Thursday, November 14, 2019

Book Review: Martin Legacy by Abigayle Claire

If y'all are connected in the indie publishing world, you've probably seen Martin Legacy circling. The book was just published on Tuesday (the 12th) and I was privileged to read an ARC copy! So, on to my review!

Gemma Ebworthy is a struggling single mother—but not for much longer. Engaged to a kind-hearted farmer boy, her turbulent life is looking more stable at last, but troubles are still on the horizon. It seems their efforts to build a legacy for their unique family are constantly under siege.

Farris cherishes the only life he’s ever known, even though he feels more called to the mission field than his adoptive father’s fields. Growing up among extended family and in the Christian faith, he’s always had a firm foundation.

Yet when the past Gemma is so ashamed of—the one Farris can’t even remember—comes calling again, the life they’ve built is put to the test. For it to remain standing, Gemma is going to have to silence her demons once and for all. But this time, she’s not alone. 

Series: Martin Generations, #2 (would recommend reading in order)

My rating:

So, I read Martin Hospitality soon after it first released, and while I enjoyed it, it didn't really keep my attention. (See my review HERE.)

Martin Legacy, however, was a different story.

Probably because it didn't cover a short time span like MH did. The first two or three chapters really made me kiiiinda dread the rest of the book, because (this might be considered a minor spoiler here) Gemma and Josiah went from madly in love + engaged to Gemma calling the wedding off + getting engaged again in just a few pages. I didn't care for all the drama with Gemma.

Well, okay, let's stop here and talk about Gemma for a moment. I . . . well, she was honestly one of my least favorite characters? I honestly didn't get her. I mean, she was sweet and all . . . but nah. Get this: Josiah was my favorite this time. In Martin Hospitality, Josiah was one of my least favorites because he was too perfect. But in Martin Legacy? He was great! As imperfect as anyone, haha!

Also I know that Farris is the heartthrob and everything, and although I loved his character, he was . . . idk. So different from his mom and biological dad, he didn't really seem to fit. Though he was soooo adorable around age 4/5.

Katherine was . . . a temperamental brat, really. I didn't really like her character; she was awfully, idk, shallow? Though I did love that her nickname was Kat instead of Katie!

So, anyway. There were a couple aspects about the farming I found a bit strange, but not necessarily unrealistic. The overall setting was fabulous—I loved the country vibes!—though there wasn't a wholllle lot of description? All in all, though, I loved how Abi took seemingly mundane lives and wove a whimsical tale!

The thing I most appreciate about the romance in the book is that it was realistic. Josiah and Gemma's relationship was the sweetest thing! Their 'I love you's didn't come after stomach flutters and physical touch; if anything, they came the most after their arguments. If they ever had angry words, they wouldn't part without a kiss and saying 'I love you.' This spoke more about the book than anything else ever could.

The ending was good . . . I feel like there was a huge gap between the last chapter and the epilogue, but I suppose that's the purpose of an epilogue, right? There were a couple things I wish would've been resolved (like what happened to Travis? And DID ANNALIESE EVER GET MARRIED?), but they were minor and could be left to the reader's imagination.

All in all, the finale to the Martin Generations duology was fabulous and kept me hooked once I got into it! Congratulations on your new release, Abi!

*I was given an e-copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Have you read the Martin Generations duology? If so, what did you think about it?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Music Artists for Writing

I so enjoyed writing last week's music post, I thought I might make all my Tuesday posts in November about music! (if you missed last week's you can find it HERE.)

Today, I'm going to share with you some music artists (and my favorite songs by them!) that have amazing instrumentals to write with.

Craig Duncan

If you know me, you know that I'm a HUGE fan of Craig Duncan. He has such a huge variety of music styles, from bluegrass to jazz to polka!

Andy Leftwich

Andy Leftwich only has a couple of albums (one of them is an instrumental hymns album) but they're definitely worth listening to!

The Piano Guys

Is an explanation really necessary here? ;) (if you don't know who TPG are, you're sorely missing out.)


These guys have serious talent, that's all I gotta say.

William Joseph

I actually literally discovered all of William Joseph's music just today, haha! I was scrolling through my writing music and found one of his songs. Pretty cool!

Do you like these artists? Who are some of your favorites?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Book Review: Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire

Gemma Ebworthy is eighteen, pregnant, and alone. Now that she's been evicted, she finds herself sleeping in a barn, never dreaming that tomorrow could bring kindness of a life-changing magnitude. 

The Martins aren't a typical family—even for rural Kansas. With more kids than can be counted on one hand and a full-time farm, Gemma must make a lot of adjustments to fit in. But despite their many differences, Gemma finds herself drawn to this family and their radical Christian faith. 

When Gemma's past collides with her yet again, she must begin revealing her colorful history. With every detail Gemma concedes, she fears she will lose the Martins' trust and the stable environment she desires for herself and her unborn child. Just how far can the Martins' love and God's forgiveness go?

Series: Martin Generations, #1

My rating:

Okay, Farris was super cute. Gemma was sweet. Josiah was . . . well, I don't know. I really liked him, but he seemed too . . . perfect to me. My favorite characters were probably Hollie, Jake, and, in the second half of the book, Mr. Martin.

The first half of the book I enjoyed, but it seemed . . . lacking to me? I suppose I'm just not all that into Christian fiction. ;P

But all the plot twists kept me reading. Like, when I found out that (SPOILER) Travis was Farris's dad... I did NOT see that coming. And then later, THAT SCENE WHEN MR. MARTIN BUSTS ANNELIESE AND TRAVIS WITH THE SHOTGUN. I was cheering him the whole way, haha! (SPOILER OVER)

Idk why, but even though he was a really minor character, Jake was just cool. I loved his character.

And Hollie? At first I was wary because she seemed . . . too nice. But then, I just grew to love her. She's so sweet and buoyant and... yeah.

One thing about the book that bothered me/seemed unrealistic was that Josiah had a flip phone. I know this is a small and unrelevant point, but it just kinda drove me a little nuts because pretty much every farmer I know has a smart phone. Living 'in the sticks' does NOT mean we dont have iPhones. ok, end of rant. XP

Great job on your debut novel, Abi!

Have you read Martin Hospitality? Are you looking forward to the sequel, Martin Legacy? (Review of that one coming next week!)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Movie Soundtracks for Writing

I don't know about you, but when I write, I like to have music playing. Not just out of the computer's open speakers, but through earbuds. There's just something about having the music transmitted directly into your ears that brings the music to life in a way you'd never imagined!

Anyway, sorry, I didn't mean to go on a tangent about earbuds, haha! If you're one of those people that can listen to worded music while writing . . . I envy you. But yet, I also don't envy you. Because if I could write with worded music in the background, I would never have been introduced to the amazing world of soundtracks.

Have you ever noticed that on super old movies, they don't generally have music for every scene? It's sad, really. But, having grown up watching said shows, I didn't even notice. Until I started watching movies that did have soundtracks. And I realized that music brings the movies to life. If the bad guy is about to attack the protagonist from behind, the viewer doesn't really feel the desired fear and trepidation until spooky, suspenseful music is played.

That is why I love listening to music while I write. Unless you listen for it, you don't even notice a movie's soundtrack. But, nonetheless, when it's there, it sharpens the emotions evoked by the scene. So when I turn on a soundtrack (Spotify playlists for the win!), half the time I don't even realize that it's playing; it just drowns out other sounds, and it helps me focus. I can't tell you how many times music has kept me intent on my writing and my fingers flying.

So, without further ado, I'd love to share some of my favorite movie soundtracks that I enjoy writing with! Warning: Most (if not all) have one or two songs that have words, so I'd recommend skipping them. Since I don't even know if the words are good. ;P

The Chronicles of Narnia
The Narnia soundtracks are a mix of intense songs and happy songs, so you might want to sift through them to find the ones you like. ;)

How to Train Your Dragon
I love the HTTYD soundtrack so much!! Again, it's a mix, but it's not quite to diverse.

War Horse
Honestly, I was kinda shocked at how playful the War Horse soundtrack is, haha!

The Cinderella playlist is actually pretty fluffy and light, haha! But it you're writing a fun story, this is PERFECT.

Alllllll the emotions . . . (If you've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about!)

McFarland, USA
The McFarland, USA soundtrack will get you in the mood for writing, no matter what genre you're writing! It makes you feel ready to tackle the world!

What music do you enjoy writing with? Have you seen any of these movies? Should I do another post with favorite soundtracks?

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Book Review: Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble

About the book:
Harper Taylor is used to being alone. Her mother passed away in a car accident when she was an infant, she never knew who her father was, and now even the widowed grandmother who raised her is gone. She’s done just fine investing her marine biology degree and her energy into her pen shell business.
The last thing she expects is for the DNA test she took to reveal a likely half-sister. And when she and Annabelle meet, there are striking similarities in their stories. Is it just coincidence that both their mothers died tragically without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?
When Harper’s business partner has a stroke, his son Ridge steps in to help. Before long, he's spending more time with her than the business would dictate . . . and Harper finds she doesn’t mind in the least.
When yet another tragedy strikes close to home, though, Harper and Ridge realize that the secrets of the past can’t stay there. They’ll have to unravel Harper’s past before they can secure their future.

My rating: 

So, I'd like to start off by saying that I appreciated the lack of physical touch in this book. There was definitely attraction, and a few awkward moments, but really. (minor spoiler here) the couple didn't even kiss until the end. So there's that. I was pleasantly surprised at how clean it was. That's probably what kept this boat from sinking to two stars.

Okay, now . . . the setting. The diving and overall setting was super cool to read about, but all the talk about mollusks and pen shells and byssus and sea silk went right over my head. (Not gonna lie, I eventually Googled some of that stuff.) But Harper's house boat sounded super cute and quaint (I mean, really. She wants to get rid of the old orange shaggy carpet that clashed with the turquoise bedspread? C'mon, Harper, where's your sense of adventure??)

The murder mysteries were unique and intriguing and sad . . . but I kept getting Lisa and Judy mixed up. And Grace and whoever the other best friend was. Good grief, there were so many minor characters, I finally gave up trying to remember them all. If I couldn't place a name, they just stuck in my head as a vague idea.

Okayyyy, the main characters. *deep breath* Let's go.
Harper. *cringes* I enjoyed Harper's character. I really did. But the book started out with Harper at a clinic, adopting an embryo. The problem? Harper is a single 30-year-old woman so desperate to have children and show them the love that she never had as a child, that she takes matters into her own hands when she comes to the conclusion that she'll probably never get married soon enough to have kids. Now, some wouldn't have a problem with this. I couldn't show you exact Scriptures to back me up. But I also believe that a single parent adopting a child (or embryo in this case) goes against God's design for family. Harper claimed to be a Christian, yet there was nothing in the book that mentioned her waiting for His timing, trusting Him, or even wondering if He wanted her to have any children at all.

Okay, rant over. Let's move to Ridge. Dude has serious trust issues—almost as bad as Harper herself. He's bitter and has held a grudge against Harper for nearly two decades because his father seemed to give more love to the 'daughter of his heart' than to his own two children. So when his dad comes up with a situation in which they can work together, his first reaction was repulse—until he realized that he could use this as an opportunity to prove once and for all that Harper was only here to mooch his dad's money! Brilliant! *headesk* Someone shoot me. One of my least favorite tropes is enemies-to-lovers. And this is a classic moment in that very trope.

So, okay, let's dive into more depth on the romance. They both have admitted their attraction to each other. (Actually it was more of an I-realize-that-I-hated-you-to-protect-myself-from-my-attraction-to-you-all-these-years kind of admittance, but I digress.) She wants to run her fingers through his thick, gorgeous black hair. He wants to protect her with his entire being. They both pretty much know exactly what the other is thinking. Yet Harper is convinced of his love one moment, then convinced of the opposite the next. And Ridge? Well, he was a little more steady, which I appreciated. But *cringes* both characters seemed a little . . . shallow?

