February 4th, 2018

This is Not a Valentine
We received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for our honest review.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it’s a fun day for many, but the day might also inspire awkward feelings in children and adults alike. We live during a time where we need to reconsider our ideas about what is romantic and appropriate behavior in light of the fact that we now realize some of our older ideas aren’t working. The best place to truly effect change is with children! So it’s encouraging to discover this lovely children’s book This is Not a Valentine that lays the foundation for respect in a relationship. Even if the relationship isn’t romantic in nature, This is Not a Valentine establishes the essential cornerstones of what makes a healthy and functional relationship.

In This is Not a Valentine, the young boy fancies a little girl but he makes sure to emphasize that this is not a valentine, because of all the reasons Valentine’s Day doesn’t work for him. Instead, it’s an expression of friendship. As he explains why it’s not a Valentine, he replaces some of the romantic ideas of Valentine’s (like fancy jewels or sugary sweets) with an emphasis on genuine friendship, acts of respect, and little moments that matter.

The illustrations are adorable and suitable to convey the story. The text itself is a step above, a lovely collection of words that work to portray the genuine affection the boy has for the little girl.

I enjoyed this book quite a lot, and I think it’s a suitable read for children and adults alike. It’s sweet and good natured and a perfect addition to any Valentine collection in schools or the home. But it can certainly be used and enjoyed at any other time of year as well. I also enjoy the diversity of the book, it’s nice to see!


May 1st, 2017

I received a copy of the book and movie for review purposes on my blog.

A Dog’s Purpose by W Bruce Cameron is the ultimate dog tale. It’s the story of Bailey who longs to know what the purpose of his life is. He is continually reincarnated until he connects with a boy, Ethan. He gets to live for awhile as Ethan’s dog and the two are close, inseparable! But time takes its toll and eventually Bailey must say good-bye. Could he ever find Ethan again?

That basic premise is the same for book and movie. And the movie is absolutely charming, well cast, and full of cute dogs! But I must warn you…I cried a lot. I just love dogs so much and a story that involves reincarnation also involves death, unfortunately. Even so, it’s a gentler dog story on the soul since you know Bailey will never go anywhere for good! By the way, the cast includes the charming Bryce Gheisar who plays Archie on Riverdale without all the red hair…he makes a great Ethan, and I really like him. But the entire cast is great! There are voiceovers (done by Josh Gad) for Bailey that are both well done and give you a chance to remember this is a story told from a dog’s perspective. It adds a lot of humor and charm! I really can’t recommend it enough for dog lovers.

The book is also wonderful. Some storylines (including the end!) are changed from the book to movie as frequently happens, but since it is a book you get a much closer look into the inner workings of Bailey’s mind which is super charming and an added bonus.

You can learn more about A Dog’s Purpose for yourself by visiting the website, liking the movie on Facebook, and following the movie on both Twitter and Instagram. With so many cute pictures and videos how could you not?

And now how about watching the trailer?

I have a copy of the movie and book to give away to one lucky reader! In order to enter, all you have to do is fill out the form below. The giveaway closes May 15, 2017. Must be a resident of the United States. Winner will be notified via email.

Finally, we received a really lovely package for our own furry friend, Dusty, with the movie and book.

Included in the package was Emma Lou’s Homemade Kitchen chicken jerky. I was interested in this snack as it was made of real food and sourced in the United States. As you know, dog food and treats don’t have the same standards as humans do, so it’s important to be careful when shopping. Dusty loooooved this treat. Well, he’s a little dog so I have broken it into small pieces for him. This package should last a little while, but he’s not shy about begging for more. 🙂

You can also visit Emma Lou’s Homemade Kitchen on facebook, twitter, and instagram.

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April 16th, 2017

We wish all our readers a very joyous Easter!

February 1st, 2017


By Donna Alward


A kiss to last a lifetime

Aiden Gallagher was only five years old when he appeared in a photograph on the Kissing Bridge. The town of Darling, Vermont, has used Aiden’s image on the famed bridge—local legend has it that a kiss there results in everlasting love—as part of its tourism campaign. Now, twenty years later, Aiden is asked to recreate the moment with the woman he once kissed: Laurel Stone.

Recently divorced, there’s nothing Laurel wants less than to pretend happily-ever-after with Aiden. As teenagers, their romance was no fairy tale—and Laurel has never quite forgiven Aiden for breaking her heart. But now that she is back in her hometown, and keeps bumping into police officer Aiden, Laurel can’t deny that there’s still a strong flicker between her and her old flame. Could it be that the Kissing Bridge is working its magic on Laurel and Aiden—and that all true love ever needed was a second chance?

My Comments:  This is a fun, sweet read and I can’t wait to read more of these books!

DONNA ALWARD BIO: While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers!

Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict.




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Twitter– @DonnaAlward

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October 27th, 2016


Two years have passed since the terrible car accident that took the life of John Baxter’s daughter, Erin, her husband and three of their four daughters. Prompted by grief, and missing his daughter, John has invited a stranger for Christmas Eve dinner—Kendra Bryant, the transplant recipient who now has Erin’s heart.

In light of their father’s idea, Ashley and her brother Luke don’t think it’s right. They want to protect their ten-year-old niece, Amy—the only surviving member of the accident. But John is determined and believes meeting this woman is something his deceased daughter would want.

At the same time, Maddie West, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Brooke Baxter West, is praying for meaning this Christmas. Could she find it in a newfound friendship with a boy she never expected to see again? Maddie believes in miracles, especially at Christmastime, but this is a stretch even she can’t imagine.

Meanwhile, Kendra Bryant has been struggling these past few years to find purpose in the tragedy that gave her a second chance. She believes the invitation to see the Baxters and witness their unwavering faith in God can instill peace and happiness back into her life.

Heartwarming and touching, filled with love and redemption, A Baxter Family Christmas brings together two families in the aftermath of loss and in the midst of an unfolding love story, all with the help of one very special child.

My Comments: I enjoyed this very short book revisiting the Baxter family. The book is a tad bit sappy for me, yet I can’t stop reading Kingsbury books. There are many characters – all interwoven in some way or another. This is definitely a feel-good, great holiday story. We begin at Thanksgiving and go all the way through Christmas Eve. Christianity is woven throughout as well – dealing with doubts, Christmas miracles, and faith building incidents including salvation. Prayer is integral to the story, which I love. My only complaint is that it is so short, yet we do have the promise of more Baxter stories, which makes me smile.

I received a free e-copy of the book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.


October 14th, 2016

the book club murders
Charley Carpenter has poured heart and soul into her clothing store, Old Hat Vintage Fashions. She’ll do anything to make it a success—even join the stuffy Agathas Book Club in order to cultivate customers among the wealthy elite of Oakwood, Ohio.

Although mixing with the most influential women in town has its advantages, Charley finds the endless gossip a high price to pay. But after two women with close ties to the Agathas are brutally murdered, everyone falls under threat—and suspicion. When key evidence indicates that both murders are the work of the same hand, Charley realizes that the killer has arranged each corpse in perfect imitation of crime scenes from the Club’s murder mystery reading list. She uses her membership in the Club to convince Detective Marcus Trenault to use her as an inside informant. Not that he could stop her anyway.

Intelligent, fearless, and every bit as stubborn as Marc is, Charley soon learns the Agathas aren’t the only ones with secrets to protect. Passions explode as she and Marc must race against time to prevent another murder. And if Charley’s not careful, she may find herself becoming the killer’s next plot twist.

My Comments: This was an engaging read, however, the idea does not seem new to me. I have either read it before or seen it on a Hallmark Mystery story. However, having said that, I enjoyed it a great deal and look forward to more books in this series. The main character is likable (I also like her love interest). Secrets abound, the characters interest me, and there are many twists and turns. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

October 8th, 2016


When the stinky Swamp Monster returns, an imaginative boy uses his monster-stopper kit to protect his home and family. A humorous picture book which celebrates the blurry lines between inventiveness and reality.

My Comments: My second graders and I enjoyed this book. It has a small twist which made us laugh. At first it seems like possibly a Halloween book, but really it could be read all year. The artwork is kid-friendly. It made my students think about their siblings and cousins. I recommend this book — very cute!

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

October 3rd, 2016


Sarah Yoder belongs to a Plain community in Oklahoma, but her days are far from simple. Life suddenly gets complicated when a series of tragic events unfold, leaving her in charge of the household.

Alone with her younger siblings, Sarah is exhausted but finally at peace. Then she nearly runs over a small Hispanic boy with her buggy…and somehow finds herself sheltering two more orphans.

Paul Byler moved to Cody’s Creek to help his brother in a time of need. But now that Joseph has recovered from his heart attack, Paul’s ready for a quiet place of his own. The only problem? His new property lands him next door to the orphaned Yoder family—and a calling from God he can’t seem to ignore.

My Comments: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is full of hope during difficult times. Sarah Yoder wormed her way into my heart. This book shows that everybody has a choice and they don’t have to fall into victimization. I love the mix of Plain and Hispanic cultures. I love the hospitality. Several issues are brought to light in this story and handled well: mental illness, physical illness, depression, adoption, and abandonment. Chapman does a great job giving hope through all of these circumstances, and again the Amish way of life is amazing to me! This is quite a different read than most. I could hardly put it down.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

September 28th, 2016


In Laura Childs’s New York Times bestselling mystery series, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni—co-owners of the Cackleberry Club café—are back to track down another bad egg…

Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.

But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.

Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them…

My Comments: I have had several Laura Childs’ books in my TBR pile for a while now, but never got around to reading them. That has ENDED. this was a great book – very engaging and well written. I love the characters, and the twists and turns. I like the writing, it feels “full” and rich. This is also a Halloween-type book and captures that well. I love the main character, Suzanne, her friends who work in the cafe, and her boyfriend, Sam. I highly recommend this book to fans of cozies.

I received this book free from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.

September 26th, 2016


Bookstore café owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . .

As if a run-in with an old flame and a failed marriage proposal weren’t enough to horrify Krissy for one night, a woman is found strangled to death in a room filled with ominous jack-o’-lanterns. All signs suggest a crime of passion—but when the hostess’s jewelry disappears, malevolent intentions seem way more likely . . .

With the estate on lockdown and a killer roaming the halls, Krissy must help Officer Paul Dalton investigate each nook, cranny, and guest for answers—while also confronting a few demons of her own. Someone has lots of skeletons in the closet, and Krissy better tread lightly to expose them . . .

My Comments: I found this to be a sweet and easy read. I love reading books corresponding with the holidays, and this one does a great job with Halloween. I enjoy the love triangle as well as the mystery. The story moves a little slowly, but it is a good traditional cozy mystery.

I received a free copy of this e-copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.