Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Book Review ~ "Summer in Paris" by Michele Ashman Bell

SUMMER IN PARIS by Michele Ashman Bell

      "I declared bankruptcy this morning. We've lost everything." Kenzie's father took a breath and continued. "We have thirty days to auction off our belongings and move out of the house."
      Kenzie's mouth dropped open with disbelief. "Bankrupt," she whispered. That one word had the power to reduce her life from chauffeurs and credit cards to nothing.
     "While we sort this out," her father continued, "we've made arrangements for you to stay with your aunt and uncle in Paris."
     Paris. That wouldn't be so bad.
     But wait . . . her uncle didn't live in Europe. He lived in Idaho.

Reading this blurb on the back of the book had me thinking two things. This Kenzie is a spoiled brat, and the book is going to be full of situations that will humble her to the point of becoming a nice and likable person.
I was right on both accounts. The personal growth arc that Bell creates for her main character is well done.

At first I had little sympathy for Kenzie. I felt like saying, "Oh waaaahh." Kenzie just seemed like a girl with a silver spoon and the world owes her a living mentality. Bell soon changed that image by giving glimpses into Kenzie that proved that she really was a nice kid with bad things happening to her. Bell dug deep into the character and created a well rounded young lady that rose to the occasion.  My respect grew for the socialite as the story progressed.

One of my favorite characters was Rambo, aka Adam. He is about as perfect as a guy can be even though he has been kicked out of the social stratosphere for a horrible crime he was accused of, but not convicted. He brought a breath of fresh air into the town, and the story. He also seemed to bring the best out in Kenzie.

Bell fleshes out the surrounding characters by creating firm images complete with, mannerisms, and personalities.

Kenzie was given the farm chore of gathering eggs from the hens. Bell did a great job making it seem real and added humor to the situation. Readers will experience it right along with Kenzie.

I got a little confused when Kenzie turned her nose up at oatmeal for breakfast because of her strict diet as a ballerina, yet ate shakes and french fries without batting an eye. I chocked it up to the fact that she must be allowing herself the full experience of living a new and different life.

"Summer in Paris" is a fun read about coming of age and a little romance twisted throughout. Bell throws in a good mystery to keep you turning the pages. I recommend the book to read while lounging on a hammock in Paris, Idaho or France. Your own back yard will actually do just fine.

"Summer in Paris" is another quality book published by Valor Publishing Group LLC.

    Michele Ashman Bell

To purchase "Summer in Paris" CLICK HERE

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book Review ~ "I'll Know You By Heart" by Kimberly Job

The day Stephanie Roberts met Jared Wakefield, she didn't realize they had met before. Running from an abusive marriage and trying to safeguard her children, Stephanie turns to Jared for support--but he needs more from her than she might be capable of giving.  With her abusive husband looming in her past, the difficulties they must overcome seem insurmountable.

Is it possible for love to conquer all?  "I'll Know You By Heart" is a timeless romance that explores the possibility that relationships span the entire realm of eternity---a story about abuse, hardship, and betrayal---ultimately a story about the healing power of everlasting true love.

So far so good. I love a good story, and a good romance at that. I knew from the very first page that I was in for a bit of a rough ride following Stephanie as she dealt with and faces her horrific trials. Kimberly Job doesn't hold back on the reality of the pain, suffering and fear that accompany abuse by a spouse. She also fills the reader with hope, and comfort as she takes them on a journey of discovery, strength, honesty, and healing.

In the story, Stephanie has three children and lives in constant fear from her husband's violent temper. She puts up with it for years, convincing herself that it's really her own fault and that if she could only be better, or prettier, or perfect, etc., he would not treat her this way. It was a harrowing look inside what a battered woman deals with. Job is spot on in when she writes the scene where Stephanie grows a back bone; when the abuse spills over to her sixteen year old son. I was with her, urging her along as I read. This can't continue. She MUST take responsibility and not allow her children to be abused. Job writes with such clarity, insight and honesty that the characters become real, their pain and suffering flows out of the pages and into your heart.
This novel is not all about the anguish and tragedy of abuse, but also one of great hope, healing and growth. Job brings the story to life and takes the reader on quite an emotional ride. One cannot help but be changed after reading this book. Stephanie comes full circle when her Spirit is no longer surrounded by constant fear. She is able to recognize those inner whisperings and follow her heart. The reader is able to come to grasp with our eternal nature along with Stephanie in the story.
Job has created a masterpiece of hope. "I'll Know You By Heart" is a must read.

To purchase your own copy of "I'll Know You By Heart"
by Valor Publishing Group LLC.,  click here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Book Review ~ "The Thorn" by Daron D. Fraley

"The Thorn" by Daron D. Fraley is a new release by Valor Publishing Group, LLC. Writers Mirror has been invited to participate in the book blog review tour. Let's start with the captivating blurb on the back.

Three tribes are at war on the planet Gan, unaware that the sign of Christ's birth on an unknown word--Earth--is about to appear in the heavens.

During a bloody skirmish with Gideonite troops, Jonathan of Daniel spares Pekah, a young enemy soldier, gaining his trust forever. These two distant brothers from estranged tribes covenant with each other to end the war being waged by a self-proclaimed emperor, and soon discover the intentions of a far more dangerous foe--a sinister general bent on ruling those he can bring into subjection and destroying all others. 

I must admit my curiosity was piqued by this mixture of history and religious beliefs being tied together and viewed through the eyes of people living on another planet. I'm not a big fan of war books and movies, but started reading with hopes of a good tale. I was not disappointed. Fraley weaves an interesting story of three very different groups of people dealing with intrigue, power, murder, romance, obedience, faith, trust and forgiveness.

The names of the characters were excellent and in keeping with the story. Battle strategies were mapped out with finesse. Fraley seems to know how to stage a war. The weapons he described lent themselves well to the story. The Thorn was quite unusual, and an interesting object in itself. The sword Jonathan used was particularly fascinating. Stones that glowed with light when rubbed were another good creative touch.

The two sister suns, Aqua and Azure, were mentioned by name often throughout the book which leads one to believe they play some significant part yet to be revealed. Sniffling and teary eyes by grown men and hardened soldiers gave me pause now and then.

Spoiler Alert: The anointing of the King and the two marriages were lumped together in one event which seemed a little anti-climactic and a bit rushed since each event was a big deal.

Included in the book is a preview of chapter one of the next book which contains a disturbing hook. As an advocate for the sanctity of one's person, and particularly my daughters, I was upset to leave the new situation unresolved, but isn't that what a good hook does? I'll have to read book two and hope there is some kind of justice.

Fraley takes us on a journey back in time and gives a good look into what might have been in a universe far away. He certainly makes the possibility come alive in his novel.

To purchase your own copy right now  click here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Writer ~ Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

Author Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen was born and raised in Rexburg, Idaho, received her Associates Degree in English from Ricks College and studied writing at Weber State University and Utah State University. Her first article was published in a 1994 magazine, and she has since published numerous articles and short stories in print and online mediums. Her first mystery novel, MISSING, was published in 2009, and her second novel, TRAPPED, will be available in stores next month.

CRW: Welcome, Ronda, to Writers Mirror. It is a pleasure to have you be the Wednesday Writer today on Writers Mirror.

Ronda: Thanks, Cindy. I’ve been looking forward to this moment.

CRW: Please tell us when you first began to write?

Ronda: I’ve been “writing” since the 6th grade, but my first published article came out in a 1994 magazine.

CRW: What inspires you to write?

Ronda: The hunger to write, no matter what. But I also have a strong desire to write books that “lift” my readers. Too few people realize how important their goodness is to this world.

CRW: Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?

Ronda: I try to write 5-6 days a week. I usually try to write as much as I can within the time I have. Sometimes that time involves research and planning, so it’s hard to plan a number of words. Not an excuse, I promise. Just the way it is for me at this point in my career.

CRW: What gets in your way of writing?

Ronda: Any and all other responsibilities. Honestly, the desire to write is so strong in me that I have to make myself do other things. I do better, however, if my schedule allows me to write in the morning. That way I don’t feel as guilty the rest of the day about not writing.

CRW: How do you get past it?

Ronda: If I’m having a crazy busy day, then I try to AT LEAST write down ideas or even a sentence or two on my WIP.

