MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Mr. Miracle: A Christmas Novel (Signed Book)
ISBN: 9780553391152
Publisher's Synopsis:
Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track—and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store.
After trying to make it on her own, Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn’t plan to do is run into Erich Simmons.
Addie and her next-door neighbor, Erich, are like night and day. Growing up, he was popular and outgoing while she was rebellious and headstrong, and he never missed an opportunity to tease her. Now she intends to avoid him entirely, yet when they’re suddenly forced to spend Christmas together, Addie braces for trouble.
Perhaps it’s the spirit of the season or the magic of mistletoe, but Addie and Erich soon find they have more in common than they thought—and that two people who seem so wrong for each other may actually be just right. With a little prompting from a certain angelic teacher, the two are in for a holiday miracle they’ll never forget.

MrsK's Review:
My Holiday Pick!
As an educator, during the Christmas season I look forward to just the right books that will give me a break from my everyday routine. Whether I am returning to a "trustworthy" friendship found with a previous Christmas read or I am "unwrapping" my newest delight, I know that I will always be satisfied with one of Mrs. Macomber's stories. All of the comforts of home are "blended" together creating the perfect environment of joy, love, inspiration, and hope. The best review would be... treating yourself with a few moments of  "tender-loving-care"... choose one of these titles and begin your personal Holiday retreat!

Meet the newest "guardian angel on a mission." Harry Mills is assigned to a Washington state college. This is his first assignment, so being in human form can be a bit of a challenge. Even an angel doesn't have all of the answers... and somethings can get a bit "out-of-hand" when new feelings and experiences are so inviting.

Meet Addie, she has just signed up for a college literature course. Not only does she have reservations about taking a reading course, she is assigned the Dicken's classic A Christmas Carol. Even at 24, reading this classic can lead to a few "ghosts" from your past. For Addie, just walking back into a classroom can be daunting... unless, of course the instructor just happens to be an angel on assignment for your personal touch of Grace. What isn't expected is the discovery of a friendship that will begin "lighting-up" her daily routines. Something as wonderful as a Christmas tree or mistletoe will bring her a "joy like no other."

Meet Addie's next door neighbor, Erich. How well do you know the neighbor who tormented you as you were growing up? Even though your mother's were best friends... neighbors can be those you want to run away from. That is until an accident could keep your mother from her anticipated cruise just because someone needs to stay home to take care of Erich. Would you be willing to be that someone? Seriously, looking after... cooking for... providing your free time... for someone you have never liked? Well, doing for others is what the Christmas spirit is all about... right? Erich has no reservation in being nasty about the arrangement. He is totally adamant about no Christmas cheer, no lighted tree, no Holiday outings! A complete true to life Scrooge... or is he?

Meet Harry's assigned class, they will be those characters that cause you to smile. Each one with their own set of troubles and yet, each one "hand picked" for this precise moment in time. There are two "running start" high school students who help to keep the course on track. There is Danny who is taking the course because his parole officer thought it could get his future jump-started. Danny will always have a "vocal" insight to share. There is Andrew, a returning vet who has Tommy as his rehab companion. Andrew is edgy and reserved. The character that brings a quiet hope to the classroom mix. Jonas is the college's janitor, he has reservations about Harry until he learns about the kindness that was given to Elaina. Elaina works at the campus cafeteria. For Elaina, listening outside the classroom door is a risk that she is willing to take. It's an opportunity to learn English, to have a chance at a future.

Added to these delightful characters is Celeste from the latte stand. As her name suggests, she is so much more than a "people" person working at a drink stand...
"Celeste looked toward Harry as if expecting him to say something... 'You say your mother is disappointed?'
'That's putting it mildly... My father died this summer, and the thought of spending this first Christmas
without him was huge for her. The cruise was just the escape she needed.'
'Perhaps there's a way for your mother and her best friend to go on that cruise after all...'
'What about you?... Couldn't you be the one to help Erich?"
Celeste is the balanced ingredient for perfection, the perfected "Heavenly comrade" for Harry and everyone within this story. A character not to be forgotten.

Just as in A Christmas Carol, or any well written story, there must be those characters that create havoc to the plot. You know them, they are the fellow students, the co-workers, the neighbors or family members who are so self-centered that they do not "see" their words or actions affecting those around them. Officer Brady Witall is the campus security guard who strives to put Harry's job at risk. 
"Might I remind you (Harry) that unless it's a matter directly related to Addie or another one of your students,
you're unable to use any spiritual powers to counteract Dr. Conceito?"
In-spite of Celeste's warning, any form of interaction with Dr. Conceito (don't love this name choice) will end in disastrous humility for Harry.
"Remember (Harry), your time here is probationary.
 I realize coming to Earth has been something you've been waiting a long time for, but you need to prove yourself if you're going to stay longer than the time it takes to teach this one class." 

Many moments of joy dear readers, a book that you will share but do not want to give away... you will want to revisit Mr. Miracle in the seasons to come,
MrsK 
golden,star,christmas,favourite,bookmark
 Beautifully crafted, delightfully entertaining, perfect Holiday retreat!
Added to my shelf 
  
Don't forget these "trustworthy" Holiday friends...
Mrs. Miracle   Call Me Mrs. Miracle   Trading Christmas\The Forgetful Bride   Angels at the Table: A Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story   Starry Night: A Christmas Novel
Mrs. Miracle and Starry Night are "What's on my reading wish list this season!"

Meet the Author:
debbie  Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber's novels have spent over 750 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.  Eight of these novels hitting the number one spot.
In 2014, Macomber's all-new hardcover publications will include Blossom Street Brides (March), Love Letters: A Rose Harbor Inn Novel (August) and Mr. Miracle (October) and paperback editions of the #1 bestseller Starting Now (April) and her acclaimed Christmas novel, Starry Night (October).

In addition to fiction Macomber has also published two bestselling cookbooks; numerous inspirational and nonfiction works; and two acclaimed children’s books.

Macomber's beloved and bestselling Cedar Cove Series became Hallmark Channel’s first dramatic scripted television series, Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, which was ranked as the top program on cable when it debuted in summer 2013. Hallmark is now filming a second season of Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove which will premiere this July 19.  In addition, Macomber’s upcoming Christmas novel, Mr. Miracle, will be made into an original movie premiering on Hallmark Channel in fall 2014. Previously, Hallmark Channel has produced three successful Christmas movies based on Macomber's bestselling Christmas novels, Mrs. Miracle, Call Me Mrs. Miracle and Trading Christmas.

Macomber owns her own tea room, Victorian Rose Tea Room & yarn store, A Good Yarn, named after the shop featured in her popular Blossom Street novels. She and her husband, Wayne, serve on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet, and she is World Vision’s international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative.
A devoted grandmother, Debbie and her husband Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington (the town on which her Cedar Cove novels are based) and winter in Florida.

I received this book for free for this book review.
http://www.randomhouse.com/book/239300/mr-miracle-by-debbie-macomber 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Yuletide Ice Cube Fair by Karen Poth

Karen Poth
ISBN: 9780310746232
Publisher's Synopsis:
 It’s that wonderful time of year again—the Yuletide Ice Cube Fair! It’s a time of festivity and fun as Veggies gather to eat snow cones, slurp slushies, and ice skate on the frozen pond. But the greatest part of all is the Ice Cube Carving Contest! The Veggies are trying to outdo each other in an effort to win the grand prize. But the smallest of all these ice entries is truly the most grand—a carving done by Junior Asparagus. It is a tiny stable with a shepherd on one knee. Young readers discover that it’s not what’s biggest or best that’s most important on Christmas—it’s Jesus.

MrsK's Review:
It's that time of year...Christmas time will once again bring us Heaven's first and everlasting Christmas gift. For one quick moment in time each year children will gather with family and friends to experience God's love. Even those delightfully fun characters from Veggie Tales will celebrate what Christmas means to them.


