Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine's Day with Linky

Welcome to my weekend blog hop -
Make My Saturday Sweet #162!


Since Valentine's Day is a couple of days away, I thought these sunset photos that I took from our balcony in January would add a romantic touch.

My blog is best viewed in Google Chrome.
Click on the images to view them larger.



Do you receive flowers on Valentine's Day? On Wednesday I was at the grocery store with Hubby and noticed the Valentine bouquets are already making an appearance. I told him that if he was considering buying me flowers, that he should buy proteas. They are indigenous to South Africa and probably won't go up in price, since they aren't usually used in Valentine themed bouquets like roses are. The other reason why I like proteas is because they last a lot longer than other cut flowers.

Proteas

Proteas

I came across this great blog post
by Juggling Act Mama for
Star Wars fans this Valentine's Day.
She has created some FREE printables!

Star Wars Valentine's


*********************

My Latest Book Reviews:

Cora and the Nurse Dragon
New release by H.L. Burke!




Lands of Ash
(Elemental Realms Book 1)
by H.L. Burke




*********************

Make My Saturday Sweet is a weekend blog hop for all family friendly blogs. You are welcome to link your favorite post from the past week(s) and to visit the last link before yours and leave a sweet comment. It's a really easy and fun way to make new friends and to catch up on old acquaintances.

Now on to my blog hop...

Amanda’s Books and More

It's time for another Make My Saturday Sweet blog hop!

Join me (your host) for this fun and easy hop.
All family friendly blogs are welcome!

If you host your own blog hop(s), then feel free to
link them on my Blog Hops page!

I would love for you to follow me on

Here are the easy rules:
  • Follow Tina (your host) on one or more links listed above.
  • Link up a post from your family friendly blog.
  • Please try to add my hop button on your post or side-bar.
  • Share about this hop on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.
  • Visit the last link before yours and leave a sweet comment.
Blog Button Code:

Amanda’s Books and More

Weekend Linky

This is a blog hop!



Visit my Blog Hops page to see
what link parties I take part in.

Read More

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lands of Ash



Title: Lands of Ash (Elemental Realms Book 1) | Author: H.L. Burke | Pages: 273 | Genre: Fantasy | Recommended Ages: Teens and Young Adult

About the Book

What remains when the world burns? After decades of Elemental Invasions, the once flourishing Kingdom of Forra has been reduced to ruins. A band of survivors pulls together in one last attempt to defend their homes and families as the Elementals make a push to wipe them out completely.

Stoic Militia Captain Karvir and his ardent brother, Ketyl, lead a skeleton force against the Fiery Horde. Everything -- their families, their home, their very world -- hangs on their success against impossible odds. Meanwhile across the wilderness, young Brode and his pregnant stepmother flee, hoping to find safety near the sea.

As the Elementals pour through the portals, a sacrificial act gives hope for peace, but is it sustainable? Can the human race fight back from the edge of extinction? And could the key to their survival lie in a child?

Purchase on Amazon


*********************

My Review

I love reading H.L. Burke's fantasy novels. She creates interesting adventure stories with romance and witty dialogues. Her fantasy worlds and dynamic characters come to life and you feel connected to them. Her novels are relatively clean and I would feel comfortable having my teenage daughters read them. Lands of Ash (Elemental Realms Book 1), is her most dramatic work to date.

In this new series by H.L. Burke, she pushes her characters, the people we come to love, to breaking point. In Lands of Ash the people are fighting against an invading force that is more powerful than them. Much of their lives is dedicated to survival.

H.L. Burke has taken bigger risks with Lands of Ash. People are complex, and she explores their good sides and bad sides by placing her characters in extremely difficult and stressful situations.

This book is not for people who are looking for a feel-good story. You never know who is going to live and who is going to die, who is going to be honorable and who is going to be dishonorable, who is going to fall in love, and who is going to be spurned. It does have its feel-good moments, but there's plenty of the opposite.

I recommend Lands of Ash for teenagers and young adults. This book is not suited for sensitive readers.


*********************


Quotes from Lands of Ash

"Connections were dangerous, and there was a good chance that half their group would be dead in a matter of days."

"These are dark times... Any life is a gift."

"You can't stop living your life, brother, no matter what the world throws at you."

"Whatever the days are, evil or not, they made us who we are, and perhaps there's a reason for that."


*********************


My Reviews of
H.L. Burke's
other books:

A Tale in Two Parts -
with Author Interview

Dragon's Curse - Book 1

Dragon's Debt - Book 2



recommended for ages 9 - 12






*********************

About the Author:
H.L. Burke


Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

For information about H. L. Burke's latest novels, author news and events, or to contact the writer, go to the H.L. Burke author website.

You can read my interesting interview of Heidi here.

Disclosure: I received a free digital copy of this book for my honest review.

Read More

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dad and Daughter Swimming with #Linky

Welcome to my Picture Perfect
Party Linky #178!


Dad and Daughter
Swimming

This blog is best viewed in Google Chrome.
Click on my photos to see them at their best!






The view from our balcony



*********************

Here's a peek at
My Latest Post
on 1camera1mom:

Rock Pools at Britannia Bay


Make you sure you check out
the neat photos I'm sharing
on 1camera1mom! I'm
including some collages
from December 2013.


*********************

My Weekend Post:
The Super Bowl and Human Trafficking



*********************

My Latest Book Review:
Cora and the Nurse Dragon




*********************

Now on to my blog hop...

Amanda’s Books and More

Come link up your Wordless Wednesday
(with or without words) or any picture post
at this Picture Perfect Party Linky.
Join me on this fun and easy blog hop!


If you host your own blog hop(s), then feel free
to link them on my Blog Hops page!


I would love for you to follow me on
and
Follow on Bloglovin



Here are the easy rules:
  • Follow me on one or more links above or via email.
  • Link-up your post with a picture and follow as many new blogs as you like.
  • If possible, copy the button code below and add it on your linked post or blog's side-bar.
  • Tell others about this hop on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.

The Button Code:

Amanda’s Books and More

This is a Wordless Wednesday blog hop.



Visit my Blog Hops page to see the hops that I often link up to.
Read More

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Super Bowl and Human Trafficking

Welcome to my weekend blog hop -
Make My Saturday Sweet #161!


My blog is best viewed in Google Chrome.
Click on the images to view them larger.


Many Americans are getting excited about the upcoming Super Bowl. There are lots of great snack ideas for those who celebrate the event with friends and family. I found this board by Cathy Cummins on Pinterest. (I don't know her. I just chose her board from a Google Search.) I thought it might be a fun resource for some of my readers: Football - Super Bowl Recipes.

ham-cheddar-cheese-ball:
Source: Taste of Home

I don't watch a lot of sports and American football has never been one of my interests. And, if you live outside of the States, "football" means "soccer" to most people.

Below is a photo of our girls at the time of the Soccer World Cup in 2010. They are wearing their South African supporter clothes. Notice how Amanda's shirt says, "I Love Football," and the picture is of a soccer ball. We live close enough to Cape Town that we made sure to see at least one of the games. 

Sisters: Jessica, Amanda, and Samantha

Yesterday, I came across a news report about the darker side of the huge Super Bowl event, namely human trafficking. It's a $32 billion industry with 100,000 - 300,000 kids at risk in the U.S. Watch the video below to find out more.


We had the same problem in South Africa with a spike in human trafficking during the Soccer World Cup. It's modern-day slavery and it's on the rise. I found this excellent article on the topic with important facts and statistics: What is Human Trafficking?



*********************


I would like to take a moment to feature
a wonderful nonprofit organization called


"We've rescued hundreds of children enslaved around the world, helped keep hundreds more from entering the sex-trade through our various prevention programs, ensured justice for those that have been wronged and have raised awareness to untold numbers. And, we'll continue to expand to help reach even more children in the days ahead!"

Source: Destiny Rescue Facebook


You can get their updates on


*********************

My Latest Book Review:
Cora and the Nurse Dragon
New release by H.L. Burke!
Fantasy with substance
for ages 10 and up




*********************

Make My Saturday Sweet is a weekend blog hop for all family friendly blogs. You are welcome to link your favorite post from the past week(s) and to visit the last link before yours and leave a sweet comment. It's a really easy and fun way to make new friends and to catch up on old acquaintances.

Now on to my blog hop...

Amanda’s Books and More

It's time for another Make My Saturday Sweet blog hop!

Join me (your host) for this fun and easy hop.
All family friendly blogs are welcome!

If you host your own blog hop(s), then feel free to
link them on my Blog Hops page!

I would love for you to follow me on

Here are the easy rules:
  • Follow Tina (your host) on one or more links listed above.
  • Link up a post from your family friendly blog.
  • Please try to add my hop button on your post or side-bar.
  • Share about this hop on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.
  • Visit the last link before yours and leave a sweet comment.
Blog Button Code:

Amanda’s Books and More

Weekend Linky

This is a blog hop!



Visit my Blog Hops page to see
what link parties I take part in.

Read More

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cora and the Nurse Dragon

Cora and the Nurse Dragon
by H.L. Burke


Title: Cora and the Nurse Dragon | Author: H.L. Burke | Pages: 215 | Recommended Ages: 8 - 18

About the Book

Cora's a young girl with two dreams: to be a dragon jockey when she grows up and to own a pet dragon now. She constantly buys "egg packs" at the dragon emporium in hopes that one will hatch into a rare pet-sized dragon, but only gets short-lived mayflies. However, when an unexpected egg does develop into something new, Cora may be over her head.

Purchase on Amazon


*********************

My Review


I was excited to pre-order H.L. Burke's book, Cora and the Nurse Dragon, after reading and reviewing the middle grade reader, Thaddeus Whiskers and the DragonI thought I could it read it to Amanda who is almost 8 years old, but it's more suited for older kids and for people like me who are young at heart.

I read it easily within two days. It was lots of fun. H.L. Burke artfully whisked me away into another world of her imagination that comes alive and feels real. It is different to our world, but very similar too where some kids are bullies and some kids are just wanting to live their dreams, and sometimes those dreams can also be a little misguided. The adults (mostly parents of the kids) have important roles in the story too. The main characters are two girls with different strengths whose friendship transcends the barrier of class based on income.

The pace of the story is charged with lots of discovery, adventure, danger, and more. It is steampunk fiction set in a time like the 1920's. Another steampunk work of fantasy by H.L. Burke is Beggar Magic.

Cora and the Nurse Dragon is geared towards a female audience. The topics the characters deal with are very mature and for that reason I recommend this book for girls from age 10 right up to young adults.

*********************

Some interesting facts about the book:
•The first draft (roughly 39,000 words) was written in 10 days; a personal record for the author.
•Facebook fans were asked to give ideas for names of the main dragon. The author liked one fan's suggestion of "Cricket," which in turn inspired the dragon's signature "chirping."
•Cora is named after a friend's daughter, who was going through a health crisis, as a gift to her.

You can find more interesting facts about the book from the author herself, on her blog under, "10 Secrets of Cora and the Nurse Dragon."


*********************

My Reviews of
H.L. Burke's
other books:

A Tale in Two Parts -
with Author Interview

Dragon's Curse - Book 1

Dragon's Debt - Book 2



recommended for ages 9 - 12



*********************

About the Author:
H.L. Burke


Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

For information about H. L. Burke's latest novels, author news and events, or to contact the writer, go to the H.L. Burke author website.

You can read my interesting interview of Heidi here.

Disclosure: I pre-ordered a Kindle copy of this book for my own pleasure and this is my honest review.

Read More

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My 3 Teenagers Preparing Fresh Mussels

Welcome to my Picture Perfect
Party Linky #177!


To continue the theme of "Seaside Holiday Food" from last week, today's photos are of the fresh mussels that we got from the Saldahna Bay harbor. Our three teenagers cleaned them and later helped my mother-in-law cook them.

Samantha and Jeremiah are featured in these photos, but Jessica was also there. You can see her painted blue thumbnail in the photo below and her silhouette framed in the doorway in the photo of her brother stirring the pan.

This blog is best viewed in Google Chrome.
Click on my photos to see them at their best!

Cleaning fresh mussels

Jeremiah and Samantha cleaning mussels

Jeremiah and Samantha preparing mussels for dinner

Jeremiah making the sauce

Jeremiah stirring the sauce

A feast of cooked mussels at the seaside

Cooked mussels in sauce with french-loaf bread

*********************

Here's a peek at
My Latest Post
on 1camera1mom:

Fresh Mussels from Saldahna Bay


Visit "Fresh Mussels from Saldahna Bay" to see where the mussels in today's post came from and to learn a couple of interesting facts about the harbor.

*********************

My Weekend Post:
Nurturing Joy


*********************

Now on to my blog hop...

Amanda’s Books and More

Come link up your Wordless Wednesday
(with or without words) or any picture post
at this Picture Perfect Party Linky.
Join me on this fun and easy blog hop!


If you host your own blog hop(s), then feel free
to link them on my Blog Hops page!


I would love for you to follow me on
and
Follow on Bloglovin



Here are the easy rules:
  • Follow me on one or more links above or via email.
  • Link-up your post with a picture and follow as many new blogs as you like.
  • If possible, copy the button code below and add it on your linked post or blog's side-bar.
  • Tell others about this hop on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.

The Button Code:

Amanda’s Books and More

This is a Wordless Wednesday blog hop.



Visit my Blog Hops page to see the hops that I often link up to.
Read More

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