“Redemption” is a fast-paced thriller that hooked me from the first page. Lisa came home to visit her parents. She had a bad feeling when the doorbell rang, but she couldn’t stop what happened next. With her father dead, her mother fighting for her life, and her brother, Trace, in another country, she struggles to figure out what happened. Lisa quickly realizes she needs to be careful whom she trusts because her world is turned upside down as the truth slowly unravels. Luckily, her brother and his friend, Ryan, come to her aid. I love how they are there for each other, while Lisa’s strength, love of family, and intelligence are inspiring. She bravely stands by her mother while trying to understand her father. I found this book hard to put down with all the twists weaved into a family’s story. The research put into this mystery made it even more chilling because of the possibility that it could happen. The themes of redemption and forgiveness tugged at my heart, and I highly recommend this suspenseful family drama.
“The Celtic Deception” is a fun YA read that blends history and fantasy. I haven’t read the first book, but I found this story easy to follow. Seventeen-year-old time jumper, Dan, comes home to an unwelcomed visitor who was responsible for his father being in a coma. I was immediately drawn into the story. Although the visitor had taken something that seemed so important, Dan was carefully trained by his father and was prepared for that. Soon, Dan and his jumping partner, Samantha, need to make a jump to fix history. I loved the time they went into 60 CE when Romans dominated, and Celts were on the run or fighting back. The relationships they developed in the Celt tribe had me rooting for them, even against all odds and history. A read meant for teens, but adults can appreciate it too. I thoroughly enjoyed this mix of the reality of a historical moment and time-traveling teens trying to survive while not changing the past that would affect the future.
“Bright Lights and Candle Glow” is a beautiful holiday collection of eight short stories. The tales transport the reader into many places, including the Civil War or a ranch in Montana. Each story was a satisfying read for the holidays or any time of the year, and I won’t be picking any favorites. There were not only some fantastic twists I didn’t expect but vivid settings that pulled me right in. I can easily recommend this group of well-told holiday stories for Christmas and Yule reading.
I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews here! If I don’t like the book, I won’t finish it. It wouldn’t be fair to leave a review for an unfinished story, and life is too short not to enjoy my reading journey!
I will be quiet on social media and blog visits this week. I’m going to take a bit of me-time before I get busy with my upcoming release and blog tour. Have a great week xo
Embrace your inner child by reading a good book! D. L. Finn
The landscape has been illuminated with snow that clung to the trees for several days in an icy chill. The days have grown shorter, but that only means more time to read.
I’ve read a lot of books this year, over 100 again, which I will share in January. However, reading that many good books make it hard to narrow my list of favorites each season. The books I post here have entertained me and found their way into my heart. It’s why I call my favorites “Books that Changed Me.” Because when you read a great story, it doesn’t go away once you close the book. It stays around, lingering in your thoughts and heart.
I offer three beautiful books and a heartwarming Christmas story you don’t want to miss. You might remember them from my reviews.
In this second book in the Fairies, Myths, & Magic series, step into a world where dark fairies and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by winter and the celebration of the winter solstice.
From autumn’s scary fairies to the forgotten female characters of Yule, prepare to embrace the magical winter solstice myths from around the world. Meet Frau Holle in the Wild Hunt, Befana—the Christmas Witch of Italy, and the Japanese goddess Ameratasu who controls the springtime. Prepare to embrace the Scottish trows, the Irish Goddess of Winter—the Cailleach Béara, and Snegurochka—the Snow Girl.
Learn how to make Yuletide rituals part of your celebration by embracing the symbols of Yule by decorating with evergreens and crystals.
Colt Layne owns the Layne Horse Sanctuary. He lives an idyllic life, between caring for the animals and playing music with his band. That is until a stranger appears with unreasonable demands. When someone murders the man, Colt is arrested. He’s been framed, but by whom and why?
He needs to talk with his deceased grandfather. But that’s impossible. Or is it?
Sage Coventry is gifted with the ability to communicate with the deceased. Skeptical but desperate, when Colt consults with her, he gets more than messages from beyond the grave as she breezes into his heart with sweet patchouli fragrance and tempting lips he longs to kiss.
The race against time to clear his name and save the ranch launches them on a mission that brings shocking revelations.
It’s summer break and Dr. Luke Geller, history prof and part-time archeologist is in Nevada looking for potsherds. What he discovers is an antique rifle and a portal in time.
Touching an ancient piece of Chiastolite crystal, the earth rumbles, the skies darken and the ground opens. He’s hurled straight to the core of the earth then shot back up and spewed out.
When he stumbles to his feet, he finds himself where he began. Same, yet different. There are no winding roads. No parking lots. No cars. No town with bright lights in the distance. Only Lily Winter Tremaine, an angry young woman pointing a gun at him, demanding he hand over her rifle.
All thoughts of primitive pottery disappear as Luke finds himself fighting alongside three young women trying to hold onto their ranch against a dangerous scoundrel who intends to have the ranch by whatever means possible. Then there’s the little fact that Luke’s mightily attracted to the young woman he’s working for. A woman old enough to be his great-great granny. And Miss Lily Winter Tremaine does not figure into any of tenured professor Luke Geller’s lesson plans.
Christmas? It’s nothing to celebrate and brings memories of everything he seeks to forget.
When a horrendous accident leaves Jericho Cane disfigured, he retreats to the dark refuge of his childhood home. People label him a monster, a phantom. Only while the town sleeps can he find courage to venture out and seek solace in midnight rides.
But who is making mysterious repairs to broken items, leaving food on doorsteps and wooden angels on children’s graves?
Newly arrived, Irish doctor Kathleen O’Shea, has no fear of Jericho Cane. Armed with determination, she offers hope where he can live again. Still, can he thrive walking in daylight amongst the ones who call him a monster? If she fails, the darkness will consume him for good.
A holiday read that will touch your heart and remind you that Christmas is a time of acceptance, kindness, and for healing wounds.
Winter has arrived with the shortest day of the year. The icy air permeates the walls, and there is nothing quite like cuddling under a blanket to read during the long nights. The busy holidays are here, but I still carve out that time to lose myself in a wonderful story.
It’s always hard to pick three or four books from the many I read and enjoy, but these stories have left me changed after reading them. They introduced me to a new world, and I fell in love with the characters. I want to visit some of these places. They are books you can’t put down, and so good you forget you are reading. They put you right into the story.
Here are my choices this time around. I’m sharing the blurb and my review that has been on my blog before but is worth showing again. These are books to curl up by a warm fire and sip hot chocolate or mulled wine.
New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.
Tami Montgomery thought her police chief husband was going to be the only investigator in the family when she gave up her journalism career and moved with him to Madeira, New Mexico.
But after the historical society asks her to write stories for a book celebrating the town’s one-hundred fiftieth year, she becomes embroiled in a new mystery. If she can’t solve this one, she could lose everything. Her research uncovers a spate of untimely deaths of local law enforcement officials. Further digging reveals a common link—they all lived in the house she and Jason now share.
Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, Jason will be the next to die.
I read the prequel to this story, “House of Sorrow,” and loved that, so I was eager to read the first book in the Legends of Madeira Series. Jason and Tami Montgomery left Driscoll Lake for Jason’s new job as the town’s police chief in Madeira, New Mexico. They buy the house that was in the prequel and quickly settled into the small, mostly welcoming town. It was nice to see characters from the Driscoll Lake series, but unnecessary to have read those books to appreciate this story. I enjoyed Jason’s growth and how he approached his new job. Tami immediately made friends and got involved in the town’s historical society that was doing a book on the town’s history.
Tami, who had been a journalist, jumped right into her part of researching past police chiefs. She soon found herself looking for more answers as she dug deeper into the murder mystery of two of these chiefs. I loved the characters, and Madeira was a place I’d like to visit. Many subplots were woven in that added an extra depth to the story. Tami was a favorite character, as was the neighborhood’s stray cat, Oscar. There was a mystery to be solved, and it appeared Jason was in danger. I had a few guesses and changed my mind more than once, but finally, by the end. I realized who it was, but not why. I love the use of legends, history, and psychic abilities mixed in with well-rounded characters and a mystery that goes back over one hundred years. This is a nicely paced read that I can highly recommend.
