Play to Live by Brian Vandongen

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Book Description:

Play To Live: Life Skills and Joy Through The Natural Talent To Play by author Brian VanDongen takes you back to your childhood to remind you about what being a child is all about. Playing! We all have those fond childhood memories of growing up playing with our friends in social settings. Developing social skills and learning how to handle friendships and relationships.

What we didn’t realize at the time was that those skills we learned for the building blocks which lay the foundation for the rest of our lives. What are our children learning right now? How are they playing now and what part are we playing in how our children interact with the world around them.

For many children, their idea of play and playing now consists of talking to friends online and playing with electronic devices, staying safe indoors, and not venturing further than their own small safe world which we have created.

Inside Play To Live you’ll discover:

  • Understanding what it means to play.
  • Where play has gone and what has changed?
  • How playing inside the box promotes the simplicity of play.
  • Why risky play is not the same as dangerous play. Are we too overprotective?
  • That climbing up the slide is just as important as sliding down.
  • Getting muddy outside and rediscovering nature is imperative.
  • That play is serious business and so much more.

Inside Play To Live: Life Skills and Joy Through The Natural Talent To Play you’ll read about case studies and reports followed by tips, tricks, and information to help you. If you would like to rediscover what it means to play, then grab a copy of Play To Live right now!

To follow the tour, please visit Brian VanDongen’s page on iRead Book Tours.
 
​​Meet the author:  ​

 

Brian is a life-long “parks and rec kid.” Now, he is a parks and recreation professional. Brian has created, designed, and implemented transformational recreational programming for thousands of residents. ​ Through his work as a park and recreation professional, Brian helps people play and find their natural talent to play.

He believes everyone has that talent, but it is sometimes hard to find or even suppressed in today’s society. ​ Fortunately, play at its most basic level is easy, fun, healthy, and desirable. That playful talent just needs to be unleashed.

Brian has helped thousands of people find their natural talent to play and become happier and healthier people through the power of play.

Book Details:

  • Book Title: Play to Live: Life Skills and Joy Through the Natural Talent to Play by Brian VanDongen
  • Category: Self-help/ Inner Child; creativity, 119 pages
  • Genre: Adult Non-Fiction (18+)
  • Publisher: BVDPlays
  • Release date: April 30, 2019
  • Tour dates: June 17 to July 5, 2019
  • Content Rating: G

Connect with the author: Website ~  Facebook ~  Twitter ~ Instagram

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A Cloud of Fraud by Linda Ferreri

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A Cloud Of Fraud by Linda Ferreri BannerOn Tour June 1-30, 2019

Synopsis:

A man is shot dead in front of City Hall in Philadelphia where his family is tangled in a bitter lawsuit. One brave woman, drawn there by a work of art, finds herself following a twisted trail to the hills of Le Marche in Italy to learn why. All the while, the cloud of fraud grows thicker and darker around her. 

This thrilling story grabs and holds the reader from the first chapter through unexpected twists all the way to the richly satisfying ending. Art expert Claire Bliss and police Comandante Baldo are joined and antagonized by unforgettable characters in both Philadelphia and Italy. The authenticity of Ferreri’s players and their territories give special vibrance to the novel.

Lovers of the Renaissance will be drawn in immediately by the book’s cover, a painting of Mary Magdalene by Carlo Crivelli (ca. 1480) in the Rijksmuseum. Inside the book, a great art crime story unfolds together with a gem of a murder mystery.

Readers here know that my preferred genre is mystery and suspense, which can range from hardcore, blood-and-guts police procedurals, to softer Jessica-Fletcher-esque cozies, to cleverly plotted and researched historical novels, and so on. I am particularly fond of mysteries that involve books or art, so I was happy to review this madcap mystery when offered from the publisher.

There are two parallel stories happening here: a legal drama involving a (possibly) forged will, and theft of artwork by Italian Renaissance painter Carlo Crivelli. The two stories are linked by Arthur Seri, a quiet, unassuming art expert who is suing his cousins over his uncle’s will, which he believes was forged. At the same time, Arthur is working with a larger-than-life Russian to authenticate parts of a Renaissance era altar piece painted by Crivelli.

And then Arthur Seri is killed. Shot in the back on the steps of the Philadelphia Court House. Enter art expert Claire Bliss, who also happens to own a home in the Le Marche region of Italy where Carlo Crivelli painted. Claire finds herself neck-deep in a confusing and dangerous game involving fake paintings, Arthur Seri’s very Italian landlady, the above-mentioned Russian, and an Italian police chief pining for his missing wife. The action moves between Philadelphia, New York, and Italy as Ferreri weaves all the various plots and subplots together into an unexpected ending.

There is SO much going on here that I was reminded of the 1930’s era madcap mystery movies where there are lots of characters, lots of motives, and lots of movement. Ferreri does an excellent job of managing all the different strands and bringing some resolution to the two separate stories of the Crivelli paintings and the forged will. Her depiction of Rose Cicarelli is spot on for the Italian grandmas and mamas in my life, especially Rose’s comment on the very last page, which made me howl with laughter. So accurate! The characters here – Claire and Baldo – have the makings of becoming a duo in a series. I would enjoy reading more about the New York sophisticate Claire and the provincial Italian police chief Baldo. Ferreri’s experience in the art world will surely make for more entertaining books in the future. Now I’m going back to find her earlier books on the Crown of the Andes.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Published by: Linda Ferreri Trustee
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Number of Pages: 315
ISBN: 978-0-578-47624-7
Purchase Links: Amazon | Kindle | Apple Books | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Early on in the Hard-heads case, at one of the bar association luncheons, Judge Pirandello had positioned himself next to one of his former clerks who was now a successful litigator in the Probate Court. Biggers, by name. There was the introductory chat about the wellbeing of their family members and the joke about the latest case here or there. The dialogue was familiar to both of them. The Hard-heads plaintiff was a problem person, the judge had learned, and he needed to be squashed to put an end to mostly frivolous claims, driven by greed. Everybody in the family knew it, the judge heard. He knew the type. The Probate Court was littered with greedy relatives, angry children with buxom young stepmothers wearing expensive jewelry their fathers had bought. He knew it all. The judge wanted rid of this case, and so he was pleased to learn that it was not worthy of His Honor’s dignified much less close attention. The Hard-heads case had to go.

It would have gone long before now, the judge was thinking to himself as he growled into the cup of black tea, but these damned people had refused to take the hint, refused to be cowed or put in their places. Here and there at the few hearings he had conducted over this motion or that, he had seen a shrug of the shoulders by one or another lawyer.

“What could we do?” They might as well have said that out loud. The judge understood.

His knee was throbbing, but Judge Pirandello refused to have it replaced. The fact that cold weather was coming on made it worse. The goddamned orthopedic surgeon was another money-grubber. Were there no professionals left in his world who were not money-grubbers? He stretched his corpulence forward over the edge of his chair to reach for his footstool, then winced as he elevated the bad leg. He yelled out for Mary to bring him another cup of tea. Then, he opened the enormous file on the small table beside his chair.

In Re the Estate of Seri. He hated even the name. Italian people should not behave in this fashion, he thought. His own father would have come back from the dead to beat the daylights out of his heirs if they had behaved as these people were behaving. Suing one another. Claiming fraud. All of it. Disgraceful, he thought. They were each poised to receive a generous amount of money but no, that wasn’t good enough. As with errant children, the Judge was both angry with and ashamed of the parties.

***

Excerpt from A Cloud of Fraud by Linda Ferreri. Copyright 2019 by Linda Ferreri. Reproduced with permission from Linda Ferreri. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Linda Ferreri

Linda Ferreri is the author of several art crime novels as well as witty illustrated iBooks. She is a highly respected international art law expert who divides her time between the United States and Le Marche in Italy.

Sometimes she says her most amusing book was her first, The King of UNINI, a sophisticated little romance set in Paris.

