Oct 28, 2014

Flawless by Jan Moran

"There's always an ugly side to beauty." - Jan Moran

"An engrossing view into the world of 'beautiful people' with an ending that will leave you wanting more." - New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Melissa Foster

Verena Valent is at the helm of her family's legendary Swiss skincare company, which caters to a glamorous clientele in the heart of Beverly Hills. After her parents are killed in an automobile accident, she becomes the sole provider for her younger twin sisters and her grandmother. Instead of attending college with her friends as planned, she rises to the challenge to guide and expand her family's business. She is in the midst of a critical international expansion into Asia when her carefully organized life begins to unravel.

Verena is shaken to discover that her fiancé, Derrick, might be behind a scheme to take over her growing company. While she struggles to save the business that means everything to her, she meets Lance, an executive chef at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She encounters this intriguing man again while on a business trip to Paris, and soon gains a new perspective on love, romance, and relationships.

When the unthinkable occurs and Verena's world collapses, her friends rally around her, among them Scarlett Sandoval, a top intellectual property attorney; Dahlia DuBois, a perfumer from an esteemed line of French perfumers; and Fianna Fitzgerald, a fashion designer with her own trendy boutique.

Ultimately, Verena learns that truth, family, friendship, and love are the unshakable pillars of life. But will she get a second chance in business, or in love?

Flawless is the first book in the Hostile Beauty Series. Follow a group of smart, stylish, entrepreneurial friends as they navigate the turbulences of modern life in the business of beauty. Set in Beverly Hills with action flung across the globe, this engaging series features gutsy, determined best friends, and how they manage to live the lives of their dreams.

Amazon

Verena thinks things are going very well, her skincare company is ready for the international market, she is engaged to a man she trusts and her grandmother and twin sisters are all right. She's earned the important prize she receives as she's worked so hard for it. On that night she meets Lance, who is a gourmet chef. They have a click and when they talk they feel completely at ease with one another. Unfortunately Verena is tied to another man. When she doesn't get the promised finances he wants to help her, which makes her depend on him more and more. A few days in Paris change something in Verena's heart, but can she listen to it? Everything she holds so dear is starting to fall apart. Will Verena stay upright or will she fall very hard?
Flawless is a story about beauty. Strong women are creating the most luxurious skin products. It was a joy to read about them. Verena is strong and smart, but she's too kind. That is what makes her so likable. She wants to take care of others, but she often forgets herself. And that will cost her dearly. Flawless isn't a fairytale story, it's about the sometimes hard reality of business. I liked the creativity of the main characters, they had some truly amazing ideas. Family is important and for Verena her grandmother and sisters come first, that is very noble. Even if things aren't going according to plan she always thinks about her family and not about her own problems. Flawless kept me glued to my seat, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I just had to keep reading until the very end. The story captured me and I loved every minute of it. Flawless is great. There's so much tension, it wanted to make me scream sometimes. I love it when I feel so many different emotions while reading the same story, for me that's exactly as it should be. If you like strong and independent women, beautiful products and great clothes, delicious gourmet food combined with kindness, warmth and a wonderful love story, Flawless is the perfect book for you.

Why I want to be a superhero


I want to be a superhero. It might sound childish, but it's true. I think about it quite often. It would be great to have special powers and to be able to make a difference. I often dream about what those superpowers could be. I've come to the conclusion that I don't have to be very strong as I'm not a fan of fighting. I want to be able to spread love, to make people like each other again. Lately I've seen a lot of nastiness and I'm frustrated that I can't solve it all. I want people to be nice to each other. I like happy conversations and would love to see more of them, in everyday situations and on social media.
I also would like to have another, similar superpower and that is to spread positivity and happiness. I would like to be able to give people a festive and cheerful mood just by snapping my fingers. I think this would make the world a better place. I want to be able to cut through negative spirals and turn them around to make them positive and wonderful. If I'm a superhero I can make people's lives so much better. I love Care Bears and what they are standing for. Once a friend gave me a little sunshine bear because she thought it resembled my character. That was such a great compliment, it made me more aware and I realized it's an important part of my personality I should never lose. Sometimes I need a little reminder and then I think about that little bear. I don't see myself as an actual bear though, hence the superwoman alteration.
Maybe you think this is a strange way to see the world, but it feels right to me. Even though I can't make someone happy by snapping my fingers, make every hurt go away and stop bullying just because I appear, I still want to try to make things as nice as possible. Even without wings, a cape or a super tight costume I'm trying to be as positive and upbeat as I can be. If I spread the word maybe people will join me. It's everything I can do, which is a little bit better than just dreaming about having fantastic kick-ass powers that will make everything better in an instant. If only...

