December Book Reviews (Part Two)

According to my new blogging schedule developed by my muse, today I’m supposed to share a blog post from our community that made me marvel, laugh, cry, cheer, or gasp at its beauty. But… I HAVE to share the rest of my December reviews of blogger books before any more time flies by.

December’s second bunch of reviews includes my 5-star reads of a memoir, a poetry collection, a paranormal fantasy, a military thriller, and an anthology of short crime stories.

Click on the covers for Amazon global links.

*****

Fifteen First Times: Beginnings: A Collection of Indelible Firsts by D.G. Kaye

Kaye’s memoir Fifteen First Times reads like a conversation over a glass of wine with a bunch of besties. As I was reading, I could imagine the groans, laughter, and tender moments many women share in common as they navigate their teens and young adulthood—first kiss, first love, first car, a broken heart, the angst of menstruation, the first hair coloring disaster, and the first death that woke us up to the impermanence of life. Fifteen firsts.

I couldn’t relate to all of Kaye’s experiences. I never had a thing about shoes, for example, and didn’t have the privilege of travel, but I could relate very well to the journey of self-discovery, to struggles with self-esteem, and to finding a home within ourselves.

What struck me the most about Kaye’s recollections is how humor and a bold, flamboyant approach to life helped her overcome challenges and become the confident woman she is today. She ends the memoir by highlighting the importance of laughter in her life and in her relationship with her late husband. It’s a touching thread that connects her memories and heartfelt conclusion to her book of firsts. An entertaining two-hour read, highly recommended to fans of memoirs. (Kindle Unlimited.)

*****

The Sheltering by Khaya Ronkainen

At the end of Ronkainen’s book of poetry, she shares a poetic piece of prose entitled “All I hope to say.” It’s a beautiful reflection on her reason for writing poetry – to record her life and grief, to let future generations know that this too shall pass, and to preserve beauty and create. It’s a lovely summation of her collection.

The book reads like a chronological story, beginning with the Covid years, moving through the death of loved ones and friends, and then into the current war. It’s poignant and full of the pain of grief and loss and the stress of living in a troubled world. The title “The Sheltering” felt appropriate, suggesting both the act of isolating and retreating, but also as a means of self-care and contemplation.

The poetry finally, quietly, and gracefully emerges back into nature’s sunlight, tentatively testing life’s waters. I felt the poet’s renewal and healing, and breathed the fresh air captured in one of her final poems:

Static Apnoea

Astonished I froze, facing a whale.
Eyes adjusted and focused, I became
nervous, for I came without a song.
Eyes adjusted and focused, she gave
me a gentle prod, lifted her head above
water to suck air through a blowhole.
She was showing me how to breathe.

This is a heartfelt and beautiful collection of about sixty free-form poems that I read over several days. Highly recommended.

*****

Shadow Walker (Shadow Walker #1) by Jina S. Bazzar

Melaina has a secret—her affinity (magic ability) is forbidden. She’s a shadow walker, capable of drawing the shadows around her and turning into a winged beast. Fearful of discovery, she tries to live a normal life by avoiding the nine magic houses that wield immense power and wealth. To support her aunt and brother, she worked as a thief, but now she has a chance at a real job. Only it turns out that the job is her worst nightmare. One of the houses wants her to steal from the others. If she fails, her aunt and brother will pay the price.

This isn’t the first series that I’ve read from this author and like her others, it’s got a deeply imagined world, a complex and fast-paced plot, and some kick-ass characters, particularly the main character. Bazzar’s female leads are all tough, skilled, and smart, and Melaina is no exception. While she has a conscience and big heart, she doesn’t back down from a confrontation.

There are a fair number of characters in the novel, but they aren’t hard to keep straight, especially the secondary characters who are fully developed with distinct personalities. Their relationships with Melaina are interesting, and I’m curious about where they’ll go. The book is not a standalone, and it ends without a great deal of resolution, but the series is complete, so readers don’t have to wait. Highly recommended to urban fantasy readers who enjoy complex plots and strong female leads. (Kindle Unlimited.)

*****

The Culmination: a new beginning by Gwen M. Plano

Just like the 2nd book in this series, this one (the 3rd) starts where the last left off. Admiral Joseph Parker and his soulmate, Julie underwood, have been shot and are recuperating in the hospital. Their lives are still at risk as their team’s efforts start zeroing in on a secret cabal working to destabilize the world with an assassination and nuclear missile launch.

At the 20% mark, the book makes a dramatic shift to the world theater. New main characters, primarily the US Vice President Margaret Adler and the Russian Prime Minister Ivan Smirnov take center stage. A meeting of world leaders to address nuclear arsenal reductions ends with a tenuous alliance, an unexpected romance, plans to address Syria, and a worldwide threat to peace.

World politics, including military strategies and governmental negotiations, continue through the end of the book. Cajoling and strong-arming are balanced by logic, honor, and an altruistic desire to do the right thing. This read made me long for this fictional world where most political choices aren’t tied to greed and power.

The strong romantic subplot breaks up the fast-paced narrative and political/military action. The characters are engaging, smart, and resourceful, and perhaps a little too good to be true. It was interesting to see what might happen if the US, Russia, and the Middle East could cooperate with each other with the best interests of the world in mind. Highly recommended to fans of political thrillers.

*****

Undercover: Crime Shorts by Jane Risdon

I read this collection of six short stories (and an extract from the author’s book) in a little over 2 hours and found it highly engaging. Each story centers on a crime—theft, murder, revenge—most premeditated, some accidental or imaginary. And few criminals get caught, at least not by the police.

The stories are all unique with well-developed characters, great suspense, and satisfying conclusions. A few of my favorites were “Murder by Christmas” with its twisted plot, “The Honey Trap” for riling me up, and “The Look” which satisfied my desire for revenge after “The Honey Trap.” Lol. A highly recommended anthology for fans of crime and suspense stories.

And a 2022 Reading Round-up!

My 2022 Goodreads Challenge results. I love browsing the covers and remembering a year filled with great reads.

I think that’s all of them! Happy Reading in 2023!

November Book Reviews (Part Two)

Wishing you all a wonderful winter as we head toward the solstice and the return of the light. I’m finishing off autumn with more books and reviews from November! I hope you find a few to enjoy over the holidays.

To all my blogger friends in the southern hemisphere… have a wonderful start to your summer, and I hope you find some beach reads!

November’s reviews (part two) include my 4 and 5-star reads of a romance/thriller mash-up, paranormal short stories, fantasy, and a children’s book.

Click on the covers for Amazon global links.

*****

Secrets, Lies & Alibis (Wounded Hearts, Book 8) by Jacquie Biggar

I can’t believe I’ve finished Book 8 of the Wounded Hearts romance/thriller series. Now that I’m caught up, I’m ready for Book 9 whenever it hits the press. Each of the books features one member of a Seal team that’s returned to civilian life. They’re a close-knit group and characters overlap as they need each other’s help.

In this book, the focus is Adam, who now works for the DEA, and his ex-boss/ex-lover Amanda, who took a demotion and transfer because she’s pregnant. She’s working behind the scenes to wrap up a big drug case, and the cartel would like to see her eliminated. Adam has a new perky partner and is following leads. As things heat up, they all end up in Texas where Adam will risk his life to close the case, and Amanda will have one big surprise to share with him.

The plot holds together well and the characters are distinct and consistent. Though the books can easily be read as stand-alones, I liked reading them in order, tracking the course of the over-arching investigation, and learning how the familiar characters’ lives are going. The book has plenty of romantic drama, but it’s evenly balanced with action and danger, which kept me flipping pages. I read this 2-hour story in one sitting. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy romance/action mash-ups and getting to know characters over a long series. (Kindle Unlimited.)

*****

The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones

In this stand-alone fantasy, Mer is in hiding. She’s the last of the water diviners who once served the realm’s cruel prince. He used her skills to find the wells of his enemies, which he poisoned, killing hundreds of men, women, and children. On the verge of capture, she’s rescued by Renfrew, her handler while in the realm’s employ. No longer beholden to the prince, Renfrew enlists her in a daring heist of treasure that will guarantee her freedom and a comfortable life. How can she resist?

The heist requires assembling a team to destroy the wellspring that protects the prince’s land and where untold treasure is hidden. The journey and magical traps provide plenty of danger, but even more compelling were the secrets and hidden agendas of each character who joins the party.

I particularly liked Mer and Fane, the cursed fighter enlisted to kill the magical boar that protects the wellspring. Their distrust of each other is balanced by their tenuous loyalty. There are hints of a romance that can never be, and that possibility kept me rooting for them. Renfrew and Ifanna, a master thief, were the most distinct and interesting of the secondary characters.

The pace moves along, and there are twists and surprises throughout. The plot tracks well, and the magic was engaging. I’d definitely read more of this author’s work. Highly recommended to fantasy readers.

*****

The Christmas Bird by Robbie Cheadle

After the family dogs destroy a bird’s nest, Stella and her younger sisters discover a surviving Hoopoe chick that they take into their care and raise in a basket. As the bird grows, the sisters must come to grips with the nature of the bird to fly free and start a family of its own. What feels, at first, like a loss becomes a celebration.

Themes of kindness and honoring nature and wild creatures take the forefront of this gentle novelette. The pace moves well and the characters are endearing. In style, the story reminded me of Laura Ingalls’s Little House on the Prairie books. Under an hour’s read, it’s appropriate for young children and middle-grade readers. Highly recommended. (Kindle Unlimited.)

*****

The Raven Spell (Book 1) by Luanne G. Smith

I enjoyed the lyrical writing and wonderful world-building of Smith’s The Vine Witch and was delighted to discover Book One of a completed duology. It’s fantasy and magical realism, the story taking place in 19th century London, where witches and magic are an accepted part of society.

Edwina and her sister Mary are witches who scour the riverbanks for trinkets that they sell in their shop. Mary also collects “corpse lights” the vibrant, shining memories of the newly deceased. Her fetish takes her to hospitals and morgues, as well as to scenes of murder.

When she takes the memories of a private investigator (Ian) who ends up surviving his attack, Edwina attempts to restore them, setting off an investigation that entangles both sisters in a mysterious disappearance and a string of murders.

I enjoyed everything about this book – the solid plot, the quick pace, the twists and slow reveals. The magic is great fun and includes some comic relief provided by a small hairy hearth elf who’s aligned with Ian. There’s also danger and tragedy and a touch of romance. The characters had me rooting for them, particularly Edwina who has some difficult truths to face.

I’m eager to dive into Book Two. Highly recommended to readers of fantasy and magical realism who love beautiful writing. (Kindle Unlimited).

(Note: I did read Book 2, The Raven Song, but struggled with it. My review is here: Something to consider if you’re interested in Book 1.)

*****

The Last Sun Born by Kate Frantz

In a land where only those born beneath the moon are allowed to live, Lewel enters the world during the day. Her infant life is spared at great risk, for with the sun-born comes a dark force called the Absence, capable of destroying the kingdom. And only she can kill it, a battle that may very well demand her life.

Veigo, the king-in-waiting, and his advisor Marrlen, an old woman with the power to cast magic, know the truth of her birth and begin training Lewel to face the Absence. Veigo and Marrlen grow fond of her, and she of them, but intrigue and deception and hatred of her kind run rampant. As a reader, I didn’t know who to trust.

The world-building in this book shines, and I liked the concept of the Absence – the evil twin of the sun born. The characters were complex and nuanced. Lewel and Veigo had fully realized personalities, and their relationship felt genuine to me. I particularly appreciated the way Veigo struggled with his feelings toward Lewel and his duty to the kingdom.

The pace moves along, and the magical elements worked well with the plot. From the description, there’s no indication that there will be a second book, but this one ends on a huge cliffhanger with very few plot lines resolved, so I think it’s a good guess. I suspect it will be worth the read. (Kindle Unlimited.)

*****

Hildie: At the Ghost Shore by Paula Cappa

This 15-minute read includes two short stories: “Hildie” and “Abasteron House.” I thoroughly enjoyed both haunting stories and wanted more of this author’s work the moment I finished. The prose is beautiful and atmospheric, exactly the kind of writing I enjoy.

