Sunday, May 21, 2017

YOUR STORIES MATTER BLOG TOUR: Vera McLuckie And The Daydream Club by Jane Evans Illustrated by Ruth Mutch

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About Your Stories Matter: Based in Kendal, Cumbria Paul Johnson is the founder of Your Stories Matter and the parent publishing company Explainer HQ —which provides creative video, audio, animation and print to the business and education sector. All Your Stories Matters titles are published in paperback and are available to order from online retailers including amazon.co.uk.
For more information please visit: https://www.yourstoriesmatter.org and follow on Twitter @ysm_books

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                  Book Information
  • Age Range: 7 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 3
  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Your Stories Matter (January 30, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909320641
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909320642

Synopsis: This book works on several levels. It is a lovely story in itself that most children will relate to, dealing as it does with lack of self-belief, peer pressure and the bullying that goes along with not necessarily being the most popular kid in class. These issues can be readily picked up in school and discussed in circle time and PSHE (citizenship) lessons.

But it goes deeper. Whilst not named in the book explicitly, the three main characters exhibit dyspraxic, dyslexic and autistic (Asperger's Syndrome) tendencies respectively. So the story can be used by parents and teachers as a catalyst for discussing what it is like to have a learning difficulty. In schools, teachers can use the book on a one-to-one, group or class basis to help raise awareness and improve well-being.

Both author and illustrator are keen to raise awareness of specific learning difficulties in a way accessible to children. The illustrator is herself autistic.

Purchase on Amazon UK | Amazon.com


Review:  This is a fun yet educational story. As someone who has always had "daydreaming" issues, even without being diagnosed with a learning issue, I saw a lot of younger me in Vera. I enjoyed the way it gets across the idea that everyone has their own strengths and struggles. It is also full of examples of accepting and understanding differences.   Also, as a huge lover of penguins, there is an added reason to enjoy reading the story and looking at the illustrations. (No spoilers...you have to read it! LOL)

Rating: Five stars

About the author
Jane Evans lives in Edinburgh, UK with her husband, daughter, cat and six fish. Although she has had many different jobs over the years, she keeps coming back to her first love, writing. 'Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club' is her first book, written with kids in mind who sometimes find things a bit tricky.

About the illustrator
Ruth Mutch is a young artist, living in Glasgow with her rather lazy cat Phoebe. She is autistic and has a post graduate qualification in autism as well as a Primary Educational Studies degree and an HND in interactive media. She has a lot of experience of autistic children. Mutch has done various illustrations for autism awareness including an e-learning course but this is her first venture into illustrating a children's fiction book which she is very excited about!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

YOUR STORIES MATTER BLOG TOUR: You're So Clumsy Charley: Having Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, ADHD, Asperger's or Autism Does Not Make You Stupid by Jane Binnion, illustrations by Colin Shelbourn

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About Your Stories Matter: Based in Kendal, Cumbria Paul Johnson is the founder of Your Stories Matter and the parent publishing company Explainer HQ —which provides creative video, audio, animation and print to the business and education sector. All Your Stories Matters titles are published in paperback and are available to order from online retailers including amazon.co.uk.
For more information please visit: https://www.yourstoriesmatter.org and follow on Twitter @ysm_books

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                  Book Information
  • Age Range: 6 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 2
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Your Stories Matter; 2 edition (January 30, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909320668
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909320666

Synopsis: Charley always seemed to get into trouble, though he didn't mean to. He was getting fed up of going to school because he felt different than most of the other kids. Then he met his Aunty Bella and everything changed. This book is about dyspraxia, a neurological condition affecting 1 in 10 people, yet still very misunderstood. We chose not to name it in the story because this book is for every child that is different. 

Purchase on Amazon UK | Amazon.com


Review: This little book is wonderful for any child who might feel different from his or her classmates. Charley is described as being "about your age" so that he is instantly relatable to any reader. I love that the illustrations begin as black and white when Charley is sad and upset, and then begin to have color as he learns he is not the only one with this issue.

I also think it is very helpful that there are a couple of pages for teachers/parents which talk about several special education issues, for those who may not be sure exactly what they are. 

Highly recommend this for all early elementary children.

Rating: Five stars

About the author
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The author grew up with dyspraxia and watched her daughter do the same. Driven by frustration at people's misunderstanding of this condition, particularly within the education system, Jane Binnion decided to write a children's book that would hopefully get children and adults talking about what it is like to be different and why this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it should be something to be celebrated!

