ABBY & HOLLY SERIES, BOOK 4 – THE HIDDEN STAIRWAY

By Janice Spina

Illustrations & Cover by John Spina

BOOK BLURB

Join the cousins, Abby and Holly, as they search for clues about who placed an urn up in their attic with the remains of a young girl who lived a century ago. Their old Victorian holds many secrets and the girls are determined to solve this mystery with the help of two ghost friends, Felicity and Minerva, who inhabit their home.

As the girls are searching for clues in their basement, they discover a hidden stairway. Upon entering the stairway, they find themselves unexpectedly catapulted back in time to a century ago. Will they be able to return with the answers to the mystery? If not, who will help them get back? Or, will they be forever lost in time?

 

My Review

Abby and Holly are cousins who have special powers, they can see and speak to ghosts, and in this book, they find they can travel back in time with the reassurance that should anything go wrong, they will get help from their ghost friends, Felicity and Minerva.  This opens an exciting new adventure for the girls, though it is quite worrisome for their mothers.

Once again, Janice Spina has created a riveting adventure for the cousins.  I couldn’t put it down and I’m sure middle-grade readers will get wrapped up in the story as much as I did. As with all of Spina’s books, there will be no objectionable language and there is always a life lesson–to be respectful to others, to be kind and considerate, to recognize and accept that there are differences in all of us. To parents, grandparents, and teachers, I recommend this be read aloud by children so you can have a lively discussion about the story and the lessons in ABBY & HOLLY SERIES, BOOK 4 – THE HIDDEN STAIRWAY.  This is positively a 5-star book.

I received a copy of this book from the author for an unbiased review.
I received no compensation for my review.

 

About the Author

Janice Spina is an award-winning author with 12 children’s books, Louey the Lazy Elephant, Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon, Jerry the Crabby Crayfish (won Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), Lamby the Lonely Lamb (won the Silver Medal from MOM’S Choice Awards), and Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear, Broose the Moose on the Loose (won a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), and Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey, and Colby the Courageous Cat (Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe (Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab, Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series (Book 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5) is a middle-grade/preteen series and Abby & Holly Series Book1 1, 2, 3 (Books 1 & 2 won Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards). Book 1, The Case of the Missing Cell Phone (won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and an Honorable Mention from Readers’ Favorite Awards). Book 2, The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat, won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and Book 3, The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant, also won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and Book 5 won a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and a Silver Medal from Authorsdb Cover Contest. Janice’s other books have also been Finalists in Red City Review Book Awards and Authorsdb First Lines Contest.

Her logo is JEMSBOOKS for all ages on which is her motto:
“Reading Gives You Wings To Fly! Soar with Jemsbooks!”

Janice’s and John’s joint goal is: To encourage children of all ages to read and to instill this love of reading in them to carry them throughout their lives and thus giving them ‘wings to fly!’

Author Bio is from Amazon and Goodreads.

Book Cover, Author Photo, and Book Blurb are from Goodreads.

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Fragments of Light

A beautiful and thoughtful post from Sue Vincent.

The Silent Eye

Little Hampden Cholesbury 091

I was talking with my son about the way life works out. The daily round of events and occurrences great and small that seem to be scattered, like pieces of broken glass, across the table of time. Some events hit your life with all the destructive power of a truck at full speed. Caught in the emotions of the moment it is hard to see beyond the pain, the fear, or the grief. Some are joyous rays of light casting bright pools of colour in the shadows. Most are the simple small-doings of everyday.

Taken individually, like pieces of a puzzle, they can be difficult to interpret… a patch of featureless blue or indistinct green may be hard to place within the image… especially if you don’t know what the picture is to begin with. Yet with a little patience, the pieces can begin to fit together. A detail here…

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Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 1 – Drystan and Durward Save the Day

By Janice Spina

Illustrated by John Spina

 

Book Blurb

This is a magical series about Drystan the dragon and his friends. These dragons are colorful, engaging and fun to read about. They teach children the importance of friendship, caring for one another, being kind to others, and it’s okay to be different. All dragons are of different colors and their names begin with the letter ‘D’ – a fun way for young children to learn the letter ‘D’ and colors.
In Book 1, Drystan makes a new friend, Durward, who invites him to visit the Land of the Rainbows. While they are there they have an adventure. Find out what the dragons do to save the day.

My Review

Drystan and his new friend, Durward, are off to have an adventure, but along the way, they stop to help some little birds.  Who doesn’t love dragons!  And they come in different colors!  Drystan is red and Durward is blue.  Find out what happens when the dragons are happy.  Why are they flying to the Land of Rainbows?  This story is about the importance of having friends and helping others.  It is a wonderful tale written in rhyme that will appeal to young children, whether someone reads it to them or able to read themselves.  Janice Spina has clearly remained true to her belief that books for children should be wholesome and teach life lessons.  Her husband, John Spina, beautifully and colorfully illustrated the book. I highly recommend Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 1 Drystan and Durward Save the Day.

I received a free copy of this book from the author and reviewed it without compensation.

About the Author

Janice Spina is an award-winning author with 12 children’s books, Louey the Lazy Elephant, Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon, Jerry the Crabby Crayfish (won Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), Lamby the Lonely Lamb (won the Silver Medal from MOM’S Choice Awards), and Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear, Broose the Moose on the Loose (won a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), and Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey, and Colby the Courageous Cat (Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe (Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab, Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series (Book 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5) is a middle-grade/preteen series and Abby & Holly Series Book1 1, 2, 3 (Books 1 & 2 won Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards). Book 1, The Case of the Missing Cell Phone (won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and an Honorable Mention from Readers’ Favorite Awards). Book 2, The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat, won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and Book 3, The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant, also won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and Book 5 won a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and a Silver Medal from Authorsdb Cover Contest. Janice’s other books have also been Finalists in Red City Review Book Awards and Authorsdb First Lines Contest.

Her logo is JEMSBOOKS for all ages on which is her motto:
“Reading Gives You Wings To Fly! Soar with Jemsbooks!”

Janice’s and John’s joint goal is: To encourage children of all ages to read and to instill this love of reading in them to carry them throughout their lives and thus giving them ‘wings to fly!’

Author Bio is from Amazon and Goodreads
Book Cover, Author Photo, and Book Blurb are from Amazon

 

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Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 1 is Now Here!

Janice Spina’s new series for children, Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 1, Drystan and Durward Save the Day, is now available on Amazon Kindle. Read on to learn about this exciting new series.

Jemsbooks

I am thrilled to share my newest book, Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 1 is now available on Amazon! This series will have six books about dragons with names beginning with the letter D and each one of a different color and personality.

This series, as all Jemsbooks, carries life’s lessons that teach children to be kind, caring and respectful to each other, accept differences, friends matter.

I hope you and your children will enjoy reading about these friendly and colorful dragons. Reading together with your children is a wonderful way to get closer for cuddling and bonding.

Drystan the Dragon and Friends Book 1 is now on Amazon Kindle and soon to paperback and Barnes & Noble. Bring Drystan home to your children today and see them smile. Fun adventures with colorful dragons that help teach children the letter ‘D’ and their colors.

Here is the cover…

View original post 312 more words

Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words

By Sally Cronin

 

Book Blurb

Life’s Rich Tapestry is a collection of verse, micro-fiction and short stories that explore many aspects of our human nature and the wonders of the natural world. Reflections on our earliest beginnings and what is yet to come, with characters as diverse as a French-speaking elephant and a cyborg warrior.

Finding the right number of syllables for a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree or Cinquain focuses the mind; as does 99-word micro-fiction, bringing a different level of intensity to storytelling. You will find stories about the past, the present and the future told in 17 syllables to 2,000 words, all celebrating life.

This book is also recognition of the value to a writer, of being part of a generous and inspiring blogging community, where writing challenges encourage us to explore new styles and genres.

My Review

Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words is a beautiful collection of various types of poetry, 99-word flash fiction, and short stories that the author has written in response to various blog challenges within her circle of blogging friends.  These are thoughtfully penned poems and stories that reflect upon life experiences and imaginings.  That Sally Cronin is a master storyteller is evidenced in this heartwarming collection.

