Shadow in Serenity….By: Terri Blackstock

Shadow in Serenity

by: Terri Blackstock

Book Blurb:

Carny Sullivan, suspicious about suave, handsome Logan Brisco and his charming ways, is drawn to him, despite her best intentions and her determination to expose his plans for her quiet Texas town.

Description:
Carny Sullivan grew up in the zany world of a traveling carnival. Quaint and peaceful Serenity, Texas, has given her a home, a life, and a child. Logan Brisco is the smoothest, slickest, handsomest man Serenity, Texas has ever seen. But Carny Sullivan knows a con artist when she sees one—and she’s seen plenty, starting with her father. As far as Carny Sullivan can tell, she’s the only one in town who has his number. Because from his Italian shoes to his movie-actor smile, Logan has the rest of the town snowed.

Carny is determined to reveal Brisco’s selfish intentions before his promise to the townspeople for a cut in a giant amusement park sucks Serenity dry. Yet, as much as she hates his winning ways, there is a man behind that suave smile, a man who may win her heart against her will. Shadow in Serenity is a modern-day Music Man, penned by a Christy Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author.

Book  Medium
Page Count: 352
Available: September 2011
Publisher: Zondervan

My Thoughts about Shadow in Serenity

Even though Logan Brisco was smooth talking and a con artist, he still sometimes has feelings of wanting to be part of a family, which he didn’t have. Being in the little town of Serenity, Texas for a week or so brought those feelings back on goodtime, especially after he started having feelings for Carny. Carny knows how people like Logan work because her mom and dad were con’s too and trained her to do the same thing. Thankfully she was over that life for good and had no intensions of going back.

I appreciate that Terri brought back one of her old novels, re-writing it as a Christian fiction. Though I can’t imagine someone like Logan, I know they do exist and con a lot of people out of their money and belongings so I’m glad to read a reminder of those kind. Despite him being a con, I liked Logan, and especially after he started spending so much time with Carny.  His character was believable because he played his part so well, thanks to the author! In fact, the author created really believable characters for the entire book, and I enjoyed getting to know them throughout the book.

This was a fun and interesting read, and I enjoyed it very much. I appreciate the author showing the necessity to living for the Lord and letting Him work through our lives. I don’t want to tell too much to give the story away, but this is one you need to read! If for no other reason, read it because Terri Blackstock took the time to give us a Christian version of this book!

Shadow in Serenity was provided by the publisher, Zondervan in exchange for an honest review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

 

Purchase this book at Amazon    Or at the Publisher Zondervan

 

Terri Blackstock

Terri Blackstock hasn’t always written for the Lord. Just over a decade ago she was an award-winning secular novelist writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, and Silhouette. With thirty-two titles published and 3.5 million books in print, she found that she was miserable. The compromises she had made in her career had taken their toll on her spiritual life, and she yearned to renew her relationship with Christ.

After much soul-searching and wrestling with God, she finally told the Lord that she would never write another thing that didn’t glorify Him. Thinking she might never be published again, she began planning ways to supplement her income, while she worked on her first idea for a Christian novel.

Because she enjoyed reading suspense novels, she tried weaving a faith message into a fast-paced page-turner with ordinary people in jeopardy. When Christian publishers expressed great interest, she realized that a secondary job would not be necessary. God was paving the way for her to enter the Christian publishing world.

Since that time, she’s sold 2 million Christian novels. She has over thirty Christian titles, many of which have been number one best-sellers. Her latest book, True Light, reached number one on the Top 50 of all Christian books the first full month it was in stores. Night Light was the winner of the 2007 Retailer’s Choice Award for General Fiction. Both books are part of her popular Restoration Series which began with Last Light. Other reader favorites include her Cape Refuge Series, her Newpointe 911 Series, her SunCoast Chronicles Series and her “Seasons” books written with co-author Beverly LaHaye.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.

Author Website:
http://www.terriblackstock.com

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Accused___by: Janice Cantore

Accused by Janice Cantore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Blurb

When troubled youth, Londy Akins, is arrested for the murder of the mayor, he asks for ten-year veteran Detective Carly Edwards.  Plucked from her normal assignment in juvenile investigations to assist homicide, Carly recognizes him as one of her mother’s church reclamation projects.  Irritated by her mother’s belief that God can change anyone, which Carly views as dangerous wishful thinking, Carly presses the kid for a confession that will fry him and bring her a commendation. But Londy doesn’t confess. He insists he’s innocent. Further, he tells Carly he’s a new Christian, not a murderer.

The young man’s profession of faith in a God Carly swears doesn’t exist steels her resolve to prove him a liar.  However, the only evidence she digs up corroborates Londy’s story and she has no choice but to believe him.  She gives Homicide what she’s uncovered and finds herself treated like an unwanted stepchild, kicked off the case and sent back to Juvenile.  Homicide is certain of Londy’s guilt and Carly’s evidence is ignored.

Stunned, surprised, and fearing a cover up, Carly disobeys a direct order and continues to investigate on her own.  She finds an unlikely ally: her ex husband, Nick, also a police officer.  Divorced a year ago because of his infidelity, Carly is wary of Nick’s extended hand of friendship, more so when he tells her he’s a changed man; he’s also a renewed Christian.  Their only common ground is they both believe Londy is innocent.

Carly and Nick jump into the investigation and as her life begins to spin out of control, Nick becomes an anchor. But will that hold as lives and careers are threatened?

Question: What will it take for Carly Edwards to realize that the key to survival is not holding on tight, but letting go and letting God take control?
My Thoughts

Officer Carly Edwards is not happy about working in juvenile, but doesn’t have a choice after the shooting incident involving her. Now someone has shot the mayor and even though Carly was allowed to interrogate teenager Londy Atkins because of his involvement, that is all she is allowed to do before she is taken off the case. Carly decides to take the law into her own hands, and though she is warned several times, she doesn’t listen and is finally taken off the force. Well, this still doesn’t take her totally off the case because she decides to strike out on her own,  causing more intense dangers because of information she helps uncover. Throughout all of this action, Carly’s mom, Londy’s mom and even Carly’s ex-husband Nick are have given their lives to Christ, and this caused Carly much confusion and difficulty because she just didn’t believe all of the God stuff they were talking about. When evidence starts coming together and questions are being answered, things get pretty interesting as Carly really starts to think about her relationship with God. Maybe Nick and her mom have a special relationship with the Lord after all.

Since this was my first book by this author, I didn’t know what to expect. Well now I know, this book was awesome! The characters were well thought out and created and it was enjoyable getting to know them in this story. The author weaves the characters beautifully together with the thrills, mystery, and drama of this story, making it a delight to read.  I appreciate the way the author presents God and the Gospel throughout the book through the faith of some of the characters. And also the way Carly’s character struggles with faith in the Lord before she gives her life to Him. This is just what happens to people in today’s world.

I highly recommend this book to those who like thrillers, suspense and mystery with some romance to go with it! You will not be disappointed in this book or Janice Cantore.

I rec’d a copy of this book from Susan Sleeman of The Suspense Zone. I was not required or expected to write a positive review of this book. The opinions in this review are mine only!

 

About the Author

A retired Long Beach California police officer of 22 years (16 in uniform and 6 as a non-career officer), Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, patrol, administration, juvenile investigations and training. During the course of her career in uniform Janice found that faith was indispensable to every aspect of the job and published articles on faith at work, one for a quarterly newspaper called “Cop and Christ”, and another for the monthly magazine “Today’s Christian Woman”.

With retirement Janice began to write longer pieces and several novels were born. She has a two book suspense series in print she calls Brinna’s Heart Series, The Kevlar Heart and A Heart of Justice (Oaktara Publishing). Janice is excited and honored to now be a part of the Tyndale Publishing House family. Accused, the first installment in her new suspense offering, The Pacific Coast Justice Series, is set to be released February 1, 2012 and will kick off a brand new chapter in her writing career. In addition to suspense and action, her books feature strong female leads. Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep you engrossed and leave you inspired.

Janice has bachelor’s degrees in Biology (University of California at Irvine) and Physical Education (California State University at Long Beach).  She also completed graduate coursework in Criminal Justice (University of Southern California) and is currently a member of American Christian Fiction Writer’s and Sisters in Crime.  She attends Crescenta Valley Community Church in La Crescenta California and while a few years ago she retired to a house in the mountains of Southern California, she currently resides in Glendale California in order to help care for her aging parents. Janice is single and has two Labrador Retrievers, Jake and Maggie. Janice’s hobbies are reading, cross-stitching, kayaking, hiking, walking Jake and Maggie and trying to stay fit.

Purchase this book at Amazon

Kregel Blog Tour ….Refuge on Crescent Hill By: Melanie Dobson

Welcome to Kregel Blog Tour

Refuge on Crescent Hill

By: Melanie Dobson

Price: $13.99
ISBN:  978-0-8254-2590-5
Format: Paperback
Price: $13.99
ISBN: 978-0-8254-8934-1
Format: EPUB

Book Blurb

Moving home after a recent job loss was supposed to reassure Camden Bristow and give her time to decide what to do next. But when she arrives in Etherton, Ohio, she discovers that her grandmother, who she hasn’t talked to in years, has passed away and “home” is an empty mansion 150 years old. Not exactly the comfort Camden was looking for. What happened to the house she played in as a child, the bedtime stories that told of secret passageways and runaway slaves, and all those family memories?When antiques start disappearing and footsteps are heard, some of those memories start to creep back and Camden wonders if her grandmother’s bedtime stories might actually be true. What really happened here . . . at Crescent Hill? How was her grandmother involved? Who still has access to the house? And for what purpose? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camden also uncovers secrets about her family that could change the town—and her life—forever. “It’s history, mystery, and treasure hunt wrapped up in one suspenseful adventure! You’ll want to keep the lights on while you read Dobson’s plot-driven story. She so skillfully sets the scene in this memory- haunting house that you’ll hear the creaks and footsteps. And whether lost or redeemed, her believable characters ring true with their genuine faults, all-too-human mistakes, and realistic ‘skeletons in the closet.'”–Fiction Editor, Christian Book Distributors.Read an Excerpt

Go HERE to read more about the book

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About Melanie Dobson
Melanie Beroth Dobson’s first novel (Together for Good) was published in 2006, and she has now authored nine contemporary and historical novels including Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania which releases in November 2011. Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. 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 home in the Pacific Northwest.

Prior to launching her own public relations company in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of both events and products. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master’s degree in communication from Regent University. She worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for more than fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.

Jon and Melanie have two daughters — Karly (8) and Kiki (7). The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn’t writing or playing with her family, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.

Visit Melanie’s Website

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My Thoughts on the book posted Sat!

Being homeless and broke, when Camden Bristow decided to visit her grandmother after so many years, she didn’t know she would be just a few days too late to see her. But that is the shocking news she finds out upon returning to her grandmother’s home in Etherton, Ohio. Having nowhere else to stay, Camden stays at the Crescent Hill, but strange things started to happen. As it ended up, a lot of mysteries surrounded the home that Camden didn’t know about, thus making it pretty scary to stay there.

Alex had moved to the area trying to run from things in his life he didn’t want to think about, or others to know. He wants to help revitalize the town and he thinks buying Crescent Hill could be just what was needed, but the town council nixed that idea, and every other idea he brought before them. And as he started spending more time with Camden, they both find that they are very attracted to each other.  But with everything going on in each of their lives, could they find a way to make it work for them? And what about Crescent Hill? Who is responsible for this big ole house now?

I really enjoyed this book. I found it just a really good, enjoyable read. Issue were popping up from every direction and it seemed so mixed up it would never come to an end, but it was actually fun to read and wonder what would happen next. And it was a pager turner for me because I just didn’t want to put it down. I read it in one day! Though all of the captivating romance along with the twists and turns, the ending came together wonderfully. Thanks to the awesome writing skills to Melody Dobson.

I encourage you to grab a copy of this wonderful book. Mystery lovers will love it, and for those who like Christian fiction, you will enjoy it as well. In fact, if you like fiction, just get a copy and read it. You will not be disappointed!

