Member Book Reviews – #RRBC

Welcome to RRBC Member Reviews!  We know you’ve probably shared it on Amazon (or, maybe Amazon took your review down and are refusing to put it back up for whatever reason), but we’d also love to know what you thought of the RRBC books you’ve read.

Please leave the title of your book, the author of the book and your review (along with your star-rating) down below in the comments section.  Before you leave, we’d also appreciate you clicking the share buttons on this page and sending it to all your social media platforms!  Members who have had reviews removed from Amazon will get credit if they share their reviews here.

Happy Reviewing!

Flipping Over Honest Reviews


545 thoughts on “Member Book Reviews – #RRBC”

  1. Hello, RRBC! Happy Easter Weekend! I just want to share I am now reading “WHEN CAN I STOP RUNNING” by John Podlaski and even though I’m in the early stages of the book, I am enjoying it immensely. I’ll be posting my review once I’m done.

    Stay safe, all!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just finished and reviews Wendy Scott’s Tiger House. What a great read. Here’s the review:

    This is a great read for lovers of adventure, action, fantasy, and fabulous worldbuilding. The cover is gorgeous. And the prose is excellent too. Can you tell that I enjoyed this book? The story is about a young farmer Jairus who is kidnapped through a magical portal by the inhabitants of another world. He’s enslaved and ordered to represent Tiger House in a series of challenges to the death that will decide the new emperor. The first half of the story is an account of the competitions and the action and intrigue are non-stop. The second half of the book deals with Jairus’s attempts to stay alive for as long as he can while trying to find a way home.

    To me, the worldbuilding resembles ancient Asian cultures (though I’m no expert), with the added elements of magic, strange rituals, and a whole lot of disregard for the contestants’ lives or their homeworlds. The people are brutal, macabre, and think nothing of it. The tentative head of Tiger House, a woman named Tekagi, is a ruthless, ambitious villain in the truest sense. An interesting dynamic set up by the author is that rooting for Jairus is also rooting for Tekagi.

    So, the worldbuilding is perfection and the characters engaging – Jairus for his good nature, determination, and intelligence, and Tekagi, because she’s sooo bad! I woke up in the middle of the night to read more chapters under my sheets like a kid afraid of being caught by my mom. The plot is driven by Tekagi’s ambitious designs for most of the book, but Jairus does evolve as a character by the end.

    There are plenty of loose ends by the book’s conclusion to hook a reader into picking up the next in the series. I know I will. Highly Recommended.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amazon would not let me post a review for Suzanne Burke’s The Reckoning Squad.

    Suzanne Burke is a rare writer. Because of her life journey (per Empty Chairs), she knows people – the good, the bad and everyone in between. This knowledge base is what gives her stories depth. The Reckoning Squad is one of her best. The characters are so well-developed that you know them. You know what they are thinking and why. You know who they were and who they’ve become. You are with them on assignment, and you are with them when they look death in the face. This is a psychological thriller par excellence. Fast-paced and full of action, you will not be disappointed. 5-STARS

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello, I’ve just reviewed Satin & Cinders by Jan Sikes on Amazon. Here it is in its entirety:
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Satin & Cinders by Jan Sikes. A story of forbidden love. One white, female, refined and taken well care of. The other, male, black, unkempt, and homeless. Complete opposites. He’s been in love and watched her from a distance for some time – longing to be close to her and feeling her soft touch. He’d do anything to win her over.

    This story is a new micro-read and could be about just any two people. However, it’s about two horses. Love has no boundaries and, of course, horses can communicate with one another. It’s a great read for all ages. Great job Ms. Sikes. Five Stars.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 5-Star review short story: “Until Death Do Us Unite” by Fiza Pathan
    Author Fiza Pathan has woven a poignant tale told from various perspectives to give insight into traditional Hindu beliefs and the consequences of interfering with the custom. It is a heart-wrenching story to learn of the young wife’s abuse at the hands of her husband. Yet, she is considered nothing without her husband and must unite with him in death. From this horror springs forth a love story that will grip your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I reviewed “Initiation, a Harem Boy’s Saga,” by Young. This memoir is a detailed recollection of the early life of a boy. Adored by his mother, but never accepted by his father, Young is thrust into a seldom discussed environment, where he is schooled in the art of entertainment for the rich. In that underground world, he is taught the intricate details of physical relationships, both as a pass time and as an expression of love. A slow moving story, “Initiation” introduces an unusual way of life that is seldom openly discussed. Initiation is a well-written book, and the author succeeded with his description of the emotions and confusion of a child as he becomes a young man, who finds himself and his identity.


