For kids who like puzzles: The Big Brain Teasers Book for Kids by Woo! Jr. Kids Activities

I really liked this book!  It is full of challenging, but not frustrating, puzzles for kids to solve.  The book is divided into sections including hidden pictures, slitherins, logic grids, picross, numberlinks and more.  Each puzzle type has clear instructions on how the puzzle is to be solved.  This is a great book for when you are traveling, when you want to keep your child away from screens or for anytime when a child you know would like to challenge themselves.  By the way, adults may enjoy solving these puzzles too.

Many thanks to the publisher for this book in exchange for an honest review.

#TheBigBrainTeasersBookForKids #NetGalley

For those who are project minded: In the Home Create over 15 Amazing Cardboard Makes by Fiona Hayes; Christiane Engel

If you are creative, have access to simple materials like cardboard boxes and would like to make amazing play spaces and objects for a child, this is the book for you.  The cardboard creations ae listed by topics including in the kitchen, where ypu can make a washing machine for example; going shopping where one project is for a grocery cart and others including things to make in the nursery and garden.  There are detailed instructions on materials needed and how to make drawers, wheels and more.  The book itself is charming and the illustrations for the projects are detailed and appealing.  This is a great one for the creative adults out there.  It is lovely that it does not involve shop bought toys or plastic.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review.

#InTheHome #NetGalley

A lovely book: Art Starts in the Heart: Creative projects and inspirational ideas for learning to make expressive, mindful art by Erin McManness

There is the phrase armchair traveler…I would like to highly recommend this title to both those who want to create art and those who want to look through a pleasing book, even without doing the projects, i.e.  armchair artists..

This book is full of everything a budding artist needs.  There are sections on tools and materials, lettering, creating beautiful projects and thinking about the messages that can be conveyed through art.

As the author states:

This book will help you:

Refine your own set of drawing technniques and hand lettering

Complete five art print projcts…

Explore and clarify the goals, dreams and moments in your life most importatnt o you through creative prompts

Expand your visual vocabulary by drawing ne things and taking risks

Enjoy the art making process and have fun.

I think that this book does all of that well.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the pubosher for this title in exchange for an honest review.

#ArtStartsInTheHeart #NetGalley

Blog tour: Seven Letters by J.P. Monninger

This is my very first time doing a tour.  Hope you enjoy!

My Thoughts:

J.P. Monninger has crafted an exquisite novel in Seven Letters.  The author has a gift for making readers feel that they are on a journey with the characters.  Places including Ireland and Italy come to vivid life in the novel.  In addition, there is a good history lesson on the Blasket Islands in the book.  I want to visit there and know more about the people who once lived on the islands.

The main characters in the novel are Ozzie, a damaged war vet and Kate, a professor at Dartmouth College.  Their meeting, their relationship, their pasts all are beautifully described.  The reader roots for them and wishes for their hard earned happiness…but can it be?

I highly recommend this lush beautiful novel.  Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the wonderful read in exchange for an honest review.


ON SALE: October 8, 2019

CONTACT: Sarah Schoof, St. Martin’s Press


 Praise for J.P. Monninger and SEVEN LETTERS

“Monninger enchants with this lyrically written romantic love letter to Ireland and its people. Readers who appreciate love stories set against dramatic backdrops will find much to love.”

Publishers Weekly

 “A sweeping love story with intriguing characters and a well-described ending.”


The first letter brings her to Ireland. The next six are a test of true love…


A Novel

By J.P. Monninger

 From the author of The Map That Leads to You comes another sweeping, romantic novel about love, family, and what it means to build a home together, SEVEN LETTERS (St. Martin’s Griffin; October 8, 2019, $16.99).

The Blasket Islands are the heart of Ireland – once populated with some of the most famous Irish writers, they are now abandoned, filled with nothing but wind and silence. Kate Moreton, a PhD student at Dartmouth, is in Ireland to research the history of the Blaskets, not to fall in love. She has a degree to finish and a life back in New Hampshire that she is reluctant to leave.

But fall in love she does, with both the wild, windswept landscape and with Ozzie, an Irish-American fisherman with a troubled past who shares her deep, aching love for the land. Together, they begin to build a life on the rocky Irish coast. But when tragedy strikes, leading Kate on a desperate search through Europe, the limits of their love and faith in each other will be tested.

About the Author

J.P. MONNINGER, author of The Map That Leads to You, is an award-winning writer in New England and Professor of English at Plymouth State University.

Additional Praise for J.P. Monninger

“Romantic and unforgettable.”

Nicholas Sparks on The Map That Leads To You

“Monninger’s debut novel will strike a chord with fans of Nicholas Sparks’

sweeping and sentimental tales.”

Booklist on The Map That Leads To You

“A gossamer confection, spun sugar at the summer carnival. It’s also an inspiriting estival fling, one that, as Heather says of her relationship with Jack, melts any residual winter ice.

The New York Times Book Review on The Map That Leads To You

 For more information or to set up an interview with J.P. Monninger, please contact:

 Sarah Schoof, St. Martin’s Press


  SEVEN LETTERS by J.P. Monninger

Published by St. Martin’s Griffin | On sale: October 8, 2019

Trade Paperback Original | ISBN: 9781250187697 | $16.99

An Exceprt:


The Irish tell a story of a man who fell in love with a fairy woman and went with her to live on an island lost to time and trouble.

They lived in a thatched cottage overlooking the sea with nothing but donkeys and gulls and white chickens to keep them company. They lived in the dream of all lovers, apart from the world, en- tire to themselves, their bed an island to be rediscovered each night. In all seasons, they slept near a large round window and the ocean wind found them and played gently with their hair and carried the scent of open water to their nostrils. Each night he tucked himself around her and she, in turn, moved closer into his arms, and the seals sang and their songs fell to the bottom of the sea where the shells held their voices and relinquished them only in violent storms.

One day the man went away, mortal as he was; he could not resist his longing to see the loved ones he had left behind. She warned him that he would grow old the moment his foot touched the soil of the Irish mainland, so he begged her for one of the donkeys to ride back to his home for a single glance at what he had left behind. Though she knew the risk, she loved him too much to deny his wish, and so he left on a quiet night, his prom- ise to come back to her cutting her ears with salt and bitterness. She watched him depart on a land bridge that arced to the mainland and then turned back to her cottage, knowing his fate, knowing that love must always have its own island. She raised up

2    J. P. Monninger

the fog from the ocean and she extinguished all light from the island and the chickens went mute and the donkeys brayed into the chimney smoke and the gulls called out her anguish.

After many days of travel, and through no fault of his own, he touched ground and became an old man in one breath. Even as age claimed him upon the instant of his foot striking the soil, he called to her to save him, but she could not help him any longer. In the seasons afterward, on certain full moon nights, she permitted the island to rise from the mist and to appear to him, or to any broken-hearted lover, the boil of the sea stilled for an unbearable glimpse of what had been lost so thoughtlessly. To his great age he lived for the moments when he might hear her voice rising above the sea, the call of their bed and their nights and their love, the call of his heart, the call of the gulls that held all the pain of the world. He answered on each occasion that he was here, waiting, his heart true and never wavering, his days filled with regret for breaking their spell and leaving the island. He asked her to forgive him the restlessness, which is the curse of men and the blood they cannot still, but whether she did or not, he could not say.


I had misgivings: it was a tourist bus. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I had booked passage on a tourist bus. It wasn’t even a

good kind of tourist bus, if there is such a thing. It was a massive, absurd mountain of a machine, blue and white, with a front grill the size of a baseball backstop. When the tour director—a com- petent, harried woman named Rosie—pointed me toward it with the corner of her clipboard, I tried to imagine there was some mistake. The idea that the place I had studied for years, the Blas- ket Islands off Ireland’s southwest coast, could be approached by such a vehicle, seemed sacrilegious. The fierce Irish women in my dissertation would not have known what to say about a bus with televisions, tinted windows, air-conditioning, bathrooms, and a soundtrack playing a loop of sentimental Irish music fea- turing “Galway Bay” and “Danny Boy.” Especially “Danny Boy.” It was like driving through the Louvre on a motor scooter. It didn’t even seem possible that the bus could fit the small, twisty roads of Dingle.

I took a deep breath and climbed aboard. My backpack whacked against the door.

Immediately I experienced that bus moment. Anyone who has ever taken a bus has experienced it. You step up and look around and you are searching for seats, but most of them are taken, and the bus is somewhat dimmer than the outside light, and the seat backs cover almost everything except the eyes and

8    J. P. Monninger

foreheads of the seated passengers. Most of them try to avoid your eyes because they don’t want you sitting next to them, but they are aware, also, that there are only so many seats, so if they are going to surrender the place next to them they would prefer it be to someone who looks at least marginally sane. Meanwhile, I tried to see over the seat backs to vacant places, also assessing who might be a decent, more or less silent traveling companion, while also determining who seemed too eager to have me beside her or him. I wanted to avoid that person at all costs.

That bus moment.

I also felt exhausted. I was exhausted from the Boston–Limerick flight, tired in the way only airports and plane air can make you feel. Like old, stale bread. Like bread left out to dry itself into turkey stuffing.

I felt, too, a little like crying.

Not now, I told myself. Then I started forward.

The passengers were old. My best friend, Milly, would have said that it wasn’t a polite thing to say or think, but I couldn’t help it. With only their heads extending above the seat backs, they looked like a field of dandelion puffs. They smiled and made small talk with one another, clearly happy to be on vacation, and often they looked up and nodded to me. I could have been their granddaughter and that was okay with them. They liked “Danny Boy.” They liked coming to Ireland; many of them had rela- tives here, I was certain. This was a homecoming of sorts, and I couldn’t be crabby about that, so I braced myself going down the aisle, my eyes doing the bus scan, which meant looking without staring, hoping without wishing.

Halfway down the bus, I came to an empty seat. Two empty seats. It didn’t seem possible. I stopped and tried not to swing around and hit anyone with my backpack. Rosie hadn’t boarded the bus; I could see the driver standing outside, a cup of coffee

Seven Letters    9

in one hand, a cigarette in the other. Two empty seats? It felt like a trap. It felt too good to be true.

“Back here, dear,” an older man called to me. “There’s a spot here. That seat is reserved. I don’t think you can sit there. At least no one has.”

I considered trying my luck, plunking down and waiting for whatever might happen. Then again, that could land me in an even more horrible situation. The older gentleman who called to me looked sane and reasonably groomed. I could do worse. I smiled and hoisted my backpack and clunked down the aisle, hammering both sides until people raised their hands to fend me away.

“Here, I’ll just store this above us,” said the old man who had offered me a seat. He had the bin open above our spot. He shoved a mushroom-colored raincoat inside it. He smiled at me. He had a moustache as wide as a Band-Aid across his top lip.

I inched my way down the aisle until I stood beside him. “Gerry,” he said, holding out his hand. “What luck for me.

I get to sit next to a beautiful, red-haired colleen. What’s your name?”

“Kate,” I said.

“That’s a good Irish name. Are you Irish?” “American, but yes. Irish ancestry.”

“So am I. I believe everyone on the bus has some connection to the old sod. I’d put money on it.”

He won a point for the first mention of the old sod that I had heard since landing in Ireland four hours before.

He helped me swing my bag up into the bin. Then I remem- bered I needed my books and I had to swing the backpack down again. As I dug through the bag, Gerry beside me, I felt the miles of traveling clinging to me. How strange to wake up in Boston and end up on a bus going to Dingle, the most beautiful penin- sula in the world.

Now out: Nancy’s Genius Plan by Olivia Jaimes

This is a funny and entertaining short read that young children will relate to. Nancy wants the cornbread…all of the cornbread. She involves her listeners in ensuring a successful plan of securing this treat for herself, only herself, but what happens? Little ones will be amused to find out as this book provides a nice, not at all preachy lesson on sharing. The illustrations engage the reader and add to the story. Perfect for toddlers who understand the concept of “mine.”

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this read in exchange for an honest review.

What Rose Forgot A Novel by Nevada Barr

Nevada Barr is well known for her series of novels featuring Park Ranger Anna Pigeon.  What Rose Forgot is not an Anna book but a standalone.  It involves the reader in the story of Rose, a woman in her late 60s.

When the story begins, Rose wakes up in the woods in a confused state.  It takes her time to return to some version of reality when she then meets up with two young boys.  They kindly arrange to contact the dementia care center where Rose has been living.  She does not feel that she belongs there though and the book is about how she got there and why. Along the way, readers meet those who help Rose to understand and solve the mystery of what has happened to her.

This book has gotten excellent editorial reviews. To me, it was an okay read.  I could not quite become immersed in the story.  Still, you may enjoy it, especially if you have read other books by the author.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this book in exchange for an honest review.

Editorial Reviews


“Gripping and spine-tingling, What Rose Forgot is sure to raise the hackles of lovers of psychological thrillers.” ―NY Journal of Books

“Compelling… Fans who love Barr will devour this book, and readers who don’t want to begin a multivolume journey with one character will delight in this new stand-alone title.” ―Library Journal (starred review)

“Thrilling action, madcap humor, and a larger-than-life cast energize this cleverly plotted take on a traditional mystery. Barr surprises and entertains from start to finish.” ―Publishers Weekly

“A tour de force that thickens its thriller plot with a razor-sharp view of its heroine’s unreliable but perceptive mind.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Tis the Season: A Christmas Gathering A Novel by Anne Perry

A Christmas Gathering is this year’s seasonal novella written by Anne Perry. This one features two of my favorite Anne Perry characters, Vespasia and Victor Narraway. Fans of the Thomas Pitt series will know these characters well but the book can also be read as a standalone.

Vespasia is a woman of a certain age and she has the beauty and wisdom that those of her age hope for. Victor has a difficult past history; among other jobs, he was the head of Special Branch which dealt with crimes around terrorism and other issues.

The two are invited to a house party over the lead up to Christmas. As it turns out, Victor has a job to do while there although he does not initially tell Vespasia this. Also at the house are the person assigned to pass a confidential report to Victor and someone who is looking to hurt Victor. Victor, himself, is aware of the similarities between this assignment and one in his past when he failed. This failure has troubled him for twenty or more years.

The case is solved in time for Victor and Vespasia to welcome the holiday. Along the way, there is much wisdom dispensed, some of it centering on the need to forgive oneself one’s human failings. In addition there is much wit in this book as Vespasia spars with at least one of the other women in the house party.

This novella is a quick read and one that will be welcomed by Anne Perry’s many readers. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review.

#AchristmasGathering #NetGalley

Learning to Share: My Turn, Your Turn A Story About Sharing by Nancy Loewen

My Turn, Your Turn is a very good book for young children who find it difficult to share; this is really something that is true for most toddlers and preschoolers.  In this simple story, two children squabbling over a toy, get an idea from an adult about how to work it out.  A useful lesson in a book with expressive illustrations in just a few colors.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review.

From the Publisher

Recently published: My Pet Slime (My Pet Slime Book 1) by Courtney Sheinmel

My Pet Slime is the first in what will be a series of beginning reader’s chapter books. I found it to be a fun read and think that kids will too.

Piper has always wanted a pet but is allergic to everything. It is talk about your pet time at show and tell which makes not having what she so desperately wants even harder. Using her ingenuity Piper fashions a pet from slime. Amazingly when space dust from her grandmother, an employee of Astroblast Explorers, accidentally lands on the slime, it comes to life but can only be seen by children.

Piper names her pet, Cosmo. She brings him to school but then he is not in her backpack when she checks. Piper accuses her frenemy, Claire, of taking Cosmo. Readers will enjoy finding out what happens.

The story ends on a cliffhanger when Piper’s grandmother is missing. That event should get readers interested in reading the next book.

The back of the book includes a recipe for slime and some facts on a particular slime discovered by scientists that can forage for food.

This is a nicely illustrated chapter book that will encourage young readers to enjoy books. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this book in exchange for an honest review.

From the Publisher

Cosmo to the Rescue
More from the My Pet Slime series: