Book Review & Giveaway: Mia & Nattie – One Great Team by Marlene M. Bell

Book Title:  Mia and Nattie – One Great Team by Marlene M. Bell
Category:  Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7),  32 pages
Genre:  Children’s Picture Book
Publisher:  Ewephoric Publishing
Release date:   October 3, 2020
Content Rating:  G for everyone. Family based book for all ages

Nattie’s mouth was a little crooked. Her legs were a bit shorter than usual, and one horn was too straight, like a unicorn’s horn. But Mia thought Nattie was perfect. In a read-aloud picture book for children who love animals, award-winning writer and sheep breeder Marlene M. Bell presents Nattie the lamb’s true story. MIA AND NATTIE is a heartwarming book that teaches readers about problem-solving, teamwork, and love. On a visit to her grandma’s farm, eight-year-old Mia discovers a newborn, orphaned lamb outside in the cold and takes her to the laundry room, naming her Nattie. As she tries to nurse the lamb back to health, Mia discovers that Nattie is different from the other lambs and struggles to fit in with them like Mia does with other kids her age. When her grandmother says she will sell Nattie to a neighbor, Mia must come up with a plan to keep her friend around—one that will show the family just how special Nattie truly is.

Buy the Book
Amazon.com
add to Goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Nattie is a lamb who is determined to live, and Mia is determined to keep her new friend that she has bottle fed from the beginning. I like the perseverance that Mia shows as well as the reality of farm life as depicted by her grandma.

Mia & Nattie is based on a lamb that the author had for 13 years. There’s even a photo of the real Nattie at the end of the book. She was the buddy to all of the orphan lambs every spring and fall. She not only helped the orphans, but having lambs around helped Nattie since sheep are flocking animals.

This is a wonderful story, and the illustrations are colorful. Both the story and the pictures should keep the attention of children. I definitely recommend Mia & Nattie, and I can’t wait to share it with my grandkids!

About the Author

Marlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer, artist, and crazy sheep lady who resides in beautiful East Texas. Her renown sheep photographs grace the covers of many livestock magazines where she also writes newsy articles about raising sheep from her hands-on experience. Marlene offers the first of her children’s picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team which is based on true events from the Bell’s ranch. It’s a touching story of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb. Marlene shares her life with her husband and dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep: a large Maremma guard dog named Tia, and cats, Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks. The cats believe they rule the household—and do.

connect with the author:  website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ goodreads

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Jan 18 – Hall Ways Blog – book review / giveaway
Jan 18 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – book review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 19 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
Jan 19 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
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Jan 21- Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 22 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
Jan 22 – Nighttime Reading Center – book review / giveaway
Jan 25 – Lisa’s Reading – book review / giveaway
Jan 25 – Older & Smarter? – book review / giveaway
Jan 25 – Twirling Book Princess – book review / giveaway
Jan 26 – Ice Fairy’s Treasure Chest – book review / giveaway
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Feb 4 – I’d Rather Be At The Beach – book review / giveaway
Feb 5 – I’m Into Books – book review /giveaway

Audiobook Review: The Lost Sentinel by Suzanne Rogerson

The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel.

The Assembly controls Kalaya. Originally set up to govern, they now persecute those with magic and exile them to the Turrak Mountains.

Tei, a tailor’s daughter, has always hidden her magic, but when her father’s old friend visits and warns them to flee to the mountains, she must leave her old life behind. On the journey, an attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He entrusts her into the care of the exiles and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession.

Struggling with self-doubt, Tei joins the exiles search for their new Sentinel who is the only person capable of restoring the fading magic. But mysterious Masked Riders are hunting the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.

Against mounting odds it will take friendship, heartache, and sacrifice for the exiles to succeed, but is Tei willing to risk everything to save the island magic? 

If you like character-based fantasy, then you’ll love The Lost Sentinel – book one in the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy.

Purchase Links

Audible  

Amazon Audiobook

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Kalaya is an island nation whose people no longer embrace magic; in fact, they persecute mystics and their protectors. Mystics now hide in the mountains. Tei is a young mystic whose father has taught her to hide her magic. After a visit from a stranger, he decides that it is time for Tei and him to leave for her safety. Tei hides with the other exiles, but she has an important mission: to find the lost sentinel before the current sentinel dies.

The author has done a great job at world building. It was interesting learning about Kalaya and its people. The characters, however, could have used more development. I wasn’t able to connect with the characters, even Tei. Hers is one of three stories that I’m sure will eventually all merge. The second story is about Brogan whom Tei has a connection with although they’ve never met. Farrell is probably my favorite character of the three. He is the captain of a ship but he wants more for his family and his people, and he’s wanting to make some difficult changes.

The narrator has a voice I really enjoy listening to. He also did well with pace and timing.

The Lost Sentinel is a fantasy that many readers will enjoy. I think it should be read with the realization that it would be preferable to read the trilogy, because although the ending was good, it’s not really a stand alone.

About the Author

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her husband, two children and a crazy puppy.

Her writing journey began at the age of twelve when she completed her first novel. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave Suzanne the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Now an author of four novels including the completed Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy Suzanne hopes the dreaded ‘W’ word will never rear its ugly head again!

She loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

Suzanne collects books, is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles and old ruins whilst being immersed in the past. She likes to combine her love of nature and photography on family walks, but most of all she loves to escape with a great film, binge watch TV shows, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

Social Media Links – 

Website

Twitter

Goodreads

BookBub

Amazon

Facebook

Instagram

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About the Narrator

My name is George. Seoras, if you speak Gaelic. Born in the United States, German on my father’s side, a native of Bamberg, and a Stewart on my mother’s side from a wee parish outside Stirling. I am a keen learner, eager to travel the world around me, and an instructor of English with years of experience teaching in the US, Turkey, and Japan. In audiobook narration, I have discovered a perfect opportunity to perform and play with languages, dialects, characters, cultures. Essentially, my voice is my livelihood, and my spirit longs to explore.

Social Media Links –

blog: https://gaelicdreams.wordpress.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/geellington

ACX:  Audiobooks narrated by George Ellington | Audible.com

Book Review: Under the Roman Sky by G.W. Hixon

Recent Release

God and the Devil have decided to meet again at last, but to do so they must each take human form again. Rome will form the perfect backdrop to their summit.

So an Englishman who has lost his mind; an American couple with death on their minds; a young Argentinian man with living on his mind; a megastar songstress with trouble on her mind; a grouchy priest with too much on his mind … and a dog called Walter, are fated to meet, under the Roman sky.

This is not a who done it. This is a who the hell are they?

My Review

Under the Roman Sky is different than the books I normally read. It is about God and the Devil deciding to meet on Earth after many years of being dissociated. Theirs is a love/hate relationship, and they are both portrayed with human characteristics. God is not pure goodness, and the Devil is not pure evil. It tickled me that they used phones for communication.

The ideas in this book and the mystery of whose form God and the Devil take over makes it interesting. I spent a lot of my reading time trying to figure out who God and the Devil were in Rome. There were obvious choices, but there were several other characters to choose from.

A lot of the story flows well, especially where there’s dialogue. The interactions between God and the Devil were the best because they were easy to read and humorous. The story goes back and forth between the present and memories, but it was surprisingly easy to follow. There are times, though, that there is a lot of rambling.

God and the Devil aren’t anything like I would picture them, especially having been brought up Catholic. Their characteristics are more human. The Devil is too nice, and God isn’t nice enough. I found it funny, but there may be readers who are offended.

About the Author

G W Hixon lives in Ripon, North Yorkshire, England. He has recently returned to his home town after having spent 20 years living mainly in the South East of England and latterly on the Yorkshire coast. He has a strong interest in theology, particularly why people chose to believe in the things they do. He is also passionate about ancient Roman history, being a regular visitor to the city of Rome. That city, along with the hills and vales of his native Yorkshire, heavily influence his writing.

Excerpt

“The Devil makes work for idle hands,” God said, quietly, mischievously, whilst starting to chuckle.

It caused the Devil to laugh out loud. “That is what they say, isn’t it? But the sentiment has always been quite wrong, old man. We have, you and I, all of the time in the world.”

