Summer Reading: All Summer Long by Melody Carlson

I love reading year-round, but there is just something about a summer road trip that requires a lighthearted book to pass the time.

We traveled over 2,200 miles in the car on our summer vacation this year, so I got a lot of reading done.  I finished three books, y’all!

“All Summer Long” is available at Amazon (affiliate link).

One of my reading selections was “All Summer Long” by Melody Carlson.  I received this book free from the publisher, Revell, to facilitate my honest review.

This is the second book in Ms. Carlson’s Follow Your Heart series.  I read the first book last summer (see my review for “Once Upon a Summertime” from last June).  I liked that one, so I was happy to read this next book in the series.

“All Summer Long” is a stand-alone book that doesn’t follow on anything from the first book in the Follow Your Heart series.  It features a separate cast and setting.

The book begins with Tia receiving a job offer from her aunt.  She has an exciting opportunity to move to San Francisco and help launch a dinner cruise venture on a renovated yacht.  Tia happily hangs up her apron in her uncle’s restaurant to become the head chef aboard the yacht.

Arriving in San Francisco, Tia learns that the captain of the boat is Leo, an old friend from summer camp.  She realizes she’s not quite over her childhood crush on Leo, while also quickly becoming part of the drama surrounding Leo and his new fiancee.  Meanwhile, Tia and Leo have to take over the renovations on the yacht when her aunt must attend to an illness in the family.

The book does a good job taking readers on a visit to San Francisco, from the dining to sailing the scenic Bay.  I enjoyed revisiting the Bay area through the descriptions of the setting in the book.

As a Christian romance novel, it delivers a pleasant storyline to get to an expected (predictable) happy ending.  The characters are sometimes frustrating and repetitive in their actions and reactions during the situations they encounter in the book.  However, they’re generally likeable characters who grow and mature by the end.

A lot of the plot has to do with Tia and Leo working together on the yacht as they oversee the renovations.  It is a bit slow at times, but I like a good renovation, so I didn’t mind reading about the design and construction process.

Overall, “All Summer Long” is an enjoyable, lighthearted book for summer reading.

Thank you to the Revell Reads program for providing a free copy of “All Summer Long”
by Melody Carlson to facilitate my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

This post contains affiliate links, which help support this site.  Please refer
my Disclosure Statement for more information about affiliate links.

Charity begins with homes: The New Story Charity story

I like to do what I can for a good cause.

When New Story Charity reached out to me recently, I had not heard of the organization.  It’s still pretty new after launching in November 2014.  It’s not listed yet in the charity rating guides that I check, like Charity Navigator,, or Charity Watch.  But I like the story and the cause, so I’m highlighting their work here today.

In the short time since New Story Charity was founded, it has been successful in its mission to transform slums into sustainable communities.  In 2015, New Story’s summer goal was to crowdsource funds for 100 homes in Haiti 100 days.

The first tent slum they targeted in Leveque, Haiti, has been fully funded to transform the community with 151 homes.  On the New Story Charity website, you can see the homes and learn about the families that live there.

New Story Charity picked up backing from Y Combinator in 2015.  Of 104 startups featured on Y Combinator’s summer 2015 demo day, VentureBeat called New Story one of the 11 you should know.

Now they’re targeting a new slum village in Nuevo Cuscátlan, El Salvador, for transformation with permanent, safe homes for the 90 families living there.  The New Story website has pictures and stories about the Nuevo Cuscátlan village and the families who will be helped through crowdfunding to provide the money for the new homes – around $6,000 per home.

The New Story website says 100% of the crowdfunded donations directly fund home construction.

Kiss Campaign

In June 2016, New Story Charity is starting a campaign to target another issue: a health crisis in Mizque, Bolivia.

People living in this remote village are at risk of serious health problems caused by a parasitic disease, Chagas.  It’s transmitted by the “kissing bug,” which spreads congenital heart disease.  The disease carried by a bug that lives and thrives in the cracks of their mud shacks.

New Story Charity is launching its Kiss Campaign to say #AdiosChagas!  It’s designed to fight Chagas disease by crowdfunding to provide safe homes that help reduce parasitic infestations.

Get involved

Want to get involved?  Check out the New Story Charity website to see all the crowdfunding projects you can support.

For parents, the stories on the website allow you to feel a personal connection with the families you help.  It’s a great way to help kids see the need in the world and small ways they can help.  Even if it’s just donating $5 to this or another charity, kids will feel good about helping kids like themselves have a better life!

Tackling stains with new Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent

Springs brings lots of lovely things – warm weather, flowers, and time outside. With an active family, that inevitably leads to some less lovely things:  stains.

My kids find so many ways to stain their clothes.  There are grass stains from soccer and chocolate stains from dripping ice cream cones.  And of course there are the variety of mystery stains that nobody can explain.

OK, if I’m being honest, I must admit I create my own fair share of stains while cooking, baking and gardening.

This is a sponsored post.  As a member of the Purex Social Insiders program, the Purex brand provided me with a free sample of Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent to facilitate my honest review.
All opinions are my own.

I’ve used Purex laundry detergent for years because it has always done a good job cleaning our clothes, and it is very reasonably priced.  {Price is important when you’re doing mountains of laundry!}

Over the years I’ve also used a lot of Clorox for whites and Clorox 2 for colors.  Now Purex is introducing a new Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent.  It’s two great things that are perfect together! The new Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent is safe for colors and formulated to work on 100 stains.

Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent vs. chocolate stains

My bottle of Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent came in handy recently when I discovered my daughter’s shirt wadded up in the dirty laundry with chocolate stains down the front.

The picture shows her stained, wrinkly shirt after being shoved into the bottom of her laundry basket for a few days, letting the chocolate spots set into the fabric.

Stain - pre Purex

Tip from Purex:  Pretreat tough stains by rubbing some Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent into the fabric and letting it sit for 5 minutes before washing.

While loading the rest of the clothes into the washing machine, I pretreated the chocolate drips by applying the detergent on the stained areas for a few minutes.

Stain - treated with Purex

I then washed the load in the Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent.  Her shirt came out perfectly clean!  Doesn’t it look as good as new?Stain - removed with PurexThe laundry all smelled good, too.  I received the Original Fresh scent, which has a nice fragrance.  It smells, well, fresh and clean.

The detergent also comes in Sunny Linen scent.  That one sounds nice, so I’m looking forward to using that scent as well.

Want to try the new Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent yourself?  The Purex website has a special Purex Promotions page with coupons and other promotions.

They even have a sweepstakes open until April 30, 2016 for a chance to win a $100 gift card and a year’s supply of Purex detergent.  Good luck if you decide to enter!