Book Review: Living Lies by Natalie Walters

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lLiving Lies (Harbored Secrets)

 

When I read the blurb about Living Lies by Natalie Walters, I thought that this was the exact kind of book I like to read. And I wasn’t wrong about that! A good plot and believable characters make this book a joy to read.

The main character, Lane Kent, is not a cookie-cutter character. Instead, Walters created a believable character with more than her fair share of problems. She’s a widow with a young child. But if that’s not enough, she suffers from life-long depression. But if that’s not enough, she has overbearing parents. But if that’s not enough, she finds a dead body at the beginning of the story… and that’s when things take a dangerous turn.

As a writer of suspense as well, I really enjoyed the writing style of Natalie Walters. My own writing style is fast-paced and edgy, but Walters does a great job of “writing pretty” while still creating a sense of danger that keeps you reading one more page…and one more…and one more.

If you love suspense and romance, this story will not disappoint!

 

God Bless & Good Reading! 

 

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STOPPED COLD by Gail Pallotta

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GIVEAWAY ALERT! Read to the bottom to have a chance to win a review copy of STOPPED COLD or a Kindle copy of BARELY ABOVE WATER–winner’s choice. Barely Above Water is a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Award Winner! Now let’s find out a little more about Gail Pallotta and her new book, STOPPED COLD.

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta is a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s a former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, a 2013 Grace Awards finalist for an earlier edition of Stopped Cold and a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Book Award winner. She’s published six books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. To learn more about Gail and her books visit her website at www.http//gailpallotta.com.

Things aren’t what they seem in peaceful Mistville, North Carolina.

Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school swimming and hanging out with friends—until the day her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking steroids. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital.

Anger sets a fire for retribution inside her, and Margaret vows to make the criminals pay. Even the cop on the case can’t stop her from investigating. Looking for justice, she convinces two friends, Jimmy and Emily, to join her in a quest that takes them through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture they discover deep in the woods behind the school. Time and again they walk a treacherous path, and come face-to-face with danger.

All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

The high school in Stopped Cold, Meriwether Christian, has its own twitter page. Margaret would love to have you follow it at Meriwether Christian @ MeriwetherCS (https://twitter.com/MeriwetherCS/followers). What a fun idea!

 

The theme for Stopped Cold, you don’t have to be number one for God to love you, rattled around in my head for years. As a college student and later as a Mom I saw children, teens and young adults suffer heartache and sometimes, devastating results because they didn’t always excel. The results ranged from sadness over not winning a race, or making all As to suicide attempts and suicide in young adults. The more pain I witnessed, the more I wished these children, teens and young adults had believed they did not have to be the best, but do their best. Even though the drive seemed to originate from different sources – parents, siblings, peer pressure or within – I wanted to tell them that God had given each of them a gift or gifts to use for Him, and they didn’t need to be #1.

Over the years I’ve seen quite a few newspaper articles exploring this subject. In “A Young Athlete’s World of Pain and Where It Led,” published on June 22, 2016, in “The New York Times,” Tim Rohan tells the story of a young football player suffering from concussions. He didn’t mention it to anyone because he thought it wasn’t the manly thing to do. He ended up killing himself.

In today’s society the sports media lambasts us with their opinions of the best and worst players in a game. While accolades about the best and demeaning remarks about the worst may make good headlines, they’re anything but healthy for young people. They also fail to promote healthy competition, which is unfortunate because it’s a good thing. Healthy competition pushes us to do our best. We may achieve success beyond our goals, or not, but when the game or contest ends, we realize it was only a competition and doesn’t define our worth as a human being.

People compete in so many things, and it’s fun—everything from pie tasting, quilting and sports to writing contests, the list goes on and on, but neither the competition, nor the hoopla surrounding it, are the reason for our existence. The Westminster Catechism tells us our
chief end” is “to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

Thanks for visiting us, Gail. This sounds like a great book to read.

Stopped Cold is available at most online book stores including Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.

AMAZON LINK

BARNES & NOBLE LINK

 

GIVEAWAY ALERT! Thanks to Gail’s generosity, one  winner gets their choice of  a review copy of STOPPED COLD or a Kindle copy of BARELY ABOVE WATER. Barely Above Water is a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Award Winner! Now let’s find out a little more about Gail Pallotta and her new book, STOPPED COLD. To enter the giveaway leave a comment. Winner will be chosen June 10. 

 

 

 

 

A Writer’s Life–Part 4

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God created me to be a writer, really?

How presumptuous of me to believe that God actually created me to be a writer, right? In Part 3, I talked about two of my reasons that makes me believe God did indeed create me to be a writer. Both of those reasons were based on my childhood, but I have another reason to believe that I’ll share with you today.

You may or may not know that I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors in 2012. They were benign in the sense that they were non-cancerous but they were not benign in the sense that they were harmless. They have wreaked havoc on my life and my health in all sorts of ways! But that story’s for another day. Today, I want to talk about how my brain tumors answered the question on whether God really wants me to be a writer or not.

During some of my worst days of my brain tumor journey, I could barely function. Most of my days during that time were spent sitting in a chair or laying down without bothering to get dressed. I had extreme fatigue as well as not being able to concentrate–at all! I had “brain fog” or as I like to call it–wonky brain! But…for years it had been my practice to write everyday, if at all possible. So even though I felt horrible, I would climb up my steps–yes I said climb–because my balance was too bad to walk up them. I would sit down at my computer and then something amazing would happen. The brain fog would melt away and I could write. Sometimes it would only be for ten minutes but I was actually able to write coherently and add to my current manuscript. Then the brain fog would descend once again and I’d be done for the day.

And, in fact, most of my more than 20 novels have been written after my diagnosis of bilateral brain tumors.  I still have brain fog, memory issues, and fatigue–all things that affect my writing as well as my life. But God is so good and blesses me by allowing me to continue to write–something I love to do!

And that’s why I believe God really did create me to be a writer!

How about you? What do you think God created you to do?

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

A Writer’s Life–Part 3

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I didn’t choose to become a writer…

I didn’t choose to become a writer–I was born a writer, even though I didn’t write my first word in a novel until I was 40!  You heard me right–40 years old, practically over the hill. But still I believe I was born to write.  For two reasons.

The first is that I love books–always have and always will. The Orthodox Jews have a tradition that if they drop a book, they will pick it up and kiss it–in case the name of God is in that book. I have that same sort of reverence for most books. There may be a few that don’t deserve it, but I’m not here to talk about those.

Probably from kindergarten on, I love to read.  Nothing was more exciting to me than the weekly trip to the library except maybe when I was allowed to buy a book from the Scholastic Reader. Then it was serious business. It was so hard to choose, but eventually I would. When my family would go on fishing or camping trips, I could be found sitting on a rock or in the car and reading. Yes, I read under the covers, in the dark,  and in the car.

So my love of books is the first reason I believe I was born to become a writer but not the only one. Lots of people love books as much as I do and never become a writer. Though some of them probably would love to write, but don’t know it yet! Just like me.

The second reason is a bit stranger than the first. At least it might be for you, but it never seemed odd  to me. It was simply a part of me. I always created stories even as a young child. Barbie and Ken had quite the life not to mention The Potato Family. But my imagination didn’t stop with my toys that I acted out the stories with.  I called it daydreaming back then, but now I realize I was actually creating stories. My daydreaming didn’t stop as childhood ended and adulthood began.

I would daydream as I drove to work, when I was relaxing, or most any other time or place. Unfortunately, I was 40 before it occurred to me that my daydreams had a purpose. And that purpose was that they were the stories I should be writing down to create novels. My daydreams were the books I was supposed to write!

My first book took me almost a year to write. I didn’t tell anyone I was writing a book because it seemed absurd that little old me could ever become a “real writer.” During that year I got bit my the writing bug. I fell in love with not only creating a story that only I could write, but with writing it in the best possible way. So if you ask me how I became a writer, I would tell you God created me to be a writer.  I believe that all that reading and imagining were the first steps in me becoming a writer. I don’t think I chose to become a writer. Instead I was born a writer–it simply took me forty years to start putting my stories on paper or should I say on a computer!

I have a third reason but I’ll share that story in Part 4 of a Writer’s Life.

How about you? What were you born to do?

God Bless & Good Reading!

Review: Rise of the Mystics by Ted Dekker

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RISE OF THE MYSTICS is the second novel in Ted Dekker’s Beyond The Circle series, supposedly a two-book series but he does leave the door open for more stories in his note to his readers at the end of the story. I read the first book last year and he tells you that you should read the first story before reading this one. A very good idea. I think you’d be completely lost in the story if you haven’t read THE 49TH MYSTIC.

And this is actually my second time reading both books. These are definitely books that can be read and enjoyed more than once.

The stories feature a young girl (17) named Rachelle. Rachelle finds herself caught between two worlds–Earth and Other Earth. When she sleeps in one of the worlds, she awakes to find herself in the other world. Are they merely dreams or two different realities?

When Rachelle wakes up in Other Earth, she discovers she’s more than just a girl–she’s The 49th Mystic. Thus begins her spiritual journey that will cross over between both her worlds–Earth and Other Earth. Her actions in one world has consequences in both worlds. As with any spiritual journey it’s not an easy thing. She has enemies in both worlds who want her to fail. And they are willing to do anything to make sure she fails–even if they have to kill her.

If you’re looking for an exciting book to read without the spiritual message, that’s OK. These books are great reads, with or without the spiritual message. I definitely recommend both books, but just as Mr. Dekker said, read The 49th Mystic before Rise of the Mystics.

 

God Bless & Good Reading!

A Writer’s Life–Part 2

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Busy! Busy! Busy!

 

There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that a writer needs to do! That’s a true enough statement, but don’t get the wrong idea. I do not spend all of my day sitting in front of a computer, writing and doing other writerly-type things. I could but I choose not to. These days I usually work 2-3 hours–period! So that time needs to be used wisely.

So here’s a partial list of things I need to do on a regular basis:

Write NEW stories

Edit and polish stories that I want to submit

Edit and polish stories that I will indie-pub

Create covers for indie-pubbed stories

Create marketing plan for latest release or an upcoming release

Answer or send emails to other writers for a variety of reasons

Create posts to share on my blogs (Tiaras & Tennis Shoes and Devotions from Puzzle House)

Create posts to share on other people’s blogs

Write devotions for Devotions from Puzzle House as well as for other sites

Read books! Writers need to read books not just write them.

Social media to connect with other writers and readers

 

So there you have it! And I’m sure if I wanted to sit here and think, I’d come up with several more tasks to add to the list. As you can imagine, my favorite task is writing new stories and editing and polishing stories to be submitted or indie-pubbed. But the other tasks can’t be ignored either. So you see, I really could spend hours and hours at the computer but I don’t. First because my health won’t allow it, but even more important is the fact that spending time with family and friends is just as important!

God Bless & Good Reading!

 

 

REVIEW: The 49th Mystic by Ted Dekker

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The story feature a young girl (17) named Rachelle. Rachelle finds herself caught between two worlds–Earth and Other Earth. When she sleeps in one of the worlds, she awakes to find herself in the other world. Are they merely dreams or two different realities?

When Rachelle wakes up in Other Earth, (a place she’s never been before) she discovers she’s more than just a girl–she’s The 49th Mystic. Thus begins her spiritual journey that will cross over between both her worlds–Earth and Other Earth. Her actions in one world has consequences in both worlds. As with any spiritual journey it’s not an easy thing. She has enemies in both worlds who want her to fail. And they are willing to do anything to make sure she fails–even if they have to kill her.

This book is definitely what I call a modern-day parable. What’s a parable? An earthly story with a heavenly message. There are many spiritual truths that are demonstrated in this book. However, if you just want an exciting story that will keep you turning the pages, this book fits the bill for that as well. Dekker had done a wonderful job crafting a story that can be enjoyed by all. Whether you choose to embrace the spiritual message or only enjoy the earthly story, this book is definitely worth your time.

The 49th Mystic is on my short list to read again!