Two New Book Reviews

A busy month–reading rather than writing. A collection of speculative fiction from DL Finn and book one in a trilogy from best selling author Mae Clair.

Let’s start with Finn, the first one I finished:

In the Tree's Shadow: A collection of stories that exist in your dreams… and nightmares.In the Tree’s Shadow: A collection of stories that exist in your dreams… and nightmares. by D.L. Finn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A diverse collection of 27 stories from micro and flash fiction all the way to a 12,000 word novelette. Some stories are sweet while others are more sour. Some are scarier than others. Dreams vs nightmares—obviously the latter are more likely to be on the scary side. Then there’s twists; I love twists! Easy to read a few at a time or breeze right through.

There are angels and demons—(not usually in the same story). Add in a few monsters, abusive family members and other evil people. The bad people get what they have coming, one way or another, while the virtuous ones get the rewards they have earned for good deeds or enduring suffering. For me, that’s karma.

For a fellow writer, it’s inspiring to see how some of the characters were authors whose stories came from the dreams or nightmares, as part of the storyline. Beyond that, I found the mix encouraging for choosing a diverse collection of differing length and themes in a recent book of my own. Finn’s may be better than mine. Only time will tell.

Some of my favorites in Finn’s collection: End of the Road; A Man on the Pier; The Dolphin; When the Lights Go Out; and Stranded (the novelette; the story I liked most—which added in some sci-fi). I will definitely be reading more from D.L Finn—I like her style.

Moving on, let’s take a look at my next review, Mae Clair’s book

Cusp of Night (Hode's Hill, #1)Cusp of Night by Mae Clair
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s the first book in a trilogy; I have the second loaded on my tablet. I’ll be getting to that soon and the third will follow. It’s a well-written book with well-developed characters. It covers lots of writing territory, not all of which I typically read, but I’m glad I extended myself. The Goodreads blurb lists these genres:
• Mystery
• Paranormal
• Thriller
• Suspense
• Supernatural
• Fantasy horror
• And more

The opening confused me. A woman traveling in a carriage along a street with gas-fueled lamps lighting the way on a foggy night. On April 9, 1900, Edison’s electric street lights hadn’t extended to Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania. The trip to Lady Glass, a spiritualist, didn’t end well for Charlotte Hode. A member of the family that began developing the town during the 18th century.

A few pages later, we’re in the present day–where we’re introduced to the protagonist (Maya Sinclair), a librarian from the big city who has relocated to Hode’s Hill. She rents a brownstone with much history—including a ghost. That won’t be immediately obvious, but her nightmare-disturbed sleep brings her to the problems of the ancestors of the current neighbors and townspeople. Sinclair has her own history—who came back from a brief death caused by a traffic accident. That made connections with the deceased an unwelcome experience.

There were mysterious deaths in the past—and in the present. Sinclair and the panoply of characters she interacts with eventually solve some of the unexplained issues. In the meantime, the town continues its “Fiend Fest”—the festival in which those so inclined dress up and make up in the monster’s guise that killed people long ago. Lots to explore here. If you like half of those genres, you’ll enjoy this book. Mae Clair brings them to life—and death.

View all my Goodreads reviews

21 thoughts on “Two New Book Reviews

  1. Wonderful reviews for Denise and Mae’s books John. I enjoyed Denise’s book, and I also enjoy books with two time lines. Congrats to Mae and Denise. 🙂

  2. Thank you, John 🙂 I’m thrilled you enjoyed the collection. I loved Mae’s story too. It was a great series and review!

      1. I’m working my way through Craig’s catalog and have enjoyed my reading journey. Great stories!

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