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!