Tag Archives: book recommendations

Long Lost Elvis (Boomer’s Tales 4) by Christine Isley-Farmer Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young girl discovers a new mystery to solve after rescuing a farmer’s donkey and discovering his wife’s favorite painting is missing in the fourth book in the beloved Boomer’s Tales series, “Long Lost Elvis” by Christine Isley-Farmer.

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The Synopsis 

A donkey runs out in front of Nana Weathers’s car when she, Chloe, and Boomer are returning from Camp Resound. Mr. Brown, a farmer, drives upon the scene. To thank them for keeping his donkey, Elvis, safe, Mr. Brown invites everyone to his farm. There, they discover that his wife’s favorite painting is missing, and so begins a new mystery for Chloe and friends to solve. Will their efforts be successful, and what surprises will they learn about Elvis, the runaway donkey?

The Review

This was such a thoughtful and engaging story for young readers. Longtime fans of the Boomer’s Tales series will love the continuation of this story, as readers are treated to a heartwarming tale of a young girl and her animal friends not only investigating this new mystery but getting to know this unusual and fun new animal friend as well. The imagery and subtle emotional tone of the narrative really played well with the narrative, as the reader delved further and further into Elvis’s backstory and the mystery of Mr. Brown’s painting. 

The heart of this story definitely was the character development the author utilized. Not only did readers get to see the chemistry between the established characters shine brightly here, but the backstory of Elvis and the mystery of his past, as well as the emotional backstory behind the painting itself and the reality of who took the painting itself at the end of the narrative. 

The Verdict

Thoughtful, emotional, and captivating, author Christine Isley-Farmer’s “Long Lost Elvis” is a must-read children’s book. In the perfect continuation of the Boomer’s Tales series, the author keeps an even pace and brings a great balance between the established characters and the newcomers involving Elvis and Mr. Brown’s stories. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Christine Isley-Farmer is the author of the children’s chapter book series, “Boomer’s Tales.” Three of the books in the series have been published. Her debut book in the series, Finding My Yip, was named Finalist in the Children’s Fiction category by the American Writing Awards 2021. In 2022, her second book in the series, A Hard Nut to Crack, was named Finalist in the Children’s Chapter Book category by the National Indie Excellence Awards.

Christine is also a writer of miscellaneous poetry.

She holds BM. MM, and DMA degrees and is Professor Emeritus in the School of Music at Middle Tennessee State University where she coordinated the voice area. She has sung professionally in opera and concert in the US and Europe. Christine currently lives in Murfreesboro, TN with her husband and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dylan. 

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The Prisoners of Stewartville by Shannon Felton Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A teen boy starts to look into the mysteries of the small town defined by its prison system after discovering a hidden tunnel in the basement of a home, and in doing so uncovers dark histories and hidden secrets that will terrify him to his core in the author Shannon Felton’s “The Prisoners of Stewartville”.

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The Synopsis

Stewartville. A town living in the shadow of the prisons that drive its economy. Haunted by the ghosts of its past. Cursed by the dark secrets hidden beneath. A town so entwined with the prisons waiting outside the city limits that it’s impossible to imagine one without the other, or to ever imagine escaping either.

When a teenage boy digs into the history of the town, he discovers a tunnel system beneath Stewartville, passageways filled with dark secrets. Secrets leading not to freedom, but to unrelenting terror.

Stewartville. Where the convicts aren’t the only prisoners.

The Review

This was a truly captivating and masterful read. The heavy atmosphere of the narrative kept readers engaged right from the beginning. The rich mythos that the author develops for this story and the evil that infects this town (or is it the other way around?), really do a remarkable job of keeping the reader’s hearts pumping.

The heart of this short horror read is actually the balance of character development and the book’s setting. The thing that stuck out to me was how the people of this town felt very much like a by-product of the infestation that this town had become, as it not only seemed to draw in people who are typically deemed by society to live “on the fringes” but would transform people into their worst nightmares through fear and terror. The protagonist’s story and his confrontation with the evil of this town reflected the status of the town altogether, which became a central character in its own right.

The Verdict

Horrifying, chilling, and entertaining, author Shannon Felton’s “The Prisoners of Stewartville” is a must-read occult fiction meets paranormal & urban fantasy novel. The twists and turns this narrative takes and the larger discussion on the prison system and how society treats those living on the fringe kept me invested in this gripping story, as did the shocking twist final pages of this instant horror classic. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Shannon Felton lives in Buckeye, Arizona with her husband, their four children, and three dogs. The Prisoners of Stewartville is her debut novella.

Love The Dark Days by Ira Mathur Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A woman who has been stuck in a vicious cycle of trauma as her grandmother lashes out after the loss of her former life finds herself fighting to let go of the past and reinvent herself in author Ira Mathur’s “Love The Dark Days”.

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The Synopsis

From award-winning journalist Ira Mathur, Love The Dark Days is about accrued intergenerational damage between mothers and daughters in post-colonial worlds.

Set in India, England, Trinidad and St Lucia, Love The Dark Days follows the story of the life of Dolly, of mixed Hindu Muslim parentage in post-colonial India. Dolly, whose privileged family has colluded with the brutality of the British Rule in India, lives with her grandmother, who feels a raging loss at the fading old world. With it, her privilege. Dolly absorbs her grandmothers’ rage, becoming a living memorial of all the pain and injustice the imperious Burrimummy repeatedly hauls back from her past to tell and retell to Dolly. Just as Dolly is constantly pulled into the old wounds, so is the reader. The story is crafted so the reader viscerally experiences how trauma loops around, coming back and back through generations to warp the future.

That damage of unbelonging is repeated when her family migrates to Trinidad, where, in her darkest hour, she meets Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, who encourages her when she visits him in St Lucia over a weekend to leave the past behind and reinvent herself. Before she can do this Dolly must re-enter the past one last time.

Can Dolly find the courage to examine each broken shard of her shattered family and reassemble it into a new shape in a new world? It is raw, unflinching, but not without threads of humour and perceived absurdity; Love the Dark Days is an intricate tapestry with Dolly’s story at its heart. 

The Review

This was such a well-written and captivating memoir and biography. The balance the author found in the generational stories of her family, including her grandmother and mother, with her own experiences was so impactful and thought-provoking. The rich imagery the author conjured up through her writing really brought readers into the lives of these very different yet connected women through the generations of this family. 

The heart of the author’s story was true in the intricate details of her life experiences and the multi-cultural journey she undertook in her life, as well as the deep look into how Colonialism impacted both her family and the generations that came before. The history of Colonialism is so rarely discussed in detail within nations such as The United States outside of an advanced history course, and so learning of the experiences that came with Colonialism and getting to see it through both her mother’s family’s side and her father’s point of view was fascinating. Yet it was the intimate, heartfelt moments that the author shared of her own life and experiences that really made the deepest impact, even in the opening pages as she confronts a loss of proportionate significance. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, captivating, and engaging, author Ira Mathur’s “Love The Dark Days” is a must-read memoir and nonfiction book. The rich cultural dynamics both within her family and her own life were so passionately written about and felt in the journey the reader was led on, and the emotional and mental struggles the author and her multi-generational family underwent, including this cycle of trauma, were both tragic in its delivery and yet hopeful in the author’s achievements and experiences in the modern day. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ira Mathur is an Indian-born Trinidadian award winning multimedia journalist with degrees in Literature, Law and Journalism. www.irasroom.org .She is currently the Trinidad Guardian’s longest-running columnist , and has freelanced for The Guardian (UK) and the BBC.

IN 2021 Mathur was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award for her unpublished novel ”Touching Dr Simone.”

In 2019 Mathur was longlisted for the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize. An excerpt of her memoir is anthologized in Thicker Than Water, (Peekash Press, 2018).

In 2018 she shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Prize, the Lorian Hemmingway (short story) and Small Axe Literary Competition.

Mathur gained diplomas in creative writing at the University of East Anglia/Guardian with James Scudamore & Gillian Slovo and Maggie Gee at the Faber Academy. ( 2015/2016)

https://www.irasroom.org/

The Prisoner of Fear by Chad Miller Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two detectives searching for proof of the supernatural must search for a missing friend who had reached out to them regarding a young woman with a mysterious ailment, but their search soon uncovers a horrible abomination that cannot be explained by science or modern medicine in author Chad Miller’s “The Prisoner of Fear”.

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The Synopsis

It is 1889 in Philadelphia, and detective John Doyle is restless. Along with his miserable partner, Thomas Braham, Doyle pursues mysteries, strange sightings, and other obscurities tossed aside and disregarded by the police. For years, Doyle has taken on these cases in the hopes of discovering something supernatural – something that could upend and dispute his long-standing, debilitating fear that immortal souls do not exist.

