UP ON CFBA IS Nothing But Trouble by Susan May Warren

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Nothing But Trouble

Tyndale House Publishers (May 1, 2009)

by

Susan May Warren



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susan grew up in Wayzata, a suburb of Minneapolis, and became an avid camper from an early age. Her favorite fir-lined spot is the north shore of Minnesota is where she met her husband, honeymooned and dreamed of living.

The north woods easily became the foundation for her first series, The Deep Haven series, based on a little tourist town along the shores of Lake Superior. Her first full-length book, Happily Ever After, became a Christy Award Finalist published in 2004 with Tyndale/Heartquest.

As an award winning author, Susan returned home in 2004, to her native Minnesota after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries with SEND International in Far East Russia. She now writes full time from Minnesota's north woods and the beautiful town that she always dreamed of living in.

You can sample a chapter of each and every one of Susan's novels, on her website, HERE.



ABOUT THE BOOK

PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:

1) After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that's become her life, she needs a fresh start.

2) The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister's wedding is Boone-her former flame and the reason she left town.

3) Her best friend's husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg, Minnesota, has seen in more than a decade.

What PJ doesn't know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she'll uncover much more than she bargained for-a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she's been longing for.

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her home town, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder—who also happens to be PJ's former flame—is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend’s husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right

If you would like to read the first chapter of Nothing But Trouble, go HERE

BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!!! MADE IN THE U.S.A.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thanks to Hachette publishing I have 5 copies of this book to giveaway. This is open to U.S. and Canada residents only, and no P.O. boxes. To enter just leave a comment along with your e-mail address. IF YOU DO NOT LEAVE ME A E-MAIL ADDRESS, YOUR NICKNAME FROM FR OR ANOTHER NETWORKING SITE YOUR COMMENT WILL BE DELETED! To receive an extra entry follow me on Twitter - AndiNewberry - follow my blog - leave an extra entry for each. If you already follow me let me know in your comment. : )

This giveaway will run from today, Tuesday, April 28, 09 and end on Monday, May 11, 09. I will use a randomizer to draw the five winners. Those winners will have 48 hours to get me their snail mail addys. If I don't receive it within the 48 hour time frame from the time they're notified. I will draw another winner(s). GOOD LUCK!!!!

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The bestselling author of WHERE THE HEART IS returns with a heartrending tale of two children in search of a place to call home.


Lutie McFee's history has taught her to avoid attachments...to people, to places, and to almost everything. With her mother long dead and her father long gone to find his fortune in Las Vegas, 15-year-old Lutie lives in the god-forsaken town of Spearfish, South Dakota with her twelve-year-old brother, Fate, and Floy Satterfield, the 300-pound ex-girlfriend of her father. While Lutie shoplifts for kicks, Fate spends most of his time reading, watching weird TV shows and worrying about global warming and the endangerment of pandas. As if their life is not dismal enough, one day, while shopping in their local Wal-Mart, Floy keels over and the two motherless kids are suddenly faced with the choice of becoming wards of the state or hightailing it out of town in Floy's old Pontiac. Choosing the latter, they head off to Las Vegas in search of a father who has no known address, no phone number and, clearly, no interest in the kids he left behind.

MADE IN THE U.S.A. is the alternately heartbreaking and life-affirming story of two gutsy children who must discover how cruel, unfair and frightening the world is before they come to a place they can finally call home.

BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!! THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING!

Thanks to Hachette publishing I have 5 copies of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming to give away. This is open to U.S. and Canada residents only, and no P.O. boxes. To enter just leave a comment along with your e-mail address. IF YOU DO NOT LEAVE ME YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR YOUR NICKNAME FROM FR OR ANOTHER NETWORKING SITE YOUR COMMENT WILL BE DELETED! To receive an extra entry follow me on Twitter - AndiNewberry - follow my blog - leave an extra entry for each. If you already follow me let me know in your comment. : )

This giveaway will run from today, 4/28/09 - Friday, May 8,09 when I will use a randomizer to draw the five winners. The winners will have 48 hours from the day I notify them to get me they're snail mail addy. If I don't get them with in that time frame I will draw another winner(s). GOOD LUCK!

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Lauren Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother keep family skeletons in the closet or sewing her acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister, Thalia, is her opposite, an impoverished actress who prides herself on exposing the lurid truths lurking behind middle class niceties.


While Laurel's life seems neatly on track-- a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, a lovely suburban home-- everything she holds dear is threatened the night she is visited by the ghost of her 13-year-old neighbor Molly. The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly, floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is an unseemly mystery that no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Laurel enlists Thalia's help, even though she knows it comes with a high price tag.


Together, they set out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about their family's haunted past, the true state of Laurel's marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.

My Review of The Noticer by Andy Andrews

Monday, April 27, 2009

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Book Description

A moving story of common wisdom from the bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift.

Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people. But they all have their share of problems – marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, and many of the other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.

Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious old man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. In his simple interactions, Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what they can do about it.

My thoughts: I was asked to review this book by Thomas Nelson publishing, and I was thrilled because I am apart of their blogging program to receive books to read and review. However . . . I have yet to figure out what the big hype is regarding this book! I have not read any of Andy Andrew's previous books and I can tell you right now I won't be. I don't like how the main character "Jones" uses deception when he meets people for the first time saying "I'm your best friend" when he doesn't even know them. Even going as far as to imply that her husband had invited him to meet him at this restaurant. I don't go for deception of any kind. I'm a liking this book to the SHACK, another piece of heresy! And just because Thomas Nelson published it doesn't mean that it's something worthwhile! I have to give this book a sand dune because it could ship wreck your faith.


UP ON CFBA IS A Vote of Confidence by Robin Lee Hatcher


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Vote Of Confidence

Zondervan (April 2009)

by

Robin Lee Hatcher



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon


ABOUT THE BOOK

In A Vote of Confidence, the stage is set for some intriguing insight into what it was like during 1915 to be a woman in a “mans’ world.”

Guinevere Arlington is a beautiful young woman determined to remain in charge of her own life, For seven years, Gwen has carved out a full life in the bustling town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, where she teaches piano and writes for the local newspaper. Her passion for the town, its people, and the surrounding land prompt Gwen to run for mayor. After all, who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?

But stepping outside the boundaries of convention can get messy. A shady lawyer backs Gwen, believing he can control her once she’s in office. A wealthy newcomer throws his hat into the ring in an effort to overcome opposition to the health resort he’s building north of town. When the opponents fall in love, everything changes, forcing Gwen to face what she may have to lose in order to win.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Vote Of Confidence, go HERE

Review of InThe Footsteps of Paul

Wednesday, April 22, 2009



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Book Description

Follow a trailblazer’s path and see for yourself all the places that Paul visited . . .

Paul’s missionary journeys are much more than mere dotted lines on rough maps at the back of your Bible. His travels changed the world, and when you, too, follow In the Footsteps of Paul, you’ll experience those amazing journeys more powerfully than ever. The lens of renowned photographer Ken Duncan traces everywhere Paul is known to have traveled. Ken’s stunning photos, combined with Scripture and writings from noted authors, creates an exciting platform for experiencing the life and times of one of the apostles who introduced Jesus to the Roman world and beyond.


My Review: This is a beautifully written book! The pictures are breath taking and you feel like you are literally walking in the Holy Land. I could sit and look at this book over and over again! Ken Duncan did an absolutely fabulous job on this book! This book will sit out where everyone can see it and enjoy it! I highly recommend this one! I give it a lighthouse and shine a light on it for lighting your way to God.

The Clapping Song by Shirley Ellis that was featured on DWTS



I love it!!!!!!!!!

ELISHA'S BONES is UP ON CFBA


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Elisha's Bones

(Bethany House March 1, 2009)

by

Don Hoesel



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Don Hoesel was born and raised in Buffalo, NY but calls Spring Hill, TN home. He is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal.

He lives in Spring Hill with his wife and two children.

Elisha's Bones is his first novel.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Every year, professor of antiquities Jack Hawthorne looks forward to the winter break as a time to hide away from his responsibilities. Even if just for a week or two. But this year, his plans are derailed when he's offered almost a blank check from a man chasing a rumor.

Billionaire Gordon Reese thinks he knows where the bones of the prophet Elisha are--bones that in the Old Testament brought the dead back to life. The bones of the prophet once raised the dead to life... but they vanished from history in a whisper.

Bankrolled by a dying man of unlimited means, Hawthorne's hunt spans the globe and leads him into a deadly conspiracy older than the church itself. A born skeptic, Jack doesn't think much of the assignment but he could use the money, so he takes the first step on a chase for the legendary bones that will take him to the very ends of the earth.

But he's not alone. Joined with a fiery colleague, Esperanza Habilla, they soon discover clues to a shadowy organization whose long-held secrets have been protected . . . at all costs. And he soon discovers those sworn to keep the secret of the bones will do anything to protect them. As their lives are threatened again and again, the real race is to uncover the truth before those chasing them hunt them down.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Elisha's Bones, go HERE

My thoughts: This was a great suspenseful, roller coaster ride. I really enjoyed it. It was the first book I've read by Don Hoesel, and I can tell you it won't be my last.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


So Not Happening (The Charmed Life)

Thomas Nelson (May 5, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Jenny B. Jones writes adult and YA Christian Fiction with equal parts wit, sass, and untamed hilarity. When she's not writing, she's living it up as a high school speech teacher in Arkansas.


Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 5, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595545417
ISBN-13: 978-1595545411

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


One year ago my mom got traded in for a newer model.

And that’s when my life fell apart.

“Do you, Jillian Leigh Kirkwood . . .”

Standing by my mother’s side as she marries the man who is so not my dad, I suppress a sigh and try to wiggle my toes in these hideous shoes. The hideous shoes that match my hideous maid-of honor dress. I like to look at things on the bright side, but the only

positive thing about this frock is that I’ll never have to wear it again.

“. . . take Jacob Ralph Finley . . .”

Ralph? My new stepdad’s middle name is Ralph? Okay, do we need one more red flag here? My mom is marrying this guy, and I didn’t even know his middle name. Did she? I check her face for signs of revulsion, signs of doubt. Signs of “Hey, what am I thinking? I don’t want Jacob Ralph Finley to be my daughter’s new stepdad.”

I see none of these things twinkling in my mom’s crystal blue eyes. Only joy. Disgusting, unstoppable joy.

“Does anyone have an objection?” The pastor smiles and scans the small crowd in the Tulsa Fellowship Church. “Let him speak now or forever hold his peace.”

Oh my gosh. I totally object! I look to my right and lock eyes with Logan, the older of my two soon-to-be stepbrothers. In the six hours that I have been in Oklahoma preparing for this “blessed” event, Logan and I have not said five words to one another. Like we’ve mutually agreed to be enemies.

I stare him down.

His eyes laser into mine.

Do we dare?

He gives a slight nod, and my heart triples in beat.

“Then by the powers vested in me before God and the family and friends of—”

“No!”

The church gasps.

I throw my hands over my mouth, wishing the floor would swallow me.

I, Bella Kirkwood, just stopped my own mother’s wedding.

And I have no idea where to go from here. It’s not like I do this every day, okay? Can’t say I’ve stopped a lot of weddings in my sixteen years.

My mom swivels around, her big white dress making crunchy noises. She takes a step closer to me, still flashing her pearly veneers at the small crowd.

“What,” she hisses near my ear, “are you doing?”

I glance at Logan, whose red locks hang like a shade over his eyes. He nods again.

“Um . . . um . . . Mom, I haven’t had a chance to talk to you at all this week . . .” My voice is a tiny whisper. Sweat beads on my forehead.

“Honey, now is not exactly the best time to share our feelings and catch up.”

My eyes dart across the sanctuary, where one hundred and fifty people are perched on the edge of their seats. And it’s not because they’re anxious for the chicken platters coming their way after the ceremony.

“Mom, the dude’s middle name is Ralph.”

She leans in, and we’re nose to nose. “You just stopped my wedding and that’s what you wanted to tell me?”

Faint—that’s what I’ll do next time I need to halt a wedding.

“How well do you know Jake? You only met six months ago.”

Some of the heat leaves her expression. “I’ve known him long enough to know that I love him, Bella. I knew it immediately.”

“But what if you’re wrong?” I rush on, “I mean, I’ve only been around him a few times, and I’m not so sure. He could be a serial killer for all we know.” I can count on one hand the times I’ve been around Jake. My mom usually visited him when I was at my dad’s.

Her voice is low and hurried. “I understand this isn’t easy for you. But our lives have changed. It’s going to be an adventure, Bel.”

Adventure? You call meeting a man on the Internet and forcing me to move across the country to live with his family an adventure? An adventure is swimming with dolphins in the Caribbean. An adventure is touring the pyramids in Egypt. Or shopping at the Saks after-Thanksgiving sale with Dad’s credit card. This, I do believe, qualifies as a nightmare!

“You know I’ve prayed about this. Jake and I both have. We know this is God’s will for us. I need you to trust me, because I’ve never been more sure about anything in my life.”

A single tear glides down Mom’s cheek, and I feel my heart constrict. This time last year my life was so normal. So happy. Can I just hit the reverse button and go back?

Slowly I nod. “Okay, Mom.” It’s kind of hard to argue with “God says this is right.” (Though I happen to think He’s wrong.)

The preacher clears his throat and lifts a bushy black brow.

“You can continue,” I say, knowing I’ve lost the battle. “She had something in her teeth.” Yes, that’s the best I've got.

I. Am. An. Idiot.

“And now, by the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Finley. You may kiss your bride.”

Nope. Can’t watch.

I turn my head as the “Wedding March” starts. Logan walks to my side, and I link my arm in his. Though we’re both going to be juniors, he’s a head taller than me. It’s like we’re steptwins. He grabs his six-year-old brother, Robbie, with his other hand, and off we go

in time to the music. Robbie throws rose petals all around us, giggling with glee, oblivious to the fact that we just witnessed a ceremony marking the end of life as we know it.

“Good job stopping the wedding.” Logan smirks. “Very successful.”

I jab my elbow into his side. “At least I tried! You did nothing!”

“I just wanted to see if you had it in you. And you don’t.”

I snarl in his direction as the camera flashes, capturing this day for all eternity.

Last week I was living in Manhattan in a two-story apartment between Sarah Jessica Parker and Katie Couric. I could hop a train to Macy’s and Bloomie’s. My friends and I could eat dinner at Tao and see who could count the most celebs. I had Broadway in my backyard

and Daddy’s MasterCard in my wallet.

Then my mom got married.

And I got a new life.

I should’ve paid that six-year-old to pull the fire alarm.

UP ON CFBA IS The Reluctant Cowgirl

Monday, April 20, 2009


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Reluctant Cowgirl

Barbour Publishing (April 2009)

by

Christine Lynxwiler



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Chrisitine lives with her husband and two precious daughters in the foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains in her home state of Arkansas. Her greatest earthly joy is her family and, aside from doing God’s will, spending time with them is her top priority.

She recently took a break from writing romance to pen a Christmas story with a twist. Her Mom Lit novella, My True Love Gave to Me, is part of a 2 in 1 anthology from Barbour entitled All Jingled Out. It’s also included in Simply Christmas, a 4 in 1 Barbour anthology. One of my holiday highlights was seeing Simply Christmas at Sam’s Club a few weeks before Christmas.

She has written two other novellas, both romance, which are included in Barbour anthologies, City Dreams, and Prairie County Fair and a serial for the Heartsong Presents book club newsletter – The Carousel Horse. The Carousel Horse can be read in its entirety on the Heartsong website, and you can read excerpts from all of her other books on her website, HERE

In 2003, Christine was honored by being voted #2 Favorite New Author by the Heartsong Presents Book Club members!



ABOUT THE BOOK

Actress Crytal McCord gave up the closeness of her big family in order to make a name for herself on the New York City stage. But when life in the Big Apple turns sour, she follows a country road back to her parents Arkansas ranch.

The last thing she expects to find in cowboy country is a new leading man. Still, she can't help but imagine handsome rancher Jeremy Buchanan in the role.

Unfortunately, Jeremy's been burned by Crystal's type before. Or has he? Every time he thinks he knows her, the multi-faceted woman surprises him. Will the reluctant pair allow their hearts to guide them, or will their common stubborn pride keep them miles apart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Reluctant Cowgirl, go HERE
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Unquiet Bones

Monarch Books (November 4, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He graduated from Spring Arbor High School in 1960, and Greenville College (Illinois) in 1964. He received a MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970. He taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School.

Mel married Susan Brock in 1965, and they have two daughters; Amy (Kevin) Kwilinski, of Kennesaw, GA, and Jennifer (Jeremy) Reivitt, of Portage, MI. Mel and Susan have seven grandchildren.

***No author photo available. The church pictured is The Church of St. Beornwald (part of the setting for The Unquiet Bones). Today it is basically unchanged from its medieval appearance. Except for the name: in the 16th century it was renamed and since then has been called The Church of St. Mary the Virgin.***


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Monarch Books (November 4, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825462908
ISBN-13: 978-0825462900

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Uctred thought he had discovered pig bones. He did not know or care why they were in the

cesspit at the base of Bampton Castle wall.

Then he found the skull. Uctred is a villein, bound to the land of Lord Gilbert, third Baron Talbot, lord of Bampton Castle, and had slaughtered many pigs. He knew the difference between human and pig skulls.

Lord Gilbert called for me to inspect the bones. All knew whose bones they must be. Only two men had recently gone missing in Bampton. These must be the bones of one of them.

Sir Robert Mallory had been the intended suitor of Lord Gilbert's beautious sister, Lady Joan. Shortly after Easter he and his squire called at the castle, having, it was said, business with Lord Gilbert. What business this was I know not, but suspect a dowry was part of the conversation. Two days later he and his squire rode out the castle gate to the road north toward Burford. The porter saw him go. No one saw him or his squire after. He never arrived at his father’s manor at Northleech. How he arrived, dead, unseen, back within--or nearly within--the walls of Bampton Castle no one could say. Foul play seemed likely.

I was called to the castle because of my profession; surgeon. Had I known when I chose such work that cleaning filth from bones might be part of my duties I might have continued the original calling chosen for me: clerk.

I am Hugh of Singleton, fourth and last son of a minor knight from the county of Lancashire. The manor of Little Singleton is aptly named; it is small. My father held the manor in fief from Robert de Sandford. It was a pleasant place to grow up. Flat as a table, with a wandering,

sluggish tidal stream, the Wyre, pushing through it on its journey from the hills, just visible ten miles to the east, to the sea, an equal distance to the northwest.

As youngest son, the holding would play no part in my future. My oldest brother, Roger, would receive the manor, such as it was. I remember when I was but a tiny lad overhearing him discuss with my father a choice of brides who might bring with them a dowry which would enlarge his lands. In this they were moderately successful. Maud’s dowry doubled my brother’s holdings. After three children Roger doubled the size of his bed, as well. Maud was never a frail girl. Each heir she produced added to her bulk. This seemed not to trouble Roger. Heirs are important.

Our village priest, Father Aymer, taught the manor school. When I was nine years old, the year the great death first appeared, he spoke to my father and my future was decided.

I showed a scholar’s aptitude, so it would be the university for me. At age fourteen I was sent off to Oxford to become a clerk, and, who knows, perhaps eventually a lawyer or a priest. This was poor timing, for in my second year at the university a fellow student became enraged at the watered beer he was served in a High Street tavern and with some cohorts destroyed the place. The proprietor sought assistance, and the melee became a wild brawl known ever after as the St. Scholastica Day Riot. Near a hundred scholars and townsmen died before the sheriff restored the peace. When I dared emerge from my lodgings I fled to Lancashire and did not return until Michealmas term.

I might instead have inherited Little Singleton had the Black Death been any worse.

Roger and one of his sons perished in 1349, but two days apart, in the week before St. Peter’s Day. Then, at the Feast of St. Mary my third brother died within a day of falling ill. Father Aymer said an imbalance of the four humors; air, earth, fire, and water, caused the sickness. Most priests, and indeed the laymen as well, thought this imbalance due to God’s wrath. Certainly men gave Him reason enough to be angry.

Most physicians ascribed the imbalance to the air. Father Aymer recommended burning wet wood to make smoky fires, ringing the church bell at regular intervals, and the wearing of a bag of spices around the neck to perfume the air. I was but a child, however it seemed to me even then that these precautions were not successful. Father Aymer, who did not shirk his duties as did some scoundrel priests, died a week after administering extreme unction to my brother Henry. I watched from the door, a respectful distance from my brother’s bed. I can see in my memory Father Aymer bending over my wheezing, dying brother, his spice bag swinging out from his body as he chanted the phrases of the sacrament.

So my nephew and his mother inherited little Singleton and I made my way to Oxford. I found the course of study mildly interesting. Father Aymer had taught me Latin and some Greek, so it was no struggle to advance my skills in these languages.

I completed the trivium and quadrivium in the allotted six years, but chose not to take holy orders after the award of my bachelor’s degree. I had no desire to remain a bachelor, although I had no particular lady in mind with whom I might terminate my solitary condition.

I desired to continue my studies. Perhaps, I thought, I shall study law, move to

London, and advise kings. The number of kingly advisors who ended their lives in prison or at the block should have dissuaded me of this conceit. But the young are seldom deterred from following foolish ideas.

You see how little I esteemed life as a vicar in some lonely village, or even the life of a rector with livings to support me. This is not because I did not wish to serve God. My desire in that regard, I think, was greater than many who took a vocation; serving the church while they served themselves.

In 1361, while I completed a Master of Arts degree, plague struck again. Oxford, as before, was hard hit. The colleges were much reduced. I lost many friends, but once again God chose to spare me. I have prayed many times since that I might live so as to make Him pleased that He did so.

I lived in a room on St. Michael’s Street, with three other students. One fled the town at the first hint the disease had returned. Two others perished. I could do nothing to help them, but tried to make them comfortable. No; when a man is covered from neck to groin in bursting pustules he cannot be made comfortable. I brought water to them, and put cool cloths on their fevered foreheads, and waited with them for death.

William of Garstang had been a friend since he enrolled in Balliol College five years earlier. We came from villages but ten miles apart -- although his was much larger; it held a weekly market -- but we did not meet until we became students together. An hour before he died William beckoned me to approach his bed. I dared not remain close, but heard his rasping whisper as he willed to me his possessions. Among his meager goods were three books.

God works in mysterious ways. Between terms, in August of 1361, He chose to do three things which would forever alter my life. First, I read one of William’s books: SURGERY, by Henry de Mondeville, and learned of the amazing intricacies of the human body. I read all day, and late into the night, until my supply of candles was gone. When I finished, I read the book again, and bought more candles.

Secondly, I fell in love. I did not know her name, or her home. But one glance told me she was a lady of rank and beyond my station. The heart, however, does not deal in social convention.

I had laid down de Mondeville’s book long enough to seek a meal. I saw her as I left the inn. She rode a gray palfrey with easy grace. A man I assumed to be her husband escorted her. Another woman, also quite handsome, rode with them, but I noticed little about her. A half-dozen grooms rode behind this trio: their tunics of blue and black might have identified the lady’s family, but I paid little attention to them, either.

Had I rank enough to someday receive a bishopric I might choose a mistress and disregard vows of chastity. Many who choose a vocation do. Secular priests in lower orders must be more circumspect, but even many of these keep women. This is not usually held against them, so long as they are loyal to the woman who lives with them and bears their children. But I found the thought of violating a vow as repugnant as a solitary life, wedded only to the church. And the Church is already the bride of Christ and needs no other spouse.

She wore a deep red cotehardie -- the vision on the gray mare. Because it was warm she needed no cloak or mantle. She wore a simple white hood, turned back, so that

chestnut-colored hair visibly framed a flawless face. Beautiful women had smitten me before. It was a regular occurrence. But not like this. Of course, that’s what I said the last time, also.

I followed the trio and their grooms at a discreet distance, hoping they might halt before some house. I was disappointed. The party rode on to Oxpens Road, crossed the Castle Mill Stream, and disappeared to the west as I stood watching, quite lost, from the bridge. Why should I have been lovelorn over a lady who seemed to be another man’s wife? Who can know? I cannot. It seems foolish when I look back to the day. It did not seem so at the time.

I put the lady out of my mind. No; I lie. A beautiful woman is as impossible to put out of mind as a corn on one’s toe. And just as disquieting. I did try, however.

I returned to de Mondeville’s book and completed a third journey through its pages. I was confused, but t’was not de Mondeville’s writing which caused my perplexity. The profession I thought lay before me no longer appealed. Providing advice to princes seemed unattractive. Healing men’s broken and damaged bodies now occupied near all my waking thoughts.

I feared a leap into the unknown. Oxford was full to bursting with scholars and lawyers and clerks. No surprises awaited one who chose to join them. And the town was home also to many physicians, who thought themselves far above the barbers who usually performed the stitching of wounds and phlebotomies when such services were needed. Even a physician’s work, with salves and potions, was familiar. But the pages of de Mondeville’s book told me how little I knew of surgery, and how much I must learn should I chose such a vocation. I needed advice.

There is, I think, no wiser man in Oxford than Master John Wyclif. There are men who hold different opinions, of course. Often these are scholars Master John has bested in disputation. Tact is not one among his many virtues, but care for his students is. I sought him out for advice and found him in his chamber at Balliol College, bent over a book. I was loath to disturb him, but he received me warmly when he saw t’was me who rapped upon his door.

“Hugh . . . come in. You look well. Come and sit.”

He motioned to a bench, and resumed his own seat as I perched on the offered bench. The scholar peered silently at me, awaiting announcement of the reason for my visit.

“I seek advice,” I began. “I had it in mind to study law, as many here do, but a new career entices me.”

“Law is safe . . . for most,” Wyclif remarked. “What is this new path which interests you?”

“Surgery. I have a book which tells of old and new knowledge in the treatment of injuries and disease.”

“And from this book alone you would venture on a new vocation?”

“You think it unwise?”

“Not at all. So long as men do injury to themselves or others, surgeons will be needed.”

“Then I should always be employed.”

“Aye,” Wyclif grimaced. “But why seek my counsel? I know little of such matters.”

“I do not seek you for your surgical knowledge, but for aid in thinking through my decision.”

“Have you sought the advice of any other?”

“Nay.”

“Then there is your first mistake.”

“Who else must I seek? Do you know of a man who can advise about a life as a surgeon?”

“Indeed. He can advise on any career. I consulted Him when I decided to seek a degree in theology.”

I fell silent, for I knew of no man so capable as Master John asserted, able to advise in both theology and surgery. Perhaps the fellow did not live in Oxford. Wyclif saw my consternation.

“Do you seek God’s will and direction?”

“Ah . . . I understand. Have I prayed about this matter, you ask? Aye, I have, but God is silent.”

“So you seek me as second best.”

“But . . . t’was you just said our Lord could advise on any career.”

“I jest. Of course I, like any man, am second to our Lord Christ . . . or perhaps third, or fourth.”

“So you will not guide my decision?”

“Did I say that? Why do you wish to become a surgeon? Do you enjoy blood and wounds and hurts?”

“No. I worry that I may not have the stomach for it.”

“Then why?”

“I find the study of man and his hurts and their cures fascinating. And I . . . I wish to help others.”

“You could do so as a priest.”

“Aye. But I lack the boldness to deal with another man’s eternal soul.”

“You would risk a man’s body, but not his soul?”

“The body cannot last long, regardless of what a surgeon or physician may do, but a man’s soul may rise to heaven or be doomed to hell . . . forever.”

“And a priest may influence the direction, for good or ill,” Wyclif completed my thought.

“Just so. The responsibility is too great for me.”

“Would that all priests thought as you,” Wyclif muttered. “But lopping off an arm destroyed in battle would not trouble you?”

“T’is but flesh, not an everlasting soul.”

“You speak true, Hugh. And there is much merit in helping ease men’s lives. Our Lord Christ worked many miracles, did he not, to grant men relief from their afflictions. Should you do the same you would be following in his path.”

“I had not considered that,” I admitted.

“Then consider it now. And should you become a surgeon keep our Lord as your model and your work will prosper.”

And so God’s third wonder; a profession. I would go to Paris to study. My income from the manor at Little Singleton was L6, 15 shillings each year, to be awarded so long as I was a student, and to terminate after eight years.

My purse would permit one year in Paris. I know what you are thinking. But I did not spend my resources on riotous living. Paris is an expensive city. I learned much there. I watched, and then participated in dissections. I learned phlebotomy, suturing, cautery, the removal of arrows, the setting of broken bones, and the treatment of scrofulous sores. I learned how to extract a tooth and remove a tumor. I learned trepanning to relieve a headache, and how to lance a fistula. I learned which herbs might staunch bleeding, or dull pain, or cleanse a wound. I spent both time and money as wisely as I knew how, learning the skills which I hoped would one day earn me a living.

Boneman's Daughter's Tour

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I am really bothered by some of the reviews or comments I have read on some of the blogs about this tour. I was actually looking forward to reading the different reviews and comments since like Kiss, it was a much anticipated book. Yet, when I began looking at the different blogs that have posted I am seeing nothing but attacks on Ted Dekker for this book, that it doesn't have a clear cut Christian message, that it's being published in the secular market, etc. I actually got the feeling from some of what I read that instead of us touring a book that was written by a trusted Christian author we were touring a book that was questionable.

This is what I have to say about all of it! #1 - Those who requested this book knew what kind of a writer Ted Dekker is before they even requested it. He writes about the dark spiritual world. He doesn't apologize for it, nor does he shy away from it. #2 - This book is not published via the secular market. It is published by Hachette publishing which is all Christian and has nine brands including "Faithwords". # 3- If you don't like a book fine, don't bash the author! It looks bad, especially when the group of bloggers are under the heading of "Christian", and I for one find it really disheartening.

That is really all I have to say about it.

UP ON CFBA IS Boneman's Daughter by Ted Dekker

Friday, April 17, 2009


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Boneman's Daughters

Center Street (April 14, 2009)

by

Ted Dekker




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), Obsessed, Renegade, and Chaos.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Would you kill an innocent man to save your daughter?

They call him BoneMan, a serial killer who’s abducted six young women. He’s the perfect father looking for the perfect daughter, and when his victims fail to meet his lofty expectations, he kills them by breaking their bones and leaving them to die.

Intelligence officer Ryan Evans, on the other hand, has lost all hope of ever being the perfect father. His daughter and wife have written him out of their lives.

Everything changes when BoneMan takes Ryan’s estranged daughter, Bethany, as his seventh victim. Ryan goes after BoneMan on his own.

But the FBI sees it differently. New evidence points to the suspicion that Ryan is BoneMan. Now the hunter is the hunted, and in the end, only one father will stand.




My Thoughts: I'm right in the middle of this thriller, and let me tell you Ted Dekker has done it again! He's created a jam packed, roller coaster ride, edge of your seat book that you just don't want to put down. So all you thrill ride seekers you're going to want to grab this book and hold on tight!

UP ON CFBA The Secret by Beverly Lewis

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Secret

(Bethany House May 1, 2009)

by

Beverly Lewis



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Not until her own children were well into middle school did Bev seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular CUL-DE-SAC KIDS series of chapter books—see list of Bev's children's books).

Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, THE HERITAGE OF LANCASTER COUNTY, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Bev's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and playing with their three grandchildren. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."






ABOUT THE BOOK

In the seemingly ordinary Amish home of Grace Byler, secrets abound. Why does her mother weep in the night? Why does her father refuse to admit something is dreadfully wrong? Then, in one startling moment, everything Grace assumed she knew is shattered.

Her mother's disappearance leaves Grace reeling and unable to keep her betrothal promise to her long-time beau. Left to pick up the pieces of her life, Grace questions all she has been taught about love, family, and commitment.

Heather Nelson is an English grad student, stunned by a doctor's diagnosis. Surely fate would not allow her father to lose his only daughter after the death of his wife a few years before. In denial and telling no one she is terminally ill, Heather travels to Lancaster County-- the last place she and her mother had visited together.

Will Heather find healing for body and spirit? As the lives of four wounded souls begin to weave together like an Amish patchwork quilt, they each discover missing pieces of their life puzzles--and glimpse the merciful and loving hand of God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Secret, go HERE

My Review of HANDLE WITH CARE by Jodi Picoult

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

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About the book: Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe's daughter, Willow, was born with brittle bone disease, a condition that requires Charlotte to act as full-time caregiver and has strained their emotional and financial limits. Willow's teenaged half-sister, Amelia, suffers as well, overshadowed by Willow's needs and lost in her own adolescent turmoil. When Charlotte decides to sue for wrongful birth in order to obtain a settlement to ensure Willow's future, the already strained family begins to implode. Not only is the defendant Charlotte's longtime friend, but the case requires Charlotte and Sean to claim that had they known of Willow's condition, they would have terminated the pregnancy, a statement that strikes at the core of their faith and family.

My Review: Up until this book Jodi had been one of my favorite authors. Now I won't read another book she writes. In this book the lawyer that Charlotte goes to is adopted and during the course of the book she is looking for her birth mother. What irks me more than anything is that during the course of the book Jodi compares the lawsuit that Charlotte has waged to adoption. They are two polar opposites! Charlotte's lawsuit has to do with her daughter's medical condition, Marin was given up because her mother KNEW she couldn't give her the life she needed. I should say here that I am adopted and that is why this book has struck a cord in me. In the course of the book as the trial goes on, Marin is looking for her birth mother you hear her say to herself, "if I would have been born with blue eyes, and blond hair would she have kept me?" I have known I was adopted all of my life, didn't understand it until I was older, yet I never ONCE had those thoughts! I KNEW that I was given up because my birth mother LOVED me so much to do so! She KNEW she couldn't take care of me and she knew that a married couple could. How dare Jodi make adoption sound the way that she did! The brief encounter that Marin and her birth mother have Marin's birth mother says to her "There are just certain babies that shouldn't be born." This is prior to Marin knowing that this woman is her mother. That is just so out of line and WRONG!
It was pretty clear to me that she hadn't talked to any adoptees about they're experience. Sadly she lost a very devoted reader on this one! Ce - La - Ve!
P.S. My adoption story is similar to Marin's in Handle With Care, if you want to know, just ask me I'm happy to share. That's another reason why I say that Jodi is way, way off base here!
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Go Back and Be Happy

Monarch Books (November 4, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


In Julie Papievis' words:

Traumatic brain injury is the number one killer of persons under the age of 44. Every twenty one seconds, someone suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States. As a result, 5.3 million Americans are living with a disability from TBI. This non-discriminatory injury changes life in an instant.

On May 10, 1993 my life was changed forever because someone ran a red light. Featured on Lifetime's "Beyond Chance", CNN, Woman's Day Magazine, and top ranked WB's WGN News, my story is gaining national attention. After a life-threatening car accident, I suffered a severe brain stem injury and medically died, rating a "3", the lowest number possible on the Glascow Coma Scale. According to medical experts, 96% of the people with such a severe injury either die or remain permanently comatose. The few who survive typically face a non-functional life. I completely beat the odds even though I remained in a coma for over a month.

Paralyzed and unconscious, I was transferred to the locked brain injury wing of a rehabilitation facility, where I awakened with vivid memories of my near death experience. During "death" I saw my grandmothers in heaven. They instructed me to "Go back and be happy" and assured me that my body would heal. Although medical experts said I would never walk again, or be able to take care of myself, I didn't listen. I believed the words of my grandmothers.

Through extensive therapy, I relearned how to stand, walk, and swallow. However, I faced the daunting challenge of facing the able-bodied world as a disabled person. After overcoming paralysis and battling severe depression, I embraced my gift of recovery as a true miracle.

In 1999, I ran in a 5K race near Chicago on Mother's Day! In February 2007, I completed my first triathlon. I have become an advocate for other survivors looking for hope and guidance. I work with the Brain Injury Association of Illinois, the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Illinois, and am a peer advisor to the Midwest Brain Injury Clubhouse. As a VIP member (voice for injury prevention) for the national program of ThinkFirst, I speak to students about injury prevention and safe driving. I volunteer at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in their Peer Support Program. I currently work part time as a community relations advisor for a top Chicago law firm.

I hope my story of faith and determination offers an inspirational and practical approach to dealing with sudden changes in life. Like an oyster, I transformed the unexpected "grit" in my life into a precious pearl.


Visit the author's website.


Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Monarch Books (November 4, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825462762
ISBN-13: 978-0825462764

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


A Wrecked Life: May 10, 1993 at 6:55 p.m.

Pulling her short brown hair, Toni Rapach screamed over the blaring song on the car radio, “Honk your horn, TJ! Hurry! Honk your horn!”

The couple watched in disbelief as a large burgundy Oldsmobile Cutlass ran a red light and violently struck the driver’s side of a small, white Mazda sports car turning left out of a shopping mall in a Chicago suburb.

Toni jumped from her car and shouted “Somebody call 911!”

An older couple raced toward the accident scene. The wife shouted over to Toni, “We’re calling 911 right now on our cell phone, and my husband’s a doctor!” In 1993, a mobile phone was not a common item.

Toni burst into tears when she looked into the Mazda and saw an unconscious young woman with a mane of blonde hair. She watched helplessly as the woman’s head lay against the chest as if it was disconnected from her body. Toni turned around and shouted, “Please somebody help!” “This poor girl and her family,” she sobbed. “They will never be the same.”

The gathering crowd rushed to the crumpled car and tried to open the driver’s door which was streaked with burgundy paint from the Oldsmobile. The forceful impact left both axles broken on the Mazda. A man ran to the other side of the car and managed to climb into the tangled debris. As he reached behind to pick up the young woman’s head, the doctor instructed, “Don’t move her.”

“I’m an off-duty paramedic,” the man answered in a calm and confident manner. “I know what I’m doing.”

“Go ahead then. I’m here if you need anything.”

The off-duty paramedic happened to be a block away from the accident scene getting his tires fixed. He lifted the woman’s head from her chest and cleared the airway so oxygen could pass to the brain. At 6:57 p.m., just two minutes after the accident, firefighters and paramedics arrived in a whir of sirens and flashing lights. Realizing the severity of the accident, Lieutenant Jim Streu radioed in a call to the station, “Extrication equipment is needed at the scene. Send in the fire truck.”

Paramedics Greg Sauchuk and Randy Deicke leaped out of Ambulance 61. Racing to the scene with his first aid box, Greg said, “Oh, man. This is really bad.”

They faced a “Trauma Red” and time was a major concern. Two minutes of the “Golden Hour” had already ticked away. Comprehensive medical treatment within that golden hour was imperative to offer any hope. Opening the first aid box, Greg removed some medical instruments to assess the woman’s condition. He recognized his off-duty paramedic friend who was holding the woman’s neck from the back seat of the car. Chips of sparkling glass surrounded the Mazda like Mardi Gras beads. Reaching through the blown out window, Greg said, “Tom, how did you manage to even climb into this pretzel? Thanks for stabilizing her neck and clearing the airway.”

Greg checked the woman’s breathing and said, “Amazing. I feel a pulse. She doesn’t need CPR.”

Lifting the woman’s eyelids, Greg checked the pupils with a small flashlight. They didn’t react. “Pupils dilated and fixed,” Greg reported to Randy and then shouted, “Hey, Miss! Can you hear me?!”

The woman remained silent. With his large six foot three, 245 pound frame, Greg pressed his fist into the woman’s chest. She didn’t even flinch.

“Patient is unresponsive to pain with sternum rub,” Greg said. “She scores a 3.” Greg rated the woman on the Glasgow Coma Scale, a quick, practical and standardized system developed in 1975 for assessing the level of consciousness and predicting the ultimate outcome of a coma. A three was the lowest score out of a possible fifteen.

“I’ll check her vitals,” Randy said as he wrapped the vinyl cuff around the woman’s arm to check for blood pressure. He placed the stethoscope on the inner arm and pumped the rubber ball. No reading. He tried again. “I can’t even hear the blood flow,” Randy said and shook his head while placing his fingertips on the woman’s artery to check for a pulse. “Patient’s palpable blood pressure is only eighty. Not good. Looks like a traumatic brain injury. Probably brain stem. Elevated heart rate is 120. This is bad guys. She’s in shock. Possible internal damage. After this car door is off, let’s do a ‘scoop and run.’”

Within a minute, the fire truck arrived with the “jaws of life” equipment. Al Green, another paramedic was also on the truck along with firefighter, Tony Pascolla. Tony lifted the forty pound Hurst equipment and steadied the hydraulic spreader as he ripped open the car door from its hinges. “I’ll be done in two minutes,” Tony shouted over the loud noise.

The paramedics decided against calling a helicopter since time was essential. Due to the severity of injuries, they agreed to take the woman to a Level I Trauma Center instead of the nearest hospital. Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois was fourteen miles away. They knew that neurosurgeon, Dr. John Shea was her only hope. The ambulance left the scene at 7:12 p.m and arrived at 7:25 p.m. Randy, Greg and Al pulled the stretcher out of the ambulance and ran into the emergency entrance to hand the woman over to the trauma team. “She’s posturing!” Randy said. They watched as the woman started extending her arms and legs in primitive reflexes, a sign that her body could not regulate itself. She then urinated all of the water from her body, soaking the stretcher, and started agonal breathing, the last breaths taken before dying.

As Greg walked back with Randy and Al toward the ambulance, he glanced over his shoulders at the lifeless body being carted away by the trauma team. “Dear God,” he prayed. “Please help her through this. Just help her through this.” He climbed into the driver’s seat and left the hospital. He’d seen it before. He knew firsthand that traumatic brain injury is the number one killer of people forty-four years old and younger.

Winners of the 5 copies of Girls in Trucks - RE DRAW

Monday, April 13, 2009

I had to redraw the winners for this giveaway. It has been over 48 hours and I have not heard from two of the winners so I had to redraw for two winners and the winners are now:

Shauna
Debsdesk
Melissa
Janice H - CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
Pam - CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

I will get your information to Hachette publishing this afternoon!
Thanks again for entering!

UP ON CFBA is Deadlock by Richard Liparulo


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Deadlock

Thomas Nelson (April 2009)

by

Robert Liparulo



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. Readers of his action-thrillers were not surprised when his visual storytelling style caught the eye of Hollywood producers. Currently, three of his novels for adults are in various stages of development for the big screen: the film rights to Comes A Horseman were purchased by the producer of Tom Clancy’s movies; and Liparulo is penning the screenplays for GERM and Deadfall for two top producers. He is also working with the director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Holes) on a political thriller. Novelist Michael Palmer calls Deadfall “a brilliantly crafted thriller.” March 31st marked the publication of Deadfall’s follow-up, Deadlock, which novelist Gayle Lynds calls, “best of high-octane suspense.”

Liparulo’s bestselling young adult series, Dreamhouse Kings, debuted last year with House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods. Book three, Gatekeepers released in January, and number four, Timescape, comes out in July. The series has garnered praise from readers, both young and old, as well as attracting famous fans who themselves know the genre inside and out. Of the series Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine says, “I loved wandering around in these books. With a house of so many great, haunting stories, why would you ever want to go outside?”

He is currently working on his next thriller, which for the first time injects a bit of the supernatural into his gun-blazing stories. The story is so compelling, two Hollywood studios are already in talks to acquire it—despite its publication date being more than a year away. After that comes a trilogy of novels, based on the critically acclaimed short story he contributed to James Patterson’s Thriller anthology. New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining . . . Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” He lives with his family in Colorado.


ABOUT THE BOOK

John Hutchinson thinks it's no coincidence that Brendan Page runs this modern Praetorian Guard, and that the billionaire military industrialist must have had something to do with the atrocities his son Declan committed in Canada. The Canadian and U.S. Justice departments disagree, but Hutch has been digging for dirt ever since.

Brendan Page has some dirty not-so-little secrets. he's built an empire on supplying futuristic weapons and highly trained soldiers to the world's most powerful armies. But he's saved his most destructive weapons for himself.

When Hutch discovers the secret of Page's success, Page decides to teach him a lesson. But the operation goes terribly wrong, and Hutch's son is kidnapped. While a lone man stands little chance against the best black op soldiers ever issued M-16s, Hutch manages to survive longer than Page anticipated. As far as Hutch is concerned, high-tech helmets, machine guns, and hand grenades are nothing compared to a man determined to save his son. It's a lesson he sets out to teach Page-and one that he can only hope works as well in the real world as it does in his heart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Deadlock, go HERE

A Personal Preview of City Of The Dead by T.L. Higley

Saturday, April 11, 2009



Watch for my review of this book coming within the next few weeks. Leave a comment about your most memorable vacation ever. The more comments the more chances of winning the books! And I know you will love this book!

Winners of the 5 copies of Girls in Trucks

Friday, April 10, 2009

CONGRATULATIONS! To the following winners!

Debs Desk
Shauna
Madeline
Carole
and Melissa

I will get your information to Hachette publishing and they will get the copy of the book out to you.
Thanks to all who entered.

My Review of Afraid by Jack Kilborn

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Five government-sponsored Red-ops fighters, psychotic torturers with modified brains and extensive training in killing anyone in their way, have been accidentally assigned to a mission in small, sleepy Safe Haven, Wis. Gen. Alton Tope sends in a dozen Green Berets, two other Special Forces teams, navy SEALs and some marines, all of whom may be just about enough to stop the killers. The townies also band together to save their little rural paradise, though several get trampled into red goo along the way. Any attempt to make a point about U.S. support of international terrorism gets a bit lost in the gore fest, but fans of gross-out horror will love it.

My Review: I'm not a horror fan. I really enjoy Jack aka J.A. Konrath's Whiskey series but this was just a little too much for my liking. However if you like Steven King, this is right up your alley!

Do This In Rememberance Of Me . . .

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Breakthrough: The Return of Hope to the Middle East

Authentic (February 15, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Tom Doyle pastored churches in Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico for a total of twenty years before becoming a missionary in the Middle East. His passion for Israel was fed through guiding tours there, eventually becoming a tour guide for the State of Israel. Tom also serves as the Middle East director for e3 Partners, a global church planting ministry. He is author of Two Nations Under God. He and his wife, JoAnn, have six children and two grandchildren.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Authentic (February 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934068632
ISBN-13: 978-1934068632

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Can Anything Good Come Out of the Middle East?


The Middle East is the place where history, religion, and politics collide head-on. The lead news story of the day often emanates from this volatile region—and rightfully so, because of its instability. By watching the news on television, it would be easy to form an opinion about the people who live there. It would also be easy to form an opinion about the future of the region, and my guess is that your opinion would not be optimistic. How could it be? Is there ever any good news from the Middle East?


Yes, there is good news from the Middle East! In fact, there is great news from the Middle East! That is why this book was written. It is time for Christians to find out what is really going on in the Middle East. God is moving in this region in which Jesus was born, ministered, died, and rose again. This book will give you the news that the mainstream media won’t give you. Rather than viewing this part of the world with a sense of hopelessness, as we’re prone to do, we can celebrate the return of hope.


I’m involved in ministry throughout the Middle East. For the last ten years now I’ve heard people say, “Tom, you should write a book about all that God is doing in the Middle East.”


It’s rather ironic that I ended up ministering in this region. The story started with a trip to Israel. In 1995, professors Charlie Dyer and Doug Cecil invited me to join them on a biblical tour of the Holy Land. My initial reaction was that I was too busy, considering that our church was young and growing and I was the senior pastor. But my wife, JoAnn, convinced me that the church could survive without me for ten days. So off I went.


My life was changed. The Bible came alive, and my understanding of Scripture was transformed. Some people in our church even said that my preaching got better when I returned. (I think that’s why they were so happy for me to go back each year!)


I not only fell in love with Jesus again while in Israel, but I fell in love with the people there. Both Jews and Arabs found a place in my heart. And I was thrilled to discover that there was a vibrant, growing church in the Middle East. It was also refreshing to see Jews and Arabs who loved each other and had come together in the body of Christ. After four thousand years of strife between Isaac and Ishmael, peace between their descendants seemed too good to be true.


Of course there could be peace between them! I just had never been exposed to the Prince of Peace in action with Jews and Arabs. I didn’t even know one Jew or Arab where I lived. But isn’t that what the gospel is all about? Christ came to tear down the wall between Jew and Gentile and to bring peace to both. And I was seeing it! While leading a trip to Israel each year, my love for my Savior and the people of the Middle East grew. I didn’t realize it; but after leading a trip to Israel in 2001, my life was about to change dramatically.


Let me back up about a quarter of a century. In 1974, God called me to attend Bible college and then seminary to prepare to be a pastor. It was a dramatic experience as God clearly began to speak to me through important spiritual leaders in my life about going into ministry. Even though I resisted this for a while, God gave me great peace about serving him this way.


I loved being a pastor! How privileged I am to have served Christ in that capacity for over twenty years. I believe there are two things that pastors, as shepherds of God’s flock, are responsible to do: feed the flock and lead the flock. I was passionate about fulfilling, through the power of the Spirit of God, both of these responsibilities. For two decades I enjoyed giving maximum effort to these two assignments.


A sense of joy and excitement arrives on Sunday morning when a pastor is ready to teach the Word of God and feed the flock. But there is pressure too. Do I understand the true meaning of this passage of Scripture? Will I be able to convey God’s heart to his followers? Will my application of the biblical text bring hope to those who are hurting today?


Feeding the flock consistently is not an easy job, to say the least. I can liken preaching a sermon to having a baby. You’re excited about the birth, but you don’t know what the baby is going to look like. That’s how it is with every sermon! Preaching the Bible week in and week out is tough. Each week the pastor’s sermon is analyzed and critiqued. But more important for the preacher is answering the question, Did I faithfully bring God’s Word to his people today? Being called to teach the Bible and make it relevant to God’s people is a high honor and privilege.


Leading the flock is also an honor, though it will drain a pastor of every ounce of energy. There are highs and lows. One week you may experience the joy of performing a wedding; the next week you may be called upon to perform a funeral. Like feeding the flock, leading the flock is not an easy job. People have problems. They die. Their marriages fail. Their children walk away from God. Then the pastor is called in to help God’s followers get through the crisis. How awesome to bring God’s love and compassion to his people in time of need. Only God can heal the hurts and give his people the strength to make it through the difficult trials of life. The pastor gets to see this up close and often. This too is a privilege.


Go East, Young Man!


This was the world in which I lived. This was my calling, and I thought that I would be feeding and leading the flock for the rest of my life. But on the first Sunday in June 2001, God called again. I had just preached a sermon at my church, Tri-Lakes Chapel in Monument, Colorado; and while we were worshiping near the end of the service, God began to speak to my heart. The message was clear: This is the last sermon you will preach at Tri-Lakes Chapel.


This impression came across so clearly that I responded, Lord, is that you? Or am I imagining this? I was in a state of shock. The people sitting nearby must have thought, Is the pastor having some kind of meltdown? He’s just staring straight ahead!


I left the service shaken and immediately headed for my wife, JoAnn. JoAnn and I have been married for twenty-eight years. She is an amazing wife, mother of our six children, and now grandmother. She also has an insight into people and situations of which I am often clueless. I said, “JoAnn, the strangest thing just happened. I think God told me that we are going to leave the church. I don’t understand this, do you?”


“Yes, I do!” she replied immediately. “Over the last few months I have felt that God was beginning to release us from Tri-Lakes into another ministry field altogether. Let me ask you a question. If you weren’t a pastor, how would you want to serve God?”


I thought for a moment and then said, “I think it would be in missions.”


JoAnn then asked, “And where do you think that would be?”


That was an easy one. “In Israel and the Middle East.”


“So do I!” JoAnn replied. “Tom, I believe that God is calling us to leave local church ministry and to serve him on the frontlines in missions.”


We didn’t waste any time. The next day I went to the elders and told them what was on our hearts. Wanting to make sure this wasn’t just a whim, they graciously counseled me to take three weeks off and seek the Lord. That was great advice, and I will always thank the Lord for their godly direction. Those three weeks were pivotal in our spiritual journey. Both JoAnn and I began to sense God’s calling so strongly that it erased any doubts that we might have had previously.


Making the jump from pastor to missionary sounded like some sort of midlife crisis to some of our friends, and not all of them were as enthusiastic as we were. But God was burning into our hearts a call to go to the mission field. We lived in the Colorado Springs area, where well over a hundred ministry organizations are located. Many staff members of those organizations went to our church. With so many great ministries in existence, how were we to know which one to join? We needed direction from God—and that direction would come quickly.


A longtime friend, Curtis Hail, called and said that he was going to be in our area and wanted to drop by for a visit. Curtis had served in missions for about fifteen years, and I had been on mission trips with him to the Soviet Union and Argentina. Curtis and Nathan Sheets had just formed a new ministry called EvangeCube. Curtis stunned us when he said, “We’re looking for a Middle East director—someone who will work with pastors.”


JoAnn and I broke into laughter. “Are you serious? That is exactly what we believe God is calling us to do!” When God is in something, he sure knocks down the barriers. We have found that those barriers often are not real but only in our minds. After some concentrated prayer, we knew that God had opened the door for us at EvangeCube, which later changed its name to e3 Partners.


At the end of June, we said goodbye to our church after nine wonderful years of ministry. I was supposed to preach a farewell sermon, but in both services I broke down and began crying. I couldn’t get any words out. I felt so badly that I wasn’t able to preach one last message to these people I dearly loved. But JoAnn reminded me that God had clearly impressed on my heart on that first Sunday in June: This is the last sermon you will preach at Tri-Lakes Chapel.


My days as a pastor were now over. It was on to the mission field!


The next few months were dedicated to raising support for our new ministry. The thought of raising support was intimidating and funny at the same time. As a senior pastor, I loved missions; and missions became a major part of our church life. But I had often said, “I don’t know how our missionaries do it. I could never raise support. With six kids, that would be insane!” Ironically, that is exactly what God called us to do. And we soon found out that his ability to provide is more than we can imagine. He has been so faithful.


Middle Eastern Terrorism Goes Global


Within a couple of months, something happened that changed everything in our new ministry.


As I was driving home after dropping off our daughter at school, ABC News interrupted the radio station I was listening to with this: “An airplane has gotten off course and has just slammed into the World Trade Center.” Since I had led tours to Israel and Jordan, I was tuned into the terrorism threats that emanated continually from the region. My first thought was There are no flight patterns through Manhattan—this is a terrorist attack!


When I got home and turned on the TV, JoAnn and I saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center. America was under attack.


After the four coordinated strikes, the country was in shock. The stories of those who had lost their lives were devastating. This tragedy woke us up to the fact that we had enemies who were calling for our nation’s destruction. I remember being glued to the television and watching Fox News go live to the Gaza Strip where crowds cheered in the streets over al-Qaeda’s attack on us. As the drama unfolded over the next several days, I wondered more than a few times how we could ever go to the very places that were the hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism.


I wasn’t the only one who had questions. Here are a few of the questions we were asked after 9/11: “Won’t you be killed if you go to the Middle East?” “They hate Americans in all the Muslim countries. Can’t you go somewhere else?” “Are you sure that God didn’t say the Far East instead of the Middle East?!” “How can you even think of going there with your wife and six children?” (That last one really hurt.)


And these were the comments just from our relatives!


As the days went by, however, JoAnn and I came to the realization that this was indeed the time to be involved in missions in the Middle East. We realized that it is normal for us Americans to typecast people. “We’re the good guys and they’re the bad guys. We wear the white hats and they wear the black hats.” It would be easy to conclude from the news that all Muslims are terrorists (and watch out if you ever see them—because they probably have bombs strapped to their bodies). But the Muslims we met in Israel and in Jordan were far from that. They were just normal people. We had friends who practiced Islam, and they didn’t hate us or the West.


More important than that was the fact that people in the Middle East are created in the image of God, just like everyone else in the world. They need and deserve to be reached with the good news of Jesus Christ, who died for their sins as well as for ours. JoAnn and I weren’t naive. There was no question in our minds that Islamic fundamentalism is a threat to global security. And if we wanted to share Christ in the Middle East, of course there would be dangers. But that certainly didn’t erase the Great Commission of Matthew 28, in which Jesus commanded us as his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Notice that Jesus didn’t say to “go and make disciples of the nations that like you and are relatively friendly.”


The Door Is Open


A good friend of mine in Jerusalem recently said, “As believers, we often hear people say, ‘These people are open to the claims of Christ,’ or ‘The door is wide open in this country for the gospel.’ But I don’t see that as a biblical concept. The question is: Are we open to sharing the gospel?”


I agree. After all, Jesus promised, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). In other words, with Jesus all doors are open. He has sent the church to all nations, no matter what the current trends appear to be. I believe that we can get into any nation with the good news of Jesus Christ. And there is a new generation of Christians in the Middle East today who believe, deep in their hearts, that with Jesus all doors are open. In reality, if you don’t have that attitude, it would be easy to give up and quit.


So, in 2001 we joined a group of believers in various ministries who are passionate about sharing the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in the Middle East. I have personally seen that Muslims in the Middle East, and throughout the rest of the Muslim world, are eager to hear about Jesus.


Since I began traveling extensively in the Middle East, I have also learned that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and not into jihad. They just want to feed their children, send them to good schools, see them get married, and enjoy a houseful of grandchildren running around their home when they break the fast each evening during Ramadan. From Egypt to Iran, the Muslims we talk to are sick of the Islamic fundamentalism that isolates them from the world and makes them all out to be bloodthirsty killers. We must reach out and love these people with the love of Jesus.


Arthur Blessitt has carried a large wooden cross in every country of the world. That amazes me, and it also makes me proud that someone would have the nerve to do such a thing. Showing up with a cross in some places on the globe could get you killed. Arthur has been in such danger many times. I am honored to call Arthur a friend. When I am with him, he always reminds me: “Tom, just keep it about Jesus! That is our message, and it’s a simple one. Once we get off of that, we lose people.”


How true that is. As we soon found out in our ministry in the Middle East, Muslims were ready to talk about Jesus. We also found out that they weren’t all calling for the destruction of America.


I remember walking through the streets of the Gaza Strip a few months after 9/11 when a woman in an abaya approached me.


“You’re from America, aren’t you?” she asked. “I can tell by your blue eyes.”


“Yes, I am.”


She continued: “Did you see on the news the people in Gaza celebrating in the streets when the buildings collapsed in New York City?”


“I am afraid I did,” I replied sadly.


“Well, I wasn’t cheering. I was crying for all of those families who lost their loved ones. That was a tragedy, and many of the Muslim people were grieving with you.”


With that, the woman walked away. She obviously needed to get this off her mind, and I was glad to be the one to hear it. I believe that God prearranged this conversation for my sake and for the sake of the small group with me. Here was this woman reaching out to me, which would have been considered out of bounds since she was a practicing Muslim. But she did it anyway.


I thought to myself, We can work with these people! This woman’s message showed that she cared and that not all Muslims want to wipe out the West. Her heart came through, and I could see her grief as she recounted the tragedy that America had just endured.


Why Breakthrough?


I have been privileged, over the years, to minister in Israel—including the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip—Iran, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Afghanistan. Some of the books I have read recently about the Middle East were written by people who don’t spend much time there but were merely reacting to the news that they hear on television or on the Internet. But there is so much more—a story that is not being told, in my opinion. Since I work in the Middle East, I am privileged to see this story unfold time after time. The story is this: Jesus is reaching out to the people of the Middle East in a powerful way, and the people are responding in record numbers. Millions have given their lives to Jesus Christ in the last ten years1. That’s right—millions!


This story is more important than the latest suicide bombing, the latest threat of war, or the latest prophecy about Jesus’ return. Of course I believe all of those things are important; but often lost in all of that is the fact that Jesus is building his church in the Middle East and that it is filled with former Muslims.


Maybe Jesus will return in our lifetime. How humbling it is to ponder that we could be the chosen generation that welcomes his arrival. But if biblical prophecies point to that, then we, as Jesus’ church, need to be making the greatest effort to reach the world with his message. Once Jesus returns, it will be too late.


One of the most important regions of the world is the Middle East. After all, this is where the church was birthed. For centuries the church has been small and almost unnoticed. We can no longer say that, however. Jesus is not being ignored in the Middle East today. The new generation of believers who serve Christ is willing to give their lives to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to hear of Jesus’ offer of grace and forgiveness. They are willing to risk everything to make sure that new believers have a Bible and can grow in their new life in Christ. They put themselves in harm’s way daily as they start new churches in places that have had no Christian presence for centuries.


In our work in the Middle East we have met some of the most godly, loving, and committed believers we have encountered any place in the world. They are constantly watched and often persecuted. They have a special calling as they live with the understanding that today might be their last day. Yet they often state, “We pray for you believers in the West every day.”


Many of the leaders we work with were at one time terrorists. In the following chapters you will be introduced to many of them. God miraculously transformed them, and they will never be the same. Their testimonies remind us of two things:

1. No one is unreachable . . . not even a terrorist.

2. The worst place to be a believer is really the best place to be a believer.



1. Joel C. Rosenberg, Epicenter: Why the Current Rumblings in the Middle

East Will Change Your Future (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2006), 211.

 
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