Tag Archives: children’s book review

Children’s YA/Middle Grade Book Review: The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM

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BlueUnicornCoversmallI am a sucker for a good unicorn story. Ever since I read The Last Unicorn in high school, I’m drawn to them. So, when The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM by Sybrina Durant crossed my virtual desk, I couldn’t help but take a peek. I’m glad I did. In a land that resembles many video game worlds, map is included in the book; I began my adventure with Blue the Unicorn.

Set in a beautiful land of fairies and unicorns, The Blue Unicorn is a misfit, a unicorn with no magical gift. A prophecy said he would save the unicorns from the evil sorcerer trying to destroy them all. But so far, he was just an ordinary unicorn, until the day the Moon-Star was to appear. Now, Blue must meet his destiny to save the unicorns and defeat the evil sorcerer.

This plucky fantasy story is in a unique format of short chapters. It has beautiful, colorful illustrations for each small chapter, and moves the story along with the imagination. It is a complicated world with unicorns given unique personalities and powers. This fantasy adventure will be great for any child that loves to get lost in a fantasy world. And oh yeah, it’s got unicorns! Always a plus!

***The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM is available on Amazon.com and is a Kindle Unlimited title.

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Children’s Picture Book Review: Ernest Hummingbird

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Earnest Hummingbird

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  and as an app in the IOS store.

I’ve got a real treat for your Holiday list. Ernest Hummingbird is an absolutely charming picture book written and illustrated by David Feiss. Mr. Feiss created “Cow and Chicken” on the Cartoon Network, and worked as an animator at Hanna Barbera for many years. Charming with its cartoon illustrations, this book will take you back to your Saturday mornings.

Ernest Hummingbird tries to follow his dream to be a singer. But everyone around him insists that he should just “hum”, like all the other hummingbirds. Undaunted, he enlists his friends to sing for an agent rumored to be coming to scout for singers. Of course, in a plot twist, Ernest gets his dream. I’ll leave it up to you to discover the ending.

I enjoyed this sweet little story of following your dreams and not letting anything stop you. The illustrations are humorous and inviting, pulling you into the story as any delightful Saturday morning cartoon. I would recommend this book to anyone that would need a gift for a child, grandchild, or niece and nephew. It would make a satisfying bedtime story. As a read-aloud in the lower grades, it would teach the importance of not giving up.

As an added bonus, the folks behind Ernest Hummingbird also have a parallel storybook app in the IOS store, with music written by Tommy Thayer from KISS. The narration is by country star Darius Rucker. Link to the app in the IOS store.

Find out more at: www.mechemmedia.com.

Earnest Hummingbird is available at: Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

 

 

Holiday Picture Book Review: Santa’s Little Helper

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santashelpercovereditLooking for a diverse take on Santa Claus? Here is a jewel of a story just in time for the Holidays.

Santa’s Little Helper by Ronald Destra is a picture book that brings the magic of Christmas to a boy happily waiting his turn for Santa Claus to visit on Christmas Eve. His parents help Daniel prepare, leaving out lemonade and cookies for Santa. But will Santa really arrive?

This book helps capture the wonder and delight one felt waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. Daniel gets to see the wonder and magic of Santa Claus as he becomes his little helper as he climbs into Santa’s sleigh, complete with reindeer. Santa takes him on a journey to help deliver toys to children throughout his town including his neighbors and an orphanage.

Daniel’s journey takes us through that one night a year when there seems to be something extra special in the air. The supportive, loving parents and caring helpful way Santa shows Daniel his annual job adds to the true meaning of Santa Claus, that giving is better than receiving. The illustrations show Daniel surrounded by loving, supportive parents and Santa, all creating a safe haven for Daniel on Christmas Eve.

This is my favorite book so far by Destra World Book Publishing that specializes in diverse and worldview themes for their books. This book will be a great way to show the Christmas spirit either as a read-aloud or a gift.

**For more information about the author, visit his website at:

www.ronalddestra.com

Santa’s Little Helper is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

Picture Book Review: Best Friends

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Best Friends by Ronald and Juanita Destra is a great gift for the Holidays.

Here’s a picture book gift for the Holidays about how friendship can help overcome the most difficult struggle a child could face, a terminal illness.

Best Friends by Ronald Destra and Juanita Destra is a picture book about two friends that meet under difficult circumstances. They are both children ill in the hospital. By chance, they are placed into the same room, and develop a friendship to help them beat the odds their illnesses have set for them.

This book was bringing me near tears within the first few pages. I have gone through a life crisis of a heart attack a few years ago, and to see kids facing this kind of life trauma together was such a message of strength. I have to warn, have some tissues near by, you may need them by the end.

This would be a great book for children to read with parents if they had lost someone close to them in their lives. As a read-aloud, it’s diverse illustrations and acceptance of others, even with physical challenges, is a great message to convey to any class.

This book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

Children’s Picture Book Review: The Birthday Party

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Looking for a unique birthday present for your special someone? The Birthday Party by Ronald and Juanita Destra is a cute picture book with a fun birthday surprise.

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The Birthday Party by Ronald and Juanita Destra is available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.

The Birthday Party is a book that wraps itself around the theme to never give up on your friends and family. That no matter what, even when it seems like there is no hope, they will come through for you in the end. The plot builds suspense to draw you through the story, making even the reader wonder what is going to happen by the end. You feel the heart ache of Johnny not having anyone acknowledge his birthday. It just makes the ending so much sweeter. The illustrations are also very charming, and the diverse characters make this a great read-aloud for any classroom.

I would recommend this picture book for parents and teachers looking for a book that teaches lessons of perseverance and the love of family and friends.

***The Birthday Party is available at Barnes and Nobles.com and Amazon.com.

 

Back To School Blog Tour 2017 Day 3: Featured Author Teddy O’Malley

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2017B2SchoolBannerWelcome to the third day of the Back to School Blog Tour. Today’s featured author is Teddy O’Malley. Her books feature characters with diverse characteristics. She’s won the Reader’s Favorite Five Star Seal for her book Cool Kids Wear Glasses. Ms. O’Malley took time out of her busy schedule to share with me her love of reading and writing, memories of school, and what she is working on now.

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Teddy O’Malley is the author of The Fairy’s Bubble Wand available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?

Teddy O’Malley: My favorite children’s author as I was growing up had to be Judy Blume. Her characters were so realistic. Her writing style was what I aspired to write like when I would sit down to type my stories on my old computer when I was a kid. She made me realize that I wanted to publish books. I still hold her books close to my heart, and I can still read them with the same enjoyment I did when I was a kid.

What is your most memorable school moment?

Teddy O’Malley: One of my most memorable school moments happened when I was around twelve years old. We were sitting at the lunch table, and we had been promised candy. Well, that parts a bit fuzzy, but the next part of the memory is clear. I started banging my fists on the table, going, “We want candy! We want candy!” Then the kid next to me did it. Then the kid next to them joined in. Soon, a whole table of kids was shouting, “We want candy!” in unison. I was the quietest kid in the whole school, and I started that. It taught me that one person really can make a difference.

Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Teddy O’Malley: I would like to have a routine, but it’s kind of hard since I am currently in college, studying to be a veterinarian. On my days off and during the summer, I aim for no less than five hundred words a day. That’s really to get the ball rolling, and I usually write more than that. During school, I often write between classes. Sometimes I write to procrastinate other things I should be doing. Shh!
Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?

Teddy O’Malley:As far as school subjects go, I really struggled with math. I went through a few math classes multiple times. But now, in college, I actually am starting to like math a bit. I still struggle with it, but I have a professor who has taught me to look at it in a more fun light. Teachers really can make a difference.

What is writing to you in one sentence?

Teddy O’Malley: To me, writing is like breathing.

What projects are you working on right now?

Teddy O’Malley: I’m mostly brainstorming at the moment. I’m planning to write more books for kids in the middle grade age range.

blog-tour-188x300**To continue with the blog tour, head over to one of the participating author’s websites to read a book review of Teddy O’Malley’s The Fairy’s Bubble Wand . Becca Price was featured yesterday in the blog tour. Today, she is posting a review of Teddy O’Malley’s book, The Fairy’s Bubble Wand. So, please, head over and enjoy her book review.

Teddy O’Malley’s book can also be purchased here on Amazon.com or here on Barnes and Noble.com.

**Plus, the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is still going on. Be sure to head over and enter today!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/20834f9e16/?

Back to School Blog Tour: Day 4

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backtoschool2016We’re already up to Day 4 of the blog tour. I hope you have been enjoying the daily featured authors. There has been a wide range of books, from Middle Grade to Reading instruction readers, to a picture book. Today, I share with you the author of a fabulous Middle Grade reader, Sandra R. Anderson. She is the author of Konrad and the Birthday Painting. She is a mother of two boys who fortunately have yet to show any interest in art. They are too busy catching Pokémon.

After several years of translating other people’s books by day and reading tons of children’s books every night at bedtime, she decided that she had some stories of her own to tell. She first got started by taking a course in writing for children at the cultural center Näs, right next to Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home.

She writes books for children and for grown-ups and anyone else who likes stories that are about something more than at first glance. She still works as a translator. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and Postcrossing, although not simultaneously. She is an accidental stamp collector and keeps forgetting to water her potted plants, particularly when she’s working on a new book.

I had the chance to ask Ms. Anderson about her thoughts on writing, her favorite school memories, and what she is up to right now.

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Sandra R. Anderson is the author of Konrad and the Birthday Party available on Amazon.

1) Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?
I was the type of kid that read everything I could get my hands on, so I couldn’t name just one. I loved the classics, wandering around on that deserted island with Robinson Crusoe and exploring the oceans with Captain Nemo, but I also solved mysteries alongside Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys, discovered smugglers and hidden treasure with the Famous Five and slept with my feet on the pillow and baked gingerbread cookies on the floor with Pippi Longstocking.
I honestly can’t imagine the person I would have grown up to be if I hadn’t had all of these characters in my life as a child and am eternally grateful to the authors who created them. They opened my eyes to other people’s lives and experiences and made me see things differently. They broadened my horizons and made me a far better person than I would have been otherwise.
2) What is your most memorable school moment?
The best time I ever had in school was when I lived in Norway for a few years and went to school in a tiny school building with the sea on one side and tall mountains on the other. One time the entire school (not that many kids, perhaps 60 or 70 in all) rode a bus to the next valley over and then went on skis back over the mountains. Eating my school lunch at the top of a mountain is a memory that I will treasure forever.
3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
My best writing gets done really early in the morning, before the rest of my family wakes up. I’m an early bird and often wake up at 4 or 5. When everything is quiet, and the whole family is tucked away in bed, that’s when I can give my undivided attention to the characters in my stories and go on adventures with them. That said, if that wasn’t an option, I would write with blunt crayons on wet napkins up in a tree in the middle of a hurricane. Sometimes a story just needs to be told.
4) Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?
Sure. I’m not very good at a lot of things. I’m pretty good at reading and writing, but that’s about it. When it came to the more practical subjects, I was all thumbs, and I am still capable of burning a salad or sewing a shirt to my trousers if I try to replace a lost
button. But the thing I found most difficult in school was the social aspect, the unwritten rules that govern the playground. We moved a lot, so I was always the new kid, always failing to fit in.
5) What is writing to you in one sentence?
The magic that allows us to see the world through someone else’s eyes, explore places and situations that would otherwise be out of reach, and be anyone we want to be.
6) What projects are you working on right now?
I’m writing the next book in the Artworld series, of course, to find out what Konrad gets up to now that he has discovered an exciting new world inside of paintings. I’m also working on a science fiction story for ages 9 and up and have a coming of age saga for the same age group on the back burner. I  like to work on several different projects simultaneously, to avoid writer’s block, but there are only so many hours in a day, unfortunately. I also write for grown-ups under a different pen name, and have a few projects I’m working on there, as well. The most urgent is a ghost story that I hope to have done in time for Halloween.
To connect to Sandra R. Anderson, find her at:

Her website: www.sandrarandersson.com

Her Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorSandraR

 

BOOK REVIEW: KONRAD AND THE BIRTHDAY PAINTING

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Sandra R. Anderson writes a brilliant fantasy world in this Middle Grade Book available on Amazon.

***** Five Stars

Konrad and the Birthday Painting is a fast and fun fantasy adventure for middle graders. Konrad, a second grader, finds some mysterious glasses that allow him to look into a painting in the school office that, by chance, is like a map of the real school. He witnesses the taking of the Fifth Grade field trip funds, and has to stop his friend, Casper from being blamed for the theft.

Along the way, he discovers that the glasses work on other paintings at a nearby museum. This introduces him to the virtual world of “Artworld”. Will he want to come back to reality once he discovers this amazing new place?

This is a real creative fantasy that plays with the concept of the real world and a virtual world. I love stories that play with a fantasy world just on the edge of the real world. Anderson does a brilliant job of creating the world and the tension that Konrad has to struggle with. He has to think about his family still in the real world, and make a choice between the two. With wisps of Narnia, I recommend Konrad and the Birthday Painting to readers that love to play in fantasy worlds.

As part of this week’s special discounts and giveaways, you can download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!

**The giveaways are still up and going. Here is a list of all the books on discount/free and the big $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

**Also available on Amazon.

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with Martine Lewis on Erin Liles’s Blog, LINK HERE! 

Come back tomorrow for the final post to wrap up this week of Back to School celebration!

 

 

Back to School Blog Tour 2016: Day 3

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backtoschool2016The blog tour continues with today’s featured author, Erin Liles. Ms. Liles grew up in Northern California. In her twenties, she moved to Austin, Texas where it’s brutally hot in the summer, but life is a bit more relaxed. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in sociology, and after almost ten years working in family literacy and early childhood education, she took the plunge into writing and later, freelance editing.

Erin spends most of her time with her husband, kids, and pets. I had a chance to ask Erin about her opinions on writing, about some school memories, and what she will be working on next.

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Erin Liles is the author of Tinker Bee, a delightful picture book available on Amazon.

1) Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?

As a kid, I loved Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series. I still have my original books on my shelf (thanks for saving them, Mom and Dad!). As an adult, I love Kevin Henkes picture books and Laurie Halse Anderson’s YA.

2) What is your most memorable school moment?

I most remember my teacher writing lovely comments in the margins of the stories I wrote at school. They said things like Great imagination! and Terrific story! I always felt encouraged to write more.

3) Do you have a writing routine?

Share what works for you. I find that writing first thing in the morning works best for me. That way, I’m fresh and clear-headed (especially after my morning coffee!), and I don’t have to worry all day about when I’m going to get it done because it already is!

I write my drafts on Scrivener. For me, there’s no better way to organize the chaos of ideas flowing through my head, and I only have to switch screen views to see my plot all laid out for me.

4) Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?

Math! I still cringe at the subject when I’m trying to help my kids with their homework.

 

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

I’m taking a writing course with Professor James Hynes, and he tells a story of his high school English teacher who once told him, “Fiction imposes order on the chaos that is reality.” That sums it up pretty well for me because writing means taking a chaos of ideas, picking the most important of those ideas, and corralling them into a logical, meaningful story.

6) What projects are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m working on a YA ghost story and a middle grade adventure.

***Here’s a chance to win a pen and notebook set, bookmarks or a copy of her new picture book, Tinker Bee. LINK TO GIVEAWAY HERE!

For more information on Erin Liles, follow this link to her blog/website.

BOOK REVIEW of Tinker Bee by Erin Liles

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Tinker Bee is available on Amazon as a Kindle Unlimited picture book.

Tinker Bee is a dazzling picture book  about a bee that wants to be different. She wants to be a fairy. No matter where she turns, people are trying to get her to do things the way other bees do. She’ll have none of that. She does things the way she’d like, as a fairy. Then, one day, someone comes along and ruins their best pansy patch. Tinker Bee is off to solve the problem. Her unusual idea saves the day, and it took her fairy wand and imagination to do it.

Kids that love fairies are going to be enchanted with this book. It teaches some of the vocabulary with associated with bees like waggle dance. Plus, it does it all with a charming moral that being yourself is as important as others excepting you as such. The illustrations are beautiful, with cheerful and bright colors that would be part of a bees world. I recommend this picture book for kids 3-8 years old. It would make a great gift for any child learning to read or getting their first Kindle or ereader.

**** Four Stars

Tinker Bee is available on Amazon. It is a Kindle Unlimited title. It is listed for $0.99.

Link to purchase book: https://www.amazon.com/Tinker-Bee-Erin-Beth-Liles-ebook/dp/B01GLM3KQ6

Watch the book trailer on YouTube:

**The giveaways are still up and going. Here is a list of all the books on discount/free and the big $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with me, Tiffany Turner, head on over to Sandra Anderson’s blog HERE!

Back to School Blog Tour 2016: Day 1

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backtoschool2016It’s here! The blog tour starts today. We start out with a feature on a fabulous author, Marcy Blesy. She is a published author of over ten children and young adult books and short stories. By day she runs an elementary school library. By night, she writes up a storm for children. She has written a book series called Evie and the Volunteers. Here is her take on her school memories, volunteering, and writing for children.

1)   Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?

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Marcy Blesy is the author of Evie and the Volunteers: Animal Shelter. It’s available on Amazon.

I loved Beverly Cleary books as a child. There is something very endearing about Ramona.

2)   What is your most memorable school moment? 

In third grade every student got to be the VIP for the week. Each student in the class wrote a special page about the VIP that the teacher put in a VIP book. Talk about a self-esteem booster! Plus, the VIP got to keep a Ziggy water globe on her desk during the week.

3)   Do you have a writing routine?

Share what works for you. I work fulltime and have two teenagers with busy schedules. I write when I can and I’ve learned that that’s okay!

4)   Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?

I never was a fan of science. Chemistry—ugh!

5)   What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing is a therapeutic way of tapping into myself while developing a character, flaw and all.

6)   What projects are you working on right now?

I just finished book 3 in the Evie and the Volunteers series, for ages 9-12. Book 4 will be a winter project.

**Here is a link to Marcy Blesy’s Amazon Author Page to check out all of her fabulous books.

Book Review of Evie and the Volunteers: Animal Shelter Book 1

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Evie and the Volunteers: Animal Shelter is available on Amazon and as a Kindle Unlimited title.

Evie and the Volunteers: Animal Shelter is a heart warming book that is the start of a series that will teach children the meaning of volunteering. It starts with Evie, a girl getting into all sorts of trouble. Unsure of why her veteran Dad has returned to the hospital again, she lashes out turning irresponsibility into a new art.

But when her mother comes up with the punishment to volunteer at the local animal shelter, her world changes when she learns what it is like to care for another. You’ll be cheering her on as she tries to add another furry member to her family and is stopped at every turn. It take her father’s return to solve everything.

This is a great book to share with your child the responsibility of giving back to the community while going along with Evie’s inner journey.  I really enjoyed this cute story that teaches that you can open your heart to others and heal yourself at the same time.

**** Four Stars Middle Grade Reader

LINK TO AMAZON:

https://www.amazon.com/Evie-Volunteers-Animal-Shelter-Book/dp/153522147X

 

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with me, Tiffany Turner, head on over to Sandra Anderson’s blog HERE!

***BOOKMARK and come back daily to see more featured authors, book reviews and fun!

Back To School Blog Tour 2016: Coming Sept. 12-16

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backtoschool2016Plans are underway for the Back to School Blog Tour 2016.

Save the dates: September 12-16. Get ready for giveaways, free and discounted books, interviews and reviews from participating authors. It’s going to be a fabulous way to kick off the 2016 school year.

Participating Authors and Featured Day:

  • Marcy Blesy -Monday, Sept. 12-Giveaways links posted
  • Phillip Gibson -Tuesday Sept. 13
  • Erin Liles -Wednesday Sept. 14
  • Sandra Anderson -Thursday Sept. 15
  • Wrap-up/Last chance for giveaways-Friday Sept. 16

**Come back in a few days for further updates. Everything begins September 12!