Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Great Catch by Lorna Seilstad

Suffragist Emily Graham is determined to change the world.  A natural-born leader who speaks her mind about injustices, Emily is not about to let men control her or the nation.  She’s determined to show the men of the town, the men of the world, and maybe even God that a woman deserves the right to vote. Unfortunately, sometimes her own two feet get in the way.  Emily is known for her clumsiness and when a mishap at the skating rink lands her in Carter Stockton’s arms, their worlds collide.  Carter, the attractive pitcher for the Manawa Owls, isn’t so concerned about changing the world as he is changing the minds of his family.  He’s out to prove that playing baseball, rather than working in the family business, is the life for him.  However, as Carter’s and Emily’s lives become entangled by romance, baseball, and the suffragist movement, both of them must reconsider their true goals.

A Great Catch by Lorna Seilstad is the second book in the Lake Manawa Summers series.  I have not read the first book and I thought this book was fine as a stand-alone.  I wish there had been more development of Carter’s character. In the beginning he was a little cliché and while he did go through some mental and spiritual growth, his character development seemed to take second place to Emily’s development.  Using Emily’s meddling aunts to provide humor in the story was a good move by the author. It kept Emily on her toes and provided some lighthearted moments. The suffragist movement was an intriguing element in the plot.  I really do not know much about it, so I learned a little history while reading this book.  

Overall, A Great Catch is a good read for someone looking for a light, romantic read with a dose of humor.

Click here to read an excerpt from A Great Catch by Lorna Seilstad.

Available May 2011 at your favorite bookseller, from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason

One-by-one law students are dying. Hostage negiotiator Kit Kenyon and her partner, Detective Noah Lambert, must hunt the serial killer known only as The Judge. With a few pieces of confusing evidence as their leads in the case, Kit and Noah struggle to stay safe when they become The Judge's next targets. Kit and Noah are targeted for two completely different purposes, but as they devote time and energy to finding the person behind the killings, they discover there is more than a common goal between them. Grisly murders, recently discovered family issues, and her attractive partner keep Kit's mind occupied. Will they find The Judge before he finds them? Can she ever forgive her mother for the past? And will both of them live long enough to consider more than a working relationship?

I enjoyed A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason. The plot's pace was perfect – not crazy fast, but not boringly slow. As the evidence grew, so did the twists of the plot and the sense of suspense. The characters were well-written, especially Noah Lambert. He managed to be the hero that is often prevalent in Christian fiction, but not in a preachy or stereotypical way. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of romance in the book. Most crime fiction I've read has a only a hint of romance. A Killer Among Us, while not an over-the-top romance, had lovely little romantic moments that led to a beautiful ending.

A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason is quite descriptive and therefore more poignant than other comparable Christian suspense books. I actually got creeped out during some of the scenes involving The Judge. Because of that, I would not recommend this book to anyone under the age of fifteen. However, if you can handle some gruesome details and a few minutes in the mind of a deranged serial killer, you will probably enjoy this crime suspense novel. Despite the creepiness, I would read it again.

Click here to read an excerpt from A Killer Among Us by Lynette Easton.

Available May 2011 at your favorite bookseller, from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Unconventional by J. J. Hebert

In spite of working in a soul-numbing job, James Frost clings to his dream of becoming a published novelist and stays determined to write a masterpiece. James' friend, Mitch, challenges him to be unconventional in his writing and his life. James' girlfriend, Leigh, challenges him to open his mind to God. And James' editor, Arthur, challenges him to write a better book. With all the challenges before him and the self-doubt inside of him, James sometimes fights just to get through the day. However, as he adopts the unconventional, finds an unexpected faith, and creates his masterpiece, James finds that all the dreaming, hoping, and working is truly worth the effort.

I enjoyed reading Unconventional by J. J. Hebert. I hesitate to describe this book as Christian fiction, because I would hate to see someone pass it up simply because the main character has a spiritual relationship with God. Unconventional is indeed a unique book filled with hope that is desperately needed by today's society. The themes of hope and following one's dreams are well-integrated with the plot and characters. James is the narrator of the book and openly discloses everything in his mind. Sometimes, even more than you want to know! The book is written from a unique male point-of-view that is a refreshing change in Christian fiction.

One of my favorite scenes in the book was when James speaks to two of his characters. One is a good guy and one is a bad guy. It is a wonderful illustration of God's love for his creatation. The spiritual overtones are perfectly integrated even though James at that time has not yet come to accept God. I would love to have seen something later in the book tie in with that scene.

I recommend this book to.... anybody! Even if you do not read Christian fiction, there's a good chance you will like this book.

Click here to read an excerpt from Unconventional by J. J. Hebert

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from PumpUpYourBook. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Today's Publix: Good Deals, Terrible Service.

So, today I decided to try my shopping at the Publix store on University in Sarasota, Florida.  I normally shop at the one on 14th Street in Bradenton, but my house is kinda in the middle, so I thought I would try the one at University.  Bad Choice.

About the Service:

I got some great deals today, but was badgered by the cashier who refused to believe that my coupons were legitimate simply because they weren't printed in color.  I know that Publix is implementing a new coupon policy and trying to tighten the reins on the coupon frenzy, but his service was unacceptable.  I actually print all coupons in black and white or grayscale to save on ink. In addition to this one of my printers is a black and white laser printer that does not even have color ability. So, he (an older man) was convinced that I had copied all of them. I tried to explain the situation, but he insisted I had copied them. He did eventually take them, but I will NEVER again shop at that Publix again.

About the Deals:

I got two Caltrate Calcium Soft Chews for $1.49 each. These are normally priced $7.99 each.  The Soft Chews were on sale for 25% off, plus I had a two $2 manufacturer coupons to use on each of them, and I had a $5/2 Publix coupon. Final price: $1.49 each. Doesn't get any better than that!

I got two Ronzoni Quick Cook Macaroni boxes for $.17.  $1.17 is the normal price. They were BOGO and I had a coupon  for $1.00/2 which brought the price down to $.17 for both boxes.

I got paid to get 4 Wishbone Salad Dressings.  Each dressing was originally priced at $2.69. They were on sale BOGO. I had a manufacturer coupon for $1.25/2 Wishbone dressings and 4 Publix coupons for $1/1 Wishbone Dressings. If I'd had more of the manufacturer coupons I would have bought more, but I used what I had.

A Fictional World

Book Blogger Hop
Every week Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books hosts the Book Blogger Hop. Participants answer a question and then visit other blogs of fellow participants. This week's question is:

"If you were given the chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?"

My answer: I enjoy all sorts of historical things - museums, books, etc. So, I would definitely time travel back a few years. It's hard to pick one, but I think I would like to visit the world of Pride and Prejudice. I'd love to see the characters of the book, dance at the balls, and dress up in fancy dresses.

What about you?

Monday, May 16, 2011

FIRST Wild Card Tour: How Huge the Night

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card authors are:

and the book:

Kregel Publications (March 9, 2011)


Heather Munn was born in Northern Ireland of American parents and grew up in the south of France. She decided to be a writer at the age of five when her mother read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books aloud, but worried that she couldn’t write about her childhood since she didn’t remember it. When she was young, her favorite time of day was after supper when the family would gather and her father would read a chapter from a novel. Heather went to French school until her teens, and grew up hearing the story of Le Chambonsur-Lignon, only an hour’s drive away. She now lives in rural Illinois with her husband, Paul, where they offer free spiritual retreats to people coming out of homelessness and addiction. She enjoys wandering in the woods, gardening, writing, and splitting wood.

Lydia Munn was homeschooled for five years because there was no school where her family served as missionaries in the savannahs of northern Brazil. There was no public library either, but Lydia read every book she could get her hands on. This led naturally to her choice of an English major at Wheaton College. Her original plan to teach high school English gradually transitioned into a lifelong love of teaching the Bible to both adults and young people as a missionary in France. She and her husband, Jim, have two children: their son, Robin, and their daughter, Heather.


When had God ever stopped a war because a teenager asked him to?

For fifteen-year-old Julien Losier, life will never be the same. His family has relocated to southern France to outrun Hitler’s menace. But Julien doesn’t want to run. He doesn’t want to huddle around the radio at night, waiting to hear news through buzzing static. Julien doesn’t want to wait.
Angry, frustrated, and itching to do something, Julien finds a battle everywhere he turns.
Soon after his family opens their house to a Jewish boy needing refuge, Julien meets Nina, a young Austrian who has fled her home by her father’s dying command. Nina’s situation is grave and Julien suddenly realizes the enormity of having someone’s life or death depend on… him.

Thrown together by a conflict that’s too big for them to understand, these young lives struggle to know what to do, even if it is not enough. Is there a greater purpose in the shadows of this terrible war? Or will their choices put them in greater danger?


“The Munns have written an engrossing historical novel that is faithful to the actual events of World War II in western Europe during the tumultuous year 1940. But How Huge the Night is more than good history; it is particularly refreshing because the reader sees the conflict through the lives of teenagers who are forced to grapple with their honest questions about the existence and goodness of God in the midst of community, family, and ethnic tensions in war-ravaged France.”—Lyle W. Dorsett, Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

“Seldom have the horrors of war upon adolescents—or the heroism of which they are capable—been so clearly portrayed. I loved this coming-of-age story.”—Patricia Sprinkle, author of Hold Up the Sky

“The book expertly weaves together the lives of its characters at a frightening moment in conflicted times. As we read of their moral dilemmas and of their choices, we too wonder, Would I do has these in the story have done?”—Karen Mains, Director, Hungry Souls

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (March 9, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 082543310X
ISBN-13: 978-0825433108


From Chapter 23

Thursday the power came back on. They sat in the living room, around the radio that crackled with static; they looked at each other, and then away. The room grew quiet as the announcer began to speak.

“Since Mussolini’s declaration of war on France two days ago, Italian troops are pushing west—”

Mama was on her feet. “The thief!” she hissed. “The backstabber, the coward!” Her face was red. Everyone was staring. She sat down.

Papa looked at her. “Saw his chance, I guess.”

“He’s a shame to his nation,” Mama snapped. Julien stared. Then they heard the shift in the announcer’s voice and turned sharply to the radio.

“German troops are approaching Paris at a rapid pace. As we speak, the vanguard is reported to be fifteen kilometers from Versailles. This will be our last broadcast for a while.”

They did not look at each other. The silence was total.

“Today Paris has been declared an ‘open city.’ Our military will not defend it. This decision was made to avoid bombardment and the great destruction and loss of life that it entails. . . .”

Julien realized he had not been breathing. It was an amazing thing, breathing. Tears shone in Mama’s eyes.

“They won’t bomb Paris,” said Papa quietly.

“They won’t bomb Paris,” Mama whispered.

Benjamin stood, his face very still. He walked slowly to the door and took the stairs.

Julien waited, breathing, seeing Paris; seeing Vincent and his mother look up out of their second-floor window at a clear blue sky. He waited until the news ended, until they had read a psalm that said The Lord has delivered.

Then he followed Benjamin.

Benjamin’s door was closed. Julien hesitated, biting his lip, and went into his own room.

He looked out the window in the fading light. They wouldn’t defend it. This was it, then. What Pastor Alex said was true. German tanks would roll down the Champs-Elysées for real in just a couple days. Then the boches would come here. And they would stay.

He pulled Vincent’s last letter out from under his nightstand. I can’t believe you almost died, it said. That’s crazy. He got up, and went and knocked on Benjamin’s door.

No answer.

“Benjamin? You all right?”


Julien opened the door. Benjamin turned quickly, scowling.

“Did I say you could come in?”

