Thursday, May 16, 2019

Quita-Weeta's Cartwheel Adventures by Marquita Wilson


Quita-Weeta's Cartwheel Adventures


Quita-Weeta is a fun prissy -tomboy that lived for Saturday morning adventures. She loved doing cartwheels, chewing wads of bubble gum, and eating gooey ketchup sandwiches. These things were just a few of the highlights from her Saturday morning adventures. All her friends knew she would show up with tons on interesting things for them to do and keep Saturdays fun for everyone. From her tailored made cut off jean shorts, flashy red shoes, and her stud pearl earrings Quita-Weeta was sure to be looking her best while playing her favorite games in the neighborhood. Keep your eyes on Quita-Weeta from the cartwheels to the muddy-ditch playing adventure was her middle name and fun fun fun was her game, This book is sure to capture the adventure and fun for all readers to enjoy.


               
 Available on Amazon and BN








About Marquita Wilson

Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida A mother to 6 adult kids and Mimi to 4 grandboys.

I love to tell stories. I also have a huge love for memories, and writing allows me to share both loves with the world. I have so many childhood stories and memories from growing up in my community. Quita-Weeta allows me to share a portion of my childhood as on a child, who was fun, weird, and daring. Everyone in the neighborhood knew me, and it felt personal on most levels. I hope the world falls in love with this sassy, witty tomboy for Jacksonville's Northside.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Win $150 Amazon Cash with @homejobsbymom Giveaway Ends 6/6

WIN $150 AMAZON CASH

My insatiable appetite for reading started at a very young age. My parents and grandmother could not keep me stocked in books, no matter what they did. I went to the library at least once a week AND my mother regularly purchased books from those Scholastic Book Orders for me. It didn't matter how many times I had read a book, I always reread them. So I had a large library at a young age. Can you imagine what they would have done for me with a $150 gift card to Amazon for buying books? What would you buy? Best of luck entering the giveaway!


GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize: $150 Amazon Gift Card

Hosted & Sponsored by: Home Jobs By Mom

Rules: Use the Giveaway Tools form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 06/06 and is open worldwide. Entrants must be 18 years old to enter. Winner will be notified via email.




Good Luck! Enter Below
Also we all “love it if you follow us” on Instagram!



ONE entrant will be selected by the entry form to win a $150 Amazon Gift Card. Open for entry worldwide, 18 years and older from 05/06/19 thru 06/06/19. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to notification email to claim their prize or a new winner will be selected. Once a winner is drawn and confirmed, the name will be announced on the GiveawayTools form. Home Jobs By Mom will be responsible for sending the winner their prize.



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Monday, April 29, 2019

Review of Sophie Washington: Code One by Tonya Duncan Ellis


Welcome to the review tour for Sophie Washington: Code One by Tonya Duncan Ellis! If you follow my blog at all, you'll know that I simply adore this series of middle grade books. I'll get into more detail below, plus I have an excerpt for you to enjoy. As always, leave Tonya your questions and comments as you follow the tour and be sure to enter the giveaway!



Sophie Washington: Code One


Anything boys can do girls can do better

Xavier Academy is having a computer coding competition with a huge cash prize! Sixth grader Sophie Washington and her friend Chloe can’t wait to enter with their other classmates, Nathan and Toby. The only problem is that the boys don’t think the girls are smart enough for their team and have already asked two other kids to work with them. Determined to prove the boys wrong, Sophie and Chloe join forces with classmates Mariama, Valentina, and “brainiac,” Rani Patel, to form their own all-girl team called “Code One.” Computer coding isn’t easy, and the ladies get more than they bargain for when hilarious mishaps stand in their way. It’s girls versus boys in the computer coding competition as Sophie and her friends work day and night to prove that anything boys can do girls can do better!


Read an excerpt:
“Hey, ladies,” Toby grins back and shows his dimple. I remember when his smile made my day go from gray to rainbow bright. I had a major crush on Toby when he came to Xavier and went through all kinds of changes to get his attention. I’m embarrassed thinking about how I acted like I love basketball, which I can’t stand, because he is a star player on our school’s team, and how I even swiped a cell phone from one of my little brother’s friends so I could call Toby. I found out he didn’t really care about any of that stuff and liked me for myself. We aren’t a couple or anything, but I’m glad we’re friends.

