June Book Reviews

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful 

by Ellie Collins

“Daisy, Bold & Beautiful” is a sweet story geared for 9 to 12-year-old readers.  Ms. Collins tells the story of a young girl D.J. who moves to a new town with her father, after her mother’s death. She has to start a new school and make new friends.  It’s well-written and I could sympathize with her getting onto the bus knowing no one and heading for a new sixth grade experience. D.J. quickly makes friends and learns about herself along the way. I loved the relationship between father and daughter as well as her new friends.   What makes this story so interesting is what happens when she goes to bed and her experiences in another realm. This book for middle grade readers drew me in, but the amazing part was it was written by a middle grade writer!  This is a children’s book I highly recommend and a new author I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!


PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction) Short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP

by Bette A. Stevens

“Pure Trash” is a charming and insightful glance into rural 1955 as we are taken through a day with two boys: Shawn and Willie. They are poor and judged on the merit of their drunken father. Heading into town it is apparent they are considered, “pure trash”. They’re able to earn enough change to get some treats and play freely on the playground. An unforeseen accident confirms what Shawn already knows, they aren’t treated the same as everyone else. I can’t wait to read “Dog Bone Soup” to see what happens to the boys. I recommend this short story for children– as well as adults.


DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction): A Boomer’s Journey 

by Bette Stevens

“Dog Bone Soup” is a story told through a boy’s eyes as he grows up in a desperately poor family in the 50’s with an abusive-alcoholic father. Shawn spends time surviving and taking care of his family’s needs, as well as finding time to enjoy life with his brother. I wondered what dog bone soup was and quickly found out it came from Shawn having to get dog bones at the butcher, so his family could eat. Ms. Stevens’ descriptions of the era really pulled me into the story. I loved the relationship between Shawn and his younger brother Willie and the creative ways they found to supply the family with food. It was sad how people treated them and the pride the family had–that ended up hurting them at times. Using an outhouse and having to bring water in each day when everyone else had indoor plumbing was made worse when the father made sure he had electricity for his TV. This was one of many examples of what four children had to endure from a selfish father and a mother struggling to care for her family. A beautifully written coming of age story that I can highly recommend!


If Only There Was Music. The Poetry of Forbidden Love 

by Nonnie Jules (Author), Giani Jordan (Author)

This is a beautiful book of poetry with the first half written from the female’s perspective and the second through the male’s. “If Only There was Music. The Poetry of Forbidden Love” does something unique–it tells a story through the poetry. Each poem shows the pain and longing for their forbidden love. I like that the female and male side are written by different authors making it all the more real. The images and rhythm of the words held me captive– reading late into the night. It reminded me just how strong real love is, even at a distance. If you love poetry, like I do, you will love this book!


…AND THE MUSIC PLAYED: A Short Story

by Nonnie Jules

I just finished reading: “If Only There Was Music. The Poetry of Forbidden Love” the book of poetry that precedes this short story. Instead of going to sleep I had to know how it all ended and immediately started reading “…And the Music Played”. The couple in a forbidden love were both married to other people. Christine in an abusive marriage, and Giani in a loveless one. A murder plot is twisted into this love story nicely with plenty of action. I was drawn in and rooting for Christine and Giani. You can read this well-written short story as a stand-alone, but I recommend you read the book of poetry first.


There will be no blog on June 10th because my husband and I will be celebrating our 35th Wedding Anniversary. It is a weekend trip with our long, long trailer by the ocean! Be back on June 17th!

Watch for special edition blogs on June 5th and 15th!

Embrace that inner child by reading an amazing indie book! D.L. Finn

The Journey–A Poem

the little bird

THE JOURNEY

The tiny brown and white bird clung to the cedar’s bark

The corn snow fell heavy and hard around it.

Then, the bird slowly began its journey by climbing upward.

A few feet up the tree, it was knocked back down to the ground

It paused for only a few seconds and tried again.

Deliberately, it made its way back to where it fell

The bird carefully passed that point without stopping

It moved higher, toward the promised shelter from the pounding chaos.

Wings open, it faltered a few times, but hung on…

It kept rising until it reached the first bare branch.

Tucked underneath the little bird had found limited shelter

But, it wisely did not linger there, and it continued the climb

Finally, the brave bird was immersed into the green branches–

Now, it was safely nestled in the cedar, as the storm raged around it.

 

Gone from my sight, I contemplated this journey.

When the bird was knocked down, it got up and tried again.

It passed the point where it had been impeded.

There was no hesitation as it kept advancing.

Not looking back, it climbed higher and higher.

It didn’t accept the first offer of partial protection,

Instead, it kept climbing until it reached its goal…

Until it found sanctuary from the pelting ice and winds.

And, having watched this journey–I was just a bit wiser for it

Because whatever life throws at me, I need to pick myself up,

And keep climbing, no matter what the odds, until I reach the top–

Exactly like the wise and brave bird did on its journey in the storm.


I watched this event take place while I was on my elliptical a few days ago. I was so happy and impressed to see this tiny bird make it up the tree.  It amazed me that something so small could leave a lasting impression. (The bird pictured is from another day, but for all I know could be the same bird…)

“The Journey” will be in my upcoming book: “Just Her Poetry”. I hope to release it this year!

This month’s newsletter came out this week. Here is the link if you aren’t subscribed and interested: LINK TO NEWSLETTER  

This month’s hat drawing winners are: Melissa and Tara! Congrats:)

Embrace your inner child with poetry, D.L. Finn

 

A Stormy Poem and Book Review!

Spring arrives in over a week. So, I’m sharing my last stormy poem of the wintry season (included in “Just Her Poetry). With the coming of spring, may the storms continue in Nevada City and beyond to ease the drought–and fill our well!


 

IMMERSE

I immerse myself into the storm.

Its power engulfs me,

As it cleans my soul

With a brush of existence.

Ruling firmly without warning,

It is a delicate balance between

What it can give–

And what it can take away.

I connect to this authority

As its wind, rain and snow…

Rule the landscape.

It is the same inside me

With my hidden emotions–

I’m immersed in the rage of the storm.

I wait for the calm,

Safe where I am now.

Soon the sun will shine

My soul will be whole again.

But until then—I welcome…

This healing immersion into the storm.


 

While snow is finally making a comeback, I’ve been reading “The Improbable Journey of Billy Battles” and plan to jump right into “The Hat” next. Here is my book review of “Retaking Pervaiske”:

Retaking Pervaiske (The Army of Orphans #2

by F.B. Veneziano

I loved the first YA book in the “Army of Orphans” series and “The Retaking Pervaiske” takes over where it ended. It follows the plight of the Krisko siblings Alex, Anton, Irina and their army of orphans living in an abandoned underground shelter. It’s eastern Europe and thirty years into the future. The country is at war with itself and they are part of the rebel rebellion. There’s plenty of action with the small band being sent on missions with very real consequences–as the government repression strengthens. More relationships are developed as well as revisiting characters from the first book. My heart can’t help but go out to these brave young adults and children fighting for what they believe in. Although, you could read this as a stand-alone, with the very detailed recap at the beginning, I suggest you read the books in order. I liked how the story starts off with a glimpse into what was coming and then going back to find out how they got there. This kept me reading late into the night, with the only thing slightly slowing me down was the recap of the last book. The ending was sudden, and my first thought was: “no, it can’t end like this!” I eagerly await the third book to find out what happens next to this army of amazing orphans, because I can’t help but love them! I recommend this for young adults and adults, too.


 

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

Poem and fire…

1. Fall colors in Nevada City, CA

2. Smoky day in Nevada City, CA (the faint outline at top of picture is the mountain where I live– to the right) 

I have lived with the possibility of fires the last 27 years. It’s the price one pays for living in the forest. I accept that. I’ve held my breath through the dry fall months many times–until we get those first rains. My family has packed to evacuate, but never had to leave. We’ve been lucky.  I keep a pair of shoes and my purse next to my bed…just in case. I know where my important papers are, I have a suitcase with a change of clothes in my car, animal carriers ready, and the brush has been cleared away from the house.  We are prepared the best anyone can be–if disaster strikes.

California deals with fires, earthquakes, floods, and droughts–it’s a fact of life here. Yet, I have never woken up to what I did this week. So many fires happening “all at once” during a dry wind and dry time of the year. Of those seventeen fires, two struck our area the first day. Fire fighters risked their lives to save other’s lives and property. Sometimes you have a warning, but most of the time you don’t.

Right now, I am safe. The trees are changing their colors for fall to red, yellow, and orange. It’s a beautiful process that continues uninterrupted—even surrounded by fire. The trees carry-on even with all the changes taking place. There are signs of this change all over the world–and all I can do is hope that it isn’t too late for “us” to change…


WAIT

The air is thick with disaster

Heavy in loss and pain.

The sun unable to break through

As the winds fuel the flames…

Tension fills us all.

No breath too deep

As watchful eyes are kept —

Pinned on the horizon.

We wait for the warning.

Bags packed—ready to flee

The air is thick,

With ash from the fires

As…we wait.


Thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have lost loved ones or their homes in the California fires– and the other recent disasters. Reach out and lend a helping hand where you can.


Next week, I will be on vacation with my grand kids. I’m hoping to explore some fall splendor if we can– and at the same time praying for the rains to start! So, the monthly newsletter will be a few days late, while I am out embracing my inner child–D.L. Finn

 

A little Poetry…

harley ride

My husband and I decided to take a ride on our motorcycle last weekend. We went on a favorite ride from Nevada City to Downieville, CA. This is a two hour plus round trip– depending on how many stops we make. Part of this journey, we are next to the beautiful Yuba River–or one of my favorite places to be. I decided to try an experiment. I brought a small notepad and pen to write some poetry during our ride. It was challenging. I used my husband’s back as a table to write on (at first, he was rather confused…). I hung tightly onto my pen, and put each poem, as I wrote them, safely into my zipped pocket–in case I dropped my notepad. I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to read what I wrote later…but I was. Here is one of those poems which I deemed “Musings from a Harley” and will be adding to my poetry book, Just her Poetry:

MOMENTS

Moments of splendor on the back of a motorcycle

Are impolitely interrupted by road work.

We bake in the sun, that our black leather absorbs–

Motorcycle off—we sit and wait.

We are silent in the line of cars

Watching for signs of movement ahead,

When a single butterfly attracts our attention…

The flutter within the delay.

Soaring from one side of the road to the other

In its final autumn quest,

As flowers give forth their final blooms

The butterfly joins many on a late blooming weed.

My husband and I smile at each other.

The enchantment quickly dissipates

When the first car passes us…then another

Soon our direction will be moving.

The motorcycle roars into life

As the butterfly makes one last trip past us

And our time with this elegant being– gone

As the quiet fades into the past

We are on our way again.

But, the memory of the white and orange butterfly

Stays with us on our journey

As moments of splendor–never really end.


NOTE:

I tried to honor the heroes in that horrible shooting in Las Vegas with poetry– and make sense of a senseless act. It is a hard thing to process. I also wrote a couple of poems to mark the passing of Tom Petty. I’ve seen him in concert many times over the years, including just last month.  I’m not ready to share these poems–yet. My plan is to include them in my poetry book. For now, I want to send out my thoughts and prayers to everyone touched by such a tragic day in America’s history. Hug your loved ones just a little tighter next time, and know I’m sending my hugs to you.

Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn