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Cracked Smile

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Cracked Smile (Realm of Nightmare – 1) by Amanda Williams

My name is Britney and I’m 12 years old. My parents dragged me out to the middle of nowhere away from my hometown and my friends. All I have now is my goody two shoes sister, and my dog Benji.

To make things worse my Dad got this real ugly doll with the creepiest smile I’ve ever seen. It was just laying around here. Maybe it found us?

Some weird things started the day we moved in. As usual, I got the blame. I needed to know what was going on, but all the evidence was making me look crazy. I could have sworn the doll moved some times. But it couldn’t really be alive…..right?

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My Review

5 stars

Britney and her family have just moved into their grandfather’s old house. On the first day their father finds this old, cracked, creepy doll. Britney’s sister Ella falls in love with it. But then things start happening around the house. Ella painting and a freshly painted room are destroyed with red paint. Other things happen and everyone blames Britney. No one wants to believe it was the doll. Britney keeps getting blamed and into trouble and is about ready to be sent to a doctor when she gets help from an unlikely source.

This was a quick, creepy read. I admit that some dolls weird me out. So, reading this story gave me the chills thinking some creepy Annabell like doll is causing trouble and worse. The ending really sealed the story for me. It is that perfect twist that gave me the chills.

If you like horror stories you need to check out Cracked Smile. It’s a first book for Amanda Williams and if this is the start, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

I received Cracked Smile from Ari at Candid Book Reviews for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Thunder Moon

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Thunder Moon (A New World – 4) by Tonya Coffey

Micha, King of Ancients, hoped the fighting between the realms would ease since the threat had been eliminated, yet the forest is filled with enemies who are not what they seem. They can be a plant, animal or even disguised as a friend.

While Micha battles Shifters, old enemies and himself, Jessa struggles to regain her life. A friend, in the spirit world, guides her through the adjustments of the truth, allowing her to uncover the Wars true beginning and of a man who will stop at nothing to obtain the True Power.

Micha must tread lightly as the Shadows reorganize the kingdom, demanding a union between Micha and Roselle. His only hope for happiness is for the curse Jessa cast upon herself to be broken by a Sorcerer, a man he did not trust. Will the King get his true Queen or will evil win?

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Tonya Coffey 

Author’s Bio

Tonya grew up in a small town in Kentucky where she lives with her husband and two teen boys. Together, they motivate her to be the best at whatever she faces. If she isn’t writing or reading a fantasy novel with lots of action, you will find her sitting in front of a canvas, painting the landscape which is so abundant around her home.

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My Review

5 stars

Jessa finds herself in darkness then in the spirit realm. She is not dead but she needs to find a way to unit her spirit and body. Micha is devastated by the loss of Jessa. But he has his own battles to fight. He has the role of king to perform and is looking at a forced marriage. In the spirit realm Jessa learns of a betrayal and now has even more incentive to find a way back to Micha.

With everything that they have gone through so far, I just want them to finally get to their HEA. Unfortunately is not going to happen. Jessa is not dead, her spirit has been separated from her body. While she is trying to find a way back, she learns of the betrayals that have been happening around Micha and her. Micha has his own hands full. He has a lot on his plate trying to bring everyone together after the last battle. But getting everyone to play nice and not going to be an easy matter. He also has to face a forced marriage and is hoping and trying to break the curse on Jessa.

This is an amazing young adult fantasy series. I have to say that it is one of my top favorites. I recommend reading the books in order so you don’t miss anything. Of course Thunder Moon ended with one heck of a cliff hanger. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book.

I received Thunder Moon from the author for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Tahoe Payback

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Tahoe Payback (Owen McKenna – 15) by Todd Borg

The First Body Is Found On Lake Tahoe’s Only Island

When a man tells Tahoe Detective Owen McKenna that his girlfriend disappeared, McKenna wonders if the woman got cold feet and ran away. But when she turns up murdered on Fannette Island with red roses in her mouth, McKenna discovers that she used a scam charity to steal millions.

More Bodies Follow

A second victim is found with a tennis ball crammed into his mouth. A third has military medals in his cheeks. McKenna suspects that these victims also ran fraudulent charities.

McKenna’s Own Girlfriend Fears Attack

While McKenna investigates the murders, his girlfriend Street Casey has reason to believe that her ex-con father, who’s jumped parole, wants revenge for her testimony that put in him in prison decades ago.

A Twisted Killer Plans A Devastating Climax

It appears that the victims are all payback targets of a vigilante killer. McKenna finds lots of potential suspects. But he can’t link any of them to the crimes. What he doesn’t know is that both he and his girlfriend are about to face someone who wants them very dead…

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Todd Borg 

Author’s Bio

Todd Borg and his wife moved from Minnesota to Lake Tahoe in 1990. After his fourth Tahoe novel, he sold his business to write full time.

In addition to winning the Ben Franklin Award for Best Mystery of the Year, Todd Borg’s Owen McKenna mysteries have been chosen for Top 5 Mystery lists by the prestigious Library Journal, and by Mystery News Reviewer G. Wedgwood. He’s won Best Mystery and Best Thriller honors from the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association and received Best New Fiction accolades from libraries. His novels have also received starred reviews and raves in major trade journals and newspapers across the country.

Todd Borg and his wife live on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore.

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My Review

5 stars

Owen McKenna is asked to look into the disappearance of Douglas Fairbanks female friend, Isadore. She is found but she has been hung upside down, exposed to a cold storm, and had three roses shoved into her mouth and through her cheek. Sounds strange until Owen starts looking into her. It seems she was involved in charities. Owen starts looking into how many people have learned to work the system to profit from the donations to their charities.

But this is not a one-time kill. Another charity owner is found hung from a flag pole with a tennis ball in his mouth. Then another off a train that stops in Truckee with a medal in his cheek. Someone is hunting down those that have been ripping donors off for years. It’s up to Owen to find the killer before more charity owners get strung up.

Owen gets a crash course in charities, how they work, and how easy it is to use then to scam millions from people. It’s scary to think that this actually happens in real life. I can completely relate to the killer and don’t blame him but then again you can’t have people doing random killings.

Other part to this story is about Street. I love this woman, she has gone through hell and has become such a strong, independent woman. I love how Owen works with her with valid self-defense techniques. He loves her enough to give her the space she wants.

You can’t go wrong with a Todd Borg story. You will be one your toes guessing and who the killer is and you will learn more than just a customary glance at the topic of the stories. For Tahoe Payback it was charities. I have to say that I am now more hesitant to donate to charities now.

I received Tahoe Payback from the author for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

A Journey Within

Journey Within by J. Mitchel Baker
Journey Within by J. Mitchel Baker

Publisher: Artistic Origins (April 30, 2017)
Category: Memoir, Adventure, Inspirational
Tour dates: Oct-Nov, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-940385-05-1
ASIN: B071YRHTY4
Available in Print & ebook, 181 pages

The true story of a simple man who has spent his life working amidst the quiet embrace of nature and her animals. Despite the happy normalcy, his soul calls out to him through a series of visions urging him to search for the higher design in his life. His inner voice beckons him out into the wilderness, away from all that he knows and understands, to find the higher meaning of himself.

After nearly a decade of stubborn denial, he removes his self-imposed blindfolds to embark on what is to become his personal journey into the unknown.What he finds will forever change his life.

Instead of meaning, he finds a tempest. Finding courage through his animals he forges onward in search of his own truth.  Is there a greater universal design for each of us? Or is there only chaos and confusion? Your answer lies within, if only you dare to take the journey.

 A Journey Within highlights the duality between both the physical and the spiritual.  It carries a message of courage and inspiration to connect with life and the inner-self, taking the road less traveled, and living authentically.

