Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts

Sunday, November 27, 2022

A Christmas Activity Book for Teens and Adults

A Christmas Activity Book for Teens and Adults

Since 2019 I've been on a self-publishing journey.

It started with clearing a bucket-list item; publishing my fifty-year collection of poems.

Since then, I've published numerous activity books, riddle books, and journals. My website StumpedRiddles.com features every book, as well as fun activities to solve.

You can find my books on Amazon.

My publishing journey to date includes the following:
  • Riddle books
  • Sudoku books
  • Wordsearch books
  • Word Scramble Books
  • Journals
  • and more to come!

My Newest Book is "Christmas Word Scramble for Teens and Adults"

Why did I create a word scramble book?

The main reason for making this book was to encourage mind exercise. In fact, all of my activity books are created with this in mind.

The scrambles included can be challenging, although brainiac kids could solve them!

I'm huge on large print puzzles and only feature one per page.

Although this book has ten topic-driven words per page, the book measures 8.5 by 11 inches, so the print is large and easy to read.

Christmas Word Scramble for Teens and Adults

Word Scrambles on StumpedRiddles

Stumpedriddles originally featured personally written riddles. There are over one thousand original riddles when combined with the website and books. 

I've recently expanded the website to include onsite word scrambles and word searches. Visitors can solve these activities directly on the website. It's a work in progress, as more scrambles are being added weekly. 

Also, the word searches can be printed out as well, for free.

Visitors can subscribe for a free downloadable copy of  Self-Care Word Scrambles. It's a short full-color book that features 50 words related to self-care.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, November 26, 2022

What the Fireflies Knew – Book Review

 by Kai Harris



My usual reading genre is mystery/suspense books. But I recently came across this 'coming-of-age' story that I found totally compelling. 


What the Fireflies Knew is well worth reading. It is an ode to Black girlhood.


Synopsis


The story is told by almost-eleven-year-old Kenyata Bernice (KB).  In the wake of her father's death from an overdose and the loss of their Detroit home due to the debts incurred by his addiction, her mother takes KB and her 14-year-old sister, Nia, to the home of their estranged grandfather in Lansing, Michigan. Then the mother disappears without a word of explanation.


Grandfather is grumpy and silent. With her father dead, her mother gone, and her sister, once her best friend, now ignoring her and acting like a stranger, KB is lonely, sad, resentful and feeling abandoned. The white kids across the street at first act friendly; and then not. It seems as though everyone is keeping secrets.


KB finds herself forced to carve out a different identity for herself and find her own voice. As the summer weeks go by, she finds the almost country setting of her grandfather's street quiet and peaceful compared to the nearly constant noise and strife of her old Detroit neighborhood. She enjoys sitting in the old tree in the backyard, reading her beloved books and listening to the quiet. 


One evening while grandfather, KB and Nia are sitting on the back porch reading, granddaddy suddenly whispers “Look”. When KB asks “What is it” Granddaddy says “Fireflies – I ain't never seen so many all at once.”


KB runs and runs, trying to catch them, but the light goes out and it disappears, and then appears somewhere else. She wonders what the trick is to catch one and learn the secret of their light. Granddaddy comes and tells her to slow down and teaches her how to catch a firefly.  


“Sometimes, when you wanna speed up, you gotta slow down first.”


Eventually, granddaddy and KB begin to talk and learn about each other. Nia is still ignoring her most of the time, busy with a Detroit friend who is visiting an Aunt in Lansing this summer and with an interest in teenage things and boys beyond KB's understanding. KB also learns that 'momma' is in a treatment center for acute depression. 


Summary


This is a very moving novel about family, identity, and race. What the Fireflies Knew teaches KB a valuable lesson of 'growing up'  - the realization that loved ones can be flawed and that the perfect family we all dream about looks different close up. 


I highly recommend this dazzling and fascinating first novel by a gifted storyteller (author Kai Harris). It is a well crafted tale of life, loss and survival told through the voice of an unforgettable 10-year-old narrator. 



*This coming-of-age novel is available on Amazon


*What the Fireflies Knew book review by Wednesday Elf.













Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, November 13, 2022

The Best Book For Understanding Yourself and Finding Your Way

The best book for understanding yourself and finding your way

Let me start by saying that I don't think this review will do this book justice; it's that good.

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer is a number 1 New York Times bestseller, selling over a million copies.

Here is The Author, Michael Singer's Credentials:

"Michael Alan "Mickey" Singer (or Michael A. Singer; born 6 May 1947) is an American author, journalist, motivational speaker, and former software developer.Singer is best known for his writings on spitituality, meditation, and New Age philosophy, and two of his books on the subject, The Untethered Soul (2007) and The Surrender Experiment (2015), were New York Times bestsellers. Singer established the Temple of the Universe, a yoga and meditation center in AlachuaFlorida, in 1975." - SOURCE WIKIPEDIA-Directly Quoted.

When you read this book, you'll understand why people from many walks of life are talking about how it provided the insight and tools they needed to expand their self-knowledge.

When I first read the book about eight years ago, I couldn't believe how much more about the human condition I could grasp ... and I thought I was already pretty enlightened! Was I wrong!

How I Accidentally Found This Book in My Hour of Need

When my dad passed in 2013, I was beyond consolable. Of course, most people would never know how much I was struggling ... but I was.

Around that same time, while visiting mom, I decided to head to a bookstore to look for spiritual answers to loss. I had read, listened to, and watched numerous works on the topic, but after dad's passing, I needed all the answers to everything <---- lol, yah, I know, that bar was set a tad high.

While at the store, I asked my dad to "please direct me to the answers I need to understand that you're ok." 

It was a small bookstore, and I was checking book after book, then out of the blue, I found two books (the only two copies in the store) ... one was "Journey of Souls, by Michael Newton" and the other was "The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer." I won't talk about Journey of Souls in this article, but wowza, if you're open to life-between-lives, you'll find that book engrossing!

Of the two books, I read The Untethered Soul first.

I Was So Moved by the Book I Bought it as Gift For Many People

One person close to me, who struggles with mental health issues, said that this book helped them the most. In fact, they've re-read it many times.

I was confident they would get a lot from the book, but I never anticipated they'd place the book at the top with their other treatments. Of course, that was their personal experience; I'm not implying that would happen to others. 

You Can Watch and Follow the Author on His Podcasts on YouTube

Recently I've watched at least five of Michael Singer's videos on YouTube

Mr. Singer communicates and connects in a personal way through his books. Via video, his messages are profound, and his personality is light and comforting. However, to get the whole experience, you need to read the book.

He's in high demand to be interviewed, and I happened to trip on Danica Patrick's (yes, that Danika Patrick - the former race car driver) podcast, where she also interviewed Mr. Singer. I found it so interesting. Ms. Patrick is not just a race car driver, that's for sure! She's a deeply reflective thinker.

What I Remember Most From Michael Singer's Book

What helps me most - I'm paraphrasing in my own words:

"We are not our body, we are not our mind; we are a consciousness/soul, our own unique conciouness. When times get hard, and bad things come our way, we can learn to master the technique of becoming the observer of the body and the mind. Our wondering mind, and negative self talk and reactions to problem situations are formed from years of habit. Through practice and awareness we can learn to step back to observe our mind and allow pain and discomfort to come through us, feel it, acknowledge it, so we can set it free, and let it go." 

If you're in the mood for enlightenment, don't hesitate to read this life-changing book.

The book is spiritually neutral; it doesn't tout any particular religion; it's merely about a peaceful soul for believers and non-believers from every walk of life.

It's available on Amazon here.




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Saturday, November 12, 2022

Mary Jane Clark - Author and Book Review

Recently I was searching my local library shelves for books by Mary Higgins Clark. When I returned home, I discovered that one of the books I selected was actually by an author named Mary JANE Clark.  Thus, I accidentally discovered a really good story and have since gone on to read more books by this author.


