FIRST Wild Card Tour—Threads of Hope—By:Andrea Boeshaar

FIRST Wild Card Tour—Threads of Hope—By:Andrea Boeshaar

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:
Andrea Boeshaar
and the book:
Threads of Hope
(Fabric of Time)
Realms (January 3, 2012)

***Special thanks to Jon Wooten of Charisma House for sending me a review copy.***

My Thoughts on this book!

Kristin Eikaas decided to leave Norway because she had lost all of her family due to illness. Years earlier her uncle Lars had move the America and made a life there, so he invited Kristin to come live with him. Uncle Lars’ letters had painted such a vivid picture of how wonderful life in America was that her best friend’s father and brother decided to join her, leaving her friend Sylvia and her mother to come later. Little did Kristin know that Uncle Lars has tricked her by lying about his land, house, and their lives in Wisconsin. All he really wanted was the inheritance left by her father.

What a shock when they find out how her uncle’s family really lived. He is so very lazy he makes his family work like dogs, he doesn’t get along with his neighbors, he’s just an out and out jerk! I don’t like giving a lot away, so I will stop here.

Andrea Boeshaar writes a wonderful story of bitterness and hate, love, honor and forgiveness in Threads of Hope. The characters are realistic and well developed and I enjoyed getting to know them. Well all but Uncle Lars, I really wanted to slap because of the way he treated people, especially Kristin. But he did spice up the story, which is probably why her in there. I was captured from the first few pages, and didn’t want to put the book down. It is really that good!

If you are a historical fiction fan, this is a must for you! You will not be disappointed. So grab a copy to read and enjoy!

This book was provided by the publisher Realms Publishing through FIRST WildCard Tours. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar is a certified Christian life coach; a popular speaker at writers’ conferences, workshops, and women’s groups; and the author of numerous published books, including the Seasons of Redemption series: Unwilling Warrior, Uncertain Heart, Unexpected Love, and Undaunted Faith.

Visit the author’s website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Kristin Eikaas has her hopes set on a new life in America.

The year is 1848, and Kristin Eikaas has traveled from Norway to Wisconsin with dreams of a new life. But when she arrives, she finds one disappointment after another. Worse, her superstitious uncle now believes that his neighbor’s Oneida Indian wife has put a curse on Kristin. Everyone knows the Sundbergs put spells on people…

Everyone except Kristin. Her run-ins with Sam Sundberg only prove that he is a good man from a Christian family. But when her uncle discovers she’s been associating with Sam, his temper flares. To escape his wrath, Kristin gratefully accepts a job as the Sundbergs’ house girl, finding solace at the family’s spinning wheel.

In the time Sam and Kristin spend together, their friendship develops into much more, and Sam prays about a match between them. But opposition threatens to derail their newfound love. Will they have the courage to stand up for what is right—even against their own families?
Product Details:

  • List Price: $13.99
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Realms (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616384972
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616384975

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

September 1848

It looks like Norway.

The thought flittered across nineteen-year-old Kristin Eikaas’s mind as Uncle Lars’s wagon bumped along the dirt road. The docks of Green Bay, Wisconsin, were behind them, and now they rode through a wooded area that looked just as enchanting as the forests she’d left in Norway. Tall pine trees and giant firs caused the sunshine to dapple on the road. Kristin breathed in the sweet, fresh air. How refreshing it felt in her lungs after being at sea for nearly three months and breathing in only salty sea air or the stale air in her dark, crowded cabin.

A clearing suddenly came into view, and a minute or so later, Kristin eyed the farm fields stretched before her. The sight caused an ache of homesickness. Her poppa had farmed . . .

“Your trip to America was good, ja?” Uncle Lars asked in Norwegian, giving Kristin a sideways glance.

He resembled her father so much that her heart twisted painfully with renewed grief. Except she’d heard about Onkel—about his temper—how he had to leave Norway when he was barely of age, because, Poppa had said, trouble followed him.

But surely he’d grown past all of that. His letters held words of promise, and there was little doubt that her uncle had made a new life for himself here in America.

Just as she would.

Visions of a storefront scampered across her mind’s eye—a shop in which she could sell her finely crocheted and knitted items. A shop in which she could work the spinning wheel, just as Mor had . . .

Uncle Lars arched a brow. “You are tired, liten niese?”

Ja. It was a long journey.” Kristin sent him a sideways glance.

“I am grateful I did not come alone. The Olstads made good traveling companions.”

Her uncle cleared his throat and lowered his voice. “But you have brought my inheritance, ja?” He arched a brow.

Ja.” Kristin thought of the priceless possession she’d brought from Norway.

“And you would not hold out on your onkel, would you?”

Prickles of unease caused Kristin to shift in her seat. She resisted the urge to touch the tiny gold and silver cross pendent suspended from a dainty chain that hung around her neck. Her dress concealed it. She couldn’t give it up, even though it wasn’t legal for a woman to inherit anything in Norway. But the necklace had been her last gift from Mor. A gift from one’s mother wasn’t an inheritance . . . was it? “No, Onkel.”

She turned and peered down from her perch into the back of the wooden wagon bed. Peder Olstad smiled at her, and Kristin relaxed some. Just a year older, he was the brother of Kristin’s very best friend who had remained in Norway with their mother. She and Peder had grown up together, and while he could be annoying and bad tempered at times, he was the closest thing to a brother that she had. And Sylvia—Sylvia was closer than a sister ever could be. It wouldn’t be long, and she and Mrs. Olstad would come to America too. That would be a

happy day!

“You were right,” John Olstad called to Uncle Lars in their native tongue. “Lots of fertile land in this part of the country. I hope to purchase some acres soon.”

“And after you are a landowner for five years, you can be a citizen of America and you can vote.” The Olstad men smiled broadly and replied in unison. “Oh, ja, ja . . . ”

Uncle Lars grinned, causing dozens of wrinkles to appear around his blue eyes. His face was tanned from farming beneath the hot sun, and his tattered leather hat barely concealed the abundance of platinum curls growing out of his large head. “Oh, ja, this is very good land. I am glad I persuaded Esther to leave the Muskego settlement and move northeast. But, as you will soon see, we are still getting settled.”

Ja, how’s that, Lars?”

Kristin heard the note of curiosity in Mr. Olstad’s voice.

“I purchased the land and built a barn and a cabin.” He paused and gave a derisive snort. “Well, a fine home takes time and money.”

“Oh, ja, that way.” Mr. Olstad seemed to understand.

And Kristin did too. One couldn’t expect enormous comforts out in the Wisconsin wilderness.

Just then they passed a stately home situated on the Fox River. Two quaint dormers peered from the angled roof, which appeared to be supported by a pair of white pillars.

“That is Mr. Morgan Martin’s home. He is a lawyer in town.”

Uncle Lars delivered the rest of his explanation with a sneer. “And an Indian agent.”

“Indians?” Kristin’s hand flew to her throat.

“Do not fret. The soldiers across the river at Fort Howard protect the area.”

Kristin forced her taut muscles to relax.

“Out here the deer are plentiful and fishing is good. Fine lumber up here too. But the Norwegian population is small. Nevertheless, we have our own church, and the reverend speaks our language.”

“A good thing,” Mr. Olstad remarked.

“I cannot wait for the day when Far owns land,” Peder said, glancing at Mr. Olstad. “Lots of land.” The warm wind blew his auburn hair outward from his narrow face, and his hazel eyes sparked with enthusiasm, giving the young man a somewhat wild appearance. “But no farming for me. I want to be rich someday.”

“As do we all!” exclaimed Mr. Olstad, whose appearance was an older, worn-out version of his son’s.

Kristin’s mind had parked on land ownership. “And once you are settled, Sylvia will come to America. I cannot wait. I miss her so much.”

She grappled with a fresh onset of tears. Not only was Sylvia her best friend, but she and the entire Olstad clan had also become like family to her ever since a smallpox epidemic ravaged their little village two years ago, claiming the lives of Kristin’s parents and two younger brothers. When Uncle Lars had learned of the tragic news, he offered her a place to stay in his home if she came to America. Onkel wrote that she should be with her family, so Kristin had agreed to make the voyage. Her plans to leave Norway had encouraged the Olstads to do

the same. But raising the funds to travel took time and much hard work. While the Olstads scrimped and saved up their crop earnings, Kristin did spinning, weaving, knitting, and sewing for those with money to spare. By God’s grace, they were finally here.

Uncle Lars steered the wagon around a sharp bend in the rutty road. He drove to the top of a small hill, and Kristin could see the blue Lake Michigan to her left and farm fields to her right.

Then a lovely white wood-framed house came into view. It didn’t look all that different from the home they’d just past, with dormers, a covered front porch, and stately pillars bearing the load of a wide overhang. She marveled at the homestead’s large, well-maintained barn and several outbuildings. American homes looked like this? Then no wonder Mr. Olstad couldn’t wait to own his own farm!

Up ahead Kristin spied a lone figure of a man. She could just barely make out his faded blue cambric shirt, tan trousers, and the hoe in his hands as he worked the edge of the field. Closer still, she saw his light brown hair springing out from beneath his hat. As the wagon rolled past him, the man ceased his labor and turned their way. Although she couldn’t see his eyes as he squinted into the sunshine, Kristin did catch sight of his tanned face. She guessed his age to be not too much more than hers and decided he was really quite handsome.

“Do not even acknowledge the likes of him,” Uncle Lars spat derisively. “Good Christians do not associate with Sam Sundberg or any members of his family.”

Oh, dear, too late! Kristin had already given him a little smile out of sheer politeness. She had assumed he was a friend or neighbor. But at her uncle’s warning she quickly lowered her gaze.

Kristin’s ever-inquiring nature got the best of her. “What is so bad about that family?”

“They are evil—like the Martins. Even worse, Karl Sundberg is married to a heathen Indian woman who casts spells on the good people of this community.”

“Spells?” Peder’s eyes widened.

Ja, spells. Why else would some folks’ crops fail while Karl’s flourish? He gets richer and richer with his farming in the summer, his logging camps in the winter, and his fur trading with heathens, while good folks like me fall on hard times.”

“Hard times?” Peder echoed the words.

Ja, same seed. Same fertile ground. Same golden opportunity.”

Uncle Lars swiveled to face the Olstads. “I will tell you why that happens. The Sundbergs have hexed good Christians like me.” He wagged his head. “Oh, they are an evil lot, those Sundbergs and Martins. Same as the Indians.”

Indians? Curiosity got the better of her, and Kristin swung around in the wagon to get one last glimpse of Sam Sundberg. She could hardly believe he was as awful as her uncle described. Why, he even removed his hat just now and gave her a cordial nod.

“Turn around, niese, and mind your manners!” Uncle Lars’s large hand gripped her upper arm and he gave her a mild shake.

“I . . . I am sorry, Onkel,” Kristin stammered. “But I have never seen an Indian.”

“Sam Sundberg is not an Indian. It is his father’s second wife and their children. Oneida half-breeds is what we call them.”

“Half-breed, eh?”

Kristin glanced over her shoulder and saw Peder stroke his chin.

“Interesting,” he added.

“How very interesting.” Kristin couldn’t deny her interest was piqued. “Are there many Indians living in the Wisconsin Territory?”

Ja, they trespass on my land, but I show my gun and they leave without incident. Sundberg brings his Indian wife to church.” He wagged his head. “Such a disgrace.”

“And the Territory officials do nothing?” Mr. Olstad asked.

Uncle Lars puffed out his chest. “As of three months ago, we are the State of Wisconsin—no longer a territory.” Uncle Lars stated the latter with as much enthusiasm as a stern schoolmaster. “Now the government will get rid of those savages once and for all.” He sent Kristin a scowl. “And you, my liten niese, will do well to stay away from Indians. All of them, including our neighbors, the Sundbergs. You hear, lest you get yourself scalped.”

Ja, Onkel.”

With a measure of alarm, Kristin touched her braided hair and chanced a look at Peder and Mr. Olstad. Both pairs of wide eyes seemed to warn her to heed Uncle Lars’s instructions. She would, of course. But somehow she couldn’t imagine the man they’d just passed doing her any harm. Would he?Sam Sundberg wiped the beads of perspiration off his brow before dropping his hat back on his head. Who was the little blonde riding next to Lars Eikaas? Sam hadn’t seen her before. And the men in the wagon bed . . . he’d never seen them either.

After a moment’s deliberation he concluded they were the expected arrivals from the “Old Country.” Months ago Sam recalled hearing talk in town about Lars’s orphaned niece sailing to America with friends of the family, so he assumed the two red-haired men and the young lady were the topics of that particular conversation. But wouldn’t it just serve Mr. Eikaas right if that blonde angel turned his household upside down—or, maybe, right-side up?

He smirked at the very idea. Sam didn’t have to meet that young lady to guess Mr. Eikaas would likely have his hands full. Her second backward glance said all Sam needed to know.

The word plucky sprang into his mind. He chuckled. Plucky she

seemed, indeed.

But was she wise enough not to believe everything her uncle said?

Sam thought it a real shame. Years ago Pa and Lars Eikaas had been friends. But then Pa’s silver went missing, insults were traded, and the Eikaases’ prejudice against Ma, Jackson, and Mary kept the feud alive.

The Eikaas wagon rolled out of sight, leaving brown clouds of dust in its wake. A grin threatened as Sam thought again of that plucky blonde’s curious expression. Maybe she did have a mind of her own. Now wouldn’t that be something? Sam thanked God that not everyone around here was as intolerant of Wisconsin Natives as the Eikaas family. There were those who actually befriended the Indians and stood up to government officials in their stead. Like Pa, for instance. Like Sam himself.

The blistering sun beat down on him. Removing his hat once more, he wiped the sweat from his forehead. He started pondering the latest government proposal to remove the Indians from their land. First the Oneida tribe had been forced out, and soon the Menominee band would be “removed” and “civilized.” As bad as that was, it irked Sam more to think about how the government figured it knew best for the Indians. Government plans hadn’t succeeded in the past, so why would they now? Something else had to be done. Relocating the Menominee would cause those people nothing but misery. They’d stated as much themselves. Furthermore, the Indians, led by Chief Oshkosh, were determined not to give up their last tract of land. Sam predicted this current government proposal would only serve to stir up more violence between Indians and whites.

But not if he and Pa could help it.

In the distance he heard the clang of the dinner bell. Ma didn’t like him to tarry when food was on the table. Across the beet field, Sam saw his younger brother run on ahead of him. He wagged his head at the twelve-year-old and his voracious appetite.

With one calloused hand gripping the hoe and the other holding the bushel basket, Sam trudged toward their white clapboard home. Its two dormers protruded proudly from the second floor.

Entering the mudroom, he fetched cold water from the inside well, peeled off his hat, and quickly washed up. Next he donned a fresh shirt. Ma insisted upon cleanliness at the supper table. Finally presentable, he made his way into the basement where the summer kitchen and a small eating area were located. The cool air met his sun-stoked skin and Sam sighed, appreciating the noonday respite.

Next he noticed a cake in the middle of the table.

“That looks good enough to eat,” he teased, resisting the urge to steal a finger-full of white frosting.

Ma gave him a smile, and her nut-brown eyes darkened as she set the wooden tureen of turkey and wild rice onto the table. “Since it’s Rachel’s last day with us, I thought I would prepare an extra special dessert.”

Sam glanced across the table at the glowing bride-to-be. In less than twenty-four hours Rachel Decker would become Mrs. Luke Smith. But for the remainder of today she’d fulfill her duties as Ma’s hired house girl who helped with the cooking, cleaning, sewing, washing, and ironing whenever Ma came down with one of her episodes, which were sometimes so intensely painful that Ma couldn’t get out of bed without help. Rachel had been both a comfort and an efficient assistant to Ma.

“I helped bake the cake, Sam.”

He grinned at his ten-year-old sister, Mary. “Good job.”

They all sat down, Mary taking her seat beside Rachel. Sam helped his mother into her place at the head of the table then lowered himself into his chair next to Jackson, who’d been named after Major General Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of this great country.

“Sam, since your father is away,” Ma began, “will you please ask God’s blessing on our food?”

“Be glad to.” He bowed his head. “Dearest Lord, we thank Thee for Thy provisions. Strengthen and nourish us with this meal so we may glorify Thee with our labors. In Jesus’s name, amen.”

Action ensued all around the table. The women served themselves and then between Sam and Jack, they scraped the bowl clean.

“Good thing Pa’s not home from his meetings in town,” Jack muttered with a crooked grin.

“If your father were home,” Ma retorted, “I would have made more food.”

“Should have made more anyhow.” Jack gave her a teasing grin. “No seconds.” He clanged the bowl and spoon together as if to prove his point.

“You have seconds on your plate already,” Ma said. “Why, I have never seen anyone consume as much food as you do, Jackson.”

His smile broadened. “I’m growing. Soon I’ll be taller than Sam.”

“Brotherly competition.” Sam had to chuckle. But in the next moment, he wondered if his family behaved oddly. Didn’t all families enjoy meals together? Tease and laugh together? Tell stories once the sun went down? According to Rachel, they didn’t. The ebony-haired, dark-eyed young woman had grown up without a mother and had a drunkard for a father . . . until Ma got wind of the situation and took her in. She invited Rachel to stay in the small room adjacent to the kitchen and offered her a job. Rachel had accepted. And now, years later, Rachel would soon marry a fine man, Luke Smith, a friend of Sam’s.

Taking a bite of his meal, he chewed and looked across the table at Mary. Both she and Jack resembled their mother, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, and graceful, willowy frames, while Sam took after his father, blue eyes and stocky build, measuring just under six feet. Yet, in spite of the outward dissimilarities, the five Sundbergs were a closely knit family, and Sam felt grateful that he’d known nothing but happiness throughout

his childhood. He had no recollection whatsoever of his biological mother who had taken ill and died during the voyage from Norway to America.

Sam had been but a toddler when she went home to be with the Lord, and soon after disembarking in New York, his father met another Norwegian couple. They helped care for Sam and eventually persuaded Pa to take his young son and move with them to Wisconsin, known back then as part of the “Michigan Territory.” Pa seized the opportunity, believing the promises that westward expansion touted, and he was not disappointed.

He learned to plant, trap, and trade with the Indians, and he became a successful businessman. In time, he saved enough funds to make his dreams of owning land and farming a reality.

