The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March

The Meryl Streep Movie ClubTHE MERYL STREEP MOVIE CLUB, debut novel by Mia March is the story of a family who think it is all they can do to tolerate each other during Thanksgiving and Christmas, the only times they get together. When Aunt Lolly decides to call everyone home for an important announcement, sisters Isabel and June, their cousin Kat, and Aunt Lolly discover that their misconceptions about each other are just that.    You will be amazed at the artful way the author brings the characters to life, as they discover themselves and come together as a loving family discussing each Meryl Streep movie’s message on movie night.  I much prefer to read than to watch a movie, so I wasn’t sure this book was for me. I’ve only seen one Meryl Streep movie (“Out of Africa”) and couldn’t imagine how those movies could form the basis for the book. I was astounded! I had it all wrong. They didn’t form the basis for the story, they enriched it. This was truly an enjoyable read. Check it out!

Find out more about Mia March.

FaceBook author page Mia March

Twitter @March_Mia

Goodreads Mia March

Buy THE MERYL STREEP MOVIE CLUB

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Powell’s

Books-a-Million

Your favorite local bookstore

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Blackberry Winter by Sarah JioOn May 2, 1933 Seattle is blanketed with an unexpected snow, a blackberry winter.  Single mother Vera Ray rushes home from the night shift to wake three-year-old Daniel only to find him missing. She finds his teddy bear in the snow, but no clue to what happened to him or where he might be.  A desperate and grieving Vera searches in vain to find her son.

Turn the calendar forward to present day Seattle. Once again on May 2nd, Seattle awakens to an unexpected heavy snowstorm.  Reporter Claire Aldridge is given an assignment by her boss at the Seattle Herald to cover this blackberry winter as well as the earlier one.  While investigating the earlier storm, Claire learns of Daniel’s abduction and is determined to solve this mystery. What Claire never expected to find was a connection to Vera.

The story of BLACKBERRY WINTER by Sarah Jio is well-thought out with a plot that will hold your interest from beginning to end.  The present is woven intricately with the past, blending two stories into one. The characters were true-to-life.   This is definitely a book for your “must read” list.  It is a quick read, but don’t hurry through it. You’ll want to savor each and every page.

More about Sarah Jio and her books can be found at:

Webpage Sarah Jio

FaceBook author page Sarah Jio, Author

Twitter @sarahjio

Goodreads Sarah Jio

Instagram sarahjio

You can buy BLACKBERRY WINTER at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Powell’s

Books-A-Million

Or at your favorite local bookstore

All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes By Betsy St. Amant  

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes

ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND CUPCAKES is about what?  Love and cupcakes, of course.  The story finds twenty-six year old Kat Varland fretting over her future.  She is in love with Lucas Brannen, but Lucas has not expressed interest in her beyond eating her cupcakes and being her best friend. She works in her aunt’s bakery making the same old vanilla-chocolate-strawberry cupcakes, but yearns to show off her real talent in making novelty cupcakes.  She is at odds with her family, feeling that she is not appreciated for what she chose to be her livelihood.

Lucas Brannen coaches the local high school football team. He loves Kat but doesn’t know how to tell her. Every chance he gets, he freezes up.  When he secretly signs her up for the reality TV bakeoff on Cupcake Combat, he does so as an expression of love and to give Kat a shot at seeing her life’s dream become an actuality.

When Kat choses Lucas to be her assistant on the show, things start heating up between them; and I don’t mean romantically.  Constantly at odds, but both in love with the other, though unable to express his/her love, and trouble on the set with each other and other contestants, the stress keeps building.

Will Kat and Lucas resolve their friendship/love life?  Will Kat win the competition and realize her dream come true? What are they each willing to sacrifice for the other?

The story was cute, but I only gave ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND CUPCAKES a three star rating, because the story dragged on without purpose for too long.  For me, it took too long to get to the conclusion with little added value.  A novella length would have been more to my liking.

The characters were well developed and could have been someone you know or someone you’d meet on the street.  They each had flaws true to real life.

Betsy St. Amant is a Christian writer but doesn’t put so much into her book to turn off someone who is not a fan of Christian novels.

