Friday, February 24, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Creative Slow-cooker meals by Cheryl Moeller

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; Spi edition (February 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Cheryl Moeller is a seasoned mother and a standup comic. She is also a syndicated columnist with her own blog (www.momlaughs.blogspot.com) and contributes monthly to several online parent websites. Cheryl has coauthored two books on marriage with her husband and has written for www.mops.org and Marriage Partnership. Cheryl does comedy for parenting classes, MOPS groups, wedding or baby showers, church retreats, women’s conferences, and those in line at the grocery store.



Visit the author's website.







SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:








From the celebrated coauthor of The Marriage Miracle comes a new kind of cookbook and a new attitude toward planning meals. With an eye toward the whole menu, not just part of it, columnist Cheryl Moeller teaches cooks to use two crockpots to easily create healthy, homemade dinners.



Don’t worry about your dinner being reduced to a mushy stew. Each of the more than 200 recipes has been taste-tested at Cheryl’s table. Join the Moeller family as you dig into:

  • Harvest-time Halibut Chowder
  • Salmon and Gingered Carrots
  • Mediterranean Rice Pilaf
  • Indian Chicken Curry
  • Apricot-Pistachio Bread
  • Shrimp Creole
  • Rhubarb Crisp


... and many more! Perfect for the frazzled mom who never has enough time in the day, Creative Slow-Cooker Meals gives readers more time around the table with delicious, healthy, frugal, and easy meals!


Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

Spiral-bound: 272 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Spi edition (February 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736944915

ISBN-13: 978-0736944915

My Review:
3.5 STARS


I was very excited when I got the chance to review this book for one big reason;  I don't have many ideas on what to cook in a  crock pot. 

There was lots of things I liked about this book and a few things I didn't like about it.  Let's start with the pros.  Love the spiral bound cover, makes reading easy! Love the variety of recipes like breakfast, desert, vegetarian, vegan, dairy free and gluten free!! I would have never thought of making breakfast or desert in my crock-pot so those ideas were extra fun!!  Using two crockpots was a new idea also that was pretty creative.

Now on to the cons.  I didn't like the categories.  It was a bit hard to find a specific recipe you liked because the categories weren't listed like "chicken, pasta, beef, soups, etc".  They were more like "Simple meals, etc".  I also didn't like the quantities weren't specific.  I wasn't sure if this recipe would feed my family of 4 or more or less. 

Now an example.  One of the recipes that I tried and really liked was sweet and sour chicken.  It was really easy to follow to the recipe, ingredients were easy to find.  It cooked just like they said it would and it tasted delicious! When I do the recipe again however, I will alter it a bit to fit my preferences better but overall it was really great.

In summary, this cookbook opened my eyes to different ways you can use a crock-pot, or two crockpots and I am happy to have this addition to my kitchen.

I received this book free from the publishers through FIRST Wild Card Tours in exchange for my personal and honest opinion.  All opinions are my own.



AND NOW...THE FIFTH CHAPTER (click on pages to enlarge):


























Wednesday, February 22, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Asenath by Anna Patricio

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:


Imajin Books (September 24, 2011)

***Special thanks to Anna Patricio for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Anna Patricio is a lover of ancient history, with a particular interest in Egypt, Israel, Greece, and Rome. She is also intrigued by the Ancient Near East, though she has not delved too much into it but hopes to one day.



She undertook formal studies in Ancient History at Macquarie University. She focused mostly on Egyptology and Jewish-Christian Studies, alongside a couple of Greco-Roman units, and one on Archaeology. Though she knew there were very limited job openings for ancient history graduates, she pursued her degree anyway as it was something she had always been passionate about.



Then, about a year after her graduation, the idea to tackle historical fiction appeared in her head, and she began happily pounding away on her laptop. ASENATH is her first novel.



Recently, she traveled to Lower Egypt (specifically Cairo and the Sinai), Israel, and Jordan. She plans to return to Egypt soon, and see more of it. In the past, she has also been to Athens and Rome.



Anna is currently working on a second novel, which still takes place in Ancient Egypt, but hundreds of years after ASENATH.



Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Two Destinies...One Journey of Love



In a humble fishing village on the shores of the Nile lives Asenath, a fisherman's daughter who has everything she could want. Until her perfect world is shattered.



When a warring jungle tribe ransacks the village and kidnaps her, separating her from her parents, she is forced to live as a slave. And she begins a journey that will culminate in the meeting of a handsome and kind steward named Joseph.



Like her, Joseph was taken away from his home, and it is in him that Asenath comes to find solace...and love. But just as they are beginning to form a bond, Joseph is betrayed by his master's wife and thrown into prison.



