The Progeny

Title: The Progeny
Author: Tosca Lee
Publisher: Howard Books
ISBN: 978-1-5011-224-08

“This isn’t about some Progeny agenda or righting some centuries-old wrong. It’s about staying alive,” Audra acknowledges in Tosca Lee’s novel, The Progeny: Descendants of the House of Bathory.

~ What ~
At three hundred and thirty-six pages, this first in the series paperback targets readers that like fantasy fiction thrillers with romance and a touch of paranormal. With slang words such as crap, ass, heck, and bitchiness along with topics of murder and death, it would not be apropos for immature readers. A map is included at the beginning, and the ending has acknowledgments, a teaser for the next book in the series, author’s biography, and advertisements for other books written.

In this fast-paced tale, a twenty-one-year-old woman awakes in a backwoods Maine cabin with a new identity and her memory erased. Learning she willing deleted her past, she is once again caught up in confusion as others are determined to kill her or protect and keep her alive. Being a direct relative of a 1600s female serial killer, she becomes hunted by a secret society out to destroy any of the murderer’s descendants.

Befriending Luka and others from her strange past, she races against time to find the one item that will not only keep her safe but also keep those she loves alive.  As a Progeny that holds the key to survival for others, Audra must make hard choices to overcome her past.

~ Why ~
With the backdrop of America and parts of Europe, the book shows how blood relatives are connected throughout the ages while love conquers obstructions, heartbreaks, and complications. I like how the author weaved writing in the first person of Audra into a tightly-knitted blanket of her care and concern for those around her.

~ Why Not ~
Since it is the first in a series, the initial story may be short-sighted as it intrigues the reader enough to finish the pages to find out what happens, but at the same time, it frustrates one who expects closure and completion to some aspects. As a quick read, it produced some perplexity at different sections for me.

~ Wh0 ~
An award-winning New York Times bestselling author, Lee has written over a half dozen novels. Loving travel, she and her family live in the Midwest.

~ Wish ~
I wish the book did not jump around often until the end when the puzzle pieces were coming together. With an abrupt, unexplained ending, it was disappointing for me, leaving little satisfaction of unanswered issues.

~ Want ~
If you like mystery thrillers that are fast-paced and involve many countries as it reverts to decades and past relationships, this may be a good read for you, but I did not find it one of Lee’s best works like some of her previous books.

Thanks to Bookpleasures and Howard Books for this book to read and review.

This review will be posted on Bookpleasures and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under Fiction, Book Review, *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It

Why is Great-Grandma So Sad?

Why is Great Grandma So Sad? Discovering the Holocaust Through the Eyes of a ChildTitle: Why is Great-Grandma So Sad?
Author: Susan Heagy
Illustrator: Emunah
Publisher: Yattir Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9969092-0-4

“Come sit with me and I will tell you how brave Great-Grandma was! It is because of her that you and I are here today,” Sarah is told in Susan Heagy’s children’s book, Why is Great-Grandma So Sad? Discovering the Holocaust Through the Eyes of a Child.

~ What ~
This seventy-two-page paperback targets seven to fourteen-year-old children who want to learn more about the Holocaust. With topics of starvation, abuse, and death, it would not be appropriate for immature readers. After endorsements, a preface, and acknowledgments, there are six story chapters, ending with a timeline, glossary, and Holocaust Survivors’ biographies. Colored pencil and ink drawings cover almost every page with seven colored photographs of Holocaust Survivors included at the end of the book.

In this fictional tale, young Sarah asks her mother why her great-grandmother is sad, and her mother spends the time explaining how the old Jewish woman had to do all she could to survive the Holocaust. Discussed are how the great-grandma was forced to move to the ghetto, snuck out to steal food, took a train ride to a concentration camp, hid in a barrack for two years, and was liberated years later as the family’s only survivor.

~ Why ~
Passing down the horrors of the Holocaust is important and vital in a free society today. I like how this story for children was told through the eyes of a parent explaining the Holocaust to a seven-year-old about her grandmother’s experiences from seven to ten years old.

~ Why Not ~
While the topic of the Holocaust involves heinous crimes and torturous situations that many lived and died experiencing, the book may not be geared for the sensitive, immature child who may have negative responses or nightmares from hearing about such a drastic time in world history.

~ Who ~
Heagy is the founder and president of Abundant Hope International, a non-profit organization that assists Holocaust Survivors in Israel. No information is given on the illustrator.

~ Wish ~
Including biographies of the author and illustrator of the book would be helpful.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a short story book that focuses on the Holocaust through the eyes of a young Jewish girl to remind young ones of a tragic time in history, this is a quick read that may leave sad but lasting impressions.

Thanks to BookCrash and the author for this book to read and review.

This review will be posted on BookCrash and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Biography, Book Review, Childrens

The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob

The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob: Into the LeadTitle: The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob: Into the Lead
Author: Brooks Olbrys
Illustrator: Kevin Keele
Publisher: Children’s Success Unlimited LLC
ISBN: 978-0-9829613-7-7

“We all believe you’re the one for this job.
You’re always creative. You’re Blue Ocean Bob!”
Bob is told in Brooks Olbrys’s children’s book, The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob: Into the Lead.

~ What ~
This fifty-six-page hardbound targets children ages six to eight years old who enjoy stories about the ocean while learning principles of achievement. With no extremely scary scenes, the juvenile fiction contains some complicated wording for beginner readers. Colorful and expressive detailed illustrations cover almost all pages with easy to read writing overlapping them.

Told in rhyme, this third book in the series contains five eight-to-ten-page chapters about Bob, a young boy who lives on an isle in the Sea of Kerchoo. In the first story, there has been an earthquake that has caused a crack that is leaking oil on the ocean floor, and Bob has to have the courage to resolve it. The next one involves a beached whale that is saved thanks to the creativity of many working together while the third one leaves Bob in charge and making decisions. The fourth tale is about dolphins trapped and sharks aiding Bob in a quick action to rescue them. The final story is about the boy learning about leadership when hiring Molly to help him with his work overload.

~ Why ~
This is a fun book that can be read in one sitting or as five nightly bedtime stories. I like how the author rhymed the storyline to flow effortlessly. By promoting achievement, also taught is asking for advice from those that are wise, working as a team, building confidence, friendship, and trusting others.

~ Why Not ~
Beginner readers may struggle with some of the three-syllable words. Others may not like the rhyming sequencing, but I found it easy to read. Some may think the one or two of the tales had no excitement like the others.

~ Who ~
The founder of Children’s Success Unlimited, Brooks Olbrys is also an investment bank managing director. Inspired by his young son, he wrote this series to share achievement principles with children. Illustrator Keele has been featured in picture books, magazines, and board and video games, using many artistic mediums.

~ Wish ~
With reading only this one, I wish I had read the other two books in the series.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for an engaging children’s book series that not only is about the ocean, animals, and sea creatures but about achieving goals, this is third in an educational series.

Thanks to Bookpleasures, Bostick Communications, and the author for this book to read and review.

This review will be posted on Bookpleasures and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Animals / Pets, Book Review, Childrens

* CONTEST * Jesus Inspires Me ~ 1 Free Giveaway!

WIN MISSI JAY’S CHILDREN’S COLORING / ACTIVITY BOOK,
JESUS INSPIRES ME!

ONE WINNER will be randomly selected to win FREE from Shelton Interactive this recently released book.

REVIEW  TEASER:
“Circle and color all the ways Jesus inspires you,” Missi Jay writes in her illustrated children’s book, Jesus Inspires Me.

SIMPLE steps to enter this 3-day contest

1.  Follow my blog if you do not do so already.
2. Click on the headline ** CONTEST ** to be sure you are on the Reply page.
3. Post in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section below why you want to read this exciting book (could be funny, clever, serious, or the words “I want” since the winner is randomly chosen).
4. Like at least one of these social media sites on the internet.

