As a middle-grade book writer (for those of you who don’t know what that means, it’s the age group of third through eighth grade but is not limited to that age group), I tend to read books in my genre. I love books about dogs, and I love my age group.
That’s why I’m excited to review Phyllis Wheeler’s new book, The Dog Snatcher – book one in the Guardians of Time series (released November 1, 2022).
Doesn’t everyone dream of what it would be like to go back in time?
Children love this kind of story as it makes their imaginations run wild. As a former teacher who often served recess duty, I would hear the children using their creativity during playtime. Time travel was definitely part of it.
In The Dog Snatcher, a magic key found at the end of a driveway leads eleven-year-old Jake and his twin sister to a clock shop that helps them travel in time to help find their stolen dog. Many adventures and mishaps ensue for a page-turning read.
It’s a great read for new chapter-book readers, as the chapters are short and illustrated with delightful pictures to enhance the reader’s imagination. I highly recommend this book and look forward to its sequels.
Phyllis Wheeler, a homeschooling veteran, loves time-travel stories with a bit of fantasy thrown in. She writes books for kids that feature strong families and a moral compass.
Phyllis is the author of The Long Shadow, a time-travel tale that won a Purple Dragonfly Award and a Moonbeam Award. She and her husband live in St. Louis, where she tends her milkweed garden and hopes for butterflies.
I have the privilege of reviewing a soon-to-be-published book. I hope it gets you curious enough to follow the author for more good reads and tracking its publishing date.
Grieving the loss of a loved one is hard, especially when you are young and don’t know how to deal with your feelings. Maria Vezzetti Matson addresses this subject with grace in her upcoming novel, Legacy of an Immigrant: Four Generations of Flying.
Memories are often the best gift to help heal the burden of grief and Matson uses story to assist in the grieving process.
Matson is a gifted historical fiction writer, using her family experiences and locations to make this story come to life. Middle grade readers, teachers and adults will enjoy getting to know the characters as they jump to life from the pages. Matson is an author to keep your eyes on for more exciting adventures in children’s fiction.
While I had planned to review this book before its publication, I did not plan for its author to be the grand prize winner in my email blast giveaway. There were 150 entries, and my non-biased person pulled Maria’s ticket out of the box. Maria had so much fun opening the box that she made a YouTube video.
This book is filled with ROTFLOL belly laughs and giggle-snort moments, written by a humorist for a “chronologically” mature audience.
A giggle-snort might describe what Shel Harrington calls a “quinbloit,” or a word that is not yet in the dictionary.
Not to give spoilers, but two of my favorite quinbloits are:
BOOKMOCKER | book-mok-er (noun) A book labeled “historical fiction” that begins in the year you graduated from high school.
GUESTGUST | gest-guhst (verb) To get more cleaning done in the ten minutes before guests arrive than you usually do in a month. (My husband loves having guests since it forces me to clean house.)
Over 50, Even More Defined, is the second book in Harrington’s series of snort-worthy, eye-rolling laughs, defining words for those of us who have over-fifty moments that we can’t quite put the right word to, but those of our age would understand.
“After reading this book you’ll be equipped to communicate with your over-fifty buddies in shorthand. It’ll be like having your own secret code! As you read through these pages, you just may recognize yourself and others who are journeying through this special season of life with you. I hope having the words to accurately describe the adventure makes it more fun!”
Betrayed by his fiancée and best friend, he left forever. When Jake Reynolds left Archer Springs, Texas, in June 1957, he planned to return at the end of the summer, but that was before he found out his best friend and his fiancée had eloped together. Devastated and betrayed, he never returned to his hometown.
Fast forward twenty-five years. Jake receives a letter from a local land developer stating the property willed to him by his aunt and uncle will be destroyed and used for other purposes unless he returns and sells the land and house. A long-ago promise to his aunt and uncle that he would always keep the property in the family comes back to haunt him.
Now he needs to return and keep his promise, but that means coming face to face with the two people who betrayed him twenty-five years ago.
Vickie Phelps is a native Texan and has been writing since 1988. She loves to mentor other writers and in 2009 founded the East Texas Christian Writer’s Group which meets monthly for the purpose of encouraging and instructing writers in their pursuit of publication.
When she’s not writing, Vickie loves nothing more than reading a good book or discussing them with other readers. She spent eighteen years working for an independent bookstore, first as a bookseller, then as manager and buyer for the store. She retired from the store in 2012 and writes fulltime from her home in the piney woods of East Texas.
If you like romance filled with suspense, then this book is for you. As I got involved with the characters’ lives, the historical setting of morals and values made me long for simpler times when your word was your word and sweethearts fell in love and were committed to each other no matter what.
It’s a little bit historical romance mixed with modern troubles. It becomes a page-turner as trouble compounds from the size of a lit match to a raging inferno.
Prepare to anticipate the unthinkable as good and evil battle due to miscommunication and assumptions from years gone by.
As I visit my BFF from high school who lives in Wisconsin, I realize she lives just a few minutes from the lake mentioned in this book, Nebagamon.
I am so excited – no; I’m jumping-up-and-down thrilled – because for the first time ever reviewing a book, I can actually go to the place it talks about. Lake Nebagamon is a real place, not a fictional location made up by the author of the book I’m enjoying. This is non-fiction at its best.
When things like this happen, they are called a “God-wink” because I don’t believe in coincidences.
It’s a refreshing read. Every page I turned brought me thoughtful delight and encouragement, not only with scripture, but also design. This book is eye-pleasing in every way, as each page flows into the next story.
It’s a devotional you won’t want to wait for the next day to read and you will not want to put it down. Marci Seither has crafted a masterpiece from her heart. It’s the perfect devotional to supplement anyone’s personal quiet time.
It’s full of resources. Lakeside Retreat will add relaxing and thoughtful personal lake-time stories, scriptures, and prayers as well as surprise additions like games, crafts, recipes and even emergency supply bag suggestions to sustain you for 72 hours.
What other devotional can you name that comes packed with so much information and fun?
Marci, I LOVE this book and can’t wait to share it with my lake-loving friends.
This book has come into my life at the most appropriate time. My life has been turned upside down, packed up, moved out and on to new things, thousands of miles away from my normal life, permanently.
In the process, I am hurting and struggle every day. Dr. Michelle Bengtson’s book, Today is Going to Be a Good Day: 90 Promises from God to Start Your Day Off Right, has come to my rescue.
Dr. Michelle has been struggling with cancer, which has caused major health issues for months. Yet through her ongoing pain, she published a book to encourage and uplift its readers.
Dr. Michelle’s strength through a difficult trial, in and of itself, should inspire us. But she has opened her heart and bared her soul to share personal thoughts she kept through her days of painful struggles.
I have been reading her book daily and love how she includes scripture and a suggested piece of music to listen to. I find myself singing the song and if I’m not familiar with it, I will look it up. Christian music always lifts my spirits.
What is really cool is I already had a reminder on my wall about having a good day.
Dr. Michelle’s book is compact, making it easy to tuck into in a purse or briefcase. It’s one I plan on sharing with hurting friends.
God knows what He is doing if we trust Him, and I believe there is a bright side to life no matter how crazy it can get. This book has truly been a blessing to me, and I am grateful Dr. Michelle chose to share it with the world.
It’s easy to feel unheard and misunderstood in today’s age of hyper-speed communication.
But guess what? Feeling misunderstood is nothing new.
In this unique book, Mary DeMuth tells the stories of ten women in the Bible who were misunderstood in their own time (and often still are).
This book offers real-life conversations about what it means to endure the pain of being misunderstood and reminds you that there is always One who understands you perfectly.
Mary DeMuth has always been an author who knows how to address tough subjects with grace.
As a woman, I feel misunderstood and underappreciated all the time. I struggle with feelings of inadequacy and not being good enough.
How wonderful it is to have a book that gives insight into the lives of Biblical women who went through the same feelings women go through but may not talk about. Those hidden feelings are universal and though women may experience them differently, this book gives camaraderie to modern women from relatable women of a different era.
Biblical women helping women deal with issues only women understand. I am reminded that we are not meant to be alone in this world.
DeMuth has crafted this book with great care to encourage and strengthen women in spirit and faith. It is worth every minute of a misunderstood woman’s time, or, if you happen to be a man, read it to learn more of how women think and feel.
The Most Misunderstood Women of the Bible – purchase on Amazon
Patrick Barrett grew up on the back of a donkey. In the small village of Liscarroll, the young boy helped his family run a sanctuary for abandoned and abused donkeys.
Struggling in school, Patrick only felt truly accepted in the presence of these funny, fuzzy, touching animals. It was like magic, how he and the donkeys understood each other. He became a true “donkey whisperer”—reading their body language, communicating with them in ways they could understand, and teaching himself how to “speak” in their distinctive calls.
But when Patrick was of age, he shipped out with the Irish Army and encountered unimaginable wartime horrors in Lebanon and Kosovo. In the aftermath, he returned home a broken man, sinking into the depths of PTSD and addictions. He believed nothing could save him. But he hadn’t counted on the donkeys.
Sanctuary is the remarkable true story of how faith turned one lost man’s life around with the help of the rescue animals who loved him. It’s an antidote to despair and a call to hope, revealing the beauty and wonder of Ireland as you’ve never seen it before.
This true story of an Irish village, a man who lost his way and the rescue donkeys that led him home should be recommended reading for all those in recovery programs of every kind.
Patrick shares his raw, honest emotions at every stage in his journey, from childhood alcoholism to humble submission to God’s call on his wayward heart. His open sharing of his experience evoked a range of emotions within me from sorrow to joy, frustration to clarity.
Woven within the story by analogy is his love for rescuing and relating to donkeys and their personality traits. Animal lovers will enjoy this read as Patrick truly has a soft heart for his four-legged friends and should be known as the ‘donkey whisperer.’
Patrick Barrett and Susy Flory, co-authors of Sanctuary.
Sanctuary will encourage and uplift an addicted heart to seek help, reminding the reader that God’s love is unconditional. I enjoyed this true story of rebellion and redemption and highly recommend it.
Francine Rivers’ latest novel, The Lady’s Mine, is true to Rivers’ writing form.
You’ll be in California Gold Rush days from page one to the end, feeling like you’re living it. Rivers’ detailed style draws the reader into that era with flair as you feel every bump on the washboard, dusty gravel roads, to slipping around on mud-slathered streets. Calvada, though fictional, is true to western settlements of those early California-Nevada days.
Then, just for fun, Rivers builds an unlikely romance between the main characters. Like the back cover reads, she’s new to the lawless mining town and he’s one of its most prominent citizens. Neither wants anything to do with the other. It will tug at your heart strings and have you laughing one minute and crying the next.
Yet another Francine Rivers novel you can’t put down.
Solomon’s Porch is an excellent read and has come at a timely place in my life.
My mom is in her last moments on this earth with dementia. Solomon’s struggle gives me fictional insight into what a person with dementia might feel and has helped me understand my mother’s struggle.
You will laugh. You will cry. Your emotions will ride a roller coaster, but you will love every minute of this craftily written novel. Janet Morris Grimes is a gifted writer and I look forward to reading more from her.
About the Author
Janet Morris Grimes may not have realized she was a writer at the time, but her earliest childhood memories were spent creating fairy-tale stories of the father she never knew. That desire to connect with the mysterious man in a treasured photograph gave her a deep love for the endless possibilities of a healing and everlasting story.
A wife of one, mother of three, and Tootsie to four, she currently writes from her quiet two-acre corner near Louisville, Kentucky. She’s spent the last few years preparing to introduce her novels and children’s stories to the world.
More from Janet
I’d have to say my inspiration for the character of Solomon Thomas came from my precious father-in-law. When we lost him almost ten years ago, we were inundated with countless stories of simple, behind-the-scenes acts of kindness he offered over many decades. I’m not sure he realized what a difference he made in the lives of others.
The same is true for my main character, Solomon Thomas. He comes from such a place of deep tragedy. Once he lost everything, he had nothing left to offer but himself. So he did.
There are many themes running throughout this story. A lost sense of home. Running out of time. Redemption and second chances. But more than this, connection and community. Sometimes, we are so trapped by our own brokenness, we don’t know how to let others in. But what if we did?
Solomon learned to do just that. Show up for people, and let them into his world as well. And over time, it was enough to breathe new life into his beloved town of Ginger Ridge.
What happens next? Solomon deserves a sequel, so I’ll be working on that very soon.