Books That Changed Me—Summer Edition 2022! @TonyaWrites @BalroopShado @ChrissyH_07 #recommendedreading #whattoread. #booksthatchangedme #readerrecommended #writingcommunity #mustreads

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!

Old Mountain Cassie: The Three Lessons

by Tonya Penrose

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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

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Someone Close to Home

by Alex Craigie

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“The book is brilliant. It reads like a memoir and grips like great fiction should – beautiful characterization”
Viga Boland – Author – No Tears For My Father

Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon.

But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her.

Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home.

And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people.

Just how far will Annie go?

‘Someone Close To Home’ is a story of love, malice and deadly menace.

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Hues Of Hope: Selected Poetry

by Balroop Singh

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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.

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For the kids:


Following the Green Rabbit: a fantastical adventure

by Chris Hall

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!

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May Book Reviews Part 2! @BalroopShado @stacitroilo #writingcommunity #whattoread #bookreviews #indieauthors #goodbooks

Pride and Fall

by Staci Troilo

“Pride and Fall” is the third book in the Cathedral Lake Series and follows what happens to Faith and her family, after “Out and About.” Faith Keller has PTSD after losing a sister and being kidnapped. The story immediately starts fast with an event where Faith is thrown into danger. She can barely push her panic and anxiety aside to help those who need help. Her being there, and what is found, puts her on the radar of local cop Carter Emerson, who is determined to figure out what is going on—even at her expense. Wanting to find the truth, he doesn’t listen to the warnings to back off from his friend and co-worker. I was completely sympathetic to Faith, but wished she had reached out for help and advice when she needed it. Carter took me a while to warm up to, especially after knowing what Faith and her family had been through between death and past accusations. A couple of times, I wished he would stop looking into the Keller family, too. He was a well-rounded character that allowed me to feel more than one thing about him. Faith was a victim and someone who needed to grow and heal. The dogs had my heart, especially Carter’s K-9 partner, Max. I may have been able to pick out who not to trust, but not for what I thought. A fast-paced thriller with a strong family dynamic that was very hard to stop reading. I can highly recommend this story and the entire series!


Out and About (The Cathedral Lake Series Book 2)

by Staci Troilo

“Out and About” starts a few years after “Cross and Type” ended. Although Jensen is grown up, he unwillingly returns home at his domineering father’s request. Father and son immediately clash when the two find it hard to communicate. I already had a soft spot for the Keller family because of what they went through losing a daughter/sister and wasn’t sure how I felt about the new family introduced, the Perishes. The one Perish I was rooting for was Bella. She also has an overbearing father and is always trying to please him. Both families are flawed and real with miscommunication, pride, and love. There is a chance meeting between Jensen and Bella at Cathedral Lake that begins a friendship. I love how much Jensen and Bella have in common, including the stubbornness of the fathers. Their differences in their strengths make them a compelling connection. I like how they ended up on opposite sides at one point—or Wade—the man responsible for Jensen’s sister’s death. Both Bella and Jensen’s curiosity about what is going on behind his early release from prison, how they are dealing with their family, and personal issues make this a page-turner. I’m thoroughly enjoying The Cathedral Lake Series and jumping right into book three.


Hues Of Hope: Selected Poetry

by Balroop Singh

“Hues of Hope” is a beautiful collection of poems that examines the hope in life. There are so many wonderful poems that it is hard to pick favorites, but I always connect the most with nature poems. Although all the poetry brought vivid images to me as I read them, here are some examples of the words that moved me. In the poem HOW FRAGILE IS LIFE! I could easily relate since I live where fire danger is very serious: “When you watch helplessly/Mother Nature wreaking havoc/Holding your heart in smithereens/You think of those who couldn’t make it/Reduced to bones and ashes within seconds.” MAGIC captured my heart: “I’ve never believed in magic/Yet I look for it everywhere/In the sunshine that lights/Crevices within me.” A TOUCH offers pure hope: “Her magical, dewy carpet/Carries calm whispers/Her Lilting leaves remind me/Of songs that we sang together.” If you enjoy poetry, as I do, you don’t want to miss this collection. I can easily recommend it!


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!

UPDATES: I have been working hard re-releasing my Angel & Evildwel books with new covers, and I tidied them up just a bit. Not a big edit, though, just fixing a few things that bothered me. The first two are done, and I will work on the third book this week. I will post a link to them all when I’m done. I’ve been sharing them on Twitter, though.

During this time, I got my current book to my editor. A Voice in the Silence is looking to have a mid-June release date. So, after I finish re-releasing this week, I will be getting ready to release! Whew 🙂 Plus, I helped my daughter format her book, editing is not my skill set, so I wasn’t involved in that part of it, but I did get a beta read in.

I will have more information on next week’s blog as I start making plans for it; I might skip the pre-order this time and do a release and tour. Stay tuned. I’m planning around a vacation too.

I will be sharing my new cover in two weeks! It’s been ready for a while, so that is is something I can commit to 😉

I try to stop by and visit everyone, but I’ve been on the tired side lately. Hopefully, I will be back to my old schedule once I’m through this.

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

August Book Reviews Part 1!@YvetteMCalleiro @BalroopShado @W_Angels_Wings #BookReviews #MustRead #BooksToReadThisSummer #indieauthors #writingcommunity

Mad Max & Sweet Sarah(Greek Mythology Fantasy Series #3)

by Ellie Collins

Max leaves his home in Hawaii and goes to Seattle to spend the summer with a father he doesn’t know and a place he doesn’t want to be. He agrees to stay for at least two weeks and work at the local pool as a lifeguard. His younger half-sister, Sarah, is determined to forge a relationship between them and convince him to spend the entire summer there. Max quickly makes a friend who has some strong opinions about family and people. Although this is a fast read, it dives nicely into good communication and judging others. Like the other two books, Greek Mythology was woven into the story and brought new insight into developing situations. This is a great read for children with some good lessons that I also enjoyed.


Slivers: Chiseled Poetry

by Balroop Singh

“Slivers: Chiseled Poetry” is another amazing collection of poetry by Ms. Singh. The poetry is based on the Japanese forms of Haiku and Tanka, and Acrostic poems. They are short but packed with a lot of emotion and images. Although it was hard to choose, here are just a few of my favorites. “full moon still lingers/trees delight in divine light/blissful spectacle,” “where two hills meet/clouds hide and seek/river watches calmly,” “we fly on the waves of whim/when our dreams get wings/ clouds crumble to comply,” “when we try to cage/each precious moment of life/harmony edges away,” “celestial confetti/that fell on me mesmerized./magical messages,” “far into the woods/we wander in quest of calm/which lies within us,” “I wrote my song on the wind/I know that it touches you gently/when you step out/I know you can hear its melody/deep within your pining heart,” “Her skirts are dark/She rides on the billowy clouds/Love in her eyes/could move the horizon/A thread binds her to eternity,” “Dream/Dauntless we walk into the Realms of our choice, Enamored by the hues of hallow, Accentuated by ardent yearning of accomplishing a Myriad ideas that mentor our journey.” I loved this collection and highly recommend it!


The One Chosen: A Diasodz Short Story (Chronicles of the Diasodz)

by Yvette M Calleiro

I’m a fan of the Chronicles of the Diasodz Series. So, when I learned there was a short story related to it, I couldn’t wait to read it. Valerie leaves home to train to be a Diasodz warrior. She is immediately taken with one of her instructors, Nolan, but he doesn’t appear to be interested in her. I don’t want to give too much away, but another Diasodz is interested in Valerie. I love the characters and how Valerie adapts outside of the strict dress code of the 1600s as she explores a new world with one of her instructors.  The settings are vivid, especially in the forest. The friendships and budding relationships develop at a nice pace while the monsters are terrifying. Some moments made me smile, and others had me worried they wouldn’t survive. It’s a fantastic short story that can be read on its own, but I highly recommend reading the series to learn more about this amazing world Ms. Calleiro created.


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 summer child! Read a book 🙂 D. L. Finn

April Book Reviews Part 3! @JacqBiggar @BalroopShado @startrailsIV @Sandra_Cox #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #WhatToRead #MustRead #IndieBooks

Tidal Falls (Wounded Hearts #1)

by Jacquie Biggar

“Tidal Falls” is a romantic thriller set in a charming small town. Sara and her daughter Jessica are on the run from her abusive husband. She feels peace she hasn’t felt in years when she settles in Tidal Falls. Nick is her neighbor who is ex-military and still carrying some wounds from his service. There is steamy chemistry between Nick and Sara, but I love the developing relationship between Nick and Jessica. A wonderful bonus character is Nick’s dog, which really shows his heart. There is enough insight to understand why the characters have the reaction they do, and my favorite part is Nick’s response to danger. This story is fast-paced, and the relationships all felt real to me. Sara harbors enough mistrust to keep her alive, and that spills into her budding friendship with Nick. As backstories unwind and current situations take front and center, I couldn’t stop reading. I am curious about a few unanswered questions yet was satisfied with the ending. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Emerging From Shadows: Poetry by Balroop Singh

by Balroop Singh

“Emerging From Shadows” is a deeply emotional collection of poetry. The words were a journey that showed the darkest of moments but extended the light of hope on the horizon. The poetry is free verse, and it swirled around the bleakness of a situation and then offered possibilities of what might be. Here are a few of my favorite passages: “When sun smiles at the horizon/Gloriously beaming its buoyant banter/A hope emanates from the dimming light/Disseminating a metaphorical message…,” “You inspire me to look at the clouds/Creative fairies step out and smile/Sober thoughts spill out to greet you/You enthrall them when you meet,” and “Smooth silvery clouds of/Myriad shapes, shifting, forming/Moving, mesmerizing, merging/Into the azure blue.” This is a book to be read slowly and will leave you thinking after reading it. If you enjoy poetry exploring those shadows we carry inside, you will want to read this.

The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits (Dead Horse Canyon #1)

by Marcha A. Fox and Pete Risingsun

“The Curse of the Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” is a thrilling adventure full of mystery and knowledge. This is a longer read, but I didn’t notice. I loved the Colorado setting and could relate to the mining details and the aftermath because I live in an old mining town. I’ve seen firsthand the damage it left behind. The characters immediately pulled me in, and I had empathy for Sara when she lost her husband, and almost her own life, in a car accident in a cursed area. Her memory of what occurred was gone, but that didn’t stop her from trying to find the truth. Her husband’s best friend Charlie starts a journey to unravel the mystery of what happened to his friend and exploring his culture. Although I loved both characters and their mutual support, Charlie was my favorite character and storyline. I have always had a deep interest in Native American Culture and the details and history, which would usually be too much in any other story, were perfect in this book. Sara’s relationship with her father and stepmother was realistic, and I especially loved her stepmother introducing her to something new, which tied in nicely to what was going on. Sara and Charlie’s love for Bryan pushed them into a world of greed and corruption. This is a riveting read, and it left a lot to resolve in the upcoming books, which makes me eager for their release. I highly recommend this!

Love, Lattes and Danger (Mutants #2)

by Sandra Cox

“Love, Lattes and Danger” is the second story in the Mutants series. Having read and enjoyed the first book, I was eager to continue the story. This one is told from Joel’s POV. He is a dolphin mutant with turquoise eyes, and along with his sister, was sold to a company to find underwater oil leaks. When Joel stumbles across a test-tube baby who is his, he promises to free her and find the girl he loves, or the mother. There’s a love triangle and a group that is determined to end Joel’s quest and life. The action starts immediately and doesn’t let up. This is a sweet YA sci-fi/fantasy that I easily read in two sittings. It brought a smile to my face each time they interacted with the dolphins. I look forward to reading the next book to see what happens.

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 good book! D. L. Finn

September Book Reviews @WendyJayneScott @Sandra_Cox @BalroopShado @bakeandwrite @StephenBentley8 @MrAlldredge @SpotInMyHeart @WAKENOVELLA @kay_castaneda @BauerJ1138 @bookishaly @llkane2152 @harmony_kent

 

FALLOUT

by Harmony Kent

“Fallout” is a post-apocalyptic story that left me thinking and then rethinking again. Set in space where humans settle after the earth becomes uninhabitable, a virus is released changing their way of life. My favorite character, Priya is alone and brutally attacked. Her strength and relationships with the other characters had me rooting for her, and I loved the pet she acquired. Told through several POVs, the reader gets a full picture of a complicated situation that I enjoyed. The characters are flawed and realistic. It surprised me how many times there was a new twist I wasn’t expecting. This is a glimpse into the human condition where power, lies, and manipulation have taken over society. Ms. Kent skillfully gives us a dark peek into a possible future in the hands of a cruel leader. This is a great science fiction read that I recommend.


 

Moments We Love

by Balroop Singh

This is a thoughtful collection that shows life through potent images. There are three sections Love, Harmony, and Life, but the essence of existence connects it all. I was drawn to the sweet poetry dedicated to Ms. Singh’s grandchildren, and “Redwoods” was a favorite, but I fully enjoyed the beautiful words throughout the book. I love how nature is mixed into the poems and felt like I was sitting next to Ms. Singh watching the sunset with her. There is a surreal quality to “Moments We Love” that shows another way of looking at things. I highly recommend this collection if you are a fan of poetry.


Makita (Cats of Catarau, #3)

by Sandra Cox

I read Shardai (Cats of Catarau #1)” and loved it. So, I had very high expectations for this story and wasn’t disappointed! Makita died and was in a beautiful place but insisted on using a life to go back to her best friend, Bennie, the dog. He needed her was her only thought. I’m a huge fan of animals, especially cats, and Ms. Cox has a way of getting into a cat’s mind that makes me believe and root for them. A darker subject was introduced into this tale, a Pit Bull fighting-ring. My heart broke, thinking of all the pain and suffering these animals go through for greed and profit.  Luckily the sadness balances out with the ingenuity of the animals, along with trust, and loyalty. It was a heartwarming story of a cat and her devotion to her animal family. If you love animals, especially cats and dogs, this novel is for you.


Death Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short Stories

by Stephen Bentley, Greg Alldredge, Kelly Artieri, L. Lee Kane, Michael Spinelli, Robbie Cheadle, Kay Castaneda, Justin Bauer, and Aly Locatelli

I bought this anthology because I was already a fan of Robbie Cheadle. I loved her historical fiction based on real-life stories as expected, but the other authors and their work also intrigued me. This collection is a great variety that includes horror, sci-fi, suspense, and mystery set in various locations that all held my attention. There’s a brief introduction to each author, and I enjoyed getting to know them before reading. It’s a great assortment of short stories and a fantastic way to be introduced to new authors.  I highly recommend “Death Among Us.”


Ferrasium (The Windflowers Trilogy #1)

by Wendy Scott

This was set in ancient Egypt, but it reminded me of ancient Rome, too. A young girl Kalli was taken from her family for a test all girls go through once they reach puberty. Her life changed in horrible ways from that point. It was a cruel and brutal world she found herself a part of that forced strength from her. While I bonded and rooted for Kalli, there were other storylines giving a complete picture of her situation. After an animal was killed in the beginning, I almost put the story down. I didn’t though because it already invested me in it. My first thought was that person who did that needed to pay for that cruelty. I felt a lot of emotions reading this, which speaks well for Ms. Scott’s ability to tap into that. This is a full story that dives deeply into the dark side of humanity with betrayal, greed, power, slavery, and privilege. I will be reading the next installment to see what happens to Kalli next.


 

Fairy Dust (Bedtime Tale #1)

by W.J. Scott

A young girl named, Evelyn, didn’t believe in the unseen or magic. Evelyn finds out whether it is real or not in this sweet story. I found the characters charming, full of wonder, and uncertainty. The last line summed up my personal belief, which I won’t share here and ruin the ending. I will definitely be reading this with my grandchildren!


 

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