  7. My review of “Spirit of the Book,” by D.E.Howard has been posted on Amazon. When her mother died in childbirth, Stephanie was raised by her father, who denied her nothing. After her father’s premature death, Stephanie fell into a state of depression from which she never recovered, not even after the birth of Ellie, whose father was unknown. Alone with her alcoholic mother, and scorned by other children, Ellie’s childhood was difficult. As soon as Ellie saved enough money to move into her own flat, she did, and she made a discovery that changed her world. She met Spirit.
    Spirit taught her that magic still existed, and that genuine friendship could last forever. When Spirit leaves her world, Ellie treasures the relationship they had, and misses him every day. This is a charming story that young adults, and old ones, will enjoy. The characters are memorable, and the ending is perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have completed reading and reviewing Satin and Cinders by Jan Sikes and it is posted on Amazon. I was facinated with the concept of a micro story eBook and am thinking about trying it. Thank you Jan for the idea.

    Author Jan Sikes writes a different type of love story. One that is not only unexpected, but also told from a unique point of view. The vivid descriptions of the surrounding countryside provide a perfect setting for the story to unfold. A reader can immediately integrate into the fabric of the story.

    This sweet story that clearly comes from the heart. It is an easy read, yet let’s one’s imagination engage to fill in the history of the longing. Every little girl with a creative streak and love of horses, like I was in my youth, will delight in reading this micro sized story again and again over and over. Definitely a feel-good story to be treasured. Safe for all ages.

    Thank you again Jan for blazing a new path. It will also be on my blog in a few days.


  9. I completed reading and reviewing A Candle in the Darkness by Karen Black. It is posted on Amazon titled A Story of Hope.

    Author Karen Black shares a story of a recently widowed military wife, Valerie, who hasn’t really had time to process the loss of her husband. Leaving the funeral at the home of her husband’s mother, she sets out for home. Feeling lost and terribly alone, she becomes stranded at a motel when bad weather approaches.

    It is a heart-felt story of love and the sadness of loss. I think Karen describes the interactions of the characters in a realistic manner. Doreen provided so much comfort to Valerie once they escaped to the safety of the cellar. I specifically enjoyed being pulled into their simple reassuring discussion to ease the fear of the approaching storm.

    “Valerie shuffled a few jars and reached for two mason jars. Each held a tapered candle stuck to the bottom with melted wax, just like the one Dorene had given her.
    Valerie lit the candles, and Dorene said, “I used to help my mom can food from the garden, in the back of the motel. I always liked to see the jars lined up on the shelves.”

    I recommend this story to anyone who has lost anyone, especially a spouse, and feels very alone. This story of hope may help someone move forward in their life.

    Thank you for writing such a moving story Karen.


  10. Just left a four-star review of “Visitors” by W.J. Scott on Amazon. This is a sweet and uplifting story of a mother of two young boys, and a wrenching decision she must make. The two boys, Brody, age 12, and his younger brother, Tom, age 8, find themselves uprooted and taken to live with an aunt they haven’t seen in years. They are disoriented and sad, not knowing what will happen or when they will see their mother. To make matters worse, the town they are taken to seems strange, with faulty cellphone and TV reception and mysterious happenings. At night, they see flickering blue lights from their bedroom window. One night, they follow their aunt’s dog, Marley, to the source of the lights and what they discover will change everything. The piece is expertly written, using strong, expressive verbs. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend it. I would certainly read more by this author.


  11. Here’s my review of Reflections by John Fioravanti, approval at Amazon is pending.
    Reflections: Inspirational Quotes and Interpretations took me back into those corridors of learning where I had acquired the habit of collecting quotes and deriving inspiration from them. John Fioravanti has picked up some timeless quotes, with universal values and has added his own interpretation, with personal insights and experiences. Sometimes his analysis is refreshingly different and enriching – Mandino speaks of light but how prudently John interprets it as “truth!” You have to read it to appreciate that wisdom. The short introduction that he has given about the authors he quotes has added extra charm to this book. Some of the most relevant quotes are those of Aristotle, Buddha, Helen Keller and Maya Angelou that would continue to inspire humanity for ages.

    “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself” says Wayne Dyer and how well John has explained that wallowing in self-pity keeps you stuck in the situation! Interspersed with life lessons, John’s book emphasizes that it is your attitude toward life that matters. We have to conquer our fears to live a meaningful life. If we know our potential, if we nurture independent thinking, if our attitude is positive, if we choose to be happy, we can become a better human being. One reading of this book is not enough. The more you read it; more clearly you would see the paths of life, you would also discover how cultivating a positive attitude helps in understanding that happiness is a choice that lies within us. Highly recommended.
    -Balroop Singh


  12. I’ve also read ‘The Truth Will Set You Free by Young. My review is live at Amazon.
    ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’ may be too short but it gives a clear insight into the mind of Young and his emotions. Just within minutes you would get an idea about the impeccable style of writing that would inspire you to pick up one of the autobiographical works of Young. If you want to enjoy the erotic escapades and fashion tastes of this author, begin with the first book in the series – Initiation. You won’t be disappointed. This excerpt is just a teaser.
    Thanks. Balroop.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have read and reviewed Lost Time: Family Ties by Maretha Botha. My review is live at Amazon.
    Lost Time: Family Ties by Maretha Botha is an eloquent comment on relationships, which rest on brittle threads of trust and truthfulness. The story of two sisters is told from the perspective of Nelle and highlights human imperfections, so common within families. It is very obvious that David is a weak character and Nelle takes advantage of his flaws, refuses to make peace with her sister but a shock awaits her! How would she handle it? Would she be able to overcome the guilt within her?

    This story has the potential of being developed further; it ends at an ambiguous note but I would like to know more about Nelle, the ugly duckling of the family. Such characters are the anchors of a good story and she possesses all those traits. The title is symbolic and well-chosen.


  14. Also reviewed Saving The Evergreens: Garden Secrets by Maretha Botha. My review is live at Amazon.

    Saving The Evergreens: Garden Secrets by Maretha Botha is a cute little story of garden creatures who convey a profound message: environment is the responsibility of all of us. A heart-warming and funny conversation of the tiny creatures that live around us reveals the serious problem of dying trees. This story is most suitable for children and should be read with them to create sensitivity about caring for our trees. The illustrations and images are beautiful. I marvel at the description of Smallun Evergreen, quite enlightening for me. I really liked this short story.
    Thanks, Balroop.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi, I have read and reviewed Jonah by Jan Sikes. My review is live at Amazon.
    Jonah by Jan Sikes is the story of spiritual awakening that is self-propelled. There is no doubt that innate goodness can only be discovered through introspection but it has to be nudged. An amalgamation of realism and fantasy, this story steps into the realms of illusion and magic to highlight self-purgation.

    The backdrop of an island is perfectly created with stinging nettles, prickly thorns, flowers filled with deadly venom, large birds that swooped down and brown murky water. This short story must be read to understand the power of self-discovery, as it shows how perceptions change in the face of challenging circumstances. However, switching over to magic smudged the spirituality that the story banked on in the beginning.
    Thanks. Balroop.


  16. I have read and reviewed “The Lovelock” by Eichin Chang-Lim. Review is pending on Amazon. I gave it three stars. Here’s my review: Violet and Dylan seemed destined to be together from their first meeting. They shared death in common, with Violet’s twin sister, Amber, dying at a very young age, and Dylan losing his mother to cancer at the same time. I felt for Violet as her mother sank into a deep depression removing herself from all interactions. On the other hand, Violet’s father tried to fill both shoes. The author took me through Violet’s difficult childhood up to the point that she and Dylan got engaged to be married. From there, I felt that she abandoned me in a crucial point of the book, suddenly switching to the present time and Violet is working in a strip club addicted to drugs without any explanation. Then the author moved on to Dylan and his life which included a stint in the Peace Corps, again with no explanation as to why he would suddenly leave Violet. Just as he is determined to find her, he is in an almost fatal motorcycle accident and ended up married to his nurse, Tess. I won’t spoil the book by telling what happens after that. It’s a good story, but I felt cheated by the way the author chopped the story into bits that didn’t flow together and left me hanging for so long before ever revealing what happened to drive Violet and Dylan apart. I will say the ending was satisfactory.


  17. I read and reviewed “A Candle In The Darkness” by Karen Black. Amazon review is pending and they are moving at the speed of cold molasses. 🙂 Here’s my review: I am a huge fan of short stories and I was looking forward to reading this one. The main character is grieving the loss of her husband and doubting whether or not she could still feel his presence from beyond the grave. When a horrible storm forces her to stop at a motel for the night, she is in for a wild experience. This story packs a lot into a few pages. With ghosts, a tornado and the significance of a candle burning, it’s a good story. With a good editor, this would easily be a five-star read.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. I just finished Apollo’s Raven by Linnea Tanner. What a great read. Here’s my review:

    Oh, I liked this read. In 24 AD, the Romans have arrived in Britannia to lay the groundwork for an invasion, and to that end, they’ve pitted the British kings against each other with promises of power. While negotiations with the Romans take place, hostages are exchanged to secure each party’s safety. Princess Catrin’s father instructs her to pry information from Marcellus, the son of the Roman leader. But things don’t go as planned, and Catrin must choose between the man she loves and her people.

