Monday, May 22, 2017

Apprentice - The Black Mage Book 2

Apprentice
The Black Mage Book 2

Apprentice (The Black Mage Book 2) by [Carter, Rachel E.]

About the Book:

Title: Apprentice (The Black Mage Book 2) | Author: Rachel E. Carter | Pages: 392 | Genre: Fantasy - Sword and Sorcery | Recommended Age: Young Adult

Book Description:

She survived a trial year at the Academy of Magic, but that was the easy part...

Now sixteen-year-old Ryiah is an apprentice of Combat, her school's most notorious faction. When she finishes, she will be a war mage, but in order to do so, she has to survive four years traveling across Jerar, training with a master she hates, her old nemesis, Priscilla, and Prince Darren, her sometimes-rival sometimes... more?

Ry's new apprenticeship is nothing like what she prepared for. War is on the horizon and her lessons aren't just for practice anymore.

It's time to fight.

Purchase on Amazon:

My Review

Apprentice is the second book in the exciting Black Mage series. I could hardly put this book down. It's a roller-coaster ride with danger, adventure, and jilted love. The characters are complex, the settings are well described, the battles are imaginative, and the twists are intense.

It seemed to me that Ryiah was less in control of her emotions in Apprentice. I thought she would have learned from her first year at the academy to have better self-control, but her passion is real and that is what makes her endearing.

Prince Darren is more complex and moody in Book 2, but that adds to the tension. Even though he behaves badly around Ryiah, confusing her feelings even more, they still end up having to work together when different challenges come their way.

Ryiah was the underdog in First Year and that continues with her years training as an apprentice. She faces gender and class discrimination on a regular basis, but doesn't give up in the face of opposition. Even a broken heart doesn't douse the fire of her fighting spirit. She is training to be a war mage, after all.

My Previous Reviews in the series:


About the Author:
Rachel E. Carter

Rachel E. Carter

Rachel E. Carter is the USA Today bestselling author of The Black Mage, a YA fantasy series about magic, love, and war -with future projects to come. She hoards coffee and has a weakness for villain and Mr. Darcy love interests.


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


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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Buzzy and Thomas Move into the President's House

Buzzy and Thomas
Move into the President's House

Buzzy and Thomas Move into the President's House by [Tashman, Vicki]

About the Book:

Title: Buzzy and Thomas Move into the President's House | Author: Vicki Tashman | Illustrator: Fatima Stamato | Publisher: Historical Tails | Pages: 42 | Ages: 4 - 8

Book Description:

It’s 1801 and life is good for Buzzy the dog. She lives with Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, but her life turns upside down when Thomas tells her that they’re moving to the President’s House. Buzzy doesn’t want to move. She's afraid to leave the comfort of Monticello. What will she do? This enjoyable childrens leveled reader for ages 4 – 8 teaches kids about President Jefferson, the new breed of dog he brought home from France and confronting issues about moving. If your child loves books by Robert Dawson like "Ben and Me," then he'll love Buzzy! Historical fiction at it’s best: learning from the pets of famous people in history.

FREE on Amazon Kindle!

My Review:

Amanda and I enjoyed reading this friendly historical picture book by Vickie Tashman. We learned about some of the animals that were dear to Thomas Jefferson. We learned that the White House was originally called the President's House. We understood Buzzy's feelings about moving. She was going to miss Monticello, the animal friends, and the farm. When Buzzy arrived at the President's House, she was happy to see the green lawns and big trees. Most importantly, she would be with her favorite human, Thomas Jefferson.

About the Author:
Vicki Tashman

Vicki Tashman


Vicki Tashman has always loved historical fiction. Inspiration struck 4 years ago when her daughter graduated from college and moved back home with 2 cats in tow. She imagined the cats belonging to Cleopatra and, wow, the stories they could tell! After researching many people in history, she settled on writing her first children's historical fiction book about Thomas Jefferson and his dog, Buzzy. Other books in the works are about Queen Victoria and her dog, Dash, the Wright Brothers and their dog.

Vicki has a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Colorado. She is a breast cancer survivor and has been an advocate for 10 years. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles (CBW-LA), the Publisher’s Association of Los Angeles (PALA) and The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their 2 golden retrievers, Ricky and Georgia.

Get your FREE Coloring pages by
signing up for her mailing list!

You can connect with Vicki on
the following social media sites:


Disclosure: I grabbed a free Kindle copy from Amazon and this is my honest review.
Please Note: The price was correct at the time of posting. Please check, as the price may change.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Wooden Picnic Table Made by the Blind and a Linky

Welcome to my weekend blog hop -
Make My Saturday Sweet #222!


I'm a volunteer reader in a sound room at Pioneer Printers for the blind, visually impaired and dyslexic. Our department is a branch of Kaleidoscope (formerly known as the Blind Institute), which offers lots of programs and education for the blind and disabled. Their mission is to change people's perceptions by showing how the blind can become leaders in this world, integrating into the workforce, society and everything in-between.

They have a store where they sell furniture, rugs and other items made by the blind and disabled. My husband recently bought a beautifully made wooden picnic table from them. In the photo above you can see what it looked like before and in the photo below what it looked like after it was varnished. It took Hubby a full day to do. You can see the concrete got varnished as well! That was an accident. 😉

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Related Posts:




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My Latest Book Reviews:

The Verdo
Paranormal and Urban Fantasy



Dead Letter
Prelude to the Dragon Choir Series

Dead Letter: An Epic Fantasy Mystery (Prelude to Epic Fantasy Best Seller, Dragon Choir) by [Descovich, Benjamin]


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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.
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Amanda’s Books and More

Weekend Linky


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Dead Letter - Prelude to the Dragon Choir Series

Dead Letter
by Benjamin Descovich

Dead Letter: An Epic Fantasy Mystery (Prelude to Epic Fantasy Best Seller, Dragon Choir) by [Descovich, Benjamin]

About the Book:

Title: Dead Letter | Author: Benjamin Descovich | Pages: 202 | Genre: Fantasy | Recommended Age: Young Adult

Book Description:

Prelude to the #1 Epic Fantasy Best Seller, Dragon Choir.


An outcast sorcerer is lost in the city of gold, boiling in a cauldron of lies.

Novice Kettna is commissioned to solve a string of robberies, but is haunted by a forbidden secret. Murder, blackmail and espionage drive her investigation into the shadows of danger where she must confront Bloody Agnus, the queen of the criminal underworld. Can a mage with failing magic discover the truth to find her lost love and save the city from itself?

Sword and Sorcery simmering with Mystery and Mayhem.

Dive into the magical world of Oranica and steel yourself for adventure. From the boundless imagination of bestselling author, Benjamin Descovich, comes a turbulent tale set in the City of Gold, Calimska. The daughter of the Archmagus has an impenetrable intellect, but her talent with magic is waning. To her shame, she is incapable of passing the trials of sorcery and is sent to serve on the city guard. With the help of a caustic, yet beautiful, guardian and a poor kitchen hand, Kettna uncovers a deadly conspiracy that threatens the great city. With enemies lurking in every shadow, can she survive long enough to bring evil to justice?

Only one thing can keep a secret buried, a Dead Letter.

Purchase on Amazon Kindle


My Review:


Dead Letter was my introduction to Benjamin Descovich's epic fantasy series Dragon Choir. He has gained my admiration with his literary skill. His writing style is formal, but not austere. It's intellectual, but not difficult to comprehend. He mixes politics, magic, wit, and the possibility of unrequited love. There is adventure, suspense, and mystery. Who is behind the worst crimes and what is a dead letter?

The content is young adult appropriate. Descovich's characters are well developed. His heroine, Kettna, is personable with weaknesses, strengths, driven by love and a sense of duty to her fellow Calimskan citizen. The conflict in her relationships adds further layers to the story. For example, her relationship with her parents isn't perfect, especially not with her mother, and her boyfriend is missing or not wanting to be found. There are twists in the story with a few loose ends at the end that will leave you wanting to read more! I am certainly looking forward to reading more books in the series.

About the Author:
Benjamin Descovich

Benjamin Descovich

Benjamin Descovich is the founder of ethicalwriter.com and works everyday writing the seeds to grow a better future. He is a passionate environmentalist, social justice advocate and holds a degree in Political Science. Born in Australia and well travelled through Europe and Asia, he has been spoilt with inspiration for his fiction. While the dramatic landscapes, political intrigue and epic battles will captivate your imagination, the dragons and magic take your breath away.


Join the adventure and
get a free ebook!


Disclosure: I purchased this book from Amazon Kindle when it was on sale and this is my honest review.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Happy Street Dog and a Linky

Welcome to my Picture Perfect
Party Linky #243!


Koda was a street dog when an animal shelter found him. He was thin, but otherwise in good shape. No one came forward to claim him and so he was put up for adoption. We've had him for almost a year. He is now a happy street dog! Wishing you all a great week!

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Here's a peek at
my latest post
on 1camera1mom:





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My Latest Book Reviews:





FREE on Amazon Kindle

The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living by [Beckstrand, Karl]


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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!


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
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Amanda’s Books and More

This is a Wordless Wednesday blog hop.



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The Verdo

The Verdo
by Kimberly J. Smith


About the Book:

Title: The Verdo | Author: Kimberly J. Smith | Publisher: Lulu.com | Pages: 203 | Genre: Paranormal and Urban Fantasy | Recommended Age: Young Adult

Book Description:

Death is so boring. At least that's how fifteen-year-old Callie finds being stuck "in between," until the day she discovers someone has left a newborn baby in the old gypsy wagon (or "verdo" as it's also called) in Wailing Woods. Determined to save the child, she tracks down Laney, the girl who barely survived the same car wreck that took Callie's life three years earlier (and whose mother's recklessness caused the accident in the first place). A mysterious connection between the two girls allows Callie to lead Laney into the spooky forest to save the baby. Laney hopes the newborn will finally help her family heal, but when Callie's grieving parents end up with custody, emotional wounds are deepened. Callie pieces together the mystery connecting the baby, the fleeting psychic powers Laney has had since the accident, and the too-good-to-be-true new guy in town. Could there be a reason Callie hasn't moved on to whatever comes next? Could she be the only one capable of putting things right?


Purchase on Amazon:


My Review:

Death is final, but what if you were given the chance to put some things right? Kimberly J. Smith explores this idea in her paranormal and urban fantasy book about a teenager who unexpectedly dies in a car crash. Her name is Callie and she finds herself stuck on earth as a ghost. For a few years, she never bumps into other ghosts and people can't see or hear her. It can get lonely and boring not having anyone to talk to. But things start to change when she hears a newborn baby crying from the verdo, an old gypsy wagon in Wailing Woods.

The Verdo is a great read for teenagers and young adults. The story flows smoothly from character to character. There's mystery around the baby's birth mother and the family that has just moved to town. There's conflict between families and suspense that isn't too dark and scary. One of the underlying messages in the story is the importance of appreciating our families. Another message is that people of different races and backgrounds should all be treated with equal respect.

Related Book Review:
The Dragon Whistler

About the Author
Kimberly J. Smith


Kimberly J. Smith is an advertising creative director with twenty-five years of experience telling brand stories for companies both large and small. Her passion for storytelling extends into children’s literature where she loves to tell tales that are a bit more fantastical. A voracious reader, her favorite stories (both to read and to write) tend to revolve around those that put a magical twist on familiar legends to reveal the imaginary hidden within the folds of reality. Her middle grade books THE DRAGON WHISTLER and SYDNEY WAKEFIELD: INTO THE FARAWAY definitely fall into that category. WAILING WOODS, a young YA paranormal, releases later this year. Her current project is an alternative reality novel for teens called THE SUMMONER’S REBELLION.



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

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Crustless Quiche Recipe and a Linky

Welcome to my weekend blog hop -
Make My Saturday Sweet #221!

And Happy Mother's Day!


A quick and easy way to use
leftover vegetables:

I had leftover roasted veggies from a previous dinner and used them in a delicious crustless quiche. I heated the oven to 190 C/ 375 F and coated a square glass oven-proof dish with a non-stick cooking spray. The veggies needed a starch, so I peeled and boiled a large potato, which I then crumbled at the bottom of my quiche. Then I added my mixed roasted veg. with roasted garlic.

I lightly whisked egg and cream together with salt and pepper. You need about 8 eggs to one cup of cream or you can use grated cheddar cheese instead. Pour the mixture over the veggies and bake for about 30 - 40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. That's it!

I have included my steps below in photos and two links to crustless quiche recipes that you might like to reference for more ideas.

This blog is best viewed in Google Chrome.
Click on the images to see them at their best.









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My Latest Book Reviews:


Everyone Has a Mother
Free eBook

Children's Books: EVERYONE HAS A MOTHER (Fun, Adorable, Rhyming Bedtime Story/Picture Book, for Beginner Readers, Honoring Mothers of all Kinds, Including Animals, Ages 2-8) by [Huss, Sally]


The Bridge of the Golden Wood
Free eBook

The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living by [Beckstrand, Karl]


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Happy Mother's Day!
Check Out My Review
of Paperless Post



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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


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

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