Books That Changed Me: Fall Edition

fal walk 2017

Fall has arrived with its red leaves, and cooler nights. I love walking through downtown Nevada City capturing the colors with my camera. I’m the one kicking the piles of leaves, too. It’s a time of color, harvest, and wondering what I’m going to be for Halloween. Pumpkins are my main choice of decorations, while spiderweb sheets grace my bed. It is also the perfect time to cuddle up with a book. I’ve found three amazing books and a bonus short story that are as changing to me as the autumn leaves are to the trees.

Here are my three choices along with the Halloween bonus read!


I found myself very attached to this character. I hated finishing the last chapter, but at the same time I couldn’t wait to finish it. This is a series I am going to fully enjoy…and have to wait for. I will re-read it before the second one comes out which I reserve only for the really good ones.

hexborn pic

Hexborn (The Hexborn Chronicles Book 1)

by A.M. Manay

I loved Ms. Manay’s November Snow Series. I wondered if a new story line could rival that…yes it could. In fact, it could even surpass it. I found myself drawn deep into “Hexborn”. Shiloh grew up considered unclean by the population even though the laws against her kind had disappeared. Shunned, she was being educated to use her strong magic. Dealing with illness and deformity she develops an inner grace and strength. Suddenly when her teacher dies Silas arrives to bring her to the King’s court. Silas seems the perfect villain and I love the relationships she builds in court. Then there were surprises along Shiloh’s journey that she answered with her heart. I admired that about her. The flashbacks were skillfully used so the reader could understand how things developed. What her body lacked, her fortitude made up for.  I’m hooked on the magical girl with pink hair and eyes. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.  If I could give this more than five stars I would. It may be a YA, but it’s for adults, too.  I highly recommend this book!


This has stuck with me after reading it. The message of miracles jumped off the pages at me. It was a reminder I needed at the moment and even now– to have some faith. It makes me want to just go sit under a tree and be–or take off on a roadtrip to explore. To follow my heart.

love the beat

LOVE The Beat Goes On 

by Lynda Filler

I believe in miracles and this is what “LOVE The Beat Goes On” is about! Sometimes, in life we forget about the miracles that surround us, and this book is a reminder of them. Ms. Filler was faced with a dire diagnosis from her doctor and set out on a healing journey. This is an uplifting book that reminds you to trust your inner voice.  To joyfully do things that only make sense to yourself.  It is necessary to heal our bodies, minds and souls.  With references to Dr. Wayne Dyer, and a reading guide at the end, the reader is given some tools to do this journey on their own– if they are ready for it. I will definitely be listening to the Shaman’s chants and checking into books I haven’t read. This book was recommended to me and I am thankful for that recommendation! I have fought past some of my own health issues, but this story is a guiding beacon for everyone dealing with that– or just needs an uplifting story in their lives.  I highly recommend this for anyone on a journey to find themselves, heal—or needs to be reminded of miracles.


All three books of this series have lingered with me. I’m already a person who thinks about “what if”. Surviving after what we know as civilization comes crashing down is one of those “what ifs”. I do buy that extra bag of rice and keep a canned food supply…just in case. This story is a good warning and just darn entertaining at the same time.

into winter

Into Winter: The Armed Invasion (The Four Seasons Book 3) 

by Larry Landgraf

This is the third book in the “Four Seasons” series. It continues with the residents of Peaceful Valley– following the grid shut down that caused the collapse of society. After Robbie and Sean find their way back from the cruel dictatorship in Corpus Christi, there is a price to pay for leaving. Sandra is determined to attack Peaceful Valley. It was an interesting process to watch them prepare and defend their way of life, with very real consequences on both sides. What I found most thought-provoking was their realization that what goes on outside of Peaceful Valley affects them. There is some great insight into what makes a good government from the ground up. Although, it’s a brutal process I found it a spell binding read. I loved learning survival skills in the first book, the exploration in the second book, but this one gets you to wonder “what would you do” and then admire when the characters go beyond their own comfort. I’m eagerly looking forward to “Into Summer” and seeing where Mr. Landgraf takes us next.

Halloween bonus read:

There was something about reading a story through the killer’s eyes. I kept thinking of the TV show “Dexter” which was a family favorite. I’ve been reading a lot of short stories lately. There have been so many outstanding ones, but this one made itself right at home.

I've always pic

I’ve Always Loved Women

by Rhani D’Chae

This was a fascinating read! Although it stated clearly in the beginning there was going to be a murder I was still surprised when it happened. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. I had to know why. It was chilling to see through the killer’s point of view. The characters were real, the subject matter of abuse important, and the rationale almost makes sense—almost. I loved this story and highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy a story told through the “serial killer’s” prospective!


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Happy Fall! Embrace your inner child. D.L. Finn

Books Read and REVIEWED!

Why is the word reviewed in all caps in the title? I wanted to emphasize just how important reviewing indie books is to their authors! A huge hug and thanks goes out to all the readers who take precious time to leave a review! Here are the latest books I’ve read and REVIEWED:

 

Ninja School Mum 

by Lizzie Chantree

“Ninja School Mum” is about a widowed mother named Skye who has been on the run for years to keep her son safe from her past. As an ex-spy she needed to keep her former life to herself. She ends up living in a quaint small town in an isolated cottage with her son. I found it interesting to learn her history and why she stayed separate from others yet making sure her son developed friendships. The relationships between adults and children were well-done, including Skye’s new friendship with Thea and her unexpected love interest, Zack. It seemed like she might have finally found a place for her son to grow up. What I expected to happen in this story and what did, were completely different when a twist offered a new insight. I love when a story surprises me, and this one did. If you enjoy a romance with humor, action, a strong female character, and surprises–you’ll love this book!


The Dead Game

by Susanne Leist

This paranormal story is the first book of a series and starts off in a small town in Florida with an invitation to a mysterious party. Linda has moved to Oasis, bought a book store, and started a new life. She goes to this party at End House with a group of friends. They didn’t find a party but a horror house where two of their friends go missing. The group is determined to find their friends and figure out what is going on in a town where people disappear or turn up dead with their blood drained. They find there’s a fight between good and evil, Linda and Shana have a hard time telling who is on which side or who is a vampire. I liked the developing relationships with Shana and Sam, Linda and Todd and others. There are a lot of characters to keep track of and I got a bit lost with some, especially in the beginning. But, I also got to know most of them as the story line progressed and secrets were revealed. The story is told through many points of view and moves forward at a good pace. I loved how the moody descriptions of the town added to the ambience of the book. If you enjoy vampire stories, you’ll like this book!


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

April Book Reviews!

Happy Easter and April Fools Day! Hope your day was magical!

Here are some books I’ve been reading:

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!


Circumstances of Childhood

by John W. Howell

“Circumstances of Childhood” is written in the unique style of Mr. Howell and was a book that kept me up late into the night reading!  Greg and Keith are childhood friends and Greg ends up living with Keith’s family. They play football together creating new plays and plan out their future. Unfortunately, only one of them make it to live those dreams. When one of them is killed in an accident, the other one goes on to be successful–with a happily ever after. But, that happy ending is ripped away when money is stolen from Greg’s company and his life falls apart. Parts of the storyline are told from Greg’s prospective and the rest by Keith. I loved the bond created between the two, who were like brothers, that existed beyond death. Choices that are made can affect the characters for the rest of eternity.  This is a perceptive and an exciting read with a whodunit mixed in. It’s a skillfully written story with well-rounded characters that I couldn’t help but care about. The storyline kept me engaged until the last page with some unexpected twists. Although, this is a different type of story than Mr. Howell’s John Canon series, it is worthy of your read if you enjoyed that series like I did. This has become my favorite book from this author.  I highly recommend!

 

Embrace your inner child by reading a 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

Review of Books!

 

I’ve been able to read a lot of books so far this year. Right now, I’m going back and re-reading “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. This is a story I loved as a child and I wanted to revisit it before going to see the movie! I’m enjoying it even more than I did as a kid! Then, I look forward to going back to finish Ms. Veneziano’s and Mr. Yates series. 

Here are the last two books I’ve read and reviewed:


Finding Billy Battles: An Account of Peril, Transgression, and Redemption 

by Ronald Yates

“Finding Billy Battles” is a historical fiction that takes us back to the days of the wild west. It is told through journals left to a great-grandson who reads them years after William Battles dies. Billy Battles was raised by a single mother. He takes a break from college to leave his home town and go work for a newspaper in Dodge City. He meets people we’re familiar with including: Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson–that are seamlessly weaved into the story. I have always loved to read a historical fiction book and lose myself in the past. Mr. Yates brought this time-period to life with lots of relevant details and plenty of action that completely drew me into this world. I highly recommend this book if you love stories about the old west or just enjoy a well-told tale.


The Army of Orphans: The Beginning 

by F.B. Veneziano

“The Army of Orphans” is a YA book that follows the lives of three siblings.  Although, it’s set 30 years in the future in Eastern Europe, it could be now and that makes it very relevant to read. After their mother dies, their father falls into drinking and rage. This eventually leads to the two boys Alex and Anton being sent to an orphanage, while the oldest Irina finds her own way. Alex discovers the stories he’s heard about the orphanage to be true. At the same time a revolution is happening outside the walls of this institution that pulls him and others into it. The characters are so well-written I felt every emotion reading this story. The strength of Alex is what makes this book hard to put down. He’s a young adult who has to leave his childhood behind as he survives in a world that is changing daily. I found myself falling in love with these children and then admiring their bravery. I’m looking forward to reading the next book “Retaking Pervaiske” and more from this author. I highly recommend this book not only for young adults, but for adults, too.


 

I was honored to be a guest on Karen Ingalls blog: Mind, Pen, and Spirit last week.

LINK FOR GUEST BLOG


All my eBooks are 50% off through March 10th on Smashwords.

LINK FOR SMASHWORDS 

Embrace your inner child! D.L. Finn

Poetry and reviews

 

 


My latest book reviews:

The Fall of Lilith (Fantasy Angels Series)

By Vashti Quiroz Vega

This is an interesting and unique take on a well-known Bible story from the old Testament. “The Fall of Lilith” follows a group of angels who rebel against the life they have in heaven, in a place called Floraison. Lilith is the driving force behind all of this as she encourages Lucifer to lead. As expected, the rebels find themselves on earth. This is my favorite part of the story and where it got interesting. I can’t say I rooted for Lilith, but there were others I was hoping things would work out for—like Gadreel. Ms. Vega crafted a well-written book with lots of depth, images to pull you in, and it definitely kept my interest as I wondered what was going to happen next. I recommend this book if you love fantasy with a Biblical connection– or an action-packed tale of revenge.


Stranger Abduction 

by Billy Chitwood

“Stranger Abduction” is a well-written novel based on an actual event. A mother and daughter walk from their home to a store in Arizona and never make it back. Mr. Chitwood gives a very viable and chilling account as to what might have happened next.  Doris and Deena find themselves thrown into the human trafficking trade, while the Deputy Jack Kiefer never gives up on finding them. The details and characters kept this a page turning book as well as the side story with the Deputy.  This is a glimpse into an evil that is going on around us as “products” (a label used for Doris and Deena) are being drugged and used for other’s gratification or service. I highly recommend this book, because even with a dark subject matter there are always heroes.


Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn

 

Reviews and a poem

 

Into Spring: The Next Generation (Four Seasons Book 2)

by Larry Landgraf

This is the second book of the “Four Seasons Book” series that heads back into Peaceful Valley, TX. It has been many years since the grid collapse and we find the first generation of kids grown up and wanting to get married–except there’s no girls there for Robbie and Sean. They set off on a quest to find wives and end up in Corpus Christi where they quickly find a woman Sandra in charge and are separated. It is an interesting concept of what would happen in the aftermath of society’s collapse and the dictators that rise up.  I like Robbie’s ingenuity and determination to survive in the situation he found himself in. While Sean was in different circumstances he seemed more willing to stay. Here there are plenty of women and food, but it is a cruel world they find themselves in. I found myself reading late into the night, completely invested in the characters, especially Robbie. There were some parts that broke my heart and a couple that left me confused. This is an action-packed story of survival with a different feel from “Into Autumn”—yet it was still as good a read as the first book. I’m looking forward to reading the next book “Into Winter” to see what happens next!


