Dee and Deb Off They Go – Kindergarten First Day Jitters

by Donna M. McDine

Book Blurb

The anxiety of finding one’s own place and friends in kindergarten without the comfort of having her fraternal twin sister nearby at first overwhelms Dee. Until she realizes even without her twin, Dee and her classmates for the most part are in the same boat. Suggested age range for readers: 3-8

Blurb and Book Cover From Goodreads

My Review

Dee and Deb are twins and are going to kindergarten.  They worry about meeting new friends.

The first day of kindergarten, or any grade, or the first day at a new school can cause anxiety in any child.  Donna McDine’s story can ease that anxiety for a young child when they realize that Dee and Deb made friends and had a good time doing many new and fun things.  The story is realistic and features adorable pictures by Jack Foster, an award-winning illustrator.

If you have a young child in your life who will be entering kindergarten (or a new school), I highly recommend you read this book together.

I received a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.

About Donna M. McDine

Multi-award-winning children’s author, Donna McDine’s creative side had laid dormant for many years until her desire to write sparked in 2007. With six children’s picture books to her credit:

• Angel’s Forever Home ~ March 2019 ~ Mascot Books

• Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters (Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention & The Story Monster Approved 2015 Award);

• Sandy Grave (Purple Dragonfly 2014 Award First Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved and Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014);

• Powder Monkey (Purple Dragonfly 2015 Award First Place Historical Fiction and Story Monster Approved 2014);

• Hockey Agony (Purple Dragonfly 2015 Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6 & Older and New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014 and Story Monster Approved 2014);

• The Golden Pathway (Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader 2011 and Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention) and;

McDine’s adventures continue as she ignites the curiosity of children through reading while she writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, New York State Reading Association and Family Reading Partnership.

Author Photo and Biography from Goodreads

 

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The Calico Caterpillar

By Donna Lewis

THE CALICO CATERPILLAR is a delightful story that will captivate young children as they read (or listen to) the tale of a funny-looking little caterpillar and how he turns into a beautiful calico butterfly.  It is a science lesson all wrapped up in a charming and fascinating book.

The author tells this well-crafted story with close attention to language and descriptions that young readers can understand.  The lovely illustrations are the artistic work of illustrator H L Gillager.

I recommend THE CALICO CATERPILLAR to parents of young children and to young readers who enjoy an excellent story while learning about the real-life experiences of a caterpillar.

The cover IMAGE is from Goodreads.
My sincere thanks to the publisher William Parks for access to this book in return for my honest review.  I received no compensation for this review.

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Catching up!

I’d like to share some of the beautiful poetry of Mary Kendall. Please check out her blog for more of her poems.

A Poet in Time

Over the past few months, a lot of my work has been published, but I’ve been negligent in getting them posted. Breaking from my usual tradition of a separate post for each journal, I’m going to post all of them here in a single posting. Separate poems and journals are both divided by  ***.

Redlights, Volume 15, No. 2, June 2019

.

a day will come

when we are the faces

in old picture albums

and no one left

to give us names

***

babcia’s borscht recipe

in faded black ink—

can you smell the beets

bubble and hear her

hum along

Ribbons Spring/Summer 2019: Volume 15, No. 2

.

PET scan . . .

all the dogs & cats

I ever knew & loved

romp in the tunnel

where I lie in stillness

***

Ribbons Spring/Summer 2019: Volume 15, No. 2

Tanka Café:  Theme: What Matters [to You]

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My Ex-Best Friend’s Wedding

By Wendy Wax

 

Book Blurb

A wedding dress passed down through generations unravels the tangled threads of three women’s lives in a novel of friendship, family, and forgiveness from the USA Today bestselling author of Ten Beach Road.

Prized and stored away for safekeeping, the timeless ivory wedding dress, with its scooped neck and cleverly fitted bodice, sits gently folded in its box, whispering of Happily Ever Afters. To Kendra, Brianna, and Lauren it’s a reminder of what could have been, the promise of a fairy tale, and a friendship torn apart. But as Kendra knows firsthand: it wasn’t the dress’s fault.

Once closer than sisters, Lauren and Bree have grown up and grown apart, allowing broken promises and unfulfilled dreams to destroy their friendship. A successful author, Lauren returns home to the Outer Banks, fiance in tow, to claim the dress she never thought she’d wear. While Bree, a bookstore owner, grapples with the realities of life after you marry the handsome prince. As the former best friends wrestle with their uncertain futures, they are both certain of one thing: some betrayals can never be forgiven.

Now on the eve of her daughter Lauren’s wedding, Kendra struggles with a secret she’s kept for far too long. And vows to make sure the dress will finally bring Lauren and Bree back together–knowing they’ll need each other to survive the coming storm.

Blurb and Book Cover from Goodreads

My Review

Have you ever read a book that captivated you word for word? Have you read a book with characters so vividly portrayed, you felt you knew them intimately? No?  Then you haven’t read Wendy Wax’s MY EX-BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING. Best-selling author, Lauren, and an aspiring author and bookstore owner, Bree, have a long history of conflict.  Kendra, Lauren’s mother and Bree’s surrogate mother, is the perfect mother until she isn’t.  Supporting characters, Jake, who Kendra left at the altar; Clay, who is the less than perfect husband to Bree; and Lily, Bree and Clay’s daughter who becomes the rebellious teen and then shows her moxie when things get out of control, enter the scene and have issues of their own.

The author does what seems impossible and seamlessly weaves the characters and their problems into a book filled with love, anger, jealousy, concern, friendship, and reconciliation.  The story of each person interlinks with the others flawlessly and all come together to a satisfying conclusion.

I enjoyed this book from cover to cover.  I could not put it down and, though it was somewhat lengthy, I read it in one day. The outcome satisfied me and yet I felt sad for the book to end. I cannot praise MY EX-BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING by Wendy Wax highly enough.

Author Bio

I write novels that explore friendship, self-discovery and the challenges life brings us, leavened with a touch of humor. I’m proud of all my books and perhaps best known for my “Ten Beach Road” titles including the USA Today bestsellers, Ten Beach Road and The House on Mermaid Point, and for While We Were Watching Downton Abbey.

I was born in St.Petersburg, Florida and grew up on St. Pete Beach within spitting distance of the Gulf of Mexico. I went, appropriately enough, to Sunshine Elementary School where recess and art class sometimes took place on the beach, and the highlight of every school year was the annual fish broil.

It’s hard to be a type-A personality when you grow up in such a laid back environment, but I managed. Convinced that you were expected to know how to read BEFORE you showed up for school, I forced a neighbor friend to teach me to read at the age of five. I’ve been reading ever since.

Books, in all forms, are one of my greatest pleasures and best forms of escape. And they’ve had a major impact on my life.

I went to the University of Georgia after reading Gone with the Wind one too many times. For a while I re-read Margaret Mitchell’s classic yearly, saw the movie whenever it played within twenty miles, and could quote large passages from memory. Today I have a growing GWTW collection, and the time I spoke at the Margaret Mitchell House was an incredible thrill.last

After college I worked in radio, television, and film. Like Olivia in 7 DAYS AND SEVEN NIGHTS, I’ve done live talk radio. I hosted a show in the eighties called Desperate & Dateless, and while I was never locked in an apartment for a week with a webcam rolling as she was, I did fall in love. Happily, the man who swept me off my feet consults with financial types and understands the bottom line. Unlike Olivia’s nemesis, Matt Ransom, my husband has never, to my knowledge, advised anyone to ‘love the one they’re with.’ We live in Atlanta with our two sons.

Author Bio from Goodreads
Author Photo from Author’s Website

Author Links

Wendy Wax – Author

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Tempus fugit

Another lovely poem by Sue Vincent.

France & Vincent

images

In the silence of a home once full of noise,

A clock is ticking.

Suddenly I know…

Every second marks a moment,

Another chunk of time

Leaves the future,

Slides through the present

Becomes the past…

As I listen.

And this is me,

A life ticking away.

How many seconds pass in reverie?

How many lost unmarked

And unremarked

Beyond my reach?

I cannot call them back,

Cannot rewind, relive

Refill with memories.

Once they are gone, done,

Lost in the mists,

Wandering the mind

Like aimless ghosts

I cannot change them.

And so I breathe,

Inhaling seconds as they pass,

Filling each one,

With something, anything

To make them count,

Make them sparkle

Make them burn..

Branded in memory.

My life is wide,

Embracing tomorrow

When it is today

And the clock can tick,

Counting my laughter

As the years pass.

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The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter: A Novel

By Hazel Gaynor

 

Book Blurb

From The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home comes a historical novel inspired by true events, and the extraordinary female lighthouse keepers of the past two hundred years.

 “They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”

 1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.

 1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.

Book Blurb from Harper Collins

Cover Image from Goodreads.com

 

My Review

I first read about THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER on Cathy Ryan’s blog Between the Lines and knew I had to read it.  This book is about two women, separated by 100 years, who struggled to find their way while remaining devoted to their families. What did each have to give up to remain true to themselves?

THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER is a historical fiction set in 1838 at Longstone Lighthouse on Farne Island.  Grace Darling assisted her father in maintaining the lighthouse and it is where she lived with her mother and father.  Living and working in a lighthouse during any time period must surely require a great amount of tenacity and a profound love of the sea.  One eventful night a terrible storm hit and the events that followed changed Grace’s life forever.

Paralleling Grace’s story is the story of Matilda Emmerson.  In 1938 Matilda became pregnant and was sent away from her home in disgrace to live with Harriet, a distant realative and an assistant lighthouse keeper in Newport, Rhode Island.  Matilda wasn’t sure she could stay with this strange woman, but as the story progressed through the difficulties between them, the two learned to get along and even developed an admiration for each other.

As the stories of each young woman evolve, it is evident there is some connection between them, but you are left guessing while hints are revealed as their stories progress.

The author crafted characters that were beautifully fleshed out and believable.  I had no difficulty keeping the many characters sorted out.

The storyline was clear, and the locales colorfully painted. The author told both stories without confusing the reader.  This well researched historical novel was told with great authenticity allowing the reader to feel connected to the story.

THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER was so absorbing, I couldn’t put it down.  I will definitely read more by Hazel Gaynor.  THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER is a five-star story.

 

About the Author

Hazel Gaynor is the acclaimed New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of A MEMORY OF VIOLETS and THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists’ Association Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she published THE COTTINGLEY SECRET and LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS (co-written with Heather Webb). Both novels hit bestseller lists, and LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel’s most recent novel, THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller. Her latest novel MEET ME IN MONACO (co-written with Heather Webb) will be published in July 2019.

Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into ten languages and is published in seventeen countries to date. She is co-founder of creative writing events The Inspiration Project, and lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. She is represented by Michelle Brower of Aevitas Creative Management, New York.

Author Bio from Amazon.com
Author Photo from HarperCollins.com

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – The Story Reading Ape with his Guest Michelle Clements James

My thanks to Sally Cronin for sharing this post and to Chris Graham for allowing her to repost it. 💕🤗💕

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Here is the second post from Christopher Graham, The Story Reading Ape. He suggested that having such an extensive archive, that I share some of his guest posts. It serves another purpose apart from showcasing that guest, as it is reminder to you that Chris loves having new guest write for his blog. This week I am sharing the guest post in 2014 of Michelle Clements Jameswho is a wonderful supporter of this blog too and most of yours I would imagine.

The Story Reading Ape – and his guest Michelle Clements James

I am a reader…

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Book Spotlight: BLAZE

By Hope Bolinger

 

Book Synopsis
If you can’t stand the heat, don’t walk into the fire.

Danny knew his sophomore year would be stressful. . . but he didn’t expect his school to burn down on the first day.

To make matters worse (and they were about to get a lot
worse), he — and his three best friends — receive an email in their inboxes from the principal of their rival, King’s Academy, offering full-rides to attend the town’s prestigious boarding school. Danny wants nothing to do with King’s Academy and says no. Of course, his mother says yes. So off he goes to be bullied and picked on for not being part of the popular and rich “in crowd.”

From day one at King’s, Danny encounters hazing, mocking insults from girls at the “popular and pretty” table, and cafeteria food that, for such a prestigious school, tastes as if it were purchased from a military surplus supply warehouse. If he survives, Danny will have to overcome his fears of failure, rejection, and loneliness—all while standing strong in his beliefs and walking into the fire.

 Author Biography

Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 300 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column “Hope’s Hacks,” tips and tricks to avoid writer’s block, reaches 2,700+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young’s blog, which receives 63,000+ monthly hits. She is excited for her modern-day Daniel “Blaze” to come out with IlluminateYA (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). She enjoys all things theater, cats, and fire. You can find more about her at www.hopebolinger.com

 Pub Date

June 3, 2019

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Trailer

Emily, Gone

By Bette Lee Crosby

Book Blurb

A missing child sets the lives of three women on a collision course in this powerful and compelling novel by USA Todaybestselling author Bette Lee Crosby.

1971.

When a music festival rolls through the sleepy town of Hesterville, Georgia, the Dixon family’s lives are forever changed. On the final night, a storm muffles the sound of the blaring music, and Rachel tucks her baby into bed before falling into a deep sleep. So deep, she doesn’t hear the kitchen door opening. When she and her husband wake up in the morning, the crib is empty. Emily is gone.

Vicki Robart is one of the thousands at the festival, but she’s not feeling the music. She’s feeling the emptiness over the loss of her own baby several months before. When she leaves the festival and is faced with an opportunity to fill that void, she is driven to an act of desperation that will forever bind the lives of three women.

When the truth of what actually happened that fateful night is finally exposed, shattering the lives they’ve built, will they be able to pick up the pieces to put their families back together again?

Blurb from Goodreads

My Review

EMILY, GONE is another of Bette Lee Crosby’s superb “can’t put down, don’t want it to end” books.  Written so beautifully in her Southern voice, the author evokes all the emotions, tears, and emptiness that the Dixon’s felt when they discovered their baby was kidnapped from her crib during the night. EMILY, GONE is a story that will tug at your heartstrings.

Ms. Crosby’s characters are true-to-life and could easily be your neighbor, your friend, your family, and even a stranger who sneaks into your home at night. I love when I have a visual of the main characters, but when I can also picture the supporting characters so clearly, you can buy into the story and better understand why the story took the turns that it did. So often a great number of characters can confuse the reader, but that was not the case in EMILY, GONE.  Each character, so brilliantly developed, stood on his/her own.

The storyline is well chronicled and was told by numerous points of view throughout.

As always, I enjoyed another delightful book by Bette Lee Crosby, who is undoubtedly one of my favorite authors. I recommend EMILY, GONE to anyone who enjoys reading women’s fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, tearjerkers, realistic stories, inspirational stories, and diverse characters.  EMILY, GONE positively deserves 5-stars!

My thanks to the Bette Lee Crosby and Netgalley for this ARC.
All thoughts and praise for this book are my own.

About the Author

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.” Crosby is the USA Today bestselling author of eighteen novels, including Spare Change and the Wyattsville series. She has been the recipient of the Royal Palm Literary Award, Reviewer’s Choice Award, FPA President’s Book Award, International Book Award, and Next Generation Indie Award, among many others. Her 2016 novel, Baby Girl, was named Best Chick Lit of the Year by Huffington Post. . . . Bette laughingly admits to being a night owl and a workaholic, claiming that her guilty pleasure is late-night chats with fans and friends on Facebook and Goodreads.

Author Bio from BookBub