Stephanie Burkhart's Blog

June 24, 2016



Book Review for: The Blood of OlympusWritten by: Rick RiordanPublished by: Disney/HyperionISBN: 978-142314673-5I read: the hardback
5 stars
Heart Pounding Action!
Riordan wraps up the Heroes of Olympus series with a demigod feast in "The Blood of Olympus." Gaea is awakening and calling her minions to do her evil bidding. Only our favorite Roman and Greek demigods can stop her, but they'll need a lot of help along the way.
With an ensemble cast that includes Percy, Jason, Annabeth, Piper, Frank, Hazel, and Leo, the brave crew of the Argo II journey through the Greek homelands in search of the physician's cure and Gaea herself, encountering one obstacle after another.
Meanwhile, Reyna, Nico, and Coach Hedge shadow travel to bring the Athena Paratheon to Camp Half Blood. The Paratheon will unite the Greeks and Romans for the ultimate battle. Unfortunately, Octavian has something to say about that. Can Romans, Greeks, and Gods stop their bickering and fight together to rid the Earth of Gaea once and for all, or will the blood of Olympus unleash an unstoppable monster?
Riordan's writing is witty, sharp, and easy to read. His plotting and pacing is spot on. There's never a dull moment as the action keeps coming. The characters are compelling. Each has an interesting back story. What is most endearing is how they care for each other as friends, which makes this a great story for teenagers struggling to understand what friendship is all about.
This novel is the action packed conclusion to the "Heroes of Olympus" series. There's never a dull moment and I kept turning the pages, eager to discover what was next the heroes. I would recommend this novel for ages eleven and up. "The Blood of Olympus" will resonate with readers for it's adventure, friendship, and compelling storytelling.

Question for you:  Who is your favorite Demigod from the Heroes of Olympus series? 
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Published on June 24, 2016 01:30

June 22, 2016



Enjoy this whimsical interview with the author of "The Givining Meadow," and it's "star," Caterpillar!!

STEPH: I wrote "The Giving Meadow" as a play for my church's preschool Easter play in 2009. I showed Vivian (Gilbert Zabel, publisher, 4RV Publishing) and she offered it a contract. It was a pleasant, unexpected surprise.
CATERPILLAR: You're telling me.
STEPH: Telling you what?
CATERPILLAR: Hatching out of that egg! I was surprised, thirsty, and hungry.
STEPH: You were in a meadow. Couldn't you eat the grass?
CATERPILLAR: Grass? Hardly substantial. Good thing I found Frog.
STEPH: Frog?
CATERPILLAR: He shared his water with me.
STEPH: Did you make any other friends in the meadow?
CATERPILLAR: A very nice ladybug shared her grapes and a sweet little bee shared her honey.
STEPH: Grapes and honey? Didn't you get…ah, plump?
CATERPILLAR: I was hungry. Hungry caterpillars get real plump. Then I met snake.
STEPH: A snake? Yikes!
CATERPILLAR: Snake was cool. He shared his apple with me. When I started spinning silk around myself, he got worried and gathered up Frog, Ladybug, and Bee to see if they could help.
STEPH: What happened then?
CATERPILLAR:  You have to read the book!
STEPH: Does anyone have any strawberries? Just in case?
"The Giving Meadow" is wonderfully illustrated by Stephen Macquignon. Stephen primarily works in the medium of pen and ink and color digitally. He has had the privilege to work with Director Michael Sporn of Michael Sporn Animation Inc. He is also a monthly contributor for Stories for Children's magazine.
Stephen's children's books with 4RV Publishing include Angeline Jellybean by Crystalee Calderwood and Colors by Dana Warren.
"The First Flag of New Hampshire," by Stephanie, has been released by 4RV Publishing. It is a TW/Young Adult story.

REVIEWS:

5 Stars, Midwest Book Review: "Colorful illustrations add just the right touch to this gentle heartwarming story about the transformative power of sharing."

5 Stars, N.A. Sharpe, Amazon Reviewer: "This heartwarming tale teaches life lessons of friendship, selflessness and sharing, caring, and kindness. Ms. Burkhart's charming tale is one little ones will want to hear over and over again and they will be enchanted by the adorable illustrations from the talented illustrator, Stephen Macquignon."

5 Stars, Connie Arnold, Amazon Reviewer:  "This is a good book for helping young children learn about how caterpillars change as well as a gentle lesson about sharing and caring."

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON:https://amzn.com/B00J3FBY9Y

BARNES AND NOBLE:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-g...

4RV PUBLISHING:http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/b...
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Published on June 22, 2016 01:30 • 1 view

June 19, 2016

Hi all, I'm participating in the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday. This month, I'll be taking snippets from my sweet summer romance, Arrow Through The Heart . You can find the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday list at:



About this snippet:  Ella arrives at the island, her attraction undeniable. 

