Author: cvegnad

The Master Craftsman

In The Master Craftsman, award-winning author Kelli Stuart transports you into the opulent and treacherous world of the Russian Revolution to unearth mysteries long buried.

About The Master Craftsman

Three generations later, world-renowned treasure hunter Nick Laine is sick and fears the secret of the missing egg will die with him. With time running out, he entrusts the mission of retrieving the egg to his estranged daughter, Ava, who has little idea of the dangers she is about to face. As the stakes are raised, Ava is forced to declare her own allegiance–and the consequences are greater than she could have imagined.

This modern-day treasure hunt from award-winning author Kelli Stuart transports you into the opulent and treacherous world of the Russian Revolution to unearth mysteries long buried.

My Thoughts

I fell in love with this incredible story right from the start (truth be told – it was the cover that first grabbed my attention but then once you start to read the novel, you do not want to put it down.

The novel follows two different time periods – Nick Laine (treasure hunter) and his daughter (his new protegee) and the Russian Revolution and the Faberge eggs. We are transported to this rich and whimsical world prior to the Russian Revolution and the mystery of the Faberge eggs. In this particular story – we learn about the possibility of one very special egg with significant meaning behind the Revolution, one that would have ruined Faberge and many went to great stakes to hide. Nick has to quickly and remotely train his daughter (whom he has is estranged from due to his own personal choices) to act on his behalf to uncover the mystery behind this egg crafted during the Revolution. What no one would expect – the depth of deceit and cover ups to hide this precious artifact.

I loved every moment of this story – it was one of those novels you cannot put down as you have to learn what happens next. You can’t help but become invested in the characters. I loved how we switched back and forth between both time periods to really dive deep into the story of the eggs and how intricate the plot was. The story had so many twists and each one kept getting better and better! The Master Craftsman is a definite must read novel.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Kelli Stuart is the author of the Carol Award-winning Like a River from Its Course, as well as A Silver Willow by the Shore and Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom (with Wendy Speake). Stuart has written for The Huffington Post, 5 Minutes for Mom, Tonic.com, Disney, American Girl, The MOB Society, Extraordinary Mommy, God Size Dreams, Short Fiction Break, and (in)courage. Kelli is a storyteller at heart, fluent in the Russian language, and has spent the last two decades studying the Russian and Ukrainian culture. Kelli lives in Tampa, Florida, with her husband and five children.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday

iRead Book Tours

The themes of the books in the Alycat Series all reflect a reliance on friendships, imagination, and creativity towards problem solving. 

About Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday

Alycat wakes up to seafood gumbo for breakfast, and even though her house is the first stop for the school bus, the bus is already full when she boards. Alycat’s whole day is turning topsy-turvy. What is happening? Young readers will tag along on Alycat’s adventures during her very “cattywampus” Wednesday and learn that a little help from some friends and a good attitude can make your day!

​The themes of the books in the Alycat Series all reflect a reliance on friendships, imagination, and creativity towards problem solving. The character traits of Alycat and her friends inspire and encourage young readers to find their own special gifts. After enduring a cattywampus world pursuant to an unexpected pandemic, this book will resonate with readers to persevere through the wackiest and toughest of times.

My Thoughts

Cattywampus means askew or abnormal, behaving in an unsual way.

This is certainly the case for Alycat in this adorable, beautifully illustrated novel! Her typical Wednesday is completely backwards – from the moment she wakes up, to the moment she goes to sleep, nothing is usual or routine. She has dinner for breakfast, the first stop is the last stop on the bus, words are spelt backwards and the list goes on for Alycat.

While this topsy turvy type of day could have made Alycat sad and angry (it certainly made her unsure!), she has great friends and family that help her to see the positive in the day and how to roll with it. Alycat shows us that even though the world is not how we are used to and the days may seem frustrating and definitely atypical from our norm, we can use different strategies to help us deal with the uncertainty (Alycat even has a set of strategies to help young children at the end of the story!).

I love the lesson in the story for young children, it is so important especially as so many of us are still struggling with the pandemic and our constantly changing world where nothing ever seems routine or normal anymore. It is so important that children know that no matter what goes on around them, we have the power and control to how we react to our environment around us. Young children will fall in love with the illustrations and the adorable cat themed words (hiss-tory, Mrs. Purry). The illustrations are bright, bold and adorable and help to bring Alycat’s story to life.

You can purchase a copy of this book on the Alycat website, Amazon and B&N.

About the Author

Alysson Foti Bourque is the author of the award-winning Alycat series. Alysson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Juris Doctor degree from the Southern University Law Center.

After practicing law for six years, she traded in writing trial briefs for writing children’s books. Alysson enjoys public speaking opportunities at schools, conferences, and festivals nationwide. She hopes to inspire people of all ages to follow their dreams and believe in themselves wholeheartedly.

