Friday, February 26, 2016

Children's Book Review: The Knowing Book By Rebecca Kai Dotlich


By: Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Illustrated by: Matthew Cordell

Published: February 23, 2016

Publisher: Boyds Mills Press


In this inspirational book, a young rabbit is looking for wisdom from the world around him. He learns that following paths will take you anywhere, but it is up to you which path you choose. He learns to be open to adventures and the magic found in the day to day. Knowing when to run away from something and when to run toward something is an important lesson as well.  All these insights are part of the path of life and that path will always lead you back to home.

Even though this picture book is labeled for Kindergarten and up, I feel the message is a bit too abstract for that age. But younger children will love the whimsical illustrations of the rabbit and his adventures and parents can find ways to explain the rabbit's journey. I'm familiar with Cordell's work and have always found his creativity to shine on the pages of a book.

THE KNOWING BOOK reminds me of the Dr. Suess book, OH THE PLACES YOU"LL GO, as it would be perfect for a graduation or confirmation celebration, or for someone starting a new job or looking for a new path in life. Even children's books can be full of lessons for adults.

This is a book I'll be hanging on to and sharing with our own kids that range from elementary age to high school. It reminds us all to keep looking ahead, stop looking down at our phones, and find the joy in the path we choose.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich - source

Rebecca Kai Dotlich grew up in the Midwest exploring trails by the creek, reading comic books, making paper dolls and building snow forts. She was a good student in school, but by far not a perfect one. Even though she was mesmerized with reading and words from a young age, anything to do with math was, and still is, challenging.

She attended Indiana University where she studied creative writing, art history, and anthropology while she worked in the student library typing index cards for the card catalog. After college she held many jobs; working in a department store, for a real estate firm, a state representative, and in public relations. After her children were born she decided that writing for children would be her life’s work, although that took many years to achieve.

Rebecca has written numerous poet and picture books. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and luckily her four young grandchildren live nearby.  For more on Rebecca, visit her website, HERE.

Matthew Cordell is the illustrator of many books for children as well as an author of others. He lives in the suburbs of Chicago with his wife, Julie, who is also an author of some wonderful middle-grade books that our daughter has loved. They are the parents of two children. For more information, visit his website, HERE.

To purchase a copy of THE KNOWING BOOK, click the photo below:

I will be linking up this review with other bloggers on Booking Mama's Kid Konnection, HERE. There you will find other children's and YA book related posts every Saturday. 

A post from today, 1 year ago - Product Review: Spa's Premium Dead Sea Mask 

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of the book for the purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Book Review: The Widow By Fiona Barton


By: Fiona Baron

Published: February 16, 2016

Publisher: Berkley NAL


Jean Taylor is the widow. She was the wife of Glen Taylor who happened to step off the curb right into a bus and was killed instantly. But that isn't the story. The story is who Glen Taylor was before he died. His story is told from his wife's perspective at first and you learn that Glen Taylor was not a nice man. As the story develops, other characters give perspectives on Glen's life and the choices he made, including a detective and a reporter interviewing Jean after Glen's death. You see, there is a story to tell before Glen stepped off the curb to his death. A story that involves a missing little girl, Bella, and what may have happened to her. We will also hear from Dawn, Bella's mother. All of these versions of the story come together to a shocking ending that will leave you shivering, and not from the cold weather outside.

Glen Taylor was accused of a horrific crime that involved Bella. I'm sure I don't have to describe it, you can use your own imaginations.  I admit it was a tough one for me to slough through. At times, I just had to put the book down because the material was too disturbing for me to think about any longer. Unfortunately, stories like this are part of the messed up world we live in and the author found a way to keep me interested, even through the atrocities. Giving away any more details of this story would ruin it for the reader, but it was definitely a page-turner.

With short chapters and a fast pace, the reader can quickly move through the details. Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the main characters. Sometimes there is a bit of backtracking to fill in gaps and other times it moves ahead showing the rapid rate of the investigation.  The reader will start to question each of the narrator's perspectives wondering which one of them can't be trusted. As you begin to doubt, then a new perspective is approached and you will have to keep reading to get the answers you need. From the widow to the detective, to Bella's mother, you will feel like you can picture each of them. Barton gives the reader a glimpse into their lives that is intimate and yet, revealing. Their stories hold secrets, that once revealed, will bring this case to a devastating conclusion and their lives, as well as yours, will never be the same.

For readers who have joined the bandwagon of unreliable narrators like GONE GIRL and GIRL ON THE TRAIN, this will be one to add to your list. Keep in mind the subject matter is quite disturbing and not for sensitive readers.

Favorite Quote:

  "It's a strange feeling, owning a secret.  It's like a stone in my stomach, 
crushing my insides and making me feel sick every time I think of it."

Fiona Barton - source, photo by Jenny Lewis
Fiona Barton lived for many years in London where she worked as a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at The Daily Telegraph, and as chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the National Press Awards. Since leaving her job in 2008 to volunteer in Sri Lanka, Barton has trained and worked with exiled and threatened journalists all over the world. Born in Cambridge, England, she now lives in southwest France with her husband and is currently at work on a second book. For more information, check out her website, HERE. You can also find her on Twitter, HERE.

To purchase a copy of THE WIDOW, click the photo below:

A post from today, 4 years ago - Family Time February - Blokus
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Thanks to the publisher for sending an eBook for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Children's Book Review: When I Grow Up I Want to Be...a Good Person By Wigu Publishing


Publisher: Wigu Publishing

Published: December 22, 2015

Fiction with a Lesson

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." Desmond Tutu

I immediately knew I was going to love this book based on the page of quotes on the first page of the book. They are all quotes that I love and have written down in various spots to reflect on often.

Brendan and Blake find out they are going with their parents to a funeral for a man from their town. Neither of the boys wants to go, but they parents insist they must go because it is the right thing to do. Mr. Becket was a kind and generous man that lived eighty-eight years helping others and being a good person. At the funeral, the boys learn about the kind of person Mr. Becket was and the legacy his kindness has left on others.

This book instills for kids the importance of making a difference in the lives of others.  It isn't talking about donating hundreds of dollars or asking you take on a certain career, but showing that no matter where you live, how much money you have, or the type of job you do, you can be a good person. Through Mr. Becket's life, we see the examples of how one person's kindness, compassion, and giving spirit can spread throughout a whole community.  This is something we have tried to teach our children by living in a small town and giving of our time and talents at various functions. We don't just live in this community, we are part of this community. Mr. Becket led that kind of life and his legacy will live on in the lives of those he touched.

I've been a fan of Wigu Publishing books for awhile. Their series WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE.... is a great way to introduce different career options to your child through fictional stories based on facts. To see my other reviews from Wigu Publishing books, click HERE.

"Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud." Maya Angelou

Wigu Publishing is a collaboration among talented and creative individuals working together to publish informative and fun books for children. Our titles serve to introduce young readers to the people in their communities who serve others through their careers. Wigu’s books are unique in that they help children visualize the abundant opportunities that exist for them to be successful and to make a difference. For more on Wigu Publishing, visit their website, HERE. You can also find them on Facebook, HERE, and Twitter, HERE. To see all the books offered by Wigu Publishing available for purchase, click HERE.

To purchase a copy of this book, click the photo below:

I will be linking up the post with other bloggers on Saturday at Booking Mama's Kid Konnection. To see other children's and YA book related posts, click HERE.

A post from today, 7 years ago - When I am Weary 
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Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Product Review: Tweexy

My daughter and I love to paint our nails. So having a way to paint them anywhere on the go is fun. With tweexy - The Original Wearable Nail Polish Holderyou can paint your nails even if you don't have a table to sit next to.

The tweexy fits on your fingers, which ever ones you choose. Any size nail polish bottle will fit inside the tweexy as the plastic is moldable. The bottle above is more of a square shape and it fit just fine.  It is nice to be able to sit anywhere and apply nail polish. But, there is a learning curve. You have to be sure you keep your hand upright. If you turn your hand even a little bit, you could end up spilling your polish, so be sure to keep your hand level at all times. 

If you are traveling and want to be able to apply polish without the option of a level surface to set your polish on, this is a great way to be able to do just that.

