Sunday, March 22, 2020

#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine #TheMemoryBook #book #journal by @WriterRowland via #partner @mediamastersbk who provided a #free #reviewcopy #BooksConnectUs @goodreads

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 The Memory Box: A Book about Grief (ISBN: 978-1506426723; Hardcover $16.99; Ages 3-8).

The Memory Book: A Grief Journal for Children and Families by Joanna Rowland and illustrated by Thea Baker (Beaming Books; ISBN: 978-1506457819; Hardcover $17.99; Ages 3-8; 64 pages), a follow up and companion to the bestselling picture book

“For many, reading provides a place to go when we have to stay where we are.
 The Memory Box is just that. Suitable for those both young and old, this gift has a story to be told." 
– EveryStep Grief & Loss Services

I will always remember you…

Kindergarten teacher Joanna Rowland's best-selling The Memory Box: A Book about Grief has helped thousands of children and families work through the complex emotions that arise after the loss of a loved one, and has been used and recommended by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, EveryStep Grief & Loss Services' Amanda the Panda program, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, counselors, and more. The story of The Memory Box resonates with children suffering from loss, and grows in popularity year after year. Now Joanna Rowland is offering another resource to help kids heal while honoring a loved one. 

With The MemoryBook: A Grief Journal for Children and Families, Rowland has created a beautiful grief journal to help readers put her methods into practice. The Memory Book helps grieving families process their emotions together by remembering their lost loved one and creating their own memory album full of photos and keepsakes of the person they lost. With gentle prompts and ideas for journaling, drawing, and talking through grief, this journal will bring comfort in the midst of loss and be a keepsake for families for years to come.

Rowland discusses the process of writing The Memory Box:
“In writing The Memory Box, a book about grief, there were three people and their families that I was thinking about. In 2014, a relative that was meant to get my first published book Always Mom, Forever Dad (a positive picture book on divorce) lost her father suddenly a month before the book’s publication. I knew she needed a different type of book, and that’s when I knew I needed to write a picture book on grief. When I first found out her dad had passed away, I saw a photo of her holding her dad’s hand on the beach with the waves coming toward them. That image stayed with me. I knew somehow that I wanted to make a nod toward that scene in my writing. At the time, I had no idea what that story was going to be. I tried a couple of different ways to write about grief. My first attempt was a nature poem. But when thinking about how I would help a young child through grief, eventually the idea of a memory box came.

I was also thinking about my childhood friend, Scott, who was also gone too soon. He studied birds and had such a sweet soul. I have some sweet memoriesgrowing up with him. He’ll always hold a special place in my heart.

During the two years I spent writing about grief, we lost Marisa to cancer. I had coached her in synchronized swimming for years, and she swam with my niece and older daughters. It was heartbreaking. Marisa was so full of life with the most contagious smile.
All of these people were gone much too soon. These families had lost a father, a son, an only child, a daughter and a sister.

I had to get this story right. I think going through grief and taking my youngest to her first funeral at age six, helped me find a way to talk about death with my youngest and find the heart of the story. It still took me over two years to get the story right.

Grief is hard. Everyone has his or her journey with it. Allow yourself to grieve however you need to. There is no right or wrong way. There are support groups out there and other resources to help. Grief can be hard to communicate. I hope The Memory Box can be a tool to foster conversations and help keep the memories of your loved ones alive. The book also includes a guide in back that discusses ways to talk to your child about grief.
For anyone struggling with grief, my thoughts are with you.”

Author and illustrator:
Joanna Rowland grew up in Sacramento, California, where she still lives today with her husband and three children. She teaches kindergarten by day and writes picture books at night. In the summer, you'll find her at the pool coaching synchronized swimming or cozying up with a book. She is the author of The Memory Box: A Book about Grief, The Memory Book: A Grief Journal for Children and Families, and Stay Through the Storm.

Thea Baker grew up in a country town in England. She is currently living in Australia and working internationally as a children's illustrator. Thea obtained her BA (Hons) Degree in illustration at the prestigious Falmouth University. Her dissertation was on the subject of grief in children's books.

The Memory Box A Book About Grief

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

#FirstLine ~I lost my balloon once.

A must for families to help young ones dealing with and processing grief and loss. I work in emergency victim services and cannot wait to incorporate this book and journal into resources for the families we service. This book is not only beautifully written, but also beautifully illustrated. The book and journal duo is a great way for families to come together and celebrate and remember those we have loved and lost!

Friday, March 20, 2020

#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine #whatiwantyoutosee by @cblinka via #partner @Freeform and #FreeformBooks who provided a #free #reviewcopy #BooksConnectUs

A college freshman is swept into shaky moral territory within the cut-throat world of visual arts in this razor-sharp novel.

Winning a scholarship to California's most prestigious art school seems like a fairy tale ending to Sabine Reye's awful senior year. After losing both her mother and her home, Sabine longs for a place where she belongs. But the cutthroat world of visual arts is nothing like what Sabine had imagined. Colin Krell, the renowned faculty member whom she had hoped would mentor her, seems to take merciless delight in tearing down her best work -- and warns her that she'll lose the merit-based award if she doesn't improve.

Desperate and humiliated, Sabine doesn't know where to turn. Then she meets Adam, a grad student who understands better than anyone the pressures of art school. He even helps Sabine get insight on Krell by showing her the modern master's work in progress, a portrait that's sold for a million dollars sight unseen.

Sabine is enthralled by the portrait; within those swirling, colorful layers of paint is the key to winning her inscrutable teacher's approval. Krell did advise her to improve her craft by copying a painting she connects with...but what would he think of Sabine secretly painting her own version of his masterpiece? And what should she do when she accidentally becomes party to a crime so well-plotted that no one knows about it but her?

Complex and utterly original, What I Want You to See is a gripping tale of deception, attraction, and moral ambiguity.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
#FirstLine ~ Think of Krell as an angry art god who requires human sacrifice.

WOW, just wow. Talk about a book that makes you think. This book is filled with relevant topics mixed with an unputdownable story! What I Want You to See is a richly written original thriller. Not only is this story multilayered, it is also deeply character driven. The story takes you on a journey that is unlike any other. Bold and fierce, this story tackles topics that others do not and forces the reader to see a once invisible population! A hit and a MUST READ!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

#Reviews #MMBBR #SelfCare #JOMO #TheNoWorriesWorkbook #TheSelfCarePlanner thanks to @SimonBooks for providing the #reviewcopies

If you are anything like me you view January (and maybe February) as a trial period for implementing new things and becoming a better person. We come into the New Year with lots of great ideas. We are pumped for change and ready to do better. Deep down want to change, but we always give ourselves an escape clause.  I think New Year's Resolutions often fail because we try to do too much too quickly or do things without really thinking about why we are REALLY doing them or we do them with the wrong motivations.

I believe it can feel like a really big deal to try new things and to create new habits. It also takes concerted effort, lots of of work and determination. So, we quickly revert back to our old and comfortable habits. I have learned that it is easier when you follow well thought out plans with great insights and research.

The books listed below have something for everyone! These books create an easy outline to do things that make your life more meaningful. They also have ideas to enhance activities, relationships, interactions and so much more. With the enhancements you will learn through these amazing books you can find new ways to add more true depth and more meaning in your life.

Additionally, with COVID-19 out there looming, now is the best time to grab these books and take good care of yourself through this very uncertain and difficult time!!!

I highly recommend all of these titles. The books are more than just life boosters, they are more like life changers!!!!


JOMO by Jessica Misener
If you have the opposite of FOMO, this is the book for you. In JOMO, (aka, Joy of Missing Out), Misener details 350 brilliant ideas for staying in and remaining comfy, cozy, and content at home. Tips range from Host a Horror Movie Night or Slow Down With the Five Senses, to DIY a Spa Night or Have an At-Home Date Night! Use the activities in this book to save money by having fun at home instead of paying to go out, or tap into your introvert tendencies and spice up your night on the couch! It’s the perfect book for cancelling plans and having a relaxing night at home. 

The No Worries Workbook

The No Worries Workbook by Molly Burford
From global warming to social anxiety (and everything in-between), there is a lot to worry about right now- but author Molly Burford is here to help you cope with your worries in a healthy, productive way. Featuring more than 120 coping exercises- from creative activities to journal prompts to cognitive exercises- The No Worries Workbook helps you redirect when you feel the worries piling on.

Instead of focusing on why you worry, this guide provides exercises that place the emphasis on what to do about it. Hands-on activities refocus your attention away from unproductive thoughts, like Rearrange Your Room or Draw Your Dream Job, or help you practice mindfulness like Color Your Way to Calm and Take Belly Breaths. Get out of your head and get on with your life! 

 The Self-Care Planner

The Self-Care Planner by Meera Lester
Track your wellness goals with The Self-Care Planner! If you’re having trouble making time in your busy schedule to take care of yourself, or if you’re trying to understand what method of self-care works best for you, this is the book you need.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

#MMBBR #Review #Dovetail by @KarenMcQuestion via #partner #LakeUnionPublishing who provided a #free #reviewcopy @LUAuthors


From the bestselling author of Hello Love comes a spellbinding new novel of enduring love, family secrets, and mysterious death.

Joe Arneson’s ordinary life is upended by troubling dreams of himself as a different man in another place and time. It isn’t until he visits his estranged grandmother, Pearl, in her Wisconsin hometown that a startling connection emerges.

Drawn into his family’s past, Joe discovers secrets weighing on the old woman’s soul: the tragic death of her sister Alice a half century ago and its ripple effect on all who loved her. Digging into the events of that summer in 1916, Joe is convinced that his recurrent visions relate to Alice’s untimely passing and to the beloved man she meant to marry. With the help of Kathleen, a local woman Joe’s fallen for, the puzzles of the past start falling into place.

As uncovered truths bring Joe and Kathleen closer together, they also reveal a new danger. For Joe’s dreams may be a warning—from one star-crossed couple to another.

Dovetail by Karen McQuestion
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

#FirstLine ~ Time has a way of evening things out.

McQuestion is a master at telling a deeply moving story and capturing place and time like no other. In addition to her incredible storytelling, she has a way of creating characters you instantly connect to. In Dovetail, you follow the story of two remarkable people and see what happens when their lives intersect. This book has heart, dynamic dialogue and a story that is so hard to put down. You are moved by how people, who are nearly strangers, can come together and ultimately mend each other. A must read for all.

Please take advantage of being forced to be at home and read this amazing book! You will certainly thanks me!!!!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

#MMBBR #Review #InAnInstant by @SuzanneRedfearn via #partner #LakeUnionPublishing who provided a #free #reviewcopy @LUAuthors

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A deeply moving story of carrying on even when it seems impossible.
Life is over in an instant for sixteen-year-old Finn Miller when a devastating car accident tumbles her and ten others over the side of a mountain. Suspended between worlds, she watches helplessly as those she loves struggle to survive.
Impossible choices are made, decisions that leave the survivors tormented with grief and regret. Unable to let go, Finn keeps vigil as they struggle to reclaim their shattered lives. Jack, her father, who seeks vengeance against the one person he can blame other than himself; her best friend, Mo, who bravely searches for the truth as the story of their survival is rewritten; her sister Chloe, who knows Finn lingers and yearns to join her; and her mother, Ann, who saved them all but is haunted by her decisions. Finn needs to move on, but how can she with her family still in pieces?
Heartrending yet ultimately redemptive, In an Instant is a story about the power of love, the meaning of family, and carrying on…even when it seems impossible.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

#FirstLine ~ Mrs. Kaminski knew.

In An InstantThis book is still rattling around in my brain. It was intense. Deeply emotional. Character driven. It was one of those reads where you felt like you were in the story with the characters. The way is was written was striking and beautiful. You could feel the cold, the fear and heartache. I knew right away that this book had staying power in my heart and mind. It was a beautifully fleshed and drawn out story about how life can literally change in an instant. The character are put in an impossible situation and forced to make unthinkable choices. When they reflect back on that dreadful day, they begin to second guess what they chose in those desperate times. That day will haunt each and every one of them and you will get to be by their side while they all work through it in their own ways. You will get all the feels with this story and you WILL want to talk to others about it. I encourage you to get this book and read it with a friend while you are stuck in your houses. You will thank me!!!!

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