Bookish Ramblings: Bilingual Books – Language Lizard LLC.

Hello, my bookish peeps. It’s the end of the year and holiday season for many people. For those of you that celebrated Hanukkah, a belated Chag Sameach! For those of you preparing for Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas. And for those of you awaiting Kwanzaa, I wish you a Happy Kwanzaa or Ngubo Saba.

For book lovers, especially bilingual and multilingual households, holidays can be filled with wonder over finding the perfect gift or fraught with terror over not being able to find that perfect something. This is especially true when trying to find books to share with loved ones that celebrate diversity and multilingual or bilingual households. Fortunately, there is a company that provides award-winning bilingual children’s products, Language Lizard, LLC., Inspiring Kids Through Language! (This is a paid promotional post. I received free books in exchange for this post, see picture below.)

FLOPPY by Guido Van Genechten in Yoruba & English;
THE GIANT TURNIP adapted by Henriette Barkow in Gujarati & English;
JILL AND THE BEANSTALK by Manju Gregory and David Anstey in Albanian & English

If you’re looking for bilingual books to share with a loved one or are an educator looking to supplement your classroom, Language Lizard has you covered. Language Lizard provides books in over 50 languages including Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Farsi, Gujarati, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Italian, Kurdish, Somali, Thai, Vietnamese, and more. I’m pleased to announce that in conjunction with Language Lizard, all The Book Diva’s Reads blog visitors can receive a 10% discount on the purchase of gift certificates at Language Lizard by using the following coupon code: GIFTDEAL. Use this coupon to purchase a book or learning materials for a birthday, holiday, or any gift-giving occasion. 

In addition to bilingual books, Language Lizard offers the PENpal Audio Recorder Pen. This digital audio “pen” promotes reading, speaking, and listening for a diverse student population.

  • Listens to content in many languages by touching the pen to interactive books, charts, labels, and other learning resources
  • Allows recording of individual narratives, music, or sound effects with Recordable labels

Language Lizard also provides lesson plans and articles to support multicultural/multilingual classrooms. with a free newsletter and lesson plans available at Language Lizard.

I hope you’ll check out Language Lizard and use the discount code GIFTDEAL to save 10% on your gift certificate purchase whether it is for the holidays, a birthday, or as a just because gift! 

Happy Shopping, Happy Reading, and Happy Holidays!

Guest Post: Jeff Bond – THE WINNER MAKER

The Winner Maker by Jeff Bond

Hello, my bookish peeps. I’ve often wondered how much thought and planning goes into designing the cover art for a book. Some cover art can be, let’s just say off-putting, and other cover art can be eye-catching. Today, Jeff Bond, author of The Winner Maker, stops by for a visit and discusses with us the all-important issue of cover art from the author’s perspective. Thank you, Mr. Bond for taking time out of your schedule for today’s visit. I’m looking forward to your thoughts on cover art. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jeff Bond.

I have a love-hate relationship with cover art. I love being involved in the process. I can’t draw to save my life and having the opportunity to oversee a professional artist capturing my story’s essence in visual form is humbling, wonderful, and just plain fun. When you see a standout book cover — the demon-man in American Psycho, that disembodied blue face of The Great Gatsby — you just feel the story bubbling up through your bones. You’re not only excited about the book. You’re excited about the whole idea of the book, everything it has the potential to say. You can’t wait to dive in between those flaps and discover how this author went about delivering on the promise of that image.

What if your book cover could make a reader feel all that?

Here’s the problem: what if it doesn’t?

When you involve yourself intricately in the cover design process, as I did with The Winner Maker, you’re taking a risk. The stakes are high. The task is daunting. You know the sort of cover art you like, but you also know (or should know) that the genre you’re publishing in carries certain cover expectations — if not requirements. If you commission a cover that’s deep and intellectually bold, you’d better be selling a book of that description too. At the same time, you don’t want generic—something that looks like it got stamped out from comparable titles, the text swapped in with your name and title. Or do you?

For The Winner Maker, I absolutely did not want the thriller-tastic silhouette-running-into-dangerous-skyline cover, though I had people advise me that I needed exactly that. “Readers need to know they’re getting a thriller.” Drama. Danger. Tension. The color red. I decided to put my head down against this headwind and chart a different course. I felt—still feel—my book was aiming to be more than a straight thriller. It featured complex characters and explored my themes in fresh ways. I wanted an image that suggested this.

