Colleen’s Book Reviews | “A Diamond for Her,” by Mark W. Sasse; “Lockdown Innit,” by MJ Mallon; “Joining Don & Wen,” by Stuart France & Sue Vincent

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

I’m still playing catch up on my reviews. I hope you enjoy this eclectic selection of books. ~Colleen~

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

This book releases March 23, 2021

He loved her enough to build her a baseball stadium. With a tip of the cap to the works of W.P. Kinsella, A Diamond for Her is a historical and magical story of love between two people—Raymond & Rochelle—and two grand institutions—America & baseball.

In 1920, railroad man Raymond Blythe had a series of disturbing dreams—giant creatures with Greek names playing baseball. Determined to discover their meaning, he sets off on a bizarre quest to find a connection between Iowa, Theodore Roosevelt, baseball, and his deceased father. While searching for answers at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, he meets a young librarian named Rochelle Christy. This meeting sets him on another quest—to win her hand in marriage, even if it means he has to establish his own baseball league in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains.

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If you love baseball, this is a story you will never forget. From the creative genius of Mark W. Sasse, this fictitious history of the Winasook Iron Horses, the founding members of the Allegheny Independent League from 1921 to 1955 comes roaring to life.

“A Diamond for Her” chronicles the lives of Raymond and Rochelle Blythe told through the eyes of semi-retired doctor Charles “Shoeshine” Henry, who narrates the historical record of the Blythes and their remarkable team the Winasook Iron Horses sharing a sweeping view of American history seen through the steady eye of America’s favorite game, baseball.

Raymond Blythe remembers going to a baseball game with his father when he was just a boy. That experience causes him to have a series of dreams where enormous creatures are playing baseball. He knows there’s some kind of explanation for these odd dreams, so he sets off on the quest of his life to connect the dots between Iowa, Theodore Roosevelt, baseball, and his deceased father.

I’m not a sports fan… much to my ex-pitcher husband’s dismay. However, this isn’t just a novel about baseball. It’s also a love story and a historical saga that chronicles the beginnings of baseball, including the quest to solve a mystery. The ending caught me by surprise, and I marveled at the author’s creativity. I’m happy to report that I fully enjoyed the book!

Lockdown Innit is a poetry collection of eighteen poems about life’s absurdities and frustrations during lockdown. Wherever you live in this world, this is for you. Expect humour, a dollop of banter and ridiculous rants here and there. Amongst other delights, witness the strange antics of a swan posing by a bin and two statuesque horses appearing like arc deco pieces in a field. Check out the violin player on a tightrope, or the cheeky unmentionables wafting in the lockdown breeze!

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“Lockdown Innit – Poems About Absurdity” is a collection of poetry about the third wave of lockdowns in the U.K. because of the Corona Virus pandemic. Seen through the eyes of poet and author M. J. Mallon, not everything is as it seems, and we should take nothing for granted.

The Coronavirus has brought much of the U.K. and Europe to their knees, while here in the U. S. they’ve taken a more lackadaisical approach to the pandemic. Mallon shares the trials and tribulations of her life in lockdown through her poetry.

Her poem, “The Face Mask Rolls” left me with the haunting image of a discarded mask rolling down the road, clearly a metaphor for the despair this virus has wracked upon humanity.

This is a short, poignant collection that will forever remind us of a time when no one had control over their lives. A must read!

“Open up and get out of the way.”

This is the watchword, the only guide that is needed in order to engage with the land… the planetary being upon which we live. To let go of all preconceptions, to let the ego slide into abeyance, to listen for the whispers on the wind and pay attention to the odd, synchronous events that will happen if you choose to follow the breadcrumb trail…

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This is the second book in the Finding Don & Wen two-book series. This second book continues to explore the adventures of two friends through letters as they scrutinize the mysteries of ancient Britain’s (Albion) medieval churches. Sue Vincent and Stuart France are the co-authors.

The writing is poetic and almost spiritual as Don and Wen venture out into the English countryside, visiting the many churches that dot the land. They explored the interiors, the stained glass, and slowly they interpreted the symbolism of the medieval church’s secrets. That is where the stories unfold… on the stained glass they found dragons on hilltops and trolls guarding streams.

Their quest is a journey for knowledge, the chance to let go of all preconceptions, ignore the ego, and pay attention to the synchronous events around them. I was in my spiritual element. There was symbolism represented in the nine kites flying overhead and the sacred number three.

Sue Vincent says it best:

“It was a day of pure magic and the land, no matter where we found ourselves, would never again be silent. By simply paying attention, it was as if the earth was illuminating itself from within, whispering secrets it had been longing to share for millennia and laying before us so many layers of history, story and myth that we were as excited as children in a sweet shop.”

France, Stuart ; Vincent, Sue. Joining Don and Wen (p. 5). Silent Eye Press. Kindle Edition.

They filled the book with correlations between Christianity and Paganism, Odinism, the part the Vikings played in the development of British history, and yet, there were some connections that went much farther back in history to Egypt.

The deep affection that is so clear between the two friends adds another layer to their story. Savor the books and read them together. Here’s my review of book one, Finding Don & Wen.

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Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a tiny amount from qualifying purchases. If you purchase from the Amazon.com link above, I earn a small commission to fund my reading habit. Amazon will not charge you extra, and you’ll keep me supplied in books that I can review. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Colleen’s Book Reviews | “Wolfe Manor,” by Adele Marie Park, @Binky567

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

Once she lived a normal life, a good, boring life, but a safe one…

Abandoned as a baby on the steps of Wolfe Manor, Fianna was raised with love, secure inside its walls. Now her bubble of safety is about to burst. Can she save the home and school which once cocooned her when old fears overwhelm? Facing students at the start of a new term is frightening enough without nightmares resurfacing which terrify Fianna.

She may have a degree in teaching but will this skill help her?
The return of old friends sends Fianna spiraling down the rabbit hole of her past. Wolfe Manor may call her to be what she was born to be, but can she find out in time to save it from an evil only she can defeat? Or if she fails and Wolfe Manor falls, what happens when the evil faces humanity unchallenged?

Fantasy and horror writer, Adele Marie Park originally hails from the Orkney Islands. Rousay is a small, but archaeologically important island, dubbed “The Egypt of The North.” The oral tradition of passing down stories fired the young Adele’s imagination with tales of trolls, faeries, sea monsters, witches, ghosts, and seals who could change into humans. The landscape of the island fascinated her as moorland hills swept down through green fields to the shores of secluded beaches, where black volcanic rocks might be a troll or a sleeping giant.

Reading the Hobbit at an early age inspired her and in her teens, she turned to Stephen King, James Herbert, Anne Rice, and Storm Constantine to appease a mind hungry to delve into the paranormal. Throughout her life, she never gave up writing but it was an ongoing medical condition which forced her to give up work that began her passion to publish her writing for others to read.

Genres may come and go, but Adele’s writing encompasses a solidity which does not change; the overcoming of obstacles in one’s life, love, death, grief, and pain all infused with those supernatural elements that one sees out the corner of the eye or feels when one is alone in the house at night and a floorboard creaks.

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MY RECOMMENDATION

Adele Marie Park’s newest release, “Wolfe Manor,” is the haunting tale of a young woman born for one purpose, to save humanity—an enormous task for anyone. But, Fianna isn’t just anyone, she’s a guardian.

Wolfe Manor harbors Fianna and her aunts and a circle of friends who promise to assist her in the huge task of shutting the portal to the evil that has found its way into the world. Of course, you know there is dark magic at play. There’s only one problem, in order for Fianna to shut the portal, she must first go through it!

There’s plenty of magic to go around including some evil witches, a demon, and a few totem animals that really made this novel shine. Yet, the real story is witnessing Fianna come into her own personal power to fulfill her destiny.

If you love speculative fiction, paranormal fiction, and stories of women coming to grips with their own power then this is the story for you. I read long into the night, bewitched by the twists and turns in the story. If you think you know the ending, guess again. This was a real page-turner.

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Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a tiny amount from qualifying purchases. If you purchase from the Amazon.com link above, I earn a small commission to fund my reading habit. Amazon will not charge you extra, and you’ll keep me supplied in books that I can review. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Colleen’s Book Reviews

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

Since our move, I’ve read a few books I’d like to share to get caught up on my reviews. I’ll post each one to Amazon, GoodReads, & BookBub.

MY RECOMMENDATION:

The Rise of Gadreel is the third and final book in Vashti Q. Vega’s Fantasy Angel Series.

Using the blackest of magic, Lucifer, a.k.a. Satan figures a way out of his earthly prison by infiltrating a corrupt priesthood. As expected, it isn’t long before a terrible new evil invades the world.

Tired of the fight, Gadreel only wants to repent her past sins and find peace. She seeks God’s forgiveness, regretting her decision to fight alongside Lilith and Lucifer and the other fallen angels. She knows it’s now up to her and Dracúl to fight this new terror and to save humanity.

Along with a trio of extraordinary allies—a man of air, a man of stone, and a woman of fire—at her side, Gadreel finds the courage to defy her past and create a new future for herself and the world.

I’ve loved each book in this series, but Gadreel’s story was the most soul satisfying for me. The writing is riveting, and I read long into the night. The author weaves her magic by combining historical facts from the Dark Ages, along with a few tales from the Bible to create a story like no other.

Written from both the protagonist and antagonist views, the reader glimpses the battle between good and evil first hand—but not for the faint of heart. There were a few parts that made me squirm. Yet, in the end, I was sad to let the characters go. A must read unforgettable series!


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My Recommendation:

I was thrilled to receive The Magician’s Soul: A Paranormal Romance (The Great Dagmaru Book 3) from Linda G. Hill as an advanced reader’s copy. I’ve enjoyed the entire series, and couldn’t wait to see what this third and final installment would bring.

Herman and Stephen have a wedding to plan—that is, if Herman’s recurring nightmares would go away. Her history of prophetic dreams takes the couple on a wild ride.

Herman also has to deal with her father’s alter ego, Mona Lisa, whose character definitely creeped me out. When her cousin Rudy shows up, the couple learns that she’s a succubus who vows to help Herman come to grips with her own bloodline. The only problem is, Rudy is used to taking what she wants and when she sets her sights on Stephen, the book takes off with a bang!

The author weaves in some serious magical aspects into this story that I never guessed or saw coming. Look for Herman’s dreams to connect her and Stephen in new ways. Besides the magic, the actual story is the love shared between Herman and Stephen.

Another book I couldn’t put down! This series is one of the most unusual I’ve read.

My Recommendation:

I received Diversion, Breaking the Pattern #2, as a gift from the author in a Facebook Group contest. P.D. Workman was a new author for me, and even though this is the second book in the series, I had no difficulty following the story line.

Meet Sandy, a teenage prostitute, junkie, and con-artist raised to a life of crime by her own father. Really, all Sandy wants is to be normal. As things continue to grow more dangerous for her, the young woman struggles to come to grips with her life choices.

I was impressed with the writing, and how smoothly Sandy’s tale flowed. The author had to go to great lengths to learn about life on the streets in order to make this story work like it did. The trials and tribulations of Sandy’s life kept me guessing until the end.

If you love stories with strong female protagonists who fail forward to become a better version of themselves, this story will capture your heart. Sandy was an unforgettable character. I lost hours in this book!

My Recommendation:

Since I enjoyed P.D. Workman’s writing from the crime drama above, I tried one of her cozy mysteries, called Gluten Free Murder (Auntie Clem’s Bakery Book 1).

Erin moves back to the small town of Eagle Falls to start up a gluten-free bakery in her aunt’s store after she passed away. Everything is going great until the grand opening when Angela Plaint, the owner of the rival bakery down the street, dies after eating one of Erin’s cupcakes.

Erin becomes the prime suspect in Angela’s death. To make matters worse, even Detective Terry Piper thinks she’s guilty until a series of break-ins at the bakery steer them in another direction.

Small towns are filled with gossip, and Eagle Falls is no different. Soon the rumors about treasure hunting, drug dealing, and a missing boy propel Erin into a mystery she must solve before the actual killer finds her!

If you find your life in turmoil, grab a cozy mystery to pass the time and to forget your woes. This book is FREE, and I found the mystery to be a good read as it remained true to its genre.

To be honest, I preferred the crime drama to the cozy mystery, but you be the judge.

My Recommendation:

This book explores the actual experiences of two friends through letters as they scrutinize the mysteries of ancient Britain’s (Albion) medieval churches. Sue Vincent and Stuart France are the co-authors.

Don and Wen are characters in The Initiate (Triad of Albion Book 1), the first of nine books that tell the full story of what became a true spiritual journey. This book stands alone as a practical guide of how to listen for and to interpret the voice of the living land and its history from a unique perspective.

I enjoyed the relationship between Don and Wen written in the epistolary format. These letters are an intimate glimpse into their friendship and their love for British history. They seek to understand the sacred sites by understanding their purpose.

Ancient symbols are powerful reminders of the ancients who came before us. What better way to seek wisdom than through the churches built during Anglo-Saxon times? The remnants of the Vikings, depicted through Odin’s thunderbolts, the images of the horse and the white horse are only a few of the symbols discussed. It is apparent that Christianity and Paganism crossed many paths.

Through their travels, the two friends open themselves to all that is magical, questioning and seeking wisdom. In their discussions of time, death, and rebirth I found solace. At times, their research led them to more questions which could only be resolved through further esoteric discussions which let to another road trip!

I found the book filled with information, sometimes more than I could digest in one sitting. But it is their knowledge that kept drawing me back to reread sections more than once. I look forward to the second book in Don and Wen’s spiritual quest.

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 If you have your book listed on BookBub, I will add my review there also! Click HERE to follow me! (Colleen M. Chesebro) Let me know in the comments if you follow me so I can follow you!

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I also share my reviews in the Literary Diva’s Library on Facebook. Click HERE to apply for membership.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a tiny amount from qualifying purchases. If you purchase from the Amazon.com link above, I earn a small commission to fund my reading habit. Amazon will not charge you extra, and you’ll keep me supplied in books that I can review. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.