Book Review: Set Free

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“Mysterious gunmen, a note of warning, and Kyle James, a young hand on the TCR, has his past brought back to haunt him. Meanwhile, Stephen’s dislike of school, Mrs. O’Connor’s sick sister, and a man eager to own part of the Triple Creek, all combine to make life anything but dull for the Mavrich family and the members of the Triple Creek Ranch.” (from Amazon)

When Rebekah Morris asked me to test read the fifth book (Ky’s book) in this series, I jumped up and down and screamed. (By email.) After a paperback copy complete with gorgeous illustrations and a re-read this summer, here’s what I have to say…

The Setting: Set on a western ranch in autumn, this book had me feeling the busyness of the round-up and the frigid winds of coming winter.

The Characters: I always say I love the Mavrichs (because I always do!), and the ranch hands were awesome too. I loved seeing Stephen’s growth and Orlena’s acceptance of her role as an older sister. 😉 I especially loved Ky (because this is his book, right?), and the way the other ranch hands did their best to help him was pretty special. (And “Detective Bruce” is super cool! He needs his own series.)

The Story: Initially this installment feels unnecessary to the series but picks up quiet a bit towards the end and brings a satisfying conclusion to the storyline set up in Rustlers. (I’ll say no more.) My favorite parts were the beautiful Gospel presentation, the banter between Mavrich and Bruce, and the fire.

Parents of younger readers please note some intense action including a fire and children in possible danger. Common to the series there is sweet, married kissing throughout the book.

Altogether, I found this to be a fun read and a nice continuation of Ky’s story. 😉

Just for grins, here’s some banter between Mavrich and Bruce. Enjoy. 😉

“All right. We’ll leave at first light.”

“We?” Mavrich asked, confused.

“Dakota and me. You don’t think I’m walking all that way do you? Especially since the train doesn’t run out to Florence.”

With a chuckle, Mavrich shook his head. “I should have known. Well, I’ll see you all in the morning.”

If you found this review helpful, please consider voting for it on Amazon and Goodreads.

Author Moods

Inspirationquote-791953_960_720

“A book comes and says, ‘Write me.”
Madeleine L’Engle

“I never exactly made a book. It’s rather like taking dictation. I was given things to say. ”
C.S. Lewis

“I saw a street car conductor today with one brown eye and one blue. Wouldn’t he make a nice villain for a detective story?”
Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs

“Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else.”
C.S. Lewis

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Planningplan-707359_960_720

“I do not think that you can be changing the end of a song or a story like that, as though it were quite separate from the rest. I think the end of a story is part of it from the beginning.”

Rosemary Sutcliff

 

Beginning

“You say grace before meals. I say grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”
G.K. Chesterton

Scrawling

“Slartibartfast’s study was a total mess, like the results of an explosion in a public library.”
Douglas Adams

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Elation

“When the writing fit came on, she gave herself up to it with entire abandon, and led a blissful life, unconscious of want, care, or bad weather, while she sat safe and happy in an imaginary world, full of friends almost as real and dear to her as any in the flesh.”
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

“Isn’t it fun to work— or don’t you ever do it? It’s especially fun when your kind of work is the thing you’d rather do more than anything else in the world. I’ve been writing as fast as my pen would go every day this summer, and my only quarrel with life is that the days aren’t long enough to write all the beautiful and valuable and entertaining thoughts I’m thinking. I’ve finished the second draft of my book and am going to begin the third tomorrow morning at half-past seven. It’s the sweetest book you ever saw— it is, truly. I think of nothing else. I can barely wait in the morning to dress and eat before beginning; then I write and write and write till suddenly I’m so tired that I’m limp all over.”
Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs

Depression

“And I write novels!” chimed in the other cop. “Though I haven’t had any of them published yet, so I better warn you, I’m in a meeeean mood!”

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“Where do you think my new novel is? In the waste basket. I can see myself that it’s no good on earth, and when a loving author realizes this, what would be the judgment of a critical public?
Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs

Procrastination

“Like every book I never wrote, it is by far the best book I have ever written. It is only too probable that I shall never write it, so I will use it symbolically here; for it was a symbol of the same truth.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

“I came up with a pen and tablet hoping to write an immortal short story, but I’ve been having a dreadful time with my heroine— I CAN’T make her behave as I want her to behave; so I’ve abandoned her for the moment, and am writing to you.”
Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs

Perseverance

“If they won’t write the kind of books we like to read we shall have to write them ourselves.”
C.S. Lewis

“This new book is going to get itself finished— and published! You see if it doesn’t.”
Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs

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“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

“Omit needless words.”
William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style / How to Speak and Write Correctly – Special Edition

“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”
Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince & Other Stories

“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”
Mark Twain

Finished!

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

 

Do you have any favorite writing quotes (or moods) to add? Post them in the comments below!

Welcome to Ordinary

typewriter-1031024_1920Hello there! Welcome to my new author blog; I hope you stay a while. 😉

Since you’re new here (and, frankly, so am I), I thought we could get a few things set in stone to begin with.

House Rules:

  1. Enjoy
  2. Be courteous in the comments

Warnings:

  1. Beware of the dog
  2. This site is still under construction, so wear your hardhat and please forgive anything dorky you find.
  3. I’ve moved in, and unpacked all of the boxes which means there has been a bit of an info dump. Don’t be daunted by the homepage–you can find all of that content nicely filed on the pages. l will settle out into a happy schedule of new posts at some point. 😉
  4. You may recognize some things. “Hey, I saw that review on her personal blog!” My personal blog isn’t going away, but this will be my author/nerd central so naturally some of the content will overlap.

Confessions:

  1. Sometimes I talk too much
  2. I make up words
  3. I read a LOT
  4. I badger people with my projects

So, now that we’re all acquainted, let’s settle down to the ordinary, wordy lives God has given us. I look forward to getting to know you! 😉

Book Review: Through the Tunnel

5166zodgmel-_sx322_bo1204203200_“‘I hate being a foster kid!’ Fourteen-year-old Lissa had thought those words dozens, if not hundreds, of times over the last twelve years. She and her twin brother, Leigh, had been foster kids for as long as they could remember. Naturally shy, this life of bouncing around from one foster home to another, of changing schools mid-term, and of never having a real place they could call home had left Lissa with feelings of insecurity and doubt. Would they ever have a real home? Why didn’t anyone want them? Then one cold, winter afternoon, Lissa persuades her brother to make believe that a tunnel under a snow covered bridge is the entrance to a new world and a new life; together they walk through it, and it changes their lives forever.” (from Amazon)

I was super excited when I found out that Rebekah Morris had released another stand-alone book. After waiting a while until resources would permit it, I bought the book and read it in a day. ; )

The Setting:
Set in winter first at a vacation cabin and later at a country farmhouse, this book just pulls you into these places and makes you love them. Most of the story happens during Christmas, which is always a special treat. ; )

The Characters:
Leigh and Lissa were great! Close twins who had learned to depend on each for everything, they had you both loving and pitying them at the same time. The Holdens were awesome in every way! (Debbie definitely won if for the humor side, though.) ; )

The Story:
I loved the story. From the moment they entered their “new world”, I was hoping it would actually be; and the outcome delighted me. Lessons in trust and a beautiful parallel between adoption and God’s gift to use were woven nicely into the story. Some of my favorite parts included the twins going through the tunnel, decorating the house for Christmas, and Ben’s Christmas gift. (I’ll say no more…) ; )

The Concerns:
Parents may want to have caution considering this book for younger readers because of the foster children’s general mistrust of people and insecurities. Other mild concerns include slightly rebellious actions against foster family and mention of previous neglectful family who were the cause of young boy getting a little hurt. Also, the main characters do not know Christ (SPOILER ALERT! for most of the book), so the have some doubts and questions same families may not appreciate for younger readers.

Altogether–I loved it! And I think you will too. (Notice the “will”.)

If you found this review helpful, please consider voting for it on Amazon and Goodreads.

Book Review: Gift from the Storm

51rpmqidhsl-_sx322_bo1204203200_“One cold, dark evening a young stranger appears outside the Morgan home with two small children. Injured and on the verge of complete exhaustion, she will only say that her name is “Amy.” Where did she come from? Who is she? And what has she been through? Dr. Justin Morgan and his family look for answers as they struggle to minister life and health to the needy ones in their midst.” (from Amazon)

Since I love Rebekah Morris‘s writing style and saw this gorgeous cover, I decided to buy this book. I was not disappointed in the least. After reading through the book in a day or so, I immediately spent the same amount of time reading it to one of my sisters. It is that good. : )

The Setting:
I loved the cozy, mountain cabin setting through each of the seasons it was portrayed in. It was so accurate and descriptive that it reminded me very much of a place I’ve been to and loved before.

The Characters:
Amy was favorite character. Her struggles were realistic and captivating. The love of the Morgan family, Adam’s quiet speeches, Sarah’s enthusiasm, and Justin’s doctor-liness were all a delight. And Danny was a crack up!

The Story:
I enjoyed the plot twists and the well-crafted mystery so much! It would be a bit on the slow side for readers looking for a ton of action, but I found it amazing. Add to the story a powerful Gospel presentation and wonderful Spiritual lessons!

The Concerns:
Parents may want to use caution in choosing this book for younger reader’s because Amy’s story is a sad/scary (but not immoral) one. There is some question if she is the children’s unmarried mother, but the thought is dispelled early in the story.

Altogether, I found this book to be an intriguing, godly mystery that is now added to my list of favorites!

If you found this review helpful, please consider voting for it on Amazon and Goodreads.

