Posted by: suzan | October 18, 2018

Maiden Book Tour and Giveaway

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Two young friends on the brink of adulthood find that their preconceived destinies walk a much different path than planned. For Marta and Jayme, their friendship is tested to the point where they both lose hope of ever being together again.

In Teresa Harrison’s novel, Maiden – The Ligthwalkers Series, childhood best friends Marta and Jayme must separate in order to find their own paths to eventually reunite again. One walks the destiny as a magical healer, the other must fight the evils that could ruin both their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

Maiden is a light-hearted story, told with vivid imagery and imagination. The two best friends are very different from each other yet quite similar as well. Both of them want what’s best for the world and each other, yet one dire mistake shakes them both apart. What I liked particularly about this story was how Jayme changed from a non-believer of magic to one who embraced it. Marta on the other hand, seemed to always know she had some kind of magic inside her and was more than happy to use her healing abilities to save her people.

Maiden is a young adult fantasy series with elements of old fairy tales drifting throughout the story. You get the immediate sense that Marta and Jayme are wholly devoted to each other yet Jayme was guided down the wrong path. Enemies in this story were well written and the descriptions of the Fae and other magical creatures were a delight to read. I recommend Maiden for ages 13 and up.

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Synopsis:

Marta and Jayme are childhood friends with different beliefs. Marta dreams of becoming a healer. Jayme has been schooled by the black-coats, a group of priests who claim women are inferior, and he fears Marta is jeopardizing her eternal future.Despite a heated debate over Marta’s soul, Jayme betrays her to the priests. The consequences of this betrayal change Marta’s life forever and sends Jayme on his own journey.

After a brutal massacre, Marta awakens deep in the forest overcome with grief for her lost sisters, but the world will not let her rest. The tragedy has changed her. She hears the call of nature, eventually steering her toward a small cottage in the wilderness. There she learns of nature’s magic and what it means to be a LightWalker. The path is there for her to follow. If she’s strong enough to embrace it…

Xpresso Book Tours is currently offering a giveaway of a $25 Amazon gift card so you can purchase Maiden and begin on this refreshing journey of magic and redemption.
*Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours and Teresa Harrison for the Book Tour!

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

Posted by: suzan | October 9, 2018

The Fear of Falling Book Tour and Giveaway – Updated

Sorry for the faux pas! Here’s the updated version 🙂

Happymomblogger's Blog

*So sorry about the faux pas post! This is the REAL one! 🙂

Can a boy and a girl be best friends and nothing more? In Amanda Cowen’s latest contemporary romance, The Fear of Falling, Ella and Ryan face that exact question years later after becoming fast friends in college. To the outside world they are nothing but the best of buddies – siblings almost – in the way they argue and make fun of each other, but something deeper runs in their friendship that neither one of them wants to acknowledge.

In a series of events that puts these two friends together at every turn, Ella and Ryan soon realizes that their friendship is put to the test when they accidentally spend the night together. Ella is working hard towards a future career with Disney while Ryan is destined to become a lawyer and work in the family…

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Posted by: suzan | October 9, 2018

The Fear of Falling Book Tour and Giveaway – Updated

 

 

*So sorry about the faux pas post! This is the REAL one! 🙂

Can a boy and a girl be best friends and nothing more? In Amanda Cowen’s latest contemporary romance, The Fear of Falling, Ella and Ryan face that exact question years later after becoming fast friends in college. To the outside world they are nothing but the best of buddies – siblings almost – in the way they argue and make fun of each other, but something deeper runs in their friendship that neither one of them wants to acknowledge.

In a series of events that puts these two friends together at every turn, Ella and Ryan soon realizes that their friendship is put to the test when they accidentally spend the night together. Ella is working hard towards a future career with Disney while Ryan is destined to become a lawyer and work in the family business. As these two friends struggle with finishing up college and making hard choices, will their friendship end when college is over or will something more come out of it?

What I really liked about this story is the honesty portrayed by Ella and her drive to become a successful Graphic Designer. She’s humble and kind and tries to do the right thing by studying hard in hopes of making a good life for herself in the future. Ryan on the other hand, struggles with becoming a lawyer as his parents force him to follow in the footsteps of his family. While Ella tries her best to not cross that line of friendship with Ryan, it is Ryan who drops very non-subtle hints that he wants something more.

What I didn’t particularly enjoy is how Ryan portrays his growing romantic feelings for Ella. He’s jealous all the time, picks on Ella in a not so good way, and prevents her from having a caring boyfriend. Part of me wished he would just tell Ella how he feels but towards the end of the story, Ryan reveals why he kept it a secret all this time.

The Fear of Falling is a delightful read. The dialogue is catchy and upbeat even though a few instances I wonder why these young twenty-year-olds talk like they’re WAY older. I could easily look past these discrepancies enough to enjoy reading the book in one sitting. Amanda Cowen is a talented author and has an innate way of helping you connect with her main characters and feel their plight and anguish.

You can purchase The Fear of Falling on Amazon and Xpresso Book Tours and the author is hosting a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card here: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232672/

Synopsis:

When Ella Jones’ twenty-first birthday ends with a bang – literally – she never imagined it would be with her best friend since freshman year, Ryan Owen.

A year later, after their so called “mistake”, they’re still best friends and about to rock their Senior year at the University of San Francisco. But when Ryan returns from spending a summer in Australia and brings back a friend, Liam George, who takes an immediate liking to Ella, Ryan starts to question the Aussie’s intentions with his best friend. The trouble is, Ryan has a girlfriend of his own, and Ella and Ryan swore they would never cross that line again – until they do.

