Thursday, April 29, 2010

Redeeming Love

When I sat to read this 464 page book (recommended and lent to me by a friend) I had no idea what I was in for. It took me on an emotional roller coaster and had a huge impact on me.

Our story is taken loosely from the book of Hosea. This Christian historical-fiction romance will rip your heart right out of your chest.

I do not wish to give away any details about our Heroin's past but I will say she had a rough childhood. This is an understatement. Angel is a prostitute during the 1850's gold-rush in California. This novel depicts the unconditional love of God and a heart that has been utterly undone. Angel meets love face to face and has no idea how to deal with it. She trusts no one. Her heart is numbed by years of abuse and disappointment. Michael Hosea comes along and her life is forever changed.

I hung on for the ride staying up late many a night, my eyes devouring the pages as I read and cried.

I fully enjoyed this book until the last few pages. The portrayal of one character's heart change was hard to believe and something else that occurred on the last couple pages although obviously written for symbolism didn't sit right with me.

I am new to Francine Rivers. This is my third book I have completed in a short time and enjoy her writing style and stories of hardships and a God that can turn it all around. I would highly recommend this author. Be warned. She covers sensitive personal topics that may not sit well with some. However, Rivers knows how to touch your heart in a way that leaves you wanting more.

Disclaimer - I have no financial gain in reviewing this book. I love to read and talk about what I read. It's a free country don't you know. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

What is Your Favorite Writing Space?

Christine's post made me think. Where do I like to write? Usually I pick my desk, covered with stacks of books and papers. (Don't cringe, Christine. I do prefer a clutter-free environment, but if you look around, there are stacks of books EVERYWHERE, so there's not much I can do about it. If you can't find me someday, just keep reading. I'm probably somewhere between pages 143 and 238.)

I usually do the creative thinking in the quiet early morning before the life/husband/kids overtake me. But my favorite place to write would have to be one of the following: sitting on my bed because I have a beautiful view from the bedroom window and it is a quiet and restful place until the kids find me. Sitting on the floor by the fireplace, because I can spread out my scene notecards and sort them without being hindered by desk space. (Toasting by the fireplace with a roaring fire like the last write-in is an extra perk. And last, but not least, in a comfy chair with the laptop. I tried sitting outside last summer, but I ended up just staring at the trees, so I didn't get much done. It's also a little hard to see the screen on the laptop outside.

Sharing time. For all you authors out there, where are your favorite places to write?

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Comfy Chair

Beth was showing Laura and I pictures in a book of writer's in their settings. In other words, where writer's write. There were tidy desks and sloppy desks, and desks covered in books.

Looking back as far as I can remember, I too have been a desk writer. Recently I have made a wonderful discovery. I grabbed my laptop and a cup of coffee and sat on a very comfy-cozy chair in my family room. Surprisingly, I got more writing done in that sitting then I have since NaNoWriMo in November.

Now I find this chair actually beckoning me to come lay down my cares of the busy day and write. "Come, escape into the world you have created."

Right now as my fingers push the keys I sit at a desk. I am now being beckoned by grocery shopping and housework. Then it's off to pick children up from school. My comfy chair will have to wait.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Book Review: The Marriage Project by Kathi Lipp

This week I finished reading Kathi Lipp's book, The Marriage Project. It's been awhile since I read a book on how to improve your marriage, but having been married for almost 22 years, I thought it was possible that I might have fallen into a few ruts on the marital road and that it might be helpful. Kathi's book outlines a twenty-one project plan in which a couple relearns to think of the other person and take action on those positive other-person thoughts.

I found it nice that although Kathi describes herself as a "girly girl," who loves shoes, purses, and shopping, she wrote a book with excellent balance between husband and wife activities, laced with a dose of humor here and there. Both spouses get a chance to be blessed by what they love to do and to bless their spouses with favorite activities. For him you might go to the shooting range or camping. For her it might be a spa night and a chick flick. Whatever the project, you're in it together. And in case you're wondering, yes, The Marriage Project addresses every facet of a healthy marriage, which should speak to a few guys out there. (The "l" word (lingerie) makes an appearance here and there.)

I don't think there is any way that a couple trying out the project could fail to have fun and become closer. Kathi's suggestions are designed to help couples rekindle a fire that may have become a little dim over time or become buried in the busyness of life. Since every marriage is worth saving or making better, I think this is a good thing.

I enjoyed reading The Marriage Project and believe couples in all stages of marriedness (rock solid or on the rocks) can benefit from it's selfless, premeditated, fun plan.

For more information about Kathi's book, you can check out her blog at

Disclaimer: I was happy to receive a copy of Kathi's book for the purpose of review, and readily admit that I laughed more than once as I shared the ride of The Marriage Project. (The only thing I didn't agree with was an early statement that God sends trouble our way (or allows it). I know many Christians do believe this, although I don't. Other than this minor reference, I enjoyed the book as a whole.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Turn for the Worse.

Well it happened again.

Have you ever been reading a great book that you have a hard time putting down? You can't wait to finish it and suddenly you slam it shut. It made that turn. It started leading you into a direction you desperately did not wish to go.

This happened to me last night. I am on the second book of a very exciting trilogy. The second book is almost finished and this disheartening thing happened. It led me to thinking. How many times does this happen to others, and do these people finish the book or put it aside in disgust? I myself plan on finishing, hopefully I am wrong in what my head is predicting will happen. Stay tuned.

So where are these thoughts leading me today? What I am referring to above is not a character being hurt. I would want to finish to see what the outcome would be. This is something I do not want to happen in a characters life that will make the outcome different from what I have been waiting and hoping for since book one. Will this author do such a thing? This would be tragic. As a writer I am vowing to myself not to let this occur in anything I write. We want the guy to get the girl, or the happy ending that we are expecting when that carrot has been dangled out in front of us. Am I wrong?

As I finish editing my first novel, I will be looking for this and in future works that I do. The best books end happily. I does not matter how well written or how much adventure or suspense is in a novel, without a happily ever after it is to me a great disappointment.

Monday, April 12, 2010

NEVER Think You'll Remember in the Morning

As I was drifting off to sleep Saturday night, I had a great idea. The problem is, today I don't remember what that great idea was.

Most friends know me as a mild-mannered individual who doesn't get excited about many things. I can even tolerate fingers on a chalk-board for brief stints. But nothing drives me up a wall quicker than not being able to remember something.

For example, life as we know it comes to an abrupt halt when I cannot locate my keys or eyeglasses. Where did I leave them? I don't know because I don't remember. My children remain unmoved. It's not that important to them. I've found a way around this by placing a bounty on whatever I can't find. Competition kicks in and they scramble to be the first to cash in on my memory lapse.

Today money failed, however. There was no way to say, "Five bucks to the first kid who can tell me what I was thinking about right before I fell asleep last night." (Where's the Old Testament Daniel when you need him?) After years of leaving pencil and paper by my bed, the one time I don't, I forget the very thing I don't want to forget. So I've reformed, once and for all. I've finally learned my lesson. Never, ever, ever think that you'll remember that great idea in the morning. Maybe you will. Maybe you won't. Write it down. Just to be sure.

Now where did I put that pencil?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I feel as if I have accomplished a great feat. I completed my first Charlotte Bronte noval, Villette.

Being a Jane Austen fan I have aspired to read other like authors. One of the Bronte sisters was in that grouping. Indeed very different from Austen.

Lucy Snowe is our heroine. Her life marked by tragedy. Love always eluding her. I wait and wait for something good to happen to this poor forlorn heroine. Towards the very end it comes, but could one possibly keep to this thick novel and enjoy a happily ever after? You would think it would come but then, after another tragedy Bronte writes, "I will leave that to the reader." UGGG ! Not nice.

I will admit enjoyment in briefly becoming a part of this time gone by. Habits, morals, traditions. Now it is finished. I did it. Next challenge, Elizabeth Gaskell.

Disclaimer: I have no financial gain in reviewing this book.

Monday, April 5, 2010

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways. One, Two...

Recently I read the book called The Apothecary's Daughter. Now I know the truth.

Love is dead.

I realized as I read this book that it's been a LONG time since I read any contemporary romances. Jane Austen, Baroness Orczy, Charles Dickens, yes. Anyone else, no. Everything else I read is usually for kids or about how to write better. So it's not like I'm an expert at critiquing a romance. I like books about life with a little romance thrown in. I do not like books that are romances with a little life thrown in.

I recommend The Apothecary's Daughter for romance readers. They'd probably enjoy it. (Also for people with a lot of free time on their hands because it's thick.) I have to say my hat's off to anyone who can write a 415 page romance and make it work, because there's nothing worse than a badly written romance. I would not be the person for the job. Julie Klassen did write a very good romance. My biggest beef is that I thought the plot fizzled at the end. Two other people who read it with me had the same opinion. I like truly satisfying finishes. In The Apothecary's Daughter, I found myself asking, "That's it?"

I can't tell you whether you'd like this book or not. Romance readers will possibly love it. Non-romance readers might like it. It depends on your personal tastes. It is not a book that challenges your soul, but it is just fun, light entertainment. As I said, romances are just not my thing, so take this review with a grain of salt.

An aside: I am also reading The Marriage Project by Kathi Lipp. (Her blog: Her book contains a practical project for cultivating a premeditated fun and romantic relationship with your spouse designed to make a marriage last. More on that to come.

Christine, you'd be interested to know that one of her guy-centric dates starts with going to the shooting range with your spouse. Larry would think it was cool. I would, of course, not recommend that you shoot at your spouse while there.

Disclaimer: No one pays me (more's the pity) to write these wonderful book reviews. I just did it because it's my turn to blog today.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Laptops and Lake-views

Spring is really here! Emerald green is starting to carpet the ground, and today I witnessed yellow daffodils bending in the breeze. The last few days have drawn the masses into the great-outdoors.

As a writers group we have been evaluating our writing goals. It's a wonderful thing.

Anyone out there who loves to write please tell me... what could be more lovely then being in the fresh air with one's laptop, gazing out at a serene lake, our budding crab-tree? That sounds glorious, does it not? However, I have tried it and failed. Grabbing a cup of iced tea, a comfy chair and my laptop I have trudged outdoors for inspiration and fresh air. Now I ask you. Can they not make a laptop where you can see the screen whilst not under the confines of four walls? Doth such an invention exist? I really want to know.

So until such a creation comes into being or brought to my knowledge base I suppose I will have to be like Laura. Pen and notebook in hand and plunging in the old fashioned way. (If you are not part of this group I do not mean Laura Ingalls Wilder.)

Please forgive the whilst and doth. I am presently reading Charlotte Bronte. :)