New Release Spotlight! Dachshund Through the Snow, A Christmas Story for Children from Michelle Medlock Adams

Here it is, not even Halloween, and I’m spotlighting Christmas stories. Why? you might ask. The answer: I’m a sucker for a good Christmas story and load up my Kindle with new releases as soon as they come out so I have plenty to read through the holidays. These days, authors are releasing their books earlier and earlier, trying to get some footing in an overcrowded market, so it’s a good time for readers to stack their holiday TBR list with some of the best new books out there. For the next few weeks I’ll be spotlighting Christmas reads. I’m sure you’ll find a few to put you in the spirit. This week I’m featuring a kids’ book. Here’s Dachshund Through the Snow.

Book Description

The size of your stature is not the measure of your heart. For one tiny Dachshund, this was a mighty big lesson.

Crosby was teeny. Even for a miniature dachshund. In fact, he was the teeniest dachshund in the whole town. But his small stature and big heart made Crosby one of the best burrowers in all of the North Pole. That’s why he couldn’t wait to enter the North Pole Animal Olympics and burrow his way to a gold medal. Finally old enough to compete, Crosby goes to town to register on Dec. 23, but when he encounters lots of hecklers and bullies who make fun of his small size, Crosby loses his confidence. With his tail tucked between his legs, he burrows as fast and far away from town as he can, running smack dab into a stranded Santa and his divine destiny. 

Will this unlikely hero save Christmas? 

Four to eight-year-olds will be on the edge of their seats as this holiday picture book page-turner unfolds.

About the Author

Michelle Medlock Adams is a best-selling author and an award-winning journalist, earning top honors from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hoosier State Press Association.

Author of over 100 books with more than 4 million books sold, Michelle is also a New York Times Bestselling ghostwriter and has won more than 70 industry awards for her own journalistic endeavors, including the prestigious Golden Scroll for Best Children’s Book in 2020, 2019 and 2018 for “How Much Does God Love You?” “Dinosaur Devotions” and “My First Day of School”. And, over the past three years, she has added several first place honors from the Christian Market Book Awards, the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, and the Illumination Book Awards in multiple categories.

Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff, and they have two daughters, Abby and Allyson, two sons-in-law, two granddaughters and two grandsons. She and Jeff share their home in Southern Indiana with a miniature dachshund, a rescue Greyhound/Lab mix, and two cats. When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys bass fishing, cheering on Indiana University sports teams and the Chicago Cubbies, and all things leopard print.

Connect with Michelle Medlock Adams

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter and Instagram: @INwritergirl

Great Escapes! Mary Alice Monroe’s The Beach House Has All the Feels of Summer

I came to know the work of Mary Alice Monroe fairly recently and read the last two books in this series first. This summer I decided to start at the beginning and picked up The Beach House, which was republished with a new (gorgeous!) cover. I was immediately whisked away to a Lowcountry summer with characters I quickly fell in love with, and started putting together the backstory of this family saga. And the turtles! Musn’t forget the turtles. What a writer!

Description

Caretta Rutledge thought she’d left her Southern roots and troubled family far behind. But an unusual request from her mother—coming just as her own life is spinning out of control—has Cara heading back to the scenic Lowcountry of her childhood summers. Before long, the rhythms of the island open her heart in wonderful ways as she repairs the family beach house, becomes a bona fide “turtle lady” and renews old acquaintances long thought lost. But it is in reconnecting with her mother that she will learn life’s most precious lessons—true love involves sacrifice, family is forever, and the mistakes of the past can be forgiven.

My Take

When I fall in love with a book I’m delighted to find that it’s one of a series. The more books in the series the better. I can read them one after another until sated, and wait impatiently for the next. I approached this series backwards, reading the last two first before starting on Book One. I absoultely loved The Lowcountry Summer series and whipped through that before finding Ocean Boulevard, and this summer’s Summer of Lost and Found. When I saw the new cover for the first in The Beach House series I knew I had to go back to the beginning of the Rutledge family’s story and picked up The Beach House. This is the kind of summer book that grips you and puts you right into the heart of a family and their different dramas, easily choosing sides and rooting for your favorite characters. The story of Lovie is heartbreaking. Cara’s transformation is inspiring. The beautiful beach scenes put you right on the Carolina coast. The romances between Cara and Brett and Lovie and Russell are swoon worthy. This is a book you can visit again and again. I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Recommended for readers of gripping women’s fiction and books about environmental issues, and beach lovers.

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe found her true calling in environmental fiction when she moved to coastal South Carolina. Already a successful author, she was captivated by the beauty and fragility of her new home. Her experiences living in the midst of a habitat that was quickly changing gave her a strong and important focus for her novels.

Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of 22 novels, published worldwide, and the author of two children’s picture books. She writes richly textured stories that delve into the complexities of interpersonal relationships and the parallels between the land and life. 

Monroe has achieved many lists, including the New York Times, USA Today and SIBA and starred reviews. She has received numerous awards, including several Readers’ Choice Awards, RT Lifetime Achievement Award, the Girls Scouts of America Woman of Distinction Award, the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing and was featured at the National Festival of the Book, the 2008 International Book Award for Green Fiction for The Butterfly’s Daughter, the 2015 Florida Book Festival Distinguished Author Award, and the ASPCA Henry Bergh award for Children’s Fiction. Monroe’s A Lowcountry Christmas won the 2017 Southern Prize for Fiction. Her novel, The Beach House, was adapted into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie starring three-time Golden Globe nominee Andie MacDowell, Minka Kelly, and Chad Michael Murray. In 2018 Mary Alice Monroe was inducted into the South Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. 

Mary Alice is an active conservationist and serves on the Board of the South Carolina Aquarium and The Leatherback Trust. She is a frequent speaker at book festivals, conferences, and private events. Monroe is also a frequent contributor to magazines and online blogs.

Mary Alice Monroe is published by Gallery Books and Aladdin Books, Simon & Schuster. Her agent is Faye Bender of The Book Group. 

Monroe lives with her family on Isle of Palms, a barrier island off Charleston, South Carolina. For additional information, go to http://www.maryalicemonroe.com.

Books I Love! 5-Stars for Sarah Moon’s Middletown, Terrific #YA

Description

Thirteen-year-old Eli likes baggy clothes, baseball caps, and one girl in particular. Her seventeen-year-old sister Anna is more traditionally feminine; she loves boys and staying out late. They are sisters, and they are also the only family each can count on. Their dad has long been out of the picture, and their mom lives at the mercy of her next drink. When their mom lands herself in enforced rehab, Anna and Eli are left to fend for themselves. With no legal guardian to keep them out of foster care, they take matters into their own hands: Anna masquerades as Aunt Lisa, and together she and Eli hoard whatever money they can find. But their plans begin to unravel as quickly as they were made, and they are always way too close to getting caught.

Eli and Anna have each gotten used to telling lies as a means of survival, but as they navigate a world without their mother, they must learn how to accept help, and let other people in.

My Take

This audiobook had me from the start with its story of two teenage sisters coming to grips with their mother’s alcoholism. Eli (13) and Anna (17), aka Peanut Butter and Banana, are determined to stay together when their mom ends up in a 90-day rehab and will go to several extremes to make this happen. At the same time they’re dealing with a few other angsty issues such as Eli’s crush on her best girlfriend and the bully at school who makes each morning miserable, and Anna’s chasing after a boy known as “The Jacket,” while conflicted about taking on the mom role for her sister. This story has a full slate of social issues in addition to alcoholism and coming out: sexual abuse, abandonment, poverty, and more, but the story doesn’t get bogged down with it. Instead, the author uses tight dialogue, snappy little comebacks, relatable characters and a fast pace to keep it all moving. The narrator did a terrific job keeping all of the characters straight and bringing the appropriate emotion to each role. Recommended for YA readers of all ages.

About the Author

Sarah Moon is a teacher and writer. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, with her wife, Jasmine, and their daughter, Zora. She is the coeditor of THE LETTER Q, a young adult anthology. Her first YA novel was the critically acclaimed SPARROW; the second is MIDDLETOWN, publishing in 2021 with Levine Querido.

Connect with Sarah Moon on Twitter

New Release Spotlight! Uncharted Freedom, Book 9 in Keely Brooke Keith’s Uncharted Series

The latest in one of my favorite series: The Uncharted. Escape to a land unknown.

Book Description

Naomi McIntosh is running from her family’s oppressive expectations and the loathsome man her father has demanded she marry. Renaming herself to live incognito, she takes a housekeeping job at the Inn at Falls Creek and promises God this false identity will be her last.

When shepherd James Roberts goes home to the Inn at Falls Creek for his sister’s wedding, he doesn’t expect the woman who once broke his heart to be working there. No matter how much he wants to be with Naomi again, he can’t go along with her charade, especially since he is trying to persuade his father to make him the inn’s heir.

Though Naomi yearns for a future with James, if she confesses her deception to everyone, her estranged fiancé will find her. And the longer James goes without telling his family the truth about Naomi—and their growing relationship—the further he jeopardizes the inheritance. But just when their relationship looks promising, the inn proves to be a poor hiding place from Naomi’s past.

Meanwhile, in Good Springs…
Connor Bradshaw wrestles with the overseers’ decision to preserve the Land’s pacifist ways. His desire to build a defense system for the Land keeps him up at night, secretly scanning for radio transmissions from the warring outside world. His training to be a village overseer will require him to lay down his weapons, but a voice over the radio waves ignites his worst fears.

Start reading now!

The Uncharted series:
#1 The Land Uncharted
#2 Uncharted Redemption
#3 Uncharted Inheritance
#4 Christmas with the Colburns
#5 Uncharted Hope
#6 Uncharted Journey
#7 Uncharted Destiny
#8 Uncharted Promises
#9 Uncharted Freedom

The Uncharted Beginnings series:
#1 Aboard Providence
#2 Above Rubies
#3 All Things Beautiful

About the Author

Keely Brooke Keith writes inspirational frontier-style fiction with a futuristic twist, including The Land Uncharted (Shelf Unbound Notable Romance 2015) and Aboard Providence (2017 INSPY Awards Longlist).

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely was a tree-climbing, baseball-loving 80s kid. She grew up in a family who moved often, which fueled her dreams of faraway lands. When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys teaching home school lessons and playing bass guitar. Keely, her husband, and their daughter live on a hilltop south of Nashville, Tennessee.

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

New Release Spotlight! Gathered Around the Campfire – S’mores and Stories Under the Stars by Melody Carlson

New Release Spotlight Driftwood Dreams (4)

Celebrate the Great Outdoors 

Whether your idea of camping is in a tiny tent, a luxury RV, or somewhere in between, nothing beats having fun with family and friends in the fresh air. Relive favorite memories of childhood vacations and get excited for future outdoor adventures with these humorous and heartwarming recollections from bestselling author and camping enthusiast Melody Carlson.

Pack your gear and hit the road with Melody as you encounter:

  • Campfire Connections—how a simple offer of firewood sparks a friendship.
  • Lolly the Bear—an unexpected guest with a sweet tooth pays a morning visit.
  • The Worst Camping Trip Ever—a pregnant woman and a torrential downpour make for a hasty midnight departure.
  • Best-Laid Plans—all it takes is one unhappy camper to spoil an outing.
  • Fireworks on the Fourth—an explosive clash between generations ends with a promise of unconditional love

Along the way, you’ll enjoy inspirational quotes and practical tips to make your next camping experience even “s’more” of a success. So gather ‘round and get ready for some unforgettable stories.

 

Gathered Around the Campfire

Start reading now!

About the Author

melody carlsonMelody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors, etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website.

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

Some Thoughts on Mother’s Day Plus a Book Sale & Giveaway

Mother Day's Meme 2020

This weekend is Mother’s Day, not my favorite holiday. In the past I always felt torn on this day because I lived far from my mom and could not always get away to spend the day with her. Now, my mom is gone and we will never share another Mother’s Day, although she’s in my heart. Ironically, my daughter recently moved across the country with her new husband so I will not see her on Mother’s Day either, and that makes me sad. Which leads me to my next quote: Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing. Ricki Lake got that right. Raising children is not easy, yet it’s full of joy, and letting them go is difficult. Many people have told me I’ve done a good job as a mother to have raised a child with sturdy wings, capable of living her own life. We Facetime often, share recipes, gossip, and watch our favorite TV shows together, tethered by iPhones. But it’s not the same. If you’re a mother I’m sure you understand. My plans to visit her are on hold because of the virus, but as soon as it feels safe to travel I’ll be on my way and we’ll have a week’s worth of Mother’s Days. I wish you a happy Mother’s Day!

My Book Sale & Giveaway

image

If you’ve read any of my books you might have surmised that strong mothers are at the heart of my stories. Resilient, independent women like my mom, who lost her husband at age 48 and raised four children on her own at a time when few women were single mothers. We endured many difficult times but Mom held us together, even at her own expense. As a tribute to Mom and all the mothers out there struggling to care for their families during these troubling times, I’m offering all of my stories with strong mothers at their core for free or on sale. This includes Sara in Blue Hydrangeas, who endured the loss of her 16-year old daughter; Devon in Swim Season, who served our nation after 911 as an Army nurse caring for our soldiers; Ino, the loving Italian mother in Ino’s Love who shares her gifts with a mother facing challenges raising her own children; and the she-bear of a mother Meg in the Daisy Hunter stories, rearing a large brood with not enough money and lots of love. You can pick up Blue Hydrangeas on a Kindle Countdown Deal at .99 starting May 9; Swim Season, also a Countdown Deal at .99 starting May 9, and the three short stories Ino’s Love, Collection, and Birthday Party for free on Book Funnel. Act now! These deals won’t last for long. Please share with your friends and family.

Happy Mother's Day

New Release Spotlight! I’ll Have Some of Yours, One Family’s Dementia Story by Annette Wick

New Release Spotlight-4

What my mother taught me about cookies, music, the outside, and her life inside a care home.

Annette Januzzi Wick longs to find the perfect care home for her proud, Italian mother, who is slipping further into dementia. In her memoir, Annette shares gripping truths about the mistakes she makes before ultimately finding a place where her mother develops a crush, heckles an Elvis impersonator, and magically bonds with her daughter through Frank Sinatra’s songs. Whether she is breaking up a fight between her mother and the Easter Bunny, advocating for her mother to avoid a tracheotomy, or struggling to duplicate her mother’s cookie recipes, Annette tries to balance the trials with the triumphs of being a daughter—and caregiver. But can she and her mother love without memory—or regret? I’ll Have Some of Yours is for anyone who longs to move past being a caregiver to find a deeply human and humane connection with someone you love.

Purchase I’ll Have Some of Yours Now


Annette Wick, AuthorAbout Annette Januzzi Wick

Annette Januzzi Wick grew up in northern Ohio. She graduated from the University of Akron with a Computer Science degree yet still sighs when her cell phone doesn’t work. For a time, she made her home in the Pacific Northwest until firmly planting her feet in Cincinnati. When she’s not writing, she is walking Cincinnati’s fifty-two neighborhoods or finding and making connections in the community.

Her writings have appeared in the Alzheimer’s Association Cornerstone, Erma Bombeck Humor Blog, Grief Becomes You: A Narrative of Loss, and Movers and Makers, and have received awards from Writer’s Digest, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Sinclair College, and USA Book News.

Annette is available for speaking events, book signings and writing workshops. Visit annettejwick.com to purchase her book or learn more. I’ll Have Some of Yours is also available for order through Amazon and major distributors.

Connect with Annette Wick

Website  (includes links to blogs)

Instagram

Facebook

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

Father’s Day Memories: My Dad Left Us the Blueprint for How to Be a Great Dad

blueprint for a great dad

Celebrating Father’s Day is bittersweet for me because I suddenly and unexpectedly lost my own father at the tender age of 15. He suffered a heart attack at home one lazy Sunday morning and life was never the same. Ted “Bunky” Kasica was a good man,  and my brothers, mother, and I keenly felt his loss. It’s been 43 years, and I don’t believe any of us ever got over it. In his short life, he left us with many gifts, most importantly a blueprint for what makes a man a great father.

Dad was the 11th of twelve children born to Polish immigrants in South Boston. His own father unexpectedly died when he was just three years old. He never finished high school, but enlisted in the United States Army where he served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. In spite of his humble roots, his early life was one grand adventure. The Army took him out of Boston and stationed him in Germany and Austria for years. His love for that life is clearly documented in the few photographs I have of him as a young soldier: Parachuting out of airplanes, skiing in Austria, and competing as an amateur lightweight boxer.

Once home from the Army he soon met my mother and fell in love, married, and settled down at the age of 28 to a quiet life as a cabinetmaker, with four children, a mortgage, and an ailing heart. Continue reading