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

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Make a Wish by Helena Hunting: "Spark House Sisters" Series

New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting's comtemporary romance novel Make a Wish is book three of her popular "Spark House Sisters" series, which also includes When Sparks Fly (book one) and Starry-Eyed Love (book two).

Make a Wish will be published on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, but it is available for preorder on Amazon in Kindle, paperback and audiobook formats.

I was fortunate to listen to an advance copy of the audiobook through NetGalley. Here's my book review.

Make a Wish by Helena Hunting
Make a Wish is book 3 in Helena Hunting's contemporary romance series "Spark House Sisters" which features her signature "swoony heroes and quirky heroines"

A Charming, Often Hilarious, Heartwarming Contemporary Romance Novel

New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting's website describes her lead characters as "swoony heroes and quirky heroines you'll fall in love with." I would say she writes genuinely likeable, thoughtful characters with good hearts and intentions, human failings and insecurities, authentic voices and often witty, flirtatious banter.

Bottom line: Hunting crafts well-developed characters you can't help caring about and rooting for.

Helena Hunting's "Spark House Sisters" Series

When I had the opportunity to listen to an advance copy of Helena Hunting's Make a Wish in audiobook format, I jumped at the chance to listen to this deservedly popular, New York Times bestselling author's latest contemporary romance. I was delighted to discover that the story holds its own as a stand-alone novel. However, I enjoyed it enough to want to go back to the beginning of the story by reading the first two books.

Here are the three books in this series about sisters Avery, London and Harley Spark, in order (links are for the Kindle editions on Amazon):

When Sparks Fly ("Spark House Sisters" Book 1—Avery's Story)

Starry-Eyed Love ("Spark House Sisters" Book 2—London's Story)

Make a Wish ("Spark House Sisters" Book 3—Harley's Story)

Make a Wish Synopsis

When Gavin Rhodes's wife, whom he adores, dies after giving birth to their daughter Peyton, his world collapses. Overwhelmed by grief, heartbreak and a misplaced sense of guilt, Gavin buries himself in his work and hires a vivacious, cheerful, energetic and responsible young woman as a live-in nanny for his baby girl.

Harley Spark's parents died when she was very young, so she knows how hard it is to grow up without a mom. Unlike Peyton, however, she and her two sisters had each other for support, and vice versa. Her grandma Spark also provided a loving, supportive and encouraging home as well as a love of fun and adventure. Harley is totally devoted to Peyton and tries to make up for the lack of both a mom and siblings in her life by playing the roles of both nanny and surrogate big sister.

Harley finds enormous satisfaction in providing a positive, upbeat and nurturing home environment for baby Peyton and her overworked, emotionally devastated dad. The arrangement works beautifully for a year and a half...until the fateful moment when 20-year-old Harley, trying to comfort an exhausted and still grieving Gavin (and indulge her secret crush on him), leans in and almost kisses him before he realizes what she is trying to do and abruptly pulls away.

Harley is horrified and mortified. Worse yet, her idyllic working and living situation suddenly evaporates as Gavin packs up his and Peyton’s things and moves to the other side of the state. He transfers the care of his baby girl to his late wife's strict and domineering mother, Karen, who takes on the role of mothering and educating her granddaughter with an almost religious zeal.

Harley is covered with guilt and remorse for her unusual lapse in judgment and she misses Peyton (and Gavin) tremendously. But when Gavin refuses to respond to multiple apologetic texts, she eventually has to make her peace with the consequences of having acted on her misguided impulse.

Harley loves being and working with kids, but reluctantly decides to give up her career as a professional live-in nanny, fearing another potential risk to her heart if she falls in love with another family who employs her. Instead, she joins her two sisters and their partners in running the family's event hotel, Spark House. In addition to doing some of the hotel's social media, Harley's favorite role has been organizing the children's themed birthday parties, for which she always dresses up in costume. Unfortunately, they are less profitable than other events, such as weddings, and seven years after Gavin's and Peyton's move, Harley's siblings let her know that the upcoming princess-themed birthday party for a local nine-year-old will be the last one at Spark House.

