Monday, April 25, 2011

Blog Award

I am pleased to announce that I've been given the "Best Books Award" by writer Dierdra Coppel. Here it is:

You can check out Dierdra's blog, A Storybook World, to see her art and books and awards.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Review: Depth of Deceit

Depth of Deceit 
by Betty Briggs

Back Cover Blurb: "Blonde and stunningly beautiful, fledgling attorney Stephanie Saunders vows to protect the innocent even though as indigent defense attorney her clients rarely are. Does that include Josh Durrant, who seems to be following her? Stephanie is dismayed when her peers begin calling her 'Prom Queen' like her boyfriend, Todd Saxton, often does. While desperately trying to prove her credibility in her profession, she overlooks a scheme to steal her innocence. Although she plans to forgive Todd for his ultimate betrayal, she is never given the chance. Her boss, attorney Charles Connelly, offers support, but is Stephanie's welfare, or his own, top priority? The only thing that keeps Stephanie sane in her insane world are the horses she loves but does not own. The example of the abused mare, Riskie Business, helps Stephanie make the most difficult decision of her life. Relying on wit and courage, Stephanie must save herself and another during the final showdown where she proves a loyalty and strength of which she never knew herself capable."

About the Author: A retired legal secretary of thirty-three years and lifetime horse lover, Betty notes that some of her experiences sneak into her story lines, but not without embellishments. Already the author of four young adult books, she is excited to introduce Depth of Deceit, her first mainstream novel. She is the mother of two grown children and grandmother to five. She lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, Scott. Her three horses round out the family.

My Review: I thought that the premise of the story was good. I enjoyed the larger mystery of what was going on in the plot. I was also interested in reading a story about a woman attorney because I've never read a book about one before. I appreciated that Briggs kept the book tastefully clean, with no swearing or sex scenes, though she could easily have done both if she were that kind of writer.

Now, I have to express my disappointment on a couple of things. The first is personal and is a bit of a plot spoiler, so skip this paragraph if you don't want to know. The single young protagonist, Stephanie, becomes pregnant without her consent and makes the decision to give the baby up for adoption to a two-parent family. She believes that would be best for the baby and she can get on with her life and career. I was quietly cheering her on in this decision because I feel it's the most unselfish thing an unwed mother can do for her child, and the child's best hope for a healthy future. Later on in the book, because of the example of a horse, she changes her mind and decides to keep the baby, even though she is more alone in the world than ever. Of course, I found that disappointing, but what really annoyed me was when her friend referred to her as a "colossal idiot" for deciding to give the baby up for adoption in the first place, Stephanie agrees with her. That did not sit well with me. Young women who give their babies up for adoption are not colossal idiots.

Other things that I found hard to swallow were: much forced-sounding dialog; the fact that except in the very beginning, throughout the whole book Stephanie didn't really seem to do any lawyering, but seemed more like an office stick figure; a boss that was way too paternal to the point of being liable for a harassment suit; and the fact that after the climax of the story the author felt obligated to tie up every single possible little loose end (some that we didn't even know were loose) so that the reader would know for sure that Stephanie really did live happily ever after. It was just too much. We didn't need all that and it kind of made my eyes glaze over.

I'd recommend this book for people who like clean novels with action and a romantic element. It is a great read for those who are not sensitive about adoption issues and who love horses.

You can purchase Depth of Deceit here.
Visit Betty Brigg's website to learn more about her and her books.

Monday, April 18, 2011

On Reviewing Books

I do a lot of book reviews on my blog and you will never see an objective review from me. I am a person with feelings which are subjective, not objective. I try to be fair, and I will always say what I like about the books I read, but if there is something I don't like, I will mention that as well. I don't do this to be mean. I believe the only way to improve is to get feedback. One difficult aspect of being a writer is hearing feedback from others, especially if it's negative feedback. But, that's how we get better, right?

I give the kind of reviews I would want to get for my own work. I would want to know what bothers people about what I wrote and what they liked. I know among some groups of authors there's the feeling of "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine." The reviewer will then err on the side of kind generosity and say only those things that are positive about the book. Kind of like Thumper's mother's mantra: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." That's all well and good, but it leaves the reader of the review with a distorted view of the book, and when I read a review I really want to know what I'm getting into when I crack the cover; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

So, I apologize to the authors of books I have reviewed and those I will review if I offend you. My intent is not to offend but to give an honest report of my opinion about your work. Please remember I am only one person and everyone who reads your book will have a different opinion. That's why honest reviews are not objective.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Book Review: The Crazy Daze of Motherhood by Jane Isfeld Still

Book Description:
A mother's day is filled with all kinds of emergencies, from bumps and bruises to hospital stays. Find the perfect way to recover from your own family's little emergencies with Jane Isfeld Still's latest book on the hilarious daily challenges of a mother in the fray. You're sure to laugh and cry as you celebrate the joys of motherhood.

About the Author:
Jane is married to Rick Still, who she believes has the distinction of being the only man in history brave enough to give her earwax candles for her birthday. They had six children in eight years, and while her children were growing up, she discovered she had a great sense of humor. At least that was her take. Rick once said to her, "Honey, you know all those real corny things you say all the time? Who ever thought you could make money at it?" Her son Adam once told her, "Mom could you please stop telling jokes to my friends? It's really embarrassing." One of Jane's philosophies is, "You're not doing your job unless your children are worried about being seen in public with you."

My Review:
The first thing I liked about this book was the size. It is only 87 pages long, so it's very un-intimidating to read. It's also pink and about 6 inches square. You could probably trace around it to cut out papers for origami. I also appreciated that the chapters are pretty short, so if I only had a few minutes to read I could still finish a chapter.

When I read the title of this book, I thought it would be about humorous mothering experiences. So, I was confused when the first couple of stories were about being single and dealing with roommates. From there, I began to wonder if it was all going to be bathroom humor and I started to get nervous. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. Not only did I find humorous mothering experiences, but many of them had nothing to do with bathrooms. The earlier stories were kind of a set-up for the mothering stories.

When I read a book that is supposed to be funny, I get defensive. I cross my arms and dare that book to make me laugh. We'll just see if you're funny, I think. I'm happy to report that this book made me laugh against my will. Some of it was genuinely funny. I wasn't rolling on the floor uncontrollably laughing, but the occasional chuckle did escape my lips. Yes, it did.

So, yes. I liked this book. I think it would make a good Mother's Day gift because, 1. It's small and affordable ($8.99 retail. you can purchase it at this link:, 2. It's about imperfect mothering, which I find refreshing on Mother's Day, and 3. Everyone needs to laugh once in awhile--even against her will. Oh, and 4. How often can you buy a book that you can also use as an origami paper pattern?

You can win a fun prize from Jane to help celebrate the release of her book. Just go to her blog at and become a follower, and then leave her a comment and tell her that you're a new follower. You could win:

1. Mother's Daze basket, soap, chocolate, lotion, decorative candles, and recipe cards

2. Box of blank cards with a smattering of Canadian chocolate

3. Chocolate