Tuesday, June 19, 2018


 'THE YOU-SONG', Juvenile Non-Fiction
Middle-Grade Christian Fiction

Joanne Otto is a lifelong student of the Bible who has taken four exciting tours of Bible lands and done extensive research, including numerous courses. She has taught foreign languages and English and more recently, as an academic language therapist, has helped dyslexic children strengthen their reading and writing skills. Also a music lover and amateur pianist, she especially enjoys accompanying singers. 

Website: http://joanneotto.com/ 

--ABOUT THE BOOK, 'THE YOU-SONG', Juvenile Non-Fiction: 

'The You-Song' celebrates, in a way young children can understand, the unique and vital place each of us occupies in God's world and encourages them to fill their place in it with joy. Written by a teacher who's helped many children overcome reading challenges, 'The You-Song' is user-friendly, consisting of words that are either familiar or easy to decode. Lavishly illustrated with nearly 50 heart-warming photos, it's also fun to read aloud to pre-readers. Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction

--ABOUT THE BOOK, 'DAUGHTER OF JERUSALEM',  Middle-Grade Christian Fiction:

'Daughter of Jerusalem' takes its 21st-century readers on a journey back to the first-century world of a young rabbi named Yeshua—better known to us as Jesus. Mara, the young heroine of this story, gets to mingle with the crowds who come to hear him teach during his visits to Jerusalem and, finally, to meet him face to face in a brief, life-changing encounter—one that comes at no small cost to herself. For middle-grade readers who want to use the book as a springboard for deeper study, there are Bible references and questions on each chapter, as well as a glossary. For others, the story itself will be the full journey. Genre: Middle-Grade Christian Fiction 

--Purchase Link for Both Books:   

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-- Friday, June 22nd: Blog Tour stop for 'A Vast and Gracious Tide'. Post includes: Book spotlight, excerpt, and giveaway. Tour hosted by JustRead Publicity.

--  Monday, June 25th:  A Marvelous Middle-Grade Fiction Feature on a heartwarming story of friendship, 'Raymie Nightingale'. Post includes a book spotlight and my review.

--  Tuesday, June 26th:  A Book Blast from a collection of non-fiction, personal stories from several Christian authors, 'Arise From the Ashes'. Event hosted by Write Now Literary.

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Monday, June 18, 2018


~Post includes:  Book Spotlight, Author Bio,
Excerpt & Giveaway~
Miss Wilton's Waltz by Josi S. Kilpack A follow-up to Josi S. Kilpack's bestselling Proper Romance title The Vicar's Daughter. Lenora Wilton has spent her life hiding behind the keys of her beloved pianoforte and the vibrancy of her younger sister, Cassie. But Lenora is ready for a change and travels to Bath to live with her Aunt Gwen and teach music at an all-girls’ boarding school. She is different in Bath—more comfortable with herself—and enjoys the freedom and independence of her new life there. When Lenora meets Aiden Asher, she finds herself attracted to him, but her unexpected feelings become more complicated when she learns that Catherine—Lenora’s newest and most troublesome student in the school—is Mr. Asher’s niece. Catherine is a difficult student, and Lenora works hard to make progress with the girl. When the chemistry between Lenora and Aiden increases, they share a passionate kiss by the River Avon, and Lenora feels it is the beginning of a new forever—until she learns that Aiden has withheld an important detail about his life that changes everything. Lenora closes her heart to him, and Aiden, caught between his obligation and his heart, must do what he can to make amends. And Lenora, after years of hiding from everyone and everything, faces a decision only she can make.
She gave him a grateful nod—without a smile so as not to seem too grateful—then climbed ungracefully over the wall and moved down the stairs. At the riverbank, she brushed off the stone wall with the sleeve of her coat and took up her usual position of knees to chest and chin on knees. She stared at the water that glittered with the quarter moon as she’d known it would. She tried to review the last week and make a plan for how she would deal with Miss Manch in the coming one, but the man at the top of the stairs kept invading her thoughts. If she thought about him enough, would she understand why he cared so much about a niece who was so difficult? And was he becoming more handsome each time she saw him, or was that simply a trick of her imagination?

"I know fellow book lovers will understand when I say that I fell in love with the characters of this book. There's something about watching a character who is good and loving, who sacrifices for the good of her family, who doesn't complain or argue, finally find her voice and do something that she loves and wants." "Although the cover is adorable, I was not prepared for what a delightful read this book was! This is the first book that I have read by this author, and it won’t be the last."  

Author Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and has written twenty-five novels, one cookbook, and been part of multiple collaborations since then. She is a four-time Whitney Award winner and Best of State winner in Fiction. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband and children. When Kensington Press picked up her first national women's fiction novel, As Wide as the Sky, Josi was in need of a pen name to differentiate between her other genres. For years, Josi has been called Jessica Pack by people who hear her name but don't know her. It made her new pen name easy to choose. As Wide as the Sky will be released in paperback in 2018. 

A Heart Revealed Lord Fenton's Folly A Lady's Favor The Vicar's Daughter
~ Giveaway Details:  
Ends 7/6/18--Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. 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. This 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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--  Wednesday, June 20th:  Blog Tour stop for two children's books, 'Daughter of Jerusalem' {a middle-grade novel} -and-  'The You Song' {a juvenile non-fiction book}. Tour hosted by Write Now Literary.

--  Friday, June 22nd:  Blog Tour stop for 'A Vast and Gracious Tide'.  Post includes:  Book spotlight, excerpt, and giveaway. Tour hosted by JustRead Publicity.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018


--  'PAPER WISHES'  --
by Author Lois Sepahban

ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:
A moving debut novel about a girl whose family is relocated to a Japanese internment camp during World War II—and the dog she has to leave behind.

Ten-year-old Manami did not realize how peaceful her family's life on Bainbridge Island was until the day it all changed. It's 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Manami and her family are Japanese American, which means that the government says they must leave their home by the sea and join other Japanese Americans at a prison camp in the desert. Manami is sad to go, but even worse is that they are going to have to give her dog, Yujiin, to a neighbor to take care of. Manami decides to sneak Yujiin under her coat, but she is caught and forced to abandon him. She is devastated but clings to the hope that somehow Yujiin will find his way to the camp and make her family whole again. It isn't until she finds a way to let go of her guilt that Manami can accept all that has happened to her family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: {from author's website}:
Lois grew up in central California. Her family moved around a lot, but during her early years she lived in the Tehachapi mountains that form the southeastern boundary of California's Central Valley. She spent her childhood climbing trees, reading books, and creating maps and leading her brother and sister on hunts for buried treasures. On all of her adventures she was accompanied by her dog, Strider, an Australian shepherd, who walked her to the bus stop every morning and then met her there to walk home at the end of the day.

Later, her family moved to the city. She studied literature in college and became a teacher. When she read books out loud to her students, especially books like THE MOORCHILD by Eloise McGraw or SOUNDER by William H. Armstrong, she became inspired to write books of her own.

Today, she is married and has two children. She lives on a small farm where she has a barn that she fills with animals who need homes. She has dogs, cats, and the sweetest chickens in the world!

Author's Website: http://www.loissepahban.com/

This touching story is set in California beginning in March, 1942. The story traces the lives of the Tanaka family of Bainbridge Island, Washington. The family includes ten year old Manami, her parents, her grandfather {Mr. Ishii}, and the family pet—a dog named Yujiin. An older brother, Ron, and sister, Keiko, are away at college in Indiana.

The close-knit family seems to live an idyllic life together until Executive Order 9066 is signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt following the traumatic event of the bombing of the American Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by Japan on December 7, 1941.

This order mandated the relocation of Japanese immigrants and their children who were born in the United States from the United States military zones along the west coast. There were ten relocation camps set up by the War Relocation Authority where all Japanese and Japanese-Americans from Washington, Oregon, and California would be housed.

'Paper Wishes' is set in Manzanar, one of two California relocation camps. Manzanar is located in the Owens Valley of eastern California with the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west and the Inyo Mountains to the east. Over ten thousand people were sent to Manzanar. Most came from southern California, but some also came from San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Bainbridge Island, Washington.

After reading several non-fiction books about this subject, I feel the author painted an accurate portrait of what life was like for these families in Manzanar. The living conditions were crude and unpleasant. The barracks were constructed with no insulation and had one ceiling lightbulb, eight army cots, and an oil stove for heating. Two families shared a barracks. The bathrooms {latrines} and dining hall {mess hall} were in separate buildings.

The main character in this novel is Manami. She is very close to her widowed grandfather. The family's adored pet, Yujiin, was confiscated by the US Army military police when the family was being evacuated. This loss, along with the stress and trauma of being removed from their happy home on Bainbridge Island, results in Manami ceasing to speak aloud. Grandfather and Manami are noticeably depressed, and Manami's parents are extremely worried about her lack of enthusiasm for life.

The family does everything they can to help Manami's heart to heal, but still she does not speak. Through the kindness of her Caucasian school teacher, Rosalie, Manami begins to share her feelings through drawings.

This book is about Manami's journey through her unappealing life as an internee and how her family navigates the daily challenges of being treated like prisoners—except that they have done nothing wrong.

As I finished reading this book, I was left admiring these courageous individuals who built close communities within their camps by sharing meals, celebrating their longtime Japanese customs and traditions, and by doing the best they could by using their ingenuity to create the necessities of life {furniture, toys, food, gardens, etc.} along with taking the time to create beauty through their artwork and sewing skills.

I feel this is book would be a great launching point for middle-grade students to learn some frank details about a dark, negative time period in American history. Seeing things from the other side, Manami's side, will give students a different perspective of what life is like for immigrants, especially those whose heritage is apparent in their physical appearance.

Highly-recommended for fans of historical fiction,
Japanese history/culture, American history, California history, World War II history, and middle-grade fiction.

I borrowed this book from the children's section of the local public library.


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COMING UP SOON ON 'READING, WRITING & STITCH-METIC':-- Tuesday, June 19th: Historical Fiction Feature for 'Miss Wilton's Waltz' by author Josi Kilpack. Post includes a book spotlight, author bio, excerpt, and giveaway. Tour hosted by I Am A Reader.

-- Wednesday, June 20th: Blog Tour stop for two children's books, 'Daughter of Jerusalem' {a middle-grade novel} -and- 'The You Song' {a juvenile non-fiction book}. Tour hosted by Write Now Literary.

-- Friday, June 22nd: Blog Tour stop for 'A Vast and Gracious Tide'. Post includes: Book spotlight, excerpt, and giveaway. Tour hosted by JustRead Publicity

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Thursday, June 14, 2018


~Post Includes:  Book Blurbs,
Author Bio, Excerpt & Giveaway~
Seasons series blog tour 4

Welcome to the Seasons series (by Robin E. Mason) Blog Tour and giveaway, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the 'Seasons' series
| Amazon

The southern town of Saisons lies at the crossroads between North and South, progressive and genteel antebellum life. Between East and West, between history and heritage, and new frontiers. Downton Abbey meets Gone With the Wind. 

It’s 1912, in a world where slavery is dying and women’s rights are rising, and four young women who once shared a bond—and experienced a tragedy—question their own truths.

the long shadows of summer Title: The Long Shadows of Summer  
Author: Robin E. Mason
Publisher: Bird's Nest Books  
Release Date: August 31, 2017  
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Southern Fiction

Mercedes has always been an avid reader and devours each new Sherlock Holmes mystery as soon as she gets her hands on them. When one of her friends comes to her, Mercedes vows to keep Simone’s secrets and uncover the truth.

But as Mercedes plays detective to her friends’ questions, she discovers something far more shocking—she herself is not who she thought she was.
Purchase Links:  Goodreads | Amazon

the tilting leaves of autumn Title: The Tilting Leaves of Autumn
Author: Robin E. Mason
Publisher: Bird's Nest Books  
Release Date: November 22, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Southern Fiction

Scarlett was the shrinking violet in the group. Faithful to her friends, and hiding secrets of her own. When Mercedes steps in to rescue her, she unknowingly plucks the thread that unravels Scarlett’s whole world.

But as Scarlett strives to hold fast to what is familiar the fabric of her life continues to come undone and secrets that are best kept hidden are exposed. 

We went for a drive, uncertainty clouding the sunny day. The road took us south, along the shoreline, and I could hear the waves dancing on the sand through the palmetto trees.

We hadn’t driven an hour even when we came upon a heron perched in the narrow road. I was sure the rumble of the motor would frighten him away but he remained firm. He didn’t appear to be wounded; rather, he seemed curious of the beast that hummed just a few short yards from him.

My eyes locked with those of the bird, and he strutted toward me. He hesitated at the gentle click of the door, and I paused.

His eyes still drawing me, I moved as slowly as a morning mist hovering over the ground. Heron stood yet firm, his head tilted as in curiosity. My skirts whispered as I stepped closer, my shoes silent on the soft sand.

At my approach, he bobbed his head as though nodding to me. My eyes never left his, and after short moments stretched long, I was standing next to him. Standing on a fallen branch, he stretched the graceful S-curve of his neck, and he was eye level to me.

I reached out my hand. The sand colored feathers were downy soft as I stroked his neck. He quivered at my touch, and leaned in to me. A tremor emitted a purr-like sound, and though his face beheld a beak, it seemed as though he smiled at me.

Then with a grand flourish, he stretched out his wings and he lifted into the air. He circled around, lifted higher, till he was gone from view.

Purchase Links:  Goodreads | Amazon

The Silent Song of Winter Title: The Silent Song of Winter
Author: Robin E. Mason  
Publisher: Bird's Nest Books  
Release Date: February 20, 2018  
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Southern Fiction

When all the noise has gone silent, all that is left is her song.

Pearl had lived under the impossible taskmaster of perfection. Nothing she does or ever did pleased her mother. And nothing she ever did could disappoint her father.

Caught up in the mystery of her friend’s curious—and secretive—return, Pearl wrestles with her own decisions, and flees lest her own secrets are exposed.  

Purchase Links:  Goodreads | Amazon

The Whispering Winds of Spring Title: The Whispering Winds of Spring
Robin E. Mason
Bird's Nest Books
Release Date:
May 17, 2018
Inspirational Historical Fiction/Southern Fiction  

Amidst the clamor of confusion, can she hear the whisper of her memories? 

Simone Dubois’ life was unraveling. All she had known and held dear was gone from her. At ten, all she wanted was to escape beneath the black waters of the Edisto River. She couldn’t know her whole life would be stolen from her.

When she returns to Saisons sixteen years later, she has no memory of ever having been there. Not even that it was her birthplace. Enlisting the help of her childhood friend, Mercedes—whose name stayed with her, if in shadowy dreams only—Simone encounters misty memories, and stirs up more mystery than she started with.  

Purchase Links:  Goodreads | Amazon

About the Author

robin elizabeth mason

I’ve always had voices—er, stories in my head. I once said I should write them all down so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, made countless notes for story ideas, and earned my BFA in Interior Design. I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years. My characters face many of these same demons.

I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience. 

CONNECT WITH ROBIN: website | blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

seasons series giveaway

Robin E. Mason is offering a Seasons series prize pack for her tour! ONE winner (US only) will receive:
  • a packette of Saisons Plantation tea
  • a Seasons series mug
  • a Seasons bookmark (handmade by the author)
  • Seasons notecards (also handmade by the author)
  • 4 pairs of earrings (one pair to represent each book)
  • AND winner's choice of (1) signed print copy of Seasons book of choice OR kindle copies of all 4 books!
Giveaway will run from midnight June 11, 2018 through 11:59pm June 18, 2018. It is subject to the policies found here.  

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below.
Click on the banner below for a full tour schedule & more chances to win!
tour schedule

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--  Monday, June 18th:  My Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday feature will be a historical novel entitled, 'Paper Wishes', by debut author Lois Sepahban. This touching novel is set in the Manzanar Japanese Relocation Camp during World War II.

--  Tuesday, June 19th:  Historical Fiction Feature for 'Miss Wilton's Waltz' by author Josi Kilpack. Post includes a book spotlight, author bio, excerpt, and giveaway. Tour hosted by I Am A Reader.

--  Wednesday, June 20th:  Blog Tour stop for two children's books, 'Daughter of Jerusalem' {a middle-grade novel} -and-  'The You Song' {a juvenile non-fiction book}. Tour hosted by Write Now Literary.

--  Friday, June 22nd:  Blog Tour stop for 'A Vast and Gracious Tide'.  Post includes:  Book spotlight, excerpt, and giveaway. Tour hosted by JustRead Publicity.

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Sunday, June 10, 2018


-- 'STITCH CAMP'  --
Written by:  Nicole Blum & Catherine Newman
~Post Includes: Book Spotlight, Author Bios,
Link to Book Preview, Review & Print Copy
Giveaway {One copy/US Only}~

ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

Written with a little bit of sass that will appeal to 9- to 14-year-olds, Stitch Camp introduces kids to fiber crafts in a way that not only promises success in the present, but opens the potential for a passion for creating that will last a lifetime. Each of the six chapters focuses on a different fiber craft (sewing, embroidery, crochet, felting, knitting, and weaving), opening with a step-by-step introduction to the basic tools and techniques needed to get started. The basics are then supported by three specific projects, graded from total beginner to something a bit more sophisticated. Techniques will be illustrated, and the projects themselves will be created by the intended audience and photographed with kids wearing or using the items. Kids will learn how to sew bean bags (and what games to play with them), create a T-shirt dress, embroider their own "scout" badges, make toasty felted mittens and fingerless gloves, create a funky "monster" zippered change purse, knit a padded cover for their phone or table, crochet an elegant beaded bracelet or necklace, make and play with hacky sacks, and weave decorative patches on their jeans or jackets.

ABOUT THE BOOK {from Storey Publishing's website}:  In today’s thriving maker culture, kids are hungry for hands-on guidance in creating stylish wearables and practical objects, or hacking and customizing existing ones. Authors Nicole Blum and Catherine Newman get them started with complete instructions for mastering six favorite fiber crafts. Step-by-step photos teach kids ages 9–14 the basics of how to sew, knit, crochet, felt, embroider, and weave, plus how to make three projects for each craft. From woven patches and a knitted backpack to embroidered merit badges and a crocheted bracelet, the fresh, kid-approved projects encourage creative variations and build confidence along with valuable life skills.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS {from Storey Publishing's Website}:

Nicole Blum is a coauthor of Ciderhouse Cookbook, Stitch Camp, and Improv Sewing. She runs Carr’s Ciderhouse in Hadley, Massachusetts, with her husband, Jonathan Carr. Blum is an artist and crafter whose work has been featured in FamilyFun and Parents magazines.

Catherine Newman is the coauthor of Stitch Camp, and the author of Waiting for Birdy, Catastrophic Happiness, and One Mixed-Up Night. She is the etiquette columnist for Real Simple magazine, a regular contributor to the New York Times Motherlode blog, and editor-in-chief of the James Beard Award-winning kids cooking magazine ChopChop. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her family. Visit her at www.catherinenewmanwriter.com.
Before I begin my review, I would like to disclose that I have had three of my original sewing designs published in two different 'One Yard Wonders' sewing books which were both published by Storey Publishing. When I borrowed this book, 'Stitch Camp', from the local public library last December I knew I wanted to feature it on my upcoming blog because it was just perfect for middle-graders, tweens, and teens! 

I subsequently contacted the publicist at Storey with whom I had worked on promoting the two above-mentioned books in which my projects appear. I asked if Storey would be willing to sponsor a giveaway of one print copy for a US winner when I posted my feature on 'Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic'. She agreed, and here we are. Now, on with my review:

The first thing I noticed about this book as I flipped through it were the colorful, close-up photos of the projects and makers working on their projects. The second thing I noticed was the casual, conversational tone the authors' used throughout the text. There is a good amount of wit along with some puns to make things fun for the readers. I felt the authors were encouraging in the way they prompted makers to work through difficulties without worrying about perfection. All these components work together to make this book very appealing for middle-grade/tween/teen readers!

I thought the book was user-friendly in the manner in which it is organized. There are six skills taught in the book:  Sewing, knitting, crochet, felting, embroidery, and weaving. Each skill has its own chapter dedicated to introducing the particular skill, teaching basic techniques needed to learn/practice the skill, and instructing readers how to make several projects independently.

I found the stepped-out project instructions to be excellent. The written text is accompanied by many colorful, up-close photos of the projects and their makers. 

The back matter includes a glossary, an additional reading list, metric conversion and standard equivalent charts, and an index. As a bonus, there are two pages of colorful punch-out cardstock gift tags for makers to use when giving their creations to others.

Here's a list of my favorite projects in the book. I'll limit myself to one from each chapter:

--SEW:  Beanbag that is also a Hand Warmer;

--EMBROIDER:  Scout Badges {three of these are shown on the cover};

--FELT:  Cut-and-Sew Mittens;

--KNIT:  Cord-Slung Backpack; 

--CROCHET:  Hacked Sack {shown on cover in model's hand}; and

--WEAVE:  Beaded Necklace.

***Highly-recommended for middle-graders, teens, tweens, and adults! This would be a great resource for teachers, youth leaders, scout and camp leaders, parents/grandparents, and anyone who works with this age group. Happy Stitching!
Blogger Disclosure:  As mentioned above, I borrowed this book from the local public library's children's section. I am not being compensated by the publisher or anyone else to post this review here or on any other site.
 GIVEAWAY: Storey Publishing has graciously agreed to give away one print copy of this book to a lucky US resident. To enter, complete the Rafflecopter form below. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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