Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Non-Fiction Five 2009 Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

I loved this reading challenge last year and I am happy to report I loved it this year too. It really helps me read more non fiction and finish books I have going. My favorite book I read is This Is Your Brain on Joy. My least favorite is The End of Overeating. I look forward to this challenge next year. Thank you to Trish at http://trishsbooks.blogspot.com/

* This is Your Brain on Joy by Dr. Earl Henslin (DONE)http://abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2009/08/this-is-your-brain-on-joy-by-dr-earl.html

* The Lost City of Z by David Grann (DONE)

* The End of Overeating by David Kessler M.D. (DONE)

* My Cat Spit McGee by Willie Morris (DONE)

* The Noticer by Andy Andrews (DONE)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge

I am joining the Maud Hart Lovelace reading challenge hosted by Sarah at A Library is a Hospital for the Mind.

I love her blog because she reviews a good combination of books adult and young, new and old. I read Betsy Tacy because of her review and it was great. I bought the first four books on Barnes and Noble and restrained myself from reading them all in one day so I could have some for the challenge. I want the rest of the series but I am trying to be watchful of money and I just ordered three books from Barnes and Noble. I will probably post one review for all the books. So far I definitely recommend the first one.

My List:
Betsy-Tacy and Tib
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What Are You Reading On Mondays? September 28, 2009 Edition

What I read this past week:

- Moving Target by Stephanie Newton
-Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
-The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters
-Austenland by Shannon Hale
-All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
-More All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

I read these on vacation and really need to get a review up this week:

-Seeing Things by Patti Hill
-Sweet Waters by Julie Carobini
-Love's First Light by Jamie Carie

What I really need to read and review:

- That Certain Spark by Cathy Marie Hake
- Certain Jeopardy by Alton Gansky and Jeff Struecker
- The Carousel Painter by Judith Miller
- Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove
- How Do I Love Thee by Nancy Moser
- Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser
- 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

What I am going to check out from the library this week:

- The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters
- Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters
- How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Gibson

What I want to read in the next few months:

- The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
- Betsy, Tacy, and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace
- Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
- Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
- Books to finish the RIP Challenge

Sunday Salon September 27, 2009

The Sunday Salon.com

* I had a bad reading week. I finished one book on Monday: Moving Target by Stephanie Newton. Then I did not finish a book until Saturday the 26.

* This weekend I read:

-Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
-The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters
-Austenland by Shannon Hale
-All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
-More All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

* I enjoyed all of the books. I had never heard of any of the books before I read about them on the Internet. I look forward to reading more books in the series.

* I hope to read at least one more book tonight.

*TV has been a distraction lately with all of the shows starting back up and new ones. I watched House MD, Monk, NCIS, Mercy(not liking so far), Grey's Anatomy, The Duggars, Community, Medium, NCIS LA(not liking so far)

* I will most likely not be watching Mercy, NCIS LA, or Community again. Maybe I will actually finish some books this week. :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Cowboy Christmas by Mary Connealy

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:

A Cowboy Christmas

Barbour Books (September 1, 2009)


As an award-winning author, Mary Connealy lives on a Nebraska farm with her husband and is the mother of four grown daughters. She writes plays and shorts stories, and is the author of two other novels, Petticoat Ranch and Calico Canyon. Also an avid blogger, Mary is a GED instructor by day and an author by night. For more information on Mary Connealy, visit her Web site at .

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602601453
ISBN-13: 978-1602601451


A mining camp in Missouri, November, 1879

“You’ll wear that dress, Songbird.” Claude Leveque grabbed Annette Talbot’s arm, lifted her to her toes, and shoved her backward.

Annie tripped over a chair and cried out as it toppled. The chair scraped her legs and back. Her head hit the wall of the tiny, windowless shack, and stars exploded in her eyes.

Stunned by the pain, she hit the floor, and an animal instinct sent her scrambling away from Claude. But there was nowhere to go in the twelve-by-twelve-foot cabin.

Her head cleared enough to tell her there was no escape, so she fought with will and faith. “Never.” Propping herself up on her elbows, she faced him and shouted her defiance. “I will never go out in public in that dress.”

“You’ll sing what I tell you to sing.” Claude, in his polished suit and tidily trimmed hair, looked every inch civilized—or he had, until tonight. Now he strode toward her, eyes shooting furious fire, his face twisted into soul-deep rot and sin.

“I sing as a mission.” Annie tried to press her back through the unyielding log wall. “I sing hymns. That’s the only thing—”

A huge fist closed over the front of her blouse, and Claude lifted her like a rag doll to eye level, but he didn’t strike.

He would. He’d proved that several times over since he’d come here with his disgusting demands.

She braced herself. She’d die first. Claude might not believe that, but he’d know before long.

“So, you’re willing to die for your beliefs, heh?” Claude’s fist tightened on her blouse, cutting off Annie’s air.

“Yes!” She could barely speak, but he heard. He knew.

“Are you willing to watch someone else die, Songbird? Maybe your precious friend, Elva?” He shook her and her head snapped back. “I can always find another piano player.”

“No!” Annie had to save Elva. Somehow. Of course Elva would be threatened. Annie hadn’t had time to think that far.

Elva would never stand for this. Elva would die for her beliefs, too.

A wicked laugh escaped from Claude’s twisted mouth. “She’s easily replaced. But I’ll never”—he shook her viciously—“find another singer like you.”

How had it come to this? God help me. Protect Elva and me.

“My answer is no! Elva wouldn’t play the piano for me if I wore that.” Her eyes went to the slattern’s dress hanging, vivid red, near the door. “She would refuse to play the piano for those vulgar songs.”

“We’ll see, Songbird.” Claude laughed again.

Annie saw the evil in him, the hunger to hurt. He wasn’t just hurting Annie to get his way. He was enjoying it. Her vision dimmed and blurred as she clawed at his strangling fist.

“I’ll go have a talk with your frail old friend and then we’ll see.” He shoved Annie backward, slamming her against the wall.

She hit so hard her knees buckled. What little air she still had was knocked away.

Claude charged out, shutting the door behind him.

Annie heard the sound of a padlock snicking shut as she slumped sideways.

She became aware of her surroundings with no idea how much time had passed. In the falling darkness, she could barely make out blood dripping down the front of her dress. Tears diluted the blood and she wept.

“Do something, idiot! You can’t just sit here crying.”

Annie proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was indeed an idiot by burying her face in her hands and sobbing her heart out. The tears burned. She swiped at them and flinched from the pain in her blackened eye.

Shuddering, she lifted her battered face from her hands and looked at the dress. It seemed to glow in the dim light, as if the very fires of the devil gave it light. Indecent, vivid red silk with black fringe. No bodice worth mentioning, the front hem cut up nearly to the knees. The garment was horrible and disgusting, and Annie’s shudders deepened. She shouted at the walls of the tiny, solidly locked cabin, “I won’t do it!”

Claude had known before he’d asked that Annie would never wear that sinful dress and sing those bawdy songs. Touching gingerly her throbbing, swollen cheek, Annie pulled her hand away and saw blood. Her lip was split, her nose bleeding. She knew Claude’s fists had been more for his own cruel pleasure than any attempt at coercion.

“Beat me to death if you want,” she yelled at the door. “I will never again perform onstage for you!” She felt strong, righteous. Ready to die for her faith.

Then she thought of Elva. Annie’s elderly accompanist was maybe, right now, being punished because Annie hadn’t fallen in line.

Claude’s cruel threats rang in her ears even with him gone.

For all her utter commitment to refusing the Leveques and singing only her beloved hymns, how could Annie watch Elva be hurt? Could Annie stand on principle while Elva was beaten?

The welts on Annie’s arm, in the perfect shape of Claude Leveque’s viselike hand, along with Annie’s swollen eye and bleeding lip, proved the hateful man knew how to inflict pain. He’d proved he had no compunction in hurting a helpless woman.

Noise outside her prison brought Annie to her feet. He was coming back! Annie was sick to think what the couple would do to the elderly woman who had spent her older years worshipping God with music.

Sick with fear that they’d force Annie to watch Elva being battered, Annie clenched her fists and prayed. God would never agree that Annie should wear that tart’s dress, sing vile, suggestive songs, and flash her legs for drunken men.

