Saturday, 28 December 2013

A Melody for James

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Solitary strangers meet during a stormy stopover. Hours later, their hearts hum a harmonious duet.

Melody Mason has the hottest female voice in the country music scene. But the cheers of throngs of adoring fans mean little in the absence of the handsome stranger who rescued her years before. Widower James Montgomery has never forgotten her. He prays God can bring her back.

Incredible events finally bring them face to face again. Together at last, they realize the bond between them has miraculously risen to a crescendo, melodiously marrying them like strong symphonic chords. Uncannily, they learn they share more in common than they could have ever imagined. They know God reunited them for a purpose.

Sinister forces threaten to destroy their new found happiness. The couple must work in close concert, placing all their faith in God as they solve the deadly mystery that ties their lives inexplicably together.

Fire, loss, and bloodshed cannot shake their faith in God to see them through as they face a percussive climax that leaves hearts and lives forever changed

MY THOUGHTS:

This is the first book by author Hallee Bridgeman that I have read, and I must say, I am soo glad to have found her books! A Melody for James is a beautiful story of what I would call "Divine Moments!" Don't get me wrong…. this isn't JUST a mushy gushy love story, Oh NO! It is filled with suspense, romance, and plenty of "who did it?" 

Melody's journey is one filled with doubt & heartache and only God can reveal HIS love and HIS Faithfulness to her. When we lose our way and our Faith takes a hit, God knows just the thing to do to open our eyes to see HIM again, despite the hurt and pain we are facing! 

James has dealt with a huge loss and while he is grieving, he is determined to not allow the pain separate him from the Lord or to allow unforgiveness to take root in his heart! Hallee Bridgeman writes the character of James so beautifully!  

Somewhere in the mix of all of this, these two finally find one another in that very "Divine Moment".  

A Melody for James is a MUST READ! A true 5 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥'s for sure!! Thank you Hallee Bridgeman for allowing me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!! I LOVED IT!! 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A Marriage in Middlebury ~ Review








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?

About the Author:
  
Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, is the author or coauthor of thirty-five books for adults and children. She has recently been honored with a 2013 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award and is a two-time finalist in the 2013 Selah Awards as well as a finalist in the 2013 Cascade Awards. She holds a BA in the combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends. Please visit her online at  www.anitahigman.com


My Thoughts:

What is it about a small town, and a love story gone wrong that just pulls you in?

A Marriage in Middlebury gives you soooo many reasons to fall in love with this quaint little town and many of those that live there. Charlotte Hill loves her customers and if there is one thing that Charlotte knows, it's people! She listens, cares, and serves each customer with such love and kindness. She also has an amazing way of creating the perfect tea combination for each person and while she may not know the perfect blend immediately, it is in the learning more about each person that tells Charlotte just which teas she should use that is so touching. 

Despite all of her successes and much sought after advice, Charlotte has never found love again. That is, not since she was 18 years old and hoping for a marriage proposal from her first and long time love, Sam. She did however, receive that proposal, and never in a million years did she believe her answer would be "No!" She was manipulated and threatened by Sam's Father into declining Sam's proposal, leaving both Sam and Charlotte heart broken. Deceit and ignorance work in many ways, and in this case, it forever changed the course of Sam and Charlotte's lives that day. When Sam returns to Middlebury twenty years later, he brings along his fiancé and has a request for Charlotte, to speak to his dying father. As the web of deceit is untangled and the truth comes out, will Sam and Charlotte be able to deny their love for one another?  

A Marriage in Middlebury is wonderful and I fell in love with this town, it's people, and each story within it.  I sooo appreciated the way the relationship with Charlotte and Sam's Father was written. I don't want to "spoil" it for anyone, but suffice to say, I am so glad that Charlotte was able to see the truth and to offer forgiveness despite what was given to her.  

The community of people and their relationships weren't perfect by any means, however, one thing stood out to me and that was the love and acceptance of one another. It felt like home, like I knew each one of them, but then again, isn't that the way a small town is.

If you love romance and meeting fun loving and quirky people, then A Marriage in Middlebury is definitely for you! I must warn you though, it will pull you in and you may not want to leave… let alone put the book down!

Thank you Litfuse for allowing me this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review!  
Heart of a BookWorm gives this one 5 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥'s 

Marriage in Middlebury


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.







middlebury-400



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!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A Confident Heart ~ Devotional



About the Devotional:

Built on the hope-infusing truths found in the 2012 Retailer's Choice Winner, A Confident Heart, Renee Swope's new 60-day devotional takes women on a journey toward lasting confidence. Swope has expanded her popular "When I say--God says" statements and Scriptures, and offers women a daily thought-map to help them exchange their most common and crippling self-doubts with God's transforming truths.

Like having a conversation with a friend and mentor, Renee's authentic style and soul-stirring devotions include personal stories, powerful biblical teaching, and real-life application wrapped around one of God's promises each day to help readers: 

•live confidently in their God-given roles, relationships and responsibilities
•break free from people-pleasing and performance-based living
•believe God's promises and apply his truth in their daily lives
•trust the certainty of God's truth over their circumstances and emotions

My Thoughts:

Are you guilty of negative thoughts towards yourself? I call this "stinkin' thinkin'" and I am guilty for sure! As I have gotten older and grown in my walk with the Lord, I have learned how VITAL it is to apply Gods Word when I am thinking negatively towards myself! This devotional is phenomenal in teaching you just that… at the end of each devotion, there is a "When I say this….  God says … " and let me tell you… These are AWESOME!!  

The devotions are great as well! Renee has an amazing way to write and make you feel like you were having coffee right there with her. She is open, honest, and spoke right to my heart in these devotions.

This would be a WONDERFUL gift for ANY and ALL women you know! Teachers, Caretakers, Friends and Neighbors, Co-workers, Bank tellers… You get my drift ;) Seriously, this is a GREAT book and I recommend it HIGHLY!!

Thank you Lanette @Revell, a division of Baker Publishing for allowing me this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review!

A Confident Heart Devotional gets a HUGE 5 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥'s from me!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Smart Woman's Guide to Planning for Retirement; How to save for your Future Today!

About the Book:



What does a woman want to do when she retires? Travel? Pursue hobbies? Spend time with friends and family? We all have dreams about what those days will be like. But when it comes to turning those dreams into reality, women's retirement confidence and know-how is low. According to a 2012 survey, 92 percent of women of all ages in this country don't feel they're educated enough to reach their retirement savings goals. For the woman who doesn't know where to start or would like a knowledgeable guide who speaks her language, financial expert Mary Hunt offers a comprehensive but approachable resource for saving and planning for retirement.

Whether she feels entitled to retire at age 65, hopes she'll be able to stop working someday, or is convinced she'll never be able to retire, every woman will find real help in these pages. With her signature no-nonsense, energetic style, Hunt assures women that it's only too late if they don't start now. She clearly covers every aspect of retirement planning during every season of a woman's life, giving women the confidence they need to shape their futures.

My Thoughts:

Mary Hunt has made this book so easy to read and understand! The chapters range from saving your money today and paying down your debt to investing for your future and everything in between. She keeps the chapters short and yet they are filled with great advice and tips that you can easily apply immediately!

We all should plan for our future and for some it is just frightening and can be overwhelming… if that is you then please read Mary's book, no matter what age you are! You will be so thankful! 

Thank you Revell a Division of Baker Publishing for allowing me this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review

Friday, 18 October 2013

Warning Signs


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:



Katy Lee



and the book:



Warning Signs, a Love Inspired Suspense


Love Inspired (October 1, 2013)



***Special thanks to Katy Lee for sending me a review copy.***



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



As an Inspirational Romantic Suspense author, Katy Lee writes higher-purpose stories in high-speed worlds. Through her writing, ministries, and teaching, she dedicates her life to sharing tales of love, from the greatest love story ever told to those sweet romantic stories of falling in love. Katy and her husband are born New Englanders, but have been known to travel at the drop of a hat along with their three children. But www.KatyLeeBooks.com is where you can find Katy anytime.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT

When a drug-smuggling ring rocks a small coastal town, the DEA sends Agent Owen Matthews to shut it down. A single father with a deaf son, Owen senses that the town's number one suspect—the high school's new principal—doesn't fit the profile. Miriam Hunter hoped to shrug off the stigma of her hearing impairment when she returned to Stepping Stones, Maine. But her recurring nightmares dredge up old memories that could prove her innocence—and uncover the truth behind a decades-old murder. Yet Owen's help may not be enough when someone decides to keep Miriam silenced—permanently.






Product Details:
List Price: $5.99
Series: Love Inspired Suspense
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired (October 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373445598
ISBN-13: 978-0373445592



My thoughts:

Warning Signs is a page turning suspense filled story! It will also leave you encouraged as you get to know Miriam & Owen. Their wounds from the past and struggles in the present open your eyes to a beautiful example of Gods love. The suspense keeps you guessing and turning pages and if you think you have it all figured out, you might just have to think again!!

I highly recommend Warning Signs!
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:




Drug Enforcement Agent Owen Matthews gripped the wheel of his rented sports boat as he coasted through the North Atlantic at barely half-throttle. The Maine island town of Stepping Stones urged Owen to rush forward to the safety of its shores, but his newly acquired phobia of boats wouldn’t let him speed up even one knot. At this rate the sun would be gone before he arrived at his next assignment.

“What we do for friends,” Owen mumbled through clenched teeth, thinking about his old academy roommate, and the island’s sheriff, Wesley Grant. Even though Wes chose small-town law enforcement and Owen took the federal route with the DEA down to the Mexican border, the two of them kept in touch.

Wes had called, needing Owen’s undercover expertise to take down a recent marijuana problem at Stepping Stones High School. No job was too dangerous or too far for Owen when it came to extinguishing the distribution of illegal mind-altering substances. Even if the job brought him back to these Maine waters where he vowed never to go again.

Owens quashed away the sickening memory. He’d let the guilt return later, but for now he had a job to do. He steered his focus back to the few facts Wes gave him about the case, specifically on how the drugs appeared about six months ago, soon after two new residents moved to Stepping Stones.

Wes was a good cop, but he probably didn’t want to believe a fellow islander could ever bring such harm down on one of his own. Since Owen grew up on the mainland and not with these people, he could offer a more unbiased investigation of all the inhabitants, new and old.

Plus, Owen knew firsthand how the ones closest to us had the power to destroy us—he knew this not because he’d been on the receiving end, but because of the people he’d destroyed. His past offenses convinced him that every islander was capable and a suspect—including the owner of the fishing boat coming at him.

At first, the vessel bobbed alongside a huge rock and lighthouse up ahead, but when it shot off like a bullet, Owen questioned its hurry. Was its retreat an innocent maneuver or had Owen intruded on an illegal happening of some kind?

He kept his undercover status in mind and prepared to make all neighborly with the captain of the…. He strained to read the name of the fishing boat scrawled on its hull.

The Rita Ann.

A harmless enough name. Although typically, a drug trafficker wouldn’t be advertising its wares on its exterior for the world to see. Owen observed more of the rusty, white fishing boat with its tall, lit masthead. A rule follower, it would seem with his adequate safety equipment. But, if one was carrying illegal cargo, it would be in their best interest to keep their light bulbs in working order. Why risk the chance of being pulled over?

Owen searched the dark pilothouse windows for the captain, but only the reflection of the setting sun glinted back at him. He sped up a little to close in, waving his hand high, and slowed to an idle to wait for the lone figure at the wheel to wave back.

Instead, the Rita Ann increased its speed and changed its course—directly on him.

Stunned, Owen’s hand slipped off the gear shift. This couldn’t be happening. Not again. The sun was setting, but he could still be seen. The last time it had been pitch dark. This didn’t make sense.

Snap out of it, Matthews! He ordered himself to reengage, but his stiff hands might as well have been petrified wood. He had to move, but visions of a past splintering boat flying sky-high immobilized his reflexes. Six years of time dissolved into this moment as he relived his first crash.

No, he denied for history to repeat itself. Move! Now!

A surge of adrenaline pushed him to hit the reverse. He blasted back out of the Rita Ann’s path. The fishing boat jetted past him without an acknowledgment.

Owen questioned if the driver had seen him or not. How could he not, though? He watched The Rita Ann chug out to sea. Owen forced his hand to turn the wheel to follow. He would flag it down to find out, but first, he would need to speed up to catch it.

Duty called and Owen’s previous driving-with-caution vaulted to the wind as he kicked up his speed a notch, then another and another. The front bow parted the rolling waves into a frothy wake as he set his sights on the Rita Ann. His attention drilled straight ahead, until a gray object flew past him on his starboard side. Immediately another followed. Owen’s head whipped from side to side in confusion.

They were flat rocks, smaller, less visible than the large one with the lighthouse. The sight of the solid, unmovable masses caused him to slam back the throttle, jolting the craft to a rumbling crawl.

The Rita Ann raced on ahead without him.

It wasn’t the fact that he let her go that choked him, but rather the fact that he could have had a disastrous collision if he had been a few scant feet more to his left.

At least no one was in the boat with me this time. Owen blew out a breath of angry expletives about his stupidity. I have no business being out on these waters. Not even for a job.

With tighter fists than before, he gripped the steering wheel again. In an anxious cold-sweat, Owen drifted with the tiniest bit of gas sent to the engine. In such a slow motion, he realized more and more of these rocks protruded up from the ocean floor around him, leading up to the island of Stepping Stones.

The island apparently got its name from these rocks. The lighthouse itself was built on the largest of them while the others dotted a sporadic path. A beautiful scene for a painting, but in reality, these rocks posed a deadly threat to boats cruising their way up the coast of New England. How the ferry could dock here was beyond him. Maybe that’s why it only came in once a week. Too risky with these formidable pieces of stone that required a wide berth.

Owen made his way back to the rock with the lighthouse. As he approached, something red and gold caught his attention. His rubberneck told him it was a woman.

She lay motionless on the rock, the only part of her moving was a strand of her hair fluttering on the sea breeze. His mind reeled with concern. Was she injured?

Owen swung his gaze back at the departing Rita Ann. Perhaps the woman was hurt by the same hands that piloted the boat. That would explain the hasty departure. Had someone on the Rita Ann dumped her here? Thrown her overboard? Owen’s stomach twisted at the thought. Time was critical if that was the case.

He steadied his gaze on her, but from his vantage point all he could make out was her shock of long, red hair glinting with gold in the sun’s rays. The tresses fanned out against the rock like the rays themselves. He leaned over the steering wheel as if that would get him closer, faster.

With the engine of his boat chugging, he hoped she would hear him approach and lift her head or wave a hand, but she didn’t. Not even when his boat sidled up to the rock and lapped idly in the waves.

“Miss?” he called out over the rattling engine. “Miss, do you need help?”

No answer. No movement, either

Owen cleared his throat and tried again, louder. When that turned out the same, the words ‘deathly still’ crossed his mind. Apprehension niggled at the back of his neck. He rubbed it away with the horrid thought and called out again. “Miss?” he yelled forcefully, but couldn’t deny the waver of uncertainty in his voice.

He hadn’t seen someone this still since his wife, Rebecca, lay in the sand, paramedics going through the motions of saving her only because he begged them not to stop. Owen’s throat filled with a golf-sized blockage. He shot a jittery gaze toward the island, willing someone else to come help this woman.

The docks in miniature glimmered in the sunlight, waiting for his boat to find its place beside them for the night. Oh, how he wanted to do just that. To allow someone else better qualified to help her. He was good at chasing bad guys, not rescuing women. But not one person came into his view. Not one fisherman. Not one loitering teenager. No one at all stood on the pier for him to wave at for assistance.

Owen cut the engine. It has to be me. He dropped his shoulders as he dropped anchor.

He thought about radioing for help, maybe the woman was just in a deep sleep. Just in case she was hurt, though, Owen grabbed the life-saving equipment stored in the rear stern under the padded seats. He yanked open the compartment to find a first-aid kit and blanket, along with life vests. He scooped up the blanket and kit and went portside, reaching out to grab at the crusty barnacle-covered stone.

Swells rocked the woman in and out of his view. With every rise and sway of his boat he caught sight of her one-piece, red and blue bathing suit. He thought it was a mishmash of flowers or something, but didn’t concentrate enough on it to be sure. His full attention was given to the state of the woman’s wellness. In a quick scan, his eyes followed from her bathing suit down her long, muscular limbs of milky white to a set of small feet sprawled motionless.

“I’m coming, okay?” he assured her loudly as he threw his load up on the rock and hoisted his body to follow. Please be sleeping, he thought but said, “Don’t move. You may have a neck injury.” Like Rebecca when she was thrown.

The woman didn’t move. Not even to acknowledge his presence. He watched for any sign of a twinge or breathing as he scraped along the sharp barnacles. Pain sliced through his palms and bared forearms. He used the discomfort to propel him up and forward, but glad for the protection of his denim jeans. Lying flat, he came face-to-face with the still, delicate features of the woman. Long, light lashes rested on pale, freckled cheeks. He hesitated to touch her. Would he find her asleep? Dead? Had his rescue not come in time?

“Miss, can you hear me? Are you hurt? Do you need help?”

Nothing.

His hand reached for the curve of her neck and gently felt for her pulse on skin, icy cold. She moaned and her heart’s life-beating sound brought Owen a mix of relief and elation. She may be hurt, but at least she was alive. Thank you, L-Lord, Owen’s reflexive prayer of thanksgiving had him wiping an old bitter aftertaste from his salty lips.

“God had nothing to do with saving this girl,” he muttered. “God’s not here. I’m here.”

His blunder stumped him for a moment before he launched into the rescue. Owen reached for the scratchy, wool blanket behind him and stretched it over her arms and chest to warm her. Instantly, her eyes flashed wide and another short sound deep in her throat escaped her pale lips. A moan of pain? he wondered. A quick jerk of her head triggered him to brace her just in case.

“Miss?” He gripped both sides of her face and peered into stark, gray eyes, as gray as the stone she lay on. Fear shone up at him. “Don’t move. You could have a spinal injury. Can you tell me if you hurt anywhere?”

She struggled beneath the blanket, arms fumbling and pushing with a strength that caught him off guard. Owen pressed her arms down and shushed her. He couldn’t safely move her to the boat like this.

She moaned again, more forceful, louder. It didn’t sound like a moan of pain now, but rather anger. She was mad at him? For helping her? She shoved harder at the blanket between them. Her lips parted for the loudest most forceful sound yet. It sounded like the word off without the pronunciations of the f’s. It took him a second before her word hit him like a left hook to his gut.

Owen jumped away from the muffled sounds he would recognize anywhere. They were the same kind of sounds his son made when he tried to speak—ever since he lost his hearing the night he’d nearly drowned in the crash.

This woman wasn’t injured at all. She didn’t answer him because, like his son, she was deaf.

*

Miriam Hunter fumbled under the attack of a strong-armed man. The scare tactics to be rid of her had turned physical. Ever since she arrived here, the islanders had made it known she wasn’t wanted. First, the nasty notes and emails, then the late night crank calls, and now this…this assault.

How dare this guy sneak up on her out in this secluded place? At the one place she could fully get away from their angry stares. As though it was her fault drugs had come to their precious island.

Just because the marijuana showed up after she arrived didn’t mean she brought it with her. The bag of marijuana found in her office had been placed there by one of the very townspeople who wanted her gone—perhaps even by this guy leaning over her.

Angrily, Miriam heaved at the heavy material scratching her skin. She didn’t have to think twice as to why he covered her with it. He might as well have sealed her lips with duct tape. She strained against him to free her hands—her voice. He wouldn’t understand a word she signed, but it would make her feel better to put him in his place. She wouldn’t sit here and allow him to silence her. She pushed at him again, but his strength wouldn’t relent.

Who was this guy? Miriam didn’t recognize him as a parent. He seemed too young to have a child in high school. Thirty-two, tops. His dark cropped hair screamed short, clean-cut military, not shaggy, salt-drenched fisherman.

But the eyes….

She stilled to study the rich black currant irises inches from her face. Sharp and assessing eyes, not accusing and vindictive. She thought they held a message of caring, but before she could decipher clearly, all emotion dipped behind their onyx surface like the secrets of the drink, safely hidden beneath murky depths.

His tensed lips moved, too close for her to read. Then as much as she abhorred talking, Miriam broke her vow and opened her mouth to tell him to get off.

The look on his cleanly shaven face abruptly changed from determination to…shock? Her deafness surprised him? If he didn’t know she was deaf then he wasn’t from Stepping Stones. He was a stranger—and she was alone on a rock in the ocean with him.