“We have, indeed,” God replied.

“If only they knew it,” said the Devil.

For the first time, they laughed together and not at one another. For the first time, they shared the irony that formed the joke at which they were forced to laugh. But spite and envy tainted the sound of the Devil’s laughter.

“And now I turn the question on you, dear friend,” God said, as his spirit calmed. “Why him? Why then? Why, inside that house, when all else was good? Why him?

“Because you loved him,” the Devil replied. “And I knew that you loved him.”

“I did,” God said, subdued and sad. It is a funny thing, how sadness can befall someone so soon after they had been committed to laughter. “He had been my friend. He had been my friend for years. Someone who had been kind to me.”

“Then that is why him.”

“The woman had anointed my feet with her oil, that’s all she did.”

“You were in love with her!”

“It was not possible for me to fall in love. I am love.” Angry, now. The sound of laughter a memory.

“Lust, then. You were in lust with her. You wanted to experience … that … above everything else.” Anger, indeed, from both participants.

“No, you are – were — wrong.”

 

“Under the Roman Sky” by G W Hixon is available in paperback from Amazon at:

This fantasy fiction novel can also be downloaded in e-book format from:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Darin Jewell (G W Hixon’s literary agent)
Tel. 0208 292 5163
E-mail: darin@theinspiragroup.com

Audiobook Review: The Mad Hatter’s Son by Helen Starbuck

Book Title: The Mad Hatter’s Son (An Annie Collins Mystery #1) by Helen Starbuck
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+), 285 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Routt Street Press
Release date:  2018
Content Rating: R. Two explicit sex scenes, profanity, medical scenes.

Curiosity killed the cat, so the saying goes, and it may end up killing operating room nurse Annie Collins. Annie’s estranged friend Libby Matheisen needs Annie’s help to discover what is causing her vague, puzzling symptoms. Unwillingly drawn into her friend’s life, Annie must discover whether Libby is really ill or if there is a hidden agenda. Faced with Libby’s apparent suicide, Annie is unable to stop asking questions to uncover the truth about her illness and death. The answers to these questions don’t come without a price, and pursuing the mystery of Libby’s death threatens to end her life as well. Friends change, love betrays, and the end results are never what you anticipate. Find out why the BookLife Prize called The Mad Hatter’s Son“An outstanding debut,” and it was the winner of The National Indie Excellence Book Awards mystery category.


Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Audible
B&N ~ BAM 

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Annie and Libby were roommates until Libby got married to a rich man whom Annie didn’t like. Libby also seemed to change once they were together. After Libby moved out, they didn’t see much of each other and eventually lost touch. That is, until Libby called and asked Annie to help her.

Annie was understandably conflicted about caring for Libby who she no longer thought of as a close friend. What I didn’t understand is why, as a nurse, Annie wasn’t more curious about Libby’s symptoms. Yes, the doctors thought her problems were mental, but all nurses know that doctors aren’t always right.

I thought Annie was fairly clueless, and I thought her relationship with Ian was a bit odd. It seemed like they were instantly a couple, and he seemed too clingy. I liked Angel, Annie’s neighbor, a lot, and wished he wasn’t just a friend.

Although the killer was obvious pretty quickly and the protagonist was clueless, I still enjoyed The Mad Hatter’s Son. The author’s writing flows well, and this was an overall good read. It even had a little suspense at the end. I look forward to reading more by Helen Starbuck.

About the Author

Helen Starbuck is a Colorado native, former OR nurse, and award-winning author of the standalone romantic suspense novel Legacy of Secrets, and the Annie Collins Mystery Series. She loves mysteries, suspense, romance, and any book that is well written. She’s a huge fan of books with independent, strong, women characters and, as Neil Gaiman says, “…stories where women save themselves.”

Connect with the author:  Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~Instagram ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads

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Jan 13 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
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Jan 14 – CorinneRodrigues – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 14 – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 15 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 15 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 15 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of The Mad Hatter’s Son
Jan 18 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Jan 19 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author blog – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 19 – – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 19  – Bigreadersite – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son
Jan 20 – Locks, Hooks and Books – audiobook review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 21 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 22 – CorinneRodrigues – book review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 26 – Bigreadersite – book review of No Pity in Death
Jan 26 – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Jan 27 – Locks, Hooks and Books – audiobook review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 28 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 29 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 29 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of No Pity in Death
Feb 1 – Books and Zebras @jypsylynn – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 1 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 2 – CorinneRodrigues – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 2 – Bigreadersite – book review of The Burden of Hate
Feb 3 – Locks, Hooks and Books – audiobook review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 3 – Pine Enshrined Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 4 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 5 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 8 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 8 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of The Burden of Hate
Feb 9 – Adventurous Jessy – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 9 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway

Book Review & Giveaway: M.C. Plays Hide & Seek by Eva Grayzel

Book Title:  MC Plays Hide and Seek: An Empowering Story for Healthy Children Who Care About a Person Living with Cancer by Eva Grayzel
Category:  Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7),  64 pages
Genre:  Children’s Picture Book
Publisher:  Mascot Books
Release date:   Jan 5, 2021

Content Rating:  G for everyone.

M.C. is a cancer cell who shares just enough information about the nature of the disease to promote dialogue and minimize fear. The scary part of cancer is the unknown. Learn about doctors who look for cancer. Understand feelings children experience and learn ways to cope. Empower children with knowledge and how to make a difference. M.C. Plays Hide & Seek strengthens communication and builds emotional health.


Buy the Book
Amazon.com
Eva Grayzel ~ B&N

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Eva Grayzel wrote this book after she had cancer because she felt that it would have been great if her children had had a book like it. It is meant to help children to deal with cancer in someone they care about. It’s well-written, and the video below is of her reading M.C. Plays Hide & Seek. She has so much energy and good vibes as she reads it (and yes, I did notice that it’s backwards).

M.C. Plays Hide & Seek tells children that it’s important to share their feelings by talking, drawing, or in writing. It doesn’t matter how, it’s just important to do it! Also, no feelings are “wrong.” Some may feel sad while others feel angry. It’s even possible to not feel anything at first because of the shock of it all.

I like that feelings are discussed, but I also think explaining that cancer can hide in the body for a long time and that it can affect any organ in the body is also important. There is so much that adults don’t think to explain to children when they’re dealing with a serious diagnosis. Also, the different types of doctors are defined. Some of those doctor names can be so long and confusing, it’s nice to know what the adults are talking about!

Finally, in M.C. Plays Hide & Seek there are pictures of people having a good time because kids need to know that they and their loved one can still have fun together. Cancer won’t stop that!

For parents, at the end of the book is a Quick Reference Guide about things that were discussed. There’s also a section about why to tell children about the diagnosis, and I think it is absolutely right: children are intuitive and will know something is going on, sharing will minimize their fears, hiding your diagnosis promotes secrecy, anger and resentment.

I definitely recommend M.C. Plays Hide & Seek for children who have a loved one with cancer.

About the Author

Eva Grayzel is a motivational speaker, storyteller, and cancer survivor. When her children were five and seven years old, she was diagnosed with cancer. Their fear of losing her was deep, real, and suppressed. When she got a second chance at life, she created the Talk4Hope book series to help children understand cancer and make it less scary.

connect with the author:  website ~ twitter ~facebook ~ pinterest ~ instagram

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Jan 5 –Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
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Jan 15 – Library of Clean Reads – book review / giveaway
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Jan 19 – Laura’s Interests – book review / giveaway
Jan 20 – The Bespectacled Mother – book review / guest post
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Jan 22 – Ice Fairy’s Treasure Chest – book review / giveaway
Jan 25 – Reading is My Passion – book review
Jan 26 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jan 27 – She Just Loves Books – book review / giveaway
Jan 28 – Bookswithpaulak – book review
Jan 28 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – book review / giveaway
Jan 29 – I’m Into Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 1 – Instagram: All Booked Up Reviews – book review
Feb 1 – Lisa’s Reading – book review / giveaway
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Book Review: Cleo Can Tie a Bow by Sybrina Durant

Title: CLEO CAN TIE A BOW: A RABBIT AND FOX STORY
Author: Sybrina Durant
Publisher: Sybrina Publishing
Pages: 38
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Cleo can tie a bow. She learned what she knows from a rabbit and a fox. They can teach your child how to tie a bow, too. This fun picture book is intended to be a family bonding parent-child activity. It’s a great way to learn to tie shoelaces.

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3emYL9V

 Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/37ZVhsM

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Cleo loves bows! She has them in her hair, clothes, shoes, bedroom, and anywhere else she can think of! Cleo Can Tie a Bow is not only about Cleo, but it tells another story about a rabbit and a fox. This is the story that helps Cleo remember how to tie a bow: the fox ties the rabbit’s ears in a bow because the poor rabbit has ears that are so long they drag on the ground!

After the story about the fox and the rabbit, tying a bow is explained step by step so that children can practice along. It is suggested to parents that they read the story with their kids so that they can help them learn to tie a bow which I think is an excellent suggestion!

The story is cute, and the illustrations are bright and colorful. The Cleo pictures are a little too pink for my taste, but I have all boys so that could be the reason! I definitely recommend Cleo can Tie a Bow especially for parents are working to teach children how to tie their shoelaces.

Praise

Cleo Can Tie A Bow: A Rabbit and Fox Story is an educational picture book for children written by Sybrina Durant and illustrated by Pumudi Gardiyawasam. Cleo loves bows! All of her shoes have bows, and she always has a bow in her hair. If you look at her dress, you’ll notice that it has a bow and a sash around her waist. Even her fingernails are decorated with little bows. And her bedroom? Yes, you guessed it. There are bows everywhere — on the bed, on the curtains over her windows; even her stuffed bunny’s ears are tied into a bow. Cleo learned all about tying bows from a story about a rabbit with very long, droopy ears and the friendly fox who had the perfect solution.

Sybrina Durant’s Cleo Can Tie A Bow: A Rabbit and Fox Story is two stories within a story. Children are introduced to Cleo who then introduces the story about how she learned to tie a bow. In her introduction to the book, Durant recommends that parents share the story with their children, so they can learn to tie a bow along with Cleo. She suggests using long ribbons to simulate the fox’s moves or shoelaces. Both stories are engaging and fun to read, and the instructions given by the fox work quite well. I was pleased to note the author cautions that, despite the storyline, one must never practice bow tying moves on a real bunny. Pumudi Gardiyawasam’s colorful and fun illustrations work quite well with the story, and the profusion of bows on Cleo’s wardrobe, room, and bunny will entice young readers to try their own hands at tying a bow. The author also provides a link for a video version and the “Cleo can tie a bow song.” Cleo Can Tie A Bow: A Rabbit and Fox Story is highly recommended.

–Readers Favorite

About the Author

Sybrina Durant is the author of The Rabbit and The Fox Learn To Tie Series of Books which include Learn To Tie A Neck Tie With The Rabbit and the Fox in English, Spanish and Tagalog; Ned Can Knot A Neck Tie; Nellie Can Knot A Neck Scarf and the newest addition, Cleo Can Tie  A Bow. She also the author of The Blue Unicorn Series of books and has an online book store which features, unicorns, rabbits, foxes, and how to tie books plus gift items related to those things plus lots of bow-themed gifts.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://sybrinapublishing.wordpress.com/cleo-can-tie-a-bow-book/

Blog: https://sybrinapublishing.wordpress.com/cleo-can-tie-a-bow-book/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sybrina_spt

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NedandNellieKnowKnots

Book Review: How the Dinosaurs Accept the Dragon by Amanda Evans

Being different is never easy. But could a special secret save the day?

When Mama T-rex discovers a strange, red, glowing egg, she decides it will make the perfect birthday present for Rex’s 6th birthday.

But when Secret the dragon emerges from its shell he has a hard time fitting in to his new surroundings. He just feels…different.

Rex and the other dinosaurs love martial arts, movies and Bronto Basketball; but Secret dreams of fire and princess rescues!

Embarrassed and confused, Secret goes in search of his real identity and discovers that the world isn’t always a kind place. To make matters worse, he’s about to start Paleo Preschool without a single friend!

