Category Archives: Book Reviews

The Necromancer’s Daughter by Diana Wallace Peach – Blog Tour

It’s my great pleasure to welcome my friend, the author, poet, and artist, Diana Wallace Peach, to my blog. I had a delightful time meeting with Diana, Terri Webster Schrandt, and Marsha Ingrao in Portland, Oregon, in September. We chatted. We laughed. We shared about the latest in our lives. I was happy that Diana’s husband was recovering well from his surgery. We’re in the process of selling our house in Southern California. It may take a while since people may not want to move during the major holidays. It’ll be exciting to see her more often after our move to Portland.

It’s my privilege to host Diana’s blog tour to share her new release, The Necromancer’s Daughter.

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Blurb

A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant, and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, he breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she learns to heal death.

Then the day arrives when the widowed king, his own life nearing its end, defies the Red Order’s warning. He summons the necromancer’s daughter, his only heir, and for his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade.

While Barus hides from the Order’s soldiers, Aster leads their masters beyond the wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a land of dragons and barbarian tribes. She seeks her mother’s people, the powerful rulers of Blackrock, uncertain whether she will find sanctuary or face a gallows’ noose.

Unprepared for a world rife with danger, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.

A healer with the talent to unravel death, a child reborn, a father lusting for vengeance, and a son torn between justice, faith, and love. Caught in a chase spanning kingdoms, each must decide the nature of good and evil, the lengths they will go to survive, and what they are willing to lose.

Purchase Links

Global Amazon Links: US, UK, CA, AU, IN

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My Review

I’m a huge fan of Diana Peach’s fantasy books. I admire her poetic writing. Her vivid description of the characters and well-developed world engages my imagination and takes me through an unforgettable journey from the beginning to the end.

The Necromancer’s Daughter is a heart-wrenching yet beautiful story of love, politics, power struggle, and prejudice. The story grabs the reader’s emotions from the beginning. King Aldring loves his wife, the Princess of Blackrock. He summons Barus, the necromancer, to resurrect the queen and the infant should they die. In her last breath, the queen pleas to save the child. When the king learns the queen is dead and the baby is a girl, he sends Barus home. Barus is in love with the infant and hides her under his garment to take her home.

Barus follows the recipe in her adopted mother, Olma’s book, to awaken Aster from the dead and raise her as his own. Aster grows up as a passionate and gentle soul with silvery flowing hair, practicing herbal medicine and resurrecting animals. She is natural to connect with a dragon emotionally. The king knows she is his daughter and visits her every year on her birthday. As the king’s health declines, he summons her on her nineteenth birthday to return to the palace as his successor.

The vicar Tamus Graeger denies Aster and condemns the resurrection as evil. He orders the soldiers to kill Barus and Aster. Once captured, he wants to hang Aster. Aster helps her crippled father flee when their home is burned to ashes. She ensures Barus’s safety at Rebeka’s home and continues to run to get help from her uncle, the Blackrock King. Tamus’s son, Joreh, accompanies Aster’s escape and believes she deserves a fair trial.

The journey of escape through the forest is full of danger from the wild creatures and the tribes’ attacks on each other. After being raised from the dead, the funny character Teko at Cattieut forest, with one green eye and one blue eye, joined in escorting Aster to Blackrock.

To ensure Aster’s claim as his niece, King Atrayal of Blackrock wants her to show her ability to connect with dragons, the trait her mother queen possesses. King Atrayal is pleased with the test. He wants Aster to claim the throne of Verdane and serves as an ambassador for the peace of all the tribes.

I listened to the book with the text-to-speech feature on my iPad. The story was engaging with vivid descriptions of the characters’ interactions and scenes. Each chapter ending hooked me on to the next. I was emotionally connected to the characters and wished for the safety of Aster and Barus. The genuine friendship between Aster and Joreh warmed my heart. Diana Peach created believable characters. Aster and Barus were humans practicing healing. They didn’t possess magic or superpower to defeat their enemies. They went through struggles and suffered ill-treatment from their attackers. All they could do was use their wisdom to survive the adversaries understanding that “every time you choose one path, you must live with the possibilities of the other.”

This is a masterpiece and a wonderful creation. I had my secret wishes for the ending, but it came as a surprise. The book ended, but my emotions linger. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this beauty.  

Diana’s bio

A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life when years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books. She was instantly hooked.

In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.

Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Contact D. Wallace Peach

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Website/Blog: http://mythsofthemirror.com

Website/Books: http://dwallacepeachbooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dwallacepeach

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Haunted Halloween Holiday by Robbie and Michael Cheadle – Blog Tour

I’m delighted to welcome Robbie and Michael Cheadle to my blog today. They have a new book for your trick-or-tricking fun read with delicious recipes for the activities.

Haunted Halloween Holiday WordCrafter Book Blog Tour

Giveaway

For a chance to win one of three US$10 Amazon vouchers or one of three paperback copies of the Haunted Halloween Holiday, just leave a comment to show you were here.

Follow the tour and comment at each stop for more chances to win.

The prizes will be given away in a random drawing.

Robbie has been writing children’s books with her son Michael for years. It’s an admirable project between mother and son for such a long time. I invited Robbie to talk about Michael and their children’s books.

Hi Robbie, how did you begin writing children’s books with Michael?

Thank you for this question, Miriam. Michael and I started writing together when he was six years old and learning to read and write in Grade 1 at school.

We discovered that year that Michael has a processing learning barrier, and this made reading and writing a little more challenging for him. He is very imaginative and came up with the idea of a little man made of chocolate who lived in a world where you could eat everything. I started helping him develop his ideas, which always started with characters, into rhyming verse stories, and encouraged him to write them down. That was the beginning of the Sir Chocolate series of books.

As time passed, Michael’s enjoyment of sculpturing and baking came to the fore, and we started making 3-D illustrations for the books from fondant, cake, and biscuits.

My brother-in-law suggested we include the recipes and turn our story ideas into a series of first cookbooks for children. We did that and I was fortunate, the third small publisher I sent our ideas to loved them and agreed to publish the books.

That was a steep learning curve at the time for both Anne Samson, director of TSL Publications, and myself. The Sir Chocolate books were among the first children’s books Anne published, so we learned together. My photography and design skills have improved significantly over the past six years since Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream berries story and cookbook were published in August 2016. Of course, my fondant and cake art skills have also improved year-on-year.

The haunted Halloween Holiday came about through discussions with Michael about acceptance of difference and depression. Generation Z is a lot more attuned to social and cultural issues than my generation was, and I learn a lot from him.

I have always enjoyed the concept of Halloween, which doesn’t really feature here in South Africa, so I had been making Halloween-related cakes and figurines for a few years. I put several of these creations into this book, and I think they are my best illustrations to date. I particularly like Jack Frost and his white wonderland.

Jack Frost in a Winter Wonderland

It’s wonderful to hear that, Robbie! What you did with Michael has been empowering his growth and deepening your relationship with him.

Do you see your personality traits in Michael? What are they?

I see personality traits of both mine and my husband’s in both our sons.

Michael has a lot of my artistic characteristics. He is good with color and sculpture and has a good eye for detail and proportion, which is important for this type of art. He also has an amazing imagination. My favorite of his character ideas is the Ice-cream Rainbow Fairies which represent all sorts of different flavors of ice cream. We made up that story together when we were in New Zealand in August 2016. New Zealand is known for its dairy products and has superb ice cream and chocolate. The fairies’ idea developed after a visit to a local ice cream shop which had the biggest array of ice cream flavors I’ve ever seen.

Michael has always read a little slower than Greg and I, but I read every day with him until he was twelve years old. He has an average reading speed for his age group now, which I consider a great achievement.

Michael has suffered ill health all his life and during his long periods of illness, he listened to a lot of audiobooks. I had the entire Roald Dahl series, Enid Blyton Famous Five series, and several classic children’s books like The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat and E Nesbit’s books including The Railway Children, Five Children and It, The Carpet and the Phoenix, and others.

I think both my sons’ love of reading comes from me. Terence isn’t a big reader.

Michael also enjoys writing poetry and has written some good pieces recently.

Michael also has my ability to completely disengage from anything that doesn’t interest him. This is also one of my less admirable characteristics, and I never learned to speak Afrikaans as well as I could have as a result. Thank you, Miriam, for these great questions and for hosting my post today.

You’re welcome, Robbie. It’s my pleasure to have you.

About Haunted Halloween Holiday

Blurb

Count Sugar is delighted when the Sugarpop Bats invites his family to a Halloween party at the Haunted House. He and his wife, Witch Honey, decide to hire a caravan and enjoy a weekend away with their family.

Includes some fun limericks to introduce the various characters.

You can find the book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fr5OxyUfd4

Purchase links

TSL Publications: https://tslbooks.uk/product/haunted-halloween-holiday-robbie-and-michael-cheadle/

Lulu.com: https://www.lulu.com/shop/michael-cheadle-and-robbie-cheadle/haunted-halloween-holiday/ebook/product-vd5778.html?page=1&pageSize=4

Haunted Halloween Holiday Trailer

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions that children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9. Count Sugar and his family hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie has published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Robbie Cheadle Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

TSL Publications Robbie Cheadle Author Page: https://tslbooks.uk/product-tag/robbie-cheadle/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SirChocolateBooks

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyFo_OJLPqFa9ZhHnCfHUA

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Book review: The winding road by Miriam Hurdle- A journey of survival

I’m over at Smitha Vishwanath, the blogger, painter, artist, and poet’s blog. She shared a heartwarming review of my memoir. Her review stirred up my emotions about my journey all over again. It brought happy tears into my eyes because I’m alive t share my story with you. Please go over to read her excellent review.

Eúnoia

I want to thank Miriam for writing this book which is a real-life account of her battle with cancer in 2008. In the foreword, she says, ” Life is precious and it’s worth fighting for. If I died, my pain went with me, but I would leave pain with my loved ones. My life is worth living.’ This very honest, straight-from-the-heart line, sets the tone of the book and forms the backbone of her fight against cancer. It was this line that made me read on. It reminded me of my very recent brush with the hospital and how I felt when I was wheeled into the operation theatre. I thought, ‘Well if it ends, the pain is gone. But, there’s so much love to live for.

Miriam recounts her experience with the dreaded ‘C’- the chance identification of it, the subsequent tests, and adjusting her life so…

View original post 996 more words

New Release! “The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival” by Miriam Hurdle. #memoirs #cancersurvivor #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter

I’m excited to be at Denise’s blog today. She generously shares her blog with me to host my launch tour. She is a prolific writer and poet. Her publications include but are not limited to: Just Her Poetry, The Button, This Second Chance, No Fairy Tale, Dolphin’s Cave, Elizabeth’s War, Things on a Tree, An Unusual Island, and Tree Fairies.

I continued to talk about memoir writing and discussed the role of research today. Please head over to join me for the discussion and browse around all the wonderful books by Denise L. Finn.

I’m honored to have Miriam Hurdle here today to share her story. This was a heartfelt story and my review is below.

Thank you for hosting my launch tour today, Denise. I’m thrilled to be here to share my new book with your friends.

During the launch tour, I want to talk about memoir writing. Here is my topic for today.

The Role of Research in Memoirs

Memoirs always require research. They are stories based on real-life events. Fact-check everything can be fact-checked, such as names, dates, places, weather, and events. One person wanted to write a family memoir, but she was not sure if her great-grandmother’s name spelled Emily or Emely. Her research shows Emely was the correct spelling. You can’t make up this information. The inaccuracy takes away the credibility of your story.

Example: In The Winding Road, I wrote I was holding the “10 feet” tall IV stand as my cane to walk on the hospital floor after my surgery. My writing group laughed. One said, “The IV stand feels like 10 feet tall to you because you’re short.” I then Googled the height of IV stands and changed my story to “The IV stand looked like 6 feet tall.”

Continue reading…

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Robbie’s Inspiration: Book Release Tour for The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival by Miriam Hurdle

I’m over at Robbie Cheadle’s blog for Day 5 of The Winding Road launch tour. I talk about how I wrote my memoir. Please head over to join me for the discussion.
Robbie has a new children’s book Haunted Halloween Holidays releasing soon. You can find out more about this delicious book while you’re there.

Robbie's inspiration

Thank you for hosting my launch tour today, Robbie. I’m thrilled to be here to share my new book with your friends.

During the launch tour, I want to talk about memoir writing. Here is my topic for today.

How did I write my memoir?

Collecting data

During my fifty-three weeks of the cancer journey, especially the six months of full-time bio chemotherapy, I was so sick that all the days blended in together.

Emails – As soon as I found out about my cancer, I emailed the updates to my family and friends. They emailed back to show me their support. I saved all the emails.

Records – I kept all the medical records in a binder with tabs to organize the doctor’s referrals, doctor’s appointments, visit summaries, insurance authorizations, testing instructions, testing results, lab results, treatment schedules, and discharge summaries.

Journals – Whenever my head was a little…

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