Christian author Diana Lesire Brandmeyer writes historical and contemporary romances set from the Midwest to the Mountains. She’s written Mind of Her Own, Frontier Legacy Brides, Small Town Brides, and A Time for Love, among others.
Once widowed and now remarried she writes with humor and experience on the difficulty of joining two families be it fictional or real life.
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If you can go to this exhibit, do it. I went to the #VanGoghStlouis exibit. You’ll walk in and think oh– I get to read a lot about this artist and maybe you learned a lot of it in Art History.
Then you notice how the exhibit is set up. Window frames catch your attention and you see information in a new way.
After you’ve read some amazing things about this artist, you walk into another room that is filled with color from lights and you might find that exciting. I did, but I didn’t know what was to come.
The next room you enter is huge! And before you know it you’re standing in paintings. Then the painting move. They sweep across the floor, flowers bloom beneath your feet!
Then you turn around and there is Van Gogh staring at you and he winks! That was startling–I mean it is an immersive art experience but I have to say that one had me second-guessing what I saw.
This was an experience I needed. I’ve been trying to write the next series and I can’t seem to find the imagination I once had. Doing more things like this will help with that. I used to go to the fabric store and look at colors and touch the material but I haven’t done that since “you know what hit our world in 2020” I hope that will soon be gone and we can all get back to filling our lives with experiences that fill our souls.
What is it that makes reading (or writing) about life when it was so hard to survive? I look at the things Greta did to make money in this book and I shudder to think what would happen to me and my husband if I couldn’t put in a Walmart order!
Books with a child side character always touch my heart and this one has Astrid. She is spunky despite her illness. Again, something I lack, a cold will set me to fussing and asking for hot tea and a blanket.
Cowboy for Keeps starts off with a bang and sends Greta right into desperation mode when she finds out the man she’s to marry has died. Now she has no money and no husband. I admire this character as she sets out to find another way to earn money other than working at the brothel. No worries, she doesn’t go there. Instead, she ends up marrying before nightfall.
Hedlund makes me feel like I’m right there in the Colorado mountains looking at all the beauty of the trees, feeling the crisp air and breathing the fresh air that is so good for Astrid.
What I liked about this book is there is an attraction between the two of them—a slow simmering pot of water just ready to boil. The romance feels realistic, what should happen when people are getting to know each other. Hedlund carries this off well throughout the book never crossing the line of what Christian readers expect from a Christian romance.
Greta Nilsson’s trip west to save her ailing little sister, Astrid, could not have gone more wrong. First, bandits hold up her stagecoach, stealing all her money. Then, upon arriving in Fairplay, Colorado, she learns the man she was betrothed to as a mail-order bride has died. Homeless, penniless, and jobless, Greta and her sister are worse off than when they started.
Wyatt McQuaid is struggling to get his new ranch up and running and is in town to purchase cattle when the mayor proposes the most unlikely of bargains. He’ll invest in a herd of cattle for Wyatt’s ranch if Wyatt agrees to help the town become more respectable by marrying and starting a family. And the mayor, who has promised to try to help Greta, has just the candidate in mind for Wyatt to marry.
If you’ve followed me or read my newsletter you’ll know how much I do not like coffee. Tea? That’s another story. I love tea!
I was hanging out online with some fellow writers and one of them mentioned Hot Cinnamon Spice tea from Harney & Sonstea.
It didn’t take long for me to hop over to their site and order my own cup of happiness.
Forget pumpkin spice at the fancy coffee shop. Hot Cinnamon Spice tea is the best fall drink yet and of course, there’s Chia–always my #1 choice.
If you love tea, be prepared to have a decision dilemma. I’m wanting to try two more of their teas Paris and Jasmine. But first I must write at least another chapter–okay maybe just a scene.
Since I’ve given up drinking diet Dr Pepper–it’s true! I have given it up for real! Now I’m drinking more tea while I write. It’s getting colder here too so tea is my preferred winter drink. I might as well make it special.
Are you a tea or coffee person? Don’t hate on me because of the coffee dislike. I love the way it smells but I can’t get past the bitter taste.
Time for me to make another cup. I wish you could smell the cinnamon!
When did you get excited about connecting letters to make words?
My love of reading came from my mom. She spent hours reading to me. I have several favorite memories of reading time.
Mom took me to the library as much as she could. Sometimes we had to walk because there wasn’t a second car.
One book became my favorite and I can’t remember the name. Instead of illustrations it had photos of real children. That amazed me– people could be in books! I wanted to be in books.
That may be when I segued into become the character I read about and now it is the way I write.
She helped me learn to read through Rubic books. If you aren’t familiar with those they put small pictures in place of words like house, dog, bike, and before you know it you’ve learned to read the small words because you’ve practiced them and those big words don’t scare you. At least that’s how I remember it.
Mom read tough books to us, big thick ones like The Yearling, that took all summer because she read to my brother and me while we rested in the hot (unairconditioned) house with the fan blasting on us.
We read side by side on the porch swing.
We read before bed.
We read on the couch, the floor and soon I was reading alone. But I was never alone because if I looked I could find mom reading too!
She gave me a gift that has let me travel, laugh, cry and learn.
The Weather Girls Book 1 Sunny by Jennifer Lynn Carry had me tripping down memory lane. Bell bottom jeans how I miss you. Though I’d probably trip and break a hip if I wore them now.
Carry has interspersed memorabilia and songs from that decade that are sure to bring back a memory for you as well if you were around for the 70s. If you weren’t, The Weather Girls is a great place to learn about a normal family in that decade.
Wait, did I say normal? It’s not. It’s like so many families of that time, touched by broken marriage vows and each of the sisters in this series has her own issues that need to be healed from growing up in a broken home.
Sounds like a downer doesn’t it? It’s not! It’s a laugh out loud, grab the tissues and a warm hug kind of read.
I’ve had the chance to read the series and the other books will be out soon. There is not a disappointing moment between these covers.
She got stood up on Valentine’s Day…
…Then she lost her job
Could the legend of the cardinal change her luck?
With a disposition as bright as her name, Sunny shakes off the worst day of her life and makes a new start. She’s got the brains that it takes, but she’s more than a little scared. It’s not just her reputation on the line.
Would this cockeyed adventure be the thing her siblings needed too?
Pat only wants peace in the family and never dreamed doing a favor for his sister could drop him into so much hot water. Torn between what he’s always wanted and what is staring him in the face, someone is bound to get hurt.
Odds are it will be him.
But then, only the cardinal knows for sure.
Return to 1970 Indiana with Sunny, the first book in The Weather Girls series for the miniskirts, bell-bottoms, and Christian family values.
You’ll love Sunny for the music, the fashions, and the hilarious antics, because who can resist a romantic trip down memory lane?
Come Back to Me by Jody Hedlund starts with some suspense and rocky family dynamics. It doesn’t take long to realize you won’t be setting this book down to do something else.
It’s another book a bit different for me. I’m no fond of time travel books but it’s Jody Hedlund, I had to try it. Sometimes it pays to read in something different. I enjoyed this book isn’t strong enough to convey my feelings.
This is part 1 of a 6 part series. I can’t wait for part 2 Never Leave Me which you can preorder now. It comes out Jan. 4, 2022. Hedlund pulls off a time travel that makes sense. She doesn’t time hop constantly which means most of the time in part 1 is spent in medieval times. This book is rich in details that put you there with Marian as she tries to navigate the times when women weren’t heard, and the clothing weighs heavy with its many layers in warm weather.
The ultimate cure that could heal any disease? Crazy.
That’s exactly what research scientist Marian Creighton has always believed about her father’s quest, even if it does stem from a desire to save her sister Ellen from the genetic disease that stole their mother from them. But when her father falls into a coma after drinking a vial of holy water believed to contain traces of residue from the Tree of Life, Marian must question all of her assumptions. He’s left behind tantalizing clues that suggest he’s crossed back in time. Insane. Until Marian tests his theories and finds herself in the Middle Ages during a dangerous peasant uprising.
William Durham, a valiant knight comes to Marian’s rescue and offers her protection … as his wife. The longer Marian stays in the past, the more she cares about William. Can she ever find her father and make it back to the present to heal her sister? And when the time comes to leave, will she want to?
Bestselling author Jody Hedlund is your guide down the twisting waters of time to a volatile era of superstition, revolts, and chivalry in this suspenseful story.
There’s this feeling I get when someone says, can I interview you? Radio makes me nervous. YouTube sends me running. My mother should have named me “Introvert Extreme.”
But they didn’t, and God didn’t say hide your writing under a rock. That would have possibly been another desire when I was younger. Oh, those marvelous days of hanging out on the porch writing stories with wandering plot points, misspelled words, and total misuse of point of view. It took me forever to show anyone my work.
I was recently on Book Banter with Tanya and it was delightful. Once I got over the first few minutes of thinking there was no way I could do this. To be fair I haven’t been speaking with a lot of people in the past 18 months. Alright, you will discover at the beginning of the interview that Tanya and I are friends, didn’t matter it was still an interview about how I write, how I come up with ideas, what did I like and hate about writing.
Having a library card of my own was a big deal when I was a kid. It was a passport to all kinds of worlds through the pages housed in the library.
I stepped back in time and now have a card. My local library which is about 5 minutes from my home is located outside I (by about 100 ft.) of the city limits. To get a card there I would have to spend over $300 because they go by the tax value of your home. It doesn’t matter that we pay taxes to the schools etc.
To get a card I could afford I went to a neighboring town. It gives me chills to walk in this library.
The Belleville Public Library is a Carnegie Library and while not as grand as the one in Nashville it still shines.
The building was designed by Otto Rubach, a Belleville native. The building is designed in the Beaux Arts Style which the Carnegie Corporation preferred.
Inside the staircase has marble sides and a brass handrail! Just walking those steps to the second floor takes you back in time.
So I checked out my first book using their digital system Hoopla. I thought this would be an appropriate read.
This book begins with a necessary lie that seems as if it will hurt no one. When mistaken for another person with the same name, Clara Kelly. This was a slow read for me because the writing is rich with details and phrases that I re-read to enjoy them. Like this one: He whispered her name, letting it roll over his tongue like a fine cordial.
This is a clean read, no heat so no worries if you are concerned about that.
I enjoyed this, while not my usual read I think I’ll be looking for more of her books. As an author, I like to study writers who can write with such care for history and yet still entertain.
Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She’s not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the woman who shares her name has vanished, and assuming her identity just might get Clara some money to send back home.
Clara must rely on resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for and an uncanny understanding of business, attributes that quickly gain her Carnegie’s trust. But she still can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future—and her family’s.
With captivating insight and heart, Carnegie’s Maid is a book of fascinating 19th century historical fiction. Discover the story of one brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist to the world’s first true philanthropist.
Bonner starts out with the most impossible character I could imagine for a western adventure set in 1891. Charlotte Brindle doesn’t need to get married for financial reasons; she has her teacher’s degree. The problem comes when her parents have picked a man for her to marry. She just can’t stand that man and for good reason!
Her impulsiveness has her applying for a teaching position in Wyldhaven and before she can take a breath, she’s on a stage heading for her new adventure, one she didn’t think included bullets aimed in her direction. This is a fun fast-paced read. I’m looking forward to book 2, On Eagle’s Wings.
Schoolteacher Charlotte Brindle is relieved that her long journey from Boston to Wyldhaven is about to come to an end. And then the bullets start flying! As she sprawls on the floor of the coach and curls her arms around her head, she wonders whatever in the world possessed her to give up the civility of a Boston school for the promise of adventure on the wild frontier?!
Her fellow passenger, an elderly man named Patrick Waddell, has obviously angered the men outside. And he has no intentions of going down without a fight—or without a bargaining chip!
Sheriff Reagan Callahan grinds his teeth in frustration when Patrick Waddell emerges from the coach with the tiny slip of a schoolteacher as his hostage. Reagan’s perfectly planned-out capture has just been shot to smithereens. What had the town’s founder been thinking when he hired a woman like her? A petite and prim woman was not the kind of teacher Wyldhaven needed. He should be back at his desk drinking coffee! Instead, he now has to mount a rescue!
Take the next stagecoach to Wyldhaven, where the coffee’s perked hot, the sheriff likes his apple pie fresh from the oven, and adventure invariably waits just around the next river bend.
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Is it possible to ever get to the end of the to-be-read pile? Every time I finish a book I tend to add two or three more to my list to read. And that’s what happened after reading Penance on the Prairies. The test will be is — can I wait to read the rest of the series? It’s going to be hard since I’m attempting to read and review on the blog I don’t want to review every book in a series.
Ah, I suppose I could do that or I can read more books in a month so I can have something fresh for you to discover and add to your own to-be-read pile.
Back to this book.
This was fun. I suffer from the “I know who did it” problem I think because I am a writer and know what to look for but… I didn’t see the way R. L. Syme would have it all play it. I was surprised. And I love that! I was still right but Syme did not take the easy way out. Her ending was great for those of us who want to have a bit of “I didn’t see that coming.”
This is book 1 and it is .99 and not in Kindle Unlimited which is sad for me but I will still get the rest of the Vange Vale series because I like it.
Vange is a part-time pastor and the rest of the time she runs a bakery. I wanted to make macaroons after reading this book. In fact, when you get this book have some macaroons available to eat. 🙂 Pinterest has tons of recipes if you don’t know how to make them. They are easy.
All Vange did was give an irritating person the wrong directions… and life spiraled out of control. Actions do have consequences, even those simple ones!
This book has excitement, danger but not the kind that stops your heart, and a small town. All necessary ingredients for a good cozy mystery.
Here’s the back of the book information.
One part Vicar of Dibley, one part amateur sleuth who loves pastries, set in the mountains of Montana where no one’s business is her own…Between the police scanners, the coffee ladies, and the senior center, no secret is safe for long. But Vangie Vale wants nothing more than to stay under the radar…especially the police radar. So when her new business is linked to a murder investigation, nothing will stop the gossip mill from connecting her to the dead body.
Can’t have that.
In order to clear her good name and keep her face off the front page, this part-time-baker-part-time-pastor becomes extra nosy…with a little side of breaking-and-entering. But when she comes face-to-face with the Sheriff, Vangie can’t ignore the fact that one of her macarons was involved in a murder. She has to find the real murderer.