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The Windshine Chronicles by Todd Sullivan

The Windshine Chronicles Series photo – view full post on Instagram

Todd Sullivan reached out to me here on my site (check out the contact page to do the same) for a review of his series, The Windshine Chronicles. This is South Korean fantasy trilogy and ohmygosh it’s so good!

This brings in some culture to the made up realms of fantasy so you get a nice mix of real and fiction. It also brings in religion and magic in a really unique way. Often I will find myself shying away from reading about religion because it comes off as preachy but that’s not the case here at all. Todd almost makes it it’s own magic category to fit it into the story which works really well.

We are following Ha Jun as he makes his attempt at becoming a hero. He is placed into a group of men, each with their own unique talents, to find their assigned quest and attempt to win. The group is paired with Windshine, a centuries old elf like figure, who is there to chronicle their journeys. Most are afraid or at least wary of Windshine – she is not like them. But Ha Jun forges an unlikely friendship with her.

Each book is a new quest, and with each new quest comes new comrades for the journey, new problems, and of course new enemies, as no one can properly become a hero without a villain to vanquish. But sometimes, the biggest villains are in your own home.

I loved reading about Ha Jun and Windshine and their adventures. This series reminds me a lot of The Lord of the Rings meets in South Korea. And MAGIC, obviously! This was another direction the author took that I really loved: it wasn’t just spells or abracadabra, it was really unique magic. Ha Jun has a sword that historically can only be lifted by Windshine and her people. He learns to use it and the magical elements woven into it. Religion is it’s own magic and you see it brought to literal terms: you can raise the dead – or knock them down. Music is elemental control. Archery is taken to Hawkeye Avenger levels.

This was a fun series to read and I recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy, especially if you’re looking for something a little different.

Thanks so much to Todd for reaching out to share this with me – this is not a series I will soon forget.

Mental Health Reads

Here’s a list of books that address mental health that I love love love. I can’t relate to every single aspect of every book and you likely won’t either, but even just one gives that warm hug feeling of not being alone. Plus, the great thing about books is there’s always something for every genre! While I love Jenny Lawson, for example, for her raw and open discussion about her own personal experience with mental health, I’m also a huge fan of thrillers (# 5). This is just a short list, but trust me – start adding these to your tbr lists online and the web will start recommending more like them!

  1. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – alternately hilarious, blunt, spear to the heart sad, and relatable.
    Non-fiction, memoir
  2. Broken by Jenny Lawson – same as 1, but different stories and more about her family.
    Non-fiction, memoir
  3. What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer – beautiful collection of poetry about what it is, can feel like, can seem, to be a woman.
    Poetry
  4. The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves – a second chance love story about Annika Rose, a girl who likes being alone with her books, where she doesn’t have to worry about people and saying the wrong thing. She never had that problem with Jonathan though, and he’s just walked back into her life after 10 years.
    Fiction, contemporary romance
  5. The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth – Fern Castle has a strict schedule. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week, she works at her local library, she follows the rules. She also avoids bright lights, crowds, and loud noises as much as possible. Any disruption in her routine could be dangerous. But when Rose finds out she can’t have children, Fern thinks she can do it for her. She will have a baby for Rose to thank her for all she’s done. Now she just needs to find a man…
    Fiction, thriller

I hope you find some enjoyment in one or all of these! And no in between – you like one or you like all five and that’s the deal. 😉 But seriously, enjoy! And yes, I’ve read (or listened) to all of these and they are all great! Drop your favs in the comments below!

Birth of the Fae: Locked Out of Heaven by Danielle M. Orsino

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Welcome to my TLC Book Tour stop for the gorgeous and magical world of Birth of the Fae: Locked Out of Heaven! Danielle M. Orsino takes us through the history of how the fae -think dryads, mermaids, fairies, gnomes, and all the magical creatures- came to be.

While out doing their heavenly duties for the Golden Kingdom and God himself, the Virtue Angels are on earth preparing for God’s grand plans, while the Power Angels are fighting an unseen war. But one day, God shuts the gates. He abandons his angels, takes their wings back and leaves without a word.

