Saturday, December 31, 2011

THE UNLIKELY WIFE, by Debra Ullrick

Title: The Unlikely Wife
Author: Debra Ullrick
Publisher: Love Inspired (January 3, 2012)
Pages: 288

The cover and title, as well as the blurb on the back cover of THE UNLIKELY WIFE by DEBRA ULLRICK, intrigued me. I’m a sucker for historicals, and love the mail-order bride concept. This was my first read by this author, and I was pleasantly surprised. Right away I was swept away by the well thought-out characters and the predicament they were placed in.

When Michael Bowen’s wife by proxy arrives by train, he’s more than a little set off. To say the least, she’s nothing like the woman Selina Farleigh Bowen’s letters suggested she was.

Wearing a pair of men’s trousers, Selina is instantly looked upon as an outcast…including from the man she married, sight unseen. It becomes increasingly obvious he’s in love with another woman…the woman who wrote Selina’s letter to Michael, her best friend, Aimee.

A stubborn woman who’s comfortable in her own skin, Selina refused to change for no man. That is until worry over losing the man she loves threatens to consume her. Will Michael ever learn to love a woman that didn’t fit his image of the perfect wife, and learn the true meaning of love?

In reading THE UNLIKELY WIFE, I was introduced to Haydon and Raniee Bowman. Both characters stories spiked my interest. I’ll be placing an order in the future for THE UNEXPECTED BRIDE, to unravel their tale.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Title: Escape From The Badlands
Author: Dana Mentink
Publisher: Love Inspired (January 3, 2012)
Pages: 224

ESECAPE FROM THE BADLANDS was my first read by author, DANA MENTINK. The first fifty pages had me turning them quickly. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. Shane Mason’s rescue of Kelly Cloudman, had me sitting on the edge of my seat.

Kelly Cloudman needed a job, so when she's asked to be a medic for South Dakota’s Desert Quest extreme race, she says yes. When her vehicle is trapped and threatens to be overtaken by water, she never would have guessed in a million years who her rescuer would be.

Shane Mason is on a mission. A mission to prove his brothers innocents before it’s too late, and enters the race of his life. The last thing he expected was to come face to face with the woman he walked out on.

ESECAPE FROM THE BADLANDS is packed with suspense that will keep you wondering which of the key players are guilty and why. A wonderful inspirational suspense you won’t want to miss.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Title: The Cowboy’s Holiday Blessing
Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher: Love Inspired (November 15, 2011)
Pages: 224 pages

What can I say, I’m a huge fan of BRENDA MINTON. Every book I’ve read by her has been amazing, and THE COWBOY’S HOLIDAY BLESSING was no exception. I’ve read about the men from the Cooper family in previous books and hoped there’d be more. When I heard the next book was about Jackson Cooper, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

When a teenage girl shows up on Madeline Patton’s doorstep by mistake, Madeline’s compelled to help her. Only problem is, that means coming face to face with the handsome Jackson Cooper.

Jackson Cooper isn’t too happy when his mousey neighbor shows up on his doorstep with a teenage girl claiming to be his daughter. As agitated as he is, he can’t resist the temptation to make the school teacher blush.

Jackson Cooper may have changed his rebel ways, but marriage and kids aren’t in the plan. Even if he allowed himself to want those things, they weren’t possible.

Madeline Patton only wants to teach and go home to her quiet place…alone. After all she doesn’t need a man in her life, much less wants one.

Jackson, Madeline and thirteen-year-old Jade, discover God’s amazing grace and a family they never imagined possible.

I loved the whole bad boy meets shy, mousey girl. Brenda Minton did a fantastic job with all the characters. Jackson was your classic good looking, ladies man, yet sweet and kind. Madeline is reserved, hiding under her baggy clothes and dark rim glasses, yet focused and knows what she wants.

Jackson’s situation with his daughter was unique and well played out. I loved the transformation of Madeline, and her story. In THE COWBOY’S HOLIDAY BLESSING, the characters will stay with you a long time as you wait anxiously for the next Cooper Creek story.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Publisher: OakTara (November 14, 2011)
Pages: 216

THYME FOR LOVE by PAMELA S MEYERS is a fun, light mystery. Having never read this type of novel, I was initially confused by the casual, witty mystery. What later came to mind was Sherlock Holmes and the game Clue. Not more than a few pages later, MS. MEYERS mentioned that very thing. That's when it all clicked. Thoughts of who done it, in which room, with what, ran through my mind. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed THYME FOR LOVE, not being the genre I typically read. A true testament to how well it's written.

April Love is in need of a job, and her Aunt Kitty has just the job for her. But what she fails to tell April is her ex fiancée, Marc Thorne, works there. Now she is faced with the decision to quit a job she desperately wants or face the man who hurt her years ago.

Marc Thorne is just as surprised as his ex fiancée, April when she walks into the Rescate. It doesn't take long for old feeling to stir. But Marc has a secret he fears will douse any hopes he has of renewing their love. Convincing April they were meant to be together isn't the only obstacle he faces. When he's accused of murder, will she believe he's guilty?

The mouth watering descriptions of the food April prepares, sent my stomach rumbling. MS. MEYERS delivered countless cute lines as well as kept me guessing as to "who did it". THYME FOR LOVE was hard to put down as I attempted to figure out who the killer was.

My favorite type of novel is those involving a cowboy and a ranch, so of course Karl had me sitting on the edge of my seat, hoping he wasn't the killer. I can't wait to read the next two books in this series...And I'm hoping to see a cowboy or two.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (October 25, 2011)
Pages: 208

To be honest, I’m not really sure what MEN IN THE MAKING by BRUCE MACHART is about. I was only able to read the first story and a portion of the second. From what I can gather there are ten stories about ten different men. I’m just not sure what the significance of the stories is.

I didn’t get from the first story any kind of revelation. Wasn’t moved, or inspired. The reason I purchased MEN IN THE MAKING is because the titled caught my attention. I’m a writer, and I hoped to gain some insight for potential male characters for future novels. I was immediately discouraged by the foul language, and vulgar actions.

In the first story a dog dies. Not good, though I wasn’t emotionally attached so it didn’t have the affect such an incident would normally have. In the second story I was only able to make it five pages in. The story began with a guy losing his life to a tree stripper/chopper. Not a pleasant vision. When I got to, “When I was ten, my father held me in front of him at Uncle Weldon’s processing house in Odessa. After Dad had me choose the calf, my cousin Frank loaded a bullet into a special sledge hammer, and when he swung…”

That was it! I couldn’t take anymore.

MEN IN THE MAKING just wasn’t for me. But I do have to add that it was well written with wonderful description. Short stories can be very difficult to master; I’ll give the author that. I wish I could have stomached the language and the content, but I just couldn’t.

Writing is subjective. One could love a piece of work, while another could hate the very same thing. In my opinion, bad writing is bad writing. That was not the case with MEN IN THE MAKING. Just a difference of what one likes to read.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Publisher: Love Inspired (October 18, 2011)
Pages: 224

CHRISTMAS GIFTS is two stories in one:


When Amy Carroll is laid off from her teaching job, she opts for a temporary position near her grandmother’s home in Harrisville, Michigan. While checking in with the school, she’s introduced to Mike Russet, the father of twin girls. The twin’s antics have Amy concerned. Discovering their mother passed away some time ago gives her reason for more concern.

As Christmas nears, Amy discovers her teaching position could be permanent, but will she trust God enough to make the move from the city of Chicago, to a little town in Michigan?


Elizabeth Harden had several reasons not to trust the handsome cowboy, Travis Cooper, who literally swept her off her feet during a bull-riding event.

1) Her ex fiancée abandoned her a week before their wedding.
2) She was only in town for the bull-riding event her father’s business sponsored.
3) Travis Cooped was a ladies’ man, no better than her ex fiancée.

There is no thought process needed to purchasing a book when BRENDA MINTON’s name is sprawled across it. MRS. MINTON is one author I don’t have to think twice if I’m going to enjoy the book. I could care less about the title or the blurb on back cover. I know what lies between the covers will transform me into another world. One that involves cowboy hats and boots.

From the first book I ever read of BRENDA MINTON’s, to the latest, I’ve not been disappointed. Her ability to capture my heart through the characters is amazing. It’s writing like hers that I aspire to mimic. I can’t help but fall in love with the characters, as well as the storyline.

What I found unique about HER CHRISTMAS COWOY is Travis’ ADHA. How wonderful to have such a common problem in today’s society brought out in a handsome, productive, God-fearing cowboy! MRS. MINTON was able to bring to light Travis’ “weakness”, yet hold on to his appeal as a rugged, sensitive, loving, caring, cowboy.

Not only will you fall in love with Travis and Elizabeth, but the idea of a large family brought together by adoption and love. I wait with anticipation for her next book to be released, THE COWBOY’S HOLIDAY BLESSING. I can’t wait to read about another Cooper!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 17, 2011)
Pages: 400

Eric Yoshida never imagined he’d be in the position he found himself in after his wife discovered an email from an attractive coworker at the car dealership he worked for. Though their marriage was far from perfect, he hadn’t done anything wrong. Eric’s wife thought differently and sent him packing.

All hope is lost, or so Eric believes. That’s until his wife, Kyra, is involved in an accident that erases part of her memory. Eric believes God has given him a second chance, but is plagued with worry that when Kyra’s memory returns, she’ll discover what he’s done? Or whether or not she’ll forgive him.

You’re taking a chance when you purchase a book by an author you’re not familiar with, especially when it’s a debut novel. GINA HOLMES first novel, CROSSING OCEANS, was recommended to me as a MUST read by a friend. I can’t say enough about how amazing it is. I’m forever grateful that I was introduced to this wonderfully talented writer.

When I received the chance to read MS. HOMLES second novel, DRY AS RAIN, I didn’t hesitate. I imaged it would be good, though I had to wonder if she could pull off another novel as amazing as CROSSING OCEANS.

As I began to read DRY AS RAIN, I soon realized I would be immersed in another fascinating story. One that I would lose track of time and feel as though I were living right in the mist of the characters lives.

Besides the exceptional writing, remarkable lines, three dimensional characters, and wonderful storyline, I’m forever changed by the uniqueness of how MRS. HOLMES plays out the plot. Most stories are predictable with a twist here and there. I have yet to be disappointed with how MRS. HOLMES carries out the story from the very first word to the very last. It will leave you fully satisfied, with no desire to change a thing.

DRY AS RAIN is a realistic, wonderfully amazing love story. One that will illustrate the reality of so many marriages, entwined with fears, trials and tribulations, as well as hope, grace, forgiveness, and second chances.

DRY AS RAIN has a special place in my heart with characters what will last a lifetime.

So impacted by this story, I plan on purchasing a Beta fish as a reminder that love is worth working for, and with God’s grace, there’s always hope.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Publisher: Windblown Media; Reprint edition (June 1, 2011)
Pages: 304

How would you feel if your child was abducted right from under your nose? And how would it change your life and your relationship with God?

When Mackenzie Philip’s daughter is abducted, he’s forever changed for the worse…or at least until “Papa” summons him to the exact spot that has haunted him for the past three years. Reluctantly, Mack does as God calls him to do. At the shack Mack faces one of several questions plaguing him. “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?”

For those that are mature Christians, the answer to Mack’s question may not be a new concept, but will confirm what they already know. For those that aren’t close to God, or have drifted from Him, it will give light to unanswered questions and disappointments.

When I first heard talk about a number one bestseller about a man meeting a black, female God in a shack, I was a bit put off by the premise. I really didn’t know what to make of it, though I wrestled with whether or not to read THE SHACK, by WM. PAUL YOUNG.

Over the years THE SHACK resurfaced in my life when others asked if I’d read it or I came across it on Amazon, or at the store. But still I wasn’t ready to read it.

But God has a way of not letting up when He wants us to experience something. If you would have asked me few years back, I wouldn’t have imagined I would have read THE SHACK because of an inmate. But that’s exactly how I came to being blessed to read such a magnificent book.

I’ve been serving in the prison and jail ministry since 2004, and I’m forever amazed at God’s blessings through this ministry. Because of one inmates request through my church to receive a specific faith based book, a friendship grew. Eventually he received the book he requested and in return I received THE SHACK. If not for my promise I’d made to him to read it, I may never have done so.

I don’t recall ever having dog-eared and or highlighted a fiction book in the way I have THE SHACK. The story was amazing. The characters were three dimensional. The writing superb, and the insight to the trinity outstanding.

I’m so impressed by THE SHACK and its ability to depict Christ, forgiveness, and how to live one’s life; I intend to purchase several copies to share this remarkable book with others. I highly recommend it for everyone, no matter where they are spiritually. From those that are very far from God, to those that are mature Christians.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 15, 2004)
Pages: 64

GIVE IT ALL TO HIM, A STORY OF NEW BEGINNINGS by MAX LUCADO, may be small in size, but don’t let that fool you. I was surprised when I completed this book to discover how much I had highlighted.

GIVE IT ALL TO HIM is about new beginnings, forgiveness, and letting go and giving it all to God.

Quote from page 26:

“Listen. The weight of weariness pulls you down. Self-reliance misleads you. Disappointments discourage you. Anxiety plagues you. But guilt? Guilt consumes you.”

This little book is a great tool for those far from God, as well as those that are new Christians. I volunteers are Illinois Youth Center Warrenville, and plan to use this booklet as a teaching tool for the girls. It’s a quick read, clear, and right to the point.

How many of us have filled a garbage bag or two in our lives with guilt, shame, hatred, worry, resentment or unforgiveness? In GIVE IT ALL TO HIM, we learn that though some may have more bags then others, we’ve all had a garbage bag or two in our lives. It gives us not only the permission to give it to God, but the insight that He wants us to do that very thing, and the freedom it’ll bring. Something most of us need reminding at one point or another.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (September 6, 2011)
Pages: 208

I have to be honest, I’d never heard of TOMS shoes until Blake Mycoskie spoke at my church, WILLOW CREEK COMMUNITY CHURCH. I was instantly intrigued by his story, as well as admired his morals. I’ve been serving, mainly in the prison and Jail ministers, since 2004. I know firsthand what it means for God to place in your heart a passion that blesses you as well as others.

After the service they were selling TOMS shoes, along with Blake’s book out in the lobby. I was tempted, but low on funds and needing to pick my kids up from their classes, had me opting out. I went home not purchasing anything, something I often don’t do when it comes to books, yet the story of TOMS and the book START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS was never far from my mind.

Within days I received my Amazon Vine Program picks. To my utter amazement, START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS was one of the choices I could choose from! Clearly a God thing. I didn’t hesitate. I immediately ordered the book.

Right from the first pages I was captivated. START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS is a quick and easy read. I wasn’t even twenty pages in and I was itching to write and post a review. But I held off. I wanted to make sure I captured every essence of the book from start to finish.

In my copy, that I will forever keep, it’s marked with many highlights and dog-eared pages. Before I was even finished with the book I was emailing TOMS, telling others about it, and started a new blog to START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS.

I certainly could have reservations on starting this endeavor, but as Blake’s book clearly states, don’t over think it. Don’t let worry and fear cancel out what you know in your heart to be true. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

I’m NOT letting this opportunity to serve the least of theses for the Lord, slip away due to fear, doubt, and lack of. I will push on and carry out what Jesus has placed in my heart to do.


What about you?


It will change your life.

A few key things I learned from START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS:


Monday, October 10, 2011


Title: Remembering Christmas
Author: Dan Walsh
Publisher: Revell (September 1, 2011)
Pages: 272

Rick Denton's life is turned upside down when his mother calls and asks him to return home after his stepfather suffers from an aneurysm. When it becomes clear his mother needs him to run their little store, the Book Nook, for more than a few days, Rick's reluctant. After all he's a successful accountant and has had little contact with his mother or stepfather.

Running the Book Nook has Rich out of his element. But that's not all he's dealing with. He must deal with a homeless man that shows up at the Book Nook's doorsteps, along with being forced to deal with the pain of his biological father's desertion. As much as Rick would like to remain uninvolved, Andrea who works part-time at the BOOK NOOK, and her daughter Amy, have him doing the opposite.

REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS By Dan Walsh will have those born in the sixty's remembering their younger days. You'll be reminded of TV shows as well as other things from that era in a delightful trip back in time.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Title: Lost Voices
Author: Sarah Porter
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; None edition (July 4, 2011)
Pages: 304

Fourteen-year-old Luce isn't just shy, she's also afraid to speak her mind. Luce lives with her alcoholic uncle, and when things go from bad to worse, she dies as a human and becomes a mermaid.

Luce is welcomed into the tribe of mermaid where she learns the rules of being a mermaid. If she breaks any of them, she risks being expelled from the group. The thought of being alone is too much for Luce to comprehend.

An important part of being a mermaid is their singing voice. Something Luce seems to be a natural at. Each mermaid has a horrific past where a human has destroyed their life. The mermaids sing to ships to take them down, killing every last soul. After Luce's first ship sinking, her morals won't allow her to continue the senseless killings. But to let the others know would mean losing the friends she's made and the only home she's known.

LOST VOICES by SARA PORTER is not a book that would typically catch my attention. Certainly not one I would chose to read. So how did I come to read this book, by an author I never heard of?

That would have to be because of my fourteen-year-old daughter. It was she who spotted LOST VOICES and wanted to read it. Honestly, it isn't a book she'd normally read. To her credit she gave it a good try but it wasn't for her.

So now it was my turn. I must say I was a little more than hesitant. Everything my daughter has given me to read this far she really enjoyed and so have I.

When I began to read LOST VOICES, like many books, it was a bit confusing and hard to get into. But curiosity and the subject matter kept me going. As I continued to read I waited for more to happen, but sadly it never materialized.

I wasn't able to grasp the whole mermaid concept. I believe if there was more time spent on deep point of view instead of voice and water descriptions, I would have been able to connect with the characters, thus bringing the story to life. LOST VOICES was done in narrative rather than first or third person. I believe first person would have given the story more depth and stronger characters.

On the positive side, Ms. Porter has an amazing ability to depict moving through water as well as explaining singing in a way I could never imagined. Her writing was almost like a song. Like poetry in motion.

The concept of the story was there with great potential, though I felt she didn't seize the opportunity. I was able to grasp the points she was trying to get across, though they were so subtle I fear a teen wouldn't pick up on it.

A reviewer stated there was no romance, which was a little disappointing. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered the reviewer hadn't picked up on that subtle romance brewing. In viewing an interview with the author, I discovered Luce falls in love in the second book.

Despite my feeling of how the author dragged out the story and missed the opportunity for the direction she could have taken it, I wanted to know what happened to Luce and Cat.

The next book in the trilogy doesn't come out until a year from the LOST VOICES. When that time comes, if I run across it, I may just have to get it.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Title: Hailee
Author: Penny Zeller
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 6, 2011)
Pages: 320

Like the first two book in the Montana Skies Series, HAILEE by PENNY ZELLER, is a sweet romance, one that will take you back in time to the late 1800’s. It’s a heartwarming story with characters you’ll fall in love with. A great read for those new to Christianity as well as the young and old alike.

Hailee Annigan’s life is turned upside down when she’s arrested for stealing food in order to survive. If it had been just Hailee she may not have gone to such extreme, but she was responsible for her two younger brothers after their parent’s untimely death.

Arrested, Hailee had two choices. Jail or The Sanctuary of Promise, a place for orphans and wayward children. Grudgingly, she opted for The Sanctuary of Promise. She wanted nothing more than to escape so she could get back to her brothers. After all, they were her responsibility and feared what would become of them.

In time, Hailee finds her faith and pursues her dream to become a teacher. When she’s offered a job in Pine Haven, Montana, she’s reluctant to go, fearful her brothers will never find her. Upon arrival at her new home, Hailee meets the young, attractive pastor, Maxwell Nathaniel Adams Jr, otherwise known as Nate.

Nate is all too happy to discover Pine Haven’s new school teacher is not the old spinster he envisioned. In fact she’s quite the opposite and he is immediately attracted to her. If he’s not mistaken, she’s attracted to him as well. But something is pulling her away, and he means to find out what that is.

Will faith and love bring Nate and Hailee together, despite their past.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Title: My One and Only
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publisher: HQN Books; 384 edition (March 29, 2011)
Pages: 384

Reading MY ONE AND ONLY by KRISTAN HIGGINS was an unexpected shocker. Never having read any of her writing, I’d spotted ALL I EVER WANTED on Amazon, and decided to order it. It’s always a risk when you decide to read a book by an unfamiliar author. Before I had a chance to read it, I did what you should never do…I purchased another book by the same author.

Hesitant to read a new author, I finally started ALL I EVER WANTED, but was soon disappointed. Reading mainly inspirational fiction, the offensive language and contemporary life style of the main character had me putting the book down at page twenty. Despite my issues that lead me to stop reading, the great quality of writing, the author’s distinct voice, and the potential for a good storyline was all there.

MY ONE AND ONLY sat waiting to be read. I knew sooner or later I’d have to get to it…I just preferred later, sure I would have the same reaction as I had with Kristan’s other book. Finally I picked it up, took a deep breath, and began to read the first words.

Right away it had contemporary and sassy written all over it. Mind you I prefer LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRE days. But to be fair I would give it several pages before giving up. I was contemplating putting it down when the main characters boyfriend was revealed to be a firefighter (the same profession as my husband). Another factor that kept me reading, it had a considerably less amount of foul language in compassions to the previous book I had attempted to read of hers.

As I continued to read I wasn’t taken by the firefighter, though she did an excellent job with his character. Then without warning, another man entered the scene…Now I was intrigued. From there it only got better!

I was hooked, and hooked in the worse way.

The book I thought I’d put down, I COULDN’T stop reading.

MY ONE AND ONLY is witty, fun, amazingly written with a storyline and characters with such remarkable personalities and growth, you’ll be searching for time to read. I just can’t say enough about this book. It held my interest, made me laugh, made me cry, and made me want to rush to my computer to write my very own novel of the same caliber.

Harper James is a divorce lawyer and she’ll stop at nothing to help her clients. After all she was once married. But it wasn’t just a failed marriage that had given her a bad taste of love and marriage. No, there were a whole lot more there below the surface.

Nick Lowery had loved Harper James from the instant he laid eyes on her. He was a man that knew what he wanted, and went after it. Their marriage may have ended in divorce, but that didn’t stop Nick from loving Harper.

Can years of separation prevent Harper and Nick from having a future together?

I just loved the direction Kristan took in MY ONE AND ONLY. Not only would I have not changed a thing, she had me pleasantly surprised in the direction she took the story at several places…and had me crying towards the end.

If you’re wondering if I’ll be purchasing another of KRISTAN HIGGINS books, don’t. If fact I may just have to go back and give ALL I EVER WANTED another try.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Title: The Beginning of After
Author: Jennifer Castle
Publisher: HarperTeen (September 6, 2011)
Pages: 432

When I spotted THE BEGINNING OF AFTER by JENNIFER CASTLE, I was immediately drawn to the cover, and the title was intriguing. Upon reading the blurb on the back cover, I made the decision to read it.

When Laurel Meisner’s world suddenly changes, she’s left with a whirlwind of emotions, unsure of which direction to turn. In a blink of an eye, her family is taken from her, leaving Laurel’s grandmother, the only surviving family member, to care for Laurel. But Laurel isn’t the only one hurting. David Kaufman, an only child whose father remains on life support after the devastating accident that killed Laurel’s family and David’s mother, is going through his own pain. After all it was his father who had been driving the car at the time of the crash.

THE BEGINNING OF AFTER takes you on a journey through one teen’s life as she grieves the loss of her family. Along the way she discovers people who make that journey a little easier.

Despite the stories slow pace, you want to keep reading.

Sometimes there are songs that make you want to dance and shout to the world. Then there are other slow and mellow songs where the words penetrate your soul, causing you to rethink things you may not have otherwise. THE BEGINNING OF AFTER is like the latter.

This beautifully written story provoked emotions and deep thoughts within me about losing loved ones. I wept inside for every child that has lost their parents and for all the parents who have passed away, knowing how tangible their loss would be.

I’d love to see a second book to THE BEGINNING OF AFTER, maybe simply titled AFTER. I’d love to be a part of Laurel and David’s journey into the future.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


"Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)"

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin' against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out in pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell
you the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Did you stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?

[Repeat Chorus 2x]
And the greatest is love.
And the greatest is love.

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?

Saturday, September 10, 2011



Ben, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own
I'll never be alone
And you, my friend, will see
You've got a friend in me
(you've got a friend in me)

Ben, you're always running here and there
You feel you're not wanted anywhere
If you ever look behind
And don't like what you find
There's one thing you should know
You've got a place to go
(you've got a place to go)

I used to say "I" and "me"
Now it's "us", now it's "we"
I used to say "I" and "me"
Now it's "us", now it's "we"
Ben, most people would turn you away
I don't listen to a word they say
They don't see you as I do
I wish they would try to
I'm sure they'd think again
If they had a friend like Ben
(a friend) Like Ben
(like Ben) Like Ben

Monday, September 5, 2011


Title: Crossing Oceans
Author: Gina Holmes
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (May 1, 2010)
Pages: 400


Saturday, September 3, 2011


Title: Her Rodeo Cowboy
Author: Debra Clopton
Publisher: Love Inspired (August 23, 2011)
Pages: 224

One would think with as many books as DEBRA CLOPTON has written, especially since most of them are related to one small town, she couldn’t possibly put out another unique story. But that’s exactly what she did. I can honestly say I don’t think a day will come that I will tire of her books.

HER RODEO COWBOY didn’t disappoint with the cover. Nor did it disappoint with the title. And it certainly didn’t disappoint with the writing and plot. I loved the characters as well as their story. As with all of Debra’s books, I zipped though this one in a matter of a few short days. Once you start, you just can’t put it down.

There were several places I chuckled or sighed out loud at one of her great lines. I dog-eared paged 202. A very profound message I felt led to share with a few others in my life.

Montana Brown’s world is suddenly turned upside down. She flees from the only home she’s known to stay with her cousin in Mule Hollow, where she can peruse the dream her father snatched from her.

Luke Holden has dreams of his own, and nothing is going to get in his way. Especially a woman. No, marriage is not in his plans. He prides himself in making that known upfront. The only problem is a barrel racer has his heart thumbing double time, and rethinking his plans.

Don’t miss out on another great tale by DEBRA CLOPTON. Can’t wait to see who will be next to tie the knot in Mule Hollow. I have an inkling it’ll be one of Luke’s brothers. My guess is on Colt.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Title: Oklahoma Reunion
Author: Tina Radcliffe
Publisher: Love Inspired (September 20, 2011)
Pages: 224

I was pleasantly surprised when I won a contest on author TINA RADCLIFFE’S site. I received some pretty cool things, but
I was most excited about the copy of her next release, OKLAHOMA REUNION. I waited with bated breath in anticipation of its arrival. I can’t say enough about her first book, THE RANCERS REUNION. If I were one to reread books, this would be at the top of my list.

Kait Field is back in Oklahoma for the first time since she left eight years ago. Sure, she has business to tend to…but she also has a secret that needs to be revealed. She was the last person Ryan Jones expected to see. After all, she left suddenly with no explanation, leaving his heart shattered. Could they both forgive the past enough to have a future?

I knew once I started OKLAHOMA RENUNION I’d have a hard time putting the book down, and sure enough, it wasn’t until page eighty that I was able to do so. Ryan isn’t one of your typical cowboy characters. He says exactly what’s in his heart. I loved that about him. Love the characters and the plot as well as MS. RADCLIFFE’s writing. Can’t wait for her next book.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Title: Hades
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends; 1 edition (August 30, 2011)
Pages: 432

When I discovered I had the chance to read HADES by ALEXANDRA ADORNETTO, I grabbed the opportunity. My fourteen-year-old daughter read HALO, the first in the sequel, some months ago, and insisted that I read it as well. I was pleasantly surprised with HALO.

I found HALO to be a refreshingly different read from the typical romance I’m accustomed too. The writing was amazing, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well the faith and evil aspect was presented without being preachy. I appreciated the lack of foul language and inappropriate behavior.

I was shocked to discover the author ALEXANDRA ADORNETTO is just a teen herself. I don’t particularly care for a lot of detail, but I was in awe of Ms. Adornetto’s unique description as well as her distinct characters and accurate portrayal of teens.

Where HALO had many five and four star reviews on Amazon, HADES had only one. If the lack of stars wasn’t deterrent enough, the reviews were. But I’d already committed to reading HADES and after HALO, I needed to know the rest of the story.

As I began to read HADES I was shocked to discover it not only to be good but better then HALO. The poor reviews baffled me, because it was just as well written as HALO and for me, the story itself was intriguing and captivating. For a period of time, HALO’s pace was slow, though wonderfully written, where HADES was packed full of action that didn’t cease until the last sentence.

In HALO, Bethany Church is sent to Earth with her siblings to keep dark forces at bay. Angels weren’t supposed to fall for human but that’s exactly what happened when Bethany met Xavier Woods, the High School good guy. Jake Thorn, a demon, has other plans for Beth.

In HADES, Jake tricks Beth into his underworld, a world no Angel has ever gone before. Beth is forced to make a decision that could quite possible destroy her, and threaten Xavier’s love for her.

I highly recommend HALO and HADES not only for preteens and teens, but for adults as well. As an aspiring writer I found myself wanting to reread these books to capture the author’s unique play on words.

And talk about a cliffhanger…

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Title: Halo
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends; 1 edition (August 30, 2011)
Pages: 496

My fourteen-year-old daughter read HALO by ALEXANDRA ADORNETTO some months ago, and insisted that I read it as well. Like in the past with her suggestions, I didn’t warm up to the ideal immediately. But just like the others she suggested, I was happy I did.

Bethany Church is an angel sent to earth with her archangel brother, Gabriel and sister, Ivy. They’re on a mission to bring goodness back to the small town of Venus Cove, ridding it of its dark forces.

Bethany attends Bryce Hamilton High School and falls for the schools good guy, Xavier Woods. Angels aren’t supposed to be attached to humans in a romantic way, but her undying love for him has her seeking approval from the Convenant, a group of archangels. All seems well until a new student named Jake Thorn arrives. But the good-looking guy who seems to have it all isn’t what he appears to be. He wants Beth and isn’t about to take no for an answer.

I was shocked to discover the author ALEXANDRA ADORNETTO is just a teen herself. I don’t particularly care for a lot of detail, but I was in awe of Ms. Adornetto’s unique description as well as her distinct characters and accurate portrayal of teens.

I found HALO to be a refreshingly different read from the typical romance I’m accustom too. The writing was amazing, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well the faith and evil aspect was presented. I appreciate the lack of foul language or inappropriate behavior.

I highly recommend HALO not only for preteens and teens, but for adults as well. As an aspiring writer I found myself wanting to reread this book to capture the author’s unique play on words. I look forward to the sequel, HADES.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I’ve been a huge fan of Angela Morrison’s ever since I was introduced to her writing with TAKEN BY STORM about Michael and Leesie, a story that I loved. After I finished TAKEN BY STORM, I couldn’t wait to begin UNBROKEN CONNECTION, the next book in the series. Unfortunately it didn’t come out for some time due complications in getting the book published.

Though it had been some time since I read TAKEN BY STORN, Michael and Leesie’s story was still fresh in my mind because the characters were so alive and their story amazing. It didn’t take me long to get back into their continued story in UNBROKEN CONNECTION.

Like Angela’s other books, which are well written fast paced stories with three-dimensional characters that you fall in love with, this book was no different.

In UNBROKEN CONNECTION, Michael is away in Thailand, living his dream as a diver. Leesie is at BYU living hers. Thought they had parted as friend, they soon find themselves back together. Their relationship grows deeper than ever and Michael decided to take it to a whole new level.

UNBROKEN CONNECTION will leave you loving Michael and aching for Leesie. I can’t wait to receive my copy of the final book in the series, CAYMAN SUMMER, to see how things end up for Michael and Leesie.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


FAIRER THAN MORNING by Rosslyn Elliott threw me for a loop and took me by surprise. I felt as though I was taken back to the early 1800’s with Ms. Elliot’s amazing description and play on words. With three possible hero’s, I was kept guessing who would end up with the heroine, a unique twist from the stories I’m accustom to reading.

Ann Miller is pursued by Elie Bowen, a man any woman would be proud to marry. But there are lingering concerns, and when Ann travels with her father to Pittsburgh on business, she encounters two other men. Allan Burbridge, obviously smitten with her, but it’s Will Hanby that captures her curiosity.

Will, a saddle-maker’s apprentice, has suffered from loss of his family and abuse from his master. Upon his meeting Ann, the compassion he sees in her ignites in him hope that he long thought was dead. When Will is no longer able to endure the abuse of his master, he flees in hopes of finding Ann and her father.

The compassion of a few good Christians as well as Will’s growing faith was one to be admired. Ms. Elliott did a wonderful job conveying the hands and feet of Jesus in a natural and convincing way. I was truly humbled to read of their acts of Christianity as well as Will’s determination and faith despite his horrific circumstances.

As is often the case with me, I failed to read the back cover of FAIRER THAN MORNING, for if I had I would have realized the shocking information revealed in the final pages. I won’t give it away in case you’re like me, and love a good surprise.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


If I could only say one thing about ALLIE PLEITER'S writing, it would be her amazing ability to write in different styles employing a unique voice for each genre. The KENTUCKY CONNERS, a contemporary series, reads with a distinctive voice, while MASKED BY MOONLIGHT and MISSION OF HOPE, both historical, read in yet another. To my surprise, YUKON WEDDING had yet a different voice. What they all have in common is Allie's flair for unique and witty lines.

YUKON WEDDING immediately drew me in with a powerful beginning and dynamic characters. Lana Bistrow, recent widow and mother, is struggling on her own to survive in Treasure Creek, Alaska. When Mack Tanner, her deceased husband's friend, steps in and offers her a marriage of convenience, she refuses.

Mack Tanner sees marriage to Lana as his duty to protect his former business partner and friends, family. Lana doesn't take kindly to his offer of marriage and the stubborn woman makes him ask several times before she finally gives in.

What may have started out as a marriage of convenience, slowly blossoms into love as Lana and Mack endure the trials and tribulations of the Alaskan town he founded, Treasure Creek.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


It has been some time since I last read one of LENORA WORTH'S books, but only because she changed genres. She was one of the very first inspirational fiction authors I read, and I fell in love with her writing. I was excited to discover HOMETOWN SWEETHEART.

As I began to read this wonderful story, I wasn't disappointed, being instantly swept away. The writing was just as amazing as I'd remembered, with three-dimensional characters you'll fall in love with. The storyline was unique and rich.

Shanna White is pretty and sweet, always sporting a sunny smile and a bubbly attitude. Simon Adams is not happy when she disrupts his reclusive live by moving in to the rental cabin next door with seven unruly kids on a church retreat.

As Shanna breaks through Mack's stone heart, he opens up Shanna's heart to the hurt and pain she'd been hiding from, revealing the warm, kind and sensitive man he once use to be. The unlikely match discovers their lives would be incomplete without the other.

Friday, July 8, 2011


HOMETOWN PRINCESS by Lenora Worth is a sweet, even-paced romance. I wasn't aware when I began to read HOMETOWN SWEETHEART that it was the second book in the Hometown series. I loved the first book in the series, HOMETOWN SWEETHEART, and was excited to read about Simon in HOMETOWN PRINCESS.

Cari Duncan moves back to her hometown after her father passes away and leaves her the old Victorian house in Knotwood Mountain, Georgia, where she grew up in. Her stepmother is not happy, in spite that the house is the only thing Cari's father left her.

All's Cari wants is to make a new start, but her stepmother will stop at nothing to drive her away. Rich Adams, the handsome businessman from next door, offers to help Cari. Will she open her heart to faith, family and her own Prince Charming?

If there are more in this series, I'll be sure to pick it up.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I'm not a huge fan Owen Wilson, but I am a fan of Reese Witherspoon, and HOW DO YOU KNOW sounded like a movie I'd like. The storyline is unique and plays out wonderfully with just the right amount of comedy and romance to make it believable. HOW DO YOU KNOW is well acted with charming characters that will pull you into their story right from the beginning, all the way through to the end.

Lisa, played by Reese Witherspoon, is cut from a national softball team. Shortly after this happens, she meets major-league pitcher Matty, played by Owen Wilson. With his goofy antics, he wins over her heart and in a snap decision, moves in.

Then enters George, played by Paul Rudd. George has been accused of tax fraud while working for his father's company, played by Jack Nicholson. What starts out as a friendship between Lisa and George slowly turns to love. Matty however is clueless, which adds to the humorous love triangle.

The writers did an amazing job in pulling off George's unique situation with a surprising and believable ending. A movie you won't want to miss.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


The word “great” would not be the word I’d use to describe the movie ME AND ORSON WELLS, but I would say it was a good movie. The acting was wonderful, as well as the production. However what I found most fascinating about ME AND ORSON WELLS is what I learned afterwards about the man.

Although I recognized the name, I didn’t realize who Orson Wells was until I looked him up on the Internet and found a picture of him at an older age. Christian McKay plays Orson with an amazing likeness in physical features as well as doing a spectacular job portraying him.

In looking into his history I discovered Orson Wells was originally from Kenosha Wisconsin and at a young age, moved to Chicago Illinois with his mother. Not far from where I live. His mother died when Orson was just eight years old, and he was thirteen when his father passed away.

Zac Efron does a wonderful job playing Richard Samuels, a young man who finds himself working alongside Orson Wells in a production of JULIUS CAESAR. He’s warned by Sonja Jones, played by Claire Danes, that no one disagrees with the great Orson Wells. Despite the warning, he does just that and at the end of the production, is fired by Orson.

ME AND ORSON WELLS was even paced, well acted, and an interesting storyline. Though I wouldn’t say it was action packed, exciting, or filled with drama, yet still a movie worth watching.

Friday, July 1, 2011


SAVE THE CAT, THE LAST BOOK ON SCREENWRITING THAT YOU'LL EVER NEED may have just saved my writing. As an aspiring author, I've struggled over the years as I've grown and learned how to write fiction. I've read a handful of books on the craft of writing but none have compared to SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder.

If you are a fiction writer, don't let the fact that SAVE THE CAT is about screenwriting cause you to look the other way. It has all the elements needed to write a novel. And not just any novel. One that has everything needed for a great story. It even touches on how to promote and sell your work.

In other books I've read on the craft, they were not able to cover all the basics in such precise, easy to understand and visually pleasing ways as SAVE THE CAT.

A few things I've learned from SAVE THE CAT?

