The Pages of Her Life by James L. Rubart


The Pages of her Life

By James L. Rubart

Genre: Fiction

Release Date:

Thomas Nelson



New from the award–winning author of The Five Times I Met Myself.

How Do You Stand Up for Yourself When It Means Losing Everything?

Allison Moore is making it. Barely. The Seattle architecture firm she started with her best friend is struggling, but at least they’re free from the games played by the corporate world. She’s gotten over her divorce. And while her dad’s recent passing is tough, their relationship had never been easy.

Then the bomb drops. Her dad was living a secret life and left her mom in massive debt.

As Allison scrambles to help her mom find a way out, she’s given a journal, anonymously, during a visit to her favorite coffee shop. The pressure to rescue her mom mounts, and Allison pours her fears and heartache into the journal.

But then the unexplainable happens. The words in the journal, her words, begin to disappear. And new ones fill the empty spaces—words that force her to look at everything she knows about herself in a new light.

Ignoring those words could cost her everything . . . but so could embracing them.


My Review:

The Pages of Her Life is an engaging story with relatable, down-to-earth characters. The mysterious journal and Allison’s struggles really drew me in. I’m more of a fantasy kind of gal, but this one was book was good enough that I stuck with it till the end. Every character had a unique voice, which I enjoyed greatly, and spoke in ways that made them seem just as real as you or me. There were also many surprising twists and turns that gave the story life.

Every page held a question that could only be answered by ourselves. The message of this book is one well needed. That sometimes, we need to stand up for our beliefs, and ourselves no matter the cost.

I rate it: 4 1/2 stars



James L. Rubart is the bestselling, Christy Carol, RT Book Reviews, and INSPY award-winning author of nine novels. A professional marketer and speaker, James and his wife have two grown sons and live in the Pacific Northwest.

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Facebook: JamesLRubart

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The Moment We Fell by Kelli Warner Blog Tour


The Moment We Fell

By Kelli Warner

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Release Date: June 25th 2019

Wave Runner Publishing



Nothing good happens when people keep secrets.

Paige Bryant’s dreams of becoming a professional ballerina died along with her mother. Downing in grief and plagued by guilt, Paige is blindsided by a provision in her mother’s will that sends her to live with the father she never knew. Forced to start over in a new town and at a new school where she’s now the principal’s daughter, Paige is convinced that her life can’t possible get any more complicated—until fate throws her into the path of the only boy her guardian tells her is off-limits.

Despite two years on the straight and narrow, Cade Matthews can’t escape time as a juvenal delinquent. With his dad behind bars, Cade’s feelings of anger and betrayal are as relentless as the rumors he’s trying to outrun. The only person not listening to the gossip is the new girl with her own set of troubles, including a father that will never give Cade a fair shake.

As Paige tries to adjust to her new life and an uncertain future, a set of unopened journals reveals a dark family secret. When tensions rise to a boiling point, can Paige and Cade make peace with the past before it destroys them?

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My Review:

Kelli Warner writes with a voice that instantly pulled me into the story. Paige and Cade are both such relatable characters, with a mountain of problems we all have to face at some point in our lives. The Moment We Fell is an engaging story with well-executed plot twists and details that surprise the reader.

For me, the chemistry between Cade and Paige was a little rushed, like the author wanted them to fall in love as quickly as possible. So it took me a while to really believe in their bond. But once I did, I wanted to see them stay together, despite everything that happens.

The ending was explosive and wild, and really drew me in. All of the secrets, all the lies that were passed between Paige and her father made for a gripping end as everything comes out into the open.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Moment We Fell, especially how relatable and real the characters were.

I rate it: 4 stars


Kelli Warner writes humorous and relatable young adult and contemporary romance novels, the kind of stories that get your insides so wound up in an ooey gooey mess that you forget the un-fun stuff in life. She’s passionate for a good cup of coffee (even a bad one on a desperate day), enjoying time with friends and family, and spending lazy Saturday mornings watching the Food Network. Kelli and her husband live in Oregon with their two teenaged children and an outstanding border collie named Lucy.






Giveaway: Will go live on Monday, June 17 at (Winner announced 6/30)

Giveaway prize package includes:

  • $50 Amazon gift card
  • Wooden sign that reads: Coffee: because adulting is hard
  • Coffee mug
  • Decorative candle

Blog Tour Organized By:

YA Bound Book Tours


Six Tips To Bring Your Writing To The Next Level





Throughout my over ten years of being an avid reader, there are many mistakes that have cropped up in published books that have made me cringe, both as a reader and as a writer. A lot of self-published, as well as traditionally published books contain these cringe-worthy mistakes and make a perfectly good story lose a star in quality.

Today, I am going to show you those mistakes through an example piece I’ve written up in hopes that it helps you better your own writing.

Let’s take our writing to a new level by following these ten tips.

The girl walked across the street, her long fingers tucking her blonde strands behind her ear as she kept an eye on the traffic. She glanced at her watch, then down the street as she hurried her steps. Anxiety gripped her heart. Already she was late.
In her haste to reach the opposite sidewalk, the girl bumped into another pedestrian. The man looked at her with a furious scowl.
“Sorry,” she said hastily. Then she looked at the man again. “Richard?”
The man now looked confused. “Sarah? Is that you?”
Sarah nodded, her blue eyes sparkling.

Alright now, let’s pick apart this seemingly innocent paragraph and bring the discrepincies to light!



One thing I see done most often in books, especially self published ones is, the author tends to take the reader out of the character’s point of view whenever they describe movement. For example: ‘My fingers brushed across the cover.’ ‘Her eyes swept across the horizon.‘His hands clenched into fists.’

Sound familiar? This is on my list of no-noes because, honestly, every time I read a sentence like that, all I can imagine is the appendage moving by itself. Which in and of itself is a disturbing image. Not only that but it takes you out of the character’s head. After all, we don’t think, ‘my hand reached for the cup’, because that’s an illogical thought. Your hand can’t move by itself. Instead, you would think, ‘I reached for the cup.’

Now do you see the problem in our little story above? ‘…her long fingers tucking her blonde strands behind her ear.‘ Here, the girl’s limbs are moving on their own. Let’s rewrite this.

The girl walked across the street, tucking her blonde strands behind her ear as she kept an eye on the traffic.

See? Much better.

Speaking of being outside of the character’s POV…



This one I don’t see too often, but often enough. A lot of beginner writers like to write their opening scenes like the one above. This is all well and good… if you have a someone else watching the girl crossing the street. Because you’re outside of her head. We don’t go around calling ourselves ‘the girl’ or ‘the boy’ or even ‘the man’ or ‘the woman’. Not unless we a) didn’t know our own name, or b) had some sort of mental disorder. But because our protagonist has neither of those problems, we should probably give her a name. So let’s rewrite that first sentence and give her a name, shall we?

Sarah walked across the street, tucking her blonde strands behind her ear as she kept an eye on the traffic.

Now that sounds much much better. Keeping your reader inside your character’s head not only allows them to empathise better, it also makes them feel like they ARE the character.

Which then leads to…



This one is overlooked a lot, but really bothers me. Just today I read a sentence in a book that went something along the lines of ‘My pale green eyes sparkled.’ That is very much a cringe-worthy line. Because we are not only outside of the character’s head, the character is also describing herself to herself. I think she knows what she looks like. She doesn’t need to tell herself what color her eyes are, or that her eyes are sparkling!

Something similar happens in our own story. Let me point them out to you:

…tucked her blonde hair behind her ear.’

‘Sarah nodded, her blue eyes sparkling.’

I think people don’t really think about this one much when writing in third person because, after all, ‘he said, she said’ isn’t very personal. Only you want to make it personal, so that we’re not floating through the story as a nameless, bodiless conciousness, and are actually there as the protagonist (or the antagonist or the supporting character…).

So how do we fix this one? Easy. Don’t describe what she looks like, unless she briefly sees her reflection or another character is describing her. The ‘blonde hair’ sentence isn’t that bad, but let’s try to make it more personal.

‘Sarah walked across the street, tucking her dishwater blonde hair behind her ear as she kept an eye on the traffic. She wrinkled her nose, once again reminded of the ugly color. If only she had the money to dye it.’

Now we’ve given her a reason to be thinking about the color of her hair. This isn’t 100% necessary when it comes to hair that’s long enough for the protagonist to see, but it certainly adds a bit more to get you inside their head.

The next sentence is worse.

‘Sarah nodded, her blue eyes sparkling.’

The latter half of this sentence we can throw out altogether. Sarah isn’t thinking about how her eyes are blue or that they’re sparkling. She’s thinking about the man that she recognizes. That she is excited to see. So let’s put a new sentence in its place.

‘Sarah nodded, grinning so wide her cheeks ached.’

There. Mission accomplished.



‘Anxiety gripped her heart.’

‘The man looked at her with a furious scowl.’

Okay, let’s dive into emotion. The first seentence is bad. The second one is okay. Let me explain.

In the first sentence, we are telling Sarah’s emotion. Anxiety. And telling is never good.

On the other hand, the second sentence is about someone outside Sarah’s head. The man is furious. This she can see in a glance. Since she’s not the man, we don’t necesarrily have to describe his emotion, but it does help if we describe body language to better paint a picture. Now let’s rewrite his sentence.

‘Annoyance shone in the man’s green eyes. His thick black brows drew together in a scowl.’

Ta da! We suddenly have a better picture of the man. We have suddenly turned an okay sentence into two great ones.

Now let’s fix Sarah’s sentence. We want to show her emotion instead of tell it.

‘Her heart sped up a notch and she bit back a groan.’

We can now feel Sarah’s emotion instead of just reading it. We are also more inside her head. Doesn’t that sound a whole tons better?



‘In her haste to reach the opposite sidewalk, the girl bumped into another pedestrian.’

This whole sentence is telling. And, it’s just plain lazy. We are not only thrown outside Sarah’s head, we’re told what’s happened. When someone picks up a book, they want to experience the protagonist’s entire journey. They don’t want it summerized. They want to live it.

Here’s how we can fix this sentence. Break it up and add some description.

‘Sarah hurried her steps, her heels clacking across the pavement, sending jolts of pain up her shins. She grimaced. One of these days, she would work somewhere other than an office where she could wear sneakers all day. She stepped up onto the opposite sidewalk and looked back as a car whipped by. Her heart skipped a beat. That person could have–

Something heavy slammed into her. Sarah stumbled and looked up. A man the size of a football player stood before her.’

In just two paragraphs, we’ve brought Sarah’s world to life. The description is just enough to show just how much she’s not paying attention to what’s around her, without taking us outside her head.



One thing K. M. Weiland on her blog Helping Authors Becom Writers speaks out against is ‘-ly’ verbs. One or two scattered throughout the story won’t harm anything, but throwing them all over the place makes for a messy story. Finding other ways to describe the action will make the story sound much, much better. The sneaky little ‘-ly’ I used?

“Sorry,” I said hastily.’

In the paragraph before this, we already used the word haste, so not only is this an ‘-ly’ verb, it sticks out from being used twice. Which means we have to ditch it. Repetative words are also a no-no. They sound awkward when read out loud, and make the reader do a double take. Keeping the story alive and fresh with different words can make the story sound much more professional. Words like ‘and’, ‘as’, and ‘but’ are invisible repedetive words, meaning their harder to see. But trying to replace at least one or two with a different word can freshen up the storyline.

Now let’s fix the above sentence.

“I’m sorry, I–” I began.

In five words, we have shown that our protegonist is speaking hastily and is apologetic. Not only that, but the sight of the man makes her stop, bringing attention to this stranger that she’s bumped into.

Now, let’s put it all together and see what we have.

‘Sarah walked across the street, tucking her dishwater blonde hair behind her ear as she kept an eye on the traffic. She wrinkled her nose, once again reminded of the ugly color. If only she had the money to dye it.

She glanced at her watch, then down the street as she hurried her steps. Her heart sped up a notch and she bit back a groan. Already she was late.

Sarah hurried her steps, her heels clacking across the pavement, sending jolts of pain up her shins. She grimaced. One of these days, she would work somewhere other than an office where she could wear sneakers all day. She stepped up onto the opposite sidewalk and looked back as a car whipped by. Her heart skipped a beat. That person could have–

Something heavy slammed into her. Sarah stumbled and looked up. A man the size of a football player stood before her.Annoyance shown in the man’s green eyes. His thick black brows drew together in a scowl.

“I’m sorry, I–” she began. Blinking, she looked at the man again. “Richard?”
Confusion clouded his eyes and his scowl deepened. “Sarah? Is that you?”
‘Sarah nodded, grinning so wide her cheeks ached.’

And there we have it. We have turned a mediocre story beginning into  a good one.


It’s always good to keep these five simple tips in your writer toolbox when scratching out a first draft so that you don’t have so much to fix later. Bringing your writing to life, and keeping your reader inside your character’s head will bring your writing up to a whole new level and make your writing sound much more professional.

Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse Blog Tour

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Flight of the Raven
(The Ravenwood Saga #2)
By Morgan L. Busse
Christian Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 352 Pages
April 30th 2019 by Bethany House Publishers

Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile. On the run and free of her family’s destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking. But first she must adapt to her new life as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill.

While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow. As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself.

With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: embrace the Dark Lady’s offer, or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking. One path offers power, the other offers freedom. But time is running out, and soon her choice will be made for her.

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My Review

NOTE: If you haven’t read Mark of the Raven yet, this review may contain spoilers!

Flight of the Raven, by Morgan L. Busse, is unlike any other book I have read, yet still contains threads of familiarity.
The only way I can think of to describe Morgan L. Busse’s writing style is thoughtful and contemplative. It is quiet, with an underlying hum of power. It’s very much different than the explosive styles of many other authors I have read, which makes her Ravenwood Saga even more unique. And let’s not forget the jaw-dropping plot twist at the end of Mark of the Raven, which set up the entire plot of this book.
The relationship that Damien has with the Light is impressive and inspiring. His faith was strong enough to make Selene want it, even if he didn’t know it himself. I found that the way Busse wrote this was in a very mature and thoughtful way. None of the characters were seriously immature, which was a breath of fresh air, especially for YA fiction.
And speaking of relationships, I was somewhat  dissapointed that Selene and Amara were unable to patch up their relationship and grow closer to one another. But, on the other hand, Amara’s thirst for power and the need to prove herself was an excellent way to make her a sort of antagonist.
Overall, it was an enjoyable read, and it has left me wanting to know what will happen next!
I rate it: 4 stars

A print copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Prism Book Tours. A positive review was not required, and all thoughts and oponions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

Mark of the Raven
(The Ravenwood Saga #1)
By Morgan L. Busse
Christian Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 352 Pages
November 6th 2018 by Bethany House Publishers

Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people–or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.

Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

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About the Author

Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series and the steampunk series The Soul Chronicles. She is a Christy and INSPY Award finalist and won the Carol Award in 2018 for best in Christian speculative fiction. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel.


Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive print copies of Mark of the Raven, Flight of the Raven, and a $20 Amazon gift card
2 winner winners will receive print copies of Mark of the Raven and Flight of the Raven
– US only
– Ends June 7, 2019

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No Place Like Here by Christina June Blog Tour

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

No Place Like Here
By Christina June
Young Adult Contemporary
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 288 Pages
May 21st 2019 by Blink

From Christina June, author of It Started with Goodbye and Everywhere You Want to Be, comes No Place Like Here, a modern twist on Hansel and Gretel.

Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes–inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere–can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.

Fans looking for stories with elements of drama, romance, friendship, and an unflinching look into navigating and improving even the most difficult parent-teen relationships need look no further.

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My Review

The moment started to read, I fell in love with Ashlyn right away. Her quiet, empathetic nature reminded me of myself, which endeared me to her throughout the entire book as I cheered her on. I found myself reading No Place Like Here any chance I got. And when I finished the last page, I found myself wanting to read more. (It Started With Goodbye, here I come!)
No Place Like Here discusses delicate subjects such as depression and abuse in a mature, easy-to-understand way. Every dynamic of every character was written in such a way as to not make you hate the characters, but to remind you that we’re all human and we all make mistakes.
Ashlyn’s journey from a quiet, apathetic girl to someone brave enough to speak up for others was excellently executed. The subtle arc was just enough to show change, without making her instantly turn around like some books I’ve read. Change is a slow process, one foot at a time, and No Place Like Here shows that perfectly.
Overall, I enjoyed the book immensely, and now I’m adding Christina June to my list of favorite authors!
I rate it: 4 1/2 stars

A print copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Prism Book Tours. A positive review was not required, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.


Other Books by the Author

About the Author

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives in Virginia with her husband and daughter. She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and NO PLACE LIKE HERE.


Tour Schedule

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Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a print copy of NO PLACE LIKE HERE, a poster, and a book plate
US only
Ends June 5, 2019

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Hers To Protect Grand Finale Blitz

On Tour with Prism Book Tours
Book Tour Grand Finale for
Hers to Protect
By Catherine Lanigan
We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you’ll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:
Launch – Note from the Author

I am thrilled to bring you the eleventh story in the Shores of Indian Lake series. For those of you who are following our community, you will remember that I introduced the Hawks family in FAMILY OF HIS OWN. Although, Isabelle Hawks, the artist, has been a character from the very first story, LOVE SHADOWS, our new story is about Isabelle’s younger sister, Violet. . . . I hope you like HERS TO PROTECT. Look for my November release, CHRISTMAS UNDER GLASS. The story of Joy Boston who returns to Indian Lake to bury her grandfather and sell the family greenhouses and finds her first love, Adam Masterson, is the one part of her past she can never leave.


“She said Maserati. My brother Eric always had posters of Italian race cars in his room. She said it was something like that.”

“It could be anything,” Sal interjected.

Trent unfolded his arms. “How many Maseratis have you seen around here? Even in tourist season, Sal?”


Chief Williams pointed at Violet. “Hawks, I’m ordering you on a stakeout. Davis, you get her outfitted with what she needs. If something is going on up there on or around 1000 North, I want to know about it. This makes sense. It’s close to the Michigan state line. The interstate is a stone’s throw away. Those county roads up there are a spiderweb. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed my turn and ended up in Three Oaks, Michigan.” He cleared his throat.

“This is the second book that I have read in the Shores of Indian Lake series. I will say that you definitely do not need to read the other books in the series to appreciate this title. The story, while it alludes to the other couples that have come together in this town, really focuses on the current couple and their path to making things work out, if meant to be. . . . There is just a hint of a thriller story in here, which is fun in a romance. And they have a slow burning flame that is kindled and nurtured throughout the story.”

Remembrancy – Review

“Catherine Lanigan once again gives readers a story to delve into and get lost in. The police investigation and challenges for Violet are genuine, the romance is sweet, and the residents of Indian Lake once again welcome readers in, whether it’s your first visit or your eleventh.”

Heidi Reads… – Guest Post

I have always been fascinated by cars. A great deal of that interest, delight and awe, comes from the fact that I AM from Indiana. Historically, Indiana was the birthplace of many of the first automobiles being manufactured in the United States. Long before there was The Motor City of Detroit, there was Studebaker in South Bend and the Duesenberg in Indianapolis. The Austin. The Cord. These were history makers. . .

EmpowerMoms – Review

“Josh and Violet were great main characters and I really enjoyed the story line and steady pace. Easy to read story with some police drama and clean romance.”

Hearts & Scribbles – Excerpt

Before she got to the blue bullet, the door was flung open and a tall, lean, blond man exited. Violet halted. He didn’t look like any drug dealer she’d ever seen in mug shots. He was killer handsome, dressed in expensive black slacks, a dark blue knit shirt that stretched over his broad chest, its fine material lying over cut muscles. The long sleeves were shoved up to his elbows, exposing taut forearms. He clenched and unclenched his fists. He glared at her. She notice his eyes were sky blue.

“Aw jeez. A country cop.” He spat the word from between pursed angry lips.

“ILPD. City cop.”

His anger vanished as he flashed her a blazingly charming smile. “What a coincidence.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m from Indianapolis. It was a joke.”

“I’m not smiling.”

“This is a fun tale with strong characters, fortitude, emotions, mystery, action and romance.

It is very well-written. The Title is a terrific “play on words” and fitting, as is the Cover very fitting.The characters are well-defined and easily connected to.”

What’s next for you in the writing realm?

I’m currently working on CHRISTMAS UNDER GLASS for Heartwarming, due out in November of this year. I have three stories in the proposal stage for Heartwarming, the first of which I’m barreling down on the minute I finish up my edits on CHRISTMAS UNDER GLASS.

I have a couple thrillers I’m tying up and a paranormal novel as well.

“I’m telling you, Josh. This may have been fun for you, but it can cost us. If that cop has you on resisting arrest, that tells me you let your mouth run away with you. Again.”

“It wasn’t that bad,” Josh muttered.

“Yeah? Tell it to the judge. And believe me, you will. In the meantime, shut your trap. You got that?”

“Got it.”

“Good. Be as polite as you know how. I don’t know anything about this Indian Lake, but I’m going to find out. These little towns take small infractions seriously. It’s not Indianapolis where you can buy or autograph your way out of just about anything.”

By Her Shelf – Review

“I really enjoyed this book! I read it in a couple days (work and life interrupted, unfortunately). The plot was engaging and Ms. Lanigan kept the conflict strong throughout the story. The author did a great job of balancing moving both the plot and Josh and Violet’s relationship forward. . . . I would recommend Hers to Protect to anyone looking for a clean read with a compelling conflict, a light enemies to lovers angle, and plenty of small town heart.”

Splashes of Joy – Review

“There are several issues going on in this story that you will find when you read this story. And Ms. Lanigan weaves them all together beautifully. And I appreciate that the romance wasn’t fast acting but a slow, get to know each other romance that turns into a sweet heartwarming relationship. And add a bit of mystery into the story and we have a nice clean romance that will warm your heart.”

“Sweet romance with a hint of intrigue! With a return trip to the Shores of Indian Lake series by Catherine Lanigan, we are always sure to find ourselves enmeshed into the heart of the small town culture very quickly. . . . Violet & Josh were very easy to connect with. . . . The intrigue was spot on, the relationship heartfelt and overall I loved their story!”

E-Romance News – Excerpt

Josh had been very young when his parents died, and even now he could remember the smell of lavender on his mother’s skin when she held him close. He could hear his father’s wing tips on the wood stairs when he came home late from work and came to check on Josh.

“But they left me,” he whispered, feeling wrenched again straight across his midsection.

He would give the world to feel his mother’s hug again. And hear her voice telling him that she loved him. Even his father’s seldom-heard laugh would be a gift. Just one more time.

That was why he drove so very, very fast. He felt closest to them when he pushed the limits of speed. As if he could almost touch them. He had no intention of crashing, but he also couldn’t resist the urge to go just a little faster.

onemused – Review

“Although HERS TO PROTECT is classified as heartwarming, it also has some light suspense elements which are a cherry on top of a slow-building, delicious romance. . . . As a heartwarming romance, you won’t find more than kisses in the book, so it is very clean. I would recommend for fans of slow-building romance, enemies turned lovers, and fans of light romantic suspense (as a secondary plot).”

Hallie Reads – Review

“. . . I had fun with this story between Violet and Josh that Hers to Protect delivers. There’s plenty of romance amidst the cop intrigue and small-town charm. For the reader looking for a quick, contemporary read, it is sure to be a delightful summer-reading choice.”

When I first introduced Violet Hawks’ character as Isabelle Hawks’ younger sister in FAMILY OF HIS OWN, I saw her as the one female sibling who couldn’t wait to leave the little town of Indian Lake. Violet was attending the Police Academy and her dreams of becoming a detective were based on what she believed were her natural instincts for putting clues together and solving riddles, puzzles and crimes. . .