Is Asenath doomed to a lifetime of losing everything and everyone she loves?









Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 222 pages

Publisher: Imajin Books (September 24, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1926997263

ISBN-13: 978-1926997261



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Egypt 1554 B.C.



The Nile had just flooded, leaving the ground moist, rich and black. The children of our riverside village, I among them, frolicked about in the cool, gooey earth. In the distance, the ancient river circled the land, glittering with a thousand tiny dancing lights from the sun-god's Boat of a Million Years. A breeze blew, rustling the branches of the palm trees that surrounded our home.

"Kiya!"

No sooner had I looked than a mud ball pelted me hard across the stomach.

"I'll get you for that, Menah." I bent down to gather mud in my hands when another ball landed on my back. He was a quick one, my best friend.

I had just formed a mud ball and was about to raise my arm when Menah suddenly charged forward and pounced on me.

"Now you'll get the tickle torture," he said in a mock evil voice.

"No, Menah. Please, no." But I was overcome by uncontrollable laughter.

"Menah! Kiya!" voices called out, interrupting our playful wrestling.

Our mothers approached.

"Come out now," my mother called. "It is time to prepare for the Feast of Hapi."

Covered in mud from head to toe, Menah and I scrambled toward them.

Mama shook her head, smiling. "You're such a mess."

She led me back to our hut.

"What is going to happen tonight, Mama?" I asked. "I mean, after we pray to Hapi? Will there be games?"

Mama's blue eyes twinkled against her brown skin. "I see no reason why there shouldn't be."

"And lots of food?"

"All the food you could ever want."

"May I wear my lotus necklace today?"

Years ago, when I was very young, Mama had given me a beautiful carved lapis lazuli lotus pendant strung on a simple piece of coarse rope. She told me it had been in her family for many generations and that her grandmother had received it from Hapi himself.

She ruffled my hair. "Of course. Today is, after all, a special day."

As we entered our mud hut, which had been my home since birth, I saw my father mending one of his fisherman's nets. When he saw me, he pretended to cower in fear.

"A mud monster has entered our house."

I laughed. "It's just me, Papa."

He leaned forward and squinted, as if trying to get a good look, though the gesture was comically exaggerated. "Is it? Let me see. Ah yes, it's my little Kiya."

He leapt to his feet, picked me up and swung me around, ignoring the mud that soiled his hands. I squealed with delight.

"Nakhti," Mama said. "I have to get her ready."

"Yes." Papa set me down. He gave me a gentle slap across the back, motioning for me to return to Mama.

"I get to wear the lotus today, Papa."

He smiled. "I am sure you will look very pretty."

Later that afternoon, four priests from a nearby town passed by our village. They shouldered on poles our patron god's idol, which nestled upon a bed of water lilies. A ray of sunlight bounced off the golden image and it flashed with brilliance. Behind the god was a small train of dancing priestesses. They rattled sistrums and twirled around, their white dresses billowing out like clouds.

My fellow villagers and I were assembled outside our village, awaiting the god's arrival. When he appeared, we fell to our knees and touched our foreheads to the sandy ground.

"Glorious Hapi," my father intoned. "We thank you for once again allowing your water to flow and give life. We thank you for nourishing our land and our people. We pray your sacred pitchers never cease to flow. We thank you, great god of the Nile."

My heart swelled with pride. Papa was the most renowned fisherman in our village. Though he was quite an old man - many years older than my mother - he possessed skills and strength that surpassed even those of the younger generations. Everyone thus hailed him as the favoured of the river god.

"Praise be to you, Hapi," I echoed along with the rest of my fellow villagers.

As the idol trailed away, we rose to our feet and gathered up the amulets and flowers, which we would be tossing into the Nile as offerings. It was sunset now and sheer red-orange skies cast a fiery glow upon the river's rippling surface. From a distance, we heard the warbling of river fowl and the screeching of monkeys.

We approached the riverbank. It was still soft and muddy from the inundation. We tossed our offerings in. All the while, Papa chanted hymns of praise. Afterward, we returned to the village for what we children had been anticipating the most - the games.

A kind, respectable widow named Mekten, whom everyone called "Village Mother", held a game called the "statue dance." She played a reed flute while we danced and would stop at random moments without warning. We had to freeze as soon as the music stopped. Those who were still dancing were out of the game.

My friends and I loved it so much that Mekten held several rounds of it. Unfortunately, I always lost, as I always got so caught up in the liveliness of the game. However, she awarded me a small spinning top as a prize for being the best dancer.

I danced so much that I could barely keep my eyes open as we later sat down to the feast. Papa picked me up and carried me back to our hut. I was too tired to protest. As soon as he lay me down, I fell into a deep sleep.

