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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway: Bartholomew Squire of the Subway By Carol Lester - On tour with Celebrate Lit


About the Book


Book: Bartholomew: Squire of the Subway
Author: Carol L. Lester
Genre: Children’s
Release Date: December 2019
Bartholomew, an intelligent iguana with brown-and-green mottled, scaly skin, loves riding the New York City subway. The underground railroad, which clatters and whooshes before it takes off, teems with people, but Bartholomew doesn’t mind. He enjoys his escape from his life in a museum exhibit and spends the morning observing other passengers.
On his ride, Bartholomew watches several Regulars and learns about their similarities, their differences, and how they interact or don’t interact with others. Bubbly Becky radiates joy, and she even sits next to Bartholomew. Fred always wears a bright scarf and sometimes hums, but he keeps to himself. Mrs. Hatmer keeps her four children organized, but some passengers are annoyed by the kids. By the end of Bartholomew’s ride, he learns about the value and uniqueness of each person.
Bartholomew, Squire of the Subway includes questions in the back to encourage young readers to explore the lessons Bartholomew learns. Carol Lester’s children’s books spark discussions with adult and school-aged readers alike. With each book, Lester seeks to influence and shape lives, young and old.

Click here to get your copy.

About the Author

Carol L. Lester is a published author and has taught secondary English / language arts for over thirty years. She holds teaching certificates in three states with degrees in education and sport psychology. Carol lives in San Antonio, Texas, and enjoys her role writing children’s stories that educate and delight. She previously published Roo, the Kangaroo Cat.


More from Carol 

I am so very thankful for all opportunities I have experienced thus far in my life, and they have been varied! As an Air Force brat, I traveled the globe and experienced languages and cultures about which other people only dream. I have embraced those times of travel in my adult life as well. For instance, I chaperoned 54 high school students to Europe one summer, and I have served as a missionary in both Ukraine and Kenya. In years past I have taught aerobic dance classes and sign language classes, but I owned my own jewelry business for ten years, too. That involved training other jewelers and marketing and selling my line of accessories. With all those experiences, I have served people from all walks of life.
I am definitely a sports enthusiast, but college basketball is my passion, especially when it comes to the University of North Carolina Tarheels! (I am a Carolina alumnus and was actually named after the university.) I was blessed to serve as sole caregiver for my aging parents and now look forward to serving others in a new capacity as author and “coach.”
I enjoy serving as a member of the Oak Hills Church Singers, but I have been a pianist and percussionist for over 50 years. (I served as the drummer and back-up vocalist for Keith Henderson Presents Elvis in the late 1970s!) My “claim to fame,” as it were, is that I was the first female drumline captain in the Atlantic Coast Conference (1976-78).

My Thoughts

This was a cute story! My 6 year old wanted to read this over and over again. My 8 year old enjoyed it and tried to use it as leverage to get a pet iguana. This book could not have come at a better time. My 6 year old has been dealing with some bullying/school issues, and this book reminded him that it's not ok to judge others, even when you have been judged yourself by others. We really enjoyed the questions at the end of the book. It opened up great conversation. 
We really loved the illustrations. They were bright and aligned with the book. We loved the facts about iguanas in it (My 8 year old especially, he is a lover of all animals) 
Well written, beautifully illustrated, and a great edition to our libary

Special thanks to the author and CelebrateLit for the opportunity to read this adorable book. All thoughts are my own. 

Blog Stops

Book of Ruth Ann, January 7
Mamma Loves Books, January 7
A Reader’s Brain, January 13
Texas Book-aholic, January 14
Mary Hake, January 16
janicesbookreviews, January 17
Lighthouse Academy Blog, January 18 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of both of her books, ROO and Bartholomew, plus a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway: Murder at the Courthouse by Meghan Carver - on tour with JustRead Publicity Tours

Murder at the Courthouse JustRead Blog Tour
Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Murder at the Courthouse by Meghan Carver, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Murder at the Courthouse
Series: Grace Pointe Cozy Mystery #1
Author: Meghan Carver
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release Date: October 28, 2019Murder at the Courthouse by Meghan Carver
The first book in the Grace Pointe Cozy Mystery Series!
“Fiction is a waste of time.”
The heated comment made by a church library ministry team member shocks MacKenzie Baker, but it quickly becomes the least of her worries.
MacKenzie Baker is an impetuous, eavesdropping small-town librarian who lives in the apartment above the parsonage garage and refuses to be defined as the pastor’s single sister. She thought she was happy for years re-shelving books and helping patrons find their next great read, but as she turns forty, she suddenly struggles to figure out what more to do with her life. Solving murders in her small town of Grace Pointe wasn’t a part of her plan...until she and her brother find a local judge who had come to Pastor Baker for counseling murdered in his chambers, hit over the head with a massive volume of the Indiana Code.
Now, to clear the name of a family friend, she begins to work with the handsome criminal justice professor Ian Canter. Even though the detective with the chocolate brown eyes tells her to stick with making casseroles for the church pitch-in, she soon discovers the Judge’s scheming wife, his rebellious teen daughter, a network of lawyers in Grace Point who were disgruntled with the Judge, and even secrets that lurk among the library ministry team. But with the help of her new kitten Mr. Darcy, her best friend Callie, and her always-pastoring brother, MacKenzie debates the pros and cons of attending law school mid-life while she searches out a killer.
Welcome to Grace Pointe… where most of the people are friendly, the church is to die for, and the sleuthing is as strong as the coffee.
PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meghan Carver
By sixth grade, Meghan Carver knew she wanted to write. After earning a degree in English from Millikin University, she detoured to law school, earning a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University. She then worked in immigration law and taught Comp 101 at the local college. Now, she homeschools her six children with her college professor husband, writing her stories of cozy mystery and romantic suspense in the nooks and crannies of her time. Her debut novel hit the Publisher's Weekly Bestseller list. When she isn't writing, homeschooling, or planning the family's next travel adventure, she is active in her church, sews for her kidlets, and reads.
CONNECT WITH MEGHAN: Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram




MY THOUGHTS
I am a huge fan of Meghan Carver. She always writes amazing stories. I was excited to read this book. I am a huge fan of suspense and cozy mysteries. This is a good clean cozy mystery that you will enjoy. The author has done a great job in creating her characters. I look forward to the next book in the series so that I can see them be developed further. The main character, MacKenzie is a great sleuth. She has always had nosy tendencies (Maybe that is why I love mysteries so much...) MacKenzie's best friend, Callie is a great compliment to MacKenzie. This is a Christian Cozy Mystery. Violence is downplayed. The author keeps true to her faith while she writes. The storyline is entertaining and flows nicely. The author has done a great job in her descriptions. You will be able to close your eyes and imagine you are in Grace Pointe.

Thank you to JustRead tours and the author for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts are my own.
TOUR GIVEAWAY
(1) winner will receive a Cozy Mystery Prize Pack including a “I’d rather be reading a cozy mystery” tee-shirt – size and color to be determined by winner, a signed paperback of Murder at the Courthouse, and $10 Amazon gift card!
(Tee Sizes: small – xxx-large, colors: white, red, gray, pink, or green)
Murder at the Courthouse JustRead Giveaway
Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 14, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on January 21, 2020. US only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

 


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway: The Amish Marriage Bargain Author: Marie E. Bast


About the Book

Book: The Amish Marriage Bargain
Author: Marie E. Bast
Genre: Amish
Release Date: December 17, 2019


Will a baby girl bring them together at last?
She’ll do anything for her niece…Even marry the man who broke her heart.
Nothing can keep May Bender in her Amish hometown—except caring for her baby niece. But the bishop insists that May also marry her widowed brother-in-law, Thad Hochstedler—the beau who jilted her to wed her sister. Can May risk her heart long enough to learn the real reason for Thad’s first marriage…and possibly rediscover their love?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author


Marie E. Bast is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author. Her stories whisper words of hope and healing through complex characters and twisting plots. She enjoys writing Amish, contemporary and historical stories. Married for twenty-eight years, Marie and her husband have two grown sons and one daughter. When she’s not writing, she’s walking, golfing, gardening or spending time with her family. Visit her website at MarieBastAuthor.com or follower her on social media.

More from Marie

Did you know that until as late as the twentieth century, marriage was never based on love?
In fact, the institution of marriage predates recorded history. But in ancient biblical times, the reasons for marriage are numerous. The kings, nobility, wealthy, and aristocratic families used arranged marriages to ensure loyalty between kingdoms, which forced a united bound and ensured the integrity of their inheritance and the family wealth.
Arranged marriages, marriages of convenience, and marriage bargains were practical to keep property and kingdoms intact and in the family line. But these marriage contracts also spilled over into the commoners’ lives. In times of poverty, a daughter was only another mouth to feed and therefore a burden on the family. That fueled the arranged marriages where the groom gave the family money, animals, or some other commodity in exchange for the marriage.
Also, arranged marriages were instrumental for women over the age of 30 who were unwed. Even in the nineteenth century, many women would find that a marriage of convenience was the way to go. Often, a widower needed a mother and housekeeper for his family, and sometimes a woman without means to support herself would readily accept a marriage of convenience. Even today, some cultures still use arranged marriages.
But one of the most unique marriage of convenience is the marriage bargain, and that is the central theme to my newest book, The Amish Marriage Bargain, which releases in book form December 17, 2019, and eBook January 1, 2020. The marriage bargain is the specific negotiation of the terms of the agreement regarding a particular situation and often included land.
After her sister dies, May Bender will do anything for her niece…Even marry the man who broke her heart. But like the days of old, the bargain goes deeper than that.


MY THOUGHTS
I really enjoy reading Amish Fiction books. I was excited to have the opportunity to read  The Amish Marriage Bargain by Marie E. Bast. This is a new to me author, and I had seen very positive reviews about this book.
I enjoyed this book very much. Ms. Bast has created beautiful, memorable characters. May and Thad have a history. They had previously courted. Thad jilted May and married May’s sister. May’s sister has now passed and May finds herself caring for her niece after promising her dying sister that she would. May does not seem to have ever stopped loving Thad, but is and was hurt bad by him. May and Thad are arranged to marry. I can’t even imagine being put in this position. I love that May leaned on God and her faith during this time. This story is a story full of forgiveness and redemption. I love how the author created this storyline and it reminded me that even when I think forgiveness is not possible – that Jesus forgave us when he died on the cross. This book is very well written. It pulled at my heart strings. I look forward to reading more from this author.

I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program. All thoughts are my own.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, January 2
The Avid Reader, January 3
Texas Book-aholic, January 4
Vicky Sluiter, January 4
Mary Hake, January 4
Among the Reads, January 6
Betti Mace, January 6
Older & Smarter?, January 7
Batya’s Bits, January 7
janicesbookreviews, January 8
Hallie Reads, January 8
Bigreadersite, January 10
She Lives to Read, January 11
Quiet Quilter, January 12
Pause for Tales, January 12
EmpowerMoms, January 14
Splashes of Joy , January 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Marie is giving away to four winners each a $25 Amazon card will also receive a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down A Foxhole Author: Auralee Arkinsly

About the Book


Book: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down A Foxhole
Author: Auralee Arkinsly
Genre: Early reader chapter book
Release Date: September 13, 2019
Darling Hedgehog
Darling Hedgehog learns about the animal nature of things in high humor and carefree, cute, and winning episodes. This childhood story reads a bit like Aesop’s Fables or a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, for children 4-8 or preschool and kindergarten, as a read-to-me picture book, and first grade and second grade as a chapter book.
Pictures similar to the Mercy Watson series are characterized and painted in full-color, though the pages are set up like a chapter book.
This book helps to train children in natural wisdom, analysis, and discernment. It helps to balance the teachings of acceptance of everyone and friendliness to all. There may be good purposes for everyone to exist under heaven, yet all purposes may not be good for a child. So, beware, be discrete, and flee from crafty foxes especially when they are holding your parents in the pantry.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Auralee Arkinsly
Auralee Arkinsly writes in good humor about serious subjects because kids of all ages can learn a lot from laughing. She is a strong believer in right and wrong but knows that getting onto the right path can mean falling down a slippery slope. She reckons if she can save some from the bumps and bruises, then she has done her job

More from Auralee

I’m so excited to launch my children’s book, Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole with the Celebrate Lit crew!  You are a river of hope for a new author.
 
So, here’s the story behind the story.
 
My friend and fellow author, Kathy Joy, left me a small hedgehog in a tutu as a going away gift on her guest bed after she had been visiting. I put it on the windowsill in my bedroom, and every morning, I would see it when I awoke.
 
I don’t know if you can relate to this experience, but I often wake up from a good night’s sleep with the gift of a problem being solved.  Sometimes, I wake up with a creative idea.  Well, one day, I awoke to find that I had the beginnings of a child’s story about where the hedgehog found her tutu.
 
Initially, it was a simple story about Darling Hedgehog finding a foxy friend who helps Darling find her calling.
I wrote out the story and then asked a talented neighborhood girl if she would like to draw the pictures for the tall tale. Having seen a lot of Julia’s sketches as she grew up, I thought that she might like to know what it felt like to earn money from her talents and at the same time, learn about the process of creating a book with an author to propose to a publishing company.
 
She agreed. Julia was in ninth grade. She was at the age where she was beginning to think about high school jobs and even to make plans for college and a career.
The same day we wrote out our contract, Julia sent me her first image of what she imagined Darling to look like. It clearly was not a mistake to hire this young artist!
When I awoke another morning, I believed God had given me another bit of advice. I needed to do better research on the nature of hedgehogs and foxes, their habitats and characteristics. The outcome caused the story to take a turn towards intrigue.  It became a fable. It became an action-adventure animal story. It became better.
 
A librarian encouraged us to continue with it no longer as a picture book for very small children but as an early reader chapter book for second graders learning about similes.
I hope that we can teach children to notice facts and objective truth as they are being trained for life. So, I’ve accepted that my child’s fantasy had to grow some legs of gravity and wisdom.  I’ve trusted my editors and beta readers that this is true, but I’m not above being told off.

My Thoughts

This book is perfectly geared toward preschool to about 3rd grade. My oldest son is in 3rd grade, while he told me he thought it was childish --- he listened while we read the book. This is a super cute story with beautifully done illustrations. The story is easy to read that my still learning to read 1st grader was able to follow along. The storyline is a great reminder to children. Not all who are nice to you are your true friends. It is an important reminder to children especially this day in age. 

I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program. All thoughts are my own. 

Blog Stops

A Diva’s Heart, December 11
For Him and My Family, December 12
Older & Smarter?, December 13
Emily Yager, December 13
Just the Write Escape, December 14
Blogging With Carol, December 14
Bigreadersite, December 15
janicesbookreviews, December 15
Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 16
A Reader’s Brain, December 17
Remembrancy, December 19
Inklings and notions, December 19
Lighthouse Academy, December 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Live.Love.Read., December 20
Sara Jane Jacobs, December 21
Maureen’s Musings, December 23
With a Joyful Noise, December 23
Texas Book-aholic, December 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Auralee is giving away the grand prize of a set of Darling Hedgehog greeting cards!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.