“Well sorry,” Julien growled. How am I supposed to help when he’s like this? “Just wanted to say good night.”

“Good night then.”

“Look, it’s not as bad as it could have been, okay? They could have bombed the place to shreds like Ro—” He bit his tongue.

“You’re right,” said Benjamin, looking away. “That’s good for your relatives. I’m glad.”

“And your parents!”

“Nothing’s good for my parents.” His voice was toneless. “Look, Julien, we can talk about this in the morning. I need to go to bed.”

Julien knew when to quit. He turned away. “Sleep well.”

“You too.”

But he couldn’t. He turned and turned in his bed, twisting the sheets.

He got up and looked out at the crescent moon and the stars high over Tanieux, so white, so far, always the same; they would still be there when the Germans were here; they would still be there all his life. They were still there over Rotterdam, too. It didn’t make any difference.

When he finally slept, he dreamed: Paris on the fourteenth of July, the fireworks, bursts of blue, of gold, of red above the city. A whirling rocket going up with a hiss and a bang. Then a louder bang. Then a bang that threw up a great shower of dirt and stones, and people screaming, people running as the shells began to fall—

He woke, and lay shivering. He got up to close the window. The stars shone down like cold eyes.

He heard a faint scratching. Mice maybe. A floorboard creaked. He listened.

And he heard it. Very slow, stealthy footsteps going down the stairs.

He sat up slowly. Magali or Benjamin. Tiptoeing down the stairs to the kitchen, wishing there was something to eat. . . . He got out of bed and leaned out the window, watching for the faint light that would come through from the kitchen. No light came.

But on the ground floor, the heavy front door opened, and a dark shape slipped out into the street. A shadow with a suitcase in its hand.

He ran across the hall and threw open Benjamin’s door. A neatly made bed, a letter on the pillow. He grabbed it, ran back to his room, jerked his pants on over his pajamas, and ran downstairs in his socks. He’d catch him. Benjamin was on foot. He had to catch him. He scrawled on the flip side of the note, I’ve gone after him, pulled on his shoes and jacket, and flew down the stairs and into the dark.

He raced down the shadowed street and stopped at the corner, heart pounding, looking both ways. North, over the hill: the road to St. Etienne. A train to Paris, like he’d said? There were no trains now. Or south—south to where? Oh Lord if I choose wrong I’ll never find him.

Think. What would he do if it were him? He’d go south—north was suicide, but—he didn’t know, he didn’t know Benjamin. Who did? Nothing is good for my parents, he’d said—he didn’t seem to even care that Paris wouldn’t be bombed—

Because his parents weren’t in Paris.

Julien turned, suddenly sure, and ran.

The Kellers had left Germany because of Hitler and his people. Would they stay in Paris and wait for them? “Let’s walk south,” Benjamin had said—and that stupid map—he should have guessed.

He ran, breathing hard, his eyes on the dark road ahead. Oh God. Oh Jesus. Don’t let me miss him please—please—

He broke free of the houses; the Tanne gleamed in front of him under the splintered moon, cut by the dark curve of the bridge. He froze. He ducked into the shadows and breathed.

There on the bridge was a slender figure leaning on the parapet, looking down at the dark water.

Oh God. Oh Jesus. Now what?

Benjamin turned and took a long, last look at Tanieux. Then he adjusted his backpack, picked up his suitcase, and walked away.

Julien slipped out of the shadows and up to the bridge, his heart beating help me Jesus help me, his mind searching for words. Come home. And if he said no? Drag him? Help me Jesus. He was across the bridge, ten paces behind Benjamin; he broke into a silent run on the grassy verge of the road. He caught up to him. Laid a hand on his arm.


Benjamin whirled, eyes wild in the moonlight. They stared at each other. “Why.” said Julien. “Tell me why.” His voice was harder than he meant it to be.

“Let me go.”

“No.” He tightened his grip on Benjamin’s arm.

Benjamin tried to pull away. “Julien, let me go. You have no idea. You have no idea what they’re like.”

“The boches?” This time his voice came out small.

“The Nazis, Julien. Ever heard of them? Yeah, you heard they don’t like Jews—I don’t think any of you people understand.” The sweep of his arm took in the school and the sleeping town. “Your parents are great, Julien—offering shelter and all—they really are. But they don’t know. Yet.”

But they do. They know. “Know what? What’ll they—do?”

“I’m not waiting around to find out.” His face was white and deadly serious. “Trust me on this, Julien. They are coming here and when they do, it’s better for you if I’m long gone.” I believe it is very dangerous to be a Jew in Germany. And soon—

Julien stood silent. The night wind touched his face; the hills were shadows on the horizon where they blotted out the stars. Suddenly he felt how large the world was, how huge the night, how small they stood on the road in the light of the waning moon. Ahead, the road bent into the pine woods, and in his mind, Julien saw Benjamin walking away, a small form carrying a suitcase into the darkness under the trees. His fingers bit into Benjamin’s arm.

“I don’t care,” he said savagely. “Where would you go?”

Benjamin said nothing; the moonlight quivered in his eyes as they filled with tears. He turned his head away. “I don’t know.” His voice shook.

Julien caught him by the shoulders, gripped him hard. “Well I do,” he said fiercely. “You’re coming home.”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My favorite coupon deals of the week!

My favorite deals this week were Milk at CVS and Vlasic pickles at Publix.

I got T.G. Lee Milk for $1.19 a gallon. It was on sale for $3.19 and I had a manufacturer coupon for $1.00 off.  Then for each one purchased, I got a $1.00 CVS Extracare Buck to use on my next purchase. So, for the first gallon I paid $2.19. For the second gallon I paid $1.19 and I have $1.00 worth of CVS Bucks to spend in the future.

Now, at Publix, Vlasic Pickles were on sale for BOGO. Originally $2.47, the BOGO brought the price of the individual jar down to $1.23. I was able to use a store coupon worth $.55 and a manufacture coupon worth $.55 on each of them.  This brought my cost down to $.13 per jar!  Awesome!!!

A Heart Divided by Kathleen Morgan

Sarah Caldwell reluctantly agreed to her father’s plan for her to distract a ranch hand while he and her brothers rob the Wainwrights. However, when she realizes that the ranch hand is Cord Wainwright, one of the heirs of the ranch, Sarah knows the stakes have escalated and barely manages to rationalize her family’s actions. Unfortunately, Cord isn’t feeling so rational. A quick trip into town finds Sarah under citizen’s arrest by Cord. Living as his prisoner is terrible, but as the days pass, she begins to see Cord as more than an angry rancher. Growing affection between the two complicates their lives. Having a relationship would mean betraying their families. Are they willing to give up their families in the name of love? As Cord comes to terms with his father and Sarah begins to realize how unhealthy her family is, there seems to be a hope for their future. However, when Cord’s cattle begin to disappear, they both struggle in the newfound relationship. Will their relationship survive? Or will they continue the patterns set by their families so many years ago?

When I read the back cover of A Heart Divided by Kathleen Morgan, I thought it was going to be a Christian version of Romeo and Juliet with a happy ending. I am happy to say that it is far more than a simple story of two people from feuding families who fall in love. The plot included plenty of romance fused with character development and spiritual lessons. I appreciated the author’s realistic depiction of a dysfunctional family. I have personal experience with dysfunctional families and I can say the author was right on target with her depictions. To someone outside of a dysfunction family (i.e. Cord), Sarah’s love and actions may seem irrational. However, in a family like Sarah’s, her actions and emotions make complete sense. The way the author brought Sarah around to a healthy mindset was perfect. I really connected with Sarah’s character and in a way the book reaffirmed some personal decisions I have made. I will definitely be keeping this book and reading it again!

I can recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Christian romances.

Click here to read an excerpt from A Heart Divided by Kathleen Morgan

Available May 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers as part of a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Covergirl Natureluxe Coupon Giveaway!

It's time for a coupon giveaway!

What you get: Three coupons worth $2 each ($6 total) for Covergirl Natureluxe Silk Foundation. Coupon expires August 31, 2011.

How to enter: Leave a comment below with your email address.

Giveaway ends May 19, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. Winner will be chosen randomly on May 20, 2011. If you win, I will email you to get your mailing address. Giveaway is open only to those with U.S. mailing addresses.

Click here to read my review of Covergirl Natureluxe products.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a product sample, coupon, collateral or other special premium from BzzAgent. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

Expelled from her father's house, Mariah Aubrey has no place to live except an old, musty gatehouse on her aunt's estate. The separation from her family is difficult for Mariah and she escapes reality by writing novels. When Mariah's aunt passes away, her cousin inherits the estate and starts exacting a rental fee. Mariah's writing and small allowance from her father barely cover the rent. Then Captain Matthew Bryant leases the estate with the intent of buying it. Draw together by their common ground, figuratively and literally, Mariah and Matthew develop a kinship that could lead to more than just friendship. However, rumors are rampant about Mariah. Will Matthew risk his reputation, his heart, and his dreams for the mysterious Mariah?

I loved The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen. I found the uniqueness of the individual scenes refreshing. One of my favorite scenes in the entire book was when Mariah and Matthew read a theatrical script by Simon Wells. So romantic and sweet. I also enjoyed that there was more to the plot than just the relationship with between Mariah and Matthew. The sub-plots about Captain Prince, Lizzy Barnes, and Mrs. Dixon enhanced the main plot and created a pleasurable reading experience. I would have liked to have seen more spiritual development. There were multiple mentions of the Mariah's and Matthew's spiritual issues that were never resolved later in the book. However, I immensely enjoyed The Girl in the Gatehouse and I heartily recommend it to anyone who is a fan of historical romances.

Click here to read an excerpt from The Girl in the Gatehouse.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Sunday, May 8, 2011


So, this weekend at Publix, $51.58 bought me...

1. A $50 American Express Gift Card.
2. A bottle of 133 Vitamin C vitamins.
3. 6 Bags of Birds Eye Steamfresh Veggies.

And I think it was a great deal.  I had to buy the gift card for someone's upcoming graduation so I would have spent $50 no matter where I went. However, because I went to Publix where there was a coupon for $10 a $50 gift card, I got it for $44.95 ($40 + $4.95 activation fee).  Then I used a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on the Vitamin C which brought the cost down from 7.99 to 3.99.  I also used store and manufacturer coupons on the veggies which were already 50% off. That lowered the price of them to $.57 each (normally $2.39).

Fern Valley by Aileen Stewart

Reviewed by Jolene A. for ReadersFavorite.com.

Shiny red bikes, tea parties, campouts, and birthdays! Come join the animal youth of Fern Valley as they learn from the situations in their lives. Mildred and Roberta Cornstalk are chickens who love to entertain guests. Will their tea party be a success? Betsy Woolrich struggles with loneliness while her parents are away. Will they make it home for her birthday? Tommy and Abigail Bigpaw learn the value of an open mind. Is it possible that Mrs. Sharpbeak might be fun even though she's old? Sammie Gruff gets an early lesson in financial responsibility. Will she get that shiny red bike that she wants so bad?

The short stories in Fern Valley by Aileen Stewart are laced with teachings about acceptance, truth, and other positive morals. Children will be able to easily relate to the characters and their daily experiences. The unique characters are fun and amusing. I would recommend this book to children ages 5 to 10. A great way to use this book would be for a parent and a child to read it together before bedtime each night. The stories are long enough to entertain, but short enough to be readable within a few minutes. Children will look forward to meeting with Fern Valley's inhabitants each night.

My only objection to the book is its use of the word “darn” twice. It borders too close to cussing and I don't feel that the story would be missing anything if it wasn't in there. Since this book is specifically for children, I feel it would be better if that word had been omitted.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Readers Favorite. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."