Think Big Blog Tour and Giveaway

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Think Big
Written by Kat Kronenberg
Publisher’s Synopsis: In the third installment in her Live Big Series, best-selling, award-winning author Kat Kronenberg takes readers back to the wilds of the African savanna where the animals not only still struggle to find food, but now they face life-threatening situations. They must fight to survive and are terrified.
But when our beloved moody Baboon challenges Kudu on what to do, everything begins to change. One by one, Kudu, Giraffe, and Bee are faced with the dilemma of who they want to be. After watching Bee choose to do good, Baboon figures out a new secret: We can light the stars in our hearts, empowering our lives, once we smile big deep within, truly believing in who we are, our ideas, and the importance of caring for others.
The danger continues to mount and Baboon finally gets so scared that he cries out for help. Luckily, some fun animals and Baobab Tree come to the rescue! Will they try the new SHHH secret so their collective ideas not only help all the animals survive but thrive together so that their dreams can come true?
Once again, Kronenberg creates a mythical evolution story of some of nature’s most fascinating characters to teach young readers foundational skills for life in this case, helping them build a loving community that knows the joy of gratitude, giving, and going for the extraordinary. Through playful dialogue and beautiful illustrations, readers learn to take a deep breath when life gets hard, connect their heads to their hearts, and celebrate their best lives as they problem-solve together. As with Dream Big and Love Big, Kronenberg includes hands-on activities at the end of the book and on her website. Her dream is that the whole experience will inspire young readers everywhere to learn to think big together.
Ages 2-8 | Greenleaf Book Group Llc | May 12, 2020 | ISBN-13: 978-1626347106




April 20
The Children's Book Review
April 21
Word Spelunking
April 22
Over Coffee Conversations
April 23
Fairview Elementary School (Library)
April 24
icefairy's Treasure Chest
April 27
Rosco's Reading Room
April 28
Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom
April 29
Barbara Ann Mojica's Blog
April 30
Life Is What It's Called
May 1
Confessions of a Book Addict
May 15
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Kat Kronenberg’s Think Big and a school visit from the author valued at $650!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A school visit from bestselling and award-winning author Kat Kronenberg*
  • The Live Big trilogy, signed by Kat Kronenberg
    • Think Big
    • Dream Big
    • Love Big
  • A coveted Heart of Star Light-Up Plush Toy
  • All of the downloadable activities and extras from Kat Kronenberg’s website
Two (2) winners receive:
  • The Live Big trilogy, signed by Kat Kronenberg
    • Think Big
    • Dream Big
    • Love Big
  • A coveted Heart of Star Light-Up Plush Toy
  • All of the downloadable activities and extras from Kat Kronenberg’s website
Two (2) winners receive:
  • The Live Big trilogy, signed by Kat Kronenberg
    • Think Big
    • Dream Big
    • Love Big
Giveaway begins April 20, 2020, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 20, 2020, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
*Date, time, and school for the visit is to be worked out between the winner and author Kat Kronenberg. The school must be within 2 hours driving distance to a major airport. Click here for the giveaway rules.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For this blog post, I partnered with The Children’s Book Review and Kat Kronenberg..

Books That Relate to Now

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Throughout the pandemic, there have been three books that I've read in the past that I keep thinking about. I am not sure if they will be the best recommendations right now, but they have helped me to keep perspective.

Summary: Vinh Chung was born in South Vietnam, just eight months after it fell to the communists in 1975. His family was wealthy, controlling a rice-milling empire worth millions; but within months of the communist takeover, the Chungs lost everything and were reduced to abject poverty. Knowing that their children would have no future under the new government, the Chungs decided to flee the country. In 1979, they joined the legendary “boat people” and sailed into the South China Sea, despite knowing that an estimated two hundred thousand of their countrymen had already perished at the hands of brutal pirates and violent seas.

My thoughts on how this relates now: This book helps you realize that things can always be worse, you can get through hard things and hoarding can be a selfish act that doesn't pay off.

Learn more here.

Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.

Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.

My thoughts on how this relates now: This book discusses a fictional devastating pandemic that completely transforms humanity in a brutal way. Our reality is not as bad as this fictional world, but it is interesting the change that can happen with one major incident.

Learn more here.

MISS SUZANNA SPENCER has successfully avoided marriage, waiting for love and equality in a husband, but when her father suddenly becomes ill, she agrees to his dying wish to marry Mr. Lacy and secure her future. Cast suddenly into a mourning period, Suzanna and Mr. Lacy agree to keep their engagement a secret until the proper six months have passed.

Suzanna and Mr. Lacy find themselves thrown together with Miss Grysham and her handsome uncle Lord Haversley, everything becomes complicated. If only Lord Haversley didn t expose his true bravery. If only there wasn t so much more to him than a gaudy Lord in Parliament. If only he would leave Suzanna alone. As the threat of smallpox looms close, all four friends must work together and apart to save the lives of those they love.

My thoughts on how this relates now: This book mentions smallpox and how an immunization came to be. It's interesting to see the different perspectives on immunization and how devastating a disease can be.

Learn more here.

What books have you thought about during this pandemic?

Please note that this post contains affiliate links.

Escape Read Recommendations for Women

Monday, April 13, 2020

With the stress and the uncertainty of the economy, many people are looking for books that they can help them escape from the realities of the world. Escape reads are usually fun and enjoyable reads. They allow you to enjoy a world within the pages of a book. Here's a list of escape reads that I would recommend trying:

When Crispin, Lord Cavratt, thoroughly and scandalously kisses a serving woman in the garden of a country inn, he assumes the encounter will be of no consequence. But he couldn’t be more mistaken— the maid is not only a lady of birth, she’s the niece of a very large, exceptionally angry gentleman, who claims Crispin has compromised his niece beyond redemption. The dismayed young lord has no choice but to marry Miss Catherine Thorndale, who lacks both money and refinement. Learn more here.


Juliet Graham fervently counts the days until her twenty-first birthday, when she can claim the inheritance that will grant her the freedom she has always craved and the guardianship of her younger brother. Until then, she is trapped under her aunt Agnes’s domineering will. When forced to accompany the family to a house party at Shaldorn Castle, Juliet’s only objective is to keep to herself.
That is, until a chance encounter with a boorish stranger stirs up an unexpected whirlwind of emotions in her. Thrown off-balance, Juliet does the unthinkable: loses her temper and insults the man—who turns out to be her unwilling host, the Duke of Halstead. Fully expecting to be sent away, Juliet is surprised when the brusque and callous duke instead takes an interest in her. Learn more here.

Sofia is recently orphaned as her father, the local clergy man, passed away. As a way to start over, Sofia moves to a new town with the goal of becoming a governess. She meets Charles Mortimer and his sister. She moves in with a charitable family who treat her as a daughter. Unfortunately, Sofia is not in the same social circles as Mr. Mortimer and she eventually finds a job as a governess working for a wealthy but dysfunctional family. Learn more here.

Gracie Miller is a small-town girl who has landed her dream job in New York City. As jewelry designer for one of the most prestigious jewelers in the world, she completed a particularly stunning piece, a custom setting for a large diamond. But when her billionaire client Mrs. Katsaros comes to have a minor issue with the setting repaired, Gracie is horrified to realize it is not the ring she created. Someone has forged her design, and the priceless diamond is gone. Learn more here.

Roya, a dreamy, idealistic teenager living amid the political upheaval of 1953 Tehran, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood stationery shop. Mr. Fakhri introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman. Their romance blossoms, and the little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran. A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square when violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. Learn more here.

Fooled by love once before, Margaret vows never to be played the fool again. To keep her vow, she attends a notorious match-making party intent on securing the perfect marital match:  a union of convenience to someone who could never affect her heart. She discovers a man who exceeds all her hopes in the handsome and obliging rake, Mr. Northam.
There's only one problem. His meddling cousin, Lord Williams, won't leave Margaret alone. Learn more here.

Grace Sinclair has been callously cast out of her home. And though taken in as an orphaned child by the vicar and his wife, her unsurpassed beauty makes it impossible for her to remain in the vicar’s household—with two daughters of their own about to enter Society, the vicar and his wife see Grace as nothing but competition. Thankfully, Grace’s estranged Aunt Bell has agreed to take her in to her home in London. But Grace soon learns her situation has just gotten much worse. Learn more here.

Women in Hollywood are just pretty faces. But Silvia Bradshaw knows that’s a lie, and she’s ready to be treated as an equal and prove her worth as one of Hollywood’s newest film editors. Learn more here.

What are some of your favorite escape reads?

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Her Surprise Cowboy Grand Finale Blitz and Giveaway

Saturday, April 11, 2020

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Note from the Author

Thank you for joining in the book tour for Her Surprise Cowboy!

Are you ready for a springtime romance? The hills around the Northern California town of Shelter Creek are green and lush. The staff at the Shelter Creek Wildlife Center is busy rescuing baby bunnies and a cute fox. And Trisha Gilbert, a single mother who works at the center, is enjoying the good weather and more time outdoors with her baby son, Henry. . .

Liam and Trisha meet!

That night with Trisha had somehow saved his life. And now she was here. It was almost impossible to comprehend, but when he blinked and looked again, there she was, staring at him with an expression that resembled horror.

Liam glanced around to see Jace and Vivian watching him with quizzical expressions on their faces. How long had he been standing here, lost in memories?

Trisha was so still, she looked like she’d quit breathing. Liam pulled air into his lungs in silent sympathy. “Trisha.” It wasn’t much, but it was all he could manage.

Remembrancy - Review

"Claire McEwen gives readers and education in wildlife management and welcomes them into the wild beauty of the Northern California landscape. From the friendships to the meddling of the book biddies to the romance, it’s the people of Shelter Creek that leave their mark."

In this excerpt from Her Surprise Cowboy, Trisha is trying to avoid Liam after she spots him in the grocery store.

Trisha hadn’t expected her first step to happen so soon. She wasn’t ready. Her emotions had been rubbed so raw during her conversation with Becca that the moment she spotted Liam in the Shelter Creek Market, she almost burst into tears.

That was why she was hiding behind the potato chip display, waiting for him to finish choosing milk in the dairy section. Trisha peered around the corner again. How could anyone take so long picking out a carton of milk? She pretended to examine the ingredients on a potato chip package while she waited, heart thrumming hard in her veins.

“No matter how long you stare at those, they’re not going to get healthy.”

". . . well written and a fun read for relaxing. The characters are well-defined and seem so real. There is slight humor and serious, plus fun, situations." - LAWonder10

"This is a wonderful story. I love the way Liam and Trisha find each other again. . . . The characters are well-developed and it is easy to feel their emotions. . . . I highly recommend this story to others who enjoy great relationships and learning new things." - Vickie

Splashes of Joy - Review

"Author Claire McEwen does a really nice job of weaving the past together with the present in a way that readers can connect. And since I have only read one of the previous books in this series, I was able to keep up with the characters and the plot with no problem. . . . This is a sweet story of forgiveness and a chance at life neither of them expected. If you love sweet Heartwarming drama, this is a great one for you."

"It is always interesting when a father comes home to a child. Even more so when he is surprised to be a dad. I really like this series because the author weaves in the characters from previous books in the series, even the non human ones. . . . I can not wait to read more from this series and author."

"It has been a while since I have read a romance, and Her Surprise Cowboy by Claire McEwen is perfect. The characters are well developed, and the story came together fabulously. I loved the ending. All in all, my rating is five stars. I highly recommend this to all readers of sweet romance."

"Her Surprise Cowboy was such a fun “surprise daddy” story! . . . I loved the changes that occurred in both Trisha and Liam throughout the novel as they learned to trust each other and opened their hearts to love.

Even though this is book three in the series, readers should have no trouble jumping into this wonderful cast of characters and beautiful setting."

Kimber Li - Excerpt

Trisha bumps into Liam at the grocery store.

Trisha set her shopping basket down and went to retrieve Liam’s basket from where it lay on its side. She collected the cans that had flown out. “You have a dog?” She waggled the can of dog food she’d just found.

“Yup.” He was looking at her with such a serious expression that Trisha braced herself. Did he know about Henry already? He was still standing in the milk. He gingerly stepped out of the puddle, onto dry linoleum.

“I’m truly sorry I bumped into you.” She needed to leave, to get away from his hazel eyes, and the way he was studying her so carefully. It was disconcerting how familiar his face was. There was the curve of his lower lip, the faint stubble blurring the line of his jaw, the thick lashes and tousled curly brown hair. She remembered, suddenly, how soft it had felt under her fingers. Yet he was a complete stranger.

Hallie Reads - Review

"Her Surprise Cowboy is a sweet story of love and family, truth and secrets, ranching and wildlife. It proved a pleasure to spend time in Northern California with Trisha and Liam as their complicated romance unfolded; I enjoyed it immensely—I’m sure other readers of contemporary-cowboy romances will enjoy it, too."

"Her Surprise Cowboy is a book that I found very interesting. I loved the place that Trisha work at that took care of the wild animals. Especially the part about the coyotes. . . . I also enjoyed the Book Group called Book Biddies that were all friends of Trisha. They were so much fun and cared for Henry and Trisha."

Pause for Tales - Review

"This was a delightful romance of two people learning from their biggest mistakes and embracing life and who they have become due to them."

Heidi Reads... - Excerpt

Liam talks with Monique, local hairdresser and member of Shelter Creek’s Book Biddies, about the baby son he’s just learned about the night before.

Liam was petting Ranger’s head and pondering a tree when the unfamiliar woman sat herself right down on his tailgate.

“That’s a pretty nice tree,” the bleached-blonde lady said as she sat down. “A coast live oak. I love their twisting silver trunks. This one must be a few hundred years old.

Startled by her presence, Liam scooted over to make more space for her. “I was just thinking that. How much it’s seen. All the weather and people’s lives...” Liam realized he was revealing his inner thoughts to a total stranger. “I’m sorry, I guess you caught me in a strange mood. What can I do for you?”

Liam visits Tricia and Henry for the first time.

Liam folded his big frame to sit cross-legged. He seemed to take up most of the space in the living room. He set up some of Henry’s blocks close to him. Henry crawled over and waved a pudgy arm to knock them down. Then the baby took a block and put it in his mouth. “I’m not sure that’s for eating, big guy.”

“It’s okay for now. I’ll get his teething ring back out of the freezer in a few minutes.”

Liam glanced at her ruefully. “I didn’t even know they got teeth this young. I have a lot to learn.”

"Her Surprise Cowboy is a sweet & tender romance with layered characters and a heartwarming subplot, particularly if you are interested in wildlife rescue. Watching Liam embrace the role of “daddy” is as swoony and endearing as you might expect, and so is the romance between Liam & Trisha. A story that draws you in, characters that capture your heart, and just the right amount of humor and warmth."

"There is a certain layer of joy in reading a story about second chance romance . . . McEwen has such a wonderful way of tucking you into her character's lives and giving you a reason to take up residence beside them as [they're] working out their problems. Although the circumstances within Her Surprise Cowboy aren't ideal they are realistic and it is how she showed the willingness to grow and the ability to right wrongs is what rooted me in the pages of the novel - whilst having this beautiful community of Shelter Creek fully represented and present."

"5 Teacups filled to the brim for Claire McEwen's Sweet, country, western romance Her Surprise Cowboy! If you love a good western and a good Hallmark movie, then this is the book for you! I absolutely fell in love with the characters in this amazing tale . . ."

Trisha and Liam go on their first family outing

Trisha went to put Henry in the stroller, but Liam held out his arms. “Can I carry him for a bit?”

She hesitated, anxiety whispering vague warnings in her ears. “Well, I guess. Just watch your step.”

He shot her an amused look. “I’m fairly good at walking.”

“I know, I’m just—” she sighed, hating to admit it “—overprotective. Everyone teases me about it. Maya, Vivian, all the ladies in my book club.”

She set Henry carefully in Liam’s hands and he nestled Henry on his hip, his arms around him, just like she carried him. At least he’d been watching her. He was trying.

"Her Surprise Cowboy is a wonderfully written contemporary romance about forgiveness, fresh starts, starting over and rebuilding trust that is sure to bring a tear to even the most cynical of eyes. Claire McEwen imbues her story with plenty of hope, warmth and heart and has penned a love story that will lift the spirit and make readers smile. . . . A first class romance that will steal readers’ hearts, Her Surprise Cowboy is a terrific page-turner by Claire McEwen."

Reading Excursions - Review

"Claire McEwen is a new-to-me-author, but the Heartwarming line isn’t new to me at all. These are the “hope & inspiration” line that feature wholesome stories of love, compassion, and belonging; along with the happy-ever-after ending. . . . Home isn’t a place, so much as where one’s family is. Heart-tugging, emotional, and endearing – this story of love, second chances, and redemption didn't disappoint."

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post...

Her Surprise Cowboy
(Heroes of Shelter Creek #3)
By Claire McEwen
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages
April 1st 2020 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Looking for redemption…

Finding a future

Rancher Liam Dale is in Shelter Creek to make amends for his troubled past. He had no idea vet assistant Trisha Gilbert would be there, too—and he’s even more shocked to discover he’s a daddy! Trisha has good reasons not to trust him and a baby boy to protect. But now that he knows he’s a father, Liam longs to transform this unexpected reunion into a true family.

(Affiliate links included.)

Other Books in the Series

Linked to Amazon affiliate links.

About the Author

Claire McEwen writes romance set in quirky small towns and beautiful western settings. Her strong heroes and heroines take big emotional journeys to find their happily-ever-afters. Claire’s books have been published by Harlequin’s Superromance and Heartwarming lines, and have won various awards, including The Golden Quill, the Book Buyers Best, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award. Claire lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When not dreaming up new stories, she’s a busy mom who enjoys gardening, hiking, discovering flea-market treasures and wandering on the beach. A life-long bookworm, she always has her Kindle close by.

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
Ends April 15, 2020

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Benefits of a Vegetable Garden

Friday, April 10, 2020

You don't have to have a green-thumb to garden and there are many benefits to having your own garden especially your own vegetable garden. Here are some examples:
  1. Food Storage/Cheaper Produce: If you plant a $1-$2 packet of seeds, you can usually re-coop your costs by growing more than it would have cost you in a store to buy fresh produce. Plus you can easily grow "organic" produce at home. The fresh produce that you can grow can be eaten fresh, canned or frozen.  You could even store enough for future use later by using proper storage methods i.e. canning or freezing. You can find seeds on Amazon by clicking here.
  2. Working Together as a Family: It's easy to get your family involved (even small children) by planting seeds, weeding, watering and picking the fruits of your labors. My kids love to use little watering cans to water the plants. They also love picking whatever grows.
  3. Health Benefits: Spending time outside has health benefits like getting "Vitamin D" and gardening can help reduce stress and anxiety. Learn more here.
So don't be shy and start a garden today!

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The Promise of Miss Spencer Review

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Yet when her father suddenly becomes ill, she agrees to his dying wish—to marry Mr. Lacy and secure her future. Cast suddenly into a mourning period, Suzanna and Mr. Lacy agree to keep their engagement a secret until the proper six months have passed. But when Suzanna and Mr. Lacy find themselves thrown together with Miss Grysham and her handsome uncle Lord Haversley, everything becomes complicated. If only Lord Haversley didn’t expose his true bravery.

If only there wasn’t so much more to him than a gaudy Lord in Parliament. If only he would leave Suzanna alone. As the threat of smallpox looms close, all four friends must work together—and apart—to save the lives of those they love. Forced into keeping a promise, or securing the promise of her future, Suzanna must reconcile her obligations with her heart as she searches for a love she never had.

Review - The Promise of Miss Spencer is a unique Regency Romance. It has the typical romance story, but also talks about the history of smallpox immunizations. The book showcases several different reactions from the smallpox immunizations. Reactions ranged from fear of the immunizations, skepticism, support, law changers. It's interesting to see that people's reactions to immunizations haven't changed much over the years. The romance was interesting in a couple ways as well. The characters at first were determined to marry out of obligation instead of love. The book lightly discusses how to find a person to marry that's right for you that has similar interests and beliefs. There were many viewpoints presented in this book and it would make for an interesting book to discuss in a book club or with friends. To learn more about The Promise of Miss Spencer, click here

Please note that I received a free copy of the book, however this is my honest opinion. There are also Amazon affiliate links that help support the maintenance of this blog.
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