Friday, May 15, 2015

Purex Insider Review: Renuzit Pearl Scents - pretty to look at and great at refreshing your rooms!

Through Purex Insiders I was able to get a great new product to try. It is from the trusted name in air freshener " Renuzit", but it is very different from the traditional Renuzit cones that many will be familiar with. This product is called Pearl Scents because each container is filled with pearl-like little beads that are infused with the scent of your choice and ensures not only a consistent, but also a long-lasting fresh scent in your house.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - great kit form Purex Insider for the Renuzit Pearl Scents

copyright Durhamonthecheap - here you can the "pearls" that give this new room freshener its precious name!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the products come in 5 great scents, from fruity to floral to neutral
 I got the sample in Blue Sky Breeze, but the product comes in a nice variety of scents, sure to please every taste out there. Additional scents are:
I have already decided that the next scent on my list will be seductive pineapple and then I will try for Serenity - just in time for school start and madness that is school supply shopping. I can definitely use some serenity then ;)
So if you are looking for a new air freshener that not only lasts long, but also enhances the decor of your home - look for Renuzit Pearl Scents during your next trip to the store.
Disclaimer: Through the Purex Insider program I received a free product in exchange for a sampling and an honest review. The opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Book Review: The Reason for My Hope: Salvation by Billy Graham

This book by the well known preacher and evangelist Billy Graham is easy to read and can also be read in breaks. The book is structured so that you can sit down and easily read one chapter at a time because each chapter has a distinct topic.The chapters describe what Graham sees as foundations for his belief and also the foundation for his hope. They are entitled:
1. Rescued for Something
2. The Great Redemption
3. Sin Is In
4. The Price of Victory
5. Where is Jesus?
6. Defining Christianity in a Designer World
7. No Hope of Happy Hour in Hell
8. He Is Coming Back

While the book is without a doubt geared towards Christians, it also provide a succinct overview into the philosophy of Graham and what his sermons have been about. As the title indicates, Graham believes that there is reason for hope, no matter where you are in life and no matter what the present may look like. As such, this book is very life affirming and overall incredibly positive.

available in paperback, kindle and hardcover from
While Graham does not travel the country and the world anymore to preach due to his age, I hope he continues to write and publish. As one of the preeminent evangelists, his books continue to provide guidance to many and introduce new aspects of the Christian philosophy.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this blogpost is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Crowdtap sampling: Review of the new Aveeno products for the summer!

Through Crowdtap I receive two samples by Aveeno to review, I reviewed the PROTECT + HYDRATE LOTION SUNSCREEN WITH BROAD SPECTRUM SPF 30 and Daily Moisturizing Sheer Hydration Lotion. Both were perfect for this time of year because they protect the skin against the sunshine and heat that tends to try out of the skin. I am an avid gardener and being outside even this early in the year can be harmful to your skin.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - my great Aveeno sample, courtesy of Crowdtap

copyright Durhamonthecheap- you can tell the tick texture of the sunprotection

copyright Durhamonthecheap- yet despite that, it goes on clear without greasy residue

copyright Durhamonthecheap- here is the same smooth skin after applying the second sample

copyright Durhamonthecheap- this lotion is thinner, but similarly to the first one has barely any scent and goes on easy
Overall, I am happy with both of the samples. I feel that they are very different, despite both having a hydrating and moisturizing effect. The daily moisturizing lotion is definitely more useful for arms and face and larger areas. the protect and hydrate lotion is a little bit thicker, but it also stays on very long and lasts throughout some long hours working in the garden. I am definitely going to use the daily moisturizing lotion on a daily basis for now and reserve the protect and hydrate lotion for those days that I will be working in the garden.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Crowdtap Aveeno® rewards program, and Aveeno® sent me samples of their new products to sample and review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: To Win Her Favor (A Belle Meade Plantation Novel) by Tamera Alexander

The USA has been the place of new beginnings for a lot of people and it is now different for Cullen McGrath - at least that's what this young man from England is hoping for. After being involved in a horse racing scandal that nearly destroyed his life he set out for Nashville, Ky to seek a new start.  But the plan that sounded so good in theory is harder than thought to achieve in practice and the old demons come visiting. Despite Cullen's best efforts to make an honest living and stay away from horse racing, being in Kentucky horse racing is never far away and eventually his past catches up with him.

At the same time, Maggie Linden wants to make a name for herself as well in Nashville. She has a mare called Bourbon Belle and she is convinced that she is a winner. A winner in the Drayton Stakes that is, the horse race in the USA with the biggest winner's purse. She wants to enter Bourbon Belle, but her father has his own plans. Afraid of losing his estate Linden Downs to creditors, he makes a deal with Cullen that Cullen really should refuse, but is drawn to because it promises success and money.

This story plays in the middle of the 19th century in Kentucky, so slavery will be mentioned and it is throughout the book. Especially since the author chose to include a secret society that is responsible for heinous acts, including lynchings and raids. The author does not shy away from showing the dark side of the South during that timeframe and some readers may object to the detailed description of that time period.

But those passages are balanced by the love story that is developing right at the beginning of the book. There is plenty of behind closed door action taking place and this book is therefore definitely for the adult reader. Cullen and Maggie are bound to each by their desire to improve their lives, but coming together for these two is not easy. There is a lot of distrust and hesitation on both sides. The South is still in turmoil and Cullen is from a very background than Maggie, who needs to overcome her background and upbringing, which was very much focused on class and family history, to start appreciating what Cullen can do for her.

available for pre-order at

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post has not been influenced by any third parties.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Review: The Complete 101 Collection: What Every Leader Needs to Know by John C. Maxwell

I am currently getting a Masters in Public Health with a focus on Leadership and so naturally this book was of interest to me. I had not heard of the author before because in my studies I focus mostly on authors that apply leadership theories to public health and healthcare. But clearly John Maxwell is an incredibly prolific author. Reading his biographical information, I found out that he had published more than 70 book that have sold in many different countries and several of his book were on the NY Times Bestseller list.

In this book, Maxwell attempts to summarize a lot of the leadership articles he had published over the years. He succeeds in writing a book that provides a comprehensive overview of leadership theories and advice to the reader. The book despite its seemingly complex goal is still written in plain English, which makes it easy to read for just about anyone. You certainly do not need to be academic to read this book and benefit from it. 

Maxwell covers several leadership topics in this book, namely:

  • Leadership
  • Attitude
  • Self-Improvement
  • Relationships
  • Teamwork
  • Success
  • Mentoring
  • Equipping
Since this book is a compilation of earlier books on the specific topics, there is some overlap. But that does not take away from the overall quality of the book. Mentioning a similar lesson in more than one topic makes sense at times and so the reader may appreciate, just as I did, that some statements seem repetitive of earlier chapters because the same issue applies to more than one nuance of leadership.

Overall, I found this to be a well written book on leadership that is general enough that it can apply to people in a number of professions. The author paints a comprehensive picture of how people can improve leadership skills and succeeds in writing a book that is easy to comprehend, yet complex in its coverage at the same time.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Book Review: The Nibelungen Hoard by Edwin M Todd

Growing up in Germany, I was familiar with the legend of Nibelungen and the tales of Hagen and Siegfried. I imagined stumbling across the famous treasure one day and having to fight off the evil Alberich. Even in popular culture, you will still find references to the Nibelungen Legend, so I was definitely interested when given the chance to review a mystery book dealing with the legend of the Nibelungen. 

This book spans several decades of German history. I starts with SS lieutenant Johann von Ritter in the final days of WWII. Once a strong believer and supporter of Hitler and the Nazi ideology since it was the only ideology that he was familiar with growing up in Germany, the experience of several years of war have taught Johann differently. He feel betrayed by the Nazis and in a last action of disobedience, hides a strongbox that he was supposed to transport to the port of Stettin and away from the advancing Russians. He manages to disclose its location in two letters; one letter goes to his sister. The other letter is intended for his friend, but Johann is badly injured and so his second letter is entrusted to a nurse that takes care of him after his leg was amputated. 
Lena Mueller, a young nurse, works in a school turned hospital in these final days of the war. Doing whatever she can to help the wounded, and very little it is in most cases since supplies are low, she is drawn to Johann. Not sure why, but somehow he is different than other patients and when the last evacuation truck leaves, she and the remaining staff are faced with the advancing Russians. In the melee that follows, Lena and Johann become lovers and Lena will carry Johann's child. 
Fast-forward to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and Christoph Mueller is called to his dying grandmother, who entrusts a letter to him. Lena Mueller is the grandmother and the letter is the second letter written by Johann von Ritter with clues to the strongbox he hid in the final days of WWII. Christoph at first does not know what to make of the letter, but in the end he tries to solve the puzzle of the two letters and retrieve the strongbox that contains a great treasure.
The author Edwin Todd manages to diligently research two important periods of German history; these are final days of WWII and the period when the Wall came down. In this story, these two periods are linked by the story of a treasure that goes back hundreds of years and is central to German history and culture. Both periods, including the modern period around the Berlin Wall coming down, are full of danger and suspense. The author manages to engage the reader in both parts of his book, even though I have to admit that the part around WWII was my favorite part of the story. The storytelling here is no-nonsense and gripping. I really felt transformed into these final days, full chaos and people feeling lost and not knowing who to turn to.
I was very impressed with the intelligence of the author that is behind the story and his telling of the story. It is a very complex story that still enables the ready to follow quite easily. The storyline is definitely one of the more unique ones I have encountered recently and the ability of the author span two far apart periods of German history is impressive.
About the author:
Edwin M. Todd grew up in Scotland, but obtained a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College. He continued to work as a lawyer and also owned a successful construction company. True to Scottish roots, he is now the director of the referee department for USA Rugby. As part of his prior professional experience,  Edwin had to write mostly technical pieces. This historical mystery is his first work of fiction.

About the book:
The book is available at
ISBN: 978-0692288566
Publisher: ET3 Publishing
Date of publish: November 2014
Pages: 302
S.R.P.: $13.00

Disclaimer: I obtained a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by third parties.

Book Review: A Heart's Danger (A Journey of the Heart) by Colleen Coble

This is the third installment of the Journey of the Heart series by Christian author Colleen Coble and this is one series that I really like. In part the series appeals to me because the books are short and perfect to take along in the purse when you have to wait for an appointment or simply want to take brief breaks to read. I also like the series because it is a story of a modern woman, Sarah Montgomery, who was born a few decades too early.

Sarah, after the tumultuous events in the previous book. finds herself at Fort Laramie with a fiancee she does not love and who betrayed her. But there is also Rand Campbell, the man she really loves, but who is unfortunately engaged to another woman. Of course, intrigue must happen and it may be up to Sarah to avoid disaster and save Rand.

This is a nice little book and it shows that mean-spirited people existed throughout all ages and while Sarah is modern, she is also still part of the existing culture that has certain expectations of women. Rand, on the other hand, is clearly a product of his time, and it will not be easy for him to leave his fiancee before the wedding, no matter how much she expects him to go through with the wedding.

To throw another angle into the story, the location is Fort Laramie and the Sioux are on the warpath. In addition to the drama inside the fort, our characters are also facing a real threat to their lives from the Sioux surrounding the fort. The reader will definitely not be bored reading this book and for those reader that love Colleen Coble, they will recognize her characteristically strong women in Sarah and the mix of romance and action that never gets old.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for purposes of an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third parties.