1) You must be able to answer the question, "It's about a guy who..."

2) You need a great logline.

3) A primal goal is a must.

4) Spice up the back-story so it's not boring.

5) An ARC in every character a must...except the bad guy.

6) Give every character a limp or an eye patch.

And so much more, including:

The dos and don'ts to creating a great story.
A checklist for the lead characters, and
How to build the perfect novel.

To date, SAVE THE CAT is the best writing book I've read, one that will have a huge impact on my writing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I wasn't sure what to expect when I borrowed STEP UP from my library. I'd caught a glimpse of the trailer and liked the music with an upbeat tempo.

What I hadn't expected was an engaging movie with great acting and a storyline that were both moving and captivating. I'd loved Channing Tatum in DEAR JOHN and SHE'S THE MAN, and he didn't disappoint in STEP UP. Who knew he could dance as well as act?

An overachieving dancer, Nora Clark, played by Jenna Dewan-Tatum, loses her dance partner before an important performance due to an injury. Tyler Gage, played by Channing Tatum, is a rough, streetwise guy is doing community service at the school for performing arts where Nora attends. Faced without a partner, Nora takes a chance and asks Tyler to step up to the challenge. Tyler, though hesitant, steps out of his comfort zone into an unknown world. One he never dreamed he'd be a part of but now envisions.

Take a chance and STEP UP to hope, faith, and your dreams.

Monday, June 27, 2011


The first time I saw the ad for COUNTRY STRONG, I immediately made a mental note to see the movie. Like so often is the case, I didn't make it to the theater. Lucky for me, my library had the DVD. I'm a country lover and that was my main attraction to COUNTRY STRONG. I also like Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw. Both great actors.

What little I knew of the movie was that it was about a country singer Kelly Canter, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, coming out of rehab for alcohol addiction. Her husband and manger, played by Tim McGraw, is driven to push Kelly to her limit to become a success in her music career.

I didn't known Gwyneth sang, and was surprised to discover that not only does she sing, but she's quite good. But Gwyneth wasn't the only one who could sing. A second set of characters had their own storyline.

The slow growing romance between Chilies Stanton, played by Leighton Meester, and Beau Hutton, played by Garrett Hedlund, will warm your heart as you are taken along on their compelling stories. I thought the main focus would be on Gwyneth's character, Kelly, which in part was why the added story of Chiles and Beau was such a pleasant surprise. Their back-story, their growing romance, and great voices had me wanting a story of their own. With Leighton's beautiful voice, and Garrett's unique gravely sound, purchasing the soundtrack is a must.

COUNTRY STRONG was a great movie but what really won me over was the ending. There's nothing like a final shocker, as well as a happily ever after.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


THE COWBOY'S HOMECOMING by Brenda Minton, like every other book I've read of hers, has all the elements of what makes a great book. The cover is perfect and the back blurb is intriguing. As I often do when I spot a book that isn't one of my favorite authors, I read the first couple of pages. All of Ms. Minton's books immediately draw me in, threatening to never let me go until I finish reading.

And that's exactly what happened with THE COWBOY'S HOMECOMING. I devoured the book in only two days. Every character came to life with a vivid story. When you've read as many "cowboy" books as I have, it becomes harder and harder to run across new ways of saying the same things, but Minton pulls it off. I often find myself shaking my head in awe of the words she's strung together.

Former bad boy Jeremy Hightree, returns to the town where he grew up, and he has misson. Revenge has him wanting to tear down Back Street church. Only problem is, the woman he had feelings for all those years ago, Beth Bradshaw, will stop at nothing to prevent him from doing so.

With both their faiths weak from past hurts, will they trust God with their futures?

Beth's brother, Jason, is a character from Minton's previous book THE COWBOY'S COURTSHIP. Revisiting his character left me wanting to reread his story all over again. There are several new characters in THE COWBOY'S HOMECOMING that I'm keeping my fingers crossed the author will create a story for them as well.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I have to admit I picked ALL I EVER WANTED by Kristan Higgins because of the main characters name. Yeah, I know, but I have a tendency when I spot a book with one of the characters names the same as two of my daughter's with uncommon names, to purchase it.

Kristan Higgins is a new author for me and not long after I received ALL I EVER WANTED, I ordered MY ONE AND ONLY. Another risky move, ordering another book by the same author you have yet to read. As and aspiring author and an avid reader, I'm all too aware that even the best writers can produce a "bad" novel now and again or change their style. Thus I will be giving MY ONE AND ONLY a fair chance.

Because I'm an inspiring writer and a Christian, I like to point out the positives in a book. In my opinion, if there were, I won't write a review and will only include a synopsis. After all, writing is subjective.

When I first began reading ALL I EVER WANTED, I was a little put off by it being first person and so contemporary. Not the kind of book I'm accustomed to reading and love. Yet, I was willing to give it a chance. But I quickly realized the story was not going to be one I could stomach. By page twenty I HAD to put it down, and the story started on page nine.

Was it all about being first person? No.
Was it poorly written? No.
Did I not like the storyline? Not exactly?
Was I intrigued to go forward? Yes.
Were the characters three dimensional? Yes.


What I have a problem with, being a Christian, is all the foul language, offensive words, and insinuations. I've read my share of non-inspirational books, and I'm not opposed to stories that aren't faith based. I just believe whole heartedly that one can write an amazing, compelling, life changing, emotionally-resonating story without sex and bad language. I was astounded at how many foul and offensive words were used in only the few pages I read.

In recent years I've gravitated more and more to inspirational books. Now days, it's rare for me to purchase one that isn't. Until this book, I hadn't realized how much I appreciate good, clean fiction. I never have to worry about my kids picking up one of my books and reading it. And believe me, it happens.

Based on the back cover blurb:

For Callie Grey, things aren't going well. The love of her life and boss, Mark, ended their relationship because of "bad timing". Later, he confesses to being in a serious relationship. If that's not bad enough, she's turning thirty with no prospects in sight.

Bad goes to worse when she stirs up a crazy relationship with Ian McFarlan, the town's not so warm and fuzzy veterinarian. Callie decided to give him a "makeover" and darn if she doesn't fall for him.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I only recently discovered author CHARLOTTE CARTER. I loved the first book I read by her, MONTANA HEARTS, so when I spotted BIG SKY REUNION and read the back cover, I purchased it.

It'd been years since Melinda Spencer had in Potter Creek, Montana, but when her ailing aunt returns home from a rehab facility, Melinda offers to stay with her and help with her knitting shop until she fully recovered. Little does Melinda know, that she'll encounter a rebellious cowboy she met many years ago who broke her heart.

Daniel O'Brien can hardly believe his eyes when he spots Melinda, or as he liked to call her, Goldilocks. She'd hightailed it out of town years ago after spending the summer with her aunt.

In the years since Daniel last saw Melinda, God has worked wonders in his life. He senses Melinda is in need of God's grace as well. Could she forgive herself just as Daniel forgave himself with the Lord's help? Or will her guilt ruin any chances of love the second time around.

BIG SKY RENUION is well written with great lines, and a touching story with characters you'll love.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


1) There are those albums you listen to for the first time and love each song.

2) There are those albums you listen to for the first time and love just one or two songs.

3) And then there are the albums you purchased because of a song or two you love. Once you listened to the entire album, as time goes on, the others grow on you and before you know it you love them all.

SUGARLAND, The Incredible Machine, is number three! The more I listen, the more I love all the songs. Great, catchy songs that will have you tapping your feet and singing out loud.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


A friend of mine loaned MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA to me, and I have to admit it sat on my shelf for months. The small font, singled spaced text was far from appealing to my eye. My preference to soft cover books over hard also hindered me from reading it. Once I finally dove into it, I was swept away by a fascinating story.

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA is brilliantly written with amazingly unique lines, and packed full of information, giving great attention to detail. The story is captivating, and intriguing, heartbreaking and heartwarming. It reads like a biography, though in actuality it's a wonderful fictional story packed full of non-fiction material. This book will draw you into the world of a Geisha, equally sad and fascinating.

Nine-year-old Chiyo and her sister were sold into slavery by their father while their mother was on her death bed. Thrown into the harsh world of the unknown, Chiyo soon realizes her only hope is to become a Geisha.

MEMORIES OF A GEISHA takes the reader on Chiyo's journey from a young sister and daughter, to the aches, pains, and relentless training required to become a Geisha. Each and every character is so well thought-out you'll believe them to be real.

Because the author was so detailed, I longed to see it visibly, and was tempted more than once to view the movie before I finished book. Within hours of completing the book, I watched the movie. It was extremely fast paced compared to the book, and like most great books, the movie couldn't compare, although I enjoyed it.

It was great to see the book come alive, but I would highly recommend reading the book before the movie. Though you get the visual details in the movie, many of them have little meaning without the knowledge of the details behind them. If you haven't read the book, but have seen the movie and enjoyed it, I recommend you read the book. You'll be fascinated by what you'd missed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I could give you A BILLION REASONS WHY I liked this book by Kristin Billerbeck, but to be honest I'm just not that creative. This is the first book I've read by Billerbeck and though I wasn't exactly thrilled with the ending, I loved it just the same. I thought the characters were well thought out, it was wonderfully written, and I loved the storyline.

Katie McKenna fell for Luc DeForges years ago. Only problem is when she went out on a limb to make her feeling known, he rejected her. Eight years later and he's returned. Of course she can think of A BILLION REASONS WHY she shouldn't allow him back into her life. The only problem is that; she's still in love him and he's not one to take no for an answer.

Luc DeForges has always loved Katie, but he has a secret that had him saying no when he wanted nothing more to say than yes. But he's not the only one with a secret. Katie's mom has one of her own. Can Luc reveal his secret and still have the woman he loves?

Monday, June 6, 2011


SMALL-TOWN MOMS is a two-in-one book.


A DRY CREEK FAMILY is a sweet romance. Separated from her sisters at an early age, Maegan Shay heads to Dry Creek, Montana to check up on her deceased sister's daughter, Lily. Maegan wants a chance to get to know her niece, and to make sure she's okay. What she doesn't expect to find is Lily's handsome guardian, Clint Parker. With the Lord's help, they can become the family they both long to have.


I'm not usually surprised when I spot a new book at the store by Debra Clopton because I keep a close watch on her sebsite for upcoming books, excitedly awaiting the next great story. I've read every single MULE HOLLOW book including all of THE MEN OF MULE HOLLOW series. Debra never fails to deliver an amazing, well written, can't-stop-turning-the-page, story.

In A MOTHER FOR MULE HOLLOW, widowed mother Olivia Dancer heads to Mule Hollow, Texas to meet her nephew, Wes for the first time. What she doesn't expect is to find his rude, stubborn father, Gabe McKennon.

Unknown to Gabe and against his wishes, his mother invites Olivia to spend a few weeks with them so she can get to know Wes. Gabe is less then unwelcoming and has no intentions on letting up. That is until he realized Olivia is nothing like Wes' mother.

God has his work cut out for Him to bring an angry and bitter man, and a hurt and lonely widow, together. But as the Bible says, "all things are possible through Him".

Thursday, June 2, 2011


HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU is a cute, funny, and romantic movie with an all-star cast - Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson and Justin Long.

There are four couples to follow, each with very different scenarios.

1) He likes her but she likes someone else.
2) She likes him but he’s married.
3) She can’t find anyone that likes her, but the guy she consults ends up falling for her.
4) The girl he likes didn’t like him, but he finds another that has been searching for the “perfect” guy.

So often in movie that involves several scenarios like HE’S SO NOT INTO YOU, at least one of the situations doesn’t play out like we hope. That wasn’t the case with this movie. Though you were inclined to think otherwise, in the end each relationship turns out as you’d imagined or hoped with a few surprises.

Great movie, well acted with a storyline that will hold your interest from start to finish.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I have to admit I've had the book BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE for a few years and have yet to read it. When I discovered it was made into a movie, I knew I'd eventually see it.

Aron Ralston, played by James Franco, is an energetic young man who loves adventures in the great outdoors. With only his backpack and a few supplies, he traipses off alone without telling a soul where he's gone. Before long, he finds himself trapped in a crevasse at the Utah's Canyonlands National Park with his hand wedged between the wall and a boulder that had fallen when he had.

In the five days Aron is trapped, he documents what he believes to be his final days with a camera. After several attempts to escape, he makes the unthinkable decision to free himself the only way possible.

127 HOURS is definitely a movie to be seen. Although not filled with action or suspense, it was done well considering the situation. After all, how much can one do with the focus on someone being trapped like Aron was. If you have a weak stomach, you may want to look away when he decides to end his entrapment.

This inspiring movie is an eye-opener with a lesson to be learned along with a nice ending that gives a glimpse into Aron's current life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


THE SWITCH is a fun and surprisingly touching movie. The plot is one that could have gone in the direction of a wacky comedy or a dramatically serious love story. THE SWITCH pulled off a wonderful combination of the two.

Kassie Larson, played by Jennifer Aniston, decides he wants to be a mother. The only problem is she's not in a relationship. But that doesn't deter her. Who needs a man ...well a husband that is? So she decides to use a sperm donor.

Wally Mars, played by Jason Bateman, is not happy with his best friend's decision to mother a child from a man she doesn't know. In denial of his feeling for Kassie, he doesn't interfere with her plans to get pregnant ... well, not intentionally.

At Kaissie's "getting pregnant party," Wally has a little too much to drink, resulting in "the switch". It's not until seven years later that the discovery is made. Wally has a choice to make. Reveal his secret or let the woman he loves marry the wrong guy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


A love for animals and a neighbor with an autistic daughter drew me to the movie TEMPLE GRANDIN. Claire Danes did an amazing job portraying Temple Grandin. A must see for anyone who knows an autistic person. Not only will you gain knowledge and an understanding of the challenges of an autistic person and the key people in their life, but you'll be inspired as well.

God is faithful in bringing good out of the trials and tribulations of our lives if we so chose to live life with open eyes and ears and a willing heart. And that's exactly what Temple Grandin did.

TEMPLE GRANDIN will keep you on the edge of your seat, anxiously waiting to see what will happen next. You' be saddened by the hurtful words and actions of others as well as rejoicing in her spirit and determination.

Temple was diagnosed at an early age with autism and recommended to be institutionalized but her mother Eustacia, played by Julia Ormond, wouldn't hear of it. Temple wasn't deterred for long by the negative words of others instead she grasped on to the positive ones from her mother, Aunt Ann, played by Catherine O'Hara, and one of her teachers, Dr. Carlock played by David Strathairn. Her life is a great example of how words can destroy or build up. Never underestimate the power of words.

Temple went on to not only graduate from high school but from college as well, earning a doctorate and becoming a bestselling author, as well as a pioneer in the humane treatment of livestock. I highly recommend this movie. It's one that's sure to have an impact in the way you view others with "disabilities" as well as inspire you to reach for your own dreams.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Give the Lady a Ride by Linda Yezak certainly took me on a ride. Having only recently gone to my first ever bull riding event, the cover intrigued me. One of the signs of a great book is its ability to draw you in right from the start. With Give the Lady a Ride, the opening line accomplished this, and continued to hold me captive from the very first word to the very last.

When Patricia Talbert discovers she's inherited a ranch, she and her best friend Marie hightail it to Texas to put the property on the market. Talon Carlson, the foreman of Circle Bar Ranch, is every bit a Texas cowboy as Patricia is a high-class social coordinator from New Yorker.

When Patricia unexpectedly shows up, Talon fights his attraction for her like a bull fights to throw his rider. Patricia is determined to sell the ranch, but Talon and his crew have something else in mind. With a growing attraction to Talon, Patricia is filled with indecision and offers him a challenge he can't refuse--teach her how to ride a bull.

If I were to highlight all the good phrases in this story with my marker, the book would be considerably marked up. If I were to then add highlights to the parts that were well written, interesting, fun, and well-paced, there would be no words left unmarked.

I was swept into this story with its vivid characters, so much so that they played out in my mind like those in a great movie. What a treat to not get just one great romance in a story but a touch of another with Chance, Talon's best friend and "brother" and Marie. I've always loved the opposites attract scenario and Yezak did an amazing job. She and Give the Lady a Ride are now on my favorites list.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011



Mmmm better...mmm better...
Absolutely no one that knows me better
No one that can make me feel sooo goooood
How did we stay so long together?
When everybody, everybody said we never would
And just when I, I start to think they're right
That love has died...

There you go making my heart beat again,
Heart beat again,
Heart beat again
There you go making me feel like a kid
Won't you do it and do it one time?
There you go pulling me right back in,
Right back in,
Right back in
And I know-oo I'm never letting this go-ooo

I'm stuck on you
Whutooo whutooo
Stuck like glue
You and me baby we're stuck like glue
Whutooo whutooo
Stuck like glue
You and me baby we're stuck like glue

Some days I don't feel like trying
Some days you know I wanna just give up
When it doesn't matter who's right, fight about it all night
Had enough
You give me that look
"I'm sorry baby let's make up"
You do that thing that makes me laugh
And just like that...

There you go making my heart beat again,
Heart beat again,
Heart beat again
There you go making me feel like a kid
Won't you do it and do it one time
There you go pulling me right back in,
Right back in,
Right back in
And I know-oo I'm never letting this go-ooo

I'm stuck on you
Whutooo whutooo
Stuck like glue
You and me baby we're stuck like glue
Whutooo whutooo
Stuck like glue
You and me baby were stuck like glue

Whutooo Whutoo

You almost stay out, too stuck together from the ATL
Whutooo Whutoo

Feeling kinda sick?
Just a spoon full of sugar make it better real quick

I say
Whutooo Whutoo
Whatcha gonna do with that?
Whutooo Whutoo
Come on over here with that
Sugar sticky sweet stuff
Come on give me that stuff
Everybody wants some
Melodies that get stuck

Up in your head
Whutooo whutooo

Up in your head
Whutooo whutooo

Up in your head
Whutooo whutooo

Up in your head
Whutooo whutooo
Whuthoo whutooo
Stuck like glue
You and me together, say, it's all I wanna do
I said

There you go making my heart beat again,
Heart beat again,
Heart beat again
There you go making me feel like a kid
Won't you do it and do it one time
There you go pulling me right back in,
Right back in,
Right back in
And I know-oo I'm never letting this go-ooo

There you go making my heart beat again,
Heart beat again,
Heart beat again
There you go making me feel like a kid
Won't you do it and do it one time
There you go pulling me right back in,
Right back in,
Right back in
And I know-oo I'm never letting this go-ooo
I'm stuck on you

Whutooo whutooo
Stuck like glue
You and me baby we're stuck like glue
Whutooo whutooo
Stuck like glue
You and me baby were stuck like glue
Whutooo whutooo
Stuck like glue
You and me baby we're stuck like glue

Monday, May 2, 2011


MORNING GLORY is a cute, witty, and fun movie. Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) receives the big break she's been looking for when she lands a job as a producer of a TV show in New York City. The only problem is that she needs to find a way to increase the ratings or they'll all be out of a job, along with her reputation.

In an attempt to save the show, she hunts down the infamous Mike Pomeroy for the position of co-anchor (Harrison Ford). Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton) is not too keen on partnering with Mike, and sparks fly.

Each character is well thought out and acted. Though romance is on the milder side, it does bloom between Becky and Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson) as she learns to trust him, and he teaches her that a life with all work and no play is no life at all.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


In SWEPT AWAY by Nicole O'Dell, you not only get two great stories in one, you also get to choose the ending for each. How fun and educational is that? I loved the concept of picking your own scenario, but what I hadn't expected is the desire to read the other after you'd already made your decision.

O'Dell does a wonderful job in creating teenage characters with real life situations. Each story provides the reader with two choices and to discover the consequences of their decision. Both stories are perfect for pre and young teens.

In High Stakes, two best friends, Amber and Brittany are presented with a contest that puts their friendship to the ultimate test. When Amber is faced with the possibility for winning something she feels she deserves more than her friend, she puts their friendship and what's right on the line, and her lack of faith in God is evident in the decision she makes.

In Essence of Lily, running from her unhappy home life, Lily makes a decision that could ultimately change her life forever. She soon learns life's lesson that God is the only one that can fulfill the empty whole in one's heart, and that lying and our choices can lead us into situations we find difficult to get out of, and could ultimately change our lives forever.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


BURLEQUE is a fun musical. Very entertaining. Cher and Christina Agulera did an outstanding job acting, dancing, and singing. BURLESQUE brought MOULIN ROUGE to mind, another great musical.

Most of the movie takes place in a night club that Tess (Cher) is determined to save. Ali (Christina Agulera) is new to town and determined to make it on the stage of Burlesque. The story is light and fun with a touch of romance.

Jack (Cam Gigandet), the bartender, comes home to find Ali, one of the waitresses, on his doorsteps. He offers to take her in. In time their growing friendship blossoms into an attraction that can't be denied.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Karen Witemeyer has done it again. TO WIN HER HEART is the third book I’ve read by her. If I hadn’t been convinced by her first two books, A TAILOR-MADE BRIDE and HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, that she’s amazing writer and story teller, TO WIN HER HEART sealed the deal.

The prison ministry is a passion and calling from God that I’ve been blessed to serve in since 2004. Levi Grant’s story immediately drew me in. When I think of Levi, a gentle giant comes to mind. A man with a past, one who earned his living by fighting, and that landed him in prison. When he was incarcerated Levi was brought back to God and vows to never fight another again.

Eden Spencer, an only daughter of a wealthy man, had been betrayed by a man she was set to marry in a way that has her swearing off men. But when the new blacksmith arrives in Spencer, Texas, Eden discovers the huge man whose words are few, is not who she believes him to be.

You will fall in love with the characters as you are swept away into this amazing story of love, trust, honor, and redemption. Levi and Eden have unique challenges that are masterfully addressed.

I can’t wait for Ms. Witemeyer’s next novel. She has become an author whose latest books I snatch up without hesitation. Though the covers are always enticing, and the blurbs are intriguing, I no longer need to study them before purchasing. I know what awaits me when I curl up into a comfy chair and begin to drift into the world of her amazing storytelling.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


The Things Your Teen Will Thank You for...Someday, by William L. Coleman is a must read for every parent, whether your child is one or eighteen. This quick easy read is packed full of vital information. The book speaks of Christian values in parenting, yet the Christian perspective is sprinkled in light enough not to offend the nonbeliever.

I purchased this book because of a recommendation of my adult son. It would have been great if he, too, could have benefited from the knowledge I'd gained by reading these wonderful principles for parenting. Don't wait until your child is a teen to read this. There are many principles that apply to young children as well.

Friday, April 8, 2011


The Sheriff’s Sweetheart by Laurie Kingery, is sweet indeed. If you like an old time romance about a bad guy turned good, where the poor meets the wealthy, you’ll love this tender historical romance. It is well written with a great plot and characters you’ll get to know and love.

After taking a beating following a gambling game gone wrong, Sam Bishop decides enough is enough. An ad in the newspaper seeking marriage-minded bachelors has him heading for the small town of Simpson Creek, Texas. What he doesn’t expect to find is the beautiful Miss Priscilla Gilmore. It doesn’t take long for love to blossom. But life has a way of getting in the way, and the secrets Sam keeps from the woman and town he’s grown to love, may cause him to lose it all.