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July 2019
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Best value MAPS of FRANCE, and keeping the children amused

Susan Keefe’s Bookshelf for your June reading

Bloody Coffee

by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre
Bloody CoffeeIn this traumatic and sometimes heart-rending novel we meet a teenage girl called Leigh, whose world has been turned upside down when she discovers that the man she has always known as her father isn’t actually her biological father.
This traumatic fact was not uncovered as you might think by accident, but as a result of being given by her mother, her own journals of that period in her life.
 
Although Leigh lives in New York, she travels to Tel-Aviv where her mother used to be a nurse to track down and meet her ‘real’ father Dr Ezra Sloan. However, by accident or because of the circumstances, (Who can tell?) this confrontation doesn’t go as planned and instead a distraught Leigh finds herself performing CPR on Sloan as he suffers a heart attack. With the ambulance sirens fading into the distance it is a confused Leigh who is left wondering what the future holds.
 
However, the plucky young lady is undaunted, and despite having to face the wrath of Sloan’s wife and sons, she has the fortitude to continue in her quest to discover the reasons why he is not in her life, and is surprised and confused by what she uncovers.
 
Leigh’s dogged determination means that her life alternates between New York and Tel-Aviv, and as more and more of her mother’s past is revealed the questions mount up, and a tormented Leigh finds herself desperately searching for answers to her questions.
 
Throughout, the reader can clearly see both sides of this very emotional story. Although my heart bled for Leigh at times, and her torment was easy to understand, as the saying goes ‘you have to walk a mile in someone’s shoes, before you can judge them.’ As a parent and a mother Sharon’s decision to reveal the truth was a brave one, and with the resulting emotional backlash and recriminations, one has to admire her ability to support her daughter at times. After all everyone is entitled to their own secrets…
 
The author Michelle Dim-St. Pierre, was born and spent half her life in Tel-Aviv, before moving to America. In this very powerful novel overflowing with emotional turmoil and suspense, she uses her work and life experiences to keep her reader spellbound until the very last page. I highly recommended this book to lovers of fictional human interest stories, laced with intrigue and mystery.
 
Available from Amazon 
 

Anuk: Book of Words

by Suzanne Mondoux
In the author’s first book, The Adventures of Anuk: The First Leap, we meet Anuk on her 16th birthday. At the beginning of the story she is living with her adopted Mammal Beings Julea and Lucca, but she is an Assisi Human.
For those who don’t know, Assisi Humans are very special beings, half animal half human, and they have a very important responsibility, and this is to keep the harmony between the humans and other Beings.
However, on her birthday she is given a book of poems and two medallions with magical powers, and is told that she must follow her destiny and travel to her homeland of Roese.

This, the second book, opens with Anuk living happily on Roese Island, her home for several seasons. It is a time of great joy because she is celebrating her graduation. After causing a sensation on her arrival, now aged 23 she is an accomplished culinary explorer, and the islanders call her the ‘Island Chef.’ Talked about, and an inspiration to the young Being on the island, Anuk is very popular, is loved by her students, and is always welcome into their homes for the reading of poems.

Anuk meets with her Dragon friend Noga, and together they go to the graduation ceremony where Noga reads from the Book of Words. ”We are the last herd of Elephant Beings to walk the Orb.” The words are chilling, and everyone recognises that the book has a significance that no-one has realised before. Contained within its pages is a hidden map which reveals the location of Satao, the place where the last remaining Elephant Beings exist.

At The Round Table Council, Anuk is asked to read from the book. With mounting horror the council members discover how the Elephant Beings had to hide their tusks from the Etani, who were notorious killers of the Elephant Beings for their ivory tusks, and then about their massacre by the Poach under the command of the Empire.

Gradually Anuk understands the significance of the golden elephant tattoo which has been emerging between her shoulder blades. When she reveals it to the council it is complete, and she discovers that the Book of Words she was entrusted with aged 16 was actually written by the Elephant Beings, and it is her destiny to return to them, she is its one true guardian!

With this revelation comes another, the Empress has discovered the Book of Words is on Roese Island and is coming to retrieve it.

With the islands peoples in danger, Anuk is hailed as the ‘Change Maker’ and with Aye, Noga, Kinkajou, and EagleOwl as her companions, she embarks on her quest to return the book to Satao.

This spectacular adventure sees the intrepid troop facing real dangers, strange creatures and mythical beings, both friends and foes. However, together they stand united, listen to advice and have an heroic race against time to keep the Book of Words safe. But will they succeed in their quest, and reach their destination before the dreaded Etani or Poach?

The author’s incredible imagination and gift for writing has produced this second book in the Anuk series. Within, her readers have the opportunity not only to escape into a wonderful, magical, land, but also through its amazing characters to learn valuable life lessons about duty, giving to others and conservation.
 
 
 

Dynomike: Proud To Be Me

by Frankie B. Rabbit 
 
My granddaughter and I are great fans of the Dynomike books, she because of the lovely stories and bright illustrations, and myself because of the skill Frankie B. Rabbit exhibits in managing to put important life lesson skills within pages of a book which easily captures the attention of young children.

In this Dynomike book, Dynomike is visiting summer camp, something looked forward to, or dreaded by children each year. He arrives confident that he is going to have a wonderful time, playing and making new friends.

However, this is before Mr. Pop Sour announces that it’s time for kickball. Eager to play Dynomike is excited until he strips in a puddle and emerges covered in mud.

Poor Dymnomike, and if that’s not bad enough a nasty bully called Freckly Frock picks on him and taunts him, which isn’t very nice at all!

What a nasty character Freckly Frog is! His actions make Dynomike slink away, ashamed, and feeling afraid and insecure. The horrible bully has really made him sad.

Then, sitting in the cabin Dynomike realises that this scared person isn’t who he is. He has come to camp to enjoy himself and make friends. Empowered by this realisation, he decides that he will not be defeated and confronts Freckly Frog. When he does his words make the bully realise how horrible he has been.

This little story holds an enormous message, one of believing in your strength and self-worth. Children reading this will gain courage and learn through Dynomike how to deal with nasty bullies, and importantly, how to show friendship to them afterwards and ‘be the bigger person.’

Not only is this story one which all children will enjoy and learn from in a gentle way, but also the author has also kindly given his readers a free Dynomike book at the end.
 
 
 

A Future With Hope

by Carl S. Armato
 
A Future With Hope – what an excellent title for this book, it sets the tone perfectly for the inspirational and educational content.
 
The author, Carl S. Armato was diagnosed in the mid 1960’s with type 1 diabetes at the very young age of 18 months. However, the knowledge that their son was the youngest child ever to be diagnosed with diabetes in St. Mary Parish, Patterson, on the Gulf Coast in rural Louisiana enthused his parents, Lucien and Leona Armato, with a determination, and that was to change the whole family’s diet and lifestyle to fit in with the diagnosis. Their positive attitude followed Carl through the years and gave him the faith that he was master of his own destiny, not diabetes!
 
Although a pediatrician, Dr. Carmen Posada had an interest in endocrinology for type 1 diabetes and with her support and tutelage his mother learnt how to check and control his sugars, something which he in turn would learn and have to do throughout his life.
 
However, he was determined not to be defined by his diagnosis, and with the support of his family, friends, and wife Christi he has enjoyed his life, and enriched the lives of those he has known over the past 52 years.
 
With a philosophy that knowledge is power, he has become an expert on diabetes, so much so that in 2012 he became CEO of Novant Health, a hospital which outperforms all hospitals in the same data platform in terms of diabetes care. Embracing changes in technology and always happy to offer advice and support, it wasn’t until a few years after becoming CEO that he opened up about having the disease himself.
 
In writing this book, the author has culminated a lifetimes experience with the disease at all ages, which in itself offers the reader a real insight into the dedication to diet and exercise that is critically important to manage the disease, and how dangerous not paying attention to it can be. Throughout he stresses the necessity of having a good support system. Indeed, his family, friends and wife have also contributed to the book which gives other perspectives, and the admiration and respect he has earnt over the years from the medical profession and his friends is to be admired.
 
My husband has type 2 diabetes, and did for a period of time have type 1, so I am very aware of how the disease can make you feel. This book is incredibly uplifting, it is very easy to become depressed about the need to take sugar readings regularly, and the lifelong diagnosis, the positive attitude the author has embraced is an example to us all.
 
Interesting, well written, and full of information and inspiration, this book is a must read for not only those who have diabetes, but also their families.
 
 

Bubbles Galore (Super Speed Sam Book 11)

by Monty J. McClaine
Bath time can be great fun, especially if there are toys, and plenty of bubbles!
Yet again six year old Jack is up to mischief. Its bath time in the McClaine household, Molly is watching her favourite programme, the Cat Walk Kittens, and mum has just run Jack his bath, bubble bath included. However, once mum has left him to see to Molly, Jack decides he wants more bubbles, he concludes that mum must have read the instructions wrong on the bottle, and so he adds more bubblybath, and for good measure turns the taps up too.
Now, anyone who has done this knows just how quickly the bubbles multiply. Very soon the room fills with bubbles. Quickly Jack realises that it’s a good idea to escape, but poor Sam is left inside.
If you, like our family are fans of this series, you will know that Sam is extremely smart and has been given special powers, and it’s a good thing he has!
Thinking fast, Sam springs into action. However he soon discovers that paws are not very good at turning taps, or taking plugs out, and so he uses his special chant to change into his superhero persona, Super Speed Sam. Chant finished, and magically sensibly dressed for scuba diving, he sets off into the murky depths of the bathtub, hoping, now he is better equipped, although looking rather like a frog, he can save the day. It is not long however before he discovers that he is not alone. Incredibly, his chanting has created a magical underwater world, where the children’ bath toys have come alive.
As this adventure unfolds Sam realises that he must use all his cleverness skills to save the day by stopping the bathroom from flooding. The question is, if he succeeds, what will happen to his new bath toy friends when the water they live in goes down the plug hole?
Yet again, Monty J McClaine, the author of this series has written a wonderful story. It was thoroughly enjoyed, and captured the imagination of my granddaughter today, and I am sure it will be loved by all children who read it.

Cries of Mercy

by Angela Beach Silverthorne
Can Bren and Joseph’s love for each other and faith in God overcome all?
Cries of Mercy is the third in the Cries Series written by Angela Beach Silverthorne, a Christian woman whose faith and character shine through in this incredible series.
The story is set in the small town of Silverton, a close nit Christian community, and the chief protagonist is Bren, a young woman whose life the readers have watched evolve in this series. She suffered a traumatic childhood, however found sanctuary at The Haven, where, through the teachings of her grandmother ‘GG’ she discovered her faith in God, and realised that she was a Lighten, which means a warrior of God, and to signify this she carries a crescent-moon birth mark. As a young woman Bren graduate as a nurse, and returns to The Haven to be the village midwife, and then eventually marries Pastor Joseph.
The scene is set at the beginning of this book with Bren reflecting on her marriage, honeymoon and deep endearing love for her husband Joseph. However, their past has also been tinged with great sadness as she has been pregnant three times, and each of her sons have died before or just after birth. These tragedies, although heart-breaking for the couple have united them through Christ and their deep faith in God.
Silverton is thriving and wonderful things are happening in their church and at the New Beginnings Empowerment Center. Some people believe that a jail should be built for troubled souls but Joseph strongly believes that the way through to these people is through rehabilitation. Empowered by His Spirit Joseph wants to increase his ministry teachings, however Bren is afraid initially. For her, memories of past incidents emerge, however, knowing her husband’s resolute faith in his path in life, she relents and Joseph starts doing tours.
As is usual in such a caring community, the residents each have their own stories, and have overcome demons and troubles. However, some of these have re-emerged from the past, and even Joseph discovers some buried family secrets which are set to shake the lives of those he loves. Birth and death are a part of life as we are reminded every day, and when a much loved member of the community and friend is diagnosed with terminal cancer there is much sorrow, yet even amidst the sadness there is joy when Bren discovers that she is with child again, and together the couple pray for a safe delivery of their baby.
As Joseph’s ministry to his flock and tours are increasing, there is unrest and faces from the past arrive in Silverton, bent on causing mayhem. Yet resolute, Joseph finds strength and values the advice of his good friend Dominique a Franciscan Priest, and together they fortify and strengthen the villagers in their fight against the demons of Satan.
As family secrets are revealed, and puzzles from the past are solved, the mysteries unfold, leaving Bren and Joseph looking forward to overcoming everything and being a family unit, but will their dreams come true?
This captivating story, although part of a trilogy can happily be enjoyed alone. It is a wonderful story in which the community of Silverton comes alive, and its characters, their lives, loves and experiences are richly described by the author, making it a truly outstanding read.

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