Will a Christmas wish bring two lonely hearts together and give a little girl the family she’s always wanted?
Single parent, Grace Donovan arrives in the small town of Emerson with the hope a trial program at the local cancer clinic will be the answer to prolonging her young daughter’s life. She doesn’t expect to fall for her handsome boss.
As principal of Emerson Elementary, Kyle Roberts is aware of the students’ medical issues and his heart goes out to little Cassie Donovan and her mother. When he learns Grace needs a job, he fabricates a childcare program, and is pleasantly surprised by its success. Now, if only he could help Cassie’s recovery and get Grace to give him a chance before she learns of his duplicity.
Cassie Donovan barely remembers the father who died when she was just a toddler, but she does know her mother is sad. Even though Cassie wants a puppy more than anything, she gives up her wish to ask for a daddy from Santa Claus, that way if she gets sick again, Mommy won’t be alone.
This Christmas, two families are brought together by a Christmas wish and a child’s need for a miracle.
“Love Me” is a wonderful holiday read about a mother and her daughter fighting cancer. Grace and Cassie move to a new town to try an experimental treatment, and luckily an anonymous donor covers the expenses. Grace finds a job at Cassie’s school while Cassie finds a new best friend. I love how the story is told from both the mother and daughter’s POV. Cassie wants a puppy for Christmas, but she decides her mother needs a companion if something happens to her. It’s a story that tugged on my heart, thinking about a little girl battling for her life when she should be playing and having fun. Her strength and caring shine throughout the story as a powerful symbol of love, and the mother, having lived through so much loss and heartache, keeps going for her daughter. I could feel the emotion behind Cassie because her character is based on an amazing young girl on social media who is fighting this battle. This was a heartwarming romantic story that didn’t back down from the reality of childhood leukemia. I highly recommend this!
A modern day, shapeshifting sheriff.
He’s the sheriff of a sparsely populated county in Montana. His blood brother and childhood best friend is Chief of Police on the Blackfoot Reservation, but they no longer speak. His deputy is a southern transplant with the body of a high-priced call girl, a voice of honey and mouth of a trucker. And if that’s not enough, he’s got a secret that would stun those that know him best. Other than that, it’s business as usual for Sheriff Mateo Grey.
“Mateo’s Law” is an exciting paranormal, western romance that I read in two sittings. It is set in a small town in Montana, where Blair moved to join the force as a deputy. She is in a long-distance relationship but is attracted to the sheriff, Mateo. When something attacks a town resident, they investigate it together, but Blair is unaware of Mateo’s secret of being a shapeshifter. I love it when Mateo is in his alternative form, and I felt his freedom. The scenery is lush and the town a place I’d want to call home. Blair and Mateo have great chemistry, conversations, and working relationship. I was definitely rooting for Blair and Mateo and hope more stories are coming with these characters. If you love a paranormal page-turning romance, you won’t want to miss this!
Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.
Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.
It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father.
It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family?
“Mountain Laurel Christmas” is a perfect holiday read. Cole Knight has gone from having everything taken from him as a child to becoming a huge country star who has everything. Yet, the emptiness from when he was a young boy can’t be filled with money, fame, or drinking. One night, Cole is overwhelmed and ends up at the place where he grew up. It’s here he searches for what’s missing and begins his journey to healing. The detail to the setting and music brought the story deeper, making me feel like a friend was sharing their story with me. Although a quick read, it is a reminder of what is important, especially during the holiday season. I highly recommend this heart-warming story that can be enjoyed any time of the year.
I wrote a Christmas short based on a character from “The Button”. It’s now available for pre-order with the release date of 11-7.
All alone on Christmas Eve, Kenzie was feeling the betrayal of her recent break-up. While the sky was heavy with the dark clouds of an impending storm, she walked home from work to clear her head. Lost in her memories, Kenzie was completely unaware she was being followed by a man with green-eyes. Was this not-so-human being the good or evil that lurked around her? On the most magical night of the year, will Kenzie be able to save herself from that evil or will she need some divine inspiration? The outcome will depend on whether she can find the strength to forgive as the storm not only rages outside, but deep within her soul.