May 31, 2012

L2R $100 Amazon Giveaway ~ 3 winners each of $100!

What would YOU do with $100?  I'd love to win $100 from Amazon myself!  :)  I would use it to put towards a Kindle Fire, or maybe buy some of the books and ebooks in my wishlist - 
How about YOU?  What would you buy?

3 winners will each receive a $100 Amazon giftcard!  Contest goes live 6/1 and ends on 6/18!  Enter for YOUR chance to win $100 Amazon GC on Loves 2 Read!







3 Random Winners will each score a $100 Amazon Gift Code


Thanks to these wonderful Blogs for Sponsoring this Giveaway:

May Day Giveaway Winners Announced!

Winners are fully confirmed for the 
May Day Giveaway Prizes:
 Grand Prize: #64149 Amanda D.H, 
2nd prize #47436 Juana E., 
3rd prize #62942 Katie R., 
4th prize #55497 Rebecca A., 
5th prize #33810 Betsy R.B

May 30, 2012

Spring Hope by Martha Rogers

Spring Hope
( Realms (May 15, 2012)
by
Martha Rogers


ABOUT THE BOOK

Can runaway Libby Cantrell finally get a new start?

Libby Cantrell’s life has gone from bad to worse since her mother’s death. After working in a brothel to support her abusive father, she sees no hope for her future until one cold winter night when she finds the courage to escape.

When she collapses in Portersfield, Texas, exhausted, ill, and hungry, Sheriff Cory Muldoon finds her and takes her to the doctor. Against Cory’s better judgment, Seth and Erin Winston take her in and offer her a job as a nanny for their young son. As a minister, Seth sees it as his duty to take care of her. As a deputy, Cory needs to know the truth about her even as he is attracted to the waif of a young woman.

As Cory’s feelings for her grow and winter becomes spring, will he be able to accept her as she is now and truly forget and forgive her sordid past?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Spring Hope, go HERE.



MY REVIEW:
I love reading Clean fiction books with real-life issues.  I would not recommend this story for anyone younger than 16 due to the nature of the subjects discussed in the story, but it is well-worth reading for mature readers.  Even so, it is still a Clean Christian fiction novel. 
I love the main character Libby.  She intrigued me from the beginning.  To go through all that she had to endure, and come out strong and resilient, drew my interested right away.  I wanted to see her have her "happy ending" after all the negative things that occurred in her life.  The ending was worth it for me, and the emotions and reactions that Cory went through were realistic enough to keep my interest.
I have not read any other books by author Martha Rogers, but I look forward to reading more in the near future! A great book for any fiction lover!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Martha Rogers is a freelance author of both fiction and non-fiction and a speaker. Her stories and articles have appeared in a number of compilations and magazines. Her first fiction novella was released in 2007.

Her experiences as a public school teacher, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, First Place leader, Mom and Grandmother give Martha a unique field of ministry.

Martha is am alumni of CLASS and is available to speak at Women's Retreats, conferences, and luncheons on topics of interest to women of all ages.

As an author, she is available to speak at writing conferences and workshops on a variety of topics of interest to writers.




I received one or more books or products in the post above for review purposes only. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All my reviews are my honest and personal opinion.  If you have any questions or comments, please see my FTC disclosure or Review Policy.

Review & Guest Post ~ The Delaware Detectives by Dana Rongione

Review & Guest Post

The Delaware Detectives:

What do the following have in common: a muntjac deer, a toilet, and a hairless cat? They are three key factors in uncovering a treasure that may or may not exist. But for Abby and Jamie Patterson, these items are essential ingredients to fulfilling their grandfather's greatest desire. Is the fortune real, or are the siblings following a path to nowhere as set down by an eccentric old woman? The quest is on, and time is running out.

Excerpts : An inside look of the book can be viewed on the Amazon sales page:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Delaware-Detectives-Dana-Rongione/dp/1470007460/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1334771853&sr=8-2


My Review:
The Delaware Detectives is an fun mystery adventure for upper elementary to middle grade age readers.  Abby and her brother Jamie find a mystery in their grandpa's (Pop Pop's) old house.  As they follow the clues to discover what to do next, they find themselves in some interesting situations.  This is a fun and easy read for ages 8 and up.  It reminds me a little of books like "The Boxcar Children" in that it is a fun read, good adventure, and easy to read and understand.  A great book!  I look forward to reading more adventures of The Delaware Detectives in the near future!
My children will love getting to read this over their summer break!  This is a great book for young kids to read.  Add it to your summer reading list!







Guest Post by Author Dana Rongione:

The Transition from Teacher to Writer

I never dreamed of becoming a full-time author.  Sure, I had always loved to read, and I found great contentment in writing stories for my own personal enjoyment, but my life's dream had always been teaching.  From as far back as I can remember, I relished the thought of teaching.  As a child, I would line up my dolls and stuffed animals and "teach" them anything and everything I felt they should know.

When the time came to pick my college major, I had no trouble, and four years later, I graduated at the top of my class with a BS degree in Elementary Education.  I was immediately offered a position teaching kindergarten, and I jumped at the opportunity.  For nine years, I poured my heart and soul into teaching, but by the end of the eighth year, something had changed.  Teaching was no longer a pleasure.  It was no longer enjoyable to me.  I no longer felt like I was making a difference.  And to be honest, before long, I was miserable.

I won't bore you with the details of that last dreadful year of teaching, but I will tell you that something in my soul was stirring, and I knew I needed to make a change.  But what would I do?  Teaching was all I knew.  It was all I had ever done.  And then, I had a revelation.

During that last year, I received a letter from The Institute of Children's Literature.  I don't know how they got my information, but they invited me to fill out an application for one of their writing courses.  I'm really not sure why I did it, but I filled out the application, took the entrance test and waited to see what would happen.  I can't describe my excitement at being accepted.

For the next few months, I taught during the day and took my writing classes in the evenings and on weekends.  Before long, I was enjoying the writing far more than the teaching.  When the opportunity arose for me to take another writing class, I didn't hesitate.  And once again, I felt like I had found my true calling.

With the growing uneasiness of my teaching job, I prayed daily for the Lord to guide me to where He wanted me to be.  I pleaded with Him to put me somewhere where I could be happy and still make a difference.  It wasn't long before I felt Him leading me to quit my teaching job (at the end of the school year, of course) and go into full-time writing.  The process was thrilling and terrifying.

Now, six years later, I think I've finally found my writing niche.  For a while, I floundered about trying to decide what I wanted to write.  I've tried my hand at article writing, copywriting, poetry, fiction, nonfiction--you name it.  But I feel my true calling is to write Christian books for all ages.  I now have three devotionals for adults, a healthy living e-book, a fiction book for special-needs children and a middle-grade novel.  I'm currently writing my fourth devotional, and I have an illustrator working on the artwork for another children's book.

While the journey hasn't been easy, it has been overflowing with rewards.  Despite the pay (or lack thereof), I love my job!  I set my own hours and spend my days doing work that I love and that is a help and encouragement to others.  (Not to mention, there aren't too many jobs where one can work in their pajamas and bedroom slippers!)  The life of a writer can sometimes be lonely and discouraging, but it can also be indescribably wonderful.  I'm so grateful the Lord has given me such a wonderful opportunity.



 About Dana Rongione:

Hi! My name is Dana Rongione. (Yes, I know that's a mouthful.) I live in Greenville, SC with my husband, Jason, and my two dogs, Tippy and Mitch.

Having been a Christian for nearly 28 years, I know what it is like to experience both joy in the journey and weariness in well-doing. Currently self-employed as a writer and speaker, I struggle (like many other Christians) to balance the demands of work, family, church, health, chores, etc.

I enjoy all types of writing, but my true joy lies in writing devotionals that will encourage and uplift the weak and weary Christian. This blog, A Word Fitly Spoken, is currently read in over 15 different countries, allowing me the opportunity to spread the message of hope and joy throughout the world. I also have another blog, Song of the Day, that offers the truth of the Word in song.


I currently have three published devotionals and numerous articles in magazines and e-zines across the country. I am available to speak at local ladies' meetings or writers' workshops. You can find out more about me and my ministry by visiting my website at DanaRongione.com.



Publisher: A Word Fitly Spoken Press
Genre: Middle-grade Mystery
Release Date: March 2012
Website:
http://DanaRongione.com

Purchase Link:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Delaware-Detectives-Dana-Rongione/dp/1470007460/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1334771853&sr=8-2


Email – Dana@DanaRongione.com






Continue on with the tour for your chance to win a Copy of The Delaware Detectives


Book Tour Schedule:

One Commenter from the tour will win a Kindle Gifted Copy.
May 22 - Meet & Greet at VBT Cafe' Blog
May 24 - Reviewed & Interviewed at Books Are Cool
May 30 - Guest Blogging & Review at Loves 2 Read
May 31 - Guest Blogging at This Author's Life
June 2 - Reviewed at
Books, Books, and More Books
June 5 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services
June 7 - Interviewed at MK McClintock's Blog
June 11 - Interviewed & Reviewed at A Book Lover's Library
June 13 - Interviewed at BK Walker Books Etc.
June 15 - Guest Blogging with Cindy Vine
June 19 - Interviewed at Unnecessary Musings
June 21 - Guest Blogging at Lori's Reading Corner
June 26 - Interviewed at Hardcover Feedback
June 28 - Interviewed at Reviews & Interviews







* I received a free copy of this book from the author for this book tour and review.  Promo and guest post provided by the author and Virtual Book Tour Cafe.  All reviews are my personal and honest opinion.

$100 Amazon GC giveaway PLUS More on Loves 2 Read

Just for all of you wonderful readers and followers of Loves 2 Read ~ I have joined with over 160 other bloggers to bring you this giveaway of $100 Amazon.com GC, PLUS a $50 GC to Victoria's Secret AND a $50 GC to either Target or Walmart - that's a total of $200 in GC's!!!



Beautifully BellaFaith and over 160 blogs have put together an awesome gift card giveaway for everyone to enter. Not only will one lucky person WIN a $100 Amazon gift card, but they will also win a $50 Victoria's Secret gift card AND a $50 Target OR Walmart gift card

This giveaway is open worldwide. You must be 18 or older to enter. It will begin May 30th and end June 7th. There will be NO substitutions for any of the gift cards. 

I realize that there are quite a few entries, so I included an end bonus! The more entries you have...the more of a chance you have to WIN! 

Enter below using the Rafflecopter widget. If you have any problems, please e-mail littleamberfaith@yahoo.com. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before another will be drawn. You do NOT have to be a blogger to enter OR win. Good luck!! 


May 28, 2012

Small Blog Love Winner!

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RNUHlXXTRMQ/T6iapAVOMiI/AAAAAAAAAO0/NqDBhiXmAkI/s1600/SBLG.png

 Winner of the Small Blog Love $100 Teacollection.com Giveaway has been emailed! Congrats! You have 48 hours to respond!

L2R Giveaway ~ Snow White & the Huntsman


HSN has partnered with Universal Pictures to create a 24-hour Snow White and the Huntsman event. The event will take place on Wednesday, May 30th, across all of HSN’s platforms, including TV, HSN.com and HSN mobile.

In the epic action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman (in theatres June 1st), Snow White is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen who is out to destroy her. Join HSN on May 30th as they celebrate this breathtaking new version of the legendary tale with a HSN Snow White and the Huntsman Collection from your favorite brands inspired by the movie.


“HSN is the perfect partner to bring the look and feel of Snow White and the Huntsman to life through fashion and lifestyle items inspired by the film,” said Stephanie Sperber, President, Universal Partnerships & Licensing. “We know this 24-hour event featuring unique clothing, jewelry and accessories alongside Snow White and the Huntsman footage will build anticipation for the film’s opening on June 1.”
Check out some of our top picks from ybf’s Snow White and the Huntsman Collection and shop the collection on May 30th. Special features, videos and community boards maybe found at HSN.com/snowwhite.

L2R giveaway ~ $400 worth of Jennifer Ouellette designer hair accessories!

 Amazing Designer Headbands from Jennifer Ouellette for the girl or woman in YOUR family!  Beautiful, Stylish, Designer Headbands!

Wearing headbands is timeless. It can accessorize women in all occasion. It makes woman’s crowning glory more blooming! And this what Jennifer Ouellette proudly offer not just for ladies but also for men. Jennifer Ouellette is a premier hair dress designer in New York City.



What makes Jennifer Ouellette’s designs so special?

May 26, 2012

Promo ~ Upper YA paranarmal ~ Hotblood by Juliann Whicker




This book is for Upper YA - 17 and older please - do not read further unless you are age 17 or older due to content ~



Hotblood

A House of Slide Novel
By Juliann Whicker

Genre: Paranormal Upper YA

He stole a kiss from the wrong girl…

Left without a soul, 17-year-old Dariana Sanders waited to die. There was nothing left to live for, nothing to feel besides the aching cold that never stopped.

Her parent’s marriage was in shambles, and her brother, the only one who understood, the only one who knew how to make the cold go away, was gone forever.

The only thing Dariana knew with absolute certainty was that nothing could possibly be right again.

Enter Lewis Axel Nialls. Luckily for her, impossible is right up his alley.

He can save her from the forces that wish to destroy her. Of course who’s going to save him, from her?




May 25, 2012

New blogger Opp - Wii bundle with Games Giveaway Event/fundraiser

GUEST POST BY MOM OF ONE AND HAVING FUN ~


Being Truthful, I am going to be holding this giveaway to help raise money for my friend. She is a struggling, working mommy who has hit REALLY hard times. I cannot help her the way I want to- so I invested the money to bring everyone this giveaway opp! We will be giving away:


Black Wii Console with Super Mario Brothers and CD - Includes Controller and Nunchuck
ARV $150
Built-in Wi-Fi Access For Easy Connection To Internet
Netflix instant streaming functionality allows for thousands of movies, TV shows, cartoons and more right on your TV
New Super Mario Bros. Wii offers a 1-4 player, cooperative or competitive experience





Games coming with this?! OF COURSE!
Drawsome! Tablet: ARV $60
Disney Sing It: Pop Hits: ARV $30
SpongeBob Boating Bash: ARV $20
Babys First Steps: ARV $20
Xtreme Fit Interactive Gaming System - NOT a Wii Game but it's Great for Mom and Dad ARV $75
OVER $300 in Prizes! YAY!

Cost of this giveaway: $5 for 2 links (facebook and twitter), $1 for additional links (up to 3 more) and $2 for a backlink.

ALLOWED: Networked, Linky, GFC, Pinterest, PicketFence, StumpleUpon, BlogFrog, Email Subscribers, ETC... If you don't know your proper link for these, please do not use them!
*NO- GOOGLE PLUS- AFFILIATES*
Payments must be sent to TarynLC86@yahoo.com as A GIFT

Sign ups will end June 16th- So sign up NOW!
Referral Prize?? Of Course!
$25 PayPal Cash- will be $50 - Depending on Sign Ups!

Accepting bids for Hosting Pages- There will be 3 of you- and I will take offers until June 9th.
Remember All the Money is Being Donated to a Struggling Mommy. - You may donate more if you'd like to REALLY help out.

