamba tribe where her parents managed a medical research station. She later moved to the Hill Country ranch which has been in the family since the 1800s and currently lives in Austin.

Book Review

I liked the concept of the book. Two sisters (Juliet and Evangeline) attempt to get along, while healing over the death of their grandparents (Walt and Ruby) years ago. My maternal biological grandpa died before I was born, while I never met my paternal grandpa. My maternal grandma died 16 years ago, while my paternal grandma is still living at 80 something years old. 

I have three sisters (two from my parent's marriage and one from my father, never met her). The middle two and I tolerate each other. It may take something major for all of us to come together and grieve.

In the beginning of the book, Juliet is on a mass declutter of her grandma's junk from the house. I am in the process of doing the same for my apartment. Need to declutter to make room for things I want like a sofa set, dining room table, and a fifth bed for Brad (maybe a mattress).

I also lived with my grandma as a kid, with mother, sisters, and a host of other relatives. She was the disciplinarian, the cook, and the cleaner. 

Social Media

The book will be free on Kindle from February 20th to 24th

The book is available in paperback, kindle, and kindle unlimited format. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Dog Who Was There

Disclaimer:This post conntains Amazon Affiliate Links

I readThe Dog Who Was There, in exchange for honest review from Litfuse. The book is Christian-based. I received the ebook version.

About the Book:

No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah.

He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley's eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we've never experienced before.

Barley's story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver's home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.

On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.

About the Author:

Ron Marasco is a professor in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His first book, "Notes to an Actor," was named by the American Library Association an Outstanding Book of 2008. His second book, "About Grief," has been translated into multiple languages, and he is currently completing a book on Shakespeare's sonnets.

He has acted extensively on TV-from "Lost" to "West Wing" to "Entourage" to originating the role of Mr. Casper on "Freaks and Geeks"-and appeared opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas in the movie "Illusion," for which he also wrote the screenplay. Most recently, he has played the recurring role of Judge Grove on "Major Crimes." He has a BA from Fordham at Lincoln Center and an MA and Ph. D. from UCLA.

Find out more about Ron at

My Review: 

I loved the book and the angle of how the book is told through the eyes of a dog. The book was well written and detailed. The beginning for example, described the house, Barley and his owners (Duv and Adah, an older couple) lived in, from the low ceiling, one window, and the one room house. The author described the road and atmosphere. The author also described some of the daily chores, Adah and Duv did.  The beginning set the atmosphere for the rest of the book. Barley was a happy, observant dog. The story was set in the city of Jerusalem.

I also liked how the author described Duv's woodcarving process of birds. The book starts off slow. The author describes many things, more than what I discussed above. He set each scene beautifully. If you have a kindle or a reader, which has a text-to-speech option, the book is a great listen.

One powerful scene was Barley's nightmare scene. It was graphic and made you feel like you was there. I was glad when the scene was over.

You can purchase the book here. The book comes in Kindle, paperback, hardback, mp3 cd, and audible format. The book is prime-eligible. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

ASD Reading Review (Tomoson)

I reviewed the ASD Reading Program, in exchange for honest review from Tomoson. ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder. I wanted to review the program for Kalen. Kalen has a lovely list of disabilities, including Autism. His other disabilities include:

  1. Global Development Delays
  2. Sensory Processing Disorder
  3. Suspected Long QT Syndrome
  4. Creatine Deficiency Disorder
  5. Static Encephalopathy
  6. Sleep Apnea
The program helps children with Autism learn how to read, write, and comprehend, even if they are non-verbal. The program was created by Dr. Marion Blank (literacy and language)  and Jonathan Blank (technology) (Check out this article about Autism and Reading)

I am a big believer in early childhood education. When Brad was diagnosed, they didn't have many services available. My old insurance wouldn't cover but one session of speech and the ex husband and I could not afford to pay for extra services.

When Kalen started having delays, he received early childhood intervention through WIC. He went to preschool program for children with developmental disabilities (PPCD pre-k for special needs kids). He received occupational and physical therapy in the home. Then, he was referred to Texas Childrens. Kalen started off with a neurologist, but later expanded to cardiology and genetics, based on new conditions discovered.

With the program, I had to try to teach Kalen how to use the computer first. He has shown an interest in computers and phones lately.

Benefits of the program:

  1. You can add multiple children to the program
  2. You can try out the program with a 30 day trial. 
  3. You can earn free months for sharing a personalized link on social media

You can purchase the program using the link above.

Lessons From A Difficult Person Book Spotlight (iRead Book Tours)

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by iRead Book Tours. This post contains Amazon Affiliate links and images.

Book Description: 

Elliston is a highly successful workshop leader and trainer, who offers wisdom learned the hard way—by experience – as well as through rigorous study and certification in many areas of professional training that aid her in her work -- Values Realization, Parent Effectiveness Training and Reality Therapy. She is a faculty member of the William Glasser Institute. Glasser is an internationally recognized psychiatrist and developer of Reality Therapy, a method of psychotherapy that teaches people they have a choice in how they choose to behave.

The methods Elliston offers in her book end the trauma and the drama, and minimize the possibility of confrontation. She gives YOU, the reader, the ability to take a strong, positive, confident—yet compassionate--stance with the “difficult person”—whether that is a relative, coworker, friend, one of your children or anyone else for that matter.

Elliston demonstrates how to:

• Identify the ways to talk to a “difficult” person

• Incorporate true incentives to help people change

• Make real the consequences of the “difficult” person’s action

• Increase success through acceptance and belonging

• Avoid being triggered by the “difficult” person allowing you to neutralize those hot buttons and communicate without judgment

Elliston lays out a proven script for peacefully transforming the difficult person’s behavior and the environment. She gives you the tools for successfully initiating and engaging in a conversation with a difficult person that would lead to change.

You can purchase the book here or enter to win using the link in the giveaway section.

Author Bio: 

Sarah (Sam) Elliston is an expert in the art of Dealing with Difficult People. She is a top workshop leader and a member of the faculty of the William Glasser Institute, which espouses “Reality Therapy” to foster behavioral change.

But her instructional career began long before she even became aware that she was herself a “difficult person,” traits that began in Lincoln MA, where she grew up. For more than 30 years she has been teaching and training, first as a high school teacher in Ohio and Cincinnati—and then as an administrator in the not-for-profit sector.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


Prize: One winner will receive a copy of Lessons from a Difficult Person and a $10 Amazon gift card (open to USA & Canada)

Ends Feb 25

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 6, 2017

I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug Review (FlyBy Blog Promotions)

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

I read I'm Gong to Give You a Bear Hug by Caroline Clooney in exchange for honest review from FlyBy Blog Promotions. The book was illustrated by Tim Warnes. I wanted the book for Kalen.

The book was cute and easy to read. The book reminded me a bit of Seuss because it rhymed. In the book, the little boy got hugs from various animals, but nothing compared to the bear hug, he got in the end.

Kalen loves the book. He loves being read too. So far, the cover and book is still intact, which means he loves the book. He even hid the book from his brother when brother tried to snatch it from him.

You can purchase the book using the link above. The book is available in hardback, board book, and paperback format. The book is prime-eligible.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Unashamed Book Review (BookLook Bloggers)

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links

I read Unashamed by Christine Caine, in exchange for honest review from BookLook Bloggers. I wanted to read the book because I need to learn to let go of some things to move forward in life. Shame keeps us enslaved and with God, we can be set free.

One of the first things, which stood out was the author said shame causes us to throw out good gifts we are given. Shame also causes us to hide and build walls to separate us from others. Shame also keeps you from reaching your full potential. Shame also tells lies to your soul (powerful). Shame tells you that you are not worthy of God's love and grace.

Caine discussed her background growing up and how she was picked on and ridiculed for being Greek, for being a leader, and for being a female. I was picked on for being fat, for being book smart, for not hanging out with the blacks, and for being in AFJROTC in high school. Even as an adult, I got picked on in a college math class because I knew the answers--not because I am good in math--but because I studied to keep from failing, but yet by the end of week 5, I was one of three people, who was passing the class. Professor Tony told me he didnt' care what the other adult students said, if I knew the answer, speak up. He also told the class, if they needed help, contact the three passing students, but that was doing the days of free nights and weekends. No one called me until it was the day of the final and the calls was not free. Could not answer. oh well . lol.

The book came at the right moment. I have many issues to work on and work thru with God.

You can purchase the book in multiple formats: paperback, hardback, kindle, audio cd, and audible. Caine also has a study guide available too. The book is prime-eligible.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Instanatural 100% Pure Moroccan Rose Water Review (Tomoson)

I received Instanatural 100% Moroccan Rose Water in exchange for honest review from Tomoson. The water came with a squirt top. I wanted the water to help hydrate my face. The wearther in Houston has been hectic lately--between rain, cold, wind, and the normal heat, my skin took a hit. I wanted to try the rose water to help moisturize my face. I also used the rose water on my hands.

Rose Water has a lovely smell. The water helps tone and hydrate your face, hair, and body. You also can add a few drops of rose water to your diffuser for aroma therapy or pour some into the tub for a nice soak. (learned this from the website.).

You can purchase the rose water, using the link above.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Lightning Fast Spanish Book Review (Tomoson)

Disclaimer: This Post Contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

I read Lightning Fast Spanish, in exchange for honest review from Tomoson. I wanted the book to refresh my Spanish skills. I took Spanish in high school. My grades was wonderful--A in Spanish 1, B in Spanish 2, and C in Spanish III. I know some basics but need to refresh and relearn Spanish.

The book was easy to understand, even the exercises. For example, in the chapter on clothes, the author provides a list of clothing with English translations. The author said to practice teaching your kids clothing items by asking questions. Do you want los pantalones or la falda ? (pants or skirt)?

I like how the book wants to immerse Spanish into every day life versus trying to memorize flash cards or using a translator, like I did in high school. I got confused, in high school, on the different tenses; past, present, future and how to conjugate verbs into the different tenses.

You can purchase the book, using the link above in Kindle or Paperback format. . The book also has an audible companion, you can purchase. The book is prime-eligible.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Eden: The Animals Parables Book Review (Litfuse)

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

Return to the story of Jesus and read it from a new perspective in Keith Korman's Eden: The Animals' Parable. In this beautifully inspired retelling of the Gospels, we see Jesus and his disciples in the Holy Land through the eyes of the animals-especially his intrepid and loyal dog, Eden. Simple, clear, and spiritually profound, Eden is for readers of all ages, this artful retelling is captivating, moving, and alive with the joy you felt the first time you opened the Bible.

Settle in for some winter reading and enter to win a copy of Keith's book and a Kindle Fire!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of Eden
  • A Kindle Fire
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on January 24. The winner will be announced January 25 on Keith's blog.

My Review

I read Eden: The Animals Parable, in exchange for honest review from Litfuse. The book was written by Keith Korman. The book was illustrated by Lisa Paris. The book is meant for more school age to older kids, not mine since the book has more words than pictures. The stories was easy to follow and very entertaining, especially the first story about Old Gray and the Roman legion soldiers.

You can buy the book using the link above. The book is prime-eligible. The book comes in Kindle and paperback form.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My interesting day yesterday

Yesterday, what I thought would be a simple day, took a few interesting turns, so I decided to blog about it lol.

Brad had a pediatrician appointment yesterday. I wanted to check his height, weight, and check on labs from the last appointment. Since medical transportation is not always reliable, I always give the wrong time to make sure I am at the doctors on time. Brad's appointment was at 9, but we got there around 8 when the clinic was first opening.

Brad has a history with the clinic of disruptive behavior. Brad screams. Brad doesn't always cooperate right away when it comes to the weight scale, height thingamabob, and blood pressure. Usually when he has lab work, the clinic sends a request to Texas Childrens. The last visit in November, his old psych decided to attempt to do blood work on site. Needless to say eight people had to hold him down and he punched a hole in their wall.

When we walked in yesterday, Aaron (receptionist) and the security guard informed the medical staff of Brad's presence so Brad was able to see the nurse practitioner early and then the doctor. Brad is 5'8 and 158 lbs now. Everything is on track.

We left the clinic around 9. I called medical transportation for a ride home, but the driver did not answer. I walked to Wal-Greens to get Brad some snacks. Sometimes drivers take over an hour to pick clients back up. We left Wal-Greens around 930  and I called the driver again. No answer. Called medical transportation to see if I can get a back up driver, but the phone went dead. None of my power banks or cords was charging my phone fast enough.

