Nora and the Sacred Stones Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, June 29, 2021


About the Book
Trespasser, Thief, Assailant—these were never titles Nora planned on. She was just trying to protect her sister. With the help of her little brother and his best friend, Nora embarks on a life-or-death quest that could rock the very fabric of their society. 

After breaking into the royal palace, Nora discovers that the ancient power of the sacred stones is more than just a legend. But in her desperate attempt to help her sister, Nora may have awoken something deep inside the earth—a power she doesn’t fully understand. As Nora flees, she accidentally encounters Prince Kyn, heir to the Liardian throne. She narrowly manages to escape, but now the young prince knows who she is and what she looks like. 

Eager to prove himself to his father, Prince Kyn leads a mission to find Nora and bring her back to House Liard. Unfortunately, his search is riddled with obstacles he never saw coming. Kyn soon realizes he needs Nora’s help more than he could have possibly imagined. In fact, the whole world does.

Nora and the Sacred Stones captured my interest immediately. The story is easy-to-read, fun and draws you into an interesting world where stones can provide you with power to create gourmet meals, heal the sick and more. The storytelling was well-done. The story is geared for grades 3-12 (9+). I think readers will enjoy diving into this world and getting to know the characters. There are also some inklings of content that I think would be better for older kids in Elementary School on up to High School. The book is clean with little violence. The world that the author created is intriguing in how Nora can draw power from the stones. There are so many creative elements to this world. It's very imaginative and the author does a good job at describing the world. As a reader, I wanted to explore the world more and get to experience more of it. I felt like you could even discuss this book on several levels and draw comparisons to our world and experiences. To learn more, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note that I received a free ebook to review, however, this is my honest opinion. This post also contains affiliate links.

An Unlikely Pair Blog Tour, Author Interview, Review and Giveaway

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

After a family tragedy, aspiring ballerina Amaliya Marcell is adrift. When she is forced to leave behind everything she knows, the lost young woman struggles to build a new life in an unfamiliar city. But when she meets a handsome world-class figure skater, she finds a glimmer of hope.

After his sister’s unexpected retirement from figure skating, Tyler Linden is devastated to give up his shot at the US national championships. His only hope is to find a new partner, a task that proves nearly impossible—until he observes a beautiful young woman at the local ice rink. Struck by her grace and poise, Tyler takes an unthinkable risk and asks Amaliya to become his new partner. To both of their surprise, she agrees. The path to the championship won’t be easy, but Amaliya and Tyler quickly establish a solid partnership and a profound connection—both on and off the ice. However, competition at the championships is fierce, and when the time comes, they will be forced to put everything on the line if they hope to achieve their dreams.

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write An Unlikely Pair

Traci Hunter Abramson - I've loved ice skating since I was young. This novel was born from that interest. Ironically, this is also the first novel I ever wrote. I started it back in 1995 when I left my full time job at the CIA. At the time, I was working with young teenagers, and I realized that many of them wanted to read adult fiction, but they didn't want the adult content that often goes with it. When I discovered how little was on the market, I set out to fill the gap. 

Life Is What It's Called - How many books will be there for this series? 

Traci Hunter Abramson - This is a unique series in that there will be three novels in the main story line. In addition, I am writing three novellas which are basically bonus material that dives deeper into some of the secondary characters. 

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on now? 

Traci Hunter Abramson - Right now, I'm working on both a Saint Squad novella and a Saint Squad novel. This has been a pretty crazy year, so I'm also preparing for the releases of Redemption (September), Heirs of Falcon Point (October), and Broken Dreams (November)Broken Dreams is the second novella for the Dream's Edge series. 

Life Is What It's Called - How is An Unlikely Pair similar to your other contemporary romance books and how is it different?

Traci Hunter Abramson - When I wrote the original version, it was intended to be set in present day, but because world politics changed so drastically in the nineties, I had to wait for time to pass so it could be set as a recent historical instead. This is the first time I've written anything that isn't set in the present.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you hope readers will gain from reading An Unlikely Pair

Traci Hunter Abramson - More than anything, I hope people will appreciate that even when we go through difficult times, we can thrive in whatever circumstances we encounter. I also hope readers enjoy the work ethic and friendship demonstrated by the characters. 

Life Is What It's Called - Which character from An Unlikely Pair would you most like to meet (pick only one) and why? 

