Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Salon January 29, 2012

The Sunday

* I'm still here. I can't believe how fast January has gone by. The weather is abnormally warm here in the deep South which is fine by me. I hate winter. I am actually reading more. It's a miracle and I am enjoying it more again. I have read 13 books so far this month. I am still working out but not quite as much. I quit counting calories and writing down what I eat when so there is less stress there. I am trying to focus on eating healthy and making good choices the majority of the time. I had gained back 20 lbs according to the doctor's scale two weeks ago but on my home scale in the mornings I am around 113 lbs. I would be lying if I said I did not want to lose back to 105-110 but I am enjoying being happy again.

* I cooked oven roasted  butternut squash and sweet potatoes, egg muffins, grilled chicken, turkey burgers, oven roasted green beans, salad stuff, salad dressing, and chicken salad today. That is the menu for the week. I love to eat!

* I have way too many books on my TBR shelves so I am still working on going through and donating some. A big bag went to the library this weekend. I still very overwhelmed when I look at them. I wish I could get them out of my room but there is nowhere else to put them. So this year my main focus is going to be reading from my shelves and less reading challenges and review books.

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Small Space Organizing by Kathryn Bechen (Review)

With a few tricks up your sleeve, small can be the new big!
While we may admire the spacious rooms in large homes we see in magazines or on TV, let's face it: most of us don't live in rambling estates. Instead, we live in homes, apartments, or condos with small rooms and even smaller closets. But you can enjoy an organized, beauty-filled life no matter what the size of your space. In this practical book, you'll learn how to

perform a room-by-room audit of your space to see if it's functioning at its best
make the most of existing storage space and find clever ways to add more
find creative ways to arrange furnishings and accessories that maximize space and bring harmony and style to the home
live graciously in a small space with others (especially those who aren't organized!)

Whether you're an empty nester who's downsizing, a newlywed setting up your first nest, or someone who just needs some creative new ideas, you'll love these strategies, tips, and solutions to maximize space and enhance your quality of life.

My Review:
This is a very informative book to read. There are so many ideas for every room of your house. I can't pick a favorite chapter even though some situations do not apply to me like children's rooms. I love her KISS principle, keep it super simple. I am often guilty of making things way too complicated then never getting things done. I also like how she lists at the end of each chapter where you can buy different items she mentions and they are places most of us have access to like Target. I read this book straight through which is a feat for me because I have trouble doing that with nonfiction! It is well written and organized. Even if your home is not super small you will find ideas in this book. Recommended. :)

"Packed with practical and stylish tips, ideas, and resources to help you take your home from drab to dazzling, no matter what size your space or budget."--Laura Leist, author, CPO and founder of Eliminate Chaos; former president of the National Association of Professional Organizers

"Kathryn provides oodles of useful and affordable home organizing and decorating tips, information, and resources. She also shows that a home doesn't have to be large in size to be graciously grand in spirit."--Kitty Bartholomew, former HGTV host; decorating correspondent for ABC-TV's The Home Show
"This book will inspire you to rethink every inch of your dwelling to create space and live peaceably with your belongings. It's one of my new favorites to recommend."--Marcia Ramsland, author of Simplify Your Life, Simplify Your Time, and Simplify Your Space;

Kathryn Bechen is an award-winning journalist in the San Diego area. She specializes in lifestyle feature articles and has published several organizing and decorating e-books. She blogs about timely lifestyle topics at www.
Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Thank you Donna at Revell for my review copy.

Love Blooms In Winter by Lori Copeland

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Love Blooms in Winter
Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2012)
Lori Copeland


Lori lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance. Lance and Lori have three sons, three daughter-in-laws, and six wonderful grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters. Lance and Lori are very involved in their church, and active in supporting mission work in Mali, West Africa.

Lori began her writing career in 1982, writing for the secular book market. In 1995, after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him. It was at that time that Lori began writing for the Christian book market. To date, she has had over 100 books published.


A romantic new book from bestselling author Lori Copeland that portrays God’s miraculous provision even when none seems possible.

1892—Mae Wilkey’s sweet next-door neighbor, Pauline, is suffering from old age and dementia and desperately needs family to come help her. But Pauline can’t recall having kin remaining. Mae searches through her desk and finds a name—Tom Curtis, who may just be the answer to their prayers.

Tom can’t remember an old aunt named Pauline, but if she thinks he’s a long-lost nephew, he very well may be. After two desperate letters from Mae, he decides to pay a visit. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more of an adventure than Tom is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter when God is in charge of things.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Blooms in Winter, go HERE.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Firethorn by Ronie Kendig

Have not had a chance to start reading it yet but I loved the first three books in the series. I can't wait to read this one. :)

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; Discarded Heroes edition (2012)

***Special thanks to Ronie Kendig for sending me a review copy.***


An Army brat, Ronie Kendig grew up in the classic military family, with her father often TDY and her mother holding down the proverbial fort. Their family moved often, which left Ronie attending six schools by the time she’d entered fourth grade. Her only respite and “friends” during this time were the characters she created.
It was no surprise when she married a military veteran—her real-life hero—in June 1990. Married more than twenty years, Ronie and her husband, Brian, homeschool their four children, the first of whom graduated in 2011. Despite the craziness of life, Ronie finds balance and peace with her faith, family and their three dogs in Dallas, TX.
Ronie has a deep love and passion for people, especially hurting people, which is why she pursued and obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Liberty University. Ronie is an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has volunteered extensively, serving in a variety of capacities from coordinator of a national contest to appointment assistant at the national annual conference.
Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and her books have been gained critical acclaim and national attention, including:
    • Finalist in Christian Retailing’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards (Nightshade)
    • RWA’s Faith, Hope, & Love’s 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Awards in Romantic Suspense (Nightshade)
    • Named one of the Top 25 Christian Fiction Suspense, Mystery, and Thriller Writers by FamilyFiction (Sept 2011)
    • 2011 FamilyFiction Readers’ Choice Awards – 3rd place as New Favorite Author, 8th place with Nightshade for Novel of the Year.
    • INSPY Award Shortlist final in Mystery/Thriller (Dead Reckoning)
    • The Christian Manifesto’s 2010 Lime Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Nightshade)

Visit the author's website.


Blown and dismantled, Nightshade is ready to repay the favor.

Former Marine and current Nightshade team member Griffin "Legend" Riddell is comfortable. So comfortable he never sees the set up that lands him in a maximum security prison, charged with murder. How can he prove his innocence behind bars?

Covert operative Kazi Faron is tasked with reassembling Nightshade—the black ops team someone dissected. Breaking Griffin out of a federal penitentiary amid explosive confusion may turn out to be her last assignment. What will it take to convince the fugitive that whoever set him up has also dissected the Nightshade team? As Kazi and Griffin race to rescue the others and discover the traitor,

love begins to awaken in their hearts.

Can a covert operative and the felon she's freed overcome their mutual distrust long enough to save Nightshade? Will anything prepare them for who—or what is coming?

Product Details:

  • List Price: $12.99
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602607850
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602607859


To all American military heroes

At home and abroad,

Those who have gone before

and those serving today—


Because of you, we are FREE!

Realizing it is my choice and my choice alone to be a Reconnaissance Marine, I accept all challenges involved with this profession. Forever shall I strive to maintain the tremendous reputation of those who went before me.

Exceeding beyond the limitations set down by others shall be my goal. Sacrificing personal comforts and dedicating myself to the completion of the reconnaissance mission shall be my life. Physical fitness, mental attitude, and high ethics—The title of Recon Marine is my honor.

Conquering all obstacles, both large and small, I shall never quit. To quit, to surrender, to give up is to fail. To be a Recon Marine is to surpass failure; To overcome, to adapt and to do whatever it takes to complete the mission.

On the battlefield, as in all areas of life, I shall stand tall above the competition. Through professional pride, integrity, and teamwork, I shall be the example for all Marines to emulate.

Never shall I forget the principles I accepted to become a Recon Marine. Honor, Perseverance, Spirit, and Heart.

A Recon Marine can speak without saying a word and achieve what others can only imagine.

Swift, Silent, Deadly

Chapter 1
The Shack

“It’s sad, really.” Marshall “The Kid” Vaughn trudged away from the thumping rotors of the helo that had deposited them back at the Shack, his pack almost dragging the ground. “Ya don’t realize how much a person adds until he’s gone.”

“Legend’s not gone.” Max “Frogman” Jacobs hoisted his rucksack into a better group, his mind locked on Sydney and their two sons waiting for him at home. Poor woman had to be going out of her mind with two of his Mini-Me’s running around.

“Yeah.” John “Squirt” Dighton hit the light breaker, then waited for the six-man team to clear the door. “He’s just temporarily detained.”

Lights sizzled and popped to life. Groaning bounced off the grimy windows as he hauled the door closed, locked it, then started toward the showers.

The Kid grunted. “Forty-years-to-life temporary.”

In the locker room, a depressive gloom hung over the team. They’d been on countless missions, hit just about every terrain and environment imaginable, but none had taken the toll the last couple had. And there was one reason—they were down a man. Griffin “Legend” Riddell. If Max could write the playbook, they wouldn’t do another mission without the guy. But with the man in federal prison for murdering a congressman, it’d be a long wait.

It was quiet. Too quiet. Max looked around the Spartan room. Walls of lockers, most unused. A few benches. A giant once-white bin for dirty duds. And the team. Six men, now. All very skilled. Good men. Even the one missing. Every man here knew Legend had been set up—he didn’t murder that congressman. But nobody could prove it. The evidence was damning. Justice—injustice was more like it—came swiftly. Lambert, ever the puppeteer, couldn’t pull the right strings to get Legend off.

“I’m heading up to visit him tomorrow. Anyone game?” Colton “Cowboy” Neeley slumped on a bench and ran a hand over his short, dark hair. His blue eyes probed the group.

“Nah, man. I’ve got a date,” the Kid said.

Squirt beaned him with a towel. “What girl would go out with you, mate?”

The Kid snapped the terry cloth back at the former Navy SEAL. “Your sister.”

Squirt froze. His jaw went slack. Then his eyes darkened.

Laughing, Canyon “Midas” Metcalfe rose to his feet from the corner. “You just proved his point by thinking your sister would actually go out with him.”

Squirt swallowed, his face drained of color. “I introduced them at a New Year’s party.”

Midas laughed harder. “Your mistake, mate.

Shuffling closer, Squirt pointed a finger at the Kid. “I swear, you touch her, I’ll shove a fist full of witchety grubs down your gullet.”

“Give me credit, dude.” The Kid raised his hands. “I’m a gentleman.”

Max grunted. “Right.” As he strode around the lockers to the shower well, he heard more threats and much more laughter from the Kid. Max shook his head. Would the Kid ever grow up, learn when to leave things alone?

As he tossed his oily, grimy duds on the bench, Max paused, thinking maybe he should send his report to Lambert now so he wouldn’t have to mess with it tomorrow. The mission had been simple enough, a snatch-n-grab of an Iranian doctor. It’d been nice and clean, in and out. The report wouldn’t take long. Then he could shower, bug out, and know he had the whole weekend with Syd and the boys.

Max jogged up the iron stairs, which creaked and groaned beneath his weight. Down the hall to the right. He punched in the code and entered the secure hub, the door hissing shut behind him. The most high-tech part of this dump-of-a-warehouse.

Shouts drew his attention to the blinds. He jabbed two fingers between a couple and spread them to peeked down into the main area. Squirt and the Kid raced into the bay and back the way they came. Squirt looked ready to kill. The Kid’s face revealed his fear. Max shook his head again. Man, he wanted Griffin back. The guy seemed to bring balance to the team. Badly needed balance.

Max powered up the computer. Hand propped on the warped wood, he waited for the system to boot.

More shouts. Loud thuds.

He pinched the bridge of his nose. Would they never—?

Tat-a-tat! Tat-tat-a-tat!

Instinct drove Max to his knee at the sound of gunfire. He scrambled to the window. Through the slanted blinds, he peered down into the slab of cement. His brain wouldn’t assemble what he saw. Gunmen. A dozen or more. Rushing into the Shack from the parking bay. Moving swiftly, as if. . .

They know the layout.

Max darted to the door and jerked it open. He sprinted down the hall toward the stairs. As his boot hit steel, he froze. A shadow emerged. Floated into the hall.

Too late.

Max jerked back. Pressed his spine against the wall.

By the showers, the Kid looked up. Max signaled to him. Then made his best and loudest Nightshade whistle, hoping it would penetrate the building, give the men warning to take cover.

The Kid threw himself back into the locker room.

Men swarmed the corner. One looked to his left, one right. His weapon slowly rose as he traced the stairs with his M16.

Max leapt backward into the darkness and into office. He closed the door. As the lock clicked, darkness dropped like an anchor over the entire building. Behind him, a glow screamed his location. The monitor!

Max spun. Lunged across the desk. Stabbed the power button. And paused with his hand still near the monitor. If someone was coming after them. . .accessing this computer. . .

On his knees, Max yanked the cords free. With the box, he moved to the window and reassessed the parking bay. Another van with a half-dozen men with AK-47s. They streamed into the warehouse.

Max’s gut wound into a dozen knots. They were screwed.

Think! Hand on the door, he considered going back downstairs. But that would get him captured. Killed. Yet he’d rather be with his guys than running like a chicken.

No, not running. Considering options, gaining the advantage. Planning. The invasion force was armed to the teeth. They knew who they were coming after. They’d brought weapons. And those guys moved with precision. Swift, deadly precision.

Though Nightshade had a stellar ops record, perhaps they had finally met their match. Still. . .two to one? Nightshade had faced worse.

A large black Suburban screeched to a halt in the middle of the parking bay. Two men emerged, both wearing trench coats.

Max cursed his luck to be up here, away from his gear, his weapons. Up here, without firepower. Thus, powerless.

Okay, enough. He was going down there. He eased the door open and slid across the hall. Bathed in darkness, he crouched at edge of the landing, using the wall for cover. A dozen men so far, rushing here and there. Quick, quiet chatter between the men.

A smirk slid into Max’s face. His team had taken cover and these goons couldn’t find them. If he could just get a weapon. . .

“Can’t find them.”

“They’re here. I saw them go in,” the man nearest the SUV shouted. “Find them! Lights!”

Light rushed through the building as headlamps from the vehicles stabbed the dusty, damp building. Max yanked back, out of sight. He needed to get down there, defend his men. His boot hit the landing.

