November Book Reviews Part 1! @MaeClair1 @ColleenChesebro @JacqBiggar #writingcommunity #whattoread #mustread #indieauthor #readinglist

Things Old and Forgotten

by Mae Clair

This is a wonderful collection of short stories, each with a unique flavor. The descriptions and images pulled me into each tale’s world. Although I enjoyed all the stories, many stood out including, “Robin of Sherwood,” “Miss Lilly Makes a Wish,” and “Father’s Day.” I loved the twist of a post-apocalyptic Robin Hood and saw all the favorite characters in a new yet familiar role. When Miss Lilly finds a lamp with a genie in it, it’s so much fun. I didn’t expect that ending or how she handled things. Then, in Father’s Day, there was a lot of raw emotion, along with a scenario that completely surprised me. These short stories were hard to stop reading. I had planned on going through the book at a leisurely pace, but found I needed to read just one more story. I highly recommend “Things Old and Forgotten.”


Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse

by Colleen M. Chesebro (Author), Jules Paige (Editor)

Word Weaving is a journal created by Colleen M. Chesebro and Jules Paige with chosen contributions from many poets who submitted their poetry. There is a wide variety of formats used within Japanese and American syllabic poetry. The theme of the book was autumn moons, and the poems were grouped together by type. I found once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down. It’s an amazing array of talent, so I couldn’t pick or share my favorite lines because there were just too many to choose from. If you love poetry, I highly recommend this collection. I plan to add the paperback to my bookshelf so I can enjoy reading it again.


The SEAL’s Temptation(Wounded Hearts #7)

by Jacquie Biggar

Maggie’s story continues as she recovers from PTSD at Frank’s ranch with her ex-partner, boss, an ex-seal, and wife. There is the budding relationship between Frank and Maggie and the past bond with her partner, Adam, which I enjoyed, along with the missing cows. Then, a man living near the ranch who was recently released from prison added excitement to the story, along with familiar characters from previous books who dealt with their issues back in Tidal Falls. I loved the story, had more than one perspective, and how well it all blended. The characters are well-rounded, and the setting made me feel like I was there with them at the ranch. Although I have gotten attached to all the characters, Maggie has become my favorite. I can’t wait to read Wounded Hearts #8 and see what happens next. I highly recommend this book and the series.


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

October Book Reviews Part 1! @YouAreTheExpert @JacqBiggar @CathleenTowns #writingcommunity #bookreviews #whattoread #indieauthors #mustread #goodbooks

Son of BOOKU: more halloween haiku

by Annette Rochelle Aben

I’m a huge fan of Halloween and couldn’t pass up a book of Halloween haikus and pictures. Ms. Aben goes into the background of Halloween decorations and her sibling’s part in that. It’s pictures of the displays that are used to inspire the poetry. The poems were clever and had me laughing. Here’s one of them that was paired with a haunting decoration: “I met this vampire/said he hadn’t had a bite/offered him a stake.” This is a quick read to be slowly enjoyed. Reading this book got me into the Halloween mood. If you love poetry and Halloween, this collection is for you.


Summer Lovin’(Wounded Hearts #5)

by Jacquie Biggar

“Summer Lovin” is set in Tidal Falls like the four previous books in the series. Rebecca had a crush on Mitch back in high school. They ran into each other in Las Vegas and ended up married. Rebecca leaves the next morning, and they didn’t stay together. Five years later, they are still married and run into each other again in Tidal Falls. I love how she fights her obvious feelings for him and how Mitch is still there when she needs him. It’s great to see all the wonderful couples from past books and the interest they take in this couple. Although, it’s the side story that captures my heart of a young boy Rebecca runs into at the school she works. His story, and Rebecca’s concern, made this a fantastic read I didn’t want to put down. Another great addition to the Wounded Hearts series, and I can’t wait to move on to the next book!


Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie

by Cathleen Townsend

I started reading this with the plan to read one story before going to sleep, but I ended up reading the entire book instead. I don’t regret the missed slumber. A fantastic collection of short stories that offer a twist on classic stories or a modern take on the classics. I loved them all, but a few favorites were “Dragon Hoard,” “Teenage Driver,” and “Gargoyle.” Some tugged at my heart, others had me laughing, but all made the characters feel real in a fantasy world. A well-written collection that I can highly recommend!


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!

NOTE: You might notice a repeat review here today. That’s because these are my regular reviews, and Books That Changed Me is a special blog where books get showcased.

Read a great book this fall and embrace your inner child! D. L. Finn

 

Books That Changed Me—2021 Fall Edition! @Dwallacepeach @CathleenTowns @gmplano #writingcommunity #indieauthors #goodreads #whattoread #fantasy #shortstories #thriller

Maple Tree in fall

Fall has finally arrived! It’s my favorite time of year when the leaves turn the landscape into a sunset, the night is cooler, and there is the hope of some much-needed rain. Halloween is right around the corner and it is time for all things pumpkin, while the Magical Trail gets a visit from some friendly ghosts and goblins. It is also the perfect time of year to read. Here are three books that have changed my outlook on life in their own special way.

Cover to The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

by D. Wallace Peach

BLURB

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.

And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.

Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.

MY REVIEW

I’ve been looking forward to reading The Ferryman and the Sea Witch because I love all things ocean and fantasy—and was not disappointed. When he was a young boy, Callum tried to save the sea merrow queen’s daughter tangled in fish netting. The crew paid for standing by, but Callum was offered a deal to never set foot on land and become the Ferryman. He was the only one allowed to cross the sea, if a human sacrifice was offered each crossing. So, Callum transported goods between two warring cities. Then comes the time for him to deliver more than goods. Secrets are revealed that change everything. I love how skillfully Ms. Peach weaves in the details and scenery. It makes a fantasy world seem very real. The characters were flawed and well-rounded, and I rooted for several outcomes and relationships. Beautifully written with dark undertones made this a story I didn’t want to put down. This is a book I highly recommend!


Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie

by Cathleen Townsend

BLURB

Explore twelve tales of Faerie, and discover its paradox–both close and inaccessible–peopled with heroes, rogues, and ciphers.

•A modern dragon who desires more than mere gold,
•A troll who longs for the kiss of sunlight on his skin,
•A teenage driver who discovers her driving test is going to be far more difficult than anyone expected,
•A gargoyle who yearns to safeguard not only a church but a young girl as well,
•And a woman who bargains for Faerie help—only to be confronted with a cost that is more than she can bear to pay.

Come join them.

MY REVIEW

I started reading this with the plan to read one story before going to sleep, but I ended up reading the entire book instead. I don’t regret the missed slumber. A fantastic collection of short stories that offer a twist on classic stories or a modern take on the classics. I loved them all, but a few favorites were “Dragon Hoard,” “Teenage Driver,” and “Gargoyle.” Some tugged at my heart, others had me laughing, but all made the characters feel real in a fantasy world. A well-written collection that I can highly recommend!


The Culmination: a new beginning

by Gwen M. Plano

BLURB

The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.

MY REVIEW

“The Culmination” is the third book in the Contract Series. I loved all the books, but this one topped them. It touched me on a level of reality and fear, bringing the idea of hope in our current cold social climate. It starts after the second book and an assassination attempt. There is a group determined to cause mayhem and stop anyone in their way, including heads of state. There’s not only exciting action but developing relationships and political intrigue. I found a lot of what was going on in the story relevant for current times. Where Ms. Plano took this story is a place where I could imagine the right things being done in the middle of chaos. I loved the American Vice President with her logic and heart. Beautifully written and thought-provoking with scenarios all too familiar, some heartbreaking, and some tender. This book not only scared me but offered an optimistic option at the same time. I highly recommend it and the whole series.


Read a book, it can change your life! Happy Autumn 🙂 D. L. Finn

 

 

September Book Reviews Part 3! @AnnikaPerry68 @StephenGeez @teagangeneviene #WritingCommunity #BookReviews #WhatToRead

 

Oskar’s Quest

by Annika Perry Author, and Gabrielle Vickery, Illustrator

I purchased “Oskar’s Quest” as a gift for my youngest granddaughter’s upcoming birthday and wanted to read and review it before wrapping it up. It is a charming story about a young bird, Oskar, who fearfully veers off from his group of birds hunting for dragons. He finds a sad little island where a cloud has taken the songbird. I love how the little bird finds his courage in a search for the songbird. This story teaches not only to push past fears but to understand each other. The illustrations are colorful and bring the story to life. I enjoyed this tale and can’t wait to share it with my granddaughter soon!


Comes This Time To Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez

by Stephen Geez

“Comes This Time to Float” is an impressive collection of short stories that cover many genres. I enjoyed all of them, but “Vapor Girl,” “Comes Time to Float,” and “Age Eater” were some of the very favorites that I know will stick with me for a while. Each fictional piece had a common thread of attention to detail and emotions that drew me in. Before each story, Mr. Geez shared why he wrote or the history behind each one, which was fun to know. There was also an accompanying picture that added to my reading pleasure. There’s a lot of heart inside the 19 short tales, which I really felt in “Veneer,” but humor, intriguing insight, and variety were also woven in. It’s a wonderful read where each piece offers something different. A well-written collection that I can easily recommend.


Dead of Winter: Journey 8, The Lost Library

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I was excited to explore the Lost Library with the characters. It’s a place I’d definitely go, even with all the other stuff going on around, and in it. There was some insight into the Deae Matres and a glimpse into what Arawn was doing. Then comes a leap of faith to save not only a friend but the world. I thought I had some characters figured out but found I might be wrong. This one was fast-paced and full of new things to ponder. I can’t wait for Journey 9 to see where this all goes. I highly recommend the Dead of Winter Series, but make sure you’ve read the other journeys before reading this one!


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!

Happy Birthday, Jeffry!

Newsletter goes out tomorrow 🙂

Watch for “Books That Changed Me—Fall Edition” on September 22nd!

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

May Book Reviews Part 2! @bakeandwrite @JoanHallWrites @Marjorie_Mallon #BookReviews #WhatToRead #WritingCommunity #IARTG #ASMSG #IndieBooks #MustRead

Open a new door: a collection of poems

by Robbie Cheadle and Kim Blades

“Open a new door” is a collection of various types of poetry penned by two poets. The book was broken down into four sections, and within those, there were three reactions the authors called the good, bad, and ugly. This offers insight into living in South Africa and how the women navigate their lives. It’s deeply personal, and at the end of most of the poetry, there is more insight from the author which added another depth. Ms. Cheadle and Ms. Blades’ thoughts, fears, and reflections examine family to human existence, and are mixed with many other emotions throughout the book. This was an honest assortment of poems that I enjoyed, with so many ideas all combined nicely into this compelling compilation.

House of Sorrow: Legends of Madeira

by Joan Hall

“House of Sorrow” is a short story and prequel to an upcoming series. Ruth lived by herself, and her family wanted her to move into assisted living, but she refuses. Then she reflects upon her past and what led her to that point in her life. I loved going back to the 1960s and reliving the trips to the moon. I can still vividly remember that event, and Ms. Hall caught the excitement, pride, and worry of the moment through Ruth’s eyes. Ruth and her husband had moved to a new town and an older Victorian house. She fit right into the community with her infectious personality. I loved her relationship with the neighborhood kids and an older neighbor, Sam. Although Ruth didn’t believe in curses, as more of the house’s history is revealed, it doesn’t concern her. This story pulled me in, and I can’t wait to read the first book to see what happens next.


Lockdown Innit: Poems About Absurdity

by M.J. Mallon

“Lockdown Innit” is a glimpse into the pandemic through poetry. There were various subjects and types of poetry, including going to the supermarket, driving, cancer, and books. I laughed when reading “SuperMarket Bozos,” it reminded me of my feisty grandmother. “ROAD RAGE DURING COVID-19” is an all too often occurrence, even during the last year. While “Little Library” offered a picture of something one could do during the stay-at-home orders, read. The collection ended with “THIS author longs for Pets,” and I admit jumping into a cat’s dream might be that perfect escape from the heaviness of the epidemic. This is a book I’d like to go back and read ten years from now as a reminder of this time in history because it gives a unique perspective into strange times.


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

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #41. @pursoot #IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts #WritingCommunity #99words #flashfiction

Here’s Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction in a Flash Challenge 2021’ #41.

This week I decided to write a very short story where I used 99-words. No more, no less.

WAITING

I stood every night on the edge of the precipice. My tears had stopped flowing, but the valley hadn’t stopped burning. Everything I’d known was gone. Only my father heeded the signs and prepared our escape. Unfortunately, he could only take my baby brother and sisters. He sent mother and me to the mountain, promising to return. Mother never left the cave but kept our fire going. I caught fish and lugged our water from the icy stream. She insisted we were the only ones alive, but I believed. Tonight, my dreams were answered as my father’s balloon appeared.

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