Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Torment of Rachel Ames ebook review

I received this item in exchange for an honest review.

I don't often read hardcopy books any more as I prefer ebooks, but today I have a novella to review for you. I was fortunate enough to receive an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of this story and although it won't be released for a few more weeks I wanted to go ahead and review it. I have to add in that there's just something so cool about reading ARCs, and owning a physical copy of one is really awesome. Maybe it's because I am an inspiring author, I just find the whole process neat. 

Suffering from writer's block, novelist Rachel Ames escapes to a lake cabin to calm her mind and regain a sense of herself. The location is perfect. Isolated. Beautiful. Inspiring. It even comes with a good-looking landlord who shows an interest in her. But she can't shake the sense that something terrible has followed her to the lake, something just beyond her consciousness, something out on the edge where the sounds of a raging fire and sirens linger whenever she slows down to listen. Determined to make the cabin work, she tries to settle in and give her new life a chance. But when strange things begin to happen around her, she wonders if she's made a terrible mistake. As the darkness that's followed her manifests itself in inexplicable ways, her concept of reality is stretched thin and she realizes nothing at the lake is what it seems. As she fights to survive with her sanity intact, she understands too late that the location she's chosen for herself is far from perfect.

This is a very easy read and could definitely be completed in one sitting. I found it to be one of the most curious and interesting stories I've read in a long time. There were so many odd twists and turns throughout the story, I really couldn't predict what was happening until towards the end. At times I was reminded of Stephen King's writing (especially the early Dark Tower stories) and also the Twilight Zone. This was my first time reading this author's work, but now I would be interested in reading more of his writing.

The Torment of Rachel Ames will be released on November 10, 2015. It is available for preorder on for $1.99 or free with Kindle Unlimited.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Braving Fate ebook review

I received this item in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

One more short post for today. 

From the author:
The Celtic warrior queen Boudica is the historical figure who captivated my imagination for years. Her courage and commitment were inspiring, but I always thought she got a really raw deal. I wanted to give her a happy ending, so I reincarnated her and sent her off to Scotland to meet the highlander of her dreams. There's danger and challenge on the way to her happy ending, but with the help of her warrior, she's more than up to the task. I hope you enjoy! 



This was a fun and fairly short read. It's well written with few noticeable errors. I found myself immediately hooked on this book until a few of the sex scenes. Those I honestly think took away from the story a bit. Around the middle of the story it became a bit repetitive which I felt was annoying. Otherwise this was an exciting read and the author definitely has numerous subplots set up for the other books in this series which makes me curious as to what else will be in store. 

This ebook is available for free on Amazon. It is also available in paperback for $12.99. The rest of the series is available for free with Kindle Unlimited and the first four books are also available as a box set for $5.99.

Bed in a box

I have nothing to disclose. 

Did you know mattresses ship in a box? I sure didn't. Here's my tale...

We've needed a new mattress for a very long time and fortunately we were finally able to get one. Our old mattress was one sided which we didn't realize at the rushed time we bought it. Never again. Not being able to flip over a mattress is like the worst thing ever as it wears out. I recently flipped it around so my side of the bed had the huge dent and I swear that's partly to blame for my recent migraines and back aches. The floor was more comfortable. 

We decided to get a futon mattress because it was cheaper. We plan to move hopefully in the next year so we just wanted a cheap fix for the time being until we get another place and then we'll get a regular mattress. We have a bunch of mattress stores locally but after browsing the Internet it seemed cheaper and easier just to order one. I pretty much never buy anything from Walmart because we don't want to support Chinese slavery. However this one time I decided to go ahead and buy our mattress from them since we have a store nearby just in case there were any shipping problems. 

Oh the sweet irony. Our mattress was supposed to be delivered last Thursday according to the tracking which had not updated in days. I sat around all day Thursday waiting for the thing to be delivered. It never showed up of course. Finally I think Friday the tracking updated. It had shipped from Arizona to South Carolina to Georgia. What the hell Walmart. I live in Wisconsin. Needless to say our mattress finally got here. 

It was here for five minutes and Winslow had to check out the box of course. Last week I was kind of freaking out wondering how I was going to get a mattress through our door and everything without Mike's help. After a day of nerves Mike was finally kind enough to inform me the mattress would be shipping in a box and not in fact flat shaped. Duh. That made sense when I thought about it. I looked at a bunch of online reviews and sure enough most people said theirs arrived in a duffle bag type of thing. Ours obviously arrived in a box. 

Mike told me to wait til he got home from work and he would help me set it up. I guess he thought I'd start a World War if I did it by myself or something equally catastrophic. I don't know. I kept looking at the box which claimed it was easy set up and I thought to myself I could do it myself. I was right. This is how the mattress looked out of the box. 

It was wrapped in a sheet of plastic which I had to rip and cut away. Once I did that it broke the air tight seal and it began to expand back to normal size. I just had to unroll it. The tricky part was this was wrapped in a second sheet of plastic which I had to cut away. This mattress weighs about sixty pounds so pulling the plastic out from under the mattress was the most difficult part of the whole thing. 

The mattress itself has a nice soft black fabric. It really isn't firm at all. It kind of feels like you're laying on memory foam or floating on a cloud. Best of all it is double sided so I can flip it over when needed. 

We don't have a bed frame or box springs so we opted to use this mattress on top of our old one for additional support. It's hillbilly but it works. 

I didn't realize this until we got it but as it turns out this is the very mattress I had picked out on Amazon until I decided to buy from Walmart instead. The brand is DHP, and it's 8 inch full size. Unfortunately it was made in China but you can't seem to escape that these days. This mattress is $153.18 on Amazon and Walmart but apparently I got it on sale or something because I got it for $133.65. Yay me :)

Hopefully this mattress will last us for as long as we need it to. It's gotten very good reviews on both Amazon and Walmart so I'm hopeful.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My first ShopKo shopping experience

I shouldn't say this was my first ShopKo experience since I've been there maybe three other times but this was the first time I went there by myself. Yesterday I was folding my clothes and noticed all of the holes in my pants and I thought to myself, "Ok, this is it. I'm buying new pants." I don't buy clothes very often and usually when I do I end up ordering online and usually end up getting something which doesn't fit. So of course I hate shopping for clothes.

 ShopKo is the closest store near me for clothing and they just happen to have a pretty good sale on clothing right now. I couldn't get there yesterday so I had to go today. I was extremely nervous beforehand, I think in part because I always get nervous before going out in public but especially when I'm not very familiar with the place. Anyway I realized this morning I had never gone shopping for clothes by myself before. How weird is that? Since I can't drive I guess it isn't that weird for me. In the past someone else always would have taken me. Being able to walk to the store is such a great piece of independence I value so much. As it turns out, it was still exhausting shopping but I think I prefer shopping for clothing by myself. It's less distraction which means less exhausting and I don't feel like I have to hurry. It was nice trying on clothes and taking my time without feeling like I had to rush. 

Enough about all of that. Here's what I got. 

Riders by Lee Mid rise straight leg. Normally $36.99. On clearance for $18.49

Riders by Lee Mid rise straight leg. Normally $36.99. On clearance for $22.19. 

Riders by Lee Classic boot cut. Normally $27.99. On sale for $24.99

French Laundry leggings. Normally $23.99. On sale for $11.99

I also picked up a can of altoids. Can you tell I really like Riders? They had a ton of other things on sale and I tried on about six other pairs of pants but was happiest with these. The leggings fit really nicely, seem very warm and comfortable. They're kind of like fleece so they're actually very thick and should be perfect for winter. They had a few other pairs but I didn't like how those fit. I ended up having to go up a size because I've been through so much stress this year and my body seems to be fat shifting. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it though. I walked away with four new pairs of pants which is more than I hoped for and I saved $44.32! I could buy a whole other outfit with that. 

As for ShopKo itself, the store was calm, quiet and fairly clean. In general, the employees were polite and helpful. I'll definitely be back again. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Black Pepper and Muscle Relief oils reviews

I received this item in exchange for an honest review. 

This past year has been so difficult for me in many ways. It's almost as if turning thirty five meant my body decided the weight of the past twenty years or so should come hitting down on me at once. Seriously it just feels like it's been one thing after another and I'm just a witness as my body falls apart. Oddly enough at the same time I'm also learning how to relax and de stress and just manage my energy levels better. In doing so I'm also becoming stronger. It's odd to be having those extremes happening at the same time but it's true. Today I'm sharing with you two of the products I've found to really help me as I enter into this new stage of my life. 

Blurb - Black Pepper
  • GET 15 TIMES MORE RESULTS THAN WITH STANDARD NON-PURE OILS - With superior sourced and harvested ingredients and no dangerous alcohol or chemical additives found in most other oils, our oils are by far the most effective on the market.
  • SUN ORGANIC PROVIDES THE PUREST OILS - Exactly what nature intended, no added chemicals.  You have never smelled an oil this pure nor felt its amazing effects.  Once you smell this oil, other brands will have a distinct alcohol or chemical smell with a 'dry' scent and noticeable lack of depth.
  • IMPROVE YOUR MOOD AND ENERGY LEVELS - Fatigue and irritability are often a result of many factors that are difficult to pinpoint.  Instead of guessing or taking unhealthy medicines or other toxins, clear your body and mind with the pure aroma-therapeutic scent of SUN ORGANIC.  Nothing else compares - use it today so you can finally feel like your happy, energetic and vibrant self again. 100% REFUND GUARANTEE IF YOU DON'T LOVE THIS OIL!
  • THERAPEUTIC GRADE ESSENTIAL OIL, SUPERIOR QUALITY for AROMATHERAPY, Bath, Massage, Candles, Hair, Stress, Relaxing, and Calming your body. High Quality and soothing fragarance, comparable in scent to doterra, young living, eden's garden, plant therapy, plant guru, and now foods.
Blurb - Muscle Relief
  • GET BETTER RESULTS WITH SUN ESSENTIAL OILS - With what we believe to be superior sourced and harvested ingredients, we think you will agree that our oils are by far the most effective on the market - a wonderful smell that can't be beat! 
    • SUN PROVIDES THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS - Yes, it's a matter of opinion, but we believe our oils to be the best and will provide anyone who doesn't feel the same way with an 100% pure, unconditional manufacturer refund, anytime. We think you will feel that you have never smelled an oil this wonderful...and that after you have smelled this oil other brands may have a distinct alcohol or chemical smell with a 'dry' scent and noticeable lack of depth.

    • LOVE THE SMELL AND FEEL GREAT - Fatigue and irritability are often a result of many factors that are difficult to pinpoint.  Clear your mind and relax with the wonderful smell of Deep Muscle Relief Blend. Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens L) Peppermint (Mentha Piperita) Chamomile Blue (Matricaria chamomilla) Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)

    • SUN makes the BEST quality PREMIUM Aromatherapy oils and has OVER 100 SCENTS including: Adoration Blend Agar Agarwood Ajowan Ajwain Allspice Ambrette Amyris Angelica Root Anise Star Aniseed Anti-Aging Aphrodisiac Balance Balsam Basil Bay Bergamot Betel Leaf Birch Black Pepper Blood Orange Breathe Cade Cajeput Calamus Root Calming Camphor Cananga Caraway Carrot Cassia Cedarwood Celery Seed Chamomile (German & Roman) Chili Seed Cinnamon Bark Cinnamon Leaf Citronella Fresh Citrus Bliss Clary Sage Cleaning Clove Coffee Copaiba Coriander Costmary Cumin Costus Cranberry Cypress Cyprioli Cubeb Curry Davana Deep Muscle Relief Dill Weed Dragon Rest Earth Wood Elemi Eucalyptus Elecampane Exhale Fennel Fenugreek Fir Needle Frangipani Frankincense French Lavender Galangal Garlic Geranium (Egypt) Ginger Gingergrass Good Night Goldenrod Grapefruit Guaiacwood Harmony Head Ease Helichrysum Hickory nut Ho Wood Hope Horseradish Hydacheim Hyssop Idaho Invigorate Jamarosa Jasmine Absolute Joy Juniper Berry Key Lime Labdanum Ledum Lemon Lemon Linaloe Eucalyptus Lemon Myrtle Lemongrass Love Mace Mandarin Meditation Melaleuca See Melissa Mentha Mountain Mugwort Mustard Orris Myrrh Myrtle Neroli Niaouli Nutmeg Onion Oregano Palmarosa Palo Santo Paprika Oleoresin Palo Patchouli Peace Penny Royal Perilla Peppermint (like NOW foods) Peru Balsam Pest Shield Petitgrain Pimento Pine Pink Lotus Premium Thieves Protective (like Doterra & Young Living Purification) Ravensara Red Relaxation Renew Restoration Bulgarian Moroccan Rose Geranium Rosemary Rosehip Rosewood Sage Sandalwood Sensation Spearmint Spikenard Spruce Stay Alert Stress Relief (like Eden's Garden Plant Therapy & Guru) Styrax Benzoin (like Deep Blue OnGuard Diffuser) Sweet Ambiance Sweet Marjoram Sweet Orange Tangerine Tansy Thuja Thyme Tonka Bean Tree Tea Turmeric Valerian Vanilla Vetiver Wintergreen Zedoary and Ylang


I recently started noticing some pain and stiffness in my right pointer finger. My mom was about twenty five when she first developed arthritis so at thirty five, I'm counting myself lucky to just now have it in my hands. I wasn't sure what to do with my black pepper oil when I first received it, so I did some research and found out it can be used for arthritis. As it turns out, this stuff works fantastically for my pain. I just rub a few drops on my finger when I notice it's hurting and I quickly forget about it. This oil is great for reducing the pain but also inflammation. I definitely recommend it for anyone dealing with arthritic pain. I received a 2 fluid ounce bottle, which for me is a nice size.

I've had some minor lower back pain since I was a teenager, nothing serious. However, recently I've started having lower back spasms and oh those suckers hurt! After a few times, I finally thought to try the Muscle Relief oil and I was so surprised by how effective it was. I just rubbed a little bit on and almost immediately the spasms stopped. Next time my husband has his leg cramps, he's going to try this oil for that as well. I've used this oil for a few other things, such as mild muscle pain. It did help a little bit.

One of the first times I used the Muscle Relief oil, I accidentally used way too much. My husband thinks this stuff smells like Pepto Bismol. I think it smells wonderful. My cat, however, hates it and he actually tried to bury me which was pretty hilarious. With the wintergreen and peppermint oils in this, it reminds me of spearmint gum. It's also a really nice combination of oils for sinus pressure relief. I received a 4 fluid ounce bottle and in about two and a half months I've used about a fourth of this bottle. I will definitely recommend this oil for muscle spasms.

Sun Essential Oils are available on Amazon. The Black Pepper oil is $28.49 for a 2 fluid ounce bottle. It's also available in a 4 fluid ounce bottle for $49.99.
The Sun Essential Oils Muscle Relief oil is $19.99 for a 4 fluid ounce bottle or $11.39 for 2 fluid ounces and it's also available in a huge 16 ounce bottle for $59.99. All of these ship free with Amazon's $35 on up order free shipping.

  • Save $2.00 on a purchase of $20.00 of more of any Sun Essential products. Enter code SOSAVE02 at checkout.
  • Save $3.00 on a purchase of $30.00 or more of any Sun Essential products. Enter code SOSAVE03 at checkout.
  • Save $7.00 on a purchase of $50.00 or more of any Sun Essential products. Enter code SOSAVE07 at checkout. 
  • Save $15.00 on a purchase of $100 or more of any Sun Essential products. Enter code SOSAVE15 at checkout.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My Konjac bamboo charcoal body sponge review

I received this item in exchange for an honest review. 

After I reviewed the My Konjac Facial Sponge in August, I was asked to review their full body sponge as well. Of course I was interested, so here we go!

  • Handmade in South Korea. 100% Natural Sponge + 100% Biodegradable + Compostable
  • Hypoallergenic & Fragrance Free + Free of All Colorings & Additives + Leaping Bunny (cruelty free) certified
  • Effectively draws out dirt & excess oil that can clog pores & results in breakouts
  • Gently Exfoliates Skin + Removes impurities & refines pores
  • Boil for just 1 minute to sanitize. Each sponge lasts 2-3 months


I've definitely noticed my skin looking healthier and clearer since I started using this sponge. I've changed a few other things which might have contributed to this, but I really think the sponge has helped. The skin on my arms is naturally very bumpy with mild acne, and this has improved so much. My skin is much smoother, softer and feminine.

This sponge is a really nice size. It's large but not too small and not quite too big either. It fits perfectly on my bathroom shelf. I did notice a small crack in the sponge after just one use but it's held together really well. It hasn't broken apart at all yet, even with that one small crack.

I love that this product is all natural, containing no dyes or fragrance and also that it is not tested on animals. Of course it's a bonus that it's earth friendly as well.

The My Konjac bamboo charcoal body sponge is available on Amazon for $11.97 and is eligible for free shipping on orders of $35 or more. You can find more information about My Konjac on their Web site, including buying options for those outside of the United States (and within of course.) Check out their Facebook page for important product updates as well.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Enlightened Mind Dimensions Book Three Review

I received this item in exchange for an honest review. 

Well I obviously did not get more blogging done as I had hoped. I developed a really bad headache perhaps migraine which has lasted almost a week. Today I'm finally feeling better although exhausted from being in such high amounts of pain for so long. So that's the first reason I haven't been blogging the past few days. The second being my nephew moved up here over the weekend so of course I've been busy spending time with him.

On the bright side, I've been getting a bunch of wedding presents so I'll have a ton of stuff to blog about once I do get back to it on a more regular basis again :) I'll start it off with another ebook review, this one being another Mind Dimensions book. This is the third in the series so you can read my reviews of the other books in this series here and here.


From a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author comes the exciting continuation of the Mind Dimensions series

Kidnapped. Consciousness expanded. And that was just the start of my day.

I always thought I was a nice enough guy. The kind who’d never want to commit murder.

Turns out I simply lacked incentive.

Some crimes can never be forgiven.

I think Mind Dimensions has become one of my new favorite series, and The Enlightened did not disappoint me in the least. Many things which happened in this book I felt Zales had hinted at previously. Normally I hate it when writing is predictable but while some things did not take me by surprise, Zales does such a wonderful job of writing that the predictability didn't bother me. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and it kept me on the edge of my seat at all times. There were plenty of twists and surprises to keep me interested and I'm looking forward to seeing how this series will progress.

The Enlightened, and the other Mind Dimensions novels, are available on in multiple formats.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Big news

I've been pretty quiet on here and social media lately and it's for a very good reason. I got married! Mike and I were planning this for months and didn't tell anyone. We decided to marry on our 15th anniversary (wow I'm old.) We didn't do anything fancy which I'm actually grateful for. Mike took the day off work and we went down to the courthouse for our ceremony. We didn't even bring witnesses. No rings since I can't really wear them anyway. It was small short and easy. But that little amount of stress alone was too much for me so in all honesty it was perfect. I always dreamed of having the TV picture perfect wedding with my photographer father taking pictures and my beautician cousin doing my hair and makeup. My entire family present. Having my grandmother there was something I wanted for years but of course she passed a few years ago. So while it wasn't the wedding I always dreamed of it was the one perfect for me. When it came down to it I got to marry my love and best friend so who needs a fancy ring and flowers and the rest. I sure didn't and I've never been happier. 

Yesterday I took my first bus ride here so I could go change my name. It's official. I am now Melanie Stewart. I just have to say it is absolutely ridiculous how much stuff is involved in name changing. I still have to get my new state ID and update everything else but I've started making the changes. 

Marriage life is kind of surreal. Mike keeps calling me by my maiden name. It's obviously going to take him awhile to get used to the new name. 

I keep thinking of all the new family we both have now. Maybe that means more because I'm a genealogist but it's sort of overwhelming. Even though we've practically been married for years we weren't and I can tell you there really is a difference. It's strange. But anyway with that one move suddenly I'm a stepmother to two teenagers. I have hands full of nieces and nephews. Unfortunately I also have some very less than perfect in laws whom I can only hope to never see again. I also finally made my mother a step grandmother and my sister a step aunt which is a fact I haven't gotten into with them but I find it funny. 

One of the strange side effects of getting married is now I tend to think of my husband more but also life in general is different. For example when crossing the roads I find myself being more careful because I know I have someone who loves me who needs me to be careful. It's so strange because we were together for so long and yet apparently we weren't as together as we thought. God has brought us closer together and for that I'm thankful. 

Anyway enough of my silent reflections. I did paint my nails special for our wedding day so I wanted to show them off at the least. I spent hours planning nail art and nothing was turning out right so eventually I said screw it and decided to do something simple. I looked through my boxes of polish looking for inspiration when it hit me that I need to stop trying to be like everyone else and do what everyone else does. I decided to play up my strength by doing what I do best. I played with layers. 

I did one layer of butter London Leccy then topped it with one layer of Lynnderella Snow Angel and finished it off with another layer of Leccy. Simple and easy but beautiful. Best of all I did this manicure the day before our wedding and it only had one little chip which was extremely easy to fix. I couldn't have done that with fancy stamping or other nail art. 

I have a ton of stuff to catch up on so I do plan on posting again later today and probably again tomorrow. I'll try to get back to some kind of regular schedule soon. For now I will end this with one last picture. Thanks for reading all of that.