Okay... This one took me two sittings--but only because I had to sleep! I will also confess at this point that ever since the eighth grade, Horror is my favorite genre--when done right. I love books that hook me in, and right away I knew this book was different. A completely unique story about a family whose women all have a secret power​, which they work to conceal (think black widow spider). Now it is Val's turn to carry on the family legacy, but she has different ideas of what she would like to do with her love life--and her powers. 

Brilliant writing against a fully-developed setting that will keep you reading until you find out the secrets of the Sawkill girls.

Explorer Academy Falcon's Feather

Series: The Explorer Academy 
May 16, 2019 $16.99
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1426333040

Ages: 8-12

Genre: Middle-Grade-Super-Unique Mystery, Detectives, Coding & Puzzle Activity Book

Sawkill Girls

By Claire Legrand
Katherine Tegan Books,  Oct. 2, 2018 $17.99, ISBN-13: 978-0062696601,

 Ages: 14+

Genre: YA Contemporary-Realistic Fiction with a Paranormal Twist, Gothic, Horror, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Relationships, Friendship, Social and Family Issues, Family Secrets,  First Love, Coming-of-Age

by Dr. Thomas McDonagh & Patrick Hatcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Among the many helpful tips and ideas offered by the author Thomas McDonagh, a licensed clinical psychologist in the San Francisco area; and Patrick Hatcher, a humorist who has experienced anxiety first-hand--and has Masters in many medically related fields (listed in author bio info), so he backs up the quick and relatable tips with scientific research and updated studies. I love this book because you can literally open it up on any page and get something out from it. Each chapter has numbered "coping techniques" and tips to overcome anxiety. As a sufferer of "anxiety disorder" myself, I had already learned (and use!) many of the ideas presented through my own therapy and while working with my daughter through an intensive DBT class. I learned a lot, and I believe this book really does have take-away for all ages who can read. With new technologies and the reality of the pervasive (and invasive?) social media world--especially for children and teens. 

I love when that happens...

Explorer Academy Codebreaking 

Series: The Explorer Academy 
May 16, 2019 $16.99
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1426333071

Ages: 8-12

Genre: Middle-Grade-Super-Unique Mystery, Detectives, Coding & Puzzle Activity Book

Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret 

Series: The Explorer Academy 
By Trudi Trueitt, 
Sept. 4, 2018 $16.99
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1426331596

Ages: 8-12

Genre: Genre: Middle-Grade-Super-Unique Mystery, Detectives, Growing Up & Facts of Life, Friendship, Social &School Life 

Want More?  National Geographic Collections Page.


Favorites from 2018 fiction & nonfiction

101 Ways to Conquer Teen Anxiety: Simple Tips, Techniques and Strategies for Overcoming Anxiety, Worry and Panic Attacks


By Marcy Campbell &illustrated by Corinna Luvken

Dial, Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN-13: 9780735230378
Genre: picture book fiction, love, imagination, friendship, fears,  inspirational, encouragement, 

This picture book made my heart melt upon reading. A lovely, simply told story that every young reader understands, no matter what side of the monkey bars you’re on. Shows kindness, empathy, imagination, understanding, service, and forgiveness, and judging on appearances....

The illustrations perfectly complement the story, in such a way that even the youngest of readers will understand what is happening. The story is short and simple, allowing readers to view or think about how another may feel as a result of someone's words from facial expressions and body language. The reconciliation occurs in a seamless, non-preachy way, as the characters reach out in a completely realistic way to resolve their differences, and apologize, even if in a non-traditional way. This deeply moving story has a satisfying ending, and readers are able to view how sometimes friends fight, and being angry and upset is okay. And friends make up, too. With themes of kindness, empathy, compassion, and of course, never judge a book by its cover. 

#MustRead#HolidayGifts #BookGifts #TeachersGifts #KidLit #PictureBooks#Kindness #Empathy #Forgiveness #MarcyCampbell #Corinna #Dial, #KimChildress #GirlsLife #ChildressInk #BookReviews #kquinn Marcy Campbell Books Katie Quinn


by Henry Turner
​Clarion, 2018, $17.99
ISBN-13: 978-0544284777

Ages: 12+

Genre: YA fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Paranormal, Relationships, Class, Stereotyping, Family, First lLve, Twist

Endings, Horror, 2018 Favorite

​​I love books that make you think, and The Hiding is one that will keep you reading and continue to linger in your mind for some time. Usually I can catch twists, but this one kept me hooked and surprised me enough I had to go back and re-read certain parts. The narrative is stylistically different, and could be considered choppy or confusing for younger readers, but reluctant readers should be hooked from the start, gradually getting to know 16-year-old Danny Preston, as he comes to find himself stuck in his ex-girlfriend's house after sneaking in an open window. Laura's parents never approved of Danny, and he was never allowed in her home while they dated,. Readers enter the house with Danny and gradually discover more about him and his relationship with Laura, through flashbacks which gradually lead to an unexpected ending that will satisfy, provoke conversation, and most-likely have readers re-reading with new understanding. 

From the time I was able to read, even as a three-year-old, I became fascinated with National Geographic magazine. The vivid photographs of real places, real people, and information on so many fascinating things that I didn't know about! I grew up before the time of the Internet--I know! Crazy, right?--and I lived in the library, close enough I could ride my bike. And I loved the feeling of picking up a new issue of the glossy, slick, thick magazine, and reading about oceans, outer space, or a photo-shoot in the Galapagos Islands, National Geographic has covered it all. Whether periodical, paperback, or social media platform, National Geographicis known for producing content of quality and excellence. And now, National Geographic's foray into middle grade fiction is all I would expect and more!

In The Nebula Secret, the first in a seven-book series, Cruz, Emmett, and Sailor become part of a group of 23 children who are training to become the next generation of explorers. With leading scientists, technological advances, and lots of cool gadgets, this story pulls you in from page one. ​​

Stand Beautiful 

by Chloe Howard, illustrated by Deborah Melmon
Zondervan, $16.99
Ages 2+, ALL AGES
: picture book fiction, animals, self-esteem, disability, humor, love, friendship, growing, kindness, consideration, inspiration, encouragement, tackling fears, bullies, imperfections, EXACTLY WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS RIGHT NOW!

​I love this picture book so much I immediately bought two as gifts, one for my daughter’s high school graduation, and one as a new baby gift. Simply put, I think every person who picks up this book can’t help but love it, because everyone EVERYONE can see themselves in one of the animal characters. Not only does the book promote kindness, it teaches kids to recognize feelings and emotions, it promotes self-esteem, and also breaks down bigger concepts into simple language, like bravery. “Stand beautiful,” is says, “Be true to who you are! And stand up for others. That’s standing beautiful.”

A young girl starts out on a walk and visits friends while making new ones and spreading a message of being proud of who you are, from the inside out. From the first giraffe through a wide variety of animal characters and boys and girls, including a young boy in a wheelchair. And the author knows from experience how sometimes it’s hard to stand proud of who we are. Chloe Howard was born with a foot deformity that required five major operations by the time she was fifteen. Through her hardships, she is now on a mission to empower people of all ages to embrace their uniqueness and boldly  face their beautiful selves. Visit standbeautiful.me for more information about Chloe and her message. 

Off & Away

written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
Disney-Hyperion, June 2018, $16.99
Ages 3-5, 48 pages, 9781484782323
Genre: picture book fiction, humor, love, friendship, fear, father/daughter, sea stories,  inspiration, encouragement, tackling fears, crossover appeal to older audiences

​Hands down one of my favorite picture book this summer, with unique illustrations that show subtle details readers will love looking at again and again. In this imaginative tale showing the bond between a father and daughter, Jo’s dad is the one who travels across seas and makes sure every message in a bottle gets to the right home, and Jo wants to be a great adventurer just like him, but her fear of the water gets in the way. Jo’s imagination “goes overboard” when she thinks about what monsters lurk beneath the water’s surface, with illustrations that perfectly capture the capture the fears of “every child” in glorious fashion. Until the day Jo’s dad comes down with a bad sea cold, and Jo knows no one else with deliver the bottles unless she does. I continue to find new details every time I read this book. The illustrations are bold yet whimsical, and they perfectly portray this whale of a story that should find its way onto every reader’s bookshelf. 

read in one sitting: 

Page with help by Robert Carter