Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Review: Little Shepherd by Cheryl Malandrinos

Little Shepherd by Cheryl Malandrinos
reviewed by Elysabeth Eldering

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 16 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (August 21, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616330856
ISBN-13: 978-1616330859
Product Dimensions: 9 x 8 x 0.1 inches

Belief. Faith. Miracle.

In Little Shepherd, Obed is given the responsibility of keeping watch over his first flock of sheep. While keeping a watchful eye, the angels from Heaven appear to the shepherds and proclaim the birth of the Savior. Obed and his father and the other shepherds make their way to Bethlehem to see the new King. Obed worries that the flock will not be safe if they all leave, but leaves anyway. Upon returning, he sees that the flock is unharmed and exactly in the same spot he left them.

I have to agree with other reviewers that this is a great Christmas story and is definitely from a different viewpoint. My problem with the story is that the age of 5 seems to be too young to really be given a flock of sheep to herd or to have the fears the Obed experiences when asked to come to Bethlehem to see the newborn babe in the manger.

The story is truly a delight in all other aspects in that it takes the reader through the journey of what those shepherds many years ago experienced. I think Ms. Malandrinos brings a delightful way to tell the Christmas story to readers. A glimpse in the day of a young boy trying hard to find his place in the village.

I encourage families to sit down and read the Little Shepherd and then explore the story from reading the Bible. Have a little faith and stay strong to your beliefs and you can witness a miracle.

Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. A regular contributor for Writer2Writer, her articles focus on increasing productivity through time management and organization. A founding member of Musing Our Children, Ms. Malandrinos is also Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.

Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Little Shepherd is her first children’s book. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young daughters. She also has a son who is married.

You can visit Cheryl online or the Little Shepherd blog.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Tours continue

Tomorrow, I'll be posting a review for Cheryl Malandrinos' book, Little Shepherd, as part of her virtual book tour. Don't forget about her giveaways as outlined here.

Remember to check out the VBT Writers on the Move ongoing book tour (see schedule on side bar). We have many new authors and some great information to pass on to you all.

Donna McDine is winding her tour down this week for her book The Golden Pathway, so don't forget to catch up with her.

Lori Calabrese's tour starts next week and here is the schedule. Stop the many stops and see what Lori has to offer us. I'll be hosting Lori on the 16th with a review of her book The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade, and Lori will be stopping by throughout the day to answer any questios you may have.

November 2 - Mayra's Secret Bookcase

November 3 - Ingrid's Notes

November 4 - Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz's One Writer's Journey

November 5 - Book Dads

November 8 - Brimful Curiosities and The Children's Book Review

November 9 - Mrs. Hill's Book Blog

November 10 - Miss O's Library Land

November 11 - Tara Lazar's Writing for Children (While Raising Them/PiBoIdMo

November 12 - N.A. Sharpe's Realms of Thought

November 15 - Beverly S. McClure's The Story of a Writer

November 16 - Elysabeth's Stories

November 17 - Raising Itty Bitty Bookworms

November 18 - There's a Book

November 19 - The Iron Bodkin

November 30 - Into the Wardrobe

I hope to do a tour the first of the year showcasing the five new books in the state series that will be available. It is a busy time, so just bear with me on working up some new information for a short tour - may only be about a week or so long. See you all in the postings - E :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Come find out what type of writer you are

Come visit me on Robert Medak's blog for an article about writing by outlining or by the seat of your pants, written in honor of National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) which is just around the corner. Come check it out and see you all in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Mari Taylor - author of Surviving Unemployment series

My guest today is Mari Taylor, author of Surviving Unemployment Devotions to Go and her newest book - Girlfriends on Surviving Unemployment. Please join me in welcoming Mari for a quick interview and more info on her books.

Mari, why two books on the same subject?

The reason my publisher wanted two books was because the first was a devotional. Not everyone is going to connect with that type of book. So Girlfriends On...Surviving Unemployment is a “girlfriends having tea, cookies and a heart-to-heart talk about surviving unemployment” book. There are some stories and advice here that weren't included in the devotional. And I think the voice is very conversational, just as if I was sitting across the table from my reader. I absolutely love the cover she chose for it. It plays right into the feeling of the book. I'm hoping it reaches those the devotional book might have missed and solidifies a relationship with those who read the devotional.

What's next after these two books?

I am currently under contract for a holiday book. The working title is Celebrating Frugally Elegant Holidays. It will release in 2011. The theme of frugal elegance is one that will run through the majority of my books with See Media, Inc. The holiday book will release under the Simple Joy imprint. The first two books were purse-sized so that readers could slip it in their purse and read it “on the go”. The holiday book will be a full size book. I'm really excited about it!

What exactly is frugal elegance?

My definition of frugal elegance is concrete, simple ideas for maintaining or infusing elegance into your lifestyle without having to “beg, borrow and steal” from other areas of your household budget/spending plans. I know, I hate the “b” word and the “sp” combo as well! But lets face it, in today’s economy, they truly are a necessary evil. This type of lifestyle leads to less stress, more joy, less cash outflow and a life that looks and feels rich, classy and elegant. The bonus to this lifestyle is more time and energy to be extravagant with the relationships in your life. After all, it is quality relationships that truly make your life rich anyway, not the stuff!

So will this year's holidays be “frugally elegant” for your family?

They will. My goal is to test everything in the book before it goes to print. Most of it are things that I've done over the years, but some are new ideas. Those are the ones I want to test drive with my very picky family! I don't want to offer any advice that I haven't used myself. I am also hoping to get a friend or two to join me in using the ideas for the fast approaching holidays. I think it will add more dimension and authenticity to the book.

Marietta (Mari) Taylor resides in Raleigh, NC with her husband of seventeen years and her two teenage daughters. The move from Chicago, IL to Raleigh proved a breeding ground for dusting off her dream of writing. Mari is the author of Surviving Unemployment Devotions to Go, released March 2010 and Girlfriends On…Surviving Unemployment, also scheduled to be released in 2010. Mari was also published in Penned From The Heart VOL XV, a devotional anthology. Her column, Frugal Elegance, appears in Girlfriend 2 Girlfriend, an online magazine published by Extreme Diva Media.

Mari strives to show women how to manage the critical aspects of their lives elegantly, frugally and cohesively. Now if she could just get her two high maintenance daughters and one high maintenance husband on board. That ultimately will be the true test of her skill!

Mari has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and currently works in Healthcare IT. She loves forensics and Cafe World on Facebook. She’s a work in progress and ever evolving. The most important thing to her is that through her writing, others would come to know, accept and adore the God who has created such a crazy jumble of things that make her who she is.

To find out more about Mari, check out her sites:
Mari's blog Her personal blog is a hodge podge of book reviews, inspirationsl posts, family and personal news nad whatever else I might think of on a given day

website Her website explains more about my life philospohy of "frugal elegance". You can also find book release information and links to follow me on Facebook and Twitter

twitter account


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Book Review - The Golden Pathyway by Donna McDine

As promised in my previous posting, here is the review of The Golden Pathway, written by Donna McDine. Hope you enjoy.

The Golden Pathway by Donna McDine
Reviewed by Elysabeth Eldering

· Reading level: Ages 9-12
· Hardcover: 26 pages
· Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (August 12, 2010)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 1616330813
· ISBN-13: 978-1616330811
· Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.2 inches
· Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces

In the Golden Pathway we are taken back to a time of slaves and rights from wrongs. David's father is an abusive drunk who doesn't care who he hurts, as long as his way is the right way. One didn't have to do anything wrong in his eyes; just being a slave or a young boy coming of age could warrant a beating.

David is a compassionate child who knows that the beatings the slaves receive are not right by any means. He listens to the wails as his father beats the slave Jenkins, a boy not much older than David, but who really looks and acts much older than his stated age of 16. After many nights of helping the slave boy, cleansing his wounds after the beatings, risking his own life to do so, David gets a chance to go into town with his Pa and makes plans to help the slave move to a better life.

Although the book is well written and illustrated, I felt that the ending was too abrupt and that the events occurred too quickly. Knowing that the history of the time period is that for a slave to escape through the Underground Railroad (the actual Golden Pathway to Freedom) takes many days and sometimes even many months to plan and act upon, I felt that the timeframe was off on that this story seemed to occur only over a period of a few days. I almost wanted more story. The story only gives you a glimpse into the time period of slaves and the road to freedom. I give kudos to Donna for writing a children's story focusing on this difficult subject. Donna has taken a complete block of history and condensed it down to a 20-page story in the form of "A Day in the Life of a Slave." I rate this story 4 stars.

Book is available through Guardian Angel Publishing as well as many other online sourcces. Ask your local bookstore to carry the book too.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Promoting through virtual book tours

As many of you know, I participate in the VBT Writers on the Move virtual tour which is an ongoing, monthly tour where we host a group of authors. We offer an array of articles, book reviews and author interviews. See the schedule on my side bar for who is beig hosted by whom. I will be hosting Mari Taylor on this blog on the 6th, Heather (my illustrator for the remaining JGDS books) will be hosting Nancy Famolari on the 9th. I'll be featured on Robert Medak's blog on the 22nd and Heather will be featured on Carolyn Howard-Johnson's blog on the 8th.

My good friend Donna McDine is in the midst of her virtual book tour for The Golden Pathway, a historical fiction story about the Underground Railroad. I'm not on her schedule to host her but I will be posting a review of the book tomorrow for her. Her tour has been running since the 7th of September and runs through the end of this month. You can find more on her tour schedule by clicking her name above. Donna is also part of the VBT Writers on the Move and these planned stops are part of her full tour. Stop by and see what Donna has to offer many writers.

Another of my friends, Cheryl Malandrinos, author of the Little Shepherd is starting her 75-stop tour tomorrow. For a full schedule, please visit Cheryl's blog. I will be hosting Cheryl on the 29th of this month with a book review. Cheryl is running two contests concurrently for this tour, which offer readers opportunities to win two different prize packages. Both are open to all, even overseas folks. For the details of the contests, please stop by Cheryl's Pump Up Your Book site. She is offering a package worth about $65 for those who comment during the tour and a package worth about $97 for those who have purchased a copy of the book since its release in August and through the end of the tour. For more on the Little Shepherd, you can follow the book on it's own blog.

The last of my friends (that I'm aware of or participating in a tour with) is Lori Calabrese, author of The Bug That Plaqued the Entire Third Grade. Apparently, there are two tours going on for this book, one through the Indie-Debut roup and one that she is doing in November. If you are subscriber to her newsletter, The Book Bugz, and follow her tour and leave comments, letting her know you are a subscriber, you will be eligible for a prize package. The othe part of the tour starts November 3 and I will be hosting Lori here on the 16th with a review of her book. For more information on both tours, please visit Lori's site and find out where she will be heading on this new adventure.

Other than participating in the VBT Writers on the Move tours, I've not planned any more for my series, yet. I'm working on a new aspect for the study guides (not taking them away as they are geared for individual books, but an added bonus for the series) and so I'm not concentrating on promoting my books like I should. I really need to promoting myself as well but just find myself tied up with work and other aspects of writing that I haven't spent as much time promoting (well, okay not true since I've been gone almost every weekend since the middle of August at one event or another - Love to Learn homeschool conference in Charlotte, NC; Mint Hill's Sunday in the Park in Mint Hill, NC (on the outskirts of Charlotte); Springwater festival in Williamston, SC; Celebration of Books in Highlands, NC; Geofest through the SC Geographic Alliance in Columbia, SC; and the SCBWI-Carolinas fall conference in Charlotte, NC). I'm at a loss this month since I only have one festival scheduled and it's local - the Sugarfoot Festival in my town. Next month I'll be at the CBF in Charleston, SC the first weekend of the month and the following weekend at the Savannah Children's Book Festival - I can't wait for this one; been planning and thinking of it all year. I guess I should work on some more virtual tours for my series since I do have more books available. For those of you following my JGDS series, all information on new releases can be found at either the JGDS blog or the JGDS website. Keep checking back for new books and for the info on the added bonus to the study guides for teachers and homeschoolers and co-ops.

For now, find an author, follow a virtual tour and have fun reading some new books.