Books That Changed Me: Winter Edition @startrailsIV @BeemWeeks @MaeClair1 @W_Angels_Wings

deck night snow

Winter has officially arrived here in Nevada City, CA bringing with it the shortest day of the year. I’m one of those crazy people who love the cold weather and snow. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the Bay Area and only saw it snow properly in Lake Tahoe for the first time as a teen. I was fascinated trying to watch each beautiful snowflake make its way to the frozen ground. I quickly learned if I tried to do that, I’d get motion sickness. So, I enjoyed the entire show without singling out just a part of the beauty. Now I get to see it snow every season. Some years more than others, but it’s always a welcome moment when the rain changes over to snow. Sitting 1000 feet above town we are more likely to see snow at our house, but it is a spectacular sight after the little mining town of Nevada City is draped in snow. When the whiteness does take over our landscape you might find me out building a snow-person, snowshoeing or attempting to cross country ski. Later around the crackling fire it’s nice to cuddle up and read a book with a cup of hot tea or cocoa !

Here is my winter selection for “Books That Changed Me” that would be perfect reading during those cold winter nights–or days.


The humor, story line, the intricate details, aliens, robots, area 51 and a plant blended together into this incredible story. Thyron the plant became a favorite of mine in the story and beyond the story he’s one of my favorite all-time characters. This was not only fun, but made me wonder more about what really goes on underground in Area 51. Science fiction hasn’t been what I’d pick to read first in the past, but this book changed my mind about the genre.

area 51 pic

The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51 (Star Trails Tetralogy)

By Marcha A Fox

I jumped right into the seventh book of the Star Trails Tetralogy series and hoped I wouldn’t be completely lost not having read the previous books—I wasn’t! What I found was an amazingly well-written science fiction story set in the 1970’s with my new favorite character: Thyron the highly intelligent plant. I was immediately drawn into the story with the spaceship ending up on earth while a plant was hiding from authorities. Soon, the ships passengers: a young human girl, a robot, and Thyron ended up “contained” in area 51. An astrobiologist Gabe, is called in to help with the plant-life. Gabe soon finds out his sensitivity, helps him communicate with Thyron. This was my favorite part of the book. It was insightful and humorous with the relationship between human and plant. There’s also a lot of depth and research that makes this a fascinating journey with aliens, humans, plants and robots. The ending fueled my imagination. I’ll be reading the rest of this series and hope to explore and learn more about Thyron and friends! I highly recommend this book!


I have always enjoyed historical fiction, blending two things I love: history and storytelling into one book. “Jazz Baby” really took me to roaring twenties in Mississippi down to the dialog.  The descriptions were so beautifully written the book would be worth reading for that alone, but the story…wow. If I could have reached into the pages of this book and intervened on Baby’s behalf, I would have. That is how engaging (and stressful for the mom-me) this story is.

jazz baby pic

Jazz Baby

By Beem Weeks

I get excited when I come across a novel that completely draws me in.  Mr. Weeks, wrote one of these books. It’s a historical fiction set in the roaring twenties in Mississippi and New Orleans. It is told from young teenager Emily Ann’s perspective. Born into a poor family, Emily Ann (or Baby as she was called) had a dream of becoming a jazz singer. She would do anything to achieve this and unfortunately, others preyed on her stubborn- innocence. It was painful to read what she endured, while her lack of emotion seemed to be what got her through it. Many times, I found my motherly side thinking, no please don’t do that, but this character was determined to do things her way. The story, through beautifully written words, shows the reader the darker side of prohibition, poverty, and poor parenting. I highly recommend this book.​


I went back and forth between this book and “Cusp Of The Night”. I love them both for different reasons, but ended up choosing this because it was the first book of Mae Clair’s that I read. I find this book to be not only entertaining but carefully researched on not only the paranormal, but the town’s history. To include a murder, mystery and romance had me hooked for the entire series. The town felt real and the monster, both human and otherwise, even more real. This blend of mystery/paranormal with romance thrown in is a favorite genre of mine to read so when I find a new author that has all of this– I’m very happy.

mae clair pic

A Thousand Yesteryears (Point Pleasant)

by Mae Clair

“A Thousand Yesteryears (Point Pleasant)” is an amazingly well-written paranormal thriller. After Eva Parrish leaves her hometown with her family, (after a tragic incident) she returns after her aunt dies. She finds herself not only dealing with the estate, but with someone who doesn’t want her there. The past still haunts Eva, and the rest of the town. Eva is thrust into a mystery that spans over two decades. She is helped by an unlikely friend, and a family from her childhood. Ms. Clair not only focuses the story on the Mothman legend of Point Pleasant, but give her readers, a mystery, romance, murder, and redemption.  I loved, not only the characters, but the depth, and surprise that went along with the main story. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, and have preordered the third book. It only took one book to become a fan of this author. I highly recommend this book–if you love mystery with a paranormal twist.​


Bonus read:

I can’t say enough about how impressed and inspired I am about this new writer. Her story is amazing and creative. It will be sitting under the Christmas tree for my grand kids. After we read it together I can’t wait to share with them that she is around their age. But age and awards aside, it’s a great book to share with your kids and grand kids. I also read the next book in the series and posted the review in last week’s blog. Another hit.

daisy pic

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful 

by Ellie Collins

“Daisy, Bold & Beautiful” is a sweet story geared for 9 to 12-year-old readers.  Ms. Collins tells the story of a young girl D.J. who moves to a new town with her father, after her mother’s death. She has to start a new school and make new friends.  It’s well-written and I could sympathize with her getting onto the bus knowing no one and heading for a new sixth grade experience. D.J. quickly makes friends and learns about herself along the way. I loved the relationship between father and daughter as well as her new friends.   What makes this story so interesting is what happens when she goes to bed and her experiences in another realm. This book for middle grade readers drew me in, but the amazing part was it was written by a middle grade writer!  This is a children’s book I highly recommend and a new author I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!


I hope you enjoyed my four seasons of “Books That Changed Me”. These are all books that evoked deep emotions from me while reading. They gave me hope, made me wonder, had me on the edge of my seat, or took me to new amazing places and worlds. I always walked away from these books, just a little different for having read them. I have to send out my thanks to all the authors who provided this for me–and their readers. Know, I wasn’t able to list all the books that delivered that “change” for me. I hope to do something similar next year so I can thank them, too!

If you missed any editions of “Books That Changed Me” I have them all listed on my website under: Indie Books Read. These books that changed me are ones I’d proudly give as a gift any time of the year! Happy first day of winter!

Embrace your inner child with a good book this winter! Happy holidays and New Year to you and yours! Sending you all lots of warm holiday hugsD.L. Finn, the Trailblazer & Cats: Thunder, Rupert, Chester, Coco, Alice & Dogs: Sara & Hermie!

Final Book Reviews for 2018! @W_Angels_Wings @woodheat @stacitroilo @Sandra_Cox @Lizzie_Chantree @MarciaMeara

 

The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody Kindle Edition

by Marcia Meara

This is the second novella in the series with the Emissaries, Jake and Dodger, working for Archangel Azrael. There’s the same depth and humor in this heartfelt tale that I enjoyed in “The Emissary”. I loved the developing relationship between Jake and Dodger as they work to save people from themselves. Dodger’s regret adds a new layer to this story. I can’t wait to see how that works out…and how Azrael plays into that. This is a perfect Christmas read, but would be great any time of the year. There was an amazing ending and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next. If you haven’t read the first novella–you should–then you can fully enjoy this highly recommended sequel!


Mylee in the Mirror (Greek Mythology Fantasy Series Book 2) Kindle Edition

by Ellie Collins

This is another great book in the Greek Mythology Fantasy Series. While the first book dealt with sixth grader D.J., Persephone and a move including a new school, “Mylee in the Mirror” takes on high school, Aphrodite, dating, change and expectations. The opening of the book drew me right in with a surprise and I was hooked. Mylee is moving her beloved grandmother into assisted living; her parents are fighting, and the most popular guy in school asks her out–making life confusing for her. But even with all that was going on at least Mylee had her best friends and trampoline and tumbling. The characters are well-written and the relationships realistic. Mylee’s home life felt genuine, and the connection between her and her grammy was sweet. I loved the life lessons about being true to yourself, that applied to the adults in the story, too. Adding in the magic of a Greek Goddess and her interactions with Mylee made this story a lot of fun and exciting to read. I’m looking forward to the next book and highly recommend this imaginative book and amazing young author.


Merry Ex-mas

by Michael Lynes

This is a short science fiction tale of a group of humans traveling to a new planet. Holly’s the only one awake on her shift when an object is spotted coming directly at them. It’s been nine long years of traveling and what happens next brought a smile to my face. I loved the blend of sci-fi and the fantasy of Christmas into one magical story. If you like holiday-themed stories I highly recommend this to you!


When We Finally Kiss Goodnight

by Staci Troilo

“When We Finally Kiss Goodnight” is a steamy romance with an interesting story line that kept me turning the pages. Chloe hoped to leave her life behind with a new job interview in Pittsburgh. What she didn’t count on is running into her college crush who broke her heart, Britt. My favorite part was the tension between Britt and Chloe with their unsaid assumptions and how that played out in conversations. The things being left unsaid with the obvious attraction between them and the potential for growth was intriguing. I especially liked the trip they took to Gettysburg and the legend Chloe ran into along the way. This is a satisfying feel-good holiday short story that I recommend if you are a fan of passionate romance.


Moon Watchers (Hunters Book 2)

by  Sandra Cox

“Moon Watchers” is the second in the Hunters series. The story veers from hunting “vamps” with Zoe on Vampire Island to “weres” with Zoe’s cousin, Jolene, in the snowy forest of Minnesota. It starts with an immediate encounter with both werewolves–and Braden who just shows up to help out. This sweet and exciting YA book has a couple of twists along the way. I love Jolene’s no-nonsense, fearless personality and how it interacts with the mysterious handsome Braden who seems to be hiding a secret. I could easily picture myself in the cabin she’d just inherited. I adored the quaint town she ventured into to get her cup of coffee and supplies. I found this an enjoyable adventure that kept me reading late into the night like the first book did. If you’re a fan of vampires, werewolves and their hunters, along with a sweet romance, I recommend this series for both adults and younger readers.


If You Love Me, I’m Yours

by Lizzie Chantree

This was a fun and lighthearted story about a girl named Maud stuck in a sensible life. She’s a teacher who loves to paint. Only her best friend Daisy backs her talent, not her sensible parents. This leads Maud to an art gallery opening after Daisy submits her painting. The night changes her life and leads her to a new friendship with Dot and a new love interest. I love the relationship she develops with Dot. It is changing as they both change within it. She also finds herself with two love interests and a few surprises along the way. The book’s title is how Maud expresses her talent by leaving gifts of her work for others to enjoy, which made me smile. It was fun being immersed into the world of art. I recommend this story especially if you like a good love story with friendship and self-growth mixed in–I know I enjoyed it.


UPDATES:

Watch for an early edition of the monthly newsletter, Monday 12-17-18.

I will have “Books That Changed Me–Winter Edition”  as my last post of the year on December 21st. I’ll be back on 1-6-19.

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book in 2019! D.L. Finn

 

June Book Reviews

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful 

by Ellie Collins

“Daisy, Bold & Beautiful” is a sweet story geared for 9 to 12-year-old readers.  Ms. Collins tells the story of a young girl D.J. who moves to a new town with her father, after her mother’s death. She has to start a new school and make new friends.  It’s well-written and I could sympathize with her getting onto the bus knowing no one and heading for a new sixth grade experience. D.J. quickly makes friends and learns about herself along the way. I loved the relationship between father and daughter as well as her new friends.   What makes this story so interesting is what happens when she goes to bed and her experiences in another realm. This book for middle grade readers drew me in, but the amazing part was it was written by a middle grade writer!  This is a children’s book I highly recommend and a new author I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!


PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction) Short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP

by Bette A. Stevens

“Pure Trash” is a charming and insightful glance into rural 1955 as we are taken through a day with two boys: Shawn and Willie. They are poor and judged on the merit of their drunken father. Heading into town it is apparent they are considered, “pure trash”. They’re able to earn enough change to get some treats and play freely on the playground. An unforeseen accident confirms what Shawn already knows, they aren’t treated the same as everyone else. I can’t wait to read “Dog Bone Soup” to see what happens to the boys. I recommend this short story for children– as well as adults.


DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction): A Boomer’s Journey 

by Bette Stevens

“Dog Bone Soup” is a story told through a boy’s eyes as he grows up in a desperately poor family in the 50’s with an abusive-alcoholic father. Shawn spends time surviving and taking care of his family’s needs, as well as finding time to enjoy life with his brother. I wondered what dog bone soup was and quickly found out it came from Shawn having to get dog bones at the butcher, so his family could eat. Ms. Stevens’ descriptions of the era really pulled me into the story. I loved the relationship between Shawn and his younger brother Willie and the creative ways they found to supply the family with food. It was sad how people treated them and the pride the family had–that ended up hurting them at times. Using an outhouse and having to bring water in each day when everyone else had indoor plumbing was made worse when the father made sure he had electricity for his TV. This was one of many examples of what four children had to endure from a selfish father and a mother struggling to care for her family. A beautifully written coming of age story that I can highly recommend!


If Only There Was Music. The Poetry of Forbidden Love 

by Nonnie Jules (Author), Giani Jordan (Author)

This is a beautiful book of poetry with the first half written from the female’s perspective and the second through the male’s. “If Only There was Music. The Poetry of Forbidden Love” does something unique–it tells a story through the poetry. Each poem shows the pain and longing for their forbidden love. I like that the female and male side are written by different authors making it all the more real. The images and rhythm of the words held me captive– reading late into the night. It reminded me just how strong real love is, even at a distance. If you love poetry, like I do, you will love this book!


…AND THE MUSIC PLAYED: A Short Story

by Nonnie Jules

I just finished reading: “If Only There Was Music. The Poetry of Forbidden Love” the book of poetry that precedes this short story. Instead of going to sleep I had to know how it all ended and immediately started reading “…And the Music Played”. The couple in a forbidden love were both married to other people. Christine in an abusive marriage, and Giani in a loveless one. A murder plot is twisted into this love story nicely with plenty of action. I was drawn in and rooting for Christine and Giani. You can read this well-written short story as a stand-alone, but I recommend you read the book of poetry first.


There will be no blog on June 10th because my husband and I will be celebrating our 35th Wedding Anniversary. It is a weekend trip with our long, long trailer by the ocean! Be back on June 17th!

Watch for special edition blogs on June 5th and 15th!

Embrace that inner child by reading an amazing indie book! D.L. Finn