takes place in a village in Ireland where people are dying. A motley group
including a werewolf, magpie, banshee, cop, and troll join to solve the murder mystery
and find the culprit.
books that include mythology and folklore. This book has them in abundance. The
story is intriguing and the characters well-described. I think my favorite was
Enzo, the magpie. The addition of a sentient inanimate object tickled me.
Doras would have benefitted from extra editing. There were several places where
I wasn’t sure who was speaking and I saw some head-hopping. This book has light
scenes interspersed with very dark ones. The lighter ones allow the reader to
get to know the characters better. The dark ones illustrate how dangerous and
horrible their foe is.
the tale and am curious to see other books by the author.
Book 0 of the Borderlands series, is comparable to Grimmdark meets
Bronzepunk—two subgenres I’m unfamiliar with. Loving fantasy, I was excited to
try something completely different.
the forts, brave fighters, derring-dos, and circle-the-wagons vibes, this
novella reminds me of the old frontier movies. (Quite a compliment, since I’m a
big John Wayne fan.) The further the company travel, the more dire the danger.
Will they all make it back? Will any
of them? The vivid descriptions of the land and the monsters encountered paired
with the first person, present tense point of view makes for an intense sense
of urgency that works extremely well.
caught me by surprise a couple of times with interesting plot twists. (Kudos,
sir.) The world-building is top notch and the characters well fleshed out. The
ending is a cliff-hanger, so I am anxious to read Book 1. I found Prelude a
riveting tale of survival, conquest, and heroism and strongly recommend it.
During a blizzard,
a man hears a scream. He finds a dead body outside his home. Rushing inside to
call the police, he discovers the phone is as dead as the corpse bleeding out on
the snow. As he waits out the storm, he hears noises. How can this be? He is
alone—or is he?
I read this book on a bright sunshiny morning. Afterwards, I thought I heard
the door upstairs creak. The murmur of voices. The rustle of curtains. This
short story scared me so much that I had to search the house from top to
without the Poe reference, EAP’s influence is abundantly evident. As a child,
my cousin three grades ahead of me read the eerie short stories out loud. I
felt that same shivers down the spine sensation when reading Stone Storm that I
felt all those years ago.
has crafted an excellent horror, skillfully building the tension to a shocking
revelation. I’m no newbie to this genre, so believe me when I warn you, don’t
read this at night.
A wish is made upon a dandelion setting in motion a terrifying series
of events. Lucy, a young lady nearing her 18th birthday, must travel
to the enchanted Dewdrop Forest to find answers before it is too late to stop
her descent into madness.
I’ve always been a big fan of fairy tales and love reading them, so I
was immediately drawn to this book.
Despite the cute, Disneyesque title, this is a fairy tale in the vein
of the original Brothers Grimm, replete with disturbing, often violent scenes.
I was hooked from the beginning. With foreboding, I read of the wish in the
first chapter. The mere appearance of the weed hints at the troubles to come.
The lines between reality and fantasy are blurred and there are cyclic
elements to the story. Plying ethereal language, the author visits the
similarities between such dichotomous duos as love and hate. The prose has a
lyrical quality. I am still pondering the cryptic ending.
Although the book would benefit from tighter editing, I thoroughly
enjoyed it. The Lost Fairytales of the Dewdrop Forest has an inventive plot and
is a well-written, phantasmagoric story.
Linx’s entertaining book introduces children to the concept of school.
The vocabulary in this engaging story about Kitty the Calico’s first day is
geared toward emerging readers. The colorful, detailed illustrations by the
author immediately drew my eye, especially since the main character is a
kitten. This book would make a perfect gift for any child.
In The Month of April, the main character, April Boyd finds out her
mother has died and returns to her hometown with her girlfriend, Abby. Her
mother left instructions to cremate her body, take the ashes to New Orleans,
and scatter them in the river in front of the Jackson Brewery. Inside a box of
personal items, they discover an account April’s mother had written about her
trip to New Orleans the year before April was born.
They read about how April’s mother, Dani met the love of her life in
the Crescent City. The account, entitled “The Month of April,” chronicles the
couple’s brief time together and what transpired afterwards during Dani’s time
in the military.
Though grief-stricken after reading the sad tale, April understands her
mother better and feels closer to her. Caring for her girlfriend and
emotionally moved, Abby encourages April to take steps to bring closure to the
tragedy and together, they investigate the occurrences and right
As a fan of epistolary books, I especially enjoyed the sections of
Dani’s story. The setting descriptions
transported me to a city I’ve briefly visited, but never had the opportunity to
tour. Ard’s admiration of Raymond Carver is evident in his writing. I would
characterize this novella as dirty realism. The sparse, unadorned prose conveys
the author’s meaning succinctly. As a poor, unwed mother, Dani epitomizes the
kind of characters which populate the genre.
I found the dialogue somewhat flat, however, that too, could be
attributed to an aspect of realism. I do
not typically read this style of writing and the fact that I found the first
few pages too compelling not to finish reading the novella says much about this
author’s exceptional writing ability.
It’s been just over a month since my book was released and I’ve been so happy with the reviews! (Reviewers, I love you, full stop!) I hope Book 2 will be well-received too.
Speaking of which, Tartan and Thyme (The Shrouded Isle Book
2) is written! I am currently deep in edit mode—an unpleasant, yet necessary
task. I have a short story available for free upon signing up for my
newsletter. Don’t worry about being inundated. (Trust me when I say, I’m not
putting ones out unless I have something to say—or to confirm rumors of my
death are exaggerated.)
I do have another, untitled novel (first of a series) finished which I’m undecided about when and how to publish it. It’s a bit grittier than the Shrouded Isle universe. I am thinking about sharing the first chapter in one of my newsletters. I’ll keep you posted.
I’ve been busy writing guest blogs, editing, outlining Book 3 (YES!), and working on various short story projects. It’s been awhile, I know. I’ll try to be better about blogging. Mwah!
This book has an interesting take
on the afterlife. After death, in an incorporeal state, beings wait to be
reincarnated. As they wait, they act as soul watchers. A soul watcher will
choose one person on Earth to help. Soul-watcher Soledad, returning to the
afterlife after committing suicide, chooses Ally, a relative from her most
recent life, to aid.
Ally is my favorite character. As
the one, able-bodied individual in her small family, many duties fall to her.
Though exhausted and frustrated at times, she loves her family and strives to
do everything possible to keep them safe and happy. Ally is a middle child. Her
older sister, Jessica, is an intransigent, forty-year-old, type one diabetic in
need of a kidney. Ally’s sweet, younger sister, Alyssa, was born with special
needs and requires twenty-four-hour supervision. Their mother’s heart problems
prevent her from performing many activities.
Ally is an animal-loving artist
who loves riding motorcycles. I think that, since she has many
responsibilities, she needs that freedom to fly—be it on the canvas or the
road. Though confident in other areas of her life, after her divorce, she finds
herself gun-shy around men. As Soledad spiritually guides Ally, we learn about both
women, their goals, desires, mistakes—and come to care deeply for them. The
secondary characters are written with equal care and detail.
Race for the Sun is a
life-affirming journey. The author packs an emotional punch in her writing. I
cannot recommend this book enough.
A Two Horse Town opens with a visceral scene. It’s a moonlit night in Big Sky Country. An acrophobic woman scales a boulder ever aware that one wrong step, one slip of a sweaty palm, could lead to a painful-at-best fall. A straight-outa-the-chute beginning to an excellent mystery.
Kate Caraway hadn’t anticipated how much she would miss Kenya, a place where she immediately felt a sense of home, and a research position that fulfilled her. But her husband had a prime job opportunity, so they moved to Chicago. Disliking her work at the University of Illinois, she eagerly agrees to help her student, Nate Springfield. She takes a leave of absence to go to Montana to save wild mustangs endangered by a purposed dam which would leave them without a water supply. Soon after her arrival, Kate discovers a dead body, that of her student’s grandfather. When Nate becomes the prime suspect, Kate struggles to not only save the horses, but also to clear his name.
In Montana, Kate stays with Nate’s great-grandmother, Ida, a gun-toting nonagenarian. She is against the building of the dam, but her reckless outspokenness may work against their cause. Kate also senses that Ida is not as forthright as she seems.
Time is against Kate, and the enemies aren’t afraid to use deadly force. I won’t spoil the ending, but will say it is full of heart-racing excitement and fascinating revelations.
When I read the vivid descriptions of the settings—so bright, compelling and very much a key part of the story—Nevada Barr’s series is brought to mind. Kate Caraway has much in common with Barr’s main character, Anna Pigeon. Both feel strongly about protecting the environment and both have the willingness to take on an active role.
Like a mustang, the story gallops across the pages and I flew like a rider, gripping the horse’s mane in exhilaration. I encourage you to take that ride too. You won’t regret it.
Marabella Vinegar is late for her therapist appointment—thanks to her mother. Normally, this pain in the tookus would be par for the course. After all, most of Marabella’s sessions are spent addressing her relationship with said relative except, Mama Vinegar died. A week ago.
After tucking her not-so-dead mother in for a nap on the couch, apparently ghost travel is taxing, Marabella rushes to Dr. Ditstein’s office anxious for answers. None are forthcoming because she finds her supportive shrink murdered. Any guess who is the prime suspect?
Marabella’s ambivalent relationship with her mother is captured perfectly by the author. Mom drives her nuts. But she loves her. But she drives her NUTS. The balance is perfect. I “get” both characters and am sympathetic.
I’m a big mystery series fan, but one of my complaints is that, in some cases, the main character doesn’t grow. I can’t say this for Marabella in Dead Shrinks Don’t Talk. Happily, Marabella is adaptive and determine. She is a flawed character that you can’t help but root for because, aren’t we all flawed? And, fyi, she solves the mystery. Let’s hear it for Team Marabella! A wonderful read and I can’t wait for more from this author.