Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge Wrap Up Post



I loved this challenge and I am grateful to Sarah of A Library is a Hospital for the Mind for coming up with and hosting it.
I do not know how but these books have escaped my attention until now. I read the first book in the series Betsy Tacy right before the challenge started. Then during the challenge time I read the next three books in the Betsy Tacy series. I have the remaining six books in my TBR. They came in this week and I have not had time to read them but I look forward to finishing them soon. Thank you Sarah :)

RIP Reading Challenge Wrap Up Post



Today ends the R.I.P. Reading Challenge. I loved it and look forward to doing it again next year. Thank you to Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings for being a wonderful host. I am re posting a link to my original post.
http://abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2009/08/rip-iv-reading-challenge.html

Here is what I read (my absolute favorites are in bold) :
- Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove
- The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters
- The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters
- Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
- Eye for an Eye by Irene Hannon
- Lonestar Secrets by Colleen Coble
- Ends of the Earth by Tim Downs
- Race to the Rescue by Dana Mentink
- The Secret of the Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor
- Moving Target by Stephanie Newton
- Last Breath by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins
- The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason
- eye of the god by Ariel Allison
- Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke


I really liked all of the books I read. I do not have reviews up for all of them. Her Fearful Symmetry was one of my favorites but I have no idea on how to review it. I do not want to give away the plot. It was better than The Time Traveler's Wife and perfect for the RIP challenge and way outside what I normally read. I was a little disappointed in Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke. Maybe because I anticpated it too much? I can't wait for the next Hannah Swenson mystery anyway. I have not finished Dracula. I will finish it before the end of the year just not tonight. Overall a great challenge. :)

The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey



About the book

It is August 1944 and the Gestapo is mercilessly rounding up suspected enemies of the Third Reich. When Joseph Engel, a German physicist working on the atomic bomb, finds that he is actually a Jew, adopted by Christian parents, he must flee for his life to neutral Switzerland. Gabi Mueller is a young Swiss-American woman working for the newly formed American Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner to the CIA) close to Nazi Germany. When she is asked to risk her life to safely "courier" Engel out of Germany, the fate of the world rests in her hands. If she can lead him to safety, she can keep the Germans from developing nuclear capabilities. But in a time of traitors and uncertainty, whom can she trust along the way? This fast-paced, suspenseful novel takes readers along treacherous twists and turns during a fascinating--and deadly--time in history.


About the authors:

Tricia Goyer is the author of several books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Montana. To find out more visit her website: http://www.triciagoyer.com/Mike Yorkey is the author or coauthor of dozens of books, including the bestselling Every Man's Battle series. Married to a Swiss native, Yorkey lived in Switzerland for 18 months. He and his family currently reside in California.To find out more visit his website: http://www.mikeyorkey.com/




CONTEST

(and this includes CHOCOLATE!)

Pst...pass it on! Help Spread the word about #SwissCourier on Twitter and enter to win a signed copy & Swiss Chocolate!
Just tweet this: The Swiss Courier by @triciagoyer fast paced and suspenseful! Don't miss out! http://tr.im/Ahjs RT #swisscourier and we'll enter you into a drawing for 1 of 5 SIGNED copies of The Swiss Courier!


Embrace the Struggle by Zig Ziglar and Julie Ziglar Norman

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card authors are:


and the book:


Embrace the Struggle

Howard Books (October 27, 2009)

***Special thanks to Jennifer Willingham of HOWARD BOOKS (SIMON & SCHUSTER) for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORs:


Zig Ziglar is the president of Zig Ziglar Corporation and has motivated the sales forces of multinational corporations and thousands of individuals. One of the leading stars of the “positive thinking” movement, he is the author of bestsellers See You at the Top, Secrets of Closing the Sale, Success and Self-Image, 5 Steps to Successful Selling, How to Be a Winner, and How to Get What You Want.

Visit the author's website.

Julie Ziglar Norman is the overly proud mother and grandmother of one son, three daughters, and twelve grandchildren. She lives in Alvord, Texas, with her husband of twenty-six years, Jim Norman; three horses, three rescued dogs and three rescued cats, and she is currently writing her first solo book to be published by Brown Books in 2010.

Visit the author's website.




Product Details:

List Price: $23.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Howard Books (October 27, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 143914219X
ISBN-13: 978-1439142196

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


FOREWORD


Zig Ziglar, my father, is in a struggle right now. A struggle so profound and so real that by sharing it with you I believe you will be filled with hope and encouragement. The gift that God has given Dad is the gift of encouragement and the ability to transfer hope to others so that they can rise above whatever circumstance they are in. As Dad has always said, “Getting knocked down in life is a given. Getting up, starting from where you are and moving forward, is a choice.”

On March 7, 2007, our family experienced what Dr. James Dobson calls “a suddenly.” I was out of town when I got the call. I went numb as I listened to my sister Cindy’s voice, “Dad fell down the stairs. He has a serious head injury.” Suddenly, our family joined millions of other families facing similar circumstances and life was very different. Dad, at eighty years of age, lost the vitality he was renowned for; he no longer moved with the energy and agility of a sixty-five-year-old man. Almost overnight he aged fifteen plus years, and thus began his struggle to live with and overcome the effects of a brain injury.

The next weeks were very anxious as we figured out the impact of the accident and the possibilities for recovery. The calendar became filled with doctors and more doctors. Life was changing fast. But the amazing thing was that Dad’s attitude never changed. I knew that he hurt all over from falling down a sixteen step staircase onto a marble floor. I could see that his balance was impaired and that his short-term memory was “really short,” as he likes to say, but still he was as optimistic and, if possible, even more loving than before the fall. As usual, he was more concerned for us than he was for himself.

“Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do.” I have heard Dad say that hundreds of times. “It isn’t what happens to you, but how you respond to what happens to you that makes the difference.” “Go as far as you can see, then you can see farther.” These are words my father has taught and words he lives by daily. And that is why I’m so excited about this book. Once again my father is using his circumstances, as unfortunate as they may be, to encourage others in their own struggles. As my sister Julie says, he is willing to be transparent, and he continues to write and speak because he wants to show his audiences that life on life’s terms is well worth living. Life may never be the same again but that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as wonderful and fulfilling in an entirely new and different way.

My wish for you as you journey through this book is that you will count your blessings until your gratitude bucket is full, and if you or someone you love is in a struggle, take courage and press on, because, as the Ziglar family has learned, it is in the depths of the struggle that God reveals His eternal blessings.


Embrace the Struggle,


Tom Ziglar

Proud Son of Zig Ziglar



INTRODUCTION



I’m convinced that in the last year the overwhelming majority of people have been struggling with some kind of concern—personal, family, business, health, relationships—you name it. I know I certainly have! It seems these are things that just happen over the course of time. The question is how do you handle struggle?

Through the years I’ve spoken about and written often on how to overcome negative situations, but as a motivational/inspirational speaker and author, I have to admit that I personally have spent the majority of my time focused on how to accomplish the next positive achievement. I believe I have given an honest and realistic picture of how to address struggles in the past but as you know, what we know is a result of what we’ve learned. The things we learn firsthand have a much greater impact on us and better position us to help others deal with similar circumstances. In fact, the Bible tells us this is so; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of our mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:3–4 NKJV).

Until now, my greatest life struggle has been dealing with the death of my forty-six-year-old daughter, Suzan. I wrote extensively in Confessions of a Grieving Christian about how I grappled with my grief and how God comforted me. Not surprisingly, that book has been the one of mine that has generated the most letters from readers. Why? Because that topic directly addresses an emotional struggle all of us eventually face in our lives. Generally, you don’t read a book about grief unless you are grieving. And you typically won’t gravitate toward a book on overcoming struggles unless you, or someone you love, are in the midst of a struggle. If you find this to be your case, you my friend, are reading the right book!

I know without a doubt that the personal struggle I’ve been going through since my fall has given me insight that I could not have had otherwise. I’ve been overwhelmed time and time again as I have discovered that the principles I’ve taught through the years apply to my present circumstances more completely than they ever have at any other time in my life. And, amazingly, the simplest concepts of all have proven to be the most applicable life buoys for me.

The pages that follow this introduction are full of inspiring stories of individuals who have faced struggles and not only survived, but live a life far more fulfilling than they ever experienced before their struggle began. Many of the stories come from individuals who, upon hearing about my brain injury, sought to encourage and comfort me with the comfort that God had extended to them during their struggle.

I will share with you the principles and scriptures that have served as lifelines for me and explain how I have applied them to my struggle. You will hear how my struggle has impacted and influenced the lives of my wife, the Redhead (When I’m talking about her, I call her the Redhead. When I’m talking to her, I call her Sugar Baby. Her name is Jean.), my son Tom, my daughters, Cindy and Julie, and my granddaughter Katherine. You’ll also learn how this has impacted my speaking career, my writing and the wonderful staff I’m blessed to have at our company, Ziglar, Inc.

My personal struggle is health related but this book deals with not only the struggle physical limitations create, but also financial, spiritual, family and relationship struggles. This book is about living life on life’s terms. It is about knowing what you can change and what you can’t change and learning how to live your life with an enthusiastic expectation for what is yet to come. Where there is a struggle there is life. For that we can be grateful!













CHAPTER ONE

THE FALL AND THE FUTURE


I get lots of ideas when the lights go out at night and it gets very quiet. Sometimes they come when I first lie down to sleep, other times I wake up with an idea racing through my mind, but regardless of when an idea comes, I have made it a habit to get out of bed and write the idea down before it disappears into my dreams. You should do the same. (This book is not really about me and my accident . . . it’s about you having the benefit of my experience, good or bad!)

I’ve also made it a habit not to disturb the Redhead if I can possibly help it and that night was no exception. I quietly slid out of bed and hurried toward my office which is across the hall and to the right of the head of the staircase. As usual, I did not turn on a light. I had traveled that particular path thousands of times in the twenty-two years we’d lived in our home. However, in all of those years I had never accidentally put my left foot down where the second floor ended and the first step down our staircase began! Let’s just say that misstep more than disturbed the Redhead!

Most of what I am writing at this point is information my family filled me in on after the accident. Since I was unconscious for several minutes I have absolutely no recall of what happened after I fell but from what the Redhead tells me she grabbed the phone and dialed 911 as soon as she realized I was tumbling down the stairs. An ambulance was dispatched and help was at the house within a few minutes of my fall.


“THE CALL”


While the paramedics attended to me the Redhead called our children. By then it was about 10:30 p.m. so seeing our name come up on Caller ID at that hour struck fear into our children’s hearts. And this time, I’m sorry to say, their fear was not unfounded. My son Tom refers to that night as the night he got “the call.” I’m quite sure each of you has had “the call” at one time or another and can relate to what our children were experiencing. I’m grateful that all three of them, including Tom who was out of town, hurried to the hospital to help their “elderly parents”—that is what I call us when I’m about half-teasing and about half-relieved that our kids are hovering around us, willing and eager to help.

Over the next several hours it became apparent that my left side took the brunt of my fall. When I landed at the bottom of the stairs I hit my head on the marble floor and then slammed it against the front door. Please don’t ask for a reenactment—you get the picture! I had to spend a few nights at the hospital so the doctors could monitor the two areas where my brain had a bleed, and I needed some time to get used to the positional vertigo that I began to experience about twelve hours after I fell. Amazingly, I suffered no broken bones, but I can testify that I was one sore and dizzy guy!

What we didn’t know when I finally left the hospital was how seriously my short-term memory had been affected. Sometimes it is nice to be a little clueless. Everyone in the family has had ample time to adjust to the fact that my short-term memory is very, very, short. Now we are all learning how to live with that fact.

Life is change. On March 7, 2007, my life changed completely with one, simple, misplaced step. Some would say it changed for the worse, and by man’s standards they would be entirely right. Fortunately, and I can assure you this is not by chance, the one verse that I’ve written in the majority of books I’ve been asked to autograph, the verse that I believe encourages people most in the midst of their troubles, Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (KJV), is the verse that allows me to know that God will use this season of my life, difficult though it may be, for His glory and my ultimate benefit.

By man’s standards my fall down the stairs and the vertigo and the brain injury that resulted in my short-term memory loss would seem to dictate an end to my long and much loved career, but I’m here to tell you that even with its problems, life is more inspiring, more intriguing, and more fulfilling than ever. For me, when life does take an unexpected turn, it is somewhat like taking a hike on a new trail; I can’t wait to see what is around the next bend. If the going gets really rocky, I might start hoping smoother ground is just ahead, or that I’m close to the end of the trail where I can take a long desired break from the grueling journey. But my enthusiastic expectation for what is yet to come, for what God has planned for me and my life, never wavers. I trust Him.

I also trust my family. Many years ago I told my family that I was concerned that I might not be able to realize it myself if I started to lose my edge and my speeches were no longer as effective as they should be. I did not want to embarrass myself so I asked them to promise that they would tell me if they ever thought it was time for me to step down from the stage. As I got older and started experiencing some of what I’d call the usual memory loss that happens when we pass the ages of fifty, sixty, and then seventy, the children often checked on me to be sure I was still able to deliver. Thankfully, they were discreet and until after the accident I didn’t even know they had already begun checking me out periodically. They took their assignment seriously and I’m glad they did.

It is true that as I neared the age of eighty, I began to rely on notes to help me keep my place as I was speaking. But I figured that most folks rely on notes by the time they are eighty so I wasn’t at all concerned about how my audience would perceive my occasional pass by the podium to reference my outline. My daughter Julie reviewed the DVD of the Get Motivated Seminar engagement I did in San Bernardino, California on March 6, 2007, the day before my accident and she assures me that I was still completely stage worthy at that point. Unfortunately, my brain injury had such a profound effect on my short-term memory that the ability to reference an outline was beyond me. I could look at the outline but I couldn’t remember the last point that I had made. To add insult to injury, the vertigo I was experiencing made it virtually impossible for me to even walk around the stage safely.


THE DILEMMA


Obviously, I had a real dilemma. I book engagements months and years in advance and there were several engagements pending when I fell. I know companies and individuals alike are negatively impacted if I can’t keep an engagement, so I have always done everything in my power to be where I’m expected. I’ve missed the funerals of my siblings and friends and I’ve spoken when I probably should not have due to illness, but I always felt like my responsibility to show up according to plan was paramount. I can still hear my mother saying, “If a man’s word is no good—he is no good.” I had given my word.

Situations like the one I’m in create circumstances that make a fellow really grateful to have good family relationships. I knew I could count on the help of my family and I got it in spades! The Redhead, Tom, Cindy and Julie enlisted the help of my doctors who were working with me after my accident, as well as the help of my friends and associates, to determine if I should find a way to continue speaking or stay home and concentrate on my writing.

My family was open to seeing how I would progress, but they were concerned about the very real possibility that my vertigo might cause another fall and that traveling would put me in more vulnerable positions than staying close to home would. When they discussed the idea that it might be time for me to retire from public speaking, it was quickly followed by a concern that God might not be done with using me on the stage and none of them wanted to be responsible for suggesting I stop if that was, in fact, the case. However, it was crystal clear that short of an outright miracle I would not be giving the kind of speeches my audiences had come to expect.

The doctors had said that I might recover more of my short-term memory with time as my brain healed but they couldn’t be sure of what the ultimate outcome was going to be. More than a year has passed since my fall and it seems that I have good days and other days. (You know there are no bad days. After all, some people didn’t wake up today and compared to them I’m having a better than good day!) Since I am over eighty years of age we are taking the conservative approach to my medical options. We’re taking our time and applying the good old Ben Franklin approach I’ve taught all these years; divide a page from top to bottom, put positive benefits of procedures/therapies in one column and possible negative outcomes in the other, and we’ll let the obvious, as well as prayer, determine our decisions.

I’ll go into more detail later about some of the therapies, supplements, exercises and medical treatments friends and even clients have suggested and that we’ve tried, but for now I want you to know that we’ve never stopped looking at possible treatments for what ails me. We pray about the treatments and supplements we are told about and if we feel God is leading me to try them, I try them. My doctors remain supportive and encouraging about the possibilities the future holds.

My associates, particularly those who also speak on public platforms, were and still are concerned about me retaining my dignity and going out on top. The thought of me, in many cases, their mentor, performing differently and faltering here and there before an audience is almost unthinkable. I love them for wanting to help me be remembered as I was before the accident. And I love them for personally helping me move ahead, to do what God puts in front of me to the best of my ability.


THE IMMEDIATE SOLUTION


Thankfully, the only speaking engagement that I had to miss immediately after my fall was for my friends and business associates Peter and Tamara Lowe at one of their big Get Motivated Seminars in Houston, Texas on March 13, 2007. After a lot of in-depth examination by no less than five doctors, it was determined that I had retained almost all of the information I have taught over my many years as a speaker and author, and that I was totally “present” when being spoken to. The only new memory problem I had was with the most immediate short-term. When questioned I could answer without any hesitation, but if you asked me what you had asked me when I finished answering the question I could not tell you. Yes, my memory about current events is that short! (You’re probably wondering how this book got written and I’ll tell you—we are both the beneficiaries of the good help I have. Between my executive assistant, Laurie Magers, my editor/daughter Julie Norman and others on my staff, we got it done!)

Since I could recall information when asked, Peter Lowe came up with the idea of changing my speaking format. For years I have been known for my energetic, highly physical speaking style. Some people have even accused me of being more than enthusiastic during presentations. I liked to somewhat live out the stories while I was telling them, and I thought standing stock still behind a podium might block or slow down the words that came flying out of my mouth at the rate of 250 per minute with gusts up to 450. You would naturally assume that it was my vertigo that put an end to all my physical onstage activity, but it really had more to do with the fact that we couldn’t find anyone who felt comfortable chasing me around the stage to ask the next question in our new interview format! Sorry, I couldn’t contain myself.

Sitting down for one-on-one interviews on stage came about through a combination of me being unsteady on my feet and my mind not keeping track of what I’d already said. Peter Lowe interviewed me for the first time in Boise, Idaho on March 27, 2007, just twenty days after my fall but after a few engagements it occurred to him that my associates, Bryan Flanagan and Krish Dhanam, both of whom have shared the Get Motivated Seminar platforms with me on many occasions, might be a better fit for the job. They have both taught my material and they’ve studied it in order to apply it to their lives. They can tell most of my stories almost word for word, and in the event I had trouble recalling any answer to their questions they could help out by prompting me toward the answer or outright supplying the answer if it still eluded me. It made perfect sense to ask them to interview me at the Get Motivated Seminars. Fortunately, they both agreed and with great faith we pressed forward to keep my commitments.


LOVE AND HONOR


Both Krish and Bryan did an excellent job of interviewing me on stage. They carefully laid out their questions so that we could cover several different areas of interest such as the mental, physical, spiritual, financial and relational sides of life. Their goal and mine was to continue to give the audience valuable, applicable, life improving information in an entertaining way.

I cannot express fully the gratitude I have for these two men. Engagement after engagement, they tweaked their questions as they learned better how to deal with my short-term memory. They spent hours and hours working on how to make me look my very best. They learned how to highlight the good and minimize the imperfections that were bound to happen with the kind of brain injury I suffered.

We continued on this course with the public seminars but we had to address what we, as a company, would do about my corporate engagements and about my two day Born to Win seminar that I had hosted since the 1970s. My son Tom was the president of our company at that time (now he is the CEO) and I sorely wish that all the weight of this problem hadn’t fallen squarely on his shoulders, but he handled and continues to handle the business beautifully.

Tom decided that we’d notify the corporations I was scheduled to speak for about my accident and the change to an interview format and let them decide if they wanted to keep their engagement or cancel, and that we would not book anymore corporate events for the foreseeable future. He also decided we would promote the upcoming Born to Win seminar as the final one.


THE LAST BORN-TO-WIN SEMINAR


I know rock stars have farewell tours, sometimes they have one every four or five years, but I had never considered that I might actually “plan” to do any of the things I do for the last time. I’ve always planned to die while I’m still doing what I love doing. When folks say they’ve heard I’m retired, I say with mock surprise, “Retired! Friend, you weren’t listening! I said I was reFIRED! I’m not gonna ease up, shut up, let up or give up, until I’m taken up! Matter of fact, I’m just getting’ warmed up!”

Some people might think that’s reaching a little far for a man who has celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of his twenty-first birthday. (For those of you who are mathematically challenged that means I’m eighty-one years old.) But I am truly the kind of guy who goes after Moby Dick in a rowboat and takes the tartar sauce with him! Which will help you understand that it was with a bit of trepidation that I agreed to the “last” Born to Win seminar.

It wasn’t long before I understood why rock stars have so many farewell tours. They sell out—fast! I was overwhelmed at the immediate response to the announcement. Many who attended Born to Win did so several times through the years. Some brought their employees; others came with their whole family in tow. Larry Carpenter particularly stands out in my mind. He attended forty-five times over twenty-seven consecutive years. His beautiful wife Lisa and their three sons participated more times than I can remember. Larry also financially sponsored nearly 200 people down through the years because he wanted the people he cares about to experience what he experienced there. The last Born to Win was no exception. He brought his whole family and as we’d say down home, a passel of friends to boot! That event was like old home week for the Redhead and me. We got to see so many people whom we’d come to know and love. We were in “tall cotton” the whole time.

Because of my accident, my involvement had been scaled down a great deal but I was scheduled to have three different interview sessions with Krish Dhanam and a great deal of time mixing and mingling with the participants. Krish did the interview the first evening and later fell ill so another long time associate and friend Jill Tibbels agreed to do the Saturday morning interview, which went off exceptionally well. Jill always does an incredible job of anything we ask her to do. That’s just one of the reasons we’re so grateful her association with us spans more than twenty-five years.

Tom came up with the idea of making this final BTW more intimate and special by having a “family” session where the Redhead, Tom, Cindy and Julie joined me on the stage in a living room setting to tell stories about what it was like having me for a husband and father. I often tell people that if I’d known how much fun grandkids were going to be I would have been a whole lot nicer to their parents! I’d like to add that had I known my wife and children would be taking the stage to talk about me . . .

We all had a marvelous time but I suspect my jaw was dropped open most of the time. I had no idea that I had raised so many hams! All three of my children had the audience holding on to their sides. Honestly, I didn’t know that growing up and working with me had provided them with so much funny material! And then the Redhead chimed in and people were almost rolling on the floor. It was as if my family had been saving up for this one occasion. It was all in good, loving fun and the ones I love most in this world did get around to saying that they loved AND respected me, so all’s well that ends well.


ANOTHER UNEXPECTED TWIST


Except, as is often the case, what appears to be an ending is anything but. That afternoon of August 25, 2007, was another beginning for me with my daughter and long-time editor, Julie Norman. I love seeing the hand of Providence in my life. Julie became my editor as a result of having won a place at the bi-annual Writer’s Workshop that Guideposts hosts to develop new talent for their magazine. John and Elizabeth Sherrill, long-time roving editors for Guideposts and well-known co-authors of Corrie Ten Boom’s, The Hiding Place, as well as Brother Andrew’s, The Cross and the Switchblade, noted that Julie was a natural at editing. When Julie told me they, and a few others who were leading the workshop, had commented on her editing ability, I immediately knew I needed her to help me with my books. Fifteen years and twenty-one books later we’re still writing away. This book is our first effort as co-authors. With my short term memory loss, the kind of help I needed was more in-depth than the usual editing Julie has done in the past.

And now we’re speaking together as well! Jay Hellwig, my driver and personal assistant and the husband of Jill Hellwig, our number one salesperson for more than thirteen years, noticed that the Born to Win attendees responded enthusiastically to what Julie had to say from the stage. He told Tom that he thought it would be a more natural fit to have Julie interview me at the Peter Lowe Get Motivated Seminars. He pointed out that because of our father/daughter relationship she could more comfortably interrupt me if I started to repeat myself and, after all, she had been editing everything I’d said in print for years, she knew all of my material. It was such an obvious fit I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it myself! Julie, it seems, had been being prepared all along to help me at this time in my life.

It made sense to Tom, too, and when he asked Julie if she would travel with me and her mother and interview me on stage, she agreed without hesitation.

EMBRACE



THE


STRUGGLE



ZIG ZIGLAR



JULIE ZIGLAR NORMAN




Howard Books

West Monroe, Louisiana





DEDICATION PAGE







To the Redhead,

My bride of sixty-one years, the only woman I’ve ever loved

and the most important person in my life.

Sure do love you, Sweetheart!






Our purpose at Howard Books is to:

Increase faith in the hearts of growing Christians
Inspire holiness in the lives of believers
Instill hope in the hearts of struggling people everywhere
Because He’s coming again!


[Howard Logo]Published by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 www.howardpublishing.com


Embrace the Struggle © 2009 Zig Ziglar


All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information, address Howard Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.


[Add agent line here, if applicable]


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data TK


ISBN-13: 978-1-4391-4219-6

ISBN-10: 1-4391-4219-X


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


HOWARD and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.


Manufactured in the United States of America


For information regarding special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact: Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1-800-456-6798 or business@simonandschuster.com.


Edited by Denny Boultinghouse

Cover design by TK

Interior design by TK

Photography/illustrations by TK


Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked AMP are from the Amplified Bible®, copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission (www.Lockman.org). Scripture quotations marked ESV are taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked KJV are taken from the Holy Bible, Authorized King James Version. Scripture quotations marked NKJV are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked TLB are taken from The Living Bible, copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. Scripture quotations marked TNIV are taken from the Holy Bible, Today’s New International Version®. TNIV®. Copyright© 2001, 2005 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. Scriptures marked LITV are taken from the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible. Copyright © 1976 - 2000 by Jay P. Green, Sr. Used by permission of the copyright holder. Courtesy of Sovereign Grace Publishers and Christian Literature World.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Last Breath by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins (Review)

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:


and the book:


Last Breath (Rayne Series #2)

Zondervan; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Lindsey Rodarmer of ZONDERKIDZ for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Brandilyn and Amberly Collins are a mother/daughter team from northern California. Brandilyn is a bestselling novelist, known for her trademarked "Seatbelt Suspense". Amberly is a college student in southern California. She and her mom love attending concerts together.

Visit the author's website.


Here's a video about the first book in the Rayne Series:



Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Zondervan; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310715407
ISBN-13: 978-0310715405

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Your father sent me.

The last words of a dying man, whispered in my ear.

Were they true? What did they mean?

Your father sent me. The stunning claim drilled through my head, louder than the crowd’s screams.

Guitars blasted the last chord of Rayne’s hit song, Ever Alone, as Mom’s voice echoed through the Pepsi Center in Denver. The heavy drum beat thumped in my chest. With a final smash of cymbals the rock song ended. Multicolored laser lights swept the stadium, signaling the thirty-minute intermission.

Wild shrieks from thousands of fans rang in my ears.

I rose from my chair backstage. Tiredly, I smiled at the famous Rayne O’Connor as she strode toward me on high red heels. In the lights her sequined top shimmered and her blonde hair shone. She walked with confidence and grace, the picture of a rock star—until she stepped from her fans’ sight. Then her posture slumped, weariness creasing her beautiful face. Mom’s intense blue eyes usually glimmered with the excitement of performing, but now I saw only the wash of grief and exhaustion. How she’d managed to perform tonight, I’d never know. Except that she’s strong. A real fighter.

Me? I had to keep fighting too, even if my legs still trembled and I’d probably have nightmares for weeks.

Your father sent me.

I had to find out what those words meant.

“You’re a very brave young lady,” a Denver detective had told me just a few hours ago. I didn’t feel brave then or now.

“You okay, Shaley?” Mom had to shout over the screams as she hugged me.

I nodded against her shoulder, hanging on tightly until she pulled back.

The crowd’s applause died down. A heavy hum of voices and footsteps filtered from the stadium as thousands of people headed for concessions and bathrooms during the break.

Kim, the band’s keyboard player and alto to my mom’s lead vocals, stopped to lay a darkly tanned hand on my head. A strand of her bleached white-blonde hair was stuck to the gloss on her pink lips. She brushed it away. “You’re an amazing sixteen-year-old.”

I shrugged, embarrassed. “Thanks.”

Mick and Wendell, Mom’s two remaining bodyguards, approached without a word. I gave a self-conscious smile to Wendell, and he nodded back, sadness flicking across his face. His deep-set eyes were clouded, and the long scar across his chin seemed harder, more shiny. At five-eleven, Wendell is short for a bodyguard but every bit as muscled. Tonight his two-inch black hair, usually gelled straight up, stuck out in various directions. He hadn’t bothered to fix it since the life and death chase he was involved in just a few hours ago. Seeing that messed-up hair sent a stab through me. Wendell was usually so finicky about it.

Mick, Mom’s main personal bodyguard, folded his huge arms and stood back, waiting. Mick is in his forties, ex-military and tall, with a thick neck and block-shaped head. I’ve rarely seen emotion on his face, but I saw glimpses of it now. He and Wendell had been good friends with Bruce, Mom’s third bodyguard.

Bruce had been killed hours ago. Shot.

And he’d been trying to guard me.

My vision blurred. I blinked hard and looked at the floor.

“Come on.” Mom nudged my arm. “We’re all meeting in my dressing room.”

Mick and Bruce flanked her as she walked away.

Usually we don’t have to be so careful backstage. It’s a heavily guarded area anyway. But tonight nothing was the same.

Kim and I followed Mom down a long hall to her dressing room. Morrey, Kim’s boyfriend and Rayne’s drummer, caught up with us. He put a tattoo-covered arm around Kim, her head only reaching his shoulders. Morrey looked at me and winked, but I saw no happiness in it.

Ross Blanke, the band’s tour production manager, hustled up alongside us, trailed by Stan, lead guitarist, and Rich, Rayne’s bass player. “Hey.” Ross put a pudgy hand on Mom’s shoulder. “You’re doing great.” He waved an arm, indicating everyone. “All of you, you’re just doing great.”

“You do what you have to,” Stan said grimly. His black face shone with sweat.

Narrowing single file, we trudged into the dressing room. Mick and Wendell took up places on each side of the door.

Marshall, the makeup and hair stylist, started handing out water bottles. In his thirties, Marshall has buggy eyes and curly dark hair. His fingers are long and narrow, deft with his makeup tools. But until two days ago, he’d been second to Mom’s main stylist, Tom.

“Thanks.” I took a bottle from Marshall and tried to smile. Didn’t work. Just looking at him sent pangs of grief through me, because his presence reminded me of Tom’s absence.

Tom, my closest friend on tour, had been murdered two days ago.

Mom, Ross, Rich and I sank down on the blue couch—one of the furniture pieces Mom requested in every dressing room. Denver’s version was extra large, with a high back and overstuffed arms. To our left stood a table with plenty of catered food, but no one was hungry. I’d hardly eaten in the last day and a half and knew I should have something. But no way, not now.

Maybe after the concert.

Stan, Morrey and Kim drew up chairs to form a haphazard circle.

“All right.” Ross sat with his short, fat legs apart, hands on his jeaned thighs. The huge diamond ring on his right hand was skewed to one side. He straightened it with his pinky finger. “I’ve checked outside past the guarded area. The zoo’s double what it usually is. The news has already hit and every reporter and his brother are waiting for us. Some paparazzi are already there, and others have probably hopped planes and will show up by the time we leave.”

Is Cat here? I shuddered at the thought of the slinky, effeminate photographer who’d bothered us so much in the last two days. He’d even pulled a fire alarm in our San Jose hotel the night before just to force us out of our rooms. Now by police order he wasn’t supposed to get within five hundred feet of us. I doubted he’d care.

My eyes burned, and my muscles felt like water. Little food, no sleep, and plenty of shock. Bad combination. I slumped down in the couch and laid my head back.

Ross ran a hand through his scraggly brown hair. “Now at intermission folks out there”—he jabbed a thumb toward the arena—“are gonna start hearing things. Rayne, you might want to say a little something when you get back on stage.”

Mom sighed, as if wondering where she’d find the energy to do the second half of the concert. “Yeah.”

I squeezed her knee. If only the two of us could hide from the world for a week or two.

Make that a whole year.

Rich frowned as he moved his shaved head from one side to the other, stretching his neck muscles. His piercing gray eyes landed on me, and his face softened. I looked away.

Everyone was so caring and concerned about me. I was grateful for that. Really, I was. But it’s a little hard to know you’ve been the cause of three deaths. Under all their smiles, did the band members blame me?

Ross scratched his hanging jowl. “We got extra coverage from Denver police at the hotel tonight. Tomorrow we’re supposed to head out for Albuquerque. It’s close enough for Vance to drive the main bus without a switch-off driver, and the next two venues are close enough as well. But that’s just logistics. We’ve all been through a lot. Question is—can you all keep performing?” He looked around, eyebrows raised.

“Man.” Morrey shook back his shoulder-length black hair. “If three deaths in two days isn’t enough to make us quit …” His full lips pressed.

I glanced hopefully at Mom. Yeah, let’s go home! I could sleep in my own bed, hide from the paparazzi and reporters, hang out with Brittany, my best friend—who was supposed to be here with me right now.

But canceling concerts would mean losing a lot of money. The Rayne tour was supposed to continue another four weeks.

Mom hunched forward, elbows on her knees and one hand to her cheek. Her long red fingernails matched the color of her lips. “I almost lost my daughter tonight.” Her voice was tight. “I don’t care if I never tour again—Shaley’s got to be protected, that’s the number one thing.”

I want you protected too, Mom.

“I agree with that a hundred percent,” Morrey said, “but at least the threat to Shaley is gone now that Jerry’s dead.

Jerry, one of our bus drivers—and a man I’d thought was my friend—killed Tom and Bruce, and then came after me earlier that night. A cop ended up shooting him.

Kim spread her hands. “I don’t know what to say. I’m still reeling. We’ve barely had time to talk about any of this tonight before getting on stage. I feel like my mind’s gonna explode. And Tom …”

She teared up, and that made me cry. Kim had been like a mother to Tom. Crazy, funny Tom. It was just so hard to believe he was gone.

I wiped my eyes and looked at my lap.

“Anyway.” Kim steadied her voice. “It’s so much to deal with. I don’t know how we’re going to keep up this pace for another month.”

Mom looked at Ross. “We can’t keep going very long with only Vance to drive the main bus.”

Ross nodded. “Until Thursday. I’d have to replace him by then.”

“With who?” Mom’s voice edged.

“I don’t know. I’ll have to jump on it.”

“You can’t just ‘jump on it.’ We need time to thoroughly check the new driver out.”

“Rayne.” Ross threw her a look. “I did check Jerry out. Completely. He had a false ID, remember? That’s what the police said. I couldn’t have known that.”

“You might have known if you’d checked harder.”

Ross’s face flushed. “I did—”

“No you didn’t! Or if you did it wasn’t good enough!” Mom pushed to her feet and paced a few steps. “Something’s mighty wrong if we can’t even find out a guy’s a convicted felon!”

What? I stiffened. “How do you know that?”

Mom waved a hand in the air. “The police told me just before we left the hotel.”

We’d huddled in the manager’s office after the policeman killed Jerry.

I stared at Mom. “When was he in jail?”

Mom threw a hard look at Ross. “He’d barely gotten out when we hired him.”

Heat flushed through my veins. I snapped my gaze toward the floor, Jerry’s last words ringing in my head.

Your father sent me.

How could my father have sent Jerry if he was in jail?

“Rayne,” Ross snapped, “I’ve told you I’m sorry a dozen times—”

“Sorry isn’t enough!” Mom whirled on him. “My daughter was taken hostage. She could have been killed!”

Rich jumped up and put his arms around her. “Come on, Rayne, it’s okay now.”

She leaned against him, eyes closed. The anger on her face melted into exhaustion. “It’s not okay.” Mom shook her head. “Tom’s dead, Bruce is dead. And Shaley—”

Her words broke off. Mom pulled away from Rich and hurried back to the couch. She sank down next to me, a hand on my knee. “Shaley, you’re the one who’s been through the most. What do you want to do?”

My throat nearly swelled shut. Go home! I wanted to yell. But I couldn’t. It wouldn’t be fair. This wasn’t my tour. I didn’t have to pay the bills.

I glanced around at all the band members. Morrey was holding Kim’s hand. Stan and Rich watched me, waiting. A canceled tour wouldn’t just affect them. Rayne had three back-up singers, one of them Carly, who’d been such a help to me. Plus all the techs and roadies. They’d all lose money.

Wait—maybe Mom would let me go home and stay with Brittany. Now that Tom’s and Bruce’s killer was dead …

“Shaley?” Mom tapped my leg.

“I don’t … I can’t stop the tour.”

Ross exhaled. “Rayne?”

Mom looked at the wall clock and pushed to her feet. “We can’t decide this now. It’s only fifteen minutes before we have to be back on stage. I still need to change.”

Stan stood. “I say we figure on doing Albuquerque, and then we can decide about the rest.”

“Yeah, me too.” Rich got up, along with everyone else. I could see the business-like attitude settle on all their faces, including Mom’s. Soon they had to perform again. Every other concern must be pushed aside. In the entertainment world the saying was true: the show must go on.

Within a minute everyone had left except Mom, Marshall and me. Mom threw herself into a chair by the bright mirrors so Marshall could adjust her makeup. When he left she changed into a steel blue top and skinny-legged black pants.

I sat numbly on the couch, four words running through my mind. Words, I sensed, that would change my life.

Your father sent me.

Mom didn’t know what Jerry had whispered to me as he died. I needed to tell her.

But how? Like me, she was running on empty. It would be one more shock, another scare. I wasn’t sure she could take anymore and still perform.

Had Jerry told me the truth? Had the father I’d never known—the man my mother refused to talk about—purposely sent a killer to join our tour?

I needed to know. I needed to find out. Because if it was true—the danger was far from over.





From the Back Cover
The suspenseful and emotion-filled second book in the Rayne series begins where the first book ended…with a dying man whispering four stunning words into Shaley O’Connor’s ear. Should she believe him? After two murders on the Rayne concert tour, Shaley is reeling. But she has no time to rest. If the dying man’s claim is right, the danger is far from over. Shaley’s quest for the truth leads to the mysterious and wrenching past of her mother and father. Could what happened to them so many years ago threaten Shaley’s life now?

My Review:
Last Breath is another excellent teen suspense/mystery novel from mother daughter Brandilyn and Amberly Collins. This is the second book in the series and I would recommend reading the first one as this one picks up where it stops. The characters and plot are interesting and unique. It was great learning more about Rayne and finally learning some about Shaley's father. I cant' wait to read the next book in the series and find out what happens to these characters. Highly Recommended. :)

eye of the god by Ariel Allison (Review)


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

eye of the god

Abingdon Press (October 1, 2009)

by

Ariel Allison




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Allison is a published author who lives in a small Texas town with her husband and three young sons. She is the co-author of Daddy Do You Love Me: a Daughter’s Journey of Faith and Restoration (New Leaf Press, 2006). Justin Case, the first of three children’s books will be published by Harvest House in June 2009. Ariel is a weekly contributor to http://www.ChristianDevotions.us and on her thoughts as a redeemed dreamer at www.arielallison.blogspot.com.


From Ariel:
I am the daughter of an acclaimed and eccentric artist, and given my “unconventional” childhood, had ample time to explore the intricacies of story telling. I was raised at the top of the Rocky Mountains with no running water or electricity (think Laura Ingles meets the Hippie Movement), and lived out the books I read while running barefoot through the sagebrush. My mother read to me by the light of a kerosene lantern for well over a decade, long after I could devour an entire novel in the course of a day. Authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, George MacDonald, and L.M. Montgomery were the first to capture my heart and I have
grown to love many others since.

ABOUT THE BOOK

eye of the god takes the fascinating history surrounding the Hope Diamond and weaves it together with a present-day plot to steal the jewel from the Smithsonian Institute.

We follow Alex and Isaac Weld, the most lucrative jewel thieves in the world, in their quest to steal the gem, which according to legend was once the eye of a Hindu idol named Rama Sita. When it was stolen in the 17th century, it is said that the idol cursed all those who would possess it. That won’t stop the brilliant and ruthless Weld brothers.

However, they are not prepared for Dr. Abigail Mitchell, the beautiful Smithsonian Director, who has her own connection to the Hope Diamond and a deadly secret to keep. Abby committed long ago that she would not serve a god made with human hands, and the “eye of the god” is no exception. Her desire is not for wealth, but for wisdom. She seeks not power, but restoration.

When the dust settles over the last great adventure of the Hope Diamond, readers will understand the “curse” that has haunted its legacy is nothing more than the greed of evil men who bring destruction upon themselves. No god chiseled from stone can direct the fates of humankind, nor can it change the course of God’s story.

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of eye of the god, go HERE

My Review:

eye of the god held my attention from page one. It is a good mix of mystery, suspense, history, and a little romance. The characters and plot were interesting. The story flowed good even with the flashbacks to different figures in history who interacted with the Hope Diamond. It is in the category Christian Fiction but the faith element is barely there. I really think anyone would enjoy this book. Definitely recommended. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's On Your Nightstand? October 27, 2009

Our new camera is dead and we can't find the charger so no pictures again. :(
I am going to list the books on my short TBR right now. They have to be reviewed in the next few weeks.
- Embrace the Struggle by Zig Ziglar
- A Slow Burn by Mary Demuth
- Leaving Carolina by Tamera Leigh
- One Fine Season by Michael Sheehan
- The Bride Backfire by Kelly Hake
- White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner
- Fit to be Tied by Robin Lee Hatcher
- The Swiss Courier by Trisha Goyer and Mike Yorkey
- Green by Ted Dekker

I have finished a lot of books recently with the help of the 24 hour read a thon so I have lots of reviews that need to written.

A Little Help From My Friends by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Little Help from My Friends

FaithWords (October 15, 2009)

by

Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


ANNE DAYTON graduated from Princeton University and is earning her master's degree in English literature at New York University. She works for a New York publishing company and lives in Brooklyn.

MAY VANDERBILT graduated from Baylor University and went on to earn a master's degree in fiction from Johns Hopkins University. She lives in San Francisco, where she writes about food, fashion, and nightlife in the Bay Area.

Together, the two women are the authors of Miracle Girls series




ABOUT THE BOOK

Zoe is used to being overlooked. As the youngest and shyest Miracle Girl, she was happy to fade into the background last year. But when she sheds her baby fat and shoots up four inches the summer before her junior year, everything changes. Now she's turning heads at school, and this new attention is beginning to strain her relationship with her sweet, serious boyfriend, Marcus.

Pressure builds when Zoe's assigned partner for history class is Dean Marchese--a handsome New York transplant who isn't afraid to show her how he feels.
Just when she needs her three best friends the most, the Miracle Girls are suffering from boy troubles of their own.

Even Zoe's rock-solid home life begins to shake underneath her when her parents' relationship frays in the face of serious financial burdens. As this uncertain year of growing pains comes to a frenetic head, the quietest Miracle Girl must find her voice at long last and take control of her own destiny . . . with more than a little help from her friends.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Little Help from My Friends, go HERE

My Review:

I loved this book. It is the third book in the series and I have read every one of them. It is one of my favorite teen series that adults can enjoy also. This book focuses on Zoe with the other three girls stories in it too. It is told from her viewpoint. The characters and plot are unique and interesting. I can't wait to read Riley's story next year. I highly recommend this series. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

What are you reading on Mondays? October 26, 2009

Books that I really need to review:
- Seeing Things by Patti Hill
- Piece de Resistance by Sandra Byrd
- Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser
- That Certain Spark by Cathy Marie Hake
- The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

Library Books that need to be read:
- Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters
- How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Gibson
- Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Books that I really need to read and review:
- Certain Jeopardy by Alton Gansky and Jeff Struecker
- How Do I Love Thee by Nancy Moser
-Sometimes a Light Surprises by Jamie Langston Turner
- Dying to Live by Clive Calver
- Smart Mama Green Guide by Jennifer Taggart
- Rubies in the Orchard by Lynda Resnick
- Simple Life by Thom S. Rainer and Art Rainer
- Green by Ted Dekker


What I am currently reading:
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Embrace the Struggle by Zig Ziglar
- Slow Burn by Mary Demuth
- Limelight by Melody Carlson
- Leaving Carolina by Tamera Leigh

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Salon October 25, 2009

The Sunday Salon.com

* I had a great weekend mainly because of the 24 hour read a thon I participated in yesterday. Before it I had not read a book all week. I am not sure what is happening to me during the week. I know part of it is being tired from work and starting to read and falling asleep. When I get home I check my email and read my google reader and watch TV. Then I read so maybe I could check my email then read then check my goggle reader while watching TV? Any advice is welcome.

* So what did I read during the read a thon. I finished 5 books. I read 1342 pages total in 713 min. or 11.88 hours out of 15 total hours.
Last Breath by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins
Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace
What Matters Most by Melody Carlson
A Little Help From My Friends by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

* Today (Sunday) I have been reading, doing laundry, Wal-Mart, ran by my Aunt's house, and I am going out to eat with my sister, Dad, and Grandma. Applebee's so I will probably get a good salad. I have really been craving a loaded salad (cheese etc.).

* I finished one book today. eye of the god by Ariel Allison. It was really good and the review will be up Wednesday.

* I am still reading Dracula. I just passed page 100. :) It does not look I will be able to get Her Fearful Symmetry from the library in time for the RIP challenge. I have plenty of suspense/mystery books on my TBR shelves though.

* I hope everyone has a great week and has time to read. :)

24 Hour Read a thon End of Event Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
16

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Last Breath by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins
A Little Help From My Friends by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
No, I think it is great the way it is now

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The cheerleaders were amazing. Their comments definitely kept me encouraged.

5. How many books did you read? 5 and part of another one

6. What were the names of the books you read?
Last Breath by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins
Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace
What Matters Most by Melody Carlson
A Little Help From My Friends by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
A Little Help From My Friends

8. Which did you enjoy least?
The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
Just a reader

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Depending on what is going on in my life I definitely want to participate in the next read a thon as a reader. It has put me back in the reading mood. Thank you :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Update Sixteen

Title of book(s) read since last update:
eye of the god by Ariel Allison

Number of books read since you started: 5

Pages read since last update: 43
Running total of pages read since you started: 1342

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 42 min
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!)
713 min.


I hate to give up but I can't keep my eyes open any longer. I am going to set my alarm clock and hopefully finish the last hour too. :)

Update Hours Fourteen and Fifteen

Title of book(s) read since last update:
The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason
eye of the god by Ariel Allison

Number of books read since you started: 5

Pages read since last update: 169

Running total of pages read since you started:1299

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 103 min

Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!)
671 min.

Mid Event Survey

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?
The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

2. How many books have you read so far? 4

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I do not have them planned out in advance.

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? I ran a lot of errands last night

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Yes, My Dad came over to make my sister and I do yard work. They already knew about the read a thon and I was not budging so they did it without me. I was planning on cleaning the inside of the house tomorrow. :)

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? How slow it seems I am reading but how fast the time is going by

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
No I think it is great the way it is now

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
Nothing

9. Are you getting tired yet? Yes

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
No

Update Hours Eleven and Twelve

Title of book(s) read since last update:
The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

Number of books read since you started: 4

Pages read since last update:151

Running total of pages read since you started:
1130

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 89 min.

Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!)
568 min.

I took hour thirteen off to go get pizza and eat. :)

Update Nine and Ten

Title of book(s) read since last update:
The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

Number of books read since you started: 4

Pages read since last update:
158
Running total of pages read since you started: 979

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 99 min.

Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!)
479 min.

Hours Six, Seven, and Eight

Title of book(s) read since last update:
A Little Help From My Friends by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt

Number of books read since you started: 4

Pages read since last update: 258

Running total of pages read since you started: 821

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 145 min.

Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!)
380 min.

Update Five

Title of book(s) read since last update:
What Matters Most by Melody Carlson

Number of books read since you started: 3

Pages read since last update: 124

Running total of pages read since you started: 563

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 48 min.

Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!)
235 min.

Mini-challenges completed: 2

Update Four

Title of book(s) read since last update:
What Matters Most by Melody Carlson

Number of books read since you started: 2

Pages read since last update: 114

Running total of pages read since you started: 439

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 47 min

Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!)
187 min.

Mini-challenges completed: 2

Update Three

Title of book(s) read since last update:
Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace

Number of books read since you started: 2

Pages read since last update: 77

Running total of pages read since you started: 325

Amount of time spent reading since last update:

35 min.

Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 139 min.


Mini-challenges completed: 2

Hour One Meme

Hour One Intro. Meme

Where are you reading from today? My house mostly my bed

3 facts about me …
I love to read and always have
My favorite color is green
My favorite food is pizza

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? too many to count

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? None specific just as much as possible

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?
Pick some short light books to go along with your other ones

Update Two

Title of book(s) read since last update:

Last Breath by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace



Number of books read since you started:
1


Pages read since last update:
116


Running total of pages read since you started:
275


Amount of time spent reading since last update:
46 min.


Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!)
104 min.


Mini-challenges completed:
1

Update One

Time: 58min.
Book: Last Breath by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins
Type: Young Adult Suspense
Pages Read: 159

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kiss Me Again by Barbara Wilson (AND GIVEAWAY)

*** Leave a comment on this post by Friday October 30 at midnight to be entered to win a copy***



Many married women genuinely want to feel more desire toward their husbands. But while sex before marriage was hard to resist, now resisting seems like all they do. In her new book, Barbara Wilson shows how couples can suffer for years from the “invisible bonds” of previous relationships without even knowing it. Hidden emotions of distrust, shame, and resentment can sabotage even the most loving marriage.

In Kiss Me Again, Wilson :

· Shares her own story of healing and renewed desire
· Helps women forgive themselves and their husbands for past choices
· Shows readers how to break free from “invisible bonds”
· Explains God’s plan for helping a husband and wife to re-bond
· Includes conversation helps for both wives and their husbands
· Helps couples reignite the passion that they thought was lost

With assessment tools, write-in exercises, and gentle guidance, Kiss Me Again offers a biblical plan for rekindling the closeness and passion women long for in marriage. Because no past is beyond the reach of God’s healing touch.


About the author:

Barbara Wilson is the author of The Invisible Bond and former director of sexual health education for the Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center in Sacramento . She speaks nationwide to youth and adults with her message of sexual healing, and she teaches frequently in the women’s ministry at the multi-campus Bayside Church in Northern California . Barbara and her husband, Eric, have been married for twenty-eight years.


This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Fence My Father Built

Abingdon Press (October 2009)

by

Linda S. Clare



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Linda S. Clare is an award-winning coauthor of three books, including Lost Boys and the Moms Who Love Them (with Melody Carlson and Heather Kopp), Revealed: Spiritual Reality in a Makeover World, and Making Peace with a Dangerous God (with Kristen Johnson Ingram). She has also published many essays, stories, and poems in publications including The Christian Reader, The Denver Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Linda grew up in a part of Arizona, where the dirt is as red as it is in Central Oregon. She graduated summa cum laude in Art Education from Arizona State University and taught in public and private schools. She has taught college-level creative writing classes for seven years, and edits and mentors writers. She also is a frequent writing conference presenter and church retreat leader. She and her husband of thirty-one years have four grown children, including a set of twins. They live in Eugene, Oregon, with their five wayward cats: Oliver, Xena the Warrior Kitty, Paladine, Melchior, and Mamma Mia!

ABOUT THE BOOK

When legally separated Muri Pond, a librarian, hauls her kids, teenager Nova and eleven year-old Truman, out to the tiny town of Murkee, Oregon, where her father, Joe Pond lived and died, she's confronted by a neighbor's harassment over water rights and Joe's legacy: a fence made from old oven doors.

The fence and accompanying house trailer horrify rebellious Nova, who runs away to the drug-infested streets of Seattle. Muri searches for her daughter and for something to believe in, all the while trying to save her inheritance from the conniving neighbor who calls her dad Chief Joseph.

Along with Joe's sister, Aunt Lutie, and the Red Rock Tabernacle Ladies, Muri must rediscover the faith her alcoholic dad never abandoned in order to reclaim her own spiritual path.

Watch the trailer:




If you would like to read the first chapter of The Fence My Father Built , go HERE

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

24 Hour Read-a-thon Coming Soon

The 24 hour Read-a-thon is a great bloggy event. I have participated several times including the one held last April. I usually do not last the whole 24 hours which is okay because the rules are lenient. The most important thing is to have fun. Visit the website for more details: http://24hourreadathon.com/


The Read-a-thon will start: October 24th at 5am Pacific (1pm GMT). For me that is 7:00 A. M. Good thing I am a morning person. lol


My list is huge because I like to have lots of choices. I took pictures but I can't upload them right now. In April I messed up and read a slow long book. This time I have a lot of 200-250 page books on the list too. :)
For snacks I have Cheddar and Sour Cream Lays Chips, Iced Oatmeal cookies, pecan twirls, and frozen cheese pizza.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Update RIP and 100 Mile Fitness Challenge

My attempt at the 100 mile fitness challenge is not going so well. I have exercised three days for a total of 7 miles. I am weak I tell ya. I just want go home and blog and watch TV and read. Help!

I have not been my usual reading self. I may not finish the RIP challenge in time. Dracula is easy to read but is taking me forever. I have the 24 hour read a thon this weekend so maybe I can get some of the other books read. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Love is a Battlefield by Annalisa Daughety

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:


and the book:


Love is a Battlefield

Barbour Books (October 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart of Barbour Publishing for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Annalisa Daughety lives in Memphis, Tennessee, where she works as an event planner. After attending Freed-Hardeman University, where she majored in American Studies, Annalisa worked at Shiloh National Military Park as a park ranger. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and loves gardening, shopping, and watching sports. For more information, visit her Web site at .

Visit the author's website.





Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (October 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602604770
ISBN-13: 978-1602604773

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


If someone had told Kristy O’Neal that the battlefield at Shiloh would see another casualty nearly one hundred and fifty years after the battle ended, she’d have thought they were crazy.

Yet, two weeks ago, one last soldier had been injured on the majestic field. And Kristy had the battle scars to prove it. Admittedly, her wound was emotional, not physical, but she still wondered if the splintered pieces of her heart might be tougher to knit back together than a bullet-shattered bone.

Ready or not, her recovery time was over, so she squared her shoulders and headed back onto the hallowed ground. Never let it be said that Kristy couldn’t soldier up with the best of them. Ranger hat firmly in place and gold badge glinting in the May sunlight, she marched briskly to the visitor center.

“Morning, Kristy.” Ranger Owen Branam stopped putting money in the cash register slots long enough to nod in her direction. “You have a nice trip?” He closed the drawer, finished with his preparations for the day’s visitors.

Nice trip? A cruise spent faking allergies to explain away tears. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?

“Lovely.” she managed what she hoped was a convincing smile. “The weather was great.” Scooting past him, she attempted to make it to her office without further questioning.

“Umm. Kristy?”

The apprehension in the older man’s voice made her stop in her tracks. She slowly turned to look back at Owen.

He ran his finger around the neck of his shirt as if he had a little too much starch in the collar. “The chief asked me to have you go straight up to his office when you got in.” He motioned toward the counter. “You can leave your things here. I’ll keep an eye on them while you’re upstairs.”

Only five minutes into her morning and her plan to fly as far under the radar as possible had already gone out the window. So much for the low-key first day back she’d hoped for.

“Thanks, Owen.” Kristy put her hat on the counter and tucked her purse underneath the desk.

As she got to the top of the stairs, an unfamiliar voice called out a greeting to Owen. Twisting around, she peeked over the railing. Wow. A Johnny Depp lookalike was helping Owen straighten the brochures. The second thing she noticed about him, after his movie star resemblance, was the park service uniform he wore. Surely, he wasn’t a new employee. She’d only been gone a few weeks. Things didn’t usually happen that quickly at Shiloh National Military Park.

“Glad to have you back.”

The gruff voice of Chief Ranger Hank Strong made her jump and turn around.

She felt her face grow hot. Had he been watching her ogle Ranger Depp? She cleared her throat.

“Glad to be back.” She followed him into his office and perched on one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs in front of his desk. Her gaze skimmed over a hodgepodge of furniture, maps, and historical books. None of the furnishings matched, except for Hank’s oversized desk and equally oversized chair that had always reminded her of a king’s throne.

“Good, good.” Hank settled himself behind the desk and peered at her over his round bifocals. “Look, Kristy. There’s no easy way to tell you this.” For a moment, an expression that looked like uncertainty flitted over his weathered face.

Uh-oh. As befitted his name, Hank Strong was always sure of himself. Whatever he was about to say, she wasn’t going to like it.

“I told you before you left on your trip there’d be a job waiting for you when you got back,” Hank paused.

Kristy could tell he was choosing his words carefully.

She nodded. “Yes. And believe me, I’m so grateful.” When she’d turned in her two-week notice, it had felt like she was letting him down, letting the park down. After all, she’d begun working at Shiloh while she was still in college. It was the only place she’d ever worked—or ever wanted to work, for that matter. After her plans had abruptly changed, she’d been relieved when Hank stepped in and told her there was still a place for her at Shiloh.

“Well, there was one thing I didn’t mention.”

“Oh?” Why do his words sound so ominous?

“By the time I found out you weren’t moving and were still available to work, your position had been filled.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry, Kristy. The paperwork had already gone through. There was nothing that could be done.”

She tried to catch her breath. Knowing she was at least able to come back to work at the park was the only thing that had gotten her through the past two weeks. “But you said. . .” Her voice trailed off as she willed herself not to panic.

“I know. I said I had a position for you. And I do.” He leaned back a little in his chair, visibly relieved to have the bad news off his chest. “You’re welcome to stay on as a seasonal ranger.”

Seasonal? That was where she’d started, nine years earlier, the summer after her freshman year of college. She glanced around, hoping for a paper bag she could breathe into. Of course, what she needed most was a rewind button that would allow her to go back in time and decide not to quit her job. But if she could travel back to the past, knowing what she did now, there wouldn’t have been a reason to leave Shiloh in the first place.

“You want me to be a seasonal?” Kristy’s voice squeaked. “What about my salary?”

A frown drew his bushy brows together. “There’ll be a pay cut. And you’ll move to the office shared by the seasonal staff. In fact, Owen has already put your box of office doodads in there.”

If she hadn’t been so shell-shocked, she probably would’ve laughed at his word for the contents of the box she’d left in her former office weeks earlier. Instead, all she could think was how she’d planned to stop by and pick her things up once the movers arrived. But the moving van had been permanently rerouted.

“You can still live in park housing. I know you’ve already packed most of your things, but Owen said he didn’t think you’d actually moved anything out yet.” He handed her a manila folder. “Your decision, kiddo. We’d love to keep you around. You’re a great park ranger. But I understand if you want to go in a different direction now.”

She took the file from him and glanced at the paperwork inside. The contents of the folder would effectively help to move her back down the career ladder she’d been climbing.

“What happens in September?” The seasonal positions at Shiloh ran from Memorial Day through Labor Day. And since they were only a few days shy of Memorial Day, she figured she should feel lucky there was even a seasonal position still available. They usually filled pretty quickly.

“Well.” He leaned back even farther and pressed his fingertips together. “At that juncture you’ll have a few options. Perhaps a permanent position will open here. Or we can look around at other parks and try to get you a transfer.”

Or I can leave the park service.

He rose to his feet. “If you want to think about it for a day or two, that’s fine.”

She knew Hank well enough to know that giving her time to consider the offer was his way of being sympathetic. Despite her trembling legs, she managed to stand. “Thank you,” she mumbled and scurried for the stairs, her mind spinning like a recently fired cannonball.

A permanent position opening at Shiloh was pretty much out of the question. Most of the rangers planned to stay until retirement age, some of them even longer. And she wasn’t interested in a transfer. This was the park she loved. Kristy had grown up in nearby Savannah, Tennessee, and some of her earliest memories were of the cannons and monuments at Shiloh.

Owen avoided eye contact with her as she descended the stairs.

Thanks a lot, buddy.

He’d obviously known what the meeting was going to be about, but hadn’t had the nerve to give her a warning before she went upstairs. Kristy couldn’t blame him though. No one liked to be the bearer of bad news.

And with her newfound knowledge, the mystery of the unfamiliar ranger was solved. The Johnny Depp lookalike was the ranger who now had her position. Not to mention her office.

She silently gathered her hat and purse from the front desk and took them to the room reserved for seasonal staff. As she passed the office she used to occupy, a fleeting glance told her that Ranger Depp wasn’t inside. The seasonal office, if it could even be called an office, was full of old desks and equipment. Kristy turned on the light and took in the sparsely decorated white walls. It was a far cry from the cheerful yellow she’d painted her former office last year. Thankfully, the other members of the seasonal staff wouldn’t arrive until Monday. At least I should have peace until Memorial Day. She could even move the desks and junk, buy some paint for the walls, and live out the next few days in Pretend Everything’s Okay Land.

Except, eventually, she’d have to face reality.

She flipped on the computer and silently tapped her fingers on the desk as she waited forever for it to boot up.

Can I do this? Can I take a step down in pay and status? Seasonals were at the low end of the totem pole. She remembered those days all too well. Getting assigned the tasks no one else wanted to do and being expected to do them without grumbling. Would they do that to her again? Or would she continue to be treated as permanent staff, despite the demotion?

Demotion. Ouch.

Either way, it wouldn’t be pleasant.

She glanced down at the box of her things on the floor next to the computer, and tears flooded her eyes. Empty picture frames peeked out from the box flaps. The pictures that had once been in them were nowhere in sight. Someone had wanted to spare her feelings today. Either that, or they didn’t want to be stuck with an emotional female to console.

The frames might’ve been without pictures, but Kristy knew what they’d once held. Her heart pounded as she grabbed all three frames and tossed them in the trashcan, taking unexpected pleasure in the sight and sound of shattering glass. A yellow and white wad under a large shard caught her eye. She couldn’t resist carefully fishing it out of the can, even though she knew better.

Kristy unwrinkled the ball and smoothed it out on the old, beat-up desk, running her hand over the creases in the paper. Fancy paper, as Owen called it months ago when he’d first seen it. Her vision blurred with fresh tears, but she didn’t need to read the words to know what they said.

For a long moment, she stared down at the engraved invitation.

To her wedding.

Me: I have this one on top of my TBR too. I can't get the Jordin Sparks song Battlefield out of my head :)