A Tale of Two Pages

Books, life, motherhood, and more!

Ranger Rick Kids’ Guide to Paddling ~A Book Review~ — June 19, 2018

Ranger Rick Kids’ Guide to Paddling ~A Book Review~

Summer is finally here, and its time to get some water fun and sports in. If your family is anything like mine then you spend the majority of your summer around water of some kind. I insisted that my kids learn to swim early on, but that is still not enough sometimes. Depending on the water sports that you are going to be doing there are other things that kids are going to need to learn and of course, master before they set foot on the water.

I got a copy of the Ranger Rick Kids Guide to Paddling, and I have to say – this is one of the best books that kids can get their hands on. Pictures, advice, tips and more are all laid out in this easy to read book. I love that my boys can get the tips through a fun to read and easily laid out book. Mom can tell them all day long what they need to know, but sometimes, you have to look at things from another angle.

Some of the things that are talked about throughout the book are life vests, what to do in certain situations, and how to avoid disaster. It even tells you to PRACTICE some of the issues that you might run into, so that you know how to respond if a situation arises that you need to get yourself out of.

I loved Ranger Rick magazine as a child. I remember being so excited to get them in the mail each month, so when I see something with the Ranger Rick name on it, I know its going to be something worth the money.  This book is available now, so if you have summer birthdays – here is the perfect gift! I might be looking into these for my nieces and nephews for just because presents!

Have you read anything by Ranger Rick? Share them with us here!

A to Z Mysteries: The Missing Mummy ~A Book Review~ — June 15, 2018

A to Z Mysteries: The Missing Mummy ~A Book Review~

Hey all! I have a  quick and short review to share with you today!  If you are looking for a fun, quick and easy read for your kids this summer, check out these books! I listened to The Missing Mummy through Scribd, and it took me less than an hour to listen through.

Review

Three friends are looking forward to some fun at the museum during the week. The first item up is Mummy Monday. But while the professor is showing them the mummies, someone steals one of the mummies out of the case! The three friends stumble upon a few clues and work to help the police solve the mystery.

If your child is learning to read on their own, or just looking for some summer books, then you need to check these out! My boys and I will be finding these books at the library and working through them together.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to have come across these books! I have been searching for something that my son can read through this summer that is a little outside his comfort zone. These are super simple, the words are small enough that beginning readers can easily read, and more advanced readers will be sucked into the mystery aspect quickly. Perfect for out loud reading before bed, or quiet time in the afternoons.

Author: Ron Roy

Let me know what ya’ll think of these books! Share your favorites with me.

The Romanov Empress – A Book Review — June 3, 2018

The Romanov Empress – A Book Review

Good afternoon readers! I have a new book review for you! This book releases 10 July, 2018! Put it on pre-order now! C.W. Gortner is one of the best when it comes to historical fiction, and he has outdone himself with this novel. I could not put it down! I was hooked from the beginning. I hope ya’ll enjoy this read as much as I did!

Get ready to be transported back to Russia, a glittering court, and of course, the eventual end of the Romanov dynasty.

 

Review:

A young Danish princess, Minnie has led a rather quiet life. Her family has never had a lot of money, and they have done most of the work themselves. When her father suddenly becomes the heir to the Danish throne, their lives begin to change. Her sister Alix takes the British heir as her husband, and suitors are soon clamoring for Minnie’s hand as well. She accepts the suit of Nixa, the Romanov heir, but before they can marry, he is injured in an accident, and eventually dies from his injuries. He makes her promise to marry his brother Sasha, and while Sasha agrees, Minnie does not give her promise.

As her life with Sasha moves forward, their relationship moves from tepid to full-blown love. Together they raise several children and watch as their empire goes through several different turns. Murder, Rebellion, Revolution – Russia is a hotbed of activity. As Minnie does her best to keep her fragmented family together, war comes to Russia. When her son assumes the throne, he is unprepared, and his chosen wife, Alexandra of Hesse is not prepared for the duties of a Russian Empress. As the family pulls further into itself, Minnie tries to prod her son to action, but his distance only pushes the revolutionaries further.

This was an amazing book! I loved it from start to finish! We all know the story of the Romanov family, assassinated in the basement of a house, but we have not heard much about the mother that lost her son and grandchildren. Marie’s story brings the entire Romanov dynasty together as they try to survive within the ravages of war, and the heartbreak that would have broken a weaker woman.
C.W. Gortner has outdone himself with this book! It was hard to put down and I snatched any time that I had to read and learn more about this dynamic woman who fought to save as many of her family as possible and keep the Russia she loved together.

Destiny’s Mate – A Book Review — June 1, 2018

Destiny’s Mate – A Book Review

Good day readers! This week has been flying by, and the weekend is closer than it was yesterday! If you are planning your weekend reading, then you need to check out this super cute little paranormal romance. Brey King has pulled drama, humor, and a little love into her books. They are perfect for your weekend on the beach, or just lounging on the couch.

Destiny’s Mate took me less than an hour to read, and I enjoyed the entire book! It held my attention from the beginning, and I enjoyed watching the characters unfold and how each one interacted with the other. What are you waiting for? Head over to Amazon and check her out! While you are there, you can look to see what other books Brey King has released! Get ready for some fun adventures! These are clean works, so there is nothing in there that would shock anyone. Simple, easy, and enjoyable! You will be wanting the second book before you are finished with the first!

Review:

Destiny is on the run. Her mother is attempting to force her to marry someone she cannot stand. While she knows that the perfect mate it out there somewhere, she is just not exactly sure of where to find him at. After being attacked by the one who wants to marry her, she flees her families land.

Finding her mate is taking longer than she expected, but she is certain that she is close. But just when she finds him, the unexpected happens, and Voss shows up and attempts to kidnap her away from Luke.

A fun and quick read, just perfect for the lunch hour break! The passion in this delightful novel will not leave you disappointed!

 

So what are you waiting for!? Enjoy a little fun reading this weekend and relax!

Weekends… a local myth — May 27, 2018

Weekends… a local myth

I know that I cannot be the only one who feels this way! Weekends are the time that we have to rest, recoup, and catch up on everything that didn’t get done during the week…. right? WRONG! I constantly find myself battling the weekends. I have been sitting at my computer all day, trying to get some work caught up that lagged during the week. I got a big fat ZERO accomplished today. I played on FaceBook, I planned out my weekend reading and looked over some work that needs to be done. But I just could not bring myself to get anything actually accomplished.

Each weekend, I tell myself that I will get everything done and not stress out. I am sitting here staring at a list a mile long, trying to figure out how to get it all done tomorrow so that Monday can be a full day of nothingness. After talking to a girlfriend of mine, I realized that I am not the only one who goes through this. We all suffer from the weekend loss. It seems that kids are the only ones immune from the mundane of the weekend, and that is just because they honestly do not realize how good life is for them right now.

We all hope for the best, and we look forward to resting and playing all weekend. Real life, however, is not that way. I am staring at a laundry pile that is overflowing out of my laundry room. Grocery shopping has been done, only because my husband decided to do it today. Housework – well that is a never-ending battle, right? I always pray that I can get done what I need to, and have weekends completely free. WIth kids in the house, I know that there are never going to completely “free” weekends. With Boy Scouts, summer activities, bowling, etc etc etc, there is always something going on.

I love to be busy, but there are days I really want to just sit down and do nothing. I decided to pull a little bit of fun from today, and have pulled out a cross stitching pattern I have been dying to get started. Tomorrow is another day, but it is one day closer to the weekend being over.

Sound off, and tell me how you plan your weeks and weekends! I would love to hear suggestions! I am ready to reclaim my weekends!

 

The Widows Watcher – A Book Review — May 22, 2018

The Widows Watcher – A Book Review

I have a new book review to share with you! This book is scheduled to be released on May 29, 2018. Get your library to request it, or pre-order it today. It was that awesome. I sat and read the entire book in just under three hours – it was that good! I am going to warn you though – this book will run you through the gambit of emotions, and run you through an emotional wringer. I wanted to set it aside and finish another time, but there was no way I could set the book down and move on. I had to know what was going to happen next! Add this to your summer reading pile! It is one that is definitely worth the read.

*Some adult language used in the book*

 

Review:

She was suffering from a loss. So was he. She was ready to end it all, but he refused to let her…..

Jenna Shaw is suffering guilt and grief from losing her entire family in an accident. She was supposed to be there, but the chance to have some quiet time was something she could not pass up. Sending her family to Alaska, she gets ready to settle down to some much-needed rest and recuperation after a busy summer. But then tragedy strikes, and she is left alone – forever. She has coped the best she can, but she is ready to let everything go, and join her family in death. She hears her daughter Cassie’s voice in her mind – but nothing from the remainder of her family – just her teenage daughter giving her advice, and questioning the choices that she is making.

Lars is suffering from a loss of his own. He has covered the grief over the many decades that have gone by, but the memories are still there. He does the best he can to cope, but at any moment, the memories can rear their head. Two children missing, one son who was left behind, and the one person who knows where they might be is not talking. Lars has done the best he can to move on, but both he and his son have buried the memories of the day his mother walked out of their lives, taking her two youngest children with her. While no sign of Francine or Will is ever discovered, Audrey is discovered – incoherent and mentally broken.

Jenna shows up next to his house, thinking that she will walk out into the lake and just end everything, but Lars catches her and refuses to let her kill herself. Saving her life, he drags her back towards his house. Instead of bringing her inside, he leaves her on his porch, in a frigid Minnesota winter. When the tow truck driver finally shows up, she is in for an even bigger surprise. Owen forces his dad to take Jenna in until he can get her van fixed, and neither of them is happy with the situation. As the days go by, a truce is formed, and little by little a friendship begins to form.
As their stories unfold, they both find that they are burying painful memories, and perhaps the other can help them get through the grief.

Eventually, Lars asks Jenna to use her skills as a journalist to see what she can uncover about his family and the mysterious disappearance of his children. He is desperate for any information that can be uncovered, holding onto the slimmest shred of hope. Jenna is hesitant to do so, but she does not want to let Lars down. She begins to dig into the families past, but she discovers that there is more than one secret lurking, and the truth just might destroy the fragile older gentleman’s heart once and for all…

 

Lake Union Publishers

Release Date: 29 May 2018

Eliza Maxwell – author

Advanced Copy from NetGalley

What Lies Below – A Book Review — May 14, 2018

What Lies Below – A Book Review

Oh dear readers – do I have a treat for you!! If you love a good thriller, then you are going to fall in love with this book! It publishes on 15 May. 2018 – so you have time to get it pre-ordered! I used my Mother’s Day evening to sit and indulge in reading a book from start to finish, and I have been dying to read through this one. It was the perfect book to sit and get lost in! You will be drawn in from the first page, holding your breath to see what happens next (please, do remember to breathe while reading, passing out is not fun), and feeling all the feels. Anxiety, the pain of a missing child, anger, laughter, and so many more! As a mom, these books can be difficult to read, even though its not true – the thoughts still run through your mind. Ahh okay, enough rambling – here is the review! Enjoy!

Gilly is trying to put the past behind her, but the memories refuse to stay buried…

Gilly has moved to Wyatt, Texas hoping to move on and put the murder of her husband and the loss of her daughter behind her. She meets a young single dad, and his daughter Zoe – who come into the cafe where she works each Wednesday morning for breakfast. Gilly has dreams, disturbing dreams about things that are going to happen. Sometimes they come true, sometimes they don’t. But the newest dreams really bothers her. Zoe is being taken by a woman. When she gets to work and discovers that the dream is true, she is frightened. She knows that her past could catch up with her and she could become the prime suspect…..

This book was fantastic! I read it in one sitting. I could not put it down at all. There are some adult scenes, and language throughout the book.

This book will keep you guessing through all the twists and turns that it takes. A missing girl, a frantic community, and the one person that no one can place – yet will break the case wide open…

 

With Musket and Tomahawk: The Saratoga Campaign and the Wilderness War of 1777 — May 11, 2018

With Musket and Tomahawk: The Saratoga Campaign and the Wilderness War of 1777

Note – there are some spoilers in this review, I could not do it justice without them! I apologize in advance! I do my best to keep most spoilers out, but there are times I just cannot bypass them.

