Thursday, March 29, 2012


Title: A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island
Author: Cara C Putman
Publisher: Barbour Books (April 1, 2012)
Pages: 320

If you like a fun, contemporary, light mystery with a splash of suspense, then A WEDDING TRASPIRES ON MACKINAC ISLAND by CARA C. PUTMAN is a novel you’ll want to be sure to read.

Attorney Alanna Stone has avoided Mackinac Island, and the man she loved for over a decade. When her mother summons her back to that very place, she goes but not without trepidation. The man she loved had betrayed her, but he wasn’t the only reason she fled the Island. As luck would have it she bumps into Jonathan Covington shortly after arriving on Mackinac Island. Alanna soon finds herself in the mist of the very reason she stayed away from the Island for so long.

After Alanna left Mackinac Island, Jonathan lost interest in relationships. His heart was for one woman and one woman only…and she’d disappeared from his life long ago. Shocked to see Alanna return, he wonders if it’s too late for them.

Alanna and Jonathan have past issues that must be resolve before they can open their hearts to one another again...but with God, all things are possible.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Title: Mississippi Nights
Author: D.M. Webb
Publisher: Ambassador International (January 6, 2012)
Pages: 384

There are books that I dread reviewing because I didn't like them. Then there are those that I'm already writing one in my mind after only reading a few chapters. MISSISSIPPI NIGHTS by D.M. WEBB is the later.

Three years after Firefighter David Boyette left home, he returns to face his brother, Sgt. Jeremy Boyette. But that's not all David has to face. He has a secret he's been hiding as well.

When David encounters Maggie Goddard, the preachers beautiful daughter, there's an immediate attraction. He tries to hide his demons from her but demons have a way of eventually making themselves known.

The prolog in MISSISSIPPI NIGHTS was probably one of the most intriguing I've ever read. I can't recall one in the past that drew me in so quickly and deeply. MS. WEBB has written an amazing story with three dimensional characters, wonderful writing, original lines, with a great plot that's unpredictable throughout.

I laughed. I cried. I ached as well as rooted for the characters. MISSISSIPPI NIGHTS is a page turner that will keep you on your toes right up to the end. I was shocked at how much transpired the last hundred pages. It was packed full of action, twist, turns, surprises and more. MS WEBB'S experience as a Firefight/EMT was evident. The details phenomenal. The romance was subtle yet profound.

MS. WEBB deals with some tough issues, handled wonderfully. She plays it out perfectly, not skimping. I'm a Christian. I read a lot of Christian fiction. I'm a romantic at heart. Read lots of romances. What I found so unique about MISSISSIPPI NIGHTS is how true to life everything was carried out.

Just because one believes in God, doesn't mean they're a fully devoted/mature Christian. It's a journey unique to each individual. It was refreshing to read fiction Christian with characters that struggled with real life issues, weren't perfect, and stumbled. The characters drank, smoked, used foul language (implied), were physical (non-sexual), went to a bar, struggled with addictions, falling several times before heading on the path to recovery.

Through all of this, MS WEBB was able to weave faith and character growth. Amazing. I can't wait to see what MS WEBB has in store for future books.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

UNLEASH THE WRITER WITHIN, The Essential Writers’ Companion, by CECIL MURPHEY

Title: Unleash The Writer Within
Author: Cecil Murphey
Publisher: OakTara (November 18, 2011)
Pages: 160

When Editorial Director of Oak Tara, Ramona Cramer Tucker, spoke at our monthly ACFW Chicago Northwest Chapter meeting, she came with a stack of books to sell. One of them was UNLEASH THE WRITER WITHIN, The Essential Writers’ Companion, by CECIL MURPHEY. She raved about the book, claiming it was different than any other writing book out there. I was currently reading what I thought to be the greatest writing book. Surly UNLEASH THE WRITER WITHIN wasn’t going to tell me anything I hadn’t already heard.

Only because Ms. Tucker spoke so enthusiastically about UNLEASH THE WRITER WITHIN, and because it was reasonable priced, as well as it looked like a quick read, I reluctantly purchased it. What did I need with another book about writing? I had several at home waiting to be read.

As I began to read UNLEASH THE WRITER WITHIN, I was quickly drawn in. This was not your typical book on writing. It reads like a great novel or perhaps a well written diary. The chapters are short, packed full of great information. The content is honest, refreshing, full of wisdom and courage.

If you were to look into my copy you’d find several dog eared pages, highlight galore and words written throughout. What a refreshing read. Over the years I’ve been inundated with how to or what I should write. In this book Mr. Murphey speaks from the heart what many writers often think but are reluctant to express.

At the end of each chapter there is an aphorism that sums up the contents. At the end of the book there is a list of all twenty-seven, a great review/reminder. If I had to pick one that was the most impactful and profound, I couldn’t. Instead I came up with five.

#15. “I learn from other writers. I grow my voice by paying attention to the writers I like to read.”

#21. “I want to be the best me I can, so I follow my natural rhythm, and don’t try to imitate anyone else.”

#25. “I can resent others for their achievements, or I can admire them for what they’ve accomplished. I can determine to work as hard as they do.”

#26. “I am a passionate person. I can be a passionate writer if I choose.”

#27. “This is the best I can do at this stage of my development.”

I have always felt that I must write what I feel in my soul, what is right, not what society, editors, publishers or the market deems I should write. Cecil Murphey’s words not only confirm that to be a good thing, he lives by it. From what I understand of Oak Tara, they too believe the same, and are willing to give author’s the chance to speak from their heart.

If the only thing UNLEASH THE WRITER WITHIN taught me was #27, “This is the best I can do at this stage of my development.” it was worth every penny. I highly recommend this book to all writers no matter where they are in their journey of writing.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


"What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)"

You know the bed feels warmer
Sleeping here alone
You know I dream in color
And do the things I want

You think you got the best of me
Think you've had the last laugh
Bet you think that everything good is gone
Think you left me broken down
Think that I'd come running back
Baby you don't know me, cause you're dead wrong

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone
What doesn't kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn't mean I'm over cause you're gone

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone

You heard that I was starting over with someone new
They told you I was moving on, over you

You didn't think that I'd come back
I'd come back swinging
You try to break me, but you see

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone
What doesn't kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn't mean I'm over cause you're gone

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone

Thanks to you I got a new thing started
Thanks to you I'm not the broken-hearted
Thanks to you I'm finally thinking about me
You know in the end the day you left was just my beginning
In the end...

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone
What doesn't kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn't mean I'm over cause you're gone

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Author: Nancy Herriman
Publisher: Worthy Publishing (April 3, 2012)
Pages: 320

THE IRISH HEALER by NANCY HERRIMAN is my first read by this author, and I feel fortunate to have come across this novel. I was drawn to the storyline and time period, but that doesn’t ensure an enjoyable read. Often a book can start out well, the author taking care to captivate the reader. But what sets authors apart is those that can carry a well written and intriguing story from the very first page to the last.

Accused of murder, Rachel Dunne is forced to leave her family and hometown in Ireland. Her cousin has secured Rachel temporary employment with Dr. James Edmunds. But she has a secret she fears if discovered will cost her her job. But Rachel’s not the only one with a secret. The good Doctor has one of his own.

Rachel can’t understand why God has placed her in the very situation she escaped from. James’ hurts go deep as he gave in to man’s, rather than God’s, plan for his life. But with God’s help, will Rachel and James find their way back to their purpose and passion in life…and a love they never dreamed of.

NANCY HERRIMAN has written a fantastic novel. I thought I was in London, back in the 1830’s. The characters were vivid with realistic strengths and weaknesses. As an aspiring writer, I tend to analyze everything I read, any flaws in the writing, the plot or characters. THE IRISH HEALER left no room for improvement. It was beautifully done.

I look forward to reading more novels by MS. HERRIMAN in the future.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Title: Marrying Minister Right
Author: Annie Jones
Publisher: Steeple Hill Love Inspired (July 1, 2009)
Pages: 207

MARRYING MINISTER RIGHT by ANNIE JONES is a sweet romance. The storyline is unique, the characters different than others I've read, and the writing is good. I felt there was telling at times when there could have been showing. I would have loved to have a deeper point of view for the characters. I did find myself smiling at several unique lines.

MARRYING MINISTER RIGHT is a quick and easy read.

