Over the year I was inundated with book review requests. I’m so grateful for all the indie authors who contacted me and please accept my sincerest apologies for not responding. I had a baby and the site had to be put on hold, however, while watching the dude sleep, I have had plenty of time to catch up on all of your fantastic reads. While I continue going through my reading list, check out these independently published authors that we’ve enjoyed these past few months.
On the Market by Audrey Wick
I usually don’t read romance novels, but the name of Audrey Wick’s Texas BBQs Brother’s series made me smile. On the Market is the first book in the series and left me wanting to read Wick’s next novel, Off the Market. This tasteful romance takes place in a small town where city girl Valerie Perry returns to because her late grandmother left her with her home. She’s itching to get back to the city, but as many may know, updating a property takes time. Hutch is a local boy in a similar situation who is poised to take over the family’s barbecue restaurant with Cole. Hutch is charming, and Valerie can sometimes come off as a snob. Valerie’s attitude makes the story realistic, as you’d expect a city girl to think less of people in a small rural town. Throughout the whole book, I felt the moods and vibes between Hutch and Valerie. Wick writes very descriptively, especially when it came to speaking about the delicious Texas bbq. It was a quick read, but that went along with the story too, as Valerie wants to get out of town and back to her city life with a chunk of change from the sale of her grandmother’s home. I appreciated how this romance novel was more about emotions than a physical relationship. Set in a conservative place like Texas, you would expect a gentleman to be cordial, and Hutch is. Another aspect of this book made it feel like this was an experience you’d hear from your best gal pal. The cutest part of this book was the recipes that Wick includes at the end. The Hut’s Barbeque sauce was delicious!
I’ve never read any of Gabrielle Yetter’s books before, but I definitely want to ,after reading Whisper of the Lotus! Charlotte Fontaine is stuck in a rut and impulsively books a flight to Cambodia. Not familiar with Cambodia, I Googled to learn more and found that Yetter previously wrote a travel guide, The Definitive Guide to Living in Southeast Asia: Cambodia, and The Sweet Tastes of Cambodia. Her previous book explained why there was so much show not tell to heer descriptions of the country. Charlotte meets an older man on her flight, Rashid, who leaves an envelope behind that makes the adventure of finding herself into something more. There are so many elements to Charlotte; her father that walks out on her family, her alcoholic mother, and then the complications she is dealing with herself. Roxy was the character I thought she’d be seeing how she was already living in Cambodia. She grew on me as the story went along and I loved how the polar opposite personalities supported one another. For anyone who has ever felt lost, you will identify with Charlotte. The book crosses multiple genres from travel to mystery, to supernatural, and religious. Very descriptive and well-structured story.
Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon by Eve Cabanel
Kiddos will love Eve Cabanel’s Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon. Eli is a moon elf who lives in an enchanted forest. Luna is Eli’s best friend and has a sweet baby, Doudou. When Doudou falls out the window and onto a sugar crystal, the two friends must act fast or Doudou is in danger of turning into hard rock candy. And so begins their adventure. The story has a heartwarming message all kids need to hear. The drawings by Ekaterina are whimsical and the inclusions of Eli’s makeup and the map of the forest were adorable. For fans of Yoda, you’ll enjoy the Hallowshine Dragon’s personality. An enjoyable read and one that kids will enjoy!
The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen is a book of 23 short stories following the eccentric character Anthony Zen. When the book begins with poor Anthony being harassed by his ringing cat, being late for work, and rushing out the door forgetting to put on pants, you know you’re in for a treat. Anthony is a likable character with a good sense of humor. His friends, Harry and Chubby, had me laughing out loud when they were prank-calling Anthony. When Anthony explains that he enjoyed prank-calling the kids in the neighborhood, telling them that “he saw Bear Gryls climbing up onto their roof and disappearing down their chimney,” I had a good chuckle. That was a creative and a well-thought-out scenario that you wouldn’t think of when he first mentioned prank calls. All 23 short stories have the same theme, mainly the “how-to” deal with a work/life balance, dealing with family, and maintaining the kid spirit that exists in all of us while living an adult life. The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen is a great book if you are looking for a quick read.
Earthrise by Dr. Deborah Fleming
“Plantes begin their airy dance -/ Venus queen of morning/ and of evening skies/ And Jupiter, her king/ ten thousand times her size.”
That is just one of the beautiful lines of poetry in Dr. Deborah Fleming’s book of poems, Earthrise. What makes Fleming’s poetry different than most collections I’ve read is how she cites for the reader what and where the subject came from. She made something as simple as women sweeping in Boudhanath (a city in Nepal) very spiritual and moving. While I love poems that rhyme, the ones that don’t follow a particular verse fascinate me. Failing as a poet myself, I have the utmost respect for those who tackle this fine art. Fleming is a professor of English and has published six other books. She also is the recipient of the Asheville Award in the Novel, the Vandewater Poetry Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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