Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold By Iain Reading

KITTY HAWK AND THE CURSE OF THE YUKON GOLD
Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #1

By: Iain Reading

Published: December 3, 2012

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Fiction/YA/Mystery



If you have an independent, spunky tween that is looking for a new series to read, this Kitty Hawk series might just be for them. Kitty Hawk is an adventurous young adult who knows how to fly and decides to spend her summer in Alaska researching humpback whales. She is Canadian and after getting sponsorship from her favorite clothing company and a place to stay with friends, she is off on her adventure.

Kitty Hawk is not the average teenager. She has been flying planes with her father for quite awhile, she has an idea and runs with it, and is completely independent. Kitty Hawk has quite the summer in Juneau, Alaska meeting new people, having a little summer romance, and solving a mystery. The reader can learn while journeying with Kitty Hawk as the locations she mentions and real places and the historical stories are fact-based. History buffs and mystery lovers will enjoy this series.

At times, I did feel like the details were a bit heavy and slowed down the reading process, but maybe that is because I am an adult and this is meant for younger readers. Even though Kitty Hawk is an adult, I felt conflicted at times feeling like she was childish in some of her conversations (especially with herself) and other times remembering she is an adult on this adventure. I think the author's motives for getting kids excited about adventures and being independent are worthy and I could see kids wanting to look up the places that are talked about in the book (I did), but I did get a little bored with the story at times.

Kitty Hawk's curiosity gets her in a bit of danger and the suspense will keep readers interested. There are also a few surprises along the way that will keep the reader guessing about what will come next and how everything will turn out in the end. The end of the book offers specific ideas for what the reader might want to look up and learn more about.

Overall, I think this is a great series for tweens, teens, and even adults who like adventures based on historical facts and places. There are currently four other books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series:  Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost, Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue, and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic, and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces. Each book can be read as a standalone. For more information, check out the Kitty Hawk website, HERE.

Iain Reading - source
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but he currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To see all his books, check them out HERE.

Connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

To purchase a copy of KITTY HAWK AND THE CURSE OF THE YUKON GOLD, click the photo below:





I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.



Thanks to Book Publicity Services for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the book through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book Review: Traveling Light By Lynne Branard

TRAVELING LIGHT

By: Lynne Branard

Published: January 10, 2017

Publisher: Berkley Books

Fiction



Have you ever wanted to just take off on an adventure? That is exactly what Alissa Wells, a 30-something single gal from Clayton, North Carolina does. After winning an abandoned storage shed in an auction Alissa finds a box of ashes inside. She decides it's time to take some of those vacation days and she is going to drive to New Mexico to deliver Roger Hart's ashes to their rightful resting place.

Al, as she prefers to be called, has never left her hometown or her home for that matter. When her mom died young, Al took over caring for her dad and her sister. When it was time to find a job, she naturally went to work for her dad at the local newspaper and she has been there ever since. This road trip is just the diversion that Al needs in her life. The paper can manage without her for awhile and she is in no hurry to return. Al loads up her dog, Casserole and they are off on what will be a life-changing adventure for Al.

During one of her restaurant stops, Al's waitress Blossom decides to hitch a ride with her as far as Texas. Blossom, a 17-year-old former hippie, has decided to go back and live with her dad in Texas and Al's road trip is the perfect opportunity to get there. Then, few stops later, Blossom's ex-boyfriend is also tagging along for a ride to Texas. These three characters who would have never crossed paths are now lifelines to each other as their lives intersect.

Al's journey, both figuratively and literally, gets her to stop and assess her life. Since the story is told in the first person, the reader feels like they are riding right along with Al across the country. Stops in Nashville, Memphis, and Oklahoma City give the reader glimpses into the attractions and why Al and her entourage have decided to stop and visit. The characters are quirky, naive, and lovable. When each of them come to a crossroads and has to make a decision, the reader is cheering them on, hoping that the decision is the right one.

Lynne Branard, who also writes as Lynne Hinton, has a talent for writing about friendships, unforgettable characters, and heart-warming stories. Much like her previous novel, THE ART OF ARRANGING FLOWERS, readers will enjoy the quick chapters and real-life situations full of funny mishaps and surprises along the way. Her witty metaphors and priceless wisdom fill the pages and will make the reader pause and reflect. Branard dedicated this novel to her many hospice patients she met as a chaplain. The title, TRAVELING LIGHT reminds all of us to let go of our burdens and to learn when to linger in life and when to move on. Maybe reading this book will inspire you to start your own life-changing adventure.

Favorite quotes:

"We do not let go of the details of those who shape our lives."

"What I'm saying is that we don't always get the happy endings we want;
but that shouldn't change what we try to make right."


I previously read, THE ART OF ARRANGING FLOWERS. You can see my review, HERE.


Lynne Branard - source photo by Robert Branard
Lynne Branard, also writes as Lynne Hinton. She was born and raised in North Carolina. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and has served as a hospice chaplain and as a senior pastor. Lynne is the author of nineteen books and has received numerous awards for her writing. Lynne and her husband live in Guilford County, North Carolina where Lynne serves as Co-Pastor of Mount Hope UCC. For more on Lynne, check out her website, HERE.


To purchase a copy of TRAVELING LIGHT, click the photo below:




Thanks to the publisher for sending an ecopy of this novel for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Book Review: The Two-Family House By Lynda Cohen Loigman

THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE

By: Lynda Cohen Loigman

Published: March 8, 2016

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Fiction



Abe and Mort are brothers who live in a two-family brownstone in Brooklyn with their wives. Abe and Helen live upstairs with their four sons and Mort and Rose live downstairs with their three daughters. Abe and Mort own the family business, Box Brothers, making boxes for companies. We meet them in 1947, while Helen and Rose are struggling to maintain their sanity, spending days at home with their young children. The two are best friends and chat about their struggles raising the children, their marriages, and their responsibilities to their Jewish faith and extended families. You feel like the house is an idyllic setting with cousins living almost like siblings having two sets of parents within reach at any time. But, then you start to see the cracks. Even as the families seem to be intertwined, Rose tends to be a bit more resentful of Helen than Helen realizes. Mort is not the most appreciative husband and has been quite difficult to live with over the years. Helen is maybe a bit too perfect and overbearing. Can Abe really be that happy all the time?

One morning over coffee, the two women find out that both of them are pregnant and due at the same time. Even with all their pregnancies, they've never been pregnant together. Both women are shocked but hope, for different reasons, that this child will be the answer to their prayers.  As a terrible blizzard hits the East Coast, the two women go into labor with their husbands away and make a decision that will fracture the relationship between the two women and their families forever.

This novel is the author's first but doesn't read as one. The story is character driven with each chapter told from that character's point of view. In the beginning, we hear from the brothers and their wives as they tell the stories from their perspective. Depending on the character, you will feel the anger, resentment, love, loss, bitterness, and forgiveness seep off the pages. There will be characters you will love and others you will want to hate. As we travel through the years, we get to hear from the children as they grow up and your perspective on the parents begin to change. You almost feel like you are sitting at the dinner table as the stories unfurl in front of you.

It's definitely a page-turner, especially if you like family dramas that take you through the generations. Every decision we make has consequences, good or bad. Reading this novel gives you a voyeuristic view of the ripple effect of one decision and whether telling the truth is worth the repercussions. As the novel ends, after spending twenty-three years with the family, you will be left satisfied, yet feeling the loss of a family you will miss spending time with, even if the ending is a bit too neat and tidy.

Favorite quotes:

"She pursed her lips tighter in an effort to stop it,
for if she couldn't she knew,
the truth would burn its way out of her
 and escape from her mouth in one inexhaustible scream."

"Love is always forgiving."


Lynda Cohen Loigman - source

Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, MA. She received a B.A. in English and American Literature from Harvard College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. She is now a student of the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and lives with her husband and two children in New York. She is a failure at enforcing reasonable bedtimes. THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE is her first novel. Check out her website, HERE.

To purchase a copy of THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE, click the photo below:





If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com.  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Children's Book Review: Science Encyclopedia from National Geographic

SCIENCE ENCYCLOPEDIA
Atom Smashing, Food Chemistry, Animals, Space, and More!

Published: October 11, 2016

Publisher: National Geographic

Non-Fiction

Everything you ever wanted to know about Science is in this book. Nothing was left out and the photography is absolutely amazing. This is National Geographic at its best....taking a subject and sharing everything possible in an easy-to-understand format for kids....and adults! The pictures will grab your attention and the tidbits of information on each page will make you want to learn more.

The book is broken up into two parts of science, Physical Science and Life Science. Physical Science includes sections on Matter, Forces and Machines, Energy, and Electronics. Life Science includes The Universe,  Life on Earth, The Human Body, and Planet Earth. There is also a huge glossary of terms and an index of places to get more information including websites, books, and movies.

I was especially interested in the Flowering Plants section. Did you know the sunflower is made up of thousands of tiny flowers? I had no idea. The world's biggest flower is found in Indonesia and measures about three feet across but shockingly it smells like rotten meat! I think I will pass on growing that flower!

I was also extremely fascinated with the section on ancient medicine and how Leonardo's sketches of the human organs were amazingly accurate. Also, the use of everyday materials, like honey, can truly heal and something that many of us today are choosing to use rather than chemicals.

Throughout the book, there are also several experiments for the kids to try, for example, using a magnet with cereal fortified with iron or making your own magnifier.

This is a book that has everything you need for that science-loving child. There is much to learn in this book and one that can be referred to throughout upper elementary or middle school years. I'll be gifting this to our daughter's sixth-grade science teacher as I am sure it will get a lot of use there.

To purchase a copy of SCIENCE ENCYCLOPEDIA, click the photo below:






I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.


Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Review: Better Together By Kimberly Stuart

BETTER TOGETHER
A Heidi Elliott Novel: Book #3

By: Kimberly Stuart

Published: October 31, 2016

Publisher: Blom Books

Fiction/Christian Fiction/Contemporary Romance



I first learned about Kimberly Stuart several years ago from another blogger talking about Stuart's blog and how funny and relatable she was. Stuart, who lives in Des Moines, wrote about motherhood and life in a way that I could relate to. While reading, I noticed she was also an author. Over time, I grabbed a couple of her books when they were on a Kindle deal. But, since I don't always have time to read books that aren't on my to-review stack, they got buried in my ever-growing ebook list. Then a month ago, I found out my sister-in-law was going to be on a panel with other Christian women in Des Moines and I noticed that one of the women was Kimberly Stuart. I recognized the name and checked out her blog again. A couple days later I surprisingly received an email asking me to review her latest book and I was thrilled to finally get a chance to read one of her books. Stuart also has another new book, coming out in February titled, SUGAR.

Stuart writes from a real-life perspective and weaves her faith throughout...not in an overpowering way, but in a way that many of us converse with others. BETTER TOGETHER is the third in a series about her character Heidi Elliott, but having not read the previous two books in the series, I can confidently say, this book stands alone. I may have missed out on some back stories or history, but I was able to enjoy this book without feeling like I was missing anything.

Heidi Elliott is a wife to Jake and a mom to Nora. We meet them as Nora is starting Kindergarten. Heidi is feeling lost and wondering how to spend her days while Nora is at school. Jake and Heidi have suffered multiple miscarriages since Nora was born and all Heidi wants to do is lose herself in a project at home to forget about that fact that she can't seem to carry another baby. She paints furniture, organizes and cleans the cabinets, and even tries volunteering in her daughter's classroom (which was a disaster) but none of it will take away her pain and grief over the loss of the babies.

Heidi's best friend, Willow, has been a constant for her, offering support and laughter when she needed it most but now Willow's new boyfriend seems to be taking all of her time and Heidi thinks there is something fishy about him. She makes finding out his secrets her new project and it may just cost her everything.

Stuart's witty prose and real-life heartbreak combine for a relatable story that all mothers and women will enjoy. It isn't easy to write about the pain of losing a child, but reality shows us that life has to move on. Heidi's struggles are painful to read about yet hopeful as she relies on her faith, her daughter's daily prayers, and a hope that there is a baby in their future. Jake and Heidi's relationship and their commitment to family is a bright spot in a world of dreary winter days and sad news stories. You can't help but smile through the sadness in the story because you know that no matter what happens Heidi, Jake, and Nora will have each other's back.

Favorite quote:

"I felt my heart warm up and become pliable
 in a way that I hadn't felt in far too long,
 and I knew in that moment that the thaw had happened
 because I was finally surrendering." 


Kimberly Stuart - source
Kimberly Stuart, in an effort to condone the time and money spent, would like you to know she holds degrees from St. Olaf College and the University of Iowa.  She learned lots of interesting things at these fine institutions, none of which prepared her for the lethal cocktail of parenthood and writing. Stuart is the author of five published novels, including the Heidi Elliott series, Act TwoStretch MarksOperation Bonnet and a sixth, Sugar, set to release February 2017. She is a frequent public speaker and is passionate about helping others live great stories. To see all of Kimberly Stuart's books, click HERE. You can also check out her website, HERE.  

To purchase a copy of BETTER TOGETHER, click the photo below:





Thanks to the publisher for sending an ecopy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Celebrating iRead Book Tours 3 Year Anniversary and a Giveaway






HAPPY 3RD ANNIVERSARY TO iREAD BOOK TOURS! 


I've been part of iRead Book Tours for at least the last two years. I've been a part of several book promotion companies and iRead is at the top of my list. Everything is handled extremely professionally and I'm given all the materials needed in a timely and organized manner. Laura and iRead are so great to work with. I know I'll continue to help promote great books with these book tours. To see some of the books I've promoted with iRead, click HERE. Congrats to iRead and Laura on three successful years of book promotion! I'm looking forward to more years of working together!

About iRead Book Tours:
At iRead, we give special attention to every book that tours with us. We are passionate about books and we customize all our tours because no two authors are alike.

We don't just market books. We help our authors get the best exposure with traditional tours consisting mainly of reviews. We work closely with our authors and pride ourselves on our highly individualized customer service.

All of our staff are book bloggers and authors, so we understand the process and the hard work involved. We've built a solid relationship with our database of reliable book bloggers who are eager to read your books.

Welcome to the iRead experience!


If you are a blogger or book reviewer and you are interested in helping to promote books, Laura offers awesome incentives to book bloggers for helping to spread the word about great books. Click HERE to sign up or get more info. If you are an author, I highly recommend you contact Laura and get info about how she can help you promote your book, by clicking HERE.



In 2008, Laura began blogging about books shortly after she published her first book. She started Library of Clean Reads, a book review blog, and discovered the joy of reviewing a variety of genres. Her children have joined her in this venture and they spend many happy hours reading books together. A Special Care Counselor by profession, Laura has co-led and developed programs for seniors with dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease. She has a passion for the topic of neuroscience and wellness.

Throughout the years she has met and worked with wonderful publishers, both traditional and indie, as well as publicists and authors. Best of all, she discovered the world of book bloggers--a community of special people who spend their precious time sharing their love of books and all things related to books.

Taking part in book tours has always made Laura feel more connected to authors and the publishing field. She organized her own virtual tour when her book was published and she learned several things. As an author, it exposed her to actual reader views and social media. As a book blogger and book tour organizer, it taught her the amount of work it entailed. And she loves it!

You can find Laura blogging at Library of Clean Reads and Essentially Italian. She is the owner of iRead Book Tours,  Italy Book Tours, and Je Lis Blog Tours.

Now for the Giveaway:

You can win $50 cash or a Basic Virtual Book Tour Package (2 winners, open to international readers). This giveaway is sponsored by iRead Book Tours and I am not responsible in any way for getting the prize to the reader. I'm just sharing this awesome giveaway with you. This giveaway ends February 4, 2017. To enter to win, just follow the instructions below:

Friday, January 6, 2017

Children's Book Review: How Things Work By T. J. Resler

HOW THINGS WORK
Discover Secrets and Science Behind Bounce Houses, Hovercraft, Robotics, and Everything in Between. 

By: T.J. Resler

Published: October 25, 2016

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Non-Fiction

Does your child love to take things apart to see how they work? Do they constantly ask why or how something is made or created? Do you think they could create the next big invention? Then this book is for them!

Ask any teacher and STEM is what everyone is talking about in the education world. These are where the jobs are going to be when our kids graduate and how educators are focusing their lessons. STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math...four areas educators are focusing on for both boys AND girls in the classroom. I personally like STEAM, adding Arts into the teaching as well as I believe they are just as important to the mind and body.

National Geographic and Resler feed every kid's question with the answers they've been looking for. How do refrigerators work? Find a pretty cool explanation in this book. Is your child wanting to be a roboticist? Meet Helen Greiner, an engineer, computer scientist, and roboticist in this book. Need to explain the importance of flushing the toilet to your boys (I STILL have issues in my house), then show your kids how a toilet and plumbing works with this book. There are even "Try This" experiments you can do at home with everyday household objects to learn...you guessed it....how something works.


The pages are full of easy to understand flowcharts and quick facts about a variety of topics. Some of my favorites to learn about were how a robot vacuum works (I've been wanting one) and how various instruments make music. There are even sections on roller coasters, surfing, and tightrope walking.

This book explains it all. So, if you have a child that asks a lot of Why? and How? questions, get them this book!

To find out more about T.J. Resler, check out his website, HERE.

To purchase a copy of HOW THINGS WORK, click the photo below:




I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.


Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com.