Most of the books I review are given to me by the author or their publishing company and sometimes the library! I’m not required to post a good review.
However, my momma raised me to to say nice things, and if I can’t then I shouldn’t say anything. I’ve adopted that policy for my reviews. If I don’t like the book doesn’t mean it isn’t someone else’s favorite.
I am required by some strange law to let you know that I didn’t buy the book.
It’s been a great month for reading. Lots of rainy days and nights is a good reason to hang out in a chair with my Kindle. Except for nights when the hockey playoffs are on and then my attention goes to our local team. The St. Louis Blues. I’m not a big sports fan except for hockey. For some reason I like it. I think it’s because I’m amazed at the agility of the players. I can not stand up on ice at all.
I’ve jumped into KindleUnlimited with gusto and have had fun tracking down good books to read.
On the vast, uncharted Kentucky frontier of the 1770s, Temperance Tucker has learned to be fleet of foot, accurate with her rifle, and silent about the past. But her family secrets complicate her growing attraction to a handsome Virginia land surveyor with a harsh history of his own. Will the hurts and hardships of the past prevent them from a fulfilling future?
When I drive around this country it’s hard to imagine what it looked like in 1770. Thanks to my GPS on my phone I never get lost. Temperance Tucker has her own GPS–her eyes and her memory.
Following her story deep into the woods of Kentucky and a hair-raising event inside of a cave kept me reading many nights after my bedtime.
It’s not your normal romance where the couple meets and fall in love and marry. It’s much more complicated and the setting takes on a life as a character.
If you want a book that’s not so fast-paced allowing you to live in the book’s world for a time, this book is for you.
I know I should be writing but I downloaded Christy Barritt’s Lantern Beach P.D. series. They are on KindleUnlimited so I devoured them like a sack of candy at least there weren’t calories involved.
These are great, they are light on gory details which makes them perfect for me. I like to read books with romance and police cases but I’m not a fan of being terrified.
And while it’s fun to read them back to back you don’t have to. The books are good on their own.
Cassidy and Ty are back in an all-new Lantern Beach series that will leave readers wanting more . . .
A runaway woman. A dead body. A mysterious compound.
When Cassidy Chambers accepted the job as police chief on Lantern Beach, she knew the island had its secrets. But a suspicious death with potentially far-reaching implications will test all her skills—and threaten to reveal her true identity.
Cassidy enlists the help of her husband, former Navy SEAL Ty Chambers. As they dig for answers, both uncover parts of their pasts that are best left buried. Not everything is as it seems, and they must figure out if their John Doe is connected to the secretive group that has moved onto the island.
As facts materialize, the danger on the island grows. Can Cassidy and Ty discover the truth about the shadowy crimes in their cozy community? Or has darkness permanently invaded their beloved Lantern Beach?
This month isn’t over yet but I’ve got two fun books to recommend.
We had a few snow/windchill days here in Illinois so school was canceled. That meant I could read!
I dug into this one, no pun intended. I couldn’t stop reading!
After seven years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant has hit a wall. Ready for a kinder, gentler life, she takes a job as a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes the resources of her department. A call for assistance brings detective Mac McGregor, an ex-Navy SEAL, to her doorstep. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn’t want this dead person telling any tales–and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried.
And this one. I love the character in this series. Joey Darling is a mess but doing her best to pull it all together but trouble is always finding her.
Actress Joey Darling is beginning a new season . . . of her TV show and her life.
Joey Darling’s life is finally on track. Her hit series has been picked up by a new network, her relationship with Detective Jackson Sullivan couldn’t be better, and she’s even bought a house. But right after taking possession, Joey discovers a dead body upstairs.
Joey knows she won’t have any peace until she figures out why a dead woman was left at her house and who killed her. And she desperately needs peace as the “normal” life she’s trying to establish quickly progresses from great to the brink of collapse.
The countdown is ticking as Joey must soon leave to begin filming. But one gaffe after another slows her investigation and makes her question her choices. The closer Joey gets to answers, the more someone is determined to make sure this season of her life is canceled—permanently.
Testing and reviewing the No Grain Breakfast Bars from the Against All Grain cookbook by Danielle Walker.
Is breakfast a meal you’d rather skip? If so, the Not A Grain Breakfast Bars might be perfect for you. They aren’t difficult to make, take a minimum of ingredients and freeze well.
The recipe calls for blueberry preserves but I switched that out for cherry preserves.
This is protein power packed breakfast with almond and coconut flours. Against All Grains Cookbook doesn’t list nutritional values which is a downside for me. I’d like to know how many calories, how much protein and sugars to enter into the MyFitnessPal app. All the recipes in the book are Paleo, gluten-free and dairy free. The recipes are easy to follow and what I’ve tried so far can’t be described using the word “lacking.” Walker’s recipes make you no longer care that your food has to be made differently.
If you need to eat gluten-free–even if you don’t, I’d recommend picking up this cookbook.
Goji Berries benefits are huge but were never on my bucket list of foods to try. When Viva Labs contacted me about writing a review I had a weak moment and said, “Yes, I’d love to try them.”
They came and I approached them with caution. Did I mention I am a picky eater?
They looked like red raisins, didn’t smell awful so I popped one into my mouth. Then another, and another. These things are seriously good and good for you! That’s a bonus, right? They aren’t real sweet and I thought they left a warm buttery flavor on my tongue.
So what kind of benefits can you get from Goji Berries? Nice skin, they are loaded with beta- carotene, they can boost your immune system and protect your eyes. They are a good source of vitamin C and can reduce cold symptoms. They also have a lot of antioxidants. But don’t eat them if you are on blood thinners or take blood pressure or diabetic medication at least that’s what WebMd says.
There are also claims of weight loss, better sleeping and feeling calmer. I don’t know if those are true but if you like them why not see what happens?
Need more information about Goji Berries?
They have over 20 trace minerals and 18 amino acids, Vitamin A and Vitamin C along with a rich supply of antioxidants. Plus they are a source of dietary fiber so don’t eat a whole bunch in one day!
Diana: Hi Mackenzie, thanks for stopping by today. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Mackenzie: I don’t remember a conscious decision. I think that’s just the way the Lord made me. I’ve always loved writing and making stories up in my head for as long as I can remember. Every once in a while, I’ll find a page of an ancient second or third grade short story and chuckle as I read it and try to decipher the context.
Diana:What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Mackenzie: Right now, I’m self-employed, so I can just flip-flop my schedule around to what works best.
Diana: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Mackenzie: Like I have any writing quirks…. 😉 Probably my most interesting one is the fact that my characters refuse to ever conform to my outline. Sure, I start out with a neat and detailed plan, but by mid-story, sometimes before, my characters are all running every which-a-way in their own directions. Sometimes the “good guys” turn into bad guys. Sometimes scenes from the end move up to the middle. Sometimes the wrong people fall in love, and even other times a deep, dark secret that I didn’t even know about will just pop up from somebody’s past. Surprises… that’s what makes writing so fun!
Diana:What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Mackenzie: I love life! One of my favorite things to do is to run outside, especially on a dew-glistening, bird-singing, apple-blossomed, spring morning… just to run toward a painted sunrise and feel absorbed in the beauty of God’s creation! I love riding my horse down the gravel road or through the cornfields. I love chilly fall days… a cool breeze floating in a slightly open window and feeling the warm apple-scented steam as you slide a crusty, golden, apple pie out of the oven just as a drip of cinnamon syrup bubbles out and sizzles. I like a crisp, breezy walk through a pumpkin patch or a swim in a Wisconsin lake. I like camping in the North Woods or browsing souvenir shops. I’ve enjoyed climbing cliffs in the Blue Ridge and drivin’ by buffalo in Yellowstone.
I love findin’ deals at garage sales and hangin’ out with my family… cookout style or pizza and popcorn movie nights. My favorite time is Christmas… It’s A Wonderful Life in the DVD player, a fire crackling in the corner, the pop of popcorn, and the sweet aroma of hot chocolate as we hang ornaments and wrap lights around our Christmas tree and nativity scene. I love seeing the Lord work in my life and teach me new things. I love Him because He first loved me. He’s shown me His love sooo many times in my life! One of my favorite verses is “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” He’s the giver of life, the one who makes daffodils smile and the thunderclouds clap. I love life, love, loyalty, and laughter.
Diana: What does your family think of your writing?
Mackenzie: They are all very supportive and encouraging! I loved giving them my new book and hearing what they thought of it. I really appreciated their suggestions before I was satisfied with my final copy.
Diana: Do you have any suggestions to help readers interested in writing become better? If so, what are they?
Mackenzie: Always pray about your writing. You couldn’t get a better teacher.
Just keep writing. Progress can be amazing if you just keep practicing until you get the hang of it. Make it fun, and keep it fun. If you get bored with it or lose track of where you’re going, you’ll likely stop.
Start with an outline for structure, but then add some surprises to keep yourself guessing.
Diana: What do you think makes a good story?
Mackenzie: Action, a good plot, likeable and admirable characters, emotion, human interaction, purity of relationships, cleanness in language, mystery… but most of all, it needs to honor God. I loved writing this book, but it would always feel empty and useless to me if there wasn’t a higher purpose in writing it than making money. If you pray about it and are truly writing for Him, I believe He will cause everything else to fall into place.
Diana: For viewers who have not read, but are interested in your book, can you describe it please?
Mackenzie: Fire Storm is about a couple of young families living excessively normal lives in a small-town, farming community in Northern Illinois. Wade is a paramedic. His wife, Mellissa, works in a lawyer’s office, and they are expecting a baby very soon. Their best friends, Jim and Jessica, live on a small horse farm out in the country. Jim is a fireman. Jess is a stay-at-home mom with her recently born little girl. Life is fun and carefree till… Jess starts running into threats at every turn. Are they even threats or just accidents? The thought of a killer being after Jess just seems so ridiculous… though not so much… when she comes eye to eye with murder! Who and Why? What about Wade ‘n Mellissa? Will they remain safe in their young existence as they embark in the beginnings of life’s journey, or will the epidemic of murder spread? How far does it reach? What are the secrets?
Diana: How does God affect your writing?
Mackenzie: He gave me the talent to write. He gave me an imagination and a love for stories. He put me in a strongly Christian home where I received wisdom about spiritual things and knowledge of true love, sacrifice, and care. He saved me and gave me a reason to write. Fire Storm was written for Him and dedicated to Him, and by His grace, I pray that every book I write will always point heavenward and never downward toward worldly lusts.
Diana: Who is your favorite character in your book?
Mackenzie: That’s hard to say. I like all my characters. They are all different and unique. I like variety. The world needs rich and poor, plain and fancy, strong and weak, dream-chasers and content daily laborers, business women and stay-at-home moms, flippant and flighty and rigid work-a-holics. If there was one “right” type of person or one perfect race, the world would be sooo dull. Everyone fiction or real has their very own story.
Diana: What was the hardest part to write in the book?
Mackenzie: The Salvation message. It carries the greatest responsibility.
Thanks Mackenzie for sharing with us your author journey. You can click the link below to get Mackenzie Dare’s book.
It is an affiliate link. I think I’m supposed to tell you that.
Do you read them before you buy a book or a product?
I do write them and it’s not always easy. If I love a book I give it a 5 star it’s the ones that I’m not so sureI love that I struggle with. If it’s a book I don’t leave a three star on Amazon because that’s as bad as a one star, those books I don’t post reviews.
Products? That’s a different story.
This past week I left a one star on a product. I wanted to leave zero stars but it wasn’t possible.
If I had taken the time to read the reviews on this product I wouldn’t have bought it, but I didn’t think about it.
My cats go outside and I needed some flea protection for them. I was at Wal-Mart and usually I pick up Pet Armour. They were out so I snagged a package of Adam’s Top Spot.
Serious mistake. One of my cats, Wendell had a terrible reaction. He was shaking, staring off into space an his fun came out in chunks! I’m fortunate it wasn’t worse. After posting my review I read through the others on Amazon. Many cats have reacted to this product in even more dangerous ways, seizures and horrific sores.
Wendell is fine now. This is an old shot of him feeling well– on top of the fridge.
He’s not quite back to normal but I’m hoping for a full recovery.
So do you write reviews?
Do you think it makes a difference when you post a negative review? In this case I hope my review protects someone else’s beloved cat.
It took me awhile to realize this was a sequel to Short-Straw Bride which I loved (see my review here).
Crockett Archer is on the adventure of his life, he’s all packed, sermon notes are ready all he has to do is ride the train all the way to Piney Woods of Texas. This is what God’s been preparing him for all his life. Then the train is stopped by outlaws and all they want is a preacher! Surely this wasn’t in God’s plan.
Joanna Robbins has requested a preacher for her birthday, she’s worn out from trying follow her mother’s dying wish—turn her father into a Christian. She didn’t expect him to deliver her present tethered to a horse.
I enjoyed reading the escapades of Crockett trying to win over Joanna’s father by showing him who Jesus is though his actions. There’s some delightful ‘girl shenanigans’ as well as one of the single women in the church decides she’d make a dandy preacher’s wife.
Watching Joanna–maybe I should say reading– falling in love with Crockett but at the same time trying to let him focus on his reason for being at the ranch was touching. She
It’s a fast paced read and many layers of problems that made me wonder how they could be resolved in a way that would leave me happy. Wittemeyer came through with this book. Another winner and yet I’m wondering about golden hair Holly who clearly needs a husband and has no idea how to find one. Could she be the star in the next book?
Gee I think I need more sleep! Thanks Karen Wittemeyer for writing such a good book to keep me company last night.