ENJOY THIS SNIPPET:

Logan directed the boat and turned off the engine, using the slower electric motor to steer them closer.
Ella slid next to him,"That was fun."
 "Really?"
"There's nothing like a little speed and wind in your face to make you feel invincible."
He flashed her an amused grin and jumped onto the dock, "I agree. Do you mind helping me secure the boat? Just throw me the ropes."
"All right."
He stepped onto the small pier and wrapped the cords around the steel moorings. Ella admired the way his body moved, with a surety of motion and confidence that made her pulse pound through her veins. 


ARROW THROUGH THE HEART : 
BLURB:  
Summer vacation and the Fourth of July brings Ella to New Hampshire while participating in a tennis competition. Logan is an innkeeper's son who bumps into Ella and invites her for an ice cream. Attraction flares and they enjoy spending time together, but each has their own plans for their life. Then disaster strikes Ella. Can a summer attraction truly become a lasting relationship?

Reviews:5 Stars, Jaclyn DiBona, Amazon Reviewer, "Another wonderful book."

5 Stars, Muddy Rose Reviews, Amazon Reviewer, "A sweet novella about falling in love."

4 Stars, beasmom, Amazon Reviewer, "An enjoyable read." 

BUY LINKS:AMAZON: https://amzn.com/B00TJH0UT6

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arrow...

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view...

Kobo:https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebo...
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Published on June 19, 2016 01:30 • 5 views

June 17, 2016

Strawberry Fest 2016 with Joe!

I love a nice ripe juicy red strawberry. They make the best smoothies and margaritas. And shortcake. And nachos. And chocolate dipped sinful delights. There's nothing you can't do with a strawberry. That's one of the reasons I enjoy visiting the strawberry festival every year.


Every year in May, this fun little fest is held in Oxnard, Ventura County, near the California coast. It's a little over an hour drive from my house. May is a great time to explore the strawberry fields. The weather is warm, but not too warm and I've never been rained on.


When we get there, I always get the boys smoothies right away Of course everything is a tad pricey, but I'm happy to support the various charities that benefit from the festival. They include local schools, churches, and booster clubs.


After the smoothies, I get a strawberry margarita for me. Then we eat! There's no shortage of food booths. Our favorites include calamari, garlic fries, chicken tenders, gyros and strawberry nachos!


After we're stuffed like a fluffy shortcake, we visit the kiddie land. The boys like to climb on the inflatables. I usually visit strawberry shortcake. One year the "Eat Mor Chiken" Cow was there from Chik-fil-et. I thought that was funny.
From 2012

They have live music on 2 different stages. There's car exhibits and an arts and crafts section that's expanded from a small grassy area (when I started attending about 8 years ago) to the length of a city street. This year, I discovered "military salsa," a perfect blend of spice and sweetness made with honey. There are tye-dye shirts, purses, and wooden, decorative signs. Honestly, there's a little something for everyone. One year, I got my stretchy "Paris" shirt which I adore, at the arts and crafts section.


On the way out, I get a festival poster. We enjoy chocolate dipped sin and usually get a tray of red, delicious, juicy, strawberries to eat at the house.


What's the appeal for me? While it can get crowded, it's a fun day away from the house in celebration of the strawberry. Adults are 12.00. Kids are 5.00. Parking on site is 10.00. The food is fantastic. Plus, I enjoy spending the time with my boys. I hang the festival posters all over the house. It truly is a good time. You can bet I'll be attending next year, too.


Enjoy a berry on me!


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Published on June 17, 2016 01:30 • 6 views

June 15, 2016


AVAIL AS a 4.99 Ebook and in Paperback! 

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Stephanie Burkhart's first children's book tumbles through a giving meadow, teaching children the value of sharing and caring.
(Los Angeles, Calif.) — A spring meadow sets the stage for a hungry caterpillar to make friends and learn the power of sharing in author's Stephanie Burkhart's book, "The Giving Meadow.
A caterpillar hatches from an egg and travels through a meadow making friends with a frog, bee, ladybug, and snake. His friends learn about sharing and caring when caterpillar grows a cocoon. Caterpillar's change into a butterfly helps young children understand the mysteries of Easter.
"The Giving Meadow" was inspired by the author's involvement in her church's Sunday preschool program. It was originally written as the children's Easter play. This gives the story a personal touch, allowing the author's enthusiasm to shine through. "The Giving Meadow" is a sweet story that children will want to hear over and over again.
About The Author Stephanie Burkhart resides in Castaic, CA. She served in the military for 11 years and is now a 911 Dispatcher for the Los Angeles Police Department. She's an 8thplace winner in the 77th Annual Writer's Digest Competition in the Mainstream/Literary category. 


REVIEWS:

5 Stars, Midwest Book Review: "Colorful illustrations add just the right touch to this gentle heartwarming story about the transformative power of sharing."

5 Stars, N.A. Sharpe, Amazon Reviewer: "This heartwarming tale teaches life lessons of friendship, selflessness and sharing, caring, and kindness. Ms. Burkhart's charming tale is one little ones will want to hear over and over again and they will be enchanted by the adorable illustrations from the talented illustrator, Stephen Macquignon."

5 Stars, Connie Arnold, Amazon Reviewer:  "This is a good book for helping young children learn about how caterpillars change as well as a gentle lesson about sharing and caring."

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON:https://amzn.com/B00J3FBY9Y

BARNES AND NOBLE:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-g...

4RV PUBLISHING:http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/b...
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Published on June 15, 2016 01:30 • 3 views

June 12, 2016

Hi all, I'm participating in the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday. This month, I'll be taking snippets from my sweet summer romance, Arrow Through The Heart . You can find the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday list at:



About this snippet:  Logan takes Ella for a ride 

ENJOY THIS SNIPPET:


Ella watched Logan's muscles flex with easy grace. He pushed the boat away from the pier and turned on a small electric motor, slowly steering them away from the inlet. When they were out some distance, Logan recovered the small motor and engaged the gas engine. 

Ella clasped her hands to her chest as a feeling of breathlessness came over her. The wind rushed around her. She laughed, enjoying the ride.

A small island came into view. Near a short beach, she could make out a log cabin surrounded by birch and oak trees. 

ARROW THROUGH THE HEART : 
BLURB:  
Summer vacation and the Fourth of July brings Ella to New Hampshire while participating in a tennis competition. Logan is an innkeeper's son who bumps into Ella and invites her for an ice cream. Attraction flares and they enjoy spending time together, but each has their own plans for their life. Then disaster strikes Ella. Can a summer attraction truly become a lasting relationship?

Reviews:5 Stars, Jaclyn DiBona, Amazon Reviewer, "Another wonderful book."

5 Stars, Muddy Rose Reviews, Amazon Reviewer, "A sweet novella about falling in love."

4 Stars, beasmom, Amazon Reviewer, "An enjoyable read." 

BUY LINKS:AMAZON: https://amzn.com/B00TJH0UT6

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arrow...

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view...

Kobo:https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebo...
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Published on June 12, 2016 01:30 • 2 views

June 7, 2016



Book Review for: Sizzling SixteenWritten by: Janet EvanovichSt. Martin's PressISBN: 978-0-312-38330-5I read: the hardback
4 Stars
A Plum Full o' Trouble!
Evanovich pens a rousing, entertaining installment of the Stephanie Plum series with "Sizzling Sixteen." Cousin Vinnie has put the bail bonds office in danger. His gambling debts are high and he's been writing bad bonds to cover them. Now Vinnie's missing and if Connie, Stephanie, and Lula can't come up with the ransom in time, Vinnie will be toast and the bonds office will have to shut down for good. What's a Plum to do?
Things are more complicated than they appear. Vinnie's debt has landed him in the middle of a gang war. Stephanie has to step up her game to find him. With help from Connie and her stink bombs along with Ranger's security team, can she get her cousin out of his pickle?
Evanovich's writing style is witty and easy to read. The pacing is well balanced, allowing the reader to catch their breath before accelerating again. The plot highlights the strengths and weaknesses of Stephanie's character. She's a loyal friend and determined, but also indecisive when it comes to the men in her life.
The supporting cast adds laughter and levity to the story. A Plum novel always has surprises, like Vinnie's rescue, which I didn't expect when it came, however the suspense and tension fell a bit flat due to the remoteness of the bad guys to the characters.

"Sizzling Sixteen" is a cozy mystery. The plot is engaging and will keep the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next. I recommend this story for 14 years on up. This novel is a fun read!
Question: Who is your favorite Stephanie Plum character? 
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Published on June 07, 2016 02:30 • 4 views

June 5, 2016

Hi all, I'm participating in the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday. This month, I'll be taking snippets from my sweet summer romance, Arrow Through The Heart . You can find the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday list at:



About this snippet:  Logan is going to take Ella for a boat ride. 

ENJOY THIS SNIPPET:

Logan drove his convertible to the inn and grabbed their food basket from the kitchen before heading to the marina.


"Have you ever played Serena?" he asked.

She laughed, her ponytail bouncing in the wind. "No, not yet. We're ranked according to skills and have to do certain tournaments before getting to the elite level. A lot depends on your age, the tournaments, your skill, and a little bit of luck."

"Sounds complicated." Logan parked his car, put the canvas top up, and led Ella down the dock to his boat. He settled Ella inside, gave her a safety briefing, and began unhooking the ropes that secured the boat to the dock.

A slight chill brushed against the back of his neck. 

ARROW THROUGH THE HEART : 
BLURB:  
Summer vacation and the Fourth of July brings Ella to New Hampshire while participating in a tennis competition. Logan is an innkeeper's son who bumps into Ella and invites her for an ice cream. Attraction flares and they enjoy spending time together, but each has their own plans for their life. Then disaster strikes Ella. Can a summer attraction truly become a lasting relationship?

Reviews:5 Stars, Jaclyn DiBona, Amazon Reviewer, "Another wonderful book."

5 Stars, Muddy Rose Reviews, Amazon Reviewer, "A sweet novella about falling in love."

4 Stars, beasmom, Amazon Reviewer, "An enjoyable read." 

BUY LINKS:AMAZON: https://amzn.com/B00TJH0UT6

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arrow...

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view...

Kobo:https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebo...
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Published on June 05, 2016 01:30 • 2 views

May 30, 2016




Memorial Day is a time to honor our war dead. Born out of the ashes of the Civil War, Memorial Day honors all the war dead from every war we've been involved with. 
War requires bravery, courage, and a fearlessness many of us don't possess. It requires skill most of us don't have - rifle shooting, pistol shooting, and accuracy when throwing a grenade.
As I was researching today's post, I came across a solider who fought in World War I. His heroism and bravery struck a note in me and I wanted to share his story.  This is what Memorial Day is all about.
Henry Johnson with his Croix de Guerre Henry Johnson was born in 1892 in Winston-Salem, NC. He moved to New York and entered the service in 1917, joining the "Harlem Hellfighters," all black National Guard unit.  This unit was one of the first African-American units in World War I on the French battlefield. When the unit arrived in France, sadly, white American units refused to fight alongside the Harlem Hellfighters.  General John J. Pershing attached Henry's unit to a French one. The French soldiers were happy to have the Harlem Hellfighters.
May 14, 1918, Henry and another soldier, Needham Roberts, were on sentry duty in the Argonne Forest.  Just after 2 am, their position was attacked by 20 Germans. Outmaned, Henry fought back.  Henry's partner, Needham, was injured and unable to shoot back. Henry fought fiercely with his rifle and grenades. When his weapon jammed, he used it as a club, and when it fell apart, he used his knife to fight the Germans. The raiding party fell back.
Henry received 21 wounds, but had over a dozen casualties. Henry fought with bravery and courage, and was willing to give up his life in the face of such adversity. The French gave him one of their highest military honors - The Croix de Guerre in 1918. This is France's highest award given for bravery and Henry was the first American to receive this award.
I thought his story ended there, but upon my research, I discovered more.
My son, Joe, placing flags on Memorial Day 2015 

Henry went back to the US.  He participated in a welcome home parade and even gave lectures. However, when he spoke of the abuse he suffered at the hands of American white soldiers, the lectures dried up.
In September 1927, the Veterans bureau certified he had a 100 percent disability due to tuberculosis. He passed away in 1929 and was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1996, the United States posthumously awarded Henry the Purple Heart. In 2003 he received the Distinguished Service Cross. In June 2015, President Barak Obama gave Henry the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award.  Part of his Medal Honor award reads:  "Private Johnson held back the enemy force until they retreated. Private Johnson’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness went above and beyond the call of duty.
His actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army."
Henry was 36 years old when he died.  Thank you Sergeant Johnson for your bravery, your courage, your inner strength in the face of adversity, and your service.
My son, Andrew placing flags on Memorial Day 2015

Question for you: Do you have a loved one in the military, or do you know of a family member in the service?  Which branch are they in? I'd love to hear your stories.
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Published on May 30, 2016 07:55 • 3 views

May 24, 2016



Book Review for: The Invasion of the TearlingWritten by: Erika JohansenHarper CollinsISBN: 978-0-06-229039-7I read: the hardback
5 StarsRiveting storytelling!
Johansen pens an enthralling sequel with "The Invasion of the Tearling." Kelsea's kingdom is invaded by the Mort, and she must master her power and secrets or the Tear will die.
Picking up where book one leaves off, Kelsea is preparing for invasion. While this is heavy on her mind so are other matters - the Arvath and their greed, her emotional growing pains, and her struggles to teach herself the power of her sapphires. Secrets, too, threaten to undermine her. Who really is the red queen? What is the Fetch trying to atone for, and why does Row Finn need forgiveness?
Johansen's writing is easy to read and she's a master at dropping clues. It's the reader's job to put them together. The plot pushes forward like a locomotive, unable to hold back.
The characterization is spot on, depicting Kelsea's triumphs, and emotional struggles with the darkness from the stones that threatens to engulf her. The supporting cast each have stories that tug on the reader's heartstrings.

Invasion of the Tearling is a fictional fantasy novel that I would recommend for 18 years old and up for strong language, drug use, and sexual situations. It's a fantastic read, completely riveting, and will leave the reader breathless. I couldn't stop turning the pages!
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Published on May 24, 2016 01:30 • 7 views