MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

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MrsK Books's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (best-reads-for-k-8 shelf)

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Inkling: 2021 Favorite Gr3-5


Publisher's Synopsis:
Ethan’s dad is a comic artist whose greatest creation, the mutant superhero Kren, brought him fame and glory. But after his dad’s string of successful books, a tragedy strikes the family and now his dad is completely stuck.

If only artistic talent were hereditary. Ethan is stuck on a graphic-novel project of his own at school and won’t own up to the fact that he can’t draw. When one night an ink-blot creation emerges from his father’s sketchbook, the family’s whole world begins to change.

"The ink rippled, like dark water with something swimming beneath..."
MrsK's Review:
I don't know about you, but when a book's title or cover design "begs me" to take a closer look... well could you resist opening this book?

This is a multi-faceted adventure. It begins with a quick introduction to Inkling's creation and continues in the little ink spot's growth with-in Ethan's family. Rickman the cat is not impressed with Inkling, not in the slightest. Sarah is Ethan's little sister and she is completely... head over heals... enthralled with Lucy the puppy aka Inkling.

Ethan begins to rely on Inkling's ability to create "masterful" illustrations for his 6th grade project, yet how does he keep Inkling from his dad's office? You see, Inkling only needs one thing to survive, unfortunately that one thing seems to be found in Mr. Rylance's office. Could there be a purpose for Inkling beyond helping Ethan? 

This is one of the most inventive novels... If you are a reader that enjoys graphic novels, try this novel for the many illustrations and cartoon blocks will provide many moments of artistic inspirations. If you are a reader that requires more depth in your reading enjoyment, this novel is uniquely woven with engaging "sparks" of creative story hooks... mysterious red herrings... and delightful surprises.
 Best discovery!
Meet the Author:
 Kenneth Oppel I was born in 1967 in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia...At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer (this came after deciding I wanted to be a scientist, and then an architect). I started out writing sci-fi epics (my Star Wars phase) then went on to swords and sorcery tales (my Dungeons and Dragons phase) and then, during the summer holiday when I was fourteen, started on a humorous story about a boy addicted to video games (written, of course, during my video game phase). It turned out to be quite a long story, really a short novel, and I rewrote it the next summer. We had a family friend who knew Roald Dahl - one of my favorite authors - and this friend offered to show Dahl my story. I was paralyzed with excitement. I never heard back from Roald Dahl directly, but he read my story, and liked it enough to pass on to his own literary agent. I got a letter from them, saying they wanted to take me on, and try to sell my story. And they did.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Inspired Reading for Grades 4+


Getting ready for Summer...

One of the greatest expectations of summer has always been the moments in which I could begin checking out books at our local library for my lazy summer adventures. Back in the day, we would visit the library during Memorial Day weekend and have the delightful opportunity to browse book shelves for our "out of school" summer kick-off. There was no reading incentives, nor any summer reading logs. It was a time of simplistic "joy" to leave the library with a stack of books that promised "grand" adventures!

So... for your reading enjoyment... here are a few book explorations...

Grades 4-6

Dragonspell by Donita K Paul

Once a slave, Kale is given the unexpected opportunity to become a servant to Paladin. Yet this young girl has much to learn about the difference between slavery and service.

A Desperate Search Begins…

A small band of Paladin’s servants rescue Kale from danger but turn her from her destination: The Hall, where she was to be trained. Feeling afraid and unprepared, Kale embarks on a perilous quest to find the meech dragon egg stolen by the foul Wizard Risto. First, she and her comrades must find Wizard Fenworth. But their journey is threatened when a key member of the party is captured, leaving the remaining companions to find Fenworth, attempt an impossible rescue, and recover the egg whose true value they have not begun to suspect…

MrsK's Review:
Can you imagine entering through a narrow passage... danger is everywhere... your breathing is shallow and quick... the urge to turn back is screaming within your mind? Then all thoughts of escape flee the moment you enter the cavern! Dragon eggs! Eight to be exact... Only one "thrums" to her, enchantment beckons Kale. 

This is such a "charming" dragon tale. The plot entices you to step into Kale's adventure. The dragon's are cunning, dangerous, unpredictable... and yet... protective if you have been called. The settings, well, how would you run away from cliffs with crashing waves, damp caverns, and forests with the unknown?
Join Kale on this quest...
MrsK                                                                     golden,star,christmas,favourite,bookmark

Pages and Co. The Book Wanderers by Anna James

Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents' bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favorite stories.

One day Tilly realizes that classic children's characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering' - crossing over from the page into real life.

With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.

MrsK's Review:
From the beginning hook, your adventure with Matilda (Tilly) as she "pushes open" the door to her grandparents book store will bring delight to your day. Be ware that this book (series) will cause some discomfort if you have to do anything else during the day! 

Tilly is a curious reader. There is always so much to experience from a great story. Revisiting her favorites never ceases to bring her many hours of explorations. Reading isn't just a past time, in fact Tilly can loose herself within the covers of a book as if she had been written into the story. In fact, while she is reading her mother's favorite story... that is exactly what happens!

Tilly's teacher has encouraged her students to reconnect with their favorite characters over the break. As well as, read a book that they have never read before. At first that seems impossible given the reality of living at her grandparent's book store. Yet, there must be a book somewhere with in all of the nooks and crannies that would "call" to her. What Tilly never expects is meeting a girl with red braids sitting in her favorite reading corner. Plus, she discovers a mysterious box of books that had been her mother's when she was young. From that point on... well let's just say that Tilly will never be far from an adventure, unraveling a mystery, or being unnerved by an evil character.  

Is there any fantasy better than some of the classics? If you have not experienced a book in which you are lead into an adventure with other book characters... this is the one to begin your summer explorations!
MrsK                                                                      golden,star,christmas,favourite,bookmark

 New Kid by Jerry Craft
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

MrsK's Review:
Middle School... a time when nothing seems "normal," fair, or safe. Jordan is an artist, actually a cartoonist who works out his thoughts and feelings with his creative designs. Have you ever felt like you were in a free fall without a parachute? That's exactly how Jordan feels... every day. This year, Jordan is being sent to a private school. A school across town. A school that will stretch his ability to remain comfortable with all that he has known. What were his parents thinking?

Life isn't always safe. Life isn't a promise that one never has to change. Life isn't meant to remain the same. Seasons come and go. Life is a series of choices, acceptance, discoveries, and understanding. How do you fit in? What do you say when others want to force you to accept their ways? How do you view adult actions when it "feels" so wrong? Is it right to think someone is a bully without knowing their story? Middle school life... how do you survive?

Sometimes there is a good read that brings a surprise... the type of a self-discovery that causes a reader to "rethink" what it would be like. This graphic novel is that type of read. The beginning of a school year is always filled with excitement, doubt, and that forever feeling of self-awareness. This is a story that every reader has experienced, especially going into middle school. This is a graphic novel with so much personality it's bound to be a story that is passed along to friends!
MrsK                                                                    golden,star,christmas,favourite,bookmark
Grades 8+

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.

Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.

MrsK's Review:
Kirsten must find a way to survive. There is no one that will make her path easier, nor was there anyone who could prepare her for what the world would become. One moment she is on stage, in a play with a famous actor... and the next she's forgotten amidst adults who are rushing head on into chaos.

Violence... how do you live in a culture in which no one feels safe, life is forever in a survival mode, and there is no place to call home? Having a heart to do something good is a favorable choice, yet how Kirsten deals with a past connection brings her full circle with that one moment in time that changed her world.

There was no way of knowing that this book would be published and placed into my reading pile prior to Covid 19. As we experienced our altered reality, Kirsten's character settled the panic of those days. Strength in a wisdom about who you are and what you value is something that we should never give away...

