Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Title: The Longest Rid
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (September 30, 2014)
Pages: 496

It is my custom to review a book upon completing it, even those I don’t feel obligated to do so. With THE LONGEST RIDE by NICHOLAS SPARKS, it crossed my mind not to bother with a review. MR SPARKS is one author that is not in need of a review, and mine will most likely get overlooked by most, if it is read at all.

However, upon completing THE LONGEST RIDE, I could not do anything less than write a review. I admit that the book started out slow – well, it continued to plug along at a slow pace for much longer then I would typically stick with a book. MR SPARKS also breaks a few writing rules, that as a writer myself, have a hard time getting through such situations.

Having read a few of MR SPARKS books, as well as seeing several of his movies, and the fact that the writing – despite the overload of telling and back-story – intrigued me enough to continue, and so I did. Perhaps, having seen the movie trailer and a love for cowboys had something to do with it as well. Whatever the reason, I am SO happy that I didn't give up. It may have taken over half the book for the pace to pick up, but it was SOOOOOOO worth it!

Ira Levinson is trapped and dying. Will he get out of this situation, and if so, will he survive?

Despite what Sophia Danko’s best friend believes, she is not on the rebound…or is she? Luke and Sophia are from two different worlds, yet she can’t help but wonder if it will matter in the long run.

Luke Collins has a secret, of sorts. One that could end the relationship with Sophia Danko, the girl who is quickly stealing his heart. Given the choice between Sophia and his lifelong passion, which will win out?

As I was deep into the story, it finally hit me. What I believe to be the connection between Sophia, Ira and Luke . One of the things that I really loved about THE LONGEST RIDE is the element of surprise. The ability to lead the reader down one path, believing they have it figured out/which direction the author is taking the plot, just to have it swept out from beneath your feet. Before you have a chance to get too discourage - bam! Wow, what a powerful and memorable ending! I could not have asked for more. I am so thankful I did not give up on this amazing story.

I am now confronted with the struggle of going to seeing the movie. I hate to tarnish this amazing book with what I know is bound to happen with the movie, so typically of NICHOLAS SPARKS books made into movies. There will be changes, and more likely than not, important/big changes. As desperate am I to see the movie, I don’t want the brilliance of the book to be altered. For that reason, and that reason only, I am holding off as long as I can to see it. 

THE LONGEST RIDE is now on my list of top favorite books I’ve read. Only time will tell if the movie will be one that I will purchase and watch endlessly.

UPDATED 4/29/2015:

UGH!!! Just got back from the movie The Longest Ride! I knew it was going to happen. Happens every time. But still I went. And still I am shocked. Why, oh why, does Nicholas Sparks make the movie SOOOO different than the book. And we are not talking about little things, but HUGS BIG things. But here is what I didn't expect. The direction I thought the book was going, and didn't...the movie did! How in the world did that happen? Seriously. How? With that said, I still liked the movie. How could I not? There was a cowboy in it. Perhaps one of these days, Nicholas Sparks will shock us all, and actually stick to the book. I would love an opportunity to sit down and talk to the man to see why he does that.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Title: Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity
Author: Adam Hamilton
Publisher: Abingdon Press (February 1, 2009)
Pages: 110

Don’t let the size fool you. ENOUGH: DISCOVERING JOY THROUGH SIMPLICITY AND GENEROSITY may be small in size and page numbers, but the content is huge. This is the second book I’ve read by ADAM HAMILTON, the first being Forgiveness: Finding Peace Through Letting Go. I was so taken by it; I used it for a “Bible” lesson for the youth at a correctional center.

ENOUGH: DISCOVERING JOY THROUGH SIMPLICITY AND GENEROSITY is a much needed topic. I often think of years ago, back in the days when the world wasn't so materialistic. What a shame it is we have grown to work our life away for the sake of accumulating stuff, and trying to do it all. Stuff we can’t take with us, and a life so packed with activities we are often stressed out and in debt.

It’s crazy how advance technology has come, how much there is out there for us to experience. How many new products are being produced. How much waste we create. We are such a throwaway society. When something new comes out, we just have to have it. Not long after, in a new color, shape or size. We just have to have it even though the other one is still in working condition.

MR HAMILTON speaks of a four part strategy that will free up our life both financially and emotionally. The first step is to recognize there is a problem. The second it to have a clear plan of action to resolve it. The third is to live it out. Once we accomplish these things, we are free to give as God intended us to do. If you have not known the joy of giving, I pray that one day you will.

Don’t miss out on this great little book so you can begin to live a less stressful and debt free life.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


April 2015 New Releases 
 More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the 
ACFW Fiction Finder website

Amish Romance: 

The Postcard by Laura V. Hilton -- David Lapp moves to Jamesport for a fresh start after surviving a "code blue" when he was in a buggy/semi truck accident. His new call to the ministry is complicated by his lingering mobility problems, the Amish church, and a postcard friendship with Jamesport local Rachel Miller. (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House) 

Contemporary Romance: 

Pesto and Potholes by Susan M. Baganz -- Renata Blake trades her abusive past for a new home and church family in Milwaukee, not expecting her attraction to handsome chef and Packer fanatic, Antonio DeLuca. Tony has been burned by love and is too busy to let a woman in his life again. With God's help, and the support of a faith community, will Tony and Renata learn to love again? (Contemporary Romance from Inspired [Prism Book Group])

Together With You by Victoria Bylin -- An agnostic, Dr. Ryan Tremaine loses his heart to his children's god-fearing nanny in this modern twist on The Sound of Music. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group]) 

Coast Guard Courtship by Lisa Carter -- Coast Guard Officer Braeden Scott's wants freedom and adventure, not assignment to a tiny Virginia coastal village-until a feisty redhead puts charm back into small-town life. Amelia Duer is all about home and hearth and caring for her nephew. As Braeden spends more time with her and the boy, his hopes for a family begin to resurface. Could Amelia be the anchor this charming Coastie needs to stop wandering and create a home for good? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 

Pinky Promise by Valerie Comer -- Kelly Bryant's young daughter wants a daddy and sets her sights on her new best friend's single father. The man may be charming, sweet, and a believer, but Kelly is embarrassed. She extracts a pinky promise from her six-year-old to stop proposing to men on her behalf. Ian Tomlinson isn't looking for a wife but does need care for his daughter during spring break the week after his move to Riverbend. He hates to ask Kelly - and plant ideas in the girls' minds - but he's rather low on options. How can two single parents fall in love for real with a pair of mini-matchmakers pushing from both sides - pinky promises or not? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) 

Like a Love Song by Camille Eide -- Susan Quinn, a social worker turned surrogate mom to foster teens, fights to save the group home she's worked hard to build. But now, she faces a dwindling staff, foreclosure, and old heartaches that won't stay buried. Her only hope lies with the last person she'd ever turn to-a brawny handyman with a guitar, a questionable past, and a God he keeps calling Father. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) 

Island Refuge by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- A five star chef running from a broken engagement takes a job as a cook and housekeeper at a B&B on a small island off the coast of Washington state. There she meet's Dr. Nick Jackson, the new owner of the Wildflower B&B. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook, INC.) 

Dating the Best Man by Gail Sattler -- Cory Bellanger wants to be more than just a friend to his best friend's sister, Daphne Carruthers, but first he needs to come to terms with her painful past and earn her trust. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 

From the Start by Melissa Tagg -- Kate Walker's love life may have left her brokenhearted, but it hasn't kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays...until a major career slump sends her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley. There she meets recently injured, and permanently sidelined, NFL quarterback Colton Greene, who is hiding out from the media. When an unexpected project gives Kate and Colton a chance to jumpstart their new lives, will they follow through? (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])

Reclaiming the Cowboy's Heart by Rose Ross Zediker -- Donna crosses paths with her former fiancĂ©, Jamie Martin, at Cheyenne Frontier Days, unprepared for the feelings that still endure after twenty years. As a former party boy, Jamie's newfound faith could pave the way for a second chance at his first love...if Donna can find it in her heart to forgive him for almost destroying her family business so long ago. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 

General Fiction: 

Memory Box Secrets (Coming Home Volume 2) by Brenda S. Anderson -- Years after being abandoned by her parents, a successful sales executive receives a call from her father that he wants back in her life. (General Fiction, Independently Published)

Historical Romance: 

The Lady and the Mountain Doctor by Misty M. Beller -- When a hunting accident dashes a mountain woman's hopes of ever becoming a genteel lady, can God use the new doctor to heal her wounded heart? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Oregon Trail Romance Collection by Amanda Cabot, Melanie Dobson, Pam Hillman, Myra Johnson, Amy Lillard, DiAnn Mills, Anna Schmidt, Ann Shorey, and Jennifer Uhlarik -- Nine romantic adventures take readers along for a ride on the Oregon Trail. Enjoy the trip through a fascinating part of history through the eyes of remarkably strong characters, who stop at famous landmarks along the way. Watch as their faith is strengthened and as love is born despite unique circumstances. Discover where the journey ends for each of nine couples. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing) 

With This Kiss Historical Collection by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Pam Hillman, Cara Lynn James, and Julie Lessman -- Five multi-published, award-winning and best-selling Christian authors transport you to yesteryear, when times were tough and love was far more simple...in some ways! (Historical Romance, Independently Published) 

The Doctor's Undoing by Allie Pleiter -- During WWI, serious, dedicated doctor Daniel Parker finds his life and his Parker Home for Orphans turned upside down by the vibrant, optimistic nurse Ida Lee Landway. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 

The Creole Princess (Gulf Coast Chronicles) by Beth White -- During the American Revolution, Frenchwoman Lyse Lanier is best friends with the daughter of the British officer in command of Mobile, Alabama. Rafael Gonzalez is a charming young Spanish merchant with a secret mission and a shipment of gold to support General Washington. As their destinies become increasingly tangled, Lyse and Rafael must decide where their true loyalties lie--and save Lyse's family from being executed as traitors to the British Crown. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker Publishing Group]) 

Romantic Suspense: 

Buried Secrets (A Men of Valor Novel) by Irene Hannon -- Former Chicago homicide detective Lisa Grant takes a job as a small-town police chief, wanting a kinder, gentler life. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew taxes her department's resources. Enter backup, Detective Mac McGregor, an ex-Navy SEAL. As they work together to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, it becomes clear someone will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [Baker Publishing Group]) 

Royal Rescue by Tammy Johnson -- Hidden away for fourteen years, Thea James was presumed dead by most-killed in the fire that burned the royal palace. Thea's new bodyguard, Ronin Parrish, knows she's the only one who can clear his father of the king's murder-and so does the killer. To a commoner like Ronin, the strong, beautiful princess can never be more than a mission, a race to restore Thea's throne...before the murderer ends her reign forever. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Presumed Guilty by Dana R. Lynn -- Melanie Swanson lost her friends, her fiancĂ© and her freedom when she was found guilty of a crime she didn't commit and spent four years in prison. Police lieutenant Jace Tucker still believes Melanie is guilty-until she is repeatedly attacked and the people around her are picked off one by one. Melanie's memories may help solve the crime she witnessed rather than caused-but proving her innocence could cost her life. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 

Duty Bound Guardian (Capitol K-9 Unit) by Terri Reed -- Art curator Lana Gomez's life in on the line, and K-9 Officer Adam and his partner, Ace, must stop the assassin. As the danger escalates, Lana and Adam grow closer...but will they survive? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 

Speculative Fiction: 

Heir of Hope (Follower of the Word series, Book 3) by Morgan L. Busse -- When the great city of Thyra falls, Rowen Mar, the last Truthsayer, is taken before the Shadonae. But the Shadonae are not who she thought they were, and now they want to claim her as their own. Caleb Tala, former assassin and prince, is now an exiled Guardian of mankind. He wanders the desert in search of his true identity. Rowen and Caleb must find their way through the shadows or the human race will be no more. (Speculative Fiction from Enclave Publishing)