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)

Friday, December 29, 2017

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
ISBN: 9781501115073
Publisher's Synopsis:

From the author of the internationally bestselling A Man Called Ove, a novel about a young girl whose grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters, sending her on a journey that brings to life the world of her grandmother's fairy tales.

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa's greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother's letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

MrsK's Review:
Elsa is an inquisitive and discerning young girl. She is full of life, compassion, and loyalty. Having had a grandmother who was spunky and fanciful, Elsa learns the value of individuality and living a life full of adventures. Granny believed that those who are "bloody" politically correct thinkers are decisively "Society" oriented. For Granny, "driving people nuts" was a "superpower."  Elsa is raised up with the wisdom that living life can be complicated.

Although Elsa may live in the city, a tenement house bursting with unique borders, Granny raised Elsa in the fairy tale world of Miamas the Land-of-Almost-Awake. For Elsa, Granny was her "army," she was "...both a shield and a sword." Now that Granny is living in Miamas, her quest has begun. She must deliver Granny's letters to certain individuals with the message, "My Grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry."

Elsa begins unraveling the Land-of-Almost-Awake with every letter she delivers. She learns so many important perspectives from the recipients. Elsa discovers that her grief is now weaving the final chapters in her Granny's fairy tale. Individuals have stories that shape their choices, "monsters can be born of sorrow," collectors can be those uniquely empowered to bring safety, and some lives are "reality-challenged." Lives become stories, stories that are "never completely realistic and never entirely made-up."

Poignant, creative, stunning, and enthralling. This is a must read-to-share novel that will be endearing for a life time. Yet, as with all good stories, will continue needing readers to keep it living.
Do not pass up this experience, open its covers and begin Elsa's journey,
"Granny never says goodbye,' only 'see you."
A beautifully-striking read! 
Added to my shelf
Excellent Booked to Dine discussion choice.
Meet the Author:
Fredrik Backman
Fredrik Backman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, as well as a novella, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. His books are being published around the world in more than thirty-five languages. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.
Simon & Schuster

Thursday, December 28, 2017

An Amish Christmas Love

An Amish Christmas Love
ISBN: 9780529118707
Publisher's Synopsis:

Winter Kisses by Beth Wiseman
Three generations of Stoltzfus women are all living under the same roof. At twenty-five, Naomi has never been married, and both her mother, Barbara, and her grandmother, Ruth, have recently been widowed. Each nursing broken or lonely hearts, they also each have potential suitors. When a storm on Christmas Eve forces the three couples to take shelter in the basement of the Stotlzfus homestead, secrets are revealed, hearts are opened, and all three potential grooms drop to their knees for very different reasons a proposal, a prayer, and an epiphany.

MrsK's Review:
Delightful tale about the Stoltzfus women. Not only do they live together, they are florists for their small community. Naomi is a creative, hard-working young lady (grand-daughter) who has many dreams and aspirations for her future, a family, and what changes might be brought to her community. Barbara is a woman of strength who brings balance between her mother-in-law and her daughter. For her to find love would mean that the right Amish man would have to be full of life, loving, God-centered, and willing to accept her family with all of their "intolerable" ways. Ruth, well she is the "spice" within the family. She is feisty, full of life, and rather cunning. These ladies were not considering any type of love to come knocking on their door... until the renters showed up carrying their suitcases.

Once the three men arrived at the daadi haus, the last thing they expected so late at night was the sight of one of the owners falling into the deep snow, nor did they expect to see the other two women making a dash from the house. Jethro (the oldest of the three) was the first out of the door. With Wayne and finally Eli arriving at the scene. With gracious concern and inspiring hospitality, this night would usher in more than a blustery wind.

Beth Wiseman "I wish I had the time to review books and chat with you here, but my writing deadlines just don't allow it. Please like my Fans of Beth Wiseman Page on Facebook where I try to post any news and interact with readers."
Beth is the best-selling and award winning author of the Daughters of the Promise series - Plain Perfect, Plain Pursuit, Plain Promise, Plain Paradise, and Plain Proposal. She is contracted with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Her other series--the Land of Canaan Novels--begins with Seek Me With All Your Heart, then The Wonder of Your Love and now, His Love Endures Forever. Seek Me With All Your Heart is the first Amish fiction book selected as a Women of Faith novel in 2011. Beth has also written three contemporary Christian fiction novels, Need You Now published in 2012 and The House That Love Built in 2013. In The Promise, (2014) Beth jumps way outside the box. This story takes readers far away from Amish Country and small Texas towns to a dangerous place on the other side of the world. Inspired by a true story, Beth believes this is the book she’s been working toward for a long time. 2015 brings Beth back to the Pennsylvania Amish with her new series, Amish Secrets. She is currently working on book #2 following much success with book #1, Her Brother's Keeper.