Will Secret be able to embrace his differences and find his purpose in a dino-dominant district?

A heart-warming tale of self-acceptance and individuality, told with loveable animal characters and beautiful illustrations that will appeal to young readers.

Amazon

My Review

How the Dinosaurs Accept the Dragon is a cute book about a family of dinosaurs who unknowingly adopt a dragon, and they name him Secret. He knows he’s different, and he wants to find out who he really is. He and Rex go on a quest but are unable to figure out who he is.

Finally, when there’s a blizzard, Secret is able to start a fire to warm up everyone in the preschool. After that, he’s not only accepted by the dinosaurs in the preschool, but his teacher reads about dragons and his classmates give him and MVD, the Most Valuable Dragon award.

This is an adorable book with bright and colorful illustrations. Both the pictures and the story will keep the attention of youngsters.

About the Author

Amanda grew up loving books of all kinds and she is so happy to spend life writing books that kids of all ages can enjoy.

Amanda finds that life is a series of wanderings and likes sharing her thoughts with the world.

Book Review: The Little Grave by Carolyn Arnold

Detective Amanda Steele stops just inside the doorway, recognizing the victim’s face instantly. He seems so vulnerable in death; soft, human, even harmless. But she can never forget the evil he has inflicted. Her heart is hammering as she remembers her precious daughter, with her red curls and infectious laugh, and how she was lowered into that little grave…

It’s been five years since Detective Amanda Steele’s life was derailed in the path of an oncoming drunk driver. The small community of Dumfries, Virginia, may have moved on from the tragic deaths of her husband and daughter, but Amanda cannot. When the driver who killed her family is found murdered in a motel room, she can’t keep away from the case.

Fighting her sergeant to be allowed to work an investigation with such a personal connection to her, Amanda is in a race to prove that she can uncover the truth. But the more she digs into the past of the man who destroyed her future, the more shocking discoveries she makes. And when Amanda finds the link between a silver bracelet in his possession and the brutal unsolved murder of a young exotic dancer, she realizes she’s caught up in something darker than she ever imagined and suspects that more girls could be in danger.

But as Amanda edges toward the truth, she gets closer to a secret as personal as it is deadly. Amanda has stumbled upon a dangerous killer, and she must face some terrible truths in order to catch this killer – and save his next victim as she couldn’t save her own daughter…

Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I have read a lot of Carolyn Arnold’s books because I like her writing style and her characters. This new character, Amanda Steele, is a detective who is grieving the loss of her family at the hands of a drunk driver. Unfortunately, more of the book is about her grief than about the case she’s working on.

The case is interesting. The convicted drunk driver has just gotten out of prison and has been murdered. This leads to other cold cases and possible sex trafficking. The results of the investigation lead Amanda and her partner to some surprising conclusions.

Amanda seems to finally be dealing with her grief by the end of the book, and I think in the following books she’ll be more like the strong female protagonists that I like. She even starts to be nice to her partner which was a bit of a shock.

The last quarter of this book was exciting and difficult to put down. Although this wasn’t my favorite Carolyn Arnold book, I’m looking forward to the next Amanda Steel novel. I think it won’t be bogged down with her grief like this one was.

About the Author

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives in London, Ontario, with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

Find the author on the following sites…
Website  Facebook  Twitter  Google+  Pinterest  Goodreads  Amazon Author Page

Book Review: I Can Hunt by Angela Kay

FBI Special Agent Aidan O’Reilly engages in a game of wits against a serial killer with a vendetta. How many lives will be lost before justice is served?

For Special Agent Aidan O’Reilly, learning his balance in a new, but familiar, setting is hard enough. Now he finds himself in the middle of another serial killer case with no seeming connections between victims. When he and his partner investigate a shooting, they discover eerie similarities with an earlier murder.

Determined to find a lead, O’Reilly sifts through clues, looking for the trail to the offender’s identity. But he’s horrified when he discovers the deranged shooter is playing mind games with his victims.
As the bodies pile up, a leak inside their office could derail their investigation. Can O’Reilly bring the sadistic killer to justice before more innocent lives are lost?

If you like chilling cases, tense manhunts, and mind-bending twists and turns, then you’ll love Angela Kay’s heart-pounding page-turner.

Amazon

My Review

I’ve read several novels by Angela Kay. I really like her writing and the previous book in this series, I Can Kill is my favorite. Aidan O’Reilly is an FBI agent who tracked a serial killer, The Carnations Killer, for 10 years before he put him away. Now there’s a new serial killer on the loose, and Aidan and his partner are on the case.

The main characters are well developed. I like Aidan, especially the way he cares about letting his girlfriend down because of his job. She understands, but it still bothers him. He does have a bit of a problem with the reporter Jordan Blake (understandably), but he does try to not let him get under his skin. I don’t care for Jordan Blake but I can’t help but feel sorry for him. He wants only one thing, which is to win his uncle’s approval by being the best reporter he can be.

I Can Hunt is an FBI mystery/thriller that will keep your attention. Although I had the killer figured out early, there is a good twist at the end. I’m hoping there’s another Aidan O’Reilly book in the future!

About the Author

Equipped with a professional writing degree from Augusta State University, Angela Kay is a southern lady who spends her days and nights dreaming up new ways to solve dark murders of normal people.

Angela Kay is one of 23 across the United States to win a 2009 playwright contest for her one-act entitled “Digging Deeper.” Because of this, she was able to spend a week in Atlanta at the Horizon Theater Company.

She lives in Augusta, Georgia with her crazy calico, Maggie.

Book Review: The Ultimate Memory Activity Book

Memory loss can be a scary experience, whether it’s age-related, recovery from brain injury, or memory loss due to a neurologic disorder like Alzheimer’s or a vascular condition like a stroke.

Mental engagement is a key aspect of brain health that is richly represented throughout this book. It includes varying levels of difficulty of word and number games that can be challenging and entertaining.

This book also provides information on how to support brain health by facilitating good nutrition, effective physical and mental exercise, quality sleep, and other healthy practices, with the goal of maintaining memory and overall brain health.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

As I get older, I can tell my memory isn’t what it used to be, so when I saw this book, I thought it would be good for my brain. These puzzles are too easy for me, but they would be good for someone who is having memory problems due to more than just aging. I like the suggested activities at the end that are meant to help people break up their routine and help their brain think a little more than usual.

The puzzles and the activities are separated into three levels with the first level the easiest. There is also information on maintaining and increasing brain health. A lot of that information is the same as keeping the rest of your body healthy, like eating right, sleeping well, and getting exercise.

I definitely recommend The Ultimate Memory Activity Book for those suffering from more than normal memory loss due to aging, or those who aren’t used to doing word or number puzzles.

About the Author

As seen on a Sussex Directories Inc site

I’m a licensed clinical neuropsychologist. My professional background is with people rehabilitating from illness or injury, and with those facing declining health (as themselves or their caregivers) due to brain disease. Such conditions can affect individuals, as well as couples and families. Common goals include assessing or improving thinking skills and emotional resilience, while adapting to unexpected changes in physical/mental abilities. I work with you to clarify values and develop new cognitive and emotional skills that allow you to be resilient to injury, illness, stress, and discomfort.

My approach is grounded in the science of cognitive rehabilitation and cognitive-behavioral therapies. I largely utilize acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT, to approach emotional and psychological goals. I address goals for thinking skills (e.g., memory, attention) using an evidenced-based cognitive rehabilitation program called CogSMART.

About the Puzzle Author

Back in 1980, I got interested in constructing crossword puzzles. I managed to get half dozen daily puzzles published in the New York Times. Then, I turned to generating crosswords for weekly newspapers, and built up a list of about 75 or so subscribers in the mid 1980s.

I had to give up constructing at that time because of other professional commitments, but several years ago got back into it.

I enjoy constructing because it is a great challenge: It tests my vocabulary, requires tenacity in finding fits for all the squares in the grid, and it leads to occasional bursts of inspiration in finding my way out a of corner I’ve figuratively painted myself into. I feel a real sense of accomplishment (and relief) when finally the grid is completed.