May Book Reviews Part 1! @JacqBiggar @MarciaMeara #bookreviews #whattoread #writingcommunity

That Darkest Place (Riverbend #3)

by Marcia Meara

“That Darkest Place” jumps right in after the oldest Painter brother, Jackson, has been in a horrible car accident. He had been treating his family horribly in the previous book, but his two younger brothers rushed to his side when he needed them most. It was assumed he had been drinking and driving, but new information changed everything for this family. All the Painter brothers have slowly won my heart. I wanted to see each of them find some happiness. This story had a beam of hope for them, but someone was also after Jackson. I loved how each brother had to work on himself, no matter how painful it became. There are some serious issues dealt with that included mental health and amputation. In the mix were love and building trust, no matter what life has brought them in the past. The story focuses on Jackson and Forrest and their journey, but it also offers some amazing settings. These are places I’d love to visit. I can easily recommend this beautifully written story, with a perfect ending to a wonderful series.


Finding Hunter (Riverbend #2)

by Marcia Meara

I read and enjoyed the first book in the Riverbend series and was eager to see what happens next. Hunter is the youngest of three boys, and he’s the family caretaker. Living at home, he makes sure his mother is okay while his outgoing brothers go on with their lives. Gifted with a gentle heart, he finally finds the courage to ask Willow out, who he’s adored since high school. They immediately click, and it is obvious they should be together. I was drawn to the kindness of Hunter and the strength and goodness of Willow. Even with the happiness that they’ve found together, Hunter has concerns that might pull them apart. This story takes a journey into mental health. Although this is a love story, it’s also an insightful glimpse into dementia, PTSD, depression, family dynamics, hope, and healing. As soon as I finished “Finding Hunter” I started Riverbend #3. This is a heartfelt story that I can highly recommend.


My Girl (Gambling Hearts #3)

by Jacquie Biggar

Although I knew it was Aaron’s turn to find love, I did not know where he would find it. So, when his ex, Trisha, showed up with her family to be the first guests at the ranch, it was obvious where his feelings were. Unfortunately, she had a fiancé and a secret. I immediately disliked her fiancé and her family, but hoped Trish would open up to Aaron and they could get back together. The struggle between the brothers was still there, while Aaron just wanted to prove himself to Matt. This was my favorite of the series, and I loved how the secrets were slowly revealed. I admit to shedding a tear or two because of those reveals. Plus, it seemed like their plans to save the ranch were failing, and it appeared someone might be helping that along. It was a well-written story where I could easily picture myself riding along with Aaron and Trish and enjoying the beauty with them. A fantastic ending to this family’s saga that I can easily recommend to those who love a good romance.


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!

Embrace your inner child with a huge hug by reading a great book! D. L. Finn

April Book Reviews Part 4! @huckfinn76 @JacqBiggar #writingcommunity #whattoread #mustread #bookreview

Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Gambling Hearts #2)

by Jacquie Biggar

I have been looking forward to seeing what’s become of Sophia after reading the first book. Although I was glad she could leave the ranch and find herself, it was sad to see that move broke up the relationship between her and Tony, the ranch foreman. After five years, Tony calls and tells her that her brothers need her. It’s nice to see that Matt and Cass are still going strong and raising their daughter, but the brothers aren’t getting along and might lose the ranch. Sophia pushes her idea of taking in guests, but instead of pulling together as a family, though, they pull apart. During the family drama, the love that Sophia and Tony had resurfaced. When someone takes matters into their own hands, it starts a reaction where help comes from an unexpected person. I was rooting for not only Sophia and Tony, but the entire family. A wonderful addition to the Shaughnessy family story. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.


Hold ‘Em (Gambling Hearts #1)

by Jacquie Biggar

“Hold ‘Em” was a fun romance that I read in one night. Matt spent his time gambling instead of helping with the family ranch. He won a hand from a man who offered up his daughter, Cass, to play his fiancé for a week, to cancel the debt to Matt. She went along with the scheme to make Matt’s grandmother believe he had found happiness before she died. At first, I didn’t like Cass’s father or Matt. I never changed my mind about the father, but Matt grew on me as the story went along. Cass was already engaged to be married in two weeks but never showed a great love for the man who she believed was perfect. So, it was entertaining watching her fight off her growing feelings for Matt and how he went from playing around to developing some serious emotions in a short time frame. The setting was amazing, and I could picture living in the small cabin nestled in the valley. A charming romantic tale, and I will be reading the rest of the series to see what happens next on the ranch.


