Roadside by Angie Dokos, a Book Review

Roadside by Angie Dokos, a Book Review

by Stella Brians


Ms. Dokos was kind enough to send me a copy of her book for an honest, and well thought out review.

Roadside is a romantic novel about a young woman who is assaulted and left for dead in the woods. She is then discovered by Levi, a detective, and his son Zayne. Her name is Serena, and she is a college student who works at a convenience store. Serena managed to  fight off her attacker (who is later identified) and crawl to the edge of the road where she is found and rescued.

What I liked about Roadside was  the packaging; the cover was simple and cute, and it remained tasteful in that aspect, while other romance novels tend to show naked people clinging to each other in some kind of ridiculous embrace.

Roadside was different. The  lovable macaroni and cheese orange font, complete with heart and a calming photo of a nice road surrounded by trees was a refreshing change. Another thing I liked was that the novel kept you interested in the characters, Serena’s recovery, the discovery of her attacker, and her relationship with Zayne. These four factors lead the plot until the end, which is a very positive thing.

What I did not like about the story was the writing style, because it felt a bit rushed and that it needed more work. I wish that the characters were older, and not college aged because they seem a bit immature and silly and that took away from the story for me. The last thing I did not like was the constant mention of religious elements, and how it seemed to control how the characters acted and what they did. I am also not a fan of novels that take place in the South, but that is a personal preference and should not impact future readers views of this book.

Overall, Roadside is a great book for young people, and Ms. Dokos did a remarkable job engaging the reader throughout the book.

To Purchase Roadside:


Balloon Man Book Review


Balloon Man

by Frances Laskowski

Book Review

by Stella Brians


 Horror has always been one of my favorite genres, so I was excited to read Balloon Man by Frances Laskowski. Set in Louisiana in present day, Laskowski tells the story of multiple people who together are all a part of Cooter’s (Balloon Man) story as a torturer and killer. She also tells the tales of all who are affected by him, and how they are able to survive and live a more positive life after Balloon Man puts them through the wringer. He is a filthy low life who hangs around a massive alligator known as Pyrrain, and kidnaps children by enchanting them with colorful balloons. I really enjoyed Balloon Man because in the ways of the women’s torture and survival it reminded me of my beloved V.C. Andrews. Laskowski has her own way of leading one chapter into the next, so that you are excited to make your way through the story. I can say that this is a great book for any time of the year. It would make a great beach read, a story for Halloween, or something to take with you on a long train ride! I look forward to reading more of Laskowski’s work. Something really unique to the Balloon Man novel, is that Frances wrote a song for the story.

You can listen to it here: 

To Purchase Balloon Man for Kindle, Paperback, or as an Audiobook:

The (Unofficial) Soundtrack of The Paperback Writer of Central Park

Check out my Unofficial Soundtrack for The Paperback Writer of Central Park. 🙂

The Paperback Writers Group

The (Unofficial) Soundtrack of The Paperback Writer of Central Park

Created and listened to thoroughly by Stella Brians

When writing I have a very poetic film approach. I envision what my world, characters, and their surroundings look and feel like. Hopefully this soundtrack gives you insight to the lost era I was born into, where The Paperback Writer of Central Park takes place. As you read this book, try to envision these songs alongside River, Elizabeth and Sarah’s adventures. Sarah is seen in Book Three, while River and Elizabeth make appearances in each book. From Book Four on, I will be refocusing the series on River and Elizabeth.

Listen to the music, enjoy, and reminiscence about when life was beautiful and simple.

Thank you for stopping by!


  1. Everyday is Like Sunday-Morrissey

2.   No More Lonely Nights–Paul McCartney

3. Tango in The Night–Fleetwood Mac

4. Anarchy in The UK–Sex Pistols 

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Important Hidden World of Wysteria Series Announcement!

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Readers and Fans of The Hidden World of Wysteria Series, I have a special announcement!

River and Elizabeth will return as the main characters in the fourth book (and  very likely in  the other books as well!)

River is one of my favorite characters, and I wanted to write more about he and Elizabeth. I think that the series should focus more on them, now that we have explored other characters and areas of Wysteria. I have really enjoyed writing about Milo and Rowan (Book Two) and the Edgar and Aleka (Book Three) but I feel there is something missing. I have put something speacial into each of my characters–Milo has a kind and creative heart, Rowan, a wise soul. You will find Edgar and Aleka to be unique and fun, and I think many will find comfort in their identities.


River and Elizabeth are each a part of me, in personality, insight, and eccentricity. It is time to revisit them.

I am still working on the third book–Beneath Rain and Stars, and it will take a while for it to be finished. I estimate it to be longer than Wysteria. What I like about it, is how at peace it makes me feel. It reminds me of home, and it has so much to do with my love of the Earth. If you love the Earth as I do, or are an introverted person who loves afternoon walks in the rain, Beneath Rain and Stars is for you.

I really look forward to its release, and to starting work on the fourth book in The Hidden World of Wysteria Series. I have some exciting things planned for the fourth, and even a working title.

Thank you to those who read and buy my books. My writing and artwork is in many ways my life force, and through it I share so many things of myself. Thank you for sharing this with me.

To Check out Stella’s Hidden World of Wysteria Series:

Druid Tree Workings: Finding the Face of the Tree

The Druid's Garden

Sometimes the trees themselves share lessons with us about how to work with them, to talk with them, heal with them. These are often presented to me as mystery teachings from the trees themselves–and I’ll be sharing some of these teachings with you.  The first of these is finding the face of the tree.

Grove of Beeches looking out upon the world Grove of Beeches looking out upon the world

I have found that each tree has at least one face and finding it can teach you a lot about that particular tree’s personality and energy. Finding the face of the trees will show you their individuality and unique personality–and yes, individual trees do have uniqueness of their own, both inside and out. This is similar to humans—all humans are humans, but we come from different ethnicities and different regions and those create variation. In the same way, all oak trees have a strengthening quality to them because…

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Library Book Sale Treasures

Today we went to the library book sale where a number of classic books I had been looking for were found:


Edgar Allan Poe is an edition from the sixties, the Oscar Wilde is a 1926, and the Charlotte and Emily Bronte is a very nice 1993 edition. I was told by a fantasy collector there that I should read The Sword of Shannara. So, I shall. The only thing I regret is that I wish it was in soft cover, I like the feel of paperbacks because I’m weird.


I also found what could very well be a first edition of Stephen King’s Pet Semetary in hardcover, a nice paperback copy of Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, and Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice. I want to make a point to collect every Anne Rice I can find and read them all again.


Here we have a few more classics, as you can see. All in very nice condition. I was very excited to find Leaves of Grass. Sherlock Holmes is an essential that everyone should have, Robert Frost is quite lovely, and as I am from Connecticut I had to get the last one.


I found these in the Young Adult section.  My significant other said that this dragon series was good, and I have read Jane Yolen before and really liked her. The last one looks beautiful and surreal, so of course I had to get it. It is in large print, which is really odd for a young adult novel. I look forward to reading and reviewing all of the these, as well as many of the others I can get to.