That night, I dreamt I was on a great winged barque sailing along the Nile. It was a bright day, with the white-golden Egyptian sun shining gloriously and flocks of ibises and herons gleaming against the clear blue sky. A group of friendly monkeys, like those who usually wandered near my family's hut, kept me company on the deck, entertaining me with their hilarious antics.

Suddenly, the skies darkened and the water began to thrash against the barque. The monkeys leapt up and down, screeching frantically. I grabbed onto the rail.

Thunder rumbled. Fierce white waves threatened to haul us overboard. The barque tipped to a dangerous level and I began to scream.

Waking, I placed my hand over my heart, which was pounding fiercely. I was about to heave a sigh of relief when I heard the rumbling from my dream. I sat up, my chest constricting in fear once more. The noise sounded like it was coming from outside our hut.

The rumbling stopped.

I heard a strange voice shouting in a language I could not understand.

My father appeared beside me. In the dim light, I could see the outline of his bony profile as he knelt by my side.

"What's that noise, Papa?"

He put his arms around me and before he could answer, a chilling scream sliced through the air. Other screams followed. Soon, the air was filled with a frightening cacophony - screams, cries and more shouts in that strange language.

Papa's grip on me tightened. "Come, Kiya. We must hide you."

The door of our hut flew open.

Two enormous, fearsome-looking warriors towered like the tallest trees. Their faces were thickly painted in bright, garish colours. They wore loincloths made of animal skin and peculiar pointed headdresses that emphasised their unusual height. In their hands were spears that glinted threateningly.

Mama screamed.

One of the warriors shouted something, while waving toward us. Another dashed forward and snatched me out of Papa's protective hold.

"Papa!"

The monster hauled me outside.

I kicked and flailed. "Papa!"

"Kiya!" Papa hurried after me.

Alas, though he was strong and agile, he was no match for these giants. They ran with such enormous strides that in no time he was out of sight.

"Papa?" I writhed about in the warrior's iron grip. "Papa!"

I felt a blow to the back of my head and the world turned black.

Cold water slapped my face. When I opened my eyes, I was staring into the massive painted face of my captor.

"Get up," he snarled. His breath was fouler than rotten fish.

I struggled to my feet. Though I was still in a daze, I dared not disobey.

The warrior grabbed my arm and led me through pitch-black darkness. I was certain he was going to kill me. My chest tightened with fear.

He led me out into a brightly lit clearing. It looked like we were in the midst of a dense jungle. A campfire crackled at the centre where the warrior's comrades sat feasting and talking.

Relief washed over me when I noticed my fellow villagers huddled together at the far end. Menah was with them.

I smiled. "Menah!"

The warrior slapped me hard across the face. "You are not to speak. If you do so again, we will kill you."

I shuddered, though I was less frightened than before now that I knew I was not alone.

The warrior dragged me over to the villagers and shoved me amongst them. "Stay with them. No talking and no trying to escape." He glared at us, then went to the fire to join the others.

Menah took my hand.

"Where are my parents?" I asked in a bare whisper.

He looked at me sadly and shook his head.

I knew what that meant. They were not there.

I suddenly threw up.

In a flash, the warrior was before us. "What's going on here?"

No one answered.

"She felt sick and vomited," our village mother Mekten said finally.

The warrior turned to his comrades and said something in their language. They laughed boisterously. He shook his head and returned to them.

Tears spilled from my eyes. Menah held me and rocked me, comforting me. I sobbed for a long time, eventually crying myself to sleep.

What followed was an arduous journey through the jungle. The scorching sun was merciless and mosquitoes bit my arms, legs and face. The entire time, our captors threatened to murder us and I might have actually died with despair had it not been for the familiar faces around me.

I do not know how far we travelled, but just as I thought we would perish, one of the warriors announced we had reached our destination.

It was early evening. We were led toward a tribal encampment illuminated by a towering bonfire. Drumbeats pounded in my ears as we drew nearer. When we entered the camp, I saw tents made of dyed animal hides, as well as poles topped with the decapitated heads of people and animals. I averted my eyes, trying to erase the horrific images from my head.

The drums were deafening as the tribespeople surrounded us. Like our captors, they were wrapped in animal skins. Their bodies were pierced in just about every part and painted in bright colours. I shuddered when a small child with painted teeth and a pierced nose came over and poked at my face.

My fellow villagers and I were lined up in front of the bonfire. I thought for sure they would murder us. I whimpered as one of the warriors strode up to us. I recognised him. He had entered my family's hut.

The warrior paced the length of our row. "Do you know why you are all here?"

No one answered.

He glared at us. "Many years ago, your Pharaoh murdered our chieftain. I am that chieftain's son and will now avenge my father's death. Until your king makes amends, we will continue to destroy your wretched country. If he does not, we will fight until Egypt is no more."

As he reached me, he stopped pacing and smiled, revealing crooked yellow teeth. "What is your name, little girl?" His voice was gentle.

"K-Kiya," I squeaked.

"What a beautiful girl you are. Has anyone ever told you how beautiful you are?"

I did not answer.

"How old are you?"

"Nine."

"Ah. Perfect." His hideous grin widened. "You will be my slave, Kiya. And when your red moon comes, you will become my bride."

I stared at him, too horrified to speak.

He stepped forward. "That flower around your neck goes very well with your lovely face." He fingered the lotus pendant and I pulled back.

"Where are my parents?" I blurted.

"We left them behind, little one. We have no use for them." He laughed cruelly.

My fear was replaced by rage. "I want my parents. Bring me back to my parents."

One of the warriors rushed toward me, but the chieftain held up his hand. He stared into space for a moment. "Very well. If you work hard, I will send for your parents by the time you and I are ready to marry."

My anger began to abate. "You mean that?" I looked into his dark eyes, which were surrounded by a strange painted pattern of dots.

"Yes. So what do you say, little Kiya? Are you going to work hard?"

I hated that he called me "little Kiya." It sounded like he was trying to replace Papa. But I knew that if I wanted to see my parents again, I had to be obedient and silent.

I nodded.

"Good," he said, turning away.

"What is a red moon?" I asked.

Some of my fellow villagers stared at me, aghast, while the tribespeople roared with laughter.

The chieftain approached Mekten. "Be Kiya's advisor and explain to her what a red moon is. I am sure you know full well." He winked at her.

I felt sick at that gesture, even though I did not understand what it meant.

Mekten nodded in submission.

The chieftain waved his arm, inviting his people to pick slaves from among us.

A tall, thin woman with large bone earrings and a cold expression led Mekten and I to the chieftain's large tent. When we stepped inside, I nearly screamed. The place was festooned with more disembodied animal heads, as well as enormous wooden masks with frightening expressions. The dim light from torches cast shadows on the eerie things, making them look almost alive.

The tribeswoman pointed to a dirty mat at the far end of the tent. "You will sleep there. Go now." Mekten and I headed for the mat, but the tribeswoman grabbed Mekten's arm. "Not you. You will stay here."

I stared at them, confused, and the woman glared at me. "Go!"

I hurried over to the mat as the tribeswoman extinguished the torch, plunging the tent into complete darkness.

All was silent. Then the tent's flap rose, revealing the bulky profile of the chieftain. He shuffled inside and the flap swung closed.

Not long after, I heard Mekten crying out in fear and pain. Heavy breathing followed. The louder Mekten screamed, the heavier the breathing grew.

Though I had no idea what was happening, I knew I was hearing something bad. I covered my ears, but it was no use. Similar screams rose from the neighbouring tents. I slept amongst nightmares, waking at times to the sound of terrified cries and heartbreaking sobbing.

The following morning, Mekten acted scared of everything and everyone, which wasn't like her. I wanted to make her feel better, but I didn't know how. Even the most trivial things I did frightened her.

Throughout the day, I kept a distance from her. But at times, I tried to reach out to her. She was, after all, one of our dearest family friends.

"Mekten," I said in a timid voice. "What is a red moon?"

Mekten looked at me with sad eyes. Finally, she took a deep breath and explained everything in a shaky voice before breaking down.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sweeter than Birdsong; Blog tour and giveaway

About the book:

Music offers Kate sweet refuge from her troubles . . . but real freedom is sweeter.

In Westerville, Ohio, 1855, Kate Winter’s dreams are almost within reach. As the first woman to graduate from Otterbein College, she’ll be guaranteed her deepest wish: escape from the dark secret haunting her family. But with her mother determined to marry her off to a wealthy man, Kate must face reality. She has to run. Now. And she has the perfect plan. Join the upcoming musical performance—and use it to mask her flight.

Ben Hanby, Otterbein College’s musical genius, sees Kate Winter as an enigmatic creature, notable for her beauty, yet painfully shy. Then he hears her sing—and the glory of her voice moves him as never before. He determines to cast her in his musical and uncover the mystery that is Kate. Still, he must keep his own secret to himself. Not even this intriguing woman can know that his passionate faith is driving him to aid fugitives on the Underground Railroad.

A terrifying accident brings Kate and Ben together, but threatens to shatter both their secrets and their dreams. Kate can no longer deny the need to find her courage—and her voice—if she is to sing a new song for their future.
 
 
About Rosslyn:
 
Rosslyn Elliott is the award-winning author of Fairer than Morning, the first in the Saddler's Legacy series. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in English from Emory University. Her study of American literature and history inspired her to pursue writing fiction. Elliott lives in Albuquerque, where she homeschools her daughter and works in children's ministry.
 
For more about Rosslyn, visit her website: http://rosslynelliott.com
 
 
My Review:
4 STARS

 
Sweeter than Birdsong swept me off my feet at times with the sweet romance and the enthralling adventure they were on.  There were also times though, especially in the beginning, that I found myself skipping some of the unnecessary details.  I would have probably given this book 5 stars if there was about 50-100 pages shorter but I do understand why some of the lengthier details were included.

I really enjoyed both main characters Ben and Kate.  Kate reminds me a lot of myself, I am deathly afraid of talking in front of people to the point of panic attacks when I know I have to be in front of a group.  Her fear was displayed in a way that it reminded me of my own.  I loved how she grows and develops though in to a character that takes her fears head on and is determined to fight for justice. 

Ben was beyond a wonderful character!! His gift of music is amazing and the way he tries to help others realize their gifts from God were delightful.  This novel was based off of real characters and real events that happened which is what makes this story even better!  You walk away with so much admiration for the people that fought against slavery in our country.

I’ve read a few Civil War era books but this was the first book that I read about helping slaves escapes to freedom and I have to say that part of the story just came alive in this book.  I felt my own heart just hurting for the women slave in the story.  The fact that there is light at the end of this sorrow and romance to keep it all going made this novel even better!

I read the first book in this series and I think I preferred that one just a bit more than this one but I still am thankful that I read Sweeter than Birdsong and I will be continuing reading more from this great author.

I received this book free from the publishers through Litfuse in exchange for my personal and honest review.  All opinions are my own.
 
About the giveaway and party:
 
In this second in the award-winning Saddler's Legacy series, Rosslyn Elliott has written a stirring novel of hope and faith inspired by real historical people and events. With Ben Hanby, a genius composer, Kate Winter, one of the first female college graduates in America, and John Parker, an ex-slave who risked his life time and again to help fugitive slaves, Sweeter than Birdsong is full of real heroes to inspire us. "I hope readers will find a renewed sense of strength in their own lives," says Elliott, "knowing that change is possible, and our efforts matter. I want them to remember these unique, brave people in history who left us a shining example of what it means to live out one's beliefs with passion and commitment."



So to celebrate the music in all of us, Rosslyn and Thomas Nelson are hosting this "sweet giveaway".



One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Brand new iPod Nano (Winner's choice of color!)
  • Fairer than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott
  • Sweeter than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on February 28th. Winner will be announced at Sweeter than Birdsong Author Chat Facebook Party on 2/28. Rosslyn will be chatting with guests, sharing a sneak peek of the next book in the series, hosting a trivia contest, and more! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, season 1 of DowntownAbbey, and a book club prize pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club AND a LIVE Author Chat for your group with Rosslyn.)



So grab your copy of Sweeter than Birdsong and join Rosslyn and friends on the evening of the 28th for an evening of fun.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 28th!

Friday, February 17, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Wings of Morning

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 (February 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Murray Pura earned his Master of Divinity degree from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and his ThM degree in theology and interdisciplinary studies from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more than twenty-five years, in addition to his writing, he has pastored churches in Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Alberta. Murray’s writings have been shortlisted for the Dartmouth Book Award, the John Spencer Hill Literary Award, the Paraclete Fiction Award, and Toronto's Kobzar Literary Award. Murray pastors and writes in southern Alberta near the Rocky Mountains. He and his wife Linda have a son and a daughter.





Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:




Lovers of Amish fiction will quickly sign on as fans of award-winning author Murray Pura as they keep turning the pages of this exciting new historical romance set in 1917 during America’s participation in World War I.



Jude Whetstone and Lyyndaya Kurtz, whose families are converts to the Amish faith, are slowly falling in love. Jude has also fallen in love with flying that new-fangled invention, the aeroplane.



The Amish communities have rejected the telephone and have forbidden motorcar ownership but not yet electricity or aeroplanes.



Though exempt from military service on religious grounds, Jude is manipulated by unscrupulous army officers into enlisting in order to protect several Amish men. No one in the community understands Jude’s sudden enlistment and so he is shunned. Lyyndaya’s despair deepens at the reports that Jude has been shot down in France. In her grief, she turns to nursing Spanish flu victims in Philadelphia. After many months of caring for stricken soldiers, Lyyndaya is stunned when an emaciated Jude turns up in her ward.



Lyyndaya’s joy at receiving Jude back from the dead is quickly diminished when the Amish leadership insist the shunning remain in force. How then can they marry without the blessing of their families? Will happiness elude them forever?



Welcome a powerful new voice to the world of Amish fiction!











Product Details:

List Price: $13.99



Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736948775

ISBN-13: 978-0736948777


My Review:
4 STARS

One of my favorite genres to read in between a good Christian historical and a young adult paranormal is an Amish fiction! Amish fiction is unlike any other genre and I just love reading about their ways of life even if I don't really understand it! This is my first time reading anything by Murray Pura and I was impressed by the attention to historical detail in this Amish fiction.

Both Jude Whetstone and Lyyndaya Kurtz are from families that have recently converted over to the Amish faith and now they are slowly falling in love. For them to fall in love wouldn't be too bad except that Lyyndaya's dad isn't happy about Jude's flying. Jude loves to fly aero planes and he thinks he should get as much flying time in that he can before the Amish decide to ban flying.

When an Army officer sees Jude's amazing ability to fly he is suddenly told that he has to join the military and that religious exemption does not apply to the newly formed Amish community. That meant him and some other men from the community were forced to enlist. Will Jude and Lyyndaya's love for each other stand the test of war, religious freedoms and shunning?!

The only thing I struggled with was the middle part of the book that dealt with Jude during the war. There was a lot of details and that part is just not very interesting to me but I still enjoyed the story.

I received this book from the Publisher Harvest House and was not required to give a positive review.

I loved the unique delivery of The Wings of Morning. Never had I ever read any Amish fiction that deals with war, flying or flu epidemic. You will be wondering who will live, who will fall in love and who will be shunned. A very different and great Amish fiction!




AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Lyyndaya Kurtz straightened her back and looked up at the blue and bronze evening sky. It was that strange sound again, like a large swarm of bees at their hive, and it grew louder and louder. She leaned the hoe against the picket fence her father had built around the garden. Her mother, whose hearing was no longer very good, continued to chop at weeds between the rows of radishes and lettuce. She glanced at her daughter as Lyyndaya shielded her eyes from the slowly setting sun.

Was ist los?” she asked, using Pennsylvania Dutch.

“Can’t you hear them, Mama?” Lyyndaya responded. “There are aeroplanes coming.”

Her mother stood up, still holding the hoe in her brown hands, and squinted at the sun and sky. “I don’t see anything. Is it a small one?”

“No, it’s too loud for just one aeroplane. Do you see, Mama?” Lyyndaya pointed. “Coming out of the west. Coming out of the sun.”

Now her mother shielded her eyes. “All I am seeing is spots in front of my eyes from looking into the light.”

“Look higher. There are—three, four, six—there are half a dozen of them.”

The planes were not that far from the ground, Lyyndaya thought, only a thousand feet, not much more. Each with two wings, the top wing longer than the bottom one, each plane painted a yellow that gleamed in the sunlight. As she watched, one of them broke away from the others and dropped toward them. It came so low that the roar of the engine filled the air and children ran from their houses and yards into the dirt road and the hay fields. They were soon followed by their mothers and fathers and older brothers and sisters.

Lyyndaya laughed as the plane flew over their house. A hand waved at her from the plane’s open cockpit and she waved back with all her might. “Can you see the plane now, Mama?” she teased.

Her mother had crouched among the heads of lettuce as the plane flashed past. “Ach,” she exclaimed with a cross look on her face, “this must be your crazy boy, Jude Whetstone.”

“He’s coming back!”

The plane had banked to the left over Jacob Miller’s wheat field and was heading back over the farmhouses while the other five planes carried on to the east. Its yellow wings dipped lower and lower. Lyyndaya’s green eyes widened.

“He’s going to land in Papa’s field!” she cried. “Where the hay was cut on Monday!”

She lifted the hem of her dress in both hands and began to run. The black kaap that covered her hair at the back, left untied, flew off her head.

“Lyyndaya! This is not seemly!” her mother called after her.

But the young woman had reached the old gray fence around the hay field, gathered the bottom of her navy blue dress in one hand, and climbed over, and with strands of sand-colored hair unraveling from their pins, she was racing over the stubble to where the plane’s wheels were just touching the earth. Others were running toward the plane from all directions, jumping the fence if they were spry enough, opening the gate to the field if they were not.

The aeroplane came to a stop in the middle of the field and when the propeller stopped spinning a young man in a brown leather jacket and helmet pushed his goggles from his eyes and jumped from the cockpit to the ground. He was immediately surrounded by the several boys and girls who had outrun the adults in their rush toward the craft. He mussed the hair of two of the boys who came up to him and tugged the pigtail of a red-headed girl.

