Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Those Secrets We Keep, by Emily Liebert

Title: Those Secrets We Keep

Author: Emily Liebert

Publisher: NAL

Date: June 2, 2015

Paperback: 336 pages

 About the Book
Three women. Three lives. Three secrets.

On the surface, Sloane has the perfect life—an adoring husband, a precocious daughter, and enough financial security to be a stay-at-home mom. Still, she can’t help but feel as though something—or someone—is missing....

Hillary has a successful career and a solid marriage. The only problem is her inability to conceive. And there’s a very specific reason why....

As the wild-child daughter of old family money, Georgina has never had to accept responsibility for anything. So when she realizes an unexpected life change could tie her down forever, she does exactly what she’s always done: escape.

When these three women unite for a three-week-long summer vacation in beautiful Lake George, New York, even with the idyllic location as their backdrop, the tensions begin to mount. And they quickly discover that no secret can be kept forever....

 My Take
At first when I started to read this story, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. It didn't feel like it was going to give me that engaged feeling, but I was proven wrong. This isn't a story you can just read whenever. I feel like you need to dedicate time to it, and that is just what I did. While sitting on the couch with Pandora playing piano music softly in the background, I began to read Those Secrets We Keep once more and was finally taken to Lake George with three other women to experience their "secrets". That is when I realized how good the book truly is, and didn't put it down until I was finished. The author is an awesome writer/storyteller. Everything started pouring off the pages. I could see everything I was reading as though I was actually there. From the sand on the beach to the anger or love on their faces, it was all visible. 

I felt as though the author did a great job at keeping my attention. I kept reading because I wanted to see where the story was going to go. I wanted to know how the different women were going to be affected by their life choices. There were a couple of times when I had a shocked look on my face while I was reading. Sloane has a typical life, stays home with child while husband works, but something just isn't right. Hillary is a young married woman who has been having issues with conceiving. Question is, why? And last but not least is Georgina, she is the fun one who jots from place to place. But is she happy doing that or should she settle down?

The story made me think of my friends and how close some of us are. It makes you realize how important friendship is no matter how old you are and where you are in life. All three of these women were living different lives, but were able to come together and hang out. Once their secrets are revealed, you will see if it will make or break the lives they are now living.

I know I didn't tell much about the book, but I hate giving good stories away. I do feel as though everyone who has the chance should purchase this book and read it. You will not be disappointed.

About the Author

Emily Libert is the award-winning author You Knew Me When, it was published in September 2013, and When We Fall, published in September 2014. She has been featured on Today, The Rachel Ray show, and Anderson Live, and in InStyle, People Style Watch, The New York Times, The Wall Street, and the Chicago Tribune, among other national media outlets.

Emily is currently hard at work on her fifth book. She lives in West Port, Connecticut with her husband and their two sons.  

Thank you Kathleen Zrelak for the complimentary book and opportunity to review this book.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Laugh Out Loud Pocket Doodles For Girls, by Rob Elliott

 Title: Laugh Out Loud Pocket Doodles for Girls

Author: Rob Elliott

Illustrator: Jonny Hawkins

Publisher: Revell

Date: June 16, 2015

Paperback: 240 pages

Age Range: 9 - 12 years

About the Book

Q: What's the worst thing to leave home without?

A: This book!

Stuck in the car on a long trip? Bored out of your mind in a waiting room? Have a few minutes before bedtime? Then you have enough time to let your imagination run wild!

Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles for Girls lets you

· tell jokes that will have people laughing out loud
· complete hilarious doodles
· entertain everyone around you!

More than one million copies of the Laugh-Out-Loud joke books have been sold. Grab your pens, pencils, crayons, or markers and see what all the fuss is about!

My Take
This is a really cute book. My daughter loves telling jokes when I saw that I had the chance to review this one, I knew I had to jump on it. There are a couple of these books out there. For instance, there is a Laugh
Out Loud Pocket Doodles for Boys, Laugh Out Loud Doodles for Kids, Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids, More Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids, and Laugh Out Loud Animal Jokes. So, as you can see, you have a wide range to figure out which would be perfect for you or your child.