To purchase tweexy, click the photo below:

A post from today, 5 years ago - Hints Do Work 
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A post from today, 2 years ago - A Little Monday Inspiration - Love
A post from today, 1 year ago - The Season of Lent is Upon Us

Thanks to tweexy for sending this product for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase this product through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Book Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend By Katarina Bivald

A Novel

By: Katarina Bivald

Published: January 19, 2016

Publisher: Sourcebooks


Readers love to read books about books.This book is written by a booklover for booklovers.  Reading it will rekindle a love of reading, remind you of the community that books can create, and give you a whole new list of books you need to read. I don't know how an author in Sweden could write a book about a small town in Iowa, but she accomplished it by including the spirit of family, community, friendship, and helpfulness that make our small Iowa towns so wonderful.

Amy Harris and Sara Lindqvist have struck up a relationship through letters. Amy is a resident of Broken Wheel, Iowa, and Sara a resident of Sweden. After many letters and sharing their favorite books with each other, Amy asks Sara to visit. When Sara arrives she finds out that her pen pal has died in the space of a letter and a journey across the ocean. Sara is left standing on Main Street in Broken Wheel, unsure of where to go or what to do. Like any small town, the residents come together to make Sara feel comfortable and welcome her to their community in Amy's honor. Amy was a much loved and honored resident and has requested that Sara be well-taken care of. Sara moves into Amy's home and decides to open a bookstore in Broken Wheel using Amy's much-loved books. For a community that didn't read and only had a bar, a diner, and a church, many of the residents thought she was crazy. But, when Sara starts encouraging reading with even the toughest residents, a love of books is the least amazing thing that happens. Sara transforms the town from "black and white to a technicolor bathed in sunlight".

I loved the variety of characters that lived in Broken Wheel. Many of them were easily envisioned into my own community of residents and I could imagine us taking in a visitor like Sara in much the same way. Amy's letters to Sara are spread throughout the story giving us the history of the many residents of Broken Wheel. We read of their struggles and triumphs and Sara feels like she knows them all when she arrives based on Amy's descriptions. I think my favorite character was George, a recluse who became an alcoholic after his wife and daughter left him. He still talks to his daughter every his mind. Sara's visit brings him out of his home as he is assigned as her driver since she doesn't have a license. My heart softened for George and I was rooting for a happy ending for him. Even though some of the side stories Bivald creates with the other characters become a bit rambling at times, you appreciate the friendships and community she is trying to create in the mind of the reader.

The author even used local news events to add to her story, including the immigration raid in Postville. But, if she was trying to write about a specific area, she needed to check the locations of some of her towns. Even though some were fictional, she mentioned Spencer, Cedar Rapids, and Cedar County as if they were all close together, with the fictional towns of Broken Wheel and Hope in between.

Sara was determined to get every resident of Broken Wheel reading. She believed strongly that there is always a person for every book. and a book for every person. Amy's letters to Sara were a lifeline and now Amy's books were a lifeline to Sara and the residents of Broken Wheel. This book is for readers who love quirky characters, a whimsical story, and the small-town coziness that Iowans create for visitors, as well as the communal love of a great story.

Favorite Quotes:

"Home?" Sara said. She couldn't go back now. 
She'd just learned how to use the gas stove, for God's sake. 

"This is Iowa. It might be miles to the nearest neighbor, 
but that doesn't mean that news doesn't spread."

Katarina Bivald - source
Katarina Bivald grew up working part-time in a bookshop. Today she lives outside of Stockholm, Sweden, with her sister and as many bookshelves she can get by her. She's currently trying to persuade her sister that having a shelf for winter jackets and shoes is completely unnecessary. There should be enough space for a book shelf or two instead. Limited success so far. Apparently, her sister is also stubbornly refusing to even discuss using the bathroom to store books. 

Katarina Bivald sometimes claims that she still hasn't decided whether she prefer books or people but, as we all know, people are a non-starter. Even if you do like them, they're better in books. Only possible problem: reading a great book and having no one to recommend it to.

THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND  is her first novel. For more, check out her website, HERE. You can also find her on Twitter, HERE

To purchase a copy of THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND, click the photo below:

A post from today, 7 years ago - Mondays Matter - Week 7
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Thanks to the publisher for sending an ebook for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to spend a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Don't Let a Typo Stop You from Love - Grammarly

Eighteen years ago, I was chatting with this man I had never met on AOL Instant Message. We lived in the same city and had started chatting through AIM one afternoon. Keep in mind this is something I had never done before, but something led me to say "Hello" back. We are closing in on 17 years of marriage and I have never regretted saying "Hello".  This was way before online dating was popular. In fact, I usually lied when people asked how I met my now husband because it was embarrassing to say we met "online". Dating websites are extremely popular and many have found love through websites that match up your interests and personalities with someone else.

I thought this fun infographic from GRAMMARLY would be interesting to some of you this Valentine's Weekend. If you are looking to set up a dating profile, there are some good tips for how to answer questions and describe yourself below. I would have to agree with the finding that women were turned off by men who used incorrect spelling in their profiles. That would be a turn-off for me as well!

Grammarly reviewed 10,000 eHarmony male/female matches generated by eHarmony’s matching algorithm. Fifty percent of the matches advanced to two-way communication while the other 50 percent failed to advance. Each male and female in a match wrote long-form answers to questions on their dating profile. These writing samples were analyzed by Grammarly’s automated proofreader for accuracy in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Valentine's Day Grammar 2016 Infographic

Grammarly is a simple and powerful writing app that corrects more types of spelling and grammatical mistakes than any other software on the market. The product suite comprises the Grammarly Editor online editing tool; browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari; Grammarly for Microsoft Office; and the Grammarly native app, a convenient desktop editor for Mac and PC. I use Grammarly for all my writing to check spelling and grammar mistakes that I might miss during my proofreading. It is simple to add Grammarly to your computer and it will check all your writing whether online or in word documents.

As a company, Grammarly’s mission is to improve communication among the world’s more than 2 billion native and non-native English writers. Millions of registered users worldwide trust Grammarly’s products, which are also licensed by more than 600 leading universities and corporations. Grammarly is an Inc. 500 company with offices in San Francisco and Kyiv.

eHarmony, Inc. was founded in 2000 and is a pioneer in using relationship science to match singles seeking long-term relationships. Its service presents users with compatible matches based on key dimensions of personality that are scientifically proven to predict highly successful long-term relationships.

A post from today, 7 years ago - What is a Friend?
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A post from today, 4 years ago - Scenes from Our Week - Week 19
A post from today, 3 years ago - It Was My 17th Anniversary
A post from today, 2 years ago - Start 2014 Write- My Pen Pal
A post from today, 1 year ago - Book Review: 501 Time-Saving Tips Every Woman Should Know By Georgia Varozza

Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: Dinner Solved! By Katie Workman

100 Ingenious Recipes that Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You

By: Katie Workman

Published: August 18, 2015

Publisher: Workman Publishing


Fans of THE MOM 100 Cookbook will be thrilled that Katie Workman has delivered another top-notch family cookbook. She has this cookbook chock full of fantastic recipes for everyone in your house. Her ingenious plan of taking one recipe and making it fit multiple taste buds and more than one meal, called "Fork in the Road", will make dinner time stress-free.

Before the cookbook came out, I was able to try a couple recipes and share my experiences with social media. I tried her Simple One Skillet Chicken Alfredo Pasta as well as the One Pot, No Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies. Both were super easy and delicious. With each recipe in the cookbook you can choose to take the "Fork in the Road". For the cookies, you could add dried fruit. For the Chicken Alfredo, options included adding sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms or broccoli. I added the broccoli for color and making more of a complete meal for our family.

After the cookbook arrived, I tried the Honey-Glazed Carrots. One of my favorite foods is cooked carrots. I always order them as my side any time we go to Cracker Barrel. But, I rarely cook them because no one else in the house likes them. I decided to try Workman's version one day for lunch and I was so glad I did! They fed me for a couple days and I didn't have to share a single one!

Workman shows using cut-up carrots in her recipe, but I decided to just use the baby carrots I had on hand instead. I stuck with the regular recipe rather than the "Fork in the Road" option of making the Honey-Orange-Soy Glazed Carrots.  

Honey-Glazed Carrots

1 TBS Canola or Vegetable Oil
2 LBS Carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 C Chicken or Vegetable Broth
1/3 C Honey
2 TBS Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 TBS Unsalted Butter

Heat the oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cook, stirring occasionally until they just start to brown in spots, 3 minutes.

Add the broth, honey, and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Bring the broth to a boil, cover, and lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the carrots are crisp-tender, 10 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to medium-high and continue to cook until the carrots are tender and the liquid is syrupy, about 7 minutes more. At the end, the carrots should be tender, well glazed, with barely any extra liquid. Stir in the butter until melted, check seasonings, and serve hot or warm.

