My Reviews

As I've mentioned before, I am an avid reader, so I thought I'd share with you books I have read along with my thoughts on them.  If you like my review, simply click on the title, and it will take you to the Amazon page where you can purchase it. :-)

by Maura Beth Brennan

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. :-)

by J.R. Ward
(Adult Content)

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 Jacquie Biggar

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 Nounous (Susanne Leist)

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.

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

by D.L. Finn

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 Maureen Twomey

I can't even begin to imagine having a stroke at 33 years old, much less keeping such an incredible outlook on life. Maureen Twomey takes us on a journey through her life before, during, and after her stroke. And through it all, though she lost many skills and had to relearn them, she never lost her positive energy. I truly believe that is one of the things that helped her survive and thrive even when doctors didn't think she would.

It angered me when she described how laidback the paramedics were when they picked her up. Then again, I'm sure we have learned a lot in the past twenty-three years since her stroke. Still, it was frustrating to read how much time was wasted. Through it all, Maureen was surrounded by friends and family, which is a tribute to what a wonderful person she was before the stroke. And through her words, you can sense that she is just as wonderful today.

This is an inspiring read of a young woman's journey to come back from a rare stroke with humor and determination, and I highly recommend it for anyone going through tough times and for anyone who wants to be inspired.

by Joy M Lilley

This story shares the author's wonderful memories of her dear aunt Peggy. She also includes pictures of her aunt throughout the years. Her aunt lived an interesting life meeting famous actors. She had an incredible personality that attracted people to her. Unfortunately, she became an alcoholic, which affected her health and lifestyle. Until her dying day, the author spent time with her aunt and loved her unconditionally.

This was an endearing insight into the relationship that the author had with her aunt. She shared beautiful pictures and a few great memories. I would have loved for her to share more of her memories and more details of those moments. This reads more like non-fiction than a short story, but it was enjoyable. 

by Maura Beth Brennan

I love everything this author writes, so I immediately picked up this story. The story follows Fiona, a woman whose husband passed away and whose son is estranged. She yearns for a man who left her when she was younger. The author takes us on a journey through the trials and tribulations of Fiona's life and the emotional and mental torment she put upon herself for past decisions.

Fiona has reached the end of her rope and had created a plan to end things once and for all, but an unexpected person opened a door, giving her an opportunity to see life in a whole new light. Through this journey, Fiona evaluates past decisions and finds a way to come to terms with the life she's lived.

I was completely loving this story until the last words. Lol! The author grabs you from the beginning and makes you feel the struggle Fiona is going through in such a gripping way. And then, she just seems to stop. I'm sure she was going for the cliff hanger, and it definitely is one, which I'd be okay with if there was an announcement of a larger novel or novella coming, but I didn't see any such notification. Still, it is a great read (as long as you can accept the unknown ending). 

by Karen Black

I don't normally read cowboy books, but I do enjoy stories by this author, so I figured I'd take a chance. Maggie Austin is a female jockey who upends her life to travel to California and race thoroughbreds. She breaks up with a man who treats her like his property and moves closer to a childhood friend who has always been in love with her. While both men vie for her heart, she is focused on creating a place for herself as a jockey.

This is a sweet story with great characters. The author does a wonderful job of creating unique characters who are full of personality. Her descriptions at the stables and during the races were spectacular, and I felt that I was there watching the race. And I loved how Maggie found her happiness.

There was a bit of head hopping. I believe the author was going for third-person omniscient. I think I've gotten used to clean separations of POVs, so it threw me off a bit. And there were a few small errors but nothing that pulled me out of the story. If you enjoy cowboy(girl) stories and romance, I think you'll enjoy this story.

by Sally Cronin

I absolutely loved this collection of poems. Not only was each poem accompanied by a stunning picture, it was also written to reach into the soul and permeate slowly. Many of the poems are written in syllabic poetry forms such as the butterfly cinquain and the Etheree. The poet is concise with her words while choosing powerful imagery to stir emotions and connection. 

Some of my favorite poems were Our Legacy, Advancing Years, Sunflower Seeds, The Air, The Beacon, Hope, On the Wind, Birthdays, Is it time?, The Sunflower poems, The Future?, Life's Progression... Honestly, I could list them all. Some are layered with humor; others touch upon profound concepts that make one pause and ponder. All of them are beautiful works of art. If you enjoy poetry that makes your soul smile, I definitely recommend this book.

by Harmony Kent

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.

by Lara Adrian

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 Karl J Morgan

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 Selma Martin

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 Marcia Meara

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 Vashti Quiroz-Vega

This was the final installment of the Fantasy Angels series, and it did not disappoint. Lucifer finally finds a way to break out of his imprisonment and wreak havoc on Earth. Gadreel and Dracul stay true to their mission to protect the people and find the courage to face Lucifer.

I've loved Gadreel's character since book one and was excited that the author chose to focus on her in book three. Gadreel's character arc was amazing. She is a flawed character who loses her way and doesn't know her own value. Throughout the story, she meets new friends and learns to start seeing herself through their eyes. Dracul proved to be a steadfast friend who, despite his heritage, focused on doing good in the world.

The author does an incredible job tapping in to Lucifer's evil. He commits so many horrific acts that it was easy to despise him. The author successfully incorporates the horrors of the Dark Ages into the story. Some of the scenes are graphic and truly depict the atrocious acts of those times.

I love how the story ends (not giving anything away). The author wrapped up each character's story so there were no loose ends, which is always nice. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys dark fantasy.

by PTL Perrin

I was so excited to get back into this series, and it did not disappoint! Sky, Pax, Storm, and Jewel are needed in South America to stop three more artifacts before they lose their energy and cause the world to fall apart. As if that isn't enough pressure, they find out that Jewel has been claimed by a vile Dracan, and he will stop at nothing to have her. Making things worse, someone in their midst is betraying them at every turn.

The author's incredible gift of setting descriptions along with her unique characters kept me engaged in this story from beginning to end. I love all the new races she brings into the story as well as the way she weaves in multiple cultures. Each chapter follows a different character, but the author makes it clear who is telling the story. Normally, I'm not a fan of that, but with this story, I loved seeing the plot from different points of view. Plus, it deepens my connection with each of the four main characters, their unique talents, and their struggles.

I'm already looking forward to reading book 4. If you enjoy paranormal stories mixed with cultural references and suspense, you will love this book!

by DL Finn

This is another author of whom I'm a big fan. Every story I read from her is great, and this was no exception. This book is a collection of short stories that she's written over the years, and I enjoyed every single one of them. She has a gift of creating such rich characters in just a few pages. Her scenes draw you in immediately, and you can't help but connect with what the characters are going through.

Many of the stories have a paranormal flare, which you know I LOVE! The author has a series on evildwels, spirits that invade people and encourage them to do evil things. It's a great series, and I was happy to see that she included a story about them in this book. She had several other stories where people were haunted by evil but found their way to the light, which I always love.

She also includes heartfelt stories of redemption or closure. A few of the stories focused on dystopia and a possible apocalypse here and there (lol!). And then there were the stories with crazy twists in them that were right up my alley. I honestly loved all the stories. Some are as short as 99 words while others were multiple pages, including a novella at the end. All of them were worth reading, and I highly recommend this book to everyone!

by JR Ward

I have been reading this series for years now, and every book is amazing! By now (book 17), these vampires are like family. If you haven't read the series, these vampires do not harm humans or even need blood from humans. Every book focuses on a different male (or female) and his/her journey to find his/her soulmate. In between the love story, there is so much that happens between the brothers (vampire) and their enemy. 

This particular story focuses on the BD Brother Murhder. In a previous book, he was tortured and went a bit insane and was cast out of the brotherhood. This book is his story, and it was amazing! I hated how he was tortured before, and I'm thrilled the author redeemed him in this book. 

By now, you all know I won't give away spoilers because it's not my style. I will say that even after 17 books, each story feels new. It doesn't feel like a recycled version of a previous book. Every character has his/her own personality, and I love that old characters are included in each book. This book was especially sentimental because it makes a connection with Darius, a vampire who died in book 1 (at the beginning of the book, so it's not really a!). 

And yes, this book made me tear up several times. I get emotional invested in the books I read, especially when they are a long series like this one. There were just so many sentimental moments. I loved it. I also loved the little (and big) hints the author gives for what is still to come. I'm a bit behind in reading the series (I believe there are 21 books now, plus a spinoff), and I can't wait to read them all! (Caution: This book contains many sex scenes, so it truly is written for adults.)

by Nonnie Jules

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. :-)

by Karen Black

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 Maura Beth Brennan

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

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. :-)

by Wanda Adams Fischer

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. :-)

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. :-)

by D. Wallace Peach

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. :-)

by Pat Garcia

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! :-)

by DL Finn

I loved this story! The author's imagination was entertaining. The talking animals were endearing, especially how they protected Drea from the evil in the woods. After the death of her husband and her son leaving to live with his horrific wife, Drea felt lost and alone. This all changed when three animals showed up on her doorstep. She needed their companionship, especially when she found out that someone seemed to be killing single women in the area and she was next on his list!

The author did a phenomenal job in keeping the reader guessing who the bad guy was throughout the entire story. Was it the cop with the attitude? Was it her deceased husband's best friend who just happened to be making the moves on her? Or was it someone else in her life that had it out for her?

With the help of her talking animals and the ghost of her deceased husband, Drea slowly puts the pieces together. And just when you think you have it all figured out, the author throws another loop into the web she weaved!

This is a great story, and I highly recommend it!

by Marcia Meara

This was such a great story! The author did a wonderful job of weaving the different storylines together slowly throughout the book. Her character development was fantastic! I loved getting to know the four main characters and how their lives intertwined with one another. Maggie and Gunn's relationship developed at a great pace with just the right amount of obstacles/misunderstandings to allow them to grow together. The villain of the story was masterfully created, and I enjoyed the hints as well as the big reveal as to who the serial killer was. I also loved how the author brought in a misunderstood character; it pulled on my heart strings. I highly recommend this story and look forward to reading the next book in the series. :-)

by Mark Bierman

What an AMAZING story! Not only does this book focus on the real and serious topic of child trafficking, but it also shows the human spirit, both the good and the evil. The author does a wonderful job creating unique characters who push the story along. The pace of the story is thrilling - every page takes you on a crazy roller coaster of a ride through heart-breaking dangers. And as much as I hated seeing certain characters die, I felt the author did right by the realities of these situations. 

There were a few typos that I've brought to the author's attention, but it never took me out of enjoying the story. Normally, I would deduct one star for those, but this story was so engaging, so powerful, and so purposeful that I chose to keep it at five stars. I look forward to reading more from this author. :-)

by Joy York

How are two teenage girls supposed to entertain themselves out in the country during the summer of 1968? Solve a murder mystery, of course! This story is told from Christi's POV. She's an awkward, insecure girl who doesn't know how to say no to Lily, her bold and mischievous cousin that she is visiting for a few weeks in the summer. Lily is the jailer's daughter and is more than comfortable with her home life of having the prison attached to her house. When Lily sees a pair of bloody shoes brought into the prison, she embarks on a mission to solve the crime, dragging Christi along with her.

I loved the contrast of these two girls. The author did a wonderful job creating unique personalities for all her characters. Christi feared getting involved in Lily's ploys because Lily always got her in trouble, but the pull to be a part of something always won out in the end. And she was done for once the cute kid not only got involved but only had eyes for her.

The story is a slow buildup, which is my favorite kind of story. I love how the author mixed everyday life into the kids' adventure. It all came together at the end with great intensity and a couple of heart-racing moments. This was a great story, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a good, clean fun read. :-)

by Tonya Penrose

This was a great story. I kept finding myself wishing I were given Halley's secret gift. The author did an incredible job describing the town and its atmosphere. It sounds like the perfect place to live, and I just wanted to pick up my stuff and at least visit the place. Lol!

Every single character was unique and well-developed. I loved Oliver's carefree demeanor, Irene's motherly ways, Ginger's BFF vibe, Mick's genuine good-guy ways, Sally and Tulip's friendliness, Libby's complexity, Ben's struggle, and Halley's journey of self-discovery. Even Logan and Cara's characters were created perfectly.

I'm not a big chick-flick, romance kind of book reader because they are just so predictable, but I really enjoyed this story. I can totally see it as a Hallmark movie. There were a couple of little typos, but they were minor things. If you enjoy cute, romantic stories, then you will LOVE this story. :-)

by Jan Sikes

When a book makes me in cry (in public, no less!), you know it's an amazing story! Normally, you look at Christmas stories and immediately think of Hallmark love stories, but this story had no romance whatsoever, but there was plenty of love. Cole was a famous singer with the world at his feet, but he was miserable because of a string of regrets from his past. This story takes you through his journey to fix those mistakes.

I absolutely loved this story! The author does an incredible job of pulling you into the story from the get-go. I loved how an unwanted interview kept pushing the story along through memories. My heart ached for Cole and his losses. The scenes were described so perfectly and I felt that I was with Cole on every step of his journey. And then we meet his brother, and my heart just melted over and over again.

This story was flawlessly written and is full of so much love that you will feel it from your heart to the tears flowing from your eyes. (Be forewarned - you may just find yourself crying in a public place!). I will definitely recommend this book to everyone! :-)

by Staci Troilo

I really enjoyed this novella (and can't wait to read the next one). We are introduced to Piper as a hotheaded, strong-willed journalist who loses her job and heads back home to regroup. And you know what happens when you go back to your childhood small town? The hot guy who Piper had a crush on (and still fantasizes about) just happens to come around. So, does the guy who has played the best friend role even though he's always wanted more. 

I loved how the author took us through Piper's thoughts, even though I wanted to bop her upside the head for having blinders on. Everyone in the story BUT HER knew that Tommy wasn't the one for her, but her character stayed true to her stubbornness. Some people just have to experience things for themselves to learn their lessons.

The blurb says that Piper couldn't help but notice Jack in an unsisterly way, but I honestly didn't get that feel at all. She barely gave him any attention until the very end. That is probably my only critique. Well, I also felt the end was a bit rushed and she should have had to work a little harder for her happy ending. lol!

Still, the writing in this story was flawless, and I completely felt myself in every scene. I would definitely recommend this story to others. :-)

by Harmony Kent

This was a cute, holiday story. The story opens with a powerful scene of Charlene being dismissed and humiliated as she hobbles to meet her surgeon for a hip replacement. Not only did she lose her husband in a car accident, she also lost one of her legs and her self-esteem. She gained weight from the lack of exercise/mobility, which was creating an issue for having the surgery. A thin, silver lining came with her physiotherapist, which just happened to be sexy and charming (at times). The author switches POVs so readers can see that both John and Charlene like each other and have no idea how to express themselves.

The miscommunication was both hilarious and frustrating. It's easy to feel for these two because they are their worst enemies because they allow their fears to prevent them from taking a chance. There was a moment or two where I felt John was out of character with his treatment of Charlene, but I also knew it was meant to move the story along with the miscommunication. Still, it felt harsh and made me wonder if Charlene should even want to be with him.

I don't like giving stories away, so I'll try to be vague about the ending. I am happy with the outcome, but I felt it was a bit too rushed with the depth of emotion and would have preferred perhaps a bit more subtlety or just the asking of a first date or something. 

I was also a bit disappointed that Charlene lost all the weight and became the sexy lady at the end. The story started with her as an overweight amputee, and although I'm all for people losing weight and getting healthy, a part of me wanted her to learn to love herself as she was. After all, that is how John fell in love with her. Maybe that's silly of me, but I loved the fact that her character didn't fit the typical character you read about. Those are just my own thoughts; this paragraph didn't affect my rating because the author has every right to create her characters as she sees fit.

That being said, I enjoyed the story and would definitely recommend it to others. It is written well and is a great way to spend an afternoon. :-)

by Breakfield and Burkey

I first met Jacob and Petra in The Enigma Factor, so when I saw that this story was about them, I immediately grabbed it. I wasn't disappointed. In The Enigma Factor, we watched their romance begin. In this story, they are married with a son. I loved seeing them not only dote on their son but also on each another. They created a tradition that they would each give a surprise gift to the other on Christmas Day. Normally, they come up with the perfect gifts, but Petra struggled to find something special for Jacob this year. This story was full of the Christmas spirit and love and joy, and the ending was perfect! I recommend this book to everyone at any time during the year. :-)

by Wanda Adams Fischer

I enjoyed this short story! It's crazy how easily a man could lock up a disobedient wife in the '40s. Thank goodness, times have changed since then! This story follows Edna as she's locked up in a mental institution. While there, she meets Anne, who becomes her best (and only) friend. They spend decades making the most of the situation.

The author does a fantastic job of leaving the reader wondering whether Edna is truly sane or isn't living fully in reality as she believes herself to be a famous poet. Does she remember her moment of being committed accurately? Does her doctor share the true situation of that day, or is he just trying to convince her to believe his reality? Or does she know the truth but continues to keep the façade of being a famous poet to stay locked up in the only home she has left? 

I enjoyed the friendship between Anne and Edna and how it showed Edna's personality and emotions.  Throughout the story, Edna longed for connection with someone through the touching of hands, even if only through a pane of glass. The ending was very touching (pun intended). I would definitely recommend this book!

by Mae Clair

I read this book during a busy time in my life, so I couldn't read it in one or two sittings, but I think that worked out perfectly because it allowed me to really savor each story. Every story has its own unique feel to it, showing the vast talents of this author. Each one pulled me in and made me feel as if I were part of the tale. I have a soft spot for fantasy, so those were some of my favorites, but I also loved how this author weaved surprises within the stories. Some of my favorites were "Yesteryear Treasures," "Yellow Bird," "Miss Lily Makes a Wish," "Father's Day," and "I've Got a Plan." The author's ability to tap into emotions, whether it be regret, sadness, or humor, created riveting tales. I highly recommend this collection of short stories to everyone. :-)

by Marcia Meara

This is my first book to read from this author, and I'm a fan. I loved how she informed the reader that her first set of poetry followed a character from her novel. Though I haven't read the novel, I grew to know and love her character through her poetry. Her poetry oozed of imagery that placed me right there with each scene. The second part focuses and life and love, and I loved these poems just as much. The emotions could be felt through the words on each page. I will definitely read more from this author. :-)

by Bette Stevens

After reading the author's short story, Pure Trash: The Story, I knew I wanted to read the whole novel, and I wasn't disappointed. This story follows Shawn's life in the 50s. His family is very poor because his abusive father spends all their money on alcohol. He was ridiculed at school for being the poor kid with a drunk dad. He was the oldest of four siblings and often found himself in the role of father. Still, he found moments to be just a kid again. This story follows Shawn through his journey to becoming a young man. 

I loved this story. The author drew me right in with the character's voice. The story is told in first person, which allows the reader to truly feel for Shawn's predicament. Though I did not grow up in the 60s, I felt as if I were a part of it through the scenes in this story. There were a few typos, but they did not deter from the enjoyment of the story. I would highly recommend it to everyone I know. :-)

by Linnea Tanner

This was a great short story. Once I started reading, I had to finish it to find out what would happen. The author did a fantastic job of showing Lucius' ambition. The growth arc of this character in so few pages was extremely well done. My heart broke for his mother and for him as they had to carefully manage their emotions through such a difficult ordeal. It is obvious the author did her research into this era (plus, she shares the research at the end). Lucius had to make incredibly difficult decisions, knowing that his choice affected not just his life but the life of his mother. I enjoyed the happy ending, and I loved that the author left it open to continue the story in the future. I would definitely recommend this short story to others. :-)

by Pat Garcia

I loved this short story! It is not meant for minors nor is it meant for anyone who is uncomfortable reading sexual scenes. This author does a brilliant job of describing her characters and their motivations for their actions. I could feel Chance's angst in not being able to have kids. She made a choice based on her idea of selflessness, but it only brought more pain to both her and her husband. Luckily, her husband is a patient and forgiving man. This author does a wonderful job in exploring the deep love that exists between these two characters through their Dominant/submissive marriage. Although it is sexually explicit, I found that the author kept a strong balance between the love and the sex through the characters' words and actions. There were a couple of tiny typos, but this story was so packed with emotion that it didn't stop me from loving the story. I would definitely recommend this book to adults who enjoy love stories of a sexual nature. :-)

by Breakfield and Burkey

This story is told through flashbacks as the main character attempts to sleep on a bus.  The authors take us through some heartbreaking moments in Jamie's life. They do a great job of showing the love that Jamie and Ian have for each other. I felt that the incident which breaks his heart and the aftermath (don't want to give it away) was a bit abrupt, but because it's a short story, I understand the pacing. And then Jamie experiences heartache again (poor guy!). It bothered me that he made a choice that I wouldn't have made, but the authors showed how grief affects people differently. I did like that the story ended with hope. This story had a lot going on in a short number of pages, but I still enjoyed it and would recommend it to others. :-)

by Breakfield and Burkey

I really enjoyed this short story. I liked how the authors built up the relationship between Brayson and Gretchen. I felt bad for both of them for different reasons. I enjoyed how they found a way to communicate through math. I don't want to give away the whole story, so I can't reveal too much. The authors did a great job in giving this story a realistic ending (even if I wanted a different outcome for the characters). I would enjoy reading more about these characters, and I would definitely recommend this story to others.

by Karen Black

This was a great short story! From the very beginning, I empathized with Lily's mom. The author did a fantastic job in bringing both Lily and her mom to life. I fell in love with Lily and her actions and reactions. The author did well in painting the antagonists to be cold-hearted and uncaring and in showing a glimpse into the child-trafficking world. Although it's a short story, it feels complete and filled with tension and action. I would definitely recommend this story to others.

by Randy Overbeck

This was such a great story. From the very beginning, I was pulled into Darrell's ability to see ghosts. The author does a phenomenal job in giving each of his characters unique personalities; even the ghost was well-developed. The diary entries gave me a glimpse of real life events, and the teacher in me loved how Darrell taught how to authenticate primary sources. Lol! The author did a wonderful job in slowly bringing the story to the surface. He balanced the historical love tragedy with the present danger to Darrell and Erin's lives.

The settings of the story had so much details that I could imagine myself there. Whether it was his office or his house or the sailboat, I felt right there with the characters. The suspense jumped off the pages and made my heart speed up several times. This was a fantastic story, and I recommend it to everyone! :-)

by DL Finn

I love fantasy stories that focus on nature, and this one is great! The story is told from the children's point of view, which is lovely because you see their innocence and openness to magic and possibilities.  The author does a wonderful job in making each character's personality unique. Danny and Colette's adventure with the tree fairies is very well-written. I imagined being there every step of the way. I felt their fear and apprehension when they were lost and then their wonder when they discovered the fairies. I loved how the fairies brought them into their fold and how they created a bond to work together. (I won't give away how.)

Then, in the short story, the author created such colorful characters in her fairies, and I love how different the city fairies and the tree fairies are. I also enjoyed their interactions with the humans. The author shows both the positive and negative attributes of humans through her characters, which is wonderful for discussions with children after reading.

She weaves great lessons throughout the stories. The plot never has a dull moment. I would definitely recommend this book to believers of all ages. :-)

by Charles W Jones

This was a great book of short stories. What I loved about it is that all the stories were connected, which gave it almost the feel of a full story, though told perhaps in reverse order. Lol! It was fun to see a character from one of his other books in one of these stories. The author does a phenomenal job creating his characters. Each story draws you in from the beginning, and all his characters are different, so I enjoyed that.

The common thread is Amilcar and how his evil devastates the lives of so many. I love the idea of the Carrington Collective, especially that they've existed for so long and always appear at just the right/wrong moment. The author creates each scene so you feel as if you are there with the characters.  My only critique is that there was a lot of head hopping. I have a feeling the author was going for third -person omniscient, but in some scenes, it was a lot of switching POVs. Still, that did not deter me from enjoying the stories.

I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys evil spirits and the destruction they leave behind. :-)

by Maura Beth Brennan

This was a great story. I remember reading The Edge of Memory a while back and enjoying it, and this book was a fantastic sequel. If you haven't read The Edge of Memory, no worries! The author does a great job of giving back story so the reader doesn't feel lost. I could not put this book down. From the very beginning, you know something bad is going to happen, and when it did, I just wanted to keep reading to see how it would all turn out.

The author does a wonderful job creating the characters. I loved how she kept the reader guessing who Frank was posing as in his disguise. She was quite clever in steering the reader in the wrong direction. Each character has his/her own distinct voice, which I really enjoyed. I also liked that there was no real downtime in the story. The plot moved effortlessly along.

Some of the scenes toward the end were a little outside of reality, but if you can suspend reality and just enjoy the fiction, it made for a great story. I would definitely recommend this book to others. :-)

by Linnea Tanner

I really enjoyed this story. From the first chapter, the reader is brought into the action. The author did a great job of describing the scenes, especially when Catrin became one with her raven. I enjoyed the layers of characters and the role they played leading up to the climax of the story. The interaction between Catrin and Marcellus was great. I loved the chemistry between them (and their resistance to that chemistry). The author kept me enthralled in the history and political dynamics of those times, even though I don't normally enjoy historical fiction. It worked for me because the character arcs were woven well into the history. I also liked how there were so many antagonists; it kept you wondering who was the biggest problem. If you like epic tales and historical fantasy, then you will definitely want to read this book. I look forward to reading the next one in the series. :-)

by PTL Perrin

This is such a great book! I loved diving right back into the characters from Terra's Call. Jewel has been taken, and Sky, Storm, and Pax have to find her before the next artifact explodes. As always, the author paints the scenes so beautifully. I can lose myself in her imagery. 

The characters continue to grow and show more of their personalities in this book. I enjoy seeing the story from their different perspectives. The author adds depth to the Dracans, which will surely complicate things in the next book (more than they already were in this story). As a reader/writer who loves twists, this author gave a great "surprise" at the end of the book that makes me eager to read the next story.

If you love fantasy, complicated characters/species, and a race against time, you will enjoy this book (and the series). :-)

by DL Finn

I love the world of evildwels that this author has created. I've read a couple of her books with these evil entities, so it was great to see them in this story. Kenzie and Joy were best friends before Heath dumped Kenzie to be with Joy. The author does a great job in letting the reader feel Kenzie's pain. I loved the inclusion of the angels and their own little side story, and I'm hoping those characters are part of another upcoming evildwel book.

I wish the author would have spent a little time explaining the evildwels a bit better. I'm familiar with them from her other books, but I feel new readers to this author may not have captured the term and its significance. Other than that, I thought the story was great! :-)

by Jan Sikes

This was another great short story from Jan Sikes. I've read several of her stories, and each one is unique and entertaining. This one follows Claire and her best friend as they use a voodoo ritual as therapy to wish bad luck on Claire's cheating husband. Things don't go exactly as planned, and Claire gets more than she bargained for. 

This was a fun short story. I kept thinking, be careful what you wish for! The story was complete in its telling, but I would have loved a little bit more confrontation in a certain part. I just wanted the drama to play out, but I understand why the author probably didn't go there.  This is a great read for anyone who has had a breakup and wanted him/her to get his just rewards. lol! :-)

by Pat Garcia

I can't remember the last time I read a story where I kept thinking, "This woman is crazy!" while also being totally immersed in her emotions and wanting her to go with all that craziness. Lol! This short story was extremely well written. Although not necessarily realistic, there are all sorts of people out there, and the author writes it in such a way that it leaves you feeling as if it could happen. I'm not going to give away what takes place, but I enjoyed how the author spun this story to keep you wondering what would happen. This is a wonderful read, and I definitely recommend it. :-)

by WJ Scott

This was such a cute little story. Master Tinsel is an elf who has just begun his new gig at Santa's Workshop. He's pulled away from the main floor to take care of the reindeer, and things don't go as planned. Lol! I don't want to give away anything, but I will say that magic is involved, and it's delightful.

This author never disappoints. This book is a children's story, and I can imagine parents (or grandparents) reading it to the children and watching their faces light up with the adventure. But I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult. I would definitely recommend this story to everyone! :-)

by John Podlaski

This is another great short story by John Podlaski. In this story, the main character has just returned home from the Vietnam War. His family's home had almost gotten broken into the month before, so John buys a shotgun to help keep his family safe. His training and his new gun come in handy when the thieves come back for a second attempt.

This story is well-told. The characters are believable, and the author does a great job of describing the action that takes place. We also see a small glimpse into the mindset of a war veteran, which feels quite authentic. If you are looking for a short story that draws you in immediately and doesn't let you go until the end, then you will enjoy this story. :-)

by Breakfield and Burkey

This was a great short story that follows Haddy and Otto through the gut-wrenching news that they can no longer have any more kids after the birth of their first child. The authors do a great job of representing the pain both parents felt and how they handled it differently. I also enjoyed the ending, though there was a part that had me a bit confused for a moment (not giving anything away). Still, this was a wonderful short story with a happy ending. :-)

by Regina Morris

This was such a sweet short story. Its setting is during a winter storm but not necessarily Christmas. Jake heads up to his deceased father's cabin to get it ready to sell when he discovers his father's very sexy nursemaid has been squatting in the cabin. Tensions are high when a snow storm hits, forcing both of them to have to spend the night at the cabin. 

The author does a great job of drawing the reader into each of the characters. I enjoyed the rapport between the two characters and how they slowly opened up to one another. The ending was heart-warming. It's a great feel-good read. :-)

by Shirley Harris-Slaughter

This story follows the main character through several positions at different newspapers during the 70s and 80s. I enjoyed the story and Leslie's depiction of the racism and misogyny during those times as well as the insight to life in a newspaper. I gave it three stars because there were a few errors. I had a little bit of difficulty connecting to the character. It could be because it was a short story or perhaps it was because it was more telling than showing for me. Still, I enjoyed it. :-)

by Sam Polakoff

I really enjoyed this book. It had a little flare of the writing style of Dan Brown, an author I absolutely love. The author intertwines past lives of several characters with their present day selves. Anyone who has read my series knows I fancy the idea that souls are reborn to learn lessons through new journeys and that certain souls tend to drift toward one another in multiple lives. It was refreshing to read another author's book who uses a similar theme in a completely different manner. This immediately made me love the story.

The author did a wonderful job of sharing with us the past lives of the characters. He develops his characters very well and makes the reader clearly understand their motives. His characters are each distinct and well-rounded.  I loved how his antagonists were so hell-bent on making the main character pay for his past life's mistakes that they never stopped to notice he wasn't that same person in this life. 

The plot was great. The action of the story kept a great tempo from beginning to end. I finished the book in three days because I wanted to know how it was all going to end. It was obvious the author did his homework to make sure every scene was as authentic as possible. For me, the ending was a little abrupt, and I would have liked a little more closure at the end. Maybe I was still shell shocked between the ending and the epilogue. Lol! 

If you enjoy suspense books and books where the character is racing against time, then you will love this book. :-)

by John Podlaski

This was a great book! I am not into war stories, but I heard such great things about this book that I had to read it. I was happily surprised to find that this was not an ordinary war story. The author shares just one night of his detail at a listening post in Vietnam with a fellow soldier and friend. Interspersed throughout that night's danger were memories of the author's childhood. 

The author did a wonderful job of putting me in the moment. The way he described the darkness and the sounds (or lack thereof) truly set the scene. I was immersed in the threat that faced the two soldiers as the enemy entered their space. There were moments where the suspense was quite thick.

And then, the author would sprinkle in his humor, and I loved it! Each of his memories focused on a moment in his life where he felt genuine fear and his reaction to it. I laughed out loud many times because his memories are so relatable to my own childhood experiences. My memories aren't the same, but the reactions are quite similar, and I enjoyed the rush of my own memories that came to me while visiting his. This was a brilliant way to break up the tension taking place in the jungle.

I really enjoyed this story. I read the whole book in one day because I had the time (thank you, Tropical Storm Eta), and I was truly immersed in his memories. I would definitely recommend this story to others. :-)

by Nonnie Jules

As a public school teacher and a parent, I found this to be an interesting read.  The author shares extensive research on COVID-19 and references her experiences with home-schooling. This micro-read is extremely relevant today as parents and school systems struggle to figure out how best to educate children while also keeping entire communities safe and healthy. No one shoe size fits all, and Nonnie Jules shares with her readers one option parents should consider when dealing with this virus. It's a good read, especially for parents of school-aged children.

by DL Finn

This is a great short story to introduce readers to DL Finn's evildwels. I have already read some of her other books with evildwels, so I am familiar with them. This story follows a couple who becomes the victim to a disgruntled man who has an evildwel living inside him. He terrorizes them and almost succeeds in his murderous plot, but Janice and Dale find a rescuer through an unexpected encounter. This is a great short story for anyone who enjoys an intense paranormal suspense story. :-)

by Eichin Chang-Lim

Dr. Chang-Lim educates her readers about various issues related to the eye through medical information and anecdotes. The personal stories she shares helps the reader to make sense of the medical lingo. It also shows her compassionate and human side during these experiences. 

I could relate to many of the conditions she shared through my own personal experiences and those of my friends and family. I enjoyed learning more about why certain conditions occur and how they should be treated. It also brought comfort to know how to react if certain symptoms may appear as I age.

This is a great informative book for everyone to read to learn more about the importance of eye health. I will definitely recommend it to others. :-)

by Bette Stevens

I visited Maine several years back, and these poems brought back great memories for me. The author skillfully creates stanza after stanza of beautiful haiku poems. She separates the book into the four seasons. Each one masterfully uses imagery to bring the reader into the moment.

For example, this is from Spring Awakenings:
Rivers spill over
While ice jams - slowly melting
Weep upon their beds

I visited in the summer, so I really connected with her Summer Songs section.
Pristine forest lands
Rockbound footpaths appealing
Seek your solace here

I don't want to share too much because you will want to read it for yourself. Each section has breathtaking pictures of Maine during that season. It truly is a beautiful state! After the poems, the author shares interesting facts and symbols about Maine, and I really enjoyed learning more about this incredible state. I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys poetry and beautiful imagery. :-)

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

I absolutely loved book one, but I honestly think I love this book even more. I felt sorry for Lilith in book one, and I completely loathed her in this book. The author does a phenomenal job of allowing you to see the evil that festers and flourishes within Lilith.  She also brilliantly draws you in to feel compassion and empathy for Dracul on his journey to not only fit in but to also rid the world of his horrific mother. And then, there's Gadreel (still my favorite!). The author's use of this character to guide the story into each situation was fantastic.

I loved how the author pulled stories from the bible and effortlessly wove these characters into the major game-changing scenes of history. The seamless story-telling shows that the author did her research to make sure the story held true to its historical depiction while also allowing her characters the flexibility to shape those moments in time.

I cannot wait to read book three, Gadreel's story. After reading this book, I'm even more excited to read it. I highly recommend this book (and series) to anyone who enjoys well-written stories with cleverly crafted characters whose struggles will make you fight for their survival and success. :-)

by Heather M Kindt

I really enjoyed this story. The author has a great imagination. Her world-building is fantastic. Her characters were diverse and each held its own unique personality. 

I loved the closeness of Meg and Brek. I also loved their awkwardness in speaking about (or acknowledging) their feelings. I'm still not too fond of Carter, but that might be because I want Brek to win. Lol!

The plot was great! The author did a wonderful job of keeping you engaged in wanting to solve the challenge. I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series. If you enjoy YA fantasy with twists and a love triangle, then you are really going to enjoy this book. :-)

by Joy M Lilley

This is a story about forbidden love, lies, and redemption. This short story is loosely based on real events. Jenny and Seb fall in love, but Seb is married to someone else in his home country. He leaves that bit of information out as he spends years loving Jenny, and when Jenny finds out, everything falls apart.

The fact that it's based on a true story gives this short story more power. Seb struggles with his commitment to his culture and his family while truly loving Jenny. Jenny struggles with his deceit. I enjoyed this story, but I had a hard time losing myself in the characters. I don't know if it's because it switched points of view throughout the story or because I felt I was being told the story more than immersed into it. Still, I enjoyed reading about their journey toward acceptance and forgiveness. :-)

by John Podlaski

This was a fun micro-read for me! It took me straight back to my childhood days. Night of the Living Dead was one of the first scary movies my mom let me watch, and I remember my sister and I freaking out for days about every sound we heard at night. It also brought back memories of my sister and I getting lost and both trying to pretend to be brave for the other. Lol!

The author does a fabulous job of making you feel as if you are right there with these two boys as they work their butts off to earn a free movie only to get more than what they bargained for. It's a quick read, but it's definitely worth it. :-)

by Nonnie Jules

This story sucked me in right at the beginning. The author did a great job of allowing me to feel the main character's pain, confusion, and determination. When Darcy's sister dies, Darcy has a difficult time coping until she finds her sister's journal. She learns of secrets that were kept from her, and she has to make a choice of how to deal with those secrets. She can either give in to despair or follow her sister's suggestions.

Except for a jump in time, which left me a bit disoriented, I found this story to be heart-warming. Tragic events happen. It's how people choose to react to them that can shape the rest of their lives. I would recommend this short story to those who are looking for a touching story about resilience and faith. :-)

by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

This was an interesting story that takes the reader to a different culture where the main character believes the angel of death will haunt her family until certain wrongs have been righted. It also takes the reader into realizing the mean motives some people have toward others.

I enjoyed this story, though I felt that too much happened too quickly. I know it's a short story, but I would have enjoyed more time to get to know the characters or more suspense before the ending. Still, it's a nice short story about karma, so it's worth the read. :-)

by Young

I know this is a short story pulled from a novel, so I understand it's just part of the character's journey. Young takes us through a moment in time where the main character struggled with pretending to court a girl when he didn't have any interest in her. The author did a great job showing the main character's discomfort and his distress in not knowing how to handle the situation appropriately. 

The writing is impeccable, though I felt I was in the author's head more than I was in the story, and that made it difficult for me to truly connect with the various characters.  If half stars could be given, I'd give this short story 3.5 stars. 

by Robbie Cheadle

This book is part of a series, but this is the first book I've read. It's super cute! The author is quite talented in telling tales through rhyming poetry. In the first section of this book, you learn about Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies. Each character is beautifully described, and the plot creates a wonderful read for children (of all ages).

Following the story are several recipes that will delight any baker - blissful blondies, fantastic fudge balls, cheese and bacon scones, strawberry jelly cupcakes, and beautiful biscotti. This is a great book for a parent and child to read together and then spend hours of fun making the recipes. I highly recommend this book to parents with young children and to anyone who enjoys baking. :-)

by Rox Burkey and Charles Breakfield

This short story focuses on WWII and Nazi's invasion of Poland. The characters are focused on a mission to not only escape but also to take the enemy's communication system with them. I was intrigued with this story because I teach my students about the Holocaust, and I enjoy reading about the war from other perspectives. 

I enjoyed this short story. There is plenty of risk and danger. I had a bit of difficulty with the characters, partly because of their foreign names and party because there wasn't much to distinguish them from one another. I know that it's hard to dive deeply into characters in a short story, but I would have liked a little more separation of personalities, especially with the three young men. Still, I thought the plot was great, the action was just right, and the danger of those times could be felt on the pages. I would recommend this short story to anyone who enjoys WWII stories.

by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

This is a cute micro-read about a grandmother who is always forgetting where she places things. It's a great book for little kids, and it opens up the opportunity to talk about aging, forgetfulness, and patience. I'm not a grandma, but I could completely relate to grandma's frustrations in not remembering where she placed her glasses. lol!

by Jan Sikes

I'm not a fan of Westerns, but I've enjoyed other short stories by this author, so I decided to take a chance. I'm glad I did. This story is set in Texas in the 1880s. Jack McClean is at a point in his life where he just wants to settle down. He's seen enough killing and just wants to "retire" and enjoy what's left of his life. Along the journey, he comes across Savannah, the damsel in distress. Her house has burned down and she is injured. Jack, being the gentleman that he is, stops to help her. The Brazos Wind pushed their paths together for a great ending.

This was a great read. The author did a wonderful job of letting me immediately fall into the characters' lives and connect with each of them. As much as I wanted more in the ending, I also realize things weren't that way during those times. She stayed true to the era, but left enough of a hint to let my imagination run wild with the wind. ;-)

by Jan Sikes

This was a great short story. I immediately connected with Quentin, the main character. The author does a fantastic job of drawing you into his plight from the beginning. Quentin was a better person than I would have been in his situation. He spent his entire life caring for and protecting his younger brother, who was always making bad choices. And his mother... Don't get me started on her! She's despicable.

I wasn't happy with the ending. Let me clarify. The author did a phenomenal job. I had just hoped for a different outcome for Quentin. He deserved so much more, and I was frustrated with his last decision, but he stayed true to his character, so I guess I gotta applaud that. Lol! 

I definitely recommend this short story. Any story that can get me to invest this much emotion into its characters is a great one! :-)

by Karen Black

From the beginning to the end, I was not expecting what took place. Lol! This is a great short story that immediately puts you in the middle of a fight between the husband and the wife. The woman is off her rocker as she throws water on her husband to wake him up and then wants to make up. Despite her abuse, the husband wants to try to make things work. I won't give away the ending, but I will say it goes from zero to crazy in a half-second. Lol!

This was a great story, but I would have loved a little more depth. I know it's meant to be a short story, so it isn't easy to dive deeper. I loved how the abused was the husband and not the wife because too often the story depicts the husband as the abuser, and that is not always the case.  I definitely recommend this story to anyone who enjoys shocking endings. :-)

by Phil Stephens

This was a challenging book for me to review. I enjoyed being taken back to my altar girl days. I can completely relate to the attempts to stay serious when all you want to do is laugh (or yawn, in my case). I can also relate to learning about the hypocrisies of some within the Catholic Church. The author does a good job of staying within the mindset of a child who was ignorant of the reasons why things happened as they did between his parents and the priest. I enjoyed his way of connecting songs from the era with events in his life. It's obvious that he tries not to pass judgment on them and recognizes the flaws within all three adults in his life. And it angers me that the church didn't do more to hold the priest to his vows.

It took me a while to finish the story. I noticed a lot of formatting errors. I contacted the author, who informed me that I must have downloaded an older copy of the e-book (I downloaded it sometime last year). I was too lazy to update it, so I just kept reading with the understanding that those issues were probably fixed in the newer addition. I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I could fully feel Carl's relationship with his father but everything else felt muted. I know the story was told in first person, but I felt there was more telling than showing. For example, I had no ability to connect with Carl's sister or brother. I also wanted to know what ever happened to the adults in his life. I believe the author is writing a second book, and maybe it will be discussed in that one.

This story gives you a good look into the experience of one child as he watches a priest tear his family apart. It is a sincere and honest depiction of his life. I gave this book three stars with the understanding that the formatting errors are most likely fixed in the updated version. 

Pregnant Future
by Joy Lo-Bamijoko

This was such a great coming-of-age story about a young Nigerian woman who fought against cultural and societal norms to find her place in the world. The author did a wonderful job pulling me into the Nigerian culture. Tina's voice was very strong, and I couldn't help but admire her inner (and outer) strength. She was bullied and abused by those she knew well and trusted. The author did a phenomenal job of showing Tina as multi-dimensional. Her experiences felt authentic, and I easily felt for her on her journey's highs and lows. I loved that she was just a regular human being trying to make it in a world that kept throwing hurdles in front of her. I would definitely recommend this book to others. :-)

Empty Seats
by Wanda Adams Fischer

Empty Seats follows three guys (Jimmy, Bobby, and Bud) on their journeys to make it to the big leagues. The main character, Jimmy, tells his story in first person, while Bobby and Bud tell their stories in third person. Each of their journeys is quite different. The story starts with all three of them meeting in the Single A division for the Montreal Expos. Bobby has a chip on his shoulder from not getting picked up the previous season. He's had a hard life with an absent father and a mother who struggles to provide for her two sons. Bud comes from a wealthy family and has the most talent (and the most opportunities). And Jimmy was the baseball star in his small town and was fulfilling his dad's dream of trying to make it to the big leagues since his dad gave up that dream to marry Jimmy's mother. 

The story goes back and forth through the trials and tribulations that each of these boys face. I loved learning their backstories and watching their interactions with one another. I loved the baseball practice and game scenes as the author did a great job putting the reader's butt right in one of those empty seats. But the season flew by and then they were heading back home. I wasn't expecting that. I thought the story would focus more on their games and their struggles within the game, so that threw me for a curve ball.

As the characters headed home, the real problems began. I don't want to give away what happens, but Bobby and Jimmy's lives take a turn for the worse. And even then, Bobby's story became more uplifting and had a better turnout than Jimmy's. I completely wasn't expecting the ending, and it left me feeling empty in my heart. 

Overall, I loved the three characters and I enjoyed their backstories. The book could use a bit more editing. There were time gaps that were a bit confusing for me. I think part of that was caused by the short chapters and switching from one character to another so quickly. And I feel that the ending was just a bit too dark for me. I just kept thinking that someone would come to Jimmy's rescue because it just didn't add up. But I guess things like that do happen in life sometimes. Still, the situation with his dad felt over the top for me. Again, that's just my personal take - it didn't feel realistic to me. If you like baseball stories and you don't mind shocking endings, then you would probably enjoy this story.

"If Only There Was Music" The Poetry of Forbidden Love

by Nonnie Jules & Giani Jordan

I enjoyed this book of poetry. It's a story, told through poetry, that shares how two people fell into a forbidden love and the journey of that love. The poems touched upon each stage of their love and exposed the beauty and the heartache. I loved that these two authors collaborated together to show this love's journey from both points of view.  I'm not a fan of rhyming poems or repetitive poems, but there were plenty of poems that I enjoyed. Some of my favorites were:

He, Who Controls...
New Love
Be Not Afraid
What I Know for Sure
Color of Things
The Poetry is Gone

I also enjoyed the section called Through THEIR eyes. I was hoping the end would have shared the final outcome of these two lovers, but I guess I'll just have to leave that to my imagination. This is a great poetry book that share the love and the angst of two people who fall in love but can't be together. :-)

I am Soul

by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

This collection of poetry and prose was fantastic! The author has such a strong command of words. Her use of imagery is beautiful! Her metaphors are powerful! Many of her poems remind me of spoken word, and they should be performed aloud with all the vibrancy of her thoughts. This collection of poetry celebrates the black woman, but it spoke to me, even though I am not black. Her poems spoke of pride and strength, misgivings and perseverance, and tribulations and successes. Here is a list of some of my favorites:

Her Skin
The Right Poem
Why I Write Black
Let the Truth Be
Keep It
If My Books Shall Die
She Was Not a Poet
Love Letters to Some of the Black Women Writers Who Inspired Me
Hope Like Water
The Twins Had a Brother
Why I Read
Ink Pen
Choose Your Words

These poems made me want to snap my fingers and shout my applause. They made me pause and ponder the depths of her messages. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who wants to be moved by the power of words. :-)

Mind Your Goddess (Wytchfae Book 3)

by Flossie Benton Rogers

I love mythology and anything with goddesses in it, so this book was perfect for me. This is book three in the Wytchfae series. I read book 2, and I don't believe they need to be read in order since each book follows a different goddess' story, but there were a few references to book two's characters.

I really enjoyed this story. Not only was their great chemistry between Epona and Eshigel, but Darla's character was fantastic. The author does a great job of making her characters come alive through dialogue and character development. I love the twist in Darla's identity. I also love that none of her characters is perfect. They each have his/her flaws, and there is a redeeming quality with that.

If you enjoy stories with magic, mythology, chakras, and goddesses, then this is the story for you. :-)

Jonah: A Short Story

by Jan Sikes

I really enjoyed this story. Jonah is a convict who was given a choice about how to serve his sentence and chose to be deserted on an island where the elements and environment were difficult to endure. The story focuses on his journey to inner redemption, and I love stories that focus on that internal struggle. I loved that Jonah's isolation stripped away his need to appear tough and feared, the way he was in his home turf. I also loved that he innately protected Titus without even realizing he was doing so at first.

I just wished the story was longer. I know that it was meant to be a short story, but I would have loved more depth and more details. I would have loved more memory scenes that showed Jonah's past life. I would have enjoyed more interaction with Titus as he grappled with his inner growth. And I would have enjoyed more of a lead into meeting the adults. I wanted to learn about his lessons and the trials and tribulations he would need to go through before being ready to fulfill his purpose. I honestly think this could be developed into a great novel if the author ever chooses to do so. All in all, it's a great short story that will leave you wanting more. :-)

Timeless Echoes

by Balroop Singh

This book of poetry will make you feel every emotion related to love, from the initial stages of love to deep love to heartbroken love. Her use of imagery and alliteration are beautiful. These are not poems that you can read quickly and keep going. They are meant to be absorbed, to ponder upon, and to allow the words to take you back in time to your own past emotions. Here is a list of some of the poems that I really enjoyed:

A Shrieking Echo
Yearnings - absolutely loved the imagery in this one
Luna - I've always felt a connection to the moon!
Eternal Love
Did I Lie?
Demons Within
They Are Not Born...
The Valley I Love
The Power of Words
My Mother

A Soldier's Children: A Short Story

by Jan Sikes

This was such a great short story. It is unfathomable to me that mothers can abandon their children, but I know it happens. The author did a great job in making me feel as if I were the older sister. I felt the panic, fear, and hopelessness that Jennifer felt when her younger sister went missing. She was lucky to work for a compassionate boss. The ending was wonderful and heartfelt, which I was grateful for because I was worried that the ending would hurt my heart. Instead, it lifted it. I would definitely recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a little bit of suspense with a happy ending. :-)

Fantasy Writing Prompts: 31 Creative Activities for Kids

by WJ Scott

I am a huge fan of fantasy, and these prompts are fantastic! If you have a struggling writer, this may be just the tool you need to get them to tap into his/her imagination and pull the stories out onto paper. As a teacher, I am excited about using these prompts in my classroom. As a parent, I'm looking forward to posing these prompts to my son while we are in the car and coming up with multiple stories from each prompt. There are endless possibilities with each prompt. As an author, my mind has already been playing around with new ideas. These writing prompts can be used by anyone and everyone, not just kids. :-)

Magic Writing Prompts: 31 Creative Activities for Kids

by WJ Scott

As a teacher, I find this to be such a fantastic source of writing prompts. Each prompt allows the writer to tap into his/her imagination and pull out full stories. These are not one-sentence type of starters. These are full-fledged story starters. I would even recommend this book to parents of young children. They will help their children build strong imaginations and keep family time interesting and entertaining and each person creates his/her own story from the prompt. 

The Fat Man Gets Out of Bed

by Michael Lynes

This book is a collection of short stories, and many of them were amazing. This author has a strong grasp of imagery. I loved the scenes that he created and how he allows the reader to lose him/herself in the scenes that he describes. And what an imagination he has! Wow!

My favorite stories are:

- My Father's Hands - This one had me in tears!
- It's in the Blood - I'm a huge Greek mythology fan, so this one was right up my alley.
- East of Eden - His spin of Adam and Eve was fantastic!
- My Angel Comes - This is another sentimental one.
- Memories to Treasure - This one just made my heart swell with love.

If I could give half stars, I'd give this one a 4.5. The writing was fantastic, but there were a few stories that I felt dragged a little bit. Then again, it could be that they just didn't speak to me. Still, the stories that I mentioned above were top notch, incredible reads. I would definitely recommend this book to others. :-)


by Maura Beth Brennan

This was a great short story. There were so many topics that were thrown into this story but they blended together well. I love the way this author creates her characters. They are so believable, and I couldn't help but care for them. Miss Maeve is a retired librarian who misses the interaction she had with people at the library. She is well loved by the community, and they easily share their love with her at the beginning of the story. She loves her independence and riding around on her bike even though she is in the later years of life.

All that changes when she attempts to save a cat and a boy from being harmed. She suffers from an altercation while trying to save them. Yet, in doing so, she makes a new friend who changes the path of her life.  Unfortunately, certain paths lead to decisions where the consequences are life-changing. This story takes Miss Maeve on a journey to discovering her path and living with its consequences.

I really enjoyed this story and would definitely recommend it to others.

The Ex-Chronicles
by Maura Beth Brennan

I absolutely loved this short story! The narrator's voice was so vivid in my mind, and she had me cracking up the whole time. Her imagination of what would happen versus the reality of what went down was just hilarious! This is about a woman who finds herself in a relationship with a guy who is cheating on her and her plan to confront the other woman and get her man back, soap opera-style. If you are looking for a short read that will have you chuckling throughout the whole story, this is the one for you! I will definitely read more books from this author. Her writing style is great! :-)

by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

I enjoyed this micro read! This story is set in Lagos, Nigeria, but it could easily be related to any bad neighborhood. The author did a wonderful job of setting the scene with such a short story. I enjoyed how the community came together to help one of their own. I won't give away the ending, but I liked how it reflected reality in how there is not always a perfect ending.

by Jan Sikes

I loved this micro read! I have always loved horses since I was a kid, so the minute I saw the beautiful cover, I had to read it. I'm so happy that I did. It's a heart-warming story about a wild stallion who just wanted to be with a stabled horse.  It's told from the stallion's point of view, which I enjoyed. He saw her and knew that he had to be with her, but there were so many obstacles. He was wild; she was not. But love knows no boundaries! This story has several universal themes, but the one that stuck with me is how sometimes we have to decide what (or who) is more important in our life. Love isn't always easy, and sometimes sacrifices have to be made, but sometimes it's worth it in the end. This is a great short story that I believe everyone will enjoy. :-)

Reflections: Inspirational Quotes and Interpretations

by John Fioravanti

This is not my normal kind of read, but I have read other books from this author, and I love quotes, so I figured I would enjoy it. And I did! In fact, I loved it. I learned that I have a lot in common with this author, which is nice.

The author chooses 50 quotes to analyze and interpret. He does so in such a way that it is easy to understand and reflect upon their meanings. He shares how he connects with the quote by sharing parts of his life with the reader. He is not judgmental or critical but simply invites each reader to ponder on the meaning of the quote and connect it with his/her own life.

This is a great book to read and come back to every now and then to remind one's self of the greater purpose of life. I definitely recommend this book to others. :-)

A Candle in the Darkness

by Karen Black

I absolutely loved this short story! The author pulls you right in with her setting and the despair of her main character. I felt like I was right there with Valerie as she drove through that torrential storm and then got soaked going back and forth from her car to the hotel. I also felt the shift that took place as Valerie felt peace infuse itself into her soul. And the ending was just beautiful!

There are many times that I read a short story and feel frustrated because I feel like it should have been longer, as if there was so much more that could have been done with the story. This is not one of those times. This story is perfect just as it is. Every loose end has closure, and I felt complete with its ending. This is an absolute read for everyone! :-)

When I Rise: Tales, Truths, and Symbolic Trees

by Karen Ingalls

This book is a collection of short stories based on the symbolism of twelve different trees. I have read several books from this author, and this collection of stories did not disappoint. She is a gifted writer who pulls you into every story, no matter how short it is. The characters of each story are rich and complex, and you can't help but feel for their situations. Because I've read her other novels, there are a few stories I feel reflect her own family's life journeys, or maybe she is just that gifted of an author that it makes you feel that every story is authentic.

I have always felt connected to willow trees, so it was nice to see that tree included, along with its symbolism and the short story. I can honestly say that each story touched my heart in some way. The author touches upon difficult topics (alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual abuse, etc), but she does it in such a way that brings awareness to the issues while also shining a light of hope around it.  I highly recommend this book to everyone! :-)

Ronald L Palmer: Missing in Action

by Shirley Harris-Slaughter

This is a beautiful tribute to a life lost too soon. The author does a great job in sharing her love her for brother, but she also shares her frustration with a government who was not forthcoming with information. Her family suffered because they never received answers. Writing can be very therapeutic, and I hope the author was able to find peace through her research and with writing this short story. 

Slimmer - A Contemporary Short Story

by Wendy Jayne

This book had me cracking up from beginning to end. I have read many books from this author, and all of them have been great. But this one had such a different vibe to it. The main character's humor is contagious. I love how the author has Pippa trying everything possible to lose weight while hating every minute of it. I know many women could easily relate to the laughable struggles that Pippa encounters on her journey to lose weight to snag the guy of her dreams.

The ending is just fabulous! I can completely relate to Pippa's long-standing crush, because I experienced the same situation in my college years. I love how the author made Pippa easy to relate to. And her reaction was spot on! This is a fantastic short story filled with plenty of humor to keep you smiling long after you finish reading it. :-)

Journey to the Rainbow's End: A Drag Queen's Odyssey

by Forrest Stepnowski

This book is a collection of poetry and prose, a book that leads the reader through the journey of a person who struggles with being gay during a time when very few people would admit it and when the HIV scare dominated everyone's fears. I was pulled in from the beginning with the author's raw emotions and intimacy. I could feel his angst, frustration, confusion, and hurt through the words on the pages. I wanted to reach through the book and hug him many times. I admire this author's ability to expose himself in such a transparent and raw manner. I honor the journey that he has traveled to get to this moment. Based on his poetry, it wasn't an easy journey, but he has come to love himself through it all. 

This is a fantastic book for everyone to read, especially those who have difficulty coming to terms with their identities. It is also a great read for those who haven't allowed themselves to see life from the perspective of someone who is different from them. We all deserve to be loved and accepted.  I am happy that this author has finally found his place in life and is loved for who he is. 

No Pedigree

by Nonnie Jules

I am a long novel kind of girl, but I've recently been reading short stories. It isn't easy to write a review for a short story sometimes because I fall in love with the main character and want to read much more of his/her journey. This was one of those books. The author does an amazing job of reeling me in and making me feel for Baylee. 

Because it's a short story, time moves quickly. I would have loved to read more of Baylee's journey and struggles between the horrific act that was forced upon her and her rise to fame, but there's no way to share all of that in a short story. And truly, for the purpose of this story, it wasn't necessary. I just felt so much for Baylee and her circumstance that I didn't want the story to end.

That being said, the ending is phenomenal! It infuriates me that those with money protect their own, no matter how horrific they behave. (Yes, I know I'm generalizing. Yes, I know that not everyone is like that. Still, there are many who are, and this story focused on those people.) And I loved that they got exactly what they deserved at the end of this story. I would definitely recommend this story to everyone. :-)

Visitors: Short Story Mystery

by W.J. Scott

This was a sweet short story about two boys who had to live with their aunt while their dying mom got treatment for her illness. While staying with their aunt, they came across the town's well-kept secret. I loved the innocence in this story as well as the wonderful ending. If only we could be so lucky to have such a wonderful encounter actually occur. This is a great story for all ages! :-)

Three Rules

by Marie Drake

This book kept me engaged from page one. The main character suffered traumatic sexual abuse as a child and then suppressed the most horrific parts of those memories for years. The author did an incredible job of allowing the reader to experience the struggles that the main character dealt with in trying to live a normal life. And the twist at the end was brilliantly written! I really enjoy this story!


by Jan Sikes

My heart broke for the mother in this story. To lose her husband and then be overcome with an illness that forced her to find others to care for her children is heartbreaking. Unfortunately, because of her status in life, her choices were limited. I can only imagine how difficult must have been for her to do what she did.

Jewel's innocence could be felt through the pages. I feel like the author did a great job touching upon a sensitive subject without going into graphic detail. I was happy when the story turned into a best-case-scenario kind of story because I don't think I would have enjoyed her mother's sacrifice destroying her daughter. :-)

Finding Billy Battles: Book 1 in the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy

by Ronald Yates

I am not into history. I've had an aversion to it since my high school days. Lol! That being said, I really enjoyed this book. The author does an incredible job blending his great-grandfather's journals into a captivating story. The main character's voice is so humble and honest. The attention to details from that era bring even more authenticity to the story. It's no wonder why this book has won awards!

When I think of the life journal of Billy Battles, I'm exhausted. Lol! I know the next books in this series take him on other travels, but he endured so much already in this book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great, authentic story about hardships, the struggle to defend one's self, love lost, and the the need to find meaning in life.