But Elva!

Please, Lord, guide me though this dark valley.

A key rattled in the doorway.

Annie braced herself. If she could get past Claude, she would run, find Elva, and get away. Go somewhere, somehow. Throw herself on the mercy of the men in this logging camp—the very ones Claude said would pay to see that dreadful harlot’s gown.

The wooden door of the secluded, one-room shack swung hard and crashed against the wall. Elva fell onto her knees, clutching her chest. “You have to run!” Elva, eyes wild with terror, lifted her head. Annie saw Elva’s face was battered; a cut on her cheek bled freely.

Expecting Claude and Blanche to be right behind the gray-haired woman, Annie rushed forward and dropped to Elva’s side. “Elva, what did they do to you?”

“I heard. . .I heard Claude making plans, awful plans for you. He caught me eavesdropping. He thought he’d knocked me cold, but I lay still and waited until he left. He’d hung the key on a nail, and I stole it and slipped away to set you free.” Elva staggered to her feet, every breath echoed with pain. She stretched out a shaking hand, and Annie saw Elva’s black velvet reticule. The one the sweet pianist, who made Annie’s voice sound as pretty as a meadowlark, carried always. “There’s money. All I’ve saved.” Elva coughed, cutting off her words. She breathed as if it hurt. “T–Take it and go. There’s a wagon. It’s already left, but run, catch it. Ride to town. Enough.” Coughing broke her voice again and Elva’s knees wobbled. She clung tight to Annie. “Enough for one train ticket.”

Annie realized what Elva was saying. “No, I won’t leave you.”

“It’s my heart.” Elva sagged sideways, clutching her chest. Annie couldn’t hold her dead weight, slight though Elva was. They both lowered to the floor. “When Claude landed his first blow, I felt my heart give out. Oh, Annie, the things he threatened for you. The evil, ugly words from a serpent’s mouth. My precious girl. Run. You must run.”

“I won’t leave you. They’ll kill you, Elva.”

“No. My heart. I’ve felt it coming for months and tonight’s the end. They can’t harm me anymore.”

“Elva, don’t talk like that.” Tears wanted to fall, but Annie had no time for such weakness. “You’re all I have!”

“Your father. Go home.”

“He doesn’t want me. You know that.”

Elva’s hand closed over the already bruised place on Annie’s wrist. Elva clearly saw what Annie had already suffered at Claude’s hands. “Go. There’s no time. What they want from you is a fate worse than death.”

Annie gasped. Those words could mean only one thing. She glanced at the indecent dress. A harlot’s dress.

“God is calling me home, my beautiful girl. He’s taking me b–because He knows you’d never leave me. God in heaven is rescuing us both. I’ll go home and so will you. I believe that.”

Annie looked into Elva’s eyes, and even now they clouded over.

“Go. Please. It’s my fault you’re in this place. I thought we’d bring the Lord to these people with your beautiful singing. I convinced you to stay when the Leveques took over. If you stay I will have died for nothing, Sw–Sweet Annie.”

Elva’s grip tightened until Annie nearly cried out in pain. Then as quickly as the spasm had come, it was gone.

And so was Elva. She sank, lifeless, to the floor.

Annie saw the very moment Elva’s spirit left her body—a heartbreaking, beautiful moment, because now Elva was beyond pain.

But Annie wasn’t.

“If you stay I will have died for nothing.”

A loud snap of a twig jerked Annie’s head around. She gazed into the nearby woods surrounding the sequestered shack she’d been locked in. The Leveques were coming.

“What they want from you is a fate worse than death.”

As if God Himself sent lightning to jolt her, Annie clutched Elva’s reticule, leaped to her feet, and ran.

“There’s a wagon. It’s already left, but run, catch it. Ride to town.”

Annie gained the cover of the woods and, without looking back, began moving with painstaking silence.

She heard Claude’s shout of rage when he discovered the cabin door ajar.

Poor Elva. No one to bury her. No one to make her funeral a testimony to her life of faith.

Annie hated herself for running away. It was cowardly. There had to be some way to stay and pay proper respect, see to a decent Christian burial. Every decent part of herself said, “Go back. Face this.”

She kept moving. Elva had insisted on it. Common sense confirmed it. God whispered it in her heart to move, hurry, be silent.

Silence was her only weapon and Annie used it. She’d learned silence in the mountains growing up, slipping up on a deer or an elk. Slipping away from a bear or a cougar.

As much as Annie had loved her mountain home, she’d never learned to hunt. Pa fed the family. But she loved the woods and was skilled in their use.

Heading for the trail to town, she was careful to get close enough to not lose her way but stay off to the side.

Not long after she’d started out, she saw Claude storming down the trail toward town. He’d catch the wagon Elva spoke of long before she did. And, she hoped, insist on searching it. Once Claude assured himself that Annie wasn’t there, she’d have her chance.

Annie felt the bite of the cool night air. She heard an owl hoot in the darkness. The rustle of the leaves covered tiny sounds she might make as she eased along. She knew the trail. She knew the night. She knew the woods.

All of it was filled with treachery.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An Eye for an Eye by Irene Hannon

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Revell; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0800733117

Book Summary:

After he accidentally shoots a teenager at a tense standoff, FBI Hostage Rescue Team member Mark Sanders is sent to St. Louis to work as a field agent and get his bearings while the bad press starts to settle. Just weeks away from returning to Quantico to resume his work on the HRT, Mark has a chance encounter with an old flame, Emily Lawson. But their reunion is cut short by a sniper. Now Mark must find the shooter before he tries to strike again. But what is his motive--and who was his intended target? Can Mark put the pieces together, keep Emily safe, and rekindle a long-dead relationship at the same time? A fast-paced tale of romance, suspense, and intrigue, An Eye for an Eye is the exciting second installment in the Heroes of Quantico series.

My Review:
I loved this second book in the Heroes of Quantico series. It can stand alone but I read the first and looked forward to this one immensely. I cannot wait to read the third book in the series featuring Nick.

In An Eye for an Eye there is more romantic tension between the two main characters. Mark and Emily were high school sweethearts then grew apart in college and life. Now they have come together again when he is out jogging and runs into her and then a sniper takes a shot. They are not sure who the target is at first but they use the time to get to know each other again. There is great interaction and dialogue between the FBI team and Mark and Emily. The characters are well developed and the plot line interesting. Great romantic suspense novel. Highly recommended. :)

Available September 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fields of Grace by Kim Vogel Sawyer

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Fields Of Grace

Bethany House (October 2009)


Kim Vogel Sawyer


Best-selling, award-winning author Kim Vogel Sawyer is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, speaker, singer of songs and lover of chocolate... but most importantly, she's a born-again child of the King!

A former elementary school teacher, Kim closed her classroom door in 2005 to follow God's call on her heart to write and speak. Now blessed with multiple writing contracts with Bethany House, Barbour, and Zondervan Publishing, Kim enjoys sharing her journey to publication as well as the miraculous story of her healing from a life-long burden of pain and shame.

Kim's gentle yet forthright testimony lends credence to the promise of Ps. 117:2--"Great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever."


Will their Mennonite faith be shaken or strengthened by the journey to a new land?

With their eldest son nearly to the age when he will be drafted into military service, Reinhardt and Lillian Vogt decide to immigrate to America, the land of liberty, with their three sons and Reinhardt's adopted brother, Eli. But when tragedy strikes during the voyage, Lillian and Eli are forced into an agreement neither desires.