Today I finished reading “That Old Black Magic” by Mary Jane Clark and was reading the Acknowledgments page at the back of the book (I read EVERYTHING; always reluctant to put down a good book when the story ends – LOL).  Of the people Mary Jane Clark thanked was her thespian daughter who provided the voice and acting realism of the main character, Piper Donovan, who is an actress and baker in the story. 


Mary Jane's daughter's name is Elizabeth Higgins Clark. NOW, I'm really curious because of the similarity to MARY Higgins Clark. So, of course I googled it.  It was so interesting to learn that Mary Jane Clark, an author in her own right, is the daughter-in-law of Mary Higgins Clark and Elizabeth is her granddaughter! 


This review is about Mary Jane Clark and the series of books I have been enjoying.


The Piper Donovan Wedding Cake Mystery Series




To date, the Piper Donovan series consists of four novels:


  • To Have and to Kill (New York City and New Jersey locales)
  • The Look of Love (Los Angeles locale)
  • Footprints in the Sand (Florida locale)
  • That Old Black Magic (New Orleans locale)


The Main Character


Piper Donovan is a struggling actress who has had just a few small roles. Between times of auditions and acting in small parts, she supplements her income by working in her mother's New Jersey bakery “The Icing on the Cupcake”. Having learned a great deal about cake baking and decorating, Piper has begun to design and create very impressive special wedding cakes which become the theme of each book as Piper goes to plan and create a wedding cake for someone's wedding.


Story Themes


During each story of the wedding cakes, somehow Piper becomes involved in a murder mystery and often gets herself in a lot of trouble ~ and even danger ~ when trying to solve the mystery. Her parents worry about her, especially her dad who is a retired policeman. Her boyfriend, Jack, an FBI agent, also worries and definitely frowns upon Piper's rash behavior that puts her in danger. 


Summary


The stories are lighthearted (with just a touch of danger), and very enjoyable. They fall into the Cozy Mystery genre. The descriptions of the various wedding cakes in each story are delightful and will make you wish you could sample them. Piper Donovan is a very likable character and the books are quick and easy to read.



*Mary Jane Clark, book and author review written by 

~Wednesday Elf


*Image Sources: Wedding cake photos are from Pixabay & GetStencil.





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Thursday, November 3, 2022

The Lies I Tell - Book Review

Can a wrong ever be made right with another wrong? Where is the fine line between justice and revenge? In The Lies I Tell, by Julie Clark, two brilliant, strong, previously wronged women take matters into their own hands, resulting in fascinating twists and turns you won't see coming. 

Meg Williams, aka Maggie Littleton and Melody Wilde, is supremely gifted in becoming who you need, or want her to be. She is a master of psychology and Internet research. By the time you meet her, she knows you better than you know yourself. 

Meg/Maggie/Melody, the three-in-one, shape-shifts between personas. Some know her as a college student, others as a life coach, and now a Senate candidate has hired her as his exclusive real estate agent. Ron Ashton is going to wish he had never met Meg Williams. You'll see.

Kat Roberts, a victimized journalist, has waited ten excruciating years to take Meg down. Kat is desperate to expose the grifter for who she really is, and at the same time, to right the wrong that wrecked her own life and career. Kat believes she can go head-to-head with Meg because she knows the games she plays. In this cat-and-mouse chase, could it be that the mouse has underestimated the cat?

How will it all end? Will Meg get the justice she seeks? Does Kat get the revenge she has longed for (and the publishing deal of her dreams)? 

And you: Will you be cheering at the end, or shaking your head? How will you feel about the choices that are made? What would you have done? I hope you read The Lies I Tell and return here to respond to these questions.

I love a book with a surprise ending. This read kept me highly engaged the entire way. And, I have to tell you, it makes me want to lock down my social media accounts. Repelling a couple of scammers online this week really brought home the message of how very real and present are the Meg, Maggie, and Melody's of the world. This is just barely a work of fiction. 












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Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman – Book Review

An Alex Delaware Novel




Jonathan Kellerman has written 37 Alex Delaware novels. The Wedding Guest is #34. The series is set in Los Angeles.


Main Characters in The Wedding Guest


  • Alex Delaware, a child psychologist in Los Angeles, California
  • Milo Sturgis, a career policeman in the Homicide Division of the LAPD


Regular Minor Characters in the Alex Delaware Series of Books


  • Detectives Binchy, Bogomil and Reed who Milo refers to as the “Baby Ds”. 
  • Robin Castagna, who repairs and builds expensive guitars for musicians around the country. She has been in a long-term relationship with Delaware for many years.
  • Alex and Robin's French Bulldog, Blanche


Character Assessment


Delaware and Sturgis form a formidable team. Sturgis has a knack for piecing together the details of a crime. Delaware's expertise is his psychology background aiding him in deciphering the darkest intents driving vicious perpetrators.

 

Plot of The Wedding Guest




In The Wedding Guest, Alex and Milo team up once again to solve a homicide and the crime that led to it. 


At a wedding reception, a horrified bridesmaid discovers the body of a young woman who has been strangled. Not a single partygoer recognizes the victim and there is not a single means to identify her. The bride is convinced the stranger snuck in to sabotage her big day, and the groom is sure it is all a dreadful mistake. 


With over a hundred guests to question, Delaware and Sturgis soon decide that the motive for murder is personal.


Now the party's over and the hunt for the killer begins.


Summary


An uninvited guest. A missing identity. A trail of deadly secrets. 


Once again, Sturgis and Delaware team up to solve a murder in this psychological thriller. As an amateur armchair detective, the needed clues for solving while reading are not uncovered until the very end, but it was an interesting mystery nonetheless.  If you are a fan of Jonathan Kellerman, and especially his Alex Delaware novels, as I am, you will enjoy this one as much as others in the series. 


Related Reviews of Books by the Kellerman Family

 


*Book Review of "The Wedding Guest" written by

    ~Wednesday Elf





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Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Ken Follett's Never, A Book Review

If you love a political thriller, you should check out Ken Follett's Never, a book in which we find the world on the brink of nuclear war / disaster.

In the past, I have read and thoroughly enjoyed a few historical Ken Follett novels. Never, however, as a modern war or political thriller about the possibility of nuclear disaster, was a definite departure for me.

Never is a saga about a crisis that could lead to a third world war. Follett himself says that the story was in part a result of his discovery that no one wanted the first world war. This book spans the globe from Africa’s Sahara Desert to China and the United States. It is 800 pages of story filled with a large cast and numerous story lines.

The Washington Post calls Never “a cautionary tale of global catastrophe.” Exactly. They also say that it is “credibly detailed and alarmingly plausible.” Disturbing? Yes, but I agree.

VIDEOS


The first video shown below is a short trailer for the book, illustrating the Defcon system and alluding to the suspenseful nature of this novel. The second video, called Behind the Scenes with Ken Follett, is more interesting, detailing how he came up with the idea for this book.





RATING


Readers on Goodreads gave Never four stars; readers on Amazon gave it four stars as well.

Many reader comments show that people enjoyed the book, as I did. The story was extremely well researched and detailed and the storylines were interesting.

Many also found the book a bit longer than they thought it might have been and a bit slow or hard to be absorbed by at first and I agree on both of those points. I was also disappointed with how the individual story lines were sorted out and with the ending.

The premise of this book is disturbing. That is, seeing how a nuclear war might be played out. Let us hope that we never know the truth.

Like other readers, I give the book four stars and recommend it for those who enjoy political thrillers and for those who have enjoyed Follett’s previous contemporary thrillers. You can find Never here on Amazon in whatever format you prefer be that Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback or audio CD.

See you
at the book store!

MORE KEN FOLLETT:




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Saturday, October 22, 2022

My Gal Sunday – Book Review


By Mary Higgins Clark



Recently I have been reading my way through books by the Queen of Suspense, Mary Higgins Clark. Although I seldom read short stories, preferring full-length novels, I came across My Gal Sunday, a collection of four stories about an irresistible sleuthing duo. The stories were delightful and I was left wishing Ms. Clark had written more novels featuring this duo. 


The Characters in My Gal Sunday


The book contains four short stories, each starring the same characters and continuing one to the next in order. By that, I mean that some of the other characters and situations in one story are mentioned in the next.... and the next.


The main characters are a dashing ex-president (Henry Parker Britland IV ~  wealthy, worldly and popular ~ and his new wife Sandra (Sandy) O'Brian ~ clever and lovely ~ a newly elected congresswoman from New Jersey. Sandy is the daughter of a motorman on the New Jersey railway and worked her way through school. The media loved it.  When they married, a newspaper ran the headline LORD HENRY BRINTHWHIP MARRIES OUR GAL SUNDAY, a reference to the once popular radio soap opera that for years, 5 days a week, asked the question:


Can a girl from a mining town in the West find happiness as the wife of England's richest and most handsome Lord Henry Brinthwhip.


Because of this, Sandra, new wife of Henry, became known to all as 'Sunday'




The Stories


The premise of stories in this book is that Henry & Sunday somehow become involved in solving baffling high-society crimes and make a formidable team. 


In A Crime of Passion, Henry's former Secretary-of-State, a close friend and political alley, is accused of murdering his lover Arabella Young.


In They All Ran After the President's Wife, Sunday is kidnapped and a frantic Henry works with the Secret Service and his friend and former Vice-President (who is the current U.S. President) to locate Sunday and bring her home safely.


In Hail Columbia! Sunday & Henry reconstruct a long-unsolved case aboard the presidential yacht.


And in Merry Christmas/Joyeau Noel, we find Henry & Sunday getting ready for Christmas at home when a 6-year-old boy turns up on their doorstep. They take him in and work with the police, but the boy never speaks or answers any questions, so finding out who he is and where he belongs becomes a difficult problem. A sweet tale about a Christmas Miracle.


Summary


Mary Higgins Clark tells us in the book acknowledgments that as a child she was a big fan of the radio show “My Gal Sunday” and had a huge crush on Lord Henry and thought he and Sunday made a perfect couple.  That's why, when she wanted to create a new husband-and-wife suspense team, she thought about Lord Henry & Sunday and asked herself “suppose Henry is a former American President, smart, nice, rich and handsome, and suppose Sunday is a stunning, savvy young congresswoman?” The stories in her book of short stories, My Gal Sunday are the  result!


This really is a delightful, lighthearted and fun series of stories. I hope you enjoy the short stories in My Gal Sunday as much as I did. 


Related Reviews:


*My Gal Sunday Book Review written by Wednesday Elf




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Sunday, October 16, 2022

Why I Feel Good Today - A Workbook for Teens and Adults

Why I Feel Great Today Workbook
A Monthly Workbook (in Color) - To Track Good Feelings


As some of you already know, my creative energy has been put toward self-publishing workbook journals this year.

Why Workbooks?

With so much going on in the world, I wanted to put together something that adults or teens could use as a guide to track life moments, feelings, and overall state of mind.

This prompt workbook allows us to write down the good or not-so-good moments about our life in a brief, fun, colorful book to reflect on patterns and trends.

Workbooks give us a chance to retrace our steps and do more of what makes us feel better and hopefully less of the things that don't.

Why This Workbook?

I created this workbook with one main goal: a place for people to quickly record and track their good moments.

Good moments can range from anything small to something significant. For example, a good moment could have been when you prepared a delicious meal, tackled a project, or talked to a friend.

Mark down the good things, no matter how small. 

The book will give you a thirteen-month trend of things that make you feel great.

You'll also be able to reflect on your year and examine trends and memorable moments. If there's something specific that you don't want to forget, write it down in your workbook.

Tracking The Good in Our Life

More than a diary, a specifically targeted prompt workbook brings us directly to the life areas that need noting, remembering, or correcting.

