Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Book Reviews

25 Jun

Hi, everyone! Welcome!

Today I’d like to share reviews of an eclectic group of books I’ve read lately. I’ve enjoyed reading since I was a child, and I have my favorite “go to” genres, but through the years, I’ve diversified my reading. I figured life as a whole has romance, horror, suspense, thrilling events . . . and reading different genres gives me insight into all aspects of life. With this knowledge, I can ground my fiction in reality and also add an extra layer to my stories.

PhotJo

My first review is of a children’s book titled Oskar’s Quest by Annika Perry. You can get a copy of it here.

BLURB:

Oskar is afraid of adventures. Yet one day he finds himself on a mysterious island which needs his help. Join Oskar on this unexpected and magnificent quest, where he finds not only courage but so much more. Perfect for ages 3 to 6.

MY REVIEW:

What a lovely picture book! This marvelous children’s book is filled with beautiful and colorful illustrations and is a riveting story. 

Oskar is an adorable little bird that was frequently afraid. The other birds often teased him calling him “Scaredy-bird.” One day, he got lost on his way home and landed on a beautiful flower on an enchanted island. The flower cried in sorrow because the island’s most exquisite songbird, Maya, had been kidnapped by an enormous, ominous cloud. Although Oskar felt fear, he decided he would rescue Maya, anyway. 

In the end, Oskar conquered his fears, rescued Maya, and befriended the scary cloud. I loved this sweet, compelling story, and the amazing illustrations added to my joy. 

I recommend this book to parents who want their kids to learn to triumph over their fears, feel for others, and make new friends.

I wrote the next review for Book 4 of author Yvette M. Calleiro‘s Chronicles of the Diasodz series. There are five books in the series and including this one I’ve read four of the five. I’ve enjoyed each book more than the last. You can check out all five books here.

BLURB:

Rafe has successfully rescued Sofia from his enemies and has brought her home. He is excited about Sofia meeting their father and joining the Raizyns in their fight against the Diasodz. Unfortunately, bringing Sofia home does not have the effect he had hoped for. In the process of trying to bring his family together, he may have discovered a reason to tear them apart.

When Sofia awakens, she discovers that her life has been uprooted once again, and this time she is in more danger than she has ever been. Sofia’s only focus is on finding a way to escape and get back to Ar’ch, but leaving Rafe becomes more difficult when she realizes that not everything is as it seems.

Damiana is furious when she learns that her daughter has been brought home. Her plans to use Sofia as a secret weapon within the Diasodz compound is destroyed with Rafe’s meddling. Despite the setback, Damiana knows that she still has the upper hand, but her control is tested when even more secrets are exposed.

Each of them believes that she/he knows who the true savior of their people is, but when the truth is revealed, how will they handle it? And whose side will the savior support? The stakes have never been higher for the Raizyns, and Damiana plans to make sure that the savior is on their side no matter what it takes.

MY REVIEW:

The One Revealedis the fourth installment of author Yvette M. Calleiro’s Chronicles of the Diasodz. I’ve read the last three books in the series and enjoyed them very much, but this book is my favorite so far. 

In this story, Rafe rescues his half-sister, Sophia, from the Diasodz. He thought he was doing something great only to find out that Sophia resented him for taking her away from the people she loved. Frustrated and confused, Rafe continued to try to convince his sister that she was where she ought to be—with her true family. Meanwhile, while Ar’ch and Angel search desperately for Sophia, Drake was changed by the love he has for his children and became more and more in opposition with the queen of the demons while Mel was trying all measures to save her mother from the diabolical Damiana. 

I enjoyed the narratives from both the Diasodz’s and Raizyns’s viewpoints. The character development was superb and revealed much about the main characters. There are many secrets, twists, and truths exposed. The book was filled with so much action and intrigue it was hard to put down. 

I would have gladly given this book a five-star rating, but there were too many typos to ignore, which surprised me because the other books in the series did not. That being said, it was still an engaging read, and my favorite book in the series so far. I can’t wait to read book five, The One Awakened.

The last book review I wrote was for a book by award-winning horror writer Ken Stark. This is the first book in his Zombie Apocalypse Series. I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy. You can check out his books here.

BLURB:

Blindness is just the beginning.
Once the virus strips away everything remotely human, all that’s left is a mindless, savage predator.

Finalist, Fiction Horror – 2018 International Book Awards
Bronze Medal, Fiction Horror – 2017 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards
Official Selection: Horror – 2018 New Apple Summer E-Book Awards

From multi-award-winning, horror writer, Ken Stark, comes a pulse-pounding, post-apocalyptic zombie novel that will keep you pumped up until the very last page. For fans of World War Z, The Last of Us, and The Walking Dead. 

MY REVIEW:

I’m a huge fan of the horror genre. I especially enjoy character driven zombie stories like this one. 

The story begins with the main character, Hank Mason (aka Mace), on his flight home from what should have been a couple’s retreat, but instead, he was on his own. He had one too many scotches to get over being dumped and passed out. He woke up with a terrible headache and a sense that things were not right. The big guy in the seat next to him was sobbing, and many of the passengers were yelling and fighting. Eventually, he found out that sometime during the flight while he was asleep, everyone on the plane had lost their sight, including the flight attendants and pilots. 

When one of the flight attendants realized that he was the only person on the plane that wasn’t blind, she took him to the cockpit, and with direction from the blind pilots, he lands the plane safely. 

Mason was suffering from a terrible hangover and decides to sit at a bar at the airport terminal. From where he sat, he could see the passengers from his flight exhibiting some strange behavior. He watched the big guy who sat next to him on the flight bite someone trying to help him. Disgusted by what he had witnessed but not really thinking much about it, he goes home. 

When Mason arrives home, he continued drinking, deciding to vegetate at home for a few days. When he finally leaves his apartment—a week later—he finds the world in chaos. The city was overrun by crazed, flesh-eating creatures that were once regular people. These creatures were blind but had a heightened sense of hearing. 

When Mason tries to escape the city, he runs across a ten-year-old girl named Mackenzie. She was blind, and he watched her groping the walls of a building while moving as silently as a guppy with a group of crazies following a few feet behind. He knew it would not be long before she made a little more noise, and the monsters would hear her and attack. Mason couldn’t leave her behind and rescued her, taking her under his wing from that moment on, even knowing that she was blind and might soon turn into one of them. The little girl, whom he called Mack, was searching for her aunt. Mason didn’t think it was likely that her aunt had survived out in the open by herself but decided to delay his escape out of the city to look for the girl’s aunt at the hospital where she worked. Mack and Mace developed a strong bond very quickly. They helped each other as they navigated through the city. 

Ken Stark is an undeniably skillful writer, and I enjoyed the story. That being said, this was 200+ high-velocity pages of nonstop chase, fighting, near deaths, attacks . . . . It was at times exhausting for me. I could have used a little breather between some of the action, and more downtime where we could have seen Mace and Mackenzie’s relationship develop into what it became. Also, the last quarter of the book felt rushed. The ending left me wanting more, too. Despite these things, I did enjoy the book and look forward to reading more books by this author.

I recommend this book to fans of horror and zombies who enjoy a scary story that whizzes along. 

Thanks for the visit!

Poetry Friday ~ Dreams

26 Feb

Welcome, everyone!

It’s the fourth week of the month! Are you ready for a theme prompt? 

This month’s theme is:

Dreams

In my perfect dream

I see a world united

A beautiful thing

accepting one another

like God always intended

I hope you enjoyed my Tanka. Thank you for stopping by and have a great day.

Poetry Friday ~ The Merchant of Venice

29 May

Hi, everyone! It’s the fourth week of the month, which means, we get a Theme Prompt! Merril D. Smith, the winner from last month’s challenge selected a quote from Shakespeare’s A Merchant of Venice as this month’s theme. Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Poetry Challenge

This week’s theme is:

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”

― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

After each good deed

no parade or accolades

Take a step higher

on heaven’s ladder until

you have reached St. Peter’s gate

I read The Merchant of Venice in high school, and I remember having mixed feelings about it. The Jewish loan shark (okay, moneylender) Shylock horrifed me with his request for a pound of flesh as payment for a loan.

Here’s a rough and short summary of the story: A man named Antonio owned a fleet of merchant ships. One day, a gold-digging friend of his, Bassanio asked him for a loan so that he could pursue a rich woman named Portia. But Antonio’s ships had not come in with his merchandise yet, so he had no money to lend him. Instead, Antonio tells his friend to ask Shylock for the loan promising that he’d pay it back once his ships return. When Bassanio asked Shylock for the loan, instead of charging extremely high rates of interest, as he usually did, the moneylender asked that a pound of Antonio’s flesh be the payment if the loan was not paid within three months.

