Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade

The more I delve into Christian Fiction, the more I fall in love.  I appreciate the clean romance, the tension between the characters, and the lessons I learn.  Becky Wade quickly became a new favorite with My Stubborn Heart and Undeniably Yours.

What I love about Becky Wade’s work is that her characters are real with tangible struggles.  I find myself in their reflection.  I learn and grow from their mistakes and overcome some of my struggles within the words of her stories.  Becky has concocted the perfect combination of faith and hope within her fun stories.

And let’s be honest… I love the romance.  The romance in Wade’s books are clean and exciting and wonderful.  She pushes beyond the tight-lipped-grandma-kisses, keeps it real, and respectfully describes the excitement of the scenes.

I am excited to tell you about Wade’s newest book, Meant to Be Mine.  But before I do that, check out the adorable photo shoot for the cute cover.

MeanttoBeMine_compCeila Park has always had a thing for Ty Porter.  When the two of them meet up in Vegas, their relationship climaxes to a cheap wedding chapel and midnight vows.  After an exciting wedding night, Celia wakes to find Ty upset.  Her happily-ever-after comes crushing down when Ty admits that he is in love with someone else.

Five and a half years later, Celia wants to stay as far away from Ty Porter as possible.  Their one-night-wedding-stand changed her life forever – and not in the way she had once dreamed.  Instead of following her own personal goals, Celia had to “give them up” to raise the honey-moon-baby from the man that didn’t love her in return.

When Ty mysteriously shows up, will the two of them be able to forge a relationship for the sake of their daughter?  Is forgiveness possible? And is it too late for Celia to get her happily-ever-after?

 

— Book was provided by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Advertisements

Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings

index

In Regina Jennings first book,Sixty Acres and a Bride, we learn of the “crazy” Anne.  People avoid her.  She isn’t like everyone else.  When Anne is forced to kill her violent-abusive-husband, the town begins to avoid her more than ever. In Jenning’s second book, Love in the Balance, Anne is all alone.

Throughout the first two books, Anne’s tough (and different) exterior keep people at arms length.  When an abandoned child falls into Anne’s lap, everything begins to change and Anne becomes Caught in the Middle.  Does she have the courage to open up and love the world for the sake of the child?  Can she learn to trust again?  What about her broken and bruised heart?

Anne’s bravery and willingness to overcome her fears inspires me.  How many people surrounding me are internally hurting like Anne?  The people that surround Anne, patiently helping her learn to love again, inspire me.  And what of the romance?  Super cute.

I walked away from Caught in the Middle with a deeper understanding of what it means to love unconditionally.  People, fictional and real, are starving for love.   Everyone is lonely. Together, we can learn to put aside the judgement in honor of love… just like Anne.

Write Your Novel From the Middle by James Scott Bell

I have a writing cycle that goes something like this:

1.  Awesome idea comes.  Yeah!

2.  I write the awesome idea.  Write.  Write.  Write.

3.  Around 30,000 words, the idea begins to fade.  What am I writing again?  Where is this novel going?

4.  I turn the lap top off, pushing it shut a little too hard, and take a trip to the library.  Libraries have a way of soothing the soul.  I load up on books written by other people.  The best writers out there read.

5.  The books are amazing.  What is wrong with me?  Why can’t I write my story?  Dreams hurt.

6.  Insert lots of sleep, tears, and cookies.

7.  I get another idea…

The cycle hurts.  And to be completely honest, I have been cycling round and round for 5+ years.  I have watched authors start from scratch and publish multiple books – some New York Times Bestsellers.  I have attended writing conferences, shared my work, and prayed my guts out that this time I will have the creative power to blast through the middle of my story.

Insert James Scott Bell.

51648+h8QCL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I found his book, Write Your Novel from the Middle last week on amazon for around three bucks.  Can’t beat that.  I purchased the book and I am so glad that I did.

While writing my stories, I fall in between the obsessive “out liner” and the outrageous “pantser.”  I want to know where I am going, but I don’t want to know how I am going to get there.  Which is all fun and games until I hit around 30,000 words…

I loved the premise of starting my book smack dab in the middle during what Bell calls the “mirror moment.”     Because when you start right in the middle, according to Bell, you can move forward and backwards.  Simple wisdom.

I finished his book and pulled out two manuscripts I started working on five years ago.   I had shelved these incredibly exciting stories because I had hit a wall and didn’t know where to take them.  The beginnings have transformed to the middles and I am happy.  Oh-so-happy and excited because I think I know how to build from the middle out.

And maybe… just maybe  I won’t have a cookie-sleep-depressive-I-can’t-write binge in a week or two!  If you are in the middle of writing your own book, or interested in learning to write – Write Your Novel from the Middle is a book you don’t want to pass up!

When Dinosaurs Came With Everything…

download (22)

When a young boy discovers that today dinosaurs come with everything, errands with his mom transform from dull to “best day ever.”  The illustrations are cute and the story is so much fun.  My boys continue to ask me to read it to them over and over and over again – which is awesome because I have fallen in love with the book too.

When Dinosaurs Came With Everything by Elise Broach is a book you are going to want to pick up and try for yourself.

And then maybe when you are done reading When Dinosaurs Came With Everything, you will need to line up all your own dinosaurs to teach them the rules of the house.  They won’t mind, it will just mean that they are part of the family too.

IMG_2986

 

**Homeschool Notes:  This book encouraged discussions about family rules – the younger boys modeling the rules to their dinosaurs.  Talked  about what it means to buy a “dozen” of something.  Emphasized the importance of everyone helping around the house.  Creative writing entailed what it would be like to have a pet dinosaur and what rules they would create.

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

I will say this a million times.

download (1)

Edenbrook by Julianne Donaldson is a fantastic book.  I laughed, I cried, and my heart pounded with anticipation.  The clean romance was cute, incredible, and oh-so-fun.  I read the book at least a dozen times, emphasizing my favorite parts, until my library use period had expired.  This book needs to find it’s way on my bookshelf.  Pronto.

When Donaldson’s newest book, Blackmoore hit the shelves, I requested my copy right away.

download

AND I AM SO GLAD THAT I DID!

When Kate learns that her budding friendship with her almost-suitor is unsupported by his family, she goes to great lengths to prove that she will never marry.  A trip to India becomes her sure ticket to escape when she learns that he has been bethroved to a lady of his mother’s choosing.  Kate’s mother gives her permission to pack her bags and flee to India – with one condition –  she must reject three proposals within a short period of time.  Once again, I found my heart pounding in excitement.  The characters are addictive.  I want more of their story.  And the romance?  It deserves a major A++.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

imagesWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin is an incredible story of a a young daughter named Minli and her quest to change her family’s fortune.  Traveling along the Fruitless Mountain, Minli comes in contact with dragons, goldfish, a buffalo boy, and a ruler of great city.

Minli’s quest magnifies the importance of her family. What appeared to be scarce and “not enough” became “plentiful and bountiful” the further she traveled away from her loving parents.  When the heart-breaking decision comes to for Minli to help her family or help a friend, Minli doesn’t have to think for too long.

Rich with imagination, heart, and love – this book is incredible.

And the pictures included in this book are inspiring to the imagination.

index

The boys and I enjoyed this book very much and the depth to the stories and fables has left an impact on my heart.  This journeys and adventures within the pages of this book would be an incredible gift to give to a loved one – adults included.

Homeschool Notes:

While reading this book we located various rivers on the globe, studied the phases of the moon with oreos, made our own dragon symmetry art with string, studied Henri Matisse, and made our own goldfish paintings.

The book stimulated a lot of discussions about what it means to “have enough” and the power of gratitude.  In the book, Minli comes in contact with a boy and girl that do not wish to change their fortune.  They are content and grateful with what they have and do not wish for more.  Creative writing assignments were completed with the idea of “what if I had everything I wanted?” and “what if I stopped looking for more?”

And finally, we began the family practice of listing what we are grateful for during dinner every night.

True Love and Barf-cicles

Each and every morning my three-year-old rushes into my room with one very important question:

“Can we make Popsicles today?”

And let’s be honest, popsicles in the middle of the winter are not my priority.  It is FREEZING outside.  I am freezing.  I want to take a shower and shave my legs and drink warm cinnamon milk.  Let’s not make Popsicles today.

I take a deep breath and try to plaster a happy-mommy-smile on my face.

Sure kiddo.  Go for it.  I’ll be in the shower.

While I lather, he dreams of frozen cream.  Sometimes he mixes water and chocolate chips in a cup with a spoon and shoves them into the back of the freezer.  Oranges and water were a big hit for a couple days.  Frozen apples didn’t go so well.  I like to think that I am fostering independence and creativity by refusing to assist in his Popsicle parade.  DID I MENTION THAT IT IS SNOWING OUTSIDE?

But hold the phone because he has invented what I like to call the “Barf-cicle.”

Looks yummy… right?

Crushed animal crackers soaked in water, frozen in a cup with a spoon.

When his newest creation had served it’s time in the freezer, my three-year-old instantly fell head over heels.  I’m not kidding.  He marched that Popsicle all around the house with pride echoing in each and every footstep.

I laughed.

And then I cried.  Because being a mom makes me cry about every little thing.

In the book The Alchemist, written by Paulo Coehlo, a man wakes in the middle of the night with his heart pounding.  While sleeping on a rock, his destiny had called to him in his dreams and told him of a treasure waiting for him. The man quickly packed up his belongings and left to begin his search.

The adventure of the quest takes the man across the world, teaches him new skills, and introduces him to amazing people that change his life.  In the end, the man discovers his treasure to be buried under the rock he had dreamt upon many years before.  His treasure had always been waiting for him – right at his beginning.

The adventures of the search taught the man wisdom.  Having combed the earth for his treasure, the man appreciates the wealth and security it provides – so much more.

When my legs are hairy and my kitchen messy, I dream of a treasure.  Sometimes my treasure involves glittery nail polish, silence, and a really good book.  Other times it is fresh air, time to write, and/or a girls night.  Date nights are always a treasure – no doubt about that.

But each and every time I leave to return home, the echoing of eight little legs running toward me with their arms outstretched fills my heart with joy.  Sometimes I need time away to remember that my treasure is right here.   Filling my freezer with barf-cicles and loving me more than I deserve.