Book Reviews: Fantasy, Travel, and a Halloween treat!

I’ve enjoyed reading three books that not only entertained, but they educated as well, and kept me from doing chores around the house. 🙂 And I hope after you read my reviews, you’ll leave with a book or two or three! Forget the chores; they’re not going away anytime soon…….

D. Wallace Peach owns that special talent to create believable, sensational kingdoms in stories so captivating that I can’t put her books down. Her latest novel, The Necromancer’s Daughter, is no exception. While fantasy was never my preferred genre, Diana’s books have converted me. Her compelling storytelling sets her apart from other fantasy authors. In this new tale, Diana’s authentic world-building and characterization that either warmed my heart or made my blood boil kept me engaged once again. The expressive language in every paragraph portrayed a vivid scene where I felt as though I was watching the movie instead of reading the novel. And while I never gave dragons much thought, I will now……with a gentle regard. The main characters: Aster, Barus, Joreh, and Teko, had a special way of flowing into my heart generating empathy. I was immediately drawn to Aster’s charm and compassion, hoping she would find fulfillment once she reached the finish line of her journey.

Where battle and bloodshed are not devoid in this story, love, friendship, camaraderie, and a heartwarming father-daughter relationship, prove to deepen the tale as Aster stands by her convictions even when she knows the enemy deems them sinful. Of course, the grace of good struggles against the persistence of evil, and the characters are faced with life-changing decisions where the consequences don’t always present clarity. I tend to get emotional, so I found myself fighting back tears in some parts which surprised me. I didn’t expect to grow so attached to the female protagonist and her circle of support. But their feelings of love, anger, confusion, and realization were palpable on each page.

I absolutely loved this book – my favorite so far of Diana’s. The Necromancer’s Daughter was not only action-packed, but Diana wove magic into the tale, along with sweet and subtle romance. Highly recommended for all fantasy genre enthusiasts, and even those who aren’t but who are willing to be converted!

To purchase your copy of The Necromancer’s Daughter!

The concept of Robbie Cheadle and her son, Michael, teaming up to create delightful and educational children’s books does not rest in its infant stages. Not only do they write entertaining stories that showcase Robbie’s incredible fondant, they also incorporate significant messages for the readers to assimilate. I’ve read several of their fabulous collaborations, so I had no doubt that Haunted Halloween Holiday would be just as adorable and clever.

This Halloween tale stars Count Sugular and his wife, Witch Honey. They are thrilled to be invited to a Halloween Party by the Sugarpop Bats, which they plan to attend, so they decide to hire a caravan for an enjoyable weekend with their family. I love how each character is introduced with its own cute and clever limerick, and the color photos of cake fondant to correspond with the story add great depth and are simply fabulous.

The characters’ appearance and their personalities are all expertly created by this mother-son duo. Not only is this book a perfect treat for children to read during Halloween, but as I mentioned before, the authors include underlying messages and lessons within the story that can be applied to real life. I enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend for anyone, any age, who enjoys a Halloween treat of a great story and vital lessons to take away.

To purchase your copy of Haunted Halloween Holiday!

Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral by Darlene Foster is my first book to read in Darlene’s Amanda series, and I was pleasantly surprised. Amanda is a twelve-year-old girl who loves to travel to different countries, and in this story, she is fortunate to visit Paris with her best friend, Leah, and Leah’s Aunt Jenny. I gather that Amanda has the innate ability to either invite trouble or trouble seeks her out! Sure enough, when peculiar things begin to happen, Amanda can’t let them go. The sleuth in her stays on the trail to the very end until the mystery is solved.

The characters are engaging and authentic and so is the flowing dialogue. As Amanda and Leah observe the many historical landmarks, so does the reader. And when they learn the backstory, the reader becomes enlightened as well. Darlene integrates into this tale the fire that broke out in the Notre Dame cathedral in April 2019. The reader ascertains this devastating news through the eyes and heart of Amanda, only to feel the same disappointing discovery and empathy. Yet, there’s more to the story…

Amanda in France may be intended for youth, but I found it to be entertaining and delightful. Amanda is a likable young girl that everyone will love to read about. That this series includes an educational element is a benefit for all ages. I look forward to reading more of her adventures, and I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good mystery and loves to travel to faraway lands!

To purchase your copy of Amanda in France!

Happy Reading!

© Lauren Scott, baydreamerwrites.com – All rights reserved

More than Coffee-More Hugs!!!

I am thrilled to receive two more wonderful reviews for my latest book: More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose. As many of us have heard, reviews for books render the same effect as Big, Bear hugs! So, I’m loving these new hugs!

The first review is from my lovely friend, Jane Sturgeon at https://janesturgeon.com/blog. Jane always exudes positive energy, love, kindness, and calm. She is insightful, supportive, and has the most compassionate heart, and she is a lovely and wonderful writer about all aspects of life. I encourage you to visit her blog. You will leave feeling more at peace and full of that positive energy that will put a spring in your step!

The second review is from my dear friend, Scott Mitchell. We began our blogging adventures around the same time about ten years ago. Scott’s writing has always revealed his romantic heart and a sea of emotions, not to mention, his breathtaking way with words. He hasn’t blogged in a few years, but his poems can still be found at https://evokingthedeep.wordpress.com. I hope you’ll visit Scott’s blog, immersing yourself in his stunning words.

More Than Coffee: So Much More Than a Memoir of Verse and Prose by Jane Sturgeon

I loved every word in this book. Scott’s style and loving expression took me into the heart of life and to what truly matters. Her thoughts of Wil, her father-in-law, are compassionate and delightful in equal measure. Scott’s love for her family and the life she and Matt have built for their children shine through. Belonging and Riding With The Wind are two of my favourite poems.

More Than Coffee is a delight from start to finish and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a dip into the magic of life.

Deep and Inspirational by Scott Mitchell

My favorite poet does it again in this publication. Lauren Scott is a deep end creative soul that finds the very words to pull in the reader. I’ve enjoyed her work for about 10 years.

If you’d like to buy a copy, simply click “Buy on Amazon” above. And If you’ve read More than Coffee, Thank you! I hope you enjoyed walking down memory lane with me, and please consider writing a review-the hug would be greatly appreciated.

A BIG thanks to Jane and Scott, to those who have written amazing reviews, and to all of you for stopping by.

Happy Reading,
Lauren ❤️

Book Review: Vanished!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and Easter! Today, I have the pleasure of sharing my review of a compelling suspense novel.

Mark Bierman’s Vanished is a work of fiction, but the story propels us to the scene of the violent 2010 earthquake in Haiti. John, and his son-in-law, Tyler, volunteer to assist with an orphanage months later following the devastation. Their relationship is strongly convincing as they cope with the passing of Tyler’s wife, Joy (John’s daughter). They hope to channel their grief by aiding others, which will help them through the various stages.

Little do they know what lies ahead on their journey. When a little girl disappears out of the blue, John and Tyler are transported into the horrific world of human trafficking and child slavery. Her mother spirals into a frenzy of fear, imagining her daughter’s possible impending plight. These appalling crimes are so common, though, that no effort is enforced to finding this little girl, but morally, John and Tyler can’t just look the other way. They embark on a quest riddled with danger lurking around each corner.

In addition to John and Tyler, supporting characters seize the spotlight, and their stories and struggles are just as intense and page-turning. I was really impressed with the manner in which Mark’s clever writing intertwines all roles. Sympathizing with the abused while loathing the abusers comes effortlessly. Most importantly, holding onto hope with a strong grip is significant as the rescue mission continues. At first, I was reluctant to read this book because of the unthinkable topics. Mark’s novel may be a work of fiction, but the subject matter is not only horrifying and heartbreaking, it’s very real. There are moments in the book where I held my breath, and one scene especially had me feeling a little claustrophobic. Regardless, I couldn’t put this book down because of Mark’s excellent writing and delivery. The story is fast-paced and gripping, an edge-of-your-seat read. I give this book 5 stars. Highly recommended!

Happy Reading!

Lauren ❤️

A little bias, but…

I have to share this review written by my daughter of my latest book. Yes, it’s a little biased, but believe me when I tell you that my family and anyone who knows me well will be brutally honest. So, I’m touched by her beautiful words and her continued love and support for me…

More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose is a heartwarming collection of poetry and short stories about love, loss, nature, and parenting, all with the best friend of coffee close by. My name is Stephanie, and I am Lauren’s daughter. While I have heard these stories told before, written or expressed verbally, and have helped with the editing process along the way, reading the final product hit me in a deeper way. I was sitting on my couch in the apartment I share with my husband, reading my mom’s newest book, getting emotional on every page but mostly on short stories such as, ‘Ascent,’ about the journey of a backpacking trip after the loss of both her parents, ‘1989,’ my parents’ love story, and ‘The Way It Was,’ about my mom’s choir and solo singing opportunities encouraged by her teacher, that catapulted me, her daughter, in sharing that same passion for singing. Those are but a few examples that capture the raw emotions, authenticity and vulnerability she shares with the reader – aspects of life everyone can relate to. My mom has published two solely poetry books prior, but the amalgamation of the short stories and poems is a fine-tuned balance, one she has hit her mark on. I may be a little biased, but I couldn’t be any prouder! Do her the honor of purchasing and reading this book with a good old-fashioned cup of joe or your preferred drink of choice; you surely won’t be disappointed! Happy reading!

Thank you for stopping by and reading Stephanie’s review. If you’ve bought my book, I hope you’ve enjoyed the memories. And if you haven’t already written an Amazon review, I would greatly appreciate it if you would. I once read that reviews are like hugs for authors. And if you don’t already have a copy of More than Coffee on your kindle or in your book case, I hope you’ll check it out. Simply click “Buy on Amazon” below the image.

Thanks again,
Lauren ❤️❤️❤️

Behind Closed Doors – Book Review

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Robbie Cheadle, a wonderful poet and author of children’s books, paranormal historical, and supernatural fantasy. She is also a prolific baker of delicious cakes that she includes in her books and blog posts. I thoroughly enjoyed her poetry book, Behind Closed Doors.

Behind Closed Doors by Robbie Cheadle is a collection of various style poems such as freeform, tanka, haiku, and limerick. Robbie touches on many aspects of life evoking a myriad of emotions. She writes beautifully with strong convictions about marriage, motherhood, dreams, her struggles of working in the corporate world, living in lockdown during the pandemic, and about social issues she finds distressing. Whether her words speak of joy or anguish, they are fiercely passionate.

I personally connected to “Contrasting Colors” because of my strong marriage and relationship with my husband. Robbie creates a lovely metaphorical comparison between her and her husband, showing just how much they complement each other. I really liked the format of this poem. In “He Walks Away” her words paint the picture of her son who is no longer the little boy whose mom’s kisses cured all pain, but a young man who she will need to let go for him to find his way in the world. As an empty nester, my heart felt her bittersweet emotions.

Environmentally, I was drawn to “I saw a fish a-swimming” and “If the polar icecaps doth melt.” Robbie emphasizes the tragic effects of global warming not only on the planet, but on living creatures. She writes with concern and compassion, and some poems are written as twisted limericks bearing nothing but the truth. My stomach felt just as twisted after reading these powerful reminders. But even in trying times, Robbie includes, “Can you see the butterflies?” This poem offers delightful imagery, imploring the reader to dash outside in that very moment to embrace nature’s beauty.

I highly recommend Behind Closed Doors for fans who revel in finding themselves relating to the messages or scenarios, therefore sinking into the deeper meanings.

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Robbie’s book. Simply click on “Buy on Amazon” below the image. You can also visit Robbie at her blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

~Lauren Scott ❤️

Christmas Trees and Memories!

This holiday season is different for my husband and I, a bit quieter around the house because we became empty nesters several months ago. And I admit that with Christmas just around the corner, the quiet is a bit thunderous. I remember past holidays when our son and daughter were little; we’d keep the magic going and would look forward to witnessing their wonder of the season each day up until the morning when we watched them with delight open their gifts. They knew that just the night before, Santa had come down the chimney with the hefty pack of presents on his back.

Holiday baking is a tradition that I carried into my family from memories of my sisters and I baking with Mom. She was beautiful and festive, wearing her Christmas apron as she taught us how to make sugar cookies and her German Christmas Stollen – a delicious recipe that I’ve made only once in my life but will attempt again when I have the required energy in both mind and body. The recipe is complicated, involving yeast and bread rising and everything that I know very little about, hence, the need to muster up that energy! Baking with my young children was a time when their excitement and giggles bounced off the walls as they helped make sugar cookies in different shapes: bells, boots, Christmas trees, angels, stockings, candy canes, holly leaves, and more. Licking the beaters was a must, and no one ever got sick. Their tiny little hands had so much fun with the cookie dough as if they were creating with playdough. Christmas carols played in the background adding merriment to the mix.

I must have inherited my love of dressing festively for the holidays because when our children were little, I loved painting on t-shirts and sweatshirts for family and friends. I was no artist, but my daughter and son were thrilled to wear their white “Merry Christmas” sweatshirts with candy canes and Santa’s “Ho, Ho, Ho!” The grandparents wore their Santa Claus sweatshirts with pride, and they looked cute! My husband and I still wear ours and that paint has never peeled off, even after thirty years! Having fun was the main objective!

Last year’s festivities

But this past Saturday a new tradition began when just the two of us drove to our most patronized grocery store to look for a live Christmas tree. He’s an Arborist and an avid tree hugger, so as long as the prepping of the tree – fitting it onto the stand and keeping it watered – doesn’t become physically challenging, a living tree will be our preference. For the first time, we brought home a beautiful Grand Fir. My husband prepped the tree outside, trimming the bottom branches, making sure the flush cut was level with the base of the tree, then drilling holes around the center hole to allow water to be soaked up. Inside the house, I rearranged furniture, vacuumed, and pulled the red festive tree skirt from the closet, prepping the perfect spot by the large window in the living room. When the tree was set up, I poured sugar water into the base and waited a half hour to ensure no water was seeping through.

Tony Bennett sang Christmas carols in the background while we strung the lights around the fragrant tree. As we picked up each ornament, precious memories flooded our minds. Most ornaments were handmade by our children as they were growing up, and many have photos of them from kindergarten, first, and second grades. Oh, the memories! Now our beautiful Grand Fir stands tall by the window adorned in red, green, and white lights, adding magic to the room. The tree topper is our very own precious angel that our daughter made when she was a little girl. She used a toilet paper roll. Hilarious, but clever, and so special that this angel will never be replaced.

I realized early that day, I didn’t feel the same excitement to put up the tree as I’ve felt in years past. But we had a great time, perusing the trees on the lot, then getting both tree and house ready. Feeling reminiscent of those years when our children were little invoked gratitude for the blessed Christmases we’ve had when we all lived together, or at least, when one child was home while the other was away at university. So, even though we missed the presence of our adult kids during this tradition, I’m grateful for my husband to share another holiday season with. Perspective is key: this is the next chapter for each of us, and it’s all good. Most importantly, we are healthy and safe.

Everyone has their own struggles and sorrow from various life events; some are just a matter of going along with the progression of natural changes like becoming empty nesters, and some events are so tragic that joy drifts far, far away. Hopefully, though, joy can be found wherever our hearts and minds may be this holiday season, even if only in tiny, fragile fragments.

❤️❤️❤️

And speaking of memories, if you’re looking for a holiday gift for family or friends, my memoir, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose, is available on Amazon:

US Amazon:
https://tinyurl.com/5bffee3t

UK Amazon:
https://tinyurl.com/fhy4mtaf

Below is another beautiful 5-Star Review from my dear friend, Betty at https://raindancepoetry.wordpress.com:

“More than Coffee is a heartwarming collection of memories and anecdotes in which the author reflects on her early life, her marriage, her love for family and friends, and her appreciation for the great outdoors. In poetry and prose she writes poignantly (and often humorously) of love, loss, sadness and joy, and I found myself relating to each section. The overall feeling I had after reading More than Coffee was one of optimism and upliftment. A wonderful book!

I believe there is some meaningful discovery for each reader, or at least, this is my wish.

Sending you all hugs of joy during this holiday season.
Lauren ❤️🎄

Book Reviews and Gratitude!!

I am delighted to share the first two reviews for More than Coffee, both written by two fantastic writers. And I’m still dancing the happy dance!
The first is by Balroop Singh at Emotional Shadows.

5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-warming and delightful memoir

More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose by Lauren Scott is a heart-warming memoir that captures lovely moments of childhood, of parents’ love, of attachments, of campfires and hiking with the love of her life. The blissful moments come alive as Scott revels in the good times, letting nostalgia transport her into time machine, to watch the reel unfold like “pictures on a camera roll.” She talks about the value of some priceless gifts that are handed down from one generation to another; she takes pride in the stories that such “gems” tell to evoke fond memories of parents. Only the happy times have been shared in this book.

Written in a simple and straight-forward style, Lauren’s poetry is realistic. ‘To My Babies’ tugged at my heart and I am sure all mothers can relate to this delightful poem. Fragrant memories of “Earthquake Cake” made me smile. ‘Simple Existence’ is thought-provoking and made me pause to comprehend the depth of words that dance across “desert dunes and boundless oceans.” ‘Forever Steady’ too gives you a reflective message to take a breather, look at magical wilderness of nature and see how “delightfully birds sing and trees welcome our company.”

I loved this book and finished it within an hour. If you value relationships and family bonding, this book is for you.

The second review is from D. Wallace Peach at Myths of the Mirror:

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely personal memories from the author

This highly recommended and quick read is a compilation of a number of Scott’s personal and precious memories conveyed in both short prose and freeform poetry. A lot of those memories come with the luxury of a hot cup of coffee, but not all. They capture bits of time from idolizing Barbara Streisand as a kid to camping in the Sierras, and lifelong encounters with spiders. Embedded within many of the stories are heartfelt relationships with parents, spouse, and children.

Some of my favorite stories were “Silver Heirlooms” about how simple hand-me-downs become filled with meaning, “Ascent” about grief and the solace of nature, “Laughing Spiders” about big hairy arachnids, and “1989” a romantic relationship initiated by, of all things, an old refrigerator.

I’ve read poetry books by Scott in the past, and the poems in this collection are some of my favorites. They follow along the same lines as the prose pieces and are in many cases reflections of the same topic. My favorite poems were: “The Right Time”, “Simple Existence”, “To My Babies” and…

The Teacher

Its canary boldness
rises up to the sun
alone, yet not lonely,
fearing nothing,
but wearing bravery
on each petal –
standing tall with spirit
in lean green attire
as if soaking up the day’s
endless possibilities.


If you haven’t met my wonderful blogging friends, Balroop or Diana, please pay them a visit. Their talents span from penning profound poetry to creating fabulous fantasy. And thank you for stopping by. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of my book in paperback or e-book format, simply click “buy” on my right sidebar image.

Big Hugs,
Lauren ❤️❤️❤️

Slivers: Chiseled Poetry & Dead of Winter-BOOK REVIEWS

Slivers: Chiseled Poetry by Balroop Singh is an enchanting collection of micro-poetry inspired by haiku, tanka, and senryu, also including acrostic poems. Nature, love, and life itself have inspired the growth of these poetic blossoms. Balroop reveals her graceful way of stringing words together, forming vivid images for the reader, inciting a myriad of emotions.

What I find noteworthy is her admission of thinking these forms would be too simple to write, therefore, her interest had waned. But when she met the challenge, she realized the task was anything but uncomplicated. And she met the challenge flawlessly. As I turned each page, more favorites appeared, too many to list, but here are a couple that resonated:

clasping trees beam/in the misty morning breeze/a glorious sight

These lines evoke backpacking memories of waking up in the morning in our wilderness home, greeting the majestic trees.

I heard melodies/of crescent moon that hung above/Darkness melted with the lilting sound/that merged in the symphony of sun/I chose life.

In this poem, I am reminded that our lives are not without strife but hope always prevails. Life is so much bigger and glorious than we realize.

Through Balroop’s magical word-weaving, she expresses the gift of surrounding beauty not to be taken for granted. She reiterates that we should persevere through the darkness because the light will shine again, and a heart that finds the deepest of love is a heart of gratitude. An exquisite poetry collection to be treasured and read over and over again. Highly recommended!

DEAD OF WINTER Journey 1-4 by Teagan Riordain Geneviene begins with Journey 1 in the first of a series that continues in monthly novellas. I have only recently begun reading the fantasy genre. But many wonderful authors have enticed me into their fantastical worlds of writing, and Teagan Riordain Geneviene is one of them. I was easily pulled into Emlyn’s world, the main character who is only twelve years old. A world with its restrictions appearing seemingly true to life for many.

Emlyn’s story starts in the Flowing Lands at Forlorn Peak, but her life is not all giggles of a twelve-year-old for she lives with a secret only her teacher, Osabide, is privy to. Emlyn can see spirits, but the controlling radical society called The Brethren view her as a disgrace. Because of this, her tale is one of mystery and suspense, of her trying to find her way, discerning who she can trust and who she must run from. Additionally, she keeps hearing the words, “Winter is Coming” which places the reader in a nail-biting position of mystery, wondering what those three words indicate.

