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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Strange Life of Walenty Karnowski: The Rabbi's Illegitimate Grandson by Gerald R Schmidt

The Strange Life of Walenty Karnowski: The Rabbi's Illegitimate Grandson

My rating:
4 of 5 stars


This book has a lot of good History in it, both of Poland and the Catholic and Jewish Religions.

The book does not have any Chapters, but goes on by date beginning on August 30, 1841 in what is Prussia, where a young girl Marta Nering, 15 has an illicit encounter with 23 year old Moyzhesh Karnowski. He is what we call a sexual addict. The result is the birth of Walenty.

The story has some sexual contact, but that is not the main story. I enjoyed all the great information on the Catholic Religion, which is the center of most of the Peasants lives. On a side note I have some dear friends who are polish, and a lot of the customs celebrated in this book are still celebrated. There is also quite a bit about the Jewish Feasts, and it was interesting how many of them are at the same time.

This book came about when the author was researching his Mother's Great-Grandfather he wasn't able to find much information on, so he incorporated what he did know with a bit of fiction.

You will find yourself glued to the book, there are a lot of scary things that happen. Loved the descriptions of the country side, with the woods and palaces! Neat place. The scary part is the Devils doing, along with the coven of Witches. This is a Good over Evil book that took place back in the 1800's.



I was provided with a copy of this book by Good Reads, and was not required to give a positive review.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dawn of The Golden Promise (Emerald Ballad #5) by B.J. Hoff

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:


Dawn of the Golden Promise

Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant | Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



BJ Hoff’s bestselling historical novels continue to cross the boundaries of religion, language, and culture to capture a worldwide reading audience. Her books include Song of Erin and American Anthem and such popular series as The Riverhaven Years, The Mountain Song Legacy, and The Emerald Ballad. Hoff’s stories, although set in the past, are always relevant to the present. Whether her characters move about in small country towns or metropolitan areas, reside in Amish settlements or in coal company houses, she creates communities where people can form relationships, raise families, pursue their faith, and experience the mountains and valleys of life. BJ and her husband make their home in Ohio.



Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:



In the fifth and concluding volume of her bestselling The Emerald Ballad Series, BJ Hoff brings the exciting Irish-American historical drama to a climax with all the passion and power readers have come to expect from her.



The saga finds Morgan Fitzgerald adapting to life in a wheelchair as a result of an assailant’s bullet to his spine. Meanwhile, his wife, Finola, must face the dark memories and guarded secrets of her past. In New York City, policeman Michael Burke is caught in a conflict between his faith and his determination to bring a dangerous enemy to justice.



This unforgettable series began with the promise of an epic love story and an inspiring journey of faith. The finale delivers on that promise.



About This Series: BJ Hoff’s Emerald Ballad series was one of the most memorable series published in the 1990s. With combined sales of 300,000 copies, these beloved books found a place in the hearts of BJ’s many fans. Now redesigned and freshly covered the saga is available again to a new generation of readers—and BJ’s many new fans due to her highly successful Amish series, The Riverhaven Years—The Emerald Ballad series will once again find an enthusiastic audience.









Product Details:



List Price: $14.99

Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736927964

ISBN-13: 978-0736927963



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:





Dark Terror



For hope will expire

As the terror draws nigher,

And, with it, the Shame…



James Clarence Mangan (1803–1849)



Near the coast of Portugal

Late June 1850



A little before midnight, Rook Mooney left his card game and went on deck. The starless night sky churned with low-hanging clouds, and although the wind was only beginning to blow up, Mooney knew the storm would be on them within the hour.



He hated sea storms at night, especially the ones that came up all of a sudden. The Atlantic was bad-tempered and unpredictable; she could turn vicious as a wounded witch without warning. Even the most seasoned sailor never took her for granted, and many a callow youth had been turned away from the sea forever by a particularly savage gale.



Had it not been for the brewing storm, Mooney would have been glad for the wind. Lisbon had been sultry, too warm for his liking. He was ready for Ireland’s mild skies.



Hunched over the rail, he stared into the darkness. Although they were another night closer to Ireland, his mood was nearly as black as the sky. He had thought to see Dublin long before now, but instead he had spent three months in a filthy Tangier cell for breaking an innkeeper’s skull.



The darkness deep within him rose up and began to spread. It was her fault. The Innocent. His hands tightened on the rail, his mouth twisting at the memory of her. All these months—more than a year now—and he still couldn’t get her out of his mind. She was like a fire in his brain, boiling in him, tormenting him, driving him half mad.



Nothing had gone right for him since that night at Gemma’s Place. He spent his days with a drumming headache, his nights in a fog of whiskey and fever. His temper was a powder keg, ignited by the smallest spark. Even women were no good for him now. He could scarcely bear the sight of the used, worn-out strumpets who haunted the foreign ports. They all seemed dirty after her. Her, with her ivory skin and golden hair and fine clean scent.



Like some shadowy, infernal sea siren, she seemed to call to him. He was never free of her, could find no peace from her.



His grip on the rail increased. Soon, in only a few days now, they would reach Dublin. He would go back to Gemma’s Place. This time he wouldn’t go so easy on her. This time when he was finished with her, he would put an end to her witchery. He’d snuff out her life…and be free.



All at once rain drenched him. Waves churned up like rolling dunes, pitching the ship as if it were a flimsy child’s toy. Angry and relentless, the gale whipped the deck. Salt from the sea mixed with the rain, burning Mooney’s eyes and stinging his skin as the downpour slashed his face.



He swore into the raging night, anchoring himself to the rail. He felt no terror of the storm, only a feral kind of elation, as if the wildness of the wind had stirred a dark, waiting beast somewhere in the depths of his being.



Drogheda



The small cottage in the field seemed to sway in the wind. Frank Cassidy resisted the urge to duck his head against the thunder that shook the walls and the fierce lightning that streaked outside the window.



After months of following a maze of wrong turns, Cassidy could scarcely believe that he now sat across from the one person who might finally bring his search to an end. It had been a long, frustrating quest, and up until now a futile one. But tonight, in this small, barren cottage outside the old city where Black Cromwell had unleashed his obscene rage, his hopes were rising by the moment.



Friendship had motivated him to undertake the search for Finola Fitzgerald’s past, but nothing more than the unwillingness to disappoint Morgan had kept him going. He owed his old friend a great deal—indeed, he would have done most anything the Fitzgerald had asked of him. But in recent months he had wondered more than once if this entire venture might not end in total defeat. Every road he had taken led only to failure. Every clue he had followed proved worthless.



Until now.



The possibility of finding his answers in Drogheda had first occurred to Cassidy months ago. A Dublin street musician’s vague remark about an unsolved murder in the ancient city—a tragic mystery involving a young girl—had fired his interest and sent him on his way that same week.



According to the musician, a woman named Sally Kelly and her son Peter were likely to have information about the incident. Cassidy had wasted several days in Drogheda trying to locate the pair, only to discover that they had gone north some years past.



He started on to Cavan, eventually traveling as far west as Roscommon, but found no trace, not even a hint, of the Kellys. He started back to Drogheda, discouraged and uncertain about what to do next. To his astonishment, a casual conversation with a tinker on the road revealed that a youth named Peter Kelly had taken up a small tenant farm just outside the old city only weeks before.



Now, sitting across from the lad himself, Cassidy could barely contain his excitement. Even the brief, fragmented story he had managed to glean so far told him that this time he would not leave Drogheda empty-handed.



“If only you could have talked with me mum before she passed on,” Peter Kelly was saying. “She more than likely could have told you all you want to know. There’s so much I can’t remember, don’t you see.”



Kelly was a strapping young man, with shirt sleeves rolled over muscled arms. His face was sunburned and freckled, his rusty hair crisp with tight curls.



“Still, I’d be grateful to hear what you do remember,” Cassidy told him. “Anything at all.”



Dipping one hand into the crock on the table, Kelly retrieved a small potato, still in its jacket, and began to peel it with his thumbnail. Motioning toward the crock, he indicated that Cassidy should help himself.



For a short time they sat in silence, perched on stools at the deal table eating their potatoes. The cottage was old, with but one room and a rough-hewn fireplace. Boxes pegged to the wall held crockery and plates. A straw mattress was draped with a frayed brown blanket. There were no other furnishings.



Peter Kelly had a friendly, honest face and intelligent eyes. “I don’t mind telling you what I recall,” he said, “but I fear it isn’t much. ’ Twas a good seven years ago, or more. I couldn’t have been more than ten or eleven at the time, if that.”



“And your mother was employed as cook?” prompted Cassidy.



The youth nodded. “Aye, she had been in service for Mr. Moran since I was but a wee wane. It was just the two of us. Me da had already passed on long before then.”



“Tell me about Moran,” Cassidy prompted. “Was he a wealthy man?”



Kelly took another bite of potato and shrugged. “Not wealthy and not poor,” he said. “He had an apothecary, but he also acted as a physician of sorts. His father before him left the business and the property. The land was fine, but not exceedingly large. There were some small crops and a few trees—and a lake.”



“And Moran himself? What sort of a man was he?”



Again the lad shrugged. “I recall he was an elderly gentleman. All alone, except for the daughter. His wife died in childbirth, I believe. As best I remember, he treated Mum and me fine.” He paused. “Mum said Mr. Moran doted on the daughter.”



“You mentioned the day of the shooting,” Cassidy urged. “I’d be grateful if you’d tell me about it.”



Peter Kelly licked his fingers before reaching for another potato. “I recall it was a warm day. Spring or summer it must have been, for the trees were in leaf and the sun was bright. I was in the woods when I heard all the commotion. I wasn’t supposed to go in the woods at all,” he explained, glancing up, “for Mum was always fearful of the place. But I played there every chance I got, all the same.”



Rubbing his big hands on his trouser legs, he went on. “But didn’t I go flying out of there fast enough when I heard the screaming? Took off as if the devil himself was after me, I did.”



Cassidy leaned forward, his muscles tensed. “What screaming would that have been?”



“Why, it sounded for all the world like a mountain cat in a trap! ’ Twas too far away for me to see, but I could tell the ruckus was coming from near the lake, at the far end of the property. I took off running for the house.”



He glanced at Cassidy, his expression slightly shamefaced. “I was but a lad,” he muttered. “All I could think of was to get away from the terrible screaming without me mum finding out I’d been playing in the woods again. She was a stern woman.”



“So you saw nothing at all?”



The boy shook his head, and Cassidy felt a shroud of familiar disappointment settle over him. Still, he wasn’t about to give up. “And what happened then, lad?”



“Mum hauled me into the kitchen, then went for Mr. Moran. He told us to stay put while he went to investigate.” He paused. “I saw a pistol in his hand, and I remember me mum was shaking something fierce. We heard the shots not long after Mr. Moran left the house with the gun.”



Cassidy’s interest piqued. He leaned forward. “Shots, did you say?”



Kelly nodded. “Mr. Moran was shot and killed that day.” After a moment he added, “Everyone said it was the teacher who murdered him.”



Curbing his impatience, Cassidy knotted his hands. “What teacher, Peter?”



Young Kelly scratched his head. “Why, I can’t recall his name—it’s been so long—but I do remember he was a Frenchman. Mr. Moran was determined his daughter would be educated, you see, and not in no hedge school, either. He hired the Frenchman as a tutor, and to coach her in the voice lessons. She was musical, you know.”



Cassidy’s mind raced. “This teacher—he lived with the family, did he?”



“He did. It seems to me he had a room upstairs in the house.”



“But what reason would he have had to shoot James Moran?”



Peter Kelly met Cassidy’s eyes across the table. “The story went that Mr. Moran must have been trying to save his daughter from the man’s advances, but the Frenchman got the best of him. Mr. Moran was elderly, mind, and would have been no match for the teacher.”



As Cassidy struggled to piece together what Kelly had told him, the youth went on. “I’m afraid I don’t know much else, sir. Only that Mr. Moran died from the shooting, and the daughter disappeared.”



Cassidy looked at him. “Disappeared?”



“She was never seen after that day,” said Kelly, crossing his arms over his chest. “Mum went looking for her after she found Mr. Moran dead, but there wasn’t a trace of her, not a trace. Nothing but her tin whistle, which they found lying near the lake. No, they never found her nor the Frenchman.” He drew in a long breath, adding, “Mum always said she didn’t believe they tried any too hard, either.”



Cassidy frowned. “Why would she think that?”



Peter Kelly twisted his mouth. “The police didn’t care all that much, don’t you see. The Morans weren’t important enough for them to bother with, Mum said. They didn’t know where to look, so they simply pretended to search.”



Cassidy drummed his finger on the table. “Could the girl simply have run off with the Frenchman, do you think?”



The other shook his head forcefully. “No, sir, I’m certain it was nothing of the sort. Mum was convinced the Frenchman had done something terrible to the lass, and that was why Mr. Moran went after him. But Mr. Moran, he was that frail; a younger man would outmatch him easy enough, she said. Mum was convinced until the day she died that the Frenchman murdered Mr. Moran and then ran off.”



Cassidy rubbed his chin. “But that doesn’t account for the girl,” he said, thinking aloud. “What of her?”



“It pained me mum to think so, but she always believed the Frenchman took the lass with him.”



“Abducted her, d’you mean?”



Peter nodded. “Aye, and perhaps murdered her as well.” He seemed to reminisce for a moment. “Mum never liked that Frenchman, you see. Not a bit. He gave himself airs, she said, and had a devious eye.”



Cassidy’s every instinct proclaimed that at last he had found what he was searching for, but he had been thwarted too many times not to be cautious. Getting to his feet, he untied the pouch at his waist and withdrew the small portrait Morgan had sent him some months past.



He unfolded it, then handed it to Peter Kelly. “Would this be the girl?” he asked, his pulse pounding like the thunder outside. “Would the Moran lass resemble this portrait today, do you think?”



As Kelly studied the portrait, his eyes widened. “Why, ’tis her,” he said, nodding slowly. “Sure, ’tis Miss Finola herself.”



Cassidy stared at him. “Finola?” he said, his voice cracking. “That was her name—Finola?    ”



“It was indeed,” the lad said. “And didn’t it suit her well, at that? Tall and lovely, she was, and several years older than myself. Wee lad that I was, I thought her an enchanted creature. A princess…with golden hair.”



A wave of exhilaration swept over Cassidy. He had all he could do not to shout. According to Morgan, the one thing Finola Fitzgerald had seemed to remember about her past was her given name.



“You’re quite sure, lad?” he said, his voice none too steady. “It’s been many a year since you last saw the lass, after all.”



Kelly nodded, still studying the portrait. “ ’ Tis her. Sure, and she’s a woman grown, but a face is not easily forgotten, no matter the years.”



“Now that is the truth,” agreed Cassidy, smiling at the boy.



“Is she found then, sir, after all this time?” Kelly asked, returning the portrait to Cassidy.



Still smiling, Cassidy stared at the portrait. “Aye, lad,” he said after a moment, his voice hoarse with excitement. “She is found. She is safe, and a married woman now.”



“Ah…thanks be to God!” said Peter Kelly.



“Indeed,” Cassidy echoed. “Thanks be to God.”



Nelson Hall, Dublin



For the second time in a week, Finola’s screams pierced the late night silence of the bedroom. Instantly awake, Morgan reached for her, then stopped. He had learned not to touch her until she was fully awake and had recognized him.



“Finola?” Leaning over her, he repeated her name softly. “Finola, ’tis Morgan. You’re dreaming, macushla. You are safe. Safe with me.”



Her body was rigid, her arms crossed in front of her face as if to ward off an attack. She thrashed, moaning and sobbing, her eyes still closed.



Outside, thunder rumbled in the distance and the lightning flared halfheartedly, then strengthened. As if sensing the approaching storm, Finola gave a startled cry.



Morgan continued to soothe her with his voice, speaking softly in the Irish. It was all he could do not to gather her in his arms. But when the nightmare had first begun, months ago, he had made the mistake of trying to rouse her from it. She had gone after him like a wild thing, pummeling him with her fists, scraping his face with her nails as she fought him off.



Whatever went on in that dark, secret place of the dream must be an encounter of such dread, such horror, as to temporarily seize her sanity. The Finola trapped in that nightmare world was not in the least like the gentle, soft-voiced Finola he knew as his wife. In the throes of the dream she was a woman bound, terrorized by something too hideous to be endured.



No matter how he ached to rescue her, he could do nothing…nothing but wait.

In the netherworld of the dream, Finola stood in a dark and windswept cavern.



Seized by terror, she cupped her hands over her ears to shut out the howling of the wind.



The wind. She knew it was coming for her, could hear the angry, thunderous roar, feel the trembling of the ground beneath her feet as the storm raced toward her.



Faster now…a fury of a wind, gathering speed as it came, raging and swooping down upon her like a terrible bird of prey, gathering momentum as it hurled toward her…closing in, seizing her.



