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Where the Yellow Violets Grow

Where the Yellow Violets Grow While I am a military historian, I look more at the culture and the people behind the uniform, which made this book so much better. It is the haunting story of love formed during war and the trials and tribulations of that. War elicits strong emotions, from hatred of the enemy to passion for that fellow soldier. This book has it all, including the fear of the unknown. What is more provoking is that it is based on the real letters of the author's family member. It masterfully combines real life events with fictional additions to help the story progress and develop. The raw emotion and poignant narration had me grabbing my tissues, even though I told myself I wouldn't. Not many things make me cry, but this book did. Reasons I enjoyed this book:

Where History and Fae Meet

I enjoyed reading Thread of a Spider by D.L. Gardner, but I wondered how to pronounce the Irish names like Ailis, Eistir, Pàdraig, Fianna and Fin Haden Rath. I was delighted to learn that an Audible version was available, and that the narrator, Lee Brophy, is Irish. The author gave me a copy of the audiobook, and this is my honest review.

Thread of a Spider is very good and extremely well written. It is both a thrilling historical fiction about teen siblings caught up in the Irish Rebellion, and a fantasy story about a boy who is spirited away by the fae and his sister's efforts to bring him back. These two subplots are expertly woven together, and both are brought to a satisfying conclusion by the end of the novel. At many points during the story I was impressed with details that made the story seem so real, and how well the dialog was written.

Although the book is a joy to read, the Audible version is even better. Lee Brophy does an excellent job reading the story, and changing his voice as different characters talk. The lilting Irish accent is a joy to listen to, and adds realism to the conversations between the characters. The pace of the reading varied with the tension of the scene, adding drama to an already exciting story. I highly recommend listening to this book.

A Must Read

An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody. D.L. Gardner weaves an addictive story that fires the imagination and immerses you deeply into the world of the Peadlebody’s.

Find the magic in yourself!

Dylan supposedly has limited capabilities. His parents are not together and Dylan has been removed from his mother's home due to her abusiveness. Dylan's uncle chooses to take care of Dylan, but the uncle is in a wheelchair so he has limitations consequently Dylan and his uncle take care of one another. Then Dylan's beloved uncle dies... the one person who loved Dylan. An aunt puts Dylan in a home where he will be cared for. However, after trauma Dylan runs away. Dylan reconnects with his uncle's friend where through Dylan's magic he is able to help the friend. Dylan also connects with a friend from the home that he ran away from and gradually he learns that he has many capabilities despite being told otherwise by his abusive mother.. Dylan learns he is capable of taking care of himself. He finds love and learns to trust and love himself and others. Plus, he learns to do what he loves!

This book has an excellent message. The characterization and description is delightful. The message is great for pre-teens to adults.

An Excellent Story

Dylan: An excellent story. The author delves deeply into Dylan's character so the reader knows what he is made of and sees that he is also like everyone else, no matter who calls him "slow". His Uncle Jim taught him well and now Dylan has to live his own life. It takes him a little while to figure out who he is and what he really wants from life. He is thrown some unexpected curves that he must figure out, but Liona is there to help him.
Dylan tends to run, and wouldn't we all like to run from our troubles. He runs to the sea and the author paints wonderful word pictures of the ocean waves, salty spray, and the peace that's found there.
Dylan's magic isn't the main subject of the story as it would be in some fantasies. It's just a part of who he is that he needs to learn to control. We see Dylan grow up and become a man.


Dylan: A child so young being abused by his mother and then the State took him away from her and Dylan went to live with an Uncle and his life was much easier. Dylan was not handicapped but was considered slow. When his Uncle died, Dylan was taken to another home. Learning about himself and not having a friend to help was pure hell and a long journey for him. This is a heart touching story and deserves to be read. Good book.

A Hard Journey Won

A Hard Won Journey April 25, 2018 Dylan touched my heart and mind all at the same time. The struggles he goes through and overcomes and accepting himself just the way he is is a journey I am glad I took.

Beautiful and mysterious places

Ian's Realm Saga: This rich trilogy stays with me and invites me back again to journey with the author's engaging characters through unique, threatening, beautiful and mysterious places. Ms. Gardner has a way of making her characters accessible and sympathetic but complex. We travel with them, we mature and learn with them, we feel their confusion, terror, relief, and joy. Ms. Gardner does not talk down to the young fans for whom she writes, and her fantasy novels are page turners for adults as well. This series is not to be missed!

Portals, Dragons and Strangers, Oh My!

Ian's Realm: Being a teen is tough – especially when you’re caught up in a world you know nothing about while your dad’s lost somewhere. The challenge of school and every day life will never be the same.

I’ve been excited to read Ian’s story since I first heard about his characters and “Deception Peak” did not disappoint. The story is adventurous and a pleasure to read, painting very real images with both words and beautiful visual art created by the author. I absolutely adore stories that pull you into a character and rumble around in their head with their highs and woes, like the internal struggles and growth Ian experiences. The story has consistent movement with plenty of action the reader gets to experience via Ian.

I enjoyed the contemporary elements and the ties to the real world throughout, making sure it’s never truly astray. Particularly touching is the father-son aspect which draws me in even more because it reminds me of my own family, where my father and brother share an interest in technology and work on projects together. It’s like being home.

The kindness shown by Amleth and others caught my heart, providing a lovely balance to other characters who aren’t as kind. I’m also a sucker for the varying emotions involved in the story, making the characters real like they should be in any great adventure. Sometimes the world is up and sometimes it’s down, but Ian keeps going. He has pluck and courage, yet there is certainly a lot of potential for him to grow! He faces several hefty lessons but his heart is in the right place, all of which is valuable to our youth who are reading and learning about the world and who they can be. I look forward to see how Ian progresses.

A Wondrous Tale

Ian's Realm: Dianne Gardner takes a simple premise - that of a young boy and his father whisked away into a magical land, and transforms it into something that is a true work of art. Young Ian and his dad discover that the computer program they had worked so hard to bring to life has begun to take on a life of its own.

While it is classified under Young Adult, this book transcends all such boundaries. Sure, the characters are highly relatable to teens and middle-grade readers, but the struggles of the characters, paired with her singularly masterful writing transports the young and old to an ancient land ruled by a vengeful draconic lord. I'm astounded at how the author uses her experiences to add a realism to the work which makes you believe that, lurking behind every screen, Ian's Realm might just wait... living, and breathing under a dragon's eye. With wonder and enchantment worthy of Narnia, this series will not disappoint.

Oh Sweet Lord!

An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody: This was hilarious, entertaining, and so incredibly unique! I mean, how many vampires get laid out on their back by the butler?! And was that a Gorgon at the funeral?!

Magical Realm!

Cassandra's Castle: Magical Realm! February 10, 2018 Smooth flowing and descriptive story with well developed characters. You are transported to a different realm, set in an earlier age. You are right there with Cassandra through her adventure. Can be read as a stand alone book. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Cassandra's Castle

Cassandras Castle Cassandras Castle is a very exciting adventure thru time! It has you engaged the whole time, this is a! great book for all ages!

Not Her Father's Realm

Cassandra's Castle: This was a wonderful sequel to "Ian's Realm". I enjoyed reading how Ian's daughter jumps into the Realm without an idea of what she would do there, or where there would be. It wasn't her father's Realm. She quickly finds herself in a war trying to decide which side she should be on.
The author pulls the reader into the story with vivid descriptions, great imaginary characters, and a great plot. Read it, you will love it.

Excellent Young Adult Fair

Cassandra's Castle is an excellent book in a Young Adult series. However, if you like Fantasy/Alternative Universes/ soft Sci Fi, even older adults will enjoy this book. I interviewed the Author for a local Public Access Television program and she went into depth about basing the "world" of the book on actual historical situations of the 19th and 20th centuries. She has woven a story line with some twists into an excellent book that will hold the interest of all readers. Her writing style is smooth and descriptive. Hopefully Diane Gardner will continue on with this series, as well as achieve her goal of a film and web series. Many Thumbs up!

Suspense, fantasy, thought-provoking,

Cassandra's Castle: I bought the book because I know the model on the cover, Katie Rose, and the whimsical sound of the book beckoned. Having not read the prior volumes of the saga, I struggled through the first 30 pages of mostly dialogue between characters, but then Cassandra entered the parallel realm and I was captivated. The plot is well-developed with several twists; one I completely didn't expect! Gardner does an excellent job of developing Cassie as teen who is daring, thoughtful, realistic yet hopeful, brave, passionate in her beliefs, and willing to risk all for the causes she embraces. Several themes emerge: honor, honesty, treachery, love, valor, courage, faith, family, finding and following one's destiny. Truly an enjoyable read!

Family Friendly Fantasy

Ian's Realm Saga Part 2: As with the first in the series this book quickly drew me in and felt all the hurt, the frustration and confusion Ian felt. Dianne has a very poignant style of writing which allows you to lose yourself in the Realm along with Ian. I would love to see this adapted into a movie adventure! (I am sure Dianne would too, but seriously this is a wonderful story and I would love to see this on the big screen! I can see Ian on the back of Sparkle now, galloping through the grasslands and along the shore. It is a wonderful read! I loved how she is able to get not only into the head of a 18-year-old but also express the emotional responses of the father as well as the 18 year-old, Abbi whom he has lived with and is one of the only ones who knows his secret.

I recommend this for all your Harry Potter and fantasy adventures readers in your household. They will adore this series! It is an approved family read because the nature of the read is not only enjoyable to adults (hey I am a tough sell) but it deals with many issues and lessons that the middle age school child needs to learn. Issues such as honor, integrity respect and above all honesty. It also shows how loss can affect a child. As an adult it is good to see this perspective to help us understand and help them get through this. It is interesting to see from both Ian and his father's eyes see how children deal with situations and loss differently. This is the one thing that really makes this a five-star book, Dianne's ability to show so many different takes on things. It is pretty hard for a book to teach a lesson to both a child and an adult, and this one will. So grab it and read it with the child who is fighting dark elves and evil orcs in the backyard and share an adventure together!

