Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Falls Like Lightning by Shawn Grady

Book Blurb:

A New Nonstop Action Thriller from Shawn Grady

When hotshot smoke jumper Silas Kent gets his own fire crew, he thinks he's achieved what he's always wanted. But a lightning-sparked fire in the Desolation Wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas has his team in a plane before they can even train together.

Pilot Elle Westmore has been called up to drop the crew into the heart of the forest infernos. A single mother of a mysteriously ill six-year-old, she can't imagine her life getting any more complicated.

It doesn't take long for things to go very wrong, very quickly. A suspicious engine explosion forces Elle to make an emergency landing. Silas is able to parachute to safety but soon discovers his crew can't be trusted. They're hiding something, and now Silas is on a race to save himself and Elle from the flames--and from a more dangerous threat: his own team.

My Review:

I am not really known for picking up a book that isn't primarily a romance or that is written by a man but I am really glad I read Falls Like Lightning! 

Elle and Silas who once dated are thrown together years later when there is a major fire.  Silas is a smoke jumper that jumps out of planes close to fires to take down trees and such in order to direct the path of the fire; Elle is a pilot that is specifically trained to fly in that area and in hard conditions like smoke! 

Sparks fly when these two are reunited together again however they both have a lot to deal with in their personal lives.  Elle is trying to cope with the loss of her father, who was in plane crash but never found, and her daughter who has seizures plus she is not sure if she should ever trust Silas again after he walked out on her years back.

Like I said before I don't typically read an action packed suspense but this one was worth the change in my style.  Shawn Grady has a knack for creating scenes that are heated and intense!  The action and mystery alongside the fire brewing with a side of romance was keeping my adrenaline pumping throughout most of the story.  There was times when the fire lingo got to be a bit confusing for me that I found myself skimming to get the juicy action!

If you are looking for an action packed adventure with a smoke jumping hottie firefighter hero and an incredibly talented pilot then this is the book for you.  You'll deal with evil, mystery, health issues of a child, loss of a parent, love lost and found all mixed together to create a great story!

Thank you to Bethany House for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I am under no obligation to write a positive review, all opinions are my own. 
About Shawn Grady:

I'm a novelist who has served as a firefighter and paramedic for over a decade in Reno, Nevada, where I live with my wife and three children.

Through the Fire, 2009
Tomorrow We Die, 2010
Falls Like Lightning, 2011

More info can be found at

Buy Falls Like Lightning by Shawn Grady:

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall

Book Blurb:

Reeling from an unexpected betrayal, can Sylvia find relief from the echoes of her past…or will they shape her future forever?

Although Sylvia Fisher recognizes that most Old Order Amish women her age spend their hours managing a household and raising babies, she has just one focus—tending and nurturing the herd on her family’s dairy farm. But when a dangerous connection with an old beau forces her to move far from home, she decides to concentrate on a new start and pour her energy into reviving another family’s debt-ridden farm.

After months in rehab, Aaron Blank returns home to sell his Daed’s failing farm and move his parents into an easier lifestyle. Two things stand in his way: the father who stubbornly refuses to recognize that Aaron has changed and the determined new farmhand his parents love like a daughter. Her influence on Aaron’s parents could ruin his plans to escape the burdens of farming and build a new life.

Can Aaron and Sylvia find common ground? Or will their unflinching efforts toward opposite goals blur the bigger picture— a path to forgiveness, glimpses of grace, and the promise of love.

My Review:

 don’t believe I am ready to leave Ada’s House and all the characters I have met along the way!! I love reading about all these old friends and some brand new ones and I am not ready to bid them good-bye!!

The Harvest of Grace is book three in the Ada’s House Series and by far my favorite, mostly because it finalizes all the other stories of the characters from book one and book two in this series and we are left feeling satisfied and overjoyed!! I highly recommend not reading book three unless you’ve read the other two books in the series, it just wouldn’t be the same without knowing the stories behind the other characters.

The Harvest of Grace seems to be centered primarily on accepting God’s forgiveness and lending out Grace and forgiveness to those in our lives that may have hurt us in the past. The new character we meet in The Harvest of Grace is Sylvia Fisher; she has left her Dead’s farm to become the main helper on the farm of the Banks. The Banks are Gray’s in-laws from book 2 of this series, who have lost a daughter, and their son Aaron had left to get help for an addiction. Sylvia becomes the main help around the Bank farm and soon wins her way in the heart of the Bank family as well. When Aaron comes home and finds Sylvia in his life he is compelled to figure out who she is and why she ran away from her family.

Thankfully we also get hear about Cara and Ephraim and all that they are going through in hopes that Cara will be accepting into the faith and they will let her marry Ephraim. They face some major obstacles when Cara’s dad appears in the picture suddenly and she has to deal with forgiveness.

Then there is the sweet story of Lena and Grey. These two have been one of my favorite characters, their romance is so sweet and I just love watching them work through problems with Grace and Love!
We also get to hear more about Deborah and Jonathan and Ada and Isreal. There are conclusion stories to all of the best characters in the Ada’s House series and I loved every tidbit.

Like I’ve said before, one of my favorite things about Cindy Woodsmall’s writing is her ability to capture your heart with her characters. I felt like I lived right there in Dry Lake and was friends with the entire group”. I was invested in their lives and felt like I was feeling all the emotions along with them.

I highly recommend reading the Ada’s House Series and especially The Harvest of Grace. You will not be disappointed. There is an opportunity to grow spiritually, to laugh, to cry and to connect with characters you won’t soon forget!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
About Cindy Woodsmall:

Cindy Woodsmall is a veteran homeschool mom. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

Her first novel released in 2006 to much acclaim and became a Christian Book Association best seller. Cindy was a 2007 ECPA Christian Book Award finalist, along with Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin.

Her lastest book, When the Morning Comes, hit the New York Times best-sellers extended list and the Christian Book Association best-sellers list.

Cindy’s real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity.

Buy The Harvest of Grace on Amazon:

The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall

Book Blurb:

Love alone isn’t enough to overcome the obstacles between a man and a woman.

From New York Times best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall, comes an invitation into Amish country

Lena Kauffman is a young Old Order Amish schoolteacher who has dealt all her life with attention raised by a noticeable birthmark on her cheek. Having learned to move past the stares and whispers, Lena channels her zest for living into her love of teaching. But tensions mount as she is challenged to work with a rebellious young man and deal with several crises at the schoolhouse that threaten her other students. Her lack of submission and the use of ideas that don’t line up with the Old Ways strengthen the school board’s case as they begin to believe that Lena is behind all the trouble.

One member of the school board, Grey Graber, feels trapped by his own stifling circumstances. His wife Elsie has shut him out of her life, and he doesn’t know how long he can continue to live as if nothing is wrong. As the two finally come to a place of working toward a better marriage, tragedy befalls their family.

Lena and Grey have been life-long friends but their relationship begins to crumble amidst unsettling deceptions, propelling each of them to finally face their own secrets. Can they both find a way past their losses and discover the strength to build a new bridge?   

My Review:

I have enjoyed reading all of Cindy Woodsmalls books that I can get my hands on and The Bridge of Peace is no exception. This book is the second book in the Ada’s House series; it follows The Hope of Refuge, which I also read. I personally think this book would be hard to read as a stand-alone because throughout the book the author re-visits the characters from the previous book to let us know what is going on with them to and mix them together with the current characters!! Plus I think that book one was amazing so there is no reason not read it first!

The Bridge of Peace is a wonderful story about discovering who you are and what you believe and not defining yourself by the world. There is Lena, a young spunky Amish teacher who is in love with her job and her children even though there is often days when she goes home saddened by the words of one child specifically. She faces all kinds of obstacles as a teacher and she becomes in danger of losing her job. Her old friend Gray seems to be the only one on the school board who understands Lena and tries to defend her. However, Gray faces some enormous tragedy and is suddenly dealing with his own struggles.

I really liked Lena’s character!! She is such a strong and passionate young woman. Through all the obstacles in her life she never lets that discourage her from what she believes is right for the people in her life, especially the children. She has strong faith that she will survive anything and that she can make a difference in the world, both are attributes I highly admire!

One of my favorite things about Cindy Woodsmalls writing is that she has this amazing ability to write stories that completely absorb you, you are 100% invested in these characters and their lives and you are still thinking of them days after you finish the book. I love that she has woven in the main characters from book one of this series in to this story so we can keep updated with their lives!

If you love Amish fiction you will love this series and this book! Anyone who enjoys Amish or romance with a bit of suspense and mystery will enjoy The Bridge of Peace. 

About Cindy Woodsmall:

Cindy Woodsmall is a veteran homeschool mom. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

Her first novel released in 2006 to much acclaim and became a Christian Book Association best seller. Cindy was a 2007 ECPA Christian Book Award finalist, along with Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin.

Her lastest book, When the Morning Comes, hit the New York Times best-sellers extended list and the Christian Book Association best-sellers list.

Cindy’s real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity.

Buy The Bridge of Peace on Amazon:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall

Book Blurb:

Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?

My Review:

Cindy Woodsmall is one amazing author that leaves you thinking about the characters in her stories days after you finish the books. The Hope of Refuge was wonderful!! A young widow named Cara who has no family besides her daughter Lori is being harassed by a stalker and when things get dangerously scary she takes her daughter and makes a run for it. They end up at a bus or train station trying to decide where to hide from stalker Mike when she discovers an old address in her mother's journal. It is an address in Dry Lake Pennsylvania, an Amish community, and she decides right then and there that is the best place for Lori and her to hide from Mike.

When they finally arrive in Dry Lake they are wet, cold and homeless. They end up hiding out in a barn on someone's land. The owner of the barn turns out to be handsome young Amish man Ephraim and he isn't too thrilled to find Cara and Lori hiding out on his property especially when Cara is accused of being a drunken thief. Despite his struggles with the rumors he is hearing about her Ephraim is feeling called by God to help her and be Jesus to her! His community is not supportive of this idea and thus begins his struggle with trying to do what's right in Gods eyes and in the eyes of his Amish community.

I LOVE Cindy Woodsmall's writing!! The first Amish book I ever read was a book by Cindy and since then I've tried other Amish authors but have never enjoyed any of them. There is just something about the way Cindy writes that keeps you interested.