Andrea Orlic, my amazing designer, came up with a piece of art I absolutely loved. It differed from the final cover in a few ways, the most significant being that the sun was yellow, and the “I” in WINNER MAKER wasn’t smeared. I thought—still think—it told the entire story at a glance. The teacher at the center, both light and dark, commanding a sun, keeping certain people in the light while leaving others out. The one set of eyes watching hauntingly. I thought it had just the right vibe—dangerous, but stylishly so, with plenty of unanswered questions.

Then somebody I trusted, with plenty of experience in the industry, told me it looked like a seventies sci-fi cover. I should just hand the blurb off to an experienced cover shop and have them make me something.

Self-doubt roared through me. Was I making a terrible mistake? Was I sabotaging my book by involving myself in a realm I had no business in? A realm I knew next to nothing about?

I went back to Andrea, who thankfully does have experience in the field. She talked me off the cliff. We agreed to make a couple tweaks to her original design — smearing the “I”, turning the sun that thriller-tastic red — to more clearly communicate the genre for potential readers.

As the book makes its way out into the world, I’ve come to believe that for all the trials and tribulations, we did end up with the perfect cover. Many love it. A few don’t. Some think it looks like a hard book to get into.

How can the cover be perfect, you ask, if some don’t like it?

Because this reaction tracks uncannily to reactions early readers have had to the book itself. Professional reviews and the vast majority of reader reviews have been extremely positive, but a couple have found the character development burdensome in the early going. They were looking for a more straight-ahead thriller.

When what’s outside the flaps evokes so accurately what’s inside them — the totality of the book, not just a genre label — then you’re in the right place.

What do you like or dislike in book covers? Are you intrigued by an image outside genre norms, or does it make you think the author/publisher just fired an airball?

The Winner Maker

by Jeff Bond

on Tour December 1-31, 2018


The Winner Maker by Jeff Bond

Bob Fiske — the 74-year-old dinosaur who’s taught Honors English and coached varsity football for five decades — is missing.

To his Winners, class favorites Fiske designated over the years for their potential to “Live Big,” it’s heartbreaking. Fiske did more than inspire with soaring oratory; he supported their ambitions into adulthood. Four of his brightest former stars reunite to find him, putting high-octane careers on hold, slipping police barricades, racing into the wilds of Northern Michigan for clues about the fate of their legendary mentor.

Others don’t see a legend. They see an elitist whose time has passed.

When a current student — female — disappears just hours into the Winners’ search amid rumors of inappropriate meetings, the Great Man’s reputation is a shambles.

Feints, betrayal, explosive secrets from their own pasts: as facts emerge, each Winner must decide how far they’ll go for Fiske. Can the truth redeem him? Or has this cult of hyper-achievement spawned a thing so vile none of their lives will survive intact?

“An exhilarating and emotionally astute mystery.” ~ Kirkus

Book Details:

Genre: Upmarket Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Indie
Publication Date:  December 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 332
ISBN: 1732255202 (ISBN13: 9781732255203)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Jeff Bond

Author Bio:

Jeff Bond is a Kansas native and graduate of Yale University. He lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters, and belongs to the International Thriller Writers Association.

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeff Bond. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card. The giveaway begins on December 1, 2018, and runs through January 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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2019 Book 474: FOR BETTER AND WORSE by Margot Hunt

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt
ISBN: 9780778307907 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781488088544 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488205477 (audiobook)
ASIN: B077ZW32RW (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 11, 2018 
Publisher: MIRA 

On their first date back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke bonded over drinks, dinner and whether they could get away with murder. Now married, they’ll put the latter to the test when an unchecked danger in their community places their son in jeopardy. Working as a criminal defense attorney, Nat refuses to rely on the broken legal system to keep her family safe. She knows that if you want justice…you have to get it yourself.

Shocked to discover Nat’s taken matters into her own hands, Will has no choice but to dirty his, also. His family is in way too deep to back down now. He’s just not sure he recognizes the woman he married. Nat’s always been fiercely protective, but never this ruthless or calculating. With the police poking holes in their airtight plan, what will be the first to fall apart: their scandalous secret—or their marriage?

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Nathalie and Will met in law school. Nathalie had specific goals, work for the public defender’s office before opening her own firm and Will just wanted to work in a law firm and never see a courtroom. Fast forward and Nathalie and Will are married and living in Florida. Nathalie has her own life firm and works as a criminal defense attorney. Will is working as a paper-pusher doing contract law. They have a good marriage (not a great one but decent), a nice home, a ten-year-old son that they both adore, and a dog. Life hasn’t exactly gone the way they planned, but it isn’t all bad until their son’s school principal is taken in for questioning regarding molesting a student. At first, both Nathalie and Will think this is much ado about nothing as the student in question is classified as a “troubled youth,” but then they learn that their son was also molested by this principal, a man they thought of as a friend. Nathalie refuses to report the instance with their son simply because she knows how traumatic the questioning and trial can be. Will feels that justice must be served and their son might be the voice needed to ensure this man doesn’t get off scot-free. Just when it seems like their lives have changed for the worse and it couldn’t possibly get any worse, Nathalie decides that the principal must die. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect her son and family, but can she count on Will especially after she learns he’s been keeping secrets from her? Secrets that just might tear their family apart more than her plans? How far is too far when it comes to protecting your children? How far is too far when it comes to keeping the wedding vows “for better or worse?”

I found For Better and Worse to be a fast-paced read. There is intrigue and, yes, murder, but the reader knows who the murderers are from the very beginning. The burning question becomes can they get away it and then should they be able to get away with it? Ms. Hunt presents this story in such a way that it was almost impossible to not feel empathetic towards Nathalie and Will no matter what they decide to do to protect their son. The bigger question that looms for Nathalie and Will (as well as for the reader) is if their choices are actually justifiable or not, morally and ethically. This is a not a black-and-white issue for Nathalie or Will, nor was it one for this reader. I can’t say if I agreed with their choices or condoned their actions, but I understood where they were coming from as parents. Nathalie comes across as a strong woman that is often rigid in her thinking. Will comes across as more laidback and flexible except when it comes to keeping his secrets. There were parts of the story that seemed a bit farfetched, but hey it’s fiction and therefore allowed. I enjoyed most of the characters and although I empathized with Nathalie throughout most of the story, by the end she was not my favorite person (read the book to learn why for yourself). If you enjoy reading fast-paced psychological thrillers, then you may want to grab a copy of For Better and Worse to read, just don’t let it give you any criminal ideas!

Disclaimer:  I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Read an excerpt from the book here.

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For Better and Worse

For Better and Worse

For Better and Worse






2018 Book 471: ONCE A MIDWIFE by Patricia Harman

Once A Midwife Hope River #3 by Patricia Harman
ISBN: 9780062869333 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062825575 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780062825582 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062867711 (audiobook)
ASIN: B0756DR699 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 6, 2018 
Publisher: William Morrow 

Welcome back to Hope River in New York Times bestselling author Patricia Harman’s newest novel as midwife Patience Hester, along with her family and friends, face the challenges of the home front during World War II.

The women of Hope River trust midwife Patience Hester, whose skill in delivering babies is known for miles around. But though the Great Depression is behind them, troubles are not, for Europe is at war…and it can only be a matter of time before the U.S. enters the fray.

And while some are eager to join the fight, Patience’s husband, Daniel, is not. Daniel is a patriot—but he saw too much bloodshed during the First World War, and has vowed never to take up arms again.

His stance leaves Patience and their four children vulnerable—to the neighbors who might judge them, and to the government, who imprison Daniel for his beliefs.

Patience must support their family and fight for her husband’s release despite her own misgivings. And with need greater than ever, she must also keep her practice running during this tumultuous time…relying on generous friends, like Bitsy, who has returned to Hope River, stalwart neighbors, and her own indomitable strength to see them all through.

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Author Patricia Harman returns to Hope River, West Virginia and the Hester family in the early 1940s with her latest addition to the Hope River Series Once A Midwife. Adolph Hitler and the Nazis are overtaking most of Europe, the United States is initially practicing isolationism from the European conflict until the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the country is still reeling from the Great Depression. Patience Hester is still a practicing midwife and her husband, Daniel, is still working as a veterinarian. Their family consists of their two biological children, Danny and Mira, along with their adopted twin daughters Sunny and Sue. Bitsy Proudfoot, Patience’s friend, trainee and former roommate, returns to Hope River to with her ward, Willie. Bitsy and Willie, along with the Hesters are making the best of their situations and hoping and praying that war will not come to West Virginia. Their hopes are dashed with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and men from their community and surrounding communities are eager to do their part, signing up to fight, except for Daniel Hester. Daniel refuses to sign up for the draft and isn’t eager to return to war after the Great War or World War I. He witnessed first hand the atrocities man commits against man and animal alike and he doesn’t want to have a part in perpetuating those acts of inhumanity and insanity. Needless to say, this causes problems for Daniel in the community as well as with Patience and his own son. Patience has a hard time understanding Daniel’s pacifism but is determined to stand by his side. Their son, Danny, initially feels that his father is being cowardly until Daniel tries to explain to the children the reason for his actions. The looming question on everyone’s mind is will Daniel be sent to prison for his actions and if so, for how long and where will he go? For Patience, the question becomes can she continue to stand by her husband if she doesn’t agree with his decision when she’s the one that will bear the brunt of the work and fallout afterward? Does she have the strength to do what needs to be done to keep her family going forward? As the men of Hope River and beyond go off to war, the women are left to tend the farms and families while worrying about loved ones far, far away. Can they stay strong in the midst of these trying times?

Once a Midwife is the third book in the Hope River series by Patricia Harman and this book packed quite an emotional punch. Mr. Harman touches on a number of topics and themes throughout the story, such as pacifism in times of war, family solidarity, local prisoner of war camps, and even interracial relationships and marriage. This wasn’t an easy read partially due to the subject matter presented (and due to a bout with vertigo that caused a brief hospitalization, chronic daily migraine headaches, and a sinus infection — hey, if you’re going to get sick, do it right!), but it was one that I found to be touching, emotional, and even enjoyable. I’m always eager to read books featuring West Virginia, even if it is with a fictional town and fictional characters. I’ve read and re-read the Hope River series by Ms. Harman and was looking forward to reading Once a Midwife and it did not disappoint me. I enjoyed the historical tidbits, the characters, and even the mountain settings (West Virginia is a gorgeous state…come by for a visit sometime). Ms. Harman has an adept way of pulling the reader into the day-to-day lives of her characters and investing the reader into the characters and story’s final outcome. If you’ve read any of the books in the Hope River series then I highly recommend you grab a copy of Once a Midwife to read. If you haven’t read any of the previous books in this series, start with The Midwife of Hope River and The Reluctant Midwife before reading Once A Midwife. This historical fiction series is one that I consider a #mustreadseries and I hope you’ll agree.

Disclaimer:  I received a free digital copy of this book from TLC Book Tours for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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About Patricia Harman

Photo by Callie Lindsey Photography

Patricia Harman, CNM, got her start as a lay midwife on rural communes and went on to become a nurse-midwife on the faculties of Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, and West Virginia University. She is the author of two acclaimed memoirs and three novels: the bestselling The Midwife of Hope River, The Reluctant Midwife, and The Runaway Midwife. She has three sons and lives near Morgantown, West Virginia.

Find out more about Patricia at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

This review and blog tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours

Book Spotlight and Extras: NC-17 by Larissa Reinhart

NC-17 (Maizie Albright Star Detective)

by Larissa Reinhart

About the Book

NC-17 (Maizie Albright Star Detective)
Cozy Mystery/Women’s Detective Fiction
3rd in Series
Past Perfect Press (December 4, 2018)
Paperback, 370 pages
ISBN13 – 9781732351660
Digital ASIN: B07HFVV7V7


As an ex-star of a hit teen detective show, Maizie Albright gets the youth demographic. Or so she thought. Now that she’s adulting, today’s kids make Maizie feel out of date. At least the youth she meets while doing community service at Black Pine’s exclusive healing resort, the Wellspring Center. When these teens aren’t vlogging their attempts to track down Big Foot, they’re trying to prove the Center is up to no good. Starting with the disappearance and possible murder of their not-as-young commander. A murder the police find as likely as Big Foot.

Maizie has her own suspicions about the new celebrity retreat. Particularly when she learns her ex-fiancé has been hired to run the Center. Kind of an issue when she thought Oliver was in prison. Kind of an issue when Nash, the man of her dreams, is out of commission.

Wait, not man of her dreams. 

Boss of her fantasies. Professionally speaking, of course.

While Maizie’s helping adolescent Youtubers detect a disappearance, she’s wrangling her mother’s wedding, assuaging an overzealous probation officer, and struggling to keep Nash Security Solutions solvent. Conspiracy theories collide with real-life catastrophes beginning with murder and possibly ending with Maizie’s life.

Bookish Extras:

“Southern-Style Slow Cooker Mac-n-Cheese” 
with Maizie Albright and Larissa Reinhart

My characters don’t cook, but they eat. Usually Southern food. Fortunately for them (and for me), they live in Georgia.

This is a family favorite any time of the year, but it’s especially great during the holidays when you’ve got guests or need to tote a side dish to a gathering. Plus, it’s wonderful for all that leftover turkey or ham or whatever. And it’s a slow cooker meal, which I love. I don’t know about you, but when dinner rolls around, I want to eat and not cook! And this recipe is perfect for the holidays because you only slow cook it for 3 HOURS on low. You may sleep in and still relax at dinner time!

This would be a recipe that Carol Lynn, Maizie’s wonderful step-mother, would make. The woman can cook anything (even whatever her husband hunts and fishes on his property). She cooks like butter can’t kill you and from Maizie’s point of view, she really hopes that’s true. Maizie’s living with her father, Carol Lynn, and six-year-old half-sister, Remi, while she starts her new non-celebrity, private detective life in Black Pine, Georgia. While training to become an investigator, she’s really enjoying Southern food since she left her trainer and nutritionists back in California. Unfortunately, her stage-monster/manager mother, Vicki, followed her home and likes to remind Maizie that the delightful food passing her lips still falls on her hips. 

But none of us like Vicki, so we’ll just ignore that message. Because this may be the best mac-and-cheese you’ll try. I’m not bragging, just passing on information I’ve been told by the many who have tried this recipe that was passed on to me!

I Can’t Eat Another Turkey Sandwich: Southern-Style Slow Cooker Mac-n-Cheese

Something you need to know about Southern-style mac and cheese. It’ll look a bit curdled, but It’s still got a creamy taste. If you want to add leftover meat, make sure it’s cooked and cubed, chopped, or shredded. 

12 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni noodles

1 12-oz can evaporated milk

1 1/2 c. milk

1/2 c sour cream

2 eggs, beaten

1 t. salt

1/2 t dry mustard

1/2 t pepper

1/4 cayenne/red pepper

4 T butter, melted

16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, divided 

(I like shredded mild cheddar for a mellower taste, but if you’re a real cheddar fan, get yourself some shredded sharp cheddar. Just a word of warning, the sharper the cheddar the less creamier the end product.)

Parboil noodles in salted water for 5 minutes and no more. Don’t overcook them. They should be firm. You don’t want mushy macaroni! 

While noodles are cooking, mix together the evaporated milk, milk, sour cream, beaten eggs, salt, mustard, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.

Add the parboiled macaroni, melted butter, and 3/4 of the cheese to the sauce and combine. Pour everything into the slow cooker. (I’d advise spraying the pot with cooking spray or using one of those liners to make clean up easier.) If adding leftover (pre-cooked and chopped) meat, mix it in with the macaroni.

Top the mixture with the rest of the cheese. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours. 

The center will be creamy and the edges, golden brown (I love that crunch edge cheese). 

About the Author

Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning author, Larissa Reinhart writes humorous mysteries and romantic comedies including the critically acclaimed Maizie Albright Star Detective, Cherry Tucker Mystery, and Finley Goodhart Crime Caper series. Her works have been chosen as book club picks by Woman’s World Magazine and Hot Mystery Reviews.

Larissa’s family and dog, Biscuit, had been living in Japan, but once again call Georgia home. See them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode. Visit her website,, and join her newsletter for a free short story.

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December 3 – The Book Diva’s Reads – RECIPE, SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

December 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 5 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT 

December 5 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

December 6 – Jane Reads – REVIEW

December 6 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 7 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

December 7 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

December 7 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW*

December 8 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 9 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

December 10 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

December 10 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 11 – Varietats – REVIEW

December 11 – Readeropolis – RECIPE, SPOTLIGHT

December 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 12 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

December 13 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

December 13 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

December 14 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

December 14 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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