REVIEWS OF MARYANN’S FICTION:
By Dixie Judy on January 5, 2016
This is the first novel in MaryAnn’s trilogy titled THE ITALIAN CHRONICLES, I loved the setting of late 19th-century Sicily. The people, houses, lands etc….. Maria a seventeen year old is raped and threatened that harm would come to her and her family if she ever told. Besides no one would believe her. Nine months later she has a child, so therefore she is branded as a loose woman. Maria suffers in silence, raises her child alone. All turn away from her, even the man she was supposed to marry. Her family suffers also and looses their business and they are about to loose their home and surrounding lands. This is a wonderful book that deals with forgiveness and having faith that God will take care of everything, even though there seems to be no answer to this horrid situation……..Will Maria have the courage to reveal the father of her child? Will he acknowledge his evilness? A book you will not want to put down. This was my first book to read by Maryann Diorio and I was not disappointed at all, loved it, looking forward to book number two, A SICILIAN FAREWELL. …..I was gifted this by the author for my review, and was happy to do so.
By Janice Sisemore on December 24, 2015
The Madonna of Pisano
I was given this book to read in exchange for a honest review. I am so glad I had the opportunity to do so.
This book had my attention from the very start, hard to stop reading it once I started. This is a story about forgiveness and faith. I fell in love with the characters and did not want the book to end. Maria had a hard life but was a really hard worker, she loved her family and overcame a lot. Nico is her son that is seven, he is very brave and has a lot of faith in God. Maria is doing her best to save her family’s home but years ago something had happened that caused people not to buy from them. She takes a sewing job to help her money.
This book is so good, it would be a very good book to read here at the year end. Can learn a lot from this book about faith, God’s Grace and forgiveness.
By Alison Strittmatter on February 15, 2016
Excellent read! I considered this book something like dessert for me after work/before bed for the (very few) days it took me to read. I love that it was also based on the author’s own family history. Beautifully written and a great reminder of the vast importance of forgiveness.. Thank you!
By Debbie Jamieson on January 5, 2016
Maria’s life completely changed after Don Franco. He almost ruined her whole family because of his lies. When Maria goes to Luca looking for a job she never realized how much her and Nico’s lives would change. You won’t be able to stop reading this amazing book. You will feel God working throughout this whole book. I had the honor to review this wonderful book.
By Donn Taylor on February 18, 2016
Excellent characters, dramatic plot. Beautifully written, giving wonderful feeling for the setting in place and time. Emotionally intense situations, satisfying resolution. Among the two or three best novels I have read this year. Highly recommended.
By Carolyn Hill on April 27, 2016
A beautifully written book- not to mention a gorgeous cover. Maryann has delved into deep hurt in the life of a young woman, Maria Landro, who is raped. Maria works hard and tries to overcome what happened and raise her son to love the Lord. The setting is lovely, the characters well developed. A great read. Look forward to the next in the series.
By Deb Piccurelli on May 5, 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed this intense and unique story. The author, MaryAnn Diorio delivers on the promise contained in the early pages. That is, while the circumstances are similar to recent events in the Catholic Church, an extra twist is added through the historical period in which it takes place.
Maria Landro, the oldest daughter in her family, is responsible by default for running their once thriving farm, Bella Terra. Previously, she had taken a position as housekeeper at the parish rectory where Father Don Franco lived. One day, while she is cleaning his bedroom, he assaults her, and threatens her and her family if she should tell. Soon after, she finds herself pregnant. Her reputation is ruined as gossip in the village rages against her, and the farm suffers because no one wants to do business with that kind of woman.
Six years later, Maria’s son, Nico, must attend the very school where Don Franco is the teacher, as he had been for years. At the same time, Maria needs to find work in order to keep the beautiful Bella Terra in the family. The only problem is, no one wants to hire her. Except, the handsome, kind tailor, Luca Tonetta.
At first, Luca doesn’t know what to believe about Maria’s reputation, but is hesitant to brand her the same way the rest of the village people do. Because she seems to be honest, hard-working, and demure, he becomes convinced that she isn’t what people say. As the two become closer, and Luca becomes attached to Nico, Luca realizes his association with Maria could ruin his business reputation. He becomes determined to find out the truth at all cost.
The story touches on multiple spiritual aspects, such as, forgiveness, redemption and faith. The description of Italian scenery steals the reader’s breath. Kudos for the satisfying and unexpected ending. I highly recommend this book!
By Sherry on May 6, 2016
The Madonna of Pisano by MaryAnn Diorio was a gift from the author for a review. The story is about a young village girl in Sicily. She is engaged to marry her childhood sweetheart until an encounter with the village priest changes her future. Many in her village are emigration to America, those who stay turns against her and her family business when they find that she has a young son and won’t name a father. When her son is 7 the story picks up with her faced with the choice of her family home and business being taken away to leave her, her son, her mother and two sisters in grief or marrying a man who was her late father’s friend and his age whom she does not love. This old story is very well developed by Ms.Diorio and will keep you reading even when you think you know the ending. This was my first read by this author but I will watch for other stories by her.
By dotty on May 5, 2016
First I’d like to thank the author for my beautifully autograph copy. The following is my honest review. I had a hard time putting the book down.
This is a story of faith and forgiveness. Maria had a hard life who was done wrong by Son Franco. Nick her seven year old son doesn’t understand why he’s being called a name at school and wants to know who his dad is. Maria is trying to Dave her family home, but all the vendors have stopped buying from them.She goes to Luca who is a talior to seek work. He hires her to do alterations for him and she works from home. People start telling him to get rid of her because of her bad reputation. He feels they are wrong. He finds out the truth and so does everyone in the village. You must read the book you won’t regret it
By SS Reader on May 4, 2016
The cover grabbed my attention. It has the Thorn Birds feel and is beautifully done. The cover is fabulous.
I also loved that this novel is based upon the history of the author’s relative. The story itself kept my interest as did the spiritual growth of more than one character.
Where the novel could have been stronger was in fleshing out details to take the reader to Sicily in the late 1800s. There was very little in the novel that gave me a sense of geography or the time period.
The author has a good story to tell. It just needs to be fleshed out more.
My gratitude to the author for an autographed copy of this novel. The opinions expressed are my own.
5.0 out of 5 stars0 out of 5 starsBeatifully told literature of the power of forgiveness
By dmself on May 9, 2016
MaryAnn Diorio uncovers a deeply moving story of how sin can fester and unravel lives. Though the sin that was brought upon Maris was not her own, she harbored for seven long years vengeance against the one who destroyed her life and dreams.
As a teen, my favorite novel from school was The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This novel is a new, fresh retelling of this age-old tale.
Don Franco learns that sin, no matter how hard you deny it or try to keep it quiet, will rear its ugly head to wreak havoc upon a soul and body. Whereas Luca realizes that sin can disguise itself in the least suspecting of souls.
The Madonna of Pisano brought to life not only the world of religious corruption, but also an inside look at Catholicism–even priests are human–, but also the hypocrisy of a small village.
Diorio is also able to weave symbolism throughout. The sparrow and the crow come to mind; as does the storm which is no respecter to anyone in its destruction.
So natural was the faith in the story, the reader will feel the conviction and the freedom that God brings to the characters.
This a complex and inspirational book that is character driven in its content. I look forward to more about Bella Terra and more from MaryAnn Diorio.
By RENEE Q YANCY on May 23, 2016
I was given a copy of The Madonna of Pisano to review. A nice story set in Sicily in the 19th century, it’s the story of a young girl who suffers a terrible rape, and a consequent pregnancy. The village turns against her, her family’s business suffers, and the person guilty of the rape still lives in the village, supposedly serving God. Maria raises her son amid the constant looks of accusation and the whispers of the village busybodies. Then a wonderful man comes into Maria’s life but I can’t tell you the ending – don’t want to spoil it!
By Julia Scalise on June 9, 2016
I enjoyed The Madonna of Pisano and its core theme of forgiveness, faith, and trust in God’s will and plan. Despite the difficult events and circumstances the main character Maria experienced, she bore the difficulties the best she could with the most dignity she could. In the end, she found vindication and reward for her perseverance, ability to forgive, and acceptance and trust in God’s plan for her.
By S on June 28, 2016
Step into the world of Maria Landro in Pisano, Sicily, 1885. In this masterfully woven and suspenseful plot, rich with flavor of the time and location, you will experience Maria’s joy, pain, confusion, frustration, and release as she faces challenges with her family, her new love, and a painful secret from her past. MaryAnn Diorio brings each character to life as he and she wrestles with important decisions, and their lives intersect in unpredictable ways. I was fully engaged to the last page.
5.0 out of Five Stars The Madonna of Pisano
By Amazon Customer on August 20, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From the first couple of pages my emotions were pushed into chaos. I keep wondering how easy it is for people to believe a lie and allow doctrine to be their truth. No one seeking God, but allowing their emotions to rule them. And the same people claiming to love God have allowed bitterness to take root in the one they are suppose to love because of their actions. Why do we treat the victim like they are the criminal and think we are doing God’s will?
To have these words “I love you, Maria, but we both know that your reputation has been ruined beyond redemption,” hurdled at you the way they were thrown at Maria would be enough to shatter your heart. But, God has an amazing way of capturing our hearts and letting us know that He has not forgotten us. He can redeem us from the worst of situations.
And there are also times when the abuser/criminal will heed the voice of God calling out to them to do the right thing, surrender and confess their crimes so that they can receive the healing that forgiveness brings.
This is one beautiful story that makes Christ the Redeemer shine so brightly. I’m excited to go on the next journey with these characters. Luca, Maria, Don Franco, Nico and others have captured my heart. I’m still in awe at how the author made me fall in love with one of the worst characters in this book.
By Laraine on September 21, 2016
What a wonderfully story…filled with grace as well as suspense. Each character was so well portrayed that I felt as if I knew them personally. MaryAnn’s skill for writing this book was obviously the result of her own keen awareness of what we as Christians sometimes go through in this world…along with our stuggle to continue to trust God, and to forgive in the mist of trials. Her book “The Madonna of Pisano” is one worth reading…surly an encouragement to stay focused on our saviour who died for us, who loves us, and will always remain faithful. Thank you MaryAnn!
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By Deana on October 14, 2015
Get ready to take an emotional journey as the story shows us how healing from loss can bring a new beginning. Teresa is having a hard time getting over the loss of her husband. It has been five years and still she clings to his memory. She works as a life couch and then comes home to think about her husband and the memories she cherishes of him. One day Teresa gets an opportunity to go to Puerto Rico to help a young girl named Pilar. Her dad is desperate to help his daughter who grieves for her mother.
Teresa is hesitant to go because she doesn’t want to leave her home and is trying to overcome her own emotional turmoil she is having. Her mother tells her, ” There comes a point when you have to let go of the past if you want to live in the present and have hope for the future.”
Teresa decides to go to Puerto Rico and see if she can help Pilar. Marcos, who is Pilar’s father is anxious for Teresa to arrive. His daughter has been unhappy for a long time. It seems she has always blamed herself for her mother’s death. Tragically her mother died giving birth to Pilar and the child has carried this guilt for so long, that she can’t forgive herself.
I loved how the author used similar situations in each of the characters to show how God can help you overcome loss and open your heart to love again. The story moved at a fast pace since it is a short book, but it has such good values to be learned while reading the story. Isn’t it just like God to place people in your path who are going through similar heartaches. The loss of a spouse or parent can be difficult, but when we learn to let go we are able to move forward. The author does a good job of showing when you step out and trust God , he is there to help you and guide you. The book is packed with healing, forgiveness , letting go and learning to love again.
I received a copy of this book from The BookClub Network for an honest review.
4.0 out of 5 stars Life Coach Needs to Follow Her Advice
By Conny on August 6, 2015
Title: Surrender to Love
Author: Maryann Diorio
Publisher: TopNotch Press
“There comes a point when you have to let go of the past if you want to live in the present and have hope for the future,” Teresa is told by her mother in Maryann Diorio’s short book, Surrender to Love.
This thin one hundred and twenty-one page paperback targets those that enjoy stories of overcoming the past and moving on to the future with God’s help. With no profanity, violence, or sexual content, the topic of depression and losing a spouse may not be appropriate for immature readers. The English Standard Version of the Bible is referenced. After reviews, acknowledgments, dedication, and an epilogue, twelve chapters contain the story, ending with ten discussion questions, a call to eternal salvation, the author’s biography with advertisements, and two excerpts from other books.
In this current-day novella that begins in New Jersey, five years ago Dr. Teresa Lopez Gonzalez lost her husband of two years. Although the thirty-one-year-old is a life coach, she does not apply the same advice to herself when it comes to moving on with life. Fixated on honoring God by remembering her deceased spouse, she is stuck in a non-existent, loveless life.
