Sunday, July 29, 2018



-- 'WHY CAN'T I BE YOU' --
~Post Includes Book Spotlight & Review~

ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:
“This book is for anyone who has ever felt ‘less than’ or on the outside. That is to say, this is a book for everyone.” —Elana K. Arnold, author of What Girls Are Made Of

"With a clear, compelling voice, Walker creates a believable world where socioeconomic tensions challenge, but never defeat, her well-rounded characters."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Claire Ladd knows that this summer is going to be special. She and her two best friends, Ronan and Brianna, are turning twelve. She is leaving camp behind and gets to do what she wants all day. She feels everything starting to change.

But things don’t always change for the better.

With Brianna’s cousin Eden visiting for the summer, Claire feels like a third wheel. Even though she is only a year older, Eden seems so much more sophisticated and glamorous . . . and when she's around, she takes up everyone’s attention, including Brianna’s.

But that doesn’t explain why things have felt awkward with Brianna ever since she moved to a fancy new house, or why Ronan, who lives in the trailer next to Claire’s, has started acting moody anytime anyone mentions his dad.

Claire has always been happy with her life just as it is, but as the summer wears on and the issues with her friends start to grow, she can’t help but wonder: Would everything be better if she could just be someone else?

I love to browse the 'New Book' shelves at the local public library. I especially enjoy wandering into the Children's Section because the new book shelves there are always filled with well, new books!

The shelves are labelled by category: Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle-Grade, Non-Fiction, and Biographies. The library's technical processing department adds the appropriate logo sticker to the spine for historical, fantasy, mystery, biography, etc. I love the organization and attention to detail children's librarians give to their presentation of books for their audience--or for grown-ups such as I who love reading from their collection!

This novel is set during summer break and is the first-person narrative of eleven-year-old Claire Ladd. She is the only child of her young parents who divorced when Claire was around two years old.

The main character and her mother live in the Twin Pines Trailer Park, while her father lives in an apartment complex a few minutes away. Claire has regular visitation with her father, and she appears to adore both of her parents.

Claire and her friends are going through the normal tween issues of feeling awkward about the difference between the 'haves and have-nots' as we used to call it. Ronan Michaels, a boy who lives next door to Claire in the trailer park, and Claire spend a lot of time together. Their friendship is long-lasting and strong, but they are both going through some difficult times internally, so they periodically lash out at one another.

Claire's best friend is Brianna Foley whose family is wealthy. The social differences between these two girls is evident, but they have a true bond and most of the time their disparate lifestyles do not seem to have an effect on their relationship.

Things are perking along when Brianna's slightly older cousin, Eden, arrives on the scene. She is almost thirteen and is caught up in the world of fashion, make-up, and being beautiful and cool. Naturally, her presence and domination of Brianna's time make Claire jealous.

Ronan's father suffers from debilitating depression, and Mr. Michaels's inability to relate to his son in any way negatively affects Ronan's feelings about himself and his father. As a classroom teacher for over twenty years, I saw the devastating and profound affect a parent's depression had on a child in more than one instance. I felt the author did an excellent job of addressing this issue in the story. Middle-graders are old enough and sophisticated enough to begin learning about mental health and how it impacts individuals and their families.

Another strong point of this story, in my opinion, was the close relationship Claire has with her mother. It probably helps that Claire helps around the house with chores and appears to be respectful to her mom. Mrs. Ladd is a cleaning woman, and she works six days per week to provide for the two of them. 

When mother and daughter are talking they actually listen to each other. When Claire begins gossiping or criticizing others, her mother recites the cleaning lady's motto:  "We may know other people's bathrooms, but we don't know their real stories." {page 61}.

Overall, I felt this was an enjoyable story with lots of interesting characters and events. There was some bullying and teasing along the lines of what seems typical in this age group. There are some ruffled feathers and hurt feelings amongst the friends, but I venture to say this is true in friendships at any age. {At least that's been my experience.}

Mostly, this is a story about friendship, letting go of initial impressions, learning to let go of jealousy, and being true to yourself, your family, and your friends. My favorite thing about this book is that kindness prevailed in almost every situation, and I believe this world sorely needs more kindness.

I look forward to reading more middle-grade books written by this talented author.

Recommended to fans of clean middle-grade fiction, friendship stories, stories with an assortment of well-developed and diverse characters, and summertime fiction!


Borrowed from the 'New Books' shelves at the local public library.

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--  For August:  My blog calendar is filling up with great posts featuring MMGM middle-grade fiction and non-fiction, Christian fiction and non-fiction, historical fiction, romantic suspense. Of course, there will be loads of good reads and giveaways!
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Friday, July 27, 2018


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Author
Bio, Snippet & Giveaway~


Genre: Adult, New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication date: March 13, 2018

Savannah Drake would be thrilled about starting her final year of medical school if it weren’t for one thing: she has to spend a month working in the emergency room with cold, aloof Dr. Wesley Kent as her mentor. When her first day in the ER proves to be a humiliating disaster, Savannah is ready to swear off emergency medicine forever. Gradually, though, she finds that the unpredictable, emotional experience of caring for patients in the emergency room is affecting her far differently than she expected – and Dr. Kent turns out to be anything but the arrogant attending physician that she assumed him to be. But just when Savannah finally admits to herself that she is falling for Dr. Kent, she learns that things at the hospital are not all what they seem. Faced with a seemingly impossible choice, Savannah must decide between her future career and everything that she has come to care so much about.



TJ Amberson hails from the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband and nutty cocker spaniel. Her most recent novels include The Kingdom Of Nereth, Fusion, and Love at Lakewood Med. When she’s not writing, TJ can probably be found enjoying a hot chocolate, pretending to know how to garden, playing the piano, or surfing the Internet for cheap plane tickets.



Next to me, Doctor Kent remains all business. He moves to my right side and carefully lifts me to a sitting position. The next thing I know, he has slung my arm over his shoulder, picked me up, and begun to carry me. At first, I’m too shell-shocked to do anything. But as I get rocked by the steady motion of his steps, weariness overcomes me, and I drop my aching head against his chest.


Enter the giveaway HERE.
Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.


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--  Monday, July 30th:  A Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday Post. Title:  'Why Can't I Be You'.
--  For August:  My blog calendar is filling up with great tours featuring Christian fiction and non-fiction, historical fiction, romantic suspense, and of course--there will be loads of good reads and giveaways!
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Thursday, July 26, 2018


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Author Bio,
'Ten Behind-the-Scenes' Facts Shared by the
Author, Snippet & Giveaway~


Genre:  Christian, Fiction, Historical, Regency, Romance
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication date: June 12, 2018

Francesca Haversham is eighteen years old and about to step into a glittering future – all she has to do is secure her wealth with an advantageous marriage. Then she learns the truth:her entire identity is a lie. Now Francesca faces a horrible choice. Will she give up all she knows or continue to lie about her past and risk everything, including her heart?


Julie Matern is a resident of Utah. She attended the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, and graduated with a double major in French and Education. She was born and raised in England, moving to America after her marriage. Julie is the mother of six children. She has served in the PTA for over 20 years, taught tap dance, and enjoys amateur photography. She is the author of ‘British War Children’ ( for which she received a “Recommended Read” award from the League of Utah Writers) and ‘British War Children 2: An Enemy Among Us’.

Hometown: Highland, UT


The view from the villa in Grasse, France is the view from my apartment when I worked there one summer. I pulled back the shutters ( all French homes have them) and just gasped.

Septimus Sladden is an actual ancestor of mine. It was such a delicious name I had to use it. Although the actual man was not a vicar the name seemed to suggest that profession to me.

I have been to Italy but only to Rome. The movie, ‘A Room with a view’ was my inspiration for Giorgio’s empire.

The first manuscript was full of dates. Then one day I realized that the French Revolution might prevent some of my events and after further research I took out all the dates so that the timeline was more vague. 

My first two books were historical fiction for ages 8-13. There was a small cast of characters so keeping track of them was easy. Not so with this book. Every new event seemed to call for new characters and in the end I had to put them on a genealogical tree and fill out family group sheets for each family to keep them straight. I also had a bio sheet for each character for reference.

Many of my ancestors are from Wiltshire which made it a good choice for Haversham House. Having been raised in London myself and taking every opportunity to visit the places of interest I think I’ll have to set a future novel there.

The idea of arranged marriage is a very foreign notion to our culture but quite standard for the upper classes of that period. I am fascinated by it. Francesca’s paternal grandparents, though both selfish and egotistical have managed to build a workable relationship when we first meet them. It makes me wonder how many people were able to be happy in such forced unions? It is a topic I will continue to prod in future novels. 

I do not need a quiet place to write and I am able write in snippets if that’s all the time I have. This year I opened a fortune cookie and this was inside: (picture) ( I’ll send it in a separate email as I can’t figure out how to insert it here on my phone. Hopefully you can make that magic happen!)

I thought perhaps Augusta Haversham was too unrealistically awful and that no one would treat their granddaughter that badly but I am part of a closed FB group and not long after I created Augusta someone shared a true story about how awful her mother was to her and I decided perhaps Augusta wasn’t unrealistic but that I was just blessed to be part of a great family!

I must confess that I have never dated anyone as heartless as Mr Ashbourne. My husband is definitely a Phillip!


Francesca stopped breathing as Mr. Ashbourne gently took her gloved hand in his and expertly spun her around the room, leaving her former partner spluttering at the lack of manners, in the center of the dance floor. She became dizzy at the realization that Mr. Ashbourne was actually dancing with her. 

After several turns, he lowered his head and whispered into her ear, his nose tickling her skin and sending a thrill up her spine, causing a delicious sensation in her midriff. 

“Are you unwell?” he asked. “You look faint.” 

She recovered herself and observed that he had a playful smile on his lips, fully aware of the power his presence had on young ladies. Not wanting to appear as inexperienced as she really was, she blurted out, “Oh no, you merely surprised me, that is all.” 

“Then I shall take pleasure in surprising you whenever I can as it only serves to heighten your beauty!” 

Francesca’s cheeks burned under his scrutiny and she bent her neck to avoid his piercing gaze and gather her confused thoughts.


Enter the giveaway HERE.

Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.


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-- Saturday, July 28th: Book Blast for a Cedar Fort release, 'Love at Lakewood Med'. Post includes a giveaway. Event organized by Singing Librarian Books.

-- Monday, July 30th: Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday Post: Title--TBA
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Tuesday, July 24, 2018


--  'ONE DECEMBER'  --
~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight,
Author Bio, Excerpt & Giveaway~
one december blog tour banner 

Welcome to the blog tour & giveaway for One December by Kyle Hunter, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! 


one december Title: One December  
Author: Kyle Hunter
Publisher: Monceau Publishing  
Release Date: February 10, 2018  
Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Nikki has loved Mike for as long as she can remember (as early as age seven!) Mike has his own past hurts to resolve, having lost both parents in an accident when he was fourteen. He’s tried to escape those painful memories by leaving New York and starting a new life on the West Coast. New facts indicate, years later, that his parents’ deaths might not have been an accident.

At Christmas Mike comes back to New York for the first time in three years. He and Nikki rekindle the friendship they had as children and share their newfound faith. Under a Christmas moon romantic sparks fly . . . but their mutual attraction takes an unexpected detour.

Nikki is devastated, believing her one chance for a relationship with Mike is over. She impulsively takes a one-year teaching opportunity in Paris, so that she can face her own fears and get over Mike.

If Mike and Nikki run away, how can they find each other again?  

Purchase Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


After the last counter had been sponged off, Nikki was alone in the kitchen. She rummaged under the sink for dishwashing powder then stood to find Mike leaning against the counter. 

“You disappeared,” he said. “Not tired of me already, are you?”

“Hardly.” She met his eyes, which were filled with amusement and warmth. “There were too many people all talking at once. And just wait till Christmas, when that number will triple.” She grinned to let him know she didn’t really mind. 

He crossed his arms and smiled back at her, the same relaxed warmth she remembered, had imagined so many times. He was really here in the flesh. “I have an idea, to get you away from the noisy crowd,” he said. “Why don’t we meet for breakfast tomorrow so we can catch up? Jerry’s Deli for some lox and bagels, hot coffee, fried eggs? Tempted?”

“Hmm. Might be noisy there too. How about Pancake Palace?”

“Ten o’clock?” 

“You’re on. Do you remember how to get there?”

“Pancake Palace? That was my second home in high school. All-nighters at the Palace, remember?”

“No, I guess I was out of your life by that time,” Nikki said quietly. Instantly she regretted her words, fearing he’d hear an accusation.

His expression was sober, his voice no more than a whisper. “My loss. We’ll catch up tomorrow at ten, okay?”

Mike stepped toward her for a hug goodbye. It was only a brotherly hug but Nikki felt carried away by a dream, buried in his arms for just a moment. With difficulty, she released him. “See you tomorrow.”


kyle hunter

I love to read and write stories about strong women who still have flaws, but are ready to pursue their dreams, even if it takes them out of their comfort zone . . . or their country.

I write inspirational romance novels and women's fiction with a twist: My characters sometimes go places. This led me to create the Love on the Move collection of novels. Readers can take a trip with them and experience their journeys. They can see how the characters' lives unfold as they make decisions to trust God (or not) in their next steps, learning about themselves and their faith, and finding love along the way!

I currently live in North Carolina but spent over a decade in France (where some of my books take place.) I also write non-fiction and teach French. In my free time, I enjoy doing pottery and salsa dancing.  

CONNECT WITH KYLE: website | Facebook | Twitter

one december blog tour giveaway

Kyle Hunter is giving away:
  • 1 ebook of One December
  • $25 Amazon gift card
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight July 16, 2018 and last through 11:59pm July 23, 2018. Open internationally, except where prohibited by law. Winners must be able to accept ebook and gift card from US Amazon. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead for the full schedule & more chances to win!

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-- Friday, July 27th: Spotlight, Snippet, and Ten Behind-the-Scenes Facts for a new Cedar Fort release, 'The Secret of Haversham House'. Post includes a giveaway. Event organized by Singing Librarian Books. 

-- Saturday, July 28th: Book Blast for another Cedar Fort release, 'Love at Lakewood Med'. Post includes a giveaway. Event organized by Singing Librarian Books.

-- Monday, July 30th: Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday Post: Title--TBA

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Sunday, July 22, 2018


--  'FROM YOU TO ME'  --
~Post Includes Book Spotlight & Review~

ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:
Amelia Peabody lives in a small town where nothing changes. And that's just fine by her. After losing her big sister, Clara, a few years ago, Amelia can't handle any more change. But when she starts eighth grade, she accidentally receives a letter that Clara had written to herself. In it, there's a list of things she'd wanted to do before the end of middle school and never finished, like get on the softball team and throw an awesome birthday party on the lake.

Amelia wonders if it's a sign from Clara. Maybe if she completed the list, her heart would stop hurting so much, and she could go back to being her old self. But as she makes her way through, Amelia finds that there's no going back, only forward. And she realizes she'll have to put her own spin on Clara's list to grow and change in the ways she needs to.

K. A. Holt's beautiful new novel is about grieving and growing up, and the ripples loss creates for a girl, a family, and a community.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from the Author's Website}:

Photo Found on Goodreads
Kari Anne Holt is the author of several middle grade novels in verse including House Arrest (Chronicle), a Bank Street Best Book of the Year 2015, and Rhyme Schemer (Chronicle), an Amazon Best Book for Kids and Teens, and a Bank Street Best Book of the Year. Her novel in haiku, Brains for Lunch, was highlighted on the Texas Library Association’s Annotated Lone Star Reading List for 2011. She is also the author of Gnome-a-geddon, Red Moon Rising, and Mike Stellar: Nerves of Steel, a nominee for the 2014 Connecticut Library Association Nutmeg Book Award and the 2013 Maud Hart Lovelace Award. Kari lives in Austin, TX .


This story deals with the loss of an older sibling through an accident, grief, guilt, loneliness, and profound sadness. It also deals with healing through the love, patience, and support of family and friends. 

The book reminds me of the themes portrayed in the 1981 Academy-award winning film, 'Ordinary People' starring Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, and Timothy Hutton. It also shares many of its themes with a Christian fiction novel by the fine author, Karen Kingsbury, 'Waiting for Morning:  Forever Faithful #1'. I sincerely enjoyed all three of these works.

Mrs. Henderson, the homeroom teacher, sets out the letters written on the first day of sixth grade on each student's new desk on their first day of eighth grade. Somehow Mrs. Henderson places the letter written by Amelia Peabody's deceased sister, Clara, on Amelia's desk. 

Amelia is surprised when she finds Clara's letter instead of her own, but she decides maybe Clara is trying to communicate with her after three years. Clara has written a list of five goals she wanted to accomplish in eighth grade, one of which is to be nicer to Amelia and their mother.

Amelia and her best friend, Taylor Grant, decide Amelia must complete her sister's goals by the end of the school year. Taylor takes over control of Amelia's activities and really pushes for Amelia to work on reaching Clara's goals.

Much of the story is devoted to Amelia's feelings of guilt, unworthiness, loneliness, and sadness. The rest tells us how Amelia works to accomplish the goals. The pacing is excellent throughout the story and is perfect for middle-grade readers.

The supporting characters of Taylor Grant, Twitch {aka Billy}, four of Clara's friends, Mrs. Grant {Taylor's grandmother}, and Amelia's parents are well-developed and varied. The local lake becomes a significant character as the story builds. 

These strong characters and the support system they provide to Amelia make all the difference for the main character's progression through grief.

Without spoiling the ending for you, I do want to share with you that the ending of this book is fabulous! When I was about halfway through the story I wondered how the author was going to complete the plot for readers. She didn't let readers down. K.A. Holt has written an awesome ending certain to satisfy young and old readers alike!

Highly recommended as a read-aloud for school classes and families. This book is likely to become a favorite of fans of young people overcoming challenges, strong friendships, realistic family life, and characters with courage.

PS--The significance of the cover art will become apparent at the end of the story. 
I borrowed this novel from the 'new book' shelf in the local public library.
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--  Wednesday, July 25th:  Spotlight and Excerpt for 'One December'. Post includes a giveaway. Event organized by JustRead Publicity.

--  Friday, July 27th:  Spotlight, Snippet, and Ten Behind-the-Scenes Facts for a new Cedar Fort release, 'The Secret of Haversham House'.  Post includes a giveaway. Event organized by Singing Librarian Books.

--  Saturday, July 28th:  Book Blast for another Cedar Fort release, 'Love at Lakewood Med'.  Post includes a giveaway. Event organized by Singing Librarian Books.

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