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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Falling to Pieces: A Quilt Shop Murder (A Shipshewana Amish Mystery) by Vannetta Chapman

Falling to Pieces: A Quilt Shop Murder (A Shipshewana Amish Mystery)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Description: When two women-one Amish, one English-each with different motives, join forces to organize a successful on-line quilt auction, neither expects nor wants a friendship. As different as night and day, Deborah and Callie are uneasy partners who simply want to make the best of a temporary situation. But a murder, a surprising prime suspect, a stubborn detective, and the town's reaction throw the two women together, and they form an unlikely alliance to solve a mystery and catch a killer.



What a great read this book was. I had to keep going in order to find out who the killer was and why! Two completely different worlds collide with Callie, all English, and Deborah, a very Amish woman.



Deborah turns out to be a very calming and good influence on Callie, who arrives in Shipshewana IN to close her Aunt Daisy's estate. Callie has had a hard past few years, and Deborah can feel in her a need to be at peace. She doesn't take "No" for an answer, and Callie agrees to keep Daisy's Quilt Shop open, at least until she can find a buyer?



When the Editor of the paper is found dead, Callie becomes a suspect. Here she will maybe find some friends?



Love the descriptions of the Amish family life, and I can hardly wait for the other two books in this series.



A must read for Amish book lovers and a good mystery to boot!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan Publishing. 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.



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Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Have A Winner!!

Using Random Number Generator....The winner is kswederski...please send me your mailing address, and your copy of Hailee will be in the mail!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy

The Baker's Wife

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


What an action packed read. Just when you think you know what is happening, you don't! Pastor Geoff Bofinger has been made to leave his Church. The man who brought charges against him is Jack Mansfield, who convinces the members of the congregation that Geoff is not fit to be the Pastor.
The tale is really interwoven, and Geoff's wife, seems to take on the pain of others. She is always bringing some of the leftover bread from their new venture Bakery to others.
So many of the Character's seem to be suffering from some past hurt. You can see God working in their lives, and I see Satan working in others. Will Good over Evil win? You can't put this book down until you know the answers, and it takes some doing! Most have to accept God's power of Forgiveness!

I received this book from the Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Forsaking All Others by Allison K. Pittman

Forsaking All OthersForsaking All Others by Allison K. Pittman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is the second book in this series...the first For Time and Eternity. I have not read the first one, but found I didn't have to in order to enjoy this book.
Camilla Fox left her home as a young 15 year old, she was infatuated with Nathan Fox. Love is blind as they say and she joins the Mormon Church. She is bless with two little girls, Melissa and Lottie, and then a little boy Arlen who died shortly after birth. Then her Husband decided to take another wife, she is devastated and finds her truth by reading the bible. She knows that she has been following a false God, and decides to leave. This is where the second book opens with her freezing to death, and being found by the military.
She is brought back to health, while it takes a long time. She misses her daughters, but cannot go back to her husband following a profit, and plural marriage. This is the story of how she forges ahead and tries to go back home.
Loved living in the Historical West....those bumpy stage coaches. The descriptions of the country side, and the stop over places. So different than what we know now. I felt a warm feeling about the faith in God that Camilla had and several other of the Characters that she connects with.
Her main focus is to obtain her daughter's back and move on with her life. You will have a hard time not wanting to get to the end of this story to get the answers.

I received this book from the Publisher Tyndale, and was not required to give a positive review.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber

1225 Christmas Tree Lane (Cedar Cove, #12)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I wanted to savor this book, knowing it is the end of the series. There are all kinds of up dates on our old friends, and some unlikeable individuals are also included!
The story centers around Beth and Kent Morehouse...who are divorced. There daughter's Bailey and Sophie have plans to get them back together.
Throughout the book there are 10 adorable Labrador puppies. Someone left a basket full of these beautiful pups for Beth. The people of Cedar Cove find themselves opening their homes to these beautiful animals. Who are going to be the lucky owners of these pups?
When Kent arrives with beautiful Danielle, will all the plans go awry? Be prepared for a lot of funny and joyful happenings.
Christmas cannot go by without a great Debbie Macomber book! Enjoy!
I received this book from the publisher Harlequin, and was not required to give a positive review.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher

A Lancaster County Christmas

A blizzard in Amish country ends up in a weekend of Christmas miracles

A search and rescue for a lost little boy brings two couples--worlds apart--together in a test of faith, fortitude and discovery.

Jaime Fitzpatrick has a plan. She quit her job and is preparing to launch her photography career in New York City—with or without her husband, C.J. Mattie Riehl has problems of her own. A recent miscarriage has plunged her into feelings of despair that baffle her husband, Sol. He likes problems he can fell like trees.

In Suzanne Woods Fisher’s new A Lancaster County Christmas (ISBN: 978-0-8007-1995-1, $15.99, 208 pages, September), the path of these two couples collide as a winter storm blows Jaime and C.J. off-course and into the Riehl’s home on Christmas Eve, including Tucker, C.J.’s Search and Rescue dog,

Awkward and uncomfortable at first, an unlikely alliance develops as Mattie and Sol’s only child wanders off and disappears in the storm. As C.J., Sol and Tucker search for the child, Jaime and Mattie confront fears they had been avoiding. And both women discover the true meaning of Christmas.

With her trademark plot twists and attention to detail, Fisher offers readers a beautiful story of love, forgiveness, and the miracle of Christmas.

“Fisher weaves a touching story of hope and renewal when two worlds collide at Christmas time.”
—Mary Ann Kinsinger, “A Joyful Chaos” blog.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This sweet story starts in a Doctors office with a chance meeting between an Amish family, Mattie, Sol, and Six year old Danny, and an Englisher Jamie Fitzpatrick. Little Danny begins conversing with Jamie while his Mom visits the Dr, she has recently suffered another miscarriage. Jamie is intrigued with Danny, he has shown her the Owl whistle that his Dad had carved for his birthday. After the Rheil's have left Jamie goes into the Dr's room in hopes of getting some more sleeping pills.
On her way out of the Office the Dr asks her to do them a, life changing, favor. Danny had left his whistle and they want her to drop it off. She takes it and goes to get her husband CJ and his service dog Tucker. They are on their way to her father's place and scheduled to leave on a cruise with him.
In the end they end up with a loving adventure at the Rheil's, where both the Amish and English learn to trust what God wants for their lives.
I really enjoyed this very quick read, and helps you remember to count your blessings!



Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and nonfiction. In less than two years, she has sold over 350,000 books. Suzanne is the host of the widely popular weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom. She has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. 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. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. She lives in California with her family where she raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind in her spare time.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Naomi's Gift: an Amish Christmas Story by Amy Clipston

Naomi's Gift: an Amish Christmas Story

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I really enjoyed my return visit with the Kauffman family. I've read all of the books in this series, and loved inviting this one into my home! This is a sweet book that I read in one sitting!

Amy shows us that even though we live in different cultures, Amish and English, the word gossip is the same. I loved the great faith shown by the Character's in this book. They seemed to live to follow God and do what they feel he wants for them!

Caleb Schumaker has decided to take his eight year old daughter Susan to be with his side of the family in Pennsylvania. While there he meets Irene Wagler whose Dad owns a buggy shop like Caleb, also Naomi King, whom he is told has a reputation of chasing men!

You love getting to know precious Susie...made me want to take her home! Love the interaction of all of the children, and the adults too, of course!



I received this book from the Publisher Zovdervan, and was not required to give a positive review.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Repost of Hailee by Penny Zeller and Giveaway

I have a brand new copy of Hailee to giveaway.
Hailee (Montana Skies)Hailee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is a really feel good story! A great read to snuggle down with!

You will find some parts that you wish you could be there and help those little children!

The descriptions are wonderful...can just picture Pine Haven Montana, and all the different people who live there! When you come from a city in the late 1800's to rural Montana it had to be a real eye opener!

Throughout the book there is a strong faith in God, loved how he is interwoven with each individual and works in their lives.

This is the third book in the series, and you do not have to read the first two to enjoy this one. It can stand alone and enough information is give to make you aware of who everyone is. Enjoy Hailee's and Nate's love story!



This book was provided by Publisher Whitaker House, and I was not required to give a positive review!





This giveaway will run through the 24th of September.
1. Please make sure you are a member of my GFC.
2. Tell me why you want to read this book.
3. Have a friend sign up for this give away and let me know you did.
Please leave a separate entry for each. Sorry US only.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First Wild Card Tour Hailee (Montana Skies) by Penny Zeller

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:


Hailee, Book 3 in the Montana Skies Series

Whitaker House (September 6, 2011)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Penny Zeller is an author, wife, mother of two, and inspirational speaker. She’s known for her down-to-earth prose and creativity in conveying spiritual truths with clarity and humor. On her blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author” (www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com) she addresses a variety of concerns families experience day-to-day across America. Penny has loved to write since the second grade, but it was in 2000 that she dedicated her writing skills to God and made a commitment to use her talents to inspire others. She recently released the Montana Skies Series for Whitaker House: McKenzie, Kaydie, and the lastest, Hailee. Other titles include: Hollyhocks (Booklocker 2003); Wyoming Treasures (Medallion Books 2005); and 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference (2008 Beacon Hill). Penny leads a Bible study and women’s prayer group, co-organized “Sisters in Christ Community Girls Night Out,” and regularly volunteers at her daughters’ school. In her spare time she enjoys canoeing, gardening, and playing volleyball with family and friends.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

For years, orphan Hailee Annigan roamed the streets of Cincinnati, stealing food to keep her two younger brothers fed. She landed in a home for delinquents where, by the grace of God she received an education. Now 19, Hailee excitedly anticipates her new role as school teacher in a small Montana town, but she’s still plagued by her past and fears never seeing her brothers again. In Montana she meets and is instantly attracted to Rev. Maxwell Nathaniel Adams, Jr., pastor of the local church, who is likewise drawn to her. Rev. Adams is from a wealthy, well-connected Boston family whose plans for him did not include seminary, let alone moving to rugged Montana and falling in love with a former street urchin. Their former worlds collide as the unlikely pair attempt to forge a future together.





Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 6, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603742182
ISBN-13: 978-1603742184

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


July 1893

Cincinnati, Ohio

Hailee Annigan removed the discolored sheet of paper from the community board in the train depot. Time and weather had faded the poster, so the message was barely readable, but she had memorized the words:

Looking for Philip and Reuben Annigan.

If you have any information, kindly respond to:

Hailee Annigan
c/o Dot Pangbourn’s Boardinghouse
West Eberlee Street, Cincinnati, Ohio

She crumpled the paper in her hand and stuffed it into her purse. In its place, she posted the notice she’d written that morning, then stepped back to make sure it would be conspicuous to people passing by or preparing to board a train.

Looking for Philip and Reuben Annigan.

If you have any information, kindly respond to:
Hailee Annigan
c/o Pine Haven School
Pine Haven, Montana

For the past several years, she had replaced the posting every month, two times in order to alter the address where she could be located if someone knew of her brothers’ whereabouts.

Hailee swallowed hard to hold back her tears. She didn’t want to leave Cincinnati and diminish her chances of ever finding her younger brothers. However, she knew that a change in location would do her heart good, and that she was following God’s prompting to fulfill the dream she’d had in her heart since she was a young girl.

Tomorrow, Hailee would begin her journey of nearly two thousand miles to a place she’d never been, where she had accepted a job as the schoolteacher. Yes, such a drastic change would help her to leave the past behind and start life anew.

She turned and trudged the short distance from the train depot to Austin Street. Her feet ached from all the walking she’d done in the past few hours, replacing each of the seven postings in varied locations around the city. Now, she had one more place to visit—one more person to see—before leaving Ohio.

Hailee sat on the wooden bench and waited for the horse-drawn hansom cab to round the corner during one of its many scheduled stops. Hoping she had read the schedule for the cab correctly, she counted the money in her coin purse. She’d ridden in a hansom only a handful of times due to the cost, but today was an exception. Today, she would travel to a distant part of the city to say a final good-bye to an important part of her life. She needed to put a period at the end of the sentence that had affected her more than anything else in her nineteen years.

Within minutes, Hailee spied the carriage. She rose to her feet as the hansom cab slowed to a stop.

A short, husky man with a mustache that was black, peppered with gray, and that curled up in swirly loops at the ends stepped down from the back of the carriage. He removed his top hat and greeted her with a bow. “Good afternoon, ma’am. Ambrose Peters at your service. Where may I take you today?”

“Hello, Mr. Peters. Would you please take me to The Sanctuary of Promise?” Hailee smiled at the driver.

“My! A ways away, is it not?” said Ambrose. “But, yes, I can take you there.” He extended a white-gloved hand and helped Hailee into the cab. “If you need anything, anything at all, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I can hear you through the open window in the roof.”

Hailee nodded and glanced up at the small window with a hinged cover that was open. As she settled into her seat, Ambrose prepared to close the door. “Are you comfortable?” he asked.

“Yes, thank you.”

“Very well, then. We shall be on our way.” He bowed again, placed his hat back on his head, and closed the door. Moments later, they lurched forward with the clatter of horses’ hooves.

“Are you from Cincinnati, miss?” Ambrose asked sometime later.

“Yes, I’ve lived here all my life,” Hailee replied. She appreciated the driver’s small talk. It took her mind off of the nervousness she felt.

“As have I,” said Ambrose. “Do you have family here?”

Hailee wasn’t sure how to answer that question. Were her brothers still in Cincinnati? Or, had they traveled far from this city, which held so many memories? “My parents have gone to be with the Lord, but I do have two brothers,” she finally answered.

“I’m sorry to hear about your parents, miss.” Ambrose paused. “It sure is a lovely time of year, isn’t it, with the flowers blooming and the trees with all their leaves? I have to admit, I enjoy every season, but winter gets a mite cold at times driving the cab.”

Hailee smiled and nodded. She could only imagine how a cold Cincinnati winter might affect cab drivers. She wondered about the winters in Montana. Were they similar to those she had experienced her entire life in Ohio? Would she still love summer the best of all the seasons once she was settled in her new home? She watched in silence as they passed by the tall buildings, some dating back to the turn of the century, and dozens of other buggies traversing the crowded avenue. Would Pine Haven match the hustle and bustle of Cincinnati? Would it have streets lined with storefronts offering a wide variety of goods? Somehow, she doubted it. From what she had heard, Montana was rugged and wild, Pine Haven nothing like a big city. A change will do you good, Hailee, she reminded herself. Even if that change is a drastic one.

“We’re almost there,” Ambrose announced. “It’s been a while since I’ve traveled out this way. I’d forgotten how beautiful this road looks, lined with trees as it is.”

“It is beautiful,” Hailee agreed. The buildings became fewer and farther apart, while the buckeye trees grew more numerous. They folded out their branches as if to welcome Hailee to the place she would never forget, a place where God had molded her into the type of woman He desired her to become.

In the circular driveway in front of The Sanctuary of Promise, the cab slowed to a stop. The door opened, and Ambrose peered in. “Here we are, miss.” He held out an arm to assist her out of the cab. “When shall I return for you?”

“In about an hour, if it’s convenient. Thank you, Ambrose.” Hailee climbed out, then handed him her hard-earned money for the fare.

“See you shortly, miss.”

“Yes, indeed!” She bid him farewell as he climbed back onto the cab and picked up the reins. Then, she turned around and surveyed the mammoth building before her. The brick structure had four stories and two wings, the third- and fourth-floor windows of which were covered with curtains, and a covered porch held up by four faded white pillars. The building was surrounded by a well-manicured lawn, and Hailee spied the familiar tiered birdbath under an oak tree. To the left of the tree was the fenced-in garden where she had learned much about farming.

Looking back at the building, Hailee could see the heads of students inside the first floor windows, and she recalled the many hours she’d spent in its classrooms. A little girl turned her head and peered out at her with a look of curiosity.

Hailee smiled at her and urged her feet to move toward the front door. Had there really been a time when she’d spent almost every waking moment in this looming fortress of a building? It felt as if she’d stepped back in time; while everything around her had changed in the past two years, and while dozens of children from entirely different backgrounds had lived within its walls and played on its grounds, The Sanctuary of Promise had undergone no observable alterations, at least on its exterior.

On the porch now, Hailee sucked in her breath and turned the doorknob. As she stepped inside the vast entryway, a mix of emotions stirred within her.

“I’ll be right with you,” a woman called from an adjacent room.

Hailee recognized the voice and smiled. “Ella?”

“Hailee Annigan, is that you?” Ella Fanshaw rushed through the door toward Hailee and wrapped her arms around the much younger woman. “It’s been the better of three months since we last saw each other. How have you been?”

“I’ve been well, thank you.”

“Please, come into the dining area,” Ella invited her.

Hailee followed her and sat down at the long, worn wooden table—quite possibly for the last time in her life, she realized—where she had once taken every meal. Gazing around the room, she recalled the first day she’d entered The Sanctuary of Promise, at fourteen years of age….

***

“I don’t belong here!” Hailee shouted at Officer Ulmer, who had taken her inside the large, frightening building.

“The judge ordered for you to come to The Sanctuary of Promise, so that is where you’ll stay,” Officer Ulmer said firmly. “Had you not done what you did, you wouldn’t have found yourself in this predicament.” He paused and shook his head. “Just about every child I remand to The Sanctuary of Promise makes the same claim about not belonging here. When will you street children come to learn that crime doesn’t pay? It never has and never will.”

“But I don’t belong here!” Hailee stamped her feet.

“If you don’t belong here, then why do you have a reputation for thievery among the storefront owners in East Cincinnati?”

“A reputation?”

“Yes, a reputation. There’s nary a storekeeper who hasn’t fallen victim to your thieving ways and lying tongue.”

Hailee ignored the officer’s insinuations. Yes, she had stolen; yes, she had lied; and, yes, she had deceived. What of it? It had been out of necessity that she had done such things. Had she not needed to provide for her younger brothers, she wouldn’t have dreamed of lying, stealing, and deceiving.

“You don’t understand. I need to be with my brothers!” Without forethought, Hailee pushed past the man, rushed out the door, and raced across the vast lawn. Spurred on by the rhythmic thumping of her heart within her chest, she ran with all her might, willing her eyes to adjust to the darkness of night so that she could make out her path.

“You come back here, young lady!”

Hailee stole a glance over her shoulder and saw Officer Ulmer running after her, but the thickset man was no match for her speed. “Stop that girl!” he yelled as the gap between them continued to widen. “Stop her!”

As Hailee rounded the corner of East Seventh Street and Holmes, a strong hand grabbed her arm and stopped her in mid-stride. “Not so fast,” the officer said sternly.

“Let me go!” Hailee wailed as she tried to wriggle out of the officer’s grasp.

“Not this time,” he said. “Another runaway?”

Hailee looked around. Officer Ulmer was stumbling toward them, gasping for breath.

“Yes,” he managed, still panting. “Ten years ago, I could have caught her”—he expelled a loud breath—“but my best years of chasing street urchins are behind me.”

The other officer chuckled. “That’s true of a lot of us, Quincy.”

“That’s why I requested this post, delivering wayward juveniles to The Sanctuary of Promise,” Officer Ulmer continued. “It’s supposed to be easier and less eventful. But then, spitfires like this Hailee Annigan come along and make my job almost impossible.” He breathed in and out, in and out. “Still, children like Hailee give me reason to pray even harder. Yes, I lift every lost child I meet to my Father’s throne, asking Him to take care of their needs, and—”

Out of desperation, Hailee leaned forward and bit the officer who held her on the arm. Yelling in pain, he immediately released his grip. Hailee stepped back and was ready to run, but Officer Ulmer grabbed her arms and held her fast. “She really doesn’t think she belongs in The Sanctuary of Promise, Officer Edwards,” he said.

“Humph. Do any of them?” Officer Edwards scowled and rubbed his arm where Hailee had bitten him.

She glanced around, hoping for another way to escape her captors. She would not give in and be taken to The Sanctuary of Promise. Sure, it was a big brick mansion, but it was just a fancy jail. Besides, she had her brothers to care for. Why couldn’t these officers see that?

“You don’t understand,” she whined. “My brother Philip, he has to walk with a crutch.” She pasted a sad look on her face in hopes of eliciting their pity. One thing she had learned on the streets was how to manipulate others through emotional appeals.

“Right. And I’m the president of the United States,” Officer Ulmer said with a chuckle. “Let’s get moving.” He started walking and pulled her along.

“I’m telling the truth,” Hailee insisted, trying to keep her voice low and her tone mournful.

“Are you aware of the alternative of going to The Sanctuary of Promise?” Officer Ulmer asked.

“What?” Hailee demanded.

“You would be put in jail.”

“The Sanctuary of Promise is a jail—just a fancy one,” she retorted. “Nothing good ever comes from being in a place like that.”

“I think you’ll find The Sanctuary of Promise quite different from the jail where you were held until the judge heard your case.”

“I don’t want to be in any jail. I want to be free!” Hailee gritted her teeth and tried to pull her arms out of Officer Ulmer’s grasp, but Officer Edwards held fast to her shoulder as he walked alongside. She was no match for two grown men.

“You know, most kids at The Sanctuary are released after about a year and a half,” mused Officer Ulmer. “With the little shenanigan you just pulled, you’re likely to spend more time there, though.”

“I won’t stay there,” Hailee insisted. “I’ll just escape. I have to. My brothers are depending on me. Who’ll make them dinner? Who’ll tell little Philip the story about baby Moses in the basket?”

“I’m sure someone will see to it that they’re taken care of,” Officer Edwards muttered. “If they even exist.”

“You don’t believe that I have brothers?” Hailee was shocked at what she was hearing. Why would she make that up?

“You couldn’t imagine the stories we hear,” Officer Ulmer chuckled. “Do you think you’re the first wayward juvenile to insist she has younger siblings to care for? And we’ve heard the brother-with-a-crutch story one too many times.”

“But it’s the truth! One of Philip’s feet is turned the wrong way. He was born like that. And it makes it hard for him to walk, so he has to use a crutch.”

“And just how old is this Philip?” Officer Ulmer asked as they entered The Sanctuary of Promise grounds.

“He’s only six.”

“What about your other brother? I’m sure he can care for him just fine,” Officer Edwards said dryly.

“Reuben?” Hailee was getting angry. “Reuben can’t care for him—not like I can. He’s only twelve. And, sometimes, Reuben is…well…grouchy.”

“And where do these brothers live?” asked Officer Ulmer.

“Over on Gardner St—wait, why?”

“Gardner Street?” asked Officer Ulmer.

“No, not Gardner Street,” Hailee said. “I meant to say Garrison Avenue.”

“Either way, we’ll find them,” said Officer Edwards. “Again, assuming they exist.”

“Why doesn’t anybody believe me?” Hailee demanded.

“With the crimes you’ve committed and the lies you’ve told, it is a bit difficult to believe you,” Officer Ulmer reasoned. He reached out with his free hand and opened the front door of The Sanctuary. “Good evening Miss Torenz,” he said as they stepped inside and were greeted by a young woman. “We’ve got one who insists on escaping.”

“Don’t worry, she won’t be escaping,” the woman assured him. “Please bring her upstairs to the Yellow Flower Room.”

Still fighting to be released, Hailee kicked and wriggled as the officers dragged her up the stairs. Miss Torenz opened a door, and the officers shoved Hailee inside and quickly shut the door.

“Let me out!” she shouted, beating on the door with her fists. She had to get out of here—her brothers’ lives depended on it! No doubt, little Philip was hungry right now. It was bad enough that she’d spent last night in jail and left Philip and Reuben all alone. But two nights in a row? Hailee cringed at the thought.

“It’ll do you no good to pound on the door,” said Miss Torenz through the door, her voice firm. “We’ll bring you some breakfast in the morning.”

“No, wait! You can’t leave me here!” Hailee resumed pounding on the door. After a while, her fists sore, she turned to assess her whereabouts. A tiny window on the far wall allowed a minute amount of moonlight into the room. With the exception of a bed with a faded quilt, the closet-sized room was empty. Hailee squinted. Was the wallpaper yellow with large sunflowers? It was difficult to tell in the dim light, but she supposed it was, which would account for the name of the room.

One last time, Hailee pounded on the door and screamed until her throat hurt. Finally, she gave up, turned, and leaned back against the door. She slid down into a seated position, buried her face in her hands, and began to sob. While she’d never been one to give up, no matter how harsh the circumstances life had dealt to her, this was the exception. She was trapped, and there was nothing she could do about it….

***

“Hailee?” Ella asked.

“I’m sorry, Ella. I was just remembering my first day here.”

“I wasn’t here that night, but I recall hearing that you put up the fight of the century,” Ella said, laughing.

“It seems so long ago now, almost a different lifetime.”

Ella sighed. “It was only five years ago, but you were so different then. I could tell when I first met you that you were frightened and feeling alone. And so thin and malnourished…. My heart broke for you.”

“I will forever be indebted to you for all you’ve done for me,” Hailee said.

Ella smiled. “I prayed that very morning for God to send me someone I could encourage. I didn’t realize that He would make good on my prayer right away by sending me someone the same day! And a challenge, too—that’s what you were, Hailee Annigan. A challenge.”

Hailee had thanked the Lord many times for Ella. In the years since she’d left The Sanctuary, she had maintained contact with her former teacher, although their visits had not been as frequent as she would have wished due to the busy lives of both of them. However, Hailee had treasured the times when Ella had met her at the boardinghouse where she lived. They would have tea and catch up on the happenings in their lives, and, many times, Dot Pangbourn, the boardinghouse proprietress, would join them.

Sitting across from Ella, Hailee realized how much the past five years had altered her friend. Her auburn hair was beginning to gray, her lovely face had gained a few more wrinkles, and, behind her thick glasses, her eyes looked more tired than ever. Hailee knew she was responsible for some of those wrinkles, and that she and others like her had been sources of the weariness her dear friend’s face showed. “I am deeply sorry about having been a challenge,” she said.

Ella smiled. “Oh, pooh. That’s in the past. What matters now is what you do with the second chance the Lord has given you.” She paused. “Would you care for a cup of tea?”

“I would love a cup of tea, thank you.”

Ella stood up and left the room, then returned a few moments later with two steaming teacups. She set one down at each of their places and then took her seat again. “So, tell me, Hailee, what is new in your life?”

“Well, I actually came here to tell you that I am moving…to Montana. I’ve been hired as the new schoolteacher in Pine Haven.”

“Pine Haven? That’s wonderful! From the moment you told me of your intent to apply, I had no doubt that you would get the position. I clearly remember the day you showed me the newspaper advertisement.” Ella took a sip of tea. “However, I must say…Montana? That’s pretty far west!”

“It is quite far from here,” Hailee conceded. “At first, I was hesitant because of my brothers. What if Philip or Reuben finally sees one of my postings? It will take weeks for me to receive word, and then there is the matter of the travel time. But you know my dream of becoming a teacher, and Pine Haven was the only place where the incoming teacher was not expected to have several years of experience.”

“If your brothers see one of your notices, they will contact you, wherever you are,” Ella assured her with a pat on her arm. “This will be an adventure, and you are smart to take advantage of it.”

“I have prayed about it so much, Ella. I prayed that God would open a door for me to be a teacher, and He did.”

“He’s had a plan for your life all along.”

“Even when I was causing so much trouble here?”

“Even then.” Ella smiled. “Now, besides the good news of your teaching position, what brings you to The Sanctuary?”

“To see you,” said Hailee. “I couldn’t very well go without saying good-bye, and I’m leaving tomorrow. I will arrive in Pine Haven on July twenty-seventh, with plenty of time to get settled before school starts.”

“My, things are happening fast.”

“They certainly are.” Hailee bit her lip. “I also felt that I needed to see this place one last time.”

“Not much has changed since you lived here, Hailee, although many lives have been changed—for the better, I might add.”

“God has used you in wonderful ways to touch the lives of so many children. I can only pray that He will use me in the same way with my students.”

“I know He will.” Ella paused, looking pensive. “Do you remember the first Bible verse I asked you to look up?”

“Of course!” Hailee had all but forgotten that there had been a time when she was not familiar with the Scriptures. Ella had opened God’s Word to her, and the first verse she’d learned had become one of her favorites. “Jeremiah twenty-nine, verse eleven,” Hailee began, and Ella’s voice joined with hers as the two women recited together: “‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.’”

“Hailee, do you finally understand that God has always known the plans and thoughts He has toward you?” Ella said. “He hasn’t changed. The Lord has been laying the foundation for those thoughts and plans, and, now, they are coming to fruition.”

“Thank you.” Hailee squeezed the hand of the woman who had become a second mother to her. “I’m just a little nervous about going all the way to Montana.”

“I can see that. Just remember that there is no place you can go where the Lord is not there with you. Lift your eyes to Him, Hailee, and He’ll be your comforter.”

Hailee nodded. Ever since she’d come to know the Lord, He’d never turned His back on her.

“I’m sure Dot will be sorry to see you go.”

“I will miss her so. She’s been so kind to me, almost like a grandmother.” Hailee paused. “And, more than anyone, Ella, I’ll miss you.”

“I’ll miss you, too, Hailee. But you have prayed about this decision, and I do believe it is the Lord’s calling for your life. Besides, I’m only a train ride away.”

“A long train ride.”

“Nonetheless, we will correspond regularly, which shall be a source of encouragement to both of us.”

“I promise to write if you will,” said Hailee.

“It’s a promise,” Ella agreed.

“Well, we’ve talked enough about me. Please, Ella, tell me how you have been.”

“Oh, I’ve been well.” Ella paused, her eyes suddenly glowing. “I do have a tidbit of information you might find amusing, if not exciting.”

“Do tell!”

“Do you remember Officer Ulmer?”

Hailee feigned a grimace. “How could I forget him?”

“Well, he has asked me to marry him.”

Hailee almost choked on her tea. “I beg your pardon?”

“It’s true. He has been courting me for the past several months, and it happened rather quickly—”

“Officer Ulmer, the man who brought me here?”

“The one and the same.”

“I don’t believe it!” Hailee immediately regretted her words, for Ella looked stricken. “Oh, do forgive me, Ella. Congratulations are in order!” She reached out and clasped her friend’s hand. “I am happy for you.”

“I know you saw only the authoritative side of him, Hailee, but Officer Ulmer—Quincy, rather—is a kind, gentle, and godly man. He’s loving, thoughtful, and….” Ella blushed. “Handsome.”

“You’re right, Ella. I knew him only as a policeman, and we didn’t meet under the best circumstances. He treats you well, doesn’t he?”

“Yes, he does. He’s exactly the type of husband I have been praying for all along. You see, I thought I was much too old to get married, but the Lord had other plans. He placed Quincy in front of me all these years, and we’ve been good friends for so long. It was just recently that we both began to see each other as something much more than a friend.” Ella giggled shyly. “It took us many years, but we finally realized our love for each other. I couldn’t be happier, Hailee.”

“And I am happy for you. Have you selected a wedding date?”

“Sometime this fall. And, although I don’t like to wish time away, autumn can’t come soon enough!”

“I only wish I could be here for the happy event.” For a moment, Hailee considered staying in Cincinnati, if only to see one of her dearest friends get married.

But Ella knew her so well that she read her thoughts. “Now, Hailee, you must go. I know how you have searched for a permanent teaching position for some time now. I also know how humbly you have asked God to use your gift of teaching. I believe He has answered that prayer. Had He wanted you to teach in Cincinnati, the opportunity would have arisen.”

“You’re right, Ella. Still, I shall miss you so.”

“And I shall miss you.”

“I suppose I should go,” Hailee said. She stood to her feet and gave Ella a warm hug.

“Take care, dear one. Write and let me know that you have arrived safely.”

“I will.”

“And don’t worry. You’ll do fine in Montana.”

“Good-bye, then.”

“No, never good-bye,” said Ella. “As my grandmother Fanshaw was fond of saying, ‘It’s never “Good-bye” but instead, “So long.”’”

“So long, then, Ella.”

Hailee hoped that Ella’s conviction about her doing fine in Montana would prove true. She took one last look around the room. With the adventure that lay before her, she might never get another chance to see the place that had housed so much of her past.


My Review: This is a really feel good story! A great read to snuggle down with!
You will find some parts that you wish you could be there and help those little children!
The descriptions are wonderful...can just picture Pine Haven Montana, and all the different people who live there! When you come from a city in the late 1800's to rural Montana it had to be a real eye opener!
Throughout the book there is a strong faith in God, loved how he is interwoven with each individual and works in their lives.
This is the third book in the series, and you do not have to read the first two to enjoy this one. It can stand alone and enough information is give to make you aware of who everyone is. Enjoy Hailee's and Nate's love story!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This Weeks Free Books from Vessel Project

Weekly List of Free Christian Books (September 12, 2011)

Thank You Vessel Project

With the new look here at The Vessel Project, comes a new format for the weekly list of Free Resources. Here’s the lastest list for the week of September 12, 2011.

Find your selected format and choose the link of the book you want to download. These links go directly to the sites that offer the download. As always, I can’t guarantee that these books will be free when you attempt to download so please be sure to read the warning below and make sure the price of the book is $0.00 BEFORE you download it.

For Your Nook

Cry for Justice by Shelley Hundley
Strength for the Broken Places by James A Harnish
Thunder in the Morning Calm by Don Brown
Soon by Jerry B. Jenkins
The Oak Leaves by Maureen Lang
A Daughters Inheritance by Tracie Peterson
My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer
No Place for a Lady by Maggie Brendan
The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund
The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher
A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
Stars Collide by Janice Thompson
Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith
Knowing the Truth about Salavation – by John Ankerberg
Life to the Max – Digital Sampler by Max Lucado
When Night Falls by Margaret Daley
Daughter of Joy (Brides of Culdee Creek, Book 1) by Kathleen Morgan
Light of Eidon (Legends of the Guardian-King, Book 1) by Karen Hancock
Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, Book 1) by Janice Thompson
Relentless (Dominion Trilogy #1) by Robin Parrish
Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery Series #1) by Lorena McCourtney
The Holy Bible: HCSB Digital Text Edition by B&H Publishing Group


For Your Kindle

A Cry for Justice by Shelley HundleyPrayer Begins with Relationship by Cynthia Bezek
Prayers for Today by Kurt Bjorklund
Soon by Jerry B. Jenkins
The Oak Leaves by Maureen Lang
Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa by Melanie Dobson
Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren
A Daughters Inheritance by Tracie Peterson
My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer
No Place for a Lady by Maggie Brendan
The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund
The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher
A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
Stars Collide by Janice Thompson
Craving God by Lysa Terkeurst
Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson
Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith
The Holy Bible English Standard Version (ESV) by Crossway Bibles
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible – Enhanced Version


From GoBible.com

Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitehall Smith

Monday, September 12, 2011

Debbie Macomber's Christmas Cookbook: Favorite Recipes and Holiday Traditions from My Home to Yours by Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber's Christmas Cookbook: Favorite Recipes and Holiday Traditions from My Home to Yours

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


What a beautiful cookbook, full of bright and yummy pictures, and lot of good ideas!
The book starts with the Introduction and then the first chapter is: Merry Morning Breakfast, delightful ideas for that special Holiday Breakfast....how about some Apple and Sharp Cheddar Scones or Overnight Sausage and Caramelized Onions Casserole, with more. Then some ideas for Christmas Tea: Winter Tomato Pie, Glazed Lemon Thins, or Cinnamon Star Sugar Cookies. Then we have Appetizers: Caesar Salad Bites, or Christmas Eve Eggnog. Christmas and Christmas Eve Dinner: Cider-Glazed Roast Turkey, Three Cheese Scalloped Potatoes, Creamed Spinach and Feta Pie, and a lot more scrumptious recipes. Then everyone's favorite Christmas Desserts: Perfect Raspberry Squares, Great Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Glaze, Green Tomato Mincemeat. Then last but not least are two Chapters that sound wonderful over the holiday...Cooking With Grandma and Easy Family Dinners. Included in all the Chapters are some Christmas Crafts. I listed on a few of the enticing recipes, you have got to see this book to enjoy it all!
This could easily become a Coffee Table book over the Holidays! Enjoy!!

I received this book from the publisher Harelquin, and was not required to give a positive review.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Free Books

There are some great new free books listed on the Vessel. This week I took Sons of Thunder, and Love Finds You In Homestead. Enjoy!!
http://vesselproject.com/category/free-resources/
Free on Kindle: Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa by Melanie Dobson

Free Christian Books for your Kindle Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren Product

Free eBooks from Moody Publishers

Free on Nook: When all Hail Breaks Loose by Pat Day

Free on Nook: Sweet Baklava by Debby Mayne

Free on Kindle: From Ashes to Honor by Loree Lough

Free on Kindle: Sweet Baklava by Debby Mayne

Free on Kindle: A Time to Heal by Barbara Cameron

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Wild Card Tour Pirate of My Heart: A Novel by Jamie Carie

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:


Pirate of My Heart

B&H Books (September 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, B&H Publishing Group, A Division of LifeWay Christian Resources for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Jamie Carie is the author of Snow Angel, a ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, USA Book News National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. Her third novel, Wind Dancer, was a 2010 Indiana State Library Best Books of Indiana finalist. She lives with her husband and three children in Indianapolis.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


When her doting father dies, Lady Kendra Townsend is given a choice: marry the horrid man of her cold, money-grubbing uncle's choosing or leave England to risk a new life in America with unknown relatives. Armed with the faith that God has a plan for her, Kendra boards a cargo ship and meets American sea captain Dorian Colburn. But the captain has been wounded by a woman before and guards his independent life. A swashbuckling man doesn't need an English heiress to make him slow down, feel again, or be challenged with questions about his faith-or so he thinks. It is not until Dorian must save Kendra from the dark forces surrounding her that he decides she may be worth the risk.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805448152
ISBN-13: 978-0805448153


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



PROLOGUE

Arundel, England 1777

The grey clouds of dawn shivered against the paned glass of the castle, shrouding the three figures at the side of the four-poster bed in an eerie light. The raging storm of the night before had settled into a dreary misting rain though an occasional jagged flash of lightning flaunted its power, not yet ready to relinquish its right to ravish the leaden sky. Dim light clung to the faces of those inside the bedchamber where the very walls seemed to echo the anguish felt inside the room.

All that could be heard in the chamber was the shallow, labored breathing of the one abed. A frail creature, now, pale and lifeless after the travails of childbirth. The others included the old family doctor, Radley, who hovered beside his patient and friend of many years with a strained look in his eyes. Hovering in the shadows was Bridget, the lady's long-standing nurse and companion. But their suffering was not to be compared to the tall, handsome gentleman who knelt at the woman's bedside, her hand clasped in his; a haunted look in his eyes that attested to the fact that he too feared the end was near for his beloved.

He gazed down at the limp form of his wife. She lay so still, so pale, sunk into the feather mattress as if she'd become a part of it. In a matter of hours she'd become a shallow breathing shell of the bright and glorious women she had once been. How was he to live without her? His heart spasmed with the thought.

He held his breath as her thin, white eyelids opened to reveal pain-racked eyes the color of bluebells. She exerted a small strength in squeezing his hand while a serene smile played at her lips. Her voice was a weak whisper. "I will not be leaving you forever, my darling. Our daughter will grow strong and always be a symbol of the love we shared."

"No." Edward groaned in anguish, his head falling forward, his hand clasping tight as if to force his strength into her. "I will not let you go."

"Love her, Edward, love her with all that you are." Lady Eileen closed her eyes seeming to gather what little strength she had to continue speaking. A small, whimpering sound came from the shadows of the room where Bridget held the newborn babe to her bosom. Lady Eileen opened her eyes at the sound. "Please, let me hold my sweet child."

The nurse skirted around the bed with the tiny bundle, her eyes bright with tears. "She's the mos' beautiful of babes, my lady, truly she is." She laid the wee babe in her mother's fragile arms.

His wife stared down at their daughter and then looked up at him. Her voice became fierce but still so quiet Edward had to lean in to catch the words. "This one has a special purpose in life and I expect you all to care for her as I would have."

Edward could only nod, mute and staring, aching with grief.

"I have one more request to ask of you, my love." Her breath rasped in and out causing the panic in Edward's stomach to claw into his chest like a nightmare's hand, but he nodded for her to continue and clung to her hand.

"My greatest joy in life has been you. I want her to find love, someone to share her life with who is as kind, as loving and wonderful as I have had in you." She rested a moment before continuing. "Let her choose, Edward, do not make a match for her. I know it is right." She gasped for a final breath. "I've made provision. In my will . . . no entailments, Edward. Give her the dragonfly brooch as a promise from me that I will be looking down from heaven to keep her safe."

"Of course, my darling, anything you ask I will do."

A small smile touched Eileen's lips as she gazed at their beautiful child for the last time. With a single tear sliding down her cheek she kissed the light fuzz on the child's head. "I love you." She breathed the words with her last breath, barely audible, and then she went still.

Edward collapsed over her limp hand still clutched in his strong one. "No," he cried with ragged breath. He brought the hand to his check, soaking it with his tears, willing her to come back to him.



CHAPTER ONE
Arundel, England - 1796

Kendra stopped halfway down the path that led to the stables, happiness lifting her heart at the autumn scene. The leaves had turned into a crimson, sunny yellow and carroty riot of color, as if a magician had waved a wand during the night and created a new world. She stepped across the lawn, feeling the kind of happiness that burst against the walls of her chest, stopping long enough to turn in slow circles so to watch the waving leaf show. She closed her eyes, still slowly twirling and smiled up toward heaven, humming a simple song of praise to God. The notes of her song danced around her and made a happy knot form in her throat. There was nothing she loved more than singing praises to God. Her father had instilled his love for God in her since she was a child - always making sure they had a curate in the village residence for weekly services at St. Nicholas Parish Church, praying with her each night before bedtime and teaching her scriptures and hymns. Most of all, he’d been an example of someone who was temperate, kind and patient. They had memorized the scripture about the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - and often reminded each other of the one they should practice when the occasion called for it. She wished so much to be like him but sometimes her best intentions went awry and she fell short, far short of her father’s shining example.

The sound of wheels crunching over dead leaves gave her pause. She stopped, turned toward the horse-shoe drive at the front of the castle and saw a shiny black post-chaise carriage. Who could it be? They had not seen visitors in so long. Kendra hurried toward the entrance to meet their guest, then came to an abrupt stop and clasped her hands in front of her dress. She held her breath as a tall, handsome man sprang from the carriage. He was dressed in a waist-coat of navy wool with an intricately knotted necktie at his throat, cream colored breeches and matching hose. She lifted her gaze to his face. Her jaw dropped with surprise. The face staring back at her looked like the one in her bedchamber mirror each morning . . . except for the color of his eyes.
Andrew Townsend matched his nieces startling gape as he found himself looking into the younger, female version of himself. Surely this was not Edward's daughter! She could have been his own child. Recovering from his shock with more effort than he'd exerted in months, Andrew questioned the young lady. "And who might this lovely creature be? A relative of mine, perhaps?"

She curtsied and smiled up at him. "I'm Kendra Townsend sir, and who might you be?" Her smile was soft and contagious, so irresistible that Andrew found himself thawing in her presence.

"I am Andrew Townsend, your uncle, my dear." He held out his hand in greeting. "I am most pleased to finally meet you. It seems we bear a striking resemblance to one another."

"You're very handsome." She stated with bold faced honesty.

Andrew let out a bark of laughter. "Well. Thank you, I'm sure. Now, would you be so kind as to show me to your father? I have some business to conduct with him."

"Of course, sir." Kendra replied as she reached for his arm. "Your papa's brother, his twin, aren't you?" Her eyes lit up as she led him through the front door, past their astonished looking butler, and down the wide corridor, the elegant carpet making silence of their footsteps. Just as well, the surprise element couldn't hurt to gage how his dear brother was going to react to his request. “Father will be in his study with his solicitor this time of day.” At her knock they heard a preoccupied "come in."

The Earl of Arundel sat behind an ancient desk with stacks of documents in front of him. Facing him was Mr. Walcott, the trusted family solicitor. As they walked into the study, Edward's face lit up with joy. Then, as he looked beyond her, his eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.

"Andrew?"

Andrew put on his best smile and chuckled, walking forward toward his brother. He needed Ed to accept him back into the family fold and that might require some persuasion. "Great heavens, man, is it really you?" Edward came from behind the desk and greeted him with a handshake and an awkward hug that turned into a haphazard slapping against his shoulder. "You remember Parker Walcott." He motioned to the man who had risen, eyes round behind his spectacles.

"Yes, of course, how's the family, Parker? Dorothy and the children doing well?" Andrew felt the smooth mask of charm take hold of his being and hoped Parker would take the hint. He looked as if he’d seen a ghost.

"Oh, very good, my lord, yes indeed. And yourself?"

"After meeting my lovely niece here, I couldn't be in better spirits." Andrew replied. "Ed, why have you failed to mention our likeness in your letters? It nearly frightened us both out of our wits when we clapped eyes on one another." The laughter in his voice was real this time.

"It's been so long since I've seen you." Edward hastened to explain. "Until this moment I didn't realize just how much you resemble each other." He glanced from one to the other, astonishment and something disapproving, consternation perhaps in his eyes before continuing. "Your eyes are more blue than her unusual shade of violet, but you’re quite right, you resemble twins more than you and I ever did. It's remarkable, isn't it?"

Edward motioned for Andrew to have a seat. "Please, join us." They both looked up at Kendra to find her staring at Andrew. Andrew winked at her as he plopped down in the chair beside Parker. Edward cleared his throat and frowned at his daughter. "Kendra, go down and have Willabee bring up some refreshments please."

Kendra nodded but clung to Andrew's side before she left. "How long can you stay Uncle Andrew? You should stay at least until the end of the week." Her eyes were bright with excitement.

"And what, pray tell, happens at the end of the week?" Andrew asked with a half grin that he'd been told sent the ladies into a swoon.

"I've persuaded papa to have a garden party." Her eyes slid to her father before she continued. "He hates to entertain you know, but I've been so forlorn for company my own age since my friend, Lucinda, moved away that he's feeling guilty and has agreed. Please say you'll stay. Lady Willowbee's girls will be absolutely speechless for once."

"I seem to recall a Lady Willowbee, lives down the way, only other gentry around here, eh?" At Kendra's nod Andrew chuckled with the memory. "A bit of a sour puss. Are her girls as malicious and back-biting as she and her sisters used to be?"

Kendra put her hand to her mouth in an attempt to suppress a horrified giggle.

"Can't offend them though," Andrew continued with grave mirth, "must do our duty and invite the only other cream de la cream in the area, even though it is soured cream, is that the dilemma you find yourself in, my dear?"

“Papa says I must love them as the Bible says.” Kendra raised her brows in beseeching charm that he recognized as one of his own trademark moves. "But if you were there it would be ever so much easier. They will be nice in hopes of an introduction. Please say you'll stay."

Andrew caught his brother's gaze and asked in a soft voice. "Can you deny her anything?"

Edward looked down and cleared his throat, a red flush filling his cheeks. "Very little, I'm afraid.

Swinging back to Kendra's expectant gaze, Andrew mused. "I will have to give you your answer later, moppet, but I promise I'll try.

That seemed to satisfy her as she gave him a happy nod and turned to leave the men to their business.

"You're going to have a devil of a time fighting off all the suitors at your door, Edward. She's amazing." Andrew remarked as he watched the whirl of Kendra's skirts around the door as she left.

Edward sighed. "I've already had my share of offers, but she's just nineteen. I'm not ready to see her betrothed to anyone yet."

"I can understand why, she brightens up the old place." Pausing, Andrew ran his fingers through his blond hair and added. "I was truly sorry about Eileen, Edward. I would have attended the funeral had I not been out of the county."

"I won't pretend I was anything other than devastated. But time has a way of taking the edge off the grief and Kendra has taken care of the rest. I don't know how I would have gone on if she had died with her mother.”

Andrew didn't know how to respond to his brother's heart-wrenching revelation. Edward had aged in more than the receding hairline and creases around his mouth it would seem. Andrew cleared his throat and looked down at the floor.

Edward leaned across the desk, his hands clasped together. "Enough about me, what have you been doing with yourself these last fifteen years?"

"A little of everything, I dare say. Traveled around a good bit." The rake's smile slide across his lips and he shrugged. "Been enjoying life with good drink, fine horseflesh and beautiful women."

Edward shook his head in an older brotherly way. "I know only too well of your love for the worldly passions. It's a life that will never satisfy you, you know. I have to hear of your exploits every time I'm in London. When will you settle down? Start a family of your own?"

A bark of laughter escaped Andrew's throat. Not here ten minutes and he was already getting the lecture. "Now is not a good time for thinking of that, Ed. I - uh, seem to have gotten myself into a bit of a jam." Glancing at Parker Walcott, Andrew girded up his courage and rushed out the rest before his nerve failed him. "I was hoping to have a word with you, big brother. I have some business I would like to discuss."

Parker rose rather abruptly for one keen to the family's business dealings. Andrew smothered a chuckle as the solicitor beat a hasty path to the door. "I will bid you both good day, my lord. You and your brother have much catching up to do." Andrew suppressed a chuckle as he scurried from the room.

After the door was closed silence descended upon the room. Andrew braced his arms on his legs and pressed his sweaty palms together.

Edward broke the silence with a voice both grave and guarded. "What can I do for you, Andrew?"

Shifting in the chair, Andrew ran a well-manicured hand though his blond hair, took a deep breath and plunged into his story.
It would seem Andrew had heard, through a reputable source, about an investment that was sure to make him a very wealthy man. The Brougham Company had been started to finance several voyages of trade to America with goods the colonist desperately needed. Five great ships had set sail over six months ago to deliver their goods. Andrew had invested all that he had and was given a great deal of credit as he bore the Townsend name.

The first two ships to sail had been attacked by pirates and overtaken. The following ship did not survive a great storm, and of the two that made it to America, one had perishables on it that were ill-packed, causing the contents to spoil, while the other had cheaper goods that even when sold at an exorbitant price did not come close to making up for the expense of the trip. "I've lost everything and my creditors are threatening Newgate Prison if I don't come up with the funds."

Edward listened with sinking despair. It seemed fate would never grant his twin the power he so desperately coveted. "Of course I will help you, Andrew. Have your creditors send me the contracts and I will take care of them." He paused before continuing in a fatherly tone. "I understand you want to handle matters on your own, but please consider consulting me or even Walcott before plunging into a scheme like this in the future." Edward pressed his lips together with that eagle-eyed stare that always made Andrew squirm in his chair. "I could have had the company investigated for you, at the very least."

"Of course." Andrew shook his head, eyes downcast. The act was growing tedious but pressed on. "It's just that I was so excited. I wanted to surprise you and mother with my good fortune. I realize the family thinks me a spoiled dandy so I wanted to do something to make you all proud. Instead I proved what an idiot I am."

"Now don't be too hard on yourself. We've been through worse and we'll come through this together."

"I can't thank you enough, Ed, just the thought of that prison sent me fleeing here on wings. There is just one more thing," Andrew rushed out, fidgeting with his fingers. "I was wondering if the creditors could go through old Parker instead of you. That way it won't become common knowledge that my brother had to pay off my debts. It's a matter of pride you see." He raised his brows and gave Edward a shrug of his shoulders.

"Of course. There's no need for our business to become something for the gossip mills."

Andrew stood up, gave his brother a quick, firm hug, and hurried from the room.
Edward gazed at the closed door, sadness and bewilderment weighing down his shoulders like a heavy blanket. He had not seen his brother for years, and then when he finally did come home, it was only because he was in trouble and needed money. Would they ever be close?

Dear God, help me reach him.

He let his thoughts drift back to their childhood, a good and proper upbringing he had always thought, but not without its animosities. Animosities that led all the way back to their birth.

They had heard the tale countless times. Edward had been the first-born twin, the heir to the earldom, but it had come about by a strange quirk of fate. His mother, who now lived on her own estate miles from Arundel, had pushed for hours with no sign of the babies coming.