*MANDATORY*
Post about this giveaway- remember you want as many people to sign up under your name for the referal prize! Simply put the button, dates and costs- make sure you mention it's getting donated!!!!

Join Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/233271653455153/

I know being in another group stinks, but so does emailing individual emails and them all winding up in spam. Posting HTML here will be easier for us all!

READY Click to Sign Up...For Wii Win!
Make sure to say you were referred by "Loves 2 Read"

Kindle Fire winner announced



The winner of the Kindle Fire is.......entry number #157,760 put in by 



**********REGINA MALLOY! *****************

Regina's method of entry will be verified, if it is not valid a new winner will be selected. Regina, I just sent you an email you have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen! Congratulations on your new Kindle Fire! 


Congrats Regina!

May 24, 2012

Guest Post ~ Melissa Lee author of Earth Painter!




The Earth Painter
By Melissa Lee
Genre: Paranormal YA

The Sculptor was alone. The world was gray, as it always had been.
And then the Sculptor said, “It is time…
Time for color,
Time for more,
The beginning.”
With a word, three sculptures became aware. And they needed to paint.
There was Ocean, Sky, Land, and Life all painted into place.
Then it ended, just as quickly as it started. Then the painters were no longer needed.
But they were still…AWARE.
And it was in this awareness that the battle began. And continues.
When a self-conscious young woman discovers the boy in drama class is actually the immortal who painted the world into being, she becomes the target of another painter who could shatter not only her new sense of hope, but her world, as well.


CLICK HERE to read my review of The Earth Painter by Melissa Lee

Watch the Trailer:




An interview with Holly Scruggs, character from The Earth Painter.

So Holly, thanks so much for agreeing to this interview. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and where you are from?

I’m originally from the beautiful city of Charleston, SC but I’ve just moved to my parents’ hometown—Chesnee, South Carolina. Chesnee is…I don’t want to say anything bad about it. The people are nice and all. It’s just not my home. That’s all.

You got a little bit of a surprise your first day at Chesnee High School. Drama class wasn’t exactly your idea, right?

No, no. Drama was absolutely a surprise. I’ve always been an introvert. Umm…my mom she…she makes me self-conscious about it and…I usually just try to blend into the surroundings. Drama didn’t go with that plan at all.

And that’s when you met Theo?

Theo was there. He was right there hanging his feet off the stage but the teacher and everyone just ignored him. I didn’t get why. I guess I was too wrapped up in the stress of a new school and my issues to realize something strange was going on.

And what was strange? What did you soon learn?

What did I learn? That nothing in my life was the way I thought. Not the way I saw myself. Not the world around me. Not the boy in drama class. Theo wasn’t a boy at all but the painter of all the beauty and animals on the land. Every tree, bird, bush and flower and no one knew the truth of it.

And what was the truth of it, as you just put it?

The truth of it is that our world…the one that we all think we understand, was really created by some amazing artists. Free flowing creativity made it all. And then came the sciences to add order and logic. I won’t get into the sciences or Khai-Ree’s. They are more than I could explain And Fritz and his crazy plan with the water well under the school. 

You say it changed how you saw yourself. What did you learn about yourself?

That I wasn’t who my mom made me think I was. That I had talent and beauty and a voice worth hearing. Theo helped me see that. I owe that to him. He opened my eyes. The way he looked at me…it made me see myself the way he saw me. I just wish I could have done more. I’m still a little rattled about how it all ended.

And how did it end?

It’s all still too tender. I’m sorry…I can’t. 

Would you like to add anything? 

The Earth Painter will open your eyes. Theo, the Earth Painter is worth spending time with. I wouldn’t trade my time with him for anything in the world.




About the Author
Melissa Lee is a wife and stay-at-home-mom of 3 young boys. She’s been making up stories in her head for as long as she can remember but only got serious about it in 2007, after reading Twilight and rediscovering her own dreams to write.
Finally, she put her Journalism degree to use and started writing and hasn’t stopped since. She has studied fiction writing at various conferences, and from numerous writing coaches.
She signed her first contract with Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing in 2011




*Guest post provided by author and Bewitching Book Tours.  This is not a review*

May 23, 2012

Birthday, Father's Day or Graduation Gift Idea

Review of Easy Canvas Prints!


Looking for gift Ideas for a Birthday? Father's Day?  Graduation?  How about a Canvas Print of a special moment?  Just upload a picture of your favorite moment, kids, fishing trip or whatever that special someone will love - then have it transferred into an amazing work of ART!


I have a wonderful opportunity to try out a Canvas Art Print from Easy Canvas Prints
At their other website, http://www.easycanvasprints.com, you can upload personal photos and have them printed on any size canvas.  I was given the choice of having a FREE 8 x 10 or getting a discount of equal value on a larger canvas size.  I choose the larger canvas size ~ an 18 X 24  so I could put it on my wall.  I have a favorite photo that I took of my kids this past fall.  I uploaded it to Easy Canvas Print, adjusted all the settings the way I wanted them to be, and ordered it.  Delivery was fast and the canvas was packaged and wrapped securely.  I love how this photo turned out!  Now my kids are a Work of Art on my living room wall for all to see!

Here is the photo before:


And this is what my Canvas Print looks like:

On the Wall!  



 Side view - I chose mirror image for the side wrap area!


And this is a close up of my youngest - the canvas print has such great detail!  I was amazed at how good it turned out!

So, if you have a photo of your kiddos - make a Canvas Print for Father's Day!  Have a picture of Dad catching the "big one?"  Make a Canvas Print!  Birthdays  ~   Anniversaries  ~ Or Just Because - All are great reasons to surprise your friend or family member with a beautiful work of art!


Discount going on right now:  Click here to get 50% off plus Free shipping https://www.facebook.com/EasyCanvasPrints/app_201143516562748


*Although I did receive a discount of this product from Easy Canvas Prints, this review is my personal and honest opinion.  I will not post anything that I don't personally feel is true, honest and worth sharing with my followers!  See my FTC disclosure for more info!

I won an Award! Now I'm passing it on . . .


kreativ-blogger-1


Oh MY! What a surprise!  

I was awarded the Kreativ Blogger Award from Kate (the Blog Diva) a fellow blogger like myself. I was so surprised when I received her email saying that I had won an award! I’m so honored. Please take a moment to check out Kate the Blog Diva’s blog HERE and tell her that Susan @ Loves 2 Read sent you!


Here are the Rules:
Post a link to the blogger who gave you the award.
Answer the questions (listed below).
Share 7 random things about yourself.
Pass it on to ten bloggers.



7 Random Facts About Susan @ Loves 2 Read:
1. Some years my birthday is ON Mother’s Day.
2. I recently joined Weight Watchers to help my whole family eat healthier.
3. I love to read, read, and read some more!
5. I have 3 children: 1 boy and 2 girls
5. I have over a dozen stories, unwritten, unpublished that I'd love to complete someday.
6. I’m a full-time Stay At Home Mom!
7. I am a Registered Nurse (though I’m not currently working outside my home).



I Nominate The Following Fellow Bloggers:
 1. Mom of One and Having Fun
 2. I am a Reader, Not a Writer
 3. Mother of Pearl It Is
 4. Real Mom Reviews
 5. Books Complete Me
 6. Keeping Up with the Rheinlanders
 7. Literary Junkie
 8. Mama to 4 Blessings
 9. PeanutButter and Hopey
10. Whirlwind of Surprises



Thank you so much Kate (the Blog Diva) for giving me this wonderful blog award, and making my day wonderful!  
And congrats to my 10 blogger friends who I have passed on the Kreativ Blogger Award to.  Thank you all for posting wonderful content, being great blogger friends, and having adorable blog designs!

May 22, 2012

Review ~ Unlocking the Poet's Realm

Unlocking the Poet's Realm 
by Matt Wiebusch

Discover the Magical World Where Animals Run the Planet.

Life in the seventh grade isn't easy for Minnie. She's ignored by her parents and picked on and bullied by other kids in her class. Then one day, she discovers a magic box that transports her to another land, far off in the future. Called Buval, this place is filled with giant juvenile bees, magical and mystical apes, vicious monsters and other bizarre and cunning creatures. But this is no pleasure trip. The animals that have dominion over this land have brought her here for one very specific reason: to save their world from an evil presence that intends to destroy all that is good.

Now, armed only with her wits and a cryptic poem setting out her task, Minnie embarks on a treacherous journey across a strange land that's teeming with wicked beasts and danger at every turn.

Can Minnie discover the confidence and belief in herself that she requires to fulfill such a quest? How she copes with every situation could mean the survival or downfall of the animals' world¾and of her own.

See if YOU can uncover the riddles of the poem before Minnie, revealing where she must go and what she must do next.

Filled with adventure and mystery, "Unlocking the Poet's Realm" will keep you guessing until the gripping climax.

More about the book and author:  www.MattWiebusch.com

Below is the trailer to "Unlocking the Poet's Realm".




My Review
What a great fantasy adventure for middle grade age kids.  The story is well-written and easy to follow.  I can relate to poor Minnie being bullied at school, and she intrigued me right from the start.  I loved reading along as she faced test after test, and danger after danger only to grow stronger and more self-confident with each and every struggle.
This book is one of adventure, fantasy, belief in your own abilites and learning to use your strengths to continue to grow and be the person you can be.  I loved the moral lessons of the story as well as the adventure that Minnie was on.  The characters she met along the way were fascinating and endearing, and at times aggravating as well.
I can see this being a big hit with ages 10 and up.  The only thing I personally did not like is the use of the word: "numbnut"  as it is a word I would not want my children to use.  I know that it is meant as "not using your brain" but in my kids school, as with most harmless words, it has been used in not so nice ways.  But I believe it was only used 2 times, AND in good taste. Other than that small personal dislike, I enjoyed the book very much and would recommend it to any child who loves a good adventure or could use a lesson in how to see their potential, utilize their strengths and use their brains to work out problems!  Great book!



*I received a free copy of this book from the author for this review.  All reviews are my personal opinion.  See my FTC disclosure for more info.