Catch Up With Linda Ferreri On:
acloudoffraud.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


Click here to view the A Cloud Of Fraud by Linda Ferreri Participants

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Linda Ferreri. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2019 and runs through July 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Reader Profile – Melanie Lewis


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Melanie Lewis started out as an avid Library Patron
Became:
Library Page
Library Aide
Clerk
Library Assistant
Librarian
Currently : Monroe County (NY) Library System Outreach Coordinator
Who knows what’s next in the evolution?

What are you reading right now?

I am usually reading one, listening to another… Currently:

The desert island question – What 5 books would you have to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

If you ask me tomorrow, this list will change!

Are you a finisher? In other words, are you compelled to finish a book even if you hate it? What are some books that you’ve had to force yourself to finish, or which you’ve bailed on?

I used to be a finisher, but within the last year or two, I decided my time is too precious, but I MADE myself finish Roxane Gay’s Untamed State…It was a thriller, which I usually don’t do..but I had to find out what happened at the end even though the book upset me.
I bailed on Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff, to weird.

What is at the top of your To Be Read pile?

When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanaithi….every time I think about reading it, it makes me sad, but I feel it’s a must read for me.

Would you rather be your favorite author or your favorite character?

My favorite book character is Toni Morrison’s “Sula”..but I would not want to be her. It would be too hard to be that free.

Toni is one of my favorite authors; I would rather be her.

What book do you wish you’d never read?

Sorry library people…but I just never felt all that Harry Potter madness. I tried.

Has any book defined your life, as in you would be a different person if you hadn’t read it?

Not any individual book, but being a reader has made me a different person.

Is there a genre or type that you are over and wish would just go away?

In my department, we are inundated with Amish Fiction. I wouldn’t miss those.

Book or movie? Is there a movie that you think was better than the book?

The Queen Sugar television series by Ava DuVernay, is better than the book by Natalie Baszile.

What is your preferred format? Hardcover, paperback, digital, audio, doesn’t matter?

Soft cover, large print .Then audio. The audio productions keep getting better and better.

What book would you love to see made into a movie? Who would play the lead role?

Audra Macdonald narrates the audio version of Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things. I would like to see her star in the movie version. I loved the book.

What book are you recommending that everyone read right now?

Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Heavy by Kiese Laymon. It’s a tie.

Do you read with your children? What are some of their favorite books?

I did. One of them became a Librarian, the other an avid reader. Some great recommendations I’ve gotten from them: Mornings in Jenin, The Truth About Awiti, The Forty Rules of Love, The Coming, Forty Acres, Well Read Black Girl, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, The Alchemist, and Shade.

Yes. THEY tell ME what to read now.

Does reading influence your decision-making process?

I hope so.

Why do you read?

To be entertained, to learn, to grow.

 

The Little Grey Girl by Celine Kiernan


cover159644-mediumFrom the Publisher: In the second book of the Wild Magic trilogy, courageous young Mup and her family are trying to heal and restore the kingdom when they uncover an ancient and powerful anger. The old queen and her raggedy witches have fled Witches Borough, and Mup’s family has moved into the cold, newly empty castle. But the queen’s legacy lingers in the fear and mistrust of her former subjects and in the memories that live in the castle’s very walls. When an enchanted snow blankets the castle, Mup’s family is cut off from the rest of the kingdom, and the painful memories of the old queen’s victims begin to take form, thanks to a ghost whose power may be too much for even Mup and Mam to handle. Celine Kiernan weaves a timely and essential truth into the second book of her trilogy: that dismantling oppression means honoring the pains of the past, and perhaps the most potent magic of all is encouraging joy and hope wherever possible.

Kiernan introduced Mup, Mam, Dad, Crow, and Tipper in Begone the Raggedy Witches (Book One of the Wild Magic Trilogy) last year, and now follows that wonderful debut with a continuation of the same story. After having defeated the Raggedy Witches and dethroned the wicked Queen, Mam moves her family into the other world and takes up residence in the old Queen’s castle. Once there, Mam struggles with the need for a Queen expressed by the people, since she wants to do everything different from how her mother, the old Queen, ruled. There’s no question that Mam has the power, but does she have the will to rule?

