Welcome to autumn—or almost. I’m posting this a day early since it falls on a Saturday. This is a favorite time for me. The landscape is changing into a rosy glowing sunset. Animals are making final preparations for the coming cold weather and I’m enjoying it all, including the cooler weather. It does make for cozy reading.
Although you’ve seen these books reviewed here, I felt they were worthy of another look—or some of my top reads. Here are the books and their blurbs for fantastic fall reading.
Mari and her husband opted for a simple life as farmers. It’s been decades since the world tore itself apart, pitting neighbor against neighbor and family against each other. They were happy in this re-emerging world, until disaster struck.
Mari sets out on a solo quest to avenge the deaths of her family and loss of everything she holds dear. She’s ill equipped for the task, but seems to have time on her hands. Time alone in the wilderness to deal with her personal demons along the way.
She is helped by a few sympathetic elders and a couple of animal companions with lessons Mari can use if she pays attention. Can Mari find justice for her family?
Set in a post apocalyptic, Gulf Coast world, this is a story for fans of the old Spaghetti Westerns.
A Western with strong romantic elements:
The Wades’ saga continues as Alex and Brandon return to Silverhills, bringing Alex’s friend Lisa with them.
They arrive home just as Jeff Wade, Brandon’s younger brother, is about to head a trail drive across the Chisholm Trail. But there’s a problem, the cattle drive cook has a broken arm.
A week later, Lisa sets out on the drive as the camp cook along with the Silverhills’ cowpunchers and a thousand head of longhorn. Trail drives are always dangerous, but this one has more than its share of perils. Snowstorms, flashfloods, hot lead and rustlers are just a few of the dangers they encounter.
And if that’s not enough for the trail boss to be dealing with, he can’t ignore the white-hot attraction he feels for the petite, lovely blonde who drives the chuckwagon like a seasoned camp cook. Jeff is very much afraid that falling in love could prove more fatal than the bullets flying along the Chisholm Trail.
In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.
The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey takes the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.
This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good.
Embrace your inner child by reading a good book! D. L. Finn
Welcome to the 2023 Summer Edition of Books That Changed Me. Summer is a time for backyard BBQs, swimming, vacations, ice cream, and reading. Today I’m sharing four of my top reads that would be excellent for summer reading by the pool, lake, or cozy by the nice air conditioning or fan in my case. You’ve already seen my reviews for these books, so here’s their blurb with a link if you want to add a good read to your summer reading list.
Amidst a rising tide of poachers, three unlikely eco-warriors take a stand to save endangered Eastern Gray Wolves—even if it means the slow slaughter of their captors.
Deep in the woods of Jackson, New Hampshire, an ancient evil lurks. Armed poachers patrol a secret enclosure, holding captive a pack of majestic Eastern Gray Wolves. But three unlikely eco-warriors are determined to free the wolves, embarking on a dangerous mission to end their torture. With courage and conviction, Shawnee, Mayhem, and Jacy Lee march onward, even if it means risking their own lives to take down the poachers and restore freedom to the wolves. It’s a battle between justice and injustice, and the eco-warriors are determined to win—no matter the cost.
But what if something even more evil lurks in those woods? What if Shawnee’s not ready to answer the cry for help?
“When you loved someone more than anything in the world, you showed them who you were, even knowing there was a possibility they would hate you for it, even if it broke your heart. But you did it anyway because you loved them and the need to save them was greater than your need for self-preservation.”
Amidst the luminescence and incandescent beauty of the rare pink diamonds of Peradora, South America, lives Amelia, a teen oblivious to her supernatural bloodline. It would appear that she has the perfect life.
Until it turns out, her entire life is a lie Forced to confront secrets from her past
Amelia has to distinguish between the truth and lies in her brutal fight against the Peradorian dictator, her own uncle.
Her metamorphosis becomes the clarion call of a revolution Matters of the heart complicate her life further
Will she ever get over her first love Adrian whose adventurous spirit made her feel alive? Is Noah, the handsome bodyguard she just can’t seem to ignore, a foe, a friend or much more than that?
Both Noah and Adrian are hiding secrets of their own Will their secrets destroy Amelia?
As she takes on the fight of her life, Amelia will soon learn that some secrets are best buried in the past, and some truths can set you free.
And in the end She is the girl with no face Will she find herself again?
Metamorphosis is a dark and fractured fairy tale and fantasy about a love story born from the roots of hate.Based on the theme of star-crossed lovers, it alludes to Rapunzel, Snow White and Beauty and The Beast, combining flavors of all these timeless fairy tale classics and setting them against the harsh reality of real life – blood diamonds and rebellion. Add to the mix a heroine inspired by Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott and you have a young girl, pretty much a prisoner in a golden cage, but determined to find herself- save herself and others.
So, why is she referred to as … ‘The Girl With No Face?’
Lion Scream is a graphic collection of poetry and prose. The book portrays the author’s experiences with South African wildlife and the growing impact of the Sixth Mass Extinction and Climate Change on the natural environment.
Lion Scream There is no jungle Only acres of smooth stumps There is no jungle No habitat, no food source Hopeless lion screams tonight
“In this reflective collection of syllabic poetry, poet Roberta Cheadle weaves words, emotions, and images as she recounts her soul-stirring journey around South Africa in 2022. She highlights the plight of the animals in the face of the Sixth Mass Extinction, during a visit to Ukutula Lodge & Game Reserve. Lion Roar is a poetic and photographic roadmap to the heart & soul of South Africa with highlights about the increasing impact of global warming on humanity and the greater planet. A must read!” —Colleen M. Chesebro, Author of Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry
The landscape has been illuminated with snow that clung to the trees for several days in an icy chill. The days have grown shorter, but that only means more time to read.
I’ve read a lot of books this year, over 100 again, which I will share in January. However, reading that many good books make it hard to narrow my list of favorites each season. The books I post here have entertained me and found their way into my heart. It’s why I call my favorites “Books that Changed Me.” Because when you read a great story, it doesn’t go away once you close the book. It stays around, lingering in your thoughts and heart.
I offer three beautiful books and a heartwarming Christmas story you don’t want to miss. You might remember them from my reviews.
In this second book in the Fairies, Myths, & Magic series, step into a world where dark fairies and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by winter and the celebration of the winter solstice.
From autumn’s scary fairies to the forgotten female characters of Yule, prepare to embrace the magical winter solstice myths from around the world. Meet Frau Holle in the Wild Hunt, Befana—the Christmas Witch of Italy, and the Japanese goddess Ameratasu who controls the springtime. Prepare to embrace the Scottish trows, the Irish Goddess of Winter—the Cailleach Béara, and Snegurochka—the Snow Girl.
Learn how to make Yuletide rituals part of your celebration by embracing the symbols of Yule by decorating with evergreens and crystals.
Colt Layne owns the Layne Horse Sanctuary. He lives an idyllic life, between caring for the animals and playing music with his band. That is until a stranger appears with unreasonable demands. When someone murders the man, Colt is arrested. He’s been framed, but by whom and why?
He needs to talk with his deceased grandfather. But that’s impossible. Or is it?
Sage Coventry is gifted with the ability to communicate with the deceased. Skeptical but desperate, when Colt consults with her, he gets more than messages from beyond the grave as she breezes into his heart with sweet patchouli fragrance and tempting lips he longs to kiss.
The race against time to clear his name and save the ranch launches them on a mission that brings shocking revelations.
It’s summer break and Dr. Luke Geller, history prof and part-time archeologist is in Nevada looking for potsherds. What he discovers is an antique rifle and a portal in time.
Touching an ancient piece of Chiastolite crystal, the earth rumbles, the skies darken and the ground opens. He’s hurled straight to the core of the earth then shot back up and spewed out.
When he stumbles to his feet, he finds himself where he began. Same, yet different. There are no winding roads. No parking lots. No cars. No town with bright lights in the distance. Only Lily Winter Tremaine, an angry young woman pointing a gun at him, demanding he hand over her rifle.
