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Book Review: The Akashic Records Made Easy by Sandra Anne Taylor

Once I’d spent some time with The Akashic Tarot and had gotten to know it pretty well, I decided I wanted to dive a little bit further into this idea of Akashic Records. To sum it up (in its absolute, most basic form) it’s the idea that not only have we lived multiple lives, but we can access those records and change them to help resolve our current issues. Since Sandra Anna Taylor was one of the authors of the card deck I was using, I picked up her book The Akashic Records Made Easy.

From the Back Cover:

A clear and simple guide to the incredible philosophy of the Akashic Records and the ways in which they can improve and transform our lives.

The Akashic Records are a spiritual library full of information about the world and everything in it – every person and event, past and present. Accessing the Records can help us to heal the past, get through present life challenges, release blocks and answer questions about our future.

Internationally renowned spiritual teacher Sandra Anne Taylor brings an introductory guide to this fascinating philosophy and teaches the reader:

– what the Akashic Records contain and how to access them
– how to travel the eternal timeline to investigate the past, present and potential future
– how past lives are influencing us today and what we can do to rewrite those records
– how we can use the Akashic Records to find our purpose, expand our talents and find greater success and joy in this life
– how to program future events within the records of this life and in lifetimes to come

What I Loved: I thought the idea of the Akashic Records was really interesting, and Taylor sounds like she’s done her research. She’s incorporated a lot of scientific and physics-based information into these chapters, showing that it’s a real possibility. The book includes information about the Akashic Records, how to access them, and even how to change them. Taylor also writes about real-life experiences that she and her clients have had with this process. There are multiple meditative exercises as well.

What I Didn’t Love: I really wanted to absolutely adore this book. I’ve done a few past-life guided meditations, and I found them to be amazing. It seems that it’s just not as effective in this format. There are meditations included in the book, but if you’d have to memorize the steps to really get the experience of it. I do see that there is a matching course offered by Hay House, but I’m not currently ready to shell out the money for it. I feel like there was a lot of potential here, but it just fell flat in book form. (And trust me, I absolutely HATE to say that. I always want a book to be the best way to get information!)

Rating and Review: While The Akashic Records Made Easy is informative and a decent introduction to the idea, I’ll be hard pressed to go back and read it again. There are some other guided meditations on YouTube, and perhaps after I try some of those I’ll be more inspired to dive into this with a little more depth. To be fair to the author, it can’t be easy to make other people understand such a big concept! 3.5 stars.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using my links to do your shopping and help me out at no extra cost to you!

Check out the tarot journal newly available from The Lost Manuscript Publishing Co.!

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Book Review: Rebellion by Nora Roberts

Do you ever get those advertisements in your social media feed along the lines of: If you love Outlander, you’ll love This Book! Rebellion would definitely fit in that category.

I have a huge pile of books that I have yet to read, and so I have a very specialized system when it comes time to pick out a new one: I close my eyes and grab something. This time, it was Rebellion. Historical fiction is always a fun genre for me, so I dove right in. And English man and a Scottish woman in 1745. The term Sassenach. Some other plot points that I can’t give away because it’d ruin the book completely. Oh, yes.

There are definitely some similarities, enough to make me go look up the publication years. Rebellion was written in 1988, which I figured was way before Outlander. Um, no. Outlander was first published in 1991. I wasn’t aware of it until sometime in the mid-2000’s, so that was a bit of a surprise to me. Granted, there’s not time travel in Rebellion, and any story that takes place at this time and location could easily have a lot of the same parallels, but I thought it was interesting nevertheless.

Now, on to the good stuff!

What I Loved: I mean, it’s Nora Roberts. You know it’s going to be pretty good. I’ve read plenty of her stuff (enough that I almost didn’t bother with an official review except that I just had to talk about the Outlander thing), and I’m never disappointed. The characters are deep, the settings are beautiful, and the story moves along with just the right combination of inner dialogue and action. It’s

What I Didn’t Love as Much: If there’s one thing Roberts does drive me crazy with it’s repeated words. We all do it sometimes, but and sometimes it can’t be helped. In this case, it was ‘pressed.’ That’s a pretty basic word, and one that might not be avoidable, but when it’s used once or twice a page for several pages in the same chapter it’s a bit much. I think a decent editor could have switched a few of those out.

Rating and Review: If you like historical fiction, and you love Outlander, then Rebellion belongs at the top of your TBR pile! 🙂 Seriously, though, it’s a pretty good book. 4 stars.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using my links to do your shopping and help me out at no extra cost to you!

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Book Review: A Class Coveted by Susie Murphy

You know that feeling when you read an amazing book that completely transports you to another time and place, and then you find out there’s going to be a sequel? And then you read the sequel and find out it’s just as amazing as the first? And then that happens all over again? And then again?

It’s a wonderful feeling, and it keeps happening every time I pick up the latest book in Susie Murphy’s A Matter of Class series! The most recent release is book 4, A Class Coveted, and it’s no less enticing than the first three.

The series follows the love story of Bridget and Cormac, two halves of the same soul who must constantly find ways to be together even as the world and society constantly try to tear them apart. Murphy creates such deep, involved characters that you feel as though you know them personally, and you struggle right alongside them as they deal with building their future in a new country while still grappling with their past.

From the back cover:

Their choices have shackled her dreams…

It’s 1836, and Bridget and Cormac have arrived, full of hope, to the city of Boston with their growing family. However, as they adjust to domestic life together for the first time, they face anti-Irish sentiment from the local Americans, as well as a threat to their happiness from a much closer source.

Cormac undertakes the challenging search for his missing sister, Bronagh. He is determined to do all he can to put the broken pieces of his family back together, but the appalling truth he uncovers will shake him to his core.

Meanwhile, as Emily grows up in this new country, she realises how her parents’ past actions will affect her entire future and she begins to covet that which is no longer within her reach. When she receives an unexpected proposition, will she be able to resist its temptation, despite the untrustworthy nature of the person behind it?

Often in my book reviews, I break it down into what I love and what I’m not so crazy about. The thing is, there’s really only one category here! I love it all! This entire series is historical romance at its best. It’s Outlander without the time travel, except that I’m absolutely traveling back in time while I read it. I can honestly say I squeal with delight every time I find out there’s another installment coming, and Susie has already announced that there will be a fifth book! The series is also being released as audiobooks, which is really exciting!

I highly recommend A Class Coveted to anyone who enjoys living in the past for a while and getting caught up in a sweeping romance that will stand the test of time.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using my links to do your shopping and help me out at no extra cost to you!

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Book Review: A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

There’s a reason I always wander back to the same section of the library when I don’t know exactly what kind of book I’m looking for. I don’t even realize I’m doing it, but at least a few times a year I happen to check whether there’s anything in by Tracy Chevalier that I haven’t read yet.

She’s just amazing, and A Single Thread was no different. I hardly even needed to read the inside of the book jacket. I saw that it was about embroidery, and it came home with me. It tells the tale of Violet Speedwell, a woman who lost so much in World War I and is still trying to find her place in the world. She joins a group of embroiderers at Winchester Cathedral, who are on a mission to make kneelers and cushions to fill the church. There are battles between the past and the future, her family and her work, and the ongoing battle of how to be a single woman and still be accepted in society.

Chevalier is always excellent at transporting the reader to the time and place in which the story happens, and this is no different. Even when there are times when it seems there isn’t all that much happening, there’s so much detail to be found in each scene that A Single Thread is impossible to put down.

I love to cross stitch, which was why I didn’t have to think about picking up this book. I wasn’t disappointed, and I highly recommend it even if you don’t stitch. What makes good historical fiction even better? Looking up Winchester Cathedral and finding out that not only were some of the characters based on real people, and not only did those cushions actually get made, but they’re still there and in use! I almost cried with joy, and then I told my husband we’ll have to take a trip to England sometime just so I can visit these beautiful pieces of embroidery!

What have you been reading lately?

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using my links to do your shopping and help me out at no extra cost to you!

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Book Review: Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to the library. But when your kid wants a book, you go. And when you go, you get some books for yourself. And when you don’t know exactly what you’re in the mood for, you just grab something off the new release shelf and go with it.

And then you are so thrilled you did.

I happened to grab Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman. I didn’t even read what it was about. I just like Van Gogh’s artwork and thought it might be good.

It’s interesting to go into a book with hardly any expectations and find that it’s still not quite what you expected. It’s somber and blunt, and it doesn’t read like a novel or even quite like an autobiography. The chapters are “galleries,” and there are even a few photos of his works included here and there throughout the book. It’s not a light read, but it moves very quickly due to the short chapters. There’s a lot of people who are depressed and disappointed, and yet I couldn’t put it down.

Vincent and Theo tells a story unlike what we usually get in a typical art appreciation class, of a painter who was a little nutty, cut his ear off, and didn’t get famous until after he died. In fact, I’m a little miffed at all the textbooks that skimmed over him like that. I don’t want to go into any details that would spoil it for you, though. I want you to pick up this book, and then when you’re finished reading it and you put it down again, I want you to have the same reaction I did. Whoa.

What makes this all the more fascinating is that Heiligman’s research came from letters exchanged between Vincent and his other friends and family members. It provides an in-depth, insightful, and amazing journey that I had no idea existed.

Vincent and Theo is not a simple biography of an artist. It’s an explanation of why and how the artist became who he was. Tragic, yes, but also transporting and absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it.

Interestingly enough, just a couple of weeks after I finished reading this book (and was still swooning over it), I came across a framed print of Van Gogh’s “Irises” at Goodwill for just $2. I happen to be decorating my office in flowers, and I snapped it right up!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using my links to do your shopping and help me out at no extra cost to you!

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Book Review: Summer Pleasures by Nora Roberts

Roast me if you will, but I’ve just finished another Nora Roberts book. I’ve ended up with quite a few of them on my shelf after various library sales and book stashes that friends have passed on to me, and even though it’s winter I picked up Summer Pleasures.

What I Loved: While sometimes I don’t like the idea of putting two novels into one volume (because I’m impatient and finishing a book makes me feel like I’ve achieved something), it does work quite well for a lot of NR’s books. She has so many of them that it’d be impossible to locate only two novels with crossover characters.

As with any of her other books, Roberts is simply a master of romantic tension. The characters’ desires are all laid out in front of us very close to the beginning, but they relentlessly struggle until they finally let themselves have what they always wanted. Anyone who thinks that’s not realistic might never have been in love before.

What I Didn’t Love As Much: These were written back in the 80s, and while I love the fashion references and the lack of cell phones, there are some things that just don’t age well. One is that almost every Nora Roberts book I’ve read includes a scene in which the man grabs the woman by the arms and shakes her. To shake some sense into her? To display his masculine passion? If some guy shakes me, this romance is gonna turn into a murder mystery.

Unfortunately, there were some typos. It’s not enough to make me put the book down, but it’s a shame to see from a big publisher.

Rating and Review: Overall, Summer Pleasures is an easy read that delivered just what the title promised. 4 stars.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Book Review: The Reef by Nora Roberts

A fun and exciting adventure of a romance, The Reef is one of those novels that proves romance isn’t purely about human relationships.

From the Cover:  Tate Beaumont has a passion for treasure-hunting. Over the years, she and her father have uncovered many fabulous riches, but one treasure has always eluded them: Angelique’s Curse—a jeweled amulet heavy with history, dark with legend, and tainted with blood. In order to find this precious artifact, the Beaumonts reluctantly form a partnership with salvagers Buck and Matthew Lassiter.
 
As the Beaumonts and Lassiters pool their resources to locate Angelique’s Curse, the Caribbean waters darken with shadowy deceptions and hidden threats. Their partnership is placed in jeopardy when Matthew refuses to share information—including the truth behind his father’s mysterious death. For now, Tate and Matthew continue their uneasy alliance—until danger and desire begin to rise to the surface…

What I Loved:  I grabbed this book randomly from a shelf practically groaning with used books I’ve acquired over the years.  In fact, I had one of my kids randomly pick it for me because I just couldn’t decide.  It turned out to be a great choice.

The Reef dives into the world of treasure hunting, unraveling the tale of the Beaumonts and the Lassiters as they search for the ultimate treasure buried beneath the sea.  While of course boy-meets-girl is the main arc of the plot, there’s simply so much more that’s going on here!  Family history, old and new tragedy, gain and loss are all wonderfully told over the beautiful backdrops of the sea and sun.  The details that help paint the scenery and the background are a lot of what makes this book a real winner.

What I Didn’t Love:  Honestly, there’s not much!  I think I’d have preferred a slightly different ending, but I can’t say that I was unhappy with it.

Rating and Recommendation:  The Reef could be a great summer read or just one that makes you feel like it’s summer.  If you’re not sure about romance as a genre, The Reef just might change your mind. 5 stars.

Have you read The Reef or another book by Nora Roberts? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Book Review: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Even if you’re not into vampire romance, you might be surprised by Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward.

From the Cover: Within the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Rhage is the warrior vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the deadliest fighter, the most voracious lover, the quickest to act on his impulses. He’s also been cursed with two hundred years of hell. Possessed by a beast, he lives in fear of the times when his inner dragon comes out and he’s a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce has unwittingly found herself in the vampire world, and under Rhage’s protection. With her own life-threatening curse to bear, she’s not looking for love. Besides, she’s stopped believing in saving grace and miracles long ago. But when Rhage’s intense sexual attraction turns into emotional bonding, he knows he must have her for his mate. As their enemies close in, Mary finds herself praying for something she fears she’ll never have: life eternal with the one she loves.

What I Loved: I don’t think of myself as a fan of vampire romance, but it’s one of those genres that can really sneak up on you. I can’t stand the sight of blood, and sometimes I can’t even stand the thought of it, but I was still thoroughly sucked in by Lover Eternal. (See what I did there? Sucked in? Anyway…)

The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is interesting not because it’s about vampires but because there are great characters and intriguing plots. Even though the ending to Mary and Rhage’s story was fairly predictable, the path they took to get there as they each dealt with their inner demons was relatable and gripping.

A great series will introduce more characters along the way and make you want to know more about them, and Lover Eternal does just that. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say I’m eager to read more.