Pause for Tales – Review

“What plays out in this story is a beautiful friendship and romance of two people that have some serious trust issues and a bit of pride on both of their sides; especially when it comes to judging each other. This book has a bit of suspense as well, that adds more friction between these two, not like they needed that but it certainly keeps the plot moving at a quick pace.

This is a first time read for me by this author and I enjoyed her writing style and look forward to reading more of her work.”

Kimber Li – Guest Post

The Shores of Indian Lake series hits its eleventh installment with HERS TO PROTECT. One of the aspects of the series is the sense of a strong community connection. The town of Indian Lake shines like a hope-filled beacon in our disturbing present world. Indian Lake is not a dream or illusion. It exists in many towns around the world. It is where people come to each other’s aid in time of need. More importantly, the people of Indian Lake are there for each other in good times as well. . .

“Hers to Protect was a really good story. This was the first book that I have read by this author, and now I look forward to reading more of her books in the future!”

“I truly love tucking back inside Indian Lake – I have come to love the Contemporary Romantic style Ms Lanigan infuses into her stories and each new visit I have within the series is a happy homecoming! It has become one of my favourite Harlequin Heartwarming series. . . Lanigan has created a close-knit community . . . He found a new lease on life in a place he would hardly have considered if life hadn’t intervened and that is what makes this such a sweet second chance romance – as it wasn’t a second chance relationship but rather a carving out your own niche of living in a place which took you by surprise.”

Colorimetry – Guest Post


Hi, There!

Josh Stevens, here. I’m the lead character in HERS TO PROTECT. As a Formula One race driver, I’ve been all over the world winning races, making money and earning kudos from millions of fans. Charming people is part of the game and essential to my business. I can smile for cameras, hug fans, and blow kisses. I’m constantly aware of the importance of my media presence. I’ve never had a glitch in that department.

“Brimming with the strength of community and the power of love, Hers to Protectis another fun and rewarding visit to Indian Lake thanks to the talented pen of Catherine Lanigan. The characters are layered and vivid, allowing readers to experience the full range of emotion while discovering their stories and cheering them on once they’ve fully taken up residence in reader hearts. Easy to become absorbed in even for those who are making their first trip to Indian Lake, this novel is perfect for fans of small town romance that’s clean and well-written!”

“I give Hers to Protect a well deserved five plus stars. . . . I recommend this one for readers who enjoy good, clean, and heartwarming romances.”

Becky on Books – Guest Post

Why We Love Stories Where the Heart Wins

The obvious answer to the title above is because we yearn for happiness in our own lives, many times when there is far too much heartbreak.

As the author of over fifty romances and romantic themed novels, I have to say that I’ve learned some things myself. . .

“Hers to Protect by Catherine Lanigan was a great book that I didn’t want to put down for any reason at all. Violet and Josh are two fascinating characters that were a blast to read. Violet is trying to be good at her job so that she can become a detective and get out of Indian Lake. Josh, with his thing of wanting to be close to his parents but also wanting to be kept busy. I love a happy ending.

I am giving Hers to Protect by Catherine Lanigan five stars and recommending it to all Harlequin Heartwarming contemporary romance lovers out there.”

His eyes caught Violet’s.

She didn’t know what happened, but it was as if everyone else had vanished. Violet could have sworn she was suddenly standing inches from Josh. His gaze held hers, and she had to consciously remind herself that she could not hear his thoughts.

Contrition filled his eyes and his smile was tenuous, where only a second ago, he’d beamed at his fans as they jostled each other for his autograph or a photo. Paul had been correct. Josh with his public was all performance.

What she was seeing was the real person. She felt his regret, and a pang of conscience told her if she ever had a chance to get to know the real Josh Stevens, she just might wind up liking him.

“Catherine Lanigan has written a sweet and heartwarming story with Hers to Protect. I felt as if I were a part of the story and befriended the characters myself. . . . I adored it to pieces and plan to read more of the books in the near future.”

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post, if you haven’t already…

Hers to Protect

(Shores of Indian Lake #11)

By Catherine Lanigan

Contemporary Romance

Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages

April 1st 2019 by Harlequin Heartwarming

She’s sworn to protect…

But does that include a speeding celebrity?

Violet Hawks is a by-the-books police officer—so when she catches a man speeding, she arrests him. Only, the man is famous race car driver Josh Stevens. To make amends, Josh launches a charm campaign, and it works on the small town…and on Violet. But when Josh is connected to an investigation, Violet begins to wonder—can she trust her instincts when her heart is involved?

Other Books in the Series

About the Author
Catherine Lanigan is the international bestselling and award-winning author of over forty-five published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile. Ms. Lanigan’s novels have been translated into over twenty-four languages. Lanigan was tasked by the NotMYkid foundation to pen a collection of compelling and informative true stories of teen addicts. Ms. Lanigan’s SHORES OF INDIAN LAKE series for HARLEQUIN HEARTWARMING includes LOVE SHADOWS, HEART’S DESIRE , A FINE YEAR FOR LOVE, KATIA’S PROMISE, FEAR OF FALLING, SOPHIE’S PATH, PROTECTING THE SINGLE MOM, FAMILY OF HIS OWN, HIS BABY DILEMMA, RESCUED BY THE FIREFIGHTER and HER TO PROTECT (2019).
Ms. Lanigan is a frequent speaker at literary functions and book conventions as well as inspiring audiences with her real stories of angelic intervention from her Angel Tales series of books. She is an outspoken advocate for domestic violence and abuse and was honored by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in Washington, D.C. She has been a guest on numerous radio programs including “Coast to Coast” and on television interview and talk show programs as well as blogs, podcasts and online radio interview programs. She writes a monthly blog for
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Ends May 29, 2019
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The Forsaken Continent – Review




How could he do this to us!!! Wayne Thomas Batson, the king of cliffhangers, once again ended his latest thrilling adventure, The Forsaken Continent, with a cliffhanger. I laughed, I cried, and I screamed in frustration. There’s so much I want to say, but can’t, because it would not only ruin the book, it would ruin the entire series.

For five years, fans of The Myridian Constellation (originally called The Dark Sea Annals) have waited breathlessly for the newest installment. And now that it’s here, I can just imagine Mr. Batson hiding under the table as angry fans wish to break down his door and demand that he give us the next book now!

Yes, that’s how much I loved it. The Forsaken Continent was worth every tear, every shout of anger, and every flabbergasted gasp. This one is a masterpiece in a series of masterpieces. And I love epic fantasy with multiple point of view characters, so there’s that…

But, really, you will fall in love with these characters, from High King Lochlan, to Telwyn Coldhollow, to Matron Tess, to Fred the sword. You’ll even love to hate the baddies like Morlan Stormgarden and Cythraul, a.k.a. the-creep-that-you-want-to-die-but-he-can’t-because-he’s-immortal.

The book ends with so many unanswered questions, like, who is Matron Tess, really? HOW will Morlan be defeated? And the one I can’t ask because it would spoil the entire ending.

I could go on and on all day about this book, but I’ll keep the review brief. If you haven’t read The Myridian Constellation, stop what you’re doing and buy the books now! You will soon discover your new favorite series.

I rate it: 5 stars!!


Fleeing the kingdom he once ruled, Lochlan Stormgarden leads the survivors of The Bloody Red Night across Myriad on a desperate quest for safety. With tyrannical High King Morlan’s legions and the lethal Bone Ministers constantly dogging his steps, Lochlan discovers that the only refuge might be a legendary contagion-cursed fortress deep in the heart of the Gorrack Nation.

Meanwhile, Abigail Coldhollow is six months pregnant and sets off on a fool’s errand into the Felhaunt to prove that her beloved husband Alastair is still alive. Little does she know that Cythraul, the seemingly immortal assassin, is also hunting in that forest of horrors. Hunting for her.

Morlan’s noose is tightening on all, for he had lit the first candle of the Flame Clock. As each candle flares to life, Myriad slides inexorably closer to a cataclysmic fate. Telwyn Coldhollow alone stands to hinder the coming devastation, for upon the shores of the Forsaken Continent, Telwyn will face the very Heart of Evil.

Book 3 of The Myridian Constellation




Wayne Thomas Batson is the author of five-bestselling novels: Isle of Swords, Isle of Fire, and The Door Within Trilogy. His books have earned awards and nominations including: Silver Moonbeam, Mom’s Choice® Silver, Cybil, Lamplighter, and American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year. A middle school reading teacher in Maryland for twenty-nine years, Wayne tailors his stories to meet the needs of young people, whom he cares so deeply about. Wayne writes adventures set in imaginative locales because he believes that on a deep level we all dream of doing something that matters and long for another world. When last seen, Wayne was tromping around the Westfarthing with his beautiful wife and four adventurous children.


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The Importance of Word Count and Content

Importance of Word Count




What’s the difference between a short story and a novelette? How do I know if my novel is better suited for Middle-grade or Young Adult readers? The simple answer—word count. The long answer—content (we’ll get to this later.)

In the publishing world, word count matters just about as much as the story itself. In general, there are five categories; short story, novelette, novella, novel, and epics or sequels. But there are also many sub categories, like picture books, early readers, chapter books, and young adult novels.

Below, I have outlined all the categories I know of and their word counts.

  1. Board Books (ages 0-3) – 0-100 words

Board books are small, simple books with bright pictures, and thick, cardboard pages (all the better to be chewed on, my dear). A lot of times, they have textured pictures, like a piece of faux fur on a duck or sequins on a dress. Because it’s for very small children, the fewer the words, the better.

  1. Picture Books (ages 3-8) – 0-1,300 words

The best example of picture books are the ones by Dr. Suess, where the language is well thought out and the pictures support the story. Picture books are usually written to be read by adults to the child, and have a “sweet spot” word count of 300-550 words.

  1. Short Story – 1,000 – 7,500 words

Short stories are usually found in magazines, periodicals, or anthology collections. They also are seen on writing ‘club’ websites. Short stories are usually for middle grade readers to adults.

  1. Early or Easy Readers (ages 4-7) – 100-2,500 words

The word count really depends upon the reading level. They are written with large words and redundant pictures, to help the child follow along with the story. Easy readers are mostly published as paperbacks, with the occasional hardback for library use.

  1. Chapter Books (ages 7-10) – 4,000-13,000 words

These books are usually written in a series, to give a sense of familiarity to the reader. They are printed with large text and infrequent, black and white pictures. The “sweet-spot” word count of this category is 6,000-10,000 words.

  1. Novelette – 7,500 – 20,000 words

Novelettes are usually pretty tough to sell to publishers, as they are too long to comfortably be published in magazines, and too short to be a novel. Generally, novelettes are pieced together into one larger novel, usually three or four novelette-length works. Also, they are commonly published as e-books, as the short word count is easier to read in one sitting.

  1. Novella – 20,000 – 50,000

Novella are the most popular length for e-books. This length also works for a short piece of non-fiction, or even a memoir. It is also common among small or self-publishing companies. However, it is not common for novellas to be published by the traditional publishing companies in physical format.

  1. Middle-Grade Novels (ages 8 -12) – 25,000-75,000

For middle-grade novels, the word count is split. For realistic, or general fiction novels, the word count is 25,000-60,000 words, with a “sweet-spot” of 30,000-45,000 words. For fantasy and sci-fi, the word count is 35,000-75,000, with a “sweet-spot” of 45,000-65,000 words.

  1. Novel – 50,000 – 110,000

In general, this is the normal range for novels, no matter what genre. Publishers prefer for a first novel to be around 70,000 words. Though books around 80,000 to 110,000 words used to be the norm, a lot of modern novels, especially in fantasy, have climbed over this word count, now normally sitting somewhere in the 120,000-150,000 word area, especially by popular authors, like Bryan Davis or Stephen King. Publishers are more lenient toward established authors when it comes to word count, but a work under 110,000 words by an unestablished author is more appealing than a story that’s super thick.

  1. Young Adult Novels (ages 13-18) & New Adult Novels (ages 18-30) – 35,000-150,000

YA, just like middle grade novels, also has a split word count. For realistic or general fiction, 35,000-75,000 words, with a “sweet-spot” of 45,000-70,000 words. For fantasy and sci-fi, 50,000-150,000 words, with a “sweet-spot” of 65,000-85,000 words. If your manuscript reaches over this word count, then your work needs to justify itself in its length. Young Adult is arguably the most popular category out there, with middle-grade novels right behind. Though, New Adult does hold its own. The biggest difference between YA and NA is the content, with NA having more mature themes (like Game of Thrones, for example).

  1. Epics and Sequels – Over 110,000 words

Sequels in the YA category always end up being longer than the first book, reaching more for the 120,000 and beyond word count. As stated above, most novels that are over 110,000 words have a better chance of being published if the work is written by an established author then a newbie. But that doesn’t mean the aspiring authors don’t get their chance. A lot of debut novels I have read have reached well past the 100,000-word mark.


Besides word count, the most important thing to consider when writing a story is the content. When determining the age level for your novel, please consider these things:


  1. The Physical Age of the Protagonist

The physical age of the Protagonist usually determines the age level of the novel itself, though sometimes not. For example, someone could write a story about a thirty-some-odd knight and the story is written in a simple way for children, making is a chapter book.

  1. The Emotional Age of the Protagonist

While usually the protagonist’s ’emotional age’ is the same as their actual age, a lot of times when writing chapter books or middle-grade readers, the adults are made more on the ’emotional age’ level of the reader so they can relate to the character. For example, Mr. Bliss, by J. R. R. Tolkien. The characters act immature, because children are immature.

  1. The Content of the Book

This has got to be the MOST IMPORTANT thing to consider. If you add a lot of mature content to your story, no matter the word count, it should be considered a New Adult story, and not Middle-grade or Young Adult. For example, while Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin is a sweeping epic fantasy series, it still has too much mature content for it to be considered Young Adult. Please, please consider the content of your book.

  1. The Subject of the Book

Some subjects are considered too delicate for certain levels of readers. For example, you aren’t going to write a children’s chapter book about someone dealing with suicide or drugs. That would be more suited to YA or NA. The subject of the story is also a really big factor to consider.


If you consider both the content and the word count of your story, it won’t be hard for you to find out what category your story falls into, and will make it much easier for you when you approach an agent or publisher with your finished manuscript.


Readers, tell me, what other categories can you think of? What other content matters should we consider before deciding?