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Thursday, March 16, 2017

A River by Marc Martin

Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: March 7, 2017

Join a young child on a very imaginative journey down the river that passes by the family home. In the imaginary silver boat, the child travels past busy cities, factories, jungles, and ends up in the ocean before returning to the very place that matters the most.

The illustrations in A River are created in shades of blues and greens that captures the outdoorsy feel you'd expect to find while journeying along the river. Splashes of orange, white, yellow, and red draw the eye to certain aspects, but you quickly find yourself mesmerized by both pages of illustrations. It's the art that really made this book special.

The story isn't hard to read, so beginning readers will have few problems with the sentence length or vocabulary used. Each page only has a few words, which I feel really makes it a great book for younger readers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Balderdash! by Michelle Markel and Nancy Carpenter

Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: April 4, 2017

Balderdash shares the story of young John Newbery, man for whom the Newbery Medal pays tribute. Newbery grew up in a world where children's books were frowned upon unless they taught a some form of educational lesson. His passion for storytelling and the world around him led to children's books as we know them today.

I quickly became fascinated by a story I didn't know. My daughter, a graphic design student, found the book appealing because of its varied uses of fonts, sizing, and other design aspects. Both of us quickly said the book was a keeper.

Keeping that in mind, I did question how a younger child would feel. The illustrations are impressive, the sentence structure and vocabulary are excellent for and advancing reader, but the subject matter (a biography and history of children's books) may not be as appealing. It's a book where I feel parents will be mesmerized, but children may not share the same enthusiasm.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Falling Hard: A Colorado High Country Novel by Pamela Clare

Setting: Colorado
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: February 18, 2017

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones

Jesse and Ellie are two people who are trying to move forward after difficult tragedies in their past.  Ellie lost her husband three years ago.  Jesse, a former Army Ranger and now a ski patroller and part of the Rescue Team in Colorado, has issues with his own experiences in Iraq.  He unknowingly has been helping Ellie for the past few years by taking care of little things around her house.  When they finally meet, he realizes that he may have known her husband, who had been a Blackhawk pilot.

Ellie has two small twins to raise, and she's been doing everything by herself, but when Jesse comes along and helps her out in a dire time of need, she's more than grateful.  Sparks fly between them, but it takes a while for them to really open up.  She still is torn about her feelings regarding a new relationship and Jesse is still fighting personal demons that he can't quite get around.  These two coming together to support each other leads to romance and more.

What an emotionally charged book.  As a fan of Ms. Clare's work, all of her stories tug at the heartstrings and this one is no different.  Set in the mountains of Colorado, we get a real feel for the area as well as Jesse's need to escape to a place where he can get lost.  He uses the adrenaline rush of extreme sports to combat his internal issues where the war is concerned.  Ellie also has some personal things to get through.  I really felt the loss of her beloved husband and trying to move on with her life.  She has feelings of guilt, of course, but also how she can move forward with two small children.  The story moves at a decent pace without becoming too bogged down in one element.  Jesse and Ellie's feelings simmer and develop naturally and it keeps the reader tuned in for more.  I zipped through this book with a few days and loved every minute of it.

4 1/2 stars