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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Welcome to the SUMMER 2013 Giveaway Hop: $10 Amazon Gift Card

Welcome to the SUMMER 2013 Giveaway Hop

 

There are over 100 blogs participating and each has their own entry rules and geographic limits, so be sure to read the rules for each one.  This hop starts August 1st and ends on August 7th,  midnight. 

I Am Giving Away A $10 Amazon Gift Card...buy the book you have been wanting..or whatever!



Fill Out The Rafflecopter To Win!!



 


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Friday, July 26, 2013

Pump Up Your Book Presents: The Wonderful Adventures of Godfrey and Chucky

Join Daitoku Daiichi, author of the adult drama novel, The Wonderful Adventures of Godfrey and Chucky: Hot Spring, as he tours the blogosphere July 1 - July 26, 2013 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

divider The Wonderful Adventures

ABOUT THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF GODFREY AND CHUCKY

Godfrey is young, wealthy and able-bodied. He has all the women you can imagine, and unbelievably deep pockets. But Godfrey wants more. His Great Greatness wants to rid the world of a menacing scourge, and restore what is truly superior to an elevated position. Why would anyone stop him? Who could possibly stop him? Chucky arrives as the new assistant, and tries to perform every duty that is handed to him. What challenges for a dull servant! Look at him muddling through! With passports of exclusive privilege, the two adventurers make a splash in tropical Langkawi, where the water is blue and the girls are brown. Then they rendezvous with the locals in Singapore, where pleasures are plentiful and multicolored. Food and money are found in piles. Life in a global city should be, possibly, one of uninterrupted leisure…shouldn’t it? Desire is a seductively red piece of jade, which resides even in our dreams.  

Purchase your copy at:

kobo

 

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ABOUT DAITOKU DAIICHI

Inspired by English and Japanese gardens, Daitoku Daiichi is committed to sharing scenes of beauty with his readers. He hopes that through the mansion-like device of the novel, he can host a tea party to serve his readers exotic delights. In the day, he is a tutor, essayist, gourmet and world traveler. People somehow love to share their secrets with him, and he wants use his gifts of perception to tell innovative stories. Check out his works at: www.godfreychucky.com  

The Wonderful World of Godfrey and Chucky Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

Wednesday, July 3 - 1st chapter reveal at Mom with a Kindle

Friday, July 5 - Interviewed at Literal Exposure

Monday, July 8 - Interviewed at Examiner

Wednesday, July 10 - Book featured at My Devotional Thoughts

Friday, July 12 - Interviewed at Review From Here

Wednesday, July 17 - Book featured at Read 2 Review

Monday, July 22 - Book review and 1st chapter reveal at splashesofjoy

Wednesday, July 24 - 1st chapter reveal at Books R Us

Thursday, July 25 - Book featured at Mary's Cup of Tea

Friday, July 26 - Book featured at My Cozie Corner

Friday, July 26 - Book featured at Authors and Readers Book Corner

Friday, July 26 - Book featured at Musings by Maureen

Pump Up Your Book

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Litfuse Publicity Book Tours Presents: A Big Year for Lily (The Adventures of Lily Lapp #3) by Mary Ann Kinsinger, Suzanne Woods Fisher



Book Three in the Adventures of Lily Lapp series. Co-written with Mary Kinsinger.
Lily Lapp’s family has settled into their new home in Pennsylvania, but life still holds big changes and big steps for Lily. Good changes, like once again living close to her beloved cousin and best friend, Hannah. Bad changes, like a mean girl who plays tricks on her. And no change at all where Lily would most want one–Aaron Yoder sits near her in school and relentlessly teases her. Surprises are in store for Lily as she learns, with Mama and Papa’s help, to manage the ups and downs of growing up Amish.
The third of four charming novels that chronicle the gentle way of the Amish through the eyes of a young girl, A Big Year for Lily gives children ages 8-12 a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Amish–and lots of fun and laughter along the way. It combines Mary Ann Kinsinger’s real-life stories of growing up Amish and the bestselling writing of Amish fiction and nonfiction author Suzanne Woods Fisher. With charming line drawings in each book, this series captures the hearts of readers young and old.


Purchase a copy here.
Learn more about the series, play games and download the coloring sheets at the Lily website.




{More About Suzanne Woods Fisher}

Suzanne Woods Fisher
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Inn at Eagle Hill series, Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including “Amish Peace.” She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children’s series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She is a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. For more information, please visit suzannewoodsfisher.com and connect with her on Twitter @suzannewfisher. Get Amish proverbs delivered right to your mobile device! Download the Free App! http://bit.ly/10Tygyi

Find out more about Suzanne at http://suzannewoodsfisher.com/.




A Big Year for Lily by Suzanne Woods Fisher and Mary Ann Kinsinger | iPad Adventure Pack Giveaway and Blog Tour

A Big Year for Lily is book three in the beloved Adventures of Lily Lapp series from authors Suzanne Woods Fisher and Mary Ann Kinsinger! In this installment, Lily’s family has settled into their new home in Pennsylvania, but life still holds big changes and big steps for Lily. Surprises are in store for Lily as she learns, with Mama and Papa’s help, to manage the ups and downs of growing up Amish.
Suzanne is celebrating the release of the latest Lily Lapp release with a giveaway extravaganza! 
Lily3blogbutton
One winner will receive:
Twelve winners will receive:
  • Special prizes specially picked by Lily (something new each day)! Suzanne will announce the winners on July 29 on her blog!
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 27th. All winners will be announced July 29th at Suzanne’s blog.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne’s blog on the 29th to see if you won one of the fun prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

 

 

My Review: 

 I just finished the third book in this series, and as usual I want more. The is a darling story of a loving Amish family, and among them is their nine year old daughter Lily. She becomes 10 during this book, and for an Amish girl it is a big step to womanhood.
Loved as she experiences big girl, or womenly dresses. Picking her own fabric, will she make the right choices. She will gain some new duties, and loose some fun things she enjoyed.
She loves that her cousin Hannah now lives nearby, but does Hannah have to like that awful boy Aaron? Made me think, that maybe in the future there maybe some interest in Aaron by Lily, and I can hear her now screaming at me..."No Way!!"
This book gives you a good feeling about people, loved the way Lily's Dad handled the boys who were stealing from them. We also meet the bullies, and the sneaking kids, think all schools have them.
Be ready for some cute adventures, when Lily and Hannah get together. What a wonderful wholesome book. This one you can share with you children. Too cute!

I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.

First Wild Card Book Tours Presents: Whispers on the Prairie: Book One, Pioneer Promises Series by Vickie McDonough

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:

Whitaker House (June 17, 2013)

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Vickie McDonough is an award-winning author of twenty-six books and novellas. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, she served as treasurer of the organization for three years and also was treasurer for her local chapter. Vickie lives with her husband, Robert, in Oklahoma. They have four grown sons and one daughter-in-law, and are grandparents to a precocious seven-year-old girl. When she isn’t writing, Vickie enjoys reading, shopping for antiques, watching movies, and traveling. Pioneer Promises Book Two, Call of the Prairie, is set for release in January 2014.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The last thing Sarah Marshall wanted was to leave Chicago and travel the dusty Santa Fe Trail, but when her uncle demands she help her feeble aunt, she can’t refuse. Her aunt had taken Sarah in after her parents died. She becomes stranded at the Harper Stage Stop in Kansas, one of the first stops on Santa Fe Trail, and her presence causes a stir. Ethan Harper’s well-ordered life is thrown into turmoil with his two brothers and every unmarried male in the county lining up to woo Miss Sarah whom Ethan views as an uppity city girl. Is it because she’s the wrong woman for his brother—or the right one for himself?