“Whatcha reading?” I point at pieces of paper on the table that the boys are staring at like they’re Willy Wonka’s golden tickets.

“An invitation for teams to sign up for the new computer coding club,” answers Nathan, pushing his dark-rimmed glasses up on his nose. “Xavier is having a coding competition to see who can make the best computer app.”

“What’s coding?” I ask.

“A special language that computer programmers use to tell the computer what to do,” Nathan explains. “like show a video, or start a game.”

“We’re thinking about making an app that’s similar to the video game, Fortify,” says Toby. “The grand prize is two hundred dollars, and it’s split between all the team members. I want some new basketball shoes, and my dad says I have to come up with half the money myself, so this will be a quick way to get it.”

“Count us in!” enthuses Chloe. “We could always use some extra cash for trips to the mall.”

“Yeah, that sounds like fun,” I add.

“Wait a minute, ladies,” says Nathan. “Coding isn’t as easy as turning a cartwheel. We really want to win.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” asks Chloe, putting her hands on her hips. “You don’t think you could win with us on the team?”

“I-I didn’t say that,” he stammers. “It’s just with your…umm…disability and all…and all the time you have to practice for cheerleading, I wonder if you could really help us.”

Now he’s done it. I can almost see the steam coming out of Chloe’s curls. My best friend has dyslexia, a condition that makes her see numbers and letters differently. Because of it, she takes longer to read and do math than other kids and is in some special classes. She gets very angry when people make fun of her about it, or act like she’s not smart.

“If you’re so worried about us being in cheer why would you pick Toby for the team?” Chloe counters. “He practices his basketball just as much as we practice for cheerleading, and we’re all at the same games.”

“Toby is a level one Fortify player,” Nathan says. “He knows everything about the game, so he can help us write a plan for how the app should work.”

“Oooo, I guess we should bow down to the expert,” says Chloe.

“My eight-year-old brother Cole plays Fortify,” I pipe in. “I’m sure it’s not too hard to figure out.”

“Yeah, you guys just don’t want us,” Chloe frowns.

“Nobody’s trying to keep you girls from being on the team.” Carlton holds his palms up to keep the peace. “It’s just that we’ve asked a couple other guys to be on our team already, so we don’t have room for anyone else.”

“Exactly. We’d love to have the extra ‘brain power,’ but our group is full,” Nathan agrees. “In fact, I wish I could make an app to clone myself. Then I’d have another person to do my school assignments while I’m working on this.”

“Why’d we want to have two of you?” says Chloe. “There are enough jerks running around this school. Come on, Sophie! Since their group is so ‘crowded,’ let’s find a table where there is enough space for us.”

She turns on her heels and moves toward another table, and I follow.

“Chloe, hold up! Don’t be like that!” Toby calls. She doesn’t look back.

“Let her go, man,” says Nathan, “It’s not worth it.” They turn back to the flyers.

“The nerve of those boys!” Chloe huffs as we sit down at a table in a corner of the room. “I can’t believe they think we’re not smart enough to help them win the competition.”

I shake my head and smooth my uniform skirt. I am especially surprised at Nathan, since I beat him in both the school and regional spelling bees last year. “They think we’re dumb just because we are cheerleaders and because we’re girls.”

“Well, we’ll show them!” Chloe yanks a coding club flyer off the cafeteria wall. “Let’s sign up for the competition and beat the pants off them!”

“Yeah, they’ll wish that they begged us to be on their team!” I agree.

We high five, and then start reviewing the contest rules as we eat our sandwiches. The coding club meeting is tomorrow afternoon in the school computer lab. I can’t wait to see Nathan’s and Toby’s faces when we show up with our own winning team.

It’s game on!

Buy Links:


**My thoughts**
I always love it when a new Sophie Washington book drops. I have read almost all of them and have never been disappointed. This latest one, Code One, is no exception.

The kids are embarking upon a new adventure, this time in the world of coding, which is hot for this upcoming generation. Don't worry, it doesn't delve so deep that you will feel lost. It just introduces the concept enough to wet your whistle for learning more. Best of all, it immediately nips in the bud the idea that girls aren't as good as such things as boys. The boys may think that they are and try to talk the girls out of it, but instead the ladies feel empowered to take them on and show them up. You may actually be surprised at the end results.

I have to admit that I also felt a little inspired to try to check out some of the free Python courses that hit my inbox on occasion, just so that I could catch up to these kids!

This book also introduces us to Rani, whose family is from India. One thing I love about this series is how Sophie is always meeting new friends from all different cultures and backgrounds. Rani's contributions to the group are great, both on an intellectual level, and from a cultural one.  I always hope that kids will reach out to those from other cultures in order to understand each other better and to enrich their lives and love how this series encourages this.

I also like the continued dynamic between Sophie and her brother. They totally pick on each other all the time, and yet love each other so much. Their parents are still firm, yet kind and are not afraid to let the kids learn life lessons for themselves.

So yet another great installment in this series. As always, I am looking forward to the next one!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


About Tonya Duncan Ellis

Tonya Duncan Ellis is the author of the Amazon bestselling, Readers' Favorite "Five Star" rated, Sophie Washington children's books series, geared toward readers ages 8 to 12, and is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She has received awards for literary excellence, worked as a journalist and freelance magazine writer, and is a graduate of Centre College of Kentucky and Washington University in St. Louis.


The Sophie Washington book series recounts the adventures of a precocious African American preteen from Houston, TX and her diverse group of friends. Each funny and heartwarming story teaches lessons about friendship, responsibility, truthfulness and perseverance. Books in the series include Queen of the Bee, The Snitch, Things You Didn't Know About Sophie, The Gamer, Hurricane, Mission: Costa Rica, and Secret Santa. Tonya loves to travel and has visited 49 American states and three continents, but some of her best journeys have been between the pages of a novel. As a girl she could always be found with a book in her hand, and reading is still one of her favorite hobbies. When she's not reading or writing, the author likes to ride her bike, swim, and spend time with her husband and three children. She lives in Missouri City, TX.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonyaellisbooks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TonyaDEllis

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tonyaellisbooks/

www.tonyaduncanellis.com



Tonya Duncan Ellis will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 1, 2019

All About Author Chelsea Walker Flagg and her Tinsey Clover


Welcome to the book tour for Tinsey Clover by Chelsea Walker Flagg. This is a whimsical fantasy story for middle grade readers, and I have an excerpt and my review for you. But first, Chelsea tells us about her writing journey and her love for Tinsey. Want to know more? Leave her questions and comments here and all along the tour. You can also enter the giveaway!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Your journey to becoming a writer

I’ve always loved writing. I was that kid in my second grade class always bugging my teacher to let me read my new stories to my classmates. That passion never went away, but I didn’t fully jump into being a writer until after my daughters were born. It was reading Tina Fey’s BossyPants that tipped the scale, I think. Reading that, I was fully confident that I could write a book full of funny stories! And, I did. My book, I’d Rather Wear Pajamas, was just that. Quirky stories from my life.

After winning some awards and earning best-seller status for that book, I knew writing was what I was meant to do. So, here I am!

The best advice I’ve ever received is the same advice I try to share with every aspiring writer I encounter: KEEP WRITING! There have always been plenty of people along the way who discourage writers or convince them it’s not a worthwhile activity. Those people are lying to you. If you’re passionate about writing, keep writing. You will find so much power, self-awareness, and joy when you put your words down on paper. And no, it’s never going to be perfect. And yes, some people won’t care for your style or your stories, but that doesn’t matter. Write. Anyway. I can’t emphasis that enough.


Character creation

I feel so connected to my little elfin girl, Tinsey Clover. She came to me so quickly as a character long before any sort of plot started forming for her story. In fact, as crazy as it might sound, it feels like she helped me write the story. Like she’d sit down right next to me and tell me what happened in her own words. Talk about having a muse!

Tinsey is a great combination of young and innocent mixed in with spunky and not afraid to challenge things. She doesn’t feel comfortable with the way her world works, so she sets out to change it. Sometimes she feels too small to even make a dent in anything, but other times, she’s in her full power and does amazing things. Both emotions are totally appropriate. I hope Tinsey’s young audience will recognize these emotions in themselves and feel optimistic that they can make changes for the better in their worlds, too.


Preview of an upcoming book/series

I’m excited to get pen to paper on a TINSEY CLOVER sequel! I’m equally excited to announce my intention to set up a service to help young writers publish their own books! Follow me for more information on that soon.




Tinsey Clover

Tinsey Clover is smart. She’s brave. Also, she can’t carry a tune to save her life. Oh yeah, plus she's an elf the size of a chipmunk. When her bizarre magical power grows in and makes her feel like a total outsider in her own village, Tinsey sneaks into the forbidden forest on a journey to find someone more like her. From trolls to dragons, what she discovers along the way challenges everything, and everyone, she thought she knew.

A coming of age story for early middle grade fans of Sarah Mlynowski, Kate DiCamillo, and Chris Colfer.



Read an excerpt:
This is my gift? I’m so confused. And tired. Did I seriously just gain the ability to snap my fingers and summon cleaning tools into existence? What a crock. I mean, shouldn’t I at least be allowed the gift to not sound like a really upset seal whenever I sing a note? I can’t imagine anyone in the history of ever actually getting excited about my new, strange magic. I scan the circle and notice every single eye staring at me in utter awe. I take that back. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the trealfurs in this circle look in complete astonishment over this. Want to guess who makes up the point-oh-one percent of trealfurs who isn’t getting a kick out of this whole situation? That’s right: Me.

So, why am I the one who gained this bizarre power? I glance around the circle again. Everyone’s looking back at me like I just turned into a two-headed walrus or something. Two minutes ago, people were shooting daggers out of their eyes at me like I was the scum of the earth, and now, here they all are, acting like I'm the most amazing creature to ever walk the face of the planet.

“Do it again,” one of the trealfurs urges in a loud whisper.

A few others nod their heads in enthusiastic agreement. It’s clear they all want to see what other sparkly new cleaners I can make appear out of nowhere. I really don’t want to test it out anymore, but a tiny voice inside my head wonders if maybe, just maybe, this “gift” is actually a fluke. I mean, I did hit my head pretty hard when I rolled off that fox. What if that knocked things loose a little bit? I cross one set of fingers behind my back and hope that’ll work to help my wish come true, then close one eye before snapping my other set of fingers again. Please just be a big mistake, I think. Unfortunately, it’s not. Another broom appears in a cloud of sparkles just like the last one, and falls to the ground with a clatter.

A round of applause ripples through the council circle. I bury my head in my hands.

How unlucky can one girl get?


Available on Amazon
This is my affiliate link. Should you make a purchase through it, I may earn a few pennies at no additional cost to you. Thanks for helping to support my websites!


**My thoughts**
Every once in a while I like to read a book for kids that falls outside of my normal choice of genre. This is definitely a book for kids who are into elves and magical creatures who like to go on adventures. I appreciated the deeper meanings in the story.

Flagg has created a world filled with many mini worlds within it. Each mini world has its own group or race of magical creature. These creatures do not mix and believe all kinds of horrible things about each other. Young Tinsey is especially sensitive to it, as her uncle is the ruler of her people. But she has a sense that there is something great that lies beyond their boundaries and she is aching to discover it. She is also trying to figure out who she is and how she fits into her world.

Soon after her magical powers finally literally descend upon her, Tinsey decides to bust through the barriers to explore the world beyond. By doing so, she manages to meet all kinds of wonderful magical creatures. And she finds out that those stereotypes that she grew up with were wrong. And her mission becomes one to teach others the same.

I think this idea is extremely timely right now as our society seems to have more hatred based on stereotypes and preconceived notions. If we would just take the time to get to know different people and to find out about them, we may find that we really do like them and can establish great relationships. The story also shows how kids are often smarter than the adults in their lives and we should listen to them more. It was a sweet story.


About Chelsea Walker Flagg

Chelsea was born and raised in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where she spent countless hours writing stories. Mostly about cats.

In 2015, she published her first book: a quirky memoir for adults called I'd Rather Wear Pajamas that talks all about the journey through her young adult life that led to her becoming an author. It was an Amazon #1 best seller for five straight days and continues to elicit full belly laughs from its readers.

After the birth of her children, Chelsea shifted her writing to the kidlit world. She’s thrilled to share her newest baby: Tinsey Clover.

