BOOKS THAT CHANGED ME—2022 WINTER EDITION! @Sandra_Cox @JanSikes3 @LBroday #whattoread #MUSTREADS #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #mustread

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 no particular order, here they are:

 

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II: Book 2: A Winter Celebration

By Colleen M. Chesebro

BLURB

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.

US AMAZON LINK

UK AMAZON LINK

Saddled Heart (The White Rune Series Book 3)

By Jan Sikes

BLURB

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.

US AMAZON LINK

UK AMAZON LINK

Geller’s Find

By Sandra Cox

BLURB

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.

US AMAZON LINK

UK AMAZON LINK

 

A Heartwarming Christmas Read

Hope‘s Angel

By Linda Broday

BLURB

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.

US AMAZON LINK

UK AMAZON LINK

I know this is a day early but Happy Winter Solstice! I also want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Holidays, and Happy New Year. D. L. Finn

December Book Reviews Part 3! @sgc58 @maryjdressel @Marjorie_Mallon #whattoread #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #bookreviews

Variety is the Spice of Life

By Sally Cronin

“Variety is the Spice of Life” is a wonderful collection of poetry and short stories. The poetry is presented in the first half of the book. It was moving and thoughtful, as each word was carefully crafted. The short stories in the second half were my favorite part. Each story had its gift to offer us, but I wiped away a tear or two with “Mrs. Lloyd’s Robin.” “The Healer” left me with chills wondering what-if. What connected the stories and poetry to me was their humanity—or heart of them. A must-read collection for those who love poetry and stories that make you feel.

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II: Book 2: A Winter Celebration

By Colleen M. Chesebro

I read and loved “Fairies, Myths, & Magic Book 1” and was eager to read the second book. This dips into a darker side of fairies and magic but also offers the coming light. Told through beautiful poetry and short stories with the addition of the history of the feminine lore of different cultures. I could learn as I was entertained. Although I love my forest, I have a healthy appreciation of it and the magic it holds. This collection brought to life our past and present, leaving the promise of the future or its consequences. A perfect read for a cold fall or winter night that inspired me to bring a few new traditions into our house.

Do What You Love: Fragility of Your Flame Poems Photography & Flash Fiction

By M.J. Mallon

“Do What You Love” is a beautiful collection of words and photos that invite the reader into Ms. Mallon’s life. It is connected uniquely through the three sisters of fate: past, present, and future, and their insights. Whether it’s a trip abroad or down memory lane, it found a way to tug at my heart or engage me in her experiences. It is a wonderful way to share reality and engage others with flowing words and mythical beings. A quick but satisfying read that I can easily recommend to any poetry, prose, or memoir fan.

Secret Santa’s Rundown Sleigh: Holiday Romance Novella

By Mary J. McCoy-Dressel

Terra and her young daughter, Kylee, are on their way to spend Christmas with Terra’s sick mother. Bad luck strikes when their car breaks down. They end up stranded in a small town with no hotel rooms available, and the vehicle won’t be fixed until after the holiday. Terra’s sister can’t leave their mom to rescue them, so they set out to get a bite to eat. The caring server invites them to stay at her brother Jude’s house with them. Jude’s daughter and Kylee bonded quickly while Terra kept looking for other options to stay, and Jude wasn’t pleased with his new guests. Everyone around Jude and Terra is rooting for a Christmas miracle, but Terra is determined to move on, and Jude clings to the past. This short and sweet holiday read will uplift your spirits, and I can easily recommend it.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews here! If I don’t like the book, I won’t finish it. It wouldn’t be fair to leave a review for an unfinished story, and life is too short not to enjoy my reading journey!

UPDATES: I have one more post tomorrow, Books That Changed Me—Winter edition. Don’t miss my final good read picks of the year! Then I’ll be off until January 9th.

I will pop in once for a post over on Story Empire on the 26th.

Also, if you are subscribed to my newsletter, check your email and see what book is featured this month along with some updates.

I wish everyone a Merry Chirstmas and a Happy New Year!

Embrace your inner child, and read a good book! D. L. Finn

November Book Reviews Part 1! @MaeClair1 @ColleenChesebro @JacqBiggar #writingcommunity #whattoread #mustread #indieauthor #readinglist

Things Old and Forgotten

by Mae Clair

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.”


Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse

by Colleen M. Chesebro (Author), Jules Paige (Editor)

Word Weaving is a journal created by Colleen M. Chesebro and Jules Paige with chosen contributions from many poets who submitted their poetry. There is a wide variety of formats used within Japanese and American syllabic poetry. The theme of the book was autumn moons, and the poems were grouped together by type. I found once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down. It’s an amazing array of talent, so I couldn’t pick or share my favorite lines because there were just too many to choose from. If you love poetry, I highly recommend this collection. I plan to add the paperback to my bookshelf so I can enjoy reading it again.


The SEAL’s Temptation(Wounded Hearts #7)

by Jacquie Biggar

Maggie’s story continues as she recovers from PTSD at Frank’s ranch with her ex-partner, boss, an ex-seal, and wife. There is the budding relationship between Frank and Maggie and the past bond with her partner, Adam, which I enjoyed, along with the missing cows. Then, a man living near the ranch who was recently released from prison added excitement to the story, along with familiar characters from previous books who dealt with their issues back in Tidal Falls. I loved the story, had more than one perspective, and how well it all blended. The characters are well-rounded, and the setting made me feel like I was there with them at the ranch. Although I have gotten attached to all the characters, Maggie has become my favorite. I can’t wait to read Wounded Hearts #8 and see what happens next. I highly recommend this book and the series.


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

July Book Reviews Part 1! @ColleenChesebro @teagangeneviene @JoanHallWrites #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #WhatToRead #MustRead #IndieBooks

Cold Dark Night

by Joan Hall

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.

Dead of Winter, Journey 6 — The Fluting Fell

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I have loved the journey through “Dead of Winter.” Journey 6 offered some answers, but also added more questions. Emlyn is pulled into another’s dream and experienced a horrible time in the other dreamer’s life. That moment made it clear what evil the group was dealing with. After the reactions to the shared dream, they continue on their way. I love where they make camp for a while. I could easily imagine the old mansion through the vivid descriptions. Learning more about the household, and interacting with ghosts made this one another page-turner. They ended up in a strange place that didn’t appear to be safe, but it certainly set the stage for the upcoming Journey 7, which I can’t wait to read.

Word Craft: Prose & Poetry: The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry

by Colleen M. Chesebro

In “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry” Ms. Chesebro has written a detailed guide of syllabic poetry. There’s history, instructions on writing the poem, several examples, and then the information is recapped for each form. Section one of the book offers Japanese Syllabic Poetry. Here are the chapters covered, Haiku, Senryu, Haiga, Tanka, Gogyohka, Haibun, Tanka Prose, and Renga. Then the second section is the American Syllabic Poetry. The types covered here are Crapsey Cinquain and all variations, Etheree, Nonnet, and Shadorma. Although I’ve spent years writing free verse poetry, I’ve come to love syllabic poems too, thanks to Ms. Chesebro. This is a fantastic guide to learn about syllabic poetry and how to write them. I will buy the paperback version for a quick reference to a style I want to try or simply refresh my memory on writing a certain type of poem. I highly recommend this guide for all poets who love this style or would like to learn about 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!

NOTE: The monthly newsletter will be coming out a few days early, July 17th, due to an upcoming vacation! Watch for it.

There is a special guest blog this week you don’t want to miss!

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

November Book Reviews @Sandra_Cox @SusanneLeist @hmkindt @ColleenChesebro @woodheat

 

First Blood (The Blood Series, #2)

by Michael Lynes

“First Blood” is the second book in The Blood Series, and I would recommend going back to read the first book if you haven’t before reading this.  The story continues with the eternal fight for power and loyalty. It begins in the underworld with a battle for dominance.  Hades and his dead army are being challenged with some surprising and brutal consequences. I was happy to see my favorite characters Dev and Tray. I enjoy how their friendship grew into something stronger. Their devotion to each other and their humor are some of the best parts of this story. I love the use of mythology because it paints a colorful world. There were unexpected twists and plenty of action along the way. Although it took me a few pages to get into the story and remember all the storylines, once I got into the narrative it was a hard book to put down. I’m looking forward to the next book and continuing this journey to see where it goes. If you love mythology and fantasy, you’ll enjoy this series.


Fairies, Myths, & Magic ~ A Summer Celebration

by Colleen M. Chesebro

This is a magical collection of poetry, myths, short stories, and personal insight. I loved the whimsical theme of the book and was drawn into the world of fairies through Ms. Chesebro’s skillful prose. The poetry deserves multiple readings, and the short stories were very entertaining. “Halloween Havoc” still has me laughing at what was traipsing about the front yard. This is a great book to get lost in and be reminded of the magic surrounding us. I highly recommend this celebration!


The Weaver (Weaver Trilogy #1)

by Heather Kindt

“The Weaver” is an NA paranormal romance set on a college campus, although I felt it was more a YA, and the setting reminded me of high school. That detail, though, didn’t take away my enjoyment of the story. I loved the idea of characters coming to life and the consequences. Laney is a freshman at college, but before she gets started, she is pushed down a set of stairs. That leads Laney down a path of mystery to figure out why she was attacked. Laney settles into school and finds herself back in touch with a childhood friend, Jason. As they rekindle their friendship Jason’s roommate, William has her intrigued. I was surprised by some twists in the story that kept me involved until the last page. I’ll be reading the next book in the series to see what happens next.


Prey for The Dead

by Susanne Leist

This is the second YA Book in the series beginning five years later. Linda and Shana had enjoyed peaceful lives in Oasis, after a showdown with vampires, until everything changed. They were thrust in the middle of a battle that took them to an exclusive club in Disneyworld. The girls played the wives of Todd and Sam, but Linda was in a love triangle, with hybrid vampires on opposite sides. I loved being taken to Disneyworld in the story, even though they were surrounded by danger. Linda’s heart was taking her in two directions. Like Linda, I couldn’t decide who she should be with—if either of them. There are beautiful descriptions of the landscape giving a strong atmosphere and plenty of action that kept me reading. I was satisfied with Linda’s ending, but I hope there is more about Shana. If you like vampires, a love triangle, mystery, and deception, you’ll enjoy this story. This can be a stand-alone, but I recommend reading the first book.


TumbleStar

by  Sandra Cox

Texas ranch owner, Coop inherits his young niece, Kallie, after her parents suddenly die. When she arrives, Coop finds his childhood friend, Randa, accompanying Kallie. Convincing Randa to stay on at the ranch, everything goes well until Coop breaks up a beating and kills in self-defense.  This sets up for retaliation and puts Coop and the ones he loves in danger. I loved the connection between uncle and niece, and it showed a gentle side to the cowboy, that was charming. Randa was a strong character that I liked, along with her determination. The interaction with horses, and the introspection if they should be wild, added another dimension to the story. There was a nice mixture of action, relationships, and scenery. I could imagine myself riding out on a horse and finding the peace Randa found on the ranch.  If you love engaging westerns with romance, you’ll want to read this book.


UPDATES: We are still rainless with no rain forecast in the near future, but they aren’t predicting winds here at least for the next week. Now is the time to do that Raindance and hope a storm decides to join in. Fingers crossed no more power outages this year, but this seems to be a long term solution for the power company.

I finally decided to join the NaNoWriMo.  I’m off to a good start on a story that I brainstormed the night before Halloween. I decided to write it for myself. But doing this really limits my social media time. I will try to keep up, but can’t promise I can.

I might be doing more picture blogs or poetry if time gets away from me. I did get a lot of great pictures walking around town on Halloween.  Of course, my reading will be limited.

Watch for a special edition blog this week.

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book this fall! D. L. Finn