Category: iRead Book Tours

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse

iRead Book Tours

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world-discovering exciting new places and people along the way in PJ Mouse’s two books set in Canada and Queensland.

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada

About the Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada

Come join PJ on his first adventure across Canada as he hikes on a glacier in the Rockies, finds a salt lake in the prairies, and walks on the ocean floor in Nova Scotia.

My Thoughts

In this first story, we meet the adorable PJ mouse and how he came about meeting his special human friend, Emily. They instantly form a special bond that is full of love, kindness and great humour! PJ joins Emily and her family as they travel across Canada, learning all about great sites including glaciers and a salt water lake. Poor little PJ always somehow happens to get into trouble! Canadians will love either reading this to their child or having their older child read it, not only is the story funny but they will learn a lot about Canada too! The illustrations are also the perfect touch to this story, sweet and simple!

Rating: 5/5

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland

About The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland

Come join PJ on this, his second adventure, along the coast of Queensland, as he snorkels at the Great Barrier Reef, chats with a Loggerhead turtle in the midst of a great undertaking, and explores the tropical rainforest until he has to be rescued by one of the local friendly wildlife.

My Thoughts

In the second followup story, PJ finds himself with his family heading to Australia! He learns all about travel, airplanes and passport. I love the special friendship he has with Emily. She always takes such good care out of him as she straightens his stuffing, calms his fears and encourages him. I loved how PJ thought he would have to walk upside down since he was heading to the land down under! In this story, we not only have a good laugh but we also learn a lot about Australia. A win win for all parents alike!

Rating:5/5 

You can purchase a copy of these books on the authors website, Amazon, Amazon.ca and Barnes & Noble.

About the Author

Gwyneth Jane Page (Jane), who holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University, has called many countries home. She grew up in such places as England, Peru, the USA, and the Caribbean, and has also lived in Australia and Canada. She now resides in Victoria, BC with her husband and four children. The PJ Mouse books are based on Jane’s family trips with the real stuffed animal, PJ, who was found by Emily, Jane’s youngest daughter.

Megan Elizabeth, Jane’s second oldest daughter, has lived in Canada and Australia and travelled extensively with her family and PJ. Having been artistic since she was a little girl, illustrating the PJ Mouse books has enabled her to combine her love of travel with her love of art. Megan completed her studies at VanArts and is now building her career as a professional photographer as well as an illustrator. She currently resides in Victoria, BC with her family.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win Book One set in Canada, PJ mouse stuffed toy and sticker passport! Open to residents of Canada and the US. Good luck!

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Disclosure: I received a copy of these books in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Thread That Binds

iRead Book Tours

In The Thread That Binds, five women once strangers form bonds that will be everlasting.

Thread that Binds Book Review

About The Thread That Binds

Sherice is a new mother, a sonographer, quilter, and wife; an overworked young woman whose elderly mother is slipping away from her.

Sylvie is a newlywed and recent immigrant, unemployed and virtually penniless. Her husband’s paycheck can’t even cover prenatal care, let alone a baby, and her due date is only drawing nearer.

Joanne’s unconventional pregnancy turns her world upside down, redefining her career and relationships, and even bringing to the surface long-buried demons from her past.

Payton is seventeen, pregnant, and on the run. She flees to her uncle in Georgia with the hope of making a fresh start, but discovers making it on her own is harder than she could ever have imagined.

Gloria is trapped in an unhappy marriage; in love with someone else. Her life is falling apart. With a baby on the way, would it be selfish to flee?

My Thoughts

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE The Thread That Binds. I laughed, I cried and I connected so much with this book.

The characters were lovely and you felt like you were seeing them from an intimate level. You felt their pain, their fear and their frustrations. Each character grew so much during the course of this book. They learned things about themselves, they grew stronger and more confident in their decisions. They made peace with their past in order to move forward. My favourite character was Joanne, I can honestly say I wish I had a friend like her! Honest, strong-willed and fierce! Everything you can want and need in a friend.

The Thread That Binds is a feel good novel of friendship, love and how we are all connected for a greater purpose. It will be a book you will share with your friends, sisters and mothers for years to come.

You can purchase a copy of The Thread That Binds on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Originally from Winchester, England, Alice’s plans to read law at a British university were disrupted when she fell deeply in love with Georgia, USA, while studying abroad. After moving all over Georgia, Alice has finally settled in Athens and has no plans to go anywhere else.

She is a single mother to a three-year-old girl and a 65 lb hound dog. She likes coffee, wine, and anything edible with the words ‘salted caramel’ in its description.

At the time of publication, Alice is a 24-year-old history student working full-time in a law office, and writing fiction at every stolen moment. She hasn’t slept in approximately two years. Her first published novel, The Thread That Binds won third place in World’s Best Story contest.

The Giveaway!

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Ditching the Drive-Thru

iRead Book Tours

After an exhausting day at work, hitting the drive-thru or nuking a pre-fab meal is all too often the go-to decision for feeding a family. Cooking a meal from scratch using fresh ingredients can seem beyond the average person’s time, energy, or financial means. But with mounting evidence pointing to processed food and our industrial food system as the culprits behind many of our nation’s health problems—including obesity, diabetes, and cancer—it’s now more important than ever to be fully informed about what goes on your family’s dinner plates.

Ditching the Drive-Thru Review

About Ditching the Drive-Thru

If you’re ready to take control of your food choices but don’t know the difference between grass-fed versus grain-fed, pastured versus free-range, or organic versus sustainable, read this book to discover:

• How to create your own thirty-month plan to convert your family from junk food to real food, without a revolt!

• Recipes and advice on planning and prepping meals so you can make home cooked a habit for your family

• Instructions for getting the most out of produce using techniques such as lacto-fermentation, dehydrating, and canning

•  introduction to the world of farm-direct sales, including tips on locating local farms, seeing through marketing buzzwords, and shopping with CSAs Ditching the Drive-Thru exposes the insidious hold the commercial food industry has taken over the fast-paced lives of the average American and the danger these processed foods and diet plans pose to our health, environment, and emotional wellbeing.

Learn how to break free from the grind and return to a simpler relationship with food from farmers, not factories, and home-cooked meals that are created in your kitchen, not on a conveyor belt.

Book Excerpt

Getting Your Family to Eat Better ─ Meet Your Sherpa Guide

by Joel Salatin

Every time I talk to a group about getting in touch with their food supply, healing the planet one bite at a time, or cultivating enthusiasm for domestic culinary arts—all common sound bites— I receive thunderous applause and then . . . then the queries and excuses start:

I don’t have the time.”

I don’t have the money.”

I don’t know how to cook.”

My kids are picky eaters.”

The script plays out every time, on every socioeconomic level, in every geographic region. Our modern American culture is profoundly ignorant about eating.

Most modern Americans demean and cheapen body fuel to a mundane afterthought, less than a comma in our helter-skelter, plugged-in, harried lives. Running on dirty fuel, our people now lead the world in per capita health care costs, all the while spending the least—in both money and time—on food.

It’s time to leave the sidelines. It’s time to play the game. Natalie Winch, through her book Ditching the Drive-Thru, is both mentor and coach. Yet this New Jersey high school English teacher, with husband and two children creates a plan as simple and fundamental as a shopping list. Applying the most tried-and-true goal-setting templates to the traditional heart of the home, Winch takes us on a delightful journey—along with her beloved Homer’s Odyssey as metaphor—and leaves us empowered to exit our bleacher seat, charging onto the field, game plan in hand.

What makes her saga even more special is that she’s not a scientist, food nutritionist, or gourmand. She didn’t wait for a grant or a reality TV show offer. She started where most of these stories start—how can I be a better mom for my kid? It’s really that simple.

So if you want to walk instead of talk. If you want to do instead of dream. If you want to play instead of observe. If you want to change instead of wish, here is a great little book to get you going on your own food empowerment odyssey.

Joel Salatin is a Virginia family farmer who was made famous by Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and the award-winning film Food, Inc. Time magazine called him “the most influential farmer in America.” This posting was excerpted from Ditching the Drive-Thru, by J. Natalie Winch.

My Thoughts

Changing my eating habits has been a huge item for me in the last two years, more so in the last six months. What we eat affects our health and well-being, and I had come to realize I was not eating things that were making me feel good (nor helping with my weight!). I have done a complete overhaul of my habits but there is always something new to learn and try out.

Ditching the Drive-Thur helps you work through some of the new and emerging terms that you probably hear a lot about (GMOs, organic,etc) by breaking these themes down chapter by chapter and explaining them in simple terms.

The layout in this book is perfect and makes sense from a readers standpoint (with the progression of terms, recipes,etc..). The writing is easy enough for most adults and youths to understand and relate to their own lives. She also provides great recipes, tips and ideas on how to make healthier choices and how to stock your home. All of which are key themes to eating healthy!

For me this was a great reminder of why I am choosing to eat healthier and why it is so important for my family to do so also. It gave me fresh new ideas to try out while giving me opportunity to adapt it to my own home. A great read for those looking to change bad habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

J. Natalie Winch lives in southern New Jersey, not far from where she grew up, with her husband, two children, and dogs. When she isn’t mothering, teaching, grading, or making lesson plans, Natalie runs the Hebrew School at her synagogue, coaches soccer, teaches lacto-fermentation classes, writes the occasional entry for her blog Food Empowerment (tradsnotfads.com), and fights the dust bunnies that threaten to take over her family room. You can connect with her on her website.

The Giveaway!

You can now enter to win one of twenty copies of Ditching the Drive-Thru and One $30 Amazon Gift Card. You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Stop and Smell Your Children by Leah Spina

iRead Book Tours

Ready to laugh about motherhood and be encouraged? Tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed out in the baby and toddler season? Need some fresh vision and perspective so you can enjoy—not just endure—your young children?

Stop and Smell Your Children by Leah Spina

About Stop and Smell Your Children

Stop and Smell Your Children: Laugh and Enjoy the Little Years offers moms-to-be and moms of young children short, real-life parenting stories that encourage and inspire. Leah Spina, mother of three children ages five and under, and former journalist, unleashes humor and perspective for tired moms who are parenting the “little” years. From the excitement of the positive pregnancy test to morning sickness and the banes of pregnancy, to childbirth, babies, toddlers and new parent struggles, the stories will make you laugh and see beauty in the chaos. Each story also includes thought-provoking takeaways to help busy moms gain a fresh outlook.

Strangers remind us that our children will be small only for a short time and to enjoy each moment. But then we return to the wild reality of parenting young children! All-night crying sessions. Never-ending laundry. Every-three-hour feeding schedules. Diaper explosions and projectile spit-up. Teething. Potty training. Yes, we enjoy our children, but we’d also like to enjoy a shower that lasts more than two minutes, or a meal that isn’t lukewarm (if we’re lucky). The truth is, pregnancy and parenting young children can be hard at times. But it can also be one of the best chapters of our lives, if we can learn to laugh and change our mindset.

My Thoughts

Have you ever received a book just in time? Something that you needed to read and hear from someone who wasn’t a family member or friend? Stop and Smell Your Children is THAT book.

Leah uses wit, personal experience and humour to make you see the light at the end of the tunnel, find joy in each rough moment and to cherish each moment. Our children grow so fast (honestly I can still remember my eleven year as a toddler and I am shocked when I look at him now!) and these are the most demanding years of us as parents. It can be hard at times not to be angry or resentful.

Leah uses humour (because if we are honest with each other – we have all been there before!) to help you see that behind every rough moment in time, take a deep breath and appreciate that moment of chaos. You will fall in love with her fresh writing and personal moments she shares. Stop and Smell Your Children should be the example all parenting books use when writing for parents. As parents, we need real life advice, humour and non judgemental views. We are all doing the best we can do! Stop and Smell Your Children will leave you in tears, smiling and remembering each and every special moment of your child’s life.

You can purchase a copy of Stop and Smell Your Children on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Leah Spina is a former journalist of a national newsweekly magazine and also worked as a childbirth coordinator at a large adoption agency. She has her B.S in Business Administration from Thomas Edison State College. She has two adorable children – Samson and Esther – and resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband, David. When she’s not changing diapers, she enjoys singing Broadway, sun tanning on Italian beaches and riding horses.

Book Trailer

The Giveaway!

My Canadian and American readers can now enter to win one of ten copies of Stop and Smell Your Children. Enter via the form below. Good luck!

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Jesusita by Ronald Ruiz

iRead Book Tours

Jesusita is the story of immigrants—legal and illegal—trying to survive in California in the years after World War II.

Jesusita Book ReviewAbout Jesusita

Jesusita, alone and impoverished, struggles to keep her four young children together. Though she finds support from Padre Montes at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church, her faith won’t solve her problems, especially those with her daughter, Paulina. Far from home, Filipino laborers are denied by law any contact with white women. Angie, the young daughter of an illiterate and unmarried mother, knows only one way to make money. And Felix, abandoned by his mother and separated from his only brother, is placed in a foster home on an isolated ranch. The interrelated lives of these people provide a complex, sometimes violent, and often tragic image of American poverty within the nation’s postwar boom.

My Thoughts

Jesusita, tells the story of one woman who has struggled to earn a living in a country that is not accepting of her culture and a society that would do anything to keep their existence hidden.

Jesusita is the main character in this novel and the other characters seem to move around her and as we get to the later half of the book we understand the importance of finding out about the lives of Angie and Felix. It is from her the story flows and that we learn about the others tied in to her story and her struggles. She suffers to keep a roof over her children’s heads and food in their stomachs. This is a pain that I can not even begin to imagine experiencing as a Mother. The emotional and physical strain takes a toll on her and we can witness this through the relationships between herself and her children.

It is God that helps her through her darkest moments but also that helps her hide her frustrations and angers instead of dealing with them. She hides behind the perfect image she portrays to her religious family, while her home life falls apart.

Jesusita was a fascinating novel, that at times was hard to follow but near the end of the novel the story comes together full circle. It is complex, intricate but fascinating at the same time. A very good read!

You can purchase a copy of the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

After reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment at the age of 17, I knew I wanted to be a writer. But I knew nothing about the craft. My first novel, Happy Birthday Jesús, was published 36 years later. Surprisingly, it received good reviews

For many years, I was a criminal defense attorney and at the end of my career a prosecutor, but I always managed to find time to write. What I saw and experienced during those years often serves as a basis for my writing. For me, learning how to write has been a long, continuous and, at times, torturous process.

Now retired, I try to write every day and I feel fortunate that I have found something in writing that sustains me. I’m glad I persevered during all those years of rejection. More than anything, writing about what I see and experience in life has given me a sense of worth.

The Giveaway!

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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