The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby
Violet Barnaby searches for the joy in life after losing her mother in this sweet and funny follow-up to The Charming Life of Izzy Malone. Violet Barnaby is a having a blue Christmas. She’s still grieving the loss of her mother, and to make things worse, her dad has just married Melanie Harmer, a.k.a. the meanest teacher at Dandelion Hollow Middle School. But on the day Violet and her dad are packing up and moving into the new house they’ll share with Melanie and Melanie’s two children, Violet finds a letter her mother wrote to her before she died, asking Violet to enjoy Christmas, along with a Christmas Wish List—things her mom wants her to do during the holiday season. On the list are exactly the kinds of things Violet doesn’t want to do this year, like Be Someone’s Secret Santa; Give Someone the Gift of Your Time: Volunteer; and Bake Christmas Cookies. Violet shows the letter to her friend Izzy’s Aunt Mildred, who calls a meeting of the Charm Girls, a club Izzy and Violet belong to along with their friends, Daisy and Sophia. Aunt Mildred decides she will give them each a charm to put on their bracelet if they do all of the tasks on the Christmas Wish List, which Violet is not too happy about. She’d rather forget about the list completely, but feels compelled to honor her mother’s wishes. And when Izzy’s crush confides a big secret to Violet, Violet feels like she is stuck between her best friend and the boy who she just might have a crush on, too…
Praise for The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby "[an] emotionally perceptive novel of grief and recovery." - Kirkus You'll fall in love with Violet and love every minute of living in her wondrous world! - Stephanie Faris Violet Barnaby and the forthcoming The Carnival of Wishes and Dreams (2019). I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway
I can remember the first time I realized how much I liked reading. I was in grade school happy as a lark checking out my fifth Nancy Drew mystery at the library. I couldn’t wait to get home. I was so excited to get it started. Looking back I can remember wanting to read them all and I still remember my two favorites, The Secret of the Old Clock and The Hidden Staircase. My mom who loved mysteries joined me in re-reading some of those old classics.
As time moved on I graduated to other books. I must have read The Black Stallion about five times and then in eighth grade I became obsessed with The Good-Bad Boy, a hilarious diary kept by a precocious adolescence who eventually became a priest. It was so popular that there was a waiting list for it in our one and only tiny school library.
As the years have gone by my love for books has not changed. I can’t remember a time when I was not reading something. My tastes have changed through the years and I can honestly say I have broadened my horizons and now enjoy a wide variety of books. Book clubs have been a great vehicle for introductions to genre’s I may never have selected for myself. I have also been open to friends’ suggestions, especially those who are avid readers. I feel fortunate too that I have passed on my love of reading to my children. Even as adolescences and young teens they spent a great deal of time reading and still do today.
So, where I am going with all of this. Well, with all the electronics that our children have access to today the pleasure of reading it appears has taken a back seat to all the fun and excitement that hand held electronics and standard gaming systems can give. Although these electronics are fun and can be played with friends and family, children are becoming addicted to them and prefer to play games over reading a good book. As moms, dads and grandparents we have some stiff competition. Although we want our kids and grandkids to have fun, perhaps there can be a compromise. Below I have listed some ideas to get our kids’ reading again and hope they’ll work for you.
1. Start early. We all know how important reading is to babies and preschoolers. As they grow we have to continue encouraging books, but take it a little further. As your children or grandchildren begin to mature make library trips a priority. Weekly or bi-weekly trips can be fun and something to look forward to while keeping track of books to read and return teaches them responsibility. If financially feasible, a trip to a local bookstore can be fun too. Choosing a book to purchase and keep helps children make decisions about what they really want to read. This is also where relatives can get involved indirectly. Gift cards to books stores make perfect gifts for children on birthdays and Christmas. Like most children, gift cards are greatly appreciated as they get to pick the gift themselves.