Traci Hunter Abramson - That's hard, but I probably would want to meet Amaliya. It would be so fun to share her multicultural upbringing and watch how she grows throughout this novel. 

Life Is What It's Called -  Which character from all of your books would you most like to meet and why? 

Traci Hunter Abramson - That's such a difficult question. Probably one of my favorite characters is Katherine Whitmore. She has never been a main character in any of my books, but she shows up in my Undercurrents, Saint Squad, and Guardian series as well as in Mistaken Reality. She is just the type of person who everyone should have as a friend.

An Unlikely Pair is a fun, dramatic romance. I loved that the characters were striving to reach their dreams despite opposition. It was fun to see a book combine hockey, ballet and ice skating. The theme in the book is inspiring and motivational. The story is a quick read and a page turner. The characters were interesting, likable, and dynamic. I enjoyed reading this novel and found it to be entertaining. This book is the first of a series and I can't wait to see what happens in the next book in the series. Reading the prequel to the novel, Dancing to Freedom, isn't necessary to read first, but I found that my emotions were more invested in the story from reading the prequel. To learn more about An Unlikely Pair, click here.

Please note that I received a free ebook to review, however, this is my honest opinion. This post also contains affiliate links that help support this blog.

Inventing Vivian Blog Tour, Author Interview, Review and Giveaway

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

About the Book
Ladies of London’s High Society are known for their social graces and poise. Vivian Kirby boasts neither of these enviable qualities, though she does offer impressive conversation on chemical compositions. Unfortunately, it appears that not many men want a brilliant wife. So it is that Vivian finds kinship with a group of young women who embrace each other’s differences: The Blue Orchid Society. 

After an extended stay in China, Lord Benedict has returned transformed to his family’s estate, where an encounter with Vivian, whose scientific knowledge he once undermined, leaves him determined to make amends. He arranges to help forward her research—anonymously, of course. Through letters, Vivian establishes a warm friendship with her secret benefactor, even as she’s unexpectedly drawn into a murder investigation that forces her to work alongside Benedict to unearth the truth. Soon, Vivian fears she may be falling in love with two men, never suspecting that they are one and the same.

Author Interview
Life Is What It's Called - How is The Blue Orchid Society series different from your other books? In what ways is it similar? 

Jennifer Moore - The B.O.S. series is set in the Victorian Era. So, that's a change from the Regency Era or the Early American books that I've written. I love this era so much, because it's not as restrictive. So, women can have jobs like nursing or teaching. They could also inherit property, so that opened up all sorts of possibilities. But the thing that's the same is these are romances. I always love HEA, ya know?

Life Is What It's Called - What are your next writing projects? 

Jennifer Moore - Well, I have a few more books planned for this series, and maybe I'll try to do a few novellas set in the same society. But after that, I'm not sure...any great ideas? 

Life Is What It's Called - What do you hope readers will learn from Inventing Vivian

Jennifer Moore - Vivian is a different lady than most romantic heroines. She's smart and awkward and she doesn't read social cues at all. She isn't romantic, which might bother some readers. But I really felt like it was important for her story to be told. Ladies in stories don't need to always be romantic and feminine. Because in the real world, we aren't all like that. 

Life Is What It's Called - Which lady from The Blue Orchid Society are you most like and why? 

Jennifer Moore - I think Sophronia. She's a peacemaker. Things about society really bother her, but she isn't openly confronting them. She is brave in her own way, but I wish I was more like Elizabeth. She speaks up against injustice and fights for the little guy. 

Life Is What It's Called - What do you like about writing about the Victorian time frame? 

Jennifer Moore - I love how it's just on the cusp of change. Like the modern era is just around the corner, and peeking into this quieter, slower world, but people still hold onto old-fashioned propriety. It's kind of the perfect blend of machines and gears and dinner parties and top hats. 

Life Is What It's Called - If you could meet one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why? 

Jennifer Moore - Sergeant Lester from Solving Sophronia is a fun character. I think we'd be friends. He has a quirky hobby and kind of a nerdy sense of humor. But he's genuine and thoughtful and loyal. 

Life Is What It's Called - How has your study of linguistics helped you in your writing? 

Jennifer Moore - It's helped a lot withe little things like incorporating regional dialects or accents from characters who don't speak English as a first language. I really have to hold back from putting too many foreign words into my books. I love to think of my characters speaking in different languages, but the audio readers don't appreciate it, and neither does the editing staff. 

