She stole his heart. He stole her peace. Can hope steal their pain?
At the age of eighteen, Lacey Carmichael was a wild girl bent on fun, promised to Jack O’Bryen, a straight-and-narrow pastor’s kid bent on the seminary. When her father kicks her out of the house, she runs away from Isle of Hope, turning her back on everything she loves. Now, eight years later, she’s back as a woman of faith, hoping to make amends to the father she defied, the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she denied. Only the bridges she’s burned are still smoldering, kindled by an adulterous affair by Jack’s pastor father that damaged his son’s faith. But can a turning of tables—and hearts—lead the way back to “hope” for them all?
My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Julie Lessman doesn’t disappoint in this redemption story with a twist.
Lacey was a wild girl who left town and her straight and narrow boyfriend, Jack. He was studying to be a preacher, and she knew she would hurt his career choice, his reputation, and his relationship with God. She was in need of redemption but wasn’t ready to turn to God.
Fast forward a few years, and Lacey returns home with a broken heart and a new relationship with God. She has have redemption and is ready to mend fences. Now it is Jack who needs to get right with God. Between his pastor father’s infidelity and Lacey’s betrayal, he wants nothing to do with God. He is now in need of redemption, but he won’t find it unless he can let go of his anger and extend forgiveness to the woman he’s always loved.
I love how Lessman’s romance novels are never predictable. Her novels are full of passion and faith. At one point, I gasped at a plot twist I didn’t see coming. I highly recommend this novel.
I remember the first “three star, bad” review I received. Devastation. Hurt. Disappointment. Bewilderment. Anger.
How could they?
Yet, someone had and did “hate” my book. I wanted to cry, to have my friends and fellow-authors sympathize with me, to share it with everyone how someone could hate my beloved, debut book.
The advice I got from my friends?
We all get those.
Three stars isn’t that bad
Get over it.
And, yes, they loved me. But I needed to grow up as an author. So, my advice to you today is, when you get a poor review:
Take a Step Back
Give yourself time to relax and distance yourself from your book and a bad review
If you can, work on a different manuscript, or at least, re-read your own book with fresh eyes.
Only then re-read the review
Once you’ve re-read the negative review, can you glean anything worthwhile from it?
Are there fixable errors, weak spots and/or possible things you neglected to include?
Can you see that the reviewer is honestly trying to give advice (even if a bit harshly or insensitively hurtful)?
If it’s obviously a “troll” review, forget about it and ignore.
That some reviewers don’t know the proper way to review
That some reviewers consider “three stars” as a high rating. I received one “three star” rating, which had me raising my brows, but the review was filled with praise for the book. I learned that the three stars meant it rated highly with the reviewer.
Just because the reader bought/received the wrong genre, that doesn’t make it a “bad” book, and reviewing it harshly for that reason is not the proper way to review. Personal preferences and wrong genres are not good reasons for poor reviews. Writing issues, weak research, and a lack of proper editing are.
That most, if not all, authors receive poor reviews. There are many reasons for them. Study, if you wish, the reason for yours and act accordingly. Meaning, ignore it and toughen up. If a person is planning to stay in the writing business, you’ll probably get more–many more–of those. Either quit reading them or put on your tough armor and get through it–unscathed!
Too many negative reviews raise a concern: Did I write a “bad” book? It never hurts to re-evaluate your book. As stated above, make sure the edits are crystal-fine, that your research is impeccably correct, plot lines in order, etc. Never undermine your work with sloppy writing.
Learn that when asking for an honest review, be sure the people you request from are interested in your mystery/suspense (romance, sci-fi, etc). If reviewers love your genre, you’re more apt to get favorable reviews.
When you find those individuals, ask for honest feedback. When you send arc copies, ask for a timeline and where and when the reader will be able to post reviews.
Look ahead to your next manuscript. Plot, edit and write. Keep learning as you go. Stay humble and willing to accept suggestions from readers. Find the best critique partners you can; ones that will do you the favor of being gentle, but honest, who loves your work, and is able to see the “holes” you might overlook. When you find that person(s), be sure to show thankfulness. They’re hard to come by!
Move past any useless negativity and use the constructive criticism to improve.
Never respond to negative reviews.
Never quit writing.
Have you ever received poor reviews? How did you respond? Were you able to move past the disappointment?
A sweeping epic set in the harsh deserts of Arabia and ancient Palestine.
A war that rages between kingdoms on the earth and in the heart.
The harrowing journey of the woman at the center of it all.
Step back in time to the year of our Lord…A.D. 30.
The outcast daughter of one of the most powerful Bedouin sheikhs in Arabia, Maviah is called on to protect the very people who rejected her. When their enemies launch a sudden attack with devastating consequences, Maviah escapes with the help of two of her father’s warriors–Saba who speaks more with is sword than his voice and Judah, a Jew who comes from a tribe that can read the stars. Their journey will be fraught with terrible danger. If they can survive the vast forbidding sands of a desert that is deadly to most, they will reach a brutal world subjugated by kings and emperors. There Maviah must secure an unlikely alliance with King Herod of the Jews.
But Maviah’s path leads her unexpectedly to another man. An enigmatic teacher who speaks of a way in this life which offers greater power than any kingdom. His name is Yeshua, and his words turn everything known on its head. Though following him may present even greater danger, his may be the only way for Maviah to save her people–and herself.
My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
This epic Biblical adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow Maviah, both slave and queen, as she tries to save her father’s kingdom. What makes it more interesting is she encounters the King of Kings who changes her life forever. I love Biblical fiction that focuses on a fictional character who skirts around the Biblical accounts. I highly recommend this book.
In sixth-century Ireland, books are rare treasures.
Aine, a young woman unwillingly pledged to marry, believes the book is a talisman with the power to change her circumstances. When she steals it from her betrothed’s clan, desperate to use it to help her mother’s impoverished people, events tumble out of control. She seeks help from Brigid, the woman who rescued her long ago, but doing so puts an entire monastery at risk as the king deploys his army to get the book back.
The formerly banished druid Ardan hopes the book can be traded for revenge, but a mysterious force curses him with a reoccurring mark in the shape of Brigid’s famous reed cross. Is it the power of a vengeful god or the command of the book that is causing his anguish?
While many seek to possess the book, it appears to choose who will hear its words. No one in Ireland will know the power of the words written on its pages if the book does not survive the battle.
My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
by Tamera Lynn Kraft
Pages of Ireland is the second book in Cindy Thomson’s Ireland Series. Set in the Middle Ages, she continues her tales of how Christianity took root in Ireland. This novel focuses upon Aine, the girl Brigid saved in the last novel Brigid of Ireland. Cindy weaves Ireland legend and folklore into stories about early saints and missionaries in a way no one else has. I enjoyed Pages of Ireland even more than her first book in the series. I highly recommend it.
In 5th-century pagan-dominated Ireland, Brigid is born a slave to her own father and is separated from her mother. Desperately seeking love and acceptance, Brigid becomes a believer in Christ. Knowing how the Irish people cling to superstitions and fears, can Brigid overcome them? Will her hatred for her father and a scheming evil sorcerer destroy her faith? Set in the era of St. Patrick, this fantasy-filled novel will captivate readers as Brigid must choose between God’s will and the desire to save her family.
My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
by Tamera Lynn Kraft
I admit I knew nothing about the legend of Saint Brigid of Ireland, so all of this was new to me. I found the story Cindy Thomson weaved about Brigid to be fascinating. In this novel, Brigid was a real girl with longings and temptations just as every other girl has had. She wasn’t some larger than life saint. She was ordinary. What made her extraordinary was that she surrendered her life to God and prayed every time she or someone else needed help. Because of this devotion to God, God used Brigid mightily perform many miracles through her, most to feed those who were hungry and destitute but some for protection. Brigid, in some ways, reminded me of George Mueller who prayed every time he needed food to feed the orphans he was caring for.
Another thing I loved about this novel was the sense of Irish folklore and the element of danger throughout the story. I couldn’t put it down because I need to find out what happened next. I recommend this novel.
I was given a free copy of Brigid of Ireland but was not required to give a favorable review.
Starring: Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, and Rodrigo Santoro
Review by Tamera Lynn Kraft
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
In the movie, Ben Hur, Judah Ben Hur is a Jewish prince who lives a life of privilege and trying to keep his countrymen from rebelling against Rome. He knows it will only end in bloodshed. His adopted brother, Messala, who never felt he belonged in Judea, goes off to prove himself as a Roman soldier. When Messala returns, he falsely accuses Ben Hur of sedition and has his family executed. Ben Hur is sent to die as a galley slave, but he doesn’t die. He returns to seek revenge on the man he once called a brother.
I am an old classic movie fan. The old Ben Hur (1959) starring Charleton Heston, is one of my favorite Biblical sagas. Because of this, I doubted I would like this Ben Hur as much. I was wrong. The new Ben Hur is so much better than the old one. Jack Huston has done the impossible by making me forget about Charlton Heston. He came on the screen larger than life with a believably that Heston didn’t even have.
The chariot race is awesome with all of the special effects, but that isn’t what drew me in. The screen writers and actors did a top notch job of creating characters that seemed real. Even Messala wasn’t pure evil but had motives that made his actions understandable even if they were reprehensible. The best part was how Jesus was portraying. He didn’t have harp music playing in the background and everyone awestruck every time he came on the scene. There were no glows or halos, and he didn’t have blond hair or striking blue eyes. He showed what Jesus must have been like to the every day people living in that time. He wove in and out of the life of Ben Hur in a way that made sense.
I can’t say enough good about this film that really is a Tale of Christ as was the subtitle of the earlier movie. This one is a must see.