The Secret Diaries of Juan Luis Vives by Tim Darcy Ellis

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a great book for historical fiction readers that enjoy the Tudor time-frame! It has wonderful characters and a story that draws you right in!

Juan is a Spanish Jew, but is hiding his religion by pretending to be a “New Christian”. His journey was filled with exciting situations and some great romance. I loved his character arc, and couldn’t stop thinking about what was happening while I wasn’t reading the story.

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I Can Handle It by Laurie Wright

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved this book! If you have a child or know a child, who gets annoyed with a sibling, frustrated with themselves, angry with a parent, or has a variety of other emotions…

Oh wait. That’s every kid. So, every child should have this book!

I Can Handle It provides real advice that is quick to digest and easy to understand for children, but it does so in an adorable and humorous way!

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Journey To A New Earth by Zeiny Sher and Zuzana Svobodová

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

A koala and a panda befriending each other and learning how to care for their Earth. It’s a beautiful story with a message that is important not only to children but to everyone.

I really liked how Penelope Panda and Kobi Koala meet each other. There doesn’t seem to be any other family or friends around, and the two stumble across each other. As they walk and become friends, they finally come across a tree that provides some very good advice about how to care for their Earth.

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Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! by Marlene M. Bell

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was a beautiful children’s book that provides a lovely story of friendship, family, and responsibility. Mia and Nattie’s relationship shows a beautiful bond and understanding between a girl and her sheep.

Nattie is a sheep that was born a little different than the other sheep. Mia sees something special in Nattie and takes care of her, watching her flourish, and noticing a special gift that Nattie has.

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M.C. Plays Hide and Seek by Eva Grayzel

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a book that no one wants to need, and yet, unfortunately, there is a need for it. I am so appreciative that there are authors considering the hard topics as worthy of investing the time to write a book about.

Children are especially hard to help when there is a family member or friend with cancer. Cancer is a difficult disease and one that is so different in so many people. We have, unfortunately, had to help our children understand cancer for two special people in our lives. I didn’t have this book as we lived through both of these loved one’s fights and losses, and I wish I had.

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The Burden of Hate by Helen Starbuck

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Okay, so sometimes the third book in a series starts to become a bit repetitive or boring for me and my excitement wants…THIS BOOK THOUGH, only got better! The third book in the Annie Collins mystery series was just amazing!

The action starts off so fast, we’re immediately thrown into a wedding in upheaval and an escaped convict determined to ruin Annie and Angel. It was an exciting, thrilling story that I couldn’t put down!

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Dragons Don’t Dance Ballet by Jennifer Carson

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

This story, you guys, I was inspired by it! My kids adored it, but I did too! As a parent, I like it when a children’s book can be enjoyable for me to read, but I love it when I actually take something away from it!

Esmeralda Dragon works at the ballet company, running the spotlight for the dancers. Once the dancers go home though, she takes the stage and performs for no one but herself to the whistling of the janitor. When auditions open for the ballet company, the janitor encourages Esmeralda to audition. Everything goes a bit right, then a bit wrong for her, but at each juncture, she chooses to not give up. But, then she does give up, and she has a friend who reminds her not to.

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No Pity In Death by Helen Starbuck

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is the second book in the Annie Collins mysteries, and I really enjoyed the continuation of Annie’s story. Annie had some rough situations in the last book, and she is still dealing with the aftermath as we start book 2.

This story focuses on the mystery of DNR patients being killed off at her hospital. I liked that there was still this medical mystery portion of the story, but we also go to invest in a romance plot for Annie. I liked that something that was a spark of romance from book one was delved into more in this story.

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The Mad Hatter’s Son by Helen Starbuck

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a really fun mystery! Annie, our main character is one of those people who is a caring, loving person. She’s an operating room nurse, and so I think it’s just in her nature to want to help people. When her friend Libby reaches out to Annie for help about a mystery illness, Annie ends up in a startling mystery!

I really enjoyed the medical side of this story. I get really intrigued about all the details, and in this story, I felt like they were well researched and accurate. I liked the illness as a mystery, but also all the other details within the story that created the twists as the plot progressed!

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Abracadabra Whoopsie by Adam Kargman

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

What if you had the ability to magically make your sibling disappear? Jordy gets this opportunity thanks to a magic genie, and he couldn’t be happier…until things start to go a bit wrong.

I really liked this book. It has a great message about the importance of family, and it’s an exciting story for children to read! Jordy was a character that I’m sure every brother or sister can relate to. Siblings annoy each other, it is bound to happen. In our house, it happens approximately 1,323,754 times per day, so I know that both of my kids were intrigued by the idea of simply making their sibling disappear for a bit.

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Incandescent Visions by Lee Hudspeth

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Having written numerous works of nonfiction, this is Lee Hudspeth’s debut book of poetry. 

Incandescent Visions explores the meaning of the human experience, as the author encourages his readers to ponder the universe and their place within it and to catalyze their own creative potential. From the sublime shores of the Mediterranean to the majestic expansiveness of deep space, this book contemplates nostalgia, perspective and the gift of love. Through five short yet powerful, thought-provoking chapters of contemporary poems–and a dash of elegant, evocative haiku–Hudspeth takes his readers on a journey across the inner landscape of struggle, triumph, self-realization, and imagination. 

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Bones of the Redeemed by Kari Bovee

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

There are just some authors that can drop you into a historical timeline with such ease that you feel like you were born there. Kari Bovee is one of those authors. She has a gift for storytelling that leaves the reader always wanting more of her stories!

Bones of the Redeemed takes place in 1950’s New Mexico. Ruby Delgado, an archaeology grad student stumbles across a buried pile of bodies that clearly do not belong at the dig site. She knows something is not right, but as she digs deeper, it seems that what she uncovers is dangerous, and no one believes her. She might just be the only person willing to save the town, but can she stay safe while doing it?

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