Posted in Book Reviews

Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson

518Ek4zaVJLI was attracted to Book Girl because I am a “book girl.” To be a writer for a living and an author, you kind of have to be. You can’t be an accomplished and talented writer without also being a reader. It’s like a rule or something.

I chose this book because it is a book about books – a book filled with reading lists. Now, the author is a student of Theology, so her book reading and interpretations revolve around her chosen religion. That aside, this is still an excellent book about books. You can read anything you want into the words you read on a page, whether you want to find connections between God or yourself.

I was surprised with how many great books are out there that I haven’t read yet. This tome is one that will guide me a bit on making sure I expand my reading repertoire some.

The author, Sarah Clarkson, breaks her lists into different categories – like the books that helped shape her and the books that inspired her. You know, if you’re a reader that is, that books are a guiding light in our lives. They help us become who we are and even avoid who we don’t want to be. They teach us things that are real while also helping us hone our imaginations.

I am open minded with all religions, so I found the Theology side of this both interesting and distracting. Because of this, I give the book 4-stars (out of 5). It was definitely worth the read, but aside from skimming through to write down a few books I’ve missed in all my years as a reader, I probably won’t pick it up again.


I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Book Reviews

The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos

51rF0Y+4o3L._SY346_The Crescent Stone is a tale that will take you to strange lands, where you’ll meet strange people (both good and bad), you’ll find out what makes a girl have to choose between living her life with her family or fulfilling a promise to fight for strangers in a strange land.

Mostly, this book is the story of Madeline Oliver, a girl with a lung disease that is killing her. Then, it’s also about her “friend” (they were lab partners) Jason. It’s about the land of the Elenil and their fight against the Scim warriors, as well.

What I Loved About This Book

I don’t speak that word loosely – I LOVED this book. I really enjoyed the world that Mikalatos created within these pages. His details are amazing, though most of the detail revolves around the many races of people within the story. So many different types of people (creatures?). You feel like you’re inside the story.

The story is well-written, keeping you hooked from page to page. There were nights when I found this book hard to put down. What kept me reading was a need to know what would happen with Madeline. Her friend Jason is a bit of a “wild card,” and seems to be causing issues for her every chance he gets – so you’re left continually wondering which of his “pranks” are going to cost Madeline her life.

In the end, though, Madeline is able to make her own choice about life and death.

This book didn’t make me cry, but it had the potential, and I bet future tales will bring tears.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.


Posted in Book Reviews

Reading and Writing

I don’t have a book review for you right now. I’ve been too busy with work (I am a freelance writer for a living). I have been writing no less than 30,000 words a week, often many more than that.

Instead, I thought I’d talk about my writing process a little bit, and also about what I am reading right now.


When it comes to work articles, I have a different process for article writing than I do for review writing, and another completely different process I use when I am writing books.

When I write articles, I come up with an outline first, starting with the title. Then I fill in the blanks. If I have to do research I do that as I fill in the blanks. I don’t also work from top to bottom, but I do always start with the intro paragraph(s). Sometimes I’ll do the conclusion next, or in the middle of everything, and sometimes I do actually save it for last.

When I write reviews, I do different things for music reviews than I do for book reviews. Music reviews I write as I am listening to the music. I will write notes on each song I listen to and then integrate them into the complete review. For book reviews I often write them after I am finished, unless I read something particularly interesting or have a great thought that I want to include in the review – then I’ll write some notes as I am still reading.

When I write books, my process depends on the book. Any book, from self-help to poetry, I may jump around from one part to another. When it comes to shorts stories and my currently in-progress novels, I write beginning to end and then make major edits when I read back through. And, with my children’s books I write the entire story, then I do the artwork to go along with what I’ve written.

Wow, that’s a lot of writing, and a lot of outlines to keep track of. I do sometimes outline my books, but it depends on the subject matter.

What is your writing process?


I am never reading only one thing at a time. My current reading list includes –

  • Poet’s Market 2018
  • John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony
  • Three Plays by John Osborne (the first one was dreadfully boring)
  • Eve Picard’s The Soul Hacker (for review purposes)

Next on my list is Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time (when I am done with Steinbeck). I don’t remember a thing about this book other than the fact that it was the first book I remember my mom reading to me.

Posted in Book Reviews

Want Me To Review Your Book?

I love reading. I am a voracious reader. I am already at 54 out of 100 books on my “Reading Challenge” on Goodreads, and we’re not even halfway through the year yet. I think I might want to read your book.

What I am interested in reading:

  • Poetry collections
  • Short story collections
  • True crime
  • Horror, science fiction, and fantasy
  • Romance novels UNDER 300 pages
  • Self-help books
  • Reference style books
  • Biographies/Autobiographies, especially those about fellow writers

When submitting, please include a short paragraph about why I want to read this book and how many pages the book is, as well as a link to it on Amazon. Don’t just send me your Amazon synopsis, be creative if you want me to consider your book for review.

I’m not going to charge you. I do expect a free book. I accept Kindle and physical copies only. Requests should be sent to If you want to mail me a book, I will share my physical address with you via email in a follow-up.

I can’t guarantee a specific turnaround time, but your book will be read in the order in which it’s received. I will post the full review here, on this blog, and shorter reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads.

Looking forward to seeing what you’ve written!

Posted in Book Reviews

National Poetry Month Book Review: Freedom for Me by Jessica Lucci

51SRejN2X5L._SY346_I was lucky enough to get a free gift from Jessica Lucci today. It was a copy of her new poetry book that was just released yesterday. I wasn’t given this book to review it, but I felt such a connection to Lucci’s words that I was compelled to say something about it. A Kindle copy of Freedom for Me is only 99 cents on Amazon.

The book’s intro immediately caught my attention. It’s a message to people going through, or who have gone through, domestic abuse, letting them know they are not alone. As someone that has survived domestic abuse (and more), I felt drawn to get reading. As I read, I began to feel a kinship with Lucci and found a lot of similarities in her experiences with my own, which can be read about in my own poetry book that touches on abuse, Fighting With Myself.

One poem that really resonated with me was “Days and Nights.” This perfectly describes what my days and nights were like with my ex-husband. I learned so many lessons from going through 8 1/2 years of domestic abuse, which I had not seen or acknowledged myself until I was diagnosed with high blood pressure out of the blue and was driven to find out what had me so dang stressed.

Anyway, back to the poems. “Disgust and Desire” reminded me of my sexual relationship with my ex-husband. Forcing yourself to do your “wifely” duties is painful and heartbreaking, AND it IS sexual abuse. Having sex when you don’t want to, even if it’s with a husband/wife, is still sexual abuse, it’s still rape.

“For the World to See” captures that feeling once you’ve gotten free of an abusive relationship. It’s like you’re a newborn adult in a strange world, still afraid to let others in. I could keep going on about how I relate to poem after poem in this collection, but I won’t.

I will say that this is a well-written collection of poetry. You’ll find a blend of poetic styles, some rhyming and some freeform. You will find tears, pain, and more. “If he had loved me” ends one of the many poems in this book and that rang so true with me too. I wasn’t loved in my previous marriage. I was a means to an end. I was used so that he didn’t have to be alone. I was his second choice, and he made sure I always knew that.

Lucci’s poetry will evoke painful memories if you’ve ever been in a bad relationship, but it’s also an inspiring tome that will remind you of why it’s so important to be free.


Posted in Book Reviews

National Poetry Month Book Review: Beldams & Bedlam by Jen Chichester

510XNk+MdmL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Happy National Poetry Month! I know it is already half over, but I’ve been busy writing poetry (among other things). I’ve also been reading plenty of poetry this month. One of the best poetry books I picked up this month is Beldams & Bedlam: Another Verse, Another Curse by Jen Chichester (it’s available on Amazon, print and Kindle). It’s a fun romp through craziness and aging, and that’s probably why it resonated with me so much.

Chichester is a personal friend, but this is an unbiased review. Her poetry is honestly some of the best stuff I have read in years. Most of her poems are short and to the point. While they could be longer and tell you more, they get the point across just fine in those few words.

This book of poetry touches base on witchcraft, aging, and many other mysterious things. I found it an easy read, but it makes you go within yourself and determine how these poems speak to you and about your life. It’s deep. It’s dark. It’s unforgiving.

There are 41 poems in this third collection from Chichester. I couldn’t put it down when I read it. You’ll feel that sometimes the poet’s life sneaks into her poetry, yet she also finds inspiration from all sorts of things, from history to pop culture. I think this makes her poetry more accessible to more people, and even more interesting to a broader array of folks.

This poem is one of my favorites in this collection:


The feckless fiend

Did not see

The gypsy, the witch

With her violets and voodoo dolls

Or the hundred feet wall

Standing tall, proud, firm

Against love and its compass.

Her witchy poems are my favorites. When you’re on Amazon, be sure to click on the author’s name so you can see the other fantastic poetry books she has available.

Posted in Yvonne's Books

Grammar Mistakes and Little Free Libraries

Today my fiance and I went for a 2.6-mile walk. On our treck, I dropped off the remaining “poorly-edited” copies of the four books I published last year at a few different places around the Eastown area of Grand Rapids.

I recently went back through and did edits with fresh eyes. Even people with over a decade of experience editing sometimes miss a thing or two. There weren’t a ton of edits, and only one of them was a somewhat major edit. Nonetheless, I decided that I would give my less-than-perfect copies away for free.

I left some in three different Little Libraries. There is one on Fulton that has one copy each of all four books, one on Diamond with one copy each of three of them, and one somewhere off Wealthy that has one copy each of two of them. What was left was a stack of Fighting With Myself that I left in the entryway at Spirit Dreams, one of my favorite places to shop and browse.

We didn’t just leave my books on this walk. Dale found a book each in two of the Little Libraries, and I bought a couple candles at Spirit Dreams. I’ve been having some health issues, so I bought a healing candle. And after getting an email from my author website from a former stalker today, I also bought a protection candle. Sunday night when I am home from dog sitting for the weekend you know what I’ll be doing.

It was a nice walk, though the temps are a bit brisk in GR right now. I hope that the people that pick my books to read enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them.