Monday, October 23, 2017


An engaged woman unexpectedly reunites with an old flame, forcing her to reconcile her feelings for two men.

Just when Kailey "KC" Crane is about to start a new chapter of her life, the successful journalist--in her 30s, working for a Seattle newspaper--is brought face to face with an old flame. The chance encounter happens one night after KC and her handsome, attentive fiancé, Ryan, a high-end property development manager, dine in an upscale French restaurant. As Ryan fetches the car after dinner, good-natured KC offers a painfully thin, homeless man her leftovers only to discover the man is Cade McAllister, a once-successful music business mogul and also the long-lost former love of KC's life.

What ensues is a richly drawn, emotional story rife with conflict. Cade has suffered a traumatic brain injury--origin unknown--that has compromised his memory. KC eagerly advocates to help Cade, while trying to piece together what happened to him and why he disappeared from her life ten years before. In her quest, KC's heart is pulled in two directions, and she is forced to reconcile the choices that have shaped her own life: Will KC have a fulfilling future with Ryan? Might she still be in love with Cade, even in his altered state?

Jio (Goodnight June) braids a thought-provoking narrative that examines the forces that brought KC and Cade together and pulled them apart--the tenuous bond of their love--versus the cushy, comfortable life KC shares with Ryan. Contrasting past and present perspectives and KC's choice between old love and new makes for a suspenseful and highly charged romantic conclusion

Always: A Novel by Sarah Jio
BallatineBooks, $27.00 Hardcover,  9781101885024, 288  pages
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (February 21, 2017), link HERE

Friday, October 13, 2017

Norbert's Little Lessons for a Big Life

The lighthearted wisdom of a three pound, mixed-breed therapy dog is shared in a beautifully photographed, inspirational book.

"I believe your every little thought, word, and deed can make a BIG difference in the world." That's the motto of Norbert, a lovable, three pound, mixed breed who has become a social media phenomena. In his eight short years of life, this registered therapy dog has served up hearty doses of comfort and joy to children; the ill, the aged and infirm; and the homeless. He's brought smiles and support to countless individuals and charitable organizations such as the Best Friends Animal Society, Marine Toys for Tots and the Amerman Family Foundation Dog Therapy Program at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.

A born emotional philanthropist, Norbert's social media and literary career have thrived under the love, care and devotion of Julie Steines and Virginia Freyermuth—Julie's Mom; a teacher, fine artist and PhD.  Julie and Virginia co-wrote three picture books for children: Norbert: What Can Little Me Do?, Norbert: What Can Little You Do? and Norbert & Lil Bub: What Can Little We Do?  It seems providential that when Julie and Norbert later appeared on the Home & Family TV show (Hallmark Channel) to promote their books, Julie first met her future husband, Mark Steines, the Emmy Award-winning host of the program and an accomplished photographer whose work cleverly captures Norbert's cuteness in Norbert's Little Lessons for a Big Life.

In this latest book, Norbert's human entourage pair the philosophical wisdom of the little dog--sharing lessons Norbert has learned, in his own words--with 50 adorable photographs depicting the ways this four-legged emotional philanthropist continues to bring joy and make others smile.

Norbert, little pink tongue perpetually sticking out sideways from lost teeth, spouts sentiments like: "You are wonderful just the way you are." A photo of Norbert after having been hosed off in the summer sunshine, trying to dry himself off by flinging water droplets everywhere, is accompanied by, "When your enthusiasm gets dampened, just shake it out." Another shot shows Norbert and a beautiful Golden retriever donning hats, the two sprawled on a colorful beach chaise, paired with the thought, "Hang out with friends who make you laugh and help you enjoy life."

The goal of the book is to inspire others toward thoughtfulness, kindness and gratitude.  No doubt, once children and adults peruse the many cute and cuddly sides of Norbert--and his endearingly simple messages of hope and resilience--even more joy and delight will be spread into the world.

Norbert's Little Lessons for a Big Life by Julie Steines (Author), Virginia Freyermuth (Author), Mark Steines (Photographer)  

North Star Way (Simon and Schuster Publishing), $12.99 Hardcover,  9781501187315, 144 pages

Publication Date: October 10, 2017

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE