Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Review - As Love Blooms by Lorna Seilstad

About the Book:

Young romance opens like a rose . . . but even a rose has its thorns.

Tessa Gregory is nothing if not tenacious. Denied a position as a horticulturist at prestigious Como Park in Saint Paul, Minnesota, she is not above a little benevolent deception in order to get the park superintendent to change his mind and hire her. She plans to infiltrate the world of wealthy and influential people in hopes of drumming up financial support for a world-class conservatory. But before she can put those plans into action, she meets Reese King, a handsome gardener at Como Park--and a major distraction. Still, Reese might be the key to achieving her dream. But is his goal to help her . . . or to capture her heart?

Against the lush backdrop of manicured gardens and greenhouses full of the exotic, Lorna Seilstad weaves a sweet and sassy story that is sure to delight.

My Review:

What a delightful Spring read!  I really enjoyed the setting of this book, and the details about horticulture.  The historical period details (1913 St. Paul, Minnesota) were wonderful.

Tessa is a sympathetic protagonist - fun and determined to pursue her life goals.  While she pursues her ambition, there is also a charming romance.  I enjoy novels with strong, independent female characters, especially during earlier time periods when determination was required for women to pursue career dreams.

This is my first read by Lorna Seilstad, although I have a couple of her books waiting on my Kindle.  As Love Blooms is the third book in the Gregory Sisters trilogy, but it worked well as a standalone read.  I look forward to reading more Lorna Seilstad novels, and would highly recommend As Love Blooms to other readers.

About the Author: 

A history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer, Lorna Seilstad is the author of When Love Calls and the Lake Manawa Summers series. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing contests and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Lorna lives in Iowa with her husband. Learn more at

I received this book from Revell Reads in exchange for an honest review.

Throwback Thursday - Apple Core Necklaces

Apple core necklaces -- for some reason these were all the rage in the late 1970's.  Everyone wore them.   Fruit themed jewelry was popular with preteen and teen girls;  I'm not sure why.  It would be interesting to find a few Seventeen magazines from this vintage and look through them for trends like this.  Do you remember these necklaces?  This is one retro trend that I don't want to repeat. 

Daily Vintage - Easter Postcard with Chickens

This lovely, frameable vintage Easter postcard depicts chickens eating feed.  I always love the illustrations on these early 1900's cards.  You will find several vintage chicken postcards for Easter at Birdhouse Books.

Book Review and Giveaway - Bianca's Vineyard by Teresa Neumann

Book Description:

Bianca Corrotti's vineyard is more than a piece of mouth-watering real estate in Tuscany. It's an inheritance; a storehouse harboring the secrets of her Uncle Egisto, a world-class sculptor, and his troubled wife -- a woman whose destiny converges with Mussolini's when WWII overtakes them all. Based on a true story, Bianca's Vineyard follows a devoted family of strong-willed men and lion-hearted women waging an epic battle against a gathering storm intent on destroying their lives.

My Review: 

Bianca's Vineyard is a sweeping family saga.   I found the setting and time period fascinating.  This is an engrossing read - and a real treat.

Although there is romance in this novel, at heart it is a wonderfully old fashioned family saga.   I loved reading the story of the family, and the strong family ties that held them together.  It is even more intriguing because it was based on a true story.

The family tree in the front of the book was very helpful in keeping track of the characters.  (I only wish it could have been expanded further.)   Although the heart of the story is the WWII years, the book spans from 1913 to 2001, so there are many wonderful characters to get to know.  

The descriptions in this book are vivid, and the characterizations are layered with depth.  The author has a gift for helping the reader to feel that they are there.  This book would make an amazing movie - or miniseries!

If you enjoy historical fiction, books about Italy, or family sagas, you will love Bianca's Vineyard.  I recommend it highly.  Only one warning -- it will fill you with a longing to visit Italy and see the country where this novel was set!

Author's Bio:

Teresa Neumann and her musician husband live in Oregon's beautiful Willamette Valley near their three children. As well as being an author and journalist, Teresa loves to fiddle on her violin and live "la dolce vita" in Italy whenever she can talk her family into going with her.

Connect with Teresa:
Where to buy the book:

​Prizes: ​ Win one of 6 copies of Bianca's Vineyard
One winner will also get a $25 Amazon gift card (Open to USA & Canada) Ends May 30
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I received a copy of this book from Italy Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review - Rachel's Day in the Garden by Giselle Shardlow

About the Book

Title: Rachel's Day in the Garden (A Kids Yoga Spring Colors Book) | Author: Giselle Shardlow | Illustrator: Hazel Quintanilla | Publication Date: December 23, 2014 | Publisher: Kids Yoga Stories | Number of pages: 34 | Recommended age: 3 to 6 years Summary: Experience the benefits of yoga while learning about the signs of spring! 

Join Rachel as she and her adorable puppy look for signs of spring in the garden. Crawl like a caterpillar, buzz like a bee, and flutter like a butterfly. Disc over spring, explore movement, and learn the colors of the rainbow. The storybook includes a list of kids yoga poses an d a parent-teacher guide. Kids Yoga Stories introduce you to engaging characters who will get your child laughing, moving, and creating. Reading is good for the mind AND body! The story links several yoga poses in a specific sequence to create a coherent and meaningful story. This spring yoga story for ages 3 to 6 is more than a storybook, but it’s also a unique experience for children. 

Rachel's Day in the Garden is the first book in a seasonal yoga book series. The summer yoga book is also now avail able: Ella's Summer Fun. The fall and winter ones are in production, coming soon!

Amazon * Book Website * Goodreads

My Review:

Rachel's Day in the Garden is a charming picture book about yoga for young children.  It begins with suggestions for parents or teachers on how to use the book: learn each yoga pose, act the book out for the child, and see the parent-teacher guide in the back of the book.

The illustrations in this book are bright and colorful.  They are sure to appeal to children, especially with the inclusion of a cute puppy dog named Sammy.  Colors are also incorporated in a very clever way.

Children will find this book a fun read, and they will also learn about colors and yoga poses!  Rachel's Day in the Garden would be a wonderful addition to a home or school library.

Sneak Peek

About the Author: Giselle Shardlow

Giselle Shardlow is the author of Kids Yoga Stories. Her yoga stories for kids get children learning, moving, and having fun. Giselle draws from her experiences as a teacher, traveler, yogi, and mom to write the stories. She c an be found at the Kids Yoga Stories website or on her Amazon author page.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Goodreads

I received a copy of this book from Mother Daughter Book Reviews in exchange for an honest review.