Safe From The Past ~ Reviewed

Friday, July 29, 2011




A kidnapping, the divorce of her parents, the loss of her father, temporary abandonment and extreme poverty are just some of the issues the author dealt with as a young child.

Her mother finally tells her she must go to college so she can break out of this cycle of poverty and hopelessness. But how can she when she has no money and absolutely no confidence or self esteem?

Read this true story to discover what hope, faith and determination can do to change a life.

A truly inspiring, deeply personal tale of perseverance in the face of unimaginable hardships, Safe from the Past makes clear the restorative power of an education.

Told in an open, honest voice with the deepest sincerity, the author's life story serves as a rousing inspiration to those with the desire to create a better life than the one they are currently living.

No matter how helpless you feel, everyone has the power to shape their own life.

http://www.amazon.com/Safe-Past-Story-Faith-Determination/dp/1933651849/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310054112&sr=sprightly-20


Patricia worked in New York City's financial district for thirteen years in the field of securities operations. At that time, she went on to obtain an MBA from New York University. She and her husband moved to Dallas, TX in 2001 where they are raising their two children.

During her time in NY, Patricia wrote an article entitled "A Tribute To My Mother" which was published in "The Recovery Journal" in 1999. Her book is a continuation of that tribute and serves to spread the message to those in similar situations that good news is on its way to children considering a higher education but who are afraid to dream. For more information please visit, www.patriciamaurobooks.com.

Blog Tour Schedule http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13380085

Every day children go to school hungry, have hidden from their parents fighting, are tired from listening to drunken parents coming in at all hours of the night in a fit of rage. Patricia takes you inside the walls of the life of a child, and what it was like, how each day was a struggle to survive. In her poignant story we watch her struggle through daily life and on to college which her mother wanted her to go, and the struggles she had there. This is a story of hope through perseverance! One in which you will see the hand of God in every turn, even when you don't think He's there. I can't recommend this book enough!

Preview: LFY in Amana, Iowa

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa
Summerside Press (June 1, 2011)
by
Melanie Dobson




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of The Black Cloister; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana; and Together for Good, and she has now authored nine contemporary and historical novels including Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania which releases in November 2011.  



Prior to launching Dobson Media Group in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of events, products, films, and TV specials. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She has worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.



Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Jon works in the field of computer animation. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their new home in the Pacific Northwest.



Jon and Melanie have adopted their two daughters —Karly (6) and Kinzel (5). When Melanie isn't writing or entertaining their girls, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, traveling, hiking, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.





ABOUT THE BOOK



With a backdrop of the community of The Amana Colonies, the Civil War, and a great love story, Melanie Dobson’s new historical fiction title LOVE FINDS YOU IN AMANA, IOWA both enlightening and entertaining.



The novel is set in the United States during the turmoil of the 1860s. As the rest of the nation is embroiled in the Civil War, the Amana Colonies have remained at peace with a strong faith in God and pursuit of community, intertwined with hard work, family life and the building of their colony.



Amalie Wiese is travelling to the newly built village of Amana in 1863. When she arrives in the colonies she finds that her fiancée, Friedrich has left to fight with the Union Army. Amalie fears for his safety as she also struggles with his decision to abandon the colony’s beliefs. Matthias, Frederick’s friend, stays back in Amana to work in the colonies. But there is something wrong with Matthias; he always seems angry at Amalie when there is no simple explanation for him to act that way.



The goods that colonies manufacture are much needed supplies for the war effort and Matthias decides to deliver the goods to the soldiers. When he leaves, Amalie realizes that her fear for Matthias’s safety is equally as strong. What will become of Friedrich, will Matthias return safely, and will Amalie marry Friedrich? LOVE FINDS YOU IN AMANA, IOWA is a richly told story of life in the Amana Society and the people who live and love there.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa, go HERE.

Review to come soon

GIVEAWAY GIVEAWAY ESCAPE BY BARBARA DELINSKY

Tuesday, July 26, 2011



Book Description:
In her luminous new novel, Barbara Delinsky explores every woman’s desire to abandon the endless obligations of work and marriage—and the idea that the most passionate romance can be found with the person you know best.

Emily Aulenbach is thirty, a lawyer married to a lawyer, working in Manhattan. An idealist, she had once dreamed of representing victims of corporate abuse, but she spends her days in a cubicle talking on the phone with vic­tims of tainted bottled water—and she is on the bottler’s side.

And it isn’t only work. It’s her sister, her friends, even her husband, Tim, with whom she doesn’t connect the way she used to. She doesn’t connect to much in her life, period, with the exception of three things—her computer, her BlackBerry, and her watch.

Acting on impulse, Emily leaves work early one day, goes home, packs her bag, and takes off. Groping toward the future, uncharacteristically following her gut rather than her mind, she heads north toward a New Hampshire town tucked between mountains. She knows this town. During her college years, she spent a watershed summer here. Painful as it is to return, she knows that if she is to right her life, she has to start here.

Thanks to Doubleday I have 2 copies of this book to giveaway. This contest is open to U.S. residents ONLY. To enter you must be a follower of my blog and say so in your comment. In your comment you MUST leave your email address, you can use (at) and (dot) in the comment, if that is not left your comment will be deleted. To obtain additional entries you can tweet about this contest, and then come back and leave an additional comment with the tweet link, you can blog about it and then come back and leave a comment with the blog link. I welcome new followers and if you get someone to follow my blog that would get you an additional entry as well. You need to let me know who you got to follow my blog. This contest will start today, Tuesday, July 26 and I will use a randomizer on Friday, August 12th to pull the winners. The winners will have 48 hours after I contact them to give me their mailing information. If I don't receive it in that time frame I will choose another winner(s).
GOOD LUCK!!!!!!

Glastonbury Tor Reviewed



Book Description: When his mother dies, sixteen-year-old Colin is consumed with hate for his harsh, demanding father. Looking for a true relationship with Christ and purification for his hateful heart, he journeys to the historic monastery at Glastonbury, within whose walls lies the Holy Grail. In this captivating novel centered around Glastonbury Tor (Hill), a young man seeks salvation as the Catholic Church finds itself in turmoil during the reign of Henry VIII.

My Thoughts: Not only was this a great coming of age story of young Colin, it was a great history lesson too, on how our Bible came to be, and the struggles it went through. If you have teens in your home, I'd say turn off all the electronics, and hand them this book they will be transported back to a time an place and will experience what they watch and play on their video games! Highly recommend!!!!

Preview: Canary Island Song

Monday, July 25, 2011

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Canary Island Song
Howard Books; Original edition (July 5, 2011)
by
Robin Jones Gunn






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Robin Jones Gunn was born in Wisconsin and lived on a dairy farm until her family moved to southern California when she was five years old. She grew up in Orange County and spent her summers at Newport Beach with friends from her church youth group. After attending Biola University and Capernwray Bible School in Austria, Robin and Ross were married and spent the next two decades working together in youth ministry.



It was the young teens at Robin’s church who challenged her to write stories for them. She hadn’t thought much about being a writer, but took their request to heart and set her alarm for 3am, three days a week. With two small children it was the only time she could find to write the first story about Christy Miller. After two years and ten rejections the novel Summer Promise was accepted for publication in 1988. Robin hasn’t stopped writing since. Over 4 million copies of her 75 books have sold and can be found in a dozen translations all over the world.



Robin and her husband now live in Hawai’i where Ross is a counselor and Robin continues to write to the sound of tropical birds chattering in the palm trees outside her window. Their children are grown but manage to come to the islands with their families every chance they get. Robin's awards include: three Christy awards for excellence in fiction, a Gold Medallion finalist, Mt. Hermon Pacesetter and the Mt. Hermon Writer of the Year award. Robin travels extensively and is a frequent key-note speaker at various events around the world. She serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and Jerry Jenkin’s Christian Writer’s Guild.





ABOUT THE BOOK



When Carolyn’s grown daughter tells her she needs to “get a life,” Carolyn decides it’s time to step out of her familiar routine as a single woman in San Francisco and escape to her mother’s home in the Canary Islands. Since Carolyn’s mother is celebrating her seventieth birthday, the timing of Carolyn’s visit makes for a perfect surprise.

    The surprise, however, is on Carolyn when she sees Bryan Spencer, her high school summer love. It’s been seven years since Carolyn lost her husband, but ever since that tragic day, her life has grown smaller and closed in. The time has come for Carolyn to get her heart back. It takes the gentle affection of her mother and aunts, as well as the ministering beauty and song of the islands to draw Carolyn into the fullness of life. She is nudged along by a Flamenco dance lesson, a defining camel ride and the steady gaze of Bryan’s intense blue-gray eyes.

    Is it too late for Carolyn to trust Bryan? Can Carolyn believe that Bryan has turned into something more than the wild beach boy who stole her kisses so many years ago on a balmy Canary night?

    Carolyn is reminded that Christopher Columbus set sail from the Canary Islands in 1492 on his voyage to discover the New World. Is she ready to set sail from these same islands to discover her new life?



If you would like to read the first chapter of Canary Island Song, go HERE.

First Response Tombstone Treasures Book 3 Reviewed

Saturday, July 23, 2011




Book Description:
Chet's response to an unexpected massage from Trinity embarrasses him, but he wants to see her again. Since he doesn't get any romance in real life, he's writing love stories on the side hoping to become a published author someday. So far he hasn't written a novel good enough to sell, but when he meets Trinity his muse not only returns, but his writing is stellar. Too bad it's only fiction.

Trinity is a massage therapist who has issues with men. Her last ex was a no good cheater. But she misses dating, and especially kissing. When she meets Chet she decides she must have him. They start dating and things heat up quickly. They are caught between wanting to prove themselves since their former relationships left them wounded, and doing the right thing, which is to wait for marriage. It proves to be more difficult than either of them anticipated.

My Thoughts: Michelle does not shy away from the HARD stuff, she dives right in with both feet! I loved reading Trinity and Chet's story! When I started this one I told Michelle that the first book in the series was my favorite, I have to rescind that and say that this is my favorite in the series!!! The way that Michelle weaved the story of Trinity and Chet and the story that Chet was writing was amazing! In this story Trinity and Chet struggled to keep their relationship pure, Michelle wrote this story honestly and showed the struggles two people go through. Just because we follow Jesus doesn't mean we're immune to temptation, or falling, with Christ we can overcome it and be victorious! I highly recommend this book and I give it 5 lighthouses and shine a light on it pointing a path to God! WAY TO GO MICHELLE!!!!

Pressing Into Thin Places - Reviewed

Friday, July 22, 2011




Book Description:
Pressing into Thin Places is a collection of stories from the author's personal experiences, punctuated by her poetry and infused with biblical verses and rich truths. Wills offers insight for bringing biblical truth to life, wisdom to cultivate a listening heart, encouragement for the downhearted, reassuring words for the faltering, and comfort and rest for those in any stage of their journey.

My Thoughts: This was a great book, full of encouraging stories. You could open it up to any page and read and be encouraged. This would be a great book to give to someone who has lost a family member, someone who needs some encouragement, or to have around for your own encouragement! I highly recommend this one!

GIVEAWAY THINGS WE CHERISH!!!!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011




Book Description: Pam Jenoff, whose first novel, The Kommandant’s Girl, was a Quill Award finalist, a Book Sense pick, and a finalist for the ALA Sophie Brody Award, joins the Doubleday list with a suspenseful story of love and betrayal set during the Holocaust.

An ambitious novel that spans decades and continents, The Things We Cherished tells the story of Charlotte Gold and Jack Harrington, two fiercely independent attor­neys who find themselves slowly falling for one another while working to defend the brother of a Holocaust hero against allegations of World War II–era war crimes.

The defendant, wealthy financier Roger Dykmans, mysteri­ously refuses to help in his own defense, revealing only that proof of his innocence lies within an intricate timepiece last seen in Nazi Germany. As the narrative moves from Philadelphia to Germany, Poland, and Italy, we are given glimpses of the lives that the anniversary clock has touched over the past century, and learn about the love affair that turned a brother into a traitor.

This Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only! I have 2 copies of this book to giveaway. Here are the rules for entering.
  • You must be a follower of my blog. You need to indicate that in your original comment, and leave an email address where I can contact you. You can use (at) and (dot) in the message. Do not leave an additional comment.
  • To receive additional entries you can tweet about this giveaway. Once you do come back and leave a comment with the tweet link. You can also blog about this and receive an additional entry, come back and leave a comment with the link.
  • I will use a randomizer to choose the winners, when I do the winners will have 48 hrs to email me with their mailing address. If I don't get them with in that time frame I'll choose another winner(s).
This giveaway will start today, Thursday, July 21st and will end on Sunday, August 7th.

GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!


Preview: Shadows on the Sand

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Shadows on the Sand
Multnomah Books (July 19, 2011)
by
Gayle Roper






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Gayle is the award winning author of more than forty books. She has been a Christy finalist three times for her novels Spring Rain, Summer Shadows, and Winter Winds. Her novel Autumn Dreams won the prestigious Romance Writers of America's RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance. Summer Shadows was voted the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Book of the Year (tied with fellow author Brandilyn Collins).



Gayle has won the Holt Medallion three times for The Decision, Caught in a Bind, and Autumn Dreams. The Decision won the Reviewers Choice Award, and Gayle has also won the Award of Excellence for Spring Rain and the Golden Quill for Summer Shadows and Winter Winds. Romantic Times Book Report gave Gayle the Lifetime Achievement Award.



Her Amhearst mystery series, Caught in the Middle, Caught in the Act, and Caught in a Bind, originally published by Zondervan, was reprinted in 2007 by Love Inspired Suspense with a fourth original title added, Caught Redhanded. Another original single title, See No Evil, was also released. Caught in the Middle has been optioned for film.



For her work in training Christian writers Gayle has won special recognition from Mount Hermon CWC, St. Davids CWC, Florida CWC, and Greater Philadelphia CWC. She directed St. Davids for five years and Sandy Cove CWC for six. She has taught with Christian Leaders, Authors and Speakers Services (CLASS), serving for several years as their writer in residence. She enjoys speaking at women's events across the nation and loves sharing the powerful truths of Scripture with humor and practicality.



Gayle lives in southeastern Pennsylvania where she enjoys her family of two great sons, two lovely daughters-in-law, and the world's five most wonderful grandchildren. When she's not writing, or teaching at conferences, Gayle enjoys reading, gardening, and eating out.





ABOUT THE BOOK



Carrie Carter’s small café in Seaside, New Jersey, is populated with a motley crew of locals although Carrie only has eyes for Greg Barnes. He’s recovering from a vicious crime that three years ago took the lives of his wife and children—and from the year he tried to drink his reality away. While her heart does a happy Snoopy dance at the sight of him, he never seems to notice her, to Carrie’s chagrin.



When Carrie’s dishwasher is killed and her young waitress disappears, Greg finds himself drawn into helping Carrie solve the mysteries … and into her life. But Carrie has a painful past, too, and when the reason she once ran away shows up in town, the fragile relationship she’s built with Greg threatens to implode from the weight of the baggage they both carry. Two wounded hearts struggle to find a way to make one romance work. Failure seems guaranteed when Carrie locates her waitress but is taken hostage...



If you would like to read the first chapter of Shadows on the Sand, go HERE.

The Muir House - Reviewed





Book Description:
'You'll find home one day. Sure as sweet tea on a hot afternoon.'
Words from Willa Muir's sketchy childhood haunt her dreams and color her days with longing, regret, and fear. What do the words mean? Willa is far from sure.

When Hale Landon places a ring on her finger, Willa panics, feeling she can't possibly say yes when so much in her past is a mystery. Bent on sorting out her history, Willa returns to Rockwall, Texas, to the Muir House Bed and Breakfast, a former funeral home.

But the old place holds her empty memory close to itself. Willa's mother utters unintelligible clues from her deathbed, and the caretaker of the house keeps coveted answers carefully protected. Throw in an old flame, and Willa careens farther away from ever knowing the truth.

Set in a growing suburb of Texas, The Muir House explores trauma, healing, love new and old, and the life-changing choices people make to keep their reputations intact.

My Thoughts: Willa is a young woman who is looking for a place to call home, she has secrets locked inside of her that she can't remember. As she begins to search for the secrets to who she is she learns who she is. There is powerful symbolism between the Muir house that Willa is to refurbish and Willa herself. They both are in shambles. My favorite quote from the book is found on page 125 "Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. And go into the irresistible future with Him."

Mary has written a suburb book that will take you on a journey of your own, who do you call home? Is it God, or is it someone or something else? Are you carrying your past around with you, or leaving it with God to let Him take care of. This is an absolutely AWESOME book! I give it 5 lighthouses and shine a light on it for pointing a path to God!!! Way to go Mary!!!!

A Beautiful Testimony by Wynonna Judd

Wednesday, July 20, 2011



This is an absolutely beautiful testimony from someone who we've watched live her life in the public eye. Watch and soak in who loves you above anyone else. To ONE PERSON YOU ARE THE WORLD!!!!!!

Preview: Shadows on the Sand

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:


Shadows on the Sand: A Seaside Mystery

Multnomah Books (July 19, 2011)

***Special thanks to Laura Tucker of WaterBrook Multnomah Publicity for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Gayle Roper, a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, is the multi-award-winning, best-selling author of Fatal Deduction and more than forty other books. She teaches and leads mentoring clinics at writers’ conferences across the country. Gayle lives in eastern Pennsylvania.


Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Carrie Carter’s small café in Seaside, New Jersey, is populated with a motley crew of locals … although Carrie only has eyes for Greg Barnes. He’s recovering from a vicious crime that three years ago took the lives of his wife and children—and from the year he tried to drink his reality away. While her heart does a happy Snoopy dance at the sight of him, he never seems to notice her, to Carrie’s chagrin.

When Carrie’s dishwasher is killed and her young waitress disappears, leaving only cryptic clues in her Sudoku book, Greg finds himself drawn into helping Carrie solve the mysteries … and into her life. But when Carrie’s own painful past becomes all too present, her carefully constructed world begins to sink.

Will the fragile relationship she’s built with Greg implode from the weight of the baggage they both carry?


Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books (July 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601420846
ISBN-13: 978-1601420848

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


So Bill punched him in the nose, Carrie!” Andi Mueller swung an arm to demonstrate and nearly clipped me. “He was wonderful!”

I leaned back and held up a hand for protection. “Easy, kiddo.” I smiled at the girl and her enthusiasm.

Andi giggled like the smitten sixteen-year-old she was. “Sorry.”

“Mmm.” I rested my elbows on the pink marble counter that ran along one wall of Carrie's Café, located two blocks from the boardwalk in the center of Seaside, New Jersey. I was the Carrie of the café's name, and Andi was one of my servers, in fact, my only server at the moment. She'd been with me almost two months now, taking up the slack when the summer kids left to go back to college or on to real jobs.

“Let me get this straight,” I said. “On Saturday night Bill, who is your true soul mate, punched Jase, our Jase, for paying too much attention to you at a party.” I didn't think my voice was too wry, but soul mates at sixteen made me both cynical and scared, teen hormones being what they were.

Andi just grinned with delight of the even-mentioning-his-name-givesme-the-vapors kind and nodded as she sat on a stool at the counter. “Isn't it romantic?”

I was hearing this tale today, Monday, because now that the season was over, Carrie's was closed on Sundays. My staff and I had earned our day of rest over a very busy and marginally profitable summer. We might be able to stay open for another year if nothing awful happened, like the roof leaking or the dishwasher breaking.

Listening to Andi made me feel ancient. I was only thirty-three, but had I ever been as young as she? Given the trauma of my growing-up years, I probably hadn't. I was glad that whatever her history, and there was a history, she could giggle.

“How do you expect to continue working with Jase after this encounter?” I was very interested in her answer. Jase was one of three part-time dishwashers at the café. All three were students at the local community college and set their schedules around classes. Jase worked Tuesdays and Saturdays from six in the morning until three, and the last thing I wanted was contention in the kitchen between Andi and him.

Andi looked confused. “Why should I have trouble with Jase? I didn't punch him. Besides he's an old--” She cut herself off.

I wanted to pursue her half-thought, but the door of the café opened, and Greg Barnes walked in, all scruffy good looks and shadowed eyes. His black hair was mussed as if he hadn't combed it, and he had a two-day stubble. He should have looked grubby, but somehow he didn't. He looked wonderful.

All thoughts of Bill and Jase fled as my heart did the little stuttery Snoopy dance it always did at the sight of Greg. Before he could read anything in my face, assuming he noticed me as someone other than the person who fed him, I looked down at the basket of fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon-swirl muffins I was arranging.

Andi glanced from me to him and, much too quick and clever, smiled with a knowing look. I held my breath. She wasn't long on tact, and the last thing I wanted was for her to make some leading remark. I felt I could breathe again when all she did was wink at me. Safe for the moment, at least.

Greg came to the counter and slid onto his favorite stool, empty now that the receding flood of summer tourists left it high and dry this third week in October, a vinyl-covered Ararat postdeluge.

“The usual?” I asked, my voice oh-so-casual.

He gave a nod, barely glancing my way, and opened his copy of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Press of Atlantic City waited. I turned to place his order, but there was no need. Lindsay, my sister, partner, and the café's baker, had been listening to Andi's story through the serving window. She waved her acknowledgment before I said a word. She passed the order to Ricky, our short-order cook, who had stayed with us longer than I expected, long enough that he had become almost as much of an asset to Carrie's as Lindsay was.

My sister gave me a sly smile, then called, “Hi, Greg.”

He looked up from his paper and gave Lindsay a very nice smile, far nicer than he ever gave me.

“The sticky buns are all gone,” he said in mild accusation, nodding toward the glass case where we kept Lindsay's masterpieces.

She grinned. “Sorry. You've got to get here earlier.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Or you could make more.”

“I'll take the suggestion under advisement,” she said agreeably.

“Haven't you heard the adage about making your customers happy?”

“Yeah. So?”

He laughed and turned a page in the paper. I brought him a glass of OJ and a cup of my special blend.

“How're you doing?” I asked, just as I did every morning.

He gave me a vague smile. “Fine.” Just as he said every morning.

But he wasn't. Oh, he was better than, say, a year ago, definitely better than two years ago, but he wasn't well. Even three years after the tragedy that had altered his life, he was far from his self-proclaimed fine. If you looked closely--as I did--you could see the strain never completely left his eyes, and the purple stains under them were too deep and dark, a sure sign that a good night's sleep was still little more than a vague memory for him.

But he was sober. More than two years and counting.

“Keep talking, Andi,” Lindsay said as Ricky beat Greg's eggs and inserted his wheat bread in the toaster. “This is better than reality TV. It's really real.” She walked out of the kitchen into the café proper. “Bill bopped Jase,” she prompted.

“Our Jase,” I clarified.

Greg looked up. “Your dishwasher?”

I nodded.

“Hmm.” And he went back to his paper.

“And Jase went down for the count.” Andi's chest swelled with pride at her beloved's prowess.

I flinched. “Don't you think knocking a guy out for talking to you is a bit much?”

Andi thought for almost half a second, then shook her head. “It wasn't for just Saturday. He knows Jase and I work together, and he was staking his claim.”

I'd seen Jase and Andi talking in the kitchen, but there never seemed to be any romantic overtones. “Jase is a nice guy and a good worker. I don't want to lose him because of your boyfriend.”

“He is, and I don't want him to go either,” Andi agreed. “I like talking to him.”

“Me too.” Lindsay rested an elbow on the counter and propped her chin in her palm. “I think he's sad.”

“What do you mean, sad?” But I'd sensed he was weighed down with something too.

“He's funny and open most of the time,” Lindsay said, “but sometimes when no one's talking to him, I see this look of sorrow on his face.”

I nodded. “All the more reason to hate that he got punched.”

“Yeah.” Lindsay got a dreamy look in her dark brown eyes. “But there's something about a guy defending you, even if what he's defending you from isn't really a threat.” She sighed.

“Lindsay!” I was appalled. “Get a grip.” Though if Greg ever wanted to defend me, I was pretty sure I wouldn't mind. Of course, that presupposed he'd notice I was in trouble. I glanced at him bent over his paper. Not likely to happen. I bit back a sigh.

“Tell me, Andi. Does Bill plan to punch out any male who talks to you?”

“Come on, Carrie,” Andi said. “Don't be mad at Bill. You know how guys can be when they've had a few beers.”

I did know how guys could be, beers or no beers. “What were you doing at a party where there was drinking?”

She became all prim and prissy. “I did not drink.”

“I should hope not, but you shouldn't have been there.” Good grief. I was sounding more and more like her mother--or how her mother would have sounded if she weren't missing in action somewhere. Part of that history I didn't know.

“Order up,” Ricky announced as he walked to the pass-through. “The food is never better than when I plate it.”

You'd have thought he was Emeril or Wolfgang Puck or one of Paula Deen's sons, not a stopgap cook who couldn't find any other job after graduating from college with a psychology degree and who stayed around because he had a crush on the baker.

I grabbed Greg's scrambled eggs and wheat toast and served them. He accepted them with a nod and a grunt.

“So what happened to Jase?” I asked Andi. I found myself hoping Bill had bruised a knuckle or two in his violence, though I was pretty sure it meant I was a terrible person too. I didn't wish for a broken hand or anything that extreme, just something to remind him that punching wasn't the way to handle a perceived rival.

Andi waved her hand vaguely. “Bill and a buddy carried Jase to his car. They only dropped him once.”

I imagined the thunk of poor Jase's head hitting the ground and flinched in sympathy. No such thought bothered Andi. She was too busy being thrilled by Bill, who rode in like her shining knight, laying waste to the enemy with knuckles instead of the more traditional lance.

“How much older than you is Bill?” Lindsay asked.

Good question, Linds.

Andi studied the cuticle of her index finger. “He's nineteen.”

Lindsay and I exchanged a glance. Those three years from sixteen to nineteen were huge.

I couldn't keep quiet. “So he shouldn't have been drinking at this party either.”

Andi slid off her stool. If looks killed, Lindsay'd be sprinkling my ashes in the ocean tomorrow morning.

“What does Clooney think of you and Bill?” Lindsay asked. Clooney was Andi's great-uncle, and she lived with him.

Andi cleared her throat. “We don't talk about Bill.”

“Does he know about Bill?” Lindsay's concern was obvious.

Andi stared through long bangs that hung over her hazel eyes. The silky hair sometimes caught in her lashes in a way that made me blink but didn't seem to bother her. “Of course Clooney knows. Do you think I'd keep a secret from him?”

“I didn't think you would.” Lindsay smiled. “I'm glad to know I was right.”

So was I. Sixteen could go in so many different directions, and I'd hate for this pixie to make wrong choices--or more wrong choices.

“Is he going to college?” I asked. “Bill?”

“He was, but not now.” Her fingernail became even more absorbing. “He dropped out of Rutgers at the end of his freshman year.”

Uh-oh. Dropped out or failed out? “Does he plan to go back? Try again?”

She shrugged. “He doesn't know. Right now he's happy just being. And going to parties. And taking me.” By the time she was finished, she was bouncing at the excitement of it all, her strawberry blond ponytail leaping about her shoulders.

Greg looked up from his newspaper. “So this guy took you, a very underage girl, to a party where there was lots of drinking?”

Andi looked at him, eyes wide, acting as if he'd missed the whole point of her story. “Don't worry about me, Mr. Barnes. Or any of you.” She included Lindsay and me with a nod of her head. “I can handle any problems that might develop at a party. Believe me, I've dealt with far worse.”

I was intrigued. I'd stared down plenty of problems in my time too, and I wondered how her stare downs compared to mine.

She grinned and waved a hand as if she were wiping away her momentary seriousness. “But I'd rather talk about how great Bill is.”

“So how great is he?” Lindsay asked. “Tell me all.” At twenty-seven, she was an incurable romantic. I wasn't sure how this had come to pass, since she had every reason to be as cynical as I, but there you are.

I frowned at her. “Stop encouraging the girl.”

Lindsay just grinned.

I looked at Andi's happy face and had to smile too. “So what's this wonderful guy doing if he's not in school?” Besides being and partying.

“Uh, you mean like a job or something?”

“Yeah.” Lindsay and I exchanged another glance. Greg looked up again at Andi's reluctant tone.

“Well, he was a lifeguard over the summer. He's got this fabulous tan, and it makes him so handsome.”

Soul mate stuff if I ever heard it. I half expected her to swoon like a nineteenth-century Southern belle with her stays laced too tightly. “What about now? Postseason?”

“And he was the quarterback on the high school football team two years ago when they won the state championship.”

“Very impressive. What about now?”

“He was named Most Valuable Player.”

“Even more impressive. What about now?”

She began making sure the little stacks of sugar and sweetener packets in the holders on the counter were straight. “Right now he's just trying to figure it all out.”

Being. Figuring. And punching guys out while he thought. “You mean he's trying to decide what he wants to be when he grows up?”

She glared at me. In her mind he was grown up. She turned her back with a little sniff and went to clean off a dirty table.

Lindsay swallowed a laugh. “Your sarcastic streak is showing, Carrie.”

Mr. Perkins, another regular at Carrie's Café and at eighty in better health than the rest of us put together, rapped his cup on the pink marble counter. He'd been sitting for several minutes with his eyes wide behind his glasses as he listened to Andi.

“No daughter of mine that age would ever have gone to a party where there was drinking,” he said. “It's just flat out wrong.”

Since I agreed, I didn't mention that he was a lifelong bachelor and had no daughters.

He rapped his cup again.

“Refill?” I asked, not because I didn't know the answer but because the old man liked to think he was calling the shots.

He nodded. “Regular too. None of that wimpy decaf. I got to keep my blood flowing, keep it pumping.”

I smiled with affection as I topped off his cup. He gave the same line every day. “Mr. Perkins, you have more energy than people half your age.”

He pointed his dripping spoon at me. “And don't you forget it.”

“Watch it,” I said in a mock scold. “You're getting coffee all over my counter.”

“And a fine counter it is.” He patted the pink-veined marble slab. It was way too classy and way too pricey for a place like the café. “Did I ever tell you that I remember when it was the registration counter at Seaside's Grand Hotel? And let me tell you, it was a grand hotel in every sense of the word. People used to come from as far as Pittsburgh, even the president of U.S. Steel. Too bad it burned down. The hotel, not U.S. Steel.”

“Too bad,” I agreed. And yes, he'd told us the story many times.

“It was in 1943,” he said with a faraway look in his eyes. “I was thirteen.” He blinked back to the present. “It was during World War II, you know, and people said it was sabotage. Not that I ever believed that. I mean, why would the Germans burn down a resort hotel? But I'll tell you, my father, who was an air-raid warden, about had a seizure.”

“I bet he was convinced that the flames, visible for miles up and down the coast, would bring the German subs patrolling offshore right up on our beaches,” Lindsay said with a straight face. “They might have attacked us.”

I glared at her as she repeated word for word Mr. Perkins's line from the story. She winked unrepentantly.

Mr. Perkins nodded, delighted she was listening. “People kept their curtains drawn at night, and even the boardwalk was blacked out for the duration, the lights all covered except for the tiniest slit on the land side, so the flames from the fire seemed extra bright. All that wood, you know. Voom! ” He threw his hands up in the air.

Lindsay and I shook our heads at the imagined devastation, and I thought I saw Greg's lips twitch. He'd heard the story almost as many times as we had.

Mr. Perkins stirred his coffee. “After the war some investor bought the property.”

“I bet all that remained of the Grand was the little corner where the pink marble registration counter sat.” Lindsay pointed where I leaned. “That counter.”

Again she spoke his line with a straight face, and this time Greg definitely bit back a grin.

Mr. Perkins added another pink packet to his coffee. “That's right. The buyer decided to open a restaurant around the counter and build a smaller, more practical hotel on the rest of the property.”

Even that hotel was gone now, replaced many years ago by private homes rented each summer to pay the exorbitant taxes on resort property.

I walked to Greg with my coffeepot. “Refill?”

He slid his mug in my direction, eyes never leaving his paper.

Be still my heart.



2

The café door opened again, and Clooney sauntered in. In my opinion Clooney sauntered through life, doing as little as possible and appearing content that way. I, on the other hand, was a bona fide overachiever, always trying to prove myself, though I wasn't sure to whom. If Clooney weren't so charming, I'd have disliked him on principle. As it was, I liked him a lot.

Today he wore a Phillies cap, one celebrating the 2008 World Series victory. His gray ponytail was pulled through the back of the cap and hung to his shoulder blades.

“You work too hard, Carrie,” he told me frequently. “You'll give yourself indigestion or reflux or a heart attack or something. You need to take time off.”

“If I didn't want to pay the rent or have insurance or eat, I'd do that very thing,” I always countered.

“What you need is a rich husband.” And he'd grin.

“A solution to which I'm not averse. There just seems to be a shortage of candidates in Seaside.”

“Hey, Clooney,” Andi called from booth four, where she was clearing. She gave him a little finger wave. Clooney might be her great-uncle, but try as I might, I couldn't get her to call him Uncle Clooney. Just “Clooney” sounded disrespectful to me, but he didn't seem to mind.

“Hey, darlin'.” Clooney walked over to Andi and gave her a hug. Then he came to the counter and slid onto the stool next to Greg. He did not take off his cap, something that drove me crazy. I've developed this manners thing, probably because my childhood was so devoid of anything resembling pattern or politeness. I know people thought me prissy and old-fashioned, but I am what I am, a poor man's Miss Manners.

Clooney pointed at a muffin, and I placed one on a dish for him. He broke off a chunk, then glanced back at Andi. “She tell you about that fool Bill?”

I grinned at his disgruntled expression. “She did.”

“What is it with girl children?” he demanded. “I swear she's texted the news around the world.”

“She thinks it's a compliment--her knight defending her.”

Clooney and Greg snorted at the same time.

“Slaying a dragon who's threatening the life of the fair damsel's one thing,” Greg said, actually looking at me. “Decking a kid for saying hi to a pretty girl is another.”

“Your past life as a cop is showing,” I teased.

He shrugged as he turned another page of the paper. “Old habits die hard.”

The door opened again, and in strutted the object of our conversation. I knew it had to be him because, aside from the fact that he looked like a very tanned football player, he and Andi gazed at each other with love-struck goofy grins. I thought I heard Lindsay sigh.

