Friday, September 19, 2014

Books to Movie: Tracks Movie Debut Today

A few months ago, I reviewed the book TRACKS by Robyn Davidson.  Now that book is a movie, debuting in the US today! To see my review of the book, TRACKS, click HERE

TRACKS is the inspiring true story of an incredible adventure across the Australian desert

from the producers of The King's Speech. Starring Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre) and Adam Driver (HBO's Girls), and directed by John Curran.

Praise for TRACKS: 

"A superb adaptation.... 
Evocatively rendered."
Hollywood Reporter

"Beautiful, thrilling, and ferociously brave....
Robyn Davidson's timeless story of her astonishing journey gripped me from the
first page to the last. Tracks is an unforgettably powerful book."
Cheryl Strayed, bestselling author of WILD, who incidentally has her own movie premiere for WILD in a few months. 

I can't wait to see TRACKS, I just need to find a few hours to do it! Check your local theaters and go see this inspiring, emotional story of resilience and fortitude of one woman's trek across the Australian desert.  Be sure to let me know if you go see it!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Children's Book Review: Lady Emma in Her Land of Wonder By Martha M Harrison

In Her Land of Wonder

By Martha M Harrison

Published: August 8, 2014

Publisher: Incanto Press


Does your daughter love fairy tales?
Is your daughter full of imagination and wonder?
Then Lady Emma is just the story for her. Based on ALICE IN WONDERLAND and THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, Harrison brings you an imaginative story for young girls to enjoy.

You can follow along in the whole series of adventures with Lady Emma beginning with this book. Lady Emma is full of imagination but also gets herself into blunders. As she grows she finds her own personal strength and determination to get out of mishaps. We meet her as a young child and follow her all the way through to a young woman who finds her prince.

My photos do not do the illustrations justice. The pages are vibrant and full of detail.

Every character just jumps off the page. 
Your child will want to look at the pictures as much as hear the story.

Lady Emma learns to be independent and she learns she can do anything she dreams. This book shares excellent qualities to reinforce with your children. I can't wait to see what the rest of the series has to offer. It is really a delightful book. 

Martha M Harrison
Dr. Martha M. Harrison’s previous books have all had an academic focus on language play, reading, children’s books, and the integration of the arts across the curriculum. She has trained over 2000 teachers in teaching reading and writing to children and young adults in grades K-12 and served as a designer of reading and writing curriculum and assessments for the State Departments of Education in Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida and California. For the past two decades, her passion for literacy has guided her teaching of children’s and young adult literature and her successful authoring and implementation of reading and writing curriculum in education. She is a member of the Association of Children’s Literature (AChL) and the International Reading Association (IRA). Her scholarly articles have been published in Florida English Journal, a scholarly journal of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE); The New Advocate, a scholarly journal For Those Involved with Young People and Their Literature; and the National Education Association Library Series (NEA). She has conducted numerous workshops on comparing the works of Maurice Sendak and Theodor S. Geisel, “Dr. Seuss”. She is currently teaching a course on Arts Integration Across the Curriculum at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California near San Francisco. Among her many scholarly publications is an early 1990 article entitled Teaching Thinking Skills to Gifted Children Using Children’s Literature and The Arts. For more on the author, click HERE.

To purchase a copy of this book, click the photo below:

I will be linking up with other bloggers on Booking Mama's Kid Konnection. Check it out HERE on Saturday for other great reviews of children's books.

I was provided a copy of this book for review. This book is my honest opinion. I was not compensated for this review. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting reviews. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lavender Oil Review

I am new to the essential oil community. But, I am slowing starting to use oils and am finding great comfort and benefits from using them.  I'll be sharing my experiences soon, but today I am sharing about my use of Lavender Oil.

Healing Solutions sent me a bottle of Lavender Essential Oil. This particular essential oil is Kashmir Grade Lavender Oil which is a rarer grade of lavender oil distilled from a lavender plant located in the Himalayas. It has a sweeter smell than lavender from other regions. 

