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)

Thursday, December 24, 2020

2020 Holiday Reads

Holiday reads + Cup of Wassel = Precious Downtime 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 28, 2020

2020 Favorite Amish Reads


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 23, 2020

2020 Favorite Reads

Perfect reads for giving...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Peace, Locomotion
ISBN: 9780399246555
Publisher's Synopsis:
Twelve-year-old Lonnie is finally feeling at home with his foster family. But because he's living apart from his little sister, Lili, he decides it's his job to be the "rememberer" and write down everything that happens while they're growing up. Lonnie's musings are bittersweet; he's happy that he and Lili have new families, but though his new family brings him joy, it also brings new worries. With a foster brother in the army, concepts like Peace have new meaning for Lonnie.

Told through letters from Lonnie to Lili, this thought-provoking companion to Jacqueline Woodson's National Book Award finalist Locomotion tackles important issues in captivating, lyrical language. Lonnie's reflections on family, loss, love and peace will strike a note with readers of all ages.

"I think it it's..."
Imagine Peace by Lonnie Collins Motion
MrsK's Review:
As a reader, there are always certain characters that speak into your heart. Those that you never forget as the years and titles move forward. As an educator, there are certain book discussions, in which your students are so engaged that you are touched with inspiration. Locomotion was one of those experiences. So when a new generation of learners wanted to read Poetic Novels, Locomotion was my first choice. As I created a list of titles, I was thrilled to discover Peace, Locomotion!

Lonnie, aka Locomotion, continues to hope that one day he will be old enough to be the guardian of his little sister Lili. He has continued his writing, only now he is writing hope-filled letters to Lili. His school life has changed, or maybe fallen back into a place less inspired. Yet, because of his academic slump, he has chosen to write Lili's letters to ensure that their memories of life before the fire won't fade away into a "grayness" that has become "real, real quiet" in their minds. He is gathering all of these letters into a box of "Before Time" for the time when Lili is once again living with him.

What is Locomotion's newest challenge? He has a teacher that believes he can't be a poet without being published. So many times, a small comment can cause a student to choose to disengage in ways that spiral out of control! Living in Miss Edna's home, Lonnie is met with a realization that in this foster location there are words like home, son, brother, and comfortable moments of love and support. Turning 12 will be a year of cherishing his before the fire life and learning to embrace his before "as a man" life unfolds. Will he remain hope-filled about his little sister's "new" before life?

Clyde is the friend that helps Locomotion regain his "for real" now life. Sometimes in life a stranger or someone who once seems like a foe, in reality becomes a life time friend. Clyde is honest. His honesty creates a "sounding board," a type of regulator for Locomotion. While Locomotion tries to come to terms with his new season of life, Clyde shares more about his own home. This form of bonding encourages Locomotion to move forward into an acceptance and freedom.

Through Locomotion's acceptance of his life with Miss Edna and her sons, he begins writing to Lili a "one true thing" for the day. These letters become an exposure to the depth of a "for real" family life. For the first time since the fire, Locomotion is now willing to accept that his little sister has a "for real" life in a family that he wasn't ready to support.

This sequel is as moving and inspiring as the first novel. The weaving of words, emotions, hopes, and acceptance portrays a realistic plot that creates an inner peace about how these characters are growing up. It is with much hope... that this reader eagerly waits Locomotion's next season...
"I think if you imagine it....
Then it can happen,...."
 Both titles are crafted with a character with heart,
true grit, and a voice that requires an audience.
Publisher's Synopsis:
When Lonnie Collins Motion "Locomotion" was seven years old, his life changed forever. Now he's eleven, and his life is about to change again. His teacher, Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper. And suddenly, Lonnie has a whole new way to tell the world about his life, his friends, his little sister Lili, and even his foster mom, Miss Edna, who started out crabby but isn’t so bad after all. Jacqueline Woodson’s novel-in-poems is humorous, heartbreaking . . . a triumph.