I love how the girl's book is purple and not pink. It is a nice small size, hence the "pocket" in the description. When you open the book, it is filled with a lot of illustrations geared toward the younger generation. I think this will help younger children feel more at ease when filling out the pictures in the book. I also like how they left most of the pictures undone, so that your child has no excuse but to interact with the book and unleash their creativeness and draw and colour to finish each page. At the bottom of each picture is a gray area that gives an idea on how to finish the picture. There are a lot of funny jokes in the book. It is nice that you don't have to worry about your child reading the jokes because they are all clean. I did fine some to be a little on the corny side, but that might have something to do with the fact that I am not in the age range. I know my daughter really enjoyed the jokes and once she started reading them, she didn't want to stop. It actually took me taking the book away to get her to stop. Seeing how this book can be easily taken anywhere, the next time we go to visit her grandparents (2 hour drive), this book is going to come with us in the car.

Alyzabeth's Take (My daughter)
It is a really good book. I like the jokes in it because they are very funny. One of the jokes I like is ~

Q: What did the lipstick say to the eye shadow?

A: We should stop fighting and make up.

I also like the detail of the drawings and the fact that I get to finish them. I love all the jokes. Well, the ones I have read.

The Author
Rob Elliott is the author of Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids, More Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids, Laugh-Out-Loud Animal Jokes for Kids, Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids, and Laugh-Out-Loud Doodles for Kids. He lives in West Michigan, where in his spare time he enjoys laughing out loud with his wife and five children. Learn more at

The Illustrator
 Jonny Hawkins is a cartoonist whose work has appeared in over six hundred publications, including Reader's Digest, Parade, the Saturday Evening Post, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, many page-a-day cartoon calendars, and Laugh-Out-Loud Doodles for Kids. He lives in Michigan with his wife, their three children, four cats, and a dog.

I was given this complementary book by Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 22, 2015

If You Were Me and Lived in..China: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World, by Carole P. Roman

Title: If You Were Me and Lived in...China ~ A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World

Series: If You Were Me and Lived in...

Author: Carole P. Roman

Illustrator: Kelsea Wierenga

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Date: May 14, 2015

Paperback: 30 pages

My Take
I really like this, If You Were Me and Lived in..., series. I think it is the most created line of books that were ever created for children. To have them be able to "travel" from country to country through a book is an awesome way for them to learn. These books are packed with a lot of information. I will honestly say that I have learn quit a bit, from reading these with my child.

If You Were Me and Lived in...China shows a boy and a girl pointing to a world where you would be able to find china on a globe. Inside you will find an outline of China with a star where the capital of China, Beijing, is located. Then, begins the journey into China and all that it offers.

Your child will first lean about the history of China and how it received its name. They will also learn about the vegetation and the amount of people that reside there. Next, they will learn about Beijing and all its glory. From its expressways to its gardens and even the Forbidden City. You will learn about the names of family members, some names of toys, and the currency that is used. I thought the part of history and the giant terracotta was interesting as my daughter just learned about that this year in school. Up next is food, games and holidays, most importantly, the Chinese New Year.

What I like most about these books, besides the wonderful information, is the colourful pages. Also I like how there are one or two pages that have real life pictures mixed with cartoon pictures. I think this gives the reader a really good feel for how something might actually look over there. The pronunciation guide is a nice thing to have in the book too. My daughter has picked up a couple of words from different countries by reading these books. That is always a good thing.

So, if you haven't already heard of this series, which I am sure you have, you need to start purchasing them to have for you child's collection.

About the Author

Award winning author Carole P. Roman is a former teacher turned businesswomen. She has successfully run a family business with her husband. Her most favorite job is being grandmother to her many grandchildren. She currently lives on Long Island with her husband.

Her first book, "Captain No Beard - An Imaginary tale of a Pirate's Life" has been named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012 as well garnered the star of remarkable merit. Three more Captain No Beard books are in the works. Also available, "I Want To Do Yoga Too," a children's introduction to yoga.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bible Dominoes, by Juliet David and Jo Parry

Product: Bible Dominoes

Creators: Juliet David & Jo Parry

Publisher: Candle Books; Brdgm edition

Publication Date: March 27, 2015

Ages: 3 and above

Players: 2 - 4

My Take
This Bible Dominoes game is great for younger children. They are very colourful, which will instantly attract them to the game. On the back side is a rainbow colour design and on the front are pictures of animals or a particular Bible story. They have numbers written on some of them too. So, your child will not only  learn how to count but can also learn about Bible stories (you would have to tell them) and different animals. The 28 dominoes are thick, which makes them pretty sturdy. They are about 150 x 75mm (3" x 6"). So they are pretty long. Not your standard size of dominoes.

There is also a pamphlet that is included which has 10 different Bible stories in it, that coincide with the pictures on the dominoes. Each story is no longer than 5 lines long. Some of the stories in the pamphlet are:

Noah and his Ark
Joseph and his amazing Coat
Moses, Prince of Egypt
Daniel Saved from Lions
Stop, Storm!

Some of the stories were summed up really well, while others are going to need some elaboration to help your child understand.

My daughter is a little older than the age you are suppose to be to enjoy this game, but she wanted to try it out any way. We had fun playing it, but did realize it is geared toward the younger aged. I think they will have a really fun time, especially learning their colours, numbers, and stories from the Bible.

I would purchase this game if you have any toddlers running around. I think they would really enjoy it.

About the Creators
Juliet David has written many children s stories and Bible activity books. Her other interests include painting, music, and travel to Israel and other Bible lands. This experienced author lives in London with her family.

Jo Parry trained at Bournemouth Arts Institute before becoming a full-time artist. She illustrates mainly greetings cards, fine art, and children s books, adapting her fun, colorful style to each of these genres. She creates her characteristic style using an Apple Mac, and is fulfilling a lifelong dream working as an illustrator. Jo lives in Bournemouth, on England s south coast.

Thanks Kregel Publications for the complimentary set of dominoes for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Love, Rosie, by Cecelia Ahern

Title: Love, Rosie

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: Hyperion Books

Date: January 12, 2006

Paperback: 448 pages

Theatre Release: October 22, 2014

DVD Release: May 5, 2015

About the Book
What happens when two people who are meant to be together can't seem to get it right?

Rosie and Alex are destined for each other, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, they are separated as teenagers when Alex and his family relocate from Dublin to Boston.

Like two ships always passing in the night, Rosie and Alex stay friends, and though years pass, the two remain firmly attached via emails and letters. Heartbroken, they learn to live without each other. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel o f several missed opportunities, Rosie and Alex learn that fate isn't quite done with them yet.

My Take
Love, Rosie (the American title for Where the Rainbow Ends and Rosie Dunne), is hands down one of the best books I have read this year. I wasn't sure if I was going to like it because the story is in the form of emails, text messages, and letters. Surprisingly, it didn't hinder me finishing the book. I pretty much didn't stop reading until I was done. I heard a lot of people say they either hated it or loved it. I was on the loving it side. Just within the first few chapters, I was laughing or grinning over some of the correspondences. The author did a great job when writing this story. She was able to keep you wondering what was going to happen next, even though it wasn't in a typical style of paragraph to paragraph.

The story is about two kids, a boy and a girl, who become best friends at a young age. We get to follow them from grade school, high school, college and adulthood. We get to experience all of their tragedies and triumphs. I feel as though the story centers around Rosie and her connections with everyone in her life.

Now, regarding the film.

Which did I like better, the book or the film? I preferred the book so much better. I know the film has been in the cinemas already, but I don't go. I wait for them to come to DVD and them rent them. I thought the movie did the book a really big injustice. It put characters together that weren't even in that capacity. It also had the two main characters engage in situations way before they did in the book. It was just a jumble of mess. At least that is how I felt. I thought, if they followed the story from the book to the tee, it would have been great. I felt as though they were trying to fit everything in and it was jammed packed and rushed.

The choice is yours regarding the book and the movie, but I say read the book and don't watch the film.

About the Author

Cecelia Ahern is the author of the international bestsellers PS, I Love You; Love, Rosie; If You Could See Me Now; There's No Place Like Here; and The Gift. The daughter of Ireland's former prime minister, she lives in Dublin. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Flag for the Flying Dragon, by Carole P. Roman

Title: A Flag for the Flying Dragon

Series: A Captain No Beard Story

Author: Carole P. Roman

Illustrator: Bonnie Lemaire

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Date: April 9, 2015

Paperback: 46 pages

About the Book
It's business as usual on the Flying Dragon. Their mission is to find a flag for the ship. Captain No Beard sighs, "Being a captain is hard work," as he watches the busy crew preparing the vessel for their next adventure. Polly is giving out pretzels; Linus is polishing a lamp. Matie is cracking coconuts, Cayla is stuffing holes, and Hallie is swabbing the deck. High overhead, trouble is brewing, and it is not the weather. Mongo does not want any help from the newest crew member, and it is creating a hurricane of a mess on board. The team must come together and find a task that will fit Zachary without interfering with their own fun. On the way, they acquire a flag that will unite them as both friends and crew. Join the problem-solving crew of the Flying Dragon as they find a flag for their ship and a job for Zach.

My Take
I really love these books. Every time I get one, my daughter immediately picks it up and starts reading them. It is nice to see a book that is written for children that have learning lessons in them. It is simplistic enough for them to actually understand the lesson themselves.

This time around, the "crew" go out on the seas again. This time, the captain is looking for a flag to be flown from the ship. In the mix of all of this, a new crew member is trying to find his place amongst the crew. Everything that he is told to do doesn't go well. Then finally, the captain finds something for him to do. It is one of the most important jobs.

In this story, the crew learns how to get along. Every place that Zach (the new crew member) tries to help, he makes a mess and doesn't wind up helping. Most of the time, the other crew members don't want him to help. One thing they have to learn is how to all get along and find something for everyone to do. This is what makes a great crew.

About the Author

Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of the Captain No Beard series. Both Captain No Beard-An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life and Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis have received the Kirkus Star of Exceptional Merit. The first book in the series was named to Kirkus Reviews Best 2012. Each book has won numerous awards, namely the NABE Pinnacle Award, ERIK Award for 2013, ForeWord Review Five Star, Rebecca Reads, and Reader's Views Children's Book of the Year 2013. Recently it was awarded the Marble Book Award for Best Illustration in a series for Bonnie Lemaire's stunning illustrations.

This complimentary book was given to me by Red Feather Productions for my honest review.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Heart of the Amish: Life Lessons on Peacemaking and the Power of Forgiveness, by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Title: The Heart of the Amish: Life Lessons on Peacemaking and the    Power of Forgiveness

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher: Revell

Date: May 5, 2015

Paperback: 192 pages

About the Book
We have all been hurt and we all have someone we need to forgive. But sometimes it's hard to let go of our hurt and anger in order to truly forgive and move on.

For the Amish, forgiving others in order to live at peace is woven into the very fabric of their faith. From daily annoyances to heartbreaking tragedy, they exhibit an incredible capacity for forgiveness that often baffles us. How do they do it? And how can we have the same attitude and ability to forgive?

Through true stories gathered from a variety of Amish communities, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shows you how the Amish are able to release their pain and desire for revenge, and live at peace with others. Her in-depth, personal research uncovers the astounding yet fundamental way the Amish can forgive anyone from the angry customer at the grocery store to the shooter at Nickel Mines. You'll learn how to invite God into your story, apply lessons from the Amish to your own circumstances, and find the freedom that comes with true forgiveness.

My Take
I love Amish proverbs. I pretty much love everything about the Amish (after having my daughter, I wanted to move to one of their communities to raise her), but one thing I have to say is that they have really great proverbs and life learning lessons. In this book Suzanne Woods Fisher, takes you on a journey through the lives of different people and shows you how you can forgive and be at peace with yourself. Not all of the stories happen to Amish people, but they are linked to them in some sort of way. At the beginning of each story, is an Amish proverb. After that, the author goes into the story that tells of one and their means of forgiveness. At the end of each story is a reflection where she asks questions of the reader. I really enjoyed this part. I felt like it helped me get more involved with the stories and helped me think about my life and certain situations that I have been in. At the end of each reflection is a "plain truth". This section gives us some background on the Amish, Mennonites, or Hutterites.

The book is a really great one to read and ponder over. I even read them to my daughter and asked her some of the questions. It was interesting to see her think about some of the situations she and her friends have been in and also whether it would be easy for her to forgive if she was put in some of these situations.

I think that everyone should get a copy of this book and read it. I know I found it very beneficial. And like I stated before, I love Amish proverbs and the book is filled with them. My daughter even found some that she liked. So yes, this book is for both the young and the old.

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs, as well as many novels about the Amish, including the Lancaster County Secrets series, the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series. She is also the coauthor of an Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist for The Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting. She is also a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

This complimentary book was given to me from Revell for my honest review.