    The story starts out with some romance and a bit of insta-love, but fortunately, that is short-lived. Not that there isn’t a romantic component to the story, but the bulk of the read is taken up with action, danger, politics, and plenty of magic.

    Magic is integral to the story, the plot, and the relationships. It focuses on an old prophecy in which Catrin plays the central role. Her connection to ravens enables her to see through the bird’s eyes, and ravens provide her with some protection. More so, they are the gateway to the mystical Wall of Lives where she learns how to manipulate outcomes. The magic in the book isn’t a hard system, but it works, and I appreciated the way it created friction between Catrin and Marcellus.

    The characters are great, three dimensional, emotional, and flawed. Even secondary characters are unique individuals. I liked how consistent they were and how that was often a problem. Catrin is foiled repeatedly by both well-intentioned characters and villains. There are villains on both sides of the conflict which complicates matters.

    The danger and action keep the pace up, and though a long read, the book zipped by. It ends with a dramatic conclusion to the negotiations but is mostly open-ended. I’ll definitely be reading onward. I highly recommend this book to epic fantasy readers who love magic, action, intrigue, and a bit of romance.


  19. My review of “A Candle in the Darkness” by Karen Black (Currently pending on Amazon) 🙂

    Valerie doesn’t believe in a life after death. When you’re gone you’re gone, and that is what her husband is. Gone. Taking shelter from a tornado in the cellar of a motel Valerie will learn things she never expected.

    A well written short, that is easy to read. Unfortunately I felt a little dissatisfied by the time I got to the end. I found the climax of the story predictable, I had assumed this was where it was going very early into the story. I think I could have forgiven that in a longer read, if I had been given time to really grow to know the characters and their lives. A nice story but missing any wow factor.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Slimmer: A Contemporary Romance
    by Wendy Jayne

    This story is written in the first-person narrative. After receiving a wedding invitation, the main character, Pippa, is inspired to slim down to lure the man of her dream into her life at the upcoming wedding. The author did an excellent job with character development. The storyline is engaging, and the prose is tight and straightforward. I especially savor the vivacious graphs inserted among the text, which add extra delight to the humorous read. This is a great read to uplift readers’ spirits.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Also reviewed Slimmer: A contemporary Romance by Wendy Jayne. My review is live at Amazon.

    Slimmer: A Contemporary Romance by Wendy Jayne is a humorous account of Pippa, trying to lose weight. True to her style, Wendy makes sure that you connect with the protagonist, empathize with her but enjoy her moments of dilemma. It is her choice of words and expressions that would make you smile. The yearning for food is superbly captured: “hallucinating about grabbing the leftovers from the adjacent table.” The description of fitting into a “shapewear” garment almost knocked me off my chair!
    In her unique style of playing with the words, Wendy ventures to comment on a serious issue that many women struggle with to come up to the expectations of the society. Staying slim is quite challenging and crash dieting could be detrimental to one’s health. This story also conveys a subtle message of eating sensibly and following a consistent exercise routine.
    Thanks. Balroop Singh.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi I ‘ve reviewed No Pedigree: A Really Short Story by Nonnie Jules. My review is live at Amazon.

    No Pedigree: A Really Short Story by Nonnie Jules is a poignant tale of one girl but could be true for many such victims around the globe. An indirect comment on the society and perpetrators of injustice, this story focuses on Baylee, the protagonist who has been raised with immense love despite the circumstances she is placed in. She has been crafted with a lot of pride and knows how to handle the elitist snobs around her. I wish Nonnie could enter her heart to capture her emotions, to get deeper into the intensity of the harrowing trauma she had experienced. The story lacks true emotion and flow.

    Realism is distressing and that’s why we try to escape into fantasy to find immediate solutions. Jules projects a dramatic ending, which seems quite implausible and far-fetched, and it may convey a wrong message to the youngsters. Justice takes its own time and sometimes too much time. A time jump could have been a better choice.
    Thanks. Balroop Singh.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. “Jewel,” by Jan Sikes is a short story that pulls quite a punch. It’s absorbing from the first paragraph and can easily be read in one setting. “Jewel is a little gem,” and I gave it a 4-Star rating.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. THE VISIT, by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko , taps the familiar with her use of location and setting. She sets the stage in the first paragraph and by paragraph three you know something is amiss. The momentum builds fast and in six well-written pages – the crime is solved. If you are not familiar with a micro-read this provides a good introduction. I gave it 4-Stars.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I have read and placed a 4-star rating on Amazon for Harriet Hodgson’s book, “So You’re Raising Your Grandkids.” From the depth of her own personal heartache and tragedy, the author presents a practical, no-nonsense guide filled with “everyday tips,” lessons learned and guidance for those grandparents stepping into this role.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. My review of Fiza Pathan’s My Sweet Lord.
    In this short story, a Buddhist monk immolates himself on a busy street. During the minute of his death, Pathan provides a vivid look at the chaos and the trauma of the witnesses. Then, the scene changes, and like a parable, an old monk questions three young monks about their willingness to set themselves on fire and the reasons they use to justify the act. The story comes full circle as the old monk finds clarity. This is an intense story full of tragedy on many levels. Beautiful evocative writing. Highly recommended.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Four 5-star short stories! Here are the reviews 🙂

    The Thing about Kevin by Beem Weeks
    Jacob returns to Chicago for his father’s funeral and faces the truth about the man he loved – a man who was also a mobster responsible for much misery in the community. Jacob’s brother, Kevin, disappeared long ago, and Jacob little by little learns the truth.
    This short story is beautifully written and gives a striking and delicate glimpse into the complex feelings and relationships of children who grew up with a criminal parent. A quick and memorable read. I’ll be reading more of Weeks’ stories.

    The Hunted by Karen Black
    A short 30-minute read, The Hunted starts with solid action and doesn’t let up. The story follows Yvonne as she flips back and forth between two worlds, one a dream, one real, but the reader doesn’t know which is which. The transitions are cleverly done and it’s not until the end that the truth (and the twist) is revealed. I loved being kept in the dark until the last sentence. Excellent short story.

    Red Eyes in the Darkness by DL Finn
    This short story kicks off with wild action and finishes the same way. Cass and Will know for a fact that their brother-in-law Ronald killed Cass’s sister, but no one believes them. And they are next on Ronald’s list. But there’s more here than a serial killer as angels and demons also make an appearance. This story doesn’t completely end but is a taste of a world further developed in Finn’s other books. I’ve read “The Button” and recognized the demons called the evildwels. I recommend this short story as an introduction to the writer and her books.

    Voodoo or Destiny by Jan Sikes
    In this short story, Claire plays with voodoo, hoping to break her husband’s heart for cheating on her. Not only is the result distressing, but there’s more going on than she bargained for. This is a quick, entertaining, and spooky story. After reading this, I’m definitely staying far away from voodoo. A great short story.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Good morning, Everyone! I feel as if I’m finally back on track and well enough to support our awesome Rave Reviews Book Club whenever possible. I’ve been laid up, but on the mend. So, I’ve posted three review links. All three these books were incredible and I must tell you, I’m proud to be part of this Indie Author Pack!
    MOMENTS WE LOVE by Balroop Singh
    The CONTRACT between heaven and earth – Gwen M. Plano
    NO PEDIGREE a short story by Nonnie Jules


  29. Hi Here’s my review of Souls: A Novel by J.A. Hinsman. It is live at Amazon.
    Souls: A Novel by J.A. Hinsman is a usual story of romance and murder with some predictable suspense thrown in. I liked how the word ‘soul’ has been used as a symbol in Ann’s life in different ways but a book loses its charm when it is riddled with typos just in the beginning. Glaring errors would surprise you; I have marked at least 10. Besides there is repetition of the word ‘wondered,’ most of the dialogues end with that word. This book needs a good editor, as the rambling, indiscreet style of writing suggests that unnecessary details could be eliminated.

    Slow in the beginning, the story picks up some pace when Ann talks about her emotional upheavals. There are two extreme kinds of characters – either they are incredibly good or absolutely wicked; gray areas don’t seem to exist in Hinsman’s world. Ann inspires awe but her perilous acts seem illusionary and her benevolence far-fetched. What spoke to me is the sibling love; Celeste’s endearing messages of moving on in life have a special charm yet Ann decides to play with fire. Half of the story is told in epilogue! I didn’t like that aspect too.
    Thanks. Balroop Singh.


  30. Good morning ! I read & reviewed the short story ‘Saving The Evergreens: Garden Secrets’ by Maretha Botha. I reviewed the short story on & (verified purchase). Both the reviews are live on Amazon.

    Fiza Pathan.


  31. Hello! Below is my 5 STAR review of Strange HWY, by Beem Weeks.
    I won this wonderful collection of short stories some time ago, but only recently had the time to crack it open.
    Strange Hwy is comprised of nineteen stories that range from the supernatural, to the earthly. Some ended in tragedy, while others made me smile, happy for the outcome.
    There were copious servings of poignancy, situations that seemed all too real, but that’s a sign of great writing. One in particular, had me scratching my head as to what really happened to a young girl.
    Each tale is unique and there’s no distinguishable pattern that I could detect, for me, that’s a good thing.
    I’d highly recommend taking a journey down this highway.


  32. Good evening ! Read & reviewed the short excerpt ‘The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up: An Excerpt from A Harem Boy’s Saga III – Debauchery’ by Young. I reviewed the excerpt on & (verified purchase). Both the reviews are live on Amazon.
    Fiza Pathan.


  33. Good evening ! Read & reviewed the short story ‘Hexed: A Purr-fect Catastrophe’ by Wendy Jayne. I reviewed the short story on & (verified purchase). Both the reviews are live on Amazon. Here is the review:

    I was first attracted to this short story by the attractive cover. I am glad to say the short story was a really delightful read. The appearance as well as the formatting of the short story is fantastic. The story of a witch that has been hexed to live the life of a feline was a wonderful read. The plot & concept was creative, unique & interesting to the core. The scenes with Hunter, Tamsyn, Wolf Boy etc., flowed very well together & the pacing of the book therefore was marvelous. The characters were well developed as per the requirements of this genre of short story writing. There are no grammatical errors in the book whatsoever. I just admire author Wendy Jayne’s way of putting together make-believe worlds which resonate so much with our regular lives & feelings. Thus, on the basis of plot, appearance, descriptions, genre, grammar & concept, ‘Hexed: A Purr-fect Catastrophe’ gets a 5 star review from me.

    Fiza Pathan.


  34. I read and reviewed two short stories and recommend them both. Links for the Amazon reviews are included.

    “Jewel,” by Jan Sikes tells the tale of a starving family and a mother’s last resort effort to provide a better life for her daughter by sending her into prostitution. “Be nice to the gentlemen,” her mother advises. Jewel takes her advice and despite the circumstances, turns her life around.

    The second story, “Shrink,” by Eric Halpenny portrays the psychological trauma of a veteran who survived the terror of the Vietnam war. This story, though fictional, accurately depicts the horrors that some of our soldiers have been unable to forget and is a reminder that freedom is not free.


  35. MY JOURNEY TO THE RAINBOW’S END by Forrest Stepnowski – 3-stars

    In this excerpt, I enjoyed learning more about the author – his childhood, the ups and downs of his family life, and even the experiences that led him to where he stands today as an openly gay male. My heart bled for him as he shared the actual note left behind by his dearly departed childhood best friend and lover, and equally, as I imagined the pain he must have been in, pretending to be interested in girls to cover up who he really was.

    As much as I enjoyed that side of his story, I cannot ignore the glaring issues also found within the story. As a mere excerpt from a larger body of work, there were too many instances of missing words, misplaced punctuation was prevalent throughout the read, and the pointless redundancy of the words lifetime, bound, realized, self-anything, etc., was overkill. I’d like to point out to the author that there are countless verbs that can take the place of the word ‘said,’ which was also used more than it should have been. The author zig-zagged in and out of present tense and past tense and there were those occasions when the ‘one speaker in a paragraph’ rule was broken.

    This author has amazing life experiences to share, but unless they are presented properly in well-edited form for those astute readers of the written word, the bodies of work presented will not be received as I’m sure the author hopes that they will be – and in my opinion, that is with profound reverence for what the author has experienced and lived through.

    I’m giving this read 3 stars because I appreciated the raw honesty in the sharing of his deeply personal experiences. I’m also hoping that if this read is edited, I’ll have the opportunity to revisit it for a more positive review.


    1. Jan, thank you so much for taking the time to read NO PEDIGREE and I’m so pleased that you found enjoyment in it. That ending came to me at the very last minute – but, truth be told, I wrote the blurb for that short story first and then wrote the entire story around that blurb. Every time I wondered where I should go next with that read, I went back to the blurb and it guided me every step of the way until the very end.

      Again, thank you so much 🙂


  36. Good afternoon ! I read & reviewed MY Journey to the Rainbow’s End: (Full Short Story from “Journey to the Rainbow’s End; A Drag Queen’s Odyssey”) by Forrest Robert Stepnowski. I reviewed the short excerpt on & (verified purchase). Both reviews are live on Amazon.
    Fiza Pathan.