This is a journey of loneliness, angst with strangers, hope in our humanity, and wisdom in knowing that we all have a desire to make small moments valuable.


I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall

Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.

With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.

MrsK's Review:
"There are two beginnings to this story..."
With in her notebook, Jess leads us into her story of survival. So often, life as we knew it is changed by circumstances beyond our control. Jess has been recovering from a fatal car wreck. Her life with her mother is packed safely away for her future and she is flying into the Canadian wilderness to a new life with a father she knows very little about. Learning about survival in her father's world will be brief. Her survival in the wilderness will determine the outcome for her future. Sure, surviving the physical and emotional pain of the wreck took every ounce of grit and determination. Yet, survival on your own... that's an unfolding series of events that determines your next breath. Especially when someone could return to check in on you... or kill you!

Are you ready for a YA survival adventure that will be like no other? Jess is one of those characters that will remain in your literary repertoire for years to come. Survival adventures have a way of helping us to move forward when life seems unbelievably unbearable. Great novels flicker through your mind when you least expect it. Survivors in the wilderness... in wrecks... in family crisis... in self-doubt... so many avenues become "presented" as reminders that life remains worth living. This is a book to keep and shelf next to some of the best survival adventures every penned!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

2020 Holiday Reads

Holiday reads + Cup of Wassel = Precious Downtime 

  Jennifer Chiaverini  ISBN: 9781101984796 Holiday/Historical Romance
In 1860, a writer's family begins to celebrate Christmas. Yet, there is such political unrest and all joy of the season isn't or can't be embraced. One moment in time can change the course of many. If you have ever read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow you will discover an "insider's" view into his word crafting.

Sophia, struggles with the new direction of her school and her music department. With a spectacular Christmas program concluded, she must take a renewed look into what her future will look like for her students... for her career. Will there be a location change? She chose to stay in her position, in her church, and end an engagement that would have moved her away from those she loved. Now what?

Lucas has only known Sophia for three years. He knew she needed a friend. Is this time for him to extend a hand during her struggles? Could an offering, a cup of coffee and friendship, bring about a perceived promise? Or a wasted opportunity?

With the shadow of a Christmas classic, Chiaverini masterfully blends the pen of Longfellow with the dilemma of Sophia's acceptance and choices during this Christmas season. Two periods of time; two lives on a journey during critical seasons; one choice made; and another... a choice in which inspiration from a poem will once again ring out truth's wisdom in another's life. Beautifully crafted!

 Debbie Macomber  ISBN: 9780399181283 Holiday Romance
Palmer is an "Alaskan man." Ponder is in the wilderness, far removed from most of civilization. The only time that "new" people are in town is when the Caribou Lake Lodge is open. So, Palmer has no clue what to do his feelings for a certain young "chef" that joined the staff at the lodge. By the end of October, he will need to consider just what will happen if Josie heads back to Seattle.

Jack is the lodge's hunting guide, he's as old as the "scenery," and just as ornery as the wildlife! If you ever had a friend who can be brutally honest, then Jack is the man. In his opinion, Josie is the cook that makes a "moose stroganoff" like no other. Palmer had better not let her leave!

Josie has only been in Ponder for six months, her longest time away from home and her mother. Her life in Seattle had given her such valuable training as a Sous-Chef. There were so many opportunities and valuable experiences for her in Seattle. Now that the lodge was closing, she has been offered "the" career opportunity of a life time. Of course, nothing really compares to the beauty of Alaska. The friends she has made, the hikes, the grandeur of the land, and Palmer. Yet, Seattle is her career making move. She has never experienced an Alaskan winter and without the lodge being open what good is being a chef without the visitors? Working with Chef Anton just isn't an opportunity to pass on... right?

Yes, this is a delightful winter adventure. Yes, this novel has settings that creates a slow-down and enjoy the moment scenery. Yes, there is a romance with a chance of a lifetime. Yes, there are conflicting heart choices. And... yes, oh yes, there are the most hilarious conversations.

