READERS FAVORITE AWARDS DEADLINE ENDS MAY 1, 2012

READERS FAVORITE AWARDS

Hi everyone,

Just a reminder that the deadline for to enter your book for the Readers Favorites awards this year is almost here.  MAY 1st IS THE LAST DAY TO ENTER! If you are interested in submitting your book for a chance to place in the finals this year…go HERE   

Debra and James are wonderful people to work with! And Blessing one your entries!

And I would appreciate if you use the link above, or this one so I will get credit for you joining…thanks much!!  And please tell them Joy Hannabass sent you!!!

http://readersfavorite.com/?xyz=160

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FIRST WildCard Tour….Need You Now by Beth Wiseman

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:

Beth Wiseman
and the book:
Need You Now
Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 10, 2012)

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK!

Need You Now by Beth Wiseman

After reading Beth Wiseman’s Amish novels all I could say was Wow! After reading “Need You Now” all I can say is Wow. Beth Wiseman can write anything, and it will be an awesome read.

In this contemporary fiction, Beth Wiseman creates realistic and believable characters and brings them to life before our eyes throughout the pages of this book. At times I wanted to add prayer request to our pray group, or talk about something Darlene or Brad did to a friend. To me “Need You Now” is just this good.

I read in one review that the book is too realistic. Well it does seem real at times because Beth Wiseman deals with real life issues that people face every day. Families have problems, there is no way around it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this new read from Beth Wiseman. It was a very fast read for me because I couldn’t put it down once I started reading. My only quirk with it was Darlene so adamant about working outside the home, when it seemed her teens needed her at home. And after the earlier problems, it just seemed to open up space for the siblings to get into more stuff. But then if you read the book, you will find out all about Darlene’s job, how it goes, how long she works. Oh and you will find out who the visitor in her bedroom was.

I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a good contemporary read. You will not be disappointed in the new Beth Wiseman read.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson through B&B Media and FIRST WildCard Tours. I was not expected or required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson, The B&B Media Group, for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

When a personal crisis tested and strengthened her faith, award-winning journalist Beth Wiseman was advised by her agent to consider writing a Christian novel, particularly an Amish one. Encouraged by her agent’s urging, she began exploring the Amish lifestyle and soon developed a great appreciation for the more peaceful way of life. In 2008 Wiseman wrote her debut novel, Plain Perfect, featuring the Amish lifestyle within the context of a fictional love story. It was a bestseller, as have been all of the full-length novels and novellas she has written since.

While Need You Now is Wiseman’s first non-Amish novel, she is confident it will not be the last. She is already making plans to write a second contemporary novel in the near future. Like Need You Now, it will also be set in small-town Texas, a familiar background she thoroughly loves exploring and writing about.

Wiseman’s previous releases have held spots on the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) and the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) bestseller lists. In 2010, she received the INSPY Award for Amish Fiction (chosen by blog reviewers). In 2011, she received the Carol Award and was the Inspirational Readers Choice winner for her book Plain Paradise. Her novel Seek Me with All Your Heart was the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. In addition, Wiseman has been a Retailers Choice Finalist, a Booksellers Best Finalist and a National Readers Choice Finalist. Prior to becoming a novelist she received many honors for her work as a journalist, including a prestigious First Place News Writing Award from the Texas Press Association.

Today, she and her husband are empty nest parents of two grown sons, enjoying the country lifestyle and living happily with two dogs, two cats, two pot-bellied pigs, two chickens and a single pygmy goat in a small community in South Central Texas. Along with writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, traveling and watching good movies. Her favorite pastime, however, is spending time with friends and family.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


We all count on the support of those around us when times are tough, but what do we do when those we depend on the most are suddenly gone? How do we cope when life has pulled the rug out from under us and left us with nothing and no one to hold on to? To whom can we turn when it seems no one, not even God, is there? These are the questions best-selling author Beth Wiseman addresses in her first contemporary novel, Need You Now (Thomas Nelson).

After the safety of one of their children is threatened, Need You Now’s main character, Darlene Henderson, and her husband Brad choose to move their family from Houston to the dot-in-the-road town of Round Top, Texas; moving into the old fixer-upper farm left to Darlene by her grandparents. Adjusting to the change is more difficult than any of them imagined, especially for the middle child, 15-year-old Grace, who becomes a cutter, using a dangerous and particularly self-damaging way of coping with stress.

The move also begins to take a toll on the couple’s marriage when Darlene decides to take a job outside the home in an effort to make new friends in the community. As the domestic tension rises, both begin to wonder if the same shared faith that has carried them through difficult times in the past will be strong enough to help them now.

To make matters worse, Darlene begins receiving inappropriate attention from the widowed father of the autistic young girl she is assigned to work with at the school for special needs children where she is employed. Unfortunately, this new attention comes just when she is most vulnerable. If there has ever been a time in her life when she needed God, it is now. But will she allow arising feelings of unworthiness to keep her from seeking Him?

In her first novel not set in an Amish community, Wiseman spins her well-honed characters and setting into a thought-provoking message that not only makes the reader ponder his or her own relationship with God, but also sheds light on the little-known disorders of using self-injury as a way of seeking relief and high-functioning autism. Need You Now is the perfect read for anyone who has ever questioned life and God’s will.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 15.99

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 10, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1595548874

ISBN-13: 978-1595548870

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Darlene’s chest tightened, and for a few seconds she couldn’t move. If ever there was a time to flee, it was now. She put a hand to her chest, held her breath, and eased backward, sliding one socked foot at a time across the wooden floor of her bed- room. She eyed the intruder, wondering why he wasn’t moving. Maybe he was dead.
Nearing the door, she stretched her arm behind her, searching for the knob. She turned it quickly, and at the click of the latch, her trespasser rushed toward her. In one movement, she jumped backward, across the threshold and into the den, slamming the door so hard the picture of the kids fell off the wall. She looked down at Chad, Ansley, and Grace staring up through broken glass, then hurried through the den to the kitchen. Her hand trembled as she unplugged her cell phone and pressed the button to call Brad. Please answer.
It was tax time, so every CPA at her husband’s office was working long hours, and for these last weeks before the April deadline, Brad was hard to reach. She knew she wouldn’t hear from him until after eight o’clock tonight. And she couldn’t go back in her bedroom. What would she have to live without until then? She looked down. For starters, a shirt. She was later than usual getting dressed this morning and had just pulled on her jeans when she’d noticed she wasn’t alone.
She let out a heavy sigh and rubbed her forehead. Brad answered on the sixth ring.
“Bradley . . .” She only called him by his full name when she needed his full attention.
“What is it, babe?”
She took a deep breath. “There is a snake in our bedroom. A big, black snake.” She paused as she put a hand to her chest. “In our bedroom.”
“How big?”
She’d expected a larger reaction. Maybe her husband didn’t hear her. “Big! Very big. Huge, Brad.”
He chuckled. “Honey, remember that little snake that got in your greenhouse when we lived on Charter Road in Houston? You said that snake was big too.” He chuckled again, and Darlene wanted to smack him through the phone. “It was a tiny little grass snake.”
“Brad, you’re going to have to trust me. This snake is huge, like five or six feet long.” A shiver ran down her spine. “Are you coming home or should I call 9-1-1?”
“What? You can’t call 9-1-1 about a snake.” His tone changed. “Darlene, don’t do that. Round Top is a small town, and we’ll be known as the city slickers who called in about a snake.”
“Then you need to come home and take care of this.” She lifted her chin and fought the tremble in her voice.
Deep breath on the other end of the line. “You know how crazy it is here. I can’t leave right now. It’s probably just a chicken snake, and they’re not poisonous.”
“Well, there are no chickens in our bedroom, so it doesn’t have any business in there.”
“Chad can probably get it out when he gets home from school. Maybe with a shovel or something, but tell him to be careful. Even though they’re not venomous, it’d probably still hurt to get bit.”
Darlene sighed. “Our girls are going to freak if they come home to find a snake in the house.”
“Maybe—” Darlene turned toward a sound in the entryway. “I’ll call you back. There’s someone at the door, and I’m standing here in my bra. I’ll call you back. Love you.” She clicked the phone off, then yelled toward the door. “Just a minute!”
After finding a T-shirt in Ansley’s room, she pulled it over her head as she crossed back through the den toward the front door. This was the first visitor she’d had in the two months since they’d moved from Houston. She peeked around the curtain before she opened the door, realizing that her old city habit would probably linger for a while. Out here in the country, there probably wasn’t much to worry about, but she was relieved to see it was a woman. A tall woman in a cowgirl hat. She pulled the door open.
“Your Longhorns are in my pasture.” The woman twisted her mouth to one side and folded her arms across her chest. “This is the second time they’ve busted the fence and wandered onto my property.”
Darlene thought this cowgirl could have walked straight off the set of any western movie. She was dressed in a long- sleeved denim shirt with her blue jeans tucked into brown boots. She was older than Darlene, possibly mid-forties, but she was gorgeous with huge brown eyes and blonde hair that hung in a ponytail to her waist.
“I’m so sorry.” Darlene shook her head. Brad should have never gotten those Longhorns. Neither she nor Brad knew a thing about cows, but Brad had said a move to the country should include some Longhorns. Although it didn’t make a lick of sense to her. She pushed the door wide. “I’m Darlene.”
The woman shifted her weight, but didn’t offer a greeting in return. Instead, she stared at Darlene’s chest. Darlene waited for the woman to lock eyes with her, and when she didn’t, Darlene finally looked down. Her cheeks warmed as she sighed. “Oh, this is my daughter’s shirt.” Don’t Bug Me! was scrolled across the white T-shirt in red, and beneath the writing was a hideous picture of a giant roach. Darlene couldn’t stand the shirt, but twelve-year-old Ansley loved it. “Do you want to come in?” She stepped back.
“No. I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to round up your Longhorns and head them back to your pasture. I’ll temporarily repair the fence.” The woman turned to leave, and it was then that Darlene saw a horse tethered to the fence that divided their property. She stifled a smile. This woman really was a cowgirl.
“Know anything about snakes?” Darlene eased onto the front porch, sidestepping a board she knew was loose. The porch was next on their list of things to repair on her grand- parents’ old homestead.
“What?” The woman turned around as she held a hand underneath the rim of her hat, blocking the afternoon sun.
“I have a snake in my bedroom.” Darlene shrugged. “Just wondering if you had any—any experience with something like that?” She padded down two porch steps in her socks. “I’m not sure I got your name?”
“Layla.” She gave a quick wave before she turned to leave again. Darlene sighed. Clearly the woman wasn’t interested in being friends. Or helping with the snake. Darlene watched her walk to her horse and put a foot in the stirrup. Then she paused and twisted her body to face Darlene. “What kind of snake?”
Hopeful, Darlene edged down another step. “A big, black one.”
Layla put her foot back on the ground and walked across the grass toward the porch. Darlene couldn’t believe how graceful the tall blonde was, how out of sync her beauty was in comparison to what she was wearing.
“Only thing you really have to worry about around here are copperheads.” She tipped back the rim of her hat. “Was it a copperhead?”
At five foot two, Darlene felt instantly inferior to this tall, gorgeous, horse-riding, snake-slaying blonde. She wasn’t about to say that she couldn’t tell one snake from the other. “I don’t think so.”
“All I’ve got is a .22 with me.” Layla pointed back to her horse, and Darlene saw a long gun in a holster. “But a .22 will blow a hole through your floor,” Layla added. A surreal feeling washed over Darlene. She thought about their previous home in a Houston subdivision, and a woman with a gun on a horse wasn’t a sight they would’ve seen.
“Do you have a pellet gun?” She stopped in front of Darlene on the steps. Darlene was pretty sure that was all they had— Chad’s BB gun.
“Yeah, I think so.”
Five minutes later, Darlene pushed open the door to her bedroom and watched Layla enter the scene of the invasion. The bed was piled with clean clothes, but at least it was made up. The vacuum was in the middle of the room instead of in the closet under the stairs. It wasn’t the way she wanted a stranger to see her bedroom, but it could have been worse.
Layla got down on her knees and looked under the bed. From the threshold, Darlene did a mental scan of what was under there. Boxes of photos, a flowery hatbox that had belonged to her grandmother, an old, red suitcase stuffed with baby keepsakes from when the kids were young—and a lot of dust. “There he is.” Layla leaned her chest to the floor and positioned Chad’s BB gun. Darlene braced herself, then squeezed her eyes closed as two pops echoed underneath the bed. A minute later, Layla drug the snake out with the tip of the gun. “Just a chicken snake.”
Darlene stepped out of the room, giving Layla plenty of room to haul the snake out. Big, black, ugly. And now dead. Blood dripped all the way to the front door. Layla carried the snake to the fence and laid it across the timber, its yellow underside up.
“Belly up should bring rain.” Layla was quickly up on her horse. “Maybe tell your husband that I’m patching the fence up, but he really needs some new cross planks.”
“I will. And thank you so much for killing that snake. Do you and your husband want to come for dinner tonight? I’d like to do something for you.”
“I’m not married. And I can’t come to dinner tonight. Thanks, though.” She gave the horse a little kick in the flank, then eased through a gate that divided her acreage from Brad and Darlene’s. She closed it behind her from atop her horse and headed toward the large house on top of the sloping hillside. Coming from town, the spacious estate was fully visible from the road and her youngest daughter called it the “mansion on the hill.” The rest of the family took to calling it that too.
In comparison to their rundown farmhouse, Darlene sup- posed it was a mansion. Both homes were probably built in the late 1800s, but Layla’s was completely restored, at least on the outside, with fresh, yellow paint and white trim. A split-rail, cedar fence also surrounded the yard, and toward the back of the property, a bright red barn lit up the hayfield not far from a good-sized pond. A massive iron gate—that stayed closed most of the time—welcomed visitors down a long, winding drive- way. And there were lots of livestock—mostly Longhorns and horses. If the wind was blowing just right, sometimes Darlene could hear faint music coming from the house.
She was hoping maybe she could be friends with Layla, even though she wasn’t sure she had anything in common with her. Just the same, Darlene was going to pay her a visit. Maybe take her a basket of baked goodies, a thank-you for killing that snake.
Brad adjusted the phone against his ear and listened to Darlene’s details about her snake ordeal, then she ended the conversation the way she always did. “Who do you love?”
“You, baby.”
It was their thing. Nearly twenty years ago, at a bistro in Houston, Brad wanted to tell Darlene that he loved her—for the first time—and he was a nervous wreck, wondering if she felt the same way. He’d kept fumbling around, and the words just wouldn’t come. Maybe she’d seen it in his eyes, but she’d reached over, touched his hand, and smiled. Then in a soft whisper, she’d asked, “Who do you love?” His answer had rolled off his tongue with ease. “You, baby.” Then she’d told him that she loved him too, and the who-do-you-love question stuck. Darlene asked him all the time. He knew it wasn’t because she was insecure; it was just a fond recollection for both of them. That night at the bistro, Brad had known he was going to marry Darlene.
He flipped his phone shut and maneuvered through the Houston traffic toward home. He was glad that he wouldn’t have to deal with a snake when he got there, but he was amused at Darlene’s description of the tall, blonde cowgirl who shot it with Chad’s BB gun.
He had four tax returns to work on tonight after dinner. All these extra billable hours were bound to pay off. He needed the extra income if he was going to make all the renovations to the farm that he and Darlene had discussed. Brad wanted to give her the financial freedom to make their home everything she dreamed it could be. Cliff Hodges had been dangling the word partner in front of him for almost two years, and Brad was sure he was getting close to having his name on the door.
If they hadn’t been in such a rush to move from Houston, Brad was sure they could have held out and gotten more for their house. As it turned out, they’d barely broken even, and just getting the farmhouse in semi-livable shape had taken a chunk of their savings. Buying out Darlene’s brother for his share of the homestead had put a strain on their finances too, but it was worth it if Darlene was happy. She’d talked about restoring her grandparents’ farm for years. The original plan had been to fix the place up over time so they could use it as weekend getaway. But then they’d decided to make the move as soon as they could, even if the house wasn’t in tip top shape.
Forty-five minutes from his office, he’d cleared the bustle of the city, and the six lane freeway narrowed to two lanes on either side of a median filled with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes. Nothing like spring in Texas to calm his mind after crunching numbers all day long, but leaving the office so late to head west put the setting sun directly in his face. He flipped his visor down, glad that the exit for Highway 36 was only a few miles. Once he turned, he’d get a break from the blinding rays. Then he’d pass through the little towns of Sealy and Bellville before winding down one-lane roads to the peaceful countryside of Round Top. It was a long commute, almost an hour and a half each way, but it was worth it when he pulled into his driveway. Small-town living was better for all of them. Especially Chad.
Brad could still recall the night Chad came stumbling into the house—drunk. His seventeen year old son had been running around with a rebellious group of friends in Houston. And sometimes Chad’s glassy eyes had suggested more than just alcohol abuse. He shook his head to clear the recollections, knowing he would continue to pray that his son would make better choices now that he had some distance from his old buddies.
Brad felt like a blessed man. He’d been married to his high school sweetheart for nearly twenty years, and he had three amazing children. He wanted to spend his life being the best husband and father he could be. There wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t thank the Lord for the life he’d been given, and it was Brad’s job to take care of his family.
Darlene finished setting the table. She regretted that her mother couldn’t see her enjoying her grandmother’s dining room set. Darlene had been surprised to find the oak table and chairs still in the house when they’d moved in. The antiques had been dusty and in dire need of cleaning, but they were just as sturdy as ever. She could remember many meals with her parents and grandparents in this house, at this table.
She still missed her grandparents—and her parents. Dad had been gone almost six years, and two years had passed since her mother’s death. Her parents had started their family late in life, both of them in their late thirties when she was born, and
Dale was born two years after Darlene. She was glad her brother hadn’t wanted the farm. It had been a struggle to buy him out, but no regrets. Someday, they too would have a “mansion on the hill,” like Layla’s. She cast her eyes downward, frowning at the worn out wooden floors. She’d be glad when they could afford to cover the original planking with new hardwood.
Thinking of Layla brought a smile to her face as she mashed steaming potatoes in a pot on the stove. She couldn’t help but wonder what the tall blonde was doing all alone on that estate. Darlene had never even been on a horse or owned a pair of cowgirl boots. Several of her friends back in Houston sported a pair of high-dollar, pointy-toed boots, but they didn’t particularly appeal to Darlene. Her friend, Gina, had told her it was un-Texan not to own a pair of boots.
She missed Gina. They’d been friends since their daughters had started Girl Scouts together, but after Gina’s divorce, they’d drifted apart. Gina’s interests had changed from Girl Scout and PTO meetings to going out with new single friends.
She left the dining room and went back to the kitchen, glad that the aroma of dinner covered up the dingy old-house smell that lingered, despite her best efforts to conceal it with air fresheners.
“Mom! Mom!” Ansley burst into the kitchen with the kind of enthusiasm that could mean either celebration or disaster; with Ansley you never knew. At twelve, she was the youngest and the most dramatic in the family.
Darlene gave the potatoes a final stir before she turned to face her. “What is it, Ansley?”
“Guess what?” Ansley rocked back and forth from heel to toe, and Darlene could tell by the grin on her daughter’s face that the news was good. “I did it. Straight C’s and above!”
Darlene brought her hands to her chest and held her breath for a moment, smiling. When Ansley was in grade school, early testing indicated she was going to struggle, and Darlene and Brad knew she was a bit slower than other kids her age.
Not so thrilling was what Brad had promised Ansley if she received a report card without any failing grades. “Sweetie, that’s great. I’m so proud of you.” She hugged her daughter, knowing it was highly unlikely Ansley wouldn’t remember her father’s promise. Ansley eased out of the hug.
“I know they scare you, Mom, but having some chickens and roosters will be so much fun! We’ll be like real farmers, and every day after school, I’ll go get the eggs.” Ansley’s dark hair brushed against her straightened shoulders, and her big brown eyes twinkled. “Think how much money you’ll save on eggs!”
Darlene bit her bottom lip as she recalled the chickens her grandparents used to keep on this very same farm. And one very mean rooster. Eight dollars in savings per month was hardly going to be worth it, but a promise was a promise. She’d told Brad before they’d left Houston not to offer such a reward, but Darlene had put it out of her mind. At the time, it seemed a stretch for Ansley to hit the goal and make all C’s.
“Maybe just have laying chickens. You don’t need a rooster.” Darlene walked to the refrigerator and pulled out a tub of butter.
“Mom . . .”
Darlene set the butter on the table and raised a brow in time to see Ansley rolling her eyes.
“Even I know we can’t have baby chicks without a rooster.” Ansley folded her arms across her chest.
Darlene grinned. “I know you know that, but how many chickens are you hoping to have?” She recalled that on some of her visits to her grandparents’ house, if the wind blew just right, she could smell the chicken coop from the front yard, even though the pens were well over fifty yards away, back next to the barn. When they’d first moved in, Brad had fixed up the old coops as an incentive for Ansley to pull her grades up. Sitting on the porch swing with Brad late in the evenings had become a regular thing, and smelly chickens would be an unwelcome distraction.
“Not too many,” Ansley said as she pulled a glass from the cabinet and filled it with water.
One was too many in Darlene’s opinion, but it was a well- deserved reward. Darlene gave a lot of the credit to the school here. Much to her children’s horror, there were only 240 students in grades kindergarten through twelve in the Round Top/ Carmine School District, but Darlene felt like they were getting a better education and more one-on-one attention. Darlene had been on the verge of homeschooling Ansley before they left Houston, but Ansley threw such a fit that Darlene had dis- carded the idea.
Ansley chugged the water, then put the glass in the sink. “I can’t wait ’til Daddy gets home.”
Darlene smiled. Her youngest was always a breath of fresh air, full of energy, and the tomboy in the family.
She thought about the snake and realized Ansley probably wouldn’t have freaked out after all. She heard Brad’s car rolling up the gravel driveway, and moments later, the front screen door slammed and Ansley yelled, “Daddy! Guess what!”
An hour later, everyone was gathered at the dinner table, except Chad. After about ten minutes, he finally sauntered into the room, slid into his chair, and folded his hands for prayer.
“It’s your turn to offer the blessing, Chad.” Darlene bowed her head.
“Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings you’ve given us, for this food, the roof over our head, and Your love. And God . . .” Chad paused with a sigh. Darlene opened one eye and held her breath. More often than not, Chad’s prayers included appeals for something outside the realm of what should be requested at the dinner table. Like the time he’d asked for God to help his parents see their way to buying him a better car. Darlene closed her eye, let out her breath, and listened.
“Could you heal Mr. Blackstone’s cancer and bring him back to school? He’s a good guy.” Darlene’s insides warmed, but then Chad continued. “Our substitute stinks. Amen.”
“Chad!” Darlene sat taller, then cut her eyes at Brad, who shouldn’t be smiling.
“No, Mom. I mean, really. He stinks. He doesn’t smell good.” Chad scooped out a large spoonful of potatoes. “And he’s like a hundred or something.”
“Even more reason you shouldn’t speak badly about him. Respect your elders, remember?” Darlene passed the meatloaf to Chad, who was shoveling potatoes like he hadn’t eaten in a month of Sundays.
“Grace, how was your day?” Brad passed their older daughter a plate of rolls.
“It was okay.”
Grace rarely complained, but Darlene knew she wasn’t happy about the move from Houston. Mostly because of the boy she’d left behind.
Ansley turned her head to Darlene, grunted, then frowned. “Mom, why are you wearing my shirt?”
Darlene looked down at the big roach. “Oh, I had to borrow it earlier. I sort of couldn’t go in my room for a while.”
Darlene told the full-length version of the snake story that she’d shortened for Brad on the phone.
“I’ve seen that woman,” Chad said. “And she’s hot.”
“She’s old like Mom, Chad! That’s gross.” Ansley squeezed her eyes shut for a moment, then shook her head.
Darlene took a bite of roll. At thirty-eight, when had she become old in her children’s eyes? “I believe Layla is several years older than me, Chad.”
Her son shrugged. “Whatever. She’s still—”
“Chad, that’s enough.” Brad looked in Chad’s direction, and Darlene was glad to see him step in since it seemed like she was the one who always disciplined the children. Brad, on the other hand—well, he promised chickens.
They were all quiet for a few moments before Chad spoke up again.
“Did you know Layla drives a tractor? I’ve seen her out in the pasture on the way to school.” He shook his head. “Seems weird for a woman.” He laughed as he looked to his left at Ansley. “Can you picture Mom out on a tractor plowing the fields?”
Ansley laughed. “No, I can’t.”
“Don’t underestimate your mom. You never know what she might do.” Brad reached for another roll as he winked at Darlene.
Darlene smiled. She found herself thinking, yet again, that this was a good move for them. They all needed this fresh start. None of the kids had been particularly happy at first, but they were coming around.
“Can I be excused?” Grace put her napkin in her lap and scooted her chair back.
Darlene knew meatloaf wasn’t Grace’s favorite. “Whose night is it to help with dishes?”
Grace and Ansley both pointed at Chad.
“Okay,” Darlene said to Grace. “You can be excused.”
Darlene watched Grace leave the table. Her middle child was tiny like Darlene, and she was the only one in the family who inherited Darlene’s blonde hair and blue eyes. And her features were as perfect as a porcelain doll’s, complete with a flawless ivory complexion. She looked like a little princess. Chad and Ansley had their father’s dark hair and eyes—and his height. Darlene loved her children equally, proud of them all, but sometimes it was hard not to favor Grace just a little bit, especially since they’d come so close to losing her as an infant. Grace had come into the world nine weeks’ premature, a surprise to everyone, including Darlene’s doctor, since Darlene had delivered Chad at full-term with no complications just two years earlier. Grace struggled those first few weeks with undeveloped lungs and severe jaundice, and twice they were told to prepare themselves for the worst. But their Grace was a fighter, and as her sixteenth birthday approached, Darlene silently thanked God for the millionth time for His grace.
There’d been issues and struggles with both Chad and Ansley from time to time—mostly with Chad. But Grace had never given them one bit of trouble.

Something New by Dianne Christner

Something New

 by

Dianne Christner

 

Book Blurb

Return to Plain City, Ohio, where lifelong goals open paths to something new. Lil Landis aspires to become a head chef…a far cry from her Conservative Mennonite upbringing. But as she chases after her dream, problems seem to hinder her every move—from her mother’s depression to her family’s failing farm. Veterinary student Fletch Stauffer comes to the Landis farm with some goals of his own. But as Fletch is drawn deeper into deceptive ambitions, he finds himself falling for spunky Lil and at odds with his dream. Will determination cloud their thoughts until their goals—and love—disappear?

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK!

Something New by Dianne Christner

I was introduced to Dianne Christner’s when I read her first book in this series, “Something Old,” and I knew then I had found a new author to follow. I was anxiously awaiting for “Something New” to be released so I could read and review it as well. And I wasn’t disappointed.

 

This book is the story of Lil Landis. She is not happy with her life during this time because she had to move back to the farm to take care of her mother who was dealing with depression. Lil would much rather be rooming with her friend. However, her dad is happy with this arrangement because he hopes Lil will do what is expected of her, to settle down and get married. But that is just not what Lil has in mind.

 

And then there was Fletch. Helping a local veterinarian, Fletch spent a lot of time on the Landis farm, and around the spunky Lil Landis. So much time that they started falling for each other. That is until Lil found out that Fletch had been deceiving she and her family trying to help out a friend. This deception didn’t go over too well with Lil nor her dad and brothers, thus driving this story into a lot of twists and turns that will keep you reading until the very last page.

 

In this book we were reacquainted with characters from “Something Old’ as well as meeting new faces. Set in a Mennonite community in Ohio, the author pens another story that will warm your heart, but yet have you involved in the difficulties the characters face. I really felt bad for Fletch, but then this is what happens when we make the wrong choices. And to find out if Lil and Fletch will patch things up between them, you will need to grab a copy of this book and read it. If you like a nice, clean, refreshing, light read, you will love this book. It read is definitely worth your time.

 

I appreciate Barbour Publishing for providing a 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.

 

Purchase this book on AMAZON      and from the PUBLISHER

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR……..Dianne  Christner      

Dianne Christner’s first book was published in 1994, and she now writes full time. She has written several historical fiction titles and has started writing contemporary fiction from her experience of being raised in the Mennonite church. Dianne lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she enjoys the beauty of her desert surroundings and life sizzles in the summer when temperatures soar above 100 degrees. Dianne and her husband have two married children and five grandchildren.

Downfall by Terri Blackstock

Downfall 

by

Terri Blackstock

Format: Softcover

Language: English
Page edge color: White
ISBN 13: 9780310250685
UPC: 025986250683

 Synopsis:

Despite Emily Covington’s sobriety, she can’t escape her past. Her years of active drug addiction have made her the scapegoat for everything, including a murder. Now she has to identify the real killer to clear her name and protect her family. From the explosive first pages, Terri Blackstock rockets the suspense level to new heights in Downfall, the third book in the bestselling, award-winning Intervention Series.

Description of the book

Emily Covington has turned her life around after a drug addiction, but her family still has trouble trusting her. Though Emily has committed herself to a year-long treatment program and has been sober for almost a year beyond that, even her mother walks on eggshells around her, fearing she’ll relapse. After her behavior during her drug years, Emily realizes she has a lot to prove.

When police discover a homemade bomb under Emily’s car, and she then learns the wife of one of her friends was murdered that same morning, she knows things are deadly serious.

But who wants Emily dead? And why?

A conversation she had with two men, an Alfred Hitchcock movie, and a plan for a double murder all conspire for one explosive ride … and Emily is the only one who can identify the killer and save the life of the next potential victim.

As she frantically works to solve this ever more complicated puzzle, Emily finds herself playing right into the killer’s hands.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Terri Blackstock is such a gifted writer. I love everything she writes including “Downfall.” I appreciate that Terri deals with tough issues that people deal with everyday, and always finds a workable solution, including trusting the Lord with their lives and letting Him work in and through them.

Emily Covington wants to prove herself to everyone, assuring them that her life with drugs is over. But when things start happening to her, and since it looks like someone wants her dead, her family still had doubts about Emily’s past life.

In “Downfall,’ Terri Blackstock writes another suspense/ thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seats until the very last word. When I put the book down, all I could think about was what was gonna happen, so I would pick it back up. From the people we loved to the villains we could do without, the character were so real and true to life it was like reading something in the newspaper. And with an intriguing plot that had the many twist and turns, it was difficult to solve the mystery until it was all revealed in the end.

If you’ve never read a Terri Blackstock book, you are missing a real treat. And for those fans who always come back for more of her stories, you will love the words penned in Terri’s new book, “Downfall.”

This book was provided by Zondervan Publishers through The Suspense Zone. I appreciate Susan and all of the work she does to promote Edgy Christian Fiction and thrillers like “Downfall.” I was not expected or required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

Purchase this book at AMAZON

Loving by Karen Kingsbury

 

Synopsis:

Loving, book four in the Bailey Flanigan Series by New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury, completes Bailey and Cody’s story. But who will the actress spend the rest of her life with: Brandon Paul, a rich, handsome man that any woman would be thrilled to marry? Or Cody Coleman, her first love?

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK…and No I DO NOT recommend this book or series!

I have never been so disappointed or letdown by an author as I am with Karen Kingsbury. The Bailey series was by far Not my favorite, but I hung in there because I wanted to see Bailey and Cody get together in the end. Isn’t that what is suppose to happen in the writing world? Karen made an extremely bad error in the writing world by taking two series and lifting up her hero, Cody, building up that relationship with Cody and Bailey and more importantly Cody and the Lord, then dumping him, kicking him to the curb.

And she changed her mind at the last minute for family reasons??? That sure tells us where all of us fans, those of us who have purchased all of Karen’s books, been faithful readers and followers where we stand. Loving is the worst book I have ever read and the worst ending to a series I’ve read, and I am a book reviewer, so I read hundreds of books a year.

I know I get too involved in characters, but Karen did this to us in the last two series about Bailey and Cody. I just can’t see how she can create a character like Cody, put him in a family that will love him and raise him, and then try her best to politely toss him from the family as an outcast. Now he will no longer feel secure with this family that he loves so much. Sorry Karen but you blew it with this.

The sad thing is, a huge percentage of teens and young adults who read this series and especially Longing will get a misled message. Wonder how many will go out there trying to find a rich kid that has all the money in the world to woo them literally any way they want. I’m afraid a lot of guys may be treated just like Karen treated Cody just because they are looking for those riches and the fake relationship that comes with it. Karen is leading a lot of young ladies on the wrong road and for that, I would want any of my family to read her books.

That said, I do not recommend this book, nor do I recommend this series for anyone to read because it is critically leading our young ladies in the wrong direction when it comes to dating and marrying. And yes I know this is ‘just’ a book. But how many people out there actually take the Baxter’s and Flannigan’s for real people. I’ve heard Karen speak in person, and I have seen how adult ladies act at those conferences about her books. How much more will teens and young ladies idolize her enough to listen to this incorrect advice?

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

 

 

CFBA Tour…Prophet by RJ Lawson

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingProphetBethany House Publishers (April 1, 2012)byR.J. LarsonABOUT THE AUTHOR:

R. J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals featured in publications such as Women’s Devotional Bible and Seasons of a Woman’s Heart. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband and their two sons. Prophet marks her debut in the fantasy genre.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Close your eyes, Ela of Parne. Close your eyes and you will see.

Ela Roeh of Parne doesn’t understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She’s undignified, bad tempered, and only seventeen–not to mention that no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as the elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite’s prophet, Ela knows she will die young.

Istgard has turned their back on me. See the evil they do.

Yet after experiencing His presence, she can’t imagine living without Him. Determined to follow the Infinite’s voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite’s word to a nation torn apart by war. Here she meets Kien, a young Traceland ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela must surrender to her destiny . . . and determine how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.

Will you accept the branch and speak my will? Will you be my prophet?

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

CFBA Tour MoonBlood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingMoonbloodBethany House Publishers (April 1, 2012)byAnne Elisabeth StenglABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she enjoys her profession as an art teacher, giving private lessons from her personal studio, and teaching group classes at the Apex Learning Center. She is married to the handsome man she met at fencing class and lives with him and a gaggle of cats. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. Heartless is her debut novel.

Anne Elisabeth is also the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, a series of fantasy adventure novels told in the classic Fairy Tale style.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Moonblood Draws Near, and Soon the Dragons Will Wake

Desperate to regain the trust of his kingdom, Prince Lionheart reluctantly banishes his faithful servant and only friend, Rose Red. Now she is lost in the hidden realm of Arpiar, held captive by her evil goblin father, King Vahe.

Vowing to redeem himself, Lionheart plunges into the mysterious Goldstone Wood, seeking Rose Red. In strange other worlds, Lionheart must face a lyrical yet lethal tiger, a fallen unicorn, and a goblin horde on his quest to rescue the girl he betrayed.

With the Night of Moonblood fast approaching when King Vahe seeks to wake the Dragon’s sleeping children, Lionheart must discover whether or not his heart contains courage before it’s too late for Rose Red . . . and all those he loves.

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

The Discovery by Dan Walsh

The Discovery by Dan Walsh

Price: $14.99
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1981-4
ISBN-10: 0-8007-1981-6
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
Number of pages: 304
Carton Quantity: 44
Publication Date: Apr. 2012
Formats: Paperback

My Thoughts on this Book!

The Discovery  Dan Walsh

 

Michael’s live changed within a day when his grandfather’s will was read. Being a writer like his grandfather, Michael inherited his house and all the mysteries surrounding it. Michael’s family didn’t know anything about his grandparent’s life prior to their wedding, and they would never tell the family anything. After their grandfather’s death, they had no hope of ever finding out. But Michael’s search through his new house uproots mysteries and secrets that will change their lives forever.

 

Another intriguing, well written story by Dan Walsh with a little suspense/mystery to keep your nose into the book from page one. I was as excited as Michael was, though I had it all figured out before he did. This was just a nice pleasant read that anyone will enjoy. The characters were real and we grow to love them immediately, though Jenn didn’t seem to share Michael’s enthusiasm as much as she should have. However she was happy with Michael’s huge inheritance.

 

I highly recommend this book to anyone just wanting a good read. You will not be disappointed in this Dan Walsh novel.

 

*Available April 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group*

 

I received this book from Revell Publishers. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are my own.

 

Tyndale House Blog Tour…The Last Plea Bargin by Randy Singer & Interview

The Last Plea Bargin

by Randy Singer

List Price: 13.99
ISBN:  978-1-4143-3321-2
Trim Size: 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Binding: Softcover
Release: March 2012

Book Blurb

Plea bargains may grease the rails of justice, but for Jamie Brock, prosecuting criminals is not about cutting deals. In her three years as assistant DA, she’s never plea-bargained a case and vows she never will. But when a powerful defense attorney is indicted for murder and devises a way to bring the entire justice system to a screeching halt, Jamie finds herself at a crossroads. One by one, prisoners begin rejecting deals. Prosecutors are overwhelmed, and felons start walking free on technicalities. To break the logjam and convict her nemesis, Jamie must violate every principle that has guided her young career. But she has little choice. To convict the devil, sometimes you have to cut a deal with one of his demons.

MY THOUGHTS ON RANDY’S BOOK!

When I review a Randy Singer book, I hang on to my seat at the first page and don’t let go until the very last word. Randy is absolutely one of the best suspense/thriller authors today! So if the book says `Randy Singer, just go ahead and buy it because it’s going to be good!
Readers meet Jamie Brock again, from Randy’s book “False Witness.” Jamie has been working as an assistant DA for several years. Her mom was shot and killed 11 years earlier and she is now losing her dad to illness. And to add to that, Jamie has been assigned a murder case, the suspect being the lawyer who defended the man who killed her mom. As this story unfolds, well you just need to read the book to find out what happens, it’s too much to tell her. And I don’t want to spoil the book for you.
Randy brings up some interesting questions about the death penalty in this book through the lawyer character, Mace James. How should Christians feel about it? Suppose the killer gives his life to Christ while in prison? Should he be left there to die alone since he made mistakes and bad choices? Suppose this person is really innocent? There are several other issues with the state system that are talked about in this book through the life-like believable characters created by the author.
Being a lawyer himself, Randy Singer expertly writes stories with so much detail the reader gets a touch of a lawyer’s real life when reading his books. Add to this a little suspense, drama, romance, danger, fear, and determined characters taking on the most dangerous and difficult cases, and you have a Number 1 novel that will blow you away when you read it.
I highly recommend this terrific book to those suspense/thriller lovers out there looking for awesome books to read. And as in all of Randy’s books, you will see Jesus and salvation through Him throughout the book.
I was provided a copy of this 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.

7 Questions with Randy Singer

Randy Singer, The Last Plea Bargain

Randy, you bring a unique perspective to your writing because you are also an attorney and a pastor. How do you juggle these three things and still have a life?

Who said I had a life?

But seriously, it helps that these three things all draw on common skill sets. For example, principles of powerful story-telling are important for a pastor, lawyer and (obviously) writer. I’m a little ADHD and like being able to go from one thing to another. It’s like crop rotation—keeps things fresh. And, to be honest, writing is more like relaxation for me than a job. It gives me a break from the pressures of the other “real life” jobs and lets me go into a world where I get to control things! (aka “God complex”)

On the practical side, there are three principles that help me juggle. One, I try to stay focused on the big stuff. It’s not that I do the little stuff second, I try not to do the little stuff at all. Second, I stay focused on what I can do well and let others worry about the stuff that is out of my control. And third, I’ve learned to get comfortable with the fact that I will always have stuff in each of these areas that does not get done. As long as the ball is moving forward, I’m satisfied with that.

Ultimately, I thank God that, in His grace, He allows me to do three separate things that I love. My prayer is that I might bring glory to Him in all three arenas.

The Last Plea Bargain

is loosely based on a case you tried. Can you briefly share with us some of the details of that case and why it is special to you?

In 2002, Donna Somerville was indicted for the murder of her husband, Hamilton Somerville, Jr., in Orange County, Virginia. Hamilton Somerville was heir to the DuPont fortune. The prosecution alleged that Donna Somerville had poisoned her husband with a lethal cocktail of hospice drugs and the case drew national media attention, including a front-page story in Vanity Fair and a Lifetime movie, Widow on the Hill. Donna Somerville was found not guilty in the criminal case in 2004, but I represented the daughters of Hamilton Somerville in a wrongful death civil case against their step-mother which had a very different outcome. That litigation, and the tension between seeking justice and extending forgiveness, played a large role in the writing of The Last Plea Bargain.

Your main character, Jamie Brock, originally appeared in your novel, False Witness. Why did you decide to bring her back, and will we see more of Jamie in the future?

Readers will often ask me whether I’m going to bring back one character or another. I make a mental list of the characters mentioned the most often, realizing that those characters must have resonated with the readers in some way. Jamie is mentioned a lot. In addition, in False Witness, we saw her as an idealistic and persistent law student. Given her intriguing backstory and motivation for going to law school (her mother was killed in a home invasion and Jamie wanted to become a prosecutor), I thought it would be fun to follow her as she matured into a tenacious but conflicted prosecutor.

Jamie takes a pretty hard stance against plea bargaining. How rampant is plea bargaining in the legal system and is it necessary?

Most people don’t realize that about 90% of the criminal cases in our country are disposed of by plea bargains. A plea bargain is when the defendant pleads guilty to a crime, frequently in exchange for a lighter penalty.

This book asks the question: What if the defendants in a certain jurisdiction banded together and decided not to plea bargain, insisting on a full jury trial for every case? It would overwhelm the system. There wouldn’t be enough prosecutors or public defenders or available court dates. Even the defendants who lost would be able to claim ineffective assistance of counsel or the lack of a speedy trial on appeal. The system would be thrown into chaos.

That’s what happens in The Last Plea Bargain. Jamie Brock is staring down defendants who have found a way to wreak havoc with the system. Who is willing to compromise? Who will blink first?

While plea bargaining is part of the overall plot, at the heart of the book are the issues of justice and mercy. How does Jamie learn to balance those two?

Justice without mercy is legalism. Mercy without justice is license. Only when we realize the need for justice tempered with mercy do we have a fair and equitable result.

It takes courage to pursue justice. You have to stare evil in the face and demand accountability. It is easier to let evil have its day. So, if we cling only to mercy, then there is nothing to stop the advance of true evil. We live in a constant state of spiritual warfare. And God is a God of justice. We should be irate at injustice in the world and willing to risk our own lives to stop it.

But passionately seeking justice is just one step away from vengeance. And Scripture tells us not to take revenge into our own hands. Romans 12:19. Instead, we should leave room for God’s wrath, not trying to overcome evil with evil but overcoming evil with good. Romans 12:20-21.

How do we draw this line? I believe a lot of it has to do with motivation. Are we mad because somebody hurt us or disrespected us? Chances are, that’s vengeance. On the other hand, are we striving for justice for others, or devoting ourselves to a just cause? Chances are, that’s seeking justice.

What do you hope readers walk away with after reading this book?

First, I want readers to be entertained. If the story isn’t compelling, nothing else matters. So my primary goal is that readers will find it impossible to put the book down and, when they turn the last page, shoot me an email asking how long it will be until I finish another.

Second, I want to present readers, in the context of story, with compelling characters on both sides of the death penalty debate, so that readers might draw their own conclusions. And third, I want readers to walk with my characters down that thin line that separates the lust for revenge from the hunger for justice. And…hopefully, to learn which side of the line they might be walking on.

Okay, Randy, what’s next?

I’m working on my next book tentatively entitled Rule of Law. It will come out next spring. It’s the story of another flawed protagonist. He is a former college quarterback who got caught up in a point-shaving scandal, served time in prison, and then went to law school and became a lawyer. He finally gets his first job but ends up at a firm where somebody is killing off all the firm’s lawyers, one-by-one (even lawyers who try to leave the firm). It’s a story about loyalty and trust, honor and betrayal.

At the same time, I’m working on a longer-term project (one that’s been on my desk for a long time) which will give readers a front-row seat to the two most important trials ever—the trial of Christ and the trial of Paul in front of Nero. The story is told from the perspective of Theophilus, Paul’s court-appointed advocate, and may be the most important book I’ve ever attempted.

About The Author…….Randy Singer

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than 10 legal thrillers and was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine’s select list of “Legal Elite” litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his “Jekyll and Hyde thing”—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his website at www.randysinger.net.

FIRST WildCard Tour Echoes of Titanic

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 authors are:
Mindy Starns Clark

and

John Campbell Clark

and the book:
Echoes of Titanic
Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2012)

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

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Mindy Starns Clark is the author of many books (more than 450,000 copies sold), which include A Pocket Guide to Amish Life, Shadows of Lancaster County, Whispers of the Bayou, and The Amish Midwife. In addition, Mindy is a popular inspirational speaker and playwright.
John Campbell Clark is an attorney and CPA who works in the Christian nonprofit field. Married to Mindy Starns Clark, he has served as her brainstorming partner, research facilitator, and first reader for many years. A lifelong Titanic buff, he is pleased to be coauthoring with her now. John and Mindy live with their two daughters near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Visit the authors’ website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Kelsey Tate comes from sturdy stock. Her great-grandmother Adele endured the sinking of Titanic and made it safely to America, where she not only survived but thrived. Generations later, Kelsey works for the firm Adele founded nearly 100 years ago.
Now facing a hostile takeover, the firm’s origins are challenged when new facts emerge about Adele’s actions on the night Titanic sank. Kelsey tries to defend the company and the great-grandmother she has long admired, but the stakes are raised when Kelsey’s boss is murdered and her own life threatened. Forced to seek help from Cole Thornton, a man Kelsey once loved—and lost, thanks to her success-at-all-costs mentality—she pursues mysteries both past and present. Aided by Cole and strengthened by the faith she’d all but forgotten in her climb up the corporate ladder, Kelsey races the clock to defend her family legacy, her livelihood, and ultimately her life.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736929460

ISBN-13: 978-0736929462

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Lower Manhattan, New York
April 3, 2012
Kelsey Tate glanced at the clock and then at the stack of files on herdesk. It was three p.m., which meant she had thirty minutes before she’d need to start getting ready for the ceremony. She knew she should use that time to work on risk assessments, but something told her she’d be better off getting some fresh air and clearing her head. The assessments she could do later that evening, once the big event was over. For now, she wanted to run through her speech and somehow find focus. Today had been a busy day at the office, and at the moment all she felt was scattered.
Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, she made the decision. Air. Ceremony. Work. In that order.
She locked the files away, straightened her desk, and grabbed her Bluetooth headset for cover. The only way she’d get out of here without being pulled into half a dozen conversations en route to the elevator was to clip the device over her ear and pretend she was on an important call as she went. She loved her front office and the view it afforded her of the busy Manhattan streets below, but sometimes it was a pain having to run the gauntlet of a conference room, an administrative assistant area, and three other executive offices just to get away.
“Is there something proprietary about this?” she asked aloud as she stepped into the hall and pulled the door shut behind her. “Because otherwise, I’m afraid it’s just a little too early to buy in. At this point, there’s simply not enough data.”
Pausing at the desk of Sharon, her executive assistant—or “EA,” as she liked to be called—Kelsey told the nonexistent person on the other end of the line to hold on and then said in a low voice, “I’m running out for a few, but I’ll be back by three thirty if anybody needs me.”
“Got it, Chief,” Sharon replied with a brisk nod, her auburn, precision-cut bob swinging loosely around her face.
So far, so good. Continuing on toward the elevator, Kelsey spotted one of her more talkative coworkers coming up the hall, so before he could speak, she gave him a quick smile and continued with her faux telephone conversation.
“Look, we can’t justify a buy-in of that size. You know as well as I do that you’re estimating the value too high. A million and a half for ten percent is ridiculous.”
The coworker smiled in return and continued past her in the hall.
She finally made it to the elevator, pushed the down button, and punctuated her wait with several well-timed brief utterances. “Really?…With that price earnings ratio?…I don’t know, I’m not sure about that…How much?”
Finally, the bell dinged and the doors opened to reveal an empty elevator. She stepped inside with relief and removed the device from her ear as soon as the doors whisked shut again. She hated to admit it, but her nerves were more rattled today than she had anticipated, though she wasn’t sure why. The announcement she’d be making at the ceremony was an important one, yes, and something she’d been working toward for a long time. But she was no stranger to the podium. She had no fear of public speaking.
It was a more general, vague apprehension she was feeling, almost a foreboding about today’s impending event, though she couldn’t imagine why. Regardless, Kelsey had these thirty minutes to pull herself together somehow. Then she would return, get ready to go on, do her part, and be done with it.
If only the new public relations consultants hadn’t insisted on combining the two separate announcements into one big celebration, she thought as she reached the lobby and walked briskly toward the front door. Though she usually stopped to chat with her friend Ephraim, the building’s head of security, she moved on past with just a glance and a wave toward the front desk. Once she was outside, she exhaled slowly, grateful for the warm spring sunshine. Weather in April in New York City could go either way, but today was warm and dry, thankfully, with just a hint of a breeze.
Turning right, Kelsey merged into the foot traffic moving down the wide sidewalk toward Battery Park. On the way, she thought about the important part of today’s ceremony, the announcement of a brand-new scholarship program to be funded by her late great-grandmother’s foundation. Adele Tate had survivedTitanic and gone on to become a successful businesswoman in an era when women in business were practically unheard of. In her later years, she had created the foundation with the express purpose of empowering other women in business. This new program Kelsey would be announcing today was a perfect fit and would provide up to ten scholarships per year to outstanding young females majoring in business-related fields of study.
Kelsey had been pushing for this for a long time, but it wasn’t until recently, when her family’s firm, Brennan & Tate, had begun taking steps to improve their public relations, that the board was even willing to consider it. The fact that, in the end, the scholarship decision had come down to a PR move rather than any actual altruism didn’t bother her. She figured as long as the money was given out to deserving recipients, the end result was the same, regardless of motive.
Kelsey ran through her speech as she continued down the sidewalk and was pleased to get through the entire thing without once having to refer to the notes in her pocket that listed her key points. When she finally reached the corner at Number One Broadway, she looked ahead longingly at Battery Park, a fixture of the city for several hundred years and the perfect greenery-filled end cap to the island of Manhattan. More than anything, she wanted to make her way across the street and into the park to seek out one of her favorite spots in all of New York: the old family memorial stone that honored her two relatives who had perished on Titanic. Kelsey loved to visit the memorial, as it always left her feeling connected somehow to her many family members, both living and dead.
But there was no time for that now. Instead, she turned left, and once the light changed she moved with the crowd across Broadway to the triangular-shaped area on the other side known as Bowling Green. At the foot of the triangle was a sprinkling of vendors, and she took a moment to buy a bottle of water from a pretzel cart. Continuing onward, she tried some deep breathing exercises as she angled across the wide base of the triangle to tiny Bowling Green Park, another of her favorite places to go when she needed a quick breather during the workday. She loved the symmetry of the place and convergence of shapes: a circular fountain inside an oval park on a triangular piece of land. This was a little oasis of greenery in a landscape of cement, its current focal point a ring of vivid red tulips surrounding the fountain.
Kelsey wanted to sit for a while on one of the benches that lined the walkway and take it all in, but she knew she needed to keep moving. At the very least, she slowed her pace and sipped her water and forced herself to get down to what was really bothering her: the other purpose of today’s event, the part she wasn’t exactly jumping up and down about.
To be sure, she appreciated the honor that was about to be bestowed upon her, and she was proud of having reached this new level of achievement in her career. The problem wasn’t the award itself but the big public fuss that was being made over it. Others had earned membership in Brennan & Tate’s “Quarter Club” in the past, and the most they had received was a handshake and a little plaque.
She, on the other hand, was about to be trooped out front and center in what the PR firm was practically turning into a circus. Between the handwritten invitations and the catered munchies, they were going all out to promote something that should have happened far more quietly. The best Kelsey could do, she supposed, was to grin and bear it––and try as hard as she could to keep the focus on Adele and the foundation and the new scholarship program. The more publicity for that, the better.
Kelsey let out a deep sigh as she continued through the park. This was the price she paid for being not just an account associate in the company’s corporate finance division but an account associate in the corporate finance division who also just happened to be the great-great-granddaughter of the company’s founder and the daughter of its reigning president. If there was such a thing as reverse nepotism, she thought, she was living it now. She’d never expected her professional path to be made easier because of family connections, but she also hadn’t realized how much harder she’d have to work because of them.
At least she had her mentor and business-savvy friend Gloria to guide her through this current maze of public relations troubleshooting. But she’d be glad when this flurry of promotions was finally over and she could get back to business as usual. She loved what she did—and she was very good at it—but lately she’d spent more time authorizing interviews than she had authorizing investments.
Looking upward, Kelsey watched as a copter lifted off from the heliport at the water’s edge, probably taking some important executive to a business meeting. She picked up the pace, exiting the park at the northern end and making her way around a group of chattering tourists who were taking turns posing for photos beside the bronze bull, a statue that had become synonymous with Wall Street and the stock market. Crossing back to her side of the road, she retraced her steps to the office building, allowing herself to take in the sights and sounds and smells of the city that was always so utterly alive and invigorating: car horns blaring the ever-present soundtrack of New York, the doughy smell of pretzels warming in a vendor’s cart, businesswomen on their way to appointments in thousand-dollar suits and Uggs, their designer heels tucked inside briefcases for when they reached their destinations.
About twenty feet from her building, Kelsey spied a catering truck idling out in front and stopped short. From what she could see, Ephraim was holding open the door as a trio of uniformed workers dashed in carrying trays of food. Feeling a vague stir of nausea at the spectacle to come, she ducked into an alley on her left and made her way around to the back side of the building.
At the rear entrance, a solid metal door with a keypad above the knob, Kelsey typed in her security code, listened for the click, and stepped inside. Coming in this way, she’d have to take the stairs rather than the elevator, but she didn’t care. Right now she just couldn’t face the lobby and the excited chaos of the event that was being pulled together in her honor.
Kelsey’s office was on the fourth floor, but she continued up the back stairs to the fifth without stopping. Once there, she again had to type in her security code, and then that interior door unlocked with a soft click. The fifth floor back entrance opened into the executive conference room, but it didn’t occur to Kelsey until she was swinging the door wide that she might be interrupting some sort of meeting. Fortunately, however, she wasn’t. The room was empty.
Stepping inside as the door to the stairwell fell shut behind her, Kelsey paused, relishing in the peace and quiet of the empty space. The fresh air had done her good, but the busyness of the streets had managed to stir up the busyness in her soul. She still felt disquieted, unsettled.
Apprehensive.
Ignoring those feelings, Kelsey glanced around, trying to remember if there was a phone in here as there was in the conference room on the fourth floor. Sure enough, she spotted it on the back wall, mounted between the audio/video cabinet and the broad space where the projection screen hung when it was in use. Lifting the receiver, Kelsey dialed the extension for her EA and told her she was back in the building but would be upstairs with Gloria until it was time for the big event. Sharon read off several messages that had come in while she was gone, none of them urgent, and then said there was one more thing.
“Yes?” Kelsey looked around the room for a clock, hoping her assistant wouldn’t take much longer.
“Next time you fake a phone call as you’re leaving,” Sharon said with a chuckle, “make sure you actually bring your cell phone with you.”
Quickly, Kelsey patted her pockets, her face burning with heat when all she came up with was the headset.
“Busted,” was the best she could say, and then they both laughed. “So who else knows?”
“Just me. I was putting some files on your desk when I heard a ringtone coming from a drawer. I found your phone in your purse and put it on mute. Hope that was okay.”
“Of course. I appreciate it,” Kelsey said, grateful for the quick thinking—and discretion—of her faithful assistant. “Would you do me another favor and lock up my office before you head down to the ceremony?”
“No problem, Chief.”
They ended the call, and Kelsey decided that before she went to talk to Gloria she would take a few minutes to fix herself up for the ceremony. Hoping to avoid having to go downstairs to her office, she decided to pay a visit to the executive washroom instead, where she knew all sorts of necessities could be found.
Slipping from the conference room into the main hall, Kelsey walked toward the front of the building. Though she had to go past a reception area and several offices along the way, she made it to the primary executive suite without having to pause and chat with anyone. Fortunately, the door to the CEO’s office on her left was closed, and the EA that worked for the upper echelon, the exotically lovely Yanni, was busy talking on the phone and simply waved Kelsey on through to the right. With a smile and a nod, she turned and continued down the hallway, past the closed door of Gloria’s office, to the executive washroom.
As expected, inside were baskets of toiletries on the wide marble counter. She washed her hands and then helped herself to an individually wrapped toothbrush and a tiny, disposable packet of toothpaste. After brushing her teeth, she unwrapped a fresh comb and ran it through her hair, trying to neaten up the windblown look she’d earned from her walk outside. She followed that with a shot of hairspray, a little dab of face powder, and some lip gloss for the cameras’ sake, and then she stepped back, smoothed out her clothes, and studied the full effect in the mirror.
Whenever Kelsey looked at herself, the word that came to mind was “Irish”—not the red-headed, pale-skinned, green-eyed variety that most folks thought were the norm. Instead, she and her family sported a look far more common among the Irish: dark hair, even-toned skin, blue eyes.
Taking a cue from her mentor Gloria—and from her great-grandmother Adele, for that matter—Kelsey always bought the nicest clothes she could afford, knowing they were a business investment of sorts. Today she was sporting a new Hugo Boss suit in a soft gray pinstripe, accented with a red silk blouse and a pair of red Gaetano Perrone shoes. On her lapel was her favorite piece of jewelry, a hat pin she’d inherited from her great-grandmother and often wore as a stickpin instead. Purchased in London the day before Adele and her cousin and uncle set sail for America on Titanic, the top of the hat pin was in the shape of a tiny Irish harp, a lovely reminder of their homeland.
The overall look Kelsey always strived for was class, competence, and understated elegance. Examining her image in the mirror now, she felt that today’s outfit had really hit the mark. Her layered, shoulder-length brown hair nicely framed her face, and the touch of makeup emphasized her lips and gave a smooth, matte finish to her skin.
Now all she had to do, she decided, was to get through the big event. In the end, though she wasn’t looking forward to it at all, at least the new scholarship program made this trouble worthwhile.
Gloria’s door was still closed, so Kelsey knocked first and then cracked it open, peeking through to see if her friend was in there by herself or if she had company. Fortunately, she was alone, and though she looked quite startled for a moment, she invited Kelsey in.
“Well, if it isn’t the woman of the hour,” Gloria said. Papers were spread across her desk, but she quickly shoved them into a single file folder and slipped it in a drawer. “You look gorgeous. Is that a new suit?”
Grinning, Kelsey slowly turned in a full circle. “Gotta look good in the photos. It’s all about playing the game, right?”
“I’ve taught you well, my dear.”
Kelsey took her usual seat in one of the two leather chairs facing the desk—a move she’d done countless times before. Yet as she settled in, she detected an odd expression on the older woman’s face, as if she were more nervous and apprehensive than Kelsey herself. Worse, in fact. Though Gloria could usually be found looking perfectly polished, at the moment she was anything but, with dark circles under her eyes, rumpled clothing, and not a speck of makeup on.
“Are you okay?” Kelsey asked. She didn’t want to be rude, but clearly something was wrong. “You’re not sick, are you?”
“Just tired. I worked later than I should have last night. You know how it is.”
Gloria obviously didn’t want to talk about it, so Kelsey simply nodded and changed the subject, asking about the order of events for the ceremony. Gloria spelled things out, describing what sounded like a two-person show featuring Kelsey and the company’s CEO, Walter Hallerman.
Kelsey scrunched up her face in dismay. “What about a board member or two? And don’t we want to include somebody from the foundation?”
“Stop trying to deflect, Kels. You know as well as I do that this is all about you. That’s the whole point.”
Miserably, Kelsey slumped in her chair. “This is getting so old.”
Gloria pulled off her glasses and nervously cleaned them with the corner of her blouse. “Hopefully, it won’t be for much longer.”
Both women knew Kelsey really had no choice—both for her family’s sake and for the sake of the corporation. According to management, after Nolan Tate, Kelsey’s father and the firm’s leader, suffered a stroke last year, the company’s value had taken a serious nosedive and now they needed to show that someone else would be carrying on the Tate name, someone who possessed the same sharp gut instincts and business acumen for which the Tates had long been known. As Kelsey was the only other family member who currently worked here, she’d become the logical choice by default.
It was a heavy weight to bear, one that was feeling heavier all the time. She was happy to carry on the family legacy and didn’t mind doing her part to bolster the company’s image, but she was getting awfully tired of being the center of attention. Last week had been a feature article in the New York Times magazine section about the “up-and-comer with the Midas touch.” Prior to that, her name and face had been splashed across countless other newspapers and magazines, and she’d even appeared on a few local television and radio interview shows. Now she was about to go through this ridiculous ceremony, all for the sake of reassuring the public that even though Nolan Tate might be sidelined for now, another, just-as-capable Tate was ready to step up and prove that the family gift for investing was alive and well.
“I hope you’re right,” she said tiredly. “I don’t think I can stand much more.”
An odd look appeared on Gloria’s face, and Kelsey thought she was about to say something important. But then, after a moment, she simply cleared her throat and asked if Kelsey needed any last-minute help polishing her speech.
“No, thanks. It’s fine. But what were you thinking, just now? I can tell there’s something on your mind today.”
The older woman’s cheeks flushed. “It’s not important. I was…I was going to tell you not to worry, that the end is in sight. Maybe sooner than you think.”
“What do you mean?”
Gloria shrugged and looked away, her fingers nervously taking off her glasses, cleaning them again, and putting them back on. Before she replied, the phone on the desk buzzed, startling her so much she practically fell out of her chair.
Face flushing, Gloria resettled herself in her seat and pushed the button for the speaker. Out came the voice of Walter, their CEO.
“I just got downstairs and don’t see Kelsey. Have you talked to her?”
“She’s here with me now.”
“Good. Tell her to hurry up and get down here. We’ll be starting in ten minutes.”
“No problem.”
“Have her take the stairs and use the side door to go backstage. She can wait there until I finish my introduction.”
“Will do.”
With a click he was gone.
“You heard the man,” Gloria said, suddenly using her brightest pep talk voice, though it sounded strained and on edge. She rose, walked to the door, and stood there holding it open. “It’s showtime, kid. You’d better get downstairs. Break a leg, or whatever it is they say.”
Kelsey stood, feeling oddly dismissed. “Aren’t you coming with me?”
“I…uh…I’ll slip in the back later.”
“But I thought we could go down together.”
“I don’t think so,” Gloria responded without further explanation.
“Listen, are you sure you’re all right?” Kelsey pressed, moving closer.
The woman wouldn’t meet her gaze, though after a moment, much to Kelsey’s surprise, her eyes filled with tears. Cooing sympathetically, Kelsey pulled a clean tissue from her pocket and handed it over, asking again what was wrong, if Gloria wanted to talk about it.
“Is it something with work?”
Gloria didn’t reply.
“Maybe something personal? A problem with you and Vern, perhaps?”
Even though Gloria’s marriage wasn’t exactly known to be warm and fuzzy, she seemed surprised at the thought. Shaking her head, she blew her nose and said, “It’s…I…” Her voice trailed off as she dabbed at her tears. Then she took a deep breath and slowly let it out.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, looking down at the floor and speaking in a soft voice. “Have you ever done something bad out of good intentions?”
Kelsey was surprised. What an odd question for an ethical, no-nonsense woman like Gloria to ask.
“You mean, the ‘end justifies the means’?”
Gloria nodded. “Exactly.”
“Probably,” Kelsey replied, studying her friend’s face. “One time when I was a kid, my mother wouldn’t buy me the mini marshmallows I wanted from the grocery store, so while she was busy at the checkout, I went back and got a bag off the shelf, tore it open, and started eating them anyway. I figured that once they were open she’d have no choice but to buy them. Of course, I didn’t count on her making me pay her back out of my allowance—and then she didn’t even let me have the rest of the marshmallows.”
Both women smiled, but fresh tears filled Gloria’s eyes. “If only this were that simple.” She blinked, sending twin tracks of wetness down her cheeks.
Kelsey felt terrible for the poor thing, but she still didn’t have a clue as to what any of this was about. Of all the people in this office, Gloria was the very last person she’d ever expect to talk this way, much less to stand in an open doorway and cry.
Suddenly, before Kelsey could even think of how to reply, Gloria gripped her by both arms and spoke in an urgent whisper.
“You don’t have to go down there, you know,” she hissed. “You don’t have to do this at all. You could walk right out the back door and go home, and I could tell Walter you weren’t feeling well and had to leave.”
Kelsey was dumbfounded. What on earth was Gloria talking about?
“Why would I do that? It’s just a stupid ceremony. I’ll get through it, no big deal.”
Just as suddenly, Gloria let go of her arms, stepped back, and placed both hands over her eyes. “What am I saying? Don’t listen to me. I’m not myself today at all.”
Kelsey stood there amidst her friend’s meltdown, thinking, You can say that again. She wondered if perhaps Gloria had been drinking or something. She didn’t smell alcohol on her breath, but she certainly was acting strange—stranger than Kelsey could ever have imagined.
“Enough of this,” Gloria said finally, taking her hands from her face and giving Kelsey a broad, forced smile. “Are you ready to go? Because your time’s up. Come on, Tater Tot. Forget what I said earlier. I’ll walk you down myself.”

CFBA Beverly Lewis and The Fiddler

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingThe FiddlerBethany House Publishers (April 10, 2012)byBeverly LewisABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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

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

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

ABOUT THE BOOK

Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania–the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis’s celebrated Amish novels began–with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.

A wrong turn in a rainstorm leads Englisher Amelia Devries to Michael Hostetler–and the young Amishman’s charming Old Order community of Hickory Hollow. Despite their very different backgrounds, Amelia and Michael both feel hemmed in by the expectations of others and struggle with how to find room for their own hopes. And what first seems to be a chance encounter might just change their lives forever.

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

Watch the book video:

Independence Day: Graduating into a New World of Freedom,

Independence Day: Graduating into a New World of Freedom, Temptation, and Opportunity

By: Michael DiMarco

 

Price: $12.99
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2069-8
ISBN-10: 0-8007-2069-5
Dimensions: 5 x 7
Number of pages: 144
Carton Quantity: 64
Publication Date: Mar. 2012
Formats: Hardcover

Graduation Day Is Independence Day!

It’s the day you’ve been waiting for. The day you graduate. The day you declare your independence. The beginning of a bright future where you are finally the one in charge of choosing your job, your classes, your career–your life. But there’s more to independence than getting to choose what you want to do.

While graduation brings new freedom, it also brings a whole new world filled with both opportunity and temptation. In Independence Day, bestselling author Michael DiMarco shares stories from his own rocky transition from high school to adulthood in order to help grads appreciate long-awaited freedoms, manage temptation, and make the most of new opportunities.

At this moment you have the chance to change your finances, your future, and your entire world. Michael DiMarco shows you how to do it with your eyes wide open.

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Independance Day is a wonderful book to give for graduation. It deals with the issues of Freedom, Opportunity and Temptation. This book is a bit different than what I expected, for the good! It is short, easy to read, you can actually read it in one setting.

The author uses his mistakes to teach young guys and gals what to do and not to do when they leave high school. It’s always so much more effective when you can learn from someone that’s walked the path you are about to walk and thats just what this book is about. Michael uses lots of humor, you will laugh a lot reading this book, but he also is straightforward in what he is telling young people. Tons of great tips and advice in this little book.

This book is for high school graduates, so if you have someone in your life that will walk that path this year, why not give them a gift that will last, a gift that they can go to time and time again when they need answers.

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

This book was provided by Revell Books 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.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael DiMarco is the CEO of Hungry Planet, a company that creates cutting-edge books that connect with the multitasking mind-set.

Michael has cowritten a number of books with his wife Hayley on relationships including God Guy, Devotions for the God Guy, B4UD8, and Almost Sex. Michael and Hayley live with their daughter in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

CFBATour The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingThe 13th TribeThomas Nelson (April 3, 2012)byRobert LiparuloABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Best-selling novelist Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. His first three critically acclaimed thrillers—Comes a Horseman, Germ, and Deadfall—were optioned by Hollywood producers, as well as his Dreamhouse Kings series for young adults. Bestselling author Ted Dekker calls The 13th Tribe, released in April 2012, “a phenomenal story.” Liparulo is currently working with director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) on the novel and screenplay of a political thriller. New York Times best-selling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining . . . Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” Liparulo lives in Colorado with his family.

Visit Robert Liparulo’s Facebook Fan page: http://www.facebook.com/LiparuloFans, or at Twitter @robertliparulo.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Their story didn’t start this year . . . or even this millennium.

It began when Moses was on Mt. Sinai. Tired of waiting on the One True God, the twelve tribes of Israel began worshipping a golden calf through pagan revelry. Many received immediate death for their idolatry, but 40 were handed a far worse punishment-endless life on earth with no chance to see the face of God.

This group of immortals became the 13th Tribe, and they’ve been trying to earn their way into heaven ever since-by killing sinners. Though their logic is twisted, their brilliance is undeniable. Their wrath is unstoppable. And the technology they possess is beyond anything mere humans have ever seen.

Jagger Baird knows nothing about the Tribe when he’s hired as head of security for an archaeological dig on Mt. Sinai. The former Army Ranger is still reeling from an accident that claimed the life of his best friend, his arm, and his faith in God.

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

Hearts that Survive…A Titanic Novel by Yvonne Lehman..A PUYB Virtual Blog Tour

Hearts That Survive

Join Yvonne Lehman, author of the Christian fiction novel,

Hearts That Survive: A Novel of the Titanic (Abingdon Press)

Yvonne LehmanHearts that Survive – A Novel of the Titanic is Yvonne Lehman’s 50th novel. She is a best-selling, award winning author who founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for 25 years and now directs the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat held annually in October (www.lifeway.com/novelretreat). She lives in Black Mountain, amid the panoramic views of the Blue Ridge. She mentors students for the Christian Writers Guild. She earned her Master’s Degree in English at Western Carolina University and has taught English and Creative Writing on the college level.

You can visit Yvonne Lehman’s website at www.yvonnelehman.com.

 

ABOUT HEARTS THAT SURVIVE: A NOVEL OF THE TITANIC

Hearts That SurviveIn April 1912, Lydia Beaumont is on her way to a new life with a boundless hope, against all that Craven Dowd desires for her and himself. Her friendship with Caroline Chadwick deepens as they plan Lydia’s wedding on board the “grandest ship ever built.” Then both women suffer tragic losses when the “unsinkable” Titanic collides with an iceberg and there are only 20 lifeboats for 2207 passengers. They struggle to keep their families and dreams together.

Decades later, Caroline’s granddaughter, working at the museum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, plans for the 50th memorial for the sinking and contacts survivors and descendants of survivors. Alan Morris feels like a failure until he discovers he is the descendant of an acclaimed novelist who lost his life when the Titanic sank. He becomes caught up in finding his identity in the past and must come to terms with his present and the meaning of true success.

Characters struggle to answer whether love is more powerful than the pain of loss and learn what it means for a heart to survive.

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK!

Hearts That Survive: A Novel of the Titanic by Yvonne Lehman

The Titanic! Everyone wants to be aboard on the first trip across the ocean on this wonderful, powerful, unsinkable ‘city’ it is called because of the size of this marvelous ship. The worlds richest of the rich is traveling aboard the most beautiful and high-class way of travel in the world in this era.

 

Lydia Beaumont is no different that all of the other wealthy class, traveling from London to New York on the Titanic. She is accompanied by her fiancé, John Ancell and long time employee of her father and wanna be husband of Lydia, Craven Dowd.

 

Lydia was thrilled to say yes to John’s proposal of marriage, and his wanting to have the wedding on this magnificent ship with all of the first class wealthy travelers invited. And so the plans begin, with help from some of the most famous wives in history. This was to be the wedding of all weddings, the first of many on the Titanic, and a party afterwards that exceeds anything anyone could ever imagine. And this is just the way it happens. Lydia is so very happy, John has made her the happiest woman in the world on this night of their wedding. But it was Craven Dowd that was not the happy one, but to Lydia’s surprise Craven did not object to the wedding, instead he actually agreed to be John’s best man. Against his will that is, but because he knew it was what he should do. Everything was beautiful, actually it all went down just perfect. Then it was over, the guest begin to head to their rooms. That was when Lydia felt something, but not sure what. And since John didn’t seem to feel the same thing, she thought it was just the jitters from the wedding. That’s all it could be, right?

 

Being the first book I’ve read by Yvonne Lehman, I was sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised at the awesomeness of this book. Ms. Lehman pens an unforgettable story that will be on the minds of its readers for a good while. The outstanding characters finds their way into the hearts of its readers, grasping and never letting go. From the Breath-taking wedding in the beginning of the book until the lives of its survivors decades later, readers will be mesmerized by the shocking details and the unique emotions of each of the characters as we place ourselves in this story right along with them. The author has an awesome way of describing each scene to give a feeling of realism throughout the book. The scenes after the ship started sinking were unbelievably and awesomely written. From the emotions between husband and wife and family members to the cruel trick men tried to get aboard the survival boats shows emotions so realistic it gives a feeling that these things really happened the way the author writes them. I will however say I didn’t care for Craven Dowd and his attitude. He could in no way replace John and the love he and Lydia shares. The way Craven survived and made himself out to be he hero, well just didn’t set well with me, but then you gotta have Craven’s kind in every book, don’t you!

 

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I appreciate the way the author stresses that God is always with us in our difficulties even though we can’t see or feel him, or understand why tragedies such as this happens. We can always trust in Him, and depend on Him in our lives. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review this book and will be looking for more books from this author. I highly recommend this book for anyone to read. In this year 2012, the 100th year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, this is one book you do not want to miss out on.

 

I rec’d this book from Abingdon Press through PUYB blog tours. I was not expected to give a positive review, only an honest one. The opinions in this review are mine only.

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CFBA Cooking The Books by Bonnie Calhoun

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingCooking The BooksAbingdon Press (April 2012)byBonnie S. CalhounABOUT THE AUTHOR:

As the Owner/Director of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Bonnie has helped use the 220+ blogs of the Alliance to promote many titles on the Christian bestseller list. She also owns and publishes the Christian Fiction Online magazine which is devoted to readers and writers of Christian fiction. She is the Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). At ACFW she was named the ‘Mentor of the Year,’ for 2011, and she is the current President of (CAN) Christian Authors Network. Bonnie is also the Appointment Coordinator for both the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference.

In her spare time she is an avid social media junkie, and teaches Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and HTML as recreational occupations. She also has a novel coming out in the Abingdon Quilts of Love series. Her novel Pieces of the Heart will publish August of 2013.

Bonnie and her husband Bob live in a log cabin on 15 acres in upstate area of Binghamton, New York with a dog and cat who consider the humans as wait-staff.
ABOUT THE BOOK

After her mother dies from a heart attack, Sloane Templeton goes from Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. She also “inherits” a half-batty store manager; a strange bunch of little old people from the neighborhood who meet at the store once a week, but never read books, called the Granny Oakleys Book Club; and Aunt Verline, who fancies herself an Iron Chef when in reality you need a cast iron stomach to partake of her culinary disasters. And with a group like this you should never ask, “What else can go wrong?”

A lot! Sloane begins to receive cyber threats. While Sloane uses her computer forensic skills to uncover the source of the threats, it is discovered someone is out to kill her. Can her life get more crazy?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Cooking The Books, go HERE.

Watch the book video:

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Cooking the Books by Bonnie Calhoun  My Review……..5-Star all the way!

 About the Book!

After her mother dies from a heart attack, Sloane Templeton goes from Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. She also “inherits” a half-batty store manager; a strange bunch of little old people from the neighborhood who meet at the store once a week, but never read books, called the Granny Oakleys Book Club; and Aunt Verline, who fancies herself an Iron Chef when in reality you need a cast iron stomach to partake of her culinary disasters. And with a group like this you should never ask, “What else can go wrong?”

A lot! Sloane begins to receive cyber threats. While Sloane uses her computer forensic skills to uncover the source of the threats, it is discovered someone is out to kill her. Can her life get more crazy?

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Sloane Templeton didn’t ask for all that was happening to her, but she had no choice but the accept it! Taking over Beckham’s Books and Brew after her moms death brought on some strange people in Sloane’s life. The store manager and the Granny Oakleys Book Club group was enough to deal with without having to eat Aunt Verline’s cooking, if that’s what you can call what she presented as food!

In the first part of “Cooking the Books we also get to meet Sloane’s ex-boyfriend Trey, and there are reasons he is an ex. Also her new friend and attraction, the Greek boy Andreas Comino, which Trey is not happy about at all. And throughout the book we get to meet even more interesting and colorful character that were so well created by the author.

Even though this is a debut novel, you will think Bonnie Calhoun has been writing books for a long time. Along with her wonderful and fun loving characters, well most of them, there is so much happening in this story and there are so many twists and turns you never know what is coming next.

What makes this book so enjoyable for me is the way Bonnie inter-twines; the taking over a new business, grieving over a mom, inheriting quirky characters, a jerk ex-husband and an even bigger jerk ex-boyfriend, someone trying to kill you, and adds in a little romance, mystery, a feisty FiFi and, an aunt that can’t cook, and writes a story that will make you laugh, sometimes cry, and fall in love with Sloane as if she is your own daughter. It takes a good writer to have so much going on in a book and pull it all together and make it enjoyable.

I highly recommend this book for you to read and enjoy. Run out and grab a copy, get a cup of Java and sit down for a nice, enjoyable, relaxing read with Sloane Templeton and “Cooking the Books”

I want to thank Abingdon Press and Bonnie Calhoun for providing me a copy of this book. I have heard that Bonnie’s dream is to be an author, and I am so happy that she has fulfilled that dream. I look forward to many more books from Bonnie in the future. As much as Bonnie does with Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, Christian Fiction Online Magazine and all of the other things she does for the authors, readers and world of Christian fiction, it is an honor to be one of the reviewers for her debut novel.

 

 

If you’d like to read interviews with Bonnie, try these:

Everbody Needs A Little Romance

A Christian Writers World

Novel Rocket

ACFW – Fiction Finder

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms

by Cindy Woodsmall

 

About This Book

Annie Martin loves the Plain ways of her Old Order Mennonite people, like those revered by her beloved grandfather. Retreating from a contentious relationship with her mother, Annie goes to live with her Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.

But as spring moves into Pennsylvania and Annie spends time amongst the cherry trees with the handsome Aden Zook, she wishes she could forget how deeply the lines between the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite are drawn.

Can Annie and Aden find a place for their love to bloom in the midst of the brewing storm?

My Thoughts on this Book!

I enjoy Cindy Woodsmall’s books because they always have a unique twist to them. And this one is no different. Long time friends Aden and Annie were secretly attracted to each other and had been for a long time, thought they could not let one another know because they could never be together for a lifetime because of their religious beliefs. When Annie’s mother suggested Annie go stay with her grandfather who lived next to Aden’s family, Annie started helping out in the family restaurant. After both Aden’s mom and Annie’s grandfather figured out that they were spending too much time together, they knew something had to be done. Would they forbid the two to see each other? Is there a way the two can commit to one another for life? For those and more answers, you will need to read the book.

I love Cindy Woodsmall’s books and this one didn’t disappoint. Cindy pens a story of forbidden love between two plain people, with characters that are so real and believable that you hurt with them, and want to pray for their relationship to succeed. The reader will see that difficulties come to all people, even the Amish.

Though I’d rather read a long book that a novella, I am glad I had the opportunity to follow this part of Annie and Arden’s journey in their lives.

I received this book free from Waterbrook Press 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

Purchase at AMAZON

 

 

First WildCard Tour…..NIV Boys Bible by Zonderkidz

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 is:
NIV Boys Bible
Zonderkidz; Special edition (March 6, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Getting into a routine of reading the Bible can be challenging for anyone, but trying to keep the attention of pre-teen boys is especially difficult. So now there is a Bible especially developed for them. The NIV Boys Bible is designed with boys ages 9 to 12 in mind. Fun in-text features help boys dig deep into the Word and learn about amazing people, facts and stories of the Bible. The NIV Boys Bible will help boys grow into the young men God wants them to be. It will appeal to boys and cause them to desire to spend time in the Word with its unique features such as:

* Introductions to each book of the Bible

* Hundreds of highlighted verses worth memorizing

* What’s the Big Deal?-Need-to-know biblical stories and people

* Check It Out-Interesting and fun facts about Bible times and characters

* Grossology-Gross and gory stuff they never knew was in the Bible

* Makin’ It Real-Help for applying Bible stories to their everyday lives

This Bible includes the full text of the New International Version, the most popular Bible translation in the world, and 12 color tip-in pages introducing content that shows boys how they can grow to be like Jesus. Each book of the Bible has activities that make God’s Word more relevant than ever. It is jam-packed with customized content and artwork that really makes the Bible stand out.

Product Details:

List Price: $27.99

Reading level: Ages 9 and up

Hardcover: 1504 pages

Publisher: Zonderkidz; Special edition (March 6, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0310723086

ISBN-13: 978-0310723080:

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BIBLE!

Another wonderful Bible from Zonderkidz! This one is is for the Boys ages nine and older. The outside of the Bible is brown with a design; a boyish look to it, even the font. There are many different little tidbits, devotions, questions and such throughout this Bible to help Boys this age with their Bible reading and study. And the boyish colors make it really nice to enjoy for a Bible of their own. At the end of the Bible there are promises from the Bible, help reading your Bible through the year, Journaling pages plus more. You don’t want to miss out on purchasing this Bible for your child, grandchild or maybe just a friend.

Why not go out and grab a copy for a gift today. You will not be disappointed. And oh, did I mention that it is the NIV, to make it an even easier read!

I rec’d this book from the publisher Zondervan/Zonderkidz through F.I.R.S.T. WildCard Tours. I was not expected or required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

AND NOW…A SAMPLE. PLEASE CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO VIEW THEM LARGER:

 

FIRST WildCard Tous NIV Faithgirlz! Bible (Revised Edition)

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 contributor is:
Nancy Rue
and the book:
NIV Faithgirlz! Bible (Revised Edition)
Zonderkidz; Rev Spl edition (March 6, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR:

Nancy Rue has worked as a public school teacher, church youth director, theater workshop developer and camp director. She has written more than eighty books for young people, including the beloved Faithgirlz! Sophie series, The Skin You’re In and Everybody Tells Me to Be Myself but I Don’t Know Who I Am. Nancy lives with her husband and two dogs in Lebanon, TN.
About Faithgirlz!: Faithgirlz! is a collection of books, Bibles and resources designed to provide transformational Christian experiences for tween girls. Faithgirlz! encourages honest tween-girl empowerment by providing engaging, relevant, high-quality offerings, helping tween girls understand their world, learn biblical teachings, become closer to God and grow into godly teenagers. Faithgirlz! offers excellent content and contributions from leading Christian tween writers and spokespeople including Nancy Rue, Melody Carlson, Kristi Holl, Naomi Kinsman and more. Faithgirlz! is also supported with a website (www.Faithgirlz.com), Facebook page and mother and daughter live events across the country.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Every girl wants to know she’s totally unique and special, and contributor Nancy Rue helps them do just that in the revised edition of the NIV Faithgirlz! Bible. As a leading tween expert, Rue teaches girls that the Bible is real and relevant and, best of all, that the story of God and His people is also their story. Girls can now grow closer to God as they discover the journey of a lifetime, in their language, for their world.

The new Faithgirlz! Bible was developed especially for girls ages 9 to 12. Everything in it is written with a tween girl’s experience in mind, and it features the most popular Bible translation in the world, the New International Version. The features explain hard-to-understand things in the Bible and guide girls to put the Scripture to work in their own lives. The Faithgirlz! Bible focuses on sharing faith with friends and gives real ways for girls to do that.

Each book of the Bible has activities that make God’s Word more relevant than ever. And, of course, because it was developed for Faithgirlz! readers, they can expect to find it jam-packed with customized content and artwork that really makes the Bible stand out. Girls will love the cool design, the interactive features and the feeling of knowing that God’s Word is there for them whenever they need it. Some of the features included are:

· Book Introductions—Girls will read the who, when, where and what of each book of the Bible.

· Dream Girl—Girls will use their imaginations to put themselves in the story.

· Is There a Little (Eve, Ruth, Isaiah) in You?—Girls will see for themselves what they have in common with women of the Bible.

· Words to Live By—Girls will discover great Bible verses for memorizing.

· Oh, I Get It!—Girls will find answers to Bible questions they’ve wondered about.
Nancy Rue says, “I hope the Faithgirlz! Bible will help girls grow a friendship with the Bible, their own relationship. It asks questions, asks them to think and challenges them to apply what they’re learning. That’s how they’ll find a deep, personal relationship with God, rather than just by following rules or saying what they’ve been told without really thinking about it. Rules are important, of course, but they only make sense when they really believe the message of the Scriptures. That’s what this Bible is about.” The Faithgirlz! Bible is the perfect Bible to support girls in their journey into the “beauty of believing.”

The main edition of the Faithgirlz! Bible is hardcover, but it is also available in two Italian Duo-Tone designs. For better portability, there is also an NIV Faithgirlz! Backpack Bible. This compact edition does not include the in-text features that the full-size edition has, but it does have twelve full-color pages of Faithgirlz! fun, the words of Christ in red and a ribbon marker. An ebook version is also planned for electronic use.

Product Details:

List Price: $27.99

Reading level: Ages 9 and up

Hardcover: 1504 pages

Publisher: Zonderkidz; Rev Spl edition (March 6, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0310722365

ISBN-13: 978-0310722366

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BIBLE!

This is just a really sweet Bible for Girls! The pink cover is beautiful and very eye catching for girls. And all throughout the Bible you will find the pink theme. But what is better than the pink theme, this is a great study Bible for a teen or pre teen. Throughout the Bible there are Devotions and several different things to enhance Bible Study. And its all decorated with the pink swirls and flowers. Just beautiful!

In the back of the Bible there is a section on How to Begin a Relationship with Christ, one that will take you through the Bible in a year, Promises in the Bible plus more.

I highly recommend this Bible for your daughter or friend. It is the NIV, so a very popular and easy to read verison. Why not buy a Bible that girls will read, and feel comfortable carring around.

This Bible was provided by Zonderkiz through FIRST WildCard tours. I was not expected or required to give a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

 

AND NOW…A SAMPLE. PLEASE CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO VIEW THEM LARGER:

 

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