Monday, October 24, 2016

THE RANCHER’S TEXAS MATCH by BRENDA MINTON

Title: The Rancher’s Texas Match
Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher: Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch (Book 1)
Pages: 224

I am a huge BRENDA MINTON fan. I have read just about every book she has published. She is an amazing writer, with witty and unique lines. Great plots, and characters you will fall in love with. 

I was a little confused why THE RANCHER’S TEXAS MATCH didn’t seem like the typical BRENDA MINTON book I read. It wasn’t until nearly the end that I discovered THE RANCHER’S TEXAS MATCH is a part of a series with other authors. Suddenly it all made sense.

Tanner Barstow helps troubled teens at the Lone Star cowboy League Boys Ranch. His own upbringing is why he hesitate when it comes to relationships.


Macy Swanson isn’t so sure about being thrown into motherhood. She loves her nephew, but isn’t sure she has what it take to raise the boy. After all, she is just one person. A boy needs a father figure as well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

BLESSINGS BEYOND WORDS







s










So blessed to be a part of an amazing ministry. 

Matthew Chapter 25




Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Title:   American Endurance: Buffalo Bill, the Great Cowboy Race of 1893, and the Vanishing Wild West
Author: Richard A. Serrano
Publisher: Smithsonian Books (October 4, 2016)
Pages: 272

To say that I am obsessed with cowboys, and the western days is an understatement. When I spotted AMERICAN ENDURANCE: BUFFALO BILL, THE GREAT COWBOY RACE OF 1893, AND THE VANISHING WILD WEST by RICHARD A SERRANO I just knew I had to have it. I have to admit this is not my typical read. I read fiction with a cowboy and ranch theme. I love both contemporary and historical. I have been a Little House on the Prairie fan for years. I yearn to live in those days – with the convenience of a computer of course.

What I expected from reading AMERICAN EDURANCE: BUFFALO BILL, THE GREAT COWBOY RACE OF 1893, AND THE VANISHING WILD WEST is insight to exactly what the title suggest. What I didn’t expect was to be pulled into the book like a well written novel. I was shocked to discover how many pages I was in after just beginning to read. It’s well written, and packed full of history, mystery and adventure.

I have lived my entire life just an hour from Chicago, in Illinois. To imagine something historical happening so near to my hometown is exciting. Even more so to read about it. It is hard to phantom that just one hundred and twenty-three years ago life was so vastly different then today. Only three years before my grandmother was born. I feel blessed to have run cross this amazing read. 


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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A TON OF GREAT STUFF!

Title:  Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story
Author: K. M. Weiland
Publisher: PenForASword; 7/18/13 edition (August 17, 2013)
Pages: 295

My writing journey has been a long one. Many years of ups and down. I thought at times I had it, just to discover my writing is severally lacking. There is something wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. God revealed to me one issue at a time that what is missing/wrong. The next faze to my writing journey had been discovering exactly what that was, and what I need to do to fix it. That’s where STRUCTURING YOUR NOVEL: ESSENTIAL KEYS FOR WRITING AN OUTSTANDING STORY by KM WEILAND comes in. 

I will forever be grateful to MS WEILAND for STRUCTURING YOUR NOVEL: ESSENTIAL KEYS FOR WRITING AN OUTSTANDING STORY. I was so impressed with her insight on writing a great story, that I have now purchased a few of her novels. The proof of how much knowledge I gained from this amazing book is apparent in how many written notes, dogeared pages, and highlights are in my copy. To list all that I have would be writing the book.

From the back cover:
 About the Book
Is Structure the Hidden Foundation of All Successful Stories?

Why do some stories work and others don’t? The answer is structure. In this IPPY and NIEA-Award winning guide from the author of the bestsellingOutlining Your Novel, you will learn the universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. An understanding of proper story and scene structure will show you how to perfectly time your story’s major events and will provide you with an unerring standard against which to evaluate your novel’s pacing and progression.

Structuring Your Novel will show you:
•               How to determine the best techniques for empowering your unique and personal vision for your story.
•               How to identify common structural weaknesses and flip them around into stunning strengths.
•               How to eliminate saggy middles by discovering your “centerpiece.”
•               Why you should NEVER include conflict in every scene.
•               How to discover the questions you don’t want readers asking about your plot—and then how to get them to ask the right questions.


Story structure has enabled countless bestselling and classic authors. Now it’s your turn!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

COUNTING ON A GREAT STORY, AND NOT DISAPPOINTED.

Title:  A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance (Book 2)
Author: Debra Clopton
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (August 11, 2015)
Pages: 320

What’s not to love about a DEBRA CLOPTON book. If you didn’t catch the lack of a questions mark, that's because it is a statement. COUNTING ON A COWBOY (A FOUR OF HEARTS RANCH ROMANCE) is the second of three books. I don’t recall how I ended up with the second book in the series before purchasing the first. What I do recall is that I didn’t get far in reading COUNTING ON A COWBOY before I realized I needed to purchase the first and third. In reading COUNTING ON A COWBOY, I was intrigued by Tru and Maggie’s story, and knew I had to read their journey as well. Equally, I wanted to know Bo’s brother Jarrod’s story as well. 

Abby Knightly lost much, but is determine to get her life back. What that entails is moving to a new town. What it doesn’t require is allowing a man into her guilt filled and wounded heart.

Bo Monahan isn’t interested in a relationship, getting married, or having a family. And certainly not from someone who read his sister-in-laws article about their single cowboy town. When Abby Knightly enters into Bo’s life, and then an unexpected surprise is dropped off at his doorstep, he begins to rethink his idea a family.


I have been a huge DEBRA CLOPTON fan for years. I own just about every book she has published. I have come to expect a great story, with intriguing and heartwarming characters and have yet to be disappointed. In COUNTING ON A COWBOY I was pleasantly surprised by the twist of the expected taking on a different direction. Can’t wait to read about Tru and Jarrod.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

IF I COULD ONLY WRITE HALF AS WELL

Title: The Saddle Maker’s Son (The Amish of Bee County)
Author: Kelly Irvin
Publisher: Zondervan (June 14, 2016)
Pages: 384

One thing you should know about me is that I am not a fan of Amish fiction. Therefore, for MS IRVIN to have me wanting to read anything she writes is quite the accomplishment. Which goes to prove if a book is really well written, someone outside of the genre may become a fan.

Rebekah Lantz struggles with her sister leaving the Amish faith. She needs to work on forgiveness, along with tampering down her independent ways.

Tobias Byler is haunted by his past. The last thing he wants is to sit back and watch his brother make the same mistake. Letter go of the woman Tobias once loved is proving to be easier then convincing Rebekah Lantz that she is the woman for him.

What do I love about MS IRVIN’S stories? What’s there not to love. She is an amazing storyteller, which is why I enjoyed THE SADDLE MAKER’S SON (THE AMISH OF BEE COUNTY). However, I have to admit, The Beekeeper’s Son will probably remind one of my all time favorite books.

I am in constant awe of MS IRVIN’S amazing writing. I recommend her to many people. One of the things I love about MS IRVIN’S stories is the way she intertwines more than once romance, both young and not so young.

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


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

FROM THE MOMENT I OPENED THE BOOK...

Title: From This Moment
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 7, 2016)
Pages: 352

Oh my, what can I say about yet another amazing story by ELIZABETH CAMDEN? One thing I can say is each time I begin one of MS CAMDEN'S novels, the thought of whether or not it is going to be a good story doesn’t cross my mind. I know it will be, and sure enough I was not disappointed in FROM THIS MOMENT.

Stella West is not in Boston for her dream job, but on a mission. One that she has no intentions of giving up on until she has discovered what she came for.

Romulus White has overcome odds and made a decent life for himself. When the woman he has written to for several years to come join his magazine, suddenly shows up, he’s determined not to let he beauty and charm distract him from his commitment to not marry until the age of forty.

What do I love about FROM THIS MOMENT? The writing, the plot, the characters. When reading an ELIZABETH CAMDEN book I have come to expect to be educated in an entertaining way. Her subject matter is always of interest, as well as educating.

There are not many authors that can pull off a story that I not only love the hero, but the heroine as well. ELIZABETH CAMDEN is one of them. I LOVE both Stella and Romulus’ character. MS CAMDEN has this way of constructing her characters with flaws she turns into endearing qualities.

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



Monday, July 4, 2016

NO OTHER AUTHOR WILL DO.

Title: No Other Will Do
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 7, 2016)
Pages: 368

One of the comforts of having a favorite author is not hesitating in purchasing and starting a new book by them. There is no doubt you are going to LOVE it, and it is worth every penny you spent. That is exactly how I feel about author KAREN WITEMEYER. I eagerly await her next novel, and anxiously begin reading it, knowing I will be drawn in from the first to the last word. That is exactly what happened with NO OTHER WILL DO.

Emma Chandler is the founder of Harper's Station, a women's colony that offers a fresh start for woman in need. Emma, along with her aunts, provide a safe haven for woman that are abused or abandoned by a man.

Malachi Shaw entered Emma Chandler’s life through unusual circumstances. In only a few short years, he is forced to leave. A decade later, he returned to his “aunts” and Emma’s side, when called to rescues them from a man attempting to run them out of town. Malachi has never forgotten Emma, or she him. Upon seeing one another, time did little to damper their feelings.

If there is a checklist of must haves for a great story, MS WITEMEYER is a master at checking off each item. Her stories have interesting and meaningful plots. Her characters are well thought-out and three dimensional. Characters you will connect with and fall in love with. Not only the main characters, but the secondary characters as well. MS WITEMEYER’S writing is refreshingly unique, with great lines.

Always looking for the next KAREN WITEMEYER book.


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

Sunday, June 26, 2016

ANOTHER AMAZING READ BY EDDIE SNIPES

Title: The Promise of a Sound Mind: God's plan for emotional and mental health
Author: Eddie Snipes
Publisher: GES Book Publishing (August 31, 2012)
Pages: 256

The first book I read by MR SNIPES was I CALLED HIM DANCER, and it remains one of my all time favorite stories. Therefore, you may be surprised to know that MR SNIPES is not only a great fiction writer, but non-fiction write as well. THE PROMISE OF A SOUND MIND, GOD’S PLAN FOR EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL HEALTH is the second non-fiction that I have read by EDDIE SNIPES and it won’t be the last.

THE PROMISE OF A SOUND MIND, GOD’S PLAN FOR EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL HEALTH is packed full of great information. A MUST read for everyone. Those struggle in different aspects of their lives, as well as though that think they have it all together. My copy is packed full of highlights, underlines, side notes, and dog-ears pages. UGH, I wanted to copy the entire book and send it to everyone I know.

I am a volunteer in the prison and jail ministry through my church. THE PROMISE OF A SOUND MIND, GOD’S PLAN FOR EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL HEALTH is a must read for those that are incarcerated. I have no doubt I will be making several purchases in the future to send to others.

Here are just a few great lines from this amazing book.  

Page 21:
“If I believe God is directing my steps, I must learn to rejoice in the good and the bad. I say “Bad” from the perspective of human nature but the truth is that nothing is bad if we are walking in God’s plan.”

Page 170:
“When we see the glory of God’s purpose in our lives, we will also hear the calling to come and follow.”

Honestly, I could quote just about the entire book, it’s that great. Don’t miss out. You will be blessed. It will enrich, educate, and enlighten you.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A LOVE WORTH GIVING: LIVING IN THE OVERFLOW OF GODS LOVE by MAX LUCADO

Title: A Love Worth Giving: Living in the Overflow of God's Love
Author: Max Lucado
Publisher: W. Publishing Group (April 16, 2006)
Pages: 214

I admit it. I LOVE devotionals. The only part I don’t like, but have overcome is when they are dated. Though I typically read every day, I don’t like feeling as though if I miss a day I am behind and need to make it up. What I love about devotionals is the little snippets of goodness each day. Typically not too much or too little, which allows you to absorb the words and gain much more from them.


A LOVE WORTH GIVING: LIVING IN THE OVERFLOW OF GODS LOVE by MAX LUCADO isn’t a devotional per say, yet it had the feel of a devotional. One with more substances to each chapter, rather than each day. MAX LUCADO is a brilliant writer. I have enjoyed everything I have read by him thus far. In my copy of A LOVE WORTH GIVING, I have many highlights as well as underlines and notes and comments. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

YEE HAW, ANOTHER GREAT READ!

Title: Her Rancher Bodyguard (Martin's Crossing)
Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher: Love Inspired (May 24, 2016)
Pages: 224

What can I say; I am forever a BRENDA MINTON fan. What’s there not to love about her books. As soon as one goes on sale, I snatch it up. If I am in the middle of reading a book, I read faster so I can get to MS MINTON’S book. Even if I have my next read planned out, I set it aside to sneak in hers. 

Boone Wilder has a job to do, and he doesn’t intent on messing it up. Not when it involves a pretty woman he is trying to deny being attracted too. 

Kayla Stanford doesn’t need a bodyguard. Especially one as handsome and sweet as Boone Wilder. What she needs is a fresh start. To feel as though she is loved. 

As I have stated in many reviews I’ve written on books I have read by BRENDA MINTON, she is a brilliant writer that creates amazing characters. She often blows me away with great lines. In THE RANCHER BODYGUARD there were a few amazing lines that I had to dog-ear in the book in two places. Page 78 and 217

Can’t wait for the next. Yes, that’ s me. Impatiently waiting. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

SO MANY GREAT THINGS

Title: A Man Called Outlaw
Author: K.M. Weiland
Publisher: PenForASword Publishing (October 1, 2007)
Pages: 354

How do we come to read a book? A suggestion from a friend? Happen to come across it on the internet? Spotted it on the shelf at the store? However one comes to purchasing a book and reading it is not as important as the outcome. Just the same, here is how I came to read A MAN CALLED OUTLAW by KM WEILAND.

I happened upon A MAN CALLED OUTLAW due to reading a non-fiction by KM WEILAND. My thinking was if she is able to give great advice on writing a novel, it is worth seeing if she can produce the type of stories she has aided others to write.

Shane Lassiter never knew his biological father. Nathaniel Wilcock stepped up and did the job. A man Shane owes everything to yet questions his morals.

Anne Cassidy refuses to sell her land. Not to the man that threatened to destroy her, or any other man. She was willing to even refuse the man she loved.

I have this bizarre love hate relationship with A MAN CALLED OUTLAW KM WEILAND. Well, perhaps hate is too strong of a word. For many chapters the switching from the past to future, and the number of characters had my head swimming. If not for the amazing writing, I would have given up early on.

The amount of characters and now soon they were introduced was an issue. The switch from the past the present at times was an issue as well. Even more so due to the same character names in both. The more I read, the more it became apparent that I could not stop reading A MAN CALLED OUTLAW.

Despite the fact that switching from past to present can be a tad confusing, I love this approach to a novel. Author MAUREEN LANG did this brilliantly in THE OAK LEAVES and ON SPARROW HILL. Living in the past and the present, getting a glimpse into both just to have it all come together in the end is something you won’t get in a novel that takes place in only one time frame.

To be honest, I would have loved to have a better ending. Or perhaps a second book to continue where A MAN CALLED OUTLAW left off. I wanted closure, though one may argue that MS WEILAND did just that.

What I loved about A MAN CALLED OUTLAW is the connection to the past and the present. The unique way the author wove them together. MS WEILAND did an amazing job of adding the element of surprise. There were a few things that I thought I knew what was going to happen, just to be shocked to discover something else.


Brilliant writing and a unique approach to a storyline will have me reading more books – both fiction and non-fiction – by KM WEILAND.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

AN AMAZING SURPRISE

Title: Chancers: Addiction, Prison, Recovery, Love: One Couple's Memoir
Author: Susan Stellin and Graham MacIndoe
Publisher:  Ballantine Books (June 7, 2016)
Pages: 448

I have more books in my pile of books to be read then I want to admit to. Yet when I ran across, CHANCERS: ADDICTION, PRISON, RECOVERY, LOVE: ONE COUPLE’S MEMOIR by SUSAN STELLIN AND GRAHAM MACINDOE, I ordered it. That it is a memoir and had the word prison is what drew me in.

When Susan Stellin asked Graham MacIndoe to shoot her author photo for an upcoming travel book, she couldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams the journey it would lead her on. 

I’m not sure what I expected when I ordered CHANCERS: ADDICTION, PRISON, RECOVERY, LOVE: ONE COUPLE’S MEMOIR by SUSAN STELLIN AND GRAHAM MACINDOE. What I didn’t expect was a beautifully written, honest account of two people’s lives.

CHANCERS flips between SUSAN STELLIN AND GRAHAM MACINDOE’S story of their life as they travel through their relationship. SUSAN and GRAHAM have distinct voices, yet maintain coherency in writing style.

CHANCERS is a fascinating read, one you won’t be able to put down. SUSAN gives an honest look into the experience of having someone you love addicted to drugs. GRAHAM gives a harsh account of the reality of what drugs can do to one’s life. A fascinating walk through addition to drugs, experiencing withdrawals, prison, and the system we count on to be just.

I have been volunteering in prison ministry since 2004. In all I have witness and been informed of by inmates, GRAHAM brought the experience from the view of one going through it to life, not hiding the ugly and brutal truth. 

CHANCERS is written like a great novel. Suspense, hope, love, uncertainty, and intrigue makes it hard to put down. I highly recommend CHANCERS: ADDICTION, PRISON, RECOVERY, LOVE: ONE COUPLE’S MEMOIR, and would gladly purchase other books written by SUSAN STELLIN AND GRAHAM MACINDOE.


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

Sunday, May 22, 2016

STORY IDEAS

What sparked a story idea in you? 
I will never be able to think 
of a laundromat the same. 


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016

CHILDHOOD REGAINED

I am so excited to announce the release of 
CHILDHOOD REGAINED
CHILDHOOD REGAINED – Stories of Hope for Asian Child Workers is a collection of 20 short stories and a poem, all written specifically for this anthology to raise awareness of the plight of millions of young children working long hours in factories, mines, quarries, on city streets, and on commercial farms in Asia.
The editor and writers have all donated their time and skills, and all net proceeds from this anthology will go to SOS Children’s Villages, http://www.soschildrensvillages.ca.
The moving but hopeful stories in this anthology focus on life in South Asia — India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh — where still today, in 2016, children as young as five are forced to work up to 16 hours a day under very difficult conditions, often with meager food and very poor sleeping accommodations.
At the back of the book, you’ll find brief factual information on children working in various sectors in South Asia, as well as study questions for each story, with answers.
Target readership is age twelve through adult.
All 20 stories and one poem were written specifically for this anthology by writers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Sweden, Malta, and India, and have not been published anywhere else.
Governments and charitable organizations are working to reduce the exploitation of disadvantaged children and improve the working conditions for young workers, but reforms cost money. Our aim is to try to help the situation by raising awareness and by contributing the proceeds from this anthology to a highly respected, trustworthy charity that works to improve the lives of young children exploited for profit.
All net proceeds from sales of this anthology will go to:
                                                
                                          Released in both trade paperback and ebook.  

TABLE OF CONTENTS
FOREWORD by Timothy Hallinan
INTRODUCTION by Jodie Renner
SANJAY’S MOUNTAIN by Steve Hooley
WHEN THE RAINS COME by Caroline Sciriha
SEEDS OF SLAVERY by Eileen Hopkins
THE GHOST BAZAAR by Barbara Hawley
MY NAME IS RAJ by Lori Duffy Foster
INTAHARI – Confessions of a Suicide Bomber by Peter Eichstaedt
DREAMS ARE FOR SLEEP by Tom Combs
SOME NIGHTS, I WAKE UP CRYING by Patricia Anne Elford
TREASURE OF THE MIND by D. Ansing
THE TORN CARPET by Caroline Sciriha
LIFE STUDY IN CHARCOAL by E.M. Eastick
RAJESH’S GARDEN by Della Barrett and Jodie Renner
RIVER OF LIFE by Steve Hooley
NAMASTE (poem) by Fern G.Z. Carr
FUNNY DANCE by Sanjay Deshmukh
FLOWERS by Hazel Bennett
BRICK BY BRICK by Kym McNabney
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK by Rayne Kaa Hedberg
DREAMS OF ARSENAL by Edward Branley
INVISIBLE by Sarah Hausman
FROZEN TEARS by Steve Hooley
GUIDELINES FOR TEACHERS & LIBRARIANS
STUDY QUESTIONS FOR THE STORIES
BRIEF FACTUAL INFORMATION
KEY TO STUDY QUESTIONS
GLOSSARY

BRICK BY BRICK 
by Kym McNabney
Anika, a twelve-year-old girl from India, is devastated when her alcoholic father pawns her off to a broker like some type of animal. If her mother had survived Anika’s birth, perhaps her father would not hand her over to a man she never met. Mr. Kumar, the broker, takes her to his brick-making yard, where she is forced to live in a cramped dormitory with others. Anika befriends Prisha, a worker in Mr. Kumar’s brick company. Anika works from sunup to sundown, never forgetting her brother’s vow to one day rescue her.
You can find me on:

Review for CHILDHOOD REGAINED
~ Susan Miura, author, reviewer for The Book Report, public relations coordinator for a Chicago suburban library, presenter of “Modern Day Slavery,” and Vice President of the ACFW Chicago Chapter. www.susanmiura.com