#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Mason Jar Science: Jonathan Adolph


Overflowing with 40 dynamic, slimy, and super-cool experiments, this fun guide encourages budding Einsteins ages 8-12 to use a mason jar to explore the wonders of chemistry, botany, biology, physics, and earth science. Mason jars are the perfect containers for all kinds of experiments, and unlike expensive and fragile beakers and cylinders, they are affordable and durable. With a jar as a little lab, readers will learn how to create miniature clouds, tiny tornados, lava lamps, squishy, colorful slime, and much more!
From the kitchen counter to the classroom or science fair, Mason Jar Science will pique a child’s love for scientific exploration and uncover­ing the mysteries of the world — no lab coat required!
MY THOUGHTS: Fantastic! That’s the best way to intro this book- it’s fantastic! If you’re a homeschool parent who has trouble with either a reluctant learner or with coming up with fresh ideas, you’re problem is solved. Even students who dislike the subject of science will love doing these experiments. I’ve yet to meet a kid- boy or girl- who didn’t like things that were ‘squishy’ or ‘slimy’. Let’s be honest: kids love anything messy.

As a mom, what I love most about this book is the wide variety it brings to the classroom. There are so many genres of science covered here. Not to mention 40 experiments! That’s a whole lot of learning in one book! Inexpensive tools, captivating lessons, and non-stop learning- what more could you ask for in a science book? To me, it’s a must-have in your homeschool classroom.

If you’re an educator at a brick-and-mortar school and teaching the 8-12 year old range, then you can absolutely benefit from this book, too. Let’s get kids excited about learning. I have to give this one 5 stars!
Jonathan Adolph developed hundreds of “stealth learning” games and kitchen-science activities in his 20-year career as editor of the award-winning FamilyFun magazine. He specializes in making technical information fun for kids and is an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Massachusetts. He lives with his family in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Mason Jar Science
136 pages; 7″ x 10″
Full-color; photographs and illustrations throughout
$14.95 hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-61212-986-0
Available May 2018


#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Totally Awesome Tie-Dye: Fun-to-Make Fabric Dyeing Projects for All Ages: Suzanne McNeill

SYNOPSIS:Looking for a fun event idea this summer? Consider throwing a tie-dye party! Tie-dying is a wonderful way to create dramatic fashion statements without using too many materials or spending a lot of time. “No group is too large for tie-dying,” says author and expert crafter Suzanne McNeill. “It’s a great activity for family reunions, scouting events, parties, and fundraisers.”

Nicknamed “The Trendsetter of the arts and crafts industry,” McNeill is the author of the new book Totally Awesome Tie-Dye: Fun-to-Make Fabric Dyeing Projects for All Ages (Design Originals, May 2018). Filled with stylish projects, McNeill shows step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish ice dyeing, crumple dyeing, resist dyeing, and Shibori—shaping cloth and securing it before dyeing. Everything you can imagine about the art of tie-dying is covered in Totally Awesome Tie-Dye, even tips for tie-dying with children.

McNeill also shares how to tie-dye several items of clothing in her tie-dye manifesto, including fashion designs for t-shirts, dresses, socks, caps, scarves, and even embellishments for home décor. The goal of McNeill’s book is to make this entertaining craft fun for all ages. “The joy of creating art is for everybody,” she says. “I hope to inspire people to discover their own creativity.”
Suzanne McNeill is the author of more than 200 craft & hobby books, including Joy of Zentangle®, The Beauty of Zentangle®, the 11-volume Zentangle® series, and Zen Mandalas. Suzanne founded the leading publisher of Zentangle® books, Design Originals (an imprint of Fox Chapel Publishing). She was voted Designer of the Year and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Craft & Hobby Association. Suzanne has been called “the trendsetter” of the arts and crafts industry.

MY THOUGHTS: I remember the first time I ever tie-dyed back when I was in 4-H. We had such fun and the possibilities for creativity are incredible. It was a real sense of nostalgia to open this book. I’m all for any kids’ activity that doesn’t involve electronics and this is the perfect example of an idea that gets kids using their brains. For a very small, monetary investment, kids will have all day (or weekend) fun making wearable tie-dyes.

This is also a great idea book for VBS, daycares, you name it! Suzanne McNeill has provided a new take on a classic. Her ideas for uses in tie-dye are brilliant. The possibilities really are endless and a way to get your kiddos outdoors (for less mess!) this summer. 5 stars to Suzanne McNeill and her awesome imagination.

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Just Be Yourself: A Ladybug’s Journey: Karen Stone

SYNOPSIS: As children grow up, they will face various challenges and struggles, author Karen Stone wants to make sure a negative self-image will not be one of those issues. Therefore, this children’s author presents “Just Be Yourself: A Ladybug’s Journey,” to help children build a positive perception of self.

In “Just Be Yourself,” Stone introduces readers to a unique story that follows an unsure ladybug in the Happy Peaceful Forest. The ladybug questions why she is the only one in her family without a special crown and sets out to reach the shiny purple castle to find her answers.

Along the way she meets various animals that impart lessons of self-assurance and empowerment. At the end of her journey, she realizes that to receive her crown, she simply needs to find confidence and happiness in her own heart.

“I want to enable children to build a foundation to be happy with who they are for the rest of their lives,” Stone said. “Just Be Yourself teaches children to be confident with their own attributes, skills and appearance so they can build a positive self-image.”

MY THOUGHTS:I found this book to be more for the early elementary set, say K-2. Each animal that ladybug encounters has a different reason for owning his or her crown. While it has that feel-good, bedtime story vibe, I’m not sure how I feel about her earning a crown for being herself. Yes, we want all children to be who they are and stay true to themselves, etc. I just thought the plot was going in a different direction. Maybe she was going to get the crown for having scaled the mountain to the castle? It felt a little like she got one of those participation trophies that are so popular nowadays. That’s from a parent’s view. Children will love the main character as well as her friends.

I give it 3 stars.
For more information, please visit http://www.kstone11.com.
*I received the aforementioned book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine. Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.

Book Spotlight: Warriors in Mr. Lincoln’s Army: Quita V. Shier

I received a copy of the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
“Warriors in Mr. Lincoln’s Army”
By Quita V. Shier
ISBN: 978-1-5320-2716-1
Available at iUniverse and Amazon
SYNOPSIS: Anyone who has taken a grade-school history class may be able to recall dates and battles from the American Civil War that ended 152 years ago. What those history books probably did not include, was a group of sharpshooters called “Company K.”

Company K was the only company in the First Michigan Sharpshooter Regiment with only indigenous men on its roster.

In “Warriors in Mr. Lincoln’s Army: Native American Soldiers Who Fought in the Civil War,” author Quita V. Shier presents comprehensive profiles of these little-known soldiers, and why they wanted to enlist to fight a war in a country where they were not even recognized as citizens.

“Most stories we read about the Civil War are centered on generals and their experiences,” Shier said. “I’m concerned with the enlisted men, the ‘grunts’, who did the fighting and dying for this country. These are their stories.”

Shier’s book contains the profiles of 140 Native American men of Company K and the company officers, based on military, pension and census records, as well as information and pictures from some of the men’s descendants, including military experience, medical treatments of wounds and diseases, and biographies.

“My grandfather loved to read about American history,” Shier said. “He felt strongly about the Native Americans’ marginal existence in U.S. society and the failure of the treaties that the government did not honor. He asked me to do something for the American Indians and this book is the fulfillment of that promise.”
MY THOUGHTS: As a person with some Native American ancestry, I’m thrilled that an entire book was dedicated to those who are often overlooked. The magnitude of our author’s research and commitment is staggering. This is also one of those cases where a book shouldn’t be judged by the cover. Its exterior may be humble, but, the pages between contain a wealth of information.
While anyone who serves in any type of Armed Forces deserves the utmost respect, students are often taught only about the ‘big name players’ in our nation’s history. Thankfully, author’s such as Ms. Shier, are changing that. As a homeschool mom, I feel good about letting my son read through ‘Warriors’. Here we have credible, little-known history without embellishments or fabrication. There’s no bias here, either. Facts and the author’s fantastic grasp of her subject matter make this a must-have for your home classroom. While most history textbooks are good, I can almost guarantee that they don’t have these 140 proud service members in them.
As an avid reader, I can say that this book, although non-fiction, combines quite a few genres. There’s history, military, Native American heritage- the list goes on. Even if you don’t have a high school age student at home, this book will be just as captivating and enjoyable for adult readers. It isn’t specifically a textbook companion.
I can’t sing its praises enough. I highly recommend it for all readers! 5 stars!
About the author
Quita V. Shier is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and a resident of Michigan, who has a lifelong interest in American Indian cultures and life ways. She taught a course about Michigan Indian history and culture at Delta College, University Center, and is a frequent guest speaker. She is experienced in archival and family genealogical research, and is a member of the National Society Daughters of the Union 1861-1865. Some of the pictures and stories in her book were supplied by the descendants of the Company K men. For more about Shier or her book, visit: http://www.iuniverse.com.