Praise Journey Within by J. Mitchel Baker

“A good book. A REALLY good book. The author has a way with words. He has you thinking you are right there with him. I enjoyed the adventure Mr. Baker. Thank you!  It reminded me somewhat of “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. It all goes back to, or starts with, “Why do bad things happen to Good People”? I’ve been trying to figure that out myself. I’ve read so many books in an effort to find an answer that I agree with. Some ideas make sense, some do not. I truly hope Mr. Bakers’ journey (s) help him find the answer.”-Kindle Customer

About J. Mitchel BakerJourney Within by J. Mitchel Baker

Mitchel Baker is a graduate of Texas A&M University, living in San Antonio with his family. He has dedicated his life to ranching and managing natural resources, and continues to be a student of all things visceral. He is currently working on his sequel to A Journey Within as he stumbles awkwardly toward a higher consciousness.

Website: www.jmitchelbaker.com

Buy Journey Within by J. Mitchel Baker

Amazon

My Review

5 stars

Mitchel Baker has chosen the life of a farmer. To work with his hands to bring crops from the ground and animals into this world. He has a connection to the world with this line of work. He has had wonderful moments and heart breaking ones. But this just makes him a better man. He has had visions and touched animals. This has led him to the adventure that he is on. He has felt a pull drawing him into the wilderness. He teams up with his friend Glynn and they pick a route to go on a long ride. This story is about what he learned on that trip and beyond.

I really enjoyed this book. From the spiritual connection to the land and the animals, I was drawn in from the start. I loved with little stories from the good to the bad. There is so much more to this world than just what we see. I loved the connection Baker had to the animals. I grew up on a small farm so I can relate to what he is talking about.

I loved the idea of going on the 113 mile ride. But even better was the challenges they both faced and how it help shape them. The journey has some serious challenges but they both come away as better men. Although they had several physical challenges the truly wonderful part of this story was how these affect both men spiritually.

For a first book I am in love. I can’t wait to read the next book Baker comes up with. I hope it is further adventures.

I received A Journey Within from Teddy at Virtual Author Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Follow Journey Within by J. Mitchel Baker Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Oct 16 Interview & Giveaway

Jessica JBronder Book Reviews Oct 17 Review

Rebecca Paperback Writer Oct 18 Excerpt

Dawn Bound 2 Escape Oct 19 Excerpt  & Giveaway

Megan Mommy’s Memorandum Oct 20 Review & Excerpt

Raymond Amazon Reviewer Oct 23 Review

Katy Amazon Reviewer Oct 24 Review

Leonide Leonide Martin Blog Nov 6 Review & Guest Post

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 29 Review

*This schedule is subject to change

Journey Within by J. Mitchel Baker

The Mean

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The Mean by John Arthur Long

Told with elements of heart-rending pathos, nerve-wracking tension and scenes of disarming humor, THE MEAN is a riveting novel of school days that looks at the nature of true learning, the best and worst in public education, the drama of human relationships and the threat of violence that has recently become such an integral part of our lives.

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Author’s Bio

9/26/17 VOICE ARTS AWARDS NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED: AUDIOBOOK NARRATION – John Arthur Long, Best Voiceover Nomination, AUTHOR PERFORMANCE: THE MEAN and AUDIOBOOK NARRATION – John Arthur Long, Best Voiceover Nomination / MYSTERY: THE MEAN

John Arthur Long’s latest novel, THE MEAN, is told with elements of heart-rending pathos, nerve-wracking tension and scenes of disarming humor. THE MEAN is a riveting novel of school days that looks at the nature of true learning, the best and worst in public education, the drama of human relationships and the threat of violence that has recently become such an integral part of our lives. In addition to the Kindle edition, THE MEAN is also available in print and on audio both as an audio download or Hardcover CD from Blackstone Audio, featuring Long as the narrator of the novel.

John’s previous hard hitting work of fiction was THE HARVARD MAN: He is brilliant, possessing intelligence most would classify as genius, and he has always believed he was destined for Harvard University. However, there is a flaw. He is also mentally unstable, a psychopath with violent tendencies. Harvard has rejected his application! Now, he is determined to exact revenge in sweeping strokes of violence that will display his brilliance and bring America’s most prestigious university to its academic knees. THE HARVARD MAN. If he can’t have Harvard, no one can!

