November Book Reviews, Part 3! @stacitroilo @teagangeneviene #writingcommunity #bookreviews #whattoread #mustreads

Type and Cross (Cathedral Lake #1)

by Staci Troilo

“Type and Cross” is a well-told family drama. Dr. Royce Keller finds a loved one as a patient in his ER. It tore my heart out reading what happened next. Then what follows is because of a secret that was held on to for eighteen years. How Royce’s family dealt with what followed that moment in the ER was heartbreaking and hopeful as it forced the family to grow and learn. I appreciated seeing the world through both Royce and his wife, Vanessa, eyes, and how they began to take some responsibility for not only their past mistakes but their current ones. This book kept me up late at night, and I would make time to read it throughout the day — it was that compelling of a read. When one issue seems to be solved, another is poured upon this family. Meeting the grandparents gave insight into where some of this dysfunction came from. Plus, there is a mystery weaved into the story with a surprising outcome. Every baby step forward, I cheered this family on, and other times I was sad with them. A story I can easily recommend, and I can’t wait to read more in this series.


Footprints in the Snow

By Staci Troilo

This quick read explains why Ben used to love Christmas, but this year he is alone. I was immediately curious why and what his mistake was. This story is full of emotion that pulled me right in. I wanted to know more. So, I jumped right into the first book of the Cathedral Series right after I finished this. “Footprints in the Snow” can be a stand-alone read or read as part of the series. There is some information in this story that you don’t know going into the first Cathedral book, “Type and Cross.” I didn’t mind knowing, but if you like to be surprised, then read this after “Type and Cross.” A short story I recommend.


Dead of Winter: Journey 10, Pergesca 

by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

“Pergesca” continues the journey with Emlyn. She is growing into a powerful young woman that is finally learning to trust herself after being raised not to be heard. She runs into challenges to conquer, and sometimes help comes from unexpected places. A lot went on in this journey, and I don’t want to give anything away, but a certain character’s death was hard-hitting to not only read but for Emlyn. I felt it was necessary for the story, though. I love Zasha, Emlyn, and Osabide as the three and how they work with each other. The place, Pergesca, offers more questions to be answered after some things are resolved. I’m eager to see what happens to Emlyn and her friends, as things seem to come to a critical point. As the story stands now, it’s hard to tell who to trust. A fantastic read, but I recommend you read this journey from the beginning, so you don’t miss out on anything.


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: If you are subscribed to my newsletter it went out early. Next week I’m sharing my holiday short story, “The Bike.” It came from a vivid dream I had.

Embrace that inner child by reading a good book! Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate it in the US. D. L. Finn

Welcome to Day 7 of The HYPE Blog Tour @YvetteMCalleiro #HYPE #NewRelease #BookPromo #YAFiction #writingcommunity

I’m thrilled to welcome fellow author, Yvette Calliero, here today to celebrate her latest release, HYPE. Here is my review: LINK

 

GIVEAWAY:  3 e-book copies of HYPELeave a comment below for your chance to win!

Creative Writing

I wrote my first poem when I was twelve years old. I don’t remember what it was, but I know I felt proud of it because it was my own creation. My English teacher, Mrs. Hoffman, loved to give us time to explore our imagination through writing. Recently, she sent me this gem that she found one day.

One of her assignments was to use affixes and root words to create an imaginary animal. We had to draw the animal and decorate it using art supplies and other materials., and then we had to write a story about it. I don’t remember the story, but I do remember my animal had three legs, a hippo’s body, and a horse’s head (or maybe its tail). I don’t remember the other parts. What I remember from the name was tripodequihippo… I loved that activity!

Writing has always been a form of therapy for me. It has always helped me get my thoughts and emotions out of my head. So, when I began writing Hype, I knew I wanted to incorporate creative writing as one of Cici’s classes as well as an outlet for Gaby, one of her antagonists. The class plays an important role in their relationship.

One of the activities I incorporated into the story is called a RAFT. It stands for Role of the author, Audience, Format, and Topic. For several years as a high school teacher, I challenged my students to write a RAFT about the Holocaust. They had to take on the role of something other than the humans at the camp. The audience was other people. The format was a poem, and the topic was the atrocities that took place at the concentration camps.

My struggling learners wrote the most incredible poems. Some of the roles they chose were discarded glasses, rats who lived in the camps, the clubs used to beat them, the barbed wire, and the stale bread. There was no doubt those students truly grasped the horrors that took place during the Holocaust.

For Hype, I chose a bit of a more festive RAFT, but one’s perspective of a holiday doesn’t always turn out the way others might expect. Here is an excerpt from the story:

School is a blur for the next few weeks as the holiday break gets closer and closer. My creative writing teacher gives us an assignment to pretend to be an inanimate object that symbolizes the holidays and write a piece from its point of view. Mr. Garnett loves inanimate objects coming to life, and we tend to write crazy stories to humor him.

I decide to write from the viewpoint of wrapping paper as it wraps its arms around new treasures. I build the excitement up toward the moment when a bubbly, little kid removes the paper from the gift and squeals with glee. Of course, my wrapping paper is delighted to provide such wonder and anticipation for the toy, but she also wishes she, too, got to stick around and play with the kid. It’s cute. It’s humorous, but it’s nothing out of this world.

