Today the fairies and I are visiting fellow Story Empire Author, Harmony Kent! Not only does she offer her support to indie authors, but she a wonderful writer. Her book, The Vanished Boy, made the Summer Edition of “Books That Changed Me.” Stop by and say hello to us!
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.
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.
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.
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 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
“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” 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.
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” 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
“Fallout” is a post-apocalyptic story that left me thinking and then rethinking again. Set in space where humans settle after the earth becomes uninhabitable, a virus is released changing their way of life. My favorite character, Priya is alone and brutally attacked. Her strength and relationships with the other characters had me rooting for her, and I loved the pet she acquired. Told through several POVs, the reader gets a full picture of a complicated situation that I enjoyed. The characters are flawed and realistic. It surprised me how many times there was a new twist I wasn’t expecting. This is a glimpse into the human condition where power, lies, and manipulation have taken over society. Ms. Kent skillfully gives us a dark peek into a possible future in the hands of a cruel leader. This is a great science fiction read that I recommend.
This is a thoughtful collection that shows life through potent images. There are three sections Love, Harmony, and Life, but the essence of existence connects it all. I was drawn to the sweet poetry dedicated to Ms. Singh’s grandchildren, and “Redwoods” was a favorite, but I fully enjoyed the beautiful words throughout the book. I love how nature is mixed into the poems and felt like I was sitting next to Ms. Singh watching the sunset with her. There is a surreal quality to “Moments We Love” that shows another way of looking at things. I highly recommend this collection if you are a fan of poetry.
I read “Shardai (Cats of Catarau #1)” and loved it. So, I had very high expectations for this story and wasn’t disappointed! Makita died and was in a beautiful place but insisted on using a life to go back to her best friend, Bennie, the dog. He needed her was her only thought. I’m a huge fan of animals, especially cats, and Ms. Cox has a way of getting into a cat’s mind that makes me believe and root for them. A darker subject was introduced into this tale, a Pit Bull fighting-ring. My heart broke, thinking of all the pain and suffering these animals go through for greed and profit. Luckily the sadness balances out with the ingenuity of the animals, along with trust, and loyalty. It was a heartwarming story of a cat and her devotion to her animal family. If you love animals, especially cats and dogs, this novel is for you.
I bought this anthology because I was already a fan of Robbie Cheadle. I loved her historical fiction based on real-life stories as expected, but the other authors and their work also intrigued me. This collection is a great variety that includes horror, sci-fi, suspense, and mystery set in various locations that all held my attention. There’s a brief introduction to each author, and I enjoyed getting to know them before reading. It’s a great assortment of short stories and a fantastic way to be introduced to new authors. I highly recommend “Death Among Us.”
This was set in ancient Egypt, but it reminded me of ancient Rome, too. A young girl Kalli was taken from her family for a test all girls go through once they reach puberty. Her life changed in horrible ways from that point. It was a cruel and brutal world she found herself a part of that forced strength from her. While I bonded and rooted for Kalli, there were other storylines giving a complete picture of her situation. After an animal was killed in the beginning, I almost put the story down. I didn’t though because it already invested me in it. My first thought was that person who did that needed to pay for that cruelty. I felt a lot of emotions reading this, which speaks well for Ms. Scott’s ability to tap into that. This is a full story that dives deeply into the dark side of humanity with betrayal, greed, power, slavery, and privilege. I will be reading the next installment to see what happens to Kalli next.
A young girl named, Evelyn, didn’t believe in the unseen or magic. Evelyn finds out whether it is real or not in this sweet story. I found the characters charming, full of wonder, and uncertainty. The last line summed up my personal belief, which I won’t share here and ruin the ending. I will definitely be reading this with my grandchildren!
Embrace your inner child by reading a great book! D. L. Finn
I’m excited to have author, Harmony Kent, here today to celebrate her new soon to be released book, “Fallout.” I’ve pre-ordered my copy.
Hi, everyone. Harmony here. Many thanks to Denise for hosting me today. I have a new book on pre-order called FALLOUT, which is a post-apocalyptic dystopia. This novel started out life by playing a little game. I sat and closed my eyes and imagined an empty room … in that room, a vial appeared. A dull orange plastic thing covered in scratches. It sloshed when I shook it. From that tiny beginning, the world of Exxon 1 and its deadly virus was born.
Who’s stalking Priya and Kaleb?
Could it be an infected? …
Someone even more sinister?
WHEN EVERYTHING FALLS APART, WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The year is 3040.
The location is Exxon 1, part of a six-planet system in settled space.
Determined to avoid the mistakes of old Earth, the surviving humans avoided democracy and opted, instead, for a non-elective totalitarian system.
The new way worked well, until now.
A crazy, despotic president releases a nano-virus on the population.
No one was ready for the fallout. It came anyway.
In this post-apocalyptic world, can you stay safe?
This night brought utter blackness, with not a single hint of red from the moons. A ferocious dust storm earlier in the afternoon had left the skies thick and full and unbreathable. Priya laboured to get air through her filter mask, unused to its suffocating bulk and the effort required to breathe through it.
Anyone interested in following their trail would have an easy time of it, for they left vivid footprints in the dust that lay thick on the ground. Every once in a while, she had to use her sleeve to wipe her visor clean so that she could see her way forward.
The heavy particles blanketed the world and brought a preternatural quiet, much like when it snowed. You could lay in bed and know that white surrounded you without even looking out of the window. You only had to listen.
A couple of times, from the corner of her eye, Priya had caught a glimpse of a fleeting shadow. Too small for another raptor. Too quick to catch. And obscured by the tree cover and poor visibility in the aftermath of the storm.
The hairs on her neck prickled, and goosebumps ran up and down her arms and spine. The trail of prints bothered her. As did the blanketing effect of the dust. That flitting shadow could be someone or merely a figment of her imagination.
After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.
Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.
Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.
This is Mr. Coon’s debut YA novel. There were many things I loved about this story. I enjoyed a boy’s viewpoint, since I usually read YA’s through a girl’s perspective. The characters were strong, flaws and all, while the story line was unique. Ron moves to a small town, after his parent’s divorce, with his mother and little brother. He leaves his friends and soccer team behind. The first day at his new school, he ends up in detention. Ron’s introduced to some new friends, and a strange “town lore” that he brushes aside. But, things begin to happen, and people are disappearing. Ron seems to be in the middle of it all. Ron’s only goal up to this point had been to play soccer, but now he must pull himself out of that comfort zone. I recommend “Pandora Reborn” if you love a well-told paranormal YA with a bit of gore and romance thrown in.
“Hounded” is a full-out Zombie apocalypse with a lot of visual detail and gore. It had the feel and violence of the show “The Walking Dead”. Yet, it focused on animals over humans becoming Zombies which was a nice twist. There were two story lines focusing on brothers in different states. I like apocalypse scenarios, and Zombies thrown in are a bonus. Plus, there’re a lot of well-done descriptive passages of the carnage that goes along with these creatures. The Zombies were chilling eating machines and the humans confused and trying to survive. I was rooting for some of the characters, but a few I didn’t care what happened to them, which I’m sure is what Ms. Douglas intended. There were a couple of editing issues I noticed along the way, but it didn’t pull me out of this exciting horror story. Although, I’m not a huge fan of “tons of gore” I will have to read “Hounded 2” to see what happens next. If you love Zombies, descriptive bloody details, and action–this is the book for you.
This is a horror tale told from the past and modern times, with a bit of everything including: witches, hauntings, demons, romance, and mystery. I enjoyed the two timelines of the same town that met up at the end. There was the progression from when the town was formed by three families in one prospective. In the current timeline was Jess, a widow, and her two children who were new to this town. She buys a house where strange things begin to happen. In another point of view in the current timeline is Mason newly released from jail who grew up in the house Jess bought. Mr. Jones goes back and forth between the past and 2017 adding new information to explain the current events. I found the story line well thought out and interesting. The demon/beast was terrifying to me and nothing I’d want to ever run into. There were a couple of little editing issues that jarred me a moment when I was reading, but nothing that kept me from wanting to continue with this intriguing tale. I thought of “The Exorcist”, “Poltergeist” and other scary tales as I was reading. If you like a good scare with the history behind it, this book has it and more.
I’m a huge fan of Stephen King so I couldn’t wait to read this after seeing the comparison. Although, “Pet Cemetery” isn’t one of my favorite Stephen King books, “The Glade” didn’t have in it what I disliked in Mr. King’s book but instead had the intrigue I did like. Helen and Geoff Wenstrop spent a holiday in a small village. They found some property, and against warnings not to purchase it, they did and built a house. Helen later goes there to die from cancer, but mysteriously recovers. I found myself reading late into the night to find out how Helen got to the point she did. I liked the story being told from two different time lines and eagerly awaited the moment they converged. The relationship between husband and wife was strained and a bit confusing–as were some of the other relationships. The landscape was its own character and added to the story. At times I found myself struggling to have much empathy for Helen and her decisions. But, there were many plot twists that I didn’t see coming after that. When the two story lines did meet up, I had many aha moments that changed my perspective of Helen and other characters while clearing the confusion. “The Glade” is a unique horror tale. I recommend this creepy story to those who love horror presented in a King-like fashion, with a bit of a romance thrown in.
A LONG WALK HOME: A Christmas Noveletteis available for pre-order with a release date of November 7th! Here is the link: