Books That Changed Me—2021 Fall Edition! @Dwallacepeach @CathleenTowns @gmplano #writingcommunity #indieauthors #goodreads #whattoread #fantasy #shortstories #thriller

Maple Tree in fall

Fall has finally arrived! It’s my favorite time of year when the leaves turn the landscape into a sunset, the night is cooler, and there is the hope of some much-needed rain. Halloween is right around the corner and it is time for all things pumpkin, while the Magical Trail gets a visit from some friendly ghosts and goblins. It is also the perfect time of year to read. Here are three books that have changed my outlook on life in their own special way.

Cover to The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

by D. Wallace Peach


The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.

And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.

Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.


I’ve been looking forward to reading The Ferryman and the Sea Witch because I love all things ocean and fantasy—and was not disappointed. When he was a young boy, Callum tried to save the sea merrow queen’s daughter tangled in fish netting. The crew paid for standing by, but Callum was offered a deal to never set foot on land and become the Ferryman. He was the only one allowed to cross the sea, if a human sacrifice was offered each crossing. So, Callum transported goods between two warring cities. Then comes the time for him to deliver more than goods. Secrets are revealed that change everything. I love how skillfully Ms. Peach weaves in the details and scenery. It makes a fantasy world seem very real. The characters were flawed and well-rounded, and I rooted for several outcomes and relationships. Beautifully written with dark undertones made this a story I didn’t want to put down. This is a book I highly recommend!

Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie

by Cathleen Townsend


Explore twelve tales of Faerie, and discover its paradox–both close and inaccessible–peopled with heroes, rogues, and ciphers.

•A modern dragon who desires more than mere gold,
•A troll who longs for the kiss of sunlight on his skin,
•A teenage driver who discovers her driving test is going to be far more difficult than anyone expected,
•A gargoyle who yearns to safeguard not only a church but a young girl as well,
•And a woman who bargains for Faerie help—only to be confronted with a cost that is more than she can bear to pay.

Come join them.


I started reading this with the plan to read one story before going to sleep, but I ended up reading the entire book instead. I don’t regret the missed slumber. A fantastic collection of short stories that offer a twist on classic stories or a modern take on the classics. I loved them all, but a few favorites were “Dragon Hoard,” “Teenage Driver,” and “Gargoyle.” Some tugged at my heart, others had me laughing, but all made the characters feel real in a fantasy world. A well-written collection that I can highly recommend!

The Culmination: a new beginning

by Gwen M. Plano


The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.


“The Culmination” is the third book in the Contract Series. I loved all the books, but this one topped them. It touched me on a level of reality and fear, bringing the idea of hope in our current cold social climate. It starts after the second book and an assassination attempt. There is a group determined to cause mayhem and stop anyone in their way, including heads of state. There’s not only exciting action but developing relationships and political intrigue. I found a lot of what was going on in the story relevant for current times. Where Ms. Plano took this story is a place where I could imagine the right things being done in the middle of chaos. I loved the American Vice President with her logic and heart. Beautifully written and thought-provoking with scenarios all too familiar, some heartbreaking, and some tender. This book not only scared me but offered an optimistic option at the same time. I highly recommend it and the whole series.

Read a book, it can change your life! Happy Autumn 🙂 D. L. Finn



52 thoughts on “Books That Changed Me—2021 Fall Edition! @Dwallacepeach @CathleenTowns @gmplano #writingcommunity #indieauthors #goodreads #whattoread #fantasy #shortstories #thriller”

  1. Thanks so much for the shout out! Gargoyle is probably my favorite story in DH, although that does change from time to time.

    And I totally concur with your assessment of Diana’s book. I can totally see you getting into an aquatic-themed tale, and she did a nice job of transcending the “Little Mermaid” tropes, (even though I happen to be a fan of the fairy tale version as well.)

    Also, Culmination sounds like a fun thriller read. Anyway, thanks again! : )

    1. I can see why Gargoyle is your favorite, Cathleen! Yes, I do love water and a book set in it even better 🙂 I love both Diana’s take on it and mermaids in general. Gwen did a great job with a polictical thriller that is very relevant too. I continue to work my way through some fantastic reading !

  2. Happy Autumn, Denise. My favorite time of year. Wonderful reviews. I’ve only read Diana’s book, but I agree; it was amazing. Kudos to all three authors. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Happy Autumn, Staci! My favorite time too, especially when rain goes along with it! Diana’s book was definitely amazing, as are the other two! Can’t go wrong with any of them.

  3. I’m reading the Ferryman and the Sea Witch now and agree with your review. Congratulations to Diana. Also I have read The Culmination and your review is spot on. Congratulations to Gwen. I enjoyed the reviews, Denise.

    1. Ferryman is an amazing read isn’t it, John? Gwen hit it out of the park with Culmination. I’m glad to share the reviews and books one more time that stay with me.

  4. Fabulous reviews, Denise! I knew you’d love Diana’s book! And I agree wholeheartedly with your review. Thank you for sharing all of these! Congrats to the authors!

    1. You were right, I did love it, Jan 🙂 There are so many possiblities in nature to write about. Thanks, Jan xo

  5. Oh, Denise, I’m so humbled by your review and deeply pleased you liked The Culmination. I’m also grateful to share space with Diana and Cathleen — both amazing writers. Thank you for brightening the day!! 💗

    1. It is a book that has stayed with me since I read it. I wish our current leaders would read it and get new ideas! Happy to spotlight it again and hope more people get to read it. I agree, you are all amazing writers.

  6. Denise, wonderful reviews and I’ve got two more to add to my list! I loved Diana’s book and I’ll have to add Cathleen’s and Gwen’s to my TBR list – see I must catch up on the latter! What a great tag line: ‘Read a book, it can change your life!’ So true! Wishing you a fabulous start to autumn too. xx

    1. Thank you, Annika 🙂 I’m glad you found some more books to add to your TBR list! You won’t be disappointed in any of these. Glad you liked the tag line because it has for me. Happy Autumn xo

    1. You make me want to read each of these books, for different reasons: original and dark plot or tales that are twisted (in a good way) or characters you can root for. Great reviews, Denise!

      1. Yay! I’m glad you want to read these books now, Pricilla 🙂 Yes, each offers it’s own reasons for reading it, but in the end we have to be rooting for the characters, even if it’s in a slightly twisted way. Thank you!

    2. Thank you, Balroop. Glad to share the reviews again because they were such great reads. Never enough time to read is there? Happy Autumn 🙂

    1. It was a great read and like you I’m a Peach fan too! All great reads where you can’t go wrong. Yes, I took that picture, it’s from last fall of our maple tree out front. Thank you 🙂 xo

    1. It was a great read wasn’t it, Robbie 🙂 You have some great reading ahead. Your TBR list sounds like mine, yikes!

    2. 900 books!?! OMG. Well then, I feel honored that you cracked the book, Robbie. Thanks so much for checking out Denise’s review and Happy Reading Cathleen and Gwen, both talented authors. 🙂

  7. Thanks so much for sharing your review of The Ferryman and the Sea Witch, Denise. What a fun surprise to head over here and see the book among these other great reads and authors. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I also enjoyed Cathleen’s short stories, and Gwen does some fabulous writing. I hope you have a wonderful week. Hugs.

    1. As soon as I read Ferryman I knew it had to be on the Books that changed me list! I’m becoming a big fan of short story collections recently and Cathleen’s was a treat. Yes, Gwen does do fabulous writing!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: