Thursday, February 26, 2015


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


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


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.


•           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