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Need a new read? Your inner fantasy lover won’t be able to put this book down

If you grew up loving the classic tales of Peter Pan and Chronicles of Narnia, we’ve got a grown-up version picked out for you!

Melissa Dalton Martinez, Host and Reviewer of the Book Break, shares three books to add to your spring reading list.

To find more of Melissa’s recommendations, visit


  1. God of Neverland by Gama Ray Martinez

My first recommendation is a fantasy follow-up to the immortal tale of the boy who never grew up. God of Neverland by Gama Ray Martinez comes to us 120 years after J. M. Barrie’s novel, The Little White Bird, which was the introduction to the iconic character, Peter Pan, with more lore, sword fights, and reimagined characters from mythology.

Michael Darling, the youngest of the original siblings who flew to Neverland, has grown up. Like most grown ups, Michael has had to face some of the harsh realities that have no place disrupting the dreams of children. However, when Peter Pan disappears, not only Neverland, but the imagination of every child, is in danger of being lost. Now, Michael must return to the fantasy land of his boyhood to face new challenges and find Peter Pan in time to save both worlds.

For readers who grew up on the classic tales of Peter Pan or other portal fantasy realms like Narnia or Wonderland, God of Neverland gives us the amazing gift of continuing the adventure so we can venture once more into the realms of our childhood dreams. God of Neverland releases April 12th from Harper Voyager, and is the first of The Defenders of Lore series.

  1. Beautiful Ashes by Shelly Edwards Jorgensen

An inspirational and moving memoir about rising up from the ashes, Beautiful Ashes by Shelly Edwards Jorgensen takes us through her journey in the aftermath of extreme tragedy and hardship and eventually toward spiritual rebirth.

The full title, Beautiful Ashes: A True Story of Murder, Betrayal, and One Woman’s Search for Peace, already paints a very strong picture in the reader’s mind, which the author fulfills with strong, vivid storytelling of real-life events. At age fifteen, Shelly lost her mother when their house burned down, and soon after her father when he was convicted of the arson and murder. In this memoir, the author shows us the painful process of growing up in those circumstances and the faith-based road she took toward recovery.

This book is powerful in part because it is true, but the reader should be aware that it deals with several traumatic themes, including alcohol abuse and sexual assault in addition to a real murder. Ultimately, however, Shelly Edwards Jorgensen’s story uplifts through messages of faith, love, hope, and courage, which could be very beneficial to survivors of abuse and people coping with PTSD.

  1. Even the Dog Knows by Jason F. Wright

My final recommendation is Even the Dog Knows, a literary fiction novel by Jason F. Wright about the trials and tribulations of one couple across many years and several state lines—much of it from the point of view of their loyal dog, Moses.

Years after Meg leaves her husband, Gary, she reaches out to request a favor: let her see their dog one more time before the old labrador passes. Gary, stuck in his own grief over the death of his daughter, breaks out of his routine by loading up the old bus with the dog and his grandson. Together, they set off on a cross-country drive, and, with the help of Moses, have a chance to grow and set some things right.

Marriage, loss, and change are all difficult to navigate, but a family’s love can survive even the toughest obstacles life has to throw at it, especially with the help of a family pet. This novel put me in mind of Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons, but with more of a focus on the grandparents and with the added wisdom of a well-written canine perspective. If you’re looking for a heartwarming family drama about love and four-legged companions, you can’t go wrong with Even the Dog Knows.

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