Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Hostile Intent by Lynette Eason {review}

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book. These are my honest thoughts.

This book started off with the potential to become my new favorite Eason book. The action was fast-paced and came often, which made for a great suspense formula. The characters were intriguing, which added richness to the story being told. The settings were very well used, which increased the depth of the tale. Overall, this was a fantastic series finale, capping off one of the best series Mrs. Eason has produced to date.

Read more on my new website.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Dinner Guests {short story}

The table was set for seven, but not a single person had arrived. The round twinkle lights still glowed, but they illuminated only dried-up hopes and empty chairs. The hostess had retreated to the deck, and she’d likely leave the mess until tomorrow. She’d worked so hard to pull this dinner together.

Yet no one came.

Perhaps it wasn’t their fault. Maybe something truly had come up. An emergency, perchance? Something dire that would give solid footing for their excuses?

Or maybe they were just all running late.

Continue the story on AndreaReneeCox.com.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner {book review}

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book. These are my honest thoughts.

This book wasn’t what I was expecting. At all.

Yet, it was still beautiful and deep and touched every emotion inside of me.

When I first heard about this book, I was thrilled that I had finally found a Vietnam story. Only, it kind of isn’t. It touches on the Vietnam War, but it doesn’t show the war itself. In fact, it never actually steps one foot into that country.

That was disappointing.

However, I’m a sucker for an emotional adoption story, so this little birdie wriggled its way into my heart once I found my rhythm with the three time periods, all of which were written in first person. That took some getting used to, but I’m glad I stuck with it. The story was so amazing. Little Minh was so adorable! I couldn’t get enough of her, truly. The emotional punches and tension-filled adoption story reminded me so much of Susan Schoenberger’s A Watershed Year, a favorite book of mine that I’ve read at least three times already. If you love that one, you’re going to absolutely want to find a copy of this one… and vice versa.

I’m still not sure what I think of the ending of each of the three storylines. There was resolution in some ways, but so much was left open… but I think it was in a good way. I need to mull it over more and possibly give it another read or two before I fully make up my mind.

Monday, August 16, 2021

The Nature of Small Birds + Other News

The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner

I’ve been looking forward to this book since I first saw the cover and glimpsed the blurb. Listen, I think the Vietnam War is under-represented in Christian fiction. The thing is, this book isn’t about the Vietnam War exactly… it’s more of an adoption story, about a little girl that escaped the war. While it isn’t exactly what I was expecting, it’s turning into quite the wonderful story. It’s heartfelt and emotional, for sure, and you know those are a couple of my happy places. I’m about halfway through the book already, and I’m loving it so far. The characters are amazing, the plot wonderful, and the split time aspect is done pretty well. It took me a few chapters to really settle in and feel grounded in each of the three threads, but I’ve found my rhythm with it and expect to finish it in time to bring you my full review next week, if all goes well. This is my first book by Susie Finkbeiner, but if it holds out to finish as well as it’s begun, it likely won’t be the last.

Other News

For a while now, I’ve wanted to have a dot-com website. When Blogger decided to discontinue the follow-by-e-mail feature, I knew it was the right time to make the big switch. So my breaking news is this:

Monday, August 9, 2021

Summer Reading List

One of my favorite things about summer is working through a summer reading list. I don't always stick to my list, as I'm a pretty moody reader. This month, though, I'm trying hard to stick to a specific reading list. I do love a good challenge!

Here are a few books I'm reading this summer.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Writing Update + Setting Goals

July was another successful writing camp for me. Since I was (and continue) dealing with post-WuVi symptoms such as short-term memory loss, sudden fatigue, and severe lack of focus, I set a small (for me) goal of 25,000 words for the month.

Last week's article told you about some timely reminders I'd received. Friends, these reminders helped me vastly. I was able to zoom right past my word count goal as well as a secondary goal. I nearly reached my third goal of 50k words, coming just short at 48,101 total words for the month.

While I didn't reach the 50k I'd hoped for, I have exited July with great satisfaction that I was able, by God's sweet grace, to push through the severe lack of focus and short-term memory loss in order to pen a plethora of words. There were many late nights and last-minute pushes to claim those words, but they have been logged in despite the slight sleep deprivation I may have imposed upon myself in order to do so.

August will likely not see me writing quite as much, but I have new goals I'm setting and striving to accomplish.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Timely Reminders

I recently read an article by Jill Kemerer (visit the original article here) that served as a great reminder for me.

A month or so after I got over Wuhan Virus, I started experiencing post-WuVi (my term) symptoms. Some include short-term memory loss, severe lack of focus (way worse than my normal ADD), and quick exhaustion. These symptoms come and go as they feel like it, disrupting my train of thought and ability to accomplish goals.

You might have noticed my blog has been more miss than hit so far this year.

The thing is, I still have goals that I want to accomplish. I'm frustrated that these symptoms are not allowing me to do so.

When I read Mrs. Kemerer's article about writing through one's moods, this hit home for me. Not necessarily about writing through a wide variety of moods, though that's necessary too. But to write through the symptoms I'm continuing to deal with.

It hasn't been easy since I realized that on June 9. My writing has still seemed to only trickle in the following weeks. Not for lack of trying. Not for lack of motivation. Solely because of symptoms I couldn't seem to lick.

Then I received an e-mail encouragement from the hostess of Go Teen Writers' 100-for-100 Writing Challenge that I'm participating in this summer and autumn. In that e-mail, Stephanie Morrill shared the following quote by James Scott Bell: