Saturday, September 27, 2014

SPARK OF LIGHT - A Book Review

Spark of Light

A new author crossed my desk recently, and I had a chance to read an advance copy of her new novel Spark of Light. This newest story immediately spins us into the future of earth where we discover that the final apocalyptic event was not mankind turning on themselves in one last nuclear holocaust. Rather it was between man and the previously hidden elf population of the earth. It is during the times after this war that this is a poignant story of friendship, love and discovery, is set in a world that mankind had defeated and enslaved the elves of earth.

Told in the first person viewpoint of a young elf girl, Ms. Tuttle masterfully draws you in. Together, with Avery, you walk through her daily life as she discovers what it is to really live and in the process discovers what it is to love and be loved.

A quiet story on a sub-level slowly rises to the surface, as Spark of Light speaks of humanity and our treatment of people, no matter who they are, no matter their status in life. Spark of Light also speaks deeply to the fact that we all need to love and be loved. The novel is masterfully told, but to have discovered the added depth, caused this reader to go back for a second reading so I could savor the fare.

A talented author can be schooled in the art of writing a book. But storytelling is a gift that cannot be learned, only sharpened and polished with practice. In my opinion, Elizabeth Tuttle has a gift of storytelling. It will be a delight to read the remaining chapters of this tale as they are published.


Here is a little something to feed your muse on this Saturday morning.  A small gift of inspiration from my time of living where nature and art collide in the highlands of West Virginia.

 Autumn Mists and Hidden Valleys

There is nothing like the mists of Autumn, in the Appalachians, especially up in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia.  There you can watch the cold damp mist roll in over the mountains, wiping out the high peaks in her white cloak so that the views become blunted.  Even the valleys below take on a Monet-ish tone as they become muted in the dimmed light of the dank and damp day.

The ribbon of asphalt that occasionally crisscrosses these majestic tree covered mounds of rock and clay winds you through deep valleys, and creases between the hills.  Often you find yourself driving along a ledge of rock, teetering above a sheer abyss, praying that a log truck won’t be hurling itself at you around the next blind corner.  You are torn between watching the ever-winding road and craning your neck to see the wonders spread out around you --- just wishing that there was someplace to pull off so you could get out and stand and look.  Suddenly, at the next sharp curve up the mountain, there is break in the the mist and the splendor of the sun bursts upon the scene.  The very tops of the mountains float like islands on the sea of clouds, with a brilliant blue sky above. 

It is here that the first fingers of Autumn show their glory as the leaves have already started to turn the bright colorful hues that bring flocks of visitors to the area year after year.  Evident already are shades of yellow, red, orange, gold, and deep maroon.  The wild apples have ripened and the golden and bright red orbs hang from the trees.  There are piles of over ripened fruit scattered below the trees waiting for the local wild life to feast upon.  The bushes are covered in bright berries for the picking and between the trees and in the meadows you can still see the full racked buck or doe with her fawn feeding upon the wild grain in the fields. 

Every day the color increases in its intensity and breadth of luminosity.  Progressively, the mornings bring a sharper bite to the air.  With the coming days the V’s of the passing flocks will pass overhead as the great Canadian Geese migrate south and the meadows slowly empty of the summer’s local fowl as they join the migration to warmer climates.  Soon all that is left is the empty feeders, hanging with the remnants of summer’s seed.  The flowers of the garden hang on, the last tenuous blossoms continuing to bloom—fewer and smaller, but still determined to feel the kiss of the sun.

There are also days that the mists of Autumn flee the highlands and valleys.  The sun comes out in her majesty and sprays her own special sparkle to the colors of the mountains.  With the dropping evening temperatures, the trees continue change in color and grow bolder in hue, the mountains burst into flame and the glow with the sunsets, setting the world on fire.  Even grandma’s best patchwork quilts cannot hold up their heads next to the glory and color of these magnificent hills. 

Words may try to paint a picture.  A Camera may try to capture a moment, but only a trip to this enchanting land during the ripening days of fall can allow to bask in the glory of what it is to experience the Autumn Mists and Hidden Valleys in the Appalachians.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wings of Destiny

   Wings of Destiny

By  D.S. Schmeckpeper

Ms. Schmeckpeper propels her reader through a wild and mythical land that is of magical wonders.  Set back in time when the earth was still inhabited by such creatures as Orcs, Dwarves, Elves, and other beings that have now retreated to our land of mystic storytelling and imagination, but not so far as when the great gods of the Greeks, and before lived, but before the last of the great and powerful dragons passed from existence.
In a book that keeps the pages burning, as the rag tag band of heroes fight their way through a land of mythical monsters, magicians, demons and sometimes, just some really bad guys.  You begin to wonder whether or not they really stand a chance at making sure that good overcomes evil and that all is as it should be in the world.  Even the love interests in the story are fraught with disasters and calamities as they struggle to continue on the quest set before them. 
Ms. Schmeckpeper, created a beautiful visual world for us to live in as we travelled through the book.  I could see the beauty of Celeste and the various places we went through out the story.  They were breath taking.  The battle scenes felt like they literally flew off the page and in some instances rippled with the turning of the pages as I flew through them trying to keep up with the action and hoping that all would end well. 
This is a story worth reading, a tale that will hold the readers interest and imagination as it  maks them yearn for more.  My hats off to D.S. Schmeckpeper on the release of Wings of Destiny.  

