Friday, May 26, 2017

Hello, Stars

Hello Stars 

Faithgirlz / Lena in the Spotlight #1 

Paperback, ebook 

April 25, 2017

by Alena Pitts (Author), Wynter Pitts (Contributor)

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Faithgirlz / Lena in the Spotlight
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310760597

Lena Daniels never thought she’d get the chance star in a movie. Headstrong and determined, she has her life planned out to the minute. But when her best friends, Savannah and Emma, tell her about an audition, she knows there’s nothing else in the world she’d rather do. And now that she’s gotten her wish, Lena finds that being in the spotlight is harder than it sounds. She got everything she never wanted! Her face turns up everywhere she goes, and everything in her life is flipped upside down. Lena wonders if this is a dream come true or a horrible nightmare. Even a visit from her best friends during filming turns into a disaster.

With her little sisters—Ansley, Ashton, and Amber—and her mischievous pup, Austin, constantly at her side, Lena must face the challenges of everyday life while chasing her dreams of being a model and actress on the big screen. Lena tackles tough choices, learns the value of perseverance, and keeps her hopes high. She knows her faith and family will keep her feet on the ground and her eyes on the stars.

This Faithgirlz series entitled Lena in the Spotlight, written by Alena Pitts, star of War Room and tween blogger of For Girls Like You, and co-written with her mother, editor and author, Wynter Pitts, is a reflection of Alena’s own life experiences as she reaches for the stars and keeps her faith in balance.

My thoughts: HELLO, STARS is the first book in Faithgirlz new series. It is full of drama, squealy preteens, and twists. Imagine finding out you could meet a movie star and then flubbing the video you make of yourself, but getting chosen anyway. Add rodents loose in the science classroom (and getting blamed for it) and having to move across the country to act in a movie you didn't even realize you were going to be acting in. Talk about being out of your element!

The book is full of faith, prayers, and positive vibes and lots of humor to keep tween girls interested and engaged. Pick up this book for an excellent summer reading book for your favorite tween.  "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis

The Ebb Tide 

Paperback, hardcover, audio, ebook

April 4, 2017

by Beverly Lewis

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764212505

Oh, to see the ocean, Sallie thought. And to spend the summer as a nanny. She shook her head in amazement. This seemed too good to be true, but she really must talk it over with Dat and Mamm, especially since she'd be gone so long. 

And after I promised Mamm I'd take baptism classes this summer . . .

The Ebb Tide

Sallie Riehl has dreamed of traveling at least once before settling down to join church, so she is thrilled at an unexpected summer opportunity to nanny in Cape May for a well-to-do family. However, saying even a temporary good-bye to Paradise Township means forgoing baptism another year, as well as leaving behind a would-be beau. Yet the weeks in Cape May soon prove unforgettable as Sallie meets a Mennonite young man whose friendship she quickly begins to cherish. Has she been too hasty with her promises, or will she only find what her heart is longing for back home?

"Bestseller Lewis continues her streak of affecting, enjoyable Amish tales with this story of a young woman in present-day Lancaster County, Penn., who's eager to see the world. . . . Fans of Lewis's work or Amish fiction in general will relish this heartwarming story of self-discovery, friendship, and the search for God's will."--Publishers Weekly starred review

"Lewis' latest contains relatable inner conflicts, such as searching for direction and God's plan, which will likely resonate with readers. There are some twists on the typical Amish tale, especially since much of this novel takes place outside the Amish community. Tender scenes combine with strong character development, and solid spiritual wisdom is woven throughout."--RT Book Reviews

My thoughts: THE EBB TIDE is set in Cape May, NJ and without even finishing it, I was recommending it to all the Coast Guard Moms out there whose sons or daughters are or were stationed in Cape May for boot camp and/or for a time during their Coast Guard service. I honestly had no idea that there was so much to see and do in Cape May when my son graduated boot camp. Reading THE EBB TIDE  is like reading a fictional tour guide. I wished I'd had read it beforehand! 

Ms. Lewis probably broke every rule in the fiction writing guidebook. Show, don't tell. Use deep point of view. Resist the urge to explain. Etc. But being Beverly Lewis, of course, she can get away with it. The story itself is sweet romantic coming of age story. The romance itself is not center stage but couldn't be eliminated completely without ruining story, though at times it felt like it was tacked on, as in editor's notes -- you need some mention of a beau here... and so it was slapped in there, not really flawlessly. I am not implying that is what really happened. It just feels that way at times. 

I did love Kevin. He was so sweet. And Autumn. What a dear little girl.  But I mainly loved the story because of the Cape May connection. That was awesome. My son is in the United States Coast Guard and for eight very long weeks he was in Cape May. Ms. Lewis, if there is a huge, unprecedented increase in sales on this book, it is thanks in large part to the very well connected Coast Guard Moms.   "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Beginner's Bible Carry-Along Treasury / Jesus Loves Me! A Sing-Along Book

The Beginner's Bible Carry-Along Treasury 


May 2, 2017

by Zondervan

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: The Beginner's Bible
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310760306

The Beginner’s Bible® has been a favorite with young children and their parents since its release in 1989 with over 25 million products sold.                                                              
The Beginner’s Bible®, the bestselling Bible storybook of our time, is now in a special carry-along edition with over 30 stories! Children will love The Beginner’s Bible Carry-Along Treasury created especially for tiny hands to carry with them wherever they go. The carry-along edition features a smaller size, a go-anywhere handle, and an easy magnetic closure. Kids will come to know and love the key stories and characters of the Bible with this best-loved Bible storybook. Now updated with vibrant new art, The Beginner’s Bible® is the perfect starting point for children. Little ones will enjoy the fun illustrations of Noah helping the elephant onto the ark, Jonah praying inside the fish, and more, as they discover The Beginner’s Bible® just like millions of children before!

My thoughts:  THE BEGINNER'S BIBLE CARRY-ALONG TREASURY is a cut little magnetized Bible story book for babies and toddlers.  With a convenient red handle it makes it easy for little hands to carry to the person they want to have read them a story. The pictures are colorful and sure to engage a little one's attention. 

Stories include:  The Beginning, Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, Moses, Samson, Ruth and Naomi, David and Goliath, Queen Esther, Daniel and the Lions, Jonah and the Whale, and many stories about Jesus (just to mention a few.) 

This is an excellent Bible for babies and toddlers to take to church, or for Christian day cares, preschools, church nurseries, and of course family and friends to keep on hand to read to your favorite little one.  "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." 


Jesus Loves Me (A Sing-Along Book) 

Board book, ebook

May 2, 2017

by Gynux

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Series: A Sing-Along Book
  • Board book: 20 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz; Brdbk edition 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310758945

Read or sing along with your little one’s favorite song! Jesus Loves Me pairs sweet, snuggly illustrations with the text of the familiar children’s song. This newest board book in the beloved Sing-Along series also features a padded cover perfect for little hands, and is sure to delight children and parents alike.
My thoughts:  JESUS LOVES ME! A SING-ALONG BOOK is an adorable songbook for little ones. It only has one song it (music included at the end, so it can be played on the piano or keyboard) and the words are beautifully illustrated with cuddly woodland animals such as raccoons, weasels, and bunnies (etal) some of which are familiar looking to long time Winnie the Pooh fans (Owl, Rabbit, the tree where piglet lives). 

I *loved* this book. So cute, fun, and colorful. This would be a great book for church nurseries, day cars, preschools, and family of the little one. A great way to introduce a song of childhood to your favorite baby.  "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Return to Huckleberry Hill

Return to Huckleberry Hill 

The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill

Mass Market Paperback, ebook

May 30, 2017

by Jennifer Beckstrand 

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Zebra
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420144116

When it comes to matchmaking, Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin’s unstoppable octogenarians Anna and Felty Helmuth never seem to run out of opportunities—or grandchildren...

Reuben Helmuth is plenty bitter. John King, his best friend—or so he thought—is engaged to the girl Reuben loved. Humiliated, Reuben flees from Ohio to his grandparents’ home on Huckleberry Hill, where he knows he’ll find comfort. He’s enjoying wallowing in his misery—until John’s sister, Fern, shows up. She won’t stop pestering Reuben about forgiveness—or trying to help him find love again. Yet Fern's efforts only reawaken Reuben’s long-buried feelings—for her…

With her brother too ashamed to face Reuben, it’s fallen to Fern to help mend fences. But as she and the Helmuths do all they can—even organizing a knitting club event filled with eligible girls—it may take one more challenge to inspire Reuben to forget his heartache, recognize his own blunders, and embrace the true love that’s right in front of him…

Praise for Jennifer Beckstrand and her Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series

“Beckstrand continues to bring unexpected and heart-melting plotlines to this outstanding series.” –RT Book Reviews

“Full of kind, sincere characters struggling with the best ways to stay true to themselves and their beliefs.” --Publishers Weekly

“A delightful voice in Amish romance. Sweet and funny.” --Emma Miller

1. Huckleberry Hill 2014
2. Huckleberry Summer 2014
3. Huckleberry Christmas 2014
4. Huckleberry Spring 2015
5. Huckleberry Harvest 2015
6. Huckleberry Hearts 2015
7. Return to Huckleberry Hill 2017
8. A Courtship at Huckleberry Hill 2017

My thoughts: RETURN TO HUCKLEBERRY HILL is the seventh book in this series, but it easily stands alone. I love Felty and Annie and I think they are the backbone of this series. Annie is a most creative cook, and some of her concoctions are sick-sounding at best. Felty--I really really loved how he taught his grandson a lesson about respecting his grandma in this book! 

Reuben - yeah, he had issues. And Fern was right with everything she ever thought about him. Conceited, spoiled, rude, and a whole list of other negative adjectives. But despite that, I liked him. Mostly. Except for the way he treated Fern. Standing her up, twice, not noticing or caring that she was forced to sleep in a barn and starving to death (well, he did sort of notice, but not enough, and he didn't do much about it. Just enough to keep the reader from hurling the book across the room in hopes of knocking sense into him.)

As a romantic comedy Amish writer, Ms. Beckstrand is top-notch. This book is laugh-out-loud funny in spots, and definitely engaging. I enjoyed getting to know Fern and Reuben, but my heart broke for Johnny. Ms. Beckstrand, if you are reading this review, I'd LOVE to see a book with Johnny as a hero.  "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." 

Here is the link to the giveaway

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

 Jennifer Beckstrand is the award winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hillseries and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’ aendi Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-two years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and soon-to-be six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Guest post from Jennifer Beckstrand

Anna Helmuth is starting a knitting club, but that’s not all she’s got up her sleeve. In Return to Huckleberry Hill, Anna Helmuth and Fern King decide to start a knitting club in order to introduce Anna’s grandson Reuben to some girls from Bonduel, Wisconsin. Anna is a very good knitter, with years of practice making baby blankets, scarves, mittens, and potholders. One of Anna’s scarves actually saved someone’s life, and her potholders have helped her make many a match. When I was a young teenager, I learned how to knit and crochet. My mom taught me how to sew and quilt, and I made several of my own dresses in high school. I never learned to love sewing, but it was an invaluable skill that I am so grateful to have. Now that I’m a little older, I love putting together simple quilts for baby gifts and making quilts for the local children’s hospital. There is nothing like a homemade gift to say, “I care about you.” I have a friend who is a wonderful cook. Making a delicious, beautiful meal is how she tells her family she loves them. I don’t consider myself a great cook, but I still take pride in putting something nutritious and satisfying on the table for my family. It seems to me that some of the “home arts” that our mothers and grandmothers practiced are dying out. Who knows how to tat anymore? Or embroider? Some of these arts have died because of expediency. Who doesn’t think today’s stocking choices are more comfortable and practical than knitted wool ones? Others have died out because so few people want to learn. What about you? Do you still practice any of the home arts that your grandmother did? What do you want to pass on to the next generation?

Blog Stops

May 24: A Greater Yes
May 25: Just Commonly
May 30: Quiet Quilter


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card to three lucky winners!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!