To find out more about St. Amant, check out her website Betsy St. Amant, Twitter page https://twitter.com/betsystamant, and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BetsySt.Amant.

I received a copy of ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND CUPCAKES by Betsy St. Amant from Net GALLEY in exchange for an honest review.

Writing Prompt

In following the prompt given by my good friend Morgan of Booknvolume, I have written my very first ever Haiku.  The prompt Where Fantasy is More than What it Seems is taken from one of Morgan’s poems (http://booknvolume.com/2014/08/22/where-fantasy-is-more/). Given the prompt and two fantasy images, her followers were charged with writing a poem or short story.

two-sisters-1

Winter snow princess

Grasps all that is Earthly

In protective arms

two-sisters-2

 

Nymph of the blue depths

Whirling about, beauteous

Choreography

 

Beautiful Original Artwork by: Sheila Wolk

Meet Guest READER Michelle Clements James

macjam47:

The wonderful Chris the Story Reading Ape featured me on his blog http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com.

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog..... An Author Promotions Enterprise!:

I am a reader, not a writer.  So why am I blogging?

Michelle Clements JamesI am a reader, and I blog about sharing the books I love whether romance, historical fiction, chick lit, biography, memoir, fantasy, classic, contemporary fiction, and children’s books.  What I will never read are thrillers (I even hid behind a pillow during JURASSIC PARK). My blog is a place to talk about current reads, and many of the wonderful books I’ve read over the years, as well. Occasionally I throw in a post about my family. I recently participated in the A to Z Challenge to write a post every day during April. I invite comments and recommendations to all posts.

A bit about me…

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio and raised my children here as well. I went to college at the University of Cincinnati and majored in Geology with a minor…

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Masterpiece

macjam47:

Enjoy these beautiful words from my dear friend Morgan.

Originally posted on booknvolume:

Masterpiece 1

How Truly Beautiful is this world. How Rich in Colour, Texture, Light, Shadow, Shades and Hues both Vivid and Pale, Stark in contrast and Harmonious in their blendings. Each day the golden shimmering orb of pale and violent splendor raises his head and Smiles down upon us, glistering and, sometimes, glowering in Radiant Grandeur, waiting for us to See, to pause, to raise a hand in Breathless Wonder beneath its superior glow and stand, for a moment, Transfixed.

Masterpiece 2

Each evening the luminous moon in subtle beauty slips delicately from her ebon shroud and Sings a song of ethereal Enchantment. Gentle and patient, she glides in regal effortless flow across the bejeweled spangle, her silvery luminescence a Gift to all who lay aside their restless haste, if only for the briefest of moments, to Gaze upon her shimmering show.

Autumn Mountain Foliage

The Earth is Filled to overflowing with verdant greens, supple yellows, resplendent…

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Spare Change By Bette Lee Crosby

Spare Change
Ethan Allen Doyle had a tough life. His mother was so wrapped up in herself, and his father had a mean streak. He had more on his plate than any eleven-year-old should ever have, and then, he witnessed a brutal murder. Fearing for his life, he takes off in search of his grandfather, known only to him by the Christmas cards he received.
Olivia Westerly is settled into her single life when she meets Charlie Doyle, who sweeps her off her feet. Her married life quickly takes a turn to the unexpected, and Olivia was forced into a situation that causes her to re-evaluate her life. Through various events, the most important of which is having the care of Ethan Allen forced upon her, she finds all of her preconceived notions of the kind of person she is, are no longer applicable.
SPARE CHANGE is a murder mystery. The storyline drew me in quickly with its superstitions, mystery, romance, friendship, humor, and its flawed characters that are so realistic that every reader can find them believable. The story moves quickly and is told from several different points of view. It’s about how we deal with life’s challenges and the power of love in changing who we are.
When I first started reading SPARE CHANGE, I thought I wouldn’t like it very much, but once into a few pages, I was captivated by the story, the writing style, the author’s voice, and the characters. I am amazed that so much emotion, mystery, and story is found in just 280 pages. It is a book I heartily recommend to all readers in every genre. I look forward to reading more of Bette Lee Crosby’s work.
According to Amazon, SPARE CHANGE is their number one bestselling historical mystery and the winner of five literary awards.
You can find out more about Bette Lee Crosby on these websites:

 

Her website – Bette Lee Crosby Words, Wit & Wisdom

Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Buy SPARE CHANGE and Bette’s other books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, BooksAMillion, or your favorite Indie bookstore.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

LOVE ON MIMOSA LANE by Anna DeStefano

Love on Mimosa LaneLOVE ON MIMOSA LANE is more than just another romance.  It is about the foster care system, alcoholism and the toll it takes on family life, and about bullies. It is a book filled with interesting characters, some to love, and one not so much.  The descriptions are rich and the story moves quickly.

Law is a bad-boy type with a soft heart that he guards closely.  His past and his divorce from Libby have left him afraid to trust anyone, His desire to protect his daughter Chloe from the ugliness of his divorce, her mother’s drunkenness, and the rumors about his life, have caused him to build a wall around himself.

Kristen, the assistant principal at Chloe’s school, is dealing with her own demons, but recognizes the personal battle Law is fighting. She recruits him to help Fin, a foster child who is troubled and lonely, to play soccer.  The deal is that if Law helps Fin, she will convince Fin to recruit Chloe, who loves soccer but was convinced by her mother, that rather than playing soccer, she should concentrate on being like the popular girls.

There is, needless to say, a romantic attraction between Law and Kristen, but neither can get beyond the wounds of their pasts to let love in.  They both grew up in dysfunctional families where love was rationed out, rather than given freely.

This story has a lot going on in it, but it is expertly pulled together by DeStefano.  I loved that there were so many loose threads that needed to come together before the book’s end. There was a lot to pique my interest.  The characters were well crafted, and I fell in love with them right away.

This is the third book in the Seasons of the Heart series. I have not read the other two yet, but I felt this book could stand on its own without reading all of them. I would definitely recommend LOVE ON MIMOSA LANE to anyone who doesn’t mind a bit of romance, but enjoys reading books that touch on some of society’s sad issues.

To learn more about Anna DeStefano, check out her webpage Anna DeStefano, her blog Anna DeStefano, on FaceBook, Twitter, and on Pinterest.

Purchase the book on  Amazon,  Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Powells, or your favorite Indie book store.

Fun Books for Little Ones

There is nothing like having a young child crawl up in your lap for story time.  The best books of all are those chunky little board books that are just right for chubby hands.  The colorful illustrations help a child to make the story her own by encouraging her to “read” the story to you.

 

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You SeeBROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR, WHAT DO YOU SEE?

By Bill Martin Jr./Eric Carle

BROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR, WHAT DO YOU SEE? is a classic storybook with colorful pictures of different animals. The book is set to a jingle, and introduces young children to various colors.

“Green Frog, Green Frog, what do you see?

I see a purple cat looking at me.”

 

MOO MOO, BROWN COWMoo Moo, Brown Cow

By Jakki Wood

Colorful pictures of animals and a delightful story, MOO MOO, BROWN COW is loved by the youngest “reader”. Each animal is asked by a kitty if they have any babies. The counting story introduces sounds animals make and the kind of babies they have, as well as colors.

“Cluck cluck, orange hen, have you any chicks?

Yes kitty, yes kitty, six noisy chicks”
I love You MoreI LOVE YOU MORE

By Laura Duksta

Duksta’s flip-sided book, with colorful pictures that appeal to young children, I LOVE YOU MORE are a story about how much a little boy loves his mother.  When you reach the middle, just flip it over and start at the back for more ways he loves his mother.

“I love you higher than the highest swing ever swung.

I love you sweeter than the sweetest song ever sung.”

 

BIG DOG…LITTLE DOGBig Dog - Little Dog

By P.D. Eastman

BIG DOG…LITTLE DOG is a colorfully illustrated book of opposites written in story form.

“When they walked in the rain,

Fred was wet…

and Ted was dry.”

This book is sure to delight young book lovers.

 

The Nose BookTHE NOSE BOOK

By Al Perkins

Charming and colorfully illustrated, this is a book of noses and the jobs they do every day. They come in every size, shape, and color.  This book will bring giggles from young readers.

“I see a nose on every face.

I see noses every place!”

 

Next time you’re at the bookstore, check out some of these darling board books for the little ones in your life.