Posted in Book Reviews

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez – A Review

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez

ABOUT THE BOOK:

We Are All Just Imperfect Believers

New release from songwriter Buck Storm described as literary Americana fiction filled with humor and heart

Grand Rapids, MI — If world events are getting you down and you’re ready for an escape, take a trip to Paradise, Arizona, via Buck Storm’s new literary fiction release, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez (Kregel Publications/July 21, 2020/ISBN: 9780825446375/$15.99). Storm admits his new book isn’t your typical faith-based novel. In fact, in his own words, he describes it as a bit funky, sometimes over the top, and rarely going where you’re expecting it to go.

When his wife, Angel, is killed in a head-on collision, Gomez Gomez feels he can’t go on—so he doesn’t. He spends his days in the bushes next to the crash site drinking Thunderbird wine, and his nights cradling a coffee can full of Angel’s ashes. It’s a form of slow, sure suicide, with no one for company but the snakes, Elvis’s ghost, and a strange kid named Bones. Gomez Gomez has always been a little (or a lot) out there, but the endless flow of alcohol sure doesn’t help.

“Gomez Gomez’s sad state of affairs is the result of grief, pure and simple. At least as pure and simple as grief can be, I guess,” Storm explains. “He’s heartbroken at the loss of Angel. For years he was a black sheep, traveling the rodeo circuit and making trouble. When he met Angel everything changed. Somehow—a miracle in his mind—she saw something good and fine in him. She picked him out of a group of men he felt inferior to. She loved him unconditionally. She showed him what love is, unconditionally. She also introduced him to God. Not in an overhanded way, but by living love out every minute of every day. When she dies, Gomez Gomez simply can no longer get his arms around reality. For him, an Angel-less world is not a world worth existing in.”

The world outside his makeshift shack doesn’t really concern Gomez Gomez until Sonny Harmon, who owns the car dealership next door to the vacant lot, wants the land to expand. Sonny wants Gomez Gomez gone yesterday, and in Paradise, Sonny’s money speaks. Because Angel was special to everyone, when Gomez Gomez won’t leave, the town squares up and takes sides.

Coming to Gomez Gomez’s aid is his once-close friend Father Jake Morales, who always seems to play it safe, haunted by memories of the woman he left behind, hiding his guilt, loss, and love behind a thick wall of cassock and ritual. When Sonny’s shady business dealings threaten both Gomez Gomez and the town, Father Jake, can’t just stand by and watch. But what happens when the rescuer is the one in need of saving?

“In books, the very best characters are the ones who are the most human. As Gomez Gomez and Jake discuss, ‘We’re all just imperfect believers,’” Storm muses. “In this novel, Father Jake has certainly run to the priesthood more as a place to hide than as a true calling. We find that out almost immediately. Not that he doesn’t do his best to honor the commitment, but life presses no matter how high a person builds their spiritual wall.”

Storm didn’t set out with a teaching theme or spiritual message in mind when he started writing; instead he let the story take over. However, that doesn’t mean readers won’t find God throughout the story. “As authors, artists, songwriters, etc., we all have soul- themes that will insist on finding their way into our work. They won’t be quiet. I love God. I love Jesus. I love His love. So, by nature (I hope) these things will find their way into anything and everything I produce, whether it be prose or song or even how I love my family and neighbors. If I’m honest in my work and let things flow out of my personal relationship with God, then His relentless pursuit will resonate in a reader’s heart in an authentic way.”

The first release in the Ballads of Paradise series, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is quirky, heartfelt, and deeply human. Lives and hopes collide in the town of Paradise, stretching across decades and continents in this epic story of forgiveness, redemption, and love.

The next installment of the series, The Sound the Sun Makes, releases in 2021 and tells the story of Early Pines, the big, loud, funny, long-haired, plainclothes police detective. Readers are sure to be in for another wild ride.
Advance Praise

“The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez solidifies Buck Storm’s place among the unique literary voices of our day. Infused with humor, imagination, and poetic beauty, Buck’s writing is an absolute delight. I’ve read all his books, and his characters have taken up permanent residence in my memory. They come back to me at unexpected moments and invariably leave me smiling. Anyone who travels into the wild, wacky, wonderful world of Gomez Gomez is in for an unforgettable adventure.”

~ Ann Tatlock, novelist, blogger, and children’s book author

“I’ve never read a phrase from Buck Storm that wasn’t time well spent―and worth reading again. A topflight storyteller, Storm pits his protagonist―an eccentric, homeless widower―against a powerful and wealthy small-town businessman. The engaging story has readers quickly joining the cast of funky supporting characters on the streets of Paradise, Arizona, grooving on creative plot twists and wondering if this hero-and-villain drama can ever be resolved.”
~ Randall Murphree, editor of AFA Journal

“From a small Southwest town to the island of Corfu, Storm’s quirky characters take us to a place where love, compassion, and redemption may seem out of reach but are always within our grasp. From a cameo from Elvis to a story within a story, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez becomes more than a metaphor. Is Paradise, Arizona, real? We can only hope.”
~ Bill Higgs, author of Eden Hill

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I have to admit that as I began reading this book, I initially had a hard time staying interested.  While the idea of the story captured my attention, the storyline itself just moved at a pace initially that could not keep me captivated.

I think my favorite character is Father Jake because he struggles with being a priest and being in love with Honey.  I can also empathize with Gomez Gomez over the death of his wife.  However, I have to say at some places I had to force myself to keep reading because I wanted to see how the story would end.

So check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About the Author:

Buck Storm

Buck Storm is a critically acclaimed author and musician whose stories have found friends around the world. His nonfiction work includes Finding Jesus in Israel and Through the Holy Land on the Road Less Traveled. Storm’s novels include The List, The Light, Truck Stop Jesus, and The Miracle Man. The latest, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez, launches his new series, Ballads of Paradise.

Storm and his wife, Michelle, make their home in North Idaho and have two married children.

Learn more about Buck Storm, as well as his writing and music, at buckstorm.com. He can also be found on Facebook (@buckstormauthor), Twitter (@buckstormauthor), and Instagram (@buckstorm).

Suggested Interview Questions

  • From the title alone, we can tell that The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is going to be a unique tale. How would you describe your new release?
  • Without giving too much away, tell us a little bit about the story itself. Who is Gomez Gomez?
  • Readers find Gomez Gomez at the beginning of the story in a pretty sad condition. He’s drunk, soon to be evicted from a

    pitiful shack, and talking to snakes. Can you share more about the driving force behind his alcoholism?

  • As much of a lead player in the story as Gomez Gomez himself is Father Jake Morales. He doesn’t quite seem like your

    typical priest. Is he?

  • Did Father Jake join the priesthood for the wrong reasons? Was he struggling with grief in a different way?
  • At the risk of sharing a bit of a spoiler here, why did you put a priest in the middle of a love triangle?
  • The phrase “just an imperfect believer” keeps popping up. Is anyone not an imperfect believer?
  • Friendships play a big role amongst the somewhat large cast of characters in the book. What are some of the lessons in

    friendship readers will see through the story?

  • There is literally a story within a story in your book. Why did you have Father Enzo share outtakes from his own attempt at a

    novel within the main story?

  • Is Angel, or at least her memory, somehow a symbol pointing to a spiritual takeaway for readers?
  • What message do you hope readers will find in The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez?
  • Can you give a tease of what readers can expect from the rest of the series?

To request a review copy of The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomes, to schedule an interview with Buck Storm, or for more information, please contact Audra Jennings, ajenningspr@gmail.com.

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Irish Encounter – A Review and Giveaway

Irish Enoucnter FB Banner

About the Book

Book:  Irish Encounter

Author: Hope Toler Dougherty

Genre:  Sweet, inspirational romance

Release Date: May 7, 2015

Irish Encounter - FCAfter almost three years of living under a fog of grief, Ellen Shepherd is ready for the next chapter in her life, perhaps an adventure during a visit to Galway. Her idea of excitement consists of exploring Ireland for yarn to feature in her shop back home, but the adventure awaiting her includes an edgy stranger who disrupts her tea time, challenges her belief system, and stirs up feelings she thought she’d buried with her husband.

 

After years of ignoring God, nursing anger, and stifling his grief, Payne Anderson isn’t ready for the feelings a chance encounter with an enchanting stranger evokes. Though avoiding women and small talk has been his pattern, something about Ellen makes him want to seek her—and God again.

 

Can Ellen accept a new life different than the one she planned? Can Payne release his guilt and accept the peace he’s longed for? Can they surrender their past pain and embrace healing together or will fear and doubt ruin this second chance at happiness?

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

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As I began reading this book, I was quickly caught up in the story. Ellen Shepherd, a widow of 3 years, has left North Carolina to come Ireland in order to see her daughter and also to acquire yarn for her shop.  While sitting in a coffee shop trying to write, an elderly gentleman approaches her because she reminds him of his deceased wife.  The interaction between Seamus and Ellen is touching.

But when Seamus leaves, a new man barges into Ellen’s life and it will never be the same.  Initially, he lives up to his name of Payne.  He proves to be a pain to Ellen.  But she recognizes that sometimes God plants people in our path so we can share His Truth with them.

Payne and Ellen begin a relationship that becomes characterized by misunderstanding both on her side and his side.  This book demonstrates how it is important to ask questions when we do not understand or like what we see.

It also shows how an appointment by God can change a person’s life forever.

Olivia, Ellen’s daughter studying in Ireland, daughter my attention.  She obviously loves her mom and loved her dad and initially proves to dislike Payne, seemingly because he is not her father.  But over time, he is able to win her approval.

Another part that really caught my attention was when Ellen’s other daughter and her son Scott called Ellen in Ireland and wound up talking to Payne as well.  The love of the family for each other and the amazing group of friends the are surrounded by make this a story worth reading.  So check it out for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

Hope DoughertyHope holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Forever Music is her fourth novel. Residing in North Carolina, she and her husband enjoy visits with their daughters and twin sons.

 

 

 

 

More from Hope

Inspiration Behind Irish Encounter

A few years ago, I was staring at the first day of the rest of my life. My oldest daughter was set to graduate high school in less than a month. Two years later, her sister would march right behind her, followed in two years by their twin brothers.

Life as I’d known it for the preceding eighteen years was about to change enormously.

Throughout my tenure as a stay-with-my-children mom, I’d written for publications—sporadically—but I had a portfolio of articles with my byline in print.

That May afternoon, I decided to write something for Guideposts, a magazine filled with inspirational, faith-filled stories. I’d just completed “The Life of Moses” with Bible Study Fellowship, and I envisioned sharing wisdom and insight gleaned from thirty two weeks of study.

I penned What I learned from Moses on the top line of a yellow legal pad. As soon as I wrote this fascinating title, I immediately began daydreaming—about Ireland, not Moses.

In my daydream, a woman in an Irish café scribbled in a journal. A little old man in a tweed vest approached her, introduced himself, and began talking about his late wife.  I saw the wooden buttons on his vest and the Irish cap clutched in his hands.  Suddenly another man, dressed in dusty safari clothes, appeared to the woman’s left, lounging at his table and eavesdropping on their conversation.

This scene interested me infinitely more than the Moses idea. I turned the page to a fresh sheet and wrote everything I saw and heard in that Irish coffee shop.

Irish Encounter began that day. I didn’t know it yet, but God did. I just hurried back every morning to my desk to see what happened next. Before writing, I’d recite Bible verses from the Moses study, like Exodus 3:12 “And God said, ‘I will be with you’” and Exodus 4:12 “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (NIV)

I’d pray for guidance and help, and then I’d travel to Galway.

God led me onto this writing journey with a lot of prodding and pulling and nudges toward those interesting characters. I’m thankful every day He did, and I hope readers will enjoy the trip to Ireland with Ellen and Payne, too!

Blog Stops

Batya’s Bits, July 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 28

Inklings and notions, July 29

deb’s Book Review, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 30

Genesis 5020, July 30

For Him and My Family, July 31

The Collaborative Press, July 31

Through the Fire Blogs, August 1

Godly Book Reviews, August 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 2

Older & Smarter?, August 3

Writing from the Heart Land, August 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 4

Reflections From My Bookshelves, August 5

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 5

Betti Mace, August 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 6

Locks, Hooks And Books , August 7

Maureen’s Musings, August 7

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 8

Pause for Tales, August 8

Just the Write Escape, August 9

Read Review Rejoice, August 9

Emily Yager, August 10

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, August 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour Hope is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fe36/irish-encounter-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Tempting Tait – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Tempting Tait

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release Date: July 30, 2020

He chose to be a dad before he realized he’d need a wife, too.

When Tait took in an abandoned girl, he had no idea it would change his life.

Tait Stedtmann–accountant, fledgling do-it-yourselfer, and all-around nice guy. He’d been more than a little interested in Bentley Girard and had finally worked up the courage to ask her out. That was before that fateful day at the rest stop when he saw a girl shoved from a car and abandoned there.

She’s not like any girl he’s ever met, and now she’s given him an ultimatum.  Adopt her baby, or she’ll abort it.

Eden doesn’t think he’ll do it. She can have the abortion and move on with her life–far away from these creepy Christians in Fairbury.  But when Tait agrees, she finds herself keeping her word… and the pregnancy.

Nine months later, Tait is wracked by guilt as relief sets in when Eden leaves and terrified as he decides he can’t do this daddy thing alone. Bentley figured out how to make marriage happen for her.

Would she help him, find someone, too?

Tempting Tait is the second in the Marriages of Conviction series.

 

Click here to purchase your copy of the book!

 

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Sometimes doing what Jesus actually would do means we do something different from what others would have us to do.  When Tait encounters a young woman shoved from a car and abandoned.  He does what Jesus would have done.  He takes the girl to the hospital, gets her the care she needs, buys her the things the needs, and allows her to stay with him once she is released.

If you were given the ultimatum to adopt someone’s baby or she will abort the baby, what would you do.  I would have done exactly what Tait did, which is say I’ll adopt the baby.  Two different times in our marriage, my husband and I were approached about letting someone come stay with us, and both times we said yes.  But God deemed we were not the right people at the right time for those individuals.  But we gladly would have given them a safe place to call home.

Having read Bentley’s story about her marriage of conviction, I was glad we get to see more of her and her husband in this story.  I think that is one of my favorite things about Chautona Havig’s writing.  She takes characters and tells their stories, but then if it is a series, those same individuals pop back up an grab your attention.  Or you meet someone who plays a minor role in a book, and they eventually get their own book that captures your imagination.

I love the interactions, Tait and Bentley have now that Bentley is married.  When Tait starts talking about finding someone to share his life and baby with him, Bentley knows just the person.  Sometimes marriages of conviction based on God’s Word can lead to the greatest blessing.

I absolutely adored how Tait has his own secret life and the way the family of his future bride is weaved into the story.  Someone she seems to be exactly who Tait needs. So I advise checking out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

 

 

More from Chautona

How One Man Turns A Mess into a Miracle

It’s been ten… maybe fifteen years since Eden Pohl waltzed into my brain and settled in. Despite my focused attention on other books, her taunts never strayed far from my hearing.

If you really believed what you say about abortion, you’d tell my story.

You just don’t want to have to write the messy stuff.

Ouch. Worst of all, she was wrong.  And she wasn’t.

I don’t mind attacking the hard things when it’s the right time, but I only had half a story. I knew what would not happen but not what would.

So, she languished there in what is probably the longest pregnancy in fiction.

After my friend, Sandy, killed my dreams of combining Tait and Bentley’s stories and added Tait’s (and therefore Eden’s) into a series, things clicked.  Duh. Tait would need a wife. Being a single parent is hard. It isn’t how God designed things, you know? We’re supposed to have help.  A spouse, extended family, the church.

But sometimes things don’t work in this fallen world.  Sometimes we find ourselves parents—even by choice—without the daily support of another parent. Not only that, sometimes our own parents aren’t in a position to be able to help. Age, illness, or distance can remove us from the God-given networks we should have and don’t.

