Review “The Pioneer Adventure” and Sale on “The Pilgrim Adventure”

Just in time for back-to-school,  The Pioneer Adventure by Susan Kilbride is now available.  This is the fifth book in the Our America. . . series.  I have also reviewed The Pilgrim Adventure, The King Phillip’s War Adventure, The Salem Adventure, and The Revolutionary War Adventure.
The twins Finn and Ginny are still trying to find their parents who are lost back in time.  Each time they go back, they enter a different period of history and experience it first-hand while always keeping an eye out for their parents.  This time they land back in a wagon train that is heading to west on the Oregon Trail.  They find out that it’s not all fun and games traveling with wagon train.
Susan Kilbride, the author, pored through many journals of first-hand accounts of traveling west on the Oregon Trail.  She chose several exciting, true events which have been incorporated into this story.
The twins experience a cholera epidemic, Indian attacks, floods while trying to cross rivers, dangers traveling through the steep mountain trails, having to take their wagon apart to go down river a while and then put it back together, oxen dying, and Finn even gets amnesia when he falls off his horse.  A couple of the stories are truly amazing, such as one where people hear a mysterious voice calling out a message which ends up saving many peoples’ lives.
There is also a surprise at the end.  If you’ve read the other books, you’ll definitely want to read this one as well to find out what it is!
I have said numerous times that reading books like this is the best way to study history.  It really brings you into the time period.  This book is perfect for older elementary or middle school kids to read to themselves, or for Mom to read aloud to all.  It’s 114 pages long and includes a drawing and a map.
Susan has also provided a free pdf of activities to do along with reading the book!  There are recipes for beef jerky and apple fruit leather (and more), and directions for making a daisy chain, a Thaumatrope, a silhouette, and a yarn doll.  Have fun studying the Oregon Trail this year!
The Kindle version of The Pilgrim Adventure will be on sale for $2.99 on August 4, 5, & 6. 
Susan Kilbride’s other books:
(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Pioneer Adventure in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review “Body & Soul” by Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton, world-champion surfer, has written a new book that I love!  Today I share a review of Body & Soul: A Girl’s Guide to a Fit, Fun, and Fabulous Life (co-written with Dustin Dillberg.)

You may remember Bethany as the 13-year-old young lady whose arm was taken by a tiger shark off the coast of Hawaii where she lived.  She had been surfing all her life, and even after losing her arm, couldn’t wait to get back in the water.  She wrote an autobiography called Soul Surfer (which I also enjoyed reading) that was turned into the movie Soul Surfer. Through the years Bethany has learned techniques for exercising and eating well to keep her body in top-notch condition for surfing competitions.  Bethany recently married and is a believer in Jesus.  I found this book to be a wonderful opportunity to share a role model with my daughters.

Body & Soul is written specifically for teen and tween girls.  It is a 155-page paperback book that is beautifully graphically designed.  I just love looking through the book!  The photographs of food and exercises, the fonts and graphics–it’s all gorgeous!  But the content is even greater.

Here is the list of the chapters (with explanations and highlights):

1. In Total Confidence:  This first chapter presents the challenge.  Do you really want to get healthy?  Lots of encouragement from Bethany and from Scripture (verses are sprinkled throughout the book).

2. Your Body is a Gift:  You’ll learn how God made your body for a purpose and it’s our responsibility to take care of it.  We are made in His image.

3. Have an Amazing Outlook: Change your mindset in order to make healthy changes.  No using the word “can’t.”  Set goals.

4. Get Your Eat On:  Understanding about how food affects our bodies.  Learning about protein and carbs, whole foods, where to buy them, portion sizes, creating meal plans, what healthy snacks to take with you, how much water to drink (and how to spice it up), and recipes for green smoothies and sun tea.

5. Surfer Secrets For Your Best Bod:  First, Bethany shares about why posture is so important.  Then there are four workouts–with full instructions and pictures.

6. Tackle Your Challenges:  Q and A, like what other fitness options there are, identifying your fitness style, making eating healthy fun, and not getting burned out.

7. Go the Distance:  More encouragement to persevere.

8. Clean Green Recipes:  An awesome chapter with tons of recipes: breakfast (mango muffins, poached eggs with kale), juices/smoothies, lunch (chicken nori wrap, summer rolls), theme salads, dinner (macadamia nut crusted chicken, grilled veggie salad), side dishes (oven-roasted broccoli, guacamole), desserts and snacks (kale chips, banana “ice cream”).

9. Your Perfect Plan: Another favorite chapter of mine with the meal selections for every meal and every snack for a whole week!

 

One really fun thing about this book (that I know the teens will love) is that they can use the HarperCollins Unbound app to scan throughout the book to get multimedia and interactive content on their device!  I especially liked seeing videos of a couple of exercises and Bethany and a friend making the recipe for a Green Smoothie.

Overall, I recommend Body & Soul for anyone who has a teen or tween girl they would like to inspire to get healthier.  It will also encourage them in their walk with God!

I review for BookLook Bloggers

 

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Body & Soul from BookLook Bloggers.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review- Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms by Mary Jo Tate

Flourish Book Review
I have another wonderful book to recommend today called Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms from Apologia Educational MinistriesWhen I was reading it, people kept asking if I was reading it for a review. I said I was, but that I would have read it regardless.  Flourish is now a staple homeschool book on my shelf.  I will refer back to it often and encourage all my homeschooling friends to read it.  It’s that good!

Mary Jo Tate suddenly found herself single, with four boys to raise.  She had already been homeschooling and didn’t want to stop in order to get a job to support her family. Flourish is where she shares what she has done all these years to make it work!  I really learned a lot and have already put some of her suggestions into practice.

If you look at the Flourish website, you’ll find a sample chapter and the table of contents.  But let me share what you’ll find in each chapter here:

Her story, “Life Management”–not time management, FREEDOM (where each letter gives you something for your “toolbox”), how to schedule your time (using a time log), setting goals, planning tools (goals, plans, to-do lists), being OK with interruptions, adjusting your attitude, how to take care of your health, training your children, making family memories, home management, homeschooling, how to flourish if you’re a single mom, running a home business effectively, and how to figure out what to do if it’s not working.

There are 2 appendices in the back of the book: Recommended Resources (wonderful books about life management, family life, homemaking, home education, reading, single parents, and home business) and Planning Forms (Pre-Book Self-Evaluation, Time Log, Big Dream, Yearly Review, Yearly Goals, Monthly Calendar, Weekly Plan, and Post-Book Progress Check).

I really found the Planning Forms to very helpful.  I filled out the evaluations, answered the questions about my dreams, and filled out goals and plans!  Somehow this was different from how I had done similar exercises before.  Mary Jo teaches in a way that really related to me.  She understands how hard it is, but she knows using these tools can make life work better.

These are some of the things she shared that made the most impact on me: People ask her “How do you do it all?”  She says she doesn’t.  And she redefines “it all.”  “True balance doesn’t mean spending an equal amount of time and attention on each area of your life.  It means spending an appropriate amount of time and attention on each area.”  She doesn’t allow whining–not from her kids and not from herself!   If don’t have time for something, ask yourself, “How can I make time for it?”  Make a list of 5-minute jobs that you can quickly do if you have a few minutes.  (I did this one this week and cleaned out part of my car.)  The goal-setting was fun.  For my Big Dream list, I said that I’d like to plan for my husband and me to go to Israel for our 20th Anniversary!  And the most important thing I learned was to make a “Stop-Doing” list.  I already have several things on it that I will stop doing when we start back up to school next month.

Here is a final quote I’ll leave you with.  You’ll just have to pick up the book to see how it’s done!

“Just half an hour of weekly planning will multiply your productivity and relieve stress and frustration.”

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms is a paperback book, 288 pages and is intended for homeschool moms. It’s only $15!

Flourish Book Review

Be sure to follow Mary Jo Tate on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Flourish Book Review
 

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Review of “The Promise Box: The Miracle of Commitment” by Anna Alden-Tirrill

annie

 

Today I have a review of the book The Promise Box: The Miracle of Commitment by Anna Alden-Tirrill.  It’s the 4th book in the series Annie’s Adventures.

Once again, I have learned some very interesting things that I have never heard of before!  We follow 13-year-old Annie to Germany.  She is homeschooled and an only child, so Annie and her parents have been traveling around Europe living in different cities while her father works for the universities in different cities.  In The Promise Box we not only experience the adventures Annie goes on, but we learn about German food, culture, and a lot of history!

While out shopping in an antique store one day, Annie and her mom find a pretty box.  They are able to open it and discover some wonderful secrets that have been buried since World War II.

They are living in a small town called Oberammergau which has a long history dating back to the bubonic plague in 1632.  The town has been performing a Passion Play since 1634 as a thank you to God for sparing their lives from the dreadful plague.  Then, many years later residents from the town decided to help rescue people from the German concentration camps during World War II.  You’ll follow the story as they read through an old diary and follow leads to uncover the whole mystery–including one about the Spear of Destiny (the sword which allegedly pierced Jesus on the cross and which Hitler was supposedly “using” to give him power.  As soon as the sword was confiscated by the Americans, Hitler killed himself.)

The story itself was really exciting.  But the writing gets a bit bogged down at times.  I would recommend it for ages 13 and up, although my 10-year-old daughter read it and then immediately started book 5! Girls would probably enjoy it more than boys, simply because it has Annie for the main character.  The book is also unabashedly Christian–which I love!  Scripture and prayer are woven through the story.

Read my reviews of My Paris Connection, My Timeless Locket, and My Riviera Connection. The next review will be book will be Annie’s Adventure #5 when she travels to Sydney, Australia!

Check out Annie’s Adventure’s website to order the books.

Or here:


(Disclosure:  I received complimentary copies of the Annie’s Adventures series in order to write these honest reviews. This post contains affiliate links.)

 

 

 

Review: Kinder Cottage “Peter Rabbit” Series books

Kinder Cottage Review
Kinder Cottage Publishing gave me the privilege to review 2 books:
How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea and
Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy

 

A little about the books:

These are part of a series of 10 books about Peter Rabbit which were published by the Henry Altemus Company from 1917-1922 and written by Duff Graham.  They have been reprinted (with some words updated) by Kinder Cottage.

 

Kinder Cottage Review
How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea
In How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea, Peter Rabbit is sent to Mr. McGregor’s garden to get some cabbages.  On the way home he sees and eats some green apples.  Unfortunately, they make him sick.  He forgets about the cabbages and when he gets home his mom gives him a spanking.  The next day Peter and his sisters go out to play, but Peter goes to the brook even though his mother told him not to. Peter builds himself a boat and goes out into the water.  Peter sees a whale, a shark, a crab, and a sword-fish. A gull lands on the boat, picks up Peter, and flies him to the shore.  When Peter finally gets back home he decides never to go out to be a pirate again!

Kinder Cottage Review

Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy

In Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy, Peter is out playing with his sisters when he gets rough and the little girl rabbits get hurt.  Peter is made to stay in to play for the rest of the day.  He asks forgiveness and promises not to be so rough again.  One day soon after Peter and the girls were out playing when Peter goes over the hill even though his mother told them not to.  First his kite gets stuck in a tree and then he finds his cousin Jack-the-Jumper.  They decide to go into the wood, even thought Peter’s mother had told them never to do so–naughty bunnies.  They meet a Scissors Man who told them he had used scissors on a little boy who wouldn’t obey his mother.  They got very scared and ran away as fast as they could.  Then a hawk almost catches them.  They go to Mr. McGregor’s garden and eat cabbages.  When they leave, Peter discovers his watch is gone.  He cries, and then a little boy comes up to them.  He had found the watch in the cabbage patch.  He takes them to his play tent, and they have lots of fun playing.  Then the boy gives them presents and invites them to get a ride home in his grandfather’s car.  The message is that many dangers won’t come to you if you obey your mother!

