Monday, August 26, 2013


Title: Gunpowder Tea (The Brides Of Last Chance Ranch Series)
Author: Margaret Brownely
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 8, 2013)
Pages: 352

GUNPOWDER TEA is the third and final book in THE BRIDES OF LAST CHANCE RANCH series. If you have not read the first two, I suggest reading them as well, though each certainly stands alone. If I had to pick, DAWN COMES EARLY is my favorite of THE BRIDES OF LAST CHANCES RANCH series.

Miranda Hunt, a Pinkerton Detective, answers an ad for a heiress to the legendary Last Chance Ranch as Annie Beckman. After all she’s perfect for the job. No Pinkerton expects to be married, and that’s exactly what the ad is looking for. It’s the ideal opportunity to find the Phantom, and prove that a woman is up for the task.

Wells Fargo detective, Jeremy Tagger is working undercover when he first encounters Ms Beckman. Little does either of them know, they are both working towards the same goal. To apprehend the Phantom, who rumor has it, is said to be hiding out at the Last Chance Ranch.

Not into mushy romances, then GUNPOWDER TEA by MARGARET BROWNLEY is the novel for you. MS BROWNLEY has an amazing ability to weave a unique story together with feisty characters. Add in a little bit of drama, mystery, action, and humor and you have GUNPOWDER TEA.  

I loved the information at the end of the story, ACCIDENTAL DETECTIVE. How intriguing to learn a bit of the past after reading a fictionalized version. Also included is some history on GUNPOWDER TEA, along with a recipe for GUNPOWDER TEA BREAD. How fun is that.  
*Please see my profile for more information on this review.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013



It’s not often I give a review as such, and in doing so I’m taking a risk. A risk because I often receive backlash from others on my Amazon reviews in the form of a comment. They don’t get the importance of good writing and an author’s voice, and for me, I can typically spot it in the first pages of a book. In most cases, that’s not going to change unless someone else wrote the first pages for the author. If anything, their writing will deteriorate from there, having given their full attention to the first pages to capture their readers and becoming laxed from there.

If the writing is just okay, I will give it a fair chance and read several chapters. But if the author isn’t handling the dialogue well, is telling instead of showing, and has flat, one dimensional characters, I’ll stop reading. Life is too short, and I have WAY too many books waiting to be read.

Only after years of writing, reading fiction, as well as non-fiction on the craft of writing, attending writing meetings, working with a writing mentor, etc, have I evolved to not completing a novel. In the past, when I was naive about what good writing embodies, I thought it was just me and my poor reading skills, that I was having such a hard time muddling through the story.

Now I know better.

They say writing is subjective. What one may love, another may hate. Though I believe you need to follow the basic writing rules, the genre, storyline, and authors voice are subjective. But no matter, I believe in most cases, behind the words are hard working, dedicated, passionate writers. And for that, I watch MY words when writing a review.

The reason I chose to write a review for THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN is because I felt obligated to let potential readers know my thoughts, regardless of how many pages I read. The pages I read provoked me to speak out. I felt I was able to get a good sense of the writer’s voice and writing ability, therefore able to speak out as to my opinion on the matter. I also wanted to let reader that would be offended by profanity, know what they were in for.

I didn’t feel my review was negative or detrimental to the author, but the reverse. I believe it to be a positive. After all I expressed my opinion on how well I thought he wrote. It was the plot and the use of foul language that had me stopping, and those are issues that are subjective. I don’t believe my review will stop anyone that would enjoy Mr. Williams writing from purchasing his books. But what it might do is prevent bad reviews by stopping those that would feel the same as I, from wasting their money and feeling the need to post a negative review.


Title: The Dirty Streets of Heaven: Volume One of Bobby Dollar
Author: Tad Williams
Publisher: DAW Hardcover; First Edition edition (September 4, 2012)
Pages: 400

I hesitated in whether or not I should write a review for THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN by TAD WILLIAMS, after reading only a mere six pages. Typically I give a book, what I would consider a fair chance before stopping, by reading the first seventy or so pages. By page seventy there isn’t much hope for things to turn around. An author’s voice or writing style isn’t going to change at that point. Either you like it or you don’t. Like they say, writing is subjective.

I admit I’m a visual person, and thus I’m often either captivated or turned off by the cover of a book. The title is the next thing that will catch my eye. I don’t always read the synopsis, loving to be surprised, especially when it’s a book by one of my favorite authors. With a new author (new to me) I will often read the first page or two when provided to get a glimpse into their writing. I should probably also mention that I’m a Christian fiction writer and reader, though I do read some secular books.

With that said, here are my thoughts on THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN by TAD WILLIAMS:

-Great writing
-Unique concept for a story
-Great cover
-Great title

-Way too much foul language
-Not sure if I like where the storyline is going

The reason behind my stopping at page six was the foul language. I’m not so frail I can’t handle a little bad language, but when there are more then I can count on my hands in the first six pages, and what I consider the worst of words, I just can’t stomach it. With each foul word, I’m taken out of the story.

I could have not bothered to give a review at all, but that’s not me. What little I read, in my opinion, was good writing. For the author’s sake, I wanted to make that known. The other reason is to let those that would be offended by foul language, know that this would not be a book for them.

Review from Tad Williams website:


Bobby Dollar would like to know what he was like when he was alive, but too much of his time is spent working as an extremely minor functionary in the Heavenly Host as an afterlife investigator and advocate for the recently departed. And now he’s stepped into the middle of something that has both sides very nervous — an unprecedented number of missing souls.

A new chapter in the war between Heaven and Hell is about to open, and Bobby is right in the middle of it. Someone has summoned a truly unpleasant Babylonian demon that’s doing its best to track him down and rip him to pieces. His opposite number on the case is arguably the world’s sexiest she-devil, and Bobby has feelings for her that Heaven definitely does not allow. And somehow he has to find out who he was before he becomes an unwitting pawn in a game of power that could end in the destruction of the entire human race.

Three books are planned for Tad’s new fantasy-fueled thriller series: The Dirty Streets of Heaven (September 2012), Happy Hour in Hell, and Sleeping Late on Judgment Day. Each book will be somewhat shorter than Tad’s usual epic length fare, and although part of a series, each may be read as a stand-alone novel.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I started seriously drawing around the age of 5 when I began making my own coloring books.

I dabbled in drawing & painting in various mediums and found pen & ink to be my favorite. I concentrated on detailed sketches in ink until I mastered the technique using Rapidograph pens.

Sue graduated from the U of PA, Kutztown in Advertising/Art. She worked in the advertising field for over 15 years. During this time she continued to draw homes for people, usually to be given as gifts. Soon Sue was illustrating for builders, architects and Realtors all over the United States. She's been at it now for over 25 years winning several awards for my pen and inks at various art shows.

Sue has exhibited in N.J., VA, CA & IL in the past but now only participate in art shows in the Chicago area. She will post listings of my shows in this site. I hope you will stop by & say hi sometime.

Visit Sue's website at,

Dude attempts to be a brave and heroic hunter alongside an experienced beagle hunting pack but soon finds he would much rather make friends with his prey than hunt them!

'Dude the Hunter' is the first in a series of fun-loving books for children about a sweet, ordinary beagle who lives a tremendously adventurous life - if only in his dreams.

Friendship, kindness, compassion, understanding, reassurance, humor, and just plain old fun are all in here!

Note to Parents. This book has a concentration on first to third grade vocabulary words. It will help guide your children through important learning experiences with antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, and compound words.

For a chance to win an autographed copy of DUDE THE HUNTER:

For each of the following, your name will be entered into the drawing:

1) Leave a comment with your email address or check back later for the winner. If you won, you’ll need to email me your information.
2) Become a follower on this blog.
3) Leave a comment on my Youtube video.

Make sure to let me know with your comment what you’ve done.

I can only ship in the US. Drawing will be done on August 20th, 2013. Please check back to see if you've won if you didn't leave your email address. If I don't have your email address and haven't heard from you by the August 23rd, 2013, I'll draw another name

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I’m so excited! I have several stories I contributed to, STORIES OF FAITH AND COURAGE FROM PRISON, due out November, 9th, 2012.

Here's what Amazon has to say about STORIES OF FAITH AND COURAGE FROM PRISON:

This inspirational book is a collection of true stories laid out in a daily format; one per day for 365 days. Each story will tell about a work of God in the lives of those who have experienced some aspect of prison. A single scripture verse will accompany each writing, pointing to the hope and truth found in God’s word

While incarcerated, many inmates spiritually hit bottom and come face-to-face with the choices they have made. Thankfully, God uses Christian volunteers, prison chaplains, family members, outside friends, Christian pen pals, and other inmates, to share His love and truth with the lost behind bars. Regardless of how they are offered hope, inmate’s testimonies, along with their daily walk challenges, are moving and inspirational.

You will read amazing stories including Brandon, a prisoner who had a prayer warrior mother, and was also visited by a Christian volunteer. Brandon came to Christ while incarcerated, and witnessed constant gang activity behind bars, including preying upon the youth on the outside. Since his release, Brandon often risks his life in his ministry of intervening in the lives of youth who are at risk to become involved in gang activity.

The battle for the souls of inmates is fierce. One female prisoner said, “When I first arrived at prison in 2002, Christianity was openly practiced and Satanic practices were underground. Now it is just the opposite.” This inspirational book will remind Christians of their admonishment by Jesus to visit the imprisoned, to pray for them, and to share the gospel with them (Matthew 25:36). These collective, true stories will especially touch those who are uncomfortable with prison ministry, helping them to develop compassion for the shunned souls of society.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Title: Into The Whirlwind
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (August 1, 2013)
Pages: 384

Sigh! I do so love ELIZABETH CAMDEN’S books. MS CAMDEN is one of the few authors I adore so much that I don’t need to know the title, see the cover, or be familiar with the synopsis of her new release. Nope. I just flat out purchase it, no hesitations, even when I have a pile of books to be read filling my bookshelves.  
Mollie Knox’s 57th Illinois Watch Company is a victim in the path of the fire that spread throughout part of Chicago, leaving destruction in its wake. Her father’s building may be in ruins, but that didn’t deter Mollie from taking what she was able to save and start anew.
Zack Kazmarek, an influential Chicago attorney, has secretly admired Mollie Knox’s for years. In the mist of escaping the great fire, Zack and Mollie are thrown together. Zack does little to hide his attraction to Mollie, while she does little to help it along. She may be intrigued by Zack Kazmarek, but their differences won’t allow them to be a suitable match - at least that’s what Mollie attempts to convince herself of. 
INTO THE WHIRLWIND only strengthened my love of MS CAMDEN’S writing. What a delight to discover the story revolves around the Chicago Fire. Living only an hour from the city my entire life, I’ve known of the tragedy, yet admittedly with little detail.

INTO THE WHIRLWIND took me on a journey back in time, so real I felt I was reading it in the newspaper as the horrific event unfolded. I was fascinated by the history, getting a glimpse of what the people of Chicago must have gone through. Things I could never imagine. So intrigued, I looked up several videos on the internet regarding the historical event.
What makes MS CAMDEN’S novels so amazing is the way she weaves history, well thought-out characters, an amazing plot, and a unique unfolding of the story together. The majority of romances have a set sequence of events, predictable to say the least. MS CAMDEN breaks the pattern in a refreshing way that only an amazing writer can pull off.
To say that I love her writing and will be looking for more novels by her in the future is becoming redundant. But yeah, can’t wait for the next adventure.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


This is what happens when
a writer attempts to take a nap.
At least that's what happened to me.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


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

Contemporary Romance:

Bride Wanted by Renee Andrews Troy Lee has been writing letters to his future bride since he was a boy. Still, she's never been more than words on a page...until now. When he meets Destiny Porter, he thinks he may have finally found the woman he's been waiting for. But Destiny came to Claremont with a single purpose-to get Troy's permission to print his letters in her magazine. Yet once she lays eyes on the handsome Southern man, Destiny knows she's in trouble. She can't help dreaming about being Troy's bride. But will he still want to be her groom when he finds out who she really is? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired)

Healing Hearts by Margaret Daley -- After surviving a tragic accident, little Madison Winters is in desperate need of comfort. And social worker Abbey Harris has the perfect solution. With the help of her cherished therapy dogs, Gabe and Cottonball, Abbey soon coaxes a smile from Madi-and her workaholic guardian. Dominic Winters is heartbreakingly handsome and is hurting just as much as Madi. But it might take more than wagging tails to get the brooding businessman to open his heart. With the help of a matchmaking little girl and two sweet dogs, Abbey and Dominic may get a second chance at love. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired)

Contemporary Women's Fiction:

Bless Her Heart: Class Reunion Series by Debby Mayne -- As Priscilla Slater's 15-year class reunion approaches, she decides to attend out of curiosity... and to flaunt her latest achievement-taking her business to a national level with the possibility of a TV show. As if getting ready for the event and putting up with the pranks of her former classmates isn't enough, Pricilla's hometown visit is further complicated by her parents' separation. Eager to escape the painful reality of her childhood home, Priscilla bolts as soon as a call from New York brings good news. But returning to New York means returning to Tim, Priscilla's best friend and business pal who has been impatiently suggesting their relationship should be more than a friendship. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Abingdon Press)

General Contemporary:

This Dance by Jerusha Agen -- When tango dancer Nye Sanders lost what she loved most, she thought she would never survive the agony. Two years later, Nye has learned to live with the pain. She has a new career and life that have nothing to do with the world and faith she left behind. Not about to repeat mistakes of the past, Nye thinks she can dictate a painless future by staying within the walls of her emotional defenses. She doesn't plan to meet a handsome lawyer or an elderly landowner-two men who will make her face love and the God she can't forgive. (Contemporary from Write Integrity Press)

General Historical:

Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma -- In the twilight of the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands, the Germans have taken everything Cornelia had to give, even what was most precious to her. Now Gerrit Laninga-a man who puts God and country above all else-arrives at her house, needing help. She is terrified for herself and terrified for her family, but most of all, terrified of the pain she might feel again if she allows herself to love Gerrit. Cornelia must decide if saving a stranger's life is worth risking her own. (Historical from Thomas Nelson)

Historical Romance:

Shenandoah Crossings by Lisa Belcastro -- Journey back in time with Tess Roberts as she seeks adventure on the high seas during the American Revolution hoping to escape the heartache of her present-day life. Her plans go awry when the one man she'd hoped to leave behind tracks her down with every intention of forcing her to his will. (Historical Romance from OakTara)

Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden -- After her father's death, Mollie Knox takes over his watchmaking company and uses her head for business to solidify the good name of the 57th Illinois Watch Company. Her future looks bright until the night her beloved city is destroyed in the legendary Great Chicago Fire. With her world crumbling around her, Molly must do whatever it takes to save her company in the aftermath of the devastating fire. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Farmer's Bride Collection by Debby Mayne, DiAnn Mills, Susan K. Downs, JoAnn A. Grote, and Ellen Edwards Kennedy -- Love is in season as you journey into rural America's history and witness the harvest of romance through six delightful stories. From Minnesota to Florida, New York to Kansas, and Ohio to Louisiana, heroic men and women make sacrifices in order to create a home, nurture the crops, and secure a future for the next generation, but sometime romance is almost an afterthought. Can love also grow down on the farm? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Fired Up by Mary Connealy -- While someone's trying to make Dr. Dare Riker go up in smoke, Glynna Greer, the diner cook who turns every meal into a burnt offering and the overworked doctor are firing up a romance that might end up burning them both. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Pattern for Romance by Carla Olson Gade -- Honour Metcalf's quilting needlework is admired by a wealthy customer of the Boston Mantua-maker for whom she works. In need of increasing her earnings, she agrees to create an elaborate white work bridal quilt for the dowager's niece. A beautiful design emerges as she carefully stitches the intricate patterns and she begins to dream of fashioning a wedding quilt of her own. When Honour is falsely accused of thievery and finds herself in a perilous position, merchant tailor Joshua Sutton comes to her aid. (Historical Romance from Abingdon Press)

On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin -- Homesick WWII flight nurse Lt. Georgie Taylor arrives in Sicily and strikes up a friendship with Sgt. John Hutchinson, who longs to become one of the Army's first pharmacy officers. When Georgie and Hutch's lives back home fall apart, can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they've made? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

Whispers from the Shadows by Roseanna M. White -- The daughter of a British general, Gwyneth Fairchild barely saves her life by fleeing London aboard a ship to America. Her goal is to find refuge with the Lane family in Maryland, having been told by her father she could trust them. After meeting their son, Thad Lane, she wonders how safe she truly is when she discovers that they trade in a dangerous commodity--espionage. Not long after Gwyneth finds refuge in his city, Thad Lane experiences the tug of love, though he fears it may blur lines of loyalty. But at this moment, with the British advancing on Washington and Baltimore, they have only their shared faith in God as a shield about them. (Historical Romance from Harvest House)

Roping the Wrangler by Lacy Williams -- Schoolmarm Sarah Hansen longs for a family of her own. But horse trainer Oscar White is the last man she'd consider. Still, she can't help noticing the care he shows three motherless girls and the gentle way he helps Sarah overcome her fear of horses. Too bossy by half-that's the Sarah that Oscar remembers from their teenage years. Yet as a former orphan, he finds the little Caldwell sisters-and their pretty teacher-getting under his skin. Could the tender heart Sarah's always hidden tame a once-reckless wrangler? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired)

Millie's Treasure by Kathleen Y'Barbo -- From their first meeting atop the Memphis Cotton exchange, where Pinkerton/inventor Kyle Russell is testing his flying machine, to their pursuit of pirate treasure and the escaped criminal Will Tucker, the Pinkerton and his Memphis belle find solving puzzles to be the least of their challenges in this historical romance with a dash of Southern Steampunk. (Historical Romance from Harvest House)

Historical Suspense and Mystery:

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering -- Drew Farthering, mystery lover and heir to the family manner, has to track down a killer and win the heart of American debutante, Madeline Parker. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])

Dark Road Home by Elizabeth Ludwig -- Ana Kavanagh's only memories of home are of fire and pain. As a girl she was the only survivor of a terrible blaze, and years later she still struggles with her anger at God for letting it happen. At a nearby parish she meets and finds a kindred spirit in Eoghan Hamilton, who is struggling with his own anger--his sister, Cara, betrayed him by falling in love with one of his enemies. Cast aside by everyone, Eoghan longs to rejoin the Fenians, a shadowy organization pushing for change back in Ireland. But gaining their trust requires doing some favors--all of which seem to lead back to Ana. Who is she and who is searching for her? (Historical Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Romantic Suspense:

Carolina Reckoning by Lisa Carter -- When 30-something housewife, Alison Monaghan discovers proof of her husband's infidelity in a photograph with a mysterious woman, she must decide how to confront Frank when he returns home from work. But Alison may not get that chance. Frank never makes it home. And now she is the chief suspect in his murder. (Romantic Suspense from Abingdon Press)

Fatal Inheritance by Sandra Orchard -- In the face of mounting threats, a grieving granddaughter fights to hold fast to the family farmhouse she's inherited, but can her childhood-crush-turned-cop help her find her way home? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired)

Dangerous Waters by Sandra Robbins A young woman seeks the help of her former fiancé to solve the nineteen-year-old cold case of her parents' murder. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired)

Contemporary Suspense:

Memory's Door by James L. Rubart -- The prophecy brought them together. But the Wolf has risen, and now their greatest battle begins. The four members of Warriors Riding have learned to wage war in the supernatural, to send their spirits inside people's souls, to battle demonic forces, and to bring deep healing to those around them. But they are all struggling. Now the second part of the prophecy has come true. The Wolf is hunting them and has set his trap. He circles, feeding on his supernatural hate of all they stand for. And he won't stop until he brings utter destruction to their bodies . . . and their souls. (Contemporary Suspense from Thomas Nelson)

Young Adult:

Dark Halo by Shannon Dittemore -- One halo brought sight to Brielle; another offers sweet relief from what she sees. (Young Adult from Thomas Nelson)