Product Details:
List Price: $8.76
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (June 17, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603748415
ISBN-13: 978-1603748414


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

March 1870
Chicago
The toddler’s whimpers rose to an ear-splitting scream as the little girl pushed against the chest of the woman holding her captive.
“Here, let me have her, Abigail.” Sarah Marshall reached for Mary, and her friend handed over the fussy child. The girl persisted in her cries, so Sarah crooned to her, swaying in time to a waltz playing in her mind as she rubbed circles on the toddler’s back.
“I don’t see how you can have such patience with her. That obstinate child cries more than all the others in this orphanage combined.” Abigail bent down and reached for a handsome three-year-old boy, who came rushing toward her with a big smile that showed his dimples. “Personally,” Abigail raised her voice over Mary’s ruckus, “I prefer the quiet ones.”
Sarah smiled. “I prefer the needy ones.” She leaned her cheek against Mary’s head. “All is well, little one. All is well.”
After a few more minutes, the wails finally subsided, and the girl began to relax. She sniffled, her whole body shaking as she finally fell into an exhausted sleep.
“Poor little one.” Sarah’s heart nearly broke for the child, recently orphaned by the death of her mother. At least, at such a young age, she stood a chance to adapt more easily than Sarah had when her parents died. Though the accident that claimed their lives had happened over a decade ago, she still missed her father’s big smile and her mother’s comforting arms.
“You’ll make a good mother one day.” Mrs. Rayburn leaned against the door frame, looking tired. “Are you sure you don’t want to move in here?”
Sarah smiled. “If my aunt was in better health, you know I would take you up on your offer. And I do hope to be a mother someday. If I’m good, as you say, it will be only because I learned from the best.”
Mrs. Rayburn swiped her hand in the air, but Sarah could tell the comment pleased her. If not for the generous care of the well-to-do widow, the six orphaned children who resided under her roof would most likely still be out on the cold Chicago streets, begging for scraps to eat, working for some cruel taskmaster—or worse.
Abigail glided to the center of the bedroom that had been converted into a nursery, holding Tommy on her hip, and pretended to dance with him. “Sarah may take a giant step in the direction of motherhood this very night.”
“Abigail!” Heat marched across Sarah’s cheeks as she thought of Walt and how he’d hinted at proposing—again—at her birthday dinner tonight. “I don’t want that news getting out.”
“Why not?” Abigail spun the boy in a circle, eliciting a giggle. “You aren’t going to turn the poor fellow down again, are you?”
Sarah glared at her best friend, wishing she would learn when to hush. She hoisted Mary higher on her chest and carried her to the adjoining bedroom. Stopping beside Mary’s bed, she rocked the girl from side to side to make sure she was asleep. Though she would never admit it to Abigail, the toddler’s wails did grate on her nerves from time to time, especially when she hadn’t slept well the night before. Holding her breath, she lowered Mary into her bed and then pulled the small quilt over her.
Sarah kept her hand ready to pat Mary’s back, should she stir. Thankfully, she didn’t. Straightening, Sarah checked on the two napping babies. She then tiptoed across the big room to adjust the blanket covering Ian, the six-month-old whose father had deposited him on Mrs. Rayburn’s doorstep last fall. The poor man had lost his wife and couldn’t care for an infant. Sarah’s heart ached for each one of the youngsters. She knew how hard life could be without parents. Still, she counted herself among the lucky ones—she’d been taken in by family, though she hadn’t lived in a house as fine as Mrs. Rayburn’s mansion.
Bending, Sarah filled her apron skirt with rag dolls, balls, and other toys, then deposited them in the toy basket as the mantel clock in the parlor chimed two o’clock. She tiptoed out of the nursery and back into the playroom.
“Time for you girls to head home.” Mrs. Rayburn crossed the room and clapped her hands. “Tommy, would you like to hear a story?”
The three-year-old lunged into the older woman’s arms. She hugged him and then set him down. “My, but you’re getting heavy.”
“Too much porridge, I imagine.” Grinning, Sarah turned to Abigail. “Are you leaving now, too?”
“Yes, Papa is sending his driver for me. See you tomorrow, Mrs. Rayburn.” Abigail waved good-bye as she walked from the room. She stopped in the doorway and faced Sarah. “Do you want a ride to your uncle’s shop?”
“Thank you, but I’ll walk.”
Tommy ran out of the nursery, lifted his little hand, and waved. Mrs. Rayburn followed him into the upstairs parlor and took hold of his hand. “I don’t know how I’d manage without you girls and your friends who volunteer in the evenings. I fear I’m getting too old to manage so many young children.”
Mrs. Rayburn had said the same thing for the past two years, and yet she hadn’t turned Mary away when a neighbor had brought her last week. Still, Sarah couldn’t help wondering if the day would come when the kind woman would feel it necessary to close her door to the orphans. What would happen to them then?
She and Abigail donned their cloaks and left the warmth of the cozy home behind as they stepped out into the blustery chill of March. The gusty wind off Lake Michigan whipped at Sarah’s skirts, and the gloomy sky released a light drizzle. Abigail’s driver stepped out from under the shelter of a nearby tree and opened the door of her carriage.
“Are you sure you won’t let us give you a ride? It’s a miserable day to be out.”
“Thank you, but I’ll be fine. I’m headed home, anyway, and that’s the opposite direction for you.”
“So, you’re not clerking for your uncle this afternoon?” Abigail accepted her driver’s hand and climbed into the buggy. “How did you get out of doing that?” She sat, leaning toward Sarah, her eyebrows lifted.
“I’m going home to help Aunt Emma get things ready for my birthday dinner.” Sarah turned so the wind was at her back and wrapped her fist around the edges of her cloak to hold it closed. “You’re still coming tonight?”
Abigail nodded, grinning. “I wouldn’t miss seeing Walt propose again. I don’t know why you don’t just accept. Your uncle will probably throw you out one of these days, and then where will you be?” She motioned to her driver, who closed the door and scurried up to his seat.
Sarah walked quickly toward State Street. She hadn’t missed how Abigail had poked her with her barbed comment about her uncle casting her out. That very possibility had been in the back of her mind. Uncle Harvey had barely tolerated her presence all these years. He’d never wanted children and wasn’t happy when his wife’s only sister died, leaving behind a daughter. It was a miracle the stingy man had agreed to let her live with them in the first place.
She blew out a sigh of relief at the sight of the horse-drawn trolley, just a block away. Hurrying to the middle of the street, she waited until it drew near, then grabbed the rail and stepped aboard. The sides of the carriage blocked the wind, to a degree, but the chilly air still seeped inside, bringing with it the aromas of baking bread and roasting meat.
The rain picked up, and she was glad she’d decided not to walk home. She stared out the window at the Chicago city streets, teeming with horses and buggies, fancy carriages, freight wagons, and even a man pulling a handcart. Busy people bustled up and down the boardwalks. She loved this town and hoped never to have to leave it.
If she married Walt, most likely she wouldn’t. Yet she struggled with the notion of being his wife. He was a good friend, yes, and she’d hate to disappoint him. Still, shouldn’t a woman have stronger feelings than friendship for the man she married?
Her uncle would be beside himself if she turned Walt down again. Maybe she should just say yes this time. At least then she’d be assured of having a home of her own—and of freeing herself from the heavy sense of owing her uncle. One would think the hours she’d spent doing chores in his home and clerking at his watch repair shop would be sufficient to cover any debt she owed, but she could never do enough to please Uncle Harvey. Still, she was grateful to have lived in his home these last twelve years. She should be satisfied and not wish for more.
And yet she did. She longed to marry a man who made her laugh like her papa had, one whose broad shoulders were strong enough to protect her. But she hadn’t yet met that man. Maybe she never would. Maybe she needed to give up on wishing and just be satisfied with Walt.
*****
Sarah sat back and rested her hands in her lap, smiling in satisfaction with the meal. She stole a glance at the sideboard loaded with food she’d helped her aunt and the cook prepare—roast leg of mutton and currant jelly, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, fried parsnips, and glazed carrots. Just the thought of it all made her stomach ache, and they had not even served dessert yet.
Walt wagged a finger at the servant standing at attention.
The servant hurried to the table from his post in the corner of the room. “Sir?”
“Bring me some more of those parsnips.”
Sarah winced at his commanding tone, then looked to the head of the table. Uncle Harvey was seated next to a stranger—Mr. Gibbons—who’d appeared at the door just before they’d sat down to dinner. The two were having a private discussion, but Sarah had overheard enough to know it was about the benefits of living on the western frontier. She couldn’t imagine what anyone found interesting about the untamed prairie, with its wild Indians and abundance of dust.
At the other end of the table, Lizzie Monahan and Betty Phillips engaged her aunt in a lively chat about the latest styles in fashion, while Abigail sat infatuated with Howard Shibley, Walt’s best friend, who babbled on about a recent report that the population of Chicago had reached 300,000. Sarah nearly rolled her eyes.
“What was that look for?” Walt dabbed his lips with his napkin.
Sarah leaned closer to him, so not to be heard. “If Howard has any hope of winning Abigail’s heart, he should find a more interesting topic of conversation.”
“I doubt romance has even entered his mind.”
“Obviously.” Sarah shook her head.
Walt rested his chin in his palm and caught her gaze, his hazel eyes gleaming. His ash-blond hair had been slicked down and combed back from his forehead. “Speaking of romance, are you ever going to agree to marry me?”
She sucked in a sharp breath and glanced around the table once more. Nobody cast an odd look her way, so she assumed that no one had overheard the oh-so-unromantic proposal. She had pretty much made up her mind to say yes, but his casual manner of asking made her want to shake her head. Schooling her features and straightening her posture, she replied. “I don’t know.”
Walt blinked, obviously taken aback. Seconds later, he scowled, then glanced across the room and motioned to the servant again. The man rushed to his side. “I seem to be out of parsnips again.”
Why couldn’t Walt have just kept quiet? She liked him well enough, but his frequent proposals were producing the opposite of their intended effect; they made her more inclined to avoid him than marry him. She snuck a glance at Abigail, still trying so hard to get Howard to notice her, while the man, clearly oblivious, just kept spouting his knowledge.
Sarah peeked at Walt again. He wasn’t particularly handsome, but he wasn’t ugly, either. He would be a good provider, being the sole heir to his father’s shoe factory, but she had a feeling that life with him would be just as boring as their evenings together. She wanted to marry—to finally be free from her uncle’s overpowering presence and stern glare—but she wanted a man who thought she was the only woman in the world for him. Yes, Walt seemed to feel that way, but something held her back. Was there something wrong with her?
An hour later, she stood at the door to see Walt on his way. Everyone else had already gone.
Walt hung his head and twisted his hat in his hands. “I…uh, won’t ask you again.” He lifted his gaze to hers, pain evident in his eyes.
She’d hurt him, and that was the last thing she’d wanted to do.
“I’m twenty-nine, Sarah. I’m ready to marry and start a family. I need to know if there’s any hope that you’ll say yes one day.”
“And I just turned nineteen—today.”
He closed his eyes and exhaled a heavy sigh. “All right. I’ll give you a few more months to make up your mind.”
Sarah bristled. What if she still didn’t have an answer? “And then?”
He stared at her with a serious, no-nonsense expression she’d never seen before. “And then I’ll be forced to look elsewhere. I mean to be married before I turn thirty.” He slapped his hat on his head and stepped out into the blustery evening wind.
She watched him jog down the steps with more purpose than usual. He wanted to get away from her, and that was just fine, as far as she was concerned. She shut the door. Some birthday party that had been.
The sound of raised voices drew her to the parlor. Her aunt and uncle rarely argued, mainly because Aunt Emma’s chronic illness made her too weary to fuss over trifles.
“Harvey, please. You can’t be serious about this.”
Sarah held her breath, all manner of ideas racing through her mind.
“You might as well come in here, Sarah. I know you’re out there.”
She jumped at her uncle’s stern command and was tempted to slither away, but her curiosity forced her to do as bidden. “I was just saying good night to Walt,” she explained as she entered the room.
“Sit down. I have something to tell you.”
Aunt Emma didn’t look up from the sofa but anxiously wrung her hands.
Sarah sat next to her and laid a steadying hand over her aunt’s.
Her uncle paced in front of the fireplace, where a cozy blaze heated the front half of the room. Still, a shiver clawed its way down Sarah’s spine. Whatever news she was about to hear, it wouldn’t be good, from the looks of it.
Uncle Harvey stopped in front of the hearth, rested one hand atop the mantel, and stared into the flames. “You met Gibbons tonight.” He straightened and stared at her, an unreadable expression in his brown eyes. “He’s a wagon master. Been leading wagon trains down the Santa Fe Trail for the past twenty years.”
Sarah’s thoughts whirled. Again she wondered about her uncle’s interest in such a rugged man as Mr. Gibbons. He hadn’t even worn proper attire for a dinner party.
“Oh, dear. Oh, dear.” Aunt Emma fanned her face. “I fear I’m not feeling well.”
Sarah’s uncle narrowed his gaze at his wife. “You may be dismissed as soon as I’m done.”
Aunt Emma gave him a meek nod, keeping her head down.
Uncle Harvey cleared his throat, drawing Sarah’s gaze again. “The truth of the matter is that my brother has written me from Kansas City to inform me that he’s moving his family to the New Mexico Territory, by way of the Santa Fe Trail.”
“New Mexico?” Sarah pressed her lips closed, knowing her uncle wouldn’t appreciate her outburst. She sidled a glance at her aunt. Why was she so distraught? Turning her attention back to her uncle, she voiced the question that wouldn’t go away. “Why would your brother want to move to such an uncivilized place?”
Uncle Harvey’s nostrils flared, and Aunt Emma uttered a pitiful moan.
“Because there is great opportunity there,” her uncle insisted. “Bob says that one day, the New Mexico Territory will become a state. He has been to Santa Fe and plans to return to open a mercantile there.”
Sarah blinked as she absorbed the information. The truth finally dawned, and she gasped, staring wide-eyed at her uncle. “Surely, you don’t mean to go there, too.”
He lifted his chin, revealing his wrinkled, white neck from its hiding place beneath his beard. “I most certainly do. Chicago has dozens of watchmakers. According to Bob, Santa Fe doesn’t have a single one. I plan to set up shop next to his store. We’ll build a door between the two, so that we can assist each other when things get busy.”
Sarah could see her well-ordered life spiraling out of control. She’d already lost her parents. How could she stand to lose Aunt Emma, too? Sarah stood and started pacing the room. “You already have as much business as you can handle. And how could you expect Aunt Emma to endure such a difficult trip?”
“I’ve talked to the doctor, and he says the warmer climate will be much better for her. Lydia will be there to take care of her if she falls ill.”
Falls ill? Didn’t he realize his wife was nearly always unwell? She’d been sickly ever since she’d survived a bout of scarlet fever a year before Sarah had come to live with them. The sickness had left her frail and had robbed her of her hearing in her right ear.
Sarah doubted Aunt Emma could survive such a rugged journey. “Won’t you reconsider, Uncle?”
He shook his head. “My mind is made up.”
“And what about me?” Could she stay in this big house alone? He’d always expected her to pay her own way, and she could hardly afford a place as nice as this two-story brownstone.
He shrugged. “I expect you to marry Walt, and then you’ll be his responsibility. I’ve already sold the house, so you can’t stay here.”
Her aunt gasped and stood. “How could you do such a thing without consulting me?”
Sarah’s heart ached for her aunt. How could Uncle Harvey be so insensitive?
“Now, Emma. It’s my place to make such decisions. You’ll see once we arrive in Santa Fe that this move was for the best.”
Emma screeched a heart-wrenching sob and ran from the room, her dark green silk dress swishing loudly.
Sarah had never once stood up to her intimidating uncle before. This time, concern for her aunt stiffened her spine, and she turned on him. “How could you be so selfish? Such a trip will probably kill Aunt Emma! Is that what you want?”
His nostrils flared. “She is no concern of yours.” He walked to the dark window and stared out through the panes. “I never wanted you to come here, you know. I never wanted children. They’re nothing but a nuisance. I will concede that you’ve been good for Emma, but she needs to learn to get along without you.” He turned back to her, his eyes narrowed. “Marry Walt. He’s a decent fellow.”
She’d always known her uncle hadn’t wanted her, but hearing the words spoken out loud pained her as badly as if she’d been stabbed in the heart. Out of respect for her aunt, she didn’t lash out at him as she wanted to. “I’m not ready to marry yet.” Uncle Harvey may have housed her all these years, but that didn’t give him the right to force her to wed a man she didn’t love. “I…I can find a boardinghouse to stay in.”
He smirked. “And how do you intend to pay for it?”
A wave of panic washed over her. She had a few coins her aunt had given her—nowhere near enough to live on, even for a short time. “I’ll find another job. Since I’ve worked for you for so long, I’ve honed my office skills and have plenty of experience.”
“Hmpf. What employer would hire a female clerk when he can so easily find a man to do the task?”
Sarah dropped back onto the sofa, realizing the truth of his statement. What would she do? Where would she live? How could she manage without her aunt’s loving guidance? The last time she’d felt as empty and confused as she did now was when she’d learned that her parents had died.
Quick footsteps sounded outside the room, and Sarah and her uncle both looked to the door. Her aunt had returned, her eyes damp, her face red and splotchy. With a trembling hand, she held a handkerchief below her nose. Sarah longed to embrace her aunt, but she would wait until her uncle left them alone.
“I see it’s too late to change your mind,” she said, her voice quavering. “You’ve wounded me deeply, Harvey. I hope you know that.”
He started toward her, his expression softening, and took her hands. “Haven’t I always taken care of you, darling? Have you ever lacked for anything?”
Her aunt didn’t respond, but Sarah could tell by her expression that she didn’t share her husband’s perspective. Steeling her gaze, Emma stared up at him with rare determination in her eyes. “I won’t go without Sarah.”
“What?” Sarah and her uncle exclaimed at once.
“I won’t go unless she goes, too.” Emma hiked her chin.
Sarah didn’t know what to say. This was the first time she had seen Aunt Emma stand up to her husband, and she couldn’t bear to tell her that her efforts were wasted. But the last thing Sarah cared to do was leave Chicago and travel on a wagon train to Santa Fe.
Even marriage to Walt would be preferable to that.









My Review:

Sarah Marshall is a city girl, she loves living in Chicago. So when her Uncle announces he is moving to Santa Fe, NM, she is beside herself. She has lived with her Aunt and Uncle, since her parents passed away. She loves her Aunt, who is not really well, but her Uncle despises her, and she has had a rough time growing up with him.
Her Uncle has made up his mind and their is no changing it. Sarah goes along, and is hoping once they meet up with her Uncle's brother she can return to Chicago. The trip is rough on her Aunt, and stumbling blocks keep popping up.
Ethan Harper has been carrying around a lot of guilt after his Sister-In-Law was killed in an accident, because she was in his care, he feel responsible. Just how do Ethan and Sarah meet, one could say in a mud puddle. Or rather Sarah ends up sitting in one.
Their paths keep crossing and more tragedy befalls Sarah and her family. Once they are rescued they end up staying with the Harper family. At first Sarah, can barely stand Ethan, but??? Will one of the four brothers win her heart? Will Sarah ever get to return to Chicago? With the Lords help all will find out where they need to be. Be ready for a wonderful journey back in the 1870's. Learn to live on the Prairie. I didn't want this story to end, but there is another book coming in the series...Yeah!!

I received this book through First Wild Card Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Am A Reader, Not A Reader Presents: A Wicked Kind of Dark by Jonathan K. Benton & Amazon Gift Card

Author Jonathan K. Benton

Jonathan Benton always wanted to write books, having won first place in a short story competition when he was ten. Inspired by writes such as Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, Jonathan first discovered the crossover genre of literary/fantasy while reading Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Jonathan grew up in New Zealand, dreaming of travelling to London and finally making the pilgrimage in his mid-twenties. Returning from England, he settled in Australia, the country he now calls home, and decided to take his writing seriously.








A Wicked Kind of Dark

Robert Duncan no longer believes in magic. A mysterious call about a blood moon, however, leads him back to the magical world of his childhood and to Luthien, the beautiful girl with flame-coloured hair, who he loved and lost.

As Robert unravels the secrets of his childhood, darkness enters his life and an ancient evil awakens. To have any chance of defeating the dark forces that would destroy two worlds, Robert must find Luthien before the rise of the blood moon. He must, once more, believe in magic …

A Wicked Kind of Dark mixes vast and spectacular fantasy landscapes with gritty urban reality. A must-read for people of all ages who believe in the power of imagination, and the importance of never losing touch with your inner child.



Giveaway Details
$10 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Open Internationally
Ends 8/15/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

*An additional $10 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash is available to anyone who shares this giveaway on their blog.  See link in the rafflecopter form.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monday, July 22, 2013

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.



About The Author: 



 

Christina Baker Kline, the author of five novels, grew up in Maine, England, and the American South. She is married to a Midwesterner whose family history inspired her new novel, Orphan Train (April). Set in present-day Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train highlights the real-life story of the trains that between 1854 and 1929 carried more than 200,000 abandoned children from the East Coast to the Midwest. Kline imagines the journey of one such child, Vivian Daly, an Irish immigrant whose fate is determined by luck and chance. Orphan Train is the story of an unlikely friendship between 91-year-old Vivian Daly, whose experiences are far behind her, and Molly Ayer, a 17-year-old Penobscot Indian girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever asked. 




My Review: 

I just finish this book, it sure has a lot of heart tugging life happenings. There is a parallel between two lives, one near the end in her nineties and the other aging out of the system at seventeen. Life and circumstance bring them together.
The older lady was an immigrant from Ireland, she ends up loosing her family, and ends up on the Orphan Train. I enjoy reading stories about this period in this country. I am sure the children were frightened, heading to the unknown. Some loosing their parents, and now heading to loving homes?? Some were abused, and exploited.
This story also tells of modern times child placement services, and comparisons with the orphan train. We also with the help of modern time conveniences help the elderly orphan train survivor find some information for closure. This is an in depth look at her life.
I found myself pulled into this story, and kept hoping for the best. At times things looked better, but she sure had a very hard life. Loved that we were able to find out about some of the other children on the train and what happened to them.
In the end I really wanted more answers, what happened to the modern day orphan?? I know how I wanted it to end, and so I guess it will end that way for me. All in all this became a very quick and enjoyable read.

I received this book from the edelweiss above the tree line Program, and was not required to give a positive review.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pump Your Book Virtual Book Tours Present: A Voice in the Night by Ernestine Dail, Rosemarie Gillen





Title of Book: A Voice in the Night
Genre: Children’s Mystery
Book Length: 46 pp.
Author: Ernestine Dail
Website: www.bookstop.wix.com/children-books
Publisher: Avid Readers Publishing
PURCHASE A VOICE IN THE NIGHT AT AMAZON
SUMMARY:
Brian, Josh, and Thomas arrived at Blackstone Cabin with great expectations of fishing and having fun. Now in the midst of a raging storm, and a hooded stranger frantically knocking at their door, the boys desperately wished for Josh’s father, Mr.Joplin, to return to the cabin. Will he return in time to save the boys from danger, or will the boys open the door to the frantic knocking of the hooded stranger outside.
FIRST CHAPTER:
BLACKSTONE CABIN
Dark, rainy and ominous was the night.  The mountain wind whistled ferociously through the trees and around the cabin shaking its rugged doors. Lightning cracked the sky and thunder rolled over the mountain peaks resounding in an echo of authority. Brian, sleeping on the sofa, suddenly sat up gasping as the torrential rain splashed and pounded against the cabin windows. Shaking and trembling, he sprang from the sofa, ran to check the windows and the doors to make sure they were locked. Gingerly moving about the room, he noticed that the fire in the fireplace smoldered as the cold, dark stillness in the room beckoned him to put more logs on the fire. Carefully, he moved about in the dark, thinking about his friends, Josh and Thomas, sleeping upstairs in the loft. He wished that they were awake so that he wouldn’t be up alone, but the eerie, foreboding silence upstairs reminded him that they were still asleep, unaware of the storm. Slowly, he found his way to the wood bin in the corner of the room and placed a few logs on the fire, hoping that they would last until morning.
Standing by the fireplace, he remembered when he first met Thomas Templeton in school. He was tall and muscular, with cropped black hair and forlorn, hazel eyes.  Being six feet tall, he hovered above others in his class.  His appearance was always meticulous even though he didn’t wear the latest fashion. He rarely smiled and sometimes appeared to be very irate, but never mentioned what bothered him.  Frequently he turned his homework in late, if at all. While in class, he consistently made comments that were not relevant to the lesson.  Quite often, he bullied his classmates, took lunch money from the younger children, and never had anything positive to say about anyone.   Discounting his own lack of integrity and wrongdoing, he blamed everyone else instead of taking responsibility for his own actions. On one occasion, he was suspended from school for a few days because of his behavior. Brian often wondered why Thomas’ parents never attended any school activities, but Thomas never talked about them except to say that his parents were unemployed and that he worked part time after school to help pay the bills at home. He never spoke of having any siblings and sometimes it appeared that his immediate family did not exist. Furthermore, Thomas had no friends so Brian asked him if there was anything that he could do to help his family. At that instant, Thomas’ demeanor changed and Brian saw a glimpse of hope in his eyes. From that day on they became friends, and were friends for two years right up to the night of the incident at Blackstone Cabin.
On the other hand, his friend Josh had great aspirations for life. He loved school, loved to study and excel, and was very adventurous. He was always interested in competition that boosted his learning. After high school, his goal was to attend college and become a heart surgeon. At five feet, eight inches, he ran track at school, was an active swimmer, and went camping every year. His parents, Jennifer and Jerald Joplin, were always involved in PTA meetings, attended church, and were very active in Josh’s life as well as in the community. As a family, according to Josh, they always ate meals together every day at home, took trips together, and attended all activities in which Josh was involved. Josh was always encouraged to excel, so he studied hard and put forth his best effort in everything he did. Brian and Josh had often camped together for years, but this was the first time Thomas had agreed to join them. Asked on several occasions to go camping, he always refused and made excuses for not going.  Moreover, Brian thought about how Josh’s parents reminded him of his own. They were very supportive just as Brenda and Bobby supported him.
Brenda and Bobby Bradshaw taught Brian to treat people with dignity and worth; therefore, he befriended Thomas hoping to encourage him to make some right choices in life. Not only did Brian’s parents teach him to do what was right, but they lived the life that they taught.  Every year Brian watched his parents donate clothing to those in need at the shelter. Once a month they spent time at the shelter feeding the hungry. On every occasion, they attended school functions, took Brian on vacations, and spent qualitative time with him. They were great role models for him and were pleased that Brian tried to help Thomas, but also admonished Brian, “Remember who you are.” Eventually, he hoped that his life would be a testimony to Thomas as well. However, a change in Thomas’ behavior was not to happen right away.  Suddenly, crackling embers from the fire interrupted Brian’s thoughts.  He spun around and glanced toward the door. Unknowingly, he was not aware of the danger that lurked outside.
Flames from the fire flickered, casting dancing shadows against the wall. Brian suddenly realized that he had been standing by the fire for a long time and that he had to get some sleep. It was now 3:00 in the morning. Silently, he crept back to the sofa and tried to fall asleep again when he heard loud banging on the door and someone screaming, “Open the door!” “Open the door, now!”


ABOUT ERNESTINE DAIL

Ernestine DaiI is a high school teacher and lives in Maryland. She has taught school for several years and enjoys the wonders and amazement she finds in being around children. The inspiration for writing her book comes from being surrounded with children and knowing their joys, likes, and dislikes. She is the author of two books—Dimples Do Good, and her latest, A Voice in the Night. She likes to read, write, travel and do crossword puzzles.

You can visit Ernestine Dail’s website at http://bookstop.wix.com/children-books.


My Review:




A Voice In The Dark is a read for young teens. It takes a look at having a bad reputation, can lead to further mistrust and accusations. Even when your innocent.
We have a young man named Brian who has what we would all want, the love of parents, faith, and a wonderful home life. Then we have Thomas, his home life has not been wonderful, actually, it has made him act up most of his life. His reputation is not a good one, and he has had some problems with the law.
Brian has befriended Thomas, has he made a mistake? You will need to read this very short story to find out, just how much trouble our actions can bring us. Will Brian be sorry he ever even knew Thomas, or will things work out.
The book only has 32 pages, and needs a bit more meat in it to keep your attention, there is a lot of potential here.

I received this book through Pump Your Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer Presents: Summer Kindle Fire Giveaway

Kindle Summer This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7".
Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)
  Or $199 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
  Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)
 

Sponsoring Bloggers & Authors

  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. New Adult Addiction
  4. Jessabella Reads
  5. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Somthing Year Old Girl
  6. Books Unhinged by StacyHgg
  7. S.A. Larsen - Writer's Ally
  8. Author Inger Iverson
  9. The Geeky Gamers
  10. annakyss
  11. Everyday Word Magic
  12. Candance's Book Blog
  13. Page Flipperz
  14. SMI Book Club
  15. Laurie Here
  16. Feed Your Fiction Addiction
  17. Phantasmic Reads
  18. The Book Bellas
  19. Please Don't Remove MarGreat's Glasses
  20. Author Jennifer Laurens
  21. J.C. Valentine
  22. Holly Hood
  23. Young Adult Novel Reader
  24. Author Heather Bixler
  25. Literary Meanderings
  26. Suspense Author Kim Cresswell
  27. Mother Daughter & Son Book Review
  28. Meredith's Musings
  29. Auggie Talk
  30. Author Camelia Miron Skiba
  31. Author Lena Sledge
  32. LoriTheAuthor
  33. Author Dianne Venetta
  34. Curling Up with A Good Book
  35. MyLadyWeb
  36. Fae Books
  37. Bea's Book Nook
  38. Girls with Books
  39. Ketch's Book Nook
  40. Turning Pages
  41. Bookhounds
  42. Karey White
  43. My Devotional Thoughts
  44. Author Talia Jager
  45. Author Helen Smith
  46. Sher A Hart: Written Art
  47. Author MK McClintock
  48. Word to Dreams
  49. Buku-Buku Didi
  50. Tasty Book Tours
  51. Readerlicious
  52. Romance Bookworm's Reviews
  Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire. Sponsor a future Kindle Fire Giveaway by signing up HERE. Ends 8/15/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Revell's Blogger Tour Presents: Dolled Up to Die (Cate Kinkaid Files #2) by Lorena McCourtney

 

When Cate Kinkaid receives a frantic call about a triple homicide, she drives to the scene against her better judgement-aren’t triple homicides more up the police department’s alley?-only to find that the victims are not quite who she expects. Now she has a new rule to add to those she’s learned in her short stint as an assistant private investigator: always find out if the victims actually have human DNA. Because these three do not.
But who would shoot this nice lady’s dolls? What possible reason could the shooter have? And then there’s the startling discovery of another victim, who definitely does have human DNA . . .
With tension that is matched only by humor, Dolled Up to Die is the exciting second book in Lorena McCourtney’s The Cate Kinkaid Files. Mystery fans won’t find a place to stop and take a breath in this fast-paced and intriguing tale.




About The Author




Lorena McCourtney is the
award-winning author of dozens
of novels, including Dying to
Read, Invisible (which won a
Daphne du Maurier Award from
Romance Writers of America),
In Plain Sight, On the Run, and
Stranded. She resides in Grants
Pass, Oregon. Find out more at
www.lorenamccourtney.com.









Available: July
$14.99
978-0-8007-2159-6
trade paper
5½ x 8½
320 pages
Case Quantity: 48
ebook: $14.99
978-1-4412-4261-7
Category: FICTION / Christian / Suspense
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
Rights: Worldwide


My Review:

This is the second book in this series, and just as good as the first. We continue with Cate Kincaid, and her now cat Octavia.
Of course Cate gets herself into many predicaments, and sometimes near death experiences. There are some chuckles in among the difficulties. She is, it seemed, anyway working as an assistant PI, without getting paid on her current case. She is called to a murder before the police? Huh! You shall see. Once involved in these murders a few others pop up, and she is almost the victim a few times herself.
Once you pick up this fast pace book, you won't put it down. How would you like to be the replacement bridesmaid, because someone else can't do it, and the gown fits you? Cate does...and find out what else she does for a friend, loose term here. Also you will find out how Octavia helps her? Ummm?
Just when you think you know who committed the murders, my thought changed, and then changed again. I love it when I'm wrong!! This book doesn't let you know right away, and through it all, there is a strong reliance on our Lord. This is one great book to curl up with. Don't miss it, it is a good one!


I received this book through Revell Book Bloggers Tour, and was not required to give a positive review.
 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Kregel Publishing Presents: Bible Stories Painting Book 2 by Juliet David, Simon Abbott

 
 
 
Bible Stories Painting Book 1 and Bible Stories Painting Book 2 are two fantastic painting books that are easy to use with no mess involved! Each book has sixteen scenes from the Old and New Testaments with a simple line of text explaining the picture. Simply dip your brush in water, wipe over the paint pallets on the inside covers and fill in the illustrations with bright, bold colors!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Juliet David has written many children’s stories and Bible activity books. Her other interests include painting, music, and travel to Israel and other Bible lands. This experienced author lives in London with her family. 
 
 
 Simon Abbott was born in Leicestershire, England, in 1967, grew up in Devon, and now lives in rural Suffolk, with his wife Sally, and their three boys. Simon holds a BTec National Diploma in Art and Design, and BA in Jewelry and Silversmithing. His artistic influences include Roger Hargreaves' Mr Men books and Sandra Boynton. Simon describes his work as fun, fresh and happy.  
 
 
 
My Review: 
 
The boys cannot leave this book alone, was so happy that two palettes are included in this book. There are pages are perforated, and it made it so easy to share the book.
We read the verse under each of the pages, and spoke about what the picture is about, and then each of my guys set out painting. They had a wonderful time enjoying this, and didn't want to put it away. Tomorrow is another day, and know that they will be asking for more.
What a great way to spend a cold winter day, or a rainy one. Enjoy!!

I received this book through Kregel for review purposes, and was not required to give a positive review. 

Litfuse Publicity Book Tour Presents: A Bride for All Seasons by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Robin Lee Hatcher, Mary Connealy



It All Started with an Ad in a Mail Order Bride Catalogue…
Melvin Hitchcock of the Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalog isn’t dishonest—not exactly. If he tweaks his clients’ applications a bit, it’s because he’s looking out for their best interests.
This charming bouquet of novellas introduces four Hitching Post prospects in the year 1870, each one eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.
And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has been unlucky all her life. But who would guess she’d travel halfway across the country to meet her match . . . only to find him dead!
An Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she’s not what Matthew ordered. And what’s wrong with being a “Bible thumper” anyway? She’s determined to show him she’s tougher than she looks—and just the girl he needs.
Autumn’s Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn’t come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. The trouble is, there’s no money to send them back. . .
Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy
David’s convinced he’s not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he’s gone—nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?



Purchase a copy here.


**Margaret Brownley is a NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author and has penned more than twenty-five historical and contemporary novels. @margaretbrownley
 **Robin Lee Hatcher is a Christy and RITA award-winning author. Her books often appear on bestseller lists. @robinleehatcher
 **Mary Connealy is a Carol Award winner, an a RITA, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist. @MaryConnealy
 **Debra Clopton is an award winning author of sweet, heartfelt, western romance that face life with a smile. With over 2 million books in print, Debra has her first book coming as a movie starring LeAnn Rimes. @debraclopton

My Review:




A Bride For All Seasons is a compilation of four authors. All stories are based on the services of The Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalogue and its editor Melvin Hitchcock. Now Melvin had the habit of changing word in his applicants letters, quite often he did a lot of embellishing. The four novels are all based on Melvin's plotting, but maybe God had more of a hand in these couples lives than Melvin??
Can you imagine, arriving and meeting your Fiancé, and learning he is dying, and needs you to be a mother to his children? Or how about arriving and finding he isn't there to meet you, and they are having his funeral?? Or maybe you arrive and he is so happy and can't believe your luck, beautiful woman, but what are those? Children?? No Children!! Then their is a sweet fellow who lost his wife in childbirth, and he never wants that pain again. He needs a mother for his darling little girl, but definitely wants no "Love"!
Travel along with these wonderful, can't put down till the end stories. I loved this collection, only wished there were more!!

I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Book Tours and was not required to give a positive review. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First Wild Card Book Tours Presents: Love Stays True by Martha Rogers

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 7, 2013)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Martha Rogers’ novel Not on the Menu debuted on May 1, 2007, as a part of Sugar and Grits, a novella collection with DiAnn Mills, Janice Thompson, and Kathleen Y’Barbo. Her series Winds Across the Prairie debuted in 2010 with Becoming Lucy, Morning for Dove, Finding Becky, and Caroline’s Choice. Her other credits include stories in anthologies with Wayne Holmes, Karen Holmes, and Debra White Smith; several articles in Christian magazines; devotionals in six books of devotions; and eight Bible studies. Martha served as editor of a monthly newsletter for the writer’s organization Inspirational Writers Alive! for six years and is the state president. She is also the director for the annual Texas Christian Writer’s Conference and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, for whom she writes a weekly devotional.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Can Sallie and Manfred overcome the distance that the war has put between them and find love?

In April 1865, the day following the surrender at Appomattox, Manfred McDaniel Whiteman and his brother, Edward, are released in an exchange of prisoners. They are given a few provisions, and they begin a long journey to their home in Bayou Sara, Louisiana.

At home Sallie Dyer is waiting word of her beloved Manfred. Though just a young girl when Manfred left, Sallie has grown into a caring young woman who is determined to wait for her love—despite her father’s worries that she is wasting her life on someone who may never come home.

On their journey Manfred and his brother encounter storms and thieves and are even thrown in jail. Will he make the journey home before someone else claims Sallie’s hand?


Product Details:
List Price: $11.33
Publisher Realms (May 7, 2013)
Language English
ISBN-10 1621362361
ISBN-13 978-1621362364
Product Dimensions 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Point Lookout, Maryland, Monday, April 10, 1865

Cold air chilled his arms, and a sharp object poked at his cheek. Manfred Whiteman reached down to pull a ragged blanket up over his arms and brushed away the straw scratching his face. A few moments later a sudden brightness aroused him again. His lids opened to a slit. Slivers of sunlight peeked through the tiny windows and dispersed the shadows of the night.

He shut his eyes against the sun’s rays, but sleep would not return. He lay still in the quiet of the new morning and sensed a difference in the air that settled over him like a cloak of peace. Raising his head, he glanced around the room. The same familiar stench of wounds, dirty hay, unwashed bodies, and death permeated the air, but in it all the difference vibrated. Something had happened, he could sense it, but nothing unusual appeared in the confines of the prison barracks.

