Month: August 2016

The Wish Rider

iRead Book Tours

In The Wish Rider, Dara asks her friends to help her locate her birth mother when she learns that she might be living in New York City. It is where they enter into a dark, terrifying society that shocks and is more then they could ever have imagined.

The Wish Rider Book Review

About The Wish Rider

Seventeen-year-old Dara Roux and her two best friends, Mackenzie Yarborough and Jennifer Torres, the three collectively referred to as the F.I.G.’s (Females of Intellectual Genius) because each has an intelligence quotient in the genius range, have just returned from Frascati, Italy. It was there that their much loved teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, discovered that her birth parents were gypsies, and that she had a connection to the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world.

Now, with graduation from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women behind them, Dara asks her friends to help her locate her birth mother when she learns that she might be living in New York City. Relying on Dara’s gift for speaking and understanding foreign languages, the black and white images that stir musical cadences in Jennifer’s mind, and Mackenzie’s mathematical calculations that normally provide numerical solutions and answers to life’s most difficult questions, the determined young women tirelessly go from one address to another in search of Dara’s mother.

Their determination turns to desperation, however, as they encounter a dark hidden society more dangerous and terrifying than they could have imagined. It is there that Dara hopes to find out why she was abandoned in a candy store all those years ago.

My Thoughts

I was really excited to read this book, especially after falling in love with The Cadence of Gypsies. While I still really enjoyed Wish Rider, there were some parts I wish were drawn out some more to give us a deeper look into Dara’s exciting adventure and maybe a little more depth with the F.I.G.’s unique abilities similar to the first novel but Wish Rider was unique and special in its own way.

In Wish Rider, we find Dara on a quest to find her birth Mother. Unlike the other girls, Dara had been abandoned in a candy store in her youth and that is how she ended up at Wood Rose Orphanage. It was her trip to Italy with her friends and mentor, that made her want to discover her past – especially when she finds out her Mother may be in New York. She decides to make the trip with her best friends and mentor, Carolina, because there was no way she could do this alone.

When they arrive in New York everything seems to turn dark. I loved how Barbara ties in the gypsy heritage and knowledge from The Cadence of Gypsies in this second book. I was not entirely sure about Dara’s Mother and what she was involved in but it was definitely dark and scary. I wish this part had been built up a bit more as I was a bit confused at this part of the novel. I just wasn’t sure about Dara’s Mother, what she was involved with and how this connected to the F.I.G.’s.

Wish Rider is a well written, second book follow up to The Cadence of Gypsies. We get an inside look at Dara, who although she has had a difficult past had turned into a wonderful young woman. A great follow up to the first novel in this series. You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Barbara Casey is a partner in Strategic Media Books, and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. She is also a manuscript consultant and the author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories.

Her award-winning novels have received national recognition, including the Independent Publishers Book Award. Her novel, The House of Kane, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary adult novel received several awards including the prestigious IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction. Her most recent young adult novel, The Cadence of Gypsies, received the Independent Publishers Living Now Award and was reviewed by the Smithsonian for its list of Best Books.

Ms. Casey makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.  You can connect with her on her website.

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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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Candidate For Murder Book Review

iRead Book Tours

In Candidate for Murder, politics force Police Chief David O’Callaghan to nominate the most unlikely candidate for Mayor – Gnarly!

Candidate for Murder

About Candidate for Murder

It’s election time in Spencer, Maryland, and the race for mayor is not a pretty one. In recent years, the small resort town has become divided between the local year-round residents who have enjoyed their rural way of life and the city dwellers moving into their mansions, taking over the town council, and proceeding to turn Deep Creek Lake into a closed gate community—complete with a host of regulations for everything from speed limits to clothes lines.

When the political parties force-feed two unsavory mayoral nominees on the town residents, Police Chief David O’Callaghan decides to make a statement—by nominating Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s German shepherd, to run as mayor of Spencer!

What starts out as a joke turns into a disaster when overnight Gnarly becomes the front runner—at which point his political enemies take a page straight out of Politics 101. What do you do when you’re behind in a race? Dig up dirt on the front runner, of course.

Seemingly, someone is not content to rest with simply embarrassing the front runner by publicizing his dishonorable discharge from the United States Army, but to throw in a murder for good measure. With murder on the ballot, Mac Faraday and the gang—including old friends from past cases—dive in to clear Gnarly’s name, catch a killer, and save Spencer!

My Thoughts

You can’t help but fall in love with Gnarly, who is one amazing dog that not only takes on crime but who is also now running for mayor?!!

Politics can be dirty and you sometimes find it hard to trust the individuals who are running, especially when they only seem out for their own best interests. In David O’Callaghan’s small country town, the people who have lived there their whole life have had enough of the big city candidates. What began as a joke about a dog running for mayor became a reality when Gnarly is not only nominated but becomes a front runner! Everyone can’t get enough of Gnarly.

The competition is fierce and very jealous of the attention Gnarly is getting and do whatever they can to ruin his reputation. They pull up his past, which is confidential and in turn this uncovers deadly secrets in the town of Spencer. A murder puts the whole race upside down and that is when the gang realizes there is more to this running then just a mayor’s position. Now they must solve quite a few mysteries.

Hilarious, mysterious and full of adventure, Gnarly and his human friends will have you on the edge of your seat unable to put your book down. Candidate for Murder is well written, played out and a story that you have just never heard before. I enjoyed every moment reading this book!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

Book Trailer

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The twelfth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Candidate for Murder will be released June 2016.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. You can connect with her on her website.

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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Love Is All You Need with Beat Bugs #StreamTeam


Music from the Beatles has left a legacy and continues to influence music as we know it. Music has the power to bring people together, lift your spirits and calm the soul. It has the power to inspire and give hope, which is what the Beatles did and musicians continue to do. Not to mention it allows children to be silly, get active and have fun with their parents.

Love Is All You Need with Beat Bugs

The Beat Bugs, an original Netflix series now playing, follows this inspiration with five friendly bugs who learn about the world around them together with music. Each episode is full of Beatles music played by famous musicians including P!nk, Sia and Eddie Vedder. These energetic bugs will get the whole family grooving, dancing and singing. It even had us inspired to make our own video clip singing “All You Need is Love”, check it out on Facebook.

If you are like me and love a behind the scenes look at the making of animations, from the inspiration to completion, you need to watch this video all about the behind the making of the Beat Bugs:

Now Netflix wants you to win your own 3 month subscription by sharing your own cover of “All You Need Is Love” on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can share it on my pinned post on Facebook or by tagging me on Twitter or Instagram (@cvegnad). It doesn’t have to be a long video (or hey if you are shy post a photo of your little ones singing together) but show me how you and your family rock out and are silly together. Good luck – don’t forget this giveaway is open to residents of Canada, 18 years of age and older, excluding Quebec. This giveaway closes September 1st, 2016.

Disclosure: I am a #StreamTeam member and receive perks associated with this affiliation. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Awaken the Love of Reading with LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens

DK Canada Summer Reading

What happens when two major family favourites come together? You get hours of reading fun in LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens!

Awaken The Love of Reading with LEGO Star Wars The Force AwakensAbout LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens

A dark power is rising, and the galaxy is in danger in DK Readers L2: LEGO® Star Wars: The Force Awakens™!

Meet the brave new heroes who must battle to protect the galaxy. Join them in their fight against evil. Can they stop the First Order’s sinister plans?

About the DK Reader Levels

As children begin to grow in their confidence to read new words, Level 2 DK Readers become a great choice for them. The books are divided into manageable chapters for one reading session. Literacy experts encourage reading a little every day to an adult. Action-packed photographs bring to life the simple narrative, leading the reader to the text. To learn more about the DK readers and find out how to support your child’s reading, check out this great article.

Why We Love It

We are HUGE Star Wars fans in our house and couldn’t wait until The Force Awakens came out so we could enjoy it at home (Star Wars Marathon time woohoo). This book came at the perfect time for us and quickly became a bedtime story favourite.

I am a HUGE fan of the DK reader levels, they are geared to your child’s skill level and really helps to boost their confidence in their reading skills (so important). Reading can be frustrating for a child that is struggling and these reader levels help to eliminate that stress. This level two book has new words for your child but still includes an awesome story line and even better photographs to help bring the story to life. While we had to help him on some of the words, he had a great time reading the story to us and having his brother read the story to him (again and again – he can read this book several times a day literally!).

A fantastic, age appropriate Star Wars and LEGO themed book that your little reader will fall in love with. This book gives us hours of reading fun and is a reading confidence builder for our little man. A win win in our books! You can purchase this book on Amazon and Chapters.

Rating: 5+/5

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

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Keep Up Printing Skills With Handwriting Made Easy Printed Writing

Back To School Boutique

All kids look forward to the summer break. How can you blame them? No school, less routine and no homework. But it is so important to not stop practicing important skills even though a teacher isn’t assigning them. One of those skills is printing, especially with the junior grades. Handwriting Made Easy: Printed Writing allows your child to continue to build upon valuable skills learned at school during the summer months.

Keep Up Printing Skills with Handwriting Made Easy Printing

About Handwriting Made Easy Printed Writing

Developed with leading educational experts, this activity book is designed for children ages 6-7 and is full of exercises and activities to strengthen a child’s first skills in handwriting and reinforce the skills taught in school or at home.

This book helps kids learn to write in clear, easy-to-read print. Full of activities, exercises, and supportive illustrations that advance throughout the book from learning upper-case and lower-case letters to months and colours and finally to sentences and story writing, this workbook is perfect for kids who are learning to write.

Why We Love It

Keeping up with literacy skills is so important during the summer months. Although our children may want to skip practicing their printing skills and numbers, this is so important to make the transition back to school in the early fall easier for them. You don’t want them to forget all of those precious skills they learned in the preschool and primary grades! It will only make September harder for them which in turn is frustrating for us as parents.

Printing Made Easy with DK Canada

As parents we fell in love with the simple instructions and the activities in Handwriting Made Easy Printing. We only had to give our son minimal instructions and he was able to work alone which helped to boost his confidence. The printing spaces had lots of room on the lines with dashed lines to help guide him on how tall he should be making his letters. He loved the work book and uses it for ten minutes a day and he enjoys every minute, we have never had to push him to do the work – he pulls it out on his own. He is very proud of his work and loves to show it off to family when they visit.

This is the perfect book for the month of August as you get your children back into school mode. You don’t need to spend hours each day on it but even five minutes a day will help your child get back into school mode and boost their confidence before heading back to school. You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Chapters.

Rating: 5/5

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

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