Friday, April 28, 2017

You'll Think of Me by Robin Hatcher





  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 11, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718085949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718085940


About the Book:

Her mother abandoned her, her father disowned her, and her husband left her. Can Brooklyn be convinced that it is possible to forgive the greatest of betrayals?
Brooklyn Myers escaped her broken home and her embittered, unloving father by eloping to Reno at the age of 17. But when she was pregnant with their first child, her husband abandoned her as well. Not welcome back home in Thunder Creek, Brooklyn stayed in Reno and raised her daughter Alycia on her own, doing her best to make sure Alycia never knew the heartache and rejection Brooklyn herself had known.
When her estranged husband Chad Hallston dies, he leaves the family home in Thunder Creek to his daughter. Believing it is the best way to give her daughter a stable home, Brooklyn does what she thought she would never do. She goes home to the orchard and wine country of Southwest Idaho. There, she encounters Chad’s best friend, Derek Johnson, a part time sheriff's deputy who also owns an organic produce farm next door. Derek was never a fan of former bad girl Brooklyn Myers, but he made a promise to his dying friend that he would be the father to Alycia that Chad had never been.
Although Derek and Brooklyn get off to a bumpy start, he and Alycia quickly form a bond. And soon, Derek realizes that he wants Brooklyn to trust him too . . .  even knowing that her trust won’t come easily. And then he realizes he wants even more than her trust. He wants to win her love.
While Brooklyn may be tempted to give her heart to Derek, risking her daughter’s happiness is another story. Will Brooklyn hold onto her self-reliance for dear life, or will she come to understand that the greatest gift she can give her daughter is showing her how to love and trust others?


My Thoughts:


I've enjoyed Robin Hatcher's novels for a few decades, but "You'll Think of Me" feels like a departure from her usual books.  The emotion is high octane and the character development is rich and multi-layered. Be prepared to lose your heart multiple times over!

Brooklyn has never had a human being remain in her life long enough to leave a positive impact. Unfortunately, it can only take mere minutes to leave a negative and damaging influence.  She thought her knight in shining armor was Chad, but his armor was severely tarnished.

He did leave her with a gift that never ends...her precious daughter Alycia.  Surprisingly, Chad also left her something else--his family home.  Chad had his regrets and he wanted his daughter to have a childhood home to grow up and to keep her safe.

Question is, did Chad forget his promise to the best friend he's ever known, or is he matchmaking from the beyond?  Derek had been counting on that fresh start that a house and acreage would bring.  He doesn't want the baggage of Brooklyn and Alycia...but Alycia is the kind of young girl who gets under your skin before you can blink.

It's no shock how the story ends up, but it's more about the journey to the final pages that are critical. Powerful and emotional scenes will catch you by the heart and flood your eyes with tears, so keep a box of tissues nearby.  Don't be surprised if you have to stop reading a little while to let the waterworks flow and you just might feel your heart healing.

I'm giving "You'll Think of Me" my "Oh, The Feels" tag, and encouraging everyone to get a copy.  My thanks to my friends at Thomas Nelson for my advance copy via NetGalley, with no obligation or service promised in return.  Until the next book...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Right Where We Belong by Deborah Raney, Melissa Tagg, and Courtney Walsh



  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 19, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1545467943
  • ISBN-13: 978-1545467947

About the Book:

Whether in a quaint home bakery in Langhorne, Missouri, a cozy boho coffee shop in Maple Valley, Iowa, or a charming lakeside cottage in Sweethaven, Michigan, love grows best in small towns just like this! 

"Seriously? Three of my favorite authors in one collection? The perfect weekend read!" —Susan May Warren, USA Today best-selling, RITA® Award-winning author

My Thoughts:

What can be better than three of your favorite authors in one book?  NOTHING!  Well, one thing can beat that...and that's having it be a surprise!  I was thrilled when I caught a glimpse of the gorgeous cover in a Facebook post.  I was excited when I saw who the three authors were in this amazing combo package of reading.

But nothing was as thrilling as having my own copy, in my own hands, and beginning to read.  More authors need to join forces and create collections like this one.  "Right Where We Belong" is most definitely right where you, my reading friend, belong!

