Thursday, April 30, 2020

Middle-Grade Book Spotlight: Wild & Chance, by Allen Zadoff ~ Giveaway for a Print Book!

Wild & Chance
by Allen Zadoff
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Genre: Middle Grade, Children's

Sit. Speak. Survive the chase.

A girl wakes up trapped on a sinking ship with no memory of who she is and nothing but her instinct to survive. She fights her way to freedom, only to discover two incredible facts: She is a dog, and she can understand human speech. She soon befriends a thirteen-year-old boy named Chance who gives her a name of her own: Wild.

But Wild and Chance find themselves running for their lives, pursued by relentless Animal Control officers. Joined by a mysterious hacker girl named Junebug, the unlikely trio fights for survival while trying to solve the mystery of Wild's extraordinary strength, superintelligence, and high-tech collar.

Equal parts heart-pounding action and heartfelt journey, Wild & Chance grabs the reader from page one and never lets go.

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Apple | Book Depository | Kobo

My Bella in a Box!

About the Author:
Allen Zadoff is the author of the new thriller series, The Unknown Assassin, which earned starred reviews and is being developed as a feature film by Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment. His YA novel, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have, won the Sid Fleischman Humor Award and was a YALSA selection for Most Popular Paperbacks of 2012. His second novel was My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies, the story of a techie hiding from life after a family tragedy. His third novel, Since You Left Me, is set in Los Angeles and tells the story of a religious school student who doesn't believe. He also wrote the memoir for adults, Hungry: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to Thin.

Allen is a graduate of Cornell University and the Harvard University Institute for Advanced Theatre Training.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


• 1 copy of WILD & CHANCE by Allen Zadoff
• US only
• The prize may be delayed due to shipping centers being affected by COVID-19.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Graphic Novel Spotlight and Giveaway: Middle School Misadventures: Operation: Hat Heist! by Jason Platt

Middle School Misadventures: Operation: Hat Heist!
by Jason Platt
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 21, 2020
Genre: Middle Grade, Children's, Graphic Novel

In Jason Platt's second Middle School Misadventures graphic novel, Newell's favorite hat gets taken away! With the help of his most talented friends, he concocts the perfect plan to get it back. Operation: Hat Heist is a go!

Newell's favorite show of all time is The Captain! Newell is beyond excited when he learns that the Captain himself, Patrick O'Shaughnessy, will be at Monster Comic Con. He can't wait to meet The Captain wearing his once-worn-by-The-Captain WWII crusher hat that his dad gave him. But when Newell brings the hat to school, it gets stolen from his backpack! Fart.

When Newell finally spots the culprit wearing his hat in the hall, Mr. Todd confiscates it and reminds the students, "There are no hats to be worn in school!" Double fart. What will Newell do?! He wants his hat back so he doesn't let his dad down and can impress his hero, but Mr. Todd refuses to return it! Just when Newell is about to give up, he receives a note from 8th-grader Ethan: "I have an idea. Also, bring your friends. They can help, too." Can Newell, Ethan, and this ragtag group of friends pull off the perfect hat heist?

In this fun and imaginative full-color graphic novel, Jason Platt sends fast-talking, daydreaming, Newell on another desperate quest to save his favorite hat before he meets his all-time hero.

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Apple | Book Depository | Kobo

About the Author:
Jason Platt is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, and in 2016, was accepted into the National Cartoonists Society by a unanimous vote. He is also the creator of the popular webcomic series Mister & Me. He and his family live in Davenport, Iowa.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


• US Only
• The prize may be delayed due to shipping centers being affected by COVID-19

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky (April 25-May 8, 2020)

It's time once again for another Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky! I hope you are hanging in there okay as we continue to practice social distancing and isolation. We could all use some distractions, so why not enter some giveaways? Bookmark this page so you can visit daily to see what new contests have been added to the linky below. And if you're hosting a giveaway on your blog or website, feel free share the link with us. Don't forget to post this on your social media pages so your friends and followers can join us, too. Good luck!

NOTE: Where it asks for "Your Name," enter the name of your giveaway along with the end date. For the URL, enter the exact URL where your giveaway is located. Comments are appreciated but never required.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Children's Book Release Blitz: "I Love Me!" by LaRonda Gardner Middlemiss

Picture Book
Date Published: 4/21/20
Publisher: Beaming Books

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

I love me from my mouth and chin
all the way down to my knees and shins.

This affirming picture book features a diversity of races and ethnicities, physical features, body types, abilities and disabilities. I Love Me teaches all kids they have many, many reasons to love themselves.

About the Author

LaRonda Gardner Middlemiss found that motherhood immersed her in the fascinating world of picture books as she shared in her son's love of story time. Experiencing picture books with varying styles, stories and approaches to themes inspired her to write stories of her own. With a vision to create stories that will entertain, enlighten and empower all children, she ultimately aspires to both author and illustrate her work.

LaRonda is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators as well as Storyteller Academy.  Living in her home state of North Carolina with her husband and son, she participates in a local SCBWI critique group and a regional SCBWI illustrators network. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering.

Contact Links

Purchase Links

RABT Book Tours & PR

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky (April 11-24, 2020)

Welcome to this week's Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky! While we all sit at home waiting for these tough times to pass, let's entertain ourselves with some giveaways! Bookmark this page so you can visit daily to see what new contests have been added to the linky below. And if you're hosting a giveaway on your blog or website, feel free share the link with us. Don't forget to post this on your social media pages so your friends and followers can join us, too. Have a great week and stay well!

NOTE: Where it asks for "Your Name," enter the name of your giveaway along with the end date. For the URL, enter the exact URL where your giveaway is located. Comments are appreciated but never required.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Enjoy This Adorable Springtime Printable from Nickelodeon!

Spring has sprung, and your favorite Nick characters are here to help you celebrate! This fun Search-and-Find activity sheet is just what the Easter Bunny ordered for springtime fun:

How to Avoid These 9 Homeschool Science Mistakes

This post is sponsored by College Prep Science. Copyright 2020 by Greg Landry.

If you're a homeschooler, these tips from Greg Landry will provide some guidance in teaching science, which can often be a daunting subject. I hope you find them helpful!

Having taught science to several thousand homeschooling and college students over the past 20+ years, several things stand out to me. I've put together a list of 9 homeschool science mistakes and 9 concrete steps we can take to better prepare our budding scientists.

Mistake #1 – Generalizing the names for, and thus the way we teach, science.

Call it Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc., and not “General Science,” “Physical Science,” etc., even in the young grades. Doing this virtually eliminates the intimidation that comes with “Physics,” etc., in the high school years and clarifies what you’re teaching in the middle grades.

For example, at College Prep Science, rather than a homeschool year of “Physical Science," we teach a semester of “Pre-Physics” and a semester of “Pre-Chemistry.” Rather than a homeschool year of "Life Science," we teach a semester of "Pre-Biology" and a semester of "Pre-Anatomy and Physiology."

Mistake #2 – Not doing enough testing.

Testing in the sciences prepares our students for the rigors of high school level homeschool science, college science, standardized testing, and assures that they are learning the material and how to take tests. Of course, it should be age-appropriate, but we should be testing.

​Mistake #3 – Teaching science year-round.

I know that many parents are proponents of year-round school (no summer break), but I believe it’s actually counter-productive. From experience with thousands of students, I believe that students need to know they can work hard for a prescribed period of time and then have a total break from classes for a while.

Mistake #4 – Not starting the high school sciences early enough.

I know it’s easy to put off starting the high school sciences, but it’s important, especially if the students may be a college science major. Critical decisions should be made going into 8th grade. The critical factor is being ready for standardized testing and being able to fit in the needed sciences in the high school years. High school Biology should be taken in the 9th grade for most students and in the 8th grade for very capable students who will likely be science majors.

Mistake #5 – Not beginning to take the ACT early enough.

Success on this standardized test is critical for college admissions and plays a direct role in how much financial aid a student will receive. Taking these tests twice per year beginning in 9th grade gives students experience and confidence, which enables them to do well when they take this test for the final time in 11th or 12th grade. See my article on this topic, “6 Reasons to Ditch the SAT and Laser Focus on the ACT.”

Mistake #6 – Not training students to write good lab reports.

As a college professor, I saw the pain of students who came in as science majors without good lab report writing skills and experience. Students get better at this with experience -- there’s no substitute for that. Lab reports are simply the written record of the scientific method. It takes lots of practice to develop the skill needed to do well on these.

Mistake #7 – Not creating a lab manual for every science class.

A lab manual is a collection of observations, data collection, and lab reports from a class. This gives students one place to neatly keep all of this information and gives them a sense of accomplishment. It’s impressive to have them lined up on a shelf from all of their science classes. It’s also required by some states or umbrella groups for homeschoolers and some colleges want to see lab manuals as evidence of labs being completed.

Mistake #8 – Being squeamish on Creation.

Despite what you may hear in the media and elsewhere, God wrote the book on science. We need to boldly teach our students about God’s creation. Science and the world around us support biblical creation.

Mistake #9 – Not using graphing extensively.

Graphing, when done regularly through the middle and high school grades, has a unique ability to develop critical thinking skills in students that not only benefit them in math, science, and academics in general, but also in life! We encourage families to have students construct one graph daily as part of their homeschooling day. They can graph anything. Let them run with it and you will be surprised at how creative they are. The resulting skills can be very beneficial.

Homeschool dad, scientist, and former college professor, Greg Landry, offers live, online homeschool science classes, the Homeschool Mom’s Science Podcast, in-person two-day science lab intensives nationwide, freebies for homeschool moms, and homeschool print publications that students can be a part of.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Product Review: PowerXL Cordless Steamer and Iron

Have you ever struggled to iron your clothes because the cord keeps getting in the way? This used to happen to me all the time. But now that I have a PowerXL Cordless Steam & Iron, I no longer have that problem! This iron comes with a base that keeps the iron hot. While I’m flipping over the clothing or rearranging it to iron a different spot, I set the iron in the base, which I’ve plugged in nearby, and it keeps my iron at the desired temperature within 8 seconds! It makes ironing so quick and easy.

Check out the pants I ironed recently. You can see how wrinkled they were before I ironed them. (They got tangled up in a sheet in the dryer, so they were especially wrinkly!) After ironing, they looked amazing! (Yes, these are the same pants. The lighting was just different when I took the pictures.)

And the PowerXL Cordless Steam & Iron has several other amazing features that you’re going to love. This iron…

• Comes with an ironing pad for ironing on-the-go and a water refill cup
• Has a nonstick ceramic soleplate
• Is lightweight and has an ergonomic design
• Has automatic shut-off
• Has an anti-calc function that helps remove calcifications to prevent clogging
• Has an anti-drip function
• Has a precision tip to get to hard-to-reach spots, such as between buttons
• Can be used as a steamer to de-wrinkle curtains or clothes on hangers

Watch this video that tells you all about the PowerXL Cordless Steamer & Iron:

I love this iron! I’ve never been a fan of ironing, but now that I have a PowerXL iron, I am actually excited to use it. If you’re in the market for a new iron or want to get someone a great gift, check out the PowerXL Cordless Steamer & Iron at

Visit PowerXL online at:

Disclosure: I received a complimentary product sample to facilitate my honest review.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Smilebox: A Great Way to Send Cheer During These Difficult Times ~ Plus, a Giveaway for the PRO Plan!

We're all feeling down and stressed these days with social distancing and scary headlines. This is the perfect time to spread a little cheer to those around us. Fortunately, Smilebox makes it fun and easy to do! I could spend months playing around with their beautiful, cheery, and professionally designed electronic cards, announcements, invitations, slideshows, and more! And they're all customizable with your own text, pictures, and music. They have cards for every occasion and holiday, such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, Easter, Mother's Day, and much more. Check out some of the designs:

You can browse through all the options or sort by category, such as occasions, holidays or format. Personalize the card any way you'd like. Upload photographs from your computer, phone, or social media accounts. Select fonts, sizes, and colors. Pick from a wide selection of music or even upload your own.

If you own a business, you can send out announcements and even add an additional business slide with your contact and social media information.

When you're satisfied with your creation, you can share it in many ways -- through email, social media, your blog, or print.

This Easter is going to be very strange with no family to celebrate. Therefore, I created a cute Easter card with a retro picture of my twins that I can send out to our family and friends. (Click the arrow below to "play"!)
My Smilebox Creation

Smilebox has several affordable pricing plans available, including a free option. Each plan offers different options.

I am a HUGE fan of Smilebox! I'm going to save so much money by sending Smilebox cards and invitations rather than the paper options. And I love that I can personalize everything I send so my recipients will receive a unique greeting that reflects the time and love I put into it. I hope you'll join me in signing up for Smilebox and start getting in touch with the people in your life.


One lucky winner will receive a six-month subscription to the Smilebox PRO plan! Enter through the Giveaway Tools below. This giveaway is open to anyone who can access Smilebox and ends at 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Void where prohibited.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Smilebox subscription to facilitate my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky (April 5-10, 2020)

Welcome to this week's Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky. I think we all could use some distractions during these difficult times, so minimize the bad news for a while and check out some giveaways! Bookmark this page so you can visit daily to see what new contests have been added to the linky below. And if you're hosting a giveaway on your blog or website, feel free share the link with us. Don't forget to post this on your social media pages so your friends and followers can join us, too. Good luck -- and stay home!

NOTE: Where it asks for "Your Name," enter the name of your giveaway along with the end date. For the URL, enter the exact URL where your giveaway is located. Comments are appreciated but never required.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Has Arrived on Digital and Blu-ray with Great New Bonus Features!

Are you a Star Wars fan like me? If so, you'll be pleased to know that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the conclusion of the Skywalker saga, recently arrived on Digital and Blu-ray! This movie is the perfect wrap-up to the series with plenty of action and emotion. It ties up many of the mysteries from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. And now, considering that many of us are staying home more due to COVID-19, this is the best time to rewatch the series or discover it for the first time.

It's amazing to watch this film in the theater, of course. I get chills seeing the "opening crawl" and spaceships flying across the big screen. But watching it from home has its perks, too. For example, the in-home edition of The Rise of Skywalker comes with over two hours of bonus material, including a feature-length, making-of documentary and behind-the-scenes access to the cast and filmmakers who brought the epic scenes and characters to life!

Watch the trailer here:

The whole cast is back, including characters from the original series -- Han Solo, Princess Leia (thanks to special effects since Carrie Fisher passed away), Luke Skywalker, and Lando Calrissian. And, of course, our favorite droids and wookie!

I'm excited to check out these exciting new features on the in-home version of the movie:

The Skywalker Legacy – The story lives forever in this feature-length documentary that charts the making of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase – Dive into the making of the movie’s epic landspeeder chase and discover how this spectacular sequence was brought to the screen.

Aliens in the Desert – See what it took to create the Pasaana desert scenes, from the sheer scale and complexity of the shoot to its colorful details.

D-O: Key to the Past – Explore the ship that connects Rey to the mystery of her missing parents and get to know the galaxy’s newest, irresistible droid.

Warwick & Son – Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, dons the Ewok costume once more; this time joined by his son Harrison.

Cast of Creatures – The team behind the film’s memorable creatures reveal the puppetry, makeup, prosthetics and digital magic that bring them to life!

Digital Exclusive:
The Maestro’s Finale – Composer John Williams reflects on his body of work for the Star Wars saga and shares insights on scoring Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Can't get enough of Star Wars? Here's more great news! Eight Star Wars films have just been released on 4K UHD for the first time! They include: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Can you say "Star Wars Marathon Weekend"?

Our whole family loves the Star Wars series, and we're thrilled to add this latest installment to our home collection of movies. I hope you'll add Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to your family's list of favorite films, too!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on sales made through this link.