January Book Reviews! @JacqBiggar @Virgilante @MaeClair1 @teagangeneviene @rhanidchae

One Dyke Cozy
by Rhani D’Chae 

“One Dyke Cozy” is a short story about two girls that became best friends at eight years old, Shy and Gabby. They are complete opposites but balance each other. These characters had me laughing and shedding a few tears. Not only did the story tug at my emotions, but it dove into a female’s role in society both straight and gay. Shy and Gabby’s interactions felt very real and I could empathize with the hangovers Gabby ended up with just as much as why she was drinking. I loved how the drink cozy, Mr. Happy, became a real part of this friendship. I highly recommend this!


Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I’m already a fan of Ms. Geneviene, so I was excited to learn that “Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam” was about faeries. Thistledown is a place where faeries live, including Bedlam Thunder. It’s full of color, magic, and beauty. Bedlam has dark visions that not only get her kicked out of school but also affect her health and well-being. I love the little details not only in the scenery, but I can imagine how painful a wing injury would be.  The faery names always brought a smile to my face, and at the end of the story, you can create your faery name. The only downside was that there was repeat information that I found distracting while I was reading. Still, this story was a lot of fun, and it would be great to sit down and read with a child—or alone.


Eventide (Hode’s Hill #3)

by Mae Clair

I have loved this series and was looking forward to the final book. I have to say this was the best of all the stories, and that’s saying a lot. “Eventide” has everything I enjoy in a story, including a haunted house, graveyard, relationships, mystery, and great characters all offered in a dual timeline. I was rooting for not only Madison as she started over in a haunted house after a breakdown, but some ghosts, too. It was great to have past characters and their stories cross over into the current tale. There was plenty of mystery. Some of it I figured out, but there were a few surprises, too. I was happy to see how past romances were doing, but it was Madison’s determination that resonated deeply with me. The settings were poetically presented, which I appreciated, the characters were real with their flaws, and the paranormal believably frightening—what a great way to end a series. I highly recommend this book, but I suggest you go back and read all three so you don’t miss out on anything!


 

The Playground

by C.S. Boyack

“The Playground” is a story told through three points of view, Clovis, Chloe, and Gina. The one that chilled me the most was through the eyes of the little girl, Chloe. She gets a popular talking doll that interacts with her and the other dolls through its programming. This leads her down a dark path that I could easily see happening at some point in our future. Clovis is a hired killer after the programmer of these toys, who meets up with a dog who I immediately loved. The dog made Clovis more likable, even with his tough exterior. Then there is Dr. Gina Greybill who is a caretaker and is thrown into the paranormal. This character was hard to warm up to at first, but by the end, I was all in. Evil is the thread that weaves through this story, along with greed. This is a clever, chilling what-if with a paranormal twist that made for a page-turning read.


 Silver Bells

by Jacquie Biggar

“Silver Bells” is a quick holiday read I finished in one night! Christie and her daughter, Kelly, move to a coastal town in Canada to start over.  I love the relationship between Christie and her daughter while they handle Kelly’s diabetes. That adds another dimension to the story along with the new friend who helps with the daughter. The setting is charming, and I love that Christie’s an artist, but it’s the meeting of Joel, the novelist, that propels the story forward. At first, I didn’t like Joel on any level, but Christie’s attraction was strong and immediate. Then, as Joel steps outside of himself, with the help of his grandmother, I warmed up to him and their interactions. The relationship that develops between Joel and Kelly is endearing. This is a fun read by the Christmas tree, but it could be for any time of the year.

Embrace your inner child by reading a fantastic book this year! D. L. Finn

April Book Reviews @mhurdle112 @julieholmes2k13 @JennySundstedt @aprilataylor @startrailsIV @Jinlobify @JacqBiggar @Nicholas_Rossis

I read several short stories over the last few weeks, so there are more book reviews than normal:

A Heaven For Toasters: A Sci-Fi Crime Romance set on the Greek Islands

by Nicholas C. Rossis

I admit the quirky book title drew me in, but it’s the story that quickly made this a page-turner. Mika is a detective in the future and on a date in the Greek Islands. She runs into her new partner a handsome “AI” named Leo at an art exhibit. After a fight with her date, he leaves, and things go downhill quickly from there. I loved Leo “the Toaster” and his developing relationship with Mika. Not only is there action and a mystery to solve, but there are also questions brought up about what defines existence and life. I highly recommend this thought-provoking sci-fi romantic thriller.