Every self-defense move Miriam learned in college jumped to attention in her head. She tried to recall if there was a maneuver for when someone had you pinned under a blanket. Never did she think those tactics would be used, but perhaps this was the moment God prepared her for through all those classes. Stay with me, Father, she signed her prayer of petition in her head because her hands were still secured under the blanket. Give me strength and the knowledge to break away. She mindfully pulled out the scripture tucked in her heart for times of darkness.

Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Miriam used the words from Isaiah 41to hurl all her strength at the man again. This time, he jolted back as though she’d burned him. Without waiting another second, she sat up, flung off the blanket, and scooted back.

He fell onto his haunches, hands raised up in surrender, but her flight reflex still had her retreating farther away until she reached the edge of the rock. Her heart raced, pounding adrenaline through her head and body. Even being deaf, she could hear it coursing through her.

He hadn’t moved from his place but spoke again. Miriam studied his lips as her breathing steadied. He said something about kelp. She shook her head in confusion and a bit of annoyance. People always thought deaf people could read lips. She supposed she could read them half the time, but that left a lot of room for confusion, which is why she usually traveled with her interpreter—except in the afternoon when she swam out to the lighthouse to be alone. Never did she think she would need Nick way out here.

The stranger’s tall, lean frame bent to pick up a box labeled with the symbol of a red cross. He held it up to her and clarity came swiftly.

He hadn’t said kelp. He’d said help. He thought she needed help.

But why? What gave him the idea in the first place?

Miriam searched the island and knew it to be about 500 yards away. Not a huge distance for a former competitive open-water swimmer like herself. But this man wouldn’t know she swam out to the lighthouse for exercise each day. He probably thought only a stranded and injured person would be this far from land.

Miriam supposed she could try to speak aloud to explain, but a long time ago, she vowed only to use her voice when absolutely necessary. And giving this stranger her personal information wasn’t necessary.

In fact, the only thing necessary was to get off this rock quickly. Miriam didn’t believe she faced any danger from him anymore, but she also wasn’t inclined to be friendly.

She cagily followed his movements to the other side of the rock where his boat anchored.

He gestured with his hand for her to climb in, pointing toward the island.

Before thinking, she naturally lifted her hands to sign. After the first few signs, stating she would swim back, she stopped and waved her hands to say forget it. He wouldn’t understand anyway. She stood on her edge, still keeping him in her sight while preparing to dive in. But before her feet left the ground, Miriam gazed back at him one last time, and froze.

His hand pointed to his chest, then rose to the side of his temple. She watched his index finger slowly point up toward the sky. “I understand,” he signed.

She nearly stumbled off the rock. He knew her language? Would he say more? She waited, hating herself because deep down she hoped he would. How quickly she willingly trusted this man just because he understood her.

For so long, though, she’d been a foreigner in this world that was supposed to be her home, desperately seeking companionship. Now she stood face-to-face with the one thing she sought after. Forever on the lookout for someone like her, or someone who understood her. Or at least wanted to try.

Poor Nick earned his pay, and then some. But there were only so many current events and primetime television shows to talk about with one person.

Begrudgingly, Miriam knew her traitorous face was lit in anticipation of finding a friend, but even so, she tried her hardest to be nonchalant about the situation. Tentatively, she raised her hands and swirled her fingers in circles. “You sign?” she asked in her language.

His eyes darkened to those murky depths again. He gave one negative shake to his head and averted his gaze past her shoulder.

He didn’t sign.

Miriam did her best to express a lack of caring with a blasé shrug even though disappointment washed over her like a cold wave. Then her mind stumped on the man’s answer to her question. If he wasn’t able to sign, then how did he understand her enough to answer her?

Unless, he did understand her, and didn’t want to talk to her.

Fine…whatever, she dismissed him with a wave of her hand and lifted off the rock in one clean arc. If that was the way he wanted to be, then he was no friend she wanted.

Miriam sliced through the cold water with precision, letting it cool off her temper, amazed her anger could still boil over so easily. She thought God had helped her with that unwanted emotion a long time ago, but sometimes her anger reared its ugly head and reminded her she still had some things to contend with.

Another day, she told herself…again. She wondered if there ever was a good time to reopen old wounds. She thought not, but especially not right now.

She was in the midst of a troubling drug investigation. She had a drug supplier to find. Making friends and digging into her past were at the bottom of her list.

In fact, her past was one thing better left buried. Nothing good could come out of unearthing those dreams—or rather nightmares. Miriam trembled and it had nothing to do with the frigid northern waters she swam in.

The unnatural bulging eyes of those old nightmares stared at her from behind her closed eyelids; a large hand and a flash of something gold blinded her. Images as real today as they were at ten years old. She pushed through her strokes as she pushed the childhood terrors down into the dark abyss.

Mother always said they were a figment of a childish imagination. Except children weren’t supposed to be imagining such horrifying things.

No, I can’t go there. She swam faster, pushed harder. Her hands sliced through the water, jetting her forward. Miriam had a feeling if she continued to delve deeper into that nightmare, she would never emerge. Not even the dark-haired rescuer she left in her wake would be able to save her from the dangers of that watery grave.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Nurse's Secret Suitor





This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Nurse's Secret Suitor

Love Inspired (October 1, 2013)


by

Cheryl Wyatt


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Not even Cheryl Wyatt’s closest friends would dream that this sweet, shy intercessor plots mayhem during announcements at church. She is a Registered Nurse turned stay-at-home-mom, wife and writer who loves Jesus with all of her heart.


