Friday, December 27, 2013

Rock Harbor Search & Rescue Series for Girls.....

Today I have a review for 2 books in the NEW Middle Grade Series by Colleen Coble. This series is a welcome one for older Middle Schoolers.
Search & Rescue, Rock Harbor   -     By: Colleen Coble, Robin Caroll
 NEW! #2: Lost & Found   -     By: Colleen Coble, Robin Caroll

Rock Harbor Search & Rescue
by Colleen Coble & Robin Caroll
ISBN: 9781400321063
$8.75 (paperback)
$1.99 (kindle)
About the book:
Emily O’Reilly is obsessed with all things Search and Rescue. She volunteers with the team and goes on rescue missions with her stepmom. She is even selling homemade jewelry to save up for her own Search and Rescue puppy. But when an expensive necklace is stolen from a renowned jewelry artist at Rock Harbor’s fall festival and Emily is accused of the crime, it looks like she’ll never get her puppy and be able to join the Rock Harbor Search and Rescue team.
Emily isn’t willing to give up on her Search and Rescue dreams that easily, and she sets out to find the real culprit and to restore her reputation. With a few suspects in mind, Emily is determined to uncover the truth, but she isn’t prepared for the secrets she and the Search and Rescue dogs sniff out in the process. This exciting mystery is filled with twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats and have them pining after a Search and Rescue puppy of their own!
Lost & Found
by Colleen Coble
ISBN: 9781400321636
$8.69 (paperback)
$5.99 (kindle)
About the book:
An old photo brings a shocking revelation and it’s up to Emily and her best friend Olivia to solve the case!
Fourteen-year-old Emily O’Reilly and her best friend Olivia Webster have a knack for solving mysteries. Emily has been busily training her new puppy Sherlock to be a Search and Rescue dog so that the two can lead search-and-rescue missions someday. So when Emily stumbles across an old photo of Olivia’s adoption day—a fact that has never been revealed to Olivia—the two quickly decide to uncover the mysterious details surrounding Olivia’s birth parents.
But the two bite off more than they can chew as they dig into learning more about Olivia’s adoption without notifying her parents. And to make matters worse, Emily’s mother Marika, a convicted felon recently released on parole, will stop at nothing to contact her daughter—a fact that Emily is not happy about.
When her beloved stepmother Naomi disappears, Emily takes it upon herself to connect the dots and conduct her own snow-bound search-and-rescue mission with Sherlock. Will Emily ever find the secret behind Naomi’s disappearance? And will Olivia ever learn the truth about her adopted parents?

My thoughts:
(This review will cover books 1 & 2 of the series)

I really enjoyed this series and while I personally found it moved quite fast without a lot of indepth descriptions (which I as an adult like) it's a perfect introduction to intrigue and mystery for Middle Schoolers. Written by Christian author Colleen Coble the Rock Harbor Search & Rescue series is interesting enough to hold your kids' attention and yet it still teaches Biblical Truths without being preachy. Kids learn about honesty, respect & honor to parents and compassion for others.

I do have to say that I didn't appreciate all that Emily goes through in Book 1. Her father comes across as uncaring, over strict and untrusting of his own daughter who doesn't seem to have given him reason to feel this way. In Book 1 Emily & her friend Olivia are supposed to be watching another vendor's jewelry table and the lady's most valuable necklace ends up missing - Emily is punished by having to give her the money she has earned that day at her own jewelry table and grounded for 2 weeks. Not once did her dad listen to her side of the story and to me he comes across as very authoritative and unfeeling & Emily ends up feeling alone, frustrated and angry - angry enough that she took it into her own hands to restore & prove her own innocence.

These books brought the following verses to mind: Eph 6:4 "Fathers, do not exasperate your children...." and Col 3:21 "Fathers, do not embitter your children or they will become discouraged." (Both are NIV). I think Emily handles her father very well for a 14 year old who could of easily become bitter, angry, defeated and given up - instead she sets out to make it right and get her reputation back. She is a great example of Prov 20:11 and shows that "even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right." (NLT)

I actually read these books in the wrong order and I remember feeling the same way with Lost & Found - but I wasn't as disturbed by the actions of her father in Book 2. I'll be very interested to see what happens in Book 3 & if dear old Dad mellows out even more. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Emily.

This is a wonderful series for families - add it to your family bookshelf & if you have middle schoolers to early high school consider reading it as a family. I think even boys would enjoy them even though they are "written for girls.". The only thing missing in these books is a full list of discussion questions.

You can learn more about the author & the many books she has written @ or on Facebook @ colleencoblebooks

Disclaimer: I was offered a copy of the book to read and review on CCB in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to have a positive review and no $$$ exchanged hands.


Santa's Merry Band - Christmas App

I have a FUN contest and item to share with you today:

Mibblio has just released a FUN new app for iPad and it's for all little "Mibblet's" out there. Santa's Merry Little Band is an interactive children's music story book that allows kids to read and jam along with the songs. Featuring songs from KT Tunstall, Guster, Indigo Girls, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, G Love and lots more (so, yeah - no tinny sounding ear covering noises!!! Yay!)

You can enter to WIN a copy of Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler's Marshmallow World (The Art of Designing with Marshmallows) and a FREE download of the app (+10 other FREE app downloads!!!).

Here's what you do to enter:
Instagram your holiday treat ideas - use the hashtag #mibbliomarshmallows
That's It! Contest ends 1/5/14!

More details @

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Christmas Kindness ~ book review

New Children’s Book for Review: ‘A Christmas Kindness’ by C. C. GevryA Christmas Kindness
by C.C. Gevry
ISBN: 978-0985266141 
$10.79 (paperback)

About the book:
Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who only has one request for Santa, Robert is confused over what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

My thoughts:
A Christmas Kindness is a welcome introduction to giving and caring for others during the Christmas Season. Robert is a little boy who has a list of things he'd like to have for Christmas – a model train, a remote control car, a blue bike.... But when he meets Glenn and visits with him he learns there are others that face sadness and hardness during the holiday season. It opens his eyes to others and he ends up making a decision to help someone else instead of “stuff” for himself.

I read this story to my 4 year old and 6 year old and while the little one wasn't quite ready for a chapter book she was the one that was able to answer my comprehension questions that I asked throughout the story. “What is Robert going to ask Santa for?” “Why is Glenn sad?” “What is Glenn going to ask Santa for?”

This would be a great book to add to your Christmas book selections and if you do Advent in your family it might be a great introduction to a family service project. Read it at Thanksgiving and encourage your kids to think of ways they can help others and tell them you will make a decision together as a family on a service project for the holidays.

This book is ideal for kiddos 5 and up. Sierra was a little young at 4 for it and kept asking if she could go play but I really think she got what she was supposed to out of it. =D

About the author:
C.C Gevry is a children’s author from Western Massachusetts. A Christmas Kindness is her first book with 4RV Publishing. She is also a member of the SCBWI. Ms. Gevry is married with two young children and a son who is married. Visit her online at

Disclaimer: I was offered a copy of the book to read and review on CCB in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to have a positive review and no $$$ exchanged hands.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Christmas Kindness book tour ~ 1st Chapter Reveal

New Children’s Book for Review: ‘A Christmas Kindness’ by C. C. Gevry

A Christmas Kindness
by CC Gevry
ISBN: 978-0985266141
$10.79 (paperback)

About the book:
Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who has only one request for Santa, Robert is confused over what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

Inside the mall, Christmas music and the tinkling of jingle bells tickled Robert’s ears. With his mother, Robert weaved through the crowd of shoppers. He smelled fried food from Burger Mart. The sweet scent of warm chocolate chip cookies from the bakery made his mouth water. 

Chapter One Excerpt:

“Oh, when will we get there?” whispered Robert from the backseat of his mother’s car. He fiddled with the pull on his coat. The wipers brushed aside the snow falling on the windshield.

As they arrived, lines of cars streamed in and out of the mall parking lot. Robert peered over his mother’s shoulder and saw her white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. She huffed as she scanned the parking lot for an empty space. He wiggled around, but his seat belt kept him secure.

Inside the mall, Christmas music and the tinkling of jingle bells tickled Robert’s ears. With his mother, Robert weaved through the crowd of shoppers. He smelled fried food from Burger Mart. The sweet scent of warm chocolate chip cookies from the bakery made his mouth water.

Robert’s shoulders drooped when he saw how many kids waited to see Santa. There were babies, some crying and struggling to get out of their mother’s arms. Little kids, many younger than eight-year-old Robert, clung to their father’s pants or jumped up and down as they waited their turn.

“This is going to take forever!”

Displaying Cheryl Malandrinos.jpgAbout the author:
C.C Gevry is a children’s author from Western Massachusetts. A Christmas Kindness is her first book with 4RV Publishing. She is also a member of the SCBWI. Ms. Gevry is married with two young children and a son who is married. Visit her online at

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Transformers Construct-Bots product review

We are going to step away and take a look at a fun, educational and creative outlet for kids. It's a little different from your legos. It's a little different than playing with legos. It's really a combination of the two - take away the instructions and hand over the pieces..... it's the Transformer's newest toy: Construct Bots to the rescue!

I have 2 kiddos that I watch on a regular basis. Ms S is 4 and really not into action figures. She'd far rather play house with dolls, barbies, aprons and kitchenettes. In fact, she wasn't really interested in the Transformer's Construct-Bots at all. Until she saw how much fun Connor and one of my friends son's Danny were having with it. Then it was.... "I want to play too!"

Connor is 6, all boy and for some reason (I think it was all Danny's mom's fault - phew phew!) he has started making gun and shooting noises. So, the Construct-Bots are right up his alley. I do have to say I had found a big bag of old transformer toys at a garage sale this summer for $5 so I'm probably an enabler too (lol).

When I first received the Construct-Bots I handed them over to Connor with the reminder that these were going to be toys that we played with ONLY at the table and that we would play with them ONLY on days that school is out (I need things to bring out that they haven't played with to much & also that still has all the pieces - right?). I made the mistake of handing them the instructions.... So, all they wanted me to do was built the figures that were in the instructions on the box. Being a girl, it helped me know what it should look like - being a kid, it wasn't so helpful to them.

When Danny came over - I ditched the instructions and told them they were on their own. And you know what? They did just fine!

(I really hope you can see these - I took them at 5:30 at night on my phone so it was a little dark in the living room.... Santa really needs to bring me a REAL camera!)

Connor (age 6) created Mondo ~ a monster dinosaur! 

Danny (age 6) made Super Hero Transformer! See those little guns sticking out of his arm? Those are machine guns & it comes with 2 of them. (They could also be drills, grippers, whatever else you want them to be)

Sierra (age 4) made Skatez - I actually thought this one was the most creative. Skatez skates on ice and snow and has a handy holder on the top to slide your hand in for a graceful landing. (lol) I did not get a picture of her other masterpiece Roller ~ sorry.

For the first time, Transformer fans can construct, customize and convert their very own Bots! Transformers Construct-Bots are the newest innovation from Hasbro - each Transformers Construct-Bots figure includes a robot frame, armor, weapons and accessory parts to let kids build and customize their own Transformers robot action figure.

The nice thing about these kits is that each is completely interchangeable between all Transformers Construct-Bots figures so there is no limit to what your kid's can create!

Transformers Construct-Bots Elite Class Wheeljack Buildable Action Figure Transformers Construct-Bots Scout Class Starscream Buildable Action Figure

I received 2 kits for my kiddos to play with: 
1) Transformers Construct-Bots Scout Action Figure Set: Starscream $9.99
2) Transformers Construct-Bots Elite Action Figure Set: Wheeljack $14.99

All of my kids loved these new construction toys! The fact that they could make more than just violent action figures was a huge plus in my book and I will definitely be looking for more sets. The prices are a lot more reasonable than other building toys I won't name and the hours my kiddos have been playing with them and not arguing has been wonderful!

Win It!

Would you like to WIN a set for your kiddos? They are great for a wide range of ages for kids 6 to adult (yeah, I know you gals refer to your hunnies as giant boys!)

Transformers Construct-Bots Triple Changers Blitzwing Buildable Action Figure Transformers Construct-Bots Triple Changers Bumblebee Buildable Action Figure

I have a Transformers Construct-Bots Triple Changer Set (val $24.99) to give away! This giveaway will be a fast one - it ends on December 4th @ midnight and is for US readers. Thanks for reading CCB! (I don't know if the above is the one you'll get - it's an example of the Triple Changer Transformer)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: I was offered a Transformers Construct-Bots in exchange for a honest review of these toys. I was not required to have a positive review and no money exchanged hands. CCB is not responsible for prize distribution. Thank you for reading CCB!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Angels we have heard on high

Welcome to CCB! Thought I'd share one of my favorite songs & a favorite group I Love to listen too!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Tiger Princess (Blog Tour)

The Tiger Princess
by Sarah Renee
ISBN: 978-1469902630
$ 11.69 (paperback)
$ 0.00 (kindle)

About the book:
Ten years ago, a devastating fire took the lives of Queen Karenisha and King Makero, leaving a young Princess Saderia orphaned.