Determined to fulfill his obligation to Reinhardt, Eli plans to see Lillian and her sons safely settled on their Kansas homestead--and he's equally determined that the boys will be reared in the Mennonite faith. What he doesn't expect is his growing affection for Lillian--and the deep desire to be part of a family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fields Of Grace, go HERE

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's On Your Nightstand? Tuesday September 22

What's On Your Nightstand? is a meme hosted on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 5minutes for Books http://www.5minutesforbooks.com/

I posted my list today for the Fall Into Reading Challenge 2009 hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days. It is what will be on my nightstand for the next three months. lol

Here is a link to my post:

Due back to the library last week are:
The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters
Austenland by Shannon Hale
The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima

Not sure if I will be able to finish those in a timely fashion. I might just have to return them and then recheck them later. :)

Fall Into Reading 2009 Challenge

This is one of my favorite reading challenges all year and my third time to participate. The time period is September 22nd-December 20th. There is always a really cute button and Katrina at Callapidder Days is a wonderful hostess. http://callapidderdays.com/

Here is a link to the basics about the Fall Into Reading Challenge:
Here is a link to the posting guidelines:

My Goals:
When Fall TV starts back it tends to take some time away from my reading and hopefully this challenge will help keep me focused. There are around 79 books so far on the list. :)

My List:

*Smart Mama Green Guide by Jennifer Taggart
*Dying to Live by Clive Calver
*The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs

*Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Rumfelt
*Dracula by Bram Stoker
*Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer
*Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
*I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
*Who By Fire by Diana Spechler
*The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters
*An Offer You Can't Refuse by Jill Mansell
*The Perilous Journey of the Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
*Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
*Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter
*Railway Children by E. Nesbit
*Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii by Lee Goldberg
*Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Christian Fiction:
*The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall
*Certain Jeopardy by Jeff Strecker and Alton Gansky
*That Certain Spark by Cathy Marie Hake
*The Carousel Painter by Judith Miller
*Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove
*How Do I Love Thee by Nancy Moser
*Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser
*Sometimes a Light Surprises by Jamie Turner
*Return Policy by Michael Synder
*Maggie Rose by Sharlene MacLaren
*The Face by Angela Hunt
*The Redemption of Sarah Cain by Beverly Lewis
*She's In A Better Place by Angela Hunt
*Kiss Me If You Dare by Nicole Young
*Storm Surge by Rene Gutteridge
*The Splitting Storm by Rene Gutteridge
*Storm Gathering by Rene Gutteridge
*Forsaken by James David Jordan
*Double Cross by James David Jordan
*Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh
*What Matters Most by Melody Carlson
*Limelight by Melody Carlson
*Intervention by Terri Blackstock
*Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin
*A Measure of Mercy by Lauraine Snelling
*Things Worth Remembering by Jackina Stark
*Watch Over Me by Christa Parrish
*The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare
*A Little Help From My Friends by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
*Eye of the god by Ariel Allison
*Love is a Battlefield by Annalisa Daughety
*Last Breath by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins
*The Bride Backfire by Kelly Eileen Hake
*The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey
*Slow Burn by Mary DeMuth
*Fit To Be Tied by Robin Lee Hatcher
*The Christmas Lamp by Lori Copeland
*One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson
*The Sheriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis
*Fields of Grace by Kim Vogel Sawyer
*Piece de Resistance by Sandra Byrd
*Seaside Letters by Denise Hunter
*Lost Mission by Athol Dickson
*White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner
*Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury
*Thirsty by Tracey Bateman
*Guardian of the Flame by T. L. Higley
*I'm So Sure by Jenny B. Jones
*Healing Sands by Nancy Rue, Stephen Arterburn
*The House in Grosvenor Square by Linore Rose Burkard
*How Sweet It Is by Alice Wisler
*Deadly Intent by Camy Tang
*Small Town Brides by Janet Tronstad and Debra Clopton
*Ready Made Family by Cheryl Wyatt
*A Soldier's Return by Cheryl Wyatt
*Soldier Daddy by Cheryl Wyatt
*Bayou Betrayal by Robin Caroll
*Speed Trap by Patricia Davids
*Final Warning by Sandra Robbins
*Hearts in the Crosshairs by Susan Page Davis
*Guarded Secerts by Leann Harris
*Trial by Fire by Cara Putman

*I reserve the right to change this list at any time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

One Imperfect Christmas

Abingdon Press (September 2009)


Myra Johnson


Making up stories has been second nature to me for as long as I can remember. A select group of trusted friends back at dear old Mission High waited eagerly for the next installment of my "Great American Spy Novel" (think Man from Uncle) and my "All-American Teen Novel" (remember Gidget and Tammy?). I even had a private notebook of angst-ridden poetry a la Rod McKuen.

The dream of writing persisted into adulthood, although it often remained on the back burner while I attended to home and family and several "real" (read paying) jobs along the way. Then in 1983, while recovering from sinus surgery, I came upon one of those magazine ads for the Institute of Children’s Literature. I knew it was time to get serious, and the next thing I knew, I'd enrolled in the “Writing for Children and Teenagers” course.

Within a year or so I sold my first story, which appeared in the Christian publication Alive! for Young Teens. For many years I enjoyed success writing stories and articles for middle-graders and young adults. I even taught for ICL for 9 years.

Then my girls grew up, and there went my live-in inspiration. Time to switch gears. I began my first women's fiction manuscript and started attending Christian writers conferences. Eventually I learned about American Christian Romance Writers (which later became American Christian Fiction Writers) and couldn't wait to get involved. Friends in ACFW led me to RWA and the online inspirational chapter, Faith, Hope & Love.

So here I am today, still on this crazy roller-coaster ride. Still writing. Still hopeful. Writing, I'm learning, is not about the destination, it's about the journey. My current projects are primarily women's fiction and romance . . . novels of hope, love, and encouragement. Novels about real women living out their faith and finding love in the midst of everyday, and sometimes not so everyday, situations.


Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she's allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves-most of all her husband Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she's one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit's end. Nothing he's done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa's adolescent rebellion isn't helping matters. As Daniel's hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.

If you would like to read the first chapter of One Imperfect Christmas, go HERE

Watch the trailer:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Dopple Ganger Chronicles: The Secret of the Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: SaltRiver (August 17, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-1414319483


From best-selling author G.P. Taylor comes the highly anticipated second installment of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, a series that combines art and traditional text to help “reluctant readers” discover the wonder of books.

Erik Morrissey Ganger, famed explorer and detective (well, in his dreams), and his mischief-making sidekicks, twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple, didn’t go looking for a secret tunnel beneath the school. They never intended to make the acquaintance of a shifty private eye with a nose for trouble. It wasn’t part of the plan to come face-to-face with an old enemy, one with an agenda of his own that could destroy them all. And unraveling the “secret of indigo moon” was the furthest thing from their minds.

At Isambard Dunstan’s School for Wayward Children, these things just seem to happen. In The Secret of Indigo Moon, confirmed troublemakers Erik, Sadie, and Saskia plunge headlong into a new and perilous mystery, one that challenges everything they thought they knew about their lives, themselves, and who it’s safe to trust.

My Review:

I loved this one like the first in the series, First Escape. I recommend reading the first one then the second as it references what happens in the first book some. The story is told through a combination of pictures, regular prose, and comics. The text is very interesting type set and sometimes in the middle of the page a line will be much bigger than the rest of the page. It is not all one size font. The pages are lined in black on the edge and some pages are all black with white text. I like the variety of methods in the book. It makes it interesting to me and I think it would work well with readers who struggle with regular chapter books. The plot and characters themselves are wonderful too. I enjoyed reading about more adventures of the Dopple twins Saskia and Sadie and Erik Ganger. The book would appeal to older elementary and up. This 26 year old liked it too. I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out.Highly Recommended.

Here is a link to the first chapter. I encourage everyone to check it out. :)

Amazon Link:

Sunday Salon and $15 GC Contest

The Sunday Salon.com
* This has not been a good reading week. I have not finished a book since September 14, 2009. I have not even been able to concentrate on reading.

* Friday night I went to the ER with my sister and did not get home until almost 8 the next morning. I was awake over 24 hours so I spent most of Saturday sleeping. Today I still feel a slight hangover but I might read after I do my shopping and eat lunch with my grandparents.

* They could not figure out what wrong with her though we thought it might be her gallbladder because the bad pain was top part of her stomach by her ribs but by the time they got around to doing the tests she was feeling better. Her white blood cell count is slightly elevated so she is going to fu with our regular doctor this week.

* I am a couple of books behind on reading for deadlines but I have some that need reviews I read on vacation so you will see several reviews from me this week. I will have one later today for Eye for Eye by Irene Hannon which was excellent.

