Thursday, March 29, 2018

~ Friday Amish Fiction Feature 'Always Close to Home' ~

~ FRIDAY AMISH FICTION FEATURE ~
'Always Close to Home:  
St. Lawrence County Amish, Book #3'
by Author Jerry S. Eicher 

About the Book {from Goodreads}:
Are Two Miracles Too Much to Ask For?
Twins Laura and Lydia Mast keep few secrets from each other, but even Laura doesn't sense the great ache Lydia has held in her heart since Laura started dating the charming John Yoder. When will it be Lydia's turn for love?

Despite having a willing suitor in Wendell Kaufman, who once unsuccessfully pursued her sister, Lydia's attention is fixed on Milton Beiler. Milton hasn't paid Lydia the least bit of attention, and worse still, he's on rumspringa and conflicted about permanently joining the church.

Meanwhile, Laura's world is turned upside down when a tragic accident threatens her dreams of becoming John's frau. Despite the obstacles in her path, Laura remains steadfast in her faith.

Will Lydia's love for Milton win out over his love for the world, and is Laura strong enough to face an uncertain future with John? Only the Lord has the answers the Mast sisters so desperately search for.

About the Author {from Goodreads}:
Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina Eicher, and their four children in Virginia.

My Review:
The story has three separate plots involving twin Amish sisters, Laura and Lydia, and the local middle-aged school teacher, Nancy. None of these women have ever been married. The challenge and deepest heart's desire of each of the women is to fall in love and marry the man of their respective dreams!

Tragedy strikes Laura's fiance when he is involved in an horrific construction accident. The twins' mother dies suddenly and unexpectedly, and schoolteacher Nancy becomes increasingly risky in her behavior and actions with a new set of Englisch friends.

The setting for this book, St. Lawrence County, is well-developed. The main and supporting characters are interesting and varied. There are lots of references to the traditions and beliefs of the Amish including how they dress, worship, and live their daily lives.

Read the book to find out how these women courageously manuver through life's trials and tribulations to follow their faith and reach their goals.

This is the second book I've read by this author. I recommend it to fans of Amish fiction, historical fiction, Christian fiction, and small-town fiction. 

NOTE:  I won this book from the publisher, Harvest House, in a Facebook giveaway back in the autumn of 2017. I have received no compensation of any kind for posting this review on this blog or any other site.

***SPECIAL NOTE:  CLICK OVER TO THE AUTHOR'S WEBSITE TO READ SOME SAMPLE CHAPTERS FROM THIS BOOK AND HIS OTHER AMISH FICTION BOOKS:
http://eicherjerry.com/books.html

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CURRENT GIVEAWAYS:  Click over to my Current Giveaways Page to see which giveaways are still accepting entries!
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COMING UP SOON ON 'READING, WRITING & STITCH-METIC':

-- Monday, April 2nd: My Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday Non-Fiction Feature will be: 'MAKE: Edible Inventions' by Author/Educator Kathy Ceceri.

-- Friday, April 6th: My Friday Fiction Feature will be a picture book entitled 'Aliens Get the Sniffles Too! by Katy S. Duffield and Illustrated by K.G. Campbell.

--  Monday, April 9th:  Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday Feature:  Title TBA.

--  Tuesday, April 10th:  Book spotlight and review of a gardening book written by authors Chantal Aida Gordon & Ryan Benoit.

--  Wednesday, April 11th:  Cedar Fort Author Nedra Secrist will be my guest on the blog for an author interview and spotlight on her new book about perennials.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

~ Blog Tour for 'My Sister's Intended' ~

~ BLOG TOUR POST ~

Blog Tour - March 28th to April 12th

BOOK BLURB:  For as long as Prudence can remember, it has been understood that her sister will one day wed the eldest son of their nearest neighbor. Such an alliance will benefit both families and bring a great deal of joy to all parents involved. Unfortunately, Prudence has never been able to feel as joyful. She believes her sister is mad to consider marrying a man she hardly knows, even if he will one day make her a countess. Titles and wealth shouldn't factor into matters of the heart, and as an aspiring romance novelist, Prudence cannot fathom how anyone could even think of settling for less than love. She certainly wouldn’t, and she doesn't want her sister to either. Unable to stand by and do nothing, Prudence sets out to help the awkward couple discover the best in each other with the hope that they will eventually find love. What she neglected to foresee, however, was the possibility that she might fall in love with Lord Knave herself.


EXCERPT:  When Prudence lifted her eyes to his again, they sparkled with a challenge. “I was going to save this question until later so as not to shock you from the get-go, but I really do need to know . . . What does it feel like to kiss a woman?”

A large lump formed in Brand’s throat, and his mouth went dry. What the deuce? She had promised not to ask questions that would make him uncomfortable, but already he wanted to flee like a frightened kitten. How could he possibly explain how it felt to kiss a woman?

Brand searched his mind for a way to avoid answering until he heard a snicker escape her lips. She was laughing at him. Him! Hildebrand Ethan Cannon, Viscount Knave—a man at least eight years her senior and a great deal higher in social standing.

Unbelievable.

“You are teasing me,” he said, hoping it was true. If she’d posed the question to make him squirm—and perhaps make him more inclined to answer her other questions—then she wouldn’t be expecting an answer.

She shook her head, still smiling. “I’m afraid not, my lord, although I did find the look of terror on your face vastly amusing.”

“I’m glad I could entertain you.”

“I hope you will be equally glad to instruct me on a few things as well. The first scene in my book will include a kiss, and I have no idea how to describe the experience. Do a woman’s lips feel warm or soft or even moist? Would your pulse quicken? Aside from touch, what other senses are engaged? How would it make you feel and what would you notice when you held a woman in your arms?”

If she thought he’d appeared terror-stricken before, there would be no word for how he looked now. Did she earnestly expect him to answer such questions? Surely even she knew how inappropriate it would be to discuss such things, her being an innocent.

“I cannot say,” he finally muttered.

Her brow puckered in confusion. “Have you never kissed a woman, my lord?”

Brand was sorely tempted to lie and say he had not, but he couldn’t bring himself to do so. Any man of six-and-twenty who had never experienced a kiss would be laughed out of his manhood. Women were expected to remain innocent until married. Men were not.

“Yes, I have kissed a woman,” he finally admitted, “but I have no intention of discussing any of the details with you.”

“Why not?” she asked, her large brown eyes blinking at him curiously. “Would you rather I invent the information?”

“Yes.”

She obviously didn’t appreciate his retort because she scowled. “Can you not tell me at least a little?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“Because a kiss could never be described with any sort of accuracy, at least not by me. It involves too many feelings and sensations and complexities of thought. If you wish to know what a kiss feels like, you’ll have to experience it for yourself.”

Too late, Brand realized his mistake. Her expression became contemplative, as though she was actually considering doing just that. Good gads, had he really just encouraged an innocent young woman to go hunting for a kiss? Who would she ask? A groom? Stablehand? The next peddler that came to town?

“I think you are right,” she said at last. “I really must experience a kiss for myself if I am to describe it with any sort of accuracy.” She blinked up at him with that innocent expression again. “Will you kiss me Lord Knave? No, how silly of me. You are to marry my sister, so that would never do.” She pursed her lips for a moment before musing, “Perhaps one of the footmen would be kind enough to show me how it’s done.”

Kind enough? Brand could think of a great many reasons a footman would comply with such a request, and kindness did not factor into any of them. Brand would kiss her himself before he allowed a footman near her.

He rubbed the bridge of his nose, feeling a headache coming on. “Perhaps I can try to explain what it feels like after all.” Better that than having her chase after a footman.

“But you only just said you couldn’t do it justice,” she pointed out. “I realize I sound dreadfully forward, but I really must know, and experience is the best teacher, is it not?”

“No, it isn’t,” he lied. “And you are not going to kiss a footman.”

“Then who? Felix or Lionel, perhaps? I’m fairly certain I can convince one of them to do it, if given the opportunity. The question is how to go about it?”

It was plain to see by the firm set of her jaw that she would not rest until she had experienced a kiss of her own. She didn’t seem to care who did the deed, only that the man did a thorough job of it. A quick peck on the lips wouldn’t satisfy her curiosities.

“Perhaps I could send a note to Felix and ask him to call on me,” she continued to muse. “We could take a stroll through the maze in the gardens. There is a hidden alcove on the south side, which could be quite perfect. We would have to evade Ruth, obviously, but—”

“Devil take it,” Brand growled as he pulled her to him. Her quick intake of breath was the only sound she made before his mouth covered hers.

 
AUTHOR RACHAEL 
       ANDERSON:
A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.



-- Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Code 
or $25 in Paypal Cash Ends 4/22/18  --
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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COMING UP SOON ON 'READING, WRITING & STITCH-METIC':

-- Friday, March 30th: Friday Amish Fiction Feature Book Spotlight & Review of Author Jerry S. Eicher's 'Always Close to Home: The St. Lawrence County Amish, Book #3'.

-- Monday, April 2nd: Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday Non-Fiction STEAM Education Feature by Author/Educator Kathy Ceceri, 'MAKE: Edible Inventions'.


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Sunday, March 25, 2018

~ MMGM HISTORICAL FICTION FEATURE--'IVY TAKES CARE' ~

~ MIDDLE-GRADE HISTORICAL
FICTION FEATURE ~
'Ivy Takes Care'
-- Written by Rosemary Wells
Illustrated by Jim LaMarche --


 LEARN MORE ON GOODREADS


ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}: 
After her best friend, Annie, leaves for a fancy camp in New Hampshire, Ivy can’t imagine how she’s going to endure the long, hot Nevada summer with no one around but that pain-in-the-neck Billy Joe Butterworth next door and all those melancholy visitors to the Red Star Guest Ranch. Happily, an answer comes to Ivy in a flash of honey-colored topaz, and she cleverly hires herself out to take care of people’s farm animals or pets while they’re away.

So begins a summer of discovery for tenderhearted but sensible Ivy, who must win over the stubborn pony Chestnut, take on the challenge of training a puppy named Inca, and patiently court the trust of the magnificent but scarred racehorse Andromeda. All this while tending to her own private hurts and hopes and managing the hapless tagalong Billy Joe, who has a knack for trouble and accidents like nobody else!

Celebrated writer Rosemary Wells delivers a compassionately observed and exquisitely distilled novel set in the midcentury Southwest about a young heroine with an exceptional gift, a heart of gold, and a budding dream for her future.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}: 
Rosemary Wells is the author of a number of popular children's books, most notably the Max and Ruby series which follows the everyday adventures of sibling bunnies - curious three year old Max and bossy seven year old Ruby. She gets the inspiration for Max and Ruby from her two daughters and the experiences they have with friends and school.
 
Her West Highland Terriers Lucy and Snowy have also worked their way into her books, as McDuff and insight for other characters. She has also written Noisy Nora, Yoko, Voyage to the Bunny Planet series, a Christmas Book called Morris's Disappearing Bag and a collected book of illustrations of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs.

In April 2007, her children's book The Gulps featuring illustrations by Marc Brown was released. Also that year she published Red Moon at Sharpsburg, a historical novel featuring a young girl in the American Civil War. 2008 brings Otto Runs For President, followed by Yoko Writes Her Name, scheduled to be published in July.

MY REVIEW:  This story is set in the summer of 1949 on a dude ranch located in the mountains of northwester Nevada. Ivy's parents work for the owners of the Red Star Guest Ranch as the wrangler/tour guide and cook. The family struggles to make ends meet each month of the year.

Ivy is an eleven-year old who will begin sixth grade in the fall. She is an only child who is nurtured and encouraged by her parents to be whatever she chooses to become. Ivy loves animals and decides she would like to go to college to become a veterinarian.

In order to save money for her college envelope, she opens up a summer business taking care of animals while the owners are away on vacation. She names her business Ivy Takes Care.

Ivy is interested in learning about caring for animals and veterinary medicine. The local veterinarian mentors Ivy and even allows her to perform some simple procedures with him while they're out on calls. She learns how to give injections and how to assist a horse who has been bitten by a rattlesnake.The vet pays Ivy to clean his office and the animal cages every afternoon during her summer vacation.

The son of the owners of the dude ranch, Billy Joe Butterworth, is a pest and a constant challenge who wears on Ivy's every nerve. He causes some traumatic situations with his crazy antics and impulsive behavior, but the two have a bond that grows stronger as the story progresses.

Ivy's best friend, Annie, leads a privileged life so the issues of social disparity are dealt with in a sensitive manner. I believe Ivy learns and grows tremendously through the way Annie distances herself from Ivy because of their varying lifestyles.

This is a heartwarming story I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I enjoy midcentury fiction written for adults and children, and I felt this book was authentic to the time period in every way. Ivy's family used a telephone with six party lines. Our neighborhood was on party lines when I was a child, but I think we only shared our line with two other families! I remember the chaos, not to mention the lack of privacy, we experienced every time we received a telephone call.

I respected and liked Ivy very much because of her kindness toward people and animals, her ambition, and her resilience in the face of adversity. I'd also like to mention how much the illustrator's drawings enriched the story. The cover art, in particular, is simply stunning.

**Highly recommended for fans of western fiction, historical fiction, and fiction about caring for animals.
---------------
I borrowed this book from the children's section of our local public library. The book was published in 2013 by Candlewick Press.
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COMING UP SOON ON 'READING, WRITING & STITCH-METIC': 

-- Wednesday, March 28th: Spotlight Post for the 'I Am a Reader' Blog Tour for Author Rachel Anderson's newest release, 'My Sister's Intended'.

-- Friday, March 30th: Friday Amish Fiction Feature Book Spotlight & Review of Author Jerry S. Eicher's 'Always Close to Home: The St. Lawrence County Amish, Book #3'.

-- Monday, April 2nd: Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday Non-Fiction STEAM Education Feature by Author/Educator Kathy Ceceri, 'MAKE: Edible Inventions'.

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~ Release Day Book Blast for 'My Sister's Intended' ~

~ Happy Release Day to 
'My Sister's Intended'
 by Author Rachael Anderson! ~

We're celebrating with a $50 Giveaway!




--ABOUT THE BOOK:
'My Sister's Intended' by Rachael Anderson: 
For as long as Prudence can remember, it has been understood that her sister will one day wed the eldest son of their nearest neighbor. Such an alliance will benefit both families and bring a great deal of joy to all parents involved. Unfortunately, Prudence has never been able to feel as joyful. She believes her sister is mad to consider marrying a man she hardly knows, even if he will one day make her a countess. Titles and wealth shouldn't factor into matters of the heart, and as an aspiring romance novelist, Prudence cannot fathom how anyone could even think of settling for less than love. She certainly wouldn’t, and she doesn't want her sister to either. Unable to stand by and do nothing, Prudence sets out to help the awkward couple discover the best in each other with the hope that they will eventually find love. What she neglected to foresee, however, was the possibility that she might fall in love with Lord Knave herself.




--ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Author Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.
Website * Facebook * Twitter



Blog Tour March 28th to April 12th


Release Day Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Code or $50 in Paypal Cash Ends 4/13/18 
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway 
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COMING UP SOON ON 'READING, WRITING & STITCH-METIC':

-- Wednesday, March 28th: Spotlight Post with Excerpt for the 'I Am a Reader' Blog Tour for Author Rachel Anderson's newest release, 'My Sister's Intended'.

-- Friday, March 30th: Friday Amish Fiction Feature Book Spotlight & Review of Author Jerry S. Eicher's 'Always Close to Home: The St. Lawrence County Amish, Book #3'.

-- Monday, April 2nd: Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday Non-Fiction STEAM Education Feature by Author/Educator Kathy Ceceri, 'MAKE: Edible Inventions'.


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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

~ Some Things You Might Like to Know About 'Robin's Reward' ~

~ SOME THINGS YOU MIGHT
LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT
'ROBIN'S REWARD' ~

People frequently ask me how I came up with the characters, setting, and plot for my 85,000-word contemporary inspirational romance novel, 'Robin's Reward'. Let's just say I have an extremely active imagination. My creativity began at a young age and has just never slowed down.

Here's a list of some things you might like to know about 'Robin's Reward':

--  The story is set in the coastal mountains of Northern California in the fictional small town of Bonita Creek, right about where you would find Willits, California, on your atlas.

--  I chose the name of Robin for my main character because I had a close childhood friend named Robin. We met in Sunday School in second grade and continued our friendship until we were in our twenties. We lost track of each other at some point, but I have fond memories of many fun times together.


--  Robin loves to garden, cook, read, and walk. Hobbies she shares with her creator.  :0}

--  Robin cooks and bakes from scratch, just like I do. Biscuits, cookies, pies, waffles, potato salad, pizza, spaghetti sauce--all made from scratch. It takes more time, but we feel it's a healthier way to eat. Besides, we gain a great deal of pleasure from the simple acts of cooking and baking.

--  Robin's favorite flowers are dahlias. Coincidentally, my favorite flowers are dahlias. The magenta pompom dahlias on the book's cover are Robin's favorite variety, which she probably chose because they're on the top of my list, too!

Robin's favorite variety of dahlia.


