FIRST Wild Card Tours presents….Ten Million Reasons by Heather Gray

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:
Heather Gray
and the book:
Ten Million Reasons
Astraea Press (July 25, 2013)
***Special thanks to Opal Campbell for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing. Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell. Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Money talks, and the way she spends hers tells him all he needs to know…

Richard needs to find a woman he can trust, and he needs to find her fast. He doesn’t have time to waste on getting to know people, which means dating and interviewing are out of the question. So how can he get past that initial mask of good behavior to learn what people are really like? Easy! Give them ten million dollars and watch to see what they do with it.

Genevieve is a free-lance journalist who talks to herself, constantly forgets to put appointments on her calendar and can’t go anywhere without being asked to take a survey. Why on earth is Richard interested in her? She doesn’t know it yet, but he has ten million reasons…

Product Details:

List Price: $1.99

Ebook: 123 pages

Publisher: Astraea Press (July 25, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: B00E5TLMV8

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Chapter OneHow do I always let myself get sucked into these things? Genevieve Mason sat at her own little private booth in a large room with at least a dozen other people. The clock on the wall ticked loudly, reminding her this was not where she was supposed to be. For some reason she’d never understood, Genevieve had difficulty saying no to surveyors. She invariably felt sorry for the ones who had to stand out in the walkway of the mall trying to entice complete strangers into their offices to take the silly things. While she didn’t generally mind completing a survey, she simply didn’t have the time today. Yet, here I am. Taking a survey. When will I ever get a backbone about these things?A tall, model-thin woman, with straight blonde hair and professionally done eyebrows, clapped her hands twice. “Alright ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming in today. I am going to explain what you need to do, and then I will answer any questions you have. The project should only take about an hour of your time, and you will each be compensated with a twenty-five dollar mall gift card. You can use your gift card at any retailer, including the food court.” The woman, who would doubtless look less severe if her eyebrows weren’t quite so brutally perfect, paused briefly before launching into what sounded like a well-rehearsed speech by a drill sergeant.

I wonder what she pays to get her eyebrows done. Surveying must be more lucrative than I thought.

“Today you will receive a windfall.” People gasped in surprise, but Genevieve wasn’t biting. She’d been through too many of these to get pulled in with a line like that. “You will be given a hypothetical amount of ten million dollars,” the woman continued, speaking over the disappointed sighs of some of Genevieve’s comrades-in-arms, “to spend any way you wish.”

Tapping her foot loudly, the woman who Genevieve had begun to think of as Model-Talker stared around the room until everyone was quiet. Then, continuing her speech, she said, “There is a computer screen in front of you with two columns. In the left column, you will give a description of how you are spending your money. On the right of the screen, you will enter the amount you wish to spend. You will see a tally at the bottom. The tally is keeping track of how much you have spent. When you get to ten million dollars, stop and raise your hand. I, or one of my assistants, will submit your entry and see that you receive your gift card.”

Arms raised all around the room as people began to have questions. Model-Talker held up her hand to halt people’s inquiries and added, “Let me give you a couple of guidelines first. Then I will answer your questions. Your survey will be assigned a coded number. When you are done, you will complete a form with your name and contact information in case we have questions at a later date. Your name will never appear on your survey. The information you enter will not be shared with any other companies and will only be reviewed by one other individual in addition to myself.”

Genevieve wondered how efficiently their survey data could be processed if only two people would see it. Reining her wandering thoughts in, she listened to the rest of Model-Talker’s speech. Talk faster! Some of us need to get somewhere.

“The items you wish to spend your money on have to be items you can purchase in a single day. You cannot spend any of your pretend money on buying a house, for example, because the paperwork and closing for a house take several days. While you can invest money in the stock market or a CD, you cannot open a trust fund because the legalities of opening a trust generally take more than a single day.” Three quarters of the hands in the room went down.

“Any questions?” Model-Talker’s chilly, businesslike voice and expression shamed the remaining people into putting their hands down.

For crying out loud, lady! It’s not as if you’re going to get the plague by answering a question. Genevieve stifled her laughter. She didn’t want to cause Model-Talker’s gaze to zero in on her.

“Alright, everyone. You have one hour to complete the exercise. Begin.”

Genevieve began typing away on her keyboard, entering totals, as she thought about all the ways she could spend the money. Ten million dollars… She wasn’t ever likely to have that kind of money, but it was sort of fun to think about.

Within five minutes, a short woman, muscular and dressed like a construction worker, raised her hand to indicate she was done. Genevieve wouldn’t have noticed except that Model-Talker tsked as the woman left the room. Once some of the other people saw how quickly it could be done, they began finishing hastily, too.

They’re probably dumping it all into a savings account or the stock market. Why wasn’t I born with that kind of cavalier attitude?

She, however, wanted to give careful thought to her expenditures. In order for the results to have any value, she needed to answer honestly. Although, at the rate the other people are leaving, I’d say the data compiled from today will be good and skewed.

Despite her best efforts to ignore it, the repeated ker-thunk of the door opening and closing demanded her attention. They obviously haven’t heard the honesty-in-testing lecture enough times. As she watched the next couple of people leave the room, something struck her.

They’re all women. There’s not a single man in this room. Maybe it’s a study into the female psyche. She was sure she’d heard Model-Talker say “ladies and gentlemen.”

Thinking about the lunch date waiting for her, Genevieve swiftly typed in her remaining entries and watched the tally at the bottom of the screen climb. When she got to nine million five hundred thousand dollars she sighed. Who’d have thought I’d have so much trouble spending money? What can I lavish half a million dollars on? Finally struck with inspiration, she entered her final imaginary expenditure and raised her hand. She completed the paperwork and left the room, casting one last pitying glance at the three remaining women who continued to studiously peck at their keyboards.

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Genevieve sprinted the last twenty yards or so to the food court hoping her date hadn’t left. She clipped a stranger in the side with her shoulder, yelled an, “I’m sorry!” over her shoulder, and continued on her path. Zipping around the corner, she found herself confronted with an overcrowded food court, people spilling over everywhere she looked. How am I supposed to find him?

“Aunt Gen, over here!” Genevieve turned her head this way and that until she saw her nephew waving his hands wildly over his head in a far back corner of the food court.

Relief coursed through her. Thank goodness! She’d been worried he would think she’d stood him up. Poor guy had enough trouble in his life. He didn’t need another reason to be disappointed in those he loved.

“I’m late, aren’t I?” she asked, the sound of her words shaped by her winded voice.

Max laughed at her. “Aunt Gen, you’re always late.”

“Will you ever forgive me?”

“Buy me lunch, and I’ll think about it,” her fifteen-year-old nephew said with a twinkle in his golden brown eyes.

Sliding two twenties across the table to her nephew, Genevieve said, “You know what I like. Get whatever you want. You deserve it for braving the masses to order.” As her nephew jumped over the handrail behind their table and began maneuvering his way in and out of the different lines, Genevieve sat back and closed her eyes.

Thank you for keeping Max here until I arrived. It was a small but heartfelt prayer.

She opened her eyes, looked around at the crowd and caught a glimpse of herself in the large mirror along the back wall of the food court. Why do they insist on using mirrors to make it look like there’s more seating – and more people – than there actually is? She didn’t care to spy on other people while they ate and instead studied her own reflection. Genevieve scrutinized her large green eyes and fair complexion. She had curly hair that her family insisted on calling red even though she always wrote auburn whenever she had to enter the color on a form. It was shoulder-length but tended to stand out away from her head rather than lying down gracefully. I certainly don’t need any of that shampoo advertised to add body! In a family of Irish-Italian descent, she was the only one that actually looked Irish. Everyone else had been born with the requisite bronzed skin and black hair of their Italian heritage.

She sought out Max in the mirror. He stood in line waiting for the slow progression of customers to move him forward so he could place his order. Max looked more like her father, his grandfather, with each passing year. He’s too handsome for his own good. It won’t be long before he realizes how much the girls notice him. Max spent much of his time seeking approval from his family; enough in fact, that he hadn’t yet detected the way the fairer sex was always trying to get his attention. If he has seen it, he certainly hasn’t let on about it.

Genevieve’s sister had divorced three years ago. Max had been twelve at the time, his sister Jenny fourteen. Jenny had fared better in the divorce. She saw her dad a couple times each month, and he doted on her, buying her all the pretty things she wanted. That was his way of making up for his absence, and she was okay with that. Sadly, Max had been much more wounded. He hadn’t wanted the latest toys and gadgets. Instead, he had wanted time, and his dad hadn’t been willing — or perhaps able – to supply it. At an age when he was growing from boy to man, he’d essentially lost the one person who was supposed to be most qualified to help him understand what it meant to be a man.

Maureen, Genevieve’s sister, had done her best, but the divorce had forced her to change jobs in order to support her kids. Instead of working part-time and being home in the afternoons, she now worked fifty or more hours each week and hardly saw her kids at all. Genevieve had always been close to her nieces and nephews, but after the divorce, she went out of her way to try to spend time with Jenny and Max. She and Max did lunch at the mall every other week. She and Jenny got mani-pedis together. It seemed like the least she could do. It sure beats spending good money to get my eyebrows tortured when I can do that at home free of charge!

“You know, Aunt Gen, you’ve never once been on time to lunch.” Max was still laughing at her as he set the food down.

Snagging one of his egg rolls and putting it on her own plate, she said, “What makes you say such a mean thing to your dear old auntie?”

“You were worried I’d think you’d blown me off. I could see it on your face when you came round the corner.”

Genevieve shrugged. “Okay, so I was worried. Sue me.”

“You’ve never stood me up. Until you do, I’ll always believe you’re coming.”

Warmth moved through her middle, but it had an icy edge to it. Genevieve was both touched by Max’s words and saddened that he’d had enough experience with his parents in the past few years to know what it felt like to be stood up. His dad wasn’t the only one who hadn’t always been there for his son. There had been more than one sporting event in recent years where she’d been Max’s entire cheering squad. She always saved a seat for her sister, but the seat was rarely ever filled. Max deserved better, but as Maureen often pointed out to her, Genevieve didn’t know how hard it was to be a single mom working to support two teenagers.

Max and Genevieve ate lunch, swapped funny stories from their week, and discussed schedules for the upcoming month. He had decided to try out for the cross-country team.

“I don’t stand a chance, but I want to try.”

“Why? Running is so boring.”

“You run.”

“Yeah, but only because it’s slightly less monotonous than sitting at the computer when I have writer’s block.”

“The practices are long, and they’re in the afternoons when Mom’s usually working, so this will give me something to do. I get bored killing time at home so much. It’s dull there now that Jenny got a job and is gone all the time.”

“How does she like her job?” Genevieve asked, with interest.

“I don’t know about the job, but she sure does like the money,” Max answered, waggling his eyebrows comically.

Ah, to be a teenager with the simple worries of acne medication and a pretty dress. Then Genevieve corrected herself. And divorce. Don’t forget that simple worry.

“So why were you late today?” Max asked.

“You’d never believe me if I told you,” she answered.

“Try me.”

Rolling her eyes, Genevieve answered, “I got sucked into another survey.”

Max almost spit chow mein at her as he laughed. “You have got to be kidding me! Can you even walk through the mall without taking a survey?”

Trying not to laugh, Genevieve crumbled a napkin to throw at her nephew. “I got a gift card out of this one.” Then, slapping the palm of her hand against her forehead, she said, “I should have used it to pay for lunch! What was I thinking?”

“You can use it next time.”

“Do you honestly think I’m going to remember that?” Her voice was filled with dry humor.

“No worries,” he said. “I’ll remind you.”

“What would I do without you, Max?”

“You’d be lost without me, Aunt Gen, and you know it.”

The two cleared their table, and then Genevieve linked her arm through Max’s as they began weaving their way through the crowd to head toward the front of the mall. “You know, Max, I think you might be right. I would be lost. Who else would know to buy himself an extra eggroll just so I could snag it?”

When they got to her car, Genevieve entered Max’s cross-country tryout into her phone’s calendar and told him, “I can’t promise, but I’ll do my best to be there.”

“It’s okay if you can’t make it.” His voice was rock solid. “I know it’s in the middle of the day.” Max, whose every emotion generally came out in the way he spoke, only sounded this steady when he was trying to mask something.

He doesn’t want me to know he’s disappointed.

“No, it’s not that,” Genevieve said. “You know how bad I am with dates. I need to double-check my desk calendar at home and make sure I don’t have something written down there that I forgot to put in my phone.” Staring at the device in her hand as if the calendar in it would magically give her an answer, she finally shook her head and said to Max. “I’ll text you the morning of to let you know for sure one way or the other, okay?”

Max nodded and said again, “No worries,” as he climbed into her car.

It was a beautiful day in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They drove with their windows down and, since Max was in control of the radio, their music blaring.

Genevieve dropped him off at home. Jenny was still at work, so she didn’t pop in to say “hi”. Instead, she headed back to her own home to try and get some work done.

She was bumping up against deadlines for articles with three different magazines. That’ll teach me to stay up all night reading a book! Releasing a deep sigh, Genevieve admitted to herself that she’d been putting off the articles because they’d all sounded so boring. I have got to start getting pickier about the assignments I accept. What’s the point of freelancing if I can’t stand any of the work I do? I’m not sure this even counts as freelancing anymore.

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Perfectly Matched…..by: Maggie Brendan

Perfectly Matched…..

by: Maggie Brendan

9780800734640

His life runs like clockwork. Hers is a spontaneous adventure.
But God’s timing is always perfect.

Anna Olsen knows it’s time to leave her sister’s increasingly crowded house and start a life of her own. Following both sisters’ examples, she becomes a mail-order bride, and after a short correspondence with clock maker and jeweler Edward Parker, she moves to Denver to become his wife.

Almost immediately it’s painfully apparent that Anna and Edward are very different. Anna is a free spirit who would rather be painting and enjoying the company of friends than cleaning house. Edward is a consummate perfectionist who, on their wedding day, hands Anna a list of chores that need to be done around the house daily.

Can this mismatched couple see past their differences to a harmonious future? Or will their disparate passions create obstacles neither is willing to surmount?

 

 

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MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

 

 

I absolutely loved this book! Anna Olsen moves out of her sisters house and moves to Denver to become a mail-order bride. Anna and her new husband Edward was as different as day and night. Edward was annoying with his ‘perfect’ living. He has a list for everything, and he ‘surprised’ his new wife with a list of her expectations of keeping the house clean, cooking and so forth, and even having specific times for everything. And Anna was more of a free spirit, she did things on an impulse, cleaning and keeping such a clean house wasn’t really her top priority. These two had a lot of learn if they were gonna make it as husband and wife.

 

Following these two characters was a trip! The characters were awesome, and I loved the interaction between them. Anna was so feisty and outgoing that and even though she tried very hard to do everything Edward wanted her to do, she kept running into trouble. This book will make you laugh, and cry and you thank this journey with Edward and Anna as they work out their very different differences. If you are looking for a good light read that is fun, funny and full thoroughly enjoyable, you will love Perfectly Matched my Maggie Brendan. You will be pleasantly entertained for several hours.

 

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.

*****

13030ABOUT THE AUTHOR   “Once again, Maggie Brendan has created a refreshing read with a powerful heroine and a hero to match. Readers will especially love the devotion given to animals in this charming historical romance.”–Kelly Long, bestselling author of A Patch of Heaven series


Maggie Brendan is the bestselling author of several books, including the Heart of the West series and The Blue Willow Brides series. She was a 2013 finalist for the Published Maggie Award of Excellence, a 2013 finalist for the Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Award, a 2012 finalist for Inspirational Reader’s Choice award, and a recipient of the 2004 ACW Persistence Award in Atlanta. She is a member of the ACFW; Author’s Guild; Romance Writers of America; Faith, Hope, and Love; and Georgia Romance Writers. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, researching for her novels, and spending time with her family. You can follow her at her website http://www.MaggieBrendan.com, her blog http://www.SouthernBelleWriter.blogspot.com, and on Facebook and Twitter @MaggieBrendan

Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90 by Sharon K. Cosby

Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90

by Sharon K. Cosby

PFYALOCosby-e1378351909789[1]

Watching someone you love self-destruct hurts.

Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90 tugs at the reader’s heart in 90 days of candid devotions aimed at offering strength, hope, and encouragement to families in the throes of living with an addicted family member. Families get left behind in the recovery process, but their support is crucial. Realizing you are not alone in your family’s struggles brings comfort and confidence to face day-by-day challenges. Reflection prompts and spaces for journaling encourage the reader to pen their thoughts on the verses and devotions. Each day’s entry ends with a prayer.

The Cosbys, a middle-class family, lived the nightmare of addiction with their son for 18 years. Their lives were turned inside out and upside down as his dependence on painkillers escalated. The descent into a living hell challenged their faith as the addiction claimed more and more control. Sharron’s middle-of-the-night reading of Jeremiah 30 and 31 changed the course of their lives and restoration became a reality.

The overall message of Praying for Your Addicted Loved One conveys hope to families caught in the addiction cycle. The various stages of the disease: abuse, recovery, and relapse, take their toll. Hopelessness grabs a family’s heart and wrings it out with each slip of clean or sober time. The verses in Jeremiah 30 and 31, the foundation of the book, offer the promise of restoration and redemption.

90 in 90 reflects the 12 Step model of an addict attending 90 meetings in 90 days. While your loved one attends meetings, you will read a daily devotional to lend spiritual support to your addict.

“Today I pray for other lost addicts to find the hope of recovery. I pray the families reading this book will continue to have hope that an addict—any addict—can stop using drugs and find a new way to live. If there is one thing I can say to family members it is, never quit fighting. There is always hope. With hope, I—a once hopeless dope addict—am now a dope-less hope addict.”  ~Josh Cosby

Purchase a copy here.

Find out more at Sharron’s website.

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MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

This is a wonderful book of 90 devotions to give hope and encouragement to those dealing with loved ones that are addicted. Having been through this with a family member twice, i could relate to the author as she told her story. There are no words that really can express what it is like to watch someone you love on a journey that is ruining their life, and you feel so helpless. The one thing you can do is pray. Then you can be there for them if the come to you for help or advice. I appreciate this author, Sharon Cosby for taking the time to write this book, and for her willingness to share her story of her addicted son to others. This is a  book that would be awesome for everyone to read, because we never know when we will be the one facing what Sharon faced.

This is a book very well worth you time and money spent. I highly recommend this for anyone to read, but especially if you or a friend is going through this situation 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

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About the Author

Sharron Cosby

Sharron Cosby is married to Dan, a Certified Addiction Professional, and together they have three adult children and five grandchildren. She works for an international charity by day and writes by night. Her passion is to share God’s message of hope, strength, and encouragement with families living in the shadow of addiction.

CFBA presents The Christmas Quilt by Vannette Chapman

This week, the 

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance 

is introducing 

The Christmas Quilt 

Abingdon Press (October 15, 2013) 

by 

Vannetta ChapmanABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word From The Author:

I hold a BA and MA degree in English, and I am proud to be represented by Mary Sue Seymour, AAR. I have published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, and have received over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. I am honored to be a member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Faith Hope and Love.

I live and teach in the Texas hill country with my husband, cats, and a rather large herd of deer. Our four children have flown the nest; however, we are fortunate that they all live close enough to visit.

I have always felt that my faith was at the very center of who and what I am, and I am thrilled beyond words to be able to now write about something that is so near to my heart. At various times I have served as a pianist, teacher, church secretary, and worship team member. While living in the Dallas area, I served as an adjunct professor of English Literature at Dallas Baptist University. When we moved to a small town in Central Texas, I continued teaching for a few years, but I now write full-time and I play the keyboard in our church’s praise band.

My grandfather was born in Albion, Pennsylvania, and I am currently researching whether I might have Amish roots.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Annie’s life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community’s minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie’s sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

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

FIRST Wild Card Tours presents….Katie’s Forever Promise by Jerry Eicher

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:
Jerry Eicher
and the book:
Katie’s Forever Promise
Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2013)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In book 3 of author Jerry Eicher’s Emma Raber’s Daughter series, Katie puts her life together after Ben Stoll’s betrayal of her love. When she is baptized into the church, she receives a surprising offer that will keep her close to her Amish community—much to her mother’s delight.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Series: Emma Raber’s Daughter (Book 3)

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736952551

ISBN-13: 978-0736952552

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

 

 

I loved this conclusion to the Emma Rader’s Daughter series. This book actually ended quite pleasing, but you need to read the book to see how it ends. There were a lot of twists and turns in Katie’s life, and she wasn’t always treated with the respect she deserved. Katie struggled with a lot of rejection and difficult situations. I think Enos Kuntz and his sons and Mabel were the worse. Enos and his sons were all jerks, like father, like son! I loved it when they all had to eat their words, but even then, I didn’t care for their holier than thou attitude. Ben and Katie on the other had were really loveable and I really liked their attitude with every situation they faced. The truly showed the ‘Christian attitude’ that the Amish want to show with their faith. But then these jerk attitude’s is what made the books so interesting you find it difficult to put them down as you read them.

 

I really want to encourage you to pick up a copy of Katie’s Forever Promise to read, and while you are at it, pick up the first two books in this series by Jerry Eicher. You will sure find hours of delightful entertainment in this series.

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:

Katie Raber sat on the tall, swivel chair with a smile on her face. She was now mistress and queen of this one-room Amish schoolhouse for the term. Her hiring had been reaffirmed this morning by Enos Kuntz himself, the chairman of the school board. Enos had paid her a special visit, leaving with a friendly nod and a quick comment. “I think you’ll do just fine with your new job, Katie. Let us know if you have any problems.”Katie swept the top of her teacher’s desk clean with a shaky hand, pausing to replace the small plastic pencil holder she’d knocked over. On the other side of the room, pushed up against the window, sat a table loaded with the year’s supply of schoolbooks. She was a little scared, but she told herself there was nothing to worry about. This world of learning called her, just as she was certain it would also beckon eager young students once school began next week. And then, in less than two months, she would be twenty-one, considered an adult in her Amish community. Her wages would be her own to spend how she chose instead of sharing them with her parents—Mamm and her new husband, Jesse Mast. How blessed Katie felt. It was still hard to comprehend all the changes that had occurred in the last few years.Katie stood and looked out the window. Enos was driving away in his buggy, his bearded face still visible through the open door. Calm was flooding over Katie now. There could be only one reason he would take the time to drive all the way over here this morning, the week before school officially begins. And it wasn’t because he harbored any doubts about her teaching abilities. The vote to hire her had been unanimous and given with pleased smiles on the faces of all three school board members.

No, Enos had stopped by to emphasize his approval one last time. Likely he thought she needed it—this being her first year teaching. But it was more than that. Enos knew the details of her past, as did all the Amish community. And they wished her well as she continued to put her life back together after the awful situation with Ben Stoll. Even now Ben was sitting in jail, serving out the last few days of his sentence.

Katie had survived that disastrous time because Da Hah had been with her, just as He’d been with Mamm and her after Katie’s daett died. And just as Da Hah had been with the two while Emma Raber raised Katie alone. Katie’s mamm had an awful reputation for a long time. After a love gone wrong in her teen years, a marriage to a man she learned to love, and then being widowed at an early age, Emma had chosen to remain a single mamm, raising her daughter on the land her husband had left her. She’d gone against usual Amish practice by refusing offers of marriage until, by Da Hah’s grace, she’d accepted a marriage proposal by a local farmer named Jesse Mast. That marriage had created a new atmosphere of change and acceptance, and Katie’s reputation had improved along with her mamm’s. After Katie fell in love with Ben and he’d turned out to be involved in the drug trade, part of her acceptance in the community came from how much she was admired for the way she’d handled herself since Ben Stoll’s arrest and imprisonment.

She’d loved Ben with all of her heart. And he had broken and smashed her trust beyond repair. Now he was no longer part of her life. That had all happened over a year ago, when the news of Ben’s arrest had reached Katie while she was in Europe with her Mennonite friends Margaret Kargel, Sharon Watson, and Nancy Keim. Only Da Hah’s healing touch a few days later had kept her from spending years in bitterness and sorrow. The miracle had happened the morning they’d gone up in a cable car high in the Alps to Schilthorn, where she’d seen the mighty works of Da Hah’s hands displayed in the mountain range around her. The tears had flowed freely that morning, washing the deepest pain from her heart. Afterward, she’d returned home and continued mourning her loss for a time, but without the crushing hopelessness that had first gripped her heart. Then last fall she’d made application to join the instruction class to officially join the Amish church, and this spring the wunderbah day had arrived. She’d been baptized by Bishop Jonas Miller himself! She was now a member of the church.

If anyone had entertained doubts about her, they’d been answered in how Katie had lived her life the past year. She still stayed in touch with her Mennonite friends Margaret and Sharon, but she saw them infrequently. The invitation to Margaret’s wedding had arrived in the mail yesterday, and Katie would certainly attend. Beyond that, Sharon and Margaret understood that Katie had made the best choice for her—to stay within the Amish faith. And it was, Katie told herself. Her heart was settled on the matter. The Amish were her people, and this was her home. She’d seen the land of the church fathers in Switzerland, and now she’d chosen this faith for herself. This community in Delaware was the place where her heart could rest for whatever time Da Hah had for her on this earth.

Enos’s buggy was already a black speck just before disappearing around the curve in the road. In addition to his interest in her success in the classroom, there was the suspicion on Katie’s part that Enos had hopes she would be his next daughter-in-law. She could tell by the light that sprang up in his eyes when he spoke to her of his son Norman.

Norman Kuntz, though, wasn’t like his daett at all. He was shy and withdrawn for the most part. The boy was handsome enough and came from an excellent family, so he ought to bubble with confidence, but he didn’t. So far he’d lacked the courage to take Katie home from the Sunday-night hymn singing—although he did spend considerable time stealing glances at her in the meetings. He’d mustered up enough courage lately to send a few tentative smiles her way.

There was nothing in Norman that set Katie’s heart pounding so far. Not like Ben Stoll had done. That had been another matter entirely. But Katie knew she shouldn’t be comparing Norman with Ben. Her life had changed for the better now, and she wasn’t going back to the past. Ben had been a terrible misjudgment, and she didn’t plan to repeat the error.

This time whoever the man was who drove her home, Katie wanted Mamm’s full support. And hopefully Jesse’s too, although he’d mostly care about whether the young man was a gut church member and knew how to work hard. Norman met both of those standards quite well. It helped, of course, that he would be a gut provider for his family, but that paled in comparison to the really important matter to Katie. Her main concern was that Norman would never do what Ben had done—break her heart.

Katie sighed, pushing the dark thoughts aside. Things were coming together well for her. This offer of a teaching job had been another blessing from Da Hah. One of the many she’d been given since Ben’s betrayal.

Katie sighed again, allowing her mind to wander into the past. For years she’d dreamed of capturing Ben Stoll’s attention. Mamm had warned her that such handsome boys were above her, and she shouldn’t dream that way. And that was long before Ben even knew Katie existed. But Mamm had been drawing from her own experience of rejection, and the young man she’d loved had never even asked her home. So Katie had rejected Mamm’s counsel and hadn’t drawn back when Ben finally noticed her at a Mennonite Youth Gathering. She’d ridden in Ben’s buggy and held his hand. They’d even kissed—often and with great joy. How could she have been so wrong about him? Katie pondered the question and managed a faint smile. Even in this situation she could be thankful. The pain of that question no longer stung as much. She’d given the pain and hard questions over to Da Hah. He knew the answers, and He would forgive her where she’d been wrong.

Now she was being given a wunderbah opportunity by the community. They were entrusting her with the care of their children for a whole school year. This honor had been held by Ruth Troyer for the past few years. After chasing Jesse Mast before he’d married Katie’s mamm, Ruth had finally found a man who asked to wed her—Albert Gingerich. He was an older farmer in the community whose wife had passed away last year.

Ruth had stepped down from consideration as a teacher this summer in preparation for her wedding, although she probably hadn’t imagined in her wildest dreams that Katie Raber would be offered her job. Ruth might have hung on for another year if she’d known that. After all, she’d been rebuffed by Jesse in favor of Katie’s mamm, Emma Raber, and the sting of the rejection and community talk surely still rankled in Ruth’s mind.

Katie smiled at the memory of Mamm and Jesse’s courtship. The two widows—Emma and Ruth—had faced each other down, and Mamm had won! The strange thing was that Mamm hadn’t put up much of a fight—at least not out in the open. But maybe that was the allure that drew Jesse in. Katie decided she needed to allow that Mamm had more wisdom than she let on at times. Ruth had had all of Jesse’s children on her side at first, and she put her best moves on Jesse by baking the pecan pies he loved. Mamm, on the other hand, had turned down Jesse’s advances the first few times he came calling, which seemed to make him all the more determined. And when she finally came around, Emma offered nothing but herself. In the end, all of Jesse’s children except Mabel, the eldest, had come over to Mamm’s side.

Mabel hadn’t been the easiest person to live with after the wedding, but since Katie’s return from Europe they were on decent terms. Mabel’s heart had been softened last year by seeing the great heartache Ben’s betrayal had caused Katie.

A rattle of buggy wheels in the schoolyard interrupted her thoughts. Katie walked to the window again. She gasped as Ruth Troyer climbed out of her buggy. What did she want? Had she forgotten some of her personal possessions? If so, she could have come in the evening after I’d gone home, Katie thought. But, there was no sense avoiding Ruth, so she might as well put on a brave front.

“Gut morning,” Ruth said with a forced smile when Katie opened the door.

“Gut morning,” Katie replied as she held the door and invited Ruth in.

“I thought I might catch you here this morning.”

“Yah,” Katie managed to get out, her smile gone now. “There’s much to do before school starts.”

Ruth pushed past her and bustled inside. “I thought I’d drive over in case you might want some advice, seeing this is your first term and all. And remember, I did teach here for three years so I know many of the students and the material. If you have any questions, I’d be glad to answer them.”

Katie swallowed hard. “Did the school board send you?”

Ruth laughed. “Nee, I’m here on my own. Don’t tell me you’re too high and mighty to accept help? Just because you’re a schoolteacher now doesn’t mean we don’t all remember where you came from, Katie Raber. After all, that man of yours is still sitting in jail.”

“I have no connection with Ben Stoll anymore,” Katie countered. “I haven’t seen him since before he was arrested.”

“Well, that doesn’t matter now.” Ruth breezed around the room, speaking over her shoulder. “I guess we all make our mistakes. But I, for one, would have seen that one coming. And I suspect your mamm did, but she was too busy stealing Jesse from me to warn you.”

Katie turned and watched Ruth. This was after all her schoolhouse now, and she’d better act like it was. Katie kept her voice even. “Mamm did have reservations about Ben—just to set the record straight. And she didn’t steal Jesse from you. Jesse made up his own mind.”

Ruth turned around. “Things do turn out for the best now, don’t they? Thank Da Hah Jesse didn’t decide on me. Then I never would have been available for Albert’s proposal. Did you know he farms more than 100 acres northwest of Dover? Some of the best black soil in the area. It’s worth a fortune. He’ll have a mighty gut heritage to hand down to his children.”

Katie forced a smile. “I’m glad for you, Ruth. And Mamm has fallen deeply in love with Jesse, so everything did turn out for the best.”

“It always does.” Ruth glared at Katie. “And I guess you know gut and well why you got this job. Enos is expecting quite a lot out of his investment, if you ask me.”

“I don’t expect you know what you’re speaking of,” Katie said. She tried to still her pounding heart. How this woman could get under her skin! Enos might hope she’d date his son, but he hadn’t made any requirement or suggestion for her to do so while hiring her.

Ruth laughed. “I don’t think you’re that blind, Katie. Enos is a man of high standards. And your past hasn’t gone away, believe me. He’s just overlooking it right now. But if you turn down the advances of his youngest son, I doubt if things will stay that way for long.”

Katie almost sputtered a denial, but she pressed her lips together instead. Nothing would persuade Ruth’s mind. Not once she’d made it up. And there likely was some truth to the woman’s statements.

Ruth smiled, apparently taking Katie’s silence as victory. “Let me show you the books then, and I’ll get out of here. I have a ton of things that need doing for the wedding preparations, but I told myself this morning that I owe you at least one visit since I was the former teacher. I’m aware you know nothing about teaching. I do hate to see you thrown into this situation and making a total mess out of it—to say nothing about all the decent learning from the past few years that could be lost. Let’s look at the books for this term.”

Katie walked toward the table by the window. Two of the books had fallen to the floor while she’d been going through them, but she hadn’t noticed until Ruth’s criticizing presence entered the room.

Ruth marched over and bent down to pick up the books. “This is no way to treat new books! I always told myself, if I don’t respect the school’s property, how can I expect ‘my’ children to? Because they do, after all, learn more by example than by any lecture. But how would you know such a thing? Your mamm probably never taught you much.”

Katie choked back her response. Ruth was trying to goad her into saying something she might regret. And Enos had just been here, and he’d said nothing about books lying on the floor. Everyone knew such things happened during unpacking. But Katie knew Ruth would only see more of Enos’s scheming and favor in his silence, so she might as well keep quiet about that too.

Ruth’s voice continued in lecture mode. “These are your first-grade reading books, Katie. Be sure to spend plenty of time with that age group. The children need to learn quickly because everything else is at a standstill until they learn how to read.”

Katie nodded, forcing herself to listen. Ruth was telling her some

gut things, and she did have much to learn. She even managed to keep a smile on her face as the former teacher droned on far longer than Katie had hoped. Over an hour later, Katie was more than ready to see Ruth leave. She summoned up her best manners as Ruth finally prepared to go. “Thank you for your time, Ruth. I do appreciate it.”

“It’s gut that you can listen,” Ruth remarked. “I guess your mamm taught you something after all. Now, will you come out and hold my horse for me? He gets a little skittish when I take off. Albert promised me a decent horse when I move into his house after the wedding. Now that’s a decent man, if you ask me.”

Katie held her tongue as she walked outside. She held the bridle of Ruth’s horse as the former teacher climbed inside the buggy.

“I hope you remember everything I told you,” Ruth said as she took off with a slap of the reins.

Grinding her teeth, Katie watched Ruth go. That woman was the limit and then some. But Ruth was also a creature Da Hah had made, and her elder besides. And the woman had given her some useful advice.

PUYB Presents An Amish Country Christmas by Charlotte Hubbard

PUYB Presents

An Amish Country Christmas

by Charlotte Hubbard

An Amish Country Christmas

ABOUT AN AMISH COUNTRY CHRISTMAS

“The Christmas Visitors”: For spirited Martha Coblentz and her twin Mary, the snow has delivered the perfect holiday and birthday present to their door—handsome brothers Nate and Bram Kanagy. But when unforeseen trouble interrupts their season’s good cheer, it will take unexpected intervention—and sudden understanding—to give all four the blessing of a lifetime.

“Kissing the Bishop”: As the New Year’s first snow settles, Nazareth Hooley and her sister Jerusalem are given a heaven-sent chance to help newly widowed Tom Hostetler tend his home. But when her hope that she and Tom can build on the caring between them seems a dream forever out of reach, Nazareth discovers that faith and love can make any miracle possible.

 

My Thoughts on this  Book

An Amish Country Christmas is two Christmas stories that introduce characters in previous books written by  Charlotte Hubbard and the pen name Naomi King. I really enjoy Amish stories, and it is especially enlightening when there is an Amish story with the setting around the Christmas Season. I have read all of King/ Hubbard’s books, and this additional story about these characters was an added blessing. But I will say that this book is awesome reading as a stand alone.

The Christmas setting was heartwarming, and the author did an amazing job of writing the scenes about how the Amish celebrate the holiday’s. The characters were believable and I loved their continued development throughout the story. I have grown to love the characters in the Cedar Creek and Willow Ridge series, and it was especially nice that a book from each of these series was published around the same time. This gave me three Hubbard/King books to read back to back! I encourage you to pick up a copy of the heartwarming book of Christmas stories to read during Christmas, and keep this one to read in the years to come! You will not be disappointed!

I received this book from 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.

Purchase at

ABOUT CHARLOTTE HUBBARD

Charlotte-HubbardI’ve called Missouri home for most of my life, and most folks don’t realize that several Old Older Amish and Mennonite communities make their home here, as well. The rolling pastureland, woods, and small towns along county highways make a wonderful setting for Plain populations—and for stories about them, too! While Jamesport, Missouri is the largest Old Order Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River, other communities have also found the affordable farm land ideal for raising crops, livestock, and running the small family-owned businesses that support their families.

Like my heroine, Miriam Lantz, of my Seasons of the Heart series, I love to feed people—to share my hearth and home. I bake bread and goodies and I love to try new recipes. I put up jars and jars of green beans, tomatoes, beets and other veggies every summer. All my adult life, I’ve been a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and we hosted a potluck group in our home for more than twenty years.

Like Abby Lambright, heroine of my Home at Cedar Creek series, I consider it a personal mission to be a listener and a peacemaker—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls. Faith and family, farming and frugality matter to me: like Abby, I sew and enjoy fabric arts—I made my wedding dress and the one Mom wore, too, when I married into an Iowa farm family more than thirty-five years ago! When I’m not writing, I crochet and sew, and I love to travel.

I recently moved to Minnesota when my husband got a wonderful new job, so now he and I and our border collie, Ramona, are exploring our new state and making new friends.

You can visit her website at www.CharlotteHubbard.com

Litfuse Presents…..Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren …Plus Facebook Party and Prizes to Win!

Litfuse Presents…..

Glittering Promises

by Lisa T. Bergren 

Glittering Promises

Lisa T. Bergren’s popular Grand Tour series concludes as Cora Kensington journeys farther into Italy, wrestles with a terrible ultimatum from her father, and comes to terms with the Father who will never fail her.

America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are tracking the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try…

Purchase a copy here.

Find out more at Lisa’s website.

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Glittering Promises is the conclusion of ithe Grand Tour series by Lisa Bergren, and iI was really quite pleased with the ending. I have enjoyed all three of these books  following the life of Cora Kensington after she finds out about her biological dad and the family she never knew she had. Her journey has been a lot of fun and very interesting, though not always easy for Cora. I was thrilled to read about the Grand Tour, and all of the awesome scenes throughout the book so vividly described by Lisa Bergren. It was almost like taking the trip with this group, and I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters better as the story developed. And finally, Cora chooses which young man was ‘The Man’ and the loser didn’t take the rejection too lightly.

I really enjoyed this third book because it answers all of the questions you have from the first and second books. There was so much going on in this entire series, and Ms. Bergren does a fantastic job of pulling all of the tension, twists and turns and unhealthy relationships together to give readers a most amazing finale that will stick with you for many days to come!

You really need to read all three books to understand the full story. This series is well worth your time and money, you will not be disappointed! I encourage you to pick up the three books in The Grand Tour Series….Glamorous Illusions, Grave Consequences and Glittering Promises.

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.

 

Cora Kensington

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Tawn Bergren

Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs.

Lisa T. Bergren is celebrating the release of her new book, Glittering Promisesby giving away a $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma and hosting a fun Facebook party on October 29th.

glitteringpromises-rafflecopter

 

One winner will receive:

  • A $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma delivered to your door
  • The three-book Grand Tour set

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 29th. Winner will be announced at the “Glittering Promises” Facebook Author Chat Party on October 29th. Connect with Lisa for an evening of book chat, European trivia, and prizes, and get an exclusive look Lisa’s next book.

 
So grab your copies of the Grand Tour series and join Lisa on the evening of October 29th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on the 29th!

CFBA Presents Greetings from the Flipside by Rene Gutteridge

This week, the 

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance 

is introducing 

Greetings from the Flipside 

B&H Books (October 15, 2013) 

by 

Rene GutteridgeABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rene is the author of seventeen novels. She also has extensive experience writing comedy sketches, and worked for five years as the director of drama for a church. She has a degree specializing in Screenwriting, for which she earned the Excellence in Mass Communication Award, and graduated magna cum laude.

She is married to Sean, a musician and worship leader, and has two children. They reside in Oklahoma, where Rene writes full time and enjoys instructing in college classrooms and writers conferences.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Hope Landon has been rewriting other people’s greeting cards since she was six years old — there’s always a funnier caption. She’s all set to chase those creative dreams with her musician fiance in New York City until he leaves Hope at the altar, deciding he must not really love this girl if he can’t write a song for her. That may give her something to write about . . .

Hope disappears alone on what was supposed to be the couple’s month long honeymoon. Upon returning she learns of her funeral — everyone in her life concluded Hope must have killed herself after being jilted. Needing a fresh start more than ever, she heads for the Big Apple only to discover it’s not that easy to rent a place when you’ve been declared dead.

Taking shelter at the YWCA, Hope soon lands a job at a Christian inspirational greeting card company as an assistant to Jake, a guy who shut down his organization’s humor department. She has lost her faith in love; he needs to find something or someone that will make him laugh.

Is there anything in the cards for these two? Find out in the truly original Greetings from the Flipside by authors Rene Gutteridge (Boo) and Cheryl McKay (screenplay for The Ultimate Gift).

If you would like to read the first chapter of >Greetings from the Flipside, go HERE.

FIRST Wild Card Tours presents…..I, Saul by Jerry B. Jenkins

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:
Jerry B. Jenkins
and the book:
I, Saul
Worthy Publishing (August 27, 2013)
***Special thanks to Leeanna Case for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jerry B. Jenkins is a New York Times best-selling novelist (Left Behind Series) and biographer (Billy Graham, Hank Aaron, Walter Payton, Orel Hershiser, Nolan Ryan, Joe Gibbs and many more), with over 70 million books sold. His writing has appeared in Time, Reader’s Digest, Parade, Guideposts, and he has been featured on the cover of Newsweek.
Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A MURDERER who would change the WORLD

From multi-million copy best-selling novelist Jerry Jenkins comes a compelling international thriller that conveys you from present-day Texas to a dank Roman dungeon in A.D. 67, then down the dusty roads of ancient Israel, Asia, and back to Rome.

A young seminary professor, Augustine Knox, is drawn into a deadly race to save priceless parchments from antiquities thieves and discovers a two- thousand-year old connection with another who faced death for the sake of the truth. I, Saul consists of two riveting adventures in one, transporting you between the stories of Augustine Knox and Saul of Tarsus.

Filled with political intrigue, romance, and rich historical detail, I, Saul is a thrilling tale of loyal friendships tested by life-or-death quests, set two millennia apart, told by a master storyteller.

Product Details:

List Price: $24.99

Hardcover: 400 pages

Publisher: Worthy Publishing (August 27, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1617950068

ISBN-13: 978-1617950063

 

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

WOW! This is the most interesting book! The the two parallel stories going on in this book really keeps your attention! I enjoyed the  modern-day story of the  theology professor from Texas, but I was especially in awe of the Apostle Paul and how he was treated and how he lived in the final days in that Roman prison. Jerry Jenkins brings the story to life in a way that I could get a better understanding of just what Paul went through. He didn’t sugar coat it at all! How horrible of a life that Paul had. This precious saint of God, that loved and preached the Gospel! I have always thought of Paul being such a humble man, but I will think of him as being much more humble that I ever thought before. Jerry Jenkins has a way with words that surpasses anything we can imagine. While I was reading this, my mind kept going to my precious parents who are in Heaven. I wonder if they have met Paul and heard his story. I know this has nothing to do with the book, but I did think that many times as I was reading it. Praise the Lord that Paul is in Heaven with our Lord. And Praise him for his dedication to preaching the Gospel, no matter what happened to him. And thank you Jerry Jenkins for writing this book. I can’t wait for the next book!
I received this book from Worthy Publishing and 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:

Tor nT E x AS

W EDNESDAy, M Ay 7

“call now. desper8.”

The text appeared on Dr. Augie Knox’s phone at 8:55 a.m., seconds before he was to turn it off—protocol for profs entering a classroom at Arlington Theological Seminary.

Augie could have fired off a “give me a minute,” but the message was not signed and the sending number matched nothing in his contacts. The prefix 011-39-06 meant Rome. He’d traveled extensively in his thirty-eight years and enjoyed many visits to the Eternal City, but such a text could easily portend one of those I’ve-been-mugged-and-need- money scams. Whatever this was could wait until he got the Systematic Theology final exam started and could step into the hall with his phone.

Augie had long been fascinated by his students’ nervous chatter before
final exams. One announced, “I looked you up in Who’s Who, Doc, and I

know your full name.”

“Congratulations for discovering something you could have found in your student handbook four years ago.”

“No! That just says Dr. Augustine A. Knox! I found out what the A

stands for.”

“Good for you. Now, a few instructions . . .”

“Aquinas! Augustine Aquinas Knox! Man, what other career choice did you have?”

“Thank you for revealing the thorn in my flesh. If you must know, that moniker was my father’s idea.” Augie mimicked his dad’s monotone basso. “‘Names are important.They can determine a life’s course.’”

Many students chuckled, having sat under the elder Dr. Knox before he fell ill the year before.

“It also says you were adopted. Sorry, but it’s published.” “No secret,” Augie said.

Another hand shot up.“Was that a hint about the exam? Will we be speculating on Paul’s thorn in the flesh?”

“He’s only mentioned that mystery every class,” another said.

Augie held up a hand. “I trust you’re all prepared for any eventual-

ity.”
“So, what’s your dad’s name?”

“Ed!” someone called out. “Everybody knows that.” “Look it up,” Augie said. “You may find it revealing.”

With blue books distributed, Augie slipped out and turned on his

phone.The plea from Rome had already dropped to third on his message list. At the top was a voice mail from Dr. Moore, who had been filling in as acting department chair since Augie’s father had been hospitalized with a stroke.
Augie would have checked that one first, but next was a voice mail from Sofia Trikoupis, his heart. It was eight hours later in Athens, after five in the afternoon. “Call me at the end of your day,” her message said. “I’ll wait up.” It would be midnight her time by then, but she apparently needed his undivided attention. That would bug him all day. How he longed for them to be together.

His phone vibrated. Rome again. “urgent. call now, pls!” Augie pressed his lips together, thumbing in, “who’s this?” “trust me. begging.”

“not w/out knowing who u r.”

Augie waited more than a minute for a response, then snorted. As I

figured. But as he headed back into the classroom, his phone buzzed again. “zionist.”

Augie stopped, heat rising in his neck. He quickly tapped in, “90 minutes OK?”

“now! critical.”

Few people had been more important in Augie’s life than Roger Michaels, the diminutive fifty-year-old South African with a James Earl Jones voice and a gray beard that seemed to double the size of his pale, gnomish face. Augie would never lead a tour of an ancient city without Roger as the guide.

“2 mins,” Augie texted.

He rushed to his father’s old office, which still bore the senior Dr. Knox’s nameplate on the door. Augie knocked and pushed it open.“Les, I need a favor.”

Dr. Moore took his time looking up from his work. “Number one, Dr. Knox, I did not invite you in.”

“Sorry, but—”

“Number two, I have asked that you refer to me as Dr. Moore.”
“My bad again, but listen—”

“And number three,” the acting chair said, making a show of study- ing his watch, “we both know that at this very moment you are to be conducting—”

“Dr. Moore, I have an emergency call to make and I need you to stand in for me for a few minutes.”

Moore sighed and rose, reaching for his suit coat.“I know what that’s about.Take all the time you need.”

Augie followed him down the hall. “You do?” “You didn’t get my message?”

“Oh, no, sorry. I saw one was there, but I—”

“But you assumed other messages were more important. I said we needed to chat after your first exam.”

“Well, sure, I’ll be here.”

“Part of what we need to discuss is your father. Is that what your call is about?”

“What about my father?” “We’ll talk at ten.”

“But is he—”

“There have been developments, Dr. Knox. But he is still with us.” As Dr. Moore headed for the classroom, Augie ducked into a stair-

well, away from the windows and the relentless sun forecasters were saying would push the temperature at least twenty degrees above normal by 2:00 p.m., threatening the 107° record for the month.

Augie wasn’t getting enough signal strength to complete his call, so he hurried back out to the corridor. Cell coverage was still weak, so he stepped outside. It had to be near 90° already. Scalp burning, he listened as the number rang and rang.

Augie moved back inside for a minute, braced by the air condition-
ing, then ventured out to try again. He waited two minutes, tried once more, and felt he had to get back to class.

On a third attempt, as he neared the entrance, it was clear someone had picked up a receiver and hung up. Augie dialed twice more as he walked back to take over for Dr. Moore. Just before he reached the class- room, his phone came alive again with a text.

“sorry. later. trash ur phone. serious.”

Augie couldn’t make it compute. Had his phone been traced? Tapped? If he got a new one, how would Roger know how to reach him?

Dr. Moore stood just inside the classroom door and emerged imme- diately when he saw Augie. “Talk to your mother?” he said.

“No, should I?”

Moore sighed and opened his palms. “You interrupt my work and don’t check on your father?”

Augie reached for his cell again, but hesitated. If he used it, would he be exposing his mother’s phone too?

“Call her after we’ve talked, Dr. Knox. Now I really must get back to my own responsibilities.”

