October Book Review Part 3! @Dwallacepeach @stacitroilo @jlbryanbooks #writingcommunity #bookreviews #whattoread #mustreads

Socerer's Garden Book Cover

The Sorcerer’s Garden

by D. Wallace Peach

Madlyn loses her job, but quickly finds one where she reads to a young man, Cody, who is in a vegetative state after an accident. After running out of things to read to him, she finds a fantasy book he’d been working on and starts reading that. This is where reality and fantasy blur. I could relate to Madlyn and her confusion with what was happening, plus all the strange hints the grandma threw at her. Both beautiful and dark settings, along with poetic images, drew me deep into this story. I loved Madlyn’s developing relationship with not only Cody but his brother Dustin. My favorite parts were when the book was being read. Greed, evil, and power crossed both worlds and mirrored many current issues. This was a clever intertwining of fantasy within reality that took Madlyn, and others, on a journey that came out in a place that made sense. A fantasy story that I can easily recommend. Five-Stars!


Valuable Treasures

by Staci Troilo

Having read and loved the Medici Protectorate Series, I was thrilled to see there was a short story prequel to it. Ottavio and a very pregant Anita are trying to find the American Dream in the Colorado mountains. Ottavio puts in long hours with little to show for it. One day he comes home with an unexpected find right as Anita goes into labor. They hope to be able to use this to go back to Italy, but things quickly change. This is beautifully written, and I could feel the hardship they had endured, including down to the detail of their poor diet. What happens next is heartbreaking, but then comes a relief to see a familiar group. This can be a standalone read, but I highly recommend the following books in the Medici Protectorate Series. Five-Stars!


Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper

(Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #1)

by J.L. Bryan

Ellie professionally removes unwanted ghosts from buildings. She’s teamed up with a newbie partner, Stacey, on a new case. A ghost haunts a family trying to renovate an older house and make it into a Bed and Breakfast. There is a lot of detail that goes into ghost hunting and the ghost makes an appearance quickly in the story. What seems like a normal haunting has many more layers to it. The in-house investigation was scary, but I felt my heart race when they visited an old asylum. I would have been terrified to have been with them. I like the relationship that develops between Ellie and Stacey as we slowly get to know them. This haunted house held my attention and had an unexpected twist. A good start to a ghost series with a likable main character. This is for anyone who enjoys a ghost story with ghost trappers involved. Four-Stars.


For the next two weeks, I will be doing my personal short story challenge with new words, faith & effervescent—and their images.


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!

Read a great book and embrace your inner child! D. L. Finn

September Book Reviews Part 4! @bakeandwrite @1rburkey @EnigmaSeries @KIngallsAuthor @wandalu64 #bookreviews #writingcommunity #whattoread #indieauthors

Behind Closed Doors

By Robbie Cheadle

“Behind Closed Doors” is a unique assortment of symbolic, free and rhyming verse that creatively show us what is hidden behind one of those closed doors. Plus, I loved seeing some of the beautiful fondant cake art. Some poems moved me while others had me thinking, but all touched on an emotion. The tankas may have been my favorites, but I enjoyed them all. Here are a few favorite lines. “as she danced, unfettered/in her own, glittering world/The stars gave her hope/allowed her to soar….” “Desperately, she peers through the dimness. An assorted array of items drift past her….” “Gratefully she sinks/Into sleep’s loving embrace/Thoughts gently unfurl/Reorganising themselves/Answer revealed in sweet dreams,” and “The crimson rose/Stands tall and alone/A stately queen….” A great glimpse into current events through a poetic eye. This is a poetry collection I recommend.


Out Of Poland

by Rox Burkey  & Charles Breakfield

“Out of Poland” is a fast-paced short story set in 1939 during the fall of Poland. The story paralleled with the confusion of the invasion as three young men were tasked to obtain something called “Baby” from the Germans. Although there wasn’t a chance to learn about all the characters, there was a chilling insight into this moment in history. I couldn’t put this story down, and my heart was racing at the end. I knew what would happen to the country, yet I couldn’t help but root for their success. This is a great short story for history buffs and those who like to root for the heroes.


 

Learning About Autism: One Mother’s Journey of Discovery and Love: A Charter School, Teaching Methods, & Resources 

by Karen Ingalls

“Learning about Autism” is not only a great resource of information but inspiring. Carol and Allen Tucker are almost empty nesters after raising their two children. They decide to adopt a special needs child into their family, Justin, who is dealing with cerebral palsy and autism. Later, they add Joshua, who has down syndrome. The book details how they loved and helped these boys and covered Carol’s path to opening her school for autism. I learned a lot reading this and came away with more understanding of the challenges and gifts raising and advocating for these boys. There is plenty of help and knowledge, but there is also an amazing example of love. This is a great book that I recommend for those looking for advice and those who want to be inspired and understand.


Hayley the Halloween Cat and the Search for Bitty the Bat

by Wanda Luthman, Author, and Mara Reitsma, Illustrations

In our house, we love all things Halloween. So, when it was time to buy my soon-to-be five-year-old granddaughter a book, I had to get this one. Hayley, the black kitten, is searching for her friend, Bitty, the bat. It’s a few hours before Halloween Evening, and she can’t find him anywhere. There are adorable illustrations that were colorful and brought Halloween to life without making it scary. The rhyming added a pleasant flow and made it fun to read aloud. The story shows a great friendship and a nice surprise. As I always do, I read and review “Hayley the Halloween Cat” before wrapping it up. I know I’m going to enjoy reading this with my granddaughter many times over.


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: You’ve seen my weekly poetry challenges from Colleen Chesebro here. Well, Colleen and Jules are putting out a book on 10-1-21, Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse. It has a lot of poets who contributed; myself included. I picked up my pre-order. If you like poetry, I have a feeling this will be a must-read.

Here’s the LINK

Read a great book and embrace your inner child! 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

End of Spring Book Reviews!

 

The Contract Between Heaven and Earth

By John W. Howell & Gwen M. Plano

“The Contract Between Heaven and Earth” is an action-packed thriller with a deeply spiritual side. The story starts off with a horrific event that involves children, but they were taken to a place of safety and peace–or Heaven. Watching them arrive are Peter and Teresa who share a special love. Then, an alert is sounded and soon the couple is sent to Earth with a contract to save humanity. They go into this agreement with no memory of who they were before becoming a human. Theresa is now Sarah in a bad domestic situation and surrounded by unsavory characters. Peter becomes Brad who finds himself in a war zone and on a long path to recovery. I love the strength of both characters and how they dealt with their new lives. Individually they were strong, but I love when they meet up through outside forces– and are immediately drawn to each other. This is a story that not only entertains and is exciting, but it also makes you think about coincidences. If you love a book with a lot of action, intrigue, a bit of romance, and thought provoking– this is the book for you. It is a perfect blend of insight and excitement that I highly recommend!


The Alternative 

by Suzanne Burke (Author), Rich Bowden (Editor)

Ms. Burke wrote another amazing book of nine short stories. Each story had its own style of karma, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It would be hard to pick my favorite out of the bunch, so I won’t. There were parts where I found myself cheering out loud—other times cringing. The characters were well-written and the stories full of depth and emotion, along with some humor. If you love short stories with a dark twist, you won’t want to miss reading “The Alternative”.


The Master and the Maid: #1 in the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy (Heaven’s Pond Trilogy)

By Laura Libricz

“The Master and the Maid” is a historical fiction novel set in Germany in the 1600s. I was impressed with the research and the amount of details Ms. Libricz had in the story. I remember nothing of the thirty-year war, but I do remember the battle between the Catholics and Protestants. Greed and power is a theme that makes certain characters, like Ralf, do horrible things. This includes murder, land grabbing and accusing the main character, Katarina of being a witch. There’s a love story mixed in, but there is also the existence of a baby whose mother was brutally killed. Katarina is secretly handed this baby right after being betrayed by her lover, Willie, who sold her to pay off his debts to Herr Tucher. With Katarina just wanting to go home, she finds a new love blooming between her and her master. That relationship and the one with her adopted daughter are my favorite parts of the story. But, there is so much going on around them that surviving becomes more important. The ending answered some questions, but it also left many others unanswered for the next book–which I will be reading.


Watch for upcoming special edition blogs! You won’t want to miss them.

Next week I will reveal the cover for “The Button” and the monthly newsletter comes out!

You can pre-order my first short story: Bigfoot: A Short Story now. Release date is June 21st just in time for summer reading!

Please checkout my guest post about “Bigfoot” on Mark Bierman’s blog: Link

Thanks, Mark!

Happy Father’s Day to all those amazing fathers out there–which includes my amazing husband.

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