--- Suzanne ---

Lavender Likes Audrey Pink Style!


I love Audrey Pink Style. It's a great shop filled with very cute items. Everything is kawaii and it all looks pretty!


Audrey is from Italy. She loves kawaii and she makes both polymer clay items and plushies. 


These gingerbread dolls are adorable. Their faces are really sweet. I would love to have them all!


Audrey's earrings are stunning. I like the fact that they consist of two different parts. The pairs are matching because the figures on the left and the right have a connection. That makes them both original and even more appealing.




Audrey loves soft materials and colorful clay. Everything she makes has a high level of cuteness. In my opinion it all looks perfect. Even the tiniest detail is right and that is what I like best about the things she makes.


Audrey would love it if you could check out her shop. It's time to do some advance Christmas shopping and you will find a lot of wonderful things in her store. There's a discount code you can use which is especially for my readers.

 Code: PROMO1
Minimum order: 15,00 €
Deadline: November 30, 2014


Enjoy shopping! And if you like Audrey's shop, could you please support her by liking her Facebook page?
 www.facebook.com/pages/Audrey-Pink-Style/133066270047298

 

Oct 27, 2014

Review by Tanya: Drumbeats by Julia Ibbotson

Drumbeats is the first novel in a trilogy and follows 18 year old English student Jess through her gap year in West Africa. It's a rite of passage novel set in the mid-1960s when Jess flees her stifling home background for freedom to become a volunteer teacher and nurse in the Ghanaian bush. Apprehensively, she leaves her first real romantic love behind in the UK, but will she be able to sustain the bond while she is away? With the idealism of youth, she hopes to find out who she really is, and do some good in the world, but little does she realise what, in reality, she will find that year: joys, horrors, tragedy. She must find her way on her own and learn what fate has in store for her, as she becomes embroiled in the poverty and turmoil of a small war-torn African nation under a controversial dictatorship. Jess must face the dangers of both civil war and unexpected romance. Can she escape her past or will it always haunt her?


Firstly thank you Julia Ibbotson for sending me a lovely signed birthday copy of this book courtesy of Suzanne it was a lovely surprise.
The book is set in 1965 and is about a Quaker girl called Jess that travels to Ghana, in a university gap year to hopefully help with teaching or first aid in under privileged areas. She travels against her parents’ wishes although they have given her permission. Her home life is very constrained and she is constantly being reminded to live the Quaker way of life. She also leaves behind her recent boyfriend Simon, a boy from a decent Quaker family.
I am really going to struggle to describe this book without giving away the details because in my opinion it contains such strong messages and gripping story. The title comes from the drumbeat music that Jess often hears being played by members of the surrounding villages to where she finds herself based. She often feels like they are trying to convey a message. When she gets to Africa Jess finds her partnered and living with a girl called Sandra. Along with Betty, her Quaker mentor, Glenda and Chrissie she finds herself teaching in a Methodist Secondary School for quite privileged children. Betty, Glenda and Chrissie are permanent teaching staff and are used to the completely different lifestyle that the area entails. There are rats in the properties along with intermittent electricity and running water. However this is far more adequate than some of the surrounding tribal villages have. Jess discovers during her visits as a Sunday school teacher that lot of the tribal children suffer from malaria due to the fact that they don’t have the basics of a mosquito net around their bed or access to medical help. Jessy tries to help as much as she can with their problems and she develops a strong bond with a lot of the tribal villages. Whilst there she meets an American man called Jim and they become good friends and the story often revolves around their adventures together and time spent together as friends. She also embarks on an adventure over the Christmas period to Timbuktu along with Sandra, Chrissie and Glenda.
The story is told through the eyes of Jess and the thoughts or letters that she often writes home to Simon. It’s a story that at first I thought oh no I am going to struggle with this as I really don’t understand the Quaker way of life. Believe me you do not as anything you need to understand is told to you. I really enjoyed this book and cannot rave about it enough. As I said it would not be a book I would normally go out and buy but it is so capturing especially as covers difficult times in a war torn Africa. Also you learn so much about her past that you just want to congratulate her for being so strong and hopefully coming through the other side. The book leaves you wanting more and I cannot wait till the next book of the trilogy. Well done Julia Ibbotson It is not very often a book has me so enthralled and recommending to everyone I meet, keep it coming.

Christmas Treasures by Liesel Schmidt


Christmas Treasures

by Liesel Schmidt



It’s amazing to look at the calendar and realize just how close the holidays are. It’s a bit

overwhelming, actually, how little time is left between now and the end of the year, with so

much still to do before the actual day arrives and Christmas paper is strewn about in memorial

to the feeling of anticipation that was once so neatly boxed and wrapped up and stowed

under the tree. Growing up, Christmas was always so magical, so special even on our tight

household budget. Those were days when the sights and sounds and smells seemed to hold such

unexplainable delight, such rich joy. What treasures awaited this year?

