Month: January 2014

The Dancing Master: Review & Giveaway

I am not shy to admit it – I LOVE historical romances. I am not fussy with certain eras I love them all. There is just something about the magic of centuries long ago, the women in their gowns and the romance. I am constantly downloading one after another on my Kindle for reading. 
The Dancing Master written by Julie Klassen follows the story of Alec Valcourt and Julia Midwinter. Alec Valcourt moves to his uncle’s cottage along with his mother and sister in remote Devonshire in the hopes of starting over from his family’s scandalous past in London. He is shocked to learn that the village matriarch has banned all acts of dancing including lessons and balls due to a tragic memory from her past (Alec Valcourt is a Dancing Master who teaches young men and women the fine art of dancing).
Alec Valcourt finds an ally in the matriarch’s daughter Julia Midwinter. Together they help each other learn about the secrets of their past and carve their own future.
The Dancing Master is written from the perspectives of both Alec and Julia allowing us to have a glimpse into both the characters of Alec and Julia – which I really loved as it helped to develop their personalities and get to know the inner workings of their minds. The novel was full of interesting turns and spins – most I would never have guessed! So it really kept me wanting to turn each page and not put it down (to my husband’s dismay!). It had just the perfect amount of romance – nothing overwhelming but simple, innocent first love.
Julie Klassen is a graduate of the University of Illinois and has sixteen years of publishing under her belt. She now writes full time. She is a three time Christy award winner and a 2010 Midwest Book Award Winner.
You can purchase a copy of the book here.
Rating: 5/5


Best-selling author Julie Klassen will be hosting a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a live webcast event (1/23) to celebrate the release of her latest novel, The Dancing Master. Enter and RSVP today!



  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 23rd. Winner will be announced at the “All Things Jane (from Austen to Eyre)” Live Webcast Event on January 23rd. Connect with Julie for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Julie will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, Jane Austen DVDs, fun “Jane” merchandise, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of The Dancing Master and join Julie and friends on the evening of January 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

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Dorothy Love’s “Carolina Gold” Southern Essentials $100 Visa Cash Card Giveaway and 1/14 Facebook Party!

Don’t miss Dorothy Love‘s latest historical novel, Carolina Gold.  
Fun news: The release of Carolina Gold coincides with Dorothy’s birthday
Celebrate with her by entering the Southern Essentials Giveaway and RSVPing to her Facebook party on January 14th!
Between January 3–14, visit Dorothy Love’s Facebook Page to enter to win a new giveaway each day and be entered to win the $100 Visa Cash Card grand prize. Winners will be announced at the Facebook Author Chat party on January 14th! (Don’t have a Facebook account? Enter here.) RSVP today for Dorothy’s Carolina Gold Author Chat Party on Facebook.
During the party Dorothy will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills, announcing the winner of the Southern Essentials Giveaway, and giving away books, gift certificates, and more. Oh, and she’ll also be giving partygoers an exclusive look at her next book!
So grab your copy of Carolina Gold and help Dorothy celebrate her birthday on the evening of January 14th! (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)



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The Other Bears: Teaching Acceptance and Respect for All

It is so important to teach our youth to accept and respect people that may be different then us whether it is by culture, skin tone, gender, etc. For young children it can be hard to help them understand (to be honest – I can tell my two year old the same thing many times and he will probably still repeat the same action). Books and movies are an excellent avenue to help children learn that we may look or act differently but on the inside we are all the same.
The Other Bears written by Michael Thompson follows the Koala Bear family. The Koala Bear family are taking a trip but the trip is made difficult by Mother and Father Koala Bear who are suspicious of all the other bears. Mother and Father Koala Bear find faults with all the differences the other bears have. All of these feelings melt away when they watch all of the little bears play together.
This children’s book touched on some great topics – acceptance and love for all types of people. I love how it shows the love that children have for all people and how this should be fostered by the adults in their life. Although they did address the topic of acceptance briefly I would have loved to see it expanded a little bit more at the end. It would have been nice to speak more about the Koala Bear parent’s mistakes in misjudging the other bears and how they would accept the other bears.
It did a great job of opening up the conversation with my eldest about his own experiences at school where he is exposed to bullying and racism towards other children (he is not the victim nor the aggressor but has been a witness and has numerous times acted to their defence or told a teacher). I realized we do not have these conversations enough.
Rating: 3.5/5
Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are my own.
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Come Out to the Garden: Children’s Book Review

Our family loves reading time – I have to admit I think I love it sometimes even more then they do! I love to act out their books when I read aloud to them, make silly voices and spend quality time with my boys. Finding a children’s book that allows for this and teaching a lesson for them can be hard!
Come Out to the Garden written by Rick January is the story of Mary Louise, her Granny and her Granny’s vegetable garden. It is a beautiful sunny day, as Granny calls out to Mary Louise to “Come out to the garden” so that they can pick vegetables for a special lunch. Mary Louise convinces her Granny to pick the vegetables that sit closer in the shade so that they will not become too hot. They pick a feast of vegetables that they have as their lunch.
The story is written in a simple rhythm that flows perfectly – making it that much easier to read aloud to my boys. It teaches the importance of hard work, growing and sustaining our own food and the relationships between Grandparents and our children. I loved that it had our eldest son talking about our garden that we plan on building in the spring and what vegetables he would like to plant and grow. I love when a children’s book starts conversations with my children that are so important like healthy foods and learning to grow our own food. 
The relationships between Grandparents and Grandchildren is so important for children. It was great that in this story Granny was teaching Mary Louise all about the importance of growing our own garden and the nutritional value of vegetables. Grandparent’s have so much knowledge to give our children and it is important to foster this relationship.
Rating: 5/5
Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate the review. The opinions expressed are my own.
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Merry Humbug Christmas Review

I love a good holiday read especially one full of laughter and characters I can relate to. I was given the opportunity to review Merry Humbug Christmas by Sandra D. Bricker. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am an avid reader. I can spend hours glued to my Kindle reading (to my husband’s annoyance!). How could I not be excited to read a two tale holiday romance book?
A Merry Humbug Christmas features two novellas; Once Upon a Jingle and It Came Upon a Midnight Deer. Both novellas follow the friendships of Joss and Reese during the stressful Christmas holiday season. For many individuals the holidays can be an extremely difficult time of the year that represents loss due to personal tragedies in their lives. 
In Once Upon a Jingle, we meet Joss Snow who is on a constant quest to avoid the holiday season all together. For this holiday season she manages to book a Bah! Humbug cruise which all goes wrong when she is re-booked onto the 12 Days of Christmas cruise (and we are talking full out Christmas theme: elves, wreaths, candy canes, Christmas theme floors, Christmas crafts and more!). What becomes a nightmare for Joss suddenly changes when she meets Patrick who teaches her about the true meaning of Christmas and love.
In It Came Upon a Midnight Deer, we learn more about Joss’ friend Reese and her holiday adventure as she meets her future fiance’s family. She had always dreamed of the perfect Christmas and she wants nothing more than to be part of her fiance’s family traditions but things constantly go wrong for her (including setting fire to their home!). 
I fell in love with these novellas. They were lighthearted and romantic but yet touched on topics of tragedy and stress during the holidays. I felt like Sandra was writing about myself when it came to Reese – she was a character that I could completely relate too!
Rating: 4/5
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing. The opinions expressed are my own.
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