May Book Reviews Part Two! @MarieDrake72 @spolakoffauthor @psteph55 @SarahAngleton

Smoke Rose to Heaven (a companion to Gentleman of Misfortune)

by Sarah Angleton

Ada Moses is a fortune teller in the late 1800s and has her life turned upside down by a visitor. Knowing her life is in danger, she hurries to tell her story to a Mormon prophet, armed with a manuscript she’s had since childhood. Although that part of the plot held my interest, when Ada told the story of her childhood, my heart was with her. Her abandonment was heartbreaking enough, but who she was left with was even worse. I could not find many adults in her life that I liked, which spoke highly of the author’s ability to make me dislike them. There were con-men, religious zealots, mental illness, and a lot of broken souls surrounding this poor girl as she grew up. She learned to maneuver through the craziness, and there were some chances to explore a bit of her natural abilities. I understood how Ada could put her trust in one person, even though he had betrayed her before. Ada’s weakness made sense to me and strengthened her when she needed it. I will be reading more by this author and highly recommend this! Five-Stars


The Altar Boy: A Dark Tale of Comedy, Sorrow and The Catholic Church in the 1960s

by Phil Stephens

“The Altar Boy” is a historical fiction coming-of-age story set in the 1960s. Carl is meeting up with his brother’s for drinks in the 80s when Carl reflects on his childhood. I loved seeing the world through a young Carl’s eyes, how he dealt with friends, school, his awe of the altar boys, and becoming one. Yet, it was understanding his parent’s problems as a child would that was the strongest part of this story. I felt for Carl’s father most of the time and couldn’t find much sympathy for his mother. The Priest, though, I thoroughly disliked and wished he’d made better choices.  All the small details, including the music, trying to catch bats, running home in the dark, hippies, and the Catholic Church, all added that extra depth and made me nostalgic for this period. This is a clever story that provides not only laughter but a few tears, too. Four-Stars


by Sam Polakoff 

“Shaman” is a supernatural thriller that held my interest until the last page. I enjoyed all the thorough research about Shaman and Peru, along with all the other details that added to the story. The political and environmental aspects were woven nicely into the plot, giving it lots of depth. Dan was mountain climbing on his fiftieth birthday when strange and bad things happened, while his unexplained visions were taking a toll on him. I enjoyed the relationship between him and his assistant, Tally. There was a twist at the end I had hoped would be gone into with more detail, but the outcome was satisfying to me. Learning about the shaman ways was my favorite part of the book. This is a great story that takes you on a journey into the past and future with consequences for the now. Four-Stars

Three Rules

by Marie Drake

“Three Rules” takes you into the mind of a young woman, Hope, and her world. The story deals with child abuse that focuses on the consequences of it over the act, which I found very powerful. Hope holds everything inside from her brutal sexual assaults. She is attempting to move on with her life, but her past isn’t allowing that. The writing is unique, and it fits Hope’s withdrawn state and how she robotically responds to people. I loved her relationship with her childhood friends Joey and Karen and how she’s always there for them, but she doesn’t allow them to be there for her, especially Joey. I hadn’t planned on reading this in one sitting, but I sat up most of the night until I finished it. I needed to know the outcome and was surprised by the twist at the end. This is a story I won’t forget, and I highly recommend it.  Five-Stars

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!


I’m participating in the RWISA Rise-Up Tour through May 18th! So there will be a blog here daily.

I will continue my weekly blogs and will start posting about my upcoming release, “This Last Chance” next week. I’ll send out the blogs this week to those who offered to help with the release, thanks!

“This Last Chance” is available for pre-order AMAZON PURCHASE LINK

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, including furry baby moms:)

Embrace your inner child safely with a good book! D. L. Finn

30 thoughts on “May Book Reviews Part Two! @MarieDrake72 @spolakoffauthor @psteph55 @SarahAngleton”

    1. Thanks, Karen 🙂 I enjoyed the trip back in time and seeing the world through a boy’s eyes.

  1. Fantastic reviews, Denise! I am currently reading, “Shaman,” and enjoying it. I also read “Three Rules” by Marie Drake in one sitting. I read way into the night until I reached the end. It was a story that really grabbed me. The others you have listed here are no my KIndle waiting patiently. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. So many good books waiting to be read, Jan. I’m reading about Shaman now. Happy reading.

  3. I haven’t read any of these titles, Denise, but your reviews were all very thoughtful and detailed. I especially like the “little things” you mentioned in “The Altar Boy” that harken to an earlier decade and childhood. Congratulations to all of the authors.

  4. Thanks, Mae:) I always enjoy taking that trip back to when times were so different and bring back some fond memories.

  5. Thank you for taking the time to review and shine a light on RRBC members’ books.

  6. Thanks for this nice collection of books, Denise, and appreciate your reviews.

  7. As always, great reviews. You and Jacqui never fail to amaze me in the number of books you get through in a month. I’m a slug:) Smoke Rose sounds like an intriguing premise.
    Take special care. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

    1. Thanks, Sandra:) Smoke Rose was a unique take which I appreciate. I like to read almost every night now that I have an empty nest. Although it does cut into my sleeping…lol. You take care of yourself and stay safe, too xo

    1. Yes there were some nicely developed characters, Sandra. Thank you! You have a fantastic weekend as well and keep safe.

    1. I enjoyed your book and look forward to reading more:) Yes, always adding to my TBR list!

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