Her stories are full of engaging and dynamic characters. I always love the way the characters pull at my heart strings and that was no exception with The Hope of Refuge. I especially enjoyed the two main characters Cara and Ephraim. Cara has such a passion and love to take care of her daughter in a safe environment and to find the roots of her mother. Ephraim is amazing also. I love the way that he chooses to follow the call God has placed on his heart despite the troubles he encounters! I'm not sure that I could have done what Ephraim did if it meant the kind of problems he faced. That fact alone made him admirable and I was rooting for things to work out with him the whole way through the story!

Another point that makes Cindy Woodsmall an amazing author is her ability to keep a story flowing without any dull and dragging moments. I never once felt like it was a good time to stop reading the book and go to bed. I was engaged from chapter one and couldn't read it fast enough! I've found this to be true with all of Cindy's writing that I've read so far! Her books are entertaining, thought-provoking and emotional!! I am anxiously awaiting the second book in the Ada's House Series and will be devouring that book as fast as I can also! Thank you Cindy Woodsmall for your delightful Amish books!!

About Cindy Woodsmall:

Cindy Woodsmall is a veteran homeschool mom. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

Her first novel released in 2006 to much acclaim and became a Christian Book Association best seller. Cindy was a 2007 ECPA Christian Book Award finalist, along with Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin.

Her lastest book, When the Morning Comes, hit the New York Times best-sellers extended list and the Christian Book Association best-sellers list.

Cindy’s real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity.

Buy the Hope of Refuge on Amazon:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad

Book Blurb:

Sun, summer, and a scrumptious sailing instructor. What more could a girl want?

When spunky Marguerite Westing discovers that her family will spend the summer of 1895 at Lake Manawa, Iowa, she couldn't be more thrilled. It's the perfect way to escape her agonizingly boring suitor, Roger Gordon. It's also where she stumbles upon two new loves: sailing, and sailing instructor Trip Andrews.

But this summer of fun turns to turmoil as her father's secrets threaten to ruin the family forever. Will free-spirited Marguerite marry Roger to save her father's name and fortune? Or will she follow her heart--even if it means hurting the family she loves?

Full of sharp wit and blossoming romance, Making Waves will whisk you away to a breezy lakeside summer holiday.

"You'll set sail on a wonderful adventure in Lorna Seilstad's new series. Her quick wit and captivating characters are mixed into a little-known slice of history that will keep you turning the pages and wishing for more when the story ends. Fortunately, there's another book to follow. I can't wait!"--Judith Miller, author, Somewhere to Belong

"Lorna Seilstad pulled me into the world she created around Lake Manawa with the lake breeze, the sailboats, and the leisure of summer days. But the love story and the characters were what made the book great. This needs to be everyone's first choice for a vacation read, or if you just want to open the pages of a book and be transported from your recliner to the beach."--Mary Connealy, author, Doctor in Petticoats and Wrangler in Petticoats

Lorna Seilstad is a history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing awards and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in and draws her setting from Iowa. This is her first novel.

My Review:

Another great book by Lorna Seilstad!! Making Waves is her debut novel and the beginning of a series titled “Manawa Summers”. However, I read the 2nd book in the series “A Great Catch” first and LOVED it and that is why I bought Making Waves!!
Making Waves is about young Margaruite, a fun, bold and courageous young women. Margurite and her family are spending the summer at Lake Manawa and she is overjoyed at the idea because that gets her away from balding and boring Roger (the man her mom wants her to marry). She meets a hunky sailor named Trip and instantly wants to learn to sail!!

This was such a fun summer read that I felt like I was personally at Lake Manawa learning to sail by Trip!! Yum!! Trip was everything you want in a hero; he was strong and manly and very protective of Margaruite but willing to sort of “teach” her to sail even though that was unheard of at that time. Margaruite was also a very lovable and believable character; she was spunky and spontaneous, yet sweet and sensitive and she had flaws which made her even more believable!

There was some mystery added to the story about the man her parents wanted her to marry named Roger and also about Margaruite’s father. I enjoyed the suspense that continued to build in this story and I loved the curveballs that were thrown in!

The religious aspect of this story was not overbearing and I felt it was just right! There were lots of lessons about learning to tell the truth and why it is so important to speak honestly!!

I think I’ll be adding Lorna Seilstad as a new favorite author of mine!! While I liked A Great Catch more than Making Waves, I thought both books were delightful and I will be continuing to read her work!!

About Lorna Seilstad:

For as long as I can remember, I loved writing. I even dreamed in plots. I also grew up attending antique auctions nearly every weekend, so history was as much a part of my life as chores on our farm in Iowa, reading books, and playing with Barbies.

So, writing historical romances fit perfectly. Times may change, the style of clothes, the way we speak, but the common threads that unite us remain the same. Couples fall in love. Injustices
happen. We fight for what we believe in. We struggle. We endure. We grow.

After graduating from York College in York, Nebraska with an A.A. and then receiving a B.S.Ed. from Lubbock Christian University, I met and married the love of my life, David. God had
written our love story, and I knew from the moment we met that he was the one. It was not love at first sight by any means, but I was so sure he was "it" that I wrote that I'd met the man I would marry in my diary. We pledged our hearts to one another two and half years later.

I taught high school English until my oldest child was born. After that I began my career as a professional wiper. I wiped noses, counter tops, tiny tushes, tears, and scraped knees.

Deciding that my children were now older and less in need of my constant supervision, I started pursuing my first love again --writing. After joining American Christian Fiction Writers, I found a wonderful critique group and began studying the craft of writing.

David and I have three children ages 18, 16, and 11. We also work in youth ministry and teach youth and adult Bible classes.

Thank you so much for stopping by, friend!

Buy Making Waves on Amazon:

FIRST Wild Card Tour: The One Who Waits for Me by Lori Copeland

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:

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Lori Copeland is the author of more than 90 titles, both historical and contemporary fiction. With more than 3 million copies of her books in print, she has developed a loyal following among her rapidly growing fans in the inspirational market. She has been honored with the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and Walden Books' Best Seller award. In 2000, Lori was inducted into the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband, Lance, and their three children and five grandchildren.

Visit the author's website.


This new series from bestselling author Lori Copeland, set in North Carolina three months after the Civil War ends, illuminates the gift of hope even in chaos, as the lives of six engaging characters intersect and unfold with the possibility of faith, love, and God’s promise of a future.

My Review:

While I enjoyed this book a lot and thought it was worth reading, I had a hard time trying to decide what rating to give because I didn’t “love” it by any means.

This is a story set in the 1860’s right after the Civil War. There are three soldiers heading home after the war, including a black man and a Cherokee and when they decide to take an alternate route to home they run in to three young ladies running for their lives. The soldiers end up rescuing the girls and thus begin their journey to home and freedom. Two of the girls are sisters who worked for their Uncle on a family plantation. Their parents had recently passed on and they knew that staying with Uncle Walt and his son Bear was going to be awful because they were awful men. The third lady was a black slave who had became pregnant and was trying to escape the awful Walt and Bear too.

The girls seem to keep causing trouble as they try to escape and the soldiers end up having to save them numerous times!! The whole situation to me just didn’t seem realistic. I didn’t quite believe that everyone was going to get along as smoothly as they did in this story. To me it seemed like their still would have been racial diversity among everyone right after the Civil War and there would have been more struggles for everyone than there was. In fact, there seemed to be no racial barriers at all. I also didn’t feel that threatened by Walt and Bear and I felt the author lacked in convincing me that they were scary.

On to what I enjoyed; I thought the characters were all pretty sweet and enjoyable. I really loved how Beth cared so much for her sister and was always willing to die for her safety and health. The Cherokee and his love for Joanie was so sweet and to be honest I wanted to read more about them then about Beth and Pierce. I wasn’t 100% convinced that Pierce and Beth actually loved each other unlike the other characters in the story! There was lots of spiritual threads in here and I enjoyed reading about Beth struggling with her faith due to the cruel life she lived but all the wonderful Christians in her life that didn’t push her to believe in God but let that relationship develop on its own.

Like I said before, I did really enjoy the story and I was flipping through the pages quickly so I do think other Christian fiction fans will enjoy this story. There was lots of action and sweet moments but I just felt like I couldn’t connect to the characters and I had to remind myself their names while writing this review because I’d forgotten them already. Maybe I’m being too harsh, I’m not sure.

I have not read any of Copeland’s books before so I’m not sure how this book compares to her others.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Harvest House and First Wild Card Tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736930183

ISBN-13: 978-0736930185



Beth’s sister stirred, coughing.

Beth gently shook Joanie’s shoulder again, and the young woman opened her eyes, confusion shining in their depths.


“He passed a few minutes ago. Trella will be waiting for us.”

Joanie lifted her wrist to her mouth and smothered sudden sobbing. “I’m scared, Beth.”

“So am I. Dress quickly.”

The young woman slid out of bed, her bare feet touching the dirt-packed floor. Outside, the familiar sound of pond frogs nearly drowned out soft movements, though there was no need to be silent any more. Ma had preceded Pa in death two days ago. Beth and Joanie had been waiting, praying for the hour of Pa’s death to come swiftly. Together, they lifted their father’s silent form and gently carried him out the front door. He was a slight man, easy to carry. Beth’s heart broke as they took him to the shallow grave they had dug the day before. Ma’s fever had taken her swiftly. Pa had held on for as long as he could. Beth could still hear his voice in her ear: “Take care of your sister, little Beth.” He didn’t have to remind her that there was no protection at all now to save either of them from Uncle Walt and his son, Bear. Beth had known all of her life that one day she and Joanie would have to escape this place—a place of misery.

It was her father’s stubborn act that started the situation Beth and Joanie were immersed in. Pa had hid the plantation deed from his brother and refused to tell him where it was. Their land had belonged to a Jornigan for two hundred years, but Walt claimed that because he was the older brother and allowed Pa to live on his land the deed belonged to him. Pa was a proud man and had no respect for his brother, though his family depended on Walt for a roof over their heads and food on their table. For meager wages they worked Walt’s fields, picked his cotton, and suffered his tyranny along with the other workers. Pa took the location of the hidden deed to his grave—almost. Walt probably figured Beth knew where it was because Pa always favored her. And she did, but she would die before she shared the location with her vile uncle.

By the light of the waning moon the women made short work of placing the corpse in the grave and then filling the hole with dirt. Finished, they stood back and Joanie bowed her head in prayer. “Dear Father, thank You for taking Ma and Pa away from this world. I know they’re with You now, and I promise we won’t cry.” Hot tears streaming down both women’s cheeks belied her words.

Returning to the shanty, Joanie removed her nightshirt and put on boy’s clothes. Dressed in similar denim trousers and a dark shirt, Beth turned and picked up the oil lamp and poured the liquid carefully around the one-room shanty. Yesterday she had packed Ma’s best dishes and quilts and dragged them to the root cellar. It was useless effort. She would never be back here, but she couldn’t bear the thought of fire consuming Ma’s few pretty things. She glanced over her shoulder when the stench of fuel heightened Joanie’s cough. The struggle to breathe had been a constant companion since her younger sister’s birth.

Many nights Beth lay tense and fearful, certain that come light Joanie would be gone. Now that Ma and Pa were dead, Joanie was the one thing left on this earth that held meaning for Beth. She put down the lamp on the table. Walking over to Joanie, she buttoned the last button on her sister’s shirt and tugged her hat brim lower.

“Do you have everything?”


“Then go outside and wait.”

Nodding, Joanie paused briefly beside the bed where Pa’s tall frame had been earlier. She hesitantly reached out and touched the empty spot. “May you rest in peace, Pa.”

Moonlight shone through the one glass pane facing the south. Beth shook her head. “He was a good man. It’s hard to believe Uncle Walt had the same mother and father.”

Joanie’s breath caught. “Pa was so good and Walt is so…evil.”

“If it were up to me, he would be lying in that grave outside the window, not Pa.”

Beth tried to recall one single time in her life when Walt Jornigan had ever shown an ounce of mercy to anyone. Certainly not to his wife when she was alive. Certainly not to Beth or Joanie. If Joanie was right and there was a God, what would Walt say when he faced Him? She shook the thought aside. She had no compassion for the man or reverence for the God her sister believed in and worshipped.

“We have to go now, Joanie.”

“Yes.” She picked up her Bible from the little table beside the rocking chair and then followed Beth outside the shanty, her breath coming in ragged gasps. Pausing, Joanie bent and succumbed to a coughing spasm. Beth helplessly waited, hoping her sister could make the anticipated trip through the cotton fields. The women had planned for days now to escape if Ma and Pa both passed.

Beth asked gently, “Can you do this?”

Joanie held up a restraining hand. “Just need…a minute.”

Beth wasn’t certain that they could wait long; time was short. Dawn would be breaking soon, and then Walt would discover that Pa had died and the sisters were missing. But they had to leave. Joanie’s asthma was getting worse. Each gasping breath left her drained and hopeless, and Walt refused to let her see a doctor.

When Joanie had mentioned the notice in a discarded Savannah newspaper advertising a piece of land, Beth knew she had to buy the property and provide a home for Joanie. Pa had allowed her and Joanie to keep the wage Uncle Walt paid monthly. Over the years they had saved enough to survive, and the owner was practically giving the small acreage away. They wouldn’t be able to build a permanent structure on their land until she found work, but she and Joanie would own their own place where no one could control them. Beth planned to eventually buy a cow and a few setting hens. At first they could live in a tent—Beth’s eyes roamed the small shanty. It would be better than how they lived now.

Joanie’s spasm passed and she glanced up. “Okay. You…can do it now.”

Beth struck a match.

She glanced at Joanie. The young woman nodded and clutched her Bible to her chest. Beth had found it in one of the cotton picker’s beds after he had moved on and given it to Joanie. Her sister had kept the Bible hidden from sight for fear that Walt would spot it on one of his weekly visits. Beth had known, as Joanie had, that if their uncle had found it he’d have had extra reason to hand out his daily lashing. Joanie kept the deed to their new land between its pages.

After pitching the lighted match into the cabin, Beth quickly closed the heavy door. Stepping to the window, she watched the puddles of kerosene ignite one by one. In just minutes flames were licking the walls and gobbling up the dry tinder. A peculiar sense of relief came over her when she saw tendrils of fire racing through the room, latching onto the front curtain and encompassing the bed.

“Don’t watch.” Joanie slipped her hand into Beth’s. “We have to hurry before Uncle Walt spots the flames.”

Hand in hand, the sisters stepped off the porch, and Beth turned to the mounds of fresh dirt heaped not far from the shanty. Pausing before the fresh graves, she whispered. “I love you both. Rest in peace.”

Joanie had her own goodbyes for their mother. “We don’t want to leave you and Pa here alone, but I know you understand—”

As the flames licked higher, Beth said, “We have to go, Joanie. Don’t look back.”

“I won’t.” Her small hand quivered inside Beth’s. “God has something better for us.”

Beth didn’t answer. She didn’t know whether Ma and Pa were in a good place or not. She didn’t know anything about such things. She just knew they had to run.

The two women dressed in men’s clothing struck off across the cotton fields carrying everything they owned in a small bag. It wasn’t much. A dress for each, clean underclothes, and their nightshirts. Beth had a hairbrush one of the pickers had left behind. She’d kept the treasure well hidden so Walt wouldn’t see it. He’d have taken it from her. He didn’t hold with primping—said combing tangles from one’s hair was a vain act. Finger-picking river-washed hair was all a woman needed.

Fire now raced inside the cabin. By the time Uncle Walt noticed the smoke from the plantation house across the fields, the two sisters would be long gone. No longer would they be under the tyrannical thumb of Walt or Bear Jornigan.


Beth sniffed the night air, thinking she could smell the precious state. Never again would she or Joanie answer to any man. She would run hard and far and find help for Joanie so that she could finally breathe free. In her pocket she fingered the remaining bills she’d taken from the fruit jar in the cabinet. It was all the ready cash Pa and Ma had. They wouldn’t be needing money where they were.

Suddenly there was a sound of a large explosion. Heavy black smoke blanketed the night air. Then another blast.

Kerosene! She’d forgotten the small barrel sitting just outside the back porch.

It was the last sound Beth heard.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

FIRST Wild Card Tour for Pam Farrel: 52 Ways to Wow your Husband

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:

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Catherine Miller, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Pam Farrel and her husband, Bill, are cofounders and codirectors of Masterful Living, an organization that provides practical insights for personal relationships. The Farrels are also regular relationship columnists. As coauthors their books include Men Are Like Waffles—Women Are Like Spaghetti, The 10 Best Decisions Every Parent Can Make, and Red-Hot Monogamy. In addition Pam has written Fantastic After 40! and The 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make. The Farrels have been married more than 30 years and have three children and a daughter-in-law.

Visit the author's website.


With her trademark humor and godly wisdom, bestselling author Pam Farrel inspires women to add the wow-factor to their marriages and lives through 52 clever ideas for dates, meals, getaways, and daily expressions of love. A spark of fun and refreshment for newlyweds, married with kids, or empty nesters.

Love Wise Intro from Bill & Pam Farrel on Vimeo.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.99
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736937803
ISBN-13: 978-0736937801



The Recharger Box

What a man finds romantic is a woman who will lower his stress! In Men Are Like Waffles—Women Are Like Spaghetti, I explain that men go to their favorite easy boxes to rest and recharge. God helped us women recognize these easy boxes in that most of them are shaped like boxes—the TV screen, the newspaper, the garage, the Xbox, the computer screen, the football field, the baseball diamond, the basketball court, the refrigerator, and the bed. The bed box (also known as the sex box) is a husband’s favorite box to go to when he is stressed out. This box or square is kind of like the center square on a bingo card, and a man can get to that box from every other square on his waffle.

Wow Assignment

Find out your man’s favorite easy box he goes to for recharging. Here are some ways to discover this vital information:

If given thirty minutes of dead time, what does he do?
If he were given a day off, where would he like to go?
What does he do now when stressed?
What does he watch on TV when relaxing? (Sports? Movies? Adventures? Fix-it shows?)
Kendra Smiley and her husband, John, wrote Do Your Kids a Favor…Love Your Spouse. John was wowed unexpectedly by Kendra with his all-time favorite box:

I’ve been a Green Bay Packers fan for years and transferred that enthusiasm to our three teenage sons. I never imagined I would actually be able to see a game at Lambeau Field because legend has it that the only way to get tickets is to inherit them when someone dies. But legends don’t stop Kendra! She called the ticket office, asking about the purchase of five tickets for the last home game of the season. After the laughter died down (I guess there was some truth to the legend), they referred her to an agency offering “Weekend Packages.” She knew we couldn’t afford all the extras of a package, and somehow she managed to convince the woman at that office to simply sell her five tickets. She gave me a gift that took her time, her effort, and a little bit of her charming persuasion. What a great model for our kids!

My man’s favorite easy box is: ________________________

Wow Wisdom

Pray and thank God for your husband. Often we women push, push, push our spouse to be more productive or work on our “honey-do” list even on his day off. If you keep pushing, he might begin to see you as a mother or a boss, not a wife and lover. A husband who gets pushed to do too many things he doesn’t enjoy will exhaust himself emotionally and grow distant from his wife. Think about how much better your life is when you are connected with your lover!

Instead of resenting your “waffleman” for needing to recharge, thank God he has a box to recharge in so he can maintain the energy to keep up with you! As Paul reminds us, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 nasb).

Wow Date

Make him breakfast in bed and serve waffles. Give him a note for one free day off to do whatever he wants—to enjoy his favorite “waffle box(es).” Include a gift card for something that helps him recharge. While you’re there in bed, why not enjoy some “bingo”? Remember, for most men, bingo is the number one recharger box.

My Review:

I have yet to read this entire book.  I started reading it before my vacation and then wasn't able to read while I was gone so I still haven't gotten to it.  I will post a review soon. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

FIRST Wild Card Tour for Tamara Leigh; Restless in Carolina

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:

Multnomah Books (July 19, 2011)
***Special thanks to Ashley Boyer, Publicist, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***


Tamara Leigh began her writing career in 1994 and is the best-selling author of fourteen novels, including Splitting Harriet (ACFW Book of the Year winner and RITA Award finalist), Faking Grace (RITA Award Finalist), and Leaving Carolina. A former speech and language pathologist, Tamara enjoys time with her family, faux painting, and reading. She lives with her husband and sons in Tennessee.

Visit the author's website.


Tree-huggin’, animal-lovin’ Bridget Pickwick-Buchanan is on a mission. Well, two. First she has to come to terms with being a widow at thirty-three. After all, it’s been four years and even her five-year-old niece and nephew think it’s time she shed her widow’s weeds. Second, she needs to find a buyer for her family’s estate—a Biltmore-inspired mansion surrounded by hundreds of acres of unspoiled forestland. With family obligations forcing the sale, Bridget is determined to find an eco-friendly developer to buy the land, someone who won’t turn it into single-family homes or a cheesy theme park.

Enter J. C. Dirk, a high-energy developer from Atlanta whose green property developments have earned him national acclaim. When he doesn’t return her calls, Bridget decides a personal visit is in order. Unfortunately, J. C. Dirk is neither amused nor interested when she interrupts his meeting—until she mentions her family name. In short order, he finds himself in North Carolina, and Bridget has her white knight—in more ways than one. But there are things Bridget doesn’t know about J. C., and it could mean the end of everything she’s worked for…and break her heart.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books (July 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601421680
ISBN-13: 978-1601421685


Deep breath. “…and they lived…”

I can do this. It’s not as if I didn’t sense it coming. After all, I can smell an H.E.A. (Happily Ever After) a mile away—or, in this case, twenty-four pages glued between cardboard covers that feature the requisite princess surrounded by cute woodland creatures. And there are the words, right where I knew the cliché of an author would slap them, on the last page in the same font as those preceding them. Deceptively nondescript. Recklessly hopeful. Heartbreakingly false.

“Aunt Bridge,” Birdie chirps, “finish it.”

I look up from the once-upon-a-time crisp page that has been softened, creased, and stained by the obsessive readings in which hermother indulges her.

Eyes wide, cheeks flushed, my niece nods. “Say the magic words.” Magic?

More nodding, and is she quivering? Oh no, I refuse to be a party to this. I smile big, say, “The end,” and close the book. “So, how about another piece of weddin’ cake?”

“No!” She jumps off the footstool she earlier dubbed her “princess throne,” snatches the book from my hand, and opens it to the back. “Wight here!”

I almost correct her initial r-turned-w but according tomy sister, it’s developmental and the sound is coming in fine on its own, just as her other r’s did.

Birdie jabs the H, E, and A. “It’s not the end until you say the magic words.”

And I thought this the lesser of two evils—entertaining my niece and nephew as opposed to standing around at the reception as the bride and groom are toasted by all the happy couples, among them, cousin Piper, soon to be wed to my friend Axel, and cousin Maggie, maybe soon to be engaged to her sculptor man, what’s-his-name.

“Yeah,” Birdie’s twin,Miles, calls from where he’s once more hanging upside down on the rolling ladder I’ve pulled him off twice. “You gotta say the magic words.”

Outrageous! Even my dirt-between-the-toes, scab-ridden, snot-on-the-sleeve nephew is buying into the fantasy.

I spring from the armchair, cross the library, and unhook his ankles from the rung. “You keep doin’ that and you’ll bust your head wide open.” I set him on his feet. “And your mama will—

”No, Bonnie won’t.

“Well, she’ll be tempted to give you a whoopin’.”

Face bright with upside-down color, he glowers.

I’d glower back if I weren’t so grateful for the distraction he provided. “All right, then.” I slap at the ridiculously stiff skirt of the dress Maggie loaned me for my brother’s wedding. “Let’s rejoin the party—”

“You don’t wanna say it.”Miles sets his little legs wide apart. “Do ya?” So much for my distraction.

“You don’t like Birdie’s stories ’cause they have happy endings. And you don’t.”

I clench my toes in the painfully snug high heels on loan from Piper.

“Yep.”Miles punches his fists to his hips. “Even Mama says so.”

My own sister? I shake my head, causing the blond dreads Maggie pulled away from my face with a headband to sweep my back. “That’s not true.”

“Then say it wight now!” Birdie demands.

I peer over my shoulder at where she stands like an angry tin soldier, an arm outthrust, the book extended.

“Admit it,”Miles singsongs.

I snap around and catch my breath at the superior, knowing look on his five-year-old face. He’s his father’s son, all right, a miniature Professor Claude de Feuilles, child development expert.

“You’re not happy.” The professor in training, who looks anything but with his spiked hair, nods.

I know better than to bristle with two cranky, nap-deprived children, but that’s what I’m doing. Feeling as if I’m watching myself from the other side of the room, I cross my arms over my chest. “I’ll admit no such thing.”

“That’s ’cause you’re afraid. Mama said so.” Miles peers past me.

“Didn’t she, Birdie?”

Why is Bonnie discussing my personal life with her barely-out-of-diapers kids?

“Uh-huh. She said so.”

Miles’s smile is smug. “On the drive here, Mama told Daddy this day would be hard on you. That you wouldn’t be happy for Uncle Bart ’cause you’re not happy.”

Not true! Not that I’m thrilled with our brother’s choice of bride, but…come on! Trinity Templeton? Nice enough, but she isn’t operating on a full charge, which wouldn’t be so bad if Bart made up for the difference. Far from it, his past history with illegal stimulants having stripped him of a few billion brain cells.

