From the Family Bookshelf


It’s time again–actually, this is past due–for From the Family Bookshelf–the weekly (so far, so good) column talking about the books we’re reading, have read or want to read. There’s Mom (me), Dad (slowest reader in the world), the Lil Diva (reluctant reader extraordinaire), and the Lil Princess (bookworm in training).

I’ll let Dad go first this time, but that’s because I’m going to pick on him. Yes, he is still reading the thriller, Prayers for the Assassin , by Robert Ferrigno. Can you imagine how big my TBR pile would be if I read as slow as he does?

As for me, I’ve lucked out and hit a really good patch in the reading cycle.  Not many books that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. Since last time, I’ve read:

The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House a memoir by Melissa Anderson. Anderson played the character of Mary Ingalls on the classic 70’s family show, Little House on the Prairie

Jack’s Dreams Come to Life by Sara Jackson (children’s picture book)

The Raindrop by Brian McClure (children’s picture book)

Mr. Vinegar and the Frozen Sea by Chris Wardle (middle grade/tween chap book)

The Soggy Town of Hilltop by Kevin McNamee (children’s picture book)

My Dog Tim and Other Stories by Garasamo Maccagnone (literary story collection)

The Elf of Luxembourg: An Alex and Jackie Adventure by Tom Weston (YA fantasy)

Faith & Finances: A Journey to Financial Dependence by various authors

Some of these reviews have been posted here: Jack’s Dreams Come to Life, The Raindrop, Mr. Vinegar and the Frozen Sea, and The Soggy Town of Hilltop.  Tom Weston’s book will be reviewed here on Friday. My review of Melissa Anderson’s book appears at Laura’s Little Houses, my Laura Ingalls Wilder  blog. The other books will be reviewed at The Book Connection.

I just started reading the novel Conflicts with Interest by Michael Ruddy. I’m also reading The Three Dimensions of Character by Larry Brooks.

Wow! I take a up a lot of space. Now onto the girls.

The Lil Diva is still in Justin Bieber heaven, but she is managing to get some other reading done. She just finished Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren (RH Books for Young Readers) by Barbara Park. There are few books I can get her to read without an argument. Junie B. Jones books fall in that category.

The Lil Princess has read a few books this week. Now that she’s beginning to recognize more words she wants to read to me at night instead of the other way around. Two books I remember from this week are The Silly Scarecrow by Danielle Denega. This is a Clifford Puppy Days book from Scholastic geared toward kids in K – 2.

Her other popular book of the week is What Do Smurfs Do All Day? by Peyo. This book is part of the Dr. Seuss Beginning Readers Collection.  I’m sure it belonged to my son, who watched Smurfs, as did my sister and I when we were younger. My sister had the Smurf village toys that were popular when the cartoon first came out.  The Cartoon Network was airing reruns of Smurfs for a while and my girls really liked the show.  A great show, like a great book, never goes out of style.

Until next time, keep reading!

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Winner of For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone

Congratulations go out to authorphilipkledzik, the winner of a copy of For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone that we offered as a giveaway last month.

We’ve emailed Philip, so hopefully we’ll here from him soon and be able to ship out his prize.

Thanks to all who participated. 

If you are interested in picking up a copy of For the Love of St. Nick visit You can view a trailer for this book at YouTube.

For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccgnone – Giveaway!


You’ve read our review. Now enter to win a copy of the newly expanded and illustrated version of  For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone.

enter to win imageHOW TO ENTER:

1) Comment here with your working email address so that we can contact you if you win.

2) Get one additional entry for blogging about this contest. Leave a comment here telling us where you blogged about it.

3) Get two additional entries for tweeting about this contest. Don’t forget to let us know here that you tweeted!

This giveaway will run from today until 11:59 p.m. (Eastern) on November 30th. A winner will be announced in early December.

This contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada only.

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For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone

st_nickcoverCome enjoy the newly expanded and illustrated version of For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone.

Last year I reviewed the original version of this book at The Book Connection.  When I heard the author had revised the story and had the book illustrated, I certainly wanted to read the new version.  For the Love of St. Nick  is the story of two young boys coping with the loss of their mother, who died giving birth to the youngest boy, Johnny.   Due to complications during childbirth, Johnny is often sick.  When the boys’ father, a Navy Commander, is transferred to a base in northern Michigan, the family must survive military life as they dwell in an old hunter’s cabin on Lake Huron. 

When the boys’ father must leave a few weeks before Christmas to fulfill a secret mission for the United States Military, the boys are surprised by a chance encounter with the saint who they have been praying to for their father’s safe return.

All that I said in my original review holds true for this new version.  This book is filled with human emotions:  loss, fear and uncertainty, and most of all separation from those you love.  Though the boys have Mrs. Pennington to watch over them, they are nervous when the Commander goes away right before Christmas.  Tiger, the older brother and narrator of the story,  knows this is a serious mission, and even though the Commander’s friends promise to bring him home safely, Tiger interprets  his father’s actions–especially those on the night before he leaves–to indicate even the Commander is unsure of what could happen.

I mentioned the lovely cover art in my first review, and truly no online picture can do it justice.  You have to see the beauty of the cover up close.  Add to that the exquisite black and white illustrations found inside this copy and you have a beautiful story that is complimented by striking visuals. 

Anyone who loves the magic of Christmas will enjoy For the Love of St. Nick!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1439227608
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439227602
  • SRP:  $12.99

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    The Suburban Dragon by Garasamo Maccagnone

    Suburban DragonWhat can keep the kids busy on a rainy, boring afternoon? How about chasing after a mommy-snatching dragon in Chippewa Valley?

    Garrett, Anthony, and Aimee are bored. It’s a rainy day with nothing to do and their mother says they cannot go outside. So Mommy pulls out their favorite story, snuggles up with them on the couch and begins to read. But it’s not helping.

    When a dragon suddenly appears from behind the couch and runs off with their mother, the three children plot a daring rescue to save her and capture the dragon.

    Garasamo Maccagnone has come up with a funny, enjoyable story for young readers with The Suburban Dragon.

    Readers will love this story of three children’s adventures on a rainy, boring day. Through an imaginative storyline and magnificant illustrations, your children will follow along as Garrett, Anthony, and Aimee plot their daring rescue.

    My children loved The Suburban Dragon and have asked for me to read it over and over again. The bright, colorful illustrations capture their attention and bring the story to life. And the surprise at the end is something they always enjoy.

    If you’re looking for a quick, enjoyable, and fun read for the children in your life, look no further than The Suburban Dragon by Garasamo Maccagnone.

    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1419660446
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419660443
  • SRP:  $18.99