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If They Couldn’t Change Us

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If They Couldn’t Change Us

What if we didn’t go their way
What if we didn’t care what they say
What if we yearn to discover who we are
What if we dared to catch that lonely star

What if riches and fame meant nothing to us
And the inventions we wished to see is what we sought
Even seeing that those around us were as good as us

What if no matter how much they tried
They kept failing, they kept falling
Every time they threw their lies
On us
What if they couldn’t change us
What if they couldn’t change us

What if they couldn’t shame us to live as they do
What if we didn’t care to believe in their truth
What if we knew what we wanted life to be
What if we worked to turn that dream into reality

What if having lots of friends meant nothing to us
And building community on genuine love was what we sought
Maybe a lot of the world’s problems would turn to dust

What if no matter how much they tried
They kept failing, they kept falling
Every time they threw their lies
On us
What if they couldn’t change us
What if they couldn’t change us

© 2019 C. A. Barnes

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Book Review: Mind Games By Nancy Mehl

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Blurb:

FBI Behavioral Analyst Kaely Quinn’s methods may be highly unorthodox, but her talent is undeniable. She’s done her best to establish a new life for herself after being demoted and transferred to St. Louis when a reporter revealed she’s the daughter of an infamous serial killer. But when that same reporter claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely’s, it seems her old life has followed her.

When a body is found that fits the poem’s morbid predictions, Kaely and her new partner, Special Agent Noah Hunter, are forced to move past his skepticism of her approach and work together to unravel the deadly riddle.

With a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely must race to catch the murderer before anyone else, including Kaely, is killed.

General Thoughts:

From the moment I opened up this book, I knew it was going to be interesting. Immediately I was given glimpses of the Kaely’s past, the tragedy that fell on her family, and what led her to pursuing a career in the FBI. This story doesn’t leave room for dull moments, and I can honestly say that was a major strength of it.

Kaely, though tough on her own, was a sympathetic character. She was immediately villainized by many in her community and members in the field due to her family background, which was out of her control. This led to an unknown killer who wanted her to pay for the sins of her family’s past, and I like how the author made it somewhat like a riddle to figure out who that killer was.

I kept wanting to turn the pages to see who that killer was. I like how the killer was connected to Kaely and not some random killer they’ve never seen before. This made the story more interesting, especially knowing that the killer could be someone she talks to every day.

Another strength of the story was the relationship between her and Noah, her FBI partner. After facing his own tragedy in losing his wife to an illness, he struggled to accept that God was real. I like how the author used Kaely, who is a believer, to explain how God was working in her life in a way that considered Noah’s lack of understanding. I think she made her points easy to comprehend.

In the end, I was a little surprised to find out who the killer was and it made sense. Sometimes it can be challenging to weave a thriller/mystery story together, but I have to say that this author succeeded. Though this story came to an end, I see that another book is coming out in 2019 with Kaely and Noah, so I can’t wait to see how their relationship unfolds and what other problems they face as FBI agents.

Recommendation:

I would recommend this to anyone who likes crime scene stories that weave thriller and mystery into them. Also who like stories that focus on characters with internal struggles and growth.

Rating:

4.5 out of 5 stars. The story kept me interested from start to finish. I think the pacing was good, there was always something going on, whether with the characters internally or the plot. I would have loved to see Noah’s personal transformation with the internal struggles he had, but I realized there’s another book coming out, so we may see it there. Great overall, and I would definitely recommend it. It won’t disappoint.

***This book was given to me by Bethany House for an honest review.***

The Greatest Gift (Repost)

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This is a lyrical poem I wrote years ago, but always revisit it each Christmas. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll recognize it. I have to share it one last time because, after all, this is what Christmas is all about. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas Everyone! Have a wonderful New Year as well 🙂

The Greatest Gift

One can’t bring anyone
Anything greater than this
There’s nothing in the world
That can surpass this gift
Beyond all the goodies
And the bliss this season gives
Nothing compares to…

The greatest gift
It’s more than one could wish
Oh the greatest gift
Greater than anything big or small
Is the son, who died for us all

One can’t compare the joy
This season is with this
There’s nothing in this world
That can surpass this gift
Above all the stars in the sky
Or reindeer that fly
Nothing compares to…

The greatest gift
It’s more than one could wish
Oh the greatest gift
Greater than anything big or small
Is the son, who died for us all

So this holiday season
Let’s count all the reasons
Why we will celebrate
Above all the presents
Beyond all the treats
I have one wish
That all may never forget
The greatest gift

The greatest gift
It’s more than one could wish
Oh the greatest gift
Greater than anything big or small
Is the son, who died for us all

© 2005 C. A. Barnes

Book Review: This Tiny Perfect World By Lauren Gibaldi

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Blurb:

Penny loves her small-town Florida life, and she has her future mapped out. She’s going to community college after graduation to stay close to home and her best friend, Faye. She’ll take over the family diner that her dad has been managing since her mother died. And one day, she’ll marry her high school sweetheart, Logan.

But when she unexpectedly lands a scholarship to a prestigious summer theater camp, she is thrust into a world of competition and self-doubt. And suddenly, her future gets a little hazy. As she meets new friends, including Chase, a talented young actor with big-city dreams, she begins to realize that maybe the life everyone (including her) expects her to lead is not the one she was meant to have.

General Thoughts:

I have to be honest, it was the cover that made to pick up this book, and after reading it, I can say that I was not disappointed. This story was a little different from what I generally read or have read before, but I liked how it was a simple everyday life kind of story. I found it refreshing and easy to read.

The strength of this story was the main character Penny and her internal battle to choose a different path in life from what was already set up for her. Here she was, a 17 year old who already had her career guaranteed for her (her mother’s diner), a boyfriend whom she planned to marry, a best friend, everything she supposedly wanted in life. But after going to acting camp and meeting others with big goals and dreams, she started to question whether she truly wanted what she already had.

This was a perfect story of finding yourself, a coming of age story. As a reader, I liked the idea of going inside Penny’s mind, seeing the transformation of her figuring out what she wanted in life to finally reaching a conclusion. Although I am not a teenager like Penny, I related to that struggle of forging a different path that is far from the norm or what is expected of you.

A major weakness of the story was the characters came across a little one dimensional, there was not a lot of depth to them. I felt like the author was afraid to mess up the characters a bit, I felt like she was trying to perfect them, in their expressions, image, and speech. Even Penny, who was the most developed character, still had a slightly flat personality. It would have been nice to make her more unique. All this gave the story a slightly bland feel.

Another weakness I could see, although for me it was not a problem since I was more interested in Penny’s internal struggle, was that there wasn’t a major conflict in the story. There was no great challenge that Penny had to overcome or face. I would say the closest was her decision on whether to break up with her boyfriend. So as said before, this was one of your everyday simple life type of stories.

Recommendation:

I would recommend this to those who like young adult, coming of age stories, or more specifically, stories about finding yourself. Also to those who like simple everyday life stories that don’t have a lot of drama or conflict, but focus on the character’s internal struggles and eventual growth.

Rating:

3 out of 5 stars. While the story was relatable and easy to read, I felt it lacked the depth needed to make it memorable and as powerful as it could have been. The characters seemed one dimensional, like they didn’t have unique personalities of their own.

Go On Be Bold

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Go On Be Bold

Get it out of your mind
They’re not leaving, you’re wasting time
Fretting over what will never be
You won’t be alone, they’re here you see

Push those dark thoughts away
You don’t have to worry another day
Why are choosing to be barren and cold
Free yourself now, go on, be bold

They’re not leaving
I know right now
It’s hard to believe
But you got to see
You’re dreams are meant to be

Leave it alone, let it go
You have what you need here
Be brave and fight the fear
Everyone believes in you
Make them proud, do what you have to do

Banish those dark thoughts away
You don’t have to worry another day
You’re not barren and alone
Free yourself, go on, be bold

Go on, be bold
Don’t lose another day
Do what you have to do today
They’re not leaving, they never did anyways

Book Review: Shelter of the Most High By Connilyn Cossette

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Blurb:

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a city of refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood, yet chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Can they uncover the betrayal in time to save their lives and the lives of those they love?

General Thoughts:

I’ve read most of Connilyn’s books at this point and they continue to deliver deeply carved characters and intriguing plots. Though this is a standalone book, if you’ve read the first book in the series, A Light on the Hill, it continues with the story of Moriah’s (the main character in the first book) adopted son, Eitan. They now live under the protection of a city of refuge, Kedesh, however Eitan struggles to let go of the accidental tragedy that was placed on Moriah.

When Sofea and her cousin are brought into their lives, Eitan immediately is drawn to Sofea. Sofea is unsure about Eitan and his people. As she slowly learns his language, she begins to ask questions, which leads to Eitan revealing what Kedesh is and who his people are.

Sofea initially struggles to accept that Kedesh is a refuge for accused criminals, and that only strengthens Eitan’s struggle to accept what he did when he was a child. Even when he realizes he wants to spend the rest of his life with Sofea, his past becomes a barrier in making that possible.

Overall, this story is about redemption and forgiveness, not necessarily that which comes from others, but one’s self. Even as those around him, including Sofea later on, accept and understand him for who he is and what he’s done, he can’t seem to accept himself. It’s relatable to me and I believe it is for many. Often our unwillingness to forgive ourselves and offer ourselves redemption, prevents us from receiving the blessings and having the life that God wants us to have. In other words, living our life to the fullest.

It takes a near tragedy and Eitan potentially losing what he wants the most before he considers life as a forgiven man. As I read the story, Eitan’s internal journey resonated with me. As the plot unfolded, my interest increased and I felt I wasn’t reading the story anymore, but was a part of it. Connilyn is good with world and character building. I doubt they’ll be a story of hers that will disappoint me.

Recommendation:

Yes, I recommend this book to those who like biblical historical fiction and especially to those who are looking for themes of forgiveness and redemption. This author does a good job at getting to the heart of matter with her character arcs, really diving deep into their minds and creatively sorting out their problems. I also like how she uses their current circumstances to force them to come to terms with their demons inside.

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars. The story was evenly paced and the plot had enough high points and intrigue to keep my interest. There was a perfect balance between the character’s internal struggles and external struggles. I quickly identified with Eitan, which made me want to root for him and see how things end.

***This book was given to me by Bethany House for an honest review.***

Update!

 

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Hi everyone!

It’s been a few months since I last posted on my blog. It was definitely something I didn’t see coming, but I believe the break helped.

In the last update I posted, I announced that I was working on an author’s website. While I did get things started as far as building the site, it never launched, which I will further explain.

If you’ve followed me from the very beginning of this blog (circa 2013), you will know that I’m a fiction writer who wants to be a published author. I’ve gone back and forth through the years on whether I should self publish or go the traditional route, and though I believe there’s tremendous value in both routes, given my resources and reach, I realized that traditional publishing is the road I should take for my current fiction (contemporary women’s with Christian and fantasy elements).

Will I ever consider self publishing? Absolutely!

So far I’ve written seven stories, some being young adult. If I am fortunate to establish myself as an author with a following, I would love to self publish those stories.

But regarding my author’s website, since the fall 2017, I planned to self publish one of my young adult stories. After a lot research, including hearing advice from other self published authors, I realized that this venture would take a lot of money to get off the road, which I didn’t really have since I was in and out of work as a contracted employee.

Nevertheless, in May I planned to return to my contracted employment but when that fell through, realized I had to make some career changes. I started freelance writing and getting back into my creative interests. I’ve decided, while editing my story for agenting, to pursue my other interest in digital art and elements.

I plan to distribute my work on sales platforms, as well as a personal website. For those who find this of interest or value to them, I will announce when that’s up and running.

What does this all mean for Writer’s Bounty? What can you find here?

I plan to start posting regularly in January after work with my story and graphics have settled down. As far as content, I still love writing inspiring poetry and quotes, as well as sharing book reviews of stories I think others will enjoy, so those things will continue. I also intend to give this blog some visual updates so stay tuned.

Thank you all for supporting this blog. I hope as you’ve supported this blog, my work has brought value to you. That will always be my goal 🙂