So why three stars instead of two? Like I mentioned before, the romance wasn't awful. (Aside from their constant denial.) And the mysteries kept me intrigued. The intense moments kept me hooked and let's just not forget the stun gun. That was fabulously angsty.

*I received a free e-copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts are my own.

Have you read any of Colleen Coble's books? Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

NaNoWriMo Prep

So, this morning I made a decision.

I will be participating in NaNoWriMo 2019.

*Screams* Nope, nope, I really don't know what I'm doing. Especially since November is looking to be . . . well . . . pretty busy for my family. So I doubt that I'll reach 50k words in a month. (I wrote like a madwoman when I wrote Beloved, and that was only for 35k in a month.) It'll take a miracle, really, haha!

BUT. I'm gonna go for it. Because I've got so much inspiration for my story right now that I just need to get out on the paper, even if I don't reach the goal. Because if I don't go for it now, hard telling when I actually will write it.

So, just in case you're curious to know what my project is, I'm actually going to be restarting my Camp NaNo July project. Except from Wyatt's point of view. With a changed name. (Actually there's gonna be a lot of name changing *cries*)


Here I am, 4 days before the thing starts, and I've barely started planning. Heh.

What are you doing to prep? I'm going to try to do some plotting, but I usually get so confused when I try to write out the plot that seems amazing in my head. Soooo . . . this'll be an adventure! ;P

Honestly, though, I find it much more fun to build the Pinterest board and playlist than to actually plot or research. Anyone else have this problem?? 

Y'know, this post was supposed to be all about preparing for NaNo, outlining, all that jazz. But, in typical Kaitlyn fashion . . . that didn't happen. But hey, you get a disjointed freak-out post. Fabulous, huh? ;)

Have any prep tips? Or just tips for surviving? Help!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Book Review: Vow of Justice by Lynette Eason

About the book:
FBI Special Agent Lincoln St. John is living his own personal nightmare. When the woman he loves, Allison Radcliffe, is killed, he devotes his life to tracking down the killers and making them pay for their crimes. He expected it to be a challenge. What he never expected was to find Allison very much alive shortly after her "murder." As his anger and hurt mix with relief, Linc isn't sure how he's supposed to feel. One thing he does know for sure: he and Allison will have to work together to stop a killer before she dies a second time--this time for good.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason closes out her Blue Justice series with a story that will have you tearing through the pages to get to the stunning conclusion.

Series: Blue Justice, #4 (Could probably be read as a standalone, but I'd recommend reading the series in order, 'cause SPOILERS for the rest of the series)

My rating: 

I'm so sad to see the series come to a close. *cries* I loved the Blue Justice series! Called to Protect and Code of Valor were my favorites, but Vow of Justice is definitely high on the list. ;)

I loved Linc's personality! Being the oldest of six siblings, he's naturally very protective and tends to like being in charge of everything. Yet for me, these traits weren't portrayed in an annoying way—rather, they were what made Linc's story so much more real. (And, I mean, the dude practically got blown up. Gotta give the author points for that.)

Linc's partner, Allie, was a fabulous character. Her past was shrouded in a mystery, so at first I was so confused as to why she was being so secretive about it. But the more that was explained, the more okay I became with her secret. If that even makes sense. (That one twist with Greg, though. I didn't see the first part coming, but the second twist? Yeah, totally called it.)

The plot? Fabulousness. All the fabulousness. It was one of those stories where you just can't wait to read what's coming next. So many twists and turns. Almost predictable . . . almost. But right when you think you have it all figured out, another twist will have you second guessing yourself!

Of course, the romance wasn't a favorite. But it didn't make me choke, so that's a plus. ;)

*I was given an e-copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read the Blue Justice series? What are your thoughts?