Monday, July 31, 2023

July Book Reviews #bookreview #books #readingcommunity @MarciaMeara @SelmaWrites @KarlJMorgan @Harmony_Kent

Hello, beautiful readers! I've read some great books this month! Here are my reviews:

by Marcia Meara

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Romantic Suspense

Pages: 431

Book Blurb:

In Book 2 of the Riverbend Series, Marcia Meara, author of Wake-Robin RidgeA Boy Named Rabbit, and Harbinger, takes a look at the devastating effects of a family torn apart by a horrific tragedy, pitting brother against brother, and focusing on battling PTSD with the redemptive power of unwavering love and support.

Before, I never thought about taking a life. Not once.
Now, the thought fills my mind day and night, and
I wonder how I’ll hide that terrible need,
As an old car swings to the shoulder,
And stops.

~ Traveling Man ~

Hunter Painter’s darkest fears have shaped his offbeat personality since he was a child, crippling him in ways invisible to those unable to see past his quiet exterior. In a sleepy Florida town known for its eccentric inhabitants, he’s always been a mystery to most.

Only one person sees beyond Hunter’s quirky facade. Willow Greene, the new age herbalist who owns the local candle and potpourri shop, has secretly loved him since they were in high school. When, sixteen years later, she discovers Hunter has loved her just as long, Willow hopes her dreams are finally coming true.

Willow soon learns that Hunter fears happiness at her side isn’t in the cards for him. With her natural optimism and courage, she almost convinces him he’s wrong—that they can really have that life together they both long for—but even Willow can’t stop what Hunter knows is coming.

One by one, his worst nightmares become reality, culminating in an unthinkable tragedy, which devastates everyone it touches. Willow’s battle begins in earnest as Hunter is plunged into a bleak, guilt-ridden despair, threatening to destroy not only their love, but Hunter, himself.

Finding Hunter is the story of a lost man’s desperate struggle to make his way home again, and one woman’s unshakeable faith in him and the power of their love.

My Review:

I absolutely love Hunter! He's such a pure soul, but he has no idea how special he truly is because he lives in a world of fear and pain. Luckily, he is loved unconditionally in a way most of us may never experience. This was a fantastic addition to this series. 

The author does an incredible job of diving into anxiety and depression through Hunter's words and actions. Just as powerful is Willow's journey in struggling to go on without Hunter while being determined to keep hope alive. I loved how the author used poetry to tell one storyline until the two stories merged together.

I also enjoyed seeing characters from the first book of the series. The author seamlessly created new threads of storylines for other characters that will be visited in the next book. The ending is a bit of a punch to the gut, but it makes me want to dive right into book three!

This was a wonderful story of loss, love, and resilience. If you enjoy stories that dare to dive into the struggles of life while also shining a light on the human spirit, then I highly recommend this book!

by Selma Martin

Genre: Poetry

Pages: 101

Book Blurb:

In this dazzling debut poetry collection of over 60 carefully selected poems, author Selma Martin points the way to the beauty in the everyday, the shadow of the rainbow, and the silver lining at the edge of every cloud.

Favouring lyrical forms, and revelling in rhymes and musical language, the individual poems in this collection harmonise together in symphonic splendour to form an enlightening and delightful whole.

"Be ready for Selma's poetry to play with your thoughts, and to discover your heart hiding in the shadows!" — Lynn Wielenga,

"In The Shadow of Rainbows is a delightful and profoundly thoughtful collection of poems. Selma Martin’s inner light radiates from every sparkling page." — Cheryl Batavia, author, Life in Inspiring Places

"Beautiful, simply beautiful." DAP @ My2ndHeartBeat

My Review:

I have enjoyed reading this author's poetry on her blog for a while now, so I was very excited when I heard she was creating a book of her poems. I absolutely loved this collection. The author/poet has an essence about her that draws you in. Some poems create beautiful stories that weave throughout the stanzas. Many of her poems focus on nature and immerse you in the stunning world around us. Her imagery grasps you and makes you one with the poetry. Her use of alliteration, rhyme, and rhythm bring melodic music to her words. Here is a stanza from one of my favorites:
Tears of rage and anger
stain her eyelids maroon
as she rots slow like moldering topsoil 
 - Her Mind, poem
Other poems that I really loved are August Trio, Let Go, You Know Her, Nature's Tender Doings, Poetry, and Poseidon's Lure. The diversity of her poetry is vast, and there is something for everyone. If you enjoy surrounding yourself with powerful imagery, glimpses of life and nature, and slices of everyday life, then do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this collection of poetry. It's wonderful! :-)

by Karl Morgan

Genre: Short Story

Pages: 32

Book Blurb:

From the Preface: This story is steeped in my faith which has been the subject of half of my novels. It deals with death and reconciliation with Our Father in Heaven. The plot for this tale came to me in a dream. Most of my books have been based on thoughts and concepts from my muse. I believe I know who my muse is, but that is not a topic we need to delve into at this point.

If you choose to believe differently, this story is likely not one you would accept, and that is okay. We all make our own choices that define our present and our future.

Please remember this is a work of fiction. I do not claim the experiences in this tale occurred or match our futures. Still, it is a tale of God’s love and our redemption. I hope many will agree that is a worthwhile topic to fill these pages.
I have been moved by several books and television programs that explore this train of thought by talking with people who have had near-death experiences. What I have learned from those individuals led me to create this story. I hope you enjoy it and find a kernel of truth within this tale that can give you joy.

My Review:

This was a beautiful short story about what a person's experiences might be when he dies. The author blends his Christian faith into a fictional story about a man's journey into the afterlife. I loved how he created a journey through heaven that led him to reconnect with people and pets from his past. His interaction with the angels, Jesus, and "Manny" were humorous at times and very touching. I thought it quite clever and endearing when he had to face a "jury" of his peers. And I loved the choices the main character was given and his ultimate decision. This is a wonderful story of the afterlife that anyone can enjoy no matter what his/her beliefs are.

by Lara Adrian

Genre: Paranormal Vampire Romance

Pages: 282

Book Blurb:

"Enter Lara Adrian's vampire world and be enchanted." --J. R. Ward
"One of the best vampire series on the market!" --RT Book Reviews

Breed warrior Micah is one of the Order’s best, his reputation for cold justice and lethal skill rivaled only by that of his formidable father, Tegan. So, when a mission Micah’s leading in an off-limits area called the Deadlands goes terribly wrong, leaving him the sole survivor of an apparent Atlantean attack, he won’t rest until he has answers...and vengeance for his fallen team.

Phaedra thought it was only a dream, a hideous nightmare. Yet somehow, she had been transported from her life in Rome to a stretch of barren forest when it suddenly lit up with unearthly fire, obliterating everything in its path—including the fiercely handsome Breed warrior she’d encountered in the dream. Or so she believed, until their paths cross again and Phaedra finds herself, and her Atlantean people, at the center of Micah’s wrath.

With tensions between the Breed and the Atlanteans already edging toward war, and another powerful nemesis growing bolder by the day, uncovering the stunning truth about what happened in the Deadlands will force Micah and Phaedra to work together in an alliance forged by fate and an undeniable desire neither of them can resist.

Blood and destiny collide in Fall of Night, the newest action-packed, pulse-pounding novel in Lara Adrian's New York Times and #1 international bestselling Midnight Breed vampire romance series.

* * * * *

Jump in and discover why millions of paranormal romance fans are addicted to Lara Adrian's "strikingly original" (Booklist) series!

My Review:

Somewhere around 2010, I became heavily invested in vampire and paranormal stories. This series was one of several that I fell in love with. It's been a while since I've read one of these stories, but I fell right back into the author's world quickly. Each book is a standalone romance between a Breed and his Breedmate, but they should be read in order because the underlying plot/mission carries from one story to the next.

I loved Micah and his struggle to allow himself to let his guard down and feel something. Phaedra was a fantastic female character of strength and courage, as are all of the author's female characters. The author does a great job of switching POVs with each chapter so we can follow what each character is going through. 

Both the sex scenes and fighting scenes were riveting (lol!), and the story flowed really well. (This is an adult novel, so I do not recommend it for children.) The ending felt a little rushed. I would have loved a bit more with the scene in the woods (don't want to give anything away). Still, it was a happy ending, and I love those.

I was sad to find out there is only one more story in the series. I know there is a spinoff, and I've read and enjoyed a couple of those. Still, I fall in love with characters and want to keep visiting their world. On the other hand, I can't wait to find out how it all comes to an end. There are so many things to wrap up!

by Harmony Kent

Genre: New Age Meditation, Buddhism

Pages: 225

Book Blurb:

‘Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It relies solely on what you think.’

Have you ever felt angry? Upset? Hurt? Overwhelmed? Not up to it?

This book, with its pithy teachings based in Zen, will help you find the jewel in the inevitable mud of life rather than wallowing in that mud.

Not only does each day offer us a new start, a chance to press reset, but so does each and every breath. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be, and your history doesn’t have to keep you trapped. And nor do you have to waste endless energy on worrying about all that the future may bring.

Written in an engaging manner, Jewel in the Mud invites you to search within and make your world the way you want it to be. It doesn’t give you strict instructions or homework, but instead, invites you to dive deeper, search further, and question your assumptions.

The book has handy thoughts for the week, and can be read in one go, weekly, or dipped into at random. In short, it has been designed to fit in with you and your needs.

Learn how to take control of your life with these Zen Musings.

My Review:

I have read other books by this author and have enjoyed them all. This one was very different. The author pulls from her experience in a Zen Buddhist Temple for thirteen years. For fifty two weeks, she shared a different Zen musing on her blog. She chose to compile them and create a book with the year's collection, and I loved it.

Each chapter covers one Zen musing/lesson. I love how she breaks it down into easy to absorb ideas. I read the book from cover to cover and have no doubt I will be reading it again. Actually, I'm pretty sure I will end up buying the physical book so I can flip through it and find the lesson I was to reread at certain moments in my life (and may even gift it to my son when he graduates from high school).

Each lesson is valuable and presents such a pure way of approaching life. I love how she starts each chapter with a statement that encompasses the lesson, explains the lesson, and then ends with the Zen saying, which truly ties it all together. As someone who has been focused on self-care for the past few years, this book truly hit home for me. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to live a life of harmony and self-love.

Have you read any of these books? Have you read any other books this month that are must reads? I'd love to hear from you.


  1. Fantastic reviews, Yvi. Congratulations to all the authors! Thank you so much for your wonderful review of Jewel in the Mud, and I’m so happy it made such an impact on you. Hugs, Harmony 💕🙂

    1. I truly did, Harmony! I have no doubt I will reread it in pieces many times. Thanks for visiting! :-)

  2. Hi Yvette, what a wonderful selection of books. I've been introduced to some great authors, and I'm currently reading Selma's lovely book. Thanks for sharing these excellent reviews, and Congrats to the authors! 🩷

    1. Thank you, Lauren! I appreciate you stopping by. I just know you are going to love Selma's poetry. :-)

    2. Thanks, Lauren. Hugs, Harmony 💕🙂

  3. These are all excellent reviews, Yvette. I feel like a kid in a candy store trying to decide which one I'll take. You know what? I'll just take them all. I'll start with Marcia's book, because of Hunter, and the importance of bringing mental health from the dark corner where it's been shoved for too long. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You're going to love Hunter, Mark! Marcia does such a wonderful job creating his character and bringing awareness to mental health. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on all these books. They are all great! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

    2. Thanks, Mark. Hugs, Harmony 💕🙂

  4. I loved your reviews, Yvette. I hope to try at least one of these.

    1. Thanks, Jude! Hugs, Harmony 💕🙂

  5. Great reviews, Yvette :) I read and loved Marcia, Harmony, and Selma's books! I see I have to add another book to my Kindle. Xo

    1. Thanks, Denise! Hugs, Harmony 💕🙂

  6. Wonderful reviews and an exquisite showcase, Yvette. I've only read two of the featured books and like you, I loved them. Congratulations to Marcia, Harmony, Selma, Karl, and Lara. 😊

    1. Thank you, Gwen! I am so happy I was able to finally get some great reading time in. Life is about to get even busier for me, so it may be a bit before I can finish the next book, but I'm going to try. Thanks for visiting! :-)

    2. Thanks so much, Gwen. Hugs, Harmony 💕😊

  7. Wonderful reviews, Yvette. You've been busy reading as you prepare for the start of school. I've read Finding Hunter and always enjoyed Marcia's writing. I've heard wonderful things about Selma's latest, and Harmony is a favorite author. And thanks for introducing me to two new books and authors. Congrats to all.

    1. Thank you, Diana! These were all wonderful reads. I'm happy I could introduce you to a few new authors. Thanks for visiting and sharing. :-)

    2. Thanks, Diana! Hugs, Harmony 💕😊

  8. What an incredible gathering of talent! Congratulations to these stellar storytellers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these books, Yvette.

    1. Thank you, Beem. They are all pretty awesome authors, aren't they! Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts. :-)

    2. Thanks, Beem. Hugs, Harmony 💕😊


I love comments, so please share your thoughts with me! :-)