MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Diary of a Snoopy Cat by R.F. Kristi

Diary of a Snoopy Cat (Inca, #5)
R.F. Kristi
ISBN: 9781979036085
Publisher's Synopsis:
Read the hilarious and breathtaking antics of Inca and her family of furry friends as recorded through the eyes of Inca a Siberian Kitty. Inca decides to start a Diary! A heart-pounding saga unfolds as she keeps the reader thrilled recording her detective exploits. When Inca and family move to London from Paris, they make a whole new set of friends, including Monk, a Blue Russian cat and Terrence, a Golden Retriever who ably and bravely assists his world-famous detective owner, Solo. Inspired by the adventures of her new friends, Inca sets herself the task of becoming the world's best cat detective and begins to keep a diary of her exploits. When Monk arrives one evening, with news of a meeting to take place later that night, Inca is excited and can't wait to attend. She is told of a perilous journey that must be undertaken by Solo and Terrence, who are to travel to the Himalayas, to search for the missing Raoul, a friend who had failed to return from an expedition. The departure of Terrence means that Inca can take on her first proper job; the baffling incident of Mr. Finchley's missing will. But does the young cat have what it takes to crack the case and save the tormented and ferocious Rottweiler - Boss? And can she do it without the help of the wily old Retriever?

MrsK's Review:
Meet Inca a Siberian kitty who has no challenge with proclaiming her strengths, as well as her intelligence. One December morning, Inca begins a journey writing about her family, friends, and what she has accomplished during her day. Yes, she is writing about her daily life! And, it is a good thing that she is because the "bully" of the neighborhood is in need of help. 

Imagine spending every waking moment terrorizing the neighborhood, keeping them from coming close to your space and suddenly learning that your owner is about to lose everything because some human has absconded with a piece of paper that could save all that belongs to his owner.

Inca is determined to become the "world's" smartest cat detective, so when the "bully" of the neighborhood was in need it meant that she would be needed. Since she was the best detective, she would lead Solo's detective agency in recreating the night when Boss' will went missing.

Written with much humor, strong characterizations, and many escapades this story will delight many beginning readers. The font is perfect for those adventuring into chapter books. The illustrations provide the "unwritten" clues into the personalities of each character. The settings and story line has a realistic mood which will provide the right combination for reader engagement and desire to experience another mystery with Inca.

A definite addition to any 2nd grade classroom shelf,
"Are we real detectives now?" asked Polo."
Great fun for any beginning detective...
Inca Book Series

Meet the Author:
R.F. Kristi, the author of the Inca book series is a former professional of the United Nations Children’s Fund and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. She holds a doctorate in economic development and has traveled and lived in various countries of the globe. With a deep commitment to animal rescue efforts, Kristi has a keen interest and love for animals. She created the Inca Cat book series for younger readers up to age 8 or 12 and also animal lovers. Kristi currently resides in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Open a World of Possible by Lois Bridges

Open a World of Possible: Real Stories About the Joy and Power of Reading
ISBN: 9780545799935
Publisher's Synopsis:
This anthology of true-life stories by some of America's leading literacy advocates, authors and poets celebrates the joy and power of reading. Informed by the great pleasure that they derive from their own reading, these innovative thinkers are dedicated to helping young people discover and create their own rich lives as readers.

MrsK's Review:
This book is a perfect read for every educator and librarian. Author's discussing their favorite reads. Author's supporting reading environments at home. Author's recalling their cherished moments with book titles that all of us have experienced or will experience right away.

This is a book to pick up when you are just browsing to pass the time in line, in a office waiting room, on a night when you just can't sleep. It is a book to own, because you will not have enough yellow stickies for all of the great titles, yes, you will need to write in the margins and star those titles that you want to experience for the first time or be so touched by their recall you want to revisit an old friend.

With all the books on your "keep" shelves... You should invest in this delightful find!


Amazing read 
Added to my shelf!

Meet the Author:
 Lois Bridges's picture  Dr. Lois Bridges, former teacher, teacher educator, and literacy publisher, promotes editorial and marketing initiatives for Scholastic’s Classroom and Community Group. She’s intrigued with language: how it develops and serves as our most potent learning tool.
Image result for scholastic logo

Last Stop in Brooklyn by Lawrence H. Levy

Last Stop in Brooklyn (A Mary Handley Mystery, #3)
ISBN: 9780451498441
Publisher's Synopsis:
It's the summer of 1894, and an infidelity case has brought PI Mary Handley to a far corner of Brooklyn: Coney Island. In the midst of her investigation, Mary is contacted by a convicted man's brother to reopen a murder case. A prostitute was killed by a Jack the Ripper copycat years ago in her New York hotel room, but her true killer was never found. Once again it's up to Mary to make right the city's wrongs.