Many angels cannot take the pain that their poisoned wings and magic bring on their powerful bodies and take their own lives. Many more stay on Earth and band together to heal themselves and continue to care for the planet and all the creatures on it. Queen Aurora leads those who were once Virtues and Jarvon leads the former Powers. All seems to be peaceful and well until Queen Aurora is called on to interfere in a new “faction” that have been hunting fae deer. A new “faction” God always promised and has finally delivered on.

This book is a lot of description and backstory so I have a feeling the real juice is going to be in book two. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to unpack here. I mean, Danielle basically just brought us new age mythology and a whole new take on the magical creatures that all of us (don’t lie) are obsessed with. The main thing here? The “what happened” (angels abandoned and turned fae) and the “consequences” (many factions of fae, all unique but alike in their agreement that human worship is the end game.)

Thanks so much to TLC Book Tours for reaching out and allowing me to read and share this one! If you like angels/demons or mythology or origin stories then I think this might be the heavenly little escape you’re looking for in a book!

Ride on the backs of fire breathing dragons with the Dark Fae and watch the Light Fae play in the shadows of primitive humanity as they build their magical world. Abandoned by their creator, two factions of powerful angels remain on earth after the Great War with Lucifer. They struggle to comprehend their Creator’s plan while their angel wings, a symbol of their angelic lineage, slowly and painfully decay. With no hope of returning to the Shining Kingdom, two groups of angels denounce their angelic lineage and develop into separate factions – the Court of Light, led by Queen Aurora, a former Virtue Angel, and the Court of Dark, ruled by King Jarvok, a former Power Brigade Angel. The two monarchs have opposing views on how to govern their kin, but the one belief they agree on is that human worship equals power.

Birth of the Fae: Locked Out of Heaven is an epic fantasy adventure of heartbreak, rebirth, and hope that examines the bonds of family, friendship, and love. It is a fantastic tale of good vs evil in a beautiful world, where the Light Fae and their potent elemental magick are tested by the raw power of the dragon riding Dark Faewarriors.

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About Danielle M. Orsino

Danielle M. Orsino is taking on her biggest challenge to date: the debut of her fantasy novel, Birth of the Fae: Locked out of Heaven. Expanding her love of writing and exploring the world of fantasy novels, she delves into the realm of fairies and retells their origins from a completely new perspective. Orsino has a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Exercise science and is an LPN with a special interest in Lyme disease research. This novel was born from her long treatment sessions with a patient who asked her to tell him a story for a distraction, which sent Orsino on a journey longer than she had anticipated. Orsino has been widely recognized from her influence and experience in martial arts realm, training for over 20 years and with over 500 tournament wins, and accumulating national and world titles. She has performed for former President of the United States Bill Clinton and has been featured on “Soap Talk, Fox Five news CBS, TLC and E!. With this experience, she worked as a Fight Choreographer on”Wonder Woman: Balance of Power” and has worked with the likes of martial arts legend Vincent Lyn and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

The Hive Queen by Robin Kirk

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Welcome, welcome to my TLC Book Tour review for the second book in The Bond Trilogy, The Hive Queen! Dystopian future meets fantasy in this futuristic look at a time when humans are engineered rather than made in…traditional ways. I’m talking Handmaids meet Avatars.

Of course if you’ve read here before you know I love dystopians but this was an extra interesting take. Following The Bond where Dinitra and 12 ultimately help Fir and his brothers escape a captivity where they only serve their mothers, this is Fir’s story. Headed toward The Master (leader of men) he must travel through The Hive Queen’s domain (leader of drafts) where she’s in interested in more than a friendship with Fir. But Fir has places to be – specifically those free of women as he has always been held captive due to being a man.

Wild battle scenes ensue with drafts (animal, human, plant concoctions) and men as Fir must continually rescue others from death. And in true dystopian style Robin Kirk has no problem killing characters off and some bloody gore. I don’t mean to say kill all the characters, but it definitely keeps you on your toes and adds an element of suspense.

If you like dystopians or SciFi or Fantasy then this is a series you’ll want to grab! It was a fun and very entertaining read in a completely new world – one where women rule (duh) and men are hunted due to their violence toward women and the planet. But as you continue you start to wonder, at what point is it justice and when does it cross the line back into violence for violence’s sake?