It was all Augie could do to sit still till the end of class. Before get- ting back to Dr. Moore, he dropped off the stack of blue books in his own office and used the landline to call his contact at Dallas Theolog- ical Seminary, just up the road. Arlington Sem sat equidistant between DTS to the east and the massive Southwestern Baptist Seminary to the west. Arlington was like the stepchild no one ever talked about, a single building for a couple of hundred students, struggling to stay alive in the shadows of those two renowned institutions.When Augie needed some- thing fast, he was more likely to get it from the competition. Such as a new phone.

Like his father before him, Augie was  the travel department at
Arlington. No auxiliary staff handled logistics as they did at DTS and Southwestern. The head techie at Dallas was Biff Dyer, a string bean of a man a few years older than Augie with an Adam’s apple that could apply for statehood. He could always be counted on to program Augie’s phone, depending on what country he was traveling to.

“Calling from your office phone, I see,” Biff said. “What happened to the cell I got you?”

“It’s been compromised.”

Biff chuckled. “Like you’d know.What makes you think so?” “I need a new one.Trust me.”

“I’ll just switch out the chip.You’re not gonna find a better phone. How soon you need it?”

“Fast as possible.”

“Why doesn’t that surprise me? I’m not deliverin’ it. Can you come by during normal hours?”

There was a knock at Augie’s door and he wrenched around to see

Les Moore’s scowl. “Gotta go, Biff.”

“Sorry, Les. On my way right now. Or do you want to just meet here?” “Here would not be any more appropriate than your insisting on our being on a first-name basis,” Dr. Moore said, scanning the tiny chamber in which the guest chair was folded in a corner and brought out only

when necessary.

“C’mon, Les. You were only a couple years ahead of me. We hung out, didn’t we?”

“Hardly. You spent most of your free time in the gym with the—

what?—six other jocks who happened to enroll here.”

It was true. And everyone knew the library had been where to find

Les Moore.

Augie looked at his watch. Another final at 11. He followed his interim
boss back to his father’s old office. It wasn’t that much bigger than his, but at least the guest chair didn’t block the door.

“Would you start with my dad?” Augie said as he sat.

“I would have thought you’d have already checked in with your mother, but all right. She called this morning, knowing you were in class. Your father has slipped into a coma.”

Augie nodded slowly. “She okay?”

“Your mother? Sure. It’s not like he’s passed. She just thought you might want to visit this afternoon.”

“Appreciate it.”

“Now then, Dr. Knox, I have some paperwork here that I’m going to need you to sign. Frankly, it’s not pleasant, but we’re all expected to be team players and I’m going to assume you’ll accede to the adminis- tration’s wishes.”

“What’s up?”

“You’re scheduled to teach summer-school Homiletics beginning four days after commencement.”

“A week from today, right.”

“And we have contracted with you for this stipend, correct?”

Why Les felt it necessary to pencil the figure on the back of a business card and dramatically slide it across the desk, Augie could not fathom.

“Yep, that’s the fortune that’s going to let me retire by forty.”

“Um-hm. Humorous. It is my sad duty to ask you to agree to under- take the class for two-thirds that amount.”

“You’re serious.” “Always.”

That was for sure.

“Les—Dr. Moore, you know we do these classes pretty much as gifts to the sem. Now they seriously want us to do them for less?”
“This is entirely up to you.” “I can refuse?”

“We’re not going to force you to teach a class when we have to renege on our agreement.”

“Good, because I just don’t think I can do it for that.”

“I’ll report your decision. We’ll be forced to prevail upon a local adjunct instruct—”

“Like that youth pastor at Arlington Bible—” “He’s a graduate, Dr. Knox.”

“I know! I taught him. And he’s a great kid, but he didn’t do all that well in Homiletics, and there’s a reason they let him preach only a couple of times a year over there.”

“He’ll be happy to do it for this figure—probably even for less.” “And the students be hanged.”

Les cocked his head. “Naturally, we would prefer you . . .”

Augie reached for his pen and signaled with his fingers for the doc- ument.

“I’m glad I can count on you, Dr. Knox. Now, while we’re on the subject, I’m afraid there’s more.You were due for a four percent increase beginning with the fall trimester.”

“Let me guess, that’s not going to happen either.” “It’s worse.”

“What, now it’s a four percent decrease?” “I wish.”

“Oh, no.”

“Dr. Knox, we have seen an alarming downturn in admissions, and the administration is predicting a fall enrollment that puts us at less than breakeven, even with massive budget cuts.We’re all being asked to accept twenty percent reductions in pay.”
Augie slumped. “I was hoping to get married this fall, Les. I can barely afford the payments on my little house as it is.”

“This is across the board, Dr. Knox. The president, the deans, the chairs, all of us. Some departments are actually losing personnel. Mainte- nance will be cut in half, and we’ll all be expected to help out.”

Arlington had been staggering along on a shoestring for decades, but this was dire. “Tell me the truth, Dr. Moore. Is this the beginning of the end? Should I entertain the offers I’ve gotten from Dallas over the years?” “Oh, no! The trustees wish us to weather this storm, redouble our efforts to market our distinctives, and then more than make up for the pay cuts as soon as we’re able. Besides, the way your father bad-mouthed Dallas and Southwestern his whole career, you wouldn’t dream of insult-

ing him by going to either, would you?”

“He bad-mouthed everything and everybody, Les.You know that.” “Not a pleasant man. No offense.”

Augie shrugged. “You worked for him. I lived with him.”

“Do you know, I have heard not one word from your father since the day I was asked to temporarily assume his role? No counsel, no guidelines, no encouragement, nothing. I assumed he was angry that you had not been appointed—”

That made Augie laugh.“He still sees me as a high school kid! Forget all my degrees. Anyway, I wouldn’t want his job, or yours. It’s not me.”

“How well I know. I mean, I’m just saying, you’re not the typical prof, let alone department chair.”

“I’m not arguing.”

Augie couldn’t win. Despite having been at the top of his classes in college and seminary, his having been a high school jock and continu- ing to shoot hoops, play touch football, and follow pro sports made him an outsider among real academics.Too many times he had been asked if
he was merely a seminary prof because that was what his father wanted for him.

Dr. Moore slid the new employment agreement across the desk. “Sorry, Les, but this one I’m going to have to think and pray about.” The interim chair seemed to freeze. “Don’t take too long. If they

aren’t sure they can count on you for the fall, they’ll want to consider the many out-of-work professors who would be thrilled, in the current econ- omy, to accept.”

“Yeah, that would help. Stock the faculty with young assistant pas- tors.”

“May I hear from you by the end of the day?”

“Probably not, but you’ll be the first to know what I decide.”

Back in his own office, Augie popped the chip out of his cell phone and put it in a separate pocket. He called his mother from his desk phone to assure her he would see her at the hospital late in the afternoon, then called Biff to tell him he would try to stop by DTS on his way.

“What’s the big emergency?” Biff said.

“Roger Michaels has himself in some kind of trouble.” “Tell me when you get here.”

During his 11:00 a.m. final Augie was summoned to the administra- tive offices for an emergency call. On the way he stopped by to see if Les would stand in for him again, but his office was dark.The final would just have to be unsupervised for a few minutes.

“Do you know who’s calling?” he said to the girl who had fetched him. If it was his mother . . .

“Someone from Greece.”

He finally reached the phone and discovered it was Sofia. “Thought you wanted me to call later, babe.You all right?”

“Roger is frantic to reach you.”
“I know. He—”

“He gave me a new number and needs you to call right now, but not from your cell.” She read it to him.

“Any idea what’s going on, Sof ?” Augie said as he scribbled. “This is not like him.”

“No idea, but, Augie, he sounded petrified.” “That doesn’t sound like him either.”

“You can tell me what it’s about later, but you’d better call him right away.”

Augie rushed to his office and dialed the number in Rome. It rang six times before Roger picked up. “Augie?”

“Yes! What’s—”

“Listen carefully. I’ve got just seconds. I need you in Rome as soon as you can get here.”

“Rog, what’s happening? This is the absolute worst time for me to—” “Give Sofia your new cell number and text me your ETA. I’ll give

you a new number where you can call me from Fiumicino as soon as you get in.”

“I don’t know when I could get there, Rog. I’ve got—” “Augie! You know I wouldn’t ask if it weren’t life or death.”

Litfuse Presents….The Bargin by Stephanie Reed…PLUS Kindle Fire Giveaway

Litfuse Presents….

The Bargin

by Stephanie Reed

 

 

 

The Bargain

ABOUT THIS BOOK

Book one in the Plain City Peace series.

It’s 1971, and Betsie Troyer’s peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.

When their parents flee the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen-year-old sister Sadie are distraught. Under the dubious guidance of a doting aunt, the girls struggle to keep the secret, praying their parents will return before anyone learns the truth—a truth that may end all hopes of Betsie’s marriage to Charley Yoder.

Purchase a copy here.

Learn more at Stephanie’s website.

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

The Bargin is not just another Amish Fiction! It is an Amish fiction with a twist like I haven’t read before, the setting being in the Vietnam War. I loved the history weaved into the book about this era, and especially since I was old enough during that time to remember a lot about the war and the friends I had who fought in it. Betsy’s story was interesting, with her family living as Englisch. This story brought back a lot of memories of when I was growing up, and that I did enjoy very much! It was so interesting because back then, we did really live plain, or so it seems like that now. I really did love the setting, and the story.

Stephanie Reed is a fairly new author for me, so I was excited to review an Amish fiction from a different author. Ms. Reed created characters that were enjoyable and believable, giving readers a real feel of life in the early 1970’s. If you enjoy Amish, you will love this one. If you enjoy historical fiction, this is for you too! So why not put the two together and check out this new book from Stephanie Reed. I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

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.

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie Reed

Stephanie Reed lives on the outskirts of Plain City, Ohio, site of a once-thriving Amish community. She gleans ideas for her novels from signs glimpsed along the byways of Ohio, as she did for her previous books, “Across the Wide River” and “The Light Across the River.”

 

 

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY

Stephanie L. Reed is celebrating the release of The Bargain, the first book in her new series, Plain City Peace, with a Kindle Fire ‘Bargain Bundle’ giveaway!

bargain-raffle-copter

 

One winner will receive a ‘Bargain Bundle’:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Bargain by Stephanie Reed

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 27th. Winner will be announced at the Litfuse blog on October 28th.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by the Litfuse blog on the 28th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to their blog {enter your email in the blog sidebar} and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox)!

The Dawn of Christmas by Cindy Woodsmall

The Dawn of Christmas

by Cindy Woodsmall

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About this book

The Dawn of Christmas Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?

 

My Thoughts on this book!

When Sadie catches her friend in the arms of her beau, she knew she could never trust him enough to marry him, so she moves away from home to heal. Sadie enjoys her freedom, but then her dad summons her back home and back to the Old Order Amish ways. But Sadie is different now. Can she find peace in her home town with her Amish family? And can she ever trust another man enough to find love and a happy ever after with him?

From one of my very favorite authors comes another special Christmas story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Dawn of Christmas! I always love that Cindy Woodsmall tackles the toughest of situations in her books, and this one is no different. Sadie is heartbroken and she finds peace and healing leaving Apple Ridge and heading off on a mission trip to Peru. I really like Sadie, and was interested in seeing how she would deal with her life back in Apple Ridge. The struggles were not easy, but Sadie’s faith was strong and helped her through the difficult times. And then comes Levi!  I also loved this character and the romance it brings to the story. Sadie and Levi are thrown together when Sadie finds him injured from an accident with his horse. The story gets very interesting after this and I had to keep reading to see where these two would end up.

The Dawn of Christmas is a novella, so it is a pretty short read and can be read in a couple of hours. When you choose Christmas stories to read for the coming season, This is one you surely need to check out. You will be delightfully entertained.

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.

 

 

About the Author

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis.

She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.

– See more at: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/about-cindy/biography/#sthash.INOl6zmb.dpuf

 

Living Separate Lives by Paulette Harper….Cover Reveal

Living_Separate_Lives_FINAL front

Title: Living Separate Lives
Four Friends, One Secret and The Weekend That Changed Their Destiny
Author: Paulette Harper
Publisher: Thy Word Publishing
Genre: Christian Fiction, Novella
Hosted By: Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tour http://www.wnlbooktours.com
ISBN-13: 978-0-9899691-0-9
Releasing: Nov 5, 2013 e-book and paperback

Nov 5 banner

About The Book
Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have their share of sorrows, but neither of them realizes how deep the sorrow goes.  What happens when they agree to meet for a weekend of relaxation in beautiful Napa County? Which one will leave the same or worse?
For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised.  Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats.
Although they have been friends for years, they thought they knew each other well. But will a secret destroy their relationship and bring the sisterhood to a complete halt? Will they be able to forgive and allow God to mend that which might be torn?
About The Author
IMG_7028Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008. Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print.

Social Media Links
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/PauletteHarperAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/pauletteharper
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paulette-harper-johnson/7/a29/8a7
Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/pauletteharper/
Website: http://www.pauletteharper.com
Email: pharperjohnson@gmail.com

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18524878-living-separate-lives
Trailer:http://youtu.be/Y2YWSYkfxAM

Excerpt
“Stop preaching to me. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I’ve had enough of your self-righteousness.” The words continued to cut Jordan’s heart; words that she never heard before coming from the mouth of her husband, Eric. “You knew how I was before we got married.” His tone deepened with every word.
Standing in front of the sink, Jordan was frozen and motionless in the middle of the kitchen. She held the dish towel in one hand and a plate in the other. She turned and faced Eric, whose eyes were cold and hard. The verbal blows kept coming. Her mouth opened wide, but no words could be formed when he uttered the deadly words, “I want a divorce.”
Hosted by: WNL Virtual Book Tour: http://wnlbooktours.com

Fields of the Fatherless by Elaine Marie Cooper….New Today!

TODAY IS THE DAY!!! 

THE RELEASE DATE FOR ELAINE COOPERS NEW BOOK

Fields of the Fatherless

9781938499920

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938499921
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938499920

ABOUT THIS BOOK……………… In the early months of 1775, war is brewing in the American colonies. Although frightened, eighteen-year-old Betsy Russell of Menotomy Village, Massachusetts, wants to be prepared in case of attack by British troops. Her father, prosperous farmer Jason, is the fourth generation of Russells on this land yet their very rights as British Colonials are being stripped away one by one. Will the King of England take their land as well? Tensions are growing here in the countryside west of Boston and the outbreak of battle seems a certainty. Jason desperately wants to protect his family his wife, children and grandchildren and their future. Betsy makes every attempt to be prepared for the worst. But not even the American militia could have predicted the bloody massacre that was about to occur right on the Russells doorstep. If Betsy loses everything she holds dear, are the rights of all the Colonists endangered? Based on a true story.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Elaine Cooper is all about history! And I love that her books are chunked full of history and they are based on a true story. In Field of the Fatherless, Elaine takes us back in history to 1775, just a few months before the American Revolution to a little town in Massachusetts called Menotomy. This story is told through the eyes of Betsy Russell, a beautiful lady who actually did live in Menotomy in the year 1775. As Betsy recalls the emotions of her family that dreadful day in April, 1775 when war breaks out in their small village and relays the heart-wrenching fears as many were killed and injured, you will feel as though you are actually there, living that time with Betsy. The detailed scenes so vividly described by the author are breath-taking. And in the middle of it all, the love and devotion of the family members was so very heartwarming.

Some of the pages are difficult to read because of the graphic situation of the war. I had to stop and take a break several times because of the aftermath of the fighting.  And again, Elaine Cooper describes each scene in such detail it all seems so real. If you are a history buff, then you really need to read Fields of the Fatherless. You will be amazed at the historical events happening here. As well as the wonderful writing of Elaine Cooper. I look forward to the next book from Ms. Cooper!

I received this book from the author, Elaine Marie Cooper 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 for more historical enjoyment, Check out Elaine’s three books in the Deer Run Saga. This is one of the best series I’ve read. Find Elaine Cooper and her books here on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?ie=UTF8&field-author=Elaine+Marie+Cooper&search-alias=books&text=Elaine+Marie+Cooper&sort=relevancerank

About the Author

DSCN3831Novelist Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of The Road to Deer RunThe Promise of Deer Run and The Legacy of Deer Run. Her passions are her family, her faith in Christ and the history of the American Revolution, a frequent subject of her historical fiction. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her novels.

Her stand alone historical fiction,Fields of the Fatherless, will by released October 22, 2013 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

 

Elaine is a contributing writer to Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home by Edie Melson, and I Choose You, a romance Anthology. Her freelance work has appeared in both newspapers and magazines, and she blogs regularly at http://ColonialQuills.blogspot.com,http://AuthorCulture.blogspot.com and http://www.NovelPASTimes.com

The award-winning author is married with two grown sons and she is the very proud GiGi of triplet grandchildren. Their birth coincided with the arrival of her first shipment of her first novel in 2010. She calls it “the best delivery day ever.” Elaine is a hopeless animal lover who can’t resist rescuing homeless animals. But her sweet yet practical husband keeps her adopting habits in line.DSCN2861

 

First WildCard Tours presents Where Hope Starts by Angela D. Meyer

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:
Angela D. Meyer
and the book:
Where Hope Starts
CrossRiver Media Group (August 9, 2013)
***Special thanks to Angela Meyer for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Angela D. Meyer lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of  22 years. They have two children whom they homeschool – recently graduating their son. She has taught childrens’ Bible classes for over 35 years. She loves God, her family, the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. Where Hope Starts is Angela’s debut novel.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

From New York City to the suburbs of Kansas City, a marriage struggles through the fallout of secrets and addictions.

Eight years after saying I do, Barry raises his hand against Karen and she discovers his addiction to pornography bringing their marriage to the edge of destruction.

Karen returns to her childhood home near Kansas City, MO to think through her options, but discovers her first love ready to pick up where they left off so many years ago.

Still in New York City, Barry attempts to fix the mess he has made of his life and his marriage. His choices take him on a downward spiral that leads to brokenness and the possible loss of his freedom.

Will they find their way back to each other or will they walk away from the future God has for them?

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MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Where Hope Starts is a love story gone bad. For the first six years, Barry and Karen’s marriage was awesome, but then Barry lost his job, and their relationship and everything else goes down hill from there. When Barry comes very close to hitting Karen for the second time, and Karen finds out about Barry’s porn addition, this was the last straw for Karen. She decides to go home to be with her dying mother. But then Karen and her family hadn’t seen each other for years, because of a situation, and Karen had no idea what that situation was. Will Karen have a chance to ask her mom what happened between them years ago? And can Barry and Karen patch their dysfunctional marriage together?

This is a wonderful read! I fell in love with the characters immediately. These characters drew me into the story in the first few pages, and I had a difficult time putting this book down. I love the way God put just the right people in both Karen and Barry’s lives to help them deal with their hurts. This is truly a book about mercy, grace, forgiveness and redemption. Satan tries his best to pull both Karen and Barry farther away from each other, but God had a plan for their lives. And you can read all about this beautiful plan in this wonderful heartwarming romance by Angela Meyer. Even though this is fiction, God can, and will do the same with our lives today. Whether it be marriage, or another area in our lives. He is there to go through our trials with us. What an awesome God we serve! Thank you Angela Meyer for this wonderful story!

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.

 

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Product Details:

List Price: $17.99

Paperback: 292 pages

Publisher: CrossRiver Media Group (August 9, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1936501155

ISBN-13: 978-1936501151

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Come home.   Karen Marino choked back a cry as she stared at the words scribbled on the front of the envelope. She slid her fingernail under the flap and gaped at the plane ticket nestled inside a letter. Why now? She gritted her teeth. Heat flushed from her neck to the top of her head as she remembered the look of disgust on her father’s face.

The clash of pans in the restaurant kitchen startled her back to the present. “What the…?”

She glanced at her watch. Almost eleven. She slid the ticket and letter back inside the envelope and tucked it into her purse. She took a deep breath before stepping out of her office.

“Steve, how does the schedule look?” Karen hired him straight out of culinary school. His lack of experience paled next to his talent, and within a year his specialties had drawn in customers from all over New York City’s five boroughs, earning the restaurant a five-star reputation.

“Perfect, my love.” He crossed his arms and smiled. “Now, when are you going to marry me?”

She laughed. “Your mother would be disappointed. I have more red hair than Irish blood.” She enjoyed the attention her hair brought in The City, where she no longer stood out like an apple on an orange tree.

“My ma would love you anyway.” Steve placed his hand over his heart.

She shook her head and waved him back to work, then strode through the kitchen inspecting the line cooks as they prepped for the noon rush. “Be sure and clean up as you go….No, not that dish. Use the glass one. And keep a towel nearby.…How long have you worked here?…Don’t wipe your hands on your apron.”

She stopped. “Jimmy,” she yelled above the din of the kitchen. Her voice carried to the break room where the young man sauntered out with a donut in one hand and a coffee cup in the other.

“Yeah?”

She glared at him. “What’s with all these dirty pots and pans?”

The guy shrugged. “Had somewhere to be last night, so I saved them.”

“Get rid of that donut now and finish your job in the next half hour, or you’re fired, no matter who your cousin is.”

He threw the donut and coffee in the trash can and plodded off to his station.

“Karen.”

“What!”

“You okay?” Her assistant manager, Cathy, raised an eyebrow.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to snap.” Karen took a deep breath. “Is the dining room ready?”

“No problems there. But…” Cathy glanced over her shoulder. “Barry’s at the bar.”

“Not with the new owner coming in.” Karen clenched her fists. If she talked to her husband now she would lose her cool. “Did you tell him I was busy?”

“Yes. But, he’s got that look.”

Karen rolled her eyes. That meant another of Barry’s money-making ideas. Ideas didn’t pay the rent. “I better go talk to him.”

Barry grinned as she approached and she paused at the sight of his dark wavy hair and strong jaw line. If life were a photo, he would take her breath away. But once you added sound and action, that fantasy vanished.

She bit her lip. A part of her longed for what they used to have. How does a man change so much? He used to lead people. Now he controlled them, like the other night. Karen shuddered, then closed the gap between them. “We’re about to open. You need to go. We can talk tonight.”

“Like all those other times? Please.” He leaned against the bar.

“I said, we’ll talk.”

Barry slid off the bar stool. Although he stood only a few inches taller than her five foot seven frame and didn’t work out enough to have an impressive build, he carried himself with a bravado that demanded attention. “We’ll talk now. You’ll like this idea. It’s a chance to get in on the ground floor of a start-up company.”

Karen caught a whiff of liquor on his breath. “A little early to be drinking, don’t you think?”

“Don’t change the subject.” He banged his fist on the bar.

She jumped. His eyes grew dark. She backed away, her eyes frozen on his hands. “You need to leave. Now.”

“Why?” Barry’s voice grew louder.

“So I won’t lose my job.” The new owner was a powerful man. Barry could blow it for her.

“Miss Indispensable? Lose her job?” His empty laugh bounced around the deserted room.

“Please.” Karen reigned in her hostility.

“I will do as I please.” He took a step toward her.

“If you hope to get your hands on my money, try honey not vinegar.” She crossed her arms and stared at him.

“What are you talking about?”

“This approach will not get you what you want.”

He looked behind her and backed away. “Yeah, maybe we should talk tonight.”

Karen wrinkled her brow. What’s got into him now? She turned. The new owner walked toward her. He reminded her of Danny Devito. Short, stout, and balding. Add a bit of swagger to his walk and you would have her new boss. She groaned. Glancing Barry’s direction she saw him leave through the kitchen. I hope he didn’t just cost me my job.

She turned to face the man. She mustered a smile and extended her hand. “Karen Marino. You must be Mr. Simon.”

The man stared at her. “You’re fired.”  He smiled like a kid who just lifted a trinket from the store and got away with it.

“You can’t do that.” Her throat closed up. Breathe.

“I own this place, I can and will clean house as I see fit.”

His reputation was well earned. She forced herself to unclench her hands. “I built this restaurant into what it is today.”

“There’s no place in any of my restaurants for what I just witnessed. Home stays at home.”

“You’d get rid of me for one incident?”

“It’s not just one incident.”

She bit her tongue and glared at the man. Who talked?

“Leave now. Come back and clear out your desk after lunch.”

“Fine, I don’t need you or your restaurant. I have my reputation.” She regretted the words as soon as she said them.

“When I’m done, you won’t have a reputation.”

She turned and fled to her office. A man that powerful didn’t make idle threats. She grabbed her purse, squared her shoulders, and marched through the kitchen. She would not be shamed out of here. She did nothing wrong.

Her assistant manager barked orders at the staff. The new owner smiled while he watched. So Cathy betrayed me. An old pain grabbed at Karen’s heart. Why do people turn on me?

Letting the door slam on her way out, she rushed into the flow of human traffic. The wall of buildings hid the breadth of the sky and pressed in around her. Exhaust fumes mingled with the aroma of pizza from a nearby kiosk. She jumped when a taxi blared its horn. Two people shoved each other to get in, arguing over appointments. She picked up her pace, needing to escape the surroundings that for the last fifteen years had made her feel so alive. An image of the family orchard in Missouri filled her heart.

Her past caught up to her present and the old emotions, released from their prison, pinballed around inside her. She ducked into a nearby alley and leaned against the wall. Pressing her hands against the wall, she took several calming breaths against the tears welling up in her chest. She needed to think, not cry.

She pressed her fingertips against her eyes. I don’t want to go back to the apartment yet, and I don’t have an office anymore. Where can I go? She fought the desire to throw things and stomp her feet. She would not lose control.

Something brushed against her elbow and she jerked away. A pungent odor assaulted her nose as a man in a tattered jacket stepped closer.

“Some money for food?” He reached out his hands.

She pushed the man away and tucked her purse close to her body as she stumbled out of the alley and hurried away. Her thoughts latched onto her husband and the impossibility of the situation. Lost in a daze she walked several blocks before her stomach growled, reminding her of the time. She paused and looked around. Carnegie Deli looked like a good choice. Crossing the street, she stood in line for her turn, anxious for the line to move, yet longing for a slower pace.

Pressure built up in her right eye and tension grew between her shoulders. She dug through her purse for some pain reliever and popped two in her mouth.

“Next.”

She looked up at the man behind the counter. “Uh, I’m not sure, what—”

“I’ll take a Woody Allen and a coffee.” A construction worker shouldered his way past Karen, slapping some bills on the counter.

Karen glared at him, then raised her voice above the next person trying to steal her place in line. “Give me a Woody Allen, too.”

Within minutes her order sat next to the construction worker’s sandwich. She grabbed her plate and cup of coffee, and turned to find a seat in the crowded dining room. From across the room, she saw two women get up from their table. She rushed to grab one of the empty chair.

She settled in to her seat and thought of the first time she came here. She was on a blind date, and he wanted to share his favorite place to eat. Crowded elbow to elbow with strangers at the shared table, it was not exactly romantic, but the food was delicious and plentiful. Her sandwich was piled so high with meat she ate for several days off of the leftovers.

Now, the deli gave her the anonymity she needed.

Cradling the coffee mug in her hands, she allowed the heat to calm her nerves. The day had not gone the way she planned. Lately, not much had. She rubbed her temples then scooted her plate forward to make room for her note pad. Avoiding the glares of her table mates, she pulled out a pen and began to list her options.

Find a job. In this economy? Right.

Barry find a job. She laughed.

Dip into her savings. She ripped the paper off the pad and wadded it up. Not again. That money was for the future.

Her head pounded as she fought back the tears. Barry’s scheme might be all they had. Maybe not.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out the letter. Karen remembered how special it felt to be a daughter of Charles and Annibel Hannigan. They were well respected in the community and at church, and then everything changed.

What’s so important that they want me to come home now? She laid the ticket aside and unfolded the letter.

Dear Karen,

Please come home. Your mother is dying and she needs to see you. She needs to know you understand. You need to hear what she has to say.

We are both sorry for the past and ask your forgiveness. I’ve enclosed a plane ticket. Change the date to what works best.

Love, Dad

Her hands trembled as she held the letter. Mom’s dying?

She laid the letter down and leaned her head onto her hands. She lost their favor with no explanation, and now they offered it to her again on a silver platter. It felt fake. What had she done to lose their favor in the first place? She wiped at tears she couldn’t stop. Did they think an apology could make up for everything?

“Hey lady, if you’re done, why don’t you move on. There’s folks waiting for a seat.”

Looking the bus boy directly in the eye, she reached for her sandwich and took a bite. He waved at her in dismissal and went back to work.

She glanced out the window as a mother bent down to look her child in the eye. She pointed at a large bulldozer across the street. The little boy smiled, looked back at her and nodded. They hugged. She grabbed his hand and continued walking.

She and her mother used to have a relationship like that. Carrying on like they were the only two people in the world. She looked away. Maybe going home wasn’t a viable option either.

She bit her lip. Am I supposed to just forgive them? How could they ask that of her? She hit the table with her fist and the coffee mug jumped, spilling onto the letter.

“Hey, watch it!” The man next to her grabbed his paper and picked it up ahead of the offending liquid.

“Sorry.” She grabbed some napkins and sopped up the mess. Blowing out a hard breath and tapping her fingers on the table, she checked her phone for the time before dialing her best friend.

Megan and Robert Fletcher reserved a table every Tuesday night at the restaurant Karen managed. Over time she became friends with Megan despite her penchant for religion. She always listened and gave good feedback.

And she’s the only person I trust.

Karen wouldn’t get the same attentive ear once Megan and Robert had their baby. The call went straight to voice mail, so she left a message. Megan must be at the women’s shelter she managed.

Karen picked up the letter and airline ticket and stuffed them in her purse. A walk might help her think better. Catching the waitress’ attention, she asked for a to-go bag.

Back on the street, her mind quickly turned to what her lack of employment meant for her life. Stay in New York and try to find another job without a reference. Give Barry’s scheme a chance. Or go home.

She cringed at all of those options. Like it or not, she had to consider them or maybe…her steps faltered as she did some quick mental calculations.

It would be risky and Barry wouldn’t like it, but she didn’t care. She quickened her step. She needed to stop by the bank.

The Discovery…Six Part Series from Wanda Brunstetter from Barbour Books

Wanda Brunstetter….The Discovery

exclusive 6-consecutive-month release Amish serial novel. 

 Book 1 

1

 

About this book

In Goodbye to Yesterday, part one of New York Times Bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunsetter’s The Discovery–A Lancaster County Saga, Meredith and Luke Stoltzfus, an Amish couple, are faced with the greatest challenge of their young lives. Financial struggles. Arguments. A suspected pregnancy. A last-minute trip to Middlebury, Indiana. A deadly encounter at a Philadelphia bus station. Will their love and faith be enough to bring them back together again, against all odds?  Follow their story in this exclusive 6-consecutive-month serial novel.

My Thoughts On Part One

I really love Meredith and Luke and struggled with them as they made the decision for Luke to travel to Indiana for a few weeks. Meredith has doubts about the trip, and she was right, Luke was mugged and left for dead when a troubled teen decided to take his money and identity. Luke is now in this hospital fighting for his life.

Book 2

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About this book

In The Silence of Winter, part two of New York Times Bestselling  author, Wanda E. Brunstetter’s The Discovery–A Lancaster County Saga, Meredith anxiously waits to hear that Luke has arrived safely in Indiana for a new job opportunity. . .but Luke’s call never comes. Instead, Meredith receives news that tears her heart to shreds and leaves her just barely living—and only for the sake of the little one growing within her. How will Meredith ever go on without Luke?

My Thoughts On Part Two

This part is very sad, with Meredith waiting for a call from Luke that she will never get. Then the sheriff shows up at her door with the news that changes her life. What will she do now with a baby on the way, most of their savings gone, no job and no help? Things just can’t get any worse than they are now. Or could they?

Book 3  

3About this book

 In The Hope of Spring, part three of New York Times Bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunsetter’s The Discovery–A Lancaster County Saga, Meredith Stoltzfus is trying to piece her life back together, while in a hospital miles away, a young man is fighting for his life and remains in a coma. . . . Weeks away from the baby being born, Meredith has never been so scared. She aches for Luke and knows her baby will need his father. She’s nearly out of money; can she somehow manage to provide for herself and her baby—alone?

My Thoughts On Part Three

By this time, I am just as anxious as Meredith is and my heart goes out to her as the time for her delivery draws closer. She is really trying to live life again, but missing Luke makes it almost impossible. But then there is Jonah, they new guy in town. And there is also a man in the hospital that hasn’t waken up and no one knows who he is.

Book 4 

4About this book

In The Pieces of Summer, part four of New York Times Bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunsetter’s The Discovery–A Lancaster County Saga, it’s only been a few months since Meredith Stoltzfus lost her husband, Luke, and deep down, she feels uncomfortable when Jonah Miller comes by often, so willing to help her with things around the house. Meanwhile, as a young, nameless man heals and regains strength in his body, his mind grasps at every image that flits across his memory, desperately trying to recall his former life. . . .

My Thoughts On Part Four

Despite the fact that Meredith lost her husband only a few months ago, Jonah keeps making appearances at her house. I really got annoyed at Jonah because he seemed to be pushing his way into Meredith’s life. I thought he needed to give her more space instead of trying to force his way into her life. Yeah, he says he is just helping her out because it’s the Amish way, but then where are the other young men in the area? Are they not doing their job by not helping? I don’t think that is the case. And Luke’s mom isn’t too happy about Jonah hanging around her son’s house either! Even though he is gone. But the man is still in the hospital, but healing, and trying his best to remember.

Book 5 

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About this book

In A Revelation in Autumn, part five of New York Times Bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunstetter’s The Discovery–A Lancaster County Saga, Meredith Stoltzfus becomes closer to Jonah Miller and agrees to marry him in the spring of next year. About the same time, Luke, who is called “Eddie” by his nurse, is grateful for the nurse’s grandparents who kindly take him in. Maybe living in a home-type atmosphere will help him regain his memory. Can he put the pieces of his past back together and return home in time—before he loses Meredith again?

My Thoughts On This Book

Well he finally does it, Jonah has ask Meredith to marry him. So the real truth comes out, and Mrs. Stoltzfus, Luke’s mom is not happy at all. But Meredith says Yes, so they start preparing for the wedding. In the mean time, a man is still struggling with his identity, trying to remember about his past life and who her really is. Though he remembers a few things about his former life, he just can’t put it all together.

Book 6

6About this book

In A Vow for Always, the conclusion ofNew York Times bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunsetter’s The Discovery, Luke Stoltzfus’ memory completely returns, and he rushes home to Lancaster County. When Meredith reunites with Luke, hours before her wedding to Jonah, she realizes her feelings for Jonah were never true love. Can Jonah’s heart withstand the way Meredith must break it to regain real love and restore her family?

My Thoughts On This Book

And what we have been waiting for. Luke remembers more and more and when he sees a faceless doll, he remembers the name of the person who made it, which happens to be Meredith’s sister. This leads Luke to a time or remembering, even remembers who he is, his wife and family, and that he is Amish. But at the same time, a wedding is about to be, and Jonah is so excited that he is finally marrying the person he has loved for many years. Will Luke return home in time? And what else has changed in the year he has been gone?

You will find answers in Wanda Brunstetter’s Six Part Amish Series, The Discovery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the books and the order they are written:

The Discovery–A Lancaster County Saga
Book 1 – Goodbye to Yesterday
Book 2 – The Silence of Winte
Book 3 – The Hope of Spring
Book 4 – The Pieces of Summer
Book 5 – A Revelation in Autumn
Book 6 – A Vow for Always

My Overall Review……

This is a really good series to read. And each book is short and only takes a few hours. So if you are one of those people who can’t read a big thick book, check out this Amish series. You will have six short books and can read when you can and how much you want.

I really liked Meredith and Luke, and was sad when he was beaten beyond recognition. But Jonah was a different story. I thought he was just in the way, but then I knew about Luke and Meredith didn’t! I did feel bad for Jonah though when his wedding was canceled at the last minute and he lost the girl he had loved for years.

Other characters I enjoyed were the nurses at the hospital and the family that took Luke in after he got out of rehab. Even though they were an Englisch family, a bond was between them and Luke’s family because of the hospitality they showed toward Luke.

If you enjoy Amish fiction, this is a series you will love. Pick up your copy today for hours of enjoyment and entertainment.

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.

About the Author

Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of almost 60 books with more than 6 million copies sold. Many of her books have landed on the top bestseller lists, including the New York Times, USA 518ef6b307ab0a7e9d9a8a.L._V182261774_Today, Publisher’s Weekly, CBA, ECPA, and CBD. Wanda is considered one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, and her work has been covered by national publications, including Time Magazine and USA Today.

Wanda’s fascination with the Amish culture developed when she met her husband, Richard, who grew up in a Mennonite church, and whose family has a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Meeting her new Mennonite sister-in-laws caused Wanda to yearn for the simpler life. In their travels, she and her husband have become close friends with many Amish people across America. Wanda’s desire to explore their culture increased when she discovered that her great-great grandparents were part of the Anabaptist faith.

All of Wanda’s novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Many of her books are well-read and trusted by the Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

Wanda’s primary attraction to the Amish is their desire to live a devout Christian life that strives to honor God, work hard, and maintain close family ties. Whenever she visits her Amish friends, Wanda finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties, which is in stark contrast to the chaos and busyness that plagues so many modern “Englishers.” Time and time again, Wanda loses her heart in the Amish life, and she hopes her readers will, too. For more information, visit: http://www.WandaBrunstetter.com

Salvaged the Series Review plus Author Interview

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Salvaged the Series Review

This series is based on Attie, a young lady who lost her best friend and her mom in a horrible automobile accident. An accident, which changes Attie’s life forever because she feels as though she has no right to live after her mom and best friend, died. In trying to heal after the accident, Attie spends the summer with her friend Melanie’s family in Oklahoma. As you can imagine, Attie’s emotions over what happened are more than she can handle, as she and Melanie’s brother grows closer over the summer, he tries to help her heal from her past.

 

This is a wonderful series dealing healing through love. I enjoyed the characters, and the sweet romance budding between the two teens. Salvaged is a Christian based film and teaches that the healing comes through faith and love through Jesus. I really like this series, but it is difficult to watch at time because of the sadness in Attie remembering the accident and her mom and friend. 

 

 

AUTHOR’S INTERVIEW: STEFNE MILLER

How did the Salvaged web series come about?
I was working with Director, Paul Morrell on a movie adaptation of my third novel, Collision. We had just completed the screenplay and were about to move in to the next phase, when I told him about an idea I had for Salvaged. I’d always believed that it would make a great teen drama series – either on television, straight to DVD or web streaming. He loved the idea and was interested in doing it. Within days, a friend that I mentioned it to, offered to pay to have a pilot/proof of concept reel developed. Less than a month later, I was in LA holding a casting call. Two weeks later, a cast and crew of 25 were in a rented house, shooting for five days. We decided to take the pilot episode and also release it as a web series so that we could introduce people to the story, characters and our quality of work. We believe that this can only help both the Salvaged and Collision projects.

What is the big goal?
The big picture goal is that a network or distributor would pick up the series. I’ve already written the scripts for eight 45 minute episodes or what could easily be turned in to a mini-series.

Who are you hoping to reach with this series?
Salvaged, the web series is based on my first novel by the same name. It is a young adult Christian fiction novel that was able to transcend the lines of Christian fiction and also move into the secular market. Salvaged was first picked up in the mainstream young adult fiction blogging world and the reviews and ratings landed me on the Goodreads.com Reader’s Choice Awards finalist list for Debut Author of 2010. I am hoping that Salvaged will continue to reach out into various audiences and present them with a powerful story that has the ability to impact lives – no matter the way in which they receive it (book, web series, tv show, etc).

When does the series come out?
There are six episodes. The first was released on September 25th. The remaining episodes will release every Wednesday at 8 am (CST) through October 30th.

Where can viewers find the episodes?
Salvaged has it’s own YouTube channel at: youtube.com/salvagedseries. The episodes will stay on the Salvaged YouTube channel for viewers to watch far into the future.

Where can we find out more about the series and the book? 

You can also learn more about the series on the official Salvaged web site at salvagedseries.com. You can read an except of the first chapter ofSalvaged, the book, at my web site, stefnemiller.com, or purchase a copy online or at your local bookstores.

A Reluctant Courtship by Laurie Alice Eakes From Revell

 A Reluctant Courtship

 by Laurie Alice Eakes

 

A woman without a prospect. A man without a homeland. Can love give them a future?

9781441243089Honore Bainbridge has been courted by two men, one of whom turned out to be a traitor, the other a murderer. Banished to her family’s country estate, where she will hopefully stay out of trouble, she finally meets the man she is sure is exactly right for her: Lord Ashmoor. Tall, dark, and handsome–what more could a girl ask for?

But he too is under suspicion because of his American upbringing and accusations that he has helped French prisoners escape from Dartmoor Prison. If he’s to keep out of a British prison himself and secure his place in British society, Lord Ashmoor needs a wife beyond reproach–something the vexingly beautiful Honore certainly is not. Though they find themselves drawn to each other, family obligations may conspire to keep them apart forever.

For the sake of her heart, Honore determines to prove Ashmoor’s innocence–even if doing so risks her own life.

From the first sentence, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes thrusts you into high drama amid the rocky cliffs of Devonshire, England, and keeps you suspended there until the final page.

For more information, please visit http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/a-reluctant-courtship/324500

 

 

My Thoughts On This Book

Honore Bainbridge just hasn’t made good choices when it comes to men, since one was a murderer and traitor, and now this third one isn’t what Honore thought he was. Thus tainting her family’s name. Lord Ashmoor is looking for a respectable wife but he is not sure he wants that wife to be Honore Bainbridge. But Lord Ashmoor has his own family background he has to worry about too!  I felt bad for Honore as she strives to find a man who truly loves her for who she is, and one who doesn’t have a suspected past. Honore’s character was interesting and captivating and caught my attention from the beginning of the book. And I didn’t put this book down very many times because I wanted to follow Honore and see what the next step life had for her.

I really enjoyed the history throughout this book on Great Britain during the war. I didn’t know a lot about this time in history, so it was very interesting to have a glimpse of the life of those living then. There is a lot going on in this book, so you will be captivated by the story and the setting while you read A Reluctant Courtship. I encourage you to purchase your copy asap for a wonderful read! And since this is the last book in The Daughters of Bainbridge House trilogy, why not pick up the first two books in this series too! You will be blessed as you read these three books from Laurie Eakes.

“Available October 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.

 

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

Laurie Alice Eakes

Laurie Alice Eakes

Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of Lady in the MistHeart’s Safe PassageA Necessary DeceptionA Flight of Fancy, and several other novels. She won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 for Family Guardian. Laurie Alice writes full-time from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and sundry dogs and cats.

Salvaged……A Love Story by Stefne Miller

Salvaged

A Love Story
by Stefne Miller

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‘My body was being torn apart, and my stomach felt as if it exploded. The pain was excruciating, and I was aware that I was dying…

‘Mom?’ My vision was murky, but I could see her face. It was bloody, and her eyes were large and full of fear.

Her voice calmed. ‘Get out of the car, Attie.’ Her words sounded crisp and clear.

I looked into the backseat in search of Melody and found her lying covered in blood in a twisted heap on the floor. I turned my attention back to my mother and out of the corner of my eye saw fire.

‘Get out, Attie!’

‘Mom?’

Everything went dark.’

Attie Reed should have died in the wreck that stole the lives of her mother and best friend. But her life was spared. Why?

When Attie moves to Oklahoma to stay with the Bennetts for the summer, she hopes she has left her nightmares behind. But her battle is far from over, and Riley Bennett steps forward to help her fight the nighttime monsters. As the battle wears on, Riley begins fighting monsters of his own: his feelings for Attie. And Attie realizes she must begin to face the monsters of the night herself if she wants to conquer them for good.

Can Attie’s life be Salvaged?

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Salvaged is such a sweet heartwarming story. Ms. Miller deals with a lot of emotions and feelings in her book, and they are feeling I am sure anyone reading this book with find themselves in one of the situations here. Attie’s life changed after she survived the accident that took her mom and her best friends life. She had such a difficult time because she thought she should have died with them. She was strong in her faith in the Lord, but sometimes it was difficult reading and trying to figure her out.

Overall this is one of the most special stories you will ever read! The characters are well developed, and I you will enjoyed how they connected with each other as the story develops. I really loved all of the characters, they all seemed to find a special place in my heart, This is an awesome book for teenage girls, and especially those who are going through a difficult time. Attie sure had her share of difficult situations, but her strong faith carried her through. This is a special message that everyone needs to hear. And I love the romance throughout the book. You will find everything in this wonderful book heartwarming and amazing. Pick up your copy today!

I received this book from the publisher Christian Speakers Services 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.

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

Stefne Miller was born an “Army Brat” and lived in many states growing up including: Oklahoma, Hawaii, Georgia, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Like Attie, she moved to a new state the summer before her senior year of high school.

Before trying her hand at writing, she held various jobs including working along side her husband in Children’s Ministry; becoming the Director of Operations and later a Public Policy Specialist and Cabinet Liaison for then Governor of Oklahoma, Frank Keating; and later, a pharmaceutical representative for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

In 2008, while visiting a friend out of state, Stefne had a dream in which the Lord asked her to join him on a new journey. Upon waking, she wrote down the dream and SALVAGED was born. For the next several weeks, Stefne dreamed a new scene every night until eventually, the scenes started developing at all times of the day and night. The first draft of SALVAGED was completed in sixty days.

Stefne currently lives in Edmond, Oklahoma and has been married to Shaun, a realtor, since 1994. Shaun and Stefne have three sons – Jacob (14), Caleb (12) and Yohannes (11). Her passions are the Lord, her family and friends, adoption awareness, writing and Oklahoma Sooner football.

CFBA presents…..A Bride for Keeps…by Melissa Jagears

This week, the 

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance 

is introducing 

A Bride for Keeps 

Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2013) 

by 

Melissa JagearsABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word From The Author:

I am a stay at home mother on a tiny little farm with a fixer-upper house. As much as I love writing and reading about homesteaders, I am so glad I’m a homesteader during an era with modern grocery stores to take up for my slack. I am an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher by trade, and I still work occasionally in that field along with being my church’s financial secretary and writing novels.

My husband and I have been married since 2001 and have a daughter and two little boys. My husband shares my fascination with traditional living except for being more hands on. He loves blacksmithing, knife smithing, traditional archery, hunting, etc. Generally whatever a mountain man does, he does it or has or wants to attempt it. He comes in handy for research! And of course, the rest of the family gets involved. I have my own blackpowder rifle, named Calvin, that my husband made for me. And I’m pretty sure my daughter is probably one of very few her age who can instruct adults how to shoot a longbow properly. The boy digs random holes in my yard to make “cement” with dirt and water making our yard a tripping hazard. The baby does what babies do.

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Tender Tale of Love on the Prairie Perfect for CBA Readers!

Although Everett Cline can hardly keep up with the demands of his homestead, he won’t humiliate himself by looking for a helpmate ever again–not after being jilted by three mail-order brides. When a well-meaning neighbor goes behind his back to bring yet another mail-order bride to town, he has good reason to doubt it will work, especially after getting a glimpse at the woman in question. She’s the prettiest woman he’s ever seen, and it’s just not possible she’s there to marry a simple homesteader like him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. Having finally worked up the courage to leave her life in Massachusetts, she’s determined to find a place where people will value her for more than her looks. Having run out of all other options, Julia resorts to a mail-order marriage in far-away Kansas.

Everett is skeptical a cultured woman like Julia could be happy in a life on the plains, while Julia, deeply wounded by a past relationship, is skittish at the idea of marriage at all. When, despite their hesitations, they agree to a marriage in name only, neither one is prepared for the feelings that soon arise to complicate their arrangement. Can two people accustomed to keeping their distance let the barricades around their hearts down long enough to fall in love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Bride for Keeps, go HERE.

CFBA Presents A Plain Disappearance by Amanda Flowers

This week, the 

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance 

is introducing 

A Plain Disappearance 

B&H Books (September 1, 2013) 

by 

Amanda FlowerABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

ABOUT THE BOOK

USA Today recently hailed award-nominated author Amanda Flower for A Plain Death, calling it “the first Amish rom-com . . . bring on the next one!” As the enthusiastic reviews continue to mount, she’s back with her third Appleseed Creek mystery, A Plain Disappearance.

It’s Christmastime in Amish Country, and Chloe Humphrey has begun settling into her life in Appleseed Creek excited to see where her new relationship with Timothy Troyer will lead. Unfortunately it leads to murder when the couple discovers the body of Amish teenager Katie Lambright while on their first date.

Near the scene there is evidence that Timothy’s friend and auto mechanic Billy Thorpe is involved with the crime. The police reveal Billy is not really who he said he was and has been living the last decade in Knox County under a stolen alias. Now, Chloe and Timothy must find Billy, bring him to justice, or prove his innocence.

If you would like to read the first chapter of >A Plain Disappearance, go HERE.

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

I decided to read Books One and Two of this series before I read this Third book, I will post a review for all three books when I finish them! Thanks much, and this is an awesome series so far!

Blessings….

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