For the "last hurrah" birthday bash, Harley dresses up as a fairy princess. The last people she expects to run into among the young party guests and their parents are nine-year-old Peyton and her dad. Gavin, in turn, who is both a doting father and a good sport, is wearing a tutu. It's not exactly the outfit he would have chosen for an unexpected reunion with Harley, who is now in her late twenties and even more attractive than before.

Harley is so flustered at seeing Gavin again (especially when she is dressed in full-fledged princess attire with all the trimmings) that she breaks out in hives. Gavin is grateful that Harley is no longer his daughter's nanny, and their age difference is less significant. He hopes this chance encounter might lead to both closure concerning their awkward and abrupt parting and perhaps a different type of relationship moving forward. Peyton is simply overjoyed to see her beloved former nanny and playmate and can't wait to make more play dates for the three of them.

Gavin decides to move himself and Peyton back to their hometown. There are a several good reasons for the move, but one of the most compelling is for them to be near Harley again. Predictably, Karen becomes jealous and resentful of Harley and does her best to undermine the would-be couple's burgeoning relationship. Karen's interfering behavior angers and upsets both Gavin and Harley, but Gavin also feels guilty about moving Peyton out of her grandmother's home, control, and daily life and is reluctant to confront his mother-in-law.

Will Harley, who hates confrontation, find the courage to stick up for both her professional role and romantic relationship?

Why does Gavin feel guilty about his wife's death? Can he finally bring himself to truly risk giving his heart to a partner again unconditionally and stand up to his overbearing, jealous, threatened and still-grieving mother-in-law?

Will Peyton finally get her two biggest wishes, a mom and a sibling?

I can promise you a happy ending, but you'll have to read Helena Hunting's Make a Wish not only to find out the answers but also to enjoy the rich storytelling and the rocky road that ultimately leads to this trio's HEA (happily ever after).

Amazon Editors' Picks: Best Romance

I'm not the only reader who has fallen in love with the characters in Helena Hunting's Make a Wish. Even though its release date is nearly a week away at the time of this book review's publication, this new contemporary romance novel is one of Amazon Editors' top picks for Romance Books.

Two Excellent Audiobook Narrators

Fan favorite narrators Jason Clarke, Stella Bloom share the narration duties on all three of the "Spark House Sisters" audiobooks in this series. Bloom's pleasant but higher-pitched voice is the perfect foil for Clarke's bass, and both narrators are eminently "listenable." They are skilled at voicing both male and female characters, as well as both adult and juvenile characters, that are easily distinguishable. This was especially important because each chapter of is told from either Harley's or Gavin's point of view and read by Bloom or Clarke, respectively. I never struggled to identify which character was speaking, even during conversations among three or more characters.

They also spoke at an ideal pace for me, slow enough that I didn't have to concentrate on not missing anything, but also not so slow as to be soporific.

These seasoned narrators really bring the characters to life and enhance the reader's (or listener's) experience of the book. For that reason, I highly recommend the audiobook format for this contemporary romance series.

Here are links to all three audiobooks in order:

When Sparks Fly "Spark House Sisters" Book 1 Audiobook

Starry-Eyed Love "Spark House Sisters" Book 2 Audiobook

Make a Wish "Spark House Sisters" Book 1 Audiobook

10 Hours of Listening Pleasure

There is enough meat to the story to keep me happily engaged in listening to the audiobook for 10 hours. Key bits and pieces of information from the past are gradually revealed to us (and to the main characters) as the story unfolds, giving us more context and insight into each character's motivations, emotional challenges, desires and fears.

By the end of the book, I felt real empathy and compassion for all the characters, even the rigid, self-absorbed, bossy, subversive Karen.

More importantly, all the characters experienced authentic, significant growth from the beginning to the end of the story arc.

Adult Content

As in most contemporary romance novels, the relationship between the story’s hero and heroine includes physical intimacy.

While Hunting isn’t shy about describing the sexual aspect of Gavin and Harley’s romantic relationship as it evolves over time, I didn't feel the descriptions of their intimate encounters were gratuitous or excessively graphic, and those scenes certainly weren't a primary focus of the novel. The pair's relationship is built on a foundation of friendship and trust first. In fact, despite their obvious mutual physical attraction, both of them are very cautious about taking their relationship from friends to lovers.

However, if you are offended by premarital physical intimacy, that aspect of this book (and, presumably, the others in this series) might be a turn-off.

