Top Ten Tuesday

Anyway, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, according to The Broke and the Bookish is “Top Ten Things Books Have Made You Want to Do or Learn About After Reading Them”.  Being a homeschool mom, this is an easy list for me because we read books and then go to learn things because of what we’ve read.  🙂

  1. Two years ago, two of my sons had an assignment to write an historical fiction story, and my youngest decided to write a story about the Pony Express, so we read several books about the Pony Express. I can’t remember a specific book, but the books we read left me wanting to learn more and gave me my desire and idea to write the current novel I am working on, so I have done a lot more research and learned a lot more about the Pony Express.

2. Misty of Chincoteague by [Henry, Marguerite]

I read the entire series of Misty books by Marguerite Henry with my youngest son, and we loved them so much that we wanted to see Chincoteague and the ponies. So, I looked it up online and planned a vacation, and two years ago we went to Chincoteague and Assateague for a week. We saw the ponies and visited the Chincoteague Museum where we participated in a fun scavenger hunt and saw the family Bible of the Bebee family, the family who were the main characters of Marguerite Henry’s books. We found out that the Misty of Chincoteague series were true stories!

3. 423156

Our first year of homeschooling, I read this story with my two oldest sons, and it made us want to know more about horses. Therefore, we studied horses that year as well.

4. Sybil: The Classic True Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Personalities

I saw the movie based on this book when I was a young teenager. It fascinated me. Being the first story of Multiple Personality Disorder many people didn’t believe it. When I got older, I read the book and still found MPD fascinating, so I did a little bit of studying about it. It is a very real issue for some people. It’s just quite rare.

5. A Girl of the Limberlost (Limberlost, #2)

I read this book just a couple of years ago and it taught me that not all moths are ugly, which is what I always thought. There are actually some very beautiful moths, and I studied moths a little bit afterward to see what some of the beautiful ones look like.

6. Little House on the Prairie by [Wilder, Laura Ingalls]

When I read this book in elementary school, I enjoyed it so much I wanted to learn more about when the country was young and what it was like to travel in a wagon train. Over the years, I have studied this time period and traveling by covered wagon quite a bit.

7. Centralia (Jed Patrick series Book 1) by [Dellosso, Mike]

This is a more recent read, and our family had driven through Centralia once several years ago, and I found it fascinating. After reading this book, my curiosity was once again piqued, and so I’ve done a bit of research on Centralia.

8. Nick of Time (A Bug Man Novel) by [Downs, Tim]

This book has a character who has a bunch of dogs that she trained in a very unusual way that I found absolutely fascinating. Ever since I read it, I would love to learn how to train dogs the way that she did, but I haven’t been able to find anything on it.


When I read this book when I was younger, it made me want to learn more about why people years ago accused women of being witches. Many years later, when my husband and I were first married and we went to visit one of his sisters in Massachusetts, so I checked to see how far it would be to Salem, and we were able to do some touring there to learn more.


This book made me want to learn more about rabies and how it affects animals and how much of a danger it is to people.

This list actually turned out to be harder than I thought it would be because I haven’t kept a good reading list for most of the years I’ve been reading. Also, as I created this list, I realized that my desire to learn more about something in particular comes more from nature and my environment and/or news topics than from books I read.

How about you? Have you dug deeper into something because of books you’ve read?

Top Ten Tuesday

It’s time again for my TTT list.  The Broke and the Bookish suggested a list of the Top Ten Books I Enjoyed that have Under 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads.  I was quite surprised when I went to my Goodreads account in search of this information, and I hope that some of you will help increase the number of Ratings for these on Goodreads.

  1.  Fire and Water:A Suspense-filled Story of Art, Passion, and Madness

I thought this book was fantastic!  I know that Betsy is a fairly new author, and she’s an indie, so read this book and rate it on Goodreads.  This book is an incredible love story.  It touched my heart deeply and left a lasting impression in my mind.  It is absolutely unforgettable and worth the read.  I was shocked to see that this book has less than 300 Goodreads ratings.

2. Pompeii: City on Fire

This is a good read as well.  It begins with gladiators, includes a love story and the loss of a city.  It currently has less than 700 Goodreads ratings.

3. Havah: The Story of Eve

This was one of the ones that really surprised me because Tosca Lee is a well-known successful author.  She has co-authored some works with Ted Dekker, and yet this book currently has less than 1,700 ratings on Goodreads.  I liked this story quite a bit.  It was interesting to take a well-researched, yet also imaginative, journey into the story of Adam and Eve of the Bible.  Since the Bible couldn’t possibly tell us everything about the lives of all of the fascinating people it teaches about and their time periods, it’s very interesting to think about what more of their lives may have been like, and Tosca Lee does this well within the structure of what their time and lives may well have been like due to her in depth research.

4. The Hunted: A Novel    and    Scream

These are two great books for those of you who like suspense filled with weird or otherwordly things.  If you’ve never read any of Mike Dellosso’s books, you don’t know what you’re missing.  If you like Dean Koontz’s works, you’ll like Mikes Dellosso’s stories as well. So, go ahead, read a Mike Dellosso novel and boost those Goodreads ratings.

5. The Ark,the Reed,and the Fire Cloud (The Amazing Tales of Max & Liz #1)

This is the first book in the “Amazing Tales of Max and Liz” series by Jenny L. Cote.  Technically, these books are written for kids, but if you are an animal lover, you will love these stories not matter your age.  They are a great series for parents to read aloud to their kids or to enjoy as a family.  I read this one on my own first, then I read it to my 11 year old son, who absolutely loved it.  We just started reading the second book in the series and have already fallen in love with one of the new animal characters Jenny introduces in it.  This book currently has less than 300 Goodreads ratings.

6.  Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope, #1)

My favorite books have always been romance and love stories, and in recent years if they have history included, all the better.  This is a wonderful story about Emma Chambers and a rash decision she makes so that her brother may be free from worrying about her.  At first she believes she may face an unhappy future because of her decision, but things eventually change for the better.  This is the first book in the “Beacons of Hope” series by Jody Hedlund.  This book currently has less than 1, 400 Goodread ratings.

7.  Centralia

Yes, I am a big Mike Dellosso fan, and so I would love to see more people reading and rating his books.  This one has been touted as “his best yet”, but  there is a sequel to this that just came out — Kill Devil which is getting great reviews on Amazon.  These two books are full of suspense and have been compared to the Bourne series by Robert Ludlum. Centralia currently has less than 200 Goodreads ratings.

8. Bone Rattler (Duncan McCallum, #1),   Eye of the Raven (Duncan McCallum, #2)  and  Original Death (Duncan McCallum, #3)

This series by Eliot Pattison is a story about mysterious killings that take place in Colonial America.  I love history and have always been fascinated by the American Indians and disgusted with the European immigrants’ treatment of them, so I enjoyed these books.  Currently, Bone Rattler as less than 1,300 Goodrreads ratings, Eye of the Raven has less than 300, and Original Death has less than 200.

9.  A Heart's Disguise (A Journey of the Heart, #1)A Heart's Obsession (A Journey of the Heart, #2)A Heart's Danger (A Journey of the Heart, #3)A Heart's Betrayal (A Journey of the Heart #4) and A Heart's Promise (A Journey of the Heart #5)

Yes, this is an historical romance series.  It is set in the Old West.  The books are short, easy reads and are quite enjoyable, especially when you want a good read but don’t have a lot of time.  Also, Colleen Coble is a well-established author, who wrote this series sometime ago, and just recently re-released it.  A Heart’s Disguise has less than 270 Goodreads ratings, A Heart’s Obsession has less than 210, and the last three books of this series each have less than 200 Goodreads ratings.

10. Dauntless (Valiant Hearts, #1)

Dauntless is the first book in the Valiant Hearts series by Dina L. Sleiman, and it recently was in the finals for the Young Adult category in the Carol Awards.  It’s a great book that includes history, action and adventure and romance!  Yet it has less than 1,000 Goodreads ratings.  Also, the third book of this series, Courageous, releases tomorrow!

Of course, I have rated all of these on Goodreads and you can also find my book reviews on them here on my blog under the Book Reviews category.


Top Ten Tuesday

Today I get to choose what my Top Ten Tuesday list will be, since The Broke and Bookish have declared it Freebie Week!  So, I have decided to do a topic that The Broke and Bookish did before I began participating in Top Ten Tuesday.  Today’s list is “My Top Ten Bookish Confessions.”

  1.  I learned to read using the Dick and Jane books.
  2. I’m one of those who read everything I could get my hands on as a kid including milk cartons and cereal boxes.
  3. I used to read and record myself for an organization that provided books on tape for people with sight problems.
  4. I love to read to children.
  5. I love to use different voices for different characters when reading aloud to children.
  6. I wish I would have made a list of ALL of the books I’ve read since I started reading. (I’m still not as faithful at this as I should be.)
  7. My reading tastes have changed over the years.
  8. I regret getting rid of books I never read.
  9. I cannot resist a book sale, bargain book rack, a box of books at a yard or garage sale, or a discount book store.
  10. In addition to reading, I LOVE to write.  I am working on my first novel.  It is an historical romantic fiction book.

What about you?  What Bookish confessions are you hiding?  Leave a comment below and tell me one of your Bookish confessions.

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday as suggested by The Broke and Bookish is to be Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far this Year.

Since I do not read only new releases, my list will not have a full ten books on it.


I have not read all nine of the novellas in this book yet, but the three or four that I did read were wonderful.  They had well-developed characters and great story lines.  I enjoyed the ones that I read and look forward to reading the rest of them soon.


I LOVED this story!  You can read my book review on it here.


This was also a very enjoyable read.  You can read my book review on it here.


I did buy this book, but I have not read it yet.  However, I am looking forward to reading it and I expect a great story because Terri Blackstock has never failed to deliver.

I hope you have found something of interest in my very short list.  Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday as suggested by The Broke and Bookish is the “Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of the Year”, or “Most Anticipated Genre”, “Debut Authors”.

I have to admit, yes, I LOVE books and I LOVE to read.  However, I do not follow anything that keeps me in the know of what’s due to come out and have no idea where to find this information.  I tried to Google it and was unsuccessful.

I only know when an author I follow and really like has something due to release, so I will tell you of two books that I have been anxiously awaiting:

  1.  Kill Devil

Kill Devil by Mike Dellosso released recently.  It is the second book in the series that Mike began with Centralia, which was a great edge-of-your seat thriller, and I have no doubt that Kill Devil will deliver heart pounding action and suspense as well.  I can’t wait to get my hands on this book, and I highly recommend that you get your copy soon as well, and if you haven’t read Centralia, get that one and read it too.


Courageous by Dina L. Sleiman is the third book in Dina’s “Valiant Hearts” series.  These books are filled with adventure and the main characters are strong women.  Dauntless was Book 1 and Chivalrous was Book 2 of this series.  They are great books that will keep you turning pages.  I look forward to the release of Courageous in July 2016!


What Have I Been Reading Lately?

I suppose some of you may be missing my book reviews.  I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve done one because I have been reading books in the genre I am trying to write in hopes to help me with my scene setting.

Therefore, I have been reading a lot of Love Inspired Historical Fiction books and other Historical books about the old west.  Some of the titles I recently finished are:

The Love Inspireds:
Wagon Train Reunion by Linda Ford
The Runaway Bride by Moelle Marchand
Hill Country Cattleman by Laurie Kingery

Other Historical Fiction:
Heart of Gold by Robin Lee Hatcher

I enjoyed each of these stories and if you like romance stories of cowboys in the old west, you would enjoy them as well.

I’m not sure when I will get back to doing book reviews because my main focus is writing my novel, and now I have begun to read the Love Comes Softly and Prairie Legacy series by Janette Oke.  These are older books but are still great stories of the old west as well, and so I continue to read for help with my writing.

Do you like old west stories involving romance with cowboys?

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday suggestion, as per The Broke and Bookish, is “Ten Reasons I Love X” and you can place whatever you like in the spot of “X”.  Therefore, I am going to do “Ten Reasons I Love Janette Oke”.

  1.  When I first gave my heart to the Lord and became a Christian, the first Christian fiction books I read were books written by Janette Oke.
  2. I love every book that I have ever read by Janette Oke, although, unfortunately, I have not read them all. Her characters capture my heart.
  3. I love that many of Janette’s stories are Christian historical romantic fiction.  Maybe that’s why I decided that clean historical romantic fiction is what I want to write.
  4. Although I have only read five of the twelve books in Janette’s “Women of the West” series, A Gown of Spanish Lace and Drums of Change are two of my favorite Janette Oke stories. Drums of Change is a special favorite because it is about an Indian girl, and I have always had a fondness and fascination for the Indians.  My great-great-grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian woman.  Unfortunately, I never had the privilege of meeting her.
  5. One of my favorite series of all time is one written by Janette Oke, and that is the Love Comes Softly series.  In that series, Janette created two characters that all of her readers fell in love with, Marty and Clark Davis.
  6. Janette Oke cares about her readers and their opinions.  She originally wrote Love Comes Softly as a single book, but many of her readers wanted more, and so with the encouragement of an editor at Bethany House publishing, she wrote a second book, and the series eventually turned into an eight novel series. When readers still wanted more, Janette wrote four more novels, The Prairie Legacy series, where the series of Clark and Marty Davis and their family finally ended because at the end of twelve novels, Clark and Marty had reached their final years together and Janette nor her readers wanted to mourn their deaths.  So finally, the readers were satisfied, and Janette had cared enough about her readers to change one novel into a series of twelve novels, and that remains, maybe, the best loved series Janette has written.
  7.  Some of Janette Oke’s stories have been made into movies.  The Love Comes Softly series was made into movies, and I LOVE them!  (Well, the ones I have seen) I have the complete book and movie series of Love Comes Softly, including the Prairie Legacy series, although I have not read the Prairie Legacy series.  I plan to read all of these twelve novels very soon, and then sit down and watch the movies!
  8. I recently found a book at a bargain book store that is a book about Janette Oke written by her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan, and I can’t wait to read it and learn more about one of my favorite authors!
  9. Janette Oke also wrote another of my favorite book series and that is her Seasons of the Heart series.  It is a four book series.
  10. The biggest reason I love Janette Oke is because not only does she care about her readers, she also cares about future writers and those who write letters to her.  I wrote a letter to her back in 1996, when I was hoping to soon become a published author.  I sent her a letter expressing my love for her writing and I sent her a short story of my own and asked for feedback and advice on becoming a published author.  Now, you and I both know that successful writers don’t usually answer their own fan mail.  They don’t have time, and they don’t read stories fans send them asking for writing advice.  Well, I want you to know that Janette Oke did just that.  She read my letter and the story I sent and she sent me a two page letter responding with answers to some of my questions about publishing at the time!  She offered me some tips on my writing and encouraged me to keep writing!  This busy, successful writer took the time to personally respond to my letter!  What a sweet, caring woman Janette Oke is!  I am so glad that I was bold in writing to her.  I still have the letter she sent me in the original envelope it was sent in, and it still means a lot to me today!I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Janette Oke in person or having any other contact or correspondence with her, but she will always remain special to me for taking the time to encourage me in my writing, even if it did take me considerably longer to really get serious about my writing.

What I’ve Learned About Critique Groups

There are different types of critique groups and it’s important to try several different types until you find the one you think fits you best and is most helpful to you in your writing.

I have been involved in two different critique groups and will begin my journey with another critique group this week.  The two that I have been a part of seem to have the same basic rules:  start by saying something positive, offer your thoughts on what works and doesn’t work in the writing or where things tend to drag, and end with something positive.  Also, be specific!  Saying something like, “This is nice.  I like it,” is not really helpful at all to the writer.

Of the two critique groups I’ve been involved with so far, I do prefer one over the other because one group has difficulty critiquing the piece you bring to share.  Because you may be working on a novel and you have brought early chapters in the past and now you’ve brought middle or later chapters, and this group may or may not consist of people who read the earlier chapters, it seems to be quite difficult for them to simply critique what is before them.

I understand that it can be difficult as far as knowing how things began and why what’s happening is happening now, but I don’t find it difficult to be able to focus on the words before me and give advice on what is happening on these pages.  Whatever I am reading to critique, I simply, ask myself several questions as I read:  1) Does the story flow? 2) Does the dialogue move the story forward and is the dialogue relevant to the story? 3) Are the goals of the main character clear from the action, the decisions and choices the character makes? 4) Are there any places that cause the story to lose momentum, slow down and seem to drag? 5) Are there any places that confuse the reader?  6) Are the writer’s word choices fitting for the time the story is set in or are there word choices that are too modern or too outdated? 7) Does the story capture and hold my attention and make me want to keep reading? 8) Do I care about the main character? 9) Does the plot line keep my interest and does it keep the story moving? 10) Is the story unique compared to other stories in the same genre?

There may be more questions that pop into my head as I read that I look for answers too as well, but the ten I listed in the previous paragraph are some of the most important, so if you can keep those questions in your head while reading someone’s work, it shouldn’t matter whether you are reading a piece of writing from the beginning, middle or end of the story, in order to give the writer good quality, helpful feedback.

* * * * *

Now, just a bit about the critique group I will be getting involved with this week.  It is the online critique group offered through the ACFW website for ACFW members.  I am really excited about this because it sounds like it may be the most helpful critique group yet.  In order to become involved in the critique group, I have to take a three day orientation, where I will receive three email assignments each day of those three days to complete, in order to learn the rules and how their critique group works.  It’s a very large group and it has smaller branch groups as well, from what I understand.  I am really looking forward to it!  I’ll let you know what I think, once I am able to receive and offer some critiquing.

What about you?  Are you part of a critique group?  How do you benefit from your critique group?

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday list as per The Broke and the Bookish is “Ten Books I Picked up on a Whim”.  Therefore the following list is a list of books I picked up at a bookstore, yard sale or used bookstore, without prior knowledge of the book, just because the book jacket print made me want to read it or because I found the cover very intriguing.  However, I rarely pick up a book solely based on the book cover, even on a whim.


I found this book on the Bargain Book rack in a book store.  I was intrigued by both the cover and the back cover print.  It sounded like a strange and unusual story, which it did, indeed, turn out to be.  It also is the first book in a trilogy.  I liked this story, but it wasn’t a favorite, and I’m not sure that I will read the next two books in the trilogy.


I found this book at a used book store, and I loved Raggedy Ann as a little girl, so I bought this book on a whim based on some favorite memories.  I have not read it yet.


I purchased this book at a yard sale.  The front cover print above the title reads “The Forgotten Story of One of the Most Influential Figures in American Music”.  That intrigued me.  So, a rarity for me, I based my decision to purchase this book solely on the words on the front cover.  It is still on my To Be Read list, and I may read it with my youngest son this year for school for part of his music education.

4.      and 5.  

I purchased these two books just because I recognized the author’s name as someone I connected with on Facebook.  I do not know Alice J. Wisler.  I only know of her from what little I have seen her post on Facebook.  These books are also still on my TBR list.


I bought this book at a used book store because of the front cover and the fact that I have always had a soft spot for teddy bears.


I purchased this book simply based on the author’s name.  I was sure that I had read a book some time ago that was also written by Patricia Sprinkle and was sure that I had liked it, and that was why I bought this book.  Still on my TBR list.


I purchased this book at a bargain book store because it is a light mystery.  It is part of a series called “A Seaside Knitters Mystery” and I have always enjoyed a good mystery.  Many of my favorites are light and charming mysteries solved by unusual characters, not detectives.  This book is also still on my TBR list.


I purchased this book at a bargain book store because of the title and the fact that it says at the top of the cover that it is “A Novel of Ireland”.  As a writer, I am always interested in stories, fiction and nonfiction, about storytellers or writer/authors.  I also have come to love stories of Ireland after reading several of Maeve Binchey’s wonderful novels.  This is also still on my TBR list.


This one was also published at a bargain book store, and of course, because it is a fictional story about writers.  This book also remains on my never ending TBR list.

I thought this list would be difficult to put together.  I didn’t think I picked up many books on a whim, but when I started digging through my books, I found out that I do a lot more purchasing books on a whim, if they are bargain priced, than I thought.  Of course, what do you expect from a bookaholic?    😀

How about you?  Do you purchase books on a whim?

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, as suggested by The Broke and the Bookish is “Ten Childhood Characters You’d Love to Revisit as Adults”.

  1.  Max from Where the Wild Things Are
  2. Henry Huggins
  3. Hansel and Gretel
  4. Heidi
  5. Madeline
  6. Alice from Alice in Wonderland
  7. Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  8. Fern from Charlotte’s Web
  9. Ralph Moody from Little Britches
  10. Caddie Woodlawn

This list was a challenge because a lot of the books that I read growing up either had animals as characters or had the child grown up before the book or series was finished.  How about you?  Did you come up with a list?