Book Review: I Can’t Find My Flashlight ed. by JK Larkin


Book Review: I Can’t Find My Flashlight-Contemporary Campfire Stories ed. By JK Larkin (Red Penguin Books, 2020)

Love scary stories? With Halloween coming up, there’s nothing like keeping the lights off with burning candles casting spooky shadows and spooky music in the background. This book is filled with some of the scariest stories you’ll ever read. The best part is that these are adult stories—not written for children or the faint of heart!

Topics? Kidnapping by a mysterious man, creepy neighbors, an anti-hero Santa, visits from the Devil, virulent food, ubiquitous street entertainer, evil shape shifters, vengeful souls, roasting souls, and an ominous Ouija board.

Authors? Hayley St. James, Christina Hoag, D E McCluskey, William John Rostron, Christ Kennedy, David Lange, Elaine Donadio, Lisa Diaz Meyer, Alex Grey, Frances Lu-Pai Ippolito.

Available at

Happy Reading!


All rights reserved 2021

Remembering—A 9/11 Tribute

Whenever I see images of what once were the North and South Towers of The World Trade Center, my body reacts with chills and tears. Yes, the spaces are filled with something else, but the spirits of the lost remain. Native New Yorkers can’t forget. I did not lose family or friends that terrible day, but the collective conscience remains strong with the pain of loss experienced by thousands. My prayer for the lost: may eternal light shine upon them ….

I remember my visit to the 9/11 Memorial in downtown Manhattan. It was something I wanted to do, but no one wanted to go with me. “Too far,” they said. “Too sad,” they added. “Besides, you can’t park there and I don’t do subways.”

I guess the universe picked up my thoughts. One of my former colleagues soon called me unexpectedly to ask if I was at all interested in visiting the Memorial. I was very thankful for this gift.

We boarded the Express Bus in Queens to the Wall Street area and rode in air-conditioned comfort on a scorching hot day.

At first the memorial seemed disappointing because we kept looking up, expecting to find the exhibits on the upper floors. Instead, we were directed to descend deeper and deeper into the very heart of the earth where the exhibit slowly revealed itself. We walked the same stone steps that led the few lucky survivors to life, and helpless victims to death—the remaining remnants of the stairwells filled with terrified employees rushing down, and brave First Responders confidently moving up.

How many made it out alive to tell their stories? How many left their wallets, shoes, photos, lipstick, handbags, ID cards, and uniform buttons as proof they had once lived? Their bodies somehow missing, only scant possessions remained.

Sad for days, the visions stayed with me—the thwacking sounds as their bodies hit the pavement after jumping out of windows to escape the flames, screams of terror and disbelief, tears of sadness.

I remember.

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2021.

Book Review: Am I Overthinking This? A Self-Help Essay Collection, ed. by JK Larkin

Am I Overthinking This?

A Self-Help Essay Collection

Ed. By JK Larkin

Red Penguin Books (2021)

If you’ve ever felt confused and overwhelmed about what action to take in making important life decisions, you’re sure to find some sage advice in this book to point you in the right direction. Examples come from relatable life experiences. Suggestions are direct and to the point and are easy to follow. 

Topics: How to find happiness, controlling news and social media bombardment, coming back from PTSD, walking our true path, how our astrological sign affects brain overload, is luck random, how proper breathing releases anxiety, looking for the Light, even with help only YOU can fix YOU, how our thoughts become our reality, walking away from abusive relationships, life’s lessons from a chess game, getting to the crux of the problem of bad dreams, learning to disregard fears to live a fulfilling life.

Authors: KB Gauthier, Michael P. Kusen, Jim Tritten, Elaine Donadio, Joanne Angel Barry Colon, Skye Ballantyne, Anna E. Kravis, David Lange, Christina Hoag, Mary Claire Leming. Happy reading

Book Review: The Roaring ’20s-A Decade of Stories, ed. by JK Larkin

Book Review: The Roaring ’20s-A Decade of Stories, Anthology, ed. by JK Larkin (Red Penguin Books, 2021)

Has life really changed so much in the last hundred years? You’ll realize just how much when you read the short stories by these eleven talented authors. Capturing the attitudes, culture, and everyday lives of days gone by, readers are struck by the differences. Despite the title, this book contains stories that are set in the 1920s as well as the decades that follow. 

Music? Dances? Cocktails? Slang? Transportation? Family life? Relationships? Clothing Styles? Goals? Problems? All different from those of present day life.

You’ll read short stories by such authors as David Lange, Shevaun Cavanaugh Kastl, Eric Wayne, Amanda Montoni, Debbie De Louise, Olivia Arieti, Terri Paul, Elaine Donadio, Anita Haas, Robert A. Morris, and William John Rostron. 

Available at Amazon. Happy reading!

Book Review: The Beauty Within: Stories of Spirituality, Faith, and Love (Anthology)

Review by Elaine Donadio
The Beauty Within: Stories of Spirituality, Faith, and Love (Anthology)
Ed. By JK Larkin (Red Penguin Books, 2020)

The cover of this book attracted my attention as I immediately noticed the contrast between the sterile foreground as compared with the lush, verdant background. Hmmm.