Into Winter: The Armed Invasion (The Four Seasons Book 3) 

by Larry Landgraf

This is the third book in the “Four Seasons” series. It continues with the residents of Peaceful Valley– following the grid shut down that caused the collapse of society. After Robbie and Sean find their way back from the cruel dictatorship in Corpus Christi, there is a price to pay for leaving. Sandra is determined to attack Peaceful Valley. It was an interesting process to watch them prepare and defend their way of life, with very real consequences on both sides. What I found most thought-provoking was their realization that what goes on outside of Peaceful Valley affects them. There is some great insight into what makes a good government from the ground up. Although, it’s a brutal process I found it a spell binding read. I loved learning survival skills in the first book, the exploration in the second book, but this one gets you to wonder “what would you do” and then admire when the characters go beyond their own comfort. I’m eagerly looking forward to “Into Summer” and seeing where Mr. Landgraf takes us next.


Mystic Tea 

by Rea Nolan Martin

This was a charming, insightful story told through the eyes of strong and unique women. Being a Catholic, I enjoyed the setting of nuns in a monastery. It was familiar, but it took its own twist into the unknown. Each character had her own strength and weakness. I was drawn to the journey, particularly the relationships of: Prioress Mike searching for her faith, Gemma’s self-abuse, Arielle’s past addictions, and the most intriguing character the Mother, or Augusta. The self-reflection and growth were riveting to read as the story progressed. There was a lot of magic, hope, and redemption that left me feeling the same thing reading it, but there was also truth, consequences, and reality. The characters were strong, and I was fully invested in the intertwining results. In the end, all I wanted was a cup of that magical tea and the hope that came with it. I highly recommend this book!


Been working on editing “Just her Poetry”. Here is the first poem (it is raw and unfinished) under what I’m calling right now, “Emotions”:

IMG_2626

WATCHING

I’m unsure what to feel.

I watch the banter

Flow back and forth

Like the waves on

The ocean’s shore.

When I’ve tried to jump in

The water was cold

And the waves–

Almost knocked me down.

The birds were gone,

The sand littered with dead fish,

Everything departed or dying.

The oily water covered the hidden riptide.

It wasn’t safe, so I perched…

On a hill high above.

The place I used to love.

It’s lonely, but it’s protected

From the pandemonium below.

The struggle spills out,

Almost reaching me…

But for now, I’m safe–watching.


I’m reading “LOVE The Beat Goes On” by Lynda Filler! I have some amazing books on my list this year to read.

Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn

Book Reviews

 

The One Revealed (Chronicles of the Diasodz #4)

by Yvette M. Calleiro
This fourth book in the “Chronicles of the Diasodz” series continues with the story of Sophia, Rafe and more of my favorite characters. Relationships are being formed along with plotting and intrigue. There’s an in-depth look into the search for the truth and what is right and wrong– as reality is explored. As the characters grow and learn, the mysterious prophesies remain. Ms. Calleiro has combined a story with love of either self or another so beautifully, that I have been hooked from the very first book I read. Plus, the added bonus of the paranormal and adventure make this a must-read series! I cannot wait to see how it all ties together and ends in the next book, “The One Awakened”


 

The One Awakened (Chronicles of the Diasodz #5)

by Yvette M. Calleiro
Although I am sad to see the “Chronicles of the Diasodz” end—it was a completely satisfying conclusion! With war coming: sides are chosen, and relationships are tested. I loved the growth of the characters especially: Rafe, Angel, Ar’ch and Sofia. The difference between corruption and hate versus understanding and love becomes very clear. I was extremely invested with the outcome of characters that I had grown to love over the series and wasn’t disappointed. I don’t want to say more and spoil the ending, but this is a fantasy YA series I highly recommend! Start from the beginning and take the journey with Sofia. I look forward to the upcoming prequels!


I’m now on to reading: Into Spring: The Next Generation (Four Seasons Book 2) 
and then Into Winter (Four Seasons Series #3) by Larry Landgraf. My list keeps growing! (I hope to have both reviews posted next week and maybe a new poem!)

Congrats to hat drawing winners from monthly newsletter: Caitlin, Gina M and Donna M! If you missed it here is the link: Newsletter

Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn

 

 

 

Catching Rabbits

yup

I watch with a heavy heart as fires rage through California, again. The images of the flames bearing down on a busy freeway are chilling. Yet, when I saw a video of a young man getting off this busy freeway and going to the edge of the flames to save a rabbit who was trying to escape– I felt hope. My heart lightened as he finally scooped up the scared creature and brought it to safety. It was a beautiful gesture among all the destruction. This got me to thinking about how in life sometimes all we can do is save the rabbit—one beautiful being at a time–when life is bearing down on us.

I had planned on introducing my own animals this week, but I thought this moment was more important and perfectly symbolized the compassion of our existence and the beauty in the chaos.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those effected by these winds and flames on the other side of California.

Here is a link in case you missed it:  Man Saves Rabbit


I’m participating in #RRBC’S HOLIDAY TRAIN “BOOK TRAILER” BLOCK PARTY LINE-UP! It is a chance to check out all the wonderful book trailers. Please enjoy and leave a comment–you may win a prize!  My book trailers will be showing closer to Christmas. Here is the link:  

BOOK TRAILER BLOCK PARTY


Here is a link to a December review of This Second Chance (the review is above the link).

Here is a link to a November review for This Second Chance (again, the review is above the link).

I’ve never gotten two reviews like this before…I think Zelina the angel from This Second Chance is hard at work again.

If you get a chance check out this picture my daughter got for me from a Supernatural Convention. As you can see, Zelina the angel and Castiel the angel are good friends.

Embrace your inner child– and any rabbit that crosses your path keep it safe, D.L. Finn

Some more books read!

This week I’m sharing the books I’ve been reading.

A Desolate Hour

By Mae Clair

“A Desolate Hour” continues where “A Cold Tomorrow” ends. Everything from the first two books are explained with a couple of surprise twists I didn’t see coming. We are introduced to the Ouija board’s mysterious clue “QM”–or the new character, Quentin Marsh. Quentin fits right into the town seamlessly as he searches for more information about his family’s curse on behalf of his pregnant sister. Caden, Eve, Ryan, Katie and Sarah are back in the thick of the story, along with Mothman, men in black, and the curse. Ms. Clair has weaved folklore and history into an amazing tale. I loved the first two books and this final novel didn’t disappoint—in fact it took everything up a notch. I’ve grown to love this town and the people in it and was glad for the journey they took me on! I highly recommend this series for those who love an entertaining, well-written story with some paranormal, a bit of reality and a little romance.

His Revenge

by John W. Howell

 

I have eagerly awaited reading more about John Cannon after “My GRL”. Mr. Howell has a unique way of writing that brings the reader into the action quickly. The story continues with John waking up in a hospital after stopping a terrorist attack. I felt the anxiety of not being able to move one’s arms or see– like the main character when he awakened.  As soon as John arrives home, the action begins and never lets up until the last page. While the plan is to go meet the president to be honored as a hero…well, nothing goes the way it should because his enemy has “other” ideas. This book, like the first, kept me up late, into the night because I wanted to see what was going to happen next.  I immediately started reading “Our Justice” the third book in this series—after finishing “His Revenge”! If you love a thrilling, suspenseful, and action-packed story you’ll love this book!

 


I was going to share leaves from our “Thankful Tree” this week. Unfortunately, we lost my mother- in- law this weekend and that didn’t get done. I’ll share more about that in next week’s blog and where I found my gratitude during this.

 

Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn