Book Reviews

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Hey everyone! Check out my review of Mari L. McCarthy’s book: Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live. Just click on the link below:

New Book Review: Save the Cat! Writes for TV by Jamie Nash

I’m excited to write this book review for Save the Cat! Writes for TV by Jamie Nash. As a writer, I’m familiar with other Save the Cat! books based on methods created by Blake Snyder and was curious to know if writing for TV was anything like writing a book. I learned that, as with writing a novel or memoir, a writer for TV must have a good handle on their target audience, theme, and character development. And many of the same elements apply, for example, the story’s hero needs to have a flaw or problem, a want/goal, and a need or life lesson to be learned. The story, whether from a book or TV show, uncovers the hero’s journey toward discovery and change. It is relatable, having a plot or theme the audience can identify with.

This book is fun reading even for non-writers. Steeped in humor and loaded with information about structure, plot, character and more, it offers witty and revealing insights into the world of TV-writing. Television fanatics will have a new appreciation for their favorite shows once they have a peek behind the scenes and all that goes into creating them. Before reading this book, I had no idea the extensive planning that goes into TV shows having different franchise types, formats, and platforms. 

Readers who are serious about writing for TV will find a step-by-step guide to creating ideas for a show, writing a captivating pilot or first episode, and bringing viewers fresh material that keeps them coming back for more. Nash provides a look into different worlds through examples of popular TV shows. For example, workplaces (The Office), family matters (This is Us), growing pains or life-phases (Parenthood), blasts from the past (Happy Days), and my personal favorite, lifestyles (Sex in the City). Make-Believe is another world with far-fetched stories created by writers with a wild imagination. 

This book is chock-full of tips and tricks for hooking the audience, building suspense, and keeping them engaged throughout an entire series. Each chapter includes exercises to challenge the reader and checkpoints to test our understanding of the concepts presented.

Pilot Beat Sheets and templates for the television pitch provide valuable guidance for those wanting to write for TV. And Nash keeps it fun with his conversational style and humor throughout. I highly recommend this book for any writer and/or lover of television. 

About the Author: Jamie Nash has written and sold almost every type of story under the sun. He teaches screenwriting at Johns Hopkins University and MICA and co-hosts the podcast Writers/Blockbusters. Jamie lives in Maryland with his wife, son, and a talking dog.

Check out this website for more information about Save the Cat!: and Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Book Review: Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker

I’m excited to prepare this book review for m.t.becker’s Zinger in the Woods. As a grandmother of three, I adore children’s books. I’m also a substitute teacher for lower grades, and I’m a nature-lover, so Zinger in the Woods caught my attention. This book provides life lessons through the eyes of a little girl, Olive, and her beloved hound dog, Ginger. Both are captivated by nature and often take long walks in the park. 

Curious young readers, or listeners, will love learning about the animals encountered by Olive and Ginger, and they’ll have fun on this adventure that at times is exciting but also a little nerve-racking. I mean that in a good way. Without giving away the plot, I’ll just say Ginger gets into some trouble when she and Olive become separated and she’s trapped in a scary place. 

But along comes Zen to save the day! He is a kind and caring Australian shepherd who has been in and out of foster care his whole life, so he understands what it feels like to be alone in the woods and afraid. He also knows how to cure any ills using natural remedies like peppermint leaves to take away pain and lavender flowers for calming and soothing.

As the two dogs make their way back to Ginger’s home, they find nutritious berries and thirst-quenching water to keep them feeling their best. Olive is so excited to see them both, and she welcomes Zen into her family. 

This heartwarming story is a healthy lesson about trust, friendship, and self-care. The dogs have human-like qualities so they are relatable to young readers who will also learn about compassion, empathy, problem-solving, and teamwork. The illustrations by Peter Fasolino are convincing, taking us through the scenes as if we are part of the story. 