When I got a decent charge, where I could make a phone call, the driver finally answered and said he was stuck in traffic and it would be another 30 or so minutes before he got to the clinic. I also checked my voicemail and found out Kalen had a few bouts of diarrhea at school. The nurse tried to reach me multiple times while I was attempting to charge the phone. Nothing I can do until I got back to my home side of town. I also had to get Brad back to school because he can not go anywhere near the autism trap, an intersection on Antoine and West Little York, which has a McDonalds, Lil Caesars, Burger King, and Subway. Taco Bell, Dominos, and Shipleys is within the vicinity too. Brad has had major meltdowns at this intersection and has bolted across both West Little York and Victory to get to the food.

I finally got home around 12 p.m. I handled some potty issues first, then hopped on public transportation with Brad to take him to school. I also had to drag along the stroller. I had a nice discussion with the bus driver. He said I needed a school card for Brad to get the discount. I been riding Metro for a few months and every other bus driver has taken my .60 cents for both Brad and Kalen every time we rode the bus lol.

The bus driver took my .60 cents for Brad and I tapped my card. Brad got dropped off at school, which is always an interesting experience. I got to go through metal detectors, go to attendance, and the special needs hallway to hunt down whatever teacher Brad is supposed to go to. Usually, it works to let Brad scream a little to alert a teacher to take him to the right class . Got out of the school, walked back to the bus stop, where the same driver, who dropped me off, picked me back up, and let me ride free since no one else was on the bus.

It takes a few minutes to get down the street back to the trap, where Kalen's school is also located. If Kalen was feeling better, I would walk home, and if not, collect him, and we will walk home. Kalen was still sick so I put him in the stroller and on we rolled. I stopped at the .99 cent store to get some batteries for my wireless and bluetooth mice, laundry detergent, and fabric softener. The store is in the trap as well. While walking from the school to the store, my mama called twice, but didn't answer when I called back. Another friend/acquaintance called and wanted to come over. I needed some adult convo so I gave him the address, gate code, and apt number. I did my shopping and started heading back home.

The walk home was tiring for a 10 minute walk. My shopping bag broke. My phone kept falling off the charger. Kalen drunk up my bottle of water. Road workers just poured wet cement and one of them helped lift the stroller to move around the wet cement.

I finally reached the gates of my complex about 1 pm. As soon as I was about to turn in, I saw Brad's aide get off the bus. I silently cussed to myself because this man was here too early. I have asked him before to please arrive as close to Brad's bus time as possible, but he does not listen. Brad's bus arrives at 220. JMM showed up at 1. Great, the introvert in me, was bummed. I have not been at home for most of the morning. I have not cleaned. I needed to start cooking dinner. I also have the friend coming over, who now has to run into the aide lol.

I walk in the complex and the friend calls. He is at the gate. Do you see the woman with baby in stroller and African-male aide?  (The aide is from Africa and grew up in France. For the purposes of this blog, the aide will be refered to as the African and friend as the American lol). yep. Great. I finish walking to my apartment, get inside, meet the friend, and the aide talks talking. Damn extroverts. The African started talking to the American for the whole two hours, the American was here. The African stayed almost three hours day (I been approved for two hours per day for both morning and afternoon. The afternoon aide wants the whole two hours for his self plus some. I have not requested any more hours because I do not see the point). I barely got a word in to my own friend. Those two discussed politics, race relations, and other stuff, which I automatically tuned out because my house was messy and I needed to clean the living room and kitchen. The introvert in me was happy I can clean in peace and can avoid a convo with the African. Did I mention he does not know how to stop talking lol? Damn extroverts

The American even pulled me to the side, after Brad got home,  and asked about how to get rid of the African so we could have a convo. I did not have an answer on how to send Brad's aide home early. I tried telling him Brad had therapy, but he still would not leave. Brad does start in-home therapy today, after he gets home from school. The high school is testing and the kids have half days for Wednesday and Thursday, off on Friday and Monday. The therapist will be here tomorrow about 10:40 a.m.

Today has been an interesting day. Take Brad to the doctor and Kalen gets sick. Invite a friend over and both he and the aide shows up at the same time. The aide talks up the friend,

The American did a good job with the kids because they turned up the active, especially Kalen, which made a few thoughts start to wonder. Bald head, chocolate male. Former Marine with a job, but he has a dog and my kids are scared of dogs. I am not a pet person either. but that's another story.

Has anyone else had one of these days?