After being captured in the Battle of Nashville in December, he, his younger brother Edwin, and other prisoners had made the long march from Nashville to Louisville, Kentucky. From there they were transferred to Camp Chase in Ohio. Then, in the first week of February, they had been loaded onto trains like cattle and sent to Point Lookout, Maryland, a prison housing nearly fifty thousand men. Upon their arrival the captured soldiers had been stripped of everything personal, and as the days progressed, hundreds of men died. Manfred mourned the loss of friends but thanked the Lord every day for sparing his life, as well as the life of his brother.

Edwin lay sleeping on the pallet next to him, curled on his side as usual. Others still slept, their snores filling the air with sound. No use in trying to sleep now. Manfred’s stomach rumbled with hunger, but most likely the only breakfast would be hard tack or biscuit.

Several weeks ago an officer with the rank of general had visited. For some reason the general had asked Manfred about the one thing he would most like to have. When Manfred answered he wanted his Bible, the man had been somewhat taken aback. Still, he’d managed to find the Bible and Manfred’s journal, which he returned.

Manfred now pulled that worn journal from beneath his dirty mat. The almost ragged book, his lifeline for the past three years, fell open. Manfred wrote.

April 10, 1865

Three more died the night before last. The nearly full moon shining through the windows gave me light to see. I took one man’s shoes and left him with my holey wornout ones. He won’t need shoes, but I will. Took his socks and another man’s for me and Edwin. God, I never dreamed I would do such a thing, but we are desperately in need. Please forgive me. Help Edwin and me to get out of here and get home safely. I so desperately need to see Sallie and my family.



The scrape of wood against wood echoed in the room. Union soldiers, making their usual morning inspection, checked for any who may have died during the night. Manfred shoved the journal under his mat just before the door thudded against the wall and the guards’ shoes clomped on the wooden floors. He turned on his side once again to feign sleep. The blunt toe of the sergeant’s boot kicked Manfred’s hip and sent a sharp pain through his leg. He grunted in response and raised his head to let the sergeant know he was alive. When the man passed, Manfred sat up on his mat and stretched his legs out in front of him to relieve the usual early-morning stiffness.

Others awakened, and their groans filled the air as they rose to sit on their bedding. Manfred waited for breakfast, not knowing if he would even get rations this morning. The guards exited carrying the bodies of the souls who didn’t make it through the night.

Manfred voiced a silent prayer for the boys and their families who would receive the news of the death of their loved ones. He bit his lip. He and Edwin had to survive. They had too much life to live, but then so had the ones just taken away. What if God chose not to spare him or Edwin? No, he wouldn’t think of that. Instead he filled his mind with Scripture verses memorized as a child. God’s Word stored in his heart gave him the comfort and hope he needed to survive each day.

A little later the guards returned and ordered them to the part of the cookhouse where they would eat what the cooks passed off as food. Manfred accepted the cup of what the men called “slop water” coffee and a hard biscuit that would have to suffice until they brought a lunch of greasy water soup. Weeks ago the putrid smells of death, the filth in the camp, and the lousy food sickened him, but now he barely noticed.

Manfred managed to eat half his biscuit and drink a few sips from his cup then leaned toward the man on his right. “Here, James. You take the rest of mine. You need it more than I do.”

The man clasped a trembling hand around the cup and reached for the biscuit with his other. A few drops sloshed over the rim. “Thank you, Manfred. You’re a true friend.” He stuffed the biscuit into his mouth and lifted the cup to his lips to gulp down the last dregs of liquid. With a nod to Manfred, the young soldier returned the cup.

After they were sent back to their quarters, Manfred breathed deeply and almost choked on the rancid air. What he wouldn’t give for a bath, shave, and haircut. A good meal wouldn’t hurt anything either. His nose had mostly numbed itself to his body odor, but dirt and scum became more visible every day. When he had tried to wash his shirt, the brackish water left stains he couldn’t remove.

When would this nightmare come to an end? A question unanswered for these four long months of marching, fighting, and incarceration. Too many lay ill and dying. The end had to come soon.

He glanced once again at his brother, who cushioned his head on his crossed palms with his eyes closed. Manfred reached over to touch the boy’s shoulder. “You all right, little brother?”

Edwin didn’t open his eyes. “Yeah, I’m okay. Just hungry. I dreamed of home last night and Bessie’s cooking. When I close my eyes, I can see her and Momma in the kitchen, Bessie up to her elbows in flour making biscuits and Momma stirring the fire and making grits.”

“Shh, brother, you’re making me hungry too.” Manfred pulled what was left of his jacket tighter about his thin body. “We’ve been captive four months, but it seems a lifetime. Home, our parents, and Sallie may as well be a million miles away.”

Edwin sat up and pounded his fist into the straw. “Yeah, and sometimes I think we’ll never get back there.” He stretched his legs out on his mat, hugging what passed for a pillow. “I sure pray I’ll get to see Peggy again soon.”

Manfred positioned his body to sit squarely on his mat. “Soon as we’re home, I’m asking Mr. Dyer for Sallie’s hand in marriage, that is, if she still wants me. No telling who she’s met since I’ve been gone.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you, big brother. Sallie loves you.” He smacked his fist into the open palm of his other hand. “I just want to be out of here and out there where the action is, fighting with Lee. They told us the Yanks are fighting Lee in Virginny, and that’s just across the river. Lee has to beat them Yanks. We’ll be hearing about it any day now. I just know it.”

Manfred simply nodded. He didn’t agree with his brother, but Edwin cared more about the war than Manfred. At this point Manfred had resigned himself to waiting out the war.

If only he could somehow communicate with Sallie and let her know he was alive. Almost a year had passed since he’d seen her last summer and six months since he’d been able to send a letter to her or received one. From his Bible he removed her last letter and opened it, being careful to handle it as little as possible. Already small holes appeared in the creases from his folding it so often. She had written from her grandfather’s home last fall before he’d gone to Nashville. He prayed her family was safe there in St. Francisville, Louisiana. He’d been at Port Hudson, Louisiana, two years ago and would have been involved in that skirmish in May, but he’d been among the ones in the brigade deployed elsewhere in March. Major General had been sure he had enough soldiers to turn back the siege, but that had not been the case, and Port Hudson fell into Union hands in early July.

That battle took place too close to his hometown of Bayou Sara and had even damaged Grace Church up at St. Francisville. He’d seen the damage on his furlough home. His two older brothers had been captured at Port Hudson, and Manfred had no idea where they were now.

St. Francisville may have been spared, but it had been a close call for Sallie’s grandparents and the other citizens of the small town. He held the worn paper to his lips. With God’s help he’d get home and claim Sallie for his bride.

The hair on the back of his neck bristled, and goose bumps popped out on his arms. The foreboding feeling from earlier wouldn’t leave and swept over him now even stronger, as though he sat on the edge of something powerful looming in the day ahead.



St. Francisville, Louisiana

Sallie Dyer sat at her dressing table running a brush through her mass of tangled curls. Tears blurred her image in the mirror, and she grimaced as the bristles caught in another snarl. She dropped the brush onto her lap.

“Lettie, what am I to do? Not knowing about Manfred is too painful to bear.” She scrunched a handful of auburn hair against her head. “Nothing’s going right. I can’t even brush my hair. I hate the war and . . . ” Her voice trailed off, and she dropped her gaze to the floor then turned toward Lettie. “What am I to do?”

The housemaid clucked her tongue and fluffed the pillows on the walnut four-poster bed. “I don’t know, Miss Sallie. I hate the war too. Too many are dyin’ out there.”

Lettie’s skirt swished as she crossed the room. She picked up the discarded brush and began smoothing out the mass of curls. “You know, Miss Sallie, you have the prettiest red hair in all of Louisiana.”

Sallie lifted her tear-stained eyes and found Lettie’s reflection in the mirror staring back.

“You got to have courage. God is takin’ care of Mr. Manfred.”

“Oh, but the waiting is so hard.” Sallie swiped her fingers across her wet cheeks. In a letter last fall Manfred had written that he was headed to Nashville. Stories coming back from that area spoke of the volumes of soldiers killed at Franklin and then up at Nashville in December. Reports said the surviving young men had been taken prisoner, but no one knew to which prison.

“Lettie, do you truly believe Manfred will come home?”

“Yes, Miss Sallie, I do, and when he comes, you’ll be ready and waitin’.” In a few minutes Lettie’s skilled fingers had tamed the unruly ringlets and secured them with a silver clasp at Sallie’s neck.

“Thank you. I’m all out of sorts this morning. Here it is April, and I haven’t heard a word since November.” Her fears tumbled back into her mind. “Too many have died, and I don’t want Manfred . . . ” She couldn’t utter the words. Saying them might make them true.

She pressed her lips together and pushed a few stray tendrils from her face. She had to get her fears under control. She once believed God would give her the peace He promised, but no matter how hard she prayed, no answers came. God had abandoned her on that awful day last week when she had killed that young man. He hadn’t protected her that afternoon, and now her prayers fell on deaf ears.

Lettie secured the wayward strands with the others under the clips. “Now, Miss Sallie, I done told you we got to believe they’re alive and comin’ home. We can’t do nothin’ about the war. Your mama and grandma need you to be strong. When Mr. Manfred gets home, he’ll be courtin’ you right proper like. You’ll see.”

Lettie must be more concerned than she let on. She only slipped back to the dialect of her family when worried. Sallie turned and wrapped her arms around the dark-skinned girl’s thin waist. “I want to believe you, I really do, but it’s almost more than I can bear.”

After blinking her eyes to clear them, Sallie stared into the dark brown eyes of her friend. Lettie had been with Sallie since childhood, and they shared so much life with each other. If it had not been for Lettie and her mother, Sallie might never have regained her sanity after the incident in Mississippi that brought them all to St. Francisville.

A chill passed through her body at the memory of the day they had fled from their home. Sallie’s last act of defense would be one that would stay with her the rest of her life. Even now she could see the young soldier with the red oozing from his chest. It was the first time she’d ever seen a dead person, and now, only a week later, the image would not leave her, fresh as the day it happened.

The young servant’s brow furrowed, and she pursed her lips. “Are you thinking about what happened back home?”

How well Lettie knew her. Sallie sniffed and blinked away the tears.

“Then you best stop it. What you did had to be done, and we both know it. You saved all our lives.”

It didn’t matter that Lettie spoke true. The images of war could not be erased from Sallie’s mind. “I just want this war to end.”

“Well now, I want that too, but it’s all in God’s hands. But think how Mr. Charles and Mr. Henry got back from the war only a few weeks ago. Theo’s back home too, so you have to believe the other two will come home before long.”

True. Of the five Whiteman brothers, only Edwin and Manfred remained unaccounted for. Charles and Henry Whiteman had been taken prisoner at Port Hudson but exchanged and sent home. Even Theo now sat safe at home after his last escapade revealed him too young to be in the army. She must have hope for Manfred and Edwin.

Lettie lifted the edge of her white apron and patted Sallie’s cheeks dry. “There now, Miss Sallie. It’s all goin’ to be fine. It’ll all be over soon. I just know it. I feel it in my bones. Besides, Easter’s a comin’, and that means a new season, new life, and new hope.”

“You and Mama, the eternal optimists, but I love you for it. You always know how to make me feel better.” Sallie breathed deeply and reached for a green ribbon to secure in her hair.

She would get through this day just as she had all the ones since Manfred left. Then the memory of what she overheard between her father and mother last night drained away her determination. She peered up at Lettie. “I need to tell you something.” Sallie squeezed the hand now clasped in hers.

At Lettie’s solemn nod Sallie took a deep breath and revealed her worry. “Last night I couldn’t sleep, and I heard Papa come in from his trip back to Woodville. I sneaked downstairs to see him, but he was in the parlor talking to Grandpa.”

Sallie’s lips trembled. “Our house in Woodville is ruined. The Yanks ransacked the place and took all kinds of things from our home. Papa said they’d left it in shambles. Mama’s beautiful things. Oh, Lettie, it’s just terrible.” After Sallie and the other women had fled the land, Papa and her brothers stayed behind until the next day, then joined the rest of the family in St. Francisville. He’d gone back to Woodville a few days ago, a twenty-five mile journey, when he heard the Yankees had moved on north.

Lettie pressed her hand against her cheek, her eyes open wide. “Oh, I’m sorry. Your poor mama. It’s so sad. No wonder you’re feelin’ blue this morning.”

Sallie squeezed Lettie’s hand again and for the next few moments sat in silence. Lettie understood her better than anyone else. The servant girl knew her deepest secrets and could be trusted to keep them.

“You are such a comfort. I don’t know how I’d get through these days without you to share my worries.”

Lettie patted Sallie’s hand. “We’ve been together too long and been through too much for me not to be with you.” She stepped back. “Come, now, let’s get you dressed. Your family will be waitin’, and you know your grandpa doesn’t like cold eggs or tardy children, even if you are his favorite.”

That statement brought a bit of smile. She did love Grandpa Woodruff, but he could be gruff when the occasion arose. She hastened over to a bench by the bed and picked up a green and white print cotton dress. Lettie grasped it and slipped her arms up inside it, and Sallie held up her arms.

“I believe Mama invited the Whiteman family for supper one night soon. I’m anxious to speak to Manfred’s mother. Perhaps she’s heard from him.”

The dress billowed about her as Lettie placed it over Sallie’s shoulders. She pulled the bodice up over arms and let the full skirt fall down over her hips and the myriad number of petticoats. At least Mama and Grandma didn’t require her to wear a corset or hoops with her day dresses. Lettie’s nimble fingers went to work on the buttons lined up the back.

“I think you lost more weight, missy. This dress is looser than it was last week. You sure don’t even need your corset. You have to eat more.” She peered over Sallie’s shoulder into the mirror and shook her head.

Looking over her shoulder, Sallie smoothed the dress around her waist. She gathered the wrinkles from the excess fabric. “It is big, but I’m just not hungry.” At Lettie’s stern gaze she added, “But I’ll try to eat more.”

Lettie sniffed the air. “If that aroma coming from the kitchen is what I think it is, my mammy’s ham and eggs should do the trick. She’ll have biscuits and gravy too.”

Sallie nodded. “I promise I’ll eat some of everything this morning.” A promise she would try to keep, especially with her grandmother’s and Flora’s cooking being so delicious.

The two girls locked arms and walked down the stairs together. At the bottom Lettie headed for the kitchen to help her mother. Sallie forced a smile to her lips and went into the dining room to join her family for breakfast.




My Review:

I have just finished this awesome book, and glad there is another to come! We meet real people in a real war, the Civil War. A war fought in our country, we meet it with real faces and trials.
Two young people who have been torn apart by the North and South...a fight that the principals of which neither agree, except for the right of States to control their own destiny, and not the Federal Government. Both are worried that the other has forgotten them. Manfred Whitman who is in a Northern prison when the book opens, and Sallie Dryer who is living with the reality of her actions during Northern occupation in Louisiana.
Manfred and his brother Edward were captured in the battle of Nashville, and have spent months without being able to notify their loved ones. When they are released, they can't wait to get home, but it is a long way from Point Lookout, Maryland to St Francisville, Louisiana. To begin with they are traveling on foot, can't even imagine. We journey with them to their unknown future. We meet some very interesting a wonderful people, also some very scary, but God really seems to have them in his hands.
Where Sallie faith seems to have wavered, so much happens to try and bring her back in the fold. Manfred on the other hand has held on to his God, and what happens to Edward and him on their way is so heart warming. Love it!! They happen into the right place at the right time.
Don't miss this one!!

I received this book through First Wildcard Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.