Book Spotlight & #Giveaway: The Flower Girl Murder: Keith Hirshland

Flower Girl Murder by Keith HirshlandFlower Girl Murder by Keith Hirshland

Publisher:  Keith Hirshland (February 15, 2018)
Category: Mystery Thriller, Detective/Police Procedural
Tour dates: May/June, 2018
ISBN: 978-0692046685
Available in Print and ebook,256 pages

Flower Girl Murder

Daisy Burns was a likable, devoted wife and mother who spent her spare time volunteering at school events. Everyone loved Daisy. So why would someone shoot her three times and dump her body behind a Planned Parenthood chapter in North Carolina?

With no witnesses and few leads, Raleigh detective Marc Allen turns to the press for help—specifically, veteran news anchor Lancaster Heart. Heart agrees to broadcast the police department’s plea for information in his nightly newscasts.

Elderly viewer and longtime social worker Blanche Avery is positive she recognizes the photograph on the television as an older version of her friend Daisy— the young, heavily pregnant girl she met years before who made the decision to give her child up for adoption.

When Tanner Goochly Jr.—a member of a notorious crime family—becomes the victim of another point-blank shooting, Allen races to discover the connection between the murders. Could it be that Daisy was somehow involved with an illegal enterprise, or was she hiding something else, another secret to be discovered?

The body count is rising, and the suspect pool is widening. As Allen’s investigation reaches a fever pitch, he realizes that a mother’s choice could have killer consequences.
EXCERPT:The Flower Girl Murder

Chapter Forty-Four

Teri had been awake for about a half an hour; it seemed like longer. Different sounds, noises, drifted into the bedroom through the window she had cracked open before settling into the queen-size bed. An occasional car, tires skimming over the pavement still wet from a late-evening, soaking thunderstorm. A dog’s bark, or was it two, somewhere fairly close. A siren way off in the distance. Teri wondered if it might be a cop chasing down a criminal or an ambulance rushing someone fighting for a last breath to a hospital that would end up being too far away. She thought about dying, and living, and the difference. Those noises that found their way into the room through the two-inch space were soothing compared to the rhythmic snoring coming from Tanner Goochly Jr.’s slightly open mouth. Teri didn’t know if that was what had awakened her, but she was certain it was what prevented her from going back to sleep. She had reached out to Goochly and found herself back in his bed. For the last twenty minutes, she had racked her wide-awake brain, trying to figure out why. The sex was still good, but Teri was becoming bored with
Tanner’s technique and the exercise’s complete lack of meaning. A crooked smile formed on her lips as she remembered finding both of those things attractive; not so much anymore. The relationship had always been easy, still was, and maybe that was why she kept coming back. There wasn’t anyone else in Tanner’s life, no other girls anyway, so Teri could come and go as she pleased, and she pretty much did just that. Tanner was the opposite of needy, and Teri had loved that about him at first. He hadn’t changed, but she was suddenly wanting more and more to be needed. She shifted from her side to her back, hoping that would trigger a position change in her sleeping companion and bring an end to the sucking and wheezing. It didn’t. The snoring never used to bother Teri; occasionally it still didn’t, but tonight it was maddening. The little things—the chewing with his mouth open, the snoring, the fact that he still thought he was, and took perverse pleasure in, fucking his cousin, and for that matter, the complete disregard for her feelings—suddenly weren’t so little anymore. Staring at the ceiling, she wondered if anybody, other than his old man, would miss Tanner Goochly Jr. if suddenly he ceased to suck oxygen. She couldn’t think of anybody and imagined that even Tanner Goochly Sr. wouldn’t miss him all that much or for all that long. The Sig Sauer P238 was in her purse. She couldn’t remember why she had decided to keep it with her this particular night instead of locking it safely away. One of the dogs, or was it the same dog, barked again. A soft breeze carried the sweet smell of rain on its back and into the room. Teri had to pee. She slipped from Tanner’s bed, silently dressed, and tiptoed down the hall and into the bathroom to do her business. She had already made the decision not to return to the bedroom, but she wasn’t sure she was quite ready to leave the apartment. On the way into the living room, she couldn’t help but notice two Harris Teeter paper grocery bags. She peeked inside and wasn’t surprised to find both filled with cash. An hour or so later, Goochly woke himself up with a snort and realized he had to go to the bathroom. He rolled out of the bed, forgetting, or not caring, that Teri had been in it with him when he fell asleep. For reasons known only to Tanner Goochly Jr., he sleepily picked his boxers and a well-worn pair of socks up off the floor and put them on. Then he padded to the bathroom. After relieving himself, he opened the medicine cabinet, took two Advil from a bottle, and swallowed them without the benefit of a drop of water. He realized he hadn’t flushed the toilet, and he turned back to accomplish that task but, again without a thought or concern for his houseguest, left the toilet seat up. Then he headed back to the bed and walked right into a pillow from his couch shielding the muzzle of a 9mm handgun. “What the fuck!” he blurted. “The fuck is your grandpa was a pervert, your old man is a pervert, and you are a pervert. And you’re an asshole to boot.” The initial shock disappeared as quickly as it had arrived, and Goochly sized up the threat. “That all may be true,” he said with a scoff, “but what, exactly, are you going to do about it?” The answer came in the form of two bullets fired from the pistol. The first hit Goochly in the chest, shattering ribs and sending splinters along with the slug into his heart. The second shot hit him just above the left eye, putting a hole in his head as it entered his brain. Goochly hit the floor with what was left of his face, breaking his nose and knocking out his two front teeth. But Tanner Goochly Jr. was well past the point of feeling any of that pain. “That’s exactly what I’m going to do about it.”
MY THOUGHTS:Keith Hirshland composes an enthralling story of the investigation into murders that are plaguing a town.

