Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Say Goodnight written by Lauren H. Kerstein, Illustrated by Nate Wragg

About the Book

Rosie the dragon and Charlie are ready to tackle bedtime—dragon-style

Rosie the DragonRosie the dragon’s bedtime routine has been a little bumpy lately. But not to worry! Charlie is prepared with his lists, rules, and fire extinguisher—everything a boy needs to help guide his pet dragon (and best friend) to a peaceful night’s sleep. But with bath-time bubble trouble, fiery-hot pajamas, and stuffed animal search-and-rescues, tucking this dragon into bed is not an easy task. And what happens when thunder strikes? Snuggle up with this adorable duo as they conquer bedtime the best way: together!

Charlie and Rosie, Charlie’s pet dragon, are best friends and superheroes. However, Rosie does not like bedtime!

Enchanting, vivid pictures illustrate all the mischief Rosie gets into to avoid bedtime. Poor Charlie has his hands full!

The antics are laugh-out-loud funny, but also, in some cases, a little scary. (I don’t want to give any spoilers.)

Rosie’s creative and sometimes unintentional consequences while trying to avoid bedtime may cause some parents to feel the story sets a bad example. Yet the story is not written to teach as much as to entertain. Little children may recognize themselves and Rosie’s antics in the story. Even though some of the shenanigans could hardly be duplicated, Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Say Goodnight does offer an opportunity to teach the importance of bedtime.

Overall, the story is cute and enjoyable. The illustrations are bright and are true to the adventures. Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Say Goodnight is a picture book. The story should be easy for a beginning reader with a little help from a parent or sibling. It’s a cute story to read to children from Pre-K up.     

About the Author

Lauren Kerstein is an author and psychotherapist. She is a Jersey girl at heart who currently lives in Colorado with her husband, their two dragons…er, daughters, and their rescue dog. Lauren is the author of the Rosie the Dragon and Charlie picture book series (Illustrated by Nate Wragg/Two Lions). Her latest picture book, Lauren H. KersteinHOME FOR A WHILE (Illustrated by Natalia Moore/Magination Press) moves into shelves February 2, 2021. Lauren also writes books in her field. Lauren is one of the founders of #ReVISIONweek, a judge with Rate Your Story, runs a critique business, and is a long-time member of 12×12 and SCBWI. Her writing goals are simple. Read voraciously. Embrace feedback. Grow each day. Work hard. Be passionate. Write courageously. Touch children’s hearts. You can visit her at www.LaurenKerstein.net and follow her on Twitter and Instragram (@LaurenKerstein) and FB (https://www.facebook.com/laurenkersteinauthor).

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The Storm Breaks Forth by Terri Wangard

Publisher’s Summary

World War I rages in Europe, and now the United States joins in. Peter Bloch heads to France with the Wisconsin National Guard, but his wife Maren is the one under attack. She’s German born, and anti-

German hysteria is running high. Simple suggestions for coping with wartime measures lead Maren into an active role in the community, but her service doesn’t help deflect suspicion from her. Zealous patriots target her with a vengeance. Peter caught the eye of a major who seems intent on using him as a spy.

He’s been fortunate to avoid injury so far, but these activities are likely to get him killed. Peter and Maren dream of the day they will be reunited, but more and more, that day appears to be a mirage.

Terri Wangard’s book The Storm Breaks Forth debuted on April 6 th, 2021, 104 years after Good Friday, April 6th, 1917, when Congress approved a resolution declaring war on Germany.

Wangard’s stirring and compelling characters draw you into this story with precise detail, historic accuracy and great skill at evocative and gripping realism.

We reunite with Peter and Maren Bloch and Geoff and Rosaleen Bonnard from the first book, Roll Back the Clouds (link to my review). 

Great trials face the couples as they are confronted with an unfamiliar and vastly different world than they were previously accustomed to.

I was familiar with the flu pandemic, the Liberty Gardens which were the precursor to the Victory Gardens, and the horrors of the war. However, I did not realize rampant prejudice and bigotry were directed toward the German Americans. How difficult a time they must have endured.

I enjoyed learning about how women’s roles evolved from homemaker to employee and champion of the burgeoning Liberty gardens.

The portrayal of front-line battle was vividly painted and heartbreaking.  Newer technology and the advent of the machine gun and poisonous gas brought warfare to a whole different playing field. Portions were exceedingly difficult to read.

Wangard does an extraordinary job of penning a story of hope, love, faith and peace, juxtaposed against despair, hatred, indifference and war. Reading The Storm Breaks Forth will be enlightening and at times gut-wrenching.

Some scenes are extremely intense and horrific, which may be difficult for a few readers; for this reason, I would suggest the book be read by those over 16.

I received The Storm Breaks Forth from the author. All opinions are my own.

Good Friday and Easter

I have always wondered why Easter falls on different days each year, and naturally so does Good Friday. I know at some point I knew the reason for Easter’s date changes. However, I forgot. So, I did a little research.

Easter falls on the first Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon. This is the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. But that’s not quite the whole story. In A.D. 325 a full moon calendar was created naming March 21st as the ecclesiastical date of the equinox even though the actual date may be different. 

Paschal comes from Late Latin paschalis, from pascha “Passover, Easter,” from Greek pascha “Passover,” from Aramaic (Semitic) pasha “pass over,” corresponding to Hebrew pesah, from pasah “he passed over”. Pasche was an early Middle English term for “Easter. ” (more info at  https://www.etymonline.com/word/paschal)

Easter is a “movable feast” that is always held on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25. 

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon’s newest Hope Harbor story (releasing April 6th) is Blackberry Beach. Even though I didn’t know this was part of a series, it still works well as a standalone.

Hope Harbor “harbors” the picturesque and enchanting Blackberry Beach, home to several idiosyncratic and unconventional people and birds. Needless to say, they were some of my favorite characters!

I would love to stop in at The Perfect Blend coffee shop and talk with the owner, Zach Garrett, and sample his fantastic blends and desserts. And, oh my, Charlie, the owner of the fish taco stand!  Hannon has created a must-visit, perfect friend. Can you guess that I would love to live there?

Kat, the mystery woman, piques everyone’s interest, especially Zach’s, and uses her wonderful culinary skill to create blackberry and blackberry lavender truffles. So, is Kat a chocolatier? Why is she in Hope Harbor, and what is she hiding?

Hannon is amazingly skilled at creating a place you want to visit and characters you would love to have as friends. Not to mention, she leaves you starving for treats from the Perfect Blend, Kat’s chocolates and fish tacos, even though I have never really cared for fish tacos.

As you can see, Blackberry Beach features mystery and intrigue, along with romance and wonderful doses of Biblical insight.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Revell through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews.

Photo of pie by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Publisher’s Summary

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted–fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn’t she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she’ll be able to calm the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss–and he has no plans to change the life he’s created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. He’s had enough drama to last a lifetime. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. And as their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites you to come home to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

His Wagon Train Sweetheart by Catherine Kennedy

Catherine Kennedy has written a sweet book about Georgiana “George” Walton, her father, Harry and Elijah Mitchell in His Wagon Train Sweetheart.

I felt poor George’s dilemma when confronted with a gentleman she feels is way out of her league while she’s the one tasked to handle his and his mother’s wagon. George didn’t feel as if she looked like a woman, and she knew as the driver of a wagon on a wagon train, she sure didn’t act like one.

I appreciated Kennedy’s introduction to a spiritual life through Eli’s mother, Grace. She used Grace as the means to help George understand how to live a life of faith and honor to God without beating anyone, including George, over the head with her spirituality.

Reading His Wagon Train Sweetheart made me appreciate our modern conveniences while at the same time marveling at the hardiness and resilience of pioneers. The story is set in the 1800s on the Santa Fe trail and highlights some of the dangers of traveling in a wagon train.

The story is sweet and delightful, with a few lessons to be learned, like acceptance, confidence and love for one another and God.

His Wagon Train Sweetheart is a novella that introduces the new series, Walton Valley. Book 1 premiers on March 31, 2021.

I received His Wagon Train Sweetheart from Book Sirens. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Riding the Santa Fe Trail is a difficult and lonely profession…especially for a girl named George.

Georgianna Walton’s father sat her on the back of a horse the moment she could sit up straight. Ever since, they have traveled together from one side of the country to the other with no place to call home. With no mother to guide her, George has learned everything she knows from her father, Harry, but she wants nothing more than to settle down and have a place to call home.

Elijah Mitchell is traveling to Santa Fe to take up a position as a doctor. However, when Harry has an accident on the trail, Eli cannot leave him alone on the prairie. While he ministers to the cantankerous old man, his mother begins to teach George all the things her own mother could not.

She is a wild woman from the west…he is a very proper doctor from back east—can they form the unlikeliest of partnerships out in the wild, untamed Kansas prairie?

Friday Flashback/Guest Blogger – WholefoodFor a Whole Life

Some of you already know a little about me from previous posts sharing stories from our lives or from talking with me in comments. For those of you that aren’t familiar, I’m Robbie’s youngest daughter, Melissa. Mom asked me to “guest blog” today about my health and diet after many of you have shown interest in learning more. While this is the condensed version and I’m going to keep it mostly to my journey, as well as how to get started on a whole food plant-based diet, I suggest getting a beverage of your choice. It’s time to settle in and get comfortable. If there’s a lot of interest I will be happy to do more guest blogs as requested. If you enjoy what I’ve shared with you, be sure to reply, like, and reblog to let mom know you want more!

I’ve always been a very active and health-conscious person, yet I struggled like most people, with the misinformation that regularly bombards us. I worked out and ran daily, regularly did calisthenics, ballet, hiking, and ate what I thought was healthy. I would splurge, drinking soda or eating sweets, but never thought it was doing much harm with occasional treats. All of my life I’ve suffered from autoimmune troubles that would cause pain or injuries. I chose to reconcile myself with this and live my life to the fullest anyway, not letting it stop me or slow me down. In my 20s I contracted Lyme disease; regretfully the doctors didn’t realize what it was and took months to treat it appropriately. The long-term damage to my joints and nerves was irreversible. Given I already suffered from autoimmune concerns, this added more complications and frustration to a growing list of health troubles. A few years later I suffered multiple herniated discs with sciatica that caused nerve damage in my foot, with some loss of feeling and weakness. Despite all my efforts with exercise, physical therapy, and staying active, by my mid-twenties arthritis and inflammation were already a problem in several major joints. At this point, not being physically capable of doing my normal activities and exercises, anxiety and depression started sinking in and becoming unbearable. The realization hit me that exercise and an active lifestyle weren’t enough, I needed to help my body to recover and be strong enough to fight off the decline that was rapidly descending upon me. The thought nagging constantly at me was, “If I’m putting into my body things that cause inflammation every day I’m making it harder for my body to actually recover!” Something had to change.

The first step, I thought, was to remove soda and overly processed sugars entirely from my diet. This was much more difficult than I imagined it would be. Should be simple, just drink or eat something else! The problem is your body becomes accustomed and, essentially, addicted to these sugary bombs of endorphins. I had to gradually wean myself off the sodas and work hard, over several months, to lower my intake of processed sugars. While I started to regain some energy and mental clarity I was still regularly in pain and would often have a multitude of flair-ups. I spoke with my physical therapist and doctor, they would joke, “If you were overweight we’d talk about diet, but you aren’t so let’s focus on your exercises.” The exercises helped, but I was only getting by. I wanted to thrive.

By what I believe to be a gentle nudge from above, I stumbled on to a review of the book, How Not to Die by Dr. Greger. At first, I was skeptical. I study science, mostly behavioral, and with this education and experience, I’ve learned to question everything. Dr. Greger was thorough enough to include information to look up every single study he talks about in his book. This sent me down a deep, twisting rabbit hole of science and information that was not readily available to me prior. I buried myself in research and regularly visited his website while cross-referencing everything back to the studies themselves to read through all of them for any inconsistencies. I desperately wanted to prove it wrong. My doctors never spoke about diet as an option, they totally discounted it. How can any of this be true? Milk causes inflammation? Eggs are not healthy? Meat is a carcinogen?!? Processed meats are listed as Group 1 carcinogen (the same as Tobacco and Asbestos, according to WHO)? Yet time and again the studies and research showed this could be true, everything Dr. Greger said (and everyone else I looked into) was true. To solidify my resolve I watched “Forks over Knives”. While much of it is a bit over the top I felt like I had finally woken up, I had taken the red pill and was no longer in the Matrix. I couldn’t unknow what I had learned.

After a lot of soul-searching, I made the switch. Gradually I cut all animal products out of my life. There were ups and downs, many times I fell back to old habits, but I stuck with it as best I could. I started by removing meat, then eggs, eventually milk and cheese. The cheese was the hardest one to let go. A few months later I eliminated most processed foods in general and sustained a predominately whole food, plant-based diet. After some time of fully plant-based, it became easier to adjust recipes and make meals. Everything was becoming second nature and it wasn’t a daily struggle of, “What on Earth do I make for dinner?!” As time went by something amazing happened, my anxiety was mostly under control and the pain I lived with most of my life was subsiding. I called my mother and said tentatively “I don’t want to jinx it mom, but that constant nagging pain of level seven or eight I’ve always had? I actually forgot about it for several days. I haven’t had pain, sure normal aches, but not MY aches.” As I continued on this path my energy levels increased, mental clarity and sharpness heightened, the pain was minimal, and overall I was thriving. I was once again able to do my workouts and be more active which allowed my body to heal more and continue on a better path to recovery.

Do I believe everyone would have these results? Honestly, I don’t know. Do I believe everyone could benefit from a whole-food, plant-based diet? Absolutely! Will it cure all your troubles? I’m not a doctor so I can’t say if that’s possible but I can encourage you to look into it yourself. Listed below are some websites and links to pages that helped me along my journey. I’m listing only Dr. Greger’s pages because he has the science and studies to back the information. If anyone is interested in other suggestions I will happily share those as well. You’re welcome to ask questions here and if there’s interest I’ll return for a Q&A or more guest blogs. The most important information I can give you is to do the best you can for you and to allow yourself to thrive. Don’t fall into a trap of “getting by.” Stay positive and keep striving to be the best version of yourself.

Dr. Greger’s site
https://nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, which greatly simplified my transition
https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/

#Forksoverknives  #Drgreger   #hownottodie   #plantbased

Reprint of previous blog.