Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 Reading Challenge and End of Year Celebration! #2023readingchallenge #booksread #readingcommunity #happynewyear #fortheloveofreading @DWallacePeach @MarciaMeara @VashtiQV @dlfinnauthor @PTLPerrin

Hello, beautiful readers! Every year, I participate in the Goodreads yearly reading challenge. Knowing I had little time to read, I set my goal for 20 books and surprised myself by reading 28! Granted, some of those were short stories, but I'll take it!

I enjoyed all the books I read this year, and to see my reviews, click here. If I had to pick my top five favorites, these are the books I loved the most this year:

The Necromancer's Daughter by D. Wallace Peach

Finding Hunter by Marcia Meara

The Rise of Gadreel by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Voice of Viracocha by PTL Perrin

I did not write as much as I had hoped, but I did start writing again. I have every intention of finishing Drake's story in 2024. I have put off finishing that book for too long. So it is written, so shall it be! 😉 

I also hope to read at least twenty books again next year. Reading and writing are true joys in my life, so I intend to incorporate them more mindfully in 2024. 

I wish you all a blessed new year and hope you surround yourself with love, laughter, and positive energy all year long. Happy New Year! 😊

Saturday, December 30, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Touji #abhanga #boxingday #NewYearsEve @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I hope you are enjoying the winter holidays. For this week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro has asked us to write a series of three Abhanga poems with each stanza using a specific phrase:

#1 - Boxing Day

#2 - New Year's Eve

#3 - hot drinks

An Abhanga poem has four lines with a syllabic pattern of 6-6-6-4. The two inner lines rhyme, and the poem must have a title. It's pretty cold in South Florida right now (high 50s, low 60s), and while most of us don't have fireplaces, I know the warmth of a great campfire, so I captured that essence in my third stanza.

(courtesy of @s-wloczyk2 on Pixabay)

Memorable Moments

it is better to give
than to receive, they say
so ev'ry Boxing Day
remember this

when New Year's Eve comes 'round
take note of what's now gone
embrace the coming dawn
cherish new start

tasty, hot drinks in hand
cuddle close by the fires
storytelling transpires
love is abound

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

December Book Reviews #bookreview #books #readingcommunity #poetry #poetrycommunity #dogs #ChristmasStory #vampires #fairies @dlfinnauthor @JacqBiggar @SusanneLeist @maurabeth2014 @JRWard1 @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I hope you are enjoying the holidays no matter what special days you celebrate. I have read great stories this month and am excited to share them with you. I've also written a few chapters of my current WIP. Hopefully, I can keep this reading/writing thing going into the new year because I've missed having the time to do both.

Deep in the Forest Where Poetry Blooms: Just Her Poetry Book Two

by D.L. Finn

Genre: Poetry

Pages: 186 pages


Embark on a captivating journey with D. L. Finn as she guides you through the intricate landscapes of free verse and symbolic poetry. Hike with her through the magical forest, feel the wind on your face riding on the back of a Harley, or bask on the warm Hawaiian shores. Her search for life’s magic invites the reader to traverse through the four seasons in part one. Emotions, observations, and stories weave through part two’s texture. Whether the words explore a sunset, healing, or magic, each poem flows through moments where poetry blooms.

My Review: 

This is such a beautiful book of poetry. The author breaks the book into various themes, each section filled with gorgeous imagery and emotion. She starts with her freestyle poems and then shares syllabic poetry at the end of each section. She captures every season perfectly and allows the reader to immerse him/herself in the beauty of each time of year. Then, she shares poetry about nature, including the forest and the ocean and everywhere in between. She even includes poems about animals, both real and magical. The author is quite adventurous and shares poetry written while riding a Harley and while snorkeling.

I truly love all her poems but my favorites are her haibun poetry. She is an expert at this form, creating a story in just a paragraph that draws you in and makes you feel as if you are part of the scene and then ending with a few lines that just bring it all home. Just brilliant! If you love poetry, this is a definite must have!

by Nounous (Susanne Leist)

Genre: Short Story

Pages: 12 pages


Nounous is a fourteen-year-old Maltese dog who loves people but loves his mother most. As he takes his last steps, he reminisces on life and worries about leaving his Mommy alone.

His mother, Susanne Leist, is a paranormal suspense author and former financial analyst. When she isn’t writing her books, Susanne spends precious time with Nounous, her best friend and muse.

My Review: 

This was such a sweet but sad story. Told from the point of view of the author's dog, the author takes us on a journey of her dog's last year in life and how his perspective has changed throughout the years. What is evident is his undying love for his owner. This is such a beautiful tale of a dog's love for his human. I can totally imagine pets feeling this love and having these thoughts. It's a bit sad, but it's also heartwarming, and I would encourage you to read it.

by Jacquie Biggar

Genre: Short Story, Medical Fiction

Pages: 176 pages


Will a Christmas wish bring two lonely hearts together and give a little girl the family she's always wanted?

Single parent, Grace Donovan arrives in the small town of Emerson with the hope a trial program at the local cancer clinic will be the answer to prolonging her young daughter's life. She doesn't expect to fall for her handsome boss.

As principal of Emerson Elementary, Kyle Roberts is aware of the students' medical issues and his heart goes out to little Cassie Donovan and her mother. When he learns Grace needs a job, he fabricates a childcare program and is pleasantly surprised by its success. Now, if only he could help Cassie's recovery and get Grace to give him a chance before she learns of his duplicity.

Cassie Donovan barely remembers the father who died when she was just a toddler, but she does know her mother is sad. Even though Cassie wants a puppy more than anything, she gives up her wish to ask for a daddy from Santa Claus, that way if she gets sick again, Mommy won't be alone.

This Christmas, two families are brought together by a Christmas wish and a child's need for a miracle.

My Review: 

This was the perfect story for the holidays. Grace uproots her life to move closer to a clinic that has an experimental study to treat her daughter's cancer. She meets Kyle Roberts, the handsome and gregarious principal at her daughter's school, and there's an instant connection. Grace is so focused on her daughter's health that she pushes aside everything else. Luckily, two little girls take fate into their own hands to make sure they all have the perfect Christmas.

This story is told from three different perspectives: Grace, Kyle, and Cassie. The author seamlessly moves from each perspective to create an endearing story. It was easy to follow each character's part because the author used such distinct voices for each of them. I especially loved reading Cassie's innocent voice within the story.

I could have easily read a full-length novel of this story, especially since there were many moments where I felt the author could have expanded or gave more backstory or side stories. That's not to say the story is incomplete because it isn't. It's more of a testament to how much I truly enjoyed the characters and their journey. If you are looking for a holiday story that will warm your heart, this is a great one to pick!

by J.R. Ward
(Adult Content)

Genre: Paranormal Vampire Romances

Pages: 475 pages


#1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward is heating things up this winter with a holiday novel featuring some of her most iconic Black Dagger Brothers.

When Trez lost his beloved to a tragic death (
The Shadows, Black Dagger Brotherhood #13), his soul was crushed and his destiny seemed relegated to suffering. But when he meets a mysterious female, he becomes convinced his true love has been reincarnated. Is he right? Or has his grief created a disastrous delusion?

Therese has come to Caldwell to escape a rift with her bloodline. The revelation that she was adopted and not born into her family shakes the foundations of her identity, and she is determined to make it on her own. Her attraction to Trez is not what she’s looking for, except the sexy Shadow proves to be undeniable.

Has fate provided a grieving widower with a second chance...or is Trez too blinded by the past to see the present for what it really is? In this sensual, arresting book full of the themes of redemption and self-discovery, two lost souls find themselves at a crossroads where the heart is the only compass that can be trusted...but that may require a courage that neither of them possesses.

My Review:

I always love coming back to the Black Dagger Brotherhood world. I am a huge fan of long series because I fall in love with the characters and never want to leave their world. The BDB men go through some tragic stuff, and sometimes their HEA dies. When Trez lost Selena, his whole world fell apart and he found himself wanting to give up on life altogether. Luckily, Fate had other plans and Therese walked into his life. It didn't hurt that she was the spitting image of Selena (and then some). 

I loved how this story came together. The author did an amazing job sharing Trez's struggle with Therese/Selena. Without giving away too much (because I hate spoilers), I loved how Tohrment played a role in saving him, given Tohr's own experience with losing his shellan. That moment brought tears to my eyes.

Can you read this as a standalone story? Sure, but you won't have the vested love, interest, and understanding of all the characters. But even without that understanding, I still think it's a story you will enjoy. :-)

by Maura Beth Brennan

Genre: Short Story

Pages: 26 pages


When Sara was very young, her grandmother told her magical stories about garden fairies who lived in the tulips. If she could just catch sight of one of these elusive creatures, her grandmother told her, her wish would be granted. Soon after, Sara overheard her family discussing how she had been adopted, and how her birth mother was a young girl, barely into her teens. After recovering from her shock, Sara vows to find that young girl and get to know her. Surely, she would have more in common with her birth mother than with her dull, ordinary adoptive family. That was the wish she asked the garden fairies to grant. Years later, when she is ready for college, she finds a way to meet her birth mother. But all does not go as she planned.

My Review:

This short story focuses on the sensitive topic of adoption through the eyes of a child and her choices as she grows up. It begins with a seven-year old who adores her grandmother and believes in the fairies that her grandmother tells her live in the garden. Her imagination and beliefs are shattered when she overhears her mother mention that she's adopted. Sara struggles with accepting the love of her adopted family and yearns to be reunited with her "real" mother. She makes a wish on the fairies she no longer believes in and spends years waiting for the opportunity to make that wish come true. Her grandmother assured her that wishes do come true, though not always as she expects them to. And Sara finds that out the hard way.

This story is a great read, though I wasn't always happy with Sara's behavior as a child. I don't know that I would have let things go as easily as she had at the end (no spoilers), but her reaction made sense. I'm happy that she finally understood and accepted the love of her family. :-)

Have you read any great stories lately? I'd love to hear from you. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

#RRBC Books & Budz 6th Annual Holiday Pop-Up Bookshop #booksale #Holiday #BooksBudzPopUp #freebooks #bookshopping #readingcommunity


Hello, beautiful readers! I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday. I wanted to invite you to a fantastic event that is happening right now. It's called the RRBC Holiday Pop-Up Bookshop. It's a place where you can peruse a bunch of amazing books and shop to your heart's content. There are books ranging from FREE to $4.99! I've read most of them and can tell you that they are great reads!

You can shop by price, by author, or by genre. I have several of my books at the bookshop as well. There are games to play and prizes to win! There are grown up Christmas lists to read and wish upon. There's a party lounge where you can chat it up with the authors, too! There's even a reading room where you can listen to author's read an excerpt of their stories (I'm in there, too!).

All in all, it's a great place for you to spend some time surrounded by great books and amazing authors! The bookshop is open until December 31st so join us for a bit (and invite your friends)! :-)

Sunday, December 24, 2023

2023 Nonnie Jules RWISA Supreme Book Award Winner - Breathless: A Short Story #awardwinning #greatread #RWISA #twistedfairytale #1920s #readingcommunity #shortstory

 Hi, beautiful readers! My short story, Breathless, just won 2nd place in the 2023 Nonnie Jules RWISA Supreme Book Award contest.

If you haven't read my short story yet, you can grab a copy for free on Smashwords here. If you prefer to purchase a copy on Amazon ($0.99), you can get it here.

I hope you enjoy this twisted little fairy tale. If you read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. :-)

Thursday, December 21, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Touji #WinterSolstice #Yule @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! Happy Winter Solstice! Colleen Chesebro at wrote a beautiful post about Yule here, and it inspired me to write this week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge about today.

This week's challenge is part one of Winter Solstice, or Touji. It focuses on the holidays and spending time with your loved ones. It's the longest night of the year and is a time to focus on endings and beginnings. It also brings about hope since longer days will slowly return after tonight. I, for one, am looking forward to more sunlight in my waking hours.

I decided to write a mirror cinquain. This consists of two 5-line stanzas that have an American cinquain followed by a reverse cinquain (2-4-6-8-2-2-8-6-4-2). I've used an abundance of kigo phrases in this poem because the season just warrants it.

(courtesy of @Foundry on Pixabay)

Promising Passage

winter solstice
shortest days, longest nights
whirlwind of hustle and bustle
need peace
oh, Yule!
time to rest and rejuvenate
new positive outlook
mindful balance
rise, sun!

Are you feeling the stress of the holidays, or have you found your Zen this season? I'd love to hear from you.

Are you inspired to write your own poem? Join us here!

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Smashwords 2023 End of the Year Book Sale #Smashwords #booksale #SmashwordsEoYSale #freebooks #fantasy #paranormal #youngadult #YAbooks

Hi, beautiful readers! I'm excited to share with you that some of my books are on sale from now until December 31st through Smashword's End of the Year Book Sale! If you haven't picked up copies of these great stories, I encourage you to grab them now while they are on sale! Please share the great news with your fellow book lovers! 

Fantasy/Young Adult

Fantasy/Young Adult/ Short Story

Young Adult/Contemporary
On Sale for $1.49

Paranormal/Short Story

If you want to grab even more amazing stories, check out author John Podlaski's books here

The Smashwords Sale has books of all kinds. So, if you are looking for something else, check out the sale's main page here. Happy shopping!