They try not to let their second slip up affect their friendship, but when Spring Break forces them to vacation under the same roof; and Ryan’s ex walks back into his life, Ella is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ella continues to see Liam, Ryan finds himself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship strained for the first time, Ella and Ryan face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t be just friends. Maybe they are falling faster than expected. And maybe, deep down, they want to.

AUTHOR BIO:
Amanda Cowen can be found eating cupcakes, singing off-key, or watching a good RomCom when she isn’t trapped on her computer writing stories. She is an “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” fanatic, a hater of roller-coasters and a country music junkie. She lives in Thunder Bay, ON where the summers are short and the winters are long.

Amanda would love to hear from her readers. Become a fan on Facebook, follow her on Instagram @authoramandacowen, or follow her on Goodreads.

*Thank you Xpresso Booktours and Amanda Cowen for the book tour opportunity.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

 

 

Posted by: suzan | September 18, 2018

It Started With a Lie – Book Release Blitz

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It Started With a Lie, so how will it end?

There are always two sides of a story. Sometimes, if you’re lucky or you work really hard, you win. In the case of Brian Fox, in It Started With a Lie, he traded his good looks and fast talking with high expense extravagance to keep his company ahead of the competition. But his luck soon runs out when his exuberant spending puts his business at risk of bankruptcy. With his famous and rich brother as his only option, Brian seeks financial rescue. But his brother is tired of bailing him out and sets to teach Brian a “lesson”.

In comes Vivian Davenport, a woman his brother hires to straighten out Brian’s finances – both professionally and personally. Vivian is mysterious and stoic and doesn’t take Brian’s nonchalant attitude too kindly. She hates his playboy-ish ways and his constant flirting and flaunting. All she wants to do is get Brian’s company back on track so she can leave.

But of course, things don’t always go as planned when you’re working in the same office of a chauvinistic player. Brian and Vivian both get under each other’s skins, but is it really just a way of hiding their attractions with each other? Vivian doesn’t want to get involved romantically with Brian, and Brian – while attracted to Vivian – can’t stand her standoffish ways and her uptight business attitude. If only Brian can get serious about his financial problems as well as his attitude, then Vivian can just finish what she was hired to do and go back to her own life.

So, I’m just going to flat out say that I couldn’t really stand Brian at first. He was brilliantly written as a chauvinistic pig, picking up on women left to right just to hide his own insecurities. He has a caring brother and two business partners who are also his best friends and yet he treats them like they’re nobodies. Brian would rather solve his problems on his own and sort of wave his middle finger to those around him than realize he has some serious issues – both professionally and personally. But as we start to see why he has such insecurities and has to hide behind his careless manner, it became easier to sympathize with him and cheer him on. Vivian on the other hand is a completely different story…

I didn’t care much for Vivian either. I wish she had more of a backbone instead of hedging between the Will I or Won’t I scenarios. There’s something mysterious about her as the author doesn’t really let on about her personal life and it’s towards the end of the story that we see why – and you’ll have to read the book to find out. While she finds Brian handsome and hot and all that, I just don’t like female heroines who fall for the playboy only to end up being hurt in the end.

However, that’s not to say that It Started With a Lie isn’t a good book. It’s very well-written and the pacing is quite steady. The interactions between Brian and Vivian are comical at times and you can see Brian changing to a better person right before your eyes. There is a cliffhanger which throws a wrench into Brian’s plans once his finances cleared up and of course, we’re left wondering what’s going to happen with Brian and Vivian after that bomb drop! Author Lisa Suzanne promises book two will answer some questions but bring up some new ones as well!

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Synopsis:

Brian Fox is desperate for cash. When his business falls into debt, he turns yet again to his rock star brother. Only this time, his brother refuses to throw money at the problem…he intends to solve it. Enter Vivian Davenport, business fixer extraordinaire, supreme professional, and Brian’s new boss.
 
Brian has always called the shots, but now he’s the one taking orders. When the tiny lie that Vivian is his new girlfriend slips out, he’s forced to play the role of doting boyfriend to a woman he can’t stand.
 
It started as a lie, but what happens if it turns into the truth?

It Started With a Lie is written by author Lisa Suzanne and it’s book one of the Truth and Lies series. It’s contemporary romance but definitely for adults only as there are some explicit scenes and language.

You can purchase It Started With a Lie on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2xlkYQy and follow Lisa Suzanne on her website: http://authorlisasuzanne.blogspot.com/p/home-page.html

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AUTHOR BIO

Lisa Suzanne is a romance author who resides in Arizona with her husband and baby boy. She’s a former high school English teacher and college composition instructor. When she’s not cuddling baby Mason, she can be found working on her latest book or watching reruns of Friends.

*Thank you to Lisa Suzanne and Give Me Books Promotions for the ARC and Blitz Tour!

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

Posted by: suzan | August 27, 2018

Beat the Back to School Blues

Summer vacation is quickly coming to an end and while kids throughout the world are screaming, “Noooooooo!”, their dramatic display of dismay and disappointment evident on their sad little faces. Perhaps it’s the realization that they could no longer stay up to whatever time they want or the trepidation of a new teacher and new classmates. Regardless of their sheer terror, there is hope for a fearless and fun new school year.

Okay, maybe not so dramatically played out, but all the kids my son knows are trying to soak up as much of the lasting rays of the sun as they could. I, myself, hanker to stay outside as late as possible for once school starts, it’s back to bustling morning to night until we count down the days till the next vacation break.

As we prepare for getting back to school – from shopping for supplies and food to getting our bedtime schedule back on routine – there are ways to make this transition smoother and healthier. Below are some ideas and tips for a healthy and happy new school year, for both kids and parents.

Smart foods = Smart students:

Food is one of the most important aspect in being healthy and staying healthy. For kids especially, eating the right kinds of food is essential to a healthy mind and body. While a majority of whole foods are important for a developing mind and body, there are specific types that are extra helpful for children. Here are the following types:

Berries – Berries are full of healthy antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are essential for a growing body and mind. Plus, most of them are super sweet (naturally of course!) so they are an easy snack for kids to choose and eat. Best berries include blueberry, blackberry, goji berry, and raspberry. Try berries as toppings for yogurt, ice cream, waffles/pancakes, blended into smoothies, and just by themselves. When possible, buy berries organically as their tender fruit and skin are susceptible to insects and might be sprayed with toxic pesticides.

Eggs – Eggs don’t get as much accolade as they should. But eggs are full of healthy and yummy benefits that anyone can enjoy. Plus, eggs are considered one of the most nutritious and cleanest form of protein available. Top health benefits for eggs include Vitamins A&B, Folate, and Selenium, as well as other important vitamins such as D,E, and K, and a good amount of Calcium. Eggs can be eaten and prepared in many ways such as fried, hard-boiled, in salads, scrambled, and any way your child would eat them.

Nuts – Nuts contain a good amount of healthy fats that are essential for the heart, blood, and brains of a growing child. Certain types of nuts are easier for kids to eat so keep in mind which ones they like and give them tons of them! Almonds are popular and very versatile and contain calcium and Vitamin E so they’re great for kids who don’t eat a lot of milk dairy. Try almond milk or crushed almonds sprinkled over food. Other nuts that are fun to eat are walnuts and pecans as they are great in baking recipes.

Rest is Best:

My child hates to sleep. Or rather, he loves to stay up as late as possible, smashing our buttons until we finally have to “threaten” him to go to sleep. If your kid is adamant about staying up instead of going to bed, then know that school-age children need at least 9-11 hours of sleep each day. Proper sleep is needed for a child’s mind to grow properly and to prevent sicknesses and irritability. Consider that having less than 9 hours of sleep for a 9-year old can make him extra cranky as his body is still adjusting to time changes, shift in moods, and growing hormones. Stick to the bedtime routine so that kids can learn the importance of a good nights rest. For an updated recommended sleep chart, check out the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html

Healthy Play:

We all know that playtime is important for kids. It gives them a chance to grow their brains and their bodies. And it gives parents a much needed breather. But sometimes having too much of one activity can overwhelm a child’s brain, sort of like eating only one type of food or liking only one movie and nothing else. It’s good for kids to expand their horizons a bit and depending on the age, find activities that suit their growing needs and interests. Plus, extra curricular activities help boost a child’s confidence as it teaches them control and self-awareness. For children ages 3-5, try enrolling them in a fun dance or gym class; for ages 6-8, sports for both individual or groups help define their motor skills; for ages 9-12, music, science, engineering, art, and any other activity that can increase their interests and challenges them to learn more than what’s taught in school; ages 13-16, after school neighborhood jobs such as yardwork for a neighbor or dog-sitting involves the kids to learn about human interaction and giving their time and attention to others.

If you don’t want your child to be stuck behind a screen right after school however (unless it’s part of their school work), then involve their help in prepping and making dinner. If they have a lot of free time, set time limits on screen time, as electronic activities do not generally have their own time stamp. You can literally be on the internet for hours or play video games without knowing how much time has passed.

De-cluttering for You and Me:

A very wise teacher of my son’s once told me that the minute school ends, go through all of the leftover papers that your child brings home and start clearing away the clutter. If you hold onto all the homework, artwork, and anything else they bring home thinking it’s nostalgic, then consider that by the time your child reaches high school, you’d have collected hundreds of paper from school.

Schoolwork – Keep last year’s school work organized by categories. Keep awards and certificates as they are memorabilia of their personal achievement and determine whether 100% test scores and A+ papers are necessary. If you do need to keep them, then take photographs of these excellent papers and store them on a Cloud or a flash drive. Artwork can get overwhelming depending on the age and grade, so keep only a few that have special meaning to your child (and you) and photograph the others. Or, you can turn them into photo journal books from sites such as Shutterfly.

Toys – Kids will inevitably tell you that no, they do not want any of their toys thrown away! But as children grow older, so do their interests. Before school starts, go through all the toys that your child doesn’t want or need and either donate them, sell them, or throw them away (depending on the condition). Or, you can pull off the old trick that most (moms) do, and that’s throw away the “forgotten” toys while the kids are at school. Believe it or not, your child probably won’t even remember that old stuffed animal that’s buried underneath her toy chest or the missing pieces of a puzzle.

Clothing – My most favorite thing before school starts is to shop for clothes. Mostly for my son of course, but heck, I like to shop for back to school mommy clothes too! The fun part of back to school clothes shopping is seeing all the new styles and excited (yet melancholy) that your child is growing up. But what about all the clothes that no longer fit? Sort through ones that don’t fit but are still in good condition to donate away. If there are pieces that still fit and just missing buttons or so, fix them right away so they don’t become an eye sore or a chore. Throw away clothes that have holes or have been washed too many times and lost their color and fit.

