Happy March, Everyone!
Since I recently discovered my DNA is 41% Irish,
I'm wishing you the luck of the Irish this month.
I recently wrote about this topic, so I'll just say
that when it comes to reading, I am an omnivore.
I read all kinds of fiction and nonfiction,
and I typically read 30-40 books a year.
I have many reasons for choosing books to read.
Some are gifts, some are recommendations,
some cover passions of mine, some catch my eye and entice me.
And sometimes I just want to relax with a little mind candy.
This past year I challenged myself to read more books by IWSG members.
It has been a rewarding experience,
and I am amazed by the storytelling talents of IWSG's members.
A little intimidated too!
I've shared reviews of some of the IWSG books I've read in my posts.
Here are some more:
Well of Ash by Elle Cardy (Lynda R. Young):
A lyrical story about seventeen-year-old Ashina who flees her stifling foster home in a fit of anger and frustration. Unfortunately, Ash lands in the poorest and most dangerous district of her city. When she is stalked by a shadowy old man, she seeks refuge in a rooming house near a mysterious Great Well, one of many in her world. An eerie blue light and ominous whispers awaken Ash and lure her out a window into the night and into an inescapable quest for answers to the frightening events entangling her. While she is helped by Lacc, a handsome young rat catcher and Sooty, an amethyst-scaled, purple-eyed fire dragon, Ash must confront her past and solve the mystery of the Prudentia Great Well on her own. Or die in the process. I enjoyed this heart pounding story of adventure and romance, and I would dearly love a fire dragon of my own!
The Ninja Librarian by Rebecca M. Douglas:
Of course I had to read books by my fellow Voyager anthology writers, and Rebecca's humorous, rough-and-tumble book set in Skunk Corners entertained me from beginning to end. The book is a collection of tall tales, with each chapter a standalone story featuring the town's school teacher and the librarian who just arrived to take over the town's underused library. Teacher Big Al blends into the illiterate town by pretending her tea is whiskey and by sneaking into the library at night. But Tom, the unassuming white-haired-librarian, has a secret ninja side, and his misadventures with Big Al slowly draw the citizens of Skunk Corners into a more literate future. This book is ageless. I would have read it with pleasure to my third graders, and I enjoyed it as a retired adult.
Mateo's Law by Sandra Cox:
This is the first paranormal western romance I have read, and it was compelling. Sheriff Mateo Grey and Chief Deputy Blair Delaney must solve the mystery of a black wolf attacking animals and humans in Grizzly, Montana. Grey is completely at home in the wide open spaces of Montana, but Delaney is a transplant from Atlanta, a southern belle with a foul mouth. Of course they find themselves attracted to each other! Throw in Grey's blood brother Jesse, Chief of the nearby Blackfoot Reservation who no longer speaks to Delaney, a lone wolf who lives on Grey's property, a lost child, marauding wolves, and shapeshifting, and you have a fast-paced, poignant, sexy thriller. Loved it!
A Fighting Chance by Chrys Fey:
This is the final book in Fey's Disaster Crimes series; and it focuses on Thorne and Amanda, not on Beth and Donovan, the protagonists of the previous five books. It is a searing tale of Amanda's fight to survive after horrific sexual assault and abuse by her ex-boyfriend Damon. Beth's best friend Thorn, an Orlando Police Department detective, has quietly loved Amanda, but hasn't pursued her for fear of frightening her away. Amanda is attracted to Thorn, but is terrified of getting close to another man. When they take tentative romantic steps toward one another, Damon retaliates with murderous intent. Will Amanda and Thorn forge a healing, loving relationship, or will Damon destroy it before they have A Fighting Chance? This is an inspiring, uplifting story that will linger with you long after you race through its pages.
Plunge: One Woman's Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary
by Liesbet Collaert:
This is a surprising travel memoir. Yes, Liesbet shares vivid sailing adventures in warm tropical waters and angry Pacific storms, but she also examines herself and her relationships with unflinching honesty and truth, delving into deep questions we all must confront in life. Her prose flows in this well-structured book like her sailboat Irie surfing big following seas, carrying us through its shifting emotional tones of courage, passion, heartbreak, and pathos. Readers will admire Liesbet for living on her own terms and taking risks most of us would never dare to consider. And they will adore her lovable dogs, Kali and Darwin. Liesbet reminds us that we only live once and that we should plunge into the journey fully with open hearts, open minds, and courage.
The Circle of Friends series, books 1 and 2,
Lori and Sarah by L. Diane Wolfe:
If you've been engaged with the IWSG Day blog posts, then you likely know of talented member, author, publisher, and motivational speaker Diane, aka Spunk on a Stick. Diane was motivated to return to writing as an adult by the adage that everyone needs "something to hope for and someone to love." I've raced through the first two books in the series and look forward to reading the remaining three.
Lori's dream is to swim for Olympic gold. She appears to have it all, beauty, athleticism, and wealthy, supportive parents along with drive, organization, and determination. But Lori is shy and lacks confidence. When high school quarterback Jason rescues her from a bullying attack, romance flourishes. Will this help or hinder her in her quest for Olympic gold?
Lori's best friend Sarah is studying for a career in biochemistry at Georgia Tech. While successful in her courses, she is less successful socially. Bold and intelligent, this tomboy connects with guys as a good buddy rather than a romantic partner. She falls into a relationship with college football receiver Matt who just happens to be Jason's best friend. With high school behind them, these friends struggle with adult issues and confronting their pasts while reaching for their ambitious futures.
These two books will inspire you and fill you with optimism. They illustrate that if you work hard enough you can achieve your dreams or reach for more meaningful ones and that you can overcome low self-esteem and difficult family relationships in the process. They provide strong doses of encouragement and hope and will lift you up.
* * * * *
If you haven't indulged in books written by your fellow IWSG members, I encourage you to try a few. You will be impressed by the talent and creativity of fellow members. Don't let their successes fuel your insecurities. Use them to propel your own success as a writer. You can learn so much about reading members' books, and the authors will cheer you on with stories of their personal journeys and support you with a wealth of experience and professional insights. And always remember, as spunky Diane says, "With a positive attitude, any goal can be achieved!"
April 24, 2020
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved
I invite you to stop by the IWSG Anthology blog today. Blog coordinator Stephanie Espinoza Villamor is featuring author Steph Wolmarans and her short story "The Utten Mission" today:
Happy IWSG Day, everyone!
Till next time ~