May 21, 2012

Guest Post ~ Where are you headed from here? by Dave Stone

“Where are you headed from here?”

Creating a Family Mission Statement
By Dave Stone
Author of THE FAITHFUL FAMILIES series

In the business world, leaders spend a great deal of time and money developing a mission statement. That prime directive becomes the foundational principle for every job in the organization, every decision, every change, every dollar spent. When the mission is understood and embraced, it serves as a compass for every employee. Everyone aims toward that goal, and the company succeeds.

We know it works for business. Why, then, don’t we give more attention to the mission of our families? How can we be such fierce and focused leaders at work and not bring the same principles and practices home? A clear vision for the family, repeated and woven into the fabric of daily life, results in joy, direction, and confidence. Rather than aimlessly meandering in a maze, your family can find meaning through its mission.

I can hear you muttering under your breath, “Nobody said this guest blog required any homework. Besides, we’ve gone this long without a family mission statement. What’s the big deal about doing it now?”

Here’s the big deal. To steal a line from the feline, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

Think about it this way: Your phone or car may have a GPS, but until you lock in a destination, all it does is show you where you are. You can’t get to where you want to be until you know where you want to go.

In the first book of the Faithful Families series, we set the goal of Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord (cleverly, that’s what I named the book, too!). We all want that, but let’s kick it up another notch. If we truly are serious about Building Family Ties with Faith, Love, and Laughter (which is what I titled my second book—see where I’m going here?) we’ll need a compass to get us there. That compass is the family mission statement.

A mission statement is not something parents come up with and then impose on their kids. It’s a family project. You need to involve everybody in the process; decide together what your values are and how they can be reflected in your mission. When everyone has a voice, you’ll have what the business world calls “buy in” for years to come. Everyone takes ownership. Everyone is invested in the outcome.

It doesn’t matter if your children are five or fifteen, a family mission statement provides a rallying point, a focus, a center of gravity that holds your family together.

So, how do you go about it? It’s a simple process, really.

• Pray for God to give you all clear direction and unity.
• Discuss principles and goals that are important to your family.
• Talk about how you’d like the family to be remembered years from now.
• Write down several possible statements.
• Narrow it down to the best one, then pray about it for several days.
• Reconvene and determine your family mission statement.
• Schedule a regular time for the family to pray and evaluate your progress.

There are lots of creative ways to do this. You might want to brainstorm with your family by getting a large piece of poster board and some brightly colored markers. Place the poster in a prominent spot—near the breakfast table, maybe, or on the side of the refrigerator. For a few days, let everyone in the family write on it—graffiti-style—significant Bible verses, ideas, prayers, fruit of the Spirit, hopes, and wishes for the family. Set a time to brainstorm, agree on the principles, and identify goals that are important for your family. Use those as the basis for your mission statement.

Relax. This is not a test. There is no right or wrong way to go about it, no grades, no black marks on your permanent record. You are crafting this around the way your family is wired, so your mission statement will be different from anyone else’s. The detail, length, and intent are up to you.

If you asked the Stone family, my kids and Beth would tell you that our mission statement is: Go to heaven when we die and take as many people with us as we can. Maybe that sounds pretty general, but when you put it into practice, it makes a very specific and significant difference in the daily choices we make. Recently, our family went out to dinner with another couple. Beth’s friend later told her, “When we go out to eat at a restaurant, we go to eat. But you all go with a totally different agenda. It’s like you’re building relationships with the waiters and managers there.”

She was exactly right. We choose where to eat based on who we need to check on or follow up with, or where we think we can plant some seed. We’ve nurtured relationships with staff, attended birthday parties for their children, offered help when they’ve faced hardships. For nearly three years, on a monthly basis, we’ve invested in those employees. From that particular restaurant thus far, five of them have visited our church. God has blessed us as we’ve tried to live out our mission.

And that’s what a mission statement is designed to do—to provide a foundation for the daily choices you make and the way you live.

If you’ interested in creating your family mission statement now, we’ve developed a kit at the link below that’ll help you get started. The kit includes seven questions that will help jump-start your family’s brainstorming session. Also included is a certificate that you can use to write your mission statement and post up in your home.

And remember: a clear vision for family repeated and woven into the fabric of daily life, results in JOY, DIRECTION, AND CONFIDENCE.

http://pastordavestone.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/faithful-families-mission-statement-project.pdf


*guest post provided by Dave Stone and Thomas Nelson Publishers.  This is not a review* 

Guest Post Promo ~ Last Resort by B J Robinson


Two desperate people--one last resort

Faith Grace Roussell is stalked by her ex-fiance and forced to search her conflicted heart. In a battle of love, loss, and raging jealousy, she strives to build a new life with peace and contentment, but Matt Allen has eyes like magnets she could get as lost in as unknown woods. Will he prove to be a helpmate or just another strawberry cull? Will she be forced to use The Pink Lady?

Excerpt:
Faith tore out of the jail's parking lot and prayed she wouldn't get a ticket. She turned Old Blue into the flowing traffic. Her heart pumped faster than a race car engine. Dear God, please don't let me be too late. She reached down and punched Matt's number again. Come on, Matt, where are you? Pick up. Still no answer. She snapped the phone shut and focused on the road ahead. Who could possibly have it in for him? He was such a great guy. She gassed the truck as she passed the city limits and left the jail behind. Why wasn't he answering? She'd never had a problem before. This wasn't like him.
Faith whipped into the drive. She jumped from her pickup, strode to the side door, and knocked. No answer. She pulled out her cell and tried again. It rang and rang, then went straight to the voicemail. This time, she hung up without leaving a message.
She yanked the screen door, and it flew open, unlatched. The door knob turned, and she shoved the door open and yelled, "Matt, are you there?"
No response. She briskly marched through the house and called his name. She checked each room. In Matt's office, the swivel chair faced the door. Blood spotted it. Faith's heart lurched. Oh, God, please don't let me be too late. She spotted blood droplets on the carpet and followed them back through the kitchen and to the garage. Matt's truck ran. Dear God, what will I find when I open this door? Please let me be in time. Why didn't Matt use his pistol?
Faith jerked the garage door, but it wouldn't budge. She ran to the kitchen and hit the automatic door opener. The door slowly opened. She raced inside the garage, and the gas fumes nearly knocked her out. She coughed and held her nose with one hand. Her eyes burned, but she yanked open the driver's truck door. Matt tumbled out.
She let go of her nose and turned off the truck. Faith slid her arms under Matt's and locked her hands in front of his chest. She hefted. He didn't budge. She had to get him out of there. Now. No time to waste. She hauled in a breath, grunted, and heaved. He lifted, and she pulled him toward the door. One foot. Two feet. Three more.
"Matt, we're out of the garage." Please, Lord, help me. She couldn't drop him now. The outside air hit her face and tears of relief filled her eyes. She tenderly laid him on the grass by the side of the cement drive and yanked her cell from its holster. She dialed 911.
Assured the ambulance was on its way, Faith closed her phone and felt for his heartbeat. She rubbed her knuckles against his breast bone and stroked his face. So still. She touched his neck and held her breath. No response. She tilted his head and lifted his chin, then put her ear to his mouth and listened. Nothing. She looked for chest movement. Nothing. She listened for air blowing through his mouth or nose, or on her cheek. Nothing. He wasn't going to die if she had anything to do with it.
She ran her tongue over her lip and tasted perspiration. Why did sweat always taste salty, and why would she even think to question that at a time like this? She took a quick, shallow breath and whispered, "Come on, Matt. Breathe! BREATHE!"
It'd been a long time since she'd trained for CPR. Would she remember what to do? A bluish pallor stole over Matt's complexion, and his body became a dead weight. She had no time to lose.
Faith pinched his nose and made a seal over his mouth with her own. She breathed big enough to make his chest rise, let his chest fall, and repeated the rescue breath again. She listened for an intake of breath, an exhale, but the only sound was the pounding of her own heart in her ears.

Book trailer for Last Resort: 




Last Resort by B. J. Robinson released July 15, 2011, from Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc., a sweet Christian romantic suspense set in fictional Bridal Wreath, Florida, and Key West, Florida.

What early Readers Had to Say...
"B. J. Robinson's Last Resort is an inspirational romantic suspense story that keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat -- both to see if the villain is overcome and to see if Matt and Faith end up together. You don't want to miss this one with its twists; it's a great read!" Deb Haggerty, Author and Speaker

"The warm, sweet romance, yet insightful story, will touch your heart with its simplicity and charm." Janet Perez Eckles, Author and Speaker

B. J. Robinson makes her home in Florida with her husband, a cocker spaniel named Sunflower, a character in her romantic suspense novel Last Resort, an adopted shelter cat named Frankie, and a golden retriever named Honi. She's been writing since the third grade when her story about her pet dog was published in a local newspaper and hopes people have as much fun reading her novels as she did writing them. As an animal lover and for all pet lovers, her novels contain pets, usually dogs, but sometimes cats. Visit her at http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com. Don't miss her August 15 release, Whispering Cypress, a romantic suspense set in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennesse.
Don't miss B. J's sensational strawberry romances!
*guest post provided by the author.  this is not a review*

All About Baby Giveaway on L2R

Another great Family Friendly Giveaway Event on Loves 2 Read!  With May hosting my birthday and Mother's Day - and June hosting Father's Day and the beginning of Summer - I have spent time working on providing a selection of Giveaways for the readers and followers on Loves 2 Read - here is another one I thought you might like ~~~~

This giveaway event is hosted by Danielle @ a delicious obsession! This event is to celebrate the birth of her son. She is offering the chance to win some of the great baby products that she has tried! This giveaway consists of products that you and your baby will love!

Here are some tidbits about the prizes:

May 20, 2012

L2R Giveaway ~ Tour de France bike gear


In honor of National Bike Month during May, Tour de France bicycles would like to giveaway to one lucky fan some official Tour de France bike gear (water bottles, t-shirts and other cool bike swag - apprx. retail value $50) along with fun tips on how to bike as a family, a customizable biking plan and even connect you with a Tour de France bike expert from the official Tour de France family bicycle brand!! If you love biking, this is for YOU!!