“Jude!” Lyyndaya exclaimed as she ran up to him, the tan on her face flushed. “What are you doing here?”

“Hello, Lyyndy,” the young man smiled, lifting one of the boys up on his shoulders. “The whole flying club went up and I convinced them to come this way to Paradise. I wanted to see you.”

“To see me? You fly a plane from Philadelphia just to see me?”

“Why not?”

“But you were coming back on the train in a few days.”

“A few days. I couldn’t wait that long.”

Lyyndaya could feel the heat in her face as neighbors looked on. She saw one or two frown, but most of the men and women smiled. A very tall man in a maroon shirt wearing a straw hat laughed. She dropped her eyes.

“Bishop Zook,” she murmured, “how are you?”

Gute, gute,” he responded. “Well, Jude, what is all this? Why has a pigeon dropped out of the sky?”

Bishop Zook was not only tall, at least six-foot-nine, but broad-shouldered and strong. He shook Jude’s hand with a grip like rock. The young man pulled his leather helmet off his head so that his dark brown hair tumbled loose. Lyyndaya fought down an overwhelming urge to take Jude and hug him as she had done so many times when they were nine and ten.

“I wanted the children to see the plane, Bishop Zook,” said Jude.

“Only the children?”

“Well—” Jude stumbled. “I thought perhaps—I might ask Miss Kurtz—”

“Ah,” smiled the bishop. “You want to take her up, as you flying men say?”

“I thought—”

“Are you two courting?”

“Courting?”

“You remember what is courting, my boy—you have not been among the English in Philadelphia that long, eh?”

Everyone laughed, and Lyyndaya thought the heat in her face and hands would make her hair and skin catch on fire.

Bishop Zook put an arm like a plank around Jude’s slender shoulders. “You know when there is the courting here, we let the boy take the girl home in the buggy after the Sunday singing. You remember that much after a week away?”

“Yes—”

“So your horse and buggy are where?” the bishop said.

Jude continued to hunt desperately for his words. “In the barn, but I wanted—” He stopped, his tongue failing him as the whole colony stood watching and listening.

The bishop waited a moment and then walked over and touched the top wing of the plane. He ran his hand over the coated fabric and nodded. “A beautiful buggy. Pulled by horses with wings, eh? How many, Master Whetstone?”

Jude was trying not to look at Lyyndaya for help, but did anyway, and she was making sure she did not look at him or offer any by keeping her eyes on the stubble directly in front of the toes of her boots.

“There are—” Jude stepped away from the crowd pressing in on him and Lyyndaya and turned around to look at the plane behind him as if he were seeing it for the first time—“there are—” He stood utterly still and stared at the engine as if it did not belong there. Then he looked at Bishop Zook’s thick black beard and broad face. “Ninety. Ninety horses.”

The bishop nodded again and kept running his hand over the wing. “More than enough. There is the problem however—if God had meant us to fly, Master Whetstone, wouldn’t he have given us wings, hm?”

He took his hand from the plane and looked at Jude directly. Several of the men and women murmured their agreement with the bishop’s question and nodded their heads. Most remained silent, waiting for Jude’s answer. Jude stared at the bishop, trying to gauge the look in the tall man’s blue eyes. He thought he saw a flash of humor so he went ahead with the answer he had used a hundred times in their own Amish colony as well as in dozens of the ones around it.

“Bishop Zook,” he responded, “if God had meant us to ride a buggy he would have given us wheels and four legs.”

“Ah ha!” shouted the bishop, slapping his huge hand against his leg and making most of the people jump, including Lyyndaya. “You have it, Master Whetstone, you have it.” He clapped his hands lightly in appreciation and a smattering of relieved laughter came from the small crowd. “So now take me up.”

“What?”

“As bishop, I must make sure it is safe for Miss Kurtz, ja? After all, who has ever had such a horse and buggy in our colony, eh?” He gave his hat to one of the men and climbed into the front of the two cockpits.

“I only have a little time before I must head back to Philadelphia—” Jude began, again glancing at Lyyndaya for help, who had gone so far as to raise her gaze to stare fixedly at the bishop and the plane, but still refused to make eye contact with the young man.

“Five minutes,” said the bishop with a gleam in his eye. “That is all I ask. I am not the one you are courting, eh?”

The people laughed again. The thought passed through Jude’s head that the bishop was enjoying a lot of laughter at his expense. Then he shrugged and climbed into the rear cockpit. He saw his father in the crowd and gestured with his hand.

“Papa, will you give the propeller a turn?” he asked.

“Of course, my boy.”

As Jude’s father, a tall, slender man with a short beard and warm brown eyes, walked toward the plane, Bishop Zook leaned his head back and asked, “Now, before the engine noise, tell me, what is the name of this aeroplane and where do they make such things?”

Jude handed the bishop a leather helmet and goggles. “It’s a Curtiss JN-4, the Jenny, and they’re usually made in Buffalo, New York. But our flying club outside of Philadelphia was able to purchase these at a very good price from our Canadian friends just across the border. They are built there by Curtiss’s Canadian associate, the Canadian Aeroplane Company, so we call them the Canuck.”

“But they are the same as the New York ones?”

“Almost. They have one great advantage. I use a stick, a joystick, to control the aeroplane in these. The old American ones have a wheel that is not as good.”

“Why don’t we put the stick in ours then?”

“We will. The next model has the stick, the JN-4D. But they have only brought it out this month. There are not enough of them. Besides, it’s 1917 and they are all going to the army. Civilian clubs will not be able to purchase them while the war is on.”

Jude’s father, in his brown summer shirt and straw hat, was standing in front of the plane and smiling. Jude played with a switch on the control panel in his cockpit. Then he pulled down his goggles and smiled back at his father and made a circle in the air with his hand. His father nodded, put both hands on the top blade of the wooden propeller, and swung it downward. The engine coughed twice and roared. His father’s hat went spinning into the sky with the prop wash.

“Contact,” Jude said loudly. “Please buckle on your harness, Bishop Zook.”

“Ah. So we truly do have something in common with the horses.”

Jude’s father had caught up with his hat. He looked back at his son and pointed east. Jude turned the plane in that direction.

“What is your father telling us?” shouted Bishop Zook.

“The direction the wind or breeze is coming from. We take off into the wind.”

“Why?”

“It gives us lift to help get the aeroplane off the ground.”

The craft moved ahead, slowly bouncing over the field, then gathering speed and rising into the air. Jude took it to a thousand feet and made sure he flew over the entire town of Paradise and especially the bishop’s dairy farm on the west end. The sun was still an hour or two over the horizon and covered the plane in light. The bishop began to laugh and slapped one of his hands against the side of the Jenny.

“Too beautiful, too beautiful,” Jude heard him call out. “Mein Gott, what a gift you have given the birds, such a gift, such a world.”

When they landed again and the propeller had spun down to a stop, Bishop Zook climbed out, pumped Jude’s hand like an excited boy, and then beckoned to Lyyndaya.

“Come, come, my dear,” he smiled, “your buggy awaits.”

Feeling every eye on her, the skin of her face burning, she stepped up to the plane and the bishop helped her into the front cockpit. She used one hand to manage her dress and the other to grab onto parts of the plane. When she was finally in her seat, the bishop gave her the helmet and goggles and showed her how to tighten the buckles of the shoulder harnesses. Then he walked to the front of the plane and bent his head at Jude’s father.

“May I?”

Jude’s father stood back from the propeller. “Of course.”

“I just pull it downward?”

Ja, just a sharp tug and then let it go. Do not hold on.”

“Yes, yes, all right—when?”

“My son will tell you.”

Lyyndaya sat in her cockpit feeling an odd mixture of embarrassment, excitement, and fear. Suddenly Jude’s hand squeezed her left shoulder from behind.

“You will be all right, Lyyndy Lyyndy Lou,” he said.

She could not turn all the way around to see him, but she knew he would be smiling just as his use of the childhood nickname had made her smile as well. Now, ten years later, without having had a chance to discuss it between themselves, the plane ride had become a buggy ride and they were courting, thanks to Bishop Zook. Well, it would give them something to talk about besides the weather and the crops when he came back to Lancaster County from Philadelphia in a few days.

She could not see what Jude was doing, but the bishop all of a sudden nodded, swung down on the propeller with his enormous hands and arms, and the engine burst into life. They began to roll across the ground faster than she had ever traveled in anything before, faster than galloping her mare, Anna, bareback. She felt her heart hammering and her mouth go dry.

“Hang on!” shouted Jude.

The wind was rushing against her face and body. The earth streamed past brown and green. The sky was a streak of blue and silver. Then the plane lifted into the air and her stomach seemed to turn inside out and upside down. She looked down and the men and women and children were like dolls and the wagons like toys and the houses like tiny boxes. Suddenly the plane banked to the right and she felt herself falling out of her seat. The leather flying helmet, unfastened, was torn from her head, her hair exploded in the rush of air, and as her arms dropped over the side into empty space she could not stop herself and started to scream.