Category: book review

The Sand Pounder

“The Sand Pounder” is a Young Adult historical fiction set during World War II. 

About The Sand Pounder

Fearing an invasion by German and Japanese forces during World War II, the U.S. Coast Guard enlisted horsemen to patrol the beaches along the east and west coasts. The unit was called “The Sand Pounders” and they rode their horses up and down the beaches from 1942 to 1944.

In Tillamook, Oregon, a young equestrian decided to join them. There was only one problem…they were only accepting men. That didn’t slow her down.

“The Sand Pounder” is a Young Adult historical fiction set during World War II. 

My Thoughts

I loved every moment of this young adult historical fiction – it has action, courage and hope in the face of the uncertainty, racism and fear in World War II.

After reading this novel, I had to look up the term Sand Pounders. This was a new term to me and I didn’t realize that during World War II, the US Coast Guard launched a beach patrol. This group took over many functions of the Coast Guard as well as keeping an eye out for enemy ships, stopping communication from ships to land and reporting any enemy landings along the coastline of Oregon.

Jane is a young woman whose life has been turned upside down by the war. Her brother has enlisted and heads off to war efforts, she is a first hand witness to her Japanese neighbours being forced out of their home and to an internment camp, all while she herself is living alone. Jane is angry at the treatment of her neighbours, who are good American citizens and whose family name should not be held against them – they are American first, not Japanese. Jane wants to help out the war efforts but as a female she is not left with many options (and she is a very talented young woman). With the Sand Pounders only accepting males, Jane did what she had to do to join the group and to do her part (go Jane!).

I loved this novel and I strongly believe so will many young adults. We learn about a group of individuals that I had no idea existed during World War II and we also touch on some very important topics – racism, the treatment of Japanese Americans and sexism. Jane is the first to defend her fellow Americans – to her they are Americans first, not Japanese. These are good people that have contributed to their community and are facing persecution for their family history despite being contributing members for many years, business owners and friends. Jane is the perfect example that your gender does not impact your ability to succeed. She is just as smart, fast and good at her role as any other male.

This was a special novel that I enjoyed from start to finish – a great read for young adults (both male and female). It encourages you to learn more about the treatment of Japanese Americans, internment camps and even the war efforts at home. I think that this is the most important aspect of any historical fiction – that it empowers you to learn more and question what you do know. This is a definite must read novel for young adults.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Award-Winning, Best-Selling author, M.J. Evans grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and graduated from Oregon State University. She spent five years teaching junior high and high school students before retiring to raise her five children. She is a life-long equestrian and enjoys competing in Dressage and riding in the beautiful Colorado Mountains.

You can connect with the author on their website.

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

Continue Reading

Kissing Under the Mistletoe

From the Scottish highlands, to the bustle and tussle of London, to a hotel on the outskirts of town, three unforgettable authors bring the joy of Christmas romance in Kissing Under the Mistletoe.

About Kissing Under the Mistletoe

Miss Jane Bansil knows she will never have a fairy-tale moment. Well past the marriageable age, she’s taken a position as a companion and is now stuck in Scotland for Christmas, alone even in the middle of the boisterous MacTaggert family. But when Brennan Andrews, an architect and cousin to the MacTaggerts, arrives to draw up plans for a new family home, Jane must decide if she will take a chance at a happily-ever-after, or settle into her small, safe life for good.

Miss Isabelle Reed has no plans to ever fall in love. She has a perfectly acceptable life with her mother at the Dewberry Hollow Inn, thank you very much. But when Gate, the Duke of Notsgrave’s grandson, appears at Dewberry Hollow searching for a carving on a tree, Isabelle cannot help but get involved. But Gate’s charm and their instant attraction makes Isabelle question if she’s willing to take her chance at love once again.

Miss Eva Tiding is determined to cheer her widowed father with the perfect Christmas gift. Even if it means breaking into the home of the rakish Earl of Frostbough who swindled Papa out of his pocket watch. But when the earl, Jack Hardwick, catches her in the act, they strike a deal: she’ll pose as his fiancée in exchange for the watch. Falling in love is not part of the plan—but with a little Christmas magic, anything is possible.

My Thoughts

Kissing Under the Mistletoe is a lovely collection of novellas following three different love stories, the stories are full of love over the holiday season and makes a great addition to your must read fall collection.

In our first novella, we meet Jane who is stuck in the highlands for Christmas. I loved Jane, she is a quiet soul who doesn’t quite appreciate how wonderful she is (she has not had an easy life) and who had been rejected by her own family after aiding her cousin’s elopement (but how can you resist true love?). But when she meets, Brennan (a widow), she finds a kindred soul. You keep rooting for these two as you read each page, they both deserve love after all they have been through and you can tell the two will suit each other so well.

In our second novella, Isabelle has given up on all hopes of love and marriage. She is intend to run the inn with her aging mother. But when she meets Gate (and it is quite the meeting), she cannot resist his charm and the mission that he is on (it melted my heart!).

The final one was by far my favourite, we have two very headstrong characters who both feel that they are right. They come to an agreement that Eva will pose as his fiancée and in return, Jack will return her Papa’s watch. But what they didn’t count on? Their feelings for each other that begin to develop.

I loved this trio of stories, they were light, fun and full of romance. If you are looking for a fun romance to read this fall, this is the book for you.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4/5

About the Authors

Suzanne Enoch grew up in Southern California, where she still balances her love for the Regency romances of Georgette Heyer and classic romantic comedies with her obsession for anything Star Wars. Given her love of food and comfy chairs, she may in fact be a Hobbit. She has written more than 35 romance novels, including traditional Regencies, Historical Romance, and contemporary Romantic Suspense. When she isn’t working on her next book she is trying to learn to cook, and wishes she had an English accent. She is the bestselling author of The Scandalous Brides series, The Scandalous Highlanders series, and One Hot Scot.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Amelia Grey read her first romance book when she was thirteen and she’s been a devoted reader of love stories ever since. Her awards include the Booksellers Best, Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter, and the prestigious Maggie Award. Her books have sold to many countries in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and Japan. Several of her books have also been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. Amelia is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the Heirs’ Club trilogy and the Rakes of St. James series. She’s been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida.

Anna Bennett is the award-winning author of the Debutante Diaries and Wayward Wallflowers series. Her dream of writing romance began during a semester in London, where she fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. Now Anna’s living happily-ever-after in Maryland with her family, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen.

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

Continue Reading

A Reckless Match Book Review

A Reckless Match is the first in a new regency romance series by Kate Bateman about two feuding families, and reunited childhood enemies whose hatred turns to love.

About A Reckless Match

Madeline Montgomery grew up despising––and secretly loving––the roguish Gryffud “Gryff” Davies. Their families have been bitter rivals for hundreds of years, but even if her feelings once crossed the line between love and hate, she’s certain Gryff never felt the same. Now, she’s too busy saving her family from ruin to think about Gryff and the other “devilish” Davies siblings. Since he’s off being scandalous in London, it’s not like she’ll ever see him again.

As the new Earl of Powys, Gryff Davies planned on spending his post-war life enjoying the pleasures of London. But when an illegal duel forces him to retreat to his family’s Welsh castle, he realizes the only exciting thing in the dull countryside will be seeing the fiery Maddie Montgomery. Thoughts of his nemesis sustained Gryff throughout the war; but the girl he loved to tease has grown into a gorgeous, headstrong woman – who loathes him just as much as she ever did. Will secret tunnels, dangerous smugglers, and meddling from their feuding families be enough to make Maddie and Gryff realize that their animosity is really attraction…and maybe even love?

A Reckless Match is the first in a new regency romance series by Kate Bateman about two feuding families, and reunited childhood enemies whose hatred turns to love.

My Thoughts

In A Reckless Match, we have a young man and woman from two feuding families – sworn to hate each other but both whom are very much attracted to each other and trying to hide these feelings.

Madeline will do everything she can to save her family, she is strong, smart and will not give up. I loved her character and her strength and determination. She is not your typical female character from this type period, not feeling any urgency to marry nor to conform to societal norms. She is a beautiful, free spirit that will not let others tell her what to do. That was until she learned of her father’s debt and the impact this could have on her life – now she must make some serious decisions to ensure not only her security but her family as well. Enter what sounds like her childhood crush (also her sworn family enemy) and we have instant chemistry.

Together the duo stumble upon secret tunnels, a smuggling business hidden right under their feet and the start of them both acknowledging their feelings for each other. I loved both the seriousness of the situation and the flirty romance that begins between the pair. You can feel the spark between the two of them and how well they would fit together but will it work? Can they move past their family history? And can they overcome what is happening underneath their lands in order to have some sort of future together? The path that the two of them embark upon is full of ups and downs but it is perfect for their story. I loved every moment of this fun romance.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Kate Bateman, (also writing as K. C. Bateman), is the #1 bestselling author of historical romances, including her RITA® nominated Renaissance romp, The Devil To Pay, the Bow Street Bachelors series This Earl of MineTo Catch an Earl, and The Princess and the Rogue, along with the novels in the Secrets & Spies series To Steal a HeartA Raven’s Heart, and A Counterfeit Heart. When not writing novels that feature feisty, intelligent heroines and sexy, snarky heroes you want to both strangle and kiss, Kate works as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several popular TV shows in the UK. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England. Follow her on Twitter to learn more.

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

Continue Reading

Chipper Makes Merry

iRead Book Tours

Chipper Makes Merry takes you on Chipper’s arctic quest filled with lessons of love, kindness and determination.

About Chipper Makes Merry

Tip toe, tip toe, crackle, crunch!

​Chipper the Fox sneaks through the forest to spread cheer to his weary friends. Will his merry making be a success? Or will a smelly fish disaster and a log pile tumble ruin his plans?

“Chipper Makes Merry” takes you on Chipper’s arctic quest filled with lessons of love, kindness and determination.

Our Thoughts

Small acts of kindness go a long way, especially now as we face uncertainty, and it can be hard to find the good each day.

Chipper the Fox is a kind-hearted little critter who just wants to help his friends find happiness at a very difficult time in the Arctic. All of his friends are sad for different reasons and he wants to add just that tiny bit of sunshine to their lives. Does he makes little mistakes during his adventure? He sure does – but his kindness and good spirit shines through.

This is an adorable children’s book for an important message to young children. It is so important to teach young children that kindness, thoughtfulness and giving to others goes a long way. We never know what is going on in someone’s life – it is always best to treat all with kindness. If you see someone having a bad day, week or even month, it is a small gesture that could make a difference in their life. And if you can do it together as friends, even better! It is also important for them to understand that sometimes our kindness doesn’t work out quite the way we wanted it too but that doesn’t mean it was wrong or bad, just different.

The illustrations are lovely and bring to life the compassion and warmth of the story. The story itself is easy to read with a young child, we loved the way the story flowed together. This will be a great addition to your home library for all year round.

You can purchase a copy on Kimber Fox Morgan and Amazon.

About the Author

Morgan is a fun wife, and imperfect mom of 3 crazy kiddos and 2 little lemon (problematic) dogs. She tries to live her strengths the best she can. She likes to say she is creative, not crafty. Morgan is a homemade Halloween costume type of mom. She lets her kids mix the play doh. She bakes fun birthday cakes (cutely, but far from perfection). She loves a homemade valentine and a school project. Chipper the Fox is an extension of Morgan’s creative strength. Originally designed as character to create merry during the holiday season, Chipper has grown and developed into a story of determination and love.

You can connect with her on her website, Instagram and Facebook.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a signed copy of the book here.

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

Continue Reading

Halloween Yoga Book Review

Get excited for Halloween and learn some simple (and not spooky) yoga poses at the same time with Little Mouse and friends! 

About Halloween Yoga

Tammy McDoodle and her friends are dressed in their favorite costumes and so are Little Mouse and his best friend, Mr. Opus the cat, in this fun book which combines Halloween with straightforward yoga postures.

“Before you go out to trick or treat,” says Tammy’s mom, “Let’s do some Halloween yoga poses to keep calm”.

Your little ghosts and goblins will delight in simple, not-so-spooky Halloween yoga moves, such as witch, ghost, black cat, and jack-o-lantern poses. Children will get excited for Halloween while learning an easy way to stay calm and get healthy activity in this beautifully illustrated board book set to rhyme.

Our Thoughts

Yoga is a great way to get young kids (and adults!) to slow down, focus, ground themselves and be mentally and emotionally prepared to face the world. Halloween is always so much fun (it is by far my favourite holiday of the year) but with all the decorations, sounds and distractions it can be overstimulating and overwhelming for young children. How many meltdowns have you witnessed as a parent of an overstimulated, overtired (and likely had way too much candy all day) child? It is so important to give them the skills that they need to take a deep breath, perform a calming pose and then carry on with their activities. These skills, if developed and encouraged at a young enough age, will become great habits as they become older.

In this story, before the group even sets out to have a magical, mysterious fun night, they participate in some very calming (and spooky) themed yoga poses. The book itself is easy to read, fun to follow along with and to do the poses as you read it (we would stop and practice the poses and it did not take away from the story). The story has adorable illustrations that the whole family will love. Children will fall in love with the spooky and fun poses that they can incorporate into practice every day of the year (not just at Halloween). I loved how she made the practice fun – this is such an important part of encouraging, guiding and supporting young children, make it fun and they will want to do it over and over again. This will make a great addition to your child’s home library.

You can pre-order a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Teresa Power is an internationally recognized educator, keynote speaker and bestselling author of the award-winning series, Little Mouse Adventures and The ABCs of Yoga for Kids which have been translated into four languages.

In the 1980s, she started practicing yoga to de-stress from the vigor of law school, and subsequently became a yoga teacher. She is a sought-after speaker, having appeared at conferences, schools, and libraries across the nation.

Teresa enjoys volunteering and has worked with The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Choose Health LA, Let’s Move! West LA, University of Southern California and others. Teresa has been featured by Good Morning America, USA Today, Parenting, Reader’s Digest, Fox11 LA, Telemundo, CBS LA, and other media outlets.

In addition, she is the founder of the International Kids Yoga Day, whose mission is to make the life-changing practice of yoga accessible to everyone, regardless of age, location or finances. A graduate of University of Southern California, she earned her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law, and in 2002 completed a yoga training program with Indigo Yoga.

About The ABCs of Yoga

Our goal is to present parents, grandparents, teachers, and educators with a fun, unique and creative method to teach children a powerful art form, mindfulness outlet, and physical activity that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. Yoga has been shown to have numerous mental and physical health benefits that can help emotionally balance children, encourage more acute mental focus, and also serve as a beneficial physical exercise that they enjoy doing.  Our products use an intrinsically engaging and colorful method of inspiring children to learn yoga.  Enjoy the benefits of a more focused child with enhanced clarity and a calmer demeanor—thanks to the benefits of daily mindfulness through yoga.

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

Continue Reading