Charissa Stastny was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. She spent a semester abroad in Israel, where she skipped rocks over the Sea of Galilee and teased monkeys at the Biblical zoo. Despite her monkey taunting tendencies, she graduated from Brigham Young University in Elementary Education and is a member of the Idaho Writer's Guild. She is married, has four children and resides in Idaho’s Treasure Valley. The Bending Willow trilogy is her first published set of books.
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Smashwords book reviews by Charissa Stastny
- Desert Intrigue: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans
on July 11, 2012
Fun, novel set in Arizona near Superstition Mountain. Kelly Evan's dude ranch is going under due to mysterious happenings related to the Thunder God and the cursed Apache gold that is claimed to be hidden near there. His sister and her husband come to help him figure out who is behind the destructive internet advertising and scary occurrences at the ranch, and the plot takes several twists and turns as you try to figure out who the 'bad guy' is. The ending will surprise you. It did me. This book was not my favorite writing style, but the mystery was great and the story had several subplots going on that were intriguing and kept my attention.
- Kicking Eternity
on Aug. 28, 2012
Very clean romance with a unique love triangle that kept me wondering far into the story who Rainey would choose. This story is set in a bible camp in Florida where Rainey is a bible teacher as she waits to go to Africa to be a missionary. Drew, the activities director and a childhood friend, teases her; Cal, the art teacher and a rebel to the Christian values his parents espoused, draws Rainey in with his handsome looks and charm. Issues brought up in this book are Christian values, meth use and addiction, and hard family relationships when dealing with a user. I enjoyed this story a lot. It was well written, fast paced and I learned a lot from it.
- The Treasure of Isian
on Sep. 29, 2012
The Treasure of Isian was a stirring tale of an enchanted servant and a handsome prince and the adventures they face together as they search for the fabled treasure of Isian that will grant the bearer any wish they desire. This story had everything--dragons, witches, giants, elves, kings, princesses, terrifying forests and true love. Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. Elani's story was touching and heartbreaking as she goes on a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. The author did a wonderful job pacing the story and connecting me to the characters (all of them--side as well as main characters). I loved them all. Superb story that brought a smile to my face and helped me remember that sometimes, we can overlook the most valuable treasures in life if we're not careful.
- Tongue of Fire
on Oct. 06, 2012
I was slow to pick this up because I thought it might be one of those annoying preaching stories. Not so! When I finally started reading Tongue of Fire, I was pulled into John Peterson and his family’s lives as they move to the town of Mayfield for a new start in life. The story centers around preachers and religion—as John is a Mormon who has been run out of three other towns in the last three years—but this was done in the context of such a masterful plot that the book didn’t come off preachy like many Christian novels. The subtle theme throughout the story is that true followers of Christ do good works. They don’t judge or make life miserable for others. This author has my allegiance for any future books he writes for taking such a hard subject and weaving an intense tale for someone of any faith.
- A Candlelight Courting: A Short Christmas Romance
on Jan. 17, 2013
This short story is set in the 1100's. Meg wants to become a nun. She spurns her betrothal to Burthred when he comes calling on Christmas Eve to claim her as his wife. When her betrothed is thrown into her room by her father to force her hand, she expects an aggressive bully like her father...but instead finds a kind, patient man whom she learns to trust...but will that be enough for her to give up her one dream in life? I enjoyed this short story. The time period was one I had never read about before in a novel, and I found the unique romance very compelling as Burthred and Meg slowly discover the treasure in each other.
- Worlds Without End: The Mission (Book 1)
on March 17, 2013
This action-packed novel was intense! I didn't know if I'd like it at first, but I ended up loving it. It has a very intriguing premise. Adrian Palmer goes with his team to Mars and gets sucked into a wormhole and stranded in another galaxy on a world like Earth called Terrest. He helps these people until another alien race comes and wipes out most of the population. Adrian and his group lead a resistance movement against the superior Gnol race (humans that use 80% of their brain instead of only 10% like the Earthlings and Terrestians). This story has religious undertones that were very intriguing and helped the plot along. There are many characters, but you get to know them fast and love them. The cliff-hanger ending made me very glad that the next book is already written so I can go download it.
- Just a Little Faith
on March 17, 2013
Enjoyable clean, Christian romance. Seb (Bash), a professional baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals, and Paxson, an LLS fundraiser for cancer patients, meet and begin a rocky relationship as they try to understand each other’s completely foreign lifestyles (Seb’s famous party lifestyle and Pax's calm, religious background of faith and morality). I enjoyed the character’s interaction, dialogue, and the pace of the story.
- The Cinderella Substitute
on March 23, 2013
Contemporary romance. Jenni and Nate are the two main characters (very likable). Jenni is seeking for her birth mom, and trying to keep everything organized and running smoothly for her boss (Nate). Nate is seeking to forget what happened to his fiancée 2 years ago in the accident, and has poured his soul into work. The plot was not any surprise to me and ended a little too fast, but overall, it was a great read that I enjoyed. The prose was well done with hardly any editorial mistakes. Dialogue read easy and natural. I liked seeing Jenni’s transformation from Cinderella to Confident Beauty, as well as Nate’s guilty heart healed.
- The Painted Lady
on April 07, 2013
Christian romance in a law building setting. This was a good story. The characters and plot didn’t hold me captive like some others, but I liked the moral of the story—that there is a lot more to someone than just their outside appearance. The main girl in this story starts out as a plain ‘caterpillar’ and transforms into a stylish, beautiful ‘butterfly.’ But her insides haven’t changed, and the man who falls for her noticed her before her transformation.
- Aegean Intrigue
on April 07, 2013
Short mystery romance (I read it in an afternoon). This story is set in Greece on an archaeology dig. A private investigator, Alex, sets up the dig to discover the criminal that has been stealing ancient artifacts from previous digs. Unfortunately for Alex, he finds that the suspect, Francie, is very appealing, and he has to work hard to keep from being duped by her innocent, kind persona. Francie finds herself drawn to the new ‘director’ (Alex) against her will too, as she does not want to be hurt again. This book weaves just enough mystery, action, suspense and realistic characters to liven up an afternoon in an imaginary Aegean setting.
- Never Trust a Pretty Wolf
on April 07, 2013
Very unique plot that twists and throws the characters into a whirlwind fight for their lives as they go cross country on a Geo-caching adventure to win 1 million for their favorite charity. Liesel Wolf is paired up with U.S. Marshall Andy Bryce, and she’s not happy about it at all. Why? Because she happens to be the ex-wife of notorious mobster William Wolf, a cruel, brutal crime boss who doesn’t like things being taken away from him—especially his ex-wife. With trust a rare commodity between the two grudging team members, love seems an impossibility in this high-stakes game.
- At What Cost
on April 07, 2013
YA fiction about a 16-year-old girl who gets pregnant. The story delves into her thoughts as she tries to figure out what to do. Her family life isn’t so good; she dares not tell her parents about her condition for fear of being kicked out onto the streets. She considers abortion, almost gets one. Her aunt discovers her secret and talks her out of it (her aunt understands her as she got pregnant as a teen and did go through with an abortion, which spiraled her down into depression, drugs, etc. as a consequence). This was a very emotional journey that I enjoyed because of the information.
- Curtain Call
on April 07, 2013
Pretty slow book, but it had a good message. The romance was a little stale for me. This story is about 2 college seniors who have been together for over five years. A few months back they started having sex, and now the girl wants to break up because she feels she’s lost herself in the physical relationship and has no identity. The guy is great; he still loves her...but the whole book goes through her self-doubt and mixed up feelings as she tries to figure out what she truly wants in life. I had nothing against the writing itself, but the story wasn’t my favorite, and the girl kind of bugged me as she could never make up her mind over the same issues over and over.
- The Unexpected Choice
on April 07, 2013
Cool romance that I really liked. Flawed characters that I grew to love. At first the boy bugged me. He was so selfish and worldly. The girl was so naive and hopelessly in love with him; she had bad self-esteem, and thinks he’s her only chance to get married and have a family. But his marriage offer is for only a marriage of convenience so she can raise his lover’s child. Anyway, I was sucked into this one like a whirlpool. Great character growth and development, and wonderful theme about how love is a choice, not a feeling. I would definitely read more by this author.
- No Room at the Inn
on April 21, 2013
This short novel pits a haughty new owner of the Jubilee Resort, Owen, against Greta, the director of operations who is determined to do anything to keep the hotel she loves in business. When they meet, friction becomes fierce as they realize they know each other from college, where Owen made life miserable for Greta. She is determined to hate him, even as he finds himself falling for her. This was a fast, light read. I found the romance a little too pat and whirlwind-like for my taste, but it wasn't a bad read. I enjoyed the characters, and it ended happy.
- The Rebels of Cordovia
on June 23, 2013
This sweet YA romance set in the kingdom of Cordovia was a fun vacation read. King Rupert reigns over Cordovia with an iron fist after poisoning the beloved Kind Edward who has served his people for decades. The rebels want to take back their freedom, and when Daniel meets Marie and becomes fascinated with her, he is in for a surprise, for Marie is really Robin Marie who leads Robin’s Rebels—stealing from the tax collector to help the poor. This creative take on a Robin Hood-like story is charming, and teaches some great morals about agency and choice. It reminded me of childhood fairy tales of good versus evil, with a nice romance weaved into it.