Tuesday, July 28, 2015

You Can Write 50,000 Words in Thirty Days by D.J. Mynatt

's review 
Jul 28, 15  ·  edit

bookshelves: to-read
Read from July 05 to 06, 2015

I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

As I began the book, I realized I knew nothing about what is involved in writing a book to get published. I learned what NANOWRIMO was and became very intrigued . National Novel Writing Month happens each November where people sign up to take the challenge of writing 50,000 words in thirty days. Sounds easy , doesn't it? Maybe for some it is, but for others it is a challenge to begin your first thought onto paper.

The author takes us on her own journey during that month and shares with us the frustration and extreme pressure of trying to write a very specific word count. It does sound intimidating , but with the tools the author gives you in her book, you can achieve that goal.

She gives us a daily glimpse into her day as she tries to reach her daily goals. For some this could be a real challenge if you are juggling a full time job and have other comittments . For those who are thinking of doing this challenge, I encourage you to have the authors book as your go to reference material. In the book is valuable resources,along with her personal journey and encouraging scriptures to help motivate and empower you. This is a must read for all new authors who need inspiration and encouragement to pursue their dream of writing their first novel.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

2015 Christy Award Winner

Lisa Wingate


Successful New York editor, Jen Gibbs, is at the top of her game with her new position at Vida House Publishing -- until a mysterious manuscript from an old slush pile appears on her desk. Turning the pages, Jen finds herself drawn into the life of Sarra, a mixed-race Melungeon girl trapped by dangerous men in the turn of the century Appalachia. A risky hunch may lead to The Story Keeper's hidden origins and its unknown author, but when the trail turns toward the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a place Jen thought she'd left behind forever, the price of a blockbuster next book deal may be higher than she's willing to pay.

Amazon Buy Link for THE STORY KEEPER


Praise for Lisa Wingate

The Sea Keeper’s Daughters

“Readers will delight in this compelling saga that sweeps from past to present, coastline to mountains. Compassion and forgiveness pave the road to redemption in this gem of a book.  The Sea Keeper's Daughter is a keeper!”
Mary Alice Monroe, NY Times bestselling author of The Summer's End.   

The Story Keeper

“Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller. Her story-within-a-story, penned with a fine, expressive style, will captivate writers and non-writers alike.”
 “Fans of contemporary and historical romance, women's fiction and
light literary romance will find plenty with which to fall in love in 
The Story Keeper.”
USA Today, Happily Ever After blog

“Wingate’s latest tale is beautifully crafted and has so many
layers to appeal to readers – history, a contemporary love story,
a bit of mystery and details about the book publishing industry.”
Romantic Times

“Fans of both historical and contemporary fiction will delight in Lisa Wingate’s latest tale.
The Story Keeper is a modern-day quest that beckons readers into the Appalachian lore of
yesteryear. Simply put, The Story Keeper is enchanting, inspiring, and beautifully told.”
Denise Hunter, bestselling author of Dancing with Fireflies

Not since To Kill a Mockingbird has a story impacted me like this.” 
Colleen Coble, USA Today bestselling author of Seagrass Pier

“For anyone who enjoys master storytellers such as Adriana Trigiani and Karen White. The Story Keeper . . . transports readers across time.”
Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Into the Free

The Story Keeper has to be the best book I've read in two years. It's heartwarming, a story within a story, love that blooms from within and without. A definite keeper and reread.”
Fresh Fiction

The Prayer Box
“With a careful eye to detail and a beautiful, lyrical style
reminiscent of those of Mary Alice Monroe and
Patti Callahan Henry.”
Starred Booklist
“Journeys begin with one single step . . .  in Wingate's masterful exploration of the road to redemption. Relatable characters and vivid portrayals of events both current and historical create an enchanting, memorable pilgrimage into the fullness of faith and love.”
Publishers Weekly
With a gift for crafting a story that digs into how a person's
past can shape their view of themselves and of hope itself,
Lisa Wingate never disappoints to deliver a first-class novel.”
USA Today
“Readers will delight in this gorgeously written, true gem of a
novel. . . . a saga of life, love and
rebuilding make for a treat.”
Romantic Times, top pick
“I am in awe of Lisa Wingate’s talent. She strikes the heart and
turns my gaze toward heaven’s door.
The Prayer Box is a masterpiece of story and skill.”
Debbie Macomber, New York Times bestselling author

The Prayer Box is Lisa Wingate’s best work so far! Tandi’s story is an enchanting take on
family ties, redemption, and allowing oneself to
be swept up into a river of grace regardless of one’s past.”
Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of The Time In Between

The Prayer Box is a beautiful, lyrical story of two women looking for peace, wholeness, and purpose. Wingate weaves hope and truth amid their brokenness and pain.”
Rachel Hauck, author of Once Upon and Prince and The Wedding Dress

“Tenderly woven. Skillfully threaded. A grab-your-heart story about faith, the healing power of love, and how both are often found in unlikely places.”
Charles Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Unwritten
“Lisa Wingate is a remarkably gifted storyteller. Her novels both captivate and cradle you, and The Prayer Box is Lisa at her finest. Tandi’s extraordinary journey of healing and hope on Hatteras Island is a mesmerizing thrill and a joy you’ll want to savor. However, beware—you will not be able to put this story down!”
Beth Webb Hart, Bestselling author of Moon Over Edisto
“A lively and inviting small-town atmosphere . . .  [The Prayer Box] captures the insecurities and inner fears we all struggle to keep hidden.”
CBA Retailer + Resources
Other novels by Lisa Wingate

“A rising star in the world of women's fiction.”
Romantic Times

“Lisa Wingate is a Glorious Storyteller!”
Adriana Trigiana, New York Times bestselling author

“Gripping… compassionate and lyrical… reminds us that it is love that changes our world.”
Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author

Q&A with Lisa Wingate

Your stories so often involve fascinating bits of history. Can you tell us about the inspiration for The Sea Keeper’s Daughters?

I never know where my stories will come from. While working on my first Carolina book, set on the Outer Banks, I became fascinated with the mystery of the Lost Colonists of Roanoke Island. You can’t spend time on the Carolina Coast without realizing that theories abound as to the fate of the 117 people who vanished from Sir Walter Raleigh’s ill-­fated colony over thirty years before the Pilgrims would land on Plymouth Rock. While writing my second Carolina book, The Story Keeper, I delved into the mystery of what early explorers deemed to be “blue-eyed Indians,” who were found to have been living in the Appalachian mountains decades before other Europeans pressed in. I knew that the third Carolina book would somehow bring these two fascinating bits of history together. An interesting thing happened when The Story Keeper hit the bookstores. Because the novel is about the discovery of an untold story, readers began sharing their own family stories with me. One reader mentioned that she’d traveled through the mountains many times as a child and one day had noticed that there were doors in the mountainside. When she asked about the doors, her father told her that during the Depression, families who lost their farms or had no place to live would often move into a nearby cave. Many salvaged doors, windows, and furniture from their repossessed homes before leaving and used those to outfit their new cave houses. I couldn’t resist researching that tale, but I found very little about Americans living in caves during the Depression.  What I did come across were life history interviews written by participants in a little-known WPA program called the Federal Writers’ Project. The Project hired impoverished writers, academics, housewives, and reporters, then turned them into Field Interviewers whose jobs were to travel the hidden corners of America and record the stories of the common man. The adventures of these Federal Writers were equally as fascinating as the narratives and stories they discovered during their travels.

Selected among Booklist’s Top 10 for two consecutive years, Lisa Wingate skillfully weaves lyrical writing and unforgettable settings with elements of traditional Southern storytelling, history, and mystery to create novels that Publisher's Weekly calls "Masterful" and Library Journal refers to as "A good option for fans of Nicholas Sparks and Mary Alice Monroe." 

Lisa is a journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of twenty-five novels. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol Award nominee, a multiple Christy Award nominee, a twotime Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RT Booklovers Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner for mystery/suspense. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. Booklist summed up her work by saying, “Lisa Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller.” More information about her novels can be found at www.lisawingate.com.


More about Lisa can be found on her 

She can also be found online at:
https://twitter.com/lisawingate https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/178832.Lisa_Wingate

Blog tour services provided by Lone Star Literary Life.


I received a copy of this book for an honest review

Jen is excited about her new job at Vida House Publishing. She is looking to make an impression and thinks she has found the next best seller. There is a room they call "Slush Mountain that has old seemingly unwanted manuscripts . She has been told never to go to that room. Surprisingly one day laying on the edge of her desk, is a story in an envelope which just appeared out of thin air. As Jen beings to read the story, she is mesmerized by the writing. It does have an eerie likeness to the place she left a long time ago. How did this story from "Slush Mountain" get on her desk? What mysteries will it reveal ?

Jen knows in her hands is a story that must be published. She has convinced the publishing company that she needs to find the author who wrote this amazing story and get his permission to publish it. She finds herself thinking back to when she lived not far from where the story takes place. Jen never thought she would ever return to Blue Ridge Mountain, but she must travel there to find the elusive author of this story that has captured her heart . The story that has intrigued Jen is about a young girl named Sarah. It shows the struggles in the 1800s and how people had to deal with hunger and poverty. She gives us a strong character in Sarah that is determined to overcome her circumstances. Jen is a determined woman who must face her past as she sees similarities in the story she wants to publish and her own life. What will happen to Sarah? Can Jen embrace her past? Who is the author behind this story?

The book is well written and filled with a great background of the Appalachian people. I loved how the author draws her readers in with an uncanny realism of the characters. It is a story that takes you on a journey of survival and dealing with past memories. The writing is a treasure similar to a present that is unwrapped slowly to reveal a breathtaking gift. Lisa has given readers a book that will be hard to forget.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer of Love: Six Christian Romance Novels

It is always refreshing to find books that are written with warmth, grace and God's love . This collection has that and so much more. The characters are fun, looking for their purpose or just simply trying to live life to the fullest. I loved how each author had their own unique writing style that fit so well in this engrossing collection.

The romance was clean and sweet and I found it enjoyable to read. Each book touches on different everyday issues that with capture your attention with a warm inviting story that flows with grace across the pages.

Will Bryce and Soohie find happiness with each other or is there something that will hold one of them back , and make them question if they can share their feelings.

What will happen when Claire a chef meets globe trotting handsome Noel? Is it possible to fall in love with someone that comes from a different background. Will it be hard for one of them to give up their roots in order to be together?

Serenity has come back to her hometown to start over. She has a relationship with her dad that she needs to work on. They were both hurt by something , but their love as father and daughter is deep and they strive to overcome the past. When Jackson Ross a psychiatrist , or Dr. Jack to his patients, discover why Serenity's life was shattered five years ago, he may risk losing her . Is he willing to take that chance in order to help her overcome what happened years ago? 

Can a marriage of convience work between Jared and Kate? As Kate longs for a real relationship with Jared , something from his past could destroy her hope of a lasting and loving marriage. Will his past be more than Kate can handle? Can a marriage of convience turn into a real marriage filled with love and devotion to each other?

Rock Anderson, a missionary has come to save Hope from a marriage she doesn't want. He has always found her to be a handful but hard to resist. What will happen when Hope's father disowns her? Can a rich girl overcome rejection and find happiness? Will she find peace,and her purpose in life.? 

Jaxton Anderson is sent to his grandfather's farm in Kansas to deal with some family business . He will find himself out of place in this rural area and meets Ami Martin. There is an immediate dislike for each other and Ami can't understand why he won't just go back where he came from. What is the reason God brought him to this place that he finds so uncomfortable? 

The stories in this collection have something for everyone. I loved each story and thought the authors did a wonderful job of developing the characters . They gave readers a collection that will warm their heart and stories that you will remember long after the last page is written. 

Who Killed my Church by R. James Shupp

's review 
Jul 18, 15  ·  edit

Read from July 15 to 17, 2015

Pete is the pastor of Green Street Baptist Church. He has noticed that his wife, Monica has become unhappy lately as she conveys her concern for the future of the church. Over the last several years the attendance has slowly decreased as well as the tithes for the church.

Pete is called to a meeting at the church with his financial advisors and leaders of the church. He felt like this was going to be the end of his pastoral service of Green Street Baptist Church. As he listens to the concerns of the group gathered in the room, he begins to pray for guidance, direction, or a word from God. He didn't want to leave this church and he didn't want to give up on the vision he had for the continuation of the church.

Pete remembers attending a growth conference several years ago when he heard Marcus Cunningham speak . He gives Marcus a call and arranges for them to meet. Thus begins a life changing experience for Pete, Monica and members of the church.

The author has written a very powerful story about a congregation that was willing to change and apply tools that Marcus shared with them to give life back to the church. The characters in this book are riveting and hungry for a church they once saw thriving . As you read the book you can visualize the struggles that the church was facing and how it could be related to any church in America. This may be a fiction book, but the ideas, plans and enthusiasm of a congregation to breathe new life into their church is so powerful and heartfelt that every member of a church should be required to read this book. I enjoyed the picture the author painted of a woman that had been at a church for years , to suddenly see it dying before her eyes. You could feel the pain she felt as she clicked the lights off for the last time.

