Mistaken…… By: Karen Barnett

Mistaken

By Karen Barnett

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About this book

Since booze and prohibition have made criminals out of every man in her world, Laurie Burke resolves to find at least one honorable man to fill her life. Convinced that handsome newcomer Daniel Shepherd is connected with her brother’s rum-running gang, Laurie quickly scratches his name off her list. Daniel has mixed feelings about returning to the dirty mill town of his youth, but grudgingly agrees to manage his grandfather’s drug store until a replacement can be found. The moment he meets Laurie on the windswept bluff overlooking the beach, he knows that if he can earn her love, he might have a reason to stay. But when Laurie pushes him away–for none other than Federal Agent Samuel Brown–Daniel wonders if Laurie really is the upstanding woman he thought her to be. The Strait of Juan de Fuca, just off the beaches of Port Angeles, Washington, was treacherous water for reckless rum-runners—and the agents who tried to catch them. So when she realizes her brother is in danger, romance is the last thing on Laurie’s mind. Yet the people she believes she can trust, may not be so honorable after all.

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My Thoughts on this book

Wow, what an awesome debut novel. Karen Barnett has quickly made her way to my favorite author’s list. I’ve been visiting Karen’s website for about a year, and following her insights on Mistaken, so it was a real pleasure for me to be able to read it! I loved the way she brought the characters to life, showing us every side of them. Karen shows the characters as real human beings, meaning that they struggled with things in their past and present, just as we all do. Even though this is a historical story, I could relate with some of the characters and the difficulties and struggles they were having. They just seemed so real, I still feel like I am involved in the story!

Ms. Barnett does a fantastic job of weaving the story together, with all of the twists and turns, showing the God is the one who is in control, and He is the only one that can change our lives.

This is Karen Barnett’s first book, and I know I loved it and can’t wait for another book from her. If you enjoy historical fiction with suspense added in, you will be thrilled with this book! It is truly a delightful and entertaining read!

I received this book from the publisher Abingdon 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.

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About the Author

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever–and yet our human story changes daily. As a writer of historical romance, I love to explore my characters’ faith and how their experiences impact the way they view God.

There’s nothing I enjoy more than a beautiful love story and God’s devotion to His people is the best one of all. It even ends with the hero riding in on a white horse! (Revelation 19:11).

My first novel,MISTAKEN, releases in July 2013 with Abingdon Press. I am published in several nation magazines, including “Birthday Wish” which appeared inGuideposts Magazine in February 2010. I am represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency.

I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband, two children, three furry felines and the newest addition–a dachshund puppy.

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Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices…By Cynthia Ruchti

Ragged Hope:

Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices…

By Cynthia Ruchti 

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About this book

To the wounded,
the worn,
the wondering.
And to all those who let us
see their scars
so others can discover
Hope’s hideout. It’s one thing to live with the consequences of your own choices, but what happens when your life is changed because of someone else’s? This insightful and uplifting guide will comfort, support and encourage you through whatever situation you must face. Cynthia Ruchti, who has walked this road herself, assures readers that God is ever present and His love never wavers. There is hope, grace, and a future in every situation, especially those that we did not cause.

 

My Thoughts on this Book

“Surviving the fallout of other people’s choices” is just what happens when someone, such as a spouse leaves his wife and family for another women, and the wife is left to deal with the situation and survive as best she can. This book is a collection of stories of many who have been forced to deal with abuse, betrayal, rejection, divorce, and much more against their will. The stories are short and can be read as a devotion, or just read when you need a pretty fast read. They are not easy stories to read, because each story has its own unique situation and struggles.

I wish this book would have been out about eight years ago when my son went through some of these same things. His story could have easily been in this book. I won’t go into details, but without God reaching out and giving my son, as well as myself the mercy, grace and strength we needed, I’m just not sure where we would be now.

I love an appreciate the wisdom and direction Cynthia Ruchti so heartfully gives in Ragged Hope. There are so many people that need this book! The number of situations just like these in the lives of family and friends is heartbreaking. This is one book I will definitely put in the hands of anyone I know who is facing the rejection and betrayal of someone they love. Thank you Cynthia Ruchti for a book so well needed!

I received this book from the publisher Abingdon 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.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Cynthia-Ruchti_green_couch1-1024x819Cynthia writes stories of hope that glows in the dark through her novels, novellas, devotions, and speaking for women’s events and retreats as well as writers’ conferences and workshops. She draws from 33 years as writer/producer of The Heartbeat of the Home daily radio broadcast. Her books have been recognized by Reviewers’ Choice, Retailers’ Choice, Readers’ Choice and other honors, including finalist designation in ACFW’s Carol Awards. Cynthia serves as ACFW’s Professional Relations Liaison. She and her plot-tweaking husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

 

 

JASMINE …..by Diane T. Ashley, Aaron McCarver

JASMINE 

by Diane T. AshleyAaron McCarver

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ABOUT THIS BOOK

Jasmine Anderson runs away from her riverboat home and the faith and love of her past to pursue a life of fame. She flees to a showboat where she gains small roles and attracts the seductive attention of the lead actor and the bitter jealousy of a veteran actress. Then a great tragedy sets off a chain of events that creates promising new opportunities but also grave danger for Jasmine—and ultimately the chance to discover a dream truly worth living and sacrificing for.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

I didn’t read the first two books in this series, but I enjoyed getting to know Jasmine in this third book. Jasmine’s story since she is the younger of the three sisters, and it seems her sisters didn’t want to let her grow up. David had been in love with Jasmine for a long time, but she didn’t seem interested in him. Will she finally figure out what he feels for her?

This is a really good read, with a lot of twists and turns weaved throughout the story. When Jasmine was able to follow her dream, she puts God on the back burner in her life, and makes her career more important. Thankfully David was there to help her when she needed help. I like that they authors weaved the importance of allowing God to lead our lives, and shows us that ‘the grass is not always greener on the other side!’ I also enjoyed the historical events so vividly described throughout the book. Everything about this book makes for a very fun, interesting and entertaining read. If you enjoy historical fiction, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Jasmine. You will be delighted!

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

Diane T. Ashley

Diane T. Ashley, a “town girl” born and raised in Mississippi, has worked more than twenty years for the House of Representatives. She rediscovered a thirst for writing, was led to a class taught by Aaron McCarver, and became a founding member of the Bards of Faith.

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Aaron McCarver

Aaron McCarver is a transplanted Mississippian who was raised in the mountains near Dunlap, Tennessee. He loves his jobs of teaching at Belhaven University and editing for Barbour Publishing and Summerside Press. A member of ACFW, he is coauthor with Gilbert Morris of the bestselling series, The Spirit of Appalachia. He now coauthors with Diane Ashley on several historical series.

CONGRADULATOINS TO THE RWA 2013 RITA NOMINEES

CONGRADULATOINS TO THE 

RWA 2013 RITA NOMINEES

 

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Celebrating Inspirational Romance


AGAINST THE TIDECamden-headshot

Elizabeth Camden

 

Boston of 1891 is a city of hope and ambition, where mariners, merchants, and dreamers thrive in the cobblestone streets of America’s most historic city. Within the harbor of Boston’s naval shipyard, Lydia Pallas has become a trusted assistant to an Admiral in the U.S. Navy. Fluent in seven languages, she spends her days translating documents from all over the world.

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Baker Publishing Group
Bethany House Publishers
Raela Schoenherr, editor
Lydia’s remarkable language skills bring her to the attention of Alexander Banebridge, a mysterious man on a quest to rid the world of the scourge of opium. Only Lydia has the rare combination of language skills and courage he needs to advance his cause. A man as coolly analytical as he is relentless, Bane never bargained on falling in love with Lydia. As he battles the bittersweet love that grows between them, Bane’s mission will take Lydia away from everything—and everyone—she ever held dear.
With fast-paced intrigue and unforgettable characters, Against the Tide is Elizabeth Camden’s most romantic novel yet.

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BETRAL Hatcher--headshot

Robin Lee Hatcher 
It’s the turn of the twentieth century and drifter Hugh Brennan is a man well acquainted with betrayal. Hugh finds himself drawn to the attractive widow, Julia, yet when he looks into her eyes, he recognizes the same hurt that haunts him.
Julia Grace has little reason to trust men, but she’s going to have to trust someone if she’s to keep her ranch from the clutches of her dead husband’s half-brother. Is it possible God had a hand in bringing Hugh to her door?
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Zondervan
Sue Brower and Leslie Peterson, editors
The latest historical romance from award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher and the second book in the Where the Heart Lives series, Betrayal will take you to the high desert of western Wyoming, through the crags of the Rocky Mountains, and into the hearts of two seekers learning to trust God’s love no matter the circumstances.

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AN HEIRESS AT HEARTDelamere--headshot

Jennifer Delamere
A New Beginning

A youthful indiscretion has cost Lizzie Poole more than just her honor. After five years living in exile, she’s finally returning home, but she’s still living a secret life. Her best friend Ria’s dying wish was for Lizzie to assume her identity, return to London, and make amends that Ria herself would never live to make. Bearing a striking resemblance to her friend, and harboring more secrets than ever before, Lizzie embarks on a journey that tempts her reckless heart once again. . .

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Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Lauren Plude, editor
A committed clergyman, Geoffrey Somerville’s world is upended when he suddenly inherits the title of Lord Somerville. Now he’s invited to every ball and sought after by the matchmaking mothers of London society. Yet the only woman to capture his heart is the one he cannot have: his brother’s young widow, Ria. Duty demands he deny his feelings, but his heart longs for the mysterious beauty. With both their futures at stake, will Lizzie be able to keep up her façade? Or will she find the strength to share her secret and put her faith in true love?

Jennifer is signing copies of An Heiress at Heart at the Romance Writers of America’s Readers for Life Literacy Autographing on July 17, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center Ave, Atlanta, GA 30303
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A HOUSE FULL OF HOPETippens--headshot

Missy Tippens

Before becoming a Christian, Mark Ryker ran with a bad crowd and broke hearts. Including his father’s. Now a successful businessman, Mark has come home to Corinthia, Georgia, to make amends. But no one will forgive him. So when the widowed mother of four renting his dad’s run-down house needs help fixing up the place, Mark gets to work.
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Harlequin, Love Inspired Books
Emily Rodmell and Rachel Burkot, editors
Pretty Hannah Hughes and her sweet kids have him longing to be part of the clan, but Hannah isn’t ready to let go of the past. Still, they are working together on a house full of hope—and that’s all Mark needs.

