Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pink Lemonade Shop Giveaway

 photo df4ae3b2-b984-41a4-8737-a706700a0b95.jpg
Welcome to the Pink Lemonade Shop Giveaway!
 Sponsored by Pink Lemonade Shop and hosted by All Natural Mom 101.


I am sure you have heard about cloth diapers for babies. But have you heard about cloth for moms? 
Yes, it's true, they call it Mama Cloth or Cloth Pads.
Lots of moms choose to cloth diaper their babies for many reasons. For instance, cloth is better for the environment, chemical free, can save you money and they are 10 times cuter than disposables! 
Moms and women choose to use cloth pads for the same reasons.

Check out the rest of  AllNaturalMom101's review on Pink Lemonade Shop cloth pads HERE.

One lucky reader of Cassandra M's Place  and AllNaturalMom101 will win $25 to Pink Lemonade Shop.
The Giveaway will be open from Aug. 20th till Sept 3rd.
Open Worldwide.
Enter the giveaway via Giveaway Tool below.
Good Luck!

Disclosure: This Blog and all other promoting bloggers have not been compensated in any form for this publication, nor are they responsible for the fulfillment of the prize. Please contact Kaitlyn at www.allnaturlmom101.com if you have any questions, comments or concerns. Thank you

Angels Club by Courtney Vail & Sandra J. Howell Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

  angels clubAngels Club by Courtney Vail & Sandra J. Howell Hola, Cuties! I’m Jacinda Gonzalez, almost twelve. Although I think I’m pretty nice, not to mention way cool and one of the most knowledgeable people in all things horse, I just can’t make any friends in my new school. The only things flying my way are totally rude insults. The horseback riding therapy farm where I volunteer becomes my perfect escape from mean bullies. And when Angel, a scrawny, muddy American Curly, shows up as rescue, no one but me can see her potential and lovableness, so I take her on as a project horse to get her ready for sale. But, the thing is, I don’t want them to sell her. She’d be so perfect for therapy. So perfect. Now, if only I could prove it. Anyway, Angel’s sugar-candy personality inspires me to be sweet in spite of bad things happening to me. So, of course, I can’t resist the urge to make the world a whole lot brighter. Come on in and see how I do it!  
Purchase your copy from
 
Book Trailer
Angels Club Website
CourtneyAuthor Courtney Vail In addition to writing quirky, twisty books for teens and adults, Courtney works from home as a graphic designer and book formatter. She's married to a should-be-famous comedian and has three kids who make her house LOUD and messy and do things like turn her veggie garden into Jurassic Park, but she thoroughly loves her life. She's a member of Authors Selling Books in Western Mass. Courtney is a major sports junky and loves to run, visit amusement parks (and ride all the roller coasters first), skate, cook, and watch standup or anything that cracks her up or makes her heart race or neck tingle. Angels Club is her first novel for kids. It was a blast to write, so maybe her crazy brain and fancy purple pen will find a grand adventure next time.
  SandraAuthor Sandra J. Howell Sandy is an avid horse enthusiast and was the first breeder in Massachusetts of the rare American Bashkir Curly horse. Her lifelong passion for Curly horses led her to write two Equine novels, Spirit of a Rare Breed and Saving GiGi. Howell, a college professor, has been a contributing writer, featuring the American Bashkir Curly horse, for Equine journals and magazines. She has been featured on television, radio talk shows and news media, and has received numerous letters from Native Americans thanking her for promoting and advocating for their favored steed. Howell is a founding member of Authors Selling Books of Western Mass and is a member of the Independent Publishers of New England. Her novels are showcased at the New England Equine Affaire and promoted through many Equine organizations.
  book blast button     Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/15/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Outer Spice Natural Spice Blends Giveaway

Outer Spice Natural Spice Blends Giveaway!

Sponsored by: Outer Spice

Hosted by:  Savory Savings 

Outer Spice Natural Spice Blends Giveaway August 20 - September 3

Do you love to cool with spices but worry about the sodium content of what you are shaking on your food?  Or maybe you worry about artificial ingredients lurking within.  Outer Spice natural spice blends offer no salt spice blend options that actually taste good and are free from crazy chemicals!  Krista over at Savory Savings recently had a chance to try Outer Spice spice blends out and shared her thoughts on how Outer Spice can spice up a ho-hum meal!
How would you like to win two natural spice blends from Outer Spice?  If you would like a chance to win, enter with the Giveaway Tool below.  If you have won an Outer Spice giveaway anytime from another blog in the last 12 months, you are not eligible to win this giveaway.  The giveaway will run from August 20 through September 3, 2014 at 11 PM CST and is open to US residents, ages 18 and older.  Entries will be verified.  Winners will be notified via email (consider adding gloriouslygreengal@gmail.com to your safe list) – winner will have 48 hours to respond and claim prize or another winner will be selected.
Good Luck!

The Popcorn Factory Back to School Giveaway

The Popcorn Factory Back to School Giveaway

Hosted By:
Is Pleased To Bring You 


  The Popcorn Factory Back to School Giveaway

3 - Winners

Holiday Contest and Sweeps is pleased to work with The Popcorn Factory to
bring you "The Popcorn Factory Back to School Giveaway". With School just
around the corner we all know how much a care package to our Children that
are away at College means to them. And a care package filled with snacks from
The Popcorn Factory will defiantly put a smile on their face. Three lucky winners
will each receive a 2-Gallon University of Snacks Assortment.

The Popcorn Factory is the industry leader when it comes to providing us with 
fresh and delicious delicious snacks. Three lucky winners will receive a University
of Snacks 2-Gallon Tin filled with a selection of snacks and popcorn. Each tin will
contain a mix of gourmet popcorn and tasty treats, Cheese Popcorn, White Chedar
Popcorn, Jalapeno Popcorn, Caramel Popcorn, Mini Pretzels, Sour Gummi Bears,
Jelly Belly Beans, Red Licorice, Honey Roasted Peanuts and Soft Baked Chocolate
Chunk Cookies.

University of Snacks 2-Gallon Snack Assortment


 Stop by The Popcorn Factory's Website Today and Check out all their great
selection of Popcorn and Snacks.

 Follow Them on Social Media as well on 


Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest


 This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated or associated with Facebook,
Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This giveaway is valid in
the Continental United States only. This giveaway will end at 12:00 AM (EST)
9/9/2014.

Holiday Contest and Sweeps did not receive any form of compensation for

this giveaway. The Popcorn Factory will be responsible for the awarding and
shipping of the prizes directly to each winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mustang 50th Anniversary Desk Clock and Thermometer Giveaway


Mustang 50th Anniversary Desk
Clock and Thermometer Giveaway!

Proudly Brings You The

  Mustang 50th Anniversary Desktop Clock  
with Thermometer and Sound Giveaway


to bring you the Mustang 50th Anniversary Desktop Clock and Thermometer and Sound
Giveaway. One lucky winner will win this amazing replica of the 1965 Mustangs instrument
panel. This is one-of-a-kind official 50 Years of Ford licensed Desktop Sound Clock and
Thermometer commemorates an exclusive milestone of 50 years of continuous production
for this iconic Sports Car.

This clock will look great in any car lovers office, den, dorm rooms or shop. Not only does
it look amazing it also plays authentic 1965 Mustang engine sound at the top of each hour.A
built in light sensor deactivates the sounds when the room gets dark.
This amazing clock will be the envy of your family and friends that love
the Ford Mustang. You can see in the above picture that this amazing
clock will put you right in the drivers seat of a actual 1965 Mustang.


A Big Thank You To Our Sponsor


Mark Feldstein and Associates




This giveaway is in no way associated, affiliated or endorsed by Facebook,

Twitter or any other Social Media Networking site. This giveaway is valid
in the Continental United States only. Entrants must be 18+ years of age
to enter. This giveaway will end at 12:00 AM (EST) 9/9/14.

Holiday Contest and Sweeps did not receive any form of compensation

for this giveaway. Mark Feldstein and Associates is responsible for the
awarding and shipping of the clock directly to the winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dream Killers is FREE Wed - Friday August 20 - 22

DreamkillersFREEBANNER
DK S1 3D Box Set 2The Sea of Dreams spat me out with no memories, no idea of who I was or what my purpose might be. When Captain Bo, dream killer extraordinaire, arrived, I took a chance to explore. On the road of discovery, I tripped upon dreamplanes floating dead in a graveyard, scared children attempting to survive their dreams turned nightmare, strange guardians, rogue Dreamlanders, and ships with hearts of silver. I learned more about Dreamland than I ever thought possible. But people are dying. They’re disappearing. Dreamland is twisting, shifting, ripping. I don’t know how best to help, how to save those I’ve met, who have wormed their way into my heart. If only I knew who I was, what I’d been born to do. Then I found out. I know who I am. I wish I didn’t. Dream Killers is geared for fans of Once Upon a Time. The first season (Spring 2014) consists of 3 novellas called episodes. It follows River as he discovers who he is and his role in Dreamland. Dream Killers is to Dreamland Stories what Agents of Shield is to the Marvel movies. Dreamland is an intense, rich, fascinating world with lots going on. If you like fairy tales, are looking for something new,try this one.

Purchase Get it for FREE Wednesday August 20 - Friday August 22

Follow S MBlooding

Facebook /Twitter /Pinterest /Goodreads /Newsletter

Meet the Author:

SM “Frankie” Blooding lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, and Jack the Bird. Jack has refused to let her to take up the piano again, but is warming to the guitar. It might help that Frankie has learned more than two strings. She’s added a few more Arabic words to her vocabulary, but don’t invite her into conversation yet—unless, of course, you’re willing to have a very . . . slow . . . conversation. She’s dated vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, weapons smugglers and US Government assassins. Yes. She has stories. She’s also an investigator with a local paranormal investigation group, Colorado Paranormal Rescue!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

100% Plant Based Konjac Sponge infused with Activated Charcoal. Review



 "MIRACLE SPONGE" FOR YOUR DAILY BEAUTY REGIME - No other beauty sponge will work so hard for you! This luxuriously soft sponge gently exfoliates, cleanses, and is naturally pH balanced. The activated bamboo charcoal absorbs toxins, fights bacteria and excess oils leaving your face glowing, refreshed and radiant. Even preps skin to boost the absorption of your favorite serums and creams.
LUXURIOUSLY GENTLE EXFOLIATION FOR DAILY USE - Soft enough for a baby's skin while still providing effective exfoliation. Relaxing and gentle for daily use even on the most sensitive skin. Say goodbye to the irritation caused by harsher exfoliating methods and expensive electronic gadgets. You don't even need to use a face cleanser, unless you want to. Fantastic for battling blackheads and breakouts!

 NEW IMPROVED TEARDROP SHAPE - FOR FACE AND BODY - New ergonomically designed teardrop shape fits comfortably in the palm of your hand while the soft rounded point allows you to gently exfoliate sensitive hard to reach areas around your eyes. Ideal shape for the contours of your face but still large enough for your body. You'll love using it in the shower or by the mirror!
100% NATURAL, ECO-FRIENDLY and BIODEGRADEABLE - We painstakingly evaluated countless Konjac sponges on the market before putting our reputation behind this beauty. Our Konjac fiber is grown on the pristine volcanic plains of Jeju Island in South Korea, free from chemicals, pollution and irritants. The sponge hydrates quickly, and lasts longer with proper care than others we tested.
Cassandra's review- The product is unique and must be used as directed. You need to avoid certain products when you use this or it will ruin the sponge.  I noticed that it stays pretty filled with water but can dry super fast and complete. I would store this where it will not pick up a smell. I do not like it to dry in the bathroom or by the toilet as I feel it can soak in the odor and mist of the toilet and shower. 

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sonore Nutrition Phytoceramides Review



Fake a Facelift: One Daily Pill Slows Down the Signs of Aging

Phytoceramides work on a cellular level to replenish the skin's natural ceramides that deplete as we age. Restores the skin's protective barrier, locking moisture in and hydrating skin from the inside out.


In as little as 4 weeks, you'll enjoy smoother, softer skin. After 12 weeks, you'll notice plumper, tighter skin with less fine lines and wrinkles.

Helps fade stubborn crows feet even when every eye cream you've tried didn't work. Softens laugh lines, frown lines, and forehead creases. Plumps out sagging skin on cheeks and neck.

Great for Dry, Rough, & Flaky Skin

Helps immensely with dry skin conditions such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis.
Clinically proven to increase hydration in the skin, Phytoceramides bind skin cells together so they hold more moisture in.

Smooths and softens dry, cracked skin from head to toe. Even works on the thick, dry skin on heels and elbows. Skin will feel more supple and you'll have a natural, dewy glow.

Improves the Quality of Hair and Nails Too

Oral Phytoceramides absorb into the bloodstream and flow to every single skin cell, including your hair and nails.
You will notice that your hair grows in thicker and healthier and feels softer. Brittle nails become thicker and stronger and are less prone to breakage.

Most Effective Formula Available

40 mg of our rice-based Ceramide-PCD formula outperforms 350 mg LipoWheat or Sweet Potato ceramides. Wheat gluten free and enhanced with vitamins A, C, D & E. No fillers, binders, or artificial ingredients. No side effects.

Safety Information
Caution: Do not exceed the recommended dose. Pregnant or nursing mothers, children under the age of 18, and individuals with a known medical condition should consult a physician before using this or any dietary supplement. Keep out of the reach of children. Do not use if safety seal is damaged or missing. Store in a cool, dry place.

Ingredients
Vitamin A 5000 IU, Vitamin C 60 mg, Vitamin D 400 IU, Vitamin E 30 IU, Phytoceramides (From Rice) 40 mg. Other Ingredients: Vegetable Cellulose (Veggie Cap), Purified Water, Magnesium Stearate, Stearic Acid, Silicon Dioxide.

Directions
As a dietary supplement, take 1 veggie capsule once a day. For best results, take 20­30 minutes before a meal with an 8 ounce glass of water or as directed by your physician.


Cassandra's review-  results will not be the same for everyone. Do not buy this is you can not swallow capsules. Drink plenty of water with this product and do not mix other products while taking this. Be especially careful of the drug interactions with certain meds.  You will see results but not instantly and you will need to stick to taking this product for it to work. 

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) Capsules Review




Branch Chain Amino Acids  (BCAA) are game changers. Not only are they integral to cell health and speedy recovery and growth; free-form BCAA also does NOT get stuck in the liver, but shoots straight through to your muscles. Of course, that is more than can be said for substances such as croscaramellose sodium, copovidone and magnesium stearate.

But why mention such garbage in the same breath as BCAA? Because most BCAA supplements are sold with exactly these noxious excipients (they’re really cheap to make). Not so with AminoHD 1000. AminoHD 1000 is manufactured from 100% BCAA and Vegetable Capsules. That’s it. So, with AminoHD 1000, all that takes off for your liver and muscles is pure BCAA.


What can you expect from taking pure BCAA, then? Preliminary studies indicate the following effects:

Leucine (1 of the 3 BCAA’s) caused a 145% boost of protein synthesis vs 41% boost with exercise alone. (Pubmed Article: PMC2706121)
4g per day of Leucine caused a 41% increase in 5-RM strength vs. 31% increase in a a placebo group. (Pubmed Article: 21487148)
BCAA Supplementation created a 17.2% greater resistance to fatigue over a placebo. (Pubmed Article: 21297567)

BCAAs are NOT a wonder drug. You won’t wake up tomorrow looking like an NFL linebacker. But supplementing properly just might give you that extra edge. Celebrity trainers already know the power of BCAA’s. Hugh Jackman (X-Men Wolverine) trained with 5-10g of BCAA’s Pre & Post Workout.

With AminoHD 1000, you enjoy rigorous quality control, no added “excipients”, a no-questions-asked 100% money back guarantee and a HUGE 450-capsule bottle. Ready for all this? Set course for a realm of power, stamina and definition with pure BCAA – order your AminoHD 1000 today!


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Safety Information
Do not exceed recommended dose. When taken up to 6-months, orally supplemented BCAAs have not typically been linked to harmful side effects. However, BCAAs can have an effect on blood glucose levels and in rare cases can cause fatigue, loss of coordination, and nausea. If you have any of these symptoms, immediately discontinue BCAA usage and speak to a doctor. - Pregnant or nursing mothers, diabetics, parkinsons patients, people under 18 years old, and individuals with known medical conditions should consult a doctor before using this or any other dietary supplement. - *These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

Indications
AminoHD 1000 is specifically formulated in a 2:1:1 BCAA ratio with NO additives, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. This is the most pure form of BCAA you can get in capsules.

Ingredients
AminoHD 1000 BCAA contains only Branch Chain Amino Acids and Vegetable Capsules. Nothing else deserves to be in your BCAA supplement. - Ingredients: L-Leucine (250mg per capsule), L-Isoleucine (125mg per capsule), and Valine (125mg per capsule) in Vegetable Capsules (Vegetable Cellulose).

Directions
Suggested Use: As a dietary supplement, consume 2 AminoHD 1000 Capsules between meals, 45 minutes before workouts, and immediately after workouts.


Cassandra's Review -  I think this product is more for body builders.  It seems to work for people who have knee problems or need to build muscle.  I would read about all the ingredients and possible side effects and even talk to your doctor, before trying them.  As I am not a body builder this is not especially helpful.  I would recommend trying them for yourself as no one will ever have the same results.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Probiotics Supplement Review



Probiotic Supplement for Women, Kids and Men. Feel Great with Our All Natural Formula for Essential Good Health. 10.12 Billion Per Serving with More Than 50 Billion Cfus in One Bottle! Dr Oz Also Recommends Adding Probiotics to Our Daily Diets - Safe & No Side Effects, Great for Acne, Excellent for Colon Health and Constipation. Helps with Bloating and Abdominal Discomfort. Have a Digestive Advantage in your stomach today and Boost your Immune System with Billions of Live Cultures . 60 Vegetarian Capsules.

Cassandra's Review-  The product is good for people with a  sensitive stomach.  You can use the bathroom a bit more while taking this. Drink plenty of water and I would not recommend mixing this product with others especially until you know how it will affect you.  This is also safer and easier then making your own.

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

TwinLuxe 'Anti-Aging SPF Moisturizer' Review



Infused with new technology stem cells & high levels of antioxidants, this award-winning advanced anti-aging face SPF 40 moisturizing treatment helps build new skin cells & minimizes damage to older cells. Provides complete Broad Spectrum PA+++ protection from harmful UVA / UVB sun rays. Helps reduce visible signs of fine lines & wrinkles, especially around crow's feet eye area.

Ultra-light and non-greasy, this high performance 3-in-1 anti-aging / facial moisturizer / sunscreen offers the best men's & women's skin care and sun protection solution for staying young in the sun. Skin instantly becomes silky smooth w/ a matte finish.

Recommended use: Apply on face & crow's feet area. Reapply every two hours when in direct sun.
For use by both men & women and for all skin types - even the most sensitive. Non-whitening, non-comedogenic, mild, non-irritating, hypo-allergenic, fragrance & paraben free.



Cassandra's Review- No harsh smell or skin reaction.  The product went on cool and was easy to rub in so you do not need to rub your skin off to apply.  As a 3 in 1 product your saving a great deal of money. I would easily gift this product and know that I am giving something of excellence away.


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Beauty Bag (filled with goodies) Giveaway

beauty bag1 Coupon Crazy Mommy is giving away some of her favorite Beauty items that she has had the chance to review this year! She is also including a few surprises. Here are all of the great items included in this giveaway-1 winner takes ALL! 1) Diva d'or Derma Roller ($54.95 ARV) derma3 See the review here. 2) NeoCell Keratin Hair Volumizer ($19.99 ARV) download (22)3) Instanatural Phytoceramides ($39.95 ARV) download (23) 4) Whip Lash Eyelash Curler ($29.00 ARV) 20140606_113605 5) Instanatural Argan Oil ($49.99 ARV) download (24) See the review here. 6) Instanatural Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C Serum ($49.99 ARV) download (25) 7) Mia Mariu Foaming Gel Cleanser (21.00 ARV) download (26) See review here. 8) EnvyDerm Eyelash Enhancement Eyeliner ($29.00 ARV) download (27) See the review here. 9) Sinful Nail Polish in Bourdeaux ($2.99 ARV) Sinful Colors Bordeaux22 - kopie 10) Life and Food Garcinia Cambogia Supreme ($68.99 ARV) 61Ebe3BqrpL._SL1500_ See the review here. And of course the Beauty Bag: 20140816_122027 Enter below and Good Luck!
Disclosure: The above item was received in order to facilitate review. I have not been compensated for this post. The Coupon Crazy Mommy blog will always provide honest opinions, beliefs or experiences on products reviewed. We will only recommend products or services that we feel are of benefit to our readers. Coupon Crazy Mommy is not responsible for all prize fulfillments; sponsor will be responsible for prize fulfillment of the Envy Derm, Garcina Cambogia, and Miamariu. This event is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network. If you have any questions, please contact me couponcrazymomblog@gmail.com. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Dragonriders Unite with Fledgling by Nicole Conway – Giveaway

Fledgling-Promo
Welcome to the DRAGONRIDERS UNITE promo for
Fledgling (The Dragonrider Chronicles #1)
by Nicole Conway
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.
Can one boy stand between two kingdoms at war?
Jaevid Broadfeather has grown up as a wartime refugee, hiding from the world because of his mixed racial heritage. He feels his future is hopeless, until a chance encounter with a wild dragon lands him in Blybrig Academy—a place usually forbidden to anyone but the rich and royal. But Jaevid’s case is special; no dragon has voluntarily chosen a rider in decades, so the proud riders of Blybrig must begrudgingly let him join their brotherhood despite his bloodline. Lieutenant Sile Derrick, a sternly tempered man with a mysterious past, becomes his instructor and immediately takes a peculiar interest in Jaevid’s future.
While struggling through the rigorous physical demands of training, things begin to go awry. Jaevid witnesses the king’s private guards kidnapping Sile in the dead of night. When none of the elder riders are willing to help him, Jaevid begins a dangerous adventure to save his instructor.
Everything Jaevid learned at the academy will now be put to the ultimate test.
Fledgling (The Dragonrider Chronicles #1) by Nicole Conway
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books
logo

One
I had never seen my father before my twelfth birthday. Not even once. Up until then, my mother had raised me all by herself in the royal city of Halfax. We lived like all the other gray elves in Maldobar—separated from the rest of society in the heavily guarded wartime ghettos. We had to follow a strict set of rules about where we could go, what we could do, when we got food, and what we could own. If you broke any of the rules, it was an immediate sentence to the prison camps, which I always heard was a fate worse than death. We were supposed to be grateful. After all, we were war refugees. Maldobar didn’t have to take us in, much less provide us somewhere to live. This was their act of charity towards us.
Our house was not much more than a tiny shack made of old recycled wood, and it only had one room. You’d expect a place like that to smell terrible, but my mother was a genius when it came to making anywhere feel like home. She could grow absolutely anything, and that was how she made our living. She grew vegetables, flowers, tiny fruit trees, and strange vines that climbed all over the walls and windows. It made the inside of our house feel like a jungle, and it smelled earthy like fresh soil and the fragrance of flowers. We couldn’t legally sell anything she grew since gray elves weren’t allowed to have any money, but we could still trade. So early in the mornings, my mother packed a sack full of peppers, fruit, vegetables, and anything else ready for harvest, and sent me out to the shops to trade for things we needed.
It was a lot harder than it sounds. Not the trading itself, that part was easy, but I had to be very sneaky about it. I was always on the watch for guards, or humans. Gray elf children were rare, even in the ghettos. Any elf living in the kingdom of Maldobar as a refugee was absolutely not allowed to have children. It was forbidden. Having children was a great way to get thrown into a prison camp, or worse. But I didn’t just have to worry about that. It was bad enough to be a gray elf kid, hiding until you were old enough to be overlooked. But I was a halfbreed. My father was a human from Maldobar. So instead of looking at me with anger, everyone looked at me like I was a cockroach. The humans didn’t like me touching their stuff because I was mixed with the filthy, wild blood of a gray elf. If they hadn’t liked my mother’s produce so much, they probably would have turned me in to the guards. The gray elves didn’t like me, either. But there was a very strict code amongst them: you didn’t betray your own kind no matter what. So they ignored me rather than ratting me out to the city guards.
I really didn’t fit anywhere, except with my mother. She loved me unconditionally. She was the most beautiful person in the world. Her hair was long and silvery white, and her eyes were like stars. All gray elves had eyes like that. When she smiled at me, her eyes would shine like gemstones in the light, as white and pale as diamonds with faint flecks of blue, yellow, and green in them.
When she died, I had just turned twelve. I got the feeling right away that no one really knew what to do with me. I didn’t fit into anyone’s plans. If I were a pure blooded elf, they would have taken me straight to a prison camp. If I were a human, someone would have adopted me. I wasn’t either, and yet I was both at the same time. I think the guards were just baffled that my mother had done such a good job of hiding me for so long, or that she’d somehow managed to have an affair with a human man.
Ulric Broadfeather was the only one who would take me in, and I’m pretty sure he only did it because my mother had left a letter behind naming him as my biological father. If it weren’t for the public shame of disowning a child, he probably would have just let me go to a prison camp anyway.
From the very beginning, my father was the most frightening man I had ever known. He was hugely tall, like a knight, and stronger than anyone else I had ever seen. Once, I saw him pick up and pull family wagon while it was loaded with bags of grain all by himself. He could have crushed my neck with one hand if he wanted to. His hair was jet-black like mine, except it was cut short. My mom always insisted I wear my hair long, like gray elves traditionally did. I also had his cold blue eyes that were the same color as glacier water. There definitely wasn’t any doubt he was my father. I looked too much like him for anyone to deny it.
I wish I could say that he welcomed me with open arms into his home; eager to make up for lost time he hadn’t gotten to spend with me. But he already had a family, living on the outskirts of a small city called Mithangol, and he wasn’t interested in adding me to it. I was an unwanted guest right away.
He had a human wife named Serah who made it perfectly clear she didn’t want me in her house at all. Serah absolutely hated me. She glared whenever she looked at me, accused me of being responsible for anything that went wrong, and refused to let me sleep in her house because I gave her a “bad feeling.” So I slept on a cot in the loftroom of Ulric’s workshop, instead. As bad as it sounds, I actually preferred it. It was quiet there, and even though it was cold in the winter, I liked the smell of the old hay and the leather that was stored up there.
Ulric also had another son, Roland, who was four years older than me. Roland chose to ignore my existence completely. I got the feeling that he was in survival mode, trying to be as aloof and uninvolved with the family as he possibly could until he was old enough to move out. I couldn’t really blame him for that. Like me, he favored our father. He was really tall, muscular, and had the same ice-blue eyes that looked like they belonged to a powerful bird of prey. I was a little afraid of him, even though he never said more than two words to me at a time. I could sense a lot of anger coming from him, and I was always paranoid I’d be standing too close when he finally snapped.
Ulric had two more children, a pair of twin daughters named Emry and Lin. They were six years younger than me, but they were meaner than a pair of hungry jackals. Every day, they tried to get me in as much trouble as possible. Of course, Serah believed every word they said. They would break things, let the chickens and goats out, or steal jewelry from their mother’s room, and blame it all on me. Once, Emry got ahold of the sewing scissors and chopped up Lin’s hair. When Serah found out, Emry blamed it all on me and told her I had done it. Serah believed it, and I got a beating from Ulric as soon as he came in the house. Inventing new ways to get me into trouble was their favorite pastime, and there was nothing I could do about it. They were sneaky and smart, a lot smarter than me I guess, because they never got caught.
The only good thing about living with my father was watching him work. Ulric was a tackmaster— he made saddles for the dragonriders from Blybrig Academy. But he didn’t just make saddles; he made the very best saddles in Maldobar. I watched him through the slats and gaps in the floor of the loftroom, shaping leather and stitching intricate pieces together. He did it all by hand, and it took him several weeks to craft one saddle. But when it was finished, each one was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. It made me envy him, even if he probably wished I had never been born.
That’s why I almost keeled over when Ulric growled my name, calling me down from my room into his shop. He’d been working for two weeks solid on a new saddle, one more beautiful than ever, and it was finally finished.
“Wrap it up,” he barked at me in his gruff, gravely tone, and threw a few old quilts at me.
I was stunned. Ulric had never asked me to do anything before, especially nothing to do with his work. This was my chance, I thought. If I could be useful, maybe he wouldn’t hate me so much. He might even teach me to make saddles someday.
Ulric left me alone in his shop, and I walked over to the saddle that was set up on one of the big sawhorses. I ran my fingers over the freshly oiled leather. It was as red as blood, engraved with intricate designs and images of mountains and vines. All the buckles were made of silver-plated iron. I couldn’t even imagine what it would look like when the dragon it had been made for would finally put it on. A powerful beast, bound for the skies with a snarl and a flash of fire. It made my skin prickle, and every hair stand on end.
I was small for my age. I’d always been small, unfortunately. Ulric’s stature apparently hadn’t been passed on to me. To make matters worse, I was so skinny that I pretty much looked like a scarecrow. Emry and Lin like to call me “stick boy” because they knew it bothered me. If I were as big as Roland, no one would have tried to push me around.
It took all my strength to wrap the saddle up in the quilts so it wouldn’t get scratched or damaged, and then lug it outside. The weight of it made my arms and lungs ache. I could feel myself wobble dangerously if I leaned too far in any direction. I didn’t want to imagine what Ulric would do to me if I dropped this saddle.
The knights who rode on dragons just about never came to pick up their saddles personally. Most of them came from rich, powerful noble families, and had plenty of servants to do those kinds of errands for them. So when I saw Ulric standing outside talking to a man in formal battle armor with a sweeping cape of royal blue brushing at his heels, I stopped dead in my tracks. The saddle weighed more than I did, and I almost dropped it in surprise.
It was a muggy, overcast day. The clouds were so low and thick you couldn’t see the mountains that hunched over our small city. Even so, the knight’s armor still managed to gleam like liquid silver. He had his helmet under one arm, the white-feathered crest on it tipped in black, and the king’s eagle engraved upon his breastplate.
They both turned to look at me as I stood there, my arms shaking under the weight of the saddle, staring at the dragonrider. Ulric scowled darkly, and stomped over to take it from me. He slung it over his shoulder like it weighed nothing at all, growling curses under his breath at me as he went to tie it down to the knight’s horse.
The knight, however, was still staring right at me. He gave me a strange look, narrowing his eyes some and tilting his head to the side slightly like he was sizing me up. It made me blush from head to toe, the tips of my pointed ears burning like torches under my long hair. This was a warrior who had probably fought against gray elves for years, and I knew what I looked like.
He curled a finger at me, calling me toward him. It made me cringe as I obeyed. I hedged toward him, my shoulders hunched up because I half-expected him to hit me just out of pure resentment for what I was. But he didn’t.
When I got close enough, he grabbed my chin in one of his gloved hands, cranking my head around so I had to look up at him. I was shaking all over, wondering if this was it for me. Maybe he’d crush my head like a grape in his hand. Or maybe he’d throttle me to death. Either way, I was pretty sure Ulric wouldn’t go out of his way to save me. He might have even thanked the knight afterwards for saving him the trouble.
“What’s your name, boy?” The knight asked me. His voice was deep, but not angry or resentful. He was turning my head this way and that, pulling back my hair to see my pointed ears, and looking me over like he was inspecting livestock.
“J-Jaevid.” I told him through clattering teeth.
He frowned, looking back into my eyes before he finally let me go. His own eyes seemed dead to me. Dead—like someone who had seen many years in battle and knew what it meant to kill without mercy. “How old are you?” he asked again.
“Fifteen, sir.” I took a few steps back away from him. If he came after me suddenly, at least I had some hope of outrunning him. I was small, but I was fast.
Ulric was finished tying the saddle down, and came over with a growl meant to shoo me away. I took the hint and retreated back into the workshop, up to my loftroom where I had a wooden cot piled with old, holey quilts. I went to the small window along the far wall. It was a good place peek at them through the cracks in the boards that had been nailed over it. I could hear them talking, and it made my heart jump into my throat.
“You didn’t tell me you had a halfbreed son,” the knight chuckled, like it was a bad joke. “Looks just like a half-starved, miniature version of you, except for the ears.”
Ulric just shook his head and kept growling rumbling words, glaring at the ground. “Serah wants him gone.” I heard him say.
“Can’t blame her for that.” The knight seemed to sympathize. “You thinking of taking him on as an apprentice?”
Ulric just snorted like it was a ridiculous idea.
“Ah, my mistake then. I figured since your older boy had chosen to join the infantry you’d pass your skill set onto someone else in your family. I doubt your girls would be interested.” The knight rambled on, beginning to stroll back to where his horse was waiting. The new saddle was bundled up and ready for transport. “A shame he’s such a small, sickly-looking thing.”
That stung me. Yes, I was small for my age. But I hadn’t thought I looked sickly. It made me angry at myself, and at my inability to grow even a few inches taller. What a difference even two inches and a few pounds of muscle would have made.
“Where’s his dragon?” A whispering voice suddenly asked from right beside me.
It scared me out of my wits, making me scramble away in surprise. I hadn’t heard anyone approach, and was half afraid it was one of my sisters. But it wasn’t.
Katalina Crookin was probably the only friend I had in the world. Her father was a very good blacksmith who worked with Ulric sometimes, helping him craft unique pieces that required a more skilled metalworker. They only lived about a mile away, so Katty and I had found each other inevitably. She was small and skinny, like I was, with a head full of wild gold curls. She had big dark blue eyes, and just about every inch of her face was covered in freckles. The other kids in town teased her and called her ugly. I knew it must have hurt her feelings, but she never let it show. And when the other kids would come after me, trying to cut my hair or throw rocks at me, she was always there to defend me . . . and no one could throw a rock harder or more accurately than Katty. She had blacksmith’s hands.
I shook my head at her, moving back to the window to peek outside again. The knight was getting on his horse already, dropping a purse of coins into Ulric’s hand before he rode out of sight.
“I don’t know. I don’t think he brought it,” I whispered back. Neither of us had ever seen a dragon before.
Katty puffed a sigh of disappointment while shaking her head. It made her gold curls swish back and forth. “I saw him coming up the road. I knew he had to be a dragonrider. Normal soldiers don’t wear armor like that,” she told me. “Can you come over today?”
I didn’t know. Normally, I could’ve easily slipped away to visit the Crookins without Ulric or Serah even noticing I was gone because usually, they didn’t care where I was. But Ulric had actually asked me to do something for him today. Not to mention, he and the knight had been discussing my future—or lack thereof. I wasn’t so sure I could get away with leaving without getting caught.
Katty was watching me waffle between my desire to go to her house, and the inevitable beating I would get if Ulric ever caught me over there. She smiled. “Momma’s making sweetbread,” she baited me. “With wild honey.”
That decided it for me. I grinned back at her, nodding because we both knew what goodies were sure to go along with sweetbread. Thoughts of whipped butter with cinnamon and sugar, and warm milk with a hint of honey, were already swimming happily through my brain as we climbed down from my loftroom. We darted out the back of Ulric’s shop before anyone noticed, and took the narrow footpath we’d made ourselves through the prickly briars. It was our secret path, so no one would see us.
The Crookin’s house was not as big as ours, but it felt more like a home instead of the prison I lived in. Smoke came out of the chimney in the house, and out of the stack for the bellows in Mr. Crookin’s forge. Mr. Crookin didn’t really like me. That’s not to say he hated me as much as Serah did, but he didn’t like me coming around his house too often. He hadn’t minded it so much when I was younger, but now that I was fifteen, I could tell he was on the verge of telling me not to come back anymore. He didn’t talk much, and he had a face that was mostly hidden behind a thick, wiry beard. He wore his long black smithing apron every day, and his face and arms were almost always smeared with soot.
Mrs. Crookin, on the other hand, was one of the few people who didn’t make me feel unwanted. She smiled at me when we came inside, wiping her hands on her apron before she pulled me in immediately to kiss my forehead and ruffle my hair. She always hugged me until I couldn’t breathe, and asked me if I was getting enough to eat.
“What a good boy,” she said, patting my cheeks until it stung a little. “But still so skinny. Doesn’t Serah feed you at all? Sit down, Jae. I’m making your favorite.”
Katty plopped down in a chair across from me at their kitchen table, grinning as she slid a plate and spoon in my direction. “There was a dragonrider at his house today, momma.” Her eyes were still sparkling with excitement about it.
“Yeah, but he didn’t bring his dragon.” I added, sighing and twirling the spoon through my fingers. Mrs. Crookin brought over a platter of steaming hot sweetbread, fresh out of the oven. The smell made me dizzy with hunger, and it was hard to sit and wait while she put out jams, that delicious cinnamon butter, and mugs of warm milk for us on the table. “Not surprising, is it dear? It’s nearly springtime.” I knew what she meant. Every spring, Ulric packed up his tools and materials onto a wagon, and left for Blybrig Academy. The new riders started their training just as the weather was getting hot, and Ulric had to take molds and build brand new saddles for them. It was when he made most of his money, but it also meant that he’d be gone for a while. He was always completely exhausted when he came back. In a month, the snows would melt in the Stonegap Pass, and Ulric would start packing his tools again. If any other knights wanted a saddle from him, they’d have to get it before he left or wait until after spring. “I wish papa would let me go with him,” Katty whined while she was smearing a spoonful of jam onto a large piece of bread. “It’s not fair. Other apprentices get to go.”
“Soon, dear.” Mrs. Crookin smiled fondly at her daughter. They had the same gold colored hair, but Mrs. Crookin’s was flecked with silver. She was a much older woman than my stepmother.
Katty was eager to go to Blybrig, not that I could blame her. She wanted to see dragons just like I did. Her father had been teaching her his craft for a long time, and she was already strong enough to do most of the little tedious jobs for him, even if she was small and fragile looking. Mr. Crookin went to Blybrig for spring training, just like Ulric. But he went to make armor, not saddles.
“You’ll have to tell me what they look like,” I told her. I wasn’t able to keep myself from sounding sad about it. When she starting working with her father full time, I wasn’t sure where that would leave me. I’d be on the brink of adulthood with no idea where I should go, or what I should do. I wouldn’t have a skill to sell, or even a place to live.
Katty smiled at me hopefully from across the table, leaning forward and grabbing my hand at the wrist. “You’ll see them, too, Jae. Maybe papa would let you be his apprentice with me.”
Mrs. Crookin smiled at us, but I could still see it in her eyes; she didn’t think her husband would ever allow that. They were all right with me coming to visit, and with me being friends with their daughter, but they had to draw the line somewhere. I was still a halfbreed.
I didn’t let Katty see how that hurt me. It wasn’t their fault, really. And it wasn’t my place to try to weasel my way into their family business like that. “Nah.” I shrugged and gave her as confident a grin as I could muster. “I’m going to the coast. I want to work on one of the ships going out of the harbor. I’ll get to see the ocean, and eat fish every night.”
Katty looked deflated. I guess she’d wanted us to work together. Or, she’d at least hoped I would want the same thing as her. “You’ll smell like a fish, after all that,” she grumbled, wrinkling her nose.</ p>
We ate until there were only a few scraps of the bread left, and Mrs. Crookin wrapped those up for me to take with me. It was dark outside when I started for home. Katty always walked with me as far as the property line, and she had a blanket wrapped around her so that only her face and some of her curls peeked out.
“Jae,” she started. I could tell by the tone of her voice she was about to ask me something serious. “Do you really want to go to the coast?”
I’ve never been a very good liar. When it came to Katty, well, she could smell deception on me like a hound. I couldn’t lie to her if I wanted to. I quirked my mouth while I thought about the ocean, about ships, and about eating fish.
“Not really,” I confessed.
“We’d never see each other if you left,” she reached a hand out from under her blanket to grasp mine, squeezing my fingers. “After papa retires and I take over the business, I’ll make you an apprentice myself. Then we can work together and no one will be able to say anything about it.”
I tried to smile for her. I tried to show her some optimism. But we’d be in our twenties before her father let her take on any authority in his smithing business, and even then, I wasn’t sure blacksmithing was my calling. It required physical strength, which I clearly didn’t have.
“Thanks, Katty.” I squeezed her hand back.
We talked about dragons and knights all the way to the property line. Then I gave her a hug, and she kissed my cheek like her mom did, and we parted ways. I walked a few feet into the dark before I stopped and looked back, watching her disappear into the gloom and thorny shrubs. She was the best friend I had—my only friend really, and sooner or later, she’d have to leave me behind. She’d outgrow me. She’d get tired of having to stick up for me all the time.
With the bundle of leftover bread still under my arm, I walked back to my room in the loft. Ulric’s shop was quiet and dark, like it always was once he’d finished for the day. He was probably already inside, having dinner with his real family, and talking about how soon he could get rid of me. Roland was probably just sitting there at the table, glaring down into his plate without a word. The twins were probably throwing food at each other like savages. I didn’t expect any of them to even notice I was gone.
But I was wrong.

Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. She has completed the first two books in the series, and is now working on the third and final book.
Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school.
She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation.
Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

Author Links: Website | Twitter</ b> | Facebook</ b>
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What kind of power is lurking inside him?
After a year of training to become a dragonrider, Jaevid Broadfeather has been sent home to rest during a three-month interlude. But when he returns to find the king drake has chosen Beckah Derrick as his new rider, Jaevid realizes something big is about to happen. Every fiber of his being is pushed to the breaking point as Jaevid battles through his avian year, preparing for the final graduation test of the battle scenario. But there is more standing in his way than a few pushups and fancy sword moves.
Jaevid must face a new fear as he is tormented by a gruesome nightmare of a mysterious gray elf warrior murdering the royal family of Maldobar. It seems obvious to him that this is some kind of message about how the war started long ago—until Felix assures him the king is very much alive. With his strange powers growing stronger by the day, and that violent dream replaying in his mind every night, Jaevid no longer wonders if he will pass his avian year or not . . . he wonders if he will even survive it.
The truth will soon be set loose.
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