Sunday, March 31, 2019



ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

Clink! Clankety-bang! Thump-whirr! That's the sound of Papa at work.

Although he is an inventor, he has never made anything that works perfectly, and that's because he hasn't yet found a truly fantastic idea. But when he takes his family fishing on Lake Michigan, his daughter Virena asks, "Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a fish?"—and Papa is off to his workshop. With a lot of persistence and a little bit of help, Papa—who is based on the real-life inventor Lodner Phillips—creates a submarine that can take his family for a trip to the bottom of Lake Michigan.

This engaging book features the adventures, and misadventures, of a nineteeth-century inventor. He builds all sorts of crazy inventions such as edible socks, steam-powered roller skates, and collapsible clothes hangers. He realizes he has not yet invented anything that worked perfectly, but he does not give up on trying to find a fantastic idea.

While on a trip to Lake Michigan to fish with his family, he hits upon the idea of making an underwater vessel--a mechanical fish. Lots of fun and laughter ensue as he tries three versions of his mechanical fish idea. As you can imagine, all of them fail for various reasons which are described in the book. I liked the face that readers get some exposure to science and engineering through the story. The illustrator does an excellent job of drawing some historical-looking schematics for Papa's submarine designs.

The fourth and final submarine design actually works! The detailed illustration of this design shows the interior of Whitefish IV. This vessel is large enough to hold seven people and features an air-cooling system, an air-compression system, and an air-purifying system. There is a battery to run the headlights and a steam boiler to run the engine.

This is a delightful lower middle-grade picture book 'loosely based' on the life of nineteenth century inventor, Lodner Phillips. In the Author's Note, 'It's Almost True', in the back matter of this book, Candace Fleming shares historical details about this fascinating and eccentric man. Apparently, Phillips really did take his family on an underwater excursion of Lake Michigan in 1851! Fleming shares the details about his submarine designs and his attempts to offer his improved and patented design to the United States Navy in 1852. {The Navy turned him down flat.}

There is a photograph taken in 1915 showing one of his designs, nicknamed the Fool Killer, being raised from the Chicago River. Eventually the sub was sold to Parker's Greatest Shows, a traveling carnival, and was displayed throughout the Midwest. No one knows what happened to the submarine after that. Supposedly, it was never seen again.

Highly recommended to fans of steampunk fiction, marine fiction, historical fiction, S.T.E.A.M. fiction, and stories about inventors! This book will make a great read aloud for classrooms, families, and science clubs.

I borrowed this book from the children's collection at the local public library.

Last summer I read and reviewed this author's recent historical novel, Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen, on this blog. Here's the link if you're interested in reading my review of this excellent book about a dog who becomes a star on the big screen in the 1920s.

Learn about more great middle-grade reads by visiting Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' blog to find the links to other blog posts celebrating Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday!

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Thursday, March 28, 2019


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Unique
Excerpt, Author Bio & Giveaway~

Welcome to the Blog Tour and Giveaway for Her Colorado Cowboy by Mindy Obenhaus, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


9781488042782(1)Title: Her Colorado Cowboy  
Series: Rocky Mountain Heroes, Book 3  
Author: Mindy Obenhaus  
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired  
Genre: Contemporary Romance  
Release Date: March 19, 2019  

Lassoing the single mom’s heart…
A Rocky Mountain Heroes story

Socialite Lily Davis agrees to take her children riding…despite her fear of horses.

But now widowed cowboy Noah Stephens is determined to help her get comfortable in the saddle. And, at her children’s insistence, Lily finds herself promoting his rodeo school.

As Noah and Lily work together, will Noah continue to shield his heart…or can they discover a love that conquers both their fears?  


The rescue horse jerked her head in Lily’s direction.

“Oh, my!” Lily’s hands shot into the air. She dropped everything and pressed her back against the wall, her heart beating like a bass drum against her ribs. “What just happened?”

Noah reached for the horse’s halter, shaking his head. “That was my fault.”

“Your fault?”

“Sorry about that. I should have held on to her so she couldn’t jerk like that.”

“Why did she jerk?” Lily cautiously bent to pick up the gauze and ointment.

“Your kids ever fuss when you’re doctoring a scrape or cut?”

“Yes.” She rose slowly, her hands shaky.

“Same thing. Honey here was simply reacting.”

Lily shook her head, trying to understand. “So, you knew she was going to do that?”

“Suspected, yes.” His matter-of-fact response grated her already frazzled nerves.

“You suspected she might do something yet you not only didn’t hold her, you failed to warn me?” Her breathing intensified.

He scratched his head then, looking rather sheepish. “When you put it like that…”

“How could you do that to me?” She took two steps in his direction, her gaze narrowed. “You know better than anyone how terrified I am of horses.”

“I said I was sorry.”

“Well, sorry doesn’t cut it, buster.” She poked a finger into his chest. “I trusted you and you—”

He took hold of her wrist and stared down at her, an annoying grin tugging at his lips.

“Let me go.” Her nostrils flared as she glared up at him.

“You trust me?” He smiled in earnest now.

“Trusted. Past tense.” She yanked her hand free, tossed the items at him and continued out the stall door before looking back. “I won’t make that mistake again.”

LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Christian Book | iTunes



It took Mindy Obenhaus forty years to figure out what she wanted to do when she grew up, but once God called her to write, she never looked back. A three-time Carol Award finalist, Mindy is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren at her Texas ranch.  

CONNECT: website | facebook | twitter | pinterest | goodreads | bookbub

her colorado cowboy blog giveaway


(1) winner will win:
  • a signed copy of Her Colorado Cowboy
  • $15 Amazon gift card
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 25, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm April 1, 2019. US only. Void where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Excerpt, Author
Bio, Unique Author Interview & Giveaway~
The Sleuth's Dilemma blog blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz and Giveaway for The Sleuth's Dilemma by Kimberly Rose Johnson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


the sleuth's dilemmaTitle: The Sleuth's Dilemma
Series: The Librarian Sleuth #2  
Author: Kimberly Rose Johnson  
Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink  
Genre: Cozy Mystery  
Release Date: February 1, 2019  

Anna loves her job as a high school English teacher until everything goes sideways. The one bright spot in her life is Titus Gains, the school counselor, who is there for her at every turn.

Titus’s boss complicates his ordered world when she tasks him with running a meeting that changes everything. How had he not noticed Anna earlier? Someone is out to destroy her, and he can’t let that happen.

As the head of the English department, part of Luke Harms’ job is to make sure everything runs smoothly. Things went haywire when Anna was put in charge of the big writing contest. Entries are missing, Anna appears to be in danger, and her job is on the line. Luke is investigating and wants to make things right for this woman he’s starting to care about.

Can a trio of school officials along with Nancy Daley, the town sleuth, stop the saboteur before it’s too late? And will Anna choose the right man, or lose them both?


Titus parked his pickup along the street near Tipton Park. Rudy, his two-year-old Labrador Retriever barked.

“Hold on.” He got out and patted his leg. “Come on, boy.”

Rudy leapt from the cab of his pickup and danced in a circle.

Titus laughed. He closed and locked the door then jogged toward a grassy knoll. Rudy loped ahead of him a few feet. Anna’s mention of her dog needing exercise reminded him it had been a while since he’d brought Rudy to a park. He tossed the ball he’d brought, and Rudy tore after it.

Titus looked around, taking in the green space. Cherry blossom buds colored the trees. Young mothers watched their little ones climb on the play equipment that would rival the playgrounds in a city twice the size of Tipton. Rudy bounded toward him and dropped the ball at his feet. “Good boy.” He grabbed the ball and tossed it again.

“Well, this is a surprise.”

He turned and saw Anna strolling toward him with a white ball of fluff on a leash. “I’ll say. This must be Freddy.”

Anna grinned, and her eyes widened. “You remember names better than you let on.”

Rudy slid to a stop and dropped the ball. Then he noticed Freddy and moved close for a sniff-and-greet.

Anna watched the dogs closely. “They seem to like each other.” She reached down and unhooked Freddy’s leash. “Hopefully this little guy won’t run off. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to chase after him.” She tossed Freddy’s ball. “Here’s to hoping.”

Titus threw Rudy’s ball too, and both dogs tore after the toys. “Have you made any progress on the writing contest?” He glanced her way, but kept his attention focused on the dogs.
“Not much. I printed off last year’s rules. Fortunately, the deadline and rules were already posted on the school’s website. So now it’s only a matter of judging.”

“I’m really sorry about how all of this was dumped on you. Apparently, Ms. Porter had forgotten that she’d promised Luke he didn’t have to do it this year. She’d hoped he would help train you, but we know how that turned out. I suggested skipping it, but apparently this contest is a huge deal to a lot of the students.”

“It is, and I wouldn’t want to see it go away, but I sure wish I hadn’t had that contest dropped on me at the last minute. I feel so behind already. There’s a lot that I should’ve been doing in preparation, but now I have to wing it. Not my favorite way of doing things.”

Anna looked wistfully toward the dogs as they trotted back to them.

“I would imagine not. If there was any other option...”

Anna shook her head. “Sorry, I know it’s not your fault. I won’t complain again. I promise.” She crossed her heart with her pointer finger.

He chuckled. “Relax, Anna. I don’t mind a little venting. I wasn’t all that happy when I was told I had to run the meeting. It doesn’t fall under my job description.”

“I’m afraid Ms. Porter is like that. You’ll get used to the way she does things.”

The dogs lost interest in chasing their balls and began to follow their noses around the park. “Think we should trail them?”

“Probably.” She sauntered after the animals.
He kept pace. “Tell me about Tipton.”
She shot him a startled look. “You’ve lived here since August, haven’t you? That was seven months ago.”

He nodded. “I don’t get out much.”
“What do you want to know?”

He shrugged. “Anything. I’ve been married to my work, and other than trips to the grocery store and coffee shop, I haven’t been out. What do people do here for fun?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository


Kimberly Rose Johnson

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance and romantic mystery that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly's newsletter via her website at: 


JUNE:  Welcome to Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic, Kimberly! Congratulations on your recent release of The Sleuth's Dilemma, Book 2 in the Librarian Sleuth Series.

KIMBERLY:  Thank you! I’m so happy to be here.

JUNE:  What inspired you to create the main character of this series to be a librarian? Have you ever worked or volunteered in a library? Please share a favorite library memory from years gone by.

KIMBERLY:  I wish I could remember how I came up with the idea. I started the original book several years ago when inspiration struck. When I think back the only thing I can think of is the series was inspired by Nancy Drew mysteries, which led me to think books, and it then snowballed to librarian.

When I was in junior high, aka middle school, I was a library aide. LOL My youngest son works in his university's library, so whenever I have questions I send him a text.

My favorite library memory is actually from my own children's childhood. The summer reading program was a highlight for us. They would earn tickets for prizes based on the number of pages they read. We would go there once a week to turn in their pages read and to check out more books. This actually inspired the summer reading program that’s mentioned in The Sleuth’s Dilemma.

JUNE:  Are any of the characters in this series based on people you've known or read about? Is there a particular character with whom you feel a close connection? Anyone you don't particularly like? {We'll understand if you don't want to name names!}

KIMBERLY:  Nancy’s character was inspired by Nancy Drew but other than that none of the other characters were inspired by anyone in particular.

I don’t feel an especially close connection with any one of the characters although I was working at a high school at the time I wrote this book so the high school teachers and students were easily relatable. The villain isn’t my favorite person, but I can’t say I dislike any of the characters in this book.

JUNE:  I noticed on your website that you received the 2018 Faith, Hope and Love Reader's Choice Award Winner for the chapter of Romance Writers of America to which you belong. Congratulations on receiving this honor! Please tell us a little bit about the award and how you felt when you were notified you had won. For which book did you win the award?

KIMBERLY:  That was a career high for me. Designing Love is the book that received the award. The winners in each category receive a certificate and an engraved wooden box. I was thrilled to have won. I wish I had been there to accept the award. The book that comes before this one was a finalist in 2017.

JUNE:  Have you ever considered writing for children in the form of picture books, middle-grade novels, young adult novels, or even non-fiction? If yes, please share what genres and subjects you would like to write about.

KIMBERLY:  I’ve considered all of the above. I tried writing young adult novels but was unsuccessful in getting published in that genre. When my niece was young I would take care of her before school, and she wanted me to write a middle-grade book for her to read. I had no good ideas though and wanted to focus on my niche—contemporary Christian Romance. I named a character after my niece in one of my books, and she’s now old enough to read and enjoy them. J I have considered picture books but I was clueless on how to make it happen.

Regarding non-fiction books, in my early years of writing, one of my critique partners wrote non-fiction, she basically said my non-fiction writing was terrible, and I needed to take some classes. I passed and stuck with what I loved.

I worked extremely hard to get traditionally published, and once I was I felt like I needed to stick with what I knew and that was contemporary romance. Later when I started to write for Mountain Brook Ink my publisher challenged me to add mystery to my romance books. As a result pretty much every one of my MBI books has at least a little mystery in them. The Librarian Sleuth series is my first true romantic mystery series.

JUNE:  I read on your website that your hobbies include playing the piano, watching chick flicks, taking long walks, and reading. Are there any hobbies you would like to pursue in the future? Are there any locations you would like to explore on a vacation?

KIMBERLY:  The sky is the limit on places I want to explore. Pretty much all of Europe as well as Australia, and I’d love to walk on the Great Wall of China. There are a lot of places in the US that I’d like to see too. I have the travel bug!

As far as any new hobbies, I’d love to try pottery. That’s something I’ve wanted to do for years.

JUNE:  Thank you for spending some time chatting with us today, Kimberly. Best wishes for many more successful years of writing great stories!

KIMBERLY:  Thank you so much! This was fun.

CONNECT WITH KIMBERLY: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub

the sleuth's dilemma giveaway


(1) winner will win:
  • $15 Amazon gift card
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 26, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm April 2, 2019. Open internationally as long as winner can accept gift card from US Amazon. Void where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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


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