Thursday, December 31, 2015

CATCH OF A LIFETIME by CANDEE FICK

Title: Catch of a Lifetime
Author: Candee Fick
Publisher: Bling! Romance (November 2, 2015
Pages: 230

I am smack dab in the middle of giving CATCH OF A LIFETIME by CANDEE FICK four or five stars. Let me begin by saying I am not a football fan – thus the only reason I may not give it five stars. Therefore CATCH OF A LIFETIME had one huge strike against it when it came to me reading this book. However, let me also add that MS FICK in a phenomenal writer, for one would have to be to keep a non-fan of a plot, reading.

Cassie Parker is starting a new job, a new school, and a new life. What she didn’t figure on was that starting new meant being placed right in the middle of her worse nightmare.

Falling for Cassie Parker could quite possibly mean putting Reed Worthington’s job on the line. His team is not only hit with a game changing situation, so is Reeds personal life.

Not being a football fan, I have little – and I do mean little – knowledge about the game. MS FICK managed to make me feel as though I was in the misty of the playing field. She was able to spin together authenticity in a way that many authors cannot pull off. Never have I felt as though a story was so true to real life in such an authentic and effortless way. A true sign of a great write.

CATCH OF A LIFETIME is a complete story from start to finish. The writing is brilliant. I especially loved the ending. I hadn’t seen it coming, yet it was believable and done masterfully. MS FICK incorporated all the elements needed to produce a great story. I would not hesitate to read another of her book.


*Please see my profile for more information on this review. *Please see my profile for more information on this review. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

SPEAKING WELL: ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR SPEAKERS, LEADERS, AND PREACHERS by ADAM HAMILTON

Title: Speaking Well: Essential Skills for Speakers, Leaders, and Preaches
Author: Adam Hamilton
Publisher: Abingdon Press; Gld edition (October 20, 2015)
Pages: 96

SPEAKING WELL: ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR SPEAKERS, LEADERS, AND PREACHERS is not the first book I have read by ADAM HAMILTON, and certainly won’t be the last. In fact I just completed The Call: The Life and Message of the Apostle Paul, before this one and it won’t stop here. MR HAMILTON has a whole list of great titles, diving into important topics.

What I love about MR HAMILTON’S books is the simplistic, yet powerful and impactful way he delivers a message, and SPEAKING WELL: ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR SPEAKERS, LEADERS, AND PREACHERS is no exception.

As my role as a leader continues to grow, I am finding myself to do more and  more of what I never imagined I would do…speaking in public. If there is one thing I learned early on, it is that I am one that needs to be prepared, no matter how quick/short my talk is to be. In fact, perhaps the shorter the talk, the more important the words you chose become.

Upon receiving SPEAKING WELL: ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR SPEAKERS, LEADERS, AND PREACHERS, I was surprised at how thin and tiny it is, despite a reviewers comment on that fact. Having read MR HAMILTON’S writing before, it didn't deter me. Once I dove in, my thinking was affirmed.

SPEAKING WELL: ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR SPEAKERS, LEADERS, AND PREACHERS is packed full of great information. Precise and right to the point. The perfect combination of information, instructions, and a plan for execution. I love the ending of each chapter, with a shot and simple bullet point.


Each chapter provides key information to giving a great speech. The first chapter to really hit home was chapter Three, FIND THE RIGHT STARTING POINT. As a writer it has been drilled into me the importance of grabbing your readers from the first word to get their attention enough that they want to continue reading, resulting in purchasing your book. For whatever reason I never made the connection to the concept in relations to giving a speech. MR HAMILTON’S one of two approaches is good, but for me the second had the reaction of a light bulb turning. In less than a month I am to give a quick rundown of one of the ministries I am a leader in. This is not the first time I have done this, so I realize the importance of the power needed to implement in a few words. I now have a guideline of how to execute my words thanks to MR HAMILTON’S wonderful little book on SPEAKING WELL.

Monday, December 14, 2015

OUT OF THE ASHES by SANDI ROG

Title: Out of the Ashes
Author: Sandi Rog
Publisher: Tulpen Publishing (June 5, 2015)
Pages: 302

There are a handful of things that one needs to incorporate to make a great book, and OUT OF THE ASHES by SANDI ROG certainly has a few of them. The cover is the first thing that typically catches reader’s eyes. The second the title. Both I give MS ROG five stars. Another important aspect of a great book is the ability to capture the reader immediately. Another five stars for MS ROG. OUT OF THE ASHES has one of the best beginnings I have ever read. I couldn’t stop reading, wanting to know what would happen next.

Amelia Taylor never plans to marry. Not because she doen’t have the opportunity, but because she can’t see beyond her past family history.

Nathaniel Ward needs a wife, but not just any wife would do. Wealth has afforded him a ray of woman to choose from, but only will do, and he means to set out to find her.


*Please see my profile for more information on this review. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

JESUS LIVES: SEEING HIS LOVE IN YOUR LIFE by SARAH YOUNG

Title: Jesus Lives
Author: Sarah Young
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Reprint edition (June 4, 2012)
Pages: 368

I had heard about JESUS CALLING and not just once, but by several, many times. I later happened across a used copy of what I thought was JESUS CALLING, but in fact, it was JESUS LIVES.

What a blessing it has been to come across JESUS LIVES: SEEING HIS LOVE IN YOUR LIFE by SARAH YOUNG. I am blown away with the inspiration, wisdom, insight and dept of each devotion. How so much can be packed into so few words is in itself amazing. I cannot pick out a favorite days devotion, for there are so many. My copy contains more underlined and highlighted sentences then not. There were several days I made a copy of that day’s devotion and posted it on social media to share with others, they are that good.


I look forward to reading more by SARAH YOUNG. Wow, what gifted writer. JESUS LIVES: SEEING HIS LOVE IN YOUR LIFE by SARAH YOUNG will remain one of my all time favorite devotionals.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

HUNGRY FOR HOME by BRENDA S ANDERSON

Title: Hungry for Home
Author: Brenda S Anderson
Publisher: Vivant Press (September 22, 2015)
Pages: 300

The first book I ever read by BRENDA S ANDERSON was CHAIN OF MERCY, about Richard Brooks. So when I spotted
HUNGRY FOR HOME  and discovered it was a continuance of Richards story, I had to have it. CHAIR OF MERCY remains my favorite BRENDA S ANDERSON books, it's that good. .

I could not get over the wonderful cover, and the great titles. MS ANDERSON has a way of writing as if you were involved in characters everyday life.

Richard Brooks wife is run down in an ally and robed. Though Richard wants to press charges against the young man who did this to his wife, Sheila has other ideas.

HUNGRY FOR HOME  is a heartfelt story. A lesson in life of what’s really important.

*Please see my profile for more information on this review.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

REUNION FOR THE RANCHER by BRENDA MINTON


Title: A Reunion for the Rancher
Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher:  Love Inspired (September 15, 2015)
Pages: 224

What can I say, I’m a HUGE fan of BRENDA MINTON. I didn’t just happen across A REUNION FOR THE RANCHER. Oh, no I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival, just like I do any BRENDA MINTON book.

Ruby Donovan is back home in Little Horn, not to see Carson Thorn, but to help her grandmother and to be there for her brother. She doesn’t need the man she once loved complicating her life now that she is finally over him. Really, she is. 

Carson Thorn has done just fine the past twelve years without Ruby Donovan in his life, or so that is what he has been telling himself. So when she suddenly returns to her childhood home, a whole horde of emotions assault him.

What do I love about a BRENDA MINTON books? That would be everything. From the brilliant writing, to the complete storytelling, to the three-dimensional characters that seem to jump off the pages and into your heart.

Looking forward to the next! Yee Haw!! Give me another.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

THE RANCHER’S SECOND CHANCE by BRENDA MINTON

Title: The Rancher’s Second Chance
Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher: Love Inspired (August 18, 2015)
Pages: 224

True, there are no guarantees in life. Yet, what I have found to be true is when I open up a book by BRENDA MINTON, it won’t take long to complete it. Her books, under 250 pages, are not a quick and easy read due to the page numbers, but to the fact that they are so well written, and amazing stories.

Grace Thomas, scared and nowhere to go, finds her way to Martin’s Crossing. A small Texas town, though it isn’t the quaint community that brought here there.

When Brody Martin answers the knock on his door, the last person he expects to be standing on the other side is, Grace Thomas. Why was she here, and what did she want? She was the one who walked away from him, from his hopes and dreams.

Having read every single book by MS MINTON that I can get my hands on, I feel as though I repeat myself in reviewing her books. That alone says a lot when what I write is all positive. Again, MS MINTON has pulled off another amazing story. I have to say, THE RANCHER’S SECOND CHANCE has to be one of the best beginnings I’ve encountered. I could have read it a dozen times, and still want to read it again.

As typically of MS MINTON, her characters are fully developed and three dimensional, jumping off the pages and right into your heart. Her plot is complete and purposeful. She has many great lines that will have you rereading them, because they are that good. After having read countless LI Books, I am in awe of the original lines she never fails to create.


It’s no surprise that I am well aware MS MINTON has another book coming out this month, A REUNION FOR THE RANCHER (Lone Star Cowboy League). It equally comes as no surprised that I am anxiously anticipating the day I can snatch it off the shelf at the store and begin reading it.

