Friday, March 31, 2023

March Book Reviews #bookreview #books #readingcommunity #RRBC @NonnieJules @KarensStories @maurabeth2014 @RRBC_Org #PIF

Hello, beautiful readers! I have not had much time to read this month. Every day has been packed from sunrise until way past sunset. Still, I managed to read a couple of books I want to share with you. If you like what you read, click on the book cover or the title to get your own copy!

by Maura Beth Brennan

Genre: Literary Short Stories, Women's Literary Fiction

Pages: 24

Book Blurb:

Warren's young wife, Iris, walked into a blizzard and didn't come back. His journey to find her took him halfway across the country, to truths he hadn't been able to face. Because sometimes there is no way to find what you're looking for. Sometimes all you can find is yourself. 

My Review:

This was a fantastic short story filled with heartache, forgiveness, and resolve. Warren marries a woman much younger than he is and believes it's real love. When she disappears during a blizzard, he sets out to find her. His discovery leads him to reexamine their marriage and make some tough decisions.

I love how the author created this story. Her characters were rich in personality, and my heart immediately felt for Warren and his plight. The pace of the plot was perfect, especially for a short story. I'm pretty good at figuring out endings before I get to them, but this story pulled a fast (but believable) one on me. And the amount of growth the author gave to Warren in such few pages is incredible!

I would definitely recommend this story to those who enjoy heartfelt stories but don't necessary need the happily ever after. :-)

By Karen Black

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Short Reads, Short Story

Pages: 63

Book Blurb:

A homicide has eerily similar circumstances to a murder that occurred months prior. When detectives find that the current victim is the third who died in an identical manner, the evidence points to a serial killer, and the method of murder suggests that the assassin has medical knowledge.

Torn between his belief in the law and the demand for justice, lead homicide detective, Devon Mahoney, must decide which is of more value. When the legal system fails, should justice be ignored? If a murderer is killed, is the executioner a criminal or a hero?

My Review:

This story started off with a female serial killer seducing her victim before killing him. From that moment on, I was hooked!  Then, we find out that the focus is split between Devon Mahoney, the detective on the case, and the serial killer. As the readers learns the connection between the two characters, things get even more interesting. 

I have read many stories by this author, and this is one of my favorites. The descriptions of the murder scenes are so vivid (but not grotesque, at least not to me). The character arcs and their points of view are incredibly created. The choice made at the end was understandable but also held a bit of a shock factor in that it showed where loyalties lie (not giving anything away).

If you like stories with a twist, you will love this story!

by Nonnie Jules

Genre: Motivational Growth & Spirituality, Self-Esteem Self-Help

Pages: 108

Book Blurb:

The search for inspiration is common to most people who long for words, images and deeds, which will uplift them from their daily cares, worries and routines. They seek out that which is fresh and admirable and can be applied to their own lives. Inspiration is a highly prized commodity because it enriches our lives in ways that material acquisitions cannot. ~Author, John Fioravanti

UNTITLED: THE QUOTES DIARY - "Life In Quotes," you will find a plethora of wisdom that you can apply to any and all areas of this journey we call life. The quotes are uplifting, inspirational, motivational, funny, and some are even sassy, because let's face it, there are times in our lives when we need to shell out doses of those anecdotes, too.

If you know her, you know that Author, Nonnie Jules never pulls any punches. She gives it to you straight with no chasers. She calls it like she sees it, and what you'll get between the covers of this treat, will be no different. In fact, you'll get more!

Ever found yourself at a loss for words just when you needed to stand up for yourself? Keep 
UNTITLED: THE QUOTES DIARY - "Life In Quotes" in your back pocket... and you'll never be faced with that problem again.

My Review:

This is not my typical read, but I do love quotes. Once upon a time, I used to place a quote on my board as a bell ringer for my students to interpret at the beginning of class. Unfortunately, our pacing guides no longer allow such free thinking. The author breaks this book into themes and shares quotes she has created on each subject.

Knowing this author well, I know that every quote is authentically how she feels, and she holds nothing back. There are some funny/sassy quotes, and there are others that make you pause and take some time to absorb the message/lesson behind them. There are over 200 quotes in this book. I read through the whole book so I could write this review, but I will be revisiting it from time to time to sit with a few of my favorite quotes.

If you enjoy quotes or reading statements that make you think and reflect, then this is a must buy for you. :-)

Have you read any of these books? I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - View Outside Your Window #AmericanCinquain #Cinquain #Tanka @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! For this week's #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro invites us to write a poem about the view outside our windows. I spend most of my days in my classroom. Below is the current view from my window. Just recently, they planted the grass, so if you look closely, you will see sticks with yellow tape surrounding the area to keep the kids out. 

For a couple of years, that area was just dirt. The kids constantly gathered there and ran around, burning their energy. Unfortunately, that killed off all the grass. With the coming of Spring this year, my administration was able to obtain donations from local companies and the local mayor to replace the sod to make it beautiful again.

As someone who loves nature and being surrounded by trees, I love being able to look out my window while I'm teaching and see this beautiful view. I only hope the students appreciate its beauty and stay off the grass so it can continue to grow.

I wrote a tanka poem, which contains five lines and has a syllabic structure is 5-7-5-7-7. I also chose to write an American Cinquain. This form has five lines with a syllabic structure of 2-4-6-8-2. Neither one is titled.

neglected, destroyed
trampled upon without care
Spring brings renewal
attention, love foster growth
lush views for all to enjoy

palm trees
tall, majestic
relish freshly laid sod
no longer trampled by children

Would you like to participate and share the view outside your window? Click here.

What does your view look like? I'd love to hear from you below.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

#TankaTuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 312 #Ekphrastic #PhotoPrompt @ColleenChesebro #Ekphrastic #haiku #poem #poetrycommunity #Monet #flowers @YvetteMCalleiro


Hello, beautiful readers! Colleen Chesebro posted her #TankaTuesday Poetry Challenge this morning. Usually, I don't get to work on my poem until later in the week, but I'm on spring break and about to leave for a camping trip with my sister and our kids, so I wanted to get my poem in before I left. This week's prompt is about ekphrastic poetry.  

For our art inspiration, we are writing a poem about the following painting by Claude Monet called "The Artist's Garden at Giverny." I've chosen to write a haiku, which consists of three lines with a 5-7-5 syllabic pattern. Haiku are usually written about nature and seasons.

walk among flowers

stress dissipates with each step

love transcends worry

What do you see in this painting? I'd love to hear from you.

Do you want to write your own poem? Join us here.

Friday, March 17, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Syllabic #Poetry Challenge #spring #green #poem #poetrycommunity #senryu #shadorma @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! For today's #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Contest, Colleen Chesebro is all about the season! She has challenged us to write a poem using the synonyms of spring and green.

I came up with two different poems, slightly related but from different spectrums of the idea. 😄 Spring is a time for romance, but for many who are insecure, it can also be a time of jealousy. So, I chose to touch upon both. 😊

The first is a senryu, which is a 3-line poem using a 3-5-3 syllabic pattern that focuses on the human emotions. I've bolded and italicized my synonyms.

envy will consume
appreciate all beauty
grow your confidence

The second poem is a shadorma. Shadormas have six lines with a 3-5-3-3-7-5 syllabic pattern with no set rhyme scheme. 

(courtesy of @OmarMedinaFilms on Pixabay)

First love

fresh and raw
a budding romance
his first kiss
now lovestruck
oh, the possibilities!
two hearts lit afire

And with that, I wish you all a St. Patrick's Day!

Do you remember your first love? Do you remember it fondly? I'd love to hear about it.

Would you like to join us this week is creating a poem? Join us here.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 #BlogPromo by @sgc58 @Yvette Calleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! Sally Cronin is featuring one of my blog posts today on her blog. I'd love it if you would take a moment to visit and leave a comment. While you're there, peruse her blog. It is full of great laughs, health advice, recipes, and so much more!

Comments are closed. Feel free to chat with me over at her blog! 😊

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge #tanka #poetrycommunity #poem #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2023 @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful people! Colleen Chesebro's #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge shared the following photo from Terri Webster Schrant's collection. We are asked to use the poem as inspiration. 

As today is International Women's Day, I chose to write a poem honoring women. I wrote a tanka, which is a five-line poem with the 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic format. It is untitled and does not rhyme. I see so many similarities between a woman and a waterfall. My poem just mentions a few. Enjoy!

powerful and fierce
life flourishes from within
strong, serene women
emotions hidden in mist
falls create calm confidence

Would you like to participate in this week's challenge? If so, it's free! Click here to join us.

Do you celebrate International Women's Day? I'd love to hear from you below.

Friday, March 3, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge #tanka #haiga #poetrycommunity #spices #friendship @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful people! For this week's #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro invites us to choose a spice from our kitchen cabinet and relate its flavor to an event that recently happened in our daily lives.

I chose to go with curry. I don't cook many things, but I make a chicken curry salad that I love. I use the non-spicy curry because I don't handle spicy food very well. Curry is made up of many different ingredients. The one I use is organic and consists of coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, red pepper, and onion.

For my event, I chose something that is happening tonight. My birthday is next week, so a few of my friends from different aspects of my life are coming together to celebrate with me. We are going country line dancing at a local place where they teach you steps to different songs. I've been before, and it's a lot of fun, so I have no doubt we will have a great time.

So, I chose to blend these two ideas together into a haiga. At least, that's what I attempted. It's my first time creating one. A haiga is a form of three or more lines that follow a short-long-short syllabic pattern. Usually, it's a haiku, but I chose to use a tanka poem, so I probably didn't create a haiga after all. 😄 The haiga includes an image, but the poem and image should not be dependent on each other for meaning. It has no title and does not rhyme. So, this is what I created:

(picture courtesy of Canva)

Do you have friends from different walks of life? Do you ever mix the groups? I'd love to hear from you below. 😊

Would you like to join the challenge? Click here.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

January/February Book Reviews #bookreview #books #readingcommunity @YvetteMCalleiro @Dwallacepeach @pat_garcia @sharrislaughter @AuthorWFischer @KarensStories

Hello, beautiful readers! As we wrap up February and being my birthday month, I am going to try to post monthly about fabulous books I've read. I don't have much time to read in my busy life, but I have been able to finish a few fantastic stories, so I wanted to share them with you. All of these are either 4 or 5 stars. If they sound interesting to you, click on the book cover or the title. 

Genre: Fantasy, Sorcery, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 348

Book Blurb:

A healer with the talent to unravel death. A stillborn child brought to life. A father lusting for vengeance. And a son torn between justice, faith, and love. Caught in a chase spanning kingdoms, each must decide the nature of good and evil, the lengths they will go to survive, and what they are willing to lose.

A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she, too, learns to heal death.

Denied a living heir, the widowed king spies from a distance. But he heeds the claims of the fiery Vicar of the Red Order—in the eyes of the Blessed One, Aster is an abomination, and to embrace the evil of resurrection will doom his rule.

As the king’s life nears its end, he defies the vicar’s warning and summons the necromancer’s daughter. For his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade. Armed with righteousness and iron-clad conviction, the Order’s brothers ride into the leas to cleanse the land of evil.

To save her father’s life, Aster leads them beyond Verdane’s wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a wilderness of dragons and barbarian tribes. Unprepared for a world rife with danger and unchecked power, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.

My Review:

It took me a long time to finish this book because I barely had time to read, and it frustrated me to no end because it was SO good! I had such a hard time putting it down once I started reading again. From the very beginning, I was hooked. A partially crippled necromancer steals the king's baby to bring it to life and raise it as his own... what could possibly go wrong? Lol!

Every character was rich and unique. Every setting jumped off the pages. The plot started strong and then slowed down to allow me to become invested in the characters, which I LOVED! Then, it heated right back up again. And then, the author added dragons! If I didn't love it enough already, the connection between Aster and the dragons made me a lifelong fan!

I loved that Aster's journey was difficult. I loved that Joreh struggled with his ideas of right versus wrong. I loved that Barus struggled with his choices but listened to his heart. I loved that Teko was more than he seemed upon first impression. And I loved how the author made Tamus both the image of piety and evil.