5. If you are the winner, please consider posting a review regarding what you thought of the book on at least 2 websites.

This is a FAST CONTEST ending THURSDAY, APRIL 28th, 2016 after 6 PM PST so follow the requirements above and try for a chance to win a book that is mailed from the publisher directly to you!Winner’s shipping address must be in the U.S.A.

I read & reviewed this book & it’s a 4 STAR!
Here is my review: https://connywithay.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/jesus-inspires-me/

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Filed under Book Review, Win-Free Giveaway Contests

Jesus Inspires Me

Title: Jesus Inspires Me
Illustrator: Missi Jay
Publisher: Graham Blanchard Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-9897949-7-8

“Circle and color all the ways Jesus inspires you,” Missi Jay writes in her illustrated children’s book, Jesus Inspires Me.

~ What ~
Part of the Knowing My God series, this thirty-two-page oversized paperback targets children four to eight years old. With no scary scenes, it is a compilation of pages to color and activities to do while inspiring the reader about Jesus.

More of a coloring book, this has multiple pages of black and white drawings that can be colored by a child or even adult. Several Bible verses are written out within the drawings. The activities include circling drawn objects, finding the way in an owl maze, filling in a secret message, connecting the dots, spotting differences in animals, and drawing oneself. There are also short biographies of Bible characters such as Silas, Miriam, Seth, and Priscilla regarding their favorite color, things, personality, etc., as well as one for the reader to fill out.

~ Why ~
Being an artist, I like coloring books and always was attracted to activity books as a child. I like that this one focuses on being inspired by Jesus as one learns, absorbs, and praises Him through coloring the pictures and doing the activities.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ may not like the focus on the Almighty. The younger children may not be able to complete some of the complicated activities or understand the verses. Individuals who color often prefer drawings on only one side of the page so that the colors (especially markers and paint) do not bleed through the paper. Others may not like how thick some of the black lines are while there are too small designs for a crayon to fill.

~ Who ~
A winner of the Big Wig Award for the best illustrator by the Austin Advertising Federation, Jay has illustrated eight children’s books. She and her husband and daughter live in Texas.

~ Wish ~
With illustrations being on every page and possibly showing through when colored, I wish they were on every other page so that the child could remove the drawing from the book and frame it or give it to someone special.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a Biblical coloring and activity book that has many verses as well as information on some Bible characters, this is a viable option.

Thanks to Shelton Interactive and the Book Club Network for furnishing this complimentary book to read and review.

This review will be posted on the Book Club Network, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Arts & Crafts, Book Review, Childrens, Christian

Excel Basics in 30 Minutes

Excel Basics In 30 Minutes (2nd Edition): The quick guide to Microsoft Excel and Google SheetsTitle: Excel Basics in 30 Minutes
Author: Ian Lamont
Publisher: In 30 Minutes Guides
ISBN: 978-1-939924-30-8

“You can imagine how these techniques can help in real-world situations from tracking household expenses to make sales projections,” Ian Lamont writes in the introduction to his book, Excel Basics in 30 Minutes.

~ What ~
At one-hundred-eight pages, this paperback targets those who are seeking a quick way to learn how to use the well-known spreadsheet program, Excel, as well as Excel Online and Google Sheets. After an introduction, there are four chapters that explain the spreadsheet’s basics and skills, sorting and filtering, and printing, import/export features, and collaboration; each end with a short quiz. Afterward are the author’s notes and biography, glossary, two appendices, index, and a bonus introduction to Google Drive & Docs in 30 Minutes.

First explaining the different formats of Excel and Google Sheets and how to access them online, a spreadsheet is shown with its header buttons and functions that include AutoSum, formatting, templates, and themes. After an interlude about AutoFill, more skills incorporate multiple worksheets, copying, pasting, adding, percentages, and division to name a few. A second interlude is about charts. The third chapter involves sorting, rearranging, and filtering while the final chapter covers printing, PDFs, and sharing. The appendices contain registering for Google Sheets and quiz answers.

