September Book Reviews Part 3! @AnnikaPerry68 @StephenGeez @teagangeneviene #WritingCommunity #BookReviews #WhatToRead

 

Oskar’s Quest

by Annika Perry Author, and Gabrielle Vickery, Illustrator

I purchased “Oskar’s Quest” as a gift for my youngest granddaughter’s upcoming birthday and wanted to read and review it before wrapping it up. It is a charming story about a young bird, Oskar, who fearfully veers off from his group of birds hunting for dragons. He finds a sad little island where a cloud has taken the songbird. I love how the little bird finds his courage in a search for the songbird. This story teaches not only to push past fears but to understand each other. The illustrations are colorful and bring the story to life. I enjoyed this tale and can’t wait to share it with my granddaughter soon!


Comes This Time To Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez

by Stephen Geez

“Comes This Time to Float” is an impressive collection of short stories that cover many genres. I enjoyed all of them, but “Vapor Girl,” “Comes Time to Float,” and “Age Eater” were some of the very favorites that I know will stick with me for a while. Each fictional piece had a common thread of attention to detail and emotions that drew me in. Before each story, Mr. Geez shared why he wrote or the history behind each one, which was fun to know. There was also an accompanying picture that added to my reading pleasure. There’s a lot of heart inside the 19 short tales, which I really felt in “Veneer,” but humor, intriguing insight, and variety were also woven in. It’s a wonderful read where each piece offers something different. A well-written collection that I can easily recommend.


Dead of Winter: Journey 8, The Lost Library

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I was excited to explore the Lost Library with the characters. It’s a place I’d definitely go, even with all the other stuff going on around, and in it. There was some insight into the Deae Matres and a glimpse into what Arawn was doing. Then comes a leap of faith to save not only a friend but the world. I thought I had some characters figured out but found I might be wrong. This one was fast-paced and full of new things to ponder. I can’t wait for Journey 9 to see where this all goes. I highly recommend the Dead of Winter Series, but make sure you’ve read the other journeys before reading this one!


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!

Happy Birthday, Jeffry!

Newsletter goes out tomorrow 🙂

Watch for “Books That Changed Me—Fall Edition” on September 22nd!

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

August Book Reviews Part 2! @teagangeneviene @pamelawight @RobertaEaton17 #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #bookreviews #mustread #indieauthors

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Ghost and His Gold

by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Michelle and Tom moved into a house that had once been the home of a Boer family. During their housewarming party, they played with a Ouija board and innocently opened the door to the past. From that night forward, three ghosts stayed and changed their lives, sometimes in terrifying ways. There was now a soldier from each side and one soldier’s daughter, Estelle, sharing the house with the couple. The past was my favorite part of the story, and Estelle’s narrative was riveting and heartbreaking. The storyline leads to why the ghosts wanted to be heard. This is a fantastic historical fiction with so much incredible detail mixed in with the current timeline where the past can be resolved. I learned a lot about South African history and applauded the author for how realistically the war was presented. If you love historical fiction mixed with a modern paranormal timeline, you will enjoy this read.


Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinary

by Pamela Wight

“Flashes of Life” is a charming collection of real-life tales. Ms. Wight shares micro-stories that are broken into eight sections and come from all stages of her life. Each one is a quick read that touches on everyday life. I could relate to each story. I found myself shaking my head in agreement with some of these tales, and a couple had me laughing out loud. I appreciated the gratitude weaved in, and it left me pondering on my blessings. The well-crafted writing brought me into Ms. Wight’s world, and I felt like I was sitting next to her on the beach, talking about life. A fantastic glimpse into the world of a daughter, mother, wife, friend, and grandmother. I highly recommend reading about these extraordinary ordinary tales!


Dead of Winter: Journey 7, Revenant Pass

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Journey 7 begins with a prologue that is pivotal to “Revenant Pass.” It not only explained what happened, but what is possible. I love how the reader gets to view the world through the evil eyes of Arawn for a bit. It offered an insight as to what the Deae Matres are dealing with. The group is still trapped in Realm of the Dead, and Emlyn is drawn to explore. This dark world is described beautifully in its chilling drabness. The group’s will to survive captures my attention while I’m rooting for them. I can’t wait to see where the next installment goes, and I’m enjoying my journey!


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 sweet inner child by reading a good book this summer! D. L. Finn

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

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

by Ellie Collins

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


Slivers: Chiseled Poetry

by Balroop Singh

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


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

by Yvette M Calleiro

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


I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

Embrace that inner summer child! Read a book 🙂 D. L. Finn

July Book Reviews Part 2—Birthday Poem! @Dwallacepeach @Sandra_Cox @Didi_Oviatt @jamescudney4 #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #bookreviews #mustread #indieauthors

Cover to The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

Weathering Old Souls

by James J. Cudney & Didi Oviatt

“Weathering Old Souls” is a unique collaboration that was seamlessly written. Abigail was living with an emotionally distant father, but luckily the family next door is there. Abigail has some issues that doctors believe need to be medicated, but that doesn’t happen. This allows a journey for Abigail to explore what is happening to her. Her research and insights not only take her to the south during slavery, the Titanic, and Japanese internment camps during WW2, but she finds a serial killer in the mix. Margaret, who was there for her growing up, became her big sister and biggest supporter. Told through more than one POV and several settings allows a complete look into what Abigail is dealing with throughout her youth into adulthood. I enjoyed the mystery and examining the idea of past lives. Although I recognized the serial killer when introduced, I was still drawn into how that would play out. The use of crystals and psychics was a nice addition to the story as she seeks answers. Good blend of genres and authors. If you enjoy a mystery with an uncommon other-worldly twist, this is for you.


Keeper Tyree

By Sandra Cox

“Keeper Tyree” is a fast-paced western that focuses on revenge. Keeper is a bounty hunter who has a reputation with women and fast draws. A widow, Cathleen, approaches him to find the man who killed her son. He reluctantly agrees to help her. After meeting Cathleen’s father and daughter, he sets off to find this criminal and collect his bounty. He doesn’t expect to be followed, though. I love the story is told from only Keeper’s POV and found it fascinating to see things from his perspective. There was good chemistry between Keeper and Cathleen with fun dialog. The settings were vivid, bringing me right into the story. I love the people they came across on this journey. A favorite became Maybell and her group. The action began immediately and never let up. This was a page-turner that I read in two sittings and would have in one if I hadn’t needed to sleep. It was nice to see a nod to another bounty hunter from a past book. If you love westerns with some romance and good characters, this book is for you. I highly recommend it.


The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

by D. Wallace Peach

I’ve been looking forward to reading The Ferryman and the Sea Witch because I love all things ocean and fantasy—and was not disappointed. When he was a young boy, Callum tried to save the sea merrow queen’s daughter tangled in fish netting. The crew paid for standing by, but Callum was offered a deal to never set foot on land and become the Ferryman. He was the only one allowed to cross the sea, if a human sacrifice was offered each crossing. So, Callum transported goods between two warring cities. Then comes the time for him to deliver more than goods. Secrets are revealed that change everything. I love how skillfully Ms. Peach weaves in the details and scenery. It makes a fantasy world seem very real. The characters were flawed and well-rounded, and I rooted for several outcomes and relationships. Beautifully written with dark undertones made this a story I didn’t want to put down. This is a book I highly recommend!

***

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!

NOTES & A Poem:

  1. I will be on vacation this week celebrating my birthday! So there will be no blog next Sunday, and I will be quiet on social media and blogs:)
  2.  Newsletters went out early yesterday because of vacation. Check your email if subscribed!

Now here is the poem I wrote years ago, and is in No Fairy Tale, about the first step on the moon. As a young girl, I really did believe that was part of my birthday gift. Since that moment, I’ve always been fascinated with the moon!

MOONWALK: JULY 20, 1969

The night loved me.

It was mutual.

The stars,

The quiet,

The crickets,

The moon—especially the moon.

Hours passed

In perfect silence,

Eyes staring

As the huge

Parental face

Stared back,

Its familiar glow

So far away.

All things were possible,

And just as impossible.

So, no surprise on my seventh birthday

When I watched and heard,

“That’s one small step for man,

One giant leap for mankind.”

The astronaut Neil Armstrong,

The spaceship Eagle,

The Sea of Tranquility

Were my gift.

I’m positive

That gentle, glowing face,

Swelling each month

So I can see its full magnificence,

Hasn’t forgotten me

Or the day

When man first encroached

On the moon and our innocence.

The moon still watches me,

And sometimes

I remember to look.

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

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

April Book Reviews Part 1! @JacqBiggar @Sandra_Cox @teagangeneviene @pat_garcia#IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #bookreviews #mustread #indieauthors

Turn The Light On

by Pat Garcia

“Turn the Light On” is an unusual short story with a lot of twists. Della is a successful career woman who has been meeting a man for dinner. Yet, they don’t sit at the same dinner table or speak except through book passages. None of that matters because she is drawn to him. A well-written romantic story full of mystery and intrigue. This is a story where I could never have guessed the outcome, and I thoroughly enjoyed that!

Dead of Winter: Journey 3, The Fever Field

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

This is the third installment of Dead of Winter, and so far, my favorite. I loved getting to know the youngest of the Deae Matres, Zasha. She has a passionate personality that drew me into her part of the story. The Deae Matres were searching for answers, which lead them to the Fever Field or a graveyard. Then the story returned to Emlyn, and I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what happened to her. I’m loving this story and can’t wait to see where the next journey goes.

Queen of Diamonds

by Sandra Cox

“Queen of Diamonds” was a lot of fun and kept me on the edge of my seat. A best-selling author, Logan, and his assistant, Kendall, spent three years working together, yet Logan didn’t really know her. Kendall had a secret life that no one knew about. She went beyond what most would do for their family. That path led her to a secret life that was completely opposite of what people thought of her. It made the book a page-turner to see what would happen next. The interaction between Kendall and Logan was entertaining, but I really loved the relationship that developed between Logan and Kendall’s family. A quick but satisfying read that kept me guessing how it would resolve itself until the very end. If you love suspenseful romance with a strong female character, this book is for you.

The Lady Said No: An Augustus Grant Mystery- Book 1 (An Augustus Grant Mystery-Prequel)

by Jacquie Biggar

“The Lady Said No” is a murder mystery, with some romance, set in Kentucky in the 1950s. Detective Augustus Grant, Gus, is sent to investigate what appeared to be a suicide of a prominent horse breeder. Rebecca, the woman Gus had left behind to become a detective, works for this family. When Gus realizes the death wasn’t self-inflicted, Rebecca is on the list of suspects. This sets up a nice inner battle between his heart and head. I loved the setting, horses, and era, although the time frame made the role of a single mother more of a struggle. I admired Rebecca’s independence and her ability to support her child alone. Then there was something charming about the Detective, and it was beneficial that most underestimated him. This is a quick read that kept me guessing until the exciting end. I really enjoyed this and hope there will be more Detective Grant books coming. I can easily recommend this book, especially if you like a cozy mystery.

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!

Had a wonderful vacation, and I’m happy to be back! I shared a couple of pictures on Instagram and Facebook:)

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

Dolphin’s Cave Book Reviews #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #indiebooks #ChildrenBook #YABook #Fantasy #reviews

I released my YA/middle grade “Dolphin’s Cave” at the end of 2020. I had a couple of blogs leading up to it and announced its release. Then, I got busy and didn’t do much after that.

So, I thought a blog would be in order to share what others are saying about this book.

Here are the last three reviews are taken directly from Amazon:

Cathleen Townsend

Coral has always wanted to go to Hawaii, ever since her parents died there when she was only a kid. A recurring dream has visited her every night since—she rides a dolphin to an underwater cave. Only there will she find the answers she seeks about her parents’ death. But she always wakes up before she discovers what really happened.

Shortly before her sixteenth birthday, she’s thrilled to learn her aunt and some friends are taking her to Hawaii for Christmas. Coral loves the ocean, and she doesn’t get to see it very often, living as she does in a desert near Reno, Nevada.

But once they arrive in Hawaii, disquieting events steal some of her joy. Her aunt has met a new guy—nothing wrong with that—but this one seems to be nothing but a weasel. When Coral’s aunt nearly gets run over in the street, he merely stands there and watches. And everywhere they go, people seem to be taking their picture. Not just catching them in group photos, but specifically shooting photos of them, as if they were celebrities or something.

But then matters turn dangerous. Her aunt is hospitalized, the result of a near-fatal car crash. Coral can’t afford to ignore all the strange things going on anymore, or some of them may never make it home…

***

Dolphin’s Cave is a YA coming-of-age story that should appeal to fans of teen adventures, especially ones who love dolphins.


JanS
Fifteen-year-old Coral is a typical teenager except she’d lost her parents at the age of eight and lives with an aunt. Oh, and she has this recurring dream every night where she rides on a dolphin’s back to another world that can only be accessed from deep within the ocean. Try as she may, she can never reach the end of the dream and enter the golden city. Then a trip to Hawaii with her aunt and family friends changes everything. Coral is convinced that going to the place where her parents’ plane went down will bring her answers. And it does, but not what she is expecting. This YA has a bit of everything from spies and murder to magic, and budding young love. This author did a fantastic job of world-building. Once Coral enters the Golden City, or Mearth, the descriptive writing put me inside the book with the characters and I ooohed and ahhed over the amazing architecture, dragons, strange food, and shape-shifting animals. This story will spark the imagination of any reader. It is a well-written fantasy with a touch of realism.

March Book Reviews Part 1! @PTLPerrin @ColleenChesebro @teagangeneviene @harmony_kent #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #BookReviews #WhatToRead #MustRead

Slices of Soul

by Harmony Kent

“Slice of Soul” is a beautiful collection of poetry that tugged on my emotions. There is a story weaved into the poems that had a memoir feel to it. Each section was a narrative of the author progressing through periods of her life. So many feelings arose, but each one felt authentic and direct from the soul. I really connected to the ocean or guitar passages but appreciated each part of the journey. This is a book I will be reading again.

Dead of Winter: Journey 2, Penllyn
by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I loved the first journey and had been waiting for the second installment. The story begins where it left off with 12-year-old Emlyn, who lived in repressive religious times with powers she had to hide. The story was told from two points of view, Emlyn’s and Zasha. It gives an encompassing view of two strong young women. One can embrace herself, Zasha, and Emlyn, who can’t. The images and details paint a cold and cruel world Emlyn lives in with her family. I’m all in and rooting for Emlyn and Zasha. I can’t wait for the next journey and highly recommend “Dead of Winter.” Start from the beginning you don’t want to miss anything!

The Heart Stone Chronicles (The Swamp Fairy, #1)

by Colleen M. Chesebro

“The Heart Stone Chronicles” is a magical read for upper middle grade and the young at heart. Fourteen-year-old Abby is in the Chicago foster system after her drug-addicted father abandons her. She is sent to her only living relative, her father’s sister, who lived in rural Florida. The story began for me when she set foot in her new town. I fell in love with the area, wondering if I’d like to live there. I was glad her aunt turned out to be nice, and Abby made a friend right away. Then Abby finds out she’s inherited swamp land from her mother, who had died a few years before, and someone has put in an offer to buy it. The relationship between Abby and her aunt was heartwarming, and I liked her new best friend, Savannah. The local bullies seemed realistic, and Mr. Cobb, who had to have Abby’s swamp, no matter what it took. That was a bit terrifying how far he’d go. My favorite part of the story was Abby’s gift to communicate with animals. Never ridden a horse, Abby’s ability allowed her and the horse to bond, so she could easily ride him. I could almost feel the wind blowing my hair as Abby rode across the field on her horse. Meeting the swamp fairies was beautifully illustrated and captivating. This story was well-paced, with a gentle reminder about the importance of nature that I appreciated. I recommend this to all who love fairies, which I do. I’m hoping there will be another book to continue exploring with Abby and the fairies.

Terra’s Anthem: The TetraSpehere Series: Book 4 (TetraSphere)

by P.T.L. Perrin

I have thoroughly enjoyed this YA series. The fate of the world depends on four teenagers, and it’s been a pleasure watching them grow, and relationships develop. Told in the first person through the four teens gives a good insight into what they are going through. There are many twists and turns in this final book, and when I think they are safe, something happens. There’s plenty of action in this sci-fi tale with some romance mixed in, and I fell in love with the newest addition in their group. The alien community has good and bad, or the same as the humans, which deepened the storyline. One alien is particularly bad and extremely easy to root against. The detail in descriptions is amazing and makes it effortless to picture the surroundings. The ending was satisfying, with another twist weaved in. If you love a good sci-fi YA story, this is definitely for you. I highly recommend this series, but make sure you begin with the first book—you don’t want to miss 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!

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

Final winter book reviews!

I’m working on my”Currently Reading” list over on Goodreads. Right now, I’m reading: The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51 by Marcha A. Fox! Here are my latest books read:

The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles: Book 2, Finding Billy Battles Trilogy 

by Ronald E. Yates

This is the second book of the “Finding Billy Battles” trilogy and begins where “An Account of Peril, Transgression, and Redemption” left off. While the first book centered on the wild west, this book opens with Billy taking a trip to the far east after his beloved wife dies. The journey on the SS China is one of my favorite parts of the series, so far. Seeing 1894 through his eyes is riveting. I could easily picture each place the ship stopped including Oahu before it was built up into the tropical city it is now. On the boat he meets a German Baroness, Katharina who pulls Billy into her story and her life. When Billy reaches his destination (after parting with the Baroness and dealing with pirates) he reconnects with old friends. Here, he’s pulled into a battle between the French and the locals. Finally, it is time for Billy to make his way home and be reunited with his family and daughter. That doesn’t last though, when he is requested to go back to the Philippines for Katharina’s brother and they become involved in the Spanish-American war. This is a part of history I admit to knowing little about: the colonization of the Philippines or the French Indonesia. Mr. Yates has not only detailed it but made it interesting. Although, this isn’t just about wars and history, there are very intriguing relationships that develop including another romance for Billy! This is a stand-alone book, I wouldn’t miss reading the first Billy Battles. I highly recommend this series if you love a good historical fiction with a lot of amazing details or just love a well told tale–this is both!


The Hat

By C.S. Boyack

I loved this fantasy novella by Mr. Boyack! Lizzie St. Laurent loses not only her grandmother and her place to live but is left without any mementos to remember her by. This is when Lizzie decides to grab a box from the truck loaded with her grandmother’s things and leaves. This quick decision changes her life. She soon finds herself with a living hat and a family history she was unaware of. The conversations between Lizzie and the hat had me laughing out loud. When a baby is kidnapped, the hat suggests Lizzie and the hat work together to find him. The concept of an inanimate object being alive is intriguing to me and “The Hat” accomplishes this well. This had everything I enjoy in a story, action, humor, depth, and unusual characters—plus, who wouldn’t want a talking hat with magical powers? I highly recommend this if you love fantasy and paranormal themes– or are looking for something different. I’m hoping there will be more stories with Lizzie and the hat!


June the Prune and Lady Bird: Cancer Stinks! Kids and Pets Cracking the Power Code 

by Gracie Bradford

This is a children’s book that tells the story of ten-year-old June who lives with her brother and dysfunctional mother. She finds a puppy, Lady Bird, and the children take care of it until it finally becomes a part of their family–and her best friend. June is an A student who is thrust into the role of caretaker more often than she should be. Luckily, her grandma is involved, or G-Mom, and that helps the children to have more stability and love. Her mother marries and brings an uncaring stepfather and four unfriendly steps siblings into the house. But, June gets an amazing trip with her grandmother and brother across Europe–where the kids bring joy to the tour group. Unfortunately, right after is when June gets sick and ends up fighting cancer in the hospital. This part of the book is very emotional and drew me deep into the story. I was extremely invested into June’s outcome and her bravery through an unthinkable situation for any child going through cancer treatments. This is a book I’d recommend for kids and adults to read—and to understand.


 

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