A Winter’s Haunting by Dan Simmons

Find in catalogThis book took a few weird twists and turns, but it was done subtly. Events and characters are introduced as unremarkable, and only gradually show their darkness. Dale’s life has broken apart and he returns to his childhood home to take a break, recoup, and attempt to write a novel that will bring him back into the world. However, he’s in for a dark, cold winter. For while he’s returned home, home has been awaiting him!

Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons by Bill Watterson

Find in catalogWhile I love Calvin and Hobbes, I assumed this was a snowman compilation – which it is not. The more I look, I think there is not a book solely dedicated to the Snow Goons?! What a tragedy! However, this was a great collection of Calvin and Hobbes. I have loved reading this strip ever since I was young, as have many. Calvin has such a unique view of the world, and his parents have such a dry wit that cuts through and humors him at the same time. I hope that my daughter comes to enjoy these stories, even if she picks up a little wise crackin’. I hope my patience will endure…

Frozen Wild by Jim Arnosky

This is a wonderfully written and illustrated children’s book that highlights the magic and wonder of how animals live in the wilderness… and make it through the winter with only their “coat” on. Each page has enough information to teach someone (I learned quite a few things!) a few facts about the survival of a species. Then with illustrations and small text boxes, also features similar species and their adaptive characteristics for the cold. Each page is a one or two fold out, which is exciting for kids! I would definitely recommend this book to other parents.

The Boy and the Spell adapted by Pegi Deitz Shea

Find in catalogThis is a story/picture book adapted from the opera L’Enfant et les Sortileges (1925) by composer Maurice Ravel with a libretto by Colette. The story is about a little boy who had a tantrum and took his frustrations out on his room and the things in it. It may well serve as a lesson for children prone to losing their tempers. The illustrations are so imaginative and endearing that adults will surely enjoy them, and the story’s vocabulary is somewhat advanced for the age of child the book is targeting, so a reader more advanced than a child will probably be needed. I believe people of all ages will totally enjoy the book, even if only to skim through it and get lost in the illustrations.

Soul’s Fire (Northwomen Sagas, #3) by Susan Fanetti

SOUL’S FIRE is a story that won’t let you go. I’ve been thinking about it non-stop. Shortly after I finished I quickly googled Vikings the TV show on the History channel. I’ve never seen it but I did spend some time watching some clips on YouTube. Now, I’m wishing I could binge watch the show.

At the amount of feels I’m having since I finished Soul’s Fire I might transport myself back into the Viking Age and become a Shieldmaiden. Actually, that’s not true. Soul’s Fire had some pretty brutal and savage scenes. I know I’m not cut from the same cloth as a shieldmaiden to handle that kind of treatment.

One driving force in the beginning of Soul’s Fire is revenge. A loved one is wrongly killed and a war is waged to avenge that death. The king has come up with a savage plan to right a wrong against the Vikings. Astrid is stolen and made to pay the price for what her people did to the king’s family. Astrid is one strong shieldmaiden because what she endured is beyond comprehension. ” Did love always change a person so completely? Or had she been changed already, in the black place, and simply loved the man who’d saved her from it?” The king’s second son, Leofric, was not behind the treatment of the prisoner. He takes it upon himself to save her from that hell and use her for the good of the kingdom. His plan is to have her learn their ways and language and then have her give them inside info on how the Vikings world worked. What he didn’t expect while caring for her was to fall in love with her.

Soul’s Fire is set during the Viking Age. It’s the third book in Northwomen Sagas and the main characters in the previous books play a role in Soul’s Fire. To grasp the overall arc of this series it’s recommended you read them in sequential order.

The Queen and the Cure (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles, #2) by Amy Harmon

Every once in awhile a book comes along that knocks you off your feet and I found that with The Queen and the Cure. It’s an absolutely brilliant story between two conflicted souls.

“It isn’t about me. It’s about responsibility. The Gifts we are given are not given for our benefit but for the benefit of mankind.” Kjell just wants to simply be a captain in his brother’s army. Yet, his gift pushes him to help others even when he’d rather not. Sasha has the ability to intensify a gift. She never waivers in wanting to help others even those who have wronged her. “I fell in love with you in pieces. Layer by layer, day by day, inch by inch.” Their love story was one filled with longing, heartache and a deeper connection. Each trial they faced strengthened their bond and created an intense undeniable attachment.

I was 100% shipping this couple. Even though it’s been a week since I’ve read this story I’m still suffering from a book hangover. My heart is still with Sasha & Kjell. I loved this book.

The Queen and the Cure can be read as a standalone but is interconnected with The Bird and the Sword. Both books are part of the series for The Bird and the Sword Chronicles . These books are a fantasy lovers dream. A romance filled journey that transports you to a different world; one where the gifted (spinners, tellers, seers, changers & healer) live among ordinary people.

Words, Words, Words by David Crystal

Find in catalogLoved it! Anything by David Crystal is bound to be interesting, and Words Words Words is a great introduction to the world of linguistics–with a definite tilt towards the lover of English. This book is well-organized to allow for selective reading on topics of interest, but is concise enough to be a quick and easy read all the way through. The language is accessible enough that even older children and teenagers could enjoy it, but the subject matter is an intriguing topic for any age. I also appreciated the section on Becoming a Word Detective, for those who would like to pursue the exploration of language further. Highly recommended for anyone with even a passing interest in linguistics.

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Find in catalogNot that good for me, wanting to find tools to build resilience from PTSD. Perhaps a good book for people wanting to build resistance from the grief of a dead loved one, as the author repeatedly referred to her own experience in that….but not much towards building resistance in general sense. Some was applicable, but I had to wade through far too much of the author’s personal experience from a totally different need.

Real Food, Fake Food by Larry Olmsted

Find in catalogThe focus of the book is basically food substitution. Highly desirable foods are often replaced by counterfeits that are sold as the real thing. The origins and production of these coveted foods are discussed in detail, as are the regulations meant to protect them. EU goods are better protected than US goods and the author discusses what to look for, official logos and labeling for example, when making purchases. The foods discussed include alcohols, cheeses, fish, beef, and olive oils. The in-depth look at the time, effort, and care taken to produce these foods is fascinating and helps the reader understand and appreciate why they are expensive and sought after. Anyone who enjoys eating good real food will benefit from reading this book.

When it’s Real by Erin Watt

Find in catalogWhen It’s Real is teen drama amped up. Teen heartthrob & rockstar, Oakley, needs a new image and his PR team has decided dating an ordinary girl will do the trick. When Vaughan is offered the position she only agrees for the year long fake relationship because of her family’s dire financial situation. I really enjoyed the premise of this book because it made me think if I was a teen girl in Vaughan’s situation would I agree to this sham?! I think for the majority of teen girls they would take on the job of playing a fake girlfriend to a super hot rock star. But, as with anything in life, there are some obstacles that make their situation a little more difficult. It doesn’t help that Oakley is a major jerk when they first meet and the fact that he’s not really onboard with his PR teams idea of putting on this charade. “Half the time when you open your mouth, you say something that makes me want to punch you. But when you sing…you make it really hard to hate you.”

An enemy-to-friends-to-lovers tale where a fake relationship turns into something real with all the whistles and bells. I had fun reading this story because I transported myself back to my teen days and thought about what it would be like to have this opportunity to be paid to pretend to be the girlfriend of a teen rock star. HELL YEA!! I would have been all over that like a bee to honey. When It’s Real is a standalone young adult romance. Readers who love the misunderstood hero will enjoy this story. Also, readers who love when an ordinary person catches the attention of a famous person will be heaven too. If you’ve heard the hype about the author duo – Erin Watts but haven’t had a chance to read them yet … here’s your chance to try their work without committing to a series (like with their The Royals series). This author duo is top notch!