When her mother’s best friend invites Teresa to her homeland in Puerto Rico, Teresa is asked to be a life coach for the woman’s thirteen year old depressed granddaughter who still grieves and feels guilty her mother passed away during childbirth. Marcos, the girl’s father, wants to do all he can to help his child.
Learning that the past does not have to equal the future, Teresa and Marcos walk on emotional eggshells as they try to encourage his daughter. However, a romantic bond grows when the two visit Old San Juan and Teresa’s birthplace in Cantano.
Although the short love story is predictable and idealistic, it reminds those who have lost a spouse that God may have a special person waiting for them, filling a void in their lives. Making a nice book for a widow, it shows how love can conquer heartbreaking pain.
Having the trademark of “Truth through Fiction,” author Diorio has written non-fiction, fiction, and children’s books that focus on God. With a Ph.D. in French and Comparative Literature, she lives in New Jersey with her husband.
Thanks to The Book Club Network for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reviewer’s honest opinion.
By Joan N. on September 20, 2015
This is a nice novella about getting beyond past hurt and allowing the future to unfold.
Teresa lost her husband five years ago in a tragic New York accident. She has still not successfully dealt with her grief. Her world changes when the good childhood friend of her mother asks Teresa to Puerto Rico to coach her granddaughter. Young Pilar is struggling with depression. Marco, as a single dad, has his hands full and welcomes the help. Teresa reluctantly agrees, not realizing that her life is about to change.
I found the plot was a bit ironic. Teresa is a life coach and will be helping a girl who is holding on to a grief from years go. Teresa is emotionally paralyzed herself. I don’t quite understand how a person who cannot deal with her own problem expects to be able to help someone else deal with theirs. I often wondered what life coaches actually did but there was not enough information in this novel about the profession to really help me understand it.
This is a good romance. Both Teresa and Marco have lost a spouse. Both find some attraction between them. Marco is ready to move forward but Teresa hangs on to her commitment to her dead husband. (And this from a life coach!)
I always like learning a little something when I read a novel and this time it was some of the history of San Juan.
There is a strong Christian message in the novel. Marcos is a prayerful and godly man. Teresa must learn to rely on God and not herself, surrendering to His will for her life.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through The Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
By K. Markovich on August 17, 2015
“Dr. MaryAnn Diorio writes compelling fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart” states the back of this book. And how true that is! Dr. Teresa Lopez Gonzalez, a young widow and professional life coach, reluctantly goes to Puerto Rico to help the teenage granddaughter of her mother’s closest friend deal with the loss of her mother. Teresa quickly realizes the agony Pilar is enduring but will Pilar allow Teresa to help? And will Teresa use her knowledge to help herself? What an excellent example of doctor heal thyself!
Surrender to Love is a short novella – just 99 pages long – and the story does not linger but moves very quickly. At the end it has discussion questions for groups and then a section called “How to Live Forever” which as a gospel presentation. Interspersed in the novella re snippets of scripture used as words to Teresa from God (in her thoughts) such as “Dear one, I have not given you a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love.”
I enjoyed this book, especially as Teresa is trying to reach Pilar, others are trying to reach her – to encourage her to let go of her dead husband and live again. At one point she says that she can’t let go of him – “Don’t you understand, I can’t. I would be betraying him. He was my life.” “Guilt about Roberto wrapped itself around her like iron chains…”
The author, MaryAnn Diorio really has done a marvelous job of bringing truth to a difficult situation. I only wish this novella had been longer. I received this book from bookfun.org in return for my honest opinion.
By Deb Piccurelli on September 19, 2015
This was a delightful read! A sweet story about a Doctor of Philosophy and life coach who loses her husband after only two years of marriage.
Teresa Gonzalez is still holding on to the memory of her husband five years after his death. Her life is at a standstill. But when she is invited to Puerto Rico by a childhood friend of her mother to life coach the woman’s granddaughter, she finds a way to begin life anew, and another chance at love.
Marcos Sanchez had lost his wife in childbirth years ago and has raised his daughter on his own. But Pilar is having problems in her young life, and he is at his wits end to help her. What the girl really needs is a mother. But, for now, the best he can do is hire a life coach who is his mother’s best friend’s daughter who lives in the States. Will she be able to help Pilar heal? Will she be able to help Marcos heal, too?
Holding a Ph.D. and being a life coach herself, MaryAnn Diorio adds authenticity as to how people can benefit from this practice. The descriptive prose she weaves in regarding Puerto Rico, the hotel where she stays, the food all lends to giving the reader a feeling of “being there.” This is a book I recommend to anyone of any age who enjoys sweet romances.
By Cherie Kasper on August 29, 2015
This is my first read of Maryann Diorio, and it was very enjoyable, easy to read and full of surprises. The writing was done very well, the characters were well developed, and lot of push-pull going on in the story.
Dr. Teresa Gonzales lost her husband at the very beginning of the story, then it skips to 5 years later. Teresa is living with her mother in New Jersey. She has finished her schooling and is a life coach now. Teresa’s mother had grown up in Puerto Rico and has a childhood friend still there. Teresa’s mother is worried about her, she seems to be in a deep depression and needs a change, so her mother convinces her she needs to take a trip to her childhood home.
What Teresa finds in Puerto Rico is a great surprise to her, this is where all her thoughts and feelings come into question. What will she find there and is it what she really wants, or does she want to go back to New Jersey and pretend she is still married to her dead husband.
This is a delightfully written novella, I would gladly recommend this to all who read at all. It will lighten your day.
I received this book from BookFun Club in exchange for an honest opinion.
By Bonnie L. Roof on August 23, 2015
In ‘Surrender to Love’, author MaryAnn Diorio paints a picture of 31 year-old widow and life coach Teresa Lopez Gonzalez – who allows grief over the death of her husband to keep her from letting go of the past, living in the present, and having hope for the future. After 5 years of living with her widowed mother, Marisol – Teresa still thinks of nothing but her husband, and fears the pain of loving again, while feeling remarriage would be a betrayal to his memory.
When Marisol receives a letter from her childhood friend, Ramona, requesting that Teresa travel to Puerto Rico to coach Ramona’s 13 year-old granddaughter, Pilar – it is with reluctance that Teresa accepts, yet hopes she’ll have more success in helping Pilar than she’s had helping herself. Pilar, whose father Marcos is Ramona’s son, feels guilt re: her mother dying while birthing her. Her father, a man of faith, hasn’t totally resolved his anger towards God re: the death of his wife.
Three people with much to learn – ‘Surrender to Love’ is a tender, touching story of love, hope, forgiveness, and finding one’s life by surrendering to God’s will!
By Cheri Swalwell – author on September 4, 2015
I enjoyed reading Surrender to Love by Maryann Diorio. It was a short story that packed a powerful punch. Anyone who has ever experienced loss in their life, in any form, can automatically relate to the feelings of Teresa and Marcos in this book. In addition, there were three characters, each who experienced significant loss but also each from a different perspective and this brings even more depth to the book. It showcases how despite knowing “what to do” it’s not always easy to tell your heart to do what your head knows it should. And that saying goodbye can feel like a betrayal of sorts…letting go of the old is more than just head knowledge, it has to come from the heart, a full surrender.
This was a great read and one I will definitely be telling others about. Nice and short for those who are too busy to read a lot, but so much meat to chew on for many days afterward.
I received this book for free from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
By Nancee on August 13, 2015
Teresa is tied to the past and unwilling to let go. When she is invited to Puerto Rico to coach a young girl she is hesitant to leave her connections with the past behind. Compelled to reach out to the granddaughter of her mother’s childhood friend, she ventures on the journey to a beautiful country which she finds intoxicating. Her work with the young girl is a challenge, but life has a way of bringing us closer to God in those moments of doubt and dismay. Teresa’s journey in Puerto Rico brings her to the brink of a major life decision where her faith and hope aid in bringing resolution to the many difficulties she faces.
This is a poignant story with strong spiritual messages. I found it quite enjoyable.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author and The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
By Amazon Customer on August 24, 2015
Five years after the death of her husband, Dr. Teresa Lopez Gonzalez, a life coach, took on a new client, Pilar, a thirteen year old girl. She lived in Puerto Rico with her father and grandmother.
Pilar’s mother had died in childbirth and the girl never could accept it. Her father, Marcos, had tried many types of counseling and Teresa was his last resort. Pilar fought against Teresa and her methods of treatment which made life difficult for everyone.
When a connection began to develop between Marcos and Teresa, Pilar became even more belligerent. Teresa had had a difficult time letting go of her husband, and now would she have to let go of her new found love. This story, once again, shows that God’s plan is best.
I enjoyed this quick read novella. It was a sweet story of God’s goodness.
I received this free book from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
By BillieKay on August 1, 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Surrender to Love by MaryAnn Diorio. It is a quick read with depth. Even though it is a novella, the characters are well developed and the setting is described beautifully. I would have loved to read a full length novel about Teresa and Marcos.
The back cover summary says it better than I could, “When young widow and life coach, Dr. Teresa Lopez Gonzalez, goes to Puerto Rico to coach Pilar Sanchez, granddaughter of her mother’s best childhood friend, Teresa comes face-to-face with her own unwillingness to surrender to God’s will for her life. In the process, she learns that only by losing her life will she find it.”
In addition to the story, there are group discussion questions and a Biblically supported section on How to Live Forever at the end.
I received a copy from the author by way of The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for an honest review.
By Amazon Customer on August 29, 2015
This was a quick, enjoyable read. Teresa is a life coach and has just unexpectedly became a widow. Moving on with her life is not a thing she has or feels she can do. Her Mama’, has a good friend who lives in Puerto Rico and her son has been raising his daughter since his wife passed away during childbirth, several years ago. Marco is worried about his daughter when his mother tells him about Teresa and asks if he would approve of Teresa coming and working with his daughter, Pilar. He approves and Teresa arrives shortly after. Will Pilar be as willing to open up to Teresa as everyone’s hoping? Will Teresa learn to let go and move on with her life? This is a very touching story about trusting God, letting go of your past and continuing to live your life to the fullest. I have received a free copy of this book from my book club, BookFun in exchange for my honest review.
By jcr61312 on September 16, 2015
Surrender to Love by MaryAnn Diorio is a captivating story of a young widow who is struggling with the tragic loss of her beloved husband. Her career as a life coach presents her with a unique opportunity to travel to her mother’s childhood home of Puerto Rico to try to help the young granddaughter of her mother’s lifelong friend. The girl’s mother had died giving birth to her, and the teenager has deep issues, long-buried.
Upon the young widow’s arrival, the girl’s father is quickly drawn to the beautiful life coach. In fewer than 100 pages the author weaves a touching and delightful story about surrendering to God’s plan. A concise list of discussion questions is provided for book club groups or small groups. I highly recommend this warm and romantic story. I received this book through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
By Anne Rightler on October 23, 2015
Surrender to Love by MaryAnn Diorio is a sweet novella about learning how to let go of grief and love again. A young widow, a widower, a grieving teen, each struggling with grief in their own way. Puerto Rican “yenta” mamas conspire to bring healing to their children’s hearts. Can Teresa, a life coach help Marcos’ daughter deal with her depression? Can Marco and Teresa surrender to God’s will for their lives? In the beauty of the tropical Puerto Rico will love prevail? Surrender to Love is a touching story with a strong Christian message of hope and love. Included in the book are discussion questions and a discussion on “How to Live Forever”.
I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review. I have posted reviews on Amazon, Bookfun.org, and GoodReads.
By chrisGA on August 1, 2015
This novella was the tender story of two people, still grieving for their deceased spouses, who come together to try to help thirteen-year-old Pilar recover from her own grief and crippling depression. It is all about letting go to the past in order to live fully in the present. The underlying, powerful message is one of the strength and freedom that only comes from trusting God with our life. Faith is important to all of the characters; prayer is integrally part of their lives; and the still, small voice of God is a real source of guidance and comfort. This was a well-written, inspiring short read with discussion questions and the plan of salvation clearly presented. . I received this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for this my honest opinion.
By A.R.S. on February 13, 2016
Surrender to Love is a novella about a widow who has been living in her past for 5 years after the tragic death of her husband. With her mother’s insistence she goes to Puerto Rico to help a family friend’s daughter, and that daughter’s father happens to be a widower. This is a story about finding love for the second time and embracing it. However, it is a very bumpy road along the way as sometimes it is hard to let go of the past and take a step in a different direction towards a new future. This was a lovely romance and it was beautifully written. I received a copy from The Book Club Network, Inc. for an honest review and the opinions are my own.
By Deanna Stevens on January 16, 2016
This was a story of living with the loss of a loved one and not wanting to move on. Surrender to Love was a moving story of two people being brought together to help a child deal with the loss of a mother she had never known but felt responsible for her death. Ms Diorio certainly told a hard story but one that brought healing, forgiveness and through faith a way to let go and move forward. I enjoyed the idea that their mothers, who were childhood friends, instigated their meeting and helping in the way Mothers do..
I was gifted a copy from TBCN to review and give my honest opinion
By Amazon Customer on August 2, 2015
It is truly amazing how God orchestrates things for our great good. Surrender to love proves that God is constantly looking out for us, we only have to surrender and allow Him to lead. I love this story and words can’t express how excellent it is. This is the type of story that you love to see from a Christian fiction author. The one that pulls on your heart and makes you desire a better relationship with the Lover of your soul. I highly recommend this story.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the Book Club Network for my honest review
By Deb on August 31, 2015
I was immediately drawn into the story of this young woman who’s future and plans were cut short. The grief that she felt, and refused to address applies not only to lost loved ones, but unexpected situations or challenges in life. The discovery of hope is most satisfying, leaving you wanting to share in her new found joy.
The story was the perfect length (about 2 hours) for a busy person who wants to escape, much like with a movie, but engaging the imagination.
Truly an enjoyable read.
By c.murphy on September 27, 2015
This was a blessing, an encouragement to any Christian woman!
I loved the beautiful simplicity, the message and the romance
By dmself fon August 3, 2015
The book was a quick read and deals with loss and grief, but more importantly moving forward in life.
Although the writing was concise and deals with the issue in a sound way, I find that this novella lacks a depth that would make some of the situations more believable. The mother died of toxemia, but medical intervention would have ensured the life of mother and child. The child’s depression because she believed she her mother’s death was her fault seemed too easily contrived. I felt that Marcos would have mentioned small signals that would indicate the sudden depression in the 13 yr. old. And I understand the grief of losing a spouse, but for Teresa to hold on as long as she did and refer to herself as a married woman long after Roberto’s death seemed too convenient to the storyline. To me, it would have been better if she was hesitant to go forward because she would believe that she would never find another love like Roberto. In my opinion, Teresa being a Life Coach would know better.
I understand that this is a novella, but the love between the two seemed too fast. It didn’t flow as well as I would have thought.
Although it wasn’t as in depth as I believed it should have been, I did find it an enjoyable read. It makes a good book for anyone who is grieving from a death and can give them hope and healing, which I believe is the author’s intent.
**I received this book through Bookfun.org in exchange of an honest review**
By T. Murrel lon September 9, 2015
Dr. Teresa lost her husband years ago and is still reeling from the loss. When her husband passed away, she moved in with her mom to help her cope with the changes. As a life coach, she should be taking her own advice and moving on. But for some reason she’s stuck in the past and can’t seem to get over it. So when the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico comes up, Teresa’s mom urges her to go. Teresa will be counseling a young girl who lost her mother and is dealing with her own grief.
The story was short, more of a novella length. The plot was emotional and dealt with the subject of grief and some of the effects it can have on an individual. There was a bit of romance thrown into the story, but it was more about the thoughts and emotions of the characters than a plot driven story. The story felt very surface and light despite the subject matter.
I received this book free of charge from Book Club Network in exchange for my review.
By Joan arning on September 1, 2015
Widow Teresa Gonzolez returns to her birth country, Puerto Rico, to life coach young teen, Pilaf, whose mother died in childbirth. This novella deals with learning to live in the present rather than staying in the past. The story line was somewhat unusual. I would call this light fiction even though it dealt with serious subjects. Surrender to Love was an enjoyable read which I would recommend to others.
I received Surrender to Love through www.bookfun.org in exchange for my honest opinion.
By Amy C on September 1, 2015
Surrender to Love is an interesting read. It has a wonderful lesson of letting go of the past and moving forward to greater things.
3 1/2 stars
I received this book from bookfun.org in exchange for my honest opinion, which was given.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story
By Debbie Jamieson on March 15, 2016
Teresa and Marco’s story is a beautiful story. The people in this book are all very special people. This book is so good you won’t be able to stop reading it. You can feel God working throughout this whole story. I had the honor to review this wonderful book for the author. This book deserves a higher rating than a 5 star.
By Lorion March 15, 2016
Surrender to Love is a light, fun romance. During a trip to Puerto Rico to visit friends of her mother, Theresa counsels a young girl. The characters are realistic and engaging. The story line is true to life. I would love to make a trip there to visit all the historical sites described.
I received the book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion
By Kindle reader on March 18, 2016
I really enjoyed this book. It is about learning to move on and love again after the death of someone you love.
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher through TBCN/BookFun in exchange for my honest review.
5.0 out of 5 stars 5.0 out of 5 starsFreedom Awaits Us When We Choose to ‘Surrender to Love’
By Christine M. Strittmatter on April 21, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
“I recently finished reading MaryAnn Diorio’s fictional story–“Surrender to Love”. It’s a beautiful love story illustrating humanity’s real-life struggles with fear and control. A great read!”
By Dali on July 25, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the first things I notice about a book is the cover, and this was no exception. I was immediately drawn in by the cover because the scenery looked very familiar to me. Once I read the description, I knew I was correct. This is a book whose setting is Puerto Rico, and that made the book unique, which is the first thing that drew me to the book. As I read it, I found that the uniqueness of the setting was just one of the things that made this book so special.
Puerto Rico is called “the island of enchantment” and that is what it turned out to be for Dr. Teresa Lopez Gonzalez. Teresa’s trip to the island wasn’t planned. It just sort of came up. As a life coach, Teresa was invited to Puerto Rico by her mother’s longtime friend, Ramona Sanchez. Ramona requested that Teresa coach her granddaughter, Pilar Sanchez, who suffered from the grief of growing up without a mother. Pilar’s father, Marcos Sanchez, was at his wits’ end with how to help Pilar, until a ray of hope came in the form of Teresa. However, for Teresa to help, she had to leave her comfort zone, aka New Jersey, where she had been “existing” by throwing herself into her work after the unexpected passing of her husband five years earlier. Once in Puerto Rico, the lives of Teresa, Marcos, and Pilar are thrown together in a way that no one expected.
And that’s where the story really takes off. There were similarities with Teresa, Marcos, and Pilar. Each one had suffered loss, and each one dealt with it in a different way. The common factor of how is expertly woven into a story that combines loss, grief, faith, new beginnings, romance, and a splash of humor, which makes Surrender to Love such a special book. Throw in some breathtaking descriptions of “the island of enchantment” and you have a lovely story that you won’t want to miss.
*****I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and viewpoints are my own.
By B. Burnham on August 22, 2016
Surrender to Love by MaryAnn Diorio is a novella-length book that is long on romance and spiritual truths. Diorio transports her main character and her readers to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, rich with heady scents and vibrant colors. The story centers around Dr. Teresa Gonzalez, a life coach who has lost her way after her husband’s death five years before. She travels to Puerto Rico to help the young daughter of a family friend, but she soon confronts her own problems that have kept her from living for so long. Because of its length, there is not much time for character development and the action progresses very quickly. But Surrender to Love does have its feet firmly planted in the truths of God’s plans for His people, and the freedom one experiences when surrendering to Him. This one was a very quick read. I was able to complete it during a lazy Sunday afternoon. For those who want a sweet, sweet romance with characters dedicated to God, this book is sure to appeal.
(Thanks to the author for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
THE FOLLOWING REVIEW BY CHRIS STRITTMATTER IS TAKEN FROM FACE BOOK.
“I recently finished reading MaryAnn Diorio‘s fictional story–“Surrender to Love” It’s a beautiful love story illustrating humanity’s real-life struggles with fear and control. A great read!” – Christine Strittmatter
1 of 1 people found this helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas Miracles
By Kimberly T. Ferland on November 1, 2013
This short story is a wonderful way to start the Christmas season. It is a story full of human emotion and the struggles this life can challenge us with. The lesson throughout the story is that all things are possible through God’s grace. This is a “feel good” story that lifts the spirits and keeps you encouraging the main character to persevere and not give up. It is a great book for a short respite from our busy lives. I received this book from bookfun.org in exchange for my honest review.
By Kimberly T. Ferland on November 1, 2013
This short story is a wonderful way to start the Christmas season. It is a story full of human emotion and the struggles this life can challenge us with. The lesson throughout the story is that all things are possible through God’s grace. This is a “feel good” story that lifts the spirits and keeps you encouraging the main character to persevere and not give up. It is a great book for a short respite from our busy lives. I received this book from bookfun.org in exchange for my honest review.
By Pirate2240 on December 18, 2012
I truly believe that books don’t have to be too long to get their message across to the reader. Especially at this time of the year where we often have very little time to do anything but last minute shopping, work so we can pay the bills, and spend the evenings with family. That’s why I love it when you find an exceptional book you can squeeze in and still get something magical out of it. The Christmas season is more that just gift giving and the hustle and bustle of life, it’s about coming to realize what’s really important. It the season of hope and believing that the world in general will be a much better place if only for this time.
In A Christmas Homecoming by MaryAnne Diorio, we get that sense once we reach the end of the book. It begins with heartache, loneliness and death for a family facing what most would considered unimaginable odds. Sonia Pettit is still going through dealing with the recent death of her husband and all the things that often went unsaid. As with most circumstances dealing with death, it drives a family apart as each of them tries to find their own way to cope and move into a new sense of normal. Her son, Ben is becoming increasingly distant and bitter, her daughter Jody has left her family unexpectedly and without any logical reason and now resides more than a half a world away. Now with Christmas coming is there any way for this family after seven long years to find a way to reunite and find the love that held them together at one point or has too much time simply passed and allowed them all to become different people?
I received A Christmas Homecoming compliments of Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. At this time, this book is only available in ebook format and I am hopeful that this will soon become a print book after all the wonderful reviews. This is truly the story of unconditional love, forgiveness and hope that can become yours no matter how difficult any situation is that you are currently facing. This is the true message behind the Christmas season and I believe that MaryAnn Diorio did an exceptional job at bringing this to the conclusion to this short story. It would be the equivalent of about 53 print pages and just perfect for settling down with a warm cup of cocoa by the fire for some inspirational reading this Christmas. I would rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and look to more by this wonderful author.
By Martha A. on December 20, 2012
This short Christmas story is like the prodigal son in many ways.
In this story, Jody left home as a teenager, has lost her livelihood and decides when everything else has failed to come home.
Her mother Sonia has been facing her own battles as a widow. The loss of her daughter has impacted hr life in such a way, she wonders if she can find the heart to forgive her.
This story is short and sweet. It is the story of forgiveness when the person did not deserve forgiveness. Love when she deserved hatred. I found the story lacking a bit in details, but it got a point across that in many cases, when people seek to be forgiven, sometimes they don’t deserve it, but we can extend grace and move forward.
This book was provided for review by Litfuse Publicity
By Marianne T. Evans on December 12, 2012
Do you love stories about redemption and finding your way to faith, love and home? That’s part of what makes Christmas such a magical time of year, isn’t it? Restoration? The love of God? Christ’s birth in spirit and truth shining through tribulation and sin? Second chances? This offering from MaryAnn Diorio features all of that and more. This novella packs tremendous punch, and I highly recommend! It’ll restore your belief in second chances for everyone!
** Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book for the purposes of a fair and honest review. **
By Donna on December 6, 2013
A powerful short story packed full of love, hope, heartbreak and a strong message on forgiveness.
At age 18 Jody Pettit leaves home without saying goodbye to her family, why she is leaving or where she is going. After several years with no contact at all with her family Jody finds herself divorced, no job and twins to raise. She wants to return home but wonders how her family will receive her. Jody has no idea what her leaving home all those years ago has done to her family.
I recommend you read this Christmas story and see what happens in the lives of the Pettit family.
I read it through in a very short time and really enjoyed it.
I revceived this book from bookfun.org for my honest opinion and review
By JoyAnne on December 14, 2012
This is a busy time of year but try to make time for a book or two. This is one that is short but full of so much of the Christmas spirit it’s perfect. Grab a tissue and start reading, you won’t be disappointed. Of course, there is a lot of drama at the beginning but as the story progresses issues get worked out and family is reunited.
Diorio has given us a well written novella that makes you feel good inside as you close the book and ponder what you’ve read. Forgiveness is such a powerful thing, hard to do sometimes but lifts your burdens once you give it. I highly recommend this wonderful book!
