Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Two seasonal reads, today I’m sharing. Two heartfelt short story reads by Robbie Cheadle – The Christmas Bird, and D. L. Finn’s – A Long Walk Home. These are two short reads that are sure to touch our hearts and remind us about the spirit of Christmas.
The Deanne family is having a difficult time financially. Mr. Deanne’s business has failed and there is no money for Christmas presents and other luxuries. The family’s undernourished dogs discover a bird’s nest on Christmas Day and attack and kill the chicks. All except one tiny ball of fluff with luminous bright eyes like drops of oil. The baby bird is in shock, but the four Deanne girls try to save it. Will the Christmas Bird survive?
My 5 Star Review:
My 5 Star Review:
Hard times in the Deanne family. Mr. Deanne scrounges up what he can, enough to buy two chickens and cherries for Christmas. This would be a great treat for the family with four daughters who haven’t had the luxury of a savory meal in awhile. Even their pet dogs were emaciated looking from a non substancial diet. So no doubts they found the nest up on a tree tempting and killed the brand new baby chicks – except one.
When the girls hear all the commotion out front with the dogs barking, the one tiny Hoopoe bird is still alive. The girls take care of him and nurse him back to health and name him Hoopie.
A few months later, Mr. Deanne picks up a new job, and the eldest daughter, Stella also gets a part-time job. When Easter rolls around, the mother announces they are all going on a beach holiday for school break. By then, Hoopie is home- trained, and they of course take him with them on vacation. Hoopie enjoyed flying around there freely. The girls worried he may fly away now that he learned to forage for his own food and they hadn’t seen him now for a few days. Hoopie does return and he goes back home with the family. Later Hoopie meets a mate. The girls are sad for Hoopie’s new independence, but realize he is a creature of the skies who must make a family of his own, so they build a nest in preparation for the one day Hoopie will come back to nest with family. Will he?
This is a lovely story about a loving family with kindness and nurturing for each other and their feathered friends.
All alone on Christmas Eve, Kenzie was feeling the betrayal of her recent break-up. While the sky was heavy with the dark clouds of an impending storm, she walked home from work to clear her head. Lost in her memories, Kenzie was completely unaware she was being followed by a man with green-eyes. Was this not-so-human being the good or evil that lurked around her? On the most magical night of the year, will Kenzie be able to save herself from that evil or will she need some divine inspiration? The outcome will depend on whether she can find the strength to forgive as the storm not only rages outside, but deep within her soul.
My 5 Star Review:
This is a short heartfelt Christmas story with all the elements of the season – a blustery cold almost Christmas day, friendship, angels, furry friends, and one evil man to disrupt hearts, but is eventually rewarded with his due karma.
Kenzie is not having a good Christmas. Her fiance has dumped her, her parents are dead, and her best friend has betrayed her, leaving Kenzie feeling there isn’t much left for her to live for, when her guardian angel gives her a new reason to want to continue on.
Kenzie was ‘left at the altar’ so to speak, when her awful fiance Heath stiffs her days before her Christmas wedding day. If that wasn’t bad enough, she discovers her best friend is now the one to marry Heath. That’s a hard pill to swallow. But just as a furry litter of kittens has given Kenzie a new reason to soldier on, she discovers her now ex-bestie was dumped just as she was – a suspicious pattern of women being used. We discover more dirt on the dastardly Heath as the two girlfriends meet up serendipituously on a blustery Christmas Eve and discover Heath’s evil pattern. Will the spirit of Christmas bring these two friends back together? You will have to read on to find out.
Welcome to my Q & A this month. I’m delighted to be featuring friend and author, D.L. (Denise) Finn here today. Denise is a multi-genre author who writes in the genres of Y.A., poetry, paranormal and memoir. Today we’re going to get to know a bit about Denise and her featured new release – A Voice in the Silence.
D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.
Drea Burr has experienced more than her share of loss when a stray dog, cat, and rat enter her life. Although the animals start to mend her broken heart, there is something very unusual about them. During a snowstorm, Drea discovers a chilling set of footprints leading to her front window. Both the police and a ghostly messenger warn her about a killer stalking widows. Help comes from her late husband’s best friend, Adam Hale. As the two try to discover answers, more questions arise— about a killer, ghosts, and animals experimented on in a lab.
Can Drea and Adam survive the threats coming from so many directions and save themselves and the animals they’ve grown to love? Or will more tragedy destroy her second chance at happiness? Find out in this thrilling, cozy paranormal adventure.
So great to have you over Denise!
So nice to have you over here today Denise!
Let’s get to know more about Denise!
What’s your favorite mode of writing – computer, hand written, dictation, andwhy?
What I write on, depends on what I’m writing. I love to hand write poetry in a journal. This allows me the freedom to write in the forest, riding on the back of the Harley, in a plane, by the ocean, or even in bed. Later I put it on the computer.
All new ideas are usually jotted down on paper as soon as I wake up or whenever they come to me. Now, if I am away from paper and pen, I will type myself an email with the ideas and then send it on my cellphone.
After I get started on a story, though, I’m at my laptop or computer typing away. I always email current WIP to myself, so I never lose anything.
I have always thought it a good idea to dictate ideas, but speaking the words doesn’t work as well for me as writing them down does.
D.G. – Good idea to email yourself notes. If I’m out and think of an idea I want to write about, I’ll use voice recording on my phone so I don’t forget my great ideas. .😁
If you could have any of your books made into a movie, which one would you choose and why?
My first choice would be my latest story, A Voice in the Silence. I would love to see that up on a screen. My only concern would be giving a voice to the animals. If that wasn’t done right, it would pull away from the story and end up silly. But there are so many parts that I could see in my mind as I was writing, and I know a viewer could fall in love with not only Drea but the trio of animals. A setting in the forest in a storm could be powerful and beautiful, too.
My second close choice would be A Second Chance. Bringing not only an angel to life but her opposite the evildwel who’s a dark creature with red eyes, would make for some interesting viewing. Plus, the spirit, Eddie, who is helping the angel, is a favorite of mine. I could see his famous smirk up on the big screen as he teases a very serious angel, Zelina. Being set in not only a beautiful Bay Area coastal town but in Hawaii would be an amazing backdrop.
In both stories, it’s the other-worldly creatures that I would love to see come to life on a screen.
D.G. – Those scenarios you shared would indeed make good viewing. 😀
Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your book’s characters?
Yes, I weave some of my personal traits into my characters. A few of my dislikes and likes come through, but they also develop their own personalities and likes as I write. Drea and I both love animals. I would take in a stray without question. We are both writers and love family, but her obsession with coffee isn’t mine. I’m a tea drinker.
As for personal experiences, I use my knowledge of riding out a snowstorm or driving in it. I have the same reaction to driving on ice. I avoid it if I can. But if forced to drive in it, my hands are glued to that steering wheel, making it a white-knuckled drive like Drea had.
My belief in the afterlife has become a part of a lot of my stories. I believe in angels, fairies, and ghosts. Bears visit often, and we’ve had trees and branches fall during storms, but I haven’t dealt with a serial killer.
Although I have things in common with some of the characters, they take over and become their own person. One thing is for sure, they are much braver than I am.
D.G. – I’m so captivated by everything afterlife. I look forward to reading more of your books.
Denise is sharing an excerpt from her new release – A Voice in the Silence
A slight breeze wove through the pine trees, making them sway to nature’s song, but Drea and the dog didn’t join in the flowing movement. Instead, they maintained a tense pose, as if studying each other from a safe distance.
Drea made the first slow movement of setting her newspaper down. “Are you lost?” The beautiful brown eyes pulled her in. It was like they could peer into her soul. There was no threat or fear in those eyes as the fluffy dog sat down. Encouraged, Drea stepped back into the garage and grabbed the pink leash and collar still hanging on the wall. The dog watched her every move with a slow tail wag.
A can of dog food she hadn’t donated to the shelter yet caught her eye. “Hungry?” It wagged its tail harder.
She opened the can and shook the smelly chunks onto a white paper plate she kept under the cans. Holding the offering, she moved cautiously to the dog. Using a soft tone and a smile, she kept moving forward. “It’s okay. I won’t hurt you.”
The dog blinked and nodded as if it understood her. The sun fully abandoned the sky, leaving behind the encroaching darkness lit by a half moon. But the sadness that had weighed her down seeped out into the night with each step she took toward the pup. She wished she’d brought a flashlight, but the evening offered its remaining luminescence. Soon she was within a foot of the dog. The posture and build indicated a golden retriever mix like her Lady, but this was a male, and he was beautiful.
“I don’t recognize you. I know all the neighbor’s dogs. You have a home?” The dog blinked and shook his head as her feet crunched through the dry pine needles. The sound reminded her of when Robbie would place bubble wrap on the ground and gleefully jump on it. She would clean them up—tomorrow. As she got closer, the dog’s condition was more apparent. He hadn’t eaten in a while.
“Here, this used to be Lady’s food. I lost her a little while ago.”
He licked his snout as though he understood. Smart dog.
“No collar. Maybe you have a chip.”
She set the food down and backed away. He lunged toward the plate and wiped it clean in seconds, then sat down, licking his chops. She inched her way toward him. Each step toward the mutt brought him closer to her heart, which was beating like she’d run a marathon. She slowly reached out and rubbed his fur. The dog didn’t flinch. In fact, a small sigh escaped him. Drea gently searched for injuries. Other than a small gash on his neck, he appeared healthy and wasn’t afraid.
“You must have someone who loves you. What happened?”
She wished the dog could answer.
A Review for this book:
I loved this story! The author’s imagination was entertaining. The talking animals were endearing, especially how they protected Drea from the evil in the woods. After the death of her husband and her son leaving to live with his horrific wife, Drea felt lost and alone. This all changed when three animals showed up on her doorstep. She needed their companionship, especially when she found out that someone seemed to be killing single women in the area and she was next on his list!
The author did a phenomenal job in keeping the reader guessing who the bad guy was throughout the entire story. Was it the cop with the attitude? Was it her deceased husband’s best friend who just happened to be making the moves on her? Or was it someone else in her life that had it out for her?
With the help of her talking animals and the ghost of her deceased husband, Drea slowly puts the pieces together. And just when you think you have it all figured out, the author throws another loop into the web she weaved!
This is a great story, and I highly recommend it!— Yvi MC