icRKphJXQm-ezth8lntKydifkDg The Loose Screw: 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016

Children's Book Review and Giveaway~Charlie the Tramp


About the Book: 
Charlie the Tramp was originally published in 1966, and this special hardcover edition is the 50th anniversary edition of the book. Written by author Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban, it was the winner of the 1968 Boys Club of America Junior Book Award. It is 48 pages long and written for ages 3-8.

Charlie the Beaver wants to be a tramp when he grows up. “Tramps don’t have to learn how to chop down trees and how to roll logs and how to build dams. Tramps just tramp around and have a good time. Tramps carry sticks with little bundles tied to them. They sleep in a field when the weather is nice, and when it rains they sleep in a barn.” Charlie sets off with his bundle. But when he hears water trickling, he can’t get to sleep. Will he be able to resist the urge to make it stop? As Grandfather Beaver says, “You never know when a tramp will turn out to be a beaver.” 

About the Author and Illustrator: 
Russell Hoban (1925-2011) first became famous for his children’s picture books about a badger named Frances and other animal characters that have a lot in common with children we know – bedtime for Frances, A Baby Sister for Frances, Bread and Jam for Frances, and Emmit Otter’s Jug-band Christmas.

Lillian Hoban (1925-1998), one of America’s favorite children’s book illustrators, is best known for a young chimpanzee named Arthur and his little sister, Violet. She also illustrated six of Russell Hoban’s books about Frances the badger, which have taken their place among the great classics of children’s literature. Lillian Hoban was born in Philadelphia and attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art. She studied dance for ten years and became a professional dancer. She began to write and illustrate her own stories only after having children, basing her tales on their experiences.

What I Thought: Charlie the Tramp is an adorable story from many years ago. It reminded me of the books I read as a child, so different from modern children's books. When I saw the length of the book and  that the pictures were all black and white, I was thinking my grandson, age 5, would not last through the entire story. I was wrong! He really enjoyed the cute story, and later on asked my 14-year-old son to read it to him again. My teenage son told me it was a cute and funny story too!

I enjoyed the moral of the story-let children stretch their wings and find their own way, but if they were guided correctly they will eventually come back to what they were meant to do. The only thing I could see some viewing negatively are the gender stereotypes (think 50 years ago). Even with that, it is an adorable story with sweet illustrations that would appeal to children.

To learn more about Charlie the Tramp and purchase your own copy, visit this website: http://www.plough.com/en/topics/culture/short-stories/charlie-the-tramp
You can also purchase the book at Amazon.

Giveaway!!!  
I have one copy of Charlie the Tramp to give away. To enter, comment below with your favorite book when you were a child. Make sure to leave your email address, as the winner will be contacted by email. Contest ends 12/11.  See additional restrictions below.


“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, 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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Book Review~A Love Made New


About the Book:  

Abigail Schrock knows God can make all things new, but does that include her broken heart?

It seems as if everyone is falling in love in Birch Creek, including Abigail Schrock. But when heartbreak descends on her already fragile world, she can’t help but feel that if she’d only been a little prettier, she could be on her way down the wedding aisle. To make matters worse, Abigail’s two sisters have found love, while all Abigail can seem to find is the chocolate she has stashed away in the pantry.
Asa Bontrager has never had trouble with the ladies in his Amish community—his good looks have always gotten him far. Which is why he’s baffled by the call he’s received from God to pursue Abigail, a woman who seems determined to turn him away.
Can Abigail find the peace and joy she so desperately desires? Will she allow herself to stop running and melt into the embrace of unforeseen comfort? If she does, she may just discover a love powerful enough to lift the heavy burden of grief weighing her down and restore her hope in a promising future.

What I Thought: 

A Love Made New is the third book in author Kathleen Fuller's series Amish of Birch Creek. I did read the first two books in the series, A Reluctant Bride and An Unbroken Heart. I do believe the author gives enough background in each book that they could be read without the earlier books in the series, but I think the reader will get the most out of the series if they read all three books. 

Each book in the Amish of Birch Creek series focuses on one of the three Schrock sisters, who lost their parents in a horrible buggy crash. They each have their own issues they are dealing with, and in A Love Made New, the main story is about Abigail Schrock. Abigail has gained weight since the accident, and is very self conscious. Then her boyfriend, who she planned to marry, breaks up with her for another girl. She has a lot of work to do to learn to love herself again. Asa Bontrager is way out of her league-she thinks-so when he shows interest in her, she does not respond well. 

I enjoyed how A Love Made New wrapped up the story of all three sisters. Each sister had problems that readers could relate to.  The focus on family, God, and community was strong. At the back of the book are some discussion questions, making it a great book for a group. 
 *Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from BookLook in exchange for my honest review.
 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Children's Book Review and Giveaway~Where Jesus Slept


 Where Jesus Slept, written by Norma Lewis and illustrated by Katy Hudson, is a delightful book for young children to learn the story of the birth of Jesus. Read more about it below, and be sure to enter for your chance to win a copy!

