The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

I received a free eBook copy of this book to write a review for BookLook Blogger.

This is the first story I have ever read by Melanie Dickerson.  I have never been familiar with the story of Rapunzel, so I do not know if Ms. Dickerson’s story is too much like the original or not.  What I do know is that Ms. Dickerson captured my attention and held it throughout the book.  She created rich, deep characters.  Good characters that I fell in love with and cheered for, and bad characters that I wanted to see get their comeuppance.

Ms. Dickerson’s descriptions were brief but clear.  I could easily picture both characters and places in my head.  The story takes place in Medieval times complete with knights and castles.  I’ve always enjoyed romance stories from Medieval times, and I thoroughly enjoyed this story by Melanie Dickerson.

The fact that the story is a spin off of a fairy tale was intriguing to me.  I have only read one other such story by a different author.  I really liked that though Ms. Dickerson’s story ended happily, it was not presented as “happily ever after”.  That’s the one thing about fairy tales and Disney that I find quite frustrating, because when you grow up with those stories, you expect to find and experience that kind of romance and love, which is not true to life.  True to life love/marriage requires a lot of work and give and take, communication and understanding on the part of both people involved.  Therefore, I loved that Ms. Dickerson hinted that not every day would be “happily ever after” because of the personality differences of the characters and their past hurts.  Thank you, Ms. Dickerson for that.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to read a fairy tale type story that’s a  bit more realistic, and to anyone who loves historical fiction novels, Medieval times, knights and castles, and romance stories, or anyone who just wants to read a good book.

The Beginning of What Comes After Writing

Hey Everyone, I finished my book Monday night.  Yesterday, I read over the entire thing and made edits and tweaked it.  I am happy with it and I sent it to my writing friends earlier today (you know, the ones I get together with weekly).

Now I’ll wait for their feedback, then I’ll do more editing.  Then I’ll be looking for some good Beta Readers.

Just an FYI, I didn’t write this entire book in one month for NaNoWriMo.  I have still not participated in NaNoWriMo, but hope to next year.  I’ve been working on my story since April.

The genre is Contemporary Christian Romance, so if you read A LOT of that genre or if you write that genre and have time to read my 40,000 word manuscript, you may get the opportunity to do so soon.

In my next couple of posts, I’ll do my best to whet your appetite with a little bit of information on my main characters and a tad bit about the storyline.

If you’ve been a Beta Reader before of have used some good ones you think would be interested, please leave a comment giving me the details.  Thanks!

Prison by Toni V. Lee

I received a free copy of this book by the publisher to write an honest review for BookLook Blogger.

Sonja Grey, a narcotics detective, and her nemesis, Max Trent, are handpicked to go undercover to capture a thug—Johnny Stone, aka Rock—who’s dealing drugs at Sonja’s church. Their operation is unwittingly aided by the interference of Sonja’s eccentric aunties. For Max, this assignment has two objectives: get their villain and capture Sonja’s heart. Will Sonja break free of the shackles of her past and embrace Max’s love, or will they be destroyed by danger?

I have to say that I really enjoyed this book!  It had danger, humor, inspiration and romance.  It was fun and easy to read and didn’t take a great deal of time.  It held my attention, and I found myself not wanting to put it down as I was routing for Max to win Sonja’s heart, and I wanted to know if he would.  Sonja is a tough and smart lady narcotics detective and the sparring between she and Max was very entertaining.

I would also like to give kudos to Toni V. Lee because this was the first eBook that I have read that had very minor  and very few typographic errors and no grammatical errors, whereas, I usually find so many of these types of errors in an eBook that it’s very frustrating and distracting to read.  Thank you, Ms. Lee.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, entertaining, romantic crime story.  I also recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a good quality eBook.

A Heart’s Betrayal by Colleen Coble

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through the BookLook Blogger program, in exchange for my honest book review.

A Heart’s Betrayal by Colleen Coble is Book Four in the “Journey of the Heart” series.  Each of these books is a quick, easy read.  Each contains romance and suspense.  In A Heart’s Betrayal, we get to know more about Emmie, the sister of Ben Croftner, who was a thorn in Rand Campbell’s side.

Emmie learns some shocking news about her husband of only three months, after he is killed in an accident; news that will negatively affect her life in many ways if she remains in Wabash, Indiana.  She has no family near to help her in any way, so she remembers that someone in town mentioned that Sarah Campbell was lonely for some woman friends, as she was living at a military fort in the west with her husband, Rand Campbell.  So, Emmie decides to go west.

When Emmie reaches the fort, she is not impressed with the surroundings, although she does think that men in uniform are attractive.  However, she has decided that she will never trust another man and wants nothing to do with one.  But then she meets Isaac Liddle, and her resolves starts to waiver.

Then she is hit by more news that she sees as negative for her situation — she’s pregnant!

I really enjoyed this story.  I finished reading it in about two or three hours.  I couldn’t put it down.  I just felt so bad for Emmie and all that she is going through in this story.  I couldn’t wait to find out how things will work out for her.  Then I reached the end of the book and found that Colleen Coble left me hanging again!  This was the norm when these books were first published — writers would end a book in a series in a cliff hanger, to assure that his/her readers would not be able to resist the next one in the series when it came out.  It’s definitely effective for a writer, who can pull it off well, and Colleen Coble is one of those writers.

If you haven’t read any of the “Journey of the Heart” series, I highly recommend it.  If you have been reading it, I highly recommend you read A Heart’s Betrayal, even though, A Heart’s Danger – Book Three seemed to have a good ending.  You won’t want to miss Emmie’s story.  It’s just as good as Sarah’s.

I recommend this book to anyone who has read the first three books in the “Journey of the Heart” series.  I recommend this book even if you haven’t read the first three books, as this is about a new main character, even though many characters from the first three books are a part of the story.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a book that is easy to read and doesn’t take a lot of time to finish reading, as well as anyone who enjoys stories of the old West, and stories of romance and suspense.

The Big House on Adams Street by Alberta Sparks

I received this ebook free from BookLook Bloggers in return for my honest review.

The Big House on Adams Street by Alberta Sparks is a wonderful book about one man’s dream.  There are many characters in the book who are easy to love and care about, many who have experienced hardships, some who have cause hardships for others.

Fritz, whose birth could have been considered an abomination, grew into a Godly man who had a dream; a dream for helping others.  He traveled by boat to America in hopes of fulfilling his dream, and on the way, met some people who took an interest in his dream and expressed a desire to help him.

In America, he built The Big House on Adams Street, otherwise know as “Huber Haven”.  Not long after the house was finished, it’s first occupants arrived, and Fritz assigned rooms to them.  He explained is plan for those who live in the house to work together to run the household.  Everyone must do their part.

In no time at all, “Huber Haven” had established a wonderful reputation, and in just a few short years, the house was filled with adults, children and babies.

I encourage you to read The Big House on Adams Street by Alberta Sparks if you enjoy heartwarming stories about family and people with struggles who overcome and people who have a heart for helping others.  You will find all of those things between these pages.  I assure you that by the time you are finished reading this book, you will have a desire or, maybe even a longing, for a place to live — a place to belong — like “Huber Haven”, or, maybe you’ll want to create your own “Huber Haven”.  This story touches both the heart and the soul.

20 Short Ones by Dan Salerno

I received an  ecopy of 20 Short Ones by Dan Salerno free from BookLook bloggers to write a review for them.

I haven’t read very many short stories, and I had read that romance stories don’t really work well as short stories.  However, in 20 Short Ones by Dan Salerno, Dan debunks that statement.  The stories in 20 Short Ones are all relationship stories — some friendship and some romance.  His characters are interesting and his plots are sometimes quirky, but between his characters and his plots, he kept me reading.

I loved how in these stories offered so many different aspects of relationships and the problems that can be part of a relationship, whether that problem is caused by both people, an external force, or an internal conflict in one of the two people or even both of the people in the relationship.  These short stories did a good job of exploring many different relationship conflicts and possible resolutions.

There were a couple of stories in this collection that seemed a bit difficult to follow either because the author bounced from one character’s point of view to the other’s quickly and without warning or offering a page break or something to alert the reader.  Also, sometimes long passages of dialogues caused me to have to go back and figure out which character said which part of the dialogue because there were no tags or beats to help clarify who was speaking.  I understand too many tags take away from a story, but beats can actually add to the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed nine of the stories and felt that nine of the stories were good.  There were only two stories in the collection that I found I didn’t really care for and two that I absolutely loved.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading stories about relationships with characters and situations that may remind them of relationships in their past or present, or maybe one that they hope will be part of their future.  I will definitely hold on to this collection and read most, if not all, of these stories again.  I found that short stories can satisfy me and can be a pleasure to read.

A Heart’s Danger by Colleen Coble

A Heart’s Danger, Book three in the “Journey of the Heart” series by Colleen Coble finds Sarah wanting to move on with her life at Fort Laramie.  Christmas is coming and relations with the Sioux have turned colder.

Will Rand really go through with the wedding to his fiancee, or will he declare his love for Sarah once and for all?

I received this book for Free from BookLook Bloggers to write a review.

In A Heart’s Danger, Sarah learns how difficult life with the Sioux can be, as well as how painful it is to watch what happens to the Sioux while more white men and women move into their territory.  Another soldier also begins to express interest in Sarah, and she wonders if she could ever learn to love him.

Sarah finds herself in danger several times throughout this story, sometimes because Ben Croftner is a sore loser and a cruel, evil man, and sometimes because she takes risks she shouldn’t take.

A Heart’s Danger is filled with danger, excitement and suspense.  It is well written and is, in my opinion, the best book in the series so far.  As the first two in the series ended with a definite cliff hanger, A Heart’s Danger seems to have resolved enough issues to have a good, solid ending.  However, it is not the end.  There are three more books coming, and though the first two ended with cliff hangers, this one has me more curious and intrigued, wondering what Ms. Coble could possibly do in the next book.  I can’t wait to find out.

I would highly recommend this book to women who love a good romance story filled with danger, excitement and suspense.  If you like a book you can’t put down, this book is for you.  I read this book in one sitting.  I just couldn’t stop reading until I knew how it ended.

One-Day Super Saturday Writers’ Conference

A writers’ conference is a great place to learn more about writing techniques and marketing and publishing opportunities and possibilities.  It is also a great place to meet other writers and make connections and form bonds, which is a wonderful thing since writing is a lonely business.  You can make lifelong friends who can help and encourage you and you can do the same for them as you walk your writing journey.  I attended this event last year, and cannot wait to attend this Saturday.  If you are anywhere near Lancaster County, I invite you to come and see what this one-day conference has to offer, and if you like, I can meet you face-to-face if you let me know you are coming so we can connect.


For a bargain of excellence and price, no writer, whether beginning or advanced, within driving radius will want to miss Lancaster Christian Writers’ Super Saturday 2015!! to be held April 11th, 2015, from 8:30am.-4:30pm at Lancaster Bible College, 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA 17601.

This one-day writers conference offers a full slate of workshops taught by top industry professionals in both fiction and non-fiction fields. An early registration price of $50 is due by Wednesday, April 8, and includes soup/sandwich buffet lunch (think Panini!) and LCW membership. Registrations after April 9 and walk-ins day of the conference are $60.

A fiction track will be taught by award-winning novelists Dina Sleiman and Kelly Long along with children’s author Brenda Hendricks. Non-fiction faculty include TV/radio speaker, marketing expert, award-winning author of 19 books Karen Whiting, professional memoir and ghostwriter Shawn Smucker, journalist/social media experts Lisa Bartelt and Alison McLennan.

Keynoting the opening session will be linguist, missionary, and author Grace Fabian. Workshops cover such topics as: 

Market Yourself Now! Learn Tools to Develop Press Kit, Bio, Website, and Other PR Products.

Writing Blockbuster Scenes: How To Keep Readers Flipping Pages and Asking For More.

 Transformed Manuscripts: Repackaging Your Ideas (Sold or Rejected) to Expand Marketability.

 The Unfortunate Truth in Fiction: Addressing Hard Issues Without Pulling Down Your Story.

 A Story To Tell: Surefire Do’s and Don’ts to Write a Gripping True Life Story or Memoir.

 Myers-Briggs for Your Protagonist: Applying Personality Types to Create Characters with Distinctive Qualities, Motivations, and Voices.

 Let’s Ride the Seesaw: Recruiting Your Inner Child to Communicate with Young Readers.

 100% Guaranteed (Oh, Yeah?) Secret to Blogging Success Beyond Your Wildest Dreams!

A conference bookstore will offer a wide variety of writer resources and faculty titles. Conference attendees can get personal consultations with faculty on a first-come, first-serve basis. Lancaster Christian Writers welcomes writers of all churches and denominations, all levels and genres. Monthly meetings offer opportunities for manuscript critique, networking with other writers, workshops and guest authors.

A Heart’s Obsession by Colleen Coble

I posted a book review on A Heart’s Disguise by Colleen Coble on March 16, 2015.  Well, this is Book Two of that series.  I am writing this review for BookLook Blogger and received a free copy of this book for review purposes.

A Heart’s Obsession picks up where A Heart’s Disguise left off, with Rand on his way to Fort Laramie as a cavalry man and Sarah remaining by her father’s side because of his failing health.  Both Rand and Sarah are miserable without each other, and when Sarah’s father succumbs to his illness, Sarah and her younger brother, Joel, make the arduous journey to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, with Sarah hoping to finally be with Rand, whom she has loved for a very long time.

However, the reception Sarah receives at Fort Laramie is nothing like Sarah imagined.  Rand seems to be involved with Jessica Dubois, the daughter of the post commander, a cunning, scheming woman.

Things get even more difficult for Sarah when her ex-fiance, Ben Croftner arrives, insisting that he will have her back.

I care about the characters and I long to see Sarah and Rand together, so I continue to read to see how things will end for Rand and Sarah by the time this series ends, and each book ends with a cliff-hanger that leaves you wanting more.

However, I was surprised that this story isn’t as well written as A Heart’s Disguise.  I was also surprised that, since these books are being re-released after ten years, the author would re-release them without updating them (at least that’s the way it appears).  There are places in this story where the pronouns are late, making you look back and reread some paragraphs to link the pronoun with the correct character.  It’s written in third person omniscent, and since I have just finished reading about writing in Deep POV, this book is not written in Deep POV, but has a narrator telling things about characters’ thoughts and feelings, which isn’t wrong, but I just know that Deep POV is the preference for today’s writing.

I do enjoy the plot of these stories, though, and they are short, easy reads.  I believe they would really be labeled as novellas, as I do not believe they are long enough to truly be novels.  I do recommend them to anyone who enjoys entertaining, short, easy-to-read, romance stories, and I will look forward to the next one in the series, as I still want more.

A Heart’s Disguise by Colleen Coble

A Heart's Disguise

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program.  To find out how you can become a book reviewer, click here.

USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including Tidewater Inn, Rosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Visit her website at Twitter: @colleencoble Facebook: colleencoblebooks

A Heart’s Disguise by Colleen Coble is the first book in the “Journey of the Heart” series.  It takes place in the tiny town of Wabash, Indiana just after the Civil War.  Sarah Montgomery harbors a deep sadness in her heart because the man she loves with every ounce of her being, Rand Campbell, has not returned from the battle front.

With her father’s health failing, he and her brother encourage Sarah to marry Ben Croftner so that she will be settled before her father’s death.  However, when she finds out that Rand is still alive and that Ben knew it, she breaks off the engagement.

Ben doesn’t take the rejection lightly, and he plans to abduct Sarah.  Then Rand comes to her aid, but informs her that he is leaving, as he is still in the Cavalry and has been posted at Fort Laramie, Wyoming.  He asks Sarah to go with him as his wife.

What will Sarah do?  Will she be able to leave her dying father’s side to travel west with the man she has always loved?

This book grabbed my emotions from the first page.  My emotions ranged from sympathy, to anger, to pain and hurt.  The characters in the story grabbed my heart and I cheered them on throughout, except for Ben Croftner who simply made me angry, and I wanted someone to teach him a lesson.  Of course, Sarah’s brother, William, isn’t very likeable either.

The story was romantic and sad.  It is an easy read at just 90 pages, and it left me wanting more.  I cannot wait for the second book in the series.  This is the first book I have ever read by Colleen Coble, but it won’t be the last.  I will anxiously await A Heart’s Obsession, and I’m sure I’ll look for other books she has written as well.

If you love a good romance story with a bit of danger, you’ll enjoy Colleen Coble’s Journey of the Heart.