Shouts erupted. A shot bounced off the steel rafters, taunting as it echoed through the Shack. Stilled, Max waited. More shouts. The sound of a scuffle. The half-dozen men waiting by the SUV lifted their weapons to the ready.

The locker room door swung open. A man walked backward, his AK-47 aimed at a large form filling the doorway. Cowboy. Arms raised, dressed only in his jeans, he stalked forward. Someone shoved him from behind, which barely moved the big lug.

Spine pressed against the wood, Max peered down into the bay.

“You move one wrong muscle,” the one in front of Cowboy growled, “and so help me God, I’ll kill you.”

“No you won’t.” Cowboy lowered his hands. “If you wanted me dead, I wouldn’t be out here.”

Ride ’em, Cowboy.

From the side entrance to the showers, three men dragged a shouting, cursing Kid into the bay. Max smirked that it took three tangos to wrangle the Kid.

Hand clenched, Max’s mind went into overdrive. What could he do? God. . .I need. . .something. What could he pray for? Intercepting the team was impossible. Twelve, fifteen armed tangos against one unarmed man?

He latched on to the hope that they’d only found Cowboy and the Kid. No Midas, Squirt, or Aladdin. Good. Maybe they could regroup and—

A man flew through the bay door from the showers and landed with a thud a yard from the others. Midas flipped over, scissored his legs, and swept the thug off his feet. The Kid seized the confusion to attack the men guarding him. And impressively. With a hard right, he dropped the first and used that weapon to disable the second.

Cowboy took a step back and rammed his elbow into the gut of the nearest guard. The gunman bent forward—straight into Cowboy’s meaty fist. The big guy pivoted, slapped the interior of the gunman’s wrist, effectively seizing the weapon and flipping the muzzle around. He fired at the guy.


In the split second it took for Max to realize the sonic boom that rent the air wasn’t the report of Cowboy’s .45 MEU but of a rifle, Max saw the man in the black trench coat drop to the ground. A circle spread out like a dark halo.

“Sniper!” someone shouted.

The dead guy had fallen backward. Most likely shot from the front. Which meant. . . Max’s gaze rose to the rafters. With no light, it’d be the perfect hiding spot. But. . .who? Squirt? Aladdin?


The man guarding Colton stumbled forward, then went to his knees before hitting the cement.

The man in the black trench coat nearest the SUV dropped. A pool of blood spilled out.

“There!” One guard swung and fired his fully automatic at the ceiling. Four others followed suit, firing at the bank of grimy windows on the southeast wall of the building.

Max followed their direction and watched. Waited, his breath caught at the back of his throat. Cracks and shattering glass blended with the staccato punches of the guns to create a wild cacophony of noise. Max tuned it out, praying whoever—Aladdin or Squirt—wouldn’t be hit.

But then he saw it. A shift of a shadow. Like someone rolling. . .

The gunfire petered out as a body plummeted the eight feet to the ground.

The thud seemed to have supernatural powers as it pounded Max’s chest and pushed him back. Away from the window but not far enough that he lost line of sight.

Silence dropped on the Shack.

“Where’s Max Jacobs?”

As the question streaked through the warehouse, Max registered a red glow in the far corner. Even as he noticed it, he heard a beep. Another. His gaze darted to the source of the noise. Two men were walking the perimeter, their M16s dangling as they raised their arms and pressed something against the supports. Arms lowered and the men stepped back revealing gray bricks with wires.


Gotta stop this. Do something. His gaze collided with Cowboy’s. The big lug gave an almost imperceptible shake of his head.

Max’s nostrils flared as he wrestled with what to do.

“Where’s Dighton?”

How do they know our names?

“Dead,” someone answered.

Pulled back into the shadows, Max clenched his eyes and bit down on his tongue. Dighton was dead. What about Aladdin—had he survived the fall?

Sirens wailed in the distance.

“Load ’em up.”

“What about Jacobs?”

“Outta time.” The leader left as the gunmen dragged the team out of the building.

Stealthily, Max held on to the box and sprinted the length of the hall to the side of the Shack. In the conference room, he plunged toward the window. Craned his neck to peek out. Three vehicles—twin white vans and a black town car.

The guys were loaded into the van and one into the car.

The leader shifted, held something out, then it wavered.


Max spun around, searching for an out. Doors. Only one way down—the stairs. But they led to the bay, which would be engulfed.

Windows. Overlooked the dock. The canal. It was January. The water would be brutal cold. His split-second assessment told him no matter what route he took, it’d be deadly. Despite his training, if he didn’t find shelter out of the water once he broke surface, he’d die an ice cube. If he stayed, he’d die a fireball.

Good thing SEALs are insulated against cold water.

Max vaulted toward the window, hurtling the computer through the window. The glass shattered as a violent force blasted through the air. It lifted him. Up. . .up. . . Flipped him. Searing pain sliced through his arm. Heat stroked his back and legs. Fire chased him out of the building. Into the night.


Another wave slammed into him. Threw him backward. Toward the water.

