Wednesday, June 5, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Boshu #Tanka #summerdays @YvetteMCalleiro


Hello, beautiful readers! I've spent the past couple of days packing up my classroom, which is something we have to do at the end of every year so the custodial crew can wax the floors during the summer. I am very much looking forward to summer break, especially not having to wake up to an alarm. 

For this week's #TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro shared with us that we moved into a new Japanese season in poetry, Boshu - the time of planting grains. I've chosen to write a tanka poem which consists of five lines with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic pattern where the third line is a pivot line. My kigo words are bolded and italicized.

As you all know, I love summer, especially since it means longer days at the beach. I also love camping, but I refuse to do it during the summer months because I am a magnet for mosquitoes. I am also allergic to their bites and get large welts that lasts for days before turning into smaller bites that last even longer. So, while I enjoy my summer days, I make sure I'm inside at dawn and dusk with the vampiric critters are out. 


summer days delight
sun's heat brings lakeside fun
scrumptious bonfire s'mores
mosquitoes come out at dusk
bitten skin cries for mercy

What do you enjoy doing during the summer? I'd love to hear from you.

Would you like to write a poem with us this week? Click here to join in the fun.

Friday, May 31, 2024

May Book Reviews #bookreview #books #amreading #readingcommunity #memoir #Greece #GreekTravels @JourneysInPages @dlfinnauthor @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I can officially say that I have finished writing Drake's story, The One Redeemed. It has taken WAY too many years to get to this point, but I'm here! Woohoo! If you would like to be a beta reader for me, please let me know. Any and all help is welcome! I've also finished writing a short story for the #RRBC 90-Day Alpha/Omega Short Story Contest. Now, I'm in the process of revising and editing both the novel and the short story. I've read a couple of books this month. Because of my upcoming travels to Greece, I started with a memoir by Sally Jane Smith. Read my reviews below!


by Sally Jane Smith

Genre:  Memoir

Pages: 256 pages

Book Blurb: 

When Sally sets out for Europe with her mother's 1978 travel diary in her pocket, she is searching for the wanderlust she lost in a devastating overseas road accident.

As she ventures into the heart of the Mediterranean - wandering volatile landscapes, exploring historical sties, pairing books with places and savouring the tastes of Greece - she finds it possible for a clumsy, out-of-shape woman on a budget to experience a life-changing journey.


In a story told with warmth, humour and a fascination with Greece's natural and cultural heritage, Sally connects with her past, overcomes her fears and falls in love with life again, one olive at a time.


Book One in the 'Packing for Greece' series travels to Athens and Meteora on the mainland; Monemvasia, Sparta and Methana on the Peloponnese Peninsual; and the islands of Santorinia nd Rhodes.

My Review: 

Since I will be traveling to Greece this summer, I thought it would be fun to read a memoir of an author who has made such a travel. I am not a big memoir reader, but I really enjoyed this one. It starts off with the author sharing a horrible accident that took place on one of her trips, leaving with her with a fear of traveling. Did I mention that she travels solo? I have a friend who travels this way and has incredible experiences. I am in awe of her and this author's ability to brave a foreign place on their own.

I love that the author didn't stick to all the touristy spots. She was able to bring the culture and the beauty of each area to life with her descriptions and her interactions with the locals and other travelers. She wrote so that I felt as if I were walking beside her and experiencing her journey with her. Throughout the novel, she confronts past memories, overcomes obstacles, and manages hiccups in her travels with humility and humor. 

If you enjoy reading memoirs or simply want to travel vicariously to Greece, I would definitely recommend this story.



The Destination (Harbor Pointe Series, Book 3)
by D.L. Finn

Genre:  Historical Fiction, Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction

Pages: 64 pages

Blurb:

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.

It's 1967, and best friends Lacey and Sandy are enjoying a beach vacation, completely unaware of the danger that is lying in wait outside their door. Their room is quaint, with an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean and an old lighthouse, but a killer is stalking their next victim. Powerless, Annie the ghost watches, knowing there's nothing she can do to help - no even her parents, the innkeepers. Who will survive their stay at the Harbor Pointe Inn, where the edge of evil lurks within the shadows?

My Review:

I've read many books by DL Finn and have enjoyed them all. Although this book technically doesn't have an evildwel in it from her Angels & Evildwels series, it still had an evil entity lurking about. This was another great addition to the Harbor Pointe series. I love how each book is written by a different author, but they are all connect by this location.

Lacey and Sandy are on a girls trip. Lacey has ulterior motives as she wants her best friend to leave her old life behind and pursue the life she's always dreamed of. Sandy is adamant that she has a role to fulfill and her dreams are unimportant until a tragic event pushes her to change course and follow her dreams.