Nothing could be better for a quick Holiday read...

 Jennifer Chiaverini  ISBN: 9780062841131 Holiday/Realistic Fiction
The Elm Quilters have a new dilemma, a winter storm has ruined the church's roof, the hall was to host the Christmas Boutique, now what will the ladies do? Who is responsible? Just what could the quilters do at a time such as this?

The Christmas Boutique is a "staple" for their community. With its home-baked goodies, seasonal crafted gifts, and beautiful quilts to comfort any heart and home... what will the community do with out the funds the boutique earns? The decision of a new location for the event will bring everyone back to the Elm Creek Manor. Not just those attending the event, the quilters and their best quilts will be active in pulling the boutique together.

The stories behind those quilts, the struggles and the hopes, every stich has its own story... this book is a fond return for those who have been a fan of earlier books. It is an endearing discovery of these characters in Elm Creek. It is a "cozy" read for any book lover who reads with a cup of hot chocolate and a quilt. It is a novel about life unfolding... a "stitch in time!"

Whether you've read any of the other Elm Quilt titles, this is a "heartening" novel that brings about the truth in "crafting" friendships.

Cookies and Cheer (Clipston):
Alyssa is working at the Ronks Bakery for Denise. Even though Denise, an Englisher, bought the bakery from the previous Amish baker, she has continued with the Amish traditions. Denise has worked for her for so long. Now she gets to put her window designs into reality. This Christmas theme will be her best display, as long as Denise approves of its design. Has Alyssa taken on too much for this holiday season? Can she overcome her guilt about this season's overflow of chaos for Denise? How should family, the truth  of Christmas, and her time factor into her life?

Kyle was taken by surprise when Alyssa showed up at his father's metal shop. Here she was asking him, to help her, with a Nativity themed "cookie-cutter" display for the bakery. Cookie cutters, of course he can create these designs. Could this be the opportunity he has been waiting for? Would Alyssa agree to a few "innocent" outings? Just how much is he willing to do for Alyssa, is there a limit when life enmeshes with the world's fast-paced Holiday rush? Will commercialism continue to overshadow his participation in Alyssa's life?

Loaves of Love (Wiseman):
Katie is filled with a joy that she is accomplishing so much for her mother's bakery. Now that her mother is recovering from a medical procedure, Katie is the only baker, shop-keeper, and employee getting her family's generational pies and baked goods into the hands of their loyal patrons, as well as all visitors. For Katie the largest obstacle is the wood stoves that she must bake with. It takes so long to fill orders. Is it possible that a current "boy friend," has an unbelievable gift that might provide an answer to her baking needs? Even though her mother would not approve, there is not any real reason not to upgrade the wood stoves... or is there? What would be the real cost of her decision? Is there any hope in something "more" with Henry? Will Katie face the music?

Henry has known Katie their entire lives. Their families have always been close. They even share the same birthday. Henry has never really allowed himself to ask Katie to do anything beyond their church socials. With the promptings of his family, he hopes that this is the day that he would ask Katie to go with him to diner. Today would be the day! Who is this stranger that seems to know Katie? What is their relationship? Has he missed his opportunity with Katie?

Clara is a friend of Henry's sister. After an initial "re-introduction," Clara is hoping that there just might be a chance to re-new a promising friendship with Henry. Every outing leads Clara into a hopeful relationship that appears to have so many blessings. Until, that one dinner in which they stop by the bakery for desert. What really is happening between Henry and Katie? Should she help Katie with her baking? Katie seems to have too many "men" trying to pull her into so many directions, obviously she should offer a helping hand. But then what?

*A quick moment to ponder... Often, while reading a beautiful nugget of inspiration occurs. Here is a beautiful idea for this season of giving: "There are many biblical mentions of the number twelve in the bible... So, each year my husband and I would get twelve loaves of bread from different bakeries... we would ask God to point us in the direction of those He wanted us to offer up extra blessings... 'Loaves of Love' we called them."

Melting Hearts (Fuller):
Mattie has arrived in Birch Creek to help at her Aunt's bakery. Working in the bakery is a joy, as is lodging with her Aunt and Uncle. Yet, when she discovers that they have also invited the man who is building an addition onto their house to stay... well life couldn't be so cruel, or could it? Exactly how will Mattie be in their home with a man that caused her best friend such distress? What do you do when you feel that someone's choices of cruelty should be held accountable, not invited into your home. She has given her word to be of help, she won't back out on that promise. Should she accept Peter's offer of a truce? Could she keep the truce, given the friendship she has with Lizzy? 

Peter has been offered a job, with lodging, with Carolyn and Atlee. It is a great opportunity to be helpful and return a kindness. That is until he arrives at the bakery and hears Carolyn calling to Mattie? Her name "sets his teeth on edge." Merry Christmas... will the next few weeks be an eternity? At some point, he will need to make peace with Mattie. He hoped Lizzy would have told her the truth by now, unfortunately this situation might get dicey before Lizzy clears up her lies. Can you change someone's understanding with kindness? After all, Mattie and grew up knowing him, couldn't she see past the falsehoods?

Cakes and Kisses (Irvin):
Ambrose is a man blessed with many talents, as well as a pure heart. At thirty he lived in Jamesport, the town he was born in. He may have lacked the desire of his heart, yet his life was good. He found contentment with his life, his home, and those in his community. Just about the time his cousin arrives, Ambrose learns that his home could be taken by the bank. Will he accept the help he is offered? At his age, is it possible that he could learn to read? How much responsibility could he take care of? As a "simple man," could he hope in a future beyond his front porch?

Martha works at the Sweet Tooth bakery, she has always had a place in heart for Ambrose. His smile always brought a smile to her face. She knew that God had a plan for her, yet in these trying times all she could do is pray that God's will would be done. Could it be possible that, in some "great" moment, God's will would bring her the blessing she is hoping for? How can she balance her desire to help Ambrose with her deepest desire of love for a man who isn't ready to accept anything beyond friendship?

It is a rare read that brings "goodness" to your heart. This story is one of reflection, for when we think of falling in love... in these days... many seek appearances and financial security. I wonder, which life is richer? A marriage in which two pure hearts are united or a marriage in which two hearts are seeking all the world can offer?

*Only through the opportunity as a book reviewer and the Fiction Guild did I discover the joy of opening a box of books that would introduce me to the lives within Amish Romance. 
I will cherish every moment of inspiration and goodness that these authors have given. 
Thank you Fiction Guild for recognizing the hopes of your readers!
"I received this book, An Amish Christmas Bakery, from the Fiction Guild for this review."

 It's beginning to look like... Holiday moments with a cup of goodness!
Every title has just the right measure sweetness for gifting.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

2020 Favorite Amish Reads


 Kelly Irvin ISBN: 9780310356691 Amish Romance
When a wildfire creeps closer to Montana's northern mountain area of West Kootenai, Mercy and her students are evacuated down the mountain to the town of Eureka. Even with a faith in God, when your family and community is evacuated there is such a strong desire to stay and fight for your land. How do you really just leave... and head to safety?

Spencer McDonald is a smoke jumper who knew that there were "too many" variables, nothing could be taken for granted and in every moment "nothing" would be in his control. It is in one of those moments that a "sickening thud" will alter how he would be fighting this fire jump.

There are so many interesting characters with a variety of personalities and faithfulness: Deputy Tim and Juliette; Caleb and his focus on Mercy; Marnie and Angie as they try to mend their family's past mistakes; and of course many relatives and the wisest of parents. The fire, the evacuation, the reality of  restarts all lead to an inspirational journey. There is a high standard for the written word whenever Kelly Irvin begins a heart-filled journey!

 Kathleen Fuller ISBN: 9780310355120 Amish Romance
Sometimes, being an Amish female who is at eligible age for marrying creates much unwanted stress when social gatherings have become a point of hide-and-seek from all of the eligible men. Martha receives some "sage" advise about how to by-pass all of the unwanted attention. Could Cevilla's solution actually work? Is there a possibility that Seth might consider helping her evade the marriage proposals?

Seth Yoder has no interest in Martha and her "oddities." His only passion is in trying to keep his family's farm in Birch Creek. His only challenge is he has no desire to farm or take care of animals. Yet, it is his father's request and anticipation that leads him into decisions that would distract him form his calling. If there was anyway for him to dis-engage from Mrs. Stoll's un-relenting manipulation's he might not have considered a profound commitment that is appears to be a simpler solution. Is there ever peace at the end of a rushed agreement?

If someone you barely know offers you a solution... check to see if it is an opportunity that leads beyond a quick decision into a teetering form of blackmail? Can you overcome the decision or could you become ensnared in the weave of deception?

Every series that Kathleen Fuller pens is delightfully filled with "quick" conversations, strong-willed personalities, as well as a perfected weaving of faithful inspiration.

 Kelly Irvin ISBN: 9780310348177 Amish Romance
Laura Kauffman has always enjoyed the "togetherness" of quilting, yet her arthritis is getting in the way of quilting... so for now she will enjoy the gathering by making cards instead of crafting quilts. During this season in life, it has become a beautiful and peaceful togetherness that entices her to gather as much as possible. There has been so many changes that Laura has endured, the hardest change came when she could no longer be a midwife. Could she still find a way to be useful instead of giving into seclusion and old age?

Zechariah is facing his own season of aging, unfortunately moving in with his grandson's family reminds him that he isn't ready to be taken care of. Anyone who has experienced the change into a "seasoned" period of life knows that there is only one way to move forward. That first step out of feeling "useless" is one of the longest journeys of a lifetime.

Given an emergency, Laura has offered to stay and help look after Zechariah's grand children for a few days. The very last thing Zechariah needs is Laura fussing after him. Even though they have known each other as littles, how do you accept so many changes with grace? Could they begin by accepting a gentler tone while bickering? Life moves forward... can these two find God's answers in the midst of their "seasonal" changes?

If you believe that "friends warm a room better than any fireplace," then this is one of the warmest and inspiring novels for a winter escape. Kelly Irvin creates endearing characters, vibrant conversations, and settings within a community that knows the value of each other.

Perfect arm-chair moments of peace, strength, and endurance!
"I received these books from the Fiction Guild for this review."

Monday, November 23, 2020

2020 Favorite Reads

Perfect reads for giving...

 Terri Blackstock ISBN: 9780310332596  Mystery/Suspense
As if things couldn't get any worse for Brenna, now the man convicted of murdering her father is released. Coping with all things changing is not one of her strengths. Back in the day, she had hope. Now, well what would you do when the man you once loved moves in across the street? 

Nothing seems real for Brenna, her ex-husband is remarried and using his money to gain custody of her children, the pardon of her father's murderer means he is returning to their town, plus his son has just moved in across the street... what would any sane person do? Trust! But who? Could Nate be the one that will keep her sane while she uncovers the truths from fourteen years ago?

This was definitely a well crafted page turner. As you are turning the pages (often late into the night), you realize that "rooting" for Brenna is like trying to hold onto a snowflake.

 Abigail Wilson ISBN: 9780785223665 Suspense/Romance
Sybil arrives at Croft Towers, an English Countryside, after a highwayman endeavors to waylay her journey to her new post. Upon arrival, Sybil not only encounters the strangest acting members of Mrs. Chalcroft's family... including the man that she recognizes as "he" who held her at gunpoint!

A most endearing storyline begins to "stitch" together mysterious messages, unnerving behaviors, misleading assumptions, and of course a unwanted romance. Dialogue will entice you to speak to the characters while the plot unfolds with smugglers, murderers, and spies. Who will Sybil trust at Croft Towers? Why did Mrs. Chalcroft request her for this post? Is Mr. Sinclair's double life trustworthy?

 Rachel McMillan ISBN: 9780785216964 Historical Fiction/Mystery
This is the second of the Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries set in the 1940's. What an interesting and very "lively" time in our history.

Having left her "elite" upbringing behind, Reggie has landed in Boston and has begun working for Hamish DeLuca. With one investigation closed, Reggie finds herself using her newly found "sleuthing" talents to keep DeLuca from death. Is she ready to take on their current investigation with her own wit and semi-strength? Especially when "there is never a good time to drown."

Hamish is still processing many of the unanswered questions that his cousin left behind from the previous nightclub murder. Now that there is a developer seeking to purchase some land, Hamish isn't necessarily on "alert" when Reggie leaves to investigate the Fiske Wharf site with their newest client. Yet, something isn't right about this new case. Will Hamish "refocus" his nerves in time to unravel what is really taking place or will he endanger Reggie and face death?

The delight with this novel is found in the historical settings, fashions, sounds, and "mob-ish" quality of the 40's. For those moments when a reader needs a break into a lively "entertaining" read... this is a great choice!

 Siri Mitchell ISBN: 9780785228615 Mystery/Political Thriller/Espionage
Georgie Brennan will be stretched even beyond her grief. Just who was her husband, Sean? There is no way she can remain focused at her position as a physicist. Sam, her son, is desperately trying to be strong now that her husband has been killed by a "hit-and-run" driver. Georgie knows that Sean was on a run to get something for the plumbing, or was he?

The "get-down-and-get dirty" steps forward in grief becomes a distraction for Georgie. When certain elements of her "new" daily life intensifies, Georgie becomes suspicious about the claims as to Sean's fatal accident. Was there something that Sean had been dishonest about even from the beginning? What do you do if those you trust have the most "dangerous" secrets? Why did Sean play a "hide-and-seek" game with Sam? What is causing their dog to behave so strangely around their house? What is Sean's journal saying? 

This late night, page-turner, will "kick-start" your heart. There are plenty of deceiving characters, a distrusting mind game, and more than enough loose ends to satisfy any book-chair detective!

  Colleen Coble ISBN: 9780718085889 Mystery/Romance (Stand Alone Novel)
Harper Taylor might have had an unhappy childhood, but once Oliver Jackson mentors her and gets her career as a marine biologist started she finds a daily life that feels safe and secure. Until that day when on a dive...

Ridge Jackson has never cared about knowing who Harper Taylor is. His distrust of her relationship with his father has left only doubts, distrust, and distance between him and his father. Animosity, was the only thing he felt for his father and Harper, until...

Annabelle Rice had no idea why Harper wanted to meet with her, what was this all about? Why, after all of these years, would someone be interested in her mother and her mysterious death?

This novel is crafted as two different time sequences. The plot is interwoven with the birth of one child, mysterious deaths, DNA investigations, Weeki Wachee mermaids, drug smuggling, and relationships that build into a cherished beginning.

Perfect for Holiday gifts... And Winter nights!
"I received these books from the Fiction Guild for this review."

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron

Castle on the Rise (Lost Castle, #2)
ISBN: 9780718095499
Publisher's Synopsis:

When Laine Forrester travels to France to attend her longtime friend's vineyard wedding, she expects to find a bride on the brink of a fairy-tale life. But after a series of unforeseen setbacks--a devastating diagnosis, a castle restoration put on hold, and the emergence of deep-seated family dynamics that threaten to derail the new couple's fledgling marriage--it seems the storybook life Laine had imagined for her friend--and once, for herself--is suddenly crumbling before her eyes.

With hopes of resurrecting a happy ending for one of them, Laine throws support behind her friend and agrees to accompany the couple to the groom's family home in Ireland, where the merging of a mysterious inheritance, long-buried wounds, and a fractured family set out to upend the trip from the start. It's in the unlikely corners of a historic Dublin pub, and across the wide-open moors bordering Ireland's majestic Wicklow Mountains, that Laine is slowly drawn in by the land and the people, sparking hope for something she never imagined possible: the courage to heal. But with secrets of her own--and a heart afraid to trust again--Laine must determine how much she's willing to risk in mending the broken places within herself, and whether she believes that even through the depths of our pain, a beautiful story can emerge.

Set in three time-periods--the revolutionary era of the late eighteenth century, Ireland's turbulent Easter week of the 1916 Rising, and present day--Castle on the Rise weaves a story of legacy, conviction, and redemption against the backdrop of Dublin's storied streets, and the stretch of Ireland's stunning emerald shores. It raises the question: given the choice between the fairy tale or a life of truly anchored faith--which legacy would you choose?

"Fairy-tale weddings never included..."
MrsK's Review:

Laine has arrived in France for her best friend's wedding. The "Sleeping Beauty" castle with a winter wedding will be a "fairy tale" wedding come to life. At least that is what Laine imagined. "Enchanted" with the allusion of a castle wedding, the beauty of a landscape that time has not erased, as well as the historical intrigue that beckons to every aspect of Laine's antiquarian roots. As for this day, the only thing missing is her faith in an enduring love. Laine soon realizes that the prospect of a castle's ruins and a manor house might just be what would put a smile on her daughter's face, after all "who knew what treasures might be housed in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland? Will she follow the "persistent whispering" that beckons her to follow a path she never intended?

Ellie begins her wedding day as a "peaceful " bride. One of the most endearing aspects to Ellie's wedding day countenance is her graciousness. A graciousness that has been woven within her by her Granma Vi, as well as a determination to face life with a quest for truth. 

Issy is not what a true Irish lady is expected to be in the year of 1915. Politically minded is not just a strength but a determining choice that could prove fatal. With her newly purchased Autographic Kodak in hand, she will follow her heart and do so much more than taking shots of the "sea and sky."
Yet, will Issy allow her "grit" guide her through the streets she knows in order to run dispatches through to those who are fighting for the cause? 

One winter's night in 1797, on the sea cliffs of Castle Chryn, Maeve discovers a motionless thief who is hunted by many and a fool in her estimation. Is the clan O'Byrne really using their castle ruins as a beacon as a smuggling effort against the crown or is it something more sinister? Neither Castle Chryn, nor Ireland would "bleed for naught." Can Maeve's hope forge peace in their land?

As a reader, there were many advantages for reading this novel. Castles...check, Ireland settings...check, quick historical romance...check, and from a trusted author...check!
Enjoy this moment within a time that spans generational love, devotion, and inner strength, because "failth isn't prepackaged... it's messy at times."
"Live every moment...
Fix every second of this night in your heart...
Protect it...
Visit it often."
An adventurous outing... A woven legacy worth saving... Delightful!
The Lost Castle (The Lost Castle, #1)        The Painted Castle (Lost Castle #3) 
Meet the Author:
Kristy Cambron   
KRISTY CAMBRON is a vintage-inspired storyteller, writing in the space where history, art, and faith intersect. She's an award-winning author of Bible studies and historical fiction—including her bestselling debut, The Butterfly and the Violin.
A self-proclaimed history nerd, she loves to chase all things research—going behind the scenes at a Ringling Bros. Sarasota mansion, touring a former TB sanitarium, making bee friends at a working honey farm, or embarking on a back roads jaunt across Ireland being a few. She holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing and spent 15 yrs in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 corporation, partnering with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup before stepping away to pursue her passion for storytelling.

Kristy lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can be found teaching verse mapping and penning her next stories in a beloved coffee shop corner with kayaks on the wall. To join on the story road, sign up for Kristy's WRITING DESK newsletter at:, and visit the Verse Mapping Bible Study Community at:

"I received this book from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

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MrsK's Reading Bio

Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

FTC Required Disclaimer: I receive these books from the publishers. I did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews. These reviews have been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


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