Monthly Archives: February 2023

Through Calvin Arthur’s 4th Grade Eyes by R.A. Stone (Book Review)

Back in 1976, fourth grader, Calvin Arthur and his classmates are learning jealousy, humiliation, teasing, anger, and more from each other. These topics were not taught in public schools by the teachers so students were left to figure them out on their own. Calvin’s school year is full of emotional trials, internal challenges, social defeats and victories among his classmates. Chapters such as First Day Pressure, Humiliation Strikes Again, Integrity Versus Cheating, and Last Pick will describe what kids are going through as they learn the hard way. Additional chapters will make you laugh, be sad, and leave you relating to what Calvin and his classmates experience.

This book is the first in a series. In Calvin Arthur’s 5th Grade Shoes will be coming soon.

Amazon Purchase Link



I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


It’s 1976, and Calvin Arthur is starting his fourth year at Washington Elementary in Kingston, Delaware. He, like most children, has first-day jitters. He wants to be accepted while avoiding all school drama.

After the students have found their place cards, Mr. Jones (homeroom teacher) starts class with a speech full of wise words: “We are not alike on the outside, but we are a lot alike on the inside. You cannot walk in everyone’s shoes, but you should understand each other. We don’t have to be best friends, but we do need to respect one another.” 

Mr. Jones’s advice was directed toward children, but its advice that adults should follow as well.

As the school year progressed, chapters reminded me of the Afterschool Specials I watched as a child. There’d be situations, often controversial, of interest to children and teenagers, and at the end of the episodes, the viewer learned a life lesson. When Calvin decided to skim-read to move his story reading ranking from the middle of the pack to the top 3 readers, his classmates called him out for cheating. Calvin mentally acknowledged they were right. He realized that “integrity is better than cheating.”

Another afterschool special scene involved a heated and humiliating encounter between Calvin and Mr. Sampson, the math teacher. Yes, Calvin talked in class, but the teacher didn’t ask why. Instead, he hit Calvin with an eraser. Suppose the teacher had asked him why he might’ve learned that Calvin was having trouble understanding the new math concept. Calvin failed his math quiz because a teacher was a stickler for no talking in class. Calvin also messed up; he should’ve raised his hand and told the teacher he was having difficulty with the math lesson. As a parent or teacher, ask your listener(s) if this behavior by the teacher is acceptable and how they would have handled the situation. In my opinion, the teacher was out of line.

Readers will follow Calvin as he navigates through the bad and good times of fourth-grade life. We’ll follow the class as they meet a (roughly) 1000-pound giraffe who spat on a misbehaving student. We join the students on their field trips and sit side-by-side as Calvin takes the dreaded standardized test. While most scenes are relevant to the day’s school system, two stood out to me as not: teachers smoking in the lounge and paddling (disciplinary action.) But, as you recall in my opening line, this story takes place in 1976 when times were much different. 

This story is perfect for those children going into or leaving the fourth! 

Check it out and the others books in the Calvin Arthur series, too! 


Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Amazon Purchase Link



Meet the Author

R. A. Stone has been teaching at various Elementary and Middle public schools in the USA for thirty two years, Writing and story telling has been a passion ever since he was a young student. Calvin Arthur has evolved from all of his countless student interactions and teaching experiences.   Reedsy Author Link





Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Broken Darkness by Theresa A Braun (Book Review)

In her debut collection, Theresa Braun explores the inner workings of the human heart and what it is we most desire-forgiveness, acceptance, love, fame, or merely to escape who we really are. Whether we are battling ghosts, demons, mythical monsters, the past, or other dimensions, we are really facing the deepest parts of ourselves. These thirteen tales of horror and dark fantasy may appear to be a matter of good versus evil, but they are all a reflection of the hidden corners of the soul that are often shades of broken darkness. The characters in these stories must face their inner and outer terrors, or else suffer the consequences.

“Dead over Heels”
“Collecting Empties”
“The Celestial Assignment”
“Guilty As Cell”
“Lost Time”
“Legend Trippers”
“Dying for an Invitation”
“Stay Tuned”
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Amazon Purchase Link



(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 


Before I began the horror anthology, I noticed that I’d read and reviewed about half of them in the past. I will briefly summarize a few before pushing forward with the new reads. 

“Dead over Heels” – As a fan of science fiction/paranormal shows, I love storylines that tap into the unknown. In “Dead over Heels,” we watch as the past meets the present in the forms of spirits reliving traumatic moments, aka their deaths by the same murderer.

As you can imagine, the living playing unwilling bystanders to this horrific scene is one thing — the victims being someone near and dear to their heart is another matter entirely. It amplifies the experience 1000%. 

For fans of the ghosts/spirits, I assure you this ending was perfection. It wasn’t your typical ending to a ghostly tale, and I like my plot twists.

“Stillborn” combined science fiction, mystery, suspense, gore, and shock. I didn’t want the story to end! 

“Legend Trippers” had gore, blood, and moments where I was happy I wasn’t reading this short story after sundown.


There were six short stories in the horror collection that I hadn’t read in the past: “Collecting Empties,” “Guilty As Cell,” “Lost Time,” “Heathen,” “Stay Tunes,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Half of those scored five stars because they each possessed unique qualities that had me cringing, contained a fascinating turn of events, or possessed a plot that stood out from other stories in the horror genre.

“Stay Tuned” had vigilante justice served that would make the most vial and evil psychopath stand up, clap, and say, “Well done.” 

“Guilty As Cell” had me giving my cell the side-eye. It had a vengeful spirit, a possessed cell phone, and an ending that might be a trigger scene for some readers. Not the ghost, but, heck, maybe that too. Who am I to know who believes in the supernatural world and who might’ve seen a less-than-friendly spirit? 

I thought I knew the path “Heathen” was taking, and then Theresa wrote an enlightening scene that changed everything. I love Theresa’s plot twists!


Theresa’s works have always impressed me. She thinks outside the horror box and always leaves me wanting more. 

I recommend you pick up this collection! 


Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Amazon Purchase Link



Meet the Author

Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides with her two fur babies, who are her creative sidekicks. She enjoys delving into creative writing, painting, photography and even bouts of ghost hunting. Traveling is one of her passions—in fact, her latest adventure took her to Romania for a horror writers’ workshop where she followed in the steps of Vlad the Impaler. She writes horror fiction and the occasional romance. Oh, and she likes to guest blog about writing, television shows, movies, and books, mostly in the horror genre.

Twitter Link  

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ferryman (Creepy Creations) by T.B. Phillips (Book Review)

A coastal town faces dark magic in this spine-crawling thriller by T.B. Phillips!

Here is a gripping novel blending historical fiction, set in the New England town of Newport, Rhode Island. In 1695, this haven for pirates boasted names like the notorious Thomas Tew and William Mays, each among the wealthiest pirates in history. Taking place not long after the Salem Witch Trials, witches were abundant in the colony as well, and dark magic had made its way up from the West Indies via Africa.

As a coven hides its rituals beneath a rocky shore, Curtis Charles, a young man terrified of the sea, stumbles upon family secrets. Swept into a tempest of betrayal, lies, and schemes, the fabric of his world rips apart while pirates and witches compete over a sinister treasure. Their greed will be judged when the Ferryman comes…

A full length-novel adaptation of the Ferryman Tales comic series created by Chris Hays and McLain McGuire.

Written by T.B. Phillips, Master Storyteller of Pirates, Science Fiction, and Fantasy.

Amazon Purchase Link



I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


Ferryman (Creepy Creations) by T. B. Phillips is based on the Ferryman Tales comic series created by Chris Hays and McLain McGuire. I haven’t read their comic series, but after reading this book, I want to. 

First off, the cover was sensational. It was spooky and mysterious, sparked fear, and the Ferryman’s eyes were mesmerizing. I could see a person becoming lost in them while their body trembled in fear over his arrival. When the transporter of the dead comes for you, you best be prepared to answer his riddle or your dues. Those who can’t pay are cursed to drown for 100 years. Not a fate I would want to live.

Many characters in the Ferryman (Creepy Creations) faced judgment day, and they had to answer for their sins. Greed and power were the roots of evil expressed. This story hammers home the point of not letting greed corrupt your soul.

Besides the hypnotic cover, the story had other elements that kept me engrossed to the ending credits. First, the story’s broken up into parts that contain different points of view from key characters such as Curtis Charles, Mary Griggs, and Captain Thomas Tew. Scenes were replayed but viewed through their eyes. We got to witness how they interpreted the events and who caused the train of events that would bring about the arrival of the Ferryman. Curtis’s POV was filled with unimaginable pain and unthinkable sights. Mary’s scenes were the most horrifying, in my opinion. She saw things of pure horrors and ghostly figures. Visions that would drive anyone insane and did. 

I hope a movie studio discovers the Ferryman (Creepy Creations) and works its cinematic magic to bring it to life. If they do, I will be there on opening night! 

If your reading tastes center on mythology, witchcraft, dark magic, or the paranormal, you must read Ferryman (Creepy Creations). It’ll hook you from the “Prologue,” where the Drake sinks, to the ending scenes when the Ferryman delivers the souls to their final destination. 


Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

Amazon Purchase Link



Meet the Author

T.B. Phillips debuted in 2019 with his award winning series Dreamers of Andalon, a cautionary science fantasy set in the age of sail. He is a former sailor and educator, teaching English and History before becoming a public school administrator. He resides in Fort Worth, Texas.

Reedsy Author Link





Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Beating the Bladder Blues by Doug Setter (Book Review)

Over 33% of people in the U.S.A. have reported problems with frequent and urgent urination. If you have ever had the embarrassing moments of a urgent race to a washroom or habitually position yourself close to the washrooms, this book can help. Beating the Bladder Blues is an easy-to-follow, humorous book on making less washroom trips and enjoying life more.
The book shows the little known methods of:
1. Internal muscle control.
2. Herbs and foods for bladder health.
3. How-to protect your prostrate and urinary tract from inflammation.
4. Reprogramming your mind-body connection to reduce or end involuntary urination.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


Frequent urination (incontinence) or late-night urination (nocturia) is an all-too-common dilemma that plagues adults and children. Those who suffer from either of these two issues might experience uncontrollable leakage. Accidents can cause embarrassment and make one shy away from social engagements, or when nighttime visits are the culprit, the afflicted don’t get adequate sleep.

Doug Setter speaks the truth when they openly discuss what lengths they went to when the urge to go was upon them and no restroom in sight. I haven’t peed in a bottle before, but that’s only because I am a woman and didn’t think my aim would hit the mark 100% of the time. As a person with weak bladder muscles, I am familiar with the need to go multiple times during events. It’s annoying, a nuisance, and can be embarrassing. 

Since I don’t have a prostate, I could not empathize with the author’s talk about the exam. However, the physical therapy intake exam to strengthen my bladder muscles was intrusive and made me uncomfortable. I had to complete exercises while the therapist monitored me internally, manually. So I can, in a way, relate to Doug Setter’s displeasure over the unpleasant physical exam. 

In chapter two, Doug discusses various reasons why a person might be having plumbing issues: UTI, excess consumption of liquids, diabetes, bladder stones, and kidney conditions to name a few. After these possible reasons, Doug included a detailed image of your “plumbing parts” and explained their function in simple terms. 

I would advise taking Doug’s “five-pronged approach to urinating less” before going straight to the scalpel to fix your urinary system and problem. Sometimes eliminating a trigger or doing Kegel (pelvic floor) exercises improves the matter. The good news about these exercises is anyone can do them, regardless of age, and anywhere too! If you’re unfamiliar with Kegel exercises, Doug gives you a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process.

I found photos of the exercises taught in yoga and other exercise systems helpful. You don’t have to wonder if you’re performing it correctly or not. I encourage you to read the steps, look at the pictures, and then try your hand at the four additional stretches. 

As I stated earlier, removing a trigger can improve or stop your symptoms. Chapter five mentions several food and beverage-related items that might be your culprit. My doctor has told me to avoid citrusy and acidic things, so their presence on the list didn’t shock me. However, my doctor never mentioned spices. I’ll have to examine that one in more detail. Now, all triggers do not have to be food-based. Stress can also play a factor. I never knew that either. I have realized that when I’m busy, I urinate less than when I’m bored. Maybe my mind is preoccupied and not focused on the need to go. Bored seems to be a trigger for me. 

No matter the organ, there will be things that make it perform poorly and superbly. Doug discusses both. On the good list is cranberries which I consume daily. There was also horsetail, something I’d never heard or seen before. 

Some sections are directed to male readers: boosting testosterone and prostate issues; however, both genders can benefit from bladder training, knowing what’s good and bad for their urinary health. 

If you have bladder control issues or know someone who does, read this book or share it with them. It might change their life or yours! 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤❤

Reedsy Link


Meet the Author

Doug is a former paratrooper and U.N. Peacekeeper. He holds a BSc and has trained hundreds of people in fitness, martial arts and outdoor skills. He is the author of: Flat Gut After 50, Fit Femme After 50, Flat Gut After COVID, Reduce Your Alcohol Craving and Beating the Bladder Blues.

Reedsy Author Link



Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Orientella by Elisabeth Vildstjärna (Book Review)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I’ve been captivated by magical carpets ever since I first watched Aladdin. While the magic rug, known as Carpet, in the blockbuster movie was fascinating, it does not hold a candle to Orientella. She’s the Rolls-Royce of carpets with her 24-carat gold threads, made from the finest worms Angelland. While she is masterfully constructed, her uniqueness comes from her ability to speak and express emotions. She cares for her owner/roommate/friend deeply, so when Madame Algarine Castel gets abducted, she doesn’t give up until they are reunited. 

As one would imagine, flying on top of a magic carpet comes with potential hazards, which the characters experience. But, being a magical carpet has its dangers as well. To perform at its best, the wondrous rug has to stay tightly woven. In addition, it has to avoid villains who want to own and control them. Speaking of villains, I love the last name choice, Tarantula. 

All the above came into play, but luckily Orientella wasn’t alone on her journey. She has acquired new friends: a talking church mouse (Walter), a sometimes cranky kitty (Frizzle), and a young neighbor (Emilia), plus additional help along the way. 

Orientella by Elisabeth Vildstjärna was a glorious, imaginative, magical read containing suspense, shocking disclosures, and the legendary Loch Ness Monster. It’s a story that could benefit from more images strewn throughout because readers will want to see Persley, the pirate ship, the castle, and more action and adventure shots. The cover illustration by Henry Johannes Matilainen, though, was spectacular. I adored Frizzle’s facial expression. He looked like a true scaredy-cat, whereas Walter, the mouse, appeared to enjoy the ride of a lifetime. 

I could see this story appealing to three-year-olds, possibly four if it had more images. As it stands, I would recommend the book to school-age children. 

Buy the book; you won’t regret it! 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

Amazon Purchase Link


Meet the Author

Elisabeth Vildstjärna is an author from Sweden who writes fantasy for middle graders.

Reedsy Author Link




Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized