Book Spotlight: Minibeasts with Jess French

With her unparalleled zeal for insects, Jess French dives headfirst into the breathtaking world of invertebrates to explore their unbelievable adaptations and evolution and reveal incredible invertebrates from all over the world, from bird-eating tarantulas and glow-in-the-dark scorpions to meter-long stick insects and bat-eating centipedes.

Learn about the perfect co-evolution of nectar-drinking insects and the flowers they pollinate and discover how minibeasts mate, fight, hide, collaborate, evolve, and survive in the most extreme conditions.

MY THOUGHTS: Let’s be honest. When it comes to bugs, you either love them or you hate them. A lot of that is conditioning from when we’re young. If a bee stings a five-year old, chances are that child we become an adult who detests bees. However, there are so many fascinating things about insects that it’s a shame to go through life hating them for being themselves. That’s why I love this book from Jess French.

She definitely has a way of seeing beauty in each bug, no matter how creepy it is. She’s proof of the childhood love-them-or-hate-them theory. Raised with an invertebrate-breeding father, she became accustomed to the ins and outs of creepy-crawlies. Her passion for them is evident all throughout the book.

Each full-color, intriguing picture shows details in the insects that one would never see normally. Her descriptions, explanation, and even choices with which bugs to showcase are fantastic. This is the type of book that gets kids excited about science. It is a must-have in your home school library. If you have a young reader who is currently petrified of anything that flies, crawls, or buzzes, you need to get a copy of this. It promotes a healthy attitude toward entomology and allows these often misunderstood creatures a chance to ‘wow’ kids.

‘Minibeasts’ is a great read for any age (even adults). I highly recommend it.

Bloomsbury Wildlife | Publication date: May 8th, 2018
$18 | Paperback original | 128 pages | ISBN: 9781472939555
**Pic and Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.
*I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.


BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Neeka and the Squirrel Highway: Charlie Wes Harris

SYNOPSIS: Educator and author Charlie Wes Harris has recently released “Neeka and the Squirrel Highway,” a children’s story based on a real-life event his daughter experienced.

The book describes what happens when Neeka comes home from school and finds a furry surprise on her parents’ bed. What she thinks is a pair of brown socks turns out to be a sleeping squirrel.

When the squirrel sees Neeka, he is terribly frightened and tries to find a way to escape. Neeka is also afraid, but with her family’s help, she faces her fears and sets the squirrel free—after he’s had a good time exploring their house.

“The book is designed as an easy reader for elementary school kids but may also be used for the preliterate,” Harris said. “I knew this would make a fascinating story for children, as it actually happened to my daughters Neeka and Angela during their childhood.”

The book has received critical acclaim, with Foreword and Clarion Reviews describing the book as “an enjoyable and inventive story, offering an amusing reaction to a startling event, that will certainly appeal to young audiences.”

“Neeka and the Squirrel Highway” will not only entertain children, but also teach them how to face their fears and overcome them.

MY THOUGHTS: I can’t stress enough how much I loved this book!
The illustrations are simply gorgeous. Each page is beautifully drawn with incredible detail and realism. Every reader can truly feel a connection to the story through these amazing depictions.

As for the story itself, Mr. Harris has done an incredible job of writing from the viewpoints of both the child and her parents. Both see the world differently and Mr. Harris nailed those differences. Here, we see a family, filled with love, who are guiding their children through the obstacles of the rights and wrongs in life. Instead of simply discarding one squirrel, they take the time to show their children the value of that one life. It’s a beautiful message.

Through the squirrel’s adventure into their home, Neeka learns that she can make a difference, as an individual, by showing compassion and thinking of others’ feelings. Her parents teach her that she shouldn’t let her fears keep her from doing the right thing. It’s a powerful life lesson and such an important one for today’s children.

Hopefully, Mr. Harris will pen many more books whether they be about Neeka or other, thoughtful children. We need more of these books in the hands of young readers. Fabulous! I give it 5 stars and a round of applause.

About the author
Charlie Wes Harris was born and grew up in Auburn, Alabama. His career has been divided between academic and US Government service in Washington, DC. He was Senior Specialist (GS-18, prior SES) and Division Chief at the Congressional Research Service. He is former professor and associate dean at Howard University along with part-time professor at Georgetown University. Harris has authored five scholarly books and monographs and a lead article in the Catholic University Law Review. This is his first book of fiction and his first book for children. He is the father of two adult daughters and has five grandchildren.

**Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Book Spotlight: The Irish Inheritance: M.J. Lee

SYNOPSIS: June 8, 1921. Ireland.
A British Officer is shot dead on a remote hillside south of Dublin.
November 22, 2015. United Kingdom.
Former police detective, Jayne Sinclair, now working as a genealogical investigator, receives a phone call from an adopted American billionaire asking her to discover the identity of his real father.
How are the two events linked?
Jayne Sinclair has only three clues to help her: a photocopied birth certificate, a stolen book and an old photograph. And it soon becomes apparent somebody else is on the trail of the mystery. A killer who will stop at nothing to prevent Jayne discovering the secret hidden in the past
The Irish Inheritance takes us through the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence, combining a search for the truth of the past with all the tension of a modern-day thriller.
It is the first in a series of novels featuring Jayne Sinclair, genealogical detective.

MY THOUGHTS:Jayne Sinclair plays our no-nonsense, female lead. She brings her baggage with her. As an ex-cop, she has PTSD and martial problems as a result. When we first meet up with her, she’s just come from her sister-in-law’s funeral. We meet her when she is at her most flawed, needing a major distraction.
Her husband can be approached from both sides. True, he is self-centered and not the understand type. But, it’s also true, that he has stood by Jayne’s side through her partner’s death and a change of career. As to whether the two will come out strong, the reader will have to discover.
The plot was quite intriguing. Not many fictional novels involve the Easter Rising, a pivotal moment in Irish History. In fact, most of what I read was new to me. Our author deserves credit for interweaving the historical components with present day. Had Jayne not had the tech know-how, it would have been impossible for her to even work the case.
It was nice to read about a seldom covered, historically significant event. Her client, a billionaire, isn’t the nicest chap, but in the hearts of readers, you want him to discover his roots. The twists in the ending chapters give the book it’s second wind. It finishes strong.
As a first outing in the series, it’s a 3.5-star novel. I will continue with the series. I look forward to the new history lessons and what will become of our Jayne.
**Synopsis belongs solely to the author/publisher

Good Friday

The Crucifixion of Jesus21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. [28] [a] 29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.The Death of Jesus33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died,[c] he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph,[d] and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.The Burial of Jesus42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.Mark 16 New International Version (NIV)Jesus Has Risen16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”


*Used from


Book Blitz: Promises To Keep: Claire Yezbak Fadden

Promises To Keep
By Claire Yezbak Fadden
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Mystery,Thriller

About the Book
Love, Secrets, and Lies…
Kate Jameson married the man of her dreams. Her real-life hero. A man who wouldn’t abandon her the way her father had—or so she thought. Weeks after their son’s birth, her husband is suddenly pulled away for a business trip that takes him out of the country. But something isn’t right. His truths aren’t adding up. Kate digs into his past, determined to learn what he’s hiding. But unraveling this endless mystery draws her into a maze of lies, family secrets and deadly consequences.
For twenty years, undercover CIA agent Eric Wiley lived for one reason—to avenge his parents’ brutal deaths. Until he marries Kate. Eric promises her a life of love and commitment, but competing promises constantly collide, offering him little chance of keeping either. When an informant lures him to Mexico, Eric thinks his goal of apprehending an elusive killer will be realized. Leaving his family for a few short days, weeks at the most, would be worth the prize.
Can this final mission bring closure and allow Eric to be the husband Kate deserves and the father he yearns to be? Or will their destiny remain mired in the secrets of his past, leaving them powerless to embrace their present?


He walked to where she stood and kissed her cheek before embracing his wife and son in a group hug. “I feel damn lucky this emergency didn’t come up sooner.”
He brushed her arm, noting the goosebumps prickling against his palm.
“If that call had come before Benjamin’s birth, would you have left and missed seeing your son be born?” she asked.
How could he answer without adding more lies to the growing mountain of falsehoods he’d already fabricated? As far as she knew, he was committed to his profession as an importer for his parents’ chain of discount stores. The success of his mission—and possibly his safety—depended on her believing that version.
“Of course not.” Eric told her what she wanted to hear.
Kate smiled at the way Eric’s eyebrows arched in his hopeless attempts to get Benjamin’s attention. For the past twenty minutes, she held their son in an awkward posture in front of her desktop computer camera, coaxing a somewhat sleeping baby to greet his father. Up until a few seconds ago, their son displayed little interest. She knew the squirming had more to do with hunger than his eagerness to interact with his dad.
Kate had waited all day for Eric to call. She needed to see his face, stubbled with a five-o’clock shadow, even if it was through her computer screen. She shifted Benjamin to her other arm. This must be how military families with one parent deployed feel.
This wasn’t the marriage she signed up for. Twenty minutes over a video call couldn’t substitute for his presence. It could be exhaustion or not getting regular sleep, but she wondered if the man she married was more like her father in ways she hadn’t anticipated. Eric wasn’t an alcoholic, a wifebeater or a deadbeat. But neither was Monica’s husband, Brad. Kate had witnessed how her brother-in-law’s sins nearly ripped the soul of their family apart.
There were all sorts of ways to abandon your wife and desert your family. Just because she was most familiar with the ones her father implemented, didn’t mean that she and her sisters wouldn’t suffer from other approaches. Separated by hundreds of miles without knowing when he would return qualified as desertion of a type. At least in Kate’s mind.

About the Author

When she’s not playing with her granddaughters, Pennsylvania native Claire Yezbak Fadden is writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her books feature strong women who overcome life’s challenges, always putting their families first.
There’s a special spot in Claire’s heart for carousel horses – quite possibly the result of watching “Mary Poppins” 13 times as a young girl. She loves butterflies, ladybugs and confetti! Just ask anyone who’s received a birthday card from her.
The mother of three lives in Orange County, California with her husband, Nick and three spoiled dogs.
Claire’s work as an award-winning journalist, humor columnist and editor has appeared in more than 100 publications across the United States, Canada and Australia. Promises To Keep is the second novel in her Begin Again series.

Buy Links.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Kobo

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Book Spotlight: 3 Awesome New Hockey Books From Sport’s Ilustrated Kids

SYNOPSIS: “Hockey: Then to WOW! shows readers how the cool sport has evolved from the early days of its 19th century origins to the game as it is today. Using NHL action photographs, illustrations, stories, and trivia, the book is a journey through time both for hockey fans and those new to the game. Kids will learn how basic equipment has changed from a ball to a puck and how the evolution of game strategy has transformed the sport, players, and equipment. Players throughout history are stacked up against each other in every position so fans can dream up the perfect fantasy team with Wayne Gretzky playing alongside Patrick Roy and Stan Mikita. A fun-filled section of the book explores everything fan culture—from the best ice rinks, to the iconic hockey sweater and the hockey haircut along with key aspects of the toughest sport around.”
SYNOPSIS:”The puck drops, skates flash, and sticks fly-a hockey game is underway! With a fun mix of Sports Illustrated action photography, simple text, a full glossary of terms, and cool graphics, My First Book of Hockey introduces readers to the basics. Kids (and maybe a few adults, too!) will learn how power plays work, how the three-period game flows, what a hat trick is, what’s up with the referee’s crease, and more.
An illustrated “rookie” character appears on every page, guiding the reader moment by moment, and helping to make My First Book of Hockey an ideal shared reading experience between parents and their young rookies before, during, and after the game.”
“There is no greater authority on all things sports than Sports Illustrated magazine. Now, they turn their expert eye to the action on the ice in the fourth book in the bestselling “Greatest” Series with Hockey’s Greatest, which takes you onto the ice and into history like no other book about hockey ever has.

Who is the greatest goalie of all-time, Patrick Roy or Dominik Hasek? Where does Martin Brodeur land in the rankings? Would fans select Sidney Crosby or Mario Lemieux as the better center? Sports Illustrated has polled its hockey experts to determine the top 10 in more than 15 categories, including best rivalry, best single-season team, and best game in history.

SI’s stunning photography and classic stories from the Sports Illustrated archives accompany every ranking, making this the most authoritative survey of the sport of hockey available, and the perfect gift for anyone who revels in the fast-paced, oftentimes bloody action on the ice.”

MY THOUGHTS: Being that we live so close to Pittsburgh, we hear about hockey year round. I’ll be honest, though, we aren’t a sports-oriented family so I don’t know a lot about the game. But, the ‘Rookie’ volume does a tremendous job of describing and defining all aspects of hockey. Younger readers and novices (like me!) will be able to easily understand the rules and the basics of hockey. If you have a child who is thinking of trying out for a team, this would be the perfect read for them. I’m also a fan of the rookie character who walks them through the book.

As for the two other titles, I’d describe them as being a reference material. Sport’s Illustrated is a household name and go-to for all things sports. ‘Hockey: Then to WOW!’ doubles as a sports/history book. If you happen to have a reluctant reader in your house who also happens to be a sports fan, this book is a perfect choice. Geared for ages 8+, readers time travel from the early days of the sport to the present. The photography is phenomenal as are the illusrations. Much has changed over the years and fans will enjoy every minute.

‘Hockey’s Greatest’ is an amazing compilation. When I first saw it, my reaction was, ‘Wow!’ Each of the 15 categories covered jumps off the pages with its stunning photography. Consider it the ultimate guide to sports Trivial Pursuit. Anything you would want to know about hockey is covered. I can’t imagine that there is a better reference material available for hockey- anywhere. It truly is a magnificent piece. Even if you’re not the most avid fan, the pictures alone make the book worth it’s price.

When it comes to sports, go with the experts- Sport’s Illustrated. These three new titles from their Sport’s Illustrated Kids series are perfectly put together and will consume readers for hours on end. 5 stars for SI !

*I received the aforementioned titles in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
**The synopsis/pics belong solely to the author(s)/publisher.

Book Spotlight: 3 Great Children’s Titles from David A. Adler

SYNOPSIS:“Where is Michael’s homework? Michael’s sock, book and homework are missing. Can Danny and My Dog solve the mystery? My Dog gets lost a lot and is always looking for food. But Danny knows My Dog is really a great detective. This classic story from renowned children’s author David Adler will delight young readers.”
SYNOPSIS:“Aaron’s bike is missing, but the lock wasn’t broken. Danny and My Dog follow a trail of popcorn and a path of baby powder as they search the neighborhood. My Dog eats the clues while Danny wonders why his friends are acting strange. Can My Dog find the bicycle? Danny has 100 percent confidence he will.”

SYNOPSIS:Eli Zipperbaum, better known as Jelly Eli Z., is a great kid, but he doesn’t always pay attention in class. He would rather daydream and eat his jelly beans while Mr. Moscowitz discusses how many children George Washington had. But then something strange happens that does grab Jelly Eli’s full attention. It starts with his teacher staring at him, during class. Then the principal peeks through the window and stares at him, too. Is Jelly Eli in some kind of trouble? But why?


I am thrilled to bring you these three titles. I was (and still am) a huge fan of Mr. Adler’s ‘Cam Jensen’ series. Each one of these books provides a wholesome reading experience.

In the ‘My Dog’ series, we have a boy (hero) who is an independent thinker. Even though there are moments when his friends tell him to stop looking into the mysteries, he perseveres. In one scene, they even tell him how his dog isn’t smart and Danny stands strong, defending his pup. Children need main characters that stand tall, do the right thing, and press on when things get difficult. They find that in Danny.

Both the mysteries are logical and it’s plausible that 2nd/3rd grade readers will be able to at least come up with a close guess. They’ll have the satisfaction of completing the plot of the mystery beforehand if they’re able. I’m a fan of mysteries for kids because it requires them to become a part of the story, figuring things out and working their brains a bit. Both of these titles are well-crafted mysteries and I give them 4 stars along with a recommendation.

‘Teacher Trouble For Jelly Eli Z.’ isn’t so much a mystery as it is a realistic telling of a teacher-student interaction. The issue Eli faces is relatable and probably has occurred in most children’s lives. The issue in the story is not nearly as important as how Eli handles it. Instead of fighting and arguing with his teacher, Eli gains an understanding of putting himself in someone else’s shoes and trying to make a change within himself in order to help another person. It’s a fantastic life lesson. This was my favorite of the three. Four stars for Jelly Eli Z., too.

Mr. Adler continues to write kid’s books that are fun, thought-provoking and entertaining. I hope these will be as popular for him as the Cam Jensen books have been. Find his works through his publisher or your local book retailer.

All three are available via Amazon or through
*I received the aforementioned titles in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
**Pics/synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.