Joyful chaos rules her home, and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. She is convinced that having been born on a Naval base on Valentines Day destined her to write Inspirational Military Romance.


Cheryl loves to laugh and to make others laugh, so she often plans comedic moments for her defenseless characters in spite of their grumbling. She says it’s payback for when they refuse to obey the plots she’s set out before them.


Prior to publication, six of Cheryl’s manuscripts placed in ten RWA Contests. Two of Cheryl’s stories also placed First in ACFW’s Noble Theme Contest 2005 (Contemporary Romance Category), as well as ACFW‘s Genesis Contest 2006 (Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Category).


She currently writes for Love Inspired. Her Wings of Refuge Series, about a team of USAF Pararescue Jumpers and the ladies who capture their hearts, can be purchased anywhere books are sold.


ABOUT THE BOOK



A Strong-Willed Heart
Trauma nurse Kate Dalton can handle any challenge—except love. The combat veteran dreams of settling down, but heartbreak is one risk she won't take. Then a chance encounter opens her heart to a masked stranger…who might not be a stranger after all! Caleb Landis, the army medic behind the disguise, has always admired Kate, even though she only saw him as her best friend's brother. What will it take for Kate to discard her fears and discover the man she's always hoped to unmask?
Eagle Point Emergency:  Saving lives—and losing their hearts— in a small Illinois town


If you would like to read the first chapter of The Nurse's Secret Suitor, go HERE.


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Cain's Blood

ABOUT THE BOOK:

A terrifying debut novel about the evil in each of us: when clones of infamous serial killers escape from a secret government facility, it’s up to a former Army Ranger to stop them…with the help of a teenage killer clone.
Trying to develop a new breed of bio-weapons, the US Department of Defense has secretly cloned the world’s most notorious murderers, hoping to study their DNA and isolate a genetic predictor for evil. Now in Stage Three, the program contains dozens of young men who have no clue of their evil heritage—including Albert Fish, Ted Bundy, and David Berkowitz. Enacting a twisted game of nature vs. nurture, the scientists raise some of the clones with loving families and others in abusive circumstances. But everything changes when the most dangerous boys are set free by their creator—escaping with three canisters of a mysterious chemical weapon that could destroy an entire city.
A man with demons of his own, former black ops soldier Shawn Castillo is hot on their trail. But Shawn didn’t count on the quiet young boy he finds hiding in an abandoned house—a boy who has just learned he is the clone of Jeffrey Dahmer. As Jeffrey and Castillo race across the country as unlikely allies on the trail of the rampaging teens’ increasing violence, Castillo must protect the boy who is the embodiment of his biggest fears—and who may also be his last hope.
More than just a serial killer novel, Cain’s Blood melds completely plausible science with terrifying horror, preying on our darkest fears of manipulation, secrecy, and murder.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Born in Germany, raised in New Jersey, and currently living in Ohio, Geoffrey Girard graduated from Washington College with a literature degree and worked as an advertising copywriter and marketing manager before becoming a high school English teacher. He is currently the English department chair at a private boy’s school in Ohio and is a Masters candidate in creative writing at Miami University of Ohio. Visit him online at GeoffreyGirard.com.

MY THOUGHTS:

OH MY GOSH!!! In thinking about just how I would write my review of Cain's Blood I had soooo many avenues I could go. This book is CRAZY, FREAKY, FRIGHTENING, TERRIFYING, and soooo much more!
From the very first chapter I was HOOKED and even though there were some very gruesome parts, I had a hard time setting the book down!

Cain's Blood is well written and for the most part, it is totally possible, I mean, cloning has already taken place and what some will do in the name of "Science," who knows??  Girard sure does and Cain's Blood is an excellent read!!

Thank you TouchStone Publishers for allowing me this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review!



Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Raw Edge





This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Raw Edge

Abingdon Press (September 17, 2013)

by

Sandra D. Bricker


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




For more than a decade, Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While honing her chosen craft of screenwriting in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she walked away from that segment of her life and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

The Big 5-OH! was released by Abingdon Press in the Spring of 2010, and the novel was very well-received, garnering a couple of nibbles from Hollywood.

Always the Baker, Never the Bride was released by Abingdon Press in September 2010. With its phenomenal reviews, the novel spawned a series of three more books based on the popular cast of characters at The Tanglewood Inn, a wedding destination hotel in historic Roswell, Georgia. The series cemented Sandie's spot in publishing as a flagship author of Laugh-Out-Loud romantic comedy for the inspirational market.

"Being allowed to combine my faith and my humor with my writing dream," says Bricker, "well, that's the best of all worlds, as far as I'm concerned!"  

ABOUT THE BOOK



Grayson McDonough has no use for teal ribbons, 5k runs, or ovarian cancer support groups now that his beautiful wife Jenna is gone. But their nine-year-old daughter Sadie seems to need the connection. When Annabelle Curtis, the beautiful cancer survivor organizing the memory quilt project for the Ovacome support group, begins to bring out the silly and fun side of his precious daughter again, Gray must set aside his own grief to support the healing of Sadie’s young heart. But is there hope for Gray’s heart too along the way?


If you would like to read the first chapter of Raw Edge, go HERE.



Watch the book trailer:


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Born of Persuasion





This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Born of Persuasion

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 1, 2013)

by

Jessica Dotta


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Born in the wrong century–except for the fact that she really likes epidurals and washing machines–Jessica Dotta writes British Historicals with the humor like an Austen, yet the drama of a Bronte.


She resides lives in the greater Nashville area—where she imagines her small Southern town into the foggy streets of 19th century London. She oversees her daughter to school, which they pretend is an English boarding school, and then she goes home to write and work on PR. Jessica has tried to cast her dachshund as their butler–but the dog insists it’s a Time Lord and their home a Tardis. Miss Marple, her cat, says its no mystery to her as to why the dog won’t cooperate. When asked about it, Jessica sighs and says that you can’t win them all, and at least her dog has picked something British to emulate.




ABOUT THE BOOK



The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.


With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.




If you would like to read the first chapter of Born of Persuasion, go HERE.


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Shades of Mercy


MY THOUGHTS'

Shades of Mercy is such an incredible story! The story is set in Maine in the 1950's and let me just tell you...times were not easy and the relationships weren't either! But that is what makes this book so wonderful, because when people are having a difficult time, they look to God and rely on HIM! Shades of Mercy reveals Gods grace and HIS Mercy throughout the story in such beautiful ways!! 

This is a story you will not want to miss!! Read more in the info below! :) ENJOY






This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Shades of Mercy

River North; New Edition edition (September 1, 2013)

by

Anita Lustrea
and
Caryn Rivendara



ABOUT THE AUTHORS:




Authentic. That’s the word heard over and over when women describe Anita Lustrea. She is a popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats, and an amazing communicator as co-host of the award winning Midday Connection radio broadcast. Her deep desire is to communicate freedom to women and help them nurture and care for their soul.

Anita is the co-author of “Come to Our Table: A Midday Connection Cookbook” and “Daily Seeds from Women Who Walk in Faith”, a Devotional for women.  Her first solo venture as an author releases in November, 2010, “What Women Tell Me: finding freedom from the secrets we keep.”

Anita and her husband, Mike Murphy, a pastor, along with her teenage son John live in the Chicago suburbs. When she’s not traveling or speaking, you can find her reading and drinking a venti hot tea at her local Starbucks.


*******




Caryn is a sought-after writer and speaker. She’s the author of four books—Shades of Mercy: A Maine Chronicle (River North, September 2013), Known & Loved: 52 Devotions from the Psalms (Revell, April 2013), Grumble Hallelujah (Tyndale House, September 2011), and Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. (WaterBrook Press, March 2009)–and a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.Meneutics as well as columnist for Re:Frame Media’s ThinkChristian blog. She has written dozens of magazine article. Her work has appeared in such publications as Christianity Today, Relevant, FamilyLife, and Engineering and Mining Journal (you read that right).

Caryn leads workshops and speaks at conferences and church groups across the country. She’s also a regular guest on Moody Radio’s Midday Connection with Anita Lustrea and Melinda Schmidt and has been featured on such radio shows as The John and Kathy Show, Changing Worldviews/WOMANTalk with Sharon Hughes, I Thought She Said with Faith Daly, The Paul Edwards Program with Paul Edwards, and Talk from the Heart with Rich Buhler, among many others. Caryn also appeared on The Harvest Show.

Caryn earned a B.A. in English from Calvin College and attended the University of Chicago’s publishing program. She lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Rafael, her three kids, a rescued pit bull terrier, two hermit crabs, and several tank fulls of who-knows-what-kind-of fish. Caryn and her family are members of Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church in Elmhurst, Illinois, where Caryn recently joined the worship staff.



ABOUT THE BOOK



It's 1954 and the world-even the far Northwoods of Maine-is about to change. But that change can't happen soon enough for fourteen-year-old Mercy Millar. Long tired of being the "son" her father never had, Mercy's ready for the world to embrace her as the young woman she is-as well as embrace the forbidden love she feels.
 When childhood playmates grow up and fall in love, the whole community celebrates. But in the case of Mercy and Mick, there would be no celebration. Instead their relationship must stay hidden. Good girls do not date young men from the Maliseet tribe. At least, not in Watsonville, Maine. When racial tensions escalate and Mick is thrown in jail under suspicion of murder, Mercy nearly loses all hope-in love, in her father, and in God himself.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Shades of Mercy, go HERE.


Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Promise by Gary Smalley and Dan Walsh ~ Review

ABOUT THE BOOK:

For the last five months, Tom Anderson has been without a job, a fact he's been hiding from his wife Jean-and everyone else. He leaves each morning, pretending nothing has changed, and spends his disheartening day rotating through two coffee shops and the library, using their wi-fi to search for a job on the internet. The stress of keeping this secret is beginning to put serious strain on his marriage and it looks like the legacy that began with his father is still at work, slowly destroying the bond between Tom and Jean. Can their mutual trust-and love-be restored?

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The DanceThe Discovery, and The Reunion. He has won three Carol Awards, and two of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year for 2011 and 2012. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Gary Smalley is one of the country's best-known authors and speakers on family relationships and has appeared on national television programs such as OprahLarry King Live, and TODAY, as well as numerous national radio programs. He is the bestselling and award-winning author or coauthor of many books, including The Dance with Dan Walsh and the Baxter Family Redemption series with Karen Kingsbury. Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 49 years and live in Missouri.

MY THOUGHTS:

Book 2 in the Restoration Series is every bit as good as the first book ("The Dance") in this series! If you want to read this as a stand alone book, you certainly can! No matter what ...this is just a must read book! 

I truly appreciate how "The Promise" deals with such true to life situations and shares such an incredible teaching on how to deal with circumstances that arise in marriage. Also, showing how God will bring you through those hard times when you seek HIM! Tom & Jean both are hiding things from one another and their marriage is hanging by a thread, per se',  but the road to forgiveness and restoration can be long and winding but once you've arrived, you know it was worth every bit of it!!

Thank you Lanette and Revell, a Division of  Baker Publishing, for allowing me this complimentary issue in exchange for my honest review! a true 5 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ hearts;'s for sure!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Grace and Daisies



About the Book:
On Grace Barney's fifteenth birthday, her mother announces she's divorcing her sixth husband. In order to get Grace out of her way, she sends her across the country to stay with a sister Grace hasn't seen in nine painful years. Grace feels confused and hurt as she struggles to forgive and understand the sister she barely knows anymore. But when Grace experiences a tragedy that summer that will haunt her the rest of her life, she delves deeper into a darkness from which it seems there is no coming back. 

After fifteen-year-old Daisy Price's mother is killed in a car accident, she moves across the country to live with an aunt she can only vaguely remember from her childhood--an aunt, Daisy soon learns, being tormented by painful secrets. Daisy comes to rely on her faith more than ever as she deals with the loss of her mother and the difficulty of living with a troubled woman being torn apart by her past.

Grace and Daisies is most appropriate for ages fifteen and up.

My thoughts:

I have to begin by thanking Author Dusti Bowling for contacting me & asking if I might read &  review "Grace and Daisies!" I was blessed to have read her debut novel "The Day we Met"  and absolutely could not say enough good about it! Suffice to say that having the opportunity to read 
her latest novel, I was THRILLED!! 

Grace and Daisies is an EXCELLENT READ. The storyline is so real and so current and I just felt for both Grace and Daisy. What I love about Dusti's writing is that she is not afraid to share the good, the bad, and the sometimes very ugly!!  I found myself heartbroken for Grace so many times throughout her story but as it is in life, we all have a past, and carry burdens that aren't ours to carry. Grace's journey is certainly a tough one!

Daisy is a precious young woman and I just loved her and her willingness to do Gods Will no matter what the circumstance!  Her Faith will inspire you and her sweet Spirit was soo precious to see even in times when she could have done just the opposite !!

Grace and Daisies is a story of hope! Even in the worst of circumstances God can come and heal your heart, and allow forgiveness to set you free. 

Thank you again Dusti for allowing me this opportunity! I shed tears, and laughed out loud too, and THAT, is when you know you've read a BEAUTIFUL STORY!


Monday, 22 July 2013

Dolled Up to Die



ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Cate Kinkaid receives a frantic call about a triple homicide, she drives to the scene against her better judgement-aren't triple homicides more up the police department's alley?-only to find that the victims are not quite who she expects. Now she has a new rule to add to those she's learned in her short stint as an assistant private investigator: always find out if the victims actually have human DNA. Because these three do not.
But who would shoot this nice lady's dolls? What possible reason could the shooter have? And then there's the startling discovery of another victim, who definitely does have human DNA . . .


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lorena McCourtney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of dozens of novels, including Invisible(which won the Daphne du Maurier Award from Romance Writers of America) and Dying to Read. She resides in Oregon.

MY THOUGHTS:

What a fun author Lorena McCourtney is and what a great book Dolled Up to Die is!

If you want a great read or one of those books that you can just sit down and forget everything, Dolled up to Die is JUST WHAT YOU NEED!  You can laugh, you can wonder who done it, and in the end you will just plain LOVE IT!!


Thanks Revell, a Division of Baker Publishing for allowing me this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

In Golden Splendor





This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

In Golden Splendor

• B&H Books (July 15, 2013)


by

Michael Reynolds


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:








Michael K. Reynolds is the writer and producer of Emmy and Telly Award-winning film campaigns and has more than two decades of experience in fiction, journalism, copywriting, and documentary production. He owns Global Studio, a marketing agency, and is also an active leader in church and business, speaking in both ministry and corporate settings. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Reno, Nevada.

ABOUT THE BOOK



Irish immigrant Seamus Hanley is a lost soul, haunted by his past as a U.S. Army deserter and living alone in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in 1849. But after witnessing a deadly stage coach crash, he finds purpose in the scattered wreckage -- a letter with a picture of a beautiful and captivating woman named Ashlyn living in San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush.
Moved by her written plea for help, he abandons all and sets out on an epic journey across the wild and picturesque American frontier. While being pursued by those who want to hang him, Seamus encounters fascinating characters including a young Pauite Indian who makes the ultimate sacrifice in helping Seamus to cross the snowy Yosemite Valley.
Battered but changed for the better, Seamus reaches San Francisco on Christmas Eve as the city burns in the tragic fire of 1849. But there is little time for rest, as an even greater, more harrowing adventure involving Ashlyn is about to begin.


If you would like to read the first chapter of In Golden Splendor, go HERE