Browsing through the chapter headings I realized the symbolism. The beauty within us is often hidden by a cold, uncommunicative exterior, but go a little deeper, and the inner beauty reveals itself.

This book is comprised of sixteen stories of spirituality, faith, and love, all written by different authors with a different slant on these themes. Don’t expect preachy, archaic, mundane dogma. Instead, appreciate life’s lessons portrayed in the real world.

How does a brother show his love? What makes a hero? How can we help our loved ones transition to the next realm? Do we really overcome the loss of unborn children? How do we keep the faith when we are plagued by sickness? How do supportive people remind us of God’s love? Can yelling at God help us live a better life? How is hope the twin of faith? How can the Divine Wind give us hope? How do the cultural contrasts of New Orleans portray and strengthen love of God? Is the quest for Tao meant to be easy? Must the memory of lost love haunt us forever? How can past, present, and future transcend the physical realm? How are the Northern Lights a sign that no one is really ever gone? Does freedom mean escape or enlightenment?

You’ll be pleased to discover short stories, poems and even a play by such talented authors as Linda Trott Dickman, William John Rostron, Dan Kerr, Jacqueline Bottenbley, Rolanda T. Pyle, Jenna Zeihen, Skye Ballantyne, Katherine Abraham, David Lange, Elaine Donadio, J.S. Mannino, Sage Holloway, Brianna White, and Alaina Messineo.


Happy Reading!


Free Ebooks by Elaine Donadio: July 4-11

Free Ebooks – July 4-11 by Elaine Donadio

Elaine Donadio Interviewed by Stephanie Larkin- Between the Covers- Dec 4, 2021

Please click here to watch as Stephanie Larkin interviews me, Elaine Donadio, and fellow authors Janet Rudolph and Nicholas Shatarah at Strong Island TV, Massapequa, NY

Great News! Two Submissions Accepted to Am I Overthinking This? Anthology, Red Penguin Books (2021)

I am so happy that both my submissions “How Your Thoughts Become Your Reality” and “Walking Your True Path” have been accepted for Am I Overthinking This? (Red Penguin Books, 2021, Anthology ed. by JK Larkin)

Great News! My Short Story “The Frog Princess” in Once Upon a Time, Red Penguin Books

I am thrilled and honored that my modern short story adaptation of “The Frog Princess” has been accepted into the Once Upon a Time Fairy Tale Anthology, ed. by JK Larkin, Red Penguin Books, 2021

Book Review: The Exiles: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline

Engaging, heartbreaking tale of the lives of three hapless females whose lives and stories converge in Australia. Beginning in London in 1840 and ending in London in 1868, we are reminded once again how prevalent mistreatment and severe punishment of the lower classes were in the Great Britain of the 19th century. Convicts were sent to Australia, which served as a penal colony, on slave ships to pay off their debts to society—some for serious crimes, others for minor infractions. Men and women received the same punishment and children often accompanied their mothers throughout this degrading ordeal.

Living in sub-human conditions in British prisons, then slave transport ships for the three months long journey from Britain to Australia, convicts fought to stay alive in overcrowded confinement—filthy, shackled, at starvation, surrounded by rodents, denied medical treatment, victims of rape by sexually aggressive sailors. Some lived out their sentences in prisons, while others were utilized as forced labor for the ruling classes.

The lives of three hapless females intersect and overlap beginning in 1840 Australia and in the years that follow. Each one is a recipient of kindness which is paid back in unforeseen ways.

Eight-year-old Mathinna, an orphaned Australian Aboriginal girl is temporarily adopted by a wealthy family as an experiment to see if she can be educated in the civilized ways of the wealthy.

Twenty-one-year-old Evangeline, is a London governess and daughter of a church Vicar, used, impregnated, and discarded by an upper crust member of London society.

Sixteen-year-old Hazel, healer and mid-wife, is eventually able to escape her miserable life.

Not everyone is so lucky. Much depends on the backgrounds and skills they bring with them, as well as a helping hand from the kind and fair-minded people around them.

Lower class women were worth nothing, as were their children. Only ladies were protected but their rights were derived from their fathers, then their husbands.

Well-researched book. Well-written. It presents a moment-in-time history of Great Britain that should make any member of the ruling class weep in shame. It’s hard to imagine what warped justification drove these God-fearing people.

There are some weak points in the story. Mathinna virtually disappears, and we don’t find out her fate for many years. Evangeline’s thoughts lead us to hope for a different ending from what occurs. Helen’s miraculous reinvention is not described but only alluded to at the end of the book. Another important character suddenly appears grown up, independent, and feisty. I would have liked to accompany her on her journey to adulthood.

Previous Older Entries

Saturday, March 14, 2020- Barnes & Noble, Massapequa, NY 12:00-4:00pm

May 2023
%d bloggers like this: