June Book Reviews and a wedding picture! @TonyaWrites @sgc58 @WordDreams @SueColetta1 @teagangeneviene @DAntion @AnnalisaCrawf #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter

A Secret Gift

By Tonya Penrose

Halley, who is a successful businesswoman, receives an anonymous offer to live her dream in a town she fell in love with. The only catch is she must find love within the year, a part-time job, and write a book. With her book started, and a job obtained, she finds two interesting men who might be a love interest, one more than the other according to her test, but not necessarily her heart. This is a pleasant seaside town where everyone is nice—with an exception or two. I could easily imagine myself living in this location and would love to get an offer like Halley received. The town is welcoming, and Halley is offered a dwelling to live in while the cottage was being finished that she bought through her mysterious benefactor. Along the way, she learns about herself and what is important to her. There is humor and growth along this journey for Halley. I love the relationships she develops, especially with Mick, the sea captain, Libby who offers good advice, Ginger, her new best friend and boss, and especially Sally and her daughter Tulip. But it’s the one with Ben that adds a special layer to this sweet story and offers a real chance to Halley to find love if they can get past themselves. An excellent clean, romantic read that I thoroughly enjoyed and can recommend.

Tales From The Garden 

By Sally Cronin

“Tales From The Garden” is a whimsical collection of stories that dives into the magical world just outside our window. Each tale captivated me, especially when the fairies were involved. I particularly loved when the pregnant deer found this garden, as well as a young boy who was protecting a goose. The collection ends with a beautiful tribute to the 94-year-old mother or Mollie (The Duchess) Coleman. I always knew those statues outside in the garden held a little magic and these charming stories captured that beautifully. A quick but very satisfying read for adults of any age who want to remember that spark we carried inside as children. It would be a splendid set of stories for children to share with their adults too. I can easily recommend these tales.

 Twenty-Four Days Rowe-Delamagente #2

By J. Murray

I read and loved “To Hunt a Sub” and have been eager to read this second installment in the Rowe-Delamagente Series. I not only enjoyed “Twenty-Four Days” but thought the story was even more exciting, which I didn’t think was possible. The same characters that I rooted for, and against, returned. Otto the AI’s growth, and new body, made him my favorite character, and it was nerve-racking seeing Sean trying to do the right thing. It was up to Kali, Zeke, and Otto to save the world from war. Like the first book, the attention to detail drew me deep into the story. The reader is taken into a submarine and onto the open sea on a Navy ship with cruel terrorists lurking. North Korea and the hijacking extreme terrorists seem determined to start a conflict, but Kali and Zeke need to find out who is running things. A well-written, action-packed story that was hard to put down. I can easily recommend “Twenty-Four Days” but suggest you start with the first story, so you don’t miss anything!

Cat and The Dreamer

By Annalisa Crawford

Julia survived a suicide pact she’d made with her only friend and the new kid in school, Rachel. Fifteen years later, she is still trying to survive. Julia lives with her parents and has a job but again no friends. She meets a kind young man, Adam, who changes all of that. Her life changes slowly in a more positive direction, but her inner world is just under the surface. At first, I found the story hard to wrap my mind around. Although I understood the dream world parts, it was her alternative that took me a minute to realize what was going on. Julia combined all the people who bullied her. I quickly settled into the story and her realities. Then I found it hard to put down, especially when she flashed back to her suicide attempt and how she met Rachel. “Cat and The Dreamer” deals with some powerful issues, that include suicide, bullying, and mental health. Everything comes together by the end, and I came up with a theory of what really happened, but I won’t share that here. A very unusual and powerful heart-wrenching read where I just couldn’t help but root for Julia. I can easily recommend this novella.

The Inyan Beacon 

By Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene and Dan Antion

“The Inyan Beacon” is a quick read that not only easily blends two authors but two genres, sci-fi, and westerns. Tank and his synth, Compass are passing through a small western town in the future. Tank is determined to get into a tower and feels he can undo some of the harm from the past. My favorite character quickly became Compass. Who wouldn’t want beautiful blue skin? There was a fun twist waiting for them, which I enjoyed. A short and satisfying read, and a world I’d like to explore more.

Restless Mayhem (The Mayhem Series Book 6) 

By Sue Coletta

I have the rest of The Mayhem Series on my Kindle and have been eager to block out some time to read it. Usually, I’ll go back and start a series from the first book, but “Restless Mayhem” tugged at me. So, I jumped right in and found that I could easily figure out what was going on as I learned who everyone was. I loved Shawnee and her relationship with her grandfather and now mentor, Mr. Mayhem, but my favorite characters were the crows, especially Poe. Shawnee, her grandfather, and Mr. Mayhem are eco-warriors who want to save gray wolves from horrible conditions while Shawnee embarks on a spiritual journey. The details and information created a world that I was swept into. There is a pull between handling situations more spiritually than physically. Plus, something evil has awakened that they have to contend with during their sometimes-bloody missions. I will definitely go back to learn more about these characters’ journeys. I can highly recommend this story to those who love animals, Native American spirituality, action, and justice at all costs.

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!

NOTE:

Wedding, 1983
Honeymoon, 1983
  • There will be no post next week as I will be celebrating our 40th Wedding Anniversary. We plan to go to South Lake Tahoe and enjoy a boat ride and stay at a local hotel 🙂 Maybe later in the week we’ll venture to a hot springs too.
  • I will be back June 19th with another From Finn’s Forest.

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

#NewRelease! “Natural Selection” by Jacqui Murray @WordDreams #writing community #readersoftwitter #whattoread

I’m thrilled to have Jacqui Murray here today to talk about her latest release, “Natural Selection,” from her amazing prehistorical series Dawn of Humanity! Here is my review: LINK

What I learned from Lucy

When I wrote my first novel, To Hunt a Sub, I learned a lot about life from my characters (which I shared here). That novel is set in the present day while my newest novel, Natural Selection, the third book in my Dawn of Humanity trilogy, is set 1.8 million years ago. These characters have little culture, no art, no religion or spirituality, no personal adornments, no houses, can’t use fire, don’t wear clothes, and their most advanced technology is stone tools. What could I possibly learn from their primitive lives?

Turns out, a lot. Intelligence isn’t the same as common sense and often, the latter is more important than the former. Here’s what I learned (you’ll have to buy the book to see how these skills are accomplished. Rest assured, it will be worth it):

  • How to catch fish without a rod or net. Your hands, used properly, do well.
  • Seconds and minutes aren’t important. It’s all about daylight. In fact, I no longer wear a watch.
  • You can tell time without a watch. Lots of survivalists and nature lovers use this unplugged approach.
  • Watch my backtrail. Two reasons: 1) see if anyone is following, and 2) see what things look like for the return journey. Lots of hikers do this.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Listen, smell, notice, repeat. For example, if the insects fall silent, there’s probably danger. If a covey of birds explode into the sky, something threatened them that might also threaten you.
  • Stick your finger in scat (poop). If it’s warm, the animal who made that deposit is close!
  • Nature has many natural remedies for illness, wounds, and injuries. 
  • Licking someone’s face is comforting. Wolves greet pack members this way. It feels good.
  • Wolves are gentle. They aggressively defend their pack, are well-equipped to hunt food, and are welcoming. I’m not saying you should pet a wolf. I’m saying don’t shoot it on sight just because someone told you wolves are dangerous.
  • You can eat anything if you’re hungry enough. A reader gave one of the Crossroads books one star out of five because she got sick of the disgusting slugs and worms the people ate. Well, this was a time before the bounty of farming, before the dominance of man’s weapons over animals. These people were hunters and gatherers, living off the land, thankful for anything edible. If you watch Bear Grylls’ Man vs. Wild, you’ll see he does the same.
  • You can run down a herd. This as much as spears turned man into a hunter of meat.
  • You don’t have to see to get around. Like you, I thought I did, and then one of my characters lost 90% of his sight. Since I have Glaucoma, which ends in blindness for a certain percent of victims, my character’s solutions brought me comfort.
  • A carry sack is best made from animal stomachs. And who doesn’t need a sack to carry stuff in while hiking?
  • Don’t kill something just because you’re afraid it will kill you.
  • Never approach prey with horns or antlers from the front.

What do you learn from your characters?

Summary 

In this conclusion to Lucy’s journey, she and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former-tribemembers captured by the enemy. Lucy’s tribe includes a mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium, and different iterations of early man. In this book, more join and some die, but that is the nature of prehistoric life, where survival depends on a combination of our developing intellect and our inexhaustible will to live. Each species brings unique skills to this task. Based on true events. 

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined. 

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears! 

Book trailer:

https://youtu.be/jZhlvou9hvg 

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

One Pack Ends, Another Begins 

Africa   

The Canis’ packmates were all dead, each crumpled in a smeared puddle of blood, Upright killing sticks embedded where they should never be. His body shook, but he remembered his training. The killers’ scent filled the air. If they saw him—heard him—they would come for him, too, and he must survive. He was the last of his pack.

He padded quietly through the bodies, paused at his mate, broken, eyes open, tongue out, pup under her chest, his head crushed. A moan slipped from his muzzle and spread around him. He swallowed what remained in his mouth. Without a pack, silence was his only protection. He knew to be quiet, but today, now, failed.

To his horror, a departing Upright looked back, face covered in Canis blood, meaty shreds dripping from his mouth, the body of a dead pup slung over his shoulder. The Canis sank into the brittle grass and froze. The Upright scanned the massacre, saw the Canis’ lifeless body, thought him dead like the rest of the decimated pack. Satisfied, he turned away and rushed after his departing tribe. The Canis waited until the Upright was out of sight before cautiously rising and backing away from the onslaught, eyes on the vanished predators in case they changed their minds.

And fell.

He had planned to descend into the gully behind him. Sun’s shadows were already covering it in darkness which would hide him for the night, but he had gauged his position wrong. Suddenly, earth disappeared beneath his huge paws. He tried to scrabble to solid ground, but his weight and size worked against him and he tumbled down the steep slope. The loose gravel made gripping impossible, but he dug his claws in anyway, whining once when his shoulder slammed into a rock, and again when his head bounced off a tree stump. Pain tore through his ear as flesh ripped, dangling in shreds as it slapped the ground. He kept his legs as close as possible to his body and head tucked, thankful this hill ended in a flat field, not a river.

Or a cliff.

When it finally leveled out, he scrambled to his paws, managed to ignore the white-hot spikes shrieking through his head as he spread his legs wide. Blood wafted across his muzzle. He didn’t realize it was his until the tart globs dripped down his face and plopped to the ground beneath his quaking chest. The injured animal odor, raw flesh and fresh blood, drew predators. In a pack, his mate would purge it by licking the wound. She would pronounce him Ragged-ear, the survivor.

Ragged-ear is a strong name. A good one.

He panted, tail sweeping side to side, and his indomitable spirit re-emerged.

I live.

But no one else in his pack did.

Except, maybe, the female called White-streak. She often traveled alone, even when told not to. If she was away during the raid, she may have escaped. He would find her. Together, they would start over.

Ragged-ear shook, dislodging the grit and twigs from his now-grungy fur. That done, he sniffed out White-streak’s odor, discovered she had also descended here. His injuries forced him to limp and blood dripping from his tattered ear obstructed his sight. He stumbled trying to leap over a crack and fell into the fissure. Fire shot through his shoulder, exploded up his neck and down his chest. Normally, that jump was easy. He clambered up its crumbling far wall, breaking several of his yellowed claws.

All of that he ignored because it didn’t matter to his goal.

Daylight came and went as he followed White-streak, out of a forest onto dry savannah that was nothing like his homeland.

Why did she go here?

He embraced the tenderness that pulsed throughout his usually-limber body. It kept him angry and that made him vicious. He picked his way across streams stepping carefully on smooth stones, their damp surfaces slippery from the recent heavy rain, ignoring whoever hammered with a sharp rock inside his head. His thinking was fuzzy, but he didn’t slow. Survival was more important than comfort, or rest.

Ragged-ear stopped abruptly, nose up, sniffing. What had alerted him? Chest pounding, breathing shallow, he studied the forest that blocked his path, seeking anything that shouldn’t be there.

But the throbbing in his head made him miss Megantereon.

Ragged-ear padded forward, slowly, toward the first tree, leaving only the lightest of trails, the voice of Mother in his head.

Yes, your fur color matches the dry stalks, but the grass sways when you move. That gives away your location so always pay attention.

His hackles stiffened and he snarled, out of instinct, not because he saw Megantereon. Its shadowy hiding place was too dark for Ragged-ear’s still-fuzzy thinking. The She-cat should have waited for Ragged-ear to come closer, but she was hungry, or eager, or some other reason, and sprang. Her distance gave the Canis time to back pedal, protecting his soft underbelly from her attack. Ragged-ear was expert at escaping, but his stomach spasmed and he lurched to a stop with a yowl of pain. Megantereon’s next leap would land her on Ragged-ear, but to the Canis’ surprise, the She-cat staggered to a stop, and then howled.

While she had been stalking Ragged-ear, a giant Snake had been stalking her. When she prepared her death leap, Snake dropped to her back and began to wrap itself around her chest. With massive coils the size of Megantereon’s leg, trying to squirm away did no good.

Ragged-ear tried to run, but his legs buckled. Megantereon didn’t care because she now fought a rival that always won. The She-cat’s wails grew softer and then silent. Ragged-ear tasted her death as he dragged himself into a hole at the base of an old tree, as far as possible from scavengers who would be drawn to the feast.

He awoke with Sun’s light, tried to stand, but his legs again folded. Ragged-ear remained in the hole, eyes closed, curled around himself to protect his vulnerable stomach, his tail tickling his nose, comforting.

He survived the Upright’s assault because they deemed him dead. He would not allow them to be right.

Sun came and went. Ragged-ear consumed anything he could find, even eggs, offal, and long-dead carcasses his pack normally avoided. His legs improved until he could chase rats, fat round ground birds, and moles, a welcome addition to his diet. Sometimes, he vomited what he ate and swallowed it again. The day came he once again set out after what remained of his pack, his pace more sluggish than prior to the attack, but quick enough for safety.

Ragged-ear picked up the female’s scent again and tracked her to another den. He slept there for the night and repeated his hunt the next day and the next. When he couldn’t find her trace, instinct drove him and memories of the dying howls of his pack, from the adults who trusted their Alpha Ragged-ear to protect them to the whelps who didn’t understand the presence of evil in their bright world.

Everywhere he traveled, when he crossed paths with an Upright, it was their final battle.

Book information: 

Title and author: Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray

Series: Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Editor: Anneli Purchase

Available print or digital) at: 

http://a-fwd.com/asin=B0B9KPM5BW

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. 

Social Media contacts: 

Amazon Author Page:         https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                        https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                              https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                    http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

 

December Book Reviews Part 1 @PriscillaBettis @WordDreams @Ivyloganauthor #bookreviews #whattoread #mustread #readersoftwitter #authorsoftwitter #writingcommunity

Dog Meat

By Priscilla Bettis

“Dog Meat” is a challenging read for any animal lover, but with a lot of insight and depth. Ward lives in a society where freedom isn’t even an idea. He scored low on the placement test because of an illness and was given the horrendous job of slaughtering dogs for food. This part made me queasy, but there was so much beyond that job. The Colony controlled the people and every aspect of the citizens’ lives with the message that everyone was doing their part. The problem with that was that you had no choice on that part. There was no equality, religion, or different points of view — and some had it better than others. Ward struggled with what was expected of him and knew that if he refused to do his assigned job, he would be arrested and reeducated. As we learn of his past and lack of hope for his future, we are quickly shown how unfair this way of life is for many of the ones who didn’t do well on a test. This read will stay with me for a very long time, while I think about lack of choice and how we treat animals reflects how we treat others who aren’t like us. A powerful and painful story that I can recommend, but be ready to handle some very tough subjects and images.

Metamorphosis The Breach Chronicles #2

By Ivy Logan

Amelia’s parents were killed in a car crash when she was little. She goes to live with her beloved uncle, where she discovers he has a dark side that she learns to live with while residing in luxury. As Amelia grows up, she quickly learns how to protect those she loves from a brutal dictator. She ends up being the fashionable face of pink diamonds while trying to right a wrong. Although she is kind, she’s surrounded by many who hate what she represents. Not only is “Metamorphosis” a fascinating coming of age for a girl who has everything but who also has nothing. There is a magical element carried over from the first story that gives this a dark fairytale feel. I love her relationship with her bodyguards and her adopted grandma. She trusts the wrong people, but her kindness is her strength. This also takes on a more severe subject of mining diamonds and the people used to do so. A captivating tale I found hard to put down with a few twists I didn’t expect. I never stopped rooting for Amelia and am eager to read the next book to see how this ends and if she gets a happy ending. I can easily recommend this story.

Natural Selection Dawn of Humanity #3

By Jacqui Murray

I have read and loved the first two books in the Dawn of Humanity Series and have been looking forward to this final story. I wasn’t disappointed. Lucy sets out to rescue her tribe mates after they were captured. I have grown very fond of many of these characters and was rooting for them. The detail of their daily life brought me into a life I otherwise couldn’t imagine. Eating raw meat or insects while trying to survive in harsh conditions was just a way of life for our prehistoric ancestors. The amount of research into this story and series was impressive and made Lucy’s quest more real. I loved the animals that joined this tribe, including the Canis and Homotherium kit. Although I was sad to see this end, I enjoyed the journey into the past. A book and series I can highly recommend!

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!

NOTE: I know I’ve been quiet other than being here for my guest blogs, but I’ve been under the weather. COVID finally found its way into our house. I’m recoverying well and my husband is a few days behind me, but I’m not 100 percent yet. It is very lucky I was prepared for the holidays early this year

I’m taking a short review break, although I managed to do a couple during my recovery time of new releases. I just finished Fairy Tales by Stephen King. I won’t even rate this one, but would love to edit it. I would get rid of the first third of the book which read more like a coming of age before the adventure…lol. Now I’m on to The Big Dark Sky by Dean Koontz. I should be able to leave a rating for this one. Then back to new releases and reviews before my Christmas reading break!

Embrace your inner child, and read a good book! D. L. Finn

October Book Reviews Part 2! @WordDreams @BalroopShado @RobertaEaton17 @harmony_kent @mhurdle112 @ColleenChesebro @ElizabethMerry1 @Marjorie_Mallon #bookreviews #whattoread #readersoftwitter #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity

 

To Hunt a Sub (Rowe-Delamagente #1)

By J. Murray

“To Hunt a Sub” is not only a thriller about preventing a terrorist from attacking America but a well-researched story with fascinating characters. Kali is trying to get her research project, Otto, funded when she catches the attention of ex-Navy Seal, Zeke, and a cruel terrorist. Her friends, son, and dog aren’t safe in this crucial battle. Otto not only traces the path and journey of prehistoric woman Lucy but can also find top secret submarines or why Kali has so much interest. I love it when Kali and Zeke join forces, each offering their strengths to the fight. The attention to detail made this scenario seem possible and real to me. The terrorist cruelty was chilling, while the love of a mother was a driving force. Many unexpected twists and surprises were mixed in, as who could be trusted came to light. This story had a unique way of blending our past with a current situation that would affect the future. Not a fast read, but one well worth the time spent reading. I can easily recommend this book.

Sublime Shadows Of Life

By Balroop Singh 

 

I always enjoy poetry by Ms. Singh and this collection was more beautifully written poems. It’s seeped in emotion that not only touches the heart but gets the reader thinking. It can be read within an hour or two but is meant for the reader to savor. Here are just a few of the many lines that caught my attention and moved me. The Land of the Dead: “Someone entered the land of the dead/Dragged life along ahead/Stirred them out of their slumber/but before muffled voices/could be heard, he was yelled at/Cursed, chastised, forced to quit. Know Shadows: “Dark moonless nights/Are the nights I crave for,/All shadows vanish and merge/Into the corridors of life. Eternal Wait: “Misty mornings/Eerie silence, long walks/Through the woods/What is this place? So familiar!/Nostalgia is painfully pleasant. Magic of Heavenly Drops: “Those soft falling drops/Tiptoe into your heart/To carry you along/Into the dripping trees. A wonderful collection that I can highly recommend to all those who loved to be moved by exquisite words.

 

Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships

By Kaye Lynne Booth (Editor)Robbie Cheadle (Editor/Author)Colleen M. Chesebro  (Author), Miriam Hurdle (Author), Arthur Rosch  (Author), Elizabeth Merry (Author), D. Avery (Author), Harmony Kent (Author), Leon Stevens (Author), Lynda McKinney Lambert (Author), Jules Paige (Author), M.J. Mallon  (Author), and Lauren Scott  (Author)

“Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships” is a collection of poetry from several authors. I have enjoyed the work of many of the poets, but there were some I met for the first time in this book. It was nice how it was set up to introduce the author before their poetry. I appreciated having many poets together in one collection to experience different views, feelings, and images. The individual take on relationships offered a glimpse into not only their writing but gave me a few new authors to read. There was a lot of great poetry, so I won’t single any out to share. A fantastic read I can easily recommend for poetry lovers.

 

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:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

Embrace your inner beautiful soul by reading a book! D. L. Finn

September Book Reviews Part 1! @sgc58 @WordDreams #WritingCommunity #BookReviews #WhatToRead

Laws of Nature Book CoverLife is Like a Mosaic by Sally Cronin Book Cover

Life is like a Mosaic: Random fragments in harmony

by Sally Cronin

“Life is like a Mosaic” is a book of poetry that offers images to add to the journey. I have always loved the mixture of pictures and words, and this collection is a delightful blend of that. I like how honest and insightful the poems are with various subjects that take daily life into a deeper realm. Here are a few of my favorite lines: “defies monochrome hues/with a splash of colour/softening their/harshness,” “Clarity as the memories cascade/tumbling down the precipice of time/as if the floodgates have opened,” “The moon/hangs in the sky/lighting the earth at night,” “Sit/serene/with wise thought/and let them drift,” “Nature’s young frolic in the sun/under blossom topped tree/celebrating/new life,” and “Washed up/are words that haunt.” A thoughtful collection that I can highly recommend for poetry lovers.


Laws of Nature (Dawn of Humanity Book 2)

by Jacqui Murray

I loved the first book of “Dawn of Humanity” and had been eager to read this story. This engaging read followed two groups, split apart in the last book, trying to find each other. The most interesting was the character following these two groups and the one who joined up with him. When reading, I was completely drawn into the story down to saying “ick” when they ate their raw meat or sucked the marrow out of a bone. The attention to detail and amount of research is amazing, including how they communicated, groomed, interacted, and traveled. Lucy’s group shows an inclusion that is inspiring and relevant, especially in modern times. I appreciated a strong female character who applied logic to dangerous situations. I can’t wait for the next book and highly recommend “Laws of Nature!”


Born in a Treacherous time (Dawn of Humanity)

by Jacqui Murray

I have read and loved the Crossroad Series by Ms. Murray and have been eager to read this series. When the second book came out, I rushed to get started. Lucy and her journey immediately pulled me in. After leaving her first group, she finds a home and a new pair mate. Within this group, there is jealousy and distrust, but the most important thing is their survival. The amount of research and thought that went into this story amazed me. I could easily imagine how it was to live in their prehistorical times. I’m very glad that we found a way to control fire and cook our food. Their eating habits and being scavengers were so detailed and well-written that they made me shudder as they tore into their meal. Although everyone didn’t appreciate Lucy, her strength kept her and those around her going. As the group shifts and changes, so does the world around them. I dove right into the second book when I finished this one. I highly recommend this!


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! D. L. Finn

More July Book Reviews @WordDreams @rhanidchae @rijanjks @WendyJayneScott @BetteAStevens @bakeandwrite

I was going to wait and post these as August Book Reviews, but there are so many I thought it might be better to post now. I will do an August Book Review in a couple of weeks.  Several of these reviews are for short stories, along with historical fiction, poetry, and prehistory fiction. All suited for summertime reading.

As usual, I only post 4-5 stars reviews of indie books I’ve read.

 

 

While the Bombs Fell

by Robbie CheadleElsie Hancy Eaton

“While the Bombs Fell” is told through the eyes of a young girl in England during WWII. From food rations to bombs falling, it was a fascinating look into war from a child’s eyes. It was written much like a journal or someone retelling their memories—which it was. I was drawn into what it would be like to live through this period via Elise’s descriptions. Between supplementing their food with a garden, going into the bomb shelter during raids, or the children finding ways to entertain themselves, I felt like I understood what she went through. I loved the addition of recipes at the end. This is a great peek into what it was like to survive in wartime, especially for children.


My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons

by Bette A. Stevens

“My Maine” is a fantastic collection of nature haiku. Going through the seasons, I would I’d found my favorite one, but I hadn’t because they were all good. It was impressive with the limited wordage of the poems that so much information came across. The pictures added more depth to the words, and I enjoyed learning some new details along the way. This is an excellent blend of poetry, photographs, and facts about Maine. If you love nature and poetry, you will enjoy this book. I highly recommend this!


Survival of the Fittest (the Crossroads Trilogy Book 1) 
by Jacqui Murray

I’ve never read a novel set 850,000 years ago. The details and obvious research were amazing, as was the story. Xhosa is a strong female in times when males rule the tribes. I loved her character and how she looked at the world through her senses, instinct, and duty. It repulsed me when they ate their kill without cooking it, but I had to remember they didn’t have control of fire yet. Ms. Murray takes the reader deep into that period, where I could easily imagine how it might have been living then. I was rooting for Xhosa and her tribe as they tried to survive other tribe’s attacks and nature. I loved the relationships that developed as they met up with others fleeing the same situation. I’m completely hooked on this moment in history and storyline. I will definitely read the rest of this series and highly recommend it.


Slimmer: A Contemporary Romance

by Wendy Jayne

I could relate to the main character, Pippa, trying to lose weight for an upcoming event. Determined to fit into a smaller dress, Pippa wanted to impress the man she had a crush on since she was a teenager. Her struggle and attempts were amusing. Satisfied with the outcome and Pippa’s conclusions,  I appreciated this short story!


A Soldier’s Children

by Jan Sikes

I loved this short story about two young girls abandoned by their mother while their father was away at war and declared MIA.  Jennifer, at fourteen years old, takes over the care of herself and her younger sister. This was so well-written I was feeling a lot of emotions reading it including anger at the mother to cheering Jennifer on. All the small details brought it to life for me. If you love heart-warming stories, this is a must read!


Jewel

by Jan Sikes

Jewel, her sister, and mother lived in poverty. Her mother became sick and couldn’t take care of her girls. The mother found new situations for them both to give them a better chance of a better life. Jewel took everything in stride thrown at her. This short story had a fairy tale quality to it with an adult subject. I enjoyed the theme of a young girl who came from nothing and found her place in the world.


 

Visitors: Short Story Mystery

by WJ Scott

Two brothers are sent to live with Aunt Sally because their mother is sick. I loved how Brodie took care of his little brother Tom on the journey there with their aunt. When they arrive, the town appears to be hiding something which made me very curious. The place felt so real and strange at the same time.  I enjoyed the boys trying to find the secret with the aide of their aunt’s dog. The reason surprised me and made this an exciting and highly recommended short read!

 


Voodoo or Destiny: You Decide

by Jan Sikes

Two friends are drinking away Claire’s pain. All in good fun, Claire and Jade make a Voodoo doll resembling the husband who just left Claire for another woman. Ms. Sikes wrote this in a fashion that felt authentic to me. There was a woman betrayed and heartbroken with a friend trying to cheer her up. I could easily imagine sitting with these two women, making a doll to work through all the bad feelings with an unexpected outcome. This short story was a quick read, but a complete story that I thoroughly enjoyed—and highly recommend!


Megamax

by Rhani D’Chae

This short story takes us to a future I hope doesn’t happen but feels very real. Prisoner Maxwell Drake is a part of the fighting ring in the Seattle prison. The fights are brutal, bloody, and controlled by the warden for profit. It immediately drew me into the story, including the predicament of being forced to do something Maxwell didn’t want to and the consequences of refusing. I want to know more about this world and Maxwell and can’t wait for the novel! I recommend this story that takes the reader into an action-filled glimpse of what could be.


 

UPDATES

There will be no blog post next Sunday. August 4th. There’s a family wedding and my son is coming down for a visit. (Plus, I have my weekly older grandkid stay, and it’s fair time, too). So, I will enjoy these happy celebrations and devote my full focus to family and fun. I will be back August 11th or the last weekend of summer before school starts here. Whew!

Embrace your inner child this summer by reading a great story! D. L. Finn