Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Vintage Halloween!

Happy Halloween!   This Brach's candy ad is from 1965.   What was your favorite Halloween treat?   I loved candy corn and all the classic candy bars - Hershey's, Three Musketeers, Milky Way, etc. etc. etc.  I remember the joy of coming home with a pillowcase full of candy to sort after trick or treating.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Juliet's Nurse by Lois Leveen

Juliet's Nurse, by Lois Leveen, is an imaginative historical novel about the life of the nurse from Romeo and Juliet.

This novel is set in Verona, 1360 - 1375.  As the book opens, we meet Angelica, the nurse, and see her entry into the Cappelletta family as a wet nurse.  Angelica has been married to her husband, Pietro, since she was a young girl.  They have a loving and lusty marriage, despite the tragedy of losing six sons to the plague.  After Angelia loses her baby daughter, she is asked to be a wet nurse to Juliet Cappelletta, born the same day as her own child.  Her connection to Juliet is strong and immediate.  Readers come to know Juliet and the Cappelletta family through her eyes.  Angelica also befriends Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, a young and lively boy.

The descriptions of Verona are lovely.  Angelica describes seeing the city from a tower:

"I know Verona as I do my own body.  Every labyrinthed passage and each loose paving stone among my parish streets.  The smell of tanneries, of public ovens, and of offal-piles.  The snorting hogs upon the piazza, and the rush of the Adige beneath the bridges.  But I've never imagined this:  that I could stand as tall as the church campaniles, watching the city's roof tiles glint in the sun, the people and animals moving between them as small as crawling insects.  The world spreading beneath me glows with the sublime beauty you see in painting of the Annunciation."

In the second part of the book, Juliet becomes a teenager.  Angelica also becomes aware of the Montecchis, who are feuding with the Cappellettas.  She sees the lives of the prince's young nephews, Mercutio and Paris.  When Juliet meets Romeo, we know what will happen, but the retelling is as moving as it is inevitable. 

This is a novel about love between a surrogate parent and child (the nurse and Juliet) and also about first love between a boy and a girl (Romeo and Juliet).   The historical details are rich and beautifully told.  The especially lovely book design gives a hint as to what waits inside for readers.

The nurse, Angelica, works very well as a protagonist, giving readers a glimpse of a poor servant's life in Verona as well as a look at life in one of Verona's wealthiest families.

I enthusiastically recommend this book for anyone who loves Shakespeare or historical fiction.

Lois Leveen is an author, historian, and former college professor.    She lives in Portland, Oregon.  Her first novel, The Secrets of Mary Bowser, about an African American woman who was a spy during the Civil War, is being developed into a Broadway Musical.

Connect with Lois: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

I received a copy of this book from Italy Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. 

The sponsor is hosting a giveaway of this wonderful novel.  You can enter with the Rafflecopter form, below.  The sponsor will randomly draw names and mail prizes directly to the lucky readers.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Music Monday - "Electric Blue" by Icehouse (1987)

This week's Music Monday song is "Electric Blue" by Icehouse.   It was a new wave/synthpop hit in 1987.   I hadn't heard this song in years until I heard it by chance on the radio a few days ago.  It was a fun musical flashback to my college years.

This song was written by Icehouse band member Iva Davies and John Hall (of Hall and Oates).  I think it actually has a Hall and Oates sound.

I watched very little tv in the 1980's, so most music videos are new to me.  I'd never seen this one before, and it is a throwback.  The lead singer has a very serious '80's mullet!   I hope you enjoy this musical time travel as much as I did.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Clearing the Shelves 25% Off Sale at Birdhouse Books

Hi, vintage friends!

Just a short and sweet post to let you know I am running a big 25% off Clear the Shelves sale through Sunday, November 2, at midnight.  I'm in the happy position of having too much vintage inventory to list ... and I really need to make some room here.   You'll find over 2000 vintage items on sale, including:

Children's books


Christmas ornaments

Sewing patterns

Holiday cards (Christmas, Valentines, Easter, and more)

Postcards (including holidays, like the Halloween witch pictured, and Roadside Americana travel cards from amusement parks, motels, restaurants)

I hope you'll stop by and browse!  Click here to visit Birdhouse Books on eBay.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

eCloth Review and Giveaway: Pet Travel Bed and Wall/Floor Duster

My dog, Abby, enjoyed helping me review the e-Cloth Home and Travel Bed.  This pet bed rolls up with velcro fasteners for travel.   One side is soft and plush.  As I unrolled it, Abby settled in immediately (see photo above!).   It measures about 35.35" x 23.5".  The other side of the bed is a smart brown and white check and it is waterproof.  Wow!  This is perfect for use at home, in the car, or on a trip.   Abby is looking forward to enjoying it for a long time.
I also reviewed the e-Cloth Flexi-Edge Floor and Wall Duster.   This is a unique and versatile product, perfect for cleaning walls and floors alike.  I have a dog and also deal in vintage books and cards, so am constantly dusting and sweeping hardwood floors.   I also prefer natural and chemical-free cleaning.  This is a great product!  The cloth cleaning head is soft and strong, and can be washed 100 times.  It comes with a telescopic handle that works at 3' to 5' range.  I highly recommend this duster for household cleaning.

You can find e-Cloth online:
Twitter: @eclothUSA
Instagram: @eclothUSA

e-Cloth very generously offered to sponsor a giveaway for a Home and Travel Bed and a Flexi-Edge Floor and Wall Duster.  Entry is easy with the Rafflecopter form, below.  One lucky reader will win both products.  Shipping is within the USA, and the contest runs through Thursday, 10/30/14 at midnight.  A winner will be chosen at random through Rafflecopter, and notified via email.  Winner needs to respond to email within 48 hours.  e-Cloth will ship the prize directly to the winner. 

Congratulations to the winner, Jean. B!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received these products from e-Cloth in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book Review: Butternut Summer by Mary McNear

Butternut Summer is the second book in the Butternut Lake series by Mary McNear.  The first book in the series is Up at Butternut Lake.  

Butternut Summer tells the story of Caroline Keegan and her daughter, Daisy.   Caroline lives in the small Minnesota town where she grew up, Butternut Lake.  She runs a small diner called Pearl's.  It has been in her family for years, and she takes pride in her work and the community she lives in.  Daisy is home from college for the summer.  Unbeknownst to Caroline, Daisy has been in contact with her father, Jack.  Jack Keegan is a handsome charmer who disappeared from the lives of Caroline and Daisy while Daisy was still a toddler.  When Jack moves back to Butternut Lake and attempts to reconnect with Caroline, things are set in motion.  

Over the summer, Daisy meets a good looking "bad boy" that she grew up with named Will Hughes.  Will is a mechanic at a local shop, a small town ladies man without a sense of direction.  The summer romance of Daisy and Will is central to this story.

Butternut Lake is a charming little town like Mayberry.  In this book we meet some of the townspeople and visit local sites.  This is a town you will enjoy visiting, full of people you will want to meet.

The interrelated stories are compelling.  We have the mother-daughter story of Caroline and Daisy, the father-daughter story of Daisy-Jack, Jack's wishful pursuit of Caroline, and Daisy's first love with Will.

The book ends with a cliffhanger.  I hope the story continues in the next book.  I am looking forward to the upcoming third book in this trilogy, Moonlight on Butternut Lake.  I recommend this book highly for fans of women's fiction.

Butternut Summer is on Goodreads, and can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Butternut Summer was written by Mary McNear.   You can find the author on Facebook.

I received Butternut Summer from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Whiny Whiny Rhino

Whiny Whiny Rhino is a new picture book for children written and illustrated by McBoop.  McBoop is the father-daughter team of Carmin Iadonisi and Amanda Iadonisi-Word. 

Whiny Whiny Rhino tells the story of a little rhinoceros who whines because he is afraid to try new things.  His brothers encourage him to be tough.  He goes out to have fun with his animal friends instead.  He chooses not to swim with his alligator and elephant pals because the weather might be too cold.  He doesn't want to play ball with his bird buddies because he might fall.  His bat friends invite him to explore a cave, but he decides it is too dark.  He goes home, disappointed that he did not have fun all day.  When he ventures out again, his friends are riding in a wagon.  He trips and ends up in the wagon and surprises himself by having fun -- while trying something new!  

This story for children is told in rhyme, and it is perfect for a preschool read aloud.   The bright, colorful illustrations are sure to please young children.  The message about being brave to try new things is a great one for young readers.  

I would enthusiastically recommend Whiny Whiny Rhino for preschool age children. It is available in paperback and Kindle format at Amazon.
I received this book from iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
iRead and McBoop are sponsoring a book giveaway.   14 winners will receive a copy of Whiny Whiny Rhino.  The entry is easy, by Rafflecopter form.
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