The Baseball Bride (The Masons of Brightfield) by Claire Sanders

The Baseball Bride (The Masons of Brightfield Book 1) by [Claire Sanders]

The Baseball Bride by Claire Sanders is a delightful story. It is my favorite genre — Sweet Romance, and as a Book Reviewer, I was given a free copy for my honest review.

This tale is set in 1910. Abigail Mason has grown up with three brothers and a father who loves baseball. Being the only girl, of course she wanted to do whatever her brothers did, and her father taught her how to play baseball right alongside her brothers.

But as Abigail begins to think about marriage, she decides it’s best to put her baseball glove away and focus on pretty dresses and being more dainty. She catches the eye of the town’s doctor, who begins courting her.

This book is well written and I simply couldn’t put it down. The characters were believable and I quickly felt as though I knew them. Being a girl who grew up in a neighborhood of boys, I grew up playing wiffleball, similar to baseball but with a plastic bat and ball. And, though, I grew up in a much different time frame, I, too, found a time to put the game aside to become a young lady. But having had that similar experience, I could relate to Abigail.

I loved Abigail’s relationship with her brothers and parents. The good-natured banter between her and her brothers brought smiles and chuckles as I read. Abigail’s relationship with the town doctor faced challenges and struggles.

Ms. Sanders did a great job of resolving the conflicts and wrapping up the ending. This was definitely a feel-good story with enjoyable characters. I give this book 5 stars and look forward to reading the rest of the Masons of Brightfield series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sweet romance stories and baseball.

Extraordinary by Starr Z. Davies

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A New Kind of Super Hero Story

Extraordinary by Starr Z. Davies is the third and final book of the Powers Series. While the first two books were compelling reads, Extraordinary was a very good ending to the series. As a Book Reviewer, I received a copy of this book for my honest review.

Extraordinary is written in Bianca’s point of view and because of that, many of the scenes throughout the story are well-known to the reader. But this time the reader gets to see things through different eyes, thoughts, emotions, and actions. While this may make this novel seem less compelling, it is very helpful in understanding some of the things that happened and why they happened as they did.

In addition to that, there are several scenes in the last third of the novel that the reader was not aware of because the character, whose point of view the first two books were told from, was not present in these scenes. These particular scenes are filled with lots of action and fighting for those of you who loved the many scenes of action and fighting in the first two stories. Starr Z. Davies’ decision to include Bianca’s perspective in an entire novel helped to really tie all three books together and give the series a good solid ending.

If you like stories of superheroes with a sci-fi flavor with lots of action and fight scenes I highly recommend the Power series by Starr Z. Davies. You may even gain a new perspective on super powers by reading these books.

I give this book 4 stars.

Unique (Power Series Book Two) by Starr Z. Davies

Just like Ordinary, the first book of the Power Series, Unique by Starr Z. Davies was a fast-paced, page-turning story filled with action and fighting. The fight scenes are not gruesome in any way.

Ugene returns in this book, still battling Paragon because of their immoral and illegal activities as they continue to mislead the people of Epis. Still one of the few without a super power, Ugene shows over and over again that he can be just as formidable an opponent as anyone with a super power.

Ugene connects with each of his friends in a special way, and it was enjoyable to watch as their relationships developed, especially his relationships with Enid and Celeste, the most interesting character and the most unique relationship of all.

The ending of Unique was bittersweet and solid.

One thing I would like to point out is that in Ordinary, Ms. Davies very briefly mentioned that one of the characters had been in a gay relationship. In Unique, these two characters are reunited. However, the relationship is a very minor part of the book and really has very little to do with the storyline, and the only affection exchanged by the two is a hug.

Once again, I received an ebook copy of Unique by Starr Z. Davies for my honest review, and once again, I was not disappointed as I pushed my bedtime to the last possible minute each night because I didn’t want to stop reading. Unique also gets a 5 star rating from me.

Mercy’s Refuge by Rita Gerlach

Mercy's Refuge by [Rita Gerlach]

Another historical romantic fiction story, Mercy’s Refuge by Rita Gerlach takes the reader back to 1620. This book was inspired by William Bradford’s ‘Of Plymouth Plantation’.

Many of the characters in this novel are based on real life individuals, some of whom were Pilgrims who traveled to America on the Mayflower. However, the main character, Mercy McCrea is a fictional character, who interacts with other fictional characters, as well as the characters based on real people, especially while sailing on the Mayflower.

Mercy’s Refuge is a wonderful story that takes the reader back in time, first to England, then as danger threatens Mercy’s life, to Holland, where she finds comfort and acceptance among the Separatists who fled England’s king, and eventually, aboard the Mayflower to sail to the New World — America.

Rita Gerlach’s rich descriptions and accomplished storytelling draw the reader in to join Mercy’s journey through heartbreak and danger to love and refuge.

I have been a Rita Gerlach fan for about three years now. Historical Romantic Fiction is my favorite genre and Rita Gerlach is one of the best Historical Romantic Fiction writers I read. If you are a Historical Romantic Fiction reader, I highly recommend Mercy’s Refuge. Not only are Ms. Gerlach’s descriptions rich and her storytelling outstanding, but her characters are well developed, and her books do not rely on profanity or explicit sexual scenes to tell the wonderful stories she does.

I purchased this book for my own collection and chose to write my honest review without a request by the author or anyone representing her.

Ordinary (Powers Book 1) by Starr Z. Davies

Ordinary (Powers, #1)

Is Ugene a superhero without a super power, has he not discovered his power yet, or does something else make him a superhero? That’s what Paragon wants to know, so Ugene is admitted for testing, because in Elpis being powerless gets you harassed, bullied, and labeled as an outcast.

Ordinary by Starr Z. Davies is a combination fantasy, sci-fi, mystery story. Ordinary arrested my attention from the very beginning and held my attention in an unrelenting grip until the very end. Starr Davies’s characters are well-developed and Ugene is easy to relate to. Ms. Davies’s characters have an interesting array of powers.

As tensions build, questions unfold: who can Ugene trust? Who is telling the truth and who is lying? What is real and what is simulation?

The story was a fast-paced, mysterious, ride with plenty of action. I couldn’t put this book down, and when I had to, I couldn’t wait to pick it up again. At the end, I wasn’t disappointed nor left hanging, but I definitely can’t wait to dig into the next book in the “Powers” trilogy.

If this is what Starr Z. Davies has to offer her readers in her debut novel, I believe we can expect great things from her in future novels. I now count myself a fan of Starr Z. Davies and look forward, not only to finishing the reading of the “Powers” trilogy, but in reading whatever follows.

I highly recommend Ordinary to fantasy, sci-fi, and mystery readers from 5th grade through adult.

As a Book Reviewer, I was given an ebook copy of Ordinary for my honest review, and I give Ordinary by Starr Z. Davies 5 stars.

Festival of the Azure Moon by Larnce Hicks

Festival of the Azure Moon: An Epic Fantasy Adventure (The Portal Mage Saga Book 1) by [Larnce Hicks]

As a Book Reviewer, I received a free copy of Festival of the Azure Moon by Larnce Hicks for my honest review.

Festival of the Azure Moon by Larnce Hicks is a fantasy story that is nonstop action, adventure, and battles. This book is well written, has fascinating characters, and includes lots of magic. It is the first book of “The Portal Mage” saga and has a striking cover.

The first two main characters introduced in the pages of Festival of the Azure Moon are referred to as the “bad guys” as they are breaking laws and being hunted down for their crimes. However, the way that Mr. Hicks chose to portray them endeared them to this reader and had me cheering for them. As the story progresses, battles ensue between these outlaws and their hunters. The stakes get higher and more sinister characters are revealed as the plot thickens.

The wonderfully created variety of characters, the adventure, explanations of the magic performed, and the battles held my attention from the very first page to the last. An occasional twist surprised me and one or two had me biting my knuckles.

I recommend Festival of the Azure Moon to all fans of fantasy stories that take place in well-developed worlds and that are packed with magic and all of the other exciting items I’ve already mentioned, as well as some unexpected twists and turns.

Though this is the first book of a series, the ending resolves enough and leaves a hint of more to come in a way that leaves the reader satisfied yet eager for the next book

Festival of the Azure Moon, in my opinion, is written for teen to adults due to some inappropriate language and crude comments scattered throughout, as well as some very descriptive and gory fight scenes. There is also mild reference to LGBTQ, but it is a very minor part of the story that never becomes a central focus and is tastefully written, and I did not find it offensive.

I give Festival of the Azure Moon 5 stars.

The Waiting is Difficult

Photo by Christian Chen on Unsplash

If you are like me, you feel like you’re sitting on pins and needles or waiting for the ball to drop as we wait to see what will happen in our country tomorrow on inauguration day. Our country is divided and many are still looking for something to happen that would keep President Trump in the White House while others think Joe Biden will make everything better.

And, of course, the question remains–will there be riots and violence on Wednesday because of those who will be unhappy, frustrated, and angry at the results. We thought 2020 was tumultuous and hoped things would go back to “normal” by the end of the year. Then the election was a farce and a fiasco. Then President Trump spoke outside the Capital on January 6th and a group of people broke into the White House, and once again, emotions are running high and divisions have been driven deeper.

I try not to post anything political here or anywhere on social media for the most part, but whatever happens on Wednesday will affect every single person in this country, and we are wondering if the United States will remain a free and great country or if it will fall and become a Communist country. People are angry, worried, frightened, and many other emotions are running rampant.

I, too, have my concerns and fears of what Wednesday’s inauguration will bring, and I sincerely hope our country will somehow rise from the ashes like a phoenix and become reunited and healed stronger than ever. However, I believe the only way this can or will happen is in the hands of Almighty God. This country was founded on the principles of people who believed in God and wanted to live in the freedoms granted by God.

Over the years, the United States has turned its back on God and sinful behaviors have become accepted behaviors–many have even become accepted in churches. So, dare we hope and pray that God will renew our nation to the Christian free nation that it used to be? Many no longer want to hear the word “Christian” in this nation, and there are those who want to end Christianity in this country.

As a believer, I have been praying and continue praying for this nation — praying for God’s forgiveness and mercy–for another chance. For I believe that God is in control and every leader this country has ever had or will have has been allowed to lead by Almighty God.

Despite my prayers, and the prayers of others like me, God may decide to let our country fall to teach us a lesson, for in the midst of a pandemic, many continue to turn a blind eye to the Lord. Many mock God and mock anyone who claims to be a believer and tries to live obediently to Him, just like the people in the days of Noah.

I don’t doubt some will read this post and scoff at it, mock it, ignore it, or want to argue with me, and I’m okay with that. I’m not trying to tell anyone what they should think or believe. I am simply sharing my thoughts and hoping this post might help someone, or cause someone to pick up a Bible and begin reading, or just think about where their hope comes from. We all need hope, but placing our hope in the wrong thing can eventually lead us to hopelessness, and hopelessness is a dangerous and lonely place to be.

As I wait with both concern and anticipation, I will continue to pray for God’s forgiveness and mercy. But, whether or not, He chooses to grant forgiveness and mercy, I will continue to put my faith and trust in Him above all men, for I have seen and experienced God’s power at work many times in my life.

Unfettered Journey by Gary Bengier

Unfettered Journey by [Gary F. Bengier]

As a Book Reviewer, I received an ebook copy of Unfettered Journey by Gary Bengier free for my honest review.

Unfettered Journey by Gary Bengier is declared a speculative fiction story. However, I would consider it more of a literary fiction story.

In all honesty, I found the Unfettered Journey to be a very long book, and I didn’t really become engaged with the story until the final third, where the author wrote the bulk of the action and where my emotions also became engaged.

In the first two thirds of the book, the reader and Joe, the main character, spend a lot of time in Joe’s thoughts. Joe works with robots and spends a lot of time wondering if it’s possible to make AI more human-like. He talks with a lot of other techie people and the reader is fully immersed in technology, science, and philosophy. Eventually Joe meets Evie, a rebel, whom he becomes very involved with.

When Joe and Evie are banished from the world they know, they face new challenges. In their new environment, with their new challenges, I found the story more engaging, but still lacking in action.

Unfettered Journey is very well written, and, though it isn’t the type of story I usually read, I was interested in the characters enough to keep me reading, though not like “I couldn’t put it down”. Even the writing about technology was interesting to me. I was invested in Joe, and eventually Evie, enough to want to read the entire book. I highly recommend this book to those who really enjoy literary stories and technology, and I give Unfettered Journey four stars.

Thursday’s Thoughts, Questions, and Comments About Writing

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It has come to my attention that I have not addressed script writing for movies or theater (plays). I really don’t know anything about script writing. I have never attempted to write a script for a movie or play, though years ago I wrote a script for a puppet show that was never used.

However, a young lady I mentioned yesterday, Anna, is very interested in script writing and she and her mom found an article online that they felt was helpful to those interested in script writing, and Anna was hoping I would be willing to share it here.

Yes, I am always willing to share anything that may help other writers. So, here is the link to the article that Anna and her mom found helpful: https://www.theaterseatstore.com/blog/writing-for-theater-film. We hope that some of you will find it helpful too.

A Spark of Light

Photo by Leonard von Bibra on Unsplash

For those of you who follow this blog, you may have read my last post, in which stated I would be taking this blog in another direction for awhile instead of posting about writing. However, I received a wonderful spark of light in an email that has given me encouragement for this blog and for continuing to focus on writing here on this blog.

I still haven’t been able to settle into a regular writing schedule to post as often as I did before, but for now, I will do my very best to continue posting book reviews as I have many requests for those, and I will also do my very best to continue posting my “Thursday’s Thoughts, Questions, and Comments About Writing” posts, and I want to take the rest of this post to explain why I have been inspired to keep writing the Thursdays’ posts.

Last night I found an email in my inbox that was dated December 10th. I am sorry that I didn’t see this email sooner and sorry that I disappointed a little girl named Anna. I hope Anna will still be happy to find that not only will her suggested writing resource be posted here on my blog, but to find that she has been mentioned here because she and her writing teacher have offered me encouragement in a time where I have been struggling with the things that are happening in our world and with the loss of my father, as well as struggling to find my desire to write anything.

The email was from a woman named Carol, who, at the time of the email, was teaching a fun writing class for students ages 12-15. She wrote to me to let me know that she used things I posted on my “Thursday’s Thoughts, Questions, and Comments About Writing” posts for the class. She also told me about Anna and how Anna wanted to share an article she and her mom had found about writing for film and theater. Carol told me that Anna thought I might like to share the article on one of my Thursday posts to help young writers, who may come across the information on my blog, who might want to become a script or screenwriter someday, like Anna.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much that email means to me — first, because it has inspired me and encouraged me to begin writing again, not just here on my blog, but to finish my current novel and begin the next one; second, because I never dreamed that anyone would use what I share to teach others, and I have been teaching writing to students from first through twelfth grades, in the homeschool community, for sixteen years because I love teaching and encouraging young people who love stories and want to write stories, to do so and to do it well; and finally, because it touched my heart to know that a young girl wanted to share something with me that she thought I might want to share here on my blog.

So, thank you Carol, for the email, and thank you Anna for liking my blog and wanting to share something with me. Anna, I wish you the best on your writing and know that if you work hard and continue to learn how to write well, you will be a great script or screenwriter one day! And Anna, be sure to check tomorrow’s “Thursday’s Thoughts, Questions, and Comments About Writing” post.