Thursday, April 18, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Seimei #Spring #EkphrasticPoetry #haibun #heartache @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I have been very busy planning my summer trip. My son is graduating from high school in May, and we want to celebrate his acceptance into the college of his dreams. We are a bit behind in the planning because we were waiting to see if he would need to start taking courses in the summer. Luckily, he does not, so now I'm in rush mode to get everything planned.

I've booked us for a ten-day cruise around Italy and Greece. Greece has always been on my bucket list, so I'm excited he chose that itinerary. I've been to Italy, but this cruise is going to places I have yet to see, so I can't wait! Cruise and flight are booked, and I got both with BOGO deals. As a single mom, I'm always looking for budget-friendly opportunities! 😂 

We are now in the process of booking the excursions. Yes, we are behind schedule in doing this, so we are hoping to get it all booked this weekend. Fingers crossed!

For this week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro encouraged us to write an Ekphrastic poem based on the picture below. Now, you would think all my excitement about my upcoming cruise would have me writing about beauty and happiness, but when I saw this painting, my eyes were drawn to the bluish gray building in the back. It almost looks like someone is looking out of a darkened house and seeing the beauty outside. So, my mind took me in a completely different direction.

I chose to write a haibun, which is a paragraph of prose with a syllabic poem. They are always titled, and the title should connect with the poem. There are different styles of haibun poems. I chose to write a prose and haiku. The kigo words must be in the haiku part, and I have bolded and italicized them.

(Artist - Kaoru Yamada)

Dreary Disconnections

Today makes a month since you left me alone, shattering my hopes and dreams of a life filled with love and laughter alongside my soulmate. Father Time cares not of my pain or how the loud minutes ticking by on my grandfather clock only remind me of the hollowness in my heart. Its reverberating, rhythmic sound drones on, taunting me with its power to move on without you. Oh, if I could replace that dreadful sound with your voice, I would listen to it forever! My heartache knows no bounds, and no amount of time will heal the hole your absence has created.

Spring flowers in bloom
whispers of long gone laughter
colors hold no joy

Would you like to write a poem for this painting? Join us here.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Seimei #Spring #cherryblossoms #fiddleheadferns #twitteringbirds @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I hope you are having a wonderful week. I'm not sure how many of you were able to enjoy the solar eclipse. I was teaching, but I enjoyed seeing the pictures that people posted from different places, especially from people with really fancy cameras. :-)

This week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge is the second part of the Seimei season. This week, Colleen Chesebro invited us to write three poems using the following phrases:

first cherry blossoms
fiddlehead ferns
twittering of birds

Now, I'll admit I had no idea what fiddlehead ferns were, so I looked it up. They are the furled fronds of a baby fern, and people eat them! Some people use them to make medicines. Apparently, they taste like asparagus or broccoli. I'm not a fan of asparagus, so I think I'll stay away from this seasonal delicacy.

I chose to write two haiku poems and a tanka. Haiku poems focus on a part of nature and have three lines with a 5-7-5 syllabic pattern. Tanka poems have five lines with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic pattern with the fourth line usually being the pivot line.

(courtesy of @ChiemSeherin on Pixabay)

the coming of Spring
brings the first cherry blossoms
colorful delights

(courtesy of @lotusning2018 on Pixabay)

green fiddlehead ferns
pulled while furled make crunchy meal
life ended too soon
if left alone to flourish
ferns decorate forest floors

(courtesy of @CharlVera on Pixabay)

twittering of birds
sweet, harmonic melodies
nature's alarm clock

Would you like to write your own poems with these phrases? Join us here.

Friday, April 5, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #cruiselife #Carnivalcruise #Seimei @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I'm back from my Spring Break vacation. It was a wonderful escape from work and stress. My sister and I took my son and niece on a Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Magic to Amber Cove (DR), Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. We slid down water slides, walked around Old San Juan, went on a catamaran and snorkeled, and completed a kayak, hike, and snorkel tour. We had an amazing time. Here are just a few of the pictures.


This week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge brings in a new season called Seimei, or Clear and Bright. Because it's already Friday, and I still have a busy weekend ahead of me, I decided to write a haiku (three lines with a 5-7-5 syllabic pattern. My kigo phrase is bolded and italicized. 

Spring winds tousle hair
sea's fragrance permeates air
worries disappear

Good luck to those of you participating in NaPoWritMo (National Poetry Writing Month)! One of these years, I'm going to participate. :-)

Would you like to write a poem with us? Join us here.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

March Book Reviews #bookreview #books #amreading #readingcommunity #shortstories #selfhelp #teens #ghostmystery #romance #literaryfiction #musicians @kirazian @MaeClair1 @pat_garcia @EichinChangLim @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I unlocked Level 50 of life this month and am blessed to have such a beautiful life! This month was busy with many celebrations, but I was able to fit in some reading time as well. Here are my reviews for March:

by Pat Garcia

Genre: Short Story

Pages: 13 pages


My Review: 

Can love be found at any age? Why not! This was a sweet story of a woman spending the first 65 years of her life without romantic love. She was blessed with the love of friendship, and when one of her dear friends passes away, she begins to contemplate her life's purpose. And then, she learns to see those around her in a whole new light, and everything changes.

Although just thirteen pages, it's a wonderful story of never giving up and embracing the love that life has to offer. Flawlessly written, this is a great story to read! :-)

by Eichin Chang-Lim and Lora L Erickson

Genre: Personal Transformation, Self-Help

Pages: 371 pages


Want to transition from childhood to adulthood successfully? Discover how to empower yourself for a bright future.

Are you looking for help navigating the ups and downs of being a teenager? Do you have a son or daughter going through growing pains? Hoping to avoid the pitfalls of emotional, psychological, and social challenges unique to young adults? As two experts in the field, multi-award-winning author Eichin Chang-Lim, OD, MS, MA and international psychologist Lora L. Erickson, PhD, LCPC, LMHC-QS, LPC have come together in a crucial collaboration. And now they're here to share how you can take charge and live your best life.

Talking About Adolescence: Anxiety, Depression, and Adolescent Mental Health is an inspirational and easy-to-digest resource that explores top issues affecting young minds. Through a direct conversational style and engaging visuals, Chang-Lim and Erickson carefully walk you through each essential topic while providing healthy coping skills and habits to help you consistently make good choices. Equipped with the tools to succeed, teens, parents, and guardians will confidently look forward to a life of fulfillment and happiness.

In Talking About Adolescence, you'll discover:

- Passionate and well-researched information that can transform lives

- A great start to productive dialogue that will allow parents and educators to connect with teens

- How to triumphantly wade through the traps of social media

- Ways to eliminate the stigma of mental illness so any young person can be comfortable seeking support and treatment

- Key strategies to tackle self-harm, panic attacks, bullies, childhood trauma, substance abuse, neurodiversity, and much, much more!

Talking About Adolescence: Anxiety, Depression, and Adolescent Mental Health is the must-have guide to thriving during those formative years and is the first book in the Talking About Adolescence series. If you like life-changing knowledge, learning more about yourself, and gaining control, then you'll love Eichin Chang-Lim & Lora L. Erickson's comprehensive handbook.

Buy Talking About Adolescence to find self-empowerment today!

My Review:

I have taught high school and middle school students for the past 28 years and can attest that many of our students struggle with mental health and family issues. This book is a valuable resource for parents, teachers, counselors, and teens alike. Written in plain language to make it easy for teens to understand, it dives into struggles that affect their emotional, psychological, mental, and social aspects of their lives. Though my middle school kids may have a bit more difficult following the depth of some of the chapters, high school students would easily be able to connect and absorb the information.

What I love most about this book is that it brings the topics to the kids' levels. It provides videos for them to watch, which is truly their mode of absorbing information. It provides links to articles and other great information for them to continue exploring the topics. It includes questions at the beginning of each chapter to help focus the students and then questions at the end to give them a moment to pause and reflect on what they've read (without making it feel like an assignment). ;-)

I also absolutely LOVE that they include pertinent information of help lines throughout the book to make it easy for teens to reach out for help if they connect with a topic within the book and need someone to speak with. The appendix at the end with videos and articles is so valuable! This is the kind of book that parents can read with their teens a chapter at a time and have real conversations. What a difference we could make in the lives of children if these conversations took place!

Truly, Talking About Adolescence: Book 1 is a game-changer for parents who aren't sure how to deal with difficult conversations and for children who are suffering and aren't sure how to cope. I highly recommend this valuable, vast collection of knowledge, coping mechanisms, and hopeful messages to teens and those who live with or work with teens.

by Mae Clair

Genre: Ghost Mysteries, Ghost Suspense

Pages: 117 pages


The Harbor Pointe Inn has loomed on California's cliffs for generations of Hawthornes. For some, it's been a blessing. For others, a curse. Travel through two centuries of stories to discover the old inn's secrets.

Some hauntings come from within.

Leviticus Sinclair has been a broken man since the murders of his wife and brother. Burdened by personal failures the night they were killed, he occupies himself by crossing the country, searching out departed spirits unwilling to move from this world to the next. His dead brother’s Bible and a pocket watch—forever frozen at the precise moment of his wife’s death—serve as grim reminders of a past he cannot exorcise.

Accompanied by Wyatt Resnick, a paid employee who fills the role of researcher and hired muscle, Leviticus arrives at the Harbor Pointe Inn amid rumors of a vengeful ghost. A phantom who may be the single spirit he has long sought, one capable of freeing him from his torment.

Set in the remote Pacific Northwest of 1887, 
The Price of Atonement is a story of jealousy, guilt, and one man’s relentless quest for absolution.

My Review: 

What an amazing first book for a new series! From the very first paragraph, the tone was set so perfectly. Leviticus can see ghosts and, because of his past choices, has been charged with finding wayward ghosts and sending them to the other side. Wyatt assists him in researching the hauntings and helps him with other tasks. When they visit the Harbor Point Inn, they find it's not so easy to get rid of the ghost because she wants vengeance.

Everything about this story was great! The setting was the perfect setting for a haunted hotel. The tragedy that took place there set up the haunting perfectly. The characters were so well-developed. Leviticus's burden was palpable. I loved how the author sprinkled parts of his story throughout the layers of the events with the other characters.

I loved how Leviticus and Iona interacted with each other and how their experiences together brought clarity and closure to both (well, one more than the The ghost scenes were fantastic, and I could visualize each moment, even almost feeling the chill!

I know each of the books in the series is written by different authors, but this book definitely sets the bar for an amazing series. Honestly, I'd love to read more of Leviticus's travels as he continues to hunt for wayward ghosts. I definitely recommend this book! It's a great read! :-) 

by Lisa Kirazian

Genre: British Literary Fiction, Romance Literary Fiction

Pages: 388 pages


Luminous violinist Kate Driscoll, and her temperamental pianist brother, Neil, try to escape a troubled family upbringing in Somerset when they are accepted to the Royal School of Music in London in 1959. There, they meet their lifelong friends and loves: Anne Curtis, a quiet cellist secretly in love with Neil; Colin Andrews, a Welsh flautist and bartender; Jeremy Longbourne, a witty clarinetist; and Maggie Crawford, a head-turning American soprano. When the young prodigies near graduation, the youth movement, British rock explosion and Vietnam get under way, changing all their lives. They give everything they have to reach the world stage.

But Kate and Neil's lives and careers take different turns, through the years. They endure both triumph and heartbreak, only coming together again when they need each other the most. A sister and brother's journey to wholeness comes full circle decades later, when one of their children, Jenny, embarks on her own musical journey.

My Review: 

It is very rare that a current author can master third-person omniscient, but this author has done so magnificently. Overall, I absolutely loved this story. It is written the way stories were written a few decades ago, with a slow simmer that gradually releases bits and pieces that leave you completely invested by the end.

It's been a while since I've read a story like that, and there were a few moments when I wondered if the story was taking too long to get to where it was going. There were a few places that felt a bit dry of emotion, but then I remembered a few other British lit books I've read that had the same "proper" feeling to them. The emotions are not in your face, but they will reach into your heart and make you cry at just the right moments.

This story's main focus is Kate and Neil Driscoll, but it also follows the lives of several of their close friends. We journey with them as their lives unfold through many decades. Each of them are musically talented and strive to create successful careers in this field, but they are all struck by tragedy in some way. And when they do, have tissues close by!

This was a beautiful story with intriguing characters who lead interesting lives. If you are looking for a story about love - for music, for romance, for children - then you will really enjoy this story.

Have you read any great books this month? I'd love to hear about them.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Shunbun #haiku #SpringEquinox @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! This week, in the 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge, we have entered into the season of the Spring Equinox. We are experiencing longer days and are spending more time outdoors. Here in South Florida, I am loving the warmer weather. Our oceans still have chilly water, but it's more tolerable now. Our winds have kicked up as they always do in Spring. This week, we have had several days in the high 80s, and I've loved every minute of it.

I have had a very busy week (just like every other At school, the students are getting ready for Spring Break, and their attention spans are waning. I've had something going on every afternoon, so I've had little time to do much, but I still managed to write a haiku for this week. My haiku has three lines with a syllabic pattern of 5-7-5. My kigo phrase is bolded and italicized.

(courtesy of @Bluesnap on Pixabay)

March southernly winds
ocean crests, warmer weather
all flock to beaches

To enjoy Spring Break, I will be leaving soon on a cruise to the Caribbean islands to really enjoy the warmer weather, so I may not be around much. Still, I will reply to your comments before I leave or after I return. Be well, everyone! :-)

Would you like to join us in writing poetry? Click here

Thursday, March 14, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Keichitsu #Etheree #StPatricksDay #Spring @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! For this week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge, we are still in the season of Keichitsu, or Wintering Insects Awake. It is also the week of St. Patrick's Day. So, I did a little digging about St. Patty's Day.

Did you know most Christian holidays overlap a Pagan holiday once celebrated? St. Patrick's Day is no different. And yet, the holy celebration of St. Patty's Day has lost its power as it's now become a festival celebrating Irish pride, good fortune, and an excuse to drink, especially any green concoction a bar can create.

So, to honor this shift in the holiday, I decided to write a double Etheree. A double Etheree is a poem with twenty lines with a syllabic pattern of 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. My kigo words are bolded and italicized.

(courtesy of @MissyWhimsyArt on Pixabay)

Evolving Traditions

Ostara brings
the Spring Equinox
to celebrate new life
a saint changes holiday
claims the shamrock symbolizes
the Father, the Son, Holy Spirit
three leaves with one stem to unite them all
while Ireland celebrates its patron saint
American Irish celebrate
remnants of Irish heritage
mixed with folklore, fairy tales
leprechauns, pots of gold
and drunken parties
let's awaken

How do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? I'd love to hear from you.

Would you like to write a poem? Join us here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Keichitsu #haiku #Butterflies #Spring @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! Tomorrow (March 7th) is my birthday. I've unlocked level 50 and am blessed to have the life I live. This week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge takes us into a new season - Keichitsu, or Wintering Insects Awake. Spring is finally here. Daylight savings time begins this weekend and brings with it more daylight, and I am thrilled about it. I love the long days of light, especially living where I do. 

For this week's challenge, I've chosen to write a haiku, which is three lines with a 5-7-5 syllabic pattern. A haiku focuses on nature, and the first two lines should create one image while the second two lines create a separate image. I've chosen to use the kigo phrase of 'Spring's first butterfly' to celebrate my birthday. 

Reflecting on my first fifty years has me marveling at the transformation I've experienced. There have been some incredible moments, but it hasn't all been easy or pretty. I've done a lot of hard growth through therapy, self-reflection, and inner work, and I am grateful for the journey I am on. I am always evolving, always working to be a better version of myself. And I love myself more today than I ever have before. I will be celebrate this gift of life this weekend with friends and family, so if I'm a little late responding to your beautiful comments, please know I will get to them next week. 

(courtesy of @Erik_Karits at Pixabay)

Spring's first butterfly
delicate wings take first flight
hope transcends all fear

What Wintering insects are awakening in your area? I'd love to hear from you.

Would you like to join us in writing a poem? Click here.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Usui #AmericanCinquain #Snowdrops #LeapYear @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! This week has been a bit of an emotional drain for me. So many of our youth are struggling emotionally and mentally, and I've been bombarded with some rough moments this week. It breaks my heart to see teenagers who are overwhelmed with stress and are considering destructive decisions. If you have children, please create an open line of communication. Please create an atmosphere of unconditional love and acceptance, and let them know you will always be there to help them through whatever they are going through. Do not dismiss their angst. The youth of today are hurting, and they need to be seen and heard...and helped.

Okay, now that I've released that, let's shift our energies to light and beauty. For this week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro has encouraged us to use three kigo phrases:

early spring [insert flowers]
lingering snow
leap day

Though part of the challenge was to write three different poems, I only had the time and energy for one. I chose to write an American cinquain which is a five-line poem with a syllabic pattern of 2-4-6-8-2. It is untitled, and line five tends to be the pivot point, though I feel as if line four is more of the switch in this poem.

(courtesy of @Terranaut on Pixabay)

leap year
magical switch
dispense lingering cold
smell fragrant early spring snowdrops

Are you seeing signs of Spring where you live? I'd love to hear about it.

Would you like to write a poem with these three kigo phrases? Join us here.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

February Book Reviews #bookreview #books #amreading #readingcommunity #PainterBrothers #militaryaction #historialfiction @MarciaMeara @Linneatanner @gmplano @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! How is February already over? It feels like 2024 is on hyperdrive. I'm happy I've been able to continue to read and write this month, and I've read some great books as well. They are all part of series I started in previous years and just haven't been able to get back to, but I'm thrilled that I chose to revisit them this month.

by Marcia Meara

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Romantic Suspense

Pages: 518 pages


In Book 3 of her popular Riverbend series, Marcia Meara, author of Wake-Robin Ridge, A Boy Named Rabbit,and Harbinger, takes another look at the lives of the Painter brothers—Jackson, Forrest, and Hunter. While Hunter is home again and on the mend, the same isn’t true for his oldest brother. Jackson’s battle has just begun.

“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in and swallow you whole. You don't leave your brother stranded in that darkest place."
~Hunter Painter~

The new year is a chance for new beginnings—usually hopeful, positive ones. But when Jackson Painter plows his car into a tree shortly after midnight on January 1, his new beginnings are tragic. His brothers, Forrest and Hunter, take up a grim bedside vigil at the hospital, waiting for Jackson to regain consciousness and anxious over how he’ll take the news that he’s lost a leg and his fiancée is dead. After all, the accident was all his fault.

As the shocking truth emerges, one thing becomes obvious—Jackson will need unconditional love and support from both of his brothers if he is to survive.

Just as he begins the long road to recovery, danger, in the form of a sinister, unsigned note, plunges him back into bleak despair. Scrawled in blood red letters, the accusation—and the threat—is clear. “MURDERER!”

Will the long, harrowing ordeal that lies ahead draw the Painter brothers closer together, or drive them apart forever?

Suspenseful and often heartbreaking, this small-town tale is a testimonial to the redemptive power of love and paints a story filled with humor, romance, and fierce family loyalty.

My Review: 

I am so happy I came back to this family. I fell in love with Hunter Painter in Finding Hunter, but it ended in a tragedy that broke my heart. So, it took me a bit to come back to this series, and it was absolutely worth coming back to.

The story picks up right where the last one left off. Jackson is in a coma with Hunter and Forrest believing his drunkenness had finally severed all that was good about him. Luckily, they were wrong on all accounts. As Jackson awakens, they learn the truth about his accident and vow to be by his side as he recovers. With his memory loss and his shattered spirit, Jackson leans on his brothers for strength. But he doesn't find a way forward until he meets Mel at his group counseling.

Forrest struggles to be the best brother to both his siblings. He fights his infatuation with Hunter's wife and second guesses every decision he makes when it comes to helping Jackson. It isn't until he begins leaning on Bailey, his brother's caregiver coordinator, that the world starts making sense.

Add to that a vengeful ex-boyfriend of Jackson's deceased ex-girlfriend, and all hell breaks loose!

This story is so perfectly written! The author is blessed with the ability to dig deep into each character's pain, insecurities, trauma, and recovery, and she does it in such a realistic way. These brothers are not perfect, but they have so much heart, and I love each of them exactly as they are.

This is such an amazing series, and I truly recommend that everyone read it. I now want to read her spinoff series, The Emissary. I've also heard the author is writing a book four, and I will read it as soon as it is written. :-)

by Linnea Tanner

Genre: Historical Fiction, Greek & Roman Myth & Legends

Pages: 332 pages


A Celtic warrior princess accused of treason for aiding her enemy lover must win back her father’s love and trust

In the rich and vibrant tale, Author Linnea Tanner continues the story of Catrin and Marcellus that began with the awarding-winning novel APOLLO’S RAVEN in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings Series. Book 2: DAGGER’S DESTINY sweeps you into an epic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia.

War looms over 24 AD Britannia where rival tribal rulers fight each other for power and the Romans threaten to invade to settle their political differences. King Amren accuses his daughter, Catrin, of treason for aiding the Roman enemy and her lover, Marcellus. The ultimate punishment is death unless she can redeem herself. She must prove loyalty to her father by forsaking Marcellus and defending their kingdom—even to the death. Forged into a warrior, she must overcome tribulations and make the right decisions on her quest to break the curse that foretells her banished half-brother and the Roman Empire will destroy their kingdom.

Yet, when Catrin again reunites with Marcellus, she is torn between her love for him and duty to King Amren. She must ultimately face her greatest challenger who could destroy her life, freedom, and humanity.

Will Catrin finally break the ancient prophecy that looms over her kingdom? Will she abandon her forbidden love for Marcellus to win back her father’s trust and love? Can King Amren balance his brutality to maintain power with the love he feels for Catrin?

My Review:

It has been a while since I read Apollo's Raven (book 1), but I was swept right back into this world with the first chapter. What an amazing story! There wasn't a moment of inaction throughout the whole book. Every scene added to the ultimate battle, and what a battle it was!

King Amren's daughter, Catrin, fell in love with a foreigner, Marcellus, in book 1. She has mystical powers and is able to merge with ravens to see what they see and to foresee the future. King Amren's outcast son, Marrock, is hellbent on avenging his mother's death, killing his father, and becoming king. King Amren is obsessed with breaking the curse set upon him by Marrock's mother, but nothing he (or Catrin) does prevents the inevitable from happening.

This story is brilliantly written. Each scene is described so vividly that you can see it play out in your mind. And the characters have so much depth to them. The emotional angst of some and the evil cunningness of others is expertly created!

This story has Greek/Roman tragedy written all over it, and I loved every minute of it. There are still two more books in the series, and I cannot wait to see what happens next. If you are looking for happily-ever-after, this is not it (lol!), but if you want a story where you are going to be sucked into and held captive until the end, then you will love this book!

by Gwen M Plano

Genre: Military Action Fiction

Pages: 314 pages


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:

This book had me nibbling my nails, and I haven't bitten them in years! It's been a while since I read the first two books in this series, but I fell right back into the story rather quickly because the author did such a great job and reconnecting the reader to the dire circumstances at the end of the second book.

Tensions ran high throughout the whole book with one crisis after another having to be dealt with, but moments of love and friendship were sprinkled in between to give a perfect balance to all the chaos. The evil powers in the world were working together for world domination. Unbeknownst to them, a separate group of world leaders were envisioning a world where peace was the norm. It all comes to a head at the end, and what an ending it was!

Admiral and Julie were my favorites, probably because they were there from the beginning of the series. The love story between the presidents (no spoilers) felt a bit unrealistic but I understand the need to have them fall in love quickly to fit into one novel.

The author did some major research to make sure the political and crisis scenes felt realistic. I could visualize everything happening in my mind (hence, the nail nibbling). I couldn't put this book down. I would have loved a little bit more at the end, some more closure or understanding of the after-effect, but all in all, this was a fantastic book and I highly recommend the whole series!

Have you read any great books this month? I'd love to hear about them.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Usui #Abhanga #SnowBecomesRain #SpringLove @YvetteMCalleiro


Hello, beautiful readers! I hope you are all well. I know several of my fellow authors/poets have been recovering from illnesses, and I wish them all a speedy recovery. I would appreciate you joining me in sending healing energy to them and everyone who is struggling to heal. There are some nasty viruses going around right now.

Thank you to those of you who said prayers and sent healing energy to my loved one last week. She is back home and is slowly starting to show signs of improvement. She will need to follow up with a doctor for her most distressing symptoms, so please keep sending prayers her way.

We enter a new season with this week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge - Usui, or Snow Becomes Rain. This season is known as the arrival of first spring thaw. Obviously, we don't experience that here in South Florida. In fact, this week has been quite chilly (in the 50s in the morning, 70s by the afternoon). 

This week, Colleen Chesebro invited us to use this painting by Monet to inspire us. I immediately imagined this couple finding warmth from each other and came up with the poem below. I decided to write an Abhanga. This poem consists of four lines with a 6-6-6-4 syllabic pattern where line two and three rhyme. I've italicized and bolded the kigo phrase.

(The lane in epinay, snow effect by Monet:

Spring Love

nature mirrors my heart
a cold spell starts to thaw
your love has me in awe
ready to bloom

Are you seeing signs of a bit more warmth in your area? I'd love to hear from you.

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