Finally, our decisions sometimes cause us to isolate ourselves even from God’s family, and the result can mean we don’t have that help that we otherwise would.

One verse came to mind over and over when I planned out the rest of Tait’s story. 

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

Sometimes the words tried to transform themselves into, “It is not good for a father to be alone, so God will find him a helper parent suitable…”

And I had to silence that voice.

First, because we don’t just change Scripture to suit our purpose. Or rather, we shouldn’t.

Second, because that’s even more out of order than having a baby before marriage.  It happens sometimes—sometimes by choice, as in Tait’s situation. However, the healthiest marriage will usually put a strong emphasis on the marriage relationship first (after the Lord, of course) and then focus on the children.  Why? Because it is best for the children if their parents are in unity. Children find security and strength in knowing their parents love and are committed to each other.

So many times, I started to put that emphasis in the wrong place struggled to get it right. Then one day I realized that this was the very thing I needed to do.  Show that struggle.  I needed to show that Tait’s focus was wrong—that he created problems he could have avoided simply by being a good daddy… but also by being an even better husband.

I hope you’ll enjoy Tait’s story, and I pray that his heart for the unborn will touch your life in a real and tangible way.

Blog Stops

Batya’s Bits, July 29

Godly Book Reviews, July 29

Among the Reads, July 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 30

Texas Book-aholic, July 31

Book of Ruth Ann, July 31

Inklings and notions, August 1

Cultivating Us, August 1

For Him and My Family, August 2

Read Review Rejoice, August 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 3

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 4

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 4

Aryn The Libraryan 📚, August 5

deb’s Book Review, August 5

Older & Smarter?, August 6

Back Porch Reads, August 6

Through the Fire blogs, August 7

Daysong Reflections, August 8

Pause for Tales, August 8

She Lives To Read, August 9

Spoken from the Heart, August 9

Artistic Nobody, August 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 10

Lots of Helpers, August 11

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of Tempting Tait and an original watercolor of “Tait’s Wedding”!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fe37/tempting-tait-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Direct Threat – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Direct Threat

Author: Kimberly Rose Johnson

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: June 1 2020

One little girl.

Two bodyguards.

Only one chance to guard their hearts.

Protection Inc. co-owner, Carissa Jones, an ex-cop turned bodyguard, has one goal—keep her young client safe. When her business partner brings in a new guy to help, she discovers her heart desires more. Can she still do her job and follow her heart without compromising her client’s safety?

Marc Olsen, a former Military Police officer, struggles to find his way as a civilian. He agrees to help out an old friend for the summer. He gets more than he bargained for when he’s assigned to work with the feisty co-owner of Protection Inc.

When sparks fly faster than bullets, will the bodyguards be distracted from their task, or will they work together as an even stronger team?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

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A child in danger, parents who want their child protected, a company that provided protection come together to make a spellbinding story.  Carissa Jones is a bodyguard and along with her partner Frank, she works to keep her client safe.  But Marc, Frank’s friend/brother enters the picture, and sparks begin to fly between Marc and Carissa.

A friend of Marc’s enters the picture and causes more questions than answers about why he is actually there.  Carissa’s childhood friend Julie keeps coming around, but does not set off red flags.  Yet the team knows someone is after Olivia.

Olivia demonstrates all the headstrong tendencies of a 9-year-old who is too smart for her own good.  Initially kept in the dark about what is going on and why Carissa is there because of Olivia’s parents, Carissa comes to the point where explaining to Olivia why she is really there is the only option.

Linda, the girl’s grandmother, resents the intrusion in her home, to begin with of the security team.  But based on certain things that happen, she recognizes the need for them to be there.  The love Linda and her husband have for their granddaughter shines through pages of the book.  I would love to read more books about this team of bodyguards.  I have a feeling there is a lot more stories to be told.

This book illustrates the power of faith and family.  So check it out for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

 

 

More from Kimberly

Direct Threat is the first book in the Protection Inc. series. The series follows a group of bodyguards who are all either former cops or military police. They are on location in Lincoln City on the Oregon coast in book one, but their business is based out of Seattle.

 

I’ve been to Lincoln City more times than I can remember, but I took a research trip there with my husband, specifically for this book.

 

While in Lincoln City my husband and I walked the same beach my characters walk. I studied the access points to the cliffside homes from the vantage point of the beach, as this was an important aspect in the story. We also visited the ice cream shop mentioned in the book. You’ll understand significance of the shop when you read the story.

 

My writing career has taken some twists and turns. When I first began writing in 2006 I wrote romantic suspense. Then switched over to writing contemporary romance, which turned out to be the genre of my first contracted book and many more after that. After writing several romantic mystery novels for my publisher, I decided to dust off my romantic suspense manuscripts and publish them. Direct Threat is one of those manuscripts.

 

I absolutely love reading and writing suspense as well as romance, so joining the two together comes naturally for me. I hope you will read and enjoy this story.

 

You can learn more about Kimberly Rose Johnson and her books at https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, July 25

deb’s Book Review, July 25

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 26

A Baker’s Perspective, July 27

Texas Book-aholic, July 28

reviewingbooksplusmore, July 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 29

Because I said so – adventures in parenting, July 29

Quiet quilter, July 30

Inklings and notions, July 31

Maureen’s Musings, July 31

For Him and My Family, August 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 2

Read Review Rejoice, August 2

Daysong Reflections, August 3

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 4

Batya’s Bits, August 5

Mary Hake, August 5

Simple Harvest Reads, August 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Betti Mace, August 6

Just the Write Escape, August 7

Blossoms and Blessings, August 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kimberly is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fe34/direct-threat-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Fantasy, Uncategorized

The Seer – Review and Giveaway

The Seer Celebration Tour

About the Book

Book:  The Seer

Author: Erin R Howard

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release Date: February 27, 2018

FC-The-Seer---LargerViktor has one order to follow:
Kill the girl before her eyes are opened.

