Checkmate: The Bowers Files by Steven James ~ A Suspense Book Review

The Bowers Files, Book 8
Steven James

In Checkmate, critically acclaimed novelist 
Steven James offers the final, chilling chapter 
in his bestselling series, The Bowers Files. 

When a clandestine FBI facility is attacked, Special Agent Patrick Bowers is drawn into the vicious, ruthless story that a killer from his past is bent on telling the world. 

Clues lead to long forgotten secrets buried deep beneath uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Now, Bowers is caught up in trying to stop one of the most deadly attacks ever planned on American soil. 

Smart, tense and full of mind-bending twists and turns, Checkmate explodes onto the scene, bringing The Bowers Files to a climactic and unforgettable conclusion.


My Thoughts

Could this be the end to the Patrick Bowers files? Say it isn't so!!! Checkmate is indeed the last in the series but the good news is that it isn't a series that ends with a fizzle. It definitely goes out with a BANG! 

I fell in love with this series right from the start so I am sad to see it end. One of the things that I really appreciated about Checkmate was that it didn't read like an ending. It continued to be a page-turner from the front to the back covers. I found myself holding my breath wondering just how Pat was going to get out of this newest situation. You would think that by the eighth book in the series the storyline would grow stale, but it didn't. 

The Bowers Files series stretches over eight books, but in my opinion they can each be read as stand-alone titles. You'd miss out on a lot of heart pounding suspense but it can be done. Checkmate alludes to past episodes but the author fills in the blanks enough so the seasoned reader isn't bored with the details but the newby can follow along. 

If you have become a fan of Steven James' work you'll be pleased to know that he has a new series in progress that is called The Jevin Banks Experience. The first two books have already been released and they are titled, Placebo and Singularity. It looks to be another award-winning series by James. 

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Photo Credit: © Dan Davis Photography

Hope Crossing: Ada's House Trilogy by Cindy Woodsmall ~ An Old Order Amish Fiction Review

Ada's House Trilogy
Cindy Woodsmall
Contemporary Fiction / Amish

Hope Crossing…where Ada’s House stands 
as a haven for weary souls looking for kindness, 
faith, and second chances.

Two very different women are pulled by their strongest desires. Deborah Mast joined the Amish church and longs to marry her fiancĂ©, but he is changing. Cara Moore is forced to look into a life that was meant to be hers. Will Ada’s House help them realize their hearts’ desires or will it force them to accept what life has done to each of them?

Living out her passion for teaching, Lena Kauffman’s work is suddenly interrupted by a series of pranks and accidents targeted toward her and her students. When tragedy strikes her dear friend Grey Graber’s family on school property, the school board begins to blame her for the trouble. As grief and confusion take their toll on Grey and Lena’s friendship, they are both forced to face a new reality that may offer the peace and love they each long for.

Fleeing a terrible mistake, Sylvia Fisher dedicates herself to saving the failing Blank farm. When prodigal son Aaron returns, he is surprised by this unusual farmhand who opposes all his plans. Will Aaron and Sylvia’s unflinching efforts toward opposite futures mask the bigger picture—a path to forgiveness, grace, and the promise of love?

My Thoughts

One of the biggest treats for a book lover is a big fat tome from an author you adore. I found that in Hope Crossing. It is the omnibus of the Ada's House Trilogy and it is fabulous! If you were able to resist the urge to read the trilogy as it came out you are in for a real delight. Now you can snuggle up with the whole thing without waiting for months on end to read the next installment.

Each story centers around the Old Order Amish community of Hope Crossing. The center of this community is Ada's House and it plays a pivotal point in each of the stories. While each story stands alone there is a thread of continuity that weaves the three novels together. Each book has different main characters but in the subsequent stories the main characters become background figures so you get a glimpse at what has been going on with them since you left them.

I absolutely adore Cindy Woodsmall's writing. She has a wonderful way of presenting unusual circumstances in the context of the Old Order Amish community. I'm always wondering just how she is going to bring about a resolution to such a sticky situation. After all of her novels so far I'm happy to say she's yet to disappoint.

If you or someone you love enjoys Amish fiction this would be the perfect addition to your/their library. The book is hefty, but it is a great bargain to get all three books in one! 

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George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Save The American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger ~ American History Book Review

Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
Nonfiction / American History

When George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington rallied--thanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring. He realized that he couldn't defeat the British with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York.

Drawing on extensive research, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger have offered fascinating portraits of these spies: a reserved Quaker merchant, a tavern keeper, a brash young longshoreman, a curmudgeonly Long Island bachelor, a coffeehouse owner, and a mysterious woman. Long unrecognized, the secret six are finally receiving their due among the pantheon of American heroes.

My Thoughts

If I had to sum this book up in one word it would be FASCINATING! I've enjoyed reading about American history my whole life and I would say that I know quite a bit about George Washington, but Brian and Don's book has introduced another side of this great general and later president. I was immediately struck by the honesty that Washington put forth in his shortcomings and outright failures. Without that character trait our nation could have easily been turned in a different direction.

While I loved the insight into Washington, what particularly intrigued me was the Culper Spy Ring itself. Here are six seemingly ordinary people who did extraordinary things while staying under the radar. After reading the book it is hard to imagine such a significant outcome in our American history without this brave group of people. The group was made up of five men, whom we know the identity of, and one woman that still remains a mystery. 

If you are reading the paperback edition of this book then you are in for a real treat. With this edition the authors have included an extensive portion about this mystery woman. This woman was always referred to as Agent 355. Her real identity remains a mystery all these years later but the authors have compiled a list of women who could possibly be the elusive Agent 355. They give the reasons for and against each female being the one. Again, absolutely fascinating.

I think every high school student and beyond should read this intriguing book. It makes a pivotal time in our American history absolutely come alive. If you are a homeschool family this really should be worked into your curriculum. I promise you won't regret a moment you spend on reading this book.

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Diggit Saves The Day & Tipper Tells A Lie ~ Giveaway and Review of Books for Boys

Building God's Kingdom 
Andy Holmes
Juvenile Fiction


Diggit has a plan.
But can he stop long enough to help others?

That's the question Diggit must answer when a lost little squirrel interrupts his busy day. Will Diggit keep working as he had planned? Or will he stop to show kindness to a furry friend in need?

The Building God's Kingdom series teaches biblical truths in an exciting new way. With colorful characters and engaging illustrations, Diggit Saves the Day brings faith and fun to your favorite little builder.

Tipper Tells A Lie
Building God's Kingdom
Andy Holmes
Juvenile Fiction


Even a "little" lie can cause big trouble!

Tipper doesn't want to take time to fill up his gas tank, so he tells a lie. But then . . . Sputter. Gurgle. Wheeze. Tipper is out of gas and all alone. And that's when he discovers the importance of following God's rule to never tell a lie!

The Building God's Kingdom series teaches biblical truths in an exciting new way. With colorful characters and engaging illustrations, Tipper Tells a Lie brings faith and fun to your favorite little builder.

My Thoughts

What little boy doesn't love construction equipment? This new series from Andy Holmes and Tommy Nelson is specifically designed to appeal to little boys. The featured friends are Dozer, Diggit, Stretch and Tipper. They use the different scenarios in their jobs to teach valuable life lessons to little boys.

The lessons are simple to understand, yet important for growing little boys. It is always better to be kind and you should certainly not tell a lie. Each of these concepts is taught in a manner that encourages the behavior rather than scolds the action.

If you have little boys in your tribe this is the perfect addition to their reading library. I look forward to the coming additions to this clever new series.

The Giveaway

We have partnered with Tommy Nelson to offer one of our readers a copy of Diggit Saves the Day and Tipper Tells a Lie. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Saturday, January 3, 2015. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson ~ Christmas Novella

Contemporary Fiction / Christmas Novella

He felt his face flushing as Cara opened the door. Wearing a garnet-colored knit dress and with her dark hair pinned up, she looked even prettier than he remembered. Suddenly he wished he'd thought to bring a hostess gift. Like a cat.

After years abroad, Garrison Brown finds himself at the home of his beloved grandmother who has just passed away. He must sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While he hopes to dispense with the task quickly--especially since he is severely allergic to cats--his grandmother's instructions don't allow for speed. She has left some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends.

Can he match the cats with the perfect new owners? And is it possible that he might meet his own match along the way?


My Thoughts

It doesn't quite feel like the Christmas season has begun until I have read a Christmas themed novella from Melody Carlson. Each year I look forward to her newest offering and a quiet evening at home to savor it.

This year she has penned The Christmas Cat. I'm not a cat lover I don't hate them I just lean towards dogs. When I picked up this book I was a bit worried that I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I have her other Christmas books. What was I thinking?!!

The main character is Garrison Brown and he's not a cat lover either. He has severe allergies to them. When his beloved grandmother dies he is put in charge of finding her six cats new homes. Easy enough, right? Well much to Garrison's dismay his grandmother has attached several requirements to the homes that her cats are placed in.

This is a wonderful book filled with humor and seriousness. The characters are easy to identify with and their stories are just complex enough to make this short book feel complete. There is enough romance to make you smile and at the last page you'll release a contented sigh.

I say treat yourself this season and pick up a copy of The Christmas Cat for a little respite amid the hubbub. It would also make a great stocking stuffer for the romantic book lover on your list. 

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The Princess Parables Dolls and Books ~ Christmas Gift Guide for Girls

I am not anti-fashion doll in the least. My daughter had several and my granddaughters do as well. But I've always thought that it would be nice if there were a doll that promoted Godly characteristics for our girls. I'm happy to say that Zonderkidz has now released a line of dolls and books that do just that.

The Princess Parables line includes five daughters of the King. Their names are Faith, Hope, Grace, Joy, and Charity. Each of their stories are inspired by the parables that Jesus taught. Young girls will discover that the most important beauty is that which resides within. Each story teaches about God and His kingdom and the love He has for each of His princesses!

Currently each princess has a doll and two different books. The doll is the same size as the popular fashion dolls (i.e. Barbie). My favorite part is their beautiful eyes. Their dresses are absolutely stunning. My grand girls fell in love the moment we took them out of the boxes. The first book is designed to either be read aloud to your young girl or read by a more advanced reader. My oldest grand girl is in the second grade and she could read these books with a bit of help. The second book is from the I Can Read! line and is a level one which is made up of simple sentences for eager new readers. My second grand girl is a Kindergartner and is just beginning to read. She was able to read most of these books aloud to me. 

Now let me introduce you to each Princess and her stories!

“Search everywhere for the lost kitten. 
Bring her back safely to the castle.”

In Princess Grace and the Little Lost Kitten, Princess Grace promised her father she would care for the kittens she found. But Poppy, the curious one, has run away. Princess Grace must find him, even if it means searching the entire kingdom . . . even braving the Black Woods. Along the way, she remembers a parable Jesus told about God’s great love for us and how he too searches for each one who is lost.

In Princess Grace and Poppy , Princess Grace finds five kittens in the hall closet. What else can she do but ask her father, the king, if she can keep them? With promises to care for them and get help from her sisters, Grace experiences firsthand how much responsibility it is to care completely for something. Based upon the parable of the lost sheep, readers can begin to understand just how much God must care for all of us!

"Even though we don't understand why things like this happen, 
God uses these things to grow our hearts."

Princess Faith's Mysterious Garden is based on the Parable of the Sower in Matt. 13:1-23 Princess Faith decides at long last to plant her own garden. She is deriving great pleasure in the entire process of sowing, watering, and watching the seeds grow when she is faced with a myriad of events that begin to take place that cause her garden to die, little by little. Some incidents are very sudden and mysterious and others are just plain scary As she discovers how her garden grows best, she also learns about her own heart.

In Princess Faith's Garden Surprise Princess Faith has always wanted to plant a lovely flower garden. When the chance presents itself, she and her sisters share the experience, only to find out it isn’t all that easy to get things to grow unless conditions are just right.

"I will sell everything I have to buy the ring."

Princess Hope and the Hidden Treasure is based on the Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl in Matt. 13:44-45 Princess Hope is on a shopping spree with her sisters and discovers her grandmother's lost ring! It's for sale, but the price is high--even for a princess. How far will Princess Hope go to buy it? And will the princess sisters' hunt for the greatest treasure be successful?

In the I Can Read! Princess Hope and the Hidden Treasure a ring and some mysterious clues send Princess Hope and her sisters on a treasure hunt, where they find out that true treasures are not always material things.

"No one can come to the surprise party, Daddy. 
What will we do?"

In Princess Joy's Birthday Blessing Princess Joy can’t wait for her birthday. There will be treats, games, and an enormous cake with delicious icing! But when the other princes and princesses can’t come and Princess Joy finds out, she comes up with a surprising plan to fill her day with special guests and unexpected gifts. Will it work? Her idea, shared in Princess Joy’s Birthday Blessing, comes from a parable Jesus told about a party a lot like hers.

In this level one I Can Read! Princess Joy's Party, Jesus' lesson about who is best to invite to your home comes alive for little princesses just learning to read! When no one accepts the invitation to Princess Joy's birthday party, she is sad. But her father, the king, helps her to understand that there are more ways to celebrate a special day and much better gifts to get than ones wrapped in pretty paper and bows.

"How can we help this hurting boy, God?"

Princess Charity's Courageous Heart is based on the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30 37 Princess Charity is disconcerted with an argument that has transpired at the castle and decides her best recourse would be to run away. As her impulsive journey unfolds she encounters a phenomenon that would ultimately alter her life forever. From her hiding place in the Weeping Woodlands, she sees a wounded dog that is old and unloved lying on the side of the road. She watches as others find him and stop, but none reach out to help him. She decides to befriend the hurting creature, even though her decision would mean she may be found by many of the King s men who are looking for her. She can only help him by taking him back to the castle to nurse him back to health where she learns the true meaning of charity and mercy.

Princess Charity loves to ride her horse Daisy across the kingdom and normally feels free to go everywhere. But father has issued an order---to stay away from the neighbor’s border. Charity wants to obey her father, the king, but when she sees people go by an injured young boy without stopping to help, she must make a decision … should she obey her father or go to help the boy in need? Based on the parable of the Good Samaritan, this level one I Can Read! Princess Charity's Golden Heart brings a lesson of love to life for little girls.

Another book in the Princess Parables series is the I Can Read! Princess Sisters Treasury. It contains three stories, Princess Grace and Poppy, Princess Faith's Garden Surprise and, Princess Charity's Golden Heart

In the very near future there will also be a sticker and activity book released for each Princess. 

These dolls and their corresponding books would make a wonderful gift for every little princess in your life. Family Christian Book Stores and Mardel are carrying the dolls and books in store and online. You can also look for them in select Lifeway stores.


Celebrating the greatest Gift: Parent & Child Christmas Reads from Zondervan

Every year during the Christmas season we like to add new books to our collection of titles that celebrate the birth of Christ. We have old favorites but are constantly finding new ones that quickly become dear to us. I thought that this year we would share a few of our favorites.

For Children

Follow the events of Jesus’ birth as you read this lovely picture book written by Max Lucado with Randy Frazee and Karen Hill and illustrated by Fausto. The Christmas Story for Children tells readers about the birth of a special baby whose story is filled with love for us all. Young readers as well as their parents will appreciate the beautiful words and artwork that convey the message that we are loved and cherished.

What I like about this story is that it doesn't stop at the manger. The story goes on to describe Jesus' childhood and how from the outside Jesus' appeared to be just like any other Jewish male. Then the appearance of his cousin John and the baptism of Jesus lead into the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry.

The illustrations by Fausto Bianchi have that soft watercolor effect and are just beautiful. The collaboration between Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, and Karen Davis Hill make this a great retelling. This is a companion book to the award-winning and bestselling The Story for Children.

The Legend of St. Nicholas captivates audiences and tells the story of a young man named Nicholas, who was moved by the plight of the poor and needy. Nicholas spent his life secretly helping the poor all over the world, giving gifts on Christmas Eve to remind people of the greatest Gift of all, Jesus Christ. This gentle Christmas book introduces the original St. Nicholas and offers inspiration for readers to become cheerful givers themselves. The final pages in the book include fun Father Christmas traditions in other lands.                                               
Our family has always chosen to do Santa along with our other Christmas traditions. Once our kids were old enough to understand the story of the original St. Nicholas we shared it with them. This book is a great way to approach the subject and allow the discussion of Christmas being a season of giving rather than focusing on getting. It was written for children ages 4-8 but can be enjoyed by the entire family.

On the first Christmas ever, there wasn't a Christmas tree or stockings by the fire. There was only a stable, some animals and shepherds, and a manger filled with hay. But on that special night when Jesus was born, the world changed forever.                                          

I absolutely love illustrated books by Dennis Jones. His artwork just makes me smile. The exaggerated expressions are sure to captivate your little ones. 

One of the features that I especially appreciate about this book is that when the wise men come to meet Jesus, he is depicted as a toddler rather than a baby still in the manger. I like it when children's books choose to be accurate. Makes my job as a momma so much easier!

It's time for the Yuletide Ice Cube Fair! Veggies gather to eat snow cones, slurp slushies, and ice skate--but the best part of all is the Ice Cube Carving Contest! Join Veggie friends as they discover that it's not what's biggest or best that matters most on Christmas. It's Jesus!

Who doesn't love Veggie Tales?!! Our house is all about the vegetable (the singing ones that is). Karen Poth did a splendid job of using the characters to depict not only what the secular world thinks is important to the Christmas season, but she also nails it with Junior's very small carved nativity.

The last line in the story is perfect, "Christmas isn't all about the big, the bright, the new. Christmas time means Jesus--and the love he brought for you." This is not only a fun rhyming book to read, but one that brings home the true meaning of Christmas.

For Adults

Who was in the manger that first Christmas morning? Some say he would become a great moral leader. Others, a social critic. Still others view Jesus as a profound philosopher, a rabbi, a feminist, a prophet, and more. Many are convinced he was the divine Son of God.

Who was he--really? An how can you know for sure?

Consulting experts on the Bible, archaeology, and messianic prophecy, Lee Strobel searches out the true identity of the child in the manger. Join him as he asks the tough, pointed questions you'd expect from an award-winning legal journalist. If Jesus really was God in the flesh, then there ought to be credible evidence, including:

Eyewitness Evidence--Can the biographies of Jesus be trusted?
Scientific Evidence--What does archaeology reveal?
Profile Evidence--Did Jesus fulfill the attributes of God?
Fingerprint Evidence--Did Jesus uniquely match the identity of the Messiah?

The Case for Christmas invites you to consider why Christmas matters in the first place. Somewhere beyond the traditions of the holiday lies the truth. It may be more compelling than you've realized. Weigh the facts and decide for yourself.

I am a complete news junkie so I instantly fell in love with this book when it was first released. It has been on my yearly Christmas reading list ever since. I like the presentation and the logical thinking approach. It is a very short book and can easily be read in an evening.

Eighteen years after a tragic workplace accident, "crooked lady" Ema McKinley, who doctors believed would never again rise from her wheelchair, experienced an extraordinary healing when Jesus appeared in her room on Christmas Eve. This miraculous encounter is more than an inspiring, compelling story that will capture your attention. It is an unforgettable rush of truth that will open your heart to find lasting joy and peace, no matter what you're going through. You will see your life from a whole new hope-filled perspective.

While this is not your traditional Christmas book, I couldn't help including it. Ema's Christmas Eve miracle is so fitting this time of year. The same Jesus that was a miraculous birth, chose to bring about another Christmas time miracle in the life of Ema McKinley. I found Ema's story to be humbling yet inspiring as I held it up against my own life. During this season of miracles, I think you will really enjoy reading about how the God of Heaven once again touched the life of an ordinary woman.

Sometimes God uses the smallest voices to teach the greatest truths.Every day, one of Amy Julia Becker's children says something that prompts her to think about life in a new way. "Mom, does Santa love me?" William asks, after his mother explains the meaning of Christmas . . . In a chat with her dad about the children who died in the Sandy Hook shootings, Penny asks, "Did they go to heaven?" . . . "You was a jer, Mommy?" asks Marilee one morning in the car.

These conversations deepen Amy Julia's relationships with her children, but they also refine her understanding of what she believes and what God is doing in her own life.

In Small Talk, Amy Julia draws from the wisdom and curiosity of those young voices to reflect on beauty and kindness, tragedy and disability, prayer and miracles. As she moves through the basic questions her kids posed when they were very young to the more intellectual questions of later childhood, she invites us to learn from our own day-to-day conversations with the children in our lives.

This eloquent parenting memoir is about the big questions little hearts ask, the thoughts their words provoke, and the laughter and soul-searching their honesty brings--to adult and child alike.

Again, this isn't a traditional Christmas book, but it is about children and they are definitely gifts from God. A child that doesn't ask questions is rare, if not obsolete. As a momma their continuous questions can drive you absolutely crazy in the moment. The temptation to answer with a "because I said so" type of response is often irresistible. But when all is finally quiet those same questions come back to you and allow you to formulate your response and refine what you believe. Isn't it just like God to take something irritating like sand to an oyster and turn it into a priceless pearl. I recommend this one to all the mommas out there. It will fill you with a fresh perspective and allow you to carry on!

Star Wars Force Grab Fast-Reaction Game from Wonder Forge ~ Christmas Gift Guide Giveaway

Star Wars
Force Grab
Fast-Reaction Game

Force Grab is edge-of-your-seat fun! Race to spot when the Star Wars objects match the pictures. React fast! Grab the correct Lightsabers before the other players! Look out for decoys, bonus scoring twists, and other disturbances in the Force!

Back in 1977 when Star Wars first hit the big screens, who would have ever guessed that it would still be popular 37 years later? It has become an iconic piece of Americana. We all know the characters and the quirky sounds and phrases that they make. And we continue to embrace all things pertaining to the Force.

Much to the delight of this Star Wars junkies family, Wonder Forge has come out with a great new game called Star Wars Force Grab. It is very easy to play . . . in fact there are really only three steps.
  1. Roll the objects.
  2. Look quickly! Did any of the objects land the same as the pictures?
  3. If so, grab the lightsabers that match those colored squares!
Easy enough . . . but look out because the game is fast. If you snooze, you loose! 

We played several rousing games with the older kids and adults. Not one single game was the same. There are so many combinations that it is different every single time. When you think you've got the hang of it you can add in some of the advanced rules that add even more fun elements to the game. 

The set up is for two to four players ages six years and up. I would personally say that playing with four players is much more fun than two. The age rating is appropriate. The playing pieces are pretty tiny and would be tempting to little ones' mouths! My only advice is to try and play with equally matched players. A younger player playing against older players might not have quite as fast reaction times and might be a bit discouraging.

The Giveaway

We have partnered with Wonder Forge to offer one of our readers a copy of Star Wars Force Grab Fast-Reaction Game. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Saturday, December 13, 2014. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Animalz Retractable, Volume-Limiting Headphones ~ Christmas Gift Guide for Kids

I really must begin with a confession. We have included this product in our Christmas Gift Guide for Kids, but I'm thinking it may wind up being one of those gifts that the momma benefits from way more than the kiddos!

If your life is anything like mine you can sing along with almost any children's song. Not because you have purposely set about memorizing said songs, but more because you hear them over and over and over again about a million times a day.

When we go on car trips with our family my kids like to play games on their tablets to pass the time. If you aren't the one playing the game the music and sound effects can drive you batty! Now there is the perfect solution. Say goodbye to long, boring hours and squabbles in the backseat and say hello to Animalz headphones for kids! 

Whether at home or on-the-go, Animalz by ReTrak retractable headphones are designed for little ears and feature volume-limiting technology in six lovable soft fabric animal designs: Biker Bearz, DJ Panda, Jam Bunneez, Scuba Shark, Skate Monkeez and Surf Dawgz. Kids can now enjoy listening to their own music, playing games or watching movies all with their favorite Animalz!

Little H is wearing the Biker Bearz headphones.

Another great place to use these adorable headphones is at my parents' house. My dad introduced my boys to videos on YouTube. They love to crawl up into his lap and ask for a video. Being the indulgent Poppy that he is he always obliges. The nice thing about the Animalz headphones is that they can watch all their silly videos while the rest of us continue having a conversation!

One of my worries with headphones has always been the side effect of hearing loss. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, more than 10 percent of children ages 9 to 19 have noise-induced hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to sound louder than 85 decibels can damage a child’s ears, causing permanent hearing impairment. With Animalz’s volume-limiting technology you don’t have to worry about overexposure for developing, sensitive ears. Animalz volume limiter sets 85 decibels as the maximum volume for optimal ear protection.

Little M is wearing Surf Dawgz headphones.
Since the headphones won't hurt my boys' hearing we have also been using them for Little M's daily lessons. We choose to homeschool our children and some of Little M's work is done on the computer. Before we started using the Animalz headphones it was a battle to keep his attention focused on the work at hand instead of the antics of his little brother.

With the headphones he is able to stay more focused on his work. While these headphones are volume-limiting they aren't noise cancelling. So, when I need to get Little M's attention he can still hear me. 

On a side note . . . the headphones are so soft. If you look at my boys when they have them on you will often see them petting the Animalz while they are listening. So cute! These things are built for years of fun, Animalz are backed by a lifetime warranty!

I have one last benefit to tell you about. It's the cord and it's retractable. Yes I said retractable! Nothing is worse than having to constantly untangle cords but with the Animalz headphones you don't have to. With just a gentle tug the cord snugs right up into the headphones. Perfect for storage.

So your next question is Where Can I Buy Them? Animalz are available at more than 15 U.S. retailers including®, Best Buy® and Toys“R”Us®. Go here for a full list of retailers. The Panda and Shark designs are available exclusively at Best Buy until March 2015.

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