October Book Review Part 3! @Dwallacepeach @stacitroilo @jlbryanbooks #writingcommunity #bookreviews #whattoread #mustreads

Socerer's Garden Book Cover

The Sorcerer’s Garden

by D. Wallace Peach

Madlyn loses her job, but quickly finds one where she reads to a young man, Cody, who is in a vegetative state after an accident. After running out of things to read to him, she finds a fantasy book he’d been working on and starts reading that. This is where reality and fantasy blur. I could relate to Madlyn and her confusion with what was happening, plus all the strange hints the grandma threw at her. Both beautiful and dark settings, along with poetic images, drew me deep into this story. I loved Madlyn’s developing relationship with not only Cody but his brother Dustin. My favorite parts were when the book was being read. Greed, evil, and power crossed both worlds and mirrored many current issues. This was a clever intertwining of fantasy within reality that took Madlyn, and others, on a journey that came out in a place that made sense. A fantasy story that I can easily recommend. Five-Stars!


Valuable Treasures

by Staci Troilo

Having read and loved the Medici Protectorate Series, I was thrilled to see there was a short story prequel to it. Ottavio and a very pregant Anita are trying to find the American Dream in the Colorado mountains. Ottavio puts in long hours with little to show for it. One day he comes home with an unexpected find right as Anita goes into labor. They hope to be able to use this to go back to Italy, but things quickly change. This is beautifully written, and I could feel the hardship they had endured, including down to the detail of their poor diet. What happens next is heartbreaking, but then comes a relief to see a familiar group. This can be a standalone read, but I highly recommend the following books in the Medici Protectorate Series. Five-Stars!


Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper

(Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #1)

by J.L. Bryan

Ellie professionally removes unwanted ghosts from buildings. She’s teamed up with a newbie partner, Stacey, on a new case. A ghost haunts a family trying to renovate an older house and make it into a Bed and Breakfast. There is a lot of detail that goes into ghost hunting and the ghost makes an appearance quickly in the story. What seems like a normal haunting has many more layers to it. The in-house investigation was scary, but I felt my heart race when they visited an old asylum. I would have been terrified to have been with them. I like the relationship that develops between Ellie and Stacey as we slowly get to know them. This haunted house held my attention and had an unexpected twist. A good start to a ghost series with a likable main character. This is for anyone who enjoys a ghost story with ghost trappers involved. Four-Stars.


For the next two weeks, I will be doing my personal short story challenge with new words, faith & effervescent—and their images.


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!

Read a great book and embrace your inner child! D. L. Finn

“A Day on the Lake” A Horror Short Story Challenge on Vocal! #WritingCommunity #shortstory #challenge #horror #halloweenstory

I did my first short story fictional challenge over on Vocal. It was a Horror Fiction Challenge set by a body of water. How could I pass that up?

Here’s what I came up with. If you like it, please give it a heart and share if you can.

LINK

 

 

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge No. 247, #SynonymsOnly. @ColleenChesebro #poems #challenge #tanka #poetrychallenge #poetrycommunity #writingcommunity

Hi! Today I’m doing Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #247. This week is Synonmyns Only and the words, Twilight & Hue were chosen by Willow Willers.

I came up with a Tanka poem and found this picture to accompany it.

landscape tinted red

under the heavy sunset

as darkness descends

luminescent moon rises

offering magical hope

New Release! “Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse” @word_weaving @ColleenChesebro #poetry #poetrycollection #haiku #tanka #haibun #cinquain #mustread #newrelease #poems

BLURB

Word Weaving is a yearly poetry journal, and for our first issue, we bring you poetry crafted from a broad mix of new and established voices across the spectrum of Japanese and American syllabic poetry forms. Enjoy this collection of poems that celebrate the Moons of Autumn.

Contributing Poets:

Annette Rochelle Aben, Mona Bedi, Nancy Brady, Colleen M. Chesebro, Goutam Dutta, Bill Engleson, Elizabeth F., Andreea Finichiu, D.L. Finn, Jeff Flesch, Ken Gierke, Franci Hoffman, Thom Kerr, Sujata Khanna, Ruth Klein, Jules Paige, D. Wallace Peach, Gwen M. Plano, M. J. Mallon, R.V. Mitchell, Elaine Patricia Morris, Lisa Smith Nelson, Pat Raffington, Susmita Ramani, Kerfe Roig, Aishwarya Saby, Akhila Siva, Merril D. Smith, Willow Willers, and Cheryl Wood.


I’m honored to be included in this amazing book! Colleen encouraged the poets to share their poems that were in this beautiful Word Weaving collection.  So here they are mine, and my hope is they inspire you to not only write some poetry but pick up a copy of the book and enjoy some phenomenal syllabic poetry! Thanks, Colleen and Jules 🙂
Watch for my review here in November Book Reviews
PURCHASE LINK

(This was one of the three favorites!)

MOON’S MAGIC

A lone black cat sits on the edge of our world, under the harvest moon. Her green eyes reflect the celestial beams, and her fur absorbs the stars. She rubs against the night’s promise, and its magic fills her soul.

our perceived shackles

released in nature’s healing

under the moonbeams


HARVEST MOON

full moon

autumn’s forest

fairies celebration

of a season full of magic

joyful

all the woodland creatures join them

dancing under the stars

before the snow

arrives.


blood red trees

autumn’s forest glows

hunter moon

October Book Reviews Part 1! @YouAreTheExpert @JacqBiggar @CathleenTowns #writingcommunity #bookreviews #whattoread #indieauthors #mustread #goodbooks

Son of BOOKU: more halloween haiku

by Annette Rochelle Aben

I’m a huge fan of Halloween and couldn’t pass up a book of Halloween haikus and pictures. Ms. Aben goes into the background of Halloween decorations and her sibling’s part in that. It’s pictures of the displays that are used to inspire the poetry. The poems were clever and had me laughing. Here’s one of them that was paired with a haunting decoration: “I met this vampire/said he hadn’t had a bite/offered him a stake.” This is a quick read to be slowly enjoyed. Reading this book got me into the Halloween mood. If you love poetry and Halloween, this collection is for you.


Summer Lovin’(Wounded Hearts #5)

by Jacquie Biggar

“Summer Lovin” is set in Tidal Falls like the four previous books in the series. Rebecca had a crush on Mitch back in high school. They ran into each other in Las Vegas and ended up married. Rebecca leaves the next morning, and they didn’t stay together. Five years later, they are still married and run into each other again in Tidal Falls. I love how she fights her obvious feelings for him and how Mitch is still there when she needs him. It’s great to see all the wonderful couples from past books and the interest they take in this couple. Although, it’s the side story that captures my heart of a young boy Rebecca runs into at the school she works. His story, and Rebecca’s concern, made this a fantastic read I didn’t want to put down. Another great addition to the Wounded Hearts series, and I can’t wait to move on to the next book!


Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie

by Cathleen Townsend

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!


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: You might notice a repeat review here today. That’s because these are my regular reviews, and Books That Changed Me is a special blog where books get showcased.

Read a great book this fall and embrace your inner child! D. L. Finn

 

September Book Reviews Part 4! @bakeandwrite @1rburkey @EnigmaSeries @KIngallsAuthor @wandalu64 #bookreviews #writingcommunity #whattoread #indieauthors

Behind Closed Doors

By Robbie Cheadle

“Behind Closed Doors” is a unique assortment of symbolic, free and rhyming verse that creatively show us what is hidden behind one of those closed doors. Plus, I loved seeing some of the beautiful fondant cake art. Some poems moved me while others had me thinking, but all touched on an emotion. The tankas may have been my favorites, but I enjoyed them all. Here are a few favorite lines. “as she danced, unfettered/in her own, glittering world/The stars gave her hope/allowed her to soar….” “Desperately, she peers through the dimness. An assorted array of items drift past her….” “Gratefully she sinks/Into sleep’s loving embrace/Thoughts gently unfurl/Reorganising themselves/Answer revealed in sweet dreams,” and “The crimson rose/Stands tall and alone/A stately queen….” A great glimpse into current events through a poetic eye. This is a poetry collection I recommend.


Out Of Poland

by Rox Burkey  & Charles Breakfield

“Out of Poland” is a fast-paced short story set in 1939 during the fall of Poland. The story paralleled with the confusion of the invasion as three young men were tasked to obtain something called “Baby” from the Germans. Although there wasn’t a chance to learn about all the characters, there was a chilling insight into this moment in history. I couldn’t put this story down, and my heart was racing at the end. I knew what would happen to the country, yet I couldn’t help but root for their success. This is a great short story for history buffs and those who like to root for the heroes.