Skating on Thin Ice (The Men of Warhawks #1)

by Jacquie Biggar

I’m a huge fan of hockey, mystery, and romance–“Skating on Thin Ice” had it all. I loved the little details weaved into the story about hockey, but it was the characters and story that held my interest. The storyline drew me right in, and I ended up finishing it in one sitting.  Mac took a hit during a game right before the playoffs and Samantha was assigned to help him recover. I loved the sparks between Mac and Sam and the danger that surrounded them. A quick paced story with a few surprises I wasn’t expecting. I thoroughly enjoyed this and toss my (Sharks) hat to the author. I will be reading the next book in the series.


VAGARIES OF LIFE AND: GIRLS’ TALK

by Joy Lo-Bamijoko

“Vagaries of Life and: Girls’ Talk” is an entertaining collection of short stories. I enjoyed the strong female characters that provided wonderful examples of bravery and faith. Some of the stories were set in Nigeria, which pulled me in. There were many different subjects including murder, kidnapping, mystery, faith, robbery, and relationships. Each story had a lesson weaved into it. “You Will Die if you Scream” left a chill behind because it could very well happen. This book was uniquely written, and I was invested in the outcome of each story. If you like learning about new cultures, resilient women, and inspirational themes, this is for you.

 


The Sapphiran Agenda (Star Trails Tetralogy)

by Marcha A. Fox

I loved “The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51.” So, I was excited to read this short prequel to the story with Thyron the intelligent, mobile plant with telepathic abilities and a quick wit. Thyron is a favorite character of mine. In this well-written short story, he’s stuck on the planet Sapphira with a race of pygmies that worships his kind as gods. He gets a chance to leave or to rescue a human trapped on another planet, so he takes it. There are a few twists and turns in this story that kept me deeply engaged. “Beyond the Hidden Sky” is next on my list to read from this amazing author. I highly recommend this short prequel that can be enjoyed as a standalone.


Death Song of the Sea (Midnight Myths and Fairy Tales #2)

by April A. Taylor

This is a well-written short story set on the Ireland coast. Aileen only has her father after having lost the rest of her family to the ocean. She finally learns her father’s secret and embraces it. She still yearns for her true love to find her. A shipwreck brings her this love, but it comes with a price. I enjoyed the magic, ocean, and love in this tale. I highly recommend this story of love and the consequences of doing anything for it.


Vasilisa the Terrible: A Baba Yaga Story (Midnight Myths and Fairy Tales #1)

by April A. Taylor

I loved this well-written short story.  Vasilisa was beautiful and beloved by everyone, while Yaga was old and disliked. The twist in this tale was who the good person was between the two women. It’s a cautionary tale of looking beneath the surface and what’s inside. I enjoyed how it ended. This is a new author to me, and I will be reading more from Ms. Taylor!


When The Wolf Comes

By JENNY SUNDSTEDT

 Dana is a popular nurse in the ER. A woman she went to school with was admitted after an attack that Dana helped treat. Questions arise about who did it. The husband acts oddly, and the homeless man tells Dana strange things. Dana wisely avoids the area where the attack occurred. During this, she is questioning her relationship and her next step in life. I loved the setting and Dana’s interactions. It was well written, and I was pulled into the story quickly. Yet, there was no resolution at the end, because the story continues into a book. I will have to read the book now to find out what happens.


Songs of Heartstrings

by Miriam Hurdle

This is a collection of poems, photographs, and drawings that tell stories from Ms. Hurdle’s life. They include sitting in nature, giving birth, death, illness, and loss. Faith and being a survivor are strong themes throughout “Songs of Heartstring.” My favorite part was when the poetry connected to nature, but all the poems were heartfelt and lyrical. The tribute to the author’s parents was touching, along with the loss of a friend. The glimpse into dealing with cancer was inspiring. Although this was a quick read, it’s full of depth and can be enjoyed more than once. This is a book that poetry lovers will enjoy.


Murder in Plane Sight

by Julie Holmes

I’ve been waiting for Ms. Holmes debut novel and wasn’t disappointed! I love a good mystery, but along with that, there was romance and a strong female character. Sierra being an airline mechanic was fascinating and I enjoyed learning some of the details of what goes into keeping a plane flying. Those elements really brought Sierra to life for me, along with the burdens she carried from her past. The detective, Quinn, who was investigating the murder, was flawed from a past relationship. His determination to find the truth, even with his attraction to Sierra, made for an interesting internal conflict. I liked the chemistry between Sierra and Quinn, but I kept hoping they would take better care of themselves–sleep more. To find out what would happen next, I’d stay up way past my bedtime and end up being just as tired as the characters. I look forward to the next book in this series and recommend this new author.


Watch for a special edition blog this week!

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

First Book Reviews of 2019 @MarethMBotha @Nicholas_Rossis @JacqBiggar @MaryLSchmidt

 

Trails and Trials: An African Adventure – Fauna Park Tales 

by Maretha Botha

Trails and Trials is the fourth book in the Fauna Park Tales and so far, my favorite. It’s told through four different stories of animals and humans all headed in the same direction with three of the groups trying to save the orphans from book three. I loved the themes of: family, loyalty, bravery and hope. Crossing a desert is dangerous, but something all four groups set out to do despite the danger. The little details brought this part to life and I could easily imagine crossing the hot sand, with no water, under the blaring sun. This is intended for middle grade readers, but adults can enjoy it, too. I can’t wait for book five to come out to see where the story takes the reader next. All four Fauna Park Tales sit in my grandchildren’s bookcase and are highly recommended.


The Orphans’ Plight: An African Adventure – Fauna Park Tales The Orphans’ Plight: An African Adventure – Fauna Park Tales 

by Maretha Botha

This is the third book in the Fauna Park Tales and I enjoyed it as much as the first two. It’s still being told through Hope the owl, there’s the charming illustrations, and animals with their humans. I loved the setting and learning new information about the animals that lived there. The story-line showed how dangerous life can be in Molodi Valley, including theft and kidnapping. This was a one night read, that gave good examples of bravery and family. I’ll be reading the next book in the series to see how it all works out. Although this is a great story for middle grade readers, adults can enjoy it, too. I recommend this series but start it from the beginning, so you don’t miss out on anything.


Emotional Beats: How to Easily Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings (Author Tools Book 1) 

by Nicholas C. Rossis

This is a book for authors who are looking for new ways to say the same old thing. I know I can get stuck on a word or phrase and this gives many samples to wake up my creative side. I’ll have “Emotional Beats” by me when I edit my next book. This will not only help me freshen up my dialog, but there are many examples throughout the book, that include body parts and emotions, that show instead of tell. I recommend this handy writing tool.


Mistletoe Inn 

by Jacquie Biggar

I’m a big fan of Hallmark Holiday movies and “Mistletoe Inn” is the same type of feel-good story that I enjoy. Molly finds a new job after a divorce and heads with her son Leo to help run Mistletoe Inn. The mother and son find themselves in a blizzard–and crash. They’re rescued by her partner Noah. There’s an immediate attraction between them, but a lot of baggage they are both carrying, too. I love the relationship between Molly and Noah, and the gentleness Noah shows her son, Leo. It’s easy to imagine the beautiful scenery through descriptions and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the guests and residents in Christmas. This is a sweet tale about second chances during the holiday season. If you’re a fan of charming holiday romances, this is a short-story you’ll want to read.


Shadow and Friends Spend Christmas in New York (Shadow Series Book 5)

by A. Raymond, S. Jackson

This is part of a series for children 4-11 about a squirrel named Stubby. He travels to New York to see his twin, Shorty, for Christmas who lives in Central Park. I loved the setting in New York during the holidays. The pictures were small on my Kindle, but charming. I think this would be a great book to add to my paperback collection for my grand-kids. That way I can read it to them, or maybe they can read it to me, and fully enjoy the artwork. I smiled seeing the squirrel at the top of the Empire State Building waving in his guests like King Kong. I liked that they shopped, skated, and went to Church. Then the group gathers for the special day after their Santa paid a visit. A cute story to read to the kids during the Holiday Season. I’ll be reading this to my grand-kids this year.


Embrace your inner child with a good book! Happy 2019! D.L. Finn