Colleen’s #Book #Reviews: “The Shadows We Breathe, Vol. I,” by Sarah Brentyn, @SarahBrentyn

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

From the Author


Life promises joy and sorrow. Alongside the light, there will always be traces of darkness. It is the nature of being human.

In this anthology of short fiction, we explore relationships—how they sculpt us, hurt us, help us, and reveal our deepest desires.

Eight artists, whose words paint worlds, bring you stories of heartache, loss, hope, and forgiveness. They unveil the intimacy and complexity of relationships.

Whether family, friend, or lover, connections to others can hold us up or break us down.

Within these pages, beautiful words are spun into tales threaded with darkness.

Discover the shadows we breathe.

My Recommendation

“The Shadows We Breathe,” is an anthology of short fiction edited by Sarah Brentyn, which includes contributions of flash fiction from eight talented writers. From the front of the book: “This compilation of stories revolves around the stories of our hopes, dreams, fears, and failures as they shape us through the darkness of our uncertainties, mistakes, and regrets.”

The author states: “The stories in this anthology stay within one theme, yet the authors provide a variety of narratives, voices, and styles. This first volume explores relationships, including encounters with lovers, family, friends, and even strangers. What those experiences mean and how they affect us are much of what this book deals with. Along with traditional bonds, the authors have included connections with memory, addiction, hope, and revenge.”

Divided into three sections, Part 1 shares stories totaling 500 words, Part 2 deals with stories of 50 words, and Part 3 gives us 10 word stories.

From page one onward, I was struck by the sincerity of each story. I identified with so many of the feelings and emotions expressed by the writers that I literally reread the book a second time. This collection was a deeply emotional read for me. I guess I have a few of my own shadows to deal with… who doesn’t?

Flash fiction deals in the brevity of words, but don’t think the messages these stories impart won’t blow you away. Prepare yourself for the shortest of tales. Given one word, the writers created original 10-word tales around the theme of relationships. Almost like haiku or senryu, these micro burst stories will leave you with emotional mind impressions long after you’ve finished reading the book.


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#Fairy #Tarot #Friday ~ December 4, 2020

Welcome to Fairy Tarot Friday. I’m in the middle of packing to move cross-country. So much is changing so quickly. I’ll try to stay in touch. Each Friday I wanted to share a card from the Fairy Tarot deck by Doreen Virtue & Radleigh Valentine, featuring an uplifting message from the fey. I’ll also include a bit of syllabic poetry inspired by the card reading.

The Major Arcana contains 22 cards that describe major events and turning points in our lives (marriage, pregnancy, relationship and career changes, and overcoming personal challenges). The Major Arcana cards also represent the different phases from childhood to old age.

Doreen Virtue numbered the Minor Arcana cards to comprise four suits representing different aspects of human life. They number the Minor Arcana cards 1 (Ace) through 10, plus the four court cards (Princess, Prince, Queen, and King). The Minor Arcana reflects the day-to-day aspects of our lives and the people in them. Court cards represent either a situation or a person during a reading.

The Minor Arcana comprises four suits. In traditional Tarot they are; wands, cups, swords, and coins. In Fairy Tarot, the four suits reflect the seasons: Spring for wands, Summer for cups, Winter for swords, and Autumn for coins. In Angel Tarot, the seasons represent the four elements: fire = spring, water = summer, air = winter, and earth = autumn. Consider these elements in relation to the Fairy Tarot, as well.

The divinatory meanings are given for upright cards only—this tarot is not intended for reversed readings.

Once you get to know the fairies, you’ll see they are strong-willed environmentalists. They get perturbed at people who mistrust animals or the earth. Never lie to a fairy. Instead, help them take care of the planet and other living beings. Do your part. Your actions will richly reward you, and the fairies will encourage you in amazing ways.

Today’s Card

Today’s card is the Two of Summer. When it’s real, you know it! This relationship is one you can count on. Two hearts become one in a beautiful moment of genuine romance. It’s safe to make a commitment and allow yourself to love and be loved! Let yourself rejoice and revel in these heart-fluttering emotions.

Wow… what a great message. We all need to hear this, especially during the busiest time of the year. This year has been like no other, so try to go with the flow. Reflect on the positives and not the negatives. This too shall pass…

Relationships sometimes go through challenges. This isn’t the time to give up. If your partnership is feeling strained, continue to work on it. Love still lives in the hearts of both individuals. Stay in a place of faith.

Look at the image on this card. The male fairy shows his passion for the female by bringing her to a bed of red roses. A waterfall cascades behind them, showing the power of the emotions between the couple.

Additional meanings of this card: Getting engaged. An equal partnership. Forgiveness and resolving a problem. An unexpected gift. An intimate friendship. Ending a disagreement.

“Love and Be Loved,” #Senryu

unexpected gifts—
shy glances between lovers
two hearts become one

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

Silver’s Book Reviews – “Out of the Forest and Into the City,” By Helena Smole

  • Title:  Out of the Forest and into the City: A Fantasy Novel (Vivvy and Izzy the Dwarf: A Series About Relationships Book 1)
  • Author: Helena Smole
  • File Size: 1046 KB
  • Print Length: 120 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  • Publisher: Domen Smole
  • Publication Date: 1 edition (April 4, 2015)
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00VP47OOA
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Women’s Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

    *The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

Izzy the Dwarf works for the circus. He is a kindly soul, one who looks out for the needs of others. Like many humans who work, Izzy has a boss that is difficult to get along with. All the boss seems to worry about is money. He even neglects the needs of others – especially his secretary, Miss Catherine who suffers from a stuttering malady.

A compassionate person, Izzy takes it upon himself to help Miss Catherine stop stuttering. He discovers that when she sings she does not stammer. After a brief visit to Central Park where Izzy has a telepathic visit with the Wizard of Singing from the Wood of Aquarius, he is able to sing melodies, just as the boss wanted him to. In no time at all, Izzy has instituted a Sunday singing session at the circus to help Miss Catherine.

During one of these singing sessions, Izzy meets Vivvy, a lovely girl who used to sing in a choir. The boss loves Vivvy’s singing and she is hired to sing with Izzy each Sunday. The two develop a friendship and Izzy realizes that Vivvy is the first human he has ever known in any great depth. It is no surprise then when Vivvy meets Felix and they fall madly in love, all with the blessings of Izzy, of course.

This is a fairy tale within a fairy tale. Vivvy and Izzy go through the normal ups and downs of a relationship. The difference is that Izzy the Dwarf through his friendship with Vivvy helps the couple understand themselves and their relationship. Isn’t that what friends are for?


This is one of the most unusual approaches I have seen in the writing of a fantasy romance novel. Izzy, the Dwarf has access to many magical interventions that he could have used to assist the couple in their life journey. Instead, he consults with the wizards and turns that advice around to where the couple must figure out their issues on their own. Vivvy and Felix are on a journey of self-discovery. They are forced to come to grips with their childhood, how they feel about each other, and even their friendship with Izzy.

My favorite part of the book is when Vivvy acknowledges her feelings for Izzy and the friendship that he gives her. It is at that moment that Izzy realizes the importance of listening and being there for someone. He now knows that friendship is more important than all the wisdom found in the world. It turns out Izzy was on a self-discovery journey of his own.

This was a sweet engaging love story. I found it to be a bit predictable but that did not deter from my enjoyment in reading about Vivvy and Felix as their relationship unfolded. I enjoyed Izzy’s part in the story and actually liked that he did not use magic on the couple. It made it seem more realistic that the couple had to figure things out for themselves. It made them human.

If you are looking for a fun and different kind of romance story with a fantasy twist, you will love “Out of the Forest and Into the City.” It is a delightful romp into relationships and learning to love yourself and others.

Character Believability: 4
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 4
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 4
Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars

About Helena Smole:

Helena Smole abandoned her career as a scientific researcher and decided to dedicate her life to writing. In her first book, Balancing the Beast, she describes how she learned to maintain her mental health. Thereafter, she continued by writing novels. She has also authored over 170 analytical blogs on maintaining one’s emotional and mental balance, which can be read at

Make certain to connect with (author) through her Twitter @helenasmole and Facebook at Helena Smole.

Thanks for stopping by today to meet Helena. We actually found each other on ReadWave while admiring each other’s writing. Just goes to show you that fabulous writers are everywhere! Just to let you know… ReadWave has gone from a free to a paid format. Click here to find out more information.