The book is divided into categories with something for every reader.  If you like fairies, there is a section of poetry for you.  The section All Things Human addresses aging and youth, beauty, greed, romance and much more.  Do you like nature?  The Natural World has poems to keep you reading.  There are quite a few more categories of life experiences and other topics to pique your curiosity.

Flash fiction always fascinates me.  So much can be said in very few words, and Sally Cronin is an expert at answering the prompt.  Life’s Greatest Gift is one of these prompts.  It is skillfully written with great tenderness.  My Mouse is a flash with a hilarious twist at the end.  I’m still chuckling over that one.  Reunion is a touching response to the prompt.  I couldn’t begin to tell you which of the flash fiction is my favorite.

My favorite short story was Great Aunt Georgina.  It was heartwarming and heart wrenching at the same time. Of course, I don’t want to tell you what the storyline is, you’ll just have to read it yourself along with the rest of the varied short stories.

Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words is a book that can be read in one sitting or enjoyed over several days.  It is a treasure trove of life tales in prose and poetry, all told with warmth, some humor at times, and often with the unexpected ending. I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages.  There is positively something here for everyone.   

Author Bio

I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996.

My first book Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another twelve books since then on health and also fiction including three collections of short stories. My latest collection is Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words.. verse, micro fiction and short stories.

I am an indie author and proud to be one. My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.

As a writer I know how important it is to have help in marketing books.. as important as my own promotion is, I believe it is important to support others. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog and linked to my social media. If you are an author who would like to be promoted to a new audience of dedicated readers, please contact me via my blog. All it will cost you is a few minutes of your time. Look forward to hearing from you.

 

Web Links for Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine (Sally’s Blog)

Moyhill Publishing

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Book Blurb, Author Bio, Author Photo, and Cover Photo are from Goodreads

Isobel’s Promise

By Maggie Christensen

 

Book Blurb

A promise for the future. A threat from the past. Can Bel find happiness?

Back in Sydney after her aunt’s death, sixty-five-year-old Bel Davison is making plans to sell up her home and business and return to Scotland where she has promised to spend the rest of her life with the enigmatic Scotsman with whom she’s found love.

But the reappearance of her ex-husband combined with other unexpected drawbacks turns her life into chaos, leading her to have doubts about the wisdom of her promise.

In Scotland, Matt Reid has no such doubts, and although facing challenges of his own, he longs for Bel’s return.

But when an unexpected turn of events leads him to question Bel’s sincerity, Matt decides to take a drastic step–the result of which he could never have foreseen.

Can this midlife couple find happiness in the face of the challenges life has thrown at them?

A sequel to The Good Sister, Isobel’s Promise continues the story of Bel and Matt, which began in Scotland.

If you enjoy reading about strong women who have learned to love and love in later life, you’ll love Maggie Christensen’s books.

My Review

Isobel’s Promise is the first book I read in 2020.  I started it on the evening of January 1st and finished it the next morning.  This is one of those “can’t put down” books.  I was hooked on the first page. Written beautifully with careful thought to the layout of the story, I soon fell in love with Matt and Isobel, but especially Isobel.  She is a strong woman who found the love of her life at the age of 65.  She reminds me of my grandmother who seldom had a bad word for anyone and always had an ear to listen to others.

Matt lives in Scotland, but Isobel’s home for most of her life is in Australia.  She left Scotland as a young woman and wonders if she could return to live there permanently.  Her business and the house she loves are in Sidney, Australia. Additionally, there is the matter of Matt’s daughter who is convinced Isobel is out to replace her deceased mother.  Can Isobel come between Matt and his daughter and her children?  There is so much for Isobel to sort out.

This is the first book I’ve read by Maggie Christensen, and it won’t be the last.  Her characters are engaging, and the story has a few unexpected turns. If you like books about strong women, romance, enjoy coming across a surprise or two as you read, you will love Isobel’s Promise.

There is no reason not to give Isobel’s Promise 5 stars.

Author Bio

After a career in education, Maggie Christensen began writing contemporary women’s fiction portraying mature women facing life-changing situations. Her travels inspire her writing, be it her frequent visits to family in Oregon, USA or her home on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. Maggie writes of mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them.
From her native Glasgow, Scotland, Maggie was lured by the call ‘Come and teach in the sun’ to Australia, where she worked as a primary school teacher, university lecturer and in educational management. Now living with her husband of thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she loves walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the river on weekends. Her days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – her idea of heaven!
She continues her love of books as a volunteer with her local library where she selects and delivers books to the housebound.
A member of Queensland Writer’s Centre, RWA, ALLi, and a local critique group, Maggie enjoys meeting her readers at book signings and library talks. In 2014 she self-published Band of Gold and The Sand Dollar, Book One in the Oregon Coast Series, in 2015, The Dreamcatcher, Book Two in the Oregon Coast Series and Broken Threads, and in 2016, Madeline House, book Three in the Oregon Coast Series

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The photos, author bio, and book blurb used here are from Goodreads.

Holly Banks Full of Angst

By Julie Valerie

 

Book Blurb

A laugh-out-loud debut novel for anyone who’s tried to live the perfect life—and learned the hard way there’s no such thing.

Holly Banks could not have made a worse first impression on the seemingly perfect moms in her new affluent community, the Village of Primm. Turns out wearing pink piggy pajama bottoms while dropping off her kindergartener late to the first day of school wasn’t her best look.

Not to mention Holly’s worried her husband may be having an affair, she can’t get her daughter to stop sucking her thumb, her hard-won film degree is collecting dust, and to top it all off, the power-hungry PTA president clearly has it in for her…

To make matters even worse, Holly’s natural eye for drama lands her smack-dab in the- middle of a neighborhood mystery—right as her own crazy mother shows up in Primm “to help.” Through it all, Holly begins to realize her neighbors may be just as flawed as—and even wackier than—she is, leaving her to wonder: Is there such a thing as a perfect mom?

My Review

Did I read the first line of the book blurb right?  Did it say, “a laugh-out-loud debut novel?” Well, I am still laughing.  This is the funniest book I think I’ve ever read.

Holly Banks doesn’t seem like the type of mom who would have so much happen to her as a new resident of the Village of Primm.  She’s not prim and proper, but seems like a normal mom, that is, until she meets the PTA president Mary-Margaret St. James. Everything goes downhill for Holly.  She wears the wrong T-shirt to the first PTA meeting of the year, and that is just the beginning.  Mary-Margaret is in overdrive making Holly feel incompetent as a mother.  I instantly had a disliking for Mary-Margaret.  I felt sorry for Holly and wanted to yell at her to stand up against the overbearing PTA pres.

The first couple of chapters were a difficult read for me.  I wasn’t laughing, yet. I wanted to shake Holly and tell her to believe in herself and not listen to Mary-Margaret.  At the same time, I wanted to take Mary-Margaret out behind the school and whop some sense into her and bring her down a peg or two. In the end, I was glad I kept reading.  The story is a satire on the life of real moms and real PTA officials, and I felt the author executed it well.

As a former PTA member, PTA president, and general PTA-go-to when something needed to be done, I have run across all kinds of PTA presidents, though none quite as bad as Mary-Margaret.  As a mother and grandmother, I know there is no such thing as a perfect mom.  I felt by the end of the book, Holly found her place and Mary-Margaret mellowed.

 

About the Author

Holly Banks Full of Angst, Book One in the Village of Primm series, is Julie Valerie’s debut novel, available now for pre-order, publishing December 1, 2019, with Lake Union.

Julie is the founder of the 85K Writing Challenge and serves on the board of directors of James River Writers. She earned an editing certificate from the University of Chicago Graham School and has a master’s degree in education, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion, and certification in wilderness first aid. She enjoys books, the study of wine, hikes on the Appalachian Trail, and travel. Julie married her college sweetheart, and they live in Virginia with their four children and two English labradors.

Learn more about Julie and subscribe to her newsletter at https://julievalerie.com.

Follow Julie Valerie’s Amazon author page, and be the first to learn of new releases and author updates https://amzn.to/2Vb9gGi.

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Connect with Julie on Twitter and Pinterest @julie_valerie. On Facebook and Instagram @julievalerieauthor.

Ten Things My Husband Hated: A Saffron Sweeting Novel

By Pauline Wiles

 

Book Blurb

Maggie Moone is happily divorced.

And with her talent for fixing things, she’s perfectly content with her mundane life in the sleepy English village of Saffron Sweeting. That is, until one humiliating March evening when she learns everyone else assumes she’d love to mend her broken marriage.

Determined to prove them wrong, Maggie and her friends concoct a list of ten ways to assert her independence and live large. But her mission to move on leads to unexpected encounters, and Maggie soon finds herself mixing business with pleasure. Is the attractive young Irishman just another item on her list, or is he something more?

Before long, unresolved issues from her past begin to clash, and Maggie is forced to wonder if antagonizing her ex-husband was such a stellar idea.

No sooner does she begin to understand what’s important to her, than she stands to lose everything that truly matters.

This is the fourth in the collection of Saffron Sweeting romantic comedies, which can be read in any order. If you like gentle British humour and deliciously resilient heroines, you’ll love Ten Things My Husband Hated.

Book Blurb and Book Cover from Goodreads

 

My Review

There is so much to love about TEN THINGS MY HUSBAND HATED and little, if anything, to dislike.  The “war” between Maggie and Colin is as funny as it is serious.  When Maggie decided to get even by getting under Colin’s skin, things were hilarious, until they weren’t.  Did Maggie’s list cause her to lose someone who meant the world to her or would she be able to redeem herself in the eyes of the one she found she’d fallen for?

Maggie grew from a somewhat flaky, weak person who was still hanging on to her past to a strong, decisive woman who knew what she needed to do to become the new Maggie Moone.  She displayed compassion and forgiveness for her ex and his new wife in place of her feelings of anger and jealousy.  She learned to love for the real reason and when she realized this love, she blossomed.  Maggie went through a lot of pain and a lot of growing up and nearly lost Finn, an earnest young Irishman.  If I had to choose a favorite character it would be Finn.  I loved his choices of what to do on a date.

There were quite a few supporting characters who were all as beautifully fleshed out as the main characters.  The story moved smoothly and kept my interest.  In fact, I couldn’t put this book down.

 

About the Author

British by birth, Pauline Wiles is now a contented resident of California, although she admits to occasional yearnings for afternoon tea and historic homes.

Her debut novel, Saving Saffron Sweeting, reached the quarter final of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Three further romantic comedies set in the same village are now available, along with a free collection of short stories. Pauline has also published Indie with Ease, to help other independent authors conquer stress and boost productivity.

When not writing, Pauline designs and builds simple, stylish websites for other writers and authors. She can also be found running, reading, or searching for her next venue to enjoy tea and a slice of cake.

Author Bio and Photo from Goodreads.

 

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An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review.  

A Wedding in December

By Sarah Morgan

 

Book Blurb

This funny, charming and heartwarming new Christmas novel is USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan at her festive best! 

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding. First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret of their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister, Katie, is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself! If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiancé but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived—how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget!

Book Cover and Blurb from Goodreads

My Review

This is one of the funniest stories I have ever read!  Besides humor, the story was heartwarming. Even though it had its ups and downs, I enjoyed every minute of it.  Often, I felt Katie was overbearing, but meeting Jordan, the best man in her sister’s wedding, softened her. Rosie was flighty and let her sister’s doubts sniggle their way into her mind bringing doubts about her upcoming wedding. Then add to the drama of the sisters, their parents, Maggie and Nick, brought their own spectacle to this comical, romantic  Christmas tale.

The characters were well-drawn, and the storyline was fascinating. There were a lot of loose ends, but the author did a wonderful job tying the story together, creating a book worth reading.  I recommend A WEDDING IN DECEMBER to anyone who loves reading about sisters, enjoys humor, and a Christmas romance.

My thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of A WEDDING IN DECEMBER in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes romance and contemporary women’s fiction and her trademark humour and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors.

A WEDDING IN DECEMBER, a fun family drama set around the festive season, is out in the US/Canada Sept 24 and the UK Oct 31.

Author Bio and Photo from Goodreads

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