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Sheila Deeth has commented on (336) products.

The Prayer by Stephan J. Myers

Sheila Deeth, June 23, 2015

Sweetly rhythmic and smoothly rhyming, Stephan Myer’s children’s Christmas story, the Prayer, reads a little like The Night Before Christmas crossed with a touch of Dickens. The illustrations have a warmly Dickensian feel too. And the story’s as dark as any Dickens plot, as a homeless child wishes someone who with gifts would share from the bounty they’ve got. The Prayer is humanly sad, spiritual haunting, and beautifully faithful without being tied to any faith. It’s a lovely Christmas tale for any time of year, and a wise lesson to guide a growing child.

Disclosure: It was free so I bought it.
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The Dragon Within by Jeanne Guzman
The Dragon Within

Sheila Deeth, June 23, 2015

The Dragon Within follows directly from Jeanne Guzman’s Dragon Lover, and tells the story of the “other” sister, Angelica. Well-timed trips into past and future provide intriguing details of myth and dragon culture. Meanwhile two characters destined for love fight their ways through the jealousies and insecurities of guilt and miscommunication. There’s a serious backstory of abuse behind the exciting adventure of this fantasy romance; and it’s well-handled and pleasingly told.

When every breath of caring sears like condemnation, the girl who forgives everyone but herself and the man she loves has much to give and much to learn. Self-doubt and disappointment slowly bend to trust; familial intervention yields grounds for communication; and a frantic chase after abductors, betrayers, and lost families ensues. Protagonists cross continents, flying under the radar or on planes, and the flames of prophecy provide a truly intriguing touch of truth beyond the altered reality.

Plus there’s romance; sensual, if slightly altered, love-making; climactic wonder; and more. I really enjoyed this novel and I look forward to reading the next.

Disclosure: I won a free copy and I offer my honest review.
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Dragon Lover by Jeanne Guzman
Dragon Lover

Sheila Deeth, June 23, 2015

What if demons weren’t demons, what if myth were undergirded with reality, and what if dragons were real? Author Jeanne Guzman creates an intriguing mythology of underground nations hiding in plain sight, with hints of vampire, danger and addiction to spice up their lives. But human and dragon worlds collide when evil deeds meet evil imagination, and orphan sisters Kimball and Angelica might find nothing is quite as they’d believed.

Part fascinating fantasy adventure and part sensual romance, the mythology’s not just confined to the existence of dragons. There is convincing world-building here, a seriously sensuous take on dragon love-making, and a thread of intriguing questioning as misunderstandings don’t just generate broken hearts, but maybe broken worlds and wars.

Played out on a stage that’s set to grow beyond its vibrant Austin Texas boundaries, this story brings Kimball to a soulmate she despises; familial love meets familial betrayal; and the bedroom might provide interesting uses for fire.

The cover promises fantasy romance, but this book is much more than that, and these dragons are much more complex that they’d seem. A story that’s wholly and pleasingly complete ends with a two-line reminder that some threads haven’t been tied off yet. So I’ll look forward to more.

Disclosure: I won a copy in a contest and I offer my honest review.
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Strive to Be Satisfied: My Journey to Peace by Celestine Washington
Strive to Be Satisfied: My Journey to Peace

Sheila Deeth, June 15, 2015

Author Celestine Washington draws deeply on her own life experience in writing this inspirational memoir, claiming “It is my hope that after reading... you will find what you need to activate faith in Christ and love for your fellowman.” Her story is one of serious abuse and neglect, redeemed by forgiveness and a stunning generosity of spirit. While others might “make life more complex than it really is by doing too much... think[ing] too much, worry[ing] too much” the reader will soon learn that the author’s own life was indeed more complex than most of ours. But she offers a path of faith-filled satisfaction, built on her wounds and recovery.

The book reads rather like listening to a friend, with diversions and distractions from a well-planned argument, occasional grammatical surprises that fit the author’s voice, some confusing bits of narrative easily respected for the author’s pleasing tone, and a wealth of fascinating stories, from childhood scrapes, to cruel neglect, to parenthood of her own. There are even tales of the author’s 14-year-old self when “my mentality was not that far advanced as for wanting to be grown in any sense of the word.”

But wounded child becomes woman, marries and has children. Some wounds are born of nurture, others imposed by cruel accident. And a belief that God is in charge and knows what he’s doing will certainly help. “We can appreciate the difference in others by recognizing ourselves in everyone we meet, embracing the spirit of God in them, and not judging them” -- wise advice that separates this book, perhaps, from many of its genre. The author practices what she says and does not judge her mother’s gay partner, nor others who might not quite fit into the boundaries of our churches.

Strive to be satisfied is a dark memoir blessed with a generous, forgiving and non-judgmental spirit, telling a tale that’s hard to read, and that just might bless a life that’s hard to live.

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy and I offer my honest review.
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Countryside: The Book of the Wise by J. T. Cope Iv
Countryside: The Book of the Wise

Sheila Deeth, June 15, 2015

What if a different world lay just beyond some mystical tunnel? What if a young teen found he really belonged in that world? And what if the fate of that world now hung in the balance?

Countryside presents a well-drawn landscape and society, parallel to our own, in this first book of J. T. Cope IV’s series. It offers an intriguing blend of magic, horse-drawn carriages, junior high in the USA, football scores and more. And it’s the place Luke’s mother brings the family when his father’s job takes him away. With grandparents, uncles, servants, friends and enemies all gathered there, it’s a world teeming with new characters for Luke and the reader to meet.

A fast start, filled with past action, sets the stage for events to come, but leaves open the question of which side to take. Then comes a bleak introduction to Luke’s real world, followed by magic and a blend of regular and enchanted schooling, a gathering of dark forces, and possible treachery. The huge cast of characters adds interest and depth - a little confusing at times, but always intriguing. Football offers plenty for boys to enjoy. And Luke’s wild adventure certainly adds excitement, though the ending might leave everyone unsure of what’s really going on. Which is fine; there’ll be more volumes to reveal more of the tale.

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book and I offer my honest review.
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