 

Learning About Autism: One Mother’s Journey of Discovery and Love: A Charter School, Teaching Methods, & Resources 

by Karen Ingalls

“Learning about Autism” is not only a great resource of information but inspiring. Carol and Allen Tucker are almost empty nesters after raising their two children. They decide to adopt a special needs child into their family, Justin, who is dealing with cerebral palsy and autism. Later, they add Joshua, who has down syndrome. The book details how they loved and helped these boys and covered Carol’s path to opening her school for autism. I learned a lot reading this and came away with more understanding of the challenges and gifts raising and advocating for these boys. There is plenty of help and knowledge, but there is also an amazing example of love. This is a great book that I recommend for those looking for advice and those who want to be inspired and understand.


Hayley the Halloween Cat and the Search for Bitty the Bat

by Wanda Luthman, Author, and Mara Reitsma, Illustrations

In our house, we love all things Halloween. So, when it was time to buy my soon-to-be five-year-old granddaughter a book, I had to get this one. Hayley, the black kitten, is searching for her friend, Bitty, the bat. It’s a few hours before Halloween Evening, and she can’t find him anywhere. There are adorable illustrations that were colorful and brought Halloween to life without making it scary. The rhyming added a pleasant flow and made it fun to read aloud. The story shows a great friendship and a nice surprise. As I always do, I read and review “Hayley the Halloween Cat” before wrapping it up. I know I’m going to enjoy reading this with my granddaughter many times over.


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: You’ve seen my weekly poetry challenges from Colleen Chesebro here. Well, Colleen and Jules are putting out a book on 10-1-21, Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse. It has a lot of poets who contributed; myself included. I picked up my pre-order. If you like poetry, I have a feeling this will be a must-read.

Here’s the LINK

Read a great book and embrace your inner child! D. L. Finn

September Book Reviews Part 3! @AnnikaPerry68 @StephenGeez @teagangeneviene #WritingCommunity #BookReviews #WhatToRead

 

Oskar’s Quest

by Annika Perry Author, and Gabrielle Vickery, Illustrator

I purchased “Oskar’s Quest” as a gift for my youngest granddaughter’s upcoming birthday and wanted to read and review it before wrapping it up. It is a charming story about a young bird, Oskar, who fearfully veers off from his group of birds hunting for dragons. He finds a sad little island where a cloud has taken the songbird. I love how the little bird finds his courage in a search for the songbird. This story teaches not only to push past fears but to understand each other. The illustrations are colorful and bring the story to life. I enjoyed this tale and can’t wait to share it with my granddaughter soon!


Comes This Time To Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez

by Stephen Geez

“Comes This Time to Float” is an impressive collection of short stories that cover many genres. I enjoyed all of them, but “Vapor Girl,” “Comes Time to Float,” and “Age Eater” were some of the very favorites that I know will stick with me for a while. Each fictional piece had a common thread of attention to detail and emotions that drew me in. Before each story, Mr. Geez shared why he wrote or the history behind each one, which was fun to know. There was also an accompanying picture that added to my reading pleasure. There’s a lot of heart inside the 19 short tales, which I really felt in “Veneer,” but humor, intriguing insight, and variety were also woven in. It’s a wonderful read where each piece offers something different. A well-written collection that I can easily recommend.


Dead of Winter: Journey 8, The Lost Library

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I was excited to explore the Lost Library with the characters. It’s a place I’d definitely go, even with all the other stuff going on around, and in it. There was some insight into the Deae Matres and a glimpse into what Arawn was doing. Then comes a leap of faith to save not only a friend but the world. I thought I had some characters figured out but found I might be wrong. This one was fast-paced and full of new things to ponder. I can’t wait for Journey 9 to see where this all goes. I highly recommend the Dead of Winter Series, but make sure you’ve read the other journeys before reading this one!


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!

Happy Birthday, Jeffry!

Newsletter goes out tomorrow 🙂

Watch for “Books That Changed Me—Fall Edition” on September 22nd!

Embrace that sweet inner child by reading a good book! D. L. Finn

September Book Reviews Part 2! @JacqBiggar @Marjorie_Mallon #writingcommunity #whattoread #mustread #indieauthors #bookreviews

 

Bloodstone (The Curse of Time, #1)

by M.J. Mallon

“Bloodstone” is a paranormal YA story that centers on 15-year-old Amelina. Her family life drastically changed after her father disappeared and then returned home a different man. Her once happy household was gone. When she gets an invitation to a mysterious place, she goes down a forbidden path by the river. Here she meets Ryder, who completely mesmerizes her after saving her from a robbery attempt. There were many great secondary characters, including her band members and cat, Shadow, but I think my favorite was Esme or the girl who lived in the mirror. There was a lot of depth in Esme, and the subject of self-harm was dealt with well. I’m a fan of rocks/crystals, so their importance in the story was a plus. The magic and darkness weaved into the plot of finding the truth contrasted with Amelina’s constant conflict. The poetry before each chapter was a nice addition, and I enjoyed the descriptive passages. The ending answered some questions, but not all. I look forward to reading the next book in this series to see what happens next. If you like a paranormal story told from a teen’s perspective who is not only finding herself but discovering her unique abilities, this is for you.


