Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review: SisterChicks in Gondolas


Sisterchicks® in Gondolas!
by Robin Jones Gunn 
A Christy Award Winner


 Description:
Jenna and Sue have been sisters-in-law for nearly thirty years but inseparable friends for only the last five. When Jenna is invited to a week’s stay at a fifteenth century restored palace on a quiet canal in Venice, Sue is her travel companion of choice. The catch? They must cook for a group that is staying at the palace for a retreat. With about six words of Italian between them, a map, and a keen appetite for gelato, Jenna and Sue enter into the lilting gondola-paced Italian lifestyle. Together they discovering corners of Venice most tourists never see and over boiling pots of pasta they dare each other to dream again. These two Sisterchicks realize that sometimes when serving God, the most important thing to do is just show up…and watch for goodness and mercy to follow close behind.

My Review:
Totally fun book! I love it!
SisterChicks In Gondolas by Robin Jones Gunn took me totally by surprise, in a very good way.  I was hooked from page two of the Prologue. At times it could have been written about me. (mid-life crisis, memory loss) Sue tells Jenna to keep a notepad by her bed and one in her purse at all times, 
so she can write down things as she thinks or dreams about them so she won't forget.
I laughed out load so many times it put a smile on my face. Oh to be able to go on a real SisterChick retreat. 

I was blown away by how much this book also "talked" to my soul.
Here is an example from the book. All the new experiences, tastes, encounters and small challenges were displays of how God could care for Sue more than I ever could. My job wasn't to diagnose her or counsel her or try to teach her anything. We were students together. Equals in every way.  Sue and I were victims of grace.
I felt as if I'd just been shown my place---a clarification of my role in our friendship. I had places deep inside me that I needed to examine and that needed healing, too, but Sue was not trying to fix those in me. All I had to do was be here and receive the grace that fell on me.
Wow, that says it all. 
I give this book a 5+ out of 5. SisterChick In Gondolas is book full of truth that I won't forget. 

I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah and Blogging for Book for my honest opinion.



ROBIN JONES GUNN is the best-selling and award-winning author of more than seventy books, with over 4 million copies of her titles sold worldwide. Best known among them are the Christy Miller, Sierra Jensen, and Christy and Todd: College Years teen series. A Christy Award winner and a two-time finalist for excellence in fiction, Robin has also been a Gold Medallion finalist. She and her husband have a grown son and daughter and live in Hawaii.


You can purchase it at these links:





Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: A Texan's Choice by Shelley Gray

A Texan's Choice
The Heart of A Hero #3
Shelley Gray
Abingdon Press

Pub Date   Oct 1 2012


Description:
Texas, 1874. Long ago, Scout Proffitt gave up on ever being a man of honor like his Civil War hero brother Clayton. But when Scout steps foot on the rundown remnants of the Circle C ranch, he wonders if maybe—just maybe—the Lord has something different intended for him. 

Rosemarie has lived most of her life doubting her worth and shouldering the blame for her brother’s death. But when a stranger rides onto her ranch, claiming he owns it, she suddenly is given a choice: either keep looking at the dark side of life . . . or dare to dream.

My Review:
I was hooked in the first few pages of A Texan's Choice by Shelley Gray and read it in one evening.
It is the third book in The Hear of A Hero Series and I will be going back to read the other two books in the series, A Texan's Promise (book #1 and A Texan's Honor (book #2 This one can easily stand on its own. I loved the strong character of Scout Proffitt and that he had a tender side when it came to Rosemarie. I enjoyed seeing the wonderful changes in Rose's life as the relationship between she and Scout progressed. A Texan's Choice is proof that God can change even those people that the world does not think can be changed.  This one has tough men who dream of a better life, and romance to smile about. I give this one a 5 out of 5.

I received this book from Abingdon Press and Net Galley for my honest opinion.



Shelley's bio from her site:
 I grew up in Houston, Texas, went to Colorado for college, and after living in Arizona, Dallas, and Denver, we moved to southern Ohio about ten years ago.
I’ve always thought of myself as a very hard worker, but not ‘great’ at anything. I’ve obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree…but I never was a gifted student. I took years of ballet and dance, but I never was anywhere near the star of any recital. I love to cook, but I’m certainly not close to being gourmet…and finally I love to write books, but I’ve certainly read far better authors.
Maybe you are a little bit like me. I’ve been married for almost twenty years and have raised two kids. I try to exercise but really should put on my tennis shoes a whole lot more. I’m not a great housekeeper, I hate to drive in the snow, and I don’t think I’ve ever won a Monopoly game. However, I am the best wife and mother I know how to be.
Shelley's website

You can purchase A Texan's Choice at the below links:
B/N
Amazon
Christianbook









Review: Shattered by Dani Pettrey

Shattered
(Alaskan Courage Book #2)
Dani Pettrey
Baker Publishing Group
Bethany House Publishers
Alaskan Courage Series – Book 2 – Coming February, 2013!
Description:
With All the Evidence Against Him, Only a Sister's Trust Can Save Him Now

When her prodigal brother Reef’s return to Yancey, Alaska, is shattered by his arrest for murder, Piper McKenna is determined to protect him. 

Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. And he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth puts Landon's career in jeopardy.

When Piper launches her own investigation, Landon realizes he must protect her from herself--and whatever complications await as the two follow clues deep into Canada's rugged backcountry. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

My review:
Go buy this series!! I have read Submerged (book #1) in the Alaskan Courage Series by Dani Pettrey
and was super excited to be able to review a copy of Shattered (book #2).  Both books are amazing and Dani Pettrey is a new author whom the Christian book market will be watching in the future. 
I loved how you meet the characters in the previous books and then they each have there own love story in the preceding books.  Submerged and Shattered have everything I could want in a book; a love story, mystery, murder and adventure. I'll be waiting for the next books in the series, as I am sure they will just just as much fun as the first two.
This book gets a 5+ of of 5.  Way to go,  Dani!! Keep them coming!

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers and Net Galley for my honest review.



About the author:
Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.
Get Shattered at the below sites:
Baker Book House    (ebook link)

You can buy the the first two books together here.
Get Submerged at these sites.
B/N
Christianbook
Amazon



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: A Mother's Promise by Anna Schmidt



A Mother's Promise
(Book 3 of Women of Pinecraft)
Anna Schmidt
Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Barbour Books
Pub Date   Dec 1 2012



Description:
Recently widowed Rachel Kaufman is seeking a fresh start for herself and her son, Justin. Will a move to Florida, her new job as hospital chaplain, and Pinecraft’s Mennonite community be the balm to soothe her grieving soul? Teenager Justin is struggling to fit in. Will a newfound sense of power as a bully be his only recourse? Dr. Ben Booker lost his faith when his niece Sally became ill. Will his attraction to Rachel restore him mentally and spiritually? When gossip about Rachel jeopardizes her career and her second chance at love, how will God work to turn a potential disaster into paradise?


My Review:
I was wonderfully surprised by A Mother's Promise by Anna Schmidt, which is  Book 3 of Women of Pinecraft series. I loved this book so much I plan to read the two previous books in the series, which are A Stranger's Gift (book #1) and A Sister's Forgiveness (book #2)

Having been a young widow myself,  I found it easy to identify with the feelings and mourning stages that Rachel went through.  I admired her for deciding to make a new life for herself and her son, Justin in Florida. It also took courage for her to go to college before she married in the Mennonite community that did not encourage their women to do so. She was a women with an incredibly sweet spirit, that drew most people to her.  It was wonderful to see how that same sweet spirit worked on others in the book who did not want to give her a chance. She touched many lives and they were all changed for the better.

Dr. Ben Booker is a man that I instantly liked. And his niece Sally is an strong young girl of 13, to be inspired by. Thank you Anna for a very enjoyable book.  I will recommend this book to my friends and give it a 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from Barbour Publishing and Net Galley for my honest review. 

Anna Schmidt's web site 


 About the author:
Anna Schmidt is the author of over twenty works of fiction. Among her many honors, Anna is the recipient of Romantic Times’ Reviewer’s Choice Award and a finalist for the RITA award for romantic fiction. She enjoys gardening and collecting seashells at her winter home in Florida.

Publishers website

You may purchase A Mother's Promise at:

B/N
Amazon
Christianbook





Friday, December 14, 2012

Review: A Royal Marriage by Rachell McCalla

Another of the many books I read on my vacation.  I'll be posting a few reviews everyday.

Description:
A wedding awaits...
 Despite her protests, Princess Gisela, headstrong daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, must enter into a diplomatic marriage. Yet en route to her wedding, her ship is attacked and she’s gravely injured. Rescued by a renowned healer, King John of Lydia, Gisela recuperates at his Mediterranean castle. The handsome, widowed ruler soon has her reevaluating her beliefs on love and marriage…but only if King John could be her groom. Their love is forbidden, and duty requires him to deliver her to her betrothed. Unless they
can find a way to join their hearts—and kingdoms—with love, faith and honor.

My Review:
Loved, loved, loved this book!!
I started reading A Royal Marriage at bedtime and it kept me awake until I was finished. :) I just love it when a book draws me in and takes me to that magical time in history of Kings, Princesses, castles and knights in battle.  Princess Gisela is a beautiful heroine who intends to honor her fathers wishes for her even when her heart tells her to love King John of Lydia.  I found myself drawn to the
wounded heart of King John and his strong faith in God, as he tenderly cares for Princess Gisela.
I really loved A Royal Marriage and give it a 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from Harlequin Love Inspired Historical and Net Gallery for my honest review.
I was not paid in any way to review this book.


Rachelle McCalla's Website

You can purchase A Royal Marriage at the links below:

B/N
Amazon
Christianbook





Review: Courting Cate by Leslie Gould

 

Description:
 When This Couple Gets to Courting, Sparks Will Fly!
In Paradise, Pennsylvania, Cate Miller is known more for her sharp tongue and fiery temper than her striking appearance. Her sweet and flirty sister, Betsy, on the other hand, seems to have attracted most of the bachelors in Lancaster County!
But the sisters' wealthy father has made one hard-and-fast rule: older Cate must marry first, before younger Betsy can even start courting. Unfortunately, untamable Cate has driven away every suitor--until Pete Treger comes to town, that is.
Prodded by the men of the area, Pete turns his attention to winning Cate's hand. But is his interest true or is there a scheme at play?

My Review:
Courting Cate by  Leslie Gould is a very enjoyable book.  I loved the unique story line and the assortment of very believable characters.  Cate is a (fun, sweet, lively and lovable) character who refuses to give up on life, no matter what life experiences come her way.  She is constantly put to the test by Pete's mom and comes out a better person through it all.  It is fun to watch the romance develop between Cate and Pete despite all that there families puts them through. You will come away from Courting Cate with a smile on your face. Courting Cate is book #1 in The Courtships of Lancaster County series. I look forward to reading book #2 in the series which is due out in April 2013.  I give this one a 4 out of 5 stars.

I received Courting Cate from Bethany House Publishers & NetGalley for my honest review. I was not paid in any way for my review.






Where to Purchase:
Baker Retail
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Christianbook



About the author:
Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife and The Amish Nanny. She is also the author of numerous novels, including Garden of Dreams, Beyond the Blue (winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice for Best Inspirational Novel, 2006), and Scrap Everything. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She resides with her husband and four children in Portland, Oregon. Learn more at:
Leslie Gould's Website


Review: A Lady In the Making-Susan Page Davis

 

 Description: Lady In The Making (Prairie Dreams Series: Book 3)

When Millie Evans boards the stagecoach, she’s determined to leave her past—and her brother’s gang—behind to start a new life. Instead she finds herself face to face with David Stone, the man she and her brother once tried to swindle out of his fortune. Millie attempts to explain her regret—but David remains unconvinced even as he sees proof of Millie’s changed heart. Can Millie prove she’s changed in time for David to save his own life? Or will mistakes from the past prove too much to overcome? 

My Review:
The Prairie Dreams Series by Susan Page Davis was on my HAVE to read book list and when I received my review copy of Lady In The Making (Book #3), I started with the first two books in the series first. The first two books are: #1-The Lady's Maid and #2-Lady Anne's Quest.  The whole series
is fantastic and I read them all in three days.  Susan is now one of my favorite authors and I will be reading more of her books soon.

Lady In The Making is full of adventure, romance, mystery and a whole lot of fun. I loved Millie
and David's love story and how it showed the redeeming power of God.  You meet Millie in The Lady's Maid  as a character that is in need of a relationship with Jesus. It is so exciting to see her
character grow in faith in A Lady In The Making. Get ready for a fun-filled read and you will not be disappointed. I give this entire series a 5 out of 5 stars.

I received my review copy from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

You can purchase the book at the links below.

B/N
Amazon
Christianbook



Author Website
Publisher Website

About the author:
 Susan Page Davis is the author of more than thirty published novels. She’s a Carol Award Winner and a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. In 2011, Susan was named Favorite Author of the Year in the 18th Annual Heartsong Awards. A native of Maine, she and her husband, Jim, now live in western Kentucky.









Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Re: reading, reviewing, reading, reading

We are getting ready for my grand daughter, Sara's 16th birthday on December 8th. It is going to be a huge
party with the Alice In Wonderland theme. Sara is Alice of course. Her mom is the Red Queen, Grandad is the The Mad Hatter and her sisters are the Cheshire Cat and the Rabbit. I'm just me. lol

I have been spending time reading, reading and more reading. I have 4 book reviews to post, but have to get back to my computer to post them. Hard to write a review on an i-Pod. I have read some wonderful books
since being here.
Off to hang out with the girls. They just got in from school. Can't wait to see Grandad (my husband soon),
Bye for now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review~Strong and Stubborn by Kelly Eileen Hake

Description:
When Naomi Higgins and three friends came to Hope Falls, their plans to turn an abandoned mining town into a thriving sawmill required hope—and husbands. Now, Naomi’s the only bride left…Carpenter Michael Strode agreed to a marriage of convenience years ago to an already-pregnant wife he didn’t love. Now a widower, Mike is ready to claim the life—and bride—of his choice. With dangerous doubts clashing against hopeful husbands, can Michael woo the woman he wants? With secrets sabotaging the struggling town—and any hope of romance—only God can help this stubborn couple claim the future!

My Review:
I took the time to read the complete Husbands For Hire Series by Kelly Eileen Hake and am so glad I did. Strong and Stubborn is book #3 in the series and a very fun and entertaining book. The other
two books in this series are #1 Rugged & Relentless and #2 Tall, Dark, and Determined, which I have to say was my favorite of the three. I found myself laughing out loud at the characters in this series often and also feeling their pain. I give this book and the series a 5 out of 5 stars. I can't wait to read more books by Kelly and I plan to buy this series for my teen grand daughters.

I received Strong and Stubborn from  Barbour Publishing, Incorporated in exchange for my honest review and was not paid for this review.

You can purchase Strong and Stubborn at the links below:
B/N
Amazon
Christianbook
Husbands For Hire complete series at Christianbook

Strong and Stubborn ebook can be found  at these links:
B/N
Amazon
Christianbook

These are the other books in the series:
Rugged & Relentless
 B/N
Amazon
Christianbook
 Tall, Dark and Determined:
 B/N
Amazon
Christianbook










About this author:
Kelly Eileen Hake is a reader favorite of Barbour's Heartsong Presents series, where she has released several books. A credentialed Secondary English teacher in California, she is pursing her MA in Writing Popular Fiction. Known for her own style of witty, heartwarming historical romance, Kelly is currently writing the Prairie Promises trilogy, her first full-length novels. She has been writing since she could hold a pen and was first published at the tender age of eighteen.

Taming The Wind by Tracie Peterson

A young widow nursing the wounds of her past...
A cowboy with demons of his own...

Though grateful for the blessing of her daughter, Carissa Lowe has accepted that widowhood is her lot in life. Bound by fear and mistrust, she feels incapable of opening her heart again.

Tyler Atherton has never forgotten Carissa. When he discovers she's living with her sister on a nearby ranch, his life becomes intertwined with the lovely widow's. And Carissa's daughter, Gloria, seems determined to wrap herself around his little finger. But while Tyler longs to provide a home and future for Carissa, he is haunted by an obligation he feels unable to fulfill.

Challenged by mounting hardships, can Carissa and Tyler preserve their fledgling love in a land as unforgiving and vibrant as the people who call it home?
My review:
Taming The Wind, the third book in the Land of the Lonestar Series by Tracie Peterson was a very
heartwarming and enjoyable read. I have yet to read the other two books in this series, but this one can easily stand on its own. I loved this one enough to purchase the other two books in the series, so I can know the complete story.  The characters were likable and  I was happy with the way the story ended. I give this one a 4 out of 5, as it was an enjoyable, but not a life changing read for me.
The other two books in the series are, Chasing the Sun and Touching the Sky. 

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. I was not paid to review this book and always give my honest opinion of each book I review.

Tracie's website
You can purchase this book at:                     
B/N
Amazon
Christianbook

The ebook can be purchased at:
B/N
Amazon
Christianbook


You can read the first chapter below if you would like. 



Review of Sophie's Secret by Sharlene MacLaren

My review:
Sofia's Secret was a very pleasant surprise as it was the first Sharlene MacLaren book I have read.
I really love the character of Sophie, who at a young age overcomes many trials and is a hard working young women who knows God and continues growing her faith as the book progresses.  Doc Trent (Eli's grandfather) made my laugh and I like how the relationship between Eli and Andy continues to grow throughout the book. Will Sophie realize she has friends who love her and want to help lighten her load?

This was the third book in the River Of Hope Series, but can easily stand on its own. I am really happy to have discovered a "new" author to me and intend to go back and read the the other books in this series as well as other books by Sharlene.
I give this one a 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book through First Wild Card and was not paid to review the book. I always give my honest opinion of each book I read.
Thank you, Sharlene for an enjoyable read. 

 



 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 (October 1, 2012)




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




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:








Born and raised in western Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. After graduating, she traveled, then married one of her childhood friends, and together they raised two ldaughters. Now happily retired after teaching elementary school for over 30 years, “Shar” enjoys reading, singing in the church choir, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren—and, of course, writing. Her novels include Through Every Storm, Long Journey Home; the Little Hickman Creek series, the acclaimed historical trilogy, The Daughters of Jacob Kane, and the first two books in her latest series, River of Hope: Livvie’s Song and Ellie’s Haven.





Visit the author's website.





SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:



The River of Hope Series, set in the 1920’s, continues with the story of Sofia Rogers who is pregnant, unmarried, and guarding a secret. Nobody in Wabash, Indiana seems to know her real story and Sofia isn’t about to share it. She’d rather bear the shame than face the threat of consequences. When Eli Trent, the new doctor in town, gets involved, trouble escalates in the form of thievery, arson, and death threats. Nevertheless, Eli remains determined to break down the wall of silence behind which Sofia hides her secret. He is out to convince her she is not alone and to help  her come to the realization that trusting him—and God—is the only thing that makes sense.



Product Details:

List Price: $10.99

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Whitaker House (October 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 160374214X

ISBN-13: 978-1603742146







AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:








The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.


—Psalm 51:17


June 1930


Wabash, Indiana


The blazing sun ducked behind a cloud, granting a smidgeon of relief to Sofia Rogers as she compressed the pedal to stop her bike in front of Murphy’s Market and, in a most inelegant manner, slid off the seat, taking care not to catch the hem of her loose-fitting dress in the bicycle chain. She scanned the street in both directions, hoping not to run into anyone she knew, then parked the rusting yellow bike next to a Ford truck. These days, she dreaded coming into town, but she couldn’t very well put off the chore much longer if she wanted to keep food on the table.


Her younger brother, Andy, had won the race to their destination. His equally corroded bike leaned against the building, and he stood next to it, his arms crossed, a burlap sack slung across one shoulder. As she approached, a smug grin etched his freckled face. “Didn’t I t-tell you I’d b-beat you?”


“That’s because you had a full minute head start on me, you rascal.” Sofie might have added that her present condition did not permit the speed and agility she’d once had, but she wasn’t about to make that excuse. “Just you wait. I’ll win on the way back home.”


“N-not if I can help it.”


She pressed the back of her hand to her hot, damp face and stepped up to the sidewalk. “We’ll see about that, Mr. Know-It-All.”


Andy pointed at her and laughed. “Now your face is all d-dirty.”


She looked at her hands, still soiled from working in the garden that morning, and frowned. “I guess I should have lathered them a little better when I washed up.” She bent over and used the hem of her skirt to wipe her cheek before straightening. “There. Is that better?”


He tilted his face and angled her a crooked grin. “Sort of.”


“Oh, who cares?” She tousled his rust-colored hair. “Come on, let’s get started checking those items off my shopping list.”


They headed for the door, but a screeching horn drew their attention to the street, where a battered jalopy slowed at the curb. Several teenage boys, their heads poking out through the windows, whistled and hollered. “Hey, sister! Hear you like to have a good time!”


At their crudeness, Sofie felt a suffocating pressure in her chest. With a hand on her brother’s shoulder, she watched the car round the bend, as the boys’ whoops faded into the distance.


“Who were those guys?”


“Nobody important.”


As if the baby inside her fully agreed, she got a strong push to the rib cage that jarred her and made her stumble.


“You alright?” Andy grabbed her elbow, looking mature beyond his eleven years.


She paused to take a deep breath and then let it out slowly, touching a hand to her abdomen. Even in her seventh month, she could scarcely fathom carrying a tiny human in her womb, let alone accept all of the kicks and punches he or she had started doling out on a daily basis. She’d read several books to know what to expect as she progressed, but none of them had come close to explaining why she already felt so deeply in love with the tiny life inside of her. Considering that she hadn’t consented to the act committed against her, she should have resented the little life, but how could she hold an innocent baby accountable? “I’m fine,” she finally assured her brother. “Let’s go inside, shall we?”


Inside Murphy’s Market, a few people ambled up and down the two narrow aisles, toting cloth bags or shopping baskets. Sofie kept her left hand out of view as much as possible, in hopes of avoiding the condemnation of anyone who noticed the absence of a wedding band on her left ring finger. Not that she particularly cared what other folks thought, but she’d grown weary of the condescending stares. Several women had tried to talk her into giving the infant up for adoption, including Margie Grant, an old friend who had served as a mother figure to her and Andy ever since their parents had perished in a train wreck in 1924. “The little one growing inside you is the result of an insidious attack, darling. I shouldn’t think you’d want much to do with it once it’s born,” Margie had said. “I happen to know more than a few childless couples right here in Wabash who would be thrilled to take it off your hands. You should really consider adoption.”


Because Margie had long been a loyal friend, Sofie had confided in her about the assault, including when and where it had occurred. As for going to the authorities and demanding an investigation—never! Margie had begged her to go straight to Sheriff Morris, but she had refused, and then had made Margie swear on the Bible not to go herself.


“That is a hard promise to make, dearest,” Margie had conceded with wrinkled brow, “but I will promise to keep my lips buttoned. As for adoption, if you gave the baby to a nice couple in town, you would have the opportunity to watch it grow up. That would bring you comfort, I should think, especially if you selected a well-deserving Christian couple.”


“I can’t imagine giving my baby away to someone in my hometown, Christian or not.”


“Well then, we’ll go to one of the neighboring towns,” the woman had persisted. “Think about it, sweetheart. You don’t have the means to raise a child. Why, you and Andy are barely making ends meet as it is. Who’s going to take care of it while you’re at work?”


“I can’t think about that right now, Margie. And, please, don’t refer to my child as an ‘it.’”


The woman’s face had softened then, and she’d enfolded Sofie in her arms. “Well, of course, I know your baby’s not an ‘it,’ honey. But, until he or she is born, I have no notion what to call it—I mean, him or her.”


“‘The baby’ will do fine.”


Margie had given her a little squeeze, then dropped her hands to her sides and shot her a pleading gaze. “I sure wish you’d tell me who did this to you. It’s a crime, you know, what he did.”


Yes, it had been a crime—the most reprehensible sort. And it was both a blessing and a curse that Sofie couldn’t remember the details. The last thing she could remember was drinking her habitual cup of coffee at Spic-and-Span Cleaning Service before starting her evening rounds. She’d thought it tasted unusually bitter, but she’d shrugged it off at the time. Half an hour later—at the site of her job that night, at the law offices of Baker & Baker—she’d been overcome by dizziness and collapsed. She’d teetered in and out of consciousness, with only a vague notion of what was going on. When she’d awakened, it had been daylight, and she was sore all over. Fortunately, it had been a Saturday, and the offices were closed; no one had discovered her lying there, nauseous and trembling, her dress torn, her hair disheveled. A particular ache had given her a clue as to what had gone on while she’d been unconscious. As the sickening reality had set in, she’d found beside her the note that had haunted her ever since.


Breathe one word about this and you can say bye-bye to your brother.


It had been typed on the official letterhead of the sheriff’s office, making her even less inclined to go to the authorities. Whoever had assaulted her had connections to the law, and she wasn’t about to risk her brother’s life to find out his identity. Plus, without a name, and with no visual or auditory recollection, she had nothing to offer that would aid an investigation.


By the time she realized she’d gotten pregnant, two months had passed—too late to go crying to the authorities. Not that she’d planned to. Her attacker’s threat had been enough to keep her quiet. She could bear the scorn and the shame, as long as he left her alone. And the only way of ensuring that was to comply with his demands. No, she couldn’t say anything more about it to Margie.


“Margie, we’ve been over this. It’s better left unsaid, believe me.”


“But, don’t you know people are going to talk? Who knows what they’ll think or say when you start to show? If they learned the truth, perhaps they’d go a little easier on you.”


“No! I can’t. No one must know—not even you. I’m sorry, Margie.”


Margie had rubbed the back of her neck as if trying to work out a kink. A loud breath had blown past her lips and whistled across Sofie’s cheek. “You know I love you, and so I will honor your wishes…for now.” Then, her index finger had shot up in the air, nearly poking Sofie in the nose. “But if he so much as comes within an inch of you again, I want you to tell me right away, you hear? I can’t abide thinking that he’ll come knocking at your door. You must promise me, Sofia Mae Rogers!”


Sofie had hidden the shiver that had rustled through her veins at the mere thought of crossing paths with her attacker again. Why, every time she went to work, she couldn’t get the awful pounding in her chest to slow its pace until she was home again. She’d stopped drinking and eating at work—anywhere other than at home, really.


“Show me your list, Sofie.” Andy’s voice drew her out of her fretful thoughts. She reached inside her pocket and handed over the paper. When he set off down an aisle, she idly followed after, her mind drifting back into its musings.


***


Dr. Elijah Trent parked his grandfather’s 1928 Ford Model A in the lot beside Murphy’s Market. As he climbed out, he was careful not to allow his door to collide with a bicycle standing nearby. Another battered bike leaned against the building. It looked as if it could use some serious repair work. He closed his door and took a deep breath of hot June air, then cast a glance overhead at the row of birds roosting on a clothesline that stretched between two apartment buildings across the street.


When he pulled open the whiny screen door, an array of aromas teased his nostrils, from freshly ground coffee beans to roasted peanuts in a barrel. As he stepped inside, a floorboard shrieked beneath his feet, as if to substantiate its long-term use.


“Afternoon,” said the shopkeeper, who glanced up from the cash register, where he stood, ringing up an order for a young pregnant woman. Beside her, a boy dutifully stuffed each item into a cloth bag. The young woman raised her head and glanced briefly at Eli, who sensed a certain tenseness in her chestnut-colored eyes. Then, she shifted her gaze back to the clerk.


“Say, ain’t you Doc Trent’s grandson?” the man asked.


“That I am, sir. Elijah Trent. But most people call me Eli.”


The clerk stopped ringing items for a moment and gave him an up-and-down glance. “Heard you’re takin’ over the old fellow’s practice. That’s mighty fine o’ you. I understand you graduated with honors from the University of Michigan, an’ you worked at a Detroit hospital for two years, but you were itchin’ for small-town livin’. Timing’s good, since Doc’s retirin’. S’pose you two been plannin’ this for quite a while now, eh? Hate to see Wilson Trent retire, but most folks seem to think it’ll be good to get in some new blood. Get it? Blood?” He gave a hearty chortle, causing his rotund chest to jiggle up and down.


Eli smiled at the friendly man. “It sounds like Grandfather’s been keeping everyone well-informed.”


“He sure has. Plus, the Plain Dealer wrote up that article ’bout you.”


“Yes, I heard that.”


The woman shifted her narrow frame and fingered one of her short, brown curls, but she kept her eyes focused on the counter. Beside her, the freckle-faced youngster poked his head around the back of her and met Elijah’s gaze. They stared at each other for all of three seconds, but when Eli smiled, the boy quickly looked forward again.


As the clerk resumed ringing up their order, Eli reached inside his hip pocket and grabbed the short list his grandfather had scrawled in his somewhat shaky handwriting. In Detroit, he’d taken most of his meals at the hospital. Helping his grandfather in the kitchen would be an entirely new experience. At least it would be only temporary, until Grandfather’s housekeeper of twenty-odd years, Winifred Carmichael, returned from her two-week vacation out West.


“You lookin’ for anythin’ in particular?” the clerk asked.


“Nothing I can’t find on my own, sir.”


“Pick up one o’ them baskets by the door for stashin’ what you need. Name’s Harold, by the way. Harold Murphy. I’ve owned this place goin’ on thirty years now.”


Eli bent to pick up a basket. He hadn’t thought to bring along a sack in which to carry the items home. The store he had occasioned in Detroit had offered brown paper bags, but the trend didn’t seem to have caught on in Wabash just yet. “Yes, I recall coming here with my grandmother as a kid.”


“And I remember you, as well, with that sandy hair o’ yours and that there dimple in your chin.”


“Is that so? You have a good memory, Mr. Murphy.”


A pleased expression settled on the clerk’s face. “You used to ogle my candy jars and tug at your grandmother’s arm. ’Course, she’d always give in. She couldn’t resist your pleadin’. Seems to me you always managed to wrangle some chewin’ gum out o’ her before I finished ringin’ her order.”


“It’s amazing you remember that.”


“Well, some things just stick in my memory for no particular reason.” He glanced across the counter at the freckle-faced boy. “Young Andy, here, he’s the Hershey’s chocolate bar type. Ain’t that right, Andy?”


The lad’s head jerked up, and he looked from Mr. Murphy to the woman beside him. “Yes, sir. C-c-can I g-get one today, Sofie?”


Her slender shoulders lifted and drooped with a labored sigh. “I suppose, but don’t expect any other treats today.”


“I won’t.”


The brief tête-à-tête allowed Eli the chance to disappear down an aisle in search of the first item on his list: sugar. He found it about the same time the screen door whined open once more, with the exit of the young woman and the boy. Next, Eli spotted the bread at the end of the aisle. He picked up a loaf and nestled it in the basket, next to the box of sugar.


“Well, I think it’s plain disgraceful, her coming into town and flaunting herself like that. My stars, has she not an ounce of decency? And what, pray tell, is she teaching that brother of hers by not keeping herself concealed?”


“I must agree, it’s quite appalling,” said another.


Eli’s ears perked up at the sound of female scoffs coming from the other side of the shelving unit at the back of the store. He stilled, slanted his head, and leaned forward. If he could push a few cans and boxed goods to the side without creating a commotion, he might manage a partial view of the gossips.


“I always did wonder about her and that pitiable little brother of hers, living all alone on the far edge of town. No telling what sort of man put her in a motherly way. Why, if I were in her place, I’d have gone off to stay with some relative in another state. One would think she’d have somewhere she could go. She could have birthed the child, given it to some worthy family, and come back to Wabash, and no one would’ve been the wiser.”


The other gossip cleared her throat. “Perchance her ‘lover’ won’t hear of her leaving, and she doesn’t dare defy him. She always did come off as rather defenseless, wouldn’t you say?”


“Yes, yes, and very reclusive. Never was one to join any charity groups or ladies’ circles. Why, she doesn’t even attend church, to my knowledge. As I said before, the whole thing is disgraceful.”


Eli shuffled around the corner and stopped at the end of the next row, where he picked up a couple of cans of beans, even though they weren’t on Grandfather’s list, and dropped them into his basket with a clatter. The chattering twosome immediately fell silent. Eli cast a casual glance in their direction, and he almost laughed at their poses of feigned nonchalance. One was studying the label on a box, while the other merely stared at a lower shelf, her index finger pressed to her chin.


When Eli started down the aisle, both of them looked up, so he nodded. “Afternoon, ladies.”


The more buxom of the two batted her eyelashes and plumped her graying hair, then nearly blinded him with a fulsome smile. “Well, good afternoon to you.”  She put a hand to her throat. “My goodness. You’re Doc Trent’s grandson?”


“Yes, ma’am.”


“Well, I’ll be. I overheard you talking with Harold, but I didn’t lay eyes on you until now.” She perused him up and down. “You sure are a handsome devil.”


“Oh, for mercy’s sake, Bessie, mind your manners.” The second woman bore a blush of embarrassment. “Don’t pay her any heed, Doctor. She’s such a tease.” She extended a hand. “I’m Clara Morris, the sheriff’s wife, and this is Bessie Lloyd. Her husband owns Lloyd’s Shoe Store, over on Market Street. Welcome to Wabash, Dr. Trent. We read about your impending arrival in the newspaper. I hope you find yourself feeling right at home here.”


“I’m sure I will.” Eli shifted his shopping basket and extended a hand first to Mrs. Morris, then to the annoying Mrs. Lloyd. He would have liked to remind them that two upstanding women in the community ought to put a lock on their lips, lest they tarnish their own reputations, but he hadn’t come to Wabash with the intention of making instant enemies, so he restrained himself. “Nice meeting you ladies. You have a good day, now.”


He glanced to his left and, seeing a shelf with maple syrup, snatched a can and tossed it into his basket. Casting the women one last smile, he headed down the aisle in search of the remaining items.


“My, my,” he heard Mrs. Lloyd mutter. “I think it may be time for me to switch physicians.”


“But you’ve been seeing Dr. Stewart for years,” Mrs. Morris said. “What about your bad knee?”


“Pfff, never mind that. I’d much rather look into that young man’s blue eyes and handsome face than Dr. Stewart’s haggard mug. Why, if I were younger….”


Eli picked up his pace and made it out of earshot before she finished her statement.


Several minutes later, he’d rounded up everything on his list, so he made his way to the cash register. As he did, the voices of the two gabby women carried across the store. Evidently, they’d found a new topic of conversation. “I went to McNarney Brothers yesterday,” Mrs. Lloyd was saying, “and would you believe they raised the price of beef by five cents a pound? Don’t they know times are tight? Before you know it, folks won’t be able to afford to eat.”


“She could afford to go a few days without eatin’,” Harold Murphy muttered. His eyes never strayed from his task, as he keyed in the amount of each item before placing it back in the basket.


Eli covered his mouth with the back of his hand until his grin faded. He decided it was best to keep quiet on the matter. Something else bothered him, though, and he couldn’t resist inquiring. He leaned in, taking care to keep his voice down. “That girl…er, that woman, who left a bit ago, who is expecting….”


“Ah, Sofia Rogers? She was here with her little brother, Andy.” Mr. Murphy rang up the final item, the loaf of bread, and placed it gently atop the other goods. Then, he scratched the back of his head as his thin lips formed a frown. “It’s a shame, them two…well, them three, I guess you could say.” He glanced both ways, then lowered his head and whispered, “Don’t know who got her in that way, and I don’t rightly care. When she comes here, I just talk to her like nothin’s different. Figure it ain’t really my concern. I know there’s been talk about her bein’ loose, an’ all, but I can’t accept it. Never seen her with anybody but that little boy. She takes mighty fine care o’ him, too.”


“She’s his guardian, then?”


“Sure enough, ever since…oh, let’s see here…summer of twenty-four, it was. They lost their ma and pa in a terrible train wreck. They’d left Andy home with Sofie for a few days, whilst they went to a family funeral somewhere out West, little knowing their own funeral would be three days later.” The man shook his balding head.


The news got Eli’s gut to roiling. Even after all those years of medical school, which should have calloused him to pain and suffering, his heartstrings were wound as taut as ever. He needed to learn to toughen up. Needed to accept that, thanks to Adam and Eve’s fateful decision in the garden, bad things happened to innocent people; that he lived in an imperfect world in which evil often won.


“Where do they live, if you don’t mind my asking?”


“Somewheres out on the southwest edge o’ town. River Road, I believe, just off o’ Mill Creek Pike.”


Eli didn’t know Wabash well, but his grandfather certainly did, having driven virtually every street within the town limits to make house calls. But what was he thinking? He ought to bop himself on the noggin. He knew next to nothing about this woman, and the last thing he needed upon taking over Wilson Trent’s medical practice was a reputation for sticking his nose where it didn’t belong.


Eli paid the shopkeeper and took up the basket. He had a good feeling about Harold Murphy. “Nice to see you again, sir. I’ll bring this basket back next time I come in…or shall I return it to you tonight?”


Harold flicked his wrist. “Naw, you bring it back whenever it’s convenient. You give ol’ Doc a hearty hello from me.”


“I’ll do that.” Eli turned and proceeded to the door, shoving it open with his shoulder. The first thing he noticed when he stepped outside was the absence of the two bikes, and it occurred to him then that Sofia and Andy Rogers had ridden to and from Murphy’s Market on those rickety contraptions. A woman in what looked to be her seventh month of pregnancy, riding a bike clear to the edge of town? In a dress? And in this heat?


This time, he did bop himself on the head.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Review: A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

I finished reading A Wreath of Snow (A Victorian Christmas Novella) by Liz Curtis Higgs this past week.


                
Christmas Eve 1894

All Margaret Campbell wants for Christmas is a safe journey home. When her plans for a festive holiday with her family in Stirling crumble beneath the weight of her brother’s bitterness, the young schoolteacher wants nothing more than to return to the students she loves and the town house she calls home.

Then an unexpected detour places her in the path of Gordon Shaw, a handsome newspaperman from Glasgow, who struggles under a burden of remorse and shame.

When the secret of their shared history is revealed, will it leave them tangled in a knot of regret? Or might their past hold the threads that will bind their future together?

As warm as a woolen scarf on a cold winter’s eve, A Wreath of Snow is a tender story of love and forgiveness, wrapped in a celebration of all things Scottish, all things Victorian, and, especially, all things Christmas.

My Review:
A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Liz Curtis Higgs was my first Liz reading experience. I enjoyed this book about the healing power of our loving God.  The book was a pleasant surprise for me and took a few twist that I did not except at the start of the book. I will be reading more books by Liz in the future. If you are looking for a short (it's a novella) and sweet read then,
A Wreath of Snow is the Christmas read for you. I finished this one with a smile on my face.

I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah (through Blogging for Books) for my honest review.  I was not paid in any way for this review.

  Liz Curtis Higgs website
Liz's blog

 You may purchase A Wreath of Snow at the below links:
Hard copy:
B/N
Amazon
Christianbook
WaterBrook Multnomah 

ebook copy:
B/N
Amazon
Christianbook
WaterBrook Multnomah













The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann Review

I am a few day later in posting my review or The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann.


Description:
Corporate turnaround specialist Morgan Spencer, dubbed the "success guru," has a Midas touch in business. But losing his wife sent him to the brink, and his two-year-old daughter, Livie, is all he's living for--until they encounter a woman whose trouble just might draw him out of his own.

Four years ago Quinn Reilly did the right thing. Now the man her testimony put in jail is getting out. Though she has put up barriers to protect herself and those around her, she has come to care for the Spencer family, especially the winsome Livie and her mercurial father. Unwilling to put them at risk when the threats begin, she requests something she hopes the super-successful Morgan might be able to deliver.

Fixing problems is what Morgan does best, but his counter proposal takes them in a direction neither is equipped to handle. Determined to confront the past, will they survive to build a future?

Another Fabulous Novel by Kristen Heitzmann
My review:
I was totally drawn into The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann from page one. I could not put it down and read it in one day. As always Kristen has wonderful, fun and heart touching characters that you will love. I really enjoyed watching God do His "work" on the main characters and open their hearts to his healing power.
If you love a good mystery, suspense and a great love story you will love The Breath of Dawn.  I don't read spoilers so do not write them. The description from Bethany House will have to do you. Go buy this book. It's a keeper that I will read again.
I would give this book 5+ stars.


I received an ebook copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing for review purposes. I was not paid for this review and always give my honest opinion of each book I review.


Kristen Heitzmann's website

 Short Bio:
Kristen Heitzmann is the bestselling author of two historical series as well as ten contemporary romantic and psychological suspense novels, including The Still of Night, nominated for the Colorado Book Award; The Tender Vine, a Christy Award finalist; and the Christy Award-winning Secrets.
She lives in the Colorado Rocky Mountain foothills with her husband Jim and sundry family members and pets.



You can purchase the paperback at the links below:
Bethany House
B/N
Amazon
Christianbook

The ebook may be purchased at these links:
B/N
Amazon
Christianbook

You may read the first chapter here if you choose.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

More reviews tomorrow

I'll have two more book reviews for you tonight. I have six books to read in the next two weeks for review. I also have a shelf full of great books I have won this month. I'll have to read those during our Christmas break to MI.
I love to read so hopefully I'll get them all read. Have a great day everyone.
I am also working on getting my Studio in order so I can get back to sewing and quilting. I have so many projects I want to finished and start. My sewing supplies need to be in their new home though, which means I have to get five pieces of furniture painted soon. Better go sleep for awhile. I have been up all night again. Time for me to rest. God bless.