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A happily ever after review!!!

Read this astounding review on HIS DARLING by HEA Reviews.

HEA, for those of you not in the know, means Happily Ever After. We’re all about Happily Ever After in my house. After all, I’m raising a couple of princesses. This review is special, however, because while I strive for five star writing, a review like this makes me pause.

What about it is special? What makes me feel like I’ve just slid my toe into that glass slipper? Felt it snug around my foot like a lover’s hands?

Guess why…


Love can bloom at any age…But, will it wilt under the spotlight?

Former fifties Hollywood starlet—Nona Darling—fell in love onscreen over and again. In her granddaughter Misty’s opinion, true love only exists in the movies and too often, she falls for the villain. Running from a failed relationship and her film production company turned tabloid, she returns to Almendra, California to care for her grandmother, and hide from the world.

Cain Trovato, a small town jack-of-all-trades, finds Misty and refuses to let her escape into obscurity. Blocked for years from songwriting, he starts putting words to music as a way to define his growing feelings.

When the Almendra Film Festival spotlights Nona Darling, Misty’s former fiancée makes a claim to reveal her grandmother’s secret past. No amount of editing will spare the coming scandal. With Cain at her side, can Misty believe in a happily ever beyond the rolling credits?

Clare’s Review

All I can say is, Wow! This story is incredible. Part of the Flower Basket series, each story by a different author, stands alone in its own right. If you only read one, this one would be it.

Cain, a musician and man of many talents, is desperate to write songs again, not having written since his high school girlfriend left him ten years previously. Misty, fleeing a controlling ex-boyfriend hides out in a sleepy town under the guise of caring for her grandmother. Slowly she gets her life back, in more ways than one.

The setting is amazing. I love books that pull you in and make you feel as if you are there and this one does that with its simple but intricate description of the breeze, the olive trees, right down to the paint on the walls and the faded curtains.

Firmly grounded in reality, both Misty and Cain show their fears and strengths equally, in this love story that keeps you turning the pages. The sub-plot is lovely and I didn’t see it coming. The ending is perfect. Definitely one to read over and over.

5 Tea Cups!

Reaching for that 5 Star Review

By Another Name, by Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig

By Another Name, by Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig

Today, I have some questions for my fellow authors, readers, and book reviewers:

What’s in a book review?

What makes a good reviewer?

This book, By Another Name, has struck readers on a variety of personal levels:

  • Were you bullied in High School?
  • Were you a target of bullying?
  • Did you know someone who was?

Chances are, you can answer yest to one or more of the above without blinking.

My character, Rosalee Timmons, chooses to return home with her new life and new name, to face down the demons of her past.

That said, the topic of today’s post is reviews. How to accept one, even if it’s not what you’ve hoped it would be. Do I want 5 star reviews on everything? OF COURSE. Do I receive 5 star reviews on everything? Not on my first release. My full length novel, All or Nothing, has received startling and humbling reviews thus far. I wait with bated breath to see what will happen next on that one!

It isn’t that the By Another Names reviews are saying – RUN! Don’t purchase this book! – these are carefully crafted, thoughtful, thought provoking reader reviews from people who’ve been impacted by this tale.

Case in point, I just received a 3 1/2 star review from : Manic Readers:. Of course I wanted 5 stars. Who wouldn’t?  It’s these 1/2 stars that keep me guessing. Keep me reaching to write a better book. One that will go that extra mile and push it to the next level.

Conversely, I received a 4 star review from You Gotta Read Books, classified as a You Need to Read – my reviewer had some interesting points on being the brunt of bullying.

My Manic Review was written by someone who deals with bullying on a daily basis. Wow. Talk about being slayed, instantly!  She wanted more interaction and explanation from Lindsay — Kade’s sister. She wanted to know WHY Lindsay chose Lee as the focus of her torments. I suppose, this is where your reviewer’s life experience weighs in to how they feel about a story. (this kind woman is a former DEAN for crying out loud! Talk about the perfect person to review this book.

So, I appreciate every word she said. I also went to the Manic Reviews site to peruse other ratings and see where this story measured. (I also stumbled on a few that I want to read, to see how I might improve my ability to pen a tale that leaves such a feeling of immense satisfaction.) After reading more reviews at Manic Readers, I also appreciate the extra half-star, and the suggestion for readers to pick it up.


So, how much do you bring to the table when you sit down to review a book? I’m guessing about as much as you take with you when you write that story. It’s about life experience seasoning your writing (or flavoring what you’re reading).  And if it makes me strive to write a better book, then I appreciate every review.

Some questions to ponder:

  • What are your favorite book review sites? or do you go with your gut on Amazon?
  • Would you buy a book that someone else rated with a less than sparkly review?
  • Have you ever slammed a book — or flung it against the wall — and then recommended readers stay away from a book? and why?

Some reviews for All or Nothing…

All or Nothing, cover art by Kimberlee Mendoza


Goodreads Review:

RuthAnne Newcomb , along with her sister Mara are headed to Tucson Arizona. After the loss of her husband a year earlier, there is nothing left for Ruth back in Alabama. With her sister to take care of they are headed out west,where employment awaits as a seamstress.
A accident on the narrow mountain road, the stagecoach going over the side, Mara and Ruth, narrowly escaping death see their possessions lying on the canyon floor. The accident is a cover-up for the stage coach robbery by one notorious robber El Tejano . Shot at and left for dead ,rescued by the Army Captain Bowen Shepherd , can her sister and her et their life back together. With her strong faith in God
And her talents they will survive. They know the bandit will strike again, and only Ruthanne can identify him,Working with the Captain will they find him first and bring him to justice or will he hunt down Ruth , the only living witness? Will the love they have found continue to grow between the Captain and Ruth.

This is a well written tender love story along with a little suspense and intrigue mixed into the plot. The characters are marvelous and you can’t help but like all of them. They are all a part of the story interwoven together. If you are a fan of Historical Western Romance as I am then you will not be the least disappointed in this book. I read this book in one day and it will be one that I will pull out and read again. Ms. Ludwig is a most proficient author and the inspiration shows up in her writing. I will be reading more of her books.

Copied from —

“I don’t even know how to express the way this book moved me. It is the most inspiring tale I have ever read. It sends you back in time so far that you feel like you are present and walking amongst the Bowen, Ruthanne, Dolly, Ross, Whit….oh I could just go on! I am amazed by the detail and the story of how the West was, what they went thru, how they lived….I shared small details as I read with my husband, a Tucson native, and he told me about Fort Lowell just before I read which Fort. I was shocked about the accuracy and beauty of the words. Time stood still as I read. I was amazed by the detail and how she brought me to love the desert. This book actually helps you see the beauty that we live in here in Tucson. The beauty and the awe I took for granted. This book is the perfect Memorial day read. The Soliders and their duty back then. I feel awe struck and amazed at the way God’s love and direction is real as can be. Ashley Ludwig has a amazing talent and I truly look forward to her next book. Until then I will read this book over and over. It is precious and very hard to put down!” — Michelle  Wik, Tucson, AZ

“Reading a novel by Ashley Ludwig is a delicious treat. Her characters and scenery come alive to feel like long lost friends. This book is a must-read for my book club!” — Kay Rather, Tucson, AZ

“I was on pins and needles waiting to see what would happen with RuthAnne and Bowen. Great story! Very suspenseful ending.” — Denise Harmer, Fallbrook, CA

“I would recommend All or Nothing to lovers of historical romance and inspirational fiction alike… [All or Nothing] has a great story line…that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.” — Robina Shultz, Golder Ranch, AZ

“All or Nothing has rich characters, vivid historical detail, and an intriguing mystery! All in all, a fun and exciting read.” — Suzanne Radcliff, Tucson, AZ

“Ashley Ludwig has a rich writing style, and a lovely tone. Readers will fall in love with the characters and setting, alike.” — Paige Day, Tucson, AZ

“Watch for cactus thorns, Ashley Ludwig masterfully paints the Arizona desert with such passion, you’ll feel the heat.” — Dan Harmer, first time romance novel reader, Fallbrook, CA

“Ludwig’s description of 1800’s Arizona captured my imagination in a romantic story that, amid the cactus and coyote, slowly warms like the sun rising over the morning desert.” Beverly Nault, Temecula, CA”

“I connected with so many of the strong, feminine and real characters in All or Nothing. Thinking about them now, I want to read the story all over again.” –Wendy Nield, LA, CA

First Review – By Another Name

Thanks, all who participated in our little Easter Egg Hunt! The prize winners are noted in the comments of Saturday’s post.

In other news!

I must share with you all a lovely review I received for By Another Name from “You’ve Gotta Read Reviews!” My reviewer gave it a “You Need to Read” level – which is marvelous! Here’s a little tease – head on over to read the full review:

By Another Name is such a touching and pleasurable read. I don’t think there is one person who wasn’t taunted in one form or another in high school…I really felt for Kade’s character… Directly or indirectly, he was responsible for some of her past and he would do anything in his power to fix what had been done.

…Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig did an exceptional job relating to the reader. The story had characters that I really enjoyed and the message was perfect… I recommend this book to all those who love to read a super sweet love story with very real emotions. It’s a story of forgiveness, love and the fact that when you get older, yes, you really can have what you desire.

One of the fears of an author is letting your stories go — and be read or not read, enjoyed or “flung against the wall” by your readers. This one had me happy dancing today. Thanks to Val and to You Gotta Read Reviews!

For more information on how to get your own copy, shoot me an e-mail: – or head on over to

Happy day!