Becoming Me

If I had to pick a favorite book for 2019, Becoming Me would be high on the list of nominees.

Becoming Me  The Imagination Series – Becoming Me book 1 – Staci Stallings…  Paige has a crush on Nelson, her sister Taylor’s best friend. Taylor and Nelson are both part of the band Rev 4 and they practice in her family’s basement. Which means Paige gets to see a whole lot of Nelson. It’s obvious he doesn’t even know she’s alive. Which is a good thing because she could never let anyone know she cared for him. Her sister is protective of the relationships in her world and would be enraged if she knew  Paige was attracted to him. There is a problem with secrets though… it’s stressful to keep them pushed down and buried. With no one to talk to, her journal notebook is her only outlet. Everyday she pours out her misery in deeply honest and haunting  poetry. She’d die if anyone ever discovered it.

I love Staci Stallings, for her ability to look deep inside a character and recognize what they are thinking or feeling in any given situation. It flows out of her fingers onto the paper in a way that the reader is able to see what she sees.

Many of us feel like we are never truly seen. Maybe seeing is a lost art, or maybe it’s an undiscovered art. It’s unusual to have someone look below the surface enough to notice our struggles in life, or to notice the things we care about. Several of the characters in this story share this experience. Those living closest to them, who should notice… don’t.

Staci not only notices but she weaves the story in such a way that emotions can be named and explanations given. I think, if we were of a mind, there is much about relationships to be learned through her books.

Since reading the first book in the series I’ve discovered there are five more. I’ve downloaded most of them. It will be awhile before I get to them though so I’m going to go ahead and list them here for your reading enjoyment.

The Tase of Tears  The Taste of Tears book 2

Little Drops of Sunshine Little Drops of Sunshine book 3

Broken Heart Strings  Broken Heart Strings book 4

Only Together  Only Together book 5

Hopelessly Devoted to YouHopelessly Devoted to You book 6


Happy Reading!


Lost in Hardyland

Lost in Hardyland is a cool book with an irreverent approach to family life.

Lost in Hardyland  Lost in Hardyland – Shannon Heuston

Brad Hardy, manager at Walmart, has commitment issues. With good looks and a magnetic personality women love, he has no shortage of willing partners. He is upfront about his casual intentions but they are all convinced they will be the one able to change his mind. Needless to say, he leaves a long string of broken hearts in his wake.

One did trick him into a wedding early on and soon left him a single father of two. He loves his kids but won’t be settling down again anytime soon.

He’s pretty sure there are no other offspring out there belonging to him, well, except for a daughter. One of his brief encounters resulted in an unintended pregnancy. She sidestepped the abortion he demanded and was willing to pay for. His life was crazy at that point and he was convinced he couldn’t take on the responsibility of another child. It turned out he was glad she refused. The minute he caught a glimpse of Zoey he was in love.

Zoey’s life has been turned upside down. Her mother died after a too brief bout with  cancer. Now she’s been sent to live with the father she barely knows. No one in her life has ever had anything good to say about him. On top of that, he’s cancelled her private tutor and mentor, the one bright spot in her life. Zoey is not your average teenager. She’s brilliant and her IQ adds an interesting dimension, and challenge, to family life.

It appears her dad is brighter than he wants anyone to believe. It seems he is trying to fly under the radar with his casual, not-that-bright persona, but she is not fooled. In fact she’s glad to have noticed… life is looking up.

I loved this book. Nothing is as it at first seems. This happens in real life more often than we realize, I think. On the surface the family lives a loose and carefree lifestyle with little ambition and few goals. Beneath the surface lives intent, commitment to family, and deliberate self control in areas that matter. There is also awareness and thoughtful consideration.

Sometimes an irreverent look at life is a good thing. It can help us identify what is really important after all.


And then there’s the list of other great books enjoyed.


Following Rain  Following Rain – Darrel Nelson


The Twelfth Hour Patriot Georgia Patriots Romance series – The Twelfth Hour Patriot – Jennifer Youngblood


Blind Justice  Blind Justice – James Scott Bell


The Caretaker's son  Secrets in Savannah – The Caretaker’s Son – Yvonne Lehman


The Cowboys  Smitten Historical Romance Collection – The Cowboys – Jennifer Uhlarik, Linda W. Yezak, Sandra Merville Hart, Cindy Ervin Huff

I hope you will join me in some Happy Reading!!


Boy in the Darkness

Historical fiction is fascinating,  giving us a peak into life from another era. Usually it’s a picture of life beyond our imagining, especially for those of us born in the last few decades.

There are a multitude of settler stories describing life on the wagon trail, before trains and roads. Stories showing the hardships of life from the perspective of many different nationalities. Boy in the Darkness is one of them. It takes a look at life on the trail from a new perspective. It is a heartbreaking tale I could see happening in real life.

Struggling artists have been discovered many years after they lived, achieving fame and recognition many centuries later. The same holds true for brave souls. Unnoticed acts of courage, hidden away for decades, maybe even centuries, somehow  uncovered and finally honored. The lives of those discovering these stories can’t help but be changed by the experience.

Boy in the Darkness  Boy in the Darkness – Anne Schroeder … A young indentured Chinese boy was injured and left behind by his wagon train. He failed to show up when it was time to move on and was considered expendable.

Running to find shelter from his abuser, he’d fallen into a deep hole with no way of getting out. His cries were eventually heard but… he had the eerie sound of a wounded  animal and his language was unknown to them. Viewed with superstition he was  believed to be an evil spirit, someone to be honored and feared but not rescued. Not everyone was afraid it seemed.  Food and water were thrown down to him occasionally, keeping his hope alive.

It took one hundred and fifty years for someone to discover and preserve the truth of his courage.

It’s difficult to read a story like this and walk away unaffected. It left an impact on my life., that’s for sure.

Cape Ann  Cape Ann – John Theo Jr. … Danger lurks above and below the water.

Return to Walhalla  Return to Walhalla – Laura Hodges Poole …

Down to Earth  Down to Earth – Patricia PacJac Carroll … A sweet feel good romance

What Happened to Lori Genesis – What Happened to Lori book 1 – JA Konrath … a thriller.  Is she dead? Or is it much worse? (Mind-Blowing Twist Thriller Duology)

Fields of the Fatherless  Fields of the Fatherless – Elaine Marie Cooper … a historical novel based on a true story

Happy summer reading!


The difference is in the details

A pleasant surprise…it’s not the same! You read the synopsis and think Again? How many times can they use the outline before it gets old? Granted, there are a flood of books on the market, regularly churned out using a formula with a proven sales record. Some authors and publishers do like to take the easy road.

It’s not uncommon for us, as readers, to make assumptions based on unfortunate experiences. We’ve all lived that a time or two – where the book we pick up sounds like a book we’ve just read. More than once I’ve gone to check (it’s a good thing I keep a list) and the author is different so it can’t be the same book. Sure sounds like it though.

I’m most aware of the same-old, same-old, thought running through my head when I’m looking at a synopsis as a reader, or when I’m trying to write one as a reviewer.

As a reader, I’m learning more and more writers and publishers are taking a chance on creating something outside the formula. The difference is in the details and that’s a reflection of life. Honesty and authenticity is appealing in any story. I’m convinced, curiosity about the lives of others will provide someone with an inexhaustible supply of unique story ideas. It shows in recently published books. There’s one in today’s list reinforcing this idea in my head. The first one – A Promise Forged. A refreshing and interesting read. I had no idea young girls had such opportunities back in the day.

I’ve noticed there are several story lines trending in Romance novels right now. There are others as well but these ones keep showing up in my news feed lately:

  • Inheritance, Bed and Breakfast, scarred by failed romantic experiences.
  • Running from abusive relationship, small town refuge, hero saves the day.

I’m learning to take a chance on books sounding like something I’ve just read; because stories can be like finger prints – no two are alike.

There truly is a difference. It’s in the details. So don’t be fooled by the synopsis. Live dangerously – take a chance. You may discover a treasure.

I like to liven things up a bit by switching genres. Now, that will get rid of the same-old, same-old feeling.

Here’s my latest offering of interesting books

A Promise Forged Buckeye Promises – A Promise Forged book 1 – Cara Putman


Who is Harrison Sawyer Who is Harrison Sawyer? – Aaron D. Gansky


gift of the magpie  Gift of the Magpie – Zoe M. McCarthy


The Red Door Inn  Prince Edward Island Dreams – The Red Door Inn book 1 – Liz Johnson


Seeking Mr Perfect  Secrets in Savannah – Seeking Mr Perfect book 3 – Yvonne Lehman


Dangerous LoveDangerous Love, Secrets of Rios Azules – Color of Danger, Taste of Danger, Touch of Danger – Alexa Verde


May your summer be fine and your days filled with plenty of time to read.

Happy Reading.