As you can see, the carrots had this delicious glaze and were easy to pierce. The flavor was sweet, but not over the top. I loved them and they also were delicious reheated the next day.

There are so many other recipes I am anxious to try from the DINNER SOLVED! cookbook, including Fish Tacos, Hummus, Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup, and Big Chewy Brownie Cookies to name a few.

Workman offers tips for getting your kids involved in the preparing and cooking process as well. Tips for making part of the meal ahead offers a time-saving measure during the crunch time after school. The photos are appealing and give you an idea of how the recipe should look. Even the Carrot-Ginger Soup with Shrimp looks good enough to sip right off the page.

Most families will easily find recipes to fit all their needs from breakfast to dessert. Recipe ingredients include items you would have in your pantry or fridge or can easily be picked up in a quick stop at the store. Thai, Mexican, Italian, or American cuisine are all covered in Dinner Solved! There are truly dishes for everyone.

Katie Workman - source
KATIE WORKMAN was a kid who loved to cook, and a kid who loved cookbooks. She grew up teaching herself how to cook from the Silver Palate Cookbook, making bumpy homemade pasta following Marcella's Hazan's instructions in The Essentials of Italian Cooking to the letter, and asking for the entire Moosewood trilogy for holidays.

Her first job after college was with Clarkson Potter Publishers, specializing, naturally, in cookbooks, and she remained there for 12 years learning every part of the cookbook publishing world while becoming a Senior Editor. After a shorter stint as Associate Publisher at Workman Publishing, Katie left to help launch as the Founding Editor in Chief in 2008. This was also the beginning of her career as an active food writer. She established the popular Cookstr weekly newsletter and wrote for many websites and publications, including The Daily Beast, AOL Food,,,, Boston Globe and New York Magazine. She currently writes a bi-weekly column for The Huffington Post.

Katie lives with her husband and two children in New York City, where friends, neighbors, and families with kids are all welcome at her table.

Visit Katie's website and blog at:
Find Katie on Facebook at:
Find Katie on Pinterest at:

To purchase a copy of DINNER SOLVED! click the photo below:

I will be linking up with on Saturday for her Weekend Cooking feature. Click HERE to see other great cooking or food related posts. 

A post from today, 8 years ago - How to Spot a Mom
A post from today, 6 years ago - Pride
A post from today, 4 years ago - Scenes from Our Week - Week 18

Thanks to the author for sending a copy of this book to me. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase a copy of the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Books that Came My Way in January 2016

I'm back into a reading flow after finishing some great books during our Christmas getaway.  I've done a lot better using spare minutes to read rather than waste time on my phone. I also have some books I'm really anxious to read which gives me a push to finish the ones I'm currently reading. I read five books in January and started two others. That is a pretty good reading rate for me with my subbing schedule and busy night and weekend activities.

I have turned down a few books this month in my quest to only read books that really interest me. I have so many books on my own shelf, that I want to do a better job of reading them as well. These books found their way into my mailbox and a few others were good deals on Kindle. I am only going to spend time reading books that I find enjoyable and interesting. If I am not interested, I'm going to put it aside. I can't get to all these books that come my way, but at least, I can tell you about them here and I hope to review them just as soon as I can.

If you would like to purchase any of these books, 
clicking on the photo of the book will take you directly to Amazon.  
If you choose to purchase, I will receive a small commission 
without you having to pay any more for your purchase.  
I appreciate your support of reviews. 

The Deliberate Reader

I'm linking up with The Deliberate Reader 
to share our stacks of books for January. 
To see her Stack of Books as well as other bloggers' Book Stacks, click HERE.


Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital
By: Sheri Fink
Published: January 26, 2016 (paperback) Originally- September 10, 2013 
Publisher: Broadway Books
Format: Paperback

This book has been on my list for quite a while and it is now available in paperback. I just recently read a book about a family who survived Hurricane Katrina (see that book HERE) and found it extremely interesting. It's hard to believe it has been ten years since Katrina hit and there is still places that haven't been touched or cleaned up and repaired. This book is hefty at 565 pages, but the last 90 are acknowledgements, notes, and an index. The print is small in the paperback version so for us old folks, the hardcover or eBook might be easier to read. :)

In the tradition of the best investigative journalism, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs 5 days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amid chaos. 

After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.
FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing.
In a voice at once involving and fair, masterful and intimate, Fink exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals just how ill-prepared we are in America for the impact of large-scale disasters—and how we can do better.

A Novella
By: Michael Phillip Cash
Published: December 17, 2015
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Format: Paperback

After a vicious fight with her boyfriend followed by a night of heavy partying, college freshman Amanda Greene wakes up in her dorm room to find things are not the same as they were yesterday. She can't quite put her finger on it. She's sharing her room with a peculiar stranger. Amanda discovers she's registered for classes she would never choose with people that are oddly familiar. An ominous shadow is stalking her. Uncomfortable memories are bubbling dangerously close to her fracturing world, propelling her to an inevitable collision between fantasy and reality. Is this the mother of all hangovers or is something bigger happening? 

A Firsthand Account of the Great Cicada Invasion
By: Michael Phillips Cash
Published: May 4, 2013
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Format: Paperback

This one makes my skin crawl a bit. I'm not sure I could read this and sleep peacefully. 

Seth is laid off from work. His wife Lara just found out they are expecting a baby this summer. Seth plans on documenting the entire pregnancy with his brand new digital camcorder. During an evening home watching television, the news reports that a swarm of cicada (Brood Ten) is expected to overwhelm the entire Northeast. Brood Ten is vicious and ready to invade. During a sweltering summer night, Brood Ten emerges and wreaks havoc with the electric grid, phone and cell service, wi-fi, food and water supply. Civilization as they know it is gone. Seth and Lara are thrown back to the stone age in their own home with trillions of cicada trying to deposit their eggs and breed. 

By: Wigu Publishing
Published: December 22, 2015
Format: Paperback

I'm excited there is a new edition to the WHEN I GROW UP series. I've reviewed others, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE. I think this book tackles a topic that kids and grown-ups can easily read together and discuss. 

Blake and Brendan would do almost anything to get out of going to Mr. Becket's funeral. It will be boring and sad and dead people are scary! There might even be ghosts! But Mom and Dad insist. Mr. Becket was a good person, and it is right to gather with his family and friends to remember him and all the good things he did. So what's so good about remembering a dead person? A lot. Readers learn with Blake and Brendan what it means to be a good person and all the ways a good person makes a difference in people's lives, even long after they're gone. 

By: Marci Fair and Ellie Fair
Published: November 16, 2015
Publisher: Pacochel Press
Format: Paperback

I previously reviewed the first of the Ellie the Elephant books, HERE. I was thrilled to hear there is a new adventure for Ellie and her friends. You can find all of Ellie the Elephant's books, HERE.

Ellie the elephant and Pudgy the penguin are stuffed animals…and the best of friends. They have been on many adventures together, like moving to a new neighborhood, flying on an airplane, visiting animal friends and relatives at a zoo, going back to school together to meet new teachers and learn—and now they get to enjoy a summer adventure on a wonderful beach vacation!

The excitement mounts as Ellie and Pudgy pack their beach balls and sunglasses and jump in the car for the game-filled drive to the coast.

Once they arrive, Ellie and Pudgy head straight for the beach to dig in the warm sand, swim in the sparkly blue ocean and see lots of colorful fish. Then they head out for an afternoon packed full of fun!

Join in the adventure as these best friends share many new experiences while on their special beach vacation—traveling to a new place, trying new activities, riding bikes, enjoying a froggie lunch and sweet treats, swimming, building the biggest sandcastle ever, visiting an un-butterfly garden and much more as they spend a sunny day outside and explore this special beach town!

By: Shelby Herman
Published: October 3, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Format: Paperback

I love inspirational kids stories! 

Shimmer the glowworm has a low glow and goes on an inspirational journey to find it. She discovers along the way that helping others find their glow is what makes her glow show and the ME TREE she lives in reflected that all along.

By: Terrie Todd
Published: January 26, 2015
Publisher: Waterfall Press
Format: eBook

WWII, diary entries and a beautiful cover sold me on this one!

It’s 1939, and Canada is on the cusp of entering World War II. Seventeen-year-old farm girl Cornelia is heartbroken when she learns that her beloved soldier, Henry, has been killed in a train wreck. Alone and carrying a heavy secret, she makes the desperate choice that will haunt her for years to come. Never telling a soul, Cornelia pours out the painful events of the war in her diary.

