Friday, December 29, 2017

Review: Little Mouse's Sweet Treat by Shana Hollowell

In this sweet picture book Little Mouse asks all his friends to help find a sweet treat. Unfortunately, they all have different tastes when it comes to what is delicious. The sweet rhymes in this book are great and the illustrations are beautiful. I think all kids would love this picture book, and I'm sure they would giggle when Cow tells Little Mouse that grass is a very good treat. This is one to share with the kiddies for sure. You'll be asked to read this one over and over I'm thinking, and you won't actually mind that much. I'll probably read it to my sisters when I see them. Thank you, Shana, for sending me your book. It was a pleasure.  And it's not all that often that I actually like picture books this much. You did great! I'm giving this little book 5 stars.


(See how sweet that cover is? Look how cute Little Mouse is!)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Review: Brightley and Glow by Sophie Carmen

I grabbed this book the other day when it was free on Amazon Kindle. I am so glad I did. It's so weird, but I actually loved this book. And it's like 20 pages. But 20 pages of adorable, kinda deep, brother-love. Brightley is a shooting star, but his brother is a shining star, and the two of them don't want to be separated. I'm definitely giving this sweet book 5 stars. I may actually read it again... to myself. And then again to my sisters. And if I had it in print I'd read it to the kids at work. Wow. This is not a reaction I usually get from picture books. I kinda like it. (The feeling... not the book. I love the book.) And the pictures are great too.




Review: Beneath a Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Abigail is a matchmaker's worst nightmare. She's been sent back more than once for being too hoity-toity. Helena Bingham has one more plan for this girl though. Helena plans to take Abigail out West to help instruct a town full of prospective grooms who need the rough edges sanded....a lot. Mack Cleveland is about the only man in town who didn't send off for one of the mail-order brides. His plans really get changed around though when Abigail Grant shows up with her sweet freckled nose stuck in the air. Helena sees a good match coming, and it may just happen beneath a prairie moon.

(Full disclosure: I did not read the back of this book before signing up. I simply saw the author and flipped out! I was pretty excited.) Anywho, the review... This book, well, let's just say that I've never felt this way about one of Kim's leading ladies. I was actually shocked that I didn't fall instantly in love with Abigail. In fact, it was a good 150 or 200 pages before I even liked the girl! Helena was my favorite though. I loved Mack and Bill, but I enjoyed Helena's POV the best. This was a great book. And the plot was very unique. It was a very interesting concept. Yes, a mail-order bride isn't that unusual for a storyline, but I think this one was taken in a whole new direction which added both intrigue and humor. So many eye-roll worthy moments. And somehow, Kim Vogel Sawyer always knows exactly how I want her books to end, and with one exception (I've been saving that review... it's a bit rant-ish) she has delivered every time. This book had the best ending I could ask for. And those last hundred pages or so... I was in shock basically. It was not a twist I had prepared for and I loved it! Did I mention yet that I love the ending??? ;P I would absolutely recommend this book for its dynamic characters, original plot, and brilliant writing. Just sayin', but there at the end I was alternating between giggling my head off and screeching. It's a good thing my brother wears headphones. He'd probably think I had lost all sense. I'm giving this book 5 stars.



I received this book through the Blogging for Books program.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Waiting-On-Wednesday: Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason

Surely you've caught on to how much I LOVE her books by now....... and this one honestly sounds like it's going to be one of her best. It's set to come out January 2018.


About

Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. With three brothers and two sisters, she's never without someone to hang out with--or fight with. And she knows they'll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Determined to discover exactly what happened, Izzy's investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll--including someone from her own family. With her dead partner's handsome homicide detective brother Ryan shadowing her every move, Izzy's head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she's had a secret crush on for years won't leave her side?

With her signature fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Lynette Eason invites readers into a captivating new series where justice is a family affair.


Waiting-On-Wednesday is hosted at Breaking The Spine.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to the best of followers! I love all of you, and today I'd like to share some verses that show the really truly best meaning of the holiday...

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world by Him might be saved.

Merry Christmas Again!!!


Sunday, December 24, 2017

12 Days of Blogmas Day 12: Review: Solve By Christmas by Amber Schamel

Here's a CelebrateLit tour for you guys! (Including giveaway at the bottom... After you read all my nonsense first ;) )


Jasper is PI for Rudin's Sugar Factory in Denver. He's been waiting and waiting for his big break, and now... now he has two cases on his hands. And one of them has the potential for a life-changing disaster. Mr. Rudin has given Jasper an ultimatum... prove by Christmas that life is worth living, or he'll commit suicide. Jasper is frantically trying to figure out how to help the man who's been like a father to him for more than twenty years, when someone decides to start sabotaging the factory. With more and more at stake every hour, Jasper has his plate full. With so much at risk, can he solve both cases by Christmas?


I'm giving this sweet and surprising book 4 stars. It was not at all what I was expecting. Don't ask me what I was expecting, because I can't for the life of me remember, but this... this was not it. This was much better. Usually I don't go for the historical mysteries as much, it's not my cup of.... eggnog???.... (lame Christmas joke alert!) but this one was nice. It was funny, and serious. Sweet and cynical. A balanced book. I loved how each character was his own person, (or her own person...) and the dynamics were great. The cover is pretty snazzy, and you guys know that (much to my detriment, I suppose) I am all about those covers! I was shocked by all the twists, and while I suspected the culprit a little bit, I still kept getting sucked in by the rabbit trails. All in all, a delightful little read, with a sweet non-romance romance, and an ending that leaves me satisfied, but also leaves the door open for sequels. It's not something I think I would buy, but I enjoyed reading it. (Stick with it through those first few chapters...) It's also not super-Christmasy... it talks about Christmas but if you're looking for a book about mistletoe and holly and presents under the tree or any of that jazz... well for goodness sake! There are lives at stake here! (And wow, reading back through this I can see that today is one of my more ADD days. Sorry bout that!)



 I received this book through CelebrateLit blogging program.

About the Author


Author Shot - ReadingAmber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and has been awarded the 2017 CSPA Book of the Year Award in Historical Fiction. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites. Amber is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers.


Pick up your copy here.


Guest Post from Amber Schamel


Thank you so much for joining us on the Celebrate Lit blog tour for Solve by Christmas!! I am so excited you’re here. For this special event, I wanted to share the inside scoop behind the story.

Solve by Christmas is a historical Mystery set in Denver during the great blizzard of 1913. It has a unique storyline, so people often wonder where the idea came from. Honestly, it was one of those ideas that just popped into my head, then took on a life of its own and evolved over several weeks.

I wanted to give my readers a new story before the year was out, but I didn’t have a specific plot in mind. I did know I wanted to write a Christmas story. So, I had that much. Then I decided I wanted something with a firm deadline.” If this doesn’t happen by this date, everyone dies” sort of thing. Then “By Christmas” popped into my head and flicked on a light. What if Christmas was the deadline?

I’ve always loved detectives and mystery stories, and they go perfectly with deadlines. So, then I thought, what if a detective must solve the case by Christmas or death wins?

Sometimes, as an author, there are ideas and thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere. Almost like God dropping a card into your mental mailbox. The next point of Solve by Christmas was that way. What if a detective was assigned a case that he had to solve by Christmas, but it wasn’t a real case –at least not the type of case he wanted—but something completely different? From there, the story began to really take shape.

The next step, of course, is to come up with a character to be the detective. I wanted the story to have a Sherlock Holmes feel, so I started by studying his character a bit. But my story also has a less serious side since it isn’t a murder mystery and takes place at a sugar factory. I wondered…what would happen if you took Sherlock Holmes and meshed him with Barney Fife?

Now THAT would be hard to pull off. But I was determined to try. So, I made a list of Sherlock Holmes traits, and one of Barney Fife’s traits. I began to see that they actually DO have several similarities. They’re both a bit socially awkward. They both have a very similar flavor of pride. And they both have this air of authority…although Sherlock can back his up while Barney struggles in that area. Then I began to pick and choose between the traits that were left, this Barney trait, this Sherlock trait, and pretty soon I had Detective Jasper Hollock forming on the page. Whether you will get a Barney Fife and Sherlock feel when you read Solve by Christmas, I can’t say. But I do believe I was successful in creating a unique, quirky character that will bring this Christmas mystery to life.

There you have it. The scoop behind Solve by Christmas. I hope you enjoy the story, and best wishes in the giveaway! I will be stopping by along with Jasper and Denny (the two main characters) to answer any questions you may have about the story or the characters, so please do leave us a comment.

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Amber is giving away a grand prize of a Christmas themed basket which will include a paperback copy of Solve by Christmas and The Swaddling Clothes (my two Christmas books) as well as a Christmas terrarium jar, and a Solve by Christmas notepad!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5bb

See what others are saying here ↓↓↓↓

Blog Stops





Bigreadersite, December 13


Genesis5020, December 14

Baker Kella, December 15

Daysong Reflections, December 15


Karen Sue Hadley, December 16



Aryn The Libraryan, December 18

A Reader’s Brain, December 18

Bibliophile Reviews, December 19

Mary Hake, December 19

Texas Book-aholic, December 20

Simple Harvest Reads, December 20

Babs Book Bistro, December 21

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 21 (Interview)



Just the Write Escape, December 23

The Power of Words, December 23

(you are here!)  Live.Love.Read., December 24

Carpe Diem, December 24

Blogging With Carol, December 25


Saturday, December 23, 2017

12 Days of Blogmas Day 11: Interview with Julianna Deering!

Today we have another special guest who agreed to answer the Christmas questions! Julianna Deering writes those beautiful mysteries we all love... the ones about Drew Farthering! But today, she's just sharing about her Christmas favorites! Enjoy! (I considered making the whole thing green and red, but I decided to give your poor eyes a break!)

1: Favorite Christmas tradition

I love Christmas communion. It makes me feel ready to start the new year.

 2: Favorite Christmas memory

When I was about six, we were going to have to be away on Christmas morning, and I was just sure Santa wouldn’t know what to do. That Christmas Eve, Dad drove us kids somewhere (can’t remember exactly where, probably to look at the toy store) and Mom went to visit the lady across the street. When we came back, Dad pulled the car into the driveway, and Mom came running across the street saying she was sure she had seen Santa flying overhead. She pointed up, and somehow I was sure I saw him, too. When we went into the house, there were all the presents waiting for us. We always had the greatest Christmases.

 3: Favorite Christmas book

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Even though I know the story backwards and forwards, it always touches my heart and makes me consider how I’m living my life.

 4: Favorite Christmas food/recipe

I love the fudge you make with marshmallow cream and chocolate chips (recipe on the back of the marshmallow cream jar!). So easy, even I can’t mess it up, and SO delicious.

 5: Favorite Christmas movie

There are several I love, including many versions of the Christmas Carol story, and especially including How the Grinch Stole Christmas for its simple and striking truths about the season. My favorite, though, if I must choose just one, is It’s a Wonderful Life. I love old movies anyway, and this one is just perfection. Once again, it makes me consider how I’m living my life and what impact I’m really having on the people around me.

 6: Favorite Christmas decoration

I have a little porcelain Christmas tree about a foot high. With it are tiny porcelain ornaments you hang on it. So beautiful.

 7: Favorite Christmas activity

The best is putting together one of those mystery jigsaw puzzles where there’s a story that goes along with it and you have to put the puzzle together to get the clues to solve the mystery. Fun!

 8: Favorite Christmas drink (eggnog, hot chocolate, apple cider, punch)

Hot chocolate, hands down!

 9: Favorite Christmas blog post idea

I always enjoy the ones where people share pictures of Christmases from when they were children.

10: Favorite Christmas story (shorter than a book, more like Night Before Christmas, or Eloise at Christmastime)

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. What can I say about this gorgeously tragic and yet love-affirming story? So perfectly written


Thanks so much for reading! Merry Christmas Eve Eve! I hope you all are enjoying your time with family! I'd love to hear from you! Make sure to leave a comment below! 

Friday, December 22, 2017

12 Days of Blogmas Day 10: Review: Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

So, yes. I know.... not exactly Christmas but I think I'll do a combo post.

Here are a few Christmas movies I've been loving this year: White Christmas (Hello Bing and Rosemary!!!), Holiday Inn (Yeah, I know... And yes.. Bing is a favorite of mine!), all three of the Santa Claus movies, Switched for Christmas, and can I just say that I am sooo looking forward to the When Calls the Heart Christmas special! I need to watch Miracle on 34th Street (with Maureen O'Hara!) and It's a Wonderful Life and probably a few others too! What movies are you enjoying this year?


Alright, now for the book. And yes, this is long overdue. But to be fair, the book shipped to my home address and not to my university PO box. It was, of course, worth the wait. Worth its weight, in fact. In gold.

Declan is on the case. And surprise, surprise, Tanner is his new work buddy. Facing growing attraction for each other, they must focus on the looming terrorist attack. It's coming, and soon. But where, and how soon??? Meanwhile, Avery, Parker, Finley, and Griffin are busy trying to solve a case involving Haywood. And what about Luke and Kate? What's going on there, huh? Well, I can't tell you because that's too big of spoiler for this girl to approve. You'll just have to read the book, ya know!

I'd have to be insane not to give this book 5 stars! Number one, it's ridiculously close to home. I mean, it was almost too realistic. I have a vivid imagination, and unfortunately for me, it has very little problem conjuring this up as a reality. Freaky! Also, these characters.... sucker punch right to the feels. I'm telling you what's the truth! Declan and Tanner are seriously perfect for each other, and it's obvious that this is because their relationship is built on an even stronger Relationship. Yep... this couple's a keeper! Another part of this book that made it so great is the fact that I can point to at least 4 different mysteries happening.... some of them more obviously in the forefront, a few in the background, but the point is that while reading this you will get NO breathing space before the next sentence has you grasping for the next. In fact, I refused for several days to read this book in bed because I knew that if I picked it up, I was no way going to put it down. Beware! Dani will always, always, ALWAYS!! keep you up past bedtime! So... if you couldn't tell from all that...jazz... I highly recommend this book and this author and if I don't get ahold of book 4 pretty soon I'm going to have another conniption fit. (Mom will tell you I was pretty uncontrollable when I finished this one.) That's another thing I love about Dani's writing. Her series' are longer than a simple trilogy which allows for more character development and more time for the story to develop and did i mention more time for me to fall in love with everyone falling in love?

Thank you so much to Dani Pettrey for letting me be on her Street Team. I'm so sorry that this wasn't up long ago as it should have been.

And to all my lovely readers out there, thanks for dropping by. I hope you'll read this book. Go buy it or go make your library get it, I actually don't care how you get it. Well, also read the rest of the series. And then go get this one. And be on the lookout for book 4 too. (In July ;) I already asked...)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

12 Days of Blogmas Day 9: The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

I'm going on the assumption that since the story opens up with the Rabbit being in the Boy's stocking, that this is a Christmas story. If you don't agree, well.... whatever. The Velveteen Rabbit is the story of one little toy bunny's journey to becoming Real. It's a short story, with adorable pictures, and I really think your kids would love it. It's the type of story that needs to be read by the light of the Christmas tree, with kids in warm pajamas snuggle up close to you, studying the sweet pictures. It's a surprisingly gripping story for being a picture book. No wonder it's loved so much, and has lasted so long! I'm giving this touching story 5 stars.

Happy Blogmas! I hope you and your kids love this story. Comment below! I'll be checking to see what you have to say!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

12 Days of Blogmas Day 8: Interivew with Laura A. Grace

I am so excited to share with you today our Christmas interview with Laura! I hope you guys enjoy it!


Bio:
Laura has a thrilling obsession with supporting her favorite authors. From hosting blog tours to throwing virtual parties, she's always seeking new ways to spread the book love.

More than once her handsome ninja husband has heard the squeals of a late night fangirl as she reads a new plot twist or hears from her author friends. She and her family live in North Carolina, where they wield plastic lightsabers and keep an eye out for wandering unicorns.

Links:




In case you forgot the questions, here's the list again!

: Favorite Christmas tradition
 2: Favorite Christmas memory
 3: Favorite Christmas book
 4: Favorite Christmas food/recipe
 5: Favorite Christmas movie
 6: Favorite Christmas decoration
 7: Favorite Christmas activity
 8: Favorite Christmas drink (eggnog, hot chocolate, apple cider, punch)
 9: Favorite Christmas blog post idea
10: Favorite Christmas story (shorter than a book, more like Night Before Christmas, or Eloise at Christmastime)


And here are Laura's answers! Enjoy!


Hi, Erica! I am SO excited to be here! :D

1. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is our family either baking cut-out sugar cookies and decorating them or buying a new family ornament (which tends to lead to three new ones LOL).

2. Ooo tough one! I think one of my favorite Christmas memories is when my Mom made a homemade cookbook with some of my family’s favorite recipes when my husband and I thought we might be moving to Cambodia.

However, I will say one of the strongest Christmas memories I have is when I was in 4th or 5th grade. My Grandma said I could choose one gift under the Christmas tree to open early. I, of course, gladly went to choose one, but when I got on all fours to grab one near the middle, I happened to put one of my hands in cat throw up. LOL! I can say that after that incident, I always turned the light on and checked before putting my hand anywhere on the floor. LOL!

3. I sadly don’t have a favorite Christmas book. :/ It’s been a few years since I have read any, but I have strongly enjoyed many of Melody Carlson’s Christmas books, with maybe The Christmas Bus being the one I enjoyed the most.

4. Our family doesn’t have one set Christmas food since my husband is lactose intolerant and I’m allergic to wheat. (Yeah, doesn’t mix the best with my extended family’s love for lasagna on Christmas day. Haha!) We’ve make a “cookout” kind of dinner with hotdogs and hamburgers as well as a dairy free and wheat free lasagna in the past. This year my kids mentioned they would like another cookout style meal while my husband and I are going for an Asian one. J

5. If I didn’t consistently miss them (LOL), it would most likely be A Christmas Story. It used to be an annual tradition growing up to watch that while wrapping last minute Christmas presents.

6. Another tough one because I love so many of the Christmas decorations! I really thought about buying some outside d├ęcor, but refrained since I wanted to get a bunch of stuff. Haha! Otherwise, I think it’s ornaments of all kinds. J

7. My favorite Christmas activity is making cookies with my family. I love that we can all come together and share good laughter while eating excellent cookies. ;)

8. I have to confess that I’m pretty boring and don’t drink any special Christmas drinks except water and juice. *hides*

9. A good old 12 Days of Christmas blog post always gets me. ;) Seriously, I love it and host an annual FB party along this theme because it’s so fun to do something for twelve days with others online. J

10. Hands down, my favorite Christmas story is the birth of Christ, but especially the shepherds. I’m always touched by them telling the entire town of what they saw.


I hope you all enjoyed this. Sound off in the comments because we'd both love to hear from you!