MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Above by Roland Smith

Above
Roland Smith
ISBN: 9780545564892
Available September 27th!
Publisher's Synopsis:
Pat O'Toole and his brother, Coop, are on the run from an enemy that specializes in hiding in plain sight. Along with their new companion, Kate, they've narrowly escaped a cultlike community situated beneath the streets of New York City. Kate has lived underground since birth, and the world above thrills her, but it's treacherous as well. With the cult's leader — Kate’s grandfather — on their trail, will they spend the rest of their days as fugitives? Who can they trust but each other?
The adventure that started Beneath concludes Above in this action-packed middle-grade thriller by Roland Smith!

MrsK's Review:
Excitement for the continuing adventure above ground is keeping me up late, completely charged, and filled with apprehension!

Can't wait to share more with you during our return to the library. More to be written once school returns!
MrsK
Title: Beneath, Author: Roland Smith
Meet the Author:
Roland Smith's biography  I've wanted to be a writer virtually my entire life. When I was five, my parents got me an old manual typewriter for Christmas and it was my favorite possession. I spent hours in my room clacking away. Even before I knew how to read, I always loved books. I used to go down to my parents' library, pull books off the shelf and sniff them. I just loved the smell of books for some reason, and this hasn't diminished.

Writing is like any skill in life — the more you practice, the luckier you get. If you want to become a writer, you need to write every day, even if it's in a journal or diary, and you need to read everything you can get your hands on all the time. I know hundreds of authors and all of them are fanatic readers. You learn to write by reading other people's words.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill

Sister Dear
ISBN: 9780718030926
Publisher's Synopsis:
Convicted of a crime she didn’t commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows. But Allie’s return to Brunswick, Georgia, sends earthquakes through the small, coastal community. Even her daughter Caroline, now a teenager, challenges Allie’s claims of innocence. Refusing defeat, a stronger, smarter Allie launches a campaign for the truth, digging deep into the past. Her investigation threatens her parole status, her own safety, and the already-fragile bond with her family. What Allie uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret—one that holds the key to Allie’s freedom.

MrsK's Review:
"At first, the concept of liberty seemed impossible--
a hand trying to catch and hold vapor."
After a decade in the Arrendale State Prison, Allie will begin the long journey back into society. Instead of a "continuous loop" of a life in prison trying to envision all the firsts of her daughter's life, Allie will be reconstructing a relationship with her daughter. Being convicted of a manslaughter that she did not commit was life-shattering. Now that she has the chance to live free, she must bring an end to the shadowing of her conviction. Images of her daughter "choking back a sob," tears welling up in her little eyes and the forever promise that they would find the killer was firing through Allie's mind when she heard the words, "You're free to go." Once on a path to med school and becoming a surgeon, Allie will once again enter her father's veterinarian business only this time it will be a new doctor who believes in second chances. Her next step of freedom will be asking Ben to help re-open her case. 


"The catcalls and gossip floated in streams above her head.
Words bounced off lockers, twisting in midair...
Words could kill."
Caroline was the daughter of a convict. Given her love for her Aunt Emma, Caroline's only friendship came from Maddie. With the news of her mother's release, her world felt as if everything was exploding. Nothing could be worse than having your mom released from prison, other than the news that she was returning to Brunswick. With odd situations happening at school, even Maddie was keeping her distance. Can she trust her mom to prove her innocence? What is wrong with the old lady at the nursing home? Why is she always confusing her with her Aunt? What will she do now that Maddie is no longer in school?

"She couldn't lose Caroline. She wouldn't let it happen."
As dawn was breaking, Emma silently watched Caroline as she slept. What would happen now that Allie was coming home? Her dreams of an athletic scholarship had disappeared due to the "party" life style while at college. With Allie in jail, Emma had a chance at living a dream. Caroline was her life, she was all that mattered. Some how Emma must wipe out all connections to Allie!

"Allison Marshall was out. It was one heck of a way to start his week."
When a shoulder injury ended his quarterback dreams at Georgia State, Sheriff Gaines studied criminal justice and entered the Glynn County Sheriff's Department. For now, his life was about discipline and his wife June. A decade ago, the new coach had just come to town. When the coach was found dead, everything changed. Allie's return would not be good for him, the town, nor the secret.

