Dec 20, 2014

4711 Giveaway!


My second 4711 giveaway is for the three items on the photo. I love this brand and hope you will too. Make sure you can receive perfume in your country before you enter. Good luck!




I will announce the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't hear anything within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.

Dec 19, 2014

2015!


It's the end of 2014 and it's hard to believe this year is almost over. Last year's new year's resolution was starting a blog. At the beginning of the year Lavender's blog was live. I stopped blogging twice, but decided to give it a serious go at the end of April and that is when things started to evolve. I can't believe how much blogging has changed my life. I've met so many great people, I have the chance to read the most wonderful books and it's given me much more confidence. Blogging has definitely made my life a lot more fun. I enjoy writing posts, reading books, browsing Etsy to discover new things and trying out beauty products. I also really like my giveaways. Because of them I've received so many wonderful and kind messages. Everything together has made this my best year in a very long time.
Lavender is only a small part of my blog now and it's time for me to make some changes. In 2015 I'm going to continue showing you the things I like and love. I look forward to it and I'm sure it's going to be great. I will gradually make some adjustments during the next couple of weeks, so I can start 2015 with a fresh design and with more posts under my own name. I will kick off with a great giveaway of course...

---- Suzanne ----

Lavender Loves Lilli Rose Creations! & Giveaway



I love Lilli Rose Creations, because of the happy colorful jewelry.


The owner, Jennifer-Louise, loves kitsch and retro jewelry which is what you can find in her shop.


 What I really like about this shop is the very cute designs.


The jewelry has been made from many different materials. This cake pendant has been made from clay for example. Jennifer-Louise also sells resin and cabochon items.


The items are a nice mix of kawaii and vintage.


Your purchases will be shipped very quickly. When I bought a gift from Lilli Rose Creations it arrived within just a few days.


Another great thing about this shop is that you can see that Jennifer-Louise has a lot of fun making the jewelry.


Enjoy shopping in this lovely Etsy shop!


It's perfect for finding adorable and affordable gifts.



Jennifer-Louise has kindly donated a lovely item for one lucky reader of my blog. Win these super cute cupcake earrings by entering the rafflecopter below. Good luck!

I will announce the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't hear anything within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international. 

Dec 18, 2014

Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen

A powerful psychological thriller to chill you over Christmas - the twists of GONE GIRL, the suspense of BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP, the pyschological intensity of MISERY ...



I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out …


But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?

Amazon
 
Jessica has done something really stupid, she's agreed to go home with Dominic, a stranger, to drink a glass of wine. As soon as she's in the car she realizes she's made a big mistake. Dominic is seriously messed up and he has a twisted mind. When she enters his apartment Jessica knows she won't be allowed to leave. While her boyfriend and family are waiting for her to come back with her Christmas shopping she's now the victim of a vicious man. Of course Dominic doesn't let her stay in luxury and her physical and mental condition are suffering. There are twelve presents under the Christmas tree, one for each day. Each present has something to do with Dominics horrible past. Jessica can't help but feel sorry for the man who's being so cruel to her every now and then. She's been missing for several days and the police are trying to find her, but nobody has any idea where she might be. There's no way out of Jessica's horrible situation...
Jessica is the narrator of most of the scenes, which was seriously creepy. The reader is seeing everything Dominic is doing to her, and also the consequences of this behavior, through her eyes. That made the story even more horrible and scary. I didn't want to know what would happen next and I did want to know. I didn't want to continue reading and I did. I wanted Jessica to be all right and I kept hoping that Dominic would show some compassion. I had no idea where the story was going and there were so many unexpected twists, which made Dying for Christmas such an interesting read. You need to have a strong stomach to read this as some of the things that are happening are seriously messed up. The story is strong and it works, it was certainly gripping, I couldn't put it down and it kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

Suze's Review Policy: Books

Books

I love reading and I try to review as many books as I can. I want to help authors to promote their books and know that a lot of my posts lead to extra sales. 


My review policy
 
I only write 5 star reviews. I know how much hard work and love are being put into writing a book. I can't write anything negative about that. If I don't like a book I won't review it, which is very author friendly. I read between five and eight books per week and even though I'm critical I'm also fair. I'm carefully considering the review books I take and I like most of what I accept. I've studied literature and book marketing and have my own, system which I use to rate every book I read.


What we read

 I have a team of regular reviewers who are reading books for me. I read anything with a good story, Tanya likes bright and cheerful books, Anniek likes Fantasy, Horror, picture books and Freebies and Eline reads YA. Don't hesitate to contact me if you'd like us to read your books. If I write something about your book people instantly know it's something they will enjoy. 


Other ways to promote your book

I love guest posts, interviews and giveaways, so you can always contact me if you'd like me to promote you on my blog. For interviews I'd like to prepare, so I want to read your book before I send you any questions. All of my giveaways are international. In exchange for a giveaway I'll promote your book on social media for ten days.


Self-published authors

I do review books written by self published authors, but the number of requests is usually really high. Because of that I can only accept a limited number of books.


Some rules

I basically love any book with a good story. My main focus is fiction in every genre. I will accept non-fiction if it's not too political or opinionated. 

Due to the fact that I have a high number of young readers I can no longer accept books with erotic pictures on the cover. I don't necessarily request that every read is clean, but the covers need to be decent. 


Contact information

scintillatingsuze @ aol.com

or

 
librarianlavender @ gmail . com

or

Suzanne V.

1A Rugby Road

Big Yellow, Suite 8100

Twickenham, Middlesex

TW1 1DG


Statistics

Views per month: 220,000
Twitter Followers (@ScintillatingSZ): 8600
Bloglovin Followers: 3700
Facebook Likes: 5600
Netgalley: 76% (I read every book I request)
 Most of my readers are from the USA and the UK and Europe, but I have readers from all over the world.


Copyright

© 2014 - 2015 By Suzanne V.
 All of my reviews, stories, articles, etc. are my property. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without my permission.

Authors and publishers can freely use the reviews I wrote about their books.


Suze's Review Policy: Shops

Online shops
 I love online shopping and am trying to share as many great shops as I can with my readers.

Review policy

I write posts about shops I like and love. I like all kinds of online shops. I'm a big fan of handmade items, so if you sell something handmade, please don't hesitate to contact me. I love jewelry and accessories. I'm also a big fan of kawaii. I review shops I like and all comments I write will be positive.

Options

1) A shop review with a giveaway
2) An interview with a giveaway

In exchange for a giveaway I'll promote your shop on social media for two weeks and I can make sure you'll have a lot of extra visitors. My aim isn't to get you these visitors via my blog alone, but to increase your overall online visibility.

3) An interview without a giveaway. I can only accept this every once in a while as promotional posts for shops are taking me a long time to write and I'll be promoting you for free.

Rules

I don't write posts in exchange for free items, so if you'd like me to write a promotional post with a certain given content in exchange for a freebie I won't be able to do that. If you send me something without asking me first there's a chance I won't review your shop. I don't write posts in exchange for payment in free items. That said, you can always send me something for consideration.

My blog is fee free. I'm not asking for any money in exchange for a post.

I can't guarantee you any sales, but I can make customers come to your shop. The sale part is something that depends on you. I know my readers are buying from the shops I promote, but I don't have any statistics to tell you exactly how much.
 
Contact information

scintillatingsuze @ aol.com
or
scintillatingsuze @ yandex.com
or
librarianlavender @ gmail . com
or
Suzanne V.
1A Rugby Road
Big Yellow, Suite 8100
Twickenham, Middlesex
TW1 1DG

Statistics

Views per month: 220,000
Twitter Followers (@ScintillatingSZ): 8600
Bloglovin Followers: 3700
Facebook Likes: 5600
Most of my readers are from English speaking countries and I also have a versatile and international group of regular readers.
  

Suze's Review Policy: Beauty

Beauty 

I love beauty products and think every woman should take good care of herself.

 What I review

 I'm a big fan of bio cosmetics, so mainly focus on that. I review regular brands as well as long as they are environment friendly and haven't been tested on animals.

 I like to recommend products that are easy to use and accessible for everyone. I mainly focus on everyday use.