The midwife, in an effort to feel the baby's position, placed one hand on the extended abdomen and the other inside the womb. She pulled back in surprise. "Your ladyship, I do believe you are having twins. There's a head and feet near the opening."

His mother gasped and her face whitened. "Twins! I shan't be able to do it."

The contractions continued though, strengthened instead of daunted by the thought of two.

Hours dragged by as they all wondered if Lady Lenora would be able to deliver the babies. In a wondrous moment, a hushed moment between pushes, a tiny foot poked out of the womb. The midwife didn't say anything but knew the importance of the firstborn's place so she tied a scarlet thread around the tiny ankle. Gently slipping the foot back up, she concentrated on delivering the baby in the head-down position. The child seemed ready to cooperate and after several more minutes emerged from the womb.

"A boy, my lady." One of the servants rushed to take the child to clean him before he was presented to his mother. After another hour, Lady Lenora held two healthy sons. She noticed the thread and looked up at the midwife. "But what's this, Ida?"

The midwife told the story of how that child had poked his little foot out first and thought to tie the yarn around his foot in the event that Lord Townsend would regard him the first born.

And he had. Lord Albert Townsend named the babe with the string around his ankle Edward Alexander Townsend, and proclaimed him the rightful heir. Lenora named his twin brother, Andrew Richard Townsend and thought that son cheated.

Edward's knuckles whitened with the memory as he clinched his hands into fists. They'd been so close when they were boys! Inseparable until the day Andrew heard the story of his birth bluntly put by a stable hand. Andrew had changed then, pulling away and becoming distant and ever more brooding. After awhile it seemed they had little in common and less to like about each other. And that wasn't even the worst of it. The resentment his mother held destroyed their marriage. Lenora devoted herself to spoiling her younger son which forced the earl to take Edward's causes.

Edward sighed, his head dropping forward, sadness pulling at his heart. They were so different in every way. Andrew was strikingly handsome with his fair hair and pale blue eyes, so much like their mother. Edward supposed he was the epitome of an Englishman with his dark brown hair, aristocratic nose, and hazel eyes. And that was only their outward differences. Inwardly they couldn't be more distant. He a long-grieving widower and Andrew a financially destitute dandy in dire straits. But he was back.

His brother had come home.

Maybe if he loved him enough, if he showed it and gave him all the attention and praise and . . . well, whatever it was that Andrew needed, maybe he could, uptight Englishman that he was, humble himself and shower his brother with love.

Father, help me love him the way he needs it. Help me show him You.


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Awesome action packed story! I really enjoyed this fact paced read! It is set in England and early America.
Lady Kendra Townsend has lost everything and her Uncle has sent her to America to live with her Mother's Sister and Husband. She is traveling on a ship owned and Captained by Dorian Colburn. You will see sparks between them, but is he in Love with the namesake of his ship?
I enjoyed that no matter how hard things became, and they surely did, they turned to God for their answers. You will find there is some kind of action at every turn, and just when you think the story has ended....whoops NO!
Your attention will be kept from coast to coast and in between! I highly recommend this book!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

Wonderland CreekWonderland Creek
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


What an outstanding book! Probably near the top of list...if there were more than 5 stars this story would rate that.
Alice Ripley is 22 years old and lives with her Mother and Pastor father in Blue Island, IL. When the story begins her boyfriend Gordon has just broken up with her and the ongoing Depression of the time, has caused her loss of employment. She had worked as a Librarian and had been collecting books for a poor mine town in KY. When she finds out that her Aunt and Uncle will be traveling on their next vacation through Kentucky, she brazenly asks to go along. She wants to spend the 2 weeks in KY helping that towns library, and her Aunt and Uncle will go to their spa and pick her up on their return.
When she arrives in Acorn, KY...she has a rude awakening. The Librarian Leslie MacDougal is definitely not what she was expecting! Her ride has already left and there she is....there is not hotel, or restaurant around.
This book has it all...stepping back in time. This little Mine Town is really a step back in time, there is no running water, electricity, or even a car for her to use! She meets Miss Lillie and ends up actually helping and taking care of the 100+ year old delightful woman! You will meet all kinds of characters, and you'll laugh and cry with them. There is a bit of Romance in the air, along with new friendships, baby being born and also some mystery. You will not want to put this book down, and you will be moving, temporarily, into the hills of Kentucky!

I was provided with a copy of this book by Bethany House Publishing, and was not required to give a positive review.


Lynn Austin, a former teacher who now writes and speaks full time, has won seven Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home near Chicago, Illinois. Visit Lynn's Web site at www.lynnaustin.org

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Something Old (Plain City) by Dianne L. Christner

Something Old (Plain City)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I enjoyed this book! The story is about young Katie Yoder a Mennonite woman, who wants to move in with some of her friends. One of her friends is cousins with Katie's old love Jake Byler, and she doesn't like Lil interfering in her life. Lil has been helping Jake by putting them together.

Jake had gone kind of wild and Katie fears that he had a fling with Jessie. What brings this all together is some of the changes that are happening at their more conservative Mennonite Church.

Katie holds on to old hurts, and feels she has given forgiveness to people. She has also been judging others, because they don't hold on to her strict beliefs.

The messages given are some that we all need to follow. Love the compassion show to Jake's elderly Grandmother, there are a few chuckles and a few tense moments.

All in all I enjoyed this quick read book. Loose yourself in a good pace book!



I was provided with a copy of this book by Barbour Publishing, and was not required to give a positive review!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Pattern of Wounds (A Roland March Mystery) by J. Mark Bertrand

Pattern of Wounds (A Roland March Mystery)4 of 5 stars


The book begins with Detective March being called away from his wife's Christmas Party. A woman has been sadistically murdered, and the more he looks at the scene, the more he feels like he has been here before. Then he remembers, but the murderer has confessed and is prison. There has been a book written about the Fauk murder and included was a picture of the crime. This crime he is sure is staged to mimic!

This is the second book in this series, and I'll have to read the third to find out everything. Am hoping that Roland is going to find his way back to God! Charlotte his wife is praying for him along with a lot of others.

You will have to fight temptation not to skip to the end of this book to find out the answers to the maybe serial murders?



I was provided with a copy of this book by the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.




Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Wounded Heart: An Amish Quilt Novel by Adina Senft

The Wounded Heart: An Amish Quilt Novel>
My rating:
4 of 5 stars


I cannot even imagine being in Amelia Beiler's shoes. First she looses her beloved husband in a buggy accident, and then she is diagnosed with the dreaded Multiple Sclerosis. She had been considering an offer by an Englisher for her business, and her Community is really against her selling to someone who is not Amish.
She meets Eli Fischer when he is visiting her area. He becomes interested in Amelia and also wants to buy her business. Things come to a highlight when an interesting cure maybe available, but she needs the permission on her Bishop and her Church.
You will be surprised when you learn how she deals with this terrible illness and her worry about her young Sons. Also how she ends up coping with Eli, and preventing him having to deal with a wheelchair bound spouse!
This is another page turner, and you need to keep reading to get to the end to learn the outcome!

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




Thursday, September 1, 2011

Free Books

I found this information on Nora St Laurants site and wanted to share it!
You can check this site or get email updates for free books!
THE VESSEL PROJECT - It's a Great place to stay up-to-date on ALL the e-books that hit cyber-space that are FREE

I won't be able to tell you about ALL of them by the Keiki Hendrix is on top of it ALL! Below is the Link to her site! It's a good one. http://vesselproject.com/

Thank you Nora!