In June, I highlighted a phenomenal new picture book, Taste Your Words. It was the debut picture book from author Bonnie Clark. This month I am thrilled to recommend her new picture book, Catching Thoughts.
Catching Thoughts is an equally touching story about a young girl who learns an important lesson in self-care. Mental health and well-being is crucial, especially now as we all deal with the stresses and anxieties of this pandemic. Catching Thoughts is ideal for any kiddos who struggle with anxiety. I honestly think this book could help anxious youth and adults as well.
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I’ve been on quite the spiritual journey for the last two years as I’ve studied the Christian faith. My studies led me to Catholicism, and I’ve been doing a deep dive into the faith and its teachings. This includes reading tons of books like the writings of the early Church Fathers, apologetics, and conversion stories. In addition to reading, I’ve discovered the awesomeness that is Catholic YouTube. Priests like Father Mike Schmitz and groups like Catholic Answers have answered so many questions I’ve had about the Catholic faith.
Not long ago, I discovered a YouTube video of a talk given by a man named Keith Nester. Keith was a Protestant pastor who had recently converted to the Catholic faith in 2017. In doing so, he left behind his church, his job, his livelihood, and even friends. If someone was willing to give up that much to convert to the Catholic faith, I figured his story must be worth listening to. It was!
I could relate to much of what Keith was saying. I started to search for more of his videos and, to my delight, discovered that he has his own YouTube channel! Not only does Keith offer incredible videos, but he recently published his first book, The Convert’s Guide to Roman Catholicism: Your First Year in the Church.
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I will be sharing a few picture book reviews in the coming weeks as I have been fortunate enough to receive early copies of two upcoming releases, Catching Thoughts by Bonnie Clark and The Whatifs by Emily Kilgore. Both books deal with anxieties that kiddos face, a very important topic, especially given the current global pandemic.
I’ve been thinking about kiddos a lot lately and how difficult all of this must be for them to understand and to cope with. They had to end their school year early, they’ve had to be secluded from friends and relatives for weeks or months at a time, they are still restricted from some normal summer activities, and there is no definite answer about schools opening in the fall.
Now that bookstores and libraries are reopening, parents and kids have an exciting opportunity to get out of the house and explore some new stories. It’s also an exciting time for authors who’ve been waiting months to share their new stories with the world. Today, I’ll be highlighting Grown-ups Never Do That by Davide Cali, a timely tale with a much needed lesson for kids and a good reminder for adults too.
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Like most people, my activities the last three months have consisted of working from home, weekly trips to the grocery store, and watching the news for signs of re-opening here in New York. I was beyond thrilled to finally get a haircut a couple of weeks ago and to see us moving into Phase 3 of re-opening this week, at least in my neck of the woods. The best part of Phase 3? Both my local library branch and my nearest Barnes and Noble have reopened!
There are some indie bookstores downtown that haven’t reopened yet, but I’ll take what I can get! While it was exciting to finally be in familiar and comforting surroundings, it was definitely a surreal experience. Today, I will share my experiences of visiting the library and bookstore in a post-pandemic world. If your local branches or bookstores haven’t reopened yet, you can probably get a good idea of what to expect based on what I observed at mine.
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I feel for so many different groups of people who are being affected by this pandemic in different ways. I feel so badly for the kiddos who didn’t get to say goodbye to their friends or teachers for the year. My heart breaks for graduating seniors who got no prom, no commencement ceremony, and missed out on half of their senior year. I can’t imagine how difficult this time has been for those who live alone and can only interact with others virtually. While that helps, it’s just not the same.
I also feel so badly for authors, especially debut authors, who were to be published during this time and had to have their pub dates pushed back. Or to authors whose books did publish on schedule but were unable to promote their books with signings, school visits, etc. This will undoubtedly impact book sales, and it just doesn’t seem fair.
So for today’s blog, I’d like to highlight Taste Your Words, the debut picture book from author Bonnie Clark, which released in April.
Continue reading “Picture Book Review: Taste Your Words written by Bonnie Clark, illustrated by Todd Bright”
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I’m not just a reader, I’m a writer. I love writing! I’ve authored several books for young readers with subjects ranging from biographies to world cultures to social media trends. Back in March, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Rhys Keller for his writing website, rhyskeller.com.
Continue reading “My Interview with RhysKeller.com”
I love books set in the ‘40s-60s. I prefer Hollywood for the setting, but I’m not too picky. I just love stories set in that era. I lucked out with Brooke Lea Foster’s debut novel, Summer Darlings. It takes place during the summer of ’62 on Martha’s Vineyard. Summer Darlings offers a peek into the lifestyles of the wealthy who summer on the island through the eyes of one wealthy family’s babysitter, Heddy.
Heddy has certain goals for herself and for the summer – mainly to figure out how to pay for college in the fall and how to incorporate herself into this glamorous world by finding a husband. But we all know how the old saying goes about the best laid plans. Heddy soon finds herself thrust into a world of wealth, privilege, movie stars, gossip, love, lust, backstabbing, and scandal.
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Real life scandals can provide some of the best inspiration for novels. Admission by Julie Buxbaum draws from the real-life college admissions scandal in which several wealthy celebrities paid to have their kids’ SAT scores changed and fabricated a web of lies to gain entry into top colleges. Admission was intriguing because we’ve all heard about this scandal and can’t help wondering, “What were they thinking?” Well, Buxbaum attempts to reveal what they might have been thinking as she takes a peek behind the curtain of privilege to examine the lives of the rich and famous.
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The last couple of weeks have held a lot of uncertainty and I, like everyone, have been adjusting to this new normal. Since I work from home all the time, my day-to-day Monday through Friday routine wasn’t interrupted too much. I do miss going to the gym though as it provides not only a physical outlet for my stress but also gets me out of the house. Social distancing is getting to me, like it is for many, and I’m just so thankful that I have my hubby home with me. I can’t imagine how difficult this time is for those who live alone. One suggestion I can offer for anyone who is struggling with staying in and staying alone is to read.
As Mason Cooley once so wisely said, “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” I’ve never felt the truth of this sentence more deeply than during this time of quarantine, isolation, and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of us in the bookish community have taken Mr. Cooley’s words to heart these last couple of weeks and have engaged in binge reading. I read two celebrity memoirs last weekend (see my Instagram for details and mini-reviews!) and read two YA novels last week by Katey Taylor, Inebriated and Neon Nights. These two books were great examples of why I love YA, and I’m excited to share my reviews with you!
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We are living in chaotic times right now. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world, and life as we knew it even a week or two ago has changed dramatically. My hubby and I are practicing social distancing, trying to do our part to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus and not overwhelm our healthcare system. We are working from home and staying home unless in the event of an emergency. The idea of quarantine initially sounded terrible to me, but truthfully, things could be so much worse. Being at home for a couple of weeks while we work, stream videos, spend time together, and deep clean our house is not exactly a hardship. We can even have groceries and essentials delivered in a matter of hours. We can talk and video chat with loved ones to check on each other and keep our spirits up. And of course, there are books. I just might make a much needed dent in my TBR pile this year after all!
Seriously, though, today is day five of quarantine, and I might be starting to go a little stir crazy if it weren’t for my books. I plan to keep reading and posting reviews because I think we all need a distraction and something to look forward to, like new releases!
If ever there were a time for comfort reading, this is it! I was beyond thrilled to read the newest book from one of my favorite authors, The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin. The book releases June 2nd and is sure to be another hit like her previous nine novels have been. I’ve been reading Giffin’s books since her debut over ten years ago, Something Borrowed. She has become an automatic buy for me, or an automatic request via NetGalley. I was beyond thrilled to receive an early copy of her newest book, and the timing couldn’t have been better.
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