New York City's untouchable head of detectives, Thomas Byrnes, swears he put the right man behond bars, but as Mary digs deeper, she finds corruption at the heart of New York's justice system, involving not only the police, but the most powerful of stock titans. Disturbing evidence of other murders begins to surface, each one mimicking Jack the Ripper's style, each one covered up by Thomas Byrnes.
As Mary pieces together the extent of the damage, she crosses paths with Harper Lloyd, an investigative reporter. Their relationship grows into a partnership, and perhaps more, and together they must catch a killer who's still out there, and reverse the ruthless workings of New York's elite. It'll be Mary's most dangerous, most personal case yet.

MrsK's Review:
Mary Handley mysteries have been such a delightful reprieve from many of the books I review. Once you get to know Mary, her quick wit brings a smile to your adventure. She is a brilliant and relentless pursuer of the truth and there is no villain that she can't best. Even though she is hired to find out the truth about a certain cheating husband, she quickly gets involved in solving a killing that closely resembles those of Jack the Ripper. If she decides to re-investigate the case of the man who went to prison for a killing years ago, will she be able to reopen the investigation and put the real killer behind bars? Can she get past those officials whom quickly put a possible innocent man in jail? Will she be the real killer's next victim?

Russell Sage is high end businessman that is demeaning, calculating, and only focused on his well being (investment deals or steals you choose). Will he deserve the threats that cause him to look over his shoulder?

Inspector Thomas F. Byrnes is hailed as a "giant in his time." This man is such a player. Respect for his office has been exchanged for his keeping the elite living a life style that isn't always legal. He is one of the most sleezy and slippery guys on his force.

Harper Lloyd is a "smug reporter," who just happens to cross Mary's path in quite a comical and unfortunate moment. He quickly learns that Mary has quite the talent for getting into predicaments that ensures a rapid fire exchange with words. These two have encounters that will lead them beyond their quips and into a "life-threatening" investigation.  

Written with strong characters, excellent setting details, and a story line that is historically defined are the strengths for this series. What was a bit unsettling for this reviewer, was the additional language and sexual explicit scenes. 

You decide if Mary's third investigation is your next choice, personally I would start with the first two...
Good Mystery with a some language/sexual aspects.
Second Street Station (A Mary Handley Mystery, #1)     Brooklyn on Fire (A Mary Handley Mystery, #2)
Meet the Author:
Lawrence H. Levy LAWRENCE H. LEVY is a highly regarded film and TV writer who is a Writers Guild Award winner and a two-time Emmy nominee. He has written for various hit TV shows such as Family Ties, Saved by the Bell, Roseanne, and Seinfeld. Last Stop in Brooklyn is his third novel in the Mary Handley Mystery series.
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Penguin Random House

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow

A Time to Stand
ISBN: 9780718083038
Publisher's Synopsis:
Adisa Johnson, a young African-American attorney, is living her dream of practicing law with a prestigious firm in downtown Atlanta. Then a split-second mistake changes the course of her career.

Left with no other options, Adisa returns to her hometown where a few days earlier a white police officer shot an unarmed black teen who is now lying comatose in the hospital.

Adisa is itching to jump into the fight as a special prosecutor, but feels pulled to do what she considers unthinkable—defend the officer.

As the court case unfolds, everyone in the small community must confront their own prejudices. Caught in the middle, Adisa also tries to chart her way along a path complicated by her budding relationship with a charismatic young preacher who leads the local movement demanding the police officer answer for his crime.

This highly relevant and gripping novel challenges us to ask what it means to forgive while seeking justice and to pursue reconciliation while loving others as ourselves.
"Everything we do, and believe, and pray
doesn't stop when the breath leaves out of our bodies...
It travels down through time until everybody
but the Lord loses sight of it."
MrsK's Review:
Your heart breaks for Officer Luke Nelson as he struggles with the hopelessness of a trial. His family is trying to maintain an appearance of normalcy, yet how can an officer of the law move forward when there are so many voices in opposition to his quick response on that near fatal night. His wife Jane is standing in faith that Matthew 10:26 will bring forth the truth and clear her husband's name.

