Gift Giving & Gift Ideas and Buying Guides

Read More in 2024 | Part 1

Disclaimer: Beautiful Touches has received the following titles from the publishers or authors, to facilitate this article, which is part of our series of Gift Ideas and Buying Guide publications.  No monetary compensation has been exchanged.  All information an images comes directly from the brands.  Any opinions stated are those of the author. Beautiful Touches is participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

As the old saying goes…READING IS FUNDAMENTAL.  I’m an avid reader by I still want up my game, so I’ll be posting book Gift Ideas and Buying Guide Pages throughout the coming year.

Welcome Oh Beautiful Ones, to READ MORE IN 2023 | PART 1

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By Dave Pelzer

Return to the River, by Dave Pelzer


“#1 international best-selling author of A Child Called “It”, speaker, and humanitarian Dave Pelzer welcomes readers into the next chapter of his life—and examines why, after spending decades saving others in the military, as a fire captain, and an internationally acclaimed advocate, he is confronted with the need to save himself.

On the surface, Dave Pelzer’s life seems like an action movie—he’s walked the red carpet with celebrities and stood shoulder to shoulder with soldiers in Iraq; he’s flown top-secret missions for the U.S. Air Force, and battled wildfires in California as a volunteer fire captain. Now, 50 years after his rescue from a horrific childhood of abuse and into the safety of the foster care systemhe reflects on the battles he’s fighting in his own heart.

Pelzer reflects on the courage it takes to move forward in your life, the peace to accept yourself, the vulnerability to strip yourself of facades, and the tenacity to carry on when life doesn’t turn out the way you planned.”


Dave Pelzer is the author of 9 books. Dave’s first book, A Child Called “It” was on the New York Times Best Sellers List for a record-setting 6 YEARS. His other books were also on the New York Times Best Sellers List for over 12 years. Dave was the first author to have four #1 international bestsellers and to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

Dave is regularly tapped by the U.S. military and high level task forces to aid in investigations and create leadership curriculum, and is the host of the Dave Pelzer Podcast.

In 1993, Dave was honored as one of the 10 Outstanding Young Americans, joining a distinguished group including John F. Kennedy and Walt Disney. In 2005, Dave was the recipient of the National Jefferson Award, which is considered the Pulitzer Prize of public service. As a member of the armed forces, Dave was hand-picked to midair refuel the then highly secretive SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Stealth Fighter. Dave has served as a Volunteer Fire Captain at the Northern Sonoma Coast and the Russian River, California, amid regular wildfires, many of them making national news. He is a persona the media want to get their hands on!”

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By David A. Jacinto

Out of Darkness by David A. Jacinto


Inspired by a true story, Out of the Darkness chronicles the journey of a nineteenth century child coal miner as he rises from the ashes of poverty and tragedy to reach for his dreams.

In his powerful debut novel Out of the Darkness, David Jacinto explores his family’s history and unpacks issues of class warfare and child labor against the backdrop of England’s Industrial Revolution. Readers meet Tommy Wright, a seven-year-old who follows in his father and grandfather’s footsteps, working in coal mines in Yorkshire, England. The work is brutal and life-threatening, but Tommy swallows his fears to help support his family, working alongside his father, twelve hours a day, six days a week. After disaster strikes and many of his friends die in a mine explosion, a devastated Tommy and his self-educated mother decide that Tommy and his siblings would have a different fate, one that would free them from the iron-fisted wealthy aristocrats who own the coal mines and villages families like Tommy’s call home.

As Tommy matures, he determines his own fate, defying the odds to excel in an engineering career and waging a noble fight against child labor. Bolstered by family, faith, and the love of strong, determined women, Tommy confronts his oppressors, eventually immigrating to America to pursue the life of his dreams.”


“David Jacinto was born into a family living on the wrong side of the tracks and has been a storyteller ever since. He was the first in his extended family to attend college, and as a student athlete at one of the most prestigious universities in the United States, he received his degree in civil engineering. He went on to serve as president of SM Engineering Company, held leadership roles in multiple national and international companies along the west coast of California, and was on the board of directors for others. He was also commandeered by the State of California on special assignment as chief engineer to help rescue California’s three major utilities on the verge of bankruptcy during the highly publicized $300 billion energy crisis in 2001.

David has had numerous speaking engagements over his successful career, frequently interjecting colorful, fascinating, and humorous stories of his life experiences. Some of these stories are drawn from his ill-spent youth, some from his many business successes, and some from family experiences. But all delivered with the greatest respect for the opportunities America has afforded him and a thankfulness to those fallen leaves from the family tree of immigrants who made it all possible.

Despite his business successes, he supposes his greatest achievements have been to convince the fetching Anne Gray to become his wife, the good fortune to be a part of the lives of his 4 wonderful children, their wives and husband, and the blessing to be Papa J to 13 near-perfect grandchildren. Out of the Darkness is his second book, with Where Eagles Fly Free to follow as the second in the series.”

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Explosive Chemistry by Paige E. Ewing


“Set 30 years into a hopeful future where fossil fuels are obsolete in Fayetteville, North Carolina, a reluctant spider-kin fortune teller must solve the mystery of who killed four soldiers at Fort Liberty. With not quite enough– or maybe too much– help from an infuriating Fae Colonel, and before her dear friends, an oak goblin doctor and a fairy with a penchant for machine guns, end up as the next victims. Including a neurodivergent main character and a diverse cast of quirky companions, Explosive Chemistry is the second installment of the Liliana and the Fae of Fayetteville series that started with Precise Oaths.”


“Paige writes about superheroes and sentient cities, were-spiders and gun-loving fairies, werewolves and fighter pilots. By day, Paige writes articles and technical books for O’Reilly Publishers about analytics software and data architecture. In her spare time, Paige loves to shoot arrows and throw axes and spears. She lives in the middle of Texas, and will show you far too many pictures of her garden if you let her. She once invented a way to grow food on Mars that NASA liked, and has a cute trophy to show for it. Her dogs and horses are unimpressed.”

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RK Bob Brown

Foundation Repair Secrets by RK Bob Brown



Do you have cracked or deteriorating walls, uneven floors, or sticking windows and doors? These tell-tale signs of a shifting foundation are hard to miss, but what do you do about it? Who do you call?

Foundation repair contractors often lack engineering knowledge or have conflicts of interest, and yet we call them first. Get the inside story on whom to call and what to expect from an engineered investigation.

Thirty-five-year industry veteran, RK Bob Brown, spent years working with licensed engineers and university professors to develop a patented solution to remediate unrecognized foundation problems. Now, he reveals little-known solutions to save you time and money by avoiding costly repairs (or worse, the wrong repair).

Foundation Repair Secrets shows real estate agents and brokers, insurance and mortgage underwriters, home inspectors, foundation repair engineers and homeowners what you need to know to find the right solutions.”


“RK Bob Brown is an author, speaker, patented innovator, and the foremost authority on foundation repair diagnosis.  As an insider with more than 35-years-experience, he brings transparency, accountability, and engineering efficacy to an otherwise opaque industry. His forthcoming book, Foundation Repair Secrets (Advantage Books) reveals little-known solutions to save time and money by avoiding costly repairs (or worse, the wrong repairs).

He holds a Bachelor of Design Science from ASU’s School of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science from ASU’s School of Business specializing in Real Estate and Finance. He founded Arizona Foundation Solutions in 1989 and built one of the only foundation repair companies to utilize licensed professional engineers on the front end to analyze initial conditions, make recommendations, and specify repairs before presenting proposals. Bob sold his business in 2022 to focus on writing and speaking. He currently holds four patents and has three pending. He also developed a cloud-based software solution to streamline and assist engineers and contractors in home foundation investigations.

He has been designated a certified Foundation Repair Specialist by the National Foundation Repair Association, is LEED Accredited by the National Green Building Council, is an EPA-approved Radon Measurement and Mitigation Specialist, is Level 1 Post Tensioning Institute certified, and is an ADRE CEU Provider, among other accreditations.

With the perfect blend of engineering savvy and construction practicality, he shows real estate agents and brokers, insurance and mortgage underwriters, home inspectors, and foundation repair engineers what they need to know to find the right solutions. He demystifies concepts to help anyone easily understand soil behaviors, structural mechanics, foundation performance evaluation, objective severity performance standards, data-based recommendations, and existing repair evaluations. In short, Bob Brown knows dirt—which is why people call him the Dirt Whisperer. ”

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Jeffrey Dunn

Radio Free Olympia by Jeffery Dunn



In Radio Free Olympia, Washington’s wild Olympic Peninsula is embodied through a captivating circle of visionaries and characters. Embark on a riveting journey into this untamed region, where folklore legends and historical icons come to life as Jeffrey Dunn weaves the threads of many voices into a complex ecological tapestry.

Follow the enigmatic Petr, a foundling whose path leads him deep into the heart of the majestic mountain rainforest. Armed with nothing but a pirate radio transmitter, Petr fearlessly broadcasts the forgotten and untamed voices that echo through the wilderness. Venture deeper into this mystical world and encounter Baie, the founder of Wildsisters, a roadhouse home for lost women infused with the essence of cranberries, who offers solace to the lost and wayward souls who cross her path.

When a newborn is kidnapped from this safe haven, Baie and her community of resilient women must unite and summon the strength to recover what has been stolen. Yet, their quest for justice extends beyond the realm of human characters—it must also be served for the fragile flora, the diverse fauna, and the very essence of the rugged terrain.

Marrying prose and poetry, fiction and history, the hard-boiled and the transcendent, Radio Free Olympia invites you to explore the profound interconnectedness between humanity and the natural world, immersing yourself in a land that transcends conventional boundaries.”


“Jeffrey Dunn is the author of cultural fiction works such as Dream Fishing the Little Spokane and a collection of poems titled Hubcap Collection Plate. Despite living with dyslexia, Dunn earned a Ph.D. in culture studies and English literature, and retired after 41 years of teaching. Radio Free Olympia is the novel he felt compelled to write after relocating to Washington State’s distinctive Olympic Peninsula.”


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By Barbara Feigin

My American Dream by Barbara Sommer Feigin



In July 1940, Barbara Feigin was a two-year-old toddler when she fled with her parents from Nazi Germany. Risking their lives with only $10.50, the clothes on their backs, and what they could carry, and with no idea where they would settle and how they would make a life for themselves, they embarked upon a 17-day terrifying journey by train from Berlin to Yokohama, Japan. Every moment along the way, her parents feared they would be stopped and taken off the train as they traveled through Lithuania, Russia, China, Korea, and finally to Japan where they boarded a Japanese ship and sailed across the Pacific to Seattle, Washington.  As her father later said, they had gone “. . .three quarters of the way around the world, into the unknown.”

Over seventy years later, Feigin made an incredible discovery–her father had kept a journal of their escape from Nazi Germany. Her parents had rarely spoken of their escape and had never mentioned her father’s journal, and she remembered nothing of their passage. There had been a gaping hole in her family’s history, and her father’s journal would help to fill it.

My American Dream is a memoir of resilience, grit, and grace that starts with the entire text of Feigin’s father’s journal, relating in his own words the terrifying details of the family’s escape.  Feigin goes on to weave together three intertwining narratives of her own life.  First she tells of being a young, German-speaking refugee living in Chehalis, a tiny town in southwest Washington State, yearning to become an “authentic” American and of her experiences with anti-Semitism.

Then Feigin details how she rose through the ranks and became a trailblazing executive in the advertising business in New York City in the 1960s, during the ‘Mad Men’ era when career-building opportunities for women were virtually non-existent. She tells of ultimately securing a seat in the executive boardroom, where she was often the only woman in the room.

Finally she tells of her life as a devoted wife and mother of three sons (including one set of identical twins), spending 25 years as the caregiver-in-chief for her husband, Jim, who suffered two very serious strokes when he was quite young. The family’s strong bonds and great love for Jim helped them navigate this traumatic time.

Despite overwhelming odds, her parents’ grueling journey to America has fueled Feigin’s lifelong resolve to dream big, work hard, and never quit. My American Dream is an inspiring story of love, dedication, and how uncovering the past and preserving history can inform your identity. ”


“Barbara Feigin graduated from Whitman College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, and completed a graduate program in business administration run jointly by Harvard Business School and Radcliffe Graduate School.

In her illustrious 30-year career at Grey Advertising (now Grey Global Group), she solidified her reputation as a visionary thinker. In all her years as a senior advertising executive and a corporate director, she was more often than not the only woman in the room. In 2017, Feigin was named one of the century’s Legendary Pioneers by Grey.

Feigin has passed her swagger and hard work ethic on to her three high-achieving sons: Peter, President of the Milwaukee Bucks and FiservForum; Daniel, head of Trevor Day School, a nursery through 12th grade independent school in New York City; and Michael, managing editor at Trellus, an online healthcare start-up.”

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More Great Titles for 2024


By Linda Vatar



“Chronicle life in your garden with this elegant 5-year journal full of tracking tools, planning space, gardening guidance, and inspiration.

Compiled by garden personality Linda Vater, The Garden Journal is an essential record-keeping tool for every gardener, no matter what you grow. From daily happenings and garden successes to plant lists, variety names, and seasonal to-dos, you’ll be able to stay organized and keep a carefully curated record of current activities and future tasks. This gorgeous, heirloom-quality journal acts as a logbook and guide through 5 years of your garden’s life. Keeping track of success and failures, wishes and wants, has never been more beautiful! The special lay-flat binding allows the book to stay open on a table or potting bench, making it easy to write in without having to hold the pages open.

Sprinkled with season-by-season guidanceinspirational words of wisdom, and growing tips from Linda, this tastefully illustrated journal is bursting with dozens of useful charts and tables to track everything from planting dates to weather events, right along with all of the other pertinent details you need to make the most of your passion for the garden. An interior cover pocket for keeping plant tags or seed packets and a ribbon page marker further serve to help you stay organized and on task.

Included in this indispensable garden planner:

  • Inventory charts for plants, seeds, and tools
  • Garden planning and design pages with plenty of room for sketching
  • A year-at-a-glance calendar for essential notes
  • Tracking pages for pest controls, soil test results, and harvest yields
  • Places to record planting dates, bloom times, and personal reminders
  • Pages for noting garden measurements and dimensions, bulb-planting locations, and other tough-to-remember info
  • Budget planning pages to organize garden purchases and expenses
  • Daily weather and activity logs for 5 years

The Garden Journal is sure to become a treasured garden companion. With time and curation, it will hold not just precious information, but also personal thoughts and missives about all the pains and pleasures of a life spent in the garden.”


“Linda Vater, author of The Elegant and Edible Garden and The Garden Journal, is a garden designer and stylist who writes and produces garden content for TV, magazines, social media, and her own website. She has lived and gardened at her 1935 English Tudor home in Oklahoma City for the past 30 years. Her garden has been featured in numerous magazines, including Southern LivingVictoriaGarden GateOklahomaMother Earth News, and others. Linda has hosted a weekly gardening segment on Oklahoma’s News 4 for 14 years. She also runs her own online television channel, Linda Vater TV, and has partnered with brands such as HGTV, Park Seed, the Home Depot, and the Southern Living Plant Collection.”

From Quarto 

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By Morgan Linson


“This is more than a travel book. It’s a collection of experiences from world traveler Morgan Linson, or as she’s known on YouTube–Morgan the Explorer. The Ultimate Experience is Morgan’s first, fully illustrated travel and advice book of her far-flung adventures. With boldness and determination, she navigates through many countries on the African continent, hikes through the rugged terrain in South America, and everywhere in between. Through her inspiring stories, practical tips, and candid reflections, Morgan shows us that travel can be a transformative experience for anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. She provides personal stories and sincere commentary, inspiring readers to step outside their comfort zone and explore the world on their own terms. Morgan mixes beautiful photos and stories to convey her passion for travel, all while a full-time employee and business owner. No matter how busy she is, travel is a hobby that she makes time for.

Want to know where to get the best views of Africa from a hot-air balloon? How to make friends in several languages? What was it like to travel into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and stand face to face with wild gorillas? If these adventures pique your travel interest then this is your book. From navigating unfamiliar cultures to overcoming fears and challenges, this book offers a roadmap for embracing the unknown and cultivating resilience, independence, and confidence. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-timer, this is a must-read for anyone seeking to break free from the confines of their comfort zone and explore the world on their own terms.”


Morgan Linson has been a Registered Nurse for 10 years.  She has a total of four college degrees, three of which are specific to Nursing.  Currently, she is a student on the track to obtain her Doctorate of Nursing Practice.  Her specialty is Progressive Care, Rehabilitation and Renal Transplant.  For the past 16 years, she has been working for the County of Los Angeles as a dedicated employee.  Recognized for her incredible work ethic, she was awarded Norse of the Year 202 and Daisy Award honoree multiple times.

Morgan is known by her students as Professor Linson.  Teaching nursing was far from her goal in the profession, but she has come to love and enjoy her role.  It has offered a unique opportunity to  make a positive impact on the lives of aspiring nurses and the future of healthcare.”

Available from Barnes & Noble 


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 Kristyna Litten



“What is the oldest breed of dog? Can dogs sniff out illnesses? Which breed has six toes?Including a stunning central gatefold that opens out to reveal all 80 dog breeds and where they come from, this book is a visual celebration of the huge variety of dogs found across the world, from those you already know and love to those that may surprise you. As the book takes the reader on a journey around the world, it reveals dogs with the most important jobs, breeds with unusual features, record-breaking dogs and more.

Focus spreads will explore subjects such as the canine family, dogs’ superpower sense of smell, and how dogs became man’s best friend.”


“Kristyna Litten is an awarding winning illustrator based in Yorkshire, England. Since graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 2010, Kristyna has gone on to illustrate and write numerous picture-books for children and her enthusiasm for nature, typography, fashion, architecture and pattern has led to many exciting projects with a wide variety of clients, such as Aardman, Gucci and DFS, and across many mediums. Though her passion lies with children’s books and publishing, her love for design and a fresh challenge brings energy and originality to every new project.”

Available from Barnes & Noble


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