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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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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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