Book Review: The Clock Maker’s Secret

A box full of books Text: Book Reviews

About the Book

Audiobook Cover: The Clockmaker's Secret, by Jack Benton, and narrated by Kevin E. Green

A buried clock holds the key to a decades-old mystery….

On holiday to escape the nightmares of his last case, disgraced soldier turned private detective John “Slim” Hardy comes upon something buried in the peat on Bodmin Moor. 

Unfinished, water-damaged, but still ticking, the old clock provides a vital clue to an unsolved missing-persons case. 

As Slim begins to ask questions of the tiny Cornish village of Penleven, he is drawn into a world of lies, rumors, and secrets – some of which the residents would prefer to stay buried. 

Twenty-three years ago, a reclusive clockmaker left his workshop and walked out onto Bodmin Moor, taking his last, unfinished clock with him. He disappeared. 

Slim is determined to find out why. 

The Clockmaker’s Secret is the stunning sequel to Jack Benton’s acclaimed debut, The Man by the Sea.

Purchase Links:



My Review

I listened to the audio book, The Clock Maker’s Secret, by Jack Benton and narrated by Kevin Green. The British voice of Green helps to set you in both time and place, although Benton gives us enough to determine this even if reading a print or digital copy. But I do think Green’s voice adds an extra allure to the story. Benton has skillfully laid out this well-crafted mystery, filled with surprising revelations, as all is not as it seems.

Detective John ‘Slim’ Hardy is on holliday, trying to outrun the demons of his past, but true to his nature, when he finds an old clock buried and hidden, he just can’t resist a good mystery. It’s made by a clockmaker who disappeared many years ago. But there are those in Penleven who perhaps don’t want to see the clock’s secrets revealed. As Slim works to unravel the clock’s mystery, he finds that the clockmaker had a few secrets of his own, and the deeper he gets, the more he wonders if the clockmaker’s secret isn’t best left buried.

A gripping mystery which takes several surprising turns. I give The Clockmaker’s Secret five quills.

Five Quills


Important Update

If you have never tried Chirp audiobooks, but would like to, I have great news! Chirp has given me this special link for me to share the above book with new Chirp readers/listeners. So, if you haven’t tried Chirp and you’d like to give The Clockmaker’s Secret a try, click on the link and give it a go:


Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? You can request a review here.

Book Review: Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires

A box full of books Text: Book Reviews

About the Book

Book Cover: A psychedellic VW bussits below a large meteor with a ladder extending down. On top of the meteor two people in astronaut attire are around a canfire, with pink, yellow, and purple skies all around. 
Text: Tales Told 'Round the Celestial Campfires, Jeseph Carrabis

… everything written here actually happened

No, really, it did. I’ve seen things and been places and met…creatures…most people can’t imagine. Or wouldn’t want to. Or should. It all depends on the person and the creature.But much like Gahan Wilson’s “I only paint what I see”, I only write about what’s actually happened…

So sit back, relax, have something tasty near at hand or tentacle or claw. Read these when other people are around…if you can trust they’re really people. Or read them alone, when it’s dark out. Maybe. Unless you’re not sure what things go bump in the night or scurry unseen in the dark.

Purchase Link:

My Review

Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, by Joseph Carribis is a collection of tales of wide variety. A little fantasy, a little science fiction, a bit of horror. They are not tales for the faint of heart, but tales for the strong of mind. The stories which make up this collection create a cross between science fiction, and legend and lore, with a bit of philanthropy thrown in for spice. Readers who enjoy pondering the story, savoring it, delving into the inner depths of it, this collection is for you. Carrabis’ stories make you think. They make statements on human nature and humankind, and the not-so-human kind.

Most Memorable

  • “Winter Winds”, where children are taught about some unusual animals which only come out in foul weather has a clever twist at the end which brought a smile ot my face.
  • “Those Wings Which Tire, They Have Upheld Me”, a rich fantasy story about the ultimate sacrifice and learning human kindness.
  • “The Goatmen of Aguirra”, which is an unusualand thought provoking story about a visit with goat-like creatures on a distant planet.
  • “Cymodoce”, is rather sad tale of forbidden love.
  • “The Boy Who Loves Horses”, is about a gifted boy, more comfortable with horses than with people.
  • “Them Doore Girls”, a hauntingly eerie tale about two sisters who were the only survivors of the shipwreck which took their parents’ lives, is probably my very favorite.

Joseph Carrabis is a master storyteller. He has created a delightfully amusing collectionstories with he potential to keep you awake at night. I give Tales Told ‘Round the Celestial Campfires five quills.

Five Quills - Five circles with the WordCrafter quill logo in each one.


Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? You can request a review here.

“Lion Scream” rakes in another five star review

Book Review: The Dragon Business & Skeleton in the Closet

About The Dragon Business

Book Cover: A dragon rolling on the top of a hill, apparently laughing, while a knight points a sword at him and his horse sits on its haunches, watching.
Text: The Dragon Business, A Medieval Con Game with scales!, New York Best Selling Author, Kevin J. Anderson

Is your kingdom bothered by a pesky dragon problem?

Need any giant monsters slain?

Are your own knights in shining armor unreliable or—worse—cowards?

Young Cullin, wanting to see the world, joins a band of renowned knights errant who will slay your dragon for a price. Satisfaction guaranteed!

The only problem is, it’s all a scam. The “dragon” is no more than rumors and tall tales spread by Cullin and his gang, giant three-toed footprints stomped into the ground near strategically burned-down huts and charred skeletons (procured from the local graveyard). It’s a great con job, so long as Cullin and company can take the money and run, move on to the next kingdom before anyone catches on.

But even con men can be caught in their own game. Clever, spunky Princess Affonyl doesn’t want any part of the arranged marriage to an evil duke from a neighboring kingdom. And she realizes that a fearsome dragon, even an imaginary one, is the perfect cover for her escape.

It’s one caper after another as these medieval dirty, rotten scoundrels try to outsmart one another. And they discover that the dragon business is more than just a game…especially if a real dragon might be involved.

Purchase Links:

WordFire Press:


My Review

This book was originally released in 2018, but the digital copy which I read came from KJA’s January 2023 Kickstarter campaign.

The Dragon Business, by Kevin J. Anderson, drops readers right into the middle of a medievil con game. The marks are the kingdoms our three slightly bumbling tricksters travel to, selling their services as dragon slayers, which is fairly safe, since the dragons were all killed off long ago. But rumor of dragons in the area stir kingdoms to fear and it might be worth a great deal to a kingdom’s rulers to see the matter settled and the people calmed, wouldn’t you think? But eventually, all good capers go awry, and when a real dragon comes to town, it may now be up to our three heros, and a runaway princess, to save the day.

The funniest epic fantasy story you’ll ever read. Humorous and thoroughly entertaining. I give The Dragon Business five quills.


About Skeleton on the Closet

The Princess Bride meets Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels
Join former scamp Cullin and his merry band of confidence men (and one liberated princess) as they put The Sting in the Middle Ages. With dreams of being a hero, or at least a storyteller, Cullin travels with Sir Dalbry, a washed-up knight in shining armor; Reeger, ready and eager for any part of the dirty work; and Affonyl, former princess, who wanted to study science and alchemy, rather than embroidery.
Together, they cross the land with one scam after another, concocting their own heroic deeds, preparing mock dragon heads, or selling kraken tusks and mermaid scales.
But when attempting to con King Longjohn, whose castle is supposedly bursting at the seams with treasure, the caper turns sour. The powerful Wizard-Mage Ugnarok and his army of ugly and muscular (if not too bright) orcs takes over Longjohn’s castle, imprisoning the king, pillaging the halls, and carrying on with typical orc-like mayhem.
Cullin and his friends are trapped in the castle’s labyrinth of secret passages, just trying to survive … or is this the opportunity for a grander scam than they have ever attempted before?
Orcs are terribly superstitious—you can’t bash a ghost, after all—and it’s like Die Hard in a castle, as Cullin, Affonyl, Reeger, and Dalbry set up a grand haunting that will scare off even the scariest orc army.

Purchase Links:

WordFire Press:


My Review

After coming to know these characters in The Dragon Business, I couldn’t help but feel right at home as King Cullen begins the telling of this new tale for his son, Maurice. In my review of The Dragon Business, I said it was “the funniest epic fantasy story you’ll ever read”, but I may stand corrected here, as Skeleton in the Closet had me rolling with laughter even harder than that first book. Our troupe of con artists are up to new tricks as the market for the Dragon Business becomes saturated, with every con artist in the land jumping on the bandwagon. So Cullin, Reeger, Dalbry and Affonyl are back and they are thinking up some new tricks for conning Kings and Queens out of their vast riches.

What starts out as an artisitc masterpiece scam turns into a ghost haunting scam, when a group of vile Orcs invade the castle of our scammers mark, King Long John, looking for treasure which doesn’t exist. The Orcs won’t leave until they find the treasure, which our heros know they won’t, so they have no choice but to haunt the castle and save the king, in hopes that there will be a reward beyond his empty coffers.

Several questions still lurks in my mind, such as, how did Cullin and Affonyl finally discover that they were meant to be together? How did Cullin end up being king? And how did Reeger end up a tavern owner with a wife? And what happened to poor Dalbry, who doesn’t seem to be around anymore? So you see, there could be more tales to come, and that makes someone who has quickly become a fan of this series, very happy.