John Arthur Long’s first published novel, THE SIGN OF THE GUARDIAN, was released in two separate editions and optioned twice for motion picture production for which Mr. Long co-authored the screenplay. THE SIGN OF THE GUARDIAN is now available as a Kindle book. EVE OF REGRESSION, Long’s second novel about the search for the grave of the first woman, has been translated into several different languages and distributed worldwide as a bestseller and was recently re-issued as a Kindle book titled THE GATES OF EDEN. Long is also the co-author of a children’s book, THE TOOTH FAIRY LEGEND, which was based on his original family musical for which he co-wrote the book and music that Liz Smith called “delicious,” in her column about its New York premiere which had sold out audiences. More information about the Tooth Fairy can be found at http://www.toothfairylegend.com. An illustrated version of THE TOOTH FAIRY LEGEND is available as a Kindle book.

Along with his fiction writing successes, Mr. Long has been active in theater, having directed many dramas and musicals. Most recently he was nominated for Best Director for an Off Broadway revival production of WAIT UNTIL DARK at the Chain Theatre in LIC. He is also co-author of CONSPIRACY, a musical of the Chicago Eight Trial, and the modern tragedy, THE FINAL PERFORMANCE OF THE MOBLED QUEEN.

John Arthur Long also works as a voiceover professional, performing audio voiceovers for websites both in the United States and Europe as well performing voiceovers for commercials and audio books.

All of John Arthur Long’s professional writing is available in digital form through Vellum Publishing, Inc. at www.newkindlebooks.com.

My Review

5 stars

Enter a high school and you will find all kinds of craziness. This story revolves around different events that can be found in almost any high school. You have a teacher discovering feces in a drawer because one student thinks it is hilarious to leave these little nuggets around the school. You have a young girl that is rebelling by dressing and acting promiscuous and finds herself with a stalker.

But it is not limited to just the students. A teacher is using Tibetan Balls to calm his class and is facing protests that this is not how to teach. Of course there are the interwork relationships and political hoops for the staff to jump through. And if that was not enough of a mess, a suspected terrorist has planned on releasing a nerve gas on this school.

This book had a little bit of everything in it. I was not expecting this book to go where it did. Yes, I remember some of the drama from high school so I was prepared for some of it. But I have to admit when I was reading about a student hiding feces around the school I was wondering what I was getting into. On my worst day in high school we never had anything like that.

This story reminds me of a daytime soap opera and one top of that you have a terrorist threat. You will reach all of the emotions as you go through this story. I really enjoyed it and recommend everyone check it out. You will be pleasantly surprised.

I received The Mean from Sherri Rosen Publicity for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Mercury’s Son

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Mercury’s Son by Luke ET Hindmarsh

Valko can see the last moments of a victim’s life.

It comes at a price – a scrap of flesh cut from his brain and replaced with an implant. Bound to a drug that lets him use his insight but brings with it the pain of synthetic emotion, he’s at war with himself.

Now a killer has found a way to hide from him and two people are dead. Someone wants to keep their secrets buried. The trail leads out into the wasteland where death flies on the wind as nanotech dust.

Manipulated and betrayed, Valko must get to the truth before his time runs out.

If he only knew who to trust maybe he’d have a chance, but a man with an artificial soul can’t even trust himself…

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 Luke E.T. Hindmarsh

Author’s Bio

Author of Mercury’s Son–a dystopian and thought-provoking sci-fi thriller, described by one reader as “bursting with invention and ideas”–and the soon to be released 3:33–written past the witching hour and filled with enough creepiness that I had to turn the light on to rush across the landing to bed most nights I wrote it.

You can find Mercury’s Son on Amazon at the links above. Look out for a sample from 3.33 in the near future. But be warned! You might find yourself swept away to a future where you cannot trust yourself… or in sudden need of a night light! Before I gave up the real world for the darkness of the future and the graveyard chill of suspense, I worked as a Criminal Barrister in London for ten years. That doesn’t qualify me for making a good coffee, but it does mean that I saw the dirty, grimy and sometimes downright nasty side of humanity on a daily basis–and believe it or not, I have done an ‘axe murderer’ trial! Luckily, I love the human race, so while you’ll see the taint of my time as a lawyer, there’s hope in the pages I write too. I have a brighter side–my two young children who inspire me to stop writing on a daily basis to spend time playing the fool for them and my wife who tolerates the madness of my working life. Which is to say, she only tells me to stop talking about writing once an hour. I also teach Shinseido Karate, which is a traditional Okinawan system derived from Shorin Ryu Karate. Shinseido followed the tradition of taking its name from the senior teacher of the system–my dear friend and mentor Shinsei-sensei. The joys of this system are that it’s been tested in the real world–in the streets and in a ward for the extremely violent, criminally insane. So when I write action–which happens when it’s called for–, you can be sure it comes from my own experience and knowledge helped by the candid accounts of fellow instructors and students and given gritty realism from the sheer number of stabbings, shootings and punch-ups I dealt with in my previous career. Finally, when I’m back on this planet and my pulse isn’t racing with fear–I rock out on the guitar and burn off some nervous energy weight training or riding my motorcycle.

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My Review

5 Stars

The Earth has been destroyed and civilizations are living in small, over crowded cities while the Earth repairs itself. The Temple of the Wounded Mother is the religion that has risen to try and save the world. The believers hate humanity and kill numerous people yearly to try to help the Earth heal faster. Valko Gangleri is a Moderator in this world. He has an implant that lets him read minds and is basically a judge, jury, and executioner unless he is on the drugs that opens his empathy.

Valko is sent to investigate the death of a scientist and finds something strange, someone is hiding information from him which should be impossible. Valko starts to dig deeper and starts uncovering some unspoken truths. It’s easy enough to create truths as it is to create lies. It’s also very easy to brainwash people, create mind control, and have clones mucking everything up.

With the release of Blade Runner 2049, Mercury’s Son fits into this genre. Although Valko is struggling with his emotions and trying to determine truth from lies, he is supposed to look into the death of a scientist and another person. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much happening in this world. Religious cults, mass slaughter, government control, a ruined and desecrated Earth.

This is a very involved yet not over whelming story. I was kept guessing at who the killer was and why until the very end. I loved how dark and dirty this world is, the description if moving. If you like the dirty, futuristic thrillers I think you need to check this one out.

I received Mercury’s Son from Sage’s Reading Room for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

The Crows of Beara

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The Crows of Beara

By Julie Christine Johnson

Genre: Fiction, Climate Fiction, Eco-Lit, Women’s Fiction

 Along the windswept coast of Ireland, a woman discovers the landscape of her own heart

When Annie Crowe travels from Seattle to a small Irish village to promote a new copper mine, her public relations career is hanging in the balance. Struggling to overcome her troubled past and a failing marriage, Annie is eager for a chance to rebuild her life.

Yet when she arrives on the remote Beara Peninsula, Annie learns that the mine would encroach on the nesting ground of an endangered bird, the Red-billed Chough, and many in the community are fiercely protective of this wild place. Among them is Daniel Savage, a local artist battling demons of his own, who has been recruited to help block the mine.

Despite their differences, Annie and Daniel find themselves drawn toward each other, and, inexplicably, they begin to hear the same voice–a strange, distant whisper of Gaelic, like sorrow blowing in the wind.

Guided by ancient mythology and challenged by modern problems, Annie must confront the half-truths she has been sent to spread and the lies she has been telling herself. Most of all, she must open her heart to the healing power of this rugged land and its people.

Beautifully crafted with environmental themes, a lyrical Irish setting, and a touch of magical realism, The Crows of Beara is a breathtaking novel of how the nature of place encompasses everything that we are.

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About the Author

Julie’s short stories and essays have appeared in several journals, including Emerge Literary Journal; Mud Season Review; Cirque: A Literary Journal of the North Pacific Rim; Cobalt; River Poets Journal, in the print anthologies Stories for Sendai; Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers; and Three Minus One: Stories of Love and Loss; and featured on the flash fiction podcast No Extra Words. She holds undergraduate degrees in French and Psychology and a Master’s in International Affairs. Julie leads writing workshops and seminars and offers story/developmental editing and writer coaching services.

Named a “standout debut” by the Library Journal, “Very highly recommended” by Historical Novels Review and declared “Delicate and haunting, romantic and mystical” by bestselling author Greer Macallister, Julie’s debut novel In Another Life went into a second printing three days after its February 2, 2016 release.

A finalist for The Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, judged by PEN/Faulkner author and Man Booker Award nominee Karen Joy Fowler, Julie’s second novel The Crows of Beara was acquired by Ashland Creek Press and will take flight on September 15, 2017.

A hiker, yogi, and wine geek, Julie makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington state. 

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EXCERPT

It took him longer than he anticipated to find a space near the gallery’s back loading door and to bring the last of his pieces inside, but when Daniel walked into the gallery, Annie was standing transfixed in front of the sculpture he’d titled Grian/Gealach—Sunrise/Sunset—her hand reaching for the delicate spheres of metal. She withdrew her hand before touching the piece, though her body leaned in still.

“Go on. It’s all right,” he said over her shoulder, removing a pair of stained and torn leather work gloves.

She seemed not to register him. Then she turned and nodded at the gloves he clutched in one hand. “Do you work here?”

“I’m delivering pieces for the installation.” He waved around the exhibit space. “We’ve set up just a few so far, but they give you an idea.”

“Is the artist a friend of yours?”

“Some days, yes. Some days I really can’t stand the sight of the bastard. But mostly we get along.” He winked and motioned her toward the sculpture. “Really, it’s meant for all the senses, not just visual. Go on.”

She drew the tip of her finger down one large round of metal. It blazed like firelight, catching the dipping sun, but the metal was cool. “It’s beautiful.”

“I like for people to handle these pieces—I want them to feel the texture and temperature of the materials.” Annie turned in surprise, but Daniel pretended not to notice. “Fingerprints leave marks and oil—that’s a good thing, at least for my work. People change my art as much as I hope it changes them.”

“I didn’t know you were an artist.”

“I do the guiding to keep a steady income coming in, but this is meant to be my day job.”

Giant parcels wrapped in quilted moving blankets leaned against the walls; only one other piece had been unwrapped, a protective cover draped over the corners. It was a tall, narrow triptych of patinated metal with a background of aquamarine. Gracing the foreground was a long hawthorn stem of leaves and berries that shimmered and waved in a silhouette of red and gold.

“This is copper,” she said in wonder. “You work with copper.”

“Copper mostly. Some bronze, chrome. I’m just starting in with glass—studying with an artist out of a cooperative here in Kenmare.”

“But, Daniel. Copper.”

“Recycled copper. I use discarded materials, from building sites mostly. Ironic, right? I don’t want the mine in my backyard, but I’m willing to exploit it nonetheless—is that what you’re thinking? I’m not so naive as to think we shouldn’t have mining.”

He pulled the cover away from the sculpture’s sharp edges and let it drop to the floor. The hawthorn was in a cow pasture where he often sat, watching for the Red-billed Chough that foraged for seeds in the manure. “But in my own way, maybe I can show that the earth’s resources aren’t ours for the taking wherever, whenever we want. Art is a way to connect people with their environment without polarizing, without politicizing. It can be used to that purpose, but it belongs to everyone. I want my art to show nature as a cultural artifact. I made a very deliberate decision to use what’s already been taken from the earth—what had been stripped from Beara’s earth more than a century ago. Maybe that is my political statement.”

At that moment, hearing the words in his own voice, speaking his heart out loud, Daniel made his decision. But it was something he needed to sit with, to form more fully on his own. And he couldn’t forget, no matter how enchanting this woman was, who she was, why their paths had crossed.