Something punched his gut. Knocked the breath from his lungs.

Bright white lit the night. Blinded him. Then—almost instantaneously—black. Pure black. And he was falling. . .down. . .down. . .

Ro n i e K e n d i g
Discarded Heroes # 4


Nightshade (Discarded Heroes #1)

Digitalis (Discarded Heroes #2)

Wolfsbane (Discarded Heroes #3)

© 2011 by Ronie Kendig

ISBN 978-1-60260-0785-9

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.

For more information about Ronie Kendig, please access the author’s Web site at the following Internet address:

Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, OH 44683,

Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses.

Printed in the United States of America.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Mulligans of Mt Jefferson by Don Reid

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Mulligans of Mt Jefferson
David C. Cook (January 1, 2012)
Don Reid


Don is one of the original members of the STATLER BROTHERS, the most award-winning act in the history of country music. He and his brother and two friends began singing in their hometown of Staunton, Virginia when Don was only fourteen years old. Working all over their home and neighboring states as a part time group, they were discovered in 1964 by Johnny Cash and given their first record contract. By the time Don was 20 years old, the STATLERS had their first major, world-wide hit record with FLOWERS ON THE WALL, which started a string of hits that generated a career in the music industry that lasted for four decades. The STATLERS have been recipients of multiple industry awards:

It wasn’t until the STATLER BROTHERS decided to retire from traveling in 2002 that Don pursued his writing career to another level. Having songwriting and scriptwriting under his belt, the next obvious step was to write a book. And that book was the scripture based HEROES AND OUTLAWS OF THE BIBLE published in June of 2002 by New Leaf Press. He has since written two other non-fiction books and in 2008 saw another dream come true for Don when he released his first novel, O LITTLE TOWN. Novel number two came in the form of ONE LANE BRIDGE, and THE MULLIGANS OF MT. JEFFERSON, is a sequel to O LITTLE TOWN.

Don is the father of two sons. Debo and his wife, Julie, and daughters Sela Mae and Adra, live within a stone’s throw. You may have seen Debo’s name on many songs written with Don on albums over the years.


Cal, Harlan, and Buddy grow up together in a small Virginia town in the years before the second World War. United by age, proximity, and temperament, they get into—and out of—all the trouble that boys manage to find. They even earn a nickname from a local restaurateur who gives the boys their first jobs and plenty of friendly advice. “Uncle” Vic calls them the Mulligans, because they always seem to find a way through a thicket of trouble—family problems, girls, college, war—to success. Cal and Harlan and Buddy have been blessed with second chances.

Now it’s 1959, and police lieutenant Buddy receives an early-morning phone call: his friend Harlan, a store owner, has been shot in a break-in. Cal, now a preacher, meets Buddy at the hospital, and together, as professionals and as friends, they begin to unravel what might have happened to Harlan.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Mulligans of Mt Jefferson, go HERE.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter

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 (January 3, 2012)

***Special thanks to
Audra Jennings – 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.


Shay Brandenberger has built her entire life on the shifting sands of what others think. Constantly seeking the approval of others, she has struggled through a rocky childhood, a failed marriage and single parenthood. Now it looks like she’s losing the ranch that has been in her family for three generations, a surefire way to mark her as a failure in the eyes of the community. When Travis McCoy, the high school sweetheart who very publicly broke her heart fifteen years before, returns to Moose Creek, she is less than pleased. Not only does his re-appearance dredge up a deluge of painful memories, it also reminds everyone in town that it was he who left her, not the other way around. To make matters worse, Shay and Travis are unwittingly paired to play bride and groom in the annual Founder’s Day wedding re-enactment where, much to her chagrin, she discovers he still has the power to take her breath away.

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595548025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595548023


The bell above the diner’s door jingled
and—despite her most valiant effort—Shay Brandenberger’s eyes darted toward the
entry. An unfamiliar couple entered—tourists. She could tell by their khaki
Eddie Bauer vests and spanking-new hiking boots. Look out, Yellowstone.

When her heart rate returned to normal,
she checked her watch and took a sip of coffee. Five minutes till she met Miss
Lucy at the Doll House, forty till she met John Oakley at the bank. What if he
said no? What would they do then?

“Mom . . . Earth to Mom . . .” Olivia
waved her hand too close to Shay’s face, her brown eyes widening.

“Sorry, hon.” The one bright moment of
her Saturday was breakfast with her daughter, and she couldn’t enjoy it for the
dread. “What were you saying?”

Olivia set her fork on her
pancake-sticky plate and heaved a sigh worthy of her twelve-year-old self.
“Never mind.” She bounced across the vinyl bench, her thick brown ponytail
swinging. “I’m going to meet Maddy.”

“Right back here at noon,” Shay called,
but Olivia was out the door with the flick of her hand.

The diner buzzed with idle chatter.
Silverware clattered and scraped, and the savory smell of bacon and fried eggs
unsettled her stomach. She took a sip of the strong brew from the fat rim of
her mug.

The bell jingled again. I will not look. I will
not look. I will not—

The server appeared at her booth, a new
girl, and gathered Olivia’s dishes. “On the house today.”

Shay set down her mug, bristling. “Why?”

The woman shrugged. “Boss’s orders,” she
said, then made off with the dirty dishes.

From the rectangular kitchen window,
Mabel Franklin gave Shay a pointed look.

So Shay had helped the couple with their
foal the week before. It was the neighborly thing to do.

Fine. She gave a reluctant smile and a
wave. She pulled her wallet from her purse, counted out the tip, and dragged
herself from the booth, remembering her daughter’s bouncy exit. Lately her
thirty-two years pressed down on her body like a two-ton boulder.

She opened the diner’s door and peeked
both ways before exiting the Tin Roof and turning toward the Doll House. She
was only checking sidewalk traffic, not hiding. Nope, she wasn’t hiding from
anyone. The boardwalks were busy on Saturdays. That was why she hadn’t come to
town for two weeks. Why their pantry was emptier than a water trough at high

She hurried three shops down and slipped
into the cool, welcoming air of Miss Lucy’s shop.

“ ’Morning, Miss Lucy.”

“ ’Morning, dear.” The elderly woman, in
the middle of helping a customer, called over her rounded shoulder, “It’s in
the back.” Miss Lucy’s brown eyes were big as buckeyes behind her thick
glasses, and her white curls glowed under the spotlights.

“Okeydoke.” Shay forced her feet toward
the storeroom.

A musty smell assaulted her as she
entered the back room and flipped on the overhead fluorescents. She scanned the
boxes of doll parts and skeins of yarn until she found what she was looking
for. She approached the box, lifted the lid, and parted the tissue.

The wedding gown had been carefully
folded and tucked away. Shay ran her fingers over the delicate lace and pearls.
Must’ve been crisp white in its day, but time had cast a long shadow over it.
Time had a way of doing that.

Her fingers lingered on the thin fabric.
She remembered another time, another dress. A simple white one that hung on her
young shoulders, just skimmed the cement of the courthouse steps. The ache that
squeezed her heart had faded with time, but it was there all the same. Would it
ever go away?

Shaking her head, Shay turned back to
the task at hand. The gown seemed too pretty, too fragile to disturb.

Oh well. She’d promised.

She pulled it out and draped it over the
box, then shimmied from her jeans. When she was down to the bare necessities,
she stepped carefully into the gown. She eased it over her narrow hips and slid
her arms into the long sleeves. The neckline was modest, the gathered skirt
fuller than anything she ever wore. Here in the air-conditioning it was fine,
but she would swelter next Saturday.

Leaving the button-up back gaping, she
hitched the skirt to the top of her cowboy boots and entered the store.

Miss Lucy was ushering the customer out
the door. When she turned, she stopped, her old-lady shoes squeaking on the
linoleum. “Land sakes.”

Shay took two steps forward and dropped
the skirt. It fell to the floor with a whoosh.

“Fits like a glove,” Miss Lucy said.
“And with some low heels it’ll be the perfect length.”

Shay didn’t even own heels. “My boots’ll
have to do. Button the back?”

Miss Lucy waddled forward, turned Shay
toward a small wall mirror flecked with time, and began working the tiny pearl

Shay’s breath caught at her image. She
forced its release, then frowned. Wedding gowns were bad luck. She’d sworn
she’d never wear another. If someone had told her yesterday she’d be wearing
this thing today, she’d have said they were one straw short of a bale.

Miss Lucy moved up to the buttons
between her shoulders, and Shay lifted her hair. The dress did fit, clinging to
her torso like it was made for her, wouldn’t you know. Even the color
complemented her olive skin.

Still, there was that whole bad luck

And what would everyone think of Shay
Brandenberger wearing this valuable piece of Moose Creek heritage? A white
wedding gown, no less. If she didn’t have the approval of her closest friends
and neighbors, what did she have? Not much, to her thinking.

She wanted to cut and run. Wanted to
shimmy right out of the dress, tuck it into that box in the storeroom, slip
back into her Levi’s and plaid button-up, and go back to her ranch where she
could hole up for the next six months.

She checked the time and wished Miss
Lucy had nimbler fingers. Of all days to do this, a Saturday, when everyone
with two legs was in town. And she still had that infernal meeting with John

Please, God, I can’t lose our home . . .

“I’m obliged to you, dear. I completely
forgot Jessie was going out of town.”

“No problem.”

“Baloney. You’d rather be knee-deep in
cow dung.” The woman’s marionette lines at the sides of her mouth deepened.

“It’s one hour of my life.” A pittance,
after all Miss Lucy had done for her.

Miss Lucy finished buttoning, and Shay
dropped her hair and smoothed the delicate lace at the cuffs.

“Well, bless you for being willing. God
is smiling down on you today for your kindness.”