About the Book: 
Publisher: Worthy Kids/Ideals
Format: jacketed hardcover
Trim size: 10x10
Page count: 32
Retail price: $16.99
Reading age: 4-7

“This is the bed where Jesus slept. This is the straw that lined the bed where Jesus slept.” From here, the story builds with each spread, adding a new element and explaining the relationships among the participants and witnesses to the first Christmas. From Jesus sleeping sweetly to the wise men bringing gifts, this charming book reminds readers young and not-so-young of the joyous event we celebrate at Christmastime. Children will love the delightful illustrations and the engaging repetition in this cumulative tale.

About the Author: 
 Norma Lewis is the author of ten books, including Connecting the Coasts: The Race to Build the Transcontinental Railroad and Kasey's River Song. She lives in Grand Haven, Michigan, with a marmalade cat named Scalawag. When Scalawag isn't busy living up to his name, they both love spending time with her six grandchildren.

About the Illustrator: 
 Katy Hudson was raised in Middlesbrough, United Kingdom, and started her career as a small child drawing on freshly painted walls! Her parents quickly encouraged drawing with pencil and paper instead. The idea stuck, and after earning a degree in Illustration, Katy embarked on a career illustrating books, including All Things Bright and Beautiful, Too Many Carrots, and Bear and Duck. Katy works at a desk in a studio in an old library and likes to tap dance in her spare time.

What I Thought: 


Where Jesus Slept is a beautiful hardcover book. The illustrations are beautiful and attractive to children. The font is larger, perfect for beginning readers. Here is my grandson Daniel, 5, totally engrossed in Where Jesus Slept. He loves his books, and his favorites tend to be ones that are repetitive and with lots of illustrations. I know that this book will be a favorite of his.

In Where Jesus Slept, the story starts with a few sentences-"This is the BED where JESUS slept. This is the straw that lined the BED where JESUS slept. " Then, a new sentence is added, but you have to repeat the first two as well, and so on, until you have one really long sentence! Daniel thought it was so much fun, especially if I acted out of breath by the final, LONG sentence. I think the bold, large repeated words are a great idea. I asked Daniel to find  how many times he saw the word BED, which is a great exercise for word recognition. The content in this book is so special and important, so making it fun to read for little ones is a wonderful way to get the message to them.

In our house, Where Jesus Slept will be kept out only for the Christmas season, then packed up and put away until next year. Each year, the special Christmas books are such a treat to read and remember. Where Jesus Slept would make a wonderful gift as well.

Giveaway!!!
One lucky reader will win a copy of Where Jesus Slept! Enter using Rafflecopter below. Only open to residents of the continental United States. The winner will be emailed within 24 hours of the contest end, and then has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn.


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, 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.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Book Review~Christian's Hope


About the Book: When Christian Hochstetler returns to the Amish after seven years in captivity, he finds that many things have shifted.
Captured as a child during the French and Indian War, Christian has spent much of his life among Native Americans, who cared for him and taught him their ways. Now that Christian is home, his father wants him to settle back into their predictable Amish life of farming, and Christian's budding friendship with Orpha Rupp beckons him to stay as well.

Yet Christian feels restless, and he misses his adoptive Native American family---who raised him as their own son. When faced with a life-altering decision, will Christian choose the Amish identity that his father desires for him? Or will he depart from his family and faith community yet again?

Christian's Hope tells the story of the younger brother of Joseph and son of Jacob, whom readers have come to love in the first two books in the Return to Northkill series. Based on actual events and written by a descendant of the Hochstetler family, Christian's Hope brings the sweeping epic of the Return to Northkill series to a soul-stirring end.


Read more reviews at Litfuse. You can  purchase your own copy of Christian's Hope at MennoMedia Publishing.  

About the Author: 

Ervin R. Stutzman is author of Jacob's Choice, Joseph's Dilemma, Tobias of the Amish, and Emma, A Widow Among the Amish. Born into an Amish home in Kalona, Iowa, Stutzman based the Return to Northkill series on the life of his ancestor, Jacob Hochstetler. He has been featured on TLC's Who Do You Think You Are?

What I Thought: Christian's Hope is the third book in author Ervin R. Stutzman's series Return to Northkill. This book and series is different from any other Amish fiction I have read, and believe me, I've read a lot of Amish fiction!! It is historical, based on a true story, and the author is a descendant of the characters! The other way this book is different is that it is set in the 1700s during the French and Indian war. It was fascinating to read, knowing the basic story really happened. 

I did not read the first two books in the series, however I do think Christian's Hope can be a standalone book. The story lagged for me in a few areas, but I wonder if it would not have had I read the first two. I would like to go back and read them. My heart went out to Christian-here he had been raised by his Indian family most of his life, with faint memories of his early years as Amish. Suddenly thrust back with his Amish family, he misses his Indian family and is set in the Indian ways. His Amish father wants him to be content with a future as an Amish father, but he does not know that is for him. Christian is torn between two very different worlds and families, and does not know who he should be loyal to. 

I am very impressed with the amount of research this book must have taken for the author. Although I'm sure it was fascinating for him as it was his ancestors. At the back of Christian's Hope is more about the author, acknowledgements, and historical notes. If you like reading historical fiction and about the Amish, you will love this series.


Book Reviews~A Sister's Wish and An Amish Family Christmas







In Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.
Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get… but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.
Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past…unless it pertains to Amelia.
He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy.
But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love… but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.

Learn more about A Sister's Wish and purchase your own copy at author Shelley Shepard Gray's website.






 
In Shelley Shepard Gray’s fourth book in her Charmed Amish Life series, an unlikely Amish romance reveals that Christmas is a time for family, miracles—and love.

Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.
But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can’t help having doubts. There’s something about Julia that doesn’t ring quite true…
Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships—but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she’s hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually…perhaps even sharing her life with him.
Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together…in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.

Learn more about An Amish Family Christmas and purchase your own copy at Shelley Shephard Gray's website. 

My Review:  Author Shelley Shephard Gray is one of my favorite authors. I can always count on her to keep me interested in the story and connected to the characters. She did a fabulous job, once again, in both A Sister's Wish and An Amish Family Christmas. These two books are books three and four in The Charmed Amish Life Series. I did read the first two books in the series first, A Son's Vow and A Daughter's Dream. Although I think you might be able to read the books on their own, I definitely think you would get the most out of them if you read all four in the series as there is so much history to all of the characters. 

A Sister's Wish focuses on Amelia and Simon, who want a life together but her family disagrees. They think Simon's past is too much for their baby sister. Forgiveness, trust, and following your heart are key elements in the story. 

In An Amish Family Christmas, Levi and his neighbor Julia are both struggling. Levi with grief over the death of his father, and Julia running from an abusive ex-boyfriend and father of her child. Together, they learn to trust and open up again, to let the healing process begin. 

Both books have a section at the end that I think is a great addition-the P.S. section. In it is a note from the author, information about the author, a recipe, interesting facts, discussion questions, and a sneak peak of the author's next book. I can't wait to try the recipe for Monster Cookies!

I highly recommend reading this entire series. I have enjoyed each and every book, and I'm sad the series has come to an end. Shelley Shephard Gray does such a great job that I feel like the characters are actual people I know! I wish I lived in an Amish area!  






Enter to win a Book Pack here!

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Children's Book Review~Zacchaeus and Jesus


Zacchaeus and Jesus is a 48-page hardcover children's book written by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Lisa Manuzak. The book is from the Flipside Stories series, published by Tyndale Kids, a division of Tyndale House Publishers. The suggested age range is 3-8.

Zacchaeus and Jesus is a special book, because it is two books in one! Half of the book is the story of them meeting from  Zacchaeus' point of view, then you flip the book over and...





...now it is the same story, but from Jesus' point of view. This is great to help kids learn that there are two sides to every story. The illustrations are bright and colorful, and the print is large and easy for beginning readers. My grandson thinks Zacchaeus and Jesus is so much fun to read, and requests it often for his bedtime story. Here are Daniel (5) and Daisy (5 months), reading:

I would love to get the other books in the Flipside Stories series for my grandson to enjoy! You can purchase your own copy of Zacchaeus and Jesus at Tyndale.

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Book Review~Fraying at the Edge






Fraying at the Edge, by author Cindy Woodsmall, is the second book in The Amish of Summer Grove series. At the end of the first book in the series,  Ties that Bind, two young women from very different worlds discover they were accidentally switched at birth. Ariana Brenneman has been raised in an Old Order Amish Family, while Skylar Nash was raised in the Englisch world. In Fraying at the Edge,  Ariana and Skylar are forced to go live with their birth parents for a year, to experience what life they should have lived. Nicholas, Ariana's birth father, threatened to sue the midwife, so the Brennemans feel they must abide by his wishes. Skylar's life had spiraled out of control, and living life on an Amish farm seemed a better option than rehab. Ariana, on the other hand, has everything going for her-a man she plans to marry, a loving family, and a cafe she just purchased. Both girls are thrust into lives that are new and scary, and they struggle to get through each day. Will any good come out of this, or will relationships be damaged?

Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite authors, and I have read all of her books. Her style of writing draws me in, and in Fraying at the Edge, as with all of her other books, I feel like I know the characters personally. This book was so hard to put down! I do think that you would be confused if you did not read the first book in the series, Ties that Bind, before this one. At the back of the book is a Glossary of Amish words. I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

You can purchase your own copy of Fraying at the Edge at Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.

*I received a copy of this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review~365 Pocket Morning Prayers


365 Pocket Morning Prayers: Strength and Joy to Begin Each Day was written by David R. Veerman and published by Tyndale Momentum, part of Tyndale House Publishers. It is 4x6, with a leather-like finish, embossed with a palm tree and birds on the cover. It is 316 pages long, with a topical index at the end of the book.

Each day/prayer is a different topic, with scripture included using New Living Translation. The prayers are in sets of seven for a week, with the 6th and 7th days (representing the weekend) shorter than the others. You can read one each day for an entire year, or go to the index at the back and choose your topic for the day. The author states in his introduction, "The prayer itself may involve praise, confession, or challenge, all with the purpose of drawing you closer to God."

I have been enjoying 365 Pocket Morning Prayers. It is compact enough to keep in my bag and pull out while waiting in line to pick my son up from school. I have not been reading the prayers chronologically, but have been picking a topic from the index each day. Each prayer is short enough to read quickly, but deep enough to make an impact on my day. I found them interesting and relevant to today's world.

You can purchase your own copy of 365 Morning Prayers at Tyndale.

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

Review~Gratitude-A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal






Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal is a gorgeous 6x8 hardcover book to color and journal in.  It is 110 pages long, with 40 needs-based prayers covering a variety of topics. There are over 100 designs to color, with lots of room to write and/or sketch. There are prompts, or you can do your own thing.

Here is an example of a page ready to color and journal:




There are also some pages already with color that have space to journal or doodle on:


Here is a page that I colored with colored pencils:




I am not an artistic person, but I love pretty things! Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal is beautiful!!! I love it, and think it would make a wonderful gift. The size is smaller (6x8), so it fits great in a purse or bag. It is very sturdy, and the pages are nice and thick. I have really enjoyed the positivity of all the topics, and the plentiful scripture throughout.

Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal is part of Tyndale's Living Expressions Collection. Click on the link to see the beautiful collection and purchase your own! You will be glad you did.

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

Monday, October 3, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived In..Ancient Greece


If You Were Me and Lived in..Ancient Greece is part of author Carole P. Roman's series An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time. This book was illustrated by Mateya Arkova, and is 54 pages long. It is recommended for ages 8-12, but I think it could be extended in both directions to younger and older readers alike. My almost 14-year-old son has been reading this series and enjoying it.

So much about Ancient Greece is covered in this book! Just to touch on some of the topics included-landscape, clothing, food, school, sports, and family life. The illustrations in If You Were Me and Lived in...Ancient Greece are beautiful! I love the soft, pastel colors and watercolor look. This book is great for kids to really get an idea of what life would have been like in Ancient Greece. Younger readers might need some help with some of the longer pages of text. Very helpful, in the back of the book, is a list of Gods and Goddesses, as well as a Glossary to look up unfamiliar words.

My family and I love all of author Carole P. Roman's books, and they are treasured parts of our home library. If You Were Me and Lived in...Ancient Greece would also make a great gift. I used to homeschool, and this series would have been perfect when we were studying history!

To learn more about this book and author Carole P. Roman's other books, including purchasing links, visit her website at www.caroleproman.com . She also has resource pages that go along with this book and others at her blog http://caroleproman.blogspot.com  .

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

Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Review~The Courtship Basket






About the Book:

Years ago, a picnic basket brought two hearts together. For Rachel and Mike, history may be about to repeat itself.
Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she’s loved for years leaves her to date her best friend. Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love. Determined to keep her mind off the pain, she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities.
Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John. When John joins Rachel’s class and she learns that his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something as simple as a meal.
With her parents’ old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family. As the weeks go by, John’s grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike. They can’t deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship.
The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones. Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope for the future?

What I Thought: 
The Courtship Basket is the second book in author Amy Clipston's Amish Heirloom series.  I did not read the first book in the series, The Forgotten Recipe-I'm not quite sure how that one slipped by me, as the author is one of my top ten amish fiction writers.  So, I will definitely have to go back and read that one!  The good news is that I discovered you do not need to read The Forgotten Recipe to understand The Courtship Basket-it stands alone just fine. 

The Courtship Basket caught my attention quickly and held it until the last page. I felt compassion for the main characters of Rachel and Mike. Rachel had her heart broken after a four-year relationship with the man she planned to marry, and Mike is caring for his very ill father and young brother. They both need someone in their lives, but neither thinks the timing is right. God has His own plans, however, and they must learn to open their hearts to each other. There are Discussion questions at the back of the book, making it a great Book Club choice. I highly recommend The Courtship Basket!

