June #BookReviews @dlfinnauthor @DAntion @TeaganGeneviene @harmony_kent @CharlieDaniels @pat_garcia

I’ve had a wonderful month of reading outside the NetGalley and Lone Star Literary books I already reviewed.

I only share 4 and 5-star reviews. Reviews are strictly my own opinions.

Created in Canva
Book Cover for Life and Soul
PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

Poetry is not meant to simply be read, it is meant to be savored. It is the truest and most raw form of emotions expressed. In this beautiful collection, the author takes the reader through a journey of loneliness, seeking, and finding.
The journey is honest.
Alone in a crowd, an empty life, and deep longing fill the first section of Life and Soul. This stanza expresses it perfectly, “Sitting at a crowded table. Good food, good friends, good wine. And still, a silent tear escapes the corner of my eye…”
The seeking and wisdom in the second portion of the book grabbed at my heart. “All paths and all ways lead to luminous light…” And this, “Love yourself ‘fore another. Believe in yourself. Only then can you love all.”
The Brief Soul collection of poetry brings a short reprieve and understanding. Then it flows into Friendly Soul. I think my favorite in this segment is “True Friend.” “Friendship does not measure nor count the give and take…” Then the joy of finding that one, THE ONE is expressed in joy and gratitude and pure love. In the poem “Bridge,” this line grabbed me, “Through still waters that run deep, love has built a bridge between your soul and mine…”
In the final section of the book, “The Soul,” you will find an eclectic variety of poems expressing a gamut of emotions and experiences. If you appreciate well-written emotive poetry, I can highly recommend this collection from Harmony Kent!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

Deep in a California forest, a grieving widow has not only lost her husband but her loyal canine of many years. She is existing in isolation, close to ending it all and joining Rob in death.

Andrea Burr has lived in the forest for so long, that it’s quite comfortable to her, even with bears rummaging through her garbage. She’s a crack shot with a gun and can take care of the generator and necessary wood supply. She prides herself on her independence.
But things change quickly. First, a dog shows up and she happily takes him in and feeds him. Then next a cat with a rat on her back shows up and Drea takes them in as well. And just in time, because she desperately needs a purpose and company. But imagine her shock when she realizes these animals can talk. Oh, and they can use the bathroom and flush the toilet. But it is what they reveal that is both fascinating and horrifying. And that’s just the beginning.

A serial killer is on the prowl and his victims are widows. Andrea is in his crosshairs and he begins to toy with her. Luckily, her late husband’s best friend, Adam, is a policeman. He tries his best to protect her. But it’s Andrea who takes down the killer. Now, it’s over and she can relax.
Wrong! Next comes a crazed lunatic, then aliens.

There are so many complex layers to this story and the author did a superb job of weaving them all together, including a little light romance. This sentence from the book sums it up perfectly: “Ghosts, aliens, serial killers, crazy men trying to take over the world—life won’t be dull around you, Drea.”

If you are a lover of animals, enjoy tense nail-biting suspense, and happy endings, this book is a must-read for you. It is so well-written and gripping. A page-turner for sure!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

We see performers on stage and think what amazing lives they must lead, but as Charlie Daniels shows in this book, it’s never as it seems.
The memoir starts with Charlie’s birth when a bureaucratic mixup put an s at the end of Daniel, therefore changing the family name forever. His parents were LaRue and William Daniel. But the world would know Charlie as Charlie Daniels.
I loved the depiction of his carefree growing-up years as an only child. While he states his father was an alcoholic, the man worked hard and taught Charlie to work hard.
Throughout this memoir, Charlie Daniels shows us the ebb and flow of trying to get established in the world of music. He had several bands before ever settling on The Charlie Daniels Band (CBD) which the world came to know quite well. He was often broke, but he had a fire burning inside that pushed him to keep trying.
Then when the dam broke open, it broke big and the CDB was off and running. And run hard, they did. One of the things that impressed me in this memoir is the strength and determination Charlie had to rise above all the odds and do it with integrity. Honesty was of utmost importance to the man and he demanded it from the people who worked for him.
His love for his wife and child surpassed everything else and that shines through in the writing. Charlie Daniels rubbed elbows with the most elite in Nashville, Hollywood, Los Angeles, and New York City, but he never changed. He had a burning passion for the music he loved.
He sums it up in this excerpt: “If you don’t have a fire in your belly and a heart so full of desire that you can’t imagine your life without a career in music, don’t even put your foot on the path because you are going to get your heart broken.”
He spent an entire lifetime in the music business. At the age of seventy-one, he was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry. Then nine years later, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
I think the biggest thing I took away from this beautifully written memoir is the importance of falling down, getting back up, and digging out. As someone once said, it’s not the number of times you fall down that counts, it’s the number of times you get back up. That describes Charlie Daniels. If you are a fan of Southern rock music, you will definitely enjoy this memoir.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

What an epic conclusion to Emlyn’s journey. I’ve followed this saga from book 1 through to the ending.
I’m not sure where to start. I loved everything about this final chapter of the Dead of Winter saga. The author wrapped it up perfectly.
The emotions and insecurities Emlyn felt, despite her amazing accomplishments, made the story realistic. And it was great to be reminded she is only twelve years old, although her abilities far exceed what any normal adult could do.
I won’t leave any spoilers. So much happened in this final episode. I loved the part the goddess Coventina played. Despite her fierce demeanor, her compassion and care for young Emlyn are shown. As the story unfolds and concludes, we are taken along for an intense nail-biting battle against the King of the Nightwalkers. Then the Veil must be repaired so that the dead can return once more to their world and the living world could be safe once again. I think my favorite scene was with Emlyn and Coventina flying. I could almost feel it through the words.
So much happened in this episode, I found myself breathless. What a way to end a saga! I give this author kudos for such a huge undertaking with this series. 

Knuckleheads book cover
PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I have always been fascinated by the dream world and the mystery that surrounds it. But lucid dreaming holds an even greater intrigue. Is it truly possible for someone to purposefully travel in dreams? In this book, Zach finds out. This coming-of-age tale is told from Zach’s point of view in a conversation with his daughter, Abbie.
The conversation begins following Zach’s retirement party and takes the reader back through his growing-up years in Pittsburg, Pa., and his attempt to explore and understand his paranormal ability of lucid dreaming. His best friend, Billy, has psychic abilities. He can’t always know details, but he knows outcomes. The lengths Billy will go to to protect Zach touched me. Both Zach and Billy are particular about whom they confide in and Zach’s father becomes their go-to person. I loved how the father respected the boys’ abilities but also how he tried to help them learn how to use and control them.
The setting, the sixties, is a wonderful era; Pre-computers, pre-cellphones, pre-TV as we know them. The author did a fabulous job of bringing me into this time period with his descriptions and wonderments. The bowling alley belonging to Zach’s father is the setting for a lot of the scenes, with manual pin-setting and maintenance of the lanes. The two boys had so many lessons to learn and I loved that both of them were hard-working and conscientious (something today’s youth could use). The mention of a transistor radio certainly took me back in time, as well as eight-track players and manual transmissions in cars. And while the unusual formatting of the conversation between Zach and Abbie was slightly off-putting at first, once I got into the flow of the story, it disappeared into the background. A great journey backward through the eyes of Zach, but with a paranormal twist. I enjoyed this story!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This is a super short read (thirty minutes) that left me with a warm fuzzy feeling. Tessie has never been married and she’s turning sixty-five. She’s always dreamed of living in a big house full of children with a man who adores her. But it’s only a dream.
Or is it?
Surprises are just around the corner for Tessie. This book encourages people to never give up on a dream or on love!

That’s it for me this month. I hope you found something that grabbed your attention. 

A Voice In the Silence – #NewRelease @dlfinnauthor

I am super happy to bring you a brand new book release from my longtime friend and fellow Story Empire contributor, D.L. Finn! Not only is she a poet extraordinaire, but a fabulous children’s story and novel author.

I will be sharing my review of this wonderful story a little later this month. But for now, I’ll turn it over to D.L. and let her tell you about her newest book release.

Thank you, Jan, for having me on your beautiful blog to celebrate the release of A Voice in the Silence.

Do you believe in ghosts? The possibility that there are some souls who just haven’t moved on because they have some unfinished business, or perhaps they just want to hang around and make sure everyone is okay?

Unfortunately, most of us can’t sit down and talk with these lingering spirits, but they do have ways to let us know they are here with us. They might move stuff around, a song that had meaning to you comes on, or you feel the spirit there next to you. There is that unmistakable cold spot they bring with them, and visitations in dreams. The most important message that often comes through is they want you to know they are there with you and they love you.

Then there are those who are gifted, like mediums. They can pass a vague message along to you from the other side. But what if you could directly communicate with your loved one? Would it be a normal conversation like you used to have with them, or would it be something different since they have changed? This communication ends up much like traveling to a different country where they speak a language you are unfamiliar with. The other side seems to have a language of its own.

So getting a message from the spiritual realm might take a bit of translating. Or at least that’s what Drea is about to learn from some very unlikely translators in A Voice in the Silence.

Fun Finn Facts

  1. After sitting at the desk writing, I need to exercise by walking in the forest or doing my stretches.
  2. Our dog Sara, and either my kitties Rupert or Zuzu, are my computer companions.
PURCHASE LINK

Blurb

Drea Burr has experienced more than her share of loss when a stray dog, cat, and rat enter her life. Although the animals start to mend her broken heart, there is something very unusual about them. During a snowstorm, Drea discovers a chilling set of footprints leading to her front window. Both the police and a ghostly messenger warn her about a killer stalking widows. Help comes from her late husband’s best friend, Adam Hale. As the two try to discover answers, more questions arise— about a killer, ghosts, and animals experimented on in a lab.

Can Drea and Adam survive the threats coming from so many directions and save themselves and the animals they’ve grown to love? Or will more tragedy destroy her second chance at happiness? Find out in this thrilling, cozy paranormal adventure.

Excerpt

The fading day’s dull orange glow filled the void in Drea’s attention usually occupied by the TV and computer. The landscape held no movement, not even the expected high winds that had caused her power to be shut off to prevent forest fires. A surge shot through her body in the same uncomfortable fashion that the flu had done last week. But it wasn’t a virus relapse—it was a warning that someone, or something, was watching her. 

Perhaps it was a wild animal. A deer, or even . . . “Rob, is that you?” She held her breath, waiting for a sign. Finally, she blew out the empty hope when she couldn’t keep it in anymore. Two years of this had worn her down.

The cold gun on her lap offered no protection against the dark thoughts that took her to a place that was getting harder to climb out of. She pulled her sweater tightly around her and scrutinized the tree-lined driveway that led to the curvy country road. She shifted her weight in the yellow-and-white lounge chair and studied the weapon in her hand.

“You understand, don’t you?”

The .45 pistol her husband had bought her for protection ten years ago had become her confidant when she tired of talking to ghosts. Today, though, it carried the heavy weight of her existence.

“It’s too much. Just too much loss. I’m so alone, and to top it off, Robbie’s so far away.” Her throat tightened. She sipped some water and took a deep breath. “I must disappoint you, even thinking about using this gun on myself, Rob. It would devastate Robbie if I—”

Drea’s shoulders slumped, and her head followed when her glance caught a prominent headline in the morning paper she had retrieved from the end of the driveway. An unidentified woman’s body had been found, and a killer was on the loose. She used the gun to cover the fearful headline, even though her chances of being murdered by a serial killer were slim to none.

She shook her head. What she needed to focus on was her relationship with her son. They used to be so close, before he met that woman. Now he barely called his mother to check on her after his father died or when her beloved pets passed. This morning had brought an unwelcome text from him.

Tammy isn’t feeling well. It wouldn’t be a good time to visit right now. Sorry, Mom. I’ll talk to you soon. Love you.

“I hope he wakes up someday, Rob. That woman is toxic. Of course, you saw through her the first time you met her. I should have listened to you. Do you hear that, Rob? It’s me admitting I’m wrong, which we both know hardly ever happens.”

Amazon Purchase Link US
Amazon Purchase Link UK

Author, D.L. Finn

Author Bio

D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.

D.L. Finn Links:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

D.L. Finn blog

Author Amazon Page