Black and fierce, it seemed alive as it dragged her closer…closer into its eye, as if trying to swallow her whole. As she struggled to break free, she heard in the farthest recesses of the darkness a strange, indefinable sound, a sound of sorrow, as if all the trees in the universe were sighing their grief.



She tried to run but was held captive by the force of the wind. It pounded her, squeezing the breath from her, dragging her into a darkness so dense it filled her eyes, her mouth, her lungs…oh, dear Jesus, it was crushing her…crushing her to nothing—



Finola sat straight up in bed, as if propelled by some raw force of terror. She gasped, as always, fighting for her breath.



Soaked in perspiration, Finola stared at Morgan, her gaze filled with horror.



Still he did not touch her. “You are safe, Finola aroon. ’      Twas only a bad dream. You are here with me.”



She put a hand to her throat and opened her mouth as if to speak, but made no sound. Finally…finally, she made a small whimper, like that of a frightened animal sprung free from a trap.



At last Morgan saw a glint of recognition. Finola moaned, then sagged into his waiting arms.



Stroking her hair, Morgan held her, crooning to her as he would a frightened child. “There’s nothing to harm you, my treasure. Nothing at all.”



“Hold me…hold me…”



Tightening his arms about her still more, he began to rock her gently back and forth. “Shhh, now, macushla…everything is well. You are safe.”



He felt her shudder against him, and he went on, lulling her with his voice, stroking her hair until at last he felt her grow still. “Was it the same as before?” he asked.



Her head nodded against his chest.



He knew it might be hours before she would be able to sleep again. So great was the dream’s terror that she dreaded closing her eyes afterward. Sometimes she lay awake until dawn.



Her description of the nightmare never failed to chill Morgan. It had begun not long after their first physical union. Although he could scarcely bring himself to face the possibility, he could not help but wonder if their intimacy, though postponed, might not somehow be responsible.



At the outer fringes of his mind lurked a growing dread that by marrying her and taking her into his bed, he had somehow invoked the nightmare. He prayed it was not so, but if it continued, he would eventually have to admit his fear to Finola. They would have to speak of it.



But not yet. Not tonight. Tonight he would simply hold her until she no longer trembled, until she no longer clung to him as if he alone could banish the horror.

Unwilling to forsake the comforting warmth of Morgan’s embrace, Finola lay, unmoving. Gradually she felt her own pulse slow to the steady rhythm of his heartbeat. “I’m sorry I woke you,” she whispered.



He silenced her with a finger on her lips. “There is nothing to be sorry for. Hush, now, and let me hold you.”



Something was coming. Something dark. Something cold and dark and sinister…



Thunder boomed like distant cannon, and Finola shivered. Wrapped safely in Morgan’s arms, she struggled to resist the dark weight of foreboding that threatened to smother her.



It was always like this after the nightmare, as if the black wind in the dream still hovered oppressively near, waiting to overtake her after she was fully awake. Sometimes hours passed before she could completely banish the nightmare’s terror.



Were it not for the safe wall of Morgan’s presence to soothe and shield her, she thought she might go mad in the aftermath of the horror. But always he was there, his sturdy arms and quiet voice her stronghold of protection. Her haven.



“Better now, macushla   ?” he murmured against her hair.



Finola nodded, and he gently eased her back against the pillows, settling her snugly beside him, her head on his shoulder.



“Try to sleep,” he said, brushing a kiss over the top of her head. “Nothing will hurt you this night. Nothing will ever hurt you again, I promise you.”



Finola closed her eyes and forced herself to lie still. She knew Morgan would not allow himself to sleep until she did, so after a few moments she pretended to drift off; in a short while, she heard his breathing grow even and shallow.



After he fell asleep, she lay staring at the window, trying not to jump when lightning streaked and sliced the night. She hugged her arms to herself as the thunder groaned. In the shelter of Morgan’s embrace, it was almost possible to believe that he was right, that nothing would hurt her ever again. She knew that with the first light of the morning, the nightmare would seem far distant, almost as if it had never happened.



But just as surely, she knew night would come again, and with the night would come the dream, with its dark wind and evil hidden somewhere deep within.



After a long time, Finola began to doze. But just as she sank toward the edge of unconsciousness, the wind shrieked. Like the sudden convulsion of a wren’s wings, panic shook her and she jolted awake.



Feeling irrationally exposed and vulnerable, she listened to the storm play out its fury. Thunder hammered with such force that the great house seemed to shudder and groan, while the wind went howling as if demanding entrance.



Again she closed her eyes, this time to pray.



My Review: 5 Star
This is the end book in this Saga...and wow! It will have your heart beating fast! Love how things are changing and ending....and I need a Wolfhound!
You will find out what motivates some of the characters, and others the horrible abuse they have suffered. I don't know if I would not have gone mad, make sure you have a box of tissues available.
You see the Characters choosing God and forgiveness.
What a great enjoyable read, and really highly recommend this book!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blue Skies Tomorrow: A Novel (Wings of Glory #3) by Sarah Sundin and Kindle Giveaway

Blue Skies Tomorrow: A Novel

My rating:
5 of 5 stars


I just finished reading this great book. I've read all three and love that the stories seem to continue in each. If you enjoy reading WWII stories these books are for you.
Ray Novak's and Helen Carlise's story is hard to put down. Helen really has had a hard life, and wants a better life for her young son Jay-Jay. Ray Novak wants to be a preacher like his Dad, but he doesn't want to be pegged for a coward.
Can these two different people put their lives together? We travel back to England and then to Germany. Lt Novak will give you a few chuckles in this area, and he was helping the war effort! The descriptions Sarah uses put me right in that books store with Lt Novak, and living in that Cellar!
Life was different for woman back in the 40's and men did control most everything. I felt so sorry for Helen, and Jay-Jay. In some ways she had very little choice, but loved the strength she received from God.
I received this book from the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.

There is also a giveaway on Sarah's site of a Kindle and Apron.
http://sarahsundin.blogspot.com/2011/08/blue-skies-tomorrow-kindle-giveaway.html



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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Friendship Bread by Darien Gee

Friendship Bread
My rating:
5 of 5 stars


If this book had a scent it would probably be cinnamon! A bag of starter and a loaf of bread seem like a very innocent gift, but it seems to have a great gift attached to it. You will be wishing you lived in Avalon!
The character's in this book seem so unlikely to be friends, but that judgement would be wrong! Julia has lost her beloved son, Hannah's husband is putting her aside, and Madeline has lost her husband and her stepson. There is a lot of forgiveness and sharing that goes on.
There is a lure in these bags of starter, life changing things begin to happen to the people of Avalon. Once you start this read you will not want to put it down.
Now I need to get making a starter for myself and begin baking! There are recipes to be found at http://www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com/re... Can you imagine making brownies, sour dough bread, and all the amazing bread variances.
Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First WildCard Tour Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic and Treasures from Grandma’s Attic by Arleta Richardson

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 books:


Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic

and

Treasures from Grandma’s Attic


David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



The late Arleta Richardson grew up an only child in Chicago, living in a hotel on the shores of Lake Michigan. Under the care of her maternal grandmother, she listened for hours to stories from her grandmother’s childhood. With unusual recall, Arleta began to write these stories for an audience that now numbers over two million. “My grandmother would be amazed to know her stories have gone around the world,” Arleta said.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:



Grandma did what? You might be surprised. Back in the 1880’s, when she was a young girl named Mabel, trouble seemed to follow her everywhere. She and her best friend, Sarah Jane, had the best intentions at home and at school, but somehow clumsiness and mischief always seemed to intrude. Whether getting into a sticky mess with face cream, traveling to the big city, sneaking out to a birthday party or studying for the spelling bee, Mabel’s brilliant ideas only seemed to show how much she had to learn. And each of her mishaps turned into lessons in honesty, patience and responsibility.



Arleta Richardson’s beloved series, Grandma’s Attic, returns with Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic and Treasures from Grandma’s Attic, the third and fourth books in the refreshed classic collection for girls ages 8 to 12. These compilations of tales recount humorous and poignant memories from Grandma Mabel’s childhood on a Michigan farm in the late 1800’s. Combining the warmth and spirit of Little House on the Prairie with a Christian focus, these books transport readers back to a simpler time to learn lessons surprisingly relevant in today’s world.



Even though these stories took place over a hundred years ago, there are some things about being a girl that never change. Just like Mabel, girls still want to be prettier or more independent. It’s all part of growing up. But the amazing thing is—Grandma felt the same way! Sometimes your brother teases you or someone you thought was a friend turns out to be insincere. Sometimes you’re certain you know better than your parents, only to discover to your horror that they might have been right. It’s all part of growing up.



Richardson’s wholesome stories have reached more than two million readers worldwide. Parents appreciate the godly values and character they promote while children love the captivating storytelling that recounts childhood memories of mischief and joy. These books are ideal for homes, schools, libraries or gifts and are certain to be treasured. So return to Grandma’s attic, where true tales of yesteryear bring timeless lessons for today, combining the appeal of historical fiction for girls with the truth of God’s Word. Each captivating story promotes godly character and values with humor, understanding and warmth.



Product Details:



Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic
:



List Price: $6.99

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0781403812

ISBN-13: 978-0781403818





Treasures from Grandma’s Attic:



Reading level: Ages 9-12

Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0781403820

ISBN-13: 978-0781403825



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTERS:





Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic



When Grandma Was a Little Girl



One hundred years! What a long, long time ago that is! Not very many people are still alive who can remember that far back. But through the magic of stories, we can be right there again.



When I was a little girl, I thought no one could tell a story like my grandma.



“Tell me about when you were a little girl,” I would say. Soon I would be back on the farm in northern Michigan with young Mabel—who became my grandmother—her mother and father, and her brothers, Reuben and Roy.



The old kitchen where I sat to hear many of Grandma’s stories didn’t look the same as when she was a little girl. Then there was no electricity nor running water. But my grandma still lived in the house she grew up in. I had no trouble imagining all the funny jams that Grandma and her best friend, Sarah Jane, got into. Or how it felt to wear long flannel stockings and high-buttoned shoes.



From the dusty old attic to the front parlor with its slippery furniture, Grandma’s old house was a storybook just waiting to be opened. I was fortunate to have a grandma who knew just how to open it. She loved to tell a story just as much as I loved to hear one.



Come with me now, back to the old kitchen in that Michigan farmhouse, and enjoy the laughter and tears of many years ago....



1



Face Cream from Godey’s Lady’s Book



Receiving mail always excited me. I never had to be told to get the mail for Grandma on my way home from school. But sometimes the mail became even more important. Like the time I was watching for something I had ordered from Woman’s Home Companion.



When the small package finally arrived, my face revealed how excited I was.



“What did you get a sample of this time?” Grandma asked as I came in proudly carrying the precious box.



“You’ll see. Just wait till I show you,” I said, promising Grandma the box held something special.



Quickly I tore the wrapping paper off the small box. Inside was a jar of skin cream for wrinkles.



Grandma laughed when she saw it. “You certainly don’t need that,” she said. “Now it might do me some good if those things ever really worked.”



“You aren’t wrinkled, Grandma,” I protested. “Your face is nice and smooth.”



“Perhaps so. But not because of what I’ve rubbed on it. More than likely I’ve inherited a smooth skin.”



She took the jar of cream and looked at the ingredients “This doesn’t look quite as dangerous as some stuff Sarah Jane and I mixed up one day. Did I ever tell you about that?”



“No, I’m sure you didn’t,” I replied. “Tell me now.”



Grandma picked up her crocheting, and I settled back to listen to a story about Grandma and her friend, Sarah Jane, when they were my age.



***



Sarah Jane had a cousin who lived in the city. This cousin often came to stay at Sarah Jane’s for a few days. She brought things with her that we were not accustomed to seeing.



One morning as Sarah Jane and I were walking to school together, Sarah Jane told me some very exciting news. “My cousin Laura will be here tomorrow. She’s going to stay all next week. Won’t that be fun?”



“Yes,” I agreed. “I’m glad she’s coming. What do you think she’ll bring this time?”



“Probably some pretty new dresses and hats,” Sarah Jane guessed. “She might even let us try them on.”



“Oh, I’m sure she wouldn’t want us to try on her dresses. But maybe she wouldn’t mind if we peeked at ourselves in the mirror to see how the hats looked.”



Laura arrived the next day with several new hats. She amiably agreed that we might try them on.



They were too big, and had a tendency to slide down over our noses. But to us, they were the latest fashion.



As we laid the hats back on the bed, Sarah Jane spied something else that interested her. It was a magazine for ladies. We had not seen more than half a dozen magazines in our lives, so this was exciting.



“Oh, Laura,” Sarah Jane cried, “may we look at your magazine? We’ll be very careful.”



“Why, yes. I’m not going to be reading it right away. Go ahead.”



Eagerly we snatched the magazine and ran out to the porch. The cover pictured a lady with a very fashionable dress and hat, carrying a frilly parasol. The name of the magazine was Godey’s Lady’s Book.



“Ooh! Look at the ruffles on her dress!” Sarah Jane exclaimed. “Wouldn’t you just love to have one dress with all those ribbons and things?”



“Yes, but there’s little chance I’ll ever have it,” I replied. “Ma wouldn’t iron that many ruffles for anything. Besides, we’re not grown up enough to have dresses like that. It looks like it might be organdy, doesn’t it?”



“Mmm-hum,” Sarah Jane agreed. “It looks like something soft, all right. And look at her hair. It must be long to make that big a roll around her head.”



We spread the magazine across our laps and studied each page carefully. Nothing escaped our notice. “I sure wish we were grown up,” Sarah Jane sighed. “Think how much prettier we’d be.”



“Yes, and how much more fun we could have. These ladies don’t spend all their time going to school and doing chores. They just get all dressed up and sit around looking pretty.”



We looked for a moment in silence; then Sarah Jane noticed something interesting. “Look here, Mabel. Here’s something you can make to get rid of wrinkles on your face.”



I looked where she was reading.



Guaranteed to remove wrinkles. Melt together a quantity of white wax and honey. When it becomes liquid, add the juice of several lemons. Spread the mixture liberally on your face and allow it to dry. In addition to smoothing out your wrinkles, this formula will leave your skin soft, smooth, and freckle free.



“But we don’t have any wrinkles,” I pointed out.



“That doesn’t matter,” Sarah Jane replied. “If it takes wrinkles away, it should keep us from getting them too. Besides,” she added critically, “it says it takes away freckles. And you have plenty of those.”



I rubbed my nose reflectively. “I sure do. Do you suppose that stuff really would take them off?”



“We can try it and see. I’ll put some on if you will. Where shall we mix it up?”



This would be a problem, since Sarah Jane’s mother was baking in her kitchen. It would be better to work where we wouldn’t have to answer questions about what we were doing.



“Let’s go to your house and see what your mother is doing,” Sarah Jane suggested.



We hurriedly returned the magazine to Laura’s bedroom and dashed back outdoors.



“Do you have all the things we need to put in it?” Sarah Jane asked.



“I know we have wax left over from Ma’s jelly glasses. And I’m sure we have lemons. But I don’t know how much honey is left.



“I know where we can get some, though.” I continued. “Remember that hollow tree in the woods? We found honey there last week.”



Soon we were on our way to collect it in a small pail.



“This is sure going to be messy and sticky to put on our faces,” I commented as we filled the pail.



“Probably the wax takes the sticky out,” Sarah Jane replied. “Anyway, if it takes away your freckles and makes our skin smooth, it won’t matter if it is a little gooey. I wonder how long we leave it on.”



“The directions said to let it dry,” I reminded her. “I suppose the longer you leave it there, the more good it does. We’ll have to take it off before we go in to supper, I guess.”



“I guess so,” Sarah Jane exclaimed. “I don’t know what your brothers would say. But I’m not going to give Caleb a chance to make fun of me.”



I knew what Reuben and Roy would say, too, and I was pretty sure I could predict what Ma would say. There seemed to be no reason to let them know about it.



Fortune was with us, for the kitchen was empty when we cautiously opened the back door. Ma heard us come in and called down from upstairs, “Do you need something, Mabel?”



“No, Ma’am,” I answered. “But we might like a cookie.”



“Help yourself,” Ma replied. “I’m too busy tearing rags to come down right now. You can pour yourselves some milk too.”



I assured her that we could. With a sigh of relief, we went to the pantry for a kettle in which to melt the wax and honey.



“This looks big enough,” Sarah Jane said. “You start that getting hot, and I’ll squeeze the lemons. Do you think two will be enough?”



“I guess two is ‘several.’ Maybe we can tell by the way it looks whether we need more or not.”



“I don’t see how,” Sarah Jane argued. “We never saw any of this stuff before. But we’ll start with two, anyway.”



I placed the pan containing the wax and honey on the hottest part of the stove and pulled up a chair to sit on. “Do you suppose I ought to stir it?” I inquired. “It doesn’t look as though it’s mixing very fast.”



“Give it time,” Sarah Jane advised. “Once the wax melts down, it will mix.”



After a short time, the mixture began to bubble.



“There, see?” she said, stirring it with a spoon. “You can’t tell which is wax and which is honey. I think it’s time to put in the lemon juice.” She picked up the juice, but I stopped her.



“You have to take the seeds out, first, silly. You don’t want knobs all over your face, do you?”



“I guess you’re right. That wouldn’t look too good, would it?”



She dug the seeds out, and we carefully stirred the lemon juice into the pan.



“Umm, it smells good,” I observed.



Sarah Jane agreed. “In fact, it smells a little like Ma’s cough syrup. Do you want to taste it?”



“Sure, I’ll take a little taste.” I licked some off the spoon and smacked my lips. “It’s fine,” I reported. “If it tastes that good, it will certainly be safe to use. Let’s take it to my room and try it.”



We carefully lifted the kettle from the stove. Together we carried the kettle upstairs and set it on my dresser.



“It will have to cool a little before we put it on,” I said.



“What if the wax gets hard again? We’ll have to take it downstairs and heat it all over.”



“It won’t,” I assured her. “The honey will keep it from getting too hard.” By the time the mixture was cool enough to use, it was thick and gooey—but still spreadable.



“Well, here goes,” Sarah Jane said. She dipped a big blob out and spread it on her face. I did the same. Soon our faces were covered with the sticky mess.



“Don’t get it in your hair,” I warned. “It looks like it would be awfully hard to get out. I wonder how long it will take to dry?”



“The magazine didn’t say that. It would probably dry faster outside in the sun. But someone is sure to see us out there. We’d better stay here.... I wish we had brought the magazine to look at.”



“We can look at the Sears catalog,” I suggested. “Let’s play like we’re ordering things for our own house.”



We sat down on the floor and spread the catalog out in front of us. After several minutes, Sarah Jane felt her face.



“I think it’s dry, Mabel,” she announced, hardly moving her lips. “It doesn’t bend or anything.”



I touched mine and discovered the same thing. The mask was solid and hard. It was impossible to move my mouth to speak, so my voice had a funny sound when I answered her.



“So’s mine. Maybe we’d better start taking it off now.”



We ran to the mirror and looked at ourselves.



“We sure look funny.” Sarah Jane laughed the best she could without moving her face. “How did the magazine say to get it off?”



Suddenly we looked at each other in dismay. The magazine hadn’t said anything about removing the mixture, only how to fix and spread it on.



“Well, we’ve done it again,” I said. “How come everything we try works until we’re ready to undo it? We’ll just have to figure some way to get rid of it.”



We certainly did try. We pushed the heavy masks that covered our faces. We pulled them, knocked on them, and tried to soak them off. They would not budge.



“I think we used too much wax and not enough honey,” Sarah Jane puffed as she flopped back down on the bed.



“That’s certainly a great thing to think of now,” I answered crossly. “The only way to move wax is to melt it. And we certainly can’t stick our faces in the fire!”



“Mine feels like it’s already on fire. I don’t think this stuff is good for your skin.”



“You’re going to have to think about more than that,” I told her. “Or this stuff will be your skin. There has to be some way to get it off.”



“We’ve tried everything we can think of. We’ll just have to go down and let your rna help us.”



That was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. But I could see no other alternative. Slowly we trudged down to the kitchen.



Ma was working at the stove, and she said cheerfully, “Are you girls hungry again? It won’t be long until suppertime, so you’d better not eat ....”



She turned around as she spoke. When she spotted us standing in the doorway, her eyes widened in disbelief.



“What on earth? ... What have you done to yourselves?”



I burst into tears. The sight of drops of tears running down that ridiculous mask must have been more than Ma could stand. Suddenly she began to laugh. She laughed until she had to sit down.



“It’s not funny, Ma. We can’t get it off! We’ll have to wear it the rest of our lives!”



Ma controlled herself long enough to come over and feel my face. “What did you put in it?” she asked. “That will help me know how to take it off.”



We told her.



“If you two ever live to grow up, it will only be the Lord’s good mercy. The only thing we can do is apply something hot enough to melt the wax,” Ma told us quickly.



“But we boiled the wax, Ma,” I cried. “You can’t boil our faces!”



“No, 1won’t try anything as drastic as that. I’ll just use hot towels until it gets soft enough to pull away.”



After several applications, we were finally able to start peeling the mixture off. As it came loose, our skin came with it.



“Ouch! That hurts,” I cried.



But Ma could not stop. By the time the last bits of wax and honey were removed, our faces were fiery red and raw.



“What did we do wrong?” Sarah Jane wailed. “We made it just like the magazine said.”



“You may have used the wrong quantities, or left it on too long,” Ma said. “At any rate, I don’t think you’ll try it again.”



“I know I won’t,” Sarah Jane moaned. “I’m going to tell Laura she should ignore that page in her magazine.” She looked at me. “The stuff did one thing they said it would, Mabel. I don’t see any freckles.”



“There’s no skin left, either,” I retorted. “I’d rather have freckles than a face like this.”



“Never mind.” Ma tried to soothe us. “Your faces will be all right in a couple of days.”



“A couple of days!” I howled. “We can’t go to school looking like this!”



***



“We did, though.” Grandma laughed as she finished the story. “After a while we were able to laugh with the others over our foolishness.”



I looked at the little jar of cream that had come in the mail.



“I don’t think I’ll use this, Grandma. I guess I’ll just let my face get wrinkled if it wants to!”



************************************************



Treasures from Grandma's Attic



Cousin Agatha



My best friend, Sarah Jane, and I were walking home from school on a cold November afternoon.



“Do you realize, Mabel, that 1886 is almost over? Another year of nothing important ever happening is nearly gone.”



“Well, we still have a good bit of life ahead of us,” I replied.



“You don’t know that,” Sarah Jane said darkly, “We’re thirteen and a half. We may already have lived nearly a third of our allotted time.”



“The O’Dells live to be awfully old,” I told her. “So, unless I get run down by a horse and buggy, I’ll probably be around awhile.”



We walked along in silence. Then suddenly Sarah Jane pulled me to the side of the road.



“Here’s the horse and buggy that could keep you from becoming an old lady,” she kidded. We turned to see my pa coming down the road.



“Want to ride the rest of the way, girls?” he called. We clambered into the buggy, and Pa clucked to Nellie.



“What did you get in town?” I asked.



“Some things for the farm and a letter for your ma.” Around the next bend, Pa slowed Nellie to a halt. “Your stop, Sarah Jane.”



“Thanks, Mr. O’Dell.” Sarah Jane jumped down. “I’ll be over to study later, Mabel. ‘Bye.”



“Who’s the letter from?” I asked Pa.



“Can’t tell from the handwriting. We’ll have to wait for Ma to tell us.”



When Ma opened the letter, she looked puzzled. “This is from your cousin Agatha,” she said to Pa. “Why didn’t she address it to you, too?”



“If I know Aggie, she wants something,” Pa declared. “And she figured you’d be more likely to listen to her sad story.”



Ma read the letter and shook her head at Pa. “She just wants to come for Thanksgiving. Now aren’t you ashamed of talking that way?”



“No, I’m not. That’s what Aggie says she wants. You can be sure there’s more there than meets the eye. Are you going to tell her to come ahead?”



“Why, of course!” Ma exclaimed. “If I were a widowed lady up in years, I’d want to be with family on Thanksgiving. Why shouldn’t I tell her to come?”



Pa took his hat from the peg by the door and started for the barn, where my older brothers were already at work. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” he remarked as he left.



“What did Pa warn you about?” I asked as soon as the door closed behind him. “What does Cousin Agatha want?”



“I don’t believe Pa was talking to you,” Ma replied. “You heard me say that she wants to come for Thanksgiving.”



“Yes, but Pa said—”



“That’s enough, Mabel. We won’t discuss it further.”



I watched silently as Ma sat down at the kitchen table and answered Cousin Agatha’s letter.



Snow began to fall two days before the holiday, and Pa had to hitch up the sleigh to go into town and meet the train.



“It will be just our misfortune to have a real blizzard and be snowed in with that woman for a week,” he grumbled.



“Having Aggie here a few days won’t hurt you,” Ma said. “The way you carry on, you’d think she was coming to stay forever!”



Pa’s look said he considered that a distinct possibility. As I helped Ma with the pies, I questioned her about Cousin Agatha.



“Has she been here before? I can’t remember seeing her.”



“I guess you were pretty small last time Agatha visited,” Ma replied. “I expect she gets lonely in that big house in the city.”



“What do you suppose she wants besides dinner?” I ventured.



“Friendly company,” Ma snapped. “And we’re going to give it to her.”



