Review of Unfailing Love by Julie Lessman

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Unfailing Love

Isle of Hope Series Book 1

by Julie Lessman

About the Book:

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.

So They Hate Your Book?

by Carole BrownDislike hate deny free

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

Evaluate

  • 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.

Understanddislike child free

  • 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! 

Move on

  • 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 underminReviewer feedback writing freee 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!

Remember

  • 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? 

Happy Writing!

Book Review of 30 AD

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

30 AD

by Ted Dekker

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.

The Adventures of Chipper!

by Carole Brown

chipper-learns-a-lesson-copy-copy

 

If you’re old enough, you’ve read/seen about Dennis the Menace. Nowadays there’s all kinds of books with characters that entertain.

But have you read about CHIPPER?

He’s a fairly new “KID” on the block, and the eight books (so far) in this series are filled with tons of adventures for kids. There are quiet lessons for children to identify with and learn from too: 

book-two_centered-1

 

 

  • the results of childish rebellions,
  • facing up to bullies,
  • knowing when to say no to taunts and dares,
  • being brave when you’re scared,  
  • being loyal and helpful to your friends
  • and even a mystery!

Discussion questions and scripture verses for parents and children to enjoy are in the back of the book. 

Check out Dan Brown’s The Adventures of Chipper Books here: Amazon

Oh, yeah, on Thursday (this week) enjoy the interview with Dan Brown and find out why he’s writing these charming books...

Happy Reading!

Review of Pages of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Cindy PagesIreland_frontonly300Pages of Ireland

Book #2, Daughter of Ireland

by Cindy Thomson

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.

web1My 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.

Review of Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

brigidBrigid of Ireland

by Cindy Thomson

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.

I Recommend . . . Three Books!

I recently had the privilege of recommending several books for various authors. Here’s a few I’m recommending:

Wicked Disregard by Barbara Ann Derksen

About the book:

Pedophiles and prostitutes, the last thing Christine Smith envisioned when she embarkedCD front of book copy on a career to find missing children. Will she end her work as an investigator and run the company left to her by her dead Father?
 
Now she’s been shot! How does her growing relationship with God change her outlook on life? Christine and Jeremy follow the clues in this, the third book in the Finders Keepers mystery series. In Wicked Disregard, they unravel a ring of vicious pedophiles while Christine continues to search for the identity of the man who ordered the death of her parents.
Buy her book here:

 

Barbara writes intense suspense and will keep you on your toes (figuratively speaking!) Just my type of reading, and I’d love to encourage you to give her books a chance! Here’s my review:

My Review:

Wicked Disregard by Barbara A. Derksen

You like drama? Intense? Real life issues addressed in your novels? Then you’re going to love Wicked Disregard. Be prepared to adjust to the many characters and be sure to read the previous books. You won’t regret it and reading them will place you firmly in this novel.

Derksen has the talent to draw a reader into her books by creating characters that are real and human, meaning they face problems and situations the same as ordinary people. You won’t be able to ignore the serious issues Christine and Jeremy face, and in dealing with them, you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat and turning the pages as quickly as you can.

A childhood victim of crime, Christine must delve deep behind the clues to find the perpetrators of this case of child kidnapping, and the problem is she’s looking in places that she shouldn’t have to: law offices and police stations. She can’t let it go. With the help of her friend, Jeremy, she’s determined to close the case and handle her own personal problems too.

Of course, a thread of romance between the two main characters lighten the tenseness in the book, and the ray of God’s inspirational help gives hope to the hopeless and help to those who call on him.

It’s not a book for the timid, for those who insist on hiding their head in the sand of life. But those who do read it will find their eyes opened to this tragedy for children. It will give hearts the encouragement needed to lift in prayer similar real issues of the same situations.

Recommended highly!

Buy her book here:
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SECOND CHANCES by Cleo Lampos

About the Book:

Zoey Pappas grew up in a one-stoplight town. Now she’s landed her dream job as the fifth gradeSecond Chances teacher at the urban Diamond Projects School, but can she handle it?

  • Her family laid odds that she won’t. Zoey knows her cows, but she’s never dealt with students from drug-infested, crime-ridden communities.
  • Her Greek family wants her to work in the family restaurant and earn her M.R.S. degree. Zoey wants to prove herself, but she has met a muscled Irish cop who has been assigned to work with her as the Drug Awareness officer. He’s too efficient, to cocky, and too… handsome.

Ever since Officer Gavien Corrigan pulled Zoey’s car over on her first day of school for driving on a one way street in a neighborhood known for violence, he’s been captivated by her. Thoughts of the new teacher crowd in with the family responsibilities that overshadow his life. His bullet proof vest is lighter than the secret blame he carries on his shoulders. He believes that God is in control of lives, but sometimes wonders if God has forgotten him.

As the two are thrust together in the concrete jungle where everyone needs second chances, will Zoey and Gavin find their own second chances…together?

Zoey learns of unconditional love as she becomes friends with Carole Milner and her husband who is wheelchair bound with multiple sclerosis. As she watches the couple cope with MS, Zoey desires to fall in love like them. Multiple sclerosis does not define their relationship, love does.

A deaf student is mainstreamed into Zoey’s class, so she enters the world of the deaf and hard of hearing. It moves Zoey to deeper compassion for the parents and foster parents in her classroom.

Anyone who has been a teacher, or loves children will enjoy this romance that brings the country girl into the urban scene. A fresh look at chaplains working in jail ministry, drug rehab and foster care are included in this novel set in the inner city. The influence of Greek immigrant ideas are also explored.

Will Zoey make it in the big city?

Buy her book here:

Amazon

 

What a mixup of wonderful (in a manner of speaking) topics to explore in this book! Draws a reader right in.

MY REVIEW:

Second Chances by Cleo Lampas

You want something above the normal reading? Something unique and interesting to boot that will entertain and yet jerk you upright with its attention-grabbing chapters? Then pick up a copy of Second Chances.

From the first page, Cleo hooked me. With no glamour in the telling, dealing with a wide-spread problem in the states, this book will make even the toughest readers sit up and take notice.

Predictions of dire happenings from her hometown friends and family ring in her mind, as a young, inexperienced, naiveté teacher, lost in the middle of drug streets of a big city is stopped by a policeman, Gavin Corrigan, who seems to find her dilemma amusing. Unprepared for what greets her on her first day of teaching in one of inner-city Chicago’s poorer schools, Zoey’s expectations of her students reactions, her dreamy ideas of how to approach these world-weary young kids are soon only torn strips of what she’d hoped for her first day.

But Zoey’s yearning heart to help her students overcome their home life and personal struggles is inspiring as she reaches out to those in need around her. Her work with the deaf students is touching and a vital part of the novel. Her caring heart is revealed when she helps a fellow-teacher whose husband has MS.

One of the most heart-rending plots in the story is Gavin’s heartache at his brother’s drug addiction. Many times a hopeless, never-ending situation, it leaves the loved one filled with worry, sadness and a weary hope for the addicted.

And, yes, there is romance and hope and trust in God. Touches that bring a ray of sunshine into a story that deals with pertinent and deep topics. Truly a novel that needs to be read. Well done, Cleo Lampos!

Buy her book here:

Amazon

 

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Roots of Irish Wisdom by Cindy Thomson
About the Book:Irish Wisdom
This collection of classic Irish wisdom—in the form of stories, prayers, and proverbs—reveals the Creator in the natural world and highlights the importance of the Celtic spiritual heritage. Along with historical background on St. Patrick, St. Brigid, St. Columcille, and the Twelve Apostles of Erin, Cindy Thomson leads the reader on an enriching journey through Celtic learning and prayer.
Buy the book here:
I was particularly attracted to reading this nonfiction book for two reasons.
  • The first because I’ve always wanted to see Ireland with my own eyes. I loved their beautiful country, the people’s strength and their history.
  • The second reason was because of Cindy Thomson. She’s a sweet, talented friend whom I admire tremendously!

 

My Review:
Roots of Irish Wisdom by Cindy Thomson
Fascinating read. If you love history, and specifically Irish history, you’ll love this book. Thomson does a great job of telling the story details of past Irish saints, of the readiness of Ireland for learning about Christ, and providing pictures to whet your interest. Ireland’s always been a drawing to me, a place of strong wills and strong passions, and this detailed book is just the thing! I heartily recommend it if you’re serious about digging a bit deeper into the ancient history of the land. My honest opinion is given here by no coercion or expectancy by said author.
Buy the book here:
So there you have it.
Three fascinating books to whet your appetite
and encourage you to read this month of June! 
Enjoy!