Daughter of Illusion: An Eli Thompson Thriller

by Charles W Jones

I enjoyed this story. It is apparently part of a series, but it isn't the first book. Normally, that bothers me, but the author did a good enough job with the backstory to let me feel as if I knew what I needed to know to read this book by itself. I love paranormal, and this definitely fits the bill. Angels, demons, and everything in between. The story follows Eli Thompson as he tries to prevent a paranormal catastrophe from happening. He has a guardian angel (of sorts) who helps guide him toward the demon's work. Eli has to try to figure out what clues are being given to him and then decipher them before all hell breaks loose, literally. Lol!

The author did a great job in following different characters on their journey and then bringing them together at just the right time.  I loved how each side had rules that they had to follow, and I also love how the author incorporated the idea of free will. There were a few typos or missing words, but it did not deter me from enjoying the story. If you love stories of angels and demons and of how they try to interfere in the lives of humans, you will enjoy this book. :-)

Feeders: Madeson Reid, PI: Paranormal Short Story

by Wendy Jayne

This was a great short story! Vampires and AI robots exist in the future. Madeson Reid is a private investigator who is trying to bring a murderous vampire to justice in a world where vampires are popular and have rights. I love this author's spin on vampires and how they were wronged by our government. I love how she makes them no more valuable than pets, but they are definitely more dangerous. 

This story is short but it packs a punch. The author does an incredible job in getting you to dive into her characters. Her antagonists are cunning and manipulative, and Madeson's way of handling the situation was great. My favorite part was the ending, where you are left with a shocking surprise. I actually had hoped that this short story would lead into a bigger novel because the chaos that could ensue would be fun to read. Lol! :-)

Pure Trash: The Story

by Bette A. Stevens

I really enjoyed this short story. It took me back to my younger years when my sister and I would just explore the streets and the woods in front of our house until the street lights came on. This story is set before my time, but the nostalgia is easy to claim for myself. The author did a wonderful job of bringing in the innocence of childhood and the harshness of an alcoholic father and his effect on the children's lives. She also masterfully brought in the hypocrisy of some of the neighbors who claimed to be religious but did not walk the walk fully. 

I fell in love with Shawn almost immediately. His voice is so rich and full, even though he is dirt poor. His excitement for a free Saturday, his love for his family, and his awareness of those around him make it easy to fall in love with him. And his brother Willie's carefree enthusiasm is endearing! If you love stories that allow you to just lose yourself in the scene, then you will have to read this one! :-)

Memoir of a Mad Woman

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

This book was both deeply disturbing and fantastic! This is not a story for young children or even young adults. The violence is quite graphic, hence the disturbing comment. And yet, the author's way of keeping you in the main character's mind is riveting! I loved how simplistic Emma's mind was. To not understand what is happening to her body because no one ever took the time to truly explain it to her is just sad. It is not a far stretch to imagine that events such as those described in this story take place in some orphanages, and it breaks my heart to think of the abuse that they endure. 

The author did a phenomenal job of letting the reader into Emma's persona. I felt sorry for Emma throughout the whole book, even to the very end. I also felt sorry for her best friend. She, too, was a victim, although in Emma's head, she was the epitome of everything that had gone wrong in Emma's life. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy horror. It will leave you thinking about its content long after you finish reading it. :-)

Hexed: A Purr-fect Catastrophe

by Wendy Jayne

I'm a big fan of this author's stories, and this one was no exception. This short story had so much fun in it - Cassidy's futile attempt to avoid Hunter's advances, her cat's annoyance with her, her inability to control her changes, etc. I only wish that it had been longer. I wanted there to be more of a journey for Cassidy to find the solution to her hex, and I definitely didn't want her to forgive the culprit so easily. That being said, the story is a great, quick read for anyone who enjoys magical, lighthearted stories. :-)

Ace Carroway Around the World

by Guy Worthey

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I had bought it when it was on sale. I didn't realize at the time that it was book 2 of a series. In fact, I didn't realize that until I was halfway through the story. The story starts with a crime, so I just figured that was just the introduction to the story. The author does give the reader Ace's history later on, but I'm not sure if that is what book one was about.

I don't usually read books set in the past, but I found myself really enjoying this one. I kept hearing that raspy detective voice saying, "Just the fact, ma'am." Lol! The characters were fantastic, and the author kept the pace of the story just perfect. My only complaint was that it was too short, and I tend to prefer much longer stories, especially when I've immersed myself in the story. Plus, it ends in a cliff-hanger (which I love!). I guess I'll just have to go get the next book to see what happens to Ace next. :-)

The Choice: the unexpected heroes
by Gwen Plano

The Choice is book two in a series that focuses on the good guys trying to prevent the bad guys from destroying our lives. The bad guys, who continue to escape capture, are trying to create a one-government world with them holding all the power. The good guys are doing their best to prevent this from happening, but it's pretty hard to stop an unidentifiable suspect. Except for the book being in present tense, this book was fantastic! I loved the first book (The Contract), and this one just kept intensifying the plot. I can't wait for the next book to come out! :-)

Watch "RWISA" Write, Anthology, Vol. 1 (No Longer in Print)
by various RWISA authors

I loved this collection of great works from RWISA (Rave Writers International Society of Authors)! From poetry to fantasy to history to drama and beyond, there is something here for everyone. Every single piece was enjoyable. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys well-crafted stories/poetry and perfectly polished writing.

by Eichin Chang-Lim

I really enjoyed this story. You can't help but feel for both Violet and Dylan. Lack of communication really put these two on horrible paths that led to tragedy and suffering and heart-ache. The author did a wonderful job of creating realistic characters who struggle through their journeys. It touches upon some strong topics, so I'd probably not recommend it for children or teens.

You Can't Force Love
by Marie Drake

This is not my typical read. I like fantasy, and this book was too close to a horrid reality of some kids. The story follows two teens who have grown up in horrific circumstances. Jordan doesn't know how to love gently and never had anyone to speak to about his abusive tendencies. He hurts people, but then he tries to learn from it and become a better person. Unfortunately, he doesn't get the help he needs and he isn't strong enough to control his inner desires.  Kimberly was forced into the arms of a child molester when her mother abandoned her for drugs. When she is finally rescued, she's so traumatized that she spirals down a self-depreciating path of loneliness and manipulation.

Their stories are heart-wrenching, but the author did a great job in telling them.  There were a few parts that were difficult for me to get into, but I think they were designed to be detached of emotion, so I can understand that. This story is not for the young or the weak-hearted, but it is a great story!

by Beem Weeks

This book was a great collection of short stories. Normally, I don't like short stories because they end too quickly, but the author brings great closure to each one, leaving me feeling satisfied. The author has a solid skill of creating unique voices for his characters which also made the reading more enjoyable. If you enjoy short stories, you will want to read this book! :-)

by Rhani D'Chae

I really enjoyed this book. The story follows an unlikely friendship that becomes a lifeline for each of the characters. The author does a wonderful job in creating snippets of the characters' lives while slowly letting you fall in love with their friendship and each of them.  It is no secret that Shy dies (it's in the book blurb), but it still tore me apart when I read it. And even knowing that she dies, you realize that the story isn't about her death but about the fact that she chose to LIVE. This is such a heartfelt story, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about friendships and unconditional love.

by Joy Nwoso Lo-Bamijoko

This story was very intriguing. The author duped me at the beginning. I believed the characters had simply been pulled into another dimension and were on a journey to find their way home.  I know the book blurb should have clued me in to the fact that the characters were indeed dead, but I had read the blurb months before I got around to reading the story, so I had forgotten. Lol! The author did a wonderful job of leading the characters on a journey to discovering their own deaths and the afterlife.

I did, however, get a little lost at some points. I felt that some parts of the journey were repetitive at times. And the last part of the story threw me off a bit.  Still, I loved Osondu and his mother's journey. I felt for Auntie and her need to wait for her opportunity since she had missed her window.  And I loved the message of the book. :-) I'd probably have given the book 3.5 stars, but since there are only whole numbers, I gave it 4 stars. It was written well enough and the story was complex enough to deserve more than 3 stars. :-)

by D.L. Finn

I really enjoyed this story. It focuses on how abuse affects so many people differently, but it puts a paranormal twist on the story by allowing the deceased abuser an opportunity to redeem himself.  Each character was solid and believable, even the antagonists. There were times when I wanted to reach into the pages and force the main character to listen to her daughter, but since I couldn't, I just gritted my teeth and waited for her to come to her senses. lol!

When I first started reading this book, I didn't realize that it would be a part of a series. I'm glad that the author chose to make a series out of it because I love the angels and how they are helping the humans come to peace with their lives. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. :-)

by A.M. Manay

I was given an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I am a huge fan of A.M. Manay's books, and this one did not disappoint. It picks up right where Hexborn left off, and I was immediately right back into Shiloh and Silas' world! In Hexborn, I grew to love Silas, even though his character had done atrocious things.  In Unclean, Silas' past catches up to him, and although he deserves what's coming to him, it breaks my heart to see him suffer. Lol! The author did such a wonderful job staying true to his character, even with everything he went through.

And Shiloh... That girl never gets a break! Lol! My heart hurt for her and everything she was put through. And just when she believes she can start trusting people once more, the betrayals start all over again. When she finally feels as if she can let her guard down and live her life the way she wants to, she's forced into a role she never wanted.

And then, there are their enemies and the depths to which they will go to make sure that they have the upper hand! They are conniving and evil and brilliant in their plans.  The magical element in this book is fantastic, but I also love that not everything can be solved through magic.

If you enjoyed Hexborn, this novel will leave you begging for more! I can't get enough of her multi-dimensional characters and their magical world! :-)


by Dan Brown

I am a huge fan of Dan Brown. I have read all of his books and have loved every single one of them. This book did not disappoint. The author's style makes me want to just keep flipping one more page because I need to know what is going to happen next.  I loved each side story, but my two favorite were the lessons learned from the bishop and the king as well as the revelation of the cautions we must have with the Winstons of the future.  I hope there are more Robert Langdon stories coming because each one is fantastic! 

The Contract
by Gwen M. Plano and John W. Howell

What isn't to love about this story! I loved the idea that two angels were willing to sacrifice their time in heaven to help those on Earth. I loved their faith in love and their belief that they would somehow find one another again, even though they wouldn't know who the other was.  I loved how the authors wrote each scene to allow me to feel as if I were a part of what was happening.  They did a great job of keeping me guessing in regard to who the bad guy(s) really were.  I even loved the ending, even though I had wished for a miracle. Lol! This was a great read, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good-triumphing-evil kind of story. :-)

by Nia Markos

This book was fantastic! It took me a couple of chapters to get into it, but it kept my attention after that.  I really enjoyed the characters and each of their internal struggles.  The author did a wonderful job of weaving the story so that the reader doesn't really know who to trust.  I'm really good at predicting endings, and I'm even questioning certain characters. Lol!

This is very much a journey-style book, where the main character must go on a journey to discover her powers while also trying to stay alive.  Oh, and she's torn between two hot brothers for most of the book.  Some of those scenes bothered me, but it didn't deter me from enjoying the story line. The book ends in a cliff-hanger, which is something that I love! I'm looking forward to reading book 2! :-)

by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

As a huge fan of Harry Potter, I was so happy to dive back into his world, even if in the form of a play. Both my 11-year old son and I read this book, and we both loved it! The authors did a fantastic job in giving each character his/her distinct personality even though it's almost all through dialogue.

The plot was fantastic! I loved the alternate realities that were caused by messing with the past. I loved how the focus was on the next generation, but our favorite characters from the HP series were still very much involved.  As always with the HP series, the book kept you guessing until the antagonist was revealed, and the action kept going until the end.

I would love to see this on the stage or the big screen.  Hopefully, I'll get the opportunity one day. :-)

by Eileen Thornton

I'm not a big romance reader, but this one seemed fun, so I took a chance on it. I wasn't disappointed. It's about four divorced female friends who decide to create a dating web site for divorcees.  Each one is on her own journey to find her perfect man while also creating love links for others.  Each character had her own personality, and I felt that the author did a great job in making each one feel as if she had her own journey.

The plot was simple and easy to follow.  They had little obstacles in running the business, especially when each of them found love interests.  There were many conflicts outside of that.  I kept expecting some trouble from each of their past husbands, but except for a short encounter here or there, they really were nonissues.  Maybe I'm just used to books with BIG conflicts, but this one just seemed as if it really didn't have much conflict.

There was a lot of switching of points of view in this novel.  Usually, that annoys me, but I was able to catch on with each switch (most of the time). Still, it would have been a bit smoother had the author separated the scenes by perspective.  That being said, I did enjoy learning the thoughts and emotions of each character.  One last thing, it's set in England and uses British words. It didn't take away from the story from me, but it does take a bit of getting used to if you only read American novels.

All in all, if you are looking for a light romance to read, this one might just be enjoyable for you! :-)

by Maretha Botha

Friends is the second book of the Fauna Park Tales. I enjoyed the first book, and this book was just as great.  I love how the story is told from the point of view of the animals.  The story focuses on several of the animals, and all of the animals have their own personalities.  In book one, you fall in love with Flame, the dog, and Hope, the eagle owl.  This story is told from Hope's point of view. It focuses on his past life and how he came to live with Flame, all while Flame is trying to recover from an injury.

I love how this author writes this in such a way that children can enjoy the books on their own.

 Adults can also get just as caught up in the story.  The author also creates Humanlang, which is what the animals hear when humans speak.  She also uses Faunalang, the language of the farm, and other local words from that area, and she includes a little glossary in the footnotes, which is a great way to help kids learn how to find vital information in the footnotes of books. :-)

This is a great book (and series) for young and not-so-young! I definitely recommend it. :-)

Guardian of the Deep (Wytchfae, #2)

by Flossie Benton Rogers

I really enjoyed this story! Although it's a short story, I was able to quickly emerge myself into Layla and Samael's worlds.  Every now and then, I enjoy reading an adult/erotica book, and this one fits that description. It's not too graphic, but it is sexual in nature.  

I loved how I could easily feel how much Layla was into Samael and how worried she was about being taken away from him. Because she is a Succubus, she is supposed to seduce and move on, except she is so enthralled with Samael that she is willing to abandon her calling for him.  Lucky for her, Samael is just as much into her.  Well, he is until a curse is put upon him by someone who is determined to keep Layla for himself.  I loved the author's ability to completely change Samael's personality before/after the curse.  And I loved how Layla struggled with the situation.

The settings were also fantastic. Samael's underwater world seemed so inviting; I would love to vacation there! And the western world was fantastic. I am not a fan of western fiction. To be honest, I can't think of a single book I've read that had a western theme.  I enjoyed Sam, the cowboy. Lol! 

My only complaint with this book was that it was WAY too short for me.  If I could, I'd give the book 4.5 stars because of it. But that's just me; I'm not a fan of short stories.  I wanted more details in both worlds. I wanted more actions and more descriptions.  I felt that things moved too quickly instead of being drawn out.  Again, that is just my personal taste.  The story was complete and very enjoyable the way it was written. I simply wanted more of all of it. :-)

by A.M. Manay

I was given the opportunity to receive an ARC of this book, and since I loved this author's other series, I took full advantage to read this book. I was not disappointed.  This author is brilliant in her story-telling ways and in her ability to create such incredible characters.  Except for the first chapter, every chapter beings with a flashback from either Shiloh or Silas, her two main characters.  The flashbacks help you to understand why the character behaves a certain way or why he/she does certain things.

These characters are not wholly good or evil.  Well, maybe Shiloh is (for now). Still, I couldn't help but come to care for each of the characters, even the ones who deserved zero sympathy and earn his/her fate seven times over.  The characters are so well created that I immersed myself into each of his/her circumstances.

The plot of this story is incredible! You've got a girl who is considered "unclean," who should have died as a child, and yet she does everything in her power (and she has a LOT of power) to help those who look down on her. You've got a man who tortures people and kills them as part of his job, and yet he can't help but protect the girl. You have a king who is self-centered and ruthless in his selfishness, and yet as vile as he can be, he also has a soft side to him.  And then, there are a whole bunch of other characters who have their own motives for either wanting the kingdom to survive or working to have it destroyed.

There were certainly twists in this story that I did not see coming and others that left me with my jaw dropped, and that is not an easy thing to do since I find most stories entertaining but predictable.  I cannot wait for the next book in this series to be released because this one left me craving more!

Mind-Shaft: Paranormal Anthology

by S. Burke

This book is a collection of short stories, which I am not really a fan of. I took a chance on it because I've heard great things about this author.  I wasn't disappointed.

My favorite stories were the last two because they were longer.  Each story has unique characters who have their own version of horror to share.  It's not the blood splattering horror but more like the fear-gripping, mind-haunting kind of stuff.  Luckily for me, I love  mind game stories.  I don't want to give away any of the stories because that would ruin the fun of reading them.  Suffice it to say, if you enjoy reading short stories and you enjoy haunting stories or stories with a little bit of paranormal flair, then you should read this book. :-)


by W.J. Scott

I absolutely LOVED this story! I've read other books by this author, but this one was my favorite.  I honestly didn't want to put it down and found myself looking for opportunities to keep reading it. The plot of this story keeps a great pace. There wasn't a dull moment throughout the entire book.  The basis of the plot is that the silver tails must protect their area and their kind from humans who are hunting them for their magical tails.

The author does a wonderful job in creating dynamic characters.  I immediately was able to connect to them and their plights.  I love how she showed both goodness and evil in the human characters.  I also loved the main character's struggles and insecurities and how he had to make tough decisions along his journey, not knowing whether he was making the right decisions.  I love the lessons that are taught through this story, lessons that are relevant and much needed today.

I would definitely recommend this book to young and old alike.  I cannot wait to read the next book in this series! :-)

Letting Go Into Perfect Love

by Gwendolyn M. Plano

This is NOT my kind of read. I try to stay away from realistic stories, especially stories that are emotionally charged, but I won this book through a contest, and the reviews were great, so I decided to take a chance on it.  This might not make sense, but I felt like the voice of the author had a kind of zen-like tone to it. I say that it might not make sense because the author describes the horrible abuse that she and her children endured for years.  But the story is told in such a beautiful way that I felt that the author has truly found peace at this stage in her journey.

In the past, I never understood how any woman could stay with a man who abused her.  I was raised that if a man ever raised a hand at me, it would be the last time he saw me.  But reading this book and seeing things from the author's perspective helped to broaden my understanding of how circumstances are not that clear cut, especially back in the 80s and 90s, when people did not open speak about abuse.  

I applaud the author for having the courage to share her story.  It is obvious that is book is a work of the heart, and it could not have been easy for the author to relive (and analyze) each aspect of the memories that she shared.  I think we've all made mistakes in relationships, and it's important to reflect upon those lessons, learn from them, and then let go and love yourself through them. This book is a great example of that!

The Fall of Lilith

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

I really enjoyed this book. I love when stories put a spin on biblical/historical stories, and this one definitely kept me entertained. Lilith is a deceptive little thing, and I loved reading about her journey, though I will admit that Gadreel held most of my affection throughout the book (which would probably really anger!). 

The author does an incredible job in character building. Each and every one of her characters is unique and has a voice of his/her own.  The author writes in third person omniscient, and many might even call it head-hopping because she shares the thoughts and feelings of each character, but she does a brilliant job of making it clear whose point of view is being used.  I enjoyed being able to experience each character's emotions and reactions in the moment.

The book is also very descriptive, and the author did a great job of world-building.  The areas of paradise were written in such a way that I just wanted to lose myself in them, whereas the areas of danger were written so that the reader could truly feel the angst of the characters.

The story line is fantastic! I loved how deceptive and despicable Lilith was, how vain (and stupid) Lucifer was, and how many angels fell into the webs that they wove. I loved their individual punishments and how they reacted to them.  My heart broke for Gadreel and then hardened against her and then softened again.  

Because I know that a book two is coming, I'm looking forward to reading more about Gadreel and Dragon, and I cannot wait for Lucifer and Dracul to learn about Lilith's newest deception!

Terra's Call (Tetrasphere Book 1)

by PTL Perrin

I enjoyed reading this book. I love the idea of aliens genetically modifying a few human beings to give them powers that will make them "extra." And those aliens, the Allarans, are the good guys! Lol! Then, you have the Dracans, who are also aliens, who have come to Earth to steal the very artifact that the four chosen GMH (genetically modified humans) must protect and fix. If they fail, Earth will be destroyed. That's a lot of pressure to put on teens who barely even understand the powers that they've been given.

The author does a great job of allowing you to understand what each of the four teens is experiencing by changing points of view every few chapters.  From the moment the book begins, there is a sense of urgency, and that feeling stayed with me for the entire read.  The book ended with a cliffhanger, which I love, and I look forward to reading the next one! :-)

Captured Lies

by Maggie Thom

This was such a great read! At the very beginning, there were a couple of times that I wasn't sure which character I was reading about, but it was just the author's way of introducing a new character. Within just a few sentences, I knew that it was a new character with a completely different personality, and it was all good.  Once the characters were introduced through their own scenes, everything was easy to follow, and I loved it. The author did a fantastic job of giving each character his/her own feel and voice.

The tempo was tense from the getgo all the way to the very end.  Bailey and Guy were being chased and threatened and fighting for their lives, and there was never a dull moment.  Woven into all of that was a mystery that needed solving, and the author did a great job of slowing feeding the reader information without giving it all away until the very end.  This book ends with closure to the plot (and it was an exciting and nail-biting closure), but I'm happy to see that it's part of a series.  I look forward to reading the next book, which focuses on other characters from this book. :-)

by Mark Williams

I really enjoyed this book. Mindfulness has become a huge goal of mine this past year because I deal with anxiety and have found that it helps calm my mind.  This book was a great tool toward obtaining mindfulness.  The chapters are easy to read, and the author helps the reader through understanding the methodology as well as the purpose behind each week's lessons.  The most invaluable part for me were the audio-clips of the meditations. They were soothing and perfect for helping me let go and be present in the moment. I would definitely recommend this book to others! :-)

The Healer and the Warrior

by Bekah Clark

I really enjoyed this story. It's been sitting on my Kindle for way too long, and I am so happy that I finally made time to read it.  The author did a magnificent job of allowing me to feel as if I were a part of Zianya, and Torric's protectiveness and love was almost palpable.  

There were a couple of parts that felt a tad slow, but just when I would begin to feel that it was beginning to drag, the author would rev up the action again.  This story is about a warrior who kidnaps a healer to take her back to his king so that she may heal him.  In the process, they fall in love with each other.  The author did a great job in making me feel as if something was going to happen to ruin the ending, but I was happy with how things were wrapped up. :-)


by K.J. Waters

This one was hard to rate for me because it is such a short story.  I read the author's first book, Stealing Time, and I thought this short story was going to be about those characters.  I don't recall any of these characters in the first book, but maybe my memory is failing me.  So, that was a little disappointing for me.  The author warns us at the beginning that since it is a short story, her flashbacks would be very short. As expected, I wanted more details. It's not the author's fault; I just love long novels. lol!

So, taking into account that I wanted more than what the author offered, I decided to not judge the book by my unreasonable desires. Therefore, I decided to give it four stars.  The writing is fantastic! The author really pulls you into the moment and holds you there (with your heart in your throat) for the duration of the story.  As someone who has lived through several hurricanes (and has feared living through the horrific events that happened in this story), I was completely gripped by the scene.  I felt like the ending was too abrupt and a little too convenient, but it was still a great enough short story to be worth the read!

The Neon Houses

by Linda Mims

This book combined two of my favorite genres: dystopian and paranormal. The main character, Noel, is a neon, a woman who has a special ability to connect with others and can sense the past, present, and future.  She struggles with her "gift" and avoids using it or accepting it, but as the story progresses, she realizes that she must embrace who she is to solve the crime and to protect others.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters are well-written. I loved how the author made it so that not all was as it seemed.  Her characters were multi-dimensional, and she threw enough twists in the story line to keep you doubting your analysis of whether a character was good or bad. 

I also enjoyed the futuristic elements of the story: flying cars, droids serving humans, etc.  I love her twist on the chips within the characters' brains.  The stark contrast between the two communities is fantastic and can easily be compared to many societies in our current times.

As this is the first book in a series, I have no doubt that Noel's troubles are far from over. I'm looking forward to reading the next book! :-)

A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching

by John Fioravanti

As a middle school teacher, I was able to relate to every stage of this memoir.  I understand the anxiety and fear that we inflict upon ourselves, the dread we have that we are not good enough.  I understand the need to be the "perfect teacher" only to learn that students do not need a perfect teacher; they need someone they can relate to.  Teaching is such an exhausting profession, but it also immensely rewarding. Like this author, I have been schooled many times by my students, but each and every one of those moments made me a better human being.  It's hard for someone outside of the teaching profession to truly understand the intricate dynamics that encompass every facet of a teacher's job, but this author did a wonderful job in sharing what truly happens in a teacher's career. Teaching is absolutely a career of heart.  I believe all teachers (and parents) would benefit from reading this book. :-)

Finding Katie

by Harmony Kent

Wow! This book captivated me from page one.  It's about a 17-year old with a traumatic past who has no healthy way of dealing with it.  From page one, you become immersed in her voice and her anger and despair and self-depreciating personality.  You feel her apathy as well as her fight against the world.  This book is SO powerful!

I found this book to be quite realistic as to how a person who has found themselves in Kate's situation might feel and react. The emotions and inner voice are raw and real.  I couldn't help but feel for Kate, and I loved Mel's persistence and the strategies she used to get Kate to open up. 

This book is not for everyone, though it's one of those books that I want to recommend to the whole world!  That I'm aware of, it's not a true story, but there are SO many children who experience these issues.  As a society, we are so quick to blame the child for misbehavior or for behaviors that do not fit into the norm.  We don't want to dig too deep for fear that we will become dragged into a deeper issue, but these children need someone who cares enough to dig deep enough. Teachers, psychologists, and nurses are usually the ones who try, but sometimes the system works in favor of the adults. I hope this book sheds some light on the need for adults to reach out to children and teens who are struggling so that kids can get the help they need with their first cry for help.

Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens

by Karen Ingalls

What a beautiful recreation of a tragic love story! There are many parts of this that are fictional because the real participants are no longer here to share their story, but the love affair truly existed and the lineage that resulted from that affair still lives. I want to believe that the love affair happened as written in this book because it shows a devotion to love that isn't seen often in our world anymore.  

The book wasn't unrealistically romantic, but it held a true and deep love between Davida and August. It also held the harsh reality of those times.  It was real in the sense that Gus loved both Gussie and Davida, just differently.  It is sad that society will shame people who do not fit into their mold.  I felt for Novy. I can only imagine how much he struggled with his parent's affair as he grew up.

I don't usually read memoirs, even fictional ones, but I found myself fascinated with the purity of the characters and the way their affair was embedded in so much historical events. And I am not one who enjoys history, so that is saying a lot! lol! 

Winter Solstice

by Lincoln Cole and many other authors

This was a nice collection of short stories. When I first started reading it, I was expecting a bunch of mushy, Christmas stories, but I was pleasantly surprised to find stories that fell into the sarcastic, cryptic, and creepy categories as well. In fact, the book is broken into sections. I especially enjoyed the Sci-Fi, Fantasy, & Horror section. The fun part about this book is that it had many different authors, so you were able to sample writing styles from multiple people.  Then, at the end of each short story, they included a bio on the author and information on one of their books. This is a great book to pick up for this upcoming holiday season! :-)

Lodestone: Witch Hunt

by Wendy Scott

I really enjoyed this book. Although it states that it's part of a series, it can be read as a standalone as well.  The problem of this book is solved at the end, although the author hints at the problems to come in the rest of the series.

The main characters were well-developed, though I would have wanted more scenes with Micah. Lauren's story being told in first person was a treat because it made it real easy to understand her emotions and state of mind.  I love the side-forbidden love story of Deakon and Miss Florisah and how it parallels Sabrina and Micah.

I also really enjoyed the plot and how good intentions don't always turn out well.  I love how the misjudgments that characters have on one another led to the wrong conclusions (and thus, poor decisions).  The scenes were well-described and kept me engaged the entire time I was reading.

It wasn't heavy into witchcraft, but it had enough paranormal to make me happy.  Anyone who enjoys reading stories where the characters are more than what they seem will enjoy this book! :-)

The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack II

by C.S. Boyack

This book is a collection of short stories. They focus on speculative fiction, paranormal, and sci-fi stories. I am not usually a short story kind of reader. I prefer reading a series (the longer, the better) because I love to lose myself in the characters and their imaginary lives.  That being said, this is a great collection of short stories. One of my biggest critiques of short stories is that I usually cannot connect with the characters, but that was not the case with this book.  The author has an incredible ability to infuse a strong personality into a character in just a few pages. I was stunned with how gripping some of the characterizations were, especially the characters who were on the far edges of normal. There were stories that left me speechless at the end, cringing to imagine how horrific it would be if they were true. There were other stories that left me wishing that there was just one more chapter so that I could read more about the characters. Of course, there was one or two stories that weren't my cup of tea, but that is to be expected in a collection of short stories. They weren't on topics that were interesting to me, but they were still very well-written stories. I didn't read the first collection of stories by this author, and even though I'm not a short-story reader, I would enjoy reading his first collection, especially if it's like this one. :-)

Kidnapped in Key West

by Edwina Raffa & Annelle-Rigsby

This is a story that my son was assigned to read for his summer vacation, so I decided to read it as well.  My son is ten years old, and he read it with ease.  I really enjoyed it. The whole story is told from Eddie's point of view, and the authors did a wonderful job of allowing the reader to feel what the character was experiencing.  Although I am not a history buff, I enjoyed how the authors made the entire adventure take place around a real event in history.  Because I live in Florida and have visited the Keys many times, I think I enjoyed the book even more.  Still, anyone who has never been to the Keys would easily be able to enjoy the scenes described in the book.  Plus, the authors have a "Historical Notes" section in the back to help the reader better understand terminology, locations, and historical events.  My son became emotional at a certain part (no spoilers from me) which just goes to show how well the authors created the scenes.  This is a quick-paced adventure filled with dangerous moments for the main character while also showing both the good and bad sides of humans.  Luckily, the good side prevails. :-)

Pearseus: Rise of the Prince

by Nicholas C. Rossis

This is one of those books that I would probably give 3.5 stars, but it leans closer to four stars. There were aspects of this story that I really liked. The author did an amazing job in created richly developed characters.  There was great depth to many of them, and once I got a hold of the various characters, I easily connected with almost all of them.  I felt their angst and understood their fears/doubts. I rooted for some and cheered with the demise of others.

I also enjoyed certain scenes a great deal.  The scenes with the Old Woman and Tie were some of my favorite because of the lessons given. The scenes between Parad and Gella were fantastic as well.  The author does a wonderful job of describing the moment so that the reader can truly feel a part of it.

I thought the plot was fantastic.  I am a fan of twists and turns, so I love the spin on the black-and-white not being so black-and-white.  I loved the idea of newcomers to a planet trying to make it their own and having to fight those who are already there.  I enjoyed being able to see things from different points of view.

With all of that being said, there were things that drew me away from the story as well...

With as much as I loved the characters and the author's ability to write rich characters, there were too many in too short a time frame.  The author did a great job in separating the chapters so that each chapter was from a different character's perspective and from a different location, but it took me forever to get a grasp on which character belonged where and why.  I had the hardest time with Teo because that man bounced around everywhere. lol!

There were certain scenes in which I had to slow down or reread because there was just so much information given.  In some scenes, major plot twists happened with no warning (which is perfectly fine), but there were just too many one right after the other, especially at the end of the novel. I know that this book is part of a sequel, and I LOVE cliffhangers, but it didn't feel like a cliffhanger.  It felt more like whiplash. Lol!

Still, if you like fantasy and dystopian novels merged into one, you would probably like this book.  I'm not happy about certain characters being killed, but I am sure there is a purpose for it.  There always is, right? ;-)

Slices of Soul

by Harmony Kent

It takes an extremely talented author to embed a ravine of emotion in three lines of words, and Harmony Kent has mastered that skill.  I don't read a lot of poetry because I prefer to immerse myself in fantasies; poetry takes thought and an acceptance to be vulnerable to the emotions that bubble up from the depths of both the writer and the reader.  I learned a lot about this author from these pages.  Her life journey has been both heart-wrenching and inspirational, and she shares snippets of her life moments through these poems.  Water is a recurring theme, and that resonates well with me, which may be one of the many reasons I enjoyed her writing.  There is peace, anger, helplessness, acceptance, frustration, and love.  It's hard for me to rate a book of poems because I don't spend a lot of time reading poetry, but I feel comfortable rating this book 5 stars because of the way the author was able to make me feel so much through her words.

She Marches Through Fire

by A.M. Manay

I could not put this book down! It had been a while since I had read book two of this series, but the minute I started reading. all of the characters' voices flooded my mind again.  I absolutely loved this book! There was not a single dull moment.

Oh, how I love to hate to love Luca! lol! The author truly brought justice to this character, and I am thrilled with how justice was served.  He is such a dynamic character with so many rivets to his personality, but the core of him is solid, and very few bothered to reach that core.  Raina and November did, and through them, we were able to better understand him.

November...oh, how I both hated and loved her journey and fate.  I don't like to giveaway spoilers, so I will control how I describe things.  The author did a marvelous job in showing the growth of this character through the three books.  In this book, November has accepted her fate and runs toward it as fast as her poisoned body will allow her to.  At the same time, she struggles with her emotions - what they mean, how to face them, and whether to accept or reject them. I absolutely loved how the author handled this character.  And as much as I hated the "almost ending," I also could not imagine it having ended any other way.  It was the only logical solution and had to be done, but it still hurt like hell.

Ilyn... I always hated him in the other books, but his ghost and past life redeemed him just a little bit for me. Lol! Those scenes were so tender and brought both peace and angst to November.  The author was brilliant in the "jump" that was made (not giving it away). That was not expected and added so much depth to the story line.

I hope that this is not the end of November Snow.  I hope there are more adventures coming, but if it is the end of the series, it was an AMAZING series, and I am already telling others to read it! :-)

Before Another Sunset

by Jason Zandri

This book contains a preview into three of Jason Zandri's books.  The first one is a little story that takes place before Another Sunset.  I actually really liked this little story.  It's not my normal kind of read.  It's set in a simple town with simple people, but I was left with the feeling that things aren't as simple as they appear to be.  Even though it was a short story, the characters were really well-developed, even the little girl.  After the short story came the first six chapters of Another Sunset.  I'll be honest and tell you that I did not read the six chapters because I hate starting a book and then having to reread those same chapters when I finally buy the book, but the chapters are there to help the reader get a better feel for the story (and to absolutely hook you, of course). ;-)

The second book was I Hero: The Beginning.  This book was more like what I love to read.  It's about a man who is that all-around good guy who loves to help others.  In helping one particular person, he finds that he is given superhero powers.  Again, this was just a short story to hook you, and it absolutely hooked me! The author provided the first six chapters of this book as well, but I am waiting until I read it.

The third book preview was for I Hero: Nathan Returns.  I didn't read this one because I was too afraid that there would be spoilers since it's the sequel to I Hero: The Beginning.  But for those of you interested, the author also provides six chapters of this book as well.

This is a GREAT way to preview this author's writing style.  I know that I cannot wait to read these novels, especially the I Hero books! :-)


by Wendy Scott

I want to give this book 3.5 stars, but that isn't an option.  Because the names are unfamiliar names to me, it took me a while to remember who was who.  There are many subplots in this book, and normally that doesn't bother me because I know that they will all collide at some point, but the unfamiliar names kept throwing me off.

That being said, it's a GREAT story.  It's set in the Egyptian times but it was more of a futuristic/past blend.  At least, that's how I read it.  The priests have obliterated the honoring of goddesses and women.  They also collect any women who have "other" skills and force them to fight to the death gladiator-style.  One girl, Kalli, escapes with the help of a group who believe that she will help rid their people of the priests' control.  

For most of this book, Kalli has no idea who or what she is.  In fact, she is downright clueless.  Lol! She has to endure one horrible event to only be thrown into another one and another.  She has silent helpers along the way, but for the most part, she feels alone and confused.

The subplots are rich in intrigue and torment.  Everyone is betraying everyone else, and there is no sense of it ending any time soon.  The brutality that some of characters dish out (and that other characters have to endure) is very strong (and sometimes difficult to imagine), and I am looking forward to seeing the multiple antagonists getting their comeuppance. 

So, even though this book took me a bit to get all of the names straight in my head, I got hooked and now want to find out what will happen to Kalli in book two. :-)

The Elixir

by Lori Soard

This was one of those books that I kept trying to find time to get back to reading because I wanted to know what was going to happen next.  The two main characters, Celeste and Jake, never seemed to catch a break.  First, Celeste's father was murdered.  Then, Jake was arrested as the killer.  After he's released on probation, Jake teamed up with Celeste to find her father's murderer, except they end up finding more and more dead bodies wherever they went. AND someone was out to kill them!

I usually can figure out the "who-done-it," but this one wasn't an easy one to figure out.  In fact, I still doubted it toward the end of the book.  I think there were just one too many names thrown into the equation at the very end, but that's just me.  The plot was brilliant and realistic, in my opinion.  The characters were well-developed, and I'm happy with the ending. :-) The suspense was great, though there were a few parts that moved a little too quickly (or maybe I was just reading too!). ;-)

If you like mystery and suspense, then you'll love this book. :-)


by Michelle Abbott

I really enjoyed reading this book! It's been on my TBR list forever, and I'm so happy that I finally got around to reading it. :-) The author did a great job changing points of views between Jem and Devon. Each character was very well developed, and I couldn't help but love all of them, including the side characters.  I LOVED Devon's neighbors! They were awesome! lol! The only thing that really bothered me was how Devon could end up with a guy like her ex, especially since she was so opposed to the abuse that Jem had received as a child.  Still, the story was great.  I couldn't help but feel bad for Jem, while at the same time face-palming every time he let his anger get the best of him. It frustrated me that he didn't just come out and tell Devon who he was, but I could understand his need for Devon to love him for who he had become.  Though both Devon and Jem had to deal with rough moments in their lives, I'm happy that the ending brought closure to both of them.

Stealing Time

by KJ Waters

I really enjoyed this book on so many different levels.  I live in Florida, so it was easy for me to relate to the descriptions of the hurricane.  Actually, this author is amazing in describing everything.  It was never overly done (you know, those stories where you are reading paragraphs of details without anything ever happening).  Everything was described in such a way that it sucked you into the scene and helped you to hear, smell, see, and taste it (and there were many times that you absolutely did NOT want to taste or smell!).

I do not like historical fiction.  I stay away from the stories that take place in past centuries, but this one was surprisingly refreshing.  The story line for Ronnie was so fixated on her situation that I could easily accept the historical fiction.  In fact, it was brilliantly embedded.  I can honestly say that I am SO happy that I was not born during that time.  I doubt I would have lasted as long as Ronnie. lol!

I loved the perspective of Steph, Ronnie's friend, as well.  The author does a great job of alternating perspectives at the right time to keep you in suspense and to tease you into not putting the book down.  It was great!  I also liked that Ronnie and Steph were strong characters.  They both dealt with fear and worry and panic, but they also had strong resolves, and I loved that.

When I first started reading this book, I did not know that it was part of a series, so as it got closer to the end, I was expecting the wrap up which didn't happen.  I was quite disappointed with the ending.  I love cliff-hanger endings, so it wasn't that.  In fact, it wasn't much of a cliff-hanger (no spoilers).  It just ended abruptly.  I could tell that the author was throwing in some hints, and they worked; I am curious about many things that were dropped at the end.  I just felt as if the ending felt rushed. :-/  I wouldn't let that deter anyone from reading the book, though. There is no doubt that book two will pick up right where book one left off, and if it's anything like book one, it will be a fantastic read! :-)

All for Love

by Kim Cox

This is a touching short story about a woman whose ex-boyfriend comes back into the picture to try to convince her that he is the right man for her even though she's moved on.  I'm not big into short stories because I always want MORE.  What I loved about this story is that it's not your typical good guy vs bad guy.  They both have flaws (although one of them is much more seriously flawed than the other).  I also loved that Carina, the main character, is a woman who can not only show weakness and emotions but can also show strength and resilience.  For those who enjoy short stories, this is definitely worth the read. 

Spirit of the Book

by DE Howard

This was a great young adult novel that shows the downfalls of temptation and the consequences of wanting what is not yours to have.  I loved the main character, Ellie, and the tough decisions that she had to make. I loved how her circumstances did not harden her against life.  I could say the same for Spirit.  He had so many reasons to become hardened and angry with the world and his circumstances, but he chose to focus on love and peace.  

I had a little bit of difficulty connecting with the characters, but I think that is more because I read this book on and off over several weeks; my life has just been very busy.  It was hard for me to invest myself emotionally in this book because of that.  After Ellie went through with a tough decision that she made (sorry, I don't give spoilers), I was able to read more consistently.  At the end, I was genuinely happy with the ending of the book and the promise that it held.  

All in all, I believe this is a great story for young adult readers.  There isn't any sexual content, and the life lessons are well-written in this book.  The book itself reads smoothly, and I don't recall finding any errors.  

Raven's Peak

by Lincoln Cole

I'm really glad that I voted for this book when it was going through the Kindle Scout process.  I was drawn into the story from the very beginning.  The first scene reminded me a little of Dan Brown, and I love Dan Brown's works.  This novel has a great story line that keeps you engaged and curious.  The scenes are vividly described, which I love because I need to see everything in my mind's eye.  

All of the characters are very well-developed.  Abigail, Haatim, and Arthur are so real on the pages.  I felt as if I was right there with them (though I'm really happy that I wasn't because I would have passed out over and over!).  

The plot twists were subtly interwoven into the story, and I love where the book ended.  I am definitely looking forward to reading book two! :-)

Into Autumn

by Larry Landgraf

This story is about all hell breaking loose after the stock market crashes and everyone going crazy.  I don't read apocalyptic stories, but this one kept my attention for the entire book.  I have to say that I really enjoyed learning more about living off the grid and how hard it is. lol! I hope the world never comes to this because I will be one of those who have no clue how to survive.

I really enjoyed the characters that the author created.  Each of them was unique in his/her personality and added to the story.  I especially loved that the characters struggled with some of their actions (I struggled with their actions as well).  I know that an author has done a good job when he/she can bring out an emotion from me, and I felt several emotions during this story: shock, disgust, anger, and sadness.

The story is not a fast read, and it's very detailed.  I like that because I really don't know much about any of the chores and tasks that these characters did, so it helped me to visualize and enjoy the scenes.  There are places that are repetitive and probably could have been minimized.  At the same time, their lifestyles were very simplistic and there was a lot of repetitiveness to their tasks.  You also got to see the characters grow closer through these tasks.  

I also had an issue with something that happens between two of the characters at the end (don't want to give anything away). I know it was a setup for the next book, but it just came out of nowhere, and I didn't feel like it fit the male character's personality.  I guess I will just have to wait to see what comes of it in book two.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I cannot begin to imagine having to live under the circumstances that these characters had to endure.  If you like survival or apocalyptic stories, then I think you will really enjoy this book.

No Fairy Tale: The Reality of a Girl Who Wasn't a Princess and Her Poetry

by D.L. Finn

This book was broken into three sections.  I'm going to start with the last section of this book. I LOVED the poetry! Maybe because a lot of it focused on the ocean or nature and I love those topics, I found the poetry beautiful and easy to appreciate.  I loved the imagery that the author used and the emotion/passion that she emits through her words. If this book had only been poetry, I would have given it five stars.

The first half of the book was difficult for me. I was excited about it because I loved the idea of a fairy tale that wasn't so fairy tale-ish.  The problem for me was that I couldn't lose myself in the story because it didn't read like a story (to me). I felt as it if was a retelling of a story instead of the story itself; there was more tell than show.  That being said, that is just my preference in styles.  

When the author finished her "story," she switched to first person, and I could really connect to that part of the book.  I finally felt that there was a voice, and I think that is what I felt was missing at the beginning.  This author has been through more trauma than anyone should have to experience in any lifetime, and I applaud her courage to share her story. I do believe it's a book worth reading, especially for the beautiful poetry at the end.

She Sees in Her Sleep

by A.M. Manay

Oh, how I loved diving back into November's world! This is a set of three short stories that add even more depth (as if there wasn't enough already!) to the lives of the vampires, faeries, and werewolves of November Snow's world.  I loved each story completely.  If you haven't read She Dies at the End and She Lights Up the Dark, I would definitely recommend reading those first.  It just makes these short stories even more powerful because you understand who the characters are better if you've read those novels first.  I can't wait for the next November Snow book! Great series! :-)

Eclipse Lake

by Mae Clair

I absolutely loved this book! This author really knows how to make you feel the emotions of each character. And her suspense! She knows how to SHOW the scene instead of explain the scenes, and because I want to lose myself in the story, authors who write like this grab me hook, line, and sinker.

Her characters are very realistic and stay true to their personalities throughout the whole book.  The plot masterfully weaves several characters from different backgrounds together and embeds them all in the outcome of this story.  I didn't see the climax coming, and that, in and of itself, proves to me just how well this was written because I'm quite good at figuring out the plot of stories.

I do believe I just found another favorite author. I will be looking into everything she writes.

The Heart's Journey Home

by Natalie Ducey

I don't read a lot of poetry, not because I don't like it but because it requires reflection and deep thought.  Usually, I just like to lose myself in a story; I don't want to think too much.  That being said, these poems are great.  There is a great sense of loss in many of them, and the pain oozes out of the pages.  But there is also a sense of hope and survival as well.  There are poems that we can all related to and others that we hope never to experience, though time will most likely make our paths cross with those topics eventually.  If you've never read a book of poems before, this is a great one to start with.  And if you are a lover of poems, this one will sit nicely with your collection. :-)

Souls: A Novel

by Jennifer Hinsman

I enjoyed this mystery/romance novel.  If I could give half stars, I'd give this 3.5.  The characters were so likable, and the author did a great job of keeping the "bad guy" concealed until she was ready to expose him. I loved how the main character, Ann, had such a connection with her sister that she was able to have "visits" from her. The story line was great: Ann loses twin sister and parents around the same time, twin sister was murdered, and Ann sets out to find her murderer.

Ann's character was very well-written, and I loved her relationship with her dog. Ed was the best, though I will admit I was suspicious of him throughout the whole novel. Lol! Tyler was just perfect, and his mother's reaction to the situation was fantastic!

The only thing that kept me from giving it a four-star or a five-star review was the fact that the book needs to go through one more editing. Maybe it already has, and I just got an early edition of it.  There were punctuation marks missing and a few omitted words.  It didn't deter me from reading the story because I really enjoyed the story line and the characters, but at times, it slowed me down. That being said, I definitely think it's a story worth enjoying! :-)

Novy's Son: The Selfish Genius

by Karen Ingalls

This is definitely NOT my typical read. I tend to read fantasy/paranormal, but I've been trying new genres, and I'm glad that I read this one.  This novel is a fictional story about the real life of the author's father. The entire time that I was reading it I kept thinking that Murray had to have sat with the author and shared his story or maybe he had recorded it down somehow.  That was how real and personal it felt.  It was written so magnificently well that I felt that the main character and I were sitting down and drinking (me with tea and him with alcohol).

I went through so many different emotions toward the main character.  At first, I felt sorry for him.  Growing up in the '20s was rough, and he always seemed left out of his real family. Luckily, he had an aunt and uncle who loved him and knew how to express it; it just wasn't enough for him.  My heart ached each time that he lost someone he loved.

But then, I felt myself hardening my heart toward him.  He made bad choice after bad choice after bad choice.  I found myself angry with his parents for enabling him so much.  And above all, I felt sorry for his children.  Sadly, there were too many families in very similar situations during those times. 

I can only imagine how difficult it was for the author to share this story, and I commend her for doing so.  The raw emotions are felt throughout the novel.  The "if only's" are whispered between the pages.  The harsh realities of life that are shared in this story would make any reader pause and examine his/her own life and evaluate it.  

I would say that this was not an easy read.  The words are simple enough, but the topics explored require the reader to face some difficult truths that surround us.  Still, I would definitely recommend this to others. :-)

Paper in the Wind

by Olivia Mason-Charles

This story made me cry.  It was both heart-wrenching and heart-warming.  What I loved about the story is that it was a father's point of view.  It was raw and emotional, and it had a conversational feel to it.  I also loved that it did not paint the mother as a horrible person.  Her actions were horrific, but the author showed that not all people are capable of handling situations the way others would. It showed the realities of autism for many parents, but it also showed the strides of success that can be reached.

I wish this story had been longer.  It ended too quickly for me.  As I said, it was as if the father was sitting with me and sharing his story.  I definitely became immersed in the story (to the point of crying several times), but I feel like the author could really turn this into a full-length novel.  I would have loved to see a few scenes from the daughter's perspective or maybe have read more of the conversations that took place between the dads.  I would have enjoyed more details in the scenes where Jonathan and Alexa interact.  The story is beautiful, and I just wanted to be thrown deeper into their world.

Every reader should read this.  It's a book that starts with tragedy but ends with compassion and love through perseverance and acceptance. :-)

Milele Safari: An Eternal Journey

by Jan Hawke

I don't know that I've ever read a book quite like this, and I probably would not have picked it up had it not been recommended to me. I saw the book trailer for it which intrigued me even more.  As I have many young readers who read my reviews, I want to mention that this book is for a mature audience.  What I mean by that is that the topics are heavy and traumatic at times.  It is not a book that I could read quickly or with distractions.

The story follows several different characters, although all of them in some way tie into the main character, Sophie.  Each character is so beautifully unique in his/her dreams, desires, and traumas.  The author does such a brilliant job in sharing the various stories through the characters' perspectives.  There are parts that even take on the viewpoint of a couple of the predators (animals).  

I can't really pick any one character as most riveting.  This was a heart-wrenching read for me at times because my heart broke for the amount of loss that took place.  David's characters floored me.  To see his story and to know that so many "Davids" exist saddens me.  I have a newfound respect for UN workers and those who volunteer in war torn countries.  They have an unending capacity for empathy and love. Wow.

With all of the heaviness, there is also light and beauty.  The descriptions of Africa were stunning.  I am a magnet for mosquitoes, so I'm not sure if I will ever go there, but after reading this book, I definitely would love to see it firsthand.  

This book is beautifully written and has a story definitely worth reading.  Just be prepared for a roller coaster ride of awe and wonder on the highs and heartache and sadness on the lows.  But when the ride is over, you will know that it was worth it all. :-)

The Untethered Soul

by Micheal A. Singer

I cannot say enough good things about this book.  It was recommended to me years ago by a couple of people, but I put off reading it.  I was in a very negative place in my head back then, and I don't know if I would have been as receptive to the message (even though that is when I needed the message the most). I decided to read it now, and it almost feels as if the energies of the Universe knew that I was ready to embark on this journey of inner peace. 

This is not a book that you fly through.  Rather, it is a book that needs your full attention.  It is not difficult to read at all, but its message is one in which you will find that you need time to reflect upon and truly take note of its lessons.  I am already noticing a change in my mindset and in how I react to the world around me and within me.  My mind is quieter because I am more aware of the Self who resides within me.

I recommend this book to everyone but especially to those of you who deal with negative thoughts, stress, fear, anxiety, or noise in your head.  This book will help you find the peace that we all deserve to have within us. :-)

Finding Gina

by Lizzie Chantree

This was a great, lighthearted read, and I really enjoyed it.  Each of the characters were believable and likable, even self-centered Rachel. lol! The descriptions of the scenery were so serene that I wished for a meadow like that within driving distance of my home.  The pace of the book was perfect, and I loved Gina and Lewis' miscommunication and Gina's desire to bop him upside the head. lol! I would have enjoyed reading more about the grandmother and the father and what happened between them, but that's just my overactive, nosy imagination. The story wasn't about them, so it makes sense that we were only given what was included.  All in all, this is a story that anyone can read and walk away from with a happy feeling inside. :-)

Fauna Park Tales: An African Adventure

by Maretha Botha

This was about a dog named Flame who was dealt tragedy as a pup and ends up finding himself as a newcomer to a farm in Africa.  The story is told from the point of view of the animals on the farm, mostly from a bird named Hope who sees everything that happens.  It is very much a children's story, though there is a death scene toward the beginning. It isn't graphic but it is there, and it's a great opportunity to discuss death with younger children. The writing reminds me very much of folklore, and I think children would enjoy it.  It's a great story about how one "person" can inspire others to come together and help one another, which is a great lesson for all kids. :-)

Love's Child

by Lizzie Chantree

I really enjoyed this story.  You've got a group of do-gooders who just want to live their lives and make the lives of others better, and you've got the selfishly wealthy who don't care whose lives they ruin so long as their wants are fulfilled.  And then you have those that fall somewhere in the middle who get tangled in the web that the others weave.  There's a sense of mystery as well as suspense in this novel, and it keeps you wanting to see how these two worlds will collide and who will end up unscathed, if anyone.  The message at the end is a powerful one, and I loved that the author ended with it. :-)

The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood series) - adult novel

by J.R. Ward

Oh, how I love the brotherhood and their females! Sigh...  I absolutely loved this book.  Mary and Rhage's story was just perfect through their imperfections and their ways of handling them.  I also loved the continuation of Layla having difficulty with her circumstances.  Now that things have changed for her, it will be interesting to see if she finally comes forth with the truth.  I also am really enjoying Assail's journey and the choices that he is making.  V is another one who has me intrigued now that his mother has gone AWOL.  This series never disappoints me, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book! :-)


by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet was another great read.  I loved how the author spun her version of Little Red Riding Hood into this series.  The author did a great job of moving between parallel plots.  Cinder kept searching for the woman who made her, while Scarlet kept searching for her grandmother.  Poor Kai! I feel so bad for him.  He really is stuck between a rock and a hard place, but I don't know that I would have made his decision.  Then again, I guess it needed to happen to light a fire under Cinder's butt. lol! I am really looking forward to reading Cress and seeing how that fairy tale interweaves into the two already told. :-)

Luck of the Irish - adult novel

by Liz Gavin

You know those sayings, "Listen to your mother" and "Listen to your gut." Well, those two thoughts popped into my head while reading this. lol! The story starts off by grabbing my interest with a very sexy scene a little bit into the novel, so I had a pretty good feeling that I would enjoy the book. ;-)

This book was interesting to me because it didn't follow the typical pattern of novels.  You know, girl falls in love, girl gets in trouble, guy comes to the rescue, they live happily ever after.  Nope, this one started that way, and I thought that the author was just going to finish it there, but there was still a whole lot of book left to read.  So, I kept reading and was treated to watching these two fall in love and help one another deal with their pasts.

And then all hell breaks loose again! I felt so bad for Kiera because she just couldn't get a break! The author did an amazing job with creating very solid characters who stayed true from beginning to end.  And again, when I thought it was over, more happens! I am not upset by it.  Actually, it was nice to be able to read about the events that happened after the part where most authors end it and let the reader assume the rest.

The romance had just the right amount.  The sex scenes were tasteful but still delicious.  The action and suspense was wonderfully describe.  The characters were fantastic!  I usually don't read romance novels, but I'm glad I took a chance on this one.  It was well worth it! :-)

Assaie's Gift

by D.E.Howard

I love books that involve gods and goddesses, and this one was a sweet one. I loved how the story took us back in time to the era of the gods and showed us why the present day characters were given their "gifts."  The characters were easy to know and love.  And then, of course, just when everything is going so perfectly, something has to happen to change things up. Lol! 

I'm not usually one to read books that are stand alones, but this one was a good one.  The author did a great job in giving the characters their own personalities and in making you feel as if you were there with them.  The plot was solid and complete.  The ending was perfect!  If you love gods and goddesses and you enjoy love stories, you will definitely want to read this book! :-)

Crazy! Hot! And Living on the Edge!

by Shirley Harris-Slaughter

As far as I'm concerned, this is an absolute must read for everyone! Healthy or sick, it doesn't matter.  There is information in this book that everyone can benefit from.

I can relate to this author on so many levels.  I have not had the hardships in my life that she has had, and I am in awe of how strong she is to have not only overcome them but stand tall and proud in her success over them.  I do, however, relate to the struggles of dealing with an "illness" that Western doctors do not know how to treat.  I was diagnosed years ago with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS, now known as Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disesase).  

For years, I had doctors tell me that I was depressed, that I needed to exercise more, that I needed to take pills to feel better.  None of them could find anything wrong with me.  And then, I was lucky enough to find a doctor who was relentless in looking for the CAUSE instead of covering up the symptoms.  She found that I had traces of antibodies for Lyme disease and that I had the Epstein Bar virus antibodies as well (I also have a low heart rate, low blood pressure, and practically no metabolism).  After more tests, she finally diagnosed me with CFS, except back then, CFS wasn't recognized as a 'real thing' by doctors.  Lucky for me, my doctor believed it was real and looked for ways to help me deal with it.

Still, she was more of a Western doctor, so she prescribed me a medicine to raise my metabolism.  It did, and I felt normal again.  But then it stopped working, and I developed a side effect of anxiety (one of the many possible side effects of that medicine).  So, I stopped the medicine, my fatigue came back and the anxiety didn't go away.  That was when I started looking into holistic remedies with my sister's help (she's completely into holistic everything).

I found an applied kinesiologist (not sure if I spelled that correctly) who has been a godsend.  She had me eliminate all breads/pastas/wheat and all sugar from my diet, and I feel so much better.  She has identified an adrenal fatigue in me and is working to reset my system.  I have also found a holistic neurologist who is working on reducing my anxiety through neurofeedback.    I am not taking any prescription medicine, though I do supplement my diet with herbs and minerals that I am not getting through my food but are essential to my healing.

I shared these doctors with my Western med doctor, and she was super excited for me.  She also took down all of the information to research it. That's what I love about her. Although she studied the Western medicine way, she is open to Eastern medicine ways.  Her focus is on healing me in any way possible, and isn't that what should be motivating all doctors? Instead, I find that most doctors want to push pills instead of heal the patient.

I am finally starting to see positive results, but it's been a long struggle. I've had to change my diet to mostly organic and non-GMO foods, and I've had to eliminate breads/pasta/wheat and sugar (except for the occasional indulgence). I've had to change the way I exercise. I've had to make time for appointments.  In other words, I've had to make a complete life change, but I regret none of it because I am starting to get control over my life again.  So, it's been worth it.

I applaud this author for having the courage to share her story so that others can open their eyes and realize that there ARE solutions out there.  They may need to look outside of the societal norm, but we were not put on this earth to suffer through life.  We are meant to enjoy the time we have here.  I hope this book finds its way into everyone's hands, especially those who are sick and tired and not finding the help that they need.

Treachery & Triumph (The Genesis Saga: Book Two)
by John Fioravanti

I read Passion & Struggle a while ago, and I liked it but I wasn't sure if I'd get around to reading book two (this book).  I'm glad I did.  I didn't realize that I had missed these characters.  This book is a continuation of book one, and there are still plenty of issues between the Churchers and the new democracy.  The Rogue are in full terrorist mode, which was a little disturbing to read since so much of that is happening in our real world. (I enjoy reading fantasy to escape reality, so it threw me off just a tad bit - but those are my own issues. lol!)

The author has done an amazing job creating SO many different characters and giving them all their unique, consistent personalities.  His descriptions make it easy for you to visualize the scenery and the action taking place.  I loved the action scenes as much as I enjoyed the negotiation scenes.  I even got teary-eyed in certain parts, which just shows that the author did a great job in allowing me to lose myself in the story.

If you love sci-fi, you will love these books, but definitely start with book one (Passion & Struggle). Otherwise, you will miss out on the depth of the characters and their issues.

by Marissa Meyer

It was hard for me to get into this book at first.  It's the first book I've read with cyborgs in them, and I guess I needed to get used to the terminology or something.  Once I got into it, I enjoyed it. I loved the various twists that the author put on the Cinderella story, and I enjoyed the concept of the Lunar people.  Cinder and Iko were such great characters to read.  It was predictable once all of the characters were revealed, but I enjoyed the story enough to want to read the next one. 

Sugarcoatin' is for Candy & Pacifying is for Kids!: "Yes! I Said It!"
by Nonnie Jules

This book is a collection of some of the author's best blogs and advice.  She speaks honestly and from the heart, and her advice is right on the money every time.  This is a book that I would recommend to everyone because it's filled with suggestions to make your life and the world a better place.  It's easy to read and everyone will be able to relate to it.  I agree very much with this author's advice.  I only wish more people would adopt her mindset; our world would be a much kinder place if they did.  I definitely recommend this book to everyone.  :-)

A Perilous Thirst
by Rhani D'Chae

This was so different than anything I've ever read. Yes, I've read vampire stories. Yes, I've read short stories. I don't think I've ever read a story where the character was speaking to me, where I was his "interest." It was really cool. And as is always my complaint with short stories, it was too short!!! I would love to see the whole journey drawn out! It was frustrating to me that it ended so quickly, but those are my issues. The story is fantastic, and I definitely recommend it. 

She Lights up the Dark (November Snow, Book 2)

by A.M. Manay

This book was just as awesome as the first book (She Dies at the End)! November has new challenges in front of her now, but she is smarter than she was before.  She also has more patience with herself and more faith in those she cares about.  Still, she is, for the most part, alone and has to find a way to save everyone from Luka's destructive plans.  I loved how this book allowed us to see all of the characters that we fell in love with in book one through November's visions.  I love the new characters who were added and hope we see more of them in book 3.  I even loved the loss of some of my favorites (no spoilers).  Some things just have to happen; I understand that. Not everything is as it seemed in book one (which completely thrills me since I love when authors throw upsetting twists into!). As with book one, this one ends in a crazy cliffhanger, and I cannot wait to read book three!  This series is so much fun, and I'm recommending it to everyone and anyone who enjoys reading paranormal/fantasy! You will fall in love with these books! :-)

She Dies at the End (November Snow, Book 1)

by A.M. Manay

I absolutely LOVE this book! There's vampires and fairies and werewolves! Oh my! ;-) I was drawn into the story from the very beginning.  November is a girl who can see the future, and she has already seen herself being buried.  And then she meets the people who bury her, so she knows her fate is sealed! But the story - the journey - is awesome!  The characters are so well-created! Each one is distinct and so easy to love or hate (or! November's character is so much fun! She's sarcastic and doesn't think much of herself or her life, but she grows stronger as the book progresses to the point where she is incredibly brave and strong (though not always intentionally). ;-)  The story ends in a cliffhanger, and I am a HUGE fan of cliffhangers.  I knew something was up, but I had no idea that this twist was coming.  Luka (the "bad" guy of this story) was brilliant with his little deception.  If you like paranormal/fantasy, you definitely have to read this book!

Interludes: A Collection of Short Erotic Fiction (adult novel)

by Harmony Kent

When I first started reading Interludes, I wasn't too happy.  The stories were too short for me.  Just when I was starting to get into the characters, the story ended.  That's not to say that they weren't well-written; I have just come to learn that I am more of a novel-length type of reader.

As I continued to read the book, I began to get over the short length (maybe because the short stories also started getting longer).  I loved that each story was completely different than any other story in the book.  The author did a great job in creating unique characters with varying circumstances.  And the sex scenes were just perfect for each story.

I'm not sure if I could pick a favorite, but I think the longer the story was, the more I fell in love with it.  In fact, there are a few stories that I think she could probably turn into full length novels if she ever felt like it. All in all, if you are looking for hot, steamy short stories to get your imagination in hyper-drive, you will definitely enjoy this book. :-)

Into Dark Waters

by Rebecca Reilly

This books was AWESOME!!! The author got me, and that rarely happens.  Usually, I can figure out the bad guy quickly, but this book was so brilliantly written that I had to keep second guessing my theories.  The characters were colorful, and each one was distinctly unique.  I can honestly say that I felt a connection to all of the characters (even the bad ones), which is so rare. The hints that the author throws in to lead you to the "bad guy" was so subtle, but they are there.  This is not the type of book that I usually read, but I am SO happy that I took a chance on it.  I will be recommending it to everyone I know. :-)

Get Out or Die

by Kim Cox

This was another great Lana Malloy story.  My only complaint is that it was too short.  The writing was great.  The plot was fantastic.  The characters were all interesting.  My heart broke for Adam.  I just wanted MORE.  

Lana is just so likable.  I love how we get to really feel as if she is a friend of ours.  She is genuine and has every day issues and thoughts/emotions like the rest of us.  She just happens to also be able to see and speak with the dead.  lol! I will definitely read the rest of the book in this series.

Eternal Service

by Regina Morris

Eternal Service was a great book. Unfortunately, I had to read it in spurts so I lost some of the momentum that usually pulls me into a book. The characters were likable and well-developed. This is the first book in a series so there was a lot of set up for future books. I love that the main character is a female, and I love that she is strong and determined and doesn't need a man to take care of her. The ending was a little predictable, but maybe that's because I read so much that I've gotten pretty good at predicting endings. Still, it was the ending that I was hoping for, so I'm happy. :-)

Redemption's Warrior

by Jennifer Morse and William Mortimer

The story line was good.  Christopher takes a trip to Mexico to get some work done on his car for his 18th birthday and ends up in a Mexican prison.  The story follows his journey in coming to terms with what happened to him and then finding a way to escape.

The character description is great.  It was easy for me to visualize who each of them were and what their personalities were like.  I especially loved the connection to spirit animals.  The description of the scenery was fantastic as well.  The authors did an amazing job with description.

The issue for me is that I just couldn't feel a part of the story.  I wasn't drawn in to losing myself within the plot.  I wanted to, but I couldn't.  I can't quite put my finger on why I couldn't.  Maybe the whole stuck-in-a-prison-on-an-island just isn't my thing.

A Dream Come True
by Kim Cox

Oh, how I wished that this was more than just a short story! I was able to feel for the main character quite intensely for such a short story.  I wanted to know much more than was given to me.  I could easily see this being turned into a full length novel.  I wanted to watch her fall in love and have her heart broken.  I wanted to experience her moving on and finding love again only to lose it again.  And I wanted to see her struggle with accepting her second chance moment.  Obviously, there is a book two, and maybe book two visits all of this (I haven't read it yet), but this story was a really great teaser.  It's a quick read but a sweet love story about second chances. :-)

Better! Self-Help for the Rest of Us

by Terry Lancaster

I really, really liked this book.  I enjoy reading self-help books because it always helps me to refocus on making myself a better me, and this book did not disappoint. What I love most about this book is how down to earth it is! The author is a guy who has plenty of self-admitted flaws, and he owns them proudly because he knows that he is good even flawed, BUT he can be a better him with minor adjustments.  I love that! So many self-help books focus on what is wrong with you and how if you do all of these complicated steps, you can fix yourself.  This book pretty much says that you are okay as you are, but there is a slightly better you waiting around the corner if you want to focus on doing just one thing differently.

This book gives realistic, small step advice in real world terms for the average person.  He uses humor to lower your resistance to new ideas.  He shares his own real life examples of struggles and set backs and successes.  He uses analogies/comparisons that make sense.  His advice is for the everyday, busy person who can't fit an extra hour of anything into their already crammed day.  And I LOVE that he puts the lessons to be learned in BOLD face, separated from the rest of the text.  I'm tempted to take pictures of those phrases and use them as my screen saver. :-D

And probably best of all, he has a web site completely dedicated to helping each of us become a better person.  To me, this is a must read for everyone.  It's quick and easy to understand, and you will come away wanting to focus on just one part of your that you want to make better. And we can all work on something. ;-)

Triangulating Bliss 

by Janelle Jalbert

What a fantastic book! It's a book about how seven people from different walks of life have their lives permanently changed because of the love and acceptance of two people who believe in love and second chances.  What makes it even more interesting is that one of those people is no longer living.  Phil passed away, and yet when these characters reach a crossing roads in their lives, they are transported to another realm where Phil helps them reflect on his/her life journey in hopes of helping them make the right choices when they return back to their lives.

This is not a book filled with action.  This is a book of journeys toward self-improvement and self-acceptance.  The Phil-isms (advice on life) are beautiful and so perfect because they fit into each and every one of our lives.  I found myself pausing after a Phil-ism and thinking, "Hmmm, that's interesting." And then I'd reflect upon my own life and how to apply that Phil-ism to my own journey.

The characters are so distinct and very well-written.  Even the minor characters are unique and important.  The characters are realistic, and they all have flaws, which is something that I really loved.  We are all perfectly imperfect, and that is what makes us beautiful.

I loved the ending of the story because it was very realistic and stayed true to the journey of life.  I look forward to reading the future books of this series (now that I know that it will become a series of sorts). :-)

Stroke of Midnight: A Midnight Breed Novella (1001 Dark Nights) (adult novel)

by Lara Adrian

Another amazing novel by Lara Adrian.  I fell in  love with Jehan almost immediately, and I loved Sera's independent, fiery attitude with him. lol! I loved seeing Archer's name again and only hope that these two entities start having more play time in future books.

My only complaint was that it was way too short of a story! Yes, I know that it is just a novella, but I wanted MORE!!! Not that the story was lacking because the plot flowed perfectly, but I was left wanting more interactions, more friction between them, more making-up, more everything! lol!

The next breed book cannot come fast enough for me! :-)

Jessica: The Autobiography of an Infant

by Jeffrey Von Glahn

It was hard to rate this book because it is SO not what I usually read.  It isn't paranormal and it isn't action-packed, and those are usually what pulls me in and makes me give it a 5* rating, but this book still had me totally enthralled in its pages and its story.  So, let's just say it's a 4.5 stars. :-)

This is the true story of Dr. Jeffrey Von Glahn and his patient, Jessica, as he tries to help her figure out what is wrong with her.  There are so many things I loved about this book.  I loved the author's raw sincerity in his telling of their journey.  He did not glorify scenes or abstain from sharing his fears and insecurities about Jessica's progress (or lack thereof at times).

I was captivated with Jessica's journey and how difficult it must have been for her to live for so long with such emptiness within her.  I admire her strength and persistence to not give up in finding out why she wasn't whole.  I am in awe with the memories that she is able to pull from the recesses of her mind and what we can all learn from her experiences.  I am saddened for not only what Jessica went through but for all of those babies who went through (and still go through) that kind of treatment from mothers who do not understand how to be loving and nurturing to their children.

As I was reading this, I found myself thinking back to my childhood and how I was raised and how those events influenced who I am today.  I thought back to when my son was born and questioned if I've ever given him a reason to feel unloved (thankfully, the answer I found was no - I am always telling him and showing him how special he is).  I now look at my students and wonder if some of them behave the way they do because they are desperately seeking approval and acceptance, and I am sure that, for some of them, that is the case.

This is a book that I feel should be read by SO many different groups of people: current mothers, mothers-to-be, OBGYNs, nurses, teachers, fathers, fathers-to-be, caretakers of any kind, etc. I almost feel like it should be required reading for many of those groups. It is true that most of us cannot remember the memories of our birth or of our first few years, but that does not mean that our psyche does not hold on to those experiences.  It does not mean that our psyche did not share our strengths and weaknesses from those moments.  We owe it to our children and to future generations to make sure that when babies are brought into this world, they feel wanted and needed and loved and special.

I am so happy that this author and that "Jessica" were willing to share their journey with the rest of us.  I only hope that their journey can positively impact babies from here on forward. :-)

Blood Kiss: Black Dagger Legacy (adult novel)

by JR Ward

I love my Black Dagger men, even the ones from the new generation.  I especially love that the originals are in the novel as well.  I love that the training camp is back in action and that the story lines include a blend of old and new.

I'm so happy that Marissa was given the spot light. She had always felt like a side character, even when she was given her own story.  I love that she is learning to come to terms with her past and that she is finally taking aggressive charge of her life.

I absolutely love Paradise and cannot wait to see more of her.  And I love Craeg! It was so fun to watch him try so hard to resist the bonding when he was a goner from the getgo. lol! There is so much more story to tell for these two, and I'm excited to watch it unfold in the upcoming novels.

The other brothers are there as well as well as their mates.  The scenes with V and with Lassiter were fantastic.  There is one brother that is starting to have issues of his own, and I'm sure those will become more prevalent in the upcoming books.  And that movie night scene...just priceless! 

I have always been a fan of the BDB, and the Legacy series is a fantastic addition to the series. LOVE it!!! :-)

The Digestive Awareness Diet

by Dr. John K. Pollard

My sister lent me this book to read.  I'm not really a nonfiction reader, but this one definitely held my attention.  I found it very interesting to learn each step of the digestive process and the purpose for each step. It has definitely changed my way of eating.  I love that it is written in a layman's terms. It doesn't have any restrictions from food; its purpose is simply to teach people HOW to eat the foods that they are eating.  I truly would recommend this book to everyone that I know.

Passion & Struggle: The Genesis Saga Book 1

by John Fioravanti

Let me start off by saying that I don't usually read futuristic, sci-fi books. I LOVE Star Wars but I'm not a Star Trek kind of gal, so I tend to stay away from this genre. That being said, this was a book that I wanted to read, and I liked it. I didn't love it, but I did like it.

The characters fell a little flat for me at the beginning, but they grew on me with time. I really liked Marie and Annie. They were fun to read. I loved the corrupt Pious and Payne (plus the play on their names is brilliant). lol! I think one of my favorite parts of this book was the twist that had the religious people being the corrupt and destructive ones while the non-religious were living by higher morals and standards. I especially loved the Earthers. I think I was most attracted to them because of my love for the paranormal. I enjoyed picturing what they looked like in my head.

This book is part of a series so book one ends in a "to be continued" way, which is perfectly fine by me since I love cliff-hangers. Did I love the story line enough to read book 2? I'm not sure. I'm definitely curious about what the Churchers will try to do next and how the people on Genesis will react to the Earthers who come to Genesis. So, yeah, maybe I'll read it.

Like I said at the beginning, I'm not a big sci-fi reader, so take my review lightly. If you enjoy sci-fi and political thrillers, I think that you would definitely enjoy this book. :-)

The Shadows (adult novel)

by JR Ward

Damn you, JR Ward! You made me cry in the gym...AGAIN! I tried to cover it by pretending that I was wiping my sweaty face with my towel, but my red-rimmed eyes were too riddled with distraught to fake it. What an AMAZING story!!! This is definitely five brilliant stars!

I'm in love with this series! Really, truly in love. The BDB family is just beautiful! I love that they are not perfect. They screw up and have to deal with the consequences. I love that the story interweaves several different characters' stories flawlessly. And I LOVE that not everyone has a happy ending. (I know...I'm twisted.) The thing is that the whole fairy tale happily-ever-after thing isn't realistic. Life is messy, and I love stories that are realistic in that way. I could not have asked for a more beautiful way for Trez and Selena's relationship to happen. And's about time! lol!

I'm SO looking forward to Paradise's story. I want to see what's happening with Rhage, and will he be able to come to terms with it? I am curious about whether someone, maybe Phury, is going to go up to the Chosen "garden" and release those who may still be trapped (don't want to give away anything). And Layla....ugh, my heart hurts for her. I want more of her and Xcor.

Suffice it to say, this book was fantastic, and I cannot wait to read the next one! :-)

Bound to Darkness (adult novel)

by Lara Adrian

I'm in love with all of the Midnight Breed books, and this one was no different. I loved that the original cast was reunited for a mission. I love that the plot is slowly interwoven into the story line of the characters' relationships. Carys is a bad ass, and she doesn't even realize it for most of the novel. I'm looking forward to seeing her new role in the Order in the upcoming books.

So, why did I give it three stars? Well, it felt too fast. I wanted more interaction between the characters. The ending was great, except that through the whole book, Rune kept saying he had this horrible secret (outside of the obvious one) and that he didn't want to bond because he didn't want her to see that part of him. But when they finally do bond, there is no mention of her acknowledging the horror of his secret. If the author was going to spend so much time building up this "secret," then Carys should have at least acknowledged it and shown that she accepts all of Rune, even the hideous parts. It didn't happen which left me disappointed.

That being said, I am looking forward to the next one. I want more Atlantean interactions and more of my Breed, so I will definitely keep reading them. :-)

The Reunion (adult novel)
by A.A. Pencil

I can't remember the last time I had so much fun reading a murder mystery. This is definitely NOT a young adult novel because there is a LOT of killing.  I know this is going to sound twisted (I've been told I have a warped mind at times), but I found myself enjoying how some of these characters died because of their own misgivings. And the ending...brilliant!  I was totally sold on the story line. (No, I am NOT giving away the ending!) And then I find out at the end that it's actually a series!  Why do I not have have more time to read???  If you love twisted minds and horror, you will LOVE this book! :-D

I really enjoyed this paranormal short story. The characters were fun and easy to like. I loved the interactions between Lana and Tony, and Lucy was just hilarious. I really hope she reappears later in the series. I love plot twists, and the motives for all of the suspects were brilliant! I don't usually read short stories, but this one made me enjoy the characters enough to want to read the rest of the series.

by Shirley Harris Slaughter

I'm not big into historical reads, but it was interesting to learn about this small town and the people who came together to bring faith and camaraderie to the African-American community during a time when segregation was still taking place. The author provides factual accounts of its history while also bringing in the personal touch of stories from various people who lived through those times. She does a wonderful job of honoring those who fought to bring religion and education to an area that was being neglected. If you enjoy historical reads, you may enjoy this book. :-)

by Peter Martin

The main character, Donna, gets brutally attacked and doesn't know how to move on with her life. It's always such a difficult thing for an author to handle the physical and emotional description of an attack of this nature, but this author does an incredibly respectful job of doing so. Fortunately,I have never had to experience the horror of an attack of this nature, but I would think that Donna portrays what many women who have been attacked like this would experience after the fact.

I enjoyed this story. There was a lot of realism that could be seen in his characters. They weren't perfect, and they all had their own flaws. I was very frustrated with her counselors and their inabilities to truly understand the help that Donna needed, and don't even get me start on her parents!

I loved Evan's character. I also loved Theresa's character, especially because the author brought in the lesson that we should be grateful for what we have, even if it's not perfect, because there is someone out there who has it worse off. And yes, I felt the heartache around Theresa's character. The author did a wonderful job in letting the reader fall in love with her in such a short time.

I saw the ending coming, but I read so much that very few endings shock me. It was a great ending, though I hate how it will affect each of the characters left. (Sorry for not being more specific, but I hate people who spoil a story's ending.)

This is definitely a good book to read! :-)

by Marcha Fox

I am not a big sci-fi reader, but this book caught my eye, so I took a chance on it. The characters' voices were well-created. The descriptions were very detailed, which I guess is extremely important in a sci-fi book. Every ship, every device, and the living conditions were described so well that even someone like me, who has no background in reading sci-fi, could visualize it without feeling lost.

As a movie, this book would drive me crazy because everything takes places over a few days, but as a book, it was fun to read because it kept switching back and forth between the characters. Without giving too much away, Creena gets separated from her family, and her father and brother are trying to find her and rescue her. It's a race against distance and time, and it was cleverly written to keep you intrigued.

The worlds were great! The crazy plants and the other species were imaginative and fun to daydream about. The antagonist is wickedly sinister, and just enough was given to keep you wanting to figure out what he is planning. I also love how the Universe and its energies are portrayed.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sci-fi as well as anyone who has a great imagination. :-)

by Karl J.Morgan

I actually really enjoyed this book. I'm not a big fan of time travel, but this one kept me entertained and wasn't too far-fetched (well, maybe a little far-fetched, but aren't all time travel books?). ;-)

Zeke is the main character and can see the possible future. He always tries to do the right thing, but it doesn't always put him in the best situations. A woman from the future comes to his time and tells him about his vital role in saving the world. Events take place that put his life and the lives of those he loves in danger over and over again.

I enjoyed the voice of Zeke. He was genuine and easy to connect with. He's that all around good guy who just always end up having a bad day and making the best of it.

The pace of the book was great. I never felt bored and always looked forward to what was next going to happen to him. I would definitely recommend this book to other people. :-) 

by Kate Sparks

I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and I honestly really liked it. :-)

Rowan and Aren are both wonderfully created characters. The author switches between their two points of view, using first person voice for each of them. Sometimes this can get confusing with some authors, but their voices and personalities are so distinct that it is perfectly clear who is speaking, even without the name labeling as part of the chapter title.

I love both of these characters. Rowan is a believer in fairy tales and magic and is fascinated by it while everyone else in her community abhors it and warns of its danger. Aren is the eptiome of the danger in which Rowan has always been warned about. They are thrust together by circumstances and cannot seem to stop themselves from helping each other, despite the dangers that it presents for both of them.

Each of them are going through their own type of personal journey, and the author shares that journey beautifully through bits and pieces, making it impossible not to sympathize with each of them. And I love how the author throws curve balls of information here and there but then doesn't elaborate. I really, really love that! It's such a tease and lets my own imagination keep creating different scenarios of where she might be going with that tidbit of information. :-)

The world she has created is also magestic and beautiful. I love the dragon and cannot wait to see more of her in the future books (because there just has to be more of her). I love the merfolk and know we will see them again. I even hate to love Severn (lol) and cannot wait to see more of his story. And I truly hope that Rowan will be able to confront her own family when she learns the entire truth of who she is (because I just know that there must be more twists and turns in the next two books).

This book was great, and I am definitely intrigued. I cannot wait to read the rest of the books in this series! :-)

by Jan Harman

I enjoyed this book. I love how I was only given snippets of information so that I could ponder on what was really taking place. I'm not a big fan of giving away what happens in the story, but I do want to share my opinion on some of the characters and the plot.

I love the heavy responsibility that is being shoved down Olivia's throat, and I have a feeling that I am going to enjoy watching her growth in book two of this series. I'm not a big fan of her aunt, and a part of me is hoping that she is really one of the bad people in disguise (lol). Actually, the only adults I did like are Shade and Shadow's parents and Hattie.

There were times in the story where I was completely enthralled in the moment, but there were several times where I had to stop and reread because the scene seemed to jump too quickly for me. I had a hard time visualizing the introduction of many of the action scenes because they just seemed to happen all of a sudden. I guess I wanted to be eased into it a little more or to have had more description. I don't know.

There were some grammar/spelling issues at some points (mostly toward the end), but they didn't take away from the enjoyment of reading the story.

I really liked Olivia's character. I liked her frailty and her confusion. I liked the fact that she had panic attacks and had difficulty coping. It was a genuine reaction to what she went through. I also love the fact that we found out why those things really were taking place toward the end of the story.

Trent...I don't see the connection between him and Olivia. Honestly, he always seemed like such a jerk to me. I can't understand why Olivia would have given him any time from the getgo. I don't feel chemistry at all between them, so I'm hoping that she either ditches him soon, or the author revs up the chemistry because I don't see any reason for them to be together, unless he's the one manipulating her. Not likely, but if he is, I still need to see something "more" happening.

Shade and Shadow... I love them both! I actually like Shadow more than Shade, especially toward the end of book one. And I have a feeling that Olivia, although she won't admit it, will start feeling the same way.

I have lots of ideas rolling around in my head about why Olivia was breached so easily (or rather, why she keeps joining so easily with others), but I'll wait until I read book two to see if I'm right. And I will definitely read book two. It's a great story, and I am curious about how everything will get resolved. :-)

by Nicholas Rossis

What an absolutely wonderful children's story about the beauty of sharing a genuine smile! What I really enjoyed from an adult's point of view is how people tend to be so self-centered that they are focused on their own agendas instead of genuinely listening to the needs of others. It's a great way to speak to kids about authentic listening and how important it is to be in the moment when someone is speaking to you.

For the child, this book teaches how valuable a smile is and how sharing a smile with others makes everyone happy. It teaches them that smiles should be real and genuinely felt. It shows how love brings happiness to all involved. And the Ode to a Runaway Smile at the end was fantastic!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has children of any age. :-)

by Suzy Turner

I enjoyed this book for several reasons. Josiah is just too cute. I would have loved to have been given his perspective when he disappeared. I would have enjoyed his frustration with losing his memory and getting tidbits of his life with Emelia. I enjoyed the concept of the tattoos growing on each of the Watchers and how each tattoo was uniquely related to his/her ability while still being similar to everyone else's. I loved Declan and Saleena and hope we see more of them in the series. And I love the two main characters. I love how different they are while still caring deeply for each other.

This book is very suitable for the tween years. There is no foul language, no sexual innuendos, no gore, and no innappropiate topics. It was a little too innocent for my tastes (hehe). ;-) That being said, it was a great story. It held my interest throughout the entire book. I would have enjoyed MORE in several scenes throughout the story, but it was just enough to keep me enjoying the story.

I loved Eleanor and her punishment, and I love that her whole story wasn't revealed in book one. I'm a huge fan of books that are a part of a series because they keep you guessing about things yet to come. Eleanor is one of those characters that intrigue me. I want to know more about her. I also want to know what role Scott is going to play in all of this. I doubt he's just a "friend" who's going to be left on the island. Hmmm...

I loved getting a preview of the next book at the end. It definitely makes me want to find out how her dream connects to the state of the train's passengers. Smart move. ;-)

by Airicka Phoenix

When I first chose this book to read, I thought it had a paranormal element to it. With its absolutely amazing cover and with the blurb mentioning something about her being set on fire, I really thought it would. It didn't. By the time I realized that there would be nothing paranormal in it, it no longer mattered; I was already hooked on the story.

I really liked Sophie's character and her internal dialogue. I loved Spencer's attitude and die-hard devotion. I felt bad for how messed up Spencer's life had been. I loved the chemistry that they had together. For the most part, they acted like real teenagers would act.

Actually, all of the characters were created really well. That being said, there were some holes left in some subplots at the end (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). I would have loved to see Spencer's mom come to terms with the truth. I would have loved for Spencer's sister to get what was coming to her (hehe...).

The flow of the book was good, and I really loved how the suspense slowly built.I LOVED the "bad guy" (not giving any spoilers). I knew it almost from the beginning that he was most likely the bad guy.I tend to be really good at figuring those things out. Still, the author ALMOST tricked me. ;-) The author did a great job of trying to throw the suspicion onto several other characters, and that was great! It was shocking to me to what extent the torture took; I didn't expect it to go so crazy when the rest of the story was pretty YA-mild.

I don't usually read books that don't have a paranormal/fantasy feel to them, but I am really glad that I read this one. I will definitely be recommending it to my YA readers! :-)

by Matthew Dexter

As a Language Arts teacher, I love the imagery and figurative language that bleeds through the pages of this novel, but I was also horrified by the pictures painted throughout the scenes in the story. As a reader, this is not the typical type of book that I enjoy reading. I read this book because I was asked to read it and provide an honest review, but I prefer to read paranormal stuff (you know, the stories that don't dive into the harsh realities of the

I found myself disturbed at the levels of drug use taking place on one campus and at the idea that a teacher would not only look the other way but also get involved. I'm not saying it's unrealistic; it's just a little too over the top for me. I kept thinking that if it were that all-consuming, the school would have been shut down eons ago. That being said, I know that drugs are as readily available at prep schools as at public schools because those students actually have the money to buy the drugs. I had a hard time getting into the characters because I kept fighting against their actions in my head and because there wasn't enough dialogue to hold on to (compared to the type of stories I usually read).
All in all, the writing was great but the storyline was not something that I enjoyed learning more about. I'll stick to my paranormal fantasies, thank you very much.

by Loren Weaver

I liked this book. It reminded me a lot of another series that I read, but it's not as graphic (which isn't a bad thing). The story is told in first person, and I love that the first person is a badass female! Her best friend, Trey, is great! I can't help but love him. I enjoyed the storyline - sorceress in hiding has to make herself known to keep her best friend (who just happens to be a werewolf) from being killed. I'm a HUGE fan of paranormal characters and their interactions with the other various kinds of paranormals in the world. This book definitely has all of that. I also love books that are part of a series, and this one leaves enough loose ends to want me to know what is going to happen. :-)

It took me a little bit to get a feel for the main character. She was too happy-go-lucky for me at the beginning, but when she embraced her true self and her thought patterns changed, I was really able to get into it. I'm okay with it taking a bit since I know that the story sometimes needs a bit to develop. Trey was great from the beginning, but I'm dying to know more of his backstory as well. I love her FPD team and definitely will read more to learn about their stories because I have no doubt that each of them have a story. :-)

by JR Ward

I have seen some disappointed fans' reviews, but I have to say that I LOVE this book as much as the others. I love how the author has several different storylines going on at one time. I love how some storylines are resolved by the end of the book and how others leave you hanging so that you want to read the next book that comes. For me, that's the fun of a series of novels versus a stand alone book.

I loved Beth and Wrath. Wrath seemed to have so much more emotion in this book (and I don't mean crying). His anger, his frustration, his joy, his fears...every emotion could be felt through the pages. I love how much he honored Beth through his words and his actions. I love how the author brought in her human side and his humane side. And I LOVE the decisions that he made throughout the book to do what was right, decisions that not only brought him peace but also brought him what was his all along. (sorry, no spoilers from me)

I loved the little snippets we got of Z, but I wish we would have had a little bit more of the shellans. Beth's situation and Layla's situation were very different because of their makeups, but I felt sorry for Layla because no one every wanted to visit her. It will be interesting to see where JR Ward goes with Layla's storyline.

I am starting to like Xcor much more now, but I feel that he's lost his purpose for being introduced, so I'm hoping there is a lot more to him than we have been shown. Assail/Sola...I know that there is so much more that is coming. I like the realistic way that their relationship went. It would not have been believable any other way, but I do expect to see much more of them in the future. I really like Trez and Selena, and I can't wait to see where their story takes us. I loved the flashbacks to Wrath's parents. I love the change-up in the language. I loved the adoration between them, and I LOVED seeing a king who struggled and had to fight to make things right.

There were so many great scenes in this novel. I bawled like a baby a few times (it's a little embarrassing when you're running on the elliptical at the gym and have to pretend you are wiping sweat off of your face to hide the tears of happiness streaming down your cheeks, but the Brotherhood is so worth it). I cannot wait to read the next one, though I'm sure the wait will be long. Either way, I know it will be worth it! :-)

by Beverly Hoffman

What a beautifully written story! This book is not my normal reading material. I'm a crazily addicted fan of paranormal and YA books, but I took a chance on this one and am SO glad that I did. This story is about a woman who wants to help her barren sister-in-law have a baby of her own. It's seems like such a noble gift, but there are so many dimensions of struggle with such a decision. This book delves deep into the meaning of family, love, religion, and grace.

I hate giving away stories, so I won't be sharing any spoilers. I will say that the author does an amazing job weaving through many very sensitive issues. Her subplots add depth to her characters and to underlying issues that exist within every community. Her characters are perfect in their flawed lives, and you can't help but feel deeply for each one of them. There were several moments where I had to dab away tears at the gym with my towel, pretending I was wiping away sweat. lol!

The writing is masterfully artistic. If you love imagery, then you will love the way this author paints her scenes. If you love food, prepare to hear your stomach growl as you read these pages. lol!

I think what I loved most was the authentic struggles and the way each character had to come to terms with the decisions made. You may think that the story is predictable, but nothing about this situation is easy, and the path is not a straightaway road. This story will take you on a journey that every woman can relate to in one way or another. I'm so happy that I took a chance with this story! :-)

by Lanie Jordan

I am really enjoying this series. Although it is not a fast-moving, page-by-page action packed book, it is still an absolutely great book to add to your shelves. I actually liked the fact that the author took her time with her characters to make them realistic and that the storyline moves along at a human pace. ;-)

The author's characters are so well-created. I love Jade's character. She has me cracking up (a lot). Her inner voice (which tends to be not-so-inner) is so filled with sarcasm that I can't help but love it. Jade mirrors a real teen - she is no where near perfect. She has major attitude, insecurities, inner strength, and a desire to want what's right in the world. I also love Linc's character. He, too, is perfectly flawed. It's nice to read about a relationship that isn't all swoony eyes and save-the-damsel. They fight, they avoid each other, they have issues with expressing themselves, and yet they are there for one another, stand up for each other, and care deeply for each other. I also love that sex or sexual feelings have not been focused on in this series. It makes this series a good, wholesome type of book for the teen who isn't really focusing on that in their life. I also enjoy Tasha for her steadfast friendship and Rachel for her great depiction of a bully. I'm dying to learn the story behind Bryan's hatred (because there just HAS to be more to it than what we've been given so far). ;-)

There are a few action scenes, but this book is mostly about Jade coming to terms with who/what she is. Most book 2s in a series drag, but this one was really enjoyable. Jade is dealing with some serious DNA-issues, and it's a lot to digest and sort through. I love how the author slowly revealed some of the "side-effects" of Jade's DNA. I can't wait to see how she continues to evolve and where it will take her.

by MJ Webb

This book is book three of the Jake West series and it is AMAZING! I would highly recommend that the reader read books one and two before reading this one to fully enjoy the epic battle that takes place in his book. This book was one nail-biting moment after another, and I loved every minute of it.

I loved how the author successfully switched scenes from one battle to another, allowing us to see what was happening on different fronts of the war without losing the urgent pace needed for any of the battles. I love how the characters faced their challenges despite their fears. I absolutely LOVE the twists that came in this book and the new characters that were added (no spoilers...sorry, I hate spoilers). And I loved, loved, LOVED the dragons! I usually do not read about dragons, but I'll admit I had a tear or two in certain (undescribed) moments. ;-)

This book was the best paced of the three, but maybe that was because the reader is already invested in the story and knows the characters as if they were his/her friends/enemies. The development of the storylines was brilliant. I love that this was a difficult battle and it was not won/lost easily. The characters had to fight hard and there were difficult losses to deal with.

I LOVED the ending of the story and how (and who) finally rid the world of the evil one. And I really like that although the author definitely brought closure to the series, there is an opportunity to write more stories of Jake's adventures. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves epic battles or fantasy. You will thoroughly enjoy this series.

Note to parents: This book is about a highly descriptive violent battle. I would not recommend this book to the preteens or younger. There is practically no profanity (I think "ass" was said once. lol!). There is no sexual scenes, but the violence is VERY detailed.

Affliction (adult novel)
by Laurell K Hamilton

Have you ever read a book that you cannot put down because you absolutely have to know what is going to happen, and yet, at the same time, you want to read it ever so slowly because you never want the story to end??? Well, Laurell K Hamilton has done it again. I am in absolute awe with how well LKH can draw in the reader. She knows her characters so well - their strengths, their passions, their insecurities, and their flaws. None of them are perfect, but all of them are loveable just the way they are. She has the ability to make you feel fear, frustration, passion, anger, desperation, love, and grief with the words that flow on her pages.

I love Anita on so many different levels. I love the changes that she has gone through in the 20+ books. I love the growth that she has experienced, and I love how she is finally accepting that her reality is good for her. Other people don't have to understand it or even accept it. Her reality brings her happiness, and happiness is what it's all about. I love that Micah is no longer "perfect" because perfect doesn't exist. And I love, love, love that Edward was in this story. Even he has grown for the better. ;-) I love that Anita's necromancy was brought back into the story again. I even love that she has a new animal to call (though I gotta say it hurt real bad with how she developed that new animal...I don't want to give anything away).

I also LOVE how the book ended because it comforts me to know that there will definitely be more Anita eventually.

I know there are a lot of readers who have become disenchanted (or even disgusted) with the direction the Anita books have taken. I'm not one of them. Sure, there are sometimes disturbing moments (things that may be out of my personal comfort zone), but that's one of the things I love about these books. If I wanted to stay in my comfort zone, I'd stick to realistic fiction (and maybe even young adult realistic fiction). I love that she is on the edge (or well over the edge in some cases) with her novels. I am open enough to accept that this is a make-believe world where things will be taken to the extreme. In order to lose yourself in these stories, you have to be able to understand this and embrace it. :-)

NOTE TO READER: If you've never read an Anita Blake book, do yourself the biggest favor and start with book one (Guilty Pleasure). This book can be read as a stand alone since it truly is a complete story, but you cannot possibly appreciate the men in this book without knowing their history with Anita. Also, Anita Blake books are not for kids or even young adults. The content is for the mature (and experienced) mind.

Here are a few books that I have read in the past that I really enjoyed.  (And yes, I really love reading books in a series.)

- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

- The Percy Jackson series
- The Maze Runner series
- The Hunger Games series
- The House of Night series
- The Unwind series
- The Divergent series
- The Mortal Instruments series
- The Goddess Summoning series
- The Black Dagger Brotherhood series (adult)
- The Midnight Breed series (adult)
- The Anita Blake series (adult)
- The Merry Gentry series (adult)


  1. Yvette,
    Thanks for your quite generous words about Luck of the Irish. Hope you don't mind it but I've reblogged it to my blog. I linked to yours though. :)

    1. Of course I don't mind! I really enjoyed reading it! :-)

  2. Yvette - Thanks for your insightful review for Lodestone and for posting it here.
    At a writing workshop a tutor once suggested we write the book we would most like to read - and that's how Lodestone came to be.
    I will check out your other reviews.
    Many Thanks,

    1. Wendy, you are most welcome! I hope my review will lead others to read your novel. :-)

  3. Thanks for this lovely review, Yvi. I'm delighted that you loved Finding Katie so much! :)

    1. I truly did enjoy it, Harmony! I hope others will enjoy it as well. :-)

  4. Wow, Yvette! You're such an avid reader! It took me a while to read all these reviews. I have added many of these books to my TBR list and I know which book to read next thanks to you. Thank you for reading and reviewing my book. I'm honored that The Fall of Lilith was included amongst some of these great books. Thank you for the wonderful post!😊💕

    1. I am just seeing this now. Your book was wonderful! It absolutely deserves its spot here. Thanks for reading my reviews. :-)

  5. Hi, Yvette! Thank you so much for reading, reviewing, and sharing your review of Memoir of a Mad Woman here. I’m happy you enjoyed it. I appreciate you❣️

    1. You are welcome, Vashti! I truly enjoyed the story (and your twisted mind). ;-) LoL!

  6. Thank you for sharing these reviews, Yvi! And, thank you for including "Jewel!"

    1. It was my pleasure, Jan! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

  7. Wow-what a collection of reviews. I've read quite a few of these wonderful books, too. Many thanks for including stories from all three of my pen names!

    1. I love your writing style! It's my pleasure to leave reviews for your books. :-)

  8. Hi Yvette, Many thanks for reading and reviewing Timeless Echoes, I am delighted to hear you liked the imagery in my poetry. Some of your favorites are close to my heart too. :)

    1. It was my pleasure to read and review it. Thank you for sharing your poetry with us. :-)

  9. Wow, Yvette! You have been busy reading!!! Thank you for your kind words about Jonah and Satin & Cinders! Several people have said they wanted Jonah to be longer. Who knows. Maybe one day it will be. :)

    1. I would love to continue reading about Jonah's journey. :-)

  10. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Yvette, for both reviews, "Brazos Wind," and "Brother's Keeper." I'm thrilled that you enjoyed them both!!

    1. They were great! I can't wait to see what you write about next. :-)

  11. Thanks for including me with all these great authors and reviews, Yvette. I saw a book or two to add to my TBR list. Xo

    1. It is my pleasure, Denise! I love your storytelling talent! :-)

  12. Hi
    I visited your site. I can read some your post. Very nice you have to knowledge & experience.
    Very interesting book review shared. I like.

    1. Thank you, Raj! I'm so happy you stopped by and are enjoying my reviews and posts. I appreciate you sharing that with me. :-)


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