Lost and Found, Words

Ginny L. Yttrup digs deep when searching for stories. Reading what she comes up with is an emotional experience, resonating to one’s very heart. There are two books, one I read last year and one just now. I want to tell you about them both. They were so good.

The second story was inspired by the autobiography of Madame Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717).  Her book is still popular and still in print. I’ve downloaded a copy and it’s in my TBR stack.


Yttrup book read last year –  Words. It’s about a young girl who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, speak due to trauma at the hands of her caregiver. The two of them, child and caregiver/captor, are living isolated deep inside a forest. An unexpected hiker catches a glimpse of a little  person hiding in a hollowed out tree. It’s Kaylee’s secret room, a safe place to briefly  escape her abuser and the disturbing reminders of her everyday life with him.

Sierra is standing still, deep in thought. She needs time alone, surrounded by a vast forest, to wrestle with her own situation. A sudden moment of awareness and she is startled to realize she is looking into the eyes of a wary child, one who is  suddenly running for her life.

The desperate circumstances suggested by a fragile appearance filter through and  this grieving mother’s heart is captured. Now she’s desperate to find a way to connect with this terrified little girl.

It’s a beautiful story of compassion and rescue. A favorite at the time of reading.


Lost and Found  Lost and Found – Ginny Yttrup

This time the Yttrup book read is Lost and Found, a story with trauma of a different sort.

Her mother’s best friend Brigitte has taken Jenna under her wing. As a young teen she lost her mother to cancer and in his devastation her father is grateful to have  Brigitte  assume motherly duties for his daughter.

As CEO of a lucrative empire, Brigitte has a brilliant plan. She will groom Jenna to be  wife of her son and heir, Gerard. He is considerably older but the marriage will  result in an advantageous merger between family businesses. A merger Brigitte is determined  to have no matter what the cost.

Jenna is fooled into thinking Brigitte has her best interests at heart and has learned over the years to be compliant with all demands. Even the ones she hates. Required to live in the same house, under her mother-in-law’s rule, is the hardest to swallow now that they are married.

Brigitte rules with an iron fist and is pleased business plans are on track with her long term goal. What she doesn’t realize is: Jenna, in her unhappiness, is waking up to the abuse and is beginning to fight back.

Andee Bell, an ambitious young woman pursuing fortune and fame, has landed a relationship with Jenna’s brother and she is taking advantage of new opportunities. Her motto is: do what’s best for business. Best for business is rarely best for relationships. She is beginning to feel guilty about some of her decisions and she needs to. Some of them are about to backfire in a big way.

Each character is making decisions based on hopes and dreams. They have no idea what is about to be unleashed on all of them as a result.

The thing I like best about this story – it is presented in many layers with new revelations in each one. The characters are complex and well developed. Deep issues are raised throughout and faced head on, with bullying as the biggest one.

This was a #1 favorite for me.











Stealthy Steps

This sci-fi, Stealthy Steps, was  my favorite read this time. It was well written, believable, and it took me on a wild ride. Judging by the lengthy list of references at the end, the idea of nanophysics is not just a figment of someone’s imagination. That’s cool. This book was intriguing  and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Stealthy Steps  Nanostealth Series – Stealthy Steps book 1 – Vikki Kestell …. Gemma Keyes is unremarkable. With a degree in business and little-to-no knowledge of science she find herself employed in a high level nanophysics research center and she’s not sure how or why it happened. The lab is housed in an abandoned military weapons storage facility built into the side of a mountain, with unobtrusive escape tunnels and multiple security fences. Her duties are to care for the administrative needs of two researchers – physicists who seem to hate each other.

The project is top secret and of great interest to a hard nosed, two star general who happens to be an elegant but shark-like woman. It’s no secret she has a hidden agenda for her presence in their offices and what she has in mind will not be good for their country.

Tension is high in the lab this morning and Gemma finds herself in a life threatening situation with Dr. Bickle. Feverishly working to pack up his invention and run, he’s convinced the General is about to swoop in and take possession of his work. He will do anything to keep his nanobots from  falling into the wrong hands.

Time is up, the army can be heard running toward his lab. Desperate to hide them, he smashes the glass wall of the cage and commands the released cloud of nanobots to hide. Expecting the enemy to burst through the door with guns blazing, he orders Gemma to run. “Hide, Gemma run” he yells.

Soldiers and guns are everywhere, Dr Bickle said run but he didn’t seem to be behind her. The bots fled their cage but she didn’t see if they managed to hide in time.

When Gemma becomes aware of her surroundings, she has no idea how she managed to  escape the facility. She’s found her car and on the way home, distressed to think the doctor perished in the gunfire. She can’t imagine how he could have survived.

Heart-sick over Dr. Bickle, she glances in her rear view mirror… and…

Her face is not there.


A Reluctant Melody Reluctant Melody – Sandra Ardoin … Joanna is anxious to sell her rundown property after the death of her husband. Partly for lack of upkeep funds, partly to escape vicious rumors. There are some who think she was responsible for her husband’s death. Joanna’s willingness to sell disappeared when she discovered the prospective buyer is a mistake from her past. How did he know where she was, or did he know?

Be Mine  Be Mine – Rick Mofina … Molly has been waiting at Jake’s Bar & Grill for over an hour. It’s not like Cliff to be late without calling. Something is really wrong.

A shocking  murder scene greets her as she checks out his apartment. Shock made worse by the message left for her… written in blood.

The homicide department is up in arms at the senseless execution of  one of their own. It looks like Molly is a target but she’s determined to do her part in tracking down the killer, hoping her fellow crime reporters will help.

She’s unaware of the strange flowers that show up in her office on the heels of another killing.

A tense psychological thriller.

Conclusive Evidence  Conclusive Evidence – Al Macy … Garrett Goodlove used to be an arrogant defense lawyer and he’s lost the stomach for it. Family Law is easier to live with. His twin sister, Carly, finds herself in need of a good defence lawyer and insists she wants him. He’s worried he’s lost his edge and won’t be able to give her the defence needed. He may be right.

The police detective  assigned to the case has a grudge against Carly and will do whatever it takes, legal or not, to make sure she is convicted in the death of her husband.

Murder Mezzo Forte A Preston Barclay Mystery – Murder Mezzo Forte book 2 – Donn Taylor … Two professors stop by a colleagues office, as requested, and discover she has been murdered. This time they have witnesses to prove they aren’t the killers. Unlike their first involvement in discovering a body.

They’re determined to find the killer and someone is nervous. False evidence pointing fingers at them is showing up in their offices, the police are delighted. The uptight university administration is nervous. To protect the school’s reputation from perceived harm, the decision is made quickly to relieve them of duty.  Proof of guilt is unimportant. At least they haven’t been outright fired and they sill have their campus privileges. On the bright side – they have more time and freedom to figure this out.

The Lazarus File  The Lazarus File – Donne E. Taylor … Undercover Agents are dying and they don’t know how it’s happening. Even off-the-books, deeply embedded agents no one is supposed to know about are having their covers blown. The challenge is; to stay alive – and uncover the person behind these killings. Everything points to insider information but how is that possible with only a handful of trusted  knowledgeable people?  It’s time to involve an outside agency as handlers, keeping inside information to a minimum. It looks like they are trusting a double agent but who.

Secrets and Wishes Secrets and Wishes – Kathleen Rouser …. Maggie, and Thomas, each widowed, struggle to do their best as single parents. Maggie goes to great lengths to avoid Thomas. It’s hard to see her husband replaced by the new pharmacist in the store he loved.

The choice to make a change is taken out of her hands. Their sons have gotten into a school yard tussle and the situation must be addressed. Her son needs to face the father of his opponent and apologize. The surprise of the whole encounter is how quickly the boys figure out they want to be friends.

Still reluctant to have contact with this man, Maggie is horrified when the local doctor requests she nurse the deathly ill pharmacist. She’s the only one equipped for the task and the doctor won’t take no for an answer.

It turns out, Thomas isn’t the only one needing her. His family is in desperate need of parental attention while he is out of commission. The downside to all of this…. his children are learning to love her.

I hope you are feeling inspired, maybe even enough to read some of these books.

Happy Reading!

The Second Yes

Another great Romance collection from this group of writers. These prolific ladies have a talent for fresh, complex, and innovative story ideas. I’ve read a number of Crossroads collections and have yet to be disappointed.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next one.

The Second Yes   The Second Yes – Five Wedding Dress Romances (Crossroads Collection) – Verde, Havig, Bridgeman, Terry, Tru

Season of Surprises – Alexa Verde … The maid of honour and the best man have a painful past for a high school romance that didn’t end well. Sierra is shocked to discover they are part of the same wedding party and will be expected to work together to accomplish a long list of tasks.  When the vintage wedding dress disappears from the shop where it’s been sent for alterations, a road trip becomes an unexpected, and unwelcome, task on the list. The bride will be devastated if they don’t find it. They love her too much to let that happen.

Something Borrowed, Something Blue – Chautona Havig … Wedding preparations are distressing for the bride. With the passive aggressive control of the groom’s family over all decisions, her arrangements and choices have been replaced with theirs. He agreed to pre-marital counselling but found excuses to miss every session.  Instead, he made secret appointments to see his pastor, alone. Her pastor is distressed the way the wedding of her dreams is being derailed. It seems so unfair but it isn’t his place to do anything about it… or is it.

Black Belt, White Dress – Hallee Bridgeman … Traci has successfully been avoiding her flamboyant, artistic, mother for years. They are complete opposites. Tomboy versus girlie-girl. When Travis proposes, desperate to avoid the pink and fluffy wedding her mother has been planning since her birth, she tries to talk him into eloping. Travis is caught in the middle because he loves her mother too and can see both sides. When life takes an unexpected turn, Tracie feels the need to rethink her position on the fairy-tale wedding. But, can she follow through on that decision.

Sewn Together – Alana Terry … Woong tells the story from his ten year old perspective and he does a good job. His adoptive parents want to renew their vows on their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Their plans are stalled by a family dispute over the altering of an heirloom wedding dress. His little friend’s mother is having a baby that is not expected to live. His life is impacted by this because they spend a lot of time at his house and he wants to help. His mother and aunt haven’t spoken in years because the family didn’t approve of her marriage. He doesn’t understand this and wants to see them make up. He secretly sends a letter hoping to influence the aunt to agree to the alterations and maybe come to the ceremony too.

The Second Yes – Amanda Tru … A successful designer to the movie stars of New York, London moves home because her heart wants to embrace the slower life of a small town. Most of her business is online but she still needs a space for her office and workroom. Leasing part of a bridal salon seems like a good idea until she discovers her landlady is working against her. London has attachments to all of the brides in the previous four books, in one way or another, but they are not the only sticky situations making her life interesting and difficult.

This collection was time well spent and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Happy reading!


Beauty in Hiding

Reviews. Everyone one wants them. Writers, editors, publishers, and book sellers, to name a few. I totally get why they ask and why reviews are so important to them. Unfortunately, I view the requests with frustration. I have no confidence in my ability to deliver what they are looking for.

I am selective in my reading choices, There is a strict criteria, laid out in my head, for the books that make it into this blog. It encompasses things like writing ability, originality, character development, editing. I like tight writing, puns and dry humor, lack of frustrating characters, and stories free of agendas. And, topping the list – emotional experience.

The story has to take me along for the ride. All of the stories I like do this. to a certain degree. I have to take variables into account and relax my position, though. Not every book deserves an A+ but can still be worth the read, and the mention.

Having said all this, it would seem I should be able to offer an opinion. The criteria helps me decide whether it’s worth reading to the end and then it helps me decide if I want, or should, add it to the recommended list. Using a mental checklist doesn’t really give me  enough solid thoughts to write a review.

At the end of a great book I’m left with feelings rather than concrete thoughts. I savor the feelings and bask in them for a while but I’ve never tried to put them into words. I think it would be like turning steam into ice. I’m not sure I could. And I’m not convinced I want to.

My daughter says having to critique a book would take the joy out of reading. I can relate to that thought.

For now, anyway, I hope the decision process involved in listing my favorite picks will count for something with the folks looking for reviews

Does anyone else share this guilty feeling? … for reading books knowing it won’t end with a review? I feel like this is a struggle unique to me. It would be nice to be proven wrong.


Beauty in Hiding Beauty in Flight series – Beauty in Hiding book 2 – Robin Patchen ….. Harper has an undeserved prison record which limits her options and she’s desperate with a sudden need to go into hiding. It appears Red, her Alzheimer patient, is being poisoned and she suspects his grandson is behind it.  Money and security are major hurdles in this flight. Red is wealthy but she has no way to safely access any of his money, not with his grandson in charge of finances. The first priority is finding a place to hide, she will have to figure everything else out after that.

Finding a believable reason for their presence in a new community is challenging with Red’s memory issues. Jack, her new landlord, isn’t buying her story. He can tell they are running scared from something but she is not sharing. Reluctantly, he decides to find ways to help them until he can figure out if that something is a threat to his little town.

the mystery at Underwood house  An Angela Marchmont Mystery – The Mystery at Underwood House book 2 – Clara Benson

March's luck Larry Macklin Mysteries – March’s Luck book 5 – A.E. Howe

Love's Redemption Walden Beach Series – Love’s Redemption book 3 – Andrea Boyd

The Mockingbird Drive An Alex Vane Media Thriller – The Mockingbird Drive book 3 – A.C. Fuller


Hearthland volume 1  The Hearth Land Volume One – Chautona Havig


Crazy Love  Crazy Love – Francis Chan


I’m hoping some of you will chime in on my review dilemma. Does anyone else ever feel reluctant about reviews or do you love giving them?