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Tuesday, January 31

Review - Valley of Dreams


Valley of Dreams
BY: Lauraine Snelling
PUBLISHED BY: Bethany House
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0415-9
Pages: 352
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Valley of Dreams, the first novel in the Wild West Wind series, has been sitting on my desk for several weeks now. After reading a few negative reviews about the book, I hesitated about reading this historical fiction. I was intrigued by the first chapter, as you are introduced to the main heroine, Cassie Lockwood, - a young sharpshooter for the Lockwood and Talbot Wild West Show. Uncle Jason (her dad’s business partner) has been running the show every since her dad’s death. Unfortunately, times are tough and the show is going go close, as the bank investors are coming to repossess everything. Uncle Jason gives her what little money he has, a wagon, horse, and supplies.

Cassie’s father had dreamed of living in the Black Hills of South Dakota and now that is Cassie’s dream too. With Chief, a Sioux Indian from the Wild West Show, and Micah, the head wrangler, she sets off to find the valley. Of course, things are so easy, as there are many dangerous situations ahead.

The author, Lauraine Snelling has done a remarkable job creating beautiful descriptions throughout the novel. The characters are well written and so is the plot. Valley of Dreams is my first read from the author and it won’t be the last. I recommend the book to everyone.

*I would like to thank Bethany House for sending me a copy to review!


Friday, January 27

Review - Smart Piggy



Smarty Pig
BY: Molly Nero
PUBLISHED BY: Halo
PUBLISHED IN: December 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61244-048-4
Pages: 30
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

"Smarty Pig" is a delightful tale about a house full of little piggies. After school, they like to play cards, watch TV and play tag instead of doing their homework. Only one red-haired piggy does her homework and study for her tests. The other piggies call her “Teacher’s Pet”, but she surprises all of them when she is only one who gets good grades on report card day. The other piggies are upset and they all want to know how to get good grades. The red-haired piggy eagerly agrees to teach them math and science.

I enjoyed reading “Smarty Pig”, and I loved the beautiful illustrations throughout the picture book. Young readers can easily relate to story, as I am sure all them would rather be playing than studying or doing their homework. I liked how the little red-haired piggy in the story used simple household items, like play-money and cookies to help the piggies learn math and science. “Smarty Pig” is a cute read for young readers.

About the Author:




Molly Nero grew up in Texas loving to sing, dance, and read. She spent over 18 years teaching elementary school.  Reading to her own children, she was inspired to write. Molly Nero recently moved to Pennsylvania where she resides with her family, 2 dogs, and a leopard spotted Gecko and enjoys writing, cooking, and making snowmen.


www.smartypigbooks.com




Monday, January 23

Author Spotlight: Molly Nero





About the author:

Molly Nero grew up in Texas loving to sing, dance, and read. She spent over 18 years teaching elementary school.  Reading to her own children, she was inspired to write. Molly Nero recently moved to Pennsylvania where she resides with her family, 2 dogs, and a leopard spotted Gecko and enjoys writing, cooking, and making snowmen.

Author Website:  www.smartypigbooks.com



Smarty Pig is the only one in the pig family who hasn’t given up on school and doing her homework. Although she is teased, her report card shows her hard work, while the others fail. The other pigs reach out to her and she becomes their tutor, by creating games in their home. They all realize learning can be fun and that it’s not just for school, it’s for life. 


You can find out more about Molly Nero’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/MollyNero.aspx. 

Tuesday, January 17

Review: Chasing Mona Lisa




Chasing Mona Lisa
BY: Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey
PUBLISHED BY: Revell
PUBLISHED IN: 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2046-9
Pages: 334
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

 In this sequel to The Swiss Courier, OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler are back and this time the are trying to rescue Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa before it falls into the clutches of the Germans. Set during World War II, the agents have their hands full as travel from Paris to a Swiss chateau, in a race to save the painting.

Friday, January 13

Follow Friday






Question of the Week: Many readers/bloggers are also big music fans. Tell us about a few of your favorite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012.

My Answer: 

Singers: Natasha Bedingfield, Kelly Clarkson, Colbie Caillat
Bands: The Civil Wars, A Fine Frenzy, Evanescence

Thursday, January 5

Follow Friday





Question of the Week: Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many?

My Answer: Shelf? I have shelves! From where I'm sitting, I see about twenty-five unread James Patterson books, and a few dozen others by various writers. I have too many books to count. Most of the unread books I have are for personal reading. As soon as I get caught up on book reviews, I want to catch up on my personal reading. 


Writing News: My short story, "Trick-or-Spells" has been nominated for the P&E  Readers Poll. Voting ends January 10. http://www.critters.org/predpoll/shortstory.shtml

Wednesday, January 4

"Trick-or-Spells" Nominated

My short story, Trick-or-Spells, has been nominated for the best short story in the P&E Readers Poll. You can vote at http://www.critters.org/predpoll/shortstory.shtml. Voting ends January 10th!

"The Keeper" Review and Giveaway!




The Keeper
BY: Suzanne Woods Fisher
PUBLISHED BY: Revell

PUBLISHED IN: 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1987-6
Pages: 320
Reviewed by Billy Burgess



         In the first book of the Stoney Ridge Seasons series,  Julia Lapp and her siblings, Menno, Sadie, and Mary Kate (M.K.) are running their family farm because their father, Amos, has a bad heart and can no longer do day to day chores on the farm. Amos is an old school Amish and doesn’t want to have a heart transplant, even though it could save his life.

 Julia has other things on her mind, like marrying Paul Fisher. She has dreamed of being his wife since she was a child, but her wedding plans are constantly being delayed by Paul’s overprotected mother, Edith, who will do anything to stop the wedding.

Running a farm can be difficult, so the Lapp family has their Uncle Hank to help them with the farm. Fern Graber arrives at the farm as a caregiver for Amos. Soon enough the Bee Man arrives. The Bee Man, travels through the Amish communities with his hives of bees and then rents them out to farmers.

Will Julia marry Paul?

Will Amos changes his ways and have a heart transplant?

“The Keeper” is slightly different than the typical Amish fiction, adding witty characters and realism that any reader can connect with. Life is full of twists and turns that challenges your faith as the main character Julia findsout. There is heartache, laughter and wonderful storytelling to be found in “The Keeper”. I recommend the book to all readers.


*I would like to thank the Baker Publishing Company for sending me a copy to review!

About the author:

Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. She has many, many Plain relatives living in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and travels back to Pennsylvania, as well as to Ohio, a couple of times each year for research. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. In both her fiction and non-fiction books, she has an underlying theme: You don't have to "go Amish" to incorporate many of their principles--simplicity, living with less, appreciating nature, forgiving others more readily-- into your life. When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth. 

 Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.



It’s a “Honey of a Giveaway” from Suzanne Woods Fisher! Suzanne is hosting a "honey of a giveaway"during the blog tour for The Keeper! During 1/3-1/17 you can enter to win an iPad2 from Suzanne and connect with her on January 17th at The Keeper Facebook Party!