Meet the Author:
Jacqueline Woodson  I used to say I’d be a teacher or a lawyer or a hairdresser when I grew up but even as I said these things, I knew what made me happiest was writing.

I wrote on everything and everywhere. I remember my uncle catching me writing my name in graffiti on the side of a building. (It was not pretty for me when my mother found out.) I wrote on paper bags and my shoes and denim binders. I chalked stories across sidewalks and penciled tiny tales in notebook margins. I loved and still love watching words flower into sentences and sentences blossom into stories.

I also told a lot of stories as a child. Not “Once upon a time” stories but basically, outright lies. I loved lying and getting away with it! There was something about telling the lie-story and seeing your friends’ eyes grow wide with wonder. Of course I got in trouble for lying but I didn’t stop until fifth grade.

That year, I wrote a story and my teacher said “This is really good.” Before that I had written a poem about Martin Luther King that was, I guess, so good no one believed I wrote it. After lots of brouhaha, it was believed finally that I had indeed penned the poem which went on to win me a Scrabble game and local acclaim. So by the time the story rolled around and the words “This is really good” came out of the otherwise down-turned lips of my fifth grade teacher, I was well on my way to understanding that a lie on the page was a whole different animal — one that won you prizes and got surly teachers to smile. A lie on the page meant lots of independent time to create your stories and the freedom to sit hunched over the pages of your notebook without people thinking you were strange.

Lots and lots of books later, I am still surprised when I walk into a bookstore and see my name on a book’s binder. Sometimes, when I’m sitting at my desk for long hours and nothing’s coming to me, I remember my fifth grade teacher, the way her eyes lit up when she said “This is really good.” The way, I — the skinny girl in the back of the classroom who was always getting into trouble for talking or missed homework assignments — sat up a little straighter, folded my hands on the desks, smiled and began to believe in me.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Secret of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

The Secrets of Paper and Ink
ISBN: 9780718075729
Publisher's Synopsis:
A year after the death of her abusive fiancé, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England--a place she's learned to love through the words of her favorite author--and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she's renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

Two hundred years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily's journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth. The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.
"Hello, new friend.
I must say, the hollow of this tree is the 
perfect location to leave you a note."
From the girl at the tree... Emily
MrsK's Review:
During the last ninety-two days, Sophia's life had changed. Once a strong calling, her work at the LifeSong Women's Counseling center became an overwhelming fork in the road. On the wall was her certificate proclaiming that she was a Licensed Professional Counselor, a truth that could not be taken from her. David could no longer hurt her, it was time to step back into life, after all that is why she had spent the past ninety-two days recovering... getting stronger... ready to start life again.

Ginny Rose had come to Cornwall, England five years ago. Rosebud Books had opened and she had spent these past years keeping her husband's dream afloat  as he was in London "thinking."  Even though the people of Port Willis had accepted Ginny, book sales had dwindled, and Ginny had to find a way to keep Rosebud's doors open.

Rosebud Books, a welcomed place for all who entered its doors. A place of security and hope for Sophia. A dream that turned into a reality that Ginny wasn't sure how to save. A gathering place for many in the community. A place in which a journey through time would begin to show its worth through the journals of Emily.

In 1856, Emily began penning, as she defined it, about her simple life. For Emily, her thoughts became "etched" upon the pages. Telling of the days as they were weaving her story of a decade of choices.

Many of our reading choices resonate within us. As our lives unfold, there are those choices in which our path reaches a fork that only you will decide, in which way, you will go. Many of those choices begin painfully, then at some unexpected point, someone enters your day and a new season begins. All three of these characters bring to life a determination, inspiring hope, and a smile of assurance about life being well lived.

Open this book when a little grain of hope is needed,
"All we have in life are the choices we make.
We must make choices we can live with...
and die with, if it comes to that."
When a spring of hope brings forth new choices!
Meet the Author:
Lindsay Harrel  Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd with a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in English. She lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Lindsay has held a variety of jobs, including curriculum editor for two universities, medical and business writer, and copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Now she juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with working freelance jobs, teaching college English courses online, and—of course—writing novels.

When she actually has time to do other things, she loves to sing, read, and sip passion iced teas from Starbucks. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way.
"I received this book from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Indivisible by Travis Thrasher

ISBN; 9780785224051
Publisher's Synopsis:
Inspired by true events, 

Indivisible is a story of love, service, and finding each other all over again.
Darren and Heather Turner share a passion for serving God, family, and country. When Darren is deployed to Iraq as an army chaplain, Heather vows to serve military families back home as she cares for the couple’s three young children.

Darren knows he’s overseas to support the troops in their suffering as their chaplain. What he doesn’t know is how he will get through his own dark moments. And as communication from Darren dwindles, Heather wonders what is happening in her husband’s heart. Meanwhile, she’s growing weary in the day-to-day life of a military base—each child’s milestone Darren will never see, each month waiting for orders, each late-night knock on the door.

When Darren returns, he is no longer the husband Heather once knew. She is no longer the woman Darren wed. And so it’s at home that the Turners face their biggest battle: to save their marriage.

Based on the screen play by David Evans, Indivisible is a tribute to the beauty of serving our country, the courage of choosing love in the darkness, and the power of a God who never gives up hope.

"A wound that goes unacknowledged and unwept
is a wound that cannot heal."
John Eldridge, Wild At Heart
MrsK's Review:
It is rare that a prologue will become a unique perspective for the words that follow. When words "hook" you as a reader, you tend to turn the page with an expectation that either becomes an expectation or it evaporates as you read on. What would you expect from these words:
"So many special times to choose from. I have hundreds of good memories.
But we've stopped making new ones."
This is the story of a Chaplain, his experiences in the armed service, and his coming home to his wife, family, friends, and continued calling. The timeline begins pre-deployment in 2007 when Darren began listening to the "deep whispering" within. Things can get messy and uncomfortable when you choose to step out in faith. How do follow through with such an uncertain decision? This section is about daily living as a new reality is unfolding. It's beautiful strength is in the perfected weaving of scripture and narrative. It portrays a marriage that continued to build its relationship on an unshakable foundation. 
"No one prays harder for peace
than those of us in war!"
Deployment 2007 begins in May as Darren corresponds with his friends and family, especially Heather his wife. As with any separation, Darren's faith becomes a stronghold for his new normal. Nothing is ever safe, free from emotions, or endless as Darren is in the field. All of the men and women on assignment with him become a necessary family foundation, one in which one life touches another. Deployment, war, and death. Darren's hope endures but to what depth will he walk back home?

This novel is about faith in action. Courage is enduring the trials that we all have very little control over life and death issues... choices made are our only defense. Outcomes that wound us become stumbling blocks of survival. And yet, survival can turn into a "grit" of hope and new seasons.

A unique retelling about one man, one marriage, one life, death of many, and one walk of enduring faith. An inspirational read,
"In light of eternity, all of this is but a
grain of sand on the seashore."

A story of faith, love, and overcoming that which comes against us!
Meet the Author:
Travis Thrasher Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written over 50 books, spanning genres in fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. His inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes, celebrities and pastors.

With the childhood goal of pursuing a writing career starting in third grade, Thrasher worked for 13 years at Tyndale House Publishers after graduating college. His experience working with authors allowed him to understand the writing life as well as training him to work with a variety of personalities. This experience has proven to be valuable with co-writing projects.

His novels are as diverse as the people he’s worked with, ranging from love stories to supernatural thrillers. This storytelling ability has also allowed him to work with others on their books, from country musician and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery to Bill Klein and Jen Arnold, reality TV stars of The Little Couple. Upcoming projects continue to expand his talents, with projects including Olympic Pride, American Prejudice about the lives of the other 17 American black athletes who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and Baby Don’t Hurt Me about comedian Chris Kattan’s life and time on Saturday Night Live.

Travis lives with his wife and three young daughters in a suburb of Chicago and fittingly enough will have a children’s book entitled Brave Girls Confidential released later in 2017.

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

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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