Friday, May 19, 2017

CD REVIEW: Out Of The Dark (Deluxe Edition) by Mandisa #OutOfTheDark #FlyBy

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Product Information
  • Audio CD (May 19, 2017)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sparrow
  • ASIN: B06XSKTDK9
Mandisa wrote her song “Overcomer” in 2013 to encourage her close friend Kisha, who was battling breast cancer. Mandisa really believed and prayed that God was going to heal her, but when Kisha went to be with Jesus in 2014, Mandisa’s foundation was shaken in a way she never expected. She fell into a deep pit of depression for close to 3 years, shutting out her friends, family and the rest of the world. Mandisa believes if she had kept going down that road she was on, she would not be here today… but God stepped in and lifted her out of that pit by using her close friends to communicate their love for her and God’s love for her. This album is Mandisa’s way of letting her fans into her story – it’s called 'Out Of The Dark' because that is exactly where God lifted her out of! 

You can watch her talk openly about this on Good Morning America last week here: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/mandisa-opens-overcoming-depression-47020463


Acoustic Video for "Unfinished”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQFpXcvFI0A

TRACK LIST
01. Voicemail (Intro)
02. I’m Still Here  
03. Out Of The Dark
04. Unfinished  
05. Bleed The Same (Intro) (feat. Kirk Franklin)
06. Bleed The Same (feat. TobyMac, Kirk Franklin)  
07. Comeback Kid
08. What You’re Worth (feat. Britt Nicole)  
09. Dear John Praise Report
10. Good News
11. Prove Me Wrong  
12. MothDisa (Interlude)
13. The One He Speaks Through
14. Shine
15. My First Love (feat. Jeremy Camp)
16. Shame Off
17. Keep Getting Up
18. Back To Life
Review: There is SO much emotion in this CD. Every time I thought I had found my favorite song, the next one would touch my heart again....so I'm in love with every track!  I do have to say that PROVE ME WRONG, which talks about the things that caused Mandisa's depression and doubt, is probably the one that spoke to me the most. It is so honest and beautiful. Another favorite is BLEED THE SAME, with TobyMac, which deals with the racial tensions in our country these days, and reminds us that on the inside, we're all the same.

This CD helps to remind all of us that even the most devout Christian can have their moments of doubt and temptation...those times when we're in a pit of despair, not seeing a way out and not knowing if He is still listening to our cries. It also reminds us that He is ALWAYS there, and He will always help us.

It's been four years since Mandisa's last album, but it has been well worth the wait.  Welcome back, and God bless you for sharing your journey with us!!

Thanks to Capital Records and Flyby Promotions for providing me with this CD. 

Rating: Five stars
About the artist
 photo download_zpsqrzhriec.jpg Mandisa Lynn Hundley, known professionally as Mandisa, is an American gospel and contemporary Christian recording artist. Her career began as a contestant in the fifth season of American Idol, in which she finished in ninth place.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: Dumpster Dying/Grilled Chilled and Killed (Big Lake Murder Mysteries #1 and #2) by Lesley A. Diehl


Dumpster Dying & Grilled, Chilled and Killed by Lesley A. Diehl


Cozy Mystery 
1st in Series 
Creekside Publishing (December 31, 2016) 
Paperback: 248 Pages 
E-Book 232 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-0997234923 
E-Book ASIN: B01MRWGBC8
Emily Rhodes came to rural Florida for the cowboys, the cattle, and to do a little country two-step, not to fall head first onto a dead body in a dumpster. Ah, the golden years of retirement in the sunshine state. They’re more like pot metal to Emily, who discovers the body of the county’s wealthiest rancher in the Big Lake Country Club dumpster. With her close friend accused of the murder, Emily sets aside her grief at her life partner’s death to find the real killer. She underestimates the obstacles rural Florida can set up for a winter visitor and runs afoul of a local judge with his own version of justice, hires a lawyer who works out of a retirement home, and flees wild fires hand-in-hand with the man she believes to be the killer.
Review: Emily Rhodes is not your typical crime solver. She is a petite blonde retired preschool teacher with a penchant for forgetfulness and basically an accident looking for a place to happen. And she's not a "sweet young thing," either, as she is just shy of fifty.

Emily has just recently lost her love of ten years to a heart attack, and finds herself in a precarious legal situation as they were never married, and he never changed his will after his divorce...which means fighting his ex-wife for the home Fred and Emily shared. She also needs a job, which is how she comes to work at the Big Lake Country Club as a bartender, which is where she discovers a dead body in the dumpster.

There are lots of twists and turns in this story as both Emily and her boss Clara are under suspicion as the investigation progresses. We also get to meet Emily's grown daughter, Naomi, as well as Clara's father and her son. The family dynamics are well-developed and realistic.

While there is plenty of suspense and action in this story, it also contains enough humor to keep the reader smiling (particularly the asides about the various male characters).

In the end, this is wonderful story of friendship and family, and this is a series I would highly recommend to all cozy fans.

Rating: Four stars



Cozy Mystery 
2nd in Series 
Creekside Publishing (December 31, 2016) 
Paperback: 330 pages 
E-Book 224 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-0997234930 
E-Book ASIN: B01N9GUUKU
It seems as if Emily is destined to discover dead bodies. This time she finds one of the contestants at the local barbecue cook-off dead and covered in barbecue sauce in a beer cooler. She should be used to stumbling onto corpses by now and the question of who killed the guy should pique her curiosity, but Emily decides to let Detective Lewis handle this one, at least until she figures his theory of who did the deed is wrong, wrong, wrong. Lewis’ denigration of Emily’s speculations is condescending enough to stimulate her dormant snooping skills. As the two of them go on their separate paths to find the killer, Lewis’ old partner, Toby the dirty, tobacco-spitting cop interferes in the investigation leaving Lewis with the wrong man in jail. Killers, bootleggers, barbecue and feral pigs—it’s a lethal game of hide and seek in the Florida swamp.
Review:  This book was just as much fun to read as the first one, if not more so. This time around, Emily discovers a dead body at the local barbecue cook-off.  Once again, Detective Lewis finds it "suspicious" that she has discovered the victim, and treats her like the prime suspect.

The characters from the first book return, including the two villians (they just won't go away!). This time around, Emily and crew face bootleggers and feral pigs while trying to solve the murder. You can just imagine the humorous situations those cause!!

Emily has two men in her life in this story. I am definitely on the side of one over another, but I will keep that opinion to myself.  :)

I am loving this series, and can't wait to read more about these folks!

Rating: Four stars

About The Author

Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in Upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks, frequents yard sales and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work. She is the author of a number of mystery series and mysteries as well as short stories. The third book in the Eve Appel murders (from Camel Press) A Sporting Murder was awarded a Readers’ Favorite Five Star Award and her short story Gator Aid a Sleuthfest (2009) short story first place. She has fired the alligator that served as her literary muse when she is in Florida and is interviewing applicants for the position.

Author Links
www.lesleyadiehl.com
www.lesleyadiehl.com/blog
www.twitter@lesleydiehl
www.lesley.diehl.1@facebook.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lesley-A-Diehl/522270901254754?fref=ts

Purchase Links
Dumpster Dying - Amazon 
Grilled, Chilled and Killed - Amazon

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? (I've Got Questions) by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley (authors), Ailie Busby (illustrator)

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Book Information
  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Series: I've Got Questions
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Kids (June 1, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496417402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496417404

Synopsis: Kids ask a lot of questions. Some silly and some innocent. Some deep and some serious. The books in the I've Got Questions series address many of those childlike questions and offer satisfying answers. The content is lively and fun, yet meaningful and respectful of a child's inquisitive mind. While the books have a strong educational component, the deeper purpose is to show parents how they can respond to their child's questions with patience and love. Illustrations feature multicultural characters both male and female.

Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? answers questions about animals. Children learn about starfish, elephants, bears, stars, earthworms, eagles, trees, and heaven, while absorbing the underlying themes of God's love and grace and a parent's love for a child.


Review: 

This is an adorable book for young children.It is in question and answer form (all in rhyme), so you can just imagine a child asking the questions and an adult giving the answers. It talks about a variety of animals, showing some of their unique qualities/habits, and reminds us that God designed each of them, and each of us, in just the way we need to be.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale with no expectation of a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Rating: Five stars

About the author

 photo crystal_zps5ujgmi5j.jpgCrystal Bowman is an author, speaker, and former preschool teacher. She graduated from Calvin College with a degree in elementary education and studied early childhood development at the University of Michigan. Her writing career began in 1990 as a lyricist for children's piano music. She began writing children's books in 1993 and has since written more than 100 books for children and 3 for women. She has written books for many popular children's series, such as Little Blessings, BOZ the Bear, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), Berenstain Bears, and I Can Read! She has also written two books of humorous poetry for children, numerous magazine articles, Bible study materials, and educational resource books. As a speaker, Crystal enjoys sharing her stories and poetry with students in the classroom and also with adults at teachers' conventions, writers' conferences, and women's seminars. "Writing and speaking can be intimidating because in order to connect with your audience you need to be personal and transparent, exposing what's in your heart and soul. But when readers or conference attendees respond positively to something I've said or written, it is humbling and rewarding all at the same time!" Crystal and her husband, Bob, have enjoyed 44 years of marriage and are the parents of 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren. They spend summers in Michigan and winters in Florida.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

YOUR STORIES MATTER BLOG TOUR: Emily's Sister: A Family's Journey With Dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) by Michele Gianetti, Illustrated by Tanja Russita

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About Your Stories Matter: Based in Kendal, Cumbria Paul Johnson is the founder of Your Stories Matter and the parent publishing company Explainer HQ —which provides creative video, audio, animation and print to the business and education sector. All Your Stories Matters titles are published in paperback and are available to order from online retailers including amazon.co.uk.
For more information please visit: https://www.yourstoriesmatter.org and follow on Twitter @ysm_books


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        Book Information
  • Age Range: 7 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 3
  • Paperback: 66 pages
  • Publisher: Your Stories Matter (January 30, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909320633
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909320635

Synopsis: This story, written by the parent of a child with Dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), paves the way for parents, teachers and medical professionals to discuss these specific learning difficulties with children (aged around 7-9).

Unlike most other books on the subject, this book has been written from a child's perspective: enabling young people to ask questions of the story in a non-threatening way and encouraging them to discover how it relates to them.

This book can be shared with children having special needs, their family, or their classmates.

As with all of its books, the publisher aims to help people know they are not alone with what makes them different. If a young person or adult can relate to a story, it gives them hope and encourages them to share their concerns. The publisher aims to provide free teaching resources for all of its books that can be used in schools, to help improve understanding and celebrate differences.


Review: This is a wonderful look at the life of a child with dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder, as well as the impact it has on the family, particularly a sibling. It is also a great tool for explaining to children in the target age group about these learning difficulties.  It is poignant for adult readers who realize that it is a true story about a real family. 


Rating: Five stars

About the author
I am a mom to three amazing children, one has special needs. She has Sensory Processing Disorder and dyspraxia She has made wonderful gains in life with therapy and hard work. I wrote a book about her life and journey, to help others and to offer hope! The title of the book ( are the very words I have said to Elizabeth every day of her life since she was one year old .
Throughout Elizabeth's life, I have learned to become a strong advocate for her.
I graduated from college, magna cum laude, with a BSN in nursing.
I love to be with my family, read, exercise and try to sneak in a bit of relaxing each day.
To me a nice treat involves chocolate and catching up with my husband
I believe each day is a gift to be thankful for.

Monday, May 15, 2017

NEW RELEASES/FREE & BARGAIN BOOKS Weekly Link-up


Sharing the Love of Books
Enjoy our selection of New Releases / Free & Bargain Books this week

Authors please feel free to add your own books
Readers please free to add your own finds
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs...
Monday
 Leels Loves Books | IrishdaisylovesRomance | Book Babble | Traci Hayden
Tuesday
Celticlady's Reviews | First Time Mommy Adventures 
Wednesday
Beck Valley Books | Jude Ouvrard
Thursday
Miki's Hope | Nicki's Nook
Friday
Ebook Addicts | I Love Romance |
Colorimetry | J.C. Clarke
Saturday
3 Partners in Shopping | I Create Purty Thangs | Wishful Endings 
Sunday

For Pre-orders post - PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author
For New Releases post - NEW / genre / title / author
For Free Books post - FREE / genre / title / author / end date 
For Bargain Books post - SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Here is this weeks awesome selection!

Would you like to share our linkup on your site? click here
Would you like to become a weekly host? sign up here


Come back and check out the new selection every week x