Life Is What It's Called -  What do you enjoy doing (besides writing)? 

Jennifer Moore - I read a lot. And I play tennis nearly every day.

Solving Sophronia, the first book of the Blue Orchid series, was such an intriguing and fun book that I was curious to read Inventing Vivian. With some series the next book falls short of the original, but this book continued the intrigue, quality and fun Victorian dynamics from the first book. Inventing Vivian carried many exciting elements that reminded me of the Victorian era with intriguing inventions, women's rights, mysteries, and mysterious societies. This book was quite a page turner and the characters were intriguing, interesting and engaging. I really enjoyed this book and discovering the characters in the story. I felt like it was a relaxing and amusing book to escape into. I can't wait to see what Jennifer Moore comes up with next. To learn more about Inventing Vivian, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note that I received a free ebook to review, however, I shared my honest opinion. This post also contains affiliate links that help support this blog.

The Cost of Secrets Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway

Friday, June 11, 2021

Museum curator Ray Peralta knows that at the best of times, the Superstition Mountain Museum is a magnet for treasure hunters chasing the legendary Lost Dutchman's Mine. But this winter, his small desert town on the outskirts of Phoenix worries him as the visitors clear out and the vigilantes move in. Generally, the Sons of Liberty roll into Phoenix Valley for a week each winter with their souped-up army jeeps and dirt bikes to conduct drills in the desert and wreak havoc on the town before they leave. But this year, there is an undeniable tension in the air, and within days of the group's arrival, instead of the usual trail of destruction, they leave a wake of death. 

There are secrets lurking in the Superstition Mountains not related to any treasure. Countless people have lost their lives in that sweltering desert, and it isn't the heat that has taken them. How did they die? That's the real mystery. And in the midst of the riddle stands Ray, a man who swore an oath of secrecy—and he'll die before he breaks it.

Tyson Abaroa was born in Provo, UT but raised in Gilbert, AZ. His freshman year of high school he was assigned to write an essay on what he'd be when he grew up. He turned in a step by step plan to become world dictator. That should have been his first clue that maybe he should keep imagining. In July 2001 between his junior and senior year of high school he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves. After graduating high school, boot camp, and MOS school; his unit was deployed to build a fuel hose line in support of the invasion of Iraq. After this deployment he served in the Chile Santiago East Mission. He married soon after returning home and just before his first anniversary was deployed again. This time to Djibouti, Africa as part of a provisional security company. Tyson's ADHD has led to an eclectic career after the Marine Corps. He has been a credit card collector, a claims processor, a Track Director for USA BMX, and now a Pest Control Technician. He draws from his experiences and develops stories to write about in his spare time. His first book, The Fattest Mormon won a 2017 Whitney Award. 

This book was very suspenseful and had a lot of twists and turns. It seemed like there layers upon layers of secrets and intertwining webs of deception. I can usually tell where a book is heading, but this one I didn't know where the author was leading me. The author gave several misdirects and surprises that I wasn't expecting as a reader. It's a quick read, but I feel like I should have read it a bit slower and maybe I would have picked up on more clues. I would suggest reading it slowly and picking up on the subtle clues. It's a good summer read that will keep you on your toes. I don't want to say too much about this book. I don't want to ruin anything for anyone who wants to add it to their reader list. But if you're looking for an adventurous suspense, add it to your summer reading list. Click here to learn more.

Please note that this post was in cooperation with Covenant Communications. I received a free copy, however, I provided my honest opinion.

My First Book About Virtual Tour, Review, and Giveaway

Thursday, June 10, 2021

My First Book About Dinosaurs 
Written by Donald M. Silver and Patricia J. Wynne
Ages 8-12 | 48 Pages 
Publisher: Dover Publications | ISBN-13: 978-0486845562 

Publisher’s Synopsis: Welcome to the amazing world of dinosaurs! Children ages 8 and up can discover where these prehistoric creatures lived, the food they ate, and what they may have looked like. Along the way, they’ll encounter bone-crushing teeth, slashing claws, and spiked tails while learning fascinating facts about dinosaur eggs and fossils, moving continents, climate changes, exploding volcanoes, and even an asteroid crashing into Earth. Other Books in the Series: My First Book About Our Amazing Earth My First Book About the Oceans My First Book About Backyard Nature.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Bookshop, and Dover Publications.     

