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“Pony Express” by Carla Osborne, Children’s Book Review

This post is a partnership with Gona’s Reading Ranch to share Carla Osborne’s new children’s book, “Pony Express” with my readers as a sponsored post and giveaway. As always, all opinions, recommendations, and overuse of exclamation points are my own ;)

In this house, one thing I’ve always been really passionate about is reading. From day 1, when kiddo was just a baby, I was reading to her every day. I’ve always been a voracious reader myself – starting in middle school I used to steal all of my parent’s paperback novels as fast as they could refill the bookshelves, reading everything from Sweet Valley High to Stephen King, always walking around with my nose in a book. I’m still that girl who always has a book in my purse, at least one on my nightstand, and a pile of “to be read next” books glaring at me each time I put in yet another order at an online book retailer, lol. I’m a book lover, man. 

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King. I’ve always felt like that was the most beautifully perfect way to describe why I love books so hard, đź–¤ They’re the most inexpensive, accessible, portable form of magic, easily available to everyone. Pages of just paper and ink can transport you across the world, to other worlds, to other ages of the world. You gain empathy for others as you see life through the eyes of new characters. You learn and experience a whole range of feelings – excitement! Suspense! Heartbreak! Adventure! Loss! Love! All lived through the pages of a book. Magical, every time.

Like I said – I’ve read to kiddo since she was born. We still read together often. We sometimes read books via Zoom to younger nieces and nephews, to stay connected during these weird Covid times. đź–¤ A new favorite we’ve found that I *highly* encourage you to check out is Pony Express, by Carla Osborne. It’s from her series Go Gona Go, and it’s absolutely freaking delightful, you guys.

The author grew up in rural Southern Idaho on a working farm that’s been in the family for four generations. She started writing children’s books to share a bit of the magic she knew growing up back then, with today’s generation of kids. Her life story is incredible, honestly – after leaving the farm, she went on to work with a traveling theater group as a singer, dancer, and actor. And now once again lives on a farm in Idaho, spending her days outside on 15 acres with horses, donkey, and sheep. To learn more about her amazing life story that inspired the magical children’s stories she writes, visit her site CarlaOsborneBooks.com. And be sure to check out her YouTube channel as well, and give it a follow:

The author’s life story is full of magical memories, and that definitely influences the story in Pony Express. It’s all about an adventurous girl named Gona, with a wild child heart like my own, who has a huge imagination, and a love for the outdoors and adventure. She partners with her brother to pretend to be Pony Express Riders, racing across the Wild West on their horses to deliver mail. They make a deal on getting chores done, then the shenanigans begin. ;) It’s kind of refreshing to see a book filled with kids enjoying life… with no screens or technology. 🤠 Just playing outside, inventing their own fun, the way we did as kids. You can almost feel the fresh air, just reading the book. It’s such a great read. 

I hadn’t even realized until we started reading this book, that my kiddo had never heard of the Pony Express. She’s 11, in 6th grade, so I was super surprised?! But, with Covid, virtual schooling the past couple of years, the disruptions, substitutes, etc to infinity… there have just been a lot of subjects and topics that have gotten missed. So, this was a great opportunity for a fun bit of history lesson as well. The story is really sweet, the illustrations are beautifully done, and the quality of the book is wonderful. The story is fun for little kids – but still engaging for bigger kids too. Get your own copy here: Buy Pony Express here today. You can also head over to the @gonas_reading_ranch Instagram page too, for updates on the author, the book, other books she’s written, and upcoming fun. And while you’re on Instagram, don’t forget to follow me, too – @sunandsipcups.

ENTER TO WIN!!

Now, to win a copy of your own! Use the form below to enter to win – and be sure to share this with any other book lovers you know, or on your social media, to spread the word. Good luck!

 
 
 
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Michael Crichton – The Andromeda Evolution

I received the new sci-fi novel The Andromeda Evolution, perfect for Michael Crichton fans everywhere, to review and share my thoughts with you guys. This post contains affiliate links.

Father’s Day is almost here. How many of you guys kinda… forgot? With all the craziness in the world right now, and with life off of it’s regular schedule – I barely realized it was June, let alone that Father’s Day was almost here! I have a really rad gift idea for you though – keep reading to check it out…

Who remembers the novel, The Andromeda Strain? Here’s a quick reminder: First published fifty years ago, The Andromeda Strain redefined the science fiction genre, and immediately established Michael Crichton as one of the brightest voices in contemporary literature worldwide. 

“A military space probe, sent to collect extraterrestrial organisms from the upper atmosphere, is knocked out of orbit and falls to Earth. Twelve miles from the crash site, an inexplicable and deadly phenomenon terrorizes the residents of a sleepy desert town in Arizona, leaving only two survivors: an elderly addict and a newborn infant.

The United States government is forced to mobilize Project Wildfire, a top-secret emergency response protocol. Four of the nation’s most elite biophysicists are summoned to a clandestine underground laboratory located five stories beneath the desert and fitted with an automated atomic self-destruction mechanism for cases of irremediable contamination. Under conditions of total news blackout and the utmost urgency, the scientists race to understand and contain the crisis. But the Andromeda Strain proves different from anything they’ve ever seen—and what they don’t know could not only hurt them, but lead to unprecedented worldwide catastrophe.”

I’m SUCH a junkie for science fiction, disasters, aliens, saving the world. So, The Andromeda Strain is a book that I have read many, many times. So good, you guys. And now, there’s a new chapter to the story…. The Andromeda Revolution. Here’s a bit about this new novel:

The Andromeda Evolution picks up the original story decades after The Andromeda Strain almost ended the human race. In the ensuing decades, research on the microparticle continued. And the world thought it was safe…

Deep inside Fairchild Air Force Base, Project Eternal Vigilance has continued to watch and wait for the Andromeda Strain to reappear. On the verge of being shut down, the project has registered no activity—until now. A Brazilian terrain-mapping drone has detected a bizarre anomaly of otherworldly matter in the middle of the jungle, and, worse yet, the tell-tale chemical signature of the deadly microparticle.

With this shocking discovery, the next-generation Project Wildfire is activated, and a diverse team of experts hailing from all over the world is dispatched to investigate the potentially apocalyptic threat.

But the microbe is growing—evolving. And if the Wildfire team can’t reach the quarantine zone, enter the anomaly, and figure out how to stop it, this new Andromeda Evolution will annihilate all life as we know it.

I’m only halfway through this book – stay tuned, I’ll update this with a full review shortly. This book feels super relevant to the state of affairs in this country today, as it seems like every day the news is filled with chaos, and major threats to life as we know it. There are some really great lines and quotes that you might have seen already, if you follow me on Instagram?

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Meagan Paullin (@sunandsipcups) on

I’ve shared a few peeks at the book as I read it, in my Instagram Stories. If you’re not following me – do so here, and follow along as I finish the book. Or, pin this post to Pinterest, or bookmark it, to come back in a few days to see my full review. But I can tell you – so far, this is almost impossible to put down. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year – and I have a read a LOT of books, you guys, lol. #quarantinelife ;)

“The Andromeda Evolution” is a great gift for any dads in your life – or grandads, or even yourself. Available in paperback as of May 19th via HarperCollins, “the New York Times’ bestseller uncovers the next exciting chapter of Michael Crichton’s game-changing novel.” The book can be easily purchased on Amazon.com or through a local bookstore as many are open for customer orders. And, you can follow Michael Crichton’s Facebook fan page too, for more cool stuff.

I’m here in Yakima, Washington, where we are still in Phase 1 of lockdown, because we are the fastest-growing coronavirus outbreak on the west coast. Big yikes, and super scary for an immune compromised, chronically ill girl like me. So, no stores to shop in, or local bookstores to browse – but these books are both available on Amazon, which is where I do the majority of my shopping anyway. 

And – right now, both are part of the Amazon sale, Get 3 for the price of 2, meaning, pick three books, movies, or games in this section, and you’ll get the lowest priced one for free! You can find The Andromeda Strain, The Andromeda Evolution, and tons more cool stuff in the promo.

You can order this set as a Father’s Day gift – if you order today it will be here by Friday – and then you still get to choose another book for yourself too if you use this promo. Sweet, right?

Written by Daniel H. Wilson, “The Andromeda Evolution” is the perfect gift for any Sci-Fi thriller fans! It’s the first book sequel ever authorized on behalf of Crichton’s estate, which is a big deal – and coincides with the anniversary of the bestselling novel he first introduced to the world in 1969, “The Andromeda Strain.” It’s a wonderful continuation of the Crichton legacy as mastermind behind some of the world’s greatest pop culture masterpieces such as “Jurassic Park,” â€śThe Lost World: Jurassic Park,” WestworldERComa and Twister, among others. Check out a few more Crichton faves here on Amazon too:


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The Best of Jewish Children’s Books for the New Year!

I partnered with PJ Library on this sponsored post.

The Best of Jewish Children’s Books for the New Year! 

For Jewish people worldwide, the new year kicks off on Rosh Hashanah when people wish each other l’shana tova â€“ a sweet new year!  This September, on top of eating delicious apples with honey and making resolutions for the coming year, families raising Jewish children can also kick off the New Year by signing up for PJ Library, a free program that offers monthly, age-appropriate books celebrating Jewish values and culture through the joy of story books.

A program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library sends more than 200,000 books a month to families across North America. Expertly curated, the monthly selections exemplify the best of Jewish children’s literature and offer books that are certain to capture children’s imaginations with cheerful characters, compelling stories, and vibrant illustrations. 

Start the Jewish new year off right

PJ Library welcomes all Jewish families, whatever their background, knowledge, family make-up, or observance may be. The stories help families engage with Jewish values, ideas, and traditions on their own terms, and the books are paired with activities and resources for the whole family to learn, create, and play together.

Celebrate the new year by signing up your kiddos for PJ Library. Sign up today!

 

Be sure to follow PJ Library on social media – connect with them on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram – to learn more and share your stories! You can also follow me on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram too, and let me know your thoughts about PJ Library using the hashtag #PJLibrary!  

 

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A New Way to Read Children’s Books

Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” – Frederick Douglass… I have always loved to read. I get that from my parents, who are both big-time book lovers. They both read to me regularly when I was a little girl, I grew up watching them read books each night, listened to them discuss their favorite books at dinner time, and was surrounded by ever-changing selections of books to choose from as I got old enough to read them myself. The love of reading is seriously one of the best gifts you can give your children… It expands their world, encourages creativity, tolerance, and inquisitiveness, and gives them the best learning tool you can have.

A new way to read kids books [Read more…]

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ProBlogger Once in a Decade Sale: All eBooks just $10

Darren Rowse, the blogging genius who’s books helped encourage my jump into the online world, has a very cool event going on. To celebrate his tenth anniversary of starting blogging, he’s offering all ProBlogger ebooks at just $10 each. Since his ebooks are normally priced at between $20 and $100, that’s a 50-90% discount, depending which ebooks you choose. And that is rockin’, lemme tell ya.

ProBlogger huge book sale

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income

The very first blogging book I ever read, and the one that is still my favorite, and that I recommend to everyone – beginner or not – is ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. My copy of this is so worn – highlighted, underlined, scribbles in the margins, and filled with Post-Its. I’ve bought a couple of his ebooks already – but am SUPER excited to buy the others that I’ve been wanting, at just $10 bucks each. Awesomesauce. If you want them too, here are the links for each book, that will take you to the promotional price page. This sale is only good for 10 days – so stock up now!

  • 31 Days to a Better Blog: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is a downloadable ebook designed to help you revitalize your blog by giving you 31 tasks that will all help to turn it into the pageview powerhouse you’ve always dreamed of. Each day includes teaching, and an actual task to complete.
  • Blogwise: How to Do More with Less: One of the most common obstacles to successful blogging among our readers is simply finding time. So we sat down with nine prolific and successful bloggers to find out how they not only blog successfully, but balance that with busy work, family, and social lives. {Buying this NOW!!}
  • Copywriting Scorecard for Bloggers: It’s the ideal resource for all bloggers who are just starting out and want to learn the basics of SEO or those who’ve been at it a while but want to grow their search engine traffic.
  • ProBlogger’s Guide to Blogging for Your Business: Written by Mark Hayward, a successful business owner, activist, and blogging coach, the guide takes readers step by step through how to set up a blog, thinking through goals for a blog, developing a content strategy, finding readers and growing traffic, establishing and growing a social media footprint, and much more.
  • ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging: This ebook is jam-packed with practical activities and exercises to do in your first week to make sure your blog is heading in the right direction. {I did this one earlier this year – it’s super helpful even if you’ve been blogging for awhile. Gets you back to basics, focused, and helps you refine things a lot, since you’ve probably changed your blog style a lot since you started.}
  • The Blogger’s Guide to Online Marketing: The Blogger’s Guide to Online Marketing—31 Steps to a Profitable Blog is a comprehensive, 31-chapter blueprint for your blog’s ongoing profitability, from the ground up. This one is regularly $100 for the full set of materials, printables, and resources!!!!

If you’ve read any of these books before – I’d love for you to share your thoughts on them in the comments, to help other readers figure out which ones might be best for them. And if there’s a ProBlogger ebook {or two, or three…} you’ve been wanting – now is the time to buy it! I’m buying the three I don’t already have, to get ready to really kick my blog into gear going into the new year. Super excited…

Scribe: More Traffic in Less Time

{Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. But only because I LOVE the ProBlogger books so much, that I joined their affiliate program, to get the inside scoop on cool new products and promotions from them, to share with you.}

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11 Real Books on Amazon Less than $3 Bucks Each

“Books can be dangerous.  The best ones should be labeled “This could change your life.” – Helen Exley… I’m such a book junkie. Seriously – I have shelves and shelves in my house… I wish I had the space to make one whole room into a library. So, you’d think with so many books, I’d stop buying them – but of course not. The more the merrier is my motto, whether we’re talking cupcakes, cocktails, or cool reads. AND – I’m super excited to share this list with you guys… While shopping for dirt cheap deals on Amazon to start stocking up for holiday gift giving {books are awesome gifts!} I found a TON of great books under $3 bucks each. Crazy-awesome, right???

Remember: Prices on Amazon flip fast! So prices may be different than they are here. All of these books ship free with Amazon Prime, or with a $25 Super Saver Shipping purchase.

11 Books on Amazon Less than $3 Bucks Each

The Oprah Winfrey Show - Reflections on an American Legacy Hardcover [Read more…]

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Better Than a Wolf Eating Grandma – Lil’ Riding Hood & Wolfie!

Like most other little girls, I loved fairy tales… And, I still do – I am so totally hooked on that new ABC series “Once Upon a Time.” One of the things that I love about it is the way that it’s a fresh look at those fairy tales I loved as a kid – new backstorys, new ways of looking at characters, mixing up the ideas of who’s good and who’s bad. So, when I found a new set of story books from My 1st Story that reinvents the classic stories too – but by making them friendlier for little readers, I was instantly hooked on those too. Lil' Red Riding Hood & Wolfie - I love cake!

I Love Cake!

The original fairy tales are often a little bit scary – big heartless wolves devouring grandma isn’t exactly the kind of thing you want to hear about before mom turns the lights out, and you’re left alone in the dark, right? In our favorite, My1story – I Love Cake! – with Lil’ Riding Hood & Wolfie – the scent that brings the wolf is a fresh baked pie, and the story includes him learning to share. You can get the sweet Lil’ Riding Hood Plush doll too, to read along with you – Check her out on Amazon to see the pics, I’m impressed by how BIG she is! I’ve got this on Abby’s list for Christmas shopping this year…

books Jack and beanstalk

Jack and the Magic Beans

This one is super cute too – My1story – Jack and the Magic Beans. This is the story about Jack and Beanstalk, again, in a lighter and happier version. And of course, there is also a Beanie Plush character from the story too! We love reading these books before Abby’s naptime – and I’ll definitely be picking some up as gifts for friends too. They’d be a perfect idea for a baby shower gift!

See all of the My First Story products on Amazon!

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