Author Archives: Carrie
Kids Academy | Educational Apps for Children
It’s summer, and that means road trip season! It’s totally cool to let your kids play with tablets for limited periods of time in the car–and it’s even better if they are learning and having fun while doing it. Kids Academy offers several apps that are sure to keep your kids occupied on the road.
Preschool & Kindergarten Learning Kids Game
Educational Books & Free Songs
EDIT 5/30/15: Now that my child has finished kindergarten, he is able to do the addition worksheets! They are a great supplement for this summer to keep up with what he learned in school this year. This learning app is so fun, even Mommy likes to play it sometimes :) My little boy really liked tracing and collecting the fireflies. We love anything twinkling so this was a big plus. This game was easy to play and understand so even younger kids can get right into it.
Bugs, Shapes and Robots
Face Paint for Toddlers
FREE for a limited time! (usually $2.99)
My child is on his way to first grade, so this app is a bit on the younger side for him. Still, tracing the shapes helps him with his fine motor skills–something that’s definitely needed as your child starts school and begins to write with a pencil! Bugs and robots are also always a fave with boys!
This post was created in partnership with Mom Buzz Media Blogger Network. All views & opinions expressed below are my own and are not influenced in anyway.
Dark Screams, Volume 3
Short Story Collection
Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Darynda Jones, Jacquelyn Frank, and Brian Hodge contribute five gloomy, disturbing tales of madness and horror to Dark Screams: Volume Three, edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the celebrated Cemetery Dance Publications.
THE COLLECTED SHORT STORIES OF FREDDIE PROTHERO by Peter Straub
A mere child yet a precocious writer, young Freddie records a series of terrifying encounters with an inhuman being that haunts his life . . . and seems to predict his death.
GROUP OF THIRTY by Jack Ketchum
When an award-winning horror writer on the downward slope of a long career receives an invitation to address the Essex County Science Fiction Group, he figures he’s got nothing to lose. He couldn’t be more wrong.
NANCY by Darynda Jones
Though she’s adopted by the cool kids, the new girl at Renfield High School is most drawn to Nancy Wilhoit, who claims to be haunted. But it soon becomes apparent that poltergeists—and people—are seldom what they seem.
I LOVE YOU, CHARLIE PEARSON by Jacquelyn Frank
Charlie Pearson has a crush on Stacey Wheeler. She has no idea. Charlie will make Stacey see that he loves her, and that she loves him—even if he has to kill her to make her say it.
THE LONE AND LEVEL SANDS STRETCH FAR AWAY by Brian Hodge
When Marni moves in next door, the stale marriage of Tara and Aidan gets a jolt of adrenaline. Whether it’s tonic or toxic is another matter.
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
This is a fine collection of scary short stories. While some offer more chills than others ( I wouldn’t read Nancy alone at night), they all had great twists and led to pretty cool conclusions.
My favorite story is probably Nancy by Darynda Jones. It’s the story of a high school girl who seems to be tormented by a poltergeist–but when a new girl in town tries to help her, she discovers a shocking secret. This story was rather scary…I DID read it late into the night and kept looking over my should to make sure nothing was there!
Another great one is I Love You, Charlie Pearson by Jacqueline Frank. As the story of a young boy who seems to have a very creepy crush on an older girl unfolds, you get squirmy and by the end you have your mouth open in shock…because the ending was definitely unexpected!
Dark Screams Volume 3 is a gathering of perfect little bites of fiction, and as you finish one story you’ll definitely be ready to move on to the next one. Reader beware!
The giveaway is for a $25 e-gift card to the e-retailer of your choice,
plus a copy of Dark Screams, Volume 3.
Sometimes an area needs air freshening, but you don’t have room for anything you have to plug in…and you want to keep the space looking nice as well! That’s why Renuzit has given its’ Pearl Scents a makeover!
Pearl Scents is a space saving, decor accenting odor eliminator that will look great in any room. Inside the small plastic decanter, gel filled beads hold scents like Blue Sky Breeze, Sparkling Rain, and Seductive Pineapple.
I placed my Pearl Scents in my laundry room, as the container works best in small spaces. I like how it’s scented well enough to give you a good whiff of it when you enter the room, but it’s not overpowering while you’re near it.
I think Pearl Scents would be perfect for use in spaces such as bathrooms, walk in closets, and maybe even cars. They would be great in rooms where you don’t want to have anything electric, like a baby’s room.
Let Me Die in His Footsteps
by Lori Ray
On a dark Kentucky night in 1952 exactly halfway between her fifteenth and sixteenth birthdays, Annie Holleran crosses into forbidden territory. Everyone knows Hollerans don’t go near Baines, not since Joseph Carl was buried two decades before, but, armed with a silver-handled flashlight, Annie runs through her family’s lavender fields toward the well on the Baines’ place. At the stroke of midnight, she gazes into the water in search of her future. Not finding what she had hoped for, she turns from the well and when the body she sees there in the moonlight is discovered come morning, Annie will have much to explain and a past to account for.
It was 1936, and there were seven Baine boys. That year, Annie’s aunt, Juna Crowley, with her black eyes and her long blond hair, came of age. Before Juna, Joseph Carl had been the best of all the Baine brothers. But then he looked into Juna’s eyes and they made him do things that cost innocent people their lives. Sheriff Irlene Fulkerson saw justice served–or did she?
As the lavender harvest approaches and she comes of age as Aunt Juna did in her own time, Annie’s dread mounts. Juna will come home now, to finish what she started. If Annie is to save herself, her family, and this small Kentucky town, she must prepare for Juna’s return, and the revelation of what really happened all those years ago.
4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
This book is set in the South in the early to middle 1900’s, and it moves at about the same pace as I expected life did back then: slowly, taking time for things to happen, but they are oh so delicious when they do.
The girls in this rural Kentucky town have abilities called the “know how”; some are both with the gift of being able to predict when things will happen, or just strong feelings about certain things, and some are born without gifts. The book tells the story of two sets of sisters, a generation apart, in which one sister has strong abilities and the other has none.
Our main character is Annie Holleran. On the verge of becoming a woman, she and her sister go down to a forbidden property one night to perform the tradition of seeing one’s future husband in the well. But instead of seeing a boy, Annie sees a body. Events only get more sinister from there, as we begin to learn the story of Annie’s mother and her sister, and how events from the past can affect the present in ways we never expected.
I definitely liked Annie as a character. Because of who her mother was, some people in their tiny town were wary of her and what her abilities might hold. Annie is like her mother in some ways, but she’s her own person in the most important ones. She abides by tradition but doesn’t focus her life around it. She has her own thoughts on who she should marry and how he should treat her.
The story has a slight supernatural touch, just enough to give the plot a darkly mysterious edge but never fully explained. The entire town is affected by “the know how”, whether a girl has it or does not, and the townsfolk all believe in the powers and hold them in high reverence.
As I said, the plot moves slowly, but watching it unfold in the way it did was a fantastic plot device within itself. You find yourself feeling many different things about the characters as you learn more about them, and you will change your mind completely on some things by the time all is revealed.
This is a great summer read for anyone who likes their mystery with a bit of the unknown.
About the Author
Lori Roy was born and raised in Manhattan, Kansas where she graduated from Kansas State University. Her debut novel, BENT ROAD, published in 2011, was awarded the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author, named a 2011 New York Times Notable Crime Book and named a 2012 notable book by the state of Kansas. BENT ROAD has been optioned for film. Her second novel, UNTIL SHE COMES HOME, was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and was nominated for an Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Novel. Her upcoming novel, LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS, will be published June 2nd. Lori also serves as treasure for the Sisters in Crime organization and is a liaison to the Author Coalition. She currently lives with her family in west central Florida.
One reader will win a copy of LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS. US/CAN ONLY PLEASE.
To enter, please leave a comment on what your favorite flower is!
Winner will be drawn June 13.
American Sniper took theaters by storm when it was released. Now, you can own the film on BluRay and DVD–and help out Wounded Warriors in the process.
From director Clint Eastwood comes “American Sniper,” arriving onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD on May 19 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, A Mad Chance Production, A 22nd & Indiana Production. “American Sniper” stars Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, whose skills as a sniper made him a hero on the battlefield. But there was much more to him than his skill as a sharpshooter.
A two-time Oscar® nominee for his work in “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle,” Cooper stars alongside Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Kevin Lacz, Navid Negahban and Keir O’Donnell.
Oscar®-winning filmmaker Clint Eastwood (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Unforgiven”) directed “American Sniper” from a screenplay written by Jason Hall, based on the book by Chris Kyle, with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice. The autobiography was a runaway bestseller, spending 18 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, 13 of those at number one.
The film is produced by Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan. Tim Moore, Jason Hall, Sheroum Kim, Steven Mnuchin and Bruce Berman served as executive producers.
