Sunday, March 31, 2013

Know Me Better



This is a weekly Meme by Inspired Kathy @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Each week she picks 5 questions from her authors' interview lists and anyone can join in and answer them.

What story does your family always tell about you?
The time when I got angry at my brother and decided to leave right then and there. I was stomping down the road when my parents drove up.

What kind of music do you like?
Oldies, Classic rock, big band, Christian contemporary, and light Classical.

Would you rather have money or fame?
MONEY. What else is there to say?

Do you celebrate Easter? If so what is one of your traditions? Yes. Church, a family dinner, egg hunt, and games. Such fun! Today is Easter.

Best April Fools Day Joke you have done or someone has done to you?
I actually enjoy pranks. Several years ago to repay my sister, Lisa, for pranking me, I wrote a "love letter", signed it with the name David and mailed it to is another sister who mailed it from their hometown. Turns out Lisa's next door neighbor was a young single man named David. Lisa is married and her husband's reaction to the letter was priceless!

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Pastor's Wives by Lisa Cullen



Pastors’ Wives follows three women whose lives converge and intertwine at a Southern evangelical megachurch. Ruthie follows her Wall Street husband from New York to Magnolia, a suburb of Atlanta, when he hears a calling to serve at a megachurch called Greenleaf. Reeling from the death of her mother, Ruthie suffers a crisis of faith—in God, in her marriage, and in herself. Candace is Greenleaf’s “First Lady,” a force of nature who’ll stop at nothing to protect her church and her husband.

Ginger, married to Candace’s son, struggles to play dutiful wife and mother while burying her calamitous past. All their lives collide during a fateful event that threatens the survival of all that is precious to them, each will ask herself: what is the price of loving a man of God?

Inspired by Cullen’s reporting for Time magazine, Pastors’ Wives is a passionate portrayal of the private lives of pastors’ wives, caught between the consuming demands of faith, marriage, duty, and love.

My thoughts...

This was an interesting story. I certainly wouldn't want to be a pastor's wife. Three very different women, one having lost her belief in God and feels she must leave her husband because of his profession. Ruthie has issues and must learn to work through them. Her life doesn't turn out the way I thought it would.

Candace is more like a body guard than a wife, her one goal is to protect her husband who is the pastor of a mega church and has started an interfaith organization. This doesn't sit well with everyone because it involves a Muslim Iman, a Jewish Rabbi, and her husband... a protestant minister. There are lots of problems in running a mega church. Candace's life doesn't turn out the way I thought it would.

Ginger is the daughter in law of Candace. She's struggling to be a good pastor's wife and mother while trying to hide her colorful past. Ginger's life... well, it doesn't turn out the way I thought it would either. Something big happens and the women's lives change drastically.

This is the first book I've read by Cullen, it gives us a picture of what all is involved in being a pastor's wife. Interesting characters, big problems, a little suspense. A great novel.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Threads of Hope by Christa Allan

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Threads of Hope
Abingdon Press (March 1, 2013)
by
Christa Allan

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A true Southern woman who knows that any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, Christa is a writer of not your usual Christian Fiction. She weaves stories of unscripted grace and redemption with threads of hope, humor, and heart. Christa is the mother of five adult children, a grandmother of three, and a brand new retired teacher. She and her husband Ken live in New Orleans with their three cats and do their best to dodge hurricanes.

And, since she is not fond of writing about herself in third person, she asked her oldest daughter to contribute. Like her mother, Erin is not at a loss for words…

 ABOUT THE BOOK



Passed over for promotion and dumped by her boyfriend, Nina O’Malley is further frustrated when her editor assigns her one of the “soft” stories she despises—covering a gala benefit supporting the AIDS Memorial Quilt. More determined than ever to prove she deserves a promotion to the NY office, Nina decides to write a series featuring a local quilting group raising money for AIDs research. At the event, she runs into her high school nemesis: Greg is a widower and the adoptive father of Jazarah, an HIV positive girl from Ethiopia. Unlike Nina, Greg has faith in a loving God, and he trusts in God’s plan for his life. Greg and Nina grow closer, and as Nina interviews the quilt families, she begins to question the choices she has made and her lack of faith. Nina suddenly finds herself facing two possible dreams, two paths for her life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Threads of Hope, go HERE.

My thoughts...

This is the fourth book in the Quilts of Love series, all written by different authors. Nina is a magazine reporter assigned to write about a benefit for the AIDS Memorial quilt. She is angry that the promotion she wanted went to another so she determines to write the best story ever! She ends up interviewing several quilters and each one touches her heart and causes her to make a change in her own life.

Characters that are strong and inspiring, a great storyline, and interesting information about the quilt. I've enjoyed each one of these books and hope there's more to come!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Invisible by Ginny Yttrup



Ellyn DeMoss -- chef, caf� owner, and lover of butter -- is hiding behind a layer of fat. But what is she hiding? While Ellyn sees the good in others, she has only condemnation for herself. So when a handsome widower claims he’s attracted to Ellyn, she’s certain there’s something wrong with him.

Sabina Jackson -- tall, slender, and exotic -- left her husband, young adult daughters, and a thriving counseling practice to spend a year in Northern California where she says she’s come to heal. But it seems to Ellyn that Sabina’s doing more hiding than healing. What’s she hiding from? Is it God?

Twila Boaz has come out of hiding and is working to gain back the pounds she lost when her only goal was to disappear. When her eating disorder is triggered again, though she longs to hide, she instead follows God and fights for her own survival. But will she succeed?

As these women’s lives intertwine, their eyes open to the glory within each of them as they begin to recognize themselves as being created in God’s image.

My thoughts...

Yttrup is one of my favorite authors, her books are so good! This book has a lot of characters and starts with Ellyn, a chef and cafe owner whose voice in her head tells her she is... fat.

Miles is her physician who is interested in dating her after the death of his wife. Ellyn has a hard time accepting his " friendship", she has only contempt for herself.

Sabina is a psychologist that lost a patient to suicide and has come to California to heal. She and Ellyn become friends are good for each other. Then there's Twila, a young anorexic woman also trying to heal. She has come home to work in her mother's health food store. When her father shows up her eating disorder is triggered again. She and Ellyn become good friends.

Each of the ladies have deep issues and getting to know each other is fun yet difficult as they learn to share from their heart and accept who they are. I enjoyed every page of this heartwarming tale. Yttrup is such a talented writer, her characters are so real your heart goes out to each as they deal with their inner issues. Definitely 5 out 5 stars! I've read her other books also, they are just as wonderful as this one.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Available April 1, 2013.

Mountain Homecoming by Sandra Robbins

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 (March 1, 2013)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sandra Robbins and her husband live in the small college town in Tennessee where she grew up. They count their four children and five grandchildren as the greatest blessings in their lives. Her published books include stories in historical romance and romantic suspense. When not writing or spending time with her family, Sandra enjoys reading, collecting flow blue china, and playing the piano.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In the second book in the Smoky Mountain Dreams series, acclaimed author Sandra Robbins spins a tender tale of God's faithfulness throughout the generations.

Rani Martin, Simon and Anna's only daughter, is a beautiful and spirited young woman living deep in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. She has plenty of ideas about the man she'll marry someday, but none of them could have prepared her for the return of Matthew Jackson.

Matthew left Cades Cove as a child after his father's death. Now he's come back to build a new life for himself, and it's his dearest wish that Rani be a part of that life. But the people of the Cove won't let him forget the sins of his father, and Matthew can't forget the darkness of his own past.

Is there a place for Matthew in the Cove? And can the light of Rani's love overcome his pain?



Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736948864
ISBN-13: 978-0736948869



My thoughts...

If you've been to the Smoky Mountains you've probably visited Cades Cove. Robbins describes it in such a way that if you haven't been you will want to after reading this book. The main character is Rani Martin, a spirited young woman who knows what she wants. Especially in a husband...until someone new shows up, someone with a dark past. Matthew and David are interesting characters and one of them will end up with Rani.

This is a wonderful story of friendship. A story of romance. Parts of the book may make you cry. Well written, enjoyable. 5 out of 5 stars!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Cades Cove, Tennessee
June, 1914

Rani Martin stared through the cabin window at the Smoky
Mountains rising above the valley she loved. Usually the sight of the foggy mists curling around the hills made her happy. But try as she might, she couldn’t find anything to cheer her up today.

There had to be something that would take away the misery gnawing in the pit of her stomach. Poppa always told her she could do anything she set her mind to, but she didn’t know how she could be happy about losing the best friend any girl could ever have.

After today, there would be no reason for her to visit this cabin. Tomorrow Josie Ferguson and her husband, Ted, would load their belongings in their wagon, take their baby, and do what many of their friends and neighbors had already done—move out of Cades Cove. Josie, the one she’d shared secrets with all her life, would be gone, and Rani would be left behind with only memories of her best friend since childhood.

She didn’t understand what any of the folks who’d left the Cove were thinking. How could they leave the most beautiful place on God’s good earth?

It was springtime, the best time of year in the Cove. The winter snow had melted and the mountain laurel was in bloom. It wouldn’t be long before rhododendrons dotted the mountainsides and azaleas reappeared on Gregory’s Bald. This year, however, Josie wouldn’t be with her to share the wonder of the Cove coming back to life after a hard winter.

To Rani the prospect of living anywhere except the mountain valley where she’d been born scared her. She’d had an opportunity to see what existed in the outside world when she spent a year attending school while living with Uncle Charles in Maryville. It had been enough to convince her that life wasn’t nearly as good anywhere else as it was in the Cove. But others didn’t share her thoughts, and they’d left. And now Josie was going too.

With a sigh she turned back to the task she’d abandoned moments ago, helping pack up the kitchen utensils. Her throat constricted as she pulled the cake plate she and her mother had given Josie from the kitchen cupboard. She wrapped her fingers around the pierced handles and stared down at the hand-painted red and yellow roses on the delicate china dish. She’d thought it the most beautiful plate she’d ever seen when she first spied it at the store in Pigeon Forge.

Tears filled her eyes, and she loosened her grip with one hand so she could trace the gold band on the fluted rim. “I can’t believe it’s been three years since your wedding.”

Josie Ferguson bit down on her lip and nodded. “Ted’s always said this was his favorite of all our wedding gifts. It reminds him of the molasses cake your mother let him and his sister help make the day George was born.”

“I’ve heard Mama tell that story so many times. But she has one about every baby she’s helped deliver.”

“She’s been a blessing to the women she’s helped birth their babies. Everybody loves Anna Martin.” Josie’s eyes grew wide. “And of course your father too. I don’t think I can ever love another pastor like I do your pa. I’ve listened to him on Sundays ever since I can remember.”

“But you won’t be there anymore.” Rani set the plate down on the table and glanced at the baskets and tubs scattered across the kitchen floor. Pots, pans, and cooking utensils protruded above their sides. The tears she’d been holding back poured down her face, and she covered her eyes with her fingers. “First my brother decides to spend the summer at Uncle Robert’s farm in Strawberry Plains instead of coming home from school, then my cousin Annie gets married and moves to Townsend. Now you’re going too. What will I do with all of you gone? I’m going to feel so alone.”

“No, you won’t.”

Rani dug her fists into her eyes to stop the tears and gritted her teeth. “Why couldn’t Stephen have come home when school was out at Milligan College instead of spending the summer on Uncle Robert’s farm?”

Josie propped her hands on her hips and tilted her head to one side. “You know why.”

“Yeah,” Rani sighed. “He didn’t want to hear Poppa talk to him all summer about following in his footsteps. I don’t know why Poppa can’t see that Stephen doesn’t feel led to preach even though he agreed to that year at Milligan College. He wants to go to medical school. Of course that’s what Mama wants too. I’m glad they don’t have that problem with me. I don’t want to live anywhere but right here in Cades Cove…even if I am going to be alone.”

Josie rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Like I said, you won’t be alone. You’ll have your ma and pa, and Stephen will be here for a visit in July.” Josie wrapped her arms around Rani’s shoulders and hugged her close. “I’m the one who’s going to be alone. I won’t know anybody over at Townsend. You know Ted never has taken to farming, and there’s nothing else for him in the Cove. His new job pays real good. They’re going to furnish us a house too.”

Rani drew back in shock and gaped at Josie. “House? Have you seen what that high and mighty Little River Logging Company calls houses? I went with Poppa to Townsend last month, and I couldn’t believe what the workers were living in. They call them setoff houses because they bring them in on railroad cars and set them off on the hillsides or even right next to the railroad. They’re nothing more than one-room shacks with tar paper roofs. When the lumber company gets through cutting all the trees in one place, they load the houses onto a train and ship them to the next spot for their workers.”

Josie’s lip trembled, and her forehead wrinkled. “I know.” Her voice was almost a whisper. “But what can I do, Rani? Ted is my husband. We have to go where he can find work.”

Rani gazed past Josie to the cradle in the next room. “I can’t stand to think about you living in one of those things, especially now since you have a baby. Can’t you convince Ted to stay in Cades Cove? This is the only life you know.”

Josie pulled the corner of her apron up and wiped her eyes. She took a deep breath. “We’ll be fine. I’ll come back to visit, and you can come to Townsend to see me.”

Rani snorted and shook her head. “No thanks. I have no desire to share a one-room setoff house with you and your husband, not to mention your baby. I can’t believe Ted would be so disloyal to the Cove to go work for a company that’s trying to destroy our mountains.”

“Are you accusing my husband of turning his back on his friends?” Josie’s eyes flared and grew dark with anger.

Rani had seen that look before and realized she’d gone too far. She really needed to follow her mother’s advice and not be so outspoken about the company she thought was using the Smokies as a quick way to make money. Her opinion of Little River Lumber differed from that of many who’d left to work for the logging company. Now she had sounded like she believed Ted to be a traitor to his friends.

She reached out and grasped Josie’s arm. “I’m sorry, Josie. I didn’t mean to criticize Ted. It’s just that I’ve been so upset over what Little River’s doing to our mountains. Colonel Townsend has bought 86,000 acres of forest land all the way from Tuckaleechee to Clingman’s Dome. I don’t care if he does own the company, he’s a foolish man. They’re cutting every tree in their path. If somebody doesn’t stop them, the Smokies will end up as barren hillsides.”

Josie waved her hand in dismissal. “As usual, you’re being overly dramatic. That’s not going to happen. Like I said before, they pay well, and we need the money. End of discussion.”

Rani opened her mouth to respond, but the set of Josie’s jaw told her it would be useless. With a sigh, she picked up the cake plate from the table and handed it to Josie. “I hope you’ll think of me every time you use this.”

Josie took the plate and clasped it in her hands like she held a priceless treasure. For the first time Rani caught a glimpse of fear in Josie’s eyes, and the truth struck her. Josie didn’t want to leave Cades Cove, but she had no choice.

“I will,” Josie whispered. “I wanted this to be the last thing I packed. After all, you’re my best friend.”

Rani burst into tears and threw her arms around Josie. “We’re more than best friends. I think of you as the sister I never had. ”

“Me too.” Josie pulled back and wiped at the corner of her eyes. “But you know we could really be sisters.”

Josie’s words shattered the mood of moments ago and swept all the sadness from Rani’s mind. She took a step backward and wagged her finger in Josie’s direction. “Oh no. Don’t start that again.”

“Why not? George is crazy about you. All he talks about is how he wants to marry you, and you won’t give him any encouragement. If you married him, we’d be family. Sisters-in-law.”

Rani couldn’t believe they were having this conversation again. “I’ve told you at least a hundred times that George is a good friend, but I don’t love him. Even if I did, I don’t think I’d marry him.”

A skeptical expression crossed Josie’s face. “What’s the matter? Isn’t he good looking enough for you?”

Rani’s mouth gaped open at the ridiculous suggestion. “Oh, Josie, you know I would never think that. The truth is George is the youngest child in his family, and he’s spoiled rotten. If he doesn’t get his way, he sulks for days. I wouldn’t want a husband that I have to coddle and give in to all the time.”

Josie dropped her gaze to the cake plate she held and wrapped a burlap sack around it before she tucked it in the side of one of the baskets. “I have to admit you’re right. As a matter of fact, Ted told me George had an awful argument with his pa the other night. It seems he’s upset because he’s going to be left behind in the Cove after we leave.”

Rani held up her hands in exasperation. “You see what I mean. George can only see what he wants. He doesn’t realize what a great opportunity he has to work with his father on one of the best farms in the Cove.”

“But, Rani, you know he’s in love with you. That ought to be enough to make him a good husband.”

“Maybe it would be for somebody else, but not for me. I’m just eighteen years old. I have plenty of time to think about getting married. When I do, it’s going to be because I love a man so much my heart aches when I’m away from him.”

Josie turned to Rani and propped her hands on her hips. “Yeah, you’ve always had those romantic ideas. I think it must come from all those stories about how hard it was for your pa to get your mother to marry him.” She leaned closer to Rani. “Well, for those of us who don’t have a great love like that happen in our lives, we have to settle for the next best thing. It’s not like there’s a lot of men to choose from in the Cove. Being married to George is better than ending up an old maid.”

Rani flinched at Josie’s words. She remembered how Josie had cried four years ago when Charlie Simmons left the Cove, bound for California. At the time she’d thought it was because he was Ted’s friend. Now she wasn’t so sure. “Is that what you did, Josie? You settled for the next best thing?”

Josie’s face drained of color, and she put her hand to her throat. “Rani, I didn’t mean…”

“What’s goin’ on in here?”

At the sound of her husband’s voice at the back door Josie’s body stiffened, and she glanced over her shoulder. Rani’s heart lurched at the lack of expression on Josie’s face. She might very well have been looking at a stranger who’d come to her door instead of her husband. “I need to check on the baby,” she said, and hurried from the kitchen.

Ted Ferguson frowned and gazed after his wife as she hurried into the next room. His eyes darkened, and the look in his eyes told Rani he longed for something he would never have from Josie. After a moment he took a deep breath and smiled at her. “You two havin’ another one of your friendly arguments?”

Rani forced a laugh from her throat and wiped her eyes. “No argument. We’re just a little emotional over the two of you leaving the Cove. It seems all my friends are taking off for different places. My family may be the only one left before long.”

Ted shook his head. “Naw, you won’t be. They’ll have to drag my pa out of the Cove to get him to leave. He says he intends to be buried at the church he’s gone to all his life.”

“That’s what my pa says too.” Rani picked up the empty basket sitting on the table. “I left you some fried chicken and a fresh loaf of bread that Mama sent. She thought you might get hungry on your way to Townsend tomorrow.”

“She always thinks about other folks. Tell her I’m mighty obliged, and I hope I see her soon.”

“I will.”

Ted followed Rani into the next room where Josie was holding her son. No one spoke for a moment, then Josie swallowed and handed the baby to Ted. “Take care of Jimmy a minute while I walk Rani out.”

As Rani stepped onto the front porch, she glanced down at her dog lying next to the door. She snapped her fingers, and he jumped to his feet. He shook his shaggy body, wagged his tail, and awaited her command. It was so easy to communicate with animals. Give them love, feed them well, and reward them for good behavior, and they’d do anything you asked. Too bad people weren’t like that.

Josie had a husband who did all that for her, but today Rani had discovered the secret Josie had kept so well hidden—she would never be able to return Ted’s love. Rani didn’t want to end up like that.

With a sigh, she reached down and stroked her dog’s head. “Good boy, Scout. You did what I said. Now let’s go home.”

With Scout at her heels, she and Josie walked to the road that ran in front of the cabin. As they neared the edge of the yard, Rani turned to Josie. “I’m going to miss you.”

“I’m going to miss you too. We’re leaving early in the morning. So I guess I won’t see you again. I hope you will come visit me in Townsend. We’ll make room.”

Rani nodded. “We’ll see. You take care of yourself. And Ted and little Jimmy too.”

Josie smiled, but Rani could see the tears she was fighting to control. “Goodbye, Rani.”

Rani started to speak, but the words froze in her throat. She pressed her lips together and hugged her friend before she turned and started the long walk home. Scout trotted along beside her, and she didn’t look back. She wanted to, but she didn’t think she could stand the sight of Josie watching her walk away.

She glanced down at the dog and smiled. “Well, Scout, it’s a two-mile walk home. Do you think you can make it?”

The dog stared up at her and yelped a reply without breaking his stride.

“I think I can too.”

She didn’t mind walking. It had always been her way of getting around the Cove, and it gave her time to think. Today she had a lot to mull over. Her discovery about Josie’s feelings that she had settled for the next best thing still bothered her. She’d never imagined that Josie might have been in love with someone else.

Now that she thought back to four years ago, she remembered Josie seeming happy all summer. At the time, all she would say was that she’d had her first kiss and was in love. Rani thought it had to be Ted because he had been in love with Josie for years. But it must have been Charlie Simmons, and things hadn’t worked out. And soon after Charlie’s departure from the Cove, Josie had agreed to marry Ted after putting him off for so long.

Today she had learned the truth. Josie had settled for something—someone—she didn’t want. How could she have done that? She must have thought she was doing the right thing, but she’d been wrong. And she was wrong about something else. Being an old maid wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to a woman. To Rani’s way of thinking, being married to someone you didn’t love was far worse.

She squared her shoulders, clenched her fists at her side, and looked down at Scout. “I promise you, Scout, I will never settle for second best, even if it means I never get married.”







From the moment he rode into Cades Cove a peace like he hadn’t experienced in years came over Matthew Jackson. He pulled his horse to a stop and breathed in the sweet scent of mountain laurel drifting on the air. It smelled like home. He was back where his heart had remained.

Had it really been twenty years since he left the Cove? He closed his eyes and tried to recall every memory of the days following the death of his drunkard father. Even now the thought of the life he, his mother, and his little brother had endured made the old anger he’d tried to bury resurface. With his father drunk most of the time, survival had been hard. But his mother had seen to it that there was always food on the table. Then their lives had taken a turn for the worse when a tavern brawl had ended with his father lying dead of a gunshot wound.

Matthew had been almost ten years old at the time, but overnight he became the man of the family. He’d turned to a newcomer in the Cove, Anna Prentiss. Of course she was Anna Martin now. But to him she’d always be the angel who’d found a place for his family to live and had seen they were taken care of.

He even remembered the last words he’d spoken to her the day they left the Cove. She stood beside the wagon loaded with his family’s few belongings, and he’d said, “I’ll be back here someday.” And now, thanks to the money he’d saved working for the Little River Company, he had returned with the deed to his old homestead in his pocket.

But would the people of the Cove welcome the return of Luke Jackson’s son? His father had been a troublemaker and a bully, not to mention an abuser of his wife and children. The sturdy mountain folks didn’t have time for a man who didn’t take care of his family. As his mother used to say, people have long memories, and he was sure they could recall every one of his father’s misdeeds. Now he was about to see if those memories had labeled him a ne’er-do-well like his father.

He could count on one hand the folks who would welcome him back. Simon and Anna Martin. Granny Lawson. They were the ones who made his childhood bearable, and he could hardly wait to see them. But first things first. He had to go to the place where he was born and fulfill a promise he’d made to his dying mother fifteen years ago.

He’d leaned close to her frail, fever-ridden body to catch her last words spoken in that familiar mountain twang: “When you git back to the Cove, see if    ’n my mountain laurel bush is still there, the one yore pa planted for me when we was first married.”

After all the heartache his father had put her through, she still held to the memory of the early days of her marriage when she’d been so happy. Even now the thought of how her eyes had sparkled for a moment, reliving a happier time, made him feel as if a hammer had crushed his heart. His mother and little Eli, his brother. Gone too soon.

He cleared his throat and swiped at his eyes. No need to think about those things now. This was homecoming day, but it was different from what he’d dreamed about when he was a boy. He’d come back alone.

Straightening in the saddle, he spurred the horse forward and concentrated on the road twisting through the valley he loved. All around him were the sights and sounds he’d longed for, but he focused on getting home and seeing the place he’d left twenty years ago.

When he pulled the horse to a halt at what had once been the cabin where he’d lived, his heart dropped to the pit of his stomach. It was worse than he’d expected. The skeleton of a cabin sat near the tulip poplar tree he’d climbed as a boy—bigger now than he remembered. The house’s roof had long ago succumbed to the forces of nature and had caved in. A few timbers marked the spot where it had once been. Weeds grew across what had once been a yard.

Even in its best days the cabin hadn’t been much, but it could have been if his father had concentrated on making a life for his family instead of spending his time in a drunken stupor. The old hatred welled up in his heart, and he whispered the plea he’d prayed every day since he could remember. “God, don’t let me be like him. Make me a better man.”

The promise he’d made his mother flashed into his mind, and he climbed down from the horse and tied the reins to a sapling. Taking a deep breath to slow his racing heart, he headed around the side of the house. Had the mountain laurel plant survived the years?

His gaze drifted to his feet, and a warning flickered in his head. The weeds along what used to be a path had been trampled. Someone else had passed this way not long ago.

With hesitant steps, he inched forward. The knee-high weeds swished against his legs. He caught sight of his mother’s plant that now towered higher than his head, and he stopped in amazement. It wasn’t the bloom-covered bush that made his breath catch in his throat. It was a young woman who appeared unaware of his presence. With her arms outstretched and her face turned up to the sun, she whirled in circles in front of the mountain laurel bush while saying something in a language he didn’t understand.

Her bare feet hammered the hardened earth around the plant in a pounding rhythm. Pink blooms from the mountain laurel bush ringed the top of her head and several more protruded from the mass of black hair that reached below her shoulders.

She moved with the grace and elegance of a queen, and he thought he had never seen anyone more beautiful. He tried to speak, to alert her she wasn’t alone, but he felt as if he had come under her spell and had been forbidden to move.

Suddenly the air crackled with frantic barking, and a dog emerged from the other side of the bush. His hackles raised, he positioned himself between Matthew and the girl. She jerked to a stop and stared at him, wide-eyed. The dog snarled and inched forward.

Her dark eyes narrowed, and with one snap of her fingers she quieted the dog. She didn’t move, and her arched eyebrow told him his company wasn’t welcomed. “Stay back, mister, or I’ll sic my dog on you.”

He glanced down at the dog, whose body still bristled as if he was ready to attack. “I don’t mean you any harm, miss.”

“Then why did you sneak up on me?”

He shook his head. “I didn’t. I stopped when I heard your voice. What were you saying?”

“Just some words I learned from a Cherokee woman.” She frowned and glanced past him. “Are you alone?”

“I am. I just rode into the Cove from Townsend.”

Her body stiffened, and her lips curled into a sneer. “Townsend? Are you with the Little River Company?”

“I have been.”

“It figures.” She spit the words at him as if they were distasteful. “We get a lot of Little River workers checking out the Cove. You people are always searching for another stand of timber to cut down, aren’t you?” She bent down, grabbed her discarded shoes, and slipped them on her feet. Then with her arms rigid at her sides and her fists clenched, she took a step toward him. “Well, you can go back and tell your bosses we don’t sell our land and our trees to outsiders who want to clear cut their way through the Smokies.”

The defiant look in her eyes shot daggers at him, and they felt as if they poked deep holes in his heart. This girl’s words echoed the fierce pride shared by all the Cove residents for this valley, his valley, the place he called home. He wanted to tell her he agreed with her, that all he wanted was to live again among the people he remembered. Instead, other words emerged from his lips. “I worked for their railroad, not the logging company.”

She shook her head, and one of the blooms tumbled to the ground. Her eyes widened, and she glanced up as if she’d forgotten she wore a crown of flowers. A flush covered her cheeks, and she yanked the blossoms from her thick hair. “They’re the same to me. Maybe you didn’t cut our trees, but you carried them away.”

Matthew swallowed hard. There was something so familiar about this girl. Her brown eyes, dark complexion, and the high cheekbones reminded him of someone. It wasn’t possible he could have met her before. She probably hadn’t even been born when he had left the Cove. But still, there was something. He took a step closer, and the dog growled. With a smile he stopped and held up his hands. “I’m not coming closer.”

“Good.” She sniffed and snapped her fingers again. “Let’s go, Scout. It’s time we got home.”

He didn’t move as she strode past him, her head held high and her dog at her side. He turned and watched her disappear around the side of what had once been his home. Her straight back and determined stride reminded him of the spirited mountain women he’d known. They attacked the harsh life in the Cove and planted the seed of unyielding loyalty to the land in their children. Just like his mother had done with him.

Someone had instilled that same devotion in this girl. He hoped he’d get to meet the person who had done that, for he had just encountered the fierce mountain pride that had ruled his life. And it thrived in the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Strands of Deception by Robin Caroll

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Strands of Deception
B&H Books (March 1, 2013)
by
Robin Caroll


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her 3 beautiful daughters, 2 precious grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?



ABOUT THE BOOK

When Gina Ford, the daughter of a prominent Tennessee politician, goes missing from the University of Memphis a week after another girl was murdered on the same campus, police call in the FBI. Nick Hagar, married to his job as Special Agent in Charge, is assigned to the case, and when Gina’s body is found, her father demands justice.

Maddie Baxter is the forensic expert running DNA tests from the crime scene. When they come back without a match, Nick asks her to do a familial DNA run that yields a shocking result: the prime suspect is Adam Alexander, the very same guy who broke Maddie’s heart when she was in college.

But do scientific advancements tell the whole story? Strand of Deception offers romance, suspense, and a lively debate about the impact of DNA testing, for better or worse, on the United States justice system.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Strands of Deception, go HERE.

My thoughts...

One of the things that makes a great mystery suspense novel is not being able to guess who did it and this one kept me guessing! The story involves Maddie, a young woman guarding her heart to avoid being hurt again and Nick, the FBI agent assigned to the case who is searching for peace in his life. I liked the light romance between them and the spiritual aspect which is sometimes missing in Christian novels.

Maddie's love of Elvis is fun and lets us get to know her better. The author gives us a peek into what happens in a crime lab which I thought was very interesting. I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a mystery that is difficult to solve.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Survivor by Diann Mills

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Survivor
Zondervan (March 5, 2013)
by
DiAnn Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK



Kariss meets Dr. Amy Garrett, who survived a brutal childhood attack in which the assailant was never found. Now Dr. Garrett wants her story written in a novel. Kariss wishes she could seek the advice of Special Agent Tigo Harris, but she broke off the relationship a few months prior and seeing him again would be too painful. She interviews Amy and conducts her own research, stepping unaware into a viper's pit of danger. Tigo misses Kariss and wants her back, but he understands why she broke off their relationship. Instead, he concentrates on solving a car bombing and bringing the killer to justice. As Kariss's new story attracts an onslaught of danger that she never expected, can Tigo save the woman he loves and find who wants her dead for writing about an unsolved cold-case?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Survivor, go HERE.

My thoughts...

Diann Mills writes a good suspense novel. This book has mystery and romance as well. I would recommend reading the first book in the series "The Case" first, this one picks up where that left off. The characters are so real and likeable, I was frustrated that two of the main characters kept putting themselves in harm's way! I kept asking myself "what is wrong with these two?"

Overall a gripping yet entertaining novel. I enjoy her books so much! 5 out of 5 stars!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Clearing in the Wild by Jane Kirkpatrick



Young Emma Wagner chafes at the constraints of Bethel colony, an 1850s religious community in Missouri that is determined to remain untainted by the concerns of the world. A passionate and independent thinker, she resents the limitations placed on women, who are expected to serve in quiet submission. In a community where dissent of any form is discouraged, Emma finds it difficult to rein in her tongue–and often doesn’t even try to do so, fueling the animosity between her and the colony’s charismatic and increasingly autocratic leader, Wilhelm Keil.

Eventually Emma and her husband, Christian, are sent along with eight other men to scout out a new location in the northwest where the Bethelites can prepare to await “the last days.” Christian believes they’ve found the ideal situation in Washington territory, but when Keil arrives with the rest of the community, he rejects Christian’s choice in favor of moving to Oregon.

Emma pushes her husband to take this opportunity to break away from the group, but her longed-for influence brings unexpected consequences. As she seeks a refuge for her wounded faith, she learns that her passionate nature can be her greatest strength–if she can harness it effectively.

My thoughts...

I love Jane Kirkpatrick's books. A Clearing in the Wild is a great story with exceptional characters (I especially liked Emma). A tale of German pioneers searching for a new home and the many hardships they endured. Similar to Amish life, the community wants to get away from crowded Bethel, MO. and find a place where they can live their lives without others interference. Emma accompanies her scout leader husband in this long journey , she is having a hard time accepting the fact that women are to obey their husbands, raise their children, etc. She isn't in agreement with this belief.

Kirkpatrick has written another wonderful novel, the plot is engaging. It really makes you appreciate the way we live today.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Know Me Better



Know Me Better is a weekly event hosted by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Each week, she will pick five questions to answer.

What was the last thing that made you cry?
I don't cry easily so I had to think about this. I believe it was a sad part of a movie, it brought tears to my eyes.

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Putting laundry away! HATE it!!

What is your favorite form of exercise?
Hiking! I go every weekend in warm weather.

What is your current desktop picture?
I love flowers, especially orange ones!



You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?
Denver, CO to see the Rockies!

Catherine's Pursuit by Lena Nelson Dooley

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Catherine's Pursuit
Realms (February 5, 2013)
by
Lena Nelson Dooley


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 675,000 books in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers http://www.acfw.com/ and president of the local chapter, DFW Ready Writers. She’s also a member of Christian Authors Network, CROWN Fiction Marketing, and Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas.

Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not the same year. Helping other authors become published really floats her boat, with fifteen signing their first book contract after her mentoring. Three of her books have been awarded the Carol Award silver pins from American Christian Fiction Writers and she has received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award at their national conference. The high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially people whose lives have been changed by her books. And she loves chocolate, especially dark chocolate.

ABOUT THE BOOK



When Angus McKenna was forced to give two of his daughters to families in the wagon train, he promised he'd never try to contact them. Catherine made no such pledge. But when she sets out to find her sisters, she doesn't go alone. Angus sends Collin with her. Will they discover the two women---and love?

My thoughts...

Catherine is an 18 yr old who begins an incredible journey to find her sisters. She is one of triplets, the other two were given up by their father. He was unable to care for all of them and did what he thought was best. Catherine is determind to find them and though she is a little upset that her father sends a hired hand to keep an eye on her they eventually get along and Collin ends up being a big help.

I enjoyed this heartwarming story, wonderfully written and full of surprises it kept me intrigued. The first two books in the series are just as wonderful. I recommend reading all of them!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Catherine's Pursuit, go HERE.

Heart In Hand by Barbara Cameron



Anna, a knitter and the oldest of the three cousins, watches the wedding of Naomi and Nick the following fall and remembers her own wedding. A widow, Anna thinks about how short her time with her husband was; as she looks at her grandmother, she wonders if Leah is recalling her own marriage. Her grandparents were married for a longer time than she and her husband were, but Anna and her grandmother lost their spouses only months apart three years ago. Perhaps this is why they have always felt so close. Both know how hard it is to be a widow, to go on with life.

Gideon Beiler approaches Anna one day. Gideon is a wonderful, caring man. He, too, has suffered a loss – his wife, Mary, died and left him to raise their only daughter. Spring is a time for new beginnings, for love to bloom as nature thaws the earth and makes it come alive again after the long cold winter. As love begins to warm Anna’s heart again, she’s afraid to chance losing someone she has come to care so much about. Her grandmother tells her she believes Gideon may be the man God has sent for her to have a second chance at love.

Stitches in time…and place: three cousins who laugh and love and learn about life together with their warm and wise grandmother, Leah, in their special shop. Two generations of Amish women who are bound by strong threads which bind them to their creativity and their community.

My thoughts...

Since the loss of her husband Anna hasn't been able to pull herself together, her grief is overwhelming and she barely manages to get through each day. One afternoon, Gideon, a widower with a young daughter enters the shop where she works and eventually she finds herself being drawn to him. Gideon is ready to marry again and he sometimes gets impatient waiting for Anna to be ready.

This is a sweet romance, a good story, and can be read as a stand alone though this is the third in the series. Cameron's novels are refreshing, she has great characters and shows how Anna and Gideon deal with their grief and find happiness again.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:



Barbara Cameron is the author of 35 fiction and non-fiction books, three nationally televised movies (HBO-Cinemax), as well as the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. When a relative took her to visit the Amish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, she felt led to write about the spiritual values and simple joys she witnessed there.

Her latest book is the Amish fiction, Heart in Hand. Visit Barbara's website here.

Book Excerpt:

It felt like dawn would never come.

When Anna first realized that it was going to be one of those nights . . . one of those awful nights that felt like it would never end, she reached for the book she’d been reading and read for a while with the help of the battery lamp on the bedside table.
Reading didn’t help. Knitting didn’t, either, and knitting always relaxed her. Reaching for her robe, Anna pushed her feet into her slippers and padded downstairs to the kitchen. There was no need for a light for she knew her way from all the dozens—no, hundreds—of nights she’d gone downstairs in the dark.
Even before the first time she stepped inside this house, she knew it like the back of her hand. She and Samuel had drawn the plans, spent hours talking about how he and his brothers were going to build it. As soon as the house was finished, he’d started crafting furniture for it. The final piece he’d made was a cradle for the baby he hoped they’d have soon.
His sudden illness stopped him in his tracks. Leukemia, said the doctor. One day it seemed he was an agile monkey climbing up the frame of a barn he and other men were raising—just a few days later he could barely get out of bed and she’d joked he’d turned into an old man. She’d insisted that he see a doctor and reluctantly he’d done so.
Six months later, he was gone and she’d shut the door to the room with the tiny crib. She buried her dreams the day she buried Samuel.
She filled the teakettle and set it on the stove to heat. How many cups of tea had she drunk in the middle of the night? She wondered as she reached for a cup and the box of chamomile tea bags.
Before Samuel had died, she’d heard about the seven stages of grief. She’d been na├»ve. You didn’t go through them one by one in order. Sometimes you walked—faltered—through them in no certain order. Sometimes they ganged up on you when you least expected them.
And sometimes—it felt like too many times—no one seemed to understand.
She couldn’t blame them. The only way she got through the first month, the first year, was to put on a brave face and pretend she was getting through it. There was no way she could get through it otherwise—she’d shatter into a thousand pieces that no one would be able to put back together again.
Humpty Dumpty, she thought wryly. Then she frowned, wishing that she hadn’t thought of the childhood story. A closed door didn’t keep out the memory of the tiny crib that lay behind it.
The teakettle’s piercing whistle broke into her musing, its sound so sharp and shrill that she put her hands over her ears to block it while she got up to take it off the flame. She poured the hot water over the tea bag, took the mug back to the kitchen table and sat there, dipping the bag in and out of the water.
Finally, she pulled the bag out and set it on the saucer. Sighing, she massaged her scalp and wondered if she should take an aspirin to stop the pain. Then she flicked her hair behind her shoulders and hunched over the cup. In a minute, she’d get up and get the aspirin. Her mind might be awake, but her body felt tired and full of lead.
As she trudged back up the stairs a few minutes later, she heard something—it sounded like a laugh, a high, excited one that went rushing past her up the stairs. She watched, tired, leaning against the wall as she saw herself—lifting the hem of her nightgown so she wouldn’t trip—Samuel reaching for her as she flew up the stairs to their room.
She blinked, not sure if she was dreaming or seeing a ghost of the two of them, so young and in love, so unaware that anything bad could touch them.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Firely Island by Lisa Wingate Review & Ipad Giveaway!



At thirty-four, congressional staffer Mallory Hale is about to embark on an adventure completely off the map. After a whirlwind romance, she is hopelessly in love with two men--fortunately, they're related. Daniel Everson and his little boy, Nick, are a package deal, and Mallory suddenly can't imagine her future without them.

Mallory couldn't be more shocked when Daniel asks her to marry him, move to Texas, and form a family with him and motherless Nick. The idea is both thrilling and terrifying.

Mallory takes a leap of faith and begins a sweet, mishap-filled journey into ranch living, Moses Lake society, and a marriage that at times reminds her of the mail-order-bride stories. But despite the wild adventure of her new life, she discovers secrets and questions beneath her rosy new life. Can she find answers on Firefly Island, a little chunk of property just off the lakeshore, where mysterious lights glisten at night?

My thoughts...

Mallory meets and then marries Daniel a short time later. The day after their wedding they're on their way to Texas with Daniel's four year old son to start a new life. Daniel has accepted a job working for a man who frightens Mallory because of his mysterious past. Moving to Moses Lake is not at all what they expected to find, the ranch house is a run down critter infested mess. It doesn't take long for Jack's past to catch up with him and Mallory and Daniel are right in the middle of a dangerous situation.

Love Lisa Wingate's books and this one was no exception. She gives us wonderful characters, a mystery, and a little romance. A great story!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Lisa Wingate is celebrating the release of Firefly Island with an iPad Mini giveaway and a fun Facebook Author Chat Party (March 19th).  

Firefly-Isalnd-giveaway300
 
  One fortunate winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • The Moses Lake series (Firefly Island, Blue Moon Bay and Larkspur Cove)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 18th. Winner will be announced at the "Firefly Island Author Chat Party on March 19th. Connect with Lisa, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be many fun giveaways -- gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of Firefly Island and join Lisa on the evening of the March 19th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 19th!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Return of Cassandra Todd by Darrel Nelson



When the popular girl whose friends bullied him in high school suddenly reenters his life, little son in tow, Turner Caldwell must put the past behind him if they are to survive.

Turner Caldwell works at a local motel as a handyman while attending college full-time. On his way to class one day, he is shocked to see Cassandra Todd and her young son in town. The sight of her brings back powerful memories of being bullied in high school—she was the popular head cheerleader and he the target of her friends’ mean-spirited pranks.

When Cassandra and her son check into the motel where he works and she asks for his help in eluding her abusive husband, he finds himself entangled in a dangerous drama that will require him to forgive and draw on every skill he has if they are to survive.

My thoughts...

I am such a fan of Darrel Nelson and have been anticipating this novel since it was mentioned in his last awesome book, THE ANNIVERSARY WALTZ. In the middle of the night Cassandra Todd and her son left her abusive husband. Taking the bus to her hometown she planned to take care of a bank transaction and leave right away knowing this would be the first place he would look for them.

Turner Caldwell is one of Cassandra's former high school classmates and was in love with her but never told anyone. He also was bullied terribly during those years. He's shocked when he spots Cassandra going into the bank one afternoon. Eventually they are thrown together and what entails is a suspenseful tale of abuse endured by these two people.

I loved this book! Nelson has great talent and writes in such a way you feel the characters pain and anxiety. He deals with the long term effects of abuse wonderfully. I highly recommend both of Nelson's books!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Unholy Hunger by Heather James



Evelyn Barrett wants to die. As long as her daughter's murderer dies with her, she is ready to go. Why did this man--this stranger--destroy her family? Why has he not been brought to justice? Why is she forced to live a life of anger and grief? Amid a million questions she cannot answer, Evelyn knows one thing for sure: this murderer must be punished for his crime.

Before it all, she was a successful attorney who won all the hard cases. Now that the case is personal, Evelyn will stop at nothing to seek her own version of justice. When another girl goes missing, Evelyn plows forward, ignoring the warnings from police detectives, the pleas of her grief-stricken husband, and the strange, almost supernatural tingles that tug at her. But as she follows the stench of evil, Evelyn learns that the hardest thing she will have to face may not be the death of her child after all. Perhaps the harder lesson is this: the ultimate truth--of crime and verdict, of life and death--cannot be swayed by a mother's revenge.

My thoughts...

An excellent novel! Such an emotional story, I was drawn in right away and though I hated to turn the page I couldn't stop. I had to keep reading. A parents worst nightmare...your child is abducted. Evelyn, the mother, experiences a break down of sorts and the pain and anger grabs hold and won't let go. She wants revenge. Her marriage starts to unravel, she doesn't like who she's becoming. As I read I found myself getting angry, how in the world could someone harm children? I could feel Evelyn's pain.

The author is so talented, the characters are intense, the plot, as horrible as it is, was compelling. This is a very well written suspense novel. 5 out of 5 stars!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Strands of Deception by Robin Carroll

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Strands of Deception
B&H Books (March 1, 2013)
by
Robin Caroll


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her 3 beautiful daughters, 2 precious grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?



ABOUT THE BOOK

When Gina Ford, the daughter of a prominent Tennessee politician, goes missing from the University of Memphis a week after another girl was murdered on the same campus, police call in the FBI. Nick Hagar, married to his job as Special Agent in Charge, is assigned to the case, and when Gina’s body is found, her father demands justice.

Maddie Baxter is the forensic expert running DNA tests from the crime scene. When they come back without a match, Nick asks her to do a familial DNA run that yields a shocking result: the prime suspect is Adam Alexander, the very same guy who broke Maddie’s heart when she was in college.

But do scientific advancements tell the whole story? Strand of Deception offers romance, suspense, and a lively debate about the impact of DNA testing, for better or worse, on the United States justice system.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Strands of Deception, go HERE.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Icecutter's Daughter by Tracie Peterson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Icecutter’s Daughter
Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2013)
by
Tracie Peterson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 85 novels.
She received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.

In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.

She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.

Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.

Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family--especially her three grandchildren--Rainy, Fox and Max. She's active in her church as the Director of Women's Ministries, coordinates a yearly writer's retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits, to research her books.


ABOUT THE BOOK

As the lone female in a houseful of men, Merrill Krause dedicates her life to caring for her family and their business, as her dying mother asked. Besides, it suits her; she's never felt like she fits what most people expect in a girl--she'd rather work with her father's horses and assist with the ice harvest. And though she's been mostly content up to this point, a part of her wonders if there will ever be anyone who will notice her amid the bevy of brothers determined to protect her from any possible suitors.

When Rurik Jorgenson arrives in their small Minnesota town to join his uncle's carpentry business, he soon crosses paths with Merrill. But unlike other men, who are often frightened away by her older brothers, Rurik isn't intimidated by them or by Merrill's strength and lack of femininity. The attraction between them begins to build...until Rurik's former fiance shows up with wild claims that bring serious consequences to Rurik.

Can Rurik and Merrill learn to trust God--and each other--when scandal threatens their newfound love?

My thoughts...

I enjoyed this book a lot! It's well written, the characters are good, the icecutter's job was interesting to learn about and the romance between Merrill and Rurik is touching. Merrill's character is strong and independent, she has been taking care of her father and brothers since her mother passed and has made peace with the fact that she will be a spinster. Rurik has come from Kansas to help his uncle whose health is declining. He sets his eyes on Merrill and things move quickly until a scandal changes everything.

A heartwarming story indeed. Peterson's writing style makes the characters come alive!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Icecutter’s Daughter, go HERE.

Review & Giveaway ~ KNOWING by Laurel Dewey



After the life-altering ending in the third Jane Perry thriller, REVELATIONS, Jane Perry takes time off from the job to find the missing part of herself she never knew existed. But her journey is quickly hijacked when a wanted criminal, Harlan Kipple, steals her car. Kipple—accused of the heinous murder of a prostitute in a seedy motel—is on the run and desperate to stay that way. Jane’s personal plans take a back seat as she tracks down her stolen ride and discovers through an unusual source that Kipple may be innocent and is being framed by a nefarious group. When she trails Kipple and confronts him, every belief she ever had about this world and the next is put to the test.

Kipple, who by his own admission is not the “brightest bulb in the box,” received a heart transplant seventeen months ago. His life changed from the moment he woke up in the recovery room. In fact, he’s not so sure where he ends and his heart takes over. As strange as that sounds to her, Jane cannot deny what she witnesses after spending just two days with Kipple. It becomes clear that nothing is what it appears as Jane is drawn into a deep rabbit hole with dark webs and darker crevices that force her to operate on the other side of the law. With the police hot on Kipple’s tail and a devious faction intent on finding him first, Jane is caught in the middle and realizes that solving this crime could have fatal consequences.

My thoughts...

My first Laurel Dewey novel and it's awesome! She's a great storyteller. A first rate plot that involves murder, a transplanted heart with a life all its own, and plenty of evil. Enough action that will keep you glued to your seat!

I really liked Jane Perry's character, she's a strong woman with real problems. She has taken time off from her job as a homicide detective for personal reasons, trouble catches up with her quickly and things happen that make this a 5 star suspense filled novel.

I received a copy of this book free through Partners In Crime Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Here's your chance to win a copy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Know Me Better



Every week Kathy from I Am A Reader Not A Writer posts five questions from her author interview lists and asks us to answer them. This weeks questions all come from her Tens List Ideas. We don't have to come up with 10 answers to each one though.

Books You Are Dying to Read:
The Dance by Dan Walsh
The Living Room by Robert Whitlow
Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert
Secrets Over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth
Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock

Foods you wish you could eat and never gain a pound:
Cheese Dip
Ice Cream
Baked Potatoes
Fudge

Things you have in your purse/bag/wallet now:
$52 cash
Eyeglasses
Asthma Inhaler
Lipstick
Wallet

Movies you never want to see again:
I can't think of any offhand.

Movie you watch over and over again:
Sleepless in Seattle
The Step Up movies
The Rush Hour movies

Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon



As a social worker, Alison Taylor has a passion for protecting children and seeing that justice is served on their behalf. But when she starts getting harassing phone calls and bizarre "gifts," it seems she may be the one in need of protection. When her tormentor's attentions take a violent turn, her brother Cole comes to her aid, along with his new partner, an ex-Navy SEAL, Detective Mitch Morgan. As her relentless stalker turns up the heat, Mitch takes a personal interest in the case. Protecting Alison has become more than just a job--because his own happiness now depends on keeping her safe.

Chock full of nail-biting suspense and heart-melting romance, Deadly Pursuit is Irene Hannon's storytelling at its very best. Fans old and new will not want to miss the next story in this series starring siblings fighting for justice.

My thoughts...

A well written book with a great storyline, interesting characters, suspense, action, and light romance. Allison has been through so much hurt in her life, Mitch is a detective who works with her brother and has seen a lot of death, their romance is sweet. Allison is being stalked by a meth using violent man, when he finally gets her Mitch is determined to find her. What entails is an amazing story that will keep you glued to your seat!

I received a copy of this book free from Christian Review of Books in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Surrendered Love by Laura Hilton

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Whitaker House (April 1, 2013)

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Amish romance writer Laura V. Hilton, of Horseshoe Bend, AR is a pastor’s wife, stay-at-home mother of five, homeschooler, breast cancer survivor and avid blogger. Her passion has long been the mission of Christian fiction, initially as a reviewer, but in the past two years as the author of four successful novels including The Amish of Seymour series (Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another) and Healing Love, first of The Amish of Webster County. Her books have sold thousands of copies and garnered kudos from reviewers and readers alike with A Harvest of Hearts receiving the 2012 Laurel Award.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Janna Kauffman enjoys her job as a personal shopper for the homebound in her Amish community. But when Janna’s niece, Meghan, comes to live with her family—part of a plan by Janna’s sister to rid her daughter of her rebellious ways—Janna spends less time shopping and more time explaining Meghan’s erratic behavior to local police officer Hiram “Troy” Troyer, who was raised Amish but left the faith after a fatal accident that killed his brother and also a brother of Janna’s. Frequent interactions draw Janna and Troy together, rekindling an attraction they first experienced in their youth. What will become of their relationship? And will headstrong Meghan ever tame her ways?


Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (April 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603745076
ISBN-13: 978-1603745079



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The police officer sorting though the Gala apples reminded Janna Kauffman of Hiram Troyer, but this Englischer couldn’t be her teenage crush. With a sigh, she focused again on the display in front of her. Cabbage. She picked up a head. Homemade coleslaw would go well with the hamburgers and baked beans she had planned for supper. As she set the cabbage in her cart, she couldn’t help stealing another peek at the good-looking officer. Dark blond hair, cut in a fancy hairstyle; trim build…ach, she shouldn’t be noticing such things about an Englischer.

Janna looked away, but not before he glanced back at her. She did a double take. She thought his eyes were blue, like Hiram’s, but she couldn’t be sure; he turned around and walked away. Probably headed for the doughnuts. She smiled and turned her attention to her shopping list.

10 bags carrots (5 lbs. ea.)

When she placed the carrots in her cart, the hair on the back of her neck stood up with a tingling sensation, as if someone were watching her. She turned and caught the policeman’s glance just before it slid away. A thrill shot through her to think that an Englischer might be attracted to her, an Amish woman, but she stifled it. His interest was a moot point. Of course, he might have just been curious about why she’d loaded her cart with so many carrots.

He disappeared around a corner and down an aisle. She picked up her list again.

10 oranges (Emma Brunstettler)

Emma believed that an orange a day kept all sickness away. And it seemed to work for her. Janna selected ten ripe ones and loaded them into Emma’s mesh bag. The hair on the back of her neck rose again, as did her pulse. Her breath hitched.

She wouldn’t look. Instead, she lowered the bag of oranges into the cart. Somehow she missed, though. They tumbled out and went rolling across the floor.

“Klutz.” A woman carrying a plastic basket stepped over the fallen fruit and hurried away.

As Janna bent to pick up the first of the escaped oranges, she noticed a pair of legs wearing blue pants approaching. It might be a store manager, coming to yell at her. Hopefully not. Worse, it might be the police officer. Had he witnessed her clumsy humiliation? She didn’t know which she dreaded more. She risked a glimpse as he crouched and started gathering up the oranges. The police officer. He grinned as he reached out to hand them to her. She tried to keep her burning face averted as she stretched out a quivering hand to accept the fruit and then stuffed each piece back inside the bag.

His smile would have made her weak in the knees, if she weren’t already squatting. Even so, she put one hand on the floor to keep her balance.

He stood, picked up his few grocery items from the edge of a display, and turned to go.

She found her voice. “Danki.”

He glanced back at her and winked, causing her heart rate to accelerate even more. “Careful with those oranges. They’ll get you every time.” He strode toward the checkout lines. She smiled when she noticed the box of doughnuts and canister of coffee he had tucked under one elbow. In his other hand was a bag of apples.

Janna gripped the bag of oranges in one hand and slowly stood, watching him as he moved through the checkout line, even as she gave herself a silent yet stern lecture for ogling him the whole time.

An hour later, she pushed the cart, piled full with her bagged purchases, outside and across the parking lot to her buggy, her thoughts still on the handsome police officer.

She started sorting through the bags, searching for the Yoder family’s groceries to load first, since their home was the last stop she would make along her delivery route.

“Janna Kauffman?” An Englisch man’s voice shattered her concentration.

Janna’s heart stuttered. Was it him? She stopped rifling through the plastic bags in her cart and looked up. A policeman approached, but he wasn’t the one from the store. This man had dark hair, and sunglasses covered his eyes. Her heart crash-landed somewhere in the vicinity of her toes.

“I’m Officer Pete O’Dell.”

Janna summoned a smile. “Is there a problem, Officer?”

He didn’t grin back. His lips didn’t even twitch. She stiffened, trying to prepare herself for the bad news she felt sure she was about to hear. She searched her mind for possibilities. She knew she hadn’t double parked, and dropping oranges wasn’t against the law. Ach, maybe there’d been an accident.

Just then, the passenger door of the police cruiser parked behind him opened. Her rush of thoughts stopped as the blond officer from the store climbed out and approached her, sliding his sunglasses down from the top of his head to cover his eyes.

Her face heated again in shame for having stared at him in the store. He looked at her buggy, and the stacks of coolers labeled with the full names of Amish men. “Where’d you get all these?” He opened up the lid of a red cooler labeled “Elam Troyer”—the father of her childhood crush. That seemed like a slap in the face. The cooler would be empty, except for an ice pack.

Janna sucked in a breath. The officers probably thought she’d stolen the coolers. “It isn’t what you think.” She waved a hand toward her cart, still piled with plastic bags. “I do their grocery shopping.” Embarrassed at being caught in yet another humiliating situation by the cute cop, she pulled her shopping list out of her pocket and shoved it toward him.

He took it and began scanning it.

Officer O’Dell shifted his weight. “Are you the guardian of a Meghan Forrest?”

Renewed panic filled Janna. She pushed down her fears and nodded. “She’s my niece.”

“Has she contacted you today?”

“No, but she can’t; she’s in school.” At least, that’s where she was supposed to be. But if he was asking, then maybe it was Meghan who was about to receive bad news. “Is it her mom?” She froze, dreading the answer. If anything had happened to her sister Sharon, she didn’t know what she’d do.

“Your niece was just picked up for shoplifting,” said Officer O’Dell, matter-of-factly. “We need you, as her guardian, to come to the police station.”

“Excuse me?” Janna shook her head. This couldn’t be happening. “I think you must have the wrong person. Megan is still in class.” She glanced at the position of the sun, then looked for a watch. She found one, conveniently located on the arm of the handsome officer. Almost noon.

The other officer still studied her shopping list, not contributing anything to the conversation.

“Well, apparently she decided to skip school today. Will you come with us to the station, Ms. Kauffman?” Officer O’Dell’s question sounded more like an order, as if she had no choice.

A knot formed in her stomach. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.” But she stood there, staring at the plastic bags in the cart. Plastic bags full of perishables. She needed to deliver the food first. Or sort it, at the very least, load it into the coolers, and pray that it would still be cool enough after she’d handled the situation with Meghan. Otherwise, she’d have to pay out of her own pocket to replace the spoiled food. Besides, late or incomplete orders wouldn’t help her business any. And here, she’d been marveling at how well her day had been going.

“Now would be a good time, Ms. Kauffman.” Officer O’Dell grabbed a plastic bag from her cart and tossed it into the buggy.

Janna reached for the bag and pulled it back out. “I’ll be there as soon as I can,” she said again. Maybe he hadn’t heard her the first time. “I have to get these bags sorted and put the food in the coolers so it won’t spoil.”

“Go on, O’Dell. I’ll help her.” The blond policeman handed her back her list. He ran his fingertip over Elam Troyer’s name written in black permanent marker, then turned is dark sunglasses in her direction. “What can I do?”

Officer O’Dell scowled and strode back to his cruiser.

Janna swallowed. She wasn’t Meghan’s parent—just one of her temporary guardians, until Sharon felt ready to welcome Meghan back home. She sighed. Since the police probably wouldn’t ask a parent to fly in, she would have to deal with it. Unless Daed could do it. For a second, her hopes flared. Then died. Nein, Daed and Mamm were in Springfield, visiting someone in the hospital. Their driver wouldn’t bring them home again until this evening. She was it.

“I don’t know if you can help,” Janna said. “I need to pack the items on my list in the proper coolers. I tried to keep the orders separate in the store, but the bagger sort of packed them into the cart at random, so I still need to figure out who gets what.” Normally, she was better organized, but this time, the police officer had taken her rational capacities prisoner.

“Then, you tell me which cooler it goes into and I’ll put it in.”

She watched his eyebrows rise above his dark glasses. He really did seem familiar…

“So, why do you do their grocery shopping?” He tapped his fingertips on the lid of Elam Troyer’s red cooler.

She shrugged and decided to answer generally. The Troyers’ reasons were personal and certainly none of his concern. “Oh, various reasons. Some are too sick or old or physically unable; some are mamms with newborns at home. Others are widowers with no interest in shopping.” She looked through the contents of one bag, consulted her list, then handed it to the officer. “This goes to Elam Troyer.”

A muscle flickered in his jaw. She wondered if the name meant something to him.

But it was probably her overactive imagination.

***

He should be shot for neglecting his parents like he did. Hiram Troyer, better known as Troy, removed his hand from the top of the cooler, lifted the lid, and lowered the plastic bag inside. He’d run by their house on the way home and check on them. If they were paying someone else to do their grocery shopping, then something must have happened.

He held up another bag. “Same family?”

She nodded distractedly as she sorted through another bag.

He dropped it in the cooler, keeping his gaze on her. Janna Kauffman. I’d figured she would have gotten married by now. She always stood out at the singings and frolics, back when—. No point going there. That was a lifetime ago. Still, when he’d seen her eyes for the first time in years, it had felt like an earthquake, rocking his heart and rearranging his mind. The aftershocks still rumbled through him.

But his thoughts were no longer scrambled; they were crystal clear—and he knew exactly what he wanted to do. He just didn’t know how he was going to do it.

Janna handed him several more bags. “These are the last of Elam Troyer’s.”

He was glad his sunglasses hid his eyes as his gaze slid down her curvy body beneath the usual cape dress, hers lavender. She was still as attractive as ever, with light brown hair and hazel eyes. She’d skipped the black bonnet the women usually wore over their prayer kapps when they went out—but he’d seen other women do that, especially as the days got warmer. And they’d been reaching 80 degrees almost daily for almost a week now. Eighty-two, he thought he read on the digital sign in front of the bank. He could have been mistaken, though, because gazing into Janna’s eyes left him reeling. He looked away.

He’d left Meghan locked up in custody in the otherwise empty police station. He slid his glance back to Janna, then away. “Hurry and finish.”

Okay, that was a bit abrupt, but he needed to get back to the station before the manager of the store Meghan had allegedly robbed showed up to give a statement. She’d been running the cash register and needed to find someone to cover for her.

Troy glanced in the direction of the police station. Maybe O’Dell had gone straight back there. Troy had told him he’d talk to Janna, but, as usual, O’Dell hadn’t listened. Probably because a hint of action beat the dispatcher job O’Dell was supposed to be doing today.

Come down to it, Troy needed to do his job, instead of standing there staring at this woman. He needed to get away from Janna and the feelings she awakened in him.

***

Years of striving to be the model bishop’s daughter, and here she was, on her way to the police station. At least she wasn’t the one in trouble. She hoped shoplifting wasn’t punishable with jail time. Sharon would never forgive her if Meghan ended up with a sentence to serve. Maybe she could talk the nice blond policeman into going easy on her niece. And somehow keep the news from her older sister.

As Janna maneuvered her buggy into the parking lot of the police station, she began to regret the samples of meat and cheese she’d succumbed to while shopping. They weighed heavy in her stomach.

She climbed out of the buggy, tied the reins to a telephone pole, and went inside the station, wishing again that she didn’t have to handle this. Wishing the problem would just disappear. If only the blond policeman had waited for her. But he’d disappeared before she could talk her horse, Tulip, into leaving the grocery store parking lot.

Officer O’Dell sat at the reception desk with his feet propped up in front of him, a full mug of coffee in one hand, what appeared to be a McDonald’s burger in the other. The room smelled like fresh-brewed coffee. A glance around showed an almost full pot on a file cabinet.

“Ms. Kauffman,” he said around a mouthful of food. “Go on in.” He pointed abruptly over his shoulder at a partially closed door.

Janna inclined her head to acknowledge his directions and then stepped over to the door. She knocked once, then pushed it open.

The blond officer sat behind a big desk, talking on the phone. King of the office, apparently. He cast a quick glance in her direction but made no visible acknowledgment of her presence. He was handsome, but instead of the friendliness she’d seen earlier, now his expression was stern. She probably didn’t know him. Maybe she’d just seen him around town a time or two.

Meghan sat hunched over in a far chair. She didn’t look over at all. Not gut.

A woman wearing tight black pants and a low-cut hot pink stood against the wall on the other side of the desk. She, too, kept her eyes down, as she played with the bangles on her wrist.

Janna inhaled as deeply as she could, given the knot in her stomach. She pressed a hand to her abdomen, hoping to keep her snacks down.

The officer finally set the phone in its cradle and looked up at Janna. His blue-eyed gaze pierced her. He was good-looking but scary—not someone she’d want to tangle with on a dark dirt road. Or even in a brightly lit office.

He nodded at the empty chair facing his desk. “Please, have a seat.”

She thought she’d rather stand, like the woman with the bangle bracelets. Position herself right there by the garbage can, in case her food decided not to stay put. But obediently, she dropped compliantly into the chair. Again she glanced over at Meghan, who studied the floor as if fascinated by the pattern in the linoleum tiles.

Janna cleared her throat. “I’m sure this is just a simple misunderstanding.”

The officer slid a card holding a pair of earrings across the desk. They were dangly and sparkly. Definitely something Meghan would wear. “We found these in your niece’s possession.” His voice was stern. “Would you like to see the surveillance video?”

Not really.

He went ahead and pushed a button of the remote control on his desk. On the monitor behind him, a rather grainy picture appeared of Meghan and someone Janna didn’t know. She must have gotten away, or maybe they’d put her in another room. Despite the poor quality of the film, it was clear enough to see both girls slip some merchandise into their pockets.

He pushed another button, and the screen went blank. His cold eyes speared Janna again before he shifted his gaze to Meghan. “Shoplifting is a serious crime, and it usually lands you in jail for up to a few months. But, since this is your first offense, we’re willing to work with you.” He gestured to the woman with the bracelets. “Ms. Taft, the store manager, has said she won’t press charges if you agree to six weeks of community service. I just talked to the DA to make sure this was agreeable. He said you could begin Monday after school. You’ll report to the county courthouse. And you will not enter that store again. If you do, the management won’t hesitate to report you for trespassing.”

Janna nodded. “I’m sure it won’t happen again.” I hope. She glanced at Meghan to look for any indication that she felt the same way, but her niece’s face was impassive.

He tapped the card holding the earrings. “The DA also expects you to pay for the merchandise you stole. Three times the retail value.”

Janna glanced at Meghan. “How much did they cost?”

“Forty-nine ninety-five,” said the woman standing there. Her tone was less than friendly.

Janna couldn’t hold back her gasp. “And you want her to pay three times that much?” Acid burned in the back of her throat. She stood and moved to the trashcan.

“Take a seat, Ms. Kauffman.” This officer meant business. She wondered what had become of the kind gentleman who’d help her gather her fallen orange and later load her buggy with groceries. This man looked the same, but his attitude and bearing were completely different.

Janna cast him a frantic look, then lost the contents of her stomach—and what was left of her pride.

Ms. Taft gagged.

“Eww, Aunt Janna. Gross!”

At least Meghan had generated a reply.

Blinking back tears, Janna wiped her mouth with her sleeve.

The officer stood, opened a miniature refrigerator, and produced a bottle of water. Her throat burned.

“Thank you.” She reached to accept the water from him.

When their hands touched, fire shot through her fingertips, and she glanced quickly at him. His blue eyes widened as they met hers, but his expression remained sympathetic. Maybe he was friendly after all, and not so scary. She set the garbage can outside the door and then approached his desk again.

“Now. Back to business.” The officer’s voice hardened, and he sat down, all traces of kindness gone. “As I was saying….” He repeated himself, with enough force to make Janna’s stomach churn again. No matter the punishment Daed would kum up with for Meghan, it couldn’t be harsh enough for forcing Janna through this torture.

Something the policeman said must have penetrated Meghan’s indifference. She flung a wad of cash on the desk. Her hands didn’t even shake.

Janna stared in disbelief at the bills. Sharon sent Meghan a monthly allowance, but with the way Meghan spent money, Janna hadn’t thought she’d have any money left.

The manager reached for the stack and flipped through it. Apparently satisfied with the amount, she slid it into her pocket. “Thank you, Officer,” she almost purred. Then, she turned to Janna and hissed, “If that thieving brat ever sets foot in my store again, you can be sure I’ll have her arrested.” She flipped her hair, spun on her heel, and stomped out of the office.

“Thank you for coming in, Ms. Kauffman.” The uniformed man rose to his feet. “You can go now. I’ll escort your niece back to school.”

Janna didn’t even try to force a smile. “Thank you, sir.” She turned to Meghan. “I expect you to kum straight home after school. We are going to have a talk.”

“What. Ever.” Meghan punctuated the words with a sneer. “You aren’t my mom.”

Her comment struck like a fist, knocking the air from Janna’s lungs. No, she wasn’t Meghan’s mom. But she had once been her favorite aunt. They’d been more like sisters, really, since they were only five years apart.

Janna glanced at the police officer on her way out. In light of the humiliation she had just suffered, she decided that if she never saw him again, it would be way too soon.

She also decided that, whatever Sharon’s reasons for sending Meghan to Seymour to live with her Amish relatives, they weren’t gut enough.


My thoughts...

A wonderful Amish story about forgiveness. Janna is a personal shopper for several ladies in her community and on a shopping trip in town she sees Troy, a man who left the community to pursue his dream of becoming a police officer and wonders why he is back. He spots Janna and realizes those old feelings for her are still there. Their paths cross when Troy arrests the Bishops granddaughter for shoplifting. The fun begins! I didn't want to put the book down, it's such an entertaining read.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.