Saturday, September 27, 2014


I started to write to a man that is incarcerated about three years ago. Not having any one in his life, he cherishes the pictures I send him of our foster dogs through Collie Rescue of Greater, IL. He feels a deep connection to our latest foster, Cuddy’s, because of Cuddle’s life journey. He has pictures of all the dogs taped to his cell wall. He – a new artist – drew a picture of his beloved Mr Cuddles.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Title: My Stubborn Heart  
Author: Becky Wade
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (May 1, 2012)
Pages: 352
Before purchasing a book, I typically check the reviews on Amazon. Knowing they can be subjective, I don’t take too much stock in them. I read BECKY WADE’S book MEANT TO BE MINE, because of a friend’s suggestion, who knowing my love for cowboys, knew I would love it. Boy was she right. MS WADE suddenly became a favorite author of mine. So much so, I sought out other books by her, and ordered UNDENIABLY YOURS. With a large stack of books to read, I didn’t look into her other book. 
Not long after, I saw a post on facebook about MY STUBBORN HEART. I went to Amazon, and as I often do, looked at the one star review and then a five star one. Having read MEANT TO BE MINE, the one star review baffled me. Even though I couldn’t imagine I’d agree, and already having far too many books to read, I opted not to purchase it.
Sometime later, I spotted another post on facebook, and this time made up my mind to purchase it. After reading her amazing writing, I couldn’t imagine the one star review was accurate. At least not for my taste in writing and genre. 
I don’t recall ever being more happy about not letting my decision be swayed by a bad review. WOW! Even the best authors can have a “bad book”, and I feared it may be true with MY STUBBORN HEART because of the one star review, but I am happy to report that it is not the case. 
Kate Donovan’s life has been unsettled in a way that has her escaping from her ordinary life, to the solace of Redbud, Pennsylvania, with her grandmother.
Matt Jarreau is quiet and reserved, and with good reason, and no plans of changing. Working on restoring an old house, he never imagined it would lead to restoring his injured heart.
BECKY WADE’S writing is second to none. It is unique, witty, emotional, deep, moving, inspiring, and engaging. Her characters – every one of them, including the secondary characters – are three dimensional, tangible, distinctive, and memorable. Typically, if an author is good, a reader will enjoy one secondary character. But not so with MY STUBBORN HEART. I loved them all. I loved Kate’s sweet natured grandmother, but I was thrown into laughter many times with Velma’s distinctive personality, and outlandish comments.
MS WADE creates stories that are so realistic. So natural. She holds nothing back, yet maintains a clean, faith-based book. Not the kind of faith-based book that comes off preachy. No, it’s handled in a beautifully subtle way, with just the right amount of honest scenarios. She doesn’t write the expected, and each line is done with a natural flow. Her characters have flaws. Believable flaws. The characters journey through the book is done with seemingly effortless natural flow. I find myself laughing at her unique easygoing humor one minute, and tearing up with emotions in sympathy for a character, the next. 

I loved every chapter, every page, every word. I laughed, I cried. I read it easily, savoring every moment. Upon reading the last word, a sudden sadness came over me. Oh, how I will miss Matt and Kate.
I cannot wait to get started on the last MS WADE book I have to read, UNDENIABLY YOURS. I have no doubt I will be quickly emerged into a wonderful world of storytelling, and upon completion, will be waiting anxiously for the next to come out. 

Friday, September 19, 2014


Title: Beyond I Do
Author: Jennifer Slattery
Publisher: New Hope Publishers (August 4, 2014)
Pages: 320

BEYOND I DO by JENNIFER SLATTERY is packed full of scripter and Christian learning, with a message on matters of choosing a life partner. 

Ainsley Meadows is searching for more. More than just a “marriage”. More than what her past threatens she could become.

Focused on his career, with a controlling family, Richard Hollis is determined to make Ainsley his wife.

Chris Langley has a plan. A plan that include big changes in his life. One that may prove to be the biggest mistake of his life, or the greatest decision he's made.

BEYOND I DO delivers a message for those seeking a relationship or are engaged. Marriage is an important, often daunting decision. One that will be with you the rest of your life, and not to take lightly. MS SLATTERY has woven together a story that will open your eyes to the impact choosing a life partner can have on your life, if not chosen with great thought and intent.

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

Monday, September 15, 2014


Title: 10K a Day, The Secret of Quality Speed Writing
Author: C R Myers
Pages: 64

I happen to run across 10K A DAY, THE SECRET OF QUALITY SPEED WRITING by C R MYERS, and couldn’t resist. After years of plugging away at writing, I have come to a point of realization that something is missing. There are several components that make up a great story, and if one of those is absent, the reader is left lacking the full potential of a great story.

I didn’t purchase 10K A DAY, THE SECRET OF QUALITY SPEED WRITING to accomplish speed writing – though I do desire to write more words a day - but to incorporate the missing pieces to my stories.

As soon as I received my copy, I couldn’t resist the urge to read it. At just 64 pages, and desperately seeking the key to better my writing, I dug in, completing it in one sitting.

MS MYERS has constructed a quick and easy to read, understand, and implement book. She went from a SOTP (Seat of the pants.) writer, to an outline. Something I’ve been wrestling with for months.

Being a SOTP writer, I have struggled with whether to change my approach, and if so, how to go about it. With much research and advice, I’ve learned there is no right or wrong way to approach your writing, yet as much as I’ve been told being a SOTP or outliner is fine, I’ve come to discover my all out SOTP approach is not working. I need to incorporate plotting, greater character knowledge, and overall story familiarity before beginning to write to flush out the issues I have with my overall story.

What I’ve gained from MS MYERS book is fresh ideas to approach my story. A key moment was in reading “working with your brain, not against it.” It was eye opening to realize that, in not using the right approach, you are actually hindering your writing/making it more difficult and timely to accomplish your story.
Though I may not incorporate every idea MS MYERS has, to the extent that she does, I am left with a fresh look in how to approach my writing. At just 64 pages, I found 10K A DAY, THE SECRET OF QUALITY SPEED WRITING to be a wealth of information. Often, less is more, and that is certainly the case with this gem of a book.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Title: Full Steam Ahead
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 3, 2014)
Pages: 352

If you read my reviews for KAREN WITEMEYER, you might think perhaps I write all reviews with such excitement and praise, but that is not the case. However, that is the case with all the books I’ve read by MS WITEMEYER.

Where do I begin? FULL STEAM AHEAD by KAREN WITEMEYER is amazing! Each time MS WITEMEYER delivers not only a story well written, but an engaging, inspiring, intriguing, and compelling story.

Nicole Renard’s father requested that she find an heir for the family business. She is determined to not only carry out his wish, but to keep her family and their dowry safe. Something that proves to be life threatening and life altering.

Darius Thornton is focused - obsessed might be a better word. Obsessed with finding a solution to the horrific reality of boiler explosions. But that doesn’t mean he’s blind to the beautiful, intelligent, and determined Nicole Renard.

MS WITEMEYER always manages to create characters that are so tangible, you dread flipping to the last page where you will be forced to no longer be a part of their lives. Nicole and Darius are fascinating. I LOVED their quirks. I LOVED how they complimented one another, both in strengths and weaknesses. I especially LOVED how Darius has a flaw that didn’t just disappear by the end of the story. No, instead it was Nicole that helped to keep his weaknesses and flaws in check, without completely fixing them. I found that to be brilliant. Too often Christian fiction  doesn’t allow for specific flaws, and for the most part by the end of the story the flaws have been resolved. But that isn’t how life always plays out. Too often, we struggle with a weakness or flaw for the majority of our lives, never quite able to conquer them.

In FULL STEAM AHEAD, I was blown away with MS WITEMEYER’S ability to keep the reader, reading. She has mastered the art of ending a chapter - and beginning one – where the reader can simply not put it down. As an aspiring fiction writer, she inspires in me the desire to create such stories.

Every aspect of FULL STEAM AHEAD is brought full circle. MS WITEMEYER didn’t leave any unanswered questions, or pieces unresolved. To say the least, one is left completely satisfied.

Honestly, I can’t think of one book by MS WITEMEYER that I didn’t become fully engaged in, and wasn't left inspired and satisfied. Can’t wait for whatever she has in store for the future.


Monday, September 8, 2014


A novella is not an easy task to undertake, but that is what all three authors did in WILD WEST CHRISTMAS: A FAMILY FOR THE RANCHER/DANCE WITH A COWBOY/CHRISTMAS IN SMOKE RIVER (HARLEQUIN HISTORICAL)


A FAMILY FOR THE RANCHER is the first book I’ve read by JENNA KERNAN. I loved the storyline MS KERNAN created. Right away, it grabbed my attention.  

Dillen Roach did just fine by himself. Well, fine might be stretching it...just a bit. When he sent off a message to two different parties, he is shocked when he discover he sent them to the wrong individuals.

Alice Truett is given a mission. A mission that seems to be a misunderstanding. One that just may lead to something she never expected.


Truth be told, DANCE WITH A COWBOY by KATHRYN ALBRIGHT is why I wanted to read WILD WEST CHRISTMAS. I’ve previously read her books and loved them. THE ANGEL AND THE OUTLAW still holds a warm spot in my heart. MS ALBRIGHT is truly a gifted storyteller.

This is the first I have read of MS ALBRIGHT’S books that is not of Christian genre, and I have to be honest, I was a little surprised and worried. Especially when the first story in WILD WEST CHRISTMAS has cuss words on the first pages.

I soon realized my fears were unfounded. MS ALBRIGHT may have not woven in faith elements, but she also didn’t weave in anything that a Christian would find offense, or in question. For that, I applaud her. It is my belief that all authors could do the same.

Kathleen Sheridan is hesitant to see her in-laws. After all, the last time she saw them, they weren’t very welcoming.

Garrett Sheridan is on edge at that thought of seeing his brother’s wife. What was she up to, moving back to their little community? Even more perplexing, why hadn’t she come to visit his family?


This is the first time I’ve ever read anything by LYNNA BANNING, and I am terribly sadden to say that it will probably be the last. Not because is wasn’t good. No, just the opposite. It was amazing. What will keep me from purchasing her books in the future is the reason content.

I was shocked to see the word “Lord” and cuss words within the same pages. However, I do appreciate that she didn’t use foul language I loathe and that makes me cringe. The sexual content was far from the most explicit I’ve read, but I could have certainly done without it.

Gale McBurney is a private man. A man with secrets he keeps to himself. When he encounters the lovely Lilah Cornwell, all his plans to live alone is blow to the wind.  

Lilah Cornwell, shy around others, likes to keep to herself. She does fine with her writing, and the flowers she loves to grow. When a handsome cowboy arrives at her door, offering to fix and paint her picket fence, she can’t decided if she loathes or likes the man.

MS BANNING is an amazing writer. I was blown away with the unique – at least to me – format she chose to write in. I have read first person, but I don’t recall ever reading first person in what I like to call “Cowboy” stories. It isn’t just the fact that she wrote in first person that makes her writing original. It’s the way she went about it. I loved that she started a new chapter with each person/point of view. The way she wrote, it was as if you are reading a personal journal, which was quite fascinating.

LYNNA BANNING spun together a complete story. Something not many authors are capable of doing in so few words. Truly amazing. Any author wanting to know what it takes to create a great novella, I’d urge you to read and study what MS BANNING has done in CHRISTMAS IN SMOKE RIVER. She has captured what it takes to write a complete and satisfying short story. Too often, they will start out fine, but soon turn into a rush of drama, action, and words. Often leaving you questioning the believability and feeling unsatisfied.

Now if only MS BANNING would try her hand at Christina fiction, I’d have a new favorite author. At the very least, keep all the foul language and sexual content out, and I’d be sure to purchase each she wrote.  

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

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Title: The Lawman's Oklahoma Sweetheart (Love Inspired Historical\Bridegroom Brothers)
Author: Allie Pleiter
Publisher: Love Inspired (June 3, 2014)
Pages: 288

If you look at my reviews, it’s no secret that I’ve read several of ALLIE PLEITER’s books. And yes, I have a few of my favorites. And yes, I prefer her historical over her contemporary. I have yet to read an author who has the ability to change her voice with each genre she writes, the way MS PLEITER, can.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was when I spotted the upcoming cover for THE LAWMAN’S OKLAHOMA SWEETHEART (LOVE INSPIRE HISTORICAL/BRIDEGROOM BROTHERS) by ALLIE PLEITER. My heart started to race, not just from the choice of the picture, but the title. You see, I am a cowboy/western/ranch, freak. Yes, I will admit to it.

As I began to read THE LAWMAN’S OKLAHOMA SWEETHEART, I was immediately drawn in. Not just drawn in to the first paragraph, or even the first chapter, but from the first page to the last.

Sheriff Clint Thornton is all about the law. When a team of bad guys attempt to harm his good friends sister, Clint will stop at nothing to insure Katrine’s and her brothers safety.

Katrine Brinkerhoff will never forget what the good Sherfiff did for her. But the lie he insist they keep to protect her brother, is nothing short of heart wrenching.

Clint and Katrine’s growing attraction is left unspoken. After all, they both have secrets that won’t allow their feelings for one another to take root.

MS PLEITER did an amazing job with THE LAWMAN’S OKLAHOMA SWEETHEART. I didn’t think her writing could get any better or different then what I’ve read in the past, but was I wrong.

Being a HUGE fan of western settings, I tend to be judgmental. I place THE LAWMAN’S OKLAHOMA SWEETHEART right at the top of my list of beloved cowboy stories. Up until now, two others of MS PLEITER’S novels were my favorite PLEITER books. They have just moved down a notch, being replaced with this amazing novel as number one.

MS PLEITER did an remarkable job with the plot, incorporating her typical witty lines that will leave you in wonder. The characters are distinct and three-dimensional. From start to ending I was captivated. Some books start out great, then fade a bit, then pick up speed in the end. THE LAWMAN’S OKLAHOMA SWEETHEART continued on a steady up climb, not stopping until the very last word.

Every aspect of the writing process in a novel is important. However, the wrong ending can ruin all the good efforts one puts into a story, literally going from becoming a great book, to leaving a sour taste in your mouth. It’s a shame that the last few pages of a story can hold the power to destroy a book. Sadly, something I’ve experienced firsthand.

However, that was not the case in THE LAWMAN’S OKLAHOMA SWEETHEART. As the story ended, I was a bit surprised the author chose that route, but not in an unpleasant way. I was satisfied with the way it ended.

But then I started the prologue! MS PLEITER spared nothing in taking her story to a whole other level. It’s done beautifully, with believability that brought me to tears. It warmed my heart, and made me want to cheer, and love the story all the more. Truly one of the best endings I’ve ever read. 

So taken I was by the story, I desire to purchase the other books in the series to read about the other men I encountered in THE LAWMAN’S OKLAHOMA SWEETHEART. Looking forward to any future – what I like to call “cowboy books” – by MS PLEITER.