~ Why ~
Having used Office 365 for a couple of years and worked on spreadsheets for over twenty years in my business, I like how the book is simple to understand with its many screenshot examples. It covers enough information quickly to be able to have some confidence as a beginner user. I appreciate the author’s explaining the differences between the different types of Excel and their capabilities.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like computers or need spreadsheets in day-to-day life will not want this book. Some may think the idea of a spreadsheet is too complicated to understand initially or that the example used in the book (payroll) could be gleaned from a computerized bookkeeping system.

~ Who ~
The founder of In 30 Minutes Guides, Lamont is an award-winning technology journalist.

~ Wish ~
With the book being so short and to the point about the complicated topic of spreadsheets, it would be helpful if the guide included lines or spaces in the chapters to take notes as one progressed.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book that quickly explains how to get the many Excel spreadsheet programs and start right away using them through a step-by-step example involving three sales people’s monthly earnings, this may be a viable option.

Thanks to the publisher for furnishing this complimentary book to read and review.

This review will be posted on Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Business / Money / Education

Counting Blessings

Counting BlessingsTitle: Counting Blessings
Author: Eileen Spinelli
Illustrator: Lee Holland
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-75072-7

“Blessings are like leaves that fall – we could never ever count them all,” Eileen Spinelli ends her children’s book, Counting Blessings.

~ What ~
At twenty pages, this board book with a padded front cover targets children ages four to eight years old. With no scary scenes, it is a nice story about counting your blessings throughout the day and noticing your surroundings.

Written in rhyme with some complicated wording, this tale is about a stuffed bunny who learns to count his blessings by counting things such as body parts, sweaters, toys, crackers, books, friends, sounds, stars, and kisses. After showing all ten blessings of the day, there are more blessings to notice.

~Why ~
Having a two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, she loves being read a bedtime story, and this one she can understand even though it is for older children. I like the cute animals depicted and the reminder to be thankful for everything one has.

~ Why Not ~
Although there is only one three-syllable word, advanced readers may find the book sophomoric and childish. I think it targets the three- to six-year-old beginner reader more accurately.

~ Who ~
A poet and picture book author, Spinelli has written over forty books for children. Holland is an artist and illustrator from England, who designs children’s books, magazines, logos, and clothing.

~ Wish ~
With the word “blessing” focused on, it would be ideal if the book promoted God gives us those blessings.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book that not only focuses on blessings but also teaches counting to ten, this is an excellent choice.

Thanks to Z-Blog Squad for furnishing this complimentary book to read and review.

This review will be posted on Deeper Shopping and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Book Review, Childrens

* CONTEST * Little One, God Made You Special ~ 1 Book Giveaway!

Win Amy Warren Hilliker’s Children’s Book
LITTLE ONE, GOD MADE YOU SPECIAL!

ONE WINNER will be randomly selected to win FREE from Z-BLOG SQUAD this recently released book.

REVIEW  TEASER: “No one has your great big heart. God has made you special from the start,” Amy Warren Hilliker writes in her children’s book, Little One, God Made You Special.

SIMPLE steps to enter this 3-day contest

1.  Follow my blog if you do not do so already.
2. Click on the headline ** CONTEST ** to be sure you are on the Reply page.
3. Post in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section below why you want to read this exciting book (could be funny, clever, serious, or the words “I want” since the winner is randomly chosen).
4. Like a social media site on the internet.


5. If you are the winner, please consider posting a review regarding what you thought of the book on at least 2 websites.

This is a FAST CONTEST ending MONDAY, APRIL 25th, 2016 after 5 PM PST so follow the requirements above and try for a chance to win a book that is mailed from the publisher directly to you! Winner’s physical shipping address (no P.O. Box) must be in the U.S.A.

I read & reviewed this book & it’s a 5 STAR!
Here is my review: https://connywithay.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/little-one-god-made-you-special/

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Filed under Book Review, Win-Free Giveaway Contests

I’m Not Afraid

I'm Not Afraid!Title: I’m Not Afraid
Author: Lee Ann Mancini
Illustrator: Don Sharp
Publisher: GLM Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9863-6043-5

“Oh, no! No, not me – I’m not afraid of anything!” Susie says with pride in Lee Ann Mancini’s children’s book, I’m Not Afraid.

~ What ~
Part of the Adventures of the Sea Kids series, this unnumbered thirty page oversized paperback targets children ages two to eight-years-old who like stories about fish and friendship. With no extremely scary or violent scenes, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated wording.

In this cute undersea tale with full-color, full-page expressive designs, a shark and octopus are best friends who decide to go to the Undersea Amusement Park. With both girls excited to go, the shark named Susie is apprehensive of riding the roller coaster. She talks Rachel into stopping for something to eat and playing games first. After Rachel calls Susie a “scaredy-cat,” the shark calls her mother and is reminded to pray to Jesus if frightened. Susie prays to God, and the girls enjoy the roller coaster ride, going on more rides. The final page is a reminder to say your prayers, always have Jesus in your heart, and look for the hidden Bible in the illustrations.

~ Why ~
Teaching a lesson through story-telling is wonderful for little ones. I like how this one conveys that prayer can bring peace and calmness when one is scared or frightened. The illustrations are detailed, fun, and expressive.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books about praying to Jesus or do not have a personal relationship with Him may avoid this one. Initially, I had trouble figuring out the names of the shark and octopus as there are few references, and the pictures do not always sync with the dialogue. With three syllable words, it may be too complicated for beginner readers.

~ Who ~
Author Mancini is an adjunct professor in Florida as well as a wife and mother of two who devotes her life to Christ. Illustrator Sharp has over thirty years’ experience illustrating children’s books and lives in Michigan.

~ Wish ~
In reading this book, I was a little concerned that a child may think to only pray to God when they are frightened, but it does state He is always there. The ending comment to “always have Jesus in your heart” may suggest one can lose their salvation, which some may disagree.

~ Want~
This is a charming tale that many children will enjoy. It has bright, colorful pictures of happy creatures that live under the sea.

Thanks to BookCrash, GLM Publishing, and the author for providing this book for reading and reviewing.

This review will be posted on the Book Club Network, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, Godinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Grammarly was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Childrens, Christian

Heroes of the Bible Treasury

Title: Heroes of the Bible Treasury
Illustrator: David Miles
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-75096-3

Heroes of the Bible Treasury is a six book treasury of level 2 Adventure Bible I Can Read stories from both the Old and New Testaments,” the back jacket cover states in David Miles’s illustrated book.

~ What ~
Part of the “I Can Read!” Adventure Bible series, this numbered one-hundred-ninety-two page hardbound targets children four to eight years old interested in reading chapter books of Bible stories. Using the New International Version of the Bible, there are six stories taken from both the Old and New Testaments. Rated Level 2, it is for those who read with a little help due to the longer sentences and language.

The six stories that are approximately thirty pages each in length cover Noah and the ark, Joseph being sold by his brothers, Moses leading the people out of Egypt. Elijah the prophet, Queen Esther, and the Apostle Paul’s conversion. Each ends with a half page of biographies or information regarding the story’s topic with the other half having a written out Bible verse.

~ Why ~
This is a nice collection of Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments. I like that the illustrations are colorful, expressive, and easy to understand. With each being somewhat lengthy, the stories will engage young readers.

~ Why Not ~
Containing not too many scary scenes, some children may be frightened of the scowls on the Pharoh’s face, the ten plagues, and the mention of death. The three-or-more syllable words may be too complicated for some readers. Those who have short attention spans may not like the length of the stories.

~ Who ~
Illustrator Miles is also a web designer and publisher of books.

~ Wish ~
I wish a table of contents were at the beginning of the book so the child could turn directly to the desired story instead of searching for it page by page.

~ Want ~
If you like a book that has six Bible stories for children to read, this is a viable option.

Thanks to the Z-Blog Squad for providing this book for reading and reviewing.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, Godinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Grammarly was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Childrens, Christian