If thirty-year-old Megan were any more of a doormat, she’d have footprints on her back. She helps anyone and everyone, no matter the cost to herself, and she’s always been that way. Even the thought of withholding her assistance makes her feel sick. Worse, it makes her feel like she’s a bad person, selfish and unkind.
She takes up running purely to avoid gaining weight, but as she trains with her cute but heartbroken coach Andrew she becomes more able to do things she’d never thought she could, both physically and emotionally.
The day before she runs her first marathon, though, her best friend’s demands result in the biggest challenge yet to her developing assertiveness and Megan must decide: cave in as she always has before or stick to her new-found ‘happy pace’ in running and life.
The book is available for only 99 cents at http://www.heatherwardell.com/finding-my-happy-pace.shtml
About the Author:
Growing up, I was an avid (rabid?) reader. I am a natural speed reader, regularly clocked at about 1200 wpm (I read Harry Potter 5 in just under three hours), and always have multiple books on the go, usually on my Kindle.
After careers as a software developer and elementary school computer science teacher, in 2005 I took up the National Novel Writing Month challenge and attempted to write a novel in a month. I succeeded, and the first draft of my first novel “Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo” was the result. I realized I love writing. I left teaching, and I haven’t looked back since!
Follow The Author:
- Book Review: Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot (literallyjen.com)
- From One Marina Girl to Another – Heather Joy Hampton’s Marina Girl (simplyannette.com)
- Review: Size 12 is Not Fat (bookingmama.net)
- Let Me Tell You About the Book I’m Writing . . . Part 1 (caitlinjacobs.wordpress.com)
- Book Review and Giveaway: Mama Needs a Time Out by Heather Riggleman (csahm.com)
- One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf (bluearchipelagoreviews.com)
- Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Sara Kay Jordan (bookmarketingbuzz.com)
- Deputies Find Live Grenade In Wardell Missouri Home (wreg.com)
- Amazon’s July Spotlight Book is ‘Shine, Shine, Shine’ by Lydia Netzer (examiner.com)
- Heather Thompson Reacts To Ramona’s “Insecure” Comment (celebs.gather.com)
- Rebecca Wardell on target after first day (3news.co.nz)
- Conference Spotlight ~ Author Café (romanceaustralia.wordpress.com)
- What is your definition of success? (prosewithpoise.wordpress.com)
- DIY Transfers with Heather at Skinny Laminx (itswhatiminto.com)
My 3 Last Book Reviews for 2011: Blank Slate Kate by Heather Wardell, Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart, and Her Life as She Knew it by Karen Schwind
I have managed to end the year 2011 with 3 more book reviews before the new year. I have read quite a lot this past week and really wanted to write the reviews for these books I agreed to reading. While these are not comprehensive book reviews like I normally try to do, I know that readers will still be able to get the gist of what I thought.
Have a great and happy New Year!
Waking up with a strange man is scary. Realizing you lost fifteen years of your life overnight? That’s terrifying. With her memories from seventeen to thirty-two gone, Kate has no idea who she is and where she belongs. As she begins to fall for the man who found her, she wonders if she forgot those years for a reason. Should she keep trying to retrieve her original self, or start a new life?
Kate is a 32 year old woman, who has lost all memory of the past 15 years. In her mind, she is 17 years old, and sees the world through the eyes of an innocent young teenager. Heather Wardell brings the reader along as Kate tries to figure out what happened during those lost years, work through trying to catch up with world events, and even figure out the world of technology (think iphone, Twitter, Facebook, etc). Heather Wardell writes very realistically in this “too crazy to be true” scenario, as Kate also finds without her family, friends she knows, and a sweet bartender guy who she a crush on. At times I wanted to hurry the story along because I wanted to know why this had happened to Kate. However, everything is unraveled in its due time and all questions are answered in the end. This is a story that is authentically told only through the eyes and thoughts of Kate, so as she unravels the mysteries, you will to…at her pace. Hang tight, the book is worth the read, and it’s a book that I really enjoyed reading! I highly recommend this book to those who love a good chick-lit book and who like mysteries weaved with a little romance.
Now that she’s arrived at her ultimate address, will Mary Lynn’s longed-for view of the harbor satisfy the craving of her heart?
At last, Mary Lynn and Jackson Scoville are living the life they’ve dreamed of. Two self-described “small town bumpkins” from Round O, South Carolina, they made a small fortune selling the little gems of lowcountry real estate Jackson inherited and now they are living in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina, carefully working their way up the social ladder in hopes of meeting their ultimate goal: to give their three daughters the life they themselves never had.
But the long-forgotten God of Mary Lynn’s childhood seems to be trying to get her attention in clear and unusual ways. So clear and strange she can no longer deny it. When Mary Lynn prays for Jackson to open his mind and heart to God, her prayers are answered beyond her wildest imaginings. Now Jackson’s dramatic conversion (which includes street witnessing, giving away a lot of money, and inviting poor, desperate and marginalized people into their home) is threatening their social status as well as their family mission statement. Is she willing to go along with him?
What would it be like to go “all out” for God? Jackson, a sharp and focused Type A man, is unafraid and willing to go all the way. Mary Lynn has her doubts.
Mary Lynn and her husband both grew up from humble families and both became rather wealthy and live in the plush town of Charleston, SC. Both deal with their own inner demons, while their oldest daughter Katherine tries to please her father, deals with severe anxiety, and begins to take pills to deal with her own demons as well. There were quite a few very realistic scenarios in this story as Jackson grapples with handling his success and keeping up with Jones’, wanting the best for his children, and dealing with the death of his mother (who he lost at 9 years old), all while also questioning his own spiritual existence and relationship with God. While I really thought this story dealt with some very real and raw issues that all families deal with, even Christian families, I felt that some of the issues weren’t addressed fully and that the story ended too perfectly. For example, Mary Lynne recognizes some changes in her daughter Katherine and suspects something is going on with her when she sees Katherine’s hands often shaking. However, she never quite addresses the issue and Katherine soon stops using and instead focuses on her studies and running. I felt that there was a huge piece of the storyline missing. It would also have been helpful to have seen more of the struggles Jackson and Mary Lynne experience as a result of their spiritual walk, or lack thereof. While Mary Lynne was attending church, it would have given a more realistic portrait to what a family experiences when one partner chooses not to embrace faith and spirituality. I also wanted more surrounding Mary Lynne’s miracle. Nonetheless, this was a good read and one I would recommend to those who enjoy reading Christian fiction. Keep an eye out for this Christian author…she has a gift for writing! Maybe just adding an extra 100 pages would be helpful for my inquiring mind ;)
*Click picture to purchase book for $1.99
For readers who believe that the best lives are built on the firmest foundations.
Karen Schwind brings us Caroline McKee, a girl on the cusp of womanhood who is determined to use her wit and fearlessness to right the wrongs former friends did to her. She gets her chance when Billy Taylor, a veteran of the Great War, returns to Greensboro and opens a newspaper in the spring of 1919. Together they dig into the lives of townspeople until Caroline discovers a secret that lays bare the sorrow and shame of people she’s known all her life. Publishing a front-page story of betrayal and tragedy, Caroline learns a lesson that only her devout Christian father could teach–about love, loyalty and letting go. Schwind has crafted “a memorable setting that feels historically authentic” and “portrays Caroline McKee’s longing for an idealized childhood . . . in tender, nostalgic” language that captures the reader’s imagination until the last unexpected turn of this amazing story.
I loved the character of Caroline McKee. She is a woman destined to be a great writer and finds creative ways to do just that in a town where not much happens, during a time when women didn’t work outside the home. This is a sweet story, nothing sexual and profanity is zilch. While I enjoyed reading how she becomes a writer and tries to please her father while also fulfilling her own life long dreams, I would have liked a little more inner struggles with her mother (who abandoned her and the family), as well as seen the relationship between her and Johnny evolve. Because he marries, it would have been helpful to see how Caroline handles the news of his marriage and its impact on her. However, it is a very sweet story and gives a small snapshot into the life of one woman and those she interacts with. Overall, this was a really good book and I look forward to reading more from this author.
- Jackie O: On the Couch – A Book Review (pinkbananaworld.com)
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- Going Deep: Becoming a Person of Influence by Gordon MacDonald (nineyearbible.wordpress.com)
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- L2L Book Review: “Unusually Excellent” (linked2leadership.com)
- Book Review: Haiti’s Tragic History (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- 2011 Book Review Catch-Up: Part 3 (bookclubbabe.wordpress.com)
- Bucket List Item #4: Create a book review blog (zarabucketlist.wordpress.com)
- TOMS Book Review (ghsblock.wordpress.com)
- 2012 preview (daytonhartman.com)
- A Quick Note on Book Reviews (datanode.net)
- Read a lot? (6thgradescottforesmanreadingstreetresources.wordpress.com)
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- Star rating guide for books reviewed in this column (examiner.com)
Synopsis: Twenty-eight-year-old Andrea returns home from a business trip to find Alex, her boyfriend of fourteen years, nervously waiting for her. Assuming he’s finally going to propose, Andrea’s instead horrified to learn he’s been cheating on her and is leaving to be with the other woman, who he calls Andrea’s opposite.
At first Andrea’s paralyzed by shock and sadness, but the business analyst soon forms a plan: change every last detail of her life and become her opposite so Alex will come back to her.
It’s a challenge at first, but soon Andrea’s loving the changes she’s making, the new activities she’s doing, and the new people in her life. But will she change enough to get Alex back? And if she does, will he fit into the wonderful new life she’s creating for herself?
For an excerpt, please visit Heather Wardell’s website.
Andrea comes home from a conference excited about her upcoming engagement only to be told by her boyfriend that he does not want to marry her nor be with her at all. Andrea is shocked and experiences a whole array of emotions, from denial, anger, bargaining (if I do this, then he will come back), depression, then acceptance. If Elizabeth Kubler-Ross were to have heard about Andrea’s story she would have said: “the most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” How true this is!
Okay, so Andrea is not a real person, nor is she someone dealing with the death of a loved one, but in this fictional story she experiences the death of a dream to be married to her life long boyfriend and would have been quite content being everything he wants her to be. It is not until she is alone that she gets to know herself and discover her strengths and beauty, which she has neglected. By being true to herself and embracing her passions and dreams, Andrea learns who she is in the midst of this trying time.
Throughout the book, I found myself getting irritated with Andrea as she tried to do everything in reverse in hopes of winning Alex back and really did not like Alex at all. I couldn’t understand how an educated woman could be so needy and unsure of who she is….however, that is the beauty of this book. It will bring out emotions in the reader and challenge the reader to ask, “Am I following my own passions and dreams? Am I being true to myself?”.
I liked how Heather Wardell challenged me to think beyond the storyline, created characters and situations that stirred anger and brought joy. In the end, Andrea certainly finds what and who fits best in her life as the reader cheers her on.
Be aware, this is a chick-lit book. It’s not meant to be spiritual or a deep thinking book. I love that this book does not scream sex or is too fluffy. I also love how Heather Wardell brings everything together, especially since there is such a large cast of characters and quite a lot going on in the book. Lastly, in honor of Andrea, I think I will go and paint my nails teal!!
- Summer Book Series for Women (booksintheburbs.com)
After reading, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, I needed a light read. Through Barnes and Noble, I was able to download Heather Wardell’s book for free! To read a synopsis of the book, I suggest you visit her website. She also has an excerpt of the book.
This is an easy read, but don’t let that fool you. Heather brings to life challenges that women experience with friends, work, and marriage. Experiencing the loss of her in-laws, Candice and her husband are unable to recover and find themselves disconnected in their marriage. Ian takes a 1 month project in Bangladesh, leaving Candice to experience the results of her pap smear alone (albeit, Ian did not know), the past issues/current relationship with an old flame, her relationship with mom, and her career. In experiencing these situations alone, Candice finds her voice, learns what she wants, and together she and Ian are able to change the course of their marriage.
Without spoiling the scenario for you, there is a scene with Candice and her friend (I won’t say who either) that had me laughing so hard that my husband thought I was crazy. I had to fill him in on the scene because it was that hilarious!!! This is a book about second chances, not just with Candice’s marriage, but with her parents, her career, her friendships, and most importantly with herself. I loved the character of Candice and how she uses this alone time to rediscover herself and gets that darn cute polar bear tattoo!
While I did love the story, it would have been great to have read Ian’s emails to Candice and perhaps have included a chapter or two of what their marriage looked like before he leaves for 1 month. Nonetheless, the story kept me interested from the first page until the end. It is definitely a story that I would recommend to anyone who likes chick-lit and/or who wants an easy read.