--  One of Robin's favorite places to visit are the botanical gardens on the coast in Mendocino County. This is a real place! The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg, California, are an awesome place to walk, view the ocean, and wander around looking at hundreds {if not thousands} of varieties of flowers, trees, shrubs, ground covers, etc. I love to walk down the path toward the ocean and see a family of California Coastal Quail wander out of the brush and scurry across the path to the other side. They are shy, but beautiful. Here's the link to the Garden's website: 
https://www.gardenbythesea.org/

The Dahlia Garden at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
 ***Spoiler Alert: Below is a photo I took of the gazebo in the Dahlia Garden at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. This is the site of a very important scene in 'Robin's Reward'! Enough said . . . 


This Gazebo in the Dahlia Garden is the location for many summer weddings.

 --  The minister in the story, Reverend White, and his wife, Marian, are based upon a couple who worked with the junior high school youth group at my childhood church. They were kind to us and generous with their time. Dealing with two dozen young teens could not have been easy, but they gave me many lasting memories fun times spent together at our annual ice skating and museum field trips.

--  A dog named 'Hunter' who plays a small part in the plot was named after a friend's rambunctious, enthusiastic, energetic, lovable Redbone Coonhound.

I hope you've enjoyed getting a glimpse of the meaning behind some of the elements of this book. Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win an ebook copy of 'Robin's Reward' along with several other books written by participating authors. {Note:  The three photos above were taken by me at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in 2015.}
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Enter the Rafflecopter contest below for a chance to win some ebooks and hardcover books including an ebook copy of my book, 'Robin's Reward' and a hardcover copy of my holiday book, 'A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom'.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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COMING UP SOON ON 'READING, WRITING & STITCH-METIC':
-- Thursday, March 22nd - Friday, March 23rd: 'SPRING MULTI-AUTHOR GIVEAWAY' organized by Singing Librarian Book Tours will feature my two inspirational romance novels--'ROBIN'S REWARD' & 'A HOLIDAY MIRACLE IN APPLE BLOSSOM'. I will post a different feature about my books each day, so stop by for new content each day next week.

Enter to win an e-copy of 'Robin's Reward' {giveaway sponsored by me} and a hardcover copy of my Christmas book {giveaway sponsored by my publisher, Cedar Fort, Inc.} There are several other authors participating, so stop back in on Tuesday morning to learn more details and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway
.

--  Monday, March 26th:  Release Day Giveaway for 'My Sister's Intended' by Author Rachael Anderson.

--  Monday, March 26th:  It'll be another Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday here on the blog. Featured title is TBA.

--  Wednesday, March 28th:  Book Spotlight for 'My Sister's Intended' by Author Rachael Anderson.
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Monday, March 19, 2018

~ First Day of Spring Photo Gallery & Multi-Author Giveaway ~

~ FIRST DAY OF SPRING
FLOWER GARDEN GALLERY
& MULTI-AUTHOR GIVEAWAY ~


The setting for my contemporary inspirational romance book, 'Robin's Reward',  is the fictional town of Bonita Creek, California, located in the coastal mountains of the magnificent Mendocino Coast in Northern California. Here's a photo of the Pacific Ocean taken from the botanical gardens in Fort Bragg, California, one of Robin's favorite spots to visit.


The main character, Robin Bennett, is the town's librarian and a master gardener. She loves flowers even more than she loves books--and that's saying a lot! The book opens with Robin working in her front garden on the first day of spring. Here are some flowers she might find blooming in her garden on March 20th.

















































































Lots of other interesting and exciting things happen to Robin throughout the year, but the next spring is where the book ends. So I guess you could say spring is Robin's favorite time of year!
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Enter the Rafflecopter contest below for a chance to win some ebooks and hardcover books including an ebook copy of my book, 'Robin's Reward' and a hardcover copy of my holiday book, 'A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom'.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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COMING UP SOON ON 'READING, WRITING & STITCH-METIC':
-- Wednesday, March 21st - Friday, March 23rd: 'SPRING MULTI-AUTHOR GIVEAWAY' organized by Singing Librarian Book Tours will feature my two inspirational romance novels--'ROBIN'S REWARD' & 'A HOLIDAY MIRACLE IN APPLE BLOSSOM'. I will post a different feature about my books each day, so stop by for new content each day next week.

Enter to win an e-copy of 'Robin's Reward' {giveaway sponsored by me} and a hardcover copy of my Christmas book {giveaway sponsored by my publisher, Cedar Fort, Inc.} There are several other authors participating, so stop back in on Tuesday morning to learn more details and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway
.

--  Monday, March 26th:  Release Day Giveaway for 'My Sister's Intended' by Author Rachael Anderson.

--  Monday, March 26th:  It'll be another Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday here on the blog. Featured title is TBA.

--  Wednesday, March 28th:  Book Spotlight for 'My Sister's Intended' by Author Rachael Anderson.
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Sunday, March 18, 2018

MMGM Non-Fiction Feature - Boxcar Children: Guide to Advenure

~ MARVELOUS MIDDLE-GRADE
MONDAY NON-FICTION FEATURE ~
-- 'The Boxcar Children Guide to Adventure:
A How-To for Mystery Solving, Make-It-Yourself
Projects and More' --
Created by Author Gertrude Chandler Warner
LEARN MORE ON GOODREADS



ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads Book Blurb}:
The Boxcar Children have long been known for being creative and resourceful. This hardcover book is filled with fun how-to guides for everyday adventures. It includes tips and tricks for mystery solving (how to make invisible ink and create secret codes), travel (how to pack a suitcase; how to take great snapshots), and enjoying the great outdoors. Each of the four Boxcar Children has his or her own section—practical advice from Jessie, a “roughing it” guide from Henry, crafts and art projects from Violet, and recipes from Benny! A great gift for Boxcar fans.
  
ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}:
 Gertrude Chandler Warner was born in Putnam, Connecticut, on April 16, 1890, to Edgar and Jane Warner. Her family included a sister, Frances, and a brother, John. From the age of five, she dreamed of becoming an author. She wrote stories for her Grandfather Carpenter, and each Christmas she gave him one of these stories as a gift. Today, Ms. Warner is best remembered as the author of THE BOXCAR CHILDREN MYSTERIES.
 

As a child, Gertrude enjoyed many of the things that girls enjoy today. She loved furnishing a dollhouse with handmade furniture and she liked to read. Her favorite book was ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Often on Sundays after church, Gertrude enjoyed trips to visit her grandparents' farm. Along the way, she and Frances would stop to pick the wildflowers they both loved. Gertrude's favorite flower was the violet.

Due to ill health, Ms. Warner never finished high school. She left in the middle of her second year and studied with a tutor. Then, in 1918, when teachers were called to serve in World War I, the school board asked her to teach first grade. She had forty children in the morning and forty more in the afternoon . . . Eventually, Ms. Warner attended Yale, where she took several teacher training courses.


Once when she was sick and had to stay home from teaching, she thought up the story about the Boxcar Children. It was inspired by her childhood dreams. As a child, she had spent hours watching the trains go by near her family's home. Sometimes she could look through the window of a caboose and see a small stove, a little table, cracked cups with no saucers, and a tin coffee pot boiling away on the stove. The sight had fascinated her and made her dream about how much fun it would be to live and keep house in a boxcar or caboose. 


She read the story to her classes and rewrote it many times so the words were easy to understand. Some of her pupils spoke other languages at home and were just learning English. THE BOXCAR CHILDREN gave them a fun story that was easy to read.

MY REVIEW:  My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Binkley, liked to read aloud to our class each day after lunch. I'm assuming she liked to read to us because of her pleasant voice and smile, but I loved when she read to us! I can vividly remember her reading 'The Boxcar Children', 'My Side of the Mountain', and 'Little House in the Big Woods' to us. When I saw this 'Guide to Adventure' from 2014 in the local library's online catalog, I knew I wanted to read it.

The book is organized into eight chapters, each covering a different topic for adventure. Readers learn some simple detective skills in the first chapter; they learn ways to keep occupied on road trips in Chapter Three. Some simple recipes are included in the fifth chapter, while 'Violet's Workbag' shares stepped-out instructions for several craft, art, and gardening projects. 

The 'A Friend in Need' chapter covers various ways children can 'pitch in to help' the community. Suggested jobs for readers include pet sitter and dog walking, babysitting and parent helper, volunteering, and yard work. This chapter stresses having fun and working together to get things done.

One chapter I especially appreciated was the final chapter, 'Unplugged Games'. The chapter starts off with tips for how to play fairly and how to show good sportsmanship. Lists of outdoor games and indoor card games are included. Did you know there are at least thirteen different versions of Tag? {Oh, how I wish I had known this when I was teaching primary grades.}

Another attractive feature of the book is that most of the chapters include a sidebar listing books from the Boxcar Children series that apply to the theme of the chapter. For instance, the chapter entitled 'Outdoor Adventures' lists seven mysteries in the series where the characters used their detective skills to solve a mystery. 'Violet's Workbag' lists three 'Great DIY Boxcar Children Moments' referring to crafts the children made in the stories and in which book they appear. 

Highly recommended! This book was written for children but it is a great resource for teachers, librarians, parents/grandparents, youth group/scout/4H/church school leaders/camp counselors, and anyone who spends time with or works with middle-grade aged children. 

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CURRENT GIVEAWAYS:  Don't forget to check out my Current Giveaways Page to enter for a chance to win in three different Rafflecopter giveaways going on right now.
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COMING UP SOON ON 'READING, WRITING & STITCH-METIC':
-- Tuesday, March 20th - Friday, March 23rd: 'SPRING MULTI-AUTHOR GIVEAWAY' organized by Singing Librarian Book Tours will feature my two inspirational romance novels--'ROBIN'S REWARD' & 'A HOLIDAY MIRACLE IN APPLE BLOSSOM'. I will post a different feature about my books each day, so stop by for new content each day next week.

Enter to win an e-copy of 'Robin's Reward' {giveaway sponsored by me} and a hardcover copy of my Christmas book {giveaway sponsored by my publisher, Cedar Fort, Inc.} There are several other authors participating, so stop back in on Tuesday morning to learn more details and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway
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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Blast & Giveaway for Whitcomb Springs and Healing Fire

~ FRIDAY FICTION FEATURE ~
-- BLAST & GIVEAWAY --
TWO HISTORICAL SHORT STORIES
BY AUTHORS MK McCLINTOCK &
SAMANTHA ST. CLAIRE
'WHITCOMB SPRINGS' and 'HEALING FIRE' 


'WHITCOMB SPRINGS' BY MK MCCLINTOCK:
In the spring of 1865, a letter arrives in Whitcomb Springs for Evelyn Whitcomb. The Civil War has ended and the whereabouts of her husband is unknown, but she doesn’t give up hope. With courage, the help of a friend, and the love of a people, Evelyn finds a way to face—and endure—the unexpected. “Whitcomb Springs” is the introductory, stand-alone short story of the Whitcomb Springs series set in post-Civil War Montana.
 

Excerpt from 'Whitcomb Springs':
Whitcomb Springs, Montana Territory—April 25, 1865
The letter fluttered to the table. Evelyn stared at the sheet of paper but could no longer make out the words as they blurred together. Surrender. She prayed this day would come, they all had, and after four tortuous years, the war was finally over. There would be more capitulation on the part of the South, and too many families who would never see their men again . . . but it was over. Separated, yet not untouched, from conflict, Evelyn Whitcomb lived in the same town her husband and their two friends founded one year before news of the Civil War reached them. By way of her sister, who lived in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania with their parents, they were kept informed as often as Abigail could get a letter through. Evelyn often wondered if she should have returned to Rose Valley to help with the war effort, much as her sister Abigail had done, yet she found the needs of Whitcomb Springs to be vast as the town continued to grow. Many men and boys left, leaving their wives, mothers, and sisters behind to fight for a cause they didn’t fully understand, yet still felt it their duty to serve. Others remained behind to continue working in the mine and watch over those families with or without kin. Evelyn read over Abigail’s letter once more, letting the words settle into her mind, for even now she struggled to believe it was over—that her husband might return home. Dearest Evelyn, For too many years now I have shared with you the horrors and travesties befallen many of the young men with whom we spent our childhood. News has reached us that on the ninth of April, Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. Oh, sister, I dared not believe it was true when Papa brought home the news. He tells us not to become overly excited for there will surely be a few more battles waged until the news reaches both sides, but we can thank God that this war is officially over. Your news of Daniel’s disappearance has weighed heavy on my mind these past months since we heard, and Papa has attempted to learn of his whereabouts, to no avail. We have not given up! There is much confusion right now on both sides and Papa said it could be weeks or months more before the men return home. Do not lose faith, sweet Evie. Your most loving sister,  Abigail

  

Author the Author:   MK MCCLINTOCK is an award-winning author of historical romance and westerns, who has written several books and short stories, including the popular "Montana Gallagher" series, the "Crooked Creek" series, and the "British Agent" series. She continues the search for a time machine that can transport her to nineteenth-century Montana or Scotland—either works. MK enjoys a quiet life in the Rocky Mountains where she spins tales of romance, adventure, and mystery set in bygone times. 

Website & Blog * Amazon * Facebook * Twitter
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'HEALING FIRE' BY SAMANTHA ST. CLAIRE 
After the death of Nora Hewitt's husband, the citizens of Whitcomb Springs didn't see odds favoring the young widow for holding onto the ranch with only her ten-year-old son to assist. That changes when a gentle giant of a man offers a helping hand. Motivated by compassion and his own grieving heart, the blacksmith becomes a mentor for the troubled boy and befriends the attractive widow, scandalizing the town gossips. Propriety is wielded like a weapon to separate them, but Providence makes its own plans through fire, loss and redemption.

   

Excerpt from 'Healing Fire':
Sawdust floated into drifts beneath the workbench, swirling in the cold Montana morning air. His breath a thin fog, Dominik Andris sang to himself as he ran his palm down the length of the cedar plank. Deep and resonant, the Austrian’s voice might have suited his appearance had it not been for its soft timbre. Broad-shouldered, square-jawed, and generally solemn in bearing, most people avoided him except when his skills as a blacksmith or undertaker were required. Today, someone had need of him as the latter. A rectangular box stood propped against the back wall. Nearly complete, the box lid before him was carved in designs more suitable for a cradle. Dominik picked up a carving knife, dwarfed in his hands, and bent to correct a curve on the delicate vine tracing its way from one end of the lid to the other. He ran his fingers along its length, testing for burrs in the grain. His humming ceased and a line formed between his brows, a frown not directed to his work but to the reason for it. As he straightened, he rubbed at the back of his neck and a little groan escaped his lips. He took a sip of cold coffee before crossing the workshop to the back wall where he picked up the box in one hand. The weight of it or the absence of weight, struck a painful chord. Just four feet in length, it was enough. Enough to hold the body of the child, the woman’s child.

     

About the Author:   SAMANTHA ST. CLAIRE was born in 2016, the alter-ego and pen name of an author of historical fiction born a few decades earlier. She may have found her niche in western historical fiction, served up sweet. Never faint of heart, her signature protagonists face the hazards of the frontier with courage, wit, and a healthy pinch of humor. 

Website & Blog * Amazon * Facebook

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Welcome to Whitcomb Springs! This is a collection of short stories, and the occasional novella, written by multiple authors. The series is filled with stories of adventure, danger, romance, and hope, and is set in the fictional town of Whitcomb Springs, Montana Territory. The stories span the years of 1865-1885. Although each story may be set during a different time, they are stand-alone and may be read in any order. While the first stories will publish on March 15, 2018, this is an on-going project, so new stories may be published at any time by one of the participating authors. For a complete listing of all currently available and upcoming Whitcomb Springs stories, visit:  

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 $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 4/8/18 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

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CURRENT GIVEAWAYS: Don't forget to check out my Current Giveaways Page to enter for a chance to win in three different Rafflecopter giveaways going on right now.
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COMING UP ON 'READING, WRITING & STITCH-METIC':

--  Monday, March 19th:  Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday Non-Fiction Feature on 'The Boxcar Children: Guide to Adventure'.  If you are of a certain age {I'm right there with you}, you will remember the engaging and fun Boxcar Children books written by Gertrude Chandler Warner and published in the mid-century era by Albert Whitman & Company. 

-- Tuesday, March 20th - Friday, March 23rd:  'SPRING MULTI-AUTHOR GIVEAWAY' organized by Singing Librarian Book Tours will feature my two inspirational romance novels--'ROBIN'S REWARD' & 'A HOLIDAY MIRACLE IN APPLE BLOSSOM'. Enter to win an e-copy of 'Robin's Reward' {giveaway sponsored by me} and a hardcover copy of my Christmas book {giveaway sponsored by my publisher, Cedar Fort, Inc.} There are several other authors participating, so stop back in on Tuesday morning to learn more details and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.  

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~ MMGM S.T.E.A.M. BH&G NEW JUNIOR COOKBOOK ~

~ MARVELOUS MIDDLE-GRADE MONDAY S.T.E.A.M. FEATURE ~ --  'BETTER HOMES & GARDENS NEW JUNIOR COOKBOOK' --  LEA...