Honestly, I had been avoiding purchasing Lavender Essential Oil because I have never cared for the smell of lavender. I have gotten different pillow sachets scented with lavender and haven't cared for them. When I was offered a bottle of lavender essential oil to try, I figured I had nothing to lose. Surprisingly, I have loved using it. The smell is different than I remember. Maybe purer, or sweeter, as I mentioned above. 

Lavender Oil is said to reduce stress and anxiety. It can eliminate headaches. It can be used to relieve joint and muscle pain. It can help reduce the itching of bug bites. It can help calm you and improve sleep.

I have been using the Lavender Essential Oil for the last two weeks. I have applied it to bug bites, to my hands for joint pain (I have arthritis in my fingers) and to my pulse points right before bed or when I need to reduce my anxiety.  I've been keeping the Lavender Oil right on my night stand so I can easily apply it right when I go to bed.

I am quite pleased with my results from using the Lavender Essential Oil. I was surprised that the scent didn't turn me off as much as I expected it to. I found I almost crave it when I go to bed. After applying it to the inside of my wrists, I find that I lay in such a way that I can breathe in the scent and instantly feel relaxed. Sleep has come quickly for me and has been more restful. I also found it eased the itching from a bug bite and reduced the pain in my fingers. On days when life is a bit stressful, just opening the bottle, taking a quick smell, and sitting for a moment can calm my mind and help me focus on the tasks ahead.

I am quite happy with my Lavender Essential Oil and will be using it for quite a long time. If you would like to purchase Healing Solutions Lavender Essential Oil, click the photo below:

Disclaimer: The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any diseases or conditions. If you are suffering from any disease, illness, or injury it is your responsibility to consult with your physician.

I was provided a free bottle of Lavender Essential Oil for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any other way for this review. If you choose to purchase the oil through the above link, I may receive a small commission from your purchase. Thanks for supporting reviews. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Review: What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days By Holley Gerth

52 Encouraging Truths to Hold On To

By: Holley Gerth

Published: September 2, 2014

Publisher: Revell


Holley Gerth finds a way to hit at the heart of what women are dealing with emotionally as they try to balance a career, a marriage, being a mom, and everything else that goes along with it.  Holley has written books to encourage and offer hope just when women may feel like giving up. In WHAT YOUR HEART NEEDS FOR THE HARD DAYS she has written a devotional that can be read regularly, or just when you need some focused encouragement. 

By taking 52 truths, you can find one to read and ponder on or read one each week of the year. In my review of this book, I looked at the various chapter titles and read ones that hit at my own struggles. I found chapters on anxiety, high expectations, and feeling alone to speak right to my needs. Each of the chapters covers about 3 pages of insight beginning with a Bible verse. Your short devotional covers a story and promise for how to get through this particular "hard time". Each devotional ends with a beginning of a prayer than you personalize and a space for you to write your own thoughts from a couple chapters in the Bible. 

This book would work perfect as a personal or women's group study. You can read each chapter in order or pick and choose the chapter that meets your particular needs that day. Some of the truths I found in my reading included:
  • Pinpointing my anxious thoughts and replacing them with faith instead so my emotions can change too.
  • God is present in the whole process. He is there in the beginning. He is there in the middle. He will be there when it comes to an end. God wants me to praise Him during the whole process.
  • I don't have to be as strong as I think I do. I don't have to pretend. I don't have to put up a front for God. He can handle where I am at today. I can tell Him the truth because He already knows it.
If these few items spoke to you, I highly recommend you read WHAT YOUR HEART NEEDS FOR THE HARD DAYS. You may not feel like you are in the midst of a "hard or difficult day", but Holley gets right at the realities of daily life and lets you know you aren't alone.

Holley Gerth - source
Holley Gerth is a bestselling writer, certified life coach, and speaker. She loves connecting with the hearts of women through her popular blog and books like You're Already Amazing,You're Made for a God-Sized DreamOpening the Door to Your God-Sized Dream, andYou're Going to Be Okay. She's also cofounder of (in)courage and a partner with DaySpring. Holley lives with her husband, Mark, in the South. Learn more at You can also find Holley on Twitter, HERE and Facebook, HERE

If you would like to purchase this book, click the photo below:

Thanks to Revell for sending me a copy of this book for review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you paying a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting reviews. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: My Mother's Secret By J. L. Witterick and a Giveaway


J. L. Witterick

Published: September 2, 2014 (reprint)

Publisher: Berkley Trade Paperback

Fiction/Historical Fiction

Every time I read a story based on the Holocaust, I am riveted and in awe of the horrific acts perpetrated on the Jewish people. Every story I have read has left me distraught but also so grateful for the few glimpses of hope and kindness that were shared during such an evil point in our history. MY MOTHER'S SECRET is just that kind of story.

Be sure to keep reading and enter to win a copy of MY MOTHER'S SECRET.

J. L. Witterick was captivated by the true story of Franciszka and her daughter, Helena, a simple family with a farm in rural Poland.  After hearing about their selfless act of hiding 15 people in their simple home during the war, Witterick knew there was a story to tell. In MY MOTHER'S SECRET, Helena begins telling us about her life growing up in Germany with her parents and brother, Damien. As Hitler emerges as the new leader, her father takes Hitler's side and life at home becomes more difficult. At 16, Helena and her brother leave with their mother to move to Poland, leaving the abusive father behind. Through the many contacts and friends they meet during their time in Poland, Francsizka's kindness is remembered. Those connections prove to be quite valuable as war breaks out. Moving through the book we read the personal stories of the people Francisizka chooses to hide and keep safe while war and horrors take place all around them. Of those who take refuge on the farm, we meet a German soldier who can't bear to participate in any more of the horrible acts required of him, a doctor and his family whose wealth can only protect them so long, and finally, a family who can't bear to suffer another loss at the hands of the Germans.

The novel is written in a way that it can be shared with your teenager or your grandparents. The chapters are short and even though the pain of the words are difficult, it is a quick read. There are many lessons to learn while reading this book, including living without regrets, giving selflessly to help others, and that acts kindness will be rewarded. Even when Franciszka should have given up and been as angry as any other person who had suffered during the war, she found a way to give to others, to keep hope alive, and choose to do the right thing when she had so much to lose.

This would make an excellent choice for book clubs or for schools to use in their Holocaust studies. Discussion questions are included in the back of the book, but even without them, you will find much to discuss in the stories of Franciszka, Helena, and the families they meet. MY MOTHER'S SECRET is an amazing story and one that should be shared with generations to come.

J. L. Witterick
Originally from Taiwan, J.L. Witterick has been living in Canada since her family's arrival in 1968. Today she works as President of Sky Investment Counsel. MY MOTHER'S SECRET is J.L.'s debut novel. She lives in Toronto with her husband, and their dog and cat. For more on J. L. Witterick, visit her website,  You can also find her on Facebook, HERE

If you would like to enter to win a copy of MY MOTHER'S SECRET, fill out the form below. You may enter only once. This giveaway is open to US residents only. The contest will end at 11:59 on Tuesday, September 23, 2014. I will choose a winner on Wednesday, September 24, 2014, using and will contact the winner by the email address provided. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me or I will choose a new winner. I am not responsible for undelivered prizes but will do my best to make sure they are delivered. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Children's Book Review: The Treasure of Snake Island By Carole P Roman

A Captain No Beard Story

By: Carole P Roman

Published: January 30, 2014

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


Carole P Roman brings readers the fifth in the Captain No Beard series with THE TREASURE OF SNAKE ISLAND. Like in the other books, Alexander and his group of friends are pretending they are part of a pirate ship. In this book, Polly sounds a warning she learned from a book while they are watching the sun rise, "Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors warning," says Polly.  All the shipmates become concerned and wonder where Polly learned such a thing. "In a book," Polly states. As the crew battles through a storm, they question Polly about books. After finding a map, they realize there is treasure to be found on Snake Island. Will they make it to Snake Island and find a treasure? You will have to read it to find out.

As always, Roman's books are creative, fun, and impart a lesson for kids. By reading this book, you can remind your child of the joy of reading. The best part of reading books is that there is a book out there for everyone to enjoy. Share this book and lots of books with your kids.

Carole P Roman

Award winning author Carole P. Roman is a former teacher turned businesswoman. She has successfully run a family business with her husband that employs close to five hundred people. Her most favorite job is being grandmother to her many grandchildren. Roman has two wonderful sons and hit the jackpot in the daughter-in-law department. She currently lives on Long Island with her husband.

If you would like to purchase this book, click the photo below.

You can also find all of Carole P Roman's books by clicking, HERE.

I will be linking up this review with other bloggers on Booking Mama's Kid Konnection post on Saturday. Check out other great kids books and reviews by other bloggers by clicking HERE.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Children's Book Review: Corky Gives the Whole Scoop on the Facts of Life By Terri Shearer Trenchard

For Girls Only

By: Terri Shearer Trenchard

Published: February 22, 2014

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


As the mother of a 9-year-old girl, I found this book to be quite helpful in having those difficult and uncomfortable conversations.  This is a book the parent can read, one that you can read with your daughter, and one that your daughter can read on her own. The book covers all those body and emotional changes as girls grow up into young women. The author uses language familiar to young girls and easily explains the terms used by grown ups.

This books hits on topics such as bra buying, acne, menstruation, body odor, and shaving. She also discusses those heavy emotional ups and downs including self-esteem and peer pressure. The book also explains the process of making a baby and is a chapter you definitely want to read along with your daughter. This book is fun and makes having these important conversations with your daughter much more approachable and less embarrassing for your daughter.

I especially appreciated the pages focused on "Tude" or attitude and the acronymn "DRAMA", These parts of life can be just as difficult to manage as the physical changes are for the girls. Having a little fun and plainly talking about the issues girls can face when dealing with other girls gives you a perfect way to encourage conversation.  Terri's 5 Step process for steering clear of the drama are lessons moms can use as well.

Terri first wrote a book for boys called BORK REVEALS THE REAL DEAL ABOUT THE FACTS OF LIFE. You can find that book, HERE.

Terri Shearer Trenchard - source
When Terri Shearer Trenchard searched for the perfect book to introduce the topics of puberty and reproduction to her growing children, she quickly discovered there was nothing that contained what she needed (and only what she needed). So Terri, wife and mother of two, wrote a book for her son, and soon learned that many other moms, dads, and caregivers needed it too. Having experienced broad popularity with the developing pre-teen boy crowd (and those who care for them), she ventured on to write a similar book for her younger daughter—and for those all-important beautifully developing girls.
With a master’s degree in Education and Human Development from The George Washington University, and a bachelor’s concentration in Psychology from Bucknell University, she has applied her knowledge and experience as a former teacher, manager, organization development specialist, and mom, to create essential, fact-filled books that engage the pre-teen audience. Terri has been featured in several publications including Maryland Family Magazine and Baltimore’s Child.
When she’s not writing a book or a blog, volunteering, or anticipating the next bookstore visit, she enjoys many outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, gardening, travelling, and just about anything at the beach. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland with her husband, their two children, and a big white furry dog named Yogi. For more on Terri, visit her website, You can also find her on Twitter, HERE and Facebook, HERE
To purchase a copy of CORKY GIVES THE WHOLE SCOOP ON THE FACTS OF LIFE, click the photo below:

I will linking up on Saturday with Booking Mama's Kid Konnection. Check out her site to see other great children's books and reviews by fabulous bloggers, HERE