Doyle’s search for the supernatural remains unsuccessful until he receives a strange letter from an old doctor friend regarding a young woman with a mysterious and rather disturbing illness. When the doctor goes missing in the same town that this young woman resides in, Doyle and Braham decide to take on the case and search for clues regarding their missing friend. In doing so, they discover that there is no longer any suffering young woman, but a dangerous abomination whose origin cannot be explained by science nor modern medicine.

Meanwhile, an unnamed victim has been kidnapped. Trapped in a cell with nothing but a journal to document their experiences, this mysterious Prisoner must undergo terrifying scientific experiments while trying not to lose all hope and sanity.

Inspired by the works of renowned horror and mystery writers like Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, and Arthur Conan Doyle, The Prisoner of Fear brilliantly weaves questions of mortality and the human propensity for evil into a truly intriguing, unique, and frightening narrative.

The Review 

This is the perfect blend of the gothic horror-meeting medical thriller. The author does an incredible job of immediately thrusting readers into a heavy atmosphere, as the narrative jumps between those seeking answers and the fearful ramblings of the unknown prisoner. The way the author writes this story in a format that showcases journal entries, various correspondence between characters, and even newspaper articles from the fictional world he has created was an inspired choice, as it felt like the 19th century and literary version of a found footage film. 

The world-building and character development indeed took center stage in this novel. The 19th-century Philadelphia setting played well into the gothic tone of the story while also giving readers a vastly different perspective than classic gothic horror has in the past. The relatability of the characters, especially Doyle and his deep desire to find that irrefutable proof of an afterlife, was so great to see come forward in a rich storyline such as this. The story’s tension and chilling nature will stay with readers long after they put the book down.

The Verdict

Thrilling, haunting, and engaging, author Chad Miller’s “The Prisoner of Fear” is a must-read gothic horror and medical thriller novel of 2022. The twists and turns this narrative takes will feed well into the frightening atmosphere and adrenaline-fueled story the author has created. The dynamics between these characters will have readers fully invested as the horrors begin to reveal themselves. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Chad Miller has a B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University and a Pharm D from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He’s a pharmacist and lives in lifeless Delaware with his girlfriend, Natasha and her daughter, Sasha, and his three kids, Killian, Willow, and Halina. He is a horror writer and began crafting stories 25 years ago. His writing is not for the faint at heart and his goal is to plant seeds of terror in your mind so that you can’t sleep at night. His novel, The Prisoner of Fear, is being published by Hear Our Voice and will be out fall of 2022. His short story collection, The Void is available on Amazon now! His short story, The Thorn, is published by Sweety Cat Press and is included in the anthology, Beautiful: In the Eye of the Beholder and is out now available on Amazon. His story, Diseased, will be included in the anthology, Movement: Bodies in Motion, and is available now. His future project includes his follow-up novel, A Paroxysm of Fear, and a 3 part series of novellas titled Cerebus. Check out other stories on his website, chadmiller-author.com. 

Vorodin’s Lair (Book Two of the Warminster Series) by J.V. Hilliard Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

An elven princess and a young keeper of the citadel blessed (or cursed) by visions must seek out an ageless sorcerer and escape a fallen keeper bent on revenge as the realm of Warminster teeters on the brink of war in author J.V. Hilliard’s “Vorodin’s Lair”, the second book in the “Warminster Series”.

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The Synopsis

Ominous Omens

Daemus, a low Keeper of the Cathedral of the Watchful Eye, isn’t the only one having visions. His nightmares speak of the ageless sorcerer, Vorodin, who may be able to help. But the answers he seeks may bring him—and the realm—to the brink of war.

Elven princess, Addilyn Elspeth, must discover why she’s receiving visitations from a mysterious creature that shouldn’t exist. She combines forces with Daemus on their harrowing journey to the scholar city of Abacus, where Vorodin’s Lair awaits.

A Plot of Revenge

Their powerful adversary and fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad, continues to chase the young Keeper throughout the realm, seeking vengeance against his order while trying to find a cure for his own affliction.

Explore the realm of Warminster, as fantasy and magic mixes with epic adventure and romance. Omens, battles and plot twists await you in the pages of Vorodin’s Lair. 

The Review

This is an epic fantasy just bursting with potential for a live-action adaption. The cinematic imagery layering the writing of this incredible author’s work and the grand atmosphere that brings balance to this narrative felt alive on the page. The balance of magic and sorcery with the iconic epic journey and romance that defines great fantasy series was great to see here, and added depth to the growing mystery surrounding the ageless sorcerer himself.

Yet as with the first book, the emphasis on character development and world-building was the true heart and soul of this narrative. The dynamic that grows between Daemus and Addilyn was fantastic to see here, as was the growing depth to the villainous Graytorris. Combine this with the sheer volume of detail that went into bringing Warminster to life on the page and the mythos surrounding the magic and creatures of this world made this one of the most original fantasy series I’ve read in a long while.

The Verdict

Captivating, magical, and entertaining, author J.V. Hilliard’s “Vorodin’s Lair” is a must-read fantasy novel of 2022 and a great addition to this growing epic saga. The inclusion of Nordic mythos and iconography with this classic sorcery-driven narrative and the engaging story between the two protagonists made me enthralled with this story to the point where I didn’t want to put it down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born of steel, fire and black wind, J.V. Hilliard was raised as a highlander in the foothills of a once-great mountain chain on the confluence of the three mighty rivers that forged his realm’s wealth and power for generations.

His father, a peasant twerg, toiled away in industries of honest labor and instilled in him a work ethic that would shape his destiny. His mother, a local healer, cared for his elders and his warrior uncle, who helped to raise him during his formative years. His genius brother, whose wizardly prowess allowed him to master the art of the abacus and his own quill, trained with him for battles on fields of green and sheets of ice.

Hilliard’s earliest education took place in his warrior uncle’s tower, where he learned his first words. HIs uncle helped him to learn the basics of life—and, most importantly, creative writing.

Hilliard’s training and education readied him to lift a quill that would scribe the tale of the realm of Warminster, filled with brave knights, harrowing adventure and legendary struggles. He lives in the city of silver cups, hypocycloids and golden triangles with his wife, a ranger of the diamond. They built their castle not far into the countryside, guarded by his own two horsehounds, Thor and MacLeod, and resides there to this day.

https://www.jvhilliard.com/

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The Free World War by Matthew William Frend Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An alternative future of enlightened people uses simulations to witness how events in history could have been much different than what we know of history if something had just changed, and in so doing showcase how sacrifice in the face of tyranny is how the age of freedom is truly won in author Matthew William Frend’s “The Free World War”, the first in a planned series.

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The Synopsis

The year is 2265 and Earth is a utopia populated by enlightened and contented people.

During this time virtual reality simulations of past events can be generated using unlimited computing power. One such project stems from the events surrounding a car accident in 1945 involving General George S. Patton. The simulation is used to see what an alternative world would look like without the General, who was killed in the accident.

The simulation shows the utopians our world, where humanity has continued along the same path of destruction it has taken for millennia and the Cold War dominates the latter half of the 20th century.

General Patton understood that communism preached world domination and the U.S.S.R. under Stalin would spread its tyranny throughout the post-war world. He wanted to defeat the Soviets while the time was right. Patton proposed a continuation of the war in Europe and said he could make it look like the Soviets had started it.

The simulation’s revelations reveal that contrary to popular belief, it had taken the sacrifices of a war against tyranny for a perfect world to exist.

The Review

This was such a thought-provoking and engaging alt-history sci-fi novel. The intrigue and volumes of world-building that the author deploys here are truly phenomenal. The attention to detail the author provided when exploring history as a whole brought a nice and smooth cohesion between the historical aspects of the story with the more futuristic, sci-fi elements of the grander story being told. 

Yet as with most alt-history books, the defining aspects of this narrative fell to the rich character dynamics found within its pages and the captivating historical action the narrative found as well. The way both fictional and historical figures came to life on the page and became such a defining force in these simulations added to the depth of information the author managed to fit into such a short amount of pages, making this such a thrilling sci-fi read.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, action-packed, and entertaining, author Matthew W. Frend’s “The Free World War” is a great first entry into this brand-new series and a must-read sci-fi novel. The twists and turns in the narrative and the exploration in-depth of what the Cold War could have looked like not only brought a cinematic quality to the writing style but allowed for a deeper look into how sacrifice and adversity in the face of hardship are crucial to the advancement of our society as we know it. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Matthew W. Frend has always had a passion for writing fiction. Drawing on his diverse background in information technology and military strategy, he created the Free World War series. He lives by the Benjamin Franklin credo of “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

Following his time in the Australian Army, Matthew spent over twenty years as a computer programmer, and has lived in Australia, USA and Scotland. He has also been involved with equestrian sports at the grass roots level.

https://mwfrendauthor.wixsite.com/author

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Full: Overcoming Our Eating Disorders to Fully Live by Melissa L. Kelley and Alayna Burke Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

TRIGGER WARNING: BOOK INVOLVES AND SPEAKS ABOUT THE SUBJECT OF EATING DISORDERS. FOR ANYONE WHO CAN NOT HANDLE A BOOK INVOLVING THIS SUBJECT, READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Authors Alayna Burke and Mellisa L. Kelley share a personal story of anxiety, eating disorders, and the path they took to overcome the odds and find joy in their lives in the book “Full: Overcoming Our Eating Disorders to Fully Live”. 

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The Synopsis 

Growing up in the digital age, with the pressures of social media and increasingly competitive academics, Alayna’s perfectionism started early in life. She began to despise her body after a pre-teen wellness check when the physician told her to “lay off the snacks” and watch her weight. At age 16, Alayna was diagnosed with anorexia. She was three weeks from being sent to an in-patient treatment center when she decided to take charge of her life.

Plagued with body dysmorphia beginning at six years old, Melissa came of age in the diet culture of the 1970s and 1980s when fad diets, diet pills, and at-home exercise equipment dominated the golden age of advertising. Melissa was diagnosed with bulimia when she was 16 and her treatment included both inpatient and intensive outpatient programs over five years. After a series of traumatic events, she struggled with anorexia in her thirties.

Burke and Kelley weave their stories of illness and recovery through 12 topics that fed their eating disorders and share how they now manage those challenges to fully participate in life. FULL offers insight and hope to people struggling with eating disorders and those who love them.

The Review

This was such an emotional and captivating nonfiction read. The authors did an incredible job of finding just the right balance between the memoir style of writing and the specific focus on the topic of eating disorders and the impact they have on the person suffering from them. The atmosphere the authors create through their shared experience speaks both to the hardships they endured in their journeys and the hope they found in overcoming those disorders through the help of their families and proven techniques they discovered that helped them.

What stood out to me was both the exploration of each of these authors’ journeys in vastly different eras of history and the focus on personal experience more so than any technical or clinical focus on these disorders. The personal stories these authors share not only reflect their struggles but how the era they grew up in impacted how their disorders arose and presented themselves. This allows a larger group of readers to identify with the book and feel represented by the bravery and courage these authors have shown in writing this vitally important book. 

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, emotionally driven, and haunting yet hopeful all at once, authors Alayna Burke and Melissa Kelley’s “Full” is a must-read nonfiction and memoir-style book. The amount of knowledge and personal experience the authors share about their own journeys and how they related to one another over time, as well as the inspirational tone that the authors struck made this book readers won’t be able to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Alayna Burke started her idea for Full as an eighteen-year-old senior in high school. She grew up in Saint Charles, Missouri, and always loved to write as a kid. Alayna developed anorexia, stemming from anxiety and depression, as a sixteen-year-old. Outpatient treatment and a strong support system helped Alayna recover in about two years, although the voice of her eating disorder still nags at her every once in a while. Alayna often wished there was a book out there from the voice of a teen who could relate to her, so she’s providing just that for other women. FULL is Alayna’s first published work. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in nutrition and exercise physiology with a minor in psychology at the University of Missouri. Alayna plans to become a registered dietitian.

Melissa Kelley grew up in Saint Charles, Missouri, the third of six children. Her love for writing began in high school and blossomed in her forties when she began blogging and writing a memoir. Full is her first published work.Throughout her career, Melissa has worked in both corporate and civic non-profit organizations. She currently holds a leadership position in a company whose mission is to make the planet better through environmental sustainability services. In 2018, Melissa was named one of Saint Louis’ Most Influential Businesswomen by the St. Louis Business Journal. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Truman State University and a Master of Business Administration from Washington University in Saint Louis. She lives with her two children, Athena Robin Kelley and Erin Iris Christine Kelley, and their Cavapoo, Noah, in Saint Louis, Missouri.

A King Ascends (The Tyrea Trilogy Book One) by Jane Mckay Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A man stolen away from his home planet must fight to rescue both his family and his world from a grueling threat and fight a villain for the right to rule his world in author Jane Mckay’s “A King Ascends”, the first book in The Tyrea Trilogy.

The Synopsis

A thrilling science fiction story of good and evil.

