#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Brick Building 101: Courtney Sanchez

All the buzz in educational talk is about STEAM. If you aren’t familiar it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math. As caregivers, we all know how children learn through play. One toy has stood the test of time, requires no wires and has endless possibilities. Of course, that would be snap-together bricks aka Legos, Duplos, etc.

My sons always thought outside the box, literally, when they had these. We may have bought them in kits (ships, castles, etc.), but my boys always made something different. For children like mine, these 20 activities are perfect.
SYNOPSIS:
Now kids can combine a love for LEGO with learning STEAM topics (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) in this awesomely fun activity book! Industrious minds will love learning to build a bunch of different stuff with these 20 step-by-step projects that range from beginner projects, such as a geoboard and DIY slime, to more challenging projects, such as a bird feeder and balloon racer. Large, full-color photos show each step along the way, with simple instructions and inspiration to extend projects and keep learning. With STEAM learning on the rise, this book is the perfect way to inspire play and interest in the topics kids need to know about!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A stay-at-home mom of three boys, Courtney Sanchez began crafting as way to keep her children stimulated and active. Having time to sit and be creative with children, and to explore using texture, colors and (most importantly) their imagination is a great way to bond and teach at the same time. Her website, Crafts by Courtney (www.craftsbycourtney.com) explores a variety of activities and how-to kids crafts to keep children active and inspired through creative play.

If you have kids who love bricks, give this book a go. Incorporate it into your homeschool curriculum or just have a little fun!
Pic & Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.
I RECEIVED THE AFOREMENTONED TITLE IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MINE.
Brick Building 101
20 LEGO® activities to teach kids about STEAM
$14.95 / £9.99
Author: Courtney Sanchez
Format: Paperback / softback, 80 Pages
ISBN: 9781633225220
Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.
Ages: 5 to 7

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#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Hillary Hallah Untied the Knot: Cheryl Rosenbloom Levet

I received the title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine
SYNOPSIS: When Jameson and Campbell drift to sleep, they are brought to an enchanted valley where they meet characters that embody the Jewish spirit. These characters are preparing for the Jewish New Year.

Hillary Hallah’s overexuberance leads her to trouble and causes a fight amongst friends. Through Hillary’s sincere apology and her friends’ compassion, this eclectic cast learns that two wrongs do not make a right.

Throughout this entertaining narrative, children will be met with colorful illustrations, important lessons on friendship and the wonder of Rosh Hashanah.

The idea to write a children’s story about the magic of Rosh Hashanah first came to Levet while she served as part of the Training Wheels program, which taught young Jewish children about several different Jewish holidays through crafts, music and stories.

“A story about Rosh Hashanah rapidly came to me as I typed it. I always loved the story, but I wanted it worded in a more child-friendly manner, so I wrote my nieces and nephews into it and turned it into an enchanting children’s story,” the author said.

One Amazon reviewer gave high praises for the book, saying, “This adorable story tells us about the Jewish New Year and how children can reflect on their actions and the effects on others.”

“Hillary Hallah Untied the Knot” sparkles and glitters as young children begin to embrace their Jewish New Year.
MY THOUGHTS: Our author does a wonderful job explaining Rosh Hashanah. I’m pleased to see a number of new authors producing quality works that celebrate Jewish heritage. The colorful characters are sure to capture the attention of younger readers. I would recommend that this be more of a ‘together’ read so that caregivers can assist with any hard to pronounce words and/or explanations. It is definitely for the elementary set. I can see it becoming part of a regular Rosh Hashanah tradition. If you are a homeschooler looking for imaginative ways to incorporate Jewish history and/or cultures, this is a great addition to your library. I give it 3 stars.
Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher. “Hillary Hallah Untied the Knot: A Rosh Hashanah Treat You Are Bound to Repeat”
By Cheryl Rosenbloom Levet
ISBN: 9781504387668 (softcover); 9781504387675 (electronic)
Available at the Balboa Press Online Bookstore, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
About the author

Cheryl Rosenbloom Levet was born and raised in Richmond, Va and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina. She went on to pursue her master’s degree from Old Dominion University. Levet currently teaches first grade and has been teaching for the last 22 years. This is her first children’s book, based on her own daughter Hillary. She currently resides in Norfolk, Va.

