Thursday, April 30, 2009

FIRST: New York Debut by Melody Carlson

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:

New York Debut (Carter House Girls)

Zondervan (May 1, 2009)


Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past ten years, she has published more than a hundred books for children, teens, and adults, with sales totaling more than 2.5 million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List.

Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards including The Gold Medallion, The Christy, and The Rita Award. And most recently she is in the process of optioning some of her books for film rights.
She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (May 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310714931
ISBN-13: 978-0310714934


“Where is Taylor?” asked Grandmother as she drove DJ home from the airport.
”Is she coming on a later flight?”

DJ hadn’t told her the whole story yet. In fact, she hadn’t said much of anything to Grandmother at all during the past week, except to leave a message saying that she’d changed her flight and planned to be home two days earlier than expected. Obviously, Grandmother had assumed that Taylor had changed her plans as well.

“Taylor’s in LA,” DJ said slowly, wishing she could add something to that, something to deflect further questioning.

“Visiting her father?”


“Touring with Eva?”

“What then?” Grandmother’s voice was getting irritated as she drove away from the terminal. “Where is the girl, Desiree? Speak up.”

“She’s in rehab.”

“Rehab?” Grandmother turned to stare at DJ with widened eyes. “Whatever for?”

“For alcohol treatment.”

Grandmother seemed stunned into speechlessness, which was a relief since DJ didn’t really want to discuss this. She was still trying to grasp the whole strange phenomenon. It was hard to admit, but the past few days of being mostly by herself in Las Vegas had been lonely and depressing and one of the reasons she’d been desperate to change her flight and come home early. She had really missed Taylor. The hardest part was when she discovered that Taylor wasn’t allowed any communication from outside the rehab facility. This concerned DJ. No cell phone calls, email, or anything. It seemed weird. Although DJ was praying for her roommate, she was worried. What if it wasn’t a reputable place? What if Taylor never came back? What if something bad happened to her? Not only would DJ blame herself, she figured everyone else would too.

Finally Grandmother spoke. “Did you girls get into some kind of trouble in Las Vegas, Desiree?”


“I want you to be honest with me. Did something happen to precipitate this?”

“The only thing that happened is that Taylor came to grips with the fact that she has a serious drinking problem. If you’ll remember, I tried to let you in on this some time ago.”

“Yes, I remember the vodka bottle. I simply assumed it was a one-time occurrence.”

“I told you otherwise.”

“Well, I know that girls will be girls, Desiree. You can’t have spent as much time as I in the fashion industry and not know this.”

“Were you ever like that?” asked DJ. “I mean that girls will be girls bit?”

Grandmother cleared her throat. “I wasn’t an angel, Desiree, if that’s what you’re hinting at. However, I did understand the need for manners and decorum. I witnessed numerous young women spinning out of control. Beautiful or not, a model won’t last long if she is unable to work.”

“Isn’t that true with everything?”

“Yes…I suppose. How long is Taylor going to be in…this rehabilitation place?”

“I don’t know. You should probably call her mom.”

“Oh, dear…that’s something else I hadn’t considered. Certainly Eva Perez won’t be blaming me for her daughter’s, well, her drinking problem.”
“Eva is fully aware that Taylor had this drinking problem long before she came to Carter House.”

“Good.” Grandmother sighed and shook her head. “I just hope her treatment won’t prevent her from participating in Fashion Week. That would be a disaster.”

“Seems like it would be a worse disaster if Taylor didn’t get the help she needs.”

“Yes, of course, that goes without saying. But I would think that a week or two should be sufficient. Goodness, just how bad can a problem get when you’re only seventeen?”

DJ shrugged, but didn’t say anything. The truth was she thought it could get pretty bad, and in Taylor’s case it was bad. And it could’ve gotten worse. To think that Taylor had been drinking daily and DJ never even knew it.

“It’s just as well you came home early, Desiree,” said Grandmother as she turned onto the parkway. “Already Casey and Rhiannon are back. And Kriti is supposed to return tomorrow. Eliza will be back on New Year’s Eve.”

“I’m surprised she didn’t want to stay in France for New Year’s.”

“As am I. If I were over there, I’d certainly have booked a room in Paris. Nothing is more spectacular than fireworks over the City of Light. But apparently Eliza has plans with her boyfriend. Imagine—giving up Paris for your boyfriend!”

Of course, DJ knew that Eliza’s life of lavish luxury didn’t mean all that much to her. Like a poor little rich girl, Eliza wanted a slice of “normal.” Well, normal with a few little extras like good shoes, designer bags, and her pretty white Porsche.

“It’s good to be home,” DJ proclaimed as her grandmother turned into the driveway.

“It’s good to hear you say that,” said Grandmother.

And it was the truth. After a week in Vegas, DJ was extremely thankful to be back. Maybe for the first time, Carter House did feel like a home. She couldn’t wait to see Casey and Rhiannon.

“Welcome back,” called Casey as she opened the door, dashed out onto the porch, and hugged DJ. “Need some help with those bags?”

“Thanks.” DJ studied Casey for a moment, trying to figure out what had changed. “Your hair!”

Casey picked up one of DJ’s bags then grinned as she gave her strawberry blond hair a shake. “Like it?”

“It’s the old you—only better.”

“My mom talked me into it. The black was a little dramatic, don’t you think?”

“I think you look fantastic. And that choppy layered cut is very cute.”

“Your grandmother approved it too. And I got highlights.”

DJ touched her own hair. “Taylor had been nagging me to get mine redone. But it was so expensive in Vegas. I figured I’d do it here.”

Casey lowered her voice. “So how’d your grandmother take the news about Taylor?”

DJ stopped at the foot of the stairs and stared at Casey. “Did Rhiannon tell you everything?”
“Yeah, is it supposed to be a big secret?” Casey made a hurt face now. “I was wondering why you told Rhiannon and not me. I thought we were friends, DJ.”

“I didn’t mean to, but I sort of spilled the beans with Rhiannon because I was so desperate and didn’t know what to do at the time. But then I felt bad. I mean it was possible that Taylor wanted to keep it private, you know?”

Casey nodded somberly. “Yeah, I guess I do know.”

“You should.” After all, it had only been a few months since they had intervened with Casey in regard to her pain pill snitching.

“So, are you saying mum’s the word?”

“Until Taylor comes back. Don’t you think it’s up to her to say something or not?”

“Yeah. I can just imagine Eliza with that tasty little morsel of gossip. It’d be all over the school in no time.”

“Speaking of Eliza, that means Kriti too.”

“Kriti just got here about an hour ago.” Casey paused, nodding toward the room that Kriti and Eliza shared. The taxi dropped her and she went straight to her room. But something seems wrong.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m not sure. She just looks different. Kind of unhappy. I mean she didn’t even say hello or anything.”

“Maybe she was missing her family.”

“Maybe, but my guess is it’s something more.”

“We should probably try harder to reach out to her and make her feel at home.”

“You’re here!” Rhiannon burst out of the room and threw her arms around DJ. “Welcome home!”

“Man, it is so good to be back. Vegas—for more than a day or two—is a nightmare.”

“At least you got a tan,” observed Rhiannon. She glanced at Casey. “Both of you, in fact.”

“It’s that California sun.”

“Don’t make me envious,” said Rhiannon.

“Hey, look at you,” said DJ as she noticed that Rhiannon had on a very cool outfit. “Is that new?”

“Old and new. My great aunt gave me some of her old clothes and I’ve been altering them.” She held out her hands and turned around to make the long circular skirt spin out. “Fun, huh?”

“And cool,” said DJ.

“She’s got all kinds of stuff,” said Casey. “Hats and costume jewelry and scarves and things. I told her she should open a retro shop and get rich.”

“Maybe I will someday.”

“Or just sell things here in Carter House,” suggested DJ. “Between Eliza and Taylor’s clothing budget, you could clean up.”

“Oh, yeah, DJ, Conner just called,” said Rhiannon. “They just got back from their ski trip and he said he tried your cell a few times, but it seemed to be turned off.”

“More like dead. My flight was so early this morning, I forgot to charge it.”

“Well, I told him you’d call.”

Casey set DJ’s bag inside her door. “Speaking of boys, I think I’ll check and see how Garrison is doing—find out if he missed me or not.” She touched her hair. “Do you think he’ll like it?”

“How could he not,” said Rhiannon. “It’s so cool.”

“Later,” called Casey as she headed for her room.

“So, how’s Taylor?” asked Rhiannon quietly.

“You didn’t tell Kriti, did you?” whispered DJ, pulling Rhiannon into her room then closing the door.

“No, why would I?”

“I just wanted to be sure. I think we need to respect Taylor’s privacy with this.”

“Absolutely. So, have you talked to her?”

“They won’t let me. They have this no communication policy. No email, cell phones…nothing. It’s like a black hole. Weird.”

Rhiannon nodded. “Yeah, it was like that with my mom at first. I think they wanted to keep her cut off from any bad connections. Then after a while, you earn communication privileges.”

“Oh, that’s a relief. I was really worried.”

“I still can hardly believe Taylor went willingly.”

“Yeah, our strong-willed wild child…putting herself into rehab.” DJ shook her head.

“That remind me, Seth has called a few times too. He wanted to know why Taylor’s cell was off and where she was.”

“What’d you say?”

“That I didn’t know.” She shrugged. “Actually, that was the truth.”

“But nothing else?”

“Good. I mean it’s not like we need to keep it top secret, but until we hear from Taylor, let’s not talk about it.”

“Sure.” Rhiannon put a hand on DJ’s shoulder. “And don’t worry about her, DJ. She’ll be fine.”
“I know.” DJ nodded as she put her bags on her bed and started to unzip them. But as soon as Rhiannon left, DJ wasn’t so sure. What if Taylor wasn’t fine? What if something had gone wrong? And what if it was all DJ’s fault?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

OAMC guest post!

Just wanted to let you know that I am guesting posting today over at Once A Month Mom

OAMC with only a refrigerator freezer
Posted: 29 Apr 2009 05:00 AM PDT
If you don't own a stand-alone freezer you have probably asked yourself if this Once A Month Mom stuff can be done with just a refrigerator freezer. I have been doubtful but MJ proved me wrong this last month. Here is a great recap from a woman who made it happen!


CFBA: Nothing But Trouble by Susan May Warren

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Nothing But Trouble

Tyndale House Publishers (May 1, 2009)


Susan May Warren


Susan grew up in Wayzata, a suburb of Minneapolis, and became an avid camper from an early age. Her favorite fir-lined spot is the north shore of Minnesota is where she met her husband, honeymooned and dreamed of living.

The north woods easily became the foundation for her first series, The Deep Haven series, based on a little tourist town along the shores of Lake Superior. Her first full-length book, Happily Ever After, became a Christy Award Finalist published in 2004 with Tyndale/Heartquest.

As an award winning author, Susan returned home in 2004, to her native Minnesota after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries with SEND International in Far East Russia. She now writes full time from Minnesota's north woods and the beautiful town that she always dreamed of living in.

You can sample a chapter of each and every one of Susan's novels, on her website, HERE.


PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:

1) After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that's become her life, she needs a fresh start.

2) The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister's wedding is Boone-her former flame and the reason she left town.

3) Her best friend's husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg, Minnesota, has seen in more than a decade.

What PJ doesn't know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she'll uncover much more than she bargained for-a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she's been longing for.

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her home town, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder—who also happens to be PJ's former flame—is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend’s husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right

If you would like to read the first chapter of Nothing But Trouble, go HERE

This book just arrived today, but I cannot wait to read it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CFBA: A Vote of Confidence by Robin Lee Hatcher

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Vote Of Confidence

Zondervan (April 2009)


Robin Lee Hatcher


Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon


In A Vote of Confidence, the stage is set for some intriguing insight into what it was like during 1915 to be a woman in a “mans’ world.”

Guinevere Arlington is a beautiful young woman determined to remain in charge of her own life, For seven years, Gwen has carved out a full life in the bustling town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, where she teaches piano and writes for the local newspaper. Her passion for the town, its people, and the surrounding land prompt Gwen to run for mayor. After all, who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?

But stepping outside the boundaries of convention can get messy. A shady lawyer backs Gwen, believing he can control her once she’s in office. A wealthy newcomer throws his hat into the ring in an effort to overcome opposition to the health resort he’s building north of town. When the opponents fall in love, everything changes, forcing Gwen to face what she may have to lose in order to win.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Vote Of Confidence, go HERE

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!

"All right, I'm shuttin' up," Sleeve offered, hands up, as Lemmer approached. "I know better than to get between a man and his one true love."

Taken from Blaggard's Moon by George Bryan Polivka, p. 163.

It's Tuesday...Where Are You?

I am in a jungle pond sitting on a pole elevating above the water, listening to the retelling of stories from various parts of the sea from a weathered pirate Smith Delaney. I can hear the slapping of the waves against the pole, and smell the salt in the air. Every once in a while, I can hear a gull call as it flies on by.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mailbox Moday - April 27th, 2009

Hosted by Marcia at the PrintedPage

A Passion Denied (The Daughters of Boston, Book #3) by Julie Lessman (autographed and personalized!)
Young Elizabeth O'Connor is the little sister John Brady always longed for. But she wants much more than that from her spiritual mentor. As she blossoms into a beautiful young woman intent on loving John, he must push back the very real attraction he feels for her. His past just won't let him go there. Unfortunately, Lizzie won't let him go anywhere else--until she discovers he is not all that he seems. Can true love survive such revelations? Full of the romance and relationships Lessman readers have come to love, A Passion Denied is the final book in the popular Daughters of Boston series.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier - sent via an awesome Paperbackswap friend
From the bestselling author of Rebecca, another classic set in beautiful and mysterious Cornwall.

Philip Ashley's older cousin Ambrose, who raised the orphaned Philip as his own son, has died in Rome. Philip, the heir to Ambrose's beautiful English estate, is crushed that the man he loved died far from home. He is also suspicious. While in Italy, Ambrose fell in love with Rachel, a beautiful English and Italian woman. But the final, brief letters Ambrose wrote hinted that his love had turned to paranoia and fear.

Now Rachel has arrived at Philip's newly inherited estate. Could this exquisite woman, who seems to genuinely share Philip's grief at Ambrose's death, really be as cruel as Philip imagined? Or is she the kind, passionate woman whom Ambrose fell for... with a tremendous longing to be loved? Philip struggles to answer this question: Ambrose's estate, and his own future, will be destroyed if his answer is wrong.

"Miss du Maurier is... a storyteller whose sole aim is to bewitch and beguile. And in My Cousin Rachel she does both, with Rebecca looking fondly over her shoulder."
New York Times

"Double-distilled readers' delight."
Manchester Guardian

Nightmare's Edge (Echoes from the Edge, book #3) by Bryan Davis - LOVED the first two in the series, extremely excited about this one!
Nathan Shepherd, in the company of his restored mother and two mysterious beings called supplicants, searches for his father in the land of dreams. With the collapse of the entire cosmos at hand, only his father holds the answers to what Nathan must do to save billions of lives and only God can help him..

Memory's Gate (Time Thriller Trilogy, Book #3) by Paul McCusker
In this final episode, Elizabeth finds herself involved in a mystery that threatens the residents of the local nursing home, including the sheriff's father. People are disappearing, and the clues seem linked to Malcolm Dubbs’ historical village. Will the sheriff finally believe Elizabeth has been telling the truth about her travels through time?

New York Debut (The Carter House Girls Series, Book #6) by Melody Carlson
The girls return from the holidays in time for a New Year’s party, and Mrs. Carter announces that it’s time to get ready for Spring Fashion Week. A designer friend has invited the girls to participate in the big New York event and they have one month to get ready. Only God can catch those who fall this time.

The New Mom's Guide to Dealing with Dad by Susan Besze Wallace with Monica Reed, MD
New moms run into a host of new challenges once baby arrives, including getting back into shape, developing a parenting style, readjusting schedules, and interacting with their husbands in new ways. With compassion and humor--and always the privilege of motherhood in mind--The New Mom's Guides go straight to the heart of these matters, offering moms guidance and encouragement in this new season of life. Each of the four books in the series offers real advice from women who have been there, done that, and want other moms to benefit from their trials and triumphs. A perfect gift for baby showers, Mother's Day, or any day, these small volumes are compact enough to take along in an overstuffed diaper bag and designed for the mom who can only find a few minutes of peace each day to read.

The New Mom's Guide to Finding Your Own Mothering Style by Susan Besze Wallace with Monica Reed, MD
New moms run into a host of new challenges once baby arrives, including getting back into shape, developing a parenting style, readjusting schedules, and interacting with their husbands in new ways. With compassion and humor--and always the privilege of motherhood in mind--The New Mom's Guides go straight to the heart of these matters, offering moms guidance and encouragement in this new season of life. Each of the four books in the series offers real advice from women who have been there, done that, and want other moms to benefit from their trials and triumphs. A perfect gift for baby showers, Mother's Day, or any day, these small volumes are compact enough to take along in an overstuffed diaper bag and designed for the mom who can only find a few minutes of peace each day to read.

The New Mom's Guide to Living on Baby Time by Susan Besze Wallace with Monica Reed, MD
New moms run into a host of new challenges once baby arrives, including getting back into shape, developing a parenting style, readjusting schedules, and interacting with their husbands in new ways. With compassion and humor--and always the privilege of motherhood in mind--The New Mom's Guides go straight to the heart of these matters, offering moms guidance and encouragement in this new season of life. Each of the four books in the series offers real advice from women who have been there, done that, and want other moms to benefit from their trials and triumphs. A perfect gift for baby showers, Mother's Day, or any day, these small volumes are compact enough to take along in an overstuffed diaper bag and designed for the mom who can only find a few minutes of peace each day to read.

The New Mom's Guide to Your Body after Baby by Susan Besze Wallace with Monica Reed, MD
New moms run into a host of new challenges once baby arrives, including getting back into shape, developing a parenting style, readjusting schedules, and interacting with their husbands in new ways. With compassion and humor--and always the privilege of motherhood in mind--The New Mom's Guides go straight to the heart of these matters, offering moms guidance and encouragement in this new season of life. Each of the four books in the series offers real advice from women who have been there, done that, and want other moms to benefit from their trials and triumphs. A perfect gift for baby showers, Mother's Day, or any day, these small volumes are compact enough to take along in an overstuffed diaper bag and designed for the mom who can only find a few minutes of peace each day to read.

Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner
A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope

Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

he Postpartum Survival Guide by Paul Meier MD, Todd Clements MD, Lynne Johnson RN (part of a FIRST tour, but so perfect timing for me to read!)
Eighty percent of all pregnant women struggle with depression during or after their child’s birth. But there is good news about postpartum mood disorders—they are almost 100% treatable. In the definitive guide to postpartum depression, written from a Christian perspective by a team of experts including best-selling author and popular psychologist Dr. Paul Meier (Happiness Is a Choice), The Postpartum Survival Guide explains why this depression occurs, who’s at risk, how to treat it, and where to find God in it all. Coauthor Lynne Johnson, RN, provides a woman’s perspective on the issues of motherhood and depression. Using real-life stories and practical advice from medical professionals, The Postpartum Survival Guide offers hope-filled solutions that will help new mothers enjoy this special time in their lives. Plus, it also contains helpful resource for fathers, family members, friends, pastors, counselors, and medical practitioners.

Gold of Kings by Davis Bunn - This one looks right up my alley like an August Adams Adventure.
Will she decipher the mysteries leading to the sacred relic, or be defeated by the foes racing to claim it and destroy her?

A dealer in art and antiquities, Storm Syrrell arranges her life as she does her work -- into neat, orderly categories. But when her grandfather is murdered, all certainties are crushingly replaced by suspicions. She struggles to understand his death -- and decipher the frayed leather journal she finds hidden in his vault. Storm soon realizes that, far from being simply a discreet art broker, Sean Syrrell was a trusted go-between in the highest ranks of business and government in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

But not all of Sean's associates were quite so lofty. Enter Harry Bennett, a scruffy professional treasure hunter just released from a Caribbean jail, followed by Emma Webb, a US government lawyer with links to Interpol. Storm pushes her doubts aside, locks the door to her Palm Beach art gallery, and opens herself to the quest begun by her grandfather.

Their trail leads them ever farther afield -- London, France, Istanbul, Cyprus -- and ever deeper into danger. The thrill of the search is haunted by Storm's determination to bring Sean's murderers to justice. Storm and Harry in turn are targeted by an unknown assassin and saved from death only by Harry's split-second reactions.

Their quest homes in on the Copper Scroll of Qumran and controversial claims made by the Jewish historian Josephus. Hidden beneath the dust and mysteries of two thousand years lies the reason behind Sean Syrrell's murder and the find of a lifetime: a fortune in gold of great historical significance. Storm begins to grasp the potential magnitude such artifacts will have on contemporary religion and politics -- especially the competing historical claims to Jerusalem. Some seek to claim the gold for the treasure it represents; others are determined to destroy it. With the tangled motives of greed and power now in focus, old allies become new enemies. Through this, something unexpected tugs at Storm. The sacred relics represent a formidable metaphor to an ancient faith; will her search include a renewal of her own faith?

The Very First Easter by Paul Maier - This was a gift from DH's mother as she has one for each of her three children. Interestingly most reviews I have read are pretty negative, so we'll see... This book offers a historically accurate description of the events surrounding Jesus' death and resurrection through Scripture and beautiful artwork.

Ten-year-old Christopher wants to know the story behind the story and learns important details about this miraculous event that help him understand the season's celebration. He also discovers his own special link to the very first Easter.

The award-winning team of Paul L. Maier and Francisco Ordaz work together again to bring children a vivid picture of Jesus' last days on Earth. The Very First Easter makes a wonderful gift children, families, and friends. Recommended for ages 9 to 12.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mailbox Moday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.
We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week.

Stealing Home by Allison Pittman
It’s 1905 and the Chicago Cubs are banking on superstar Donald “Duke” Dennison’s golden arm to help them win the pennant. Only one thing stands between Duke and an unprecedented ten thousand dollar contract: alcohol.

That’s when sportswriter David Voyant whisks Duke to the one-horse town of Picksville, Missouri, so he can sober up in anonymity. He bides his time flirting with Ellie Jane Voyant, his unofficial chaperone, who would rather hide herself in the railway station ticket booth than face the echoes of childhood taunts.

Ned Clovis, the feed store clerk, has secretly loved Ellie Jane since childhood, but he loves baseball and the Duke almost as much–until he notices Ellie Jane may be succumbing to the star’s charm.

Then there’s Morris, a twelve-year-old Negro boy, whose only dream is to break away from Picksville. When Duke discovers his innate talent for throwing a baseball, Morris might just have found his way out.

Four individuals, each living in haunted isolation, each harboring a secret passion. Providence brings them together. Tragedy threatens to tear them apart. Will love be enough to bring them home?

Blood Bayou by Karen Young
To Save a Victim, Camille St. James May Have to Become One Herself.

Seven years ago, tragedy ended the troubled marriage of Camille and Jack Vermillion. Now, as head of the Truth Project, her life safe and orderly, she focuses her lawyerly skills on freeing wrongly incarcerated individuals on death row.

Jack paid a bitter price for his mistakes. No longer a high-powered corporate attorney, he's now pastor of a small church in Blood Bayou. Unsure of her own beliefs, Camille is highly skeptical of the conversion of this man she hasn't seen in seven years.

Then tragedy strikes again. Jack's sister is murdered, apparently by a prisoner Camille has set free. To prove his innocence, Camille must return to Blood Bayou. But that means facing the hostility of the town -- and Jack.

And as She Works to Find the Real Killer, Someone Is Determined to Stop Any Means.

Paper Roses (Texas Dream Trilogy #) by Amanda Cabot

The future stretches out in front of Sarah Dobbs like the pure blue Texas sky. Leaving the past behind in Philadelphia, mail-order bride Sarah arrives in San Antonio ready to greet her groom, Austin Canfield, a man she has never met but whose letters have won her heart from afar. But there is one problem--he has died. And Sarah cannot go back East. As Sarah tries to reconcile herself to a future that is drastically changed, Austin's brother, Clay, struggles with his own muddled plans. Though he dislikes working on the family ranch and longs for a different life, Clay is driven to avenge his brother's death. But something between them is growing and neither Clay nor Sarah is ready to admit it. Book 1 of the Texas Dreams series, Paper Roses will sweep readers into the Hill Country with a tale of love and loss, closed doors and beautiful possibilities that will leave them wanting more.

The Edge of Light (At Home in Beldon Grove, #1) by Ann Shorey
It is the summer of 1838 in St. Lawrenceville, Missouri, and Molly McGarvie's life is about to change forever. When her beloved Samuel succumbs to cholera, Molly is heartbroken but determined to take care of herself and her children. But when Samuel's unscrupulous brother takes over the family business and leaves Molly to fend for herself, she knows she must head out on her own. It is a dangerous journey and Molly has to leave her old life behind. Somehow she must find a way to make a living, keep her family together, and fend off some over-eager suitors. Book one in the At Home in Beldon Grove series, The Edge of Light will captivate readers with the true-to-life emotions of one woman's struggle to survive.

No Place for a Lady (Heart of The West, #1) by Maggie Brendan
Crystal Clark arrives in Colorado's Yampa Valley amid the splendor of a high country June in 1892. After the death of her father, Crystal is relieved to be leaving the troubles of her Georgia life behind to visit her aunt Kate's cattle ranch. Despite being raised as a proper Southern belle, Crystal is determined to hold her own in this wild land--even if a certain handsome foreman doubts her abilities. Just when she thinks she's getting a handle on the constant male attention from the cowhands and the catty barbs from some of the local young women, tragedy strikes the ranch. Crystal will have to tap all of her resolve to save the ranch from a greedy neighboring landowner. Can she rise to the challenge? Or will she head back to Georgia defeated? Book one in the Heart of the West series, No Place for a Lady is full of adventure, romance, and the indomitable human spirit. Readers will fall in love with the Colorado setting and the spunky Southern belle who wants to claim it as her own.

Jillian Dare by Melanie Jeschke
Jillian Dare leaves her Shenandoah Valley foster home behind and strikes out on her own as a nanny at a large country estate in northern Virginia. She is delighted with the beauty of her new home, the affection of her young charge Cadence Remington, and the opportunity for frequent travel to the Remington castle in England. She is less certain about her feelings for her handsome but moody employer, Ethan. In spite of herself, Jillian realizes she is falling for her boss. But how can a humble girl ever hope to win a wealthy man of the world? And what dark secrets from the past is he hiding? This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic "Jane Eyre", will capture readers' hearts.

What did you get in the mailbox last week?

CSFF: Blaggard's Moon Trailer and Links

Meal Plan Monday


Monday: Pizza Roll Ups

Tuesday: Shepherd's Pie

Wednesday: Leftovers from Jim 'N Nick's BBQ

Thursday: Baked Chicken Fingers and Mac 'n Cheese

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: We'll figured it out later... ;)

CFBA: Reluctant Cowgirl by Christine Lynxwiler

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Reluctant Cowgirl

Barbour Publishing (April 2009)


Christine Lynxwiler


Chrisitine lives with her husband and two precious daughters in the foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains in her home state of Arkansas. Her greatest earthly joy is her family and, aside from doing God’s will, spending time with them is her top priority.

She recently took a break from writing romance to pen a Christmas story with a twist. Her Mom Lit novella, My True Love Gave to Me, is part of a 2 in 1 anthology from Barbour entitled All Jingled Out. It’s also included in Simply Christmas, a 4 in 1 Barbour anthology. One of my holiday highlights was seeing Simply Christmas at Sam’s Club a few weeks before Christmas.

She has written two other novellas, both romance, which are included in Barbour anthologies, City Dreams, and Prairie County Fair and a serial for the Heartsong Presents book club newsletter – The Carousel Horse. The Carousel Horse can be read in its entirety on the Heartsong website, and you can read excerpts from all of her other books on her website, HERE

In 2003, Christine was honored by being voted #2 Favorite New Author by the Heartsong Presents Book Club members!


Actress Crytal McCord gave up the closeness of her big family in order to make a name for herself on the New York City stage. But when life in the Big Apple turns sour, she follows a country road back to her parents Arkansas ranch.

The last thing she expects to find in cowboy country is a new leading man. Still, she can't help but imagine handsome rancher Jeremy Buchanan in the role.

Unfortunately, Jeremy's been burned by Crystal's type before. Or has he? Every time he thinks he knows her, the multi-faceted woman surprises him. Will the reluctant pair allow their hearts to guide them, or will their common stubborn pride keep them miles apart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Reluctant Cowgirl, go HERE

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Challenge 1

Where are you reading from today?

Various books, right now a library book about homeschooling with sanity and a pirate novel. I have many other wants to reads as well as needed for review to reads in the stack as well.

3 facts about me …

  1. I'm 23 weeks pregnant today!
  2. My favorite apples are Pink Ladies (which I found some yesterday!!!).
  3. I love historical fiction.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?

Well, the pile to choose from has about 15 books, but I hardly expect to read them all.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?

I'm tired, so my real goal is to read completely two novels (about 600 pages total). It is lacking, but something and I will be content with it. This is the first read-a-thon that I have "really" been able to participate in, so I hope to be very interactive and meet new people!

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?

I tried last year, but was too busy with other stuff. So technically, I would call this my first time.

24 Hour Read-a-Thon: UPDATE ONE

This morning I am really tired as we did not get into bed last night until after midnight. We spent two hours at the huge kids consignment sale and got a fabulous load of stuff. If our estimations are accurate we spent $1,000 LESS than what it would have cost us to get everything we got in store! I could not be more excited (with spending only $200). This will be a frugal baby girl!

So, I have read a little bit in a library book and a little bit in my novel. The novel is taking over, so I will be dedicated to it now!

Help for the Harried Homeschooler: A Practical Guide to Balancing Your Child's Education with the Rest of Your Life Blaggard's Moon (Prequel to the Trophy Chase Trilogy)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quilt Festival

I am uber excited about a Blogger Quilt Festival. I just wish I had something better to contribute. I guess that you could still say that I am a beginning quilter, but I do not feel like it. More accurately, I would say over all I am a newbie, but I have a lot of experience under my belt as a piece-er, just not the actual quilting part. Therefore, I have dozens of completed quilt tops, but only about two or three Completed Quilts.

The completed quilt project that I will show you today is not very exciting, but it was new to me to piece a quilt on the diagonal and to work with the pattern so that it created a blooming outward effect. I made this quilt because I saw it and thought it was pretty and a class was available. It was a in a quilt show, and I got basically a first time quilter honorable mention. It was fun. Now the quilt is currently used most by my elderly black kitty, which the fur on the white is not so attractive! But it cleans easily enough. *grin*

Now I am depressed. I know I have a picture of the quilt, but I just spent three hours looking and cannot find it anywhere. UPDATE: Found it! See above!!!

For further entertainment of completed projects, but not really quilts see these links:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Secret by Beverly Lewis: a not so good review

The Secret (Seasons of Grace, Book 1) The Secret by Beverly Lewis

In the seemingly ordinary Amish home of Grace Byler, secrets abound. Why does her mother weep in the night? Why does her father refuse to admit something is dreadfully wrong? Then, in one startling moment, everything Grace assumed she knew is shattered. Her mother's disappearance leaves Grace reeling and unable to keep her betrothal promise to her long-time beau. Left to pick up the pieces of her life, Grace questions all she has been taught about love, family, and commitment. Heather Nelson is an English grad student, stunned by a doctor's diagnosis. Surely fate would not allow her father to lose his only daughter after the death of his wife a few years before. In denial and telling no one she is terminally ill, Heather travels to Lancaster County--the last place she and her mother had visited together. Will Heather find healing for body and spirit? As the lives of four wounded souls begin to weave together like an Amish patchwork quilt, they each discover missing pieces of their life puzzles--and glimpse the merciful and loving hand of God.

My review

rating: 1 of 5 stars
I am taking out the book mark at page 265. I just cannot continue. Nothing pleasant has happened so far in the entire more than two hundred and fifty pages minus one paragraph. Many things are going on, yet every single one is depressing with no reprieve. I have read a handful of reviews so far that love the story and the presentation of the Amish lives through the novel. This book for me just is not happening.

In the past, I have read several titles by Beverly Lewis and loved them. This one is just dull and bland and I cannot continue it. There are too many dozens of books to be read. I spent three days and more pages and effort than I should have. Some already have, and some will love this book, but I do not and I do not recommend it. It could turn around, but you need some relief in the hours of depression and pain and this so far has not had it.

View all my reviews.

*NOTE* As an alternate opinion, I encourage you to go and read Staci's review over at Life in the Thumb.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

24 HOUR Read-a-ThonS

How did I not know that the 24 Hour Read-a-Thon was this weekend? So not cool! I have not prepared at all, I am not even sure what is on the agenda for this weekend... hmm... I know that Friday morning I have an appt at the OB and then Friday evening we are going to a huge consignment sale nearby. I should be okay to get up Saturday morning, as it will start at 8:00 AM for me, and go all day and then some what into the night as far as I can. Hopefully, my Pastor will forgive me for being sleepy. lol

Now... what to plan to read.

In no way do I plan to read all of these, but I plan to try to read as many as I can. Being pregnant, there is no telling how I will feel and if I will get tired or not. Plus there is no telling what DH will be doing...

Books I HAVE to read by next week:
Blaggard's Moon The Reluctant Cowgirl (The McCord Sisters, Book 1)
A Vote of Confidence (Sisters of Bethlehem Springs, Book #1)

Some that came this week that are calling to me:
No Place for a Lady (Heart of the West, #1) Paper Roses (Texas Dreams Trilogy #1)The Edge of Light (At Home in Beldon Grove)
Stealing Home: A Novel

Books I have been meaning to read:
Brisingr (Inheritance:  Book 3)DragonKnight (DragonKeeper Chronicles #3) Claim of Her Own, A

Others from the TBR pile:
City of the Dead Guardian of the Flame: A Seven Wonders Novel

At least this will be the preliminary grab pile. Although I am sure that other books could grab me when I walk by the shelves.

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