Twilight’s Encore (Wounded Hearts #3)

by Jacquie Biggar

I have enjoyed the first two books of Wounded Hearts, so I was happy to see them back in Tidal Falls planning a wedding. Katy left town ten years ago with her mother and leaving Ty broken-hearted. She is a doctor now, coming back to supervise her wedding plans to another man. The old theater is being redone for her nuptials, and the man doing it is Ty. Sparks immediately fly between Katy and Ty while someone is trying to disrupt the renovation of the old building. A secret surprised me, and there was a person with negative intentions toward Katy. Since this is set in basically the same time frame as book two, there is no update on what happened to Maggie, which didn’t take away from this story. Twilight’s Encore can easily be read without reading the first two books, but it’s better to have the background on the secondary characters. I’m eager to start the next book to see what happens next in this great series!


The Rebel’s Redemption (Wounded Hearts #2)

by Jacquie Biggar

I read and enjoyed the first book, “Tidal Falls,” where Annie and Jared caught my attention as secondary characters. Jared finally comes home for good after making some mistakes since leaving the SEALS. He reconnects with his mother and runs into his ex-best friend, Annie, or the woman he had a one-night stand with before leaving to join the service the next day. Jared had made many missteps in his past, but seeing Annie and her son brought back old feelings and guilt. But this reunion doesn’t go smoothly. His past is chasing him, putting those he loves in danger. There was a side plot with Maggie, a DEA agent, who was also introduced to in the first book. This part had me on the edge of my seat with the dangerous situation she was in. Not only is there a romance trying to rekindle between Annie and Jared with someone wanting revenge, but Maggie is trying to survive. This page-turner left one question answered, and another that needs to be explored in future books. If you like a good romantic thriller, this is for you!


NOTE: I’ve been quiet the past few days and haven’t been able to visit blogs or do my usual social media. My husband had a planned-rescheduled surgery Thursday and we were only given a few days’ notice. He’s doing well, but my attention and energy has been on his procedure and recovery. He has this week off to recoup and then things should go back to “normal.” Hugs xo

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 sweet inner child by reading a good book! D. L. Finn

Short Story Personal Challenge #3! The Playdate. #writingcommunity #shortstory #challenge #indieauthor

Here’s my third short story challenge coming in at just a touch over 1000 words. My husband came up with this week’s word, ruthless. This image caught my attention.

I discarded the first ending because it felt too expected. This one worked for me 🙂

THE PLAYDATE

I forced a smile and turned away from the picture. I swore the yellow eyes were still watching me. I nervously stuffed a cucumber sandwich into my dry mouth. Big mistake. It caught in my throat and then burned. I could taste the hot peppers as I coughed. I was positive I was going to die.

“Are you okay, Sandy?” Jessie’s clear blue eyes showed concern as she handed me a glass of water.

“Yes, I just swallowed wrong.”

Bobbie clung to my arm while Freddie sat on the couch with the same terrifying expression as the picture. This playdate was taking a dark turn.

“Freddie, why don’t you show Bobbie your room.”

Freddie smiled. “Sure, I can show him my new ax.”

I cleared my throat. “Ax?”

“He asked for it for his birthday, but it’s been put away. He knows we don’t play with weapons when we have guests. Right, honey?”

Freddie let out a loud sigh. “Yes, Mommy. No real weapons on playdates. I remember. But can we show him later?”

Jessie winked at me. “Maybe later.”

I gently detached myself from Bobbie’s tightened grasp. “Maybe we should go with them.”

“We’d just be in the way.” She waved. “You two be good.”

Bobby followed Freddie down the hall like he was on death row and making that last walk to his end. I was with him. The house was decorated like a haunted house, and the windows had dark drapes keeping the light and world out. What wasn’t black was gray and the pictures… I shuddered. These were things of nightmares, including the so-called school picture of Freddie.

I sipped my water, trying to think of something to compliment in her house, but I drew a blank. “It’s so kind of you to have us over. You didn’t need to go to all this trouble with these sandwiches.”

Jessie offered another one. “Please, help yourself.”

“I didn’t know we’d be eating. We just ate lunch, and I’m stuffed.” I patted my stomach.

“I forgot to say something. My fault. Can I get you more water?”

I set my empty glass down. “No, I’m fine, thank you. So, are you an artist?”

Jessie set down the platter of her little cucumber sandwiches. Her face lit up like a flashlight, pointing right into my eyes. “I am! I did all those photos and would love to make it into a business someday.”

“Your own business, what a great idea.” I stood up and walked over to a wall that was covered with Freddie. All had the same theme of him holding an ax. “So, you take the pictures and then add in the effects?”

“Oh, I never Photoshop a picture.”

I held a frown behind my plastic smile. “You certainly have a way of capturing the shot.”

Jessie clasped her hands together and squeezed next to me. “Thank you. Would you like to see my studio?”

I glanced at the old grandfather clock. Only fifteen minutes had passed since we had arrived. “Sure, I’d love to see it, but maybe we should check on the boys first.”

“I say when it’s quiet, you leave them alone, right?”

Against my better judgment, I nodded. She led me down a dark hall into a lightless room and flipped on a light.

I gasped.

“I know, isn’t it wonderful! I’ve got it just the way I wanted it.”

“Wonderful,” I mumbled, taking in the horror.

The walls and ceiling were black, and two round lights were on a stand looking much like angry headlights waiting to shine their light on their victim. A rounded black chair was pushed against the gloom, while off to the side was an assortment of black clothes and props that included hands, legs, guns, knives, axes, and a guillotine. The farthest wall had metal shackles. A powerful scent of copper hit my nose as pain tore through my gut. I needed to get Bobbie out of this madhouse.

Jessie smiled and put a hand on my shoulder. “That will pass soon.”

The room spun as I sunk to the floor. “What are you talking about?”

“Your human-ness, silly. What I put in your water is returning to your beautiful form. I tried to make it easier by showing you the picture of Freddie.”

My muscles spasmed like a seizure, and suddenly the room was too bright. I closed my eyes.

“I’ll get the light. I know how bright the earth is for us. You’ll stay here until the ship arrives. That way, you don’t have to wear all that makeup, contacts, and worry about the sun damage.”

When the spasms stopped, it all came flooding back to me. I volunteered for this. I secured a relationship and then married a top-ranked government employee. In my deepest sleep, they were able to extract the important secrets I had obtained. Bobbie wasn’t supposed to happen, of course, and the poor thing will have to live with the shame of being part human. I reached up and stroked my leathery face. I was back.

“Feeling better?” Jessie wiped off the rest of her makeup. The beautiful deep red around her yellow eyes and almost transparent white skin was a relief to see.

“Yes, much. Is Bobbie…” I couldn’t find the words to ask.

Jessie smiled. “He looks like us, thankfully. Although we had to give the poor baby the human drug immediately after birth and adjust some memories. Nothing can pierce his skin now that his beauty has been restored too—like those old axes.”

I grinned. “Thank you, Jessie. When does it start?”

“In a week. We are gathering our spies now and have all the information we need to simplify it. This planet will make a great second home once humans have been rendered docile for our food supply. Thanks to you, we found the perfect virus that won’t affect us. Our alliance appreciates your service.”

I stood up, slowly finding my balance again. “Thank you it was an honor. I’m glad you could continue your artwork; the humans must have made great subjects.”

She brightly smiled. Her pointed teeth shone like stars. “Yes. Their surprised look when they realized what was about to happen was the best. Let’s go to the boys and have a nice snack. Too bad no one will get their mail today.”

I laughed and swayed my tail. “Great! I’m hungry.”

It was good to feel myself again, and I couldn’t wait to get back home. Bobbie had a new world to explore where beautiful darkness ruled.


Next week is back to book reviews that will go through September! This was fun, and I hope you enjoyed it. I might try this again in the future.

Embrace your inner child, D. L. Finn!

#TANKATUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 240, #THEMEPROMPT #haiku #haiga #writingcommunity #indieauthors #poems #nature

Here’s Colleen Chesbro’s Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge #240. It is a theme prompt that was provided by Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Lullaby.

I took a picture of my visit to the redwoods this summer and added a haiku 5/7/5 which makes this a haiga.

picture of redwood forest and a poem. the forest's sweet song caresses my weary soul with healing beauty.