  37. In celebration of March Month of Short story reading, I have read and reviewed two short stories and placed my reviews at Amazon. Both my reviews are live.
    1. Death Song of the Sea: A Celtic Story by April A. Taylor has been inspired from an ancient Irish folk tale ‘The Bride’s Death-song.’ Taylor has elaborated it from her own perspective, adding some emotions to the relationship of father and daughter who couldn’t see beyond her feelings. Aileen’s selfishness leads her to unforeseen consequences and the darker twist that this story takes makes it fascinating and worth-reading.

    April holds the reader’s attention with her persuasive style of writing, breathing a fresh life into an old, forgotten tale. I loved the setting; even sea acquires an animate form with her brilliant description, becoming an enticing character of the story, which goes much beyond the original. Since it is an old folk tale, you may not like some expressions or actions but it has been superbly retold. I was captivated by the death song that was etched on the minds of the villagers.

    2. A Candle in the Darkness exudes love, kindness and generosity. I like how candle’s symbolism runs through out, hinting at the enduring spirit of goodness and Karen has handled it deftly, keeping the twist for the last moment. Grief and Mother Nature collaborate to highlight the power of attachments. This is a quick read and within minutes it would warm your heart, craving for more. Karen has written many such stories and I admire her prowess of crafting loving characters.
    Thanks, Balroop Singh.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. My 4-star review of “Sword Swallowers” by D. Wallace Peach

    What attracted me to read “Soul Swallowers” by D. Wallace Peach was the premise that a person could absorb other souls to gain insight, wisdom, and wisdom to a path of understanding. This is an epic fantasy that primarily follows Lord Raze, who is embittered because he believes his father orders the murder of his young wife after he refused to marry a noble girl for a political alliance. Brimming with rage, Raze seeks refuge in the Ravenwood, the haunt of unbound ghosts, After his elderly mentor dies, Raze swallows his soulstone to absorb his wise essence and to assuage his anger. Raze begins a humble life of raising horses and taking in other beleaguered people into his household. His quiet life is disrupted when his brother finds him at Ravenhood and embroils him in the web of political corruption and the dangers of slave traders roaming the countryside. Raze must finally come to terms with his past.

    Author D. Wallace Peach creates a fantastical world with the premise that people can swallow the souls of others to continue their legacies. However, there is a downside of swallowing too many souls; it may make you go mad or absorb the evil characteristics of the dead person. The world-building is rich in detail and the sensory description heightens your senses, such as: “The morning had dawned with a sultry sun, the air ripe with humidity, a host of crickets snapping in the dry grass. The tale is told from different points of view so you can understand the underpinnings of political schemes. The switch in points of view sometimes impacted the evenness of the pacing and dampened the tension.

    For readers who love unique world-building and a cast of memorable characters, I recommend that you read the first book, Soul Swallowers, in the Shattered Sea series.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Thank you Karen ma’am for the fantastic review of my short story ‘My Sweet Lord’, you made my day. The issues that I have dealt with are very real & frightening. However, in order to avoid any controversy Raktsthaan was a country created by me. Love you ! Happy reading & reviewing ! 🙂 😀


  40. I read the following books and posted the review on Amazon.Com:
    Reviews For March – 2020
    1. REFLECTIONS by John Fioravanti
    2. Ronald L. Powell: Missing in Action by Shirley Harris-Slaughter
    3. The Thing About Kevin by Beem Weeks
    4. My Sweet Lord: Short Story by Fiza Pathan
    5. The Truth Will Set You Free by Young

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Joy ma’am for your awesome review of ‘My Sweet Lord’, it made my day ! Thank you for going out of your way to select ‘My Sweet Lord’ to read during the month of March. Happy reading & reviewing to you ! 🙂


  41. My review of Flame and Hope: An African adventure by Maretha Botha

    Flame and Hope is story about a dog born in a fictional desert that is modeled around the Kalahari desert in Southern Africa. As a puppy, Flame has a tough start to life when a band of cattle thieves threaten his master, a tracker named Kgabo, and his wife and family into helping them move stolen cattle across the border. Lera, Kgabo’s sickly wife, and two of their puppies, one of which is Flame, cannot manage the journey and get left behind. Lera and one of the puppies dies and, when Kgabo returns for them, only Flame is still alive. Kgabo takes Flame to the home of a friend of his and asks him to raise Flame as he can’t manage now that his wife has passed.

    Flame’s new master, John James, renames him Jack and despite some reluctance by Maisie, John’s wife, to take on another dog, he soon settles into his new home. Flame befriends the local animals, including a bird, named Hope, who is the narrator of the story. Due to difficult start in life and the losses he suffered, Flame is very empathetic and cajoles most of the other farm animals into becoming defenders of their farm, which they call Fauna Park, which is to become a sanctuary for all animals. Hunters are welcome to visit but are requested to hunt elsewhere. The participating animals promise to do their best to maintain the park’s status as a place of sanctuary.

    This undertaking by Flame leads to many adventures as he attempts to uphold his promise and defend all animal life in Fauna Park. Flame also learns a lot about his own nature and the nature of other creatures, such a the rat, who are not all as willing as him to uphold the promise.

    I did wonder what age group this book is aimed at as the style of writing and use of many local words and made up words based on real ones, does not allow for particularly easy reading, although they are defined at the back. I think middle school children would struggle to read this book.

    I enjoyed this book about life in the more rural and desert regions of Southern Africa. It introduces children to a different way of life and some of the cultural, political and social aspects of this region.
    Amazon link:


  42. My review of No Pedigree by Nonnie Jules:

    It is an irony that I read this book the week after I finished reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald with its two central themes of the wealthy in American not being accountable for their actions and how the America dream of equality for all and an ability for people who have ability and who work hard to attain social status regardless of their backgrounds.

    This short story, No Pedigree, explores these same two themes but in a modern setting rather than Fitzgerald’s setting of the 1920’s. I could help thinking, as I read this book, how tragic it is that 100 years later these same themes of prejudice, abuse and unfairness are still prevalent in some parts our society.

    Baylee Pierre is a young girl of extraordinary beauty and sound intellectual ability who ends up attending a high school in a wealthy area populated by privileged youngsters and their families. Baylee is different from her peer group in that she is the child of a black native American mother and a white father and also, her mother is the housekeeper of a one of the wealthy residents of the school’s feeder area who allows Baylee’s mother to use her home address to register her daughter at the local school. Baylee’s mother thinks she is doing the best for her daughter by giving her this educational opportunity, but her spoiled rich school school associates don’t give her an opportunity to become part of their world and Baylee is ostracised in the most cruel way right from the start.

    There is one girl, Carson Beckett, who is different and who becomes best friends with Baylee. Carson puts herself out on a limb to support Baylee against the majority. I enjoyed this touch in the book because it made it even more real and possible, as there is good out there and it was nice to have it recognised and this bit of positiveness gives the story some good balance.

    Baylee is subjected to the most horrific treatment any person could suffer and due to her mother’s limited finances, she is not initially able to seek the justice the situation clearly warrants.

    To bring my thoughts back around to my initial comments about The Great Gatsby, this book ends on a positive note with a clear indication, through the change in Baylee’s circumstances depicted in the book, that there has been some progress and movement towards the American dream being more attainable for all. There are good people out there who aren’t filled with prejudice and who embrace difference and enable progression for all.

    An excellent read.
    Amazon Link:


  43. Good afternoon again ! I have read & reviewed ‘Feeders: Madeson Reid, PI: Paranormal Short Story’ by Wendy Jayne. I have reviewed the short story on & (verified purchase). Both reviews are live on Amazon. Here is the review:

    I was first attracted to this book by its enticing cover. I was a bit lost when the story ended but after reading the story all over again, I came to understand the plot. The plot is unique and is different from most of the vampire stories I’ve read over a period of 20 years. Vampire lore is my favorite topic, so I was very eager to see what would happen in ‘Feeders’. I was intrigued by the persona of Madeson Reid, but I feel this short story could have been a bit better presented. There was a lot of explaining at the beginning with regards to vampires, regular humans, humans who adopt vampires, vampire rights activists, robots, etc., which confuses the reader, diverting the attention from the main plot which is the murder mystery. I felt ‘Feeders’ would have fared better as a full-fledged novel rather than a short story where a lot was left to conjecture. The plot was interesting but could have been better developed. The focus was on a variety of different characters, who though interesting, were not flowing together with the main story. I have evaluated the short story on the basis of overall appearance, interior formatting, plot, concept, story timeline development, pacing, character descriptions, concepts described in the futuristic 2078 A.D tale, grammar, and genre which is definitely futuristic vampire dystopian drama. By the previously mentioned in-depth analysis, this book gets 3.6 stars from me.

    Fiza Pathan.

    Liked by 1 person

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