Author: cvegnad

The Great Big Search and Find Activity Book

I am sure by now you are looking for new ways to keep your child engaged and learning. The Great Big Search and Find Activity Book gives you so many options to keep your child having fun during this difficult time.

About The Great Big Search and Find Activity Book

This action-packed activity book is full of things to find, amazing scenes to color, and spot-the difference puzzles.

The book features a wide range of topics, from dinosaurs to the solar system, and with fun facts to discover throughout, it is guaranteed to provide hours of entertainment!

Our Thoughts

I am sure that all of you are going through the same struggles we are right now – finding activities to keep your child engaged and busy. Our kids have been home since roughly the second week in March – so almost two months! While the first few weeks were fun, boredom has set in and we have been struggling to come up with new activities that are fun and that we can make last for a good chunk of time.

The Great Big Search and Find Activity book is full of over five hundred activities for your child to do. The book is organized into different sections that include: geography, dinosaurs, ocean, jungle, farm, city life, museums, zoos and even space. In each section, your child will be challenged to spot the differences and find specific items. The book is also full of great facts that help to support learning around a wide range of topics.

Your child can work their way through the book in any order that they feel like, you don’t have to go from start to finish. They can skip a few pages in each section – whatever works for them and you! The images were bright and fun, perfect for young children to help gain their interest and encourage them to do more.

This is a great resource for parents and caregivers as we look to find new and exciting ways to keep our children learning and their minds active. While our son could have easily worked on the activities alone, we had a great time completing them together.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Joelle Dreidemy has drawn and painted ever since she can remember. After graduating from the prestigious Emile Cohl School she moved to Paris, from where she now illustrates for English, American, French and Korean publishers, as well as teaching at Emile Cohl.

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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My Best Friend Book Review

This deliciously dark tale of a mouse and the “best friend” who wants to eat him will delight fans of Rob’s previous books.

About My Best Friend

Mouse lives in the tree with his best friend, Giant Owl. They used to do the most fun stuff imaginable, they would play chase and Giant Owl would nearly catch Mouse, but not quite. Giant Owl loved Mouse so much that she would give him as many donuts as he wanted and the most amazing presents, including his own house (a cage)! But then one day something happened, and now Mouse has found himself stuck in a very dark place. Will his best friend help come to his rescue?

Our Thoughts

This book was absolutely adorable and hilarious.

We have the sweet and innocent Mouse – he only sees the best in his friend, Giant Owl (who looks like quite the grumpy, dark character!). Giant Owl found him one day and made his life so much better by bringing him to live in his tree. He feeds him, houses him and even plays with him. To Mouse, Giant Owl is one of the best type of friends a mouse could have. Or is he really? Does he have a more sinister plan up his sleeve? You will have to read the book to find out! We loved the ending, it was just perfect for this book and touches your heart.

This is wonderful, witty book for young kids. It was easy to read together, engaging and made us laugh. The illustrations are perfect and fit the theme of the book. I loved the carefree, sweet mouse and the grumpy looking owl – their illustrations helped to bring the story to life. This is a great, fun children’s book that you will enjoy reading over and over again.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Rob Hodgson was born in a seaside town in the south of England in 1988. He studied Illustration at Plymouth University. Today, he lives in Bristol, UK, where he spends his time making a mess and turning it into illustration projects, quality paper goods and books. His first author-illustrated book, The Cave, was published in 2017 to wide acclaim and has since sold in 10 languages and been chosen for the Booktrust Time to Read Campaign for 2019, meaning it will be distributed to 760,000 schoolchildren in September 2019. The Woods, his second picture book, published in 2019. My Best Friend, his third picture book, will publish in April 2020. 

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

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Fire and Vengeance Book Review

Koa’s secret demons fuel his unwavering drive to pursue justice.

About Fire and Vengeance

Having killed his father’s nemesis and gotten away with it, Hilo, Hawai`i Chief Detective Koa Kane, is not your ordinary cop. Estranged from his younger brother who has been convicted of multiple crimes, he is not from a typical law enforcement family. Yet, Koa’s secret demons fuel his unwavering drive to pursue justice. Never has Koa’s motivation been greater than when he learns that an elementary school was placed atop a volcanic vent, which has now exploded. The subsequent murders of the school’s contractor and architect only add urgency to his search for the truth. As Koa’s investigation heats up, his brother collapses in jail from a previously undiagnosed brain tumor. Using his connections, Koa devises a risky plan to win his brother’s freedom. As Koa gradually unravels the obscure connections between multiple suspects, he uncovers a 40 year-old conspiracy. When he is about to apprehend the perpetrators, his investigation suddenly becomes entwined with his brother’s future, forcing Koa to choose between justice for the victims and his brother’s freedom.

My Thoughts

This is a well written, suspenseful novel that I could not put down. The unique plot centres around the explosion of an elementary school that resulted in many deaths and an exposure of bribes, treachery and murder that traces back many years.

We meet our main character, Chief Detective Koa. Koa has had an unique family history and this has made him into the person who he is. He feels tremendous guilt over murdering a man (not on purpose and the person was someone who likely very much deserved punishment although not in any way making it right) and this has shaped his actions ever since. He is estranged from his brother, who appears cruel, thoughtless and blames everyone but himself for his own actions. Their Mother is an incredible woman who loves her family with all of her heart and wants more than anything to see their relationship solidified. I loved how their relationships developed in this story (I can’t say too much as this would give a lot of it away!).

When an elementary school explodes, Koa is one of the first responders on the scene. It is then that they discover that the school was actually built on top of a volcanic vent and not only that, but the builders knew as they tried to hide the evidence. Koa will not stand for this and is determined to bring justice to those that could have prevented this tragedy. He begins to uncover years of treachery, bribes and murder – some at high levels of government. Their acts will leave you shocked and in disbelief, the bribery and deceit goes back so many years and seems to build on each one with a few becoming quite rich off of the backs of others.

This is an excellent novel from start to finish – it kept me on my toes (but not in a bad way as it was still easy to follow). I loved the layers to this story, I could never had envisioned the ending but it was perfect for this novel. This is a definite must read – take advantage of this downtime and pick up a copy of this book, you will not be disappointed.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Robert McCaw grew up in a military family traveling the world. After graduating from Georgetown University, he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army before earning his law degree from the University of Virginia. After law school he spent a year as a judicial clerk for Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black. Thereafter, he was a partner in a major international law firm with offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, representing clients in complex civil and criminal cases. For a number of years, McCaw maintained a home on the Big Island of Hawaii, studying its history, culture, and people. Putting himself in the shoes of Detective Koa Kane, he has walked the streets, courthouse corridors, and parks of Hawaii’s Big Island. Fire and Vengeance is his third Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery.

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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Between These Walls Book Review

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A novel of historical fiction that turns on two key events: the discovery of a dead body and a tape.

About Between These Walls

A novel of historical fiction that turns on two key events: the discovery of a beautiful blonde woman’s body in the back seat of a burnt out SS staff car during the last days of World War II, by US Army Medical Corps Colonel Samuel Singer, and the unsealing more than four decades later of a security-taped package from Germany, bearing a secret that changes the life of New York art curator Daniel Singer, the adopted son of Colonel Singer.

As Daniel learns more about the package’s contents, he unlocks the history of three families — one American and two German – through tumultuous times, from the end of the First World War to the rise of Adolf Hitler, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and through to three Middle East wars. Along the way, he gets entangled in the web of the Mossad, Israel’s top secret spy agency and Naomi one of its beautiful operatives, and is ultimately faced with a life-altering choice – and the opportunity to right the most heinous of wrongs.

My Thoughts

I love historical novels, they take us on a special journey to the past where we get a glimpse of what could have been happening and the people of this time. Between These Walls follows several seemingly unconnected characters from the the end of World War I through to World War II and three wars in the Middle East. It is intense and leaves you on the edge of your seat, never quite knowing what to expect next.

The centre of this story is Daniel – a young man raised in the Jewish faith who very early in the novel receives a mysterious package in the mail filled with documents in German that he does not understand nor particularly seem to interested in. The story then jumps in to his family history and we learn about his Father who served during the war as a surgeon, the relationships he builds during this time that last a lifetime and a discovery he makes near the end of the war. We learn about his past and how his actions bring him into connection with other key characters in this novel both good and bad. It is these connections that are key to the story and how they connect to Daniel. We are witness to horrific acts of evil, acts of kindness and bravery and acts of forgiveness.

I loved every moment of this novel, from the plot to the characters and the way it was written. I did not want to put the novel down, I had to know what happened next and how each evolving story brings us closer to Daniel’s past and future. It is well written and I loved how the story connects characters and events that span several decades. Even though the ending was a mix of hope for the future and pain, it is amazing to see how life and our actions can come full circle. It is a story of hope, faith, bravery in the face of evil and healing that comes with time. It is a definite must read novel, you will not be disappointed.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

A Hungarian refugee (1956) and the son of Holocaust survivors. A retired lifetime entrepreneur living on Toronto’s waterfront with my wife and cocker spaniel. Enjoys reading, mainly books about WW2, boating and worldwide travel. Father of three kids and grandfather of eleven. You can connect with him on his website, Facebook and Twitter.

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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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A Delicate Dance of Souls Book Review

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When souls intersect deeply, but their paths are separate.

About A Delicate Dance of Souls

After a harrowing experience from his service in the military, Matt returns only to find his marriage to the love of his life is over. In the midst of his darkness, Matt seeks peace camping in Wyoming, where he meets Nicole, an intriguing woman who shifts his perspective, and changes his life forever. As their connection deepens, their relationship uncovers the fears that are holding both of them back.

Matt isn’t the only one with an unresolved love in his past. Waiting in the wings is Sam, Nicole’s business partner and best friend. The pair have a history of more than just catering and event planning, but Nicole has always been afraid of letting Sam get too close.

In this novel of self-discovery, compassion and healing, Nicole and Matt are brought to a greater understanding and acceptance of themselves, and who they are in the world.

My Thoughts

This novel introduces us to two main characters – Nicole and Matt. Nicole has had a rough past and from the outside, she doesn’t seem to like to let people to get to close (especially men). She holds a lot of her past inside her and this prevents her from allowing herself to be open to receiving love. She is a bit of a free spirit, she doesn’t seem to care about what others think of her, and she dances to the tune of her own beat. But at the same time she is thoughtful and kind – just timid in accepting love because of her past. Matt has his own scars after serving in the military. His time serving causes him to become emotionally and physically distant from his wife, to the point that they separate after not being able to come to some middle ground. He is left lost, hating himself and feeling lonely and lone.

The two characters have a chance encounter, with sparks flying but more importantly they connect on a deeper level. Matt is finally able to open up to someone about his past and face his fears about the past, himself and his worries about his future. He is able to push past those mental blocks that kept him emotionally and physically distant from those he loves, including his wife that he is separated from. Nicole while initially is the one that appears to do all the helping, is also able to confront her past and work through her own mental and emotional blocks.

This is a wonderful story of faith, second chances and the healing powers of friendships. Their chance encounter develops a strong friendship that helps them face their past, come to a level of healing and understanding and the ability to move forward with hope and trust. While they are at first physically attracted to each other, out of this grows so much more. This novel is different then anything I have read before but I enjoyed it. The beginning felt a bit rushed as their physical relationship developed but about a quarter of the way in, the novel returns to a normal pace and we can appreciate their relationship and the healing nature of it.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound and Books-a-Million.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Karen D. Hamilton’s spiritual journey has spanned decades and has included several teachers with transformative perspectives. Believing that life is a wondrous gift, she strives to appreciate all aspects of the human experience. Karen loves the excitement of thunderstorms, the silence of falling snow, the chirping of late summer crickets, the meditative art of weaving, and the natural beauty of mountain streams. She especially loves being with family and friends. She currently lives in Colorado with her husband and fluffy cat, Merlin. Karen hopes her work will give readers a broader and more compassionate view of their own lives. You can connect with her on her website.

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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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