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The Remarkable Story of Willie the Crow

When a young hunting dog and a crow decide to be friends, the dog pack does not know what to think. They hunt birds, yet a crow wants to hang out and be friends with them. Willie, the crow, is undeterred by the gruff hunting dogs and enjoys playing with the puppy Patch. While playing, Willie flies over the pool, and Patch, not paying attention, falls in. Turns out Patch does not know how to swim. None of the dogs know how to swim. They run to find the Labrador Newt thinking he can swim, but he is terrified of the water. Finally, through some encouragement from family and friends, he jumps in to save Patch.

The Remarkable Story of Willie the Crow: A Hickory Doc’s Tale, written by Linda Harkey, is a creative picture book about the friendship between two unlikely animals. The pack of dogs is concerned that a puppy hanging out with a crow is wrong, and they try to convince their senior dog Doc to put an end to the friendship. Doc, however, is a thinker; he looks at the situation and, rather than jump to conclusions, evaluates the benefits. He backs up his decision by pointing out that Willie the crow has worked with them to save Patch rather than just flying off and leaving her to drown. The message of inclusion and acceptance makes this children’s book a great addition to any book collection.

Illustrator Mike Minick has done an excellent job capturing the emotions of the dogs and Willie. Each page is vibrant and engaging. Even without the text, the story is clear from the marvelous drawings. Children will laugh as they learn a valuable lesson about friendship and family.

The Remarkable Story of Willie the Crow: A Hickory Doc’s Tale is a captivating tale about friends, family, acceptance, working together, and believing in yourself. Parents and educators will love having this picture book to read to children in and out of the classroom.

Pages: 38 | ASIN : B07LCKSXSW

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Secrets, Gifts, Family

Willie the crow wants to eat the pack’s dog chow. The problem is he promised to not eat it from the kennel, and the other bowls are in the house with the Food Giver. To get to the bowels he must enter through the dog door, and this turns out to be harder than expected. Willie nearly drowns and gets stuck in a plant. After being rescued by Patch twice he makes it inside. There he taps on the refrigerator door and the Food Givers arrives and give him a small packet of walnuts and he flies out the window before the pack gets in and sees him. Willie keeps his special treats a secret from the pack

Doc, Willie, and the Pack: Secrets, Gifts, Family written by Linda Harkey returns readers to the Lazy Dog Hacienda. Willie the crow is part of the family that lives here. Willie however has a secret, he gets special treats from the Food Giver and is afraid to tell the pack about them. Instead, he brings the empty wrappers to Zeke as gifts making up stories about where he found them. Eventually, the truth comes out thanks to a newspaper article that was done on Willie that the pack saw.  

This entertaining picture book talks about family, keeping secrets, and friendships. Young elementary-age children will love the colorful illustrations of Mike Minick and the expression all the dogs have. This light-hearted story has a great message about friendship and family that they will be able to relate to. The adventures of Willie trying to get into the house will have children and adults laughing and asking, can crows get glasses, because clearly, poor Willie needs them.

Doc, Willie, and the Pack: Secrets, Gifts, Family: (A Hickory Doc’s Tale) is an engaging read for classrooms, libraries, and parents to read to children. It will make a great early reader for children learning to read with the vibrant artwork to help tell the story.

Pages: 52 | ASIN: B07XLHR2SZ

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Birth of a Unicorn: Six Basic Steps to Success

Birth of a Unicorn: Six Basic Steps to Success by [Heather Wilde]

Birth Of A Unicorn, Six Basic Steps To Success by Heather Wilde is an insightful business book littered with autobiographical elements that detail the author’s journey to success. Wilde exudes wisdom as she details six practical steps to finding success in her own life and career through Uncertainty, Significance, Love/Connection, Growth, Contribution, and Certainty. In this book, the reader is taken through each of the steps with examples learned through life experiences, mistakes, adventures, and achievements of Wilde, her husband, and cats. From the six steps, one unifying idea is that our identity is connected with our search for happiness.

An endearing read, Birth Of A Unicorn enchanted me with the success story of Heather & her husband. Ups and downs of their marriage and careers were exposed in the hopes that their experiences would be helpful to the reader. Their cats played a pivotal role in their travels and gave some comedic relief to the seriousness of some encounters. This book kept me rooting for the author and her husband, as they left meandered careers and eventually found work as partners together for Evernote.

In Birth Of A Unicorn, we see the loss of jobs, pursuit of education, relocating for new jobs, the chase of dreams, and travel to foreign countries. Adventurous and thrilling, this book had me captivated from the beginning. Overall, I was left with a sense of achievement as I rooted for Wilde and her search for identity and happiness. She had seemingly found what we would classify as success, and in finding that success, continued looking ahead to the future.

The author does a great job keeping readers captivated in her story, while also leaving room for readers to reflect upon their own path to success. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an uplifting memoir that takes you through entrepreneurship and family life and leaves you feeling like anything is possible.

Pages: 184 | ASIN: B08Q7DTVH1

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No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season

No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season by [Rayna Neises]

Caregiving is a selfless act that not many understand. In her book No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season author Rayna Neises writes about caregiving and taking care of parents in old age. Aging and growing old are inevitable and children often find themselves as the primary caregivers to their parents when they age. Rayna Neises addresses all children that are taking care of their parents, giving practical tips on how to be a great caregiver and how to handle different situations while caregiving.

No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season has two main parts, one focusing on caring for others and the other focusing on caring for yourself. One of the main lessons I got from reading both parts is that for you to take proper care of others, you have to be well yourself. Take care of your physical health, take care of your mental health, and protect the energies you love and move away from negative energies.

As you read this enlightening book you realize that caregiving requires both emotional intelligence and compassion. The book teaches that as a caregiver, you should put the other person first and get to understand where they come from. The information and advice delivered among the heartfelt stories will help readers learn to be compassionate and be more appreciative.

One thing that kept me going as I read is how personal the author made the stories feel. Rayna Neises shows a personal side that readers immediately fall in love with when reading her book. The author does not hide her intimate moments nor is she shy to share how she feels about caregiving and what her experience has been. Readers will connect with and appreciate Rayna Neises for sharing deep moments of her life. All of this serves to connect the reader with the author so that the pragmatic advice she shares feels workable.

The thought-provoking stories that are shared throughout the book made the reading experience enjoyable as a mini-memoir. This book is much more engaging than a regular ‘how-to’ book on caregiving. If you are new to caregiving, then this book is for you. The topics that are covered in the book will be very helpful to readers that are not well versed with the subject of caregiving. There is a wealth of knowledge shared in the book, including keeping the family intact, navigating balance, working as a team, dealing with obstacles and how to overcome barriers, when to ask for help and understanding everyone’s needs. This is a fantastic resources for caregivers and will surely improve the lives of many.

Pages: 205 | ASIN: B08TQL81HW

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Rising Together 

Rising Together, by K.M Sparks and Christopher Cole, is the complex story of two young teens who are going through hardship and rely on one another. The main character, Tim, struggles with his home life and his best friend, Haze, helps him navigate his troubles.  

Tim is a young boy living in an abusive situation. His father is an alcoholic who verbally and physically abuses his family. Tim’s mother tells him and his brother to keep their situation a secret so that they are not separated. Keeping his home life a secret causes Tim to act out at school and get into trouble. His best friend, Haze, has a supportive family and excels in school. When Tim’s life turns upside down, Haze stands by his side and supports him through his transition.

Authors Sparks and Cole have a writing style that any reader would enjoy. The characters show substantial development throughout the book. Readers will enjoy watching the relationship between Tim and Haze grow into something more than best friends. Their relationship is one that teenage readers will be able to relate to.

The language in this contemporary novel is mature for the main characters only being twelve, but given their situations, growing up fast will have that impact. Developing independence at an early age is needed for Tim to survive the life he was dealt.

Rising Together is a compelling coming of age novel, with drama that will appeal to fans of young adult novels. This heartwarming book is a blend of hardships, friendship, and growing into oneself. If you like reading about a budding romance, taking a chance, and a light story then this heartfelt book is for you.

Pages: 172 | ASIN : B09L57CBQ2

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Brilliant White Peaks

Brilliant White Peaks by Teng Rong is a spellbinding novel that follows a pair of wolf cubs who are born in a valley surrounded by mountains. Their parents teach them how to hunt a variety of different animals. But when winter comes and snow covers the mountains, the family has to leave their home in search of food. When the family is attacked by another pack of wolves, the two pups are separated from their Ma and Pa. White Ears is injured and the pair of young wolves have to wait for her to heal before they go in search of their parents. They set out toward the ocean where they hope to find their Ma and Pa waiting for them. When White Ears and her brother reach the coast, will they finally be reunited with their parents?

This epic adventure story is told from the point of view of a wolf. Written in the first person perspective, the narrator is never given a name. He thinks and talks as one would imagine a wolf would, he uses paws and wolf-lengths as units of measurement instead of the human equivalents. Teng Rong opens the novel with descriptions of the two wolf pups venturing out of the den for the first time at the beginning of the story, and discovering a whole new world of sights and smells and sounds and creatures. This opening transports readers into the world he has created, propelling them into the mind of a young male wolf and setting the stage for a fast paced journey that he is about to undergo.

After the main wolf protagonist is separated from his parents readers will get to know his parents through his memories of their advice. Although White Ears and her brother had been taught to fear wolf strangers, the pair is willing to take in other wolves who were alone without a pack and make them part of their family. Watching how these two adolescent wolves adapt to the struggles they face and grow from them is fascinating. I enjoyed the wonderful character evolution these wolves go through during their journey as readers will see them mature as the novel progresses.

Brilliant White Peaks is a riveting adventure novel for young adults and teens and that will capture the heart of animal lovers of all ages. The unique point of view of this novel, along with it’s engrossing storyline and compelling characters, make this a captivating coming of age story that will be hard to put down.

Pages: 237 | ASIN : B09F2LY8F6

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Streets of Tears

Streets of Tears by Larry J. Hilton chronicles the trials and happenings of the Baur family during World War I. It is a work of historical fiction portraying life in the trenches of warfare, as well as the rise of the Nazi party and impending dictatorship under Hitler, and the events that eventually led to the Holocaust. Following the perspectives of multiple characters throughout, each chapter contained crucial outlooks on the war and its subsequent effects on the economy. The story highlights Depression-era struggles while also shedding light on the viewpoints and mentalities that are shaped by the horrors of war, and its aftermath. 

Streets of Tears was an enjoyable read, with likable characters and a captivating storyline. I particularly enjoyed how each chapter was from the stance of a different character or plot line. The story was woven together with humor, heartache, and horror, leaving me wanting more at the end of each chapter.  What I enjoyed the most was getting to know characters through the viewpoint of other characters, as well as within their individual chapters. 

As a work of historical fiction, it was delightful to see the ideologies of characters and the causes they were fighting for. This allowed for an open minded outlook on why people believed what they believed, and gave me a chance to reflect on what it is I believe. Another thing this book did was give me a glimpse into the lives of the women of the Nazi regime, and why it is they were involved in the first place. This was fascinating as it is not something you see very often in books that revolve around this time period. More often than not, you are given a look into the eyes of those affected by the Nazi party. 

Streets of Tears by Larry J. Hilton is an eye opening perspective on life during World War I and under Hitler. A riveting piece of historical fiction for readers that enjoy period pieces, ideologies of war, and psychological fiction as it pertains to people individually and as a society as a whole. 

Pages: 399 | ASIN : B08LQYH77S

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The Lockhart Women

The Lockhart Women is a debut novel by author Mary Camarillo. This novel follows the Lockhart family as they navigate some pretty intense life events. From divorce to undiagnosed mental illness to organized crime, this story just about covers it all. Each chapter is told from the perspective of the three girls of the Lockhart family: Brenda (mom), Peggy (daughter), and Allison (daughter) as they try to reconfigure their lives after their husband and father left.

As the story progresses, we learn more about the personal lives of the three Lockharts and the secrets they keep from each other. Drawing on real life events, the story takes place at the same time the infamous O.J. Simpson trial occurred. Using this memorable event in history gives readers a period reference and they can draw some parallels between those involved in the case and the characters in the story.

Camarillo’s writing was intriguing and fast paced, each chapter adds to to the adrenalin rushing plot build. This standalone novel was written in a way that doesn’t leave you with lingering questions. The author did an excellent job tying up loose ends and concluding certain character storylines. She also created each character in a way that you could vividly imagine them right in front of you. In many cases, I found myself relating to all three of the Lockhart women in some way.

The characters are very relatable and will appeal to a wide selection of readers. The Lockhart women are written in a way readers can put themselves in their shoes and experience their development beyond the page. There were only a few characters that I felt could have been developed further but they were not pivotal to the storyline.

The Lockhart Women, by Mary Camarillo, is a well developed story, has characters that are memorable, and enough action to keep the plot exciting and readers constantly guessing what could happen next.

Pages: 351 | ASIN:  B08DKK51XF

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