For thousands of years, his job has been to torment and kill seers: humans that have the gift of seeing the spiritual realm. So it was no surprise when his brother Matthias was once again sent to stop him and protect the girl.

Now the last of the seers’ bloodline hangs in the balance, as the estranged demon and angel brothers are forced to work together to save a girl’s life and escape to the sanctuary city of Bethesda.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

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If you enjoy YA Fantasy, you should check this book out.  Viktor is a demon with one mission to kill the last Seer before she realizes who she actually is and what she is actually capable of doing. His estranged Matthias is an angel who also has one primary job – to keep the last Seer alive.

This story of brothers against brother is not a new one, but when they are forced to work together in order to save the Seer and Viktor’s life at the same time, this book takes the reader on an interesting journey.

Viktor has come to realize he made a mistake when he fell from grace and wants to end his life of torturing and killing people.  Matthias has to recognize he needs to help his brother in order to get all of them out of Bethesda – a sanctuary city.

The world-building in this story makes it one worth reading.  I loved reading Thea and watching as she comes to recognize she is able to see the Spiritual Realm.  It shows the effects secrets can have on a family.  If Thea has known about her gift earlier she wonders what her life would have been like

Truly this book illustrates the ramifications of Lucifer’s fall from Heaven and the battle between good and evil.  So if you like Young Adult Christian fantasy, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

About the Author

 

Erin R. Howard is a Developmental Editor, YA Urban Fantasy Author of The Kalila Chronicles, and has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. When she’s not writing, Erin enjoys spending time with her family, fueling her craft addictions, and teaching writing workshops. Erin is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the KenTen Writers Group. She resides in Western Kentucky with her husband and three children.

 

 

More from Erin

If I’ve learned anything these past few months, it’s that I’m still not a fan of change. It’s always been hard for me to transition from what I know, to the unknown, and then find a new normal. Let’s be honest. Stepping out of our comfort zone isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to challenge and stretch our faith. And as a result of stepping out, we hope that we will learn and grow.

I love messy characters, because life is messy, and it doesn’t always work out the way we expect. It’s full of changes and situations. The characters in my series, The Kalila Chronicles, are no different. Each character has unique challenges. For some, they didn’t ask for change, and for others, they are stepping out on their own.

Here’s a little bit more about The Seer. The first book in The Kalila Chronicles:

For thousands of years, Viktor has carried out his orders from Lucifer faithfully. But after a recent demotion in rank, he has grown weary of the bloodshed. His latest order is to kill Thea, a seventeen-year-old Seer before her gift manifests, and she can see into the spiritual realm. However, his estranged angel brother, Matthias, intervenes on his plans. Seeing this as his way out, Viktor proposes that in exchange for leaving Thea alive, Matthias must escort him to the sanctuary city of Bethesda. Although, getting through the portal isn’t as easy as Viktor thought, and now he has to work with Matthias to protect the very girl he was ordered to kill.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, July 21

For the Love of Literature, July 22 (Author Interview)

Rebecca Tews, July 22

Through the Fire Blogs, July 23

Inklings and notions, July 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 25

Just the Write Escape, July 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 27

Artistic Nobody, July 28 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, July 28

For Him and My Family, July 29

Wishful Endings, July 30 (Author Interview)

April Hayman, Author, July 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 31

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 2

Emily Yager, August 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Erin is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of The Seer, a Behind the Story Booklet of The Seer, and a $25 Amazon card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fe2f/the-seer-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in 2020 Home School Review Crew Posts, Bible Studies, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Uncategorized

The LIFE Plan from The LIFE Network – A Review

The LIFE Plan from The LIFE Network - A Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

 

We are using The LIFE Plan from The LIFE Network for Bible instruction.  With a husband who is an ordained Primitive Baptist preacher, I am always on the lookout for new resources for our family to use for Bible study time, since I know the importance of spending time in God’s Word.  We can not develop a deeper relationship with Him unless we spend time reading the Bible and praying.  So when we had the opportunity to review this six volume set, I was excited to examine it.

According to their website, The LIFE Network’s mission is, “The LIFE Network is dedicated to the production, publishing, presentation, and provision of Christian learning resources.”

Allen L. Elder is the author and the founder of The LIFE Network.  Perhaps because he is from South Carolina, and I called South Carolina home for a number of years or perhaps because he is an ordained minister, I felt a connection with him and therefore his resources.

All of us as Christians are called to fulfill the Great Commission of going out and creating disciples of God.  I can remember my husband’s paternal grandfather (and an ordained minister) repeatedly stating to us that he was told to go out and tell God’s People what God had done for Him and I strongly believe in that ideal.  As a parent, I want our children to be able to commit to that idea as well.

This set of 6 physical volumes are meant to be interacted with and used for your family’s own unique experience.  The six volumes include the following:

  • VOLUME 1 – THE BIBLE’S STORY: GENESIS 1-11
  • VOLUME 2 – ABRAHAM AND ISRAEL
  • VOLUME 3 – THE STRUCTURE OF THE BIBLE
  • VOLUME 4 – THE LIFE OF JESUS ON EARTH
  • VOLUME 5 – THE CHURCH
  • VOLUME 6 – YOUR PART IN THE STORY

Here are pictures of each volume along with pages from inside them.

The LIFE Plan Volumes

 

Since our family has gone through the story of Creation and the book of Genesis numerous times, I decided we would skip to Volume 3 instead and look at the structure of the Bible first.  My intention is for our family to go through these books at a pace that allows us to dive deeper into ideas that capture our attention or that we desire to learn more about from any lesson.  I love that all you need to use these materials are the workbooks, a Bible or Bible App, some type of paper, pencils or pens, and I would recommend highlighters.

Each volume has 36 chapters.  So theoretically a family could go through one volume per school year.  Or if your family choses to do it year round, you could do it quicker than that.

Each lesson includes the aim of the lesson, background information, Scripture pages to read, outlines, a lesson glossary, and questions to complete.  At the end of each volume the answers are provided.

Our youngest child is 17, so I allowed everyone to do the reading and the questions on their own.  Then we came together to discuss the background, discuss the answers to the questions, and add any additional thoughts any of us might have had.

I appreciate that only the Scripture references are given too families can use the Bibles of their choice. Here are some pages from Volume 3 along with some pages we have completed.

VOLUME 3 - THE STRUCTURE OF the Bible

You can find The LIFE Network on Social media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-LIFE-Network-107086190833458/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUTsUJO23JGLPF1oi3lRZZg

So if your family is looking for a Bible curriculum designed for disciple-making check out        The LIFE Plan from The LIFE Network for yourselves.  It is worth examining.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their thoughts and experiences with this product this week, so click here or on the graphic below to read more of their reviews.

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for Still Small Voice

About the Book

Book:  Still Small Voice

Author: Allen Brokken

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Release Date: July 24, 2020

The Still Small Voice Leads the WayStill Small Voice - ebook (1)

Because of their faith, twelve-year-old Lauren and her younger brothers, Aiden and Ethan, prevailed in the battle for the Tower of Light. But their victory did not stop the Dark One. Darkness continues to spread across Zoura’s frontier.

Now, in a vision, Mother tells them to light a second tower in Blooming Glen. Before they can set out on their journey with the Knight Protector, their Uncle arrives with a different set of instructions. He doesn’t trust the Knight Protector or the Mighty Mercenaries and believes the children should go to grandma’s house instead.

Unyielding in his belief, Uncle unknowingly leads the children off their path. And a misguided acolyte follows them. Lurking in the shadows, he strikes at every opportunity as the dark forces prepare to descend.

Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan are Zoura’s last defense. Can they convince their Uncle of the truth—that he must listen to the still small voice—and make it to Blooming Glen before the Dark One’s forces overtake them?

 

Click here to buy your copy!

 

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Still Small Voice is the second book in the Tower of Light series that chronicles the adventures of twelve-year-old Lauren and her younger brothers, Aiden and Ethan.  These three children are still on a quest to find their parents and overcome the darkness threatening their land.  These three children with their animals with gifts along with weapons such a sword courageously put on the “Armor of God” to do what is right in God’s eyes.

With the help of the their uncle and the Knight Protector, they face danger head on through the power of the Holy Spirit.  At times I wondered about the uncle’s intentions, but by the end of the book I appreciated him as a character. This book illustrates how if we take the time to concentrate and listen, we are able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit guiding us in the right path.

At the same time, evil lurks around us because of the fall of man with Adam and Eve.  We need to overcome the power of darkness and step into the power of the light.  When we truly reflect God’s glory those around us who do not believe initially may step into the light themselves.

So if you enjoy fantasy novels, check out this book for yourself.  It is definitely worth reading.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit, this in no way influenced my review.  All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Allen Brokken is a teacher at heart, a husband and father most of all. He’s a joyful writer by the abundant grace of God. Follow his endeavors @towersoflight, @twodadsandajoke, and http://www.brokken.net. Your children can grow their own faith and love of God by following the adventures of Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan (plus their pets!) at instagram.com/towersoflight.

 

 

 

 

More from Allen

Still Small Voice is the much anticipated 2nd book in the Towers of Light series.  We will be launching the book with a Celebrate Lit tour on July 24th.  Come on the tour to learn about some of the places author Allen Brokken visited to research the unique frontier setting for the series.  Five of the tour stops are interviews where he shares what he learned at different historical locations as well as his inspiration for the second book which focuses in listing for the Holy Spirit’s still small voice.

As defenders of the light, three children embark on a journey to stop the dark forces invading their land.

Louder than ever before, the message of listening to the holy spirit’s still small voice resonates with an urgency that demands action.

“Still Small Voice by Allen Brokken is an adventure of a lifetime! Filled with mystery, action, family bonds, and a healthy dose of animal friends this second book in the Tower of Light Series is a fantastic continuation of the journey of siblings Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan. Their quest to spread the Light as Darkness creeps across the land is a faith-filled adventure worth joining. ~Katie Clark, author of the Enslaved Series”

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, July 23

For the Love of Literature, July 24

Artistic Nobody, July 25 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, July 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 27

Vicky Sluiter, July 28 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 30

A Baker’s Perspective, July 31 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, July 31

deb’s Book Review, August 1

A Reader’s Brain, August 2

Through the Fire Blogs, August 3 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, August 4

My Devotional Thoughts, August 5 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Allen is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fe32/still-small-voice-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in 2020 Home School Review Crew Posts, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

 

Experience Biology REview

 

journeyhomeschoolacademy-logo-final1-1024x614-1Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

I am so thankful that there are online courses for homeschool biology such as Experience Biology: Upper Level from Journey Homeschool Academy.  When our three sons completed Biology, they used a normal textbook.  However, I knew I wanted something different for our daughter.  So I was excited to review this online product with our daughter.  For this review, we received the Advanced Mastery Program which includes:

  • 35 weeks of lessons
  • Student Guidebook that contains outlines for the student to complete
  • Research Questions
  • Weekly Quizzes
  • Quarterly Exams
  • Course Guide
  • Lab Manual and Videos
  • Certificate of Completion

Parents have the option to either print out the materials from PDF files or to order the Student Guidebook and Lab book as spiral-bound books in color.  We elected to print the materials ourselves.  The Riot and the Dance is an optional textbook families can purchase.  We elected to not purchase the textbook.

Experience Biology 1

For several years, I have enjoyed reading posts by Luke and Tricia Gilkerson.  It excited me when they introduced their science materials.  For this course, Luke does the videos and Tricia does the labs.  The videos are of top quality and very engaging.  This course is a college-prep course.  They give families a full year to complete the materials, even though the course is only 35 weeks.  As homeschooling families, things do not always go as we plan, so having that extra time allotted is helpful.

Experience Biology 2

When I was in high school, one part of Biology I despised and had difficulty with was the dissections. The smells just about did me in, so I was glad the videos provide step-by-step instructions on how to complete the dissection, so our daughter will complete those on her own. I also appreciate how a sample lab report is available in the Resource Section of the Parent site, so our daughter could see what a lab report should look like.

Experience Biology Upper Level Student Guidebook

This course covers the following topics:

  • Introduction to Biology
  • The Chemistry of Life
  • Cytology
  • Cellular Metabolism Part I, II, III
  • Life Cycle of a Cell
  • Genetics Parts I and II
  • Living Organisms
  • Microbiology
  • Kingdom Protista, Fungi, Plantae, Animalia
  • The Worms
  • Creatures in the Sea
  • Phylum Mollusca, Arthropoda, Chordata,
  • Human Anatomy
  • Introduction to Ecology

Students complete note-taking activities, research questions, labs, quizzes, and exams.   The exams come after lesson 9, lesson 17, lesson 26, and lesson 34.

More Experience Biology

Parents can monitor their student’s progress from the parental dashboard.  They require students to have their own unique email address to log in.  My one wish for this program is for the parental dashboard to provide everything the student sees and receives.  But that is a minor detail for me.
You can Journey Homeschool Academy on Social Media at the following links:

Facebook: facebook.com/intoxicatedonlife
Instagram: @intoxicatedonlifeblog

So if you are looking for a homeschool biology course for elementary school, a homeschool astronomy course, or a high school homeschool biology check out Experience Biology: Upper Level from Journey Homeschool Academy.  I am sure you will be glad you did.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their thoughts on Experience Biology: Upper Level and Experience Astronomy: Elementary and Experience Biology: Elementary this week.  So check out their reviews by click here or on the graphic below.

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#hsreviews #ExperienceAstronomy or #ExperienceBiology

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Sincerely Yours – A Review

Sincerely Yours

About the Book

Book:  Sincerely Yours

Author: Kari Trumbo

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release Date: July 26, 2019

SincerelyYours_EBOOK_Corrected20191227What if you fell in love with a man you’d never met?

When marketing coordinator Liberty Dryden tries to help radio station owner and DJ Tom Higgs attract new listeners and advertisers, she hits a roadblock.
He refuses to meet with her, and she has no idea why.

Tom has an affliction that’s plagued him his whole life—a painfully crippling stutter. On air, he can speak to thousands, but in person, he stumbles to find every word.

After a woman stalked him, he’s convinced his fame and fortune are all women want. He’s unable to tell Liberty why he won’t meet in person. How could he explain his unfounded doubts and his own issues?

Without her, disaster looms for his station. But, meeting her might prove he’s right about women.

Liberty takes matters into her own hands and calls into his radio show… using an assumed name.
She never expects to hit it off with him. If she reveals her secret, it will put her new relationship and her job at risk.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Thoughts

Sincerely Yours is one of those books that pulls you into the story and does not let go.  Liberty Dryden has experienced the horrors that cancer can bring including losing her job.  But when her best friend’s husband offers her a marketing job working with one client to start off she eagerly jumps in to the experience.  However, one minor – no make that very major detail – proves to be a road block.

Tom Higgs is a DJ and station owner who suffers from stuttering – especially around women.  He has been burned by a woman in the past so he refuses to let anyone in to his life.  So Liberty does the only thing a lady can do in this circumstance, she calls into his station and pretends to be someone else.  She does not want to hurt him, alls he wants to do is get to know him.  When Liberty is diagnosed with cancer a second time, she struggles to keep her life together.

I can not imagine only communicating to someone through emails – especially when working with them.  With cancer, heartbreak, unintentional deception and more, this book has a lot to offer.  Kari Trumbo creates characters I love reading about, even when they are from a prior book or a future book, because it creates a world I want to read more about each time.

So if you love books that are part of a series that create incredible storyline and worlds, check out this book for yourself.

About the Author

Kari cropped image 2Kari Trumbo is a bestselling author of Christian historical and contemporary romance novels. Her books are known for characters who feel real, settings you could move to, and faith woven between the pages. She makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband of over twenty years, two daughters, two sons, and never enough time.

 

 

 

 

More from Kari

Thank you all so much for joining me on my blog tour! I’m happy to be here. I write an eclectic mix of historical (western) and contemporary (western and not) romance, sometimes with a hint of suspense woven in. I can’t help it; my education is a degree in psychology with a sociology minor focusing on criminality and deviance… the suspense just happens whether I plan it or not.

I am one of those writers who usually gets a story idea and then writes it. I usually don’t write a book just because I “should”. That being said, this is one of those books where readers asked for it and I delivered. The first story in the series is in a popular book bundle Betwixt Two Hearts. In my story, the secondary character Liberty Dryden (named after one of my readers) is a really fun character, even though she’s only in a few scenes. Readers liked her so much, they wanted her to have her own happily ever after.

Then the hard part began.
I liked Liberty and I spent a while in her head, trying to figure her out. She was a tough one because Liberty has some hurts. She feels alone and a little used. Don’t we all? But how to write that in a way where the reader wasn’t bored by her self-doubt. Because, let’s face it, it’s cool when a story touches us in a way that is familiar, but if it’s overdone…snooze. I liked the idea that because of their hurts, both characters were shy. So, I gave myself a challenge. These two couldn’t meet until later in the story, but it still had to feel like a romance.

It’s a little like the movie You’ve Got Mail, but different too.

This series was my first big step outside of the western genre (which is funny, because I’m not at all western) and that forced me to think in new ways, which helped with the characters and bringing this story to life.

My favorite poignant quote from Sincerely Yours is, “If I can’t forgive those who ask for it, it ruins my witness. I literally can’t be the love of Jesus if I’m not willing to forgive those who wronged me. Especially if they earnestly ask.”

Thank you for joining me and happy reading!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, July 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 24

Inklings and notions, July 25

For Him and My Family, July 26

deb’s Book Review, July 26

Older & Smarter?, July 27

Through the Fire Blogs, July 28

reviewingbooksplusmore, July 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 29

Wishful Endings, July 30

Rebecca Tews, July 30

Britt Reads Fiction, July 31

Life, Love, Writing, July 31

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, August 1

Read Review Rejoice, August 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 2

Captive Dreams Window, August 2

Book of Ruth Ann, August 3

Pause for Tales, August 3

Godly Book Reviews, August 4

Livin’ Lit, August 4

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 5

Batya’s Bits, August 5

Artistic Nobody, August 6 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 6

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kari is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of Sincerely Yours and Winter in Wonderland!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fe33/sincerely-yours-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in 2020 Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Math, Online Homeschool Programs, Uncategorized

CTCMath 12-Month Family Membership – A Review

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Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

 

My son loves the math lessons in CTCMath’s full math curriculum and I love that he has access to all grade levels with the 12-month Family membership.  Several years ago, we decided to explore the option of using CTCMath for our math curriculum for our youngest two.   I love how we have access to all grade levels, limited work or effort is required on my part.  The videos and exercises are relatively self-explanatory at the high school level.  Plus, all grades are essentially collected for me.  For this review, our son was completing his Geometry course and beginning Algebra II.

CTC Math - Algebra II

The Algebra II course begins with:

  • Linear Sentences with One Variable
  • Segments, Lines, and Regions
  • Linear Sentences with Two Variables
  • Polynomials
  • Factoring Polynomials
  • Rational Expressions
  • Relations and Functions
  • Polynomial Functions
  • Radicals
  • Quadratic Equations and Systems
  • Conic Sections
  • Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
  • Sequence and Series
  • Matrices
  • Extensions

Some of the key benefits of this online curriculum is that it is for children in grades kindergarten to twelfth grade.  It goes all the way through Calculus, so for students who require higher level math it is the perfect fit.  It is perfect for students who need to catch up, or need to just keep up, and even for those who want to move ahead.  As a former math teacher, I love how students are allowed to learn at the their own pace rather than someone else’s pace.

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Each lesson contains a video that includes sample problems, online problems to complete as well as a worksheet.  The material is broken up into units, which is then broken down into lessons.  Our son appreciates having the ability to go through lessons multiple times since I require mastery rather than speed to move through the lessons.  As a former math teacher, I know math builds upon itself, so it is important to ensure understanding.  As students work through the online problems, once they press the enter button they know immediately if they got the question right or wrong.

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Another feature I love about this program is that it shows the students step-by-step how to work out the problems.  I require our children to work out their problems on paper so they can easily find where they made any mistakes at if they get the problem wrong.

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Parents have their own login information and can monitor what their children are doing.  Each week, I receive a detailed report that shows what my children have done during that week.  Depending on the child’s scores, they can earn award certificates that they can print off to keep.  Also, notification of these awards are able to be emailed to the parent when the award is earned.

Here are the Social Media Links for CTCMath:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ctcmath/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ctcmathofficial
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ctcmath/?hl=en
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/ctcmath/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWn5e6974bpIEAe46VnovZw

So if you are looking for an inclusive Homeschool Math curriculum for your family, I suggest checking out CTCMath’s full math curriculum and their 12-month Family membership.  It is definitely worth looking at for an online Homeschool Math program.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their thoughts and experiences with this program this week.  So click here or on the graphic below to read their reviews.

#hsreviews #CTCMath #Homeschool #Math #Curriculum