An accomplished science and nature illustrator, Patricia J. Wynne is the recipient of the 2008 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor and has won awards from Parenting magazine, the John Burroughs Association, and the National Science Teachers Association. Patricia's artwork has appeared in galleries, magazines, newspapers, and more than 100 books for both children and adults. She is the illustrator of numerous successful Dover titles on science and nature, including My First Book About Outer Space and My First Book About the Body. Trained as a research scientist, Donald M. Silver has written more than 80 books for students of all ages and for teachers. His One Small Square series takes a close-up look at plants and animals where they live. He has won numerous awards including the Children's Science Writing Award in Physics and Astronomy from the American Institute of Physicists. He lives in New York City where he has worked with Patricia J. Wynne since 1981 and with whom he has co-authored numerous successful Dover titles on science and nature, including the "My First Book" series.

The My First Book About series shares information about a scientific subject. Each page is a detailed fine-line coloring page. The coloring pages are meant for older kids ranging from 8-12 that have a lot of control in their coloring and holding their art instrument, but teens and adults who enjoy coloring will also enjoy this series as well. These books are versatile in that they could be used at home, taken on vacation, homeschool, or in a classroom setting. The illustrations are detailed and realistic. The facts are interesting, well-researched, and informative and build on each other as you move throughout the book. It's a non-fiction book that kids can color themselves. It's a fun idea that gives a new twist on nonfiction books. It's a coloring book that you could read like a book. After it's done being colored in, you can enjoy the colored pages and read it over and over again. The coloring is a way to personalize the book and make it your own. I like the idea behind the book. It's an interesting way to interact with an informative book and it would be neat to see this with other subjects as well. This series provides a way to interact more with a scientific book in an artistic way.

Enter for a chance to win a set of four My First Science Books! 

Three (3) winners receive: 
  • A copy of My First Book About Dinosaurs 
  • A copy of My First Book About Our Amazing Earth 
  • A copy of My First Book About the Oceans 
  • A copy of My First Book About Backyard Nature 
The giveaway begins May 31, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends June 30, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT. 

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Dover Publications. I received free copies of this series to review, however, I shared my honest opinion.

Ting Ting, The Girl Who Saved China Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview and Giveaway

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Ting Ting, the Girl Who Saved China 
Written by Ryan O’Connor 
Illustrated by Xiang Minghui 
Ages 6-10 | 48 Pages 
Publisher: Xlibris Corp | ISBN-13 : 978-1664153189 

Publisher’s Synopsis: Li Li Wang is enjoying Chinese New Year with her family when her grandparents ask her to sit with them. Before giving Li Li her holiday gift, they tell her the story of Ting Ting Wang, Li Li’s ancestor, and how she became a Chinese hero. Li Li carefully listens as her grandparents tell her about Ting Ting, the monster Nian, and the origin of the Chinese New Year celebration. Ting Ting, the Girl Who Saved China provides insight into China’s biggest holiday, gives a sense of its culture, and shows that girls are just as strong and brave as boys. 

Available for purchase on Amazon here or Bookshop here.     


Ryan O’Connor is a literature and writing teacher in Shanghai, China, and the author of the children’s book series Bobby the Bear. With a background in sports journalism and education, Ryan has turned his focus to writing children’s books. Through unique characters, Ryan provides children with moral and life lessons. Ryan has earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in education; he has also won numerous awards for sports writing. Ryan is a native of Pittsburg, Kansas, but has spent the past ten years living in Shanghai. To learn more about Ryan and his books, visit his website at

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this story? 

Ryan O'Connor - There were two things that inspired me to write this version of the story. First, I want to share Chinese culture and stories with children in the western world. There are so many wonderful stories and traditions in China that should be shared with the world. Chinese kids learn a lot about western holidays, traditions, and stories; I want to do the same thing for the kids in the west. 

Second, I wanted to write a story for my two nieces – Aidyn and Kiara – where they could latch on to a character who is a girl and the hero of a story. I think it is important girls have strong character heroes to look up to and inspire to be. Girl empowerment is so important, and I hope to do my small part through this story. 

Life Is What It's Called - What will children gain from reading this story? 