Andi hurried toward the kitchen with an armful of dirty dishes from booth four. She squeaked in delight as Bill swatted her on the rump as she passed. Clooney stiffened at this unseemly familiarity with his baby. Mr. Perkins tsk-tsked his disapproval.

“Can I have breakfast now?” Andi asked when she reappeared empty- handed.

The wait staff usually ate around ten thirty at a back booth, and it was ten fifteen. We were in the off-season weekday lull between breakfast and lunch, and the three men on their stools were the only customers present. I nodded.

Bill looked toward the kitchen. He appeared overwhelmed at the prospect of food, unable to make a selection. He draped an arm over Andi's shoulder as he considered the possibilities, and she snuggled against him. Clooney's frown intensified.

Bill was a big guy, and it was clear by the way he carried himself that he still thought of himself as the big man on campus in spite of the fact that he was now campusless and unemployed. As I studied him, I wondered if high school football would end up being the high point of his life. How sad that would be. Clooney drifted through life by choice. I hoped Bill wouldn't drift for lack of a better plan or enough ability to achieve.

Careful, Carrie. I was being hard on this kid. Nineteen and undecided wasn't that unusual. Just because at his age I'd already been on my own for three years, responsible for Lindsay, who was six years my junior…

Bill gave Clooney, who was watching him with a rather sour look, a sharp elbow in the upper arm and asked, one guy to another, “What do you suggest, Clooney? What's really good here?”

Clooney's relaxed slouch disappeared. I saw the long-ago medal-winning soldier of his Vietnam days. “You will call me 'sir' until I give you permission to call me by name. Do you understand, boy?”

Bill blinked. So did I. Everyone in Seaside, no matter their age, called him Clooney.

“Stop that, Clooney!” Andi was appalled at her uncle's tone of voice.

“Play nice,” I said softly as I realized for the first time that I didn't know whether Clooney was his first name or last. I made a mental note to ask Greg. As a former Seaside cop, he might know. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, darlin'.” Clooney gave Andi an easy smile. He gave Bill a hard stare. “Right, Bill?”

Bill blinked again. “Y-yes, sir.”

Andi took her beloved's hand and dragged him toward the back booth. “Ignore my uncle. He's having a bad day.” She glared over her shoulder at Clooney, who grinned back at her.

“She's got spunk, that one,” he said with pride.

“How'd she end up living with you?” I'd been longing to ask ever since Clooney showed up with Andi just before Labor Day and asked me to give her a job. I did, and I guess I thought that gave me the right to ask my question.

Clooney disagreed because he said, “I think I'll have one of your amazing Belgian waffles with a side of sausage.”

“I'm on it.” Lindsay headed back to the kitchen before I said a word. “Got it, Ricky?”

“Got it.” Ricky tested the waffle iron with a flick of water. He smiled as the water jumped and evaporated. He was a handsome kid with dark Latino looks of the smoldering kind, a young Antonio Banderas. Unfortunately for him, his smoldering looks appeared to have no effect on Linds.

Another victim of unrequited love.

Andi came to the counter and placed an order for Bill and herself. I blinked. We could have served the whole dining room on less.

Mr. Perkins eyed me. “Are you going to make him pay for all that? You should, you know.”

True, but I shook my head. “Job perk. He's cheaper than providing health benefits and not nearly as frustrating.”

“So say you.” Clooney settled to his waffle and sausage.

I watched the parade of laden plates emerge from the kitchen and make their way to the back booth, making me reconsider the “cheaper” bit. Andi took her seat and stared at Bill as if he could do no wrong in spite of the fact that he leaned on the table like he couldn't support his own weight. Didn't anyone ever tell the kid that his noneating hand was supposed to rest in his lap, not circle his plate as if protecting it from famished marauders or little girls with ponytails?

“Look at him,” Clooney said. “He's what? Six-two and over two hundred pounds? Jase Peoples is about five-eight and one-forty if he's wearing everything in his closet.”

“Let's forget about Jase, shall we?” Andi's voice was sharp as she came to the counter and reached for more muffins. “The subject is closed.”

I grabbed her wrist. “No more muffins. We need them for paying customers. If Bill's still hungry, he can have toast.”

“Or he could pay.” To Mr. Perkins a good idea was worth repeating.

Andi laughed at the absurdity of such a thought.

Ricky had left his stove and was leaning on the pass-through beside Lindsay. “Four slices coming up for Billingsley.”

“Billingsley?” I looked at the big guy as he downed the last of his four-egg ham-and-cheese omelet. With a name like that, it was a good thing he was big enough to protect himself.

“Billingsley Morton Lindemuth III,” Ricky said.

“I should never have told you.” Andi clearly felt betrayed.

“But you did. And you got to love it.” Laughing, Ricky turned to make toast.

“He hates it,” Andi said.

I wasn't surprised.

Greg drew in a breath like you do when something terrible happens. We all turned to stare at him.

“What's wrong?” I asked.

He was looking at the front page of The Press of Atlantic City. “Jase Peoples.”

“What?” I demanded.

Clooney grabbed the paper and followed Greg's pointing finger.

I could see the picture and the headline above it: “Have You Seen This Man?”

Preview: Falls Like Lightning

Monday, July 18, 2011

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Falls Like Lightning
Bethany House (July 1, 2011)
by
Shawn Grady




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Shawn Grady signed with Bethany House Publishers in 2008. He was named “Most Promising New Writer” at the 39th Annual Mount Hermon Writers Conference. He is the author of the novels Through the Fire, Tomorrow We Die & Falls Like Lightning.



Shawn has served for over a decade as a firefighter and paramedic in northern Nevada. From fire engines and ambulances to tillered ladder trucks and helicopters, Shawn’s work environment has always been dynamic. The line of duty has carried him to a variety of locale, from high-rise fires in the city to the burning heavy timber of the eastern Sierras.



After graduating from James Logan High School in Union City, California, Shawn attended Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego as a Theology undergrad. There he found clarity of direction and proceeded on to acquire an Associate of Science degree in Fire Science Technology as well as Paramedic licensure through Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.



Shawn currently lives in Reno, just outside of Lake Tahoe. He enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife, three children and yellow Labrador.



ABOUT THE BOOK



When hotshot smoke jumper Silas Kent gets his own fire crew, he thinks he's achieved what he's always wanted. But a lightning-sparked fire in the Desolation Wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas has his team in a plane before they can even train together.



Pilot Elle Westmore has been called up to drop the crew into the heart of the forest infernos. A single mother of a mysteriously ill six-year-old, she can't imagine her life getting any more complicated.



It doesn't take long for things to go very wrong, very quickly. A suspicious engine explosion forces Elle to make an emergency landing. Silas is able to parachute to safety but soon discovers his crew can't be trusted. They're hiding something, and now Silas is on a race to save himself and Elle from the flames--and from a more dangerous threat: his own team.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Falls Like Lightning, go HERE


I just received this book so I will post my review later.

Preview: Pattern of Wounds

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Pattern of Wounds
Bethany House (July 1, 2011)
by
J. Mark Bertrand




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





J. Mark Bertrand lived in Houston, where the series is set, for fifteen years, earning an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. But after one hurricane too many he relocated with his wife Laurie to the plains of South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of one hung jury and served on another that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.







ABOUT THE BOOK





It's Christmas in Houston, and homicide detective Roland March is on the hunt for a killer. A young woman's brutal stabbing in an affluent neighborhood bears all the hallmarks of a serial murder. The only problem is that March sent the murderer to prison ten years ago. Is it a copycat -- or did March convict the wrong man?



Alienated from his colleagues and with a growing rift in his marriage, March receives messages from the killer. The bodies pile up, the pressure builds, and the violence reaches too close to home. Up against an unfathomable evil, March struggles against the clock to understand the hidden message in the pattern of wounds.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Pattern of Wounds, go HERE.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CHRISTY AWARD WINNERS 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Contemporary Romance:
Sworn to Protect
by DiAnn Mills (Tyndale House)
Blood Ransom
by Lisa Harris (Zondervan)
Indivisible
by Kristin Heitzmann (WaterBrook Press)


Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas:
The Reluctant Prophet
by Nancy Rue (David C. Cook)
The Thorn
by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House)
The Waiting
by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Revell Books)


Contemporary Stand-alone:
Almost Heaven
by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House)
Lady in Waiting
by Susan Meissner (WaterBrook Press)
A Season of Miracles
by Rusty Whitener (Kregel Publications)


First Novel:
Heartless
by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House)
Crossing Oceans
by Gina Holmes (Tyndale House)
A Season of Miracles
by Rusty Whitener (Kregel Publications)


Historical:
While We’re Far Apart
by Lynn Austin (Bethany House)
Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther
by Ginger Garrett (David C. Cook)
For Time & Eternity
by Allison Pitman (Tyndale House)



Historical Romance:
The Girl in the Gatehouse
by Julie Klassen (Bethany House)
She Walks in Beauty
by Siri Mitchell (Bethany House)
Within My Heart
by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House)


Suspense:
The Bishop
by Steven James (Revell Books)
The Bride Collector
by Ted Dekker (Center Street)
Predator
by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)


Visionary:
To Darkness Fled
by Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press)
Konig’s Fire
by Marc Schooley (Marcher Lord Press)
The Last Christian
by David Gregory (WaterBrook Press)


Young Adult:
Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book
by Nancy Rue (Zondervan)
The Charlatan’s Boy
by Jonathan Rogers (WaterBrook Press)
The Healer’s Apprentice
by Melanie Dickerson (Zondervan)

Preview: Vigilante

Monday, July 11, 2011

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Vigilante
Bethany House (July 1, 2011)
by
Robin Parrish




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Robin Parrish wants to take you on a ride.