“She said your heart is”—Miles scrunches his nose, as if assailed by a terrible odor—“constipated.”


“That you need an M&M, and I don’t think she meant the chocolate kind you eat. Probably one of those—”

“I am not constipated.” Pull back. Nice and easy. I try to heed my inner voice but find myself leaning down and saying, “I’m realistic.”

Birdie stomps the hardwood floor. “Say the magic words!”

“Nope.”Miles shakes his head. “Constipated.”

I shift my cramped jaw. “Re-al-is-tic.”


Pull back, I tell you! He’s five years old. “Just because I don’t believe in fooling a naive little girl into thinkin’ a prince is waiting for her at the other end of childhood and will save her from a fate worse than death and take her to his castle and they’ll live…” I flap a hand. “…you know, doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me.”

Isn’t there? “It means I know better. There may be a prince, and he may have a castle, and they may be happy, but don’t count on it lasting. Oh no. He’ll get bored or caught up in work or start cheatin’—you know, decide to put that glass slipper on some other damsel’s foot or kiss another sleeping beauty—or he’ll just up and die like Easton—” No,
nothing at all wrong with you, Bridget Pickwick Buchanan, whose ugly widow’s weeds are showing.

“See!”Miles wags a finger.

Unfortunately, I do. And as I straighten, I hear sniffles.

“Now you done it!” Miles hustles past me. “Got Birdie upset.”

Sure enough, she’s staring at me with flooded eyes. “The prince dies? He dies and leaves the princess all alone?”The book falls from her hand, its meeting with the floor echoing around the library. Then she squeaks out a sob.

“No!” I spring forward, grimacing at the raspy sound the skirt makes as I attempt to reach Birdie before Miles.

He gets there first and puts an arm around her. A meltable moment, my mother would call it. After she gave me a dressing down. And I deserve one. My niece may be on the spoiled side and she may work my nerves, but I love her—even like her when that sweet streak of hers comes through. “It’s okay, Birdie,” Miles soothes. “The prince doesn’t die.”

Yes, he does, but what possessed me to say so? And what if I’ve scarred her for life?

Miles pats her head onto his shoulder. “Aunt Bridge is just”—he gives me the evil eye—“constipated.”

“Yes, Birdie.” I drop to my knees. “I am. My heart, that is. Constipated. I’m so sorry.”

She turns her head and, upper lip shiny with the stuff running out of her nose, says in a hiccupy voice, “The prince doesn’t die?” I grab the book from the floor and turn to the back. “Look. There they are, riding off into the sunset—er, to his castle. Happy. See, it says so.” I tap the H, E, and A.

She sniffs hard, causing that stuff to whoosh up her nose and my gag reflex to go on alert. “Weally happy, Aunt Bridge?”


“Nope.” Barely-there eyebrows bunching, she lifts her head from Miles’s shoulder. “Not unless you say it.”

Oh dear Go—No, He and I are not talking. Well, He may be talking, but I’m not listening.

“I think you’d better.” Miles punctuates his advice with a sharp nod.

“Okay.” I look down at the page. “…and they lived…” It’s just a fairy tale—highly inflated, overstated fiction for tykes. “…they lived happily…ever…after.”

Birdie blinks in slow motion. “Happily…ever…after. That’s a nice way to say it, like you wanna hold on to it for always.”

Or unstick it from the roof of your mouth. “The end.” I close the book, and it’s all I can do not to toss it over my shoulder. “Here you go.”

She clasps it to her chest. “Happily…ever…after.”

Peachy. But I’ll take her dreamy murmuring over tears any day. Goodness, I can’t believe I made her cry. I stand and pat the skirt back down into its stand-alone shape. “More cake?”

“Yay!” Miles charges past me.

Next time— No, there won’t be a next time. I’m done with Little Golden Books.

Excerpted from Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh Copyright © 2011 by Tamara Leigh. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

My Review:

Restless in Carolina is the final book in Tamara Leigh's Southern Discomfort trilogy. This is the story about Bridget Pickwick Buchannon, the young widow who likes her pet opossum and works in a nursery!! She is trying really hard to get over the loss of her husband and after 4 years she begins to start the healing process finally. She is also trying her best to make sure that Uncle Obe's property gets sold to an environmental friendly company and that's how she meets J.C. Dirk, who is a developer that is just what she is looking for. She soon finds herself fighting the urge to fall in love again and has 2 possible suitors and 2 possible buyers for Uncle Obe's property!

I liked this book the best out of the Southern Discomfort Trilogy. Bridget is hilarious; I love her widow-locks, her love for animals and her passion for the environment and her stubbornness to change and to follow God.

This book had me laughing out loud! It was a fun and quick read and I was so delighted that all the original characters were in the story so we could see how things were going!

I also really loved the added mystery and suspense about who was lying and deceiving Bridget and who was the honest one!

I've really enjoyed the Southern Discomfort Series and think any fan of Christian Romance should check them out! Tamara always has great writing, fun and entertaining characters, sweet romance and great plots! I truly enjoyed this story and will be keeping my eye open for more from her!

Content: Very clean!

Thank you to FIRST Wild Card for providing me the free book for a blog tour on August 5th! All opinions are my own!