Colleen’s #Book #Reviews: “The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Eight: Rare Birds: A Biographical Fiction” by Lorinda J. Taylor, @TermiteWriter

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From the Author

First contact has taken place and the occupants of the alien ship are giant Birds. While nothing could make Capt. Robbin Nikalishin happier, the Ariana remains marooned on a moon in the Epsilon Eridani system and is running out of oxygen. The crew works furiously to learn how to communicate with the extraterrestrials (the most important element of a first contact), but not all the denizens of the Ariana are as pleased with the situation as Capt. Robbie is. Ian Glencrosse has failed in his attempt to sacrifice himself to save the mission and he remains convinced the death of everyone aboard is imminent. Meanwhile, another member of the mission devises a more ominous plan to “save” Earth from destruction by feathered monsters.

If the Phenix Mission is to make it back to Earth and set in motion that planet’s role in the wider universe, these avian extraterrestrials must be willing to come to the aid of the human aliens – or will they simply fly away and leave them to die?

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My Recommendation

“The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Eight: Rare Birds,” is the eighth book in this series of The Man Who Found Birds Among the Stars series by Lorinda J. Taylor.  I have read and reviewed part one, “Eagle Ascendant,” HERE and part two, “Wounded Eagle” HERE and part three, “Bird of Prey,” HERE, part four, “Survivor,” HERE, part five, “Phoenix Rises,” HERE, and part six, “Merlin,” HERE; and part seven, “Fifth Island in the River,” HERE.

We left off in part seven, with the crew in dire straights. The tension cranked up to a fever pitch when a section of the engine failed. I couldn’t stop reading. These characters had become real to me, and I needed to know if they would survive their ordeal.

Now, in book eight, the crew is still alive, and we meet the extraterrestrials themselves. The intelligent birds are Captain Robbie’s only hope of returning to Earth. Learning how to communicate with this new species becomes the prime focus of the book.

The author is a constructed language enthusiast (conlanger, for short). Within these pages, she’s created an alien language, symbols and all, for this new bird species, which gives the book an entirely different feel from anything I’ve ever read. It makes sense, though. If you meet aliens, you have to figure out how to communicate with them. Most scenes revolve around communication between the species. The detail is astonishing!

There are plenty of humorous moments between the birds and humans as they learn to grasp each other’s languages. Taylor skillfully bridges the differences between the species by presenting the alien characters with almost human traits, which the reader comes to love as much as their human counterparts. There are several tense moments with the right amount of tension to move the plot forward.

I’m an enormous fan of this author and her books. She excels at first contact scenarios and I know this book in the series will not disappoint. I suspect there will be a book nine and that it comes out soon, but then, I was hooked on Captain Robbie’s story long ago.

Here is another series by Lorinda J. Taylor that I’ve enjoyed:

Colleen’s #Book #Reviews – “The Termite Queen: The Speaking of the Dead, Vol. I,” by Author, @TermiteWriter

Title:  The Termite Queen: Volume 1, The Speaking of the Dead Author: Lorinda J. Taylor File Size: 998 KB Print Length: 404 Pages Publisher: Self Published by the Author Publication Date: January 2, 2014 Sold By: Amazon Digital Services LLC Language: English ASIN: B007RFYSWC Formats: Paperback and Kindle Goodreads Genres: Literary Fiction, Science Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy *I won a copy of Volume I and II of… More

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Colleen’s #Book #Reviews: “Life is Like a Mosaic,” by Sally Cronin @sgc58

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Welcome to my weekly book review. This week, I had the privilege of reading Sally Cronin’s newest release!

From the Author:

“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” Arthur Brisbane 1911.

An image offers an opportunity to see endless possibilities depending on the viewer’s perspective. Where some might see beauty and joy, others imagine sadness and loss of hope.

In this collection, images and syllabic poetry are brought together to tell a story based on the author’s perspective. The poetry explores our human experiences such as love, happiness, hope, aging, friendship, new beginnings, dreams, and loss.

The world around us is an amazing playground and source of all our essential needs as well as sensory experiences that bring wonder into our lives. What lies beyond the horizon? What surprises will we discover as a garden bursts into bloom? Where do the night creatures live?

At the end of the collection, there are some longer poems celebrating memories of the author’s life of travel, teenage exploits, and love of food!

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Writer and blogger, (and I would add “POET” to that list), Sally Cronin, has compiled a stunning collection of syllabic and freestyle poetry in her newest book. Cronin says, “my intention was to share aspects of life and nature that we experience on a daily basis, but also can sometimes catch us by surprise.”

Through images and poetry, the author invites the reader along on a delightful journey filled with wonder and awe. Each piece begins with an image that delivers the first meaning. However, it is when you read the poetry that accompanies the photo that you discover a more meaningful interpretation from the combination of the two. Therein lies the surprise!

Nothing is mundane to this author. What looks like a bit of fishing gear washed up on a beach finds new meaning in the poem Washed Up, “where even the sea’s rejects provide us with beauty.”

Cronin explores the human condition with love, understanding, and humor. Some of my favorite verses were the rhyming prose poems that unfolded like stories sharing the author’s childhood memories growing up in Ceylon. Another favorite was called Farewell to Colourful Friends, which had me howling with laughter. All women of a certain age will completely understand.

Many thanks to the author for gifting me a pre-release copy of this book. I enjoyed the poetry so much; I had to share my thoughts with everyone.

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Colleen’s Book Reviews – “Slivers: Chiseled Poetry,” @BalroopShado

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Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

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From the Author:

“When I stumbled upon haiku, a Japanese form of poetry, I scoffed it away, thinking it to be too short and easy to write. My hubris got a setback when I was challenged to write it! My earlier efforts show how I struggled with the syllables that could convey a meaningful message. Slowly I discovered this art form, which I revere now. I’ve taken some liberties with the rules, though. The poetry in this collection is not traditional haiku and tanka but inspired by them. This collection focuses on micro-poetry, inspired by haiku, senryu, tanka, and acrostic poems. Brevity and discipline is the hallmark of these poems.”

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“Slivers: Chiseled Poetry” is a delightful mix of haiku-inspired poetry that dances to its own tune. Balroop Singh expertly throws the syllable counts out the window and embraces a creative mix of micro and acrostic poetry. The result is the kind of poetry that stirs emotions invoked by rich imagery that touches the hearts of readers.

Singh’s poetry leans into nature, sharing the beauty of the world around her. Through her words, the magic in the world becomes clearer.

I’ll share one of the many favorites from this collection:

look beyond the rocks
to explore what lies in them—
mysterious portals 

© Balroop Singh

Included in the book are photographs with poetry reminiscent of the Japanese haiga. I found the photographic poetry to be deeply personal as the author shared her visual world through poetic art.

I was honored to receive a pre-release copy of this book from the author as a gift, which in no way affected my review. This is the perfect Sunday read!

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Colleen’s Book Reviews: “Matilda Windsor is Coming Home,” @Annecdotist

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“Matilda Windsor is Coming Home,” by Anne Goodwin

“In the dying days of the old asylums, three paths intersect. A brother and sister separated for fifty years and the idealistic young social worker who tries to reunite them. Will truth prevail over bigotry, or will the buried secret keep family apart? Told with compassion and humour, Anne Goodwin’s third novel is a poignant, compelling and brilliantly authentic portrayal of asylum life, with a quirky protagonist you won’t easily forget. Published by Inspired Quill.”

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“Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home” is a poignant reminder of what life was like in a mental asylum in the UK when the policy shifted from institutionalization toward the assimilation of patients back into community living. Even more interesting is the character of Matty Osborne. The story crosses, weaves, and intersects in the lives of Matty, her brother, Henry, and Janice, Matty’s social worker.

Not sure about accepting the position, Janice accepts after meeting with Matty in the Institution. The intention of the medical staff is to move the patients to a more suitable living environment. The older lady intrigues her, and Janice wants to help find Matty’s family. There are some interesting connections between Matty and Janice, who was adopted as a baby.

Henry, the brother, still lives in the family home. He’s in a relationship with a married woman, yet remains obsessed with why Matty left all those long years before. He stays in the home because he hopes one day, his beloved sister will return.

But it is Matty that steals your heart. She narrates some of the story hinting at some of the horrifying details of rape and incest by her step-father. The cruelness of the man doesn’t end there, and Matty finds herself institutionalized. Trauma does strange things to a person, and Matty retreats into a delusional world. Matty spends fifty years in the asylum. Her story chilled me to the bone.

In the asylum, Matty still believes World War II is carrying on. She assumes she is a fine lady attended by many servants. In reality, these are her nurses and medical personnel. Interestingly, she supposes the rest of the patients are people she is helping by providing shelter to those homeless from the war.

The story is fascinating and horrifying, at the same time. Anne Goodwin uses her years as a clinical psychologist to weave realistic characters and situations you will not easily forget. Her attention to detail makes her writing shine. I can’t imagine anyone reading this book and not being moved by the characters. They draw you in and won’t let you go!

I doubt Matty will come out of her protective shell enough to assimilate back into society. But like they say, time will tell. If the title of the book is a sign, there is hope for Matty. The rest of the story will reveal itself in the sequel. I can’t wait to find out if my intuition is correct!

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Colleen’s Book Reviews

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

I’m still playing catch-up with book reviews. These are a few of the books I’ve been reading the last couple of months. I’m sure you will find something that will catch your fancy!

“Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries,” by Sally Cronin

Short story and poetry anthologies are all the rage now, and Sally Cronin’s “Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries” does not disappoint. This eclectic mix takes the reader through a gambit of feelings that revolve around the themes of love, loss, humor, revenge, and life’s second chances.

A few of these tales brought tears to my eyes, such as “Long Lost Love,” which tells the story of Tom and Elaine, a pregnancy, and a visit from beyond the grave. However, the poetry is as exceptional as the short stories. The butterfly cinquain, “Ritual of Mehndi,” shares a glimpse into the traditional wedding custom of painting symbols in henna on the bride’s hands.

This author is known for an empathetic approach to her writing. She writes what she senses, sharing the ups and downs of her characters with love and compassion. A true storyteller, Sally Cronin’s stories will leave you wanting more feel-good moments.

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“Voices (in the Trash),” by Frank Prem

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Frank Prem lends his photographic talent to this picture poetry book by featuring photographs from the trash and treasure markets from around Australia. The author asks us, “What if these items could talk?”

What follows is a unique poetic perspective as he listens to the plaintive voices in the trash. He pens his poetry accordingly. All objects are worthy of a voice, in his eyes.

This was a lovely and creative endeavor. If you’re looking for something different to read and inspire, this is the book for you.

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“Endangered Spells,” Book 5 of 7, Witches Academy, by S. R. Mallery

“Endangered Spells,” leads the reader into a world of contemporary witchcraft with an unexpected link back in history to the Salem Witch Trials. Gillian is a young witch who denies her powers because of something that happened in her past.

When her best friend, Rebecca suddenly disappears, Gillian knows something terrible has occurred. The police aren’t working fast enough, and Gillian realizes that she may well have to use witchcraft to solve this heinous crime.

The mystery spirals out of control when two more of Gillian’s journalist friends are murdered. The young witch takes matters into her own hands and uncovers some deep secrets related to her past.

Meanwhile, one of the detectives on the case realizes that he is in love with Gillian. Witches and humans don’t usually mix, but nothing is as it seems in this fast-paced mystery.

This was a fun read. Gillian’s family pet, a cockatoo, steals the show! There’s something here for everyone: love, romance, humor, and murder. The perfect combination for a cozy mystery!

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“Delilah Astral Investigator Infinity Series: Episode 2, The Boy Who Would Be King,” by Deborah A. Bowman

Delilah Sanchez, her amazing cat, Mollie, and the 1774 American Colonial Lord Bartholomew Darnesworth Wharton, III, (Bartie) are back for another time travel adventure. This time, the threesome travel back to the year, 1502, the day before Prince Arthur Tudor’s death.

No one understands how or why they were chosen to intervene in the events unfolding before them. All they know is that this one change can ripple through time changing the present. After a series of Astral projections, Bartie and Delilah fear that the war they are witnessing would evolve into World War III in their reality. They believe they are the guardians, entrusted with saving their world. How do you save the past and the future at the same time?

Bartie is forced to make some hard choices. But now, he carries the guilt from those decisions. He’s fallen hard for Delilah. How does he tell her the truth of what really happened?

The author combines YA fantasy, history, and a bit of romance to create an exciting time travel novel. This is the second book in the series, and to maintain the character background I would start with the first novel, “Episode One, The Boy and the Shopkeeper: Delilah, Astral Investigator Infinity Series.”

This fast-paced adventure will keep you up long into the night!

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Colleen’s Book Reviews: “Sugar and Snails,” by Anne Goodwin, @Annecdotist

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At fifteen, she made a life-changing decision. Thirty years on, it’s time to make another.

When Diana escaped her misfit childhood, she thought she’d chosen the easier path. But the past lingers on, etched beneath her skin, and life won’t be worth living if her secret gets out.

As an adult, she’s kept other people at a distance… until Simon sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, the city that transformed her life. She’ll lose Simon if she doesn’t join him. She’ll lose herself if she does.

Sugar and Snails describes Diana’s unusual journey, revealing the scars from her fight to be true to herself. A triumphant mid-life coming-of-age story about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.

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My Recommendation

Diana, a shy and reserved middle-aged professor, enters into a relationship with the recently divorced Simon. This relationship causes her to rethink her past and her future in ways she never imagined. She realizes things can’t go on the way they are. If she wants a normal life with Simon, she must resolve the guilt she carries from her childhood.

This midlife crisis propels the woman on a journey of self-discovery. At fifteen, Diana and her parents made a decision that changed her life forever. Now, she has to deal with the reality of that mysterious trip to Cairo all those long years ago.

Diana’s past remained a secret, and not even her closest friends knew the truth. To make matters worse, this guilt eventually cripples her as an individual. She is reclusive and painfully shy.

By the time her secret is revealed, I found myself speechless, as I’d never fully guessed the true nature of her mystery. But this story isn’t about the mystery so much as it is about Diana and how she deals with the past so that can move on with her future. In the end, Simon didn’t matter. But Diana’s relationship with Simon was the mechanism that forced her to come to grips with the past.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Anne Goodwin, but it won’t be the last. I stayed up late into the night enthralled by the writing, and with Diana’s character. This is an unusual coming of age tale, even though the protagonist is middle-aged. Some themes in this book deal with sexuality, self-harm, and identity. This is a must-read for anyone who ever felt different as a child or misunderstood!

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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

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

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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.