Tuesday, October 17, 2017

ADVENTURERS WANTED: THE AXE OF SUNDERING by M. L. Forman

ADVENTURERS WANTED: THE AXE OF SUNDERING by M L Forman. This is a series I have thoroughly enjoyed. Each book is definitely a fantastic adventure. I enjoyed being back with Whalen and Alex. It did take several chapters for me to get into the story, but once I was invested, I didn't want to put it down. In trying to figure out why it took me awhile to get into the story, the only thing I can think of is I had been out of that world for to long. I think if I had read all five books back-to-back it would have flowed better for me. I thought there was a very powerful lesson taught toward the end of the book about success and failures. Too often kids want to get up and the world judges us based on our successes. Alex learned a great lesson about the two. I would recommend this book and series to any fantasy lover.

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Whalen Vankin is a great an honorable wizard, and he has only ever personally trained two other wizards. One is Alexander Taylor, a young man who has earned a reputation as a brave adventurer, a warrior, and a man of honor. The other is Jabez, Vankin's nephew—a man whose choices have led him down a different, darker path.
Dark magic has covered Westland, and evil is stirring. Whalen and Alex must journey together into the heart of danger, confronting a sea serpent, and facing down more than one dragon. Alex must find the legendary Axe of Sundering—the one weapon that offers a chance to defeat Jabez—and protect the land from the dark wizard's plans. But finding it will be an adventure of its own as the only pathway to the Axe leads through the underground tunnels and secret passages of the Castle of Conmar.
But Jabez has a final weapon at his disposal: the powerful Orion stones, which could spell the end to Whalen and Alex both.



Monday, October 9, 2017

SAFE HOUSE by Traci Hunter Abramson

SAFE HOUSE by Traci Hunter Abramson. I am really excited to read this novel. Be sure to check it out. Stay tuned for my review to be posted soon.


The guardians, the shadowy heroes of the top-secret program designed to protect members of the most elite government organizations, are being hunted down one by one. There is a single explanation: a traitor must be embedded somewhere in their midst. But if they themselves are the target, who will protect them?
CIA operative Renee Niezen has heard tales of the guardians, though she's never really believed in their existence—until she is approached by Charlotte, an old friend who desperately needs her help to stop the systematic destruction of the guardian program. Renee accepts the plea for assistance, but not everyone is thrilled to have her on the team. Kade—one of the last guardians standing—is unimpressed with Renee's qualifications and turns instead to the legendary Saint Squad for help. But when Renee is caught in the crosshairs, Kade must set aside his antagonism for the woman in order to protect her. Their grudging alliance soon develops into much more—but before the pair can examine their feelings, their investigation takes a dramatic twist. With lives on the line, Renee and Kade must use their spy training at every turn as they draw dangerously close to the shocking truth.



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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

FOR LOVE OR HONOR by Sarah M. Eden

FOR LOVE OR HONOR by Sarah M. Eden. I love the Jonquil brothers and really enjoyed being back with them. This was a tougher one emotionally to read because of the nature of Captain Stanley and his experience. As things were learned and his real struggles were brought to light, I found myself thinking of all those military men and women, past and present. How grateful I am for their service and there were moments that brought tears to my eyes as my heart hurt for both Stanley and his family. I wasn't sure how it was going to work out, but being a romance you know it has to. I would have never thought of the ending, but it was perfect. This is a fantastic read that I highly recommend. 

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From the moment they met, Marjie's heart has belonged to handsome Captain Stanley Jonquil, younger brother of the Earl of Lampton. But six long months ago, when Stanley's sense of honor required that he do as he had sworn and return to the Continent to fight in defense of King and country, neither Stanley nor Marjie could have dreamed what the cost of his service would be.
It has been ages since Stanley last wrote, and Marjie and the Jonquil family are plagued by his unknown fate—until the day he unexpectedly reappears. Marjie's joy, however, is quickly shadowed by confusion—the aloof, battle-worn soldier before her is not the man he once was. In the wake of Stanley's blatant disinterest in renewing their acquaintance, Marjie's devastation turns to determination as she vows to help him find peace. But his scars run far deeper than anyone realizes. Despite his feelings for her, Stanley believes Marjie deserves a man whose hands are not stained with the violence of battlefields and whose mind and heart are not haunted by the horrors he has seen.
Honor requires Stanley to return once more to the life he has grown to despise, one he knows will destroy him in the end, even as his heart beckons him to stay with Marjie, the only woman he could ever love, and the promise, at last, of redemption.
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Saturday, September 30, 2017

MYSTERIES OF COVE: EMBERS OF DESTRUCTION by J. Scott Savage

MYSTERIES OF COVE: EMBERS OF DESTRUCTION by J. Scott Savage. This is an amazing ending to a great series. I have loved them (although I swore I read the second and upon reading the third I realized I hadn't, but I will!). I loved how everyone learned to work and depend on each other to figure out how to solve the dragon issue and then to execute the plan. They didn't give up when a plan failed. It was the try, try again that we so often forget to do in life. There are hard life lessons that are touched on, and the outcome was the way it needed to be. I highly recommend this book to anyone. 

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It's time to take the battle to the dragons.
In the third and final volume of the bestselling Mysteries of Cove series, Trenton and Kallista—along with their friends, Plucky, Simoni, Angus, and Clyde—fly their mechanical dragons south toward San Francisco, looking to rescue any survivors from the battle of Seattle.
Arriving in San Francisco and investigating the area in secret, the young riders are reunited with Kallista's father, Leo Babbage, who reveals that the humans in the city are working as slaves to the dragons, but that they don't want to be rescued—himself included. He says they are being protected by their new master: a huge, powerful white dragon who lives in an impenetrable tower fortress overlooking the city. Kallista is stunned by the news. Why would her father ever willingly want to work for dragons?
Trenton and his friends are confronted by the guards and their mechanical dragons are seized. Evading capture, the young riders escape and begin looking for a way to break the white dragon's hold over the city—and over Leo. Working with the kids from the city, the young riders track down the source of the dragon's power to an underground chamber that is accessible only through an underwater passageway below the tower fortress.
With the white dragon watching their every move, Trenton and Kallista will need every bit of creativity and ingenuity they can manage to find a way to retrieve their stolen dragons, enter the tower fortress, and take down the dragons once and for all.



Friday, September 29, 2017

MUSTACHES FOR MADDIE by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

MUSTACHES FOR MADDIE by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown. Wow. This book is amazing. It touches on things that are personal for the authors yet shares a very strong message on how to help kids deal with scary things. The humor had me laughing throughout and getting teary at the same time. Life has lots of scary things, though not everyone deals with a brain tumor, most kids deal with bullying of some type. There are many powerful lessons throughout. This is a must read to anyone who has children, associates with children, has influence with children, really everyone. I highly suggest this book for everyone of all ages. It is a great read for book clubs and to read with little ones. I cannot say enough good about this book. Please check it out.

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Twelve-year-old Maddie has a quirky sense of humor and loves making her classmates laugh by slapping on fake mustaches every chance she gets. Being funny gets her noticed by class queen Cassie, and things are looking up when Maddie is cast as Juliet in the school play. Maybe Juliet could wear a mustache?
When Maddie starts tripping when she walks and her hand starts curling up at her side, her mom takes her to the doctor, who confirms Maddie has a brain tumor. In an instant, her world is turned upside down.
Maddie doesn't want anyone else to know. Especially Cassie, whose jealousy has turned to bullying. What about Maddie's chance to play Juliet opposite the cutest boy in the sixth grade? What if the doctors can't get the ugly tumor monster out of her brain?
As Maddie's surgery approaches, she wonders if her illness is giving her super powers because her imagination is bigger than ever, her courage is stronger than ever, and her compassion is about to be felt by more people than she ever imagined.



Thursday, September 21, 2017

WISH ME LOVE by Michele Ashman Bell

WISH ME LOVE by Michele Ashman Bell. This book was such a fun read. There were times I questioned why Charlotte and Jack didn't figure things out sooner, but I understood the reasons why. Then when Charlotte met Max . . . I was thrilled even though a part of me kept saying, "But he's not Jack." It is a darling story that anyone who loves a good, clean romance will love. I highly recommend it.