CRW: What makes you CRAZY about writing? Both crazy good and crazy bad.

Ronda: By crazy do you mean obsessed? I think I am a bit obsessed about writing which brings the good and bad that goes with that “condition.” But you know, it wasn’t until “MISSING” came out and I began
to have overwhelmed moments piled on top of overwhelmed moments (mostly related to promotion) that I actually thought “Why am I doing this?” The thought didn’t last long, though.

CRW: Where is the weirdest place you have worked on a writing project?

Ronda: My husband’s apartment in China. I don’t consider my car during my kids’ soccer practices as weird, because I think that kind of thing is becoming the norm among mom-writers.

CRW: How long does it take you to complete a book?

Ronda: “MISSING” took 3 years because it was my first and I had a huge learning curve. I also extensively rewrote it three or more times. “TRAPPED” took 1 ½ years. I’m hoping my 3rd will take me less than that. Experience helps a lot.

CRW: Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Ronda: To me, ideas are everywhere, just floating around us, waiting for someone to snatch them up. For instance, my first novel, “MISSING,” came from a man/child exchange I saw in a parking lot. “TRAPPED” was the union of two vivid dreams. The book I’m working on now has bits and pieces from a few shows I saw on the History Channel.

CRW: Where do you get your character’s names?

Ronda: I usually have an idea of who my characters are, so I go through Baby Name books and find those that mean something similar to my characters. I then work with those names until I find one that feels right.

CRW: What is your favorite writing food?

Ronda” If I’m under stress, I gravitate to chocolate.

CRW: What do you do when you get writer’s block?

Ronda: I’m rarely blocked in the sense that I can’t think of anything to write. When I get stuck in a scene or something, though, I read, brainstorm, research—just anything along that line that might “show” me what to do next.

CRW: Tell us about your upcoming book “Trapped."

Ronda: Like my first novel, “MISSING,” “TRAPPED” is a romantic suspense novel. However, it’s different than anything else I’ve ever written because it includes a hint of paranormal fantasy—no ghosts, though. “TRAPPED” was originally scheduled to come out later this year, but my publisher pushed it up to April. That makes two novels for me within 6 months. Whew!

CRW: Who is your publisher?

Ronda: Walnut Springs Press.

CRW: Please give us your best “Elevator Pitch” for "Trapped."

Ronda: When Emi Warrin, a sheltered, twenty-three-year-old Florida girl, wakens to find a thief in her room, she has no idea that the "trap" he left behind will eventually lead her and the man she loves to the Austrian Alps. Nor does she know that she's the powerful Firstborn. She's destined to face a world of betrayal and pagan sacrifice to save herself, her family, and the generations who come after her.

CRW: Please tell us more about "Missing."

Ronda: “MISSING” is an LDS novel about a BYU-Idaho student who’s on a choir tour in British Columbia when she spots a kidnapped child from her own hometown in Rexburg, Idaho. The story is the hunt to save the girl and includes a bit of romance with a handsome musician along the way

CRW: Where can Writers Mirror Readers purchase your novels?

Ronda: “TRAPPED” hasn’t been released yet, but I believe it will be available in the same places you find “MISSING.” “MISSING” is available online at,, and other retailers. It’s also in Deseret Book and independent bookstores where LDS books are sold. You can find direct links to it on my website at

CRW: Okay, now here is the toughie. Why are you a writer?

Ronda: Actually, that’s easy. I’m a writer because that’s what I do. It’s who I am. If I don’t write, I feel like my day Isn’t quite complete.

CRW: What would be the best complement you could receive from a reader?

Ronda: These are two of my favorite responses: ‘I couldn’t put it down!’ and ‘You made me cry.’ But you know, if I’m hearing from someone face-to-face, I also love the excited look in their eyes when they ask me when my next book is coming out.

CRW: Where can we read more about you or contact you, such as website or blog sites?

Ronda: My website is I also have two main blogs I write for. One is about writing related topics on The other contains information about my travels as well as serious articles I’ve written for

CRW: Thank you for sharing this with us on Writers Mirror.

Ronda: Anytime, Cindy. It’s been fun!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wednesday Writer - Author Nichole Giles

Author: Nichole Giles and her books:
"Mormon Mishaps and Mischief"
"The Sharp Edge of the Knife"

Nichole Giles was born in Nevada, raised in Arizona, and graduated high school in Utah. Her early career plans included becoming a megastar actress or rock star, but she decided instead to have a family and then become a writer, in that order. Writing is her passion, but she also loves to spend time with her family, travel, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.

CRW: Welcome, Nichole, to Writers Mirror. It is really great to interview you today. Where do you usually do most of your writing?

Nichole: We have a den, but my kids have taken over the computer in there, so I usually opt to hide out in my bedroom with a laptop. It works for me.

CRW: Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words or a certain amount of time?

Nichole: You know, I have four kids, including teenagers, so while I do write every day, that writing isn't always on a work in progress. Some days I'm happy to clean out my inbox and write blogs. But I try to make some kind of progress every day, and as long as I do that, I feel like I'm moving forward.

CRW: What gets in your way of writing?

Nichole: My kids, our schedule, the other parts of life like laundry and making dinner. But I will say that I often give up sleep in order to find a few minutes for writing.

CRW: How do you get past it?

Nichole: Sometimes, I don't sleep. Other times, I write on a notebook while I'm on the go. One of these days I hope to hire a housekeeper to take care of my house while I write--but until then, I take things one day at a time.

CRW: What makes you CRAZY about writing?

Nichole: Crazy as in I love it or crazy as in drives me nuts?

CRW: You choose.

Nichole: I love writing because it's a great channel for emotions, and because I get to live in another world for a little while every day. But it sometimes drives me crazy when I have characters having conversations in my head while I'm trying to concentrate on other things.

CRW: Where is the weirdest place you have worked on a writing project?

Nichole: I've been known to edit at half time during soccer games, and have also worked on things in airports and on planes.

CRW: How long does it take you to complete a book?

Nichole: It depends on the book. I work on several projects at a time, and usually an entire book takes me between a year and two years to complete and edit. But I'm talking from conception to conclusion and everything in between.

CRW: Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Nichole: From everything in life. Look around! The world is full of ideas.

CRW: Where do you get your character’s names?

Nichole: Some of them come to me already named. But when they don't, I have a huge character naming book that I pour through until I've found just the right names.

CRW: What is your favorite writing food?

Nichole: It depends on the day. Sometimes it's chocolate, but sometimes black licorice.

CRW: Tell us about your books.

Nichole: Mormon Mishaps and Mischief is an anthology of 200 short stories about the silly things people do in and around church meetings and activities. It's available everywhere LDS Books are sold.

The Sharp Edge of a Knife is based on the true story of my grandpa, who was kidnapped in 1958 by two convicts on the run. The men planned to kill him, but through his faith and spiritual promptings he managed to change the outcome of the experience. This book is available on Amazon, and will hopefully make it into stores soon.

CRW: Who are your publishers?

Nichole: Mormon Mishaps and Mischief was published by Cedar Fort, Inc. And The Sharp Edge of a Knife by Golden Wings Enterprises.

CRW: Please give us your best “Elevator Pitch” for one of your books.

Nichole: When Mel Petersen leaves for work on the morning of February 7, 1958, he has no idea what awaits him when he picks up a pair of young men who appear to be college students. What Mel doesn’t know is that the men are actually convicts on the run, who are desperate to get away by any means necessary. When one of his passengers holds a knife to Mel’s throat, he has no choice but to submit to the demands of the criminals. Mel hopes he has what it takes to talk his captors into letting him live, but fears they will kill him before he has the chance.

CRW: Why are you a writer? Loaded question I know since you need to state it in only a few sentences.

Nichole: Because I love literature, I love creating mental pictures, and because it's the only way to silence the voices in my head.

CRW: Who do you hope reads your work?

Nichole: Everyone who might find something valuable in it. And possibly a few people who will read it just for the sake of enjoyment.

CRW: What would be the best complement you could receive from a fan?

Nichole: Oh wow. Um, how about something like, "Your book helped me..."

CRW: Where can we read more about you or contact you, such as website or blog sites?

Nichole: My blog is, and my website is

CRW: Thank you for sharing this with us on Wednesday Writers.

Nichole: Thanks for having me. I enjoyed this interview.