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January 2023 Books Read and Reviewed

The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz


In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don't Take Anything Personally, Don't Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best.

This nonfiction book has been on my TBR for quite a while. I like to include books like this in my reading on occasion. The Four Agreements was an enlightening read that let me look at life in a different perspective. The authors description of life here on earth being hell seemed fitting, especially with all the chaos as of late. He then went on to share how to change life to where it’s not akin to living in hell. He detailed the process he used to change his view of it and shared words that he lives by. It was an inspiring read and I loved the belief he shared that we are made of light. I was determined to read it but it wasn’t something that easily kept me pulled in.

Bringing Home the Rain, Book 1 of The Jubal County Saga, Redemption of Howard Marsh by Bob McGough


Howard Marsh is a lot of things: a liar, a thief, a poor man’s wizard. He’s the product of a miserable county with more dirt roads than paved; where poverty and loss is the order of the day. He’s a man haunted by his past, and has yet to find any reason to try and piece himself back together.

Where we find him is at the bottom, eking out a living as a water witch, a copper thief, a finder of lost things. Living in a storage shed and trying to maintain what's left of the frayed relationships of the few family members who will still talk to him. Untrained, he uses the drugs that ravage his body to fuel his magic.

Within these pages Marsh will work to unravel two supernatural mysteries as only a redneck wizard can: poorly, and with much cursing. In Bringing Home the Rain he has to piece together just why it hasn’t rained in months within the bounds of a perfect circle just south of town. And in Dancing With Your Demons he’s on the trail of a missing woman whose now infamous son once burned down a church.

He is Howard Marsh, the Methgician.

He’s a travesty...but he’s the best hope Jubal County has.

(Warning: This book contains much cursing and foul language, as befits a tale told by a drug addled white trash wizard.)

This was the first book of Mr. McGough’s that I’ve read and laughed my ass off. There were some sad tender moments but this book easily kept me hooked. From the world building to the mythical characters, this author hit the nail on the head.

Howard Marsh was interesting as the lead character. I was curious right away about his past after discovering he’s an addict who lives in a storage unit. What drove him to that life? Was it to save more money for drugs or is that the best way to avoid things from his past?

Mr. Marsh shows just tender side more in the second story of this book rather than the first. He risks his life to save some kids after discovering how their mother was murdered. He has a strange and uncanny way of finding himself mixed up in things without trying.

The county he lives in was an easy replica of an urban southern setting. McGough gives readers a glimpse of the poverty and underlying issues toed to the magic of the community. It has me interested about how it will change as the series progresses.

One of my favorite scenes in this first book is Howard’s battle with the Puka. It took several hilarious turns. I even discovered the author use of the words “watch put for squirrels” from where he signed my book. Excellent read.

You can also find more out about Howard Marsh on this Character Driven episode featuring me and Bob McGough:

Dark Waters & The Elementalist by Meredith Hart

Dark Waters Synopsis:

As dark waters churn all around them, can they trust their new companions?

Lady Anette Scarvian has spent her entire life inside her family’s decaying estate hiding her wildmage powers and waiting for her chance to see the world. When her uncle wakes her in the dead of night and sends her to the distant city of Mayhaven to find her brother Vethe, Anette discovers the world outside of Raven’s Wing is nothing like her story books. And finding her brother will be far more difficult than she could have imagined. In the city of Mayhaven, the Citadel has declared Lyria Guardia dead, but Lyria’s brother Gaul isn't so sure. Although if he can't trust the Citadel, his Guild's most lucrative employer, Gaul wonders if he can trust anyone. Especially when a mysterious, beautiful noblewoman shows up at the Guard’s Guild and begins asking questions about the man the Citadel claims killed Lyria: Lord Vethe Scarvian. On a distant island, Vethe and Lyria escaped the sinister Citadel with their lives and nothing else. Now the wildmage and the guard find themselves stranded with a group of outcasts who are dangerously suspicious of both the noble-born Vethe and Lyria’s family history with the Guard’s Guild. Can the former lovers trust their new surroundings? And can they even trust each other?

The Elementalist Synopsis:

The second Demon War has begun, and no one is safe. Vethe and Lyria stand outside the gates of Ocrus Sheau, a mysterious kingdom where all wildmages are forced into slavery, hoping to unearth information that could help Prince Kyalam in his struggle against the Citadel without ending up in chains. Entering the kingdom depends on an invitation from the dangerous God-King, but escaping will prove even more treacherous. On the banks of the Davelroth River, Gaul and Anette have just survived a demon attack, but not before the traitor who’d planned to betray them revealed the location of a secret wildmage encampment to a sinister Citadel master. Now Gaul and Anette must put aside their quarrels, and their growing attraction, in order to reach the encampment before the Citadel. But the encampment will hold dangers of its own, especially once Anette reveals her heritage. Long-lost secrets will come to light, ancient prophecies will demand fulfillment, and the final battle for the future of humanity will begin when the Elementalist returns! The Elementalist is the final book in an epic romantic fantasy adventure series. Fans of Miranda Honfleur, Grace Draven, and Sarah J. Maas will love this story of forbidden magic, dangerous adventure, and sizzling enemies-to-lovers romance.

These two books I read back-to-back. I started this series several years ago and fell in love with the two main characters Vethe and Lyria.

These final two books of the series add more focus on two more characters, Vethe’s sister Annette and Lyria’s older brother Gaul. This allowed readers to get a bigger picture of what was happening in this fantasy world. While Vethe and Lyria were dealing with an arrogant king trying to gain information on how to stop the demons attacking the land, Gaul and Annette were facing their own issues. The four of them worked together to discover how to stop the mass chaos on their land.

This story played up the romance between characters well with an occasional steamy scene. There was excellent character development from the start of the series to the very end. Lyria and Vethe helped to change many of the people of their homeland’s minds on the magic of their world and the ones leading them. No more were they going to be blinded by power. I highly recommend this fast-paced series.

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