Many decades later, Cornelia’s granddaughter, Benita, is in the midst of her own crisis, experiencing several losses in the same week, including her job and the grandmother she adored. The resulting emotional and financial stress takes its toll on her and her husband, Ken, who is also unemployed. On the brink of divorce, she discovers Cornelia’s diary. Now the secrets of her grandmother’s past will lead Benita on an unexpected journey of healing, reunion, and renewed faith.

A Novel
By: Martha Hall Kelly
To Be Published: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Format: eBook

I can't say no to a gripping WWII novel. This one sounds like a memorable story.

Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this powerful debut novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades.

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as a courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.


By: Roger Rosenblatt
Published: February 16, 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: eBook

This was already on my to-read list from a couple years ago. Since it was a Kindle deal I snagged it.

"How long are you staying, Boppo?"

When his daughter, Amy—a gifted doctor, mother, and wife—collapses and dies from an asymptomatic heart condition, Roger Rosenblatt and his wife, Ginny, leave their home on the South Shore of Long Island to move in with their son-in-law, Harris, and their three young grandchildren: six-year-old Jessica, four-year-old Sammy, and one-year-old James, known as Bubbies. Long past the years of diapers, homework, and recitals, Roger and Ginny—Boppo and Mimi to the kids—quickly reaccustom themselves to the world of small children: bedtime stories, talking toys, playdates, nonstop questions, and nonsequential thought. Though reeling from Amy's death they carry on, reconstructing a family, sustaining one another, and guiding three lively, alert, and tender-hearted children through the pains and confusions of grief. As he marvels at the strength of his son-in-law, a surgeon, and the tenacity and skill of his wife, a former kindergarten teacher, Roger attends each day to "the one household duty I have mastered"—preparing the morning toast perfectly to each child's liking.

By: Vicki Courtney
Published: November 1, 2008
Publisher: B & H Books
Format: eBook

This was a Kindle deal and one that I am very interested in. These are all conversations I've been wanting to have and it will give me the push I need to start them with our daughter.

From the cradle to college, tell your daughters the truth about life before they believe the culture’s lies.
For mothers with girls newborn to eighteen, FIVE CONVERSATIONS YOU MUST HAVE WITH YOUR DAUGHTER is simply a must-have book. Youth culture commentator Vicki Courtney helps moms pinpoint and prepare the discussions that should be ongoing in their daughters' formative years.

To fully address the dynamic social and spiritual issues and influencers at hand, several chapters are written for each of the conversations, which are:
1. You are more than the sum of your parts
2. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up
3. Sex is great and worth the wait
4. It’s OK to dream about marriage and motherhood
5. Girls gone wild are a dime a dozen—dare to be virtuous

The book is linked to online bonus features offering invaluable tips on having these conversations across the various stages of development: five and under, six to eleven, twelve and up.

Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer
By: Heather Lende
Published: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Format: eBook

I love the idea of this book. Finding the good in any situation....letting go of the negative. Can't wait to dig in! It was a Kindle deal and am glad I found it!

As the obituary writer in a spectacularly beautiful but often dangerous spit of land in Alaska, Heather Lende knows something about last words and lives well lived. Now she’s distilled what she’s learned about how to live a more exhilarating and meaningful life into three words: find the good. It’s that simple--and that hard.

Quirky and profound, individual and universal, FIND THE GOOD offers up short chapters that help us unlearn the habit--and it is a habit--of seeing only the negatives. Lende reminds us that we can choose to see any event--starting a new job or being laid off from an old one, getting married or getting divorced--as an opportunity to find the good. As she says, “We are all writing our own obituary every day by how we live. The best news is that there’s still time for additions and revisions before it goes to press.”

Be sure to let me know if you read any of these books! If you are new to my blog, check out the last few months of book stacks below:

A post from today, 7 years ago - My Friend, Tammy
A post from today, 6 years ago - Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday
A post from today, 5 years ago - Things I Love - Sending Cards
A post from today, 4 years ago - Family Time February - Balloon Lagoon
A post from today, 3 years ago - A Little Monday Inspiration 
A post from today, 2 years ago - Review Books that Came My Way in January