"You don't have to worry... I will spend every day... making you happy.
I don't care about the past, I love you, and that's for always."
Ben has been in love with Allie forever. He was the boy next door. All those years ago, when she turned him down. When Allie returns and asks him to help her investigate what Coach had been giving his team, Ben wasn't sure he was willing to re-open the wounds. Yet, as a journalist he could pressure for the case to be re-opened.

As this mystery gains depth, secrets begin falling into place like a puzzle of deceit. Not everyone will be as "bad" as they seem. Not everyone is hiding the truth. Unfortunately, red-herrings will keep you guessing until the end.

Be willing to spend a day of non-stop reading,
MrsK

An uniquely "twisted" mystery!
Meet the Author:
Laura McNeill  After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family. Her accolades in broadcasting include awards from the Associated Press, including Best News Anchor and Best Specialized Reporter.
Laura’s writing awards include those from William Faulkner-Wisdom Writing Competition, Writer’s Digest, RWA, and the Eric Hoffer award. Center of Gravity was published in July 2015. Sister Dear will be released April 19, 2016 by HarperCollins. She currently resides in Birmingham, Alabama.
"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

A Dream of Miracles by Ruth Reid

A Dream of Miracles (The Amish Wonders #3)
ISBN: 9781401688318
Publisher's Synopsis:
When Mattie and Bo cross paths, all signs point to disaster. Yet as they face a crucible of trials and tragedies together, longings begin to stir that seem destined only to end in more heartbreak.
And will Mattie find the courage to face her uncertain future . . . or will she simply run away?

MrsK's Review:
"Be not far from me, for trouble is near, for there is none to help."
PS 22:11
What began with a doctor's visit for Mattie's son Nathan, unravels into a horrifying experience that will threaten Mattie's motherhood, friendships, livelihood, and heart. Mattie is a widow who is trying to keep all the threads of life weaving forward along this journey as a single mother. She is strong in faith. She might not know the ways of the world, but she knows what she must do when the authorities are threatening to take her children away. No matter what people think, Mattie is a wonderful mother. She has done no wrong, and her strength will be found in trusting God, her faith in His word, and maybe... just maybe the compassion and guidance from Bo.
"God, I feel like the psalmist.
I have no one to help.
If trouble is near, please don't be far from me. Please."

Doctor Wellington is filling in for Doctor Roswell. Not only will Doctor Wellington misdiagnose Nathan's symptoms, but she will open the door for an investigation into Mattie's ability to care for her children.
"I strongly advise you not to refuse medical care for your child."

Bo Lambright is the CPS investigator called to Community Memorial. He is a man whose observations are accurate and who has compassion for all of those involved in his cases. He understands and knows the ways of the Amish and isn't convinced that Mattie has done anything to endanger her children. This investigation will lead Bo beyond his typical involvement and he will need to call in some assistance from Judge Nettleton. Will his "bending of the rules" cost him his career? Will his determination to help Mattie lead to a trial?
"Lord, is it too much to ask for an easy, open-and-shut case?" 

Erica Davis is on her first field assignment and thinks she is as qualified as Bo. She is determined to climb the ladder and unfortunately has a wealth of high profile connections. What she doesn't have is the background information about the Amish, nor the experience as a skilled observer. Her involvement will place Mattie in the mode to flee with her children.

Judge Nettleton is Bo's mother. Even with a political career in the making, she will be led to make a decision to trust Bo's observations. When evidence is given that a financial contribution was given to her platform, the Judge will need to decide what is important in life.

The anxiety in which Mattie must remain strong is at times unbearable, of course that is what makes a perfect read! This Amish story will twist and turn, there are many threads expertly woven. Before the reader realizes the direction in which Mattie's life is unfolding, the characters will experience changes that can only be made while walking in faith.

Experience Mattie's faith journey,
MrsK

A Miracle of Hope (The Amis...  
Book 1     Book 2

Frustrating with disturbing choices, strengthened with inspiring faith, and expertly woven!

Meet the Author:
Ruth  Reid  The simplicity of the Amish lifestyle has intrigued me for years. While attending college at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, I lived with retired dairy farmers and had the opportunity to meet many of the Amish in the area. I’ll never forget skipping classes one day to watch a barn raising. I was amazed at the craftsmanship without use of power tools. I’m still intrigued today. I love learning about their firm devotion to God and to each other. I’m blessed for the friendships formed in the process of writing my books.

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

The Drawing Lesson by Mark Crilley

ISBN: 9780385346337
Publisher's Synopsis:
For the first time ever, drawing instructor and graphic novelist Mark Crilley brings his easy-to-follow artistic instruction to aspiring artists in the form of a comic book, providing you with a one-of-a-kind how-to experience. In The Drawing Lesson, you’ll meet David—a young boy who wants nothing more than to learn how to draw. Luckily for David, he’s just met Becky—his helpful drawing mentor. Page by page, Becky teaches David (and you!) about the essential fundamentals that artists need in order to master drawing, all in a unique visual format. In panel after panel, Crilley provides lessons on shading, negative space, creating compositions, and more, with accompanying exercises that you can try for yourself. Are you ready to start your drawing lesson today?

MrsK's Review:
Every reader gets drawn into a story when the characters have facets that are true to their experiences. The crafting of a storyline in which the reader never looses the threads of a plot is essential. As a reader interacts, a movie begins playing within our minds, evoking feelings and tantalizing our senses. When stories have images, we as readers are provided background details in which our interaction is played, sometimes pushed... sometimes pulled... always deepened.

There is just something that calls us to put images on paper, to capture what our senses are creating. Every one is inspired to be an artist, some succeed... some need a few hints... some quit in frustration. This book is so "user friendly." As a reader, you are invited on a journey with David as he learns how to "see" the images he wants to portray on paper.

I adored that David's journey begins with purchasing a used book that would give him details about drawing sports cars (every librarian knows that these "how-to" drawing books are always checked out). My favorite tip was in the initial sketching, keeping my lines "light." Every artist must "tweak" their drawing as they are creating, it isn't in the "mistakes" that ruins a drawing... it's in the darkness of the sketch (of course shading and coloring can cover many changes). Just keep detailing!

The graphic portrayal is an outstanding aspect for teaching those artists that don't get the details from large portions of text. The examples of David's trials/errors are timed in a way that gives the reader an interactive chance to recreate the drawing lessons that David is learning.

Every classroom, library shelf, and artist in the making needs this resource,
MrsK
"Learning a trade very often involves seeking a mentor,
and when it comes to learning how to draw,
having a good mentor can make all the difference."
A must read for every artist... get it in their hands!
Meet the Author:
Photo of Mark Crilley  I had to draw pictures for a living or I’d go crazy . . .I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to be an author or illustrator until I was 28 years old! I taught English in Taiwan and Japan for five years—and seriously considered spending the rest of my life overseas—before finally realizing I had to draw pictures for a living or I’d go crazy. At first I was writing mainly just to give myself something to illustrate. Only recently have I come to see myself as a ‘real’ author.

Ever since I discovered that there were people out there willing to pay me to make up stories and draw strange creatures all day, I knew there was no turning back. “This,” I thought, “is the job for me.” And I still think that, every day.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
Penguin Random House

Pumpkin Patch Blessings by Kim Washburn

Kim Washburn
9780310758198
Publisher's Synopsis:
Celebrate fall with Pumpkin Patch Blessings by Kim Washburn and Jacqueline East. The sweet rhyming text by Kim Washburn and whimsical illustrations by Jacqueline East bring autumn alive for readers young and old as they take in the fun of the fall season and remember how much they have to be grateful for.

MrsK's Review:
Filled with delightful Autumn creatures, this journey for children will bring a sense of joy, exploration, and loving awareness for the amazing designs from our creator. The children within the story are playfully spirited while each page portrays the beauty of the season. Our youngest gets so excited with the surprises from each page. We are joyfully anticipating his fall experiences outside, as well as on our laps as we revisit this delightful story.

A must add to every little one's story time,
MrsK

Beyond enjoyable, interactive, and simply delightful.
Meet the Author:
Kim Washburn began her career in Christian publishing with Focus on the Family. While she worked on their Clubhouse Jr. magazine, two of her original stories were recognized by the Evangelical Press Association, including first place in the fiction category in 2006. Currently Kim stays home - and stays on her toes - with her eleven-year-old daughter and nine-year-old twin sons.

Meet the Illustrator:
Jacqueline East has been illustrating children's books for many years. She has worked above a chocolate factory, from a caravan by the sea, and now works from home near a city farm with her faithful dog curled up near her feet. She has illustrated books that have been published across the globe, and when asked what her inspiration is, she says, "everything!"


Zondervan

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Newsmakers by Lis Wiehl

The Newsmakers (Newsmakers #1)
ISBN: 9780718037673
Publisher's Synopsis:
Television reporter Erica Sparks has just landed her dream job at Global News Network. Beautiful, talented, and ambitious, Erica grew up dirt poor, worked her way through Yale, and is carrying a terrible secret. She moves to Manhattan to join GNN, leaving Jenny, her adored 7-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband. Erica’s producer at the network, Greg Underwood, is handsome and compelling. Scarred by her divorce, Erica is wary of romance, but there’s no denying the mutual attraction.

On one of her first assignments, Erica witnesses a horrific Staten Island ferry crash. Then she lands a coveted interview with presumptive presidential nominee Kay Barrish. During the interview Barrish collapses. Erica valiantly tries to save her with CPR. The footage rivets the world—GNN’s ratings soar and Erica is now a household name.

But she’s troubled. What a strange coincidence that both events should happen on her watch. It’s almost as if they were engineered. Is that possible?

Erica’s relentless pursuit of the truth puts her life and that of her daughter in danger. Her investigation leads her into the heart of darkness—where the future of our democracy is at stake.

MrsK's Review:
For Erica, it's her first day on her new job at Global News Network. With a "pinch-me" excitement she is ready to go and find that one perfect story. Beginning again is never easy, but with sobriety all things are possible. What should have been a simple story, Erica becomes entangled in a cyber-chase. She must unravel the destruction that took place at Staten Island. Was the ferry's computer hacked? Who would gain from such an unthinkable plot? Can GNN's IT man, Mark Benton, pin-point the cyber-terrorist? She needs an associate to guide her leads, can she trust Greg?
What kind of sick-o is out of control?
"GNN is not a safe place."

Nylan, is looking for a new face that will "transform" Global and stop the bleeding of his finances. He is a man that doesn't like any disappointments, inadequacies, or challengers. Erica is a perfect choice. With good looks and an ability to think on-the-spot, she is proving that as an anchor for her own show, millions will pour in.

Intrigue is an "inadequate" term for this fast-paced thriller. Characters are portrayed with so many facets that their personalities "eek" with intensity. This thriller takes so many turns that every chapter leads you towards another dead body. With an irresistible blend of instability and courage you will be wanting another Erica news story.

You will not be disappointed, there is no passiveness with this book!
MrsK
"...after my suspicions were aroused, I had denial.
Evil on this scale is hard to grasp."
 golden,star,christmas,favourite,bookmark
Amazing read
Added to my shelf
Meet the Author:
Lis Wiehl  Lis Wiehl is the author "Face of Betrayal," a New York Times Best Seller.
She has also written "Winning Every Time: How to Use the Skills of a Lawyer in the Trials of Your Life" and "The 51% Minority: How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It."
In addition to her written work, Wiehl is currently a legal analyst for Fox News. She has been with the network since 2001.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Wiehl is an adjunct professor at New York Law School.
Learn more about Lis' books...


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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

If I Run (If I Run, #1)
ISBN: 9780310332435
Publisher's Synopsis:
Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

"There's blood on the bottom of my shoes...
Blood runs down the drain.
My heart races as though it's my own draining away,
but it's not mine."
 



MrsK's Review:
Are you ready to spend some time on the run? From the beginning you will be on the run with Casey.
What would you do if you discovered your friend murdered? For Casey it was all about the moments leading up to the discovery of Brent in a pool of blood.

As the daughter of a detective, it was instilled in her to respect authority. She was given a belief that you trusted the legal system.  You knew the difference between good and bad/right from wrong. And  you "used" your intelligence to "pre-think" scenarios. Yet, all of these strengths will place Casey in the "run" of her life. Once the system turned on her family, Casey began choosing avenues that would place her in the midst of a homicide within her father's Shreveport Police Department.

Dylan is home from Iraq. The last thing he expected was to find out his friend had been murdered. Once an Army Criminal Investigator, Dylan will be hired as a friend of the family as their Private Investigator. Regardless of his honorable discharge, Dylan suffers from PTSD and is willing but not enthusiastic in doing this job. That is until so much about Casey doesn't add up to being a psychopathic killer. What is the truth about why she is on the run? Any reasonable person would have called the police, being on the run usually proves someones guilt. Why does the Shreveport Police Department and Gordon Keegan think a PI should investigate her where abouts instead of their department? What had Brent fallen into?

Miss Lucy is from Shady Grove, Georgia. On the bus with Casey, she talks about her faith. She reveals how her granddaughter Laura disappeared when she was only fourteen. Miss Lucy knows she wouldn't have run away, she had been so excited about her first homecoming. Casey considers Shady Grove as a good stopping place, especially since she can't get Laura's disappearance out of her mind.

Fast paced, ultimately four crimes to unravel, and characters that will make the hours pass.
If you haven't read any of Terri's books... start with this one!
MrsK
"I give in to the temptation to pray...
I have trouble believing in God,
but when I'm in a mess,
my mind often formulates quiet pleas.
I don't know what to ask for.
Time? Distance? And escape path?"

 golden,star,christmas,favourite,bookmark
Amazing suspense... Is time running out?
Added to my shelf
Meet the Author:
 Terri Blackstock  Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She is the winner of two Carol Awards, a Christian Retailers Choice Award, and a Romantic Times Book Reviews Career Achievement Award, among others. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist.

Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in a U.S. Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.
 Learn more about Terri's books...

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

The Pediatrician's Guide to Feeding Babies & Toddlers

Anthony F. Porto, MD & Dina M Dimaggio, MD
ISBN: 9781607749011
Publisher's Synopsis:
A comprehensive manual for feeding babies and toddlers during the crucial first years of life, written by a team of medical experts who are also parents.
The choices of when, how, and what to feed your baby can be overwhelming. With The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers, you have the expertise of a team of pediatric medical and nutritional experts—who also happen to be parents—in a comprehensive manual that takes the guesswork out of feeding. This first-of-its-kind guide provides practical, easy-to-follow advice to help you navigate the nutrition issues, medical conditions, and parenting concerns that accompany feeding. With recipes, parenting stories, and recommendations based on the latest pediatric guidelines, this book will allow you to approach mealtime with confidence so you can spend more time enjoying your new family.
 
MrsK's Review:
"We believe that feeding should be fun, stress-free,
and family-oriented quality time."
 

This resource is divided into five age groups with developmental guidelines, medical tips, and recipes. Each stage of growth provides "realistic" suggestions for feeding your little one from breast feeding... to formula or milk... and into finger foods.


Each section is organized with how your infant/toddler is changing. There are expected abilities listed, as well as what type of feeding schedule would benefit their growth pattern. The conversations are written with a welcoming voice, as if you were gathered around a table with relatives or friends sharing personal experiences. Suggested feedings are followed with the most "asked" concerns, these Q&A points are one of the strengths for this book (so many tips are revealed and so many of the myths or misunderstood guidelines are debunked). Finally there are easy to follow recipes for making your own babyfood, soups, or snacks. The last chapter specifically deals with different medical needs (allergies, treatments, growth patterns, and visiting with specialists).


The only aspect that would have made this reviewer happier, would have been the addition of photos (recipes, allergy-related signs, play-time toys, and of course great book resources).
Mrs.K
 
Excellent resource for parents and their newborns-toddlers.
 "We created this book as a resource to provide easy access to
common feeding questions from the minute an infant
is born through the toddler years."
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/Pages/default.aspx
Meet the Author's:
Anthony F. Porto is a board-certified pediatrician and board certified pediatric gastroenterologist. Anthony is interested in nutrition, especially in the care of children with difficulty gaining weight, feeding issues, and celiac disease. He loves teaching and educating parents and gives lectures to parents thoughout Connecticut.
 
Dina M. DiMaggio is board certified pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of NYC. She is dedicated to educating parents on baby and toddler nutrition and gives talks to parent groups thoughout New York.
 




"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."


Penguin Random House

Purchasing Books Reviewed by MrsK

MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

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

Booked for Giving:

Brightly Recommends:

eBook Deals:

Shop Amazon - Kindle Book Deals

Featured Post: Books Worth Opening for Teachers and Librarians

Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller

Donalyn Miller ISBN: 9780470900307 Publisher's Synopsis : In Reading in the Wild , reading expert Donalyn Miller continues the c...