 Rules

I only write something about a beauty product if I think it's something good that I can recommend to my readers. This means I will test every product several times. If I post something my readers will know they are purchasing a quality product. 

Contact information

scintillatingsuze @ aol.com

or

 
librarianlavender @ gmail . com

or

Suzanne V.

1A Rugby Road

Big Yellow, Suite 8100

Twickenham, Middlesex

TW1 1DG 


Statistics

Views per month: 220,000
Twitter Followers (@ScintillatingSZ): 8600
Bloglovin Followers: 3700
Facebook Likes: 5600 
Most of my readers are from the USA and the United Kingdom, but I have readers from all over the world.


Christmas Countdown Giveaway: Top Five Holiday Food Favorites by Aven Ellis


 Top Five Holiday Food Favorites by Aven Ellis

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love food. I’m passionate about cooking. I’m obsessed with cooking programs on TV, and my collection of cookbooks borders on ridiculous. Normally I eat healthy food, but this is a time of year when I like to indulge a little bit.
So when I was asked to do a holiday themed post, I immediately knew what I wanted to talk about: my Top Five Holiday Food Favorites.

  1. Kringle-Kringle is a Danish pastry that is available all year round, but the cranberry flavor is seasonal at my favorite bakery in Wisconsin. (Yes, I have it shipped to Texas. It’s that good.) It’s an oval-shaped pastry, filled with cranberries, and iced on top. Fabulous with a cup of coffee, I love to indulge in this on weekends from November through December.

  1. Christmas Cake-I was first introduced to this by my assistant in England, Alexandra. At first I was hesitant. I mean, the fruitcakes I had eaten in America were not good. But she assured me this was in fact delicious. So I found my way to a British import store in Dallas and bought one. Oh man, once again Alexandra was spot on. It’s crazy good. And a must have during the holiday season.

  1. Gingerbread Loaf-One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is to pile up the family in the car, stop by Starbucks for coffee and gingerbread loaf, and eat and drink while we drive around and look at Christmas lights.

  1. Pumpkin Pie-One of my all-time favorite desserts, I love pumpkin pie. With real whipped cream. And weird fact, I eat the filling but not the crust.

  1. Cranberry Cake-Made with a few ingredients, it’s buttery and sweet and tart all rolled into one. Love it.

You might have noticed my list is all desserts. I’m all about the sugar, even though I try to avoid it most of the time. But when I get to treat myself, these are my favorite things to eat. Now pass another piece of pie while I get the coffee started, would you?


  Visit onmybookshelf for more fantastic guest posts! 

Lavender Loves I love Tangerine Dream


I love I love and have already tried several of their products. I bought myself this wonderful bottle of Tangerine Dream. It smells divine! I fall in love all over again every time I open the lid. This is without doubt my favorite shower gel of the moment. The scent is fresh, fruity and delicious. Tangerine Dream doesn't make my skin dry and I like the overall feeling of it after using the product. There's exactly enough foam, which is also an important aspect. I like I love's labels and the styling a lot. Their prices are very reasonable, especially given the quality of what they're offering. I highly recommend this great brand!

On the website you can find shops that are selling I love products. If you live in the UK you can also order from them directly.

Dec 17, 2014

The King's Sister by Anne O'Brien

The gripping tale of Elizabeth of Lancaster, sibling of Henry IV. Packed with love, loss and intrigue’ - Sunday Express S Magazine
One betrayal is all it takes to change history
1382. Daughter of John of Gaunt, sister to the future King Henry IV, Elizabeth of Lancaster has learned the shrewd tricks of the court from England’s most powerful men.
In a time of political turmoil, allegiance to family is everything. A Plantagenet princess should never defy her father’s wishes. Yet headstrong Elizabeth refuses to bow to the fate of a strategic marriage. Rejecting her duty, Elizabeth weds the charming and ruthlessly ambitious Sir John Holland: Duke of Exeter, half-brother to King Richard II and the one man she has always wanted.
But defiance can come at a price.
1399. Elizabeth’s brother Henry has seized the throne. Her husband, confidant to the usurped Richard, masterminds a secret plot against the new King. Trapped in a dangerous web, Elizabeth must make a choice.
Defy the King and betray her family. Or condemn her husband and send him to his death.
Sister. Wife. Traitor. She holds the fate of England in her hands.

Amazon

Elizabeth of Lancaster is a passionate woman. She doesn't just do what's required of her, she has her own will and goals. Elizabeth is the daughter of a powerful man. Her bloodline is noble and she has close ties to the highest powers. Her father wants her to marry a boy who's nine years younger when she's seventeen. This strategic marriage ensures the ties he wants to make with the family of the boy. Elizabeth can't do much to prevent the marriage. When she's falling more and more in love with John Holland, who's the Duke of Exeter and half brother to the king, she can't remain faithful to her child husband any longer. She and John receive her fathers permission to marry eventually, but there's a price. Marrying an ambitious, charming and ruthless man means an exiting life and their first years are mostly happy. Then problems in the kingdom arise and Elizabeth's brother Henry seizes the the throne. Unfortunately brotherly love goes very deep and all of a sudden Elizabeth and John find themselves at opposite sides of a very important conflict. John can't accept Henry as his new king and is plotting against him. Elizabeth doesn't want to lose either of them, but she has to make a choice that, no matter what she decides, will have grave consequences. Who will she betray, her husband or her brother? 

The King's Sister is a beautiful, romantic and tragic story. This is not a fast and easy read, but it is certainly amazing. Elizabeth is a headstrong woman who doesn't want to bend to the will of others if it won't do her any good. People call her selfish, and in a way she is as she doesn't do anything that isn't in her own best interest. She has some tough choices to make and because of her admirable, strong character she doesn't always make it easy for herself. She's fighting for her own happiness and I loved that about her. Elizabeth doesn't live a happy life, but because of her bold actions it's certainly adventurous. She has to learn about politics, whether she likes it or not, as she's right in the middle of a turbulent situation. Choosing between her husband and her brother must have been the most horrible decision she'd ever have to make and I think it's astonishing that she managed to do something instead of sitting around to wait and see how things would develop. Anne O'Brien's brilliant sentences make the story even more special. The King's Sister is a formidable novel that will always have a special place in my heart.

Lavender Loves NThandmade! & Giveaway


I love NThandmade. In this shop you can find beautiful jewelry. 


There's a lot of gorgeous real flower jewelry. I love the choice of flowers and the vibrant colors.


I like every piece in this shop. NThandmade isn't only an Etsy shop, there's also a webshop where you can order your items.


I think this leather wrap bracelet is amazing. You can find several in the shop and all of them are really nice.


NThandmade incorporates nature's beauty into jewelry.


The flowers are pretty and the selection of moss and grass jewelry is great.


Besides necklaces and bracelets you can also buy earrings in this shop.


 Every NThandmade item has been made with precision and care.


NThandmade loves making custom orders. If you have a request you can always contact them via their website or Etsy shop.


There's the option to make a customized photo or name necklace. 


The wood wall art made with a burning technique is stunning!


There's a lot of choice and you're definitely going to love all of these items, enjoy shopping!


NThandmade has a wonderful prize for a reader of my blog. One lucky winner will receive this beautiful spring flower necklace! You can win it by entering the rafflecopter below. Good luck...




I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. Please reply within 60 hours, otherwise the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.  



Dec 16, 2014

Never Marry a Politician by Sarah Waights

‘Never, under any circumstances, marry a politician … ‘
In trying to be the model wife to Ralph, a fiercely ambitious politician, Emily has betrayed her heart and her principles. Once she was a promising journalist, but now reluctant domestic goddess is more her scene.

When unexpected events lead to Ralph becoming a candidate for Prime Minster, Emily finds maintaining the fa├žade of picture-perfect family life an increasing struggle –especially when her romantic past comes back to haunt her in the form of tough-talking journalist, Matt Morley.

Matt is highly skilled at ‘digging the dirt’ and, sure enough, Ralph has a sordid secret that is soon uncovered. In the aftermath of the discovery, will Emily finally find the courage to be true to herself, or is she stuck in the world of PR tactics and photo opportunities for good?

Finalist in the 2014 Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition.
Amazon
Emily is trying to be the perfect wife for Ralph, who is an important politician with high ambitions. In doing so she's losing the Emily she used to be. She's changed her style and has quit her job as a journalist to be with their children and to do the work Ralph is too busy to do himself. She's slowly changing into being only a servant of the man she's married. Emily's already struggling, but her situation becomes even more complicated when her greatest love, Matt, who's also a journalist, comes back into her life. He has to write a piece about Ralph and his political career. Unfortunately Matt is very good at uncovering secrets and he discovers something that will change Emily's world. When Ralph suddenly is a candidate to become Prime Minister Emily finds herself being stuck in tough circumstances she can't easily get out of. Will she be able to fight for herself to get her life back or will she be lost forever in politics and the correctness that comes with it?
Never Marry a Politician is an interesting read. It was great to get a look behind the scenes. Being a politician isn't easy and being the wife of a politician demands a lot of sacrifices. Emily has so many tough choices to make and she can't always do what's best for her. There are still old wounds when it comes to Matt. He's a kind man, but he's still a journalist and he has to do his job. That means Emily will be hurt. I felt so bad for her at times, but I also admired her courage and her attempts to make the best of it and to stand by her man. Even though he doesn't deserve it she puts the happiness of others first and decides to help him. That was admirable, but also quite difficult to see. Emily is brave and she deserves to get a lot more than she receives. I loved to read about her thoughts, the way she fights back and about how she manages to solve her problems in the end. This novel is romantic, but it's so much more, it's also intelligent, captivating and very fascinating.

Christmas Countdown Giveaway: Alba's Favourite Christmas Memory


My favourite Christmas Memory

I love Christmas, actually all my family loves Christmas. It’s the perfect time to spend hours together, play games, eat and drink copious amounts of everything delicious and get lots of presents. In my country though, the big day for presents is not Christmas Day, because we celebrate the Epiphany on the 6th of January and the Three Kings bring lots of presents to all the kids. I have always loved the Three Kings, basically there are three of them so they are able to bring more presents than Santa Clause.  And because it’s the 6th of January, you don’t go back to school until the 8th so the Christmas holidays are quite long.

When I was a kid and until my grandma died when I was 17, my parents, my little sister and I used to spend the evening before the Epiphany at my grandparents’ place with my uncle and aunt and my two cousins. It was a very special night because we knew that the Three Kings especially stopped at my grandparents’ very early so we could have the presents there after dinner and not have to wait until the morning.

My grandparents always cooked the best food and had tons of chocolates and delicious sweets and then, around 11 p.m. we always heard some noises coming from the bedroom. We would run to the bedroom to find it full of presents. There were always so many that when my sister was 3 she thought they were all for her and went completely crazy. It took us a while to make her understand that some of those presents were not actually for her. But we had so many laughs!

But the fun was not over! In the morning, we had to get up really early to wait for the Three Kings’ helpers as they would bring presents to every house.
I have to admit that now that we don’t have any young kids at the family, it’s not so fun. Luckily, my sisters in law have five small kids so I now spend the Epiphany with them! I can’t wait to see what the Three Kings are going to bring me this year!

Merry Christmas!
Alba 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Visit onmybookshelf for more fantastic guest posts! 

Lavender Loves CreaBia!


I love CreaBia, a Dutch shop with adorable kawaii jewelry, charms and miniatures.


My fondness of cute items made me fall in love with this Etsy store immediately.


Bianca, the owner of the shop, loves working with polymer clay. Her items are made from clay, resin and hard plastic and her main goal is to express her love for beautiful kawaii, anime and manga.


The details are fabulous and I love the character selection Bianca has in her shop.


Owning one of her items will brighten up your day.


This strap is fabulous, the geisha girl is adorable.


Share your love for anime and kawaii with your best friend...


Bianca would love it if you'd like her Facebook page.


Besides the products I also really like the photos, they're a perfect match.


I've already done some shopping for myself. The prices are very reasonable and so is the shipping. 


Enjoy shopping!
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