Funny and entertaining, This is a book you won’t want to put down. I give Skeleton in the Closet five quills.


Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? You can request a review here.

Treasuring Poetry – Meet poet and blogger, Luanne Castle, and a review #poetry #poetrycommunity #bookreview

A lake with a hill behind it Text: Treasuring Poetry 2023 Hosted by Writing to be Read and Robbie Cheadle

Today, I am thrilled to introduce poet and blogger, Luanne Castle, as my May Treasuring Poetry Guest. Luanne has written four poetry books and had her work included in some anthologies too. I have read two of her four books and found her poetry to be unique and fascinating.

Welcome Luanne!

Why do you write poetry?

My connection to poetry feels as if it’s deeper than thought and precedes story. Until I was eight years old, I was an only child and spent time entertaining myself. Even before I could read, I listened to records of nursery rhymes and folk songs repeatedly, loving the rhythms and the magical way the words sounded. I started writing poetry when I was a child as it seemed a natural form of expression to me, possibly because of this nursery rhyme background. I still feel this same connection to poetry that I did as a child.

Do you think poetry is still a relevant form of expressing ideas in our modern world? If yes, why? 

Poetry is very relevant because it can perform much of the same communication that prose does, but more besides! The music and delight in words found in poetry are memorable, even mnemonic. Poetry also tends to express on many levels, leaving gaps (ambiguity) where readers and listeners supply responses, emotions, and thoughts, thus making poetry the most active and interactive form. We need this activity as a guard against the increasing passivity of our culture.

Which poem by any other poet that you’ve read, do you relate to the most and why?

This is such a difficult question. In April I posted a favorite poem a day on Instagram, but being a favorite doesn’t mean the same thing as relating. Today’s choice for a poem I can really relate to is by Jane Kenyon. The beauty of the natural world, the shift of mood, and the comfort at the end are all very appealing to me.

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon

shine through chinks in the barn, moving   

up the bales as the sun moves down.


Let the cricket take up chafing   

as a woman takes up her needles   

and her yarn. Let evening come.


Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned   

in long grass. Let the stars appear

and the moon disclose her silver horn.


Let the fox go back to its sandy den.   

Let the wind die down. Let the shed   

go black inside. Let evening come.


To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop   

in the oats, to air in the lung   

let evening come.


Let it come, as it will, and don’t   

be afraid. God does not leave us   

comfortless, so let evening come.

Which of your own poems is your favourite and why?

I have a few favorites from each book, but today’s favorite is this one from Rooted and Winged about my maternal grandfather. He and my grandmother (a big part of my roots) show in several poems throughout the collection. This one is a prose poem and although the majority of poems I write are lyrical, I do enjoy prose poems for the mix of storytelling and poetic language and imagery.

How to Create a Family Myth

My grandfather built a city with his tongue. Houses and little shops, celery fields and sand lots all connected to each other without roads or sidewalks. Once or twice he showed me a map of sewer lines running like Arcadia Creek underneath the cobblestones and packed dirt. We stood outside and found tall buildings in the clouds overhead. His hands gestured how his grandfather placed the bricks and taught his men to shape upwards, each building higher than the one before. Out there on the stoop, he pointed out where his mother, the one he said I looked like, had witnessed a man beating his horse. I saw her calico skirt billow out behind her, her hands wiping across her apron stomach even as she ran. When she reached the man, she snatched the whip from his hand, his surprise at her actions slowing him, rendering him stupid. When she cracked the whip down on his back time did not go on for her as it did for the rest of the world. Not until a week later, when she went to the market, did she realize that the story ran, too. It kept running until it reached all of us, each child and grandchild and great grandchild taking just what is needed from the tale. In my case, I plucked a heart from the clouds and tucked it safely inside a brick house in the city where it keeps the city alive to this day.

Is writing poetry easy for you compared to prose or do you do a lot of editing and revision of your poems?

I do edit and revise my poetry, but I can more quickly get to a finished poem than I used to be able to do. Practice really does improve speed. However, sometimes the fullest meaning doesn’t emerge for weeks after a poem is “finished,” so the best scenario is to put poem aside and look at it again later. As far as prose goes, I find prose fairly easy to write. Where I feel I would be out of my element would be in writing a novel. The plot intricacies and overall structure would drive me mad.

What mode (blog, books, YouTube, podcasts) do you find the most effective for sharing your poems with poetry lovers and readers?

Ah, that is such a good question. I think my blog is very effective for sharing poetry. I love interacting with blog readers and other bloggers about poetry. My books, of course, present a cohesive project to readers. I have a podcast hosted by Rebecca Budd coming up but have not done too much in that area to date. And I haven’t worked with YouTube yet other than some readings I have done have been posted by others. I would love to work more with YouTube and an audio format like Soundcloud in the future.

My review of Rooted and Winged by Luanne Castle

This is the second book of poetry and flash fiction by Luanne Castle I’ve read and I really like her style of writing.

Each piece is a reflection on a specific aspect of life and depicts the author’s thoughts and ideas about that particular aspect. It felt like a poetic journal of experiences and interpretations which I really appreciated. The poems are all freestyle and are written as a stream of consciousness without the restrictions imposed by strict sentence formation and punctuation. It flows well and suits the theme of the poetry.

An example of the thoughts and ideas expressed is this stanza from Gravity:
“Why are we only of the earth, Grandpa?
See your knees sunken in muck,
the sun sketching very plane of you.”

The imagery is rich and descriptive. An example of the language is as follows (extracted from Finding the House on Trimble Street):
“The house, once white and raw, has matured into gold. Ripened maples in October red temptingly frame the remembrance. The garage neatly unfolds from the side, the lawn edged in definition.”

My favourite piece is a slightly longer one entitled Today and Today and Today. It is about caregivers and is very poignant. The writer’s observations are so genuine and relatable.
“… She either ignores you or says mean things or praises you endlessly. Each response makes you sad.”

“He can wear only that one sweater. The others are too thin, too thick, too warm, too prickly, or pull over the head.”

Having recently had the experience of a close family member in intensive care in hospital for a period, completely dependent on the nurses who provide the medication and care, I felt as if this description had been pulled from my heart and mind:

“But you feel she knows you are at her side, joking with the staff, making sure that aides and nurses alike care for her as they would their mothers because her submissive form has been brushed with the glow of your personality.”

An extraordinary book of insightful poetry and prose.

Purchase Rooted and Winged:

My review of Our Wolves by Luanne Castle

This book is an original and unique collection of poems that expose the wolves that appear in the lives of females during their formative years and through to maturity. The poet has linked many, but not all, of her poetic thoughts and interpretations of human predators to the wolf in the famous story Little Red Riding Hood or Le Petit Chaperon Rouge in the original French (which I have listed to with an English interpretation in my hand).

An example of this connection to the wolf is this extract from Our Old Wolves:

“But you will know how frightened they are
of the dark, shadowed forest and the abstruse mind.
Of human-like wolves concealed behind spruce and fir,
their shadows stretching out tentacles to grasp them
as they tremble past on their way to the locked river.”

Some of the poems turn the readers traditional idea of the hero and the predator on its head and force consideration of how misleading looks, perceptions of beauty and strength, and inbred prejudices can be. It highlights how frequently girls and young women walk right into trouble because of the messages drummed into them by their mothers and society. Women are not taught to accurately identify predators or ‘the wolf’.

Thanks for meeting me for coffee is a good example of this concept:

“I searched for the beginning
of your story and discovered you
were lost when you believed him.
All gone, One a milk carton missing.”

The poems in the book are mainly written in freestyle poetry and are filled with subtle meanings and innuendoes for the reader to consider. This book must be read with an alert and fresh mind in order to appreciate its full meaning and intrigue.

For me, the summary of the meaning and power of this book is set out in the following words from Your Sonnet:

“My mother taught me to be kind, to be helpful,
not to ignore the slow or less than able, the ones
who are different, the needy so I asked what
he needed from me and he misunderstood.
My story is not so very different from yours
and yours and yours and yours and yours.”

If you like interesting and thought provoking poetry, you will love Our Wolves.

Purchase Our Wolves:

About Luanne Castle

Luanne Castle lives in Arizona, next to a wash that wildlife use as a thoroughfare. She has published two full-length poetry collections, Rooted and Winged (Finishing Line 2022), a Book Excellence Award Winner, and Doll God (Kelsay 2015), which won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Poetry. Her chapbooks are Our Wolves (Alien Buddha 2023) and Kin Types (Finishing Line 2017), a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Luanne’s Pushcart and Best of the Net-nominated poetry and prose have appeared in Copper Nickel, American Journal of Poetry, Pleiades, River Teeth, TAB, Verse Daily, Saranac Review, and other journals.

Find Luanne Castle




Luanne Castle Amazon Author Page

About Robbie Cheadle

Award-winning, bestselling author, Robbie Cheadle, has published thirteen children’s book and two poetry books. Her work has also appeared in poetry and short story anthologies.

Robbie also has two novels published under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle and has horror, paranormal, and fantasy short stories featured in several anthologies under this name.

The ten Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie’s blog includes recipes, fondant and cake artwork, poetry, and book reviews.

Review in Practice: That Th!nk You Do

Book Cover: That Th!nk You Do, by Joseph Carrabis

If you ever wonder about how to think like an expert, the difference between your inner critic and the actor within, your ability to be heard, the value of being a musician, how to protect yourself from liars or how to overcome fears, you will find answers in this book.

Through each chapter there is a magic wand taking you into an area of life that you may have experienced yourself or it will be something new to consider. There is synthesis between the known and unknown, the seen and unseen, the mental and the physical, the desires of the heart and the aspirations of the spirit; and the overall theme of we are all just trying to make it from one day to the next with joy, peace, and happiness.

Joseph gives his own insights throughout the pages of what he believes are the backbone of our life experiences – both the great and the not so great. He leaves it up to the reader to discern what is true for them. You will find yourself wanting to explore more of each of his analysis of life’s nuggets, many of which we create ourselves through questions, desires for specific outcomes and the need to be heard.

Purchase Link:

It happened that I read this innovative book at just the time in my life when I really needed it. My job of eight years had just come to an abrupt end, and I was trying to figure out how I was going to carry on and where I would go from here. It felt as if my life was over, as if I were balancing precariously on a ledge, on the verge of toppling over, with no where to go but down. Okay. I know that seems a bit melodramatic, but that’s what it felt like.

That Th!nk You Do, by Joseph Carribis takes a look at human thought processes, explanations for why we do what we do, and techniques for dealing with life’s challenges. I have to admit that this book offered several ‘Aha!’ moments for me. Carribis offers unique insight into human behavior, and compassionate advice for handling the curve balls life throws at you. He is not a professional health expert, but an intelligent guy with some good ideas, which may or may not work for you, but probably worth a try.

This book showed me new ways to chase away self-doubt, overcome fear and worry about what the future holds, and set some goals for myself to work towards. Of course, I’ve been working toward taking my writing business full time as means of making my living for many years, but facing the fact that now I was at a point where I needed to make it all work was really scary. If I couldn’t, I didn’t know what I would. If I didn’t find a way to pay my bills and fast, I knew I would topple from that ledge and it would be all down hill from there.

Everybody has those times when they let self-doubt creep in, or allow their own fears to bring about inaction. It happens to all of us. That Th!nk You Do holds some insightful solutions which just might help. If nothin g else, it made me look at the situation a bit differently. Joseph Carribis may not be a professional, but he offers some great insights and suggestions that can benefit us all.


Head shot of author Kaye Lynne Booth

For Kaye Lynne Booth, writing is a passion. Kaye Lynne is an author with published short fiction and poetry, both online and in print, including her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction; and her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. Kaye holds a dual M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing with emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in publishing. Kaye Lynne is the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press. She also maintains an authors’ blog and website, Writing to be Read, where she publishes content of interest in the literary world.


Want exclusive content? Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. She won’t flood your inbox, she NEVER sells her list, and you might get a freebie occasionally. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, just for joining.

Book Review – Rayna: Dragon Slayer

A box full of books Text: Book Reviews

About the Book

Book Cover: Rayna: Dragon Slayer, Cynthia Vespia

She was a warrior forged from flame, a slayer of mighty dragons, until one final quest changed everything

Rayna had been hunting dragons since the day one burned her family to ash. Her skills, enhanced by a massive broadsword, made her a legendary dragonslayer. Marred by a mysterious stigmata labeled “the dragon’s curse” she was both revered and feared as she hunted down the dragons across Atharia.

Rayna thought she’d slain them all. But when the royal house sought the slayer they told her of another. One more dragon plagued the land…the very same beast which burned Rayna’s home years before. Fueled by vengeance Rayna takes up the quest to fulfill her life’s purpose and purge the beasts from the world. But as she gets closer to the kill, Rayna learns a bitter truth that will drastically alter her path and turn the hunter into the hunted.

Painful, pivotal memories surface as Rayna races to find the culprit behind the mayhem, recover a lost child, and get to the real target to set things right.

Rayna the Dragonslayer is the first in an exciting dragon fantasy adventure series A Time of Dragons. It’s a symphony of sword & sorcery, high fantasy, and a heroic quest that is like The Mandalorian merging with Game of Thrones.

Purchase Link:

My Review

A tough female protagonist is what drew me to pick up Rayna, by Cynthia Vespia. (Plus, it has a kick butt cover.) I’ve talked a bit about making strong female protagonists believable and relatable, and Ms. Vespia did not disappoint. Rayna is strong, agile and tough enough to slay dragons, which I hear can be rather tricky. She is portrayed as being physically and mentally strong, yet still emotionally vulnerable, which makes her relatable for just about everyone. Though tough and hard, Rayna also reveals a side that is very human, one perhaps even she didn’t know was there. Rayna is one heroine who I look forward to reading more about.

Dragon slaying in a land of castles and Kings, with lots of sword play and a bit of magic thrown in makes this tale a must for high fantasy lovers. I give Rayna five quills.

Five quills


Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? You can request a review here.

Book Review: Silver Spells

A box full of books Text: Book Reviews

About the Book

Audiobook Cover: Silver Spells, by Kate Moseman, and narrated by Xe Sands

A paranormal women’s fiction (PWF) that’ll have you walking on air! 

Luella Campbell is having the weirdest day ever. Getting fired from her job at the sunscreen factory for no good reason is bad enough, but when a mysterious dog brings a tempest into her former workplace, Luella’s life is completely upended by the sudden gift of wild and windy magical powers. 

With the help of her ride-or-die best friends, her motorcycle-riding mother, and a romantic blast from the past, Luella must find a way to make ends meet while unlocking the mysteries of her newfound magic…and the secrets hidden in the picturesque town of Sparkle Beach.

Sometimes, an empty nest means it’s your turn to fly.

Purchase Links:



My Review

I listened to the audio book, Silver Spells, by Kate Moseman and narrated by Xe Sands. The soft, pleasant lilt of Sands’ voice made this story easy listening, and the characters weren’t too varied, but remained distinguishable. Moseman’s tale is well crafted. Although some events may seem to occur a bit too conviently, in the end, everything falls into place nicely.

After many years of loyal service to Sun Tan Queen, Luella Campbell is fired with no reason, she dumps her boyfriend, and her life is changing in some really big ways. Among the normal changes, like a new place to live, new friends and a new boyfriend are some a little less normal, like flying dogs which are invisible to all but a select few, the acquisition of a new pair of wings, and friends who develop mysterious powers… Her world has been turned upside down. Why these things are happening, she doesn’t know, but she’s determined to get to the bottom of it.

A fun and entertaining read. I give Silver Spells five quills.

Five quills


Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? You can request a review here.

Book Review: Slings & Arrows and Gone

A box full of books Text: Book Reviews

About Slings & Arrows

Book Cover: Slings & Arrows, by Julie Elizabeth Powell

Nobody expects to lose a child but when it happens what can we do? In the sea of grief that seizes the soul how can we swim against the tide? But when that loss is compounded in each minute of every day, what do we do then?

Slings and Arrows is a story about the consequences of a moment, a moment, which separates a mother and daughter in ways impossible to imagine.

It charts their parallel lives, each suffering, one knowing, one not.

It is brutally honest; an account filled with bewilderment, guilt, anger and pain yet it also holds the key to hope. That whatever happens, the bonds of love can never be broken.

My Review: Slings & Arrows

Having lost a child of my own, it is not surprising that Slings & Arrows, by Julie Elizabeth Powell drew my interest. I have to say that I was not disappointed. The details of the loss of my son are very different from Ms. Powell’s loss of her daughter, but she offers up her story in a straight forward manner, with a brutal honesty which couldn’t help but touch my heart. Tears filled my eyes as I read Powell’s words time and again, as she is torn by conflicting emotions as she awaited her daughter’s body following a spirit which it appeared had departed.

Slings & Arrows is a brutally honest depiction of the stress, confusion, loss and grief which comes with watching a loved one slowly waste away long after their ‘life’ has ended. Kudos to Powell for baring her soul so openly in this tale of a loss that lingered on for years, consuming everything she has to give, and taking all that she has left. A tragic tale which hits close to home for me. I give Slings & Arrows five quills.

Five Quills

About Gone

Book Cover: Gone, by Julie Elizabeth Powell

Is Charley crazy, delusional or dead?

Follow her amazing, emotional journey and emerge into the battle with her nemesis – herself.

This inspirational fantasy will take you into realms otherwise unknown, turning your world upside down while you’ll be wondering what is real and what is not. It’s an adventure, a mystery and an imaginative fairytale for adults.

Gone was a story motivated by a true event.

Purchase Link:

My Review: Gone

Gone, by Julie Elizabeth Powell, is a journey searching for answers to the unanswerable question of where we go when we are gone from here. Powell offers one possible scenario in a crazy world where her character, Charley, meets Jenny, the daughter that she lost and hopes she has the answers Charley has been looking for. To learn whether or not Jenny has those answers, you’ll have to tag along and visit this sometimes confusing, often surprising place and find out for yourself.

Having read Powell’s first book, Slings & Arrows, which is a heart-wrenching memoir where she bares her sole over the loss of her daughter and the time leading up to her death, when she was alive and suffering, it is difficult not to relate to the experiences in this fictional tale, as a way to find answers for Powell herself. Where we go when we’re gone from here is an age-old question, one we will all have to face, but Powell goes beyind that, in trying to answer “Why?” I hope Powell found at least some of the answers she was looking for in the writing. I think the answers are different for everyone, but it was fun to take the journey. I give Gone four quills.

Four quills


Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? You can request a review here.

Treasuring Poetry – Meet author and poet, Marcia Meara, and a book review #poetry #readingcommunity #TreasuringPoetry

A lake with a hill behind it Text: Treasuring Poetry 2023 Hosted by Writing to be Read and Robbie Cheadle

Today, I am delighted to welcome poet and author, Marcia Meara, as my April Treasuring Poetry guest. Marcia is sharing some of her thoughts about poetry and poems and I am sharing my reviews of A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2 and

Why do you write poetry?

I’ve written poetry since I was 5-years old, when I filled legal tablets with page after page of verses about cowboys and horses. (As imagined by a little girl who’d seen a few movies.) I really can’t remember when I didn’t love writing, and poems were what got me started. The rhythm and musicality of poetry is what I love most, and the main reason I still write poems today.

Do you think poetry is still a relevant form of expressing ideas in our modern world? If yes, why?

I think poems are very relevant, indeed. Poetry speaks of beauty and love and hate and danger and betrayal and every other human emotion, need, or failing. Do I think it’s as popular as it once was? No. Nor does it sell as well as novels and other works of fiction. But neither of those has any bearing on the actual relevance of poetry, and the more readers we poets manage to attract, the more likely folks are to understand exactly that.

Which poem by any other poet that you’ve read do you relate to the most and why?

That’s difficult to say, since I’ve been reading poetry for 75 years or so, including most of the greatest ones from poets like Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, William Wordsworth, Amy Lowell, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Edna St. Vincent Millay, John Keats, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Walt Whitman, Dylan Thomas, Carl Sandberg, T. S. Eliot, Sara Teasdale, Ogden Nash, and on and on. You get my drift, I’m sure. It’s very hard for me to choose a favorite, but one poem I have always loved and never tire of is Poe’s The Raven. It’s long, I know, but the rhythm is so perfect, and the painful sadness of the subject, so very, very POE.

The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe – 1809-1849

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door—
“Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
               Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
               Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
               This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
               Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
               Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
               ‘Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
               Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
               Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
               With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
               Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
               Of ‘Never—nevermore.'”

But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
               Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
               She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
               Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
               Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
               Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
               Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
               Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Which of your own poems is your favourite and why?

I could say whichever one I’m writing at the time, but that wouldn’t be fair. Nor likely true, either, though I do think each one is a favorite at least during the moments of creation. However, instead of going that route, I’m going to choose the poem which most depicts large portions of my own life, spent canoeing on the wild and scenic rivers and creeks of Central Florida. Fittingly, it’s called On the River, and is included in my book, Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love.

An extract from On The River by Marcia Meara

“Crystal green flows beneath me,

Leafy arches rise above,

Dip, glide.

Dip, glide.


Duckweed parts as I float by.

I wonder where they went,

Those ducks?

Gone overnight, it seems.

Another parting, another loss,

And I slide by,

Under all that green.

Dip, glide.

Dip, glide.

Just there, in deepest shade,

Sleeping emeralds cling.

Tree frogs rest in their

Smooth, damp skins,

Waiting for the sliver moon.

They’ll open their eyes for the silver moon.

Sleeping now,

I pass him, too.

And on I go.

Dip, glide.

Dip, glide.”

Is writing poetry easy for you compared to prose or do you do a lot of editing and revision of your poems?

Oddly enough, I seldom do much, if any, editing on my poetry. When I’m “in the zone” the words I want seem to come to me, sometimes surprising me by fitting together exactly the way I like. This is definitely not true when I’m writing prose. Then, I spend a lot of time cleaning up, tweaking, and cutting before sending it off to an editor for more of the same. With poetry, if I’m in the mood, the words seem to flow much more smoothly and easily.

What mode (blog, books, YouTube, podcasts) do you find the most effective for sharing your poems with poetry lovers and readers?

I’ve actually never done any real marketing with my work, be it poetry or prose, and that’s something I do hope to change soon. But all I did with my book of poetry was publish it on Amazon and share poems now and then on my blog, The Write Stuff. NOTE: This is NOT how I would recommend new writers get the word out, no matter what their genre or style might be!

My review of Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love by Marcia Meara

This book comprises the most beautiful freestyle poetry by Marcia Meara. The poetry is divided into two sections, the first is about the magic of life as experienced by a ten year old boy and the second is about love.

I loved both sections of the book but the poems about the joys and experiences of a ten year old boy were particularly poignant and meaningful for me as I have two sons who were ten years old in the not that distant past.

The two poems in this section that I enjoyed the most are, firstly, The Rope Swing which depicts the freedom and joy of swinging on a hot summer day. The depiction of a young boy of ten is very accurate and brings back lovely memories for me.

My second favourite poem is entitled Moccasins and describes the lovely and understanding relationship moms have with their sons.

The Rope Swing
The first stanza goes as follows:

“Sailing up, up into

Blue summer sky,

Hot rope rough against his hands,

He shouts with joy, and lets go.

For a crystal moment,

He hangs suspended,

Frozen in time

Like a fly in amber.”

“His dad smiles.

Moms are like that, Mac.

Moms always know what

Their children want most.

And Moms always want

Their children to have their

Heart’s desires.”

The poem I enjoyed the most in part two of the book describes the beauty of young love and the joy of watching small children play and develop.

The Sound of Dreams Coming True
“Listen, she says,

Kissing his fingers,

As a little girl laughs,

Chasing butterflies

With her big brother.”

Purchase Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love by Marcia Meara here:

My review of A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2 by Marcia Meara

Sarah Gray and MacKenzie Cole from book 1, Wake-Robin Ridge, are now married and living in Mac’s lovely home built near the top of the mountain. Sarah is pregnant with their first child and Mac is happy and managing to keep his deep anxiety following the deaths of his ex-wife and son, Ben, under control. Mac’s emotional state is still delicate and he is desperately determined to keep his wife and their baby safe.

Ten-year old Rabbit has grown up in the mountains under the guidance and care of his grandparents who have taught him survival skills. The trios lifestyle is rough and ready with Gran living in a makeshift tent and the young boy and his grandpa generally sleeping outdoors in all weathers. At Grandpa’s insistence, the family has nothing to do with any people who are all designated as ‘bad people’ by Grandpa.

Gran has a progressive lung illness and Grandpa leaves his wife and Rabbit on their own one morning to travel into town and purchase medicine for her. He never returns. Gran continues to decline and, knowing she is dying, tells Rabbit that all people are not bad. She explains that contrary to Grandpa’s comments, there are also good people and Rabbit needs to find the good people, in particular, a man with winter blue eyes and hair like a crow’s wing. Gran dies and Rabbit is left on his own in the wilderness. With no other option, Rabbit packs up his belongings and sets off to find the man with the winter blue eyes.

Rabbit is well depicted as an old soul with a high intelligence despite his lack of book learning. His upbringing has provided him with survival tools and also the ability to assess situations and react in a clear headed and calm way. He is very endearing to the reader with his interesting way of looking at situations while still retaining the need for love and emotional immaturity of a young boy. He is very loving and giving and the reader can’t help routing for a good outcome for Rabbit.

Mac’s character continues to grow in this second book as he is faced with having to face up to his fears and deal with unexpected and unplanned events and circumstances despite his fears and anxieties. It is an intriguing journey to watch Mac struggling internally to move forward despite his anxiety and it is impossible not to be delighted by his progress and small victories.

Sarah is even more generous and loving than I remembered from book 1, and is the perfect wife to Mac. It is obvious she has a huge heart which is big enough for Mac, her unborn child, and Rabbit.

As with all lives, especially in fiction, the trio are faced with adversity and obstacles which they need to try to overcome. The storyline is engaging and entertaining and brings out the best in the various characters.

Purchase A Boy Named Rabbit here:

About Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years and four big cats.

When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. She enjoys nature. Really, really enjoys it. All of it! Well, almost all of it, anyway. From birds, to furry critters, to her very favorites, snakes. The exception would be spiders, which she truly loathes, convinced that anything with eight hairy legs is surely up to no good. She does not, however, kill spiders anymore, since she knows they have their place in the world. Besides, her husband now handles her Arachnid Catch and Release Program, and she’s good with that.

Spiders aside, the one thing Marcia would like to tell each of her readers is that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. If, at the age of 69, she could write and publish a book (and thus fulfill 64 years of longing to do that very thing), you can make your own dreams a reality, too. Go for it! What have you got to lose?

Purchase Marcia Meara’s books

Wake-Robin Ridge: Book 1
A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2
Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3
The Light: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4

Swamp Ghosts: Riverbend Book 1
Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2
That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3

Riverbend Spinoff Novellas
The Emissary 1
The Emissary 2 – To Love Somebody
The Emissary 3 – Love Hurts

Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love

Reach Marcia on Social Media Here:

Blog: The Write Stuff
Email: marciameara16[at]gmail[dot]com

About Robbie Cheadle

Award-winning, bestselling author, Robbie Cheadle, has published thirteen children’s book and two poetry books. Her work has also appeared in poetry and short story anthologies.

Robbie also has two novels published under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle and has horror, paranormal, and fantasy short stories featured in several anthologies under this name.

The ten Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie’s blog includes recipes, fondant and cake artwork, poetry, and book reviews.