“American Sniper” will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack and includes the film in high definition on Blu-ray disc, a DVD, and a digital version of the movie in Digital HD with UltraViolet. Fans can also own “American Sniper” via purchase from digital retailers.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will donate a portion of the proceeds across physical and digital sales to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). One dollar of each purchase will be donated up to $1,000,000 from April 21, 2015 through December 31, 2015, void in Alabama, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi and South Carolina. To get involved and learn more, visit http://www.woundedwarriorproject.com.
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To learn more about WWP’s life-saving programs and services, please visit http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs.
Thanks to our generous sponsor, one reader will win a copy of the American Sniper Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack. Please leave a comment letting me know whether or not you’ve seen the film, or your thoughts on it. US only please. Giveaway ends May 31.
by Krys Fenner
Bella has lived a rather boring life, but that all quickly changes. A new position in school forces her to take charge. A new boyfriend (her first), Jeremiah, hands her a confidence she has never known before. A new role in her church’s Fall Production makes her a leader. But that all gets destroyed when an attack by her father’s enemy turns her into the center of attention. Bella believes things couldn’t get worse, but they do. Can she survive the road of destruction and emerge stronger? Or has all that she gained been destroyed forever?
Using Psychology in Writing
by Krys Fenner
There are two ways to use psychology in writing. One gets very technical, while the other is more descriptive and action-oriented. There are two questions I would ask. Whose perspective is the story being told? And who is your audience? Once those are answered, then you’ll know how much terminology should be included in the manuscript.
Theoretically a work of non-fiction directed at a psychology student, psychologists, psychiatrist, or any counselor will be filled with more terminology than say a work of fiction intended for a young adult (12-18), new adult (18-25), or adult (25+) audience. Pieces of fiction are more likely to be action-based than using terminology. However, this again depends on the point of view character and your audience.
If the novel is written from the perspective of a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist then the use of technical terms is highly probable. But if the book is written from a character suffering a particular psychosis, the character isn’t going to think “I have an adjustment disorder with a depressed mood.” Instead, actions and words of that character will display the psychological issue. If I was an author writing this character, then I would take into consideration how to demonstrate their problem.
Let’s say Jane has just gotten divorced. To describe an adjustment disorder with depression, I would reference her problems sleeping or lack of appetite. I would write about Jane’s refusal to spend time with friends. Or how she misses time from work. I could show her crying a lot or getting frequent headaches. All of these things would be symptoms of the psychological issue without verbally giving it a name. So, what if the point of view were changed?
With all that is going on, Jane recognizes she has a problem and decides to go see a psychologist. The doctor Jane chooses consults with another psychologist in their practice. We’ll call Jane’s psychologist, Dr. Tracy. If I were writing the scene from Dr. Tracy’s point of view, then I am more likely going to use technical terms, especially if she is speaking to a colleague. However, as a writer I will take into consideration my audience. Who am I writing the story for? Do I expect people who read the novel to understand these terms? If not, I have two options: define the terms in the book or dumb the terminology down.
It isn’t hard to write a book using psychological issues without technological terms. You just have to know who your audience is and whose perspective the story should be told from. The difficulty is in making sure the actions and feelings the character displays are accurate and appropriate for the situation. If you can do that successfully, the terminology won’t matter; the story will.
About the Author
At the age of 16, Krys Fenner fell in love with Psychology and Creative Writing. At that time she wrote her first short story dealing with sexual abuse and forgiveness. Psychological issues in her family filled her with the desire to help others using her own experiences. So in 2004, she earned an Associate of Arts in Psychology. And while her sister is the one with dreams of becoming a Psychologist, Krys Fenner returned to Creative Writing. She is currently working on a Bachelor of Arts and plans to continue on to a Masters degree, where she can major in her first love (Creative Writing) and minor in her second (Psychology).
The Shell Seekers
by Rosamunde Pilcher
An instant bestseller when it was first published in 1987, The Shell Seekers is an enduring classic which has touched the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. A novel of connection, it is the story of one family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. It is filled with real people–mothers and daughters, husband and lovers–and inspired with real values. Now for the first time in trade paperback, this magical novel—the kind of reading experience that comes along only once in a long while—is the perfect summer read, whether you are returning to it again, or opening the cover for the first time.
At the end of a long and useful life, Penelope Keeling’s prized possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father, and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn their grandfather’s work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies, and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer…and it lies in her heart.
About the Author
ROSAMUNDE PILCHER has had a long and distinguished career as a novelist and short-story writer, but it was her phenomenally successful novel The Shell Seekers that captured the hearts of all who read it and won her international recognition as one of the most-loved storytellers of our time. The Shell Seekers was followed by September and then by Coming Home and Winter Solstice, which also became worldwide bestsellers. She lives in Perthshire, Scotland.
PURCHASE THE BOOK:
by Jennifer Latham
Expected Publication: May 19, 2015
Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic fifteen-year-old, ready to take on crime in her hometown. When Scarlett agrees to investigate a local boy’s suicide, she figures she’s in for an easy case and a quick buck. But it doesn’t take long for suicide to start looking a lot like murder.
As Scarlett finds herself deep in a world of cults, curses, and the seemingly supernatural, she discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks…and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.
Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.
About the Author
I write because it’s the only job I’ve been able to stick to for more than two years. Seriously.
I’ve lived lots of different places. Here’s the list: New York City; San Francisco; Augusta, GA; Buffalo, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Madrid; Providence, RI; and now…Tulsa, OK.
I’ve had some really weird and really normal jobs. The weirdest was helping out with autopsies. The one I’d go back to if I couldn’t write is being a school psychologist. The one I still do sometimes is teach yoga.
I live with my two daughters, two dogs, a cat, three turtles, three hermit crabs, a bunch of fish, and a husband (mine, of course).
I love watching people.
And I love writing about the people who live inside my head, even when they don’t play nice.
PURCHASE THE BOOK:
10 winners will receive a finished copy of SCARLETT UNDERCOVER. US Only.
by Bobbie Pyron
Nate Harlow has never had a lucky day in his life. He’s never won a prize, he’s never been picked first, he’s never even won a coin toss. His best friend, Genesis Beam (aka Gen), believes in science and logic, and she doesn’t think for one second that there’s such a thing as luck, good or bad. But only an extremely unlucky person could be struck by lightning on his birthday… and that person is Nate Harlow. By some miracle, though, Nate survives, and the strike seems to have changed his luck.
Suddenly, Nate’s grandpa is the busiest fisherman in their small, beachside town. And Nate finds himself the center of attention, the most popular kid at school, the one who hits a game-winning home run! This lucky streak can’t last forever, though, and as a hurricane draws close to the shores of Paradise Beach, Nate and Gen may need more than just good luck to save their friendship and their town: They need a miracle.
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Nate is so unlucky, that he gets hit by lightning on his 11th birthday! He does survive it though, and it seems that somehow, it has had an effect on him–everything he does now turns out right. It even appears he can affect the luck of others!
But Nate soon learns that just because a wish comes true, doesn’t mean it solves every problem in your life–in a lot of instances, it can create more.
Nate and his best friend Gen are kind of the outcast kids of their small town, but they have each other and their families, at least. When Nate gets struck by lightning, his luck changes, and he finds himself a very popular person all of a sudden. It doesn’t take him long to learn that popularity comes with a price, and his “blessing” of good luck is more like a curse, at least when it comes to the relationships he has with the people closest to him.
I think this is a pretty good middle grade offering that 5th-7th graders would like. Gen and Nate have a pretty good friendship, and I think a lot of kids would relate to the way they are outsiders.
Lucky Strike had plenty of humorous parts, which I think young readers will enjoy as well. There are also moments of sadness and suspense that will keep readers quite engaged.
I liked the writing, though everything seemed to move very fast, even for a 250-plus page book! As I said, this is more geared toward middle grade readers, and they will love learning Nate’s story.
About the Author
Bobbie Pyron was born in Hollywood, Florida and spent her growing up years up in the panhandle, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico and dreaming of being a mermaid. She has degrees in Psychology and Anthropology, and a Masters degree in Library Science, and has worked as a librarian for over twenty-five years.
Her first book, a novel for teens titled The Ring (WestSide Books), was published in October of 2009. Her second book, A Dog’s Way Home (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books), was published to starred reviews in March of 2011. The Dog Writers Association of America recently awarded Bobbie the Maxwell Medal of Excellence and the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award. It was also named a Banks Street Best Books of the Year.
Bobbie Pyron’s book, The Dogs of Winter (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic), came out October of 2012. The Dogs of Winter is a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Kirkus Best 100 Children’s Books of the Year. Bobbie lives in Park City, Utah with her husband, two dogs, and two cats.
Bobbie Pyron’s Website.