Chelsea lives in Boulder with her husband and three practically perfect daughters. Unfortunately, she doesn’t own any cats.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

www.chelseaflagg.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chelseawalkerflagg

Twitter: https://twitter.com/chelseaflagg

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chelseaflagg/



Chelsea Flagg will be awarding $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 13, 2019

January $100 #AmazonGiveaway Ends 1/31 #HomeJobsByMom

$100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway _ Ends 1_31

If you have a voracious independent reader in your house, you absolutely NEED to feed that hunger with as many books as possible! Yes, you can go to the library, but some are definitely worth having on hand permanently in the home library. Can you imagine how excited your young one would be to be able to spend $100 on new books? My inner child is excited about this one, for sure.


GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card

Hosted & Sponsored by: Home Jobs By Mom

Rules: Use the Giveaway Tools form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 01/31 and is open to the United States or anywhere that can redeem an Amazon gift card. Entrants must be 18 years old to enter. Winner will be notified via email.

Good Luck! Enter Below

Also, you can enter more giveaways on the sidebar or main menu at HJBM!


Also we all “love it if you follow us” on Instagram!

ONE entrant will be selected by the entry form to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Open for entry US (or anywhere that can redeem an Amazon gift card), 18 years and older from 01/03/18 thru 01/31/18. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to notification email to claim their prize or a new winner will be selected. Once a winner is drawn and confirmed, the name will be announced on the GiveawayTools form. Home Jobs By Mom will be responsible for sending the winner their prize.

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Thank You So Much For Visiting Today!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Mrs. Murray's Ghost by Emily-Jane Hills Orford


Welcome to the book tour for Mrs. Murray's Ghost by Emily-Jane Hills Orford. This fantasy story is reminiscent of ones that I enjoyed as a youth, and yet different at the same time. Please read on for my thoughts about the book. You can also read an excerpt from it. Plus Emily-Jane tells us why she would choose to live in this book if she could. Please ask her more questions and leave her comments and then follow the tour for even more thoughts. There's also a giveaway for a $10 gift card!

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I also received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.




Mrs. Murray's Ghost

Mary’s family has moved into a huge Victorian mansion. She loves her gigantic new house, especially her room. But then she begins to meet the house’s other residents. Mrs. Murray was murdered in Mary’s new house. At first she tries to scare the new residents away, but there seems to be a force connecting the ghost to Mary. Even the stranded Brownies, the little people who live between the walls, feel that connection. When Mary becomes deathly ill, the Brownies and the ghost team up to try to rescue her, only to encounter a witch and her evil minions. Time is running out. They must rescue Mary from a fever-induced dream world before she is trapped there forever. As well as being a fun read for young readers, the story gives an historical perspective to childhood, as it dates to the 1960s. It also deals with some very current issues, specifically bullying.

Read an excerpt:
“Did you leave any lights on downstairs?” he asked as he seated himself at the table once again.

“No,” Mom answered. “I turned everything off.”

“She did,” Mary added. “I made sure.”

“The lights were all on in the kitchen,” Dad said. “Some of the cupboard doors were wide open. I closed them.” At that, the banging doors started up again.

“I guess it’s official,” David announced. “We have a ghost.” He made his move and passed ‘Go’. Holding out his hand to the banker (who was always Dad to ensure some modicum of fairness in the game), he demanded, “Two hundred dollars, please.”

“Sounds to me like the ghost is checking us out,” Dad said, handing over the Monopoly money. “It’s not hurting anyone, so let it be.”

“Spoooooky!” David howled, laughing.

Mary didn’t laugh. She wasn’t sure why they thought it was funny, but if no one else was afraid, maybe ghosts weren’t scary.



**My thoughts**
From a very young age, I was completely mesmerized by ghost stories. I read every middle grade ghost story I could get my hands on, and then some. So seeing a new book with ghosts in it definitely piqued my interest. Only this book goes beyond a simple ghost. It also introduces the concept of Brownies, of which I had never heard. I grew up with The Littles, who were similar to The Borrowers, but knew nothing of Brownies.

Another interesting aspect of this book is all of the Scottish folklore and history. I do have some Scottish heritage, but never much learned about it. So I felt like I was getting bits of heritage while reading about these Brownies and as they were sharing some historical tidbits. I admit that I struggled with the names of a lot of the characters, but that also gives this book more of a fantasy feel.

This book definitely has the feel of a first book in the series, like it is setting up the characters and their significance for later adventures. You get a lot of the background of the ghost Mrs. Murray, the Brownies, as well as Mary and her connection to all of them. Revelations of the past allude to there being more installments to come as past wrongs are destined to be rectified somehow some way. I think there is some potential here for a very interesting fantasy series, especially for fans of historical fiction.


Ask the author:

If you could live in one of your books, which one and why?

In many ways, I have already lived in “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” because much of the story is from my own childhood. I wouldn’t mind living it again, especially with all the adventures I have added and embellished. The only thing I really don’t like about my story is the bully, who was a real part of my childhood. All the things that Mary does in “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” to avoid the bully, I used to do as well.

I’d love to revisit the old Victorian mansion that became our family home for many years. I’d love to see it again as I did that very first day, before the movers arrived. It felt so cold and empty and unloved, something that quickly changed once we moved in. I think that’s what worried our ghost initially: that we wouldn’t love and care for the house that she had loved long before we moved in. Once she realized how much we were a vital part of the house, she seemed to settle down and the noises and light shows that kept us awake those first nights disappeared.

The ghost didn’t disappear, though. She was always there, often hovering at the foot of my bed. Especially when I was sick, which I was a lot as a child. We didn’t have all those immunizations back in the 1960s, so I had everything imaginable: scarlet fever, chicken pox, mumps. And there were times when I was so sick, I was in another realm, an alternate, out-of-body existence. Hence the dream world in the story.

I would love to go back, to be with my family as we were in the 1960s. With Mom, Dad and Gran still alive and well and my siblings, annoying as they sometimes could be.

“Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” and the rest of “The Piccadilly Street” series is a trip down memory lane for me, almost wishful on my part that I could be there once again.


About Emily-Jane

An avid gardener, artist, musician and writer, Emily-Jane Hills Orford has fond memories and lots of stories that evolved from a childhood growing up in a haunted Victorian mansion. Told she had a ‘vivid imagination’, the author used this talent to create stories in her head to pass tedious hours while sick, waiting in a doctor’s office, listening to a teacher drone on about something she already knew, or enduring the long, stuffy family car rides. The author lived her stories in her head, allowing her imagination to lead her into a different world, one of her own making. As the author grew up, these stories, imaginings and fantasies took to the written form and, over the years, she developed a reputation for telling a good story. Emily-Jane can now boast that she is an award-winning author of several books, including Mrs. Murray’s Ghost (Telltale Publishing 2018), Queen Mary’s Daughter (Clean Reads 2018), Gerlinda (CFA 2016) which received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, To Be a Duke (CFA 2014) which was named Finalist and Silver Medalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and several other books. A retired teacher of music and creative writing, she writes about the extra-ordinary in life and the fantasies of dreams combined with memories. For more information on the author, check out her website at: http://emilyjanebooks.ca

Author Links:
Website: http://emilyjanebooks.ca
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/realpeoplestories
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ejhomusic
Blog: http://beyondtheordinaryincanadianstories.blogspot.ca/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1732544.Emily_Jane_Hills_Orford


Emily-Jane Hills Orford will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 19, 2018

Review of Sophie Washington: Secret Santa by Tonya Duncan Ellis


The holiday season is upon us, so of course we have a new holiday-themed Sophie Washington book to read and enjoy! If you follow this blog at all, you know that I am a big fan of this series, and this installment is no exception. Please enjoy my review and then follow the tour to get the thoughts of others. Be sure to leave Tonya any comments or questions you may have. And of course enter the giveaway!

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I also received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



Sophie Washington: Secret Santa

Christmas is three weeks away and a mysterious "Santa" has been mailing presents to sixth grader Sophie Washington. Her friends guess that the secret Kris Kringle could be either Nathan Jones or Toby Johnson, two boys in Sophie's class who have liked her in the past, but she's not sure. Sophie uncovers clues to find her secret Santa and the final reveal is bigger than any package she's opened on Christmas morning. It's a holiday surprise she'll never forget!

Read an excerpt:
“Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg!”

“Be quiet, Cole!” I put my hands over my ears to muffle my brother’s out-of-tune singing and focus back on my laptop to finish my English essay. It’s less than three weeks until winter break and my teachers have been piling on the assignments to make sure we get our end of semester grades in.

There sure is a big change between fifth and sixth grade, workwise, at Xavier Academy, the private school my brother and I go to. Between all the essays and projects and studying for final exams, I feel I can barely take time to pat my dog, Bertram, when I get home; whereas, my eight-year-old brother Cole acts like he’s already on vacation.

Since we got home from school an hour ago, he’s been living it up, shooting hoops in the driveway, eating a snack and now playing on the handheld video game player that my mother would make him put up if she were downstairs with us. I ought to tell on him now…

Ding Dong!

The doorbell interrupts my thoughts.

“Can you get it, Sophie?” Mom yells from upstairs. “I’m putting some clothes in the closet.”

I would ask her why she wants me to answer the door, and not Cole, but I already know the answer: “Because you’re the oldest.”

Of course, that logic doesn’t hold when it comes to who gets the first dessert or who doesn’t have to do the dishes at night. As the baby of the family and favored child, my little brother has got it made.

I trudge to the front door in time to see the mail carrier heading back to his truck. He’s left a medium-sized box on the porch. Wonder what it is?

My mother sometimes has holiday packages delivered to the house, but Cole and I haven’t made our Christmas lists yet, so I doubt it’s anything for us. I open the door, pick the package up, and check out the label. It’s got my name on it in bright, red ink, “Sophie Washington.”

Who could this be from?

I never get any mail, except for birthday gifts my Granny Washington sends to our house in Houston from Corpus Christi when she can’t be here, and I don’t remember my parents ordering anything for us online. Granny is driving up to see us tomorrow, so I doubt she would mail presents here when she could just bring them with her.

“Mom, I got a package!” I call out.

“What is it?” Cole bounds from the family room to stare at the box as I set it on the kitchen counter.

“Back off, Cole, it’s mine,” I move him to the side with my hip and take a closer look at the delivery. The box is wrapped in brown paper, and there is no return address. It looks difficult to open with my fingers, so I pull a butter knife out of a drawer in the kitchen and slit through the tape on the side. A sweet, sugary scent fills the air.

“Cool!” exclaims Cole in appreciation as the brown wrapping slides off to reveal a box filled with packages of licorice, gummy bears, gum, and red and green M&Ms. I notice a typed note underneath.

Dear Sophie,
Hope your day is super sweet!
Your Secret Santa

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**My thoughts**
Another wonderful Sophie Washington story! I cannot get enough of these. As in all of the other installments, I feel like these kids are real. They are dealing with real problems and stumble to find real solutions while learning all kinds of life lessons along the way. This one is a bit more fun as it revolves around a Secret Santa at Christmastime, but those lessons are still there.

In this one, we get to see Sophie really act like a protective older sister with her little brother Cole, which I love seeing. The bond between siblings is so important and definitely ebbs and flows over the years. These two kids are often bickering and picking on each other, as siblings do, but she is quick to take care of him. They learn some good lessons about bullying. Most of all, they learn the power of friendship and a kind word. In fact, you'll be surprised with the revelation of the Secret Santa at the end. I may or may not have felt a little moisture in my eyes at that point.

And finally I like that you can read this book without necessarily having read the other books in the series. Just enough background information is given so that you understand the characters and their story to make the current one make sense. But I do recommend reading them all, as they are all so good. I can't wait for the next one!


About Tonya Duncan Ellis

Tonya Duncan Ellis is the author of the award winning, Readers' Favorite "Five Star" rated, Sophie Washington children's books series, geared toward readers ages 8 to 12, and is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She has received awards for literary excellence, worked as a journalist and freelance magazine writer, and is a graduate of Centre College of Kentucky and Washington University in St. Louis.

The Sophie Washington book series recounts the adventures of a precocious African American preteen from Houston, TX and her diverse group of friends. Each funny and heartwarming story teaches lessons about friendship, responsibility, truthfulness and perseverance. Books in the series include Queen of the Bee, The Snitch, Things You Didn't Know About Sophie, The Gamer, Hurricane, and Mission: Costa Rica.

Tonya loves to travel and has visited 49 American states and three continents, but some of her best journeys have been between the pages of a novel. As a girl she could always be found with a book in her hand, and reading is still one of her favorite hobbies. When she's not reading or writing, the author likes to ride her bike, swim, and spend time with her husband and three children. She lives in Houston, TX.

Website: tonyaduncanellis.com
Facebook: @tonyaellisbooks
Twitter: @TonyaDEllis


Tonya Duncan Ellis will be awarding $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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