*I am extending the deadline on the $15 bookstore giveaway I started for BBAW. Go here and leave a comment to be entered to win:

* Reading Challenge Update:
RIP IV 0/4
Japanese Literature Challenge 3 0/1
2nds Challenge 9/12
Science Book Challenge 0/3
What's In a Name 4/6
Re-Read Challenge 0/1
Chunkster 4/6
Decades 2/9

* The Fall Into Reading Challenge Starts Tuesday with the First Day of Fall. I am very excited. It is hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days. Go to her blog for more information:

* Some Fall TV Shows are starting this week. I will be tuning in for House, NCIS LA, Mercy, Grey's Anatomy, and Community. I might not watch the whole season of these but I want to see a few episodes to make up my mind.

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

Saturday, September 19, 2009

You Were Born for This by Bruce Wilkinson (AND GIVEAWAY)

***Leave a comment on this post before Saturday September 26 at midnight to be entered to win a copy.***

Book Summary:

His New York Times phenomenon The Prayer of Jabez changed how millions pray. Now Bruce Wilkinson wants to change what they do next.

Anyone can do a good deed, but some good works can only happen by a direct intervention from God. Around the world these acts are called miracles—not that even religious people expect to see one any time soon. But what would happen if millions of ordinary people walked out each morning expecting God to deliver a miracle through them to a person in need? You Were Born for This starts with the dramatic premise that everyone at all times is in need of a miracle, and that God is ready to meet those needs supernaturally through ordinary people who are willing to learn the “protocol of heaven.”

In the straightforward, story-driven, highly motivating style for which he is known, Wilkinson describes how anyone can be a “Delivery Guy” from heaven in such universally significant arenas of life as finances, practical help, relationships, purpose, and spiritual growth.

You Were Born for This will change how readers see their world, and what they expect God can do through them to meet real needs. They will master seven simple tools of service, and come to say with confidence, “I want to deliver a supernatural gift from God to someone in need today—and I expect to!”

Click on link to hear the author introduce the book:

Author Information:

One of the world’s foremost Christian teachers, Bruce Wilkinson is best known as the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The Prayer of Jabez. He is also the author of numerous other bestsellers, including A Life God Rewards, Secrets of the Vine, and The Dream Giver. Over the past three decades, Wilkinson has founded several global initiatives, including organizations that recruited and trained thousands of Americans to address hunger, AIDS, and poverty in Africa . Bruce and his wife, Darlene, have three children and six grandchildren. They live outside Atlanta .

David Kopp has collaborated with Bruce Wilkinson on over a dozen bestselling books, including The Prayer of Jabez. He is an editor and writer living in Colorado .

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cottonwood Whispers by Jennifer Valent

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:

Cottonwood Whispers

Tyndale House Publishers (August 17, 2009)


Jennifer Erin Valent is the winner of the Christian Writers Guild’s 2007 Operation First Novel contest for Fireflies in December, her first published novel. She lives in Central Virginia, where she has worked as a nanny for over fifteen years. A lifelong resident of the South, her surroundings help to color the scenes and characters she writes.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (August 17, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414333269
ISBN-13: 978-1414333267


I’ve heard the dead whisper.

Every time I tell my best friend Gemma that, she frowns at me, says, “There ain’t no such thing as ghosts,” and then tells me I’m crazy. But I’m not crazy. The dead really can whisper, only it isn’t their ghosts that do it. It’s the memory of them.

There’s a place around the bend from my momma and daddy’s house where a stone cross rests beneath a cottonwood tree. That cross is where I first heard the whisper. It’s not really a grave so much, but a marker to remind people of what we lost that day. I was only seventeen when we placed that marker there, but it still looks pristine, like it was made just yesterday. Only yesterday was a long time ago, and time has brought a whole lot of changes since—some good and some bad.

And that’s just what I was looking for in that summer of 1936 . . . changes.

The last day of the school year saw me and Gemma meeting up at the pharmacy for a soda to celebrate another year of my surviving school. When I got there, she was standing outside the building, swinging her purse by one hand.

“Where you been?” Gemma asked when she caught sight of me. “I’ve been waitin’ ten minutes.”

“Teacher took a long time givin’ her end-of-year speech. She sure does like to talk.”

“Sounds a lot like you.”

I wrinkled my nose and gave her a shove, but she was the only person who could talk sharp to me and not get an earful back. We were like sisters, Gemma and me, and the way I figured it, sisters should be able to say near about anything to each other.

We sat down at the pharmacy counter with confidence because Mr. Poppleberry, who ran the place, didn’t have a thing against colored people, and he welcomed Gemma in all the time.

“I’m gettin’ a job this year,” I said determinedly once we were settled with our chocolate sodas. “I’m tired of not havin’ money to do things with.”

“Where you gonna work? Ain’t much open around here these days.”

“I’ll find somethin’. Everyone in Calloway knows I’m a good worker.”

She shook her head. “Work ain’t so fun as you think. It ain’t all independence and extra pocket change. It gives you backaches and weary bones, too.”

“You’ve only been workin’ at the Hadleys’ for two months, and you sound like you’re old hat at it.” I took a long sip of my soda and sighed. “Heck, you get to spend your days in that big old mansion of theirs.” I rested my chin on my hand and gave her a sideways glance. “All the same, you won’t catch me workin’ for no Hadleys. They’re just a bunch of uppity do-nothin’s.”

Gemma shushed me with a kick on my shin, and I gasped, pointing an angry glare her way.

“What’d you do that for?”

She didn’t say anything, but I saw her straighten up in her chair a little bit and look up past my head.

“You girls gettin’ somethin’ cool to drink?” a man’s voice asked from behind me. “Sure is a fine day for coolin’ off any which way you can.”

I spun around in my seat and turned back just as quickly when I saw it was Joel Hadley walking our way. Joel was the youngest son of the Hadley family, but his dangerous reputation belied his twenty-one years. I knew Joel Hadley for a charming scoundrel, and I was disgusted that my end-of-school celebration would be marred by his presence.

Gemma smiled at him with an extra twinkle in her eye. “Just givin’ Jessie somethin’ special. She finished school today.”

“Good ol’ days,” Joel said with a sideways smile. “Seems a long time ago, all that school stuff. Seem long to you, Gemma?”

“Not so much, Mr. Hadley. I’m not too long out.”

Joel patted my head as though I were a five-year-old instead of the almost-seventeen-year-old that I was. I sat up a bit straighter. “You got some business we’re keepin’ you from, Joel? We don’t mean to hold you up or nothin’.”

Gemma glared at me so quickly that I barely noticed it between the dumb smiles she kept giving that boy, but I knew it was there all the same.

“Well now, I was just takin’ a break from my work. I came on over for some cigarettes and lo and behold, I got an extra treat, seein’ such pretty faces.”

Charm oozed from his pores far too easily to be natural, and I couldn’t believe for the life of me that my wise Gemma could be taken in by such nonsense.

I fingered my straw and avoided looking at either of them. “Guess you’d better get back to the bank, then. Seein’ how it’s your daddy’s bank and all, we’d best not keep you from your work.”

Joel eyed me for a minute, slowly rolling a toothpick back and forth in his mouth.

After several seconds, I met that gaze with a forthright one of my own. “You got need of somethin’, Joel?” I asked innocently.

“Nope.” He stared at me for a minute longer, and I didn’t like his look one bit, all narrow-eyed like a rabid fox. I just looked casually back down at my soda, stabbing the cherry at the bottom of the glass. I fished it out and popped it in my mouth like nobody was even there.

Gemma cleared her throat. “Tell Mrs. Hadley we’re right grateful for the tub of strawberries she sent home with me yesterday. We all appreciate it, I’m sure.” With those words, she turned to me for agreement, nudging me beneath the counter.

As it was, I knew nothing about a tub of strawberries, so I shrugged and said, “S’pose we are. I ain’t tried one yet to tell.”

I could see by Gemma’s face that she thought me rude and undignified, but I was of no mind to give notice to men who put on faces that didn’t match their insides. Pretty pictures were all well and good, but if there wasn’t a good story behind the picture, it meant nothing. And that’s what I thought the whole lot of Hadleys were: just pretty pictures with no meanings.

Joel finally took his eyes off me to reply to Gemma, but his manner toward me remained charmingly hostile, and I was surprised that Gemma didn’t notice the coldness he showed me. Or maybe she did, I thought, and she just didn’t care. No matter what she thought, she was now giving all her attention to Joel.

He tipped his hat at her and smiled. “Plants are full this year. Don’t see any need in lettin’ them rot.”