Purchase your copy of this great book at any of these retailers:

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

SPARK OF LIGHT - Release Day!!!!



Elizabeth Tuttle


MEET an amazing new author
 an amazing first release.
Don't Miss It !!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Road and Beyond - Marilyn Brant's Newest Offering

The Expanded Book Club Edition of
The Road to You
Marylin Brant

In 2013  I had the privilege of reading the original Road to You as a part of a group book club read under the direction of Debbie Haupt of  The Reading Frenzy.  It was a fast paced, interactive read with Marilyn Brant spending the entire month in active participation with the group.  The last question of the discussions was to think several years down the road, where do you think the main characters would be in their lives?  The answers were interesting and varied and met much discussion and laughter.
Imagine my delight and surprise when we, the group, received a Beta version, of The Road to You, with the story told from a different point of view.  

The Road and Beyond more than tells the original The Road to You from the point of view of looking back thirty plus years in the future, in reflection.  A second storyline is added in the current day setting that reverberates every bit as much with the angst, mystery, and fingernail biting as the original story.  This time, though, instead of the reader just seeing the pain and despair of the sister as she once again relives the mystery of the wild summer thirty some odd years ago, she also rips the reader’s heart out with a mother’s added layer of grief and despair as she desperately tries to locate her missing son.

All the old feelings and memories of the protagonist’s youth came bubbling up like Old Faithful’s Geyser. How could she face the new emergency without allowing the fears and memories of the past taint her thinking and the decisions she must make.  Once again the loss and the aloneness threatened to overwhelm her in the darkness of the night.

Once again she has to go back and relive and remember the worst years of her life. The most heart pounding summer of her youth threaten to overwhelm her as we, the reader are dragged along on a wild ride across the United States in a hot ride with a hotter hunk who simmers with sex appeal and everything a young eighteen year-old’s heart and hormones could ever dream of while they try to locate information about their brothers who have been missing and declared dead for two years. His simmering silence and her smart mouth make for banter that keeps you laughing and wondering.  The mysteries that meet them at every curve of the road, throws danger and risk in their way that no innocent backwater young lady should ever have to face.  With every turn of the page you wonder if they will survive or if they will find the answers the want to hear.

With the addition of the current day over-lay storyline, The Road and Beyond was a whole new book.


Friday, September 19, 2014

9/21/2014. Upcoming Book. Reviews for September

In the coming days and weeks I will be posting a a number of book reviews here Under The Shade Tree that I have previously written about some great and captivating novels over the last three years.  The reviews have been available at sites such as Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble websites.
In addition, I am starting to line up book reviews for NEWLY RELEASED BOOKS. 
The Road and Beyond (The expanded and enhanced version of The Road To You) by Marilyn Brandt. 

Fiction/Fantasy/Sci Fi
Destiny's Wings (A Land of Destiny Novel) by D.S. Schmeckpeper. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Exigency by Michael Siemsen


Michael Siemsen is like Mozart on a Typewriter.  This is his fifth book and his third genre and they have all been hits out of the park. 
This time Michael has taken us off-world and stranded us on a planet that could either be our best dream or worst nightmare.  It is adventurous, spine tingling, and cost me a night’s sleep (which is a sign of a really good book).  I was fortunate enough to have been provided with an advanced copy to review, and can’t wait for the final edition to hit the shelves. 
In a faraway galaxy, on a mystical planet resides two species of beings that have developed to the point of establishing societies, cities, and proved to be of interest enough for a group of scientists to buy into a one-way ticket to an observatory space station to study this planet and its inhabitants.  Then a few pages into the story, the worst of nightmares happens, and suddenly the scientists are ejected from the space station in emergency pods that misfire in all directions.
What happens next sends the reader on a fast paced page turner as you run for your life one moment and try to negotiate for it the next.

As always, Michael provides attention to detail and weaves a world of mystical wonder. His descriptions of both the flora and fauna and the intelligent (and non-intelligent) species of the planet are so keen that you have no trouble visualizing them in 3D living color, but just vague enough to allow your own interpretation of the finished product.  Just what does a Kangagorillagator (my descriptive word) look like?  Mind boggling and ferocious..