“Hildie” is a mesmerizing and magical tale with a folklore feel to it. Hildie is a young woman who reads runes, and one day an old man comes seeking information about his daughter. The end is a touching surprise.

“Abasteron House” is where Davida lives with her grandfather. Each day, he walks the dunes alone, his vision peopled with angels that she can’t see. When he dies, she takes over the house and meets his dream people, and they aren’t what she expected.

Highly recommended for dark fantasy and speculative fiction readers looking to fill a few minutes with beautifully written and riveting stories

*****

Between the Darkness and the Dawn by Paula Cappa

In this beautifully written short story, Edward Fane is an employee of the Institute of Perceptual Studies, and he’s traveled to Massachusetts with his instruments to measure ley lines that connect past and future realms. He books a tour of an old manse once inhabited by Nathanial Hawthorne but it’s what he feels as he gazes through the window on the Old North Bridge that captures his attention. On that bridge, he meets the past, and though Nathaniel warns him away from his pursuits, can he forget the lovely woman he meets there? Highly recommended to fans of short stories who enjoy atmospheric writing, and haunting tales.

*****

Happy Reading!

Gratefulness, Book Tour, and Winners!

November has been a difficult month. While my book tour continued with its final few stops, my private life was focused on my mother’s failing health, letting her know in myriad ways how much I love her, and saying goodbye. She passed peacefully in the evening after my tour ended.

Some bloggers may wonder why I continued with a book tour when my time with my mother was running out. Honestly, replying to comments only took minutes, and I needed small breaks to gather myself and step outside my growing grief. But there was another reason…

The kindness of this blogging community meant the world to me when I needed it most. Your comments were about a book, yes, but the repeated visits to my tour, the tireless commitment of your time, and your generous support transcended anything so mundane. Though most of us have never met in person, I felt your real-life friendship as if you stood by my side. I’m so grateful.

Now for a little fun

The two-month-long book tour is over. Yay!

You’re probably sick of me and my book, but I needed to take a little more blog space to say thank you (again) to all my hosts, to all the bloggers who took the time to visit the posts, to all the readers who picked up the book, and the kind souls who shared reviews.

I hope that you also found some new blogs to follow and some amazing new books to read! If I’ve stuffed your new year with books, I’ve done my job.

Free Book Trailer

As a thank you for hosting me, I offered to put my 28 hosts’ names in a drawing for a Diana-made book trailer. And the winner of a free book trailer is:

Noelle Granger from Sailing Away

$50 Amazon Gift Card Drawing

Every time a visitor left a comment at one of my tour stops, I recorded their name for a drawing for a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Anyone who commented on multiple posts earned multiple entries.

In total, there were 794 visitors who left 4,133 comments on my hosts’ 28 posts. Phew!

I collected all the names in Excel, snipped them into tiny slips of paper (for two hours), and crumpled them into a jar. For a $50 Amazon gift card, the winner is:

Colleen Chesebro from WordCraft Poetry

***

Congrats to Noelle and Colleen. I’ll be in touch with you both shortly!

Thanks again to everyone in our wonderful village for making this writer’s journey a pure pleasure.

One Final Writing Truth… #1

The Necromancer’s Daughter Book Tour: Day 28 (Last Stop!)

Welcome to Day 28 of The Necromancer’s Daughter’s Book Tour!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by along the way. I hope you’ve enjoyed:

~ My favorite books from my hosts’ lists, along with my reviews.

~ Something from or about The Necromancer’s Daughter.

~ Leave a comment on any of my hosts’ sites, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The more tour sites, the more entries!

Day 28, the End of the Line!

D. G. Kaye’s Blog: D. G. Kaye Writer

Debby’s blog is a writer’s resource that occasionally ventures into the happenings in her life. She shares reviews, writer interviews, links to writing tips from all over the blogosphere, and some of her own poetry. Debby is a regular contributor to Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog with a variety of features from travel tips to her more recent discussion of spiritual awareness and personal growth.

Debby writes memoirs about different aspects of her life. From the conflicted relationships she navigated as a child to her journey of self-discovery, to the challenges of aging with those we love. From travel tips to the trials of menopause. Some are hilarious and some are poignant, and all are rich with advice for others facing similar situations.

Since losing the love of her life, Debby’s begun a series of podcasts on the topic of grief. As a previous grief counselor, I can say without hesitation that her podcasts are insightful, honest, moving, and full of gentle wisdom. Anyone interested in learning more about the human journey through grief can start here: Grief, the Real Talk, Episode One.

I’ve read all of Debby’s books. Here’s one of my reviews:

Twenty Years: After “I Do.”

My Review: Twenty years after her vows, author D. G. Kaye, looks back at the lessons learned about love, commitment, and aging. Kaye married a man twenty years her senior, already 58 at the time, and asked him for twenty years (at least) – thus the title of the book.

In a way, this memoir is a tribute to the man she dearly loves, a fact that comes through loud and clear. But it’s also about her journey as a partner, about the hurdles, insights, and growth along the way.

“In sickness and in health” is a major theme as bodies bend to the inevitable challenges of aging. Kaye shares her emotions and thoughts regarding her husband’s illnesses, but also some wisdom about preventative care, advocacy, and the adjustments needed to continue living a full life.

This is a poignant read to be sure, but full of practical advice too about laughter, travel, sex, communication, and preparation for the end of life. Most of all, it’s a memoir about love. An evening’s read and highly recommended.

***

If you have a chance, head on over to join The Necromancer’s Daughter tour at Debby’s blog: D. G. Kaye Writer.

*

Thank you!

The Necromancer’s Daughter Book Tour: Day 27 (one more stop to go)

Welcome to Day 27 of The Necromancer’s Daughter’s Book Tour!

I hope you enjoy:

~ My favorite book from my host’s list, along with my review.

~ Something from or about The Necromancer’s Daughter (follow the link below).

~ Leave a comment on my hosts’ sites, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The more tour sites, the more entries!

Day 27, here we go!

Noelle Granger’s Blog: Sailing Away

Noelle’s blog is all about books. She shares book reviews as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team as well as from her other reading interests. Her blog is also a place to learn about new releases, catch a short story, or get a glimpse of the goings-on in her life. She shares some extraordinary and fascinating research into the life of the Pilgrims, which resulted in her book: The Last Pilgrim.

I’ve read all of Noelle’s ebooks, which started with the Rhe Brewster murder mysteries series. They were great fun, and I heard there’s another one on the way! As noted above, her interest in colonial New England resulted in a historical fiction novel. Can you imagine my surprise when one of my notorious Peach ancestors got a mention in the book!

The Last Pilgrim by Noelle Granger

My Review: I just finished this amazing historical fiction, and despite its length (458 pages) I clung to every word. The story chronicles the true events of the Pilgrims’ journey to the New World in 1620, and then continues through 80+ years as the colony struggles for survival and contributes to the growth of a nation. The author deftly weaves two narrative threads from beginning to end: the historical events of the times, and the personal lives of those who lived them, as seen through the eyes of Mary Cushman.

One thread, about 50% of the narrative, focuses on the politics of the time—conflicts between the venture’s investors and the colony, friendships and wars with the Native Americans, and problems with governance, both civil and religious. This is primarily narrated through the eagerly prying ears of Mary Cushman whose family(s) are leaders in the Plymouth colony.

The other 50% of the narrative is Mary’s personal story of growth into a pioneer woman, wife, mother, and grandmother. Mary is 4 years old at the crossing and the book ends when she’s in her eighties. The story is told initially from the perspective of Isaac Allerton, her father, and then gradually shifts to Mary’s point of view alone.

One thing I found enthralling was how “true to the time period” she was in her thoughts and actions while at the same time demonstrating her innate intelligence and will. She’s a lively character, and the connection to her was instantaneous. All of the characters are 3-dimensional and beautifully written, and the themes of friendship, loyalty, faith, love, loss, and family are no different than today.

The author’s research was clearly extensive—of both the actual events and politics of the time but also of the daily lives of men, women, and children. Wonderful details brought the story to life, transporting me smack into the 1600s. This isn’t a glorified tale of colonization. The events are conveyed through the lens of those who made choices for the colony and their families. Some are disturbing to our modern sensibilities, but I thoroughly appreciated the authenticity.

Having grown up in New England, many of the places were familiar and I was captivated by the history. I highly recommend this novel to history buffs and readers of historical fiction.

***

If you have a chance, head on over to join The Necromancer’s Daughter tour at Noelle’s blog: Sailing Away.

The Necromancer’s Daughter Book Tour: Day 26 (2 stops to go)

Welcome to Day 26 of The Necromancer’s Daughter’s Book Tour!

I hope you enjoy:

~ My favorite book from my host’s list, along with my review.

~ Something from or about The Necromancer’s Daughter (follow the link below).

~ Leave a comment on my hosts’ sites, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The more tour sites, the more entries!

Day 26, here we go!

Gwen Plano’s Blog: Reflections

Gwen’s blog is primarily a poetry blog as she participates in Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday syllabic poetry challenges. Her poetry is beautiful and serene and reflective of her beautiful and serene personality. If you want to take a deep breath and relaxing sigh, it’s a place to visit. Gwen also shares new book releases for fellow bloggers, and she’s a contributor to The Story Empire writer’s blog where she shares her writing experience and tips.

Gwen has written a lovely memoir “Letting Go Into Perfect Love” as well as a military paranormal thriller series that began as a collaboration with author John Howell. I’m two books into the series and can’t wait to dive into the third.

Here’s a review of the first in the series:

The Choice: the unexpected heroes by Gwen Plano

My Review: This is Book Two in the series and it follows two weeks on the heels of Book One, The Contract. The Contract ended with a foiled assassination attempt on the President of the USA from within the government. Global repercussions were avoided, but important lives were lost. The international plot has yet to be investigated and those accountable brought to justice. That’s the focus of this read.

Admiral Joseph Parker is joined by civilian Donna Tucker and Airforce Public Relations employee Jim Andersen at Begert Airforce Base to begin the investigation. A trustworthy team forms and most of the book focuses on tracking down clues and following leads. The investigation is complex but logical and easy to follow.

And it’s not all routine work as the guilty parties are still at large. As the investigation gets closer to discovering the depth and breadth of the conspiracy, anyone with information that might break open the case starts dying. A sense of urgency intensifies as the bodies stack up and the death threats zero in on the team. The third-person present tense POV adds to the sense of immediacy.

I liked all of the characters, particularly the team of protagonists. They’re smart, and they care deeply about what happened and about getting to the truth. Aside from the thrills, there are romantic subplots as well as a paranormal/spiritual element to the story. The book ends with a cliff-hanger, so readers should be prepared to read onward. Highly recommended to fans of military thrillers.

***

If you have a chance, head on over to join The Necromancer’s Daughter tour at Gwen’s blog: Reflections.

The Necromancer’s Daughter Book Tour: Day 25 (3 stops to go)

Welcome to Day 25 of The Necromancer’s Daughter’s Book Tour!

I hope you enjoy:

~ My favorite book from my host’s list, along with my review.

~ Something from or about The Necromancer’s Daughter (follow the link below).

~ Leave a comment on my hosts’ sites, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The more tour sites, the more entries!

Day 25, here we go!

Audrey Driscoll’s Author Blog

Audrey’s blog alternates between gardening tips (and glimpses of her beautiful flowers), and all sorts of information and tips about writing. She’s a member of Writers Supporting Writers and provides links to the group’s video discussions on different aspects of the craft, covering “topics related to writing, publishing, and everything in between.” She also shares some of her own writing-related projects, short stories, and books.

Audrey’s publishing list includes her popular Herbert West series and a duology set in Egypt that I thoroughly enjoyed. If you’re an armchair traveler, it’s worth the read for the adventure alone. Here’s my review:

She Who Comes Forth by Audrey Driscoll

My Review: France Leighton and her beloved cello, Eudora, arrive in Luxor, Egypt to take part in an archeological dig. It’s not quite the adventure she expected, but she hangs in there. After a cello performance, she meets the mysterious Adam Dexter, who turns out to be far more than she expected, and not in a good way. Egyptian mythology comes alive as France must find a way to save the world from destruction.

This book is well written, the kind of writing that disappears into the background and therefore leaves the reader fully immersed in the story. I loved the setting, the details about Egypt and its mythology, the elements of the dig, and France’s interest and reverence for the magnificent tombs. In the afterword, Driscoll points out that she’s never been to Luxor, but as a reader, you’d never know it. Her research shines.

Told in first person, the story is wholly France’s. She’s a rich and thoroughly believable character, and her struggles were relatable to me. Secondary characters are beautifully three-dimensional as seen through her eyes. I loved the advice of her “talking” cello and totally fell for the relationship.

The story moves at a moderate pace, a slow burn, with hints at something supernatural at play dropped here and there along the way. At the 75% mark, there’s a giant leap into the paranormal/occult that I wasn’t quite ready for, though in hindsight I could see the preparation. A compelling story that I highly recommend to readers of literary fiction and to those who enjoy a strong female protagonist.

***

If you have a chance, head on over to join The Necromancer’s Daughter tour at Audrey’s blog: Audrey Driscoll.

The Necromancer’s Daughter Book Tour: Day 24

Welcome to Day 24 of The Necromancer’s Daughter’s Book Tour!

I hope you enjoy:

~ My favorite book from my host’s list, along with my review.

~ Something from or about The Necromancer’s Daughter (follow the link below).

~ Leave a comment on my hosts’ sites, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The more tour sites, the more entries!

Day 24, here we go!

Martha Reynolds’ Blog: Martha Reynolds Writes

Martha’s blog focuses on book reviews. She reads a wide variety of genres and her reviews are wonderfully informative and well-written, so it’s easy to browse and find something that fits your mood and preference. She also shares her own writing news and partakes in blog challenges. She’s been participating in the A to Z challenge for 10 years and had covered a wide range of topics. This year was songs from 1981!

Martha’s books are award winners and best-sellers. Here’s my review of her Amazon #1 bestseller Bits of Broken Glass:

Bits of Broken Glass by Martha Reynolds

A twenty-fifth high school reunion is being planned for six months in the future, and for four characters it becomes an opportunity to think back on how those important years shaped them. For Kellie and Joe it stirs up old trauma. For Cherry, it’s an opportunity to make amends, and for Scott it’s an opportunity missed.

The actual reunion takes place in the last chapter, so the book is really about the lead-up to that event. Each character has a separate POV narrative, which begins to intersect with other characters as the day draws near. I enjoyed the way the author slowly revealed each character’s memories as well as how their lives had progressed. The healing that takes place was cathartic and touching. To me, it seemed that karma was in play, and that kindness bred kindness, as well as the other way around.

The characters were beautifully crafted, their actions and choices realistic and their emotions full of depth. Secondary characters had the same three-dimensional feel. The story unfolds in third-person with a little first-person mixed in. The pace was excellent, and I read the book in two days since it caught me and wouldn’t let go. Recommended to readers who enjoy women’s fiction, and stories about personal growth and rising above old hurts

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If you have a chance, head on over to join The Necromancer’s Daughter tour at Martha’s blog: Martha Reynolds Writes.

compliments of bang2write

The Necromancer’s Daughter Book Tour: Day 23

Welcome to Day 23 of The Necromancer’s Daughter’s Book Tour!

I hope you enjoy:

~ My favorite book from my host’s list, along with my review.

~ Something from or about The Necromancer’s Daughter (follow the link below).

~ Leave a comment on my hosts’ sites, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The more tour sites, the more entries!

Day 23, here we go!

acflory’s Blog: Meeka’s Mind

Andrea’s forte is science fiction, so her blog includes cool science and technology articles, but that’s not all by any means. She also shares progress on her writing, book reviews, music she loves (often to write by), and commentary on some of the wise and less-than-wise human endeavors that are happening around the world. She has one of those inquisitive minds and shares what she finds.

I’ve read all of Andrea’s books, including her novels and her collection of short stories. I’ve been bugging her for another book from her alien Vokhtah series, which she’s diligently working on. It’s a story written entirely from an alien POV, which intrigues me no end.

Her Innerscape series is complete, and it’s riveting. Here’s a review:

Miira (Innerscape Book One) by acflory

My Review: What a beautifully written book. Innerscape is a science fiction story about a middle-aged woman Miira whose disease-ravaged body is dying. She decides to enter Innercape where her body will be pared down to her essential components and preserved while she lives out her life in a virtual world as a younger, healthy version of herself.

The first book in the series covers two aspects of her immersion in Innerscape – first, the preparation of her new body and the tests to prepare for her transition, and second, the transition into the VR world and her orientation. As a series, the story continues beyond the initial book, and Flory hooks the reader with the introduction of several challenging characters, corporate compromises, questionable ethics, and love.

The science is detailed and utterly entrancing, as well as completely understandable to the layperson. The premise and technology also seem entirely plausible, if not now, then in the not-so-distant future. Flory’s writing is meticulous and detailed, and the world she’s created held my fascination throughout.

And all that wasn’t even the best part! Set against the scientific backdrop, is an engrossing human story. Miira is reserved, sensitive, inquisitive, and vulnerable, a beautifully rendered human being undergoing a process that requires complete trust and a step into the unknown. The story is told primarily from her point of view and the immersion in her experience is complete. The Innerscape staff that supports her are multidimensional and believably flawed characters.

The pace is steady and yet I flew through the book because I could NOT put it down. Exquisite writing, gorgeous descriptions, high-tech science, and human pathos that grab the reader. I’m a fan and gladly recommend this book to readers of science fiction and anyone who enjoys an unusual human story.

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If you have a chance, head on over to join The Necromancer’s Daughter tour at Andrea’s blog: Meeka’s Mind.

The Necromancer’s Daughter Book Tour: Day 22

Welcome to Day 22 of The Necromancer’s Daughter’s Book Tour!

I hope you enjoy:

~ My favorite book from my host’s list, along with my review.

~ Something from or about The Necromancer’s Daughter (follow the link below).

~ Leave a comment on my hosts’ sites, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The more tour sites, the more entries!

Day 22, here we go!

Miriam Hurdle’s Blog: Showers of Blessings

Miriam is one of the nicest bloggers around. She always has a kind word for her visitors and is happy to engage. She shares tidbits about her family and her latest projects – including raising endangered Monarch butterflies. How cool is that! Her posts are eclectic as she partakes in a number of writing challenges including poetry and flash fiction, and shares her photography and book reviews. She’s always willing to lend a hand when it’s time for a release.

Miriam is an eclectic writer too and has three published books: A poetry collection, a children’s book, and her just-released memoir about her battle with cancer, titled The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival.

The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival by Miriam Hurdle

My Review: I read this short book in an afternoon, the same day I picked up my husband after his cancer surgery. It struck a chord, and the author’s journey, though intensely personal, resonated.

Hurdle kept a diary from the time of her hysterectomy and the discovery of cancer, through her treatment, and onward to her recovery. Her cancer wasn’t only extremely rare, but her prognosis was bleak. She relates the events of her journey with a great deal of honesty and courage.

One of the important lessons I noted from reading her story is the need for patients (and their families) to advocate for themselves and their loved ones. For example, Hurdle describes long waits for information and finally driving to her physician’s office and refusing to leave the waiting room until she received the help she needed.

She also shares the kindness and competence of her treatment team, as well as the huge difference her church and community made in supporting her with rides, meals, and prayers. The love of her family and friends and her strong faith were important contributors to her emotional strength when her physical body was being devastated by the disease and treatment (intense chemo, radiation, and multiple surgeries).

This book is a worthwhile read for anyone supporting a cancer patient. And I highly recommend it to those brave souls who are facing their own diagnoses and are seeking strength and wisdom through another survivor’s story.

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If you have a chance, head on over to join The Necromancer’s Daughter tour at Miriam’s blog: Showers of Blessings.