Thursday, April 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Avon Lipstick Samples

As a preteen and teenager, I was really interested in makeup.  Although I liked light, natural looking makeup, I remember experimenting with different colors and brands in front of the mirror.  We always had a friend or neighbor who sold Avon, so the little catalogs and samples were fun.  I had not thought of these little Avon lipstick samples in years until I saw this photo ... and it brought back a lot of memories.  I loved these tiny lipsticks.  They were little and cute, and you could pick from a number of different colors!   Just seeing this pic takes me back to my early teen years.  Do you remember these little lipstick sample cases?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Daily Vintage - A Visit to the Children's Zoo Little Golden Book

 As a little girl, Little Golden Books were my favorites.  I still feel a thrill when I find them out and about to list.  It really brings me joy to photograph, share, and research them.  

Today's Daily Vintage is A Visit to the Children's Zoo, a Little Golden Book from 1972.  It was written by Barbara Shook Hazen and illustrated by Mel Crawford.   The illustrations are so super cute.   I especially like the Storybook Land type pictures, like the one below.  (Do you remember Storybook Lands as a child?  I loved them.)   This sweet book is from Birdhouse Books:  A Visit to the Children's Zoo.

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: For Your Love by Beverly Jenkins

For Your Love
Blessings # 6
By: Beverly Jenkins
Releasing April 28th, 2015
William Morrow

NAACP nominee and bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns to Henry Adams, Kansas-an unforgettable place that anyone would want to call home-with a story of family, friends, and the powerful forces from our past that can irrevocably shape our future.

Mayor Trent July and his wife Lily are enjoying life as newlyweds and embracing the challenges and joys that come with being adoptive parents to two wonderful boys. But being a father has inevitably forced him to think about his own birth mother. Raised by his grandmother Tamar—and in many ways the good people of Henry Adams—Trent was blessed with a childhood full of love.

But now he can’t help wondering what happened to the scared teenage girl who gave birth to him. And questions that he’s never voiced are now begging to be answered: Who was she? Is she still alive? Why didn’t she want him?

Trent has always believed no good comes from dwelling on the past, especially when you have a loving family, a strong community, and folks who depend on him. But when the past comes to Henry Adams, Trent has no choice but to face it—and the woman who left him behind. The truth will shake his very being and everything he thought he knew about life, love, and the bonds that hold families together…yet can also tear them apart.

Goodreads Link:

Goodreads Series Link:

Buy Links:  Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

It was the first week of December. Four inches of snow had fallen overnight and according to the dashboard gauge on Trent’s truck, the temperature outside was a balmy fifteen degrees. Driving down Henry Adams’ main street to the Dog, not even the winter weather kept him from marveling at the changes to the landscape brought about by the largesse of town owner, Bernadine Brown. The open stretches of land that were once strewn with the crumbling remains of Henry Adams’ 19th century past now held a new recreation center, school and church. The old dirt roads were paved. Asphalt parking lots had been added along with cement sidewalks and towering solar street lights. Other improvements were in the planning stages and he couldn’t be more pleased by the towns rebirth. His family had been residents since the 19th century and over the years had seen it rise to become a model for
African American communities nationwide, but by the 21st century due, it fell so low, he as mayor was forced to offer it for sale on eBay. That’s
when Bernadine Brown, armed with a multi-million dollar divorce settlement, rode to the rescue like a one woman battalion of the famed Tenth Cavalry. She’d even footed the bill for re-habbing the Dog, turning what was once a well-loved but dilapidated eyesore into a glistening eatery complete with brand new red leather booths, smooth topped tables, a state of the art kitchen, and wi-fi.

Inside, old school music played on the fancy red jukebox, as always. The mounted flat screens TVs were tuned to the day’s football games, and the interior was filled with the familiar faces of those he’d grown up with: Rochelle “Rocky” Dancer, the diner’s manager and Henry Adams’ resident bombshell; Clay Dobbs, his god father and his dad’s best friend, and Bing Shepard the crusty old WW2 vet, now living with Clay after the death of his wife. Both men played a significant role in Trent’s life growing up.

His dad, Malachi walked over to greet them. “Well if it isn’t my favorite
son and grandsons.”

“We’re your only son and grandsons,” Trent countered, which made the boys grin. Father and son ribbed each other constantly, a testament to their strong bond.

“You over educated engineers always have to point out the obvious,” Mal groused. “Go on and get a seat. Your booth in the back’s waiting on you.”

After pausing a few times to speak to friends, Trent and his sons took seats in their favorite booth. Crystal Chambers Brown, Bernadine’s seventeen year old daughter and the resident big sister of the town’s kids came over to take their order. “Hey, guys. Your usual burgers and fries?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Trent told her. While she wrote down the order he asked, “When are your friends coming from Dallas?”

“Tomorrow morning. Mom’s going to let me miss school so I can ride with her to the airport. I’m so excited.”

“I’m looking forward to meeting them. Hope they’ll like living here.”

“What’s not to like?” she asked. “We live in the middle of nowhere – no fast food – no clubs, no real music on the radio. It’s paradise.” She left them to go and put their orders in.

Trent looked to Amari. “Was she being sarcastic?”

The boy shrugged. “Who knows? With her it’s hard to tell but I do know that after running away and having to come back to paradise after only a few days with her tail between her legs, she figured out Dorothy got it right: There’s no place like home.”

Trent concurred. After earning his Master’s degree in Engineering from
Stanford, he’d taken a job with a multi-national architectural firm in LA
and for ten years immersed himself in big city living. Eventually, wearied by the break neck pace, the sometimes cut throat nature of the people, and two failed marriages, he’d returned, never to leave again. He glanced Devon’s way and saw him staring across the room at his former best friend Zoey sitting with her dad, town pediatrician Reginald Garland and eleven year old Wyatt Dahl. Wyatt and his grandmother Gemma were the town’s newest residents and he and Zoey had become inseparable in the short time since the Dahl’s arrival. Everyone in town was well aware of Devon’s long running feud with Miss Miami as Zoey was affectionately called, and although Devon wouldn’t admit it, Trent knew he missed calling her friend. “You want to go over and say hi to Zoey and Wyatt?”

“No,” Devon replied as if Trent had just asked him to drink motor oil.

Amari shook his head but kept his opinion on the matter to himself.
Trent didn’t press, but the irritation in Devon’s eye was mixed with
unspoken longing and a deep sadness. Later in the week, they’d be meeting as  a family with Reverend Paula. He hoped the rift with Zoey would be one of the subjects on the agenda.

A short while later, Crystal returned with their meals. Devon said grace and they dug in.  

Author Info
Ms. Jenkins is the nation's premier writer of African American historical romance fiction and specializes in 19th century African American life. She has over thirty published novels to date.

She has received numerous awards, including: five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards; two Career Achievement Awards and a Pioneer Award from Romantic Times Magazine; a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer's Guild, and in 1999 was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th Century by AABLC, the nation's largest on-line African-American book club.

She has also been featured in many national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Dallas Morning News and Vibe Magazine. She has lectured and given talks at such prestigious universities as Oberlin University, the University of Illinois, and Princeton. She speaks widely on both romance and 19th century African-American history and was the 2014 featured speaker for the W.W. Law Lecture Series sponsored by the Savannah Black Heritage Festival.

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Daily Vintage - Baseball Boy Birthday Card

Welcome to my brand new blog feature!  I'm looking forward to sharing a vintage item with you every day.  Many of these will be from my shop, Birdhouse Books, but some may be from my own home, friends' collections, etc.   I am happy to be surrounded by friends and family who love all things vintage!

My first Daily Vintage offering is this cute vintage birthday card.  It features a little boy in a Cubs baseball uniform celebrating his 10th birthday.  A little girl in a beanie cap is eating popcorn and cheering him on, and her terrier dog joins in the fun.  Super cute!

From Birdhouse Books:  Baseball Boy Birthday Card.

Book Review - Lowcountry Boneyard

Lowcountry Boneyard  
3rd in Series Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press; First edition (April 21, 2015)  
Paperback: 292 pages  
ISBN-13: 978-1941962473  E-Book ASIN: B00SHNYOWW goodreads-badge-add-plus


Where is Kent Heyward? The twenty-three-year-old heiress from one of Charleston’s oldest families vanished a month ago. When her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot, Liz suspects the most difficult part of her job will be convincing the patriarch his daughter tired of his overbearing nature and left town. That’s what the Charleston Police Department believes.

But behind the garden walls South of Broad, family secrets pop up like weeds in the azaleas. The neighbors recollect violent arguments between Kent and her parents. Eccentric twin uncles and a gaggle of cousins covet the family fortune. And the lingering spirit of a Civil-War-era debutante may know something if Colleen, Liz’s dead best friend, can get her to talk.

Liz juggles her case, the partner she’s in love with, and the family she adores. But the closer she gets to what has become of Kent, the closer Liz dances to her own grave.

My Review 
I love cozy mysteries with a Southern setting!  Lowcountry Boneyard has a delightful South Carolina setting.

Liz Talbot is a strong protagonist who solves mysteries with the help of her dead best friend, so there is a paranormal element to the book.   There is also a romantic storyline with Liz's long distance boyfriend, Nate.

The book is well written, with interesting plot twists, and it moves quickly. 

This is the third book in the Liz Talbot series.  I have not read the other books (yet!), but this was still a great read.  I think that other fans of cozy mysteries and Southern mystery readers will enjoy it as well. 
About This Author

Susan M. Boyer is the author of the USA TODAY bestselling Liz Talbot mystery series. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, won the 2012 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and garnered several other award nominations. Susan loves beaches, Southern food, and small towns where everyone knows everyone, and everyone has crazy relatives.  You’ll find all of the above in her novels.

Susan lives in Greenville, SC, with her husband and an inordinate number of houseplants.

Author Links: 

Purchase Links: Amazon        B&N      Kobo      Google Play
I received a copy of this book from Great Escapes Tours and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What are eBay Collections, and How Do I Use Them?

eBay now has a collections feature.  This is a fun feature with curated photos from eBay items, on a theme.   You can browse collections that other buyers and sellers have made, or you can make a collection yourself. 

It is easy to make a collection based on a theme.  You can make a collection of items you are selling, or just put one together of items you like.  For instance, you can search for astronaut Valentines.  Then click on an individual listing, as seen below.    You will see the option to "Add to Collection."  (I circled this in red, below.)

After you click on the "Add to Collection" option, the following will pop up.  You can create a new collection by choosing a name here.

It's easy and fun, and a nice way to save items that interest you.  You can find all my collections here:  eBay collections by Birdhouse Books.   If you'd like to explore what an individual collection looks like, here is an example:  vintage coloring books collection.

I hope you enjoy the collections posted here.  It's a fun way to visually enjoy some unique vintage items.

Book Review and Giveaway: The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor by Amy M. Reade

The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor Publisher: KENSINGTON (April 28, 2015) E-BOOK 250 Pages ASIN: B00OEW5SR0 goodreads-badge-add-plus

“Do you know what stories Sarah could tell you about the things that happened in these little cabins? They’d curl that pretty red hair of yours.”

Outside of Charleston, South Carolina, beyond hanging curtains of Spanish moss, at the end of a shaded tunnel of overarching oaks, stands the antebellum mansion of Peppernell Manor in all its faded grandeur. At the request of her friend Evie Peppernell, recently divorced Carleigh Warner and her young daughter Lucy have come to the plantation house to refurbish the interior. But the tall white columns and black shutters hide a dark history of slavery, violence, and greed. The ghost of a former slave is said to haunt the home, and Carleigh is told she disapproves of her restoration efforts. And beneath the polite hospitality of the Peppernell family lie simmering resentments and poisonous secrets that culminate in murder—and place Carleigh and her child in grave danger…

My Review 
As a lifelong Southerner and a mystery fan, I knew I would enjoy The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor.

The book has a fine sense of place, and captures the area outside Charleston very well.  It was very interesting to read about the protagonist's work restoring the interior of Peppernell Manor.

Carleigh is a likable, independent character.  I enjoyed getting to know her in this novel.  This book in many ways is a chick lit, about Carleigh's life after divorce.  

From the title of the book and the description, I thought the ghost story would be a central part of the plot.  I enjoyed this read, but it did turn out to be more of a light mystery/chick lit book rather than a Southern ghost story.  That said, I think that fans of cozy mysteries and chick lit stories will enjoy this book, especially if they like a Southern setting.

About This Author

Amy M. Reade is also the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, a book set in the Thousand Islands of northern New York, where Amy grew up. After graduating from Cornell University, she went on to law school at Indiana University in Bloomington. She practiced law in New York City before moving to southern New Jersey, where, in addition to writing, she is a wife, a full-time mom and a volunteer in school, church and community groups.  She lives just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean with her husband and three children as well as a dog and two cats. She loves cooking and all things Hawaii and is currently at work on her next novel.  Visit her on the web at or at
Author Links:
Twitter @readeandwrite.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Win an ebook of The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor.  
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I received this book from Great Escapes Book Tours and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Life Unaware by Cole Gibson

Life Unaware
Release Date: 04/28/15
Entangled Teen

Book Summary:
Regan Flay has been talking about you. 

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother's "plan" for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she's ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school. 

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah. 
The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend's hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan's going through, but whatnobody knows is that Regan isn't really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she's barely holding it together under her mom's pressure. But the consequences of Regan's fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched... 

Especially Regan Flay.

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About the Author
Cole Gibsen first realized she different when, in high school, she was still reading comic books while the other girls were reading fashion magazines.

It was her love of superheroes that first inspired her to pick up a pen. Her favorite things to write about are ordinary girls who find themselves in extraordinary situations.

Author Links:
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Monday, April 27, 2015

Music Monday - "Mighty Love" by The Spinners (1973)

When I was a young girl, I loved music so much that I would listen to my favorite songs on the radio, sometimes taping them to play back, and then write the lyrics down in notebooks. "Mighty Love" and "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" by The Spinners are two love songs that I remember as particular favorites.

"Mighty Love" was released in 1973, and made it to the Top 40 in 1974.  The Spinners were a group of friends from Michigan, near Detroit.  They debuted at the Apollo Theatre, but did not find great success in the 1960's.  They worked at Motown - but in desk jobs and support staff positions.  Their success came in the early 1970's, and they were everywhere on the radio during the mid-'70's.

I heard this song over the weekend on the radio and have been thinking ever since how much I enjoyed it.  I hope you do, too.

Book Review: God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea by Rose Chandler Johnson

God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, July 2013)

In the South, nothing is more refreshing than a glass of sweet iced tea. Nothing, that is, except experiencing God in those small, everyday moments.

God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is a deeply personal collection of spiritual treasures designed to help readers experience new mercies each morning. Seasoned with insight and grace, this tender devotional points to the divine presence of God in everyday moments. God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea will help readers develop a daily habit of turning to God in those quiet moments of reflection.

Purchase a copy:
My Review:

Rose Chandler Johnson writes, "your devotional time is a time for intimate conversation, like chatting with a friend as you sip a glass of tea or a cup of coffee."  This is also a perfect description for the book God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea.

This book is a collection of short devotionals.  Each devotional is written in a casual and warm tone.  Then there are suggested Bible verses to read, followed by journaling considerations, a prayer, Today's Sweet Tea Moment, and a prayer focus.  Although the devotions are short, they are thought provoking.

I really liked this book.  The author's writing is inviting and friendly, like a glass of iced tea and a chat with a friend over a kitchen table.  These devotions make great morning reading, and they also provide a nice pick-me-up during the day.

If you are seeking encouragement or inspiration, this is a book that you will enjoy reading and sharing with friends.
About the Author:
Rose Chandler Johnson's devotions, poems, and articles have appeared in numerous Christian publications. She enjoys writing for her popular blog, Write Moments with God, and engaging with her readers. Rose is from a tiny Georgia town, and has lived near Augusta, Georgia, for the last twenty-eight years. For the last twenty years, Rose has been a French and English teacher. She's also worked as a counselor, librarian, and ESOL teacher. Rose enjoys baking, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their families.

Find Rose online: website
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Double Duplicity by Paty Jager

Double Duplicity:A Shandra Higheagle Mystery (Volume 1)
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Windtree Press (January 5, 2015)
Paperback: 242 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1940064925

 On the eve of the biggest art event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She’s ruled out as a suspect, but now it’s up to her to prove the friend she witnessed fleeing the scene was just as innocent. With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra becomes more confused than ever but just as determined to discover the truth.
Detective Ryan Greer prides himself on solving crimes and refuses to ignore a single clue, including Shandra Higheagle’s visions. While Shandra is hesitant to trust her dreams, Ryan believes in them and believes in her.
Can the pair uncover enough clues for Ryan to make an arrest before one of them becomes the next victim?


"I think that would be a good idea." 

Shandra's neck popped as she jerked her head to look up at the voice. Damn! Poor timing. Detective Greer stood over them holding a clear plastic baggie of ice. He handed it to her and knelt next to Naomi. 

 "Mrs. Norton, now would be a good time to tell me what you want to get off your conscience." His soothing voice didn't fool Shandra. 

"Naomi, you haven't done anything wrong. There isn't any reason-" 

Detective Greer shot her a glare. "Mrs. Norton are you the one who tossed a file about your sister into the dumpster behind the donut shop?" 

Shandra couldn't stop her friend's reaction. Naomi shot to her feet as if to run, then dropped into the chair and cried into her hands. 

 "Are you happy?" Shandra spat at the detective. "It's taken her months to get over her sister's death, and you bring it up with about as much tact as a rhino in rut." Shandra put an arm around her friend. "I don't want you asking her any more questions until you get her husband over here." She leveled an unwavering glare on the detective. 

He sighed and rose to his feet. "If you try to sneak her out of here while I get the husband, I'll find you both and haul you in for obstruction of justice." 

She continued to glare at him. 

"Am I clear?" 

"Yes." Shandra wanted to keep glaring at him, but as he walked away she had to admit, he could have pressed Naomi for information.

Buy Links:
About Paty:
Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon.  On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.

Author Links:
blog Writing into the Sunset
her website
Twitter  @patyjag

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Book Spotlight and Giveaway - The Tale of Willaby Creek by Victoria Lindstrom

I'm excited to share the cover reveal of The Tale of Willaby Creek by Victoria Lindstrom! This is a middle grade adventure fantasy that releases in June 2015. 

About the Book:
A magical tale of amazing sacrifice...

When a violent windstorm strikes an enchanted rain forest many of the woodland creatures of Willaby Creek are stranded, injured, or lost forever to the frenzied force of the tempest. Basil, a black bear full of doubt and fear, becomes the unlikely leader to head the woodland creatures' rescue. He is joined by Daphne, a spunky blue dryad; Oliver, a wise horned owl; Elbert, a noble elk; and a host of other creatures that inhabit the enchanted rain forest.

Dangerous twists and turns in this animal adventure fantasy cause Basil to discover a courage, and a conviction, he never knew he had. The answers to the ancient mysteries in this magical tale emerge in an extraordinary finale under the tall timbers of the hidden hinterland.
About the Author:
VICTORIA LINDSTROM is a full-time writer, a voracious reader, and the author of the children's picture book, The Scandinavian Santa. She loves to wander through the woods, capture the beauty of Nature in photographs, and visit museums and fine art galleries. She and her husband, Michael, live near the shore of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. You may visit Victoria at:

One hardcover copy of The Tale of Willaby Creek (US) and an ebook of The Tale of Willaby Creek (INT)
(Books will be delivered upon release, or shortly before.)
Ends May 19, 2015

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