All thoughts of primitive pottery disappear as Luke finds himself fighting alongside three young women trying to hold onto their ranch against a dangerous scoundrel who intends to have the ranch by whatever means possible. Then there’s the little fact that Luke’s mightily attracted to the young woman he’s working for. A woman old enough to be his great-great granny. And Miss Lily Winter Tremaine does not figure into any of tenured professor Luke Geller’s lesson plans.
Christmas? It’s nothing to celebrate and brings memories of everything he seeks to forget.
When a horrendous accident leaves Jericho Cane disfigured, he retreats to the dark refuge of his childhood home. People label him a monster, a phantom. Only while the town sleeps can he find courage to venture out and seek solace in midnight rides.
But who is making mysterious repairs to broken items, leaving food on doorsteps and wooden angels on children’s graves?
Newly arrived, Irish doctor Kathleen O’Shea, has no fear of Jericho Cane. Armed with determination, she offers hope where he can live again. Still, can he thrive walking in daylight amongst the ones who call him a monster? If she fails, the darkness will consume him for good.
A holiday read that will touch your heart and remind you that Christmas is a time of acceptance, kindness, and for healing wounds.
On the longest day of the year, we head into a time full of childhood exploration. Summer is meant for swimming, cloud gazing, star dreaming, bike riding, BBQing, vacations, and ice cream. Most schools take a break and offer a bit of freedom from everyday life. It’s the perfect time to take a book along this wonderful journey. Each of these books sprinkles a bit of magic and some hard truths into our world. You might recognize them from previous book review posts, so there will be no reviews here today. These books deserve an extra look and a place in your summer reading. I’ve included a children’s book for those young at heart or have children to share the love of reading with. Happy Summer!
Praise for Old Mountain Cassie: The Three Lessons
“Prepare to fall in love with Cassie and be forever changed by her teachings.”
“The novel is a treasure and delight.”
“The story takes you on a journey and invites you to explore the secret to having your own amazing life.
“I felt joy and excitement building inside me as I turned each page.”
In the quaint Appalachian village of Divine, brooms sweep shop owners outside to trade tales of the latest Old Mountain Cassie sighting. Local lore claims Cassie holds the secret to a prosperous and joyous life…but only for seekers so destined.
Lacey Jordan’s fascination to meet the mountain sage intensifies as she eavesdrops on the latest Cassie chatter swirling around her outside Holsom’s Market. And a mystified Lacey believes if she can spend time with Old Mountain Cassie, the confusion and chaos that have plagued her life will lift.
What are these sacred and mystical lessons of Cassie’s that offer the keys to “living life amazing?”
How will Lacey ever find the mountain recluse tucked away in the woods?
Old Mountain Cassie: The Three Lessons is an inspiring, tell-all-your-friends celebration to read. Cassie and the folks of Divine offer a special recipe for an extraordinary life. A generous portion of humor, an extra helping of insight, and a taste of mystery and romance will leave readers both fulfilled and hungry for the next story served up Mountain Cassie style.
Learn more about the author and upcoming books at: http://www.tonyawrites.com
Hues Of Hope is the collection of readers’ favorite poems from my poetry books. These poems explore the hope that lies within our heart, hope that whispers each morning to look at the horizon, hope that inspires us to look beyond the chaotic world and take the next step to vanquish the fears that try to fetter us. It promises to take us to an oasis of peace, unravels magical moments of joy, as beams of love calm our senses. It even guides us through dark alleys to show the streaks of light that shimmer through the clouds.
Chasing through Bluebell Woods after a strange green-furred rabbit, twelve year old Bryony and Bethany, her eight year old sister, inexplicably end up in the ‘olden times’.Life in the village where they find themselves is hard under the wicked lord of the manor. The two girls are thrown into a desperate struggle in which the evil lord will stop at nothing to hold onto his power over the village.Soon everyone’s hopes are pinned on Bryony and her new companions, Toby, who is under a ‘severe warning’ for humiliating the disliked village pastor, and Tommy, who mysteriously arrived in the village one day and can’t or won’t speak.Together they set out on a mission to bring help from a higher authority, but their journey is beset with difficulties. Will they be in time to save their friends from the hangman’s noose?A thrilling story for readers aged 10 and above, and for anyone who enjoys losing themselves in a fantastical adventure!
Welcome to spring. I love this time of year when everything is growing and blooming. The birds have returned and the bees are back to collecting nectar for honey. This is the season of hope and wonder. Mother nature at her best. What a perfect time to read an amazing story, outside in all the beauty, if the weather allows. If not snuggle up inside and enjoy all the rebirth that surrounds us.
Like each season offers us something new, books do the same thing. Taking us on an exciting journey into the unknown, an insightful perspective, or a glimpse into a young character’s strength.
I’m excited to share the three spring books that changed me. I included both the blurb and my review again because I believe these books deserve a second look! Here they are in no particular order:
Cici’s junior year in high school is going to be the best year ever. Popular co-captain of the varsity cheerleading team, she’s dating the starting quarterback. Even her jealous co-captain’s attempts to steal her boyfriend can’t curb her enthusiasm.
When her mom moves in with her fiancé, a handsome, wealthy man, only one small detail threatens Cici’s perfect life. The school’s social pariah is about to become her stepsister, and Cici wants nothing to do with her.
Everything changes when someone Cici cares about throws her life into a tailspin, and the one person Cici couldn’t stand becomes her only ally.
Warning: This story contains scenes of sexual assault.
“HYPE” is a YA story centered on Cici’s life at home and school. She is a popular co-captain of the cheering squad, and her boyfriend is the quarterback on the football team. Everything is perfect in her world, except her dislike of her co-captain, Nicole. But everything changes when her mother remarries, and she gets not only a stepdad but a new stepsister that everyone avoids at school. Cici’s POV is direct and takes the reader into her world. She can be shallow but has her world figured out until she doesn’t. Halfway through the story, there is a betrayal and horrible event that is painful to read, and my heart went out to Cici. Although Cici is a strong character that I was rooting for, I loved her stepsister Gaby/Grub’s complexity. How Cici’s relationships grow and change is skillfully reflected in what is happening in her life. This is a good read for not only YA readers but adults too. I highly recommend it.
A man keeping King Arthur’s dream of Camelot alive.
A Robin Hood battling in a drastically different Sherwood.
A young man facing eternity in the desert.
A genteel southern lady besting a powerful order of genies.
A woman meeting her father decades after his death.
These are but a few of the intriguing tales waiting to be discovered in Things Old and Forgotten. Prepare to be transported to realms of folklore and legend, where magic and wonder linger around every corner, and fantastic possibilities are limited only by imagination.
This is a wonderful collection of short stories, each with a unique flavor. The descriptions and images pulled me into each tale’s world. Although I enjoyed all the stories, many stood out including, “Robin of Sherwood,” “Miss Lilly Makes a Wish,” and “Father’s Day.” I loved the twist of a post-apocalyptic Robin Hood and saw all the favorite characters in a new yet familiar role. When Miss Lilly finds a lamp with a genie in it, it’s so much fun. I didn’t expect that ending or how she handled things. Then, in Father’s Day, there was a lot of raw emotion, along with a scenario that completely surprised me. These short stories were hard to stop reading. I had planned on going through the book at a leisurely pace, but found I needed to read just one more story. I highly recommend “Things Old and Forgotten.”
Philosophers and mystics ponder the mystery of these flashes. Pamela Wight writes about life flashes in her short stories that include family and friends, love and life’s challenges. Wight’s “Flash Memoir” promotes the belief that we all share sparks of the extraordinary that occur in our everyday life. Each short story is true and brings a smile of recognition to her readers: that life transports and enthralls us in all its confusing, amusing, challenging, and astonishing ways. Each story is light-hearted and short – like a flash – but be prepared for a page-turner that keeps you in your seat, smiling.
“Flashes of Life” is a charming collection of real-life tales. Ms. Wight shares micro-stories that are broken into eight sections and come from all stages of her life. Each one is a quick read that touches on everyday life. I could relate to each story. I found myself shaking my head in agreement with some of these tales, and a couple had me laughing out loud. I appreciated the gratitude weaved in, and it left me pondering on my blessings. The well-crafted writing brought me into Ms. Wight’s world, and I felt like I was sitting next to her on the beach, talking about life. A fantastic glimpse into the world of a daughter, mother, wife, friend, and grandmother. I highly recommend reading about these extraordinary ordinary tales!
Winter has arrived with the shortest day of the year. The icy air permeates the walls, and there is nothing quite like cuddling under a blanket to read during the long nights. The busy holidays are here, but I still carve out that time to lose myself in a wonderful story.
It’s always hard to pick three or four books from the many I read and enjoy, but these stories have left me changed after reading them. They introduced me to a new world, and I fell in love with the characters. I want to visit some of these places. They are books you can’t put down, and so good you forget you are reading. They put you right into the story.
Here are my choices this time around. I’m sharing the blurb and my review that has been on my blog before but is worth showing again. These are books to curl up by a warm fire and sip hot chocolate or mulled wine.
New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.
Tami Montgomery thought her police chief husband was going to be the only investigator in the family when she gave up her journalism career and moved with him to Madeira, New Mexico.
But after the historical society asks her to write stories for a book celebrating the town’s one-hundred fiftieth year, she becomes embroiled in a new mystery. If she can’t solve this one, she could lose everything. Her research uncovers a spate of untimely deaths of local law enforcement officials. Further digging reveals a common link—they all lived in the house she and Jason now share.
Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, Jason will be the next to die.
I read the prequel to this story, “House of Sorrow,” and loved that, so I was eager to read the first book in the Legends of Madeira Series. Jason and Tami Montgomery left Driscoll Lake for Jason’s new job as the town’s police chief in Madeira, New Mexico. They buy the house that was in the prequel and quickly settled into the small, mostly welcoming town. It was nice to see characters from the Driscoll Lake series, but unnecessary to have read those books to appreciate this story. I enjoyed Jason’s growth and how he approached his new job. Tami immediately made friends and got involved in the town’s historical society that was doing a book on the town’s history.
Tami, who had been a journalist, jumped right into her part of researching past police chiefs. She soon found herself looking for more answers as she dug deeper into the murder mystery of two of these chiefs. I loved the characters, and Madeira was a place I’d like to visit. Many subplots were woven in that added an extra depth to the story. Tami was a favorite character, as was the neighborhood’s stray cat, Oscar. There was a mystery to be solved, and it appeared Jason was in danger. I had a few guesses and changed my mind more than once, but finally, by the end. I realized who it was, but not why. I love the use of legends, history, and psychic abilities mixed in with well-rounded characters and a mystery that goes back over one hundred years. This is a nicely paced read that I can highly recommend.
Will a Christmas wish bring two lonely hearts together and give a little girl the family she’s always wanted?
Single parent, Grace Donovan arrives in the small town of Emerson with the hope a trial program at the local cancer clinic will be the answer to prolonging her young daughter’s life. She doesn’t expect to fall for her handsome boss.
As principal of Emerson Elementary, Kyle Roberts is aware of the students’ medical issues and his heart goes out to little Cassie Donovan and her mother. When he learns Grace needs a job, he fabricates a childcare program, and is pleasantly surprised by its success. Now, if only he could help Cassie’s recovery and get Grace to give him a chance before she learns of his duplicity.
Cassie Donovan barely remembers the father who died when she was just a toddler, but she does know her mother is sad. Even though Cassie wants a puppy more than anything, she gives up her wish to ask for a daddy from Santa Claus, that way if she gets sick again, Mommy won’t be alone.