The Christmas Cat by Amy Clipston
Emma Bontrager is spending her first Christmas alone after her husband of 45 years, Henry, passed away in July. Although the Amish don't normally allow animals in their homes, a big, fat, orange barn cat keeps coming into Emma s house. She shoos the cat away, but it continues to appear in her house, settling on Henry's favorite wing chair. But the cat isn't the only Christmas visitor: a group of young people help bring the Christmas spirit to Emma, reminding her that love and hope abide.

MrsK's Review:
With gracious bravado and dignity, Emma soon realizes that the winter storm would be canceling her Christmas evening out. Even that frustrating cat isn't going along with her plans. Well, what could she do but accept the way the evening was unfolding. Baking Henry's favorite bars would not only fill her house with a "delicious aroma," but it would bring a seasonal welcome to the unexpected visitors that were venturing out on her behalf.

There is such a sweet reminiscent holiday spirit to this tale. I enjoyed the chattering of the young visitors. The "take over" attitude of the cat is quite charming. Yet, the memories that Emma shares with her visitors reminded me of all those women who have touched my life. It truly felt as if I, once more, had arrived home for the holidays. 

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.

Snow Angels by Kelly Irvin
As a young man enjoying his rumspringa, David Byler gave his heart to an Englisch girl, but he eventually realized he couldn't give up his Plain faith and family for her, so he let her go. He's found a new love in his Bee County Plain community, Molly Shrock. Molly has been patient, waiting for the man she loves to love her back. Just as he is ready to propose, David makes a startling discover: Bobbie McGregor, his Englisch love, is back. Will Molly's prayers for a Christmas love be answered?

MrsK's Review:
Molly has a shy smile that touches David's heart, instilling a hope of a future family. She is steady, friendly, giving, and very loyal. She is assured in faith and very determined to live a life that is governed by the will of God. David knows who he wants to marry, yet with Bobbie showing up at the  horse auction, he will need to decide if attraction is as valuable as the heart of the woman he knows is meant for him.

Their struggle will be the turning point in their relationship. What Molly's faith will offer is the wisdom that a marriage is made up of two "whole" people, one cannot be struggling between two alternative lives. Whether David finds strength in his faith is up to him, no one can give it to him. Some times letting go, means allowing your hope to become their freedom to grow. While Molly entrusts David into God's hands, she discovers that she can help bring joy into the lives of others, even if that means being creative and making it snow for two very special children.

Kelly Irvin Kelly Irvin's newest series, Every Amish Series, began with the debut of Upon a Spring Breeze, in April. The second book, Beneath the Summer Sun, will debut in January 2018. It is a four-book series published by Zondervan/HarperCollins Christian Publishing. This follows the Amish of Bee County series, The Saddle Maker's Son, released in June 2016. It is an ECPA bestseller. It follows The Bishop's Son, and the critically acclaimed bestseller, The Beekeeper's Son, which earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. The reviewer called it "a beautifully woven masterpiece." The Beekeeper's Son was a finalist in the romance category of the 2016 ACFW Carol Awards Contest.

Kelly has novellas in The Amish Christmas Gift and The Amish Marketplace, both of which were also ECPA bestsellers. She is also the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Amish Amish series. The first series includes To Love and To Cherish, A Heart Made New, and Love’s Journey Home, published by Harvest House. The New Hope Amish series includes Love Still Stands, followed by Love Redeemed, which was an ACFW Carol Award finalist, and A Plain Love Song. 

Home for Christmas by Ruth Reid
When a misdirected GPS sends Ellie Whetstone to the wrong address, she inadvertently finds herself breaking into the home of Amish man, Ezra Mast. Ellie hopes to fix up the house left by her aenti and sell it quickly, but a series of run-ins with Ezra and his young daughter have her questioning whether a hasty sale is the right move. Could this new place with its slower pace be the right home for Ellie?

MrsK's Review:
Wow, have you ever dreamed of being given a homestead from a relative. Well, the first thing you should do is know where that house is! Given Ellie's blundering events, not only has she made a lasting impression on her neighbor, but now his daughter and her dog are inseparable.

This is a high-spirited, rollicking series of events. What is endearing about this tale is penned with in the weaving of the romance. Neither Ellie or Ezra want to fall in love, yet, falling in love is not always something we plan. A little nudge here, a push there, and a giant leap can be the ingredients for a love that becomes foundational. Ruth  Reid  Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She's a full-time pharmacist who resides in Florida with her husband and three children.

When you need the break...
between shopping, decorating, cooking,
and all things on your list...
this collection is a perfect retreat for your 
It is our Booked to Dine January choice!

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

Friday, November 24, 2017

Holiday Cookies by Elisabet der Nederlanden

Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season
ISBN: 9780399580253
Publisher's Synopsis:
This instant holiday classic is packed with 50 recipes, each gorgeously photographed and meticulously tested, along with dozens of decorating and packaging ideas. Filled with re-imagined favorites like Giant Molasses Spice Cookies and Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies; confections like Peppermint Bark, Smoked Almond and Cacao Nib Brittle, and Dark Chocolate-Hazelnut Fudge; and detailed instructions for gorgeous gingerbread houses, cookie place cards, and edible ornaments, this is a cookie book like no other. Because the recipes are easy to scale up or down, Holiday Cookies is perfect for cookie exchanges, gift-giving, and just enjoying throughout the season. From a veteran baker and recipe developer, each cookie in this collection is guaranteed to be a stand-out, and destined to become your new Christmas classic.

MrsK's Review:
Happy Holidays equals many sorts of Yums! Starting before December was ushered in, three generations spent time browsing, drooling, and choosing which cookies we wanted to try. To be honest with you, we chose the next morsel every time we turned the page. Since a review can not be that lengthy, we tried to narrow it down to just a few temptations (25/50 was getting closer to our goal). Finally, one voice was given one vote!

Not only is Erin Scott's photography delectably delicious, your mouth will be tricked into believing that you are just about to taste something unbelievably scrumptious! Once of my most important "novice" requirements is with the organization, the language (a must is user friendly terms and ingredients), and the ease in relocating my choices. A shout out to the design, layout, and International sweetness for each section:
  • Very Merry Classics: Minty Spritz (pg.27); Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownie Sandwich (pg.35); Chocolate-stenciled Shortbread (pg.40)
  • Cookie Exchange Party: Red-and-white Meringue Kisses (pg.48); Oatmeal Crisps with Chocolate (pg.52); Malted Milk Chocolate (pg.63)
  • Warm Holiday Spice: Thumbprints with Spicy Plum Jam (pg.69); Saffron Pistachio Biscotti (pg.74) 
  • Around the World: South American Alfajores (pg.95); Danish Butter Wreaths (pg.99)
  • Holiday Confections: Peppermint Bark (pg.110); Apple Cider Caramels (pg.113); Bourbon and Maple Chocolate Truffles (pg.122)
  • Decorated Delights: Doily-Rolled Gingersnaps (pg.136); Stained-Glass Snowflakes (pg.144)
Are you tempted... Let's get baking!
"The aroma of baking that fills my home in December 
is unlike any other time of year
and heightens my excitement..."

Baking is an enjoyable art
for everyone...
Get ready to spend time
planning the "Yum" for your 

Meet the Author:
Elisabet is a food stylist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is passionate about baking and specializes in styling and recipe development for baked goods.
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
Penguin Random House

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

The Zookeeper's Wife
ISBN: 9780393354256
Publisher's Synopsis:
1939: the Germans have invaded Poland. The keepers of the Warsaw zoo, Jan and Antonina Zabinski, survive the bombardment of the city, only to see the occupiers ruthlessly kill many of their animals. The Nazis then carry off the prized specimens to Berlin for their program to create the “purest” breeds, much as they saw themselves as the purest human race. Opposed to all the Nazis represented, the Zabinskis risked their lives by hiding Jews in the now-empty animal cages, saving as many as three hundred people from extermination. Acclaimed, best-selling author Diane Ackerman, fascinated both by the Zabinskis’ courage and by Antonina’s incredible sensitivity to all living beings, tells a moving and dramatic story of the power of empathy and the strength of love.

"It pleased Antonina that her zoo offered an orient of fabled creatures,
where book pages sprang alive and people could parley with
ferocious animals."
MrsK's Review:
In the summer of 1935, Antonina Zabinski had many zoo concerns which weighed heavily upon her. The Warsaw Zoo's needs were her passion. The war was of concern, but not the most pressing need. For her husband, Jan, the war issues would begin a process for helping shelter many from the Nazi invasion.

Antonina's talents for painting, needlework, culinary delights and family/friends would create a well-tended home life. Her animals would become an avenue of shelter for many.  Her fascination and affection for their "senses" as they "tested" their environment provided insights into their needs. When the soldiers began "flooding" into the area the animals became alarmed. When the invasion became a reality, she agrees to take their son, Rys, to a resort village where they had a chance to keep him from the cruelty of  the invasion.

By September of 1939, the Nazi soldiers were marching closer to the village. Jan arrived with a decision that Antonina and Rys needed to come back to the zoo, after all their army would protect their capital. Of course, that would not be the outcome. As they returned home what they experienced would forever be etched upon their hearts. The bombing had found the zoo. Fear for and of the wild animals, the Polish soldiers began shooting the frantic animals.

Once the zoo is officially closed, Jan focused of his "Home Army" duties. Antoninia begins her efforts in transitioning the zoo facilities into a place of refuge. 

"How do you retain a spirit of affection and humor in a
crazed, homicidal, unpredictable society?"
With poignant scenes, heart-wrenching accuracy, and life-changing decisions, this story is a must read. Historically, Jan and Antoninia's story should be retold and discussed with every generation. The compassion, grit, mercy, and desire to live through an invasion should not be forgotten. Their voices need you, as readers, you can pick up the torch can carry on...
"That which doesn't kill you,
makes you stronger."
Any war time novel that deals with the Nazi invasion causes
a rebellion to arise within you.

Be determined to never forget... 
Teach the truth!

Meet the Author:
Diane Ackerman Diane Ackerman has been the finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction in addition to many other awards and recognitions for her work, which include the bestsellers The Zookeeper’s Wife and A Natural History of the Senses.
The Zookeeper’s Wife, a little known true story of WWII, became a New York Timesbestseller, and received the Orion Book Award, which honored it as, "a groundbreaking work of nonfiction." A movie of The Zookeeper’s Wife, starring Jessica Chastain and Daniel Brühl, releases in theaters March 31st, 2017 from Focus Features.

The movie The Zookeeper’s Wife, based on the New York Times best selling book, 

opens March 2017.
Image result for w.w. norton publishers logo

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

The Road to Paradise: A Vintage National Parks Novel (Shadows of the Wilderness #1)
ISBN: 9780735289543
Publisher's Synopsis:
In 1927, Margie Lane, an avid naturalist, convinces her Senator father to procure her a position at the fledgling Mount Rainier National Park. Since Ranger Ford Brannon lost his father in a climbing accident, he doubts his ability to protect the park and its many visitors. He certainly doesn't relish the job of watching over an idealistic and privileged young woman with no practical survival skills.
When Margie's former fiance sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, Margie and Ford will have to work together to preserve the beauty and simplicity of this mountain hideaway, but the developer's plans might put more than just the park in danger."

"The promised view of the mountain peak waited, 
cloaked in mist like a tissue-wrapped gift not ready to be unveiled."
MrsK's Review:
Margie Lane is more than a naturalist, she is dedicated and committed to preserving our National Parks. With a dream and hope, Margie is finally given the opportunity to work at the Mount Rainier National Park. With high expectations, her cherished botany and zoology books, and enough "grit" to meet the mountain head on... Margie will soon discover that sometimes the Lord might put you in a situation in order to open a door for Him.  

Ranger "Ford" Brayden is not at all pleased that he is being asked to "over see" a female whose father is a Senator. Just what is he suppose to do with her? First things first, he would put her in the oldest cabin where there would be no "wealthy" accommodations. Then he would assign her to someone else.

Ford decides to introduce Margie to his friend Luke the caretaker of Paradise Inn with hopes that she would agree to giving "fireside talks" to visitors. What he didn't anticipate was the connection she had with some of the dignitaries that would be attending a fund raiser. Of course he knew that the Senator would be on the list, but why was Margie having problems with Philip Carmichael?

Margie is determined to make her mark as a naturalist. She enjoys her discussions and outings with the visitors. To her, being on the mountain is like being wrapped in God's embrace. She even has a little house-critter that has become a welcomed guest. Yet, when ever she is around Ranger Ford something seems so unsettling. Of course her ex-boyfriend is causing way too much trouble and things are about to get even more out of control when Philip offers a challenge.

I was taken by surprise by these characters, the beautifully detailed settings, and a triumphant ending. This will not be the only Barnett novel you experience...
"A person --a man-- has to earn the right to that title.
You're not a ranger. Just a -- a naturalist.
And here on trial, at that."
Wonderfully Enjoyable!
To be in a Natural Park setting...
To enjoy quick wit and true grit...
Continue reading about other courageous women of Mt. Rainer. 
Meet the Author:
Karen   Barnett Karen Barnett is the award-winning author of the Golden Gate Chronicles (Out of the Ruins, Beyond the Ashes, Through the Shadows) and MISTAKEN. She lives in Oregon with her husband, two kids, and a bevy of furry friends.
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The House Girl by Tara Conklin

The House Girl
ISBN: 9780062207517
Publisher's Synopsis:
Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career: she must find the “perfect plaintiff” to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.

It is through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy roiling the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine’s would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit—if Lina can find one. While following the runaway girl’s faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: How did Lina’s mother die? And why will he never speak about her?

Moving between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing, suspenseful and heartbreaking tale of art and history, love and secrets, explores what it means to repair a wrong and asks whether truth is sometimes more important than justice.
"On the open page of her notebook, Lina wrote,
'Nature of the harm----slavery.'"
MrsK's Review:
In 1852, Josephine knows she is going to run. There are so many freedoms that Josephine wanted to experience. Simple every day choices like eating when she was hungry, choosing what to wear, smiling and loving... all of which a slave can not do. 

Mister and Missus Lu have a tobacco farm, Bell Creek, in Virginia. So much has gone wrong, yet the Mister was not a man Josephine had pity for. He was a cruel man. Missus Lu is much worse and even her art work can not keep her from the sick bed. Every moment in which she is not sleeping, she is relying on Josephine.

In 2004, Lina Sparrow is a litigation associate at Clifton & Harp LLP. Lina's father is an artist whose living has always been meager. Her mother is only a memory. A memory in which Lina isn't sure if it is a true memory or perhaps a desired memory. Her father has kept all things about her mother a secret until he decided it was a good idea to begin painting her mother. And now, he wanted her to view them. With so much on her mind and in her schedule, she was not prepared for a new case. Especially one of reparation. A reparation that would be offered to the fourth or fifth generation of slaves or ex-slaves.

Written with characters whose voices echo within your heart, settings that are vividly portrayed, and masterfully crafted emotions true to "real-time" experiences you will be beckoned with in the story itself. Uniquely woven between Lina's personal life and her litigation research is a design in which, you become the story's weaver with each thread of Josephine's story as soon as Lina discovers it.
The message is as moving as the story, timely and yet powerful. As an educator this story caused me to ponder what we have forgotten when raising the next generation. In today's world, would any of our children or grandchildren care about Josephine's story or just the reparation pay out?
"The harm is immeasurable."
Inspiring, yet unsettling.
Be prepared to sense a calling towards doing your part in making the world better!

Meet the Author:
 Tara Conklin Tara Conklin was born on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands and raised in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Yale University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and New York University School of Law. A joint US-UK citizen, Tara now lives with her family in Seattle. The House Girl is her first novel.

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering

Murder on the Moor (Drew Farthering Mystery #5)
ISBN: 9780764218286
Publisher's Synopsis:
At the urgent request of an old school friend, Drew and Madeline Farthering come to Bloodworth Park Lodge in the midst of the Yorkshire moors, a place as moody and mysterious as a BrontE hero. There have been several worrisome incidents out on the moor--property destroyed, fires started, sheep and cattle scattered--and worst of all, the vicar has been found dead on the steps of the church.

Drew's friend is obviously smitten with his bride of eight months, though it's hard to imagine what she sees in the awkward man. Drew can't help wondering if her affections lie more with the man's money and estate, while her romantic interests focus on their fiery Welsh gamekeeper. As the danger grows ever closer, it's up to Drew to look past his own prejudices, determine what is really going on, and find the killer before it's too late.

MrsK's Review:
At Farthering Place, Drew and Madeline are relaxing before the library fireplace "nestled in" while reading Jane Eyre. There was no indication that there had been any murder, no conversations about old friends. Just a relaxing night in, until Drew receives a phone request to come investigate the murder of a Vicar in Bunting's Nest. It has been years since Drew had spoken with "Beaky" Bloodsworth, it would be "rather interesting" to visit his family's lodge and investigate the Vicar's death.

Beaky Bloodsworth is quite distraught about the death of their Vicar. His bride, Sabrina, is getting more unsettled with imaginings about hauntings, sheep with throats torn out, and the barghest legend. Given her "feelings" of being watched while she is on the moor is very disturbing for Beaky. Just what or who is behind these unusual and unsettling capers?

Sabrina Bloodsworth is a new bride, new to Bunting's Nest, new to her husband's family lodge, and quite new to the warnings about the moor. Although she appears to have no concerns about the "hauntings," she is unsettled whenever she returns from her walks on the moor. Even more unsettling for her are the large paw prints found in the upper floor area of the old north wing.

Given another murder, the discovery of a mysterious hideout on the moor, and the attempted sabotage to Sabrina's car, Drew and Madeline are quickly discovering that there are many suspects and only one logical explanation as to the connection between Sabrina, these unfortunate events, as well as the identity of the possible villain.

The moors... what images do you have of Yorkshire moors? Do you sense the chilling mists? Is there a feeling of impending doom? Do the winds push you stumbling into areas that seem haunted? If you are familiar with mysterious happenings on the "moors," then this is a must read!
"Bad company corrupts good morals."

Delightfully enjoyable!
This husband and wife detective team is unbelievably entertaining!
I felt like I was back in the day with Topper!
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

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir
ISBN: 9781101906750
Publisher's Synopsis:
As England enters World War II's dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar's stuffy edict to shutter the church's choir in the absence of men and instead 'carry on singing'. Resurrecting themselves as "The Chilbury Ladies' Choir", the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives.

Told through letters and journals, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit -- a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn't understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past -- we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir's collective voice reverberates in her individual life.

"Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir?
 And precisely when we need it most!"
MrsK's Review:
During the early days of WWII, this small English village will become astonished by the determination of the Ladies' choir. Not only will they defy the local Vicar, they will face many of their own struggles as they prepare for a competition in which men are a requirement. Five women will provide background knowledge, insights, point of views, and ultimately the culminating truth about the joys and sorrows of a small village and its war efforts. 

Mrs. Tilling knows first hand what war "feels" like. Her son David has just enlisted and now that the reality of funerals has come home to Chilbury she will find herself linked to war efforts beyond the headlines. She heard that writing your thoughts in a journal will help in times of stress. Her journal will provide a framework, one in which we will view all of the living within the village.  She can be the force behind the Ladies' choir if she is willing to step beyond her comfort level and embrace living. Of course she will get a supportive nudge by a renter known as the Colonel.

Edwina Paltry is a midwife. She has dreams of buying back her childhood home for her sister Clara. Through a series of letters to Clara, we discover the depth of her desired goal and at what cost will she be influenced to attain that goal. Her voice is disturbing. Her deceptive behavior keeps you on guard.

Kitty Winthrop comes from an affluent family. She has one older sister, Venetia. Her older brother was killed in the North Sea. Her father is a Brigadier and occasionally travels to London. In her diary entries, the village, the people, and the choir is vividly portrayed. Her ambition is to be singing before an audience in London and Paris. The war will bring a maturity to her young voice, yet some choices will create an ugly outcome in which Kitty will need forgiveness.

Venetia Winthrop is a young adult who has decided that she wants more than what Chilbury can offer. An inspiring artist, Mr. Slater, has come to Chilbury and entices Venetia to be his portrait model. Venetia agrees and becomes hooked in all of the wondrous thrills of young love. For her, the war efforts and the choir will be less important. Through a series of letters to her friend Angela, Venetia will reveal the truth about young love. When Mr. Slater vanishes, Venetia will face a crossroad in which she will choose the support from those whom have been in her life all a long. 

Silvie is a young cousin who has been sent to live out the war at the Winthrops. Through her diary entries, with the candid voice of a youngster we learn what happens within the Winthrop's home. Her descriptions of the air-raids and bombings are reminders that this war was in fact reality.

As with any historical fiction about war time, a reader expects certain depth in characterization and plot. There are many fractured lives in a village that wasn't prepared for the devastation of war-time occupation. 
Worth reading!
Meet the Author:
 Jennifer    Ryan  Hello, I'm the author of The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, which came out in February, 2017. It is my very first novel. Before becoming a writer, I was a nonfiction book editor, editing books about politics and economics, travel and health, and biography and memoir. I worked in London before moving to the Washington, DC, area ten years ago with my husband and two children.

I was born in a village in Kent, England, not too far away from the fictional village of Chilbury. The novel is based on the stories of my grandmother who was twenty when the Second World War began, mostly hilarious tales about bumping into people in the blackout, singing in the air raid shelters, and the freedoms women had during the war years--the excitement and romance. She also belonged to a choir, and her choir stories dramatized the camaraderie and support they all took away; the knowledge that they weren't in this alone. The Chilbury Ladies' Choir uses my dear grandmother's stories as its backdrop.
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
Penguin Random House

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

It Happened in Scotland by Patience Griffin

It Happened in Scotland (Kilts and Quilts, #6)
ISBN: 9780451476401
Publisher's Synopsis:
After pulling herself out of a three-year fog of grief over the loss of her husband, Joe, Rachel is bringing their five-year-old daughter to see his hometown of Gandiegow and visit with his grandfather. But Rachel wasn’t planning on running into Joe’s cousin, the man who made her have second thoughts at the altar...

Brodie has come home to help his grandfather’s fishing business, but he’d prefer not to see Rachel. Although she did break his heart six years ago, the grip she has on him hasn’t faltered. If they can stop butting heads long enough and learn to overcome the past, they may find new love in the new year.
Christmas in the sleepy Scottish fishing village of Gandiegow this year is a time for quilting, 
patching up broken hearts, and rekindling an old flame...

MrsK's Review:
Rachel Granger has brought her daughter to Glasgow. Even though this is a trip she doesn't want to make, she knows it is time for Hannah to meet her great-grandfather. It had been years since she had been back in the village, a time when marriage to Joe was interrupted by a love not forgotten and the unwanted moment when she buried Joe. Neither time brought peace, nor a village that was kind to her. Yet, here she was. Would she find the elusive peace, joy, and love that her heart once walked away from? If confronted with a second-chance decision will she embrace it or walk away? 

Cait is the owner of the Kilts and Quilts retreat. During the plane trip, Cait befriended Rachel and has helped to alter more than hotel accomodations. Just what can one open-invitation of friendship do in someone's life...plenty!
"Ye're back."
Why hadn't Brodie's friend let him know that Cait was on the plane? Once again Brodie Wallace would have to move beyond his feelings, after all Cait is just another "heartless woman." Why is she back in Gandiegow? Years ago he gave his heart to Cait, now that she is back his unrest will bring either the greatest gift of a love rekindled or that of complete frustration with a decision to escape.

Abraham is Brodie's grandfather, a man respected by many but guilty of many life-changing judgements. Cait must stay with them for Christmas, now is the time for him to correct those past hurts.

Since this is my first book in the Kilts and Quilts series, I must say that I couldn't have been more surprised with these characters. They are strong-willed, they are "quirky" and they are so comfortable. Although quilting isn't the main subject, the value and passion for quilting is woven throughout the storyline with a final project that honors the tradition of a quilt to be treasured. Their lifestyle and village is a destination you want to come "home" to again and again.

Thank you Patience for such a wonderful retreat!
Very enjoyable!
The type of journey you need every once in awhile,
especially when you want to feel like going on
a retreat with a friend.
Meet the Author:
Patience Griffin
Award-winning author Patience Griffin has been writing and sewing her whole life but didn't discover her love of quilting until her late thirties. She decided the best way to acquire her first quilt was to make one for herself. At nearly the same time, she started commuting three and half hours a day for her dream engineering job. To pass the time on the long drive, she got hooked on audiobooks-especially books with love stories. Within a couple of years, she was writing stories of her own. It was no surprise to her family and friends when she combined her love of quilting, her small town roots, and her obsession with Scottish romances into novels. She has gained some recognition with her September 11th Story Quilt which has toured the country as the property of the Pentagon. She has a master's degree in nuclear engineering but spends her days writing stories about hearth and home, and dreaming about the fictional small town of Gandiegow, Scotland.

"I received this book for this honest review by the author."

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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