Fun But Not Fluff

The story flowed well and never dragged, and the narrators' characterizations did justice to Hunting's charismatic writing, keepping me engaged, entertained, and emotionally invested from beginning to end.

Harley's and Peyton's boundless enthusiasm, zest for life, optimism and love of unabashadly "girly" things like tutus and glitter crafts provide some much-needed lightness to balance the tragic deaths (and, in the case of Gavin and Karen, misplaced guilt) that weigh on the main characters' hearts.

Ultimately, it's a feel-good story about second chances. I hope you enjoy it.

Now, I'm off to download the first two books in the series.

Make A Wish By Helena Hunting: Spark House Sisters

by Margaret Schindel

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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.”


Saturday, January 14, 2023

Murder Out of Character by Olivia Matthews – A Book Review

 This is Book 2 in the Peach Coast Library Mystery Series.

Murder Out of Character is a cozy mystery with a librarian as the main character. The story locale is a small town near the coast of Georgia. Book #1 ~ Murder by Page One ~ began this mystery series and apparently the author uses book terms (Page One and Character) in her titles, completely in keeping with the 'library' theme. 

The series is published by Hallmark Publishing and they state on the back cover that “If you love Hallmark mystery movies, you'll love this cozy mystery with humor, intrigue, and a hint of romance.”

Plot of Murder Out of Character

Our main character, Marvey Harris, is a small-town librarian, a New York native who recently moved to Georgia with her rescue tabby, Phoenix, to take the job of fundraiser/event coordinator of the Peach Coast Library. 

While cleaning up after the library's first fundraising event, Marvey comes across a scrap of paper with a list of four names. 

  • Hank Figg – the high school basketball coach who recently died. 
  • Nellie Kenton – CFO of the local bank.
  • Brittany Wilson – owner of Coastal Cycles, a bike shop.
  • Spencer Holt – Editor/publisher of the Peach Coast newspaper and Marvey's new best friend. 

Marvey finds the list puzzling, but finally tosses it into the recycling bin. The next morning she reads in the paper that Nellie Kenton has been found dead. Two people on the list of four and both have died. Marvey quickly goes to the library to retrieve the list, then takes it to her friend, Spencer because she is now worried about the fact that his is one of the names on the list. At first, Spencer dismisses the list, but soon admits he may be in danger.

With the help of Spencer and her friends on the library staff, an investigation is launched to determine who wrote the list and the reason why. The four people appear to have nothing in common other than living in Peach Coast. But it is obvious that the other two people left on the list are in danger. 

The police are not thrilled with civilians doing a murder investigation, but Marvey is determined. Even while busy with her job and preparing for a visit from her parents, it soon becomes obvious that Marvey, Spencer and their librarian friends need to find and stop a killer who may just possibly be bent on a long overdue revenge.


Our heroine wants to keep her friends safe and the readers look forward to a happily-ever-after ending. 

Lovers of small-town cozies can while away a pleasant afternoon with this one." -Publishers Weekly

Peach Coast Library Mystery Series Author

Olivia Matthews is actually the cozy mystery pseudonym for Patricia Sargeant, a national best-selling, award-winning author. She writes romance as Patricia Sargeant and mysteries as Olivia Matthews. 

Patricia writes romance because she believes that the Power of Love is the greatest motivation. She writes mysteries so ordinary people put in extraordinary situations find the 'Hero Inside'

*Book Review of Murder Out of Character, Book 2 of 2 in the Peach Coast Library Mystery Series written by Wednesday Elf

These first two books in the Peach Coast Library Mystery Series can be found on Amazon at the links below:

Murder By Page One (Book 1 of 2)

Murder Out of Character (Book 2 of 2)

For More Book Reviews, check out

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.”


Friday, January 13, 2023

Lord Blackwell’s Promise: A Regency Romance - Larkhall Letters Book 5 Reviewed

Ashtyn Newbold has written & published a delightfully unique and entertaining series with the Larkhall Letters.

I had previously read the first 4 books in the series, but had to wait for the 5th book to be released.  As soon as Lord Blackwell's Promise was published, I downloaded it to my Kindle and immediately started reading. 

