Friday, September 25, 2009

Two for the Price of One

Title: The Jewel of His Heart

Author: Maggie Brendan

ISBN: 978-0-8007-3350-6

From the back cover:

Juliana Brady is alone in an 1890s Montana mining town, with few prospects for making a living. But she is determined not to be dependent on the charity of others.

Josh McBride is trying to scrape up a living from his sheep herd while he builds his ranch. But when he discovers some rare stones on his property, he’s tempted by the prospect of fast money.

When their paths cross, Juliana and Josh must make a choice—the world’s riches and promises, or the eternal value of love.


I really do despise reading a series out of order; and I am currently expecting book one in the mail… But I got this first and had nothing else new to read but boring old writing books. {wink} I just couldn’t wait. I finished it in less than a day.

I identified with this book and the characters on many levels. Juliana didn’t want to be dependent on others—a charity case. I have felt the same way with the limitations my health has placed on me. There is also the whole idea of how people associate or identify with you and how your personality is… perceived by others. Sometimes they can be mistaken. I have experienced that firsthand as well. I dabble in jewelry ~ and sapphires are my birthstone, so the whole history of the Yogo Sapphire was fascinating.

In fact, I found a wonderful pic that shows the color range of Yogos to share with you. Unlike other stones, they are not heated or treated in any way – and are said to be just as beautiful in artificial light as they are in sunlight. I would love to see one in real life one day.

The characters all interacted in a natural way that was at once heartening and challenging. The author did such good work on all her characters that I expected even the smaller ones to walk into the room and sit down on the couch beside me. The love story between Josh and Juliana was beautiful, passionate and touching. I think Maggie has done a beautiful job and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

PS ~ On a personal note, my leady lady and hero have names that start with the same letter as well. I was told that can be off-putting to some editors. My own editor never mentioned it to me, and neither did any of my readers. I was happy to say I never even noticed it until I went to write the review for these two and realized that in some ways the names starting the same was another bond for them… a way to make them seem connected. Saying their names together “sounds” good. That’s my opinion – what’s yours?


Title: The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction

Author: Jeff Gerke

ISBN: 978-0-9821049-6-5

I’m going to break away from my normal routine of telling what is on the back cover because this isn’t fiction. Perhaps I should still share it, but I’m making an executive decision here. {wink}

I don’t know if Jeff’s book was the most helpful book I’ve ever read on writing. I do know it was the most fun. It was also the most well-organized. Each area is broken down into manageable chunks that make it easy to go back to a section you want to look up later. I will remember sections and look them up again too—if just for the fun of it. I loved the way he explained things with creative language, references to popular movies and excerpts from his own writing… I felt as if I were talking to someone who was coaching me through the process in a fun, approachable way.

Make no mistake, there is plenty of good information wedged between those softcovers. Each time he added a mistake new writers make, or some horrible manuscript that had crossed his desk, I shuddered to think how he would respond to my manuscript.

Perhaps that and keeping his book placed prominently on my desk will be enough for me to avoid making some of those errors. Maybe I should read it again—just to make sure I’ve crafted my lightsaber properly.


  1. I really enjoyed this book too! I'll be doing a review of it for the tour on October 18 and I'll also be doing my first giveaway and I'm starting with a copy of this book! Yay!! Thanks again for sharing your review!

    XOXO~ Renee

  2. I just got The Jewel of His Heart in the mail last week, but haven't read it yet. I'm really excited to though! I'll be participating in the same blog tour as Renee, on Oct. 18th, so I'm trying to wait until closer 'til time to post my review ~ I don't want to forget anything important! LOL

    Good luck with your book revisions! You can do it! *grin*

    ~ Lori

  3. You all make me think I jumped the gun and should have waited a while to do the review. Then I could have read Book One first too. Ah well....