I cannot say enough great things about this book! I will definitely read more from this author, and I highly recommend you pick up this story immediately. 😊

Genre: Romance, Multicultural Romance, Short Story

Pages: 16

Book Blurb:

This is a contemporary multicultural romance about a woman who encounters a sexually starved necrophiliac as she walks up a mountainside. As she yearns for death, a stranger bursts into the cabin and saves her and becomes the love of her life. 

My Review:

This micro-read was another fabulous story by Pat Garcia! It amazes me how she can put so much into such a short read, but she did. The story starts with Janie reminiscing on being kidnapped. The author gives us just the right amount of details to make us feel her despair. And then, her savior, Paolo, comes and rescues her. The story focuses on her road to healing. 

The author did a wonderful job in describing this healing journey and Janie's hesitancy to take that final step to heal. The author's characters are always so rich, and Janie and Paolo definitely fit that description. I would have loved to have a bit more to the story because I loved the characters so much, but then it wouldn't have been a micro-read.

If you don't have a lot of time to read, but you want to immerse yourself in a great story, I would recommend this one!😊

Genre: Biography, Memoir, Short Read

Pages: 56

Book Blurb:

Mama could tell a joke. Next thing you know, you are rolling on the floor from one of them. She loved to play the lottery and was religious with it. If you fail to buy her tickets when she asks you, she will tell you that was the winning number … “If you had done what I asked you, I could have won.” It was classic!

She was just as passionate about her faith and could quote passages from the bible all day long, which she did. She was a good mother and made huge sacrifices for her children.

She was the woman who wanted to be an actress but never got the chance. She was the woman who worked at a naval air base in Alameda County, California, screwing riveters in wings of airplanes. They were called "Rosie the Riveter" in World War II. She was the constant in our lives.

This is how I remember my mama!

My Review:

What a beautiful tribute this author has created to her mother! Wanting to honor her memory, the author collected various written works from her mother and created a short story about her mother's life, including authentic writing from her mom, some of which was published in various contests. The love and admiration the author feels for her mother shines through this wonderful short read. I definitely recommend it. 😊

Genre: Short Story, Children's Short Story

Pages: 16

Book Blurb:

Time: The early 1960s. Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour is on the road, seeking contestants for the show. A seventh-grader thinks she has what it takes to make the show. She's been singing since she was two years old. She's never had any formal training. She begs her father to take her to the auditions. What will she find when she gets there?

My Review:

I really enjoyed this micro read. It's a story set in the 1960s when a girl musters up the courage to try out for a talent show. She has a great voice but is nervous about not being good enough. Her loving dad encourages her to try anyway. In doing so, she learns a valuable lesson and makes a friend in the process.

This story was a great read, and the author did a wonderful job pulling the reader in immediately. Though there was a distinct message of the haves and have nots, I felt the author's focus on the positive attitude of Jean was heartwarming. I won't give away what happens, but Jean's outlook on this experience, and life in general, is a wonderful lesson for all kids. If you're looking for a quick, endearing read, I would definitely recommend this story.😊

For Eternity: A Micro Read by Karen Black

Genre: Fantasy, Short Read, Paranormal

Pages: 17

Book Blurb:

Monique is a witch, a reclusive one. After losing Lucius, her companion of almost a century, she associates with nobody but a raven named Dante. When she receives an invitation to celebrate her 700th birthday, however, Dante convinces her it's a celebration that she shouldn't miss. For her first outing in fifty years, Monique travels to an enchanted hotel, where a telepathic kitten points her in a new direction.

My Review:

This was a fantastic read even if it is short. The author did a fabulous job weaving so much into so little space. I don't want to give too much away because it's a micro read. The story focuses on Monique, a reclusive witch who is celebrating her 700th birthday even though a part of her doesn't feel like celebrating. The author creates this character so perfectly that it's easy to feel sad for her, even when she ponders killing a goblin or two. 😉 I loved how this story ended and wouldn't mind reading an entire novel in the world she created. I definitely recommend this story. 😊

I hope you enjoyed these reviews. I look forward to sharing more with you at the end of this month.

Have you read any of these stories? I'd love to hear from you. 😊