Three months went by, and Antonio’s ships had not returned. He was told that they were lost at sea. It was time to repay the loan, but Antonio was broke. Shylock had him arrested and demanded his pound of flesh. Bassanio, now married to the heiress Portia, offered her money to pay the loan. However, Shylock held a grudge against Antonio because he considered him competition in the loan business and an anti-Semite (which he was). Shylock insisted he must be allowed to extract a pound of flesh from Antonio as per their contract.

Long story short (too late), Portia, (Bassanio’s rich wife) dressed as a lawyer (?) managed to safe Antonio’s life. She won the case against Shylock by stating that there was no mention of blood in the contract. Therefore, if he could extract a pound of flesh from Antonio without spilling any of his blood he could go ahead and do so, but if he spilled one drop of his blood he would go to jail. Of course, Shylock knew it would be impossible to cut out a pound of flesh from a man without an enormous amount of blood shed.

In the end, Shylock lost his daughter and part of his wealth to another of Antonio’s friends, and was forced to become a Christian (antisemitism). Antonio’s ships came in afterall, and he and his friends lived happily ever after with their spouses. At times, I viewed Shylock as a villain and other times as a victim. Nevertheless, The Merchant of Venice is a story worth reading.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a fabulous day!

Poetry Friday ~ Calm & Present

17 Jan

Hi, everyone! A warm welcome to my blog.

Colleen’s Poetry Prompt Challenge. It’s the second week of the month! That means Synonyms ONLY!

Here are your two words:

“CALM & PRESENT”

Photo by Aziz Acharki @acharki95
He always soothes me
generously giving me
the best gift of all
being present in the now
securing my existence
Photo by Becca Tapert @beccatapert

Have a Happy Friday and weekend!

Poetry Friday ~ Wild Fire

10 Jan

Hi, everyone! Welcome.

Since September, 17.9 million acres of Australia have burned in one of the country’s worst fire seasons on record. That’s an area larger than West Virginia, and more than eight times the area that burned in California in 2018, the state’s most destructive year for wildfires. 

The fires have now killed at least 27 people and destroyed almost 2,000 homes. The blazes turned skies orange and made breathing the air in Sydney as bad as smoking 37 cigarettes. Those are just the impacts on people. The destruction of the country’s land and biodiversity is harder to fathom. An estimated 1 billion animals have been lost, and scientists fear long-term damage to many sensitive ecosystems. 

Though rain brought firefighters a slight reprieve Wednesday, the AP reports that hot and windy conditions that will keep the fires burning are expected to return later this week. 

It’s a disaster that’s particularly ominous: In a warming world, extreme fire events like this one will only grow more likely to occur. – Australia Fires: 7 Things Everyone Should Know About The Brushfire Disaster.

Photograph by Cris Saur @crisaur

What is happening in Australia right now is devastating. I feel terrible for the families that have lost loved ones and are suffering through this hellish brushfire disaster. The number of animals that have perished in the fire is perturbing. 1 Billion animals dead! The firefighters that are putting their lives at risk every day battling the flames are amazing. It is easy to feel helpless, especially if you live on the other side of the planet, but there are things we could do to help.

  • If you’re in Australia, Givit has a list of specific items needed by people and organizations affected by the bushfires.
  • People with emergency response training can sign up to volunteer in Queensland.
  • The World Wildlife Fund is collecting donations to restore habitats for koalas impacted by the fires.
  • You can donate to the Australian Red Cross’s fire recovery and relief fund.
  • You can also donate directly to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, the Country Fire Service Foundation in South Australia, and the Country Fire Authority in Victoria.
Photograph by Mark Galer @markgaler

Colleen’s 2020 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 159, #Poet’sChoice

I chose to share this beautiful and heart-wrenching poem by Philip Salom dedicated to the men and women who fight these fires. Below is part one of the poem. You can read the rest of it here.

Bushfire

As if going into battle, the knapsack 
full on my shoulders, its pipe and nozzle
slung up like a rifle.
We fought along the river, seeing shrubs
explode, riddled with fire,
eerie sounds of trees shrieking
like things alive, feral, flames like faces
spilling down into the ferns.
We staggered, sick with the hammering heat,
dousing endless flames that slammed at us
like nightmares, sullen ghosts
groping at our limbs. We plunged
into that day's red thunder,
subsumed like suiciders who stare into
the rifle, gulp the flame. Individuals
meandering in something huge.
We choked in smoking semi-darkness,
shadows through the lead-coloured
air of limbo.

Now the aching blistering weight
of the knapsack pulling my shoulders.
Exhaustion worries the scorched end
of some unity: thought and action
fused into one. Sagging now,
heavier than the slopping drums
behind the tractors coming in.
We see the new men walking in
and seem to meet our earlier selves
but are more certain and more tired.
I, older than my youth, seeing these men
as if they were children.
Photograph by Liam Pozz @liampozz

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Poetry Friday ~ Photo Prompt

20 Sep
Poetry_Friday-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Colleen Chesebro-Tanka Tuesday-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-photo_prompt

It’s the middle of the month challenge ~ time for a photo prompt!

Colleen’s 2019 Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge No. 145 (Photo Prompt)

Apocalypse

Darkness
The sun blushes
We’ve finally done it
The star has given up on us
Humans

Only
the tallest trees
survive Mother Earth’s wrath
As the oceans swallow us whole
The end

“There are skeletons in this earth.” 

–Corinne Duyvis

Thank you for visiting! I hope you enjoyed my double Cinquain!

Well, I’m off to work on my WIP. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Image

Poetry Friday ~ Enchant & Fly

13 Sep

Hi, everyone! Happy Friday the 13th!

Enchant and Fly are this week’s prompt words chosen by Colleen Chesebro ~ The Fairy Whisperer.

*The catch is that we can only use the synonyms to these words in our poems.

Colleen hosts a challenge that anyone could participate in called, Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge every Tuesday, and you have until Sunday to create a post featuring your Haiku, Tanka, Haibun, Etheree or Cinquain poem. She is an author and poet, and also does book reviews and so much more on her blog. Be sure to check it out.

Artist Luis Royo



Can You Hold A Burning Star?

Proud Elven Princess
dazzles with beauty and charm
She’ll capture your soul
You may think you’ve won her heart
til she swoops and slits your throat


Fantasy Artist Luis Royo

Thank you for visiting!

Son of the Serpent, on #LisaBurtonRadio

26 Oct

Hello, everyone!

I do not have a poem for you today. Instead, I’d like to invite you to head over to author, C.S. Boyack’s blog, Entertaining Stories where the main character of my new book, Son of the Serpent is being interviewed by Lisa the robot girl on her show, Lisa Burton Radio. Please head on over there and check it out and let me know what you think. Thank you!

Entertaining Stories

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you demonologists, and exorcists. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and have I got a seasonal treat for you today. “Welcome to the show, Dracúl.”

“I’m not sure how to take that welcome Lisa but I am pleased to be here.”

“So many times, characters get a bad rap, an underserved reputation if you like. There is good and bad in everyone. Give our listeners an idea about your childhood.”

“I do not agree that there is good and bad in everyone. Some creatures are just bad. As far as my childhood – I did not have one. I woke up in a forest one night as a child with no recollection of who or what I was or what I was doing there. All my memories were…

View original post 1,709 more words

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Jack Eason, Bette A. Stevens, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Annette Rochelle Aben and Paulette Mahurin

12 Mar

My novel, The Fall of Lilith’s latest review is featured at Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore along with several other Authors/ Books. Please visit Sally’s blog and check out all the wonderful books with their latest reviews. Thank you!

#Fairies, #Myths, & #Magic October Spooktacular Author Spotlight Guest Post – Vashti Quiroz-Vega

31 Oct

Hi everyone! Head on over to Colleen Chesebro the Fairy Whisperer’s blog and check out my short horror story! Thank you and enjoy!

🍃Word Craft: Prose & Poetry🍃

101817_2037_FairiesMyth1.png

Since it’s Halloween, I have another special treat. I’ve invited fantasy/horror author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega to share a terrifying tale with you all. It’s a spooky read, so be prepared to get the shivers! Vashti said, “It’s a story that I wrote years ago (2013), and I’ve completely revised it for your blog.”

But first, let me introduce you to Vashti. I’ve had the pleasure of reading her poetry and stories for a few years now. Vashti and I also share the love of Pomeranians, with both of us owning dogs of this breed. She writes some scary stuff, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in. This is one Halloween tale you won’t forget!

AUTHOR: Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a writer of fantasy, horror, and suspense/thriller. When she isn’t creating extraordinary worlds or fleshing out powerful characters, she enjoys reading, traveling, kayaking, photography, and seeking adventures.

An award-winning…

View original post 2,988 more words