Lunch Sanity:

If your kids are still at the age where they can’t pack their own lunch, then making lunches every day can be quite daunting. Red Tricycle has some great tips on lunch hacks that I’m going to be using this school year: http://redtri.com/lunchbox-hacks-to-help-parents-survive-the-school-year. And check out Weelicious: https://weelicious.com/

If your child is tired of the same go-to lunches (like mine is), then change it up every week. If you simply don’t have the time/money/resources, then have your child buy school lunches now and then, or bring them a special lunch from their favorite restaurant.

Keep in mind that for the sake of the environment, the school, and health safety, pack your child’s lunch in reusable lunch containers (such as glass or stainless steel, or even BPA-free plastic) and buy various sizes and shapes for different types of food.

If lunch food is a constant battle then bring your kids grocery shopping where they can choose what they’d like to eat for lunch. Lunch at school doesn’t have to be a struggle or daily argument or even wasted. If your child eats a big breakfast or dinner then most likely he doesn’t need as big a lunch. Pack some lighter snacks to keep his energy up until pick up time. Just remember to pack healthier snacks so that unnecessary sugar and sodium don’t give them false energy.

Homework:

Some schools in certain countries have integrated the no-homework policy. While I have mixed feelings about that, it’s still important that children grasp what they are learning at school. You could be the parent that insists their child have extra tutoring after school to help them exceed in class, or you could simply just let them do what they brought home from school so they can play until bedtime. Depending on your own child of course, homework can either be a battle or a joyous event. I’ve listed a few tips that teachers have told me throughout the years that hopefully you can incorporate:

– Create a homework station for your child. This would be somewhere quiet but not too far away from the main hub of the house that you don’t know if they’re goofing off or truly studying. The station should include a desk (or enough desk space if you’re using your dining table), extra pencils, pens, and erasers. Blank pieces of paper or notebook, and enough lighting so they don’t strain their eyes.

– Sometimes a healthy and delicious snack could be the motivation to get them started on their homework. This could be sliced fruit, yogurt, or granola bars. Just be sure to keep it simple and not too filling so they aren’t tired from too much food before dinnertime.

– Whatever works best in your household is fine for your child, but some teachers suggest starting homework before dinnertime. This gives them time to relax after school or if they have an after school activity and leaves them enough time for play and relaxation before bedtime and after dinnertime. When kids start their homework after dinnertime, they can be too tired or high strung and wishes to push off their homework.

Going back to school should be an exciting adventure for your child. It can be hard to get back to the flow of things of course, but when you have a plan and set a routine, then the transition from summer time to school time will be a lot easier for you and your child.

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

What do you get when you cross a spunky, small town country girl with a playboy Prince? You get a very fast-paced, swept-off-your-feet kind of unexpected romance. Much like the whirlwind romances that you hear about royalty, Dating the Prince is along the same vein of story. In the span of a few weeks, the two main characters are thrown together and learn more about each other than a Prince and a “commoner” really should. But when it comes to instant attraction, things like propriety and regality no longer matters.

Dating the Prince, by Alina Snow is a quick read and filled with lots of funny moments and quirky dialogue. While I don’t usually seek out books that use hard core slang and colloquialism, Dating the Prince does have a handful of slang usage. However, it didn’t deter me from reading the book to the end and I still enjoyed the fairy tale romance element of it. The main characters, Katie and Alex have very different personalities but of course one would expect the future King of England to be stiff and prim. Katie is quick on her feet and acts and thinks spontaneously to get out of sticky situations. Alex, or Prince Alexander, is rather stoic and calm and enlists Katie’s help to feel more like a “commoner”. As insulting as that might have been for Katie, she was given a chance to further her acting career if she agreed to help the Prince.

Quite a lot of things happen in the story and you’d have to pay attention to all the details and ride through the Hollywood jargon and fast-paced change of scenes. There are several supporting characters who also lend to the crazy ride but the heart of the story is what every girl (possibly) dreams of, and that is to find her prince charming. Whether real royalty or not, Alex learns through his prejudices and preconceived ideas in order to become a better person and King to his people.

The ending could only have a fairy tale ending to say the least. However, the positive of this fast whirlwind ride was that Katie didn’t expect to fall in love with the Prince. Perhaps the intention from the author was to lead the readers to feel this way and I’m glad Katie didn’t fall too heavily into the Prince’s dreamy eyes and Greek God physique. It would have all been way too easy and contrite. Instead, the author built up the attraction and friendship between these two characters where inevitably, the Prince would have to return to his own country after everything. What happens between Katie and Alex is something you’ll have to read the book to find out. But if you’re looking for a fun and fairytale-like rom-com, then Dating the Prince is a quick read for you.

Synopsis:

Small-town girl, Katie O’Connor has always dreamed of seeing her name in lights. Check the box for fame, a movie deal, the perfect leading role that comes with a gorgeous leading man! Katie moved to Hollywood, elbows her way into auditions, lives on a shoestring budget—whatever is required to land a deal, she throws her heart into… until she’s involved in a royal kidnapping.

As the future king, Prince Alexander refuses to rule from an ivory tower. Duty-bound, he intends to relate to his future subjects, regardless of their walk of life. Before his coronation, he needs a foolproof plan to outrun his security team and go temporarily AWOL. While visiting L.A., all it takes is a sound stage collision and Alex is blindsided by a headstrong woman who is simply irresistible. So much so, he calls in a favor in order to secure her help … as his pretend girlfriend.

Their worlds are oceans apart, but their immediate attraction is impossible to put aside, especially their nonstop banter. Miffed at being wrangled into a situation that might blow up in her face, Katie comes up with her own plan. If The Prince is serious about walking the walk of the common folk, she’s only too happy to oblige as his pretend girlfriend. Through an ice storm, a road trip, kitchen duty, and a Texas pig race, Alex captures the hearts of the locals as well as Ms. O’Connor’s.

What starts out as a deal Katie can’t refuse becomes the acting role of a lifetime… letting Prince Alexander go without a fight.

A delightfully funny retelling of The Prince and The Pauper that romance readers of all ages will enjoy. On a two-week 1,500-mile road trip, Katie and Alex discover the end of the road might just be the beginning of their ‘Happy Ever After’ together.

Currently, Dating The Prince is on a blog tour with Xpresso Book Tours and author Alina Snow. The blog tour schedule is here: http://xpressobooktours.com/2018/05/24/tour-sign-up-dating-the-prince-by-alina-snow/.

To purchase Dating The Prince through Amazon: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dating-Prince-Royal-Romance-Comedy-ebook/dp/B07C4PVCSH/

***A giveaway of a “Royal Basket” consisting of monogrammed towel, chocolates, scented candle, gift card, and etc. can be found through this link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232592/

Author’s Bio:

Southern gal at heart. Alina is a librarian who adores her job. She has a degree in anthropology from Vanderbilt and loves writing offbeat romance comedy. To refuel, Alina sings karaoke, bakes sweet treats, and can be found at the Y, kickboxing. She lives in Knoxville with her husband and Callie, their doxie mix.

Author links:

https://alinasnowbooks.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AlinaSnowBooks/

https://twitter.com/AlinaSnowAuthor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17935709.Alina_Snow

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alina-snow
https://www.instagram.com/alinasnowbooks/

*Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours and Alina Snow for the ARC and tour opportunity.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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Love comes in many forms. Through the love of a parent, a good friend, or a sibling. It even comes in the form of unrequited love. But the love between two partners can be quite unique and magical and thus is the story of Elle and Luke, two young innocents in When Time Stands Still.

The path to true love and friendship can be a hard one even for those falling in love for the first time. For Elle, growing up in a desolate home with an alcoholic mom and absent father should have set her up to doom and fall. But because of her circumstances, she chose to arise above it all and desired to be something better than her mom will ever be or want her to be. Along the way comes Luke, a guy so sweet and kind that Elle couldn’t help but fall for. Although she had a daunting past, Luke’s kindness and gentleness made it easy for Elle to open her heart up for him.

In Sara Furlong Burr’s contemporary romance, When Time Stands Still is a story of acceptance and forgiveness and fighting for who you really are. Obstacles can get in the way to the path of true and everlasting love and it’s how you overcome those obstacles to come out on top that really matters. For Elle, she never imagined she could be truly loved by anyone. For Luke, love at first sight really was a thing. When they’re both together, it seems that their insurmountable obstacles are nothing compared to how they love each other and support each other. Luke was the impeccable boyfriend that every girl wish they had – smart, handsome, and pure of heart.

My personal review of When Time Stands Still:

In When Time Stands Still, you get the immediate sense that Elle has self doubt and loss of self worth. In a marriage that isn’t quite perfect nor ideal, Elle receives a call about a past boyfriend who desperately needs her help. Does she leave her husband and job for a few days to help out this old boyfriend? She does indeed, and we sort of wonder why she would if she is supposedly happily married and has a good life.

But everything on the surface isn’t always reflected beneath. Elle doesn’t have a husband who is madly in love with her and we get insights of their imperfect marriage. In fact, her husband seems to be quite a jerk. As Elle confronts the ghosts of her past, so does she reflect on her current life with her husband. Not that Elle does anything to jeopardize her marriage or anything, but as the chapters go back and forth between the past and the present, we see how wonderful Luke is and how truly great he is to her and with her. For me, Elle and Luke seemed like the sweet, young couple that every relationship should feel. A love so clean and pure that you can’t help but fall in love with the main characters as well.

Elle’s reflection of her past is truly sad. She had some traumatic events happen upon her – one whom Luke was able to save her from, the other she still had scars hidden deep within her soul and psyche. But the greatest defeat of Elle was her mom. Her mom, who should have helped her rise from the ashes instead constantly pushed her down, belittled her, and made fun of her choice of major in college. It was in college where Elle met Luke, and that saying about love at first sight was described so sweetly between the two. Luke’s steadfast friendship and support helped Elle believe in herself but as with any tragic love story goes, there is always someone or something getting in the way.

In the story, both Elle and Luke have two great best friends. Snarky, funny, but loyal to a fault, Mena and Monroe are their backbones and “devil on the shoulder” if you may. They are big supporters of Elle and Luke’s relationship and only a most dire situation pulls Elle out of all of their lives for good. Thus began the mystery between Elle and Luke’s breakup.

As Elle helps Luke return to his normal life after the near death accident, she realizes that her heart had never let Luke go. She was still unequivocally in love with him and had only lived a half life after their breakup. We find out that Luke never moved on either and the details about Luke’s amnesiac love for Elle and Elle’s struggle to help him without guilt was beautiful to read. While at parts I would have liked to shake Elle awake to make her see that she was truly deserving of Luke and his love, Elle alas, had to discover it on her own. Was it too late for her and Luke? Or will Elle return to the mediocre life she was currently living in? You’ll have to read the story to find out.

Synopsis of When Time Stands Still:

It’s been nearly a decade since Elle Sloan last saw Luke Hutchins. Close to ten years since she broke up with him over a single phone call, providing him with little explanation. Since the end of their relationship, Elle has done everything she could do to move on, marrying, proceeding forward with her life, almost allowing herself to completely forget about Luke.

Almost.

Out of nowhere, Elle receives a phone call from Luke’s mother. Luke has been in a horrific car accident and, a month later, has just awoken from a coma. However, instead of celebrating, his family is stunned to learn that Luke is suffering from amnesia and only remembers his life as it was before his breakup with Elle. Not wanting to tell Luke that he and Elle aren’t together anymore for fear it may compromise his recovery, Elle is asked by Luke’s family to come to the hospital to see him. Their hope is that she will slowly be able to jog his memory and cushion the blow.

Guilt-ridden over how their relationship ended, Elle readily agrees, finding herself transported back in time with Luke to the life they once shared and the future they could have had together.

Author’s Bio:

Sara Furlong Burr was born and raised in Michigan and currently still lives there with her husband, two daughters, a high-strung Lab, and three judgmental cats. When she’s not writing, Sara enjoys reading, camping, spending time with her family, and attempting to paint while consuming more amaretto sours than she cares to admit.

When Time Stands Still is a contemporary romance novel by author Sara Furlong Burr and can be purchased on Amazon. Blog tour dates run from August 13-17 with further info found on the Xpresso Book Tours website: http://xpressobooktours.com/2018/05/24/tour-sign-up-when-time-stands-still-by-sara-furlong-burr/

Author links:

https://www.facebook.com/EnigmaBlackKindle

https://twitter.com/sarafurlong

http://sarafurlongburr.blogspot.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590097.Sara_Furlong_Burr

Be sure to also enter in the giveaway for a signed copy of When Time Stands Still and a $20 Amazon Gift Card here:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232581/

You can also purchase When Time Stands Still on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/When-Time-Stands-Still-Furlong-Burr-ebook/dp/B07CW9RF3T/

*Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours and Sara Furlong Burr for the ARC and tour opportunity.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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Posted by: suzan | August 6, 2018

Who Do You Want to Be?

 

When I was younger, maybe around five or six years old I wanted to be one of those beautiful and graceful ballerina’s that I saw on TV. I took ballet lessons and proudly earned my Pointe shoes. Then at around ten years old I wanted to be a singer and I took music and voice lessons. I sang every chance I could and even wrote my own songs. When I reached my earlier teen years, I loved drawing and writing. I scribbled on the side of my classroom notebooks and used up every last inch of white space on any type of paper I could get my hands on. Then when I took a creative writing class my love for drawing and writing elevated to creating comic book characters and stories. Then in my later teen years I thought it would be exciting and dangerous if I could be a CIA agent or a spy. It wasn’t until later in college I realized that I needed to find a balance and to stop jumping around so much in my career choices.

Why I remember these changes in career choices helped shaped me to who I am today. And although it might have seemed like I was jumping around in my decisions, I realize now, many years later, that taking all the voice, dance, and art lessons made me see that there is so much out there in the world than what I could ever find studying in a textbook. Life can take you on many different paths and you can have many different experiences, but it is how you use those experiences that can help you grow and succeed.

When we’re young we are shaded by reality, by what the “real” world means. We don’t really see what mom and dad sees and we are protected in our home where dinner is always on the table, the carpets are always immaculate, and the clothes magically wash and fold themselves. But as we mature and go through stages in life, reality starts to sink in a bit more. Perhaps it’s seeing our parents’ tired faces after a long day at work or finding out that the family car broke down and we can’t go anywhere until it’s fixed. All the little instances in reality starts to seep into our mind and experiences until one day, hopefully, we can make wiser and smarter choices in our adulthood.

So while we are all on summer break, let’s take a moment and ask our children who they want to be when they grow up. They might answer you intellectually, “who could I be but myself?” Indeed. Because if we could all be ourselves then this world could be a lot different. But the “who” isn’t attached to a person in this instance. Rather it’s an identity of your adult self. Ask them how they see themselves when they’re grown up and what roles they want to play when they’re on their own. For some kids, they might already have a heartfelt understanding of their calling. For most others, they don’t realize what their true interests are until much later on. It could be a very confusing question to most children, and heck, even adults ask themselves this question every so often. So let’s raise the bar a little and delve more into this important life question.

In a recent conversation with a friend, we were talking about how to ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. There was an online article that my friend read, about why we shouldn’t be asking our kids what they want to be when they grow up. Rather, we should be asking kids what they hope to change in the world or hope to accomplish when they’re grown. While those are all noble and sensible questions, it could also lead to more confusion. Depending on the age, children can answer those questions based on their own life experiences. At five years old, a child might answer that they hope to change the world by making Lego a mandatory class in school. Or an eight year old could answer that they hope to accomplish building the highest tower with Lego bricks. Either way, young children and even pre-teens can only hope to accomplish within their means. I have yet to meet a child who would answer that question with an, “I hope to end world hunger”. Of course there are really no right or wrong answers (unless it’s an illegal career choice) so listening to their opinions and choices might open up a lot of opportunities for them.

In a recent article on thebalancecareers.com, a website that helps with careers, the article talks about how to help children choose a career for their future. Some useful tips include reading about different careers so your child can understand what the career entails. Or helping your children learn about themselves so that they can discover their interests, values, personalities, and aptitudes. Even as young as three years old you can see what your child’s interests are in how they play. Perhaps they like Lego over puzzles. Or can’t stop playing video games. Or even play endless games of “doctor”. Some personalities can give you a better idea of what your child likes to do so that you can slowly guide them into a right career path for them. But what age is the best to start talking about a career choice? That depends on your child and your home situation.

When my sister was five years old, she realized that she wanted to be a doctor. How she felt that calling at such a young age is beyond amazing. But she never faltered in that choice and to this day she has never regretted making that very determined decision. In an article in Money magazine, the author states that children and parents should start thinking about their career choices before entering high school. You have to consider that with college tuition getting higher and higher and jobs nowadays require more than a Bachelor’s Degree, you’d have to start saving up for college the minute your kids are born. Personally, I think guiding your child to a particular career choice as soon as possible can only help and not hinder. Of course, they might change their minds a hundred times throughout their school years and that’s okay. As long as there is some interest and inkling of what they’d like to do in the future then pushing them a bit could help them make up their mind.

US.News recently published their top 100 career choices. Here are the top ten that are most sought-after and popular throughout the United States:

1- Software Developer

2- Dentist

3- Physician Assistant

4- Nurse Practitioner

5- Orthodontist

6- Statistician

7- Pediatrician

8- Obstetrician and Gynecologist

9- Oral Surgeon

10 – Physician

As you can see, these are all pretty high goals to reach and certainly not probable for everyone. Not everyone can afford to go to college or even get a high-demand job. But if your child shows interest in something that garners a college degree then getting them to talk about it or learning more about the career at a young age is certainly recommendable.

When my son was much younger, he was determined to be a police officer. There was something magical and cool in police cars and their sirens. But he was also a Lego fanatic and wanted to work for the Lego company. Now that he’s older, his interests have changed in tune to what his life experiences have taught him. He still thinks that being a police is cool and on occasion the Lego inspiration springs up. As his mom, I’ve had several conversations with him about what he wants to do “when he’s grown up.” And I find that when he asks his dad questions about his job and shows interest in his cousins’ careers there is definitely a gleam in his eyes. And the occasional eye roll of course…

Second chances. Redemption. Acceptance. These are what you’ll find at Chesapeake Bay but for Chrissy Jenkins, being accepted was never attainable. Enter the world of The Chesapeake Diaries where friends and families can either drive you apart or bond you to each other forever.

In the twelfth installment of the award-winning novel series, The Chesapeake Diaries, Dune Drive tells the story of Chrissy Jenkins, the great-great granddaughter of Ruby Carter, the famous matriarch of Cannonball Island. Out of necessity to escape an abusive ex, Chrissy finds the opportunity to return to Cannonball Island to start a much needed new life. Hoping to forget her past yet using her culinary skills in the present, Chrissy starts a new journey in Chesapeake, although begrudgingly.

Dune Drive is written with it’s usual classic wit and ease by Mariah Stewart, a New York Times and USA Today’s best selling author. Set in the iconic and idyllic coastal town of Chesapeake Bay, Dune Drive takes us once again into the small-town family with the heart of gold. This time however, the story centers on Chrissy, a talented yet undermined chef who feels she doesn’t truly belong. But as Chrissy slowly starts to unwind on Cannonball Island, she finds long lost faces and new beginnings.

One of the beauty of reading a book by Mariah Stewart is her incredible talent in letting you see the vulnerabilities of the heroine or hero and rooting for said heroine or hero until the very end. You feel the bumps and bruises which makes the triumphant closure for the characters all the more gratifying. The supporting characters in Dune Drive are just as vividly described and important and helps Chrissy realize that she is so much more than what she thinks of herself. Of course there has to be a dashing, handsome, albeit frustrating hero! In the case of Jared Chandler, he is just as delicious as all the other heroes in Mariah Stewart’s stories.

If you’re looking for a fun “beach read” or an immersive and sweet story about finding oneself and realizing true love between family and friends, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy reading Dune Drive. You don’t have to read all of the Chesapeake Diaries in order to enjoy this installment but it would help in understanding how the quaint little beach-side town of Cannonball Island works.

Dune Drive is currently on it’s Book Tour and can be purchased at any main booksellers and online. Dune Drive and the Chesapeake Diaries is published by Pocket Books, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Book description:

Always believing she was an ugly duckling, Chrissy Jenkins thought she had finally turned into a swan when her real-life Prince Charming swept her off her feet. But as his true character began to crack his perfect facade, Chrissy realized that not only was she better off without him, but that she was the only one who had the power to transform her life.

Returning to her ancestral home on Cannonball Island for a family wedding, Chrissy is reintroduced to a legacy she’d all but forgotten. In choosing to stay on the island, she reboots her life, successfully reinventing herself as a chef at Blossoms, an up-and-coming restaurant in St. Dennis. But despite her newfound self-confidence, she still doesn’t trust her taste in men. So when she meets Jared Chandler, a handsome ship salvager staying at the inn while he conducts a nearby recovery operation, Chrissy’s certain she can keep him as a friend—even though he’s everything any woman would want in a man. As fellow newcomers, together they discover the charm of the historic bayside town and explore the idyllic island.

But when Chrissy agrees to be Jared’s date for his father’s wedding, they embark on a weekend that will find them each seeing the other in a completely different light, one that will change their lives forever.

About the Author:

Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel. Visit her website at MariahStewart.com, like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram @Mariah_Stewart_Books.

* I was given a galley of Dune Drive for the Dune Drive blog tour.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

Posted by: suzan | July 11, 2018

Natural Outdoor Remedies

It’s been a crazy, tumultuous summer so far. Much like a petulant child, the weather in California has been teetering between extreme humid heat to cold, blustering mornings. When my family and I went on a recent retreat up north, not only did the realization that this summer’s climate is unpredictable but that we are also unprepared for the fluctuating temperatures.

Luckily, I had my friend’s trusty natural homemade skin remedies on hand when we encountered some not so friendly enemies. Not so friendly enemies. Is that even a thing? What I mean of course, are the poison oaks and ivy, the bees, the mosquitoes, and other wild and native breeds we happened upon. That’s the beauty of being outdoors – the other natural and indigenous plants and insects that inhabit our environment. We don’t want to be hurt by them but we can also learn to cohabit with nature in a safe and pleasant way.

I’ve learned that the best way to combat unfriendly fire is to use natural remedies. Sure you can use generic products you find on supermarket shelves. But those conventional products are also made with toxic ingredients that can actually hinder you from getting better. The toxic ingredients seep into your skin and prolong use can cause more damage than benefit.

Natural remedies might sound daunting and unbelievable because most of us are conditioned to buy big name brands that our grandparents grew up with. But in truth, generations before us relied on natural remedies because it was easier and less expensive. Plants such as herbs and flowers were easy to grow and maintain and were readily available in the gardens or on the windowsill planters. Plus, when you make your own, you can make them in abundance and save them for gifts later on.

Let’s start with some simple and natural remedies for when those bug bites or poisonous plants get in your way.

Perfect Ingredients:

Lavender – known for healing and relaxation properties. Lavender has been used for centuries for its high quality abilities as a bug repellent, stress reliever, sleep inducer, and many other wonderful health benefits. Lavender can be used topically and in food. This wonderful scent can naturally calm and soothe you and is great for any age. How to use: lavender essential oils and lavender leaves work best for relieving itching and inflammation.

Calendula – known for skin healing abilities such as insect bites, cuts, and scrapes. It is a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant for both internal and external uses.  This light scent and gentle healing capabilities is a favorite for children and those with eczema. How to use: calendula essential oil(mixed with a carrier oil) or the plant itself can be rubbed on affected areas.

Citronella – this plant’s main function is its extraordinary anti-inflammatory benefits. Widely known for its ability to repel insects such as mosquitoes, lice, and flea. The strong and pungent scent confuses mosquitoes so they are unable to find their targets nearby. How to use: citronella oil or the leaves of the plant works well in preventing mosquito bites. If you plan on being outdoors for any length of time, burn citronella candles or keep citronella plants in your garden.

Aloe Vera – one of the most versatile plants in the world. Aloe vera includes a wonderful combination of helpful supplements and minerals in its entire plant. It’s great for soothing burnt skin and insect bites and works wonders for relieving poison oak and poison ivy itching. Rub a fresh plant on the affected area of the skin for instant relief. How to use: use aloe vera plants directly on the affected area of the skin. Or keep pure and natural aloe vera gel handy for instant relief.

Peppermint Essential Oil – the essential oil of the peppermint herb is great for soothing itchy skin as well as keeping away certain insects. Rub peppermint essential oil mixed with a carrier oil (such as coconut, olive, or sesame) directly on skin. Never use essential oils directly on skin as it can cause irritation due to its potency. How to use: peppermint essential oil mixed with a carrier oil can be applied topically. You can also gently rub the plant leaves on the affected area.

Tea Tree Oil – the essential oil of the tea tree plant works effectively against poison ivy as it helps prevent secondary infections. Tea Tree Oil’s strong scent also helps repel certain types of insects. Be sure to mix Tea Tree Oil with another carrier oil (such as coconut, olive, or sesame). How to use: tea tree oil can be applied topically on the affected area or used as a prevention from insect bites.

Coconut Oil – coconut oil is great for soothing bug bites and itching as it creates a thicker layer so the skin can heal. It can prevent further infections on the skin and help promote production of new skin cells. Rub pure coconut oil on the affected area on the skin for instant relief. How to use: use high quality coconut oil directly on the affected area of the skin. It can also be used as a sunscreen.

Baking Soda – baking soda mixed with water to create a paste works well in relieving itching from insect bites and many other mild infections from plants or bugs. When I was bitten by a brown recluse once, I immediately mixed baking soda and water to put over the bite after first treating the bite and to prevent infection. Baking soda draws out the toxins from your body and helps relieve pain and inflammation. How to use: mix equal parts baking soda to water to create a paste. Rub paste on affected area and allow to dry. Repeat process throughout the day until affected area is better and healed.

Tea – green or black tea in the pure form can be applied topically on itches and skin irritations. The tannin in the tea is great for preventing and reducing inflammation and bacteria growth on the skin. How to use: use tea leaves directly on the affected area. Leave on skin until leaves dry and change to fresh leaves. You can also use tea bags but be sure there is just enough water in the bags to place on the affected area.

Being outdoors is a wonderful way to connect with nature and have fun. Carry any of these suggested remedies in your bag or backpack for instant medicinal relief. I always like to keep aloe vera gel and some kind of essential oil in my backpack whenever we go outdoors. When in a pinch and you don’t have any medical help then using any of the remedies mentioned above can greatly help reduce inflammation and infections.

*Please note that with any natural remedy, always do your own research and check with a health expert if you have any specific health issues. Use with caution if you have certain allergic reactions and always dilute 100% essential oils with a carrier oil. Buy high grade essential oils for pure potency and efficacy.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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