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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Dawn of Christmas: A Romance from the Heart of Amish Country by Cindy Woodsmall


This Christmas, experience learning to trust alongside the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania in this heart-warming tale of second chances.

Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?







About The Author

 
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written six novels, three novellas, and Plain Wisdom, a work of nonfiction coauthored with her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. She’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life.

She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.

Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband, three sons, two daughters-in-law, a new granddaughter, and a dog named Jersey who wants to dominate the world, starting with the Woodsmall household.




 

My Review:

The Dawn of Christmas, is a short read, with a lot of impact. Being hurt beyond hurt the day before her wedding to Daniel, Sadie Yoder has lost her trust. She has lived in Peru, with the Bishop's, Elder's, and her Dad's approval, for the past few years. Now her Dad has ordered her home! Time to live as an Amish Woman, and find a husband!
While staying at her Grandmother's Sadie goes on a late night ride, the feeling of being free. She has a chance encounter with Levi Fisher, who is badly injured, after being thrown from his horse. She is at the right place, at the right time.
A friendship blooms between the two, who are both being hounded to marry. Neither, wants a husband or wife. They conspire that it might be to their advantage to pretend to be in a relationship with one another, and be left alone. No more Singings, no more fixing up. Great idea?
Can these two maintain such a platonic relationship? Will Daniel reenter Sadie's life, and will she accept him? I enjoyed my time Apple Ridge, and time back with some old friends. Can't wait to return again!

I received this book through the Waterbrook Blogger Program, and was not required to give a positive review.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pump Your Book Virtual Book Tours Presents: Moon River Blog Tour Spotlight

About the Author:

J.R. Rain is an ex-private investigator now writing full-time in the Pacific Northwest where he lives in a small house on a small island with his small dog, Sadie, who has more energy than Robin Williams.  He will be publishing a slew of new novels over the next five years, so stop by often and check out what’s new.

His latest book is the contemporary fantasy/mystery, Moon River.

Visit his website at www.jrrain.com.

Connect & Socialize with J.R.!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


About the Book:

Seven years ago federal agent Samantha Moon was the perfect wife and mother, your typical soccer mom with the minivan and suburban home. Then the unthinkable happens, an attack that changes her life forever. And forever is a very long time for a vampire.

Now in
MOON RIVER, private investigator, Samantha Moon, is asked to look into a string of bizarre murders, murders that are looking more and more like the handiwork of a bloodthirsty vampire. But when her sister, Mary Lou, goes missing, Samantha, Allison and Kingsley take the fight underground...into the dark heart of a vampire's lair.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON


Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Title: Moon River
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy/Mystery
Author: J.R. Rain
Publisher: Lulu
Pages: 216
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1304328198
ISBN-13: 978-1304328199
Purchase at AMAZON


Seven years ago federal agent Samantha Moon was the perfect wife and mother, your typical soccer mom with the minivan and suburban home. Then the unthinkable happens, an attack that changes her life forever. And forever is a very long time for a vampire.

Now in MOON RIVER, private investigator, Samantha Moon, is asked to look into a string of bizarre murders, murders that are looking more and more like the handiwork of a bloodthirsty vampire. But when her sister, Mary Lou, goes missing, Samantha, Allison and Kingsley take the fight underground...into the dark heart of a vampire's lair.
First Chapter:
I would miss Judge Judy today, which was always a damn shame. Judge Judy should be required viewing for anyone without a backbone. Tough woman. Fair woman. Scary woman.

My kind of woman.

Instead, I found myself being escorted by a young cop with perhaps the third- or fourth-cutest buns I’d ever seen. I ranked his buns right behind Rand’s, the UPS driver who’d turned out to be a vampire hunter. Officer Cute Buns led me down a hall that ended up being far too short. I had just barely started ogling him when he turned to me, smiled and motioned for me to enter.

I did so, smiling in return, and I think I might have—just might have—had me some smiling sex.

Whatever that was.

Waiting inside was, of course, Detective Sherbet. I knew he would be waiting for me because he’d called and asked me to come down and meet with him. I also knew he was inside because I could smell the bag of donuts from the hallway.

Who I wasn’t expecting was the tall guy sitting opposite the detective. He was tall and dark-haired and sporting shoulders nearly as wide as Kingsley’s. Nearly.

“Detective,” I said to Sherbet, who made no attempt to stand. Rude. Then again, the old detective had been gaining a little bit of weight these days, and he was veritably poured into that chair.

I heard that, he thought, telepathically catching my thoughts. The detective, among a small handful of others in my life, could read my thoughts...and I, theirs. I might have put on a little holiday weight.

It’s the summer, Detective. And there’s no ‘might have’ about it. I’m a trained observer.

Well, the Fourth of July is a big deal in the Sherbet household.

I grinned. He didn’t, although he did look down at his growing belly.

“I didn’t bring you in here to judge me,” said the detective.

“Excuse me?” said the other gentleman, who had been looking at me, but now snapped his head around to glance over at Sherbet.

Sherbet, unfortunately, still hadn’t quite gotten the hang of telepathic communication with someone like me. The old guy would occasionally blurt his thoughts, rather than think them. Rookie.

“Nothing,” said Sherbet. He motioned to the partially masticated pink donut with rainbow sprinkles. “Samantha Moon likes to give me a hard time about my donuts.”

“I didn’t say anything, Detective,” I said, shrugging innocently.

“You didn’t have to...now, let’s cut the crap. Samantha, this is Detective Sanchez from the Los Angeles Police Department.”

He stood like a true gentleman, reached over and shook my hand with a firm but soft grip. His grip told me a lot: confident, warm, comfortable with himself. Most important: human.

I’d had my hand in my jeans pocket where I had been holding a hand warmer. Yes, a hand warmer. They sold them at the local market...and they did wonders for creatures like me. If I knew a handshake was imminent, I could pop one of these open, grip it in my pocket...and shake hands with confidence.

Sherbet asked me to have a seat, and I did, next to Sanchez.

“Boy,” I said. “Two big, bad homicide detectives and just little ol’ me. I feel honored.”

“Cut the crap, Sam,” said Sherbet. “We’re going to need you on this one.”

Sanchez listened to this exchange and smiled. An easy smile. Friendly. But there was a strength to his jaw, and the way his forearms rippled as he moved slightly. He sported a thick, gold wedding ring. He said, “You were a federal agent, Ms. Moon?”

“Call me Samantha. And yes. For a few years.”

“You’re too young to retire. Sorry if I’m prying. Call it occupational spillover. Sometimes, I can’t stop asking questions.”

I nodded. I understood completely. I said, “I developed a...condition.”

“A condition that kept you from working as a federal agent?”

“No. A condition that kept me out of the sun. It’s called xeroderma pigmentosum and it’s a bitch.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. And here we dragged you out into the sun. My apologies.” Sanchez’s concern was real as he leaned forward and looked from me to Sherbet. “I hadn’t known. I would have met you at your home, or anywhere that you were more comfortable.”

I smiled at his sweetness. “It’s okay, Detective. I’ve learned to adapt.”

Truth was, six months ago, I’d adapted quite nicely, as I had then sported a medallion that enabled me to step out into the light of day. That the medallion had been buried under my skin was another story—or that a body-hopping demon had torn it from me...was, in the least, a horror story for another day, too.

Lots of stories, I thought.

Focus, Sam, came the detective’s thoughts.

I nodded to him as Sanchez said, “As long as you’re okay.”

“Oh, I’m fine, thank you,” I said. “So, how can I help you, gentlemen?”

Detective Sherbet looked at me for a long moment. Then he looked at Sanchez, who was looking down at his hands.

“Either someone starts talking about the case, or I’m going to start knocking heads,” I said.

That seemed to break the ice. Sanchez chuckled. Sherbet might have grinned. Finally, the handsome LAPD homicide detective said, “We think we have a serial killer on our hands.”

There was, of course, no reason why two experienced homicide detectives would be talking to me, a lowly private eye, about a serial killer. Homicide detectives, in general, didn’t look favorably upon us. We were seen as a nuisance, amateurish. There was, of course, only one reason why I had been called in. Something wicked this way comes.

I had been called in on such a case last year. Sherbet and I eventually caught the bastards behind what had turned out to be a blood ring. Right, a blood ring. For vampires. Sherbet, of course, no longer had any memory of my involvement in the case, thanks to Detective Hanner, a fellow creature of the night who had been overseeing—and concealing—the bloody enterprise for many years. Thanks to her otherworldly ability to remove and replace memories, most of the department—and anyone involved in the case, for that matter—believed that only one man had been behind the killings. The fact that the bodies had been drained of all blood had never made it into police reports or autopsy reports. Any connections to vampires had been removed from documentation. Sherbet himself was remembering more and more of the case, thanks to my help. But much was forgotten and would, undoubtedly, remain forgotten.

Now, I looked at Sherbet and thought: How much did you tell him about me?

Sherbet held my gaze then finally looked away. Everything, Sam. Everything.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Litfuse Publicity Blog Tours Presents: Aloha Rose (Quilts of Love #12) by Lisa Cox Carter






About the book: When Laney Carrigan's adoptive parents encourage her as an adult to seek out her birth family, her only clue is the Lokelani quilt in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island, she battles fears of rejection from a family that abandoned her once before while her faith struggles to embrace God's love.


Along the path to her true heritage, she meets Hawaiian cowboy/helicopter pilot, Kai Barnes. Kai is determined to protect the people he's come to regard as family against a woman he suspects of being nothing more than a gold-digger, but he finds himself drawn to Laney in spite of his reservations. He's spent his entire life seeking forgiveness from past mistakes and longs for a second chance at happiness. 

Laney's painstaking journey to find restoration and a place to belong among the breathtaking allure of the Big Island will lead her closer to her past and maybe even something more.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/qKmVW


 
 
 
 
Meet the author: 
Lisa Carter has been published in MomSense and Christian Parenting Today. Lisa is currently teaching music at a preschool and enjoying the enthusiasm and joy for life for which preschoolers are famous. She and David have two beautiful daughters.

Find out more at: http://www.quiltsoflovebooks.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
My Review: 

I'll admit I had a hard time getting into this book. It took me awhile to get interested. I stuck it out, and was not disappointed.
Lanny Carrigan, feels completely abandoned when she arrives in Hawaii to maybe meet her birth mother's family. Her adopted mother has died and her dad has remarried and now has a new wife and step-son.
She is greeted...or met at the airport by a rather cute, but not very nice Kai Barnes. He is worried she is a gold digger. You begin to wonder if she has made a big mistake coming here.
There are many twists and turns in this story, and the final chapters will really have you on the edge of your seat. We also deal with Alzheimers, which her Grandmother is suffering from. Now having dealt with dementia of a loved one, I know how she ended up in tears, when she was ordered out of the house. What a horrible disease.
We also experience the beauty of this lava built Island, and it made me want to get out of the cold of the North and go there. Guess the best I can recommend is cozy up with a blanket and grab this book...hang on you won't be dissatisfied.

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

Friday, November 22, 2013

First Wild Card Book Tours Presents: The Preacher's Wife by Brandi Boddie

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 (October 1, 2013)

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Brandi holds a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law and a BA in political science from Youngstown State University. Her love of writing and research has led her to work that includes case management for the Office of the Attorney General in Washington DC and teaching assignments for elementary and secondary students. When she is not working on a story, Brandi enjoys hiking, fencing, and swing dancing. She loves spending time with her family, which includes a cocker spaniel who aspires to be a food critic.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

During the hot, windy summer of 1870 in the burgeoning prairie town of Assurance, Kansas, Marissa Pierce is fed up with her abusive boss. She longs to start a new life and is growing weary of convincing townsfolk that she is most certainly not a prostitute.

Civil War veteran and preacher Rowe Winford arrives in town intent on leaving the tragic memories of his deceased family behind. Although Rowe has no plans to fall in love anytime soon, the plans of God rarely match those of man.

Faced with adversity and rejection from the town and Rowe’s family, can Marissa overcome her past, renew her faith, and experience the life of love that God has planned for her?


Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Series: Brides of Assurance (Book 1)
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (October 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616388439
ISBN-13: 978-1616388430


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Chapter 1

July 1870, Kansas Plains

What did I get myself into? Rowe Winford carried his three large valises from the passenger train to the station wait area. He had arrived in Claywalk, Kansas, sooner than he expected. Then again, he had been daydreaming the entire trip, from the carriage ride in Richmond, Virginia, all the way west on the tracks of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad.
So this was to be his new home, away from the war reformations, away from the bittersweet memories of his late wife, Josephine, and their stillborn son. The land seemed to engulf every living thing in its wide-ranging vastness. He felt like a tiny speck upon the face of the green, rolling earth.

“Over here, sir.” A tall, lean man in rugged canvas trousers, work shirt, and Stetson hat waved him over to the other side of the wait area. A small schooner and horse awaited him.

“Welcome to Kansas, Rev’ren.” The man’s white teeth flashed in his tanned face as he grinned. “We wouldn’t have expected you this early if you hadn’t sent that letter. I’m Dustin Sterling.” He stuck out his hand. “My friends call me Dusty. David Charlton sent me to come get you and take you to our lil’ town of Assurance down the road.”

Rowe shook his hand. It was rough with calluses. He guessed him to be a horseman or rancher of sorts. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dusty. My name is Rowe Winford, but how did you know I was the new minister?”

He pointed to Rowe’s overcoat and gray trousers. “Clothes don’t get that fancy in these parts. I knew you must be one of them city preachers back East.”

“Richmond.”

“Yep, I was right.” He picked up Rowe’s valises and hoisted them into the schooner. “Well, you’ll get used to this place soon enough, if you have the mind to.”

Dusty drove him away from the train station. The trip toward the “lil’ town of Assurance down the road” turned out to be more along the lines of sixty minutes. Rowe passed the time taking in the nearly treeless plains and the endless open sky. To his left and right he found himself surrounded in a sea of green grass.

“We just got rain last night, after a dry spell.” Dusty chatted amiably along the way about the land. “You have to watch out for the July wind.”

“Wind? There’s barely a breeze out.” As the words escaped Rowe’s lips, a sudden gust blew in his face. He grabbed hold of his hat before it flew from his head. “Where did that come from?” He coughed as the wind forced air down his throat.

Dusty chuckled. “Some say the devil’s in the wind. That’s how come it knocks you off your feet.”

“Well, as long as we can keep him in the wind and out of town, things should be alright.”

The wiry man cast him a wry glance. “’Fraid you might be getting here too late then, Rev’ren’. The devil’s come and set up shop in Assurance. And, sadly, business is sure boomin’.”

“What do you mean?”

Dusty shook his head. “There’s a saloon run by a businessman named Jason Garth. He can get a man to part with his wallet faster than a rattler strikes your heel. His girls help, with their short skirts and paid services.”

“You mean prostitution.”

Dusty shrugged. “I went to the dancehall before it got bad the last year or so. I haven’t been lately, but you’ll hear things. You’ll get your fill of gossip in Assurance.”

Rowe thought about the people who hired him. “What about the church? Haven’t they tried to put a stop to what the saloon is doing?”

“They grumble mostly. Folks here believe they shouldn’t sully their hands with the things of the world. Much easier to judge from a distance, I suspect, but I’m just a hired worker.”