Ryan O'Connor - I hope children can gain a small understanding of Chinese culture, especially its most important holiday – Chinese New Year. It’s amazing how much these kids in China know about Santa Claus, even though many here don’t celebrate Christmas, and other holidays we celebrate in the west. I want kids to learn more about other cultures around the world. Also, I want girls to learn that they can be as brave and strong as boys. I want girls to know that they can be the hero.

Life Is What It's Called - Why is it important for kids with and without a Chinese heritage to learn about this holiday? 

Ryan O'Connor - I think it is important that all people learn and understand where they come from. Coming from the United States, we all trace our heritage to some other country. Chinese people, like all ethnicities, should be proud of their long traditions and cultures. It is also important that we all learn about other cultures and people, especially those from different backgrounds. I think the more we learn about each other and accept each other’s traditions and cultures, the more likely we will all get along better and accept each other.

Life Is What It's Called - How can this book be used in a classroom? 

Ryan O'Connor - I think there are several things teachers can do in the classroom to help teach this book, especially around Chinese New Year. First, they can have a class where they teach students to make dumplings (if the school has the proper resources). Second, they can turn this into a play (using puppets for younger kids). Third, making red signs to put up around the classroom (obviously using English). 

Life Is What It's Called - What can we expect from you next? 

Ryan O'Connor - I am finishing up my third book in my Bobby the Bear series (the first two books were published last year – Bobby the Bear and His Missing Dinner and Merry Christmas, Bobby the Bear!). I’m also finishing up another Chinese story. The working title is The Girl on the Moon. The story centers around another Chinese holiday: Mid-Autumn Festival. I plan to have a total of 10 Bobby the Bear books and four Chinese stories completed over the next few years. 

Life Is What It's Called - Do you have any supplemental activities that go along with this book? 

Ryan O'Connor - I don’t have any supplemental activities for this book, but I think it would be interesting to turn this into a classroom play using puppets. 

Life Is What It's Called -  How has your background helped prepare you for writing this book? 

Ryan O'Connor - I have been in China for the past 10 years, and I have spent the past five with my wife’s family. I have heard all these famous Chinese stories, experienced the dumplings with the coin, the fireworks, the big dinner, and the annual television performances. I feel I have been able to capture the essence of the holiday and its importance to the Chinese people. It is an amazing holiday and one I wish everyone could experience once. 

Life Is What It's Called - What is your favorite part of Chinese New Year? 

Ryan O'Connor - My favorite part of the holiday is the family gathering. It reminds me of Thanksgiving and Christmas back home. I am a teacher in China and the school calendar doesn’t allow me to get home from Thanksgiving or Christmas. Being around my wife’s family allows me that since of family that is so important to us during our most important holidays.

Enter for a chance to win a set of books by Ryan O’Connor, including Ting Ting, the Girl Who Saved China! 

One (1) grand prize winner receives: 
  • A copy Ting Ting, the Girl Who Saved China 
  • A Ting Ting Bookmark 
  • A copy of Bobby the Bear and His Missing Dinner 
  • A copy of Merry Christmas, Bobby the Bear 
Two (2) winners receive: 
  • A copy Ting Ting, the Girl Who Saved China 

The giveaway begins June 1, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends June 30, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT. 

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Ryan O’Connor in both your blog post and all social shares. 

When the Atonement Becomes Personal Review

Monday, June 7, 2021

Synopsis - The Atonement of Jesus Christ is our hope that life can get better... that we can get better. To find strength in our struggles, it is vital to look to the One who understands our pains and afflictions, the One who never forsakes us. Christ atoned for our sins, but what does that really mean, and how can we harness the relief He provides? The answer to this question and many others is made simple in When the Atonement Becomes Personal

As one who works with the downtrodden and marginalized, author and therapist Toni Sorenson offers unique insight into the individual nature of the Atonement. Her signature warmth and engaging tone become a powerful catalyst for understanding as she intersperses scripture with personal narrative, not shying away from real problems and solutions. She outlines ways we can reconnect when we feel distanced from our Creator. She sheds light on paths we can take to restore self-worth when life has grown impossibly hard and dark. In this unique and hopeful approach to the gospel’s most complex topic, embark on a journey of self-discovery into why the Atonement does not become truly powerful until it becomes truly personal.

Review -  In When the Atonement Becomes Personal, Toni Sorenson shares her experiences and insights into the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The stories she shares on the Atonement are insightful, memorable, and thought-provoking. I read a bit at a time because I felt like I needed to digest it and think about it. I just had an ebook version, but it's the type of book that you want to mark quotes with a highlighter and had a lot of weight in the words. The stories and experiences she shared were really interesting and shared how to personally understand the Atonement better. I gained a greater insight into the Atonement through this book. She shares stories about how the Atonement applies to everyone. She also makes it clear that Christ's love is for everyone. I felt like I learned a lot from reading this book and I am sure you will too. To learn more about When the Atonement Becomes Personal, click here.

Please note that I received a free ebook to review, however, I shared my honest opinion. This post also contains affiliate links that help support this blog. This post is in cooperation with Covenant Communications.

Little Allies Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Little Allies: A Children’s Story about Inclusion, Diversity, and Becoming an Ally 
Written by Julie Kratz 
Illustrated by Edwards Maiello Ages 5-10 | 74 Pages 
Publisher: Next Pivot Point | ISBN-13: 978-1736515907 

Publisher’s Synopsis: As Ally navigates through her school day, she watches her classmates face bullying and discrimination. Ally realizes that they all want the same thing – to be accepted as they are. Ally learns an important lesson, brought to light by her teacher, that our differences make each of us unique and special, and that we can be an ally to others to help them navigate through life. 

Little Allies is a touching tale that reminds us of the importance of accepting each other, celebrating our differences, and working to become an ally. The colorful pictures show Ally’s willingness to stand by her friends, even when she doesn’t know how else to help. Adults in the story are also important allies, helping kids navigate challenges, learn ways to support, and cherish their uniqueness. 

The bonus material at the end of the book will spark discussion at home or in the classroom.100% of online book sale proceeds will be donated to a nonprofit or organization focused on children’s diversity and inclusion development or providing equitable access to opportunities for all children. 



Julie Kratz is a highly acclaimed TEDx speaker and inclusive leadership trainer who led teams and produced results in corporate America. After experiencing many career “pivot points” of her own, she started her own speaking business, focused on helping leaders be more inclusive. Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Julie is a frequent keynote speaker, podcast host, and executive coach. She holds an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, is a Certified Master Coach, and is a certified unconscious bias trainer. 

Her books include Pivot Point: How to Build a Winning Career Game Plan, ONE: How Male Allies Support Women for Gender Equality, and Lead Like an Ally: A Journey Through Corporate America with Strategies to Facilitate Inclusion, and Little Allies: A Children’s Story about Inclusion, Diversity, and Becoming an Ally. Meet Julie at 


Life Is What It's Called - Why do you think this book is important for kids to read? 

Julie Kratz - Kids are naturally curious about diversity. They see differences as additive. Yet, they don't know how to talk about it, and they need tools to help them. This book tells real-life everyday stories kids can relate to and has a discussion guide for adults with an ally promise so they can take real action towards inclusion. 

Life Is What It's Called - How can teachers use this book in the classroom? 

Julie Kratz - K to 5 teachers can read the book aloud in the classroom and feel comfortable asking the discussion guide questions to unpack it with kids. My ally certificate can be printed out for kids to decorate and sign so that they make an active promise to be inclusive with other children. We have the discussion guide and my ally promise certificate downloadable for free on our website

Life Is What It's Called - How can parents use this book at home?

Julie Kratz - Many parents and caregivers have read the book aloud with their children at bedtime and they say it's opened up some very interesting discussions with their kids. They didn't know how to start talking about racial differences, disability, or gender differences, but this book helped open that door for them. 

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this book? 

Julie Kratz - After experiencing the pandemic pregnant and with a seven-year-old who was very curious about racial Justice, I felt uncomfortable navigating this delicate conversation with my children even as a diversity practitioner. I looked for books to help and was unable to find them. That is why I wrote Little Allies. 

Life Is What It's Called - How has your background as an Inclusive Leadership Trainer and speaker helped you to write this book? 

Julie Kratz - The stories I've collected over the years were integral for this book. It's impossible to be an ally at work if you are not an ally at home. It's seamless. There's no on or off switch. 

Life Is What It's Called - How does this book compare to other books out on the market? 

Julie Kratz - There are many children's books on diversity, but they are very overt in nature. They don't generally have stories with representation across all dimensions of diversity, and their messages are not as interesting for children. 

Life Is What It's Called - What are your next writing projects? 

Julie Kratz - We hope Little Allies will become a box set with many, many more stories to come. 

Life Is What It's Called - Why is fostering change necessary? 

Julie Kratz - Future generations cannot afford to keep having these tired conversations about diversity. We cannot kick the can to them to solve problems created by generations before them. They need tools for positive change.

Enter for a chance to win a Little Allies ART-Stravaganza prize pack! 

One (1) Grand Prize Winner Receives: 
  • A copy of Little Allies, autographed by Julie Kratz
  • A $50 Target gift card 
  • An ART-stravangza kit for your budding artist including: 
    •  A Sketchbook 
    • Skin Tone Colored Pencils 
    • Crayola Multi-Ethnic Skin Tone Washable Tempera Paints 
    • Paint Brushes 
    • Crayola Skin Tone Multicultural Crayons 
    • Crayola Skin Tone Multicultural Markers 
Two Winners Receive: 
  • A copy of Little Allies, autographed by Julie Kratz 
  • A Little Allies Slap Bracelet
  • A Little Allies Sticker 

The giveaway begins May 17, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends June 17, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT. 

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Next Pivot Point.

June Giveaways (low to moderate entry)

Tuesday, June 1, 2021


I like entering low to moderate entry giveaways and I share each month some of the blog or social media giveaways I've entered, thought someone else might be interested in entering or that have been submitted to me through bloggers. Check back often throughout the month to see if I have posted more giveaways. If you are hosting a family-friendly giveaway on your blog and would like to see it listed here, please contact me (via email). If you have a won a giveaway that I posted, please leave a comment and share that you won.

Game On! Virtual Book Tour, Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Game On! USA: Awesome Activities for Clever Kids 
Written by Patrick Merrell 
Ages 8-12 | 144 Pages 
Publisher: Dover Publications | ISBN-13: 978-0486841854 

Publisher’s Synopsis: The newest Game On! Awesome Activities for Clever Kids title, this activity book has dozens of new and challenging brain games for ages 8 to 12. More than 100 colorful puzzles feature the excitement and adventure of the United States, including crosswords, secret codes, word scrambles, spot the differences, mazes, and much more. It’s the perfect book for at home or on the go, and the fun starts with just a pencil — no electricity or batteries needed! Complete solutions appear at the end of the book. 

Available for purchase on Amazon, Dover Publications, and Bookshop.

Patrick Merrell is a professional puzzlemaker, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, and graphic designer. He’s one of MAD magazine’s “Usual Gang of Idiots.” He’s created over 250 books, including 75 puzzle books, and written 81 crosswords for The New York Times (including 19 Sundays). Six of his Times crosswords appear in Will Shortz Picks His Favorite Puzzles, the most of any constructor. From 2009 to 2011, he wrote for Wordplay, the daily online crossword column for The New York Times. He’s also created puzzles for the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, People, Sports Illustrated, MAD, National Wildlife Foundation, Crayola, Scholastic, the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, the World Puzzle Championship, and many, many others. 

The Game On! Awesome Activities for Kids books are fun books for kids! Shortly after I opened the box with the books, my son (age 7-1/2) asked if he could do the activities in the books. I agreed and he spent several days working on the puzzles and activities. He really enjoyed the challenges and figuring out how to solve the puzzles. Some of the activities, he needed a little help. My five-year-old daughter was even interested in the books, but they're a little too old for her. My son worked on the books on his own and without any promptings from me or his dad. I think the fact that my son enjoyed these books and worked on his own demonstrates that these are books that kids will enjoy and want to do. My son enjoyed working on the activities and found a lot of enjoyment from being challenged. These books would be fun for kids to do over the summer, just for fun, or on road trips. The activities and puzzles are kid-friendly, challenging and yet-fun. The illustrations are attractive, kid-friendly, and eye-catching. I could see these books used at home, on the road, or even in a classroom setting. This is a great introduction to puzzles for kids.

Enter for a chance to win a set of three Game On! Awesome Activities for Kids books! 

Three (3) winners receive: 
  • A copy of Game On! Awesome Activities for Clever Kids 
  • A copy of Game On! MORE Awesome Activities for Clever Kids 
  • A copy of Game On! USA: Awesome Activities for Clever Kids

The giveaway begins May 31, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends June 30, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT. 

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Dover Publications. Please note that I received copies to review, however, I shared my honest opinions.
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