The Dragon Shield

Ian's Realm Part 2: "Imaginative and finely crafted, The Dragon Shield continues Ian Wilson's journey to manhood begun in Dianne Gardner's first book, Deception Peak. Back in the realm to find his father and join the fight against the dragon, Ian is faced with a seemingly impossible dilemma. In order to earn the trust of the Kaemperns, he must prove his worth as a warrior, but then he discovers that this includes being willing to kill a young boy. Showing compassion, he stands up to his father and to the village elders, and refuses. As he goes through his warrior training, Ian learns that the boy he refused to kill has the power to control the dragon and ultimately bring destruction to the Kaemperns. When the girl he cares for is kidnapped by this same boy and a band of dangerous and rowdy men, he realizes war brings difficult choices.

A Cross Between Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter

Ian's Realm Saga Part 2: I was soon drawn into the story. It's a wonderful cross between Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. I liked the little no name being in the Realm, he has a lot of Dobby characteristics. He was a very unique character that could only come from a great imagination. Ian on the other hand, reminds me of a young Harry Potter. He's very charismatic. He's on a quest to find out what happened to his father in a world that's not of this earth.

Dianne's wonderfully descriptive writing style will have you so involved in the story that in a sense you will have forgotten that it was just a story. This is one of those books that you just can't seem to put down until you've turned the very last page. The book is very well written and enjoyable and I'm looking forward towards reading the entire series.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read great books! This is one that you will definitely enjoy.

Breath of Life

Ian's Realm Saga: ...I will say that Ian is so real to the synopsis and picture that he can be. He is a boy, young man that has struggles that would not just be so plauseable in the real world but takes his life into a realm that you think he will not survive. But even thou author Dianne Lynn Gardner takes Ian into that type of world, you can and will loose yourself into that realm yourself.

What an exciting book, can not wait to sink myself into the next one. A far out way to start my year off with this saga.

As you all know I do not get into to the story, but I recommend this book to all young adult and older to grab this saga up and hold on to the books for your younger ones to grow into them. It will be one saga that you will want to pass on to your younger readers in their time.

So due to the above, I am giving this book a Breath of Life ratings of:

Five Clock Rating!!!


Thread of a Spider: The combination of historical fiction and fantasy is a tricky endeavor. The art of remaining loyal to the past while weaving the mystical elements of popular folklore doesn’t always work. But in the book Thread of a Spider by D. L. Gardner (Ian’s Realm Saga, Pouraka), the differing elements are knitted in a fine literary tapestry of plausibility.

Masterful Job

Thread of a Spider: Gardner does a masterful job of bringing these two warring worlds together. The magical elements of the story play key roles in resolving some of the conflicts, but they do not feel overly intrusive to the historical foundation of the plot. The drama that unfolds in Thread of a Spider can just as easily be determined by natural elements, but the presence of fantasy adds a spirit of charm to an otherwise dark time. This melding of genres allows readers more opportunities to see the emotional range of the characters.
Read the entire review on Amazing Stories Magazine

Poignant historical romance

Where the Yellow Violets Grow: Poignant historical romance set against the backdrop of WWII -- based on a true story April 23, 2018 I tore through this timeless, poignant love story set against the backdrop of World War II--a fictionalized account of the real-life romance that blossomed between Lieutenant Janet Castner, a nurse stationed in Petworth in West Sussex, England, and her patient, injured Sergeant Lou Morrissey. The author, Dianne Gardner, brings the brutality of war and all its complexities to life in riveting scenes spun with vivid metaphors and similes. For example: "Time...keeps going forward and shutting out the past like dirt shoveled into a tomb--memory its headstone." Against all odds, a deep and enduring bond developed between Castner and Morrissey, but did their love outlast the ravages of war? Read the book to find out.

Loved it!

Where the Yellow Violets Grow: The book pulled me in from the very beginning. Made me feel like I was right there in England! Loved the fact that it was a romance but was created from a true romance retold lovingly by family and created from love letters. Enjoyed the historical moments. Definitely a hit! More novels please!


Where the Yellow Violets Grow: An absolutely wonderful book that combines fascinating historical detail about the atrocities of World War II's Normandy invasion and German assaults on southern England with an engaging story about trauma, loss and love that is so real, so believable, I had to do a double take at the end to be sure this was fiction. I had no expectations when I began this book and wasn't sure I would like it, since it's not normally the genre I prefer. But it completely took me to that time and place, and I felt as if I was experiencing things for myself. I have never read such a book. I most highly recommend it.


Where the Yellow Violets Grow: I found this story very addictive! Once started I found myself engrossed in this tale & just could not it put it down! As well as the war story and the hardship and the violence and the death & sacrifice, this also shows the love & friendship that was born out of war & how this love stood the test of time. I cried, I laughed & oh I am so glad that I had the chance to read this story!

Danger, bravery and betrayal.

Thread of a Spider: Dianne Gardner has spun a find tale in her novel, Thread of a Spider. The plot intricately blends the fairy world with the human world where the Irish conflict with the British sends two Irish teens into the intrigues of war.  Danger, bravery, and betrayal are entangled in a web of deceit that kept me enthralled to the end.  I highly recommend Dianne’s entertaining story.