Teagan’s writing is so compelling that the readers are invited into feeling emotions of love, acceptance, fear, and oppression, to name a few. This series is captivating with wonderful world-building, a well-developed setting, and characters that either charm or get under your skin. I have enjoyed the unfolding story through Journey 4, and I look forward to continuing the journeys to follow. If you appreciate great fantasy novels, or even if fantasy is not your go-to genre, I encourage you to give Teagan’s series a try. I highly recommend “Dead of Winter” for all readers!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll add these books to your libraries – simply click Buy on Amazon. For Teagan’s books, the link in this post is for Journey 1, but you’ll easily find the books to follow. Happy Reading!

Lauren ❤️

#BOOK REVIEWS: Poetry, Memoir, Fantasy

Recently, I’ve ordered new paperbacks as if they’ll be obsolete tomorrow! And I’m truly enjoying the various genres: poetry, memoir, and fantasy. From the books I share today, I have been prompted to sigh over love-infused prose and verse. Visions from my past have come to life through some flash memoirs, and my attention has been captivated after venturing into an exciting new world of fantasy. I am thrilled to share three wonderful books that I gave Five-Star reviews in hope that you will be inspired to read them as well.

Memoirs of a Star” by Diana Menezes is a collection of extraordinary word weaving in poetic form. Life and love provide inspiration in all their glory and despair. Both can be joyful and messy. There are times when hope feels lost for eternity. But Diana reminds us that the stars continue to shine as though covering us in a blanket of magic. Even if the dark shadows grow, light will glow again.

Diana’s writing is lovely and enchanting, prompting the reader to feel heartbreak, elation, inspiration, or to sigh for a love felt deeply. I have dog-eared many favorites in my paperback, but these are a few that resonated: “The Wrong Road Home” tugged at my heart as I thought of the elderly who find themselves alone in their last chapter of life. After reading, I felt grateful that my dad still had his three daughters to care for him after my mom passed away. “Tangled Moonlight” speaks to a heart that will never let go – the epitome of unquestionable true love. “I Will Stand” inspires us to let go of past mistakes so that we can find our way out of the darkness. “To Have is To Hope” reiterates that we are visitors on this planet, that we have always been together though on different paths, and to remember the promise of a new day and a new hope. Highly recommended for poetry lovers who enjoy entrancing verse about the joys and challenges life and love offer us.

“Flashes of Life” by Pamela S. Wight is a delightful collection of memories spanning from childhood to motherhood to becoming a grandmother. I read this beautiful book in two days, sitting on my patio, the warm breeze embracing me like a friendly hug. Pam writes with authenticity, easily drawing the reader into her marvelous world. In every story I felt love. From her humor, I laughed for my neighbors to hear. In the touching stories, tears found freedom. Several of her narratives take place in Marin County, California where I reside, providing lovely and familiar visuals.

I felt a connection with many of her tales. “Good Morning, Moonshine” describes my stage in life perfectly, making me laugh, especially from these lines, “…we women have gotten a bum rap. Finally, when we’re over that certain age – too old to have babies screaming for a bottle or teenagers breaking a midnight curfew – so we can finally sleep undisturbed, our bodies won’t let us.” “Nap Time” evokes precious memories of when my children were little (now in their late twenties). The chapter, “For the Dogs” touched me as I have received the love of many canines over the years. I’ve also felt the tremendous loss and void in my life when they passed on. “Buttercups, Bollywood, and World Peace” had me dancing in the living room too. If anyone asked which story was my favorite, I couldn’t choose just one. I loved them all!

“Flashes of Life” parallels to the sweet and spicy of a slice of gingerbread – a perfect read for anyone needing a laugh and not afraid to shed a tear or two. Highly recommended!


The Ferryman and the Sea Witch” by D. Wallace Peach is a fast-moving, gripping nautical fantasy where the merrow rule the sea. Panmar, the Sea Witch, swims into the spotlight, luring the readers onto a choppy ride to the dark side with her hungry appetite for human sacrifices. Callum, the second main character, becomes the ferryman, finding himself trapped in a disturbing bargain with the Sea Witch. In addition to Panmar and Callum, Diana adds realistic nuances to the other characters as well, where I felt genuine empathy for some and loathed others without question.

