Inspired Writer Contest Finalist

“Ben led me to the instant family I was imagining.”

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Ben found me on Facebook the day he got out of prison. His message wasn’t expected, yet it didn’t come as a surprise. I hadn’t heard from him in almost four years.Though he couldn’t have known, Ben’s release from prison coincided perfectly with my desperate search for a romantic partner.

I was thirty years old, four years post-divorce, living alone in a basement apartment with a Shar Pei I considered to be my soul mate. I’d recently made a big move to be closer to my mother and step-dad, in an effort to heal our strained relationship. I was hit…


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In the past I’ve shared my best tips for how to write book reviews and what to include. Today I’m giving you my advice on what not to include.

1. Apologize

I see this more so on Instagram, but occasionally on other platforms too. A reviewer will start with, “Sorry, unpopular opinion here…” before giving their thoughts. Usually this is when they don’t like a book that’s wildly popular. I hate seeing it because it implies that reviewer thinks they’re doing something wrong.

It’s okay to mention that your opinion differs from the majority. I do that all the time. When I…


The pandemic was already teaching me lessons. Then my diagnosis brought it home.

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“Okay you’re all done,” the nurse handed over my vaccine card and sent me to the observation room. I stood from the pink plastic chair, nearly dizzy from a flood of relief and dread. I have my first vaccine. The light at the end of the tunnel is now. I am happy to have my vaccine, and oh so grateful. I’m also confused about what that means going forward, for me and the rest of our country.

Back to normal. Back to normal. Back to normal. I hear that phrase everywhere now in relation to vaccination rates. Everyone wants to…


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When someone tells me they don’t like romance novels, I always cringe inwardly (and sometimes outwardly) because I remember when I felt that way. Now I believe that if someone says they don’t like romance, it’s because they simply haven’t found the right kind yet!

When you think of romance novels, you might have one specific idea come to mind of what that means to you. But while there are criteria that must be present to make it a romance novel, there’s a whole world of sub-genres and tropes that give the genre a ton of variety.

If you love…


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If someone shares their recent diagnosis with you, you are important. This is heavy, private stuff. Even if you don’t know the person well, it means they see you as a potential safe space

With that being said, this isn’t about you. Keep in mind, the purpose of this conversation is to support this newly diagnosed person who is dealing with a crisis, not to make you feel better.

You may be scared or sad about your friend’s diagnosis, that’s okay. If you need to process your feelings, talk to someone else. If you don’t know anything about the condition…


(Now more than ever!)

I’m not the only forty-something woman who got a big chunk of her early sex- ed from her mom’s Danielle Steel and Sidney Sheldon novels. Swiping those paperbacks and giggling at the sexy parts was practically a rite of passage in the ’90s. I wonder how many other young women later gave up on the genre like I did when I realized real life wasn’t as sweet and sexy as those books led us to believe.

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As I entered my teens, Danielle Steel’s plot lines were believable because anything seemed possible. Within a few years, my…


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Quite often on my blog, I give tips for writing book reviews. I’ve also talked about the importance of the star rating. I’ve covered the how’s when it comes to reviewing, so today I’m going to cover the WHYs.

Readers who find How To posts valuable are likely ones who are already writing reviews. Today, I’m talking to those of you who haven’t started yet. My question is: why not?

I’m sure your answer goes along the lines of one of these:

  • I don’t have time.
  • I’m not a writer.
  • I don’t know what to say.
  • I’m not qualified.
  • I’m…

A Book Review

A music filled romance about staying true to who you are.

Image from Goodreads

I finished this book last night and I’m still swooning! A well-written young adult romance makes my heart explode in the very best way.

The Characters

Luke is a British transplant living in Minnesota with his family. The son of a punk rock legend, Luke is passionate about composing songs and has incredible talent. The problem is, he hates performing and has no interest following in his father’s footsteps, much to his dad’s dismay.

Vada’s dream is to be a music journalist and she’s got a detailed plan for getting there. She lives and breathes music, which is how she talked her…


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On my book blog, I write a lot about the why’s and how to’s of writing book reviews. There’s a lot to consider if you want to write reviews that are useful to readers and authors. But there’s one aspect of reviews I haven’t covered yet.

This is a question I get quite often when I tell people I’m a book blogger, “How do you review books you don’t like?” Many people assume I don’t review those books, which isn’t true.

Low star reviews are just as important as five star ones.


I’m thrilled to bring you this interview with my dear friend Betsy Gaines Quammen. Her first book, American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God, & American Lands in the West, was published in March of this year.

Image from BetsyGainesQuammen.com

Ramona Mead

Avid reader, writer of true stories, book hoarder, eternal optimist

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