The Staircase on Pine Street

By Mariana Llanos

Illustrated by Kate Gattey

 

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Book Blurb

The Staircase on Pine Street is a story that will touch your heart with its tenderness, humor, sensitivity and page-turning narrative. Mariana Llanos has once again, crafted a beautiful story of family love to share with readers of all ages. Ten-year-old Lilly has to learn to live with her grandfather’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Lilly and Grandpa Leo have a close, loving bond but ever since he’s been diagnosed, things have drastically changed. Alzheimer’s is taking away her grandpa’s memory. Lilly feels that there is nothing she can do to help. Until one day, Grandpa Leo gives Lilly an important assignment: to find a long-forgotten treasure. Lilly— with the help of her best friend, Mei Ling— goes on an exciting quest where she discovers more than she could have ever imagine.

To read the first chapter, click on this link:  https://scribblesonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/the-staircase-on-pine-street-chapter-1/

 

My Review

Ten-year-old Lilly’s grandfather has Alzheimer’s disease. He is moving to an apartment in an assisted living facility where he can get help every day.  Lilly is excited that it has a playground and she and Grandpa Leo can go to when she visits.  She doesn’t understand what Alzheimer’s is, but her mother helps her understand the stages of the disease as her grandpa goes through them.  Lilly realizes that her grandpa no longer remembers everything, and some days he doesn’t seem to know who she is. Then one day her grandpa gives her a mission – she is to search for a forgotten treasure.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be scary for young children, but Mariana Llanos has woven a beautiful story that explains the disease in a way that young children can understand.  I recommend parents read the forward before reading the book to their children. In this short piece about Alzheimer’s disease, the author describes what Alzheimer’s is, tells how to get more information, and makes suggestions to help families to create awareness of this devastating disease.

I recommend this upper elementary school age child, whether or not they have a family member who has Alzheimer’s disease.

 

About the Author

Mariana Llanos-00208Mariana Llanos is a Peruvian-born writer based in Oklahoma. Mariana has written short stories since she was a young girl. Hoping to give a voice to the many characters that lived in her head, she studied Drama with the prestigious company Cuatrotablas, based in Lima.  After moving to Oklahoma, Mariana has worked as a preschool teacher, standing out for her creativity and passion for arts education. She has published five children’s books whose themes revolve around family love and acceptance. Mariana visits schools around the world through virtual technology to inspire a life-long passion for reading and writing. Books by Mariana Llanos:

Tristan Wolf, A Planet for Tristan Wolf, the Wanting Monster, The Staircase on Pine Street, No Birthday for Mara. Available in Spanish: El Monstruo Quierelotodo, Mara sin Cumpleaños, Tristán Lobo.

Type of Book – Paperback

Publisher – Mariana Llanos

Pub Date – July 20th 2014

66 pages

Genre – Children’s, Middle Grade chapter Book

To learn more about Mariana Llanos and her books

Website: www.marianallanos.com

Social Media Links

http://www.facebook.com/tristanwolfofficial
http://www.twitter.com/marianallanos
http://www.pinterest.com/marianallanos
http://www.amazon.com/author/marianallanos

CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS By Susan Wiggs

Candlelight Christmas

Logan O’Donnell owned a successful insurance business that he started to be near his son Charlie in a small town in upstate New York. However, when his ex-wife’s husband was transferred Oklahoma, he only gets to see Charlie during the summer and holidays. Logan sold his insurance business and bought a ski resort in Avalon, a town on the shores of Willow Lake. Though Logan has had his share of dates since the divorce, he is not ready for a serious relationship.

Darcy Fitzgerald is still reeling in the aftershock of her divorce from her unfaithful husband, Huntley Collins.  She is not ready for involvement with another man, especially one with a child, but when her best friend India introduces her to her brother Logan, Darcy cannot deny she is attracted to him.

The Fitzgerald’s and the Collins’ families go way back and they vacation and do holidays together. Darcy’s sister is married to her ex’s brother, and Darcy cannot bring herself to celebrating the holidays with her family since Huntley will be there. When India invites her to spend the holidays with her family, she accepts.

Will their pasts drive Logan and Darcy apart, or can the romantic backdrop of the wintry ski resort and the spirit of creating a Christmas to remember for Charlie and his cousins allow them to drop their guard?

This is a delightful read. Susan Wiggs is a master storyteller, and CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS is no exception.  Her characters are very believable and the plot has enough detail to keep interest high without overwhelming the reader. It is a quick read, just right for the busy holidays.

Susan-Wiggs-photo-by-Susan-Doupe You can read more about Susan and her books on her website Susan Wiggs, her Goodreads author page, FaceBook author page, her blog The View from Here, or on Twitter.

To buy CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS or any of her other books, you can visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM, Powell’s, or your favorite indie bookstore.

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.

NEST By Esther Ehrlich

NestNaomi Orenstein (known as Chirp because she loves watching birds and can tell you just about anything about them) and Joey Morell live across the street from each other.  Joey has two older brothers who have bad reputations, and Naomi is afraid of them and a bit afraid of Joey, even though they are in the same grade. They are as different as night and day, or so they think. But as the story unfolds, they have a lot in common.   They are very bright students, and they both live under difficult circumstances.

This is a story of tragedy, hardship, love, and friendship.  It is about a camaraderie born of trust and a need to connect with someone who understands.  The plot and characters are both well crafted. The characters are true to life. Chirp and Joey could easily be the kids down the street.

When I first started reading Nest, I wasn’t sure it was going to be a book I would enjoy. As I got to know Chirp, I found I wanted to know more about her, why she and Joey seemed to have a connection, and how Chirp, with Joey’s friendship, learned to come to terms with the way life had changed for all in the Orenstein household. It was a book I couldn’t put down.

Nest is for ages 8-12, but I would recommend it to anyone age 8 – adult. It deals with some tough subjects such as illness, death, and abuse, and the unlikely bond of friendship that was formed by two children living under different circumstances. It is a heartwarming and unforgettable story.

I was given this ARC by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

To find out more about the author visit

Web page – Esther Ehrlich Author

Facebook – Esther Ehrlich, Author page

Twitter – @EstherEhrlich

Goodreads – Esther Ehrlich page

 

Buy the book on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, iBookstore, Random House