Deborah Raney takes her readers back to Langhorne to meet Lily O'Neal as she works hard at keeping Lilybeth's Confections open.  Meeting her new delivery guy has Lily sending in smaller orders just to get a glimpse of his handsome features and to hopefully find out his name.  

Gage doesn't mind his frequent stops at Lily's place of business.  He isn't, however, fond of her monster cat, Fudge.  Allergies, don't you know!  But he's growing very fond of her pastries and goodies, and he's growing even more fond of Lily as well.

Melissa Tagg takes us to Maple Valley and we finally get to read Megan's story!  She's got Coffee Coffee going great in the small community, and her daughter Delia is the light of her life.  But something is still missing.  

Enter Eric Hampton, a handsome gentleman desperate to honor his parents by keeping Hampton House up and running.  While helping men rehabilitate and find safety, can Eric learn to let go of the past in order to embrace his possible future?  (and yes, Walkers appear!)

Finally, rounding out the final novella of the trilogy, Courtney Walsh travels back to Sweethaven, a favorite locale for her readers, to introduce us to Eleanor Waverly as she learns more about her family history and struggles with the memories evoked by what she discovers.  But will it impact her brother Finn in the same way, driving them apart?

Jason Holloway calls the firehouse home.  And he has an extended history with the Waverly family--one that harkens back to the Hatfields and McCoys.  Eleanor digging around in the past can't be good for anyone in the present, least of all Jason.  But can excavating the past make the present worth experiencing...for both of them?

I adore all three of these extremely talented writers, and I am so excited to have a little something from them to read until their new novels finally release.  I cannot pick a favorite, but I can highly recommend this collection to all of my readers.  "Right Where We Belong" gets my 'oh, the feels' mark, and you've GOT to get a copy NOW.

I'm so excited I bought digital and print!  So, until next time...

Mark Your Place, Deena

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

An Informal Christmas by Heather Gray





  • Series: Informal Romance
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Ladybug Lit (March 8, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069265349X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0692653494

About the Book:

2016 SELAH AWARD WINNER

Rylie Durham is used to dealing with all sorts of people and situations in her role as a Child Life Specialist at a local hospital.Why, then, does Zach York bring out the worst in her? After all, he's there to donate toys to the children she loves.

Could it be that she sees a kindred spirit in him? Rylie knows a thing or two about hiding a bruised heart from the world... and the danger inherent in blaming God for the hurt.

With December's approach, Rylie enlists Zach's help for a special undertaking -- a Christmas formal for one of the pediatric units. As they work together on the project, she hopes to show him that, even when it's painful, love is worth the risk... 

My Thoughts:

I can already here you from my computer chair: "Why in the world are you reviewing a Christmas novel in APRIL??"  My answer to you would be simply, "Why NOT?"  Truthfully, I was asked to read and review another book by Heather Gray, and I was so impressed I went online and purchased the entire series!

I'm one of those book junkies that has to read the entire series in order even if it isn't necessary to the development of the stories, and her first book in Gray's Informal series is "An Informal Christmas".  But don't let the title of the book fool you.

This story is about way more than ornaments and gifts and lights.  It's about finding compassion in the unlikeliest of places.  About stepping outside of the comfort zone for the least of these around us.  And it's a story about how pediatric cancer doesn't just impact the patient...but the family, the staff, and anyone who'll allow the suffering of the little ones touch their lives.

We need more flesh and blood people like Rylie and Zach.  We need the events in this fictional tale to be everyday happenings in hospitals, treatment centers, shelters, and all of the places where a child can feel lost, forgotten, and suffers.

Throw in what looks like an impossible romance between Rylie of Christmastown and Zach Grinch and you have a winner of a book!  I'm very impressed with Gray's writing talent, and I'm eager to dive into the second novel (remember, I bought them ALL, even pre-ordered the books not yet released!).

For now, "An Informal Christmas" receives my "Oh, The Feels!" award, and I'm hoping after you devour this book that you'll find a way to give to someone in need the way Rylie and Zach have given.  And that you find love along the way.

Until the next book....

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Progeny by Tosca Lee




  • Series: Descendants of the House of Bathory (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books (May 24, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476798699
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476798691

About the Book:

New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee brings a modern twist to an ancient mystery surrounding the most notorious female serial killer of all time. A fast-paced thriller for fans of Lee’s Books of Mortals series with Ted Dekker, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and BBC America’s hit series Orphan Black.

Emily Porter is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted.

She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.

Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants.

A story about the search for self amidst centuries-old intrigues and Europe’s underground scene…and one woman’s mission to survive.

My Thoughts:

No matter what you're thinking you know about this book...scrap it.  On second thought, just dive in, and go deep.  Tosca Lee is about to rock your literary world with her new mind-bending book (first in a series), The Progeny

Lee has crafted a high octane thriller that has more twists and turns than a bowl of spaghetti.  Rich history, strong characterization, and a mind blowing conspiracy that puts The DaVinci Code to shame.

It's pretty much impossible to say more without stumbling over a spoiler or two, and I really don't want to do that.  I want you to encounter The Progeny as I did: as a blank page ready to be filled with some of the most intense reading you'll find this year.

One thing troubled me, though...but my one complaint turned out to be not a complaint after all but a necessary part of the story.  However, the intimacy between two of the characters threw me for a little.

The Progeny is most definitely recommended.  Not for the squeamish, but fans of thrillers and conspiracies are about to discover pure literary gold.  I'm giving "The Progeny" my "Packs a Punch" award.  The sequel is about to release, so be watching for my review of "Firstborn".  Until then...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Monday, April 24, 2017

The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson





  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (April 1, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496415906
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496415905

About the Book:

Living in rural Georgia in 1941, sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has her heart set on her brother’s friend Mack; despite their five-year age gap, Alice-Ann knows she can make Mack see her for the woman she’ll become. But when they receive news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mack decides to enlist, Alice-Ann realizes she must declare her love before he leaves.

Though promising to write, Mack leaves without confirmation that her love is returned. But Alice-Ann is determined to wear the wedding dress her maiden aunt never had a chance to wear―having lost her fiancĂ© in the Great War. As their correspondence continues over the next three years, Mack and Alice-Ann are drawn closer together. But then Mack’s letters cease altogether, leaving Alice-Ann to fear history repeating itself.

Dreading the war will leave her with a beautiful dress and no happily ever after, Alice-Ann fills her days with work and caring for her best friend’s war-torn brother, Carlton. As time passes and their friendship develops into something more, Alice-Ann wonders if she’ll ever be prepared to say good-bye to her one true love and embrace the future God has in store with a newfound love. Or will a sudden call from overseas change everything?

My Thoughts:

I'm not a huge fan of historical novels, but I love novels written by Eva Marie Everson.  With "The One True Love of Alice-Ann", Eva has made a huge impact on this genre.  I was intrigued, engaged, and moved with every page.

Alice-Ann is an innocent teenage girl head over heels for a handsome young man named Mack.  In fact, he's her one true love; she's sure of it.  When WWII requires the service of her beau, Alice-Ann promises to write to him, and he does the same for her.

Life has changed forever with the young men off serving their country, and it's more than a young girl can stand.  So Alice-Ann takes a job working along side Carlton, a dear friend and a stable influence in her life.

When word reaches the community of the first death of one of their boys, Alice-Ann matures overnight.  She sees the entire world through new eyes, and finds herself having to make some hard choices.  Question is, who is "The One True Love of Alice-Ann"?

Everson crafts her stories, doing intense research and breathing life into imaginary people on paper.  I had no trouble imagining grabbing a pop at the local five and dime with Alice-Ann.  Every letter she received from Mack had my heart pounding as well.  And when...oops!  Almost dropped a spoiler!

I'll just say this.  The romance was so sweet and so powerful I had to put my book down to run and kiss my husband and tell him how proud I am to be his wife!  And, no, he never wore the uniform, but he does wear a three piece suit as the pastor of our church!

I loved every page, and I'm giving "The One True Love of Alice-Ann" my 'oh, the feels' award and urging you to pick up a copy today.  My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing for my advance copy via NetGalley, with no services promised or provided.  Until the next novel...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Prince Warriors by Pricilla Shirer and Gina Detwiler



  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 650 (What's this?)
  • Series: The Prince Warriors
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Kids (April 27, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433690195
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433690198

About the Book:

The battle is real.
As brothers, Xavier and Evan are used to battling each other. But now they’re discovering that there is a much bigger battle going on all around them. And it’s their turn to fight. Based on Ephesians 6:10–18, The Prince Warriors is the first book in Priscilla Shirer’s epic new series that brings to life the invisible struggle ensuing in the spiritual realm. Xavier, Evan, and their friends have typical lives until they enter a mysterious land called Ahoratos. There they meet their guide, Ruwach, who offers wisdom and direction as the kids’ initial adventure begins—an adventure filled with armor and danger and a very real enemy.
Written by New York Times Best-Selling author Priscilla Shirer, The Prince Warriors series was created for middle-grade readers and will include the fiction trilogy as well as Unseen: The 365 Prince Warriors Devotional and the Unseen app.

My Thoughts:

This is going to be one of those reviews that won't completely make sense until the very end, so please hang in there with me!  Way back, almost a year ago, I received a complimentary copy of "The Prince Warriors" from my friends at B&H Publishing, with no obligation on my part.  I did, however, commit to reviewing the book.

And then it promptly was buried beneath a pile of TBR (to be read), TBR (to be reviewed), and my GINTTRTBP (Gee, I need time to read this book pile).  And I completely forgot my commitment. After our youngest daughter married this past March we did some relocating in our house.  And I finally had enough bookshelf space to organize every book I had in my massive collection.

How massive?  It took me over a week, and I was sorting and alphabetizing as I shelved.  Low, and behold, a book appeared by Pricilla Shirer and Gina Detwiler...that had released LAST YEAR, for the love of bookmarks!

I felt awful.  I felt like I'd let the girls down.

Then I started reading.

So, this review is for every customer I ever had who asked me for a recommendation for a great book for young boys that had a solid spiritual theme.  This review is for every mom of every reluctant reader of the male gender.  This review is for every bookseller who searches high and low for a great book to recommend to a frustrated and weary person of a young boy.

THIS IS THE SERIES WE'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!!!!  Yeah, that's right!  It's a SERIES, and it RAWKS!!  That's boy-speak for a really great read.  I love the origin of the series: Pricilla was making up stories to teach her own sons about the power of prayer, and they were so good, publication was pursued...

...and God moved and now we have books we can recommend with confidence!  So, "The Prince Warriors" receives my very special, just created award of "Hallelujah!  We have boy books!" (and yes, girls will dig them as well, but c'mon...you know you've been waiting!).

And many, many humble apologies for allowing this to become buried beneath all of my massive piles of books.  Just so you aren't jealous of my shelf space...I have new piles starting, and I need a new bookshelf already!

So, until the next book.......

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Disturbed: Clearing Out the Demons by Jesse Peterson, illustrated by Andy Manley



  • Paperback: 86 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; First Edition edition (October 25, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1539700399
  • ISBN-13: 978-1539700395
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches

About the Book:

In Peterson's first book, he presents the reader with ten stories carefully crafted to send chills up their spines. With Andy Manely creating illustrations that bring Peterson's creatures to life, Disturbed: Clearing Out The Demons will haunt your dreams for weeks.

My Thoughts:

(Full Disclosure: my son is the author of "Disturbed: Clearing Out The Demons", and I served as his editor.)

As a first novel, Peterson's book impressed me.

True, it's a brief compilation of stories geared to creep out the reader.  On that note, success.

And the size of the book is unusual--more the size of a magazine than an actual book.  On that note, seems to be success.

What has me most impressed is the drive Peterson has demonstrated, carefully crafting ten self-contained tales of a variety of things that go bump in the night without becoming campy or reinventing the creepy wheel.

Each story stands on its own merit, with a variety of topic as well as style.  "Ghost" is straight narrative, describing a disturbing but unique transformation of a girl into a creature of the night while ultimately discovering---oops, almost gave something away there!

While "Gnaw" tackles a journal format and re-imagines legendary carnivore extraordinaire Miss Bathory.  Don't know your history?  Might want to brush up, but the tale will give you the grist--I mean, GIST of her history.

Don't be shocked to find some grammatical and even a few spelling errors in this self-published project.  Yes, I served as editor, but a person can only do so much!  (That was a joke) (A not funny joke).  But don't let those few flaws keep you from allowing yourself the experience of "Disturbed: Clearing Out The Demons".

The stories are fresh and some feature some mind-bending twists the reader will not see coming, but make the meat of the story oh, so sweet.  I have my favorites, and one or two didn't hit the mark for me.  Overall, I really enjoyed "Disturbed: Clearing out The Demons" and see great potential for Peterson's craft.

Original poetry from Peterson prefaces each creep-tastic tale.  Original artwork by illustrator Andy Manley brings the characters to horrifying life.  And each tale will lead you to a much larger picture if you just continue along the path Peterson has crafted for you...

...because Peterson is not done being Disturbed.  Oh, no, not by a long shot.  This is a general market fiction title, classified horror, but think more along the lines of R.L Stine with the potential for Stephen King.

Be sure to leave the lights on, if you will.  I'm giving "Disturbed: Clearing Out the Demons" my 'one to watch' award.  I believe greater--and creepier--works are ahead for the team of Peterson and Manley. (and I promise to get him a better editor) (okay, again, a bad joke) (or, is it?)

Until the next book...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham






  • Series: A Pleasant Gap Romance
  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 2, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 153969903X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1539699033

About the Book:

Single mom, Eisley Barrett, takes a vacation from her Blue Ridge Mountain "mom" life to travel to the English countryside in search of answers to an ancestral mystery. Burned by romance, she certainly isn't planning to stumble into her own fairy tale. 

Leading man and former rogue, Christopher Wesley Harrison is fighting to rebuild a new reputation after a tragedy introduced him to the power of redemption. His self-protective avoidance of romance crumbles at Eisley's two left feet and her authenticity send his heart into unscripted territory. 

When his past threatens to ruin their second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?

My Thoughts:

Many of my reading friends adore Pepper Basham's historical novels, and they really are quite good.  But my heart is passionate about her contemporary fiction, and her newest novel is a keeper (just like Pepper Basham is!).

Why, you ask?  

Three words: hilarity, heart, and hope.

"Just The Way You Are" shines the spotlight on broken hearts and disillusioned people.  Both Eisley (don't you just LOVE that name?) and Christopher have been betrayed and crushed by love, and both are quite skittish about romance in any shade or on any continent.

That's right, reading friends!  Basham takes us across the pond for a good chunk of the story, exploring family history and those uber romantic landscapes, tossing in a few hidden passages as a bonus.  Makes me want to update my passport, it does, it does!

Both Eisley and Wesley (go ahead and think Princess Bride, but better!) have a suspicion that more than family histories are the current topic in their respective families, and soon enough their suspicions are proven correct.

Matchmakers are afoot, and they are the most delightful characters I've encountered in quite a few reads! Daniel, Eleanor, and Uncle Joe are hilarious and quite instrumental in healing Eisley's heart.  And I cannot wait until you mean the entire Jenkins clan!

From the mountains of Appalachia to the hills of jolly old England, you're in for a real treat with "Just the Way You Are"!  This is a book I will be reading again and again...maybe one of those 'once a year pick me up' reads, I'm thinking.

Either way, get thyself to a bookstore and pick up your copy of "Just the Way You Are", available both in ebook and print format.  But paper absorbs tears, and I was letting them flow from both laughter and heartache.  Still, I'm seriously thinking about purchasing a 'real' copy so I can hold it in my hands.

"Just the Way You Are" receives my "Oh, the Feels!" award, and I am eager to read whatever Pepper Basham creates next!  Until then...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Life After by Katie Ganshert





  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (April 18, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601429029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601429025
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches

About the Book:

It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.
 
A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest. 
 
Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.  
 
In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

My Thoughts: 

Prepare for MAJOR gushing, readers!  I'm a HUGE fan of Katie Ganshert and have loved all of her novels...but "Life After" is a real game changer for me.  She has raised the bar high, high, HIGH with this newest release.

Autumn Manning struggles with much more than survivor's guilt.  She struggles with a multitude of issues, the kind of issues that we wrestle with on a daily basis: worth, perspective, acceptance, craving love, family, identity...and the list goes on.

On the surface, you could read this as a love story with two broken people coming together to find love and healing.  Paul Elliott is just as broken as Autumn, and his struggles are just as multi-layered: loss, grief, panic, guilt, loneliness, fear, being enough...again, the list is endless.

This alone makes Autumn and Paul into Everywoman and Everyman.  But the story goes even deeper as it exposes our own flawed humanity and how we respond to the events in our lives.  Do we hide, like Autumn?  Do we burrow in and refuse to come out (this is my go to response: turtle mode).  Or do we step into the Light and try to move forward?

Or maybe like Paul, we accept false blame, artificial guilt and emotional manipulation by those we love and those who claim to love us.  Do we develop a grudge worthy of a movie title?  Do we let roots of bitterness take hold in our souls, allowing them to grow until we can't see or feel the Son?  Or do we own our own stuff, refuse to carry someone else's stuff, and then lay our stuff at the foot of the cross?

Two broken people do not make a whole person.  They simply can't.  Oh, we can try to make a relationship work, but the cracks and holes and dents will always, always rob us of what could be.  And I don't want to settle for what is...I want what could be.  So, will Autumn and Paul feel the same?  You'll have to read "Life After" to find out!

Because Katie doesn't always tie things up into neat and tidy bows...sometimes the bows are crooked, and sometimes, despite her best efforts at controlling her imaginary people...they do what they want and invite her along for the ride.

And, oh, what a ride "Life After" is!  Stock up on tissues for the tears and laughter that await you.  I'm so thrilled I received an advance copy of "Life After" that I ordered my own finished copy (but no obligation was met for my freebie).  You may just want to buy multiple copies and get together with a few girlfriends or guyfriends for a group read. 

Because you just might find your own healing in this powerful work of fiction.

That's why "Life After" is getting my "For Such a Time" award, and I'm anxiously awaiting the next new project from must read, must love author Katie Ganshert.  But, until then...


Mark Your Place,

Deena

Nifty Gifty: Noah's Ark by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Sean Sims





Author: Timothy Knapman; Illustrator: Sean Sims
ISBN 13: 978-1-62686-839-7 
Format: Kit
Pages: 32 pp.
Trim: 9.84 x 9.84
Art: Full Color
Category: Activity & Sticker Books 
Age Range: 5 and up
Price: $19.99

About the Book:

This retelling of the story of Noah's Ark is a fun and lively version of the classic tale, in which Noah builds an ark with room for his family and all the animals to save them from the flood. 

With beautiful art from Christopher Flint plus a large, foldout model of the ark, young readers will love this brand-new version of this Bible story. 

Children can reenact the story with the cardboard characters and animals included as well!

My Thoughts:

This is my third experience with Silver Dolphin Books, and I am making them my go to publisher for all things creative!  What a fabulous product for readers and creative imaginations!  "Noah's Ark" is a full color, 32 page book that is rich and engaging for young readers.  The story itself makes a perfect read aloud or read alone story.

But what really makes this such and exciting product is the companion playset.



Your child can re-enact the adventure of the true story of Noah and his ark. The book comes in a gorgeous set, with the book sandwiched between a closed, sturdy cardboard stage.  Inside are 48 press out model pieces, both to enhance the story of Noah and the animals, and characters to replay the adventure inside the pages of the book!

What a fabulous gift for any adventurous or even reluctant reader!  The price is also amazing--only $19.99 for the set, which is packaged well, and the cardboard pieces are pretty sturdy.  I know my grandchildren are going to flip over this new book and imagination expansion toy!

I received a set of "Noah's Ark" interactive storybook from Silver Dolphin Books with no services or opinions offered in exchange.  Until the next book...


Mark Your Place,

Deena

Nifty Gifty: Beauty and the Beast by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Christopher Flint





Author: Timothy Knapman; Illustrator: Christopher Flint
ISBN 13: 978-1-62686-840-3 
Format: Kit
Pages: 32 pp.
Trim: 9.84 x 9.84
Art: Full Color
Category: Activity & Sticker Books - Fairy Tales & Folklore 
Age Range: 5 and up
Price: $19.99

About the Book:

Relive and reenact the classic fairytale of Beauty and the Beast in this brand-new storybook and playset. When a terrifying Beast captures Beauty's father, Beauty agrees to take her father's place as his prisoner. But while she lives in the palace with him, she learns that he is good and kind and not so terrifying. But can Beauty love the Beast? With a beautiful story, charming illustrations, and a foldout castle filled with a library, a ballroom, and more, young readers will enjoy reading and playing along with the lovely Beauty and her Beast.

My Thoughts:


This is my second product received from Silver Dolphin Books, and I'm head over heels in love!  "Beauty and the Beast" is a full color, 32 page book that is rich and engaging for young readers.  The story itself makes a perfect read aloud or read alone story.

But what really makes this such and exciting product is the companion playset.

Your child can re-enact the experience of Beauty meeting her Beast and all the magic that ensues. The book comes in a gorgeous set, with the book sandwiched between a closed, sturdy cardboard stage.  Inside are 48 press out model pieces, both to enhance the magical castle, and characters to replay the fun and whimsy found inside the pages of the book!

What a fabulous gift for any adventurous or even reluctant reader!  The price is also amazing--only $19.99 for the set, which is packaged well, and the cardboard pieces are pretty sturdy.  I know my grandchildren are going to flip over this new book and imagination expansion toy!

I received a set of "Beauty and the Beast" interactive storybook from Silver Dolphin Books with no services or opinions offered in exchange.  Until the next book...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Monday, April 17, 2017

Nifty Fifty: All Aboard The Pirate Ship by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Andrea Castellani



ISBN 13: 978-1-62686-841-0 
Format: Kit
Pages: 32 pp.
Trim: 9.84 x 9.84
Art: Full Color
Category: Activity & Sticker Books
Age Range: 5 and up
Price: $19.99

About the Book:

Tommy Montgomery loved everything there was to love about pirates! "Treasure first and friends forever!" was the motto he knew and tried to live by. All Tommy wanted was to be a pirate, and one day he decided it was time for an adventure! So he snuck on The Pirate's Revenge and headed for the high seas. 

Children can follow along and reenact their favorite scenes in this storybook and playset! The large, foldout model becomes the inside of a pirate ship so children can play as they read along and find out if Tommy has what it takes to become a real-life pirate!

My Thoughts:

This is my first experience with Silver Dolphin Books, but it will not be my last one!  What a fabulous product for readers and creative imaginations!  "All Aboard the Pirate Ship" is a full color, 32 page book that is rich and engaging for young readers.  The story itself makes a perfect read aloud or read alone story.

But what really makes this such and exciting product is the companion playset.

Your child can re-enact the adventure Tommy Montgomery takes on his trip aboard the pirate ship. the book comes in a gorgeous set, with the book sandwiched between a closed, sturdy cardboard stage.  Inside are 48 press out model pieces, both to enhance the pirate ship, and characters to replay the adventure inside the pages of the book!

What a fabulous gift for any adventurous or even reluctant reader!  The price is also amazing--only $19.99 for the set, which is packaged well, and the cardboard pieces are pretty sturdy.  I know my grandchildren are going to flip over this new book and imagination expansion toy!

I received a set of "All Aboard the Pirate Ship" interactive storybook from Silver Dolphin Books with no services or opinions offered in exchange.  Until the next book...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Nifty Gifty: Ready, Set, Find Easter by Zonderkidz




  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: Ready, Set, Find
  • Board book: 12 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz; Brdbk edition (February 7, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031075769X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310757696

About the Book:

Get ready to follow Jesus as He enters Jerusalem, shares the Last Supper with His friends, and walks in the garden of Gethsemane. This holiday board book is perfect for young children who will love finding the 48 objects hidden on the pages while reading the classic story of Easter, accurately retold and with scripture references. On your mark, Ready-Set-Find!

My Thoughts:

Who doesn't enjoy a treasure hunt?  And when it's about the treasure that never perishes, even better! "Ready, Set, Find Easter" is a search and seek book for readers ages 4-8, but even the younger set can enjoy trying to find the variety of objects on each thick board-like page.

Some will be easy for eyes to spot: the child waving the palm branch, or the dog on the first page. Others will be a bit more challenging, such as the bread and candle depicted during Jesus' final supper with his disciples.

Each page is sturdy for little hands (and teeth with toddlers!), and the tabs are handy indicators of the story being told on those particular pages.  This is a book your children will enjoy long after Easter is celebrated, because it's the story of our Jesus and all He's done to save us.

I received a complimentary copy of "Ready, Set, Find Easter" from my friend at Zonderkidz in exchange for no services or opinions.  Until the next book...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Sandpiper Cover by Irene Hannon



  • Series: Hope Harbor
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (April 4, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800727681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727680

About the Book:

Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities--including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn't looking for love either--but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish.

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam's help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different--and better--future planned for them than either could imagine.

Lauded by Library Journal as "a master at character development," Irene Hannon welcomes readers back to this charming Oregon seaside village where hearts heal--and love blooms.

My Thoughts:

Irene Hannon is one of my go to authors, and I'm always excited when a new novel is set to release.  I adore her suspense, but I've fallen in love with her contemporary novels in her "Hope Harbor" series. This cozy community is packed with fascinating and quirky characters that make appearances all throughout the series.

With "Sandpiper Cove" we meet reformed felon Adam Stone as he embarks on a new way of life, but attempts to live an isolated lifestyle out in the cove.  His sole companion?  An abused and injured pooch named Clyde that Adam rescues and takes home with him.  But when vandalism strikes, Chief Lexie comes out to investigate, and Adam's isolation ends.

Lexie is a single mom working in a high pressure environment, but she's fortunate to have her mom living with her and her young son...even when the woman can't help but meddle a little.  Annette can't help but encourage their new family friend and her daughter to explore any spark and seek out the plan the Father may have for them.

Prepare to fall in love with Lexie's son, Matt, as the rambunctious boy helps care for Clyde and burrows his way into Adam's heart.  Brenda Hutton and son Brian will also linger in your imagination long after you close the final page.  Of course, Charley and his taco truck and seemingly supernatural wisdom is found in the pages of "Sandpiper Cove"...along with everyone's favorite seagull couple, Floyd and Gladys.

You'll enjoy every moment in "Sandpiper Cove", and I'm thankful to my friends at Revell for my downloaded copy from NetGalley in exchange for no services or opinions promised.  "Sandpiper Cove" receives my "Oh, The Feels!" award.

Until next time...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Friday, April 14, 2017

Nifty Gifty: The Jesus Storybook Bible written by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by JAGO




  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz; Special ed. edition (February 7, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031076100X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310761006

About the Book:

The bestselling The Jesus Storybook Bible, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago, is celebrating its phenomenal success with this beautiful clothbound gift edition that includes a ribbon marker. The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. From Noah to Moses to the great King David––every story points to Jesus. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle––the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will pick up the clues and piece together the puzzle. A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God's great story of salvation––and at the center of their story too.

My Thoughts:

What can I say that already hasn't been said about "The Jesus Storybook Bible"?  God bless Sally Lloyd-Jones and her faithful illustrator JAGO, and God bless Him for their talent!  This book has blessed generations of children with the gift of God's Word on their level of understanding, with gorgeous drawings that make their hearts yearn for the truth of the story that unfolds.

This celebratory copy is hard bound, with a cloth cover and gorgeous gold filigree on a sky blue background.  A silvery blue ribbon serves to mark your place as you read through the book with your children (please, please read this one aloud with your littles?)

And the best part of everything "Jesus Storybook Bible"?  Lloyd-Jones and JAGO are certain to point the way to Jesus on each and every page, in each and every story, and with each and every full color illustration.

This is a treasure of a book, and I urge you to make this your gift to your family this spring.  I received my gorgeous complimentary copy from Zonderkidz with no services or opinions promised in exchange.


Mark Your Place,

Deena
 

Just One More Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon