Tag Archives: Christmas

What’s Wrong with This Picture? 12 Days Before Christmas TOO by Roni Robbins (Book Review)

This rhyming read and seek story is based on the 12 Days of Christmas carol. From twelve drummers drumming to one partridge in a pear tree, children will enjoy finding ten things wrong in each of these Christmas scenes. There are things to do and see. “But something is wrong. Or is it just me?”

Searching through our beautiful illustrations introduces basic skills children can build upon as they learn and grow. Read and seek books stimulates the child’s brain as they evaluate and determine things out of place. It enhances critical thinking, vocabulary, memory and builds their cognitive skills.

Don’t forget read and seek books just adds a little more fun to reading as they look, point and try to find all things wrong, out of place, or just silly in these Christmas scenes. The bright colors and interactive story grabs the child’s attention and entertains them away from screens. They are a form of fun that can be portable and does not require charging, batteries or cords. This entertaining read-and-seek book is perfect for engaging with young readers but great for all ages.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

What’s Wrong with This Picture? 12 Days Before Christmas Too by DJ and Roni Robbins is an interactive story loosely based on the “12 Days of Christmas” song. I love interactive books because they allow my children to be engrossed in the happenings, not just sitting there as I read them a story. Seek/find and spot the difference books are household favorites. 

What’s Wrong with This Picture? 12 Days Before Christmas Too had a blend of easy and more challenging out-of-place items for a child to locate. If they get stumped, there is an answer key in the back of the book. The answer key wasn’t consistent in design, though. Some answers were colored in black, and some were outlined in red. Other answer cards had mistakes circled, then ones blackened and circled. Every answer card was mainly black and white except for “8 Maids -a- Milking,” which was in full color. I would suggest making them the same style. 

My kiddos were confused about how many mistakes they had to find on each image. Maybe making a small note under each photo will clear up confusion. 

From a design point of view, I like the creative ways the team wrote the various days of Christmas. Example: wrench in place of an “i’s” and words in different script sizes, fonts, and colors. These small touches made the words pop off the pages. 

When I submitted my review to Reedsy, I didn’t have a baseline for the author’s recommended audience. I would target preschoolers and elementary school-age children for the hands-on activity. The text is not difficult to understand, so elementary students should be able to read the book solo. I only recall one word that might prove confusing to young minds: infinity. But, this is a great time to broaden their vocabulary. 

Review submitted to Reedsy on 8/8/22. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 

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Meet the Author

DJ and Roni Robbins is a mom and son author team, writing fun and easy to read children’s books for early readers. Roni, married 25+ years with 2 adult children, 2 grand daughters and a 5 year old son DJ, who was the inspiration for their first published book. DJ likes buildings and hot wheels.

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Undercover Elf by Cydnee Brady (Book Review)

The son of an Undercover Elf discovers his mom’s secret job and finds out who her boss is. He learns about all the work Elves do to make sure Santa is ready for his ride on Christmas Eve and is happy to show the world how to identify and Undercover Elf out in the everyday world.

The magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes is one of the greatest joys to watch, and through this tale you and your children will be able to learn more about Santa. Kids can ask some really tough questions about Santa, and as a parent, have you ever been at a loss as to how to answer? Undercover Elf is here to assist with those tricky questions and enhance the excitement of the holiday for you and your child!

Keep the magic going throughout the year by trying to find Undercover Elves out and about in the real world!

 

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Moms wear a lot of job hats when managing a household. Depending on what needs handling, they put on their imaginary work hat and get to business. They prepare meals (chef), mend holes or sew costumes (seamstress), tend to boo-boo (doctor/nurse), and help with schoolwork (teacher). They also fix broken gadgets, wash clothes, clean the home, save kids from creepy crawlies, etc. I want to note that fathers also wear a lot of hats in the house, but since this is a book about moms, I want to focus on them. 

Around the holidays, moms put on a special hat. They put on their elf hat and assist Santa in making the holiday goes off without a hitch. Yup, Santa has helpers all around the world, not just in his workshop at the North Pole. 

Cydnee Brady does give clues to help a child discover if the parent is an elf or not. Be ready to have your ears looked at very closely. I think before I share this story with my youngest, I will purchase elf or Vulcan ears. I can’t wait to see their reaction!

Mom, the undercover elf, is Santa’s helper in many ways. They help with family pets, track weather patterns, and much more. With all the work this mom does, I bet she’s always on the NICE list. 

I know children, who still believe in Santa, will love this story. It was so cute. The pictures were quite lovely. 

The illustrations were not cartoony or picture-perfect computer graphics. They reminded me of colored-in coloring sheets. Well done, Chuck Sirko, Noah Spencer, and Mason Spencer (illustration team). 

If the author has any blank coloring sheets available, I would suggest offering those as a promotional piece. 

I agree with Amazon’s recommended reading age, 3 – 5 years.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

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Meet the Author

Children’s book author Cydnee Brady has always had a flair for words. Over the course of her kids’ childhoods, she added layers to an imaginative and festive story about being one of Santa’s elves, adding excited anticipation to his impending arrival—and instantly believed! Once her grandchildren were born, the story spread to a new generation, and now through her newly published picture book, Undercover Elf, to be shared with children everywhere.

Cydnee believes a great children’s book is one that you can get lost in, where you are in another world that you escape to for a time. She hopes that her story gives families together time and brings happiness and joy that reminds them all year around of the magic of Christmas and Santa, long after the book is closed.

When she isn’t writing humorous holiday stories, Cydnee works as a financial analyst for the Volvo Group, enjoys spending time with her three grandchildren, two kids, and husband of thirty-five years, Dean. She likes to sew, cook, and travel. Cydnee and Dean live with their four dogs in the country in Gibsonville, North Carolina. Undercover Elf is her debut picture book.

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The Christmas Cameo:  A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery by C.S. McDonald (Book Review)

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​A lovely cameo brooch is discovered in Fiona’s late Uncle Wilbur’s house two days before Christmas. The pin bears a romantic Christmas message from Wilbur for his new wife with the initials, D.A.S.

How very strange! To the family’s knowledge, Uncle Wilbur had never been married. So, who is this mysterious woman? Now, Fiona is on a holiday mission to locate D.A.S. and deliver the belated gift. 

Question is, what happened to the marriage? Is D.A.S. still alive after all these years? And if so, can Fiona find her before Christmas?

 
 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Fiona is not the only person in town who loves a good mystery. Ted Welton, his wife, and Detective Tavia are also eager to solve who’s the mysterious person behind the initials of D.A.S. on a cameo brooch discovered in Fiona’s dead uncle’s house.
 
The investigation leads to a sweet moment between Fiona and D.A.S. They are tears of joy for a man, long gone but never forgotten.


While Fiona is on the hunt for D.A.S., Nathan is on his quest as well. He’s looking for a pickpocket whose slick fingers nabbed the cameo. This perp does not wear all black when he’s looking to unburden a person of their belongings. Nope, he wears a Santa suit.


Since it’s the time of the year for peace on Earth, I don’t think I’m overstepping by saying everyone will receive a Christmas miracle. Yes, even fake Santa. I would encourage fake Santa to get a real job. He doesn’t seem to have any luck with pickpocketing.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤1/2

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About the Author:
For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries nine books with a tenth slated for 2021. The books are also available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg. Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh. The female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. The Owl’s Next Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy! Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.
 
 
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Happy Holidays!!

Thank you for your continued support. 

 

 

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Second Chance Christmas by Lori Wilde (Book Showcase)

 

New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde returns to Twilight, Texas, with a love story filled with the magic of the season, about a couple who discover an abandoned baby on Christmas Eve-Eve.

 

It’s Christmastime in Twilight, TX. The lights are twinkling, carols are being sung, and the cookies are baking. And this year, best friends Joel and Jana discover a shocking surprise: as they are organizing the living Nativity, they find a sweet little baby in the manger with a note saying the mother will return…soon.

Jana tucks the infant into her arms, and she and Joel make the impulsive decision to take the baby home. Jana is spontaneous, Joel is a planner, but they agree that it’s better to care for this precious bundle for the holidays, in hopes that the mother really will come back by New Year’s.

As the days pass, the pair begins to fall in love with the child and they’re also forced to face facts: their relationship goes far deeper than friendship. As the spirit of Christmas—and the magic of Twilight, TX—takes over, this unlikely couple must open up to the feelings they’ve been hiding from each other all along. 

 

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EXCERPT

 

What on earth was she going to do?

It was three days before Christmas and she had no money, no food and no place to stay. Every measly thing she owned was tucked inside the battered backpack weighing heavy on her shoulders.

Shivering in her in her thin jacket, not nearly warm enough for the winter storm rolling through North Central Texas, the teen tightened her grip on the tiny bundle in her arms.

Some dude she barely knew had said she could couch surf with him for a couple of days, but the guy had been adamant. No brats allowed.

Panic rose in her throat, swelling and bubbling like the sourdough starter Grammy fed on her kitchen counter. No, not anymore. Grammy and her sourdough were gone forever, and she was all on her own.

A gust of wind blowing off Lake Twilight, shook the tinsel garlands strung from quaint lantern lampposts. Gaily colored lights flickered through the thickening darkness like fickle beacons. On-off. On-off. Her teeth chattered, braces clicking together. Her bare knee, poking from the hole in her jeans, turned as numb as her nose.

For the past three hours, she’d ringed the entire town square, entering boutiques and restaurants to get in out of the cold, leaving when shop owners started giving her dirty looks.

In one restaurant, with hunger gnawing a hole in her stomach, she’d pretended to need to use the restroom, then slipped into the dining area targeting an un-bussed table and flitching leftovers.

It wasn’t stealing, she’d told herself. The food was getting thrown out.

Then she saw a ten-dollar bill on the next table and her heart leaped. That was stealing. She inched over, reached for the ten, and had it in her fingers when one of the servers caught her.

“Put that back!”

She dropped the ten. “I wasn’t—”

“You were.”

“I—”

“Get out. Now!”

Ducking her head, she moved toward the door. As she passed, the server whispered “you’re disgusting” with a curled lip. Then the woman’s gaze landed on the baby tucked up underneath her jacket and the curl had become a full-on snarl. “For shame! What kind of mother are you?”

That was a knife through her heart. She was a horrible mother. She knew it. The baby would be much better off without her.

“Get out.” the server said. “before I call the cops.”

 

Click HERE to read the excerpt in its entirety!

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