How we liked them:

The books are written in an old-fashioned style.  I’m sure you’ve read some of this style if you have read books to your kids that were written from about 1900-1950.  It’s not my favorite style of writing.  It’s pretty wordy and not very poetic.  The stories are a bit random–not much of a plot line to them.  These are the kind of books I have to be in the right mood to read.  My kids enjoyed hearing the stories, though.  And my five-year-old, especially, loved reading them to herself.  The illustrations are cute, but again they are old-fashioned.  So, if you like old-fashioned, you’ll love these!

The binding is very nice–hardback with nice thick pages.  Each of the books I reviewed was 64 pages long.

Age Range:
These are ideal for ages 3-9.
If you would like to see the other books in this series:
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit at the Farm
Peter Rabbit’s Christmas
How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea
Peter Rabbit Goes A-Visiting
Peter Rabbit’s Easter
Peter Rabbit’s Birthday
When Peter Rabbit Went to School
Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy
Peter Rabbit and Jack the Jumper
Price:
The backs of the book say $12.95, but Kinder Cottage Publishing sells them for $4.00 each!
Kinder Cottage Review
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Review/Giveaway of “Talking With Your Daughter About Understanding Boys”

Bob and Dannah Gresh have done it again with another home-run book!  Talking With Your Daughter About Understanding Boys is a “Great Dates for Dads & Daughters” book.  If you are looking for a wonderful bonding experence between Dad and Daughter this summer, this book provides exactly what you need!  (And there’s a giveaway, so read to the bottom of the post!)

Talking With Your Daughter About Understanding Boys is a paperback book of 178 pages.  It’s divided into 3 parts.  In part 1 you’ll read the reasons why we need to teach our daughters–especially tween daughters ages 8-12.  And you’ll learn why a lot of this information is best coming from dads.  With Dads encouraging and teaching their daughters, the girls are much less likely to enter into risky behaviors.

Part 2 gives you the fun stuff–8 dates that dads can do with their daughters.  Each date has a theme and a specific lesson to learn, a prep talk for the dad, an activity (place to go/thing to do), ways to prep your daughter for life (teaching her how to search the internet, for example), the Talk for Dad to have with Daughter (complete with pull-out sheets to fill in), and an MP3 episode to listen to that you can download from the Secret Keeper Girl website.

Here an example from Date #2.  The objective is to begin to understand what it means to be a girl.  The key verses are from Proverbs 31.  The materials needed are baking ingredients and an empty kitchen, because Dad and Daughter are going to make a dessert together!  There are a few different recipes to choose from (or pick your own!).  There are a number of Prep for Life ideas such as letting your daughter pay for the ingredients at the store.  Of course, you’ll play your SKG MP3 episode just before you start in the kitchen.  There is also a suggestion for a movie to watch together while you eat your dessert.  Finally, there is the Talk With Dad time.  The pull-outs included in the book guide dad through the whole discussion.  The one for Date #2 helps to identify the strengths of the woman from Proverbs 31 and to help your Daughter recognize her own God-given strengths.

The 8 Dates are:

1.  Doing a Prank and learning to understand boys.

2.  Cooking a dessert and learning to understand what it means to be a girl.

3.  Watching a movie (The Princess Bride) and discovering the difference between true love and counterfeit love.

4.  Doing a hike and learning to believe that her value comes from God, not a boy.

5.  Doing a treasure hunt and discovering that she is a treasure and should expect to be treated as one.

6.  Planting something and learning to grow by feeding herself with God’s Word.

7.  Star-gazing and learning to rely on God for guidance.

8.  A Celebration Date with Mom and Dad and beginning to view marriage as a picture of God’s love for His people.

 

Part 3 has some extras, like a 7-day devotional for dads and daughters to do together, ideas for single moms, and the “pull-outs” that the girls will write on for the dates (and possibly keep in their scrapbooks!)

I am positive that my daughters will love these dates with their dad.  They do require some planning.  But they’re so worth it!  I have also done some of the dates with Mom and Daughter.  Good memories.  :)

Check out these other books by Dannah Gresh.  I have loved them ALL!




Bob and Dannah Gresh:

BobandDannahGresh

 

And now the giveaway!  

Enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  U.S only, 18+ please.  Winner will be chosen Monday June 9 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Talking With Your Daughter About Understanding Boys in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review of Graham Blanchard books: “Close as a Breath,” “Jesus Saves Me,” and “Little Seed: A Life”

Blanchard books 004

 

I have 3 new board books to review today that teach children about Christ! They are called Learn, Absorb and Praise books and are published by Graham Blanchard and written by Callie Grant.

The “Spring Pack Set” includes

“Jesus Saves Me” from the Knowing My God series is for ages 0-7. It is a Learn book and teaches children about The Good Shepherd–Jesus– through the Scripture John 10:14-16, photographs of sheep with shepherds, and explanations about what sheep and shepherds do.  There are several different ways to use the book.  For toddlers, you can simply read the Scripture phrase that is on each page.  For preschoolers, you can talk about the photos and what they see in them.  And for older kids, you can read the explanations and questions and discuss what it means for Jesus to be our Good Shepherd.

“Close As a Breath” an Absorb book for ages 0-6. In it we experience a young girl’s magical day out with her dad during the autumn. She constantly asks her father questions about things she sees in nature and finally asks a question about God. Her dad shows great love for her and answers all her questions.

“Little Seed: A Life” is a Praise book for ages 0-5.  It follows the life cycle of a seed.  We see it fall to the ground, buried by a squirrel, protected during the winter weather, softening and growing in the spring, and fully grown in the summer.  But then it produces many seeds which then start the new life cycle.  This is an important concept for children to understand as it is such a common illustration in the Bible.

My younger children enjoyed listening to me read all three of the books, as well as looking through the illustrations themselves.  I liked reading all three as well, and especially enjoyed exploring the themes with my kids.  Little Seed: A Life is fun to read this time of year because they are seeing things growing outside.  I want them to know that some of those seeds had been there all winter, and for them to picture what the roots look like under the soil.  But I really want them to know about how our lives can be fruitful like the one seed and can (and should) produce many more seeds.  Close as a Breath is a great book to read during the fall, since its nature references (changing leaves and water freezing) relate to that time of year.  But its main point of God being as close to us as a breath is important to learn any time of the year.  Finally, Jesus Saves Me was the most fun to read to my toddler.  It has short phrases on each page (as well as the optional longer discussions) and great photos for little ones to look at.  And I want my kids to know why Jesus is the Good Shepherd and what that means for us. If you’re looking for some great board books to help your children learn important concepts about God, you won’t be disappointed with these!

Graham Blanchard Inc., a Christian Publishing company based in Austin, Texas, is on a mission to encourage and equip parents to effectively reach their kids about God, even at a very young age. For more information please visit www.grahamblanchard.com.

Blanchard books 005

 

(Disclosure:  I received complimentary copies of these three books in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review/Giveaway of “The Kid Who Changed the World”

I have a Review and Giveaway today of “The Kid Who Changed the World” by Andy Andrews, illustrated by Philip Hurst, and published by Tommy Nelson.

The book tells the story of a kid who had a dream and how his dream came to fruition through those who came before him. This children’s book is based on Andrews’ book “The Butterfly Effect.” Decisions we make (and encourage our children to make) can change the world.

And that’s what happened with Norman Borlang. Never heard of him? He had a desire to feed the hungry and through the influence of his mentor Henry Wallace, he made some special seeds that would grow into super plants that would feed more people than ordinary plants.

But Henry was mentored by George–George Washington Carver that is. And George was adopted by Moses and Susan Carver. All of these people were necessary for Norman’s dream to come true!

The basic message of the story is that little things can make a big difference if God is in them! Everyone can do something that will change the world.

This is a beautiful and inspirational book for kids, ages 8-12. It’s hardback with a cover and has lovely illustrations.

Now it’s time to enter the giveaway! Enter through the Rafflecopter app below. The winner will be chosen on June 6, 2014 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email. U.S. only, 18+


a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to write this honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)

Review/Giveaway of “Zippy’s Club” by Candida Sullivan, a book about bullying

If there is one subject that isn’t addressed as much in homeschooling as in the public school, it would be “bullying.” I am happy to review a book today that addresses that issue: Zippy’s Club by Candida Sullivan.  (And there’s a giveaway, so read down to the bottom of the post!)

The author Candida believes in miracles. She was born with a rare condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome, which generally causes death in most babies before they are born. She knows it is a beautiful blessing she survived and wants to show the world that her scars are not a punishment, but instead are a wonderful expression exemplifying God’s love and mercy for her life. She believes God spared her for a reason and wants to spend her life telling of the hope and love God placed inside her.  The Amniotic Band Syndrome caused deformities in her hands, feet, and skin.  And as a result Candida was the recipient of bullying.  Unfortunately, she decided to bully others as well, until she realized the best way to deal with it was to treat others with kindness.

In her third book about Zippy, this sweet zebra with no stripes is trying to create a club to fight against bullying.  He has a list of “chores” for all his club members to do in order to make the world a better place, so they decide not to stay.  Later he finds out that the Toby the lizard is being bullied by the snakes.  Toby thinks the best way to fight back is to learn to be mean like they are.  Zippy decides to go to talk to the snakes.  But they bully him as well–and it goes too far when they push Zippy off the cliff.  Now all the animals realize that they must stand up to the bullies and do what is necessary to make the bullying end.  Thankfully, Zippy is alright, and the club starts strong!

The book was a wonderful introduction about bullying for my kids, ages 5-10.  They saw it in action in the story, but there were also pages in the back of the book for parents or teachers to lead discussions about bullying.  I did this with my kids.  We talked about what it is, how it affects people, and what to do about it.  We also talked about how being a bystander is not acceptable.

Another wonderful thing about the book is that they encourage you to start your own Club to fight against bullying.  They even have a Zippy Club Kit which has a script of a play, a CD of masks for the characters, printable coloring sheets and stickers, a poster, badge, and membership certificate!  You can get the kit by emailing ZippyKit@ShadeTreePublishing.com.

zippyPoster (2)

Finally, I LOVED the illustrations!  Jack Foster is a wonderful illustrator. Your kids will be enchanted.  You can see more about Zippy at Candida’s website.

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See below for other books by Candida.

Zippy’s Big Difference is a story about
how Zippy the zebra came to
appreciate that which makes him
different from others. It deals with
the emotional struggles facing
children with disabilities and tackles
some of the tough spiritual questions
they have.

Zippy and the Stripes of Courage is a
story about how Zippy the zebra
came to accept himself for who he is.
It teaches children to celebrate one
another’s differences and to treat
others as they themselves want to
be treated.

Underneath the Scars is a journey of
emotional and spiritual healing
associated with physical deformities.
You will laugh, cry, and reflect as
Candida shares her story and the
woman underneath her scars.

And now– a Giveaway of Zippy’s Club!  Enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  Winner will be chosen Tuesday 5/27/14 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of Zippy’s Club in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review of “Bluebonnet Bride” by Colleen Coble

43481EB: Bluebonnet Bride - eBook Bluebonnet Bride – eBookBy Colleen Coble / Thomas Nelson

Today’s review is of Bluebonnet Bride, A Butterfly Palace Story by Colleen Coble, published by Thomas Nelson.

I recently finished reading Bluebonnet Bride and enjoyed it.  The story is of a young lady from across the ocean that arrives in the U.S. at the beginning of the last century.  Things have taken a turn for the worse so Elli has decided to become a mail-order bride and take her chances on a new life.

She travels by boat to New York and then train to Texas.  As soon as she arrives in Texas she meets her fiance Nathan and his little niece whom has been raising.  He had sent away for a permanent “mother” for his niece and not necessarily a wife for himself.  They immediately get married and move to their new home.  Elli loves the little girl Hannah and wishes she could have a husband-wife relationship as well, but Nathan just wants it to be platonic.  They all three have separate bedrooms.

The first night, she is attacked in her room.  Nathan saves her and it’s the beginning of him realizing that there is a connection between the two of them.  An investigation ensues and the rest of the book is trying to discover the truth of why they keep getting attacked.  By the end of the story the two have fallen in love with each other and their true marriage begins.

At first I was happy that this was a novella, only 58 pages, because it’s quicker and easier to read!  However, I felt that it was too short to really get the characterization and story tension going.  I didn’t feel too connected to the characters and didn’t care as much what happened to them–not as much as I would have liked to.  I have read a couple of other Colleen Coble books (from the Rock Harbor series) that I have enjoyed more, so I’ll try her books again.  This one just wasn’t the best.

 

I review for BookLook Bloggers

 

Disclosure:  The publisher provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through BookLook Bloggers.

Giveaway of 3 Zondervan Books for Kids & 3 for Teens!

I have a wonderful giveaway today.  There are two sets of books–one for kids and one for teens.  Enter one giveaway or both!  These would be wonderful to give to your kids for Easter, or for any other occasion!

The Kids Set (for preschool-age 7) has

The Legend of the Easter Egg by Lori Walburg (illustrated by Richard Cowdrey) The Berenstain Bears Keep the Faith, by Mike Berenstain 101 Bible Stories from Creation to Revelation (illustrated by Dan Andreasen)   Zondervan books 007 In The Legend of the Easter Egg, we follow the story of a little boy whose sister has become very sick.  He goes to stay with friends while she gets better.  While there he learns about why Easter eggs remind us of Easter.  A chick breaks out of its egg, just like Christ broke out of the tomb. The boy understands about Jesus and His sacrifice and gives his life to Christ.    On Easter morning he runs to see his sister who is now better to tell her of his new faith in Jesus.  It’s a pretty, hardback book. Zondervan books 008   Book reviews- Daniel, Noah, Berenstain Bears Keep Faith, Veggie 018 In The Berenstain Bears Keep the Faith Brother and Sister Bear find out that their science-loving friend Ferdy Factual doesn’t believe God created the world.  It’s the first time Brother and Sister encounter someone who thinks that you can’t believe in or trust God if you are a scientist. Brother and Sister love science, too.  They love to learn about dinosaurs and fossils, to look at the stars with a telescope, and to look through a microscope at germs.  But when they are looking at the moon through a telescope with Ferdy, Sister mentions that God did a good job.  Ferdy tell them that not only does he not believe that God created everything, he doesn’t even believe in God.  He only believes in things he can see and test and prove. The bears talked to their parents about it.  Mama tells them that they have to have faith.  Now that’s a hard concept for young kids to understand!  So, the next day they go to visit Preacher Brown to see if he can expain it better.  They learn that faith comes from reading the Bible, feeling God’s love for us, and in seeing the beauty of God’s creation.  Preacher Brown also tells them that Daniel in the Bible had faith that God would save him from the lions.  Faith in God is trusting in his love.  Brother and Sister Bear decide at the end of the story that faith in God is important to them. I love how this book shows that you can be a “scientist” and have faith in God at the same time. Book reviews- Daniel, Noah, Berenstain Bears Keep Faith, Veggie 020 Book reviews- Daniel, Noah, Berenstain Bears Keep Faith, Veggie 019     Zondervan books 013 101 Bible Stories From Creation to Revelation is a Bible story book.  There are 3 things I really like about this book that make it unique from other Bible story books:  half of the stories are from the New Testament, the illustrations are more realistic (not cartoonish), and it has a higher reading level.  It is perfect for reading to children or for independent older readers to read to themselves.  Each facing page has one page of the story and one page of illustration.  Hardback book with 217 pages. Zondervan books 014 Zondervan books 015

The Teens Set has

All In Student Edition by Mark & Parker Batterson

Gods at War Student Edition by Kyle Idleman

and a choice of one of these Bibles:
Young Women of Faith Bible, NIV (Hardcover)

Or
NIV Bible for Teens (Blue)

Zondervan books 011 All In Student Edition is an encouraging book for helping teens choose the right life–the God life.  I really enjoyed reading about different peoples’ experiences in the book.  You’ll find stories of Colonel Joshua Chamberlain (Civil War), Stanley Tam (United States Plastic Corporation), and Phil Vischer (Veggie Tales), among many others.  Inspire your teen with this book (paperback, 160 pages). Zondervan books 012 Zondervan books 009 Gods at War Student Edition explains to students how to recognize and fight against the modern-day idols we see in our society.  There are 3 specific idols that are highlighted: Pleasure, Power, and Love.  Anything that teens might put before God (entertainment, technology, pornography, drugs, materialism, etc.) is talked about in this book, and they learn how to serve Jesus instead.  Paperback, 203 pages.   Zondervan books 010 Zondervan books 016 This blue-covered NIV Bible for Teens is beautiful in charcoal and blue faux leather.  It’s less than an inch thick, has a ribbon marker, 8 pages of maps, and Christ’s words in read.  It’s in the new NIV translation Zondervan books 017 Zondervan books 018 Zondervan books 019 Zondervan books 020 Zondervan books 021 And a Bible for girls: The Young Women of Faith Bible.  In this hardback Bible, you’ll find the regular features (maps, concordance, and full NIV text) as well as a Weekly Bible Study and some commentary explaining difficult passages.  There are journal sections to learn about other girls’ experiences and to write about your own and specific verses to memorize. Zondervan books 022 Zondervan books 023 Zondervan books 024 Zondervan books 025

Enter one or both giveaways below on the Rafflecopter!  Winners will be chosen on Saturday April 5 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email. Two different winners will be chosen (can’t win both giveaways).

Congratulations to the winners:  Liz and Sara!

(Disclosure:  I received copies of all the above books in order to write these reviews.  This post also includes affiliate links.)

 

Review of “The Berenstain Bears Keep the Faith”

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Today I have a review of The Berenstain Bears Keep the Faith, a new book by Mike Berenstain, the son of Jan and Stan Berenstain.  I am so happy with the new Berenstain Bear books which are part of the Living Lights series by Zonderkidz.  God is honored in these books.  :)  And Papa Bear isn’t the dolt that he was portrayed often in the older books.

In The Berenstain Bears Keep the Faith Brother and Sister Bear find out that their science-loving friend Ferdy Factual doesn’t believe God created the world.  It’s the first time Brother and Sister encounter someone who thinks that you can’t believe in or trust God if you are a scientist. Brother and Sister love science, too.  They love to learn about dinosaurs and fossils, to look at the stars with a telescope, and to look through a microscope at germs.  But when they are looking at the moon through a telescope with Ferdy, Sister mentions that God did a good job.  Ferdy tell them that not only does he not believe that God created everything, he doesn’t even believe in God.  He only believes in things he can see and test and prove.

The bears talked to their parents about it.  Mama tells them that they have to have faith.  Now that’s a hard concept for young kids to understand!  So, the next day they go to visit Preacher Brown to see if he can expain it better.  They learn that faith comes from reading the Bible, feeling God’s love for us, and in seeing the beauty of God’s creation.  Preacher Brown also tells them that Daniel in the Bible had faith that God would save him from the lions.  Faith in God is trusting in his love.  Brother and Sister Bear decide at the end of the story that faith in God is important to them.

I love how this book shows that you can be a “scientist” and have faith in God at the same time.

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(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to write this honest review.)

Review/Giveaway “My Story: Daniel” and “My Story: Noah” Sticker Books

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Well, let me start out today’s review by telling you that my kids were fighting over who was going to get these Bible sticker books!  Oh, my–I wish we had gotten 4 instead of 2!

We have also reviewed 2 others in this series and the kids loved those as well.

My Story: Daniel and My Story: Noah tell the stories of these 2 great men of the Bible.  The pages are filled with cartoon drawings and cute sayings.  I love how the stories teach young children about these men and their great faith and obedience to God in spite of adversity.  Daniel refused to quit praying to the Lord even though the law said he could be thrown to the lions.  And then when he was throw to the lions, God honored Daniel’s faithfulness by miraculously protecting him!  Noah followed God’s direction in building the ark even when it seemed like a crazy thing to do.  He and his family were the only ones saved when the flood God sent destroyed the earth.

After the story, there are 2 full pages of stickers that the kids can put in the book or anywhere else.

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I will say that my 8-year-old daughter was disappointed with the following illustration in the Noah book. She said, “That’s not what the ark looked like.  There was lots of room for the animals.”  We really don’t like these “fairy tale” type drawings of the ark, since the Bible is so specific in giving the size of the ark.

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But when she saw this drawing she said, that’s better!

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There is a Sticker Journal in each book where the kids can place some of the stickers.  The green spots show them where a sticker should go.

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See the great variety of stickers?  Animals, people, decorations, items.

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See Flipbooks of My Story: Daniel and My Story: Noah

*The books are paperback.

*ages 1-4

*Engaging Bible stories told in first-person perspective

*Includes 50 story-themed stickers that kids can use throughout the book

*A great value at $4.99:

My Story: Daniel
My Story: Noah

And now you have a chance to win these books!  Enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  The winner will be chosen on Saturday March 22, and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.  18+, U.S. only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure:  I received complimentary copies of these books from Thomas Nelson Publishers in order to write this honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)

Review of The Revolutionary War Adventure (Our America Series) by Sue Kilbride

Once again Sue Kilbride has hit a homerun with her historical fiction book series! Today’s review is of The Revolutionary War Adventure from the Our America Series.

I was excited to read this book because I loved her previous books so much. We find brother and sister Finn and Ginny once again traveling back in time in search of their parents who are stuck back there somewhere. This time they end up in the Revolutionary War period. The time travel remote keeps taking them to different places and events of the Revolutionary War. Every place they go the twins find relatives who help them and let them be involved in the war effort. Some of the things they do are: witness the Boston Tea Party, travel on Paul Revere’s ride, see the first fighting at Lexington, hear the Declaration of Independence being read, cross the Delaware, and witness the surrender for the victory of the Patriots.  We learn a lot about the terrible conditions back then–the illness and insufficient supplies that the soldiers had.  It gives us a greater appreciation for all they did to fight for our freedom.

Finn and Ginny don’t just meet relatives, but also some of the other great heroes of the war such as Paul Revere, John Hancock, and George Washington.  I love the “extras” that you find in the book: The Concord Hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Timeline of the Revolutionary War events, reprint of the Declaration of Independence, bibliography, and the Historical Notes where Susan shares about which characters in the book were her relatives and what events and conversations were actual and which ones she took liberty with.

The Revolutionary War Adventure is well-written, fast-paced, and exciting to read.  Susan is a great writer. It’s 120 pages, so not overwhelming for younger readers. I would recommend these books for ages 10-15. They are definitely a great supplement to early American History studies!

To see a full description of the series, go here!  And for you homeschoolers, there are also free pdf activities to go along with the books on this page of Susan Kilbride’s website Funtastic Unit Studies so you can make it a full unit study by doing enrichment activites: geneology, science, games, cooking, and crafts.  There is also a free pdf of Revolutionary War activities to go with the book here.

On March 10th, 11th and 12th, the Kindle versions of the last three books in the Our America series will be on sale for 40% off–only $2.99!   Just click on the Kindle version of the book, and you’ll see the sale price.  (I’ll send out a reminder on those days–just be sure to like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest)

The Salem Adventure (Our America) (Volume 3)

 

The Revolutionary War Adventure (Our America) (Volume 4)

Also, there’s a 25% off SALE of ALL Susan Kilbride’s paperback books:

  The Pilgrim Adventure (Our America) (Volume 1)

To celebrate the publication of The Revolutionary War Adventure, on March 11th & 12th all of Sue’s paperback books will be on sale for 25% off! Just go to the Special Orders page of the Funtastic Unit Studies and type in the code: HAVY4KRQ at checkout to receive the discount. Orders will be placed through CreateSpace, a division of Amazon.

Susan has also written a science book called Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers See my review of it here.

(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to write this honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)

Review of “My Timeless Locket: The Miracle of Freedom” by Anna Alden-Tirrill

annie

I’m happy to review today My Timeless Locket: The Miracle of Freedom by Anna Alden-Tirrill today.  It’s the third book in the Annie’s Adventures Series.

This book really surprised me as it leads the reader into an adventure of historical fiction and science fiction–both of which I love!  It was really fun to read.

Annie, a 13-year-old homeschooled girl and only child is living in Scotland with her parents.  They are from America but have been living different places in Europe since her father is an astronomer who is offered short-term teaching and research assignments at different universities.

While in Scotland Annie finds out that she is related to the famous Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace. She meets other relatives and receives an heirloom (a locket) that has been passed down through the centuries.

Meanwhile, Annie’s father finds out that his astronomy research project has been compromised. The next thing they know the family is in Washington D.C. meeting with the President at the White House and other higher-ups at the Pentagon.

They need Annie to do something amazing to help save history. I don’t want to explain much more because it might ruin the story for you. But it’s a fun science fiction element, which is made to seem totally plausible and realistic. :)

I will say that although my 10-year-old daughter loved the first two books, this one wasn’t up her alley.  I think she may just need a couple more years on her and she will enjoy it.  Annie, the main character, is 13, so that’s probably closer to a better age for reading it.

The main characters are believers, so Christians will enjoy the fact that the people pray and talk about God’s involvement in their daily lives. Annie is also a homeschooled student, so homeschoolers will enjoy that aspect.

I recommend this third book in the Annie’s Adventures series: My Timeless Locket. I have book 4 which I will be reviewing in the next month or so. Check out the review for book 1 here and book 2 here.
Check out the Annie’s Adventure’s website to order these books.

Or here:


(Disclosure:  I received complimentary copies of the Annie’s Adventures series in order to write these honest reviews. This post contains affiliate links.)

This post is linked to many wonderful blogs!

Review/Giveaway Precious Moments Little Book of Bedtime {Link Party}

Today I have a review and Giveaway! of the Precious Moments Little Book of Bedtime published by Tommy Nelson Publishers. I really like this little padded board book for ages 1-4, and so does my sweetie pie.  It’s the perfect book to read before bed.

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You’ll find 18 poems each accompanied by a scripture verse or quote.  One of my favorite lullabies is included: the traditional Welsh folk song “All Through the Night.”  There are also poems and prayers about thanking God for the day, saying good night to the sun, asking God to bless the animals, bath time and putting on pajamas, getting hugs and kisses and a story before bed, asking God for sweet dreams, and to be blessed while the child sleeps.

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I have always loved the Precious Moments drawings, and you’ll love them as well in this book.  There are kids sitting around a campfire, looking up at the moon, lots of animals and stuffed animals, and kids from around the world.

Kinderbach, Precious Moments, Veggie Tales 034

A few of my favorite scriptures are included: “Come to me, all of you who are tired. . . . I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 “He has put his angels in charge of you.  They will watch over you wherever you go.”  Psalm 91:11 “When you lie down. . . your sleep will be sweet.”  Proverbs 3:24

 

Check out the flip book here.

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Shhhh.  Time for nighty-night.  :)  

 

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And now the giveaway!  

Please enter through the Rafflecopter app.  Winning entry will be verified.  Winner must respond to my email within 24 hours.  Contest ends 2/27/14.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tommy Nelson Publishers in order to write this honest review.)

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

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Follow on Bloglovin

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.)

From House to Home {Link Party}: Review of Veggie Tale readers

Veggie Tales readers 001 Veggie Tales readers 005 Veggie Tales readers 006 Veggie Tales readers 008

I have 3 new readers in my home and am constantly on the look out for new books that they can read on their own.  Today I’m reviewing 2 of those books:   Larry Makes a Choice and  All Is Fair When We Share, both by Karen Poth.  These books are paperback, 32 pages, “I Can Read!” books published by ZonderKids.  The reading level is “1″ which means they have “simple sentences for eager new readers.  These readers for perfect for my 3 kids who have been working on their reading for 1-2 years.  They are definitely not the “cat sat on a rat” type of books.  Some of the words were a bit challenging for all three of them.  You’ll find words like “friendships,” “canyon,” and “detective.”

One of the things that the kids really enjoyed about these books were that they had the Veggie Tales characters.  Larry is always funny, and Bob is helping everyone to do the right thing.

In Larry Makes a Choice Larry is a cowboy who needs to drive 100 cattle over the mountain  to pass the test.  But the Scallions who go with him want to go through the canyon so they can get there faster.  Larry is afraid to stand up to them, but then he decides to leave the canyon so he won’t cheat.  After he leaves there is a dodge ball avalanche, and Larry is a hero who saves the Scallions!

In All Is Fair When We ShareLarry and Bob are detectives.  The new case is that Percy Pea’s Mighty Man toy is missing.  Percy and his brother have been fighting, and Bob and Larry are able to get them to make up and share.

We enjoyed these Veggie Tales “I Can Read!” books and will be looking forward to reading more of them!

(Disclosure:  I received both of these books free in exchange for this honest review.)

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

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Follow on Bloglovin

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.)

Review of Richard Scarry’s Great Big Schoolhouse readers

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Last week I wrote about the wonderful resources I use to teach my kids to read.  But it’s always nice to just have some fun books that are written at a level that the kids can read to themselves.  So, I’m happy to review a couple of  Richard Scarry’s Great Big Schoolhouse readers today. The titles are Snow Dance and One, Two, Ah-Choo.

Snow Dance (Richard Scarry’s Readers Level 1) is a fun story written for Level 1 readers.  It’s described on the back as “Introduce Your Child to Reading.”  The hardback book is 23 pages long and is full of the wonderful Richard Scarry illustrations.  I have loved those books since I was a kid!  In Snow Dance, Huckle gets a new sled.  He tries to sled inside the house, but that doesn’t work.  So, he gets his friends together to bring a bunch of ice cubes to sled on.  That doesn’t work either.  Finally, they do a snow dance and the flakes start to fall!  Soon there is enough snow for all the friends to enjoy sledding!

My 5-year-old daughter had fun reading Snow Dance.  She loved how the words were large, the sentences were short, and she was able to sound out most of the words.  (The most difficult words were the kids’ names.)

The second book we reviewed was Richard Scarry’s Readers (Level 2): One, Two, AH-CHOO!.

In the Level 2 readers “Your Child Starts to Read.”  I gave this one to my 7-year-old son to read.  It’s a funny little story about a class full of kids who have a cold.  Huckle and Lowly go from friend to friend trying to help them–giving them food, tissues, and get-well cards.  They have several mishaps–dropping a tray of food, tipping over a cart of oranges, and dumping a wheelbarrow of leaves.  And at the end Huckle and Lowly end up with colds as well.

My son really enjoyed this story.  Most of the words were easy for him to figure out.  I’m sure he’ll read it again and again.  :)

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There are many other Richard Scarry Great Big Schoolhouse readers, so we’ll be checking out some more of them!

(Disclosure:  I received complimentary copies of these two books to write this honest review.)

Review/Giveaway “One God, One Plan, One Life: A 365 Devotional” by Max Lucado

One God, One Plan, One Life Devotional

I have a review and giveaway today of a devotional by Max Lucado called One God, One Plan, One Life. It’s specifically written for teens (adapted by James Lund), and I would even say it’s for teen boys. Some of the topics are deep, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend the book for children. The devotional book touches on issues such as purity, drug and alcohol abuse, and bullying.

I really like the way the daily devotionals read. They’re short enough to be accessible to this age group–it’s all on one page. It starts with a verse of Scripture which is written out. Then there are a few paragraphs (often with more Scripture mixed in). Finally, there is “One More Thought.” This is a call to action/application, an explanation, or something to further think about. Here’s one I liked from May 16:

“What’s really bugging you right now? Take a moment to look past the problem. Can you see God’s hand in it? Can you see how he might use your struggle as part of his plan? Think about what’s excellent in your life? Now look again–hope is on your horizon.”

The devotional book itself is hardback, 389 pages, with its own orange ribbon bookmark. The material has been adapted for teens and comes from 6 other devotional books written by Max Lucado. At the back you’ll find Notes (a list of footnotes) and 2 different Bible reading plans (30 Days with Jesus and 90 Days Through the Bible.)  You can see a Flipbook here.

Now that I’m through reviewing it, One God, One Plan, One Life is now with my teen son so he can use it each day.

I’m happy to have a copy of this book published by Thomas Nelson to give away! Please enter on the Rafflecopter app below. The winner will be chosen January 19 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email. 18+, U.S. only please.

One God, One Plan, One Life: A 365 Devotional

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this honest review. This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review of “My Riviera Connection” by Anna Alden-Tirrill

annie
Today’s book review is of My Riviera Connection by Anna Alden-Tirrill.  It’s the second book in the Annie’s Adventure Series.  (You can read the review of the first book My Paris Connection here.)

We rejoin adventurous, 13-year-old, homeschooled Annie in Europe again, but they have left Paris and are now in the French Riviera.  One of the most fun parts about reading this book is that I have never learned much about this part of the world.  We become immersed in the perfume industry–visiting perfumeries and learning all kinds of things about the business.  Annie decides that she is very interested in becoming an investigative reporter and is able to join a lady we met in the first book–Vivienne who is an investigative reporter.  She takes Annie along with her as she investigates the theft of a perfume formula.  They track the thieves and learn all kinds of things to help out the investigation for the detectives.  This part is unrealistic–that they are in the midst of all the action– but makes the story more exciting. :)  They also travel to other areas of Europe, including the Vatican.  And they always find some time to sightsee–which makes you wish you could be there as well!

My only complaint about the book is that I don’t like the graphics/illustrations that are found on every page throughout the book.  They are distracting and not well drawn or designed.

I love how serving God and doing his will, along with Scripture, are sprinkled in throughout the book.  We know what is most important to Annie, her parents, Vivienne, and several other characters who are believers.  “Truth” is a main theme throughout this book (as “friendship” was in the first book).  My 10-year-old daughter loved reading about the perfume business and gave My Riviera Connection a thumbs-up! I would definitely recommend these books for girls who like to read longer chapter books (it’s 234 pages).

Check out the Annie’s Adventure’s website to order these books.

Or here:

(Disclosure:  I received complimentary copies of the Annie’s Adventures series in order to write these honest reviews. This post contains affiliate links.)