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.

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Book Cover for Life and Soul
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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!

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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!

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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.

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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
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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!

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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. 

Life & Soul #NewRelease @harmony_kent #Poetry

It is with great pleasure I welcome fellow Story Empire contributor and long-time friend, Harmony Kent to my blog today. She has a brand new book of poetry to share with you. If you are not familiar with her work, now is a great time to get acquainted.

So, Welcome, Harmony!

PURCHASE LINK

Hi, Jan. Thanks so much for hosting me today. It’s always wonderful to visit with you. Here’s a little bit I’d love to share about my latest book of poetry …

From Brief Soul:

roads and paths

swimming

in tears

This poem comes from my experiments with short-form poetry, both counted syllables and freestyle. I love the pivot in understanding the last line brings. Some of the short poetry in the Brief Soul section are obvious at first read, while others may take further study. As with many poems, much is left to interpretation and can change with the weather.

I hope you enjoyed this poem and would love to know what you think.

Life & Soul blurb:

Life & Soul is the second book in the Soul Poetry Series by acclaimed author Harmony Kent.

This beautiful collection of over fifty poems will take the reader through the highs and lows of everyday life via contemporary poetry in a range of styles and themes. Within these pages, you will find reflections on the Lonely Soul, the Seeking Soul, Brief Soul, Friendly Soul, and the Loving Soul—states of mind and living and longing we each experience over the course of a life.

Life & Soul offers something for lovers of poetry from all walks of life.

Praise for Slices of Soul, Book 1 in the Soul Poetry Series:

“I found my answer in this wonderful treasure-trove and have already read it three times.” Robert Fear

“I found in Slices of Soul something approaching aesthetic bliss, a sense of being connected in some way to other states – like tenderness, kindness, ecstasy – where art is the norm.” Colm Herron

“A stunning collection of poems that I read in one sitting! Unable to simply put this down until I had read the last. I love the clarity of the short poems, such clear images created in so few words or phrases. Many of them touched my heart and I will be giving them a 2nd and 3rd read!” Audrina Lane

Universal Link: mybook.to/LifeAndSoul

About the Author:

AUTHOR BIO:

Harmony Kent spent 13 years in a Zen Buddhist monastery, where she faced her demons and overcame devastating low self-esteem, and found freedom. After a life-changing injury, Harmony returned to the world at the tender age of 40, and her life as a writer began.

Harmony is an award-winning multi-genre author, and her publications include:

The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved

The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree/New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015

Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015

Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)

Slices of Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 1)

Life and Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 2)

Interludes (Erotic Short Stories)

Interludes 2 (Erotic Short Stories)

Moments (Short Stories and Poetry)

Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings)

Polish Your Prose (How to Self-Edit)

Creative Solutions (Creative Writing Inspiration)

Backstage (Erotic Romance and Thriller)

FALLOUT (Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia) BRAG Medallion Honouree

The Vanished Boy (Psychological Thriller)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers reviews and supports her fellow authors. Harmony is always on the lookout for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes.

Harmony’s Website

Twitter: @harmony_kent

Goodreads: Harmony Kent

BookBub: Harmony Kent

Story Empire (co-authored blog): Harmony Kent