Category: Review and Giveaway

Bridges of Paris #bookreview & #giveaway

iRead Book Tours

Paris. Just the name alone can stir of images of cathedrals, historical monuments and places and a city full of rich history. The Bridges of Paris guides us through the city in a way we have never seen it before.

Bridges of Paris Book Review

About Bridges of Paris

The Bridges of Paris is a large format book with over 350 original colour photographs. The thirty-seven bridges over the Seine River emerge as beautiful, historic destinations rather than go by unnoticed. This book not only features each bridge but riverside photographs as well.

Michael Saint James immersed himself in the Parisian culture for a year and captured images over, on, below and beside these wonderful bridges.

My Thoughts

The first words that came to my mind when opening up this book for the first time was breath-taking, incredible and wondrous. It truly brings the city to life through the photographs and history of the bridges! My love of history and the arts made this the perfect book for me. The photography was stunning and breath-taking. The historical content was the perfect amount to intrigue and to learn something new.

The book is broken down into several sections: Island Bridges, Palace Bridges, Downstream and Uptown Bridges. Each section contains historical facts alongside the images. So not only is this a visually appealing book but one you can learn a great deal of knowledge from.

The book is in a large, rectangular format that is perfect for displaying on your coffee table and just tempts you to want to hold it and cherish each page. Although this is probably designed for an older crowd (young adult and up), both of my children enjoyed turning the pages and learning a little bit of French history!

You can purchase your own copy on Amazon.

Check out this fantastic book trailer of the book:

Rating: 5/5

About Michael Saint James

Bridges of Paris Book Review and Giveaway

Michael Saint James’ artistic pursuits include award-winning book design, film editing and sound recording, as well as his first love photography. He has taught media production and technology arts as well as photography, story telling and art history. Michael is a world traveller who has visited over fifty countries.

The Giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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The Artisan’s Star Review

Italy Book Tours

Set in the majestic and historical city of Florence, The Artisan’s Star follows the Barati’s family, their perfume shop and the passion of artistry.

The Artisan's Star Book Review and Giveaway

About The Artisan’s Star

Elio’s perfumery in Florence is marked at the gates with a mosaic star. The shop immerses him in the artisanal world he loves but he harbors a regret. When a young man, he had created his own perfume but with his stubbornness he boxed it away before it ever came to fruition.

A second star now lights his life, his daughter Romina who is also an artist. She matches her father in talent, ambition and wonder for the world.

Changes are slowly coming to Florence and gone are the days of the true artist. When Romina tells her Father she does not want to carry on the family business, he tries desperately to hold on to the Florence he cherishes. He is forced to confront the lost opportunities of his youth as well acknowledge that tradition and modernity can co-exist.

My Thoughts

I have only been to Italy once in my life and in that short time that I was there I fell in love with the magic and tradition that is Italy. The streets are full of history and art is everywhere you look. You feel as though you are walking through history as you walk the streets. Florence is one of those cities that comes to life with its history. The Artisan’s Star had me wishing for another taste of Italy and inspired me to create some delicious recipes including amaretti cookies (and maybe some grappa too!).

The Artisan’s Star is a powerful book of the arts and how times have changed age-old traditions. Elio while young did not understand the beauty of his hometown and the traditions his Father tried to foster in him. As time goes by and life changes him, he takes on the responsibilities of his family perfumery even though this was not his dream. He gave up on his dream to ensure tradition stood strong. He is caught in the past not able to let go. This is a trap so many of us can fall into. Many times throughout the book we are witness to his struggle to let go and live in the present. At times it had me re-visiting my own life choices and how I wish I had pursued my own love of the arts but realized it never is too late to give up on your dream.

This is an incredible novel from start to finish that opens up slowly to Elio’s world and the artistry world of Florence full of tradition but rapidly changing environment. You will fall in love with the characters and the setting as Gabriella takes you to a world alive in the senses.

You can purchase the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Gabriella Contestabile is an author, educator and owner of Su Misura Journeys, a boutique travelling company connecting people to the artisans of Florence. She emigrated from Italy to New York City in 1959. She currently lives in New York with her daughter, husband, mother and their Shih Tzu Oreo. The Artisan’s Star is her first novel.

The Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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Purify Your Air in Style with Lampe Berger Paris #giveaway

Lampe Berger Paris

Let’s face it. Sometimes no matter how hard you try your home seems to take on the unwanted scents we try so hard to mask. Wet dog – yup. Dirty and sweaty soccer shoes – yup. Dinner cooking (or burning!) – yup that too!

Purify Your Air with Lampe Berger

We spend a lot of money and time purchasing products to help hide the smells that can naturally build up in our homes. It isn’t as easy with all this cold weather to just open a window and let the wind do its work. Lampe Berger Paris provides a simple and effective method to remove unwanted odours, emit long-lasting fragrances and purify your air. Not too bad for a stylish and portable lamp!

Purify Your Air in Style with Lampe Berger

The Lampe Berger was designed in 1897 by Maurice Berger and is the oldest worldwide manufacture of fragrance lamps (pretty awesome, right?!). The technology behind the Lampe Berger is that the burner attracts and eliminates the bad-smelling molecules. The cooler temperature of the lamp allows the fragrance inside to be emitted slowly versus a candle where the smell starts off strong but quickly burns off.

Purify Your Air With Lampe Berger Paris

Setting up your lamp is simple with easy to read instructions included in the box set. To start-up the lamp just light the burner, leave the flame for two minutes and then blow it out. Add on the protective cap (shown above) and allow the lamp to purify your air for roughly twenty minutes. After the twenty minutes are up, carefully remove the protective cap (it will be warm so be careful!) and add the stopper to shut the lamp off.

Purify Your Air with Lampe Berger

 My favourite features of the lamp are:

  • The low start-up and maintenance cost versus purchasing candles or home plug-ins over time.
  • Maintains the fragrance for the complete twenty minutes and longer. Have you ever been excited to put a plug-in in the wall only to have the smell disappear just as fast as you plugged it in? Not in this case! With its unique design and lower temperatures the pleasant fragrance you love is present the entire time.
  • I love how portable the lamp is! Because you do not require electricity you are not limited to only certain areas of the home. This frees you up to display your lamp prominently and proudly. Now to add a couple more in the home!
  • The unique designs of the lamps means you can be true to your style and taste! Match your lamp to your decor and no one will even guess that it is a lamp fragrance.
  • Safely diffuses fragrance without a flame – no flame is necessary to keep the fragrance going.
  • Wide variety of home fragrances including neutral fragrances for sensitive noses.

Purify Your Air with Lampe Berger

Our Lampe Berger lamp has become a must have item in our home and I even had to save it from going to my husband’s work (the nerve!). I have teamed up with Lampe Berger to bring you the opportunity to win your Lampe Berger starter kit which includes: lamp, burner, 180ml of neutral and 180ml of fragrance. Canadian residents can enter via the Rafflecopter below – Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I am a #LampeBergerCanada Brand Ambassador and received the above mentioned products free of charger. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Gift the Gift of Reading This Easter with #SpringBookBasket

#SpringBookBasket Collection

Reading is a gift that we can give our children that will create lasting memories. Books not only tell a story but they teach us a lesson, guide us, take us on adventures and give us the courage to try something new.

#SpringBookBasket Collection

Raincoast Books wants to celebrate the coming of Spring with a #SpringBookBasket giveaway featuring some of their greatest titles for your child. We were extremely lucky to receive I Wish You More, The Littlest Bunny and Enchanted Forest.

#SpringBookBasket Collection

I Wish You More is written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. This story is about all the endless good wishes we grant on our children. Wishes of curiosity, friendship and strength. A beautiful story of love between a guardian and their child with wonderful accompanying illustrations – this will be a much-loved book. It also makes the perfect baby shower gift!

“I wish you more give than take”

“I wish you more we than me”

#SpringBookBasket Collection

The Littlest Bunny in Canada features just as it names suggests the littlest bunny in Canada with a very important secret – he is the Easter Bunny! Throughout this book we follow him as he completes his most important mission of the year – hiding the Easter eggs! As a bonus, your child and yourself should be on the look out for twenty very special eggs hidden throughout the book!

#SpringBookBasket CollectionThe Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford is a very special book – not only do you go through a quest in an enchanted forest you get to colour along the way! This book was so beautiful that I didn’t want to give it up at first! It is perfect for the older child through to adulthood not only as a book but as a colouring book. Not only do you colour in the pictures along the way you must look for special hidden animals and magical objects including nine symbols that will unlock the castle door.

The remaining four books in the #SpringBookBasket include:

#SpringBookBasket Collection

A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long features nests from around the world. From tiny hummingbird nests to orangutan nests in the sky a variety of nests are featured in this story. This book introduces children to the world of nests and helps to spark their imagination.

#SpringBookBasket Collection

Farewell Floppy by Benjamin Chaud is the story of a young child that feels the need to grow up. In order to do so he feels he must get rid of his best friend, his rabbit, in order to gain more human friends. But why does getting rid of his rabbit friend feel so wrong? This book will remind children that friendships can be found in the most unexpected places!

#SpringBookBasket Collection

From rain to rainbows is a wonderful story that reminds us that after the worst rain always comes the prettiest rainbow. This story reminds us to appreciate the dark with the light and that the best of situations comes out of the worst moments.

#SpringBookBasket Collection

As winter leaves us and spring returns the soil is ready to plant and early flowers emerge. Follow Grandma and her grandchildren as they learn about twenty-four different flowers and how to plant their own flowers.

Raincoast Books wants one of my readers to win their own #SpringBookBasket Collection as pictured below.

#SpringBookBasket Collection

Canadian residents can enter the #SpringBookBasket giveaway below – GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received three of the above books free of charge in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Guess How Much I Love You #Giveaway

Guess How Much I Love You

Guess How Much I Love You, the much-loved story for all ages, has now come to life in DVD format! Guess How Much I Love You, with a release date of January 5th in the US and Canada, has a total of seven heart warming episodes full of love, friendship and the ever important love between father and son. In each of these episodes, Little Nutbrown Hare and Father Big Nutbrown Hare remind us that there is no greater love than that of the love between a parent and their child.


Guess How Much I Love You is full of incredibly sweet songs with catchy tunes (I have been singing the ‘Guess how much I love you’ tune for the last week and it has been our new catch phrase at home!) and loveable animal characters with excellent illustrations. The animation brings back so many memories of my own favourite childhood characters! As a family we were able to join Little Nutbrown Hare on his adventures as he meets new friends, learns new songs and dances all to show Big Nutbrown Hare how much he loves him. Each episode is just over ten minutes long with a total running time of eighty minutes. This makes it perfect for short viewing times for the younger crowd with the ability to play the DVD for longer for the older child.

The story is based on the love between a parent and a child and how strong that bond is. It was great to be able to cherish this with our children and to watch their faces as they watched the episodes.


kaboom! Entertainment and Working Mommy Journal are offering one of my readers the chance to win not only their own copy of Guess How Much I Love You but also the brand new panorama accompanying book! My Canadian readers can enter via the Rafflecopter form below – Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure to follow kaboom! on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with new releases and giveaways.

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

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