At the same time, Mup is struggling to understand her place in this new world, and come to terms with her own power, which sparks from her fingertips. Mup can sense that something isn’t right, and Kiernan does an excellent job of communicating not only Mup’s feeling of being out of place but her powerful sense of something bigger being wrong.

The juxtaposition between Mup’s happy family and the residual sadness, anger, and fear left in the old Queen’s castle is made more powerful by the cursed moon and snow the old Queen sends to disrupt the land. Throw in an unhappy ghost, a confused Raggedy Witch, and a friend who feels betrayed and you have a story that will keep you reading well into the night.

Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Published By: Candlewick Press
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel by James Markert


cover153987-mediumFrom the Publisher: For years, guests of the Tuscany Hotel could leave their pasts behind and live among fellow artists. Now guests of a different sort fill the rooms, searching for their memories—no matter the cost.

Run by renowned sculptor Robert Gandy and his wife and muse, Magdalena, the Tuscany Hotel hosted guests of a certain kind—artists, actors, scientists, and engineers who left their worries behind so that they could create their latest masterpieces. Surrounded by lore, the hotel was rumored to free the mind and inspire artists’ gifts. But tragic circumstances force Robert and his family to move.

After thirteen months at war, Vittorio Gandy is haunted by memories, and his former life is unrecognizable. Once a gifted painter, now he can’t bear the vivid, bleeding colors on a canvas. His young son doesn’t remember him, and his wife, Valerie, is scared of him. But the most disconcerting change is in Vitto’s father, Robert Gandy, who has fallen from being a larger-than-life sculptor to a man whose mind has been taken by Alzheimer’s.
When Robert steals away in the night, Valerie, Vitto, and his new acquaintance and fellow veteran John go to the only place Robert might remember—the now-abandoned Tuscany Hotel. When they find him there, Robert’s mind is sound and his memories are intact.

Before long, word gets out that drinking from the fountain at the hotel can restore the memories of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. The rooms once again fill up with guests—not artists this time, but people seeking control over their memories and lives. Vitto desperately wants to clear his own mind, but as he learns more about his mother’s life and her tragic death, he begins to wonder whether drinking the water comes at a price.

A story of father and son, memories lost and found, artists and their muses, Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel explores the mysteries of the mind, the truth behind lore, and the miracle of inspiration.

This gorgeous book joins my “Best of 2019” list, pretty darn close to the top. This is storytelling at its best, with characters who twine themselves around your heart and pull tight until you think you’ll explode. The blend of Greek myth with a wholly original story about muses, memory, art, and love creates a narrative that leaves you emotionally spent. Markert explores relationships here – between fathers and sons, mothers and sons, husbands and wives, and between friends – with special emphasis on aging and memory. There are beautiful love stories here – Magdalena and Robert, and Vitto and Valerie – that explore trust, passion, friendship, and deep love that transcends the ordinary world.

This would make a fabulous selection for a book club, and is one I’ll be recommending for a long time.

Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Published by: Thomas Nelson Publishing
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

The Midnight Call by Jode Millman


midnight callFrom the Publisher: Everyone dreads the terrifying call that comes in the middle of the night. Your worst fears could be realized, your life changed forever in the minute it takes to answer. Jessie Martin never expected to hear the word murder on the other end of the line. That ringing phone was the sound of an ill-fated trajectory that would tilt her world, throwing her life into free-fall in Jodé Susan Millman’s heart-pounding courtroom thriller, THE MIDNIGHT CALL (Immortal Works; June 18, 2019).

The call is from distraught family friend Terrence Butterfield, threatening to harm himself. Jessie races to his side, but what she learns at Terrence’s house shakes her to her core. There’s a boy’s body in the basement—and Terrence insists he was the murderer. Drawing upon her connections as a corporate attorney, Jessie calls in a favor. She asks her former boss, criminal lawyer Jeremy Kaplan, to take the case. When Jessie and Jeremy speak to Terrence, she can’t believe he’s the same dear friend she’s known and loved since high school. The handsome, charismatic, and popular teacher swears he doesn’t know how the teenage boy ended up butchered in his basement. But he delivers this statement with an insidious flash of a malicious grin. Equally worrisome is the prosecution. Assistant District Attorney Hal Samuels is surprised to see his old law school flame listed as a witness. He hasn’t seen Jessie in years—how will this affect building his case? The tension mounts as Terrence tries to manipulate her, Kaplan uses her as a pawn, her fiancé pressures her for more, and the man who dumped her insinuates himself back into her life. How will she survive the aftermath of answering that terrifying midnight call?

Millman hits the bull’s eye in this, her debut novel. The plot is tight as a drum and filled with suspense from the first chapter to the last. Everything works here – the characters, the dialog, the description, the story – which demonstrates the author’s excellent research skills and imagination. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.  Police and legal procedural fans, this is a new author to watch!

jodeJODÉ SUSAN MILLMAN is the author of the bestselling Seats: New York Theatre guidebooks. Her debut novel, The Midnight Call, was short-listed for the Clue Award and was designated as “Best Police Procedural” by Chantireviews.com. She is an attorney who blogs about publishing law and is the co-host and co-producer of the popular podcast Backstage with the Bardavon (available on iTunes, Spotify and GooglePlay). Visit her at http://www.jodesusanmillman.com or on Facebook @JodeSusanMillmanAuthor.

 

Praise for The Midnight Call
“Witty, smart, and entertaining. An intriguing mix of hopes and fears, where the line between right and wrong blurs into some juicy, legal skullduggery.”
– International and New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry, author of The Malta Exchange

 

Me, Myself & Ideas by Carrie Anton & Jessica Nordskog


054EA89F-A8A9-4BAB-AF05-653C6974C99FFrom the publisher: From brainstorming mavens Carrie Anton and Jessica Nordskog comes this inspirational guide to generating fresh ideas—all without setting foot in a conference room.

An essential resource for any self-employed, freelance, or work-from-home professional, Me, Myself & Ideas offers tips, tools, and a host of exercises aimed at crushing mental blocks and forging ahead with creative solutions. Whether you’re stuck on a logistical problem or experiencing a creative dry spell, the activities in this book are sure to get you thinking (and creating) in new and powerful ways.

This fabulous book is a must-have for anyone who currently works solo, or is thinking about making a leap in that direction. Anton and Nordskog offer page after page of inspirational and creative ideas to help readers have even more big ideas. The format is bright and appealing, causing you to keep reading even if the particular chapter isn’t of interest. These two are skilled writers and clearly have extensive experience in ideation. Recommended.

Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Published By: Andrew McMeel Publishing
Thanks to Netgalley for the review book

Uncultivated by Andy Brennan


AE58666F-AE06-45C9-A5BC-E497B0EB24D2From the Publisher: Long before the advent of conventional farming methods–which have focused on constant growth, human intervention, and genetic homogeneity–­the apple had already grown to become the ubiquitous all-American symbol it is today. Known for their hardiness, ability to adapt to new environments, natural diversity, and plentiful bounty, wildly grown apples were once known as ”America’s fruit” throughout the trading world. Yet those apple trees–known as pippins–have nearly vanished from the American agricultural landscape, and so, too, have the complexities and nuances of wild apples and their cider. Andy Brennan, founder of Aaron Burr Cidery in upstate New York, has been making a case for their return.

In Uncultivated, Brennan’s hero is the tenacious wild apple and the supe­rior cider it produces. In candid and at times philosophical prose, he shares his decades-long experience working with naturalized trees–from discovering new tastes and textures to understanding how the wild apple tree guided him toward a successful, environmentally conscious business. At the heart of his story is Brennan’s faith in nature, and its unfailing ability to deliver us from our own mistakes.

Andy Brennan is the owner of Aaron Burr Cidery, a small homestead farm located in New York State’s Catskill region that supplies cider to some of Manhattan’s most popular restaurants, including 11 Madison Park and the Gramercy Tavern. He has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in the New York Times, Wine Enthusiast magazine, and numerous other publications.

Brennan writes eloquently about the industry that feeds his occupation – cider-making – and focuses intently on heirloom or lost strains of apple trees. Having grown up in the Apple Country of western NY, I know a little bit about apple trees and orchards. Brennan does an excellent job of sharing information about the cultivation of apple trees, and what it means to entrepreneurs like himself. I am so happy to see attention being paid to those lost varieties of apples, and make an effort to support farms that are attempting to bring them back. (I’m looking at you, Hurd Orchards!) Before I read this, I didn’t know much about cider-making and how the variety of apple has such an effect on the end product. Fascinating stuff. Recommended for apple enthusiasts and anyone interested in the cider industry.

Publication Date: June 12, 2019
Published By: Chelsea Green Publishing
Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy

Monster She Wrote by Lisa Krieger & Melanie Anderson


9CD8CA8F-41F6-4647-8B19-E4A3B5E67949It’s been years since I took a deep dive into early gothic and speculative fiction, and never just focusing on women authors, so I thought this would be a nice refresher. Kroger and Anderson have written a *readable* and engaging piece of non-fiction that delves into all the kick-ass women who wrote science fiction, paranormal, horror, and speculative fiction from the 17th century on. Many of them wrote using male pseudonyms, but others started their own publishing houses just for women!

While I especially enjoyed the chapters on the early writers in the field, I also found many unfamiliar authors to explore who wrote for the pulps, or who wrote under male pseudonyms. This book had me scouring my bookshelves for English and Victorian ghost story and short story collections to see if I actually had some of the stories referenced. I now have a stack of ghost story books all set for a summer reading project and am thinking about putting together a reading challenge for my Litsy friends using the authors referenced in the book. Here are a few I plan to explore…

Authors to Revisit:

  • Margaret Cavendish (Mad Madge)
  • Ann Radcliffe
  • Mary Shelley
  • Mary Anne Radcliffe
  • Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Charlotte Riddell

Authors to Explore:

  • Regina Maria Roche
  • Margery Bowen
  • L.T. Meade
  • Charlotte Dacre
  • Marjorie Lawrence
  • Amelia Edwards (apparently the model for Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody character)

These are just a few of the authors featured in this handy book. Find it when it comes out. This one’s a winner, folks!

Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Published By: Quirk Books
Thanks to NetGalley for the review book

Metropolitan Stories by Christine Coulson

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MetSynopsis: From a writer who worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for more than twenty-five years, an enchanting novel that shows us the Met that the public doesn’t see.

Hidden behind the Picassos and Vermeers, the Temple of Dendur and the American Wing, exists another world: the hallways and offices, conservation studios, storerooms, and cafeteria that are home to the museum’s devoted and peculiar staff of 2,200 people—along with a few ghosts.

A surreal love letter to this private side of the Met, Metropolitan Stories unfolds in a series of amusing and poignant vignettes in which we discover larger-than-life characters, the downside of survival, and the powerful voices of the art itself. The result is a novel bursting with magic, humor, and energetic detail, but also a beautiful book about introspection, an ode to lives lived for art, ultimately building a powerful collage of human experience and the world of the imagination.

These stories are magnificently odd, very much like some of the things in the Met. Part whimsy, part time-travel, part fantasy, part history – I could go on, but there really isn’t a good way to classify this delicious book. Every story is a gem, beginning with the evaluation of the Muses. I think we all should bring a Muse to every meeting. Do not speak to The Muse. The Muse will not speak.

This will be devoured by fans of the Met, or of art museums in general. Guaranteed you will lose yourself in the lovely prose and the fantastical stories.

Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Published By: Other Press
Thanks to Edelweiss for the review copy