In the second book in the INDIE-award-winning Bond Trilogy, warrior Fir leads his brothers on a quest for salvation that will threaten everything he holds dear.

After the battle that toppled the Weave, warrior Fir leads his brothers east to escape servitude, or worse—death at the hands of rival warriors. They search for the fabled Master of Men who promises freedom for men in the Weave. But their quest leads them to a foe more dangerous than they could have imagined.

When the beautiful Hive Queen, Odide, bespells Fir, he’s compelled to betray his brothers—and risks dooming them all to an unspeakable fate. To survive, Fir must choose between his loyalty to his brothers, his allegiance to the Queen, and his love for Dinitra.

But salvation is not what it seems. When theworlds of the Hive and the Master collide, it triggers a devastating betrayal that leaves Fir with an impossible choice: can he sacrifice his brothers for the love he thought he could never have?

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Thanks again to TLC Book Tours and Robin Kirk for my copy to read and share!

Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters by Emily Carpenter

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters entangled in my homegrown pumpkin vine.

A sequel and a stand-alone, Emily Carpenter brings us Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters. The story of Ruth “Dove” Jarrod, one half of the heal-through-prayer sisters that traveled southern Alabama in the 1930s.

The story alternates between Ruth, who was born in an insane asylum to a mother who would later kill herself leaving Ruth to plan her escape, and her granddaughter Eve who has spent her life keeping secrets for Ruth. Ruth’s story is from her escape through her death and the events that made her who she was: an evangelist healer traveling the world to cure people’s ailments. Eve’s story is of a cover. She’s spent the last 8 years keeping Dove’s BIG secrets, that were otherwise buried with her, to protect her mother and brother. It turns out someone might know and expose her anyway. This she is sent racing through Dove’s last trying to uncover the secrets that are being threatened to be exposed in order to save the foundation Eve and her family run in Dove’s name.

This was my first trek through southern gothic fiction and it was such a great read and entertaining story. I definitely recommend if you liked The Lost Girls of Devon or Where the Crawdads Sing. I was so sucked into this story I couldn’t put it down until I started falling asleep…I got up immediately the next morning to finish.

Rarely does an author go from start to finish in a non-thriller and not lose me at some point along the way. You’re basically a passenger of Eve’s throughout the story with glimpses into the famous and infamous Dove’s past. Truly great read.

Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation – and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…

Tuscaloosa,1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo, the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And, with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.

Now, in order to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free, or set her world on fire?

Connect with Emily: Website l Instagram

Pre-order from your local store for October 20, 2020 release! Colorado local? Try Barbed Wire Books or The Used Book Emporium! Otherwise check Barnes & Noble, Target or even Amazon to get your hands on your next great Southern fiction read!

Thanks so much to Lake Union Publishing for my copy to read and share!

Questions of Perspective by Daniel Maunz

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

My TLC Book Tour stop this time is for possibly one of the most intriguing books I’ve read – thanks to TLC and Daniel Maunz for my copy to read and share!

Dave Randall’s life changed forever on April 19, 2011. Of course, he didn’t know it at that time or he might have made some different choices. Instead, when Dave’s friend and coworker John goes missing, Dave throws himself into his boring life as an insurance attorney.

Just as Dave’s life is getting to a new normal- work hard, go home, play with Peaches (the cat he adopted when John disappeared), go back to work and do it again- Dave is shown a new understanding to what happened to John. This leads Dave to search and try to uncover what it really means to live. In this search, he also looks to find what out happened to John and how and why.

This was told in such a way that I was reading about non-serial killer attorneys and their day to day and enjoying it. I wasn’t reading a fast paced thriller and yet I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what happened and then toward the end it’s like the book leveled up and all of a sudden I was with Dave on his race against time.

To wrap up: wow. Very interesting read with some laughable moments, the coolest cat, and some interesting questions. I’m still wondering what I would do in these characters’ shoes which is always a sign to me that more people should read a book!

No one knew it at the time, but April 19, 2011, was the most important day in the history of the world.

After his only friend and colleague, John Manta, disappears without a word, Dave Randall further entrenches himself in the humdrum life of an unenthusiastic lawyer. But once he begins to understand what happened, he embarks on a journey to uncover the deeper meanings and implications of John’s fate.

Accompanied by Peaches the cat, Dave uproots his life and reinvents himself in the midst of his search. Along the way, he is haunted by his piecemeal understanding of John’s fate and what it means for his existence. Little does Dave know, his journey of self-discovery will have ramifications that extend far beyond the borders of his own little life.

Purchase at: Amazon l Books-a-Million l Barnes & Noble

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Remedios by Deborah Clearman

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Welcome back! I’ve joined TLC Booktours again-this time for Remedios by Deborah Clearman, author of Todos Santos and Concepción.

While a story about a drug running scheme in Guatemala, it’s more of a family drama and suspenseful what-will-happen novel with some meth being made in the background. I know-how could the drugs NOT be front and center? But Deborah did it!

This has been compared to Breaking Bad but since I’ve never seen it (cue gasps) I will just tell you that it’s a steady building of drama around the Granados family when the patriarch Fernando’s childhood friend Memo shows up. And Memo is sneaky. While charming Fernando into letting him build a meth lab on his land, he’s also charming some other family members into other things.

Of course, Memo isn’t just evil. He might just be out for a little revenge it seems due to some animosity for the reason he and Fernando “lost touch”. But he’s sure making a game out of it.

I really enjoy this writing style and while I’d prefer this to be more drug focused (because I’m a sucker for action and thrills), this was perfectly written for a slow build up of betrayals stacked upon each other while the drug scheme overheats in the background. I have a feeling if you like family drama and suspense but not thriller stories then this would be perfect for you!

Thanks so much to TLC Booktours and Deborah Clearman for my copy to read and share with you all!


• Paperback: 228 pages
• Publisher: New Meridian Arts (July 13, 2020)

Fernando Granados is a university professor in financial trouble when a boyhood friend he hasn’t seen in thirty years reenters his life. Memo Galindo, now part of a notorious Mexican cartel, soon persuades Fernando to build a meth lab on his country property, just outside the ancient town of Remedios. Fernando’s strong-willed wife Sandra and their beloved 18-year-old son Félix each fall under Memo’s charismatic spell. The cascading family crisis plays out on a larger stage, from its roots in Guatemala’s civil war in the ’80s to corruption in the Guatemalan army and American DEA, in a country where even the forces of nature wreak vengeance.

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The Rescuer by Jason Sautel

A BarksBeachesBooks

Welcome, welcome! I’m here for my TLC Book Tour post this week to share The Rescuer: One Firefighter’s Story of Courage, Darkness, and the Relentless Love That Saved Him.

This was a powerful read. I was expecting an emotional and tug-at-your-heartstrings memoir but this was much more. From the first chapter Jason gives an eye-opening glimpse into what it is to be a fire fighter. Spoiler alert: it is not just fighting fires. And while it is camaraderie and brotherhood it is also a very emotionally and mentally difficult job. Jason takes readers through many different scenarios that can, and for him have, come up as a fire fighter. But deeper than that, he brings readers to see how he was affected and what was going on in his mind during the best and worst of times.

This was a truly incredible, heavy, and yet hopeful collection of stories that I am so glad I got the pleasure of reading. Everyone respects fire fighters in a general sense (especially since many will never need their help directly) but The Rescuer brings light to the many ways a fire fighter puts their life on the line every day. I recommend everyone reads this. Absolute must read and so important. It will completely change the way you look at fire fighters and give you a whole new sense of appreciation.

He helped save people every day—but he had no idea how to save himself.

Jason Sautel had it all. Confident in his abilities and trusted by his fellow firefighters, he was making a name for himself on the streets of Oakland, California. His adrenaline-fueled job even helped him forget the pain of his childhood—until the day he looked into the eyes of a jumper on the Bay Bridge and came face to face with a darkness he knew would take him down as well.

In the following months, a series of traumatic emergency calls—some successful, others impossible-to-forget failures—drove Jason deeper into depression. Even as he continued his lifesaving work, he realized he could never rescueeveryone, and he had no idea how to save himself.

In the end, Jason was forced to confront the truth: only the relentless power of love could pull him back from his own deadly fall. Action-packed, spiritually honest, and surprisingly romantic, TheRescuer transports readers inside the pulse-pounding world of firefighting and into the heart of a man who needed to be broken before he could finally be made whole.

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