This NEW non-racing bicycle brand is perfect for helping get and keep families fit and is now available in a Wal-Mart nearest you. This bike launch is in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Le Tour de France, which kicks off Saturday, June 30th, as the biggest cycling event in the world!

Review ~ The Moonstone Series by Merilee Brothers

The Unbidden Magic Series by Merilee Brothers

Review of the first 4 books of the Unbidden Magic series 
genre: YA paranormal/fantasy

Moonstone:  Book 1
Moonstone, front cover

MOONSTONE A Fictionwise Fantasy bestseller Young Adult A sickly mom. A tiny house trailer. High school bullies and snarky drama queens. Bad-guy dudes with charming smiles. Allie has problems. And then there's that whole thing about fulfilling a magical prophecy and saving the world from evil. Geez. Welcome to the sad, funny, sometimes-scary world of fifteen-year-old Allie Emerson, who's struggling to keep her and her mom's act together in the small-town world of Peacock Flats, Washington. An electrical zap from a TV antenna sets off Allie's weird psychic powers. The next thing she knows she's being visited by a hippy-dippy guardian angel, and then her mysterious neighbor, the town "witch," gives her an incredible moonstone pendant that has powers only a good-hearted "Star Seeker" is meant to command. "Who, me?" is Allie's first reaction. But as sinister events begin to unfold, Allie realizes she's got a destiny to live up to. If she can just survive everyday life, in the meantime.

May 19, 2012

Backyard Oasis for Dad ~ Father's Day Giveaway on Loves 2 Read

Now that we've had all those amazing giveaways for Mom!

It's Dad's Turn!

For the Dad's Backyard Oasis Father's Day giveaway event on Loves 2 Read!


Here's your chance to WOW your DAD on FATHER'S DAY!

This year, Black & Decker is making Father's Day extra special for one lucky dad by offering an amazing prize pack full of everything dad will need to create an oasis in his own backyard for summer-long grilling, entertaining and just plain, good ole relaxing. AHH!



Review ~ Early Expert Language Learning

Review of Early Expert by Susan @ Loves 2 Read 
with help from my 2 girls!

 

Information for Parents & Home-schoolers:
Early Expert is an engaging game grounded in research.
With Early Expert, your child will:
  • Learn Spanish for the alphabet, bathroom items, body parts, clothing items, colors, directions, family members, foods (all food groups), furniture, and numbers. 130 words and phrases in 27 mini-games!
  • Hear authentic Spanish speakers, an important part of developing proper intonation and pronunciation!
  • Learn words and phrases in context - learn body parts by placing them on a bear!
  • Play in an adaptive learning environment that automatically adjusts to your child’s pace. The game detects if the answers should blink or not blink, and more words are introduced in mini-games as your child improves!
  • Enjoy a motivating reward system that includes reward games, star points, secret words, and more!
Early Expert is easy to access - simply navigate to our website, log in, and play! Children love it and truly learn!
Price: $49.95 $24.95. After one year, there is a service fee of $4.95 per year for continued access and updates. Your card will not be charged automatically.


Are you an Educator? Then Click here for the Information for Educators!


**Early Expert memberships are good for up to 4 players.  Can be used on both PC and MAC!
 
The video below provides information on how Early Expert teaches children Spanish. Both the Home Edition and the Academic Edition have access to the game world, enabling children to learn Spanish in an engaging environment. The Academic Edition provides additional tools designed for classrooms. Learn how your kids can learn Spanish while having fun!

Our Review:
Both of my girls (Allison age 7, and Lydia age 4) love playing the Early Learning Spanish games online.  Lydia is just learning how to use the computer and needs a bit of help with the mouse, but absolutely loves the game.  She is not very good at first, but as she has played a few times now she is getting better at answering the questions correctly.
Allison has learned quite quickly that the correct answers are "highlighted" and has figured out how to always get the correct answer.  Even with her little "cheat" she has still learned most of the colors correctly in Spanish through the use of this online game site.
Personally I think it is easy to use, easy to understand HOW to play, and the games in Spanish make the children have to pay attention to what is being said in order to find the correct answer.  This website is geared for ages 4 - 7 but I can see it for ages 3 to 7.  My 10 year old son played it as well, although he liked it, he said it was way too easy and need to be made harder for the older kids (no highlights to help them cheat).  I love watching and playing along as both girls enjoy learning a new language through educational and FUN games.  I like the website and see the benefits to my children, and right now the price has been cut in half and that makes it even better for all parents, home-school parents, and teachers too!


For this review only - I have been allowed to offer a single membership (value $49.95 $24.95) to ONE of my blog followers.  It can be used for up to 4 members of your family. If you would like to have a free year membership for your kids, then enter on the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win Early Expert Spanish!  Giveaway will run from 12:01 AM on 5/20 through midnight on 6/12.  This is a monitored giveaway event - all entries will be verified before a winner is chosen.  Winner has 48 hours to reply to email sent from Susan @ lovez2read@comcast.net.




** I received a free month of service from Early Expert to try out.  My review is based on my personal experience and that of my children.  All reviews are my personal and honest opinion.*