Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Mystery of Claw Mountain by Paul Moxham is an Excellent Old-Fashioned Mystery for Readers of Any Age

How'd you like a FREE mystery book that everyone in the family will appreciate? If you loved The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew as a kid like I did, you'll appreciate Paul Moxham's Mystery Kids series. The Mystery of Claw Mountain is FREE and it's a great way to get into the series. 

Joe Mitchell along with his two sisters Amy and Sarah and his friend Will go on vacation to visit Grandma and Grandpa Mitchell. They keep themselves busy sledding, ice skating and camping out in an unused hut, but they love a good mystery. When they hear an intriguing story about how Claw Mountain got its name, they know they’ve got a case on their hands. When they stumble on an old abandoned mine they decide to go inside, but soon find themselves in some very real danger.

I loved this story! Mr. Moxham includes all the necessary elements to keep readers interested. Mystery, suspense, action and several sticky situations abound for the Mystery Kids in this book. I especially love the fact that the author has the children working together as a team to figure things out. The situations aren’t just happening to the kids, they’re active participants in the plot. Through character dialogue and kid-friendly action, readers can get a real sense of how well the children manage to work their way through any number of predicaments. That definitely makes these characters excellent role models for children.

The Mystery of Claw Mountain is extremely reminiscent of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, which I absolutely loved as a kid. I would highly recommend this book (and the series) to readers of any age who want to lose themselves in a good old-fashioned mystery.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

My Little Prayers Illustrated by Diane Le Feyer is a Sweet Little Book Perfect for Gift-Giving

If you're looking for an adorable little book to give as a baptism, first holy communion or other faith-based gift you're in luck! This sturdy little book would make an excellent gift for the special child in your life.

My Little Prayers is a sweet little book of 80+ pages of prayers for little ones. The book is broken down into eight themed sections, which highlight different times of a child’s day. Subjects like mealtime, bedtime, feelings and others are emphasized through prayer.

Some of the prayers are taken from the Bible and others are quotes from a variety of sources. The accompanying illustrations are colorful and cute and are sure to capture the attention of even the smallest child.

This is a sturdy little book, with a nicely padded cover, that should last for years to come. Small children should enjoy having the prayers read to them while they look at the pictures and older children should have no problem reading the book to themselves. 

At just $5.92, My Little Prayers would make a wonderful gift for baptism, first holy communion or just because. The “For, From and Date” page at the beginning of the book makes it easy to personalize for gift-giving. Wonderful!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Artist Stacy Harshman’s Experiment of Self-Discovery Becomes a New Book! Crowning Glory Set to Release on June 26, 2016

Have you ever wanted to be someone else, even for just a little while? Have you ever found yourself drawn to those expansive hair and wig places in your local mall and thought it might be fun to don a new color or style? Well, that’s exactly what Stacy Harshman did and the results were so surprising that she just had to turn her experience into her new book, Crowning Glory.

So what prompted this experiment in self-discovery? Stacy explains that, “It started when I bought a long, red wig one late night on eBay. When I put the wig on, I felt transformed into a fiery, sexy and bold woman. When I wore the wig out into the world, people reacted to me very differently.” A total stranger on the street actually begged her to take him home with her. She happily admits she loved the attention and started wondering what it would be like to have the same long hair, but in different colors. How would she feel as a blond or brunette? How would people react to her? The idea was so compelling she knew she had a research project on her hands...or on her head.

Crowning Glory details the results of Stacy’s social experiment and she’s the first to admit that she learned more about herself and other people in that 5-week period than she ever thought possible. I had been fighting a long bout of depression, and this wig wearing was a weird miracle.  It helped me feel good and gave me energy.   I decided to do the experiment out of curiosity and also to give myself a steady structure and focus,” Stacy says.  

Stacy hired a spy to record her experiences while wearing a variety of wigs and Crowning Glory documents the adventurous results. Additionally, Crowning Glory is deeply personal, since it is also the story of Stacy's struggles with bipolar disorder. The book discusses how the experience helped her heal in ways she could never have imagined. Stacy hopes readers will find value in Crowning Glory too.

Crowning Glory will be released on Amazon on June 26, 2016, but pre-orders for the book are being accepted now. The book will be available in print and eBook formats, at just 9.99 and 2.99 respectively. Review copies are available upon request through the author’s website.


Stacy Harshman recently relocated from NYC to Vermont where she currently works on a therapeutic farm.  After a Midwestern childhood in a family of designers, antique dealers, and equestrians, Stacy traveled extensively before finding a home in New York City, which she still maintains. Always driven toward creative expression, Stacy writes fiction, memoir and essays, and has written and recorded five albums of original music.

Her passion for color and pattern led to the launch of Andarina Designs, a custom lighting design company. Stacy is inspired by women all over the world, working in community partnerships to produce beautiful and sustainable work. Currently, her favored form of expression is mixed media painting-collages. She devotes her time to animals and to the healing arts.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

An Inspiring and Uplifting Novella by Rosemary Hines - "From the Heart" is a 5 Star Read

Eighty-six year old Joan Walker has loved only one man throughout her life. Phil was a pastor and a wonderful, loving husband. Unfortunately, cancer has taken Phil away from Joan and she’s left to go on without him. Although Joan has her own pastor and his wife to help her when necessary, Joan struggles to find her way in her new life without Phil.

From the Heart is probably one of the sweetest stories I’ve read in a long time. Rosemary Hines does a wonderful job of expressing the heartbreak experienced by a grieving widow. This is a lovely story, filled with positive affirmations that many of us can learn from. Even when something as traumatic as the death of a spouse occurs, we can still find solace in helping others. Ms. Hines turns a painful tale of loss into one of hope and comfort.

I would highly recommend reading this book and grabbing the series. I’ve already downloaded Book 1 and intend to do just that!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Holocaust Story for Children is an Important One - "Why is Great-Grandma So Sad?" by Susan Heagy is a Five-Star Book for Children

The Holocaust is without a doubt one of the most tragic and heartbreaking events in recent history. Yet, far too many people still don’t fully understand the truly devastating toll it took on Jewish people as a whole. Why is Great-Grandma So Sad? brings the Holocaust to the forefront and makes it personal. Learning about this horrific event and telling others is incredibly important and Susan Heagy has done a wonderful job doing just that.

Ms. Heagy has taken some of the personal accounts of Holocaust survivors to weave an intensely personal and powerful story of Sarah, her mother Rebecca and her beloved Great-Grandma Hannah. Sarah wants to know why Hannah is so sad and Rebecca decides it’s time to tell Sarah the Holocaust story. As gently as possible, and in terms a child will understand, Rebecca describes how Hannah was just seven when Hitler first began his reign of terror. She goes on to explain how Jews were persecuted, mistreated and heartlessly executed. The back of the book is devoted to several Holocaust survivors, their biographies and their stories.

Why is Great-Grandma So Sad? is an excellent story to be told to children and to be read by anyone. It’s a story about understanding and sharing our pasts, no matter how painful. It’s crucial to us all that we never forget this dark period in history. Kudos to Susan Heagy for doing such an excellent job by telling this important story and for doing it so magnificently!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via BookCrash in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Kids' Quest Study Bible by Zondervan is An Excellent Resource for Teaching Children About the Bible

If you're looking for a book that will get kids excited about studying the Bible, the Kids' Quest Study Bible is a valuable resource!

Book Features Include:

  • Over 500 questions and answers for kids
  • Book introductions help explain what each book of the Bible is about
  • A dictionary and subject guide help kids find what they’re looking for
  • Fresh, colorful design makes the Bible fun to look at and use
  • The complete NIrV translation, the steppingstone to the NIV!

Purchase on Amazon

DIY Mom Book Review:

This is the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) edition of the Bible. The Kids’ Quest Study Bible has been reprinted since 2005. This is a review of the 2016 edition.

When I saw that this book was available to read and review I was excited. I’m all about encouraging children to read, learn and strengthen their faith. There’s tons of information included in addition to your standard Bible passages. Children can browse through 500 answers to questions they might have about biblical scripture.

The answers are detailed explanations, located at the bottom of the page. They never talk down to children, yet are explained in terms that children can easily understand. There are also cute illustrations that go along with each boxed answer. Each answer has a coinciding Bible verse to research further.

The dictionary is thorough and comprehensive, which makes this an excellent resource for children to look up unfamiliar words. The topical index creates a quick way to easily find what you’re looking for.

This would make an excellent gift for children of all ages. The “Presented To” page at the beginning of the book makes it a lovely keepsake. Kids’ Quest Study Bible is definitely a book that children can grow up with. Parents and grandparents can use Kids’ Quest as a family time/bonding tool to read to even the smallest child. Sunday School and VBS teachers can certainly use this for lesson-planning purposes. This should also appeal to older children, who should have no problem reading this on their own.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Win a SIGNED COPY of Ksenia Rychtycka's NEW BOOK "Crossing the Border"


Ksenia Rychtycka’s debut collection Crossing the Border illuminates moments of tragedy and triumph, personal discovery and disillusionment, spotlighting characters who, in one form or another, learn to move forward with their lives.

Stymied by the lack of progress and change in post-communist Ukraine, Valeriy the artist finds he is unable to paint. Anna is a lonely woman who attends strangers’ weddings to offer a curious gift. The arrival of a wayward parakeet during the 2004 Orange Revolution forces an elderly woman into action.

These nine stories—set in Ukraine, the United States and Greece—highlight universal conflicts and dilemmas, along with the uncertainties and complexities of change, and introduce a strong new voice in storytelling.


Ksenia Rychtycka was born in Chicago and raised in Hamtramck, Michigan, where she spent large amounts of time riding her bicycle through the Ukrainian- and Polish-speaking neighborhoods. Years later she backpacked through twelve countries in Europe and worked as an editor in Ukraine during the early years of the post-Soviet era. 

Rychtycka's story collection Crossing The Border is a 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist for Short Stories. Her fiction and poems have appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Literary Bohemian, Wisconsin Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Yellow Medicine Review, The MacGuffin, Twenty Years After The Fall (Parlor City Press), and elsewhere. 

She lives in the Detroit area with her family and has an MA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. More information about her work can be found on her website. Readers can follow Ksenia via her Amazon Author Page, and connect with on Twitter and Facebook



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