Monday, May 28, 2012


Title: My Battle With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Author: Beckie Butcher
Publisher: iUniverse (March 12, 2012)
Pages: 52

MY BATTLE WITH CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME by BECKIE BUTCHER is an honest account of her battle with this horrific disease. She’s brutally honest of family, friends, and acquaintances ignorance to the debilitating disease.

MY BATTLE WITH CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME is a quick read, yet will open your eyes to a disease many are experiencing and others know little about. I thought it to be simply about “being tired” when in fact it’s so much more.

MS. BUTCHER gives some eye opening advice for those of us not dealing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well as how to approach others that are going through their own trials and tribulations.

The message is clear. Treat others the way you’d want to be treated. Don’t judge others unless you’ve walked in their shoes. Never give up hope. Keep the faith. A little kindness, compassion and love can go a long way.

I invite you to take a look at this video I came across on Youtube.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Title: His Little Cowgirl

Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher: Steeple Hill Love Inspired (September 1, 2008)

Pages: 224

I feel like a broken record, but it’s true. I always become fully involved when reading a BRENDA MINTON book, and HIS LITTLE COWGIRL was no exception.

The last thing Cody Jacob’s expects when he makes a stop to ask for forgiveness from a girl he met years ago is to discover he’s a father. At the top of his career as a bull rider, a little cowgirl and his mother have him rethinking what’s important in life.

Bailey Cross has every right not to trust Cody Jacob after he ran out on her years ago. With her father sick, and growing bills, Bailey is forced to accept Cody’s help. Something she’s not accustom too. After all, she’s been taking care of herself and their little girls for close to six years.

BRENDA MINTON has the most amazing ability to create three dimensional characters that walk off the pages, and into your heart. I loved Cody’s struggle with his addiction, as well as what Bailey’s father went through, creating some very tender moments. It’s not often I tear up on a LOVE INSPIRED book. That’s one of the things I love so much about MS MINTON’S writing, is her willingness to hit on tougher subject matters.

I was introduced to BRENDA MINTON’S writing after she’d been published for a few years. I recently purchased the older books she written that I had not read. I love the way she creates a story that much. It’s been fun to go back in story time and now read about some of the characters that are in current books.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


And the Greatest of These is Love

All writers know the faith it takes to put words on paper. They’ve seen the faith required to search for the right word, the right nugget of truth that will mark their work as top-notch. Ultimately, they know the gut-wrenching faith it takes to turn their written baby over to someone who might reject it outright.

They know hope too. Even after they’ve been kicked to the curb by an agent, who probably didn’t even read the first sentence of a query, after a few days of chocolate and Kleenexes, hope surges again. Maybe the next editor will love it, buy it, publish it, and send it to be included next to John Grisham’s on the front table of every bookstore in the country. Don’t deny it. You know that hope is real.

One element, however, sometimes gets lost when faith and hope begin to emerge in our writing journey. That element is love. Sure, we love it, or we wouldn’t stress ourselves out to learn how to do it better, to find someone to publish it, and to put ourselves on the chopping block of rejection time and again. It’s almost a given that we love it. The problem is we forget that we love it.

As a character who loves music in one of my books says, “You know me, I’d play for the squirrels if they’d listen.”

Too often the longer we write, the less we remember what we love about it. Our focus shifts from writing for love to writing so others will love what we’ve written.

When we write for the love of it, every frustrating moment is an exhilarating challenge. Shaping the ephemerally picturesque stories in our minds into something coherent and fluid is like no other experience. The very act of putting that last piece of our word puzzle into place has no equal.

Remember the journals you kept, the poems you wrote, the short stories that are still tucked away in some old notebook. You wrote those not to gain love but because they were burning a hole in your soul to be put on paper.

Then you began writing not for love but to gain love. You became convinced that you had to twist your writing to meet what others believe is marketable or publishable. And so you let your love for writing morph into wanting your writing to be loved… sometimes at all costs. You twisted yourself into a pretzel, learning perfect grammar, point of view, the “correct” way to write a marketable manuscript.

Learning and growing in your writing is one thing, but when that gets so tangled in the rules that you forget why you started in the first place, that is something altogether different. Love is the key to writing real. As the Bible says so eloquently:

In the end three things shall last, faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. –1 Corinthians 13:13

It’s a lesson every writer should take to heart.

Copyright 2005, Staci Stallings

Want something great to read? Check out the previews for Staci’s latest two novels “Cowboy” and “Lucky.” You can read the first three chapters of each for free at: You’ll feel better for the experience!

Houston firefighter, Jeff Taylor is a fireman's fireman. No situation is too dangerous to keep him sidelined if lives are on the line. However, when control freak Lisa Matheson falls for him, she quickly realizes she can't control Jeff or the death wish he seems to have...

To Protect & Serve

The Courage Series, Book 1

To save other's lives, they will risk their own

Buy it on Amazon Kindle:

Buy it on Barnes & Noble Nook:

"To Protect and Serve will hold you prisoner to its pages until the final one is turned. Prepare to cry, laugh, wish, love and maybe even cry again as you become enveloped in the hopes and feelings of Lisa and Jeff."

-Cindy Reiger

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Title: Of Poseidon
Author: Anna Banks
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (May 22, 2012)
Pages: 366

OF POSEIDON by ANNA BANKS is only the second mermaid book that I’ve read, though this one is more about a merman, I guess you’d say. The first one I read, I was sorely disappointed with, but that was not the case with this one.

Galen is a prince from where he comes from, a world under water. He’s on a mission, one that takes him on land to interact with humans.

While on vacation with her friend, Emma encounters Galen…and then a shark. Right away there’s an attraction. But things are not what they seem.

This was my first read by ANNA BANKS, and I know it won’t be the last. She left a cliffhanger of an ending that had my jaw dropping. I must read the next book as soon as it hits the stores.

I found OF POSEIDON to be a wonderful read. Unique, well written, with distinct characters, and wonderful lines. I’m becoming more and more a fan of first person point of view. What I’ve come to like even more is flipping between the main characters in first person, which OF POSEIDON did.

OF POSEIDON reminds me of TWILIGH, with a distinct difference. Where Bella is whinny and weak to a point, Emma is strong, independent, spunky, and stubborn. Galen on the other hand is just as endearing as Edward.

The beginning went off with a bang, and eventually subsided. Though there was a lull in the middle, it was written well enough with great lines, and wonderful characters, you never strayed far from wanting to find out what happen next.

My fifteen-year-old daughter picked this book out, and proceeded to read it in three quick days. Thought I didn’t read it quite as fast, it was fast paced. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to read it and can’t wait for the next.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Title: Grieving God’s Way, The Path to Lasting Hope and Healing
Author: Margaret Brownley and Haiku by Diantha Ain
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 10, 2012)
Pages: 224

I decided to read GRIEVING GOD’S WAY by MARGARET BROWNLEY not because I was grieving a loved one, but for a greater understanding of what others go through. Though I know it’s inevitable that one day I too will grieve a loved one and therefore benefit from MS. BROWNLEY’S book, I never imagined the connection to the ministry I’m involved with.

I volunteer in the prison and jail ministry through my church. When one has a loved one incarcerated, and especially with a very long or life sentence, one goes through a grieving process.

To call GRIEVING GOD’S WAY a devotional is limiting. It’s packed full of insight and honest emotions on handling death, as well as a great tool for going through hardships. This wonderful devotional teaches you not only is it okay to grieve, but expected. Though everyone’s grieving is unique, there is a process. A process we must go through to come out on top and not stuck in the depths of despair.

From page 90, Day 42:

“The world as we know it has ended, and all we want to do is hibernate. If we give into the weight of depression our souls will crumble. If we hold on to our pain too long we will be crushed.”

MS. BROWNELY has opened her heart up to readers, sharing her journey of the loss of her son. Unfortunately the older we get, the more we experience death. I recommend that everyone gets a copy of this amazing book so they can be better prepared to support friends as well as equip themselves for when the time comes that they too lose someone.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Title: The Bull Rider’s Baby
Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher: Love Inspired (April 17, 2012)
Pages: 224

I was truly blessed the day I came across a BRENDA MINTON book. I love what I read and each book after. THE BULL RIDER’S BABY was no exception.

Keeton West is back in his hometown for the first time in years since his family fled after the terrible accident. He’s been handed a baby he didn’t know he had, and reminded of a woman he left behind all those years ago.

Sophie Cooper has sworn off Bull Riders, and with good cause. When Keeton West walks back into her life with a cute bundle in hand, she’s knocked off kilter. No matter her feelings for Keeton – back then or now – she can’t get involved with the handsome bull rider.

Once again MS. MINTON has interrupted my life with her amazing ability to write a page turning book. I’m never in doubt that when I pick up one of her books, I won’t be able to stop until I’ve completed it. She writes the most amazing stories with characters you’ll fall head-over-heels for. Her writing is flawless. The storyline compelling. The characters three dimensional, leaping off the pages.

Writing short stories for LOVE INSPIRED can’t be easy. There are so many out there, it has to be difficult to pull off a story that the readers won’t walk away thinking they’ve heard a million times. What MS MINTON does is create unique lines and characters that will keep you guessing the outcome. Well, maybe not the ultimate outcome, but she throws in a few shockers that will take you by surprise.

I was ecstatic to discover she has another book coming out in August of this year, THE RANCHER’S SECRET WIFE. You can bet I’ll be watching the stores for that one. As far as I’m concerned, she can’t write fast enough.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Title: The Cowboy Takes A Bride
Author: Lori Wilde
Publisher: Avon; Original edition (March 27, 2012)
Pages: 384

I have been blessed to receive books to read and review, and in doing so I often encounter an author I would not have otherwise read. THE COWBOY TAKES A BRIDE by LORI WILDE is one of them.

Out of work, Mariah Callahan heads to the land her estranged father willed her. She had one goal…get in and get out. But life doesn’t always turn out like you plan.

Joe Daniels is doing just fine…or so he thought. When his best friend’s daughter shows up at his place, he has one goal. To get rid of her. But there’s a problem. He’s attracted to her.

The first two-hundred pages I was totally captivated. I couldn’t put it down. The writing was amazing, the characters wonderful. The only things I could say bad about the book was the foul language.

Around page two-hundred it slowed down. I’m not sure what happened but it kind of flat lined for me. It may have been because the first portion was so riveting. It may have been due to the explicit sexual encounter. I typically read Inspirational/Christian fiction. The main characters were kind of bouncing back and forth on the same issues as well. For me that could have been eliminated or at the very least, cut back on or handled differently.

Somewhere around the last seventy or so pages it picked back up. Once again I couldn’t put it down. The ending was wonderfully unique.

MS. WILDE certainly knows how to write a story. I loved the beginning of each chapter. The writing was amazing with unique lines, a wonderful storyline, and full of twist and turns. I’m certainly interested in reading more from her in the future.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar -- The prophet Nehemiah's cousin, Sarah, has come to two conclusions about life: that God does not love her, and that her accomplishments are the measure of her worth. Caught in an arranged marriage, Sarah must learn to love - a task that could prove dangerous. (Historical from River North (Moody).

A Bride's Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer -- At the close of the Civil War in Tennessee, Heaven Wharton's life is out of control, and Travis Logan is running from a painful past. Did God orchestrate their meeting, or is it one more problem in their search for true peace? (Historical Romance from Barbour).

Trauma Plan by Candace Calvert -- Sidelined by injuries from a vicious assault, nurse chaplain Riley Hale is determined to return to ER duties. But how can she show she's competent when the hospital won't let her attempt even simple tasks? To prove herself, Riley volunteers at a controversial urban free clinic despite her fears about the maverick doctor in charge. Dr. Jack Travis defends his clinic like he's commander of the Alamo. He'll fight the community's efforts to shut its doors, even if he must use Riley Hale's influential family name to make it happen. (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House).

Mary's Blessing by Lena Nelson Dooley -- When her mother dies, Mary Lenora must grow up quickly to take care of her brothers and sisters. Can love help her to shoulder the burden? (Historical Romance from Realms (Charisma Media).

The Black Sheep's Redemption by Lynette Eason -- Charles Fitzgerald is guilty until proven innocent according to the townspeople of Fitzgerald Bay. When Demi Taylor comes to town, Charles finds one more reason to urge his law enforcement family to hurry up and solve the case--Demi's love. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert -- Young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa. The unexpected inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan. Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. So when Bethany is left the land, he must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany's vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away. (Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook/Multonomah).

The Marshal's Promise by Rhonda Gibson -- Mail-order bride Rebecca Ramsey arrives in the New Mexico territory full of dreams-but they're shattered when she discovers her intended husband has been killed. If it weren't for U.S. marshal Seth Billings's housekeeping job offer, she'd have nowhere to go. Caring for Jesse Cole's would-be bride is the least Seth can do. If it weren't for him, the young man would still be alive. Seth had promised to look after Rebecca-and to keep her safe from Jesse's enemies. Now if only he can keep his heart safe, as well... (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).

"Whole Pieces" from 7 Hours by Ronie Kendig -- Whole Pieces is a novella in the 7 Hours collection. After a brutal attack left him without a limb and his team dead, former Green Beret Haytham "Hawk" Wilson is angry at life and God. Every day he relives his decision to send the Afghan boy home rather than following orders to kill any who came upon his hidden team. Eaten alive by grief and regret over one order he failed, Hawk seizes the opportunity to go back and correct his failure. The decision is simple . . . until he gets there. (Supernatural Thriller/Suspense from Tyndale House).

Chameleon, The Ravensmore Chronicles, Book Two by Jillian Kent -- After battling a chronic childhood illness that kept her home-bound for years, Lady Victoria Grayson journeys to London determined to have the adventure of a lifetime. Jaded by his wartime profession as a spy, Lord Witt understands, more than most, that everyone is not always who they pretend to be. He meets Victoria after the Regent requests an investigation into the activities of her physician brother. Witt and Victoria become increasingly entangled in a plot targeting the lords of Parliament. (Historical Romance from Realms (Charisma Media).

The Soul Saver byDineen Miller -- Lexie is fighting a supernatural battle to save her marriage and her husband's soul. Will she unmask the evil before it's too late? (Supernatural Thriller/Suspense from Barbour).

Submerged by Dani Pettrey -- A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers. One single clue. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House).

Rainbow's End by Cara Putman, Valerie Comer, Nicole O'Dell and Annalisa Daughety -- Join a geocaching adventure in the spectacular Lake of the Ozarks wilderness, with Lyssa, the reluctant volunteer whose former nemesis is now her chief sponsor; Madison, a city girl paired with an outdoorsy guy who gets on her very last nerve; Hadley, who doesn't know enough about guys to realize she's met a womanizer; and cautious Reagan, who meets an equally cautious guy. Will they find the treasure they're looking for... or something else entirely? (Romantic Mystery from Barbour).

After All (A Hanover Falls Novel) by Deborah Raney -- Raney's Hanover Falls series offers plenty of romance and mystery as three people find hope, forgiveness, and love in unexpected places. (General Contemporary from Howard (Simon & Schuster).

Fatal Disclosure by Sandra Robbins -- An undercover DEA agent finds himself protecting the woman he loves from the smugglers who murdered his partner. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad -- The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six year old. Widowed two years ago, Lilly leaves the shelter of her intrusive in-laws' home to stand on her own and provide for her young son by working for the summer as a cook at Lake Manawa. When a row ensues with the in-laws, a handsome stranger--who designs roller coasters, of all things--intercedes on her behalf. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life. (Historical Romance from Revell).

Annie's Truth by Beth Shriver -- Annie Bieler seems to have it all—a loving family in a tight-knit Amish community and the affections of an attractive and respected young man. But when she learns that she was adopted after being found as an abandoned newborn, she sets out on a journey to find out who she is. (Contemporary Romance from Realms (Charisma Media).

Stardust by Carla Stewart -- An East Texas widow sets her dreams on running the Stardust Tourist Court, but when her dead husband's mistress arrives with a child in tow and polio strikes, her dreams are crippled. (Contemporary from Faith Words (Hachette).

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade -- A single Christian girls determines to renovate the broken heart of her contractor. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House).

The Homesteader's Sweetheart by Lacy Williams -- To escape a dreaded arranged marriage, Penny Castlerock will face anything--even life on her grandfather's farm. But it isn't the rustic lifestyle that's got the Philadelphia socialite tied in knots. It's the handsome homesteader and his eight adopted children next door.... (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).