A wild ride -- which is exactly what you're in for when you pick up one of his books. And he's adamant that it will never be the same kind of experience twice.



Robin's stories mix, mingle, and meld various genres together to create thoroughly original suspense/thrillers. His Dominion Trilogy, for example, mashed up superhero action, secret societies, ancient myths, and an apocalyptic setting to create an entirely new take on the classic "hero's journey." Offworld mixed science fiction and an end-of-the-world scenario with high-octane action. Nightmare, his 2010 novel, is a spine-tingling examination of the world of the paranormal, paired with can't-put-it-down mystery. His 2011 novel, Vigilante, is an action-packed story about a soldier who sets out to change the world. Later this year, he's releasing his first ever Young Adult novel, titled Corridor.



Always pushing the envelope, ever on the edge of where modern storytelling is going, Robin Parrish will gladly and unapologetically tell you that he's an entertainer, a weaver of stories that ignite the mind and delight the heart. Defying labels and refusing pigeonholes, his imagination is fueled by the possibilities of asking "What if…?", and as anyone who's read his work knows, he has a very big imagination.



His influences as a novelist range from television and film storytellers like Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams, to masters of the modern myth like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Akin to Philip K. Dick's search for the meaning of identity, most of what Robin writes about boils down to his own ponderings and examinations of just what this thing we call "existence" is.



Robin is a full time writer. He and his wife Karen and two children live in High Point, NC.



"Robin Parrish is a keen-eyed, passionate pop cultural savant,

whose writing is as incisive and insightful as it is entertaining."


- Allan Heinberg, Executive Producer, Grey's Anatomy







ABOUT THE BOOK



Nolan Gray is an elite soldier, skilled in all forms of combat. After years fighting on foreign battlefields, witnessing unspeakable evils and atrocities firsthand, a world-weary Nolan returns home to find it just as corrupt as the war zones. Everywhere he looks, there's pain and cruelty. Society is being destroyed by wicked men who don't care who they make suffer or destroy.



Nolan decides to do what no one else can, what no one has ever attempted. He will defend the helpless. He will tear down the wicked. He will wage a one-man war on the heart of man, and he won't stop until the world is the way it should be.



The wicked have had their day. Morality's time has come. In a culture starving for a hero, can one extraordinary man make things right?



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

I am reading this one at the moment and it is typical of Robin Parrish, meaning that it is full of suspense, and edge of your seat drama. I will write a full review when I'm done.

Blessed Reviewed

Sunday, July 10, 2011




Book Description:
It is 1844 and Lacey Bishop's life is a tangled mess. When circumstances move Lacey to a nearby Shaker village, she is not prepared for the new life that awaits her. In the midst of her deep loneliness, Lacey works to fit in with this odd group. But everything shifts when she finds herself drawn to a Shaker man in a village where such relationships are forbidden.

Can Lacey ever find true happiness in this mysterious place?

My Thoughts: Ann has written great books about the shakers and she continues with this book. Reading this book along with the others give you a complete view on the lifestyle of the shakers. I highly recommend this book!

Blackberry Bush Reviewed

Thursday, July 7, 2011



Book Description:

Who are You, and what are you doing here?

Two babies—Kati and Josh—are born on opposite sides of the world at the very moment the Berlin Wall falls. You'd think such a potent freedom metaphor would become the soundtrack for their lives, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Despite his flawless image, Josh, an artistic and gifted California skateboarder, struggles to find his true role in the world, and his growing aggression eventually breaks him.

Kati, a German with a penchant for classic Swiss watches and attic treasure-hunting, is crushed with disappointment for never being “enough” for anyone—most especially her mother.

Craving liberation, Kati and Josh seem destined to claim their birthright of freedom together. After all, don't the “chance” encounters transform your life…or are they really chance?

My Thoughts: I was really drawn to the cover and the feel of the book. The book took awhile to get into, it is written in a style that I am not use to and I really had a hard time getting into the flow. Once I did I really did enjoy it. I really enjoy books written in the WWII era, so I was glad when the book started to flow.

In The Spirit of Baseball & Football Reviewed






Book Description: Sometimes, when we think about little league sports, the first thing that comes to mind are pushy coaches and over-competitive parents. However, there are many positive character qualities that children can develop while playing team sports. Kathryn Nixon and Ana Boudreau help to instill these virtues in their two books, The Spirit in Baseball and The Spirit in Football. Their books are based on the fruits of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

My Thoughts: I really liked these books! As a mother who has children who has participated in team sports I loved how the author wrote these books. I can't tell you how many parents I have come across who relive their childhood through their children. These books are must reads if you have children in sports, or grandchildren in sports. Highly recommend!

Preview: Veiled Rose

Wednesday, July 6, 2011



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Veiled Rose
Bethany House (July 1, 2011)
by
Anne Elisabeth Stengl




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she enjoys her profession as an art teacher, giving private lessons from her personal studio, and teaching group classes at the Apex Learning Center. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. Heartless is her debut novel.





ABOUT THE BOOK



Rose Red trusts no one with her secret. She hides in the forest, her face veiled in rags, shunning the company of all save her old father and her nanny goat. Her life is bleak and lonely.



Until she meets a privileged young man sent to spend his summer in the mountains. Leo, a lonely lad, befriends Rose Red, and together they begin hunting for the Mountain Monster which, rumor says, stalks these lands.



But the hunt which began as a game holds greater risk than Leo supposes. Rose Red can scarcely guess at the consequences should he insist on continuing his search. Dare she trust him with her secret? Or tell him what dwells at the top of the mountain in the cave only she can find?



Above all, when Leo asks Rose Red to leave the mountain and follow him to the low country, dare she agree and risk the wrath of a Monster that is all too real?



If you would like to read the first chapter of Veiled Rose, go HERE.

The book just arrived the other day, I will post a review when I get a chance to read it. It looks AWESOME!!!

New Law In FLORIDA you can MURDER your child & WALK!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

At least that is what the jury in the case against Casey Anthony said when they found her not guilty of 1st degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and manslaughter - yet finds her guilty of lying to law enforcement. WHOOPEE!!! We already knew she had lied to everyone and their mother! So that was nothing NEW!
And if Casey did not kill her daughter then WHO DID?????? I don't see the police looking for another killer. Who put duck tape around her mouth, nostrils, placed her in a bag and put her in the swamp??? Someone did!

Regardless of what didn't happen with this jury - Caylee is safe in Jesus' arms in heaven! She can no longer be hurt by Casey, George, & Cindy!







Preview: The Lion of Babylon

Monday, July 4, 2011

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This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Lion of Babylon
Bethany House (July 1, 2011)
by
Davis Bunn




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Born and raised in North Carolina, Davis left for Europe at age twenty. There he first completed graduate studies in economics and finance, then began a business career that took him to over forty countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.



Davis came to faith at age 28, while living in Germany and running an international business advisory group. He started writing two weeks later. Since that moment, writing has remained both a passion and a calling.



Davis wrote for nine years and completed seven books before his first was accepted for publication. During that time, he continued to work full-time in his business career, travelling to two and sometimes three countries every week. His first published book, The Presence, was released in 1990 and became a national bestseller.



Honored with three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction, his bestsellers include The Great Divide, Winner Take All, The Meeting Place, The Warning, The Book of Hours, and The Quilt.



A sought-after speaker in the art of writing, Davis serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University.



ABOUT THE BOOK



Marc Royce works for the State Department on special assignments, most of them rather routine, until two CIA operatives go missing in Iraq--kidnapped by Taliban forces bent on generating chaos in the region. Two others also drop out of sight--a high-placed Iraqi civilian and an American woman providing humanitarian aid. Are the disappearances linked? Rumors circulate in a whirl of misinformation.



Marc must unravel the truth in a covert operation requiring utmost secrecy--from both the Americans and the insurgents. But even more secret than the undercover operation is the underground dialogue taking place between sworn enemies. Will the ultimate Reconciler between ancient enemies, current foes, and fanatical religious factions be heard?



If you would like to read the first chapter of Lion of Babylon, go HERE.

Bridge To A Distant Star - Reviewed

Friday, July 1, 2011













Book Description:

As a storm rages in the night, unwary drivers venture onto Tampa Bay’s most renowned bridge. No one sees the danger ahead. No one notices the jagged gap hidden by the darkness and rain. Yet when the bridge collapses vehicles careen into the churning waters of the bay below.

In that one catastrophic moment, three powerful stories converge: a family ravaged by their child’s heartbreaking news, a marriage threatened by its own facade, and a college student burdened by self doubt. As each story unfolds, the characters move steadily closer to that fateful moment on the bridge. And while each character searches for grace, the storms in their lives loom as large as the storm that awaits them above the bay.

When these characters intersect in Carolyn Williford’s gripping and moving volume of three novellas, they also collide with the transforming truth of Christ: Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.

My Thoughts: This book is absolutely AHAMAZING!!!!! I was drawn into the lives of these characters from the beginning and I felt everything they went through. I have no idea how Ms. Williford did what she did, by that I mean creating these individual stories, have you care so incredibly deeply about them, and tie them all together. One of my favorite quotes from the book is on page 82 - "The star seems to disappear when you look straight at it, but if you avert your vision - when you look to one side or the other - then you're able to see the star again. That anomaly happens because the faint light of the star reaches a more sensitive part of the retina, allowing you to detect it." This reminds me of our walk with God, when we are looking at our circumstance head on we don't see God, but if we turn our eyes to one side or the other we can see God again / star . . .focusing on the situation does nothing, yet focusing on God changes our perspective! I give this book 5 lighthouses and shine a light on it for pointing a path to God! I highly recommend this one, RUN DON'T WALK TO THE NEAREST BOOK STORE AND GRAB A COPY!!!!! This will be a great read for summer!!!!

Upright Piano Giveaway




Synopsis: Henry Cage seems to have it all: a successful career, money, a beautiful home, and a reputation for being a just and principled man. But public virtues can conceal private failings, and as Henry faces retirement, his well-ordered life begins to unravel. His ex-wife is ill, his relationship with his son is strained to the point of estrangement, and on the eve of the new millennium he is the victim of a random violent act which soon escalates into a prolonged harassment.

As his ex-wife's illness becomes grave, it is apparent that there is little time to redress the mistakes of the past. But the man stalking Henry remains at large. Who is doing this? And why? David Abbott brilliantly pulls this thread of tension ever tighter until the surprising and emotionally impactful conclusion. The Upright Piano Player is a wise and acutely observed novel about the myriad ways in which life tests us—no matter how carefully we have constructed our own little fortresses.

Review: A vivid book, that you will not want to miss!

Thanks To Doubleday I have two copies of this book to giveaway. This will begin today, 7/1/11 and will end on Friday, July 15.
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Perished The World That Was - Reviewed


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:


Perished: The World That Was

PublishAmerica (December 17, 2010)

***Special thanks to R. Frederick Riddle for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Born in 1943, R. Frederick Riddle served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War as a Radioman. He received Christ as his Saviour in 1973.

He worked for Michigan Bell and later Ameritech (now AT&T) until 1993 when he retired. Riddle went to work for a Baptist Church as Financial Secretary until 2008 when he retired a second time and moved to Florida to care of his mother-in-law.

He published his first novel in 2003 and his second in 2007. The novel, Perished, draws on both of those novels and much more research. He is currently working on a sequel to Perished.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

When God creates the heavens, and earth, the archangel Lucifer refuses to believe and, with the creation of man, he rebels. Adam and Woman (Eve) enjoy sweet fellowship with God, but Satan makes war against God. Using Serpent, he tricks Woman into eating the forbidden fruit, which Adam knowingly eats; thus bringing sin unto all mankind. In holy anger He drives them out of Eden, while at the same time extending His grace and promising a Redeemer.

Adam and Eve start a family, but tragedy strikes as Cain slays Abel and God drives him from their home. He goes to land of Nod and starts a new civilization, thus beginning a struggle between good and evil. While conflicts grow, faith in God also grows and is demonstrated in the lives of Adam, Methuselah, Noah, and others. As society makes marvelous advances immorality rises, bringing upon them the judgment of God.
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Product Details:

List Price: $29.95
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: PublishAmerica (December 17, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1456036823
ISBN-13: 978-1456036829

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


CREATION

ETERNITY PAST

Lucifer looked around in confusion. I was about to say something to Michael. Why did I stop? Suddenly his thoughts were interrupted.

"Behold, I am God, the Beginning and the Ending, The Everlasting One. Out of nothing have I created you. I have designed each of you for a specific purpose, a certain service to perform.

"Michael, thou wert created to lead My armies into battle and to guard the battle mounts of heaven. I have made thee an archangel and a Chief Prince. Under thee there shall be one third of all the angels able to wage war.

“I have set thee as one of the three and thou shalt be mighty in all that thou shalt do.

"Gabriel, thou art created to speak on My behalf. Thou shalt rule over all manner of communication. Your task is to ensure that My messages and commands are delivered to whomsoever I desire. To thee have I given another third of all the angels equipped to carry out your tasks. You also are an archangel and one of the three."

I already knew that, Lucifer thought.

"And Lucifer, to thee I have given great beauty. No creature shall have greater beauty than you possess. As an archangel, and one of the three, thou also shalt lead one third of the angels of heaven in singing My praises. You are over all manner of instruments of music and praise, which shall be to My glory!

"But I have also made thee the covering cherub and thou shalt guard the Thrones.”

Lucifer looked at Michael and Gabriel, who didn't appear to be puzzled at all. But he found himself wondering: Why is the Holy Father telling us our duties. We have been doing them forever. And what is this about creation?

"What does He mean He created us? We have been around for a long time."

Pondering Lucifer's question, which he found intriguing, Michael thought back and couldn't remember a single time when he hadn't been an archangel. Looking around, he noted that everything looked as it always had looked. The walls, he thought, look the same. Each is built with glorious gemstones, one sitting upon the other in perfect symmetry. It is still as immense as ever! Is it possible that they were just created?

And what about these mansions that have been tended regularly by countless angels for ages past? It is true they are empty, with no apparent purpose. But that has always been the case. And there are just as many mansions as ever. Everything is just as I remember. Even the gold pavement, with each tile perfect and beautiful, looks the same!

"It appears that way," he replied. "Everything is as it always has been. I do not remember a thing different. But if the Holy Father says that He just created us it must be true. The Elohim is truth."

"It does seem strange," agreed Gabriel. "But as Michael stated, the Elohim is truth and would not lie. Yet we all remember everything as being perfectly normal.

"I do admit, however, that I cannot remember any specific event throughout eternity. I remember every structure of the City, but I cannot recall a single moment when any were erected. I should at least remember where the gems came from for the walls. But I do not.

“I believe we have been created with complete memories enabling each of us to do our assigned tasks better. My job is to head up God’s communications and to see that His words are communicated to everyone. Yet I do not recall a single message that He has sent. The only way I can understand it is that I have been just created, as He said.

“In addition, He has given each of us unique talents to accomplish our tasks. And He gave you great beauty, Lucifer. They are the Elohim and can do whatever They want!"

"That sounds reasonable to me," Michael said. "That would explain how all this," he paused spreading his hands indicating the City, "is so familiar to me. God placed the memory of it in my mind."

"You must be right, of course," Lucifer acknowledged. But inwardly he doubted.

The three archangels broke up, each going his separate way. Lucifer could not remember what it was that he had been about to say to Michael. He shrugged and departed.

&&&

Lucifer sensed the excitement as the angels were buzzing with excited whispers and tensely alert. Something big is about to happen. His attention was suddenly riveted upon a huge empty window that appeared over the City’s highest spires. At that moment the Holy Father spoke:

"Behold as I, the God and Creator of all things great and small, create the earth out of nothing. I declare that there shall be seasons and times."

All the angels watched as the Holy Father spoke and the window suddenly filled with a solitary, fiery mass. Lucifer and all the angels were rooted in astonishment.

It took on a definite oval shape filled with water. The entire host of heaven watched as the Holy Spirit of God moved upon the water causing it to vibrate. Lucifer wasn't sure if he was hearing the vibration or simply sensing it, but its effect upon the water was obvious as wave after wave cooled the fledgling planet. This time the Holy Son spoke:

"Let there be light."

Immediately the dark planet was ablaze with light. Lucifer was mystified. Where is the light coming from? Suddenly he knew. The Holy Son is Himself the Source of light!

Next, the Holy Son did an amazing thing dividing the light into night and day. Earth started rotating on its axis. Watching with all the angels, Lucifer immediately understood the planet would complete one rotation in 24 hours, which would be divided into minutes and seconds. This is the beginning of time. I must admit that the Holy Son has really created something interesting. Hmmm. It looks like these hours not only lead to days, but also the days lead to weeks and the weeks to months, each having 30 days.

Curious, Lucifer studied the planet intently. Although impressed, Lucifer wasn't overwhelmed as he imagined such power to create was his as well.

On Day Two the Holy Son spoke again: "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."

Thus God divided the waters so that they were above and below what He called heaven. Lucifer nodded with sudden understanding. This heaven was the atmosphere. But why the water above the atmosphere? The answer would have to wait as the second day ended.

On Day Three, the Holy Son said: "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place and let the dry land appear."

The angels watched in awe as God took the waters on the planet's surface and gathered them together into seas. For the first time, land rose from under the water. Amazingly the land was dry, except for rivers appearing here and there. Then something happened causing all of heaven to cry in sheer delight, impressing even Lucifer. The Holy Son created a living thing! Grass, herbs, trees, fruit, and vegetables came into being with the ability to reproduce after themselves.

On Day Four the Holy Son created all the stars of heaven. But Lucifer noted, with surprise, the sudden existence of galaxies and solar systems populated with their own stars and planets. Amazingly each was created fully formed with the appearance of age and moving through space as though from an explosion!

The sun was also created shedding its light upon the Earth and replacing the Son's light. He placed a moon in orbit around the Earth reflecting the sun's light during the night.

Now Lucifer understood the purpose of the waters above the earth's atmosphere and surrounding the planet. It acts like a filter! And it shields the earth from the sun's rays. But why? Again his silent question went unanswered.

On Day Five, God moved again. He created living creatures. Even as He spoke "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth" there appeared all manner of aquatic life. Some of these were tiny fish while others were large whales, dolphins, sharks and gigantic sea creatures! The air was filled with birds, small and great, flying about with great abandon.

"Be fruitful," God commanded, "and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth."

Lucifer shook his head in wonder. Not only was he impressed with God's demonstration of power, but he was also deeply disturbed. Why are the Elohim using their power to create a planet with such primitive life forms? Of what purpose can they serve?

On Day Six, the Son culminated His work with two great acts of creation. First, He created all animals.

"Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind."

Soon the dry land was populated with a variety of animals, some very small and others gigantic to the point of towering over some of the trees. As with aquatic life, each had the ability to reproduce itself after its own kind.

But it was the creation of human life that stunned and troubled Lucifer the most. The Son said to God the Father and God the Spirit, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."

A hush permeated the heavens as God prepared the earth's soil and carefully, almost tenderly, formed the first man. All of heaven looked upon the still creature in awe.

Lucifer had to admit that the Holy Son had done a masterful job. And he was impressed with the ingenious idea of the water surrounding the earth. He now realized that the filtering affect would also protect the humans.

But it took all Three to accomplish these creative acts. I could have done the same without any help. Maybe I can do things God cannot do. And why create man when the angels of heaven are available to accomplish His will? In what possible way is mankind better equipped than the angels to rule over the Earth? Why does He regard man so tenderly?

&&&

Taking the still creature, God breathed the breath of life into it and immediately its chest started rising and falling rhythmically. The angels erupted into choruses of praise.

As the creature became conscious the coolness of the morning caused him to shiver. Opening his eyes, he looked up at God, Who smiled down at him.

"I am Eloahh, your Creator. Thy name is Adam: for out of the earth were you taken. Arise and see what I have done."

Deity! Recognition brightened Adam’s face.

God extended His hand and pulled Adam upright. It was in that moment that Adam looked at his own body in wonder. Holding his hands outward, he noticed the slender fingers and how he could easily move them. His arms were thick and muscular while covered with very fine hair.

Looking down, he took note of his chest tapering down to the belly, which was hard and flat. Like his arms, his legs were covered by fine hair, but there the likeness stopped. He had short, powerful legs that rested upon feet having five toes that were similar, yet different, to the five fingers of each hand.

Again God spoke: "In six days I created the earth and the heavens and all that is in them. You have I created after My own image. I have loved you from before the beginning and shall love you always."

A puzzled look crossed Lucifer’s face as he watched and listened to the scene below.

As for Adam, he would later remember this event in great detail.

"God lifted me up to where He was and I found myself looking upon the circle of Earth with the darkness of space behind it. I can still see the vast variety of blues that were the seas surrounding the land. And there were the browns, greens and a wonderful display of colors covering the ground. In the midst of it all was a large, dominating, barren place where nothing grew at all. But even in its starkness there was a strange, alluring beauty about it. It is a shame that no one will ever see what I saw that day. It was beautiful!"

After showing Adam the earth as seen from outer space, God took Adam back to Earth and hovered above the barren plateau that he had seen. Looking down, Adam saw a vast land that was carpeted with full-grown trees, shrubs, plants and flowers. Scanning the forests he saw mountain ranges to the north and to the south. Momentarily his eyes rested on a mountain range to the southwest that pointed skyward like the fingers on his hands. It was the most majestic sight amongst so many grand sights. Even from the distance, he could see the varied shapes of the pinnacles. And the colors! Purples, browns, reds, oranges, and every color imaginable dotted these mountains. But the strangest sight was the barren ground below him, which stretched for miles in all directions. It struck Adam as being out of place in all the vast beauty.

"Now behold! I create a special Garden for you."

Before Adam's startled eyes, God covered the plateau with a thick blanket of rich soil hundreds of feet thick. He planted trees, bushes and every kind of vegetation imaginable before placing animals, a pair of every kind, within this beautiful Garden and transforming it into a magnificent paradise. It was the most beautiful place that he would ever know.

Looking down, Adam watched in amazement and awe as the mountain he had earlier stood upon, collapsed forming a series of hills. Adam would later write of this moment: "Seen from above, the Garden was astounding, a sheer delight. I still remember the towering trees rising from the Garden’s fertile ground pointing towards heaven.

“I think some of the trees were over two hundred feet high. From heaven looking down, it was like a roof. Not made of bricks, wood and mud as today's homes are made, but of leaves overlapping leaves. . It was so close and looked so firm that I felt like I could walk upon it. Far below, I later discovered that under that tree canopy there were areas of complete darkness, so dark that it was almost like night!

"The garden is not a small grove or even a sheep range, but much larger. In the 40 days that Eve and I lived there, we never saw all that existed within its borders.

"Hanging suspended in the sky and looking down, I could see its whole expanse. Circling the garden is a huge hedge, which I have touched. It is strong and impenetrable. I have since learned that on the opposite side are briars that can tear a man's skin. Whether they existed from the beginning, I do not know. I suspect that they are part of the curse.

"Inside the garden is every tree imaginable, plus gorgeous flowers, plants and so much more. The sheer beauty of the place took my breath away! In most areas of the Garden were large flowering plants blending together to make a beautiful and colorful blanket covering the land. It is a tragedy that no one else will ever see it as I did.

"But that is not what I remember most about my first sight of Eden. It was Eden River flowing from Lake Eden in the west to the Falls in the east. And Lake Eden was, and most likely still is, startling in its beauty. I knew right then that I wanted to see it up close, to experience it!

"However, if you were to ask my wife, she would tell you her favorite remembrance is the Grove. This is where some of the most delicious fruits are found. The Grove is located just south of the river and stretches to the southern hedge. She and Serpent would explore this area every day it seemed. And she would return with new and exciting fruits, all of which she named. She would share these with me and later, in the cool of the evening, with God. It brought her great joy when God would taste of her discovery and praise her.

"However, the Garden of Eden is more than a beautiful place with fine foods; it is where we walked with God. With tears I remember those precious times we spent with Him every morning and evening. Sometimes He would guide us to something He wanted us to see, but most of the time He would simply sit and talk with us. It is with great joy and bitter tears I remember the day when He created me and placed me within its borders!"



My Thoughts: I saw this book advertised on the side bar on Facebook and I contacted Ronald Riddle and asked him if I could read and review his book for him. I was blown away with how real this book was. When I read the creation in Genesis I don't see a conversation between God and Christ. In this beautiful book you see John 1 play out. Christ along with His father creating the world. Pg 10 On Day four the Holy Son created all the stars of heaven. You also see the jealousy of Satan. He was jealous of God loving the humans He had created and he wanted to take them down, and he looks for a way to do it. When Adam and Eve fall in the garden the heartache is so vivid you can feel it through the pages. As you read this book your heart breaks with the fall of man, and how they continually turn from Him. This is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it! Giving it 5 lighthouses and shining a lighthouse on it for pointing a path to God!