Yellow Hair

by Andrew Joyce

Jacob and his family go on the treacherous journey of the Oregon Trail. It was a trail riddled with accidents and death. There is a brief history of each family to understand why they went. None of them seemed prepared for the reality of it. A young woman from the Dakota tribe rescues Jacob on the verge of death. His name changes to Yellow Hair, and he finds a new home. The story follows his journey filled with detailed historical content. Both sides are evenly presented, and the facts and history are well researched, while the story of Yellow Hair was interesting. I found myself heartbroken at the cruelty shown to another human being because of hate, greed, or fear. I was grateful many of those parts were told over shown. That would have made it harder for me to read. This was a unique way to tell the comprehensive history and a story through a white man’s eyes living in a Dakota tribe in Minnesota. It made me think deeply about how difficult it was to cross over the plains into Oregon and California and, on the other side, how greedy and cruel many officials were. Getting to know and appreciate people and their differences is a lesson we can take away from our history, which I found in this story. A powerful and, at times, painful read.


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!

Embrace your inner child  with a huge hug by reading a great book! D. L. Finn

New Release! “Blood Brothers” by Sandra Cox. @Sandra_Cox #newrelease #paranormalromanace #whattoread #writingcommunity

I’m thrilled to welcome an amazing author and friend here today, Sandra Cox to share her latest release, Blood Brothers.

A sequel to Mateo’s Law.

They thought they’d killed her but she’s back for vengeance.

Blurb:

They were friends, close as brothers. Then they weren’t.

Mateo and Jesse are cautiously working their way back to friendship when Jesse discovers the unthinkable. Delilah, the sultry shifter who’d had affairs with both men, is still alive. The tumble she took over a mountain ridge—a fall that nearly killed Mateo—should have finished her.

Now, there’s no choice but for the two men to work together to take down a she-devil straight from hell.  As the stakes escalate and the hunt becomes more intense, another wolf appears on the scene. Always where Jesse’s at. Always when he’s in trouble.  Jesse is divided between ending Delilah, a new love interest, discovering the identity of a certain brown wolf and staying alive.

Excerpt:

“She’s alive.”

Mateo studied Jesse. The chief’s face stoic except for eyes that sparked with an emotion the sheriff couldn’t read. Still, it made him shift uneasily in his chair. Anxiety and fear pheromones rolled off Jesse. And Jesse didn’t scare easily.

The outside door banged open, distracting him. Boots clomped. A moment later, Adam stuck his head around the door. An aspiring attorney, the young man did their paperwork during the day and took classes at night. “Boss—”

“Later, Adam.” Mateo’s eyes never left Jesse.

“Sure, Boss.” Adam’s head swiveled from one to the other before he disappeared.

“Who’s alive?” The words were no sooner out of Mateo’s mouth when a premonition, so terrible it chilled his blood, hit him. Hard. The hair on the back of his neck rose. And he knew. Knew before Jesse uttered the word.

“Layla.”

On some level, he’d known before now. For a week, he’d been hearing eerie howling that set his teeth on edge and made his hackles rise. And the old wolf, his dad, and the wolf-pup had been acting strangely. The old wolf always staring into the distance with his ruff on end and a continual low snarl rolling out of his throat. The pup cowering close to the old wolf. “That’s impossible. The fall killed her. Nearly killed me.”

“I saw her.”

“Saw her?”

“She was half-wolf. Half-human.” Jesse scrubbed his face with his hands.

“Shit.” Mateo’s extensive vocabulary limited this morning.

“She’ll be coming for you. You and Blair.”

“She won’t get her.” He growled. Literally growled.

“Down, wolf.” For the first time, Jesse smiled.

Mateo forced his clenched teeth and stiff jaws open enough to ask, “When did you see her and where?”

Jesse Kipp character facts:

Jesse and Blair both like to catch the Full Moon Band, that plays hard rock with a native twist, on Wednesday nights at the Blue Coyote.

Jesse loves Belle’s Beans coffee and bear claws.

He has a small house in Browning but spends a lot of his time in a cabin in the mountains that’s been in his family for generations.

US AMAZON PURCHASE LINK

UK Amazon Purchase Link

About Sandra:

Sandra writes All Things Western, is a vegetarian, animal lover and avid gardener. She lives with her husband, their dog and cats in sunny North Carolina.

Foodie Facts:

She spent a number of years in the Midwest chasing down good Southern BBQ. By the time she moved to North Carolina where Southern BBQ is practically a staple, she’d become a vegetarian.

Pineapple is a must-have on pizza, along with black olives and onions.

She loves pumpkin waffles. Pumpkin cream cheese, not so much.

You can find her at:

http://www.sandracoxwriter.com

http://www.cowboytrivia.com

https://sandracox.blogspot.com

http://www.twitter.com/Sandra_Cox.

Funky Little Giveaway:

Denise will draw commenter names from her famous hat for a book reader’s beady bracelet😊

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April Book Review Part 3! @Virgilante @stacitroilo @supermegawoman #writingcommunity #bookreviews #whattoread #indieauthors

Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady (Amanda Travels #8)

by Darlene Foster

“Amanda in Malta” is a middle-grade read filled with mystery and history. Amanda receives a postcard from Malta written by her friend, Leah, who asks for her help. Luckily Amanda’s friend Caleb and his family are going to Malta on vacation, and she can go with them. As they explore the sights, Amanda starts to unravel Leah’s situation with her aunt. I felt like I had visited Malta when I finished reading the book. The attention to detail was amazing, and it was like I had gone on tour with Amanda. This is the first book I’ve read in the series, and I will now go back and read more of her adventures. A great read for not only middle-grade readers but can be for the adult who is young at heart, like me. I will be giving this book to my older granddaughter for her birthday!


Between the Vines (Keystone Couples, #3)

by Staci Troilo

“Between the Vines” is sadly the final story in the Keystone Couples Series. I have enjoyed meeting all three couples, and it was nice to see everyone make an appearance. Elena was bullied in high school by Heather, and it still affects her. She’s had a crush on her brother’s friend since those days, but Aaron ended up dating Heather. Although both are single now and still attracted to each other, Elena avoids getting involved with anyone after the horrible rumors spread by Heather. Although violence isn’t the answer, I must admit there was a very satisfying punch. There were consequences, and Heather quickly became a character easy to hate. It is another great love story that can be read in one sitting, and I can easily recommend it.


Good Liniment (The Hat #5)

by C.S. Boyack

“Good Liniment” brings back all my favorite characters, especially the hat. Lizzie went home to regroup, so the hat made his way to her in an interesting way. When their issues are resolved, it’s time to bring the band back together. During this, Lizzie gets a case where she needs to find out why someone wants the witches in a coven killed. I always enjoy the humor and depth of the world created, including the radio show Night Bump. It’s nice when individuals from other books pay a visit too. This can be a standalone read, but having been there from the start it sure added more complexity to the story. Another great addition to the Hat Series, and I can’t wait for more.


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!

Embrace your inner child  with a huge hug by reading a great book! D. L. Finn

April Book Reviews Part 2! @teagangeneviene @bakeandwrite #writingcommunity #whattoread #bookreviews #goodbooks

Someone Close to Home

by Alex Craigie

“Someone Close to Home” is a powerful read that I had difficulty putting down. Megan suffers a stroke and is placed in a lower-end care facility whose priority is making money over patient care. Unable to move or communicate, she is at the mercy of the staff, some of which are cruel. The story is told in Megan’s current time frame and her past. It takes us into a life of a successful pianist, a controlling mother and shows how she ended up alone in horrible conditions. The subjects of eldercare and abusive relationships were handled well and had me rooting for Megan throughout her life. The narrative was told in the first person, and it was like I was sitting next to someone telling me about their life. This is a fast-paced story that tugged at my heart. I couldn’t help but admire Megan’s strength, even with all the poor decisions she made throughout her life. There were moments of self-sacrifice and then, thankfully, a bit of blissful peace for her. This is a well-written story, brimming with emotions, that I highly recommend.


Dead of Winter: Journey 13, The Harbor

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Another great journey where the ongoing growth of Emlyn is fascinating to observe as the world fights for survival. The battle is in full swing, with people fighting while a few watches in a mirror. I love the dragon has returned, although unable to help as he wanted to. The addition of the unpredictable goddesses and what the binding spell could do, adds to the tension as they fight Arawn’s overwhelming army. The ships, weapons, and little details bring this all to life. I don’t want to say too much and make this a spoiler. I can’t wait for the last installment of a story that has held me captive for the entire journey.


Chocolate Fudge Saves the Sugar Dog

by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

“Chocolate Fudge Saves the Sugar Dog” is a sweet story told poetically about a young boy who must decide what to do when a dog is drowning in the chocolate pond. There is not only a story that will keep young readers interested, but great fondant pictures and recipes. I bought this book for my youngest grandkids, and it was a pleasure to sit down with them and read it. The children, five and six years old, completely enjoyed the story. Plus, they requested we try to make one of the included recipes, the Oreo cupcakes. The oldest decided that the author must be extremely talented by making such beautiful fondants. I agree! Another great addition to my grandchildren’s bookshelf.


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!

Embrace that inner child by reading a great indie book! D. L. Finn

March Book Reviews Part 3! @sgc58 @vicky_whedbee @TonyaWrites #writingcommunity #whattoread #bookreview #mustread

Tales from the Irish Garden

By Sally Cronin

I adored this charming fairy tale for adults, which is also suitable for children. The fairy queen and her court needed to relocate and received an invitation from the Storyteller to live under a magnolia tree in his Irish garden. The imagery was beautiful throughout the book. I could easily imagine flying on a swan, exploring a castle under a tree, or running into lerpersians and goblins. The characters felt real, and I was worried about how they would adapt to the colder climate. It was a relief when they resolved that with beautiful new wardrobes. I loved not only how they made this place their new home, but the romance and new friendships mixed in, too. Many additional characters in the stories I treasured included a donkey, a fox, and mice. This is a world I’d love to find in my garden, and I highly recommend these magical tales!


Things He Hadn’t Told Her

by Vicky Whedbee (Author) and Maresa Pezzulo (Editor)

“Things He Hadn’t Told Her” is a sweet story about friendship and love. Since childhood, Cole and Chad have been best friends and share living space in college. They meet a woman, Maggie, and they all become fast friends, and then both men fall in love with her. Chad, who is in school to become a physical therapist, has always been the caretaker for Cole, the charming football star. Maggie soon falls for one of these men. The relationship between Cole and Chad is enduring and strong. Maggie is a sweet and sometimes clueless character with a strong faith and loving personality. The story flows through multiple POVs that offer a unique perspective of many characters. Midway through the story, there was a tragic event that changed everything. I was invested in these characters and hoped it would all work out at the end, where there was another twist. A heartfelt story about the power of love and loyalty.


Old Mountain Cassie: The Three Lessons

by Tonya Penrose

“Old Mountain Cassie” takes Lacey and the reader on a spiritual journey. Lacey moves to a charming Appalachian village from New York. She works as a gemstone buyer until she is suddenly let go. This leaves her with a lot of time and the need to find the local legend, Old Mountain Cassie. I loved the relationship between Lacey and her best friend, Serene, as they support each other with humor mixed in. The sweetness of the people and town almost seem too good to be true, and I wondered about people’s intentions, but that all changed as I kept reading. The story builds at a slow pace, which matches Lacey’s journey and fits the town. As soon as the lessons began, I was mesmerized and found myself reminded of some important life lessons. I would love to walk through this fictional town, but especially find the forest path full of wisdom and where a Cassie lives. This is a delightful read if you need inspiration or to be uplifted—and one I won’t soon forget. I can easily recommend “Old Mountain Cassie.”


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!

Embrace your inner child and feed your soul by reading a good book! D. L. Finn

Books That Changed Me—2022 Spring Edition! @YvetteMCalleiro @MaeClair1 @pamelawight #writingcommunity #whattoread #topratedreads #booksthatchangedme

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:

HYPE

by Yvette M. Calleiro

Blurb

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.

My Review

“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.

LINK


 Things Old and Forgotten

by Mae Clair

Blurb

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.

My Review

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.”

LINK


Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinary

by Pamela Wight

Blurb

Wow! Life goes by in a flash.

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.

My Review

“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!

LINK

 

Note: I will be off next week soaking up the new season! I hope you all have a great week 🙂

 

 

 

 

#TankaTuesday #Poetry #Challenge #265! #ekphrastic #haibun #writingcommunity #poem #hope #poetrycommunity #indiepoetry

Here’s is this week’s Colleen Chesbro Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #265. It is ekphrastic which means to write a poem inspired by an image.