2. Make electronics something they have to earn. Like an allowance given for doing chores, electronic time can be earned through reading. For example, for every 30 minutes reading, 30 minutes is earned for the gaming system of their choice. Some may say this will only teach them to dread reading, but I disagree. This gives them the best of both worlds. Otherwise, and I have seen it, they can easily spend hours on electronic devices without even realizing it and books are collecting dust under their beds or in the corners of their rooms. Sometimes as parents and grandparents we have to be the bad guy and say “NO”! No more electronics, use your brain for something else!!
Remember too, kids love challenges and rewards. For every 5 books they read a trip to the store or ice cream shop of choice can be won. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive. Kids love Dollar stores as much as adults and who doesn’t like an ice cream cone or sundae. Whatever the treat may be make it special and something everyone can enjoy. Short on cash, then allow your child to pick the activity the family will participate in that day. A game of cards, a favorite board game or baking their favorite cookie works too. It’s your time and attention they want anyway. Just be creative.
3. If your children have a regularly scheduled bedtime, bump it up by 30 minutes and allow them to read in bed. Some kids like to take their hand held electronics to bed, but this can often stimulate their minds instead of relaxing them. Reading can help them calm after a busy day and take them away to places where they have to use their imagination. It also gives them something to look forward to again the next night, especially if it’s a chapter book. If your children are still young and have difficulty reading without assistance this is a perfect time to spend the last 30 minutes of their day together. Assisting them with reading not only makes them a better reader, but allows you some quiet time together in an otherwise hectic day.
4. Whenever possible, let your children or grandchildren see their favorite books come to life. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, James and The Giant Peach, The Hobbit, Little Women, The Polar Express, The Chronicles of Narnia and the Cat in the Hat are just a few wonderful books that have been made into films. Just Like adults, children like to see their favorite characters jump off the page and entertain them on a screen larger than life.
5. If a parent or grandparent has trouble getting a child to read a book and it becomes a battle, find out what they are passionate about. If your child likes sports, there are many children’s books about sports. Perhaps your child likes animals, dolls, or if you’re lucky they may be interested in history, Again countless books have been written on all of these subjects. If none of these hold interest for your child or grandchild, how about a comic book or magazine. I collected Betty and Veronica, Jughead and Archie in grade school for years. I devoured those comic books and couldn’t wait for the next ones to hit the stand. The most important thing to remember is we want them to enjoy reading. If we make reading a chore instead of a reward we defeat our purpose.
Well I hope that some of these ideas to encourage your children or grandchildren to read has been helpful. We all want our children to succeed and becoming good readers is one way to start them on their way. Reading will educate them and help them to self-entertain especially when they are bored. More importantly it gives them a great alternative to endless hours of electronic activity. Reading will open them up to different worlds and allow them to develop a creative imagination. Reading is also something the whole family can share. In a busy world with all the activities that compete with their time, books are a way of slowing down and sharing with siblings and the whole family. It’s never too late to encourage your children and grandchildren to become avid readers. Why not start today!
In this first book on the topic written from a Catholic perspective, award-winning writer Mary DeTurris Poust offers personal, hard-won wisdom on the complex relationship between food and spirituality.Mary DeTurris Poust draws on the rich appreciation of meals she first gained at the tables of her childhood in an Italian-American family, leading readers into reflection on the connections between eating, self-image, and spirituality. Like Geneen Roth in Women, Food and God, but from a uniquely Catholic point of view, Poust helps readers spot ways they use food to avoid or ignore their real desires--for acceptance, understanding, friendship, love, and, indeed, for God. Poust draws from scripture and the great Catholic prayer forms and devotions to assist readers in making intentional changes in their use of food. She also offers reflections on fasting, eating in solidarity with the poor, vegetarianism, and the local food movement.
My Review of CRAVINGS - A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image and God
If you are like me and have read every diet and nutrition book out there and are still disappointed with the results or lack thereof, perhaps Cravings, A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-image, and God by Mary DeTurris Poust is the book for you. I bought this little book about two years ago and just this August finally decided to crack it open and I’m awfully glad I did. First let me say, if you are looking for a diet and exercise plan you will not find it in the pages of this book. If you are looking for quick weight lose tips, again, you will not find it here. But, if you are looking for a real solution or a meaningful guide of self-evaluation and discovery of what motivates us to eat or overeat then perhaps this book is for you.
In Cravings, Mary DeTurris Poust tackles some heavy issues that caused me to pause and self-evaluate my relationship with food. Cravings showed me, as well as it will any reader, that most likely our hunger goes deeper than the need for food, but a spiritual hunger that only we can fill with a relationship with God. She talks about mindless eating and the emotions that make us snack or binge. She talks about loving ourselves where we are now in order to work on the self we want to be. She tackles our attitudes about food and why, how, what and where we eat. Although she does not offer a diet or food plan, she does talk about what has worked for some people she knows and she talks about getting our family and table back to basics. Buying good, wholesome, if possible local meats and produce to get the most nutrition and vitamins out of our food. Like anything else, our meals should be a celebration of taste, family and love, giving thanks for what our bodies are going to consume. As she points out in various ways we are what we eat, and if we want to be whole and temples of the Holy Spirit the food we buy and consume should reflect just that. Her ideology is not strict, but one that makes sense and can change our lives and attitudes about how we feel about ourselves and the food we eat.
I liked this book for so many reasons, but the number one reason was it made me evaluate why I was constantly snacking. I kept a food diary as the author suggested and wrote down what I was eating and how I was feeling at the time I was eating it. What an eye opener!! Most of my snacking occurred when I was stressing or had an unpleasant task ahead of me. It made me realize that some of my eating was not from hunger, but mindless, stress related eating that left me feeling worse the next day. If nothing else, the self-awareness I obtained from this book was invaluable. It also made me aware that I was not always turning things over to God or asking for help from a friend or family member when I had too much on my plate. We all stress about the lack of hours in our day when all we need to do is reach out and ask for help. The second thing I liked about the book was the author used herself as an example when giving examples or pertinent information. It helped to know that she experienced many of the food related issues I did. Being vulnerable and putting herself out there made me realize that food is not always the issue. Changing attitudes about what I was eating, my self-image, and my willingness to spend time with my family and a God who loves me would go further than any diet could. Last, but not least, I treasured the Food for Thought section at the end of each chapter. The personal questions related to the chapter topic was invaluable. I recommend everyone to read these question and take the time for self-examination. It’s amazing what you may learn about yourself.
I recommend Cravings, A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God by Mary DeTurris Poust for anyone who wants to try a different approach to better health, mindful eating and an improved spiritual connection to God. I recommend when reading Cravings you take the time to savor the words, ideas and questions contained within. No matter where you are in your life journey, Cravings has something to offer to everyone.
There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned."
When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn’t left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they’d planned before the tragedy.
“The pages found you,” Patrick whispered.
“Now you need to figure out what they’re trying to say.”
During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before—her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.
“I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival.”
Determined to learn the Baillard family’s fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn’t understand.
Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica’s survival?
My Review of The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix
Michele Phoenix gives us a heart wrenching story of the power of faith and the human spirit to survive in The Space Between Words.
Jessica and Patrick are the best of friends living a quiet life in Denver. When Patrick decides to leave his antique shop for a time to study at the American University in Paris, he invites Jessica to join him the last few weeks of his Paris stay to sightsee and treasure hunt together. But pleasure turns to tragedy when an evening concert is shattered with the sound of gunfire leaving Jessica badly hurt and Patrick fatally wounded. Wanting badly to flee Paris after the horror of the attacks, Jessica embarks on a journey to Southern France to complete a trip she and Patrick had planned to find antique treasures. Staying in a B&B in Balazuc, Jessica meets the proprietor Mona, her son, and Mona’s brother Grant. With their help she discovers a barn filled with antiques where she is emotionally drawn to a beautiful wooden sewing box. Arriving back at the B&B, Jessica discovers a secret compartment in the sewing box containing a letter and pages from an antique Huguenot Bible. Enlisting Grant’s help, little by little they translate the old French language into English where they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard and her family, Huguenot’s, persecuted because of their faith. Touched by Adeline’s story, Jessica and Grant cannot rest until they ascertain the fate of Adeline’s family. Traveling as far as England, Jessica and Grant begin a quest for answers. As Jessica and Grant come closer to the truth healing begins for the both of them. Tragedy and pain are confronted providing an open door to a new and loving relationship.
I loved the Space Between Words. This book is filled with tenderness as well as gut wrenching emotions. I loved the characters that Michele Phoenix created both past and present. Adeline’s devotion to God, her family and students was both maternal and altruistic. Her courage in the face of persecution was heroic. I also loved seeing the gradual emotional healing of Jessica and the emerging relationship between her and Grant. I cheered them on as the pain of their past gave way to a brighter and hope filled future. As a reader I was left feeling Jessica and Grant’s lives were now full of possibilities and that made me happy. Like any good book I was reluctant to let the characters go.
The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix is a heartrending journey that takes you from the persecution of the Huguenot’s in France to a terror attack at a rock concert in present day Paris. It is the story of faith, courage and healing in the most tragic of circumstances. It is a woman from the past helping a woman today heal and live again. It is a story that will continue to haunt you long after you turn the last page.
I want to thank Thomas Nelson-Fiction via NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix for a fair and honest review.
With autumn around the corner and those sweet days of cooler temperatures, apple cider and falling leaves get ready to greet us, most of us look forward to slowing down and settling in as the days get shorter and the nights longer. Fall is the season to take a little time for yourself to brew a cup of tea or warm some apple cider and settle into a good book. If you are looking for suggestions, please see some of the books I have listed below.
Lift Up Your Heart by John Burns
ABC’s of The Christian Life by G.K. Chesterton
Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson
With You Always by Jody Hedlund
The Legacy by Michael Phillips
Miss Whitaker Opens Her Heart by Jennifer Moore
If I Run by Terri Blackstock
If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock
The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hanon
Our Lady of Fatima by Donna Marie Casper O’Boyle
Healing Promises by Anne Costa
Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter
A Letter from Lancaster County by Kate Lloyd
Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall
The Alliance by Jolina Petersheim
The Divide by Jolina Petersheim
Sacred Space by The Irish Jesuits
The Dog Who Was There by Ron Marasco
Any of these books can be found on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads and your local library. Take the time to pamper yourself and enjoy!
A Heart Like Mary's is the perfect book for all Catholics wishing to begin or deepen their devotion to Mary. Author and Marian theologian Rev. Edward Looney guides us through thirty-one daily meditations on the unique characteristics of Mary’s heart. This easy-to-read and engaging monthly devotional is full of practical lessons that address the personal challenges we all face as Mary’s fellow pilgrims walking the path of faith.
In the midst of feeling lost in his prayer life and relationship with God, Fr. Looney found himself reflecting on who Mary is and how he could be more like her. He learned that by daily meditating on Mary's attributes and praying for the grace to have a heart like hers he could turn his pessimistic and critical thoughts into optimistic and charitable ones.
A Heart Like Mary's offers readers a simple yet reflective introduction to Marian spirituality by way of a month-long daily devotional. Readers come away with a clear sense of who Mary was, how she cares for and looks after the faithful, and how we can honor her in our daily lives.
Based heavily on scripture, Church teaching, and Looney’s personal experience, A Heart Like Mary's gently teaches us how to imitate Mary’s love for others and devotion to God. Each day's meditation offers simple yet reflective insight into a unique characteristic of Mary’s heart. You’ll discover twenty-one attributes and ten separate desires of her heart, including:A Heart That Says YesA Heart That RejoicesA Heart Filled with Generous LoveA Heart Attentive to the Needs of OthersA Heart of CompassionA Heart Desiring to Alleviate SufferingA Heart Desiring Us to PrayA Heart Desiring PeaceAs we're guided through each of these meditations, we'll find inspiration for changing our own behavior and heart's disposition so that we, too, can respond to God, our loved ones, and life's obstacles with the same tenderness that Mary does.
Each day provides a scriptural quote or message from one of Mary's apparitions, followed by a reflection leading us into the depths of Mary’s heart and showing us how to mirror her heart. We also will be invited to call upon Mary’s intercession, asking her to give us a heart like hers. Each meditation concludes with a challenge to incorporate a love for Mary into our prayer life and action toward others
My Review of A Heart Like Mary's
Inspired by an experience while in the seminary and to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady of Fatima, Reverend Edward Looney gives us a beautiful thirty- one day devotional titled A Heart Like Mary’s to inspire us transform our hearts to be more like Mary’s. A heart that is humble, prayerful and compassionate with a desire to please her Son. A heart that is inspired to love and be charitable towards others.
This devotional which takes thirty-one days to complete was motivated by the two Marian months, May and October which has thirty-one calendar days and also by the length of days of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima. The first part of this beautiful devotional concentrates on the attributes of Mary’s heart such as patience, chastity, generosity and humility. The period of time to complete the attributes of Mary’s heart is twenty-one days. The last ten days are filled with the desires of Mary’s heart as revealed through her many appearances throughout the years. Some of those include praying for peace, conversion and alleviating the pain of those who are suffering. Each day Reverend Looney begins with a short Scripture passage or a title called Mary Speaks, followed by a reflection and finishing with a short prayer to Mary Our Intercessor and a Step toward Living with a Marian Heart. The single day’s reading flows perfectly from beginning to end. At the conclusion of the thirty-one days of devotion, Reverend Looney discusses Consecration to Mary and gives us information how to do so with a variety of prayers to help us.
In conclusion, A Heart Like Mary’s is a lovely book of prayer and reflection that anyone who has a devotion to Mary will truly appreciate. It is also a starting point for anyone who wishes to become more like Mary and desires to become closer to her Son through prayer and service. It is a devotional that will benefit anyone and everyone wishing to have a heart more like Our Lady’s, a heart that is humble, charitable and loving. A heart that the world is desperate for, a heart that the world is longing for.
I want to thank Ava Marie Press via NetGalley for an advanced reader of A Heart Like Mary’s by Edward Looney for a fair and honest review.
Farewell to Summer
$250 Cash Giveaway
September 1st to 22nd
Enter for your chance to win $250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon Gift Card.Sponsor List – Thanks to this fabulous group of bloggers and authors for sponsoring this giveaway! I Am A Reader Julie Coulter Bellon Lori's Reading Corner Donna K. Weaver Helen Smith Simple Wyrdings Kasey's Book Reviews Krysten Lindsay Hager Geybie's Book Blog Heather Gray, Writer of Christian Romance Glistering: B's Blog S.T. Bende Heather Boyd, Romance Author Simply Sherryl Laurie Treacy, author Maureen's Musings Carol Malone Bound 4 Escape The Late Bloomer's Book Blog Christy's Cozy Corners The Editing Hall Aubrey Wynne: Timeless Love Auggie Talk The Serious Reader The Lovely Books Bookroom Reviews BloominThyme Organic Gardening
Giveaway Details$250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com eGift Card Ends 9/22/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway
How am I supposed to save the world when I'm not strong, not brave, not smart, and not particularly good at most things? I ran away from home the day after my thirteenth birthday when Auntie and her weird friend attacked me. Now I'm on the run with the Grim Reaper and a scary soldier. And I'm no longer on Earth. They were expecting me to be a Knight. The savior that's supposed to stop a war and prevent the invasion of Earth. But I'm not. They grabbed the wrong girl. I just don’t know how to tell them.
Praise for the Book:
#2 on GoodReads Middle Grade Novels of 2016 5/5 Stars “Like Harry Potter meets The Labyrinth.” -Author Adan Ramie 5/5 Stars “Candy Atkins takes us on an epic adventure reminiscent of the novels of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.” –GoodReads/Amazon Reviewer
5/5 Stars “For all you Potterheads or Harry Potter geeks, how can you not fall in love with this story and appreciate the fact that it is a female lead.” –Rising Indies United
This is a partial excerpt from Chapter One:
I grab the box of midnight-purple hair dye from my book bag and squeeze my way down the narrow, overstuffed hall into the only bathroom in our apartment. The shower hasn’t worked since it was turned into a storage closet, so I clear the sink of the old cat food cans Auntie has stockpiled, turn on the cold water, and dream about the day when I’ll have my own apartment with a shower, hot water, and food. “Agatha, are you still pouting?” Auntie yells from her recliner. ”I told you, Uncle will pick something up when he’s done with work.” My foster parents, I call them Auntie and Uncle, are not what I would describe as parents, or even aunt and uncle, they’re more like babysitters. Uncle hasn’t been home for three days, and I doubt she believes he’ll be here tonight. She just wants me to tell her that I’m okay with her not picking up dinner. I’m not. Today is my thirteenth birthday. It’s not like I was expecting a cake, but something to eat would’ve been nice. After I dye my hair, I take a shirt from the pile of laundry I’m standing on, wrap it around my head, and carry the remaining hair dye back to my bedroom. I love my tiny room, mostly because I’ve been sketching and painting jumbled and disjointed art on these walls since I was old enough to grip a pencil. Part of the reason I chose what the box calls boysenberry for my hair is because the extra dye is the perfect hue for the raven I’m painting on my ceiling. Dipping the number-three flat brush into my dye calms me and all is forgiven. Auntie’s not a mean person, she’s just a bit off. Being angry with her is like being mad at one of the cats—pointless. I wrap a blanket around my shoulders and open the window. Queens is especially chatty tonight with the noise of cars, people fighting, dogs barking, and the laughter that only I can hear. I stand on the bed and fill in the gentle face of my birdie while humming along with the chorus of voices outside. Tonight, the singing is boldly wafting through my window. I can’t understand the words and don’t know the tune, but the music is sweet and peaceful. It’s sad that I can only hear my songs some of the time, when I’m tired and relaxed, and sadder still that no one else can listen with me. My dye runs out long before I’m satisfied with my raven so I give up and climb into bed. The song I’m listening to now is particularly soothing, a hymn or possibly an opera. Maybe one day I’ll be a great songwriter or something. A muffled thud near my window startles me from a sound sleep. There’s an eerie red glow casting moving shadows across my room. I blink a few times to make sure I’m not still dreaming and follow the source of the light. Just to the side of the foot of my bed kneels a tall, hooded figure with luminescent red eyes. It’s stroking the long ears of a much smaller creature that looks withered and dying. I’m not scared, which is weird, but it might be because I’m not sure I’m awake. I turn on the lamp to make the dream disappear and end up blinding myself. When my eyes adjust, I see the sickly green skin of a long-eared frog-boy lying on the floor and the tall cloaked being that’s cradling it. The tall black monster who closely resembles the Grim Reaper appears to be even more stunned than I am. We stare at each other while my brain struggles to figure out what I’m looking at. These things don’t exist, so how can I be seeing them so clearly? The black-hooded creature never takes its red eyes off me while it stands and lifts the small sickly frog-boy off the floor. “Agatha?” it whispers. This monster is actually in my room! My insides seize, trapping my scream. What is this thing and how does it know my name? I want to run, but I can’t move or look away. My fluttering heart stops when my door flies open with a crash. A scream unseals my lips, amplifying my terror. Auntie charges in, wielding a large kitchen knife. She’s yelling in her nutty made-up language, but it works. The creature jumps out my fifth-floor window, taking the frog-boy with him. She whips around toward me, still holding the knife, and looking like she means to use it. “What did you see! What was that? What were you doing!” Auntie has her kind moments, but she’s crazy. I mean, truly mental. Whatever just happened, she mustn’t know that I saw it too. She probably suspects I did, but if I confirm it, she’ll nail my window shut and my songs will disappear forever. “I had a nightmare. Was I yelling in my sleep? Did I wake you?” I’m trying to sound calm, but I’m failing. She takes a few deep breaths while she sizes me up. She pauses and tilts her head to the side. “There was something here. I saw it. Did you see it?” “What was here? What did you see? And what’s with the knife?” I want her to tell me if she saw the Grim Reaper and a dead rabbit-frog-boy at the foot of my bed. If she saw them too, then I’m not crazy. But then again, if I see the same thing as a crazy person, we’re probably both insane.
Author Candy Atkins Candy Atkins is a full-time writer who lives with her husband and two kids in Orlando, Florida. She’s an avid reader and lover of all things fantasy and sci-fi. Her debut novel, The Lost Knight, is volume one of the six-part Lost Knight Series. Her life’s journey has taken her from dining with the President to being on food stamps to running her own company. And since all author bios end by naming and quantifying pets... she also enjoys spending time with her boxer, Butler, and Wynona the cat.
Nina McCarrick has it all: a loving husband, two beautiful boys, a well-appointed home and more time than she knows what to do with. Life is perfect. Until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.
Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina’s life of luxury quickly disappears and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.
But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.
Stirring and empowering, this novel from bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this tale of one woman’s loss and love.
My Review of The Art of Hiding
The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse is the powerful and bittersweet story of love, loss and the power of resilience. Nina McCarrick has everything a woman could want. A loving husband, two beautiful sons, a grand home and an affluent lifestyle that anyone would envy. But unbeknown to Nina she is living in a glass castle that is about to be shattered. The sudden and tragic death of her husband has left her world splintered in more ways than one. Not only has the car accident that took her husband away and left Nina and her boys in pieces, but the life they have lived until now appears to be a lie. Upon the death of her husband, Finn’s lawyer and financial manager tell Nina that her husband’s construction company was in debt for more than 8 million pounds. To make matters worse, she is informed that the prestigious King’s Norton College, a private school her sons have been attending, has removed them from the roster for the following term due to lack of payment. If this is not nightmare enough, all her accounts are now frozen and a collection agency has shown up to confiscate all their assets. With no car, very little money, a few items that were hidden or missed Nina and her young sons turn to the only ally they have, her sister Tiggy.
Tiggy is more than willing to help Nina get her feet on the ground, but it means returning to a small dilapidated flat in Portswood where Nina has vowed never to return. When she married Finn McCarrick she left that area and what she thought was the stench of poverty and struggling behind her. But beggars can’t be choosers and Nina’s lack of skills, a job and money has left her with little choice. Her fifteen and ten year old sons are angry and struggling not only with the loss of their father, but also their lifestyle. Used to posh surroundings and the fear of the unknown has left them on edge. However, Connor and Declan are not the only ones struggling with their new life. Nina is constantly questioning the validity of her marriage. How could someone she thought she knew keep her in the dark. This also leads her to question the car accident that took his life. Was it an accident or was it an easy way out. But Nina has no time or money for self-pity and discovers she has more strength that she gives herself credit. Relying on the girl she used to be, Nina decides to carve out a life for her little family. Finding a job and doing the best she can with what little she has makes her determined she won’t be beaten. With the love of her sons and her sister Tiggy, Nina decides to make their flat a home as they all discover it’s not your possessions that make you happy, but the amount of courage and love in your heart.
I really enjoyed The Art of Hiding. I particularly appreciated the way the characters evolved. Nina had to discover who she really was and what she was made of again with the help from her tough love sister. With the assistance of Tiggy, Nina realized she had lost her grit and determination and had been living in the shadow of her husband by the life he wanted her to live. For the first time since she was eighteen, Nina could live her life on her terms and show her sons how to do the same. I also appreciated that her sons Connor and Declan came to finally respect all that Nina was willing to put herself through to secure their future and come out on the other side strong, happy and independent. The Art of Hiding left me feeling content and confident that despite the tragic circumstances of their lives, joy and happiness could be found in themselves and in each other.
The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse is a book with strong characters and a storyline that will haunt you and tug at your heart. It’s about courage and strength of character in the worst of circumstances. It’s about facing change head on and staring it down. It’s about family, resilience and the power of love.
I want to thank Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley for an advanced copy of The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse for a fair and honest review.
The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson When wills clash and hearts collide, who will reign victorious? Termed an Incomparable during her first London season, Lady Harriett Cavendish is beautiful, spirited, and confident, capturing the attention of a great many suitors. Unfortunately, they all failed to capture her attention, and she concluded the season as unattached as she’d begun it. Only weeks prior to her second season, Harriett encounters Lieutenant Christopher Jamison while visiting Tanglewood Manor. Recently returned from war, the lieutenant is everything that Harriett's previous suitors were not. He’s arrogant, ungentlemanly, irritating, and challenges her at every opportunity. When he goes too far, Harriett decides that it’s time to turn the tables on him. But as she sets out to put the lieutenant in his place once and for all, she discovers there is more to him than meets the eye, and when it comes to matters of the heart, she has no control whatsoever. Excerpt
The corners of the man’s eyes crinkled in a mild show of amusement. “Lady Harriett, I presume?” Rather than look at her with appreciation as most men did, he appeared amused. At her nod, he tucked his hands behind his back, remaining a few steps above her. “I am Lieutenant Christopher Jamison, an old friend of Jonathan’s.” “I was expecting you days ago,” she answered. “Lord Jonathan charged me with the unhappy task of informing you he and his new bride are currently away on their wedding trip. He is sorry he cannot be here to meet with you and has asked that I relay his apologies.” “May I inquire as to how long they will be away?” he asked. No, you may not, she wanted to say. Her neck was beginning to ache from looking up at him, but she forced her gaze to remain steady. “They expected to be gone a fortnight, sir.” “And they have been gone how long, exactly?” She felt an unaccountable hesitancy to tell him. “A week.” “Ah.” He sounded disappointed but seemed to take the news in stride, glancing at Charlie as though wondering whether he ought to retrieve his horse or not. Harriett prayed that he would. When his gaze strayed back to her, he took the unwelcome, and ungentlemanly, liberty of perusing her figure. When his eyes met hers again, his lips twitched into a slight smile. “Forgive me, my lady, but you appear to have had a run-in with a mud puddle and lost.” How kind of him to point that out. Harriett kept her hands at her side rather than attempt to brush the dirt from her face and pelisse yet again. The damage was done, and no amount of brushing or shaking would remove the muck. What she needed was a hot bath and a change of clothes. “Actually, sir, I was merely an innocent bystander.” “Indeed?” She picked up her skirts and ascended the steps, stopping on the stair above him so that she was eye level with him. “Are you always such a reckless rider, sir? Do you not pay heed to your surroundings?” “Of course I do.” “If you had, you would have seen me standing at the side of the road and, I would hope, thought to slow your animal down so as to not splash mud all over my pelisse.” Her chilly set down did not have the desired effect. He did not appear the least bit repentant. Rather, he looked ready to burst into laughter. “And your face, apparently.” He leaned forward and squinted. “If I’m not mistaken, there is a splash or two of mud on your bonnet as well.” Harriett glared at him. “How observant you are, Lieutenant Jamison. One can only wonder why you didn’t put that skill to good use earlier. If you had, perhaps my pelisse, face, and bonnet would still be clean.” “I am always observant, my lady,” he said. “But might I suggest that if you would like to be noticed at the side of the road, you should wear a color that does not blend so perfectly with your surroundings. That particular shade of green looks quite lovely on you, but only someone with the eyes of an eagle would have spotted you in front of a landscape of evergreens.” Harriett opened her mouth to respond, but no words were forthcoming. The man did not even attempt to behave like a gentleman. How could he be so . . . so . . . “Have you no apology to offer, sir?” she finally spluttered. “Oh, did I not apologize? Forgive me.” “For what? Forgetting to apologize or for not doing so in the first place?”Author Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating. $75 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 9/22/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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