Thank you, Mark and Tiesha Becker, for this little book that I am pleased to share with my grandchildren, my students, and my blog-readers. 
About the Authors, M.T. Becker
Zinger In The Woods was retold by, husband and wife authors, Mark and Tiesha Becker, former elementary school teachers who decided to write a book after fostering three malnourished puppies. Zinger In the Woods reflects the lessons they learned from being parents, doggie parents, and teachers for over thirty years. You can discover more about M.T. Becker on their website:

Book Review: Time to Re-Set by Karen Brown Tyson

Time to Reset arrived in my mailbox just before Easter. That in itself said “Take this opportunity, Leslie. Now is the time.” Easter, for me, is a day of renewal. A chance to start fresh. A time to reset. 

The release of Time to Reset couldn’t be more timely since it comes to us as we are beginning to see an end to a pandemic that has upended or changed the course of life for so many. 

Karen Brown Tyson, author, begins her book with a letter to our heavenly Father. This prayer has become a regular recitation for me as it puts into words a message I send to The Lord daily, although not in such eloquent prose. “Create in me a clean heart and renew in me the right spirit.”

Like Karen, I recently said goodbye to corporate life to devote my time to something bigger, more meaningful. In studying scripture for the first time in my life, I’m slowly finding my purpose. Yet unlike the author, I failed to become educated in areas that would have enriched my life in countless ways—English Literature and Theology. This book is a testament to Karen’s purpose to educate, inspire, and fulfill the call from our Father to be a disciple of His Word. 

The timing of my reading this book is relevant as I’m in the midst of writing a memoir that reveals how I allowed my life’s path to go in directions I would not have planned for myself. Unexpectedly, my personal plan unfolded just two years ago when I left a long, successful career to follow my dream to write. And after reading Time to Reset, I realize it wasn’t really my plan. It was God’s plan. The right plan for me. One that has allowed me to enjoy the gifts I had all along but didn’t recognize or appreciate. This revelation came to me in the first paragraph of Karen’s book introduction. People might make many plans, but what the Lord says is what will happen. (Proverbs 19:21) 

Time to Reset is written in a way, and at a level I could comprehend and relate to from start to finish. I’ll mention here that although this is a 21-Day Devotional, I finished the book in about three days and will likely read it again. Karen’s GLOW Philosophy is simple to remember and easy to incorporate into daily life: Grateful, Listening, Observation, Witness. 

What I find most helpful about the structure of the book is its readability. Each daily reflection begins with a prayer and a reference to scripture, followed by a story from the author’s personal experience. Each chapter offers take-aways and opportunities to reflect on God’s message and presence in our own lives. 

Here are five of my favorite quotes / takeaways from Time to Reset:

  1. God always invites us to get close to him. The invitation’s significance isn’t based on our accomplishments, race, wealth, job title, or gender.
  2. Sometimes the change we resist is precisely the change needed to improve our life. 
  3. See the beauty in the threads that connect my life experiences.
  4. God wants to help us find our way. But to do so, we must connect with him daily through prayer and his word.
  5. Following Christ doesn’t always mean “smooth sailing.” Storms will come. But Jesus will never leave us to go through the storm alone. 

I urge you to order your copy now and make time to reset your spiritual life. 

About the Author: Karen Brown Tyson is an award-winning author. Her first book, Time to Refresh: A 21-Day Devotional to Renew Your Mind After Being Laid Off, Fired or Sidelined, was named Finalist in the Religion: Christian Inspirational Category of the 2019 Best Book Awards.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from West Virginia University and a Master of Arts in English from National University.  In addition, Karen has a Master of Arts degree in Christian Ministry and postgraduate certificates in Christian Leadership, Theological Studies and Biblical Studies from Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity. She is a graduate of the Jerry Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild apprentice program. As a writer, she has developed several Christian ministry tools and training materials for her local church. Karen and her husband of 25 years, Kelvin, have one son and they live in North Carolina. Find Karen online:

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