Buy ‘Lucky Strike':
Follow the Tour:
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Apr 2 Spotlight & Giveaway
Rockin’ Book Reviews Apr 7 Interview & Giveaway
Hott Books Apr 8 Review
Always Reiding Apr 9 Review & Excerpt
Geo Librarian Apr 10 Review
Curling Up With A Good Book Apr 13 Interview & Excerpt
fuonlyknew Apr 14 Review & Giveaway
Once Upon A Story Apr 15 Review & Excerpt
Beneath the Jacket Reviews Apr 16 Review
Indie Review Behind the Scenes Apr 17 Live I 6 pm cst
Cassandra M’s Place Apr 20 Review & Giveaway
In Bed With Books Apr 22 Review & Excerpt
In Bed With Books Apr 22 Interview
Allison’s Book Bag April 24 Interview
Allison’s Book Bag April 24 Review
Mary’s Cup of Tea Apr 27 Review & Giveaway
Deal Sharing Aunt Apr 28 Review, Excerpt & Giveaway
Bound for Escape Apr 30 Review
What U Talking Bout Willis? May 1 Review
Lisa’s Writopia May 4 Review
Books, Books, and More Books May 5 Review & Excerpt
Beth’s Book-Nook Blog May 8 Review
Sweet Southern Home May 11 Review
The Crypto-Caper Review May 12 Review
One Frugal Girl May 15 Review
About the Book
Title: Fish Also Go To Heaven | Author: Tammy Brown Elkeles | Illustrator: Raquel Afonso | Publication Date: October 28, 2014 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 42 | Recommended Ages: 4 to 8
Summary: Fish Also Go to Heaven – A unique optimistic view of a loss of a loved pet.
Ellie’s best friend is her little goldfish. Spending every moment she can with him and telling him all her secrets. And at school she talks about him all the time as well. But one morning little “Fishie” is not moving….
Like all children, Ellie loves her little pet, Fishie. Sometimes young children are confronted by the realities of life that no one lives forever, especially little fish. How will Ellie and her mother handle the situation when Fishie is not moving one morning?
After trying to spare Ellie the pain and replacing Fishie by a similar fish, after a while the new fish jumps out of his fish bowl. Mother must now teach Ellie about one of the most basic facts of life. What happens to fish when they die? Are they OK wherever they are? Will we ever see them again? How will Ellie handle the loss of her goldfish? How will mother help Ellie with her loss?
Fish Also Go To Heaven offers kids a lesson about the facts of life and death in a unique optimistic way that will make it easy for them to handle similar loss. The book will help parents of tender children discuss the subject of loss with their kids and ease the grieving process for those who are faced with such loss.
This children’s book is suitable for a read aloud bedtime story for preschoolers or as a self-read for older children.
* PRICE DROP *
* “Fish Also Go To Heaven” is available as an e-book for only 99 cents from Amazon between May 5 & 7, 2015. Or, subscribers to Kindle Unlimited can grab an e-copy for FREE! *
The Buzz About the Book
“My daughter loves this book, I read it to her over and over again. Warmly recommended.” ~ Daphna, Amazon
“This bittersweet story deals with the subject of loss and death in a creatively spiritual way that would appeal to small children as well as their parents, who may debate how to answer such questions as ‘What happened to my cherished goldfish?’ Highly recommended.” ~ Shiran B., Amazon
“This lovely bed time story gives an insight into how to help small children to deal with loss in a lovely manner. The illustrations are cute as in other books by the same author. I generally feel that Tammy’s stories, invite me into her life and experiences with her children.” ~ Odvir, Amazon
About the Author: Tammy Brown Elkeles
I started to write children’s stories soon after a gave birth to my first child. I believe that children are an endless source of inspiration and joy and they can teach us important lessons about life. I live in Tel Aviv with my husband Miki, a photographer and documentary director, and my two boys. Being a staunch optimist, I believe that we have the power to influence reality and shape our own lives, and that is the message I wish to convey through my writing. I graduated with a BA in chemistry and nutritional biochemistry and later studied advertising as well as interior design. It was only in my thirties that I got to realize my childhood dream, studying playwriting and screenwriting and making writing my main focus. Works Published I currently have seven children’s books available on Kindle, and there are more to come. My book The Birds’ Bakery will soon appear in print nationwide. I’m also working on a comic books series for teenagers, D.J. Dirty Brown, to be published on Kindle.
* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *
Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)
Contest ends: May 18, 11:59 pm, 2015
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.