30 March, 2018

5 ways I promote my blog #SuperBloggerChallenge2018

Self - promotion is always difficult for me. Even when I started my blog I created it in private mode and shared it with only a few close friends to get the feedback. That was in 2006, I suppose. After a few posts when I refined my writing, I chose to make my blog public.

It's always not about getting appreciation but there is a benefit of getting quality feedback when we promote our content/ blog. A small appreciation from a stranger is a kind of booster to the confidence. When we learn that someone else who read our blog could relate to it and feel that the article helpful, we feel more than happy. Nowadays, I give more importance to promotion too other than writing quality content. Social media has made life easier for people like me who run blogs with less reach.


Blog and social media promotion tips


The first thing that we should do before the promotion is to analyze our blog statistics on how are we getting the traffic and which audience is more interested in our articles.

My blog is about book reviews, travelogues, and parenting. But, I realized that my friends and colleagues read my blog when I write more about parenting and travel. My Book reviews are shared and promoted by the authors and blog tour organizers and so they reach more audience. I understood from my blog stats that I get more traffic from Google plus and then from Facebook. So, after I realized these facts, I focused more on Google plus and facebook than other ways of promotion.

I promote my blog in the following ways:

1. Google Plus

This is most surprising to me when people come across my blog through Google plus as I don't put any special effort to promote my content this way. Even though my blog is on a custom domain, it is managed by blogger platform. Whenever I publish any blog post, blogger automatically opens a popup to share my post on Google plus. So, it's easy and quick.

2. Facebook

The number one promotional tool for me is Facebook. This is the only place where my content is shared and liked by my close friends and strangers alike. I have created a facebook page for my blog and I am constantly trying to improve the followers. I not only share my content on my facebook page and also share content from other blogs which are good. Basically, I try to keep my audience engaged. I joined a lot of facebook groups like "It's all about blogging", "Blogher", "Indiblogger" etc., and also writing communities like "Parenting moms style", "Mompresso", "WriteTribe" etc where I share my content regularly.


3. Twitter

Twitter helps me a lot in promotion by sharing my posts with proper hashtags. My Followers are constantly increasing these days. I follow other bloggers which post content about parenting, books, and travel and also share their content. Whenever I promote my content through Twitter, I add an image with my blog url in it along with proper hashtags. I have used one tip from blogging community through which my posts shared on my facebook page are automatically posted to my twitter feed. So, it becomes easy and quick to post on Twitter at the same time.

Content is Fire. Social Media is Gasoline. - Ryan Kahn

4.  Blogging communities and websites

I have joined a blogging community "Indiblogger". I share my posts on Indiblogger whenever I get time. This helps me to network with fellow bloggers. My posts had been top posts a few days, which was a mood booster for me. I also share my content on the blogchatter website. They have a reading list where they feature our blog links to their readers. I see that many bloggers share their content on other blogs too like 'Medium', 'Momspresso' and 'Winkl'. There are some specific websites which take guest posts from mom bloggers on a variety of topics like 'budingstar' and 'Raising Global children' magazine.

5. Pinterest

Pinterest is my new find. Earlier, I used to search on Pinterest whenever I want to try new crafts for children. But, didn't realize its importance in the promotion of blog until I read "Pinterest Basics" post by Shailaja Viswanath. I have also enrolled a course online "Pinterest Primer". I am still at a beginner level on learning to promote through Pinterest but I suggest this to all bloggers.

How do you promote your content? Other than social media, what works best for you? Which social media drives more traffic for you? Please share your opinion in comments.

Until next time,







This article is written as part of SuperBloggingChallenge2018 conducted by Healthwealthbridge.com,Fashionablefoodz.com, and Allaboutthewoman.com and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused. 

29 March, 2018

Poisoning Our Children by Andre Leu - [Book Review]



Book Details:

Book Title: Poisoning Our Children: The Parent's Guide to the Myths of Safe Pesticides

Author: André Leu

Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 206 pages

Genre: Educational / Parenting / Nature - Science

Publisher: Acres USA

Release date: March 1, 2018

Tour dates: March 12 to April 13, 2018

Content Rating: G



Book Description:



Parenting was never easy. While loving, teaching and nourishing children, parents also seek to protect them from harm. The past few generations, however, have been silently attacked by thousands of manmade, poisonous chemicals carried into homes and children's bodies in our food supply. The chemical-based conventional agriculture industry claims that the synthesized concoctions they sell as pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are safe when used as directed, but does the scientific evidence truly support their assertions?



When pesticide residues are found in 77 percent of all foods in the United States, it's important to know the truth. Organic agriculturist André Leu has weeded through a wealth of respected scientific journals to present peer-reviewed evidence proving that the claims of chemical companies and pesticide regulators are not all they seem.




Buy the Book:


My Review

I usually don't review non-fiction books. But, I chose this as this is an important subject to learn. 

We all know that our food is grown with the help of pesticides. But, what dangerous chemicals these pesticides contain? Will the vegetables/ fruits that we eat contain any residue of pesticides? What impact they will have on our lives? 

All these questions will be answered in this book. This book is more like a research document/ technical paper on pesticides usage, chemicals/ingredients in pesticides, residues of pesticides on our food and their impact. The author talks extensively on different researches done on pesticides on how safe they are, the truth behind the regulations and the assertions about the safety testing of food on humans and animals. There are many loopholes in the research and testing. The pesticides are tested for the safety and harmful impact it might have on humans. But, they are tested on animals which might not give the same result as tested on humans. The pesticides are tested majorly with the main ingredient ignoring the inert ingredients which combined with other toxins might prove very unhealthy.

This book talks about the shocking revelations on food safety. The impact of pesticides on our lives is huge. Pesticide exposure in unborn and growing children is linked to:
  • Cancers
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Immune system problems
  • Lower IQs
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorders etc.,
The book highlights some important points by mentioning them as quotes in a box. It clarifies each and every myth about pesticides. The most common myth is "Very small amount" myth. It discusses that even a small amount of chemical residue can be harmful.

I loved this book for revealing the shocking facts about our food. I liked the intention of the author to protect our future generations from dangerous toxins. I appreciate the extensive research the author has done for this book. But, I felt, the content might have been presented in a concise way. There is so much information to consume for the reader and it becomes difficult to remember. There are some graphics in the middle about GMO tests on animals and some graphs which are helpful. More text and fewer graphics made this book quite difficult to read.  


My Rating: 4.5/5

PS: I have received this book from the author through Iread book tours in exchange for a review and this is my honest opinion on the book. 

Watch André Leu discuss a better way to grow our food:





About the Author:






André Leu is a longtime organic farmer in Australia and a director of Regeneration International. He served as president of IFOAM Organics International from 2011 to 2017. He speaks widely and regularly testifies to governments and NGOs worldwide on pesticide safety and policy. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Myths of Safe Pesticides.



Connect with the publisher: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Author's Twitter






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The Haunting of Dove Cote House by Rachel Jordan - Book Spot Light







Paranormal
Date Published: 16th February 2018

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Following the death of her father Cat Fletcher returns to the family home where she lived until she was 18.

But Cat's memories of the past are blurry, despite dreaming regularly about Dove Cote House.

And her home coming is far from perfect, when in the true meaning of the expression, the past comes back to haunt you, does just that.

As the truth about Dove Cote's past is unraveled Cat is faced with the prospect of having to deal with something more evil than she could have imagined



About the Author

Hi there. My name is Rachel Jordan

Two things I have loved from the time I was small are the paranormal and writing.

I like nothing more then curling up with a ghost story that keeps you wondering what will happen next. Or failing that watching one of my favourited paranormal films.

I did some freelance journalism many years ago, but I adore sitting down and writing stories.

Is it any wonder that I have decided to combine the two things I love the most?

"The Haunting of Dove Cote House", is my debut novel

I live in the United Kingdom.



Contact Links



Purchase Link

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Until next time,

27 March, 2018

Clod makes a friend by David J. Pedersen - [Book Review]



Book Details:

Book Title: Clod Makes a Friend by David J. Pedersen

Category: Middle-Grade Fiction, 174 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Odysia Press

Release date: March 2018

Tour dates: March 26 to April 13, 2018

Content Rating: PG (There is no bad language, but there is one "boss fight" scene.)



Book Description:

Best Friend Ever?

Bullies love to hate Clod. Not just because he’s bigger, clumsier, and uglier than his classmates - he’s also the only student in his school without magic. In a world where all magic is possible and everyone else is born with great gifts to do amazing things, Clod is alone.

Living with his mum in a broken-down cottage on barely enough, the only thing Clod has to play with is the clay she occasionally brings him. Bleak is an understatement. More than anything, Clod wants a friend. The only way that’s going to happen, is to make one himself.

After an angry visit from the worst of the bullies, his teacher Learned Yugen, Clod’s clay sculpture of a little girl comes to life and introduces herself as Ada. For a clay girl barely the size of his hand, she has more confidence and courage than he knows what to do with. Every adventure she leads him on gets Clod into trouble. She may be the friend he wants, but is she the friend he needs?

After many years, and too many pranks, Yugen becomes convinced that Clod is tainted by the evil slowly infiltrating the Kingdom of Pag. Especially when Ada isn’t the only one Clod can bring to life.

Clod Makes A Friend is a bittersweet fairy tale for all ages from David J. Pedersen, author of the Angst series of fantasy novels.


My Review


Actually, a middle-grade fiction with fantasy is not my favorite genre. So, I started reading this book with certain doubt that I might not like it.

This is the story of a boy "Clod", who is fat and considers himself as ugly and is bullied by friends all the time. But, Clod inherits a great talent from his father of sculpting a girl from clay and giving it a life. His magic thus helps him to find a friend that he created - Ada. Even though everyone including his school teacher discourages him saying that he is a dumb guy with evil magic, he proves himself self-less and helps the people in his town. 

The story flows through different life stages of Clod from a little boy to an old man. It also depicts the friendship of Ada and Clod. When we really love a person, we tease each other, understand and help each other. We don't get hurt by them and don't think of doing any harm to other. This innocent friendship is maintained by Clod throughout his life. Clod tries to help others even when he knows that he will lose his close friend for some time by helping them. 

The story is interesting and unpredictable. I feel this is a good read for children who are entering middle school. The story is long but has enough twists. The cover of the book is perfect and the title is apt. The narration is cool for kids and there is some good vocabulary to learn. 

Overall, I loved the book a lot and I recommend this to all children above 9 / 10 years old. 

My Rating: 5/5

Ps: I have received this book from the author through iread tours in exchange for a review and this is my honest opinion on the book. 



About the Author:


David J. Pedersen is a native of Racine, WI who resides in his hometown Kansas City, MO. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He has worked in sales, management, retail, video and film production, and IT. David has run 2 marathons, climbed several 14,000-foot mountains and marched in The University of Wisconsin Marching Band and written 4 fantasy novels. He is a geek and a fanboy that enjoys carousing, picking on his wife and kids, playing video games, and slowly muddling through his next novel.


Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook





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25 March, 2018

Sree Rama Navami - A festival to celebrate the ideal Lord Rama #SuperBloggerChallenge2018

Sree Rama Navami is celebrated on the 9th day after the beginning of the new year as per Hindu Calender. While we celebrated the beginning of the new year as 'Ugadi', we will be celebrating 'Sree Rama Navami' on 25th March. Sree Rama Navami is celebrated on the birthday of Lord Sree Ram and also as the marriage day of Ram with Sita.
Happy Sree Rama Navami
PC: Google images labeled with noncommercial reuse

Lord Sree Ram is considered an ideal personality in the epic 'Ramayana'. As per Swami Vivekananda, Sree ram is

 “the embodiment of truth, of morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband, and above all, the ideal king.”
People might argue about Lord Sree Ram giving Agni pareeksha to Sita Devi but their love to each other is eternal.  Sree Rama is the embodiment of high morals and being a great king he has more responsibilities than an ordinary person. Sita Devi is also an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and is also someone who moved the Shiva Dhanussu with one hand while playing at her young age. Ram and Seeta were made for each other and their love, respect, and understanding to each other were ideal cases for a marriage. That is the reason, Kalyanam(Marriage to Ram and Sita) is conducted every year in Bhadra chalam on Sree Rama Navami.

How do we celebrate?

Like other festivals, we take the head bath, wear new dresses and perform Pooja at our home. We go to temple in the morning to visit Sita Rama Kalyanam. We prepare and offer 'Panakam' (A drink made with jaggery powder, cardamom, and peppercorns), Chalividi (sweet made with jaggery and rice flour) and Vadapappu (Soaked moong dal) to God.

Sita Rama Kalyanam done at Bhadrachalam (Now in Telangana state) is very special. As a custom, the chief minister offers silk clothes to the divine couple every year. The Kalyanam is aired on all TV channels for devotees.


Panakam
Panakam is best for the hot weather that we experience at that time in India. The preparation of Panakam is very easy and it is good for health to reduce body heat. Jaggery powder is mixed in water until it is dissolved and crushed pepper and cardamom are added to the water. Tulasi leaves are also added at the end.

This is the way it is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh, whereas in other parts of India people read holy books like Ramacharitha manas and Sundara Kanda at temples on that day.

Do you celebrate Sri Rama Navami? What rituals do you follow? Do let me know in comments.

Until next time,







This article is written as part of SuperBloggingChallenge2018 conducted by Healthwealthbridge.comFashionablefoodz.com, and Allaboutthewoman.com and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.

23 March, 2018

Curse of a Dragon's Claim by Ciara Lake - Book Spot Light

About the Book:

 The flame within a dragon warrior's heart awakens Arianna's passion as she begins a journey in which she will discover she's something more than she ever imagined possible.



The realm of the dragons is a world of magic, danger, and mystery. For centuries they've been at war with the vampires, but now the two enemies must work together to save all immortals, and the mortals they co-exist with, from an ancient evil. In order to do so, they need the help of the Forsaken, descendants of immortals who were cast out into the human realm, their memories wiped clean of their true heritage.



Clayne MacDagon is a powerful dragon warrior who is sent on a mission to find one of the Forsaken. Although he's told that this woman is his fated mate, he can't believe it could possibly be true. Arianna Mergliano possesses both dragon and vampire blood, and Clayne has an intense hatred for anything even remotely related to vampires, the evil beings who were responsible for his beloved twin's death.



When Arianna meets Clayne, she's convinced that the man is insane, or maybe he's a warlock or even the devil himself, but whichever it is, she wants nothing to do with him.



Clayne knows he can't fail at his mission. And once he meets Arianna he also knows that what he's been told is true—she is, ironically, his intended mate.



Convincing her to accept him is only the beginning. He has to protect her from those who might want her dead. Together, they must face the shadows and evil that have long plagued the immortal realms and find a way to survive the coming war.


Book Links:

Read an Excerpt:

“Arianna, please come and sit down so I can fix your hair.” Alba waved Arianna over to the chair in front of a long mirror.

“Sorry, I’m excited. Can’t sit down.” Nevertheless, Arianna obeyed Alba’s direction and sat down.

“We must be ready to leave within an hour. It’s quite a drive to the Allegretti summer home. I’m eager to spend time there. It’s beautiful.” Alba flitted around as she brushed then braided Arianna’s long tresses. “I’ve laid your emerald dress out. If you approve, I’ll pack it. I’ve another for you to travel in.” She pointed to the yellow traveling dress.

Arianna looked toward the bed where her garments were laid out in preparation. “Oh, a lovely choice.”

“Yes, it is. I thought it would make a wonderful impression for this afternoon’s luncheon. In the evening, you can wear your scarlet dress. You’ll be breathtaking.”

“Thank you, Alba. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“No thanks is necessary. I’m doing what your mama asked me to do.” Alba smiled. Arianna watched Alba in the mirror as she fussed with her hair, arranging it on top of her head.

“My hair looks wonderful.” Arianna appraised Alba’s handiwork.

“You should think more of things like hairstyles, dresses, and shopping. It’s what wealthy young women are supposed to do. You spend too much time thinking about other people. This event is important. Your papa and Signor Allegretti are depending on it to impress their new associates. Your papa is counting on you to charm them as you always do.” Alba set the carved jewelry box on the dressing table. “Perhaps you should pick some jewels out now so as not to risk taking all with you.”
“Perhaps.” Arianna frowned, her gaze locking on the older woman’s reflection in the mirror. “I feel particularly nervous about this garden party. For some reason I have this uneasiness…no, not really uneasy, I’m not sure what it is, but I’m worried.” Arianna placed her hand over her stomach. It pained her. “I feel something life changing is about to occur.”

“Hush now, Arianna.” Alba patted her arm. “Such talk makes people very nervous, including me. Change can be good.”

“I can’t help it, I feel something momentous will soon happen. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. I need to be able to speak of things to someone, and the only one I can reveal myself to is you.” Arianna pouted.

“Put these thoughts from your mind and relax. You’re merely nervous about meeting the eligible gentlemen your father invited. I overheard your father say there will be several eligible, well-respected businessmen there. A widower and one who has never been wed are said to be present.”

“Father doesn’t know what an excellent catch is.” Arianna rolled her eyes. “He’s only looking at their wealth.”

“Of course he is, Arianna. It would do you well to understand the way of it. You’d never wed a pauper. You are meant for greater things. Hold still, your hair’s almost done,” Alba instructed.
Arianna handed Alba another pin. The words swirled in her head, a familiar mantra she’d long since gotten tired of.

“There, you’re absolutely exquisite. I want you to look wonderful as soon as you step off the carriage. We’ll refresh you once you’re there. But first impressions, you know.”

“I can’t believe you think wealth’s the only important thing. Not you, Alba. Love’s important. Don’t you think? Isn’t love with physical attraction most important? I know most girls don’t think of this. But I do.”

“I know you think differently in many things, but don’t speak of this to any other. Just remember, love doesn’t pay your bills or buy your lovely silks. Love doesn’t do much, and it may not last.” She motioned for Arianna to stand, then helped her into her dress.

“Papa and Mama loved each other, theirs lasted.”

“Yes, a rarity in itself. If you can tolerate him and he’s wealthy, you’ve the makings of a good husband. Love may come.” Alba stood back, inspected Arianna, and smiled. “You look gorgeous. Let’s get downstairs. The carriage is already parked out front.”

“There will be other females there to charm the gentlemen. They’re much better at being amusing. Sarah’s always so charming and delightful.”

“Yes, but these men are eligible suitors. You’re in need of a husband.”

“I don’t need a husband, at least not yet.”

“Hush, you speak silliness,” Alba scolded as only a beloved servant could do. “You’re a young woman, you need a husband.”

“The other girls need husbands too.”

“Don’t be foolish, you know as well as I, Rafaela’s engaged, Jenna’s being courted by a very appropriate suitor, and Sarah…well, she’s Sarah. You most certainly need a husband. You’re nineteen years old, and getting older every day.”

“You make me sound ancient.” Arianna giggled.

“Someone must take care of you. It won’t be your father forever, he grows older too.”

“Truly, I can take care of myself.”

* * * *

Clayne relaxed against the ornate couch, a drink in his hand. He appraised the home with a quick eye, the luxury of the human’s dwelling spartan compared to the spacious townhouse he’d recently purchased in the heart of Florence. The invitation to the Allegretti home was most advantageous. It allowed him to continue his search without breaking his cover of a rich merchant who recently relocated from Rome to enjoy the art and culture of Florence, the jewel of the Renaissance.
It amused him to interact with these uncomplicated people. Signor Antonio Mergliano had been insistent that Clayne accept the invitation to the garden party, assuring him an entertaining visit. For some reason, Clayne was compelled to accept, he liked the old man.

Clayne shifted. While fortuitous, the invite was a hindrance. He should be searching for a godforsaken female with the mark of the dragon. No doubt the Forsaken bitch was an ugly, cold-hearted, half-breed bloodsucker. His blood boiled at the very notion of a vampire’s offspring.
There’s no fucking way she’ll be my mate. Mother’s prediction is wrong.

Clayne stood up, stretching his legs. Taking a sip of his drink, it cooled his inner heat. He burned with annoyance at having to do the Goddess Amuliana Synvera’s bidding.

His hatred for anything remotely related to vampires ate at him. They were only good for killing, as far as he was concerned. As loyal as he was to his king, this quest made his temper burn. He’d much rather be back in Ejdeha Dragoni having his teeth pulled than searching for this abomination in human form.

Mother’s wrong. How could the fates be so cruel to me?

He sighed into his drink. It had been years since he’d spent so much time among mortals. Only his trips for his king drew him from his seclusion, and the grief still stung at the loss of his beloved sister.
Perhaps he’d find a simple-minded human female to dally with, relieve his frustrations. Dragon females could be so complicated and greedy of his time. Often, human girls pretended to be virtuous, yet he knew better, seeing through their facade immediately. Allegretti’s daughter was one such female, she smelled of many men. Perhaps she’d be willing and eager to sneak off to a secluded place where he could get lost for a bit between her thighs. The thought brought a smile to his face.


About the Author:
Welcome to Ciara Lake's World. Meet Gorgeous Werewolves, Vampires, Dragons, Mermaids, Wizards, Witches, Mythological Gods and Goddesses, Mere Mortals And More! Fiction has always been a passion of mine. Creating worlds and developing characters is a great way for me to relieve the stress and strain of my everyday world. In fantasy (paranormal) and sci-fi stories, the author has the unique ability to invent wonderfully exotic places and people. I do that in my books. These fantastic genres provide a limitless ability to be creative and inventive. My stories provide an escape into a special world filled with unique and otherworldly things. And there is always a happy ending.


Contact the Author: 





Until next time,


20 March, 2018

The Gorilla Picked me by Michele McAvoy - Book Spot Light






Children’s Picture Book
Date Published: Spring 2018

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Olive felt ordinary. Always last to be picked for teams at recess and never a Valentine placed on her desk. Olive blended in. Until one day at a daddy-daughter dance, the dancing gorilla picked her from the crowd!

He scooped her up and twirled her around the dance floor. Olive's soul sang! THE GORILLA PICKED ME is a fun, sentimental story that reminds little girls that they are all worthy of attention.  No little girl is ordinary! 


About the Author




Michele McAvoy is an award-winning children's picture book author. Her debut picture book MY SUPERHERO GRANDPA received a 2016 Moonbeam Children's Book Award. Michele grew up in a small town in northern New Jersey until she moved to New York City where she attended NYU and law school. Michele enjoyed the crazy, busy, single life of New York for over 15 years until she got married and had her first child.

With a small one bedroom apartment and a baby that did not sleep, Michele moved back to her small hometown. She settled back to her roots and traded in the noisy city streets of NY and extra dirty martinis at trendy bars for manicured lawns and backyard BBQs. When she's not being a lawyer or a mom, Michele writes uplifting, whimsical stories to help children understand and respect their emotions. You can see more about Michele and her books at www.michelemcavoy.com



Contact Links



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My Prince Wears Blue Jeans by Kayla Davidson - [Book Review]







Children’s Book / Picture Story Book
Date Published: February 13, 2018

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Many girls dream of a prince from a land far away and long ago. But what about dreaming about an everyday prince? In My Prince Wears Blue Jeans author Kayla Davidson celebrates ranching life and the love between a father and daughter as she compares a traditional cowboy to a young girl’s prince. Yes, this prince really does wear blue jeans.



My Review:
This is the story of a girl living on a ranch with her cowboy father. For every girl, her dad is a Kin who treats her like a princess. In this story, the girl talks about her father and she considers him as a Prince who wears blue jeans. The story depicts the father who loves her daughter and takes care of all the animals and land. 

I enjoyed reading the story and I felt, it is good to read for children ages from 5 years old. The illustrations are simple and relevant to the story. There is a lot to learn from the story from treating animals well, taking care of animals, taking care of land and nature etc., There is also a mention of seasons and activities done on the ranch during the specific time. 

The story is not lengthy which is apt for bed time story. The narration is from the perspective of a little girl which makes it a good children's story. Overall, a good read for kids with some morals to teach. 
My Rating: 4.5/5

PS: I have received this book from RABT book tours in exchange for a review and this is my honest opinion on the book. 



About the Author




Kayla Davidson is wife to Travis, mother to two daughters, and author of children’s books, My Prince Wears Blue Jeans, The Ride, and Daddy’s Little Squirrel. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Angelo State University.   Together, Travis and Kayla ranch in west Texas on land which has been in their families for many generations.  In My Prince Wears Blue Jeans, Davidson celebrates ranching life and the love between a father and daughter.




