My Cousin Wrote a Book!

Hey, look! My cousin wrote a book!

Baker's Dozen by Amey Ziegler is billed as a "cozy romantic suspense." I admit I had no idea what that meant. So here's what I found out.

Baker's Dozen is about Andy Baker, a small-town reporter. She often works undercover and exposes bad guys, but this time she gets pulled into a bigger case and who happens to be involved? Our handsome love interest, Hugh, of course!

According to Cozy Romance v. Romance Romance, "Cozies often revolve around themes or small towns or both." This one definitely revolves around a theme and a town, and the suspense and mystery, just as much as the romance. So I guess that's what makes it "cozy"!

I had fun reading Baker's Dozen, even though I don't typically read romances, because I could see my cousin and her family in it. As I was reading I would think "Oh, that is SO Amey." And when we came into Andy Baker's costume room -- one of the most fun scenes in the book -- I thought of Amey's older sister Merilee. When the descriptions of guns came up I thought of Uncle Milo, and there were some great desert survival tips that probably come from Amey's time living in Arizona.

But you probably don't know my cousins! Will you like the book anyway?

The book doesn't have a lot of bad language (I can't remember any at the moment) or detailed descriptions of intimate relations. It does have some vivid violence, though. And here's something I found distracting -- the copy editing in the book needed help. Authors have no control over that, it's all up to the publishing house, and in my opinion they let too many typos slip in.
I'd say if you like romances, you'll like it. My book club has done a couple of romances, namely Garden Spells and The Magic of Ordinary Days. If you liked those, Baker's Dozen is along the same lines, but with more of an action movie feel. (That's the suspense coming in.)

If you mixed Miss Congeniality humor with Bourne Identity suspense, you'd have Baker's Dozen by Amey Ziegler.

My favorite mascara

Only because my sister, Clare, asked me to find her the link.

It is Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula Black Onyx for Women, 0.21 Ounce

This mascara is magically amazing. I heard about it from Mara (her blog is also not a makeup blog) but I can't find her original post about it.

It doesn't smudge, it doesn't flake. The application brush isn't gigantic or tiny. It doesn't make your eyelashes look like something they're not. It just paints them black. It's juuuuust right. (I'm starting to feel like Goldilocks, here).

My favorite thing about it is that it comes off with warm water. All the way off. No other removal product needed, truly.

My least favorite thing about it is the price. I usually get it at the Macy's makeup counter and it's like $18. (My penny pinching heart is squeezed just typing that). You know what though? I was going to go pick some up the other day, but I stopped at Target for something else. Here is my internal conversation:
"Oh man! This other mascara is SO much cheaper!
"But I know it won't come off as well...
"But I could buy this mascara and the recommended remover for half the price of the good stuff!"

*4 or 5 minutes of internal debate
*Bought the inferior mascara
*Went home and put it on
*Regretted it immediately.
*Regretted it when I took it off that night
*Didn't wear mascara for like 2+ weeks (except to church) because I was so filled with regret and annoyance.
*Still regretting it, but have accepted the fact that I won't convince my penny-pinching heart to buy mascara again until I use what I have.

Never again.

So, here's the link for you Clare! And anybody else who needs the best mascara link. Including me. Though it looks like my local mall is my cheapest option.

Love: The Dinosaur—Book Review by Caleb (age 14)

Do you have a personal dinosaur expert in your life?

I do. If there is anyone I would call in a dinosaur-fact emergency, it's Caleb.

When I got the latest book in the award-winning Love series by Frederic Brremaud and‎ Federico Bertolucci, I knew I had to pass it to him and get his thoughts. This series focuses on animals in the wild and each one takes the reader on a wordless journey through that animal's eyes. Kind of like a nature documentary, without the cheesy voice-over. Kind of like "a day in the life" but not necessarily just one day. The series so far has four volumes: Tiger, Fox, Lion and now Dinosaur.

Each book starts with a quote, I'll share part of it here. "In the animal kingdom, animals neither love nor hate each other."

Here's what Caleb had to say about Love Volume 4: The Dinosaur

So I’m going to just go through what I think the book did right, and the things that I think the book did wrong, followed just by my personal opinion. It was a great read, and I love graphic novels, so it was awesome, thanks for loaning it to me!


The art style works great for what the book wants to be. From my understanding the book follows the viewpoints of three characters, a Bambiraptor, A Tyrannosaurus Rex, and an Isisaurus. Only one of these, the T-Rex is a very common dinosaur, which is really cool. The art style is very vibrant, and makes the change when the first shards of meteors and debris start falling even more drastic. The story told is also amazing. The dinosaurs in the beginning which seem to bully the Bambiraptor, seem to me to actually just be other members of it’s species. They just seem to be more mature, exemplified by the colors. This is why the Bambiraptor follows around the other two dinosaurs. Because he doesn’t have the protection of a packs, so he finds protection in other ways. Many of the other dinosaurs, flying reptiles, and marine reptiles are also realistic. I also love the fight scenes. The classic T-Rex versus Triceratops, and Rex versus sauropod. It also easily captures the dog-eat-dog and "strongest survive" atmosphere normally used when talking about nature and apex predators.


While the dinosaurs and marine reptiles are almost entirely perfect based on modern reconstructions, some of them are not. The plesiosaurs (long necked underwater reptiles with long flippers and compact bodies), are portrayed in an evil and scary light. However the fish they are chasing (Xiphactinus, 15 feet) would most likely hunt THEM. But they do only show up in one panel, so this Is not a huge deal. A bigger deal is a part which is designed to show the arrogance of the T-Rex right before the huge show of power as meteors begin to crash into the earth, A dinosaur which looks like a bird with teeth, a long neck, and bat wings is struck by lightning. To my understanding this is an Archaeopteryx, an early bird once believed to be the missing link between between birds and dinosaurs. Just the fact that it has bat wings makes It COMPLETELY unrealistic. However this is also for a short part, and isn’t too important.

Overall, I really like this story! It seems to get it’s point across pretty well. The pictures at the back are really cool, it’s an awesome idea. This seems really cool, and I love the realism of the world that Frederic and Federico painted.

Thanks, Caleb! I'm glad to hear the book meets with your approval.


I have a copy of Love Volume 4: The Dinosaur to send to a lucky dinosaur lover. Enter to win before Feb 26, 2018.

Do you know of any other great dinosaur books for the older reader? I'd love to hear about them! Please comment, below or on the entry form. My personal favorite is Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled: How do we know what dinosaurs really looked like?

Bookroo Unboxing, Update and Coupon

Hi guys!

Recently Jane Tanner over at Bookroo reached out to me and said they had loved working with me and would I like to review another Bookroo box for them?

Yes! I would! I loved working with Bookroo, too.

I asked which kind of box they'd be sending, because now they send three kinds and I have kids that would be interested in all of them:

1. Board Book Box (3 per month)
2. Picture Book Box (2 per month)
3. Junior Box (2 chapter books every two months, still in beta testing)

They sent picture books! Woohoo! Right answer! (There really wasn't a wrong answer.)

So, when I got my Bookroo box this time I did something SUPER FANCY and turned on my phone camera for an unboxing! Hahaha. Oh, you guys. I do have aspirations to actually be super fancy, but right now we're just workin' with what we've got.

Here's the video:

We had fun making this video, and we've had fun with the books, since then. The books they sent were Rock-a-Bye Room by Susan Meyers, illustrated by Amy Bates, and Land Shark by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Ben Mantle.

Land Shark is about a boy who wants a pet shark for his birthday. It really got all of us laughing, ages 4, 7, 9 and adult. And Rock-a-Bye Room is a super sweet bedtime poem. The illustrations are beautiful and imaginative, and I've enjoyed reading it many times to Jubilee at night. After I started my Creativebug class, I noticed all the gingham that was painted in this book and I was like, "Wow. I respect that so much more now."

But. I feel like a book subscription box has to be about MORE than just sending me good books. I have to be getting good books at a good price.

So. It's time to find out if this Bookroo box passes the "cheaper than Amazon" test. (I'm hopeful, because the last one I checked did.)

Here's the link to Rock-a-Bye Room on Amazon. At the moment, it costs $16.88 in hardcover.

Here's the link to Land Shark. At the moment, it costs 11.48 in hardcover.

Add it together and this box would cost $28.36 + shipping from Amazon.
From Bookroo, you'd get it for $17.99 + shipping. And the price only gets cheaper if you subscribe for multiple months! And it comes with the cutest gift wrapping and awesome extension ideas.

Gah! No wonder Bookroo loves working with me! I get started talking about them and I gush! There's more:

I recently went through all of our books and got rid of ... probably 100 or 150 of them? I don't know you guys. Two diaper boxes full, plus a big reusable grocery bag, ok? I just was running out of room on my walls and walls of bookshelves. And these were good books, so I donated them to our local book bank (which gives them to kids for free). Did I donate either of these two? No. Did I donate either of the last two? No! These guys pick gooood books! "hidden gems" is how they advertise it, and they're right. 

Ok, I've got to stop talking about Bookroo now. The baby needs a dry diaper for the third time during the writing of this post.


Oh shoot I almost forgot to give you the coupon code! Ok here it is for 15% off. code:BOOKS2LOVE

Have a lovely day! And if you know anyone who edits videos in exchange for books, let me know. ;-)
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