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We’re Back!

It’s been a while. Lots of activity and moving. Life changes galore. BUT, I’m back with great new stories to tell!

Stay tuned!

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Posted in Book Reviews

Two New Butterfly Books to Celebrate Spring

THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books / $19.99 / April 2, 2019)
Step inside the butterfly house, where wonderful, winged insects await. Spot the sleepy oranges mud-puddling, the monarchs migrating, or the green swallowtail beating its shimmering wings. With information on many butterfly and moth families, this gift package is the perfect introduction to the world’s most beautiful insects.
The author
Alice Pattullo is an illustrator based in East London. She produces limited edition screen prints for exhibition and sale in various galleries and shops across the UK. Alongside this Alice works on commissioned illustrations for a variety of clients including Betty’s and Taylor’s of Harrogate, Bon Appetit, Esquire, Cecil Sharp House, Country Living, Crabtree and Evelyn, Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft, Design for Today, Faber, Nandos, National Trust, Sainsburys, The V&A Museum, and The Village Voice.
KATY FLINT is a children’s book author and editor, based in London. She is the author of the best-selling sound book The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker, and has worked on many other non-fiction titles – from human bodies to dinosaurs. She likes playing the violin and dog-spotting.
https://www.quartoknows.com/books/9781786039750/The-Butterfly-House.html
AND

HOW TO BE A BUTTERFLY (words & pictures / $17.95 / April 16, 2019)
A joyous, imaginative, yet informative non-fiction picture book about what it takes to be a butterfly – body parts, behavior and life cycle – with the underlying message that diversity is a wonderful thing. With labelled butterflies throughout, there is plenty for young nature lovers to spot and explore time and again.
Catell Ronca was born in Basel, Switzerland and lives and works in Lucerne. Catell graduated from the Royal College of Art in London and works for a variety of international clients in publishing, editorial and advertising. Her work is regularly recognised in Illustration Annuals. Her plant illustrations are expressive, bold, lively, and saturated in colour.
Laura Knowles has a background in children’s publishing and is the author of We Travel So Far, Once Upon a Jungle, The Coral Kingdom and It Starts with a Seed, winner of the 2017 Margaret Mallett Award for Children’s Non-fiction and shortlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2018. Her love of natural history, words and art have drawn her to work on books about animals and nature. https://www.quartoknows.com/books/9781786038845/How-to-Be-a-Butterfly.html

MY THOUGHTS: I am a big fan of both of these titles. In the Butterfly House’, we have the perfect reference guide for younger readers. Most children have a fascination with butterflies. There’s an almost magical simplicity to watching them silently fly. The school-age years are the perfect opportunity to nurture that fascination. By providing them with an educational yet appealing guidebook to what they’re seeing, they’ll be encouraged to continue learning about these amazing insects.
Those of us who often misidentify some moths and butterflies will also learn a great deal from the massive amount of information provided. Our author has done a fabulous job compiling over 100 species of them!
‘How to Be a Butterfly’ provides both a non-fiction, science viewpoint and a moral message of the beauty of diversity. After all, butterflies’ beauty lies in their diversity. Our author delivers 20,000 ways to be a butterfly. Now THAT’S diversity! But, the educational component is important too as readers are taught the anatomy, behavior, etc. of our winged friends.
Together, these books are an amazing find that need to be a part of any homeschool/classroom library. I was blown away by the amount of priceless information provided. Add to it the beautiful illustrations and you know these books will rarely remain on a shelf. I give them both 5 stars.
I RECEIVED THESE TITLES IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MINE. PIC/SYNOPSIS BELONG SOLELY TO THE AUTHORS/PUBLISHER.

Posted in Uncategorized

Guest Post: Teachable Moments from God Disguised as Setbacks

THIS GUEST POST WAS PROVIDED IN FULL BY PETER ROSENBERGER.

Teachable Moments from God Disguised as Setbacks
By Peter Rosenberger

At a support group I regularly attend, a soda machine dispensing perfectly chilled drinks hums quietly against the wall. While seemingly a small thing, I enjoy the meetings with a refreshing beverage—taking a break from challenging days.

Uncharacteristically, the machine deviated from our regular transactions and took my money without providing a drink. Slightly irritated, I called the number posted on the machine and left a message for the vendor. Explaining that the machine took my money, I trusted the owner to properly manage the issue. Returning the next week, I held my breath while clinking coins into the slot. Surprisingly, two sodas tumbled out!
Chalking it up to “balance,” I gave the second soda to a friend. Giving a glance at the machine, I felt, “Hey …we’re even.”

The next week, the machine took my money—again.

Repeating the Process
Following the prior procedure, I expected the glitch to work itself out again. This time, however, no satisfaction came. Shaking and tipping the machine failed. In addition, reaching my arm up the slot proved futile. After pointlessly feeling resentment at the machine and the anonymous vendor, I eventually accepted it was broken. Throwing up my hands, I brought a bottle of water from home. In doing so, I protected my money, health, and peace of mind.

A teachable moment for caregivers
Sometimes caregivers put our treasure—our self-worth and peace of mind—into broken individuals. Furthermore, those individuals often lack the ability to respond in a way we’d like or that is appropriate. This may cause us to feel rejected and discouraged. Changing our perspective, however, helps us see our expectations are resentments waiting to happen. Demanding someone do something they can’t is like trying to buy bread at a hardware store.

Hateful words from a broken source
A woman recently called our program for caregivers on American Family Radio to share about her elderly mother with dementia. While struggling to return her to bed following a fall, her mother spewed the most hateful things to this caller. Clenching her teeth through hot tears, she safely helped her mother, but then took a break. She needed to step away for a moment to collect her thoughts and remind herself that words from someone with dementia do not get to pass judgment on her self-worth. In doing so, she reminded herself that “…the machine was broken,” and she needed to protect the treasure of her heart.

In general, human beings struggle with allowing others, by their comments or behavior, to pass judgment on our self-worth. The same people that say you’re wonderful—can turn right around and say you’re lousy. Who do you believe? From dementia to narcotics, or from chronic pain to alcohol, impairments come in all shapes and sizes. Looking for affirmation from someone “broken” or toxic, brings pain and disappointment.

Whether sidelined by a disability’s logistics or trapped within our own dark thoughts, every caregiver struggles with Isolation. In that isolation, we are often subjected to the negative behaviors of the one we care for, or our own self-judgment. Rather than trust the treasure of our self-worth to broken machines—to broken people—there’s a purer and better source of value offered to us. Lest we forget, some of our most Teachable Moments from God come Disguised as Setbacks

A Greater Source of Worth and Love
When we see the Cross, we see the great esteem and love our Savior has for us. Accepting God’s inexhaustible and perfect love for us, allows us to hide our treasure—our worth—with and in Him. That’s a safer place “…where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7

Peter Rosenberger hosts a nationally syndicated radio program for family caregivers. For more than 30 years, he’s cared for his wife, Gracie, who lives with severe disabilities. He is the author of 7 Caregiver Landmines and How You Can Avoid Them @hope4caregiver http://www.hopeforthecaregiver.com

Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschooling

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Wilderness: Earth’s Amazing Habitats by Mia Cassany

SYNOPSIS:
This captivating book brings the natural world into sharp focus. Beautifully colored and intricately detailed illustrations depict places as exotic and wide-ranging as Senegal’s Niokolo-Koba National Park, Russia’s Sikhote-Alin mountain range, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve in Sri Lanka, Daintree National Park in Australia, the Mexican desert, and China’s bamboo forests. The animals that live in these remote places, cleverly hidden in the trees, plants, and flowers, create a marvelous challenge for young readers to find and identify. Each spread contains more than twenty different species including birds, snakes, frogs, iguanas, leopards, tigers, gorillas, pandas, and wolves. The back of the book is filled with additional information about the animals and their habitats. Young readers will find much to discover, explore, and learn in this absorbing celebration of our planet and the amazing creatures we share it with.

MY THOUGHTS: This is an absolute must-have for homeschool classrooms. Each page contains intricate detail of animals, habitats, and geography. It is one of those nonfiction books which can be used for multiple classes: geography, science, and Language Arts. It could also be utilized for an incredible book report.
I was amazed at the level of information that our author packed into each paragraph. In fact, I felt ready for Jeopardy after I finished it!

Marcus Navarro has done an exquisite job with the pictures, allowing the specific animals to ‘come to life’ from the pages. I enjoyed the little smiles on some of their faces. While showcasing nature’s beauty, the illustrations don’t distract from the point of the book. They enhance it.

I appreciate that the author took time to explain larger, more complex terms. She also was careful to explain how & why the endangered species came to be endangered while not scaring younger readers. She makes the point without being graphic. All in all, it’s a brilliantly done book. I give it 5 stars with a high recommendation.
Illustrated by Marcos Navarro (ISBN: 978-3791373720; April 2019; Ages 6-9; Hardcover $19.95; 48 pages)

MIA CASSANY is the author of numerous books for children including Atlas of Imaginary Places and Great Ports of the World (both by Prestel). She is the co-founder of Mosquito Books. She lives in Barcelona, Spain.

MARCUS NAVARRO is an illustrator living in Spain. This is his first book.

I RECEIVED THE TITLE IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MINE. PIC & SYNOPSIS BELONG SOLELY TO THE AUTHOR/PUBLISHER.

Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: ‘The Return of the Ripper’: Anna Elliott & Charles Veley


I RECEIVED THE TITLE IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MINE. PIC & SYNOPSIS BELONG SOLELY TO THE AUTHOR/PUBLISHER.

Book 7 of 8 in A Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mystery (8 Book Series)
SYNOPSIS: October 1897. Diamond mogul Cecil Rhodes wants Sherlock Holmes to break up a smuggling ring. Lucy James is preoccupied with her role as an actress and her upcoming wedding. And then, London’s most infamous murderer makes a most unwelcome entrance.

The Baker street team soon find themselves enmeshed in a deadly conspiracy, with tentacles that reach far beyond the shadows of Whitechapel. Lucy and Holmes will need more than their usual deductive brilliance to defeat their latest adversary, or else the case of the Ripper will be their last.

If you love a strong heroine, a touch of romance, and a classic Holmes, you’re going to love this fast-paced adventure.

MY THOUGHTS: I was thrilled to see that Holmes & Lucy were set to work on the elusive Ripper phenom. There’s been a resurgence of interest in Jack the Ripper in recent years, fueled by theory & the hunt for the ‘one who got away’. Part of the entertainment value, if one can call it that, in the Ripper’s legend is that so many people think they know who he was and there are so many suspects!

It’s timely that two of the finest detectives to ever grace the pages of a novel are now involved! Now, that alone would have made an incredible novel, but there’s more! We are also treated to Holmes taking on a smuggling ring and Lucy is getting ready for her wedding. There’s never a dull moment in their lives.

As always, our favorite father-daughter author duo has brought their ‘A’ game. There is so much to love about this book. It’s the kind of detective story that readers will want to read more than once because it’s so much fun to watch the plot unravel. Again, we have the iconic Sherlock doing what he does best while remaining true to the roots planted by Doyle in his original works. Lucy once again proves her skills at being a Renaissance woman as she solves crimes, maintains her acting career, and still has time for a productive social life. Dr. Watson is proof positive that the limelight isn’t necessary in order to make a difference or to be a great friend.

With a unique twist on all things Jack the Ripper along with the great diamond smuggling side plot, our authors hit yet another home run with this incredible, 5 star novel. I highly recommend this series and hope there are many more installments to come! Bravo!

Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Mosquito Creek Inn: Sherrie Todd-Beshore

I RECEIVED THE TITLE IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MINE. PIC & SYNOPSIS BELONG SOLELY TO AUTHOR/PUBLISHER.

SYNOPSIS: “Eleven-year-old Sonia Molosky’s quiet summer and that of her close friends begins to shift after an insurance investigator arrives in Mosquito Creek to settle the vast estate of a young heiress who disappeared seven years before. When Sonia discovers the contents of a suitcase behind a hidden door at the back of her mother’s closet, she convinces six of her pals to help her search for new clues to the unsolved mystery. Curiosity soon escalates events to an unexpected discovery that challenges their untested resourcefulness and courage in order to outwit and expose a cruel and cunning foe. While attempting to retrace the path the missing girl rode her horse the afternoon she disappeared, history begins to repeat itself…”

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Mosquito’ is Book 1 of 7 in the Mosquito Creek Detective Club series. From page 1, it was engaging and gripping. Although it is marketed as YA and rightfully so, I had great fun reading it! Good mysteries are timeless and ageless.
As a lead character, Sonia is capable and intelligent. All the children in the series are respectful to each other as well as their elders. Adults aren’t portrayed as imbeciles as is so often the case in YA fiction. It’s a clean read. I found no cursing or violence making it more than acceptable for middle school through adults. In fact, I’d recommend it to adult readers in need of a new series.
As for the plot, it is original and a good, old-fashioned whodunit. Messages throughout the book related to teamwork, having a sense of community, and the importance of family. I recommend this series and give ‘Mosquito’ 5 stars.

Posted in Uncategorized

The End of An Era & Start of Something New

After 22 years together, 20 of them in marriage, it’s over. My husband suffers from Bi-polar disorder and it has taken its toll on the family. Without too many details, I’m not ready to share, I had to leave. There really wasn’t a choice. Unfortunately, he is not willing to allow us to take the dogs. Both are microchipped to him. I know they are well cared for and loved. Perhaps one day, my son & I will reunite with them both.

So, I ended up in the one place that I could end up, back at home. My mother & aunt welcomed us in. We’ve been here 2 weeks now. My son is happier, healthier, and doing better all around. I am grieving the loss of a two decade long relationship and the figurative death of the man I once knew. Of course, I miss my pups. They were a big part of my heart. But, life has to go on.

My son & I have decided that when we are settled into a new place, we will rescue one or two dogs again. In the midst of this mess, we can certainly save two more doggie lives. My husband says he is getting help. I hope he does. There are 2 sides to every story. His would include blame towards me. I have a clear conscience, though as does my son.

So, that explains the new title and tagline. We are looking for a home and a vehicle. In the meantime, my aunt is playing chauffeur and I am playing cook & bottle washer as my mom calls it. We are staying close to Jesus & one another.
More to come…