The book will encourage you, bring you new vision and is a must read for Christians. It is a book that you will find yourself engrossed in as you feel the presence of a rebirth in yourself as well as insight for a thriving church and a closer relationship with God.

I was given a copy of this book from book fun.org for an honest revirew.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Carly's Dream by Birdie Etchison

I received a copy from BookFun.org for  an honest review

When Carly was only four years old, her dad left her with his parents who were Amish. Carly is a happy , sweet and caring young woman. She tries so hard to help with chores, but she is not a very cook. When her grandmother has a stroke , she knows that running the household will be her job now. I laughed as I read how she struggled with cooking, since most Amish women are great cooks. Is there a reason why she can't cook like other Amish women?

Carly is very close to Albert , who is her uncle and enjoy spending time together. As her grandmother gets stronger after her stroke, Carly decides that she wants to meet her English grandparents.  She longs to know about them and learn more about her mother who died. When she lets everyone know her  decision to travel to meet other members of her family, Albert seems to be heartbroken. Does he have feelings for Carly that he can never act on?

The author has written a lovely story of a young woman who wants to know more about her mother and hope that someday she will see her father again. Will Carly decide to stay with her grandmother that she has started to know and want to turn away from the Amish life? The story gives us a glimpse into what a young person goes   through as they explore  rumspringa . The author shares the struggles that Carly starts to have as she begins to enjoy the comfort  of the English life and her close bond that is growing between her and her newly found grandparents.

 Will Carly to decide to stay or go home to the Amish lifestyle? . I loved the characters in the book and how the author was able to bring the story to life with her attention to detail and the graceful way her words flowed across the pages. Will the twist in the story change the feelings that Carly and Albert have for each other? This is a great book that will have you wanting to read more from the gifted author.



Title: Dateline: Purgatory
Author: Kathy Cruz
Publisher: TCU Press
ISBN: 978-0-87565-610-6
Price: $22.96

Non-Fiction, True Crime

In the wake of more than 1,500 exonerations across the country (150 of which were for inmates on death row) and growing demands for reforms within the justice system, award-winning journalist Kathy Cruz uses a new lens to examine the controversial Darlie Routier case - and what may be a true Texas mystery.



In Dateline: Purgatory, Cruz enlists current day legal experts to weigh in on the shocking transgressions that resulted in one of the country's most troubling death penalty convictions. With the help of the infamous death row inmate and a former FBI Special Agent known as "Crimefighter," the veteran journalist would find that her journey through Purgatory was as much about herself as it was about the woman dubbed "Dallas' Susan Smith."

Darin_and_Darlie.jpgUnder a starry sky on the snowy slopes of Purgatory, Colo., Darlie Lynn Peck linked her destiny with that of an ambitious young man from Lubbock, Texas named Darin Routier. Ten years later, a horrific crime known as "6-6-6" would thrust the couple into the national spotlight.

Devon_and_Damon.jpgThe brutal murders of young Devon and Damon Routier in the early morning hours of June 6, 1996, would put their mother - Darlie Routier - at the heart of one of the most notorious murder cases in modern Texas history - despite her own throat having been slashed to within 2 millimeters of her carotid artery.

The actions of a small town police department and Dallas County's justice system created a perfect storm that swept up the young mother and landed her on death row. There she has remained, in a 9-feet-by-6-feet cell, despite claims of her innocence by those who know her, findings about the alarming fallibility of bloodstain analysis - and her husband's admission that at the time of the murders he was soliciting help to stage a home burglary to commit insurance fraud.

What people are saying about Dateline: Purgatory

“Everybody knows the Texas criminal justice system doesn’t work, but few know why and how. Kathy Cruz does, and Dateline: Purgatory proves it. This richly detailed and well-narrated book affords a view of the Texas system rarely seen by the outside world. It shows how ambitious prosecutors, compliant judges, and na├»ve jurors can make for a lethal combination. It also shows the terrible human cost involved when justice becomes what it is in Texas: a team sport in a rigged game. Anyone who wants to understand the true nature of Texas injustice should read this book. Ms. Cruz has done the world a favor by writing it.” – Jeff Blackburn, founder and chief counsel, Innocence Project of Texas

“I thought I knew all that there was to know about Darlie Routier – the woman at the center of the most talked about murder case in modern Texas history. Then I started reading Dateline: Purgatory. Kathy Cruz's book is not only a masterful piece of investigative reporting, it's a beautifully written narrative, filled with characters that seem to come straight out of fiction. Almost twenty years after Darlie's two sons were murdered, the twists and turns in this saga still remain utterly riveting. I promise you that after reading Dateline: Purgatory, you will not be able to stop wondering what really happened to Darlie and her family.” -- Skip Hollandsworth, executive editor, Texas Monthly

“With relentless research that rivals her provocative writing, veteran journalist Kathy Cruz makes a powerful argument for reopening the case of the Texas homemaker at the heart of one of the nation's most unsettling death penalty convictions. The reasons why we all should be suspicious of how this conviction was won, along with details of how Cruz's destiny crossed with that of Darlie Routier, make for a riveting read.” -- Mike Cochran, author, Texas vs. Davis: The Only Complete Account of the Bizarre Thomas Cullen Davis Murder Case

“Dateline: Purgatory will make you feel. Then, it will make you think. And hopefully, after that, you will want to act. I did, because once an execution is carried out, there's no correcting it.”-- Michael Morton, author, Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace


Cruz_headshot.jpgKathy Cruz is a former reporter for The Dallas Morning News, now working as a staff writer at the Hood County News in Granbury, 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth. She has won numerous Journalist of the Year honors from Texas press associations, as well as many other awards from regional, state and national press associations. She is the co-author of You Might Want to Carry a Gun: Community Newspapers Expose Big Problems in Small Towns. Cruz is the recipient of five awards for excellence in legal reporting, including a Texas Gavel Award and four Stephen Philbin Awards from the Dallas Bar Association – two of which were grand prizes.


Books may be purchased by calling 1-800-826-8911, visiting www.prs.tcu.edu, or visiting your local bookstore.


Blog tour services provided by Lone Star Literary Life.

I was given a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review .

The story gained national attention on that fateful night on June 6, 1996 when  Devon and his brother Damon Routier were stabbed to death in their home. Darlie ,  their mom was frantically calling 911 to report that an intruder at broken into their home and attacked her and two of her sons with a knife. She told the 911 operator that she had fought with the intruder.  She had  a serious injury to her throat that had been savagely slashed and a deep cut on her arm, while her two sons lay gravely wounded on the floor.  Darin, her husband who was upstairs with their eight month old son heard his wife's screams and rushed downstairs to try to save Devon and Damon. Against all attempts to save them, they tragically died. After only a month long trial, Darlie who was twenty-six at the time , was found guilty of the murders  and sentenced to death row. It has been called one of the country's most controversial death penalty convictions.

This book brings us in-depth details and  arguments that the author hopes will cause a reopening of the case . Through out the book we see the term "staged crime," which the Rowlett county police department has said they believe Darlie did that night.  Is it possible to "stage a crime" as you are gravely wounded? As you read this riveting  and detailed account of that night, the reader may begin to question if the wrong person was convicted of the murders of Devon and Damon. The author also brings into question if Darin , the father of the two boys knew more about the events of that night . Was he planning something that night , which later turned into a   tragic  chain of events that he could not prevent? Mary Penrose , a professor at the Texas A&M University School of Law says, " Sometimes zealousness becomes self-righteousness , and when that happens , justice  suffers." 

Darlie's  mother says, "I miss Devon and Damon every day" As she visits her daughter in prison they cry together and laugh together and miss the boys together. She also says, "What do you do for a child? The same thing I am doing for  Darlie  and for the rest of my family; fight like hell and show the world the truth about Darlie Routier."  Darlie"s mother continues to fight for her daughters release while never swaying from her belief that Darlie is innocent.

The author says,"It is my hope that DATELINE :PURGATORY , helps readers see more of  Routier's true colors , as well as the true colors of our justice system." In the book , the author talks about DNA tests that were not handled correctly  and a police department that rushed an arrest in the murder . Her many interviews with key players bring many twists and turns  and an explosive and intriguing case to the forefront in hopes that justice will prevail.  Darlie wrote in a letter to the author , "I'm sitting in hell for a crime I didn't commit and was a victim of, because I trusted the wrong people."