Shay doubted God really cared one way or
another. It was her neighbors she worried about.

“Beautiful, just beautiful. You’ll be
the talk of the town on Founders Day.”

“No doubt.” Everyone in Moose Creek
would be thinking about the last time she’d worn a wedding gown. And the time
before that.

Especially the time before that.

Third time’s a charm, Shay thought, the corner of her lip
turning up.

“Stop fretting,” Miss Lucy said,
squeezing her shoulders. “You look quite fetching, like the gown was made for
you. I won’t have to make a single alteration. Why, it fits you better than it
ever did Jessie—don’t you tell her I said so.”

Shay tilted her head. Maybe Miss Lucy
was right. The dress did make the most of her figure. And she had as much right
to wear it as anyone. Maybe more—she was born and raised here, after all. It
was just a silly old reenactment anyway. No one cared who the bride and groom

The bell jingled as the door opened
behind her. She glanced in the mirror, over her shoulder, where a hulking
silhouette filled the shop’s doorway. There was something familiar in the set
of the man’s broad shoulders, in the slow way he reached up and removed his

The sight of him constricted her rib
cage, squeezed the air from her lungs as if she were wearing a corset. But she
wasn’t wearing a corset. She was wearing a wedding gown. Just as she had been
the last time she’d set eyes on Travis McCoy.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Sunday Salon January 8, 2012

The Sunday

* The first Sunday Salon of 2012. So far I have been reading a lot this year. I only read 116 books last year so I hope to read at least 100 this year. I have not finished my post on my reading and life goals for the year. For some reason I feel like I am living in limbo. It makes no sense to me. I feel torn in different directions. I want to be fit and work out but I also want to read a lot again. I don't want to go back to an unhealthy lifestyle not that I have been doing so great with my eating the past couple months. I really need to get back on track but for some reason it is so hard. I know that life is made of choices and I make them every day and that is who I am.

* My sister and I got a Nook Tablet to share for Christmas and so far I love it. I have already finished three books on it and I working on two more. I did not link I would like it but am pleasantly surprised. I still love a "real" book though. I used it to listen to podcasts while I was cooking in the kitchen this afternoon. I loved that. I still need to figure out how to do audio books.

* I can't decide what to keep reading next. I have bookmarks in a ton of books. I still have some old review books I need to finish, some library books, and then a ton of my own I want to read. Some of my coworkers are reading Girl With a Dragon Tattoo so I started it but am having a hard time getting into it. What are you reading this week?

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

The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Review)

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Revell (January 2, 2012)

ISBN-13: 978-0800719876

Julia Lapp has planned on marrying Paul Fisher since she was a girl. Now twenty-one, she looks forward to their wedding with giddy anticipation. When Paul tells her he wants to postpone the wedding--again--she knows who is to blame. Perpetual bachelor and spreader of cold feet, Roman Troyer, the Bee Man.

Roamin' Roman travels through the Amish communities of Ohio and Pennsylvania with his hives full of bees, renting them out to farmers in need of pollinators. He relishes his nomadic life, which keeps him from thinking about all he has lost. He especially enjoys bringing his bees to Stoney Ridge each year. But with Julia on a mission to punish him for inspiring Paul's cold feet, the Lapp farm is looking decidedly less pleasant.

Can Julia secure the future she's always dreamed of? Or does God have something else in mind?

Full of the plot twists and surprises her fans love, The Keeper is the first in a new series by bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher. Through touching family relationships and trials of the heart, Fisher's vivid characters grapple with yielding to God's will when it doesn't match their own.

My Review:
I really enjoyed this latest Amish book by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I loved her first series and although this is the same town this book starts a new series. The characters and plot are engaging and kept me reading. The book flowed good and the writing was good. The ending has a surprise that I did not see coming. Although kind of sad the ending was still good and fit the book. I look forward to reading book two in the series. Recommended. :)
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, The Search, and The Keeper, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Christy Award nominee and is the host of an internet radio show called Amish Wisdom and her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California.

“Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

It’s a “Honey of a Giveaway” from Suzanne Woods Fisher!

Suzanne is hosting a "honey of a giveaway"during the blog tour for The Keeper! During 1/3-1/17 you can enter to win an iPad2 from Suzanne and connect with her on January 17th at The Keeper Facebook Party!

During the giveaway one Grand Prize winner will receive a Prize Pack valued at $600:

  • A brand new 16 KB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi
  • A $25 gift certificate to iTunes
  • A copy of The Keeper
But wait there's more! Just click one of the icons below to enter, then on 1/17 join Suzanne for The Keeper Facebook Party! During the party Suzanne will announce the winner of the "Honey" of an iPad Giveaway and host a fun book chat and give away some fun "honey" inspired prizes - It'll be 'sweet"!

RSVP early and tell your friends!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
Bethany House (January 1, 2012)
Julie Klassen


Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years (first in advertising, then as a fiction editor) and now writes full time. Two of her books, The Girl in the Gatehouse and The Silent Governess won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Girl in the Gatehouse also won a Midwest Book Award and The Silent Governess was a finalist in Romance Writers of America's RITA awards.

She graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoys travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends. Julie and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.


Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?

Observing both brothers as an "invisible" servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?

On her journey from wellborn lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of "serve one another in love."

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, go HERE

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Reading Wrap Up Post

I ended up reading 116 books in 2011. That is a very low number for me but good considering how rough a year I had. I did not make most of my goals I set. The only ones I semi met were to not buy as many books and cut back on how many review copies I signed up for. I also failed most of the over twenty reading challenges I signed up for. I listened to 18 audio books which is amazing for someone who used to hate them. lol I listen to them in the car and they make my commute so much better. I read 13 nonfiction books which is an okay number I would like to increase. Here is the link to all the books I read in 2011:

My top ten for 2011 in no particular order:

1. A Shore Thing by Julie Carobini
2. There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones
3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Sklott (audio nonfiction)
4. You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon (short stories)
5. The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn (nonfiction)
6. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (audio nonfiction)
7. A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin
8. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (audio)
9. Smitten by Kristin Billerbeck, Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, Diann Hunt
10. The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

Books Read 2011

Books Read 2011

My absolute favorites from each month are in bold.


1. Christmas Bodyguard by Margaret Daley

2. The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

3. The Waiting by Suzanne Woods Fisher

4. A Woman and her Workplace by Rosemary Flaaten

5. The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher

6. Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

7. Food Rules by Michael Pollan

8. Just As I Am by Virginia Smith

9. Sincerely Mayla by Virginia Smith

10. Double Shot by Erynn Mangum

11. Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon

12. Digitalis by Ronie Kendig

13. The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

14. Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson

15. Stars Collide by Janice Thompson

16. The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig

17. The Prodigal Comes Home by Kathryn Springer

18. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

19. Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson

20. An Amish Love by Beth Wiseman, Kelly Long, Kathleen Fuller

21. Operation Bonnet by Kimberly Stuart

22. The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett


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


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

35. The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

36. A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter

37. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

38. Point Blank Protector by Stephanie Newton

39. The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh

40. The Judgment by Beverly Lewis

41. Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer

42. To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer


43. Livvie's Song by Sharlene MacLaren

44. An Unlikely Suitor by Nancy Moser

45. The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble

46. A Shore Thing by Julie Carobini

47. Fade to Blue by Julie Carobini

48. Undercover Pursuit by Susan Warren

49. A Heart Divided by Kathleen Morgan

50. Secrets of the Heart by Jillian Kent

51. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

52. Missing by Lynette Eason

53. A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason

54. A Great Catch by Lorna Seilstad

55. The Corruptible by Mark Mynheir

56. The Officer's Secret by Debby Giusti


57. The Fine Art of Insincerityby Angela Hunt

58. The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden

59. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (reread) (audio)

60. 10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl by Amy Parham

61. Chasing Sunsets by Eva Everson

62. Why We Get Fat and What to do About It by Gary Taubes

63. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (audio)

64. Double Take by Melody Carlson

65. The Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray

66. Vigilante by Robin Parrish


67. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Sklott (audio)

68. Love Letters in the Sand by Diann Hunt

69. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (audio)

70. Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss

71. Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper

72. Falls Like Lightning by Shawn Grady

73. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (audio)

74. You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon

75. A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin

76. Perfectly Invisible by Kristin Billerbeck

77. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (audio)

78. Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig


79. Restless in Carolina by Tamera Leigh

80. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall

81. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (audio)

82. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (audio)

83. Fireman Dad by Betsy St. Amant

84. The Witness by Dee Henderson (reread)(audio)


85. Sketchy Behavior by Erynn Mangum

86. The Wierd Sisters by Eleanor Brown (audio)

87. The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

88. Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

89. The Illumination by Jilly Gregory and Karen Tintori (audio)

90. A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher

91. Her Rodeo Cowboy by Debra Clopton


92. How Not to Get Fat by Gary Taubes (audio)

93. The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen (audio)

94. Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon

95. Carney's House Party by Maud Hart Lovelace

96.There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

97. A Necessary Deception by Laurie Alice Eakes

98. Winona's Pony Cart by Maud Hart Lovelace

99. Attracted to Fire by Diann Mills

100. Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani (audio)

101. The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn


102. Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

103. The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley (audio)

104. Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson

105. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (audio)

106. Christmas in Sugarcreek by Shelley Shepard Gray

107. Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Big by Peter Walsh (audio)

108. Miss Buncle Married by D. E. Stevenson


109. Christmas Haven by Hope White

110. Brava Valentine by Adriana Trigiani (audio)

111. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

112. Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter

113. Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson

114. An Amish Christmas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Barbara Cameron, Kelly Long

115. I Shall Not Want by Debbie Viguie

116. Lie Down in Green Pastures by Debbie Viguie

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...