Upcoming Reads

Six friends. Five suspects. One murder.

Savana Caruso and Jesse Melo have known each other since they were kids, so when Jesse texts Savana in the middle of the night and asks her to meet him at Cray’s Warehouse, she doesn’t hesitate. But before Savana can find Jesse, she bears witness to a horrifying murder, standing helpless on the ground as a mysterious figure is pushed out of the fourth floor of the warehouse. 

Six teens were there that night, and five of them are now potential suspects. With the police circling, Savana knows what will happen if the wrong person is charged, particularly once she starts getting threatening anonymous text messages.

As she attempts to uncover the truth, Savana learns that everyone is keeping secrets—and someone is willing to do whatever it takes to keep those secrets from coming to light.

Eleven-year-old cousins Brandon and Josh return home safely at the end of their Almost True Adventure, only to discover that their cousin Adam has been captured by the very same aliens from the Intergalactic Council on Obedience to Parents they just escaped from!

Long ago, there was a tree who loved a boy. She gave him all she had, until she had no more to give. But what happens to the tree after the boy is gone? So begins the inspiring and heartwarming tale of a young girl who meets the tree and loves her without expectation. Love is a powerful healing force in this tender and magical adventure that reminds us the end is also a new beginning. Beautifully written and illustrated, The Giving Back Tree teaches a simple lesson: we can grow back.

Author Updates

It is hard to believe that we are almost through the first quarter of 2023. Life for this author and editor has traveled along at a brisk pace. I keep hearing the real estate market is slowing down or has slowed down, but that is not the case for me. I have been blessed to continue to be actively working with numerous clients. By the end of March, I will have closed more than half the volume of properties that I closed in all of 2022 when I was president of the RAPV.

After months of working with my domain company and HostGator, I was finally able to get my author website back online. Seems the template that the designer used to create it is no longer being updated. So, while https://ccmalandrinos.com doesn’t have the same overall look and feel that it once did, at least people can see it.

I am looking forward to the release of my fifth children’s book. Clever Tom, which is due to out this summer from 4RV Publishing. You will also occasionally find me writing for the Christian Children’s Authors blog.

Not much new story writing going on, but I am editing the proofs of the second edition of Dust of Lies by G. K. Davenport. I am also formatting and editing a series of books for an author friend.

That’s it from my neck of the woods. Thank you for your loyal readership.

2023 Read Across America Day

Today is Read Across America Day! Did you participate with your kids or did their school hold any type of event? If you visit https://www.nea.org/professional-excellence/student-engagement/read-across-america/2022-2023-calendar you will find a calendar with book recommendations.

How to Decorate A Christmas Tree by Vikki VanSickle

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree by Vikki VanSickle is a sweet story of the season.

A young girl is sharing the steps to decorate a Christmas tree… but it is so much more. It’s about the special memories, beloved traditions, and favorite things that happen as this family decorates the tree that is so endearing. Readers of How to Decorate a Christmas Tree will be delighted by this seasonal tale with beautiful three-dimensional artwork by Miki Sato. And with a special surprise at the end, this wonderful story is sure to charm readers of all ages.

I know it’s early in the year yet, but this might be my favorite children’s Christmas book of the 2023.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Tundra Books (October 10, 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0735268584
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0735268586
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 – 8 years
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ Preschool – 3

I requested a NetGalley copy of this story for review. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in anyway.

First Chapter Review: Alchemy by Mike Wood

Alchemy by Mike Wood is a coming of age novel that I grabbed as a Kindle freebie in 2014.

BLURB: The summer of 1984 was a golden time in America. From California, where gymnast Mary Lou Retton was winning Olympic gold, to Cape Cod, where explorer Barry Clifford was discovering pirate gold, the nation seemed obsessed with the precious metal. But for 15-year old Al, that obsession hits a little too close to home when he finds a code-filled notebook belonging to his missing father that may contain the ancient formula for turning lead to gold. Convinced that his father’s sudden disappearance is connected to his secret experiments in alchemy, Al sets out to find the truth. He enlists the help of Cammie, a beautiful girl staying for the summer while her marine biologist father tracks a wayward manatee, and together they begin unraveling the mystery. But the closer they get to an answer, the closer they grow to each other, and as the end of summer draws nearer, Al wonders if they can break the code without breaking his heart.

COVER: I live a little over two hours away from Cape Cod. This is the perfect cover to draw the reader into the setting where Al lives. I also love how the author works the year the story takes place into the road sign.

FIRST CHAPTER: Told by Al as if he is speaking directly to the reader, he explains the challenge of his name, a bit about his family and his life, and the day he made the mistake of taking a neighbor’s magazine.

KEEP READING: A resounding yes! I remember when I downloaded this book, because it reminded me of my high school years and was set in a place I knew. Even though Wood has Al give the reader a ton of information in the first chapter, I feel it reads like a teenager would speak and is a cohesive sequence of events. Al is funny and engaging, which makes the reader want to keep turning the pages… especially considering how the first chapter ends.*

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0038M2HC6
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Booksurge (January 12, 2010)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ January 12, 2010
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1331 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • This First Chapter Review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

    *Based upon the ending of the first chapter, this novel may not be appropriate for younger readers.