What you get with the Why I Feel Good Workbook:

13 Color Coded Months with Four Workbook Prompt Pages Per Month:
  • Daily Feel Good Quick Notes 
  • Monthly Specific Prompt Questions
  • A Page to Expand Upon Why You Feel Good in Your Own Notes
  • A Monthly Happy Summary with More Prompt Questions
  • A Motivational Quote for Each Month
There's a chart to color in your mood daily so that at the end of the year, with one quick look, you can get an idea of which color mood was most prominent in your life.

You can track any month at any time. You don't have to follow 13 months in a row; pick and choose your tracking months if that works best for you.

Why I Feel Great Today Workbook
Available on Amazon

You can preview the book's interior via StumpedRiddles here or, of course, on Amazon here.



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Friday, October 14, 2022

Bradwell Brothers Book Series by Kasey Stockton Reviewed

Bradwell Brothers Series
I recently read the first two books in the "Bradwell Brothers" book series by Kasey Stockton.  The third book will not be released until April, 2023. 

I have really enjoyed this series, thus far, because the author included unusual or funny circumstances, as well as giving her characters an abundance of humorous wit. I can hardly wait for book three to be available.

The books are in the Regency Romance genre, which means they are historical fiction that takes place during the British Regency (1811–1820) time period.  This series is clean and wholesome, therefore it can be recommended for any age.  It almost seems educational as it peeks into the historical British social classes and what is acceptable behavior for ladies and gentlemen, as well as the family hierarchy of the wealthy class. 

There are 3 Bradwell brothers.  At the beginning of the series, their mother still reigns over the Bradwell home and all 3 bachelor brothers reside there at Chelton most of the time.  Henry, the middle brother, was bequeathed the "hunting box", a separate family home, that is his private getaway when needed.  As with all siblings, the brothers have similarities and shared memories, but each has their own individual personality.  They are so well described that I can easily envision James' concerned & watchful eyes, Benedict's looks of confusion or misunderstanding, and Henry's quiet reserve. I feel like I know these boys.

 

Synopsis of Sensibly Wed - Bradwell Brothers Book 1
London, 1817  

 Sensibly Wed (Bradwell Brothers Book 1)Check PriceJames Bradwell chose to attend his godmother's ball in hopes of finding a suitable wife.  As the oldest brother, and heir to his father's estate, James is mindful of his family duties. However, he resents the girls in attendance who merely seek his company because of his wealth.  Desiring a brief escape from the marriage mart, he slips into the library, but quickly finds he is not alone.

Felicity Thurston would much rather be reading than attending a ball.  Not only does she suffer with anxiety attacks, but she is certain she will never find someone who loves her "as her father loves her mother" at a superficial social event.  In an attempt to avoid a particularly unappealing man, Felicity slipped into a dark room and closed the door behind her.  To her delight, she realized she was alone in the library. She lite a candle and began pursuing the book shelves.  When she hears the unmistakable creak of the opening door, she blew out her candle, hoping to not be discovered. Unfortunately, hot candle wax dripped on her hand and she yelped.

And, that is how Felicity and James met, and how they were discovered:  alone together in the library during the ball.  How scandalous!  Before they even exited the room, the gossip was spreading quickly throughout the ballroom. 

Felicity and her parents quickly left the ball, but James already knew what was going to be required of him.  He was at their home early the following morning proposing marriage.  Soon after Felicity and her parents accepted his proposal, she found out his last name.  Of all the people in the world, how could she possibly be engaged to the brother of the only man she had ever hoped to marry.

And, that is just the beginning!  You will need to read the book to find out what happens next.

 

Synopsis of Pleasantly Pursued - Bradwell Brother Book 2  

 Pleasantly Pursued (Bradwell Brothers Book 2)Check PriceDorothea Northcott has escaped her impending doom.  She simply could not be "deposited" at her lecherous chaperone's home, but she couldn't tell her guardian, Lady Edith Bradwell, about her cousin, Lord Claverley, and his despicable desires either.  She felt her only salvation would be to run away and seek employment. While she greatly appreciated her godmother's efforts to see her sponsored and properly introduced to society, Thea would forgo that for a simpler, safe life.  She had found a position working in a kitchen and would be content marrying a humble man.  

Benedict Bradwell had been searching for Thea for months.  He followed her trail of jobs until he finally found her working as a kitchen maid. However, she was not happy to see him and she did not want to be returned to his mother and her home.  When Benedict explained that is mother was worried sick over her disappearance, Thea acquiesced and agreed to return with him, but only if he agreed to her one condition: she would not be forced to go to Lord Claverley's house or forced to remain at Chelton.

Benedict's plan to sneak Thea back to Chelton, was just the beginning of "interesting" situations they faced.  Without a proper chaperone, Thea had to dress as a male servant for the duration of a journey that would take four days, including nights in various inns.  Their verbal sparring made the trip, as well as the entire season, a fun journey for readers.    

Perhaps you have figured out what happens in terms of romance, but the book is worth reading, regardless.




Read More Book Reviews at
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Thursday, October 13, 2022

Book Review The Diamond Eye

 

Imagine that you are a young woman in 1940's Russia.  You are a mother raising a young son alone as you work in a library and study to gain your degree.  You are forging along in everyday life when suddenly your country is invaded, and you are facing a world at war.  In this riveting novel, Kate Quinn gives a look into the life of Mila Pavlichenko, a young history student and mother who joins the Russian military and becomes a world-famous sniper.



I found this book to be very intriguing.  Mila is a young woman who married way too young when she found she was pregnant.  She is raising a young son and trying desperately to get a divorce from her older and emotionally abusive husband.  This is not easy in 1940's Russia.  She is a passionate history student and loves her studies.  Then Hitler invades the Ukraine and Russia, and she feels compelled to sign up to protect her homeland.  

Mila is a strong woman who does nothing partway.  When assigned the task as a sniper, she becomes the best and shoots over 300 of the enemy.  Her talents gain her fame, and she is sent on a good will tour of the United States where she befriends Eleanor Roosevelt.  This friendship and the dangers that come with it made this one of the best books I've read in a long time.   

The book is based on a true story and most of the people and many of the events really happened.  In the author's notes at the end of the book she details what parts were true (based on Mila's memoirs) and what parts she fictionalized.  I found this very interesting and would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery, historical fiction and intrigue.



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Sunday, October 2, 2022

I Need Help Thinking Positive - Review of A New Mood Tracking Book

Are you constantly fighting your feelings to remain positive and centered?

Does life require you to continuously take stock of the good things and push away the bad?

If this sounds like you, you can benefit from the Workbook, "I Need Help Thinking Positive." 
This thirty-one-day Workbook lets you track negative energy and analyze patterns requiring attention, change, or improvement.

Even Mostly Positive Thinking People Will Benefit From This Mood Tracking Book

I consider myself a positive person. In fact, I actively work to be this way! I've been "in training" to control my thoughts since 2013. 

It sounds silly to say, "in training to control my thoughts," but yes, it's real! 

Controlling our thoughts requires mental exercise; just like our body needs physical activity, so does our mind.

Those who know me know that I make a concerted effort not to dwell on problems but rather to seek solutions.

My extensive life experience is what led me to create this Workbook.

My Solution-Oriented Nature is How This Book Came to Be

We've all faced challenging and what seems like insurmountable life issues. However, escaping our troubles and negative thoughts ultimately frees us to live a fresh, new day.

What Does The Workbook "I Need Help Thinking Positive" Provide:

There are 31 days of easy, casual, and light worksheet tracking prompt pages to help you self-analyze your tendency toward negative thinking.

The four worksheets allow you to compile your thoughts and review trends and areas of thought that need improving.
Each day's worksheets give you a chance to break down your thoughts.
Here are the Four Worksheets:

Worksheet Number 1:

Why I Had a Negative Day Worksheet
The Quick Clipboard Chart Page

This fun page features 20 typically standard daily items that can infect our mood. 

Simply check off the items that influenced your negative thoughts for that day, and give each item one point.

It's not about keeping score!

It's about discovering negative trends and repeated issues that keep throwing off your mood.

Check off your overall mood for that day.

Worksheet Number 2:

In My Own Words from the Workbook "I Need Help Thinking Positive"
In My Own Words - A Place For Personal Notes

This workbook sheet allows you to expand upon the clipboard chart items you selected above.

Write down the additional things that turned your day upside down.

Worksheet Number 3:

Briefly describe your negative issues using prompt questions.

The prompt questions are based on the basic principle of who, what, when, where, why, and how.

The page is designed to help you dig deeper into your thoughts and really give them a workout!

Worksheet Number 4

Positive Solution Analysis

What would a workbook be without a place to give serious thought on how to solve your issues and, in turn, improve your attitude?

The four questions on this page are designed to steer you toward analysis and solutions.

Track Your Mood for 31 Days, Then Take Stock of Common Trends

This Workbook is meant to help you examine trends and ultimately make changes to improve your thought process.

After a good month of analysis, look at what issues, people, and things affected you the most.

Knowing our problem is half the battle; however, if one day melts into the next without actively seeking out our conscious and often subconscious negative tendencies, nothing will change.

If you're looking for a change, this Workbook is an easy and fun place to start.

Available on Amazon


Book Tip! You don't have to track 31 days in a row - simply use the book on your negative days. If it takes several months or a year to track those negative thinking days, that's perfectly fine!

The purpose is to seek patterns and trends so you can focus on the areas that need attention or change.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Two Little Girls in Blue – Book Review

 by Mary Higgins Clark



Having been a fan of best-selling suspense writer, Mary Higgins Clark, in years past, I recently realized there were several of her books I had not read.  Two Little Girls in Blue was one of them and I consider it one of her best. 


Synopsis of Two Little Girls in Blue



Kelly and Kathy, twin daughters of Margaret and Steve Frawley of Ridgefield, Connecticut, celebrate the girls' third birthday with an afternoon party at their new, fixer-upper, home. That evening, Steve & Margaret are obligated to attend a black-tie dinner in New York City for Steve's company. When they return home, they discover the police there and learn that the babysitter has been found unconscious and that the children are gone.  A note demanding eight-million-dollars in ransom was left in the twins bedroom.


The Frawleys do not have that kind of money, but Steve's firm, a global investment company, agrees to pay the ransom. One board member of the firm disagrees with paying the ransom, stating it could become a precedent for other kidnappers to target company employees, but he is overruled. 


The FBI and the local town and state police are all involved. When the kidnapper, who calls himself the “Pied Piper”, makes his terms known, the family and the FBI are told that 'on delivery of the money' a call will come revealing the girls' whereabouts. The “Pied Piper” used two men to do the actual kidnapping, and a woman (girlfriend of one of the men) to take care of the twins until the ransom is paid. The kidnappers never know who the 'boss' is; only communicating with him via burner cell phones. 


The ransom is paid in a rather convoluted manner that, despite FBI agents undercover all around the 'drop' area, the kidnappers get away without being caught.  The promised call does come, but only Kelly is in the car parked behind a deserted restaurant. The driver of the car is dead from a gunshot wound and a suicide note states that he inadvertently killed Kathy and dumped her body in the ocean. 


The heart-broken parents have a private memorial Mass for Kathy, but Kelly speaks up saying “Mommy, Kathy is very scared of that lady and she wants to  come home right now.”  


At first, only the mother believes that the twins are communicating in their special 'twin-talk' and that Kathy is still alive.  But as Kelly becomes more specific with her warnings, the FBI is finally convinced and set out on a search for Kathy. The climax of this suspenseful novel is breathtaking.


Summary


This story describes the well-documented, though unexplained, phenomenon of twin telepathy and the special 'twin-talk' that identical twins often engage in. A fascinating and exciting story I thoroughly enjoyed. 


*Two Little Girls in Blue book review written by Wednesday Elf.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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