AWARDS & HONORS

The Alycat Series has won several prestigious awards including:
Three Mom’s Choice Awards®
Benjamin Franklin Digital Award, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
Best Book Award Finalist
NY Big Book Award
Reviewed by Midwest Book Review
Southern Festival of Books Panelist
Louisiana Book Festival Featured Author

You can connect with the author on their website, Twitter and Facebook.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a signed copy of Alysson Foti Bourque’s Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday by clicking here.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Unseen Arms: A Story about Cancer, Crisis, and Being Carried by Faith

iRead Book Tours

In Unseen Arms, ​Evelyn and Wayne had three purposes for writing this book. One was to give God the Glory for His faithfulness during this process. The second was to give hope to the patients and caregivers of today and the future. The third was to give some limited insights into the stem cell transplant process. The medical part of this process is rapidly changing, but the patients and caregivers still have the same needs.

About Unseen Arms: A Story about Cancer, Crisis, and Being Carried by Faith

Patient and Caregiver: the main characters in a drama that started in 2007 and is still unfolding for Evelyn and Wayne Hausknecht. In 2007, Evelyn was diagnosed with an aggressive, recurrent type of non-Hodgkin’s T-cell lymphoma. Although in Unseen Arms Evelyn and Wayne are as medically accurate as their memories and blog allow, the greatest purpose here is to tell the story from a patient’s and caregiver’s perspectives.

Recently, while having an in-depth conversation with a lung doctor when Evelyn was in the hospital with pneumonia, Evelyn was thanked by the doctor for what she and Wayne were doing. She was in awe of his excitement for the book. The doctor saw the need for future patients to learn from experienced patients. Evelyn and Wayne were peer volunteers for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for years. The goal of that program was the same: an experienced caregiver and patient walk beside a person entering the transplant program to make their path smoother. Even though each diagnosis and circumstance is different, every patient has the same questions, fears, and needs. The greatest need is for someone understanding to talk to. When Evelyn was diagnosed, it was easy to find medical information, but caregiver and patient perspectives were limited.

​Evelyn and Wayne had three purposes for writing this book. One was to give God the Glory for His faithfulness during this process. The second was to give hope to the patients and caregivers of today and the future. The third was to give some limited insights into the stem cell transplant process. The medical part of this process is rapidly changing, but the patients and caregivers still have the same needs.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Mascot, Amazon and B&N.

About the Author

Evelyn and Wayne Hausknecht have spent most of their careers in education. Evelyn has taught different subjects and ages in public and Christian schools. Wayne, a wood engineer, helped build the largest sawmill in Brazil and has managed mills in Michigan and North Carolina. They both enjoy motorcycle riding and rode their Harley Davidson Road King to Glacier National Park in 2006. Recently, they traded their motorcycle for a Model A truck and now enjoy going to car shows. They have two married children and six grandchildren and reside in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

You can connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.

Disclosure: This is a spotlight tour, I did not receive compensation. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Fearless and Friends Book Spotlights

iRead Book Tours

Join Fearless and animals friends in their many escapades as they learn valuable life lessons.

About Fearless and Friends Book One: Capers and Harry: High Climbing – Teaching Values to Children in a Fun Way

Capers the Cat gets stuck in a tree, but is too vain to admit it. Can Fearless the Fire Duck and Harry the Hound rescue their friend?

You can purchase a copy of this book here.

About Fearless and Friends Book Two: Greedy the Crow: Finders Keepers – Teaching Values to Children in a Fun Way

​Greedy the Crow’s greedy ways are going to get him in trouble! Will anybody help him?

You can purchase a copy of this book here.

About Fearless and Friends Book Three: Mimi the Mynah: It’s All Mine! – Teaching Values to Children in a Fun Way 

Mimi knows two words – “me” and “mine.” When disaster strikes the Duck Pond, will she finally learn a new word?

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About Fearless and Friends Book Four: Bluster Blue Jay: Not My Fault! – Teaching Values to Children in a Fun Way

​Bluster Blue Jay is not the easiest bird to be around. Nothing ever works for him, but it’s never HIS fault! When he joins Fearless and Grateful on their camping trip, can they be patient with him? And will he learn a lesson about accepting blame? Join them and find out!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Mother Melania is the Abbess of Holy Assumption Monastery in Calistoga, CA. She grew up in a house that always had tons of children around, her poor parents had to read to her till they were hoarse, and from the moment she learned to read, she always had her nose in a book. So, it was only natural for her to grow up to write children’s books. In her books, she strives to teach virtue in a fun, non-preachy way.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win signed copies of the book here.

Disclosure: This is a spotlight tour, I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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What Makes Me…Me

iRead Book Tours

What Makes Me…Me is a story about harnessing your super powered brain.

About What Makes Me…Me

What Makes Me…Me is a story about harnessing your super powered brain. We are all special and unique and our differences are what make us all special. What Makes Me…Me was written especially for those kids with neurological differences, their families, and their friends.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Indiebound.

About the Author

Anne Baldwin is a wife, mom, and fierce advocate for neurodiverse kids. Anne wrote her first book What Makes Me…Me after her son Levi was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. Passionate about stopping the stigma around Tourette-Syndrome, Anne hopes that her books about embracing your differences as what makes you unique will help kids with Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, and other neurological disorders to feel included and accepted by everyone. Anne lives in metro-Detroit with her husband Nick, their sons Levi and Gus, 3 cats, a dog, and a leopard gecko. 

You can connect with her on her website and Instagram.

The Giveaway!

You can enter to win a signed copy of the book here.

Disclosure: This is a spotlight tour, I did not receive compensation for this post, all opinions expressed are my own.

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