With each turn of the page, the reader becomes curious to learn what transpires between two warring nations: Brid Clarion luxuriating in wealth, and Haf Killick, a floating city of dilapidated ships. Diana’s descriptive writing and world-building is so vivid and real that I felt as though I stood on the Windwraith, balancing to the sea’s rhythm, with Callum an arm’s length away. I was swept into this dark fantasy with turbulent twists and turns but was surprised with the touch of romance. Another fantasy tale of beauty and excellent writing that I could not put down. Readers who revel in Diana’s creative storytelling, fantasy genre devotees, and those seeking something different than their usual choices will love this fantastic nautical adventure. Highly recommended!

If your interest was piqued, simply click on the “Buy on Amazon” below each book image to purchase your copy.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

~Lauren ❤️❤️❤️

Book Review: The Sorcerer’s Garden by D. Wallace Peach

BLURB:

Recently fired and residing with her sweetly overbearing mother, Madlyn needs a job—bad. In a moment of desperation, she accepts a part-time position reading at the bedside of adventurer and amateur writer Cody Lofton. A near-drowning accident left the young man in a vegetative state, and his chances of recovery wane with each passing day.

Cody’s older brother, Dustin, and eccentric grandmother aren’t prepared to give up on the youngest son of Portland, Oregon’s royalty.

Dustin’s a personable guy, bordering on naïve, and overwhelmed by familial corporate duties and cutthroat partners. Grandmother Lillian’s a meddler with an eye for the esoteric, dabbling in Dustin’s life and dealing out wisdom like a card shark. One innocent conversation at a time, she sucks Madlyn into the Lofton story, dubbing her the princess and bestowing on her the responsibility of both grandsons’ destinies.

And all Madlyn wanted was a simple reading job.

Uninspired by her self-imposed stack of literary selections, Madlyn opts for Cody’s work-in-progress. Fantasy isn’t her favorite, but with only four chapters completed, reading The Sorcerer’s Garden should be no sweat, right?

Little does she realize, the story will begin writing itself and, by the hand of destiny, become her own.

***
D. Wallace Peach’s eighth novel is a collision of medieval and urban fantasy centered in the Northwest Hills of Portland, Oregon.

Madlyn is quirky, blessed with a sarcastic sense of humor, and a tendency to say exactly what’s on her mind. At 28, she’s also abandoned her dreams of a fairytale life. A satisfying career and happily-ever-after romance simply aren’t turning up in her cards, and in fact, her junky car is careening downhill fast. A strong female protagonist with a reluctant streak, she finds herself trapped in a heroic adventure through overlapping worlds, unsure whether one or both are real.

Don’t look for a run-of-the-mill fantasy here. This is one tangled tale crafted especially for readers who enjoy plot twists that keep everyone, including the characters, guessing.

MY 5-STAR REVIEW:

A Fabulous Fantasy with a Twist

The Sorcerer’s Garden by D. Wallace Peach ranks high in the unique and clever category. The storyline weaves back and forth between reality and fantasy. Qualities such as integrity, greed, and feeling defeated by life itself play a big part. Peach intersperses delicate pieces of wisdom throughout this adventure that only entice you to press on – eager and excited to see what‘s revealed with each page turn. Madlyn, Cody, and Dustin become likable and genuine characters, keeping you entertained from beginning to end. Grandmother Lillian adds spice to the twist and turns. You’ll run into some bloody circumstances where you may be inclined to cover your eyes, but please don’t. You’ll miss the compelling action and superb description; even the subtle hints of humor add a bit of lightheartedness.

I began reading this book with the niggling awareness that fantasy isn’t my favorite genre. Candidly, I wasn’t sure if I’d like the story for this reason. But let me tell you, I was hooked from page one! Peach has an exceptional skill of painting pictures with her extraordinary words, along with her knack for excellent world-building.

Since I was thoroughly impressed with the writing and story-telling, I’ll peruse the author’s collection for more compelling tales to transport me into exciting imaginary worlds. So, if you’re a fantasy genre enthusiast, then I highly recommend reading The Sorcerer’s Garden. And even if fantasy isn’t your go-to genre, I implore you to dive into this adventure just as I did. Five stars for a fantastic adventure!

If you’d like to pick up a copy, below is the Amazon link:

Visit D. Wallace Peach to peruse her fantasy collection:

https://mythsofthemirror.com/

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

Lauren ❤️

(Book blurb was pulled from Amazon)