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Melding Spirits

There’s a dark cloud lingering over the Wabash Valley—It won’t be long before it erupts into a raging storm.

About Melding Spirits

Twelve-year-old Evan Mason’s life has been turned upside down by the sudden death of his father. His mother isn’t home much, the insurance office during the day, waiting tables at night. Evan is spending a great deal of time alone.

Now he finds himself on a Greyhound bus headed for a small town on the Wabash River where he’ll spend the summer of 1958 with his loving grandmother.

Evan soon meets his new neighbor, Katie Dobbins. She’s a feisty blue-eyed girl with a ponytail, the type of girl Buddy Holly might sing about on American Bandstand. Evan is instantly enamored with her.

It seems the perfect summer is underway—but strange things are happening in the woods surrounding the Ghost Hill Indian Mound.

My Thoughts

Melding Spirits is an excellent, well written, captivating novel from the start. It has an excellent plot, well developed characters that you just can’t help hold close to your heart and suspense that makes you never want to put the novel down.

We are introduced to Evan, a young man who is wise and mature beyond his age. His mother is trying everything to make ends meet as a single Mother, which forces Evan to be both a child and caregiver himself. When he finds the chance to spend the summer with his beloved Grandmother, there could be no turning back. Could you really blame him? He deserves a bit of his childhood back.

This is the summer that would change Evan. He meets and forms a bond with a young girl that would forever change his life, Katie. We follow their magical summer with the pair and Evan’s friends – it is refreshing to see their innocence and love of life. But under this are tones of something not being quite right in their small, beautiful town. Is something evil brewing or is it just normal teen angst?

You are left on the edge of your seat, unwilling to put the book down to the last second as you have to know what happens to Evan, Katie and the characters in this town. I loved every moment of this well written novel, a definite must read for young adults and adults alike.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indigo.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Michael E. Burge grew up in the Chicago suburbs and a small town on the Wabash River in Southern Illinois.

In the late sixties, he left college to serve on a U.S. Navy destroyer out of Norfolk, Virginia. Upon leaving the service, he transitioned to a career in the burgeoning computer industry, positions in product management and marketing.

He is now pursuing his lifelong interest in writing, publishing his debut novel, Bryant’s Gap, in 2015 and his second, Melding Spirits, in 2017.

Michael also plays piano, paints, and is an avid golfer. He and his family currently live in Illinois.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a copy of Melding Spirits and a $20 Amazon Gift Card by entering here. Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Duke I Once Knew

When two childhood sweethearts find themselves together after years apart, does their romance have a chance to be rekindled now that he’s a duke and she’s a governess?

About The Duke I Once Knew

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again.

Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him. . .even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?

My Thoughts

Abby is a special young woman. She is the youngest child in her family – they were not expecting her birth but that did not make her less special in her parents eyes. When her parents fall ill and her siblings out of the house already, it is Abby that cares for her elderly parents. She sacrifices her season, her chance of finding a husband and her own family, in order to care for her parents. While this sounds so odd with her young age, in this time period she would have been viewed as off the shelf!

After the death of her parents, Abby yearns for more. She is tired of being the person her family relies on to care for everyone else, the children, care for their homes – she is sometimes treated more like a cherished staff member than a younger sibling at times! She loves her family and deals with this despite her obvious dislike of the treatment in order to prevent fighting. Against the wishes of her family, she takes the position of governess for the sister of her one true love.

Abby had fallen in love with Max in their teen years and both made promises of marriage and ever lasting love. When he is sent away, they make promises that this departure will not affect their relationship but unfortunately it did. Neither Abby nor Max receive correspondence from each other and this turns their hearts cold to any future love or relationship. Max becomes a non-believer in love and vows to not settle down in any complicated relationship.

When they meet up again, there is years of anger, hurt and disappointment. They argue, lash out and are stubborn to listen to the others side of the story. While you want them to work out their differences, you can also understand why they would be so full of hurt. Their story is one of betrayal, lies and deceit by the people who should have loved them the most.

This is a beautiful story of hope and forgiveness, you keep rooting for Abby and Max throughout the story. You want these two individuals who have hurt long enough, to find happiness and peace (and hopefully together!). A great historical romance read from start to finish.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Olivia Drake is the author of the Cinderella Sisterhood series (Seducing the Heiress, NeverTrust a Rogue, Scandal of the Year, If the Slipper Fits, Stroke of Midnight, Abducted by thePrince, Bella and the Beast, His Wicked Wish, and The Scandalous Flirt). She has been amember of Romance Writers of America since 1981, and her novels have won the GoldenHeart Award, Best Historical Romantic Suspense and Best Regency Historical from RomanticTimes. She has also won the prestigious RITA award. She currently resides in Houston, Texas.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Golden Empire Book Review

Don’t miss this stunning conclusing to the Dragon Artifacts; a magical tale of dragons, wizards, good vs. evil, greed, and friendship.

About The Golden Empire

With the Dragon King on the brink of death and Alli and the other dragon riders falling by the way, Roland Trye tries to unify the kingdoms against the threat coming from the east. Both arrogant and charming, Roland’s thirst for power has no limit. But will it be enough?

The power to win the war may fall on Gabby, a young wizard with a mission to find the mythical Phoenix. With its power she hopes to save the Dragon King and put up a united front against the aggressors.

But in the end the magic needed to win may require the ultimate sacrifice. Who will take up the cause and give up all they have to save the people?

Will the Dragon King survive? Will Alli and the other riders rejoin their dragons, and will Roland Tyre become what he has always wanted to be—the most powerful wizard alive?

My Thoughts

This is the stunning and powerful conclusion of this amazing series. It blew me away, I don’t think I was quite ready for all of the adventure, sacrifice, forgiveness and love that I found in this book.

With so much packed into this novel and a breath taking conclusion, it was not rushed nor was any part looked over. In this book, the invaders from the East are getting closer and closer. Our Dragon King is still on death’s door and their dragons seem all but lost. The only thing holding their land together? Roland Tyre and the Golden Scepter. He has turned into quite the young man who will make you proud. While he seems at times to do things for his own glory, he truly acts in the best interest of ALL of his people.

You are left on the edge of your seat throughout this novel – I actually finished it in one night and then re-read the book the next day. It was just too moving and fast paced that you didn’t want to miss what was next. You had to know if Alli would be able to remember her past and remove the hold that was on her, would the dragon bonds return to the Dragon Riders, would the Dragon King die, would Roland be able to hold up against the pressure and would they all survive the attack from the invaders of the East. There are so many little plots intertwined in this story but all necessary to understand the ending.

The ending of this story made the series for me. It was not what I was expecting but it was the ending the story deserves. The sacrifice, love and forgiveness touches you deeply and right when you think it is over, we are once again surprised with another little twist (you have to read the book to understand – telling you would give it away!).

This is a definite must read novel and series, you will not be disappointed. It is perfect for pre-teens, teens and adults alike.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Mike is now on his fourth YA fantasy series. For information on his new releases, book reviews, and other relevant info, please join him at www.MichaelSheltonBooks.com.

Mike was born in California and has lived in multiple states from the west coast to the east coast. He cannot remember a time when he wasn’t reading a book. At school, home, on vacation, at work at lunch time, and yes even a few pages in the car (at times when he just couldn’t put that great book down).

Other than reading, Mike enjoys the outdoors, disc golf, and spending time with his family. He has worked in corporate finance for most of his career, publishing his first books in 2016. He has now published 15 YA fantasy books full of adventure, magic, and wizards!

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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One Dog’s Faith: How My Dog Helped Me Trust in God and Overcome Chronic Worrying

One Dog's Faith: How My Dog Helped Me Trust in God and Overcome Chronic Worrying

For millions of pet owners, the unconditional love and companionship of dogs offers an escape from daily worries. This is what One Dog’s Faith explores.

One Dog's Faith: How My Dog Helped Me Trust in God and Overcome Chronic Worrying

About One Dog’s Faith: How My Dog Helped Me Trust in God and Overcome Chronic Worrying

The world is a stressful place. For millions of pet owners, the unconditional love and companionship of dogs offers an escape from daily worries. In the uplifting and inspirational book, One Dog’s Faith: How my dog helped me trust in God and overcome chronic worrying, author Tom Baker explores life and faith from a dog’s perspective. By looking at the world through his dog’s eyes, Baker reveals just how much humans can learn from dogs: how to love, how to live in the moment, and how to discover the glory and grace of God.

Baker’s six-year-old spaniel mix, Mango, is a typical dog – she enjoy sticking her head out of the car window, stealing socks, playing fetch and of course butt sniffing. When he found himself experiencing chronic worry because of his television production company was facing financial doom, Baker began to withdraw from his family and was experiencing symptoms of a deep depression. He shares an intimate look at how Mango helped him understand that his chronic worry was taking a huge toll on his health and family life.

My Thoughts

My first dog came into my life at the age of fourteen. Prior to that I had been a bit scared of dogs after being chased in a park and being bitten by three German Shepards. When I was fourteen my parents decided we were ready to own a dog and we brought home a beautiful, fluffy white bichon and named her Sparky. She was truly incredible – she wanted to cuddle and love you all the time. Since then I have had a total of seven dogs in my life and each one was special in its own unique way.

Dogs have this amazing ability to sense things that we can not, they know when we are hurting, are stressed and feeling unwell. It always makes my day after a rough day when my little Yorkie comes running up to me with her tail wagging and being her silly self. When my stomach ulcers are acting up, she just knows and will curl into me on the couch, giving me the love and support that I need in that moment. Just having her there beside me is all I need in those moments of quiet.

This book touches on all of this and more. This book is told through the eyes of Mango, Baker’s dog, with end notes in each chapter by Tom. We get a whole new perspective on life all coming from Mango and his dog life. We learn about the importance of letting go, trusting God, following instead of leading, unconditional love and patience and the power of the relationship between dog and human. Mango is quite the dog! He leaves you laughing (probably even recognizing your own dog in him) and with a lot of food for thought (no pun intended and once you learn more ab out Mango you will get it!).

I truly believe that dogs are special gifts and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are a gift from God! They offer up such amazing unconditional love and forgive just as easily. They are here for us in our moments of need and despair – sometimes before we even know we need that support. I loved how this book focuses on that special relationship and how much good comes out of it. There is so much that we can learn from dogs and the way they approach their lives. This is a truly special book that all dog lovers will love and appreciate.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Tom Baker’s website.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Tom Baker has worked in entertainment, radio and television for over 35 years. He graduated with a degree in Marketing from the University of Tennessee and has been a TV and radio writer & producer since 1987. His personal work history includes ad agency writer/ producer, a radio & television commercial writer/producer/editor, senior video editor for a various production companies, producing music soundtracks and choreographing fireworks shows, cable series producer/editor – working on shows for A&E, Discovery, Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY, GAC and the Cooking Channel. He is an Executive Producer/Owner of a TV production company (Cobblestone Entertainment, LLC) in Knoxville, TN.

Tom has been a musician since age 5, first playing piano and then switching to drums at age 8. He is also a published author and public speaker. He is very active in his church, where he plays drums in the contemporary worship band, teaches Sunday School to 8th and 9th graders and produces videos for the worship services and website. Tom and his wife, Michelle, of 19 years and four children (Carolyn, Sophie, Chloe and Cristian) love animals. They have 4 rescue dogs (including Mango), a rescue cat and a fish.

Book Trailer

One dog’s faith promoNOW from Tom Baker on Vimeo.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Aaru Book Review

“…Death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future…” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Aaru Book Review

About Aaru

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear. She is sixteen years old. Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an Arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model. Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale. What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

My Thoughts

Death is one of the hardest things to deal with in life. The fear of the unknown, the fear for our loved ones and the pain of missing them can be overwhelming and crushing.

In this novel, the pain of losing a child and a sister is at the forefront. Rose is a young girl, her life was full of happiness and promise until she was diagnosed with cancer. Her health quickly declines and we watch as she goes from bitterness to acceptance of her fate – she just wants the pain to end. Like so many people can relate to, her family has the hardest time accepting her fate. They want her to keep pushing through, to keep fighting and to try just one more treatment. Koren, her younger sister, can not imagine a life without her sister, her protector and the one she always goes to.

Then enters a man who promises a way out – a way to save Rose and to keep their hope and connection alive. At the time no one could understand or even appreciate the technology that he is referring to. It isn’t until after Rose’s death that they fully understand what the man had offered them. The technology uploads a full copy of the person’s mind – in essence the parts of us that make us who we are not our outer shells – into a virtual world where there is no pain, suffering and they can turn it into whatever they want.

This novel was intense, heart breaking, hopeful and challenges what we feel about death and life after death. The novel was well written and powerful, many times I found myself in tears over the unfairness and the powerful emotions that flew off the pages. As the story evolves, you are full of hope and fear especially as the technology is brought to the public.

Aaru is a well written novel that draws you in and challenges how you feel about death, love and life – a definite must read!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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