I loved the friendship Lacey and Sandy had. Although it was a short story, the author did a great job in building the bond between these two ladies. I also loved that Annie the ghost and the caretakers were incorporated into this story from the previous book.  It helped gel the series together. I also liked how the author connected a little bit of real history into the story.

This was a great short read. Author DL Finn never disappoints. If you like stories with a historical feel with a bit of a ghostly spin on it, then you'll love this story.


That's it for this month! Have you read either of these books? I'd love to hear from you below.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Shoman #Kimo #climatechange #oceanwaters @YvetteMCalleiro


Hello, beautiful readers! It's been an emotional week for me. My son graduated magna cum laude with the superintendent's diploma of distinction on Wednesday. He was also recognized as one of four students who had perfect attendance from kindergarten to the end of his senior year. This chapter in his life has just ended, and we are excited about his next chapter at the university.

For this week's #TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro challenged us to write a kimo, which is a poem of three lines with a syllabic pattern of 10-7-6. She also asked us to focus on our local weather. I chose to write two kimos in one poem. My kigo words are bolded and italicized. 

The weather in South Florida is already hitting the high 90s with it feeling like it's in the 100s. It has been SO hot. I'm still going to the beach every weekend. We sit under umbrellas to protect our skin from the sun's rays. Luckily, there has been a breeze that has helped alleviate us from the worst of the heat. Unfortunately, the increased heat is also affecting our waters, making them unusually warm for this time of year. It concerns me because I worry about the coral reefs and how the rise in water temperatures is negatively affecting their habitats. I also worry about hurricanes because warmer waters mean stronger hurricanes.

(picture I took of our beach)

the sweltering heat penetrates my pores
reflective sand amplifies
ocean waves beckon me

deep plunge into ocean gives no reprieve
waters too warm for season
sign of bad hurricanes

What is the weather like in your area? I'd love to hear from you.

Do you want to try writing your own kimo? Join us here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Shoman @YvetteMCalleiro


Hello, beautiful readers! How is it possible that it's been two weeks since I last posted? I feel like I blinked and time jumped. Life has been so busy lately. From the moment I wake up to the moment my head hits the pillow at night, I'm nonstop. And it isn't slowing down anytime soon. 

School testing is done, and I am now wrapping up the year with final lessons and activities with my students. My mom recently had her fifth knee surgery (same knee...crazy!) and is recovering at home. My son has been having one senior activity after another and is one step closer to graduating. Oh, I also finished writing a novel and a short story! Just a couple more weeks and life will slow down, even if just a little.

For this week's #TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro brings us into the season of Shoman, or Fine Weather. I love this time of year. The days are longer which means more beach time for me! The days are also warmer but not stifling hot yet. I'm a bit worried about this year's hurricane season. The beach water was already a warm 82 degrees this past weekend, and that isn't good for this early in the season. Hopefully, we will get lucky and the hurricanes will stay away.

For this week's challenge, I kept it simple because I just don't have much time to play with. I love leaving my home in the morning to the chirping of birds in the neighboring trees, so I chose to write about that in a haiku. The kigo word is bolded and italicized.

(courtesy of @urirenataadrienn on Pixabay)

bird song symphony

celebrate summer's coming

sweet jubilation

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

Friday, May 3, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Koku #renga #fullmoon #Aprilshowers @YvetteMCalleiro


Hello, beautiful readers! The past two weeks have been very busy for me (such is my life...LOL!). Our summer trip is completely planned, and I'm so excited. Because we waited so long to book our cruise, all the ship's best shore excursions were booked. So, I started looking elsewhere. I found the best shore excursions with Shore Excursions Group. I know a lot of people use Viator or TripAdvisor. SEG's site is cruise specific. It's so organized, and they focus on each port the cruise ship goes to. If you ever go on a cruise, I encourage you to check them out. :-)

We started state testing this week. As an empath, it's exhausting! I pick up on all the students' stress and anxiety. We have two more weeks of testing, so I've got to rebuild my reserves this weekend. You know what that means? Beach time! 😊 

For this week's TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro challenged us to write a renga. A renga is a poetry written by two different poets, each contributing a part. The first poet writes the hokku (haiku), and the second poet writes his/her response (wakiku). The wakiku consists of two lines, each with seven syllables. 

Colleen provided the first hokku and encouraged us to write the wakiku. She also asked that we provide the next hokku, and she (and you, if you so choose) will write the wakiku in the comments. As always, we need to include kigo words. They should be part of the hokku. I've bolded and italicized them.

(courtesy of @FreeFunArt on Pixabay)

an empty attic
the sounds of April showers
thunderous rumblings

crisp, fresh pages beckon me
travel to fantasy worlds

***

beacon of wonder
April full moon captivates
good fortune awaits

Would you like to create a wakiku to my hokku? Share it with me in the comments!

If you feel inspired to write your own, join us here.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

April Book Reviews #bookreview #books #amreading #readingcommunity #vampires #paranormalromance #WWII @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I have been able to read several books this month, thanks to getting almost three books read during my Spring Break cruise and then reading during my lunch breaks. Except for one book, all the reviews I wrote this month were on paranormal books, which is my favorite genre. I'm only posting those books I would recommend to others. I am also one chapter away from finishing Drake's story. Soon, I'll be in the editing/revising stage and will be reaching out to my beta readers. If you have read my Diasodz series and would like to be a beta reader for me, please let me know. :-) Here are my reviews for April:



Genre: Paranormal Vampire Romance

Pages: 506 pages

Blurb: 

Meet Sahvage: a powerful MMA fighter with a buried secret that could change the world of Caldwell forever...

Sahvage has been living under the radar for centuries-and he has every intention of staying 'dead and buried.' But when a civilian female sucks him into her dangerous battle with an evil as ancient as time, his protective side overrides his common sense.

Mae has lost everything, and desperation sets her on a collision course with fate. Determined to reverse a tragedy, she goes where mortals should fear to tread- and comes face to face with the Brotherhood's new enemy. She also discovers a love she never expected to find with Sahvage, but there can be no future for them.

Knowing they will part, the two band together to fight against what Mae unknowingly unleashed- as the Brotherhood closes in to reclaim one of their damned, and the evil vows to destroy them all...

I know I've shared this series with you before. I was lucky enough to receive this book for free as part of a Goodreads Giveaway. I'm absolutely in love with this series, and I just found out they are going to turn it into a TV series. Oh, I hope it lives up to the books! This book was focused on Sahvage and Mae, but it also brought back the demoness Devina as well as a new character/love interest for Nate. As always, the author's characters have so much depth. I love the slow build of this story. Both Mae and Sahvage have suffered great loss, and both of them are haunted by their choices. Fate brings them together, but saving each other isn't an easy ride.

There are so many moving pieces in this story, but the author organizes them all masterfully. All the characters are connected by an evil book of spells they all want for different purposes. The hunt for the book reveals Sahvage's connection to the BDB as well as the new character. It also reveals his hidden secret, which was a great little revelation. There are so many possibilities with his character because of his gift/curse. And I have SO many unanswered questions about the new character (don't want to give too much away). Needless to say, I cannot wait to read the next book! If you love vampires with depth and a series that has longevity, I really encourage you to start this one at the beginning with book one, Dark Lover.



Genre: Children's Books

Pages:  100 pages

Blurb: 

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2? Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden. Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia. Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

My Review: 

This is definitely not my normal read, but I've read other books by Robbie Cheadle, so I thought I'd give it a try. This is a children's story, told in small anecdotes through the experiences of Elsie, who is a child growing up in England during World War II. The authors do a great job in showing how difficult life was back then and how families found ways to make it while children found ways to have fun. 

This book isn't told as a typical storyline (plot, conflict, rising action, etc.). Instead, it's told as a child's recounting of memories. At the end, there are a bunch of recipes from that era for anyone who enjoys cooking and wants to try to replicate them. I found the book interesting and enjoyed learning what life was like in England during those times.




Genre: Small Town Romance

Pages: 86 pages

Blurb: 

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.

In an innocent 1958 American suburb, Shelly doesn’t know the power of a kiss. Or how it will change her entire life.


At sixteen years old, she falls in love with a young man. One night—just 
one night—they go too far. Months later, pregnant and shamed, Shelly’s parents banish her.

Alone and heavily pregnant, circumstances force Shelly to cross the country in an old pickup.

A mistaken turn leaves her lost in a forest amidst a severe snow storm and in labor.

In the dark of night. Shelly must get help for her new-born baby before they both perish. A light in the distance gives her the slimmest glimmer of hope.

After Shelly wraps the infant in her father’s old jacket, she trudges through the snow to a lighthouse keeper’s cottage. Snow half buries the squat stone building.

Will Shelly find shelter, or is it the beginning of the end?

My Review: 

I absolutely loved this story! It was so good that I read it in one sitting. The story starts with so much despair and fear, and I was drawn right in. Shelly is sent away from her home when her parents refuse to help her with her pregnancy. Alone and afraid, she travels to a relative's house, but on the way, she runs out of a gas during a bad snow storm. And in that moment, the baby decides it's time to be born. Luckily, Shelly and her baby had a little angel looking out for them.

This story has all the feels, and I teared up many times (okay, maybe a bit more than a few tears). The characters are so believable and kind-hearted. It is embedded with that small town, homey feel where everyone looks out for one another. And I loved every page of it!

Although it's a short read compared to most of the books I read, it felt complete and left me with a full heart. I would definitely recommend this story to others. :-)



Genre: Paranormal Vampire Romance

Pages: 307 pages

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


The line between darkness and light is drawn in blood, and the stakes have never been higher. Nothing less than the fate of the world rests in the hands of the Order, and in one Breed warrior's quest to thaw the heart of an immortal queen in the final novel of Lara Adrian's New York Times and #1 international bestselling Midnight Breed vampire romance series.

As a Breed warrior and the son of the Order’s founder and commander, Darion Thorne is an exacting tactician and a lethal combatant, yet nothing can prepare him for the catastrophic act that forces him to step to the helm of the Order as its leader. With their adversaries growing bolder and more brazen with every strike, Darion knows he must take the war to them before it’s too late to stop them at all.

Yet of all their enemies, the one most dangerous for Darion is the beautiful, yet volatile, Selene, Queen of the Atlanteans. Determined to recover four powerful crystals stolen from her ages ago, Selene will go to any lengths to have them. When that goal puts one of the Order’s own in the crosshairs, she finds herself locked in a personal battle with Darion, a Breed warrior she knows she should despise, yet who stirs an unbidden desire within her.

With the battle lines drawn between them and a diabolical evil on the rise, can Darion and Selene put aside their mistrust in time to save all they hold dear, or will they see the world plunge into a darkness that has no end?

My Review: 

I can't believe this series is over. I fell in love with these Breed warriors almost twenty years ago. I've been putting off reading this book because I didn't want this world to end for me. (Luckily, I realized there are two Hunter Legacy books I still haven't read... yay me!) As the last book, this novel did not disappoint!

Darion had everything going wrong for him. His father (the Order's leader) became compromised, sending both him and his Breedmate into nonstop agony. The Order was losing the battles on every front, and everyone looked to Darion to fill his father's shoes. Selene had the burden of protecting her world from enemies that wanted to destroy them while also feeling her life force depleting. When these two came face-to-face, it could have been catastrophic. Luckily, it was the exact opposite!

I loved how the author brought both of these characters together. Their chemistry was amazing, and I enjoyed how each of them had to let go of their reservations to find compromise...and love. The fight against Opus Nostrum was handled perfectly, and I'm so happy they were obliterated. It had drawn out over so many books, and I was happy their comeuppance was swift. 

And I could think of no greater way for the Ancient to meet his demise. The entire final battle was exhilarating. I loved how all the Breed came together one last time to fight for the future existence of their race. And Darion and Selene's love story (and its aftereffects) was so sweet and touching. The author created as great of an ending as possible for this world. If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it. Here is the link to the first book. :-)


by Marcia Meara

Genre: Paranormal & Urban Fantasy

Pages: 104 pages

Blurb:

Was Gabe Angelino, the mysterious truck driver in Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2, really an angel, as Willow Green believes? Or was he simply a good man, determined to help a stranger in need? Find out, as author Marcia Meara reveals the truth in the first Riverbend spinoff novella, The Emissary.

An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.

The archangel Azrael has had enough. He believes he’s found a way to ease their burden while saving jeopardized humans, too—hired help.

When Jake Daughtry lost his life rescuing a total stranger from certain death, he was on the fast track to Heaven. But that was before Azrael pulled him right out of line at the Pearly Gates. Now, as an Emissary to the Angels, Jake is taking to the highway in a quest to help souls in trouble. But the innate stubbornness of human beings bent on self-destruction is a challenge unlike any he’s ever faced.

It’s up to Jake and Azrael to bridge the gap between humans and angels. Will they ever convince the Council of Angels this endeavor is worthwhile? Can Jake figure out how to play by Azrael’s complicated rules? Will Azrael ever master the use of contractions in general conversation?

To find out the answers, hop on board Jake’s big red-and-white semi and travel the roads from the Florida Keys to north Georgia on an adventure that will make you laugh hard and cry even harder.

My Review:

After reading Finding Hunter, I was excited to hear that the author had created this spinoff series about the man who changed Hunter's life trajectory. I love the life story that was created for Jake and the mission he was given after his death. The storyline is fantastic! Heaven's angels are overwhelmed with the amount of lost souls, so one angel decides to take matters into his own hands. He chose Jake, who had just passed away from drowning, and gave him the opportunity to help save others who were going down the wrong path.

At first, Jake wants no part in it, especially because of the way he was introduced to the program. Once Azrael gives him a little more information and attention, Jake decides he will give it a try. The first few saves went well, but Jake quickly learns not all people want to be saved. Still, he's now invested and can't turn away from trying to help others.

Then, he meets Dodger and everything changes. I won't give away any spoilers except to say that this book will pull at your heartstrings. There were moments when I laughed out loud and others that choked me up. I love Jake's mission and look forward to reading the other books in the series. :-)


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

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

Blurb: 


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

Blurb: 

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

Blurb: 

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 other...lol). 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

Blurb: 

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.