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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Litfuse Publicity Tour: Lucy Come Home (A Yada Yada Journey of Hope) by Dave and Neta Jackson


About
Fifteen-year-old Cindy worked long days beside her migrant worker family in Michigan's sugar beet fields in the early 1940s -- the "war years" -- until she met a dashing young man from a traveling carnival, bringing some joy and fun into her hard-scrabble life. But a tragic twist of fate -- and a dead field boss-- sent the two young people on the run, leaving behind family and everything she'd ever known.

Lucy Tucker, the crotchety old bag lady from the popular Yada Yada House of Hope series, is a veteran of Chicago streets and not about to give up her independence, even as she approaches her 80th birthday
.
Until, that is, a young displaced woman with her gentle aging mother and a dog named Dandy seem to need her -- unsettling the secretive Lucy, who doesn't let anyone get too close. But just when it seems her past is catching up with her to bring her in out of the cold... Lucy disappears again. How these two tales intersect and intertwine between past and present gradually shines light into the dark corners of Lucy's murky past. But... why won't Lucy come home?

About Dave & Neta

Dave and Neta Jackson are award-winning authors living in the Chicago area where their parallel novels from the Yada Yada House of Hope and Harry Bentley series are set.

As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books.

Visit http://www.daveneta.com for more info.

My Review:

Lucinda Tucker and her family live the lives of Migrant workers....since they lost their farm in the Dust Bowl. While on their way to pick beets, a carnival pulls into the town with them. Fate is set and Lucinda meets Bo.
We follow Lucy [Cindy] from a fifteen year old girl through to eighty years of age. This is a long book, but a compelling read. You will want a box of tissues handy...there are a lot of highs and lows. Through out the book you find God's hand leading their lives.
What a turn of events, and how the journey progresses. We travel with Lucy with her parents, and then on the run and into Canada. From there we travel to Chicago, and then WWII. We live with her as a homeless person, and in shelters. Don't miss this great Christian read!

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Tours, and Castle Rock Creative, and was not required to give a positive review.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cowgirl Trail by Susan Page Davis

Cowgirl TrailCowgirl Trail by Susan Page Davis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this to be a really great read. Susan Page Davis has woven such an interesting tale....woman Cowgirls. Back in the late 1880's they did the unexpected, and probably not approved.
Maggie Porter returns home from a delightful time in San Francisco to find that things are really bad at the Ranch. Her father appears not to be himself, and he is doing unexpected things. As a result the Ranch Hands are besides themselves and are about to strike. The Ranch Foreman Alex Bright, who Maggie has felt sparks fly about, feels he needs to stick by his men.
When we find out what is going on, we are fully supportive of Maggie. Love the reaction of the small town Brady TX, and wish I could have been there with them.
Once you begin this journey one you won't be able to put it down...Enjoy!

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

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kregel Blog Tours: The Book of Books: The Bible Retold by Trevor Dennis

The Book of Books: The Bible Retold
The Book of Books: The Bible Retold The Bible, the story of God's people, has been passed down through the generations. But how often does a combination of the complex or outdated language, the extensive genealogy lists, and the unfamiliar culture stand in the way of young readers' understanding of a truly great story?

In The Book of Books, Trevor Dennis uses his natural gift for storytelling to create a story everyone can understand and enjoy reading. Young readers will appreciate Dennis's honest and simple way of retelling the most famous Bible stories. Written in novel form, each chapter--from the story of creation in Genesis to the description of the Heavenly City found in Revelation--transitions smoothly into the next.


TREVOR DENNIS is Vice Dean at Chester Cathedral, where he has worked since the beginning of 1994. Before that he was Chaplain at Eton College for seven years, and then taught Old Testament Studies at Salisbury and Wells Theological College for nearly 12 years. Trevor is also a regular contributor to BRF. He has published four books on the Old Testament and four collections of stories and meditations.

The Book of Books, an insightful retelling of the Bible for those aged 9 and over, is Trevor's first book for children. Trevor brings to this book his many years of scholarship and all his powers of storytelling, as well as his love of God and the Bible.


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Retelling of Bible Stories for the 9+ year old...what a wonderful way to learn the bible.
Read these to my younger Grandchildren ages 5 and 7, and they were asking for more! There are many poignant lessons to be learned, with them understanding what was being said.
An example was the story of the donkey that was laden to the point of collapse...would you walk away and leave the animal without helping? How about if you hated the owner? A resounding "No"...they would help.
Another example is the 23 Psalm which is written so they could understand it, and we read it in a timely manner...as they had just lost their Grandfather.
The book has stories, poems, passages, and hymns...told by a skilled story teller. I highly recommend this wonderful book, and it is now a keepsake in our family.

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

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Simon & Schuster's Off Balance: A Memoir by Dominique Moceanu, Paul Williams, Teri Williams

Off Balance: A MemoirOff Balance: A Memoir by Dominique Moceanu
Description
AT FOURTEEN YEARS OLD, Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the 1996 U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team, the first and only American women’s team to take gold at the Olympics. Her pixyish appearance and ferocious competitive drive quickly earned her the status of media darling. But behind the fame, the flawless floor routines, and the million-dollar smile, her life was a series of challenges and hardships.

Off Balance vividly delineates each of the dominating characters who contributed to Moceanu’s rise to the top, from her stubborn father and long-suffering mother to her mercurial coach, Bela Karolyi. Here, Moceanu finally shares the haunting stories of competition, her years of hiding injuries and pain out of fear of retribution from her coaches, and how she hit rock bottom after a public battle with her parents.

But medals, murder plots, drugs, and daring escapes aside (all of which figure into Moceanu’s incredible journey), the most unique aspect of her life is the family secret that Moceanu discovers, opening a new and unexpected chapter in her adult life. A mysterious letter from a stranger reveals that she has a second sister—born with a physical disability and given away at birth—who has nonetheless followed in Moceanu’s footsteps in an astonishing way.

A multilayered memoir that transcends the world of sports, Off Balance will touch anyone who has ever dared to dream of a better life.

My Review: I got caught up in this book, and tried to imagine not really ever having a childhood. Dominique Moceanu started gymnastics at the age of three. She began competing at such a young age and winning Olympic Gold Medals at the age of 13.
We explore her home life, and the moving and practicing. Finally ending up with the Karolyi's and their style of training!
Be prepared to wish you were able to help this young child, and then along comes another secret....the missing piece?
With the 2012 Olympics approaching, we are given an eye opening look into the inner sanctum of and Elite Gymnast.
While the book does seem to keep repeating facts, it does tell a good and true story.

I received this book from Simon and Schuster and was not required to give a positive review.

View all my reviews

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning: A Novel by Olivia Newport

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning: A NovelThe Pursuit of Lucy Banning: A Novel by Olivia Newport
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lucy Banning has been born to a life of privilege, but has a heart for those that are less fortunate. She appears to have it all, when the story opens. She is taking college classes, behind everyone's back, and engaged to be married to her childhood friend Daniel.
Daniel is also from "Money", and has a career as a promising Banker. She has two older brother's Oliver and Leo. When her brother Leo brings home his friend Will, Lucy is very interested. Even her mother notices, and admonishes her....after all she is an engaged woman.
Lucy is also playing an active roll in the upcoming 1893 World's Fair. With this there are also strange things happening at the house.
I read this in almost one setting...such a great quick read...and you won't know all the answers to almost the end.

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

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis

The FiddlerThe Fiddler by Beverly Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just finished this wonderful Beverly Lewis book, and was not disappointed!
Wanted to move to Hickory Hollow, and find the peace that Amelia Devries found there.
You have the feeling of God leading Amelia to the peace she is so looking for. She is a Classically trained violinist, and to find some enjoyment, a self trained talented fiddler.
Michael Hostetler is a 25 year old Amishman, who loves his family, but wants more in life. He wants to be draftsman, and is having a hard time, when province lands Amelia at his doorstep.
Both love their families and live their lives for their families, with hopes for something different. So enjoyed the people of Hickory Hollow...especially the Wise Woman Ella Mae, and Joanna Kurtz. How I would love friends like them.
I highly recommend this very fast enjoyable read. I want to go back!!

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

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Wild Card Tours: The Telling by Mike Duran

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:

Realms (May 15, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mike Duran was a finalist in Faith in Fiction's inaugural short story contest and was chosen as one of ten authors to be published in Infuze Magazine’s 2005 print anthology. He is author of the short story “En Route to Inferno,” which appeared in Coach’s Midnight Diner: Back from the Dead edition, and received the Editor’s Choice award for his creative nonfiction essay titled “The Ark,” published in the Summer 2.3 Issue of Relief Journal. In between blogs, he also writes a monthly column for Novel Journey and has served as editor on the Midnight Diner’s editorial team. Duran is an ordained minister and lives with his wife and four grown children in Southern California.
Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A prophet never loses his calling, only his way.

Disfigured with a hideous scar from his stepmother, Zeph Walker lives his life in seclusion, cloistering himself in a ramshackle bookstore on the outskirts of town. But Zeph is also blessed with a gift—an uncanny ability to foresee the future,to know peoples’ deepest sins and secrets. He calls it the Telling, but he has abandoned this gift to a life of solitude, unbelief, and despair—until two detectives escort him to the county morgue where he finds his own body lying on the gurney.

On the northern fringes of Death Valley, the city of Endurance is home to llama ranches, abandoned mines, roadside attractions...and the mythical ninth gate of hell. Now, forced to investigate his own murder, Zeph discovers something even more insidious behind the urban legends and small-town eccentricities. Early miners unearthed a megalith—asacred site where spiritual and physical forces converge and where an ancient subterranean presence broods. And only Zeph can stop it.

But the scar on Zeph’s face is nothing compared to the wound on his soul. For not only has he abandoned his gift and renounced heaven, but it was his own silence that spawned the evil. Can he overcome his own despair in time to seal the ninth gate of hell?

His words unlocked something deadly,
And now the silence is killing them.





Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616386940
ISBN-13: 978-1616386948



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


He used to believe everyone was born with the magic, an innate hotline to heaven. Some called it intuition, a sixth sense; others called it the voice of God. Zeph Walker called it the Telling. It was not something you could teach or, even worse, sell- people just had it. Of course, by the time their parents, teachers, and society got through with them, whatever connection they had with the Infinite pretty much vanished. So it was, when Zeph reached his twenty-sixth birthday, the Telling was just an echo.
That's when destiny came knocking for him.
It arrived in the form of two wind-burnt detectives packing heat and a mystery for the ages. They flashed their badges, said he was needed for questioning. Before he could object or ask for details, they loaded him into the backseat of a mud-splattered Crown Victoria and drove across town to the county morgue. The ride was barely ten minutes, just long enough for Zeph Walker to conclude that, maybe, the magic was alive and well.
"You live alone?" The driver glanced at him in the rearview mirror.
Zeph adjusted his sunglasses. "Yes, sir."
"I don't blame you." The detective looked at his partner, who smirked in response.
Zeph returned his gaze to the passing landscape.
Late summers in Endurance were as beautiful as a watercolor and as hot as the devil's kitchen. The aspens on the ridge showed gold, and the dogwoods along the creeks had already begun to thin. Yet the arid breeze rising from Death Valley served as an ever-present reminder that beauty always lives in close proximity to hell.
They came to a hard stop in front of a white plaster building. The detectives exited the car, and Zeph followed their cue. A ceramic iguana positioned under a sprawling blue sage grinned mockingly at him. Such was the landscape decor of the county coroner's building. The structure doubled as a morgue. It occupied a tiny plot of red earth, surrounded by a manicured cactus garden complete with


2 | Mike Duran


indigenous flora, bison skulls, and birdbaths. Without previous knowledge, one could easily mistake the building for a cultural center or art gallery. Yet Zeph knew that something other than pottery and Picassos awaited him inside.
The bigger of the two detectives, a vaquero with a nifty turquoise belt buckle and matching bolo tie, pulled the door open and motioned for Zeph to enter. The man had all the charm of a cage fighter.
Zeph wiped perspiration off his forehead and stepped into a small vestibule.
“This way.” The cowboy clomped past, leaving the smell of sweat and cheap cologne.
They led him past an unoccupied desk into a corridor. Bland southwestern prints adorned sterile white walls. The stench of form- aldehyde and decay lingered here, and Zeph’s stomach flip-flopped in response. The hallway intersected another where two lab technicians stood in whispered conversation. They straightened as the detectives approached. After a brief nod from one of the white-jacketed men, Zeph’s escorts proceeded to an unmarked room.
“We got someone fer you to ID.” The cowboy placed his hand on the door and studied Zeph. “You don’t get sick easy, do ya?”
He swallowed. “Depends.”
“Well, if you’re gonna puke, don’t do it on these.” He pointed to a set of well-polished eel-skin boots. “Comprende?”
“No, sir. I mean—yes! Yes, sir.”
The detective scowled, then pushed the door open, waiting. Zeph’s heart was doing double-time. Whose body was he about to
see? What condition was it in? His mind raced with the possibilities. Maybe a friend had suffered a car accident. Although he didn’t have many friends to die in one. Perhaps the Hitcher, that mythical appari- tion who stalked the highway in his childhood, had claimed another victim. More likely Zeph’s old man had finally keeled over. However, he was convinced that his father had stopped living a long time ago.
Zeph drew a deep breath, took two steps into the room, perched his sunglasses on the top his head . . . and froze. In the center, framed under a single oval swath of light, lay a body on a autopsy table—a body that looked strangely familiar.
“Take a good look, Mr. Walker.” The detective’s boots clicked with precision on the yellowed linoleum. He circled the rolling metal


th e te ll i n g | 3


cart, remaining just outside the reach of the fluorescent light. “And maybe you can help us figger this out.”
Zeph remained near the door, hesitant to take another step.
“Go ahead.” The second detective sauntered around the opposite side, gesturing to the body. “He ain’t gonna bite.”
The detectives positioned themselves on either end of the table. They watched him.
A black marble countertop, its surface dulled by a thin blanket of dust, ran the length of one wall. In front of it sat a single wooden stool. The low-hanging lamp bleached the body monochrome. Zeph had seen enough procedurals and CSI knock-offs to know this was not an autopsy room. Perhaps it was used for viewings, maybe occa- sional poker games. But as the detectives studied him, he was starting to wonder if this was an interrogation room. Scalpels, pincers, saws. Oh, what exotic torture devices one might assemble from a morgue! Nevertheless, this particular room appeared to have not been used in a long time. And by the fevered sparkle in their eyes, these men seemed inspired about the possibility of doing so.
Zeph glanced from one man to the other, and then he edged toward the corpse.
Its flesh appeared dull, and the closer he got, the less it actu- ally looked like skin. Perhaps the body had been drained of blood or bleached by the desert sun. He inched closer. Sunken pockets appeared along the torso, and he found himself wondering what could have possibly happened to this person.
The head lay tilted back, its bony jaw upturned, cords of muscle taut across a gangly neck. A white sheet draped the body at the chest, and just above it a single bloodless hole about the size of a nickel notched the sternum. He crept forward, trying to distin- guish the person’s face. First he glimpsed nostrils, then teeth, and then . . . something else.
That something else brought Zeph to a standstill.
How could it be? Build. Facial features. Hair color. This person looked exactly like him. There was even a Star of David tattooed on the right arm, above the bicep—the same as Zeph’s.
What were the chances, the mathematical probabilities, that one human being could look so identical to another? Especially in a town the size of Endurance.


4 | Mike Duran


“Is this . . . ” Zeph’s tone was detached, his eyes fixed on the body. “Is this some kinda joke?”
The detectives hunkered back into the shadows without responding.
Goose bumps rose on Zeph’s forearms as the overhead vent rattled to life, sluicing cool air into the room. He took another step closer to the cadaver until his thigh nudged the table, jolting the stiff and bringing Zeph to a sudden stop. He peered at the bizarre figure.
Their similarities were unmistakable. The lanky torso and append- ages. The tousled sandy hair. Thick brows over deep-set eyes. This guy looks exactly like me!
However, it was one feature—the most defining feature of Zeph Walker’s existence—that left him teetering in disbelief: the four-inch scar that sheared the corpse’s mouth.
Zeph stumbled back, lungs frozen, hand clasped over the ugly scar on his own face.
“Darnedest thing, ain’t it?” The cowboy sounded humored by
Zeph’s astonishment. “Guy’s a spittin’ image of you, Mr. Walker.” Zeph slowly lowered his hand and glanced sideways at the man.
“Yeah. Except I don’t have a bullet hole in my chest.”
The detective’s grin soured, and he squinted warily at Zeph. “Indeed you don’t.” The second man stepped into the light. “But
the real question, young man, is why someone would want to put one there.”

Zeph Walker's has been horrible disfigured by his Step-Mother. He lives a very reclusive life, and made himself a prisoner with both physical and spiritual scars. He runs a book…well a help yourself book store. I felt like I was in a movie…full of evil…reminiscent of the Sci-Fi Chanel. People are still there, but not the same…their souls are missing? The book opens with Zeph being asked to identify his own body in the morgue…yes it was him…but it wasn't! We find out that he is a reluctant Prophet and is rejecting God. Don't miss this page turning read, you won't be able to put it down.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Litfuse Publicity Tour: Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Tawn Bergren


It was the summer of 1913, and Cora Kensington's life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, so is her father's health. Cora is carrying on, helping her mother run their Montana farm until a stranger comes to call, and everything changes. Cora then learns a secret that will radically change her future: she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king who has come to claim her.

Cora is invited to take the "Grand Tour" of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person's education, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and contemporary refinement.

As she travels from England to France with half-siblings she's never known, Cora encounters the blessings of the Kensington family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes the journey is only beginning.

Faced with the challenge of accepting her father, new family, and the identity that comes with it, Cora also struggles to accept that she is also the daughter of the one true King-a Father who is the only One who can truly heal.




Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs.






My Review:
Love this story...talk about rags to riches! Cora Deihl comes home from Normal School to find her Dad collapsed from a stroke. She ends up doing all the chores on the farm...including carrying water to water the wheat. Which in the end dying, after all the hard work, there is no return and they are going to loose the farm. Enter a complete stranger and her world is turned upside. She is no longer the poor farm girl...she is now a member of the Ultra Rich!!! So begins her new journey of meeting unknown relatives, and being waited on! She begins a "Grand Tour"...never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined this. Such sites and splendor, and unbelievable food and lush surroundings. There is also some romance thrown in...but with whom. I feel like I've been left on a cliff hanger, and thank goodness there are some more answers to come. This is such an enjoyable read...loved the descriptions and be prepared for possible kidnappings, and murder. Don't miss this one! I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Tours and the Publisher David C Cook, and was not required to give a positive review.

Litfuse Publicity Tour: Hope Springs by Kim Cash Tate



Hope Springs is the epitome of small-town life—a place filled with quiet streets where families have been friends for generations, a place where not a lot changes . . . until now.

Janelle Evans hasn’t gone back to Hope Springs for family reunions since losing her husband. But when she arrives for Christmas and learns that her grandmother is gravely ill, she decides to extend the stay. It isn’t long before she runs into her first love, and feelings that have been dormant for more than a decade are reawakened.

Becca Anderson is finally on the trajectory she’s longed for. Having been in the ministry trenches for years, she’s been recruited as the newest speaker of a large Christian women’s conference.

But her husband feels called to become the pastor of his late father’s church in Hope Springs. Will small-town living affect her big ministry dreams?

Stephanie London is married to a doctor in St. Louis and living an ideal life. When her cousin Janelle volunteers to stay in Hope Springs and care for their grandmother, she feels compelled to do the same. It’s a decision that will forever change her.

As these women come together, they soon recognize that healing is needed in their hearts, their families, and their churches that have long been divided along racial lines. God's plan for them in Hope Springs—and for Hope Springs itself—is bigger than they ever imagined.



Kim Cash Tate is the author of Cherished, Faithful, Heavenly Places and the memoir More Christian than African-American. A former practicing attorney, she is also the founder of Colored in Christ Ministries. She and her husband have two children.
Find out more about Kim, her other books and read her blog at www.kimcashtate.com.

Celebrate the release of Hope Springs with Kim Cash Tate by coming to her Author Chat Party on Facebook.

Find out what readers are saying here.

Grab your copy of Hope Springs and join me for an Author Chat Party on July 10th at 8:00 PM EST (that's 7:00 Central, 6:00 MST, & 5:00 PST)!

During the evening Kim will be sharing the story behind her new book, posting book club questions, testing your trivia skills, and of course, there will be plenty of chatting and fun giveaways - books, gift certificates and (I'm so excited about this) - a Kindle Fire!

But, wait there's more – she’ll also be giving you a sneak peak of her next book too!

RSVP today and then come back on the 10th ... and bring your friends!


My Review:

Hope Springs is a small town in North Carolina...held together by two churches...one white Calvery and the other black New Jerusalem. The story starts when Jim Anderson pastor of Calvery passes away. He lives next door to Geri Sanders and their families have lived by each other most all of their lives. Both families come back to town for his services. This book becomes a compelling read, and we are soon immersed in the lives of these families. While in town it is found out that Grandma Geri is dying of lung cancer. This fact changes a lot of lives, and the family begins to focus mainly on her well being. The center of the story are the lives of Granddaughters Janelle, Stephanie, Libby, and Becca Anderson...her husband is called to take over his Dad's Church. Throughout this book I found God leading, yes there are hard times, and a lot of tears shed. Don't miss this page turning read! I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group and the Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.

First Wild Card Tours: Annie;s Truth by Beth Shirver

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:

Realms (May 15, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Beth Shriver received a degree in social work and psychology from the University of Nebraska. She worked as a caseworker for Boulder County Department of Social Services before starting a family. Beth and her husband of twenty years and her two children live in Texas after moving from their first home in Colorado. She freelances for the local papers in her area and writes columns, devotionals for magazines, and novels in a variety of genres in both fiction and nonfiction.

Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:





Annie Bieler sets out on a journey of the spirit when she discovers she was adopted after being found as an abandoned newborn. Her father is strongly against her decision to go as it could mean Meidung, or excommunication from the community and even her family. But Annie knows she must find “the path that has her heart.” Her search also takes her away from John, the young man who is courting her.





Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161638607X
ISBN-13: 978-1616386078


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The dinner Bell rang just as one of the milk cows slapped Annie’s kapp with its tail. Now she was late for the evening meal. She pulled the black kapp off her head. When Maggie swatted Annie, the pins were knocked loose. She wiped off the dirt and cow manure then hastily twisted up her hair into a bun and pulled the kapp over her mess of hair.
“Need some help?” John Yoder’s dark eyes smiled at her.
She jumped at the sight of him looking down at her with a
grin. “Nee, I can finish up.”
Her mamm would scold her for her tardiness and her unruly hair, so she quickly grabbed two containers of milk, clutching them to her chest. When she turned around, John was removing the cups from the Guernsey’s udders.
“Danke. The boys must have missed a couple.” The cover of one of the containers lifted, causing milk to spill out onto her black dress. Annie wiped her hand on her white apron. Frustration bubbled up and burst out in an irritated groan.
“Now what?” John opened the barn door and shut it behind them.
Annie pointed to the milk stain and slowed her walk so he could catch up. Her mamm wouldn’t be as upset with her if she saw Annie with John.
“I spilled on myself, my hair’s a mess, and I’m late.” She jug- gled the containers to keep them in place as she walked.
John’s smile never left, just tipped to the side while she listed her worries. “You’re never late.”
“You will be too if you keep talking to me.” The milk sloshed






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Beth Shriver


around in the containers as she adjusted them again. “Taking the long way home?”
“Jah, thought I’d come by to say hallo.” He took one from her then reached for the other.
She turned slightly so he couldn’t reach the second bottle. “I’ve got this one.”
“Suit yourself.” He shrugged as his grin widened.
They walked together toward their houses, which were down the path from one another, divided by a dozen trees. John was three the day Annie was born and had been a part of her life more than her own brothers were at times. His brown hair brushed his collar as he walked with her, holding back to keep in step with Annie.
“Aren’t you late to help with cooking?” He nodded toward her white clapboard house. A birdfeeder was hung at the far end of the porch, which had a peaked black roof, and daisies filled her mamm’s flower garden in front of the house. Mamm created a colorful greeting of flora for every season.
She shook her head. “Nee, Eli’s helping the Lapps, so I’m helping the boys with milking. What were you doing, cutting tobacco?”
He nodded. “Nice day for it too. The sun was bright, but there was a breeze that kept us cool.” He lifted his strong, handsome face toward the sunshine and took in a deep breath.
He was just trying to irritate her, so she ignored his jab. John knew she preferred being outdoors and that she would trade places with him in an instant. When the time was right she would help with the tobacco harvesting and, along with many others, would then prepare the meal after the task was done.
“It looked warm outside to me.” She took the milk from him and kept walking. The last of the warm summer days were coming to an end, and soon it would be time for fall harvesting.
They reached the trail that led to John’s home on the far side
of a stand of tall oak trees. “Not as hot as in the kitchen.” He




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Annie’s Truth
snapped his suspenders and turned onto the trail leading away from her.
“John Yoder . . . ” was all she could say this close to her daed’s ears. She watched him continue on down the roughed-out dirt lane thinking of what she would have said if she could. Her gaze took in the many acres of barley, corn, and oat crops and then moved to the Virginia mountainside beyond, where the promise of fall peeked out between the sea of green.
Annie walked up the wooden stairs and into the kitchen. The room was simple and white, uncluttered. A long table and chairs took over the middle of the large room, and rag rugs of blue and emerald added color and softness. For a unique moment it was silent.
“Annie?” Her mamm’s voice made her worry again about being late, with a soiled dress and unkempt hair.
Her tall, slender mamm stopped picking up the biscuits from a baking pan and placed both hands on the counter. She let out a breath when Annie came into the kitchen. “Ach, good, you brought the milk.” Mamm’s tired gaze fell on Annie.
“I was talking with John.” She opened the cooler door and placed the milk on the shelf.
Her mamm’s smile told Annie she wasn’t late after all, so she continued. “He said it was a good day for baling.”
Hanna and her brother strolled in, and he grabbed a biscuit, creating a distraction that allowed Annie time to twist her hair up and curl it into a tight bun. A tap from their mamm’s hand made her son drop the biscuit back into the basket with the rest. “I’m so hungry.” Thomas’s dark freckles on his pudgy face con- trasted to his light hair and skin, so unlike Annie’s olive-colored
complexion, which was more like their daed’s.
She tousled his hair. “You are always the first one to dinner
and the last one to leave.”
“I’m a growing child. Right, Mamm?” Thomas took the basket of biscuits to the table and set them next to his plate.
“That you are. Now go sit down and wait for the others.”


5








Beth Shriver


Mamm placed a handful of biscuits in the breadbox and brushed her hands off on her white apron.
While they waited for the others to wash up, she addressed
Annie. “John walked you out this morning and walked you home?” “Like he has most every day of my life.” Annie’s voice almost
reached the edge into sarcasm, but she smiled to make light of it. Didn’t her mamm know that her obvious nudging turned Annie away from John, not toward him?
Hanna had been quiet, listening, and walked over to Annie. “Should we ask Mamm if we can look in our chests in the attic?” Annie peered over Hanna’s shoulder at Mamm. “Jah, but let’s
wait until after supper.”
Her mamm’s brow lifted just as the buzz of her family coming into the room sidetracked her attention from Annie and Hanna. The younger ones were restless with hunger, and the older sib- lings talked amongst themselves. Frieda, Hanna, Augustus, Eli, Thomas, and Samuel all sat in the same chairs they were always in, and Annie took her assigned seat with the rest.
Her daed sat at the head of the table and waited with watchful eyes until everyone was quiet. When Amos folded his hands, all followed suit, and they all said silent grace.
Geef ons heden ons dagelijks brood. Give us this day our daily bread. Amen. Annie thought the words then kept her eyes closed until she heard movement from the others.
Amos passed the food to his right until it made a full circle back to him.
“We’ve almost finished with the Lapps’s tobacco field,” Annie’s oldest brother, Eli, informed Amos. He and Hanna had Mamm’s silky blond hair and blue eyes, but Hanna didn’t have her disposition.
Amos nodded and lifted a bite of chicken to his mouth.
Eli leaned toward Amos. “I can then tend to our barley day after tomorrow.”
Amos spoke without looking at his son. “You will work the
Lapps’s land until they say you are finished. Not before.”


6








Annie’s Truth
The gleam in Eli’s dark eyes faded as he took up his fork. “Jah, Daed.”
Mamm spoke then. “It’s an honor you are able to help them while their daed recovers.” She shifted her attention to her hus- band. “Have you heard how Ephraim is healing?”
Amos continued to eat as he spoke to her mamm. “His back is mending. It’s his worrisome wife that keeps him laid up.”
“Ach, I’d probably do the same if it were you.” Mamm waited a moment until Daed’s mouth lifted into a half smile.
He gave the table a smack to stop Frieda from tempting Thomas with another biscuit. “The boy can help himself without your teasing him.”
She set their hands in her lap. “Jah, Daed.”
He nodded for them to eat again. Conversation was uncommon during meals, so Annie let her mind wander. Harvest season was approaching, and the excitement of upcoming weddings was on everyone’s mind. Although the courtship was to be kept quiet, most knew which couples would most likely be married in the coming months.
Annie’s mind went to John, the one she knew her parents, as well as his, would expect her to be with. Although she had feel- ings for him, she wished her spouse would not be chosen for her. It had changed her relationship with him just knowing what their expectations were. He had been her best friend, but she now kept him at bay, hoping for more time before the pressure became too great and they were forced to marry.
She put the palm of her hand to her forehead, resting there with thoughts of who else she could possibly be with from their community. Names went through her mind, but not one appealed to her in the same way John did.
Hanna nudged Annie as everyone began to clear the table. Annie’s mind rushed back to the present. She knew why Hanna wanted her attention. She was thinking about the upcoming nup- tials too. Their wedding chests gave them promise for their own
special day.


7








Beth Shriver


“Let’s ask Mamm.” Hanna’s eyes shone with excitement. Annie felt a lift in her spirits at the thought of having the privi- lege to rummage through their special treasures. She looked at her mamm laughing at her brother’s story of his britches getting caught on the Lapps’s fence. Her smile faded when he showed her the hole the wire made, which she would be mending that evening.
“You ask her,” Annie urged.
Hanna was the closest to Annie’s age and her confidante, as she was Hanna’s. “After dinner.” Hanna got up from her chair to help.
Frieda started the hand pump as the others gathered the dishes and put away the extra food. Once the dishes were cleaned and dried, Hanna and Annie went to their mamm, who stacked plates in the cupboard as the girls walked over to her.
“What do you want to ask me?” Mamm continued with the dishes until the last plate was put away.
Hanna and Annie looked at one another. Annie furrowed her brows to make Hanna talk.
“We’d like to see our hope chests.”
“It’s a long while from any weddings being published.” Mamm placed a hand on the counter and studied them. “Okay, then. But after your lessons are done.”
Hanna grabbed Annie’s hand, and they walked quickly from the kitchen. “Jah, Mamm,” they said in unison. Annie hadn’t looked through her chest since she’d given up the doll her mamm had made for her. Since it was her first, Annie had chosen to store it after receiving another from her aunt.
Hanna urged Annie to stop doing homework after she com- pleted hers, but Annie wouldn’t go until she’d finished her story. Finally the girls ran up the wooden stairs to the attic. Hanna grabbed the metal doorknob and pushed on the door to open it. The door creaked in the darkness, and Annie held the kerosene lamp up to examine the room before entering. It looked exactly
the same as the last time she’d been there.


8








Annie’s Truth
A chest of drawers held baby clothes, and beside it stood a cabinet full of documents and paperwork Daed kept but never seemed to use. Special dresses and a bonnet hung on the far side of the room alongside a box of old toys her daed and Eli had made.
The girls spotted the chests lined up next to one another, where they would remain until their owners were married. Amos had made each of his girls one in which to keep their sentimental belongings. One day, when they had their own homes, they would have a memory of their daed and the things they held dear during their childhood.
Annie ran to the last one. Amos had lined them up according to age, so Hanna’s was right next to Annie’s. “You first,” Annie told Hanna.
“Nee, you.” Hanna moved closer to Annie and watched her lift the heavy wooden lid. “I can’t wait.” Hanna went to her chest and opened it as well. “Ach, I’d forgotten.” Hanna reached for the doll Mamm had made for her.
Annie grabbed hers, and they examined them together, just alike and equally worn. “I loved this doll! I had forgotten how much I played with it when I was a child.” The black bonnet was torn around the back, and the hay stuffing peeked out the back of the doll’s dress.
“Mine is tattered as well. I’m glad we put them away when we did, or there would be nothing left of them.” Hanna glanced at Annie’s doll.
Annie placed the doll in her lap and pulled out her wedding quilt, the one of many colors. Hanna’s was a box design, and Annie’s was circles within circles, resembling the circle of life. She ran her hand across the beautifully stitched material and admired her mamm’s handiwork. When she looked up, Hanna was doing the same.
Their eyes met. “Hold yours up so I can see.” Hanna’s voice was soft and breathy. “It’s beautiful, Annie. You’re lucky to be
closer to marrying than me.”


9








Beth Shriver


Annie tilted her head and turned the quilt to face her. “I don’t feel ready.”
Hanna’s brows drew together in question. “Why? You’ve always known you’ll be with John. And he is a handsome one.” She grinned. “I’ll take him off your hands.”
Annie tried to force a smile. “Why has everyone chosen my spouse for me?”
Hanna put her quilt back into the chest. “Don’t let your mind wander. Just be happy with the way things are.”
Annie fell silent, in thought. “Questioning is how we find the
truth.”
“The truth has already been found.” Hanna reached for her family Bible as she spoke.
Annie nodded, humbled, and looked for her special Bible. She moved a carved toy Eli had made for her and a book her mamm had given to her. Finally, at the very bottom, she found a Bible the minister gave her. As she opened it up, she skimmed through the flimsy pages. She went to the very front of the book and smiled when she saw how she had written her name as a young girl. The letters were varied sizes and uneven.
Her mamm’s and daed’s names were both written under hers, their dates of birth, and a list of her brothers and sisters under that. Births and other dates of additional relatives proceeded on to the next page, including the dates of their marriages. Annie flipped back to the first page and noticed the day of her birth was missing. Only the year was written; the day did not precede it, only the month.
“Hanna, come look.” Annie handed her the Bible and searched her sister’s face for some sign that she knew the reason for the omission. Annie thought back to the days her family recognized her birthday—one in particular.
Birthdays were often celebrated after church service on Sundays when everyone was already together and they wouldn’t take time away from daily chores during the week. This being
tradition, Annie didn’t think much of the exact date of her birth.


10








Annie’s Truth
Thoughts of self were discouraged. Everyone was treated equally so as to prevent pride.
On Annie’s thirteenth birthday she had been surprised by her family and friends with a party. A cake with thirteen candles was brought out, and gifts were given. Her brother had made her a handmade wooden box, and her sister, a picture of flowers. Other useful gifts such as nonperishable food and fancy soaps made by her aunt in the shape of animals piled up on the picnic table next to a half-eaten cake.
The best gift was from John. He had taken an orange crate and decorated it with his wood-burning tools. It was filled with small, flat wooden figures of every significant person in her life. The time and care he had put into the gift had touched Annie. She treated the present with such care she had thought it wise to store it in her hope chest. Now Annie wished she had enjoyed the box more.
She searched for it now and found the pieces scattered throughout the bottom of the chest. She picked up the wooden figures one by one, examined them, and put them in the box. Although they all looked alike, as no graven images were per- mitted, she used her imagination to pick out each person. Frieda, Hanna, Augustus, Eli, Thomas, and Samuel were all accounted for, then Mamm and her daed, her mammi and dawdi—grandparents—then John and her. All of the boy fig- ures looked the same as well except for their height, facial hair, and a hat her dawdi always wore.
She’d envision John’s figure to be the exception. He had a thick head of black hair and always wore it a bit longer than he should. He could always get away with such things due to his charismatic personality. That was something not encouraged, so not often seen in their community.
Annie ran a finger along the small wooden likeness of John and wondered if she shouldn’t dismiss him so readily. As a friend she adored him, but the thought of marrying him annoyed her.
But did that feeling come because of him, or was it her?


11








Beth Shriver


Hanna’s sigh brought Annie back to the moment. Hanna looked from her Bible to Annie’s. “That’s odd, isn’t it?”
Annie turned a crisp page and stared at the words again. “I
wonder if Mamm simply didn’t remember to fill in the day.”
Hanna frowned. “It’s not like Mamm to forget to do anything like this.”
Annie didn’t want to believe that Mamm forgot, and Hanna was right in that their mamm never left anything undone, espe- cially when it came to her children. “I’m sure there’s a reason.”
“The only thing left to do is ask.” Hanna closed the Bible and handed it to Annie.
Annie took the black book, its pages edged with light gold. “Don’t you want to?” Hanna grasped her hands together and
set them on her knees.
“Jah, I do.” Annie stroked the top of the golden pages with her
finger. “And then I don’t.”
Hanna grunted. “Well, that’s silly.”
Annie stopped and took the Bible in both hands. “But I have a strange feeling.” Annie squeezed the Good Book. “Maybe it’s better if I don’t know.”






My Review:
I just finished reading Annie's Truth, and could not put it down...it was done in less than a day. Now I'm wanting more! As the story begins Annie Beiler is about to find out that she was adopted. Annie and her sister Hanna got their Mother's permission to go the attic and go through their hope chests. In doing so, Annie opens her bible and finds that her birth date is not filled in. When she goes and finds her Mom and Dad to find out the circumstance of her birth...she is thrown into a tizzy and yearns to learn more of why? With her Mother's help she leave and goes to another city to find out as much as she can. She stays with a former Amish family who seem to want to help her, and she does learn a lot! She finally decides to return to her home and family. You will wonder what has happened since she left and if she is going to be shunned? She was in a relationship with John Yoder before she left, and while away she has found how much she has missed him. You will find yourself rooting for her...no matter what. We meet tough Deacon Zeke...and a Sweetheart Bishop Omar. You will find yourself immersed in this Amish Community very fast, and never want to leave. Enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

First Wild Card Tours: Chameleon by Jillian Kent

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:

Realms (May 15, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Jillian Kent has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers for several years. She has also been a member of Romance Writers of America for 20 years and a member of The Beau Monde, Kiss of Death, and Faith, Hope, and Love specialty chapters of RWA. With a master’s degree in social work, Jillian is employed as a counselor for nursing students, which reflects within the pages of her first novel, Secrets of the Heart, which won the 2009 Inspiration for Writers contest and was a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier; the Noble Theme; and Faith, Hope, and Love’s Touched by Love contests.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:







Lady Victoria Grayson has always considered herself a keen observer of human behavior, but when she finds herself involved in a sinister plot targeting the lords of Parliament she is forced to question how much anyone can really know about another human being.





Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616384964
ISBN-13: 978-1616384968



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.
-HENRY DAVID THOREAU

London, 29 March 1818

ST. JAMES PARK loomed in front of them, shrouded in a heavy mist that created difficulty for horse and driver as the coach and four maneuvered its way into the park.
Inside the vehicle Victoria leaned toward the window, straining to see the outline of trees. "Such a disappointment," she sighed. "This is not what I expected my very first morning in London. I'd so hoped to see more on the ride through the park, something exciting to tell Devlin when we get to his home."
"Don't despair, my lady." Nora, her maid, pulled a heavy shawl tighter about her shoulders. "'Tis sure to be the same mist that abounds in Yorkshire. This nuisance will lift eventually. It always does."
Victoria patted the sleek head of her dog. "Even Lazarus grows bored." She marveled at her best friend, a behemoth of a mastiff, as he lowered his bulk to the floor of the coach with a loud groan and laid his head across her slipper-covered feet, creating a comfortable warmth. He'd been with her for years, and she couldn't leave him behind. The poor dear would cry himself to sleep every night.


Victoria allowed the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves and Nora’s penchant for humming songs to lull her into a light sleep. Nora’s humming had comforted her all those years she’d been sick at Ravensmoore. While everyone else lived their busy lives out around her, she’d done little but survive, taking comfort in the small things that brought her joy.
A sudden crash caused the coach door to vibrate. Victoria screamed and bolted upright as Lazarus pressed his nose and giant paws against the carriage window. A low growl rumbled in his throat.
She grabbed the dog by the collar. Heart pounding, she turned to
Nora. “What was that?”
“Highwaymen!” Nora’s hand crept to her neck, and fear filled her eyes.
The coachman drew the horses to a halt and opened the top hatch. “I fear I may have run someone down, my lady, but in this fog I can’t tell.”
“We must find out at once. Someone may be hurt.” Victoria threw open the door, and Lazarus bounded into the mist. “Lazarus! Find!” She called after him, but he was already well on his way. She stepped from the coach, nearly tripping in her haste.
“Wait, my lady,” Nora cried. “’Tis not safe. Come back!”
The driver’s voice echoed through the mist. “You’ll lose your way, my lady. Stop where you are.”
But the warning wasn’t necessary. Victoria could hear Lazarus snuffling the ground someplace nearby. She bit her lip and told her- self to be brave, even as her heart slammed against her chest.
At the same time Lazarus let out a warning bark, the mist shifted. Victoria’s hand clamped over her mouth.
A man lay on his side only a few feet in front of her.
She shouted back to the coach. “I’ve found him! I need help.” She dropped to her knees and touched his shoulder. He didn’t move.


2


She touched his arm and gently shook it. “Sir, are you conscious? Are you injured?” But before she could investigate further, strong arms lifted her and turned her away from the sight. She assumed it was Mr. Smythe, the carriage driver.
“This is not something a lady should see,” the man said.
But as he turned her from the body, she caught a glimpse of the man’s head. She gasped. There was just enough light to see streaks of blood upon one deathly pale cheek.
“We hit him,” she cried. “The coach—” She lifted her head expecting to see the kind eyes of Mr. Smythe and met the warm, brilliant, gray eyes of a stranger. “Who . . . who are you? Who is he? Did we kill him?” She buried her face in her rescuer’s shoulder to rid her mind of the sight.
“It does not appear so, my lady,” he said, his voice low and comforting.
He deposited her inside the coach. Before she could speak, Lazarus bounded in next to her, rocking the vehicle precariously. She patted his head to calm him, and when she looked up at the man again, she saw only icy gray eyes and a rigid jaw line.
She studied those eyes momentarily and heard Nora say, “You poor dear. What is it that you saw?”
“Not the sight any young woman should witness, miss,” the stranger said. “But I believe I prevented her from viewing the worst of the man’s injuries.” He hesitated, then added, “This was no fault of the driver. Take care of this young woman. I’ll get help for the gentleman. Carlton House is nearby.”
“Nonsense,” Victoria whispered. “Use the coach. Our driver will take you.”
He nodded and bowed. “You’re very kind.”
She wondered if it had been her imagination or if his eyes fre- quently switched from an icy gray coolness to a warm molten gray


3


in only moments.. She wondered what this meeting might have been like under different circumstances.
“Be still,” Nora said. “You’ve had a shock.”
She heard the stranger and Mr. Smythe lifting the injured man to the driver’s seat. “God have mercy,” the driver said.
“I’ll show you to Carlton House through this heavy fog. He can get the help he needs there. Who am I indebted to?”
“I’m taking Lady Victoria Grayson and her maid to the lady’s brother.”
“And that would be?” “Lord Ravensmoore, sir.”
They approached Carlton House a few minutes later. Victoria clutched the edge of the seat, attempting to recover from what had happened and what she’d witnessed. As if he understood, Lazarus licked her hand. The coach came to a halt.
The fog still lay heavy on the ground. Victoria could barely make out the two figures moving toward the door and into the palace. But even as their images faded, her thoughts returned to the stranger who’d lifted her away from the bleeding man and carried her back to the coach. The stranger with strong arms and fascinating gray eyes.
Victoria found her strength as the fog lifted and patches of sun- light appeared through the trees, dappling the ground with their shadows. London came alive. Though her curiosity remained keen, she turned her thoughts to her brother and kept her mind on the joy it would be to see him again. He’d only been absent from their home at Ravensmoore for two months, but it seemed far longer.
She stared in unabashed awe at the sea of activity that sur- rounded them as their coach merged with others, making its way through the muddy, rutted streets. The crowded sidewalks teemed with people of all classes. Women in brilliant gowns of color swirled


4


past street urchins and beggars, meshing into an ever-shifting tap- estry of humanity.
She’d stepped into a world bigger than York, a world she’d only dreamed about. Victoria leaned back against the banquette and sighed. “Now that I can see it properly, London is magnificent.”
“I think it best if you have your brother examine you when we arrive, my lady Victoria. You know how he worries. You know how I worry. ’Tis a blessing to have a brother who is both a lord and physician.”
Victoria turned away from the window and assessed her maid. “I am no longer an invalid, Nora, and well you know it.” She lifted her chin a notch. “I’m stronger than either you or my brother realize.” Nora met her gaze, her brow furrowed with worry. Victoria lifted her hand to dismiss the words of warning she knew were sure to come. But Nora, having been her constant companion the past eleven years and knowing her so well, caught Victoria’s hand.
“Child, you’re pale and weary from our travels and that horrid incident in the park. ’Tis a good thing we’ve made this journey, but I think your brother will agree with me that you need to rest.”
“I’ve been resting my entire life. It’s time to live and catch up on the adventures that God has in store for me. How many times did you read Jeremiah twenty-nine, eleven to me throughout the years? Did you not believe those words yourself?”
Nora nodded, keeping her lips firmly pressed together in an obvious effort to curb her tongue. A difficult feat, Victoria under- stood and appreciated.
As if sensing the tension and hoping to break up an ensuing argument, Lazarus nuzzled and nudged Victoria’s attention away from her maid and back toward the window to watch a group of young boys chasing each other down the street. He barked and strained against the coach door. Victoria couldn’t move him from his place of entertainment if she’d tried.


5


“Such a window hound you are, Lazarus.” Victoria rubbed her hand over his big, sleek head, ruffling his ears. “If you wanted my attention, you would more readily share your window.” She smiled and turned her gaze toward the window on the opposite side. Men and women hawked their wares and called to them in hopes of making a profit. “You can do no wrong in my eyes, Lazarus. If you hadn’t been with us earlier, that poor man might still be lying in the park.” She tried to shake off the sense of dread that seeped through her pores. She refused to allow the upset of the morning to ruin her reunion with her brother.
“I’m sorry, Nora.” She studied the dark-haired, blue-eyed woman who was eleven years her senior. Nora had always seemed more of an aunt to her than a maid and companion.
“You’re forgiven.” A smile quirked the corners of her mouth. “You really are too pretty to continue caring for me much longer.
Why is it you haven’t yet married?”
Now Nora chose to gaze out the window to escape further inquiry. “I will when the time and the suitor are right.”
Victoria ended that line of questioning, and they rode in com- panionable silence the rest of the way, each lost in thought.
The busy streets gave way to quieter and more prestigious ave- nues as they made their way to Grosvenor Square and her brother’s London townhome. The quality of the air improved as they moved farther from the central streets and into the areas of the upper crust. The coach slowed and then pulled to a halt in front of number three, Devlin’s home.
“I cannot wait another moment.” Grabbing the handle of the coach door, Victoria stepped out onto the curb. Lazarus bounded out after her and onto the street.
“Good heavens! It’s a bear,” an elderly woman said, clinging to her husband.
Victoria smothered a grin. “He’s quite harmless.”


6


The couple hurried away from the dog.
Nora bolted from the coach and grabbed Lazarus by the collar, holding him fast as he strained to make chase.
“Thank you, Nora. Just in time.”
Victoria gathered her blue velvet traveling skirts and ran up the five steps to the entrance. She reached for the gilded knocker, hesi- tated, and then, after adjusting her gloves, started to grab the handle instead. But the door opened before her hand reached it.
Devlin’s butler appeared. A smile lit his face when he saw Victoria. “Lady Victoria,” he said, and then executed a most noble bow. When he straightened, his pleasure at seeing her was still apparent. “Welcome to London.”
“Henry!” Victoria said. “It is good to see you. Do you mind taking Lazarus? He adores you almost as much as I do.”
“For you I would take Lazarus on a walk to the ends of the earth,”
he said with cheerful amiability.
“Who is it that you are taking for a walk, Henry?” Devlin appeared in the doorway, tall and handsome with that brotherly smile of his and assessing green-eyed gaze. “Ah, there she is. My favorite imp. What took you so long? I expected you yesterday.” He held out his arms. “Are you well?”
“I believe so. We stopped at a nearby inn last evening. The rain made travel a bit difficult.” Victoria burrowed deep into her brother’s warm, comforting embrace. “I’ve missed you, Dev,” she whispered into his chest and squeezed him tight. “I’ve missed you so much.”
“And I, you.” Devlin held her at arm’s length. “It’s good to see you. Now, come in and tell me all about your journey and how my wife is doing at home without me.” He looked up at Nora. “Has she behaved herself on this trip, Nora?”
Her companion grinned. “Nothing out of the ordinary for Lady
Victoria, yer lordship.”


7


“That speaks volumes.” Devlin gently pinched his sister’s cheek. “Henry, I believe Nora would love to hear about town.”
“Of course, yer lordship. Welcome to London, Nora. Would you care to accompany me? And allow me to take Lazarus off your hands.”
“Bless you for that, Henry. He wears me down too quickly.” “Come along, Lazarus.” He accepted the leash from Nora and
quickly fastened it to the dog’s collar.
Nora nodded. “It will help me find my balance again after a long, bumpy, and perilous ride in the coach. I’ll catch you up with all that’s happened back at Ravensmoore.”
Devlin started to enter the house with Victoria and then turned back to Henry. “And Henry,” he called, “don’t forget to feed the beast before you return him to Victoria.”
“Feed him, sir? And just who should be the sacrifice? Lazarus has a shine to his eyes, and I’m thinking it is for me.”
“Get creative, man. Start with Cook.”
“Now, there’s a right smart answer,” Henry said and laughed. “Mrs. Miller will faint dead away.”
Devlin grinned, a wicked glint in his green eyes. “If Cook has the nerve to faint, let Lazarus nibble at her.”
“Devlin!” Victoria feigned horror. “What an outlandish thing to say.” She covered a grin. “That would bring her around faster than smelling salts.”
She turned to watch Lazarus leading Henry and Nora down the street. Her thoughts fled to what might be happening at Carlton House. A shudder crept up her spine. She decided to wait to tell Devlin of her experience in the park. Guilt niggled, but she just wasn’t ready to divulge that bit of information. After all, her freedom was at stake. One thought of her in danger, and Devlin would ship her back to York before she got settled in. No doubt


8


Nora would reveal all if she didn’t stop her maid when she returned from the walk.
“Are you cold?” Devlin asked, assessing her carefully. “Come in. You must be exhausted.”
“Not really. The ride was but a couple of hours.” “No adventures during your journey, Snoop?”
She loved his pet name for her. She was more than a bit curious about everything life had to offer, and Devlin used her nickname more often than her given name. “Adventures? What could possibly happen on a two-hour ride into town?” She swallowed hard, hoping her expression didn’t give her away. She would tell him when the time was right.
“Knowing you, just about anything.”
“I promise to give you a full report.” Eventually. And as she stepped into her brother’s townhome, she wondered how she could discover more about her gray-eyed stranger and the bloodied man he’d taken to Carlton House.





Jonathon Denning, Lord Witt, nearly collided with the guard on duty while carrying Lord Stone into Carlton House.
“Send for the regent and his physician immediately,” he ordered. “There’s been an accident. I need a place where Lord Stone can be treated, and privacy is a must. Not a word of this leaves your lips. Do you understand?”
The guard nodded and headed toward one of the pages standing nearby. “You heard Lord Witt. Be off with you, and hurry, Thomas.”
Witt watched as the page fled down a long corridor.
“Follow me, Lord Witt. We’ll take him upstairs to the guest lodg- ings. Allow me to carry him.”
“I can manage,” Witt muttered. “Go, man. Lead the way, and make sure you choose a room that is not easily found.”


9


The guard wasted no time, and after climbing to the second floor, Witt lay Stone on a four-poster bed surrounded by green drapes. Out of breath, Witt collapsed into a chair, mentally taking stock of all that had happened in the period of a mere half hour.
The guard paled when he saw the severity of Lord Stone’s wounds. “Not a word. Remember that, or I’ll have your post. Now draw those drapes and leave. Send a decanter of brandy. I need a drink.
Better yet, send two.”
Witt sat in a chair near the bed and tried to think about what to do next, as the regent was sure to ask his opinion. He’d been a valued spy during the war, and the regent frequently asked his advice. He sat forward and rested his head in his hands. He’d simply gone out for an early morning walk before Parliament, heard the coach approaching, and scrambled to get out of the way before he was run down.
The muffled sounds of an obviously disturbed dog had fired him to action. He ran a short distance through the mist and then had come upon a well-dressed lady, her massive dog, and Lord Stone. One look at the huge dog had almost caused him to retreat, but he couldn’t leave a young woman to deal with what he’d seen of Stone’s face.
The driver had said the woman was Ravensmoore’s sister. Ironic, since he’d been keeping an eye on the “Lord Doctor” at Prinny’s request.
Prinny, as the regent was known amongst the ton, didn’t know if he liked the idea of one of his lords working as a physician. A nobleman working a trade drew suspicion. What was the point? Although Ravensmoore’s reputation had been spotless when he’d come into his title, it was anticipated that he would leave the study of medicine to manage his estate. Instead he’d pursued this obses- sion that he referred to as a calling and allowed his man of affairs


10


to run his estate when he was forced to be absent. Prinny wanted to know if there was more to it or if Ravensmoore was simply eccentric.
He heard the unhappy growling of the regent and his doctor as they neared the suite of rooms. Witt steeled himself.
“What in the name of all that is reasonable has caused this incon- venience?” roared Prinny when he burst through the outer sitting room. He was still steaming as he entered the bedroom with his physician in tow.
Witt stood. “Your Royal Highness.” He bowed. “Lord Stone has been attacked. I found him in the park. He needs your physician’s immediate attention.”
The overstuffed physician huffed. “I’ll decide what necessitates immediate attention, Lord Witt.”
“Then I suggest you make the determination.” Witt nodded toward the bed. The physician hesitated.
The regent said, “Get on with it. I’m busy today. For the love of good food, Parliament reconvenes this afternoon.”
The physician huffed again and went to the bed, grabbing the drapes and pulling them back. “Great heavens. What’s happened to the man?” He opened the black bag he carried with him. “I’ll need a nursemaid.”
Prinny then stepped closer to evaluate Stone’s condition himself. He sucked in a breath. “The poor devil! Get on with it, doctor. Do everything you can to save him.” The regent, visibly shaken, looked at Witt. “Tell me everything. What happened? We must find out who did this to Stone.”
“Your Majesty.” The physician turned from the bed with a bloody missive in his shaking hand. “I found this pinned to his waistcoat. A warning.”
“Who dares?” He snatched the paper away and read it. “Lord
Witt, today’s session of Parliament must be canceled.” Witt arched a brow.


11


Prinny handed him the blood-stained parchment.
Witt read the note aloud. “‘You have been found guilty of con- spiring with sinful men for sinful purposes. I will now handle the situation as I see fit. Stone is only the first. Repent, you lords of par- liament.’ And it’s signed, ‘Lord Talon.’”
“Curse this Lord Talon.” Prinny looked to Witt for direction. “We must decide the best course of action, and soon. No one has dared attack a member of Parliament since Bellingham assassinated our prime minister, and that was six years ago.”
Ravensmoore came to mind, but Witt faltered for just a moment. No doubt the man was the best there was, and his skills badly needed. But his sister had only just arrived in London, and this sit- uation could put her and her brother in danger. An edge of uneasi- ness rippled down his back.
“Witt,” the regent said. “What is your recommendation?”
Witt took charge. “We must proceed with caution. Tell no one about the note. Not yet. And don’t say anything to anyone about the signature of this Lord Talon. I suggest we ask Lord Ravensmoore to join us immediately. Having a physician who is a peer can prove most helpful.”
The regent paced and mumbled to himself, seemingly in a struggle to make a decision. Finally he said, “Send for him.”


12
My Review:
Loved this look into Historical England...this book takes place in 1818. We begin with an attack by very big bird...a Hawk...on Lord Stone. What is going on? We are at the beginning of a a big scary mystery.
Lady Victoria Grayson, has journeyed to London, now in good health, she wants to enjoy life. She has gone to the home of her physician brother, Lord Ravensmoore.
With all that is going on her path crosses with Lord Witt. Sparks begin to fly between the two, and the mystery deepens. Love how Victoria embraces her new healthy life, and how she lets God lead her.
Don't want to get away the ending, but it will surely surprise you and sadden you at the same time.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tywebbin Virtual Tours: The Guilt Trip by Pat Simmons


Aaron “Ace” Jamieson is living a carefree life. He’s good-looking, respectable when he’s in the mood, but his weakness is women. When a woman tries to ambush him with a pregnancy, he takes off in the other direction. Responsibility as an option is something he learned from his absentee father.
Talise Rogers has a bright future ahead of her. She’s pretty and has no problem catching a man’s eye, which is exactly what she does with Ace. Their chemistry is undeniable and their passion explosive. Trapping Ace is the furthest thing from Talise’s mind, when she learns she is pregnant. She is determined to be a good parent.
When Ace rejects her she lets him know, ” I want nothing from you Ace, not even your name,” and she means it. But Ace’s big brother and cousins don’t plan to let the child who represents the twelfth generation descendant of a royal African tribe leave the fold. Whether Ace decides to accept his responsibility or not, his family embraces Talise and baby. As for Ace, they turn him over to the LORD. How long will he be able to endure the guilt trip he’s experiencing because of his choices? What will it take for him to accept responsibility and turn from following in his father’s footsteps?

About The Series

The Jamieson Family Legacy series follows the lives of the two Jamieson brothers in Boston, Kidd and Ace and their cousin Cameron from St. Louis. Kidd, the older brother, is struggling with anger and resentment issues toward his absentee father who never married his mother, but had the audacity to demand his illegitimate sons carry his last name Jamieson. Ace, on the other hand, is on a collision course with disaster as he shows how much a “chip off the old block” he is when it comes to women. Their highly educated MIT graduate cousin, Cameron Jamieson, is all about saving his family from self-destruction. Through genealogy research, Cameron’s mission is to show his cousins their worth as eleventh generation descendants of a royal African tribe and give them a choice: to be angry black men or accept the challenge to become strong successful black men.

The Jamieson men in this three book series are challenged with accepting that the past and the present are both in God’s hand. Without Him they can’t move forward toward their future blessings. The bonus storyline is one that progresses the story of the much-loved Grandma B.B. character from the author’s previous Guilt books and her new sidekick, Mrs. Valentine.


Pat Simmons is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth. She is passionate about digging up the dirt on her ancestors, then casting them in starring roles in her novels. She has been a genealogy enthusiast since her great-grandmother died at the young age of ninety-seven years old. Pat has won numerous awards for her novels which include: Talk to Me, Grace and Humility and Still Guilty, which was voted the Best Inspirational Romance for 2010.

Pat is best known for her Guilty series: Guilty of Love, Not Guilty of Love, and Still Guilty. She is continuing the series through the Jamieson Family Legacy trilogy: Guilty by Association, The Guilt Trip, and Free From Guilt. Pat has recently been nominated for the best Christian fiction award by the African American Literary Awards for her latest release, Crowning Glory.

Pat and her husband live in Missouri and have two children. Find out more about the series at TheJamiesonLegacy.com or visit the author online at patsimmons.net.




My Review:
A return visit with the Jamieson Family...and I didn't want it to end! This book focuses on Tailise and Aaron's "Ace" relationship. When the book begins you feel that Tailie has it made with such a wonderful, caring guy...whoops! He hightails it and acts like a scumbag when she tells him she thinks she is pregnant.
I loved the people rallying around her...including Ace's family. If they were Amish they would have shunned him, and some of them did! Through out this book I could feel the hand and love of God.
We rejoin and spend time with some of the people we came to know in Guilty By Association, and they are quickly becoming old friends. I wanted to move in with them!!!
Once you pick up this book, you won't be able to put it down, and thank you Pat Simmons there is another book to be released later this year...Free From Guilt.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Son of a Preacherman Virtual Book Tour with Marlene Banks (Win Free Book)


A historical romance novel set in the 1920s in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Son of a Preacherman depicts the highly segregated life of African Americans in the Greenwood District, in Northern Tulsa and the tensions leading up to the Tulsa Race Riots.
Billy Ray Matthias is the handsome younger son of the church’s new pastor. Benny is the daughter of the oil rich Freeman family. Billy Ray is convinced that Benny is the woman God would have him settle down with. Benny, on the other hand, recently had her heart broken. She is not the least bit interested in getting involved anytime soon. As Billy’s pursuit of Benny intensifies, so does the political and social climate in the prosperous African American neighborhood known as the Greenwood District.
Racial tensions in Tulsa escalate when Dick Rowland, a black man, is accused by a local newspaper of raping Sarah Page, a white woman, on an elevator. Ethan Freeman (Benny’s brother) and Maynard Vaughn (a radical white attorney and Ethan’s mentor) despite continuous threats put their weight and energy behind helping Dick. While the White Glove Society, a racist group seeks to destroy not only Dick but all the African Americans in this successful black owned community.
As tensions come to a head and violence breaks out, Billy and Benny are caught up in the heat of chaos. He vows to keep her safe but will Benny let him? Will faith in God be enough to sustain the people of the community as their lives are changed forever by deadly acts of hatred?


MARLENE BANKS resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In addition to being a prolific writer she has an associate degree in Theology from Rhema Bible Institute in Keysville, Virginia and is currently pursuing studies to initiate a Christian counseling ministry. Marlene is a member of Bethel Deliverance International Church in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. Her work resume includes forty years in nursing and business.

A divine gift of storytelling with her unique voice and love of Christ creates engaging and inspirational novels. She considers her fiction writing an avenue to communicate the Gospel and Christian principles. It is also Marlene’s goal to bridge the gap between faith-based and secular literature. SON OF A PREACHERMAN is her second release.



Purchase the Book Online at:
Amazon.com
BarnesandNoble.com

For More Information
Visit the author online at:
http://www.marlenebanks.com/

My Review:
This story takes place in Tulsa OK, and is based on historical fact. It takes place in Greenwood, an oil rich area, mostly inhabited by people of African American decent. They were despised by some White people, because of their jealousy and racial hatred. From what I understand about this 1921 point in history was kind of swept under the rug.
The main characters in the book are the Freeman family, who own an oil rich ranch in Greenwood. Their Son Cord runs the operation and has [according to his family] made a poor choice of a wife. Their other son Ethan, is a well respected lawyer, and their sister Benny is trying to find her way. She was very much in love with an older man, when the unthinkable happened.
The other family is Reverend Matthias, his wife and son's...Dr Napoleon, and Billy Ray. When Billy Ray and Benny meet...sparks fly, but they have a lot of strife and tribulation to over come, if they are ever going to get together.
Another good page turner by Marlene Banks, I really enjoyed her Ruth's Redemption. I received this book from Tywebbin Virtual Tours, and Moody Publishing, and was not required to give a positive review.

Please enter Marlene’s Book giveaway contest! To enter, leave your name and address in the comment section AND answer the following question

Where year does the Son of a Preacherman take place?

Winners will be chosen June 30, 2012