Then, when Sam was a boy of eight years, his father met and married Mariah, an Oneida. Like her, many Oneida were Christians and fairly well educated due to the missionaries who had lived among them. In time Sam took to his new mother, and she to him. Through the years Ma cherished and admonished him as though he were her own son. She learned the Norwegian language and could speak it fluently. As far as Sam was concerned, he was her own son—and Mariah, his own mother.

They were a family.

“Was that the Eikaas wagon driving by not long ago?” Mary asked.

Sam snapped from his musing. “Sure was. It appears they have relatives in town.”

“Mr. Eikaas didn’t stop and visit, did he?” Mary’s eyes were as round as gingersnaps.

Sam chuckled. “No, of course not. I can’t recall the last time Lars Eikaas spoke to me . . . or any of the Sundbergs, for that matter.”

“Erik is nice to me at school.” Mary took a bite of her meal.

“Glad to hear it.”

“I can’t wait to begin school next week.”

Sam grinned at his sister’s enthusiasm. He’d felt the same way as a boy.

“Sam, what made you assume Mr. Eikaas transported relatives in his wagon today?”

He glanced at Ma. “A while back I’d heard that Lars’s niece was coming to America, accompanied by friends, and since I didn’t recognize the three passengers in the wagon this morning, I drew my own conclusions.”

“Is she pretty?” Jackson’s cheeks bulged with food.

“Is who pretty?”

“Mr. Eikaas’s niece . . . is she pretty?”

Sam recalled the plucky blonde whose large, cornflower-blue eyes looked back at him with interest from beneath her bonnet. And pretty? As much as Sam hated to admit it, she was about the prettiest young lady he’d ever set eyes on.

Jackson elbowed him. “Hey, I asked you a question.”

Sam gave his younger brother an annoyed look. “Yeah, I s’pose she’s pretty. But don’t go getting any big ideas about me courting her. She’s an Eikaas.”

“You’re awful old to not be married yet.” Jack rolled his dark eyes.

“What do you know about it? I’m only twenty-one.” Sam grinned. “Hush up and eat.” It’s what the boy did best. “So . . . did everyone have a pleasant morning?” He forked another bite of food into his mouth, wondering why he tried so hard to shift the subject off of Lars Eikaas’s niece.

Kristin looked around the one-room shanty with its unhewn walls and narrow, bowed loft. Cotton squares of material covered the windows, making the heat inside nearly unbearable.

Disappointment riddled her being like buckshot. Although she knew she should feel grateful for journeying safely this far, and now to have a roof over her head, she couldn’t seem to shake her displeasure at seeing her relatives’ living quarters. It looked nothing like her uncle had described in his letters nor the homes she’d glimpsed on the way.

“Here is your trunk of belongings,” Uncle Lars said, carrying the wooden chest in on one of his broad shoulders. With a grunt, he set it down in the far corner of the cabin. “Where is my inheritance? Let me have a look at it.”

“Right now, Onkel?”

Ja, ja . . .” Impatience filled his tone.

Pulling open the drawstring of her leather purse, she reached inside and extracted the key. She unlocked the trunk and opened its curved lid. Getting onto her knees, Kristin moved aside her clothes and extra shoes until she found what she searched for. Poppa’s gold watch. She held the black velvet-covered box reverently in her hands for one last, long moment before she stood and presented it to her uncle.

“This belonged to my poppa.”

“Ah . . .” Uncle Lars’s face lit up with delight as he opened the box. Looking to Aunt Esther, he nodded. “This will bring a fair price, do you think?”

Disbelief poured over her. “But . . . you would not sell Poppa’s watch, would you?”

“None of your business!”

Kristin jumped back at the biting reply. Her opinion of her uncle dropped like a rock into a cavern.

“Anything more?” Her uncle bent over the wooden chest and quickly rummaged through it, spilling clothes onto the unswept floor.

Onkel, please, stop. My garments . . .”

“Does not seem to be anything else.” Uncle Lars narrowed his gaze. “Is there?”

“No.” The necklace Mor had given her burned against her already perspiring skin. Still, Kristin refused to part with the gift. “Nothing more. As you know, Poppa was a farmer. He supplemented his income by working at the post office, but no money was ever saved. After my parents died, I sold everything to help pay for a portion of my passage to America. I earned the rest myself.”

“Any money left?”

Kristin shook her head as she picked up the last of her belongings, careful not to meet her uncle’s stare. A little money remained in the special pocket she’d sewn into her petticoat. For safety, she’d kept her funds on her person throughout the entire voyage. The last of her coinage would purchase muchneeded undergarments. She’d managed to save it throughout the journey for the specific purpose of buying new foundations when she reached America. It wasn’t inherited. She’d worked hard for it.

With a grunt Uncle Lars turned and sauntered out of the cabin.

“You will sleep in the loft with your cousins.” Aunt Esther’s tone left no room for questions or argument. Wearing a plain, brown dress with a tan apron pinned to its front, and with her dark brown hair tightly pinned into a bun, the older woman looked as drab as her surroundings. “Your uncle and I sleep on a pallet by the hearth.”

“Yes, Tante. I am sure I will be very comfortable.” Another lie.

“Come, let us eat.” Aunt Esther walked toward the hearth where a heavy black kettle sat on top of a low-burning fire. “There is venison stew for our meal.”

“It sounds delicious.” Kristin’s stomach growled in anticipation. She’d eaten very little on the ship this morning. Excitement plus the waves on Lake Michigan made eating impossible. But after disembarking in Green Bay, her stomach began to settle, and now she was famished.

Aunt Esther called everyone to the table, which occupied an entire corner of the cabin. Her three children, two girls and one boy, ranging in ages from seven to sixteen, came in from outside, as did the Olstads. After a wooden bowl filled with stew was set before each person, the family clasped hands and recited a standard Norwegian prayer . . .

I Jesu navn gar vi til bords,—We sit down in the name of Jesus,

Spise drikke pa ditt ord,—To eat and drink according to Your

Word,

Deg Gud til are, oss til gavn,—To Your honor, Oh Lord, and

for our benefit,

Sa far vi mat i Jesu navn.—We receive food in the name of

Jesus.

Amen.

Having said grace, hands were released, and everyone picked up a spoon and began to eat. Kristin noticed her cousins, Inga and Anna, eyeing her with interest. They resembled their father, blonde curls and blue eyes.

“What do you like to do on sunny afternoons such as this one?” she asked cheerfully, hoping to start conversation. After all, Inga’s age was close to hers. Perhaps her cousin would help her meet friends.

“We do not talk at the table,” Aunt Esther informed her. “We eat, not talk.”

“Yes, Tante.” Kristin glanced at Peder and Mr. Olstad who replied with noncommittal shrugs and kept eating.

Silently, Kristin did the same. The Olstads always had lively discussions around their table.

When the meal ended, the girls cleared the table and the men took young Erik and ambled outside.

“May I help with cleaning up?” Kristin asked her aunt.

“No. You rest today and regain your strength. Tomorrow we are invited to a wedding, the day after is the Sabbath. Then beginning on Monday, you will labor from sunup to sunset like everyone else in this place.”

“Except for one,” Inga quipped. No one but Kristin heard.

“Who?” Her lips moved, although she didn’t utter a sound.

Far, that is who.” Disrespect seeped from Inga’s tone, which was loud and clear.

Hadn’t Aunt Esther overheard it?

Tante suddenly whirled around and glared at Kristin. “Do something with yourself. We are working here.”

With a frown, Kristin backed away. Her aunt’s brusque manner caused her to feel weary and more homesick than

ever. She missed her parents and her little brothers. Why did God take them, leaving her to live life without them? And Sylvia . . . how she longed for her best friend!

Kristin knelt by the trunk and carefully lifted out a soft, knitted shawl that had once belonged to her mother, Lydia Eikaas. Mor had been an excellent seamstress, expert in spinning wool into yarn and thread, as well as in weaving and sewing garments. She’d taught Kristin everything she knew about the craft. Surely Kristin could now put her skills to good use in this new country, this land of opportunity.

She sighed and glanced over to where her aunt and two cousins continued straightening up after the meal. Inga and Anna barely smiled, and her aunt’s expression seemed permanently frozen into a frown. Is that what this country really afforded . . . misery?

Allowing her gaze to wander around the dismal cabin once more, Kristin began to wish she had not come to America.

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The Sound of Red Returning by Sue Duffy/Kindle Fire Giveaway and Blog Tour

The Sound of Red Returning by Sue Duffy

Kindle Fire Giveaway and Blog Tour

After losing everyone she loves, concert pianist Liesl Bower has nowhere to go but to escape into her music. Searching for the peace she usually finds in her concertos and sonatas, Liesl can’t shake the feeling that she is being haunted by her past . . . and by someone following her. When she spots a familiar and eerie face in the audience of a concert she’s giving for the president in Washington, DC, the scariest day of her life comes back to her with a flash. It has been fifteen years since Liesl watched her beloved Harvard music mentor assaulted on a dark night in Moscow and just as long since the CIA disclosed to her that he’d been spying for Russia. She had seen that man–that eerie face–the night Professor Devoe was attacked. And now he’s back–and coming for her.

On the run and struggling to rely on the protection of CIA agent Ava Mullins and handsome newspaper reporter Cade O’Brien, Liesl learns she is the prey of an underground cell of Russian KGB agents determined to restore their country to its former Soviet might. But what she doesn’t know is that she is in possession of something–a piece of sheet music–that Russian intelligence is now frantic to find. Inside that music is a secret code, the hidden transcriptions of her deceased mentor, that clearly identify a Russian mole operating inside Israel’s Department of Defense, a mole with enough power and access to execute a daring assassination that no one would see coming.

Caught in a deadly conflict between American and Russian undercover agents, this innocent young pianist is just trying to survive her own personal trauma. Through it all, Liesl must learn that no matter how dark her world grows or how fiercely her enemies pursue her, God is still in control–if only she can yield herself to His grace. Read an excerpt.

My Thoughts on this book!

Sue Duffy writes a mixture of musical talent and political scandal, resulting in a wonderful suspense thriller, “The Sound of Red Returning.” Because she was such a gifted and talented piano player, Liesl Bower finds herself mixed up in a political scandal that causes many to fear for her life. All because of accidentally picking up a piece of sheet music with secret codes mixed in with the musical notes that Russian intelligence is frantic to have in their possession. This causes a horrific journey that Liesl never dreams she will be taking. She meets many interesting people on this journey, including Cade, who is not renting the old house on the beach her grandparents owned and his grandfather Ian.  Who will finally find this piece of music that Liesl hasn’t seen for 15 years?

I thoroughly enjoyed this very different suspense thriller following Liesl and her team on a scary thrill of a lifetime. With characters created to give this story interest, thrills and a lot of laugh’s and fun,  this is a unique story that takes your imagination to a higher level. I loved Cade’s grandfather Ian, he has a personality that just grows on you. And the attraction between Cade and Liesl is just too sweet!

This is a wonderful thriller that will warm your heart, and you are sure to enjoy! Go grab a copy to read and enjoy for yourself!

A big Thank You to LitFuse Publicity Group for giving this book for me to read and review. I was not expected or required to provide a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

About the Author

Sue Duffy is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in Moody Magazine, The Presbyterian Journal, Sunday Digest, and The Christian Reader. She is the author of Mortal Wounds (Barbour, 2001) and Fatal Loyalty (Kregel, 2010). Sue has also contributed to Stories for a Woman’s Heart (Multnomah). She and her husband, Mike, have three grown children.

Find out more at www.sueduffybooks.com.

Win a Kindle Fire from @SueDuffy2 and @KregelBooks in the “Red Returning” Giveaway!

Sue Duffy and her publisher, Kregel Publications, are celebrating the release of The Sound of Red Returning by giving away a Kindle Fire prize package worth over $200 to one lucky winner!!!! (1/23-2/11)

Enter the Sue Duffy’s Giveaway today and you could win:

* A brand new Kindle Fire with Wi-Fi

* The Sound of Red Returning (Book One in the Red Returning series) by Sue Duffy

To enter click one of the icons below. But, hurry! The giveway ends on 2/11. Sue will be announcing the winner of the “Red Returning” Giveaway on February 13th on the Litfuse website!

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Where Wildflowers Bloom….By Ann Shorey

Where Wildflowers Bloom>>>>By…Ann Shorey

Price: $14.99
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2074-2
ISBN-10: 0-8007-2074-1
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
Number of pages: 336
Publication Date: Jan. 12
Formats: Paperback

Book Blurb
How far will she go to follow her dreams?

The Civil War stole a father and brother from Faith Lindberg–as well

as Royal Baxter, the man she wanted to marry. With only her

grandfather left, she dreams of leaving Noble Springs, Missouri, and

traveling west to Oregon to start a new life, away from the memories

that haunt her. But first she must convince her grandfather to sell the

family’s mercantile and leave a town their family has called home for

generations.

When Royal Baxter suddenly returns, Faith allows herself to hope that

she and Royal will finally wed. But does he truly love her? Or will

another man claim her heart?

My Thoughts on this book!

Faith and her grandfather had lost so much, the only way Faith thought they could be happy again was to take off on the Oregon Trail and start a new life in the West. This has been Faith’s dream for a while, and now it was making her grandfather realize the same thing. But getting him to leave their home in the small Missouri town of Noble Springs was not going to be easy.

But then things started happening that drew Faith to their home, even though Faith wasn’t aware of it yet.

Her grandfather put Faith in charge of the store, letting her run it as she pleased. This did not make a lot of the men in the area happy, but it wasn’t long before these men, as well as the rest of the neighbors were warming up to Faith, accepting her as the new store manager.

Royal, a guy that promised Faith he would keep her ribbon and remember her while he was in the war came back in town. And though he didn’t remember her or the ribbon when she asks him about it, he decided to woo her, but did he really love her?

Then she meets Rosemary, who becomes like a sister to Faith. Not to mention Rosemary’s brother Curt, to which both Curt and Faith were attracted to each other, but neither seemed to realize it for a while.

Her grandfather’s health issues, Curt becoming friends with her granddad and spending time with him, the break-ins, Curt always being there for her when she really needed someone.

But Faith just couldn’t see that they should stay in Noble Springs, she was still determined to leave, after all this was her dream.

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction story, with characters that I loved more and more as I continued to read the book. That is all buy Royal, this guy just irks me, I wanted him out of Faith’s life to give Curt a chance! The history in the story is so very detailed you feel like you are there, walking around the little town visiting all of the shops, talking to the owners of the businesses there. I love the feel of the small town atmosphere where everyone knows everyone else, well, and everyone knows your business, which is not so good sometimes too! But still, I love it! I am looking forward to Ann Shorey’s next book in this series. This is just a wonderfully good read, so go grab a copy for yourself to read and enjoy!

This book was provided by Revell Publishers 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.

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

“Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Kregel Blog Tour: Unhallowed Ground: by Mel Starr

Unhallowed Ground:

The Fourth Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon

by Mel Starr

About the Book: Another brilliant slice of medieval crime fiction

The fourth adventure of Hugh de Singleton, medieval surgeon and detective, finds Hugh investigating what seems to be a suicide of one of the town’s scoundrels and his longtime enemy. Though at first reluctant to pursue a mystery that no one else sees, Hugh and and his new wife Kate set out from the town of Bampton only to follow the clues back in order to discover which of their friends committed the murder.

My Thoughts on this book!

This was my first book in this series so I had fun figuring out some of the words, which I thought was neat. Maybe because some of my family no longer with us used some of the same words? And Hugh’s herbal medicines would interested a lot of people today, I wonder myself if some of these remedies will work just as well as prescription medicines.

I felt bad that Hugh was on his own thinking that someone else murdered old atte Bridge, instead of him taking his own life. Well except Hugh’s new wife that is. I enjoyed the love, and trust of this couple, and the dependence they had for each other. At least Hugh knew he could talk to his wife about his feelings about the murder when he didn’t have anyone else to talk with.

This is a well written book set in this small town with characters that you grow to love and enjoy, some so humble, and some not so humble. Leaning about the 1366 culture was interesting, and I wouldn’t a lot of people today love their primitive living. I really enjoyed this author’s writing. As you read the book, you will see his own thoughts about different situations through the character Hugh. And Hugh and Kate is just a couple we all want living in our neighborhood!

I recommend this book to anyone that likes historical fiction, or really anyone that just likes a good read! Grab a copy to read and enjoy for yourself!

I received this book from Kregel Publications to participate in their blog tour. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

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

About the Author

Mel R. Starr

Short Biography: Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After graduating with a MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970, he taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School. Mel and his wife, Susan, have two daughters and seven grandchildren. 

FIRST Wild Card Tour …………Cherie Calbom, MS….The Juice Lady’s Weekend Weight-Loss Diet

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:
Cherie Calbom, MS
and the book:
The Juice Lady’s Weekend Weight-Loss Diet: Two days to a new dress size
Siloam (December 13, 2011)\

 

My Thoughts on this book!

I’ve heard a lot about the juice diet, but this is the first book I’ve read about it. This book gives full details of what to do in order to lose weight on this diet. The book is well written and organized with so many interesting tips and so much information about how the diet will work for you.  You will need a juicer for this diet, and the author gives great details about how to use it for the recipes. And speaking of the recipes, there are pages of recipes that sound really delicious. Since I don’t have a juicer, I am thinking about adapting some of the juice recipes to use in my smoothie maker. I think it will work well, especially if I follow the recipes. It should do about the same things.

If you are one that has always wanted to try this diet, I highly recommend this book to you. It will be a tremendous help to you as you start your diet. And to downsize a whole dress size in two days…..WOW this is awesome ladies!! Try it out!

 

***Special thanks to Jon Wooten of Charisma House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cherie Calbom, MS, is the author of The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet, The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution, and Juicing for Life, which has nearly two million books in print in the United States. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, Cherie has worked as a clinical nutritionist and has a master’s degree in nutrition.
Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Jump-Start Your Diet…

Detox Your System…

Lose a Dress Size…

Shrink Your Love Handles . . .

…with this two-day diet program that helps you get healthy for life.

Start Friday night with a juice or green smoothie dinner. Then have an all-liquid Saturday and Sunday breakfast and lunch, followed by a raw food dinner Sunday night. It’s easy, delicious, and requires only a weekend commitment!

Look and feel great for a special event

Motivate yourself for continued weight loss

Cleanse your system after a stressful week

Jump-start your living foods lifestyle!
Product Details:

 

  • List Price: $12.99

 

 

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Siloam (December 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616386568
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616386566

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Weight Loss on a Mission

The World Health Organization estimates that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, incurring health costs beyond $117 billion per year in the US alone.1 It’s obvious that we need to do something differently. We need a new way of life—a revolution in how we eat, one that we adopt for the rest of our lives.