I received an ecopy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
4.0 out of 5 stars Forgiveness and Grave
By Cindy Loven on December 7, 2012
A short Christmas novella about grace and redemption. Jody left home seven years earlier and now she finds herself in a position that causes her to re-think her decision to leave. However dealing with all the hurt feelings and issues is just nearly more than Jody’s mother Sonia can take, only God’s grace will see her through this hard but wonderful time of reunion. I enjoyed this book, it definitely needs a tissue warning and alert at the beginning of the book. I cried. A quick read that all will enjoy. Available in e-book form.
This book was provided for review purposes only, no payment was received for this review.
This blog tour was organized by Litfuse Publicity Group.
By D. L. Montgomery on August 17, 2013
A Christmas Homecoming by MaryAnn Diorio
What a great little story with a lot to tell. Sonia Pettit has a heavy heart it has been seven years since her daughter can away and left her family to find her own space. It is Christmas time that would make it even harder. There is another child in the family 22 year old Ben who has very hard feelings for what Jody did by running off. A story of forgiveness. Would be really hard to forgive someone who just walks out of your life. Will life for Jody be what she thought it would be? Sometimes we run from things in our lives thinking it will be better. A wonderful story of love, forgiveness and grace.
By Maureen on December 18, 2012
A Christmas Homecoming is a timely remind of what Christmas is all about! Why did Jesus come as a baby? To Forgive us our sins…that is what this story is about.
I can just picture how torn apart this family was when their daughter just up and disappeared. Then a member of the family dies…who would you blame? The stress, the heartache?
What will finally be the breaking point for Jody? Will Ben destroy his own life with drinking?
This is one precious story, and a really heartwarming read for this time of Christ’s Birth.
I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Tours, and was not required to give a positive review
By Ruth A. Hill on December 25, 2013
The only thing that disappointed me about this story was that it was too short. The idea behind it was very nice, and there are no issues with this–it is completely clean. It is not a romance, but it is a feel-good Christmas story. It is perfect for those who love happy endings, although I must admit it is not believable. But I don’t think that is the attention.
For a quick family read, this would be excellent. I just wish it had been developed more.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
By Shirley Rempel on December 15, 2012
This is the perfect quick read for the Christmas season that will have you grabbing for a tissue, and reminding you of the redemptive power of forgiveness! The story flowed nicely and my attention was grabbed from the very first pages read. The book was so quick I was done it in only a few hours. It is also a fast moving story which was also a huge benefit to me as a mom, with not a lot of time to spend getting into a story! I also loved the characters and felt that with each I related a little bit. A delightful read to be sure!
I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up.
By (Sunshine) Judy K Burgi on October 5, 2013
Author MaryAnn Diorio packed a powerful message in this heartwarming story about forgiveness. Even though we mess up in life we can always come home if hearts are in the right place. It isn’t easy to let go of anger, disappointment, and bitterness when someone has deeply hurt you. The question is, are we following Christ’s teaching if we aren’t willing to forgive?
I enjoyed this heart tugging emotional story. I hope that everyone reading this review will pick up a copy. Have some tissues handy!
By Cathy Thelen on October 26, 2013
Jody left home seven years ago. She lost her job with two children to support. What should she do? Find another job or go home. She decides with her babysitter’s advice to return home. She arrives back in Falls Church, Virginia on Christmas Eve. Will her family accept her back? If they don’t, what will she do? The story covers bitterness, anger, pain and forgiveness.
I was given this book for free from bookfun.org for my honest review
By TCors1127 on October 27, 2013
A beautiful and heartwarming story of God’s grace and forgiveness. MaryAnn Diorio gives deep insight into the prayer life of a faith-filled mother suffering the unresolved absence of her only daughter, and the untimely death of her husband, whom she always leaned upon for support. No tears were spared…have a tissue box (or two), ready. Would really love to see this as a movie
By Nikki Arana on December 9, 2012
This novella is perfect for the reader who is looking for a satisfying tale that will fit into a busy schedule. This uplifting story of forgiveness feeds the soul and gently reminds us that God knows the end from the beginning and that He is faithful. Though it seems tailored for the Christmas season it will be enjoyed anytime. The message is one for every season of the year.
By debra on January 20, 2014
Jody is the 18-year-old daughter of Rick and Sonia Pettit. She decides to leave home without telling anyone why or where she was going. Her family has the police and friends out looking for her, to no avail. This wears on the family.
It has been seven years. Her father develops a heart condition and dies. Her brother has become rebellious, and her mother keeps praying, hoping for Jody’s return.
Meanwhile, the story reveals Jody living in Sydney, Australia. Jody is divorced, has twins and just lost her job and has no choice but to go back home. She wonders how her family will receive her.
I thank Book Fun through The Book Club Network and Pelican Book Group for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review.
By Norma on November 16, 2013
This is a touching Christian book and that is the kind of book i go for one that buts GOD in each of the characters lives. Jody Pettit the daughter of Rick and Sonia Pettit. Jody leaves home and not a word to her mom, dad, or brother Ben. They have everyone in Fall Church, Virginia out looking for her, they even have the police in every state, on the look out for her. It has been going on seven years since she had left and not a word from her and there has been a lot of things been happened in her family since she left. But her mom keep watch on the sidewalk for her. There are days when rage gripped Sonia where she never wants to see Jody again it is like a slap in the face to a mother,what Jody did. Ben is twenty two now and would be graduating from college and move into a job with a local accounting firm. But with what Jody had done he stays angry a lot, and this is causing problems. Sonia goes into her fellowship chair that is what she call it because it is a precious place where each morning she meets her LORD and has fellowship with HIM. GOD word brought her comfort. Jody Pettit O’Dair and her three years old twin, Micah and Greta, live in Sydney Harbor , Australia and she has a sweet Irish born Hilda the twins babysitter, who really loves the twins. Will Jody every go back home after being gone for seven years and not even a word to her family and if she should go home will they let her back in the family ? I was given this book for my honest opinion i think it is a great book you need tissues for you eyes while you are crying, and you will not be able to put it down.
By Nancee on November 6, 2013
Christmas has arrived once again, and Sonia Pettit prays she will find her daughter back home with her family. Seven years earlier Jody left home with no explanation aside from a brief note stating that she needed her own space. She left behind her mother, father and 15-year-old brother who were devastated, having no idea where she might be or if she would return. Grief totally consumed her father, eventually leading to his death attributed to a broken heart. Her mother has prayed daily for Jody’s return, and every Christmas her highest hope is to see her daughter walk up the sidewalk to the front door. Her brother, however, retreated into his own world of video games, eventually going to college where his last year has been spent partying and drinking. His feelings toward his missing sister are bitter and unforgiving. Experiencing the effects Jody’s leaving had on the family over the years he is angry that his mother would even hope for her return. When Jody’s life crumbles around her she wonders if her family would welcome her home after all this time. This story is based on hope, forgiveness and grace surrounding the selfish acts of a self-indulgent daughter.
Mary Ann Diorio has written a short story of a family consumed with anguish over the absence of their only daughter. The characters in this story are a bit under developed due to the brevity of the story, but it’s a heartwarming story of hope that is based on a mother’s capacity to forgive. This is a great little Christmas story that can be read in an evening relaxing beside a fire with a hot cup of cocoa. Hope, forgiveness and grace shine through in difficult family circumstances.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book from Book Fun through The Book Club Network and Pelican Book Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
By inspiremichelle on November 4, 2013
A Christmas Homecoming by Maryann Diorio
This is a great book that touches the tough subject of forgiveness. The author Maryann Diorio had me crying before I was half way through, this book will definitely touch your heart and spirit. Seven long years ago Jody left without a word to anyone, it was like she dropped off the face of the earth. Her disappearance has caused her parents and brother endless pain and grief. Sonia Pettit her mother goes from being full of anger to wanting her back home no matter what. Her father passed away from a broken heart. And her brother Ben is angry turning to alcohol for comfort. Jody’s world has been turned upside down. Her husband has divorced her, she has twins to raise alone and she was just been fired from her job. She regrets leaving and not having any contact with her family and wonders if they would welcome her and the twins back into their lives. Jody must travel half way across the world to find answers. Will her family welcome her back with open arms or will anger and resentment get in the way? You will need to read this 5 star to see for yourself. The author did a wonderful job describing the pain and emotions that come from the pain of hurt and un-forgiveness. I would like to thank the author, Maryann Diorio and publisher Pelican Book Group for bringing good clean Christian books like this one to readers like me. I would also like to thank The Book Club Network Inc. for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.
By Babbling Becky L on November 2, 2013
So I’m a sucker for another sappy Christmas story. But wait, this one has some real tough decisions on the part of some of the characters involved. Or maybe that’s just the way I see it, being married for many years and having almost grown kids. Jody, the daughter, disappears for seven years. In that span of time,Sonia Pettit, the mom, prays and wishes for her daughter to come back, trying desperately to stave off bitterness. Ben, the brother, and Rick, the father, take different paths, which I won’t divulge in the interest of spoilers.
Love the lessons that Diorio shows. And lessons artfully intertwined in the story are what make or break a good book, besides the writing (good), and plot(believable). Forgiveness is a constant choice! We have to repeatedly choose to speak the truth in love. God Himself surprises us with the completeness of His forgiveness and grace. Thank you, MaryAnn Diorio for a well-done short story whose lessons will stay with me for a long time!
This book was provided to me by bookfun.org and pelicanbookgroup.com in exchange for an honest review.
By Deb Piccurelli on July 8, 2013
This was a very heartwarming story about forgiveness.
Sonia Pettit’s daughter Jody left home seven Christmases ago without notice. Nothing except a terse note. Sonia’s life has never been the same since. Her husband has died of a heart attack, and her son, bitter over his sister’s destructive actions, has become rebellious. She would dearly love to have her family together again at Christmas, but would she ever truly be able to forgive her daughter?
For Jody, the life of adventure for which she left home was not what she had hoped for. Her husband had abandoned her, she lost her job, and is unable to care for her two children. With nowhere else to turn, she begins the long journey home from Australia, and prays she will be welcomed after walking away so long ago.
Jody hopes to find forgiveness in the arms of her family as easily as she received it from God.
Not only is this an entertaining Christmas story, but it is something we all need to be reminded of in our own lives: to forgive. It also shows how our own choices don’t only affect us, but also affect our loved ones. For those who love Christmas fiction that not only impacts you in a positive way, but leaves you feeling satisfied, you won’t be disappointed in this novella.
By Lisa on April 25, 2013
It’s Christmastime again, which means sad memories for Sonia Pettit. It’s been seven years since her daughter Jody suddenly left home with no explanation. The following years saw the death of Sonia’s husband, broken-hearted since Jody left. It’s also caused her son to become bitter and jaded. Every year though Sonia hopes against hope that Jody will return, and Sonia is forced turn to God to try and find the peace and forgiveness she needs. Meanwhile Jody is dealing with the consequences of her rash decision to leave. Jody’s beginning to wonder if maybe she should try returning home. Can Sonia and Jody manage to make this Christmas different from the last one?
This was a short story, which made it an easy read during this busy holiday season. It had a great story and message. There was a lot of sadness, but also a lot of hope. Sonia wanted nothing more than to see those living members of her family back home with her. Her son’s bitterness was sad to read about, but I felt I understood where he was coming from. Jody was an interesting character as well. Her need for freedom led her to a far-off land, and her life had not been better for it. It seemed like she made poor decision after poor decision, and this greatly affected her.
This book is great to read during the Christmas season. It makes you want to connect with family, especially those that may be far away or estranged. I really felt the Christmas spirit coming through, and in the end I was filled with hope. This book was enjoyable, but it also had meaning and purpose. It will make you feel the spirit of the season as you read it.
Book provided for review.
By Laurie Carlson and/or Gordon Carlson on December 19, 2012
(I actually rate this as a 3.5 stars, but Amazon does nto allow us to put that extra .5 in there.)
This book is a short, 53 page christian novella that is perfect for this season’s celebration! The main focus of this story is about forgiveness. This short story takes place during Christmas, which couldn’t be a better time for the subject matter. It addresses the age-old question of whether when a child of any age returns home after leaving on not so good circumstances, whether or not they will be forgiven upon return.
This is a story about Jody, a daughter who disappeared from her home one day for no rhyme or reason, according to her distraught parents, and is still gone seven years later. Her mother and father didn’t know if foul play had happened, if she’s alive, if she just left on her own, if her boyfriend forced her to leave, or anything. Every Christmas her mother wishes and prays for her safe return home. Her father ended up never recovering, and dies of a broken heart. There are so many unanswered questions about what really happened and why she just disappeared.
Jody ran away from home with a man she was in love with and moved to Australia. Now, a single mom with two children of her own to support, she has decided it is time to move back to her parents home, to make a homecoming, and ask her parents for forgiveness. She does not know if her family will accept and forgive her for disappearing or not, but she has hope to hold onto.
I really enjoyed this story. It made me hope Jody’s parents would forgive her, but I kind of guessed they would as most parents would always embrace a child on their return back home no matter what. Her parents seemed like the type of people who would forgive her right away, accept her father who her disappearance took a toll on, and he ended up dying.
Jody was so worried about whether or not this return would turn out well, or if they could even forgive her for what she put them through. She felt this way her entire journey home.
This story takes place during one of the best times of the year for parents, and that is Christmas. A time of their children’s joy, hope, and of all things, forgiveness, if need be.
I received this book for FREE from the Publisher and Litfuse Publicity in exchange to read and then write a review about it. It is NOT required for this review to be either positive or negative, but of my own honest opinion. “Free” means I was NOT provided with ANY MONIES to read this book nor to write this review, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, […]
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By Jersey Girl Book Reviews / Jersey Girl Sizzling Book Reviews on December 18, 2012
A Christmas Homecoming is a poignant novella about God’s gift of grace, forgiveness, healing, faith and redemption to a family that has been struggling through unfortunate life circumstances for the past seven years. Written in the third person narrative with alternating perspectives from a mother and a daughter, author MaryAnn Diorio weaves an inspirational tale of the beauty of God’s grace and the power of forgiveness that brings a family back together, on the road to healing and becoming whole once again.
At the age of eighteen, Jody Pettit O’Dair runs away from her home in Falls Church, Virginia, to experience a life of adventure and excitement in Sydney, Australia. She left her family without even saying goodbye, leaving just an impersonal note telling them not to look for her. Now seven years later at the age of twenty-five, Jody realizes that her life of adventure and freedom has instead brought only heartache and trouble. Divorced and left penniless with three year old twins Micah and Greta, she is laid off from a job she hated but desperately needed. With nowhere else to turn to, can Jody go back home to her family in Virginia? Will they forgive her for her selfish actions and the pain that she has put them through? Will they welcome her back into their family?
For seven Christmases, Sonia Pettit has prayed for the safety and return of her daughter Jody. Jody’s unexplained disappearance has turned Sonia and her family’s world upside down. After twenty-nine years of marriage to her husband Rick, he took Jody’s disappearance so hard, he developed a heart condition and withdrew from the world as bitter man whose heart gave out, only to die from a broken heart. And their son Ben, who was fifteen years old at the time of Jody’s disappearance, is now an angry, bitter and rebellious twenty-two year old. With everything that Jody has put the family through, can Sonia open her heart and forgive her daughter, and welcome her back into the family?
My favorite quote in the story is one that sends a powerful message for everyone to follow: Sonia tells her son Ben that “forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling.” No truer words could have been written!
A Christmas Homecoming is a beautifully written and heartwarming story that will stir your soul. This is an emotional story that provides a wonderful message that will resonate with the reader for a long time, especially during the Christmas holiday season.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Litfuse Publicity.
By Noelle the Dreamer on December 13, 2012
An E-book is still something of a novelty to me and not my first choice but in this case I was more than willing to make an exception. I borrowed my son’s reader to enjoy this Christmas story to its fullest.
‘A Christmas Homecoming’ is a short story to be sure but with a lot of punch!
As I read it I wondered at the plot and found myself in many ways reacting to one part or another. In fact I shared this story already with others starting with my husband, my daughter and so on…It was not just another Christmas story. A Christmas Homecoming has many messages and guaranteed to make readers reflect how each and everyone of us would react.
Consider Mum who not only lost her partner and has no knowledge of the whereabouts of her precious daughter. Then there is the brother who from an easy going youth turned overnight into a resentful adult bent on his own destruction.
Let’s not forget the prodigal daughter faced with abandonment, single parenthood of not one child, but two and the loss of her only income since she lost her job.
Jody is 10,000 miles away from home and the 25 hours + of her journey home with two children in tow, a backpack and a tote as her only belongings are daunting enough for this reader! Facing her family after so many years of estrangement is nothing short of nerve wracking.
The messages however are simple and yet so beautiful to uncover. Each of the protagonists have a lesson to learn. Faith is all that keeps them from unraveling and here Dr. Diorio excels, never pushing, allowing readers to savour and as we soon discover, letting God take charge allows each to remember how much they love each other.
A Christmas Homecoming is the sort of story we need to read at this time of the year. Like myself you might ponder how you would react in the same circumstances. You might just as humbly as myself discover you still have much to learn! In the end Faith is the only cure for whatever ails us.
I could not find anything I did not like in this story and almost wished it was even longer. I will therefore enjoy reading it again and tuck it on my shelves for the next Holiday Season…A tradition maybe?
5 stars for a meaningful story perfect for this Blessed Season!
I received this book free from LITFUSE GROUP as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 ‘Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
By Kristin on December 13, 2012
Seven years have passed since Jody left home. Sonia has had her heart broken–her daughter is missing, her husband has passed away and her son is becoming dangerously distant and bitter. Things are not going so well for Jody either. Now living clear across the world in Australia–Jody is now a single mother of twins and has lost her job. Jody has no one to turn to and prays that her parents will accept her after being gone for so long.
This was a quick read and filled with a resounding message of forgiveness. It was pretty short–even by novella standards but it was enjoyable nonetheless. My only complaint was that some of the storyline was lacking. We never found out a reason for Jody’s departure other than she wanted an adventure. It didn’t make much sense why a girl would secretly leave and refuse to call home for seven years–even after becoming a mother herself when her only reason for leaving was an adventure. She didn’t even tell her best friend? Something was very sketchy and lacking in the story there. The ending was also very rushed which was a little bit of a disappointment. Overall the story was pretty good and it had great potential. I think if it were expanded to a full on novella it would be a 5-star story!
By Jodie A. Wolfe on December 8, 2012
A Christmas Homecoming weaves a tale of regrets, forgiveness, reconciliation and hope wrapped up in this book by MaryAnn Diorio. It’s a great reminder of the reason why we celebrate this Christmas season – Jesus.
Sonia Pettit finds it difficult to prepare for the holidays. Without her husband living anymore, and her daughter missing for the past seven years, it just doesn’t seem like Christmas with just her and her son Ben.
Jody Pettit O’Dair has many regrets, the biggest is never letting her family know what happened to her. But now she lives half the world away and there is no hope of ever seeing them again. Besides, why would they want to?
I found this book to be a delightful read, and enjoyed the reminder of the reconciliation we can have with our Lord and Savior.
This book was provided free for review by Pelican Ventures Book Group-Harbourlight Books.
ByRose A. Mccauleyon December 7, 2012
I started A Christmas Homecoming one evening and finished it the next morning by lunch because I couldn’t wait to find out how it would end! Although the beginning of the story is filled with quite a bit of drama and angst, I was pleased to find a happy ending since that is the kind of books I love to read and write. This heart-warming story overflows with forgiveness–both giving and receiving it.
Think of it as a Hallmark movie with so much conflict you are not sure how the author can pull it all together that then culminates with an ending so happy your eyes are filled with tears of joy. And all wrapped up in a nice holiday package on Christmas Day.
If that sounds like the kind of book you’d love to read this Christmas season, hurry and order a copy for yourself and some friends.
Although I received a pdf file of this book to review, these thoughts are 100% my own!
By Karla Hanns on December 7, 2012
This book involves a story that could be found in the Bible- it immediately reminded me of the parable of the Prodigal Son, however Mary Ann tells it in a modern setting. Her characters appeal to all the emotions we tend to feel at Christmas, memories of those missing, disappointments , as well as of Christmases past, when everything was joyous. A heartbroken mother, ( and many of us, as women, can feel deeply for her), a daughter who has made a terrible mistake and suffers the consequences, a son who has become embittered by circumstances. The detail used to describe all of the characters have us engrossed in the story from the first page. We feel the hurt and despair that Sonia experiences, as the Christmas season approaches and she recalls the sudden disappearance of her beloved daughter. Pain and memories that Jody feels, are intense , and she became very real to me. THEN, the reader experiences the happiness and true joy of the Season! Forgiveness and faith in God is examined in detail in this short book. Will Jody’s whole family truly forgive her? Will her children get to know their grandma?
The plot is fast moving and keeps us glued to the pages, wanting to know what is going to happen next. So many events and so many surprises. The ending of this novel had me in tears, as I felt the shock and forgiveness that is always available to those who love the Lord.
This book is just what we need to read at Christmastime, when time is short, but feelings are intent. It is honestly a story of redemption!
Five star book!!! Well done!!
By Joan N. on December 4, 2012
The plot is as old as the Bible. But the setting is today.
Sonia Pettit feels the ache in her heart as she prepares to celebrate the seventh Christmas without her daughter Jody. Thinking she knew best how to live her life, the teenager had run away, leaving only a terse note. The pain had been too much for Sonia’s husband. And her son has turned bitter and rebellious.
Sonia struggles with her own bitterness. She so wants to forgive her daughter and be able to welcome her back. But will she ever have the chance?
Jody has created a life for herself in Australia, as far away from her family as she could get. But her world is falling apart. Her marriage has crumbled and she has just lost her job. How can she possibly support her twins?
Is it possible, dare she hope that her family would take her back?
During the holidays you might be pressed for time to read. This little book is a quick read and would be a great choice for a novella you can read in an evening.
It is a heartwarming story of the return of a prodigal. Just the right message for the Christmas season.
I received a complimentary digital file of this novella from a publicist for the purpose of this review.
By Robin Velasquez on December 3, 2012
This short story is a great reminder of the Gift we all received on Christmas Day, Jesus, and the purpose for which He came; forgiveness. How many times have we had someone offend us, walk on us, or make us feel flat out rotten? How many times have we been quick to forgive them? Sometimes we fight between what we know is right and how we feel, leaving us on emotional roller-coaster. Unforgiveness can be deadly to our spirits, among other things.
Jody Pettit O’Dair’s family has been fighting this battle for seven long years. Although this fight has most certainly taken its toll on each person in her family, they are reminded of God’s grace and forgiveness, and how He can use the worst situations to bring the best outcome for all involved.
If you need a little reminder that God is quick to forgive us for all the wrong or hurtful things we have done to others, or if you’re in need of a little push to forgive those who have wronged you, I recommend this short story. It is the gentle reminder we all need at one point in our lives or another: To forgive even when we feel it is impossible.
****Thank you Nester | Litfuse Publicity Group for the free eBook in exchange for my honest review.****
By savingsinseconds on December 1, 2012
Sometimes you just want a short, easy read that makes you feel all cozy inside. A Christmas Homecoming is a cup of hot cocoa for the heart. Readers will relate to the story of an overwhelmed, underappreciated mom. Readers will yearn to heal the past hurts and old wounds that need to be healed. This is a story of the prodigal child who needs a hug from mom, even when she’s already an adult. After all, that’s when she finally realizes what heartbreak she caused her family. The last few pages of this book seemed to break my heart and lift it up all the same time. A Christmas Homecoming reminded me of the grace and peace that the Lord provides for those who ask. This book is a quick one that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book.
I received an ecopy of this book to review. The opinions shared are 100% mine.
Bysunny island breezeson December 20, 2012
This is a good story about love, anger, bitterness, fear and grace.
As family members run through the gauntlet of emotions, God’s grace is present.
You’re probably going to need a tissue or two before you finish this book.
***A special thank you to litfuse for providing a review copy.***
By Nancy on October 30, 2013
I really enjoyed this very short story—it was a quick read but had so much packed into it. It’s a story of heartbreak, forgiveness and joy. What better time to experience a joyful reunion than at Christmas time! Thank you to bookfun.org for giving me this e-book to read and review.
By nhrbookcrazy on November 16, 2013
a very short story with a powerful message about forgiveness, and anger, and hurt. So much emotion packed into so few pages. It’s a great story to read at this stressful but beautiful time of the year.
By Amazon Customer on February 11, 2013
A Chrismas Homecoming tells of one family’s grief, misunderstaning, and mistakes. It is real to life. It is a story that engages the reader as it weaves a tale of forgiveness and hope
By Ann on October 18, 2015
Heartwarming story that has a valuable lesson for all. The author is very gifted in her story telling and development of the plot. I highly recommend this story to everyone.
By Christine M. Strittmatter on January 8, 2013
I enjoyed this book very much. The concept of forgiveness was threaded throughout the book’s theme, which was encouraging. I was refreshed reading it. Thank you.
By linda Bring on October 22, 2013
Family sorrow, love,faith, and forgiveness. Held my interest through out the book. Highly recommended. Order a copy today. I ordered it on kindle
By Sarah E Johnson on April 11, 2014
If only all stories made me sit on the edge of my seat, unsure of the outcome, but desperate for a good conclusion for the characters!
By J. Gangwer on December 19, 2012
It was an excellent, heart warming book. At times it makes you cry and then other times rejoice! I would highly recommend it!!
5 out of 5 stars. Beautiful story
By Debbie Jamiesonon March 14, 2016
I had the honor to review this wonderful book for the author. Jody’s story is truly amazing. The things she has done to her family is really sad. Watching the relationship with her mother and brother change is beautiful. You will feel God working throughout this whole book. The author will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next.
By eLynda on November 13, 2014
Little children have questions, lots of questions, and sometimes as adults we take for granted something a child may want to know. The simple message that Jesus loves us and wants what is best for us is at the heart of Who is Jesus? by MaryAnn Diorio. Through situations that children may experience, Ms. Diorio gently explains to young children that Jesus is loving, kind, and thoughtful in whatever predicament they may find themselves in. Each scenario is then followed up with a Bible verse to point children back to the Bible for verification that what the author says is true, which I absolutely loved. I also appreciated that at the end of the book she reminds children that Jesus is God, again, backing it up with Scripture.
The illustrations by Kim Sponaugle are just beautiful and appeal to both children and adults. I appreciated how some of them show us a child’s eye view on life, such as the one where a boy is lost in the mall and we see him looking up for a familiar face. The rest of the illustration is a lot of adult knees, and a sea of fear threatening to overwhelm the little boy. It’s relatable, and a good reminder for the parent that we aren’t looking at the world from the same perspective.
My only hesitation on this book is one verse is taken a bit out of context: when speaking of the lost child, the passage quoted is Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” While Jesus is certainly interested in restoring children to the protection of their parents in such a situation, this verse is speaking of those spiritually lost. I would hate for any child to miss the greater truth that Jesus came into this world to save each of us from sin because, as a very literal thinker, he or she has linked it with being lost in the mall. This can be mitigated, however, by a parent’s thoughtful reading and a brief discussion of the book.
Overall, this is a sweet book that would be appropriate for toddlers and preschool children and will be a great way to get the discussion started about who Jesus is.
I received a complimentary electronic proof of this book from the author through The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for this honest review.
By Mama Cat on December 28, 2014
Who is Jesus? Is a delightful child’s book that will help a child become grounded in God’s Word and His love. Dr. MaryAnn Diorio imparts with excellence the answers to questions that children might raise throughout their early life, each backed with appropriate scripture. These are not just any questions, but the kind of questions that, if children believe the truth when they are young, I feel they will be much less likely to wander from their faith or even take off on the run from the Lord as they grow older. The setup is easy and sweet – a beautiful illustration showing a child with a problem, asking the question – then the answer, plus scripture, with another beautiful color illustration showing a child with a solution.
The drawings are by Kim Sponaugle are delightful, colorful, and clearly illustrate the feelings of children both asking and receiving answers to their toughest questions. One thing that I absolutely love about these illustrations is that the children are not all one color or cultural background. One of the 21st Century family dynamics we see is that there may be two or more races in any given family. Were my grandchildren, nieces, or nephews younger, I would be thrilled to give this to them, knowing that this precious book demonstrates Christ’s love for all.
The overall message, completely backed by scripture, is that Jesus would not hurt us with words or actions, and He wants His very best for us – that His way is to heal, love, and treat with respect. The authenticity of Christ’s character shines through so well that any parent or caregiver of a child might come to faith in the Lord or reach out to Jesus with their own challenges or hurts as a result of reading this to or with a child. Dr. Diorio and Ms. Sponaugle will reach into the hearts of so many with this book!
I whole-heartedly recommend Who is Jesus? for any age appropriate child! Grandparents or relatives who regularly babysit young children might want to get a copy to keep in their home to share with the child when caring for them, as well as giving the child a copy to use at home. Even a copy on Nana’s e-reader would be an excellent way to reinforce any of the included responses to questions to a child away from home. In any event, I am completely convinced that being grounded in the scriptures and ideas presented in this book can help keep the eyes of a child on Christ during the challenges faced in a broken world throughout their life.
With a grateful heart, I received a copy of this book through the “For Readers Only” group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
By Janice Green on November 10, 2014
This little book is a delightful introduction to the nature of Jesus. Author MaryAnn Diorio captures the personality of Jesus in simple ways that children can and will relate to. This is carried out by asking the question “Who is Jesus?” then following the question with two situations involving children, one showing an example of who Jesus is not, then an example that shows Jesus love as he truly is. Following that is a page with a scripture that corresponds to the examples just given. These four-page scenarios are repeated several times, each time demonstrating another example of what Jesus is and is not like. The author carries her children farther than simply good and bad behavior, however. She also introduces the concepts that Jesus is always with us, Jesus is love, and Jesus is God.
What I like the most about this book: The examples are so relevant for very young children, and the pictures are so engaging and lively. The book also has strong reverent overtones.
What I like least about this book: When I first read the book, I felt it gave the impression that Jesus was like a child, because the Christ-like examples were children. But after putting the book down for a few weeks and then re-reading it, I came away with a different feeling for the book. Who is Jesus? definitely grew on me since the first time I read it. If reading this book to children I would encourage them to think about how they can show Jesus’ love in the way they act around others.
I highly recommend this book for pre-school children. Sunday school teachers and nursery workers would find a place for this book in their read-aloud activities. It can be purchased on Amazon at this link.
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
By Bernice Constantin on November 12, 2014
I LOVED this book!! I like to think I teach my children (4 and 2) all about Jesus, and yet I’ve still been surprised at the questions they ask and the misconceptions they can be under sometimes, which are a result of living in a very fallen world with very fallen people. This book is a great introduction to Jesus for little ones who don’t know Him, and an excellent reminder for children who do know Him about who He really is. I benefited from reading it! Simply written and easy to understand with Scriptures for the “why” behind every answer, this book answers questions children may have because of situations that happen in life, and it even answers some that are more subconscious misconceptions – when I asked my son if Jesus stopped loving him when he did something wrong, he said yes – I was surprised and saddened to hear his response, but now I know to consciously and continually address these questions thanks to this book. I received an EB copy to review, but intend to buy a hard copy to read over and over to my children! Excellent book!!! Thanks to bookfun.org for the opportunity to read and review this book.
By Nicole Olsen – confessions of a Teenage Bookworm on November 25, 2014
Who is Jesus? A question many children ask at a young age, even though parents constantly are thinking of ways to tell their little ones of the love Jesus has for them and who He is, they always have questions. Which, is perfect, because Maryann Diorio addresses their questions in this book backed up by scripture to help you out and engage your little cuties with beautiful illustrations by Kim Sponaugle.
*Favorite Quotes and thoughts*
1. “Who is Jesus? Is He someone who laughs at you when you fall down and hurt yourself? No. Jesus doesn’t laugh at you when you fall down and hurt yourself. Jesus picks you up, brushes you off, and gives you a big hug.
*What I liked*
I’ve read four childrens books in the past 2 months and this was my favorite. Cute illustrations, simple, real questions, bible verses after each answer…awesome!! Kids will love the pictures and parents will love the answers!! I gave a sample under “Favorite quotes and thoughts”.
*What I didn’t like*
The only thing a few other reviewers and I also noticed is that the one verse (Luke 19:10) while talking about being “lost” is really talking about being spiritually lost…not lost in the mall. However, since a parent, grandparent, e.t.c will be reading the book to the child/children this would actually improve their learning by explaining that while God is there when they’re physically lost, that isn’t exactly what the verse means.
I give Who is Jesus?…
*Why my rating is what it is*
My rating is five stars because even the verse taken a bit out of context can ultimately help their learning if explained by the reader. The book is engaging and is perfect for little kids. 🙂
*I received this book from MaryAnn Diorio and Bookfun.org in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts were my own and I was not compensated in any other way.
By Conny on November 6, 2014
Title: Who is Jesus?
Author: MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA
Illustrator: Kim Sponaugle
Publisher: Top Notch Press
“’Who is Jesus’ presents a biblical picture of our Savior in a way that will help your child recognize Him as Love Personified. Little children will come to know Jesus as the essence of all that is good, holy, and true,” the back jacket of MaryAnn Diorio’s book states.
This unnumbered fifty-page square paperback targets preschool to early elementary school aged children seeking to learn more about Jesus. With no scary scenes, it would be best read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated wording. The New Living Translation of the Bible is referenced, and there are some all-capitalized words for emphasis. The ending contains four pages dedicated to the author and illustrator’s biographies, complete with both photographs and drawings of each.
Promoting that Jesus is a God of love who will never hurt, harm, or wrongly punish His children, the focus of the book asks the question, “Who is Jesus?” nine times. Starting on the left side of the page is the repeated question, with another question about Him following and a brief answer. Spread throughout are short written Bible verses. Colorful expressive pictures by Sponaugle are easy to understand.
Topics relate to Jesus giving us things and hugging and loving us, along with being a best friend and making us feel better as He takes care of us. He never yells, leaves one behind, or stops loving us, even when we do something wrong. Most of all, Jesus is God.
From two to four pages per topic, here is one example:
Who is Jesus?
Is he someone who pushes you away when it’s time to play hide-and-seek?
No. Jesus doesn’t push you away when it’s time to play hide-and-seek. Jesus NEVER pushes you away. He wants to be your friend. Your BEST friend.
The corresponding drawings include one of a girl pushing a closet door shut where another girl hides and the other one is of two girls enjoying popsicles.
The added Bible verse is “You are my friends, if you do what I command.” ~ John 15:14.
Although there is repetition in the wording and artwork, the point is driven that Jesus loves us no matter what. With the colorful, detailed artwork of happy faces, children will enjoy reading or being read this book about God’s Son.
Thanks to The Book Club Network and the author for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.
By Janice S. Garey on October 29, 2014
Review Title: Surrounded by the Love of Jesus (review of Who is Jesus? by MaryAnn Diorio)
Reviewer: Janice S. Garey
Who is Jesus? Little people, the children in our family or the ones we know through church or school settings, are so full of questions, and this book addresses a most important question. Jesus once asked the question, “Who do you say that I am?” This book works on so many levels to reach out to little people and the ones who read to them with answers about how to know Jesus. Scriptures are included to reinforce and make familiar the words of God in the Bible. The book portrays negative actions a child might experience in life and distinguishes those bad things to not be from Jesus. Examples of good actions are shown to flow from Christ to the child through the people surrounding the child who act as kindly as Jesus would. I can see this book will be helpful to discourage one kind of thinking about God which is faulty. It focuses more on His loving nature and takes away from the punitive view of a God who is always looking to catch us doing something wrong. I do feel this is a book to share and discuss so the child will not be deceived into thinking a person who acts loving is always looking out for their best interest.
The illustrations in this book are precious. They get to the heart of the words in their portrayals. They seem to enliven the words with just the right amount of action and colors. I am glad to see the use of Scripture to support the answers, but I am not sure if all children would have the patience to listen to both the story words and the Scripture. That all depends on the age and attention level of the child. I think this book could be used as a beginning book of scripture memory verses for any children who are ready for that.
I received this ebook from bookfun.org and the author in exchange for my honest review. I think most children and adults who read to them will enjoy this book and benefit from it. I do recommend that it be discussed in addition to just being read for the greatest benefit.
By chrisGA on November 19, 2014
The first thing that attracted me to this children’s picture book was the wonderful cover. Smiling, happy Jesus is shown with adorable children and their dog. It sets the scene for the message of Jesus loving little children, wanting to be their best friend, always knowing where they are and taking care of them, and quick to offer comfort and support in the trying moments of a child’s world. The bumps in life are shown to not be from Jesus, but ones that Jesus can understand and help them through. The book demonstrates that other people, pets, and favorite toys can be used by Jesus to comfort them in a way they can easily see and feel.
The book is short, but the warmth of the message is powerful. The illustrations are so eye-catching that even if the words aren’t understood, the pictures will show in an engaging manner the lesson to be learned. I can see this book becoming a bedtime favorite. Children will keep coming back to page through the book until they are able to understand the answers to the questions asked. Scripture is presented throughout and available when the child is ready to relate the words to the lessons learned. Overall, a charming book to share the important concept of God’s love for each of His children. I am looking forward to sharing this with a little guy in my life when he receives this for Christmas.
I received this book through The Book Club Network, but the opinions expressed are solely mine. Sharing Jesus’s love with young children
By Shortcake30 on November 13, 2014
Wow! What a wonderful book.. My 2yr old daughter has just started to really love books. She loves to climb up in my lap with her favorite book asking me to read it to her.. This book has become one of her favorites!!
What I like about this book is it speaks to my little girls heart and teaches her the wonderful attributes of Jesus..
When i first read her this book, my husband suggested breaking it down into small parts.. We started to read small sections at a time as a devotional and we got so much more out of it.. This book can easily be made into a devotional.. The story starts off with the question Who is Jesus? and is answered with a child like response,The author uses childlike examples to describe who Jesus is . Each “Who is Jesus” question is followed by a Scripture reference of that particular attribute .. I really loved the way the authors wrote out each scripture at the end of each section.. When my daughter gets older I may use this book to help her memorize scriptures.
The beautiful illustrations help bring the text alive in this wonderful children’s book .. This Book Who is Jesus is not only teaching my toddler about Jesus, it is also reminding me about how much Jesus really loves me.. This lovely book will read over and over again for many days to come..
I received this book from The book club network Inc:http://www.bookfun.org/ in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review
By Nora A. Stlaurent on January 28, 2015
I’m thankful for the review copy from The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org that introduced me to this beautiful book and its author and illustrator. The pictures are adorable and help bring the message of the story to life.
Each section of the book asks a question of the reader. For example; “Is he someone who yells at you when you cry?”
“No, Jesus doesn’t yell at you when you cry. Jesus helps you blow your nose.”
Then there is a scripture to stand on, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Then near the end of the book the author shares all the things Jesus is. The illustrator brings out the attributes in pictures. Winning combination.
This book is a tool for parents to help young ones address the questions they are having by sharing this book with them. It helps generate talk about these topics and gets them thinking. I will also have them see other kids asking the same questions.
I highly recommend it for parents, grandparents and/or friends to share with young ones.
Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Sponsor
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required 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”
Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com
By seasons of grace on January 16, 2015
In her book, Who Is Jesus, MaryAnn does a beautiful job portraying Jesus to children.
“Is Jesus someone who laughs at you when you fall down and hurt yourself?”
“No, Jesus doesn’t laugh at you… Jesus picks you up, brushes you off and gives you a big bear hug.”
She includes Scriptures for each fact she states about Jesus. And ends the book with Jesus is GOD. Children who may think of Jesus or God as someone who is out to get them, always waiting to punish them, will have a better concept of his love for them, and how they can show that love to others.
This book is also gorgeously illustrated with bright, colorful pictures of children. First, they portray what Jesus would not do (ex: steal your teddy bear), then they demonstrate the love of Jesus through their actions (ex: share his teddy bear).
My children and grandchildren enjoyed this book. I would say its mostly written with younger children in mind, but has great answers even for older ones who may be confused. This would also be a wonderful classroom read.
I was blessed with this book through TBCN and author in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been provided.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for children
By Gail E. Hollingsworth on November 9, 2014
Growing up is hard and even at a young age unfortunately children face criticism, ridicule and bullies. In the book Who Is Jesus? by Maryann Diorio they will learn that they have a friend and supporter in Jesus. Questions are asked like, “is Jesus someone who stops loving you when you do something wrong?” or “is he someone that yells at you when you are crying.” And several other questions are asked and with each one they learn that no, Jesus loves you no matter what you do and comforts you when others are hurtful. This is shown by friends the child’s age or adults that show the love of Jesus living in them. As each question is asked and answered, a scripture is shown that goes along with it so the child will relate God’s Word to everyday situations. Kim Sponaugie does a great job of illustrating the truths through pictures as well. One of the last ones in the book shows Jesus holding hands with a group of children from different ethentisities, illustrating that Jesus loves us all no matter where we live or the color of our skin. Who is Jesus? Jesus is Love!
I received this book from the author and publisher through Bookfun.org for my honest review.
By Amazon Customer on November 5, 2014
Oh my goodness! This is one of the best children’s books I’ve read in a long time! The message is phenomenal in that it takes situations that almost every child faces and relates it to how Jesus would treat the child in that particular situation. You also get the message that Jesus uses different people for His service by the pictures. I love love love the Bible verses at the end of each section. I also think the repetitive question, Who Is Jesus, is a very effectiveway to keep the child focused on the subject. This book does an amazing job of teaching a child that Jesus is God but He is also here among us and that He loves us unconditionally. Don’t we all need to be reminded of that?
The illustrations are excellent with adorable pictures of children. You just want to hold those children and hug them! I like the picture of Jesus on the “Who Is Jesus” page; how He has His arms full of children and seems to love them so much.
This book was given to me by bookfun.org in exchange for my honest opinion and I HIGHLY recommend it! In fact, I’m going to be looking to purchase a copy of “Who Is Jesus?” for my granddaughter for Christmas.
By D. L. Montgomery on November 7, 2014
Who is Jesus
By: MaryAnn Diorio
I love books written by MaryAnn. This is a great children’s book about ” Who is Jesus “. I have little grandchildren and i now they are at the age of asking just the kind of questions about Jesus as written in this cute book. I loved for each question which was a negative MaryAnn bought out the positive of what Jesus really is. Loved each one had a Bible scripture to where the answer was to the question. This story shows Jesus for who he is Love. What better way then for your kids to get to know Jesus as good and holy and true. That Jesus loves them! What a awesome love!!
The book was beautifully illustrated by Kim Sponaugle. Lovely pictures and bright colors children will want to see. ” Isn’t the love of Jesus something wonderful “!
This book was given to me by Book Fun Club in exchange for my honest opinion. Thanks to Fred St Laurent for this bookfun club and TBCN. Thanks to the publishers and the sponsors. Most of all thank you authors if not for you would not have anything to read.
By V Jones on October 29, 2014
Anyone who is spends time with children will eventually be asked a question that causes them to stop and wonder how to possibly answer the question. There is also the concern of how to introduce a child to Jesus in a way young children will understand. This book is a fantastic resource appealing to adults and children.
The illustrations of “Who is Jesus?” are adorable. They are designed to be attractive to any culture and for both boys and girls. The questions are simply answered. But what I liked best is that it answers the question that often comes next – “how do you know?”. Each question and answer references a Bible verse. So not only do the children’s questions get answered , but it is a wonderful way to point the children to the Bible and respond with “because Jesus said”. And it could be helpful to introduce Bible verse memorization.
I would recommend this book to anyone with young children. But I think it also makes an excellent book to have available in a Sunday school classroom. I received a pdf copy in exchange for my honest review.
By Cheri Swalwell – author on November 17, 2014
I just finished reading Who is Jesus? by MaryAnn Diorio. What a great book and what beautiful pictures! This is a book which appeals to children of all ages. The words are simple yet deep. Simple enough for children who are learning how to read to read along but deep in their meaning and give the parents and children something to talk about for a long time. It carries a message that will speak to the parents as well as the children and should be read together…although not necessary for the kids to grasp how much God loves them.
The beautiful illustrations take the book to the next level. The pictures tell a story all on their own of how kind Jesus is to each of us. I truly love this book and it’s one that my kids will keep forever, not one to sell in a garage sale or take to the secondhand store – although other children deserve to hear the message too, so I might have to buy extra copies. J
I received this book for free from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
By inspiremichelle on November 6, 2014
Who Jesus Is? By Mary Ann Diorio
Top Notch Press
Christian Fiction, Children
Ever child I know asks a bunch of questions. This book has the answer to who is Jesus. The author MaryAnn Diorio answers the tough question with everyday situations of will Jesus love me when I do wrong, does He love me when I hurt or cry, and does He love me when I can’t see Him. She includes a scripture to each question and an illustrated picture. I read this book to my grandchildren and they loved it. It was written in a way that a 2 yr old, 5 yr old and 8 yr old could understand it. The illustrations really caught their attention and helped them to understand better. They give this book 5 stars.
I want to thank the author MaryAnn Diorio and publisher Top Notch Press for bringing good Christian books like this one to the youngest readers. I would also like to thank The Book Club Network Inc. for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.
By Karen Ketcham on November 20, 2014
Who is Jesus by MaryAnn Diorio and illustrated by Kim Sponaugie is absolutely fabulous! After having just read this book I cannot wait to read it to my grandkids. The simple way this was written and the colorful images will most certainly appeal to children. I loved the format and the added Bible verses corresponding to the lesson. It shows the nature of Jesus Christ and how He is always with us. It is easy to follow and understand. The author and illustrator have both done a fantastic job of bringing the love of Jesus to the mind of a child. I HIGHLY recommend this book to any family that desires to bring Jesus into the life of their child.
Thank you to the author, the publisher and Book Club Network for the opportunity to read and review this book.
I received this book free of charge from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
I have reviewed this book on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, Books a Million, Deeper Shopping, Christian Book.com
By Vicki Oswald on January 19, 2015
Dr. Diorio’s book portrays the character of Jesus in a way that children can understand. She answers the question for the littlest one: “How does Jesus help me?” I have been a children’s ministry director for 14 years. A lot of resources out there teach children what Jesus has done for others in the Bible (which is good), but I never had a resource put in my hands that teaches children what Jesus wants to do for them. It is imperative that a child understands Jesus’ love and concern for them and Dr. Diorio reveals this truth beautifully in her book.
Here are my own children’s comments after asking them what they learned from the book:
John (age 10) “God still loves you when you do wrong things.
Caleb (age 8) “God picks you up when you fall and brushes you off.
Gabriel (age 5) “I learned when you are sick that God helps blow your nose.”
By Amazon Customer on November 29, 2014
Who is Jesus? by Mary Ann Diorio is a wonderful children’s book that asks what children think Jesus would do. By using simple examples like sharing and helping, Ms. Diorio explains Jesus in such a way that children can understand with simple questions about every day events, the author illustrates how Jesus’ actions are displayed in everyday people. After each explanation she provides an applicable bible verse to further explain Jesus in real life terms. Not only does it show what Jesus’ behavior would be toward the child, it also shows how children should behave toward others. Because Ms. Diorio includes scripture, the book is not only a sweet children’s storybook, but makes the bible applicable even at such a young age. The illustrations are very well done and applicable to each lesson.
I received this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
By Babbling Becky L on November 9, 2014
This delightfully drawn and colorful kindle book is aimed to show young ones the wonderful qualities of Jesus our Lord. It first shows someone exhibiting an undesirable quality, ie, being selfish, being spiteful,being mean, etc. Then, in each situation, it shows the opposite, the child instead being shown ultimate unselfishness, compassion, kindness, etc, while explaining that is what Jesus would do. A Bible verse follows each situation.
A youngster can be comforted by the knowledge presented that Jesus knows and loves him/her and will take care of him/her in a very tender,special way. The pictures are very up-to-date and warm and draw the child into the story, inviting him/her to trust the truth of the narrative. Great job both to Dr. MaryAnn and the illustrator, Kim Sponaugle.
I received this book from bookfun.org in exchange for an honest review.
By Meagan @ Blooming with Books on November 2, 2014
Who is Jesus?
By MaryAnn Diorio
Illustrated by Kim Sponaugle
If you have kids in your life you know they ask questions. And invariably they will one day ask you questions about Jesus and who he is. Will you know how to answer? Who is Jesus? will help you answer these questions.
We all have questions about whether Jesus can love us when we mess up or if illness is from Jesus. Who is Jesus? offers us assurances about Jesus and his love. And we are reminded that Jesus is God!
The colorful illustrations are wonderful additions to this story and add to it’s charm. This would be a welcome addition to any church or home library. This would be an excellent gift for any Sunday School/Children’s Church teacher.
I was provided a digital proof of this book by the author through TBCN/BookFun in exchange for my honest review
By Kimberly T. Ferland on November 10, 2014
This is a delightful story for beginner readers to introduce them to Jesus and his love. Each page shows the child something that might be happening in their own life, posing the question, “would Jesus do this?” The following page shows the reader how Jesus would act in that situation and the personal quality Jesus reflects. This is followed by a bible verse to reinforce this thought. It ends with the simple but lasting premise, “Jesus is Love, Jesus is God”. I must also take the time to commend the illustrator of this book. The pictures are colorful and endearing and put a smile on my face as a read the story. This is a lovely way to introduce Jesus to young children. I will be looking for more books from this author and illustrator duo.
I received this book from BookFun.org and the author in exchange for my honest review.
By Christine M. Strittmatter on November 5, 2014
This book is a delightful read with a simple, yet profound message for children. As children hear this story, they will learn that Jesus is loving in all situations: when they make mistakes, when they are confused, when they do not feel well. The message is repeated that when others may be unfaithful or unloving, Jesus will always exhibit perfect, unconditional love. The illustrations are colorful and sweet. I especially like the cover which portrays Jesus surrounded by the happy children!
I would recommend this book if you have small children or as a gift for other youngsters. They will learn the truth about the selfless nature of Jesus. I’m excited to give a copy to some small neighbor boys for Christmas. It will probably become a favorite pick when they choose a bedtime story!
By Amazon Customer on November 17, 2014
This is a powerful picture book for all ages. The message is simple, yet profound, and the format will keep the attention of the youngest listener to the oldest. Everyone can relate to the questions posed and the repetitive story lines give both the reader and the listener a rhythmic feel which connects them to the narrative. Added to the prose are the fantastic illustrations that appeal to all different kinds of readers.
This story is a marvelous resource to present Jesus to the little ones and at the same time, gives adults a renewed sense of wonder regarding Jesus and one’s relationship with Him. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this little book and highly recommend it to all ages.
I received this free book from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
By Karen on November 17, 2014
Experts say that a very large part of what we learn, we learn before we are 5 years old. With that in mind, what does a preschooler want to know about Jesus? How can we answer these little ones important questions which could impact their future relationship with the Father? Who Is Jesus is an excellent tool in this quest. The author poses questions which a three-year –old might ask. Then, in a loving and sensitive way, she answers those questions. She then includes a scripture verse to support the answer, one which a preschooler would understand. Put this together with beautiful illustrations and you have an attractive resource for teaching your little one about Jesus.
This book was given to me by The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion..
By Pam Halter on November 6, 2014
Who Is Jesus is a picture book for very young children, ages 2-5, which introduces them to Jesus. The language is age appropriate and the illustrations are delightful. Each part of the book asks the question, Who is Jesus? Then goes on to ask if Jesus is someone who does things to hurt you. Then gives the answer and Scripture. For example: Who is Jesus? Is he someone who yells at you when you cry? No. Jesus doesn’t yell at you when you cry. Jesus helps you blow your nose. “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1
First impressions are important. We want our children to know that God gives good things. For a great introduction book to who Jesus is, I recommend Who Is Jesus?
By Anne Rightler on October 30, 2014
Bright, colorful illustrations accompany this children’s book on Jesus, our best Friend ever! MaryAnn Diorio has written a simple book about an eternal message of love despite our shortcomings. Written in plain language the book can be used as a reader for a child beginning to read or as a book to read to young children. Messages of compassion, friendship, forgiveness, love and healing are each substantiated by a Scripture verse. A wonderful book to teach children who Jesus is. With Christmas coming, it is a perfect stocking stuffer!
I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review. I have posted reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, bookfun.org and GoodReads.
By K. Markovich on November 14, 2014
What a wonderful children’s book! It has beautiful illustrations of children in “difficult” situations, explaining that Jesus doesn’t cause the situations or stop loving them when they have done something wrong. Rather, He is always with us and always loves us. I loved how after each of the stories there is a Bible verse that affirms the truth about the story and Jesus. The only thing I didn’t like was the story ended too quickly there were a bunch of blank pages or pages about the author and illustrator at the end. But I loved the message and sweet illustrations! Great preschool/early elementary book about Jesus! I received a copy of this book from bookfun.org for my honest opinion and review.
By Jean Kropid on November 11, 2014
So many good points to mention for this book!! The illustrations are superior; the dialogue on each page is short and to the point, which helps holding the attention for youngsters; the topics are all easy to understand with the ability to bring forth conversations with the little ones; the subject matter are every day occurrences and easily relateable for all.
I loved that the scripture reference is written throughout, giving an opportunity to take the child right to “God’s Word” for confirmation on the subject. I highly recommend this book to everyone who has “wee ones” in their life.
I received this book from Bookfun.org in exchange for my honest review.
By Shirley A. Strait on December 12, 2014
Who Is Jesus?
by MaryAnn Diorio
Illustrated by Kim Sponaugle
Publ: TopNotch Press c.2014
This wonderfully illustrated book is a picture for the very young of the “What Would Jesus Do?” question. They are shown Jesus showing His love in sharing, caring,and compassion. Accompanying the questions of what would Jesus do are Bible verses that reenforce the point.
The illustrations are warm, colorful and inviting. They add depth to the message of the text.
I can hardly wait to share this book with my granddaughters! I know they will love it as much as I do.
I received this book through The Book Club Network for my unbiased review.
By Carol Smith on November 7, 2014
This is a wonderful book for all child to have read to them until they are able to read themselves. Both adults and the children
will benefit from showing how Jesus loves all of us unconditionally. The illustrations are very attractive grabbing hold of a child’s
attention. All the lessons show that Jesus loves you despite your faults. The lessons are exemplified with the inappropriate behavior,
the desired behavior and the associated bible quote. It is written so that children will be able to understand and accept the
teachings about Jesus in the book. Thank you to book fun.org for this ebook. My opinion is my own.
By Joan N. on November 5, 2014
The book is designed to present Jesus to children as One who cares for them and loves them with perfect love. It is great. The message is one I think every young child needs to hear. They will see that Jesus’ love is unconditional and personal. The book is 48 pages long and has many wonderful full color illustrations. And Diorio has included a verse from the Bible after each short lesson that gives the biblical background for that truth.
This is a delightful book for toddlers and preschoolers.
I received a complimentary digital review copy of this book through The Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
By Stacie Theis on January 20, 2015
Who is Jesus? is a precious story that addresses a topic many children are curious about and it does so in a gentle and engaging manner.
Children are full of wonder and many days can be spent answer their endless questions. Who is Jesus? approaches the topic of Jesus through beautifully illustrated images and simple examples that are perfect for preschoolers. The story also shares Bible verses that relate to each lesson which reiterates Jesus’ love for everyone.
Who is Jesus? is wonderful story filled with adorable illustrations that little ones will enjoy.
I highly recommend picking up a copy.
By Deanna Stevens on October 30, 2014
“Who is Jesus?” I found to be a beautifully illustrated children’s book. The colorful pictures portrayed the questions & answers very nicely. I think any of my grandchildren would love hearing the story, learning the Bible verses and picking out the relevant illustrations on each page. I think they would have a very good idea of “Who Jesus Is” quickly. I liked that each page was short, to the point and well illustrated. I’ll be reading this to my grandchildren over and over.
I was gifted this precious little book from The bookclub network, ( Bookfun.org ) for my honest opinion which I have given.
By Jackie McNutt on February 13, 2015
This is a beautifully illustrated book with easy short lessons on who Jesus is and how young children can come to know His gentle and loving ways.
The story is well written and it helps lead children to understand how they can trust Jesus with their feelings and questions.
I loved this book and will read it often to the young children in my life and give as gifts.
I received this book from Mary Ann Diorio PhD and Book Fun. org in exchange for my honest opinion.
By Calliegh on February 17, 2015
Who Is Jesus? helps to answer many of those hard questions which children ask. Children will learn just how much God loves and cares for them. He is not one to be feared. God will always love and take care of you no matter if you were good or bad-lost or found. Great book for adults and children to both learn from as they read it together and find the answers.
By Carrie on November 11, 2014
This is such a precious book. The text is sweet and written to show children that Jesus loves them. It teaches that Jesus is always with us, even in everyday situations. The illustrations are beautiful. I enjoyed reading this book to my boys.
I received a copy of this book from The Book Club Network and the publishers in exchange for my honest review which I have given.
By Phyllis Qualls Freeman on October 31, 2014
This little children’s book introduces Jesus to those who don’t know him. I’m amazed how many people are not taught about Jesus. We may take for granted that everyone knows. It would make a great gift for a friend or a neighbor’s child. Could be used as a tool to witness of Jesus’ care and love. Adorably illustrated. I received this book for my honest review.
By Janice Sisemore on December 27, 2014
A great book to teach children who Jesus is and the love of Jesus. That he will not hurt us, he will take care of us. He will care for us when we are sick and when are bad. That Jesus wants the be our best friend and will always be there for us. A very well written book. This book was given to me for a honest review by the Book Club Network.
By Tara Mazzawy on October 22, 2014
This beautifully illustrated, relatable child’s book is a perfect first book for any baby’s personal library. I specifically enjoyed the Scriptures shared throughout the story. I would recommend it to any person searching for a unique introduction to Jesus to children of all ages. It will touch your heart and enrich your faith.
By virginia winfield on July 10, 2015
This was a well written book trying to teach children about Jesus. The illustrations were wonderful also. I received this from bookfun.org for a fair and honest opinion.
By Gee Lucero Dixon on September 13, 2015
This is a very cute story with a meaning that gives a child confidence no matter what size you are on the outside. It is okay to be different because you are also different on the inside. Tommy learns that he can do things even though he is small and proves himself when he helps a neighbor lady. He also worked for something he wanted just like a “bigger” kid would do. Loved this story very much and so did my autistic son.
By Bonnie L. Roof on June 15, 2015
“Do Angels Ride Ponies?” is a touching story of 8 year-old Jeremiah, who has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. Jeremiah wants to be “free” like his 12 year-old brother, David, and dreams of riding his own pony – which he will name “Dream Boy”. Feeling his only opportunity of ever riding a pony might be when he gets to Heaven, he plies his mother and then his father with the question “do angels ride ponies?”. The responses from everyone, including his brother, are uncertainty and an admonishment to accept the fact that he will never be able to ride a pony. UNTIL: he is met with optimism from the family’s farmhand, Jake – who tells him that what looks impossible isn’t necessarily so, when a person believes it to be possible.
This beautiful story is based on the scripture verse: “anything is possible if a person believes”, Mark 9:23 NLT – and contains lessons of hope, encouragement, and faith. While written for children, it is a book that will be enjoyed by all ages. Readers will smile, cheer Jeremiah on, and possibly shed a tear or two, as well. The book is accompanied by beautiful illustrations from Valeria Wicker. MaryAnn Diorio writes books for adults, as well as children. I loved this book – smiling, sympathizing with and supporting Jeremiah, crying, and experiencing joy – during it’s reading, and would love to read more books written by Mrs. Diorio.
FIVE STARS Believe the Impossible
By Deb Piccurelli on May 12, 2015
What if the impossible were possible?
That’s the question Jeremiah Bentley faces when, in spite of being in a wheelchair, he desires to ride a pony.
Everyone around him adamantly expresses that he will never be able to ride, but one man of faith, Jake the farmhand, inspires Jeremiah to hope and to try. He goes to the stable and tries to mount one of the horses, but fails. He feels that because he couldn’t do it the first time, he’ll never be able to. But Jake says that, even though he failed, it was good that he tried, because it meant he believed. He explains that the Bible tells us that “All things are possible to him who believes.”
So, can believing in something make it come true? Find out when one boy’s determination takes him to a place where nothing seems impossible.
I truly enjoyed this book and the message it conveys to the children who will read it. Do Angels Ride Ponies? not only teaches the truth of God’s Word, but also the potential each one of us has when we believe and act on that truth.
MaryAnn Diorio has created genuine characters and an authentic setting. I could really imagine being on that farm. And I can still hear the tires of Jeremiah’s wheelchair crackling on the gravel on the grounds around his home.
I believe this book will be enjoyed by all who read it in its targeted age group, and more!
By Stefani Milanese on March 25, 2015
MaryAnn Diorio’s Do Angels Ride Ponies is a heart-warming tale of Jeremiah, a young wheel-chair bound boy with cerebral palsy who dreams of riding a pony in heaven. When the gentle, old farmhand Jake suggests that anything is possible if a person believes, Jeremiah becomes determined to ride a pony way before he gets to Heaven. The story is beautiful, and I found myself emotionally touched by it. Tears filled my eyes at the ending. I also loved the message that this book sends, that anything is possible if we believe. I would recommend this book to anyone, from any walk of faith and any age. This book is filled with compassion, and the Biblical phrase, “Anything is possible if a person believes,” is easily one of the most powerful and truthful statements of all time.
By Vicki Oswald on June 9, 2015
I read Dr. Diorio’s book to my 6 year old son, Gabriel. He really loved the story and told me so all the way through. The story was so interesting that I could not put it down. We finished it in one sitting. We learned that anything is possible with God. My favorite character was the farmhand, Jake. It is amazing what a little encouragement can do to help a person see their dreams come true. It does not surprise me that Dr. Diorio created such a person. She has the heart and gift of encouragement like Jake through and through! This book inspires me to reach for my dreams. I loved it! Vicki Palaganas
ByM Kowalskion June 25, 2015
Reviews for My Non-Fiction
By TM on September 13, 2016
I am enjoying this devotional. Dr. Diorio relays thoughts that cause you to think deeply about your spiritual life and challenge you to become your best for Christ. She has presented important concepts in profound ways that have impacted my thinking. I would definitely recommend this devotional to anyone who wants to enhance their quiet time with the Lord.