Gemma nodded in reply, her docile mood making me doubt her true identity. The Gemma Teague I knew didn’t get flutters over men and strike fancy poses like she was doing now.

“Well,” Joel said, “best get goin’. Time and money wait for no man.” He tipped his hat at Gemma again, flashed me a wry sort of grin, and walked off to buy his cigarettes, leaving us to sit in a moment of tense silence.

It was only after Gemma had stirred her soda for about a minute that she looked up at me with chagrin and said, “Jessie, what’d you have to go and do that for?”

“Do what?” I asked, though I knew full well what she meant.

“You was downright rude to Joel Hadley. Downright rude!”

“Me?” I argued. “Did you see the looks he was givin’ me? He could’ve near burned a hole in my skull.”

“He had every right to after the way you talked to him. Sakes alive, Jessie, he’s a Hadley.”

“That make him the king of England or somethin’? I ain’t got to bow to Hadleys no more’n I have to bow to Peeboe the milkman. Since when do I got to give people extra respect just for bein’ richer than me?”

“That ain’t got nothin’ to do with it,” Gemma said in exasperation, though I could see she wasn’t quite sure herself what she meant. “It’s just . . . well, I work for them and everythin’.”

“Don’t mean you gotta worship them.”

“I don’t!”

“Way you looked at him, a body would think you did.”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” she said in a huff. “I just don’t want to talk about it.”

We sat there for a bit in an uncomfortable silence while Gemma slowly sipped her soda, and I wished I hadn’t finished mine already so I’d have something to do. I leaned on the counter and tapped a rhythm on it until another thought came to my mind. “He smokes cigarettes too.”


“So? It’s a smelly old habit. And Momma always says it’s a stumblin’ block.”

“There ain’t no commandment about smokin’.”

“There ain’t no commandment about tippin’ cows, neither,” I said abruptly, “but we ain’t supposed to do it.”

“Luke Talley himself works in the tobacco factory, and you want to marry him.”

“But he ain’t smokin’ it!”

“What’s the difference between smokin’ it and makin’ it for other folks to smoke? Besides, your daddy don’t smoke hay in that pipe of his.”

I glared at her, not sure which way to go in this argument since I’d only brought it up by fishing for something else to blame Joel Hadley for. I went back to tapping my fingers and avoided looking at her.

Gemma tossed her napkin down and grabbed up her purse. “I don’t want to talk about work today,” she announced. “I don’t want to talk about nothin’.”

That’s exactly what we did as we walked home. We talked about nothing. We didn’t talk about her job or school or anything else. To avoid the tension, I tried thinking of other things, like what I was going to wear to church that Sunday. I thought about asking Gemma if I could borrow her red hair bow, but I wasn’t sure I should speak to her about anything just then, much less about something so trivial as a red hair bow.

We often borrowed each other’s things for church seeing as how we went to different congregations and the people there wouldn’t realize we were swapping. Gemma went to a colored church a few miles down the road. It was a sticking point with me that four years after her momma and daddy died, Gemma still had to stay away from certain places we went to even though she lived with us. But the way Gemma saw it, we weren’t going to cure all the world’s ills in her lifetime, and the fact that we were at least untouched by violent prejudice lately was advancement enough for her.

“A body’s got to wait for change sometimes, Jessie,” she said to me once. “We done gone to hell and back just to get rid of the violence, and it’s a miracle itself for us to see Calloway at peace with me still livin’ at your place, even if some do turn a cold shoulder. I’ll take that to my heart and be happy we got this far.”

I’d assumed she was likely right, but I still had parts of me tied up in knots over people’s strangeness. Nonetheless, I’d had to get used to the fact that Gemma had gone to a different school and a different church and couldn’t freely walk into any store in town she wanted to.

I glanced over at her and studied her face, thinking it didn’t look so angry as it had before, so I cleared my throat to get her attention and said, “You wearin’ your red hair bow on Sunday?”

“Probably not,” she murmured.

“I was thinkin’ I’d wear my white dress.”

She swung her purse by her side and continued to watch her feet as we walked along, kicking up the dry dust. “Guess you want to wear my bow.”

“I was thinkin’ on it.”

“You can wear it.”

We walked on for a couple of minutes in silence before Gemma seemed to decide there weren’t any real good reasons for us to keep fighting. She kept looking down at the ground, but her voice got a little lighter when she said, “Guess you think Luke will think you look right pretty in that red bow.”

I snapped my head up. “No ma’am, I don’t! I just like lookin’ nice on Sundays, is all.”

Her eyes glittered. “You talk a big talk, but come Sunday, you’ll stew over how to wear your hair and whatnot. Just like you always do. And you’ll swoon over Luke like always.”

“Don’t matter none, I told you.” I took my own turn to watch the ground, since looking at Gemma only told me she knew how I truly felt despite the lying words I was saying. “Anyhow, Luke wouldn’t notice me in a month of Sundays.”

“If he did show you attention right now, your daddy’d kill him. You best be happy he don’t see you as more than a sister yet.”

“I’m nearly seventeen,” I argued. “I’m enough of a woman to be courtin’.”

“Not courtin’ a man of twenty-three. The minute Luke were to show you some attention, your daddy would be loadin’ the shotgun.”

“Oh, he would not. Daddy wouldn’t kill Luke.”

Gemma waved a hand in front of her face to dismiss the subject. “If it’s meant to be, Jessie, it’ll be. That’s all there is to it. It just ain’t meant to be yet.”

I shrugged, guessing she was probably right, though I hated to admit it. Gemma went on inside, but I stood on the porch steps for a minute giving a little thought to her idea that Daddy would have the shotgun on Luke if he came courting. I shook my head at the notion and sighed. It seemed every other day I heard my momma moan about how fast time was flying, but the way it seemed to me, I couldn’t get old fast enough.

I have not read this book yet. I read the first last year and thought it was good.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Winner of Stray Affections

The Winner of Stray Affections by Charlene Baumbich is ...

Carolynn W


Thank you to everyone who entered :)

Here is your sequence:
Timestamp: 2009-09-18 01:41:36 UTC

Winner of The Blue Enchantress

The winner of The Blue Enchantress is

Lady Araujo


Thank you to everyone who entered :)

Here is your sequence:
Timestamp: 2009-09-18 01:39:26 UTC

BBAW Day Four

Can you believe it’s already Day 4 of BBAW? Where has the time gone? Well hopefully you’ve discovered plenty of new book blogs to clog up your RSS feed readers and introduce you to more marvelous books throughout the year! But let’s talk about that book you know, the one you discovered only because you read about it on a book blog and then you realized you couldn’t live without it! And then you read it and you loved it so hard! Tell us about it and about the blogger (or bloggers!) that introduced the book to you!

Deena of A Peek At My Bookshelf is responsible for my addiction to the Hannah Swenson Mysteries by Joanne Fluke. The first is called The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. They are cozy mysteries that each focus around Hannah Swenson and her bakery.For the most they are good clean books. I love them. I would never have started them without Deena's review. Thank you Deena! Her blog address is: http://deenasbooks.blogspot.com/
Shauna of Reading and Ruminations is responsible for my addiction to the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig. http://www.laurenwillig.com/books/index.html
It is hard to describe them. Click on the above link to read about them on the author's website. Shauna's blog is:http://readingandruminations.wordpress.com/
I am seriously addicted to the above series and I would never have picked them up without reading about them on their blogs. I am on pins and needles waiting on the next books in the series to come out. I highly recommend both series. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BBAW Day Three Meme

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
Not usually. I will take a break and eat though. Some books are so good I can ignore my growling stomach for just one more page after page. lol
Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
It does horrify me for fiction but for nonfiction I am tempted. I have a huge stack of little post its.
How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?Laying the book flat open?
Bookmarks consisting of almost anything. I do not like dog-ears or breaking the spine.
Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
Both but the majority is fiction
Hard copy or audiobooks? Hard copy
Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
Depends on the book but most of the time I try to finish the chapter
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
What are you currently reading?
I have bookmarks in like 10 different books. My concentration has been shot this week.
What is the last book you bought?
I bought a stack of Love Inspired books at Wal Mart on Vacation
Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
I read many books at one time
Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
I can read anytime anywhere :)
Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
I really can't pick one. I just love books.
Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
Dee Henderson, Susan May Warren, Jane Austen, Angela Hunt, Jenny B. Jones, Erynn Mangum, Tamera Alexander, Diann Hunt
How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
I have several areas for unread (TBR ) books. Then my main book shelves I have divided by Fiction and Nonfiction. After that I try to put all the titles I own by an author in one place on the shelf.

Dawn's Prelude by Tracie Peterson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dawn's Prelude

(Bethany House - October 2009)


Tracie Peterson


Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 70 novels. She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.

Ephesians 1:18 has become a cornerstone verse for a new non-fiction book she's been working on -- its also become a cornerstone in her life. The verse reads, "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints."

Tracie and her family live in Belgrade, Montana.


Newly widowed Lydia Sellers discovers that through an unforeseen fluke, she is the sole recipient of her husband's fortune. But instead of granting her security, it only causes strife as her adult stepchildren battle to regain the inheritance for themselves.

Lydia, longing to put the memories of her painful marriage behind her, determines to travel to Alaska to join her aunt. Lydia's arrival in Sitka, however, brings two things she didn't expect.

One is the acquaintance of Kjell Bjorklund, the handsome owner of the sawmill. Second is the discovery that she is pregnant with her dead husband's child. What will this mean for her budding relationship with Kjell? And what lengths will her stepchildren go to reclaim their father's fortune? Lydia soon finds her life--and that of her child's--on the line.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dawn's Prelude, go HERE

My Review:

This is a heart touching historical. I felt horrible for Lydia at the abuse she suffered/s from her husband and stepchildren. Only one of the stepchildren shows promise of reforming and I hope book two focuses on her. I am glad this is a series because I want to know more of what happens to these characters. The plot and characters captured my attention and held it. Recommended especially for fans of Christian historical fiction.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BBAW Day Two Interview Time

For Day Two of the BBAW festivities I had the pleasure of interviewing and being interviewed by Suey at http://sueysbooks.blogspot.com/
Her answers are below and mine are posted at her blog. Go check it out!

Me: I noticed you also participate in reading challenges. What is your favorite and why?

Suey: The TBR one is probably my favorite because it was the first one I ever tried, and it got me into the blogging world, and because it concentrates on what I need to do anyway, which is to work on my huge TBR pile.

Me: Who are your top 3 favorite authors?

Suey:Markus Zusak , Jane Austen and Shannon Hale. For now, at this very moment anyway.

Me: What genre of books do you like the best?

Suey: Right now I'd have to say YA... anything. I also really love classics, but I've been neglecting them of late. And then (see I can't pick just one!) I also enjoy current so-called literary fiction. Oh, and fantasy. :)

Me: Which classic book character do you relate to the best and why?

Suey: Once I took one of those "which Jane Austen character are you" quizzes and the result was Elinor from Sense and Sensibility. I always thought that was quite accurate. I tend to appear in control and unemotional, but inside I'm probably quite an emotional mess. Anyway, I have always felt connected to her somehow.

Me: Describe your favorite reading spot.

Suey: I have two favorites. In the living room (which we sometimes call the piano room for obvious reasons) on the couch there because it gets one away from the chaos of the rest of the house sometimes. And also in bed, always at night, but I really like reading in bed late into the morning on weekends. I just redecorated a corner in my basement with bookshelves, and I hope to find some cool comfortable chairs for that area, and then maybe it will end up as my favorite reading spot soon.

Me: How did you get into the blogging world?

Suey:My sister invited me to have a Yahoo 360 blog years ago. It was really fun, but after awhile I noticed I wanted to talk a lot about books, and no one cared. Then I discovered the above mentioned TBR challenge, and that nearly everyone had a Blogger blog, so I decided to do what I'd been wanting to do forever, and create a book blog. That was two and half years ago.

Me: Why do you rate books with a letter grade versus another method or none at all?

Suey:First of all, I rate so someone can quickly glance at my review and know right off if I liked the book or not. I decided to use a letter rating, (stolen from someone somewhere) because it just seemed easier than a number thing or stars or whatever. Everyone just knows right off what it means, and there's all those pluses and minuses for the inbetweens.

Me: List your top 5 favorite blogs.

Ug! Too hard! This kills me!

Some "old" favorites:

Chris at Book-a-rama
Melissa at Book Nut
Heather J at 30+: A Lifetime of Books
Stephanie at Confessions of a Bookaholic
Raidergirl3 at An Adventure in Reading

And because I'm going to cheat... some "new" favorites:

Amanda at The Zen Leaf
Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness
Michelle at Fluttering Butterflies
Britt at Confessions of a Book Habitue
Melissa at One Librarian's Book Reviews

Me: Is there any particular food that you like to eat when reading?

Suey: M and M's if they are around, which isn't too often thankfully!

Me: What are your top 5 reads so far this year?
Suey: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Taken by Storm by Angela Morrison (my giveaway this week too btw)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Monday, September 14, 2009

BBAW First Giveaway

In honor of BBAW I am giving away one $15 GC to bookstore of the winner's choice! Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered to win. Thank you to all the other book bloggers and readers out there. :)

*Contest is open worldwide and ends on Sunday September 27 at midnight.

BBAW Day One

What book blogs mean something to you? Who are your most trusted sources for recommendations, your greatest help, the blogger you turn to for a laugh or to vent? Whose writing do you admire or who introduced you to a whole new genre you didn’t know about? We want to hear all about them…because we want to know them too! Please share about the blogs we haven’t had a chance to meet via BBAW and let the party begin!
Some of my favorite blogs include:
*Nancy at Bookfoolery and Babble: http://bookfoolery.blogspot.com/
*Jenny B. Jones
*Erynn Mangum
*Katrina at Callapidder Days

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Salon September 13, 2009

The Sunday Salon.com
* I cannot believe it is September 13 already. Maybe because we went on vacation for four days. We went to Gulf Shores,AL. I had a great time and I did not want to come home yet. :)

* I read 8 books while on vacation. Here is a link to my back from vacation post:

* Here is a link to our vacation photos:

* I have two book giveaways going on right now. The first is for a copy of The Blue Enchantress by M.L. Tyndall

* The second giveaway is for Stray Affections by Charlene Baumbich

* This week I posted reviews of
Fearless by Max Lucado
Just Between You and Me by Jenny B. Jones (one of my 2009 favorites)
Look to the East by Maureen Lang
Plain Promise by Beth Wiseman

*This coming week is Book Blogger Appreciation Week. http://www.bookbloggerappreciationweek.com/
There will be different events every day. I have a special giveaway going up tomorrow. I have interview with a fellow book blogger Suey Tuesday.

* I had an okay reading weekend. I finished two books and read one more. I finished:
Dawn's Prelude by Tracie Peterson
Faith and Honor by Robin Maderich
Plain Promise by Beth Wiseman

* Today is National Grandparents Day so my sister and I are getting ready to go see ours. We are lucky they live in the same area we do.

*Have a good week and don't forgot about the BBAW activities. :)

Plain Promise by Beth Wiseman

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (Available now)
ISBN-13: 978-1595547200

Plain Promise is book three in the Daughters of Promise series by Beth Wiseman. They are set in Lancaster County,Pennsylvania, Amish Country. I have enjoyed reading all of them so far. You can read it separate but I recommend all of the books as they have reoccurring background characters.

In this book the focus is on a young Amish Widow named Sadie Fisher. She has a small shop on her farm that sells Amish products but other than that she is really lonely since her husband was killed in a buggy accident. She wonders if she will ever find love again and have a family.

She has a cottage that she rents out when able and a wealthy Englischer named Kade Saunders decides to rent it for three months. This turns Sadie's world upside down as she deals with him. While Kade is there his soon to be ex wife that he has not seen in 6 months drops off his five year old autistic son Tyler. Kade has not spent much time with Tyler so it is a hard adjustment period at first. Sadie forms an immediate attachment to Tyler. Her feelings for his father also grow even though she fights it and tries to stay true to the Ordnung, the understood behavior by which the Amish live by. To complicate things even further Sadie has been writing letters for two years to a fellow Amish man in Texas named Milo. She expects to marry him in the next year even though she has not meet him in person yet.

I really like the spiritual development of the characters in the story including Sadie, Kade, and even little Tyler. When Kade arrives he feels empty on the inside and worn out by his crazy hectic lifestyle and last relationship blowout. He is drawn to the peaceful and spiritual aspects of the Amish around him. The book also has some subplots that are interesting. This is a heart warming novel with an interesting plot line and characters. The descriptions the author uses rings true and the writing overall is good. I highly recommend this book and the entire Daughters of Promise series.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Show Me 5 Saturday: Seeing Things by Patti Hill

Show Me 5 Saturday is hosted by A Novel Idea

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week
Seeing Things by Patti Hill

2 Words that describe the book
Contemporary, family

3 Settings where it took place or characters you met
Birdie Wainwright, Colorado, Huck Finn
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it
I liked the development of the characters over the course of the book. There are several things in the book that make you laugh and touch your heart. I like the main themes of family, love, forgiveness, faith, and reconciliation. I liked how Birdie is a realist even though she starts seeing and talking to Huck Finn.

5 Stars or less for your rating?
4.5 Definitely recommended.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Look to the East by Maureen Lang

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:

Look to the East (The Great War)

Tyndale House Publishers (August 4, 2009)


Maureen Lang has always had a passion for writing. She wrote her first novel longhand around the age of ten, and it was so fun she’s been writing ever since. She’s published nine novels and won several awards, including the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart award and the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Noble Theme award. She lives near Chicago, Illinois, with her husband and three children.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (August 4, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414324359
ISBN-13: 978-1414324357


Briecourt, Northern France

Julitte Toussaint sucked in her breath and shut her eyes, as if by closing off her own vision she, too, might become invisible. Stuck high above the ground where someone so grown, just turned twenty-and-two, should never be caught, she shot a fervent prayer heavenward. Please let neither one look up!She clutched the book-sized tin to her chest and went death-still in hopes of going unnoticed.

“. . . those days may be behind us, Anton. At least for a while.” She heard his voice for the first time, the man who had come to visit the only château within walking distance of her village. The man whose blond hair had reflected the sun and nearly blinded her to the rest of his beauty. The perfect nose, the proportionate lips, the blue eyes that with one glance had taken her breath away.

Now he was near again, and her lungs froze. She feared the slightest motion might betray her.

“You’ll go back, Charles? Join this insanity, when you could follow me the other way?” She recognized Anton Mantoux’s voice without looking. He was the closest thing to aristocracy the town of Briecourt knew. Though Julitte had never spoken to him, she had heard him speak many times. Whenever the mayor called a village meeting, M. Mantoux always held the floor longest.

Charles . . . so that was his name.

“Who would have thought I had a single noble bone in my body?”

M. Mantoux snorted. “You’ll follow your foolhardy king, will you?”

“Much can be said about a man—a king, no less—who takes for himself the same risks he asks others to bear. I should never have left Belgium. I know my sister never will. How can I do less?”

“Ah, yes, your beautiful and brave little sister Isabelle . . . What is it you call her? Isa?”

“Careful with your thoughts, Anton,” said the man—Charles—whose voice was every bit as lovely as his face. “She’s little more than a child.”

“A child, but not much longer. And then you may have me in the family!”

Feeling a cramp in her leg, Julitte wanted nothing more than to climb down the tree and scurry away. Let them move on!she silently pleaded to God. Send a wind to blow them on their way before—

As if in instant answer to her prayer, a gust tore through the thick leaf cover of the beech tree in which she hid. In horror she watched the tin, dampened by her perspiring hands, slip from her grasp and take the path designed by gravity. She heard a dull thud as it bounced off the perfect forehead of the taller of the two men below, grazing the blond hair that so intrigued her.

A moment later both men looked up, and she might have thought their surprised faces funny had she planned the episode and been a bit younger to get away with such a prank.

“I thank you for the answered prayer of the wind, Lord,” she whispered in annoyed submission, “but not for the result, as You well know.”

“You there.” M. Mantoux’s voice was as commanding as ever, and it set her heart to fear-filled pounding. “Come down at once.”

Giving up any hope of dignity, Julitte shook away the cramp in one leg, then shimmied back along the thick branch until reaching the trunk that was somewhat wider than the span of her arms and legs. Her foot found the knothole she knew so well, and in a moment she stood on the ground, pulling at her skirt to cover pantaloons and the single petticoat she owned, a hand-me-down from her adoptive mother. From the corner of her eye she saw the towering blond man bending to retrieve her tin, a look of curiosity on his handsome face.

M. Mantoux stepped in front of Julitte. “What were you doing up there, girl? Who—”

Enlightenment reached his eyes before his voice faded away. Of course he knew who she was—everyone in and around her village knew she was the étrangère, the outsider. Not only because at least half of the village wouldn’t have welcomed an adopted child of Narcisse Toussaint, but because she had been born far away on the Island of Lepers, off the coast of Greece. Though Julitte had lived among the French villagers for nearly fifteen years, some still whispered of her heritage to this day, to passersby or children too young to already know.

“Come here, Julitte Toussaint.” He pointed to a spot a few feet away. “Stand there, not too close.”

M. Mantoux had an angry look about him, but she knew he always seemed that way from the curve of his nostrils to the arch in his brow. Even when he laughed—and she had seen him do that once—his face held the edge of ire whether with intent or not.

Intent was there now.

She obeyed his order and stopped where he’d told her, at the same time reaching for her property. The man holding the tin started to extend the item but took a moment to study it before completing the motion. His thumb traced the amateurishly tooled design, fashioned by her adoptive brother. Then he shook it and the items inside rattled. But he did not open it, for which she was silently grateful.

Both had to bend forward to pass the tin between them. Heplaced it, about the size of one of his hands, into both of hers.

“What were you doing on my property and what have you there?” M. Mantoux’s intimidating manner was the same he’d used when her cousin had lost one of his pigs and found it burrowing holes in the Mantoux Château garden. Only behind his intimidation today was a tone familiarly aimed her way—distaste mixed with a hint of the fear common to those who knew only her background and not her. “And why did you accost my guest?”

Julitte wanted to raise her gaze to M. Mantoux, to stare him down as she stared down her brother when he teased her the way brothers could. But M. Mantoux was not her brother. And standing in the handsome stranger’s shadow had stolen her courage.

Gazing downward, she mustered a respectful tone. “I was in the tree to retrieve the tin and decided to stay there until you passed by so to escape notice. The breeze whipped the box from my hold.” A quick glance at the blond cavalier revealed that his eyes stayed on her. Perhaps he was not so gallant, after all. What sort of man stared so boldly? Despite such thoughts, she knew what she must do. Keeping her gaze downcast, she turned to the handsome man she’d unwittingly troubled. “I offer you all my excuses, sir.”


The single word was issued softly and with a smile. Julitte let her gaze linger, welcoming his ready forgiveness. Her rapidly beating heart took a new direction.

“My friend is more magnanimous than needs be,” said M. Mantoux. “You are aware, Julitte, that this tree is on my property? If you fell and hurt yourself what should I have done?”

“I expect it would have been entirely my own fault, monsieur, and I would blame neither you nor the tree.”

“In any case, you’re far too old to be climbing like a waif. Narcisse shall hear of this.”

“I’m afraid he sent me on my mission before he left once again for the sea, Monsieur Mantoux.” She held up the tin. “This is my brother’s, you see, and I was told to fetch it and tell him to find another favorite spot to whittle. Closer to home.” She didn’t mention she had been the one to introduce her brother to this particularly dense and knotty tree.

The stranger—Charles—patted M. Mantoux’s shoulder. “There you see, Anton, it’s all perfectly understandable. Why berate the girl?”

Girl. But then, what else should he have called someone dallying about in a tree? Suddenly a vision of having met him under other circumstances filled her head, of her offering a brief and graceful curtsey and extending her hand for him to kiss. They would be formally introduced and have an intelligent conversation, about books and history and faraway places. Oh . . .

Instead M. Mantoux dismissed her as the peasant she was, unworthy to be presented to any guest of his noble household. And the two were already walking away.


Charles Lassone glanced back at the girl from the tree, unable to resist one last look. He could tell from her dress—clean despite her foray up to the branches—that she was a peasant from the village. For a moment, he wished circumstances were different. She was lovely, peasant or not. Her hair had shades of red and gold softened by strands of bronze . . . like a sunset. And her eyes were as dark as a black ocean reflecting the night sky. He’d caught himself staring but somehow couldn’t right his manners even when she’d noted the lapse.

Charles shook the reflection away, tagging such pointless thoughts as a premature product of war. He hadn’t even signed up! Yet. Now was most definitely notthe time to become entangled with a women, peasant or otherwise.

He was leaving France, returning to Belgium and to the side of King Albert. Rumor had it the king was leading his troops to battle. Charles just hoped he wasn’t too late.


Julitte walked the half-mile to the village, growing thirsty in the heat. Soon the cobbled square in the center of town came into view. Beneath the shadow of the church’s tall brick bell tower sat one of the two pubs in town. It ceased to be a stark contrast to the place of worship since the proprietor had at the behest of his wife stopped partaking in spirits—and consequently stopped serving them. He’d even rolled the piano out of his door and into the church, since so many of the songs sung in the pub no longer seemed the same without the local brew or some other liquor in hand.

Those in the de Colville family had protested the loudest since it was one less place their spirits were served, the one area to which they did not have to smuggle their goods.

Julitte was surprised to see a cluster of women and children gathered in the square. There were a limited number of huddles Julitte could join, even among women. She was restricted to those of the same Toussaint name or to those linked in some way. Even among Toussaints, she had to be careful.

Toussaint or de Colville . . . to be born in Briecourt was to be born into loyalty to one or the other. It was a simple fact no one questioned.

Ignoring her parched throat, Julitte circled the square until she found Oriane Bouget, Ori as she was called, who was with her grandmother Didi.

“What’s happened?”

“There . . . see for yourself.” Ori pointed with her chin to yet another bunch off to the side. There were the men of the village, near the town hall. The grand two-story brick structure would have fit any fine town, but here it sat in Briecourt, as out of place as a gem among pebbles. It housed the mayor’s office and garde civiquesquarters, the jail and the postal services all in one. A table had been brought outside and a man sat behind it taking down names, then sending the men one by one into the building.

“What is it?”

“They say we are at war,” Grandmother Didi said in her loud way, “and all the men must go and fight.” The tone of her voice accommodated her own lack of hearing, but just now it had quivered.

“War! With who? Not the English again?” Her father had told her about the many wars between the French and the English.

“No, the Germans, so they say.”

“Again?” It wasn’t all that long ago that France had feuded with their neighbors to the east, too. Julitte stared at the line of men, all of whom she knew. Including her adoptive brother.

“Pierre!” She left Ori’s side to rush to his.

“Have you heard the news?” A wide smile brightened his youthful, handsome face. Brown eyes as sweet and guileless as anyone as naïve as he, and here he was lining up . . . for war?

“What are you doing? Papa only left two days ago. Without his permission I don’t think—”

Whether it was her words or alarmed tone, Julitte caught the attention of men on both sides of Pierre. She had sat in schoolrooms with many of those in this line and knew the majority were best fit for harvesting—the sum of most dreams, the same as their fathers before them.

“Leave him be, woman!” Though his words were firm, the face of her long-ago classmate was lit with exhilaration, as if it were a holiday when anyone could be forgiven anything. “We’re off to be heroes the likes of which our town has never seen. Soon this very square will be filled with statues to our bravery.”

She lifted one brow. “Statues or bodies?”

“It would be a privilege to die for our country!” Pierre joined with his friend to recite the words, making Julitte believe they repeated whatever pronouncement they might have heard to form this line to begin with.

“Julitte,” Pierre whispered, pulling her aside. “I must go, don’t you see? Every man between the age seventeen and thirty is being called to service. I have no choice. And I wantto go.”

“Seventeen—but you’re not seventeen until—”

“Tomorrow is close enough, so he said I must go.”

Julitte found no words to counter such incredible information. How had this happened? Briecourt minded its own business; why couldn’t the rest of the world do the same?

“I will go, Julitte.” His words, soft but firm, left no room for doubt or argument.

She shook her head, wishing words to convince him otherwise would fall into place. None did. Instead of speaking, she handed him the tin she’d retrieved, full of his favorite woodcarvings that were little more than toys. How could it be that he should be signing up for war when that box proved he was still a child? Such thingswere not the stuff of soldiers.

Turning away, she headed to her cottage, ignoring Ori’s call. No one was home, with Narcisse at sea and her adoptive mother long since gone to heaven. But Julitte could go nowhere else just now. Her prayer corner was here. Her spirit, weighted with fear for her brother and all those in line, longed for the reassurance of knowing none were outside the boundaries of God’s loving concern.

She needed to pray.


“Arrête! Arrêterez votre véhicule ici.”

The French poilupounded the butt of his rifle on the pristine hood of Charles Lassone’s Peugeot. He had enough sense to hide his annoyance with the soldiers who’d set up this roadblock—that seemed the wisest choice when facing the barrel of a rifle. The blue and red clad officer spoke rapid French, motioning at the same time for Charles to exit the vehicle.

He did so, skyscraping above the agitated soldier who couldn’t have been more than five feet tall. Another soldier, this one taller but still not equal to Charles’s six foot one, came to stand before him, both of them waving their rifles in Charles’s direction.

“What is this about?” Charles inquired in perfect French. Though his mother was American, his father was Belgian and a Walloon at that, so Charles had grown up speaking at least as much French as English.

“We regret to inform you, monsieur, that you may go no farther in your motorcar. You may take your personal belongings, and then take yourself elsewhere.”

Rifles or not, Charles lost his hold on hiding annoyance. “What do you mean, take myself elsewhere? With my motor, of course?”

“No, monsieur. Without your motor.”

“Listen here, I have dual citizenship between Belgium and America. France has no claim to me or to my possessions.”

“Necessity outweighs all laws of any country, monsieur. Now please empty the vehicle of your belongings and then be off.”

“I will not.” Grabbing the handle of his motorcar door, Charles moved no farther until the tip of the soldier’s rifle grazed his temple.

“All motors are being requisitioned for service, monsieur. If not here, then several miles down the road, by your own Belgian government. We are now united against a common enemy, and whether you donate the motor here or there makes no difference. You see?”

Charles did not see at all. If his motor had to be requisitioned, he far preferred to surrender it to a Belgian soldier. But as one could not be found, there was no point in arguing.

He retrieved his bag and jacket from the rear seat, then watched with a heart nearly as heavy as the motor itself while yet another French poiluresumed Charles’s seat behind the wheel and drove off, the crunch of crushed stones sounding beneath the little-worn tires. No doubt the 1913 blue Peugeot would be in the hands of a French officer before nightfall.

“Can you direct me to the nearest train station?” he asked of the remaining soldiers. They had regrouped into the same circle they had been in when Charles spotted them alongside the pile of logs they’d set up as a barrier on the old Roman gravel road leading to the Belgian border.

A snicker here and there gave him little hope of the easy answer he sought. One, the man who had first pounded on the hood of the motor, faced Charles.

“A station will do you no good, monsieur. All trains between our two countries have been requisitioned. They are now used exclusively for troops.” He lifted one of his feet and tapped a dusty boot. “A hike is in store for you.” Then he laughed along with the others.

Without a word, Charles started walking. At first his steps were slow, but after a moment he picked up his pace. Maybe he should be grateful only his motorcar had been impressed into duty.

Book Summary:

At the dawn of the First World War, the French provincial village of Briecourt is isolated from the battles, but the century-old feud between the Toussaints and the de Colvilles still rages in the streets. When the German army sweeps in to occupy the town, families on both sides of the feud must work together to protect stragglers caught behind enemy lines. Julitte Toussaint may have been adopted from a faraway island, but she feels the scorn of the de Colvilles as much as anyone born a Toussaint. So when she falls in love with one of the stragglers—a wealthy and handsome Belgian entrepreneur—she knows she’s playing with fire. Charles Lassone hides in the cellar of the Briecourt church, safe from the Germans for the moment. But if he’s discovered, it will bring danger to the entire village and could cost Charles his life.

My Review:

Look to the East is an interesting historical romance set in Briecourt, a small town in France, during WWI. I read her last book My Sister Dilly which is a contempoary novel and thought it was very good. I did not like this one as much but I still thought it was an enjoyable read. Recommended to fans of historical fiction.

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