Book Reviews

Self-Help is NOT a Dirty Word

Self-help• noun: the action or process of doing things to improve yourself or to solve your problems without the help of others. This post is part of the 31 Ways to Nurture Yourself series. The acronym MAPS explains the four key components of learning to nurture ourselves in a balanced way. Self-Help Books Act as GPS Programs to Help us Navigate Life Achieving mental wholeness means having a growth mindset. We must put in the effort to keep our emotions from…

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I Confess (and I Hope I’m Not the Only One)

I Confess (and I Hope I’m Not the Only One) Around me, young people jumped to their feet as the song leader strummed and a young lady whispered to her companion behind me. I loved that the youth had so much enthusiasm that they voluntarily stood up for the praise song. That started the first tear. I confess, I get weepy over good praise songs. The second tear slid down my face as the lyrics worked their way into my…

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No Kid is Hopeless (They Just Need Support)

A Must-Have Book if You Want to Understand If you’ve never read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, go buy a copy and read it. You’ll understand the word support if you do. You’ll understand a hugely underrepresented and misunderstood slice of the population by the time you reach the last page. I read the book (along with Navajos Wear Nikes: A Reservation Story by Jim Kristofic) before I interviewed for my current job. I…

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Fall into the Pages of these September New Releases!

The Space Between Words September 5 Michele Phoenix The story grabs the reader from the prologue, where we learn about Adeline Baillard, a French Huguenot in the 17th century France whose life hangs in the balance. Fast-forward more than three hundred years to the eve of the Paris attacks, where we meet Jessica, an American tourist. She and her housemate Vonda have come to visit their other housemate, Patrick, who has taken time from his business to attend art classes.…

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A Palette of New Releases for August

  Fatal Trust—August 1 By Todd M. Johnson, Inspirational Suspense When Ian Wells lands a mysterious trust case with a seemingly easy workload that will relieve his financial burdens, he hesitates to take it. Why would someone pay him so much money just to do a background check on three individuals? But he needs the money to help his mother who has Alzheimer’s, to fight a frivolous malpractice suit against his father’s law practice, and to provide a buffer as…

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Four Gripping July Releases and an Older Gripping Tale

A Name Unknown—July 4 Roseanna M. White. Bethany House. 432 pages. Rosemary Gresham has skills that draw the attention of the mysterious Mr. V—a man who wants her to research Mr. Peter Holstein and find evidence of his disloyalty to England. Rosemary accepts the job because the pay will keep her large family from destitution. Although her expertise involves theft, her gift for languages and study of the upper classes allows her to pose as a librarian looking for work.…

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Stock Your Beach Bag with these June Releases!

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer. 336 pages, Bethany House, June 2017. Grace and Amos meet on-line: on the telegraph line, that is. Their anonymous friendship blooms after hours (they both work for Western Union as telegraph operators), and when Amos overhears a threat to Grace, he drops everything to come to her rescue. Amos worries about his reception, of course, since he’s never seen Grace. He also prefers bicycles to horses and humor over violence. He doesn’t have the broad…

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A-MAY-zing New Releases for Summer

May-be You’d Like to Travel Back in Time The Noble Servant The third installment of the Melanie Dickerson’s Medieval Fairy Tale collection tells the story of Magdalen, Avaelina’s confidant in The Beautiful Pretender. Two years have passed, and Magdalen’s family fortunes have fallen further—leaving her with little hope of finding a suitable marriage. When she receives an invitation to come to Wolfberg Castle to marry Steffan, she eagerly accepts. After all, she’s thought about him plenty since she first met…

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A Shower of April New Releases

Intrigue and Romance (Not Necessarily in that Order) Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano (April 4) With a name like Permilia, you know the characters will be filled with quirks and foibles. Permilia might be a society wallflower, but she manages to work behind the scenes to create an acceptable life for herself that’s meaningful and stimulating. Asher thinks he has no room in his life for Permilia—a woman who doesn’t fit his ideal of a perfect life partner—despite the…

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Ten Tips for Turning Reluctant Readers into Voracious Readers

What Makes a Reader Reluctant? You might wonder what chasing the FedEx truck has to do with reluctant readers and how the two events relate (and who wants their kid chasing delivery trucks, anyway?). Let me explain. I teach at a private school where 95% of the students are ‘reluctant readers’—mostly because about 95% of them have never owned their own book nor do they have access to a public library. Reading happens at school. From textbooks. When I survey my…

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