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: A Champion Game Plan for Life”: Preston Brown

SYNOPSIS:

Preston Brown was drafted by the New England Patriots, after playing four years of football at Vanderbilt University. He went on to play for the New York Jets, as well as the Cleveland Browns. To many, it might have seemed that Brown was destined for a charmed life.

However, Brown has seen his fair share of hardships. He has endured the death of a spouse, after 30 years of marriage, as well as fought and survived cancer, at 40-years-old.

In “A Champion Game Plan for Life,” Brown shares a daily devotional and plan for success, while navigating the vicissitudes of life.

“When I played football, we had a game plan,” Brown said. “Having a plan would give our team the best chance to win the game. When you plan for success, you are better equipped to handle whatever situations arise.”

Brown has also been a praise and worship leader for more than 30 years and has preached over 170 sermons. His book contains a lot of scripture and each daily devotional has a focus subject, like overcoming fear, seizing opportunities or prioritizing goals.

“So many of our youth today are on the cusp of greatness or failure,” Brown said. “It’s almost as if they are one circumstance away from having the abundant life that God wants us to have. Giving them a plan helps act as a path to greatness, as well as a bridge over troubled waters.”
MY THOUGHTS: I love that Mr. Brown has taken all the life lessons learned in football and used them to create a realistic, Godly plan for the believer’s life. Any devotional needs to be brief, relatable, and powerful. Mr. Brown has given readers exactly that. Each devotional in his book is thought-provoking and Biblically sound.

As the parent of a teen, I know it can be difficult to find a devotional that isn’t same-old same-old. I can only speak for having raised sons, so, that said, it seems that there are a plethora of titles for girls in devotionals but few for boys. After reading Mr. Brown’s, I can honestly say that this is a great devotional for sons or sons & their fathers. Girls who enjoy sports or are looking for a new kind of book to further their walk will also benefit.

As a believer, I can say that I definitely felt uplifted going through the readings. He chose some amazing Scriptures as the basis for his thoughts. It’s a fabulous book and I highly recommend it with 5 stars.
“A Champion Game Plan for Life”
By Preston Brown
ISBN: 978-1-5462-3091-5
Available at authorHOUSE and Amazon

About the author
Preston Brown graduated from George Peabody College at Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s in Social Studies with emphasis in History. He has had further studies in Finance and Education from Alabama A and M University and Pat Ryan School of Finance in Chicago, Ill. Brown played football at Vanderbilt University for four years and was drafted by the New England Patriots of the National Football League. Brown played for the Patriots for three years and then played with the New York Jets for two years. He finished his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns in 1984. He is now the finance manager for Jerry Damson Honda in Huntsville Alabama where he has been employed for 25 years. He is married to Terry, his wife of four years. He has two adult daughters and five grandchildren. To learn more about the author and his book, visit: https://www.authorhouse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=764672.

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Joe’s Alamo: Unsung: Lewis E. Cook


SYNOPSIS: At the Battle of the Alamo, less than two hundred volunteers battled five thousand trained soldiers for thirteen days, during the Texas Revolution. Lieutenant Colonel William Travis’ slave, Joe, was the only male survivor.

In “Joe’s Alamo: Unsung,” Lewis E. Cook tells Joe’s story in this novel, based on historic facts.

“According to Joe, all races and religions were represented at the Battle of the Alamo,” Cook said. “Yet, their contributions were intentionally dismissed. According to my research, the famous battle cry, ‘Remember the Alamo,’ was probably first said by a woman.”

An attorney and former Texas history teacher, Cook highlights the lesser known heroes of the battle, including women, Muslims, Buddhists, Blacks and other minorities owed recognition for their contributions and sacrifice to the state of Texas and the rest of the country.

“This battle was meant to be symbolic of hopelessness and certain death for anyone who opposed General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s reign of terror,” Cook said. “Instead, it became a slogan for worldwide courage in battle against overwhelming odds.”

“Joe’s Alamo”
By Lewis E. Cook
ISBN: 978-1-5320-2070-4
Available at iUniverse and Amazon

About the author
Lewis Cook practiced civil litigation, probate and criminal law. He worked as an immigration attorney for a former U.S. Immigration Commissioner, as a banking and finance attorney in Dallas and was a Texas assistant attorney general. Always a writer at heart, he was raised in Arkansas and now lives in Houston. To learn more about the author and his book please visit: https://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=740803.

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: DA VINCI’S WAY: Robin Stevens Payes

SYNOPSIS: Meeting Leonardo da Vinci in person isn’t your average middle-schooler’s dream science fair project, but Charley Morton isn’t your typical eighth-grader. Charley is mad about science and math and, with her best bud Billy Vicenzo, she’s set on doing the impossible—finding da Vinci’s plans for a time machine and traveling back 500 years to meet her idol.

Robin Stevens Payes is firing up a love for science with the second book in her thrilling EDGE OF YESTERDAY science fiction series, DA VINCI’S WAY (Small Batch Books; October 2018). The books are designed to open the minds of middle-grade readers to the adventure of learning about STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) through storytelling.

STEM is the fastest-growing sector in employment—up 28 percent since 2000, compared to 6 percent in other fields, according to the U.S. News/Raytheon STEM index. In fact, America is sorely lacking in college graduates with STEM degrees. From 2014-2015 in the U.S. there were only some 30K STEM graduates for approximately 230K STEM jobs. Clearly, engaging the attention of children, especially girls and young people of color who are too often excluded from exposure to STEM, is of paramount importance.

To help America reverse that trend, Payes is creating a curriculum that will present STEM through play, discovery, character, creativity and storytelling. Her lesson plans, workshops, interactive games and novels use the vast array of popular mediums, including print, web, digital, social media and video, to take advantage of the human brain’s affinity for story.

The Edge of Yesterday series will go a step further and create an online community for teens that will:
· Promote reading for content and inspiration by opening the gateway to STEM and STEAM learning.
· Inspire curiosity, creativity and a love of learning using Leonardo da Vinci’s example of intrinsic learning.
· Encourage teens to be curious, to engage with their passions, to discover new ideas, and to tell their stories in a variety of media.
· Connect learning to life that inspires a drive to mastery.

The ultimate aim is to nurture a growth mindset, a learning foundation that will increase young people’s capacity for learning, instill purpose and help them remain motivated in the face of life’s most difficult challenges.

ROBIN STEVENS PAYES is the author of Edge of Yesterday, a serial science fiction story and interactive web platform designed to blow young minds, tap creative juices, and explore the truths our stories are telling us in IRL. She works with teens through the Maryland Writers Association teen clubs, Girls in Technology, and the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning.

MY THOUGHTS: I was stunned and pleased to learn that our author spent 10 years researching Da Vinci. True dedication! Hearing this makes a reader want to read. In today’s clogged YA environment, it isn’t often that one discovers a book (let alone a series!) that wants to teach, is entertaining, and worthy of reading. This book is ALL 3.

After decades of people being told it wasn’t ok to be ‘geeky’, Charley is showing girls that not only is it ok, but it is fun! In order to see kids getting interested in reading, we have to have a topic that interests them. Harry Potter comes to mind. Robin Stevens Payes has nailed the same successful formula as Ms. Rowling did with her series. I have wholeheartedly recommended this series to the two closest libraries in our area.

Although I am far (very far) from being a YA, I loved every minute of this book & it’s predecessor. Boys & girls alike will love the adventure from start to finish. I give it 5 stars!!
*I RECEIVED THE AFORMENTIONED TITLE IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.
Pic & Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.

DA VINCI’S WAY
By Robin Stevens Payes
Small Batch Books; October 2018
$XX; 128 pages
ISBN: 978-1-937650-83-4

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Edge of Yesterday: Robin Stevens Payes


SYNOPSIS: Meeting Leonardo da Vinci in person isn’t your average middle-schooler’s dream science fair project, but Charley Morton isn’t your typical eighth-grader. Charley is mad about science and math and, with her best bud Billy Vicenzo, she’s set on doing the impossible—finding da Vinci’s plans for a time machine and traveling back 500 years to meet her idol.

Robin Stevens Payes is firing up a love for science with the second book in her thrilling EDGE OF YESTERDAY science fiction series, DA VINCI’S WAY (Small Batch Books; October 2018). The books are designed to open the minds of middle-grade readers to the adventure of learning about STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) through storytelling.

STEM is the fastest-growing sector in employment—up 28 percent since 2000, compared to 6 percent in other fields, according to the U.S. News/Raytheon STEM index. In fact, America is sorely lacking in college graduates with STEM degrees. From 2014-2015 in the U.S. there were only some 30K STEM graduates for approximately 230K STEM jobs. Clearly, engaging the attention of children, especially girls and young people of color who are too often excluded from exposure to STEM, is of paramount importance.

To help America reverse that trend, Payes is creating a curriculum that will present STEM through play, discovery, character, creativity and storytelling. Her lesson plans, workshops, interactive games and novels use the vast array of popular mediums, including print, web, digital, social media and video, to take advantage of the human brain’s affinity for story.

The Edge of Yesterday series will go a step further and create an online community for teens that will:
· Promote reading for content and inspiration by opening the gateway to STEM and STEAM learning.
· Inspire curiosity, creativity and a love of learning using Leonardo da Vinci’s example of intrinsic learning.
· Encourage teens to be curious, to engage with their passions, to discover new ideas, and to tell their stories in a variety of media.
· Connect learning to life that inspires a drive to mastery.

The ultimate aim is to nurture a growth mindset, a learning foundation that will increase young people’s capacity for learning, instill purpose and help them remain motivated in the face of life’s most difficult challenges.

ROBIN STEVENS PAYES is the author of Edge of Yesterday, a serial science fiction story and interactive web platform designed to blow young minds, tap creative juices, and explore the truths our stories are telling us in IRL. She works with teens through the Maryland Writers Association teen clubs, Girls in Technology, and the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning.

MY THOUGHTS: I have to applaud Robin Stevens Payes on her desire to further STEM education. I am completely on board with today’s youth learning these skills early & often. Being that these type of careers are often overlooked as careers for women, it is especially exciting to see a fresh, new female lead.
As an 8th grade, 13-year-old female, Charley is intelligent, mature, and knows what she wants. Her friend, Beth, in the story, mirrors what many girls of today believe their role is: fashion & boys. While Charley enjoys those things, too, she emphasizes that she wants to put her intelligence out front and vanity in the rearview.
Women can love all the girly things and still be successful, wise, and accomplished. What a great message! I want to be like Charley (only I’m about 27 years past her!) I feel confident recommending this book to middle school readers and their guardians.
‘Edge of Yesterday’ has everything middle schoolers (girls AND boys) love: adventure, teen angst, science fiction. Plus, they’ll be learning history, science and tech, too. I give it 5 stars!!
*I RECEIVED THE AFORMENTIONED TITLE IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.
Pic & Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.

BOOK BLITZ: Home Is Where the Bark Is: Stella St. Claire


Home Is Where the Bark Is
By Stella St. Claire
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Willow Wells is officially an entrepreneur. With the first phase of her dog gym’s renovation complete, and a success, Willow is ready for more. A doggie spa to be exact. The plan is to win an upcoming dog show, not only giving her the funds for the expansion but a national advertising campaign with the winning dog, Lady Valkyrie. Everything is going according to plan—and Willow can see the future in all its gold medal and dog grooming glory—until Terry Gib, Lady Valkyrie’s owner, is accused of murder.

Willow thought that Terry had come to Pineview just for training, but it turns out Terry has ties to the town; a painful past that links her to a local bed and breakfast owner. And now that owner is dead. As Willow races to clear Terry and save their chance at victory with Lady Valkyrie, the rest of her life begins to fall apart too. Wednesday is distracted, her father is anxious, and Griffin, the man she’s coming to depend on, is threatening to leave her—so he can woo her.

Now Willow is forced to make some big decisions: about who she trusts, who she should believe, and who she should date, before she loses it all forever.

About the Author
Stella lives and breathes cozy mysteries! With her head always buried inside these books, it’s no wonder that she would put pen to paper to bring her own cozy mysteries to life. The words flew onto the page, and she’s already teeming with ideas for the next cozy mystery series.

With her trusted canine by her side, it seemed only natural to be inspired by her beautiful beagle Doogle and the many hours they spent walking through scenic New England villages. When Stella’s not reading books, she’s off on road trips, exploring every nook and cranny in neighboring towns, seeking inspiration for her next book. She’s keen to see what her fellow cozy critics think of “Happy Tails Dog Walking Mysteries,” so please leave a review and share your thoughts on Stella’s Website, Facebook, Bookbub or Goodreads!

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stellastclaire/
http://www.stellastclaire.com
On Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/Stella_StClaire
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/stella-st-claire