What I Didn’t Love: This is the second book in the series, and there’s one thing that has driven me crazy in both of them so far. The men of the brotherhood often wear boots, and they’re invariably referred to as shitkickers. It’s just one of those words that really stands out when it’s been used 30 times in a single novel. I get that there’s a specific type of footwear that’s being referenced here, but it just feels like the author is trying too hard to make the vampires come across as badasses. It’s just a little thing, but it bugs me.

There were a few typos, but otherwise the only thing I didn’t like about this book was that I was going to jump right into reading the third one and I realized I didn’t have one.

Rating and Review: I give this book 4 stars because it was great but not earth-shattering or life-changing. If you like vampire romance, or even if you don’t, you should check it out. (And just so you don’t have to hunt it down, Dark Lover is the first in the series.)

Have you read Lover Eternal or another book by J.R. Ward? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Book Review: The Chase by Clive Cussler

When selecting a book from my overloaded shelves, it’s always easy to pick up a Clive Cussler novel. I’ve read several of his novels before, and I figured it was about time to grab The Chase.

From the Cover: In 1906, the western states of America suffer a string of bank robberies by a single man who then cold-bloodedly murders any and all witnesses, and vanishes without a trace. Fed up by the depredations of “The Butcher Bandit,” the U.S. government brings in the best man it can find: a tall, lean, no-nonsense detective named Isaac Bell, who has caught thieves and killers from coast to coast.
 
But Bell has never had a challenge like this one. From Arizona to Colorado to the streets of San Francisco during its calamitous earthquake and fire, he pursues a fiend who seems to draw pleasure from the challenge and a woman who may to hold the key to the man’s identity. As Bell begins to suspect a new term used among top psychologists, sociopath, may describe his target, the Butcher Bandit turns the chase around on him. The hunter becomes the hunted. And soon, it will take all of Bell’s skills not merely to prevail . . . but to survive.

What I Loved: What’s not to love about a Clive Cussler novel? He was always an absolute master of detail, something that’s extremely important when writing historical fiction. I was completely catapulted back to 1906 as Isaac Bell of the Van Dorn Detective Agency tracked down a murderous bank robber. True historical events were blended seamlessly into the plot with only the most necessary exposition. The characters were deep and well fleshed out, and the plot was twisting and turning every minute. The Chase is a book of action, suspense, intrigue, and even a little bit of romance.

What I Didn’t Love: I wouldn’t consider a novel like this an ‘easy read’ simply because there’s so much to keep track of and so much happening. That’s really my only complaint, but it’s something I knew going in. It’s only really a problem because life has been chaotic lately, and I haven’t had much time to just settle down and focus on a book.

Rating and Recommendation: It’s no surprise that The Chase is a 5-star book. Clive Cussler was an absolute master.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Book Review: Moonfall by Jack McDevitt

The last two books I read (reviews here and here) left a lot to be desired, so I was feeling a little gun-shy when I went to grab something else from my shelf. I’ve been really trying to get through the massive amount of books I’ve acquired in my Bookshelf Cleanout project!

The universe decided to make it up to me when I grabbed Moonfall by Jack McDevitt. Right off the bat, I got excited that the opening scene takes place during the solar eclipse of April 2024. Our location in Southern Illinois was dubbed the “Eclipse Crossroads” back in 2017, because both that eclipse and the one in 2024 will be fully visible here. To boot, I was even wearing my commemorative eclipse t-shirt!

Okay, personal coincidences aside, it’s important to talk a little bit about the plot (without giving too much away, of course). A comet is discovered, and it’s heading straight for the Moon, where Moonbase has just been officially opened in a ceremony that includes the Vice President of the U.S. The story is told from multiple POVs, just like any good disaster movie.

I couldn’t help but note as I read all the similarities to our current times that McDevitt predicted way back in 1999. The book is only three years ahead of the present, after all! There is talk about increased mileage on electric car batteries, everyone has cell phones, and all the news is online. Unfortunately, Moonfall mentions the Arecibo telescope, which didn’t make it, and yet it predicts that Sears will still be around.

I was definitly impressed with how well McDevitt predicted the divisive political climate that surrounds a global disaster. Some think the coming comet is only a political stunt to gain votes. Those in charge are forced to contemplate whether they should let the populace know just how bad things are and risk panic, or play it cool and risk lives. There was so much more, and it was all shockingly familiar.

Overall, there wasn’t a thing I didn’t liked about Moonfall. The characters were deep and relatable, the technology was fantastic, and I got so wrapped up in the suspense sometimes that I thought I might have a panic attack. 5 stars! While my ultimate goal is to pare down the sheer number of books I have, this one is going on the Keep shelf!

Have you read Moonfall or another book by Jack McDevitt? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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Close up hot cappuccino white coffee cup with heart shape latte art on dark brown old wood table at cafe,food and drink concept.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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