When the pies were in the oven, I hung around the window, watching for the sleigh. It was nearly dark when I heard the bells on Nellie’s harness ring out across the snow.



“They’re coming, Ma,” I called, and Ma hurried to the door with the lamp held high over her head. The boys and I crowded behind her. Pa jumped down from the sleigh and turned to help Cousin Agatha.



“I don’t need any assistance from you, James,” a firm voice spoke. “I’m perfectly capable of leaving any conveyance under my own power.”



“She talks like a book!” Roy whispered, and Reuben poked him. I watched in awe as a tall, unbending figure sailed into the kitchen.



“Well, Maryanne,” she said, “it’s good to see you.” She removed her big hat, jabbed a long hat pin into it, and handed the hat to me. “You must be Mabel.”



I nodded wordlessly.



“What’s the matter? Can’t you speak?” she boomed.



“Yes, ma’am,” I gulped nervously.



“Then don’t stand there bobbing your head like a monkey on a stick. People will think you have no sense. You can put that hat in my room.”



I stared openmouthed at this unusual person until a gentle push from Ma sent me in the direction of the guest room.



After dinner and prayers, Pa rose with the intention of going to the barn.



“James!” Cousin Agatha’s voice stopped him. “Surely you aren’t going to do the chores with these two great hulking fellows sitting here, are you?”



The two great hulking fellows leaped for the door with a speed I didn’t know they had.



“I should guess so,” Cousin Agatha exclaimed with satisfaction. “If there’s anything I can’t abide, it’s a lazy child.”



As she spoke, Cousin Agatha pulled Ma’s rocker to the stove and lowered herself into it. “This chair would be more comfortable if there were something to put my feet on,” she said, “but I suppose one can’t expect the amenities in a place like this.”



I looked at Ma for some clue as to what “amenities” might be. This was not a word we had encountered in our speller.



“Run into the parlor and get the footstool, Mabel,” Ma directed.



When Cousin Agatha was settled with her hands in her lap and her feet off the cold floor, I started the dishes.



“Maryanne, don’t you think Mabel’s dress is a mite too short?”



Startled, I looked down at my dress.



“No,” Ma’s calm voice replied. “She’s only thirteen, you know. I don’t want her to be grown up too soon.”



“There is such a thing as modesty, you know.” Cousin Agatha sniffed.



Pa and the boys returned just then, so Ma didn’t answer. I steered an uneasy path around Cousin Agatha all evening. For the first time I could remember, I was glad when bedtime came.



The next day was Thanksgiving, and the house was filled with the aroma of good things to eat. From her rocker, Cousin Agatha offered suggestions as Ma scurried about the kitchen.



“Isn’t it time to baste the turkey, Maryanne? I don’t care for dry fowl.”



“I see the boys running around out there with that mangy dog as though they had nothing to do. Shouldn’t they be chopping wood or something?”



“I should think Mabel could be helping you instead of reading a book. If there’s one thing I can’t abide . . . “



“Mabel will set the table when it’s time,” Ma put in. “Maybe you’d like to peel some potatoes?”



The horrified look on Cousin Agatha’s face said she wouldn’t consider it, so Ma withdrew her offer.



A bump on the door indicated that the “mangy dog” was tired of the cold. I laid down my book and let Pep in. He made straight for the stove and his rug.



“Mercy!” Cousin Agatha cried. “Do you let that—that animal in the kitchen?”



“Yes,” Ma replied. “He’s not a young dog any longer. He isn’t any bother, and he does enjoy the heat.”



“Humph.” Agatha pulled her skirts around her. “I wouldn’t allow any livestock in my kitchen. Can’t think what earthly good a dog can be.” She glared at Pep, who responded with a thump of his tail and a sigh of contentment.



“Dumb creature,” Cousin Agatha muttered.



“Pep isn’t dumb, Cousin Agatha,” I said. “He’s really the smartest dog I know.”



“I was not referring to his intellect or lack of it,” she told me, “‘Dumb’ indicates an inability to speak. You will have to concede that he is unable to carry on a conversation.”



I was ready to dispute that, too, but Ma shook her head. Cousin Agatha continued to give Pep disparaging glances.



“Didn’t you ever have any pets at your house, Cousin Agatha?” I asked.



“Pets? I should say not! Where in the Bible does it say that God made animals for man’s playthings? They’re meant to earn their keep, not sprawl out around the house absorbing heat.”



“Oh, Pep works,” I assured her. “He’s been taking the cows out and bringing them back for years now.”



Cousin Agatha was not impressed. She sat back in the rocker and eyed Pep with disfavor. “The one thing I can’t abide, next to a lazy child, is a useless animal—and in the house!”



I began to look nervously at Ma, thinking she might send Pep to the barn to keep the peace. But she went on about her work, serenely ignoring Cousin Agatha’s hints. I was glad when it was time to set the table.



After we had eaten, Pa took the Bible down from the cupboard and read our Thanksgiving chapter, Psalm 100. Then he prayed, thanking the Lord for Cousin Agatha and asking the Lord’s blessing on her just as he did on the rest of us. When he had finished, Cousin Agatha spoke up.



“I believe that I will stay here until Christmas, James. Then, if I find it to my liking, I could sell the house in the city and continue on with you. Maryanne could use some help in teaching these children how to be useful.”



In the stunned silence that followed, I looked at Pa and Ma to see how this news had affected them. Ma looked pale. Before Pa could open his mouth to answer, Cousin Agatha rose from the table. “I’ll just go to my room for a bit of rest,” she said. “We’ll discuss this later.”



When she had left, we gazed at each other helplessly.



“Is there anything in the Bible that tells you what to do now?” I asked Pa.



“Well, it says if we don’t love our brother whom we can see, how can we love God whom we can’t see? I think that probably applies to cousins as well.”



“I’d love her better if I couldn’t see her.” Reuben declared. “We don’t have to let her stay, do we, Pa?”



“No, we don’t have to,” Pa replied. “We could ask her to leave tomorrow as planned. But I’m not sure that would be right. What do you think, Ma?”



“I wouldn’t want to live alone in the city,” Ma said slowly. “I can see that she would prefer the company of a family. I suppose we should ask her to stay until Christmas.”



“I think she already asked herself,” Roy ventured. “But she did say if she found things to her liking. . . .”



We all looked at Roy. Pa said, “You’re not planning something that wouldn’t be to her liking, are you?”



“Oh, no, sir!” Roy quickly answered. “Not me.”



Pa signed. “I’m not sure I’d blame you. She’s not an easy person to live with. We’ll all have to be especially patient with her.”



There wasn’t much Thanksgiving atmosphere in the kitchen as we did the dishes.



“How can we possibly stand it for another whole month?” I moaned.



“The Lord only sends us one day at a time,” Ma informed me. “Don’t worry about more than that. When the other days arrive, you’ll probably find out you worried about all the wrong things.”



As soon as the work was finished, I put on my coat and walked over to Sarah Jane’s.



“What will you do if she stays on after Christmas?” she asked.



“I’ll just die.”



“I thought you were going to be a long-living O’Dell.”



“I changed my mind,” I retorted. “What would you do if you were in my place?”



“I’d probably make her life miserable so she’d want to leave.”



“You know I couldn’t get away with that. Pa believes that Christian love is the best solution.”



“All right, then,” Sarah Jane said with a shrug. “Love her to death.”



As though to fulfill Pa’s prediction, snow began to fall heavily that night. By morning we were snowed in.



“Snowed in?” Cousin Agatha repeated. “You mean unable to leave the house at all?”



“That’s right,” Pa replied. “This one is coming straight down from Canada.”



Cousin Agatha looked troubled. “I don’t like this. I don’t like it at all.”



“We’ll be all right,” Ma reassured her. “We have plenty of wood and all the food we need.”



But Cousin Agatha was not to be reassured. I watched her stare into the fire and twist her handkerchief around her fingers. Why, she’s frightened! I thought. This old lady had been directing things all her life, and here was something she couldn’t control. Suddenly I felt sorry for her.



“Cousin Agatha,” I said, “we have fun when we’re snowed in. We play games and pop corn and tell stories. You’ll enjoy it. I know you will!”



I ran over and put my arms around her shoulders and kissed her on the cheek. She looked at me in surprise.



“That’s the first time anyone has hugged me since I can remember,” she said. “Do you really like me, Mabel?”



Right then I knew that I did like Cousin Agatha a whole lot. Behind her stern front was another person who needed to be loved and wanted.



“Oh, yes, Cousin Agatha,” I replied. “I really do. You’ll see what a good time we’ll have together.”



The smile that lighted her face was bright enough to chase away any gloom that had settled over the kitchen. And deep down inside, I felt real good.





My Reviews:
Still More Stories from Grandma's Attic This is the third book in this wonderful series. These stories are over a hundred years old, but with good messages for today.
What wonderful heartwarming stories, my kids love to have them read to them. You will find that Pa better listen to Ma when she has her heart set on something. You will meet their great Dog Pep, and how he can spell! You will be chuckling with many of the things that Mable and Sarah Jane seem to get into.
Be prepared for a few tissues, but also with a good many belly laughs!
Enjoy!
Treasures from Grandma's Attic Again I loved this book, so refreshing and sweet. Mable and Sarah Jane sure can get into a lot of trouble, but they seem to present a great lesson each time.
This time in our Country is back when a public school allowed prayer and bible study. What a great loss we as a Nation have been given.
Just a few of the adventures in this book include Mable and her perfect paper?? Also the Great Aunt that no one seems to like?? You will love the Farewell Party they want to give to their beloved teacher Miss Gibson, and take sewing lessons with Mable...or maybe not!
I recommend this great read...recommended for girls, but I've read it to boys and they get a good chuckle out of it!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall

The Harvest of Grace

My rating:
5 of 5 stars


What an enjoyable read, and am sorry to say we will be leaving Ada's House, at least it looks that way to me. I love visiting with these old friends, and some new ones!

A recurring theme in this story seems to being able to accept God's forgiveness. Sylvia Fisher has left her Dead's farm, because she can't forgive herself for a sin she has committed. You will wonder if she and Aaron Bank will make a match?

Cara Atwater Moore is now learning the Pennsylvania Dutch in hopes of the Deacon and Bishop accepting her into the faith and letting her marry Ephraim Mast. When her Dad comes back into her life will she be able to forgive all that happened to her.

Lena Kauffman and Grey Graber are quietly courting, or making plans to do so after Grey's period of morning is over. As much as Grey seems to Love Lena, he has a decision to make about telling her about his possible problem with Children with birth defects.

Will Ada and Israel finally make commitments to one another? Will Deborah and Jonathan be able to settle down?

All things are going to be answered in this book. Highly recommended read!



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.




Friday, August 19, 2011

Freebies


FREE CHRISTIAN BOOKS
The books listed below with a "CB" in front of the titles are available at Amazon AND ChristianBook.com (non-Kindle version). All others are available from Amazon only.


You will have to download Adobe Digital Editions before you can download books, then transfer them to your e-reader.

Because these free offers sometimes change frequently, make sure that the book is still free before purchasing.

New This Week:
FICTION
THE ACCIDENTAL HERO by Joshua Graham
Clear Blue Sky by F. P. Lione
CB - Edge of Grace by Christa Allan
Heart of Gold by Lacy Williams
CB - Hurricanes in Paradise by Denise Hildreth Jones

NON-FICTION
Nothing new this week


Still Free:
FICTION
Alpha Rising by G.L. Douglas
The Children's Book of Christmas Stories (Christmas Classics 2010)
CB - Daughter of Joy (Brides of Culdee Creek, Book 1) by Kathleen Morgan
Elsie Dinsmore by Martha Finley Hide in Plain Sight by Marta Perry
CB - Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, Book 1) by Janice Thompson
CB - Frontiersman's Daughter, The: A Novel by Laura Frantz
Homespun Bride by Jillian Hart
CB - Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery Series #1) by Lorena McCourtney
CB - A Kiss of Adventure by Catherine Palmer
Light of Eidon (Legends of the Guardian-King, Book 1) by Karen Hancock
CB - Love Me If You Must (Patricia Amble Mystery Series #1) by Nicole Young
CB - Monday Night Jihad by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn
CB - Relentless (Dominion Trilogy #1) by Robin Parrish
Shatter (The Children of Man) by Elizabeth C. Mock
Sheltering Hearts by Robyn Carr
CB - Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Whitson
CB - Stuck in the Middle (Sister-to-Sister, Book 1) by Virginia Smith
The Thorn (The Chronicles of Gan) by Daron Fraley
A Very Special Delivery by Linda Goodnight
CB - Vigilante's Bride, by Yvonne Harris Water and Other Stories by Daron Fraley
When Night Falls by Margaret Daley

NON-FICTION
CB - Craving God: A 21-Day Devotional Challenge by Zondervan
CB - Knowing the Truth about Jesus the Messiah by John Ankerberg and John Weldon (not free on Amazon)
The Holy Bible English Standard Version (ESV) by Crossway Bibles
The Holy Bible: HCSB Digital Text Edition by B&H Publishing Group
CB - Life to the Max by Max Lucado (not available on Amazon)
Nave's study Bible : King James version with concordance by Orville J. Nave and King James
What's So Great About Salvation? by James Somers

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Log Cabin Christmas: 9 Nine Romances of American Pioneer Christmases

A Log Cabin Christmas: 9 Nine Romances of American Pioneer Christmases
My rating:
5 of 5 stars


Overview: Experience Christmas through the eyes of adventuresome settlers who relied on log cabins built from trees on their own land to see them through the cruel forces of winter. Discover how rough-hewed shelters become a home in which faith, hope, and love can flourish. Marvel in the blessings of Christmas celebrations without the trappings of modern commercialism where the true meaning of the day shines through. And treasure this exclusive collection of nine Christmas romances penned by some of Christian fiction’s best-selling authors.



The first is Snow Angel by Margaret Brownley...What a delightful story of Two adults and 3 children being snowbound during a blizzard. Loved the interaction of all the stranded in this cold cabin.



The second The Christmas Secret by Wanda E Brunstetter is one of the best. Loved this story line, and you will wonder how this will all end. Elizabeth and David are destined to be together, or should they?



The third is Christmas Traps and Trimmings by Kelly Eileen Hake. This one will really have you chuckling. So funny!! Mina Montrose and her nurse Mrs Banks, leave England and go to Kentucky to Sam Carver. Life is never going to be the same for Sam!



The fourth is A Star in the Night by Liz Johnson...this one takes place during the Civil War. Cora Sinclair helps Union soldier Jeb Harrington.

This one is a sweet story that comes out of the ruins of War.



The Fifth story is The Courting Quilt by Jane Kirkpatrick...This one is a real fun read about Widow Mary Bishop and Salesman Richard Taylor. Richard pegs Mary as an elderly woman, because of her white hair...she was hit by lightening as a child. Richard is a charmer, and love the goings on with the woman in the community!



The Sixth Under His Wings by Liz Tolsma...is a sad story. This one is Adie and Noah's story. Adie has seen so much senseless death, her dreams are hunted by them. Can she fall for a soldier? Enjoyed this sweet story!



The Seventh The Dogtrot Christmas by Michelle Ule...This one is Luis and Molly's story. They come from completely different backgrounds, but both have a love for the Lord. Unknowingly they have a mutual friend. This one will wishing there was more!



The Eighth story..A Grand Country Christmas by Debra Ullrick. This one has a lot of sadness involved Awnya has lost her father and is basically starving to death. She is about to shoot a deer when she is met by and rescued by Amadeus. He takes her home to meet his mother and motherless children. Loved the interaction with the children, made you want to move in with them. You wonder if there can be a happy ending with his daughter's instant dislike of Awnya. Sweet story!



The Ninth and last story...Christmas Service by Erica Vetsch is a heartwarming and doing what God wants and not your will story. Beth is the local Pastor's granddaughter and Todd is the local Blacksmith.

You will wonder if Beth can accept help with all that is going on. There are some really humorous parts of this story. Be prepared to really laugh!



The things all of these novella's have in common is a love of God. They do all include log cabins and are set in different parts of the Country.

They are great short reads and I used them for just before going to sleep each night. Sweet dreams!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Publishing,
Inc.. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The One Who Waits for Me by Lori Copeland

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:


The One Who Waits for Me

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Lori Copeland is the author of more than 90 titles, both historical and contemporary fiction. With more than 3 million copies of her books in print, she has developed a loyal following among her rapidly growing fans in the inspirational market. She has been honored with the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and Walden Books' Best Seller award. In 2000, Lori was inducted into the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband, Lance, and their three children and five grandchildren.



Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:









This new series from bestselling author Lori Copeland, set in North Carolina three months after the Civil War ends, illuminates the gift of hope even in chaos, as the lives of six engaging characters intersect and unfold with the possibility of faith, love, and God’s promise of a future.













Product Details:



List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736930183

ISBN-13: 978-0736930185





AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:






Joanie?”



Beth’s sister stirred, coughing.



Beth gently shook Joanie’s shoulder again, and the young woman opened her eyes, confusion shining in their depths.



“Pa?”



“He passed a few minutes ago. Trella will be waiting for us.”



Joanie lifted her wrist to her mouth and smothered sudden sobbing. “I’m scared, Beth.”



“So am I. Dress quickly.”



The young woman slid out of bed, her bare feet touching the dirt-packed floor. Outside, the familiar sound of pond frogs nearly drowned out soft movements, though there was no need to be silent any more. Ma had preceded Pa in death two days ago. Beth and Joanie had been waiting, praying for the hour of Pa’s death to come swiftly. Together, they lifted their father’s silent form and gently carried him out the front door. He was a slight man, easy to carry. Beth’s heart broke as they took him to the shallow grave they had dug the day before. Ma’s fever had taken her swiftly. Pa had held on for as long as he could. Beth could still hear his voice in her ear: “Take care of your sister, little Beth.” He didn’t have to remind her that there was no protection at all now to save either of them from Uncle Walt and his son, Bear. Beth had known all of her life that one day she and Joanie would have to escape this place—a place of misery.



It was her father’s stubborn act that started the situation Beth and Joanie were immersed in. Pa had hid the plantation deed from his brother and refused to tell him where it was. Their land had belonged to a Jornigan for two hundred years, but Walt claimed that because he was the older brother and allowed Pa to live on his land the deed belonged to him. Pa was a proud man and had no respect for his brother, though his family depended on Walt for a roof over their heads and food on their table. For meager wages they worked Walt’s fields, picked his cotton, and suffered his tyranny along with the other workers. Pa took the location of the hidden deed to his grave—almost. Walt probably figured Beth knew where it was because Pa always favored her. And she did, but she would die before she shared the location with her vile uncle.



By the light of the waning moon the women made short work of placing the corpse in the grave and then filling the hole with dirt. Finished, they stood back and Joanie bowed her head in prayer. “Dear Father, thank You for taking Ma and Pa away from this world. I know they’re with You now, and I promise we won’t cry.” Hot tears streaming down both women’s cheeks belied her words.



Returning to the shanty, Joanie removed her nightshirt and put on boy’s clothes. Dressed in similar denim trousers and a dark shirt, Beth turned and picked up the oil lamp and poured the liquid carefully around the one-room shanty. Yesterday she had packed Ma’s best dishes and quilts and dragged them to the root cellar. It was useless effort. She would never be back here, but she couldn’t bear the thought of fire consuming Ma’s few pretty things. She glanced over her shoulder when the stench of fuel heightened Joanie’s cough. The struggle to breathe had been a constant companion since her younger sister’s birth.



Many nights Beth lay tense and fearful, certain that come light Joanie would be gone. Now that Ma and Pa were dead, Joanie was the one thing left on this earth that held meaning for Beth. She put down the lamp on the table. Walking over to Joanie, she buttoned the last button on her sister’s shirt and tugged her hat brim lower.



“Do you have everything?”



“Yes.”



“Then go outside and wait.”



Nodding, Joanie paused briefly beside the bed where Pa’s tall frame had been earlier. She hesitantly reached out and touched the empty spot. “May you rest in peace, Pa.”



Moonlight shone through the one glass pane facing the south. Beth shook her head. “He was a good man. It’s hard to believe Uncle Walt had the same mother and father.”



Joanie’s breath caught. “Pa was so good and Walt is so…evil.”



“If it were up to me, he would be lying in that grave outside the window, not Pa.”



Beth tried to recall one single time in her life when Walt Jornigan had ever shown an ounce of mercy to anyone. Certainly not to his wife when she was alive. Certainly not to Beth or Joanie. If Joanie was right and there was a God, what would Walt say when he faced Him? She shook the thought aside. She had no compassion for the man or reverence for the God her sister believed in and worshipped.



“We have to go now, Joanie.”



“Yes.” She picked up her Bible from the little table beside the rocking chair and then followed Beth outside the shanty, her breath coming in ragged gasps. Pausing, Joanie bent and succumbed to a coughing spasm. Beth helplessly waited, hoping her sister could make the anticipated trip through the cotton fields. The women had planned for days now to escape if Ma and Pa both passed.



Beth asked gently, “Can you do this?”



Joanie held up a restraining hand. “Just need…a minute.”



Beth wasn’t certain that they could wait long; time was short. Dawn would be breaking soon, and then Walt would discover that Pa had died and the sisters were missing. But they had to leave. Joanie’s asthma was getting worse. Each gasping breath left her drained and hopeless, and Walt refused to let her see a doctor.



When Joanie had mentioned the notice in a discarded Savannah newspaper advertising a piece of land, Beth knew she had to buy the property and provide a home for Joanie. Pa had allowed her and Joanie to keep the wage Uncle Walt paid monthly. Over the years they had saved enough to survive, and the owner was practically giving the small acreage away. They wouldn’t be able to build a permanent structure on their land until she found work, but she and Joanie would own their own place where no one could control them. Beth planned to eventually buy a cow and a few setting hens. At first they could live in a tent—Beth’s eyes roamed the small shanty. It would be better than how they lived now.



Joanie’s spasm passed and she glanced up. “Okay. You…can do it now.”



Beth struck a match.



She glanced at Joanie. The young woman nodded and clutched her Bible to her chest. Beth had found it in one of the cotton picker’s beds after he had moved on and given it to Joanie. Her sister had kept the Bible hidden from sight for fear that Walt would spot it on one of his weekly visits. Beth had known, as Joanie had, that if their uncle had found it he’d have had extra reason to hand out his daily lashing. Joanie kept the deed to their new land between its pages.



After pitching the lighted match into the cabin, Beth quickly closed the heavy door. Stepping to the window, she watched the puddles of kerosene ignite one by one. In just minutes flames were licking the walls and gobbling up the dry tinder. A peculiar sense of relief came over her when she saw tendrils of fire racing through the room, latching onto the front curtain and encompassing the bed.



“Don’t watch.” Joanie slipped her hand into Beth’s. “We have to hurry before Uncle Walt spots the flames.”



Hand in hand, the sisters stepped off the porch, and Beth turned to the mounds of fresh dirt heaped not far from the shanty. Pausing before the fresh graves, she whispered. “I love you both. Rest in peace.”



Joanie had her own goodbyes for their mother. “We don’t want to leave you and Pa here alone, but I know you understand—”



As the flames licked higher, Beth said, “We have to go, Joanie. Don’t look back.”



“I won’t.” Her small hand quivered inside Beth’s. “God has something better for us.”



Beth didn’t answer. She didn’t know whether Ma and Pa were in a good place or not. She didn’t know anything about such things. She just knew they had to run.



The two women dressed in men’s clothing struck off across the cotton fields carrying everything they owned in a small bag. It wasn’t much. A dress for each, clean underclothes, and their nightshirts. Beth had a hairbrush one of the pickers had left behind. She’d kept the treasure well hidden so Walt wouldn’t see it. He’d have taken it from her. He didn’t hold with primping—said combing tangles from one’s hair was a vain act. Finger-picking river-washed hair was all a woman needed.



Fire now raced inside the cabin. By the time Uncle Walt noticed the smoke from the plantation house across the fields, the two sisters would be long gone. No longer would they be under the tyrannical thumb of Walt or Bear Jornigan.



Freedom.



Beth sniffed the night air, thinking she could smell the precious state. Never again would she or Joanie answer to any man. She would run hard and far and find help for Joanie so that she could finally breathe free. In her pocket she fingered the remaining bills she’d taken from the fruit jar in the cabinet. It was all the ready cash Pa and Ma had. They wouldn’t be needing money where they were.



Suddenly there was a sound of a large explosion. Heavy black smoke blanketed the night air. Then another blast.



Kerosene! She’d forgotten the small barrel sitting just outside the back porch.



It was the last sound Beth heard.

My Review: While I found this to be a very fast read, and enjoyed it. I found a lot of things that bothered me in the facts used.
The story revolves around two girls who have just finished burying their Father, and their Mother has passed in the past week. Beth and Joanie are now running from their evil Uncle. They are to meet with Trella, a pregnant Slave...who end up giving birth on the road.
With many twists and turns an being chased by the Evil Uncle Walt and his Son Bear. They are rescued and helped by three returning Civil War Vets. One a black man who fought for the North Samuel, another a Cherokee Scout for the South Gray Eagle, and Pierce who is a Southerner who wants to never see violence again!
Six different characters who lives will be forever changed as they look for peace and sanctuary!