This book was provided by Kregel Publishers for me to read and review. I was not expected or required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine alone.

LitFuse Blog Tour …The Wonder of Your Love…by: Beth Wiseman

LitFuse Blog Tour …The Wonder of Your Love…by: Beth Wiseman

About the book:

Katie Ann lost the love of her life. Then God offers her a new beginning in Colorado .

Katie Ann Stolzfus lives in the small Amish community of Canaan , Colorado . At forty she is widowed and raising her first child. But baby Jonas will never know his father, and Katie Ann wonders if her Heavenly Father hasn’t forgotten about her as well. Is it really God’s plan for her to be a single parent?

Eli Detweiler has come to Canaan for a wedding and a long vacation. Having raised six children following the death of his young wife, Eli is finally an empty-nester. He’s enjoying the slower pace of having no one to care for but himself.

When Katie Ann and Eli meet, there is an instant connection. Yet as strong as the attraction is, they both acknowledge that a romance would never work. He is done parenting, while she has just begun.

But as their friendship slowly blossoms into feelings that are as frightening as they are intoxicating, Katie Ann and Eli question if the plans they made for themselves are in line with God’s plans.

Can Katie Ann entrust her heart to another man, and rediscover the wonder of God’s love?

About Beth:

Beth Wiseman is hailed as a top voice in Amish fiction. She is a Carol-award winner and author of numerous bestsellers including the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. She and her family live in Texas . www.bethwiseman.com, Twitter @bethwiseman, www.facebook.com/pages/Fans-of-Beth-Wiseman/47576397539

Link to buy the book: http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=1595548866&title=A_Land_of_Canaan_Series:_The_Wonder_of_Your_Love

Beth is celebrating the release of Book 2 in the Land of Canaan series with a Fabulous Facebook party on November 1st. She’ll be giving away one of her OWN paintings, several mini prize packs and a sneak peak at the next book in this heartwarming series.

Blog tour schedule:  http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13433387


The Wonder of Your Love Facebook Party on 11/1!

Beth Wiseman Party

My Thoughts about The Wonder of You Love

When she is introduced to a widow who has raised 6 children on his own, she develops a friendship with him and feels safe about being with him because he, like Katie has no intensions of getting married. Eli Deitweiler now wants to travel after being stuck at home for 18 years after his wife passed away. He enjoys his relationship with Katie as much as she does because the two only want to be friends, nothing else.

This book starts out with Katie raising her son alone, she is still in mourning even though her husband was living with someone else when he was killed. No romance for her, only raising the baby she thought she would never have was all that concerned her. But all seemed to change after she and Eli continued to hang around together as friends. Neither of them wanted their plans to change, so they started shying away from each other, Eli started his traveling and life goes on for the two of them. But they both realize they are not happy being away from each other. Eli’s children realize he’s not happy and through several twists and turns, well you just gotta read the book and see how it turns out for Katie and Eli.

I love, loved this book, reading it all in one setting!  Though I really need to read the first book in this series to grip the entire story going on here. Beth Wiseman creates a cast of characters that are believable and play out their part it the story so well. I enjoyed getting to know each of them. As usual with any broken relationship because of infidelity there is a lot of hurt, sadness, unanswered questions, and tough decisions but Katie’s strength was amazing in how she handled the situation. I appreciate the way Beth shows God’s love and forgiveness, even in the middle of the most difficult times in our lives.

I would encourage you to grab a copy of this book to read and enjoy. If you like Amish fiction, you will enjoy this one very much. And if Amish is not a favorite for you, read this one, it’s different and very interesting and enjoyable.

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson through LitFuse Publicity Group. I want to thank Amy for making sure I rec’d this book, even though the publisher didn’t send it in time for the tour. The opinions in this review are mine only.

CFBA Tour The 13th Demon by Bruce Hennigan

The 13th Demon by Bruce Hennigan

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingThe 13th DemonRealms (October 4, 2011)byBruce HenniganABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bruce Hennigan was born and raised in the isolated countryside of Shreveport, La., a place full of possibilities for the active mind of a young boy. The fertile imagination he cultivated while playing deep in the Louisiana woods would lead to a lifelong love of creative writing.

In 2006, Hennigan pursued the Certified Apologetic Instructor Certificate from the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has become a frequent speaker at regional and state events on apologetics and his strong point is in making these sometimes hard to understand issues easily approachable for the average Christian. Hennigan’s experience in apologetics inspired him to write his new novel, The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye, a supernatural Christian thriller that combines science and faith. Now, combining his love for apologetics and his love for the art of writing, Hennigan is pursuing a career as the “Michael Crichton” of Christian fiction building powerful, fast paced stories around the truths of Christian apologetics.

Hennigan currently resides in Shreveport with his wife and daughter. He continues to write and to practice radiology at the Willis Knighton Health Care System. He has secured Jeff Jernigan of Hidden Value Group (www.hiddenvaluegroup.com) as his literary agent and has signed a five book deal with the Realms imprint of Charisma Media for “The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel”.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Jonathan Steel wakes up on a beach in a raging thunderstorm, naked, beaten, and bleeding, he has no idea who he is or how he got there. But just as he starts to make progress in his slow journey to recovery, tragedy strikes again, taking everything in his new life that he has come to love and rely on.

Filled with rage and a thirst for revenge, he searches the countryside for the entity responsible—an entity called only the Thirteenth Demon. His quest brings him to Lakeside, Louisiana, and a small country church where evil is in control and strange writing on the walls, blood-soaked floors, and red-eyed spiders have appeared in the sanctuary.

As he faces the final confrontation with an evil presence that has pursued him all of his life, he must choose between helping the people he loves or destroying the thirteenth demon.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The 13th Demon, go HERE.

My thoughts on the book to come later!

PUYB Online Book Tour …..Act of Grace by Karen Simpson

Act of Grace by Karen Simpson

PUYB Online Book Tour

 

Act of Grace Banner

Join Karen Simpson, author of the contemporary speculative fiction novel Act of Grace as she virtually tours the blogosphere in October and Novemer 2011 on her first tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Karen Simpson

Karen SimpsonKaren Simpson is passionate about the craft of writing fiction, the art of quilting, and the discipline of historical research. She received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry, M.A. in Foreign and International Trade and a M.S. in Historic Preservation. A historic preservationist trained in heritage interpretation and administration, the subjects and themes of her fiction are often taken from the stories she discovers while doing research for museum exhibits. In 2009 Simpson was awarded the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Older Writers Grant.  She is lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Act of Grace is her first novel.

You can visit Karen Simpson’s website at www.karensimpsonwrites, her blog at www.lafreya.blogspot.com or connect with her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lafreya1

About Act of Grace

act-of-grace-mediumWhy would Grace Johnson, an African American high school senior, take a bullet to save the life of a Ku Klux Klansman named Jonathan Gilmore?

The question hovers unanswered over Grace’s hometown of Vigilant, Michigan. Few people, black or white, understand her sacrifice, especially since rumor has it years ago a member of Gilmore’s family murdered several African Americans including Grace’s father. Grace doesn’t want to talk about it, but the decision to speak is not hers to make. Ancestor spirits emerge to insist, in ways Grace cannot ignore, that she bear witness to her town’s violent racial history so that all involved might transcend it.

With hindsight made telescopic by the wisdom found in African American mythology and the book The Velveteen Rabbit, Grace recounts a story of eye-for-an-eye vengeance that has blinded entire generations in her hometown. Faced with the horrific crimes that have disfigured her life, Grace wonders if in the end, she can do as the spirits have asked and lead Mr. Gilmore, the town of Vigilant and her own soul on a journey toward reconciliation, redemption and true grace.

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE—RISEMr. Gilmore was supposed to have died that day at the Justice Rally, but I got in the way and now people in my hometown of Vigilant, Michigan, are either calling me an Uncle Tom hero or hissing that I’m a double-stuffed Oreo bitch. Actually I’m neither, but I realize now that one of the reasons why people’s attitudes about me are as nasty as dried snot is because there is a critical lack of information about my motives. Those who love me already understand my reasons. For them, it’s enough for me to say the ancestors made me do it. Other folks, however, especially other folks of color, feel I need to testify about why I, Grace Johnson, a supposedly rational African-American high school senior and honor student committed racial treason.

If it were up to me, I wouldn’t say anything. I would just leave everyone in the dark and go on about my business. But, the voices of the ancestors tell me I owe an account of my story as an example of the true meaning of my name. Now, I can blow people off, I can tell them what part of hell to go to and give them detailed directions on how to get there. The ancestors, however, cannot be ignored. They can’t be told to mind their own ethereal business because we, the living, are their business. Pain and suffering have made my hindsight telescopic, so let’s begin at the true beginning, a breath to prime my memory: “Rise, story, rise.

My Thought about Acts of Grace

In this story Karen Simpson writes of a young lady who has always her that her father committed suicide, and her mother seemed to accept this story, never telling Grace anything about her dad. Grace suffers much pain and grief from her mother. She was always so cruel to Grace, treating her like a child, talking to her in awful harsh words, not even a nice conversation with her. As I was reading the book, I felt so bad for Grace, wanting to talk to her myself, letting her know she was special, encouraging her, and sometimes even wanting to just give her a big hug! No one deserves to be treated like she was. Grace’s uncle that came to visit even called her mom down, telling her that Grace was growing up! I was like, ‘you go uncle!’ Dealing with the racial violence in her hometown was difficult for Grace as well.

The better part of the book comes when Grace comes of age, and her dad’s family can now contact her, when they couldn’t before because her mom didn’t allow Grace any contact with her dad’s family. It was then that she found out her dad was murdered, and was given some of her dad’s belongings.  She was finally able to come to terms of things that had confused her and been a mystery to her.

This is not what I would call a light read, but it is a very interesting read from an author who has an awesome unique way of storytelling. And to be her debut book, well this is amazing! I give this book a 4 out of 5!

This book was provided by the author through PUYB blog tours. I was not expected to give a positive review, only an honest one. The opinions in this review are mine only.

 

What Other Reviewers Are Saying

Grace’s intimate narration and folksy-but-modern-Southern-down-home voice immediately pulls the reader into the story. You can’t help but like her: she’s sassy, she’s smart, and when her Nana explains to her that she is to be a conduit for their ancestral spirits, you know immediately that the right girl was chosen for the task.

~Marlon Edwards-The Speculative Literature Foundation

Loved this story. I was even more impressed when I realized that this is Ms. Simpson’s first novel. Her style of writing is just beautiful, as she weaves the character’s stories together in a seamless journey. I don’t want to be a spoiler, but let me just say that this is a timely novel that reveals much about race, gender, and the search for peace across generations. My guess is that there are many among us who will be able to relate to Grace’s journey, as she is challenged by her spirits to push herself further than she ever thought possible. Bravo! I can’t wait for the movie.

~Lisa Ruby

Act of Grace Banner

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God makes lemonade Created by Don Jacobson

God makes lemonade  Created by Don Jacobson

Book Blurb

Do you know anyone who could use some encouragement? Perhaps that someone is you. In God Makes Lemonade you’ll read stories from everyday folks–—people like you and me who discover unexpected sweetness in the midst of sour circumstances. Some of these real-life stories are laugh-out-loud funny, others are sobering, and more than a few will have you reaching for a tissue. But these true stories all have one thing in common: hope.There’Â’s no question that life gives us lemons, like issues with health, employment, and relationships–truly sour circumstances we wouldn’Â’t wish on anyone. But when those lemons become lemonade, it’Â’s as refreshing as an ice-cold drink on a hot summer day. It’s true that in life stuff happens, but I have found that Lemonade Happens too! It is my deepest wish that God Makes Lemonade brings you encouragement and inspiration.

This book is a collection of true stories that offer hope and inspiration to its readers. There are many stories in this book and cover a lot of different subjects and issues, so issues you are dealing with are probably in here! People in the stories in this book share their love, joy, happiness, difficulties, frustrations, health issues, and a number of other things to give the reader wonderful enjoyable stories you will want to keep reading over and over. The stories are short, so even if you are not a big reader, you can enjoy this book and read just a chapter at a time, only taking a few minutes of your time. This is a very nice addition to your library. And the beautifully illustrated cover will look nice on your coffee table too!

If you like the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, you will love this one too. The book layout is a lot like these books, and the stories remind you of the Chicken Soup books. I encourage you to purchase a copy of this book to have and enjoy!

I was provided a copy of this book by Glass Rod Publicity Group to read and review. I was not expected or required to provide a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

Purchase at Amazon                         Order from The Lemonade Website

About Don Jacobson

A Living Lemonade Story

Don and BrendaHi, I’m Don Jacobson, and I’m a walking, talking lemonade story.

Back in 1980, I was a happily married twenty-four-year-old who enjoyed a physically demanding job in commercial construction. I knew my future was bright, and I knew what it would take to get there: hard work, planning, and dedication.

Then, one winter night, a shooting accident changed everything.

I nearly died as I lay for hours in a freezing field. I spent nine agonizing days in critical condition, and nearly a month in the hospital. When I left, things looked bleak, and I could no longer physically provide for my family.

It took a while for that lemon to become lemonade, but in the end it was wonderfully sweet. I began to work in publishing, and the shape of my life changed forever. Now, twenty-five years later, I see that not being able to work with my hands forced me to work with my head and heart, and both my family and my career became better than I could ever have imagined.

My wife, Brenda, and I know that the hardships of life have molded our characters and turned us into people we would never have been apart from the pain. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade the hardest times of my life for anything, because they led me toward something better.

When I share my lemonade story with friends, two amazing things happen. My story inspires others and gives them hope. Then, almost without fail, my friends excitedly tell me their lemonade story, and I’m filled with inspiration and hope in return.

Recently it hit me: we all have lemonade stories—so what would happen if we could share them with the people around the world who need them most?

That’s the dream of the God Makes Lemonade series. Thank you for being a part of this community of storytellers. Lemonade stories can help heal hearts and transform lives.

LitFuse Book Tour…The Baker’s Wife ..by: Erin Healy

Hello and welcome to the blog tour for

Erin Healy’s The Baker’s Wife !  

 

About the book:  

To save her husband and son, Audrey Bofinger must rescue her enemy.
The Bofinger family has lost their church ministry in a scandal exposed by Officer Jack Mansfield. Hoping to heal and to restore their reputation, Audrey, Geoff, and their son Ed take over a failing bakery in the small community.Driving to the bakery one morning, blinded by fog, Audrey hits a motor scooter owned by Jack’s wife, Julie. The mangled scooter is crushed and bloody. But Julie is nowhere to be found. Her disappearance coincides with a sudden illness that nearly cripples Audrey.

Jack believes the Bofingers have hurt Julie to take revenge on him, but the evidence dries up and her trail goes cold. At a breaking point, Jack takes the tiny bakery and its patrons hostage, issuing only one demand: Audrey has six hours to return Julie to him, or lose Geoff and Ed forever.

With only an excruciating and intuitive gift, an ex-con, and Julie’s estranged daughter to help search for clues, Audrey starts the search of her life for a woman who has vanished like the fog.

Read an excerpt here.

About Erin :

Well-known to critics and reviewers, Erin Healy has established herself as an award-winning editor and a best-selling co-author with Ted Dekker. Healy received wide acclaim for her two debut novels Never Let You Go and The Promises She Keeps. Her work focuses on the psychological and spiritual, driven by high moral stakes. She lives and writes in Colorado with her family.

For more information please visit www.erinhealy.com.

Link to buy the book:

http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=1595547525&title=The_Baker’s_Wife&author=Erin_Healy

My Thoughts

The Baker’s Wife  by Erin Healy

Audrey’s husband lost his job as a pastor because of the accusations of Jack Mansfield. The couple bought a bakery and ran that after they were thrown from the church. One the way to work one morning, Audrey had an accident with a scooter which belonged to none other than Jake’s wife. This sends Jack on a rage to make sure everyone was justly dealt with. Jake was just insane, one of these people who think they are totally right in everything, including following the Lord, but trying to judge the sins of others himself. He ended up taking several people hostage in the bakery and giving Audrey a few hours to find is wife, who disappeared after the accident, so they thought.

A couple of things left me wondering, like was Audrey’s feelings suppose to be some super-natural thing or was she spirit filled? Though I don’t really think actually knowing what someone else is thinking would be a spirit-filled Christian. I just found that kind of weird in a Christian fiction. Also, it seemed there were several loose ends about the characters when the story finished, but then maybe there will be a book two to fill those in. I certainly hope so.

Overall, this was a fantastic book weaved together with characters that were likeable and interesting and living out the thrills, mystery and suspense of this story. The plot was pretty easy to guess, though there were a few surprises for me as the story was played out. I read this book in one day, I just couldn’t put it down.

This was my first book of Erin Healy’s and I will definitely be watching for her next book! If you like mystery and thrillers, you will enjoy this book. Grab a copy and enjoy!

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson through LitFuse Publicity Group. I want to thank Amy for making sure I rec’d this book, even though the publisher didn’t send it in time for the tour. The opinions in this review are mine only.

 

Let the flour fly! Beginning October 24th, Erin’s celebrating the release of her latest page turner, The Baker’s Wife, with an outstanding KitchenAid baking prize package giveaway that includes a brand new KitchenAid Mixer, cook books, and all you need to whip up some fabulous bread or sweets! Then and on November 10th she’ll be wrapping up the release of The Baker’s Wife with an Author Book Chat Party on Facebook! Don’t miss a minute of the fun!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • Empire Red 4.5 QT Ultra Power KitchenAid Stand Mixer
  • Black & White Kitschy Apron
  • Black Silicone Oven Mitt
  • Black OXO Rolling Pin
  • Wilton 9X5 loaf pan
  • At My Grandmother’s Knee Cookbook by Faye Porter
  • Second Helpings with Johnnie Gabriel Cookbook
  • The Baker’s Wife by Erin Healy

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 9th. Winner will be announced at The Baker’s Wife Author Book Chat Facebok Party. Erin will be wrapping up the The Baker’s Wife celebration with a book club chat and giving away a bunch of “sweet treats”! So grab your copy of The Baker’s Wife (it’s okay if you don’t have one yet- you might win one!) and join Erin on the evening of November 10th for a book chat, some “baking” trivia and lots of “sweet” giveaways (books, and Amazon, iTunes & Starbucks gift certificates)!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via TwitterDon’t miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends. Hope to see you on the 10th!

The Pub Across the Pond By Mary Carter PUYB…Virtual Book Tour

 

The Pub Across the Pond

By Mary Carter

Virtual Book Tour

 

The Pub Across the Pond

Join Mary Carter, author of the women’s fiction novel, The Pub Across the Pond (Kensington), as she virtually tours the blogosphere September 20 – November 11, 2011, on her second virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Mary Carter

Mary Carter 4

MARY CARTER is a freelance writer and novelist.  The Pub Across the Pond is her fifth novel with Kensington. Her other works include:  My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged.  In addition to her novels she has written two novellas: A Very Maui Christmas in the best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the best selling anthology Almost Home. She is currently working on a new novel for Kensington.

Readers are welcome to visit her at www.marycarterbooks.com.

Visit her at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Carter-Books/248226365259.

 

About The Pub Across the Pond

The Pub Across the Pond“Sometimes leaving home is the only way to find where you belong….”

Carlene Rivers is many things. Dutiful, reliable, kind. Lucky? Not so much. At thirty, she’s living a stifling existence in Cleveland, Ohio. Then one day, Carlene buys a raffle ticket. The prize: a pub on the west coast of Ireland. Carlene is stunned when she wins. Everyone else is stunned when she actually goes.

As soon as she arrives in Ballybeog, Carlene is smitten, not just by the town’s beguiling mix of ancient and modern but by the welcome she receives. In this small town near Galway Bay, strife is no stranger, strangers are family, and no one is ever too busy for a cup of tea or a pint. And though her new job presents challenges–from a meddling neighbor to the pub’s colorful regulars–there are compensations galore. Like the freedom to sing, joke, and tell stories and, in doing so, find her own voice. And in her flirtation with Ronan McBride, the pub’s charming, reckless former owner, she just may find the freedom to follow where impulse leads and trust her heart–and her luck–for the very first time.

Book Excerpt:

Prologue
Declan
The Greatest Love Story Ever told in Ballybeog

It was the greatest love story ever told in Ballybeog when everyone was drunk, but nobody wanted to go home, and all other great love stories had been told.
Name’s Declan, but I’ll answer to most anything as long as yer thirsty and polite, and in that order. Ah, say nothin’ until you hear more. I’ve been a publican at Uncle Jimmy’s going on twenty years now. Most days it’s good ole craic, but sometimes when you’re a publican, you’ve gotta be a bags. I wasn’t sure Carlene Rivers, the Yankee Doodle Dandee who won the pub, had that in her. She had sweet written all over her, and I hate to say it, but girls like that always seem to attract the wrong kind of lads. I’ve seen many a sweet lass get the guy of their dreams, only to watch them turn into their worst nightmares. Over time their men belly up to the bar more than they do the bedroom. Because the Irishmen who “do”, usually don’t hang around here. And Ronan McBride was no exception.
Nobody thought the lad would ever settle down. There are three kinds of Irish men. Those who do, those who don’t, and those who say they might but probably won’t. Ronan McBride was the latter. He was thirty-three years of age but still hadn’t worked out his boyish ways. I don’t know why nature makes those marriage-phobic-men so alluring to the women, a course, no one would disagree that he was the best looking man in the family, and I’m not just saying that because he was the only man in the family. His father James McBride (or Uncle Jimmy as he was known around here), had passed, God rest his soul, leaving Ronan, his mother, and six sisters to run the McBride family pub. In heavenly retrospect, I bet James wishes he would’ve just left the pub to the girls; it would have been an insult to his only and eldest son all right, but as I said, sometimes when you’re a publican, you’ve gotta be a bags.
As the song goes, Ronan was a rambler and a gambler, although he was never a long way from home. I can’t tell you what it was that made the birds go absolutely mental over him, except he was over six feet and had all his hair. Let’s just say he had his pick of chickens in our little town, not to mention a hen or two who would’ve liked to sink their beaks into him.
But it was Carlene who got folks to whispering that maybe, just maybe, our terminal bachelor might mend his wayward ways. There was something in the air whenever those two were in the same room. A bit of a spark you might say, especially when they were arguing. Yep, things certainly hummed when they lit into each other, and for anyone watching it was great craic. Although we worried about Sally Collins, of course, she’d been absolutely lovesick over that boy her entire life. Still, it did me good to see that beautiful Yankee bird come into town and shake up his world, and my money was on her from the beginning.
But despite cheering the lass on, I understood Ronan’s terror. For some, there’s nothing more frightening than love, except maybe running out of ale. I was like him meself, one of the Irishman who don’t. And let me tell you, many are the nights when I’ve regretted it. Cold, long, rainy nights when I’m lying in bed and I close my eyes and some skirt that I chased when I was a younger lad comes skipping into my dream, all pretty, and bouncy, and smelling nice, only to start giving me shit for letting her go. Worse than the terrors, those dreams. I’ve known Ronan since he was a squaller, and I didn’t want him to make the same mistakes I did. I used to say, ‘What’s for you, won’t pass you’, but I know it’s a lie. I let them pass me. I always thought there’d be more time.
I’m in me seventies now, and it’s probably too late for me. I’m a scrawny looking thing with black wire glasses and I’ve a tuft of silver bird nest sitting on me head, but I’ve been told I still have a right nice smile, (even if they’re not all me original teeth), and believe it when I tell ye I got me share of tiddly-winks back in the day. I’m not much over 5’5 which I read in some touristy-type book is average for an Irishman. The average Irishman, according to this book, is 5’5, drinks four cups of tea a day, has 1.85 kids, and spends three euros a day on alcohol. I don’t know where the writer of these so-called facts was getting his information, but it sure t’wasn’t here, cuz some of our lads spend five euros an hour on the black stuff. That’s a pint of Guinness for you blow-ins.
To make a long story short, I’m just your average Joe Soap. I make up for it in other departments if you know what I mean. Ah, but this story isn’t about me or my regrets, so I hope you can put away all lurid thoughts of my national endowments. If you want to take that matter up on a one-to-one basis, and it goes without saying that you have to be a good-looking bird, then you can Facebook me. I didn’t join the fecking thing until the pub went up for raffle in America, but now that I’m on it, I reckon I might as well make the most of it. On that note, if anyone has an extra goat to give away, I’m on that farming game and I can’t seem to get a fecking goat no matter what I do, so send me one, so, if you please.
To make a long story short, we were a nice, quiet town until that fecking raffle went viral. That means a lot of people on the internet saw it. The tickets were sold in Irish festivals all over America, and they went for twenty-dollars apiece. Everyone and their mother wanted to win a pub in Ireland. And if Carlene’s mother looks anything like her daughter, I would’ve gone for a mother-daughter combo, but the Young Yank came on her own. And in the wink of an eye, our quiet little town weren’t so quiet n’more.
Situated on the West Coast of Ireland, we’re nestled on the edge of Galway Bay. We might be small, but we’re mighty. Close enough to Galway City we only need to follow the scent of heather and lager along the coast to lay our fingers on her thriving pulse, but tucked far enough away that until that fecking raffle, we didn’t get too many blow-ins.
We’ll call our little village, Ballybeog, or in Irish, Baile Béag, which means “Little Center”. I picked it because it sounds pleasant and Irish-y and because nobody in their right minds wants me to use its real name. Not out of shame, mind you, but for fear of being over-run by Americans like what happened in Dingle when the dolphin showed up. Nothing can ruin a sweet little village faster than a gaggle of Americans tracking down their “Irish roots” with their iPhones and dodgy laminated diagrams of supposed family trees.
Regardless, everyone will be treated as if they’re welcome at the McBride family pub. This is the place to be. Drink away your troubles, catch up with the locals, watch a horse race, listen to traditional Irish music, play a game of pool, or darts, or cards, and see how much better life treats ye after a nice pint. Or two. Or twelve. Nobody keeps count except the Americans. Right now the place is jammers. We’re waiting on a bride. So let me tend to my other customers now, but doncha worry. I’ll check back to see how you’re doing, or freshen your pint. And if you get half a mind to be neighborly, don’t forget to send me a fecking goat.

 

My Thoughts on The Pub Across the PondThe Pub Across the Pond

When Carlene Rivers buys a raffle ticket she never expects to win because she’s just never been that lucky. But imagine her excitement when someone contacts her telling her she won the raffle, and winning she did. The prize was a pub on the west coast of Ireland, and to everyone’s surprise, Carlene accepts her winnings and moves to Ireland. Though Charlene receives a warm welcome from some of the Irish, some were more curious and wasn’t sure about an American taking over the Pub. And Charlene wasn’t about to sell it!

Mary Carter weaves a wonderful story with unique and interesting characters that make Charlene’s life challenging as she deals with all of the quirks of running the pub. And there is her relationship with the former pub owner Ronan McBride, which she is really not sure about because of his gambling problem which, after all, is the reason he lost the pub in the first place. Is the pub worth all of this difficulty she is having, or should she just give it up and move back to Ohio? Well, you will not be disappointed in reading this book to find out!

I really enjoyed this trip to Ireland through Mary Carter’s book. She definitely did a wonderful job explaining the setting in vivid detail so the reader has a feel of Ireland at its best, and especially the personalities of the Irish people and their lifestyle. The mixture of seriousness and humor makes the book fun, funny and enjoyable.

This book was provided by PUYB blog tours. I was not expected to give a positive review, only an honest one. The opinions in this review are mine only.

The Pub Across the Pond

The Common English Bible Translation

Welcome To My Review of

The Common English Bible Translation


Common English Bible from Common English Bible on Vimeo.

Go HERE to view the website for more information on the Common English Bible

My Thoughts on this Bible

I enjoy reviewing different Bibles, so when this became available I chose it to review. The Common English Bible has Special Features that other Bibles do not have. These features are:  This Bible translation is the work of 120 leading Bible scholars from 24 denominations and tested by over 75 reading groups in 13 denominations. All of these great people used their Bible knowledge to create a translation of the Bible that is accurate and easy to read and understand in modern English.

There are a few special pages in the front of this Bible that list a few very interesting things for me, which are: Abbreviations and Terms, Measures – Capacity and Linear measures and Monetary measures, and a Hebrew Calendar page. I love this feature since I don’t know anything about these things. There is also a few pages included in the Preface that explains about the Common English Translation.

One of my favorite Bible passages is Proverbs 3:56. Here it is in a few translations to compare:

King James Version
5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

NIV
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Common English Bible
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
don’t rely on your own intelligence.
6 Know him in all your paths,
and he will keep your ways straight.

And I think everyone’s favorite is John 3:16. Here it is in these translations.

KJV
16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

NIV
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Common English Bible
16 God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.

Do we really need all of these different translations? Well for me, I like having one of each translation so I can the verses or passages from each one. Saying the same thing in a little different way helps me understand what I am reading so much more. So this new translation is awesome for me. I have enjoyed reading different areas of this Bible to give me a better understanding of what I am reading. To me, we can’t have too many Bible Study tools, and that’s what I think is great about the new Common English Bible.

I encourage you to pick up a copy and check it out for yourself. I have the paper copy and it is a very nice size, doesn’t take up a lot of room and just the right size to carry along in your Bible cover with your other Bible.

I want to thank Audra Jennings at B&B Media Group for providing a copy of this Bible to read and review. I was not expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

Purchase the Bible at Amazon

CFBA Book Tour……Attracted to Fire… By” Diann Mills

CFBA Book Tour……Attracted to Fire… By” Diann Mills

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingAttracted to FireTyndale House Publishers, Inc. (October 1, 2011)byDiAnn MillsABOUT THE AUTHOR:

DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010. DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops. DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website at: www.diannmills.com or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills

ABOUT THE BOOK

Special Agent Meghan Connors’ dream of one day protecting the president of the United States is about to come true. Only one assignment stands in her way. After the vice president’s rebellious daughter is threatened, Meghan is assigned to her protective detail on a secluded ranch in West Texas. Unfortunately, working with Special Agent in Charge Ash Zinders may be as tough as controlling her charge. Ash has a reputation for being critical and exacting, and he’s also after the same promotion as Meghan. But when the threats escalate and security on the ranch is breached, it becomes clear this isn’t the work of a single suspect—it’s part of a sophisticated plan that reaches deeper and higher than anyone imagined. And only Ash and Meghan can put the pieces together before it’s too late.

Watch the book trailer:

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

My Thoughts

Necessary Deception..By: Laurie Alice Eakes

Necessary Deception..By: Laurie Alice Eakes

Book Blurb

When young widow Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreams she will see him again. But just as the London Season gets under way, the man presents himself in her parlor. While she should be focused on getting her headstrong younger sister prepared for her entrée into Society, Lady Gale finds herself preoccupied with the mysterious Frenchman. Is he a spy or a suitor? Can she trust him? Or is she putting herself and her family in danger?

Discover a world of elegance and intrigue, balls and masquerades as Laurie Alice Eakes whisks you into the drawing rooms of London Society on this exciting quest to let the past stay in the past–and let love guide the future.

Endorsements

“With her clean, sleek prose, Laurie Alice Eakes is one of the best storytellers the world has today. A Necessary Deception is one of her best, deftly weaving an intriguing spy chase with the elegant life of the ton in a beautiful love story that kidnaps unwitting readers and holds them hostage to the very last page.”–Delle Jacobs, award-winning author of His Majesty, the Prince of Toads

“In A Necessary Deception, Laurie Alice Eakes weaves the fine silk threads of historical richness, dangerous intrigue, and forbidden romance into a flawless literary tapestry. This is Georgette Heyer meets Terri Blackstock in 1812 Regency London, an adventure that will leave readers breathless.”–Louise M. Gouge, award-winning author of At the Captain’s Command

“Laurie Alice Eakes writes a page-turning story with an in-depth knowledge of the period, an eye for detail, and an escalating mystery that will keep readers guessing till the end.”–Ruth Axtell Morren, author of Wild Rose and The Rogue’s Redemption

“Intriguing, suspenseful, masterful, and romantic–all the things you want in a great book! Add to that enchanting characters with real problems and real flaws who grow throughout the story, and a twist-and-turn plot, and I guarantee that once you dive into this book, you’ll be happily lost in Regency London for the duration.”–MaryLu Tyndall, Christy Award nominee and author of the Surrender to Destiny series

“Laurie Alice Eakes’s novel is a captivating combination of romance and suspense set in the glittering Regency period.”–Jane Myers Perrine, author of Second Chance Bride

 

A Necessary Deception will lure you into a fascinating Regency full of danger, surprises, and a romance to quicken your pulse.”–Jillian Kent, author of Secrets of the Heart

“A time of romance and intrigue with characters who grip one’s heart and won’t let go–this is the kind of book I look forward to reading when I want to be uplifted and carried away.”–Jennifer Hudson Taylor, author of Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary

My Thoughts

A Necessary Deception turned out to be a nice story of mystery and suspense, which I like very much. The Regency time period the author placed this story in was very well researched which left me knowing much more about life in this historical era. I really liked Lady Lydia Gale because she was so head strong and determined to do the mission she needed to do, and especially since she feels like she’s such a failure, this was important for her. Lydia’s sisters and the other characters in the book were well thought out and created in a unique way that played out the story as we learned to love them. The sweet romance weaved together with drama, mystery, and we can’t leave out the spies (I love spy stories) is so captivating that you just can’t put the book down, and how I love these kinds of books.

If you like historical fiction, especially with settings around the 1812 time period you will love this book, so go out and grab a copy to read and enjoy!

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

I received this book from the publisher Revell to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55

CFBA Tour * Wonderland Creek * By: Lynn Austin

CFBA Tour * Wonderland Creek * By: Lynn Austin

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingWonderland CreekBethany House (October 1, 2011)byLynn AustinABOUT THE AUTHOR:

For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband’s work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she’d earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother (age 98), and daughter concerning the change in women’s roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve’s Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn’s lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. And two of her inspirational fiction books were chosen by Library Journal for their top picks in 2003, and 2005. One of Lynn’s novels has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But happily-ever-after life she’s planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend, Gordon, breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real world. Then to top it off, Alice loses her beloved job at the library because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression.

Fleeing small-town gossip, Alice heads to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the library in the tiny coal-mining village of Acorn. Dropped off by her relatives, Alice volunteers to stay for two weeks to help the librarian, Leslie McDougal.

But the librarian turns out to be far different than she anticipated–not to mention the four lady librarians who travel to the remote homes to deliver the much-desired books. While Alice is trapped in Acorn against her will, she soon finds that real-life adventure and myster–and especially romance–are far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.

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

A Confident Heart by: Renee Swope with Book Trailer

A Confident Heart  by:  Renee Swope


A Confident Heart  by:  Renee Swope

Book Blurb
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.

For more about this wonderful book and to read my review, go HERE

 

Check out the NEW book Trailer for A Confident Heart

 

LitFuse Blog Tour…..Baby It’s Cold Outside….by Susan May Warren

Baby It's Cold Outside....by Susan May Warren

Welcome To LitFuse Blog Tour

Susan May Warren ’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

About the book: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Hope finds the hopeless when a storm hits.
It’s Christmas weekend 1949, and despite the threat of a storm, the townspeople of Frost are determined to continue their holiday traditions, if only as a means to forget the war that they had all just suffered through. But the suffering hasn’t ended for Dottie Morgan who lost her only son in the war. She’s preparing to wallow in her isolation for the weekend, when Violet, nearly a spinster at age 29, dares to make a request that will force Dottie to publicly revive the memory of her dead son.

When a storm traps the two women at home with a strange young man who has an unbelievable confession and a neighbor with more to do with Violet’s past than she would like, no one can predict how this Christmas will give them all a second chance.

Read an excerpt here and find out the story behind the novel.

**************************************************************

MY THOUGHTS

Baby It’s Cold Outside…by Susan May Warren

Dottie just didn’t feel like celebrating Christmas because of losing her son Nelson. And she didn’t care that she wasn’t going to let Violet borrow the Star that Nelson made when he was young to go on the tree in front of the Community Center. She just didn’t want anything to do with life or Christmas. But it seems as though God had a different Christmas for Dottie than she was expecting to have. It ends up that four people, were stranded with Dottie in her house because of a snow storm that dumped enough snow in the town of Frost that no one could go anywhere.

Since I am a huge fan of Susan May Warren’s, I jumped at the chance of reading this Christmas book, and what a story it is! With a cast of characters created so original and unique in this town of Frost, Minnesota, Susan gives us a wonderful story of dysfunctional people in this dysfunctional world with issues, imperfection and flaws that only God can intervene and change their lives for the better. I loved this heartwarming story of Dottie, Violet, Jack, Gordy and Arnie and what happens while they are stranded together.

I really don’t want to give anything away to ruin the book for you, so just go out and grab a copy and read it for yourself. You will not be disappointed!

I was provided a copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity Group. I want to thank Amy for making sure I rec’d this book, even though the publisher didn’t send it in time for the tour. The opinions in this review are mine only.

**************************************************************


About the Author

About Susan:  Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia , Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota ’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.

Susan’s larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder ofwww.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota , where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!)

A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:www.susanmaywarren.com.

Link to buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1609362152/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=sprightly-20&camp=213381&creative=390973&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=1609362152&adid=1W6V46X88E4D79FGRNE1

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Warm up to Chrismtas early this year with Susan May Warren’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside! To celebrate the release of her new Christmas book with Summerside Press, she and the publisher are giving away a Kindle Fire and hosting an early Christmas Party on Facebook!

Read what the reviewers are saying here.

One festive winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Susan May Warren

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. Giveaway ends on 10/26!

But, wait there’s more! Join Susan May Warren on 10/27 for merriment and a few early Christmas presents at her Baby, It’s Cold Outside Christmas party! Grab your Christmas sweaters, socks and pj’s and join Susan and a few friends for a fireside chat about her recent books (Heiress & Baby, It’s Cold Outside), holiday traditions, favorite Christmas recipes, a trivia contest and more! Invite your friends and don’t miss the fun!

RSVP here and we’ll see you on October 27th at 5 PM PST / 8 PM EST!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
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CFBA Blog Tour….Love on the Line…by: Deanne Gist

CFBA Blog Tour….Love on the Line…by: Deanne Gist

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingLove on the LineBethany House (October 1, 2011)byDeeanne GistABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After a short career in elementary education, Deeanne Gist retired to raise her four children. Over the course of the next fifteen years, she ran a home accessory and antique business, became a member of the press, wrote freelance journalism for national publications such as People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel, and acted as CFO for her husband’s small engineering firm–all from the comforts of home.

Squeezed betwixt-and-between all this, she read romance novels by the truckload and even wrote a couple of her own. While those unpublished manuscripts rested on the shelf, she founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products that would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities.

After a few short months of running her publishing company, Gist quickly discovered being a “corporate executive” was not where her gifts and talents lie. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she sold A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers. Since that debut, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere. Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, three RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.

Her latest releases, Beguiled, Maid To Match, and Love on the Line are now available.

Gist lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-eight years and their border collie. They have four grown children. Click here to find out the most up-to-the-minute news about Dee.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man’s world … which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He’s a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love on the Line, go HERE.

 

My Thoughts…..review to come later!  Love Deanne Gist books. I’ve read them all, and have them all in my library. I know before I read this one that you just can’t go wrong grabbing a copy of this book to read and add to your library. Deanne is one of my very favorite authors so I will not steer you wrong!

FIRST WildCard Tours……A Dime A Dozen..by: Mindy Starnes

FIRST WildCard Tours……A Dime A Dozen..by: Mindy Starnes

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:
Mindy Starns Clark

and the book:

A Dime a Dozen

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mindy Starns Clark is the author of many books (more than 450,000 copies sold), which include A Pocket Guide to Amish Life, Shadows of Lancaster County, Whispers of the Bayou, and The Amish Midwife. In addition, Mindy is a popular inspirational speaker and playwright.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Fast-paced and inspirational, The Million Dollar Mystery series is from bestselling author Mindy Starns Clark.

Attorney Callie Webber investigates nonprofit organizations for the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation and awards the best of them grants up to a million dollars. In this series, Callie comes across a mystery she must solve using her skills as a former private investigator. A young widow, Callie finds strength in her faith in God and joy in her relationship with her employer, Tom.

In book number three of The Million Dollar Mystery series, Callie suddenly finds herself involved in the life of a young wife and mother whose husband has disappeared…possibly the victim of foul play.

Callie has come to the beautiful Smoky Mountains hoping to award a million-dollar grant to the charity set up in the woman’s late husband’s honor. But in the search for a missing migrant worker, a body is discovered, which puts the grant on hold and her new romance with her mysterious boss in peril. Trusting in God, Callie forges steadily ahead through a mire of clues that lead her deeper and deeper into danger.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736929584
ISBN-13: 978-0736929585

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

I’d never been part of a sting before. Sure, I’d blown the whistle on some defrauders in the past, and I had seen more than one person arrested because of felonious deeds I had brought to light. But this time was different. This time the crime was still in the process of being committed. Worse than that, most of the people at this party were involved.

I stood near French doors that led to the patio, holding a soda in my hand and looking out through the glass at the pool sparkling in the cool March afternoon. Behind the pool was a small lawn dotted here and there with ornamental groupings of shrubbery and plants, all surrounded by a high, thick hedge. I knew that a team of cops was on the other side of that hedge, ready to enter from every direction as soon as I gave the signal.

“Callie, would you like a hamburger? Maybe a hot dog?”

My hostess appeared in front of me bearing a platter of raw meat shaped into patties, and I assumed she was on her way back outside to the grill. My eyes focused on the marbled beef, and then at her expectant face. She was the very picture of charm and hospitality. Oh, and theft.

“No, thank you,” I said, forcing a smile. “I’m fine.”

Her hands were full, so I opened the door to let her out. Music poured into the house, compliments of large speakers mounted under the eaves.

“You should come too,” she urged loudly as she handed the platter off to her husband, Skipper. “It’s a gorgeous day.”

“In a while, perhaps,” I said as I let the door fall shut between us. She turned her attention to a group of guests near the pool, and as she worked the crowd I thought, You don’t want me to go outside, Winnie. The last thing you want me to do is go outside.

I glanced at my watch, wondering how much longer this would take. The police had instructed me to wait until all of the elements had fallen into place, and so far that hadn’t happened. The tension was getting to me, so I set my glass on a nearby countertop and made my way through the small crowd in the kitchen to the upstairs bathroom. I needed to be alone, to catch my breath, to make a call.

Once I was locked inside, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed the number of the police captain. He knew it was me and that I couldn’t say much on my end for fear of being overheard.

“Looks like things are moving along as expected,” he said.

“Yes.”

“Have they brought out the hamburgers yet?”

“Oh, yes. Everything’s in full swing.”

He chuckled into the phone.

“I hope they’re enjoying it while they can,” he said.

“They seem to be.”

“We’re all set on our end. Soon as the guy shows up, we’ll text you.”

“I’ll be ready.”

“You found the garage?” he asked.

“Yep.”

“Empty?”

“Except for the boxes in the freezer.”

“Perfect. Simply perfect. Hang in there, kid. We’re on the homestretch.”

I hung up the phone and slid it into my pocket, wondering if all would go off as planned. There were so many elements coming into play here, and it was important that they close in at the moment when we could nab the greatest number of guilty parties. I shook my head, marveling at the situation I now found myself in. This wasn’t how I usually spent my Saturday afternoons!

As the Director of Research for the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation, my job was to investigate charitable organizations in order to verify their suitability for a grant. I had come here to get a closer look at Dinner Time, a food bank and soup kitchen for the homeless in a suburb of San Francisco. I had gone “undercover” by posing as a volunteer to get a good look at the organization from the inside. Almost immediately, however, I realized there was something stinky in the sauce. Dinner Time may have been providing food to the homeless, but it was also providing a handy second income to its founders and many of its employees by way of food donations that were ending up in places other than on Dinner Time’s tables.

Even this party was an appalling, blatant display of theft, and, according to my source, they had similar such events every few months. From the chips and hamburgers to the condiments, most of the food being consumed here today had actually been donated to the charity, intended for the poor. Instead, our hosts had simply loaded many of the boxes into their cars and driven the food home for this impromptu party. Any minute now a local food supplier would show up and collect his share of the take, which was waiting for him in the garage. Unbeknownst to any of them, however, much of the donated food this time was marked, from the codes printed on the bottom of the mustard bottles to the labels on the frozen steaks in the freezer.

A knock on the bathroom door startled me from my thoughts.

“Just a minute,” I called, and then I washed my hands in the sink and glanced at my reflection in the mirror. My own image still surprised me sometimes. Four months ago I had gone from having long hair to short, from wearing my hair in a tight chignon at the back of my neck to having just enough length to frame my face and touch at my collar. I liked the new look, both because of the years it seemed to take from my features and the way it worked with my usual attire of suits and dresses. I’d spent this week in more casual clothes, however, and today was no exception. I had on jeans and a lightly knit tan shirt, and I felt I looked the part I was playing—that of a woman interested in some simple volunteer work at the local soup kitchen. Little did they know that I was something much more threatening: an investigator with a mission to ferret out the bad guys in the nonprofit world and bring them all to justice!

I opened the bathroom door and found a familiar face waiting to get in, an employee of Dinner Time named Clement Jackson.

“Oh, hey, Callie,” he said, “I didn’t realize that was you in there.”

“No problem.”

I moved out of the way so that he could pass me and go into the bathroom. As he closed the door behind him, I made my way back downstairs to the kitchen.

Clement was such a dear man, a tireless worker who served full time at the food bank for a salary so low I didn’t know how he managed to make ends meet. He wasn’t aware that I knew his salary rate or anything about him beyond facts he had mentioned to me in casual conversation. He had told me about his lovely wife of 36 years, his five grown children, his eight grandchildren. But the scope of my investigation had included all of the employees and volunteers of Dinner Time, so I also knew his address, his work record, and much more. In the end, he had turned out to be one of only three people connected to the center who apparently weren’t involved in the theft of the food.

I was so glad, because it confirmed what I had felt to be true about him all week, that he was a wonderful person with a true heart for charity. His personal side mission was to collect and distribute free used books to all of the children who came to the food bank and, whenever he had time, to sit and read to them and encourage them to read more for themselves.

“Reading can get you through some mighty tough spots,” I had heard him say more than once this week. “Even if your feet can’t always go somewhere else, your mind sure can.” Poor Clement was going to be stunned when this sting came together, for he believed most people were motivated by the same altruism and good faith he himself possessed.

“Callie, can I get you something to drink?”

This time, Winnie’s husband, Skipper, was playing the host, walking toward me with a newly filled ice bucket.

“No, thanks,” I replied. “My drink’s right over here.”

As if to prove it, I walked to the spot where I had left my soda, picked it up, and swirled the liquid. Skipper’s very presence made me so nervous I didn’t dare speak for fear I would begin to babble. Unfortunately, he persisted.

“How about a little ice then,” he said, using the tongs to load up my drink with ice. Holding my tongue, I watched as he clunked square cubes into the glass I was holding in front of me.

“So what do you think of our weather here in California?” he asked. “Winnie said you just recently moved here, right?”

Actually, I hadn’t told her that. What I had said was that I had never lived in California before, implying, I guess, that I lived here now. It was the kind of half-truth that going undercover necessitated and the very reason I hated playing a role. As a Christian, lying was hard for me to rationalize, even when the ends seemed to justify the means.

“It’s certainly a beautiful day today!” I said, glancing toward the window. I was desperately trying to think of some other sort of socially acceptable patter when I was saved by the bell—or the ring, to be exact, because Skipper’s cell phone began ringing from his hip pocket.

With a smile, he thrust the ice bucket at me, extricated the phone, and turned it on.

“Skipper here,” he said amiably, winking at me as he did so.

Clutching the ice in front of me, I took a step back, wondering if I could seize the moment and get away before his conversation was finished. Unfortunately, it seemed to last all of about 15 seconds. He said, “Yep. Okay. See ya,” and then hung up the phone.

“You’ll excuse me, won’t you, Callie?” he asked smoothly, slipping the phone back into his pocket.

“Of course.”

I held the ice bucket toward him, but he didn’t take it.

“Um, could you bring that ice out to Winnie?” he asked. “I need to get something from the garage.”

Without waiting for a reply, he turned and walked down the hall. I stood there for a moment, knowing I couldn’t do as he had requested without taking a step outside myself. Instead, I passed the bucket off to someone else who was heading that way. As the door fell shut behind him, I felt my cell phone vibrate in my pocket. I moved away from the crowd and went into the empty dining room. Holding my breath, I whipped out my phone, pushed the button, and looked at the screen. As expected, it was a text from the captain: Our guy just turned into the driveway. Give it about two minutes and then take a peek in the garage.

Okay, I texted back.

I then pocketed my phone, glanced at my watch, and waited, my heart suddenly pounding in my chest. For an absurd moment, I wondered if there was any hidden firepower here, if perhaps Skipper and Winnie kept a Colt .45 tucked in the nearest flowerpot or something. Just because their crimes of theft were of a nonviolent nature didn’t mean they didn’t know how to defend themselves when push came to shove. As it was about to.

At one minute, forty-three seconds, I heard my name called from the other room. I looked through the doorway to see Clement just coming down the stairs on the other side of the kitchen. Clement, who could be in the line of fire if things went down in a nasty way. Clement, who was heading toward me with a genial smile, eager to start a chat just when it was time for me to move.

“I need a favor!” I said urgently, walking forward to meet him. “I can’t find my contact lens. I’m afraid it came out in the bathroom. Do you think you could go back up and look for me? Check all over the floor, the sink, you know.”

“Well, I’ll try, Callie,” he said, nodding his head, the tightly curled gray hair a sharp contrast to his brown skin. “But my eyesight’s not so good myself. Come up and we’ll look for it together.”

I glanced at my watch. Two and a half minutes.

“You go on up,” I said. “I’ll be there in just a bit.”

“Okay.”

“And, listen, if you can’t find it, at least stay there and guard the door until I get there. I don’t want someone else stepping on it and breaking it.”

“All right.”

He dutifully trudged back up the stairs as I slipped from the kitchen, walking toward the long side hall Skipper had gone down less than three minutes before. I reached the door of the garage at the end, put my hand on the knob, and turned it.

The door swung open to reveal Skipper and another man lifting boxes into the open trunk of a black Cadillac. Both men looked up to see me, their faces about as guilty as two boys caught dipping their fingers in the peanut butter.

In a way, that’s exactly what they were doing.

The men recovered quickly. Both put the boxes into the trunk, but the man I didn’t know turned and stepped away where I couldn’t see his face. Skipper, on the other hand, took a step toward me, putting on a wide, fake smile.

“Can I help you, Callie?” he asked.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I was looking for some more soda. Maybe root beer?”

“There’s nothing like that out here,” he replied. “Try the pantry, off the kitchen.”

“Okay, thanks,” I said, returning his fake smile before stepping back out of the garage and pulling the door shut.

I turned on my heel and walked up the hall with my heartbeat pounding loudly in my head. Despite the chatter and confusion around me, I made straight for the French doors, opened them, and stepped outside. This was my signal to the police who were in hiding on the other side of the hedge, watching the party, waiting to pounce. Once on the patio, I simply kept walking through the loud music, heading around the pool and toward the backyard.

“Callie, can I help you with something?” I heard Winnie call after me.

Suddenly, before I could reply, there were shouts and screams and the sight of at least 20 police officers descending on the partygoers on the patio. I heard the words “freeze” and “raid” and “you have the right to remain silent.” Once I finally turned around and looked at the scene, all I could do was pray that Clement was safe, that the cops had apprehended the men in the garage before anyone could do anything stupid.

I waited at the back of the yard until I saw the captain come to the kitchen door and give the “all clear” signal to the cops outside. Breathing a great big sigh of relief, I headed toward the house, allowing myself to be herded into the corner of the patio where they were sorting everyone out. Counting heads, I realized they had managed to nab almost every single person who was on the list of those who had either stolen food or accepted food they knew was stolen. The cops didn’t single me out but merely pointed me in the direction of the innocent parties, the few standing near the garden shed who hadn’t the slightest idea what was going on.

Eventually, Clement was sent out from the house to join us. I gave him a big hug, certainly much bigger than our seemingly casual acquaintance would allow. Obviously shaken, he hugged me back even tighter.

When the police told us we were free to leave, I stuck with Clement, offering to take him home. In somewhat of a daze, he accepted that offer. Sitting in the passenger seat of my rental car, he stared blankly ahead as I drove toward his house and gently tried to explain all that he had just seen.

By the time we reached his house, he was still quite shaken. He invited me inside and I accepted, eager to see him safely delivered into the arms of his wife.

She wasn’t home, however, so I insisted that he call one of his children, perhaps Trey, since I knew he lived right down the street and could be here in a matter of minutes. While we waited, I heated some water on the stove for tea and essentially made myself at home in the kitchen. The house was small but tidy, and everything was easy to find in the neatly organized cabinets. As the water began to bubble on the stove, Clement took a seat at the table, silent, his expression blank. As I was setting his tea in front of him, Trey burst through the door, concern evident on his face.

“Pop?”

Short but muscular, with his father’s coffee-colored skin and deep brown eyes, Trey was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, both of which were covered with spatters of blue.

“We were painting the baby’s room,” he added, sounding breathless, looking from me to his father. “What’s going on?”

Clement didn’t answer, so I introduced myself and tried to explain the situation as best I could. The place where Clement worked, I said, had been busted for fraud and theft. Clement was in the clear, but he had been fairly traumatized by the whole event.

“And who are you, exactly?” Trey asked, looking at me as if this were all my fault. In a way, it was.

“My name is Callie Webber,” I said, carrying over two more cups of tea and taking a seat at the table. “I’m a private investigator.”

Clement turned toward me, his face suddenly registering disbelief rather than shock.

“You’re a what?   ” he asked.

“A private investigator.”

“Since when?”

“Since I was old enough to get certified in the state of Virginia,” I said. “I’m also a lawyer. I work for the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation out of Washington, DC.”

Clement shook his head, as if to shake off the confusion. Before he could launch into more questions, I continued.

“I live in Maryland now,” I explained, “and I just came to California to investigate Dinner Time on behalf of my employer. Dinner Time had requested a grant, and it’s my job to verify eligibility.”

“You don’t even live here?” Clement asked me, still incredulous. “You mean you’ve been pretending all week?”

“I’m sorry, Clement,” I said. “Sometimes that’s the only way I can really see what’s going on.”

Trey slid into the seat across from me, ignoring the tea I had put there for him.

“So what happened today?” he asked. “I’m still confused.”

“In the course of the investigation of Dinner Time, I uncovered fraud, theft, tax evasion, distribution of stolen property, you name it. I took that information to the police, only to learn that they already knew about it and that they were very close to making some arrests. We worked together on a sting operation, and today we caught most of the guilty parties red-handed.”

“I can’t believe they were stealing food,” Clement said, shaking his head sadly.

“I always told you there was something slick about that Skipper person,” Trey said to his father. “‘Skipper and Winnie,’ good grief. Sounds like a pair of Barbie dolls.”

“Will Dinner Time have to close down?” Clement asked.

“Probably,” I answered. “Even if someone were to try to keep the place up and running, I doubt it would be able to stay open for very long. Between the bad publicity and the incarcerated principals, I think it’ll soon fold. I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry too,” Clement said. “I’m sorry I was so blind, so stupid.”

Trey put a reassuring hand on his father’s arm.

“C’mon, Pop,” he said. “You couldn’t know. You were just doing your job.”

“Oh, yeah, my job,” Clement said. “Guess I’m out of a job now.”

“We’ll find you something,” Trey said. “Maybe Tanisha can get you on over at the grocery store.”

“I liked working at a nonprofit,” Clement said, shaking his head. “I liked feeling that my efforts were making just a little difference in the world.”

I reached into my pocket, grasping the familiar square of paper there. I pulled it out and set it on the table in front of me, still folded in half.

“I’d like to talk to you about that,” I said. “And I’m glad Trey is here, because this would involve him too.”

Both men looked at me, their faces somber.

“In the course of my investigation,” I continued, “I had to check into everybody’s background. Including yours, Clement. Your life story paints a picture of a good man, a steady reliable worker who knows the value of a dollar.”

“That’s my dad,” Trey said suspiciously. “But what are you getting at?”

“Well, I’ve watched you this week reading to the children down at the food bank, Clement. I’ve heard you talk about the benefits of reading, of being read to. I want you to think about starting a charity of your own. Something that lets you go around and give away books and have regular reading times with homeless children.”

“Like a bookmobile?” Clement asked.

“Perhaps,” I said. “Or maybe you could get some space in the recreation center or a homeless shelter or another food bank. Somewhere that you could set up a little reading corner filled with books and beanbag chairs and stuffed animals. It’s not hard to get people to donate children’s books to a charity. You could provide reading times, give the books to the children who seem to want them, encourage their parents to read with them…”

I let my voice trail off, seeing that a spark was lighting up behind Clement’s eyes.

“What do I have to do with this?” Trey asked.

“Your father told me that you’re an accountant,” I said. “Maybe you can help him get started and then keep the books for him.”

“Well, yeah, I could do that.”

“And I understand your sister is a graphic artist? Maybe she could put together some brochures and promotional materials. You’d be surprised how many resources are available, usually right at your own fingertips.”

I looked at Trey and then at Clement, surprised to see the fire quickly fading from the older man’s eyes.

“As good as our intentions may be,” he said, shaking his head, “There’s one thing standing in the way. I can’t afford it.”

I smiled, fingering the square of paper in front of me.

“Well, then let me take it a step further,” I said. “My job allows me a certain amount of leeway with small monetary grants. What would you think if I gave you a check to get started? You could get yourself incorporated as a nonprofit, file for federal tax exemption, and cover your basic start-up costs. Once you’ve got that tax exemption, I would encourage you to fill out a grant application from the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation for a much larger amount of money. We believe strongly in what you could accomplish, Clement, and we would like to have some small part in furthering your efforts.”

I sat back, thinking that in the two and a half years I had worked for the foundation, this was the first time I had to talk someone into taking our money!

“Still, I don’t see how it would work,” Trey said. “He’d need at least a thousand dollars just to get set up.”

“How does five thousand sound?” I asked, unfolding the check and handing it to them. It was already made out to Clement Jackson, who picked it up and studied it as if it were a ticket to somewhere important. “And, like I said, once you’ve got that tax exemption and your policies and procedures in place, you can apply to us for more. I have a feeling we’ll be very generous as long as you can show you’ve got a good business plan.”

The two men looked at each other and grinned, and not for the first time I wished my boss, Tom, the philanthropist behind all J.O.S.H.U.A. grants, could be here to witness their joy. Tom was half a world away right now, and though later I would recount this entire scene for him over the phone, it still made me sad that he wasn’t here experiencing it for himself.

Then again, he never was. Tom always donated anonymously through the foundation and then enjoyed the moment of presentation vicariously through me. I was happy to recreate every word, every detail, but I had never understood why he chose to remain so removed from the whole process.

Of course, he and I talked frequently during every investigation, and in fact it was the time we spent on the phone that had allowed us to become friends and then eventually something much more than friends. Four months ago, after several years of a phone-only relationship, Tom and I had finally been able to meet face-to-face.

At the time, he had been out of the country for his work, but he had surprised me by flying back to the States and showing up at my home. We had spent exactly 12 hours together—12 amazing hours that I had relived again and again in my memories ever since—and then he had to leave, returning to Singapore and the urgent business that awaited him.

Now, four months later, Tom was still in Singapore, though his business there was quickly drawing to a close and soon he would be coming home for good. His home was in California and mine was in Maryland, but our plan was to meet somewhere between the two in exactly seven days at some quiet place where we would finally, finally be able to spend some real quality time together—time getting to know each other even better, time exploring the possibilities of a relationship that had gone from friendship to something much more in the space of one 12-hour visit. I was already counting the minutes until we could be together again, knowing that once he returned, a new chapter in my life would begin in earnest. Tom was handling the logistics of our reunion, and my primary concern was to wrap up my next investigation by the following Sunday, because I didn’t want work or anything else to detract from the time we were going to spend together.

Clement spoke, snapping me out of my thoughts and back to the moment at hand.

“I’ve been praying for something like this for quite a while,” he was saying, looking at his son, and I realized there were tears in his eyes. “For so long,” he repeated, blinking. “I didn’t think the Lord was hearing me. But He was. Because He sent me an angel.”

I held up one hand to stop him, emotion surging in my heart as well.

“Now, don’t—”

“I’m not kidding, girl. You are an angel. A very generous angel.”

“So you’ll take the money and start your own charity?” I asked.

“Oh, thank You, Lord,” he said, grinning up toward the ceiling. Then he looked back at me. “Yes, Callie. Yes. Most definitely yes.”

My Thoughts

A Dime A Dozen..by: Mindy Starnes… FIRST WildCard Tours……

Not having read the first two books in the series, I didn’t know about reading this, but I still enjoyed it. A lot goes on in this book! Investigating for a non-profit organization started by her former in-laws, Private Investigator Callie Webber uncovers some interesting stuff, causing tragedies beyond her control to herself. If you like suspense and mysteries, you will love this book, so grab a copy and check it out. You will not be disappointed!

I rec’d this book from  F.I.R.S.T. WildCard Tours to read and review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

FIRST WildCard Tour …The “What’s for Dinner?” Solution…by Kathi Lipp

FIRST WildCard Tour…The “What’s for Dinner?” Solution…by Kathi Lipp

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:
Kathi Lipp

and the book:

The “What’s for Dinner?” Solution

Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2011)

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the United States. She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project and has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four teenagers and young adults.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

For many women, dread turns to panic around 4:00 in the afternoon. That’s when they have to answer that age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” Many resort to another supermarket rotisserie chicken or—worse yet—ordering dinner through a drive-thru intercom.

In The “What’s for Dinner” Solution, popular author and speaker Kathi Lipp provides a full-kitchen approach for getting dinner on the table every night. After putting her 21-day plan into action, women will

* save time—with bulk shopping and cooking
* save money—no more last-minute phone calls to the delivery pizza place
* save their sanity—forget the last-minute scramble every night and know what they’re having for dinner

The book includes real recipes from real women, a quick guide to planning meals for a month, the best shopping strategies for saving time and money, and tips on the best ways to use a slow cooker, freezer, and pantry.

With Kathi’s book in hand, there’s no more need to hit the panic button.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736938370
ISBN-13: 978-0736938372

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Girl Meets Kitchen, or Not

Necessarily a Love Story

“Happy and successful cooking doesn’t rely only on know-how;
it comes from the heart, makes great demands on the palate and needs enthusiasm and a deep love of food to bring it to life.”

Georges Blanc, from Ma Cuisine des Saisons

I was not the kind of kid who grew up at my mom’s knee, helping her chop carrots for Sunday night’s chicken soup. I never really helped with any meal preparation, preferring to turn my attention in the kitchen to baking. There was always some social event with friends or a youth group party where I needed to bring brownies. The one memorable time I tried to make instant potatoes? Instead of the specified one-quarter tablespoon of salt, I used a quarter cup salt. That incident happened over twenty-five years ago, and I have yet to stop hearing about it from my loving and encouraging family.

Suffice to say, I was a bit ill-prepared for the cooking adventures that lay ahead as I lived on my own for the first time. And to complicate matters? My first apartment was in Uji, Japan, approximately seven thousand miles from my mother’s loving embrace and her pot-roast recipe (as if I could afford beef in Japan).

The recipe cards were stacked against me. No cooking skills to speak of, living in a foreign land where most of the time I couldn’t identify what I was eating much less figure out how it was prepared, a kitchen the size of my coat closet back home, and an oven so small it made me long for the Easy-Bake one of my childhood.

I was terrified going to the supermarket without an escort and a translator. I didn’t speak the language (as a short-term missionary teaching conversational English, speaking Japanese was actually a disadvantage in my job), and as unfamiliar as I was with food shopping in the U.S., shopping in Uji was like watching a foreign movie without subtitles and then having to write a paper on the plot.

Oh, and eating out? So not an option. While my cooking skills were limited, my food budget was near nonexistent.

A few things were easy to recognize. The bread in Japan was amazing. It was buttery and flaky and perfect. And there was some really lovely cheese and ham. So, for the first three months of exploring this exotic new culture, I ate ham and cheese sandwiches every single night for dinner.

As I started to get to know some of my students and coworkers better, I had this urge to invite them over to hang out with me. But I had a sneaking suspicion they would want to be fed. I knew that my students would love some authentic American dishes. The question was, Who would I get to cook them?

Another short-term missionary, Diana, had a cookbook called More-With-Less. This wonderful little book produced by the Mennonite community had tons of recipes that used simple ingredients most cooks would have in their kitchen. While I didn’t have a lot of pantry staples in my four-story walk-up, I was now armed with a grocery list as well as an English-to-Japanese dictionary for my trips to the store.

I started to look for simple things I could make: salads, sandwiches, curries, and mini-pizzas out of English muffins and ketchup. (I promise, my culinary skills and taste have gotten better over the years.) As I grew braver in all things cuisine, I started to ask my mom to send some of my favorite recipes from back home.

In fact, when I threw a Christmas celebration with my friend Spenser in my micro-sized apartment, we managed to make a fondue-potless version of my mom’s Pizza Fondue. Shopping for the ingredients proved challenging, even for Spenser who spoke near-fluent Japanese. After several attempts to translate cornstarch into the native language (One would think corn + starch = cornstarch, right? Wrong. It’s pronounced korunstarcha.), we headed back to my kitchen and made one of the best meals I have ever eaten—lots of tomato sauce, some ground beef, loads of cheese, and just the right amount of korunstarcha.

Pizza Fondue
(Connie Richerson)

½ lb. ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 10½-oz. cans pizza sauce (I use marinara sauce)

1 T. cornstarch (or korunstarcha, if you prefer)

1½ tsp. oregano

¼ tsp. garlic powder

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 loaf French bread

Brown the ground beef and onion; drain. Put meat, sauce, cornstarch, and spices in fondue pot. When cooked and bubbly, add cheese. Spear crusty French bread cubes, then dip and swirl in fondue. This is also delicious with breadsticks. Serves 4 to 6.

From that point on, I was hooked on collecting my favorite recipes. I bought my own copy of More-With-Less when I got back to the States, and when I got married a few months later, I received my very first copy of everyone’s favorite red-and-white-plaid Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, with every recipe an emerging home cook could want.

I think most of us home cooks have a similar story to tell. OK, you probably didn’t have your first significant cooking experience in Uji, Japan, but I bet the first few times you got dinner on the table all on your own, you might as well have been in a different country.

Maybe your mom had you peeling potatoes before you could walk. Maybe you have a rich heritage of recipes passed down from your grandmother. None of our cooking histories are going to look the same, but we do have one thing in common: We all need to get dinner on the table.

I am not a professional cook. Tom Colicchio will never be critiquing my braised kale and chocolate with bacon foam on Top Chef. But over the past twenty years I have put dinner on the table almost every single night. And while my family still likes a pizza from the neighborhood shop, our kids who have left home really look forward to coming back for a home-cooked meal.

That is all the reward I need.

Why This Book?

So, you discovered my deep dark secret—I’m not a professional chef. I don’t have my own show on Food Network, my own brand of spatulas, and I’m not going to be appearing on any morning show making a frittata for Kathie Lee Gifford.

Still, I’m required to feed our large family almost daily. So when I come across a cookbook, I have an unnatural need to own it. I’m always looking for new recipes to keep dinner interesting at our house. I have an entire bookshelf in my kitchen for my ever-growing collection.

But to be honest with you, most of the money I’ve spent on those cookbooks could have been better spent on a good set of knives or a heavy iron skillet.

I have found that most cookbooks are aimed at the fantasy life many of us aspire to—entertaining regularly, having unusual and exotic ingredients on hand, and hours and hours in the kitchen to create these masterpieces, from scratch.

And then there is my reality. Yes, sometimes I like to spend a Saturday afternoon cooking up a big feast for friends and family. But most days? I want to get a delicious, healthy meal on the table quickly.

My test when I’m purchasing new cookbooks? I flip to a half dozen or so recipes throughout the book and ask myself, Can I imagine cooking this recipe in the next couple of weeks? If most of the recipes fail the test, the book stays at the store.

I want the reality. I want dinner on the table every night without being seduced by pictures of stylist-arranged food that—let’s be honest—I’m never going to prepare.

While those books offer up a lot of grilled-chicken-in-a-peanut-sauce-in-the-sky dreams, I need some reality. It’s not just about the recipe; it’s about all the aspects of getting dinner on the table.

By the end of this book, my hope for you is that you will be able to:

save time, money, and energy when it comes to
preparing meals
have less stress when it comes to shopping
get your kitchen prepared for battle
learn some stress-free ways to get dinner on the table
get out of your cooking rut
This book is all about the process, the how of getting dinner on the table. It reflects the collective wisdom of hundreds of women who don’t have prep cooks or a crew of interns trying out new recipes. We are the women who spend a significant part of our days thinking about, shopping for, and preparing dinner. And all these wise, wonderful women are going to show you a better way to get dinner on the table no matter what your cooking background or skill level.

This is the book I wish I’d had when I first started cooking, as well as when I was raising my brood of pint-sized food critics.

Don’t worry, there will be plenty of recipes. We all love to find that one recipe that is going to become a family favorite! But this book has much more than that. My hope is that you will be able to use the recipes you already have, the ones in this book, and the new ones you find along the way to set a big, bountiful table for your family.

My Thoughts

My reason for wanting to read this book was the fact that I am the person that waits until the last minute the fix dinner then wonders what in the world I will fix. I am very happy that this book teaches women how to plan, shop, organize, and cook quick and easy meals that any family would love, and they are also affordable. I’ve had spells that I plan my meals for a week, and stick to them pretty much, but for a month? But I love the idea, and to think of how much time I would save, the stress I would be without, and the food that is good, healthy and something my family would appreciate. Oh, and the leftover tips in this book are out of this world!!

Thank you Kathi Lipp for this wonderful book of solutions you have for us here. Every single household should have this book! So run out and grab a copy of this book and save yourself hours of time and learn how it is to be happy instead of stressful over cooking.

Thank you to the publisher Harvest House for providing me a copy of this book through F.I.R.S.T. WildCard Tours. I was not expected or required to give a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine alone.

 

WELCOME TO PUYB

A Christmas Journey Home Virtual Book Tour

A Christmas Journey Home banner

Join Kathi Macias, author of the Christian contemporary seasonal novel, A Christmas Journey Home (New Hope Publishers, October 5, 2011), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in October 2011 on her ninth virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias photoKathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association). Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time buzzing around in their new ride: Al’s 2005 sunburst orange Corvette. Here latest releases are Deliver Me From Evil and A Christmas Journey Home.

You can find out more about Kathi’s writing and speaking at www.kathimacias.com

About A Christmas Journey Home

During Isabella Alcantara’s seventh month of pregnancy, her parents and siblings are murdered in gang- and drug-related violence, simply because their home was targeted by mistake. Isabella knows she was spared only because she now lives in a different location, but she knows too that the same thing could easily happen to her and her husband, Francisco. When her grandfather offers to hire a “coyote” to bring them across the border to America, she agrees. But Francisco and Isabella are abandoned by the coyote and left to die. Francisco then valiantly sacrifices himself to get Isabella to safety. Homeless, nearly penniless, pregnant, and alone, Isabella determines to find a way to honor her promise to her beloved husband.

Living on one of the smaller spreads along the Arizona border, Miriam Nelson becomes furious with God and turns from her faith when her border patrol agent husband, David, is killed in a skirmish with drug smugglers. Though her mother and young son do their best to woo her back from the anger and bitterness that have overtaken her, they make little headway.

Two widows—one driven by fear and a promise, the other by bitterness and revenge—must make their journeys along different pathways, but with the same destination: a barn fullA Christmas Journey Home coverof animals that stands waiting for them on Christmas Eve. Forced to face their personal demons, Isabella and Miriam soon discover a common yearning that will bind them together in a most miraculous way.

Read an excerpt!

PROLOGUE
Isabella shivered, her teeth chattering as she huddled against the frigid night air, doing her best to burrow her backside into Francisco’s embrace. How could her esposo sleep in such harsh conditions? She and her husband had not eaten in nearly three days, they were almost out of water, and now she felt as if they would surely freeze to death before morning. And yet his even breathing, blowing warm against the back of her neck, assured her that her beloved had indeed escaped their dilemma for at least a few hours.

Isabella wished she could do the same. During the daylight hours, when her feet burned with each tortuous step, she imagined that she could fall asleep in an instant if given half the chance. But when the desert sun, still hot in mid-autumn, finally sank below the flat, dismal horizon and the night winds blew mercilessly upon them, sleep eluded her. True, Francisco did everything he could to protect her from the elements, even using his body to shield her as they sought meager shelter under a small rock overhang or behind a sand dune, but it was never enough. They were going to die; she was sure of it. She and her husband of eleven months would perish in the middle of the Arizona desert, with only the scavengers to dispose of their remains.

A slight flutter in her stomach reminded her that death would come to three of them, not just two. The baby that had been growing in her stomach for seven months and that less than a week earlier had kicked with strength and determination now grew weaker by the day.

Perhaps it is best, she told herself. It was a foolish dream to think we could escape the violence and poverty of our home country and find a new life here, north of the border. My abuelo meant well, but we should never have listened to him…should never have taken his money and given it to the coyote….

The ominous glare of the coyote, the man who had promised to take them safely to the United States but who instead had stolen their money and left them to die in the desert, danced through her memory, but she pushed it aside. Instead she focused on the beloved face of her grandfather, her abuelo, and fought the hot tears that stung her eyes as she wished yet again that she and Francisco were back in Don Alfredo’s casita, sharing a simple meal of tortillas and frijoles with the leathery-skinned old man Isabella had adored since she was a tiny girl.

Despite her discomfort, the memory of her abuelo’s face brought a smile to her lips, as she snuggled closer into her esposo’s embrace. But then another memory, the horror of what had driven Don Alfredo to the point of pleading with them to flee across the border, wiped away her smile and once again brought tears to Isabella’s weary eyes.

My Thoughts

A Christmas Journey Home….by Kathi Macias

First of all, this is not the usual type of Christmas story you would expect to read around Christmas Time. But leave it to Kathi Macias to create a cast of characters and weave a story so realistic and believable it’s almost like reading the headlines in the paper. That is, until the end of the story.

At the instance of Isabella’s grandfather, she and her husband Francisco go across the border into America because most of her family was murdered in a drive by killing. Expecting to find safety, the journey was anything but what they were expecting.

Miriam Nelson loses her husband to murder by a drug smuggler trying to cross the border, and doesn’t want anything to do with God, and especially any illegal immigrants trying to cross the border. But circumstances in life chances her attitude about how she feels.

God has a different plan for both of these ladies that either of them ever imagined. The journey they both encountered was so sad and horrific both thought their lives were doomed forever. Isabella and Miriam’s story is of one of violence and pain, destruction and loss, hate and bitterness, but one that turns to mercy and grace, love and forgiveness.

If you are looking for an easy read Christmas story, you may not like this book. But if you’re looking for a story of love and redemption, the real reason Jesus was born on that Christmas so long ago, then you will love Miriam and Isabella’s story. It is not an easy read, but one that will stay with you for a long time. One that will cause you to remember the real meaning of Christmas. As always, I love that Kathi writes the Christian life into her stories. Showing us as readers that it is not always a fun happy life, but one of peace and joy when we have the Lord carry us through our difficulties.

This book was provided by PUYB blog tours. I was not expected to give a positive review, only an honest one. The opinions in this review are mine only.

A Christmas Journey Home banner

 

 

McKenzie and Hailee….by Penny Zeller….book reviews

McKenzie and Hailee….by Penny Zeller….book reviews

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Whitaker House (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603742166
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603742160

Book Blurb

Book #1 in the Montana Skies Historical Romance Series (Whitaker House)

“Desperate times call for desperate measures” is the reasoning that prompts McKenzie Worthington, a young lady of Boston’s high society, to respond to an ad for a mail-order bride for a man in the Montana Territory. McKenzie is desperate, after all, to save her beloved younger sister, Kaydie, from her evil, abusive husband, who robs banks for a living. And so, it is with reckless determination that McKenzie runs away from the comforts of home and hearth to head West and meet her new husband—whom she’ll divorce, of course, after she rescues her sister.

Desperate times call for desperate measures” is the reasoning that also prompts Zachary Sawyer, a rugged rancher after God’s own heart, to post an ad for a mail-order bride in various newspapers across the country. Managing a ranch and caring for his adoptive son, Davey, has become more than one man can handle alone, and Zach prays for God to send him a wife with whom to build a life and share his dreams.

When McKenzie arrives at Zach’s ranch, she immediately puts her plan in motion, searching for her sister and doing all she can to keep her new husband from forming an attachment. But his persistent kindness and significant self-sacrifices begin to change her heart—and ruin her plans. God has a way of working things out to the good of those who love Him, though, as McKenzie will soon see.

Purchase at Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, or Barnes & Noble.

My Thoughts

McKenzie…by Penny Zeller

In the attempt to find her sister, Mckenzie Worthington answers an ad for a mail order bride in Montana because she thinks that is where Kaydie is living with her abusive husband. She never intends to stay married once she finds Kaydie, but no way will McKenzie tell her husband until she’s found.

Since Zachary Sawyer’s neighbors passed away and he adopted their son Davey, her realizes that Davy needs a mom in his life. And because there are just no women in the little town in Western Montana, Zachary decides to place an ad for a mail order bride. Zachary believes God will send him the right woman, and he will love her no matter what.

Zachary and Mckenzie’s marriage did not start of on the right track because of the deception of Mckenzie, though Zachary thought everything was fine and dandy. Of course Mother Worthington will be happy to have her two girls back home because they couldn’t possibly have a life in the Western Territory and her girls were use to the best of life. Join Zachary and Mckenzie on their journey as husband and wife on this Montana ranch. Will Mckenzie find Kaydie? And if so how will her husband take it when he finds out she is leaving town and was only there to find her sister?

McKenzie is the first book in the Montana Skies Series by Penny Zeller. I love this sweet little Montana town that everyone knows everyone else. Penny detailed description of the Montana Territory is so vivid and clear I felt as though I had been there while reading this book! I could feel the love between the people living there, almost taste the food they eat, experienced the different seasons and the difficult times they sometimes had. Lucille even felt like a neighbor! The characters were so unique and exquisite that woven into this wonderful story you wanted to be living in the house with them, experiencing their everyday lives. And I love and appreciate that Penny’s books have Christian characters with the ups and downs and struggles each of us face in the Christian life, showing the love, grace and forgiveness of our Lord.

Even if you don’t care for historical fiction, I think you will love this series. And if you’re a Historical fan, then this book is a Must for you! Grab you a copy of McKenzie, a cup of coffee, sit down and enjoy a wonderful read. Then pick up Kaydee and Hailee and finish out the series. It will be well worth your time!

I rec’d a complimentary copy of the book from the author. Thank you so much Penny! The opinions are mine alone. I was not ask to write a positive review of this book.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NEWS FLASH!!!  NEWS FLASH!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paperback: 320 pages

  • Publisher: Whitaker House (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603742174
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603742177
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches

Ok I reviewed Penny’s second book
in the Montana Skies series  Kaydee
a while back, and if you want to read
that review go HERE

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now on to my review of Hailee

Hailee….By: Penny Zeller

    • Paperback: 320 pages
    • Publisher: Whitaker House (September 6, 2011)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1603742182
    • ISBN-13: 978-1603742184
    • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.1 x 1 inche

Book Blurb

Book #3 in the Montana Skies Historical Romance Series (Whitaker House)

For years, orphan Hailee Annigan was just a ragamuffin in the Cincinnati streets, stealing food to keep her two younger brothers fed. Her thievery landed her in a home for delinquent youngsters, where her life was changed, thanks to her teachers. Now, nineteen-year-old Hailee excitedly heads to Montana to be a teacher, yet she’s still plagued by her shameful past and the fear of never seeing her brothers again.

Based on his upbringing in high-society Boston, no one would have guessed that Maxwell Nathaniel Adams Jr. would attend seminary and become a church pastor in rugged Montana. Even now, Nate’s parents refuse to put aside their own plans for his future and accept his calling.

When their paths converge, an immediate attraction draws Hailee and Nate together, even as the pressures and demands of others pull them apart. Can the unlikely pair come to terms with their pasts and face the future together?

Purchase at Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, or Barnes & Noble.

My Thoughts

In this third book of the Montana Skies series, Hailee has answered an ad wanting a new teacher in the Montana Territory and she gets the job. While she is anticipating the new job opportunity, she is still unsettled about leaving Cincinnati because of her two brothers. Hailee and her brothers were separated at a very young age when their parents passed away and she hasn’t seen them since, despite her attempts of trying to find them. She believes God will still bring them to her, even if she is a long way from home.

After visiting his aunts McKenzie and Kaydee in Pine Haven with his grandmother when he was a youngster, Maxwell Nathaniel Adams, Jr., better known as Nate decides then and there he will move to Montana as an adult, despite what his parents will think. And years later, he did just that, and now is the new preacher in town. Of course his wealthy and high society parents thinks this is just a phase Nate is going through with religion and all and are sure it will pass and their son will come home and work in the family business like he is suppose to, so they say.

This is another sweet, awesome book by the wonderful storyteller Penny Zeller. To sum up Hailee in one word would be WOW! Again, wonderful, unique, loveable characters woven into a story so enjoyable I was homesick for this heartwarming little community in Montana. I don’t want this series to end!

So much happens in this book. Nate and Hailee find they are attracted to each other. Hailee is still looking for some word from her brothers; Nate’s parents come for a visit only to be victims of a tragedy, and that’s just some of the good stuff. And now the questions I know you are wondering. Will Nate and Hailee find love, or will Nate decide to move back home to Boston with his parents? What will Nate’s parents think of Montana and will they survive the tragedy that happens to them? Will Hailee’s brothers see her ad’s posted around Cincinnati and contact her? All this and more in this third  book in the Montana Skies series. And I gotta say, I loved that Nate chose Montana, after growing up in a extremely different lifestyle with more money than his family knew what to do with. The Montana Territory was pretty much the extreme the other way with life being more difficult and money not easy to come by.

I rec’d a complimentary copy of the book from the author. Thank you so much Penny! The opinions are mine alone. I was not ask to write a positive review of this book.

About Penny Zeller

Welcome to my home on the web. I am a Christ follower, wife, mother, and an author and speaker.

I was bitten with the writing bug at age seven when I began writing Bible stories in my own words. In fourth grade, I began to write fictional stories and “publishing” them in homemade wallpaper-covered cardboard books.

I also write a humor blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author” , am an active volunteer in my community, serving as a women’s Bible study small-group leader, co-organizing a women’s prayer group, and co-founding The Sisters in Christ Community Girls Night Out.

My passion is to use the gift of the written word to glorify God and to benefit His Kingdom. I devote my time to assisting, encouraging, and nurturing women and children into a closer relationship with Christ. When I’m not dreaming up new characters for books, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and camping, hiking, canoeing, gardening, and playing volleyball.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and
not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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