When it comes time to share, Mr. Garnett makes the mistake of calling on Grub. The whole class quietly moans. We all know Mr. Garnett doesn’t like anyone to be ridiculed in class and believes in having an environment in which everyone feels comfortable enough to share, but to call on Grub? Really. I mean, it’d make perfect sense to have called on her when we were writing a Halloween piece, but Grub and Christmas don’t mesh.

Mr. Garnett glares at us, and we shut up and prepare ourselves for her piece because one of his other rules is everyone shares. Grub comes up to the front, takes the podium, and begins. I half-expect her to complain and ask for someone else to go before her since it was close to the end of class, but I guess she finds some horrible pleasure in torturing us.

“I wrote about a Christmas candle,” she starts, takes a deep breath (for dramatic emphasis, I’m sure), and continues. “For years, I was the beautiful centerpiece, the home’s elegant, most prized decoration. I was bright and cheery, tall and elegant. Everyone always stopped to admire my beauty, to comment on how special I was. Until one day…”

Again, she pauses and stares at her paper. I roll my eyes, thinking not for the first time, that she really should have joined the Drama Club.

“Go on,” Mr. Garnett encourages her.

She looks up at him and then back at her paper.

“Until one day, someone thought it would be a great idea to light a match and see how well I could withstand the heat. I could smell the rancid sulfur as the matchstick caught fire. It was then I discovered what true fear felt like. The sensation of the intense heat violating my wick was too much to endure. I screamed and crackled at the fire’s invasion.

“I cried tears of wax as the blaze melted my beauty away. I wished there was some way to stop it, to keep it from taking away all that was pure and perfect about me. I wanted someone, anyone, to blow out the flame, to save what was left of my beauty, but no one could hear me. No one was even paying attention to my withering loveliness.

“I cried and cried until there was no wax left to cry with, and when all my beauty was gone, the flame finally burned out and I was discarded. No longer did anyone admire me. No longer did anyone care. I was alone, abandoned, dead.”

The whole class sits silently, stunned. Mr. Garnett starts clapping while we sit there shocked. One kid from behind me says, “There wasn’t anything holiday-ish about it.”

“I disagree,” Mr. Garnett says. “It completely held to the assignment’s directions. It was very compelling.”

Someone else whispers loudly, “Her name should be changed from Grub to Grinch.”

I now sponsor a poetry club called Writer’s Ink. My poets write both written and spoken word poems and enter contests and competitions. I am always amazed at the ideas and images they create with their words. It’s an opportunity for them to speak their truths, to be seen and heard, and to be accepted. I hope readers of this book will enjoy the activities shared, and if you want to try your hand at a RAFT, I’d love for you to share it with me. 😊

BLURB

Cici’s junior year in high school is going to be the best year ever. Popular co-captain of the varsity cheerleading team, she’s dating the starting quarterback. Even her jealous co-captain’s attempts to steal her boyfriend can’t curb her enthusiasm.

When her mom moves in with her fiancé, a handsome, wealthy man, only one small detail threatens Cici’s perfect life. The school’s social pariah is about to become her stepsister, and Cici wants nothing to do with her.

Everything changes when someone Cici cares about throws her life into a tailspin, and the one person Cici couldn’t stand becomes her only ally.

Warning: This story contains scenes of sexual assault.

Available on Amazon and Smashwords

Author Bio

Yvette M. Calleiro is a heavily addicted reader of both young adult and adult novels. She spends most of her time pseudo-living in paranormal worlds with her fictional friends (and boyfriends). When she’s living among real people, Yvette M. Calleiro is a middle school Reading and Language Arts teacher. She’s been sharing her love of literature with her students for over twenty years. Besides writing about the various characters that whisper (and sometimes scream) in her head, she enjoys traveling, watching movies, spending quality time with family and friends, and enjoying the beauty of the ocean.

Yvette lives in Miami, Florida, with her incredible son who has embraced her love for paranormal and adventurous stories. She also shares her space with an assortment of crazy saltwater animals in her 300-gallon tank.

Amazon Links

HYPE

The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 1)

The One Enlightened (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 2)

The One Betrayed (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 3)

The One Revealed (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 4)

The One Awakened (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 5)

The One Chosen – A Diasodz Short Story

Breathless – A Short Story

Amazon Author Page

Social Media Links

Author Blog

Twitter

Facebook 

Goodreads

To follow along with the rest of this tour, please visit Yvette M Calleiro’s  tour page.

May Book Reviews Part 3! @ElizabethMerry1 @mhurdle112 @teagangeneviene @harmony_kent #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #bookreviews #mustread #indieauthors

MINUS ONE: With Haikus and Other Poems: The Story of a Life

by Elizabeth Merry

“Minus One” is a wonderful collection of poems that took me on an emotional journey. There was a mixture of Haikus and free verse that offered an insight into the highs and lows of life. Plus, there was the bonus of lovely pictures. Here are a few of my favorite passages: Seascapes, “Damp knees in the damp sand. Uneasy in the stillness, /watching for the yellow hair of fairies, /hidden in the tide, their voices from another world,” Haikus, “Blessed, healing rain/soaks my parched skin and/flushes out all grief,” and more Haikus, “Broken by the storm/branches bent as if with grief/hold their beauty yet.” A beautiful read that any poetry lover would enjoy.


Tina Lost in a Crowd

by Miriam Hurdle(Author), Victoria Skakandi (Illustrator) 

“Tina Lost in a Crowd” is a sweet children’s book for beginning readers and parents reading to them. I loved the beautiful illustrations that enriched the story and the fact this was based on an actual event. Tina, who just finished 3rd grade, invited a friend to go on a family excursion to see a symphony and fireworks. Everything was going perfectly until intermission, and the girls needed to use the restroom. I loved how Tina and her friend handled being lost. It was a good lesson on how to handle a situation like this. As a parent, I know the fear of not finding a child, and reading this story with children allows talking about what to do if it happens. I’ll be adding the paperback to my collection for my grandchildren, and we’ll be reading it together—a wonderful debut children’s book by Ms. Hurdle.


Dead of Winter, Journey 4, The Old Road

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I love the journey Ms. Geneviene has taken us on, so far, with this series. In this installment, “The Old Road,” the focus is more on the Deae Matres, with more attention going to Boabhan. The Lady in Green, Boabhan, intrigues me, and I feel like there is so much more to uncover. With peril surrounding this group, Emlyn finds herself in constant danger. I don’t want to say too much, but I was happy with returning characters and terrified of ones who made an appearance. I enjoyed this being a longer read than the first three, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!


The Vanished Boy

by Harmony Kent

“The Vanished Boy” is a terrifying glimpse into an 18-year-old’s disappearance. Carole is a widow who never stopped grieving. When her only child, Jayden, left a cryptic message on her cell phone and then didn’t return home from a party, she began searching for him. I couldn’t imagine being in her place, yet I felt all her pain as I read it. Finding his laptop, Carole began digging into her son’s digital life. This is when the realization came that she didn’t really know her son. That was a great insight into how the internet allows us to reach out to others yet be more distant from the ones we love. Carole is a strong character that was relatable and determined. Her relationship with her sister felt very real, and the love for her son pushed her beyond any normal limits. As I kept reading, I formulated some theories, but I couldn’t have guessed the outcome. This is a well-written story that was hard to put down, and I highly 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!

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

“The Button” Research


pay phone

My research is usually limited for fiction, especially when I create my own villain. The Button had some necessary fact-checking being set in 1983. Although, I lived through this time period I can’t remember a timeline of when things came out or happened. So, luckily the internet helped me out.

First thing I checked was the music. I wanted to make sure that songs I talked about was timely and had been released by September of 83—even earlier if club bands were playing the music.

Fashion was another area I dove into. Stacy wanted to make a fashion statement by imitating Madonna. Was the timing right for that? I found Madonna’s popularity started that year, so I limited her influence to lace gloves.

In 1983 I didn’t use a cell phone to contact someone, instead there was the public pay phone. What I couldn’t remember was did it still cost a dime to make a call–it did. Was 9-1-1 around? Yes.  TV’s were different and much heavier than they are now, but you could connect it to a format that was making its way into households: a VHS player. Watch a movie any time you wanted or record a show to watch later? Amazing in 83. There were no satellite radio options in a car so you didn’t have to listen to all the commercials, but there were cassette players (or as in my case) an 8-track player where you could control that and what you listened to.

Yes, there were some obvious differences thirty-five years ago in: music, fashion and technology, but why 1983? Although it was the year I got married, I had planned on using 1981.  But, I wanted to use the quote, “Can I see your papers please” from a Clint Eastwood movie; so I pushed the story-line up to 1983 to accommodate that. This particular quote was something my husband used to say quite often so you can understand why I wanted to use it. He is almost as big of fan of quoting movies as Kent is in “The Button”.

The opening bar scene was based off a few of my youthful observations at a trendy dance club, a biker bar, a rocker bar, and a bar that did showcase male strippers. These were the places that would take my “fake” ID before I was “of age” to drink. I clumped them all together into this fictional bar.

Fact checking was also different in the 80s. If we were sitting around and wondered about something, we’d have to look it up in an encyclopedia. There was a hotline, I remember, that offered information– or Ask your librarian. It came in handy when we played some of our board games or had a person who insisted they were right.

There was no research when it came to things that happened to me. The eight-hour coma was real and came from my memories, but then it was twisted into the story. I didn’t have a conversation with angels like Lynn did. I did grow up in an alcoholic house where there were parenting issues and a blended family. Yet, Lynn Hill’s family bears no resemblance to my real family, including the step brother Warren. I added a couple of things scattered throughout the book a person or two will recognize. That was for the love and friendships that endured over the years.

So, know I always try to get my facts straight now and in the past.

Get your copy here: Amazon


The Button Giveaway has begun! Enter here for a chance to win a new Kindle Fire or other great prizes:

The Button Giveaway Link

 

Note: You can also find the link at the bottom of this page and on my Facebook page under giveaway.


Embrace your inner child with a good book, D.L. Finn