THE BRITISH ARE COMING!!

Michael O. Logusz brings to the forefront a little followed section of the American Revolution. When we think of the American Revolution, we think George Washington and his amazing and daring tactics in bringing the British to their end in the American colonies. However, there is much more to this war than many are familiar with.
As we move through the many facets of the Wilderness Campaign, it can get really easy to get bogged down with some of the details. If you are looking for a novel read, this book is NOT for you. But if you want to get a deeper understanding of the Wilderness Campaign of 1777, the major players AND the mistakes that plagued both sides, then this is a MUST READ!! Logusz breaks down the campaign by days, not just notable markers. You get to know the mindset of not only the American Continental Army, but the British Officers as well. Taking the day by day approach, readers are treated to not only to maps and details from correspondence between the leaders, but to the fears and the doubts that plagued both sides. As the troop movements commenced and the Wilderness Campaign heated up, the Northern Army operated as well as they could. Supplies and moral were in place. However, on the British side, things were much different. Lack of supplies, risky intelligence, lack of knowing the area, and loyalist advisors who were in it for themselves, a reader can almost feel as though they are marching through these forests themselves.
Michael Logusz brings readers not only the big picture of how the Wilderness Campaign was lost, but the smaller and finer details that often escape other writers. From some of the first snipers in American history to the murder of Jane McCrea by Native Americans fighting for the British, the nitty-gritty details are brought to the front.
As General John Burgoyne began to prepare for his foray into the war, he studied the maps and what little intelligence that they had concerning the wilderness areas of the colonies. What they did not realize was that their maps were completely out of date and what they were being told from some of the loyalists that were still residing in the areas was not always completely true. According to the maps, what should have been a straight and narrow shot through the countryside was in fact, full of ravines and other obstacles that had not been noted. The British considered the American Patriots weak, and thought the war was won before they even started. As they moved into their first battles with the patriots, they were shocked at the tactics that they employed. To this point, British regulars had only been faced with pitched battles where each side would come out and meet each other head on. Instead, the patriots borrowed from their Native American counterparts, and began to use more guerilla tactics. They hid, they jumped up and fired, then ran. General Burgoyne kept waiting for the many loyalists that he had been told were waiting for the British before they would join but those loyalists never fully materialized. As for the American Patriots who were opposing the British, they were entrenched and more determined than they were given credit for. Even though they lost Fort Ticonderoga early, they managed to not give up much more.
As you read through there are several details that will catch you and make you thumb back a few pages. This is not a bad thing! The facts are such that you have to almost view British and American thought side by side, and Logusz does just that!

Grab the book and join the Wilderness Campaign today! From triumph to hesitation, “With Musket and Tomahawk” will take you on a journey that will have you wanting to dive deeper in.

 

The Darkling Bride – A Book Review — May 10, 2018

The Darkling Bride – A Book Review

If you are searching for a great read – one that is thrilling, enchanting, and just hinges on the dark… then this is the book for you!! Oh my goodness!! Total book hangover today! I could not put it down, and I had to figure out how it ended before I could sleep. Dive in and discover the delicious mystery housed within the walls of this medieval castle!

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A decades old murder, and a abandoned tower that holds more than just memories…

Carrah has landed her dream job. She has been tasked with working through the library at the Gallagher castle. As they prepare to turn the castle over to the National Trust, a full inventory must be made of all the books. While she prepares to begin the monumental task of going through the thousands of books in the room, she meets the Lord of the Castle. Aiden is not your normal Viscount. He is a Detective Inspector in London, and has no time for the memories that are held within the castle walls. It might have been his inheritance, but he wants nothing to do with it.

Decades earlier, his parents were murdered in the castle. Only ten years old at the time, Aiden and his sister Kyra went to live with their Aunt Nessa in Kilkenny. The castle was shut up, except for a few workers who have maintained the home, no one has been there in years.

Carrah knows that Evan Chase, one of her favorite authors, had spent time at the castle. He married Jenny, daughter of the viscount, and agreed to remain there with her, due to the “delicate health” that she suffered from. But Jenny begins to lose her grasp on reality, and refuses to accept her son as such. She is convinced that he is a changling, an imposter. Nothing her family can do can change her mind about the child. When Jenny commits suicide, Evan leaves the castle for London, abandoning the book on the Darkling Bride that he had been working on.

The Darkling Bride – an old Irish legend which haunts the castle. Happiness never seems to last for the Gallaghers who reside within its walls, and the Darkling Bride is always lurking within the mists surrounding the castle.

As Carrah and Aiden become closer, the castle begins to share some of the secrets held within. As they work together to solve a riddle that his mother had left behind decades earlier, they find a lot more than a birthday present stashed away….

Murder, family secrets, and intrigue come together to weave a spellbinding story – one that you cannot walk away from until you have finished! I can not say enough about this book! I LOVED IT! I have a book hangover from reading through – it was that good! Grab your copy today and get lost in the Irish legends, a haunted castle, and one explosive secret…

Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book, for an unbiased review.

Sons and Soldiers – A Book Review — May 9, 2018

Sons and Soldiers – A Book Review

Before the beginning of World War II, a new power was rising in Germany. It was a party that had only one doctrine, and it was willing to annihilate anyone that stood within their path to achieve what they saw as a true and pure race. One where they were the dominating force, subjugating the rest of the world to their will. As the Nazi party rose within the country, and German nationalism rose, there were just as many living with the Germany territories that were afraid for the future. While many of them looked to escape early, some held on thinking that the worst was behind them. They could not have been more wrong. Six boys faced a future of uncertainty, and while their families did everything they could to remain together, it was eventually clear that some of them had a chance to get out, and these families grasped at the chance. These young boys, from all different walks of life, all had one thing in common. They were Jewish. That alone was the one factor that separated them out from the rest of their neighbors and friends. It did not matter that they had been born in Germany and had grown up there. It did not make a difference that their fathers had fought for Germany in the first World War, many of them were decorated veterans. The only thing that mattered was their faith, and that was even turned around to become a race. They were despised and ridiculed. The children picked on, many by former friends. A few made it out early, but others like Stephan, were not as quick to leave the country. There were organizations set up to help get children out of the country, and parents jumped at the chance to have their children removed from the danger, with the hope that the rest of the family could soon follow. Sometimes families were reunited quickly, some took years. Still others were never reunited, never to see their loved ones again.

But these boys were not finished with Germany yet.

Being sent to America, they flourished. Living with relatives, holding jobs, going to school was something that they jumped at. While life in America was much different than it was back home, they all assimilated into their new surroundings. Learning the language (if it was not already known) was key, and many of them still spoke their native tongue at home. But while they were living in America, they were still aware of the events swirling around Europe. With the outbreak of the war, they felt as though they needed to do their parts to help win the war against Hitler. Many of them had ideas of what they wanted to do, but not being a United States citizen held them back. While attending training, they were pulled out and send to a specialized training which would allow them to act as interrogators overseas. Their mastery of the languages and by knowing the countryside, as well as how the people within the country would think would help them to gain information that would be vital in not only pursuing the German army, but by saving American lives as well. Working with the units they were assigned to, the information that they managed to get gave not only troop numbers and movements, but placements of mines. It was not just the American lives that they were saving. Through their interrogations, war crimes began to come to light. The concentration camps were revealed and the true horrors of what the Germans were trying to hide was uncovered.

Werner Angress, Victor Brombert, Stephan Lewy, Martin Selling, Manny Steinfeld, and Guy Stern are not just footnotes in a history book. These six names, six heroes are just a few of the brave soldiers who not only defied Hitler once by leaving Europe before they could be scooped up, but returned with the United States Army to bring him down. There is a longer list of names within the pages of the book, all men who willingly risked their lives to save people that they loved, and people they had never met. Sons and Soldiers follows their stories in a vignette, and masterful intertwining of history and facts that shows just how personal the war was for some. It was not just nameless souls they were trying to save. They were out to save their heritage, their families, their past, and their future.

If you only read one book this year, this is it! Wow! I could not put this one down! I was glued from the start. Well researched and fantastic detail.. this book leaves nothing to the imagination. This book was everything I was hoping it would be and more. Tissues will be required at a few parts, due to the heartbreaking nature of the material.