It’s a sentiment worth keeping, a question that should remain in our minds from the very first day

of the year to the very last: What treasures await this year?

As I grow older, that question is no longer asked in simple hopes of bits and baubles, but of

hopes for my life. I’d like to think that I grow wiser, more appreciative of what treasures I

already have, more open to receiving the ones to come. I’d like to think that I won’t be blind to

them so that they won’t pass by without my notice. Most of all, I hope that the treasures I give

outnumber the ones I receive. So many times we have our hands and our eyes tightly closed,

fearful of what opening them might mean, what hurt may come once we let go.

I’ve become more aware over the past few years that, just as moments and unexpected

opportunities and blessings are treasures, so are the people in our lives. They are our treasures,

special and priceless in their own ways, ways that no one else can be. And just as we treasure

them, they treasure us. There’s a preciousness in each of us, one that we so often forget in the

busy bustle of everyday life. We lose our wonder and our joy and our anticipation. We lose sight

of the fact that we are treasures, just as we forget that the people in our lives are to be treasured.

We devalue the goodness and the gifts and allow ourselves to be swept up in cynicism and focus

instead on being bigger, better, faster, richer. We’d do well to take the time and realize what

we’ve lost––so easily seen in the dancing eyes of a child as they gaze at the glow of a Christmas

tree. There are treasures all around us, and there are still more to come.

What treasures await this year?


Green Bears for Gurd


Mistr Sandman
Smudgekitty
ZazoMini
72stitches
By Nichole
PlushZilla
Gurumiorama2
Kitty April Handmade
Fifi Stitch
Scott Mills Art
Tara's Joy Toys
Nienke Design

My friend Gurd loves green and her avatar is a very cute green bear. I love green bears and had a lot of fun making this selection for her!

Oct 26, 2014

Getting To Know Tia!


Hi guys! My name is Tia and I'm a blogger over at Read It Write Now. Lavender posted on Twitter about coming on her blog and talking about what other things we like to do besides reading and I thought it was a good way to meet some new people because who doesn't like friends? xD

So, I'm supposed to be talking about me...Well where to start? I don't do a lot of things besides read and blog and go to school but I still have other hobbies. One thing that I like to do (which I'm able to do at school) is journalism. I'm on my school's yearbook staff and I love being able to report on everything that happens throughout the year. It's awe-inspiring being able to say, at the end of the year, that I helped make something that everyone bought and will most likely keep for the rest of their lives. Yearbook is what led me to want to major in English so that I could do something in either publishing or journalism, besides reading of course ;)

Another thing that I like to do is paint. I absolutely love the feel of a paintbrush in my hand. I'm not very good I'll admit, but I find it fun and relaxing to just sit there and make different shades of a color and put it on some piece of artwork. I kind of feel the same way when I write poetry. It's a way for me to relax and express my feelings. It's easier for me to find time to write poems than it is for me to paint though...and it's cheaper. I have't been able to paint in months and I kinda miss it. I'm thinking that I'm going to ask my mom to buy me some canvas and during Thanksgiving break I'll paint while I have the free time since most of my big school projects will be done :D

I also listen to music...a lot xD Every chance I get I'm listening to music or I'm downloading music. I'll be really stuck on this one band or singer and then I'll find another one and obsess over them for awhile before moving on. But there are those bands and singers that I know that will always stick with me. Music is like books, they leave an impression on you even if you don't necessarily want them to XD

I don't really have that many hobbies besides reading, writing, blogging, and listening to music because I'm a terrible clutz and would suck at sports if I tried. I did do gymnastics for awhile thought! But it's been so long that I can't even do a backflip anymore. And I love swimming but joining that swim team is so intimidating because you have to be really good it seems like to even get on the team and I know I'm not that fast or elegant of a swimming...so yeah...that's me xD If you guys have anything you want to ask me or if you just want to talk about something random feel free! :D I don't bite and I love meeting new people.

Thank you Lavender for having me on your blog! It's been a pleasure :)

Sunday's Fabulous Freebie

She wanted her life to change ... he wanted his to stay the same.
Seventeen-year-old Ashlyn Lanski is tired of her boring, single life. Swimming and spending time with Tatiana, her best friend, are her only sanctuary. The girls plan to leave their drab lakeside town far behind for college, and Ash hopes to finally ditch her longtime crush for Finley, Tatiana's twin brother. But when Tatiana and her family fail to return home after a family emergency, Ashlyn makes an irrational decision to deal with her loss of them.