Friday, August 28, 2015

WISH YOU WERE HERE by BETH K VOGT

Title: Wish You Were Here
Author: Beth K Vogt
Publisher: Howard Books; First Edition edition (May 1, 2012)
Pages: 336

There are many ways that one comes across a book, and one of those ways is by recommendation of another. That is exactly what happened with WISH YOU WERE HERE by BETH K VOGT.

At a writing meeting I attended, a guest author and Brainstorm/Huddle Coach, spoke highly of WISH YOU WERE HERE.  So much so, when I returned home I went online and purchased a copy. She spoke of the brilliant way she structured the story and the plot, despite the fact she didn’t care for the ending.

There was nothing fairy tale about Allison Denman’s walk down the aisle. In fact, you might say it was downright disastrous. Kissing her future husbands brother days before their wedding was neither in her plans nor a good idea. Seth Rayner is all Allison has ever known. Yet it is his brother Daniel that has her dreaming things she never imagined before.

Aside from MS VOGT being a wonderful writer, accurately incorporating every element needed to write a great story, I believe this has to be the first romance I’ve read that I was truly stumped at the outcome. For some time I thought I knew, then it became unclear, then it made sense, and in the end being something else...kind of. I take my hat off to MS VOGT for being able to pull off such an accomplishment.


I feel blessed to have read WISH YOU WERE HERE. As a writer, I learned a lot. I really enjoyed the story, and if there were anything I would change, perhaps it might be the ending. However, to be honest, I was okay with it. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

AS WATERS GONE BY by CYNTHIA RUCHTI

Title: As Waters Gone By
Author: Cynthia Ruchti
Publisher: Abingdon Press (May 5, 2015)
Pages: 304

When I was given the chance to read, AS WATERS GONE BY by CYNTHIA RUCHTI, I accepted with enthusiasm. I am very involved in the prison and jail ministry through my church, so the plot had me eager to read it. I have to admit the title seemed a bit of a tongue twister and baffling. But I will get back to that, later.

With money running out and no other options, Emmalyn Ross moves to Madeline Island. There she meets others that welcome her into their world with open arms. A group of individuals with character, kindness, and passion. As Emmalyn begins to renovate the small cottage, God begins to do His own work within her.

There are stories that are fast paced, and stories that have peaks and valleys. Then there are stories that glide along smooth and tranquil, like waters on a night with no breeze or current. AS WATERS GONE BY is the latter.

As a writer, I can be critical when it comes to books. I no longer read with an untrained eye. What I have come to learn is there are several key elements to storytelling. Having all of them, and done well, is what makes a great story. If just one of those elements is not present and or not done properly, it can be the downfall of a potentially great story.

The typical style story I read is ones with peaks and valleys. AS WATERS GONE BY did not provide that element…for much of the story. Other books I may have stopped reading sixty or so pages into it. What kept me going in MS RUCHI’S story is that she did an amazing job with the other elements needed for a great read. Knowing the story had to do with someone in prison, was another key to continuing. I have to admit, I hoped it would be worth it in the end.

Like a light being turned on in a very dark room, the shift happened. Everything started to click and move along in a way that had me wanting more. In many books, you sense where things are leading, yet I was unsure where MS RUCHTI was going with AS WATERS GONE BY. What I didn’t expect was to read the last pages with a fuzzy warm feeling, AND tear filled eyes.

The characters are unique, three dimensional, and endearing. The content realistic. The choice of words and lines, remarkable. Often a title doesn’t mean much. Doesn’t stand out or have importance to it. In AS WATERS GONE BY, that was not the case. As perplexed as I was about the title, in the end it all came together in a profound way. A way that made me say, awe. So that’s why. Yet it’s so much more than that…

MS RUCHTI is an amazing writer. There have not been many stories I’ve read that I enjoyed reading at a slow pace, soaking in each word. I am at awe of her choice of words, having dog-eared pages, and highlighted a few lines. Something I rarely do in fiction. I am blown away how a book can turn from a “I’m not so sure about this” to a “an amazing story that will remain with me for a very long time.” One that not only tugged at my heart, but  showed me how to string words together and weave a story that will resonate in reader’s hearts.

*Please see my profile for more information on this review.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A WORTHY PURSUIT by KAREN WITEMEYER

Title: A Worthy Pursuit
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 2, 2015)
Pages: 358

One thing I can count on in life is when I open up a KAREN WITEMEYER book I am in for a treat.

Stone Hammond is a tracker with a track record. One that can’t be beat. After all, that is all he knows.

Charlotte Atherton is the headmistress at the Sullivan Academy for Exceptional Youths. A position she takes seriously and wholeheartedly. When that position is taken away, along with it the security of a few students she has grown to love as her own, she sets out to do all she can to protect them.

I love Stone’s and Charlotte’s character. I love the idea of incorporating an adventure novel into the story. How fun and unique. The plot is exciting and engaging.

It is never hard to start a KAREN WITEMEYER book. I have no fear of not being drawn into the plot, with characters I will fall in love. Characters that seem to jump off the pages in a way they appear to be real. That MS WITEMEYER’S is an amazing writer, incorporating all the elements required to pull off a remarkable story, is what has me constantly on the watch for her latest novel.


*Please see my profile for more information on this review.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

MEMORY BOX SECRETS, by BRENDA S ANDERSON

Title: Memory Box Secrets (Coming Home Book 2) 
Author: Brenda S Anderson
Publisher: Vivant Press (April 21, 2015)
Pages: 357

MEMORY BOX SECRETS, by BRENDA S ANDERSON is the “second” book in the COMING HOME SERIES. There are three different stories going on simultaneously, with a surprise ending.

Just a few years ago, Richard had flourish in Manhattan’s fast-paced business world, but there was one thing greatly lacking from his life. His faith. After restoring his faith, he never imagined returning to his old life. The New York Corporation that once rejected him, begs him to come back. Richard feels returning isn’t a good idea, but his gut is telling him to go.

Sheila yearns to have something from her childhood to pass on to her child, but her parents left her nothing. Unexpectedly, her aging father calls, asking to reunite. As much as she wants to say no because of all they had done to her, her heart whispers, yes.

I have to admit, Pieces of Granite (Coming Home, Prequel) and Chain of Mercy (Coming Home Book 1), are my favorites of the series.

*Pieces of Granite (Coming Home, Prequel)

When I was given the opportunity to read PIECES OF GRANITE by BRENDA S ANDERSON, I didn't hesitate. I loved her book CHAIN OF MERCY, and I do mean LOVED it. To be honest, once I realized it was going back in time, the excitement diminished a bit. I loved Ricky in CHAIN OF MERCY, yet I had read his story, and knew of his sister Debbie and her family. How would it be to hear about them after already experiencing their lives?

Debbie and Jerry Verhoeven are expecting their second child. One would think they would be overjoyed. Though Debbie may be, Jerry is not. Not only is he not happy about their new child, he is having serious issues knowing she will not be perfect.

I was not prepared to enjoy PIECES OF GRANITE as much as I did, knowing it was going back in time. I loved getting to see another part of Ricky. I was equally intrigued by Debbie and Jerry's neighbor, Lee. I'm secretly hoping there will be a story about him. I was totally engaged in Debbie and Jerry's life.

I cannot adequately express how amazing MS ANDERSON'S writing is. It is near flawless. What I find intriguing is how realistic her stories are. It sounds so basic, yet I never realized how difficult a task it must be to accomplish, because I cannot recall any other author that has written so accurately to every day life, and at the same time keep the story as equally engaging. The honesty and realism is off the charts. I often found myself shaking my head thinking wow; I have felt that or lived that. While reading PIECES OF GRANITE it came to mind that every parent needs to read this book.

Not only was I wrong about it being awkward to read about Ricky after having read his story in CHAIN OF MERCY, I am tempted to reread it, having fallen in love with him all over again in PIECES OF GRANITE.

*Chain of Mercy (Coming Home Book 1)

To say that CHAIN OF MERCY is the first, but not the last book I'll read by BRENDA S ANDERSON, is a huge understatement. If I were only allowed one word to describe this amazing book, it would have to be, WOW!

Richard Brooks is not who he appears to be. Not by a long shot. But that's intentional. He wants nothing more than to rid of the man he once was. Only problem is, he's everywhere he goes.

Sheila Peterson is intrigued by the handsome maintenance man. She never imagined she'd stoop so low as to go out with someone so beneath her, but he'd serve a purpose. Little did she realize what man was hidden behind the fa├žade.

Forgiveness is a huge element in CHAIN OF MERCY on many levels, but it is so much more. The characters, writing, and storyline are beyond amazing. It's not your typical, predictable novel. MS ANDERSON takes you on a journey with surprising twists and turns. Each of the characters is distinct, with tangible personalities. From the very first page, you will be pulled in, and absorbed into the lives of the characters. But it won't stop with the last word. No, CHAIN OF MERCY is bound to remain in your heart forever.

*Please see my profile for more information on this review.



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

THE RANCHER TAKES A BRIDE by BRENDA MINTON

Title: The Rancher Takes a Bride
Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher: Love Inspired (May 1, 2015)
Pages: 221

I have to admit, I made a huge mistake. That being I started to read THE RANCHER TAKES A BRIDE by BRENDA MINTON on Amazon, long before it was due out. Not a good idea. Something I should not have done. There was no question I was going to purchase it, so there was no need to read a portion of it before doing so. With BRENDA MINTON books I don’t need to know the title or the synopsis. Nope. I know that I’m going to get it, and quite frankly I can’t wait. So you can imagine how hard it was to get a glimpse into THE RANCHER TAKES A BRIDE and have to wait for what felt like forever for it to finally come out. 

Oregon Jeffries has a secret. One that will change the life of one tall, dark, and handsome cowboy. But it’s not the only secret she has.

Duke Martin is doing fine just the way his life is. Being a husband and a father are not two things that entered his mind. When he discovers what has been kept from him for years, his life is turned upside down – in a good way. 

Every story I've read by MS MINTON takes me to a place I love to go, in what I call, living the dream. One that includes a cowboy and a ranch. All of her stories are well written, with distinct characters you will fall in love with. I am amazed how she continues to come up with lines I have yet to hear. Not an easy task when you have read as many “cowboy” books as I have. 

I feel another plot brewing. Bring on Brody Martin’s story, please! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

IN FIREFLY VALLEY by AMANDA CABOT

Title: In firefly Valley, Texas Crossroads (Book 2)
Author: Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell (May 19, 2015)
Pages: 368

Once again, AMANDA CABOT has created a novel that is well written, with catchy lines. IN FIREFLY VALLEY is the second book in the TEXAS CROSSROADS series. You’ll want to be sure to pick up the first, though each holds their own.

Marisa St George has no choice but to return to the town she grew up in after losing her job. Desperate, she takes a position at a struggling resort in a small town, one that doesn't come close to the status and income she was making.

Blake Kendall is immediately attracted to Marisa. It’s not long before they are seeing one another. Only problem is, she doesn't have a clue who he really is.

IN FIREFLY VALLEY is a light, fun read of second chances, something most of us have been in need of at one point or another. I love the mistaken identity aspect. Something I believe has not been done enough.


*Please see my profile for more information on this review.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

THE LONGEST RIDE by NICHOLAS SPARKS

Title: The Longest Rid
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (September 30, 2014)
Pages: 496

It is my custom to review a book upon completing it, even those I don’t feel obligated to do so. With THE LONGEST RIDE by NICHOLAS SPARKS, it crossed my mind not to bother with a review. MR SPARKS is one author that is not in need of a review, and mine will most likely get overlooked by most, if it is read at all.

However, upon completing THE LONGEST RIDE, I could not do anything less than write a review. I admit that the book started out slow – well, it continued to plug along at a slow pace for much longer then I would typically stick with a book. MR SPARKS also breaks a few writing rules, that as a writer myself, have a hard time getting through such situations.

Having read a few of MR SPARKS books, as well as seeing several of his movies, and the fact that the writing – despite the overload of telling and back-story – intrigued me enough to continue, and so I did. Perhaps, having seen the movie trailer and a love for cowboys had something to do with it as well. Whatever the reason, I am SO happy that I didn't give up. It may have taken over half the book for the pace to pick up, but it was SOOOOOOO worth it!

Ira Levinson is trapped and dying. Will he get out of this situation, and if so, will he survive?

Despite what Sophia Danko’s best friend believes, she is not on the rebound…or is she? Luke and Sophia are from two different worlds, yet she can’t help but wonder if it will matter in the long run.

Luke Collins has a secret, of sorts. One that could end the relationship with Sophia Danko, the girl who is quickly stealing his heart. Given the choice between Sophia and his lifelong passion, which will win out?

As I was deep into the story, it finally hit me. What I believe to be the connection between Sophia, Ira and Luke . One of the things that I really loved about THE LONGEST RIDE is the element of surprise. The ability to lead the reader down one path, believing they have it figured out/which direction the author is taking the plot, just to have it swept out from beneath your feet. Before you have a chance to get too discourage - bam! Wow, what a powerful and memorable ending! I could not have asked for more. I am so thankful I did not give up on this amazing story.

I am now confronted with the struggle of going to seeing the movie. I hate to tarnish this amazing book with what I know is bound to happen with the movie, so typically of NICHOLAS SPARKS books made into movies. There will be changes, and more likely than not, important/big changes. As desperate am I to see the movie, I don’t want the brilliance of the book to be altered. For that reason, and that reason only, I am holding off as long as I can to see it. 

THE LONGEST RIDE is now on my list of top favorite books I’ve read. Only time will tell if the movie will be one that I will purchase and watch endlessly.

UPDATED 4/29/2015:


UGH!!! Just got back from the movie The Longest Ride! I knew it was going to happen. Happens every time. But still I went. And still I am shocked. Why, oh why, does Nicholas Sparks make the movie SOOOO different than the book. And we are not talking about little things, but HUGS BIG things. But here is what I didn't expect. The direction I thought the book was going, and didn't...the movie did! How in the world did that happen? Seriously. How? With that said, I still liked the movie. How could I not? There was a cowboy in it. Perhaps one of these days, Nicholas Sparks will shock us all, and actually stick to the book. I would love an opportunity to sit down and talk to the man to see why he does that.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

ENOUGH: DISCOVERING JOY THROUGH SIMPLICITY AND GENEROSITY by ADAM HAMILTON



Title: Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity
Author: Adam Hamilton
Publisher: Abingdon Press (February 1, 2009)
Pages: 110

Don’t let the size fool you. ENOUGH: DISCOVERING JOY THROUGH SIMPLICITY AND GENEROSITY may be small in size and page numbers, but the content is huge. This is the second book I’ve read by ADAM HAMILTON, the first being Forgiveness: Finding Peace Through Letting Go. I was so taken by it; I used it for a “Bible” lesson for the youth at a correctional center.

ENOUGH: DISCOVERING JOY THROUGH SIMPLICITY AND GENEROSITY is a much needed topic. I often think of years ago, back in the days when the world wasn't so materialistic. What a shame it is we have grown to work our life away for the sake of accumulating stuff, and trying to do it all. Stuff we can’t take with us, and a life so packed with activities we are often stressed out and in debt.

It’s crazy how advance technology has come, how much there is out there for us to experience. How many new products are being produced. How much waste we create. We are such a throwaway society. When something new comes out, we just have to have it. Not long after, in a new color, shape or size. We just have to have it even though the other one is still in working condition.

MR HAMILTON speaks of a four part strategy that will free up our life both financially and emotionally. The first step is to recognize there is a problem. The second it to have a clear plan of action to resolve it. The third is to live it out. Once we accomplish these things, we are free to give as God intended us to do. If you have not known the joy of giving, I pray that one day you will.

Don’t miss out on this great little book so you can begin to live a less stressful and debt free life.


Friday, March 27, 2015

DRIFTWOOD TIDES by GINA HOLMES

Title: Driftwood Tides
Author: Gina Holmes
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 15, 2014)
Pages: 400

GINA HOLMES is one of the few authors I don’t give a second thought to purchasing her latest book. I don’t need to know the title, see the cover, read the synopsis. Nope. Just knowing she wrote it is good enough. To date I have read every GINA HOLEMS book published. There is no uncertainty when starting one of MS HOLMES books. I know I will be swept away into another world, and DRIFTWOOD TIDES is no exception.

Holton Creary is a struggling artist, though art is not the only thing he struggles with. His life is slipping away and the true tragedy is, he doesn't care.

Libby Slater may seem like she has it all, but something is missing from her life. When she makes the decision to go on the hurt for that missing piece, she couldn't possible know what she was headed into.

MS HOLMES continues to hold me in awe of her writing. Her stories in themselves are captivating, heartwarming and heart wrenching all in one. They will teach you and inspire you. An avid reader and writer, it is not often that I dog-ear, highlight, share with others and make a photocopy of as a reminder from fiction. Non-fiction, yes. Fiction, no.  That alone says a heap about MS HOLMES talent.

If her ability to create an amazing story was not enough, she is also an amazing writer in the sense of originality. MS HOLMES ability to create unique descriptions and phrases goes beyond the norm. When a writer does every aspect in writing well, it can be lethal.


My only hesitation in reading a HOLMES novel is the deep seeded desire it provokes to write my own story. I often want to run to my computer to write a great novel such as she. Must I even point out that I cannot wait for the next.

Monday, March 2, 2015

CHRISTMAS UNDERDOG by CONNIE CAMERON

Title: Christmas Underdog
Author: Connie Cameron
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 25, 2014)
Pages: 116

To be quite honest, I was a little nervous to begin reading CHRISTMAS UNDERDOG by CONNIE CAMERON. I often read a few five and one star reviews before deciding to read a book. There are times that I make the decision to not purchase a book due to the comments, but that isn't always the case.

As I began CHRISTMAS UNDERDOG, I was quickly drawn into MS CAMERON’S story. Though it is non-fiction, it reads like fiction. I couldn't seem to put it down. I found myself smiling at some points, and tearing up at others.

CHRISTMAS UNDERDOG may be Christian based, but what it is not is preachy. An animal lover and one that is involved in prison ministry, I was able to connect with MS CAMERON’S story. Life is about choices. We can chose to let it beat us down, or see the blessings we have.


I found CHRISTMAS UNDERDOG to be equally inspiring, encouraging, and heartwarming. Truly, a story you won’t want to miss.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

THE BEEKEEPER’S SON by KELLY IRVIN


Title: The Beekeeper’s Son
Author: Kelly Irivn
Publisher: Zondervan (January 12, 2015)
Pages: 352

WOW! I freely admit that I am not a fan of Amish fiction. I also admit that I have not read many Amish books, nor many authors that write Amish fiction. What I can admit is how blown away I am with THE BEEKEEPER’S SON by KELLY IRVIN.

Upon receiving a copy of THE BEEKEEPER’S SON, I tossed in my pile of books in need to read and reviewed, not giving it much thought. Truth be told, at a glance I read the title as The Bookkeeper’s Son. Once it reached the top of my stack, it was then that I realized the true title. Suddenly my interest peeked.

THE BEEKEEPER’S SON is not the first I've read by KELLY IRVIN. I am not one for suspense or mystery, so once I read one of MS IRVIN’S stories that was in the genre I so love, I started to realize I might just become a fan of Amish fiction after all.

Deborah Lantz is not happy about the move she and her family is force to endure, all for the sake for her mother to remarry. Remarry a man who is nothing like Deborah’s deceased father.

Phineas King has scars. The ones on the inside are no less destructive to his life as the ones on the outside. Upon bumping into the new girl, he is not surprised at her response to his appearance. After all, it wasn't something he hasn't dealt with for the past twelve years.

Deborah’s mother, Abigail, may have come to Texas to marry a man she once turned down, and Deborah with every intention to leave Bee County as soon as possible, but it seems God has His own plan.

I found it most helpful to have a list of Amish vs English words to refer to, as well as a reference to the characters names grouped with family members. I appreciated that the Amish words were kept to a minimum. If not done so, for me, it makes for a difficult read.

This amazingly unique telling of Beauty and the Beast surpassed any hopes I had for Amish fiction. I LOVE the main characters. At first, I was not interested in Deborah’s mother’s situation, but before long, I found myself just as intrigued with Abigail and Mordecai as I was Deborah and Phineas.

I truly loved everything about THE BEEKEEPER’S SON. MS IRVIN is an amazing storyteller and writer. I cannot believe I am stating this, but THE BEEKEEPER’S SON has earned a place of one of my favorite novels. Never would I have imaged that to be true of an Amish story.

I urge anyone who is a reader of Christian romance, whether historical or contemporary, to give this amazing book a try, even if you never pictured yourself reading an Amish novel. You won’t be sorry you did.



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

BEYOND ALL DREAMS by ELIZABETH CAMDEN

Title: Beyond All Dreams
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 6, 2015)
Pages: 368

BEYOND ALL DREAMS by ELIZABETH CAMDEN is the fifth book I’ve read by her, and certainly won’t be the last. If there is one thing I am certain of, it is that when I pick up a book by ELIZABETH CAMDEN, I know I am going to be whisk away into another world. One I have no desire to leave.

Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the Library of Congress. When she discovers something is amiss in regards to her father’s death, she puts her shyness aside and seeks the help of Congressman Luke Callahan.

Luke Callahan is Anna O-Brien’s opposites in every way. Despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglements with members of Congress, Luke is bound to capture her attention. Could there be something to this thing called, loved at first sight?

MS CAMDEN’S writing is without question one of the best I've encountered. Her choice of words keeps me at awe, inspiring me to write. Her characters are always well formed, and three-dimensional, as if they could walk off the pages. It is one thing to write well, but another to create unique lines and that MS CAMDEN does superbly.

Each story MS CAMDEN creates if a fully developed plots. Not just any plot, but one with substance. One that will draw you in and not let you leave until the last page. A mix of fiction and history gives way to an exciting storytelling that will both entertain and educate. 

The way MS CAMDEN weaves together unique characters, history, a believable plot, and faith are a gift not many possess. There is no hesitation to whether or not I will purchase and read MS CAMDEN’S next novel. That is a given.


*Please see my profile for more information on this review.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS by K.M. WEILAND


Title: Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
Author: K.M. Weiland
Publisher: PenForASword; 6.1.2011 edition (July 1, 2011)
Pages: 192

My writing journey has been a slow one. My life is full, and I’m in a busy season of my life. Still, the desire to write is constantly present. 

Once I made the outrageous decision to write a novel, I picked up a copy of Stephen King’s, On Writing. Though it inspired me to dive in, it failed to give me concrete structure; hence, I became a seat-of-the-pants writer. I’ve gain knowledge along the way, perfecting my craft as I go from published and unpublished authors, the internet, classes, workshops, books on writing, and from reading others work. If there is one thing that can be said about writers it is that many have a strong opinion of whether one should be a pantser (Seat-of-the-pants-writer) or a plotter (An outliner).

I plunged full force into writing, though a bit unsure, content in my approach. Over time, the words of outliners began to sink in. Then I hit a brick wall. I realized my writing was missing something, and if I were not mistaking, it meant I needed to change my approach to staring a novel. I began to add different methods such as characterization and goal, motivation, and conflict charts. Still my stories lacked.

Convinced that I needed to make some serious changes, I gave in to the idea that I needed to do some major legwork before beginning a story. When I spotted OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS by K.M. WEILAND, I read the reviews and pondered the thought of purchasing it. Did I really want to become an outliner? Could I even do it?

Something I have learned over time is the variations of the words pantsers and plotters. It is not an all or nothing approach, or one-size-fits-all. One of the things that drew me to MS WEILAND’S book on outlining is her attitude of the two approaches. She neither overly praised one or badmouthed the other. It was all about finding the unique formula fit for you.

My copy of OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS is packed with handwritten notes, highlights and dog-eared pages. It is truly a wealth of information and an eye-opening experience. You know a book is worth every penny when you have a light bulb moment.

With too many examples to list, I will note the simplicity and examples MS WEILAND chose in OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS was instrumental in creating a book on the craft that will influence my writing forever. The book is written in a way that will have you looking forward to reading it each day, completing it from cover to cover.

To be honest, I was on the fence whether to purchase this book, having several books I’ve read on the craft of writing, as well as waiting to be read on my shelf. I am certainly glad I listened to the five star and not one star, reviews. I would not label this book for “new writers”, but for struggling writers, which can be at any point of one’s journey.

So impressed was I with MS WEILAND’S knowledge on writing and her style in OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS , I purchased a couple of her novels.

Information on OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS:

•           Help you choose the right type of outline for you
•           Guide you in brainstorming plot ideas
•           Aid you in discovering your characters
•           Show you how to structure your scenes
•           Explain how to format your finished outline
•           Instruct you in how to use your outline

Reveal the benefits:

•           Ensures cohesion and balance
•           Prevents dead-end ideas
•           Provides foreshadowing
•           Offers assurance and motivation

Dispel misconceptions:

•           Requires formal formatting
•           Limits creativity
•           Robs the joy of discovery
•           Takes too much time

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A PIECE OF ART

Title: Pieces of Granite (Coming Home, Prequel) (Coming Home Series)
Author: Brenda S Anderson
Publisher: Vivant Press; 1 edition (December 5, 2014)
Pages: 356

When I was given the opportunity to read PIECES OF GRANITE by BRENDA S ANDERSON, I didn't hesitate. I loved her book CHAIN OF MERCY, and I do mean LOVED it. To be honest, once I realized it was going back in time, the excitement diminished a bit. I loved Ricky in CHAIN OF MERCY, yet I had read his story, and knew of his sister Debbie and her family. How would it be to hear about them after already experiencing their lives?

Debbie and Jerry Verhoeven are expecting their second child. One would think they would be overjoyed. Though Debbie may be, Jerry is not. Not only is he not happy about their new child, he is having serious issues knowing she will not be perfect.

I was not prepared to enjoy PIECES OF GRANITE as much as I did, knowing it was going back in time. I loved getting to see another part of Ricky. I was equally intrigued by Debbie and Jerry's neighbor, Lee. I'm secretly hoping there will be a story about him. I was totally engaged in Debbie and Jerry's life.

I cannot adequately express how amazing MS ANDERSON'S writing is. It is near flawless. What I find intriguing is how realistic her stories are. It sounds so basic, yet I never realized how difficult a task it must be to accomplish, because I cannot recall any other author that has written so accurately to every day life, and at the same time keep the story as equally engaging. The honesty and realism is off the charts. I often found myself shaking my head thinking wow; I have felt that or lived that. While reading PIECES OF GRANITE it came to mind that every parent needs to read this book.


Not only was I wrong about it being awkward to read about Ricky after having read his story in CHAIN OF MERCY, I am tempted to reread it, having fallen in love with him all over again in PIECES OF GRANITE.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A RANCHER FOR CHRISTMAS by BRENDA MINTON

Title: A Rancher for Christmas
Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher: Love Inspired (November 18, 2014)
Pages: 224

Yes, A RANCHER FOR CHRISTMAS is what I’ve always dreamed of. And as usual, BRENDA MINTON delivers another amazing novel.

I was intrigued by Breezy Hernandez in THE COWBOY LAWMAN (Cooper Creek Book 5) by BRENDA MINTON, so naturally I was excited when I discovered there’d be a story about the main characters sister, Breezy.  

Breezy Hernandez has issues, thought she is not the only one. It may be her upbringing to not stick around, but it is not her desire. Deep down she wants nothing more than to find a place she can call home…forever.

Jake Martin is a little more than uneasy about the situation he’s tossed into by his best friend and sisters will. Breezy has a past. One he knows about through a private investigator. One that puts his own insecurities on his sleeves.

Not quite a marriage of convenience, but still tossed together in an unlikely way, MS MINTON has created a typical Love Inspired story, yet not so typical. As always the case with MS MINTON, her plot will draw you in, and the characters will win your heart. Aside from being an amazing storyteller, the unique lines she comes up with are refreshing, delightful, and as a writer, inspiring.

As always is the case with BRENDA MINTON'S books, no sooner do I read the last word, I am looking forward to the next book.