One of the things I like best about Ashtyn Newbold's writing, is that she develops her characters so well that readers feel like they know them personally. In Lord Blackwells' Promise, both Lord Blackwell and Margaret Lovell have strong personalities, devotion to their families and conflicting emotions, much like a lot of real people.

As expected, it was another excellent book that I can highly recommend to Regency Romance novel lovers of any age. Not only is it a unique story, it is interlaced with witty conversations and funny interactions. 

It is another book by Newbold that I hated to see end, even though I was pleased with the ending!   


Lord Blackwell's Promise Book Synopsis 

 Lord Blackwell’s Promise: A Regency Romance (Larkhall Letters Book 5)Check PriceLord Blackwell is dying.  He is surrounded by his family, his mother and sisters.  They are the people he has spent his life trying to provide for and protect.  His mother is currently the most influential individual in his life.  When she speaks, he considers what she says, not only because he loves her, but because he truly respects her opinions.  When she recommends that he make amends to the people he has harmed, he contemplates her suggestion.  How could he possibly make things right with the family he has so grievously harmed by swindling them and ruining the father's reputation.  When his mother suggests that he marry the daughter and move the family into their home, Peter (Lord Blackwell) thinks why not? After all, he is dying.  Who he marries, doesn't matter.  Plus, by marrying the daughter and financially providing for the Lovell family, he will be restoring their wealth and social standing.

Margaret Lovell is deeply devoted to her family and greatly concerned for her father's health.  When her brother is hurt and needs surgery, she has to seriously consider the proposal from someone she despises: Lord Blackwell.  Her family can't afford doctors.  They barely have enough food.  As she ponders her options, she realizes with the Earl dying, she wouldn't really need to be a wife.  She would simply be married to him.  As his widow, her family would be wealthy again. 

After the ceremony at the dying man's bedside, Margaret's family is moved into Lord Blackwell's castle.  All seems to be going as planned, that is, until Lord Blackwell recovers!

To find out what happens to Lord Blackwell, his new wife and both families, you will need to read the book for yourself.  It is well worth reading!



Read My Other Reviews of Books in the Larkhall Letters Series

 The Ace of Hearts Review The Captain's Confidant Review With Love, Louisa Review

Read More Book Reviews at

House of Sylvestermouse

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.”


Monday, January 2, 2023

Book Review: All the Forgivenesses by Elizabeth Hardinger

 All the Forgivenesses is a debut novel set in early 20th century Kentucky featuring young Bertie Winslow. The story is told from Albertina's (Bertie's) perspective and we follow her through a difficult childhood in Kentucky and into adulthood onto the oil fields of Kansas. The story was written based on stories about oil fields life in the early twentieth century told to the author by her mother and aunts. "The voice of this novel is my recollection of the speech of my maternal grandmother" the author writes. It was Bertie's voice that took me away to another time and land.

The story begins in 1906, at a Sweet family gathering in Kentucky which serves as both family reunion and pig killing day. Bertie is a six and a half year old who is in charge of her three year old brother, Timmy, while the women work with the pig meat. Her dad and brothers go with the men to the woods to hunt. Mama bounced baby Dacia on her hip until naptime. Then Bertie was given the chore of putting Dacia down for a nap.

Bertie carried baby Dacia into Grandma Sweet's and placed her in a crib. Then made a pallet for Timmy and he fell asleep too. Later in the day Bertie discovers that Timmy is missing from the pallet and is missing from the area around the house. The search begins for Timmy but it is too late.  His body was found in the creek the next morning.

With that tragedy, the already difficult family situation becomes worse for the four remaining children.

Mama is less able to emotionally care for the children fully and Bertie becomes increasingly responsible for the household. Mama becomes pregnant, becomes physically ill, and young Bertie has more siblings to care for while Mama spends her days in bed. Their father comes and goes and the children do their best not to attract his attention while trying to survive.

We follow Bertie through her adolescence, her marriage, and adulthood. Like so many people, she carries her childhood experiences into her own marriage. Her husband, Sam, is a better provider for the family than her father was and a kind, patient man. They move to the oil fields in Kansas for work. 

"Inspired by the stories told by the author's mother and aunts, All The Forgivenesses is as authentic as it is lyrical -- a captivating novel of family loyalty, redemption, and resilience"  quote from Goodreads

I feel that I am having difficulty writing the kind of review that explains how much I enjoyed this book without giving spoilers. I agree whole-heartedly with the description of "authentic" and "lyrical".  We watch as Bertie is forced into the role of caregiver as a child and how she continues in that role as an adult woman. Parts of her story are heart-breaking. She's the heroine but she's not perfect or superhuman. Bertie carries both her strengths and her flaws into her marriage. Despite the hard conditions and difficult relationships there is something beautiful unfolding for this family; not only does Bertie keep children alive, she is able to help them thrive.

This book reminded me a bit of the Winter's Bone story in that a young girl is responsible for siblings while the adults are absent in one way or another and is making the best life they can for their siblings in an impoverished, isolated setting. 

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.”


Saturday, December 24, 2022

One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard

 A baseball book review. 

This is the story of a magical baseball season with an unlikely coach in a small town in Illinois.  


The year is 1971. The town is Macon, Illinois, a very small rural farm community in central Illinois. The team is a rag-tag high school baseball team in a school population that is so small that the boys have to play every sport in order to have enough players to make a team (football, basketball, baseball). The unlikely coach of the baseball team is the school's English teacher with no coaching expertise. 

This is a charming true story of a small-town baseball team, playing in hand-me-down uniforms, who emerged from a field of 370 teams to make an improbable run to the State Final.  

The boys of Macon renew our understanding of why baseball matters.

Lynn Sweet arrives in Macon in 1966.  He's a long-haired hippie, a dreamer and an intellectual who brings progressive ideas to a town stuck in the 1950s. The son of a hard-driving Army Sergeant, Sweet is the opposite; fond of bucking convention and convinced the world is full of good people who occasionally have bad ideas. The students love him; the administration not so much! 

Call me 'Sweet' he tells his students on the first day of school. This in a school who wants and expects proper behavior, such as calling their teachers by Mr. & Ms/Mrs. His classroom has four round tables instead of desks. There are posters on the walls and rows of bookshelves. The bookshelves have novels and short stories unlike any before seen in Macon. There are also magazines and comic books.  But there are no grammar textbooks. Sweet teaches with unconventional assignments and tells the students “Have fun with it.”


When Sweet takes over the baseball team (because no one else wants the job) he becomes intent on teaching the boys as much about life as baseball. Inspired by coach's unconventional methods, the undersized Macon Ironmen embark on a postseason run that amazed everyone, infuriated rival coaches, and buoyed a little town that was suffering from a damaging drought and the shadow of the Vietnam War ~ a town in desperate need of something to celebrate. They became the smallest school in Illinois history to appear in the championship game, and that distinction still stands. The experience would change the lives of this high school baseball team forever. 

Author Chris Ballard

Chris Ballard is a senior writer at Sports Illustrated where he specializes in the narrative. One Shot at Forever is delightfully written in a gripping narrative as it tells the story of the members of that special 1971 team, and its coach. A true story well worth reading. 

For more Book Reviews, Check out ReviewThisBooks.Com

For more Baseball Stories, click on ReviewThisReviews: Baseball

*One Shot at Forever Book Review written by 

~Wednesday Elf, the Baseball Contributor on Review This Reviews

Book available on Amazon

*Image sources: Pixabay

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.”


Saturday, December 17, 2022

Fabian Nicieza and His Novels – Author and Book Reviews

If you are a comic book fan or enjoy Marvel comic books or Marvel's Deadpool, then you probably already know Fabian Nicieza, the Argentine-born comic book writer and editor. He's known for creating such characters as Deadpool, Domino, Shatterstar, and Silhouette. He's also well known for his work on X-Files, X-Force, and other Marvel Titles. 

What you may not have known is that he is now also a novel writer.  This is a review of Fabian and his first two novels. 

Fabian Nicieza has written two mystery novels to date, published in 2021 and 2022. The novels have continuing characters, who are very interesting. The locale for these stories is New Jersey. As Nicieza states in his Author's Note in Book 1:

“West Windsor and Plainsboro are real towns in New Jersey. Unlike the snarky description in the book, it's a pretty good area to live in... I mean, as far as New Jersey goes....”

But, he states, all the characters are pure fiction. Fiction means it is not real! 

Nichieza's descriptions of places and people are often 'tongue-in-cheek' or, as he says, “snarky”. This makes for a very enjoyable read. The books are Suburban Dicks and The Self-Made Widow.

The Two Main Characters

Andrea Stern: She solved a missing person murder in high school and helped catch a serial killer while in college. She planned to become an FBI profiler, but an unexpected pregnancy changed her plans. She has always wanted to answer her calling: finding redemption for the dead and justice for the living.

Journalist Kenny Lee, Andrea's childhood friend, broke a story for his college paper that brought down the crooked governor of New Jersey. The story earned him a Pulitzer Prize at the young age of 22. But his journalism career has since stalled and, 10 years down the road, he is now relegated to working for a weekly local paper.  Kenny's calling: to become rich and famous!


Suburban Dicks 

Available on Amazon

When the series begins,  Andrea has four children under 10 and a fifth one due soon. When she accidentally stumbles upon a murder scene, Andrea becomes obsessed with the case. She's back on the trail of a killer, this time with kids in tow. Needing help, Andrea enlists the aid of her friend, Kenny Lee, who naturally is interested in writing another award-winning story to redeem himself and his career. 

Unusual occurrences – and body parts in for form of old bones – surface around this affluent suburb. As Andrea and Kenny continue investigating, they uncover simmering racial tensions and a decades-old conspiracy. But, as we find out, the crimes of the past are only the beginning. 

The Self-Made Widow

Available on Amazon

After solving a murder in Suburban Dicks (Dicks, as in private investigators – LOL), both the police and Andrea's husband hoped she would set aside her 'crime fighter' tendencies and go back to changing diapers, carpools, and lunches with her 'mom' friends. But when the husband of one of her friends, the 'Queen Bee' of the group, dies, supposedly of natural causes, Andrea suspects that there is more. She digs into the case and risks more than she bargained for. 

Meanwhile, Kenny Lee, who is enjoying a new surge of popularity with his coverage of the story of the murder and conspiracy in Book 1, is busy with a Netflix series based on that story. Then he receives an anonymous phone call tipping him off that Molly Goode killed her husband.

Once again, Andrea and Kenny team up to solve another 'suburban scandal'. 


Having now read both Suburban Dicks and The Self-Made Widow, I am a big fan of Fabian Nicieza and his outstanding and humorous writing. Two mysteries, two murders, two fantastically interesting main characters make for a very enjoyable new series by a comic book writer turned novelist! I highly recommend these books. 

Amazon Links to Books

For more Book Reviews, check out

*A new mystery series of novels by Fabian Nicieza. 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.”


Sunday, December 11, 2022

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

A Mood Tracking Workbook

I recently published the opposing workbook, called "Why I Feel Good Today." 

This workbook, "Why I Feel Bad Today," is designed to help teens or adults isolate their daily experiences and triggers contributing to a less-than-positive day.

Why Do We Need Workbooks

The stresses of this interconnected world can be overwhelming, and a workbook to write down and track our moods, triggers, and good and bad experiences help us to sort out life's continuing fog.

Now more than ever, people can feel submerged in an endless vortex of one problem after another.

This prompt workbook was written with love and is meant to be a fun self-care tool to aid in sorting out the good, the bad, and the ugly.

With This Workbook, You'll Track What Made You Feel Bad During a Particular Month

The workbook is not meant to be a negative book!

On the contrary, this workbook is designed to help you figure out repeating trends that make you feel bad, so you know more clearly where to make changes. 

Even making a small change daily can make a difference in our lives. 

However, how can we change toward a happier life unless we actively track our negative triggers.

What This Workbook Includes:

13 Color Coded Months with Four Monthly Prompt Pages:

  • Each month is color coded
  • Each month includes a positive quote
  • You'll have a spot to record daily quick notes
  • There's a place to track specifics about the month, with prompt questions
  • Each month has a place to expand on what has affected your life
  • The monthly summary page includes four prompt questions to help you better analyze your month
  • Included is a 365-day chart to color in your mood daily. When the year is up, look at which mood color is most prominent to determine, with just a glance, what your overall mood was for that year.
Track your months when you want; you don't have to track the months in order. If you'd rather only track the months you feel are your worst, you can also do that.

Here's the "Why I Feel Bad Today" Workbook 

Why I Feel Bad Today - A Workbook for Teens and Adults
Available on Amazon

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

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.”


Sunday, December 4, 2022

Word Scramble for Teens, Adults, and Brainiac Kids - A Fun Word Jumble for the Family

Word Scramble Book For Teens and Adults

This latest published word scramble is written explicitly for seniors, teens, and brainiac kids.

Designed with large print inside an 8.5" by 11" book, this word scramble is easy to hold and easy to read.

Nearly all of my 24 published activity books are designed with larger print and include various levels or challenges.

Why You Would Enjoy this Word Scramble:

It's not just a word scramble for self-challenge; it can also be played as a simple game. There's a place on each page to mark your start and finish times. Each person completes a puzzle page to see who can solve the puzzle the fastest.

There's also a place for working notes.

Here's a sample of each puzzle page:

What's Inside this Word Scramble Book

  • 500 jumbled words to unscramble
  • 10 words per page per topic
  • There are 50 different, broad-ranging topics
  • Each page is large and easy to read
  • The answers are included at the back, with two answer bundles per page, making the solutions easy to read as well
  • Record your start and finish times to compete with yourself or others
  • Some scrambles are easier than others making it a fun activity for the whole family
  • As you can see above, there's a place for notes in case you have to do further evaluations
This scramble book is ideal for:
  • Personal use
  • Stocking stuffers
  • An affordable hostess gift for the family
  • A significant loot-bag gift for teen parties
  • An around-the-table game for family gatherings
  • To take on trips for something to do when you're traveling
  • For seniors to encourage mind exercise challenges
  • For brainiac kids to keep their minds fresh, challenged, and growing

You Can Find This Word Scramble Book on Amazon or Via

Word Scramble Book for Teens and Adults

You can find all Stumped Activity Books on Amazon here.

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.”


Friday, December 2, 2022

A Fall from Grace (Clavering Chronicles Book 1) Book Review

Before we ever read the first word in the book, the title tells us what to expect.  What the title doesn't reveal is how and why Selena loses her position in society.

This historical fiction is set in Hertfordshire, England in 1817 and paints a vivid picture of how easy it was for a young woman, or even a whole family, to have the ton (high society) shun them.  

Imagine having everything you have ever known or expected your life to be, stripped from you because someone else made a mistake. By no fault of your own, you have to learn how to make a living for yourself while watching the world you once knew carry on without you. Becoming an employee in a house where you would previously have been received as a desired guest and ushered into the drawing room for tea with the countess.  Instead, you will now be expected to use the servants entrance and consider yourself fortunate that the countess has favored you enough to even allow you to be her companion.

That is what happened to Selena Lockhart in "A Fall from Grace" by Jennie Goutet.

"A Fall from Grace" Plot Synopsis

 A Fall from Grace
(Clavering Chronicles Book 1)
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The first few chapters of the book are somewhat humorous.  We are immediately introduced to Sir Lucius Clavering, sixth Baronet of Mardley.  As a wealthy landowner, he is accustomed to having "young maidens" devise reasons to be in his company alone in order to force a marriage.  A snowy night is the perfect opportunity for "accidents" to strand fair maidens who would require refuge in a nearby home.  On this particular night, two such woman separately appeared at his door.  One was intentionally planned, the other truly was in dire straits.  Both are greeted with suspicion.


As the lone female occupant of a broken down stagecoach, Selena needs shelter from the snow storm and other danger.  She believes her salvation must lie within the walls of a nearby home which is lit well enough for her to see in the distance. Dispute her lack of warm clothing, she sets out for the house and has plenty of time to recount the events that put her in this frightening situation.  Her father's extreme gambling problems followed by his subsequent death; her fiance's recindment of his offer of marriage;  insufficient funds to sustain her mother & sisters;  all combined to create this life she was so ill-prepared to live.  She was equally unprepared to be greeted by the cynical landowner who did not readily welcome her in out of the cold.


Following Selena's story of becoming a companion to a bitter and unhappy widowed countess, caused me to consider what a truly difficult situation this would have been for a young lady who was raised in a wealthy home with the expectations of a prosperous marriage and continued position in high society.  It would require a strong and determined individual to make this unwanted transition in life status.

Since this is a Regency Romance novel, the reader can rest assured there will be a developing romantic relationship throughout the book. However, I was equally interested in watching the other relationships develop in this book.

I highly recommend this book, and series, to anyone who enjoys clean & wholesome romance novels.



At publishing time of this review, "A Fall from Grace" is available for free with a Kindle Unlimited Subscription. Or, you can purchase it with the link below.

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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Gabby - A Story of Courage and Hope - Book Review

Those who come to know Gabrielle Giffords are said to become Gabbified. It certainly happened to me and I would be very surprised if you did not experience being taken in by the immensity of her spirit as revealed in Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope

Giffords, a United States Congresswoman at the time, was the victim of an assassination attempt, and deadly mass shooting, on January 8, 2011. Shot in the head at point-blank range, her chances of surviving were less than one percent. The bullet that traveled through the left hemisphere of her brain should have killed her. Yet, despite the astronomical odds against it, Giffords survived.

This is the true story of an astonishing woman who is the epitome of extreme service, deep humanity, and extraordinary fortitude. Way beyond survival, Gabrielle Giffords, through sheer grit and an unmatched work ethic, demonstrates what it means to live out your life's calling with undying passion, radical optimism, and the kind of genuine care for others that transcends political divisions.

Despite years of a grueling rehabilitation regimen that would likely defeat the toughest among us, Gabrielle has never quit when it comes to taking on the most challenging issues of our times. Her nonprofit Giffords organization has stepped up to address the ongoing rampage of gun violence in our nation. 

I picked up this book, and Giffords' new documentary (Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down), because I have been feeling deeply shaken (horrified) by the escalating anger and violence that is destroying lives and ripping apart the fabric of our world.  I knew that I would draw strength, and a new commitment to doing something of substance, by opening myself up to Gabbification.  

As I have reflected on the impact Gabrielle Giffords has had on her constituents, her community, her family, and on everyone who has crossed her path, the thought crossed my mind that I want to be like Gabby Giffords when I grow up.  Then, I realized that she would most likely want me to be the very epitome of me.  I can't be Gabby, but by following her example, I can use my own inner power and determination to proactively be a force for good in my corner of the world.

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.”


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

What is Jolabokaflod? Christmas Eve Traditions to Try! Holiday Gift Ideas

 So you might be wondering what a Jolabokaflod is and why it's important!  Well in the interests of learning something new every day, this is one word and idea that really resonates with me and my family.

Jolabokaflod is an Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition.  Every one in the family gets a "book" gift on Christmas Eve and the rest of the evening is spent reading and drinking  hot chocolate and eating some of those wonderful Christmas cookies that seem to magically appear at this time of year.

Our family is blessed in so many ways!   All our children are grown and have children of their own. Our children and grandchildren don't really need more "stuff".   Each family member has a roof over their heads and food on the table.  Clothes in the closets and shoes/boots for whatever weather conditions may be outside.  So what more do we need?

The simple answer is NOTHING!  

The most important things to us (my husband and myself) is BEING with each other and sharing time together.  Yet at Christmastime, we also like to do something special for our family.

So this year we have made the decision to do what they do in Iceland.  Instead of gifts for the adults we will focus on purchasing a book that we have loved and share it with another member of  the family.  

The grandchildren will still receive traditional Christmas gifts, but a book might find it's way into that idea too! We love reading and love promoting reading skills to our grandchildren as well. 

If you are looking for a great list of books to peruse, you don't have to go too far!  Review This Reviews has an amazing list of books that have been reviewed by the writers of this site!  There is everything from Puzzle Books and Riddles, to Murder/Mysteries, Biographies, Cozy Romances and so much more!  

Some books are from new authors and some are from well known authors who have been writing for years.

There is something for everyone at!  Click on the link and then follow the tabs across the top!  The first one you come to is BOOK REVIEWS.  How much easier can gift finding get?

We (my other half and I) will be using this link to find the gifts for our own first of a kind, Jolabokaflod that we will celebrate this year!  

Now I have to add an addendum:  This idea is not for every one and if you are interested there are a host of "OTHER" reviews that might help you find that perfect gift if you are celebrating in a more traditional way.

May Your Christmas be everything that you hold dear to your hearts and may you enjoy each other's company making great memories as you go along!  Blessings to all!

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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