New Release! “The Midnight Rambler” by C. S. Boyack. #newrelease #halloweenread #readersoftwitter #whattoread #writingcommunity

I’m thrilled to have a friend and fellow Story Empire Contributor here, C. S. Boyack. I have read and loved all six of The Hat Series. My review of The Midnight Rambler: LINK

It means a lot to me that you’d open your doors to my blog tour, Denise. I’d love to help you promote your next publication whenever that might be.

There’s a cover and blurb down below that will give you some specifics into this story, but I want to talk about the series itself. This is a collection of stand-alone stories that don’t have any required reading before diving in. If The Midnight Rambler is your first exposure to the series, I promise you won’t feel lost.

One of the things that’s come up with this series is reader expectations. They’re dark humor and corny on purpose. Readers have developed their favorite features and it’s important for me to remember those. As the series grows, I can’t be shackled by them. We have new areas to explore and characters to meet.

People seemed to love Kevin the vampire, who is a kind of street informant for Lizzie and the hat. They love Noodles the crazy pet creature one of the local witches owns. Star St. Laurent, Lizzie’s mother has plenty of fans. Then there are things that seem to be regular features like the silly graphics and Night Bump Radio.

I dropped a few of these here, because I can’t pay homage to all of them in every book. There are times when a girl needs to talk to her mother, perfect for Star. Maybe she needs a street informant, great for Kevin. Detective Yoder and his deceased wife have their fans. I will continue to use these characters, but only when it’s appropriate for the story.

It seems like Night Bump Radio and the legend of Hellpox are finding their way into every tale, but even then it may be a major or minor appearance as the plot dictates. I can’t cover everyone’s favorite in every story. We have new characters to meet and new situations to delve into.

These peripheral characters are around for a reason. I can use them when it helps advance the plot. I can’t revisit them just because they were so much fun in previous volumes. It makes Lizzie’s world more realistic and complete.

Lizzie needs people like her mother to interact with. Her band, The Pythons, and a couple of her employers also fill this role. She can’t talk to them about the supernatural world, so we have Kevin the vampire, the local coven, or even Detective Yoder to fill those roles.

The Midnight Rambler features Elgin the magpie, and Ray C. Adair. These are new characters to love. It doesn’t mean I’m abandoning anyone, and they could reappear at any time in future volumes.

Just in case you’re worried, Dash Goodman and Detective Yoder appear in this story. Even Cyrus Yoder and Noodles are here, but in minimal form. I even revisited a nameless red headed vampire who’s more of a frenemy at this point.

I am honored that people enjoyed the peripheral characters in this series. Unless they’ve been killed any of them could reappear when the need arises. Of course, it’s a paranormal series so they might return even if they’re dead. Who knows? Kevin and the redhead are already dead, so never say never. 

Cover Blurb:

Something evil is after the hat. The ageless enemies have battled many times, but this time Lizzie is wearing the hat. She’s also up against a ticking clock, in that if she can’t find the maker of her new friend’s medicine he will die.

The Rambler has kidnapped the only witch capable of making Ray’s medicine in an attempt to make the hat sloppy in his efforts. He’s also flooded the streets with deadly minions to impede any progress our heroes might make.

As if that weren’t enough, Lizzie is facing more of life’s struggles, both financially and mechanically. This all goes down in the middle of a huge flood event that she’s ill equipped to handle.

Join Lizzie and the hat as they battle the elements, the paranormal, and a being of pure evil. Lizzie might be battling some personal demons along the way as she and Ray grow closer.

Get your copy here: https://mybook.to/TheMidnightRambler

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October Book Reviews Part 3! @WriterMSmith @Virgilante @NoFacilities #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #bookreviews #whattoread #mustreads

The Power of Love 

by Marlena Smith

Scarlet is on the run from her past. She ends up in a charming little Montana town but hides away in an old, abandoned house while enjoying her new freedom. She is slowly pulled out of her protective shell when she runs into a town resident. Scarlet’s story slowly unfolds, and I couldn’t help rooting for her. I love the relationships she develops as she rediscovers what has been lost. This is a town and people I’d love to be a part of. A heartwarming short story about second chances if only the past doesn’t ruin it. I can easily recommend this!

The Midnight Rambler (The Hat Book 6)

by C. S. Boyack

“The Midnight Rambler” was another fun addition to the Hat Book Series. Lizzie and the Hat run into some crazy fruit at a roadside stand. This is when Hat realizes his old enemy is after him. The flood they had to deal with creates an obstacle when their time is limited to find this clever monster while trying to save Lizzie’s friend, Ray. I could feel the cold water sloshing through Lizzie’s slippers and her concern for her friends. The relationship between Ray and Lizzie added another layer to the story and created extra tension in the hunt for where Hat’s enemy had Ray’s creator. The Midnight Rambler was always one step ahead and seemed to enjoy a good hunt, but that never stopped their search. A mystery to solve with all the humor, music, and danger blended nicely with every day worries. The ending has me looking forward to the next story. Although this is a perfect Halloween read, it can be enjoyed any time of the year.

The Evil You Choose

By Daniel Antion

I enjoyed “Knuckleheads” and was excited to see where the story went next. Blessed with unusual gifts, Zach and Billy are now adults and Zach is enjoying retirement. An FBI agent contacts Zach with a proposition that unfortunately he can’t refuse. Zach is unwillingly thrust into a world of criminals on both sides, and there is no one to trust but family. Zach must figure out how to protect himself and make sure they don’t find out about Billy. I found it interesting how Zach navigated with the help of Billy in dealing with not only the FBI, but the man they wanted to put in jail. The direction Zach took, along with a few twists, kept me guessing how it would all turn out. There is a wonderful and supportive relationship between Zach and his daughter, brother and Billy that balance all the corruption that surrounds him. Zach’s gifts had me wishing for a good night’s sleep for him. An exciting read for those who enjoy a thriller with the depth of family relationships and a criminal element weaved in.

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

UPDATES:

I have a couple of vacations coming up. The first one is October 20-24th. I will be going to Disneyland & Universal with my youngest daughter, Danielle. My monthly newsletter will be a few days late because of this or coming out late on the 24th and there will be no weekly blog here on October 24th & 31st .

Then, I will be around for a few days and off a week starting October 29th to hang out with the hubby. I’ll be back November 7th with a new book review post.

In the middle of all this I’m excited to be hosting a guest you won’t want to miss on October 27th.

I will wish you an early Happy Halloween here and post photos as I can on Instagram.

Embrace your beautiful inner soul by reading a book! D. L. Finn

May Book Reviews Part 3! @Sandra_Cox @Virgilante @Dwallacepeach #whattoread #writingcommunity #bookreview

The Bone Wall

by D. Wallace Peach

“The Bone Wall” is a beautifully written post-apocalyptic story with some painful insight into human nature. When twins Rimma and Angel’s perfectly controlled world breaks down, they are introduced into the reality of the people who were left to deal with what their ancestors had done. The girls are complete opposites, with Rimma rebelling and fighting and Angel wanting to follow the rules. They are enslaved and learn the hard way about the people they have called Biters. Some of these Biters have unique gifts that can cause pain or comfort. I loved the contrast between where they lived behind a force field, Heaven, and what the real world that was left behind had to deal with to survive. There was a cruel harshness in a world that had little hope besides being able to have a healthy baby. The relationship and devotion of the sisters was my favorite part, and the story was told through the girl’s first-person experience. Angel was the light between the girls while Rimma dwelled in the darkness, but they found their comfort together. The scary thing about this story is it isn’t so hard to believe it happening. We could very well destroy our world, and then a select few can escape the immediate consequences and continue in their comforts while the masses suffer. It was a deeply disturbing scenario, especially thinking about the bone wall, but it still offered just a tiny bit of hope. I can highly recommend this story.


Mateo’s Blood Brother

By Sandra Cox

I was thrilled to see a sequel to “Mateo’s Law.” This story picks up from where it left off, but with the local attacks starting up again. While investigating the attacks, Mateo and Jesse are still working their way back to friendship. As in the first book, the characters are likable with real flaws, while the community is a place I’d like to live or at least visit. I love Mateo and Blair’s relationship and am glad to see them back. Jesse is working through a past bad relationship and finds himself attracted to Tina, who is a painter. With a killer on the loose, he doesn’t dare pursue her because he’s worried being around him might put her in danger. A couple of twists surprised me, which I always enjoy. I appreciate the small-town setting with the supernatural thrown in. A couple of times, I was laughing out loud, while at other moments, I turned the page as fast as I could to see what happened next. A great story that I can highly recommend.


Panama

by C.S. Boyack

“Panama” is an action-packed paranormal story set in 1903. President Roosevelt approaches Ethan to help him deal with a problem happening during the construction of the Panama Canal. It isn’t your everyday problem. It involves men leaving their jobs and disappearing into the jungle. Ethan has a unique skill that might be of help. He can see ghosts. Ethan requests the help of a friend, Coop, who is in an unpleasant situation in a New Orleans jail. They head off to the canal to see what they can do for their country. I love all the details of the canal workers, the jungle setting, and these two men’s friendship. Ethan and Coop are now Federal Marshalls, who are not only dealing with ghosts but a demon and the Spanish army. It is a fun read that takes a normal historical moment and puts a nice supernatural twist on 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!

Always embrace your inner child and read a good book! D. L. Finn

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

New Release! “Good LIniment” by C. S. Boyack. #writingcommunity #newrelease #hatseries #whattoread

I’m thrilled to have fellow Story Empire author, C. S. Boyack, here today to celebrate his latest release, Good Liniment. I have read all The Hat stories and was eagerly looking forward to this one. I wasn’t disappointed. Here is my review: Link

So thankful you loaned me your space today to talk about my newest book. This one is part of The Hat Series, and is called Good Liniment. These are short novels, designed to take no more than an afternoon to read. They can also be read as stand-alone titles, so readers don’t feel like they have to be read in order.

Good Liniment expands the world of Lizzie and the hat exponentially. It not only expanded on witchcraft, but introduced a lot of new elements to the story.

There’s a reason for this. Lizzie has done some pretty off-color things as a fledgling monster hunter. Remember her first adventure involved exacting some justice on a ring of human kidnappers. This increases the need for a secret double-life. That works just fine… for a while.

Eventually, there’s nobody for Lizzie to talk with about whatever is eating at her psyche. The hat is always there for her, but isn’t quite someone to understand the emotional toll things could take on her. Her best friend is her drummer, Tanith, but she hasn’t got a clue about the supernatural world.

In Good Liniment, Lizzie meets most of a coven of witches. They understand the need of keeping secrets. While they aren’t exactly friends, they get some of it.

This led me to other things in this world. Some of the witches have familiars, one of which is a small demon. Something new to add to the mix.

There are a married couple who both have goblin blood and work for the coven to operate a special tavern named Good Liniment.

I introduced a headless horseman who drives a Bronco these days and is a contractor for the coven. I’ve been mapping out a specific story for him somewhere down the line.

I even went so far as to introduce a pair of godlings; Castor & Pollux, Attorney’s at Law. While they don’t make an appearance, they will in the very next volume. Those of you into Zodiac things will understand some of their build.

I’m excited to have Good Liniment out in the world now. I hope some of you will give it a shot. A bit of dark humor with an expansive world to let your imaginations roam. I’ll be out there imagining with you as I tailor subsequent volumes.

Someone is murdering members of the local witches coven. They turn to Lizzie and the hat for their unique skills that might help eliminate the killers.

A religious zealot might be a monster, but is still a human being. This task isn’t the same as staking vampires or shooting zombies. It isn’t the usual project Lizzie takes on for her night work.

This all takes place during a recovery period for Lizzie. She needs to keep her cover band together and find a new way of getting them gigs. More bands and less venues are making finances tight. The hat didn’t make things easier during her absence, by spreading rumors about why she took her sabbatical.

Someone killing others over a point of view insults Lizzie’s sensibilities. She has secrets to keep. Her employers have secrets, too. It doesn’t make for a comfortable working environment, but she agrees to do what she can.

Convincing her strong willed employers to stay indoors during all this poses another problem. Can she keep them alive long enough to finish her task?

Good Liniment is full of magic, magical creatures, and an entire underground community living amongst us.

The Hat Series consists of short novels that can be read in a single afternoon. They’re full of snarky dark humor and can be easily read out of order.

Purchase Link  

Series Link

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December Book Reviews Part 3! @Virgilante @teagangeneviene @JacqBiggar @YvetteMCalleiro @1rburkey @pursoot #bookreviews #whattoread #mustread #writingcommunity

Wreck of the Lanternfish

(The Lanternfish #3)

by C.S. Boyack

“Wreck of the Lanternfish” is the final book of the Lanternfish Series. Although I was sad to see this thrilling story come to an end, I loved seeing James Cuttler take one more journey to the sea. He risks everything to step back into the war that his friends are still fighting. The battles are shown through different perspectives, including Serang. My favorite characters, the root monsters, were back. Their “I I I I” always made me smile. This story not only touches on pulling communities apart, but how to put them back together. Battles on land and sea showcase how clever leaders can outwit their foe. This is a world and characters that I won’t forget anytime soon. Lanternfish is a series I can highly recommend, especially if you love exciting stories with pirates, love, greed, and great characters. But start from the beginning and don’t miss the companion book. You won’t want to miss any part of this exciting tale!


Dead of Winter: Journey 11, The Sumelazon Escarpment

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Emlyn’s journey continues as she learns and grows, and there are Gethin’s experiences mixed in. I loved the direction that was taken on all the fronts of “The Sumelazon Escarpment.” It was nice to catch my breath and get to immerse into the city and story, especially through Emlyn’s eyes. I liked how well the plot and cover tied together, and the women had a moment to enjoy a bit of fashion. Even though there were some nice interactions, there is still that under-matched fight looming. Another good journey and I can’t wait to see where it takes us next. I can highly recommend this read but start this exciting tale from the beginning.


Love, Me: A Christmas Wish Novel

by Jacquie Biggar

“Love Me” is a wonderful holiday read about a mother and her daughter fighting cancer. Grace and Cassie move to a new town to try an experimental treatment, and luckily an anonymous donor covers the expenses. Grace finds a job at Cassie’s school while Cassie finds a new best friend. I love how the story is told from both the mother and daughter’s POV. Cassie wants a puppy for Christmas, but she decides her mother needs a companion if something happens to her. It’s a story that tugged on my heart, thinking about a little girl battling for her life when she should be playing and having fun. Her strength and caring shine throughout the story as a powerful symbol of love, and the mother, having lived through so much loss and heartache, keeps going for her daughter. I could feel the emotion behind Cassie because her character is based on an amazing young girl on social media who is fighting this battle. This was a heartwarming romantic story that didn’t back down from the reality of childhood leukemia. I highly recommend this!


HYPE

by Yvette M. Calleiro

“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.


Hot Chocolate

by Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey

“Hot Chocolate” is a sweet short story about a family and their holiday traditions. Jacob, Petra, and their son JW are a family I enjoyed getting to know. The parents have a tradition of surprising each other with their Christmas gifts and teasing how much they will like their present. I love the surprise at the end and the love this family shared. This is a wonderful holiday 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!


Our writing community lost a brilliant writer and amazing human being a few weeks ago, Suzanne Burke. She had a wonderful sense of humor, a kind heart, and a great outlook on life. I found out about her passing during my vacation.


So, I offered a red hibiscus flower to the Pacific Ocean in her honor. I like to think it’s floating among the spinner dolphins, and she’s looking down at this with a huge smile.

In memory of Suzanne, check out her Amazon page here. Her memoir, Empty Chairs,  is a read you will never forget.


NOTE: This will be my last formal Sunday post of the year and my Monthly Newsletter was sent out today to your email if you are subscribed.  Tomorrow watch for Books That Changed Me Winter Edition.

After that, I’ll be taking some time off to be with family and enjoy the holidays.

The only exception to my time off is I have a post over on Story Empire on December 27th.

Wishing everyone the happiest of holidays! May 2022 be the happy year we are all searching for 🙂

Embrace that inner child by reading a good book and enjoying your blessings! D. L. Finn

New Release! “Wreck of the Lanterfish” by C. S. Boyack @Virgilante #newrelease #whattoread #writingcommunity #mustread

I’m thrilled to welcome fellow Story Empire Author, C. S. Boyack here today to celebrate the release of Wreck of Lanternfish. I’ve been looking forward to the final book in this series and here’s my review.

Thanks so much for lending me your space today. Spreading the word about a new book is so important. Today is all about concluding my Lanternfish trilogy with ‘Wreck of the Lanternfish.’

Somehow, I wound up with a theme behind these stories. I tried not to make it obvious, but fatherhood became something I kept going back to. It all started with James being forced into trying to start a war with the neighboring country.

Turns out James’s father was a somewhat shady character who did similar things. The only reference James had were stories his father told him as he grew up. Early on, he was forced to rely upon his father’s advice.

Dan is James’s best friend, and later brother-in-law. His father is still alive, and lends his own teachings here and there. It seems simple enough, but there’s more to it.

The two of them rescued a slave who turns out to be a witch doctor. Mal fills a fatherhood role for James as he turns to piracy to save the woman he loves. In that event, they rescue Mal’s own son as a bonus.

The crew gets saddled with a boy they call Mule. This involves retrieval of a magical item, but the price is taking the boy with them. James becomes his adopted father, and does the best he can for Mule.

Serang has her own daddy issues. She grew up without a father, but there were male tutors at the monastery. If you dive into her supporting story, there is one monk that serves as much as a father as he does her master.

Even such supporting characters as Don Velasco have a history with their fathers that shaped who they are today.

I never set out to do this, but I’m pleased with it. Fantasy/Adventures aren’t known for deeper themes, and I claim dumb luck. Luck doesn’t get enough credit sometimes.

Hoist the colors and wheel out the guns one more time. It’s time to bring this trilogy to a conclusion.

Wreck of the Lanternfish purchase link 

Trilogy link

Blurb:

James Cuttler created a peaceful spot for he and his wife to settle down. Far from the war that ravages their homeland, far from the reputation he earned as the notorious pirate Captain Bloodwater, and far from responsibility.

A royal Prelonian houseguest is a constant reminder of what’s at stake half a world away, of the friends he put ashore to fight the war. He lives in a dream world that’s temporary, at best. It’s only a matter of time before his guest is identified and the black assassins come for her.

He mortgages his precious vineyard to pay for repairs to his ship. If nothing else, Lanternfish will be one of the most powerful ships in the war, if he’s not already too late.

James will have to merge the skills of commander and con man into something new to make this work. He’ll need to avoid those on his own side who would hang him for piracy.

Serang is half a world away, leading her army of mercenary swordsmen toward the Fulminites. Mistrusted by both sides of the war, she appears as a third combatant on the battlefield. She may eliminate the mysterious order, only to succumb to the demons of her own tragic past.

Strap on your swords and hoist the colors one more time as the thrilling Lanternfish Trilogy comes to an end.

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October Book Reviews Part 2! @teagangeneviene @Virgilante @JacqBiggar #writingcommunity #whattoread #bookreviews #indieauthors #goodreading

cover for The Yak Guy Project

Dead of Winter: Journey 9, Doors of Attunement

by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Journey 9 takes Emlyn, Osabide, and Fotia/Zasha into a new place called the Other Realm. They hope to restore Zasha in this strange place. Here, they find three doors and have to pick the right one. I love how Emlyn is starting to trust herself more, which includes her intuition. The setting and surroundings are a vital part of this story, along with the beings they run into. While the trio explores, an army is massing — which hints at what is coming. I can’t wait for the next installment. Five-Stars!


The Yak Guy Project

by C.S. Boyack

“The Yak Guy Project” takes Ted on a spiritual journey in a strange world. Ted wakes up, not knowing what happened to him. A talking Yak becomes Ted’s guide as he learns his selfish ways of the past won’t work where he is. Ted was a character that I rooted for, but he also frustrated me with some of his decisions. I could see The Fool’s Journey from the Tarot in Ted like the author had compared him to. This story had me not only invested in whether Ted could learn and grow, but the world he found himself in captivated me. It was a place where technology had gone wrong many years before, and they were back to living on the land. There were many well-placed layers with life lessons, humor, war, and relationships that made this a read that I couldn’t put down. Five-Stars!


Maggie’s Revenge (Wounded Hearts #6)

by Jacquie Biggar

I have read and enjoyed the first five books of the Wounded Hearts series, but I’ve been eager since book two to find out what happened to Maggie. She has been undercover for the DEA but then was put into horrible conditions with the other women sold into sex trafficking by cartel leader, Chenglei. Back home, her partner, Adam, hadn’t given up hope of finding her. Adam joins forces with his boss, Amanda, and Ex-Seal Frank in that search. Maggie is an amazing character. She is strong, funny, determined, and caring. I like her interactions with the other women and how she can take care of them and herself. I could feel the heat of the desert or the blinding rays of the sun in the richly written settings. This is my favorite of the series so far and one that I kept reading just one more chapter until I was done. I can’t wait to continue to “The Seal’s Temptation” to see what happens next! I highly recommend “Maggie’s Revenge” and the entire series. Five-Stars!


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!


Oops, I spoke too soon, sorry! Next week will be October Book Reviews Part #3, and then two Personal Short Story Challenges will follow.


Even when the power is out, you can read a great book and embrace your inner child! D. L. Finn

“2021 Books That Changed Me: Summer Edition” @startrailsIV @harmony_kent @Virgilante @CynthiaSReyes #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #MustReads #BooksThatChangedMe

Summer has already arrived with the hot temperatures and the grandkids running through the sprinklers to cool off! It’s the longest day of the year to enjoy the sunny weather, but there’s still time to treasure the stars when the sun finally sets.

This was a time of year when I read more as a child, and I still look forward to it as an adult even though I’m not on vacation all summer. In the heat of the day, sometimes, the best thing to do is pick up a book and find a nice cool spot by the water to enjoy reading it! With summer arriving, it also the time for my “Books That Changed Me: Summer Edition.”

Happy Summer, and Summer Solstice!

The books are listed in no particular order. I’m still offering the book’s blurbs over my reviews because this is about the books, not my reviews—although I do add some of my thoughts!

***

The Vanished Boy took on not only a mother’s fear of a son gone missing but the realization that she didn’t know her son as she thought. This was a perfectly paced story that held on to my emotions and kept me guessing until the reveal. This is a book—and a mother—I’ll never forget.

THE VANISHED BOY

by Harmony Kent

It’s so remote out here. Anything could happen …

A missed phone call in the night is all it takes.

When Carole’s 18-year-old son goes missing, she breaks into Jayden’s laptop to try to understand his life.

All too soon, Carole discovers just how little she knew her boy.

And when one lead after another dead-ends, the distraught mother has to face the unthinkable.

Sucked into a sticky web of deceit and lies, nothing is as it seems.

When your life turns inside out and upside down, who would you trust? 

***

The Curse of the Dead Horse Canyon was a book that I couldn’t read fast enough, yet I didn’t want it to end either. I loved that the story was co-authored.  It made for a perfectly blended mystery, setting, well-rounded characters, history, and learning about the Cheyenne Culture. It’s a journey I’m eager to continue.

THE CURSE OF DEAD HORSE CANYON: CHEYENNE SPIRITS (DEAD HORSE CANYON #1)

by Marcha A. Fox and Pete Risingsun

In 1878 a drunken hoard of silver miners raided a Cheyenne village while the tribe’s warriors hunted buffalo. A small band of young braves, not yet old enough to join the hunt, escaped and rode for help. Their efforts failed when they were discovered by the raiders, who ran them over a cliff along with all the tribe’s horses that had been left behind.

When the warriors returned and found the devastation, the tribe’s medicine man, Black Cloud, placed a curse on the site.

A century and a half later, a scandalous Top Secret project is under construction in the same Colorado wilderness. Bryan Reynolds discovers that its roots lie in the same greed, corruption, and exploitation of the Earth that precipitated the curse.

But before he can expose what he’s found, he’s killed in a suspicious accident that his wife, Sara, miraculously survives. Her memory of where they were or what they’d discovered, however, is gone.

Neither Sara nor Bryan’s life-long Cheyenne friend, Charlie Littlewolf, will rest until they find out what Bryan discovered that resulted in his death.

Charlie is acutely aware that the only way to solve the mystery is through connecting with the grandfather spirits. To do so he must return to his roots and the teachings of his medicine man grandfather. His journey back to the Cheyenne way includes ancient rituals and ceremonies that guide him and Sara to the answers they seek.

As a descendant of Black Cloud, his destiny is deeply embedded in the fulfillment of the original curse, which was triggered by the scandalous government project Bryan discovered. Charlie’s quest has only just begun.

A government conspiracy lies at the core of the story, though this first volume of the trilogy concentrates on Sara and Charlie discovering what Bryan knew that got him killed.

Modern man’s disregard for the environment, which conflicts with Native American philosophies of animism and of honoring the Earth, plays an important part. Past pollution caused by 19th century mining is inherent to the story as well as contemporary activities such as fracking.

Various paranormal and supernatural elements including detailed descriptions of Cheyenne rituals and ceremonies such as the sacred red pipe, ceremonial fasting, and the sweat lodge are included. The Cheyenne’s name for the Great Spirit is Maheo, who is referred to throughout. There are numerous other-worldly situations included, based on the experiences of the story’s Cheyenne co-author. While the story is fictitious, these depictions are authentic.

Modern technology plays a significant role in juxtaposition to traditional Native American elements. Astronomy as well as the ancient art and science of western astrology play roles as well in helping direct Sara and Charlie to the answers they need.

In essence this saga’s theme includes the collision of two disparate cultures and their respective attitudes toward the Earth, one of which is honor, the other exploitation.

These complexities are what expanded this story into a trilogy. Native American history is touched upon, but will be covered in greater detail in subsequent volumes.

***

Grinders is set in the future in one of my favorite cities, and where I spent a lot of time growing up, San Francisco. There were so many things to like, including amazing characters, the storyline felt possible, and there was the always present and appreciated humor. But what really stood out was the setting. Living in an apartment underwater with an octopus on the porch, a glowing forest that generated power, or having an AI running the house, were all things I could easily picture and want to be a part of it.

GRINDERS

by C.S. Boyack

Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.

Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.

Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.

Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.

Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.

This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.

I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

***

A charmingly illustrated children’s book that has an important lesson accept yourself and others for who they are, whether your shell is purple or green. This made a magnificent gift for my grandkids, and it’s gotten lots of use — and readings.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle

by Cynthia Reyes

Myrtle is a lovely Turtle. Not an ordinary Turtle. She is Purple and different from other turtles. After being bullied by another turtle, Myrtle tries to become someone else. In the end, Myrtle and her friends help children learn to not be afraid of being different. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is a thoroughly engaging story that stresses the importance of self-acceptance and friendship.

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers of human or furry children!

Note: The Tree Fairy Blog finishes up this week. I’ll post where they are visiting!

If you are subscribed to the newsletter, it goes out tomorrow:) Check your emails.

I had a wonderful vacation. I will share a bit about it next week.

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book! Happy Summer 🙂 D. L. Finn

 

 

June Book Reviews Part 2 @crystalnapolit2 @Virgilante @LBroday #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #bookreviews #mustread #indieauthors

Pink and Purple Bob

by Crystal Napolitano

I bought this book for my grandkids. I had planned to read the book before sharing it, but they found it first and insisted it be read to them. My son was visiting and volunteered, so I got the story read to me, which was a treat! Bob loves pink and purple so much that he’s sad if he doesn’t have it. His friend, the mouse, makes sure Bob has plenty of pink and purple, but it never seems to be enough. Then comes the lesson where Bob learns friends are much more important than things. The illustrations are colorful and inviting, and the words flowed nicely through rhyming. The pictures of the real Bob at the end caught my grandkid’s attention and mine. Bob has fans at our house, and I can easily recommend this book.


Lunar Boogie (The Hat #4)

by C.S. Boyack

“Lunar Boogie” is the fourth book in the Hat Series, but you don’t need to read the others to enjoy this exciting story. Lizzie and the hat are back with their usual banter, which always makes me smile. I was happy to see the band, Lizzie and the Pythons, playing in their venues, along with past characters who make an appearance, but there is a new killer on the loose that is soon named “Sausage Maker.” The first death occurs during a full moon, and all the authorities find is a few body parts and lots of blood. This catches Lizzie’s attention, but the hat tries to steer her away from investigating it. The story offers a second insight into these murders through a police officer, Yoder. I liked the added addition of a ghost watching over her beloved and the wisdom of a witch. This is a fast-paced read that hasn’t slowed down since the first book, “The Hat.” The mystery of who the werewolf was kept me guessing until the end, and I was wrong! This is a book and series I highly recommend.


A Cowboy of Legend (Lone Star Legends #1)

by Linda Broday

“A Cowboy of Legend” is a western romance and the first book I’ve read of Ms. Broday. Set in the late 1800s, Grace Legend lost a good friend killed by her drunk husband. She joins the woman’s movement to get alcohol out of their town. Here she meets a tavern owner, Deacon, and they immediately clash. When the woman’s group destroys all his supplies, Grace’s father steps in and replaces it but insists she works there to clean up the mess they made. I love the developing relationship between Grace and Deacon as their backgrounds slowly come to the surface. Although they disagree on everything, I love how they come together to help the homeless children that live around the tavern. The history of the woman’s movement for rights and a voice is nicely weaved into the story adding another dimension to the tale. Fast-paced with several side stories made this a book that was hard to put down.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series and recommend this if you’re a fan of western romance or just like a good story.


 

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 will be on vacation this week. Although there will be a visitor here Monday on the blog—you won’t want to miss it. So, drop by and say hi!

Otherwise, I’ll be missing from social media and blogs unless I post a picture on Instagram. I hope to make it to the redwoods and ocean this week:)

Next week’s blog will be “Books That Changed Me: Summer Edition!”

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