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Lion in Your Heart by R.C. Chizhov (Book Review)

 

Dennis has moved to a new home and is scared to sleep alone in his room. Mommy tells him that there is a friendly and dependable lion in his heart, always there to protect him. But Dennis is confused and curious:

Where is the lion, if he can’t see it?
Will the lion be with him all the time and everywhere he goes?
Does Mommy have a lion in her heart?

Dennis learns that there will always be times when we are frightened or nervous: at school or when we try something for the first time…or when we are orbiting to space! But the brave lion is inside all of our hearts, giving us the courage to conquer our fears.

“The Lion in Your Heart” book makes a thoughtful gift for ages 3,4,5,6,7 and up. Great for bedtime, read-aloud, confidence building, classroom discussions and improving children’s reading skills.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Story: The world can be a scary place. Kids will experience fear inside and outside of their homes at some point. Whether they are scared of strange noises, the dark, or something else, R.C. Chizhov shows young readers how to defeat their fear. R.C. Chizhov tells them they all have a lion inside them who’s strong and brave. If they embrace their inner lion, the child will become brave and strong too. I can practically hear many young children roaring each time the lion is shown. 

Illustrations:  I wasn’t too keen on the people’s faces; they came across as long and flat. However, I don’t think children will care or notice. Overall, Anil Yap did a marvelous job bringing life into the story. As a parent with a child who loves space, I can already guess which adventure will be her favorite to read. 🙂

I would recommend this book for anyone with young children. 

 

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

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About R.C. Chizhov

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Children’s book author R.C. Chizhov grew up in India, moved to New York in 2005, and spent sixteen years in the financial services industry, before pursuing her childhood dream of publishing a book: her new picture book release, The Lion in Your Heart. 

R.C. thinks a good story is one that remains with the reader long after the book has closed and stays with them throughout their life. She hopes her young readers come away from her book understanding that everyone has fears, even adults, but that we are stronger than our fears and our hearts have enough courage to overcome them.

Inspired to write her story by her five-year-old son and his difficulty in sleeping in his bedroom alone, R.C. wanted to pen a tale that would show children that their bravery is always deep within them.

R.C. lives with her husband and son and when she isn’t writing heartwarming and poignant stories for children, she enjoys reading, traveling, dancing, solving jigsaw puzzles, and spending lots of time with family and friends. R.C. also loves anything math and numbers related. The Lion in Your Heart is her debut children’s book.

 

 
 

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The Christmas Blanket by Ed Damiano (Book Review)

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What is the meaning of Christmas? That’s what eight-year-old EJ wants to know. The other kids say it’s about getting toys‚ but is it, really?
​One evening, EJ’s mother takes him to the Rockefeller Center to see the lighting of the most magical tree in the world, and EJ meets someone who teaches him what Christmas is truly all about.
 
 
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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.
 
 
As a parent, it’s so nice to see the kids excited about Christmas. Everything about the holiday is magical and full of wonder. However, Christmas can bring out the greed in some. They forget and need to be reminded Christmas is not just about the presents. In The Christmas Blanket by Ed Damiano, this misgiving is brought up between two characters (EJ and Tommy). 


EJ asked his mom, “What was Christmas really about?” but she just laughed. That response, in my opinion, was not the optimal way to handle a sad child who is pondering an important question. 


Soon enough, EJ met a man who helped him understand the true meaning of Christmas, and, not, it was no Saint Nick.


While it’s lovely to receive presents on Christmas, it’s also essential to understand the rewards of giving to others. This vital lesson should be taught to young children. During this holiday season, encourage your child to help others. Donate toys, blankets, jackets, etc. Make cards for residents at your local nursing home. Teach them that doing for others is the true joy of the holiday season. 


I want to wrap up my review, talking briefly about the illustrations. Life on the streets is hard, and the elements show no mercy. Jeff Vernon’s drawings captured the harshness of living outside and the gratitude an individual feels when they are shown a bit of kindness. 


In a world where you can be anything, be kind! 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
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Born in Newark, New Jersey, Damiano has a passion for creativity, and his stories always contain a positive message. He also wrote The Christmas Blanket, which earned him a Mom’s Choice Award. In The Christmas Blanket, his character EJ realizes the true meaning of Christmas, which is not about getting presents, but about giving back to others.
 
Connect with the Author:  ​goodreads
 
 

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Dr. Marsha and the Case of the Missing Hot Dogs and Marshmallows by ​Dr. Rachel B. Wellner M.D. (Book Review)

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Doctor Marsha is a children’s book series created to entertain children at the preschool through grade school level relying on educational content. Our main character, Marsha, will introduce kids to exciting challenges in basic health education as she explores the world vanquishing health problems. It is my hope that the characters will stimulate young minds by introducing them to a positive, professional figure that embodies the spirit of cultural competence, creativity, and adventure.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 
Dr. Marsha and the Case of the Missing Hot Dogs and Marshmallows by ​Dr. Rachel B. Wellner M.D teaches young children about nutrition as they solve the puzzling mystery – Who stole all the hot dogs and marshmallows and why?


Preschool children will love the characters, who have human jobs and wear human clothing. In our house, Terrence Toad stole the show. My daughter thought the drawing of him with his tongue out while he was thinking about hot dogs and marshmallows was funny. 


What I liked about the story was the repetition. While there are several words I don’t think young readers will be able to decipher, I think older and more experienced readers will have no trouble. 


As for the mystery, it was fun guessing who we thought stole the “junk food.” After the mystery was solved, we discussed what “junk food” and healthy foods we liked to eat. Surprise, surprise, my youngest said she would eat marshmallows over oatmeal for breakfast. Sorry, Louie the llama. 


I don’t want to spoil why the hot dogs and marshmallows were stolen; however, the reason gave us an idea of what to draw during art time. For dinner, we also decided to make hot dogs and s’mores. 😀

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
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Dr. Rachel Wellner is a board-certified general surgeon and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, most recently the Assistant Professor of surgery at the Monteflore-Einstein Center for Care. She has also been Director of Breast Services at NYEE/Continuum Cancer Center, Pascal Valley Hospital, and Palisades General Hospital. Dr. Wellner graduated Magna Cum Lauda and Phi Betta Kappa from Dartmouth College, earned her medical degree from the University of Connecticut and her Master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University. She pursued her surgical training at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine and worked to establish a clinical rotation in an underserved region of The Dominican Republic. She completed Society of Surgical Oncology-accredited breast oncology fellowship at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California. She has been featured as a guest expert on several local and national news networks, including WPLX 11, Fox and Friends, and CNN.
 
Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook 
 

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Letters to Jacob: Grieving the Loss of a Child by Maria Hopfgarten (Book Review)

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​Maria Hopfgarten’s son Jacob was born on January 31, 2006. He was the most perfect baby boy she had ever seen. But Jacob had devastating health issues, culminating in a diagnosis of mitochondrial disease, a fatal condition. In the ten short years of Jacob’s life, Maria found strength in blogging about Jacob’s life. Her raw, honest posts from the year after Jacob’s passing have been gathered into this book along with Maria’s tips for parents coping with their their own grief after losing a child. “If you have lost a child, you know you’re weathering the largest storm life can bring you. I hope that my words of loss, tears, punches, smiles, friendships, and renewed happiness can give you a sense of not being along on this journey.”​
 
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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.
 
 
No story has ever hit me as hard as Letters to Jacob: Grieving the Loss of a Child by Maria Hopfgarten didThe “Introduction” did not just bring tears to my eyes; it had me sobbing. I had to lay the book down several times because I could not see the words through my tears. 


Each “letter” to Jacob touched my heart deeply, and I felt the family’s pain and their love during and after his departure from this world. At the end of each letter, Maria Hopfgarten (the author and mother to Jacob) gave helpful and thoughtful tips/pieces of advice in “Coping with Grief.” Since there are over 100 in all, I don’t think Maria Hopfgarten will mind if I share a few with you. 


 

  • Transform pieces of your loved one’s clothing into blankets or pillows.
  • Plant a tree or bush in memory of them.
  • “Cherish your family who is still standing by your side.”

 
Through the sadness, many touching moments will make you smile and possibly cry some more. I don’t want to divulge too much, but certain events recapped will emphasize how one little boy touched so many hearts, and his story will continue to do so for many years to come. 


After the “Epilogue,” I thought my crying time was over. I was wrong. “Mom” didn’t just make me cry a little — it caused me to sob. Throughout the story, I thought of my children, especially at this point, and the tears would not stop flowing. Even now, as I write this review, I’m wiping tears off my cheeks and stopping to blow my nose repeatedly. 


Maria Hopfgarten, thank you for sharing Jacob’s story with us. It was sad, beautifully written, and I’m forever changed for reading it. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
(deserves a million more)

 

Buy the Book
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Meet the Author
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Maria Hopfgarten began her blog Moments with Jacob in 2009, writing about Jacob’s life with mitochondrial disease. She had followers around the globe. Maria continued to write blog posts to Jacob after he passed in 2016 to make sense of the loss of her son. Jacob was 10 years old. She has now turned part of the blog into the book “Letters to Jacob,” sharing her raw, honest first-hand experience on grieving the loss of a child.

Maria is the President of the non-profit Miracles for Mito and has been supporting families living with mitochondrial disease for over a decade. She has also been an active Parent Partner at Children’s Hospital Colorado and has been a Parent voice for many chronically ill children. Maria also sits on the Patient Safety Committee of the Board at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Originally from Sweden and with a degree in Journalism from Stockholm University, Maria lives with her husband Joakim, daughter Sarah, and rescue dog Max in Colorado. Her favorite thing to do is to share a good cup of coffee or glass of wine with a friend. Maria loves the outdoor and is always up for a bike ride or hike.

Connect with the Author:  Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

 
 

 

 

 

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War of the Staffs by Steve Stephenson and K.M. Tedrick (Book Review)

The goddess Adois brings a powerful vampire warlock named Taza through the void to turn Muiria into a planet of evil using her powerful staff. Needing an army, he turns a race of dark elves into vampires, but Prince Tarquin is born to fulfill a prophecy to stop Taza.

The prince cannot do it alone. The Wizard Celedant sends him to the Borderers, an elite group of dwarves to learn how to fight, while the wizard begins his search for the Staff of Adaman, the only thing capable of thwarting Taza and Adois’ Staff.

War of the Staffs is the search for two pieces of the ancient Staff of Adaman to counter Adois’ plans. The darkness is rising and using the black power of the Staff of Adois and his army of dark elves, giants, and orcs, Taza will begin a reign of terror the planet will not soon forget.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

There were quite a few elements in War of the Staffs that reminded me of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. However, War of Staffs differed from the popular series (mentioned in the opening sentence) by incorporating vampires and unique magic abilities. Taza (warlock and vamp) used his specially acquired magical skills to infiltrate his enemies and summon beasts of all sizes. The creatures he controlled led us into some pretty epic battle scenes. You’ll witness clashes between dwarves and orcs, wizard versus wizard, powerful beasts descending from above, and those awaiting the heroes in dark caves. There were numerous entanglements, so you won’t have to wait long for action scenes! 

With the number of characters featured in War of the Staffs, this book could have its own trading card set. People would probably love to roleplay the book. However, I would suggest a Glossary of Characters and Terms. 

Heads up: War of the Staffs is book one in a series. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤1/2

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KM Tedrick is a writer and ghostwriter in the fantasy, science fiction, adventure, Christian, and young adult genres with one book that was made into a movie, and over sixteen books published.
 
 
Author Steve Stephenson an admitted bibliophile collects rare fantasy and science fiction media. He obtained a B.A. in history and an M.A. in Library Science. He has written four books including the War of the Staffs trilogy.
 
 
You can connect with Steve Stephenson through his Facebook Link or at Linkedin
 

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