It’s a Girl!!!

Introducing our new granddaughter, Jordan Rose. . . Born 3-27-17 at 2:21 pm EST, 7# 15 oz, 18.75 inches long and BEAUTIFUL!!!  Mom and baby are doing fine.

With our son, Ryan.

 

Meeting her Grammie and Grampie

Josie meets her new sister tomorrow.  More pics in the days and weeks to come.

The Heart Stone Chronicles

Book 1: The Swamp Fairy

By Colleen M. Chesebro

 

Synopsis

Fourteen-year-old Abigail Forester, recently orphaned and a Ward of the State of Illinois moves from Chicago to Florida to live with her aunt, her last living relative.

Aunt Magnolia becomes Abby’s Guardian and together they claim an ancient inheritance of land that has been in Abby’s mother’s family for generations.

Abby wears her mother’s most sacred possession – a stone pendant in the shape of a heart forged from a giant mystical stone found on the very swamp land that Abby now owns.

However, Rafe Cobb, a greedy land developer, has other ideas. He wants Abby’s land for himself and he is willing to stop at nothing to own that land.

All Abby wants is to be part of a family again and to learn to ride horses with her two new friends, Savanna, Blake, and Cash.

The swamp slowly gives up some of its secrets and Abby is summoned by a primeval nymph who teaches Abby that her true destiny is to protect the primeval nymphs from evil in an ever-changing modern world.

Can Abby save the swamp and the Naiad Nymph Clan from certain destruction before it is too late?

(Synopsis from Colleen Chesebro – Fairy Whisperer)

My Review

The reader is introduced to fourteen-year-old Abby Forrester at her birthday party.  With her mother deceased and her father missing, Abby is under the supervision of Mrs. Burger from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and lives with her mother’s best friend, Maxine, in Chicago.  But Abby is about to move to Blackberry Ridge near Pensacola, Florida to live with her Aunt Magnolia. Before she leaves, Maxine gives Abby two of Abby’s mother’s possessions – a heartstone necklace of green calcite and the deed to a tract of land in Florida. But Abby, herself, has another gift which we discover when she meets Beauregard Louviere and his dog Sam on the bus to Pensacola.

The story is filled with well-developed, believable characters and lots of action to keep the reader turning the pages.  Abby’s Aunt Magnolia who welcomes Abby into her home with open arms is a favorite. Savannah, who lives next door to Aunt Magnolia, becomes Abby’s best friend, the kind of friend every teen needs to have.  Abby’s antagonist, Rafe Cobb, has evil for his middle name.  Of course, there are swamp fairies, as the title suggests, but I won’t give anything away about them. Abby is a strong character, but even so, sometimes doubts crept in. I loved the way she managed to combat her fears with positive thinking.  Abby is a kind and thoughtful girl who will work her way into your heart.

The plot is coherent and, though a lot was going on, I had no difficulty keeping track of the who, what when, or where of the story.  With excellent pacing, I felt no lag in interest.

Don’t forget to read the beautiful haiku written by the author that precede each chapter.

I would recommend The Heart Stone Chronicles – Book 1: The Swamp Fairy to teens and young adults and anyone who enjoys a book with a bit of fantasy, fairies, and heartwarming characters.  I am looking forward to the second book in The Heart Stone Chronicles series.

About the Author

Colleen M. Chesebro is a writer of cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her debut novel, a YA fantasy series called, “The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy,” was published January 2017. The book reveals the story of Abby Forrester, a 14-year-old orphaned girl who is entrusted with saving a community of fairy nymphs from certain ecological destruction. Along the way, Abby learns about friendship, love, and what it means to actually belong to a family.
Colleen’s writing explores ecological situations in the multicultural world of today. She combines real-life historical events into her writing to create experiences that will continue in the hearts and heads of her readers.
A veteran of the United States Air Force, Colleen is also a retired bookkeeper. She has an Associates Degree in Business Administration, and another Associates Degree in the Arts, which she uses to combine her love of writing with her passion for all things creative.
When she is not writing, Colleen enjoys spending time with her husband, dogs, children, and grandchildren. When time permits, she also loves gardening, cooking, and crocheting old fashioned doilies into works of artistry. She lives in the United States with her husband and her two Pomeranians, Sugar, and Spice. You can learn more about Colleen and her writing on her website colleenchesebro.com. (Biography from Goodreads)

Connect with the Author

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Colleen Chesebro ~Fairy Whisperer (author’s blog)
A Mindful Journey (author’s mindful journey blog)

Buy the Book

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Among the Zinnias

By Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas

 

Book Blurb

Come and travel between the Italian island of Incompresso and the small American town of Robin’s Nest. Experience passion, sorrow, laughter and love in a tale that will hold your heart and spark your desire to know what is happening . . . Among the Zinnias!

Eighty-five-year-old Giovanna Boeri awaits the return of her daughter, Angelina, from America. She cannot understand why Angelina has left their small island when it contains everything anyone would ever want. Giovanna is struggling to care for her ailing husband who is beset by memories of war and murder, one he, himself, has committed but understands too late that it’s his grandson, Rocco, who will pay the price.

As Giovanna comes to terms with her husband’s deteriorating condition, she realizes she can no longer count on him to make decisions, nor can she wait for her own fate to be decided by Angelina.

Angelina, with her husband, Pasquale, is struggling in Robin’s Nest to maintain a pizzeria. Their son, Rocco, has just been released from an Italian prison after having served ten years. Rather than have him return to their small island, they’ve bought the pizzeria in hopes of giving Rocco a new beginning in a new location. The pizzeria is supposed to be their catalyst to a happy life.

But life rarely follows one’s expectations . . .

My Review

The stage is set as Giovanna Boeri watches her daughter Angelina sail from her island home in Italy and return to New Jersey to be with her husband and children. Angelina is torn between remaining with her aging parents and returning to the home she has made in America. The story that follows will keep you turning the pages.

Many personalities were introduced making the characters and their relationships believable.  I could relate to Giovanna and the difficulty of watching her child leave for a distant place.  Her relationship with her husband reminded me of my own grandparents.  Angelina was in a challenging place emotionally, and  I felt a lot of empathy for her as her roles of parent, wife, and daughter sometimes were in conflict, but I loved the way she was able to balance them. From the beginning, Rocco seemed to be a seedy character, and I took an immediate dislike to him, though, by the end of the book, I thought he had redeemed himself.

I’d have liked to have seen the characters of Giovanna, Angelina, and Gina developed a bit more in the beginning. Switching from one to another was confusing until I read enough of the book to get a firm grasp on each.

The author created a storyline that in some form or another has been played out by all those who have immigrated to another country – the quest for acceptance, the heartache of leaving family, finding their niche in their new home, and genuine desire to make it all work.

Once again, Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas has given us an enjoyable, multifaceted story crossing two nationalities to savor.  I would definitely recommend this to any reader who enjoys stories of multi-generational families of another culture.

I was gifted this book in return for my honest review.

About the Author

Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas lives on Long Island with her husband, Nick.  She teaches English to newly immigrated English language learners at her local public school. She is also a speech pathologist working with adults who have brain injury. Although Among the Zinnias was inspired by these two roles, it remains a work of fiction. (Taken from Among the Zinnias)

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An Angel Among Us

By J.E. Spina

Blurb

A collection of short stories that covers several genres including romance, grief/loss, mystery, suspense, sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal. This book is dedicated to a courageous friend who passed this year. The first story is specially created for her and is the inspiration for the title of this book.

From the Author

I began these short stories about six months ago. They were going to be a collection of holiday and seasonal stories. This all changed when I connected on FB with my high school friend, Anne Gillis Benedetto. We had been following one another there since 2015.

Anne mentioned on her FB page that she had lost her husband. She was in profound torment over his loss. I followed her notes and added my condolences as did many others. We chatted back and forth, and she reminded me of the last time we had been together at our fifth high school reunion. We spent the time reminiscing over how much fun we had with many laughs.

In one of her later posts, she announced that she had breast cancer with only months to live. This horrific news was devastating not only to me but to many of her close friends in Florida and around the country. I wrote a short story about her and her beloved husband and sent it to her asap. In my letter, I told her I wanted to dedicate this book to her.  She wrote a lovely letter of gratitude back to me.  Unfortunately, she died before I could present this book to her.

Anyone who knew Anne loved her. She was an incredibly beautiful person inside and out. She had a kind heart and did for others up until the time she passed on January 3, 2017. I pray she is smiling down on this book now. I want this book to keep Anne’s memory alive for all who knew her and introduce her to those who didn’t.

Blessings & love to you, Anne!

(Blurb and From the Author are from Amazon.com)

 

My Review

I have read many of Janice Spina’s books and have never been disappointed.  She writes with clarity and warmth.  She doesn’t shy away from delving into another genre, as is evidenced by this eclectic collection of short stories.

The author’s tribute to her friend is heartwarming and is just the first story in this delightful collection.  I recommend An Angel Among Us to everyone, as there are stories from multiple genres that are sure to appeal.  This book can be read all at once or story by story. It is perfect for those who don’t have a lot of time but want something to read with their coffee or before bed or whenever they have a few minutes without committing to a full-length book.

An Angel Among Us gets a thumbs up from me.

This book was gifted to me.  I was neither paid nor required to give this honest review.

About the Author

Janice Spina is an award-winning author with eight children’s books, Louey the Lazy Elephant, Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon, Jerry the Crabby Crayfish, Lamby the Lonely Lamb, Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear, Broose the Moose on the Loose, Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey, and Colby the Courageous Cat, and four YA/MG/P/T books, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, Books 1-4, copy editor and writer of novels and poetry. Hunting Mariah is her first novel to be published under J.E. Spina. She published her second novel, a paranormal/mystery/romance, How Far Is Heaven, June 2016. Book 3 of Davey & Derek Junior Detectives was published in August 2016 and Book 4 of Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series in December on 2016. An Angel Among Us, a short story collection, was published in March 2017.

Janice has received a Silver Medal from MOM’S Choice Awards for Lamby the Lonely Lamb and the Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards for Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 1, The Case of the Missing Cell Phone, and Book 2,The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat, and Book 3, The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant, and an Honorable Mention from Readers’ Favorite for Book 1, The Case of the Missing Cell Phone.

She is working on two more children’s books, plans to edit a YA fantasy, a mystery/romance, and a historical novel, and wants to begin a mystery series for PT girls. All of these books, hopefully over the next few years, will be published.

Her logo is Jemsbooks – books for all ages! Her motto is – Reading Gives You Wings to Fly! Come soar with Jemsbooks! Happy reading!

Janice’s hobbies besides writing are crocheting, exercising to keep in shape, loves going to the movies with her husband or out to lunch or dinner, reading, book reviewing, blogging and spending time with her five grandchildren who are her writing inspiration.

(Author Bio is from Amazon.com

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Calling all Kid Lit Authors and Book Bloggers-You Can Make a Difference to a Child in Need…

Authors and bloggers, here is your chance to make a difference in a child’s life.

Michelle Eastman Books


I would like to reach out to kid lit authors and book bloggers to get quality books into the hands of deserving kids.

Featured Image -- 1290

Throughout the month of March, I am collecting new children’s books to benefit children of incarcerated parents. Authors, I hope you will consider donating signed copies of your books. Book bloggers, please help us by sharing this information with your readers.

I am a children’s author, teacher, and mom who is passionate about children’s literacy and the power of children’s books. When I learned nearly 2/3 of children, living in poverty, DO NOT own books, I was moved to act. I founded the literacy initiative, Picture Book Pass it On, to raise awareness for literacy issues and get books to kids in need.

Three years ago, the Picture Book Pass it On initiative grew to include a month-long book drive called MARCHing Books to Kids.

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We Are The World Blogfest Launch! #WATWB

There is so much good in the world that is often overshadowed by bad news. This is your chance to share some love and sunshine.

Simon's still stanza

——
I celebrate myself, and sing myself, watw-turquoise-badge-320-x280-whiteAnd what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
——
Welcome to the beginning of the
We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB .  It is a place where we share good will between others.  A platform built on hope and peace that is intended to share some good news on the social media feeds that we receive.
There are a group people mentioned here who have begun the journey.  Please have a look at their posts.

Belinda Witzenhausen, Carol Walsh,Chrissie Parker, Damyanti Biswas, Emerald Barnes, Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Kaur UppalKate Powell, Lynn Hallbrooks, Mary Giese, Michelle Wallace, Peter Nena, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Simon Falk, Susan Scott, Sylvia Stein, Sylvia McGrath

“We Are the…

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I need your help!!!

Calling on indie authors. Please read and consider donating a copy of your book.

Life As I Know It

Hello, bloggers!

As many of you know, I am very passionate about Relay For Life and the fight against cancer. Cancer has affected my family multiple times. Not only have I lost loved ones, but I know many people that have also suffered the pain of this horrible disease. Cancer is a scary thing and, let’s just be honest, it sucks.

For this reason, I created my own Relay For Life Team – FINDING HOPE. My hometown’s event is scheduled for May, so the planning has already began. The theme this year is “Once upon a cure.” Each Relay Team has to create their own theme from the main one.

Perhaps it’s the writer in me or the awesome book club I’m in, but the first thing I thought about when I heard this was reading. So, from the main theme, I came up with this:

“Fighting cancer, one story at…

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