Is there any doubt that a mother's heart can pray a child through the darkest moments of life? Well for Mrs. Armistead it will be a grandmother's heart who will be praying her grandchild, Deshaun, through. As a mighty prayer warrior, this seasoned warrior will give witness to the truth of forgiveness. 

Aunt Josie is in the hospital and Adisa will be answering the call to be at her bedside even though she is in the middle of negotiating a legal case for her law firm. What Adisa was unaware of was that her law firm would be changing and she would be representing Officer Luke Nelson. For Adisa, this change will usher in her heritage. She will face the truth of about prejudices, the truth about her Christian roots, and the truth that God's hand at work is mightier than any deception.

Campbellton is a town that becomes torn between the races. It will need prayer intercessors who have strong roots in faith to keep from becoming one of those towns consumed with hatred. Those cloaked in faith will need to "suit" up for the battle that is brewing. Will false-hooded deceivers bring an innocent man to "justice?" Or, will the town have the scales removed from their eyes by the hand of God?

With a scenario we witness all over our nation, these characters are so well defined they become real life prayer warriors that you would want on your side!
"James, did you hear what the preacher said on Sunday
about the sins of the fathers landing on their children
to the third and fourth generations of people?"
 A chilling story that could be played out
anywhere in today's US!
Meet the Author:
Robert Whitlow Robert Whitlow is the best-selling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. A Furman University graduate, Whitlow received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. A practicing attorney, Whitlow and his wife, Kathy, have four children. They make their home in North Carolina.
"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

A Place at Our Table by Amy Clipston

A Place at Our Table (Amish Homestead #1)
ISBN: 9780310349013
Publisher's Synopsis:
Along with his volunteer work at the local fire department, running his Amish farm keeps Jamie Riehl busy. He barely has time to eat at the family table, never mind find someone to date. But when he meets Kayla Dienner, he is smitten.

Kayla tries hard to deny her attraction to Jamie. After all, she’s spent the last year discouraging her younger brother, Nathan, from becoming a firefighter. The death of their older brother in a fire a year ago is fresh in her mind—she can’t bear the idea of putting her heart on the line every time the sirens blare.

Then tragedy strikes, and Jamie wants to extinguish any flame between him and Kayla. Can Kayla set aside her own fears to save the love she was determined to deny?

The first book in the Amish Homestead series, A Place at Our Table invites us to a quiet community in Lancaster County where love burns brightly no matter the cost.
"He needed to go back to his firehouse
and mind his own business."
MrsK's Review:
Even though Kayla is in a season of protecting her heart, there is one man that has entered her life and softened her resolve. Just when Kayla realizes that this man, in whom she knows is too painful of a reminder about her brother's death, begins to soften her heart, Jamie begins hurting her with past shadows of distrust. Will she "see beyond" those shadows and receive her blessing of a life shared with a man chosen by God or will she block her future because those shadows are hovering too closely to her heart.

Jamie Riehl convinced that there is no room in his life for a girlfriend, for romance, or for any distractions. Once his life becomes shaken my the tragic death of his mother, Jamie is determined that his responsibilities must remain focused on his families farm and his calling as a firefighter. Yet, with in every season of change Jamie will be faced with his hidden reasons for staying too busy for a relationship that might lead to the love of his life. Many of us know the struggle of wrapping our heart in self-deception, for many of us it can take a life time to overcome grief. The inevitable crossroad will arise and Jamie will need to choose occupying his life with saving others or saving his own future.  

Sometimes you just need to read a trusted author,
Sometimes you just need a "dash" of hope,
Trusting that this book journey will bring a few moments of goodness,
"Lay your burden's at God's feet.
He will heal your heart."

Always an inspiring and wholesome journey
 with any of Amy Clipston's stories.
Meet the Author:
Amy Clipston  Hi, I’m Amy Clipston. I am an author of Amish and Christian fiction with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Most of my books focus on the Amish community, faith, and love. I also write romance novels and young adult inspirational stories.
"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Book That Mattered Most by Ann Hood

The Book That Matters Most
ISBN: 9780393354096
Publisher's Synopsis:
Ava’s twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group’s goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood—one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava’s story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava’s mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.
"Until I feared I would lose it,
I never loved to read.
One doesn't love breathing."
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
MrsK's Review:
Ava's story is intertwined with the book choices and stories from those in her book club. What will keep you intrigued will be your interpretation as to why each of the book club members choose the titles as their book that mattered the most. Many of them have deep personal changes, some of them have a memory that mattered most while they read the book. For Ava, she only remembers the title of a book and doesn't know the mystery behind why that book is important. Once her story unfolds, all you will think is a resounding, "Wow!" 

Most reader's are intrigued with books about books. If you are like our Booked to Dine book club, we knew that this book would lead us into sharing which book mattered the most in our lives. So many choices, some of us could name many... other's named one or two. What was interesting was our discussions around the books that Ava's book club chose.
"Find out what you already know
and you will see the way to fly."
Meet the Author:
Ann Hood
I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I remember. My favorite books when I was a kid were Little Women and Nancy Drew. Later, I loved Marjorie Morningstar, Les Miserables and Doctor Zhivago, obviously choosing books by size!

A Rhode Island native, I was born in West Warwick and spent high school working as a Marsha Jordan Girl, modeling for the Jordan Marsh department store at the Warwick Mall. I majored in English at the University of Rhode Island, and that's where I fell in love with Shakespeare, Willa Cather, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Prairie Girl's Faith by Stephen W. Hines

A Prairie Girl's Faith: The Spiritual Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder
ISBN: 9780735289789
Publisher's Synopsis:
A Prairie Girl's Faith provides the first extended, in depth discussion of the Christian faith of one of America's most beloved pioneer women--Laura Ingalls Wilder. Although the faith of the Ingalls' family pervades books in the Little House series, the more specific details of Laura's faith have never been fully explored. It took extraordinary pluck for anyone to survive the harshness of frontier life--from the heartbreak of sudden crop losses to murderous storms to unrelentling loneliness. This book reveals how in surviving, the brave Laura drew not just on her character, but found encouragement, strength, and hope in her relationship with God.

The beloved author of the Little House books was not only one of America's great pioneer storytellers but a woman of vibrant faith.
MrsK's Review:
Little House on the Prairie, there was no better experience for a young third grader! To enter the school's library doors, to run to the "W" section under the bay window, and then to pull off of the shelf the next Little House book. I could hear my heart beat with joy and anticipation about Laura's next adventure. Even the cover gave me a sense of pure family living in a time of calico, log homes, winter chills, and sunny afternoons fishing by a stream. Could life be any better?

I was so honored to receive this book. It was like taking a promised journey home. Now as an educator/Librarian getting ready for retirement, what more could I learn about "my" Laura? What insights might get I get from Laura's faith that I could replant in a new generation of readers? How could Laura's faith resonate with my readers within my classroom?  All good thoughts!

What I learned, well that might just be easier for you to discover for yourself. What was confirmed, now that is something I can reveal. This book is more than a biography about Laura's faith, you will get a second perspective from her daughter, Rose. As this biography unfolds, Laura's faith is compared with the faith of Rose. I had no idea that Rose helped her mother write some of the books. I did not know that Rose was an accomplished writer. Nor did I know the extent of Laura's writing beyond the endearing series.

Faith. What every pioneer needed for survival. What if church faith was not as reliable as your home-schooled faith? What if you didn't discuss faith... you lived it! 
A read that will bring a renewed love for the series!
An irreplaceable depth into a childhood favorite.

Meet the Author:
STEPHEN HINES is a recognized authority on Laura Ingalls Wilder and has authored several best-selling volumes on her life, including Little House in the Ozarks. He grew up in the midwest in an area where Wilder once lived. Hines was the founding Director of Communications for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services and has held several editorial positions in magazine, newspaper, and book publishing. The author is a contributor to a He lives with his wife, Gwen, in Nashville, Tennessee.

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

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Coming to Rosemont by Barbara Hinske

Coming to Rosemont (Rosemont Saga, #1)
ISBN: 9781481125277
Publisher's Synopsis:
Forensic accountant Maggie Martin's well-ordered life is shattered by her husband's untimely death and the double life he concealed. Dealing with the financial and emotional wreckage left in Paul's wake, she is stunned to learn he inherited an estate known as Rosemont in the seemingly-serene Midwestern town of Westbury. Seeking a fresh start and a quiet, solitary life, she moves halfway across the country to make Rosemont her home. Before she can unpack her first box, she's knee-deep in a battle against political corruption, where defeat and retreat are not an option. Still bearing the scars of betrayal, will she find joy, romance and possibility in Westbury?
"Maggie made herself tea in a Wedgewood cup
 and wandered through the house... settled into the chair's protective embrace...
An unblemished blanket of snow in the garden looked like frosting on a cake."
MrsK's Review:
Maggie Martin first learned of the house from Paul as he was dying. What did he mean the house was for her? She had just inherited Rosemont, of course nothing was too surprising any more. Her life had totally flipped upside down and in so many degrees she didn't know what was real, let alone what could ever be considered "surprising." What she didn't expect was the overwhelming sense of home once she stepped over the threshold of Rosemont.

With the key to Rosemont, Maggie discovers beauty can come from the ashes of a life that was lived, shared, and unimaginably untrue. The only security that appeared "real" was the handyman that would help her bring life to Rosemont. A few years her senior, Sam Torres and his wife lived just a few minutes away, which meant they would be the only true security Maggie could rely on.

Frank Haynes is a frustrated swindler who is determined to make a name for himself in "his" town. What began as a few dishonest property endeavors is now threatening his ill-conceived plans. There are so many that he needs to clean up after, including Paul's wife Maggie.

John Allen is a man with a "gentle nature and deep, abiding kindness." He is the local veterinarian who instantly wonders where this "gorgeous woman" has been all of his life.  

Once the town council meets, there are far too many financial concerns and not enough answers. Now begins the unraveling of the truth behind so many of the mysterious happenings around the town. What Maggie can do for the town, will depend on what a small group of friends will do to support her while she digs deep into the council's cover up. For Maggie, the investigation will prove easier than opening her heart to new friendships, the possibility of love, and the hope for a new season of life. 

To follow your intuition, to be given a key to a home that would set your life in a new direction,
well if your children are grown and your husband has died...
Why not?
"Be very discreet,... We're starting to pull on a thread,
and we don't know what it will unravel."
Not Just any Enjoyable Read!
Coming to Rosemont inspires you to follow your intuition.

"This book was sent to me for this unbiased review."
Thank you Barbara for Rosemont!
Meet the Author:
 Barbara Hinske Barbara Hinske is a BookBub Bestselling Author in the Women's Fiction category. She is a practicing attorney in Phoenix, Arizona, who inherited the writing gene from her dad. She has two grown children with her exceedingly kind and good second husband who died of cancer in 2006. Lucky in love, Barb married another exceptional man and father of two in 2010, and they live in their own Rosemont with two adorable and spoiled dogs.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering

Death at Thorburn Hall (Drew Farthering Mystery #6)
ISBN: 9780764218293
Publisher's Synopsis:
Drew Farthering finds a new mystery on his hands when he arrives at Thorburn Hall in Scotland for the 1935 British Open. His host, Lord Rainsby, asks Drew to investigate a suspected embezzler--then dies in a suspicious accident the next day. However, the house is full of guests with potential motives. Can Drew discover the killer among them?

MrsK's Review:
It is a wonderful moment for a reader when you receive an anticipated arrival of another book from a favorite series. In 1935, Drew visits Scotland for the British Open with a bit of trepidation about staying with a relative that he doesn't know very well. Yet, with all of the support from his wife Madeline and a few pints with his friend Nick, Drew feels it could very well be a relaxing time for everyone. That is until the murder of Lord Rainsby tends to separate his wife and Nick's maybe fiance from Thorburn Hall. Now the only thing to occupy his mind will be the promise to his cousin.

Once you step off the train at Waverley Station you are transfixed into an age of gentleman kindness, ladies with manners, elite living, oh and of course there is an inconvenience of murder. You would think that back in the day more people would be honest, forthright, and completely honorable. What is comforting is the fact that Drew and Madeline will not disappoint your expectations of  "time well spent" solving a murder with them. 

With quick-witted conversations, excellent period detail, and so many red herrings...
how could any mystery fan not fall for this mystery of old!

A must read for every fan!
Meet the Author:
Julianna Deering
JULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuts with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, Summer 2013) and will be followed by Death by the Book (Bethany House, Spring 2014) and Murder at the Mikado (Bethany House, Summer 2014).
"I received this book for free for this honest review."
Bethany House

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