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Monday, February 20, 2017

Children's Book Review~Ellie Camps Under the Stars

The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant is an adorable series for young children that entertains and teaches them important life lessons. We were introduced to this series a few years ago, and instantly fell in love with the adorable characters Ellie and Pudgy. We have collected all of the books in the series, and they are some of my grandson Daniel's (5 years old) favorites! Apparently, we aren't the only ones who love them, because these books are on the Amazon Best Sellers lists!

The latest book in the series is Ellie Camps under the Stars. Ellie and Pudgy are excited to try camping, but as with anything new, they are a bit nervous about their new adventure. They put up a tent, hike, look at stars, cook outside,  and see wonderful parts of the outdoors.

As in the rest of the Ellie series, the characters have lots of fun but learn some things along the way. In this book, they learn to respect nature, and that they could hike farther than they thought! They had fun playing games, and learned about constellations too!

I love how the cute pictures and beautiful illustrations are mixed together on the bright, colorful pages. The print is easy to see, and would make a great reader for early elementary ages. There are occasional questions to ask your child, such as counting how many marshmallows Pudgy has. At the back of the book is a maze and connect the dots(stars), as well as instructions on taking pictures of your own stuffed animals.

As I already mentioned, The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant series is one of my grandson's favorites. He gets to choose two stories to read at bedtime, and quite often one or both is an Ellie adventure! He was so excited when we turned the page to see the constellation Orion, as that is his middle name! He quickly had to go show everyone else in the house 'his' constellation! He was also amazed at the picture of Ellie and Pudgy behind the waterfall, as he did not know that was possible.

As always, these great books spark lots of good conversation with my grandson. He has never been camping, and now he wants to go! So I think we will be planning a little camping adventure of our own this summer, and maybe even take some favorite stuffed friends to take pictures of!

Both Daniel and I highly recommend Ellie Camps Under the Stars and the rest of the series!  A really exciting fact is that the author, Ellie Fair,  is only 13 years old! She co-wrote the books with her Mom, Marci Fair. You can learn more about The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant on their Facebook page, and all of the books are available for purchase on Amazon.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Children's Book Review and Giveaway~I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug!

About the Book: 
I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!, written by bestselling author Caroline B. Cooney, is a playful and comforting bedtime book that imagines all the wonderful ways a child might give and receive a hug. Whether it’s a big bear, gasp for air, knock over a chair hug or a wet and drippy, slimy, slippy fish hug, children will giggle their way through all the imaginative examples. Cooney’s sweet and simple rhymes encourage playful interaction between parent and child and ultimately help them wind down before they snuggle into bed and drift off to sleep. I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug is a sweet loving bedtime story book that is also sure to become a Valentine’s Day favorite for little ones who enjoy celebrating a day full of hugs and kisses from loved ones.  

About the Author & Illustrator:
Author Caroline B. Cooney was born in New York, grew up in Connecticut, and now lives in South Carolina. Caroline is the author of 90 Young Adult novels in many genres, and her books have sold over fifteen million copies. I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug is her first picture book. It’s based on a verse she wrote for her own children, Louisa, Sayre and Harold, who are grown now.

Illustrator Tim Warnes has been illustrating children's books for twenty years. He lives in Dorset, England, with his wife, children's illustrator Jane Chapman, and their two sons. When he's not drawing little critters, Tim loves to write, watch birds and play his banjo. Visit Tim at www.ChapmanandWarnes.com 

What I Thought: 

I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug!, written by Caroline B. Cooney and published by Zonderkidz (a division of Zondervan), is a 30 page hardcover book for children ages 4-8. It is full of cute, colorful illustrations. There is minimal writing on each page, making it an excellent book for beginning readers.My grandson Daniel, 5, loves I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! When asked  his favorite part, he said it was all the animals. There is a dog, a cat, a pig, a horse, a bear, a duck, a worm, a whale, and a sheep! They are each described as how it would be to give them a hug. He also enjoyed discovering that there was a little patch of yellow with red polka dots snuck somewhere into each page's illustration. That was fun to look for!

I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! was a perfect bedtime story-not too long, fun, and loving. Everyone loves hugs! This book would make a wonderful gift for a young child.  You can purchase your own copy from the Zondervan website.

I have one copy of  I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! to give away to a reader. You must be a US resident. Additional guidelines below in the Disclosure. Winner will be emailed within 24 hours of contest ending, and has 48 hours to respond. After 48 hours a new winner will be chosen. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Book Review and Author Giveaway~The Mark of the King

About the Book: After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.
When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?
With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

Read more reviews of this book at Litfuse.

Visit the author's website to learn more and purchase a copy

About the Author: Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013; Widow of Gettysburg; Yankee in Atlanta; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.
Connect with Jocelyn Green: 
  What I Thought: The Mark of the King was outside of my regular genres that I read and review. Historical fiction from the 1700s is not what I usually read. I tend to get comfortable, but I am so glad I went outside of my comfort zone and read this book! Although on the long side at 395 pages, I read The Mark of the King quickly because I could not wait to find out what happened next. Julianne's life is one of tragedy after tragedy, yet she remains strong throughout a life of hardships. Her career as a midwife was fascinating. I was appalled at the living conditions of the settlers in the Louisiana Colony, and the way she was treated for the brand on her body, a brand she never should have received. Through everything, Julianne longs for a loving husband and children. I thoroughly enjoyed The Mark of the King and will be checking out other books by Jocelyn Green. 

Click here to enter to win a 5-book giveaway from Jocelyn Green. 

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review & Author Kindle Fire Giveaway~Eden The Animals' Parable

Book Description:
"Ask the animals,  and they will teach you." Job 12:7
In this beautifully inspired retelling of the Gospels, we see Jesus and his disciples in the Holy Land through the eyes of the animals-especially his intrepid and loyal dog, Eden. With a wise, old donkey, innocent lambs, and legions of curious field mice-the animals follow their master's journey across Galilee and onto Jerusalem, rapt with awe and wonder and bearing great tidings-even if they don't fully comprehend the divine events they witness. Simple, clear, and spiritually profound, Eden is for readers of all ages, this artful retelling is captivating, moving, and alive with the joy you felt the first time you opened the Bible. 

About the Author:

Keith Korman is a literary agent and novelist. Over the years he has represented many nationally-known writers of fiction and non-fiction at his family's literary agency, Raines &Raines. The idea for Eden first came to him as a child when he saw the little calf jump across the stable in the prelude to William Wyler's Ben Hur. And he's been thinking about it ever since.
You can learn more about Eden and purchase your own copy here: https://www.edentheanimalsparable.com/book/
There is also a Facebook page for Eden: The Animals' Parable.   
More reviews are available at Litfuse.

My Thoughts: 
Eden: The Animals Parable was a delightful book to read. I really wasn't sure what to expect when I received it. It was a bit slow to start, but once the character Eden the dog was introduced, it all came together for me. I loved reading the gospel through the animals perspectives-although I know it was fiction, it gave me a fresh look at a story I already knew. The illustrations by Lisa Paris were beautiful. I think Eden would be a great book for an older child to read, as well as adults.
 Author Kindle Fire Giveaway!!
Return to the story of Jesus and read it from a new perspective in Keith Korman's Eden: The Animals' Parable. In this beautifully inspired retelling of the Gospels, we see Jesus and his disciples in the Holy Land through the eyes of the animals-especially his intrepid and loyal dog, Eden. Simple, clear, and spiritually profound, Eden is for readers of all ages, this artful retelling is captivating, moving, and alive with the joy you felt the first time you opened the Bible.

Settle in for some winter reading and enter to win a copy of Keith's book and a Kindle Fire!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Eden
  • A Kindle Fire
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on January 24. The winner will be announced January 25 on Keith's blog.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of  this book free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Review~The Angel of Forest Hill

Book Description: When Old Order Amish  Rose Kurtz is asked to leave her family, travel deep into West Virginia, and help Joel Dienner with his children in the wake of tragedy, the quiet young woman recognizes a home where she might find kindness instead of criticism and hope replacing harsh words. She agrees to stay in Forest Hill and become Joel's wife for the sake of his family needs, but their marriage is to be a partnership, one built from need, not love and affection.

As the years pass, Rose continues to beckon Joel to join life again, to take joy in his growing children, and to awaken his heart to the possibility of new love. Joel hopes that can move beyond deep-rooted hurts to see the beautiful Christmas ahead, their season. But will the arrival of a beautiful widow and a series of misunderstandings reverse how far Rose and Joel have come?

My Review: Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite Amish fiction authors, so I am always excited to read her latest book!  Then add in my favorite season, Christmas, and you have a recipe for a great  book. The Angel of Forest Hill was a sweet story of love and forgiveness. The thought of a young woman agreeing to marry a stranger (and they marry for life, no divorces) and care for his children is just hard to imagine. Rose and Joel's relationship grows over the years, but Rose still hangs on to so much hurt from her childhood and the harsh way her mother treated her.  I enjoyed this story and its characters. It was a quick read at just 196 pages, and includes two recipes as well.

*I received  this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review~Love Bears All Things

Book Description:

Could God be offering Charlotte a second chance at true love?
Charlotte Dolinsky needs time to recover after breaking up with her boyfriend, Ryan. But when a surprise visitor shows up on her doorstep in Texas, she’s forced to put aside her own worries to help her Amish friends in Lancaster County. Soon she is entangled in a web of deception and this time, she isn’t the only one keeping secrets.
Daniel Byler struggles each day in his Amish community to heal from his fiancĂ©e’s betrayal. When he discovers that a member of his family is in danger of being shunned, his pain turns to fear. His only way to help is by partnering with Charlotte, a woman he barely knows who has already deceived them all before.
Charlotte begins building a friendship with Daniel that she’ll need to lean on when more surprises surface from her past and she once again finds herself torn between two worlds. Will Charlotte’s friends in the Amish community be able to show her the power of redemption and lead her home? And can she help young Jacob realize that God offers second chances at happiness when she isn’t even sure herself?

My Thoughts:

Love Bears All Things is the second book in the Amish Secrets series by author Beth Wiseman. I loved the first book, Her Brother's Keeper, and I doubted that Love Bears All Things could live up to it. Well, I was wrong! Love Bears All Things was just as wonderful of a read! It was a real page-turner, as I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. There were several issues going on that needed to be resolved, including some romance, the mystery of Charlotte's brother's death, and if Jacob would leave the Amish. The mix of Englisch and Amish lives is always interesting, even more so if a spark of romance is lit. From beginning to end, this book held my attention and kept me wanting more. As always with Beth Wiseman, I felt like I got to know the characters very well.  The Amish Secrets Series is a must-read!!

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.