"The little town was humming. There were children everywhere."

Welcome to the Yuletide Ice Cube Fair! Where everyone can skate on ponds of root beer, where you can "slip and slide" on burlap sacks, and you can sculpt an ice block into what Christmas means to you. What would you carve?

Not only will these color snapping illustrations bring forth the sparkle of the season, but the moments of discussing and judging the ice sculptures is such fun. Our little miss liked the cake and the French Peas design. We delighted in the littlest entry and imagined the lights glowing through the glorious trumpets.

Sharing in the true joy of the season, we anticipate this little book will bring precious memories in continued reading. We are both excited about sharing this tale with all the cousins. I can't wait for their own designs as they create Christmas ice sculpture pictures for their parents!
"May glory be given to God in the highest Heaven!"
Luke 2:14  
For this Christmas, spend some fun with this book...
MrsK

So much fun to read, to discuss, to re-read!
Meet the Author:
Throughout her career, Karen Poth has held various positions in the Children's Entertainment Industry including Vice President of Design at Big Idea/VeggieTales, Product Developer at Walt Disney World, CCO of SpringSprang Studio, and Kid's Innovation Strategist at Hallmark Cards. She holds a master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She lives with her husband and seven-year-old son in Lenexa, KS.
http://store.veggietales.com/books.html 
 
Zondervan

Monday, November 17, 2014

Fearless Joe Dearborne by Lisa Whitney Mitchell

Fearless Joe Dearborne
Lisa Whitney Mitchell
ISBN: 9781495933592
Publisher's Synopsis:
 
Some might say he's courageous, while others would say he's daring, maybe even a little crazy. But when Joe Dearborne risked his life and ran into a burning building to save a puppy, the local newspaper referred to him as "fearless"-and that's a pretty big title for a sixth-grader to live up to.
Plus, Joe already has plenty else to worry about. After other daring feats in the past, Joe promised his father he wouldn't do anything dangerous again, and, alas, he's just broken that promise.
But whatever trouble he expects to get into with his father, and despite the dangers he's triumphed over in the past, nothing could prepare Joe for what he's about to encounter when a cold, bitterness creeps into his home.
A mysterious and peculiar woman named Mrs. Chill has just been hired to care for Joe while his father is away on business. In no time, however, Joe discovers that she's up to more than cooking and cleaning, and she has plans to destroy his family. Joe's effort to save them results in perilous, sometimes humorous, encounters, and leads him on a journey through the threatening wilderness where he faces his greatest challenge yet.

MrsK's Review:
"It had been ninety-nine days since Joe Dearborne last risked his life. 
As his school bus slowed to a stop on a Friday afternoon in November, Joe thought, 
If I can just get home without anything happening, I’ll make it to one hundred tomorrow. 
That should make Dad happy."


This story is a delightful surprise, you know when you begin reading you realize that you are totally engaged and enjoying the story... well that's what happened with this fun read. The story line completely took me by surprise. Fearless Joe begins his story completely fearless...
"The red and yellow thing moved, and Joe realized it was a coral snake. 
He remembered the saying his mother taught him so he would recognize one and never touch it: 
if it has a black nose and red touches yellow, it’s a deadly fellow...   
Just past the living room, he stumbled.
It was hard to breathe. He reached for the wall, but it kept moving.
He collapsed to the floor. Thud was the last sound Joe made."

Joe is the person that runs towards danger. The students, teachers, neighbors, and just about everyone considers him a hero. His father considers him as a boy heading towards a disaster that must be stopped. So, once Joe was bitten by the snake his father decides to hire a live in housekeeper to watch over Joe. And... from that point on, Joe is plagued with doubts and fears.


Mrs. Chill is definitely not his new best friend. Not only is his favorite shirt missing the day of a test, so many weird things begin happening. Is it still the left over venom in his system? Is there really something not right about Mrs. Chill? Why did his father have to go away to save the family business? Who can he trust? Should he tell his Aunt P? Or could he trust Meg?

There are so many twists and turns, so many quick adventures that will leave you "rooting" for Joe to become fearless again. The settings are well defined. The characters take on life as you are pushing Joe forward out of his funk. The story line will surprise even the best predictor.

A must read and share for classrooms, libraries, and your independent readers,
MrsK

Enjoyable read... perfect for your classroom readers!
 Don't forget to enter the contest: Directly located to the right... Search for the cover, scroll, and enter!
Meet the Author:
Lisa Whitney Mitchell lives in Florida with her husband, two sons, and their dog. When she's not writing, she practices law. Fearless Joe Dearborne is her first novel.
 "I received this eBook for this review."
MDBR Book Promotion Services
CreateSpace - An Amazon Company

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorisson

http://images.randomhouse.com/cover/9780804185592?width=125&alt=no_cover_b4b.gif
ISBN: 9780804185592
Publisher's Synopsis:
When Mimi Thorisson and her family moved from Paris to a small town in out-of-the-way Médoc, she did not quite know what was in store for them. She found wonderful ingredients—from local farmers and the neighboring woods—and, most important, time to cook. Her cookbook chronicles the family’s seasonal meals and life in an old farmhouse, all photographed by her husband, Oddur. Mimi’s convivial recipes—such as Roast Chicken with Herbs and Crème Fraîche, Cèpe and Parsley Tartlets, Winter Vegetable Cocotte, Apple Tart with Orange Flower Water, and Salted Butter Crème Caramel—will bring the warmth of rural France into your home. 

MrsK's Review:
Wonderfully formatted, enticing culinary discoveries, with delightful personal stories. This cook book not only provides do-able French recipes, it offers a friendship with a mother who has a "huge kitchen where I can make all my culinary fantasies come true."  Mimi shares easy to follow directions combined with seasonal favorites. Her passion for ingredients will take you to the markets, (just like her grandmother did with her), where you can "fuss over the freshest vegetables." Her husband's photographs brings the culinary delights to life with such intensity your senses begin to sniff and taste each offering as if you were standing next to him as he was creating the shoot.
"Never have I been so aware of the changing of the seasons,
the different pleasures that each of them has to offer."

Mimi's seasonal awareness has blessed me with the same "eye-opening" passion for each of our seasonal goodness. Such an unexpected experience from a cook book!

"Seasonal cooking is one of life's greatest joys: it may present a challenge, but the rewards are ample.
Most of the year, nature fills my pantry with an abundance of ingredients,
empowering me in the kitchen, making me feel invincible at the stove.
But spring is a tricky period. From a culinary perspective, nature hasn't started giving.
Fruits are still little flowers and the strawberries of May seem an eternity away.
The big hearty stews of winter that felt so comforting at Christmas are now clashing with
my impatient heart..."

For my family, the following are the meals that tempted our taste buds:
  1. Roast Asparagus with Chervil: Asparagus, prosciutto, a drizzling of olive oil and parmesan shavings (pg. 36)
  2. Chou Farci: a braised cabbage stuffed pot-pie of goodness (pg. 39)
  3. Roast Chicken with Creme Fraiche and Herbs: the taste of France, tendered to perfection (pg. 46)
  4. Mimi's Couscous: lamb meatballs, chicken wings, simmered in a stew of tomatoes, parsnips, zucchini, and chickpeas (pg. 126)
  5. Chilled White Peaches in White Wine Syrup: refreshing sweetness on a hot summer day (pg. 148)
  6. Pumpkin Soup: warm fall flavor served with a dollop of cream for comfort on a fall evening (pg. 157)
  7. Harvest Soup: beef, cabbage, veggies bubbling on the stove and served with a crisp baguette and red wine (pg. 158)
  8. Butternut Gratin: squash, bread crumbs, cream, cream cheese and chives (pg. 195)
  9. Winter Vegetable Cocotte: pumpkin, bacon, veggies, roasted chestnuts and artichokes as a full meal favorite (pg. 241)
Whether it's the "endless offerings" of Autumn... or the "pure bliss" of  "eating outside under the shade of a tree, with everybody who matters around me (you)..." 
 
This cook book will become a favored "go to" during every season,
MrsK
   
Excellent Recipes, Beautifully Photographed, French recipes that most of us could cook!
About Mimi:
 Mimi&apples MIMI THORISSON is the author of Manger, a blog devoted to French cooking that was named Saveur’s Best Regional Food Blog in April 2013. After a career in television and having lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Reykjavik, and Paris, she settled with her photographer husband, their five young children, her two older stepchildren, and the family’s fourteen dogs in a farmhouse in Médoc. She is the star of the cooking shows La Table de Mimi and the upcoming Les Desserts de Mimi, both on Canal+ in France. 

"Ever since I was a little girl I have been deeply passionate about food. My childhood was largely spent scurrying between the restaurants of Hong Kong, where I grew up, and the bistros of Paris and the south of France where we spent our holidays at my French grandmother’s. Food was constantly on my mind, I’m the girl who was always happiest at the table. After a life full of adventure and travel, a career in fashion, media and television, I settled down in Paris with Oddur, my Icelandic photographer husband, and we have been busy making babies ever since. We were already off to a good start, we each had children from before, I one and he two and now we have three together and one on the way. A big family needs a lot of space, not least when you have 4 terriers in Paris of all places. So we went looking for a bigger place to live, and found one … in Médoc. Moving to the country was not planned at all, but we took the leap and it’s been some sort of fairytale ever since – you should try it! I’ve been doing a lot of cooking in these last four years, to glowing reviews (my family are very kind) and around 2 years ago I felt the need to share my culinary experiences with some friends and perhaps a few others. So Manger was born and while the rest may not be history it’s my story and my family’s. We are as happy as ever, up to no good, living with 14 amazing dogs, Fox Terriers, Jack Russell’s and one chocolate-colored German pointer called Gertrud. She thinks she’s a terrier by the way."

 "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
Blogging For Books 
 http://crownpublishing.com/imprint/clarkson-potter/

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ninjago: Comet Crisis by

Title: Comet Crisis (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition), Author: Greg Farshtey
Greg Farshtey and Jolyon Tates
ISBN: 978-1-62991-046-8
Publisher's Synopsis:
The Masters of Spinjitzu are stuck on a comet, having traveled through space to save the World of Ninjago from the Nindroids. As they race through the stars, it becomes apparent that they are not alone on the comet. Something has stowed away… something not of their world!

MrsK's Review:
So are you ready for a cosmic crisis?
 "Thousands of asteroids pass Ninjago every year,
and no one gives them a second thought.
After all, they’re just hunks of space rock..."

Or so they thought, that is until they end up stranded on an asteroid.  You do know that there are not any grocery stores on asteroids, but of course that will be the least of their challenges. Who sabotaged their rocket? Who would be willing to plant the missing Framastat on Kai? Or was it Jay? Wait... no, it's an imposter!  Just what is going on?

"Anything that travels can carry a passenger."

Are you ready... I wasn't ready for all of the fun with these stranded Ninjago space masters. The graphics are lively, the characters are quite silly, and the evil Nindroids are so frustrating. This is a perfect opportunity to share the joy of space travel as you are zipping around to save the Ninjago world.  

Do you remember reading the Sunday comics? How when you read the silliest comic block,  you just had to read it out loud to someone else? Remember how much fun you had sharing those great snippets of entertaining conversations, so animated... so humorous... so well crafted!  This is one of those great advantages for having an eBook... you can share it over and over!

So much fun... so ready to share... enjoy this graphic novel and pass it on,
MrsK
 
A must read,
      
Meet the Author:
100 1227 300x225 Lego Ninjago: Authors & Artists  Greg Farshtey is the New York Times-bestselling author of over 50 novels and graphic novels. Prior to his work on LEGO NINJAGO®, he was the main creative force behind the popular BIONICLE series. He lives in Connecticut with his daughter.

Meet the Artist:
 Jolyon Yates WEB1 Lego Ninjago: Authors & Artists  Born in England, Jolyon Yates studied graphic design and illustration at Cambridge and Exeter, and Japanese arts in Sapporo, Japan, as a guinea pig in a college exchange program. He lived in Japan for several years, during which time he contributed comics, articles, and illustrations to magazines such as Anime FX. Jolyon also met his future wife there. He became a US citizen in 2008. His first paid comics work was the story “Tancho” for Mangazine. He completed artwork for the award-winning web comic Revvelations in 2010. He’s been a regular contributor to G-Fan. He makes a brief appearance in the movie TNGU (2012) for which he drew character designs. He is very happy to be working on LEGO NINJAGO but fears losing the ability to draw fingers, ears, and noses.
http://www.papercutz.com/comics/lego-ninjago/

Andi Under Pressure by Amanda Flower

Andi Under Pressure
ISBN: 9780310737025
Publisher Synopsis:
Twelve-year-old Andora ‘Andi’ Boggs and her new best friend Colin Carter couldn’t be more excited to attend the prestigious science camp at the local university in Killdeer, Ohio. Unfortunately, Discovery Camp’s curriculum appears to include much more than just chemistry and biology. From day one, the university is plagued by a series of pranks—missing markers, loose crickets, and stolen scales. Campus security blames the mysterious janitor Polk, but even though Andi agrees he’s acting suspicious, she can’t believe the gentle old man would do anything illegal. Then one prank goes too far and their chemistry professor is injured by an explosion in the lab, upping the stakes of the investigation. Andi and Colin must unravel the secrets behind the chemistry department and Polk’s dark past before danger closes the camp for good.

MrsK's Review
An exploding lab... ok, that got my attention! Have you ever attended a summer camp? Would you consider attending a summer camp on a University campus and it would be all about science? Summer time is usually spent having fun, swimming, BBQ's, goofing around with friends and staying up late. Right?

Well Andi is not doing most of those things. She has just moved in with her Aunt Amelia, who by the way has enrolled her in a summer science camp for the "best and brightest" young minds. Not only is Andi trying to re-adjust since her parents death, at camp she has many questioning why she was allowed into the camp once the deadline had passed.

There are so many delightful characters at camp. Of course there is Andi who is very intelligent, quick witted, and quite inquisitive... questioning everything. She thinks "outside of the box," and wonders about everyone. Colin is her new neighbor, he lives with his grandmother and will be a loyal friend and co-conspirator. Dylan is a sophomore chemistry major who is a camp counselor with just enough insight to be keeping an eye on both Andi and Colin. Then there is Ava, who is resentful and rather snooty towards all things concerning Andi.

Now consider the many "mysterious" happenings within the science labs. Andi is sure that all of the missing items are some type of prank, which by the way, includes letting lab animals loose. The chaos ramps up with a science experiment exploding.  How is the campus grounds keeper involved.  Polk is a bit odd... but would he really create an explosion in the science lab?

This mystery quickly unfolds, the settings are perfected with interesting details that will keep you guessing. The characters are a delight, very personal, and not quickly forgotten.  The premise of a middle school science camp is an excellent non-traditional setting that will inspire many readers who are "science-minded."  With so many alluring science-fiction story lines, it is refreshing to have a mystery trail that leads into a lab setting.  

This is not the first Andi Boggs novel, I can't wait to read more of her adventures as she continues her scientific inquiries,
Enjoy your discoveries...
MrsK
   
Quick, fun, and very inviting... you will want to read more Andi stories!
Meet the Author:
Isabella Alan  an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. She also writes mysteries as Isabella Alan.
 
Zondervan

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