“Aren’t you also a town citizen?”

He shook his head. “I’m all the way from San Antone. David Charlton hired me to tend his cattle, but I used to drive longhorns up here to the railroad.”

“Well, it sounds like the people of the church don’t want to confront corruption.”

The cowboy gave him another look. “Maybe that’s why they hired you.”

Rowe chewed on the inside of his jaw. His first position as head of a church. An apathetic one, from what Dusty implied. He could prove himself by going after the saloon and its seedy practices, but what would be harder, doing that or convincing the church to get their hands dirty along with him?

“Get thee clothed, heathen woman!” A man yelled down at her from the raised dais of the town square. “Thou art the scourge of this fine land, with your harlot’s garments!” He shook his fists.

“I’m not a harlot. I’m just a saloon and dancehall girl.” Words she had repeated all too often.

Marissa Pierce recognized the man as a traveling speaker, clutching his worn Bible to his chest. She hurried along the edge of the main road toward the bank, doing her best to hide her face from the disapproving looks from several of Assurance’s finest and upstanding populace.

They would be right to judge me if I was an evening lady, she thought. I wish they knew the truth.

She walked faster, adjusting her headpiece in a selfconscious attempt to push down the high feathers. Jason Garth, proprietor of the town’s only saloon, sent her out on a last-minute errand while she was getting dressed for the weekly Wednesday Night Revue. The money had to be deposited in the bank before it closed today, he stressed. Well, he could have let her know that earlier, before she changed into the tawdry costume!

More than a few men eyed her in her knee-length ruffled skirt and soft-soled dance boots peeking out from her coat. She knew a number of them as patrons. Those walking with wives, mothers, or another respectable woman had the presence of mind to avert their gazes.

“Have you no shame, lady of the night?” The orator cried in the profession’s flowery prose.

“More than you’ll ever know,” she muttered.

Marissa kept her back straight and face forward, tightly gripping the leather money satchel that held the saloon’s illbegotten earnings. Would that she could put a stop to the corruption and leave the shady establishment today, but soon she would be away from it all. Her saloon contract with Jason was about to end, and she had some money saved for room and board.

She considered her investment in a small share of the general goods store in Claywalk that was up for sale. If she received all the money due her, it would be enough to live off of until she found employment in the nearby town.

A rush of excitement surged through her as she contemplated a new life elsewhere. She would be free, in a respectable position where no one knew of her horrible past.

Marissa slowed her steps as a schooner rolled down the street. A dark-suited man seated atop peered about curiously, shielding his eyes from the afternoon sun.

“That must be our new preacher.” Linda Walsh, the town’s young seamstress, walked up beside Marissa. Always eager for conversation, Linda would speak to anyone who stopped to listen, as Marissa had learned since coming back to Assurance a couple years ago. “We weren’t expecting him for another two weeks. I wonder what made him take off from home so fast.”

Marissa groaned at the thought of meeting another preacher. Every preacher she came across had turned her away once they discovered her profession.

She watched the small schooner pull up to the local inn. She recognized the driver Dusty Sterling seated beside the other man. Dusty hopped down and tethered the horses. The man in black stepped onto the dusty curb. His recently polished boots gleamed.

“Fancy one, he is,” Linda continued. “I hear he comes from a city somewhere in Virginia.”

“Where did you hear that?”

“It was in the paper a month ago. Our advertisement for a new preacher was answered from a man back East.”

Marissa focused again on what was in front of her. The traveler indeed looked foreign to the prairie. Not a hint of travel dust stuck to his long, black frock coat and four-inhand necktie, probably changed into just before departing the train. His gray pants were new and expertly tailored. He removed his hat briefly to wipe his brow, and Marissa saw the dark, wavy hair cropped close to his head.

“He doesn’t have a wife or children with him. Such a shame.” Linda clucked her tongue. “He’s a handsome fellow, for certain.”

Marissa agreed with her on that. He must have stood over six feet tall, with broad shoulders and a powerful build. The man’s profile was strong and rigid, his square jaw and straight nose a true delight for the eyes. Assurance’s former preacher, Reverend Thomas, did not look like this.

“Would having a wife and children make him a better preacher?”

Linda tossed her a look. “That’s got nothing to do with it. One ought to be settled down at a certain age, wouldn’t you say so? Instead of running wild with the barmen?”

Marissa absorbed the sting of emotional pain. Anything she said in response would not sway Linda or anyone else’s notion that she was just a beer-serving streetwalker. She put on a polite stoic face. “I’m sure the ladies of this town will clamor for his attention. Will you excuse me, Miss Linda? I should be going.”

She left the seamstress just as Dusty carried the new preacher’s valises inside the inn. The preacher moved to follow then stopped short, pausing for Marissa to walk past. Marissa saw his blue eyes widen and take in her entire form, from the feathered hat on her head to the dainty-heeled boots on her feet. By his expression she didn’t know whether he admired or disapproved.

His lips settled into a firm line of what looked to be distaste, and she got her answer.

The preacher hadn’t been there for an hour and already she drew out his scorn. Marissa returned the stare until her image of him blurred with beckoning tears.

He jolted from his perusal. His low, straight brows flicked. “Good day to you, ma’am.” He amiably tipped his hat to her.

She paused, not used to being addressed in that fashion. Kindness was in his greeting, not the sarcasm she normally heard from others. Marissa tilted her head to get a clear look at him. His eyes were friendly, calm deep pools. The rest of his face, with its strong, angular lines, remained cordial.

“Good day,” she replied, hoarse. Awkwardness seized her person. Marissa hastily continued on her way to the bank.

Rowe stared after the brightly costumed woman, not noticing Dusty come from the inn until he stood in front of him, blocking the view.

“Your cabin by the lake is still bein’ cleared. The Charltons will pay for your stay here since they don’t have room at the farmhouse.”

“That’s kind of them, Dusty. Who is that saloon woman? I hoped she didn’t think me impertinent for stepping in her path.”

Dusty squinted in the distance. “Oh, Arrow Missy? She’s a dancer down at Jason’s.”

Dancer. That explained the light-stepping gait. “Why do you call her that?”

“She’s got a sharp tongue and even sharper aim with the drinks. That is, before I stopped going there.” Dusty scratched his chin.

“I think I upset her. She looked sad.” Rowe studied her shrinking form as she went inside the bank. She was a lovely young woman, tall and raven-haired. Her features carried an exotic lilt. He guessed her to be in her early twenties.

If he wasn’t the one who caused her to be upset, then what made the tears brim in her eyes?

“You carrying that last bag in, or you want me to do it?”

Rowe picked up his valise. “I’ve got it, Dusty.” He went inside the inn, glancing one more time in the direction of the bank, his mind still on the melancholy woman with the dancing boots.





My Review:

I really enjoyed this read, and am so glad their is another book to come.
The story begins with Rowe Winfred arriving in Assurance, KS. He has a chance meeting with a lovely woman, Marissa Pierce. She works at the local Bar, that offers dancing, gambling, and other sordid pursuits. The time period here is just after the Civil War.
He finds her to be a challenge, but others think she is a soiled dove, she is judged for where she works. I think I would be feeling the same about her, I know it is wrong to judge, but would I want my son keeping company with a woman who works where she works? No! She has a bad reputation, even though circumstance have made her end up where she is. She wants out!!
Will this Minister be able to keep his job, if he ends up in a relationship with Marissa? Will she be able to break free, and if she does, at what price?
We meet some interesting other characters in this book, and one is a very spoiled young lady, Sophie. She has a fellow, Dusty, that is smitten for her, but she has eyes for the Minister. She is in the next book in this series, and I can't wait to read that.

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pump Up Your Book Presents Judas the Apostle Virtual Book Publicity Tour

490485_Tour-Banner_L1

 

 

ABOUT JUDAS THE APOSTLE

490485_front-cov 
Title: Judas the Apostle
Author: Van Mayhall Jr.
Genre: Historical Suspense Thriller
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 300
Language: English
Ancient language expert Dr. Clotile Lejeune is happily living a quiet life in Seattle when her world is profoundly shaken. After she learns that her estranged father has been murdered, Cloe must travel with her soldier son, J. E., back to her Louisiana hometown to unlock the mysteries of a two-thousand-year-old oil jar her father has left her—a jar inscribed with the name Judas Iscariot. Anxious to find her father’s killer and dispel her own personal demons, Cloe has no idea that what she is about to uncover has the potential to set the international religious community on fire.
With the help of a mysterious cleric, her son, and a letter from her father, Cloe soon realizes the African oil jar her father unearthed during the war may be the most important relic discovered in centuries. But it is only the beginning. Across the globe, a billionaire arms merchant is leaving a trail of bodies in his wake in his pursuit of the jar and its contents.
In this biblical thriller, the race for answers takes a language professor on a dangerous quest across three continents in order to discover the identity of Judas Iscariot. Now only time will tell if Cloe can find out what the past is reaching out to tell her—before it is too late.


Purchase Your Copy 2
iuniverse

ABOUT VAN MAYHALL JR.

Van R. Mayhall Jr. is the senior partner in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, law firm where he practices corporate and business law and handles selected litigation. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, he was educated at Louisiana State University and Georgetown University. He and his wife, Lorri, have three grown children and enjoy boating on Lake Pontchartrain.

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 11 – March 14.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, March 17, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

 

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Simple Christmas Wish by Melody Carlson



Rachel Milligan is caring for her seven-year-old niece, Holly, at her home in Chicago when she receives devastating news: Holly's parents have been killed in a plane crash. Because Rachel is Holly's only known relative, she assumes that she will be her beloved niece's guardian. However, custody is awarded to Lydia, a distant aunt who happens to be Amish. Just a week before Christmas, Rachel takes Holly to the Amish community in the hopes of persuading Aunt Lydia to relinquish custody. Instead, Lydia sets out to teach Holly to live according to the Amish way. As family secrets emerge and old wounds are healed, Rachel realizes that she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Holly has the loving family she needs.
Combining an Amish family saga with the anticipation of Christmas cheer and the promise of a budding romance, this newest Christmas story from beloved author Melody Carlson is sure to please.




About The Author 

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's, which is being considered for a TV movie. She is also the author of many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, Double Take, the Life at Kingston High series, and the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. She is the winner of a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. Melody and her husband live in Oregon.








My Review:


A very quick Christmas read. Only 168 pages, and easy read for an evening. This is both an English and Amish story. We find fate bringing Rachael Milligan, a world traveling flight attendant, wearing Amish attire. Huh? There is a lot that leads up to her spending time living with the Amish. The main reason is her seven year old niece Holly. We find Holly quite infatuated with all the newness of Amish life, like most children, their love the animals. Dogs, cats, horses, cows....a dream place. Can you imagine being a child and ending up at an Amish 3 hour service in German? She had to be one sweet girl to endure what was so unfamiliar to her. She has all this family she has never known.
This is not your typical Amish story, and the reality of everything that has happened to both Rachael and Holly. Will Rachael be able to return to her previous life after being with the Amish? Or will God have some other plans for her. How about Holly can she stay with this new family, Grandmother, Aunts and Uncles, and Cousins she has never know?
Melody Carlson has woven a really refreshing Amish story, and you won't be disappointed.

I received this book through Baker Publishing Group Publishing Blogger Program, and was not required to give a positive review.

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer Presents: A Bad Mad Sad Day for Mama Bear Book Blast

 

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A Bad Mad Sad Day for Mama Bear On a very bad day, Little Bear offers Mama Bear various items to make her feel better, but she's too busy to notice-until he gives her his super, so good, so very special dolly. Silly humor, alliteration, repetition, and onomatopoeia make this a fun read-aloud story. Suggested age range for readers: 3-7

Amazon Kindle * Amazon Paperback

Amazon Hardcover

 

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Praise "Mayra Calvani magically intertwines two generations perspectives of one's bad mad sad day through caring efforts and that together difficulties can be overcome. A Bad Mad Sad Day for Mama Bear is sure to be a delightful time shared by parents and their young muses." --Amazon reviewer "The humor of the story, married with the artwork, leaps off the page. After seeing the illustrations, you can't imagine the story any other way. With so much to read and see on every page, it is truly captivating - a delight for eye and ear." --Amazon reviewer "Enter Mayra Calvani's world with this sweet and funny story about a little bear that wants to help his overwhelmed mom, who is having a bad, sad and mad day. A great story teaching the little ones, in a fun way, that adults aren't perfect and can have bad days too. Children will enjoy the illustrations. A wonderful gift for this upcoming Christmas!" --Amazon reviewer   MayraAuthor Mayra Calvani Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications like The Writer, Writer's Journal, Multicultural Review, Bloomsbury Review, and others. She lives in Belgium with her husband of 25+ years, two wonderful kids, and her two beloved pets. When she's not writing, editing, reading or reviewing, she enjoys walking with her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family. She's represented by Serendipity Literary.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Blog

  Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/9/13 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 authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Litfuse Publicity Book Tours Presents: A Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman

About the book: One decision changed both their lives . . . but will love win in the end? Charlotte Rose Hill enjoys a comfortable life serving up country delicacies, uniquely blended teas, and matchmaking advice for her quirky, devoted customers. The only thing lacking is someone to share it with. At eighteen she denied Sam Wilder's marriage proposal after his family convinced her to walk away from their relationship. They both moved on . . . or so she thought. When Sam walks back into her life more than a decade later, Charlotte is surprised that her heart still quickens. But is it because of his presence? Or because of the presence of Sam's new fiancée? A second chance at love doesn't happen often, but their past may keep them apart. Is it too late for Sam and Charlotte?

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/qPbkU


 
 
 
Meet the author: Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She's been a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

 
 
 
Connect with Anita at: http://anitahigman.com
 
 
My Review: 

Marriage in Middlebury is about three different romances. Charlotte gave up her love of Sam in order to save her family...nearly 20 years ago. She has gone on with her life, and has a successful business...a lovely, warm tearoom!
Charlotte also seems to be there for everyone, especially those in need. Then Sam returns to town, all these years later, and with his Fiancé in tow. Now she is committed to put on a wedding reception for them...oh no!! Her heart is breaking, she has never stopped loving Sam.
We also have many friends trying to fix her up with different men, including the new minister. He at first is interested, but cupid hits him hard!!
Will Sam go through with his commitment of needy Audrey? Or does God have other plans in the work. Audrey has been abandoned several times in her life, and seems so fragile, can Sam make her feel safe?
I loved the how Sam treats his father's housekeeper, and you can see the part she has played in his life.
I did find the story predictable, and there were not a lot of surprises that happen. Be ready for a quick, and sweet story, great for a nice Winter read.

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

 

Anita Higman is celebrating the release of her latest book, A Marriage in Middlebury, with a double Kindle Fire giveaway (one for you & one to give away!) and a "Tea for Two" Facebook Author Chat Party on December 12th.


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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire for you AND a friend
  • A Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman (one to keep and one to give away!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 12th. Winner will be announced at the "Tea for Two" Facebook Author Chat Party on December 12th. Invite your friends and connect with Anita for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Anita's next book!

So grab your copy of A Marriage in Middlebury and join Anita on the evening of December 12th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word — tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on 12/12!

Litfuse Publicity Book Tours Presents: The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman


Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie s sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the "boppli" arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.











About The Author:                                                                      Vannetta Chapman has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

Find out more at: http://www.quiltsoflovebooks.com





My Review:

I loved being back and visiting with old friends, but you can just begin here, and you won't want to leave.
Annie and Samuel are now expecting their first baby. Her sister-in-law Leah is also expecting, but having twins. Annie is a bit of procrastinator, and is just now starting a quilt for the twins. As she picks up the fabric, and sets to cutting out. She is making the Sun Bonnet Sue/Billy quilt.
We end up with Leah hospitalized and Annie at her side, along with working on the precious quilt. We end up with several stories within the story, while completing each block.
Such a sweet, and yet different type of story. Will each of these woman end up ok. Will marriages survive? Will new love blossom between unexpected people? Through it all you feel Gods hand on each of his children. I loved this book, and wish it would have lasted longer!

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

Pump Your Book Virtual Book Tours Presents: Book Blast The Silent Immigrants - Win $25 Amazon GC




About the Author:

Boniface Chibuzo Nwugwo was born on February 16, 1960 at Alaenyi Ogwa, in the Mbaitoli Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State (part of what was the Eastern Region) of Nigeria. Popularly known as B.C. (as his parents refer to their children by their initials), he is the third of nine children born to Juliana and Christian Onwezi Nwugwo. His father, a retired elementary school headmaster, and his mother, a retired seamstress, live part-time in the United States, and part-time in Nigeria. Boniface attended different elementary schools in Mbaitoli LGA due to the fact that his father as a teacher moved from school to school. He attended Obazu Community Grammar School Mbieri in Mbaitoli LGA of Imo State, graduating in 1978. After graduation from secondary school he spent 18 months working for First Bank of Nigeria while waiting to gain admission into a university. After almost two years of waiting, he travelled to America to pursue his post-secondary education even though he did not have all the resources required to make such a trip. From the second month of his freshman year at the State University of New York at Brockport, he started working for the school’s Shipping & Receiving Department until his graduation. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport in 1984, with a B.S. in Computer Science. He found a job in Rochester New York and continued to pursue higher learning while working full-time, earning a Master of Public Administration in information management systems from State University of New York at Brockport in 1987, and a Master of Science in software development & management from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1989. In 1995 he relocated with his wife to the Washington DC area. He continued to work and go to school until 2003 when he completed a PhD program in information technology management from Capella University, Minneapolis/St Paul Minnesota. Boniface and his wife and their four children live in Maryland. Boniface now runs an Information Technology Consulting business he founded in 2005. Boniface is also IEEE Senior member and member of the IEEE Computer Society and Past Chair of the IEEE Computer Society, Baltimore Chapter. He lives in Maryland with his wife Francisca and their four children – Brian, Allen, Jaine and Denzel. About the Book: When Boniface Nwugwo left his hometown in Eastern Nigeria in 1980 to study in America, he had only $4600 to his name for his tuition, his faith in God and an unquenchable thirst to succeed in America. In this revealing, inspiring and compelling memoir, Boniface with uncompromising candor, tells his story of courage, insurmountable struggles, and triumphs that he and many West African immigrants faced before and after coming to America demonstrating that you can reach your dreams if you persevere. From modest beginnings as the son of a teacher in his native Imo State of Nigeria, Boniface Nwugwo overcame poverty to distinguish himself as a brilliant academic and achieve a respectable career in the information technology industry. Through his story and the sample stories of other West African immigrants, America’s promise as land of immigrants with infinite possibilities are rekindled in this self-revealing and self-fulfilling book.

Purchase your copy:

authorhouse





Purchase your copy:
 AuthorHouse Book:
Title: The Silent Immigrants Author: Boniface Nwugwo
Publisher: AuthorHouse Genre: Inspirational Memoir
Pages: 378
Purchase at AuthorHouse 



ABOUT THE SILENT IMMIGRANTS


 When Boniface Nwugwo left his hometown in Eastern Nigeria in 1980 to study in America, he had only $4600 to his name for his tuition, his faith in God and an unquenchable thirst to succeed in America. In this revealing, inspiring and compelling memoir, Boniface with uncompromising candor, tells his story of courage, insurmountable struggles, and triumphs that he and many West African immigrants faced before and after coming to America demonstrating that you can reach your dreams if you persevere. From modest beginnings as the son of a teacher in his native Imo State of Nigeria, Boniface Nwugwo overcame poverty to distinguish himself as a brilliant academic and achieve a respectable career in the information technology industry. Through his story and the sample stories of other West African immigrants, America’s promise as land of immigrants with infinite possibilities are rekindled in this self-revealing and self-fulfilling book.


Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 11 – November 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Saturday November 30, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!





Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas at Harmony Hill: A Shaker Story by Ann H. Gabhart

 

It is 1864 and the nation is still torn apart by civil war when Heather Worth discovers she is with child. She has been working as a laundress with her husband's army unit, but when the army gets orders to march south to Tennessee, Gideon insists Heather go home to have their child under safer conditions. Heather agrees, but returns home to another kind of devastation—deaths in the family and a father who refuses to forgive her for marrying a Yankee.
With nowhere else to turn, Heather seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill. With Christmas coming, can the miracle of new life fill their hearts with unexpected joy?






About The Author

Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She's published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800's, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960's. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl. Visit Ann's website http://annhgabhart.com or her two blogs, One Writer's Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com, and the Hollyhill Book of the Strange, www.hollyhillbookofthestrange.blogspo.... Giveaways several times a year.


My Review: 

A very heartwarming story, and it touches a lot of areas of life in America during the Civil War.
First we have Heather defying her father and marrying a man with sympathies towards the North. She leaves and becomes a wife, and washer woman, following her husband and camp to battles. Life was so hard, and so many senseless deaths.
When Heather becomes heavy with child, she return back home, where her father is so consumed with grief, turns her away for marrying the Northerner. Now she had no where to go...she is tired, hungry and ready to have a baby.
Heather's sister Beth gives her a letter from her Mother and tells he to go the her Aunt Sophrena at the Shaker Village at Harmony Hill. Will the Shakers taker her in, will they make her give up her baby? Will Heather's husband Gideon survive the harsh war?
Enjoy this quick reading story and see God's hand in a lot of the happenings. We have a lot to appreciate for the sacrifices made by many.

I received this book through the Baker Publishing Group bloggers program, and was not required to give a positive review. 

Pump Up Your Book Presents The Wanderers Virtual Book Publicity Tour




An Amish Love Story About Hope and Finding Home
Everything in God’s nature, Johnny observed, did what it was created to do. Everything, that is, except the human race. Johnny was born into an Amish family, into a long line of farmers and good businessmen. He is expected to follow the traditions of family and church as he grows to adulthood. But even as a boy, he questions whether he can be satisfied with this lifestyle. He wants “more” — more education, more travel, more opportunity.
His restlessness leads him down a dangerous road where too much partying and drinking result in heartbreaking consequences. He’s adrift, and no one seems to be able to help him find his direction.
Then he meets spunky Annie, who seems pure and lovely and devoted to her God. Her past, though, holds sin and heartbreak. She was a worm, she explains, but God has transformed her into a butterfly. Johnny falls hopelessly in love; and eventually he, too, finds the power of God to transform lives.
Settling down on the family farm, he forgets about the questions and the restlessness, thinking that he is happy and at home, at last.
But in a few short hours, tragedy changes his life forever, and he is again wondering… and wandering on a very long journey.
Entwined with Johnny and Annie’s story is the allegory of two Monarch butterflies, worms who have been transformed into amazing creatures specially chosen to carry out the miracle of the fourth generation. They, too, must undertake a long journey before they finally find home.


Purchase your copy at AMAZON.


About The Author



Paul Stutzman was born in Holmes County, Ohio in an Amish family. His family left the Amish lifestyle soon after Paul was born. They joined a strict Conservative Mennonite Church where Paul was raised to fear God and obey all the rules the church demanded. Paul continued to live among and mingle with his Amish friends and relatives his entire life. Paul married a Mennonite girl and remained in the Amish community working and raising a family. After Paul lost his wife to cancer, he sensed a tug on his heart- the call to a challenge, the call to pursue a dream. With a mixture of dread and determination, Paul left his job, traveled to Georgia, and took his first steps on the 2,176 mile Appalachian Trail. What he learned during the next four and a half months changed his life-and can change yours too. After completing his trek Stutzman wrote Hiking Through—a book about this life changing journey.

In the summer of 2010 Stutzman again heeded the call for adventure and pedaled his bicycle 5,000 miles across America. He began his ride at the Northwest corner of Washington State and pedaled to Key West, Florida.  On his journey across America he encounters people in all circumstances, from homelessness to rich abundance. The people he meets touch his life profoundly. Stutzman writes about these encounters in his book Biking Across America.

Recently Stutzman released his first novel entitled The Wanderers. The Wanderers is a story about Johnny, a young Amish boy growing up in a culture he is not sure he wants to embrace. A young Amish girl named Annie wins his heart and life is great for a time. Entwined with Johnny and Annie’s story is the allegory of two Monarch butterflies, worms who have been transformed into amazing creatures specially chosen to carry out the miracle of the fourth generation. They, too, must undertake a long journey before they finally find home.

In addition to writing, he speaks to groups about his hiking and biking experiences and the lessons learned during these adventures. Stutzman resides in Berlin, Ohio and can be contacted through his website at www.hikingthrough.com or www.paulstutzman.com.


My Review: 

I found this book a bit confusing, it's about an Amish boy/man finding himself. The story really breaks most of the stereotypes of Amish stories.
In the beginning, the Amish in this district attend public schools, and there are wild drinking and drug parties.
Johnny doesn't know which way to go, to stay Amish and in the bond and love of his family, or spread his wings and leave. You will love his family, his Dad is one everyone would love to have. They even find the right girl for him?? There are some really warm hearted moments, and finding your way to Jesus....I loved those moments. There are some really heartbreaking things that happen, and you might want some tissues handy.
The part of switching from butterflies and back to humans, even with some points being made was a bit disconcerning. As the title tells there is a bit of wandering going on.
We are left with wanting more, and maybe there will be more answers in the next book.


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


The Wanderers Tour Page: