Wednesday, September 20, 2017

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS...Rachel Hauck

   
 
Image result for the writing desk rachel hauck reviews
 
 

Title: The Writing Desk
Author: Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Zondervan
Ages: Young Adult, Adult



Synopsis: 
 
Tenley Roth's first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she's locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer's block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart's been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she'll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn't know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.
 

Why You Should Consider It:


When is an old writing desk not a desk anymore?

When it becomes a bridge, helping to connect the lives of two women living in vastly different worlds set in a time one hundred years apart from each other.

Birdie Shehorn is born during the Gilded Age in New York, where young ladies are expected to bow to their mother’s wishes and marry some titled aristocracy from across the ocean in order to secure their place in high society. Too bad if Birdie has other dreams of how her life should be…like writing romance novels.

Tenley Knickerbocker, on the other hand, is very much a modern woman, riding high on the success of her first blockbuster novel. But Tenley’s life isn’t all smooth sailing either. Pressure from her publisher to produce her next best seller is causing writer’s block. Pressure from her boyfriend to go away with him to Paris at a time when her life feels like it is unraveling. Pressure from her estranged mother to go to Florida to help her through chemotherapy.

But maybe the very essence of life isn’t very different no matter whether you live in 1900 New York or modern day Florida. We all want to be able to choose who we will one day fall in love with, determine the paths our own lives will take, and  feel in control of our own destinies.

Author Rachel Hauck does a superb job of taking us deep into the lives to two seemingly different women and weaving a tale of how one desk helps connect them to their deepest desires no matter their individual circumstances or even the ocean of time standing between them.

A nice addition to any home library!




Like-O-Meter Rating:  5 out of 5...grab it!


**Rating scale**

 
 5 out of 5...grab it!
 4 out of 5...think about it.
 3 out of 5...take it or leave it.
 2 out of 5...maybe not for you.
 1 out of 5...forget about it!

Image result for book look blogger


(Disclaimer:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”) 

Monday, September 18, 2017

A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY...





To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:

MISTAKEN IDENTITY


I grew up surrounded by animals. Just about everything that crawled, swam, or walked, found it's way into my childhood at one point or another.
 
When I was about 12 years old, one of my pets was a chihuahua mix dog we had had for many years named Penny. She was a sweet, tolerant animal...but then again, she had to be with four children always vying for her attention.

As she grew older, she tolerated the peskiness of a pure bred chihuahua named Chi Chi we added to our family, and even my poor attempts to teach that old dog some new tricks. Penny always tried to please me and would eagerly run to me whenever I called her name.

But one day, my poor dog developed a case of MISTAKEN IDENTITY that brings a smile to my face whenever I think of it.

Back in 1974, Elton John released a single titled "Benny and the Jets" (https://youtu.be/p5rQHoaQpTw). If you've never heard of it, it was a weird, catchy tune, but then all of his songs were great to dance to when you're a kid. I would take my transistor radio outside in the back yard to hang out with Penny and every time that song started playing, I would crank up the volume as high as it would go and wait for the chorus.

My poor dog would hear Elton John and think he was calling HER, instead of Benny, and she would take off running for the radio...barking at it every time she heard "Benny"...as if to say "I'm here! I'm here! Can't you see me?" 

I'm pretty sure poor Penny was glad when that song fell off the charts and wasn't played any more.

We writers sometimes deal with MISTAKEN IDENTITIES as well. 

Sometimes our main characters aren't really the main character at all and it takes a good critique to shine the light on who is really driving our stories.

Sometimes we send out submissions and classify our story as a new age when it's really a steampunk...or a middle grade when it's better classified as a young adult.

And sometimes we even classify ourselves as a failure just because we haven't been published yet. We think we have a MISTAKEN IDENTITY by daring to call ourselves writers on those days when our negative thoughts cause us to doubt our own abilities to weave a story.

But we need to be more like my dog, Penny, and at least SHOW UP every time those ideas call out to us. We need to hang out with them for a while and see if, just maybe, it wasn't a case of MISTAKEN IDENTITY at all, but more of a new way to see ourselves...even one day to be able to call ourselves by our new identities as published authors!