 Nobody knows how the fire started, but it ignited quickly. Too quickly.

In ten years, the truth has never been discovered...
Saderia is a curious 10-year-old tiger Princess. Her Aunt Cia and Uncle Jash have taken over the duties of Queen and King and have raised Saderia since her parents disappeared in a mysterious fire. Saderia’s aunt and uncle don’t understand the sassy, adventurous tiger, which she resents.

At night, though, Saderia is haunted by dark nightmares about the fire - eerie, cryptic dreams that push her to start investigating her parents’ disappearance. As she uncovers strange clues, she soon becomes desperate to know the truth. Could her parents have been murdered? On a quest to uncover the truth about her parents’ disappearance, she soon realizes her forest has many other mysteries when she discovers a dangerous, ancient royal secret regarding her oldest ancestors - a secret that will change not only her life, but the lives of everyone around her.

Saderia doesn’t know who or what to trust, but she is desperate to uncover the secrets of the past. She will do whatever it takes to find the truth.

My thoughts:
The Tiger Princess is a great first start at a major writing project.

I'll admit I personally had some trouble reading this story as an adult. The writing was a little hard to read and I didn't realize until the end that a teenager had written the book so I was basing much of what I thought and felt as I read on thinking it was written by an adult. So, imagine my surprise!  Written by a 12 year old girl (and I'm assuming tweaked and fine tuned as she is now 17) the story and theme is mature and complex even though the writing is quite stilted yet and much of it is repeated and a little hard to read as an adult. I'm very glad I persisted on reading to the end.

I personally thought I knew what was going to happen at the end of the story and while I had part of it right there was enough surprise that I ended up finishing the book very satisfied and pleased with the ending.

With the right guidance for development of characters and plot she will have a career in the future that will go far. =D She already has a handle on description which I'll admit is one of my favorite parts of reading. Description helps to set the tone and scene of a story and that is what really caught my attention in this book. I liked also how the characters weren't "dumbed" down - I see that so much in preteen books written by adults. This story was written for kids - in their own language and with a directness other kids will enjoy reading. Sarah Renee is an author to watch - if she can complete a full sized 340 page book as a teen with a complex and detailed story like this that is wonderful!

An excerpt: 

Chapter One:  Princess Saderia

Flames licked up the pine trees, forever scarring their bark and charring them an ugly black color. The leaves were scorched into nothing more than ash as the fire crept violently through the forest. The crackle of flame drowned out the cries of the animals of the forest as they rushed to get water to put out the flames. Trees fell with a sickening crack and smashed against other bushes and trees which then burst into flame. The smoke from the horrible fire turned the normally peaceful, light blue sky into a dark black cloud, choking and damaging the throats of the animals it captured.

      The fire spread hungrily from tree to tree without stopping, creating a dangerous ring of flames. The blaze turned the forest red, orange, yellow, and black as forest animals ran for cover while others rushed to put out the fire. Some of the animals yelled as loud as they could and still couldn’t be heard over the crackle of flame, the snapping of falling trees, or the screams from the other animals.

      The fire was closest to a large den, secluded in one part of the forest. There two tigers were running around screaming orders at anyone they could get to, desperately calling out for two animals. 

      As a tiny tiger cub, Saderia observed this from safely inside her den. Her amber eyes stretched wide with fascination, wonder and terror as she crawled up to one of the windows to look out of her den and see her forest burning around her. The heat reached her even through the house and she felt fear well up in her small body as she stared out with a quiet whimper. On the verge of tears, she watched the forest and the two tigers that had run from the house closely.

      “Karenisha!” one of the tigers who had run from the house screamed.
“Cia, have you found them?” yelled the other one, racing around, trying to find an opening in the ring of fire.
“No!” Cia screamed. “Jash, where are they?!” She raced around the fire, coughing and trying desperately to see through the smoke and flames.
“Makero!” she yelled in vain against the deafening sounds of the fire.

      They continued to scurry around the forest, yelling for the two missing animals while other animals hurried forward with water. It was almost impossible to stop the flame but no one ever gave up trying. Screams from the fleeing animals floated around in the air.

      “Where are the King and Queen?!” someone screamed

      “Where did the fire come from?!” shouted another.

      More yells and cries came but were drowned out by the enraged roar of the fire as it devoured yet more of their precious forest.

      Baby Saderia observed all this with huge eyes and a shaking, tiny body. Two fat tears teetered precariously on her eyelids and then spilled over her face, quickly at first and then slowly until they plopped onto the window sill she was sitting on.

      “Mommy…” she whispered. “Daddy…”

About the author:
Sarah Renée has loved writing from an early age. She has been writing short stories since the age of 4, and at the age of 10, she came up with the idea for The Tiger Princess. She wrote the novel when she was 12. She is fascinated with wild animals and the wild world outside her home, and has an obvious great love of tigers. She enjoys spending time with her cats, reading, drawing, and playing her violin when she is not writing. In her free time, she is constantly daydreaming about her many characters, creating new ones, and coming up with interesting adventure story ideas. She is now 17 years old.

Visit Sarah Renée’s website at or her blog at to learn more about Sarah Renée, her books, and more! You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: I was offered a copy of the book to read and review. I was not required to have a positive review and no money exchanged hands. Thanks for reading GivingNSharing!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Catie's Secret, A God's Secret Garden Adventure book

Catie's Secret
A God's Secret Garden Adventure (series)
by Laura Allen Nonemaker
ISBN: 9781625101235
$10.44 (paperback)
32 pages, preschool - 1st grade

About the book:
Catie Caterpillar looks different than any other bug Herbie and Bella have ever seen. When Herbie makes fun of Catie, Major Benny shows him why he should not judge anyone by how they look. In the end Catie reveals a secret and the bunnies learn the joy of forgiveness.

Catie's Secret is the third book in Laura Allen Nonemaker's children's series. God's Secret Garden Adventures. Like the two previous books, Benny's Angel and Fred D's Amazing Escape, Catie's Secret invites young readers to join an exciting adventure while it teaches a valuable lesson.

Includes digital entertainment package and discussion questions. This book includes a free download of the audio version of this book. Simply use the code listed in the book when visiting the website. Once downloaded to your computer you can listen to the book through your computer's speakers, burn it to an audio CD or save the file to your portable music device (iPod, MP3).

My thoughts:
Catie's Secret is a very timely book in my little daycare for one of our little girls. She goes to a preschool which has several children with hearing disabilities as well as other differences. One of the little boys in her class happens to be missing part of his right arm and “Miss S” immediately connected with this book even though it's not quite the same thing.

In Catie's Secret Uncle Benny talks about how many of the bugs and trees have “secrets” inside them. What do you think is an acorn's secret? What do you think Catie's secret might be? It helps Herbie and Bella start looking at Catie a little differently. Herbie decides he must apologize to Catie – but Catie has disappeared! Did she leave the garden because of what he said?

Children will learn a little biology in Catie's Secret as well – we watch Catie eating (Chomp Chomp Gulp) and eating (Munch Munch Gulp) and then she attaches herself to a branch, sheds her skin (I didn't know that butterflies did that) and creates a cocoon. On the right page where the text is at there is a little picture that shows what Catie is doing at all times (eating, shedding, cocoon, shaking the cocoon to get out, etc) and the left page shows what the text is talking about. I thought this was a neat way for kids to see what Catie is doing and how she is changing.

Very fun and educational book. I loved how the book shares how we should treat others and not be mean about how others look too. This would be a great Easter Basket addition as well as great for a study on bugs, nature, spring, etc...
About the author: 
Laura began writing as a child in Bermuda when a favorite teacher had one of her essays published in a local newspaper. She is a contributing writer for Kentucky Monthly Magazine and her first children's book, Benny's Angel, was published in 2011. She is on the planning team for Artful Missions, which produces juried art shows and donates most of the proceeds to ministries that help women and children escape human trafficking. When Laura is not dreaming up her next God's Garden adventure, she enjoys spending time with her large family.

Connect with Laura at:

Disclaimer: I was offered a copy of the book to read and review in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to have a positive review and no money exchanged hands. Thanks for reading CCB!