Here we have not just the mystery/procedural genre, but also romance, suspense, and old-fashioned whodunit. Most of the concentration of the plot involves what the motive of the murders is and, of course, a variety of suspects.
‘The Flower Girl Murder’ is a thought-provoking novel with down-to-earth main characters; clever interactions and a great choice for locales. Readers are treated to a behind-the scenes type look into the investigation and media angles. It offers a 3-D view of the murders and the implications to all involved. I believe many readers will want to digest all it has to offer by finishing it in one sitting as I did.
Bravo to Mr. Hirshland for his imaginative yet convincing mystery. I give it 4 stars!

Praise Flower Girl Murder by Keith Hirshland

“Keith Hirshland gets better with each book. A wonderful crime mystery with fun twists. And if you have ever spent time in Carolina or Northern Nevada there are quite a few local tidbits to enjoy mixed in. I look forward to more from the media guy turned novelist! This is his best book yet!”-Bruce, Amazon Review

Praise Big Flies by Keith Hirshland

“Big Flies by Keith Hirshland is a great read. I found myself intrigued by this talented writer’s style. A mystery woven into another mystery. The suspense was great. I enjoyed following the characters throughout the book. This novel was realistic, stunning, and one that all readers can easily connect to in one or more ways. Brilliant, clever, and mysterious. Keith Hirshland has a way that lured me in deep. I couldn’t stop reading it. ‘Big Flies’ is one mystery I highly recommend to all. 5 Stars.”-Danielle, Urban Book Reviews

“Mr. Hirshland’s style is both engaging and entertaining.  He has written and delivered a thoroughly wonderful tale of mystery and intrigue.  Will the author continue to write fiction?  If this first novel is any indication, I certainly hope so!”-LuAnn, Back Porchervations

“Get ready, sit back, and enjoy this book, because the author really has a way with words as well as a fun and fascinating plot at hand.  If you love action and surprises, you will get your fill here.  If you enjoy things on the humorous and witty side, this book will fit the bill that way as well.  Big Flies has plenty of great characters (both past and present), good buddies to enjoy you’ll want to be pals with too, a bit of mystifying romance, and some vivid and marvelous scenes.  There will be mystery stacked upon mystery, some cool 8 track tapes with great choices in music thrown in, and fantastic, detailed twists. Get swept up in this fabulous, fun mystery by Keith Hirshland!”-Jean, Snap Out Of It Jean

