Monthly Archives: August 2022

Biño and the Triggerfish: The Adventures of a Yorkie by Kate Wessels (Book Review)

Meet Biño, a Yorkie with a big personality.
He loves to travel the world seeking for new adventures.
Biño easily makes friends – but his bold and boastful ways can often get him in trouble.
One rainy day, his owners announce they are heading to a remote, tropical island, that Biño can’t wait to discover.
As it happens, Biño soon learns that a dark shadow hangs over the island paradise, which has the native animals in unrest. A certain fish seems to haunt the waters.
Will Biño be able to bring back peace to the island?

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy DiscoveryI voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

What a lovely, colorful map of The Island!

Like BiñoI went from living in frigid temperatures to bright, sunny weather 24-7, and it was a remarkable transition. Like the Yorkie, my body was not made for cold weather. 

The new city brought many opportunities to make new doggie friends, which he did daily. Lucky pooch! His owner explained to a neighbor that Biño’s name meant “little bear.” Curious, I searched the meaning of my pet’s name, and it came back as “a simpleton; a dunce.” Ouch! In truth, my furry friend is intelligent. 

Like most canines, Biño loves to play chase even at the most inopportune time. If you have canine friends, you can relate to a dog’s sudden need to run after something. This adventurous streak is a quality that most owners love, including Biño’s. They adored his eagerness to learn and discover new things. They took Biño (almost) everywhere, including on a plane ride. I loved the photo of him looking out the window. Cute! Oh, and the drawing of the pooch running with the knickers in his mouth made me laugh out loud. No shoe, sock, or pair of undies is safe from a dog’s mouth. 

The island was a wonderland, full of new sights, sounds, smells, animals, and places to explore. The family was invited to swim with reef sharks but chose snorkeling along the reef instead. Even though they were skittish to swim with the reef sharks, I liked that the author incorporated ways sharks are helpful into the storyline. People tend to focus on reports of shark bites and forget their contributions to the underwater world. That’s why I love shark week on the Discovery channel. They speak of the dangers and beauty of the apex predators. 

Joe, a storybook character, discusses coral reefs, palm trees, sea levels, and triggerfish. No image was provided in the initial mention of a triggerfish, so I did a quick internet on it. I learned there are 40 species of triggerfish. The fish looked flat in the various photos, which was quite unexpected. Later in the story, the author did have an illustration for the fish. It looked like one of the images I discovered online. Great job capturing its likeness, Anastasia Naryadko. Oh, and to Kate Wessels, the dog and fish (Pablo) conversation was delightful and informative! The chats with Titan Triggerfish were on the suspenseful side. I found each encounter entertaining in different ways. 

The island holds many gems, but it possesses dangers too. Watch out for falling coconuts and the not-so-friendly triggerfish! 

Amazon’s recommended reading age is 8 – 12 years. Some words will be unfamiliar to young readers. In fact, I had never heard of décolleté or the sport Boules. From a style and editing perspective, I would add a space between all paragraphs and different characters’ talking points to make things easier to read. 

With all that said, Kate Wessels wrote an exciting book demonstrating what we know about our canine companions: they love to eat human food, are very curious, and manage to find themselves in sticky situations. I can’t wait to read about Biño’s next adventure at the North Pole! 

Review submitted to Reedsy on 8/13/22.

#KamsPlace

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

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Meet the Author

As an avid reader and traveller, Kate has always loved a good story. With a focus on environmental topics, her books potray a fun and captivating story, while highlighting the challenges of modern times. She lives in Italy with her adorable Yorkie, Biño.
 

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The Arctic is where Polar Bears live by Nina Cobb (Book Review)

This non fiction book about Polar Bears and the Arctic is both engaging and entertaining and centres on the world of the Arctic . The style is chatty, which is unusual for non-fiction and introduces the reader to many interesting facts which entertain and captivate.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

No story is perfect, but I was shocked to see a punctuation error in the opening line of The Arctic is where Polar Bears live by Nina Cobb. The first sentence was a statement, and the author marked it as a question. That aside, the rest of the story was nicely constructed. I liked how the author posed questions to the readers/listeners, such as asking if they could locate the Arctic on a map. This sentence opened the door for a geography lesson which I loved immensely. Geography is neglected in many elementary schools. The author did include a map after the question, which was very helpful. There’s also an image featuring the North and South Pole. 

I thought the Great White Northern Bear picture on page seven was cute and funny. He was belly up in the water and looked like he was having a grand time. The sleeping bear photos were so sweet. They look so timid when they are napping. Not the case when their eyes pop open. 

Nina Cobb asked her viewing audience why they think polar bears live at the North Pole and then gave a breakdown of why. They discussed fur, eyelids, paws, and skin. I had no idea polar bears have three eyelids. Wow, that’s amazing! The comparison between the bear’s paw and a human’s hand was shocking. I knew they had big paws, but, dang, there’s paws are massive. 

The Arctic is where Polar Bears live also went over a bear’s dietary needs. The amount they consume in a single day is astronomical. FYI to parents: There’s an image of a parent and cubs eating a seal with blood covering their fur. If you think your child is too young to view this, you might opt to show them this photo. 

Seals are not just featured in the main course image. The author spotlights them by giving background on them as well.: body make-up, sleeping habits, etc.  

One of the final questions was if we should help the bears survive. I hope your family says yes! 

Update: I’ve been made aware (via a comment on Reedsy post) the punctuation error will be looked into.

My review was submitted to Reedsy on July 7th.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

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The Wrong Side of Murder by Lauren Carr (Book Review)

THE WRONG SIDE OF MURDER (a Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery) by Lauren Carr

 

One spring morning, Jodi Gibbons got up and went to school as she did every day. Her young life went sideways though when the police found that her mother had been brutally killed during the night.

Twenty years later, many in Pine Grove believe Jodi got away with murder. After all, how could she have possibly slept through her mother’s violent death in the very next room?

After decades of silence, Jodi accepts investigative journalist Nikki Bryant’s invitation to tell her side of the story. However, before the interview can take place, someone silences Jodi permanently.

Now it is up to Nikki Bryant and her friends to uncover the secret that Jodi Gibbons has been protecting—a secret someone believes it is worth killing to keep from being revealed.

 
 
 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

 
The Wrong Side of Murder had multiple murder cases to solve – past and present crimes. I was impressed at how well Lauren Carr connected the crimes. That’s no easy feat and demonstrates her skill as a storyteller.

 

Not all the murders were quick to solve. Not every motive popped off the pages in a clear picture, which was fantastic. Oh, how I love a mystery that isn’t wrapped up in the book’s first half. I will say that I solved 50% of the cases: suspects and motive. The other 50% left me guessing. I’m sure other readers will be baffled about who killed who and why. 

Even though The Wrong Side of Murder revolved around a not-so-funny topic, Lauren did sneak in some comedic scenes. For instance, Kathleen grounding her 36-year-old daughter. Another example is Elmo’s need to tidy up a messy home. Yup, the dog has OCD. Oh, and the flashback image of Harrison and Kathleen at their kids’ dance and doing the infamous lift from Dirty Dancing from the song, “Time of your Life.” If that had been my mom or dad, I would’ve switched schools the following day. 

 

Special Note: Like with Killer Deadline (A Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery Book 1), The Wrong Side of Murder is rated G for everyone! Nikki and Ryan are still together, but there’s only a smooch here and there. No hanky panky at all. The death scenes are not graphic; however, they do vary in causes. One involves a staged suicide. 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:

Author Lauren Carr and Sterling

​Selling over half a million books worldwide, Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Thorny Rose, Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries, and Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—thirty titles across five fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

 
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.
The owner of Acorn Book Services and iRead Book Tours, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, and virtual book tour coordinator for independent authors.  

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. 
She lives with her husband, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. 

connect with the author: 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Killer Deadline (A Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Lauren Carr (Book Review)

KILLER DEADLINE (a Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery) by Lauren Carr
Folks in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, claim that where Nikki Bryant goes, trouble is not far behind. Her refusal to back down from a challenge has made Nikki Bryant a top investigative journalist.

When an online friend nudges her to join him in a pact to reconnect with their first loves, Nikki and her boxer dog Elmo leave the bright lights of Las Vegas for the charming town of Pine Grove. There, she must face the biggest challenges in her career and life—the first love she had left behind and her father’s unsolved murder.

But before she has time to unpack her car, Nikki stumbles upon the dead body of local news anchor, Ashleigh Addison, her childhood rival. Could Ashleigh’s death be connected to an explosive news story that she had teased about airing live? Did that explosive story have anything to do with the murder of Nikki’s father?

With the clues in her father’s cold case hot again, Nikki intends to chase down the story of her life until she catches his killer—no matter what it takes. 

Buy the Book:
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Move over Scooby-Doo, Elmo has now been crowned the coolest canine in town! Elmo, a canine influencer, can complete many chores with great precision: making a bed, running a vacuum, putting laundry in the wash, and loading a dishwasher. If only he could do windows…


Elmo is not here just to do stunts for our amusement; he is a vital character in the book from start to finish. 


Killer Deadline had three deaths being investigated simultaneously. Was their one murderer? Two? Three? Oh, I can’t tell you that. You must read the story to find how who did what and why. I think you’ll love being an amateur detective and trying to solve these mysteries before Nikki and Ryan do. 


Speaking of the dynamic duo, they are into each other—big time. Yes, they are step-siblings, but they are not blood-related, so it’s not that creepy. I mean, I wouldn’t date my step-sibling, but many would. There’s a genre surrounding this sort of coupling, and it makes bank for many authors.
 

Ryan and Nikki were a fun duo, past and present. I loved their childhood reminiscing stories. Some of their exchanges reminded me of one of my favorite comedic movies, You’ve Got Mail. Both Nikki and  Kathleen Kelly (from the movie) were a bit slow on the uptake, but everything worked out for them in the end. 


Special note: Killer Deadline (A Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery Book 1) is rated G for everyone! So, share this book with your teen and see who can solve the mysteries first. You or your teen!

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:

Author Lauren Carr and Sterling

​Selling over half a million books worldwide, Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Thorny Rose, Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries, and Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—thirty titles across five fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor. 

The owner of Acorn Book Services and iRead Book Tours, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, and virtual book tour coordinator for independent authors.  
 
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. 
She lives with her husband, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. 
 
connect with the author: 

 
 
 
 
 
 

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A Midlife Voyage to Transformation by Donna Roe Daniell (Book Review and Author Interview)

A MIDLIFE VOYAGE TO TRANSFORMATION by Donna Roe Daniell

 
Can You Step into Your Power and Birth a New You at Midlife?

YES! Midlife, and the major events that encompass the ages of 35-65, can be devastating or powerful for women. But we can choose to be awakened at this powerful time of life. This memoir is the story of Donna Daniell’s healing journey through the five stages of the midlife voyage-Lost at Sea; Finding a Mooring; Deep Diving; Rebirthing; and the New You-to find self-love, resilience, and feminine wisdom. It is also a roadmap for other women on the midlife journey, charting a course that transmutes challenges into inner rebirth and stepping into the power of the Wisewoman.

​FIND YOUR OWN INNER STRENGTH – TAKE THE VOYAGE TO TRANSFORMATION!

 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
A Midlife Voyage to Transformation touches upon many aspects of Donna Roe Daniell’s life: postpartum depression, divorces, ADHD, career, and family heartache.
 
First, as a mother with two ADD children, I can attest to their brightness. Some teachers see these children as destructive, but their brains are working at max speed and need continuous stimuli. Like Julian, my son picked up music. My daughter loves art. 
 
Donna was overwhelmed often, and who could blame her—she had a lot on her plate. Peter, her first husband, checked out on her (physically and emotionally). He wasn’t an active parent or spouse. How and when he told Donna the marriage was over was cold. 


When Donna married Brett, I thought she’d finally found her one true love. I was shocked at the completion of their marriage. He appeared to be the dad Julian needed and the spouse Donna deserved. 


Donna, through all her emotional turmoil, discovered how to love herself. She found strength in mind and body. Heck, she climbed Kilimanjaro, and that is no easy feat. 


I hope that Donna and Julian’s relationship continues to be close. I wish her luck in her yoga teachings and the next chapter of her life. She seems ready, willing, and able to tackle any obstacle (mentally and physically). 


In summation, A Midlife Voyage to Transformation will inspire women to find their true happiness, regardless of relationship status. It might motivate some people to test their strength and try a task they’ve only dreamed of.


 Believe in yourself. Love yourself. And remember, you control your fate.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

 

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon
add to goodreads

 

 

Meet the Author:

Author Donna Roe Daniell

Donna Roe Daniell is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Colorado and has had a private practice in the Boulder/Longmont area since 2005 called Balance Your Life Coaching & Psychotherapy. She has offered family therapy and individual trauma treatment using mind/body trauma tools such as mindfulness, yoga and IFS through her psychotherapy practice. Since 2015, she has focused her coaching practice for women in midlife on unique programs to specifically empower women going through major midlife challenges to grieve and rebirth themselves through the 5 stages of her Midlife Voyage to Transformation. Today, through her website, Donna offers on-line courses, Talks and live workshops, mp3 guided practices to support this book, and adventure and mindfulness retreats in nature for women wanting support to wake up, become unstuck, and find a transformative healing path through life’s challenges.

 

 

What was the most difficult part about writing your memoir?

Figuring out how and where to end it.   I wasn’t sure how to show my “transformation” other than in showing how I lead women’s retreats for women in transitions.  But, in the process of showing and creating that, I was continuing to develop new tools for continuing my developmental process as a “Sixties Woman” which I also felt was another chapter and an important part of my rebirth into my fuller wisdom and power.  I left this out, ultimately and just showed the power of “nature practices” in the Afterward. 

 

How did you choose which stories in your life to write about?

I let my heart guide what I wrote about.  First, I wrote those first stories about my ancestors (my Great Aunt Bob and my Aunt Pat) who had influenced me to be more adventurous and find who I was as a young girl, teen and young adult.  Then I wrote about my special sister Marjorie’s death and how that impacted me. That led me to my wonderful leap-experience of moving to Colorado at 24 and meeting my Aunt Bob’s best friend Eleanor Bliss who still lived in Steamboat Springs where I moved.  Eleanor invited me totally into her life and I’ll never forget the impact that had on me.  Then, I wrote about my first marriage, the joy of raising Julian, and the divorce.  Then I had the perspective of what was missing in my childhood and how I found it in my move to Colorado.  The rest of the stories and learning flowed from this. 

 

Why did you decide to write a memoir instead of a guidebook for midlife? You say this is a guidebook and a memoir.  Why? 

I wanted to use more coaching terminology and make it more of a self-help book for women in midlife.  My editor suggested that might be my second book, but it would be too distracting to the stories as I had lain them out so far. I took her advice, but I still feel there’s so much more I want to say about midlife and what I have learned from riding the waves and learning from each painful loss.  Now, looking back, I think I portrayed more in “showing” rather than “telling.”  What do you think?

 

How did your Therapist Part come out in the writing of your memoir?  Other parts of you?

She guided me when I was writing the IFS chapter(Chap. 6) and shared her experience of learning the model and how it liberated my work as a psychotherapist.  But I wrote most of this book from my Self-Leader who compassionately was holding and tenderly inviting all my other parts to come out and share their truths.  This is the outcome of deep IFS work: To learn how to lovingly embrace, invite, negotiate with, and compassionately witness your parts daily from a deeply loving parental place (SELF LEADERSHIP) so they are free to be alive fully in your life.

 

 

How did you deal with the deeply emotional conflicts & feelings of your relationships over and over again in order to write about these events for others?  Was it healing or re-traumatizing?

It was sometimes healing and sometimes re-traumatizing.  It depended on what Part was coming forward when I was writing and how I worked with her.  In trauma therapy we learn that talking and relating the same painful story over and over again actually re-traumatizes you and drops the trauma deeper into your nervous system.  It’s better to tell your story from the actual parts who experienced the traumatic experience and now hold the pain. For example, when I was writing about my divorces, I tried to let my “angry wife”  and “mother” parts speak a bit, and then show how I worked with, comforted them or dialogued with them, from my Self-Leader.  In the first 6 chapters, I really dropped into speaking from many of my parts knowing I was choosing to give them room and attention that they needed to tell their stories.

 

 

I hear writers often say that the book wrote itself in some way, that the writing process took on a life of its own.   Did that happen for you in writing this memoir?

Yes, as I spoke about this earlier, the second half of the book wrote itself because I realized it was leading me to something I needed to learn about  my relationship with my mom.  I had to relive and re-feel my mom’s death and her experience with bringing in compassion to herself, through Melissa, her powerfully loving caregiver, so that I could find some sense of letting go or forgiveness to flow.  This process helped my own self-compassion to grow enough so I could face and allow the paradoxical grief and joy that I was feeling about so many things: choosing to end my second marriage, my son’s distance from me, and being released by my mother finally.  Each time I got stuck, I just went back to my heart and what it was showing me about how to keep loving, allowing grief to flow, and staying open to it all. 

 

What is your next project?

I think I want to tell the stories of women on the self-compassionate healing path through grief. Their stories of how grief works in and through them and how they come out on the other side.

I want to talk about how we Crones or Wise Women of this moment are called to do this grief work and how to find our wholeness through deep eco-dharma practice:  Inner and outer work.

 

connect with the author:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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