Heather Waters life is suddenly disrupted when she finds herself back in her hometown after a tornado ravages the town she ran from years ago. Heather must face her fears of entering the very building where she was humiliated, and a man she had been disappointed in since she was last there.

Reverend Michael Garrison puts out a call to an old friend to help clean up his town. If he were honest with himself, he hoped Heather would never leave again. Right from the start Michael senses things aren't right between Heather and him. If only she knew of the love he has for her...has always had.

A teenage girl and a town in ruins have Michael and Heather working side by side. In time they admit their weakness, and let God's love triumph.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Title: The Golden Hour
Author: Margaret Wurtele
Publisher: NAL Trade; 1 Original edition (February 7, 2012)
Pages: 352

I really wanted to like this book. As an aspiring author, I HATE having to give a negative review, and avoid them at all cost. It really pains me to not complete a book. When I got to page sixty in THE GOLDEN HOUR by MARGARET WURTELE, I put it down.

Writing is subjective, so please don’t go by my review alone.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. The story randomly jumped around, and the dialogue was minimal. On a better note, I thought the writing was good, and the storyline had potential.

From the back cover:
“Set in the summer of 1944 in Tuscany, Giovanna Bellini, the daughter of a wealthy aristocrat and vineyard owner, has just turned seventeen and is on the cusp of adulthood. War bears down on her peaceful little village after the Italians sign a separate peace with the Allies-transforming the Germans into an occupying army.
But when her brother joins the Resistance, he asks Giovanna to hide a badly wounded fighter who is Jewish. As she nurses him back to health, she falls helplessly in love with the brave and humble Marco, who comes from as ancient and noble an Italian family as she does. They pledge their love, and then must fight a real battle against the Nazis who become more desperate and cruel as the Allies close in on Europe...”

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Title: Wrapped in Rain
Author: Charles Martin
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 6, 2011)
Pages: 336

I had WRAPPED IN RAIN by CHARLES MARTIN sitting in my pile of books to read for a couple of months. Once I finally made the decision to read it, I did so with uncertainty, which is often the case with authors I’m unfamiliar with.

If I’m honest, I was a bit confused in the beginning, and a little disappointed with the absence of a love interest for the main character. At page sixty-two, to my utter surprise and delight, Katie stepped into the pages.

I was hooked!

Tucker Rain is a famous photographer with a childhood story that would curl your toes. His father, an alcoholic and abusive man, showed no love for his two young sons. If it were not for Miss Ella, the woman Tucker’s father hired to take care of their home and keep Tucker and his brother out of sight, things could have ended up quite differently.

WRAPPED IN RAIN is an amazing story about neglect, abuse, love, faith, forgiveness, and hope. As a writer I often pick apart the novels I read, so it’s not very often I come across one that I wouldn’t change a thing, and WRAPPED IN RAIN is one of them.

The storyline was amazing, the writing superb, and the characters three dimensional. The main characters as well as the secondary came to life with unique personalities, goals, trials and tribulations.

There were several lines that had me shaking my head, they were that good. I laughed, I cried. I wanted to reach through the pages and wrap my arms around the characters. Take a road trip for the opportunity to meet them. To reach out and let them know how sorry I am for all they’ve been through, and how proud I am of them for not giving up.

MR. MARTIN wasn’t afraid to incorporated real life situations that we often don’t speak of, adding flavor, uniqueness with gumption.

I like faith to be woven in naturally, not preachy. Never having heard of CHARLES MARTIN prior to reading WRAPPED IN RAIN, I had no idea what to expect. It was brilliantly written. The faith aspect was woven in naturally, and profoundly. It was all Miss Ella, none of the author…that’s truly amazing.

My favorite quote is on page 250:

“Tucker, you won’t understand this until you have a boy of your own, but listen close. The sins of the father are carried down to the son. There’s nothing you can do to stop what’s passed to you. You are going to wrestle with it until the day you die, whether you like it or not. The only choice is whether or not you pass them to your son. Stopping it is a choice you make.”

WRAPPED IN RAIN is now on my list of all time favorite books. One that I’ll recommend to others in the future. I look forward to reading more books by CHARLES MARTIN.

Do yourself a favor…wrap yourself in this book and get lost in the world of Rain.