This blog is a celebration of novel, novel characters!

I love reading novels, and as an artist I know a great exercise to stretch one's illustration skills is to portray characters from a description in a book. This blog is a challenge to myself to do just that so I'll be posting illustrations from whatever book I'm currently reading. Feel free to add comments and send me your fan art for these great titles too!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Miranda from "Made to Last" by Melissa Tagg

I got a little behind on posting about this one!  Made to Last came out last September and the book in the series, Where Love Begins is already due to be released at the end of the month.  Which is exciting, for you, if you haven’t read it yet, to be able to grab the next book right away too!

Made to Last starts with a Lie, a very little lie that became a big lie.  Miranda Woodruff is the host of a hit TV show called From the Ground Up.  She loves her job and will do almost anything to keep it even if that means pretending she’s married, when the intended wedding never actually took place.  For interest, on the show she talks about her “husband,” sharing truths about what she learned while working with her former fiancĂ© as if the wedding they’d planned had gone through.  The lie doesn’t seem to hurt anyone until the show’s next season is on shaky ground and her boss decides letting the public see Miranda’s mystery husband will be great publicity.  A look-a-like, Blake aka Blaze, is hired, and it seems like everything will be covered until a former investigative reporter, Matthew arrives to blog about Miranda’s daily life.  Of course Matthew is fun to be around, sincere, and heroic so what’s a “married” girl to do!?

With all this groundwork, (excuse the pun) I felt like the story had a little bit of a slow start.  It took me a bit to get into, but by the second half a lot was happening and I was completely immersed by the end, and wanting more.  I’m really glad that the second book coming out will feature Blake because he was one of the most likeable supporting characters I’ve “met” in the novel world!  But let’s get back to Miranda and Matthew…
Miranda builds everything from furniture to tree houses!
Obviously there romance has one big obstacle in the way, but what makes their story heartfelt and worth the read is the depth of their character.  As I mentioned, it took a little while to get connected with them, but once it happened, they became as real to be as friends.  Miranda’s overburdened and full of guilt over the lie, and Matthew has several big failures that keep him from feeling worthy.  It was great to experience how both characters overcame their personal battles and I enjoyed that the events at the end didn’t play out in a clichĂ©d way.  Throughout, their relationship seemed believable and I was glad that Matthew picked up on Miranda’s lie earlier in the book than I thought he would.   

It’s fun in a romantic comedy to have that kind of secret element, but it’s kind of stressful when the main character is perpetuating a lie that you know will come crashing down on her.  I was glad that it happened when it did.  I guess I was feeling the stress along with her!

If you like contemporary romance, and have ever enjoyed those home improvement shows, I think you’ll have fun with this one, I did!


I was given a review copy of the book by the publisher.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Anne Tillerton from "Caught in the Middle" by Regina Jennings

I’d been waiting for this one!  If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know that Regina’s books were the first ones I featured on here.  I’m so excited to share with you about this third one in her series!  I’ve loved all her books, but I think this one is my new favorite.

Replace Tillerton with Oakley, and you’ll have your mental image of Anne.  She’s a sharp-shooter, a no-nonsense gal who acts tough and looks rough.  But, behind her heavy duster, men’s trousers, and a less-than lady-like shirt, beats a tender heart.  She’s like a wounded animal, alert, suspicious, yet ultimately yearning to be healed.

My impression of Anne from Love in the Balance
When Anne falls into the unlucky position of taking care of an abandoned baby, she feels like she’s dealt a cruel blow, but the child may be just what she needs.  With nowhere to turn to, she enlists the help of Nicolas Lovelace, an enterprising dandy who owes her his life after her sharp-shooting chased away the train robbing bandits, who were about to silence him for good.  Grateful Nick, honorable Nick, does what he can for Anne & the baby Sammy, but Anne’s a handful and the more time he spends with her the sooner he wants to get rid of her and her… distracting personality.

A classic case of opposites attract, Anne and Nick’s story made for an unforgettable romance.  I like that Regina’s characters are never perfect, and always have some deep inner struggles or hurts to overcome.  Yet, for the most part the story was light-hearted, with the focus on healing.  Another common thread I’ve noticed in Regina’s books.  I think that’s why I love them so much.  There’s sincerity, truth, healing, fun, and each of her main characters are completely different people with different personalities and histories.  If you haven’t read any of the series yet, I highly recommend all the books, they’re fun to read in order, but you can pick up any of them to enjoy as a stand-alone read.

Thanks for stopping by the blog!


I received a review copy of this book so I could post on it!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Drew & Madeline from "Death by the Book" by Julianna Deering

It's Good Friday which means Sunday is Easter!  Are you as excited about it as I am?  To kick off what I hope is a lovely Spring weekend for everyone, I have a review on Julianna Deering's second Drew Fathering mystery!

Drew Farthering’s tale continues with Death by the Book! The story picks up where the first leaves off and introduces a series of murders right away. At first they seem to have nothing to do with Drew, but as time goes by, perhaps there’s more to the “hatpin” murders than can easily be deduced.

Aside from the mystery element we get to see Drew’s faith grow stronger, and Madeline remain steadfast.  There’s a flurry when her Aunt Ruth arrives insisting Madeline give up on her relationship with Drew, but as time goes by it was fun to see how she warmed up to Drew and he won her over.  I think there was more concerning Drew’s relationship with Aunt Ruth than Madeline, but isn’t that the way it is in real life, first you fall in love, all’s good, and then you have to learn how to get along with the family?!

I’m usually not good at figuring out who the murderer is in mystery stories, so I was feeling really good when I figured it out right before Drew did. It made the climax very suspenseful and gave me that “ah-ha! I knew it!” feeling at the end! It’s kind of the same feeling when you get a question right while watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire! A good feeling, although I suppose no one should feel good about murder, ghastly business and all that…

Whether or not you’ve read the first book, I think you’ll enjoy this mystery.  It’s a pretty fast read and full of interesting secondary characters like the bike-riding maniac old Mr. Llwellyn.  Check it out if you haven’t already!

Deciding on what to draw with the review was really hard this time.  Such a great job was done on the cover illustrations already!  I always love reading about how the covers are made, and there’s a neat post on the covers for this series on the Bethany House blog.  I think you’ll enjoy it!  http://bethanyfiction.com/2014/03/27/judging-a-book-by-its-cover-summer-2014-releases/


I was provided a review copy courtesy of the author, thanks DeAnna!