*I received a copy of this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.  

Saturday, September 17, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived In..Colonial America


If you've read my blog, you may have noticed that I have written several reviews of books written by author Carole P. Roman. She is a favorite author of mine, and my family loves her fun and educational books for children. Even the adults usually learn a thing or two (or ten!) with each book we read!

Today I'm reviewing If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America, part of the An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time series, written by Carole P. Roman and illustrated by Sarah Wright, with accompanying illustrations by Kelsea Wierenga. The paperback (ISBN 9781523234073) is 53 pages, with a glossary and a list of influential people from the time period at the back of the book. The suggested age range is 5-13, which seemed just right to me. There is a lot of text on some pages, so younger readers may need some help.

In If You Were Me and Lived in..Colonial America, the religious differences of the time are discussed to explain the reason for people to leave their country for a new land. The long, difficult trip on the ships and the harsh conditions of their new home are explained in detail. Clothing, chores, food, schooling, and play are some of the topics described.

Author Carole P. Roman did a fantastic job explaining and describing life in Colonial America. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and my 13-year-old son liked it as well. The adorable illustrations make it fun and draw kids' attention. The glossary was very helpful for the words my son was not familiar with. 

If You Were Me and Lived in..Colonial America would be a great book for home and schools. I think the entire set would make a great gift. You can learn more about author Carole P. Roman and her books, including links to purchase, at her website, www.caroleproman.com . She also has a blog with additional resources, at http://caroleproman.blogspot.com/ .

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

Children's Book Review~Ellie's Fun Day at the Farm





Ellie's Fun Day at the Farm is the fifth book in the series The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant. These books were written by Marci Fair and her daughter, twelve-year-old Elle Fair.  Marci's other daughter, Courtney, took the photographs for this book!

In Ellie's Fun Day at the Farm, Ellie the Elephant and Pudgy the Penguin are eating lunch and wonder where their yummy food comes from. So, they visit a farm to learn more.  At the farm, they see a tractor, lots of animals, the garden, and flowers. They make new friends, get to bottle feed a baby goat, and sit on eggs to keep them warm. At the end of their day, they ate a snack fresh from the farm and relaxed in a hammock. They sure learned a lot! At the end of the book are some dot-to-dots, a crossword puzzle, and some pictures to find differences in. 

 We have all of the books in the series, and they are my grandson Daniel's favorites. He just turned five and this series is perfect to help instill a love of reading. When he arrived at my house on the day Ellie's Fun Day at the Farm arrived in the mail, he was so excited! I think he feels like Ellie and Pudgy are his personal friends. We had to read the book right away, and then again before bedtime. The authors should note this is quite an honor because this little boy has a lot of books, and he only gets to pick one for his bedtime story.  His 'Ellie books' get chosen quite often. Daniel really enjoyed the puzzles too!

Daniel and I highly recommend Ellie's Fun Day at the Farm and the entire series. The mix of real pictures and illustrations captures my grandson's attention, and of course the story is awesome! In this book, there are lots of funny puns as well! These books would make a great gift for a young child.

You can learn more about The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant at www.EllieAdventures.com and on Facebook. 

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

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Book Review & Giveaway~Sister Eve and the Blue Nun




About the Book:
Sister Eve, a motorcycle-riding nun with a natural (or is it supernatural?) gift for solving murders returns to the enclave she once called home and quickly finds herself confronting yet another mysterious death. Someone has poisoned Dr. Kelly Middlesworth-a researcher on the life and ministry of 17th-century's revered "Blue Nun"-and a set of irreplaceable historic documents have disappeared before they could ever be examined. When all evidence seems to point to the victim's brother, Sister Eve sets out to expose the killer and learn the explosive truth those missing manuscripts might contain. Chasing a killer is dangerous work, and as her two worlds collide, Sister Eve may need some heavenly help simply to survive. 

What I Thought:
Sister Eve and the Blue Nun is the third book in the Divine Private Detective Agency Mystery series written by Lynne Hinton. This is the first book I have read by the author. The paperback is 324 pages and includes discussion questions.

I enjoyed the characters of Sister Eve (how often do you hear of a crime-fighting nun?) and her father. The topic of the Blue Nun was something I had never heard of and it was fascinating to learn more about her, as well as the New Mexico area.

I lost interest in the book a few times and was confused a few times, but hung in there to find out who the killer was. Maybe everything would have moved along better for me if I had read the first two books, I don't know. The story line itself was good, but there was something about the way it was written that didn't work for me.

Giveaway!!!
I have an extra copy of Sister Eve and the Blue Nun to give away to a US resident. I will email the winner after the giveaway, and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn.  Enter below: 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review~The Alliance



About the Book:
The Alliance, written by Jolina Petersheim, was published by Tyndale House Publishers, and is 384 pages long. ISBN 978-1496402219

Leora Ebersole is a young woman who is part of an Old Order Mennonite community.  She has had a rough life, and has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders caring for her siblings. One day, a small plane crashed into the field near her house. She and other community members rush to pull out the pilot, Moses Hughes. At the same time outside their community, cars came to a stop, and there was no more electricity or cell phones. Moses explained to the Pacifist community that he believes an EMP has occurred, and the community is at risk from outsiders wanting their food stores.

In the days that followed, although from two different worlds, Moses and Leora become closer, to the dismay of the Mennonites close to Leora. As their lives become more and more dangerous, their backgrounds seem to matter less, and it is just a matter of survival.  As an Old Order Mennonite, Leora and others must come to terms with deciding what lengths they would go to to protect their loved ones.


About the Author:

Jolina Petersheim is the bestselling author of The Midwife and The Outcast, which Library Journal called "outstanding . . . fresh and inspirational" in a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. Her writing has been featured in venues as varied as radio programs, nonfiction books, and numerous online and print publications such as Reader's Digest, Writer's Digest, and Today's Christian Woman. Jolina and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but now live on a solar-powered farm in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin with their young daughters. Follow Jolina and her blog at jolinapetersheim.com

What I Thought: 

If I could give The Alliance more than five stars, I would! It was an amazing story that kept me on the edge of my seat until the end. Actually, I'm still on the edge of my seat because there is a sequel that hopefully comes out soon.  I love Amish and Mennonite fiction, as well as apocalyptic stories, so this was a great combination of the two. It was not like any other story I have read before. The characters Leora and Moses were wonderfully developed and I felt like I was feeling their turmoil along with them. The story makes you wonder how far you would go to protect your loved ones. I highly recommend The Alliance!

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

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review & Author Giveaway~Service Tails: More Stories of Man's Best Hero



About the Book: 
Heart-tugging true stories of the courage, faith, and loyalty of remarkable service dogs. Not all heroic dogs wildly toss themselves into lifesaving situations. Some save lives simply by their incredible commitment to duty and service. Some lead the way to independence for people whose disabilities were supposed to limit their lives.

In Service Tails: More Stories of Man's Best Hero, prolific author Ace Collins introduces us to leaders whose entire lives are wrapped in the banner of service. Their stories are remarkable snapshots of the value of vision and teamwork, as well as devotion to duty and unconditional love and acceptance---stretching the way we see both canine and human potential. Their training was intense, their loyalty unquestioned and each step of the way they constantly adapt to better serve those they lead. These unforgettable dogs are more than heroes; they are models from which we can learn how to love and serve unconditionally.


Purchasing Link: You can purchase your own copy of Service Tails at Abingdon Press. 

 About the Author: 


Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. He has authored more than sixty books that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children's works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play. Ace lives in Arkansas.

Connect with author Ace Collins:
 Website
 Facebook
 Twitter

What I Thought: 
I love animals, especially dogs, so I was thrilled to review Service Tails: More Stories of Man's Best Hero. I had not read Man's Best Hero, but had read great reviews on it, so I was hoping Service Tails was great as well.

Service Tails has an Introduction, then twelve chapters that are each individual true stories of service dogs and their people. The first chapter, Beginnings, tells the fascinating story of how the first service dog came to America in the 1920s. The other eleven chapters are all more recent stories. Each chapter is between 15-20 pages, making it easy to set down between chapters and pick up later without having to remember the story you were reading.

I loved each and every chapter in Service Tails. I knew service animals could do amazing things, but did not realize the depth of their service. These incredible animals become their owner's eyes, ears, hands and feet, while providing companionship and love. Again and again, the stories expressed the huge increase in self-worth these people would gain with their guide dogs assistance.

Each and every story in Service Tails: More Stories of Man's Best Hero touched and amazed me in a different way. I am looking forward to passing this book on to my parents, who are also dog lovers and I know will thoroughly enjoy reading it. I also plan to read Man's Best Hero right away! Thank you to author Ace Collins for a wonderful book!

You can read more reviews of Service Tails at Litfuse.

Author Giveaway
 
Fall in love with these remarkable service dogs and their stories of courage, faith, and loyalty in Ace Collins' new book, Service Tails. Their training was intense, their loyalty unquestioned and each step of the way they constantly adapt to better serve those they lead. These unforgettable dogs are more than heroes; they are models from which we can learn how to love and serve unconditionally.

Celebrate the release of Service Tails with Ace by entering to win the Take-Your-Dog-to-the-Park Pack!

service tails - 400 (2) 

One grand prize winner will receive:
service tails - prize collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 30. The winner will be announced August 31 on the Litfuse blog.


service tails - enterbanner

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

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review & Author Giveaway~When Death Draws Near



About the Book: 
Death has always been part of Gwen Marcey’s job. But when faced with her own mortality, everything takes on a different hue.
Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs and homes when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky. The Eastern Kentucky town, located deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, has been plagued by a serial rapist and a series of unexplained deaths. Before Gwen can develop a composite drawing, the latest witness vanishes, just like all the previous victims.
Turning her attention to sketching the face of an unidentified body, she discovers a link between his death and a Pentecostal serpent-handling church. Serpent-handling is illegal in Kentucky, and the churches have gone underground to avoid the authorities and continue to worship as they believe. Gwen is offered a handsome reward to infiltrate the renegade members, a reward she desperately needs as it seems her breast cancer has returned.
Joined by her digitally-obsessed, Generation Z daughter, Gwen goes undercover to a nineteenth century revival, planning to draw the faces of the snake handlers so they can be identified and arrested. Instead she uncovers a murderous plot and a festering evil.

About the Author: 

  Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

What I Thought: 
When Death Draws Near is the second book I have read by Carrie Stuart Parks. The first book was A Cry in the Dust, and I was captivated by it. Although the books have the same main characters, the stories are separate and stand alone. Although I never gave much thought to what a forensic artist does, reading these two books has made me so intrigued by the job and all that it entails. Gwen Marcey puts herself, friends and family in danger with each new case-making for a thrilling read. Multiple cases intertwining, many interesting characters, and Gwen's personal trials make for an edge-of-your-seat story I couldn't put down. There are Discussion Questions at the end of the book, making it a great choice for a Book Club. 

You can read more reviews of When Death Draws Near at Litfuse. Purchase your own copy of the book, and learn more about the author and her other books at her website.



Author Giveaway:

Plunge into forensic artist Gwen Marcey's world, full of cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects. Add Carrie Stuart Parks' new Gwen Marcey novel, When Death Draws Near, to the top of your must-read list. Gwen accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before she can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her—before she becomes a victim herself?

Join Carrie in celebrating the release of When Death Draws Near by entering to win an Undercover Artist Starter Set.

when death draws near - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
when death draws near - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 22. The winner will be announced August 23 on the Litfuse blog.




when death draws near - enterbanner

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

Monday, August 15, 2016

Children's Book Review AND Giveaway~I Love You Just Because


About the Book:  Through adorable, cuddly art and fun rhyming text, I Love You Just Because will help little ones understand their parents' love for them and that it doesn't have to be earned. With playful artwork and the same friendly bear family you already know and love from Donna Keith's first two books—I Love You All the Same and I Love You Even When—the sweet story of this book will touch you and your family and will remind you that family members love each other...just because.
Parents will gravitate toward the felt need and fun messaging of this book as it seeks to help them explain to their little ones that they are truly loved just because.

Purchasing and Social Links:
Amazon-https://www.amazon.com/dp/0718088530/ref=cm_sw_su_dp?tag=hcads-20

 Facebook @DonnaKeithAuthor
Facebook @TommyNelsonBooks
Twitter @TommyNelson
Instagram  @TommyNelsonBooks
Pinterest Tommy-Nelson-Books


What I Thought: 


Written by Donna Keith and illustrated by Alison Edgson, this adorable hardcover board book captured our hearts. The picture above is my grandson Daniel, 4, 'reading' I Love You Just Because to our new puppy, Daisy. I love this picture and the sweet looks on both their faces!  

There are many reasons we like this book so much-the adorable illustrations, the cute and meaningful story, and the bible verses on each page. But I think the main reason is that lately we've been talking about adoption. I was adopted and we adopted our youngest son. This topic recently came up with my grandson, and he has been trying to understand. It was perfect timing to receive I Love You Just Because and read about the three different bear cubs who were all given to their parents by God. They look different and eat different things, but are loved just the same by their parents and grandparents. 

Giveaway!!!
I have one copy to give away! I will email the winner within 24 hours of the contest end, and the winner will have 48  hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. 


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.  Open to residents of US and Canada.If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, 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.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Children's Book Review~Can a Princess Be a Firefighter?


Author Carole P. Roman has written another delightful children's book, Can a Princess Be a Firefighter? Illustrated by Mateya Arkova, the book is thirty-two pages long with just one or two lines of text on the pages. It would make a great gift for a beginning reader. 

In Can a Princess Be a Firefighter?  two little girls ask their father if they can still be princesses if they were to become firefighters. The father describes all the different occupations they can become when they are older-they can be anything they want to be, and still be princesses. 

Although it looks like a 'girly' book from the cover, my grandson Daniel enjoyed the book. The story rhymes, and the pictures are so cute! He likes to see the girls dressed up in all the different outfits for the different jobs. I love the sweet story and the beautiful, soft illustrations.

Award winning author Carole P. Roman is a former teacher turned businesswoman. She has successfully run a family business with her husband. Her most favorite job is being grandmother to her many grandchildren. She currently lives on Long Island with her husband.

You can learn more about the author and her books and order your own copy of Can a Princess Be a Firefighter?  at http://www.caroleproman.com/

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

Children's Book Review~Rocket-Bye


Rocket-Bye is a sweet new book written by Carole P. Roman and illustrated by Mateya Arkova. It is thirty-two pages, with only one sentence on each page, making it perfect for an early reader to read on their own, or a great bedtime story to share.  The illustrations are whimsical, with beautiful, soft colors.






Rocket-Bye appealed to my four-year-old grandson immediately, with its rocket ship on the cover! He enjoyed the cute rhyming story, and loved the pictures of the planets, constellations, and stars. This book is frequently requested for his bedtime story.




Award winning author Carole P. Roman is a former teacher turned businesswoman. She has successfully run a family business with her husband. Her most favorite job is being grandmother to her many grandchildren. She currently lives on Long Island with her husband.

 To purchase your own copy of Rocket-Bye and learn more about the author and her books, visit her website.

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


Monday, July 25, 2016

Children's Book Review and Giveaway~All Things Bright and Beautiful


About the book:
Jacketed Hardcover
Page count: 32
Reading age: 4-7
Category: juvenile fiction/Christian
Retail price: $15.99

 First published by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1848, this favorite hymn has become a mainstay of churches and Sunday school classes everywhere. Here artist Katy Hudson brings new joy to the words with her fresh and bright watercolor style. Readers can join in the fun as they follow two little girls and their brother on a day filled with the discovery of “all things bright and beautiful.” 


About the Illustrator:

Katy Hudson was raised in Middlesbrough, England, and started her career as a small child drawing on freshly painted walls. Her parents quickly encouraged drawing with pencil and paper instead. The idea stuck, and after earning a degree in illustration, Katy is now a freelance illustrator. Katy works at a desk in a studio within Old London Library and likes to tap dance in her spare time. 

What I Thought: 

I just love beautiful, hardcover books to share with my children and now grandchild. All Things Bright and Beautiful is a perfect addition to my collection. The story is an old children's hymn written by Cecil Frances Alexander in the mid-1800s, but it is a message just as wonderful for children today. My grandson loves to memorize stories and then 'read' them to me, and this book is perfect for that. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, and the detail is amazing. We spend a lot of time studying each beautiful page. All Things Bright and Beautiful is my grandson's new favorite for his bedtime story, and I'm sure it will be treasured in our home for many years. It would make a perfect gift!

You can purchase your own copy of All Things Bright and Beautiful at Amazon.  

Giveaway!!!!
I have one copy of All Things Bright and Beautiful to give away! Use the Rafflecopter form below. I will email the winner within 24 hours of the contest closing. Winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. Open to residents of US and Canada. See other restrictions in the disclosure at the bottom of the post. 



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, 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.”

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Book Review~The Quality of Silence


 About the Book (description from Crown Publishing)
Thrillingly suspenseful and atmospheric, The Quality of Silence is the story of Yasmin, a beautiful, troubled astrophysicist, and her precocious, deaf ten-year-old daughter, Ruby, who arrive in a remote part of Alaska only to learn that Ruby's father, Matt, has been the victim of a catastrophic accident. Unable to accept his death as truth, Yasmin and Ruby set out into the hostile tundra to find him. They grow increasingly isolated with each frozen mile they cover as their search takes them deeper and deeper into the endless Alaskan night. Mother and daughter discover unknown strength and focus as they press on, convinced that Matt is still alive. But as the arctic winter tightens its grip, Yasmin realizes that someone is out there trying to stop them, who is tracking them relentlessly through the soundless dark. Written in breathtaking, pitch-perfect prose, The Quality of Silence explores the powerful love of a family and the very limits of human resilience. 

What I Thought: 
I enjoy a good, suspenseful thriller, and I am fascinated with Alaska-so The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton was a perfect match. This book is written from both the perspective of Yasmin, the mother, and Ruby, the daughter, so I felt like I was really getting to know them both and their deepest thoughts. I enjoyed the story from start to finish, never losing interest. There are so many different emotions throughout this story-dealing with death, love, fear, faith, and more. I didn't know anything about fracking, but the subject being in the book spurred me to learn more about it. So I guess you could say The Quality of Silence was educational as well!

The only negative response I have to this book is that it got a bit confusing at time switching perspectives. Not a huge problem, and it did not take away from the book, but a few times it was confusing when I thought I was still reading from the mother's perspective and it had switched to the daughter's. The Quality of Silence is book I recommend. Rosamund Lupton is a talented author, and I look forward to reading her other novels.

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