Book Review: Brothers and Betrayal

51hfydtojbl-_sx306_bo1204203200_“A boy, running for his life
A princess, trying to save her people
And an archer who seeks to defend the defenseless

Bryon, after witnessing his brother’s murder, takes his sisters and flees into the woods to a mysterious figure known as The Archer who lives there. But though he finds temporary safety, bitterness threatens his heart.

Brianna only wants to help the people of Taelis, but her father, the king, seems bent on making life hard for all of them. She works tirelessly to save the kingdom from war, while secretly helping The Archer.

Join the adventure in… Brothers and Betrayal” (from Amazon)

After enjoying the first book in the Tales of Taelis by Sarah Holman, I was super excited when I won an advance digital copy in a giveaway.

The Setting:
I’ve always loved the medieval time period, but especially tales of brave people surviving off the land and hiding in the dense forests. Very fascinating and awesome setting.

The Storyline:
The story was very interesting and exciting as it included all the things I love about the tale of Robin Hood but left out all the questionable ones. Disguises, tricks, daring escapes, etc. Oh marvelous! I also loved the subtle ties between this book and the first one. The spiritual lessons were amazing as the characters learned the Gospel and forgiveness.

The Characters:
I loved the Archer! He was confident enough to be an inspiring leader and caring enough to be a great friend to the men he led. Brianna and Bryon were great characters as well, and Nathaniel was cool.

The Concerns:
Parents may want to use caution in considering this book for younger readers because of some ungraphic stabbings (one by an evil stepmother), arrow shots, and mention of a peasant’s house being fired. Also, Brianna must work around her father (a foolish king) to save the kingdom; and Bryon and his sisters are in danger from their evil stepmother while Bryon also mistrusts his father.

Altogether, I found this to be a very nice book and (for anyone who loves Robin Hood minus the thievery!!!) a must read!

If you found this review helpful, please consider voting for it on Amazon and Goodreads.

Book Review: Adventures and Adversities

51kctovbt9l-_sx310_bo1204203200_“One day Alditha is content living with her family, the next she is taking her friend’s place to serve at the king’s castle. Her father’s final instructions, to keep smiling and to do what is right, will be harder to live out than she ever imagined. She will face a royal nephew who delights in making people miserable, an angry servant girl who will stop at nothing to get what she wants, and noblemen who plot murder. Will she be able to keep the promise she made to her father? Will she find the faith she longs for during all her Adventures and Adversities?” (from Amazon)

I picked up this book by Sarah Holman at the OCEANetwork Homeschool Convention’s Homeschooled Authors table. The cover wasn’t the most appealing or highest quality I had ever seen, but I had heard great things about this book and I decided it to try it. IT WAS AWESOME!

The Setting:
This story was set in the fictional medieval kingdom of Taelis. After a time of upheaval in their government, serfs are being sent to serve the new king by building his castle. I found it really interesting how the author managed to give her fictional kingdom a feel of authenticity. Reading it one almost feels as if this were really history. (Characters did come in contact with actual historical things such as the Vikings and Gaul.) Mentions of clothing and customs seemed historically accurate enough to me. : )

The Storyline:
The storyline was so amazing! There were some loose ends, but I’m convinced that those are set up for the next book. (Hooray!) All the way through the characters had to learn to be grateful, to trust God, and to have faith. It was such a cool story–a real page-turner at some points!

The Characters:
The characters were delightfully real. The reader either extremely hates the characters or loves them to pieces! I, of course, like Alditha. She was such a sweet character, but not too perfect either! The lessons she had to learn really spoke to me as I read about them. The Captain was such a complicated, conflicted, and loyal character! I found him very real and very intriguing. Alditha’s friends (to name a few–Marian, Eleanor, Luke, Guy, Gregory, and so on) made a great “supporting cast”. Two other characters that I really enjoyed were the honorable stable boy William and the insightful hermit/priest.

The Concerns:
Parents should have caution in considering this book for younger readers because of some mild romance (all friendship based with marriage in view and the utmost purity) and medieval torture. SPOILER ALERT–the penalty for stealing is the loss of a right hand which almost happens to one of the characters. (Everything turns out fine, but it is really tense for a while there.) Also, political usurpers talk about murdering the royal children in their beds which also doesn’t end up happening.

I found this book so fabulous! The romance was sweet, the characters and setting were very real feeling, the lessons were wonderful, and the story was compelling! Not to be missed!

If you found this review helpful, please consider voting for it on Amazon and Goodreads.

Book Review: Unbroken

51mmm2bm4hzl-_sx321_bo1204203200_“Difficulties arise at Triple Creek Ranch when Orlena, Norman Mavrich’s spoiled, pampered younger sister comes to live with her brother and his wife. The move is much against Orlena’s wishes, and she doesn’t hesitate to let everyone know it. Time and again Mr. and Mrs. Mavrich are driven to their knees to find strength to face another day. Join the young ranch boss, Norman Mavrich, his sweet wife, Jenelle, and the rest of the members of Triple Creek Ranch as they strive to be examples of Christ to the unbroken newcomer.” (from Amazon)

This is the other book I picked up at the OCEANetwork Homeschool Convention’s Homeschooled Authors table. I do judge books by their covers, and this book by Rebekah Morris owned a well-done and quite appealing one. I was also really excited by the rumor that this was a non-violent western (which are so hard to find!); so I decided to bring it home with me, and I haven’t regretted my decision one bit!

The Setting:
This story was set on a ranch in the Midwest. I loved all the mentions of the cattle and the beautiful horses, and its description of ranch life seemed both realistic and interesting to me. : ) The illustrations are just fabulous and really bring to life the world of cowboys and prairies.

The Storyline:
The storyline was really great! I loved watching the journey of the Mavrichs and of their younger sister as well. The plot is cleverly twisted throughout the book, and one would have never guessed how the climax was being set up with an encounter extremely early on in the story! Lessons in controlling a temper and loving difficult people, as well as a clear Gospel presentation, were integrated into the book.

The Characters:
The characters were delightful, at least the ones that were supposed to be. : ) I very much enjoyed Mr. and Mrs. Mavrich, and their relationship was a beautiful reminder of how wonderful marriage can be under Christ’s headship. Mrs. Mavrich was sooo sweet, and Mr. Mavrich was awesome in his own way! : ) I also enjoyed Mrs. O’Conner and their cast and (more importantly) crew of considerate ranch hands including Hardrich, St. John, and Hearter. Orlena was definitely not the protagonist, but she was very real and at some points one could almost understand (definitely not agree with) her.

The Concerns:
Parents should have caution in considering this book for younger readers because of some things that Orlena says in her arguments with her brother. Also, although the marriage relationship between two of the main characters is very sweet and godly, some parents may not want younger readers to read this yet because there is a lot of kissing throughout the book. : )

I found this book so fabulous! The marriage relationship was sweet, the characters and setting felt very real, the lessons were wonderful, and the story was one of loving difficult people and leaning on God! A must read. : )

If you found this review helpful, please consider voting for it on Amazon and Goodreads.

Book Review: Home at Last

516mxfmq0il-_sx321_bo1204203200_“Orlena Mavrich little dreamed what winter on Triple Creek Ranch would be like. Her awakened conscience and inability to “be good” are not the only cause for tears. Will the long winter days ahead bring only trouble and quick tempers? Join Mr. and Mrs. Mavrich, Mrs. O’Connor and the ranch hands as they face winter’s storms within and without, relying on the Lord’s help to bring some wanderers home at last.” (from Amazon)

This is the second book in the Triple Creek Ranch series by Rebekah Morris, and it is just as wonderful (or even better) than the first! The cover is, once again, very beautiful and accurately portrays the tone of the book.

The Setting:
This story was set on a ranch in the Midwest during winter which added an extra danger and excitement to ranch life. It was great to be able to learn more about the setting of the series, and their little town featured more into the story this time. The illustrations are just fabulous and really bring to life the world of cowboys and prairies.

The Storyline:
The storyline was really great! I loved “watching” the continued journey of Orlena and those around her. The plot was very interesting (and even set up some more for the next book!!!), and I loved how it mirrors the struggle going on in the Orlena’s life at the time. Lessons in controlling a temper, loving difficult people, and leaning on Christ for help, as well as a clear Gospel presentation, were integrated into the book. And it was so awesome that Christmas got to be in the story!!!

The Characters:
The characters were delightful, (though there almost were too many ranch hands to keep track of). As always, I very much enjoyed Mr. and Mrs. Mavrich, and their relationship was a beautiful reminder of how wonderful marriage can be under Christ’s headship. Once again, Mrs. Mavrich was sooo sweet, and Mr. Mavrich was awesome in his own way! : ) Their friends, ranch hands, and housekeeper Mrs. O’Conner (as well as a few new people added) made up the rich group of side characters. Orlena has definitely improved since the last book, but she still has lots to learn. (I love the way that turns out!)

The Concerns:
Parents should have caution in considering this book for younger readers because of some things that Orlena says in her arguments with her older brother. Also, although the marriage relationship between two of the main characters is very sweet and godly, some parents may not want younger readers to read this yet because there is a lot of married kissing throughout the book. : ) Also, a small scene takes place with a drunkard in the town, and there are small mentions of drinking and gambling throughout the book (but the character comes around!).

I was very excited to read this book! It tells the continuing story of the transformation Christ can bring to our lives and added to that it is a really good story! I can’t wait to read the next book that just came out!

If you found this review helpful, please consider voting for it on Amazon and Goodreads.