Preview: Survivor

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Survivor
Avon Inspire; Original edition (August 30, 2011)

by
Shelley Shepard Gray




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Shelley Shepard Gray is the beloved author of the Sisters of the Heart series, including Hidden, Wanted, and Forgiven. Before writing, she was a teacher in both Texas and Colorado. She now writes full time and lives in southern Ohio with her husband and two children. When not writing, Shelley volunteers at church, reads, and enjoys walking her miniature dachshund on her town's scenic bike trail.



Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page







ABOUT THE BOOK



One of today’s most beloved authors of inspirational Christian fiction, Shelley Shepard Gray completes her acclaimed Families of Honor series with The Survivor—a poignant and beautiful story of love and faith in a small Amish community. Delving once more into the lives of these devout and fascinating folk, as she did in her popular Sisters of the Heart and Seasons of Sugarcreek novels, Gray tells the story of a young Amish woman who has survived the ravages of cancer, but now longs for the love of the one man who can heal her lonely heart. Like Beverly Lewis, Wanda Brunstetter, and Cindy Woodsmall, Shelley Shepard Gray introduces readers to characters they will never forget as she masterfully depicts a world of simple living, abiding faith, and honest emotions.



If you would like to read the first chapter excerpt of The Survivor, go HERE.

Michelle Sutton's Upcoming Release . . .YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS!!!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011



Book Description:
When entrepreneur Stephanie Miller meets successful accountant Jacob Wells, sparks fly, but at least they're the good kind. Their initial attraction to each other is evident, and their business skills compliment each other. Unfortunately they've both had bad luck with love in the past, but this time God is part of their relationship. So what could go wrong with a match made in heaven? For one, Stephanie launches a business with a new friend without telling Jacob about it. Oh, and that friend just happens to be someone Jacob used to date; someone who wants to break them up for her own nefarious reasons. Will Stephanie listen to her new best friend, or will she listen to her heart?

Excerpt:


Jacob hopped out of the car, intending to open her door. Before he could get around to opening her door, she stood and shut it.

Jacob chuckled and held up a finger. "Rule number one. You wait for me when we're together. I don't want you getting out by yourself when I can be chivalrous about it."

She blinked like it had never occurred to her that someone would get her door. What kind of lame pups had she dated before?

"I'm sorry. I didn't realize men still did that. Because I drove here I didn't think to wait."

"That's just because you've never met the right man before." He winced as he realized how presumptuous that sounded, not to mention cocky. He tried again. "I want you to feel special when you're with me, because you are. Special, I mean."

"Is that right?" Smirking, she held out her arm and allowed him to loop his arm through hers and lead her to the restaurant.

She started to reach for the door handle and he nudged her out of the way. "Chivalrous, remember? I need to do this for you. Keeps me in line."

Her brows lifted in surprise. "Is there something I need to be worried about?"

He chuckled. "That was just a saying. I'm really a pretty good guy. Very harmless."

Her wry smile told him that he had spread it on a bit too thick. He needed to chill before he scared her off, or they'd never have a chance to get better acquainted. They stepped inside the restaurant and he waved at the owner.

Jacob shot up two fingers. His friend approached and knuckle punched him. "Hey, Jake. How's it going these days?"

"Going good." He tipped his hand toward Stephanie and then moved it toward Brent. "Brent, Stephanie. Stephanie, Brent."

"Nice to meet you, Stephanie." Brent took her hand and shook it.

Jacob couldn't help noticing that his friend held her hand a bit too long. Was Brent also making eyes at her? Good grief. If he bent forward and kissed her knuckles, Jacob would have to walk out before Brent stole another woman from him. Brent had always had a way with the ladies in high school. His muscular build and roguish smile had stolen a number of hearts, making him more popular than Jacob. Nothing seemed to have changed for Brent in that respect. He was still single and a real player. The fact that he was practically mooning over Stephanie right now was unsettling, to say the least.

He had always genuinely liked Brent, but at the moment his nice guy persona had gone underground and he started feeling prickly toward him. Maybe they had more negative history than he remembered, because right now he felt threatened by his friend flirting with his date.

Jacob cleared his throat and put a protective arm around Stephanie and hoped Brent took the hint. "Don't you already have a girlfriend?"

Brent shrugged as if he hadn't heard what Jacob had said. Brent asked Stephanie, "So where'd you meet my goofy friend here?"

"At church. We met about a month ago, right, Jacob?" She pulled her hand from Brent's and offered him a strained smile. Jacob wasn't the brightest bulb, but even he knew when someone was uncomfortable. He needed to get her away from Brent.

I have not read this book . . . I can tell you this on September 1st I will grab my copy from Desert Breeze. Michelle is one of my favorite authors and I will read everything she writes!

Check out this awesome book trailer!




You can buy this at http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-200/Michelle-Sutton-In-Sheep%27s/Detail.bok

Preview: Dawn of the Golden Promise

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:



Dawn of the Golden Promise

Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant | Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




BJ Hoff’s bestselling historical novels continue to cross the boundaries of religion, language, and culture to capture a worldwide reading audience. Her books include Song of Erin and American Anthem and such popular series as The Riverhaven Years, The Mountain Song Legacy, and The Emerald Ballad. Hoff’s stories, although set in the past, are always relevant to the present. Whether her characters move about in small country towns or metropolitan areas, reside in Amish settlements or in coal company houses, she creates communities where people can form relationships, raise families, pursue their faith, and experience the mountains and valleys of life. BJ and her husband make their home in Ohio.



Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:




In the fifth and concluding volume of her bestselling The Emerald Ballad Series, BJ Hoff brings the exciting Irish-American historical drama to a climax with all the passion and power readers have come to expect from her.



The saga finds Morgan Fitzgerald adapting to life in a wheelchair as a result of an assailant’s bullet to his spine. Meanwhile, his wife, Finola, must face the dark memories and guarded secrets of her past. In New York City, policeman Michael Burke is caught in a conflict between his faith and his determination to bring a dangerous enemy to justice.



This unforgettable series began with the promise of an epic love story and an inspiring journey of faith. The finale delivers on that promise.



About This Series: BJ Hoff’s Emerald Ballad series was one of the most memorable series published in the 1990s. With combined sales of 300,000 copies, these beloved books found a place in the hearts of BJ’s many fans. Now redesigned and freshly covered the saga is available again to a new generation of readers—and BJ’s many new fans due to her highly successful Amish series, The Riverhaven Years—The Emerald Ballad series will once again find an enthusiastic audience.









Product Details:



List Price: $14.99

Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736927964

ISBN-13: 978-0736927963



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:





Dark Terror



For hope will expire

As the terror draws nigher,

And, with it, the Shame…



James Clarence Mangan (1803–1849)



Near the coast of Portugal

Late June 1850



A little before midnight, Rook Mooney left his card game and went on deck. The starless night sky churned with low-hanging clouds, and although the wind was only beginning to blow up, Mooney knew the storm would be on them within the hour.



He hated sea storms at night, especially the ones that came up all of a sudden. The Atlantic was bad-tempered and unpredictable; she could turn vicious as a wounded witch without warning. Even the most seasoned sailor never took her for granted, and many a callow youth had been turned away from the sea forever by a particularly savage gale.



Had it not been for the brewing storm, Mooney would have been glad for the wind. Lisbon had been sultry, too warm for his liking. He was ready for Ireland’s mild skies.



Hunched over the rail, he stared into the darkness. Although they were another night closer to Ireland, his mood was nearly as black as the sky. He had thought to see Dublin long before now, but instead he had spent three months in a filthy Tangier cell for breaking an innkeeper’s skull.



The darkness deep within him rose up and began to spread. It was her fault. The Innocent. His hands tightened on the rail, his mouth twisting at the memory of her. All these months—more than a year now—and he still couldn’t get her out of his mind. She was like a fire in his brain, boiling in him, tormenting him, driving him half mad.



Nothing had gone right for him since that night at Gemma’s Place. He spent his days with a drumming headache, his nights in a fog of whiskey and fever. His temper was a powder keg, ignited by the smallest spark. Even women were no good for him now. He could scarcely bear the sight of the used, worn-out strumpets who haunted the foreign ports. They all seemed dirty after her. Her, with her ivory skin and golden hair and fine clean scent.



Like some shadowy, infernal sea siren, she seemed to call to him. He was never free of her, could find no peace from her.



His grip on the rail increased. Soon, in only a few days now, they would reach Dublin. He would go back to Gemma’s Place. This time he wouldn’t go so easy on her. This time when he was finished with her, he would put an end to her witchery. He’d snuff out her life…and be free.



All at once rain drenched him. Waves churned up like rolling dunes, pitching the ship as if it were a flimsy child’s toy. Angry and relentless, the gale whipped the deck. Salt from the sea mixed with the rain, burning Mooney’s eyes and stinging his skin as the downpour slashed his face.



He swore into the raging night, anchoring himself to the rail. He felt no terror of the storm, only a feral kind of elation, as if the wildness of the wind had stirred a dark, waiting beast somewhere in the depths of his being.



Drogheda



The small cottage in the field seemed to sway in the wind. Frank Cassidy resisted the urge to duck his head against the thunder that shook the walls and the fierce lightning that streaked outside the window.



After months of following a maze of wrong turns, Cassidy could scarcely believe that he now sat across from the one person who might finally bring his search to an end. It had been a long, frustrating quest, and up until now a futile one. But tonight, in this small, barren cottage outside the old city where Black Cromwell had unleashed his obscene rage, his hopes were rising by the moment.



Friendship had motivated him to undertake the search for Finola Fitzgerald’s past, but nothing more than the unwillingness to disappoint Morgan had kept him going. He owed his old friend a great deal—indeed, he would have done most anything the Fitzgerald had asked of him. But in recent months he had wondered more than once if this entire venture might not end in total defeat. Every road he had taken led only to failure. Every clue he had followed proved worthless.



Until now.



The possibility of finding his answers in Drogheda had first occurred to Cassidy months ago. A Dublin street musician’s vague remark about an unsolved murder in the ancient city—a tragic mystery involving a young girl—had fired his interest and sent him on his way that same week.



According to the musician, a woman named Sally Kelly and her son Peter were likely to have information about the incident. Cassidy had wasted several days in Drogheda trying to locate the pair, only to discover that they had gone north some years past.



He started on to Cavan, eventually traveling as far west as Roscommon, but found no trace, not even a hint, of the Kellys. He started back to Drogheda, discouraged and uncertain about what to do next. To his astonishment, a casual conversation with a tinker on the road revealed that a youth named Peter Kelly had taken up a small tenant farm just outside the old city only weeks before.



Now, sitting across from the lad himself, Cassidy could barely contain his excitement. Even the brief, fragmented story he had managed to glean so far told him that this time he would not leave Drogheda empty-handed.



“If only you could have talked with me mum before she passed on,” Peter Kelly was saying. “She more than likely could have told you all you want to know. There’s so much I can’t remember, don’t you see.”



Kelly was a strapping young man, with shirt sleeves rolled over muscled arms. His face was sunburned and freckled, his rusty hair crisp with tight curls.



“Still, I’d be grateful to hear what you do remember,” Cassidy told him. “Anything at all.”



Dipping one hand into the crock on the table, Kelly retrieved a small potato, still in its jacket, and began to peel it with his thumbnail. Motioning toward the crock, he indicated that Cassidy should help himself.



For a short time they sat in silence, perched on stools at the deal table eating their potatoes. The cottage was old, with but one room and a rough-hewn fireplace. Boxes pegged to the wall held crockery and plates. A straw mattress was draped with a frayed brown blanket. There were no other furnishings.



Peter Kelly had a friendly, honest face and intelligent eyes. “I don’t mind telling you what I recall,” he said, “but I fear it isn’t much. ’ Twas a good seven years ago, or more. I couldn’t have been more than ten or eleven at the time, if that.”



“And your mother was employed as cook?” prompted Cassidy.



The youth nodded. “Aye, she had been in service for Mr. Moran since I was but a wee wane. It was just the two of us. Me da had already passed on long before then.”



“Tell me about Moran,” Cassidy prompted. “Was he a wealthy man?”



Kelly took another bite of potato and shrugged. “Not wealthy and not poor,” he said. “He had an apothecary, but he also acted as a physician of sorts. His father before him left the business and the property. The land was fine, but not exceedingly large. There were some small crops and a few trees—and a lake.”



“And Moran himself? What sort of a man was he?”



Again the lad shrugged. “I recall he was an elderly gentleman. All alone, except for the daughter. His wife died in childbirth, I believe. As best I remember, he treated Mum and me fine.” He paused. “Mum said Mr. Moran doted on the daughter.”



“You mentioned the day of the shooting,” Cassidy urged. “I’d be grateful if you’d tell me about it.”



Peter Kelly licked his fingers before reaching for another potato. “I recall it was a warm day. Spring or summer it must have been, for the trees were in leaf and the sun was bright. I was in the woods when I heard all the commotion. I wasn’t supposed to go in the woods at all,” he explained, glancing up, “for Mum was always fearful of the place. But I played there every chance I got, all the same.”



Rubbing his big hands on his trouser legs, he went on. “But didn’t I go flying out of there fast enough when I heard the screaming? Took off as if the devil himself was after me, I did.”



Cassidy leaned forward, his muscles tensed. “What screaming would that have been?”



“Why, it sounded for all the world like a mountain cat in a trap! ’ Twas too far away for me to see, but I could tell the ruckus was coming from near the lake, at the far end of the property. I took off running for the house.”



He glanced at Cassidy, his expression slightly shamefaced. “I was but a lad,” he muttered. “All I could think of was to get away from the terrible screaming without me mum finding out I’d been playing in the woods again. She was a stern woman.”



“So you saw nothing at all?”



The boy shook his head, and Cassidy felt a shroud of familiar disappointment settle over him. Still, he wasn’t about to give up. “And what happened then, lad?”



“Mum hauled me into the kitchen, then went for Mr. Moran. He told us to stay put while he went to investigate.” He paused. “I saw a pistol in his hand, and I remember me mum was shaking something fierce. We heard the shots not long after Mr. Moran left the house with the gun.”



Cassidy’s interest piqued. He leaned forward. “Shots, did you say?”



Kelly nodded. “Mr. Moran was shot and killed that day.” After a moment he added, “Everyone said it was the teacher who murdered him.”



Curbing his impatience, Cassidy knotted his hands. “What teacher, Peter?”



Young Kelly scratched his head. “Why, I can’t recall his name—it’s been so long—but I do remember he was a Frenchman. Mr. Moran was determined his daughter would be educated, you see, and not in no hedge school, either. He hired the Frenchman as a tutor, and to coach her in the voice lessons. She was musical, you know.”



Cassidy’s mind raced. “This teacher—he lived with the family, did he?”



“He did. It seems to me he had a room upstairs in the house.”



“But what reason would he have had to shoot James Moran?”



Peter Kelly met Cassidy’s eyes across the table. “The story went that Mr. Moran must have been trying to save his daughter from the man’s advances, but the Frenchman got the best of him. Mr. Moran was elderly, mind, and would have been no match for the teacher.”



As Cassidy struggled to piece together what Kelly had told him, the youth went on. “I’m afraid I don’t know much else, sir. Only that Mr. Moran died from the shooting, and the daughter disappeared.”



Cassidy looked at him. “Disappeared?”



“She was never seen after that day,” said Kelly, crossing his arms over his chest. “Mum went looking for her after she found Mr. Moran dead, but there wasn’t a trace of her, not a trace. Nothing but her tin whistle, which they found lying near the lake. No, they never found her nor the Frenchman.” He drew in a long breath, adding, “Mum always said she didn’t believe they tried any too hard, either.”



Cassidy frowned. “Why would she think that?”



Peter Kelly twisted his mouth. “The police didn’t care all that much, don’t you see. The Morans weren’t important enough for them to bother with, Mum said. They didn’t know where to look, so they simply pretended to search.”



Cassidy drummed his finger on the table. “Could the girl simply have run off with the Frenchman, do you think?”



The other shook his head forcefully. “No, sir, I’m certain it was nothing of the sort. Mum was convinced the Frenchman had done something terrible to the lass, and that was why Mr. Moran went after him. But Mr. Moran, he was that frail; a younger man would outmatch him easy enough, she said. Mum was convinced until the day she died that the Frenchman murdered Mr. Moran and then ran off.”



Cassidy rubbed his chin. “But that doesn’t account for the girl,” he said, thinking aloud. “What of her?”



“It pained me mum to think so, but she always believed the Frenchman took the lass with him.”



“Abducted her, d’you mean?”



Peter nodded. “Aye, and perhaps murdered her as well.” He seemed to reminisce for a moment. “Mum never liked that Frenchman, you see. Not a bit. He gave himself airs, she said, and had a devious eye.”



Cassidy’s every instinct proclaimed that at last he had found what he was searching for, but he had been thwarted too many times not to be cautious. Getting to his feet, he untied the pouch at his waist and withdrew the small portrait Morgan had sent him some months past.



He unfolded it, then handed it to Peter Kelly. “Would this be the girl?” he asked, his pulse pounding like the thunder outside. “Would the Moran lass resemble this portrait today, do you think?”



As Kelly studied the portrait, his eyes widened. “Why, ’tis her,” he said, nodding slowly. “Sure, ’tis Miss Finola herself.”



Cassidy stared at him. “Finola?” he said, his voice cracking. “That was her name—Finola?    ”



“It was indeed,” the lad said. “And didn’t it suit her well, at that? Tall and lovely, she was, and several years older than myself. Wee lad that I was, I thought her an enchanted creature. A princess…with golden hair.”



A wave of exhilaration swept over Cassidy. He had all he could do not to shout. According to Morgan, the one thing Finola Fitzgerald had seemed to remember about her past was her given name.



“You’re quite sure, lad?” he said, his voice none too steady. “It’s been many a year since you last saw the lass, after all.”



Kelly nodded, still studying the portrait. “ ’ Tis her. Sure, and she’s a woman grown, but a face is not easily forgotten, no matter the years.”



“Now that is the truth,” agreed Cassidy, smiling at the boy.



“Is she found then, sir, after all this time?” Kelly asked, returning the portrait to Cassidy.



Still smiling, Cassidy stared at the portrait. “Aye, lad,” he said after a moment, his voice hoarse with excitement. “She is found. She is safe, and a married woman now.”



“Ah…thanks be to God!” said Peter Kelly.



“Indeed,” Cassidy echoed. “Thanks be to God.”



Nelson Hall, Dublin



For the second time in a week, Finola’s screams pierced the late night silence of the bedroom. Instantly awake, Morgan reached for her, then stopped. He had learned not to touch her until she was fully awake and had recognized him.



“Finola?” Leaning over her, he repeated her name softly. “Finola, ’tis Morgan. You’re dreaming, macushla. You are safe. Safe with me.”



Her body was rigid, her arms crossed in front of her face as if to ward off an attack. She thrashed, moaning and sobbing, her eyes still closed.



Outside, thunder rumbled in the distance and the lightning flared halfheartedly, then strengthened. As if sensing the approaching storm, Finola gave a startled cry.



Morgan continued to soothe her with his voice, speaking softly in the Irish. It was all he could do not to gather her in his arms. But when the nightmare had first begun, months ago, he had made the mistake of trying to rouse her from it. She had gone after him like a wild thing, pummeling him with her fists, scraping his face with her nails as she fought him off.



Whatever went on in that dark, secret place of the dream must be an encounter of such dread, such horror, as to temporarily seize her sanity. The Finola trapped in that nightmare world was not in the least like the gentle, soft-voiced Finola he knew as his wife. In the throes of the dream she was a woman bound, terrorized by something too hideous to be endured.



No matter how he ached to rescue her, he could do nothing…nothing but wait.

In the netherworld of the dream, Finola stood in a dark and windswept cavern.



Seized by terror, she cupped her hands over her ears to shut out the howling of the wind.



The wind. She knew it was coming for her, could hear the angry, thunderous roar, feel the trembling of the ground beneath her feet as the storm raced toward her.



Faster now…a fury of a wind, gathering speed as it came, raging and swooping down upon her like a terrible bird of prey, gathering momentum as it hurled toward her…closing in, seizing her.



Black and fierce, it seemed alive as it dragged her closer…closer into its eye, as if trying to swallow her whole. As she struggled to break free, she heard in the farthest recesses of the darkness a strange, indefinable sound, a sound of sorrow, as if all the trees in the universe were sighing their grief.



She tried to run but was held captive by the force of the wind. It pounded her, squeezing the breath from her, dragging her into a darkness so dense it filled her eyes, her mouth, her lungs…oh, dear Jesus, it was crushing her…crushing her to nothing—



Finola sat straight up in bed, as if propelled by some raw force of terror. She gasped, as always, fighting for her breath.



Soaked in perspiration, Finola stared at Morgan, her gaze filled with horror.



Still he did not touch her. “You are safe, Finola aroon. ’      Twas only a bad dream. You are here with me.”



She put a hand to her throat and opened her mouth as if to speak, but made no sound. Finally…finally, she made a small whimper, like that of a frightened animal sprung free from a trap.



At last Morgan saw a glint of recognition. Finola moaned, then sagged into his waiting arms.



Stroking her hair, Morgan held her, crooning to her as he would a frightened child. “There’s nothing to harm you, my treasure. Nothing at all.”



“Hold me…hold me…”



Tightening his arms about her still more, he began to rock her gently back and forth. “Shhh, now, macushla…everything is well. You are safe.”



He felt her shudder against him, and he went on, lulling her with his voice, stroking her hair until at last he felt her grow still. “Was it the same as before?” he asked.



Her head nodded against his chest.



He knew it might be hours before she would be able to sleep again. So great was the dream’s terror that she dreaded closing her eyes afterward. Sometimes she lay awake until dawn.



Her description of the nightmare never failed to chill Morgan. It had begun not long after their first physical union. Although he could scarcely bring himself to face the possibility, he could not help but wonder if their intimacy, though postponed, might not somehow be responsible.



At the outer fringes of his mind lurked a growing dread that by marrying her and taking her into his bed, he had somehow invoked the nightmare. He prayed it was not so, but if it continued, he would eventually have to admit his fear to Finola. They would have to speak of it.



But not yet. Not tonight. Tonight he would simply hold her until she no longer trembled, until she no longer clung to him as if he alone could banish the horror.

Unwilling to forsake the comforting warmth of Morgan’s embrace, Finola lay, unmoving. Gradually she felt her own pulse slow to the steady rhythm of his heartbeat. “I’m sorry I woke you,” she whispered.



He silenced her with a finger on her lips. “There is nothing to be sorry for. Hush, now, and let me hold you.”



Something was coming. Something dark. Something cold and dark and sinister…



Thunder boomed like distant cannon, and Finola shivered. Wrapped safely in Morgan’s arms, she struggled to resist the dark weight of foreboding that threatened to smother her.



It was always like this after the nightmare, as if the black wind in the dream still hovered oppressively near, waiting to overtake her after she was fully awake. Sometimes hours passed before she could completely banish the nightmare’s terror.



Were it not for the safe wall of Morgan’s presence to soothe and shield her, she thought she might go mad in the aftermath of the horror. But always he was there, his sturdy arms and quiet voice her stronghold of protection. Her haven.



“Better now, macushla   ?” he murmured against her hair.



Finola nodded, and he gently eased her back against the pillows, settling her snugly beside him, her head on his shoulder.



“Try to sleep,” he said, brushing a kiss over the top of her head. “Nothing will hurt you this night. Nothing will ever hurt you again, I promise you.”



Finola closed her eyes and forced herself to lie still. She knew Morgan would not allow himself to sleep until she did, so after a few moments she pretended to drift off; in a short while, she heard his breathing grow even and shallow.



After he fell asleep, she lay staring at the window, trying not to jump when lightning streaked and sliced the night. She hugged her arms to herself as the thunder groaned. In the shelter of Morgan’s embrace, it was almost possible to believe that he was right, that nothing would hurt her ever again. She knew that with the first light of the morning, the nightmare would seem far distant, almost as if it had never happened.



But just as surely, she knew night would come again, and with the night would come the dream, with its dark wind and evil hidden somewhere deep within.



After a long time, Finola began to doze. But just as she sank toward the edge of unconsciousness, the wind shrieked. Like the sudden convulsion of a wren’s wings, panic shook her and she jolted awake.



Feeling irrationally exposed and vulnerable, she listened to the storm play out its fury. Thunder hammered with such force that the great house seemed to shudder and groan, while the wind went howling as if demanding entrance.



Again she closed her eyes, this time to pray.


Preview: Thunder in the Morning Calm

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Thunder in the Morning Calm
Zondervan (August 2, 2011)
by
Don Brown




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



DON BROWN, a former U.S. Navy JAG Officer, is the author of Zondervan’s riveting NAVY JUSTICE SERIES, a dynamic storyline chronicling the life and adventures of JAG officer ZACK BREWER. After TREASON, his first novel in the NAVY JUSTICE SERIES, was published to rave reviews in 2005, drawing comparisons to the writing style of John Grisham, Don Brown was named as co-chairman of national I LOVE TO WRITE DAY, an event recognized by the governors of nine states to promote writing throughout the nation, and especially among the nation’s schools.



Paying no homage to political correctness, Don's writing style is described as “gripping,” casting an entertaining and educational spin on a wide-range of current issues, from radical Islamic infiltration of the military, to the explosive issue of gays in the military, to the modern day issues of presidential politics in the early 21st Century.



Don graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1982, and after finishing law school, continued his post-graduate studies through the Naval War College, earning the Navy’s nonresident certificate in International Law.



During his five years on active duty in the Navy, Don served in the Pentagon, was published in the Naval Law Review, and was also a recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.



ABOUT THE BOOK



Lieutenant Commander 'Gunner' McCormick is assigned as an intelligence officer to Carrier Strike Force 10, being deployed to the Yellow Sea at the invitation of South Korea for joint exercises with the US Navy. During his pre-deployment briefing, he discovers a TOP-SECRET MEMO revealing rumors that the North Koreans may still be holding a handful of elderly Americans from the Korean War in secret prison camps.



As it happens, Gunner's grandfather, who was a young marine officer in the Korean War, disappeared at Chosin Reservoir over 60 years ago and is still listed as MIA in North Korea. Sworn to silence about what he has read, the top-secret memo eats at him. Gunner decides to spend all his inheritance and break every military regulation in the book to finance his own three-man commando squad on a suicide mission north of the DMZ to search for clues about the fate of his grandfather.

Risking his career, his fortune, and his life, Gunner will get his answers, or he will die trying.



Don Brown is building a loyal fan base by writing what he knows best: thrillers with heart. A former Navy JAG officer and action officer in the Pentagon, Brown pens action-packed plots and finely-drawn characters that are credible and compelling. Thunder in the Morning Calm is a novel of bravery, duty, and family love that will keep readers of all ages reading straight through to the last page.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Thunder in the Morning Calm , go HERE

Homeward - Reviewed

Monday, August 29, 2011




Book Description: From bestselling author Melody Carlson comes this award-winning story of three generations of Lancaster women. For twenty years Meg Lancaster has avoided Briar Hedge, the Lancaster family estate. Now she has been drawn back to her grandmother's home to uncover secrets that have been hidden for decades and to try to regain the family she long ago abandoned.

My thoughts: This is a modern prodigal son . . only it is a prodigal daughter. The story is full of forgiveness, and personal growth. Much different than Melody's YA books. I highly recommend this!

This Melody Carlson novel was a RITA award winner and is now available as an e-book for $2.99

Confident Heart - Reviewed




Book Description:
Step out of the shadows of self-doubt to live with a confident heart

Ever feel like you're not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough? Renee Swope understands. Even with a great family, a successful career, and a thriving ministry, she still struggled with self-doubt. Sharing her own personal story, Renee shows you how to rely on the power of God's promises to find the security you need and the confidence you long for!

Exchange fear-filled thinking with faith-filled believing
Fail forward when life or sin sets you back
Embrace your God-given purpose, passion, and personality
See beyond who you are to who you are becoming in Christ
Powerful Scripture-based prayers are at the end of each chapter, along with Bible study questions and a chart with thirty-one promises to replace our most common self-doubts.

My Thoughts: Ever felt like you didn't measure up, just weren't good enough? This book will encourage your heart and show you who you are in Him! Using her own personal experience Renee writes from her heart, to encourage yours. I highly recommend this book!

GIVEAWAY IN THE SEA THERE ARE CROCODILES

Friday, August 26, 2011



Book Description:
When ten-year-old Enaiatollah Akbari’s small village in Afghanistan falls prey to Taliban rule in early 2000, his mother shepherds the boy across the border into Pakistan but has to leave him there all alone to fend for himself. Thus begins Enaiat’s remarkable and often punish­ing five-year ordeal, which takes him through Iran, Turkey, and Greece before he seeks political asylum in Italy at the age of fifteen.

Along the way, Enaiat endures the crippling physical and emotional agony of dangerous border crossings, trekking across bitterly cold mountain pathways for days on end or being stuffed into the false bottom of a truck. But not every­one is as resourceful, resilient, or lucky as Enaiat, and there are many heart-wrenching casualties along the way.

Based on Enaiat’s close collaboration with Italian novelist Fabio Geda and expertly rendered in English by an award- winning translator, this novel reconstructs the young boy’s memories, perfectly preserving the childlike perspective and rhythms of an intimate oral history.

Told with humor and humanity, In the Sea There Are Crocodiles brilliantly captures Enaiat’s moving and engaging voice and lends urgency to an epic story of hope and survival.

Thanks to Doubleday I have 2 copies of this book to giveaway. This will be open to U.S. residents only. No P.O. Boxes. This will start today, Saturday, August 27th and I will use a randomizer on Saturday, September 17th.
To enter you must be a follower of my blog, and say so in your comment. You also need to leave a way for me to contact you, you can use (at) and (dot) in your comment.
To receive additional entries you can tweet about this on Twitter, just come back and leave the link in an additional comment. You can also blog about this contest and come back and leave the link in an additional comment.

Thanks and GOOD LUCK!!!!!!


Preview: Ransome's Quest

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Ransome’s Quest
Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)
by
Kaye Dacus


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Humor, Hope, and Happily Ever Afters! Kaye Dacus is the author of humorous, hope-filled contemporary and historical romances with Barbour Publishing and Harvest House Publishers.

Kaye Dacus (KAY DAY-cuss) is an author and editor who has been writing fiction for more than twenty years. A former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kaye enjoys being an active ACFW member and the fellowship and community of hundreds of other writers from across the country and around the world that she finds there. She currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, which she co-founded in 2003 with three other writers. Each month, she teaches a two-hour workshop on an aspect of the craft of writing at the MTCW monthly meeting. But her greatest joy comes from mentoring new writers through her blog and seeing them experience those “aha” moments when a tricky concept becomes clear.


ABOUT THE BOOK

The pirate El Salvador has haunted the waters of the Caribbean for almost ten years. When he snatched Charlotte Ransome, it was a case of mistaken identity. Now Charlotte's brother, whose reputation in battle is the stuff of legend, is searching for him with a dogged determination. But another rumor has reached El Salvador's ears: Julia Ransome has been kidnapped by the man feared by all other pirates--the pirate known only as Shaw. The violent and blood-thirsty savage from whom El Salvador was trying to protect her.

When word reaches William of Julia's disappearance, his heart is torn--he cannot abandon the search for his sister, yet he must also rescue Julia. Ned Cochrane offers a solution: Ned will continue the search for Charlotte while William goes after Julia. William's quest will lead him to a greater understanding of faith and love as he must accept help from sworn enemy and have faith that Julia's life is in God's hands.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ransome’s Quest, go HERE.

Blue Skies Tomorrow ~ Reviewed

Monday, August 22, 2011




Book Description:
In a time of peril, can they find the courage to confront their fears and embrace a love that lasts?

When her husband becomes a casualty of the war in the Pacific, Helen Carlisle throws herself into volunteering for the war effort to conceal her feelings. But keeping up appearances as the grieving widow of a hometown hero is taking its toll. Soon something is going to give.

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit. His stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life--and a convenient excuse to ignore his deepest fear. When the beautiful Helen catches his eye and captures his heart, he is determined to win her hand.

But when Ray and Helen are called upon to step out in faith and put their reputations and their lives on the line, can they meet the challenges that face them? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Filled with drama, daring, and all the romance of the WWII era, Blue Skies Tomorrow is the captivating final book in the popular Wings of Glory series.

My Thoughts: Sarah sure knows how to close a series!!!! Helen's husband Jim died in action, she is home caring for their son Jay-Jay and helping with the war effort. Lt. Raymond Novack is home training pilots. He'd much rather be preaching. The two find that they have an attraction that goes back to their school days. Problem is that Jim's folks aren't too happy with Helen dating, they think she should still be mourning Jim even though it's been two years. And that is just the beginning of their trials. I've read all of the books to this series and loved them! This can very easily stand alone! With Labor Day coming up, grab this and stick it in your bag, you don't want to miss this one!

“Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Preview: Ransome's Quest

Friday, August 19, 2011

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:



Ransome's Quest

(The Ransome Trilogy)


Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant | Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Kaye Dacus, author of Ransome’s Honor has a BA in English, with a minor in history, and an MA in writing popular fiction. Her love of the Regency era started with Jane Austen. Her passion for literature and for history come together to shape her creative, well-researched, and engaging writing.



Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:








This engaging end to the Ransome Trilogy is a fast-paced tale of love, faith, and danger on the Caribbean Sea in the early 1800s. Captain William Ransome frantically searches for his kidnapped wife and sister. But who will rescue them when buried secrets emerge and challenge everything they believe?











Product Details:



List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736927557

ISBN-13: 978-0736927550



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







It is too dangerous.”



William Ransome snapped his cutlass into its scabbard and turned to face his wife. “The longer I delay, the farther away they take Charlotte.”



Dread froze his lungs, his stomach, his heart. Charlotte. His sister. Taken. “If anything happens to her…”



Julia wrapped her arms around her abdomen and leaned against one of the heavy posts at the end of the bed. “Why the message to my father? What has he to do with Charlotte?”



William double-checked the load of his pistol and tucked it under his belt. “Your father has publicly vowed—more than once—to rid the Caribbean of pirates and privateers for good. Charlotte was likely a target of opportunity, not purpose.”



“But if the man’s argument is with my father, it should have been me taken, not Charlotte.”



William could not disagree with her. Nor could he agree, as the very idea of Julia’s being taken by pirates nearly ripped his heart from his chest. “I should have put her on that ship in Barbados returning to England. If I had followed my conscience”—instead of listening to Julia’s and Charlotte’s emotional arguments—“she would have been well out of harm’s way by now.”



They both startled at a knock on the door.



“Come.”



The door opened at his command, revealing Jeremiah. “The horses are ready, Commodore.”



“Very good.” William took up his case and hat and moved toward the door.



Julia stepped in front of him, expression imploring. “Please, William, wait until dawn. The roads are treacherous enough in the full light of day. At night…and you do not know where you are going. What good will it do Charlotte if you become lost or…or something else happens to you or the horse? Or what if the pirates have laid a trap and done this to lure you from the safety of the house?”



A mirthless laugh expanded in his throat, but he stifled it. Safety of the house? Was the house safe when the brigands had snatched Charlotte from the porch almost directly outside this very room?



“I am sending Asher with him, Miss Julia,” Jeremiah said. “He knows the roads ’twixt here and Kingston better than anyone I know.”



William tore his gaze away from Julia’s anxious face. “Jeremiah, I am depending on you to protect Mrs. Ransome and ensure no harm comes to her while I am away.”



“I will protect her with my life, sir.”



He stepped around Julia and handed his bag and hat to Jeremiah. “Thank you. I shall join you in a moment.”



As he hoped, Jeremiah understood the dismissal. He gave a slight bow and left the room, closing the door behind him.



William took Julia by the shoulders and directed her to the chaise positioned at the end of their bed. He had to apply more pressure than he liked to make her sit. “You are to stay at Tierra Dulce. You will keep an escort with you at all times. I want armed guards posted near the house.”



She nodded, never blinking or breaking eye contact. “Yes, William.”



“If you hear any word from Charlotte or receive”—his voice caught in his throat—“a ransom demand from the pirate, you will send a messenger to Fort Charles. They will get word to me.”



“Yes, William.”



Heart tearing asunder at the necessity of leaving Julia behind, he bent over and pressed his forehead to hers. “Pray for Charlotte.”



Julia’s hands slid around behind his neck, her fingers twining in his hair. She angled her head and kissed him. “I promise. I will pray for you also, my love.”



He kissed her again and then tore himself away from her embrace. “I must go. I promise I will return—and I will bring Charlotte with me.”



Determined to not look back, he made for the door. He opened it and then hesitated. Without turning around, he said the words he needed to say, just in case they were the last he ever said to his wife. “I love you.”



“I love you, William.” Though softly spoken, her words acted as the command that loosed him from his mooring. He stepped through the door and closed it, leaving her on the other side.



Ned Cochrane paced the drive below the porch steps when William exited the house. He barely spared his former first officer a glance. Intellectually, he knew Ned had done his best, having been taken by surprise and set upon by several men. However, in his heart, he wanted to rail at the younger man for failing to protect Charlotte.



Though a horse was his least favorite mode of transportation, William easily swung himself up into the saddle. Once he was settled—and Ned appeared to be also—William nodded at Asher to lead the way.



Darkness enveloped them. Behind, the light from the house acted as a siren’s call, beckoning him to turn, to look, to regret his decision to leave in the dead of night and wish he had taken Julia’s advice and waited until dawn.



His neck ached from the effort of keeping his face forward instead of giving in to temptation and taking one last look at the house, hoping to catch a final glimpse of Julia.



He focused on the bumpy motion of the animal underneath him. He must leave all thoughts of—all worries about—Julia behind, just as he now left her home behind. Jeremiah had known Julia most of her life. He had been as much of a substitute father for Julia as her father, Admiral Witherington, had been for William.



No, he could not worry about Julia and her safety. Rescuing Charlotte must be his only focus, his only thought.



The monotonous rhythm of the horses’ hooves, at a walk over the dark, deeply rutted dirt roads, along with the necessity of keeping his eyes trained on the light shirt stretched across Asher’s broad back, lulled William into a stupor.



Ahead lay his ship. The thought of boarding Alexandra and getting under sail chipped away at his anxiety. As soon as he was on the water, as soon as he stood on the quarterdeck and issued the command to weigh anchor, he would be that much closer to finding Charlotte and bringing her home.



The road widened, and Ned pulled up beside him.



“You are certain the man did not identify himself?”



“No, sir. He did not give his name. He only said her safety depended on the mercy of a pirate.” Ned’s voice came across flat and hoarse.



“What were you doing out on the porch, alone with her in the dark?” Even as William asked this, he reminded himself Ned was not at fault. But if Charlotte had been inside, perhaps…



“I followed them—Miss Ransome and Winchester—when they went for their walk. I did not trust Mrs. Ransome’s steward to behave honorably.” He paused. “I need not have worried. Char—Miss Ransome handled the situation admirably and dispatched Winchester, and their engagement, with aplomb.”



“Winchester was with you when she was taken? Why did you not tell me this before?”



“No, sir. Miss Ransome dismissed him. He had been gone for…several minutes.”



Could Winchester be involved? Dread sank like a cannonball in William’s gut. Julia already suspected the steward of embezzling money from the plantation. And William had left her there with that man—



“I asked her to marry me.”



If Winchester were involved, and this was a ploy to get William away from Tierra—he yanked the reins. The horse voiced its protest and jerked and swerved, nearly unseating William. “I beg your pardon?”



“After Charlotte broke her engagement with Winchester, we talked about our mutual regard. I proposed marriage to her, and she accepted.” Ned’s words barely rose above the sounds of the horses’ hooves on the hard-packed earth.



From a sinking ship into shark-infested waters. Could Charlotte not have waited even a full day after breaking one engagement before forming another—again, without her family’s knowledge? “And if I refuse my permission?”



“Then we shall wait. We’ll wait until you think I am worthy to marry her, sir.”



Worthy to marry her. William did not have to think hard to remember standing before Julia’s father twelve years ago and saying the same words. Sir Edward had graciously given him—a poor, threadbare lieutenant with no prospects and nothing to recommend him as husband or son-in-law—a father’s blessing for William and Julia to marry based on nothing other than their love for each other. William had been the one to deem himself unworthy of her affections, and he had almost lost her forever.



“We shall discuss this after we return Charlotte home.”



“I pray that will be soon, sir.”



“So do I, Ned. So do I.”



Charlotte awoke with a gasp. Wooden planks formed the low ceiling above her. A canvas hammock conformed to her body and swung with the heave and haw of the ocean beneath the ship.



A ship?



Not possible. They had made port, hadn’t they?



She stared at the underside of the deck above, trying to clear the haziness from her brain. Yes. They had made port. Left Alexandra and ridden in carriage across those horrible, rutted roads to Tierra Dulce, Julia’s sugar plantation. The low, sprawling white house with the deep porch that wrapped all the way around and the white draperies billowing through the open windows.



The porch. She blinked rapidly. The porch. At night. In the dark. Henry Winchester and…and Ned.



She bolted upright and then flung her torso over the side of the hammock as her stomach heaved.



Why should she be sick? She hadn’t experienced a moment of seasickness on the crossing from England to Jamaica. She climbed out of the hammock, skirt and petticoats hindering her progress until she hoisted them above her knees, and made for the small table with a glass and pitcher.



Wan light from the stern windows sparkled through the glass, revealing a residue of white powder in the bottom of it. She set the glass back on the stand. Last night the pirate had made her drink from the glass, and then everything had gone hazy. But before that…



She buried her face in her hands. Being torn away from Ned. She prayed they had not killed him. She’d heard no gunshot, but as their raid had been one of stealth, they would more likely have used a blade to end Ned’s life.



A sob ripped at her throat, but she forced it to stay contained. She would not give the pirates the satisfaction of seeing her upset. And she must, and would, find a means of escape.



Thirst got the better of her, and she lifted the china pitcher of water and rinsed her mouth before drinking deeply the brackish liquid. She then turned and surveyed the cabin. Obviously the pirate captain’s quarters. Though smaller than Ned’s aboard Audacious, which was in turn smaller than William’s aboard Alexandra, the room was neatly kept, with serviceable furnishings, whitewashed walls and ceiling, and plain floors. Nothing to exhibit the extravagance or wealth she’d expected to see in a pirate’s private lair.



The desk. Perhaps something there would tell her more about her captor. She crossed to it, rather surprised by the empty work surface. No stacks of the papers or books like the ones resting on William’s or Ned’s worktables. Her fingers itched to open the drawer under the desktop and the small doors and drawers along the high back of it, but Mama had taught her better than that.



Two miniatures hanging above the desk caught her eye. One showed a woman, probably a few years older than Charlotte, with dark hair and angular features. Too plain to be called pretty, but not ugly either. The green backdrop of the second painting contrasted vividly with the reddish-brown hair of a pretty girl and matched her vibrant green eyes.



Mahogany hair and green eyes—just like Julia. Why would a pirate have a portrait of Julia hanging in his cabin? But, she corrected herself, the painting was of a girl no older than thirteen or fourteen. Surely the resemblance to Julia was merely coincidental.



“She was lovely, was she not?”



Charlotte gasped and whirled. A dark-haired man dressed in a blue coat that resembled a commodore’s or admiral’s—complete with prodigious amounts of gold braid about the cuffs, collar, and lapels—stood in the doorway of the cabin.



He tossed a bicorne hat—also similar to a navy officer’s—onto the oblong table in the middle of the cabin, clasped his hands behind his back, and sauntered toward her, his eyes on the portrait.



“What do you want with me?”



“I am sorry for the manner of your coming here, Miss…?” He cocked one eyebrow at her.



“Ransome. Charlotte Ransome. My brother is Commodore William Ransome. He will hunt you down. And when he finds you—”



“When he finds me,” the pirate said, sighing, “I am certain the encounter shall be quite violent and bloody. Is that what you were going to say?”



Charlotte ground her teeth together. The man stood there, serene as a vicar on the Sabbath, acting as if they stood in a drawing room in Liverpool discussing the weather. “What do you want with me?”



“With you? Nothing.” He flicked an invisible speck of dust from the oval frame. “My business is with her.”



“With her?” Charlotte nodded toward the painting. “Is that…?”



“Julia Witherington—or Julia Ransome, as I have lately learned. Empress of the Tierra Dulce sugar empire.”



The strange lilt in his voice when he said Julia’s name sent a chill down Charlotte’s spine. “Yes, she is married. To my brother.”



“The famous Commodore Ransome.” The pirate turned and ambled toward the dining table. “His reputation precedes him.”



Worry riddled Charlotte at the pirate’s lack of worry over the thought of William’s hunting him down and blowing him and his crew out of the water. After Charlotte escaped, naturally.



“You were not part of my plan, little Charlotte Ransome.” He turned, leaned against the edge of the table, and crossed his arms. The coat pulled across his broad chest and muscular shoulders. A lock of dark hair fell over his forehead, softening the way his heavy black brows hooded his eyes. His nose had been aquiline once, but now it sported a bump about halfway down from whence the rest of the appendage angled slightly to his left. A scar stretched across his forehead and down into his left eyebrow. On first sight he could have passed for Spanish, but his accent marked him as an Englishman.



If he weren’t a no-good, dastardly, cowardly, kidnapping pirate, she might consider him handsome.



“Did you kill him?” The question squeezed past her throat unbidden.



“Him?”



“Ned—Captain Cochrane. The man with me on the porch.” She schooled her emotions as best she could, pretending the man standing before her was none other than Kent, her nemesis during her days aboard Audacious as a midshipman.



“If he is dead, it is through no work of me or my men. We do not kill for sport, only for defense.”



“Ha!” The mirthless laugh popped out before she could stop it. “Morality from a pirate? Someone who spends his life pillaging and thieving and destroying and killing and…and…” Heat flooded her face.



“And?” The pirate stood and stalked toward her, an odd gleam in his dark eyes. “And ravishing young women? Is that what you were going to say?”



Charlotte backed away, right into the edge of the desk. She gripped it hard. “N-no.”



The pirate leaned over her, hands on either side of her atop the desk, trapping her. “Do not try to lie to me, little Charlotte Ransome. You have no talent for it.”



Stays digging into her waist, she bent as far back as she could. “Yes, then. Ravishing.” Not that he would get a chance to ravish her. A fork. A penknife. Anything with a sharp edge or point. Once she had something like that in her possession, she would be able to defend herself against him.



Up close, the pirate’s brown eyes held chips of gold and green. A hint of dark whiskers lay just beneath the skin of his jaw and above his upper lip.



He blinked when someone knocked on the door but didn’t move. “Come!”



“Captain, Lau and Declan are back.”



“Very good. I shall meet with them in the wheelhouse momentarily to hear their report. Dismissed.”



Charlotte wanted to cry out to stop the other man from leaving, but she knew she deluded herself. She was no safer with any man on this ship than with their captain.



Would Ned still want her—even be able to look at her—after the pirates were finished with her?



“What’s this?” The pirate reached up and touched Charlotte’s cheek. “Tears?”



She shook her head, more to dislodge his hand than in denial.



With another sigh he straightened and then handed her a handkerchief. “Calm yourself, Miss Ransome. I have no intention of ravishing you. Nor of allowing anyone else to ravish you. While you are aboard my ship, you are under my protection.”



He crossed to the table and retrieved his hat. “You, however, must stay to this cabin at all times. Though my men know my rules of conduct, a few of them might give in to the temptation of their baser desires should they see you about on deck.”



Charlotte leaned heavily against the desk. The handkerchief in her hand was of the finest lawn, embroidered white-on-white with a Greek-key design around the edge. She frowned at the bit of cloth. Why would a pirate carry something so delicate?



He settled the bicorne on his dark head, points fore-and-aft, the same way the officers of the Royal Navy wore theirs.



“Who are you?”



He touched the fore tip of the hat and then flourished a bow. “I am called El Salvador, and you are aboard my ship, Vengeance. Welcome to my home, Miss Ransome.”


Tombstones and Banana Trees - Reviewed

Thursday, August 18, 2011




Book Description: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX–"My story changed beyond all recognition. Everything that was made ugly by pain and anger was turned to beauty by one simple, revolutionary thing—forgiveness." Medad Birungi was once a boy who begged to die by the side of the road, a teenager angry enough to kill, a man broken and searching, yet today he is a testimony to God's transforming power. In his life story, Tombstones and Banana Trees: A True Story of Revolutionary Forgiveness, Birungi charts his outrageous journey through suffering, abuse, despair and revenge to unexpected forgiveness and healing.

Birungi grew up with a violent father in the war-torn country of Uganda in the 1960's. His childhood was scarred by extreme poverty, cruel suffering and unbearable sorrow that few of us can even imagine. Yet from that trauma came the lessons that we can all appreciate: the impoverishment of life without Christ, the redemption of the cross and the revolutionary power of forgiveness. His story deals in nothing less than pure, God-given transformation. Tombstones and Banana Trees has the dual quality of being both uniquely individual yet universally relevant, holding together the grandest of themes and the most intimate of testimonies. Birungi's life is so comprehensively renewed that any reader sharing in his journey will feel the impact.

Through his story of healing, Birungi calls readers to find healing for their own emotional scars. He reminds them that when they forgive others they are doing something truly radical—changing relationships, communities and countries. They are welcoming God into the hidden corners of the human soul, where real revolution begins, inspiring others to start again and work for reconciliation. Birungi is "fascinated by forgiveness, drawn to it, compelled by it and delighted when anyone wants to join me. That is what revolutionary forgiveness becomes after a while—a passion. It draws us in, yet it does not overrule us. We must still make the choice to overcome our reservations."

Tombstones and Banana Trees will take readers back to their own tombs and funerals and help them ask how God might turn them into new births and celebrations. Their eyes will be opened to the revolutionary change that God Himself has in store for all.

My Thoughts: A great book to help you put the past in the past, and move on to forgiveness. One I highly recommend!

THOMAS NELSON CONTEST/GIVEAWAY

Wednesday, August 17, 2011



From Thomas Nelson:



One of the highlights of our days in the Fiction department at Thomas Nelson? Receiving reader letters—either directly addressed to us or passed along from our talented authors. It’s critical to be reminded that at the end of our long days acquiring, editing, designing, selling, marketing, and publicizing books, those stories are reaching readers, striking nerves, changing lives. We want readers’ feedback. How stories have given you hope. Which authors’ series you can’t help from sharing with everyone you meet. We want to know what makes you stay up late in the night to finish a story, and conversely what turns you away.



We’re conducting a series of surveys—seeking answers from readers who love Christian fiction. Up for grabs is a free ebook for every respondent who completes the survery, as well as a $10,000 prize for one entrant. The responses we gather will help shape the future of the books we publish for years to come. As well as the data we’re collecting here, we’ll also seek more in-depth feedback from a panel we’ll develop over the next year. More details to come. The note below from one of authors gives a specific picture of how reader feedback shapes her work. In short, your opinion matters! We thank you for your time and appreciate your responding.



--Thomas Nelson Fiction



Dear Friends--

Your opinion matters. It really does. I love hearing from readers about what worked for them in a story and about what doesn’t work. Reader feedback changed the balance between romance and suspense in my novels. After the Rock Harbor trilogy, I wanted to write more suspense in my novels because that’s what I personally like. But readers really wanted more relationship and romance in the books so I moved back that direction to about the same mix of 50/50 that the Rock Harbor novels contained. I write for you even more than for myself.



I had no intention of setting a whole series of books at Bluebird, Texas. It was going to be only one book, but readers sent me requests in droves for more books. The fourth book in the Lonestar series, Lonestar Angel, will be out in October. The Rock Harbor novels were going to be complete at three. There are now five and I’m thinking about another one! All due to reader demand.



I’ve often asked for reader input on names and locations too. When I was struggling for a name for my hero in The Lightkeeper’s Ball, I turned to my readers. Harrison really fit my character, and my readers told me. Love that! When I was trying to decide on a location for the new Hope Beach series I’ve started, I asked readers. Their overwhelming response was for a series set in the Outer Banks so guess what I’m writing?!



That’s why we’re coming to you for answers. We want to give you what you really want! Don’t be afraid to let us know what you really think. We value your honesty and the time it will take to share with us. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!



Your friend,

Colleen Coble

The Colonel's Lady ~ Reviewed

Tuesday, August 16, 2011




Book Description:

Can love survive the secrets kept buried within a tormented heart?

Roxanna Rowan may be a genteel Virginia woman, but she is determined to brave the wilds of the untamed frontier to reach a remote Kentucky fort. Eager to reunite with her father, who serves under Colonel Cassius McLinn, Roxanna is devastated to find that her father has been killed on a campaign.

Penniless and out of options, Roxanna is forced to remain at the fort. As she spends more and more time with the fiery Colonel McLinn, the fort is abuzz with intrigue and innuendo. Can Roxanna truly know who the colonel is--and what he's done?

Immerse yourself in this powerful story of love, faith, and forgiveness set in the tumultuous world of the frontier in 1779.



My Thoughts: This is one of those books that stays with you even when you close the book. I felt as though I was right there in the fort, experiencing everything right along with Roxanna. Roxanna may have been a "genteel" woman however she is definitely her father's daughter. When she needed to stand up and get things done she did.
Don't forget to tuck this one your bag for your Labor Day get away. I highly recommend it! I give this book a lighthouse and shine a light on it for pointing a path to God!

Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Preview: Dancing On Glass

Monday, August 15, 2011

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dancing on Glass
B&H Books (August 1, 2011)
by
Pamela Ewen




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Until recently retiring to write full time, Pamela Binnings Ewen was a partner in the Houston office of the international law firm of BakerBotts, L.L.P., specializing in corporate finance. She now lives just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband, James Lott.



She has served on the Board of Directors of Inprint, Inc., a non-profit organization supporting the literary arts in Houston, Texas, as well as the Advisory Board for The New Orleans Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Tennessee Williams Festival in New Orleans; Pamela is a co-founder of the Northshore Literary Society in the Greater New Orleans area. She is also a member of the National League of American Pen Women.



Pamela’s first novel, Walk Back The Cat (Broadman & Holman. May, 2006) is the story of an embittered and powerful clergyman who learns an ancient secret, confronting him with truth and a choice that may destroy him.



She is also the best-selling author of the acclaimed non-fiction book Faith On Trial, published by Broadman & Holman in 1999, currently in its third printing.



Although it was written for non-lawyers, Faith On Trial was also chosen as a text for a course on law and religion at Yale Law School in the Spring of 2000, along with The Case For Christ by Lee Stroble. Continuing the apologetics begun in Faith On Trial, Pamela also appears with Gary Habermas, Josh McDowell, Darrell Bock, Lee Stroble, and others in the film Jesus: Fact or Fiction, a Campus Crusade for Christ production.



Pamela is the latest writer to emerge from a Louisiana family recognized for its statistically improbable number of successful authors. A cousin, James Lee Burke, who won the Edgar Award, wrote about the common ancestral grandfathers in his Civil War novel White Dove At Morning.



Among other writers in the family are Andre Dubus (Best Picture Oscar nomination for The Bedroom; his son, Andre Dubus III, author of The House of Sand and Fog, a Best Picture Oscar nomination and an Oprah pick; Elizabeth Nell Dubus (the Cajun trilogy); and Alafair Burke, just starting out with the well received Samantha Kincaid mystery series.



ABOUT THE BOOK



In the steamy city of New Orleans in 1974, Amalise Catoir sees Phillip Sharp as a charming, magnetic artist, unlike any man she has known. A young lawyer herself, raised in a small town and on the brink of a career with a large firm, she is strong and successful, yet sometimes too trusting and whimsical. Ama's rash decision to marry Phillip proves to be a mistake as he becomes overly possessive, drawing his wife away from family, friends, and her faith. His insidious, dangerous behavior becomes her dark, inescapable secret.



In this lawyer's unraveling world, can grace survive Ama's fatal choice? What would you do when prayers seem to go unanswered, faith has slipped away, evil stalks, and you feel yourself forever dancing on shattered glass?



If you would like to read the first chapter of Dancing on Glass, go HERE.



Watch the book trailer:





Out of the Far Country - Reviewed

Saturday, August 13, 2011




Book Description:
“Christopher, you must choose! You must choose the family or choose homosexuality.” He looked at me and said, “It’s not something I can choose… I am gay. If you can’t accept me, then I have no other choice but to leave.”

Christopher Yuan, the son of Chinese immigrants, discovered at an early age that he was different. He was attracted to other boys. As he grew into adulthood, his mother, Angela, hoped to control the situation. Instead, she found that her son and her life were spiraling out of control—and her own personal demons were determined to defeat her.

Years of heartbreak, confusion, and prayer followed before the Yuans found a place of complete surrender, which is God’s desire for all families. Their amazing story, told from the perspectives of both mother and son, offers hope for anyone affected by homosexuality. God calls all who are lost to come home to him, and he wants everyone to pursue holy sexuality. Out of a Far Country speaks to prodigals, parents of prodigals, and those wanting to minister to the gay community.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” - Luke 15:20

My Thoughts
This was a beautiful story of a mother's heart for her son. The story was told in alternating points of view. Having been that Mom who was told "Mom, here is my girlfriend, I'm gay." I know the pain in the heart. Sadly more and more Christian families are going through this and not knowing what to do. Having a story like this gives them hope. I highly recommend this.

Preview: The One Who Waits For Me

Friday, August 12, 2011

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 One Who Waits for Me

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Lori Copeland is the author of more than 90 titles, both historical and contemporary fiction. With more than 3 million copies of her books in print, she has developed a loyal following among her rapidly growing fans in the inspirational market. She has been honored with the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and Walden Books' Best Seller award. In 2000, Lori was inducted into the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband, Lance, and their three children and five grandchildren.



Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:










This new series from bestselling author Lori Copeland, set in North Carolina three months after the Civil War ends, illuminates the gift of hope even in chaos, as the lives of six engaging characters intersect and unfold with the possibility of faith, love, and God’s promise of a future.













Product Details:



List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736930183

ISBN-13: 978-0736930185





AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Joanie?”



Beth’s sister stirred, coughing.



Beth gently shook Joanie’s shoulder again, and the young woman opened her eyes, confusion shining in their depths.



“Pa?”



“He passed a few minutes ago. Trella will be waiting for us.”



Joanie lifted her wrist to her mouth and smothered sudden sobbing. “I’m scared, Beth.”



“So am I. Dress quickly.”



The young woman slid out of bed, her bare feet touching the dirt-packed floor. Outside, the familiar sound of pond frogs nearly drowned out soft movements, though there was no need to be silent any more. Ma had preceded Pa in death two days ago. Beth and Joanie had been waiting, praying for the hour of Pa’s death to come swiftly. Together, they lifted their father’s silent form and gently carried him out the front door. He was a slight man, easy to carry. Beth’s heart broke as they took him to the shallow grave they had dug the day before. Ma’s fever had taken her swiftly. Pa had held on for as long as he could. Beth could still hear his voice in her ear: “Take care of your sister, little Beth.” He didn’t have to remind her that there was no protection at all now to save either of them from Uncle Walt and his son, Bear. Beth had known all of her life that one day she and Joanie would have to escape this place—a place of misery.



It was her father’s stubborn act that started the situation Beth and Joanie were immersed in. Pa had hid the plantation deed from his brother and refused to tell him where it was. Their land had belonged to a Jornigan for two hundred years, but Walt claimed that because he was the older brother and allowed Pa to live on his land the deed belonged to him. Pa was a proud man and had no respect for his brother, though his family depended on Walt for a roof over their heads and food on their table. For meager wages they worked Walt’s fields, picked his cotton, and suffered his tyranny along with the other workers. Pa took the location of the hidden deed to his grave—almost. Walt probably figured Beth knew where it was because Pa always favored her. And she did, but she would die before she shared the location with her vile uncle.



By the light of the waning moon the women made short work of placing the corpse in the grave and then filling the hole with dirt. Finished, they stood back and Joanie bowed her head in prayer. “Dear Father, thank You for taking Ma and Pa away from this world. I know they’re with You now, and I promise we won’t cry.” Hot tears streaming down both women’s cheeks belied her words.



Returning to the shanty, Joanie removed her nightshirt and put on boy’s clothes. Dressed in similar denim trousers and a dark shirt, Beth turned and picked up the oil lamp and poured the liquid carefully around the one-room shanty. Yesterday she had packed Ma’s best dishes and quilts and dragged them to the root cellar. It was useless effort. She would never be back here, but she couldn’t bear the thought of fire consuming Ma’s few pretty things. She glanced over her shoulder when the stench of fuel heightened Joanie’s cough. The struggle to breathe had been a constant companion since her younger sister’s birth.



Many nights Beth lay tense and fearful, certain that come light Joanie would be gone. Now that Ma and Pa were dead, Joanie was the one thing left on this earth that held meaning for Beth. She put down the lamp on the table. Walking over to Joanie, she buttoned the last button on her sister’s shirt and tugged her hat brim lower.



“Do you have everything?”



“Yes.”



“Then go outside and wait.”



Nodding, Joanie paused briefly beside the bed where Pa’s tall frame had been earlier. She hesitantly reached out and touched the empty spot. “May you rest in peace, Pa.”



Moonlight shone through the one glass pane facing the south. Beth shook her head. “He was a good man. It’s hard to believe Uncle Walt had the same mother and father.”



Joanie’s breath caught. “Pa was so good and Walt is so…evil.”



“If it were up to me, he would be lying in that grave outside the window, not Pa.”



Beth tried to recall one single time in her life when Walt Jornigan had ever shown an ounce of mercy to anyone. Certainly not to his wife when she was alive. Certainly not to Beth or Joanie. If Joanie was right and there was a God, what would Walt say when he faced Him? She shook the thought aside. She had no compassion for the man or reverence for the God her sister believed in and worshipped.



“We have to go now, Joanie.”



“Yes.” She picked up her Bible from the little table beside the rocking chair and then followed Beth outside the shanty, her breath coming in ragged gasps. Pausing, Joanie bent and succumbed to a coughing spasm. Beth helplessly waited, hoping her sister could make the anticipated trip through the cotton fields. The women had planned for days now to escape if Ma and Pa both passed.



Beth asked gently, “Can you do this?”



Joanie held up a restraining hand. “Just need…a minute.”



Beth wasn’t certain that they could wait long; time was short. Dawn would be breaking soon, and then Walt would discover that Pa had died and the sisters were missing. But they had to leave. Joanie’s asthma was getting worse. Each gasping breath left her drained and hopeless, and Walt refused to let her see a doctor.



When Joanie had mentioned the notice in a discarded Savannah newspaper advertising a piece of land, Beth knew she had to buy the property and provide a home for Joanie. Pa had allowed her and Joanie to keep the wage Uncle Walt paid monthly. Over the years they had saved enough to survive, and the owner was practically giving the small acreage away. They wouldn’t be able to build a permanent structure on their land until she found work, but she and Joanie would own their own place where no one could control them. Beth planned to eventually buy a cow and a few setting hens. At first they could live in a tent—Beth’s eyes roamed the small shanty. It would be better than how they lived now.



Joanie’s spasm passed and she glanced up. “Okay. You…can do it now.”



Beth struck a match.



She glanced at Joanie. The young woman nodded and clutched her Bible to her chest. Beth had found it in one of the cotton picker’s beds after he had moved on and given it to Joanie. Her sister had kept the Bible hidden from sight for fear that Walt would spot it on one of his weekly visits. Beth had known, as Joanie had, that if their uncle had found it he’d have had extra reason to hand out his daily lashing. Joanie kept the deed to their new land between its pages.



After pitching the lighted match into the cabin, Beth quickly closed the heavy door. Stepping to the window, she watched the puddles of kerosene ignite one by one. In just minutes flames were licking the walls and gobbling up the dry tinder. A peculiar sense of relief came over her when she saw tendrils of fire racing through the room, latching onto the front curtain and encompassing the bed.



“Don’t watch.” Joanie slipped her hand into Beth’s. “We have to hurry before Uncle Walt spots the flames.”



Hand in hand, the sisters stepped off the porch, and Beth turned to the mounds of fresh dirt heaped not far from the shanty. Pausing before the fresh graves, she whispered. “I love you both. Rest in peace.”



Joanie had her own goodbyes for their mother. “We don’t want to leave you and Pa here alone, but I know you understand—”



As the flames licked higher, Beth said, “We have to go, Joanie. Don’t look back.”



“I won’t.” Her small hand quivered inside Beth’s. “God has something better for us.”



Beth didn’t answer. She didn’t know whether Ma and Pa were in a good place or not. She didn’t know anything about such things. She just knew they had to run.



The two women dressed in men’s clothing struck off across the cotton fields carrying everything they owned in a small bag. It wasn’t much. A dress for each, clean underclothes, and their nightshirts. Beth had a hairbrush one of the pickers had left behind. She’d kept the treasure well hidden so Walt wouldn’t see it. He’d have taken it from her. He didn’t hold with primping—said combing tangles from one’s hair was a vain act. Finger-picking river-washed hair was all a woman needed.



Fire now raced inside the cabin. By the time Uncle Walt noticed the smoke from the plantation house across the fields, the two sisters would be long gone. No longer would they be under the tyrannical thumb of Walt or Bear Jornigan.



Freedom.



Beth sniffed the night air, thinking she could smell the precious state. Never again would she or Joanie answer to any man. She would run hard and far and find help for Joanie so that she could finally breathe free. In her pocket she fingered the remaining bills she’d taken from the fruit jar in the cabinet. It was all the ready cash Pa and Ma had. They wouldn’t be needing money where they were.



Suddenly there was a sound of a large explosion. Heavy black smoke blanketed the night air. Then another blast.



Kerosene! She’d forgotten the small barrel sitting just outside the back porch.



It was the last sound Beth heard.
 
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