“I really enjoyed following along with each person as you discover more about each one along with how four unsolved mysteries may be linked to everything.  I admit that the beginning was a touch slow as you start learning about Chester and Leland, but then the story takes off like a flash. This is a great adventure and one that I recommend you check out. You will not be disappointed. 5 Stars.”-Jessica, J Bronder Book Reviews

About Keith HirshlandFlower Girl Murder by Keith Hirshland

Award winning author, Keith Hirshland is an Emmy Award–winning sports television producer with more than three decades of experience producing shows that aired on ESPN and ESPN2. Among the first forty people to be hired by the Golf Channel in 1994, Hirshland was in the middle of the action when it premiered in 1995. He provided his talents for the golf network for close to two decades.

The Flower Girl Murder is Hirshland’s second novel and third book. Big Flies, his first mystery novel, was published in 2016. It is the winner of the New Apple Awards: Solo Medalist Award and runner up for the 2016 Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book of the Year.  Cover Me Boys, I’m Going In: Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat is a memoir about his experiences in the television industry. It was Book Talk Radio Club’s Memoir of the Year”.

Hirshland lives in New Jersey with his wife and Bernese mountain dog.

Website: www.keithhirshland.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KeithHirshlandAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BigFliesBook

Buy Flower Girl Murder by Keith Hirshland


Giveaway Flower Girl Murder by Keith Hirshland

This giveaway is for one print copy or ebook copy of the book.  Print is available to the U.S. only but ebook is available worldwide.  This giveaway ends on June 29, 2018 at midnight pacific time.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.


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Book Spotlight: The Friend: Teresa Driscoll

SYNOPSIS:On a train with her husband, miles from home and their four-year-old son, Ben, Sophie receives a chilling phone call. Two boys are in hospital after a tragic accident. One of them is Ben.
She thought she could trust Emma, her new friend, to look after her little boy. After all, Emma’s a kindred spirit—someone Sophie was sure she could bear her soul to, despite the village rumours. But Sophie can’t shake the feeling that she’s made an unforgivable mistake and now her whole family is in danger.
Because how well does she know Emma, really? Should she have trusted her at all?
Time is running out. Powerless to help her child, still hours from home, Sophie is about to discover the truth. And her life will never be the same.

MY THOUGHTS: Seriously, this book tops my list of the best I’ve read this year. Much like its predecessor ‘I Am Watching You’, you need to buckle up so you can handle the twists & turns. Teresa Driscoll is very talented. With the many plates spinning, she managed to not let any break. Her characters are so multi-dimensional that readers will be hard-pressed to know the whole ‘story’ until the last chapter. I certainly didn’t.

Again, DI Melanie Sanders and her ex-cop turned PI friend, Matthew Hill make appearances. We get a more personal glimpse into both their lives. As with ‘Watching’, Teresa Driscoll slides in many ‘hot topics’ which add a reality to her fictional folk. Here we have postpartum depression, various mental illnesses, PTSD, and anxiety disorders. Each character suffering in his or her own unique way. All culminating into a fabulous, oh-my-goodness thriller.

It was hard to put down and I lost a few hours of sleep here & there because I had to see what was going to happen! Well-written, thrilling, suspenseful, and I highly recommend it. 5 Stars!

Book Spotlight: I Am Watching You: Teresa Driscoll

SYNOPSIS:When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella. When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.
*Synopsis belongs solely to the author/publisher.

MY THOUGHTS: This book had more twists and turns than a Kennywood roller coaster. From page one, I thought the book was going in one direction. I was mistaken. Woven into the mystery surrounding Anna are multiple families’ dramas, long-hidden secrets, the regrets of many.

What appears on the surface to be a pretty straightforward mystery turns into a mess of lies and alibis. If you think you’ve figured it out halfway through, trust me, you haven’t. The synopsis only tells about a quarter of the book’s plot. Part of the fun of this mind-blowing plot is having to be an alert reader. Keep track of all you learn and the characters. It’s not a light read, but it was a fantastic one.

I look forward to future books from our author. She has a knack for thrillers and mysteries. I give it 4 stars.