What if you found a weight-loss program that could help you lose weight more effectively than anything you’ve ever tried? And what if that program didn’t involve expensive meals you had to order, pills you had to buy, or anything other than great whole foods you prepare in your kitchen? What if that program helped

you look and feel better than ever? And what if it was such an energizing way of life that you wanted to follow it for the rest of your life? Are you interested?

The Juice Lady’s Weekend Weight-Loss Diet is a fast track to just such a program. This two-day jump start can lead you into a transformative lifestyle that is helping thousands of people lose weight, keep it off for good, and completely revolutionize their health. This is what I call weight loss on a mission—the mission is

to help you become healthy, happy, and filled with life, as well as slim and fit. (You’ll find a complete weight-loss juicing program in my book The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet.)

Freshly made vegetable juices are at the center of the weekend weight-loss diet. They provide concentrated sources of very absorbable nutrients. They are low in fat and calories, so replacing higher-calorie foods with fresh juice is a shoo-in for weight-loss success.

But the benefits of juicing don’t stop there. Vegetable juices help curb cravings because they satisfy your body’s nutrient needs. They’re alkaline, which is very helpful to balance out a system that’s most probably too acidic. They’re also high in antioxidants that are antiaging and immune enhancing—that means you’re giving your body the things it needs to start looking and feeling younger.

Fresh Juice—a Cornucopia of Nutrients

Every time you pour a glass of juice, picture a cornucopia of nutrients cascading into your body, promoting health, revving up your metabolism, balancing weight, and increasing vitality. This melange of nutrients can change your life—completely change your life—as it completely changed mine! Here’s what every glass of juice provides.

Amino acids

Did you ever consider juice to be a source of protein? Most people would say no. Surprisingly, it does offer more amino acids than you might think. We use amino acids to form muscles, ligaments, tendons, hair, nails, and skin. Protein is needed to create enzymes, which direct chemical reactions, and hormones, which

guide bodily functions. Fruits and vegetables contain lower quantities of protein than animal foods such as muscle meats and dairy products. Therefore they are thought of as poor protein sources. But juices are concentrated forms of vegetables and so provide easily absorbed amino acids, the building blocks that make up protein. For example, 16 ounces of carrot juice (2–3 pounds of carrots) provides about 5 grams of protein (the equivalent of about a chicken wing or 2 ounces of tofu). I don’t recommend drinking that much carrot juice because of the sugar content, but that’s an example.

Vegetable protein is not complete protein, so it does not provide all the amino acids your body needs. In addition to lots of dark leafy greens, when you finish your weekend weight-loss kick start, you’ll want to eat other protein sources, such as sprouts, legumes (beans, lentils, and split peas), nuts, seeds, and whole grains. If you’re not vegan, you can add eggs and free-range, grass-fed muscle meats such as chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef along with wild-caught fish.

Carbohydrates

Most vegetable juice contains good carbohydrates. The exceptions would be carrots and beets, which have higher sugar content. They should be used in small quantities and diluted with low-sugar vegetable juices such as cucumber and dark leafy greens. Carbs provide fuel for the body, which it uses for energy, heat production, and chemical reactions. The chemical bonds of carbohydrates lock in the energy a plant takes up from the sun and soil, and this energy is released when the body burns plant food as fuel.

There are three categories of carbs: simple (sugars), complex (starches and fiber), and fiber. Choose more complex carbohydrates in your diet than simple carbs. There are more simple sugars in fruit juice than vegetable juice, which is why I recommend you juice primarily vegetables, use low-sugar fruit for flavor and a little sweetness, and in most cases drink no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice a day.

Both insoluble fiber and soluble fiber are found in whole fruits and vegetables—both types are needed for good health. It’s amazing how many people still say juice doesn’t have any fiber. It contains the soluble form—pectin and gums, which are excellent for the digestive tract. Soluble fiber also helps to lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and improve good bowel bacteria and elimination.

Essential fatty acids

There is very little fat in fruit and vegetable juices, but the fats juice does contain are essential to your health. The essential fatty acids (EFAs)—linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids in particular—found in fresh juice function as components of nerve cells, cellular membranes, and hormonelike substances called prostaglandins. They are also required for energy production.

Vitamins

Fresh juice is replete with vitamins, but heat and processing destroy vitamins. We need these organic substances because they take part, along with minerals and enzymes, in chemical reactions throughout the body. For example, vitamin C participates in the production of collagen, one of the main types of protein found in the body that keeps your skin looking fresh and youthful rather than sagging and aging. Fresh juices are excellent sources of water-soluble vitamins such as C, many of the B vitamins, and some fat-soluble vitamins such as E and K, along with key phytonutrients like beta-carotene (known as pro-vitamin A), lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. They also are coupled with cofactors that increase the effectiveness of each nutrient; for example, vitamin C and bioflavonoids work together synergistically to make each more effective.

Minerals

There are about two dozen minerals that your body needs to function well, and they’re abundant in fresh juice. They make up part of bones, teeth, and blood, and they help maintain normal cellular function. The major minerals include calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. Trace

minerals, which include boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel, selenium, vanadium, and zinc, are those needed in very small amounts.

Minerals occur in inorganic forms in the soil, and plants incorporate them into their tissues. As a part of this process, the minerals are combined with organic molecules into easily absorbable forms, which makes plants an excellent dietary source of minerals. Juicing is believed to provide even better mineral absorption than whole vegetables because the process of juicing releases minerals into a highly absorbable, easily digestible form.

Enzymes

These living molecules are prevalent in raw foods, but heat, such as cooking and pasteurization, destroys them. Enzymes facilitate the biochemical reactions necessary for life. They are complex structures composed predominantly of protein and usually require additional cofactors to function, including vitamins; minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron; and other elements. Fresh juice is chock-full of enzymes. Without them we would not have life.

When you eat and drink enzyme-rich foods, these little molecules help break down food in the digestive tract, thereby sparing the pancreas, liver, and stomach—the body’s enzyme producers—from overwork. This sparing action is known as the “law of adaptive secretion of digestive enzymes,” which asserts that the body will adapt or change the amount of digestive enzymes it produces according to what is needed. According to this law, when a portion of the food you eat is digested by enzymes present in the food, the

body won’t need to secrete as much of its own enzymes. This allows the body’s energy to be shifted from digestion to other functions such as repair and rejuvenation.

Fresh juices require very little energy expenditure to digest. That is one reason why people who start consistently drinking fresh veggie juice often report that their digestion and elimination improve and that they feel better and more energized right away.

Phytochemicals

Plants contain substances know as phytochemicals that protect them from disease, injury, and pollution. Phyto means plant, and chemical in this context means nutrient. There are tens of thousands of phytochemicals in the foods we eat. For example, the average tomato may contain up to ten thousand different types of these nutrients, with one of the most famous being lycopene. Phytochemicals give plants their color, odor, and flavor. Unlike vitamins and enzymes, they are heat stable and can withstand cooking. Some of them, such as lycopene, appear to be more effective when cooked.

Biophotons

There’s one more substance abundant in raw foods that is more difficult to measure than the others. It’s known as biophotons, which is light energy that is found in the living cells of raw plant foods. These photons have been shown to emit coherent light energy when uniquely photographed (Kirlian photography). This light energy is believed to have many benefits when consumed, such as aiding cellular communication and feeding the mitochondria and the DNA. They are believed to contribute to our energy, vitality, and a feeling of vibrancy and well-being.

Now that you’ve learned about the powerful nutritional punch packed inside each glass of juice you drink, let’s consider how this applies to weight loss.

Power Foods That Give Your Weight Loss a Big Boost

In addition to some of the basic steps you can take to achieve weight loss success, there are specific foods you can add to your weight-loss program that will make a huge difference in assisting your body in burning fat. These super foods can help you succeed and give you super-size health dividends at the same time. Be sure to add them to your weight-loss program.

Green juice: the number one fat cure. In honor of his hundredth show, Dr. Oz served on the set his favorite green juice drink to one hundred people who had lost thirteen thousand pounds combined. This blend of cucumbers, apple, and leafy greens started a new wave of interest in green juices for weight loss. So why do green juices work so well? Dr. Oz cites the fact that they compensate for the fact that most of us are simply not getting sufficient nourishment from standard diets. He says, “We know we have to have at least five fistfuls of leafy green vegetables and fruit every day, so we make a morning green drink.”2

There’s evidence to suggest that even if we took the time to chew up five cups of green veggies each day, we wouldn’t get as much benefit from them as we would from juicing them. The mechanical process of juicing the vegetables breaks apart plant cell walls and makes absorption better than even when the best “chewers” chew their food at least thirty times before swallowing. It has an effect like throwing marbles at a chain-link fence rather than tennis balls; their contents are going to go through in a way that tennis balls can’t.

The juices contain easily absorbed micronutrients that will do more than slim you down—they’ll optimize your overall health and wellness. There’s science behind the green juices transformative powers and a number of reasons why the juices, along with a high intake of living foods, energize your body, fire up your metabolism, speed slimming, and overhaul your health. Here’s the evidence as to why it works.

Green Veggies Help Lower the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Because of their high magnesium content and low glycemic index, green leafy vegetables are also valuable for persons with type 2 diabetes. One study revealed that an increase of just one and onehalf servings a day of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of diabetes.3

Magnesium-rich greens ramp up your energy. A British study comparing the metabolism of female twins found that magnesium intake was the most important dietary variable that determined adiponectin levels.4 Adiponectin is a fat cell hormone that promotes insulin sensitivity. This hormone has recently gained attention from researchers because of its regulation of glucose and fat metabolism. Elevated levels of adiponectin are associated with increased insulin sensitivity and fat burning. Adiponectin also seems to work closely with leptin—a hormone that helps control the appetite. As you lose weight, this hormone gets a boost. Fresh fruit and vegetables have a positive influence on this hormone, which is made in fat cells. It boosts metabolism and helps regulate inflammation, which, consequently, helps to prevent weight gain, becoming a type 2 diabetic, or developing heart disease.

This new study shows very clearly that adequate magnesium is imperative to maintaining adiponectin levels. This means that a deficiency of magnesium, which is common in America, is a clear contributor to the problems people have with weight management. Magnesium also plays a key role in fighting off stress and anxiety, supporting restful sleep, preventing restless leg syndrome, and boosting energy.

Further, magnesium helps prevent fat storage. When magnesium is low, cells fail to recognize insulin. As a result, glucose accumulates in the blood—and then it gets stored as fat instead of being burned for fuel. Green plants, which are rich in magnesium, are far superior to magnesium supplements because the supplements’ particles are a bit large for the body to entirely absorb. (I’m in favor of taking magnesium supplements, if they are needed, but as an adjunct to a magnesium-rich diet.) Green plants take inorganic minerals from the soil through their tiny roots and incorporate them into their cells. They become organic particles that are much smaller and easier for the body to absorb. It is estimated that more than 90 percent of a plant’s minerals is delivered to the cells when you juice the greens. So juice up those leaves—chard, collards, beet tops, parsley, spinach—the five highest in magnesium, plus kohlrabi leaves, kale, dandelion greens, lettuce, and mustard greens.

Here’s the good news—you’ll increase your energy with this highoctane fuel! That means you’ll get more done and feel more like working out, so you’ll burn more calories and build more muscle.

Enzymes Speed Fat Burning

Our bodies produce enzymes that are used in digesting the food we eat. They can be found in the saliva, small intestine, stomach, liver, and pancreas. These hardworking little catalysts break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into fatty acids, amino acids, and forms of glucose that feed your cells.

Enzymes are responsible for a host of reactions in the body. All the minerals, herbs, vitamins, and hormones we take can’t do their jobs without enzymes. When your diet is deficient in enzymes from live foods (uncooked, not processed), your body has to work harder to produce the enzymes it needs. If you’re deficient, you may experience weight gain, depression, and many other maladies that plague modern society.

Enzymes are truly weight-loss supermen. But these magic bullets start decreasing as we age—by age thirty-five most people see a decline in their enzyme production. Still, we need them for weight loss and good digestion. It’s enzymes that assist in the breakdown and burning of fat.

This is where juices come to the rescue—as I mentioned earlier, they’re packed with enzymes. Eating a high percentage of raw food is important because cooking and processing our food destroys enzymes. When you drink fresh, live juices and eat plenty of living foods, the enzymes they contain kick your metabolism into gear by helping to spare your liver and pancreas from working so hard. Then these organs can focus on their metabolic tasks of burning fat and producing energy. And your digestion will improve. This affects your whole life, your whole being.

Three Super-Hero Enzymes

Lipase. Lipase is a fat-splitting enzyme that is abundant in raw foods. It assists your body in digestion,

fat distribution, and fat burning. However, few of us eat enough raw foods to get sufficient lipase

to burn even a normal amount of fat, not to mention any excess fat. Without lipase, fat accumulates.

You can see it on your hips, thighs, buttocks, and stomach. Lipase is richest in raw foods that contain

some fat, such as sprouted seeds and nuts, avocado, and fresh coconut meat.

Protease. As your body burns flab, toxins are released into your system. This can cause water retention and bloating. Protease is a digestive enzyme that helps to break down proteins and eliminate toxins. Eliminating toxins is essential when you’re burning fat. If your body is storing toxins, it’s very difficult to burn fat. But protease comes to the rescue and attacks and eliminates toxins. So, as you can see, it’s crucial to have plenty of protease during weight loss. Protease is richest in the leaves of plants. So juice up those

green leaves and burn fat. Plus, the greens are also rich in antioxidants that bind up toxins and carry them out of your system so they won’t hurt your cells. That means you’ll get double action with green juices.

Amylase. Amylase is a digestive enzyme that breaks down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. It’s also present in saliva. So while we chew our food, it goes to work on carbs. That’s why it’s recommended that you chew each mouthful of food about thirty times. The pancreas also makes amylase. And amylase is plentiful in seeds that contain starch. (You can juice most seeds of fruits and vegetables.) Its therapeutic use is in regulation of histamine, which is produced in response to recognized invaders to the body. Histamine is a responder in allergic reactions such as hay fever and is what causes hives, itchy watery eyes, sneezing,

and runny noses. Amylase breaks down the histamine produced by the body in response to allergens like pollen or dust mites. Some health professionals believe it may help the body identity the allergen as not being harmful so it doesn’t produce the histamine in the first place. This is one reason that people on a high raw plant diet often experience improvement in their allergies. For the most effective approach to increasing

enzymes, you may also want to take an enzyme supplement. I especially like an enzyme formula that

is taken between meals—it cleans up any undigested particles of food floating around the system and

greatly improves digestion. A popular side benefit is that your hair gets thicker and your nails grow

stronger. (For more information on these enzymes, see Appendix A.)

Greens Alkalize Your Body and Promote Weight Loss

Many people eat a high-sugar breakfast consisting of foods and drinks such as orange juice, toast, jam, honey, sweetened cereal, sweet rolls, doughnuts, muffins, waffles, or pancakes. All this sugar and simple carbohydrates (which turn to sugar easily) promote acidity and cause yeast and fungus to grow. They also produce a lot of acid. Traditional high-protein breakfast foods such as omelets, cheese, bacon, sausage, and meat promote elevated acid levels in the body as well. Add to that highly acidic drinks such as coffee, black

tea, sodas, alcohol, and sports drinks, and acidic foods for lunch and dinner, and you’re consuming loads of acid-forming foods throughout the day. Keep in mind that acid-forming food does not mean the state of the food when you eat or drink it but the final ash residue after it is metabolized. As a result of this style of eating, along with not eating enough green veggies and other living foods, many people suffer from a condition known as mild acidosis, which is an out-of-balance pH leaning toward acidity. This means that the body is continually fighting to maintain pH balance.

One of the symptoms of acidosis is weight gain and an inability to lose weight. That’s because the body tends to store acid in fat cells and to hang on to those cells to protect your delicate tissues and organs. It will even make more fat cells in which to store acid, if they’re needed. To turn this scenario around, it’s important to alkalize your body. Greens are one of the best choices you could make because they’re very alkaline. And juicing them gives you an easy way to consume a lot more than you could chew up in a day.

To give your body a great start in rebalancing your pH, make 60 percent to 80 percent of your diet alkalizing foods such as green vegetables, raw juices, grasses such as wheatgrass juice, fresh vegetables and fruit, raw seeds, nuts, and sprouts. Greatly limit or avoid your consumption of acid-forming foods such as meat, dairy products, chocolate, sweets, bread and all other yeast products, alcohol, carbonated drinks, sports drinks, coffee, and black tea. When pH balance is achieved, the body should automatically drop to its ideal, healthy weight unless you have other health challenges. (But those should heal too over time.) As the acidic environment is neutralized with mineral-rich alkaline foods, there will be no need for your body to create new fat cells for storage of acid. And since the remaining fat is no longer needed to store acid wastes, it simply melts away.

This is also a great way to restore your health. Many diseases such as cancer thrive in an acidic state. Take away the acid, and they don’t do as well. An alkaline diet also boosts your energy level, improves skin, reduces allergies, sustains the immune system, and enhances mental clarity.

Thermogenic Foods Rev Up Your Metabolism

Thermogenesis means the production of heat, which raises metabolism and burns calories. Thermogenic foods are essentially fat-burning foods and spices that help increase your metabolism. This means that with some of your kitchen staples, you can burn off fat during or right after you eat and increase your fat-burning potential just by eating them. So include these super foods often in your juices and recipes.

Hot peppers. Imagine eating hot peppers and revving up your metabolism enough to lose weight. A study in 2010 found that obesity was caused by a lack of thermogenic response in the body rather than by overeating or lack of exercise. “The animals developed obesity mainly because they didn’t produce enough heat after eating, not because the animals ate more or were less active,” said Dr. Yong Xu, instructor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and co-lead author of the study.5 Another study found that hot peppers turn up the internal heat, which helps in burning calories.6 You can add hot peppers or a dash of hot sauce to many juice recipes or almost any dish and make it taste delicious.

Garlic. When it comes to weight loss, garlic appears to be a miracle food. A team of doctors at Israel’s Tel Hashomer Hospital conducted a test on rats to find out how garlic can prevent diabetes and heart attacks, and they found an interesting side effect—none of the rats given allicin (a compound in garlic) gained weight.7

Garlic is a known appetite suppressant. The strong odor of garlic stimulates the satiety center in the brain, thereby reducing feelings of hunger. It also increases the brain’s sensitivity to leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that controls appetite. Further, garlic stimulates the nervous system to release hormones such as adrenalin, which speed up metabolic rate. This means a greater ability to burn calories. More calories burned means less weight gained—a terrific correlation.

Ginger. Ginger contains a substance that stimulates gastric enzymes, which can boost metabolism. The better your metabolism, the more calories you’ll burn. It has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory—

inflammation is implicated in obesity. Ginger helps improve gastric motility—the spontaneous peristaltic movements of the stomach that aid in moving food through the digestive system. When the digestive system is functioning at its best, you’ll experience less bloating and constipation. It has also been found to

lower cholesterol. And ginger is the top vegan source of zinc, which gives a big boost to your immune system. Top that off with the fact that it tastes delicious in juice recipes, and you have a super spice. I add it to almost every juice recipe I make.

Parsley. This dark green herb offers a great way to make your dishes and juices super healthy. Parsley helps you detox because it’s chock-full of antioxidants, like vitamin C and flavonoids, and it’s loaded with minerals and chlorophyll. It’s also a natural diuretic, which helps you get rid of stored water. That means thinner ankles, feet, and fingers. And it improves digestion and strengthens the spleen as well. You can add a handful of parsley to almost any juice recipe and you won’t even know it’s there.

Cranberries. Studies show that cranberries are loaded with acids that researchers believe are useful in dissolving fat deposits. When fat deposits settle in the body, they are hard to get rid of, so it’s best to get them before they get “hooked on” you. Some studies point out that the enzymes in cranberries can aid metabolism, which gives a boost to weight loss.8This tart little fruit is a natural diuretic, helping you get rid of excess water and bloating. Of all the fruits, cranberries rank number two for antioxidant content, which helps detoxify the body. And they promote healthy teeth and gums, fight urinary track infections, improve heart health, and keep cancer at bay.

Kathy, who was featured in my “Holiday Fat Buster” article in the December 27, 2010, issue of Woman’s World, issue, lost 5 pounds in seventy-two hours drinking a cranberry, pear, cucumber, and ginger

cocktail along with the rest of the Turbo Juice Diet Program. Within a week Kathy’s tummy was down 5.5 inches—she said she had to keep measuring to make sure it was right. Regarding the juice diet program, she said, “Overall, I had a lot of energy and no hunger.”9 You can add cranberries to many recipes for a delicious enhancer to your juice drinks and a boost to your weight loss at the same time. If you buy these berries when they’re in season, you can freeze a few packages to have on hand for seasons when they aren’t available.

Blueberries. A 2010 study found that blueberries can help you get rid of belly fat, thanks to the high level of phytochemicals (antioxidants) they contain. The study also showed that blueberries are helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes, and the benefits were even greater when the blueberries were combined with a low-fat diet.10 Moreover, blueberries can also help fight hardening of the arteries and improve the memory.

Lemons. Adding just a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to your water, salad, or soup will help ward off cravings, alkalize your body, and keep your insulin levels in check. Hot lemon water with a dash of cayenne pepper is a great way to start your day—it gets the liver, your fat-burning organ, moving in the morning. It’s also a natural diuretic and helps clear out toxins from your system. Further, it aids the digestive process and prevents constipation. It can also help alleviate heartburn—just add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to water and drink with your meal. Limonene, a compound in lemons, helps short-circuit the production of acid in the stomach—lemons are very alkalizing. Meyer lemons, my favorite, are sweeter and are available in the winter.

The Low-Glycemic Benefits of Juicing

The glycemic index has become a popular weight-loss tool based in part on the fact that high-glycemic foods raise blood sugar levels, cause the body to secrete excess insulin, and lead to the storage of fat. Originally developed to help diabetics manage blood sugar control, the glycemic index has become popular in the weight-loss market largely because it works so well. Researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that patients who lost weight with a low-glycemic diet kept the weight off longer than patients who lost the same amount of weight with a low-fat diet.11

The glycemic index (GI) diet refers to a system of ranking carbohydrates according to how much a certain amount of each food raises a person’s blood sugar level. It’s determined by measuring how much a 50-gram serving of carbohydrate raises a person’s blood sugar level compared with a control.

Virtually all carbohydrates are digested into glucose and cause a temporary rise in blood glucose levels, called the glycemic response. But some foods raise it more than others. This response is affected by many factors, including the quantity of food, the amount and type of carbohydrate, how it’s cooked or eaten raw, and the degree of processing. Each food is assigned an index number from 1 to 100, with 100 as the reference score for pure glucose. Typically, foods are rated high (greater than 70), moderate (56–69), and low (less than 55). Low-glycemic foods, especially raw carbohydrates, can help control blood sugar, appetite, and weight. Though helpful for everyone, they are especially helpful for people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.

Low-glycemic foods are absorbed more slowly, allowing a person to feel full longer and therefore be less likely to overeat. Raw food experts such as Dr. John Douglass have found that raw carbohydrates such as the raw juices are better tolerated than cooked carbs. They don’t elicit the addictive cravings that cooked foods cause. Douglass believes, as does the Finish expert A. I. Virtanen, that the enzymes in raw food play an important role in the way they stimulate weight loss as they do in the treatment of obesity.12

When you get to chapter 6, “Beyond the Weekend,” you will be encouraged to choose most of your carbohydrate foods from the low-glycemic index and a large percentage of those foods as raw. The foods I recommend eating after you’ve completed your weekend weight-loss diet (see Appendix B) are for the most part low glycemic and are nutrient-rich, not refined, and higher in fiber—like whole vegetables, fruit, and legumes (beans, lentils, split peas).

Not All Carbs Are Created Equal

Different carbohydrates take different pathways in the body after digestion. For example, some starchy foods are bound by an outer layer of very complex starches (fiber) like the legumes (beans, lentils, split peas), which increases the time it takes for them to be digested. So even though legumes are relatively high in carbohydrates, they have a lower glycemic response because of their complex encasing.

There is also the antioxidant potential of foods to consider, meaning the amount of antioxidant nutrients a food contains, such as beta-carotene and vitamin C that are abundant in many fruits and vegetables. In Chinese culture, carrots are often used as cooling medicine. Carrots, beets (both very rich in beta-carotene),

and other brightly colored vegetables are especially important to include in our diet to prevent disease. These days many health professionals suggest we eliminate carrots and beets because of their glycemic rating, but the weekend weight-loss diet does not exclude them because of their high nutrient and fiber content. But I do recommend that you use them in small amounts because they are higher in sugar.

Also, please keep in mind that not all low-glycemic foods are healthy fare. Low-glycemic foods include candy bars and potato chips. These foods are very nutrient depleted, contain sugar or turn to sugar easily,

and lack fiber. You need to get the best nutrition for your choices. With this plan, there’s no obsessing over the glycemic index either, just a basic understanding of the principles. Keep in mind that certain factors can change a score, such as the riper the fruit, the higher the glycemic index score. But always choose ripe fruits and vegetables over unripe; they are healthier by far. Adding good fat to foods can lower the GI score. And keep in mind that the GI response to any given food also varies widely from person to person.

It can even vary within the same person from day to day. So it’s important to listen to your body and determine how the foods you are eating are affecting you.

More Than Weight Loss

Years ago when I was taking prerequisites for my master of science program in whole foods nutrition at Bastyr University, I worked for a weight-loss center part time as a nutrition counselor. I noticed that a number of people who entered the program looked healthy, meaning they had good skin color and tone and vibrancy—they were just overweight. Soon into the program, I noticed that though they were losing weight, they weren’t looking healthier. I observed a loss of skin tone, skin color turning a grayish pallor, and a loss of energy and vitality. I was alarmed. Even as a student I knew that it was not just about dropping weight; it was about getting healthier. I quit the job, unable to promote something that I felt did harm.

When you embark on a weight-loss program, it should be about getting healthier along with losing weight. Whether you want to lose 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 200 pounds, it isn’t just about getting the weight off any way you can. I know people who have lost weight through drastic means and ruined their health in the process.

Losing weight with vegetable juices and kicking off your program with the Weekend Weight-Loss Diet is the first step in choosing a weight-loss regimen that doesn’t sacrifice your health. That’s why I’m excited about introducing you to the Weekend Weight-Loss Diet. I know what it can do for you. So many people have praised this program and my other juice diets because of the increased health and energy they experienced. And if they can experience these great results, you can too. You’re off to a great start and a

lifetime of fitness!

FIRST Wild Card Tour….Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go….Naomi Dathan

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:
Naomi Dathan
and the book:
Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go
Kirkdale Press (November 27, 2011)

***Special thanks to Ryan Rotz, Publicist, Kirkdale Press for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Naomi Dathan has been fascinated with prairie life since her third grade teacher read Little House in the Big Woods to the class. She finally indulged this fascination with her fourth novel, Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go. She lives in Ohio with her two daughters and two undersized beagles with oversized egos.
Check out her witty blog http://naomidathan.com


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

For everything there is a season. A season for joy. A season for sorrow. A season for testing.

Jem Perkins has it all – money, a fine house, a handsome husband, and a new baby boy. But when her family fortunes turn, Jem’s husband Seth leads her to a new home: a sod house on a Nebraska homestead.

It is a season of growth for Jem as she reluctantly confronts her new realities: back-breaking labor, dangerous illness, and mind-numbing isolation. She learns to embrace her new role as a capable woman and marriage partner and discovers an awareness of God’s hand in her life.

Then, on January 12, 1888, the history-making Children’s Blizzard sweeps across the land, ushering in a season of hardship she never expected. Can Jem’s confidence, marriage, and new-found faith weather the storm?

$.99 Sale!

Buy the ebook Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go from Vyrso for $.99. Use the coupon code WILDCARD at checkout or simply click HERE.
Offer ends this Friday.

Whither is also available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and Google Books.

About Vyrso
Vyrso is a new Christian ebookstore and reader app from Logos Bible Software. You can read Vyrso ebooks on your iPad, iPhone, Android tablet or phone, and online at Biblia.com.

Product Details:

  • Kindle Price: $6.15
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 382 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage:Unlimited
  • Publisher: Kirkdale Press (November 27, 2011)
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006FK72QE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled

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

My Thoughts

This was a great story with believable and humble characters that the reader will grow to love. Seth and Jem made decisions and when through so many hardships. I give it to Jem, she did wonderful with the expectations she faced after she realized her old life was no more. I’m not so sure I could have survived as well as she did, but then if you in that situation, you would be forced to. This is not what you would call a light read. A lot of heartbreaking things happened in this story, but as the author tells in the beginning of the story, the storm in this story is based on a true happening. The families in this area faced many difficulties that was beyond their control. Some couldn’t handle it and left the area, others decided it was their home and wanted to stay and continue their life there. Life was not easy for anyone.

I would really like a sequel to this story to find out how Seth and Jem are doing and what happens in the coming years of their lives. I will have to say the story had a heartwarming ending.

I highly recommen this book for anyone to read, especially for someone going through an especially difficult time. This book will sure show you that no matter how difficult the situation, we can still trust in a loving God who loves us and cares for us, never leaving us.

Thanks so much to the author for providing an ebook copy of this book for me to read and review. I was not expected or required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

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

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

January 12, 1888


At midnight, Charley woke shivering in his trundle bed. “Ma?”

He rose, but couldn’t see his mother’s form in the faltering lamplight. “Ma? Mom-mom?”

Still no answer. The cast iron stove was dark and silent. The wind outside howled like a wolf, and caught at the door of the sod house, swinging it open and shut.

Where was Ma? Why wasn’t she making the stove hot or snuggling him warm under the covers? Was she outside with the wind-wolf?

Charley went toward the door. Ice blew into his eyes, making them water. But he wasn’t crying. Not yet. Warmth brushed his legs, a wetness caressed his cheek. The big dog, Zeke, curled his shaggy body against Charley, pushing him backward—away from the open door.

Charley pushed back and shook his finger at him. “No! Bad.”

Zeke whined and pressed harder. Charley fell, landing on something warm and solid. It didn’t hurt, but he set to wailing anyway, protesting his alone state, his empty belly, and the bitter cold that bit at his eyes and ears and nostrils like fierce ants.

No one came to comfort him, so his cries soon dried up. He scuttled across the still form on the floor, pausing at a tinkling sound. “Ging,” he said, remembering. “Ging, ging, ging.”

The bell. Pa had rung the bell today. Ding, ding, ding. He’d stoked the fire high and hot, gave Charley cold mash to eat, and clung to the doorframe, ringing and ringing the bell. Once, Pa had fallen to the dirt floor, but after a long while, he pushed himself upright, clutched the doorframe, and rang the bell again.

Now Pa was on the floor again, unmoving.

Charley stepped on Pa’s head as he went to look outside “ Ma!” The storm sucked his voice away so fast that he didn’t even hear himself. The winds answered in high voices, scared and scary at the same time. Was Ma out there in the black with the wind voices?

At last, Charley made up his mind. With Zeke making little worried sounds close beside him, Charley stepped out into the blizzard to find Ma.

***

August 14, 1886 (Seventeen months before)

The Reynolds’s tea was well attended, but the August heat oppressed the guests, subduing the conversation to a languid pace. Servants discreetly watered—and even fanned—the profusion of roses arranged in vases through the room. Ladies and gentlemen sipped English tea and nibbled at scones and trifles to be polite, waiting for the blessed moment when they could return home, untie their cravats and corsets, and have a cool bath.

Jem Perkins had nothing but sympathy for the wilting flowers. She sank onto a thickly upholstered chair next to her sister and fanned herself.

“Can we go home now?” she whispered.

“Hush!” Sally hissed, shooting a worried glance toward their hosts. “Mrs. Reynolds has been planning this tea for weeks. And we haven’t even greeted the guest of honor yet.”

Hiding behind her fan, Jem peeked at Mrs. Ashley Grayson, seated near the window. She couldn’t hear what Mrs. Grayson said, but it drew appreciative laughter from the surrounding crowd. Jem smiled at her sister with her eyes. “She does feed off the adoration, doesn’t she?”

Sally frowned. “Oh, Jem, I’m sure that’s not fair. Mrs. Grayson deserves credit for starting the Children’s Board.”

“Of course she does! But don’t you think she has a bit of the look a cat gets when he’s found a sunny spot on the windowsill?”

Sally pursed her lips. “You could have worked with her, Jem. I know she asked you to. Then you’d be right up there beside her.”

Wasn’t that just like Sally, to make out that Jem was jealous. What had she to be jealous of?

Jem fanned herself again, waiting until her irritation ebbed before answering. After all, it wouldn’t do for Jem—the married woman—to engage in sibling squabbling with her poor spinster sister. Once satisfied that there would be only kindness in her voice, she answered. “I was hardly in a position to take on an outside project right then, was I? A woman’s first responsibility is to her family. Perhaps you’ll understand … one day.”

Sally’s cheeks went pink as the arrow found its mark. She was Jem’s elder by three years, poor thing, and she didn’t even have a serious beau. She sniffed. “I’m sure that was it. I’m sure it wasn’t because you discovered that setting up a charitable foundation actually requires a great deal of work.”

That stung. Jem lowered her fan. “Now you’re just being cruel. You know I work very hard, Sally. Look at how many hours I put into the flower garden last year.”

“And then you lost interest and Rogers had to take it over.”

“And think of all the poetry I’ve written. You’ve never written a poem in your life!”

“And I’m better off for it.”

“At least I’m trying things. Maybe I haven’t found my true calling yet, but you shouldn’t fault me for trying.”

Sally opened her mouth, but then shut it again, holding up a restraining palm. “Oh, we’re quarreling like children.” She sighed. “I apologize. I’m sure you have found your true calling, Jem. I’m sure your true calling is motherhood. You’re wonderful with Charley, and what’s more important than raising a happy, healthy child?”

Jem settled back in her seat, buying herself a minute by sipping her iced tea. Sally would never have apologized a year ago, would certainly have never offered a compliment. It was disconcerting, really. “It is hot,” she offered.

Seeing Sally relax, she did too, leaning forward to whisper to her. “And boring. I know Mrs. Grayson deserves all of our admiration. I do, truly. But I’m so tired of seeing all the same people and having all the same conversations, day after day. This city is chockfull of people, but you couldn’t tell by us.”

“There’s the doorbell,” Sally said. “I’m sure it will be someone fascinating.”

“Like Mark Twain?”

“That’s right. Or Buffalo Bill.”

Jem giggled. “How about Jesse James?”

“I think he’s dead. Wasn’t he killed? Oh—” Her tone changed abruptly. “Look. It is someone new.”

Jem looked. Her fan froze. The tall man stood in the entry to the parlor, his bearing military even out of uniform. He bowed slightly to Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, shook Mr. Reynolds’s hand, and exchanged greetings with surrounding guests. Feminine eyes followed his progress as he strode in, but he didn’t seem to notice. His pewter gray eyes scanned the crowd, and landed on Jem.

She returned his gaze, then lowered her attention to her skirts. “Well, now. The new guest is dashing, wouldn’t you say, Sally?”

Sally made a haughty harrumph. “Oh, Sister, he looks to be a bit of a ruffian to me. Like someone who spends time in the Wild West. You’d do well to stay away from him, I think.”

Jem murmured her agreement and peeked at the man over her fan again. His eyes were still on her. “I believe I’ll have some refreshment.”

She approached the buffet table, turning her back on the man. Her sister was at her elbows, but when she felt Sally withdraw, she knew the man was approaching. She peeked at him over her shoulder while she ladled pink punch into a glass. He removed his derby and offered a slight bow.

“Ma’am.”

“Lieutenant.”

His lips twitched at her return address, or perhaps at the Virginia drawl that had crept into the single word. “I wonder if I might join you for a beverage.”

“Why, sir, as a guest of this tea party, you are as welcome as anyone to partake, I daresay.” Yes, the drawl of her childhood was definitely back, sliding through her words like sugarcane molasses.

“Indeed,” the man said. He poured himself punch and downed it in a single motion. The glass looked ridiculous in his large hand, like a child’s play teacup. “I have to say, ma’am, that the scenery in St. Paul has certainly improved since my departure to Washington. I don’t remember such fine, dainty creatures as yourself frequenting the Reynolds’s teas in the past.”

Jem smiled at that, but flushed a little, too. “Perhaps, sir, you are mistaking me for one of the young ladies playing Botticelli in the next room. I’m afraid I don’t particularly”—she took her time with the word, savoring each syllable as she hadn’t in years—“qualify as dainty anymore.”

He imitated her accent, exaggerated it into a parody of a Virginia gentleman. “Why, ma’am, you are very mistaken, I’m sure. Why, you are the … the epitome of feminine beauty and delicacy. Your eyes are as blue as cornflowers. Your lips, well, they’re two precious little, uh, roses. In fact, I wonder if we could step out into the gardens and take a stroll together? Just the two of us?”

“Why, sir! Surely you don’t expect me to leave this tea with you, unchaparoned. Think of the scandal.”

He pressed his hand to his chest, gave her moon eyes. “Nothing of the sort, ma’am. I cherish your reputation as I would cherish, well, the soundness of my horse’s legs. I would die before compromising your honor. In fact, in order to protect your good name, I am willing to go this far: I will tell these people that we are married.”

Jem started to giggle, then; she couldn’t help it. He grinned back at her, and the game was up. She threw her arms around his neck, in spite of all the company around. “Oh, Seth. I’m so glad you’re home. I thought you wouldn’t be back for two more weeks.”

“Jem.” He put his arms around her waist and let out a long breath, letting his rigid stance relax. “This was long enough. I missed you. Can we break away from this tea? How is the baby?”

“Oh, I hated to leave him. I think he might be getting diphtheria.”

“Diphtheria?” He didn’t sound worried. In fact, he sounded a little amused. She backed out of his arms a little to frown at him.

“Diphtheria is very serious.”

“You’ve had the doctor by, I take it?”

“Of course. Twice now.”

“And he said?”

“Oh, you know how Dr. Hollister is. You’d have to lay an egg for him to agree you have chicken pox.”

Seth took her elbow lightly and led her through the parlor, nodding to the ladies, offering greetings to a few of the men. “Jemima, I’m sure Dr. Hollister would know if Charley had diphtheria. It’s very distinct.”

“You know I worry. He coughs continually—all night long. And his nose is running.”

“Darling, it sounds like he has a cold.” He led her to the front door, where they made their apologies to the Reynolds. “Come,” he said, as he led her to the carriage. “I’ll have a look. I certainly know what diphtheria looks like.”

Before they’d stepped through the French doors of their home, they could hear Charley’s outraged screams ringing through the house. Jem dropped Seth’s arm and ran up the long, curving staircase, allowing him to follow when he would. “Charley! Oh, dear, what’s happened?”

She stopped when she entered the nursery. Her boy was upright, clutching the bars of his crib with chubby fingers, red-faced and tearful, but otherwise apparently fine. “Oh, dear.” She hurried to lift him and snuggled him against her bosom. “What’s the matter, you poor little boy? Are you hurt?”

Charley’s cries subsided. He rested his nearly bald head against her, hiccoughing.

“Poor boy,” Jem crooned. “Mama’s here, now. Where’s Nursie, hmm? Didn’t she hear you cry?”

“He has grown.” Seth’s voice came from the doorway. “Was he standing? When did he start that?”

“Last week.” She smiled up at him, keeping her cheek pressed against the peach fuzz of Charley’s warm head. “I wrote to you about it, but I suppose you didn’t get the letter.”

“No, but I haven’t stayed in one place for more than a night.” He sighed, came and wrapped his arms around Jem, enveloping her and the baby in a hug. “My family.”

“Oh, no, ma’am!” Sophie’s voice was sharp. “He’s supposed to be napping.”

Jem and Seth turned to look at the nurse. Her hands were closed into tight fists, pressed against her stout body as if she were restraining herself from snatching the child and putting him back in his crib.

“Oh, but he was crying so hard. Poor boy.”

“Good afternoon, Lieutenant. Welcome home,” Sophie said, then firmed her voice to Jem. “No, ma’am. Colonel Wilkinson was clear on that. The boy must stay in his crib for his nap. The colonel don’t want him spoiled.”

Seth’s voice was pleasant. “Sophie, I believe you work for me, not Colonel Wilkinson.”

“No, no.” Jem hurried to the crib. “It’s fine, Seth. Really. My father is right—you know I’ll spoil him.”

She peeled Charley off her chest and set him in the crib. His screams renewed, broken by sobs. He rolled and pulled himself back up to his feet. Seth picked him up. Charley reached for his mother, but Seth didn’t hand him over.

“Oh, Seth, really. My father is right.”

“I haven’t seen my son in two months. I believe he and I will take a walk around the nursery.”

Sophie gave Seth a long, tight-lipped look, and retreated from the room.

“Oh, my,” Jem said. “She’ll let my father know. She always does.”

“Darling, this isn’t your father’s child. It’s ours. Why does he have anything to say about when we hold him?”

“You know how he worries. He wants the best for his only grandson.”

Charley stopped reaching for his mother and stared up into Seth’s face.

“Look, he remembers you.”

Seth made a scoffing sound, but Jem saw he looked pleased. “He’s far too young. I’m glad he’s letting me hold him, though. So, other than this dire illness that has him at death’s door, he appears to be thriving.”

Jem sighed. “You shouldn’t tease me, Seth. Ima Caldwell—do you remember her? She said her sister’s husband’s niece lost both of her little boys last winter—one to diphtheria, and the other to pneumonia. And Amy Wiley’s whole family is ill.”

Seth sobered and kissed Charley’s head, holding him a little closer. “It’s terrible. I can’t imagine what they’ve suffered. But Charley is healthy. God has blessed us. Let’s thank Him for it, instead of borrowing trouble.”

“Y—yes. I do, of course.”

She shook her head. It was the sort of comment Sally had been prone to make lately. Seth had been no believer when they met; he’d gone to church only to please Jem and her family. But something had changed over the last year. Seth had changed.

When he was home, he attended church on Sundays as well as a Bible study on Wednesday. He led prayer at mealtimes, even if it was only the two of them sitting at the long polished dining table. She tried to act like it was normal behavior—after all, she was the one who’d been brought up in the faith—but it was really rather embarrassing.

“There, you see, Jem? He just needed a little walk.” Charley was settled against his father’s chest. His face had relaxed, his eyes closed in sleep.

Jem plucked a cloth from the chest of drawers and swiped at the path of drool running down the baby’s chin. “You do remember about this part, don’t you?”

Seth gave her a wry smile. “I tried to forget. I go through fewer shirts riding on top of the stage coach. Well, I suppose I should put him down.”

Jem arranged the soft blankets in the crib. After Seth laid Charley on them, they stood side by side, admiring their little boy. “Isn’t he beautiful? I think he’s the prettiest baby in St. Paul.”

Seth slid his arm around her waist. “By far the handsomest, anyway.” He sighed then. “Is your father at home today? I need to discuss some things with him. I didn’t see him at the Reynolds’s tea.”

“He said he had business to attend to today. I’m not sure whether he’s at home or at the office. But, Seth, can’t it wait? You’ve just gotten home. Can’t we spend the rest of the afternoon together?”

She looked up at him as she finished the question, and was surprised to see the grim expression on his face.

“I’m afraid not, Jem,” he said. “I’m sorry; I know I just got home. But I have to handle some business.”

She gave him a quick pout, making sure to smile with her eyes so he knew she was teasing. “It’s a shame, when a man would rather spend his homecoming with his father-in-law than with his wife.”

Seth didn’t smile back, but he kissed her on the forehead. “I’ll be home in a couple of hours. We’ll have dinner together—just the two of us, all right?

Jem wrapped her arms around his waist and accepted his embrace. “Hurry back. I’m sure my father will be glad to see you, anyway.”

 

FIRST Wild Card Tour……….Firethorn, Discarded Heroes #4***********Ronie Kendig

FIRST Wild Card Tour……….Firethorn, Discarded Heroes #4***********Ronie Kendig

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:
Ronie Kendig
and the book:
Firethorn, Discarded Heroes #4
Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (2012)

***Special thanks to Ronie Kendig for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
An Army brat, Ronie Kendig grew up in the classic military family, with her father often TDY and her mother holding down the proverbial fort. Their family moved often, which left Ronie attending six schools by the time she’d entered fourth grade. Her only respite and “friends” during this time were the characters she created.
It was no surprise when she married a military veteran—her real-life hero—in June 1990. Married more than twenty years, Ronie and her husband, Brian, homeschool their four children, the first of whom graduated in 2011. Despite the craziness of life, Ronie finds balance and peace with her faith, family and their three dogs in Dallas, TX.
Ronie has a deep love and passion for people, especially hurting people, which is why she pursued and obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Liberty University. Ronie is an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has volunteered extensively, serving in a variety of capacities from coordinator of a national contest to appointment assistant at the national annual conference.
Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and her books have been gained critical acclaim and national attention, including:
    • Finalist in Christian Retailing’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards (Nightshade)
    • RWA’s Faith, Hope, & Love’s 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Awards in Romantic Suspense (Nightshade)
    • Named one of the Top 25 Christian Fiction Suspense, Mystery, and Thriller Writers by FamilyFiction (Sept 2011)
    • 2011 FamilyFiction Readers’ Choice Awards – 3rd place as New Favorite Author, 8th place with Nightshade for Novel of the Year.
    • INSPY Award Shortlist final in Mystery/Thriller (Dead Reckoning)
    • The Christian Manifesto’s 2010 Lime Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Nightshade)

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Blown and dismantled, Nightshade is ready to repay the favor.

Former Marine and current Nightshade team member Griffin “Legend” Riddell is comfortable. So comfortable he never sees the set up that lands him in a maximum security prison, charged with murder. How can he prove his innocence behind bars?

Covert operative Kazi Faron is tasked with reassembling Nightshade—the black ops team someone dissected. Breaking Griffin out of a federal penitentiary amid explosive confusion may turn out to be her last assignment. What will it take to convince the fugitive that whoever set him up has also dissected the Nightshade team? As Kazi and Griffin race to rescue the others and discover the traitor,

love begins to awaken in their hearts.

Can a covert operative and the felon she’s freed overcome their mutual distrust long enough to save Nightshade? Will anything prepare them for who—or what is coming?

Product Details:

 

 

  • List Price: $12.99

 

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602607850
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602607859

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

To all American military heroes

At home and abroad,

Those who have gone before

and those serving today—

THANK YOU!

Because of you, we are FREE!

RECON CREED

Realizing it is my choice and my choice alone to be a Reconnaissance Marine, I accept all challenges involved with this profession. Forever shall I strive to maintain the tremendous reputation of those who went before me.

Exceeding beyond the limitations set down by others shall be my goal. Sacrificing personal comforts and dedicating myself to the completion of the reconnaissance mission shall be my life. Physical fitness, mental attitude, and high ethics—The title of Recon Marine is my honor.

Conquering all obstacles, both large and small, I shall never quit. To quit, to surrender, to give up is to fail. To be a Recon Marine is to surpass failure; To overcome, to adapt and to do whatever it takes to complete the mission.

On the battlefield, as in all areas of life, I shall stand tall above the competition. Through professional pride, integrity, and teamwork, I shall be the example for all Marines to emulate.

Never shall I forget the principles I accepted to become a Recon Marine. Honor, Perseverance, Spirit, and Heart.

A Recon Marine can speak without saying a word and achieve what others can only imagine.

Swift, Silent, Deadly
Chapter 1

The Shack

“It’s sad, really.” Marshall “The Kid” Vaughn trudged away from the thumping rotors of the helo that had deposited them back at the Shack, his pack almost dragging the ground. “Ya don’t realize how much a person adds until he’s gone.”

“Legend’s not gone.” Max “Frogman” Jacobs hoisted his rucksack into a better group, his mind locked on Sydney and their two sons waiting for him at home. Poor woman had to be going out of her mind with two of his Mini-Me’s running around.

“Yeah.” John “Squirt” Dighton hit the light breaker, then waited for the six-man team to clear the door. “He’s just temporarily detained.”

Lights sizzled and popped to life. Groaning bounced off the grimy windows as he hauled the door closed, locked it, then started toward the showers.

The Kid grunted. “Forty-years-to-life temporary.”

In the locker room, a depressive gloom hung over the team. They’d been on countless missions, hit just about every terrain and environment imaginable, but none had taken the toll the last couple had. And there was one reason—they were down a man. Griffin “Legend” Riddell. If Max could write the playbook, they wouldn’t do another mission without the guy. But with the man in federal prison for murdering a congressman, it’d be a long wait.

It was quiet. Too quiet. Max looked around the Spartan room. Walls of lockers, most unused. A few benches. A giant once-white bin for dirty duds. And the team. Six men, now. All very skilled. Good men. Even the one missing. Every man here knew Legend had been set up—he didn’t murder that congressman. But nobody could prove it. The evidence was damning. Justice—injustice was more like it—came swiftly. Lambert, ever the puppeteer, couldn’t pull the right strings to get Legend off.

“I’m heading up to visit him tomorrow. Anyone game?” Colton “Cowboy” Neeley slumped on a bench and ran a hand over his short, dark hair. His blue eyes probed the group.

“Nah, man. I’ve got a date,” the Kid said.

Squirt beaned him with a towel. “What girl would go out with you, mate?”

The Kid snapped the terry cloth back at the former Navy SEAL. “Your sister.”

Squirt froze. His jaw went slack. Then his eyes darkened.

Laughing, Canyon “Midas” Metcalfe rose to his feet from the corner. “You just proved his point by thinking your sister would actually go out with him.”

Squirt swallowed, his face drained of color. “I introduced them at a New Year’s party.”

Midas laughed harder. “Your mistake, mate.

Shuffling closer, Squirt pointed a finger at the Kid. “I swear, you touch her, I’ll shove a fist full of witchety grubs down your gullet.”

“Give me credit, dude.” The Kid raised his hands. “I’m a gentleman.”

Max grunted. “Right.” As he strode around the lockers to the shower well, he heard more threats and much more laughter from the Kid. Max shook his head. Would the Kid ever grow up, learn when to leave things alone?

As he tossed his oily, grimy duds on the bench, Max paused, thinking maybe he should send his report to Lambert now so he wouldn’t have to mess with it tomorrow. The mission had been simple enough, a snatch-n-grab of an Iranian doctor. It’d been nice and clean, in and out. The report wouldn’t take long. Then he could shower, bug out, and know he had the whole weekend with Syd and the boys.

Max jogged up the iron stairs, which creaked and groaned beneath his weight. Down the hall to the right. He punched in the code and entered the secure hub, the door hissing shut behind him. The most high-tech part of this dump-of-a-warehouse.

Shouts drew his attention to the blinds. He jabbed two fingers between a couple and spread them to peeked down into the main area. Squirt and the Kid raced into the bay and back the way they came. Squirt looked ready to kill. The Kid’s face revealed his fear. Max shook his head again. Man, he wanted Griffin back. The guy seemed to bring balance to the team. Badly needed balance.

Max powered up the computer. Hand propped on the warped wood, he waited for the system to boot.

More shouts. Loud thuds.

He pinched the bridge of his nose. Would they never—?

Tat-a-tat! Tat-tat-a-tat!

Instinct drove Max to his knee at the sound of gunfire. He scrambled to the window. Through the slanted blinds, he peered down into the slab of cement. His brain wouldn’t assemble what he saw. Gunmen. A dozen or more. Rushing into the Shack from the parking bay. Moving swiftly, as if. . .

They know the layout.

Max darted to the door and jerked it open. He sprinted down the hall toward the stairs. As his boot hit steel, he froze. A shadow emerged. Floated into the hall.

Too late.

Max jerked back. Pressed his spine against the wall.

By the showers, the Kid looked up. Max signaled to him. Then made his best and loudest Nightshade whistle, hoping it would penetrate the building, give the men warning to take cover.

The Kid threw himself back into the locker room.

Men swarmed the corner. One looked to his left, one right. His weapon slowly rose as he traced the stairs with his M16.

Max leapt backward into the darkness and into office. He closed the door. As the lock clicked, darkness dropped like an anchor over the entire building. Behind him, a glow screamed his location. The monitor!

Max spun. Lunged across the desk. Stabbed the power button. And paused with his hand still near the monitor. If someone was coming after them. . .accessing this computer. . .

On his knees, Max yanked the cords free. With the box, he moved to the window and reassessed the parking bay. Another van with a half-dozen men with AK-47s. They streamed into the warehouse.

Max’s gut wound into a dozen knots. They were screwed.

Think! Hand on the door, he considered going back downstairs. But that would get him captured. Killed. Yet he’d rather be with his guys than running like a chicken.

No, not running. Considering options, gaining the advantage. Planning. The invasion force was armed to the teeth. They knew who they were coming after. They’d brought weapons. And those guys moved with precision. Swift, deadly precision.

Though Nightshade had a stellar ops record, perhaps they had finally met their match. Still. . .two to one? Nightshade had faced worse.

A large black Suburban screeched to a halt in the middle of the parking bay. Two men emerged, both wearing trench coats.

Max cursed his luck to be up here, away from his gear, his weapons. Up here, without firepower. Thus, powerless.

Okay, enough. He was going down there. He eased the door open and slid across the hall. Bathed in darkness, he crouched at edge of the landing, using the wall for cover. A dozen men so far, rushing here and there. Quick, quiet chatter between the men.

A smirk slid into Max’s face. His team had taken cover and these goons couldn’t find them. If he could just get a weapon. . .

“Can’t find them.”

“They’re here. I saw them go in,” the man nearest the SUV shouted. “Find them! Lights!”

Light rushed through the building as headlamps from the vehicles stabbed the dusty, damp building. Max yanked back, out of sight. He needed to get down there, defend his men. His boot hit the landing.

Shouts erupted. A shot bounced off the steel rafters, taunting as it echoed through the Shack. Stilled, Max waited. More shouts. The sound of a scuffle. The half-dozen men waiting by the SUV lifted their weapons to the ready.

The locker room door swung open. A man walked backward, his AK-47 aimed at a large form filling the doorway. Cowboy. Arms raised, dressed only in his jeans, he stalked forward. Someone shoved him from behind, which barely moved the big lug.

Spine pressed against the wood, Max peered down into the bay.

“You move one wrong muscle,” the one in front of Cowboy growled, “and so help me God, I’ll kill you.”

“No you won’t.” Cowboy lowered his hands. “If you wanted me dead, I wouldn’t be out here.”

Ride ’em, Cowboy.

From the side entrance to the showers, three men dragged a shouting, cursing Kid into the bay. Max smirked that it took three tangos to wrangle the Kid.

Hand clenched, Max’s mind went into overdrive. What could he do? God. . .I need. . .something. What could he pray for? Intercepting the team was impossible. Twelve, fifteen armed tangos against one unarmed man?

He latched on to the hope that they’d only found Cowboy and the Kid. No Midas, Squirt, or Aladdin. Good. Maybe they could regroup and—

A man flew through the bay door from the showers and landed with a thud a yard from the others. Midas flipped over, scissored his legs, and swept the thug off his feet. The Kid seized the confusion to attack the men guarding him. And impressively. With a hard right, he dropped the first and used that weapon to disable the second.

Cowboy took a step back and rammed his elbow into the gut of the nearest guard. The gunman bent forward—straight into Cowboy’s meaty fist. The big guy pivoted, slapped the interior of the gunman’s wrist, effectively seizing the weapon and flipping the muzzle around. He fired at the guy.

Crack!

In the split second it took for Max to realize the sonic boom that rent the air wasn’t the report of Cowboy’s .45 MEU but of a rifle, Max saw the man in the black trench coat drop to the ground. A circle spread out like a dark halo.

“Sniper!” someone shouted.

The dead guy had fallen backward. Most likely shot from the front. Which meant. . . Max’s gaze rose to the rafters. With no light, it’d be the perfect hiding spot. But. . .who? Squirt? Aladdin?

Crack!

The man guarding Colton stumbled forward, then went to his knees before hitting the cement.

The man in the black trench coat nearest the SUV dropped. A pool of blood spilled out.

“There!” One guard swung and fired his fully automatic at the ceiling. Four others followed suit, firing at the bank of grimy windows on the southeast wall of the building.

Max followed their direction and watched. Waited, his breath caught at the back of his throat. Cracks and shattering glass blended with the staccato punches of the guns to create a wild cacophony of noise. Max tuned it out, praying whoever—Aladdin or Squirt—wouldn’t be hit.

But then he saw it. A shift of a shadow. Like someone rolling. . .

The gunfire petered out as a body plummeted the eight feet to the ground.

The thud seemed to have supernatural powers as it pounded Max’s chest and pushed him back. Away from the window but not far enough that he lost line of sight.

Silence dropped on the Shack.

“Where’s Max Jacobs?”

As the question streaked through the warehouse, Max registered a red glow in the far corner. Even as he noticed it, he heard a beep. Another. His gaze darted to the source of the noise. Two men were walking the perimeter, their M16s dangling as they raised their arms and pressed something against the supports. Arms lowered and the men stepped back revealing gray bricks with wires.

Explosives.

Gotta stop this. Do something. His gaze collided with Cowboy’s. The big lug gave an almost imperceptible shake of his head.

Max’s nostrils flared as he wrestled with what to do.

“Where’s Dighton?”

How do they know our names?

“Dead,” someone answered.

Pulled back into the shadows, Max clenched his eyes and bit down on his tongue. Dighton was dead. What about Aladdin—had he survived the fall?

Sirens wailed in the distance.

“Load ’em up.”

“What about Jacobs?”

“Outta time.” The leader left as the gunmen dragged the team out of the building.

Stealthily, Max held on to the box and sprinted the length of the hall to the side of the Shack. In the conference room, he plunged toward the window. Craned his neck to peek out. Three vehicles—twin white vans and a black town car.

The guys were loaded into the van and one into the car.

The leader shifted, held something out, then it wavered.

Detonator.

Max spun around, searching for an out. Doors. Only one way down—the stairs. But they led to the bay, which would be engulfed.

Windows. Overlooked the dock. The canal. It was January. The water would be brutal cold. His split-second assessment told him no matter what route he took, it’d be deadly. Despite his training, if he didn’t find shelter out of the water once he broke surface, he’d die an ice cube. If he stayed, he’d die a fireball.

Good thing SEALs are insulated against cold water.

Max vaulted toward the window, hurtling the computer through the window. The glass shattered as a violent force blasted through the air. It lifted him. Up. . .up. . . Flipped him. Searing pain sliced through his arm. Heat stroked his back and legs. Fire chased him out of the building. Into the night.

Boom!

Another wave slammed into him. Threw him backward. Toward the water.

Something punched his gut. Knocked the breath from his lungs.

Bright white lit the night. Blinded him. Then—almost instantaneously—black. Pure black. And he was falling. . .down. . .down. . .


Ro n i e K e n d i g
Firethorn
Discarded Heroes # 4

OTHER BOOKS BY RONIE KENDIG

Nightshade (Discarded Heroes #1)

Digitalis (Discarded Heroes #2)

Wolfsbane (Discarded Heroes #3)

© 2011 by Ronie Kendig

ISBN 978-1-60260-0785-9

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.

For more information about Ronie Kendig, please access the author’s Web site at the following Internet address: www.roniekendig.com

Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, OH 44683,

www.barbourbooks.com

Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses.


Printed in the United States of America.

Small Space Organizing by Kathryn Bechen…With interview from the author

Small Space Organizing  by Kathryn Bechen

Dwell Well in a Small Space

A room-by-room ‘small space bible’ to maximize living in minimum space

Whether you’re downsizing your home or just starting out, professional organizing and decorating author Kathryn Bechen will show you how to create a space where you can live well regardless of the size. Dedicated to helping small space dwellers thrive in their home for over 20 years, Bechen wants everyone to feel proud of their comfortable and welcoming living space regardless of the square footage.

In Small Space Organizing: A Room-by-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space (Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8007-2028-5, 240 pages, January 2012, $12.99), Bechen compiles 20 years of real life organizational tips and tricks. This ‘small space bible’ will help anyone transform cramped space into a perfectly petite living space as Bechen goes room-by-room giving design and organizational advice as well as taking on the extremely small spaces of studio and basement apartments, loft and high-rise spaces and even tips for RV living.

“A true home is really about the size of your heart, not about the size of your space,” says Bechen. She encourages readers to embrace living in a small space and assures them that even the most teeny-tiny space can be transformed into a welcoming environment to maximize the space – and more importantly, maximize living.  Bechen tells clients to “always remember that it’s far more important to have a spirit of hospitality and friendship as the emphasis of your home, rather than neglecting to invite others to visit you there just because you lack large rooms or expensive furniture.”

After reading Small Space Organizing readers will be able to:

–          Create a non-traditional entryway space

–          Find a creative space for a home office

–          Craft a spa atmosphere in a teeny-tiny bathroom

–          Design a nursery space to nurture a  newborn

–          Find storage space that’s hiding in their kitchen

–          Downsize their living space successfully

Small Space Organizing will help readers at every stage of life create an inviting home and maximize living. Everyone from the newlyweds struggling to fit all their wedding presents into a small apartment to empty-nesters with years-worth of sentimental possessions moving to a smaller home can benefit from Bechen’s expert advice.

For the reluctant downsizer faced with the daunting task of moving into a smaller living space, Bechen offers encouragement and practical tips for the emotional process. “It’s normal to go through an array of emotions during your downsizing process,” says Bechen. “It helps to get through it by keeping your mind’s eye focused on the end results of a lovely new right-sized home, decorated in a style you love, in a neighborhood that’s just right for you at this new stage of your life.”

 

My Thoughts

Small Space Organizing  by Katheryn Bechen

For me, this is a good book to start of the New Year; my house is not so very big, so I needed advice, tips and ideas on how to organize each room better. I found this book to be a lot of help for me in a number of areas in my house.

The chapter on downsizing was really good because that is something I really need to do, but just can’t part with stuff. I like that the author realizes the emotional issues of getting rid of stuff. Making a list of things you need and want to keep, and things that you no longer need is a wonderful idea, and one I will be using. I think I will do one room at a time, making it easier for me.

The resources at the end of each chapter are helpful as well, because some of the things I had no idea where to find. I appreciate Kathryn Bechen for writing this book on organizing small places to help people like me! If you have problems with space, or just want to learn to organize you things better, I highly recommend this book for you.

“Available January 2012 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.

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

Special Blog Interview from the Author 

Kathryn Bechen INK Professional Writer &  Book Author

 

 

                  www.KathrynBechenINK.com

Author of

Small Space Organizing:  A Room-by-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space

                                                            

Sample Media Questions

Q:  Do you consider small space living a “quality of life” choice and if so, why?

A:  Indeed, I do.  Whatever housing lifestyle choice you make for your family I think is okay, but I think that you should make sure you’re consciously choosing, and not just going with a McMansion in the ‘burbs or an acreage in the country with a big house because you feel outside pressure from anyone else to do so.  I believe housing size is a lifestyle choice too in that housing size and the number of possessions in it take up time in your life, and time IS your life, so you want to be sure you’re spending your time in a way that feels right for you because you can never get time back! If living in a large home with a large yard full of flowers makes you happy because you like having big family and friend gatherings there, and you are comfortable with all the time, maintenance, and expense that all involves,  then I think a larger home is right for you.  If, like me and my husband, you would rather live in a (high-quality) small space that does not require hours of cleaning and large outlays of money for home maintenance, lawn care, and furnishings, plus gives you more time to spend doing enjoyable things together, having small dinners with a few friends, and traveling, then I think small space living is for you.  And always, no matter what the size of your home space, personalize the furnishings and decor to your taste so it feels beautiful to you.   That doesn’t mean you have to spend tons of money; it means choosing furnishings and accessories within your budget that you feel are attractive.

Q:  What does “rightsized” living mean?

A:   I think “rightsized” is a relative term, personalized to you and your family.   A home that seems small to one family might seem big to another.  A home that seems small to you at one phase of your life might seem large at another time in your life.  When I personally think of small space living, I think of about 400-1200 SF, but some people might think my 1200 SF apartment is big.  I’ve heard people say they’re downsizing to a “small 2700 SF house.”  To me, 2700 SF is big!    Again, I’d like to inspire people to make very conscious choices as to the size of home space they live in, so they’re happy, because I believe when you’re happy at home, it radiates out in a positive way to others in the world.  Kind of like when you find the perfect jeans that fit just right!   And likewise, I’ll be bold enough to declare here that when your home space doesn’t feel appropriate and supportive to you, you sadly radiate that crankiness out into the world too!

Q:  What’s the first step to downsizing?

A:  Buy a 3 inch three-ring notebook and clear sheet protectors and a pencil case that you can put on the binder rings so you can take notes, keep biz cards  etc. in the sheet protector, and put pens and your keys in the pencil case. Begin by walking through every room in your home and list out every large item and furnishing that you want to donate or sell so you will be able to see what you’re going to have to move.  Do this with any outside storage sheds and the garage as well.  Don’t forget the attic or other out-of-the-way spaces.    It’s not carved in stone; you may have to walk through your home numerous times, and you may have to negotiate the items with your mate and family as well.

 

 

Q:  Can someone really be happy, and stay organized, living in just one room?

A:  Absolutely!  Some people actually prefer it, especially if they live in a studio apartment in someplace like New York City where the excitement and culture of the city is their “backyard,” or in San Diego, where parks and beaches are the same.  In one room, everything has to have its place, and I believe every home should have only the things in it that really bring you joy, but when living in one room, that’s even more important.  Make your home beautiful to you, even if it’s one small room!

Q:  What’s your best tip for creating a foyer if you don’t have a “real” foyer?

A: If you enter right into your living room, create a “foyer” near the front door using an attractive small bedroom nightstand.   Hang a mirror over it, and place a basket under the legs of the nightstand.  Put your keys in the nightstand, put your shoes in the basket, and check your “do” every day in the mirror before you leave the house.

Q:  What are your two best small space organizing tips?

A:  1. Keep your gadgets and appliances simple by buying only what you’ll truly use.

2.  Use all-white dishes and clear glassware to cut down on how many dish sets you buy.  If a dish breaks, you can easily find a new similar white piece and not have to get a whole new set.

Q:  How in the world can you create a “spa-like” experience in a teeny-tiny bathroom, especially if the kids’ rubber duckies have taken up residence?

A:  In a small home, especially if there is only one bathroom, the bathroom should ideally be totally free of clutter and toys.  You can achieve that by giving each family member a plastic basket or tote to hold their toiletries and toys.  Instead of being stored in the bathroom, each family member keeps their basket in their bedroom and carries it to and from the bathroom.  They also keep their own towel and washcloth in their bedroom–hang it on a hook in the closet.  Many of us used this M.O. in college.    Assign time slots for each family member to bathe for 30=45 minutes daily each so there is no squabbling about sis taking too long in the bathroom.  Set a timer if need be.  Make it a family rule that each member will respect others’ time in the bathroom and not interrupt so each family member feels they can have their private bathroom “spa time.”  And last but not least, each family member cleans up after themselves immediately after their bathroom time so it’s clean for the next person.  No whiskers in the sink and no pantyhose dripping on the bathroom rod!

 

 

Q:  What’s your best tip if a couple has to share a small home office?

A: (Laughs.)  Pray!  Seriously, unless you work on projects together often and need to collaborate, each person should have their own side, corner, or at least a desk that’s uniquely theirs, and the other person should not invade their turf without permission.  Do your best to keep order on both sides; don’t let it get totally out of control with clutter as that’s disrespectful to your mate if you are sharing a space.  That being said, Nancy Neatfreak is going to have to lighten up a bit if she’s married to Max Messy.  My husband and I share a home office, and he has one side of the room and I have the other.  I systematically put everything away at the end of the day, and he’s a little bit looser with his paperwork, but not a messy.  He uses a big black chair and office armoire that closes up so I can’t see his paperwork, and I have an Old World feminine style desk that I love, and a pretty slipcovered chair.  Put your personal decorative stamp on your side of the room, and don’t worry about your styles matching. When people walk into our home office they laugh and immediately comment on whose side is whose because it’s very obvious!

Q:  What’s your best organizing tip for kids sharing a bedroom?

A:  Just like a home office shared by mates, kids should each have their own side that’s personalized to them.  Or at least their own bed if using bunk beds, for instance.  I think each child should have their own desk for school studies as well, and their own dresser and side of the closet.

Q:  How is it possible to create an organized “library” in a small home?

A:  Buy tall white bookshelves and line your longest living room wall as a focal point.  Arrange the books on the shelf in an artful way, mixing in collected knickknacks for an interesting look.  Or, today your e-reader, in lieu of bookshelves, can be your library in a small space if you don’t want to dust bookshelves.  Also, if you have a dining nook, you can put floor to ceiling bookcases to create a charming little library.

Q:  In your book you talk about the binder notebook method.  What is that exactly?

A:  It’s the three-ring binder notebook I mentioned in the downsizing question above.  It helps you have a portable place to jot down your thoughts, plus store biz cards and fliers from housing developments you’re touring etc.

 

CONTINUED…

 

 

 

Q:  What free download do you have today for our readers/listeners so they can get started right away in organizing their small space home?

A:  Go to http://www.SmallSpaceOrganizing.com and sign up to get the free article I wrote, Small Space Savvy in a Big Stuff World.  There’s also another free home organizing and decorating article there as a bonus.

 

Bio for Author Kathryn Bechen

Kathryn Bechen is an award-winning professional writer whose articles have appeared in popular national and regional magazines and newspapers. She specializes in lifestyle feature articles and has also published several organizing and decorating e-books. The lifestyle companies she founded, Organized with Ease and Kathryn Bechen Designs, have served clients worldwide. Kathryn has organized and decorated 13 personal small space residences together with her husband Steve, and they currently live in their favorite small space ever: a 1,200-square-foot high-rise apartment in beautiful San Diego, California. She blogs about timely lifestyle topics at http://www.KathrynBechenINK.com.

Kathryn Bechen is an award-winning professional writer whose articles have appeared in popular national and regional magazines and newspapers. She specializes in lifestyle feature articles and has also published several organizing and decorating e-books. The lifestyle companies she founded, Organized with Ease and Kathryn Bechen Designs, have served clients worldwide. Bechen has organized and decorated 13 personal small space residences together with her husband Steve. They currently live in their favorite small space ever: a 1,200-square-foot high-rise apartment in beautiful San Diego, California. She blogs about timely lifestyle topics at www.KathrynBechenINK.com.

 

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books for everyday life.  For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.

Purchase on AMAZON

Welcome to the blog tour for Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey! Win an iPod!

Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey!

Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey is the continuing story of Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadt (First introduced in The Swiss Courier). This time they are on a relentless quest to save the most famous painting in the world  – the Mona Lisa. You can help Gabi and Eric with your very own iTouch SPY pack when you enter The Chasing Mona Lisa Giveaway! They’ll be announcing the winner during an intriguing Facebook Party and Live Author Chat on 1/31! Click for details and don’t miss the fun. Prizes, spy training and a LIVE Q & A with Tricia and Mike! http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13449999

Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey

Chasing Mona Lisa co-written with Mike Yorkey

Watch the Trailer

Download the Discussion Guide

Visit Mike Yorkey’s Site

 

Book Blurb

It is August 1944 and Paris is on the cusp of liberation. As the soldiers of the Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country, stealing countless pieces of art. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one of all, the Mona Lisa, as a post-war bargaining chip to get him to South America. Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler rescue DaVinci’s masterpiece before it falls into German hands?

With nonstop action, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get readers’ adrenaline pumping as they join the chase to save the most famous painting in the world. From war-ravaged Paris to a posh country chateau, the race is on–and the runners are playing for keeps.

My Thoughts

I don’t really know a lot about old art pieces, but I do like to read about them, and reading Chasing Mona Lisa was filled with detailed information about this wonderful painting. All of this information clearly shows the amount of time the author spent in researching this book, and how well she planned the writing of this book.

But for me, even though the history part was interesting, the book was difficult for me to read. It just didn’t grab me in the way I like for books to do. We follow the journey of the Mona Lisa that Colette is to be protecting, whatever the cost. In this fast pace chase trying to protect this piece of famous art, the authors have created characters that are powerful and brave, and willing to do whatever it order to make sure no one gets their hands on this painting.

If you enjoy art and history, you would enjoy reading about the Mona Lisa piece of art. I recommend that you purchase this book and see for yourself what you think of it!

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.

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Read an excerpt, watch a video and find out more here. http://www.triciagoyer.com/historicalfiction.html#ChasingMonaLisa

About the authors:

Tricia Goyer is the coauthor of The Swiss Courier as well as the author of many other books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW’s Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Arkansas. For more about Tricia and her other books visitwww.triciagoyer.com

Mike Yorkey is the author or coauthor of dozens of books, including The Swiss Courier and the bestselling Every Man’s Battle series. Married to a Swiss native, Yorkey lived in Switzerland for 18 months. He and his family currently reside in California. For more about Mike  and his other books visit http://www.mikeyorkey.com

Link to buy the book: ow.ly/8sRzd

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Win an iTouch SPY Pack in the Chasing Mona Lisa Giveaway from @triciagoyer @mikeyorkey!

Chasing Mona Lisa is the continuing tale of Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler (first introduced in The Swiss Courier). This time the due are on a relentless quest to save the most famous painting in the world  – the Mona Lisa. You can help Gabi and Eric with your very own spy pack when you enter The Chasing Mona Lisa Giveaway!

One passionate protector will receive:

  • iTouch (The must-have device for any spy. Camera, Maps & Music.)
  • Starbucks Gift Card (For all those late nights.)
  • Moleskin Notebook (For those important notes.)
  • Invisible Ink Pen (Don’t want anyone reading those important notes.)
  • Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey (Great handbook and intriguing tale for any spy-in-training!)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on January 31st. The winner will be announced at the Chasing Mona Lisa Facebook Party on 1/31. Tricia and Mike will be hosting an author chat (on Facebook and Live from Tricia’s website) and giving away their books and a Book Club prize pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club AND a LIVE Author Chat for your group with Tricia and Mike.)

So grab your copy of Chasing Mona Lisa and join Tricia and Mike on the evening of the 31st for an author chat, spy training (do you know how to pick a lock?) and lots of giveaways. 

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don’t miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 31st!

CFBA Tour….The Mulligans of Mt Jefferson…..by Don Reid

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingThe Mulligans of Mt JeffersonDavid C. Cook (January 1, 2012)byDon ReidABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Don is one of the original members of the STATLER BROTHERS, the most award-winning act in the history of country music. He and his brother and two friends began singing in their hometown of Staunton, Virginia when Don was only fourteen years old. Working all over their home and neighboring states as a part time group, they were discovered in 1964 by Johnny Cash and given their first record contract. By the time Don was 20 years old, the STATLERS had their first major, world-wide hit record with FLOWERS ON THE WALL, which started a string of hits that generated a career in the music industry that lasted for four decades. The STATLERS have been recipients of multiple industry awards:

It wasn’t until the STATLER BROTHERS decided to retire from traveling in 2002 that Don pursued his writing career to another level. Having songwriting and scriptwriting under his belt, the next obvious step was to write a book. And that book was the scripture based HEROES AND OUTLAWS OF THE BIBLE published in June of 2002 by New Leaf Press. He has since written two other non-fiction books and in 2008 saw another dream come true for Don when he released his first novel, O LITTLE TOWN. Novel number two came in the form of ONE LANE BRIDGE, and THE MULLIGANS OF MT. JEFFERSON, is a sequel to O LITTLE TOWN.

Don is the father of two sons. Debo and his wife, Julie, and daughters Sela Mae and Adra, live within a stone’s throw. You may have seen Debo’s name on many songs written with Don on albums over the years.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Cal, Harlan, and Buddy grow up together in a small Virginia town in the years before the second World War. United by age, proximity, and temperament, they get into—and out of—all the trouble that boys manage to find. They even earn a nickname from a local restaurateur who gives the boys their first jobs and plenty of friendly advice. “Uncle” Vic calls them the Mulligans, because they always seem to find a way through a thicket of trouble—family problems, girls, college, war—to success. Cal and Harlan and Buddy have been blessed with second chances.

Now it’s 1959, and police lieutenant Buddy receives an early-morning phone call: his friend Harlan, a store owner, has been shot in a break-in. Cal, now a preacher, meets Buddy at the hospital, and together, as professionals and as friends, they begin to unravel what might have happened to Harlan.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Mulligans of Mt Jefferson, go HERE

The Christmas Witness by: Susan Sleeman

The Christmas Witness

 Susan Sleeman

Book Blurb

When a criminal threatened to kill Megan Cash if she testified against him, she didn’t back down. Years later, he’s out of jail and ready for revenge against Megan and her daughter. The only one who can protect them is the former FBI agent who broke Megan’s heart.

But Reid Morgan isn’t the same man—he’s now a widowed father with a harrowing past. . .and a heart more guarded than ever. Still, he’s the only one who believes Megan when she says she’s in danger. Because someone wants to make this a Christmas she won’t live long enough to forget.

My Thoughts

First of all, don’t let the title keep you from reading this book now. I plan to read it again very soon, because it is just that good! And this is a Christmas book that anyone can enjoy anytime during the year.

This was my first book by Susan Sleeman, and I’m now hooked! When Megan Cash finds out the man she testifies against has been released from prison, she not only fears for her own life, but her young daughter Ella who is suffering with cancer. And the last person Megan wants working her case is former FBI agent, Reid Morgan, because she just couldn’t handle being around him after he broke her heart. But Reid had different thoughts and was determined to protect Megan and her daughter, whatever it took because he didn’t want to let her down again.

My heart was breaking and I was also scared right along with Megan as threats were made on her life as well as Ella’s. And just when you think the situation is bad enough, it only gets worse. Susan Sleeman writes an awesome suspense story that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. I think I put the book down only once when reading it. I just kept wondering if there were ever going to catch the bad guy! The characters created by Susan for this story were unique and believable, characters that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know, that is except for the ex-con. And the romance added in with the suspense just made the book that much more enjoyable. The tension and then attraction between Reid and Megan was just fun and interesting written in with all of the horrible problems Megan was having!

This is truly a book that I would read a second and probably a third time. It is just that good. And I will be adding it to my personal library, along with more books by Susan Sleeman. I highly encourage you to grab a copy of this book to read and enjoy. You will NOT be disappointed at all!

Other books by Susan Sleeman and ways to keep in touch with her:

High-Stakes Inheritance – Love Inspired Suspense, Now Available
Nipped in the Bud – Barbour Publishing, Now Available
Behind the Badge – Love Inspired Suspense, Now Available
The Christmas Witness – Love Inspired Suspense, Now Available
The Justice Agency – Love Inspired Suspense, New series – Double Exposure, June/2012 and Dead Wrong, November/2012
www.susansleeman.com
www.thesuspensezone.com
www.facebook.com/SusanSleemanBooks
www.twitter.com/susansleeman

I rec’d a copy of this book from the author, Susan Sleeman. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine alone.

About Susan

Susan is a best selling inspirational romantic suspense and mystery author. She loves everything about mystery and suspense books and hosts TheSuspenseZone.com a popular website devoted to bringing you the latest news in Christian suspense.

Buy Susan’s books at:
Amazon

Barnes and Noble

CBD

FIRST Wild Card Tour……Love Blooms in Winter (The Dakota Diaries)…….Lori Copeland

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:
Lori Copeland
and the book:
Love Blooms in Winter (The Dakota Diaries)

 

  • Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2012)

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

This new romance from bestselling author Lori Copeland portrays God’s miraculous provision when none seems possible. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more adventure than Tom Curtis is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter with God in charge.

1892—Mae Wilkey’s sweet next-door neighbor, Pauline, is suffering from old age and dementia and desperately needs family to come help her. But Pauline can’t recall having kin remaining. Mae searches through her desk and finds a name—Tom Curtis, who may just be the answer to their prayers.

Tom can’t remember an old aunt named Pauline, but if she thinks he’s a long-lost nephew, he very well may be. After two desperate letters from Mae, he decides to pay a visit. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more of an adventure than Tom is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter when God is in charge of things.

Product Details:


    • List Price: $13.99
    • Paperback: 304 pages
    • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2012)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0736930191
    • ISBN-13: 978-0736930192

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Dwadlo, North Dakota, 1892
The winter of ’92 is gonna go down as one of the worst Dwadlo’s ever seen,” Hal Murphy grumbled as he dumped the sack of flour he got for his wife on the store counter. “Mark my words.” He turned toward Mae Wilkey, the petite postmistress, who was stuffing mail in wooden slots.
“Spring can’t come soon enough for me.” She stepped back, straightening the row of letters and flyers. She didn’t have to record Hal’s prediction; it was the same every year. “I’d rather plant flowers than shovel snow any day of the week.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Hal nodded to the store owner, Dale Smith, who stood five foot seven inches with a rounded belly and salt-and-pepper hair swept to a wide front bang. “Add a couple of those dill pickles, will you?” Hal watched as Dale went over to the barrel and fished around inside, coming up with two fat pickles.
“That’ll fix me up.” Hal turned his attention back to the mail cage, his eyes fixed on the lovely sight. “Can’t understand why you’re still single, Mae. You’re as pretty as a raindrop on a lily pad.” He sniffed the air. “And you smell as good.”
Smiling, Mae moved from the letter boxes to the cash box. Icy weather may have delayed the train this morning, but she still had to count money and record the day’s inventory. “Now, Hal, you know I’d marry you in a wink if you weren’t already taken.” Hal and Clara had been married forty-two years, but Mae’s usual comeback never failed to put a sparkle in the farmer’s eye. Truth be, she put a smile on every man’s face, but she wasn’t often aware of the flattering looks she received. Her heart belonged to Jake Mallory, Dwadlo’s up-and-coming attorney.
Hal nodded. “I know. All the good ones are taken, aren’t they?”
She nodded. “Every single one. Especially in Dwadlo.”
The little prairie town was formed when the Chicago & North Western Railroad came through five years ago. Where abundant grass, wild flowers, and waterfalls had once flourished, hundreds of miles of steel rail crisscrossed the land, making way for big, black steam engines that hauled folks and supplies. Before the railroad came through, only three homesteads had dotted the rugged Dakota Territory: Mae’s family’s, Hal and Clara’s, and Pauline Wilson’s.
But in ’87 life changed, and formerly platted sites became bustling towns. Pine Grove and Branch Springs followed, and Dwadlo suddenly thrived with immigrants, opportunists, and adventure-seeking folks staking claims out West. A new world opened when the Dakota Boom started.
Hal’s gaze focused on Mae’s left hand. “Jake still hasn’t popped the question?”
Mae sighed. Hal was a pleasant sort, but she really wished the townspeople would occupy their thoughts with something other than her and Jake’s pending engagement. True, they had been courting for six years and Jake still hadn’t proposed, but she was confident he would. He’d said so, and he was a man of his word—though every holiday, when a ring would have been an appropriate gift, that special token of his intentions failed to materialize. Mae had more lockets than any one woman could wear, but Jake apparently thought that she could always use another one. What she could really use was his hand in marriage. The bloom was swiftly fading from her youth, and it would be nice if her younger brother, Jeremy, had a man’s presence in his life.
“Be patient, Hal. He’s busy trying to establish a business.”
“Good lands. How long does it take a man to open a law office?”
“Apparently six years and counting.” She didn’t like the uncertainty but she understood it, even if the town’s population didn’t. She had a good life, what with work, church, and the occasional social. Jake accompanied her to all public events, came over two or three times a week, and never failed to extend a hand when she needed something. It was almost as though they were already married.
“The man’s a fool,” Hal declared. “He’d better slap a ring on that finger before someone else comes along and does it for him.”
“Not likely in Dwadlo,” Mae mused. The town itself was made up of less than a hundred residents, but other folks lived in the surrounding areas and did their banking and shopping here. Main Street consisted of the General Store, Smith’s Grain and Feed, the livery, the mortuary, the town hall and jail (which was almost always empty), Doc Swede’s office, Rosie’s Café, and an empty building that had once housed the saloon. Mae hadn’t spotted a sign on any business yet advertising “Husbands,” but she was certain her patience would eventually win out.
With a final smile Hal moved off to pay for his goods. Mae hummed a little as she put the money box in the safe. Looking out the window, she noticed a stiff November wind snapping the red canvas awning that sheltered the store’s porch. Across the square, a large gazebo absorbed the battering wind. The usually active gathering place was now empty under a gray sky. On summer nights music played, and the smell of popcorn and roasted peanuts filled the air. Today the structure looked as though it were bracing for another winter storm. Sighing, Mae realized she already longed for green grass, blooming flowers, and warm breezes.
After Hal left Mae finished up the last of the chores and then reached for her warm wool cape. She usually enjoyed the short walk home from work, but today she was tired—and her feet hurt because of the new boots she’d purchased from the Montgomery Ward catalog. On the page they had looked comfortable with their high tops and polished leather, but on her feet they felt like a vise.
Slipping the cape’s hood over her hair, she said goodbye to Dale and then paused when her hand touched the doorknob. “Oh, dear. I really do need to check on Pauline again.”
“How’s she doing?” The store owner paused and leaned on his broom. “I noticed she hasn’t been in church recently.”
Dale always reminded Mae of an owl perching on a tree limb, his big, dark blue eyes swiveling here and there. He might not talk a body’s leg off, but he kept up on town issues. She admired the quiet little man for what he did for the community and respected the way he preached to the congregation on Sundays.
How was Pauline doing? Mae worried the question over in her mind. Pauline lived alone, and she shouldn’t. The elderly woman was Mae’s neighbor, and she checked on her daily, but Pauline was steadily losing ground.
“She’s getting more and more fragile, I’m afraid. Dale, have you ever heard Pauline speak of kin?”
The small man didn’t take even a moment to ponder the question. “Never heard her mention a single word about family of any kind.”
“Hmm…me neither. But surely she must have some.” Someone who should be here, in Dwadlo, looking after the frail soul. Mae didn’t resent the extra work, but the post office and her brother kept her busy, and she really didn’t have the right to make important decisions regarding the elderly woman’s rapidly failing health.
Striding back to the bread rack, she picked up a fresh loaf. Dale had private rooms at the back of the store where he made his home, and he was often up before dawn baking bread, pies, and cakes for the community. Most folks in town baked their own goods, but there were a few, widowers and such, who depended on Dale’s culinary skills. By this hour of the day the goods were usually gone, but a few remained. Placing a cherry pie in her basket as well, she called, “Add these things to my account, please, Dale. And pray for Pauline too.”
Nodding, he continued sweeping, methodically running the stiff broomcorn bristles across the warped wood floor.
The numbing wind hit Mae full force when she stepped off the porch. Her hood flew off her head and an icy gust of air snatched away her breath. Putting down her basket, she retied the hood before setting off for the brief walk home. Dwadlo was laid out in a rather strange pattern, a point everyone agreed on. Businesses and homes were built close together, partly as shelter from the howling prairie winds and partly because there wasn’t much forethought given to town planning. Residents’ homes sat not a hundred feet from the store. The whole community encompassed less than five acres.
Halfway to her house, snowflakes began swirling in the air. Huddling deeper into her wrap, Mae concentrated on the path as the flakes grew bigger.
She quickly covered the short distance to Pauline’s. The dwelling was little more than a front room, tiny kitchen, and bedroom, but she was a small woman. Pauline pinned her yellow-white hair in a tight knot at the base of her skull, and she didn’t have a tooth in her head. She chewed snuff, which she freely admitted was an awful habit, but Mae had never heard her speak of giving it up.
Her faded blue eyes were as round as buttons, and no matter what kind of day she was having, it was always a new one to her, filled with wonders. Her mind wasn’t what it used to be. She had good and bad days, but mostly days when her moods changed as swift as summer lightning. She could be talking about tomatoes in the garden patch when suddenly she would be discussing how to spin wool.
Mae noted a soft wisp of smoke curling up from the chimney and smiled. Pauline had remembered to feed the fire this afternoon, so this was a good day.
Unlatching the gate, she followed the path to the front porch. In summertime the white railings hung heavy with red roses, and the scent of honeysuckle filled the air. This afternoon the wind howled across the barren flower beds Pauline carefully nurtured during warmer weather. Often she planted okra where petunias should be, but she enjoyed puttering in the soil and the earth loved her. She brought fresh tomatoes, corn, and beans to the store during spring and summer, and pumpkins and squash lined the railings in the fall.
In earlier days Pauline’s quilts were known throughout the area. She and her quilting group had made quite a name for themselves when Dwadlo first became a town. Four women excelled in the craft. One had lived in Pine Grove, and two others came from as far away as Branch Springs once a month to break bread together and stitch quilts. But one by one the women had died off, leaving Pauline to sew alone in her narrowing world.
Stomping her boots on the porch, Mae said under her breath, “I don’t mind winter, Lord, but could we perhaps have a little less of it?” The only answer was the wind whipping her garments. Tapping lightly on the door, she called, “Pauline?”
Mae stepped back and waited to hear the shuffle of feet. Pauline used to answer the door in less than twenty seconds. It took longer now. Mae made a fist with her gloved hand and banged a little harder. The wind howled around the cottage eaves. She closed her eyes and prayed that Jeremy had remembered to stack sufficient firewood beside the kitchen door. The boy was generally responsible, and she thanked God every day that she had him to lean on. He had been injured by forceps during birth, which left him with special needs. He was a very happy fourteen-year-old with the reasoning power of a child of nine.
A full minute passed. Mae frowned and tried the doorknob. Pauline couldn’t hear herself yell in a churn, but she might also be asleep. The door opened easily, and Mae peeked inside the small living quarters. She saw that a fire burned low in the woodstove, and Pauline’s rocking chair sat empty.
Stepping inside, she closed the door and called again. “Pauline? It’s Mae!”
The ticking of the mantle clock was the only sound that met her ears.
“Pauline?” She lowered her hood and walked through the living room. She paused in the kitchen doorway.
“Oh, Pauline!”

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

 

My Thoughts on this book

I am still in the process of reading this book, and will p0st a review as soon as I finish it, in a few days. Wonderful book so far for me!

PUYB Blog Tour The Secret of the Sacred Scarab….by Fiona Ingram

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab

 

About Fiona Ingram

Fiona Ingram

Although Fiona Ingram has been a journalist for the last fifteen years, writing a children’s bookThe Secret of the Sacred Scarab—was an unexpected step, inspired by a recent trip to Egypt. The tale of the sacred scarab began life as a little anecdotal tale for her 2 nephews (then 10 and 12), who had accompanied her on the Egyptian trip. This short story grew into an award-winning children’s book, the first in the adventure series Chronicles of the Stone. The author has already completed the next book in the series—The Search for the Stone of Excalibur—a huge treat for young King Arthur fans.

Although Fiona Ingram does not have children of her own, she has an adopted teenage foster child, from an underprivileged background who is just discovering the joys of reading for pleasure. Fiona’s experiences in teaching her daughter to read has resulted in her interest in child literacy and in creating ways to get kids more interested in reading, as well as helping parents to instil a love of reading in their children.

Naturally, Fiona is a voracious reader and has been from early childhood. Her interests include literature, art, theatre, collecting antiques, animals, music, and films. She loves travel and has been fortunate to have lived in Europe (while studying) and America (for work). She has travelled widely and fulfilled many of her travel goals.

Fiona’s latest book is the middle grade adventure novel, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab – Book 1 in the Chronicles of the Stone series.

Visit her website at www.fionaingram.com.

 

About The Secret of the Sacred Scarab

The Secret of the Sacred ScarabA 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs. Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They survive terrifying dangers in a hostile environment (such as a giant cobra, as well as sinking sand), pursued by enemies in their quest to solve the secret of the sacred scarab. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out. They must also learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. With just their wits, courage, and each other, the boys manage to survive … only to find that the end of one journey is the beginning of another!

Young explorers will enjoy an interactive journey through Egypt, following Justin and Adam’s exciting adventure on www.secretofthesacredscarab.com. Readers can also browse the first chapter of the book. Those who survive the journey and manage to translate the Curse of Thoth will be able to read the first chapter in Adam and Justin’s next adventure—The Search for the Stone of Excalibur—as they hunt for the Scroll of the Ancients.

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab has received the following awards:

  • Book Award Nominations & Wins:
  • Finalist Children’s Fiction  USA Next Generation 2009 Indie Book Awards
  • Finalist Juvenile Fiction USA National Best Books 2009 Awards
  • Winner Pre-Teen USA 2009 Readers’ Favorites Awards
  • Number 2 in the USA Children’s & Teens Book Connection Top Ten Favourite Books of 2009 for Kids, Tweens & Teens
  • Winner Silver Medal Teen Fiction 2010 Nautilus Book Awards
  • Finalist Children’s Fiction 2010 International Book Awards
  • Winner Bronze Medal Pre-Teen Fiction 2010 Moonbeam Book Awards
  • Finalist 2011 Rubery Book Awards
  • Winner Gold Award Mystery Pre-Teen 2011 Children’s Literary Classics Awards

Purchase ebook for $2.99 here!

My Thoughts on this book

This story about cousins Adam and Justin is fun, interesting and adventurous, and a great story for young readers to enjoy. It has a lot of interesting information about Egypt for those interested in cultural studies like this. Can you imagine what fun it would be to take a vacation such as this and given 3 small scarabs by a stranger, kidnapped and sent on a journey such as these two boys went on? And I would have loved to been their aunt or grandmother!

I really enjoyed the mysterious journey as Adam and Justin try to figure out about these scarabs they are in possession of. I read a lot of Hardy Boys to my son when he was young, and this book reminded me a lot of those books. The characters were fun to get to know and they were pretty smart guys taking on this adventure themselves. And I really enjoyed all of the interesting detailed information on Egypt that the author included, and the author’s many hours of research clearly shows.

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 Jesus Calling Devotional Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishers

Book Description

The Jesus Calling Devotional Bible puts readers in touch with God and His answers for their life situations. Missionary Sarah Young had been journaling her prayers for years when she began “listening” for what Jesus was saying to her within the words of Scripture. In this Bible, 260 scenarios pose life struggles to which Sarah Young gives answers from her Savior—words that Jesus has lovingly laid on her heart—words that have comforted and inspired Sarah and many others around the world.

Features include:

–260 scenarios with devotions by Sarah Young

–Hundreds of inspiring scriptures highlighted throughout the text

–New King James Version® (NKJV) in paragraph format

–Index to devotions

–Two-color text

–Presentation page

–Ribbon marker

The New King James Version—More than 60 million copies sold in 30 years

The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher

A family. A farm. A heart. All in need of repair.

Life on Windmill Farm hasn’t been the same since Julia Lapp’s father has had trouble with his heart. But that doesn’t stop Julia from hoping for a bright future. She has planned on marrying Paul Fisher since she was a girl. Now twenty-one, she looks forward to their wedding with giddy anticipation. But when Paul tells her he wants to postpone the wedding–again–she is determined to change his mind. She knows who is to blame for Paul’s sudden reluctance to wed: the Bee Man.

Roman Troyer, the Bee Man, travels through the Amish communities of Ohio and Pennsylvania with his hives full of bees, renting them out to farmers in need of pollinators. A mysterious man who relishes his nomadic life, Roman especially enjoys bringing his bees to Stoney Ridge each year. But with Julia seriously at odds with him, Windmill Farm is looking decidedly less appealing.

Can Julia secure the future she’s always dreamed of? Or does God have something else in mind?

Joy’s Thoughts

Paul Fisher and Julie Lapp have always been an item, and of course everyone has always expected them to get married. Problem is, Paul keeps putting off the wedding, and with no really good reason, breaking Julia’s heart over and over again. Julie has enough stress on her because her dad is not doing well because of a heart problem. His Doctors are telling him the only thing that will help him is a heart transplant, which Amos refuses to talk about.

Then comes the Roman Troyer, or The Bee Man as he is known for. He highly respects Amos Lapp because Amos has helped him out in life more than once. This time around when he shows up at the Lapp farm, he ends up staying for a while to help the family out.

Julie thinks The Bee Man has eyes for her because he doesn’t like Paul, but really Roman hadn’t paid that much attention to Julia, that is until he started spending more and more time with her. Paul really doesn’t like the disrespect Paul gives Julia, and tried to tell Julia so, but she won’t listen. To make things a little more interesting, Julia sister asks for Roman’s help to make Paul jealous so he will realize what his is losing in Julia. This turns into an interesting time for the Lapp sisters as well as Paul and The Bee Man. And I’ll stop here because you just need to read the book to find out all of the details.

What a book! I really enjoy Suzanne Woods Fishers books and this one did not disappoint. With believable and interesting characters that you will grow to like, the author writes a story full of love, determination, confussion, trauma, romance, plain living and emotions, and readers wanting to figure out just who will end up with Julia Lapp. You will laugh and cry with this cast of characters as you enjoy this wonderful Amish fiction with a few twists and turns that will throw you off your feet.

I highly recommend this wonderful book for you to read and enjoy. I can’t wait for Book 2!

“Available January 2012 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

It’s a “Honey of a Giveaway” from Suzanne Woods Fisher!

Suzanne is hosting a “honey of a giveaway”during the blog tour for The Keeper! During 1/3-1/17 you can enter to win an iPad2 from Suzanne and connect with her on January 17th at The Keeper Facebook Party!

During the giveaway one Grand Prize winner will receive a Prize Pack valued at $600:

  • A brand new 16 KB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi
  • A $25 gift certificate to iTunes
  • A copy of The Keeper

But wait there’s more! Just click one of the icons below to enter, then on 1/17 join Suzanne for The Keeper Facebook Party! During the party Suzanne will announce the winner of the “Honey” of an iPad Giveaway and host a fun book chat and give away some fun “honey” inspired prizes – It’ll be ‘sweet”!

RSVP early and tell your friends!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don’t miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 17th!

7 Money Rules for Life Review

Take Control of Your Financial Future with 7 Money Rules for Life

Founder of Debt-Proof Living shares how to master your personal finances

 “Mary Hunt has been there and back, and it shows. Hunt’s empathetic, real-world approach makes [her] advice somehow seem more palatable–and achievable.”–Money magazine

Across the country Americans are flunking their finances. Credit-card debt has reached $828 billion, 77 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and 43 percent have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. An alarming number of Americans have never been taught how to handle their personal finances, and this has led to financial ruin for millions.

Bestselling author and financial columnist Mary Hunt lived through her own financial nightmare, paying off over $100,000 in unsecured credit-card debt. In 7 Money Rules for Life: How to Take Control of Your Financial Future (Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8007-2112-1, 208 p

ages, January 2012, $17.99), Hunt openly shares her own struggles with an emotional connection to spending that drove her family into financial ruin. Over the past 20 years, Hunt has helped thousands of people get out of debt and live below their means.

“These simple rules,” says Hunt, “cut through the confusion, mystery and misery, enabling readers to get their financial lives on track.” By following her seven rules, readers can fix their financial problems and take control of the future. Hunt provides a solid foundation of financial knowledge and encourages readers to get started on the road to becoming financially secure.

As she successfully paid off her debt, Hunt developed and fine-tuned the seven money rules. These simple, unchanging, basic rules work in every financial situation, for every income level, and for every stage of life:

Rule 1: Spend Less than You Earn

Rule 2: Save for the Future

Rule 3: Give Some Away

Rule 4: Anticipate Your Irregular Expenses

Rule 5: Tell Your Money Where to Go

Rule 6: Manage Your Credit

Rule 7: Borrow Only What You Know You Can Repay

To further encourage her readers, everyone who purchases a copy of 7 Money Rules for Life will receive a free membership to Debt-Proof Living, Hunt’s online community. Members have access to financial tools

and interactive calculators, articles on debt-proofing your life, and even more tips and encouragement for those taking control of their financial freedom.

My Thoughts

This is a Christian based book teaching readers how to manage their finances, giving you seven pretty simple steps. These are steps people can use in their everyday lives to try to cut expenses and try to pay off bills and save money.

Some of the things in this book are new, other are pretty much the same as what I have read in other books, but it is still great ideas to follow when trying to manage your money. This is a good book for any household to have to go through together and to keep as a reference when you need a little extra boost.

“Available January 2012 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

 About the Author

Mary Hunt, award-winning and bestselling author, syndicated columnist and sought-after motivational speaker, has created a global platform that is making strides to help men and woman battle the epidemic impact of consumer debt. She is founder and publisher of Debt-Proof Living website, which features financial tools, resources and information for her online members. Her books have sold more than a million copies and her daily newspaper column is nationally syndicated through Creators Syndicate, where it is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of Everyday Cheapskate readers. Hunt speaks widely on personal finance and has appeared on shows such as Oprah, Good Morning America and Dr. Phil. She and her husband live in California.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books for everyday life.  For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.

The Christmas Bride by Grace Livingston Hill

The Christmas Bride

ProductImageHandler

About this book

Now a wealthy man, Greg Sterling heads back east to make a name for himself. But on his first day home, he stumbles on a down-and-out young woman in desperate need of his help. Then just as quickly as she appeared, Margaret McLaren vanishes without a trace. As several days of searching come up empty-handed, old flame Alice Blair saunters into Greg’s world, vying to win his heart—and his pocketbook. But will her coquettishness keep Greg from finding his true love?

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Grace Livingston Hill book! I am so glad they are making a comeback. I really enjoyed this wonderful Christmas story.

The head nurse on the hospital floor was a bit arrogant and took things into her own hands a bit too soon. Greg brought Margaret into the hospital and paid her entire bill, setting her room up as a memorial to give poor people a nice room for free while in the hospital. When Margaret found out, she really made an idiot of herself. But Greg soon set her straight!

This well written story is full of realistic characters that you will grow to love, and Grace Livingston Hill gives readers a heartwarming story to read during the Christmas Holidays. Pick up your copy now, so you will have it when the holiday season gets here!

I received this book from the publisher Barbour Books 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….His Steadfast Love … by Golden Keyes Parsons

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This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingHis Steadfast LoveThomas Nelson (November 1, 2011)byGolden Keyes ParsonsABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Golden Keyes Parsons writes historical fiction for Thomas Nelson Publishing, and is also a popular retreat/conference speaker. Her highly acclaimed Darkness to Light Series chronicled the journey of her French Huguenot ancestors in 17th century France. Her newest novel, His Steadfast Love, a Civil War novel set in Texas, just released November 2011. Golden lives in Waco, TX, with her husband, Blaine, where they enjoy their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and are avid sports fan of their alma mater, Baylor University.
ABOUT THE BOOK

It isn’t until the Civil War comes to her doorstep that Amanda Bell must choose between love and family.

It’s the spring of 1861 on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Amanda never thought she would marry because of a promise she made to her dying mother, but her attraction to Captain Kent Littlefield is undeniable.

When Texas secedes from the Union, her brother Daniel aligns with the Confederate States, while Kent remains with the Union troops.

Her heart is torn between the two men she is closest to and the two sides of the conflict. Amanda prays to God for direction and support, but hears only silence. Where is God in the atrocities of war-and whose side is He on?

Amanda senses her life is at a turning point. She must trust God to deliver her family through the chaos of war with her heart and her faith intact.

If you would like to read the first chapter of His Steadfast Love, go HERE

My Thoughts on the Book!

Set in the Civil War era, this story follows the forbidden love between Southern lady Amanda Belle and Northern Captain Kent Littlefield. Can you imagine the upset in each of these families with the fighting between the North and the South, especially since Amanda’s brother Daniel has been called to fight? But Amanda and Captain Littlefield are so much in love they are determined to be together after the war.

I really enjoyed Captain Littlefield and Amanda’s story. This is truly a book filled with emotions as these two characters so much in love struggle through the commands of their rival families, as well as the demands of war keeping them apart. And the history in this book, Wow! The author truly did her job so very well in researching the details of this war between the Confederacy and the Union. Between the detailed history and the romance between Kent and Amanda, this book drew me in so close that I just couldn’t put it down. I really like the writing style of the author too! The story just flows through so well making it a fast and very enjoyable read.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson through Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. I was not required or expected to give a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

101 Bible Adventures Tyndale House Publishers

101 Bible Adventures 

Tyndale House Publishers

101 Bible Adventures
Ed. Pub. Concepts
, Tyndale

Binding: Softcover
ISBN: 978-1-4143-4997-8
List Price: $12.99
Release Date: February 2012
Page Count: 224
Trim Size: 6 x 9
***********************
About this Bible Story Book
101 Bible Adventures offers kids a high-energy, adventure-filled approach to reading, interacting with, and learning life lessons from the Scriptures. It takes 101 favorite adventure-filled stories from the New Living Translation and puts them into one amazing book. Each Bible story has a brief overview so kids can get a bird’s-eye view of the story, a key verse that sums up its meaning, and a Read and Learn application section that challenges kids to make their faith active. 101 Bible Adventures gives kids a great way to explore the Scriptures while highlighting concepts such as building good character; the importance of having good role models; and themes such as forgiveness, love, and God’s wonderful plan for our lives.
My Thoughts!

This Bible Study book is just what it says, its 101 stories taken from the Bible and told in a fun way your child can understand. Each story is two pages long. It starts out with a What’s up section telling a bit about the story; then an Action Adventure giving the scripture and the Bible story; there is a Key Verse for each story; a Cartoon of the story and a Now What to give a Bible application of the story to go with our everyday lives. And the Bible referenced are from the New Living Translation, an easier version for your child to read and understand.

This would be a fun study tool for any older child or tween. The front cover and the layout of the pages will capture the attention of readers this age, making them curious enough to want to check it out! Being two pages makes it a fast and easy read, though it is interesting enough and with the information given, a young reader can study deeper than just what is in the book.

I highly recommend this study for your child. It will be a wonderful way to have them study God’s Word without feeling overwhelmed because of the simplicity and shortness of it. And it is truly a high-energy action-packed, adventure-filled book!

I was provided a copy of this Bible Story Book by Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required or expected to write a positive review of this product. The review is my opinions only.

Check this book out on Goodreads!

CFBA The Captive Heart by….Dale Cramer

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingThe Captive HeartBethany House (January 1, 2012)byDale CramerABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dale Cramer spent his formative years traveling the world as an Army brat, then settled in Georgia at the age of fifteen when his father retired.

After high school he became an electrician, a job that took him to places as diverse as power plants, stadia, airports, high-rise office buildings and a hard-rock mining operation.

Twenty-five years of experiences in the trades provided him with the wealth of characters, stories and insights that populate his novels.

When he married his childhood friend, Pam, in 1975 he had no way of knowing they would not have children until fifteen years later.

In his early forties, when Dale left his job to become a stay-at-home dad, he suddenly found himself with time on his hands, so he pursued a lifelong dream and taught himself to write.

Using an online writer’s forum as a training ground, he wrote his first short stories in 1996. As his writing skills improved he turned to novels, publishing his first book, Sutter’s Cross, in 2003.

Since then, Dale has published four more novels and garnered a measure of critical acclaim with two Christy Awards, a listing among Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2004 and numerous other Best lists. Dale and his wife Pam live in Georgia with their two sons.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Bandit troubles intensify as Caleb Bender’s family tries to settle into their new life in 1920s Paradise Valley. When El Pantera kidnaps Rachel and leaves her brother, Aaron, for dead, Jake Weaver and the Mexican native Domingo pursue the bandit leader to his mountain stronghold in a hopeless rescue attempt. Jake and Domingo manage to escape with Rachel, with the bandits hot on their trail. In a desperate attempt to avoid recapture, Domingo puts himself squarely in harm’s way, giving Jake and Rachel time to get away. This is not the quiet life Caleb Bender envisioned when he led his family out of Ohio. What is a father to make of his daughter’s obvious affection for a man outside the fold? And how will a pacifist Amishman like Caleb respond to the events that threaten his family and their way of life?

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

 

My Thoughts on this Book

Having read the first book in this series, I have been waiting on this second one to come out, and I am very happy that I could read it! In this second book, a host of Amish friends moved from Ohio and joined Caleb and his family in Mexico to start their lives new, just as Caleb and his family did a few years before. Building, tilling the ground and planting crops were in full force as these new families struggled to continue to build their Amish community in Paradise Valley. On a sad note, the hardships were still there to deal with, and bandits were still in the area, this time causing more problems and heartbreaks than ever.

Domingo was still helping Caleb on his farm, and helping deal with the bandits, but even he was unable to hold them back with his threats like he did before. Also the attraction between Caleb’s daughter and Domingo is still as strong as ever, but nothing can ever come of it because of the differences in their beliefs. Or can it? The situation begins to get very interesting, and you will just have to read the book to find out all of the details.

In this second book, Dale Cramer takes the situations a step farther wrapping the reader up in the dangerous and emotional situations as these Amish people struggle in Paradise Valley.  Life was not easy for these people starting over, and some parts of this book are not easy to read because of these dangers. I fell in love with these characters even more as the difficulties became harder to deal with. And as for El Pantera and his men, well nothing could be too harsh for them because of the way they treated              Amish and used them to get what they wanted. I just wanted them out of the picture, but then the book wouldn’t seem as believable.

On a happier note, there were good things that happened as well. Babies being born, more courting since there were more young people there. The Amish were able to worship together, as well as keep the classes going for the smaller kids.

Another awesome book from Dale Cramer! I highly recommend this Amish story for you to read and enjoy. This is Amish fiction with a lot of twists and turns that you don’t read in a lot of Amish books. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

This book was provided by Bethany House through Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. I was not required or expected to give a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

 

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