This painting was chosen by Colleen and Selma.  Click here to find out why.

Like most, I am deeply affected by the images and stories coming from the Ukraine invasion and this came out in my words. It offers no answers, only a bit of faith and hope.  This is a haibun which is a combination of prose and haiku, or in my case a senryu.

Title: Russian Dancers Artist: Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris) Date: 1899 via https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/459097

THE LIGHT

The women walk quietly to the field as the war erupts around them. Fields that once held abundant crops were withered death under their comrade’s blood. The cities once teeming with commerce and progress are reduced to rubble, while its people hide underground or fight in the streets. Hope is dim as these women’s voices are raised in song. They begin the sacred dance handed down through the generations for just this moment when hate and fear were the only options. The fighting rages on as their song grows, and a faint sparkle of joy moves into their feet and fills their bodies. They are the light in the darkness.

gift from ancient times

twirls in pink, blue, and yellow

healing dance of love

March Book Reviews Part 2! @linneatanner @bakeandwrite @NorahColvin #bookreviews #writingcommunity #whattoread #indieauthors

The Happy Cat

by Norah Colvin and Jovan Carl Segura (Illustrator)

I bought this for my granddaughter, who has just started reading. There are beautiful illustrations of a gray striped cat, along with the rat and bat he meets along the way. This is great for beginning readers and would be a fun book to read to a smaller child who doesn’t like to sit for longer stories. “The Happy Cat” gives an appropriate reading level, an easy font to read, and follow-up questions. I look forward to giving this as a gift and then getting to enjoy having it read to me!


Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees story and cookbook

by Robbie Cheadle and Michael Cheadle

This is a great addition to my grandkid’s book collection. I love the pictures of the beautiful fondant and the cute poetic story with a nice rhyming flow. A bonus is the recipes included for family cooking. It’s a cute story where Sir Chocolate helps the sugar dough bees after a snail damages the flower patch where the bees feed. I can’t wait to share this book with my youngest granddaughters the next time they visit. Mother and son wrote a fun book for early readers, or adults to enjoy reading to younger children!


Two Faces of Janus: Story Story of Ancient Rome

by  Linnea Tanner

I love how fiction and history are blended so seamlessly in this short story. Young nobleman Lucius fully expects to get the position he wants after schooling. When he is summoned to see Augustus Caesar, first he feels joy, but then doubt and worry creep in. Ms. Tanner not only captures all the emotions of this moment but allows the reader to see how Rome was for not only a noble but an enslaved person. Although short, it managed to pull me right in while I felt concerned for Lucius and his family. The realizations that followed that meeting were real, heartfelt, and painful. Beautifully written, with attention to detail and history, this is a story I won’t soon forget. I can highly recommend this, especially if you enjoy historical fiction.


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!

NOTE: I’m moving March Book Reviews Part 3 up a week to March 28th as I will be on vacation the week of March 21st. Although, I will still be posting Books That Changed Me, 2022 Spring Edition on March 20th, and sending out my monthly newsletter a couple of days early! Watch for both 🙂

Embrace your inner child  with a huge hug by reading a great book! D. L. Finn

International Day of Awesomeness—Celebrating Author, Sally Cronin! @sgc58 #InternationalDayOfAwecomeness #writingcommunity #indieauthor #supportiveauthor #AuthorsofTwitter #poetrycommunity #authorbloggers

Today is International Day of Awesomeness, and all of us at Story Empire want to acknowledge someone who has done so much for our writing community, Sally Cronin!

Author Bio

I have enjoyed a nomadic existence living in eight countries including Sri Lanka, Malta, South Africa, USA and Spain, before settling back here in Ireland. My work, and a desire to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world in the last forty years, has taken me to many more incredible destinations around Europe and Canada, and across the oceans to New Zealand and Hawaii. All those experiences and the people that I have met, provide a rich source of inspiration for my stories.

After a career in customer facing roles in the hospitality, retail, advertising and telecommunications industry, I wrote and published my first book in 1999 called Size Matters, about my weight loss journey, losing 150lbs in 18 months. This has been followed by 14 further fiction and non-fiction books, including a number of short story collections.

My first book release resulted in a radio interview in Spain that led to four years as a nutritional consultant for an English language station, and this was followed by four years with my own health show and Sunday morning show on local radio station in the UK and then as station director, newsreader and presenter for an online television station.

As a writer I know how important it is to have help in marketing books and from 2002 I have been working with authors on their book launches and publicity. At that time it was very much physical book launches and press coverage locally to stimulate national interest.. Today it is very different with a global market via the worldwide web.

As important as my own promotion is, I believe it is important to support others within our community. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog, linked to my social media. If you are an author who would like to be promoted to a new audience of dedicated readers, please contact me via my blog. All it will cost you is a few minutes of your time. Look forward to hearing from you.

For 2022 there are some changes to the promotions with the focus on those authors I can personally recommend and you can find the details here…The Smorgasbord Bookshelf – 2022 – Free book marketing and Personal Recommendations


Sally has an amazing catalog of books that I am happily working my way through. Here are the books I’ve enjoyed and my reviews. Click on the book cover for US Amazon link:

“Life is like a Mosaic” is a book of poetry that offers images to add to the journey. I have always loved the mixture of pictures and words, and this collection is a delightful blend of that. I like how honest and insightful the poems are with various subjects that take daily life into a deeper realm. Here are a few of my favorite lines: “defies monochrome hues/with a splash of colour/softening their/harshness,” “Clarity as the memories cascade/tumbling down the precipice of time/as if the floodgates have opened,” “The moon/hangs in the sky/lighting the earth at night,” “Sit/serene/with wise thought/and let them drift,” “Nature’s young frolic in the sun/under blossom topped tree/celebrating/new life,” and “Washed up/are words that haunt.” A thoughtful collection that I can highly recommend for poetry lovers. Five-stars


“Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries” is a perfect blend of poetry and short stories. The poetry is tucked between the stories that bestowed beautiful images that completed the picture the collection of short stories offered. The characters were engaging, and I could feel empathy for their situation, good or bad. There were five categories covered, and I enjoyed each subject and story. It was like reading about people I already knew. I rooted for the woman with an abusive husband, felt the heartbreak of a woman who had lost a child, and laughed when a woman went to buy her groceries. This collection offers hope in everyday situations. A well-written and heartfelt book that I highly recommend! Five-stars

I was drawn in by Sam’s picture on the cover, having had a collie as a young girl, so this called me to read. The story’s told from Sam’s perspective, which was interesting, amusing, and sometimes sad. I loved his journey, meeting his loving family, and living in Ireland and Spain. Henry, the stray cat, who became part of his pack, quickly won my heart. We can only imagine what our pets are thinking, but I believe Ms. Cronin really captured Sam’s spirit in this book. I came out feeling like I’d been part of his pack. This was a feel-good read with some of life’s realities mixed in with just the right touch. When I finished, I was left thinking about all my pets over the years and wondered what they might have to say about their journey. This is a must-read for all pet lovers! Five-furry-stars

This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Cronin, but it won’t be the last. It’s a wonderful collection of poetry and short stories. In the first part of the book, there were many different types of poetry and subjects, but my favorites had to be nature and the faeries sections. The Haikus of the different seasons really stood out to me. I’m always amazed at how much can be said in flash fiction, but the short stories were my favorite part. From animals to human enhancement in the future, there was a lot of variety. The animal stories tugged at my emotions and were the highlight of the book for me. I highly recommend “Life’s Rich Tapestry,” especially if you love poetry and short stories with heart. Five-stars

I adored this charming fairy tale for adults, which is also suitable for children. The fairy queen and her court needed to relocate and received an invitation from the Storyteller to live under a magnolia tree in his Irish garden. The imagery was beautiful throughout the book. I could easily imagine flying on a swan, exploring a castle under a tree, or running into lerpersians and goblins. The characters felt real, and I was worried about how they would adapt to the colder climate. It was a relief when they resolved that with beautiful new wardrobes. I loved not only how they made this place their new home, but the romance and new friendships mixed in, too. Many additional characters in the stories I treasured included a donkey, a fox, and mice. This is a world I’d love to find in my garden, and I highly recommend these magical tales! Five-magical-stars

I hope you will pick up one of these great reads today and support Sally as much as she supports all of us 🙂 Thank you, Sally, you are truly awesome!!! xo

Where you can connect with Sally

Blog: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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