Children's book author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books. She is also a book reviewer for Harper Collins, and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, time at the beach, and good stories.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Weathering The Storm...





***After a pretty severe sprain to my right wrist that sidelined my writing for several frustrating months, I'm happy to report I'm back to my writing and I hope you enjoy the next installment of my TODAY'S WORD series.***
 
To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:
 
HURRICANE
 
I thought it appropriate to return to my blog this week with a story about my own battle of dealing with a HURRICANE while victims of Harvey and Irma weather their own storms.
 
Growing up so close to the Gulf of Mexico made it almost a sure thing I would see a hurricane or two roar through my hometown. It seemed like every fall I would never actually get to go to the first day of school because we were always under a hurricane watch.

Sometimes, we would just get a little rain, but on September 16th, 1971, Hurricane Edith bore down on my hometown of Gueydan and only my mother stood between me and the storm.

My father, an off shore cook, wasn't always around when hurricanes came to town. My mother would hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Filling up the bathtub with water to drink, buying extra kerosene for the lanterns in case the power went out, and storing up enough canned food to feed an army.

Mother never showed fear, even when the wind howled and the roof threatened to tear away from our house. She was the rock in the proverbial storm. I never felt afraid even when Edith caused a water surge of up to 8 feet in some areas, and I watched the wind spin trash cans like frisbees before crashing them into houses across the street from our home.
 
Writing a good story can be a bit like riding out a great storm.  Ideas sometimes swirl around  in our brain and characters crash into each other as plot lines rain down on us. We wade through the debris of false starts, and ride out the storm to a shaky ending. 
 
But sometimes everything becomes a perfect story storm surging out of us to touch the lives of others...



Ocean, Wave, Sea, Water, Tide, Tidal







Children's book author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books. She is also a book reviewer for Harper Collins, and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, good stories, and an adoptive mom to 20-pound guard kitty in Knoxville, Tennesse

Monday, June 26, 2017

LIFE INTERRUPTED...







For those of you who have wondered where my blog posts have disappeared to over the past two weeks, now you know.

LIFE INTERRUPTED

At the beginning of this month I was holding a board for one of my Taekwondo students so they could practice their testing board break. Before I knew it, something snapped in my hand and now I have to wear this brace to prevent pain and further damage.

So, for now, I have to take a forced hiatus from my blog...probably until the fall, because it takes way too long to hunt and peck each post as well as way too much pain running through my hand for my efforts.

I'm sorry for the delay but promise to return to my words of the week when I come back in the fall...hopefully with a healed hand...and maybe even a tan...



Monday, June 12, 2017

COVERING ALL THE BASES

 
 
 
To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:
 
BASES
 
I wouldn't consider myself the world's best athlete growing up. I was incredibly shy and self-conscious about my appearance, so when I was forced to pick a sport to "master" during high school as part of my PE grade, I decided on soft ball. 
 
I didn't have the jump to play basketball, my sister cornered the gymnastics arena, and my brother was the boss of the football field. Surprisingly enough, I found that I was fairly adept at my chosen sport and ended up playing both short-stop or second BASE. I wasn't superstar material by any means, but I always managed to cover the BASES any time I stepped out on the playing field. Whether catching fly balls, stopping grounders, or even taking my turn at bat, I focused on multi tasking to get the job done.
 
Juggling an active writing career is very similar to covering second BASE. There are even times when juggling things like revisions, queries, contests, research, and other writing commitments cut into actual writing time and we find ourselves wondering how we are going to be able to cover all our writerly BASES. 
 
I don't have all the answers, but as I go into this busy, busy summer season, I plan on keeping a few things in mind:
 
1. MAKE A WRITING PLAN & FOLLOW IT DAILY
 
I might only get to write for 15 minutes some days but I will focus all my energy during those 15 minutes on my latest project.

2. DO MY RESEARCH & NARROW MY AGENT LIST
 
Some of my queries need to be followed up on while other submissions need to be sent out.
 
3. TAKE A MENTAL HEALTH DAY OCCASIONALLY
 
It's hard for me sometimes to take time just for me but past experience has shown me I need ME time in order to be able to put my best effort into my writing.
 
Before you know it, summer will be gone and the kids will be back in school. The sounds of the crowd and the smell of popcorn will fade from the BASEball field, but at least I will have something to show for covering all my writerly BASES.
 
What about you? How do you plan to manage your busy summer and still get your writing in?
 
 




Children's book author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books. She is also a book reviewer for Harper Collins, and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, good stories, and an adoptive mom to 20-pound guard kitty in Knoxville, Tennesse

     



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS

 
 
 
 
 
Title: NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible
Publisher: Zondervan
Ages: 9-12



Synopsis: 
 
The NIV Kid's Visual Study Bible brings the bible to life with full-color illustrated splendor. Featuring over 700 illustrations, color photos, engaging maps and important facts located near the relevant verse.
 

Why You Should Consider It:


From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the latest publication of the bible, people are always interested in having a better understanding of the lives of key people and events during biblical times.

The latest in available versions is the NIV Kids Visual Study Bible.  Older children will find easy access to an array of reference materials all in one easy book, including explanations of terminology or events, beautiful photographs, and detailed maps.

All of this, along with easy to understand verse gives readers a strong foundation to grow in their faith. A great addition to any home library!



Like-O-Meter Rating: 4 out of 5...think about it.


**Rating scale**

 
 5 out of 5...grab it!
 4 out of 5...think about it.
 3 out of 5...take it or leave it.
 2 out of 5...maybe not for you.
 1 out of 5...forget about it!

Image result for book look blogger


(Disclaimer:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”) 

Monday, June 5, 2017

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT...





  


To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:

INCOGNITO 

Up until about the 5th or 6th grade, girls weren't allowed to wear pants in my school. The dress code allowed skirts just above knee level (although a lot of girls...myself included...would roll up the waist band a time or two to shorten the length of those skirts to a more "acceptable" level for pre-teens girls attempting to catch the eye of pre-teen boys.

One year I began the school year only to discover the school board changed the rules and  girls were now allowed to wear pants in school. Everyone quickly went out to purchase a hefty supply of cool looking blue jeans.

Everyone, that is, except me.

Coming from a poor family and being the youngest of four children, the chances of a snowball in Hades was greater than my being able to avoid going to school in hand me downs. But a girl's gotta have a dream and I dreamed of a bright blue pair of jeans so I could dress INCOGNITO to hopefully blend in with the "in" crowd at school.

I still remember that Christmas and how excited my mother was for me to open one particular present. At first I thought all my youthful dreams had come true when I uncovered a beautiful pair of blue jeans in just my size. I was thrilled. That is, until I took it out of the box and discovered it was trimmed at the bottom with about three inches of a tacky plaid cuff. My mother was waiting to see my reaction and for a moment I couldn't speak.

I KNEW if I wore those pants to school I would be mocked and ridiculed for not only being poor, but now I would be considered a dork as well. But one look at my mother's face and I also KNEW it had taken her time and precious money she didn't have in order to, for once, give me a chance to wear brand new, store bought clothes.

What else could I do but thank her and wear the jeans?

Sadly, my peers were just as unforgiving as I expected and whenever I was forced to wear those jeans I wanted to become INCOGNITO for an entirely different reason...

Writers sometimes hide inside their main characters in order to see the world through their eyes...to better understand what they might be going through as they deal with their own struggles. Writers may want to wave to the world from inside their story, but experienced authors realize to stay hidden is to stay objective to the potential twists and turns of every situation the main character encounters.

Readers should never have even a hint the author is living INCOGNITO, somewhere within the pages of their manuscript. The audience doesn't necessarily want to be influenced by the writer's persona, but rather, wants the freedom to slip on that cloak of being INCOGNITO right along with the main character and hopefully experience the adventure of a lifetime.

And who are we to say they shouldn't do just that?






Children's book author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books. She is also a book reviewer for Harper Collins, and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, good stories, and an adoptive mom to 20-pound guard kitty in Knoxville, Tennesse