Finley Helton and his family are good at blending in with humans as they run their sailing charter business in Lake Tahoe. The truth is they guard an ancient secret. When a not so routine meeting forces Finley, Tatiana and their mother to return to their underwater home of Natatoria, they learn Fin's father will lead a dangerous mission. They must stay in Natatoria and wait for his return, but Fin can't stay caged up for long.

Secrets lurk beneath the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe, and a simple lifesaving kiss will change their lives forever. 

Amazon

I love stories about mermaids and Everblue is a really good one. It's the first book of a trilogy. I've read all of the books and liked them very much. I don't want to give away too much, but the main character of this story, Ash, is a great girl with a lot of character. Her best friend comes from a family of mermaids. There are problems below the waters and soon they are caught up in a nasty battle. Meanwhile Ash and her best friend's brother are falling in love. It seems like an impossible romance and there are tough choices to be made. I bought this book and was happy to see it's now free. It's a great deal, so get it while you can. Enjoy this fabulous freebie.

Fairytales

photo credit: Cinzia A. Rizzo / fataetoile via photopin cc
Ever since I was a little girl and read my first fairytale I've been intrigued by these peculiar and inventive stories. I still read them from time to time, I'm actually reading one right now. I love magic in stories. That's the most fantastic thing about them, because they don't have to be real they can be anything. It's what I like so much about fiction, the possibilities are endless. It keeps amazing me that the most wonderful things can come out of combinations of words. For me that is the most magical thing there is and the possibilities are endless.
In a fairytale good usually wins from evil. The journey is never an easy one, which resembles real life. Don't we all wish to have special powers from time to time? The best thing is that on paper we can give our heroes and heroines the tools that we miss. It is necessary to teach the villains a lesson. Sometimes we can't beat our own bad guys, which is maybe why I like fairytales so much. With a great trick or help from someone special or sometimes just by being good the situation always results in a happy ending. Aren't they the best? 
Real life is no fairytale. Sometimes it's a good thing too, as definitely not all elements of the stories appeal to me. I can live a perfectly happy life without running into a giant, an evil monster or a witch who could change me into a bird or a waterlily. There are some pretty magical elements in every day situations though. The most important one for me is love. Romantic evenings, beautiful weddings, perfect holidays and an unexpected act of kindness from someone who's close to you can all be like a fairytale. The connection is love. I think love conquers all. There's nothing more important in life than love. I don't mean only the love from a partner, but also from good friends, family or sometimes people you don't know very well at all. 
I'm a romantic person at heart, which is probably why I don't want to be all grown up. I like it that there's still a child in me. One that loves tiaras, pretty wings and cute dresses, but also one that can't get enough of amazing stories. I will always keep reading them and will try never to lose the tiny spark of magic that's so important in my life.

-- Suzanne --

Oct 25, 2014

Happy Mail & Giveaway



Sophie from 23 Review Street sent me this super sweet package. She knows me so well! We were talking about Debbie Macomber and when she found out I haven't read any of her books yet she sent me this one. It looks so pretty, you can't see the glitter on the photo, but it's there. I also love the book mark and the sweets.


I won this book and I'm so happy with it!


Linn B Halton signed this book for me, it's really special. I'm very lucky I won this prize.


The cute owl card is from my parents and the stunning postcard from Lago Maggiore is from my friend Simona from Sky's Book Corner.blogspot.nl. There you can read more about her trip.


I love my Happy Mail from Carmel! The top postcard is signed and the owl and second postcard are so cute, I'm very lucky I've met Carmel. You can find her blog here.


I received these great gifts from Niekie. She also sent me a really sweet card with a lovely poem about friendship, which put a big smile on my face.


Katie sent me a letter and this amazing little book. It was such a great and sweet surprise. I know how busy she is and it means so much that she took the time to write me a letter. The little book is both cute and amazing.


This is a sneak peek of what's going to be inside my next Happy Mail package. One winner will receive these very cute keychains made by Beadpassion and some other lovely surprises. And this person will also be able to nominate a friend who will also get a surprise from me.

My New Books!





I've done some great book shopping again this week and got these books for my kindle. I can't wait to read them!

Saturday's Ety Favorites Kawaii

SugarJunkie Shop
Fuzzigiggles
KooKee Jewellery
Gitana Flip Flops
Rudy's Candy Shop
Marmar Superstar
Plusheez
Miracle Store
Sophie Toffee Co
Hoobynoo World
Kristin Made Stuff
SockMonkey Bizz
Croch Andi

I made a selection of kawaii items this week. Have fun shopping!
Be an e-tailPR blogger