Friday Fantasy – Spark

macjam47:

A magical moment from my dear friend Morgan of BooknVolume.

Originally posted on booknvolume:

Spark

Magic Spark of Breathless Treasure,

Immortal Promise of Labyrinthine Pleasure,

When the Portal is Opened Wide

When Dreams Evoke the Child Inside.

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~Morgan~
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Beautiful Artwork found on Facebook at: Fairies, dragons and other mythological creatures. Credit Acknowledged to the original Artist. Thank You.

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Jubilee’s Journey By Bette Lee Crosby

Jubilee's Journey

Paul and Jubilee Jones grew up in the mountains in Coal Fork, a coal mining town.  A few years after their mother Ruth died of tuberculosis, their father Bartholomew was killed in a mining accident.  Paul, though still a teenager, was left to care for his sister.  When the mining company told them they could no longer live in the house owned by the mining company unless someone worked in the mines, Paul remembered his father adamantly making Paul promise to never step foot in a mine. He took his seven year old sister and walked off the mountain to find their mother’s estranged sister Anita in Wyattsville.

When they reached Wyattsville, Paul directed Jubilee to wait on a bench across the street from a store with a sign advertising “Help Wanted”. They needed money and he was willing to work for it.  They would look up their aunt after he got a job.  Neither he nor Jubilee could have known what events would follow.  Jubilee showed strength in her unwavering belief in her brother’s good character. Her journey through the next weeks was difficult, but the people she met formed a protective circle around her, until she could be reunited with her family.

I loved the characters in the story.  They were well developed and exhibited the best side of humanity. The plot was outstanding and kept me turning pages in anticipation of what was to come. I couldn’t put the book down.

This award winning novel is the second book in the Wyattsville series by Crosby.  (I read and reviewed SPARE CHANGE, the first in the series – my review is here).  Though I had come to know and love Ethan Allen Doyle, Olivia Westerly Doyle and her wonderful circle of friends, and Officer Jim Mahoney when I read SPARE CHANGE, I was delighted to meet up with them again, as well as new members of the Wyattsville community, in JUBILEE’S JOURNEY.

Though you don’t have to read SPARE CHANGE first, I would recommend that you do so you can follow the flow of one book into the second.  (PASSING THROUGH PERFECT, the third book in the series will be out January 2015).

Bette Lee Crosby writes in the colloquial of the setting.  She doesn’t just write a novel, she tells a story.  I think that is what draws me back to her books.  They are comfortable, well crafted, beautiful stories. JUBILEE’S JOURNEY is unforgettable.

 

About the AuthorBette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby’s books are “Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances.” – Midwest Book Review

The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby’s writing is, “A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures.”

Samantha from Reader’s Favorite raves, “Crosby writes the type of book you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down.”

“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win nineteen awards for her work; these include: The Royal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal, Reader’s Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer’s Choice Award.

Crosby’s published works to date are: Blueberry Hill (2014), Previously Loved Treasures (2014), Jubilee’s Journey (2013), What Matters Most (2013), The Twelfth Child (2012), Life in the Land of IS (2012), Cracks in the Sidewalk (2011), Spare Change (2011). A Cupid inspired romance, Wishing for Wonderful, is scheduled for release in November 2014 and Book Three of The Wyattsville Series, Passing through Perfect, will be be available in January 2015.

Bette Lee Crosby - Jubilee's Journey

Please click the link to visit the author’s website Bette Lee Crosby Words Wit and Wisdom.

Follow Bette Lee Crosby on these websites:

Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

 

JUBILEE’S JOURNEY and Crosby’s other novels can be found online at iBooks, AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Would I recommend JUBILEE’S JOURNEY? Positively!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Win a New Touch Screen Kindle Loaded with 50 Books!

macjam47:

If you have tweens or middle school aged children, this is a fantastic way to get a kindle loaded with 50 age-appropriate books for them.

Originally posted on This Kid Reviews Books:

This is a cool giveaway hosted by a great group of authors – the Emblazon Authors. I have read and reviewed a bunch of their books and I think this is a cool idea – win a Kindle pre-loaded with 50 books! The Emblazon authors write age-appropriate novels for tweens and middle school aged kids. Check out the giveaway below!

emblazontour

Attention teachers, librarians, tweens, and parents of tweens! Announcing a contest just for you…

The Emblazon authors are giving away a brand new touch screen Kindle loaded with over 50 of their books. That’s a $300 value and hours of reading entertainment!

Emblazon is a collection of authors who seek to create lifelong readers by creating top-
notch literature for kids. They have a particular focus on ages 11 to 14. They’re hosting this fabulous giveaway to celebrate their first year and to treat you, the readers.

The Rafflecopter contest runs November 3…

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The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison

The Banks of Certain Rivers

THE BANKS OF CERTAIN RIVERS will draw you in immediately with its backstory where we meet Neil Kazenzakis (Mr. K), husband, father, friend, teacher, coach. It is here that we learn first of his wife Wendy and son Chris, and the terrible accident that Wendy has in a swimming pool that left her in a permanent comatose state. Their son Chris, an eighth grader, witnessed the accident.

We move forward a few years and find that Neil has more to deal with than seems humanly possible.  His wife Wendy remains in a nursing home, he and Chris both are still struggling to move on, and he is caring for his mother-in-law Carol, while at the same time, maintaining her home.  On top of everything else, Neil has fallen in love with Lauren, the nurse taking care of Carol.  Neil must tell Chris, but fears it is more than a young person can handle given the state of his mother’s health.  Add to all this is a video that went viral showing Mr. K knocking a student to the ground. Can he prove his innocence and that the video is a fake?  With his job and reputation on the line and Chris’ loss of respect for him after Neil tells him he has been in a relationship for two years, Neil feels his life is spiraling out of control. With the determination and help of understanding and caring friends, Neil is able to move forward.

I don’t like spoilers, and this book is difficult to talk about without revealing too much. It is well written with a plot that will keep you turning the pages. It is about love and redemption, loyalty and trust.  It is about putting what life throws at you into the proper perspective and getting on with one’s life.

The characters were so well developed that I felt an immediate bond with each one.  I wanted Wendy to recover, and at first didn’t like Lauren because I felt she stood in the way of that recovery. I wanted to hug Chris and help him through the murky waters of grief, sadness, distrust, and disappointment.  It was so much to put upon a teenager.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a five star book.  Once I started reading, I was unable to put it down.  With so many layers to the story and personalities elaborated so beautifully, this is one book I wholeheartedly recommend.

 

About the Author

Born in Michigan, Jon Harrison studied English literature and geological sciences at Ohio University. A lover of the outdoors, he moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1994 and has lived there ever since. When not writing, he enjoys skiing, running, and climbing.

The Banks of Certain Rivers is his first novel.Jon-Harrison_9659-1200px

Follow Jon Harrison on:

Webpage – Harrison Pages

Twitter – @HarrisonPages

Goodreads – Jon Harrison Author Page

FaceBook – The Banks of Certain Rivers

 

Buy The Banks of Certain Rivers

 

IMG_1110 I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet Jon Harrison at Books by the Banks. Shown here on the right with author Catherine McKenzie on the left.

THE FORGOTTEN PUMPKIN by Hugh G. Earnhart

The Forgotten Pumpkin

THE FORGOTTEN PUMPKIN is a delightful autumn story for children about a sad pumpkin who was forgotten when Farmer Pond and his sons went to the fields to harvest all the pumpkins. Mr. Pond was in a hurry to gather the pumpkins and forgot to pick the large pumpkin that grew next to the woods far from the road.

The big beautiful pumpkin was so sad it began to cry.  During the night, the pumpkin’s cries became so loud that it woke the animals in the nearby forest. They came to the field and asked, “Pumpkin, why are you crying?” Pumpkin explained he had been forgotten and he was sure he would make a nice smiley jack-o’-lantern.

The animals looked at each other and came up with a plan to move the pumpkin near the road and carve it into a jack-o-lantern.

The story will hold a child’s attention with the surprising ways the pumpkin was transformed into a smiling jack-o-lantern with the darling characters beautifully illustrated by Susan Foland Ertel.

Do I recommend THE FORGOTTEN PUMPKIN?  Absolutely!

About the Author (from the last page of the book)

Hugh G. Earnhart is a retired history professor, a Korean War Veteran, and an Ohio State Master Gardener/Naturalist from Poland, Ohio, where he lives with his wife and flower consultant, Mary Kay. Being a flower judge also makes use of any free time.  He is a member of the Giant Pumpkin Grower’s Association of America, Canfield, Ohio chapter.

About the Illustrator (from the last page of the book)

Susan Foland Ertel’s whimsical artwork reflects her interest and love of animals. She is the author and illustrator of Belle, The Hound That Was Found.  Susan lives with her husband and pets in Wilmington, Ohio, where they enjoy their seven grandchildren.

I bought THE FORGOTTEN PUMPKIN at Books By The Banks, Cincinnati, OH, and promised the author an honest review before passing it on to my granddaughter.IMG_1112

THE FORGOTTEN PUMPKIN can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Booksamillion, Powell’s, Joseph Beth Booksellers, and many of your favorite indy bookstores.

Halloween Books for the Very Young

Halloween books for the very young are falling off the shelves everywhere books are sold.  There is an abundance of cute ghosts, silly pumpkins, furry black kitties, sweet owls, and even happy witches waiting for someone to discover them and take them home. The little ones who receive them will flip the pages long after Halloween is past.

The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin

THE ITSY BITSY PUMPKIN by Sonali Fry (author) Sanja Rescek (illustrator) is a darling little board book, just right for chubby little hands. The little pumpkin rolls down the street and passes some not-so-spooky ghosts and goblins. When he can’t find his way home, a sweet little witch comes to his aid and helps him find his way back. The story isn’t at all spooky and the illustrations are sweet. Told in rhyme, the story will delight children age four and younger.

Five Little GhostsFive Black Cats

FIVE LITTLE GHOSTS and FIVE BLACK CATS both by Patricia Hegarty (Author) Julia Woolf (Illustrator) are written in sing-song rhyme, perfect for young ones to memorize.  I found the stories and the pictures to be cute. THE FIVE LITTLE GHOSTS are looking for something to play at the end of the day and try a variety of activities from painting to dressing in costume to playing in the garden.  In the end, they are all tuckered out and tucked into bed. FIVE BLACK CATS is the story of the cats out on a Halloween prowl and finally end up at the ghosts’ party.

Five Little Pumpkins

FIVE LITTLE PUMPKINS by Dan Yaccarino (Illustrator) is Amazon’s number one best seller in nursery rhymes. It is artfully illustrated with cute Halloween pictures. Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate, The first one said, “My, it’s getting late!” is a poem we all remember from our own childhoods, and is sure to be memorized by young ones. Though suggested for ages 4-8, this book will be enjoyed by children even younger.

These and many other cute, non-spooky Halloween books can be found anywhere books are sold.

Books by the Banks 2014

October in Cincinnati means Books by the Banks, our book festival.  This year I met some new authors and visited with some I had met in the past.  It is always an exciting event with lots of authors and many, many books to buy.  Since ours is held in October, it is a great time to pick up some gifts for the holidays as well as books for yourself.

Smiley with BookMy husband came along again this year and took some pictures and helped carry my books.

My first stop was to visit my friend Catherine McKenzie (SPIN, SPUN, ARRANGED, HIDDEN) and Jon Harrison (THE BANKS OF CERTAIN RIVERS – review to come soon).

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I then met Marci Jefferson whose GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN is in my TBR and is begging me to read it.

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Of course, I also had to stop by and say hi to Mindy McGinnis.  Her first book, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, came out last year just before Books by the Banks.  Her second, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, came out just in time for “The Banks”.

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A trip to “The Banks” wouldn’t be complete without picking up a few children’s books.

BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE! by Melissa Guion

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THE FORGOTTEN PUMPKIN by Hugh G. Earnhart (review to come later this week).

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Of course, there were other books in my bag but, unfortunately, those authors were not available during the time I was there.

It was a fabulous event and I can’t wait until it comes back next October.

Note:  Reviews for all books will be posted as I read them.

How One Young Woman Broke My Heart and Repaired It

Originally posted on When Women Inspire:

Sparkling Heart

A heart is priceless, as I found reading the book titled a picture is worth… (Photo Source: little*star, CC BY-ND 4.0, via Flickr)

I began reading a picture is worth… this week and my heart broke as I read the first personal essay written by a young woman named Aayilah. a picture is worth… is a book composed of a collection of personal essays written by US high school students; it is designed to be an education curriculum component along with photos, blogs and audio segments. The goal is to inspire learning in young people by encouraging them to share their stories, as well as to develop new ways of educating and connecting students. The story told by Aayilah of her life broke my heart and repaired it, all within one chapter.

Aayilah is a 15-year-old student who came to the US from Trinidad and Tobago to live with her mother…

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