The sentient planet, Tyrea, is in danger. Unaware of the problem, Jon Tor is happy in doing work that he loves but knows something terrible has happened on his home planet when he is kidnapped, injured, and flees for his life. He desperately needs to save not only his family but his entire planet. Friends, on and off the planet, gather to help him survive the struggle to get home in time. He is facing an additional problem because he needs to survive long enough in order to put himself into the hands of his enemy. The two men must come together to battle for the right to rule.

Who will outwit the other and win?

The Review

This was a powerful and thrilling dystopian sci-fi novel. The author did an incredible job of diving head-first into the narrative’s action and showcasing the rich and diverse cast of characters and world-building the author. The tension the author infused into the story and the heavy atmosphere that builds as the weight of this planetary threat makes itself known was greatly felt in this story.

Yet it was the engaging character development and mythology the author built, along with a moving series of themes, that made this story feel alive on the page. The protagonist’s tale of tragedy and overcoming hardships was both relatable and inspiring, and the natural way in which the world around him adapts and engages with the advanced tech and multiple alien species was great to see. The emotional weight of the protagonist’s story and the themes of loss, love, and the grieving process overall made this a masterful sci-fi adventure.

The Verdict

Memorable, adrenaline-fueled, and entertaining, author Jane Mckay’s “A King Ascends” is a must-read sci-fi and dystopian epic, and the perfect opening story in the growing The Tyrea Trilogy series. The twists and turns this narrative takes and the action-packed adventure the protagonist finds himself on against the sinister villain keep the reader invested until the book’s final pages. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jane McKay is a graduate of Ohio State University with a BA in Geography. She loves her field because it touches on all the other sciences and allows her imagination to soar with lots of ‘what if’ questions. All her life she has wondered about the world outside her door. Credit through has to be given to her family who have kept her firmly grounded on this home planet. That’s okay, it only causes her to dream more. The best hope she has is to gather new friends to share her dreams.

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The Squirrel and the Dragonfly by Brenda W. Huddleston Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young squirrel takes it upon himself to help an injured Dragonfly, and stirs up a friendship neither of them saw coming in author Brenda W. Huddleston’s “The Squirrel and the Dragonfly”.

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The Synopsis

This early reader story follows a squirrel named Liam and a Dragonfly named Sophia who have an accidental meeting in the woods. Realizing Sophia is in trouble and needs his help, Liam jumps into action. When Liam gets his forest friends to help rescue Sophia, the adventure proves to be an unlikely but lasting friendship for all of them.

These creatures of nature teach us valuable lessons about the importance of honoring our differences, especially when someone needs our help.

Parents, grandparents, educators, and kids will love The Squirrel & the Dragonfly and the vivid illustrations and positive messages for younger children.

The Review

The author did an incredible job of crafting a narrative that really felt both emotional and educational at the same time for younger readers. The almost cinematic quality of the artwork and imagery in this book not only drew the reader into the story but helped to keep a hopeful and lighthearted tone throughout the narrative.

To me, the theme the author explored was really the heart of this book. The lessons learned here of accepting our differences from one another and learning to not only live together but grow and help one another through life’s journey made this such a gripping story. The emotions the squirrel felt upon his friend’s evolution throughout the story made this such an engaging read, and the rich dynamics between the squirrel and the dragonfly made this a moving story.

The Verdict

Captivating, emotional, and thoughtful, author Brenda Huddleston’s “The Squirrel and the Dragonfly” is a must-read children’s book and illustrated story. The author did a brilliant job of weaving a narrative together that felt adventurous and kind all at once, and the theme of pushing aside our differences, acknowledging them, and moving forward together to not only befriend each other but help one another in their time in need was so profoundly moving to see come to life in this children’s book. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Brenda Huddleston discovered her love for writing late in life. After retiring from a long career in corporate management, she moved to the country where she finally had time to stop and smell the roses. During the summer, she would spend time with her three-year-old great-grandson discovering the joy and excitement of watching the animals interact and taking in the sheer beauty of nature.

Brenda lives in rural North Carolina on the Little River where there is abundance of nature and animals from which to choose the characters in her books.

She has been invited to read her books at libraries, daycare centers, and bookstores where she draws delight from watching the children’s faces light up with wonder as they hear the stories and ask questions.

Learning to enjoy reading at a young age can be an invaluable learning tool. Brenda feels strongly that her books must incorporate the essential lessons of childhood. Sharing, kindness, compassion, leadership, and diversity are easily understandable through the eyes of these cute animals.

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