This Christmas, two families are brought together by a Christmas wish and a child’s need for a miracle.
“Love Me” is a wonderful holiday read about a mother and her daughter fighting cancer. Grace and Cassie move to a new town to try an experimental treatment, and luckily an anonymous donor covers the expenses. Grace finds a job at Cassie’s school while Cassie finds a new best friend. I love how the story is told from both the mother and daughter’s POV. Cassie wants a puppy for Christmas, but she decides her mother needs a companion if something happens to her. It’s a story that tugged on my heart, thinking about a little girl battling for her life when she should be playing and having fun. Her strength and caring shine throughout the story as a powerful symbol of love, and the mother, having lived through so much loss and heartache, keeps going for her daughter. I could feel the emotion behind Cassie because her character is based on an amazing young girl on social media who is fighting this battle. This was a heartwarming romantic story that didn’t back down from the reality of childhood leukemia. I highly recommend this!
A modern day, shapeshifting sheriff.
He’s the sheriff of a sparsely populated county in Montana. His blood brother and childhood best friend is Chief of Police on the Blackfoot Reservation, but they no longer speak. His deputy is a southern transplant with the body of a high-priced call girl, a voice of honey and mouth of a trucker. And if that’s not enough, he’s got a secret that would stun those that know him best. Other than that, it’s business as usual for Sheriff Mateo Grey.
“Mateo’s Law” is an exciting paranormal, western romance that I read in two sittings. It is set in a small town in Montana, where Blair moved to join the force as a deputy. She is in a long-distance relationship but is attracted to the sheriff, Mateo. When something attacks a town resident, they investigate it together, but Blair is unaware of Mateo’s secret of being a shapeshifter. I love it when Mateo is in his alternative form, and I felt his freedom. The scenery is lush and the town a place I’d want to call home. Blair and Mateo have great chemistry, conversations, and working relationship. I was definitely rooting for Blair and Mateo and hope more stories are coming with these characters. If you love a paranormal page-turning romance, you won’t want to miss this!
Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.
Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.
It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father.
It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family?
“Mountain Laurel Christmas” is a perfect holiday read. Cole Knight has gone from having everything taken from him as a child to becoming a huge country star who has everything. Yet, the emptiness from when he was a young boy can’t be filled with money, fame, or drinking. One night, Cole is overwhelmed and ends up at the place where he grew up. It’s here he searches for what’s missing and begins his journey to healing. The detail to the setting and music brought the story deeper, making me feel like a friend was sharing their story with me. Although a quick read, it is a reminder of what is important, especially during the holiday season. I highly recommend this heart-warming story that can be enjoyed any time of the year.
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.
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!
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 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
Summer has already arrived with the hot temperatures and the grandkids running through the sprinklers to cool off! It’s the longest day of the year to enjoy the sunny weather, but there’s still time to treasure the stars when the sun finally sets.
This was a time of year when I read more as a child, and I still look forward to it as an adult even though I’m not on vacation all summer. In the heat of the day, sometimes, the best thing to do is pick up a book and find a nice cool spot by the water to enjoy reading it! With summer arriving, it also the time for my “Books That Changed Me: Summer Edition.”
Happy Summer, and Summer Solstice!
The books are listed in no particular order. I’m still offering the book’s blurbs over my reviews because this is about the books, not my reviews—although I do add some of my thoughts!
The Vanished Boy took on not only a mother’s fear of a son gone missing but the realization that she didn’t know her son as she thought. This was a perfectly paced story that held on to my emotions and kept me guessing until the reveal. This is a book—and a mother—I’ll never forget.
When Carole’s 18-year-old son goes missing, she breaks into Jayden’s laptop to try to understand his life.
All too soon, Carole discovers just how little she knew her boy.
And when one lead after another dead-ends, the distraught mother has to face the unthinkable.
Sucked into a sticky web of deceit and lies, nothing is as it seems.
When your life turns inside out and upside down, who would you trust?
The Curse of the Dead Horse Canyon was a book that I couldn’t read fast enough, yet I didn’t want it to end either. I loved that the story was co-authored. It made for a perfectly blended mystery, setting, well-rounded characters, history, and learning about the Cheyenne Culture. It’s a journey I’m eager to continue.
In 1878 a drunken hoard of silver miners raided a Cheyenne village while the tribe’s warriors hunted buffalo. A small band of young braves, not yet old enough to join the hunt, escaped and rode for help. Their efforts failed when they were discovered by the raiders, who ran them over a cliff along with all the tribe’s horses that had been left behind.
When the warriors returned and found the devastation, the tribe’s medicine man, Black Cloud, placed a curse on the site.
A century and a half later, a scandalous Top Secret project is under construction in the same Colorado wilderness. Bryan Reynolds discovers that its roots lie in the same greed, corruption, and exploitation of the Earth that precipitated the curse.
But before he can expose what he’s found, he’s killed in a suspicious accident that his wife, Sara, miraculously survives. Her memory of where they were or what they’d discovered, however, is gone.
Neither Sara nor Bryan’s life-long Cheyenne friend, Charlie Littlewolf, will rest until they find out what Bryan discovered that resulted in his death.
Charlie is acutely aware that the only way to solve the mystery is through connecting with the grandfather spirits. To do so he must return to his roots and the teachings of his medicine man grandfather. His journey back to the Cheyenne way includes ancient rituals and ceremonies that guide him and Sara to the answers they seek.
As a descendant of Black Cloud, his destiny is deeply embedded in the fulfillment of the original curse, which was triggered by the scandalous government project Bryan discovered. Charlie’s quest has only just begun.
A government conspiracy lies at the core of the story, though this first volume of the trilogy concentrates on Sara and Charlie discovering what Bryan knew that got him killed.
Modern man’s disregard for the environment, which conflicts with Native American philosophies of animism and of honoring the Earth, plays an important part. Past pollution caused by 19th century mining is inherent to the story as well as contemporary activities such as fracking.
Various paranormal and supernatural elements including detailed descriptions of Cheyenne rituals and ceremonies such as the sacred red pipe, ceremonial fasting, and the sweat lodge are included. The Cheyenne’s name for the Great Spirit is Maheo, who is referred to throughout. There are numerous other-worldly situations included, based on the experiences of the story’s Cheyenne co-author. While the story is fictitious, these depictions are authentic.
Modern technology plays a significant role in juxtaposition to traditional Native American elements. Astronomy as well as the ancient art and science of western astrology play roles as well in helping direct Sara and Charlie to the answers they need.
In essence this saga’s theme includes the collision of two disparate cultures and their respective attitudes toward the Earth, one of which is honor, the other exploitation.
These complexities are what expanded this story into a trilogy. Native American history is touched upon, but will be covered in greater detail in subsequent volumes.
Grinders is set in the future in one of my favorite cities, and where I spent a lot of time growing up, San Francisco. There were so many things to like, including amazing characters, the storyline felt possible, and there was the always present and appreciated humor. But what really stood out was the setting. Living in an apartment underwater with an octopus on the porch, a glowing forest that generated power, or having an AI running the house, were all things I could easily picture and want to be a part of it.
Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.
Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.
Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.
Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.
Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.
This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.
I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.
A charmingly illustrated children’s book that has an important lesson accept yourself and others for who they are, whether your shell is purple or green. This made a magnificent gift for my grandkids, and it’s gotten lots of use — and readings.
Myrtle is a lovely Turtle. Not an ordinary Turtle. She is Purple and different from other turtles. After being bullied by another turtle, Myrtle tries to become someone else. In the end, Myrtle and her friends help children learn to not be afraid of being different. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is a thoroughly engaging story that stresses the importance of self-acceptance and friendship.
Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers of human or furry children!
Note: The Tree Fairy Blog finishes up this week. I’ll post where they are visiting!
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I had a wonderful vacation. I will share a bit about it next week.
Embrace your inner child by reading a good book! Happy Summer 🙂 D. L. Finn