Month: November 2016

Dreaming Sophia Book Review

Italy Book Tours

Dreaming Sophia is a magical look into Italy, language, art, and culture.

Dreaming Sophia Book Review

About Dreaming Sophia

Dreaming Sophia is a magical look into Italy, language, art, and culture. It is a story about turning dreams into reality and learning to walk the fine line between fact and fantasy. When tragedy strikes, Sophia finds herself alone in the world, without direction and fearful of loving again. With only her vivid imagination to guide her, she begins a journey that will take her from the vineyards in Sonoma, California to a grad school in Philadelphia and, eventually, to Italy: Florence, Lucca, Rome, Verona, Venice, and Val d’Orcia.

Through dreamlike encounters, Sophia meets Italian personalities—princes, poets, duchesses, artists, and film stars— who give her advice to help put her life back together. Following a path that takes her from grief to joy, she discovers the source of her creativity and learns to love again, turning her dreams into reality.

My Thoughts

I fell in love with Dreaming Sophia! My time in Italy when I was sixteen was magical, Italy has this way of drawing you in with its culture, history and people. The streets are alive with history at every corner and instead of hiding it, history is embraced and celebrated. The art in Italy is incredible – I could have spent days just wandering around the cities I visited. You want to touch the walls, visit every Church and just sit in the streets to embrace every moment.

In Dreaming Sophia, we have a young girl who must overcome a great loss and change in her life and in order to do so she must embrace her love of art and history, as well as travelling to the place her Mother loved so much. Her dreams help guide her and encourage her during this difficult time in her life. I love how free Sophia is to love and embrace her dreams and the hope they give her. She embraces her future and we are drawn right into the Italian culture and history. You will feel as though you are with her on the streets of Florence, in the coffee shops and in her art studio. We watch her grow as an individual and as a woman and the transformation is wonderful. You feel almost like her Mother and best friend, wanting nothing but the best for Sophia. I wished the story would never have ended because I just couldn’t wait to see what happened next (to tell you would give away the story but trust me, she leaves you craving more!). Dreaming Sophia is a beautiful story of hope, faith, trust and a love of all things Italian. A truly wonderful novel to treasure over and over again.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Create Space, iTunes, Barnes & Noble and Inktera.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Melissa Muldoon is the Studentessa Matta-the crazy linguist! In Italian, “matta” means “crazy” or “impassioned”. Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence.

Melissa promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog, Studentessa Matta ( Melissa began the Matta blog to improve her command of the language and to connect with other language learners. It has since grown to include a podcast, “Tutti Matti per l’Italiano” and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Tours, which she co-leads with Italian partners in Italy.

Dreaming Sophia is Melissa’s first novel. It is a fanciful look at art history and Italian language and culture, but it is also the culmination of personal stories and insights resulting from her experiences living in Italy, as well as her involvement and familiarity with the Italian language, painting, and art history.

As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she’d never need it again but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That “thing” was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event! Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency-a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways.

Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is married and has three boys and two beagles.

Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Dreaming Sophia. She also designed the Dreaming Sophia website and created the character illustrations that can be found in the book and on the Dreaming Sophia websites.

The Giveaway!

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Book Trailer

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Falling for the Stars Book Spotlight

iRead Book Tours

In Falling for the Stars, we have a behind the scenes tell all about doubling for celebrity superstars and the compelling life story of an insecure Hollywood arrival who rises to the top of her field but pays a hefty price.

Falling for the Stars Book Spotlight

About Falling for the Stars

This behind the scenes tell all about doubling for celebrity superstars and the compelling life story of an insecure Hollywoo arrival who rises to the top of her field but pays a hefty price of addiction, chauvinism and big egos.

Discover the magic and the tragic stories of many great films & TV shows through the eyes of a stuntwoman. Dalton reveals what it took to hang over cliffs, get hit by a moving car, drop from five stories up, dodge an avenue full of speeding cars–and to ignore the Universe’s more gentle prompts that it was time to quit and follow her passion into acting full-time or teaching acting.

The resulting career-ending spinal injury has a story of its own, how she researched medical and alternative paths that form the heart of what she shares with the world today. “What stands out in this book is the indomitable spirit the author has, despite the extraordinary price she paid for her stellar career–including misogyny, a miscarriage, and a life-long back injury. And each juicy story she relays in her fascinating chronicle, brings home an important life lesson for the reader–one that she learned the hard way.

Falling for the Stars Book Spotlight

About the Author

From a bullied, dyslexic, messy, freckle-faced, klutzy pixie, Lisa Loving Dalton grew into a statuesque and skillful stuntwoman, actor, director, teacher, author, filmmaker, leadership and life coach, and ceremonial minister. Always seeking and finding the silver lining, she has made the most of whatever life threw at her. She says, “I spill stuff, trip and drip all of the time so I made a career out of it. My advice: Embrace what is as perfect.”

Dalton appeared in more than 200 films, television shows and commercials in New York, Hollywood and Texas, including work in Ghostbusters, Money Pit, Crocodile Dundee, Married to the Mob, FX, Legal Eagles, and Splash on the big screen and ER, HBO’s Carnivale, Dr. Quinn and Melrose Place among her many TV credits.

You can connect with her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.

The Giveaway!

This giveaway is open to residents of the USA only. Good luck!

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Disclosure: This is a spotlight tour, I did not receive compensation for this product. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Utterly Amazing Dinosaur Book Review

Visit the amazing world of dinosaurs in the Utterly Amazing Dinosaur from DK Canada!

Utterly Amazing Dinosaur Book Review

About Utterly Amazing Dinosaur

Packed with pop-ups, flaps, games, activities, and mind-blowing facts, Utterly Amazing Dinosaur explores the prehistoric world of dinosaurs, from the mighty T. rex to the armored Stegosaurus. See the different stages of how fossils are formed, and study the skeletons of different dinosaurs, and get up close to a Velociraptor with a special pop-up.

Learn about the dinosaurs that swam in the sea, stomped on land, or flew in the sky. Find out what different dinosaurs ate, from herbivore to carnivore to omnivore. The colorful illustrations clearly show the different types of dinosaurs, and the pronunciation guide teaches readers how to say those tricky dinosaur names.

From the biggest predators to the discovery of fossils, Utterly Amazing Dinosaur takes children back to an awe-inspiring era of history using innovate paper tricks to create fun and stunning effects.

Utterly Amazing Dinosaur Book Review

Our Thoughts

Dinosaurs have a way of fascinating children and adults alike. They are majestic and beautiful in their own special way. They are powerful and fierce and yet gentle and kind. Movies have sparked the imagination of little ones and it is in books that they find the real good information that makes them want more. Utterly Amazing Dinosaur is an excellent book for children that not only provides information but fascinates and fosters a love of learning of these powerful creatures.

The book is large (roughly letter page sized) with a hard cover and the pages inside are also made up of a stiffer material (so much better for rougher little hands who get excited easily). The book is full of pop ups and flaps that your child can explore – my personal favourite pop up was the long necks (not just because they are my favourite dinosaur!). The hard material of the book helps to ensure the pop ups and flaps wont tear the first few times your little one plays with them because lets face it, kids get far to excite to open flaps and use a stronger force then necessary. The dinosaur facts were age appropriate but still gave enough information to keep us adults interested and it felt natural reading it aloud to our child and easy to make dramatic or silly to help engage our son in the book more. The illustrations are bright and bold that helps to draws you into the story.

Utterly Amazing Dinosaur will be a perfect addition under the Christmas tree this year. I am a firm believer of giving gifts that inspire and educate – Utterly Amazing Dinosaur does this and more. This book will definitely be a hit among the Dinosaur fans in your home. You can purchase a copy of this book here.

Rating: 5/5

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed are my own.

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Groupon + Coupons = Fantastic Savings!

Save Time and Money With Groupon Goods #ad

Everyone that knows me, knows that I love saving money. I like to keep us on budget but still enjoy the fun things in life, the movies, eating out, the spa and the list can go on. Just because we are on a budget doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy life too. A budget isn’t meant to be so restrictive that you can’t enjoy life and time with your family. Using Groupon Coupons helps us enjoy life all while living within our budget limits.

So what is Groupon Coupons?

Groupon Coupons is an online database with a huge variety of online coupons for pretty much anything that you can think of. All of the coupons are verified and free to print and use. You just head over to Groupon Coupons, choose the coupon you need and print. No worries about waiting for flyer deliveries or mail out coupons. Some of the coupons you can even use online, this is my personal favourite way to spend and save money – I do most of my shopping online.

Are you looking for Christmas gifts? I am sure like so many of us, you are either starting your shopping or just creating a list. Groupon Coupons has many excellent ideas for Christmas gifts but my personal two favourites gift ideas to give are spa days and canvas prints.

Last year I sent my Mom and sister to the spa. I couldn’t think of two people who deserved that any more than them. Right now you can get a promo code and coupon for money off at SpaFinder Wellness. A day at the spa is the most relaxing experience you will ever have and honestly one that every person should experience at least once in their life.

SpaFinder: Groupon CouponsCanvas prints are another fantastic gift idea. Last year I gave my Dad a print of my boys and he loved it – it is something that is personal and that they can treasure for a long time. Right now you can get a specific percentage off and free shipping over at Groupon Coupons.

Happy holiday shopping my friends! Make sure you check out Groupon on Facebook and Twitter to get up to date news, deals and more.

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Cremelino Prophecy Tour

Cremelino Prophecy

“Forgotten lines of ancient magic and the power of the throne. One will make them both his own if his heart sees the true power. . . “ So begins the ancient Cremelino Prophecy.

The Path of Destiny

The Path of Destiny, Book One of The Cremelino Propechy

In this new Young Adult/Teen fantasy series, Darius San Williams, son of one of King Edward’s councilors, cares little for his father’s politics and vows to leave the city of Anikari to protect and bring glory to the Realm. But when a new-found and ancient power emerges from within him, he and his friends Christine and Kelln are faced with decisions that could shatter or fulfill the prophecy and the lives of all those they know. Wizards and magic have long been looked down upon in the Realm, but Darius learns that no matter where he goes, prophecy and destiny are waiting to find him. You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Path of Decisions

The Path of Decisions, Book Two of the Cremelino Prophecy

In the second book of this young adult/teen fantasy series, Darius San Williams, now the first commander of the King’s Elite Army struggles with his emerging and ancient powers. After winning his first battle against external foes, he must decide now to follow the King or to take matters in his own hands. Back in Anikari Christine wrestles with how to confront oppression against her people, while in Belor, Kelln must escape the clutches of an evil wizard and warn Darius. Mezar, the captured Gildanian quietly watches everything closely and harbors a secret of his own. Each of their decisions will determine the fate and destiny of their friendship and their kingdom. You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Path of Peace

The Path of Peace, Book Three of the Cremelino Prophecy

In the conclusion of this magical Young Adult/Teen fantasy trilogy Darius DarSan Williams, newly crowned King of the Realm, is being pushed and tested on all sides by others vying for power. His best friend Kelln is in Mar trying to find the escaped Preacher and his daughter, while Mezar discovers a plot in Gildan that could tear the Realm apart, and put Christine in danger. All are being watched over and guided by the mysterious Cremelino horses. They hold one final magical secret that could help Darius save those he loves and find the path of peace. You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

My Thoughts

A fantastic young adult series that even adults can enjoy! It is fantasy series full of magic, suspense and adventure. I was drawn right into the story and could not put the series down. The first book gives us the all the background information of the magic of Darius, the disagreements between the different groups of people in the Realm and the rising of the Preacher. The second book is where the story really comes to life, Darius comes into his own and it is so exciting! You can’t stop reading because the suspense and adventure is amazing. So much happens in this novel that you feel as though nothing more can possibly happen but sure enough book three is just as good.

I loved the connection of the magic, the horses and Darius and Christine. It was so exciting! Especially to watch the magic grow in Darius as he learned how to control his magic and what it needs to work. The three books are well written, played out and lead into each other very well. They are incredibly exciting and full of suspense. These are perfect books for young adults but even older adults who love fantasy.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

I was born in California and have lived in multiple states from the west coast to the east coast. I really cannot remember a time when I wasn’t reading a book. At school, home, on vacation, at work at lunch time, and yes even a few pages in the car (at times when I just couldn’t put that great book down). Though I have read all sorts of genres I have always been drawn to fantasy. It is my way of escaping to a simpler time filled with magic, wonders and heroics of young men and women. Other than reading, I has always enjoyed the outdoors. From the beaches in Southern California to the warm waters of North Carolina; from the waterfalls in the Northwest to the Rocky Mountains in Utah; I have appreciated the beauty that God provides for us. I also enjoy hiking, discovering nature, playing a little basketball or volleyball, and most recently disc golf. I have a beautiful wife who has always supported me and three beautiful children who have been the center of my life. I began writing stories in elementary school and moved on to larger novels in my early adult years. I have worked in corporate finance most of my career. That, along with spending time with my wonderful family and obligations at church have made it difficult to find the time to truly dedicate to writing. In the last few years as my children have become older I have returned to doing what I truly enjoy – writing!

The Giveaway!

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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