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Charlotte Wells does not date. After surviving a broken engagement, she's taken a leave of absence from the social scene. So when her best friend and coworker, Jack, challenges her to get back in the game, she's not so sure she's ready to play. But ultimately, curiosity gets the best of her, and Charlotte accepts the daunting challenge: she will attempt to have fifty first dates in her effort to find "the one." Unfortunately, she quickly realizes that the dating pool mostly holds clown fish as she goes on one lousy outing after another. Without a good man in sight as summer ends, Charlotte cuts her losses and sets her sights on a fun-filled trip to her cousin's destination wedding in Brazil.
Brazil is a land of beautiful sights and delicious offerings—including Max, the charming brother of her cousin's new husband. Max has all the makings of a Prince Charming in soccer cleats, and Charlotte's happily ever after seems to be within reach. But love is a funny things, and soon charlotte finds herself wondering: could it be that her true soul mate has been right in front of her all along?

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Monday, September 11, 2017

MIND GAMES by Stephanie Black

MIND GAMES by Stephanie Black. This was a very interesting book. The last phrase is very true. Nothing is as it seems. I have to admit that I found my mind questioning everything I read as the story went on. I knew I had part of it figured out but the rest of it was not as it seemed. It was a fascinating book that I will read again just to piece everything together. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good thriller and likes to really have to think about how the story will end.

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Psychologist Natalie Marsh's dream is now reality: her mental health services clinic has opened and is houses in an elegant, newly renovated nineteenth-century building. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with the clinic's presence, including Heather Osbourne, a troubled young woman who wholly objects to the occupation of the building. Heather has spent years wandering the halls of the abandoned structure, convinced she's communing with her ancestor's ghost. When Natalie thwarts Heather's attempt to leap from a window, the shaken psychologist soon realizes Heather's failed jump is merely one piece of a disturbing puzzle. Greed and deceit are weaving a web around Natalie, and someone will stop at nothing?—not even murder—to get what they want. Stretched to her breaking point, Natalie struggles to learn the truth, but only one thing is clear: nothing is as it seems.


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Thursday, September 7, 2017

ALL THAT MAKES LIFE BRIGHT by Josi S Kilpack

ALL THAT MAKES LIFE BRIGHT by Josi S. Kilpack. In a way, this book was hard to get through. I have felt all of the overwhelming feelings and sense of losing ones self that Harriet talks about. It was hard to read about someone else going through almost exactly what I feel. However, it was comforting to see that things were worked out and to see how they worked out for her and Calvin. It was interesting to learn what added to and helped Harriet become the great writer she was known for. I would recommend this book to anyone.

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When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet's sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.
Two months after her wedding Harriet discovers she is pregnant just as Calvin prepares to leave for a European business trip. Alone, Harriet is overwhelmed—being a wife has been harder than she thought and being an expectant mother feels like living another woman's life. Knowing that part of Calvin still cherishes the memory of his first wife, Harriet begins to question her place in her husband's heart and yearns for his return; his letters are no substitute for having him home. When Calvin returns, however, nothing seems to have turned out as planned.
Struggling to balance the demands of motherhood with her passion for writing and her desire to be a part of the social change in Ohio, Harriet works to build a life with her beloved Calvin despite differing temperaments and expectations.
Can their love endure, especially after "I do"? Can she recapture the first blush of new love and find the true beauty in her marriage?



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

MISS LESLIE'S SECRET by Jennifer Moore

MISS LESLIE'S SECRET by Jennifer Moore. This book was so much fun. We actually just took a trip to Scotland and I was very excited to read a story set in the Scottish Highlands. It did not disappoint. I knew of many of the places that were talked about, so visualizing the characters at home was easy to do. I loved the personalities of Conall, Aileen, and Jaime. Watching the characters grow together was done so well. Then the when the secret comes out, the tension rises and the ending was perfect. I would highly recommend this book to any and everyone.


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Decorated war hero Conall Stewart has spent ten years envisioning his return to his beloved Scottish Highlands. But now, with the days of battle finally behind him, it seems that his dreams of home have been in vain: the land of his youth lies in ruins, and his family is gone. Though he will never stop searching for his kin, Conall knows he must begin again. But when he takes on a rented farm in a nearby town, he finds far more than the fresh start he was looking for.
After catching a mischievous local lad stealing, Conall returns young Jamie to his mother, Aileen Leslie—and finds the woman’s coddling of the child maddening. What Conall does not realize is that Aileen hides a frightening secret: her devoted protection of Jamie is all that shelters them from discovery by a dangerous man from their past. Drawn together by circumstance, Conall soon develops a fatherly relationship with Jamie—as well as romantic feelings for Aileen. But even as the couple accepts their growing affection for one another, time runs out for Aileen and her son: after years of hiding, they have been found. Conall lost his family once—he will do all in his power not to let history repeat itself.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

DOUBLE EAGLE DOUBLE CROSS by M R Durbin

DOUBLE EAGLE DOUBLE CROSS by M. R. Durbin. I loved the prologue to this book. I was really excited to get into the story based on that but it took another 100 pages to recapture my attention. To me, it felt like the main characters were apart for too long (Charley in Oregon and Mac in Utah). I understand why it was done the way it was, and a lot of the set up with the mystery happened, but for me, I wish it had moved faster. Once the two were working together, it flowed and kept me turning the pages. It really is a fascinating story that I enjoyed reading. It's a fantastic suspense novel that would hold the interest of most people.

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After an unexpectedly thrilling summer with his grandfather, Oregon State student Charley Sawyer is ready to catch his breath at his late parents' Oregon beach home. Hoping for some rest and relaxation, Charley is met instead by devastation: the house has been ransacked. In his inventory of the damage, Charley stumbles across the item the trespasser must have been after, the only things that seems out of place: a mysterious key. And when he learns what it unlocks, Charley is drawn into yet another adventure with a ragtag group more than willing to help.
Mac Bowman, the brainy and beautiful anthropology student who joined Charley in his summer escapade, is thrilled when she is presented with the opportunity to conduct research in Oregon. Maybe a little time together will allow the pair to explore their feelings for one another. But when she arrives, she is disturbed by what she finds: Charley has disappeared without a trace.
As Charley and Mac each work to unravel their mysteries, their searches collide dramatically. Only one thing is clear: the moment he found the key, Charley unwittingly opened the door to a long-held secret—one that could cost him his life.


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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

THE SECRET OF THE INDIA ORCHID by Nancy Campbell Allen

THE SECRET OF THE INDIA ORCHID by Nancy Campbell Allen. This is another fantastic proper romance from Shadow Mountain. There have been a couple of books I've read recently set in India, and I have loved all of them. This is no exception. This story is full of mystery, secrets, and broken-hearted love. Anthony is an Earl caught between duty and his heart. Sophia is just trying to understand why. As the plot unfolds and thickens, the pages fly by to see whether or not secrets are revealed in time and hearts can forgive. It's a wonderful story that is for anyone who loves mysterious secrets with their love stories. I highly recommend it.

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Anthony Blake, the Earl of Wilshire, is in love with his best friend's sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies—including his own—has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the facade of a flirtatious playboy.
Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn't as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.
She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won't confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?




Monday, August 14, 2017

THE SEARCH by Clair M Poulson

THE SEARCH by Clair M Poulson. This is one of the better suspense novels I've read of Poulson's. The prologue was incredible gripping and I couldn't wait to get into the story. The next few chapters were on the slow side. It felt info dumpy, yet at the same time it was done in the way of an interview and the information was necessary for the story. Part of me wishes he would have done it in a different way though. Once the story got moving, it was great. I loved the snarkiness of Jayden, and the relationship between Jayden and Nadia felt real. I especially loved reading about Bullet, Jayden's partner. The list of suspects is long, but as they weave through each one, it left me wondering until the very end, if I had gotten it correct. This is a great suspense novel that has a little bit of romantic elements in it. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good suspense.


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Young private investigator Jayden Spaulding has cracked his share of tough cases, but nothing like this one.
When stunning professional basketball player Nadia Fairchild walks through his door, her story seems simple enough: two days ago, her mother disappeared along with a member of the women’s college basketball team she coached. Jayden and Nadia delve into a baffling maze of motive and opportunity with a lengthy list of possible suspects. 
As they work together amid their growing attraction to one another, the unlikely duo seems no closer to discovering the truth. Then the threats begin. Soon, the pair begins to suspect that this case is much more complicated than a simple disappearance—they have unwittingly stumbled on a conspiracy of corruption, greed, and murder far more deadly than they ever imagined. 
Others are also searching for the missing women, and they will eliminate anyone who stands in their way . . .



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Friday, August 11, 2017

HAVENCROSS by Julie Daines


HAVENCROSS by Julie Daines. I thoroughly enjoyed this Regency Romance. It had elements of piracy, betrayl, love, King Arthur, and much more woven throughout the story. Elaine and Gareth were wonderful characters to get to know and love. Havencross itself was a beautiful setting that was perfect for everything that needed to happen, and it helped me fall in love with this particular area. Julie did a wonderful job of keeping the pages turning. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a story full of adventure love, intrigue, and forgiveness, this is the book for you. 


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When a shocking scandal involving her father spreads through London society, Elaine Cardinham and her parents are forced to retreat to their country home in Cornwall for refuge. But Havencross is no sanctuary for Elaine. She is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her brother—and the heartbreak she left in her wake all those years ago. It has been five long years since Gareth Kemp last saw Elaine—when she rejected his marriage proposal. Her reappearance convinces him of one thing: he has never stopped loving her. To put his feelings for her aside, he focuses his attention on the dangerous smuggling plaguing the Cornish coast. As Elaine attempts to run from her past, she ventures ever closer to a dangerous truth—and Gareth may be the only one who can save her from a deadly finish.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Guest Post -- Marlene Bateman

Today I have a guest post by Marlene Bateman. She has many books out, her latest being SEARCHING FOR IRENE. Be sure to check out all her books. Enjoy her Tips on Plotting.



Marlene Bateman Sullivan grew up in Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other cozy mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House, as well as the romance, For Sale by Owner


Marlene has also written a number of non-fiction, LDS books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die. 





Tips on Plotting
By Marlene Bateman, author of Searching for Irene

Plot is built of significant events in a given story. The events are significant because they have important consequences.  For a plot to be effective, there must be something very specific at stake—something vital.  Ask yourself what the central conflict is, the struggle that’s the basis of plot.  Then ask yourself how to show—rather than tell—why this is so important to the character and how to best make the reader understand, empathize and care about what happens.
  • Make Tension Fuel Your Plot. Without tension, there is no plot.  Remember, whenever the protagonist’s desires are denied, tension arises.
  • Make Certain There Is a Two-way Urgency.  Your protagonist wants a particular, important desire fulfilled as soon as possible, and the antagonist wants to wreck the chance of that happening, also as soon as possible. 
For Example, if the hero wants to preserve his valuable stamp collection and the villain has stolen it and intends to sell the items piecemeal their wants are on a collision course. But why would the reader care about the stamp collection? If it belonged to President Franklin Roosevelt, an avid stamp collection, the reader will care more. He will care if the protagonist cares.

  • Create Tension Through Opposition.  The role of the antagonist is to thwart the intention of the protagonist. Make the antagonist as smart, wily, and brave as the protagonist.
  • Work to Express the Core Plot In a Sentence Or Two. Pretend you’re writing a description for the TV guide.  See how brief and direct you can make your summaries.  For example; The police chief of a New England vacation community, although terrified of the ocean, sets out to destroy a huge killer shark. (Jaws)
  • Make Tension Grow As Opposition Increases.  It’s a chain of cause and effect, which builds and produces conflict and tension, which you need to keep the story going.  Every time something happens, the stakes grow larger, the actions snowball.
  • Throw in a Surprise or Two or Three. Nice surprises are one of the pleasures of life. When reading a book, readers thrill to the unexpected: a new obstacle, an unexpected confrontation by an enemy, or a sudden twist of circumstance. Every twist in your story starts adrenaline pumping and pages turning. Surprises aren’t hard to create. Look at each important incident in your plot and see what you would expect to happen next. Then have the opposite happen.
  • Make Change the Point of Your StoryWe expect events to affect the main character in such a way that they force a change in his personality.  Your main character should be a different person at the end of the book than he was at the beginning.
  • Balance Scene and Exposition. After an intense scene, have some exposition to cover events of a day or two or a week.  You can account for the doings of several characters that don’t merit full scenes or describe distant events that have a bearing on the here and now.  
  • When Something Happens, Make Sure It’s Important.  Plot is your compass.  You’ve got a general idea of the direction you’re headed. If you write something that is specifically related to the advancement of the plot, keep it. If not, chuck it.  
  • Make the Causal Look Casual.  Everything in your writing has a reason, a cause that leads to an effect, which in turn becomes the next cause. For example; If a shotgun is necessary, show it casually—in a way that the reader almost doesn’t notice.  Later, when a gun is called for, readers will remember seeing one earlier.
  • Make Sure Your Lead Character Performs the Central Action of the Climax. Keep the main character on center stage with the action. Your main character should act, not be acted upon.
THANK YOU, MARLENE!!