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MY STUBBORN HEARTWade-headshot

Becky Wade

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate’s grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.
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Baker Publishing Group
Bethany House Publishers
Sarah Long, editor
Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house.  Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded — hiding from people, from God, and from his past.  Kate can’t help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light… whether he likes it or not.

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NAOMI’S CHRISTMASPerry--headshot

Marta Perry

When a new life beckons, a dutiful Amish woman must decide what she owes her family…and what she owes herself…
Since her mother’s death, Naomi Esch has been devoted to caring for her father and siblings, sacrificing any hope of finding love or having a home of her own. Still, working at the local bakery and expanding her beekeeping business gives Naomi a satisfying sense of purpose. Then, in the weeks before Christmas, her father announces his plans to immediately remarry. He and his new wife need the house for themselves, and suddenly Naomi’s life is turned upside down.
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Penguin Group USA, Berkley Trade
Ellen Edwards, editor
But new opportunities soon come her way. A friend provides Naomi with a place to stay, and widower Nathan King offers his sprawling farmland to Naomi to continue her business—on the condition that she helps take care of his children. The setup is so perfect that the community assumes a wedding will inevitably follow. But Naomi has vowed never to marry without love. And to Nathan she’s merely convenient help. Now, for those in Pleasant Valley, uniting these two stubborn souls may take a Christmas miracle.
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THE SOLDIER’S WIFEReavis-headshot

Cheryl Reavis

“Promise Me You’ll Help Her.”Former Union soldier Jeremiah “Jack” Murphy should never have given his word to a dying man, especially a Rebel. But now he feels honor-bound to carry the message to the man’s young bride. Besides, with false charges following him, Jack needs somewhere to turn.
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Harlequin, Love Inspired Books
Tara Gavin, editor
After he fulfills his promise, perhaps the North Carolina mountains can give this weary soldier some shelter. Yet when he meets beautiful widow Sayer Garth, leaving is the last thing on Jack’s mind.
Sayer, and her young sisters-in-law, need help that Jack is more than willing to provide. If only he could be certain that his presence—and his secrets—won’t put them all at risk….

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THE WEDDING DRESSHauck-headshot

Rachel Hauck

Four brides. One Dress.
 
A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.
Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?
Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new—shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and  timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”
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Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Ami McConnell, editor
Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history—and its new bride—begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.

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FIRST WildCard Tours presents…Whispers on the Prairie by Vickie McDonough

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:
Vickie McDonough
and the book:
Whispers On The Prairie
(Pioneer Promises Volume 1)
Whitaker House (June 17, 2013)
***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Vickie McDonough is an award-winning author of twenty-six books and novellas. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, she served as treasurer of the organization for three years and also was treasurer for her local chapter. Vickie lives with her husband, Robert, in Oklahoma. They have four grown sons and one daughter-in-law, and are grandparents to a precocious seven-year-old girl. When she isn’t writing, Vickie enjoys reading, shopping for antiques, watching movies, and traveling. Pioneer Promises Book Two, Call of the Prairie, is set for release in January 2014.
Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The last thing Sarah Marshall wanted was to leave Chicago and travel the dusty Santa Fe Trail, but when her uncle demands she help her feeble aunt, she can’t refuse. Her aunt had taken Sarah in after her parents died. She becomes stranded at the Harper Stage Stop in Kansas, one of the first stops on Santa Fe Trail, and her presence causes a stir. Ethan Harper’s well-ordered life is thrown into turmoil with his two brothers and every unmarried male in the county lining up to woo Miss Sarah whom Ethan views as an uppity city girl.  Is it because she’s the wrong woman for his brother—or the right one for himself?

Product Details:

List Price: $8.76

Paperback: 272 pages

Publisher: Whitaker House (June 17, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1603748415

ISBN-13: 978-1603748414

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

This is a wonderful, heartwarming story that I very much enjoyed! Ms. McDonough captured my attention in the very beginning, and I wanted to keep reading to find out what was going on. Sarah was a such a sweet young lady, and enjoyed getting to know her. She endured a lot of difficulties, but she was able to overcome them, and still be the sweet and helpful young lady she is. If  you enjoy historical fiction, you will sure enjoy this one! You will be delightfully pleased you picked Whispers on the Prairie!

 
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

March 1870
Chicago
The toddler’s whimpers rose to an ear-splitting scream as the little girl pushed against the chest of the woman holding her captive.
“Here, let me have her, Abigail.” Sarah Marshall reached for Mary, and her friend handed over the fussy child. The girl persisted in her cries, so Sarah crooned to her, swaying in time to a waltz playing in her mind as she rubbed circles on the toddler’s back.
“I don’t see how you can have such patience with her. That obstinate child cries more than all the others in this orphanage combined.” Abigail bent down and reached for a handsome three-year-old boy, who came rushing toward her with a big smile that showed his dimples. “Personally,” Abigail raised her voice over Mary’s ruckus, “I prefer the quiet ones.”
Sarah smiled. “I prefer the needy ones.” She leaned her cheek against Mary’s head. “All is well, little one. All is well.”
After a few more minutes, the wails finally subsided, and the girl began to relax. She sniffled, her whole body shaking as she finally fell into an exhausted sleep.
“Poor little one.” Sarah’s heart nearly broke for the child, recently orphaned by the death of her mother. At least, at such a young age, she stood a chance to adapt more easily than Sarah had when her parents died. Though the accident that claimed their lives had happened over a decade ago, she still missed her father’s big smile and her mother’s comforting arms.
“You’ll make a good mother one day.” Mrs. Rayburn leaned against the door frame, looking tired. “Are you sure you don’t want to move in here?”
Sarah smiled. “If my aunt was in better health, you know I would take you up on your offer. And I do hope to be a mother someday. If I’m good, as you say, it will be only because I learned from the best.”
Mrs. Rayburn swiped her hand in the air, but Sarah could tell the comment pleased her. If not for the generous care of the well-to-do widow, the six orphaned children who resided under her roof would most likely still be out on the cold Chicago streets, begging for scraps to eat, working for some cruel taskmaster—or worse.
Abigail glided to the center of the bedroom that had been converted into a nursery, holding Tommy on her hip, and pretended to dance with him. “Sarah may take a giant step in the direction of motherhood this very night.”
“Abigail!” Heat marched across Sarah’s cheeks as she thought of Walt and how he’d hinted at proposing—again—at her birthday dinner tonight. “I don’t want that news getting out.”
“Why not?” Abigail spun the boy in a circle, eliciting a giggle. “You aren’t going to turn the poor fellow down again, are you?”
Sarah glared at her best friend, wishing she would learn when to hush. She hoisted Mary higher on her chest and carried her to the adjoining bedroom. Stopping beside Mary’s bed, she rocked the girl from side to side to make sure she was asleep. Though she would never admit it to Abigail, the toddler’s wails did grate on her nerves from time to time, especially when she hadn’t slept well the night before. Holding her breath, she lowered Mary into her bed and then pulled the small quilt over her.
Sarah kept her hand ready to pat Mary’s back, should she stir. Thankfully, she didn’t. Straightening, Sarah checked on the two napping babies. She then tiptoed across the big room to adjust the blanket covering Ian, the six-month-old whose father had deposited him on Mrs. Rayburn’s doorstep last fall. The poor man had lost his wife and couldn’t care for an infant. Sarah’s heart ached for each one of the youngsters. She knew how hard life could be without parents. Still, she counted herself among the lucky ones—she’d been taken in by family, though she hadn’t lived in a house as fine as Mrs. Rayburn’s mansion.
Bending, Sarah filled her apron skirt with rag dolls, balls, and other toys, then deposited them in the toy basket as the mantel clock in the parlor chimed two o’clock. She tiptoed out of the nursery and back into the playroom.
“Time for you girls to head home.” Mrs. Rayburn crossed the room and clapped her hands. “Tommy, would you like to hear a story?”
The three-year-old lunged into the older woman’s arms. She hugged him and then set him down. “My, but you’re getting heavy.”
“Too much porridge, I imagine.” Grinning, Sarah turned to Abigail. “Are you leaving now, too?”
“Yes, Papa is sending his driver for me. See you tomorrow, Mrs. Rayburn.” Abigail waved good-bye as she walked from the room. She stopped in the doorway and faced Sarah. “Do you want a ride to your uncle’s shop?”
“Thank you, but I’ll walk.”
Tommy ran out of the nursery, lifted his little hand, and waved. Mrs. Rayburn followed him into the upstairs parlor and took hold of his hand. “I don’t know how I’d manage without you girls and your friends who volunteer in the evenings. I fear I’m getting too old to manage so many young children.”
Mrs. Rayburn had said the same thing for the past two years, and yet she hadn’t turned Mary away when a neighbor had brought her last week. Still, Sarah couldn’t help wondering if the day would come when the kind woman would feel it necessary to close her door to the orphans. What would happen to them then?
She and Abigail donned their cloaks and left the warmth of the cozy home behind as they stepped out into the blustery chill of March. The gusty wind off Lake Michigan whipped at Sarah’s skirts, and the gloomy sky released a light drizzle. Abigail’s driver stepped out from under the shelter of a nearby tree and opened the door of her carriage.
“Are you sure you won’t let us give you a ride? It’s a miserable day to be out.”
“Thank you, but I’ll be fine. I’m headed home, anyway, and that’s the opposite direction for you.”
“So, you’re not clerking for your uncle this afternoon?” Abigail accepted her driver’s hand and climbed into the buggy. “How did you get out of doing that?” She sat, leaning toward Sarah, her eyebrows lifted.
“I’m going home to help Aunt Emma get things ready for my birthday dinner.” Sarah turned so the wind was at her back and wrapped her fist around the edges of her cloak to hold it closed. “You’re still coming tonight?”
Abigail nodded, grinning. “I wouldn’t miss seeing Walt propose again. I don’t know why you don’t just accept. Your uncle will probably throw you out one of these days, and then where will you be?” She motioned to her driver, who closed the door and scurried up to his seat.
Sarah walked quickly toward State Street. She hadn’t missed how Abigail had poked her with her barbed comment about her uncle casting her out. That very possibility had been in the back of her mind. Uncle Harvey had barely tolerated her presence all these years. He’d never wanted children and wasn’t happy when his wife’s only sister died, leaving behind a daughter. It was a miracle the stingy man had agreed to let her live with them in the first place.
She blew out a sigh of relief at the sight of the horse-drawn trolley, just a block away. Hurrying to the middle of the street, she waited until it drew near, then grabbed the rail and stepped aboard. The sides of the carriage blocked the wind, to a degree, but the chilly air still seeped inside, bringing with it the aromas of baking bread and roasting meat.
The rain picked up, and she was glad she’d decided not to walk home. She stared out the window at the Chicago city streets, teeming with horses and buggies, fancy carriages, freight wagons, and even a man pulling a handcart. Busy people bustled up and down the boardwalks. She loved this town and hoped never to have to leave it.
If she married Walt, most likely she wouldn’t. Yet she struggled with the notion of being his wife. He was a good friend, yes, and she’d hate to disappoint him. Still, shouldn’t a woman have stronger feelings than friendship for the man she married?
Her uncle would be beside himself if she turned Walt down again. Maybe she should just say yes this time. At least then she’d be assured of having a home of her own—and of freeing herself from the heavy sense of owing her uncle. One would think the hours she’d spent doing chores in his home and clerking at his watch repair shop would be sufficient to cover any debt she owed, but she could never do enough to please Uncle Harvey. Still, she was grateful to have lived in his home these last twelve years. She should be satisfied and not wish for more.
And yet she did. She longed to marry a man who made her laugh like her papa had, one whose broad shoulders were strong enough to protect her. But she hadn’t yet met that man. Maybe she never would. Maybe she needed to give up on wishing and just be satisfied with Walt.
*****
Sarah sat back and rested her hands in her lap, smiling in satisfaction with the meal. She stole a glance at the sideboard loaded with food she’d helped her aunt and the cook prepare—roast leg of mutton and currant jelly, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, fried parsnips, and glazed carrots. Just the thought of it all made her stomach ache, and they had not even served dessert yet.
Walt wagged a finger at the servant standing at attention.
The servant hurried to the table from his post in the corner of the room. “Sir?”
“Bring me some more of those parsnips.”
Sarah winced at his commanding tone, then looked to the head of the table. Uncle Harvey was seated next to a stranger—Mr. Gibbons—who’d appeared at the door just before they’d sat down to dinner. The two were having a private discussion, but Sarah had overheard enough to know it was about the benefits of living on the western frontier. She couldn’t imagine what anyone found interesting about the untamed prairie, with its wild Indians and abundance of dust.
At the other end of the table, Lizzie Monahan and Betty Phillips engaged her aunt in a lively chat about the latest styles in fashion, while Abigail sat infatuated with Howard Shibley, Walt’s best friend, who babbled on about a recent report that the population of Chicago had reached 300,000. Sarah nearly rolled her eyes.
“What was that look for?” Walt dabbed his lips with his napkin.
Sarah leaned closer to him, so not to be heard. “If Howard has any hope of winning Abigail’s heart, he should find a more interesting topic of conversation.”
“I doubt romance has even entered his mind.”
“Obviously.” Sarah shook her head.
Walt rested his chin in his palm and caught her gaze, his hazel eyes gleaming. His ash-blond hair had been slicked down and combed back from his forehead. “Speaking of romance, are you ever going to agree to marry me?”
She sucked in a sharp breath and glanced around the table once more. Nobody cast an odd look her way, so she assumed that no one had overheard the oh-so-unromantic proposal. She had pretty much made up her mind to say yes, but his casual manner of asking made her want to shake her head. Schooling her features and straightening her posture, she replied. “I don’t know.”
Walt blinked, obviously taken aback. Seconds later, he scowled, then glanced across the room and motioned to the servant again. The man rushed to his side. “I seem to be out of parsnips again.”
Why couldn’t Walt have just kept quiet? She liked him well enough, but his frequent proposals were producing the opposite of their intended effect; they made her more inclined to avoid him than marry him. She snuck a glance at Abigail, still trying so hard to get Howard to notice her, while the man, clearly oblivious, just kept spouting his knowledge.
Sarah peeked at Walt again. He wasn’t particularly handsome, but he wasn’t ugly, either. He would be a good provider, being the sole heir to his father’s shoe factory, but she had a feeling that life with him would be just as boring as their evenings together. She wanted to marry—to finally be free from her uncle’s overpowering presence and stern glare—but she wanted a man who thought she was the only woman in the world for him. Yes, Walt seemed to feel that way, but something held her back. Was there something wrong with her?
An hour later, she stood at the door to see Walt on his way. Everyone else had already gone.
Walt hung his head and twisted his hat in his hands. “I…uh, won’t ask you again.” He lifted his gaze to hers, pain evident in his eyes.
She’d hurt him, and that was the last thing she’d wanted to do.
“I’m twenty-nine, Sarah. I’m ready to marry and start a family. I need to know if there’s any hope that you’ll say yes one day.”
“And I just turned nineteen—today.”
He closed his eyes and exhaled a heavy sigh. “All right. I’ll give you a few more months to make up your mind.”
Sarah bristled. What if she still didn’t have an answer? “And then?”
He stared at her with a serious, no-nonsense expression she’d never seen before. “And then I’ll be forced to look elsewhere. I mean to be married before I turn thirty.” He slapped his hat on his head and stepped out into the blustery evening wind.
She watched him jog down the steps with more purpose than usual. He wanted to get away from her, and that was just fine, as far as she was concerned. She shut the door. Some birthday party that had been.
The sound of raised voices drew her to the parlor. Her aunt and uncle rarely argued, mainly because Aunt Emma’s chronic illness made her too weary to fuss over trifles.
“Harvey, please. You can’t be serious about this.”
Sarah held her breath, all manner of ideas racing through her mind.
“You might as well come in here, Sarah. I know you’re out there.”
She jumped at her uncle’s stern command and was tempted to slither away, but her curiosity forced her to do as bidden. “I was just saying good night to Walt,” she explained as she entered the room.
“Sit down. I have something to tell you.”
Aunt Emma didn’t look up from the sofa but anxiously wrung her hands.
Sarah sat next to her and laid a steadying hand over her aunt’s.
Her uncle paced in front of the fireplace, where a cozy blaze heated the front half of the room. Still, a shiver clawed its way down Sarah’s spine. Whatever news she was about to hear, it wouldn’t be good, from the looks of it.
Uncle Harvey stopped in front of the hearth, rested one hand atop the mantel, and stared into the flames. “You met Gibbons tonight.” He straightened and stared at her, an unreadable expression in his brown eyes. “He’s a wagon master. Been leading wagon trains down the Santa Fe Trail for the past twenty years.”
Sarah’s thoughts whirled. Again she wondered about her uncle’s interest in such a rugged man as Mr. Gibbons. He hadn’t even worn proper attire for a dinner party.
“Oh, dear. Oh, dear.” Aunt Emma fanned her face. “I fear I’m not feeling well.”
Sarah’s uncle narrowed his gaze at his wife. “You may be dismissed as soon as I’m done.”
Aunt Emma gave him a meek nod, keeping her head down.
Uncle Harvey cleared his throat, drawing Sarah’s gaze again. “The truth of the matter is that my brother has written me from Kansas City to inform me that he’s moving his family to the New Mexico Territory, by way of the Santa Fe Trail.”
“New Mexico?” Sarah pressed her lips closed, knowing her uncle wouldn’t appreciate her outburst. She sidled a glance at her aunt. Why was she so distraught? Turning her attention back to her uncle, she voiced the question that wouldn’t go away. “Why would your brother want to move to such an uncivilized place?”
Uncle Harvey’s nostrils flared, and Aunt Emma uttered a pitiful moan.
“Because there is great opportunity there,” her uncle insisted. “Bob says that one day, the New Mexico Territory will become a state. He has been to Santa Fe and plans to return to open a mercantile there.”
Sarah blinked as she absorbed the information. The truth finally dawned, and she gasped, staring wide-eyed at her uncle. “Surely, you don’t mean to go there, too.”
He lifted his chin, revealing his wrinkled, white neck from its hiding place beneath his beard. “I most certainly do. Chicago has dozens of watchmakers. According to Bob, Santa Fe doesn’t have a single one. I plan to set up shop next to his store. We’ll build a door between the two, so that we can assist each other when things get busy.”
Sarah could see her well-ordered life spiraling out of control. She’d already lost her parents. How could she stand to lose Aunt Emma, too? Sarah stood and started pacing the room. “You already have as much business as you can handle. And how could you expect Aunt Emma to endure such a difficult trip?”
“I’ve talked to the doctor, and he says the warmer climate will be much better for her. Lydia will be there to take care of her if she falls ill.”
Falls ill? Didn’t he realize his wife was nearly always unwell? She’d been sickly ever since she’d survived a bout of scarlet fever a year before Sarah had come to live with them. The sickness had left her frail and had robbed her of her hearing in her right ear.
Sarah doubted Aunt Emma could survive such a rugged journey. “Won’t you reconsider, Uncle?”
He shook his head. “My mind is made up.”
“And what about me?” Could she stay in this big house alone? He’d always expected her to pay her own way, and she could hardly afford a place as nice as this two-story brownstone.
He shrugged. “I expect you to marry Walt, and then you’ll be his responsibility. I’ve already sold the house, so you can’t stay here.”
Her aunt gasped and stood. “How could you do such a thing without consulting me?”
Sarah’s heart ached for her aunt. How could Uncle Harvey be so insensitive?
“Now, Emma. It’s my place to make such decisions. You’ll see once we arrive in Santa Fe that this move was for the best.”
Emma screeched a heart-wrenching sob and ran from the room, her dark green silk dress swishing loudly.
Sarah had never once stood up to her intimidating uncle before. This time, concern for her aunt stiffened her spine, and she turned on him. “How could you be so selfish? Such a trip will probably kill Aunt Emma! Is that what you want?”
His nostrils flared. “She is no concern of yours.” He walked to the dark window and stared out through the panes. “I never wanted you to come here, you know. I never wanted children. They’re nothing but a nuisance. I will concede that you’ve been good for Emma, but she needs to learn to get along without you.” He turned back to her, his eyes narrowed. “Marry Walt. He’s a decent fellow.”
She’d always known her uncle hadn’t wanted her, but hearing the words spoken out loud pained her as badly as if she’d been stabbed in the heart. Out of respect for her aunt, she didn’t lash out at him as she wanted to. “I’m not ready to marry yet.” Uncle Harvey may have housed her all these years, but that didn’t give him the right to force her to wed a man she didn’t love. “I…I can find a boardinghouse to stay in.”
He smirked. “And how do you intend to pay for it?”
A wave of panic washed over her. She had a few coins her aunt had given her—nowhere near enough to live on, even for a short time. “I’ll find another job. Since I’ve worked for you for so long, I’ve honed my office skills and have plenty of experience.”
“Hmpf. What employer would hire a female clerk when he can so easily find a man to do the task?”
Sarah dropped back onto the sofa, realizing the truth of his statement. What would she do? Where would she live? How could she manage without her aunt’s loving guidance? The last time she’d felt as empty and confused as she did now was when she’d learned that her parents had died.
Quick footsteps sounded outside the room, and Sarah and her uncle both looked to the door. Her aunt had returned, her eyes damp, her face red and splotchy. With a trembling hand, she held a handkerchief below her nose. Sarah longed to embrace her aunt, but she would wait until her uncle left them alone.
“I see it’s too late to change your mind,” she said, her voice quavering. “You’ve wounded me deeply, Harvey. I hope you know that.”
He started toward her, his expression softening, and took her hands. “Haven’t I always taken care of you, darling? Have you ever lacked for anything?”
Her aunt didn’t respond, but Sarah could tell by her expression that she didn’t share her husband’s perspective. Steeling her gaze, Emma stared up at him with rare determination in her eyes. “I won’t go without Sarah.”
“What?” Sarah and her uncle exclaimed at once.
“I won’t go unless she goes, too.” Emma hiked her chin.
Sarah didn’t know what to say. This was the first time she had seen Aunt Emma stand up to her husband, and she couldn’t bear to tell her that her efforts were wasted. But the last thing Sarah cared to do was leave Chicago and travel on a wagon train to Santa Fe.
Even marriage to Walt would be preferable to that.

CFBA Presents Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Harvest of Gold

River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2013)

by

Tessa AfsharABOUT THE AUTHOR:

TESSA AFSHAR was voted “New Author of the Year” by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader’s Choice Award 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. She was born in Iran, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last thirteen years in full-time Christian work.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The scribe Sarah married Darius, and at times she feels as if she has married the Persian aristocracy, too. There is another point she did not count on in her marriage-Sarah has grown to love her husband. Sarah has wealth, property, honor, and power, but her husband’s love still seems unattainable.

Although his mother was an Israelite, Darius remains skeptical that his Jewish wife is the right choice for him, particularly when she conspires with her cousin Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Ordered to assist in the effort, the couple begins a journey to the homeland of his mother’s people. Will the road filled with danger, conflict, and surprising memories, help Darius to see the hand of God at work in his life-and even in his marriage?

A hidden message, treachery, opposition, and a God-given success, will lead to an unlikely bounty.

If you’d like to read the first chapter of Harvest of Gold, go HERE.

Litfuse Presents….Rosemary’s Cottage by Colleen Coble…..plus Giveaway

Litfuse Presents….

Rosemary’s Cottage by Colleen Coble

 

*****

Rosemary Cottage

ABOUT THE BOOK

Amy came to Rosemary Cottage to grieve, to heal, maybe even find love. But there’s a deadly undertow of secrets around Hope Island….

The charming Rosemary Cottage on the beach offers Amy Lange respite she needs to mourn her brother, Ben. She’s even thinking of moving her midwife practice to the Outer Banks community. It’s always been a refuge for her and her family. She also wants to investigate Ben’s disappearance at sea. Everyone blames a surfing accident, but Amy has reason to wonder.

Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland has lost a sibling too. His sister, Gina, was run down by a boat, leaving him to raise her infant daughter. If anyone knew who little Raine’s father was, Curtis could lose his beloved niece. Yet he can’t help being drawn to Hope Beach’s new midwife, Amy. He even agrees to help her investigate what happened to both Ben and Gina.

Can two grieving people with secrets find healing on beautiful Hope Island? Or will their quest for truth set them at odds with each other…and with those who will go to any length to keep hidden things hidden?

Purchase a copy here.

Learn more at Colleen’s website.

*****

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

I love, love Rosemary’s Cottage, the book, and the cottage on Hope Beach. It is cozy, calm, relaxing and just an enjoyable place to be. That is until two people die and their deaths are a mystery. Well a mystery to Amy because one of the victims was her brother. But can she convince everyone else that Ben and Gina’s deaths were a murder?  Gina’s brother Curtis hadn’t thought much about it since Gina’s death was ruled an accident. But as Amy and Curtis start looks for clues, strange things start to come to surface that confirms what Amy has thought all along.

This is an awesome story to read! Colleen Coble has a way of capturing your heart and attention on the very first page and keeping it until long after you finish reading the story. Amy and Curtis are adorable, and I love the attraction between them, even though they don’t see it. And then there is Raine, Gina’s baby that she left in Curtis’ care. Who is the father of Gina’s baby? Could it be Ben, which would make Raine Amy’s niece? Tensions soar when Amy tells her parents that their son may have fathered a child and kept her a secret from everyone.

This is really a mixed up, twisted up story in every way, and I love the way Colleen keeps the plot so tangled up, keeping readers guessing about what is happening, and who is behind all of the secrets. And the ending, well…..I never, ever would have guessed how everyone would unfold. Thats what makes Ms. Coble the awesome author she is, showing the expert writer she is. You don’t want to miss this second book in The Hope Beach Series, Rosemary’s Cottage. And don’t forget to pick up the first book in the series, Tidewater Inn.

I received this book from Litfuse 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.

*****

COLLEEN COBLE

CCoble

Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

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Water can be calming and healing, but it can also be dangerous, as Amy Lange and Curtis Ireland both found out. Both lost their siblings to the sea, and they hope to find healing on Hope Island. But will they find it, or will their quest to find answers set them at odds with each other and with those who have secrets that need to stay hidden?

Find out in Colleen Coble’s latest book, Rosemary Cottage, which released July 9. To celebrate, Colleen is hosting a 12-day Nautical Summer Giveaway. From July 16-27, Colleen will be giving away a new nautical prize every day. She’ll announce the winners on July 29 on her website, so mark your calendars for that date to see if you were picked as a lucky winner!

Not on Facebook? Enter here.

Barbour Books Presents…..IMMIGRANT BRIDES….By…Nine of you Favorite Authors

The Immigrant Brides Collection….

9 Stories Celebrate Settling in America

*******

Immigrant Brides

 Written by

 Irene B. BrandKristy Dykes

Nancy J. FarrierPamela Griffin

JoAnn A. GroteSally Laity

Judith Mccoy Miller,Janet Spaeth

Lofty dreams of a new and better life lured untold thousands to America between 1775 and 1906. Among those “huddled masses yearning to be free” are nine displaced individuals dumped upon American soil and trying to figure out how to pursue happiness, make a home, and secure love. Journey with them through this beautifully packaged collection of nine romances by top Christian authors, including Judith Miller.

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My Thoughts on this Book

I enjoy reading a book with stories short enough that I can read them in one setting, and that is just what Immigrant Brides is. Eight awesome and talented authors write nine heartwarming novellas. Each of these bride immigrated to the United States from several different countries. I enjoyed getting to know theses ladies and it was interesting watching them settle in their new environment. Each story is heartwarming, you will laugh and you will cry with the characters as they struggle to fit in with their new families and environment.

 Barbour Books has a number of books like this, books that are a collection of short novellas written by well-known authors. If you have never read any of these books from Barbour Books you are missing a real treat. They are not only awesome books to read, they are beautiful, larger than your regular fiction book, the covers have inside flaps, the pages have a ragged look, and they are very high quality. I love the beautiful cover of Immigrant Brides; it fits the stories in the book. I encourage you to check out a copy of this book, you will be very delighted!

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

The Authors

 Irene B. Brand

Kristy Dykes

Nancy J. Farrier

Pamela Griffin

JoAnn A. Grote

Sally Laity

Judith Mccoy Miller,

Janet Spaeth

Dolled Up to Die……….by: Lorena McCourtney….From Revell

Dolled Up to Die

9780800721596

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

When you look at the book, and read the title, Dolled Up to Die, you really don’t think about a murder/suspense story, but that is just what this book is.  Cate Kinkaid enjoys working for her uncle as an assistant investigator, but she had the surprise of her life when she answers the phone about three murders that has taken place. But why are the police not in a hurry to check it out? Cate arrives on the scene to find three dolls that were shot, but then there is another one, but this one is real, has real DNA.

I LOVE dolls, so I was sad that three dolls were shot! But better dolls that people! This is the second book in this series, and the second book I have read by Lorena McCourtney and I really like her style of writing. She has a way of weaving humor and suspense together that makes you want read more and more of her work. The characters she created for this story are unique and interesting, and I have enjoyed getting to know them. Dolled Up to Die is a delightful and enjoyable murder mystery that you will want to add to your library. I encourage you to pick up your copy asap!

“Available July 15, 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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

Lorena McCourtney

Lorena McCourtney

Lorena McCourtney is the New York Timesbestselling and award-winning author of dozens of novels, including Invisible (which won the Daphne du Maurier Award from Romance Writers of America) and Dying to Read. She resides in Oregon.

Prairie Song…by Mona Hodgson

Prairie Song…by Mona Hodgson

www.randomhouse

About This Book

The first step in a challenging journey is often the one that means the most. 
 
Though it means saying goodbye to the beloved friends and spiritual mentors of her St. Charles, Missouri quilting circle, Anna Goben is certain that she needs to enlist her family in the Boones Lick Company wagon train. The loss of her beloved brother in the Civil War has paralyzed her mother and grandfather in a malaise of grief and depression and Anna is convinced that only a fresh start in the Promised Land of California can bring her family back to her. Although the unknown perils of the trail west loom, Anna’s commitment to caring for her loved ones leaves no room for fear—or even loving someone new.

During the five-month journey, trail hand Caleb Reger plans to keep a low profile as he watches over the band of travelers. Guarding secrets about his past and avoiding God’s calling on his life, Caleb wants to steer as far from Anna as she does him, but she proves to be just as he assessed her from the beginning— independent, beautiful trouble.

Led by a pillar of hope, the group faces rough terrain that begins to take a toll on their spirits. Will the wilderness of suffering lead them astray, or will the gentle song of love that echoes across the prairie turn their hearts toward God’s grace and the promise of a new home?

– See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=220626#sthash.Ttd7i5co.dpuf

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

 

Anna has lost so many people in her family that she decides to join Boone’s Lick Company Wagon Train and travel west to start a new life. Before the train is to leave, Anna is to marry Boney, a childhood friend. The trouble is, she doesn’t love Bony but she feels she has to because she promised. But the way things worked out, they didn’t get married, causing an interesting and difficult situation at times.

 

I enjoyed the journey of Anna and her friends as they traveled cross county. I’ve always enjoy reading about Wagon Train journeys, so this one was another special one for me to read. If you have read The Quilted Heart Series from Mona Hodgson, you will recognize a lot of the same characters in this book, so that makes it more interesting for me, because I enjoyed reading more about these believable and realistic characters. The journey was heartwarming, even through the difficulties. If you enjoy historical fiction, this book will be a great for you!

 

I received this book from the publisher Waterbrook through their Blogging For Books review program 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.

 

 

 

Meet Mona Hodgson

Married forty years to her leading man, Mona from Arizona lives in the Southwest where trees have arms instead of branches, rock yards replace lawns, and salsa takes the place of ketchup. When Mona isn’t writing or speaking at a women’s event, she’s playing Wii games with her Arizona grandson, spending time with her mom, picnicking, www.randomhouse11chatting on Skype with her grandchildren in Africa.

Mona is a speaker for women’s groups, Christian women’s retreats, book clubs and reading groups, schools, and conferences for writers and librarians. She holds professional memberships in American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Women Writing the West, Christian Author Network (CAN), and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

The Color of Hope by Kim Cash Tate, from Thomas Nelson

The Color of Hope

By Kim Cash Tate

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Book Description

Hope shines brightest when all seems lost.

Stephanie London led a life of comfort and ease in St. Louis before feeling inexplicably drawn back to her father’s roots in the tiny Southern town of Hope Springs. Charlotte Willoughby has lived there all her life and longs to make a new life somewhere else. Stephanie doesn’t know exactly what she’s doing there—or how to occupy her time. And Charlotte doesn’t understand why, despite her overbearing family and reminders of her failed engagement, she’s suddenly led to stay.

Despite its small-town charm, Hope Springs itself is at a crossroads. After a failed reconciliation attempt by two well-meaning pastors, the town is split along racial and cultural lines, with little hope for redemption.

When a terrible tragedy puts Hope Springs on the national radar, the entire town is tested, and both Stephanie and Charlotte feel their lives unraveling. In the midst of heartache, though, they’ll discover the true color of hope . . .

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Wow, another awesome story from author Kim Cash Tate! I love the characters because they are so well established and believable. I have enjoyed their journey, through their difficulties and struggles. And the way Ms. Tate weaves Bible truths and promises throughout her book. If you’ve never read one of Kim Tates books, you are missing a real blessing. I appreciate that she doesn’t takes sides with blacks or whites, instead she looks at everyone as the people God created, and looks on the inside not the outside. Ms. Tate does an amazing job of dealing with racial issues in her books. To me it is just so heartwarming, because I feel the same way she does, so that makes her books so much more special to me.

I really want to encourage you to pick up a copy of The Color of Hope, and be ready for special treat while reading.

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

About Kim

My life is marked by one big bright neon line down the center, showing a clear before and after. For twenty-seven years, I lived without Christ, and everything was colored by the things of this world. Growing up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, raised by divorced parents, black, female, college and law school-educated—all of it and more informed my opinions, decisions, attitudes, and actions.

All of it gave me a ground-level perspective.

But in my mid-20s, God, in His lovingkindness, began to draw me—by dragging me halfway across the country from the D.C. area to Madison, Wisconsin. Away from friends, family, and the diversity I’d always known, I was miserable. I cried out to God . . . the God I’d heard about in Catholic grade school. Didn’t they say He could perform miracles? Then surely He could get me out of there!

God did perform a miracle, but not in the way I sought. He didn’t get me out of Madison. He changed me forever in Madison. He saved me, raised me, and seated me in heavenly places. Suddenly I had an aerial view. The bright neon line was drawn, and my “after” would begin.

But I didn’t understand any of that at first. I had no idea God would change everything about my world. With broad brushstrokes, He began to paint over my perspective as I grew to know Him and His Word. We did eventually leave Madison. We moved to Dallas, then St. Louis, where we’ve lived for ten years. But as the seasons of our lives shift, that same “coloring” process continues.

I haven’t had a single day yet where something about my perspective didn’t need adjusting. As a wife of nineteen years and mom of two teens, I don’t have to look far to find a challenge, struggle, or worry. Add the other hats I wear and, well, you can probably identify.

But no matter the issue, when I color my perspective in Christ, things change. I find hope, peace, and joy. I find eternal wisdom. I find truth.

 

New Spirit-Filled Life Bible……New Living Translation….from Thomas Nelson

 

New Spirit-Filled Life Bible

New Living Translation

from Thomas Nelson

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Book Description

Find the Holy Spirit throughout the Bible. Dr. Jack Hayford, founding pastor of The Church on the Way, has led a team of anointed leaders to produce the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible. Even after more than twenty years, the Spirit-Filled Life Bible offers a fresh look at the Scriptures and the work of the Holy Spirit. This Bible addresses important issues of Spirit-filled living in the context of solid biblical scholarship.

Features include:

  • Kingdom Dynamic—41 themes throughout the Scripture that give us values as we advance the gospel throughout the world
  • Word Wealth—More than 550 key terms defined and brought to life pulling the language from the original Greek and Hebrew to everyday English
  • Truth-In-Action—Practical charts pulling out practical application from every book of the Bible
  • Detailed book introductions to each of the 66 books of the Bible
  • Verse-by-verse study notes

 

My Thoughts on this Bible

New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, New Living Translation

Booksneeze

 

The New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, New Living Translation is a really nice study Bible because the NLT is easier to read and understand what the verse is saying. The copy I have is Hardcover and the color is maroon and black on the cover and throughout the Bible. I think the color is very pleasing to the eye.

 

There are a number of study tools throughout this Bible to help you understand what you are reading. Throughout the Bible there are framed sections that help explain and teach an important truth in the chapter. I found the Word Wealth very interesting because it takes a word and breaks it down so you can understand the passage better. There are many more wonderful study tools to give you wisdom and understanding. I highly recommend this Bible for your Bible study tool.

 

I received this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson through their blogging program, BookSneeze, 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.

Litfuse Presents…..A Big Year for Lily—Plus Giveaway—by: Mary Ann Kinsinger & Suzanne Woods Fisher….From Revell

A Big Year for Lily

Print

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

A Big Year for Lily continues the journey of Lily Lapp and her family. I have really

enjoyed this series and seeing the Amish lifestyle through one of the younger generation.

Now in their new life in Pennsylvania, and Lily’s everyday life is an adventure, some good and some bad, but it all weaves together and gives readers a heartwarming adorable story to read.

I read a lot of Amish books, and I really enjoyed a different take on the Amish life from Lily. The characters of Lily and her girlfriends were special and I have grown to love them over the last three books. I think tweens and teens alike would really enjoy The Adventures of Lily Lapp Series by Susan Woods Fisher. All of these stories are fun, entertaining, and enjoyable, as well good, clean fun. My copies of the books are going to my 10 year-old niece. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book, and the first two in this series for a special young lady in your life.

I received this book from Litfuse 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.for Lily continues the journey of Lily Lapp and her family. I have really

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Suzanne Woods Fisher

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Letters, the Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of an Amish children’s series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Suzanne is a Christy Award finalist and a Carol Award finalist. She is the host of internet radio show Amish Wisdomand a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. For more information, please visit http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and connect with her on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

 

 

Suzanne Woods Fisher is celebrating the release of A Big Year for Lilybook three in the beloved Adventures of Lily Lapp series, with a giveaway extravaganza!

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One winner will receive:

Twelve winners will receive:

  • Special prizes specially picked by Lily (something new each day)! Suzanne will announce the winners on July 29 on her blog!

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 27th. All winners will be announced July 29th at Suzanne’s blog.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne’s blog on the 29th to see if you won one of the fun prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

CFBA Presents In Golden Splendor by Michael Reynolds

This week, the 

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance 

is introducing 

In Golden Splendor 

• B&H Books (July 15, 2013) 

by 

Michael ReynoldsABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michael K. Reynolds is the writer and producer of Emmy and Telly Award-winning film campaigns and has more than two decades of experience in fiction, journalism, copywriting, and documentary production. He owns Global Studio, a marketing agency, and is also an active leader in church and business, speaking in both ministry and corporate settings. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Reno, Nevada.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Irish immigrant Seamus Hanley is a lost soul, haunted by his past as a U.S. Army deserter and living alone in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in 1849. But after witnessing a deadly stage coach crash, he finds purpose in the scattered wreckage — a letter with a picture of a beautiful and captivating woman named Ashlyn living in San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush.
Moved by her written plea for help, he abandons all and sets out on an epic journey across the wild and picturesque American frontier. While being pursued by those who want to hang him, Seamus encounters fascinating characters including a young Pauite Indian who makes the ultimate sacrifice in helping Seamus to cross the snowy Yosemite Valley.
Battered but changed for the better, Seamus reaches San Francisco on Christmas Eve as the city burns in the tragic fire of 1849. But there is little time for rest, as an even greater, more harrowing adventure involving Ashlyn is about to begin.

If you would like to read the first chapter of In Golden Splendor, go HERE

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Loved this intriguing story my Michael Reynolds. Seamus Hanley gave up everything in search for a women who left a note at a deadly stage coach crash. This book has so much going on you will not want to put it down after you start reading. I loved  the setting, and the vivid details about the different places Seamus encountered during his journey. And there are so many twists and turns in that journey that keeps you guessing what is going to happen. I really want to encourage you to pick up a copy of this wonderfully written story for your enjoyment. You will surely be entertained with this one!

FIRST WildCard Tours presents Love Stays True by Martha Rogers

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:
Martha Rogers
and the book:
Love Stays True
Realms (May 7, 2013)
***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Martha Rogers’ novel Not on the Menu debuted on May 1, 2007, as a part of Sugar and Grits, a novella collection with DiAnn Mills, Janice Thompson, and Kathleen Y’Barbo. Her series Winds Across the Prairie debuted in 2010 with Becoming Lucy, Morning for Dove, Finding Becky, and Caroline’s Choice. Her other credits include stories in anthologies with Wayne Holmes, Karen Holmes, and Debra White Smith; several articles in Christian magazines; devotionals in six books of devotions; and eight Bible studies. Martha served as editor of a monthly newsletter for the writer’s organization Inspirational Writers Alive! for six years and is the state president. She is also the director for the annual Texas Christian Writer’s Conference and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, for whom she writes a weekly devotional.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Can Sallie and Manfred overcome the distance that the war has put between them and find love?

In April 1865, the day following the surrender at Appomattox, Manfred McDaniel Whiteman and his brother, Edward, are released in an exchange of prisoners. They are given a few provisions, and they begin a long journey to their home in Bayou Sara, Louisiana.

At home Sallie Dyer is waiting word of her beloved Manfred. Though just a young girl when Manfred left, Sallie has grown into a caring young woman who is determined to wait for her love—despite her father’s worries that she is wasting her life on someone who may never come home.

On their journey Manfred and his brother encounter storms and thieves and are even thrown in jail. Will he make the journey home before someone else claims Sallie’s hand?

Product Details:

List Price: $11.33

PublisherRealms (May 7, 2013)

LanguageEnglish

ISBN-101621362361

ISBN-13978-1621362364

Product Dimensions8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

I have read many of Martha Rogers’ books and I really enjoy them all. And Love Stays True is another wonderful historical story that was a joy to read. I live about an hour from Appomattox and been there many times, so after reading the back cover and saw Appomattox mentioned, I was excited to read this book.  The story of Sallie and Manfred was captivating in itself, but the fact that they were real people and part of Ms. Rogers historical family was intriguing. Sallie was like so many of us at times, she just couldn’t trust God to help her through difficult times. I always like that Ms. Rogers weaves Bible truths and principles throughout her stories, as she did with Sallie. Take these facts, and add all of the history involved in this story and you will find a historical fiction that will be on your mind for a long time.

I encourage you to give Love Stays True a try, you will be in for a treat! You will be taken back to a period in time that life was more difficult, but people are still the same and struggle with the same issues. Martha Rogers does a wonderful job of weaving it all together to give us a story to love and cherish.

I received this book from FIRST WildCard Tours 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.

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Point Lookout, Maryland, Monday, April 10, 1865Cold air chilled his arms, and a sharp object poked at his cheek. Manfred Whiteman reached down to pull a ragged blanket up over his arms and brushed away the straw scratching his face. A few moments later a sudden brightness aroused him again. His lids opened to a slit. Slivers of sunlight peeked through the tiny windows and dispersed the shadows of the night.

He shut his eyes against the sun’s rays, but sleep would not return. He lay still in the quiet of the new morning and sensed a difference in the air that settled over him like a cloak of peace. Raising his head, he glanced around the room. The same familiar stench of wounds, dirty hay, unwashed bodies, and death permeated the air, but in it all the difference vibrated. Something had happened, he could sense it, but nothing unusual appeared in the confines of the prison barracks.

After being captured in the Battle of Nashville in December, he, his younger brother Edwin, and other prisoners had made the long march from Nashville to Louisville, Kentucky. From there they were transferred to Camp Chase in Ohio. Then, in the first week of February, they had been loaded onto trains like cattle and sent to Point Lookout, Maryland, a prison housing nearly fifty thousand men. Upon their arrival the captured soldiers had been stripped of everything personal, and as the days progressed, hundreds of men died. Manfred mourned the loss of friends but thanked the Lord every day for sparing his life, as well as the life of his brother.

Edwin lay sleeping on the pallet next to him, curled on his side as usual. Others still slept, their snores filling the air with sound. No use in trying to sleep now. Manfred’s stomach rumbled with hunger, but most likely the only breakfast would be hard tack or biscuit.

Several weeks ago an officer with the rank of general had visited. For some reason the general had asked Manfred about the one thing he would most like to have. When Manfred answered he wanted his Bible, the man had been somewhat taken aback. Still, he’d managed to find the Bible and Manfred’s journal, which he returned.

Manfred now pulled that worn journal from beneath his dirty mat. The almost ragged book, his lifeline for the past three years, fell open. Manfred wrote.

April 10, 1865

Three more died the night before last. The nearly full moon shining through the windows gave me light to see. I took one man’s shoes and left him with my holey wornout ones. He won’t need shoes, but I will. Took his socks and another man’s for me and Edwin. God, I never dreamed I would do such a thing, but we are desperately in need. Please forgive me. Help Edwin and me to get out of here and get home safely. I so desperately need to see Sallie and my family.

The scrape of wood against wood echoed in the room. Union soldiers, making their usual morning inspection, checked for any who may have died during the night. Manfred shoved the journal under his mat just before the door thudded against the wall and the guards’ shoes clomped on the wooden floors. He turned on his side once again to feign sleep. The blunt toe of the sergeant’s boot kicked Manfred’s hip and sent a sharp pain through his leg. He grunted in response and raised his head to let the sergeant know he was alive. When the man passed, Manfred sat up on his mat and stretched his legs out in front of him to relieve the usual early-morning stiffness.

Others awakened, and their groans filled the air as they rose to sit on their bedding. Manfred waited for breakfast, not knowing if he would even get rations this morning. The guards exited carrying the bodies of the souls who didn’t make it through the night.

Manfred voiced a silent prayer for the boys and their families who would receive the news of the death of their loved ones. He bit his lip. He and Edwin had to survive. They had too much life to live, but then so had the ones just taken away. What if God chose not to spare him or Edwin? No, he wouldn’t think of that. Instead he filled his mind with Scripture verses memorized as a child. God’s Word stored in his heart gave him the comfort and hope he needed to survive each day.

A little later the guards returned and ordered them to the part of the cookhouse where they would eat what the cooks passed off as food. Manfred accepted the cup of what the men called “slop water” coffee and a hard biscuit that would have to suffice until they brought a lunch of greasy water soup. Weeks ago the putrid smells of death, the filth in the camp, and the lousy food sickened him, but now he barely noticed.

Manfred managed to eat half his biscuit and drink a few sips from his cup then leaned toward the man on his right. “Here, James. You take the rest of mine. You need it more than I do.”

The man clasped a trembling hand around the cup and reached for the biscuit with his other. A few drops sloshed over the rim. “Thank you, Manfred. You’re a true friend.” He stuffed the biscuit into his mouth and lifted the cup to his lips to gulp down the last dregs of liquid. With a nod to Manfred, the young soldier returned the cup.

After they were sent back to their quarters, Manfred breathed deeply and almost choked on the rancid air. What he wouldn’t give for a bath, shave, and haircut. A good meal wouldn’t hurt anything either. His nose had mostly numbed itself to his body odor, but dirt and scum became more visible every day. When he had tried to wash his shirt, the brackish water left stains he couldn’t remove.

When would this nightmare come to an end? A question unanswered for these four long months of marching, fighting, and incarceration. Too many lay ill and dying. The end had to come soon.

He glanced once again at his brother, who cushioned his head on his crossed palms with his eyes closed. Manfred reached over to touch the boy’s shoulder. “You all right, little brother?”

Edwin didn’t open his eyes. “Yeah, I’m okay. Just hungry. I dreamed of home last night and Bessie’s cooking. When I close my eyes, I can see her and Momma in the kitchen, Bessie up to her elbows in flour making biscuits and Momma stirring the fire and making grits.”

“Shh, brother, you’re making me hungry too.” Manfred pulled what was left of his jacket tighter about his thin body. “We’ve been captive four months, but it seems a lifetime. Home, our parents, and Sallie may as well be a million miles away.”

Edwin sat up and pounded his fist into the straw. “Yeah, and sometimes I think we’ll never get back there.” He stretched his legs out on his mat, hugging what passed for a pillow. “I sure pray I’ll get to see Peggy again soon.”

Manfred positioned his body to sit squarely on his mat. “Soon as we’re home, I’m asking Mr. Dyer for Sallie’s hand in marriage, that is, if she still wants me. No telling who she’s met since I’ve been gone.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you, big brother. Sallie loves you.” He smacked his fist into the open palm of his other hand. “I just want to be out of here and out there where the action is, fighting with Lee. They told us the Yanks are fighting Lee in Virginny, and that’s just across the river. Lee has to beat them Yanks. We’ll be hearing about it any day now. I just know it.”

Manfred simply nodded. He didn’t agree with his brother, but Edwin cared more about the war than Manfred. At this point Manfred had resigned himself to waiting out the war.

If only he could somehow communicate with Sallie and let her know he was alive. Almost a year had passed since he’d seen her last summer and six months since he’d been able to send a letter to her or received one. From his Bible he removed her last letter and opened it, being careful to handle it as little as possible. Already small holes appeared in the creases from his folding it so often. She had written from her grandfather’s home last fall before he’d gone to Nashville. He prayed her family was safe there in St. Francisville, Louisiana. He’d been at Port Hudson, Louisiana, two years ago and would have been involved in that skirmish in May, but he’d been among the ones in the brigade deployed elsewhere in March. Major General had been sure he had enough soldiers to turn back the siege, but that had not been the case, and Port Hudson fell into Union hands in early July.

That battle took place too close to his hometown of Bayou Sara and had even damaged Grace Church up at St. Francisville. He’d seen the damage on his furlough home. His two older brothers had been captured at Port Hudson, and Manfred had no idea where they were now.

St. Francisville may have been spared, but it had been a close call for Sallie’s grandparents and the other citizens of the small town. He held the worn paper to his lips. With God’s help he’d get home and claim Sallie for his bride.

The hair on the back of his neck bristled, and goose bumps popped out on his arms. The foreboding feeling from earlier wouldn’t leave and swept over him now even stronger, as though he sat on the edge of something powerful looming in the day ahead.

St. Francisville, Louisiana

Sallie Dyer sat at her dressing table running a brush through her mass of tangled curls. Tears blurred her image in the mirror, and she grimaced as the bristles caught in another snarl. She dropped the brush onto her lap.

“Lettie, what am I to do? Not knowing about Manfred is too painful to bear.” She scrunched a handful of auburn hair against her head. “Nothing’s going right. I can’t even brush my hair. I hate the war and . . . ” Her voice trailed off, and she dropped her gaze to the floor then turned toward Lettie. “What am I to do?”

The housemaid clucked her tongue and fluffed the pillows on the walnut four-poster bed. “I don’t know, Miss Sallie. I hate the war too. Too many are dyin’ out there.”

Lettie’s skirt swished as she crossed the room. She picked up the discarded brush and began smoothing out the mass of curls. “You know, Miss Sallie, you have the prettiest red hair in all of Louisiana.”

Sallie lifted her tear-stained eyes and found Lettie’s reflection in the mirror staring back.

“You got to have courage. God is takin’ care of Mr. Manfred.”

“Oh, but the waiting is so hard.” Sallie swiped her fingers across her wet cheeks. In a letter last fall Manfred had written that he was headed to Nashville. Stories coming back from that area spoke of the volumes of soldiers killed at Franklin and then up at Nashville in December. Reports said the surviving young men had been taken prisoner, but no one knew to which prison.

“Lettie, do you truly believe Manfred will come home?”

“Yes, Miss Sallie, I do, and when he comes, you’ll be ready and waitin’.” In a few minutes Lettie’s skilled fingers had tamed the unruly ringlets and secured them with a silver clasp at Sallie’s neck.

“Thank you. I’m all out of sorts this morning. Here it is April, and I haven’t heard a word since November.” Her fears tumbled back into her mind. “Too many have died, and I don’t want Manfred . . . ” She couldn’t utter the words. Saying them might make them true.

She pressed her lips together and pushed a few stray tendrils from her face. She had to get her fears under control. She once believed God would give her the peace He promised, but no matter how hard she prayed, no answers came. God had abandoned her on that awful day last week when she had killed that young man. He hadn’t protected her that afternoon, and now her prayers fell on deaf ears.

Lettie secured the wayward strands with the others under the clips. “Now, Miss Sallie, I done told you we got to believe they’re alive and comin’ home. We can’t do nothin’ about the war. Your mama and grandma need you to be strong. When Mr. Manfred gets home, he’ll be courtin’ you right proper like. You’ll see.”

Lettie must be more concerned than she let on. She only slipped back to the dialect of her family when worried. Sallie turned and wrapped her arms around the dark-skinned girl’s thin waist. “I want to believe you, I really do, but it’s almost more than I can bear.”

After blinking her eyes to clear them, Sallie stared into the dark brown eyes of her friend. Lettie had been with Sallie since childhood, and they shared so much life with each other. If it had not been for Lettie and her mother, Sallie might never have regained her sanity after the incident in Mississippi that brought them all to St. Francisville.

A chill passed through her body at the memory of the day they had fled from their home. Sallie’s last act of defense would be one that would stay with her the rest of her life. Even now she could see the young soldier with the red oozing from his chest. It was the first time she’d ever seen a dead person, and now, only a week later, the image would not leave her, fresh as the day it happened.

The young servant’s brow furrowed, and she pursed her lips. “Are you thinking about what happened back home?”

How well Lettie knew her. Sallie sniffed and blinked away the tears.

“Then you best stop it. What you did had to be done, and we both know it. You saved all our lives.”

It didn’t matter that Lettie spoke true. The images of war could not be erased from Sallie’s mind. “I just want this war to end.”

“Well now, I want that too, but it’s all in God’s hands. But think how Mr. Charles and Mr. Henry got back from the war only a few weeks ago. Theo’s back home too, so you have to believe the other two will come home before long.”

True. Of the five Whiteman brothers, only Edwin and Manfred remained unaccounted for. Charles and Henry Whiteman had been taken prisoner at Port Hudson but exchanged and sent home. Even Theo now sat safe at home after his last escapade revealed him too young to be in the army. She must have hope for Manfred and Edwin.

Lettie lifted the edge of her white apron and patted Sallie’s cheeks dry. “There now, Miss Sallie. It’s all goin’ to be fine. It’ll all be over soon. I just know it. I feel it in my bones. Besides, Easter’s a comin’, and that means a new season, new life, and new hope.”

“You and Mama, the eternal optimists, but I love you for it. You always know how to make me feel better.” Sallie breathed deeply and reached for a green ribbon to secure in her hair.

She would get through this day just as she had all the ones since Manfred left. Then the memory of what she overheard between her father and mother last night drained away her determination. She peered up at Lettie. “I need to tell you something.” Sallie squeezed the hand now clasped in hers.

At Lettie’s solemn nod Sallie took a deep breath and revealed her worry. “Last night I couldn’t sleep, and I heard Papa come in from his trip back to Woodville. I sneaked downstairs to see him, but he was in the parlor talking to Grandpa.”

Sallie’s lips trembled. “Our house in Woodville is ruined. The Yanks ransacked the place and took all kinds of things from our home. Papa said they’d left it in shambles. Mama’s beautiful things. Oh, Lettie, it’s just terrible.” After Sallie and the other women had fled the land, Papa and her brothers stayed behind until the next day, then joined the rest of the family in St. Francisville. He’d gone back to Woodville a few days ago, a twenty-five mile journey, when he heard the Yankees had moved on north.

Lettie pressed her hand against her cheek, her eyes open wide. “Oh, I’m sorry. Your poor mama. It’s so sad. No wonder you’re feelin’ blue this morning.”

Sallie squeezed Lettie’s hand again and for the next few moments sat in silence. Lettie understood her better than anyone else. The servant girl knew her deepest secrets and could be trusted to keep them.

“You are such a comfort. I don’t know how I’d get through these days without you to share my worries.”

Lettie patted Sallie’s hand. “We’ve been together too long and been through too much for me not to be with you.” She stepped back. “Come, now, let’s get you dressed. Your family will be waitin’, and you know your grandpa doesn’t like cold eggs or tardy children, even if you are his favorite.”

That statement brought a bit of smile. She did love Grandpa Woodruff, but he could be gruff when the occasion arose. She hastened over to a bench by the bed and picked up a green and white print cotton dress. Lettie grasped it and slipped her arms up inside it, and Sallie held up her arms.

“I believe Mama invited the Whiteman family for supper one night soon. I’m anxious to speak to Manfred’s mother. Perhaps she’s heard from him.”

The dress billowed about her as Lettie placed it over Sallie’s shoulders. She pulled the bodice up over arms and let the full skirt fall down over her hips and the myriad number of petticoats. At least Mama and Grandma didn’t require her to wear a corset or hoops with her day dresses. Lettie’s nimble fingers went to work on the buttons lined up the back.

“I think you lost more weight, missy. This dress is looser than it was last week. You sure don’t even need your corset. You have to eat more.” She peered over Sallie’s shoulder into the mirror and shook her head.

Looking over her shoulder, Sallie smoothed the dress around her waist. She gathered the wrinkles from the excess fabric. “It is big, but I’m just not hungry.” At Lettie’s stern gaze she added, “But I’ll try to eat more.”

Lettie sniffed the air. “If that aroma coming from the kitchen is what I think it is, my mammy’s ham and eggs should do the trick. She’ll have biscuits and gravy too.”

Sallie nodded. “I promise I’ll eat some of everything this morning.” A promise she would try to keep, especially with her grandmother’s and Flora’s cooking being so delicious.

The two girls locked arms and walked down the stairs together. At the bottom Lettie headed for the kitchen to help her mother. Sallie forced a smile to her lips and went into the dining room to join her family for breakfast.

CFBA Presents …Grounded by Neta and Dave Jackson

This week, the 

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance 

is introducing 

Grounded 

Worthy Publishing (May 7, 2013) 

by 

Neta and Dave JacksonABOUT THE AUTHORS:

As a husband/wife writing team, we are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together we are the authors or coauthors of over 120 books. (You can see our Publication Record by clicking HERE.) In addition to writing several books about Christian community, we have been privileged to coauthor numerous books with expert resource people on a variety of topics from racial reconciliation to medical ethics to ministry to kids in gangs.

But over the years the we have especially enjoyed writing for children and young people! This includes our award-winning TRAILBLAZER series, historical fiction about great Christian heroes and heroines for young people ages 8-12, and the four-volume HERO TALES: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Great Christians, and the companion book, Heroes in Black History.

Somewhere along the way, our own children grew up! Son Julian is Director of Experience Design for the Alder Planetarium in Chicago where he “provides the experience of exploring space” for visitors. He has two sons, Liam Isaac and Elijah David. Daughter Rachel graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and after working in the field of rape-crisis prevention went on to earn a Masters Degree in counseling from the University of Illinois. She is now a counselor at “Uni High School” in Champaign, Illinois. She is the loving mother of Havah Noelle (our first grandchild!) and Noah Zion, our youngest grandchild. The Jackson family also includes a Cambodian foster daughter, Samen Sang, who has four children.

We live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years we were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. We are now members of a multi-racial congregation in the Chicago area.

ABOUT THE BOOK

…But Hope May Be Just Across the Street

Grace Meredith is a beloved contemporary Christian recording artist whose career–and personal life–hits unexpected turbulence. She feels grounded–in more ways than one.
Grace s fiancé, bothered by her outspoken stance on purity and her near-constant travel, has broken off their relationship. Exhausted and unable to continue her current concert schedule, Grace returns home to Chicago, where she is soon stranded in a major snowstorm. Facing new questions about her future and her faith, Grace finds herself connecting for the first time with the residents of her neighborhood. What she discovers in these unexpected relationships could change everything.

Welcome to the Neighborhood
The first in the Windy City Neighbors series, Grounded is an uplifting, contemporary story about ordinary people wrestling with the spiritual and practical issues of real life. The series employs the innovative storytelling technique of parallel novels, each with its own drama and story arc, but whose characters lives become intertwined and affect one another. Grounded welcomes you to Beecham Street–a typical, isolated American neighborhood that might just be a place of hope.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Grounded, go Here.

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

A wonderful and encouraging story about people who struggle with everyday life issues. I highly recommend this inspirational book for anyone to read for enjoyment and for help with your own disappointments and difficulties. Authors Neta and Dave Jackson are gifted and talented writes that will bless your hearts!

Rosemary’s Cottage by Colleen Coble….from Thomas Nelson

 

Rosemary’s Cottage

by Colleen Coble

 

*****

Rosemary Cottage

ABOUT THE BOOK

Amy came to Rosemary Cottage to grieve, to heal, maybe even find love. But there’s a deadly undertow of secrets around Hope Island….

The charming Rosemary Cottage on the beach offers Amy Lange respite she needs to mourn her brother, Ben. She’s even thinking of moving her midwife practice to the Outer Banks community. It’s always been a refuge for her and her family. She also wants to investigate Ben’s disappearance at sea. Everyone blames a surfing accident, but Amy has reason to wonder.

Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland has lost a sibling too. His sister, Gina, was run down by a boat, leaving him to raise her infant daughter. If anyone knew who little Raine’s father was, Curtis could lose his beloved niece. Yet he can’t help being drawn to Hope Beach’s new midwife, Amy. He even agrees to help her investigate what happened to both Ben and Gina.

Can two grieving people with secrets find healing on beautiful Hope Island? Or will their quest for truth set them at odds with each other…and with those who will go to any length to keep hidden things hidden?

Purchase a copy here.

Learn more at Colleen’s website.

*****

COLLEEN COBLE

CCoble

Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

What Ithink about this book

Rosemary’s Cottage is a nice cozy and enjoyable book to read. The setting is on Hope Beach, and the characters all know their way around a beach. Curtis and Amy are trying to figure out who murdered their siblings, but the authorities say both the death of Curtis’ sister and Amy’s brother were accidents. But Amy doesn’t take that as final, so she does her own investigating. Can she prove that these two lives were brutally taken?

There is a lot going on in this story, but I really like the way the author weaves it all together and ends up with a very unique ending. You are sure in for a real treat when you read Colleen Coble’s newest novel, Rosemary’s Cottage. She will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat until you read the last word!

I received this book from Litfuse 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.

Small Town Girl by Ann H. Gabhart….From Revell

Small Town Girl

By Ann H. Gabhart

9780800721848

***********

978-0-8007-2184-8
$14.99
Paperback
400 pages
Pub Date: July 2013

Bestselling author Ann Gabhart weaves a timeless story of love, sacrifice and longing that will grip the heart and stir the spirit. In her gentle and textured style, Gabhart takes the reader back to a time when days moved slowly and life was simple. A world that was about to change forever.
In the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner. The town waits in anticipation as if holding its breath. But for Kate Merritt, it seems life is letting out a prolonged sigh. As Kate watches her sister marry the man Kate has loved since she was fifteen, her heart is silently breaking. And even the attentions of handsome best man Jay Tanner can’t draw her interest.
Then suddenly, Pearl Harbor changes everything. Kate’s friends are rushing to get married before the boys go off to war. The newspapers talk of women making airplanes and bombs. Everyone in town begins rolling bandages, planting victory gardens and collecting scrap metal. Kate finds herself drawn to Jay in surprising ways, and when he enlists she can hardly breathe worrying about him getting killed. Could she truly be in love with him? And if she is, will she ever see him again?
Fans of Angel Sister will be thrilled to see Kate Merritt all grown up. New readers will find that Gabhart tells a beautiful story that will touch their hearts and win their loyalty.

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

I really loved everything about this book! The characters were realistic and believable, the setting was an interesting era to read about, and I enjoyed the slower pace living conditions of the small town. Jay Tanner came from a difficult past, so thought he had no place in anyone’s family, but was really wishing he could be a part of Kate’s close family. But was that really to be? Kate and Tanner didn’t have a chance because of Mike, because Mike didn’t think Jay was good enough for Kate, but yet knowing Kate was in love with him, he fell in love and married Kate’s sister. And then there is Kate’s little sister who immediately fell in love with Jay, and Jay adored Birdie, as he called her, as well. Mike was the local church minister, and preached to Jay all of the time, but never reaching him. So what else is there to do for Jay except join the military and strike out on his own again? There is a lot going on in this story, so it will definitely keep your attention!

Ann Gabhart does a wonderful job of weaving everyone’s situations together and working them out to make a wonderful read for all of her fans. And if you haven’t read any of Ms. Gabhart’s books, you are missing out! I encourage you to pick up a copy of Small Town Girl today! You will be pleased with your choice!

“Available July 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

6306Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several novels, including Angel Sister, Words Spoken True, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed and The Gifted. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Find out more at http://www.annhgabhart.com.

Praise for Small Town Girl and Ann Gabhart
“A classic. Ann Gabhart pens an enduring tale from the very first line of Small Town Girl. Rosey Corner is a world you won’t want to leave, rife with spiritual truths, rich romance, and memorable characters that linger long after!” – Laura Frantz, author of The Colonel’s Lady and Love’s Reckoning
“The characters of Ann Gabhart’s Small Town Girl pulled me into their lives and did not let me go. This love story, painted upon the canvas of a small Kentucky town struggling with WWII, is one of the most riveting historical romances I’ve ever read.” – Serena B. Miller, winner of the 2012 RITA award for Inspirational Romance.

CFBA Presents Widow of Gettsburg…by Jocelyn Green

This week, the 

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance 

is introducing 

Widow of Gettysburg 

River North; New Edition edition (April 12, 2013) 

by 

Jocelyn GreenABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jocelyn Green is a child of God, wife and mom living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is also an award-winning journalist, author, editor and blogger. Though she has written nonfiction on a variety of topics, her name is most widely recognized for her ministry to military wives: Faith Deployed. Her passion for the military family was fueled by her own experience as a military wife, and by the dozens of interviews she has conducted with members of the military for her articles and books, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and its sequel, Faith Deployed…Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. She is also co-author of both Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (forthcoming, May 2012). Her Faith Deployed Web site and Facebook page continue to provide ongoing support, encouragement and resources for military wives worldwide.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When a horrific battle rips through Gettysburg, the farm of Union widow Liberty Holloway is disfigured into a Confederate field hospital, bringing her face to face with unspeakable suffering–and a Rebel scout who awakens her long dormant heart.

While Liberty’s future crumbles as her home is destroyed, the past comes rushing back to Bella, a former slave and Liberty’s hired help, when she finds herself surrounded by Southern soldiers, one of whom knows the secret that would place Liberty in danger if revealed.

In the wake of shattered homes and bodies, Liberty and Bella struggle to pick up the pieces the battle has left behind. Will Liberty be defined by the tragedy in her life, or will she find a way to triumph over it?
Widow of Gettysburg is inspired by first-person accounts from women who lived in Gettysburg during the battle and its aftermath.

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

PUYB Presents…..Pretty is as Pretty Does…..By Debby Mayne

Pretty Is As Pretty Does banner

 

 

Pretty Is As Pretty DoesABOUT PRETTY IS AS PRETTY DOES

Priscilla Slater goes to her 10-year high school reunion as a successful business woman. Even though she got rid of her mousy brown hair, swapped out her discount store wardrobe for designer clothes, and now has perfectly straight teeth, she can’t get past feeling like the ugly duckling. Her parents’ disapproval for her choice of careers—running a chain of hair salons—deepens her self-doubt. She experiences self-discovery and learns that things aren’t always as they seem.

During the reunion, one woman passes out after starving herself for the event. The class beauty queen appears to have more self-confidence than ever until her ex shows up with his new wife. The reunion organizer has taken her responsibilities to a whole new level that makes the Marines look like Boy Scouts, while her husband drinks too much and makes a fool of himself. The man she always dreamed about being with finally gives her some attention, but when she finds out more about him, she realizes he’s not worth her time. These realizations boost her self-confidence, but now she has to deal with her best friend Tim’s new feelings for her.

 

 Purchase your copy:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | ABINGDON PRESS

 

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

 Debby Mayne brings us the stories of three women as they prepare for their tenth high school class reunion. Each woman has her own fears about the reunion and all it will entail. Anyone who has ever attended or decided not to attend such a reunion will relate to Trudy, Priscilla, and Laura. One woman lived up the class vote as “Most Likely to Succeed,” but not in the way her classmates may have predicted. The other two are frantic about what others will think. Laura hides her anxiety by controlling everything that will happen at the reunion, too afraid to let go and let others help. Trudy is ashamed of her divorce, and is determined to live up to her image as Homecoming Queen and Miss Piney Point even if it kills her, and it almost does. Through

Join Trudy, Priscilla and Laura as they get ready for their the year high school reunion. Each of these ladies are bringing their own past, heartaches, fears, and everything else going on with them to this reunion. And each is certainly worried about what others will think of them. Laura seems to think Priscilla has a perfect life, but can’t get along with anyone who wants to help plan the reunion, so she ends up doing most of it herself. What is really her problem anyway? And Priscilla runs a small chain of beauty salons but she’s gained weight and thinks shes too fat. Yeah right, fat in a size 8?? And Trudy Homecoming Queen and Miss Piney Point Trudy is now divorced, so what will people think of her situation?

Pretty is as Pretty Does is an awesome read from Debby Mayne. The characters are witty and believable, doing just what ladies do when facing long time friends, or in this case classmates. I really liked Tim and was really wanting Priscilla to make a go of it with him. I couldn’t put this book down once I started reading it. It is fun and enjoyable and I laughed a lot and had tears at times as well. If you are looking for a light, refreshing and fantastic read, I really want to encourage you to pick up a copy of Debby Mayne’s Pretty is as Pretty Does. You are certainly in for a read treat with this book!

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

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

 

Debby Mayne

ABOUT DEBBY MAYNE

Debby Mayne has published more than 30 books and novellas, 400 print short stories and articles, more than 1,000 web articles, and a slew of devotions for women. She has also worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for HSN, a creative writing instructor for Long Ridge Writers Group, and a copy editor and proofreader for several book publishers. For the past eight years, she has judged the Writers Digest Annual Competition, Short-Short Contest, and Self-Published Book Competition. Three of Debby’s books have been top ten favorites by the Heartsong Presents book club. Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida received 4-1/2 stars fromRomantic Times Magazine, and was named a Top Pick for the month of July 2009.

Her latest book is Pretty Is As Pretty Does.

You can visit Debby Mayne’s website at www.debbymayne.com.

 

Connect & Socialize with Debby!

TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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