Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Family and Friends Gather for Grandma's 90th

My aunt, me, my mom, my grandma, and my cousin

For the past 3 weeks, Hubby and I have been gallivanting across 5 States to include 2 different family reunions - 1 was my grandma's 90th in La Jolla, California, and 1 was my cousin's wedding in Kansas City, Missouri. We also visited with family in Kansas, Atlanta, and Florida. Hubby was a real trooper giving up watching a big part of the Soccer World Cup and later Wimbledon, especially the epic match between South African Kevin Anderson and American John Isner. We were packing and flying back to South Africa during that record-breaking semi-final. 

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My step-dad, his friend, my hubby,
my cousin, and my aunt

I'm in this photo with the sunset behind us.





Hubby

Selfie time: Hubby and me




Over several days, family and friends
gathered in this fabulous holiday rental.

My grandma's friend, my mom, my grandma, and me

That's my brother in the middle. We rarely
see each other because he lives in China
and I live in South Africa.


My step-dad and my cousin

My mom and my grandma

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High Tea at Shakespeare's Corner Shoppe


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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!


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This is a Wordless Wednesday blog hop.



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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Last Blog Post for June!

This is my last blog post for the next 3 weeks until Tuesday July 17. Hubby and I are heading to the States for my grandmother's 90th Birthday! We'll get to see many of my relatives on this trip. I wish everyone a safe summer or winter vacation (depending on where you are in the world)!


I often use Paperless Post to send eCards like on Mother's Day, Father's Day and birthdays. You can check out my review that I did for them last year here. Above is an eCard I picked out for my grandmother, although this time I'll get to physically hand her a card too!

Disclosure: I'll receive Paperless Post virtual coins for telling you about them.

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My Latest Book Reviews:



Lizzie and Lou Seal by [Keeler, Patricia]



Dragon School: Mark of Loyalty by [Wilson, Sarah K. L.]

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Dragon School Books 11 and 12

Dragon School:
Bright Hopes

Dragon School: Bright Hopes by [Wilson, Sarah K. L.]

About the Book:

Title: Dragon School: Bright Hopes | Author: Sarah K. L. Wilson | Genre: Fantasy Adventure | Pages: 92 | Recommended Age: Young Adult

Book Description:

Only Amel knows the truth.

A new story from USA Today Bestselling author, Sarah K. L. Wilson

With a grievous head injury, even Amel can’t really trust her own memories, but what she thought she saw feels very real and if it’s true, it will change everything.

On top of that, someone is hunting Lightbringers and Amel and her friends are swept up in the hunt. Can they escape or will the world remain ignorant of their secret forever?

Fans of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern and Christopher Paolini’s Eragon will love Dragon School.

Bright Hopes is episode eleven of Dragon School – expect a new episode every eighteen days!

Always FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Purchase on Amazon

My Review:

Dragon School: Bright Hopes is Book 11 in this new and exciting young adult fantasy series. Here’s another episode full of adventure with twists and turns and a smidgen of romance. The battle rages on as the Dusk Covenant twist their lies to look like truths. They grow stronger and the people foolishly follow. With zeal, the Lightbringers are hunted down and killed. The Dominar is not who he seems to be. Savette is dying. Just when things are at their darkest, a spark of bright hope appears.

This series is full of quotable quotes. Sometimes I like to share one or two. Here's one from Bright Hopes. Raolcan is speaking to Amel:
“Then take your heart in hand and bend it the right way, Amel…. It’s up to you to manage your heart and to make it bend to your will, not the other way around.”


Dragon School:
Mark of Loyalty

Dragon School: Mark of Loyalty by [Wilson, Sarah K. L.]

About the Book:

Title: Dragon School: Mark of Loyalty | Author: Sarah K. L. Wilson | Genre: Fantasy Adventure | Pages: 92 | Recommended Age: Young Adult

Book Description:

Who is the true Chosen One?

A new story from USA Today Bestselling author, Sarah K. L. Wilson

Free from the grip of the Dusk Covenant, Amel and her friends are headed to swear their loyalty to Haz, Queen of Dragons. But they aren’t the only ones who plan to negotiate with the Dragon Queen. When old enemies resurface, how will Amel convince her friends to stand for the truth in a world of lies?

Fans of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern and Christopher Paolini’s Eragon will love Dragon School.

Mark of Loyalty is episode twelve of Dragon School – expect a new episode every eighteen days!

Always FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Pre-Order on Amazon

My Review:

Dragon School: Mark of Loyalty is Book 12 in this new and exciting young adult fantasy series. Amel is loyal to the truth when the masses are supporting a lie. Standing up for what she believes in by supporting Shonan also puts her at odds with Hubric, but especially with Leng. She's made tough choices before and she'll do it again. Savette has her own battles to fight. Will their collective efforts be enough?


More Dragon School Books:


More Books by Sarah Wilson:


About the Author:
Sarah K. L. Wilson

Sarah K L Wilson


USA Today bestselling author, Sarah K. L. Wilson, hails from the rocky Canadian Shield in Northern Ontario where she lives with her husband and two small boys. Her interests include the outdoors, history, and philosophy. Her books are always about fantastical adventures in other worlds.



Disclosure: I received an ARC for both books and these are my honest reviews.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Father's Day and Cats


Today I'm sharing photos from Father's Day. That's why I'm including the family photo above, which was taken earlier this year. We had toast, eggs, sausage, and baked potatoes for breakfast. The "cake" in the photo below is a traditional South African "melktert" (milk tart), which we had in the afternoon with tea. It says, "I ♥ Dad."

I also thought that it would be nice to share some pics of our two cats. It's been a while since they were featured!

For the next four weeks until the middle of July (June 18 - July 16), I won't be hosting any blog hops and for three of those weeks (June 22 - July 16) I won't be doing any blogging. Hubby and I are heading to the States to visit my side of the family. I wish everyone a safe summer or winter vacation (depending on where you are in the world)!

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Click on the photos to enlarge them.







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Here's a peek at
my latest post
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Allesverloren Wine Estate

Jessica and my mom

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Lizzie and Lou Seal

Lizzie and Lou Seal

Lizzie and Lou Seal by [Keeler, Patricia]

About the Book:

Title: Lizzie and Lou Seal | Author & Illustrator: Patricia Keeler | Publisher: Sky Pony Press | Pages: 40 | Genre: Children's Picture Book

Book Description:

What will Lizzie do when Lou Seal loses his puff?

Lizzie loves her flip-flops. They go shuffle shuffle across the rug, smack smack on the floor tiles, and thwap thwap down the stairs. Lizzie also loves her blow-up toy, Lou Seal. Lizzie and Lou Seal are off to the beach, but beach fun turns to beach disaster when Lizzie loses her flip-flops and Lou Seal starts losing air! It’s a sink or swim scenario. What will Lizzie do?

This is a beautiful book with mixed media art and a lovely retro feel, for fans of Ladybug Girl at the Beach. Children will relate to Lizzie’s independence and creative problem solving and fall in love with Lou Seal themselves. Filled with lots of fun words and sounds, this is a perfect read aloud book for parents and children alike.

Purchase on Amazon


My Review:

Lizzie and Lou Seal is an adorable story about a little girl and her inflatable dolphin. It's kind of bittersweet. As in life, things happen that don't go as planned, but the girl makes the most of it. My only concern with the story is that the girl goes to the beach alone. There are no adults watching over her. Otherwise, it's a lovely picture book with whimsical illustrations and plenty of onomatopoeia. Amanda thinks that it's a nice book for young children.


About the Author:

Patricia A. Keeler

Patricia Keeler is the author/illustrator of SCOOP THE ICE CREAM TRUCK and LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, both of Sky Pony Press. Patricia received the Christopher Medal in 2011 for her illustrations in WOULD YOU STILL LOVE ME IF. She was also the winner in the children's book category for the New York Book Festival 2013. Patricia has been positively reviewed by the New York Times Book Review, along with Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal. Her work has also been a selection of the Junior Library Guild and the Children's Book-of-the-Month Club. About DRUMBEAT IN OUR FEET (Lee & Low Books), The Horn Book wrote, "With each page exploring a different aspect of African dance, the book provides history, general information about the various roles of dance in African cultures, and inspiration for all, in addition to facts about costumes, music, and performance. Detailed paintings beautifully support the text." The Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota, which houses the largest collection of children's books in the world, has obtained the original illustrations, galleys, proofs, acceptance letter, contract and pages of editorial critiques for Patricia Keeler's Drumbeat In Our Feet. The Drumbeat collection is currently studied by emerging children's book authors and illustrators.

Disclosure: Amanda and I own the Kindle version of this book. This is our honest review.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Latest Release in the Ramona Family Series and a Linky

This is my last blog hop until Tuesday July 17, but I will continue blogging until June 21. Then I'll take a break from blogging for 3 weeks. Hubby and I are heading to the States to visit my side of the family. I wish everyone a safe summer or winter vacation (depending on where you are in the world)!

Keep Me at Christmas
Book 4 in the Ramona Family Series

Keep Me At Christmas (Romano Family Book 4) by [Whitney, Lucinda]

About the Book:

Title: Keep Me at Christmas | Author: Lucinda Whitney | Publisher: Lange House Press | Pages: 260 | Genre: Clean Romance

Book Description:

Can the magic of the season keep them together beyond Christmas?

When Luciana Romano arrives in Hudson Springs, New York, her plan is to complete her restoration job at the museum so she can return home to her family right after Christmas. But a blizzard grounds all flights, and she finds herself stranded. The DiLorenzo family offers her a place to stay, and she accepts their hospitality. But the unexpected attraction between her and the quiet, good-looking son makes it hard to want to leave.

Jack DiLorenzo is stuck. Managing the family’s Italian cafĂ© is not what he’d planned to do with his life, but his sense of duty won’t let him quit. When his grandmother invites a Portuguese woman to stay with them, Jack feels something he hasn’t felt for a long time: hope. He knows he shouldn’t get close to Luciana since she’s leaving as soon as the airport opens, but he can’t help himself.

Yet as the magic of the season begins to work on them, he wonders how he can let go of the woman who’s awakened his heart.

Books in the Romano Family series:
- Book 1 - Hold Me At Twilight
- Book 2 - Meet Me At Sunrise
- Book 3 - Love Me At Sunset
- Book 4 - Keep Me At Christmas
- Book 5 - Kiss Me At Midnight (coming soon)

Only $0.99 on Amazon!


My Review:

Keep Me at Christmas is a sweet holiday romance and a gentle read. It's a great book to relax with during the holidays. The characters are wonderful and well rounded, but nothing too deep or heart-wrenching. I learned about museum exhibitions, specifically interesting facts about restoring and caring for textiles. It's always nice to learn something new! This is a stand-alone story in the Romano Family series and doesn't need to be read in order to be understood and enjoyed. 

My Reviews of Books 1 - 3:
A Clean Romance Series

About the Author:
Lucinda Whitney

Lucinda Whitney

Join the Readers Club at http://lucindawhitney.com/claim-your-free-book/ and receive a free ebook copy of Hold Me At Twilight! Lucinda Whitney was born and raised in Portugal, where she received a master's degree from the University of Minho in Braga in Portuguese/English teaching. She lives in northern Utah. When she's not reading and writing, she can be found with a pair of knitting needles in winter, or tending her herb garden in the summer. She also works part-time as a substitute teacher. Visit her website at www.lucindawhitney.com

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book. This my honest and voluntary review.
Please Note: Price was correct at the time of posting. Please check as price may change.


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My Latest Book Reviews:


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Welcome to my weekend blog hop -
Make My Saturday Sweet #273

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!

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


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what link-ups I take part in.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost
Book 2 in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series Book 2) by [Reading, Iain]

About the Book:

Title: Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost | Author: Iain Reading | Pages: 339 | Genre: Action Adventure | Recommended Ages: Teen and Young Adult

Book Description:

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost is the exciting second installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This second book in the series continues the adventures of Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot who has decided to follow in the footsteps of her hero Amelia Earhart and make an epic flight around the entire world. After flying across North America Kitty's journey takes her down south to Florida where she plans to get a bit of rest and relaxation before continuing on with the rest of her long and grueling flight. As Kitty explores the strange and magical water world of the Florida Keys her knack for getting herself into precarious situations sweeps her headlong into the adventure of a lifetime involving mysterious lights, ancient shipwrecks, razor-toothed barracudas and even a sighting of the great Ernest Hemingway himself. This exhilarating story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept across the landscape and history of the Florida Keys all the way from Key West to the strange and remarkable world of Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas.

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost is a perfect book to fire the imaginations of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn about and experience as much of our amazing world as they can - just like Kitty Hawk herself.


“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

For more information, click here.

Purchase on Amazon:


My Review:

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost is the second book in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series. There's a big mystery dealing with sunken treasure and a smaller one dealing with Hemingway's ghost. Kitty ends up solving both. If you enjoy reading the National Geographic magazine, then you'll probably enjoy this series. These books are rich in describing interesting places and historical facts along with some suspense and adventure.

I found the second book to be slower going than the first. I was annoyed with Kitty when she told Jack that she had no idea what he was talking about when he was in the middle of explaining important things that should have been pinging in her brain. I also lived inside her head with her thoughts far too much. The exciting parts were in the prologue and the climax of the story. When I got to the climax, my heart nearly stopped! Ironically, I found the epilogue too short. Kitty doesn't tell Charlie about her adventure in Florida and only mentions briefly that she's on her way to exploring "this big old world of ours."

About the Author:


Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to his Amazon profile.

Readers can connect with Iain on


Disclosure: I received a free Kindle copy of this book and this is my honest review. There are no affiliate links.

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