Contact Links


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16 March, 2018

Lucknow by Annie Hall - Book Spot Light





Women’s Fiction
Date Published: February 2018
Publisher: Threekookaburras

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When Rosie's marriage suddenly ends one night in Sydney, nothing makes sense any more. She doesn't know what to do next. Her sister, Juliette, suggests she come and live where she is — in Lucknow,  a town in Central Victoria, that they knew in their childhood. It doesn't seem to offer much at first. But her life changes in ways she had not thought possible. Lucknow isn't just a romance, it's about life in a small country Australian town.



Praise for Lucknow:

"Heartbreak, comedy, tragedy, farce, romance, secrets, even love. Annie Hall lifts the lid on the way things are in this Australian country town with the beguiling name of Lucknow." — Carmel Bird









Excerpt



While Hamish was being minded by Mrs Pickett for a couple of hours, Juliette and Rosie grabbed their bathers and headed out to the old reservoir. It was the perfect time for a swim, the sun had real warmth, the wind held its breath, there was a clarity of light in the air and the fragrance of eucalyptus and spice. The old reservoir shimmered and sang with bird calls that afternoon. Save for two fishermen sitting on the levee wall mute and still as statues, Juliette and Rosie had the place to themselves. Near the water’s edge they baked on bare rock like lizards, their towels rolled under their heads for pillows. Juliette lay on her back staring at the sky while Rosie lay on her front gazing at the water.

‘I heard about your quiet night at the pub,’ Juliette said. ‘Jade said you were announced on stage as single. Really putting it out there, aren’t you Rosie? Next it will be an ad in the local paper.’

‘I had no idea Eloise would do that,’ Rosie said. ‘It was so embarrassing.’

‘You don’t know the half of it,’ Juliette said. ‘If you heard what they were saying about you.’

‘Like what?’

Juliette looked at her sister, and didn’t want to hurt her feelings. ‘It’s a wonder you weren’t raffled off like a tray of meat.’

There was a pause.

‘Eloise grew up here. People know her, they don’t know you. You’ve just arrived.’

She looked at her sister, always slight, like a teenager in her blue bikini with yellow buttercups. She didn’t look strong enough to have had Hamish or gone through a torrid marriage breakdown. She is tougher than she looks, Juliette thought. If she didn’t physically show signs of suffering she must have felt it somewhere. But where did Rosie feel it? wondered Juliette.

‘I know I’ve just arrived, Juliette,’ Rosie said, yawning. ‘To another age, it seems, as well as another place.’

‘In Lucknow, you must take care,’ Juliette said earnestly. ‘Gossip spreads faster than a virus, it’s more invisible than hepatitis. It just floats around and somewhere decisions are made about you, your reputation is decided. It might not be the truth but it is what will pass as the truth.

‘You will be stuck with it. And, and,’ Juliette said, warming to her point, ‘it will be very hard once your reputation is fixed to change it. It will stick with you no matter what you do. If people find that you vary from your reputation then they will find it curious, but they won’t disbelieve the gossip.’

Rosie thought about what Juliette was saying. ‘If people can’t distinguish the truth from gossip then why is their opinion of any value?’

‘They only know what they hear,’ Juliette said. ‘You need to take care.’

The smooth grey rocks were hot beneath their bodies. Rosie felt sweat beginning to trickle and the water looked invitingly cool.

‘I’m going in,’ she told Juliette. ‘Race you.’

As warm and brown as a bottle of beer in the shallows, the water was chilly and fizzy as champagne at waist height. Rosie dived under and came up tingling with shock at how cold it was. Juliette was already ahead, arms and legs slicing cleanly through the water. Rosie set off like a threshing machine, churning the water white as she overtook Juliette and raced the one kilometre to the other side. She stood in the shallows, her ribs heaving and subsiding as she gasped for air, her body bent, head down near her knees, eyes swimming with red, brain nearly blacking out from a lack of oxygen. Juliette came up behind her, the water draining off her body in silvery rivulets and watched her sister.

‘You always push things,’ she said, casually. ‘You always go too far.’





About the Author





Annie Hall has worked as a journalist in country towns as well as Sydney and Melbourne. She lived for a number of years in the Goldfields area of Victoria.












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