People Like Us by Dana Mele

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Now this was a whirl wind of a ride!  For fans of Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl, you will want to dive into this book as soon as you can get your hands on it.  The story is twisted, thrilling and you won’t know what hit you in it’s completely unexpected ending.

Kay Donovan is the main character, who attends


an all girls academy called Bates.  Unlike all the other girls at the school, she is solely relying on her athletic ability and good grades to keep her at Bates where everyone else’s families are wealthy.  She’s the star soccer player who has gorgeous friends and are all high up on the popularity totem pole.

Everything seems picturesque until Kay and her friends discover the body of a girl in the lake next to Bates Academy. Then….Kay’s life she’s built begins to topple into chaos when the dead girl sends her an e-mail including a password coded link to a scavenger hunt website that implicated suspect after suspect in the case against who killed the girl they found in the lake.  It gets worse when Kay finds herself in the cross hairs of the murder investigation.

Will Kay let herself be backed into a corner and accused of a crime that she didn’t commit or will she do whatever it takes to keep herself from becoming the next victim to uncover the real murder?  Kay may have skeletons in her closet, but you will have to find out for yourself what secrets she hides as well as play the game along with her to uncover the truth behind everything……

Expected publication: February 27th 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers



Dana Mele is a Pushcart-nominated writer and a work at home mother. A graduate of Wellesley College, she is a former actor, lawyer, musician, and briefly, associate producer. She prefers tea to coffee, snow to sand, and stars to sunshine, and she lives in the Catskills with her husband and toddler. This is her first novel.

Here’s the People Like Us tumblr:




Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book was my ‘Book a Blind Date’ at our local library and how excited I was to read it being an animal, especially dog, lover!  “Beautiful Joe” is a juvenile fiction story although I think that everyone, EVERYONE needs to get a copy of this and read this amazing story.

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Beautiful Joe was a real dog and this story is based on true events of his life, from being rescued from the hands of a very cruel man who actually removes his ears and tail in a fit of anger.  With all the brutality, comes a new life that Beautiful Joe only dreamed of when the Morris family comes to his aid and carefully nurses him back to health, giving him the name Beautiful Joe.

The story is told through Beautiful Joe’s eyes, who finds that he is in the company of many other animals that the Morris’s have rescued from harm.  The Morris’s believe that every creature has the right to a full and happy life.  Beautiful Joe falls in love with his entire adopted family and becomes the most loyal and trustworthy companion.

Margaret Marshall Saunders –The Storyteller and a Woman ahead of her time…


This is Saunders most famous novel, which was originally published under a pseudonym Marshall Saunders….her real name is Margaret Marshall Saunders.  In 1892 while she was visiting her brother in Meaford, Ontario, she heard the story of a dog that was rescued by Mr. Walter Moore (the father of her sister-in-law, Louise Moore). This event inspired her to write the story of Beautiful Joe, a canine autobiography of a Meaford area dog, rescued from a brutal owner who had chopped off his ears and tail. She decided to enter the story in a literary contest sponsored by the American Humane Education Society. In her book the Moore family became the Morris Family, and she relocated the story to a small town in Maine, USA as per the contest rules. Also, because female authors were not popular at the time, she disguised her sex by not using her first name Margaret, instead using her middle name Marshall. Beautiful Joe written by Marshall Saunders was finally submitted… and won!

The book was first published in 1893 and quickly became the first Canadian book to sell more than a million copies. By 1900, over 800,000 copies had sold in the U.S., 40,000 in Canada and 100,000 in the United Kingdom. And by the 1930’s worldwide sales were over 7 million copies.

Beautiful Joe was chosen as one of the 10 best children’s books in Canada, and for more than a century Margaret Marshall has been one of Canada’s best known writers of children’s stories. In fact, the book has been distributed to children in many cities throughout North America with the hope that children will show the same compassion towards one another as they would towards animals. The book was also the first Canadian novel to be published in the universal language of Esperanto and later translated into 14 languages which include: French, English, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Chinese. Beautiful Joe’s story has been part of the curriculum at notable Canadian universities such as Toronto, Guelph and Simon Fraser University.

Margaret was indeed a trailblazer who championed the rights of women and animals. She helped co-found the Maritime Branch of the Canadian Women’s Press Club with Lucy Maude Montgomery, and continued to speak out on many other social problems as well. As a result in 1911, she received an Honorary M.A. from Arcadia University. All the while preaching kindness to animals, and working tirelessly with the many humane societies she belonged to.

Keeping Beautiful Joe’s Memory Alive…


In the hometown of Beautiful Joe, there has been formed the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society.  This society preserves and promotes the historical legacies of both ‘Beautiful Joe’ and Margaret Marshall Saunders and celebrates the natural bond between animals and humans.  The society created a park in memory of him as well, which is where Beautiful Joe is laid to rest.


“Beautiful Joe Park is a peaceful and serene 8.5 acre parcel of Parkland on the banks of the picturesque Big Head River in Meaford, Ontario. The Park is named after me “Beautiful Joe”. I’m the hero in Margaret Marshall Saunders bestselling novel of the same name. I am laid to rest in the Park grounds and you can see my monument.

At the entrance to my Park, you will find a bronze  sculpture of me, Beautiful Joe that was created by local Meaford resident, Gunter Neumann. My Park is also home to a 9/11 Monument honouring a brave dog named Sirius, who was K-9 partner to Officer David Lim. There is a K-9 Monument as well as a Service Dogs Monument. The Park is also home to Paradise Islands, a place where people can have a plaque respectfully placed honoring their beloved companions. We like it when you remember us like that! By retelling my story, my friends at the Society are able to keep my hopeful and rehabilitative message alive.” – Beautiful Joe

To find out more about the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society, click on their logo below:








The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes through embodied cognition is key to improving theory of mind and also the ability to be compassionate. Although this study does not directly draw these conclusions, it seems like common sense that if we encourage our children to read—as opposed to tuning out through television—theory of mind and the ability to be compassionate to another person’s suffering will improve. {Source}


Taking a break to read can help with your stress levels, according to a University of Sussex study. The researchers increased the subjects’ heart rate and stress levels, and then gave them a variety of relaxing tasks. Guess what? Reading worked best to de-stress them. Personally, I’m not surprised in the lease. Plus, it only took six minutes (six!) for reading as a relaxant to kick in. Which means that if you’re going through something at work or school, you can take a short break – say, ten minutes – and read. Try it!


According to the Mayo Clinic (as well as my own habits and those of many readers I know), reading before bed can help you sleep better. Avoid e-readers before bed, because screens have an effect on your brain. Keep your paper books for pre-bed reading, and stick to a sleep schedule. Better sleep is essential. “Poor sleep and depression are very closely linked,” according to the Sleep Health Foundation, and “treating one condition will often improve the other.” If you can’t fall asleep, try reading for a while, and see if that helps. Make it part of your routine! Short stories are great for bedtime reading.


While many of us may have always assumed that reading helped our empathetic abilities, there’s now science to back this up as well. Several studies (one from the University of Buffalo, another from the New School of Social Research, for example) used different metrics and groups, but each showed that reading increases empathy. But for those who also suffer from social anxiety, there’s evidence that empathy and socializing in a healthy way go hand in hand. This incredible article in The New Yorker, for example, which discusses bibliotherapy, posits that books “give us a chance to rehearse for interactions with others in the world, without doing any lasting damage.” Reading is a kind of practice for socialization, which helps us be more comfortable later in real social situations.


Even if you’re not worried about your current mental health, there’s evidence that shows the reading can help prevent various forms of dementia and memory loss and keeps your brain strong over time.

If you needed another reason to feel good about reading, here it is. And if, by any chance, you’ve been looking to read more, maybe these reasons will help you remember to really do it. Take the time to read, for your mental health, for your brain power, for your relationships, but mostly, for yourself. Read on, friends. Read on.


Judy Garland {READING} The Wizard of Oz

Winterhouse (Winterhouse #1) by Ben Guterson


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is a must read for children, full of mystery that will keep them entertained though the whole story!

Elizabeth Somer lives with her aunt and uncle because her parents passed away.  They are by no means a wealthy family and Elizabeth has a feeling that her aunt and uncle really don’t like her.  Until one day out of the blue, her aunt and uncle receive money and instructions to take a vacation by themselves while sending Elizabeth off to a hotel called Winterhouse over Christmas break.  Elizabeth has no idea who sent them the money, which is where her mysterious journey to Winterhouse begins…..

Upon her arrival, Elizabeth is mesmerized at the charms Winterhouse seems to offer, which I won’t delve into because you must read the story to find out all of it’s magical amenities!  She meets a boy her age, whose parents also sent him to Winterhouse for Christmas and they quickly become friends.

Elizabeth loves to read and to her excitement, there is a vast library at Winterhouse several stories tall.  While browsing one day she happens upon a magical book of puzzles that unlocks a mystery involving the Hotel’s owner and his family’s secrets.  Elizabeth quickly realizes that something is happening to her and somehow she is connected Winterhouse, but how?Elizabeth is the only one who can solve the mystery of the strange things that begin to unravel during her stay at Winterhouse……

This story is full of mystery and adventure, a great book for young readers with beautiful writing combined with illustrations that make you feel like you are right next to Elizabeth solving the mystery!

Published January 2nd 2018 by Henry Holt and Co.


The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is a romance-thriller that had just enough of both to keep you wondering into the next chapters to find out what was going to happen next!

Seven children, The Lucky Ones, had been either orphaned or abandoned by their parents and sent into different home-care systems.  Until the day when each of their lives would change thanks to a legendary brain surgeon named Dr. Capello.  Dr. Capello helped each and every one of these children and then offered his home to them as sanctuary.  The house was named The Dragon, which sat along the beach in Oregon.

Allison was the youngest of the seven to live with Dr. Capello after he whisked her away from a foster home.  She was living in the home because her mother had died and her aunt was too old to care for her and so she went to live in The Dragon with Dr. Capello and his children.

Then something happens to Allison, sending her to live with aunt who lets Allison know that she will never be returning to the house again.  Then, thirteen years later Allison receives a letter in the mail from her foster brother, Dr. Capello’s oldest son, telling her that their ‘father’ is ill and is in his last days.

Although Allison is determined to go back to The Dragon, the ghosts of the past creep back into her mind.  This makes the trip even more crucial, she needs to find out what happened all those years ago, she needs to know if someone was really trying to kill her.  Digging into these truths uncover a lot more than Allison was hoping for.  This tale that will take you up into a dark attic filled with secrets of love and also grief.

I’m not really a romance genre type, but this had just enough of this mixed with mystery that I was eagerly reading to find out what was going to happen next.


Published February 13th 2018 by Mira Books

The Storm King by Brendan Duffy


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Dear readers, if you enjoy a good mystery pick this book up right now!

Haunted by dark secrets and an unsolved mystery, a young doctor returns to his isolated Adirondacks hometown in a tense, atmospheric novel in the vein of Michael Koryta and Harlan Coben.

Nate McHale thought he had put his past and the secrets along with it way behind him when he left his home town of Greystone Lake.  Then, a body is discovered deep in the forest that surrounds the lake, drawing Nate the “Storm King” back home and how fitting could it be that a hurricane is thrashing on the horizon.

If Nate had his way, he would have never returned to Greystone Lake.  There are too many bad memories, memories of his family’s death, his high school girlfriend’s disappearance and then there’s the deep dark secrets the “Storm King” holds.  This homecoming brings Greystone Lake to it’s knees as chaos brews and stories are brought to the surface from the Lake that always returns what it takes……..

This is a hair raising story that you won’t be able to put down.  I’m telling you, this story will have your mind reeling with the pandemonium and secrets that are unfolded for us right before our eyes.  Fantastic writing and I cannot wait to read Brendan Duffy’s other book, “House of Echoes”!  Highly recommend!

Published February 6th 2018 by Ballantine Books




Hour Glass by Michelle Rene


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Have you ever read a book that makes the words in your mind sound out with a twang accent as you read?  This one will do that for you, it’s quite strange how authors can do that to us!

‘Hour Glass’ is set in the wild wild west of Deadwood, South Dakota.  This story revolves around Miss Calamity Jane, two young children and a handful of townspeople; weaving a tale that is sure to grab at your heart strings and it may also make you fall out of your chair!

Jimmy Glass and his sister Hour are in a race against time to get their sick father to Deadwood, a town not far from their home, to get him the help he needs.  Thankfully they happen upon the iconic Calamity Jane and her friend, Dora who find them a safe place to stay and work while their father tries to fight off his sickness in quarantine.  I will warn you, Miss Jane has a mouth on her, but you’ll soon find out where Hour will come into place to help with those curse words!

Jimmy and Hour face several tragedies but the sense of family you will feel from the characters welcoming these two into their lives will make you smile.  Among all the chaos that surrounds Deadwood, the fragile life or death line their father lays upon and the unknown future; brings an unexpected story leading to unbreakable bonds for Jimmy, Hour and the folks they meet on their journey; including the infamous Calamity Jane!

*Expected publication: February 20th 2018 by Amberjack Publishing