Monday, April 25, 2011

It's Monday What Are You Reading April 25, 2011

This is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.

What I read last week:

- Point Blank Protector by Stephanie Newton

- The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh

- The Judgment by Beverly Lewis

What I am currently reading:

- Head in the Clouds by Karen Whitmeyer

- Made to Crave, Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God not Food by Lysa Terkeurst

- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

- Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

- 10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl by Amy Parham

- The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

- The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

- Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

- 13 Rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro
What I am reading next:

- Nick of Time by Tim Downs (So excited about a new Bug Man Book)

- Jump Off the Hormone Swing by Lorraine Pintus

- From the Library of A. W. Tozer by James Scott Bell

- Angel Song by Shelia Walsh and Kathryn Cushman

- Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Reviews I posted last week:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Sunday Salon April 24, 2011

The Sunday

* Happy Easter!

* I decided that today I could break my lifestyle just a little so I ate some white flour products. I ate way too much of the real food too. I am not thinking of the calories or I will go crazy. I didn't want too but it looked so good. I hate holidays sometimes. I live in the Deep South so we always have big dinners for every holiday. I go to two every holiday, my Mom's side and my Dad's side. Double yummy! It is always good to see all the family. We don't get to see a lot of them on a daily basis even though they do not live very far away. Every one's lives are so busy. :)

* I have not read that much this weekend. I have a book I want to finish today but I am still cleaning the house. I want the house spot less because on Thursday I am going out of town until Sunday. I am getting excited. I am going with my Mom, Stepfather, Grandmother, and Uncle Patrick to see family out of state. We are going to a festival on Friday and are having a family reunion on Saturday then coming home early Sunday morning. I can't decide what books to take with me. I don't know how much reading time I will have and there will not be a lot of spare room in the Pilot. I am taking the Ipad my sister and I share with me but I can't read on it for hours because I get a headache and I have review books that need to be read. lol

* So busy weekend and a busy week ahead. I am already tired or that might be all the sugar wearing off. ;)

* I hope everyone has a great week and lots of reading time!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh (Review)

  • Paperback: 300 pages

  • Publisher: Revell (April 1, 2011)

  • ISBN-13: 978-0800719807

  • About the book:

    For John and Laura Foster, what began as a fairytale honeymoon in 1857 aboard the steamship SS Vandervere soon becomes a nightmare. A terrible hurricane strikes and the grand ship is lost in the murky depths of the Atlantic. Laura finds herself rescued with the other women and children, but how can she feel anything but despondent without her groom? Suspecting her John is gone but still daring to hope for a miracle, Laura must face the possibility of life alone.

    My Review:
    This is a fiction book based loosely on a real story. Overall I liked the book and consider it in the Christian historical fiction category and there is a little romance and suspense in it too. It reminds me a little of John Patterson's books. The writing is beautiful and flows well. The book takes you back and forth between what is happening to Laura after she is rescued and John after the hurricane. The first part of the book John is floating adrift at sea. There are many touching moments in the story. I loved John and Laura's love story and how strong their faith in God is and how it influences their lives and the lives of others. This is actually a book that both guys and girls would like. Recommended. :)
    About the author:

    I was born in Philadelphia in 1957 (guys don't care if you know) to a mostly blue-collar, hard-working Irish family. My Dad was the first person on either side of the family to earn a college degree. It took him nine years, working during the day, going to college at night, using the GI Bill from his war days in Korea. In the mid-sixties, General Electric hired him as an engineer for the Apollo space program. We packed up and moved to Florida, which is really where I grew up. I spent my childhood years playing basketball and surfing. In the spring of my senior year in high school I met the woman who would become my wife, Cindi. We dated for a brief period. I asked her to marry me and, to my great surprise, she said yes. We were married near the end of 1976. We have two children, now grown. The desire to write novels first began in high school. But I didn't have the time to pursue this passion until 2007. To find out more, visit my website at

    Available April 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

    Thank you Donna at Revell for my review copy.

    It's Monday What Are You Reading? April 18, 2011

    This is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

    What I read last week:

    - The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

    - Point Blank Protector by Stephanie Newton

    - The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh

    What I am currently reading:

    - Made to Crave, Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God not Food by Lysa Terkeurst

    - The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

    - Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

    - 10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl by Amy Parham

    - The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

    - The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

    - Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

    - 13 Rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro
    What I am reading next:

    - Jump Off the Hormone Swing by Lorraine Pintus

    - From the Library of A. W. Tozer by James Scott Bell

    - Angel Song by Shelia Walsh and Kathryn Cushman

    - Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

    Three New Quotes I love

    “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.”
    - Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

    “Her reputation for reading a great deal hung about her like the cloudy envelope of a goddess in an epic.”
    - Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

    “The art of living is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”

    - Alan Watts

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    The Sunday Salon April 17, 2011

    The Sunday

    * I can't believe how fast the weekend flew by this time. I am so not ready for the week. I still need to do my cooking and I am behind on review books and I need to study for my Internet class.

    * Feeling very overwhelmed and frustrated today which lead to overeating. Bad Brittanie! I did okay Friday and Saturday though. I am looking forward to hitting the gym tomorrow. I should have gone today but I can't make myself work out on Sundays so I have turned it into my off day. Sundays are the worst day of the week for me. I am trying to do 21 days no sweets and low carb. It is not going so good. I really broke it today. I have not decided if Kashi cereal bars and breakfast cereal are on it or not. I know less bread, pasta, etc. Absolutely no ice cream, cake, muffins, etc. The more I read the more I am convinced that sugar is really bad for you and makes you fat and sick. I read a great article today on it. What do you think?

    * This will be a short work week because we are off Friday for Easter. This is not good for me because I am behind on my work and the week after this one I am off Thursday and Friday to go on a vacation. I know I am not the only person who does not like to take off work because of the way it is when you come back. So that is stressing me. I am going to do my best to get everything done and choose to be happy no matter what happens. I will focus and work like my Mama taught me.

    * Off to cook and hopefully finish my review book and write the review tonight. I want to get caught up on my review books this Spring!

    * I hope everyone has a great week and lots of reading time. :)

    The Journey by Wanda Brunstetter

    I am sorry this is late! I am running behind.

    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:

    Barbour Books (April 5, 2011)
    ***Special thanks to Sharon Farnell, Director, Faith Division, Planned Television Arts for sending me a review copy.***


    Wanda E. Brunstetter is a bestselling author who enjoys writing Amish-themed, as well as historical novels. Descended from Anabaptists herself, Wanda became deeply interested in the Plain People when she married her husband, Richard who grew up in a Mennonite church in Pennsylvania. Wanda and her husband live in Washington State, but take every opportunity to visit their Amish friends in various communities across the country, gathering further information about the Amish way of life.

    Visit the author's website.


    This is the first book of the new Kentucky Brothers Series by
    Wanda Brunstetter. Discover along with Titus Fisher how life can begin anew in Christian County, Kentucky. Moving from Pennsylvania, finding rewarding work, and leaving a broken romance behind is the best decision Titus ever made. But is he ready to consider love again when he meets two women: one who seems perfectly suited for any Amish man and one who challenges long held ideas of the woman’s role. Who will Titus chose, and will it be the right choice?

    Product Details:

    List Price: $14.99
    Paperback: 384 pages
    Publisher: Barbour Books (April 5, 2011)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1602606811
    ISBN-13: 978-1602606814


    Paradise, Pennsylvania

    Titus Fisher liked horses, dogs, and shoofly pie. What he didn’t like was a cat that scratched, and a woman he couldn’t trust. Today he’d dealt with both.

    Gritting his teeth, he grabbed his horse’s bridle and led him into the barn, wishing he hadn’t gotten out of bed that morning. The day had started on a sour note when Titus had come to the barn to feed the horses and accidentally stepped on one of Mom’s cats. Five of the irksome critters lived in the barn, and every one of them liked to bite and scratch. Whiskers, the smallest of the five, was the most aggressive. The crazy cat had been so miffed when Titus stepped on her tail that she’d clawed her way right up his leg, hissing and yowling as she went. When Titus had tried to push Whiskers off, she’d let him have it—leaving a nasty scratch on his leg.

    Titus pulled up his pant leg and stared at the wound, still red and swollen. It reminded him of the time when he and his twin brother, Timothy, were six years old and had found a wild cat in the woodpile behind their barn. !e mangy critter had bitten Titus’s hand, and when the bite became infected, he’d started running a fever. Mom had taken him to the doctor’s, where he’d been given a tetanus shot and an antibiotic. Ever since then, he’d had an aversion to cats.

    “In my opinion, except for catching mice, cats are pretty much worthless,” Titus mumbled as he guided his horse into one of the stalls. When he patted the horse’s ebony-colored flanks, the gelding whinnied and flipped his head around to nuzzle Titus’s hand. “Not like you, Lightning. You’re worth every dollar I paid for you. You’re dependable and trustworthy.” He grimaced. “Wish I could say the same for Phoebe Stoltzfus.”

    Titus poured some oats into a bucket, and as his horse ate, he replayed the conversation he’d had with Phoebe on his way home from work that afternoon. . . .

    “I’m not ready to join the church yet, and I’m too young to get married.” Phoebe flipped the strings of her head covering over her shoulders and blinked her blue eyes. “Why do you have to put so much pressure on me, Titus?”

    “I–I’m not,” he stammered, “but I’ve been waiting a long time for you, and I’d thought that when I joined the church two years ago, you’d join, too.”

    “I wasn’t ready then. I was only sixteen and had other things on my mind.”

    “How well I know that. You were too busy runnin’ around with your friends and tryin’ out all sorts of worldly things.” Titus groaned. “Figured you’d have all that out of your system by now and would be ready to settle down.”

    She shook her head. “Maybe in a few years I’ll be ready.”

    “You said that two years ago.”

    “Things have changed.” She placed her hand gently on his arm. “My friend Darlene Mast is planning a trip to Los Angeles, and she’s leaving in a few days, so—”

    He held up his hand. “Please don’t tell me you want to go with her.”

    “I think it would be fun, and I’ve always wanted to see the Pacific Ocean.” She looked up at him and smiled. “You’re full of adventure and like to try new things. Wouldn’t you like to see California?”

    He shrugged. “Maybe someday, but not right now. What I want is for you to join the church this fall so we can get married.”

    She shook her head. “I just told you—I’m not ready for that.”

    “Will you ever be ready?”

    “I don’t know.” She pushed a wisp of soft, auburn hair under her white organdy head covering and turned her gaze away from him. “I—I might not join the church. I might decide to go English.”

    “Are you kidding?”

    “No, I’m not. I don’t know if I want to be Amish.”

    Titus’s jaw tightened as the reality of the situation set in. If Phoebe went to California, she might never come back. If she didn’t join the church, they couldn’t get married. Titus had been in love with Phoebe since he was seventeen years old, but she’d been four years younger than him, and their parents had disapproved. He’d waited patiently until Phoebe turned sixteen. Even then, his folks had been opposed to him courting her because she seemed so unsettled and ran with a wild bunch of kids.

    Now Titus, at the age of twenty-two, still wasn’t sure he and Phoebe would ever get married. If she did go English, the only way they could marry would be if he broke his vow to the Amish church, which he did not want to do.

    “Can we talk about this later?” he asked. “After you’ve had a chance to think about this some more?”

    “There’s nothing to think about. I’m going to California.” She tipped her head and stared up at him. “If you don’t want to come, then I guess it’s over between us.”

    “You can’t do this, Phoebe. Are you just going to give up on us like this?”

    She shrugged.

    “Don’t you love me anymore?”

    “I–I’m not sure. Maybe we’re not meant to be together.”

    Titus flinched. He felt like he’d been kicked in the stomach by one of his dad’s stubborn mules. He had a sinking feeling that once Phoebe left home she’d never come back. All his years of waiting for her had been for nothing.

    Titus’s horse whinnied and nudged his hand, pulling his thoughts back to the present.

    “Stop it, Lightning. I’m not in the mood.” Titus kicked at a bale of straw and winced when Lightning whipped his head around and bumped his sore leg.

    Lightning whinnied again and stomped his hoof. Then he moved to the other end of his stall and turned his backside toward Titus.

    “It’s all right, boy. I’m not mad at you.” Titus stepped up to the horse and reached out his hand. “I’m upset with Phoebe, that’s all.”

    As though accepting his apology, Lightning nuzzled Titus’s neck.

    Horses and dogs—that’s about all that ever held my interest until Phoebe came along, Titus thought. If there was only some way to get her out of my system. If I could just tell myself that I don’t care anymore.

    Pembroke, Kentucky

    As Suzanne Yoder stared out the living room window, a sense of discontentment welled in her soul. She enjoyed living in Christian County, especially in the spring when the flowers and trees began to bloom.

    I wish I could be outside right now, tilling the garden or even mowing the lawn, she thought with regret. It was too nice to be stuck indoors, yet she knew she needed to work on the quilt she’d started several months ago for her friend Esther Beiler’s twenty-fourth birthday, which was less than a month away.

    Suzanne’s gaze shifted from the garden to the woodshop, where her grandfather and twenty-year-old brother, Nelson, worked. Due to painful arthritis, Grandpa’s fingers didn’t work well anymore, so he’d recently decided to look for someone else to help Nelson in the shop. Someone younger and more able-bodied. Someone who knew the woodworking trade.

    Grandpa wasn’t one to sit around or take life easy while others did all the work, but Mom had convinced him that he could still have a hand in the business by ordering supplies, waiting on customers, and keeping the books. Grandpa wasn’t happy about it, but at least he wouldn’t be sitting on the porch in his rocking chair all day, wishing he could be in the shop.

    “I thought you were supposed to be working on Esther’s birthday present,” Mom said when she joined Suzanne in the living room.

    “I was, but my eyes needed a break. I was thinking about going out to the woodshop to see if there’s anything I can do to help out.”

    Mom’s dark eyebrows furrowed as she slowly shook her head. “You’ll never get that quilt done if you keep procrastinating, and there’s no need for you to run out to the woodshop, because I’m sure you and Nelson would only end up in a disagreement. You know how he feels about you hanging around the shop.”

    Suzanne frowned. No one in the family understood her desire to be in the woodshop, where she could enjoy the distinctive odors of wood being cut, sanded, or stained. It was a shame nobody took her interest in woodworking seriously. Not long ago, Suzanne had borrowed some of Grandpa’s tools so she could make a few birdhouses and feeders to put in their yard. She’d never gotten any encouragement in making them, though. She guessed compared to the cabinets, doors, and storage sheds Grandpa and Nelson made, the birdhouses and feeders were insignificant.

    Mom touched Suzanne’s shoulder. “I’m going to plant some peas and lettuce this afternoon, so if you think you’ve worked long enough on the quilt today, I could use your help.”

    Suzanne didn’t have to be asked twice. Any chore she could do outdoors would be better than being inside, where it was warm and stuffy. “I’ll meet you outside as soon as I put away my quilting supplies,” she said.

    “That’ll be fine.” Mom gave Suzanne’s arm a light tap and disappeared into the kitchen.

    Suzanne glanced out the window once more and sighed as her gaze came to rest on the woodshop. “Guess I won’t make it out there today—except to take the men their lunch.”

    Paradise, Pennsylvania

    Titus left the barn and was about to head for the house, when a dark blue pickup rumbled up the driveway. He didn’t recognize the vehicle or the young English man with dark curly hair who opened the cab door and stepped out.

    “Is this where Zach Fisher lives?” the man asked as he approached Titus.

    “Sort of. My dad owns this place, and Zach and his family live in the house behind ours.” Titus pointed in that direction.

    “Oh, I see. Is Zach at home?”

    “Nope, not yet. He’s up in Blue Ball, painting the outside of the bowling alley. Probably won’t be home till sometime after six.”

    The man extended his hand. “I’m Allen Walters. I knew Zach when he lived in Puyallup, Washington.”

    “That was when he thought his name was Jimmy Scott, huh?”

    “That’s right.”

    “Zach’s my half brother. My twin brother, Timothy, and I were born during the time Zach was missing. He was about six or seven then, I think.”

    “My mother and the woman Zach thought was his mother became good friends, so Zach and I kind of grew up together.”

    “Zach’s mentioned that,” Titus said. “Sure is somethin’ the way he was kidnapped when he was a baby and never located his real family until he was twenty-one.”

    “I really missed Zach after he left Washington, but I’m glad he found his way home.” Allen folded his arms and leaned against the side of his truck. “The last time I saw Zach was before he got married, and that was seven years ago. We’ve kept in touch through letters and phone calls, though.”

    “Did Zach know you were coming?”

    Allen shook his head. “He doesn’t know I’ve moved from Washington State to Kentucky either.”

    “You’re welcome to hang around here until he gets home, because I’m sure he’ll be pleased to see you.”

    “Thanks, I’ll do that.”

    Just then, Titus’s mother stepped out of the house and started across the yard toward them, her slightly plump figure shuffling through the grass.

    “This is my mother, Fannie Fisher.” Titus motioned to Allen. “Mom, this is Zach’s old friend, Allen Walters. He used to live in Washington.”

    Mom’s brown eyes brightened as she shook Allen’s hand. “It’s nice to finally meet you. Zach’s told us a lot about you and your family.”

    “He’s talked to me about his family here, too.”

    “I explained to Allen that Zach’s still at work and said he’s welcome to stay here until Zach gets home.”

    Mom bobbed her head. “Why don’t you stay for supper? I’ll invite Zach and his family to join us. I think it would be nice for you to meet his wife and children.”

    “I’d like that,” Allen said with an enthusiastic nod.

    “If you need a place to spend the night, you’re more than welcome to stay here.” Mom smiled. “Since Titus is our only son still living at home, we have more than enough room to accommodate guests.”

    “I appreciate the offer, but I’ve already reserved a room at a hotel in Bird-in-Hand.”

    “That’s fine, but the offer’s open if you change your mind.” Mom turned toward the house. “I’d better go back inside and get supper going.”

    As Mom headed to the house, Titus motioned to a couple of wooden chairs sitting beneath the maple tree on their lawn. “Why don’t we take a seat?” he said to Allen. “I’m real interested in hearing why you moved to Kentucky.”

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter (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:

    Thomas Nelson (March 29, 2011)
    ***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


    Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

    Visit the author's website.


    Wade's ranch home needs a woman's touch. Abigail's life needs a cowboy's touch.

    Four years ago, rodeo celebrity Wade Ryan gave up his identity to protect his daughter. Now, settled on a ranch in Big Sky Country, he lives in obscurity, his heart guarded by a high, thick fence.

    Abigail Jones isn’t sure how she went from big-city columnist to small-town nanny, but her new charge is growing on her, to say nothing of her ruggedly handsome boss. Love blossoms between Abigail and Wade--despite her better judgment. Will the secrets she brought with her to Moose Creek, Montana separate her from the cowboy who finally captured her heart?

    Product Details:

    List Price: $14.99
    Paperback: 320 pages
    Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 29, 2011)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1595548017
    ISBN-13: 978-1595548016


    Abigail Jones knew the truth. She frowned at the blinking curser on her monitor and tapped her fingers on the keyboard-what next?

    Beyond the screen's glow, darkness washed the cubicles. Her computer hummed, and outside the office windows a screech of tires broke the relative stillness ofthe Chicago night.

    She shuffled her note cards. The story had been long in coming, but it was finished now, all except the telling. She knew where she wanted to take it next.

    Her fingers stirred into motion, dancing across the keys. This was her favorite part, exposingtruth to the world. Well, okay, not the world exactly, not with Viewpoint's paltry circulation. But now, during the writing, it felt like the world.

    Four paragraphs later, the office had shrunk away, and all that existed were the words on the monitor and her memory playing in full color on the screen of her mind.

    Something dropped onto her desk with a sudden thud. Abigail’s hand flew to her heart, and her chair darted from her desk. She looked up at her boss’s frowning face, then shared a frown of her own. “You scared me.”

    “And you’re scaring me. It’s after midnight, Abigail—what are you doing here?” Marilyn Jones’s hand settled on her hip.

    The blast of adrenaline settled into Abigail’s bloodstream, though her heart was still in overdrive. “Being an ambitious staffer?”

    “You mean an obsessive workaholic.”

    “Something wrong with that?”

    “What’s wrong is my twenty-eight-year-old daughter is working all hours on a Saturday night instead of dating an eligible bachelor like all the other single women her age.” Her mom tossed her head, but her short brown hair hardly budged. “You could’ve at least gone out with your sister and me. We had a good time.”

    “I’m down to the wire.”

    “You’ve been here every night for two weeks.” Her mother rolled up a chair and sank into it. “Your father always thought you’d be a schoolteacher, did I ever tell you that?”

    “About a million times.” Abigail settled into the chair, rubbed the ache in her temple. Her heart was still recovering, but she wanted to return to her column. She was just getting to the good part.

    “You had a doctor’s appointment yesterday,” Mom said. Abigail sighed hard.

    “Whatever happened to doctor-patient confidentiality?”

    “Goes out the window when the doctor is your sister. Come on, Abigail, this is your health. Reagan prescribed rest—R-E-S-T—and yet here you are.”

    “A couple more days and the story will be put to bed.”

    “And then there’ll be another story.”

    “That’s what I do, Mother.”

    “You’ve had a headache for weeks, and the fact that you made an appointment with your sister is proof you’re not feeling well.”

    Abigail pulled her hand from her temple. “I’m fine.”

    “That’s what your father said the week before he collapsed.”

    Compassion and frustration warred inside Abigail. “He was sixty-two.” And his pork habit hadn’t helped matters. Thin didn’t necessarily mean healthy. She skimmed her own long legs, encased in her favorite jeans . . . exhibit A.

    “I’ve been thinking you should go visit your great-aunt.” Abigail already had a story in the works, but maybe her mom had a lead on something else. “New York sounds interesting. What’s the assignment?”

    “Rest and relaxation. And I’m not talking about your Aunt Eloise—as if you’d get any rest there—I’m talking about your Aunt Lucy.”

    Abigail’s spirits dropped to the basement. “Aunt Lucy lives in Montana.” Where cattle outnumbered people. She felt for the familiar ring on her right hand and began twisting.

    “She seems a bit . . . confused lately.”

    Abigail recalled the birthday gifts her great-aunt had sent over the years, and her lips twitched. “Aunt Lucy has always been confused.”

    “Someone needs to check on her. Her latest letter was full of comments about some girls who live with her, when I know perfectly well she lives alone. I think it may be time for assisted living or a retirement community.”

    Abigail’s eyes flashed to the screen. A series of nonsensical letters showed where she’d stopped in alarm at her mother’s appearance. She hit the delete button. “Let’s invite her to Chicago for a few weeks.”

    “She needs to be observed in her own surroundings. Besides, that woman hasn’t set foot on a plane since Uncle Murray passed, and I sure wouldn’t trust her to travel across the country alone. You know what happened when she came out for your father’s funeral.”

    “Dad always said she had a bad sense of direction.”

    “Nevertheless, I don’t have time to hunt her down in Canada again. Now, come on, Abigail, it makes perfect sense for you to go. You need a break, and Aunt Lucy was your father’s favorite relative. It’s our job to look after her now, and if she’s incapable of making coherent decisions, we need to help her.”

    Abigail’s conscience tweaked her. She had a soft spot for Aunt Lucy, and her mom knew it. Still, that identity theft story called her name, and she had a reliable source who might or might not be willing to talk in a couple weeks.

    “Reagan should do it. I’ll need the full month for my column, and we can’t afford to scrap it. Distribution is down enough as it is. Just last month you were concerned—”

    Her mother stood abruptly, the chair reeling backward into the aisle. She walked as far as the next cubicle, then turned. “Hypertension is nothing to mess with, Abigail. You’re so . . . rest- less. You need a break—a chance to find some peace in your life.” She cleared her throat, then her face took on that I’ve-made-up- my-mind look. “Whether you go to your aunt’s or not, I’m insisting you take a leave of absence.”

    There was no point arguing once her mother took that tone. She could always do research online—and she wouldn’t mind visiting a part of the country she’d never seen. “Fine. I’ll finish this story, then go out to Montana for a week or so.”

    “Finish the story, yes. But your leave of absence will last three months.”

    “Three months!”

    “It may take that long to make a decision about Aunt Lucy.”

    “What about my apartment?”

    “Reagan will look after it. You’re hardly there anyway. You need a break, and Moose Creek is the perfect place.”

    Moose Creek. “I’ll say. Sounds like nothing more than a traffic signal with a gas pump on the corner.”

    “Don’t be silly. Moose Creek has no traffic signal. Abigail, you have become wholly obsessed with—”

    “So I’m a hard worker . . .” She lifted her shoulders.

    Her mom’s lips compressed into a hard line. “Wholly obsessed with your job. Look, you know I admire hard work, but it feels like you’re always chasing something and never quite catching it. I want you to find some contentment, for your health if nothing else. There’s more to life than investigative reporting.”

    “I’m the Truthseeker, Mom. That’s who I am.” Her fist found home over her heart.

    Her mother shouldered her purse, then zipped her light sweater, her movements irritatingly slow. She tugged down the ribbed hem and smoothed the material of her pants. “Three months, Abigail. Not a day less.”

    My Review:

    Overall I liked this book. It was well written and held my attention from the beginning. I loved the characters and cheered for Abby and Wade's realtionship. The setting was interesting and I look forward to reading book two in the series. Recommended. :)

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    It's Monday What Are You Reading? April 11, 2011

    This is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

    What I read last week:

    - The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

    - A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter

    What I am currently reading:

    - Made to Crave, Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God not Food by Lysa Terkeurst

    - The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

    - Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

    - 10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl by Amy Parham

    - The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

    - The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

    - Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

    - 13 Rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro

    What I am reading next:
    - Jump Off the Hormone Swing by Lorraine Pintus

    - From the Library of A. W. Tozer by James Scott Bell

    - Angel Song by Shelia Walsh and Kathryn Cushman

    - Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

    - The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh

    Tea for Two by Trish Perry

    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    Tea For Two
    Harvest House Publishers (April 1, 2011)
    Trish Perry


    A word from our Author: I started writing short stories—pretty bad ones. And I started taking creative writing courses to round out my degree. So I was in classes full of people just like me—lousy writers. But we were learning!

    Then the Lord led me to a local writers' group, Capital Christian Writers, and the contacts and friends I made through CCW enriched my personal life and my writing life more than I can measure. Through CCW and through reading just about every book and magazine ever published by Writer's Digest, I started catching on. Now I'm writing full time and man oh man do I love it.

    Before the writing began, I worked for attorneys in Washington, D. C. I worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission. And I was a stockbroker. A horrible stockbroker. How do people do that? Take responsibility for other people's financial futures? Yikes. I'm perfectly happy to take responsibility for the amount of time any one person wants to spend reading my books. If you enjoy the experience, then know that we both enjoyed it together. I love that about books.

    In the midst of all that fretting over other people's money and writing about other people's lives, I racked up a few personal experiences myself. Some good, some bad, but all part of God's plan. Now I'm an empty nester living in Northern Virginia. My brilliantly funny son is in college. I have a savvy, gorgeous grown daughter, a charming son-in-law, and an amazing grandson.


    Zack Cooper tries his best to raise his children, but he's losing his grip on them in their teen years. They've both had scrapes with the local law.

    Tea Shop owner Milly Jewel has the perfect woman in mind to help Zack. Counselor Tina Milano meets weekly at the tea shop with her women's group. Milly encourages Zack and Tina to work together to draw the teens back before they get in even hotter water. Milly never thought things might heat up between Zack and Tina. Or did she?

    Tina's connections with the Middleburg police department prove a mixed blessing for Zack and his kids. Both her best friend and old boyfriend are officers on the force.

    And when Tina's women's group gets wind of her personal pursuits and clashes, they want to help. The group's meetings at the tea shop take on a slightly different flavor. Tina wonders who, exactly, is counseling whom.

    Although heroine Tina Milano and her women's group are mentioned in The Perfect Blend (the first book in this series), Tea for Two is where we meet her and hero Zack Cooper. I knew I would write this book while I wrote the first, so it was fun to plant a passing mention of Zack and Tina while I wrote Steph's story in The Perfect Blend. By the time I was able to write Tina and Zack's story, I was eager to unfold their lives, conflicts, and love. I hope readers will be eager to experience what happens to them!

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

    Watch the Book Video:

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    The Sunday Salon April 10, 2011

    The Sunday

    * I am officially another year older as of yesterday. I am 28 and most of the time I feel it. lol

    * I have not read anything this week. I have not been able to focus. I am hoping to finish a book tonight but we'll see. I still need to do some food prep for next week.

    * I had my birthday dinner for my Mom's side Saturday night and we had Miss Geno's Chicken, garlic bread, salad, strawberry shortcake, and whole wheat apple spice cupcakes. :)

    * Today I had a combined birthday dinner on my Dad's side with my Uncle Michael and Effie. I was born on  his 15th birthday! We had all kind of good food including ribs, chicken, green beans, aspargus, sweet potatoes, cheese grits, and lots of cake. We had a chocolate cake, strawberry cake, and carrot cake. The strawberry was for me. I loved it. I ate so much I still feel sick from all the sugar. Starting tomorrow I am going 21 days low sugar and watching my carbs a little better. I have gained back fat in my stomach and I am not happy about it. The celebration is over, time to work. lol

    * My online classes really start tomorrow so I will be stressing this week. I also have a lot of posts/book tours for this week so it will be post heavy from me. Thinking about everything for tomorrow makes me want to hyperventilate so I am going to prepare and practice deep breathing. :)

    * I hope everyone has a great week and lots of reading time.

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    It's Monday What Are You Reading? April 4, 2011

    This is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

    What I read last week:

    - Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer

    - Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot

    What I am currently reading:

    - Made to Crave, Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God not Food by Lysa Terkeurst

    - The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

    - Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

    - 10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl by Amy Parham

    - The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

    - The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

    - Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

    - 13 Rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro
    - The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

    - Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

    What I am reading next:

    - Jump Off the Hormone Swing by Lorraine Pintus

    - From the Library of A. W. Tozer by James Scott Bell

    - Angel Song by Shelia Walsh and Kathryn Cushman

    - Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
    - The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh

    - A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter

    Reviews I posted last week:

    Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer (Review)

    About the book:
    Marianna Sommer believes she knows where her life is headed. Nineteen years old and Amish, her plan is to get baptized into the church, marry Aaron Zook, and live in the only community she's ever known.

    When Marianna's family moves from Indiana to Montana she discovers life and faith will never be the same. As she builds an easy friendship with local guy, Ben Stone, Ben not only draws her heart, he also gets her thinking about what loving God and living in community is all about.

    As Marianna struggles to find "home", she also encounters God in intimate ways.

    My Review:
    I thought this was a good start to the Big Sky Amish series by Tricia Goyer. This is the author's first Amish book and her descriptions are great. Marianna has been trying her whole life to make up for the death of her twin sisters in a buggy accident the night she was born. She has her life planned out or so she thought. One day her Father and Mother told her they were planning on moving the family to Montana for a little while. I expected the majority of the book to take place there but it takes a while to get to that point. The book is not really what you expect in a typical Amish book. The main characters struggle with the rules they are supposed to live by and their faith. I liked how different it was but I did not like the ending. It was abrupt and leaves you feeling like the book is incomplete. I know book two is going to pick up there but I still would have liked more. This is a three book series with Marianna as the main character. I look forward to reading more of her story in book two. Recommended. :)

    About Tricia:
     Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-four books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

    For more about Tricia please visit

    Be sure to stop by Tricia's Blog It's Real Life - she's giving away 10 copies of the book and some (super cool) antique Amish salt & pepper shakers. Also - everyone who enters the contest will receive an Montana Amish calendar (while supplies last)! 
  • Paperback: 320 pages

  • Publisher: B&H Books (April 15, 2011)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1433668685
  • Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot (Review)

    I read this short collection of poems by T. S. Eliot for the Classics Circuit Lost Generation tour. I had never heard of them before even though they were the inspiration for the Broadway musical Cats. I have never seen Cats either. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats was published in 1939. It consisted of 14 poems; “Cat Morgan Introduces Himself,” a verse about a pirate cat, was added in a later edition. I chose this selection because my family has three cats and they have very definite personalities and quirks. Biscuit is very nervous, Pierre is a little prince, and Little Baby is a grumpy old man. Overall I thought the poems were very creative and well written. They are not hard to read or understand. I am not used to reading and reviewing poetry so I am not sure what else to write. My favorite poem was the Naming of Cats. Our cats respond to several different nicknames. lol
     Recommended. :)

    A link to read them online:

    March 2011 Books Read

    In the month of March I read 11 books. I only read one non fiction book but I loved it. The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley is great and I highly recommend it. I put it on a note card in my office at work. All of the books I read were really good. I would recommend any of them. If I reviewed the book I put a link to my review under the title.

    23. A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell

    24. The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman

    25. The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley (Non fiction)

    26. Point of No Return by Susan May Warren

    27. Mission: Out of Control by Susan May Warren

    28. The Caregiver by Shelley Sheppard Gray

    29. The Glory of Green by Judy Christie

    30. Bound by Guilt by C. J. Darlington

    31. Devil's Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

    32. False Pretenses by Kathy Herman

    33. Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer

    Brittanie's Banana Almond Muffins (Healthy)

    Brittanie's Banana Almond Muffins (Healthy)

    I have a horrible sweet tooth and I love muffins and cupcakes especially. So I have been trying to make healthier versions of what I love since I started my lifestyle change. This recipe makes 24 muffins and are best warm with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray. :)

    3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
    2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    2 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. salt
    2 tsp. cinnamon
    at least five to six ripe bananas mashed up
    3 to 4 tsp. vanilla ( I love vanilla so I put 4)
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    3/4 cup white sugar
    1 egg
    3 tablespoons egg substitute
    2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
    1 cup slivered almonds slightly toasted
    some extra plain slivered almonds to go on top of muffins

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Line a small pan with foil and put 1 cup of the silvered almonds on it. Put in the oven to toast for about 3 minutes then take out and stir and put back in for another 2 minutes. Remove to cool.
    3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. (You can sift if you want to)
    4. Beat applesauce, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. It only takes a minute or so and it will be liquidly.
    5. Add the mashed bananas and mix together.
    6. Mix in the flour mixture until just blended. Do not overmix. Batter will be lumpy.
    7. Fold in toasted almonds.
    8. Fill lined muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray 3/4 the way full.
    9. Top with a few of the untoasted almonds and bake for around 20 minutes. They are done when the tops are a little brown and spring back when you touch them or insert a toothpick and when it comes out clean they are done.
    10. Enjoy warm with a little I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray or real butter. ;)

    The Sunday Salon April 3, 2011

    The Sunday

    * Happy Sunday Everyone! It is a beautiful Spring day here in the Deep South. I have my Kitchen window open and our cats are loving it.

    * I am in serious cleaning/organizing mode. My online classes start tomorrow and I want everything perfect. I have not done school stuff in over three years but I do remember being a little of a procrastinator so I want to start the week off with everything done. lol  Also it reduces my stress level. I am really nervous about this school stuff and how it might change my life now and in the future. I know I should not worry but focus on moving toward my goals but it is hard. :)

    * I have had a busy weekend so far and a long to do list for today including cleaning, reading, cooking, and blogging. I wanted to go to the gym and try out Yoga but I do not think I will have time. I still need to bake muffins, cook my turkey tenderloin, figure out what I am going to do with my boneless skinless chicken breasts for the week, cook my fresh greens beans, bake my sweet potatoes, and make my spinach salad. Does anyone have any good healthy recipes for chicken?

    * I have not read anything this weekend. I am going to try and read a short book today if I can focus. I have several reviews I am behind on that I need to write up today too. My 28th birthday is next Saturday so I will not be doing the 24 hour read a thon this Spring. I have too many other things going on. :(

    * My lifestyle changes are still struggling a little. All I want to do on the weekends is eat and not exercise for some reason. I need to get motivated again, I can see the fat coming back in my stomach area and that makes me not happy. I have all new small pretty Spring clothes to wear. I got my hair cut yesterday which did make me feel a little better. Any advice is welcome.

    * Okay I am going to get back to work now. lol I hope everyone has a great week and lots of reading time. :)

    Classics Club Spin 18

    My Classics Club Spin List for August This is a hodgepodge of books left on my list I made in 2017 for the Classics Club. Tomorrow the clu...